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2 Timothy 2:21

ESV Therefore, if anyone cleanses himself from what is dishonorable, he will be a vessel for honorable use, set apart as holy, useful to the master of the house, ready for every good work.
NIV Those who cleanse themselves from the latter will be instruments for special purposes, made holy, useful to the Master and prepared to do any good work.
NASB Therefore, if anyone cleanses himself from these things, he will be an implement for honor, sanctified, useful to the Master, prepared for every good work.
CSB So if anyone purifies himself from anything dishonorable, he will be a special instrument, set apart, useful to the Master, prepared for every good work.
NLT If you keep yourself pure, you will be a special utensil for honorable use. Your life will be clean, and you will be ready for the Master to use you for every good work.
KJV If a man therefore purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honour, sanctified, and meet for the master's use, and prepared unto every good work.

What does 2 Timothy 2:21 mean?

In verse 20, Paul began an analogy using containers made of various materials. In wealthy homes, vessels of gold and silver were reserved for honorable uses. Vessels of clay or wood were used for more common, or "dishonorable" uses. Continuing this thought here, Paul writes that a Christian can become "a vessel for honorable use" by separating himself from sin. The Greek of this verse literally says "from these things," and the specific reference to "what is dishonorable" is added for clarity in many translations. If anyone cleanses or sets himself apart from the false teaching and sinful life described in verses 16–18, he will be "set apart as holy."

Paul has in mind both a spiritual and literal understanding here. Timothy is to be set apart and holy. However, he is also still talking about vessels. Clean, set apart vessels are "useful to the master of the house." The master is a reference to the Lord. Those set apart as holy are "ready for every good work." "Good work" is also mentioned in 2 Timothy 3:17 as something for which we are equipped through a focus on God's Word. Paul also mentioned the importance of good works elsewhere in the Pastoral Epistles, including 1 Timothy 5:10 and Titus 1:16 and 3:1.
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