2 Timothy 2:22 Meaning of Flee the Evil Desires of Youth

2 Timothy 2:22
“Flee the evil desires of youth and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, along with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart.”

Explanation and Commentary of 2 Timothy 2:22

Even when 2 Timothy was penned, Timothy, an apostolic delegate of Paul, was still considered by Paul to be young, or at least not very far past his youth. There are many aspects of being young that cause both men and women to struggle more with sin than those who are older. The hormone activity in the pubescent is much more likely to produce “evil desires” than in someone older. Sexual desire, a good thing in a proper marital context, is generally a constant challenge for the youth, especially in young men.

In addition to sexual temptation, impulses to anger, rash judgments, and pridefulness are all greater in one who has not been tempered by time and trials, and who is not made wiser by experience. Timothy and the reader are told to “flee the evil desires.” How one does this will have a great impact on the success of the venture. Simple repression will often lead to failure. The desires of youth must be replaced by a greater desire. One cannot only turn from sin but must turn toward something in its place. Paul’s idea is that Timothy would pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace. This, he says, is what “those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart” will do. That Timothy has a pure heart is elsewhere testified (Phil 2:19).

Seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness (Mt 6:33). If you have failed in this, God gives us grace to repent. Learn to pursue God and his righteousness, and at the same time you will flee the “evil desires of youth.” If you fail a hundred times, keep going. If you truly want to change, God’s Holy Spirit will help you.

Breaking Down the Key Parts of 2 Timothy 2:22

#1 “Flee the evil desires…”
When we are tempted by Satan and sin, we should run from it like Joseph from Potiphar’s wife (Gen 39). Another way to flee these desires is to answer with the Word of God, such as was done by Jesus in the wilderness (Mt 4).

#2 “…of youth…”
Sexual sin, pride, and impulsiveness are all more difficult to resist when we are young, hormonal, and inexperienced.

#3 “…and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace,”
By grace, we are saved, and this is a free gift, but our efforts should go into pursuing God and his ways for us. Faith, or belief, love, which is the greatest law, and peace which is ours in God, are derivatives of “righteousness.”

#4 “along with those…”
It is encouraging to know that the things with which we struggle have been faced by our brothers and sisters in the Lord. We are not alone, and there are even those who will help us with the struggle who have been there.

#5 “…who call on the Lord out of a pure heart.”
Not only must we call on the Lord, but this should be done in faith. There are those who will pretend to love God for a time, even a long time, but when their faith is tested, they will be found to be an unbeliever, having had some other motive for participation in the life of the church, even seeming at times to “call on the Lord.” If you are saved, you will always be saved, and your heart has already been made pure by Jesus Christ on the cross.

Bible Study on 2 Timothy 2:22

Expert Overview of 2 Timothy

Biblical Translations of 2 Timothy 2:22

NIV
Flee the evil desires of youth and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, along with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart.

NLT
Run from anything that stimulates youthful lusts. Instead, pursue righteous living, faithfulness, love, and peace. Enjoy the companionship of those who call on the Lord with pure hearts.

ESV
So flee youthful passions and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace, along with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart.

KJV
Flee also youthful lusts: but follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart.

NKJV
Flee also youthful lusts; but pursue righteousness, faith, love, peace with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart.

2 Timothy 2:22 Meaning and Commentary

Author Bio
Natalie Regoli is a child of God, devoted wife, and mother of two boys. She has a Masters Degree in Law from The University of Texas. Natalie has been published in several national journals and has been practicing law for 18 years. If you would like to reach out to contact Natalie, then go here to send her a message.