What does 2 Timothy 2:2 mean?
ESV: and what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men, who will be able to teach others also.
NIV: And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable people who will also be qualified to teach others.
NASB: The things which you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses, entrust these to faithful people who will be able to teach others also.
CSB: What you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses, commit to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.
NLT: You have heard me teach things that have been confirmed by many reliable witnesses. Now teach these truths to other trustworthy people who will be able to pass them on to others.
KJV: And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also.
NKJV: And the things that you have heard from me among many witnesses, commit these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.
Verse Commentary:
This famous verse on discipleship offers Paul's strategy for passing on the faith. He begins by reminding Timothy about the specific lessons Paul gave to him. Paul shared Christ with Timothy and did so "in the presence of many witnesses." The importance of other witnesses to Timothy's faith was also evident in 1 Timothy 6:12 when Paul shared, "Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called and about which you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses."

Timothy was to teach this same message to others who were capable of passing along that same knowledge. This is not a reference to evangelism, since these were to be "faithful men," or people who already believed in Christ. If done correctly, these trained believers would "be able to teach others also." This is the primary means by which the gospel is spread: through relationship and discipleship.

All told, Paul's comments here put four generations of discipleship into view: from Paul, to Timothy, to teachers, to others. Passing on the faith is not a single step, but a multi-generational process. Christian discipleship has the long view in mind: reaching others who will reach still others.
Verse Context:
Second Timothy 2:1–13 presents a series of examples Paul wants Timothy to consider. Among these are soldiers, athletes, farmers, Jesus Christ, and Paul himself. Rather than give extensive details, Paul encourages Timothy to consider how each of these applies to his own life. The context for all of this is ''suffering,'' meaning the hardships endured for the sake of Christ. Those who endure do so by the power of God, not their own efforts.
Chapter Summary:
Paul gives Timothy a clear mandate to defend the truth. This includes both upholding the gospel accurately, and presenting that defense in a gentle and loving way. While truth is important, Paul also notes that there are some issues which are only distractions. He considers these "babble," and arguments over them a form of spiritual disease. Like gangrene, this bickering only spreads and spreads until it becomes catastrophic. The ultimate goal of our evangelism is not to "win" an argument, but to rescue lost people.
Chapter Context:
In chapter 1, Paul gave Timothy encouragement by reminding him of his heritage and spiritual power. Here, in chapter 2, Paul expands on these commands. Rather than giving minute details, Paul presents a series of examples and tells Timothy to consider them carefully. Paul's instructions here set the stage for the warnings coming up in the next chapter. Timothy—and all believers—need to be prepared and right-minded, because the world is going to become spiritually darker and darker.
Book Summary:
Second Timothy is the last New Testament letter written by Paul. Paul writes these words while awaiting execution by Rome. At this time, around AD 67, Timothy was leading the church in Ephesus. Paul writes to Timothy in order to encourage him. Paul is facing the worst of all hardships: his own impending death. So, he encourages Timothy to stand strong in his faith, with a reliance on the written Word of God. This letter echoes many of the themes Paul uses in his other letters.
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