According to the prophecies - This may refer to some predictions by inspired men, relative to what Timothy should be: and he wishes him to act in all things conformably to those predictions. It was predicted that he should have this high and noble calling; but his behavior in that calling was a matter of contingency, as it respected the use he might make of the grace of his calling. The apostle therefore exhorts him to war a good warfare, etc. He was now called to that estate to which the prophecies referred; and now he is to act worthily or unworthily of that calling, according as he fought or did not fight the good warfare, and according as he held or did not hold faith and a good conscience.
Some think that the προαγουσας προφητειας, the foregoing prophecies, refer to revelations which the apostle himself had received concerning Timothy; while others think that the word is to be understood of advices, directions, and exhortations, which the apostle had previously delivered to him; we know that προφητευω signifies to speak to men to edification, to exhortation, and to comfort. See 1 Corinthians 14:3. This is a very sober and good sense of the passage.
War a good warfare - The trials and afflictions of the followers of God are often represented as a warfare or campaign. See Isaiah 40:2; 1 Corinthians 9:7; 2 Corinthians 10:4; and see the reasons of this metaphorical form of speech, in the notes on Ephesians 6:13.
This charge - This command or injunction. It does not refer to any “charge,” or “cure,” which he had as bishop or minister, as the word is sometimes used now, but to the commands or injunctions which he was delivering to him. The command particularly referred to is that in 1 Timothy 1:8.
According to the prophecies which went before on thee - The general meaning of this is plain. It is, that Paul was committing to him an important trust, and one that required great wisdom and fidelity; and that in doing it he was acting in conformity with the hopes which had been cherished respecting Timothy, and with certain expressed anticipations about his influence in the church. From early life the hope had been entertained that he would be a man to whom important trusts might be committed; and it had been predicted that he would be distinguished as a friend of religion. These hopes seem to have been cherished in consequence of the careful training in religion which he had had 2 Timothy 2:1; 2 Timothy 3:15, and probably from the early indications of seriousness, prudence, and piety, which he manifested. It was natural to entertain such hopes, and it seems, from this place, that such hopes had even assumed the form of predictions.
It is not absolutely necessary to suppose that these predictions referred to by the word prophecies were inspired, for the word may be used in a popular sense, as it is often now. We speak now familiarly of predicting or foretelling the future usefulness of a serious, prudent, studious, and pious youth. We argue from what he is, to what he will be, and we do not deem it unsafe or improper to hazard the prediction that, if he lives, he will be a man to whom important interests may be entrusted. As there were, however. prophets in the Christian church (Acts 11:27 note; Ephesians 6:10-17; 1 Corinthians 9:7; 2 Corinthians 4:4), and the services of the Christian ministry especially are likened to those of a soldier; 2 Timothy 2:3-4; 2 Timothy 4:7. The meaning here is, that he should contend with earnestness as a Christian and a minister in that holy service in which he was engaged, and endeavor to secure the victory. He “wars a good warfare” who is engaged in a righteous cause; who is faithful to his commander and to his post; who is unslumbering in observing the motions of the enemy, and fearless in courage in meeting them; who never forsakes his standard, and who continues thus faithful until the period of his enlistment has expired, or until death. Such a soldier the Christian minister should be.
He who puts on the armor to war a good warfare will gain greater and still greater ability as he strives to perfect his knowledge of God, working in harmony with the plan God has laid down for the perfect development of the physical, the mental, and the spiritual powers. 7T 281.1
Young men and young women, gather a stock of knowledge. Do not wait until some human examination pronounces you competent to work, but go out into the highways and hedges, and begin to work for God. Use wisely the knowledge you have. Exercise your ability with faithfulness, generously imparting the light that God gives you. Study how best to give to others peace and light and truth and the many other rich blessings of heaven. Constantly improve. Keep reaching higher and still higher. It is the ability to put to the tax the powers of mind and body, ever keeping eternal realities in view, that is of value now. Seek the Lord most earnestly, that you may become more and more refined, more spiritually cultured. Then you will have the very best diploma that anyone can have—the endorsement of God. 7T 281.2
However large, however small, your talents, remember that what you have is yours only in trust. Thus God is testing you, giving you opportunity to prove yourself true. To Him you are indebted for all your capabilities. To Him belong your powers of body, mind, and soul, and for Him these powers are to be used. Your time, your influence, your capabilities, your skill —all must be accounted for to Him who gives all. He uses his gifts best who seeks by earnest endeavor to carry out the Lord's great plan for the uplifting of humanity, remembering always that he must be a learner as well as a teacher. 7T 281.3Read in context »
He who looks at earthly things as the chief good, he who spends his life in an effort to gain worldly riches, is indeed making a poor investment. Too late he will see that in which he has trusted crumbling into dust. It is only through self-denial, through the sacrifice of earthly riches, that the eternal riches can be obtained. It is through much tribulation that the Christian enters the kingdom of heaven. Constantly he is to war the good warfare, not laying down his weapons until Christ bids him rest. Only by giving all to Christ can he secure the inheritance that will endure through all eternity.—Letter 90, May 23, 1902, to Brother Johnson, a layman. TDG 152.5Read in context »
We will be tried in every way until all the dross and tin are purged from us, and nothing but the pure gold remains. There is a work to be accomplished for you. You must possess deep humility of soul, and war against self and an unyielding will, or you will certainly be ensnared by the enemy. TDG 295.2Read in context »