2 Timothy 2:14–26 (NKJV)
14 Remind them of these things, charging them before the Lord not to strive about words to no profit, to the ruin of the hearers. 15 Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. 16 But shun profane and idle babblings, for they will increase to more ungodliness. 17 And their message will spread like cancer. Hymenaeus and Philetus are of this sort, 18 who have strayed concerning the truth, saying that the resurrection is already past; and they overthrow the faith of some. 19 Nevertheless the solid foundation of God stands, having this seal: “The Lord knows those who are His,” and, “Let everyone who names the name of Christ depart from iniquity.”2 Timothy 2:14-26
20 But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and silver, but also of wood and clay, some for honor and some for dishonor. 21 Therefore if anyone cleanses himself from the latter, he will be a vessel for honor, sanctified and useful for the Master, prepared for every good work.
In this passage, Paul continues to instruct Timothy about his responsibilities to the people in his care. He is to remind them often of the teachings concerning their behavior and actions, especially concerning false teaching that threatened to overtake the church. Timothy was to rally the troops to continue serving and–if necessary–to continue suffering for the cause of Christ. He then gives Timothy personal instructions, which could be given to all Christians, to be diligent (KJV, study) to show himself approved to God. This includes working in a way to receive God’s approval, rightly interpreting and teaching the word of God. While this is good for anyone to do, it is especially needful in the climate of false teaching and some Christians’ aversion to suffering. Paul continues by telling him to shun false teachings and weak-willed dissension, because they will lead to further apostacy and defections from the faith.
Hymenaeus and Philetus are singled out as perpetrators of false doctrine, promoting the idea that the resurrection has already happened and they are living in a post-rapture world in which there is little hope of heaven. Paul quotes Old Testament Scriptures that assure the faithful that God has not forgotten them, and that their eternal destiny is still secure. Paul then pens the words that should encourage us all toward greater service and living. “But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and silver, but also of wood and clay, some for honor and some for dishonor.” Paul makes it clear that not everyone in the body of Christ is worthy of honor. In the house of God, there are precious vessels, worthy of honor, and there are crude vessels, worthy of dishonor. He is calling the reader, Timothy, and his followers to strive for honor in the house of God. He actually calls them to cleanse themselves of the dishonorable vessels and be found honorable in the sight of God, sanctified and useful, prepared for every good work. This is a clarion call to holiness and obedience.
22 Flee also youthful lusts; but pursue righteousness, faith, love, peace with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart. 23 But avoid foolish and ignorant disputes, knowing that they generate strife. 24 And a servant of the Lord must not quarrel but be gentle to all, able to teach, patient, 25 in humility correcting those who are in opposition, if God perhaps will grant them repentance, so that they may know the truth, 26 and that they may come to their senses and escape the snare of the devil, having been taken captive by him to do his will.2 Timothy 2:22-26
Paul goes on to warn Timothy to flee youthful lusts and pursue all the great attributes of the faith: “righteousness, faith, love, peace.” He calls him to avoid strife-producing debates and quarrels, and to be gentle, patient, humble and able to teach those who oppose him. In so doing, Timothy may be able to lead those in error to repentance, so that they may overcome the snare of the devil, in which they find themselves at the present time. Paul calls Timothy and the church under his care to holiness and honor, encouraging them to re-focus on the true doctrine, attitude, and lifestyle that God has raised them up to believe and uphold. In the church today, opinion and conjecture often are considered equal to doctrine. Valid and true Biblical interpretation and theology should be carefully formed and scrutinized, first by the Bible and then by the church at large. Not every new idea is Biblical, and opinions passed down for generations are not necessarily sacrosanct. Be careful that you do not propagate or endorse ideas that are not Biblical or Biblically-congruent. We must be true to the Word of God and the truth that has stood the test of time. Be sure you are a gold-and-silver type vessel of honor in the house of God!