SDA Bible Commentary, vol. 7 (EGW)

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Chapter 2

1-3, 7, 15. See EGW on 1 Timothy 4:13-16. 7BC 917.5

1-4. See EGW on ch. 4:1-7. 7BC 917.6

14. Contentions With a Purpose—[2 Timothy 2:11-14 quoted.] What does that mean? It means that there may be contentions over words and over ideas, but they should be to some purpose, they should be to break down the stubbornness and the opposition that is in human hearts in order that their spirits may be softened and subdued, so that when the seeds of truth are dropped into the soil of the heart, they may take root there (Manuscript 13, 1888). 7BC 917.7

14-16 (vs. 23-26; ch. 4:1-5; Colossians 2:8; see EGW on Revelation 14:1-4; 18:1). Cease All Idle Speculation—[2 Timothy 2:14 quoted.] This is a warning appropriate for this time. Then comes a charge which will often need to be given: “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” Learn to take the truths that have been revealed, and to handle them in such a way that they will be food for the flock of God. 7BC 917.8

We shall meet those who allow their minds to wander into idle speculations about things of which nothing is said in the Word of God. God has spoken in the plainest language upon every subject that affects the salvation of the soul. But He desires us to avoid all day-dreaming, and He says, Go work today in My vineyard. The night cometh wherein no man can work. Cease all idle curiosity; watch, and work, and pray. Study the truths that have been revealed. Christ desires to break up all vacant reveries, and He points us to the fields ripe for the harvest. Unless we work earnestly, eternity will overwhelm us with its burden of responsibility (The Review and Herald, February 5, 1901). 7BC 917.9

16-18 (Colossians 2:8). Grasping at the Shadows—We have encouragement in the Scriptures that if we walk humbly before God, we shall receive instruction. But we are warned against undue curiosity. “Shun profane and vain babblings: for they will increase unto more ungodliness,” leading into paths of supposition and imagination, with which we have nothing to do. These are vain, unessential theories of human creation, which keep the mind dwelling upon nothingness. They have in them nothing sure or substantial. Of those who advance these theories, Paul says: “Their word will eat as doth a canker: of whom is Hymenaeus and Philetus; who concerning the truth have erred, saying that the resurrection is past already; and overthrow the faith of some.” 7BC 917.10

In the days of the apostles the most foolish heresies were presented as truth. History has been and will be repeated. There will always be those who, though apparently conscientious, will grasp at the shadow, preferring it to the substance. They take error in the place of truth, because error is clothed with a new garment, which they think covers something wonderful. But let the covering be removed, and nothingness appears (The Review and Herald, February 5, 1901). 7BC 917.11

20 (Matthew 13:47, 48). Both Good and Bad in the Church—[2 Timothy 2:19, 20 quoted.] The “great house” represents the church. In the church will be found the vile as well as the precious. The net cast into the sea gathers both good and bad (The Review and Herald, February 5, 1901). 7BC 918.1

21. Empty Vessels Needed—What kind of vessels are meet for the Master's use?—Empty vessels. When we empty the soul of every defilement, we are ready for use (The Review and Herald, February 28, 1899). 7BC 918.2

Purification an Individual Work—“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.” He is not to accept theories that, if received, would corrupt. He is to purify himself from all unrighteous sentiments, which, if received, would lead away from the sure Word of God to unstable human devisings, degradation, and corruption. He is to resist the working of the enemy through vessels of dishonor. By searching the Scriptures with much prayer, he will find a path to follow, not the path of man, but a path that leads to heaven. 7BC 918.3

The work of purification is an individual work. No one can do this work for another. “If a man therefore purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honour, sanctified, and meet for the Master's use.” The Spirit of God will work through sanctified human agencies, leading them to work aright. Ability and grace will be provided. Men will be filled with an earnest desire to preach the truths of the gospel, firmly, decidedly, and in a clear manner (The Review and Herald, February 5, 1901). 7BC 918.4

23-26 (vs. 14-18; ch. 4:1-5; Colossians 2:8; Revelation 7:3, 4; see EGW on Revelation 3:1-3; 14:1-4). No Place for Prying Curiosity—There are some things which we need to guard. Letters will come asking questions in regard to the sealing of the people of God, who will be sealed, how many, and other prying questions. I think we must tell them to read and speak of the things that are plainly revealed. We have encouragement in the Word that if we walk humbly with God, we shall receive instruction. But prying curiosity is not to be encouraged. 7BC 918.5

To the second chapter of second Timothy we may refer those who are desirous of originating some new and strange thing, which is the product of the human imagination, and as much below the grand and noble sentiments of Holy Writ as the common is below the sacred. We may answer foolish questions by saying, Wait, and we shall all know what is essential for us to know. Our salvation does not depend on side issues (Letter 58, 1900). 7BC 918.6