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Bible Commentaries
2 Timothy 2

Orchard's Catholic Commentary on Holy ScriptureOrchard's Catholic Commentary

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Verses 1-26

2II. The exhortation to courage in adversity is continued, reinforced by illustrations from the lives of the soldier, the athlete and the farmer.

2. ’By many witnesses’—The meaning of the phrase is not clear. Some suggest ’in the presence of many witnesses’, but this hardly represents d??. A more likely suggestion is that Paul is referring to what Timothy had learnt from him directly and from witnesses who attested facts of which the Apostle himself had no personal experience. ’The same commend’—St Paul, now a prisoner, still strives his utmost to ensure the faithful transmission of the Gospel. In a passage such as this we see the important part which oral teaching and tradition played and still must play in instructing the faithful an accurately handing down the teaching of Christ. /par/par3. ’Labour’ —Take thy share of suffering. The cross of suffering precedes the crown of glory. /par/par4. ’With secular business’—Like a true soldier Timothy must give himself over fully to his duty. Taken in conjunction with 6 this verse seems to suggest that Timothy was imitating St Paul by earning his own livelihood, but was thus distracted by secular business. But, as the Apostle points out, the first share of the harvest belongs to the husbandman, and in the same way Timothy has a right to his maintenance. The material support so received from the faithful will be amply repaid by the zealous energy of an apostle Untranmmelled by secular worries; cf.1 Timothy 5:17f.; 1 Corinthians 9:1-12. Timothy’s true duty lies in the work of his ministry. /par/par8. The example of our Lord. He became man, passed through the same trials as we do, and then entered into his glory. But the emphasis is upon risen from the dead; it is this thought that he sets before Timothy to inspire him to follow the example of Christ and also of Paul himself in undergoing suffering so as to reach glory. /par/par9. ’Not bound’—despite the imprisonment of the Apostle as though an evildoer the Gospel would continue to spread. God’s power is not limited to one instrument. /par/par11-13. Possibly an extract from an early hymn. ’If we be dead with him’—With Christ we must be crucified, i.e. our flesh must be crucified with its passions; with Christ we must be buried, and with Christ we arise from beneath the waters of baptism as from the grave, in the glory of a new and risen life. /par/par12. cf.Matthew 10:33; Luke 12:9. /par/par14-18 Timothy’s Conduct in facing his Task — Timothy finds himself confronted by a difficult situation, aggravated by the activities of false teachers. Careful but effective handling of the situation is necessary. By his conduct Timothy must strive to win God’s approval and the respect of the faithful; wordy disputes, detrimental to those concerned and to the spread of the Gospel, are to be avoided. /par/par14. Charging them to avoid controversy./par/par17-18. Hymenaeus and Philetus, cf.1 Timothy 1:20, probably understood the Resurrection in a purely spiritual fashion, perhaps misunderstanding and misrepresenting the Apostle’s doctrine of our spiritual resurrection with Christ in baptism; cf.Romans 6:3ff. 923g /par/par 19-26 The Endurance of the Church— Notwithstanding the propagation of false doctrine, the body of the faithful will remain firm, its faith indestructible; cf. 1 Timothy 3:15; Hebrews 12:28; Matthew 7:24-27. ’No matter what heresies arise the faith of the Church can never be destroyed. But firmness in the faith on the part of the individual members of the Church depends on two factors: predestination and free will; ’God knoweth who are his’, yet his elect will be saved through their free will, ’let everyone depart’. We have always to bear in mind St Augustine’s words, ’Why he draws this man and not that man seek not to discover unless you would fall into error’, Tract. in Joann., 26, 2. 20. The metaphor changes. Christians are compared to the various vessels used in a house; cf.Romans 9:19-24.

Bibliographical Information
Orchard, Bernard, "Commentary on 2 Timothy 2". Orchard's Catholic Commentary on Holy Scripture. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/boc/2-timothy-2.html. 1951.
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