The Scriptorium

Chains, and No Chains

They can lock us up, but not the Gospel. 2 Timothy 2.8-10

The Pastoral Epistles: 2 Timothy 2 (2)

Pray Psalm 126.4, 5.

Bring back our captivity, O LORD,
As the streams in the South.
Those who sow in tears
Shall reap in joy.

Read and meditate on 2 Timothy 2.8-10.


1. Why is it important to “remember” that Jesus was raised from the dead? How can believers help one another in remembering this?

2. What does Paul mean by saying the Word of God “is not chained”?

Paul was a prisoner in Rome because of the Gospel. He sat chained to a wall, with a Roman guard 24/7.

As if chaining Paul could chain up the Gospel. No more than sealing that tomb could keep Jesus in it.

Paul was sustained in his suffering by the knowledge that Jesus was alive from the dead. He urged Timothy, and us through him, to remember this at all times. The Gospel is true, and though we suffer and are clapped in irons for the sake of the Gospel, nothing can stop its ineluctable march to dominion over the world. God has prepared a vast multitude to hear and believe the Gospel, and that Word will reach them, though every king on earth oppose it.

They could chain the apostle, but they could not chain the Word of God. Those faithful men – like Timothy – and “others also” who had received the Word and were now teaching it (2 Tim. 2.2) would make sure that not even the harshest, most violent opposition could put out the fire of truth. 

Knowing this, Paul was willing to do or suffer whatever was necessary, so that those whose hearts God was preparing for the Kingdom might hear the truth and be saved (v. 10). Thus God would be glorified, and Paul’s mission would continue – chains or no chains.

Lord, give more of us that same attitude and conviction!

1. Is there a sense in which we as believers sometimes chain the truth of the Gospel? Explain.

2. Do you believe that there are many, many people in your community whose hearts God is preparing to receive the Gospel? If you did believe that, would it affect your faithfulness in proclaiming the Good News? Explain.

3. How much are you willing to do or to suffer to ensure that the Gospel goes out throughout your community?

For just as it is not possible to bind a sunbeam or to shut it up within the house, so neither can the preaching of the word be bound. And what was much more, when the teacher was bound, the word flew abroad. He inhabited the prison, and yet his teaching winged its way everywhere throughout the world! John Chrysostom (344-407) Homilies Concerning the Statues 16.5

Lord, You have set Your unchainable Word in my heart, so that, whatever it takes or costs, I should…

Pray Psalm 146.4-6.

Whatever hardship, trial, disappointment, or setback you’re facing, give it to the Lord, calling out to Him for revival. Then ask Him to prepare your heart for a day of vigorous sowing in His Name.

Sing Psalm 126.4-6
Psalm 126.4-6 (Truro: Shout, for the Blessed Jesus Reigns!)
Restore our fortunes, Lord our King! Let grace like flowing streams prevail.
All they with tears of joy shall sing, who sow while yet they weep and wail.

They who in tears of sorrow sow and cast their seed on every hand, 
with joy shall reach their heav’nly home, and bring the harvest of their land.

T. M. Moore

Whatever our calling in life, we are sent to bring the joy of Christ to the people around us. Our book, Joy to Your World!, can show you how to fill your Personal Mission Field with more of the Presence, promise, and power of Christ and His Kingdom. Order your copy, as a supplement to our study of 1 Timothy, by clicking here.

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Scriptorium as a free resource for your walk with the Lord, please consider supporting our work with your gifts and offerings. You can contribute to The Fellowship by clicking the Contribute button  at the website or by sending your gift to The Fellowship of Ailbe, 19 Tyler Drive, Essex Junction, VT 05452.

Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. All psalms for singing adapted from The Ailbe Psalter. All quotations from Church Fathers from Ancient Christian Commentary Series, General Editor Thomas C. Oden (Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 2006).All psalms for singing are from The Ailbe Psalter (available by clicking here).

T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in Essex Junction, VT.