2 Timothy 2:5 MEANING

2 Timothy 2:5
(5) And if a man also strive for masteries.--More accurately translated, again, if a man strive in the games. Another picture is drawn, and the picture is, as before, a well-known one to all the dwellers in the great cities of the empire. An athlete is chosen to represent the professed servant of Christ, one of those who, after long and careful training, contends in the public games, then so popular, so entirely a part of the life of every city--in the games of wrestling or running, or in the chariot-racing, or in the hand-to-hand contests. Again, this one--as in the case of the soldier--if he aspired to victory and success, must "endure hardness."

Except he strive lawfully.--"Lawfully"--i.e. according to the prescribed conditions of the contest. He must, of course, submit himself to the strict rules of the theatre where the games are held, and (for this is also included in the "lawfully") must besides--if he hopes for a prize--go through all the long and severe training and discipline necessary before engaging in such a contest. Galen uses the same phrase, in the sense of complying with the recognised rules of training as regarding diet.

Verse 5. - Also a man for a man also, A.V.; contend in the games for strive for masteries, A.V.; he is not for yet is he not, A.V.; have contended for strive, A.V. Contend in the games (ἀθλῇ); only here in the New Testament, and not found in the LXX., but common in classical Greek. It means "to contend for ἄθλον the prize, to be an "athlete." This is also the meaning of the A.V. "strive for masteries." "To strive," means properly to contend with an antagonist, and "mastery" is an old English word for "superiority," "victory," or the like. Dryden has "mastership" in the same sense -

"When noble youths for mastership should strive,
To quoit, to run, and steeds and chariots drive."

(Ovid., 'Met,' bk. 1.) Lawfully (νομίμως, as 1 Timothy 1:8); according to the laws and usages of the games. So Timothy must conform to the laws of the Christian warfare, and not shrink from afflictions, if he would gain the great Christian prize.

2:1-7 As our trials increase, we need to grow stronger in that which is good; our faith stronger, our resolution stronger, our love to God and Christ stronger. This is opposed to our being strong in our own strength. All Christians, but especially ministers, must be faithful to their Captain, and resolute in his cause. The great care of a Christian must be to please Christ. We are to strive to get the mastery of our lusts and corruptions, but we cannot expect the prize unless we observe the laws. We must take care that we do good in a right manner, that our good may not be spoken evil of. Some who are active, spend their zeal about outward forms and doubtful disputations. But those who strive lawfully shall be crowned at last. If we would partake the fruits, we must labour; if we would gain the prize, we must run the race. We must do the will of God, before we receive the promises, for which reason we have need of patience. Together with our prayers for others, that the Lord would give them understanding in all things, we must exhort and stir them up to consider what they hear or read.And if a man also strive for masteries,.... In the Olympic games, by running, wrestling, leaping, &c.

yet is he not crowned; with a corruptible, fading crown, a crown made of herbs and leaves of trees, as parsley, laurel, &c.

except he strive lawfully; according to the laws and rules fixed for those exercises; so no man that calls himself a Christian, minister, or any other, can expect the crown of life, the prize of the high calling of God, except he runs the race set before him, in the right way; looking to Christ, the mark, pressing through all difficulties, towards the prize, and holds on and out unto the end.

Courtesy of Open Bible