2 Timothy 3:10

The apostle recalls to Timothy's mind the facts of his own checkered career. partly to mark the contrast between his life and that of the false teachers, partly to stimulate Timothy to like faithfulness and endurance.

I. IT IS GOOD FOR YOUNG MINISTERS TO OBSERVE AND FOLLOW THE WAYS OF THEIR ELDER BRETHREN. "But thou didst follow my teaching, conduct, purpose, faith."

1. They will thus be stimulated to greater effort.

2. They will be guided by wiser counsels.

3. They will be guarded against many mistakes.

4. They will be better able to endure persecutions and trials.


1. It glorifies God's grace. The apostle always made this grace the supreme factor in his success. "By, the grace of God I am what I am; Yet not I, but the grace of God which was in me" (1 Corinthians 15:10).

2. It is an encouragement to other ministers to labour with equal self-denial.

III. THE METHOD OF THE APOSTLE'S MINISTRY AND LIFE. "My teaching," in allusion less to his doctrine than to his manner of giving instruction; "conduct," or manner of life, in allusion to "my ways which be in Christ" (1 Corinthians 4:17); "purpose," for he remained true to the spiritual objects of his life, and, above all, to his mission to the Gentiles; "faith," in allusion to his belief in the fundamental doctrines of the gospel, linked with "long suffering" toward his bitter adversaries, whom he longed to lead into truth - "the faith and the patience" being necessary to the inheritance of the promises (Hebrews 6:12); "love," which seemed never to fail, "believing all things, bearing all things, hoping all things;" linked with "endurance," as before (1 Timothy 6:11; Titus 2:2), because it is the sustaining element of this endurance; "persecutions, afflictions, which came to me at Antioch," in Pisidia, whence he was expelled by the Jews; "at Iconium," where both Jews and Gentiles made an assault upon him; "at Lystra," where he was stoned and left for dead - the three cities being named because of Timothy's intimate acquaintance with them, the apostle's sufferings there being the earliest in his missionary life. He gratefully records his deliverance out of all his persecutions by the good hand of the Lord.

IV. THE ATTITUDE OF THE WORLD TOWARD GODLINESS. "Yea, and all that would live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution."

1. The persons thus described.

(1) Those who aim at a godly life - who "wish to live godly." This is the highest aim of man in a world with many lofty ideals.

(2) They are not merely godly, but live in all the outward amenities of gospel godliness. "As ye have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him."

(3) This life of godliness finds its source and spring in Jesus Christ. It is "in Christ Jesus."

2. Their lot in this life. "Shall suffer persecution."

(1) This was Christ's prediction. "If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you" (John 15:20).

(2) The world is essentially at war with the kingdom of God. "Because ye are not of the world, therefore the world hateth you" (John 15:19).

(3) Better to suffer as Christians than as evil doers. - T.C.

But thou hast fully known my doctrine, manner of life.
1. Doctrine.

2. Conversation.

3. Purpose.

4. Faith.

5. Long-suffering.

6. Love.

7. Patience.

8. Persecutions.

9. Afflictions.

(T. Hall, B. D.)

Now since we are more easily led by precedents than by precepts, the apostle propounds his own example for our imitation, wherein we have the lively pattern and portraiture of a faithful pastor, whose office it is not only to preach sound doctrine, but also to practise what he preacheth in his own life, that so he may be able to speak from the heart to the hearts of his people, and may not bring his food as birds do to their young ones — in their beaks, not in their breasts.

(T. Hall, B. D.)

In that Paul propounds his own example for Timothy to consider and follow. That the pious example of the godly must be imitated by us. Younger ministers especially must observe the doctrine and conversation, the pious ways and walking of the elder and graver ministers, and must follow them. Aged Paul propounds his virtues to young Timothy for imitation. Many young men praise the gravity, solidity, wisdom, industry, mortification, and self-denial of ancient ministers, but they do not follow them. They deal by them as the world doth by honesty, they praise it, but they never practise it. As Gideon said to his soldiers (Judges 7:17), "Look upon me, and do likewise"; so you that are young and unsettled, rash, and conceited, look upon the doctrine, discipline, hair, habit, ways and works of the holy, and the grave; follow them now you are young, and then you will be good long. Great is the power of the example of superiors.

(T. Hall, B. D.)

God hath set them before us as our copy to write by, and our pattern to live by, and we must answer not only for sinning against the light of the word, but against the light of good example also. It will be one day said, "You had such and such to go before you in paths of piety, and yet you would not follow." The faithful are called witnesses (Hebrews 12:1; Revelation 12:1.). Now if we walk contrary to their light they will witness against us, as Noah and Lot did against the sinners of their age; but if we walk answerable to their light they will witness for us. Their practice may comfort and confirm us in God's way; they declare the possibility of obtaining such a grace, and make it thereby the more easy, when we have seen it done before us. If a man have a torch to light him in a dark and dangerous path, how glad is he: the godly shine like lights in the midst of a crooked generation (Philippians 2:15, 16), their life is a commentary on the Scripture. Now since the nature of man is apter to be guided by example then precept, therefore God hath prepared abundance of glorious examples for our imitation, and thus the saints that are now at rest and triumphant in glory, their lives are to be our looking-glasses to dress ourselves by, our compass to sail by, and our pillar of a cloud to walk by.

(T. Hall, B. D.)

We can have no excuse in these days of light if we come not up to the best patterns, because we have more of the spirit, more light, and more clear manifestation of God than they had.

(T. Hall, B. D.)

The saints have had their failings, and the best have a great deal of the old Adam in them. They are pillars of cloud for us to walk by, but this cloud hath its dark part, which if we follow we shall fall as they did. There are four sorts of actions which the Scripture tells us were done by saints.

(T. Hall, B. D.)

Our Saviour by the truth of His doctrine proved Himself to be sent of God (John 7:16, 17, 18, and John 12:49,50). Paul commands Timothy to keep the pattern of wholesome words (2 Timothy 2:13), and Titus must be careful in appointing ministers for the Church, to choose such as hold the faithful word (Titus 1:7, 9). Moral virtues may be found with a false faith; let not those apples of Sodom deceive you, for as there may be good doctrine where the life is bad, so there may be false doctrine where the life is seemingly good. Look, therefore, in the first place to the doctrine, and in the second place to the virtues which seem to commend it. So doth Paul here; first he tells you his doctrine was sound, and now he comes to declare his graces, and how he lived.

(T. Hall, B. D.)

A little patience will not do, for we have no little enemies to oppose us — it must be all patience and all strength. This also is a virtue very requisite for a minister, who hath to do with all sorts of men; some are dull, some froward, some weak, some wayward; so that without patience there is no good to be done. It is for pusillanimous spirits to be always murmuring, complaining, and seeking revenge. The weakest creatures are most vindictive. This is an ornament of great worth, not only in the sight of man, but also of God (1 Peter 3:4). Without it we are unfit for duty, as the troubled sea unfit for voyage. Without it we double and increase our burthens; like a wild bull in a net, or the untamed heifer, we may gall our necks, but never break the yoke. Without patience no grace is perfect, faith hath but half its strength, and hope is feeble (James 1:4). By our patience we please God, displease the devil, rejoice the angels, and many times melt and convert our enemies. By this means we heap coals of conversion or coals of confusion upon their heads (Romans 12:20). This will keep us good in a bad condition, so that a man enjoys himself when he hath nothing else; and though he have nothing, yet is as one that possesseth all things. The consideration of this made to cry, "Farewell all, so I may but get patience."

(T. Hall, B. D.)

Paul did not pull down by his living what he built up by his preaching.

(M. Henry.)

Of Donne's romantic career it has been said that his life is more poetical than his poetry. We might without exaggeration adapt this epigram to his preaching, and say that his life was a sermon more eloquent than all his sermons. If, then, I were asked to describe in few words the secret of. his power as a preacher, I should say that it was the contrition and the thanksgiving of the penitent acting upon the sensibility of the poet.

(Bp. Lightfoot.)

British Weekly.
There is a legend which tells how a saint once in vision saw a band of Franciscan friars standing round Jesus in heaven. He noticed that the lips of each were crimson. He asked the meaning of this, and to him the Lord said, "These are the great preachers of my Cross, for the story of My redeeming love only comes with power over lips that are red with My precious blood." Yes; the preaching that will save preacher and hearers is the preaching that comes from crimson lips.

(British Weekly.)

The other evening a gentleman told me that he went into the room where his son was taking lessons in singing, and found the tutor urging the boy to sound a certain note. Every time the lad made the attempt, however, he fell short, and his teacher kept saying to him, "Higher! higher!" but it was all to no purpose until, descending to the tone which the boy was sounding, the musician accompanied him with his own voice, and led him gradually up to that which he desired him to sing; and then he sounded it with ease.

(W. M. Taylor, D. D.)

"Example is a living law, whose sway

Men more than all the written laws obey."

(Old Poet.)Example is the school of mankind, and they will learn at no other.


"Whenever I read Scripture, a thousand atheistical thoughts were injected in my soul... Being in Mr. T, H.'s house, a godly and prudent man, his company did me much good... For the universal carnality of professors, with their discouragements, living so short of their principles, did much help forward my atheism, as it made me think that a saint was but a fancy; but truly I thought mine eyes saw something of a saint and New Testament spirit in him, and was something persuaded, by feeling his holiness, his cheerfulness in God, and his deep reach in spiritual mysteries, that there was a God, and a holiness attainable."

(Life of James Fraser of Brea.)

I like that remark of Whitfield's, when some one of a bad character wondered how he could preach without a cassock. "Ah," he said, "I can preach without a cassock, but I cannot preach without a character."

(C. H. Spurgeon.)

The path of suffering of the apostle Paul a revelation —

1. Of the power of sin which pursued him.

2. Of the greater power of faith which sustained him.

3. Of the omnipotence of the Lord who delivered him out of all.

(Van Oosterzee.)

During the siege of Sebastopol Gordon was one day going the round of the trenches when he heard an angry altercation between a corporal and a sapper. On inquiring the cause, he learnt that the men were instructed to place some gabions on the battery, and that the corporal had ordered the sapper to stand on the parapet, where he would be exposed to the enemy's fire, and to place the gabious, while he, perfectly sheltered, handed them up from below. Gordon at once jumped upon the parapet, ordering the corporal to join him, while the sapper handed them the gabions. When the work was done, and done under the fire of the watchful Russian gunners, Gordon turned to the corporal and said, "Never order a man to do anything that you are afraid to do yourself."

All wicked men hate the good, as all wolves do the sheep.

(T. Hall, B. D.)

— Such shakings make way for Christ (Haggai 2:7). The Church, like a quick-set hedge, grows the thicker for cutting, this vine is the better for bleeding, and this torch burns the better for beating. The more Pharaoh oppressed the Israelites the more they increased (Exodus 1:12).

(T. Hall, B. D.)

Not only our dangers, but also our deliverances must be observed and recorded by us.

(T. Hall, B. D.)

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