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Bible Commentaries

The Expositor's Greek Testament
2 Timothy 4

 

 

Verse 1

2 Timothy 4:1. διαμαρτύρομαι: See on 1 Timothy 5:21. As the adjuration follows immediately on warnings against a moral degeneration which had already set in and would increase, it is appropriate that it should contain a solemn assurance of judgment to come.

χριστοῦ ἰησοῦ, τοῦ μέλλοντος κρίνειν: This was a prominent topic in St. Paul’s preaching (Acts 17:31; Romans 2:16; 1 Corinthians 4:5). κρῖναι is the tense used in the Creeds, as in 1 Peter 4:5. (Tisch. R.V.). See apparat. crit.

ζῶντας καὶ νεκρούς: To be understood literally. See 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17.

τὴν ἐπιφάνειαν: per adventum ipsius (Vulg.). The acc. is that of the thing by which a person adjures, as in the case of ὁρκίζω (Mark 5:7; Acts 19:13; cf. 1 Thessalonians 5:27). The use of διαμαρτύρομαι with an acc. in Deuteronomy 4:26; Deuteronomy 31:28, is different, διαμαρτ. ὑμῖν σήμερον τόν τε οὐρανὸν καὶ τὴν γῆν. “I call heaven and earth to witness against you.” Heaven and earth can be conceived as personalities, cf. Psalms 50:4; not so the appearance or kingdom of Christ. On ἐπιφάνεια see note on 1 Timothy 6:14.

βασιλείαν: The perfected kingdom, the manifestation of which will follow the second ἐπιφάνεια.


Verses 1-8

2 Timothy 4:1-8. I solemnly charge you, in view of the coming judgment, to be zealous in the exercise of your ministry while the opportunity lasts, while people are willing to listen to your admonitions. Soon the craze for novelty will draw men away from sober truth to fantastic figments. Do you stand your ground. Fill the place which my death will leave vacant. My course is run, my crown is awaiting me. “My crown” did I say? Nay, there is a crown for you, too, and for all who live in the loving longing for the coming of their Lord.


Verse 2

2 Timothy 4:2. κήρυξον: In 1 Timothy 5:21 διαμαρτ. is followed by ἵνα with the subj.; in 2 Timothy 2:14 by the inf. Here the adjuration is more impassioned; hence the abruptness; this is heightened also by the aorists.

ἐπίστηθι: Insta, Be at hand, or Be ready to act. ἐπίστ. εὐκ. ἀκ. qualifies adverbially κήρυξον; while the following imperatives, ἔλεγξον, κ. τ. λ., are various departments of “preaching the word”.

εὐκαίρως ἀκαίρως: opportune, importune (Vulg.). So few καιροί remain available (see next verse), that you must use them all. Do not ask yourself, “Is this a suitable occasion for preaching?” Ask rather, “Why should not this be a suitable occasion?” “Have not any limited season; let it always be thy season, not only in peace and security and when sitting in the Church” (Chrys.).

Similar expressions are cited by Bengel, e.g., digna indigna; praesens absens; nolens volens. We need not ask whether the reasonableness, etc., has reference to the preacher or the hearers. The direction is to disregard the inclinations of both.

ἔλεγξον: Taking this in the sense convict, Chrys. comments thus on the three imperatives, “After the manner of physicians, having shown the wound, he gives the incision, he applies the plaister”.

ἐπιτίμησον: “The strict meaning of the word is ‘to mete out due measure,’ but in the N.T. it is used only of censure”. So Swete (on Mark 1:25), who also notes that with the exceptions of this place and Judges 1:9, it is limited to the Synoptists.

παρακάλεσον: See on 1 Timothy 4:13.

ἐν πάσῃ μακροθυμίᾳ καὶ διδαχῇ: This qualifies each of the three preceding imperatives; and πάσῃ belongs to διδαχῇ as well as to μακρ., with the utmost patience and the most painstaking instruction.

διδαχῇ: “(teaching) seems to point more to the act, διδασκαλία (doctrine) to the substance or result of teaching” (Ell.). In the only other occurrence of διδαχή in the Pastorals, Titus 1:9, it means doctrine.


Verse 3

2 Timothy 4:3. ὑγιαινούσης διδασκαλία: See note on 1 Timothy 1:10.

ἰδίας: ἴδιος here, as constantly, has merely the force of a possessive pronoun. See on 1 Timothy 3:4.

ἐπισωρεύσουσιν: coacervabunt (Vulg.). “He shews the indiscriminate multitude of the teachers, as also their being elected by their disciples” (Chrys.).

κνηθόμενοι τὴν ἀκοήν: prurientes auribus (Vulg.). The same general idea is expressed in πάντοτε μανθάνοντα (2 Timothy 3:7). Their notion of a teacher was not one who should instruct their mind or guide their conduct, but one who should gratify their æsthetic sense. Cf. Ezekiel 33:32, “Thou art unto them as a very lovely song of one that hath a pleasant voice, &c.” The desire for pleasure is insatiable, and is increased or aggravated by indulgence; hence the heaping up of those who may minister to it. Ell. quotes appropriately from Philo, Quod Det. Pot. 21, ἀποκναίουσι γοῦν [ οἱ σοφισταὶ] ἡμῶν τὰ ὦτα.


Verse 4

2 Timothy 4:4. The ears serve as a passage through which the truth may reach the understanding and the heart. Those who starve their understanding and heart have no use for the truth, and do not, as they would say, waste hearing power on it.

μύθους: See note on 1 Timothy 1:4.


Verse 5

2 Timothy 4:5. νῆφε: Be sober (R.V.). Sobrius esto ((315)). vigila (Vulg.) [but Vulg. Clem. inserts Sobrius esto at end of verse]. So A.V., watch, and Chrys. Sober is certainly right in 1 Thessalonians 5:6; 1 Thessalonians 5:8; but in 1 Peter 1:13; 1 Peter 4:7, and perhaps 1 Peter 5:8, to be watchful or alert seems more appropriate.

ἔργον εὐαγγελιστοῦ: The office of evangelist is mentioned Acts 21:8, Ephesians 4:11. The evangelist was an itinerant preacher who had not the supervising functions of an apostle, nor the inspiration of a prophet; though both apostle and prophet did, inter alia, the work of evangelist. This was in all likelihood the work to which Timothy had originally been called. St. Paul here reminds him that in the faithful performance of what might seem to be subordinate duties lies the best preservative of the Church from error. Note, that the office of an episcopus is also an ἔργον, 1 Timothy 3:1, cf. 1 Corinthians 16:10, Philippians 2:30, Ephesians 4:12, 1 Thessalonians 5:13.

τὴν διακονίαν σον πληροφόρησον: fulfil. According to Chrys., this does not differ from πλήρωσον. See Colossians 4:17, Acts 12:25. For διακονία, ministry or service in general, see 1 Timm. 2 Timothy 1:12.


Verse 6

2 Timothy 4:6. The connexion from 2 Timothy 4:3 seems to be this: The dangers to the Church are pressing and instant; they can only be met by watchfulness, self-sacrifice, and devotion to duty on the part of the leaders of the Church, of whom thou art one. As for me, I have done my best. My King is calling me from the field of action to wait for my reward; thou canst no longer look to me to take initiative in action. This seems to be the force of the emphatic ἐγώ and the connecting γάρ.

ἤδη σπένδομαι: jam delibor (Vulg.). The analogy of Philippians 2:17, σπένδ. ἐπὶ τῇ θνσίᾳ καὶ λειτουργίᾳ (where see Lightfoot’s note), is sufficient to prove that St. Paul did not regard his own death as a sacrifice. There the θυσία is the persons of the Philippian converts (cf. Romans 12:1; Romans 15:16) rendered acceptable by faith, and offered up by their faith. Here the nature of the θυσία is not determined, possibly not thought of, by the writer. The reason alleged by Chrys. for the absence here of the term θυσία is ingenious: “For the whole of the sacrifice was not offered to God, but the whole of the drink-offering was.” It is immaterial to decide whether the imagery is drawn from the Jewish drink-offerings, or heathen libations. Lightfoot quotes interesting parallels from the dying words of Seneca: “stagnum calidae aquae introiit respergens proximos servorum, addita voce, libare se liquorem illum Jovi Liberatori” (Tac. Ann. xv. 64), and from Ignatius, “Grant me nothing more than that I be poured out a libation ( σπονδισθῆναι) to God, while there is yet an altar ready” (Romans 2).

τῆς ἀναλύσεως: There is no figure of speech, such as that of striking a tent or unmooring a ship, suggested by ἀνάλυσις. It was as common a euphemism for death as is our word departure. See the verb in Philippians 1:23, and, besides the usual references given by the commentators, see examples supplied by Moulton and Milligan, Expositor, vii., 4:266. The Vulg. resolutionis is wrong. Dean Bernard calls attention to the “verbal similarities of expression” between this letter to Timothy and Philippians, written when Timothy was with St. Paul, viz., σπένδομαι, ἀνάλυσις here and ἀναλῦσαι, Philippians 1:23, and the image of the race; there (Philippians 3:13-14) not completed, here finished, 2 Timothy 4:7.

ἐφέστηκεν: instat (Vulg.), is come (R.V.), is already present, rather than is at hand (A.V.), which implies a postponement. For similar prescience of approaching death compare 2 Peter 1:14.


Verse 7

2 Timothy 4:7. τὸν καλὸν ἀγῶνα ἠγώνισμαι: See note on 1 Timothy 6:12. The following τὸν δρόμου, κ. τ. λ., makes this reference to the games hardly doubtful.

τὸν δρόμον τετέλεκα: cursum consummavi (Vulg.). What had been a purpose (Acts 20:24) was now a retrospect. To say “My race is run,” is not to boast, but merely to state a fact. The figure is also found in 1 Corinthians 9:24, Philippians 3:12. The course is the race of life; we must not narrow it, as Chrys. does, to St. Paul’s missionary travels.

τὴν πίστιν τετήρηκα: As in 2 Timothy 2:21, St. Paul passes from the metaphor to the reality. For the force of τηρέω here, see note on 1 Timothy 6:14; and cf. Revelation 14:12, οἱ τηροῦντες τὰς ἐντολὰς τοῦ θεοῦ καὶ τὴν πίστιν ἰησοῦ. The faith is a deposit, παραθήκη, a trust which the Apostle is now ready to render up to Him who entrusted it to him. There is no real inconsistency between the tone of this passage and that of some in earlier epistles, e.g., Philippians 3:12, sqq. St. Paul is merely stating what the grace of God had done for him. A man does well to be distrustful as regards his use of the years of life that may remain to him; but when the life that he has lived has been admittedly lived “in the faith which is in the Son of God” (Galatians 2:20), mock modesty becomes mischievous ingratitude.


Verse 8

2 Timothy 4:8. λοιπόν: For what remains. The R.V. renders it besides in 1 Corinthians 1:16, moreover in 1 Corinthians 4:2. The notion of duration of future time is not in the word any more than in the French du reste. St. Paul means here “I have nothing more to do than to receive the crown”. λοιπόν has the sense of in conclusion in 2 Corinthians 13:11, 1 Thessalonians 4:1, and does not differ from τὸ λοιπὸν as used in Philippians 3:1; Philippians 4:8, 2 Thessalonians 3:1; or τοῦ λοιποῦ as used in Galatians 6:17, Ephesians 6:10. The meaning of τὸ λοιπόν in 1 Corinthians 7:29, Hebrews 10:13 is henceforth.

ἀπόκειται: reposita est (Vulg.). Cf. Colossians 1:5, διὰ τὴν ἐλπίδα τὴν ἀποκειμένην ὑμῖν ἐν τοῖς οὐρανοῖς, and, for the sentiment, 1 Peter 1:4.

τῆς δικαιοσύνης στέφανος: The whole context demands that this should be the possessive genitive, The crown which belongs to, or is the due reward of, righteousness, the incorruptible crown of 1 Corinthians 9:25. The verbal analogies of στέφ. τῆς ζωῆς, James 1:12, Revelation 2:10, and στέφ. τῆς δόξης, 1 Peter 5:4, support the view that it is the gen. of apposition; but it is difficult on this supposition to give the phrase an intelligible meaning. “Good works, which are the fruits of Faith and follow after Justification … are pleasing and acceptable to God in Christ” (Art. xii.). It is to be noted that στεφ. τῆς δικ. is applied to the golden fillet worn by the high priest in the Tests. of the Twelve Patriarchs, Levi, viii. 2.

ἀποδώσει: reddet (Vulg.). As long as we agree to the statement that Moses ἀπέβλεπεν εἰς τὴν μισθαποδοσίαν (Hebrews 11:26), it seems trifling to dispute the retributive force of ἀπο- in this word. Of course “the reward is not reckoned as of debt, but as of grace”. St. Paul could say, “It is a righteous thing with God to recompense ( ἀνταποδοῦναι) … to you that are afflicted rest with us” (2 Thessalonians 1:6-7), see also Romans 2:6.

ἐν ἐκείνῃ τῇ ἡμέρᾳ: see on 2 Timothy 1:12.

δίκαιος κριτής: The notion expressed in this phrase goes back to Genesis 18:25. For the actual words, see reff.

οὐ μόνον δὲἀλλὰ καί: See on 1 Timothy 5:13.

τοῖς ἠγαπηκόσι τὴν ἐπιφάνειαν αὐτοῦ: The ἐπιφάνεια here meant is the Second Coming of Christ. Those who love it do not fear it, for “there is no fear in love” (1 John 4:18); they endeavour to make themselves increasingly ready and fit for it (1 John 3:3); when they hear the Lord say, “I come quickly,” their hearts respond, “Amen; come, Lord Jesus” (Revelation 22:20). The perfect tense is used because their love will have continued up to the moment of their receiving the crown, or because St. Paul is thinking of them from the standpoint of the day of crowning.


Verse 9

2 Timothy 4:9. ταχέως: more definitely expressed in 2 Timothy 4:21, “before winter”.


Verses 9-12

2 Timothy 4:9-12. Come to me as speedily as you can. I am almost alone. Some of my company have forsaken me; others I have despatched on business. Bring Mark with you. I have use for him.


Verse 10

2 Timothy 4:10. Demas had been a loyal fellow-worker of the apostle (Philemon 1:24; Colossians 4:14). Chrys. supposes that Thessalonica was his home. It is futile to discuss the reality or the degree of his blameworthiness. Possibly he alleged a call to Thessalonica. All we know is that St. Paul singles him out among the absent ones for condemnation.

ἐγκατέλιπεν: dereliquit (Vulg.), forsook, not merely left. See reff. The aorist points to a definite past occasion now in St. Paul’s mind.

ἀγαπήσας τὸν νῦν αἰῶνα: See 1 Timothy 6:17. It is just possible that Bengel is right in seeing an intentional deplorable contrast (“luctuosum vide antitheton”) between this expression and 2 Timothy 4:8.

εἰς θεσσαλονίκην: Lightfoot (Biblical Essays, p. 247) alleges other reasons for the supposition that Demas hailed from Thessalonica, viz., He “is mentioned next to Aristarchus, the Thessalonian in Philemon 1:24, and … the name Demetrius, of which Demas is a contract form, occurs twice among the list of politarchs of that city”.

κρήσκης εἰς γαλατίαν: sc. ἐπορεύθη. Crescens and Titus are not reproached for their absence. This passage, with the variant γαλλίαν (see apparat. crit.), is the source of all that is said about Crescens by later writers.

γαλατίαν: That this means the Roman province, or the region in Asia Minor (so Const. Apost. vii. 46) is favoured by the consideration that all the other places mentioned in this context are east of Rome. On the other hand, if we assume that St. Paul had recently visited Spain (Clem. Rom. 1 Corinthians 5; Muratorian Canon), it would naturally follow that he had visited Southern Gaul en route, and Crescens might plausibly be supposed to have gone to confirm the Churches there. So Euseb. H. E. iii. 4, Epiph. Haeres. li. 11, Theodore and Theodoret, h. l.

τίτος εἰς δαλματίαν: This statement suggests that Titus had only been a temporary deputy for St. Paul in Crete. On the spelling of the name Dalmatia in apparat. crit., see Deissmann, Bible Studies, trans. p. 182.


Verse 11

2 Timothy 4:11. λουκᾶς: Nothing can be more natural than that “the beloved physician” and historian should feel that he of all men was in his place beside St. Paul when the end was to nearly approaching. The μόνος is relative to fellow-labourers in the gospel. St. Paul had many friends in Rome (2 Timothy 4:21).

΄ᾶρκον: St. Paul was now completely reconciled to John Mark who had, before Colossians 4:10 was written, vindicated and justified the risk Barnabas had run in giving him a chance of recovering his character (see Acts 13:13; Acts 15:38). ἀναλαβών: assume (Vulg.). Take up on your way. Assumere is also the Latin in Acts 20:14; Acts 23:31, but suscipere in Acts 20:13. It is implied that Mark was somewhere on the line of route between Ephesus and Rome; but we do not know the precise place.

ἄγε μετὰ σεαυτοῦ: This phrase is illustrated from the papyri by Moulton and Milligan, Expositor, vii., 4:57.

εὔχρηστος εἰς διακονίαν: As Mark was the ἑρμηνευτής of St. Peter, rendering his Aramaic into Greek, so he may have helped St. Paul by a knowledge of Latin. διακονία, however, does not necessarily include preaching. It is characteristic of St. Paul that he should not regard “the ministry which he had received from the Lord Jesus” as “accomplished” so long as he had breath to “testify the gospel of the grace of God” (Acts 20:24).


Verse 12

2 Timothy 4:12. τυχικὸν δέ, κ. τ. λ.: The δέ does not involve a comparison of Tychicus with Mark, as both εὔχρηστοι (so Ell.); but rather distinguishes the cause of Tychicus’ absence from that of the others. Demas had forsaken the apostle; and Crescens and Titus had gone, perhaps on their own initiative; Tychicus had been sent away by St. Paul himself. For Tychicus, see Acts 20:4, Ephesians 6:21-22, Colossians 4:7-8, Titus 3:12; and the art. in Hastings’ D. B.

εἰς ἔφσον: If the emphasis in the clause lies on ἀπέστειλα, as has been just suggested, the difficulty of harmonising εἰς ἔφεσον with the common belief that Timothy was himself in chief authority in the Church at Ephesus is somewhat mitigated. St. Paul had mentioned the places to which Demas, etc., had gone; and even on the supposition that St. Paul knew that Tychicus was with Timothy, he could not say, “I sent away Tychicus” without completing the sentence by adding the destination. This explanation must be adopted, if we suppose with Ell. that Tychicus was the bearer of First Timothy. If he were the bearer of Second Timothy, ἀπέστειλα can be plausibly explained as the epistolary aorist. On the other hand, there is no reason why we should assume that Timothy was at Ephesus at this time. Other local references, e.g., 2 Timothy 1:15; 2 Timothy 1:18, and 2 Timothy 4:13 are quite consistent with a belief that he was not actually in that city. Perhaps “Do the work of an evangelist” (2 Timothy 4:5) is an indication that he was itinerating.


Verse 13

2 Timothy 4:13. I want my warm winter cloak and my books.

τὸν φελόνην: The φελόνης, or φαιλόνης, by metathesis for φαινόλης, was the same as the Latin paenula, from which it is derived, a circular cape which fell down below the knees, with an opening for the head in the centre. (So Chrys. on Philippians 2:30; Tert. De orat. xii.). The Syriac here renders it a case for writings, a portfolio, an explanation noted by Chrys., τὸ γλωσσόκομον ἔνθα τὰ βιβλία ἔκειτο. But this is merely a guess suggested by its being coupled with βιβλία and μεμβράνας.

τρῳάδι: Even if Timothy was not in Ephesus, he was in Asia, and travellers thence to Rome usually passed through Troas. Perhaps St. Paul had been arrested at Troas, and had not been allowed to take his cloak, etc. This is a more plausible supposition than that he was making a hurried flight from Alexander, as Lock conjectures, Hastings’ D. B., iv. 775, a.

κάρπῳ: See art. in Hastings’ D. B.

τὰ βιβλία would be papyrus rolls in use for ordinary purposes, while the more costly μεμβράναι contained, in all likelihood, portions of the Hebrew Scriptures, hence μάλιστα (see Kenyon, Textual Crit. of N. T. p. 22). We know that St. Paul employed in study the enforced leisure of prison (Acts 26:24). We may note that, like Browning’s Grammarian, he did not allow his normal strenuous life to be affected or diverted by the known near approach of death.


Verse 14

2 Timothy 4:14. ἀλέξανδρος χαλκεύς: It is probable that this is the Alexander mentioned in 1 Timothy 1:20, and it is possible that he may be the Jew of that name who was unwillingly prominent in the riot at Ephesus (Acts 19:33-34).

χαλκεύς: does not mean that he worked only in copper. The term came to be used of workers in any kind of metal (see Genesis 4:22, LXX).

πολλά μοι κακὰ ἐνεδείξατο: Multa mala mihi ostendit (Vulg.). His odium theologicum expressed itself in deeds as well as in words. For this use of ἐνδείκνυμαι, compare reff. Moulton and Milligan (Expositor, vii., vii. 282) cite from a papyrus of ii. A.D. πᾶσαν πίστιν μοι ἐνδεικνυμένῃ.

ἀποδώσει: The future indic. is certainly attested by a greater weight of external evidence than the optative. The moral question raised by the clause is quite independent of the mood and tense used: it is, Was the future punishment of Alexander, which St. Paul considered equitable, a matter of more satisfaction than distress to the apostle? The answer would seem to be, Yes. And, provided that no element of personal spite intrudes, such a feeling cannot be logically condemned. If God is a moral governor; if sin is a reality; those who know themselves to be on God’s side cannot help a feeling of joy in knowing that evil will not always triumph over good. The sentiment comes from Deuteronomy 32:35, as quoted in Romans 12:19, ἐγὼ ἀνταποδώσω. The exact wording is found in Psalms 61 (62):13, σὺ ἀποδώσεις ἑκάστῳ κατὰ τὰ ἔργα αὐτοῦ. Cf. Psalms 27 (28):4; Proverbs 24:12.


Verse 14-15

2 Timothy 4:14-15. Beware of Alexander the smith.


Verse 15

2 Timothy 4:15. φυλάσσου: For this sense of φυλάσσω with a direct object, see reff. We infer that Alexander was in Timothy’s vicinity.

ἡμετέροις λόγοις: The λόγοι were expressions of doctrine common to all Christians with St. Paul; hence ἡμετέροις.


Verse 16

2 Timothy 4:16. The reference in my first defence seems at first sight somewhat uncertain, since 2 Timothy 4:17 states the issue of that “defence” to have been that “the message was fully proclaimed, and all the Gentiles heard it”. This would agree with the circumstances of the trials before Felix and Festus, a direct result of which was that Paul was enabled to “bear witness also at Rome” (Acts 23:11). On this view, the apostle would be recalling a signal past instance in which God had overruled evil for good. On the other hand, it is a fatal objection to this reference of the phrase that when he was at Cæsarea he seems to have been kindly treated by his friends as well as by the officials. And, moreover, the sentence reads like a piece of fresh information. This latter consideration is also an argument against referring it to the first Roman imprisonment (as Euseb. H. E. ii. 22), though the very similar sentiments of Philippians 1:12-13, render the identification plausible. But in this latter case again the language of Philippians has no traces of forsakenness. We decide therefore that St. Paul is here referring to the preliminary investigation (prima actio) which he underwent after he arrived at Rome a prisoner for the second time, and which resulted in his remand. He was now writing to Timothy during the interval between his remand and the second, and final, trial. But if we thus explain “my first defence,” how are we to interpret ἵνα διʼ ἐμοῦ, κ. τ. λ.? The explanation will be suggested by a comparison of such passages as Romans 15:19, “From Jerusalem, and round about even unto Illyricum, I have fully preached the gospel of Christ”; Colossians 1:23, “The gospel which … was preached in all creation”. We annex a territory by the mere act of planting our country’s flag on a small portion of its soil; so in St. Paul’s thought a single proclamation of the gospel might have a spiritual, almost a prophetical, significance, immeasurably greater than could be imagined by one who heard it. “Una sæpe occasio maximi est momenti” (Bengel). It is to be noted too that παρέστη and ἐνεδυνάμωσεν refer to the occasion of the “first defence,” and St. Paul does not say that the Lord set him free; so that we are obliged to explain ἵνα διʼ ἐμοῦ, κ. τ. λ. of St. Paul’s bold assertion of his faith in Christ on that occasion, which however was a public one, not like his previous private teaching to those who came to him “in his own hired dwelling” (Acts 28:30).

παρεγένετο: adfuit (Vulg.), supported me as “advocatus”. The verb is used of appearing in a court of justice in reff. It simply means to come or arrive in 1 Corinthians 16:3. This complaint is difficult to reconcile with 2 Timothy 4:21. Perhaps here St. Paul is referring to old friends on whom he had a special claim.


Verses 16-18

2 Timothy 4:16-18. I have spoken of my present loneliness. Yet I have no justification for depression; for since I came to Rome I have had experience, at my preliminary trial, that God is a loyal protector when earthly friends fail. And so I have good hope that He will bring me safe through every danger to His heavenly kingdom.


Verse 17

2 Timothy 4:17. παρέστη: The Lord was my “patronus,” cf. Romans 16:2. But the word is used in a purely local sense of the felt presence of a Divine Being in reff. in Acts.

ἐνεδυνάμωσεν: See note on 1 Timothy 1:12.

πληροφορηθῇ: impleatur (Vulg.). As long as there had been no public proclamation of the gospel by Paul himself in Rome, the function of κῆρυξ had not been completely fulfilled by him.

ἐρύσθην ἐκ στόματος λέοντος: This is most naturally understood as an echo of Psalms 21 (22):22, σῶσόν με ἐκ στόματος λέοντος λέοντος. ῥῦσαι occurs in the verse preceding. And what follows in the LXX seems to point to the most satisfactory explanation of the apostle’s meaning, καὶ ἀπὸ κεράτων μονοκερώτων τὴν ταπείνωσίν μου. διηγήσομαι τὸ ὄνομα σον τοῖς ἀδελφοῖς μου, κ. τ. λ. If St. Paul had not been strengthened to complete his κήρυγμα, his failure would have been his ταπείνωσις. As it was, he was delivered from that calamity, and enabled to declare God’s name to the Gentiles. It is impossible, in view of ἤδη σπένδομαι (2 Timothy 4:6), to suppose that delivery from death is implied. πρώτῃ (2 Timothy 4:16) proves that the apostle was aware that a second trial was awaiting him, the issue of which he knew would be his execution. It is still more impossible to suppose that literal wild beasts are meant. Paul’s Roman citizenship secured him from that degradation. The Greek commentators take “the lion” to mean Nero, “from his ferocity” (Chrys.). Cf. Esth. 14:13, of Ahasuerus; Joseph. Antiq. xviii. 6, 10, of Tiberius. It is no objection to this exegesis that the article is omitted before λέοντος, since, as we have seen, there is none in the Psalm. But deliverance from that lion’s mouth would be equivalent to acquittal by the Roman government; and it is evident that St. Paul was well aware that his sentence had been only deferred.


Verse 18

2 Timothy 4:18. ἔργου πονηροῦ: The form of the clause may be modelled on the petition in the Lord’s Prayer, ῥῦσαι ἡμᾶς ἀπὸ τοῦ πονηροῦ; but the addition of ἔργου proves that the deliverance spoken of is not from an external Evil Personality, but from a possible evil deed of the apostle’s own doing. The expression has always a subjective reference. See reff. This exegesis is in harmony with the view taken above of “the mouth of the lion”. Failure to be receptive of the strengthening grace of the Lord would have been, in St. Paul’s judgment, an “evil deed,” though others might easily find excuses for it. Chrys. takes a similar view of ἔργου πονηροῦ, but gives it a wider application: “He will yet again deliver me from every sin, that is, He will not suffer me to depart with condemnation”. This view is also supported by what follows, σώσει, κ. τ. λ. At one moment the apostle sees the crown of righteousness just within his grasp, at another, while no less confident, he acknowledges that he could not yet be said “to have apprehended”.

σώσει εἰς: shall bring me safely to, salvum faciet (Vulg.). “Dominus est et Liberator, 1 Thessalonians 1:10, et Salvator, Philippians 3:20” (Bengel).

βασιλείανἐπουράνιον: That the Father’s kingdom is also the Son’s is Pauline doctrine. ἐπουράνιος became a necessary addition to βασιλεία as it became increasingly evident that the kingdom of heaven which we see is very different from the kingdom of heaven to be consummated hereafter. It is difficult not to see a connexion between this passage and the doxology appended in primitive times to the Lord’s Prayer, ὄτι σοῦ ἐστιν βασιλεία καὶ δύναμις καὶ δόξα εἰς τοὺς αἰῶνας.

δόξα: The doxology, unmistakably addressed to Christ, need only cause a difficulty to those who maintain that “God blessed for ever” in Romans 9:5 cannot refer to Christ, because St. Paul was an Arian. Yet Romans 16:27, 1 Peter 4:11, not to mention 2 Peter 3:18, Revelation 1:6; Revelation 5:13, are other examples of doxologies to the Son.


Verse 19

2 Timothy 4:19. πρῖσκαν καὶ ἀκύλαν: The same unusual order, the wife before the husband, is found in Romans 16:3, Acts 18:18; Acts 18:26, but not in Acts 18:2, 1 Corinthians 16:19. “Probably Prisca was of higher rank than her husband, for her name is that of a good old Roman family [the Acilian gens]. Aquila was probably a freedman. The name does indeed occur as cognomen in some Roman families; but it was also a slave name, for a freedman of Maecenas was called (C. Cilnius) Aquila” (Ramsay, St. Paul the Traveller, pp. 268, 269; see also Sanday and Headlam, Romans, p. 118 sqq.).

τὸν ὀνησιφόρου οἶκον: Their names are inserted after ἀκύλαν from the Acts of Paul and Thecla, by the cursives 46 and 109: λέκτραν τὴν γυναῖκα αὐτοῦ καὶ σιμαίαν καὶ ζήνωνα τοὺς υἱοὺς αὐτοῦ.


Verses 19-22

2 Timothy 4:19-22. Final salutations.


Verse 20

2 Timothy 4:20. ἔραστος ἔμεινεν: The name Erastus is too common to make probable the identification of this companion of St. Paul’s and the οἰκονόμος, treasurer, of Corinth, who joins in the apostle’s salutation in Romans 16:23. It is not antecedently likely that a city official could travel about as a missionary. On the other hand, it is probable that this Erastus is the same as the companion of Timothy mentioned in Acts 19:22. It is to be observed that St. Paul here resumes from 2 Timothy 4:12 his explanation of the absence from Rome of members of his company whose presence with their master at this crisis would have been natural. It is possible that Erastus and Trophimus were with St. Paul when he was arrested the second time, and that they remained in his company as far as Miletus and Corinth respectively.

τρόφιμον: See Acts 20:4; Acts 21:29, and the art. in Hastings’ D. B.

ἀσθενοῦντα: Paley’s remark is never out of date, “Forgery, upon such an occasion, would not have spared a miracle” (Horae Paul. Philippians 2). Chrys. notes, “The apostles could not do everything, or they did not dispense miraculous gifts upon all occasions, lest more should be ascribed to them than was right”.


Verse 21

2 Timothy 4:21. πρὸ χειμῶνος: “That thou be not detained,” sc. by storm (Chrys.). This seems less urgent than ταχέως of 2 Timothy 4:9, and we may infer that St. Paul did not expect his final trial to take place for some months.

εὔβουλος: Nothing else is known of this good man.

πούδης καὶ λίνος καὶ κλαυδία: Light-foot (Apostolic Fathers, part i. vol. i. pp. 76–79) has an exhaustive discussion of the various ingenious theories which, starting with the assumption that Pudens and Claudia were man and wife—a supposition opposed by the order of the names—have identified them with (1) Martial’s congenial friend Aulus Pudens, to whom the poet casually “imputes the foulest vices of heathenism,” and his bride Claudia Rufina, a girl of British race (Epigr. iv. 13, xi. 53), (2) “a doubtful Pudens and imaginary Claudia” who have been evolved out of a fragmentary inscription found at Chichester in 1722. This appears to record the erection of a temple by a Pudens with the sanction of Claudius Cogidubnus, who is probably a British king who might have had a daughter, whom he might have named Claudia, and who might have taken the name Rufina from Pomponia, the wife of Aulus Plautius, the Roman commander in Britain. This last supposition would identify (1) and (2). It should be added that in Const. Apost. vii. 46 she is mother of Linus. See also arts. Claudia and Pudens in Hastings’ D. B.

Linus is identified by Irenæus with the Linus whom SS. Peter and Paul consecrated first Bishop of Rome (Haer. iii. 3). See also art. in Hastings’ D. B.


Verse 22

2 Timothy 4:22. μετὰ τοῦ πνεύματός σου: This expression, with ὑμῶν for σου, occurs in Galatians 6:18, Philemon 1:25; but in both those places it is “The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with,” etc. Here a very close personal association between the Lord and Timothy is prayed for. Dean Bernard compares the conclusion of the Epistle of Barnabas, κύριος τῆς δόξης καὶ πάσης χάριτος μετὰ τοῦ πνεύματος ὑμῶν.

μεθʼ ὑμῶν: See note on 1 Timothy 6:21.

 


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Bibliography Information
Nicol, W. Robertson, M.A., L.L.D. "Commentary on 2 Timothy 4:4". The Expositor's Greek Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/egt/2-timothy-4.html. 1897-1910.

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