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Bible Commentaries

John Dummelow's Commentary on the Bible

2 Timothy 4

Verses 1-22


St. Paul’s Last Messages and Counsels

1-8. The Apostle, knowing that his days are fast drawing to a close, exhorts Timothy to increased diligence and earnestness in his teaching, in view of the imminence of a time of error and excitement. He refers to his approaching martyrdom, expressing his readiness for whatever may await him, and his confidence in the reward of his faithfulness.

1. I charge thee] cp. 1 Timothy 5:21. And the Lord Jesus Christ] RV ’and of Christ Jesus.’

At his appearing, etc.] RV ’and by his appearing and his kingdom.’ The Second Coming and the glorious kingdom of Christ are invoked to remind Timothy of the greatness of his responsibility.

2. In season, out of season] This has been well rendered, ’Take opportunity, or make it.’ With all longsuffering and doctrine] i.e. ever patient and ready to teach.

3. False views of Christian truth would gain credence in the future as they had done in the past (cp. 2 Corinthians 11:4, 2 Corinthians 11:12-15; Colossians 2:8, Colossians 2:18); and it would be well that the converts should be prepared against the day of trial. After their own lusts] They would prefer teaching which agreed with their selfish desires to the pure truth of the gospel condemning their evil habits and awakening their consciences: cp. Jeremiah 5:31.

5. The work of an evangelist] i.e. of preaching the gospel. Make full proof of thy ministry] i.e. neglect no aspect of the work.

6. For I, etc.] The ’I’ is emphatic, in contrast to the ’Thou’ of 2 Timothy 4:5. St. Paul’s day is almost over, Timothy must wage his warfare alone. Ready to be offered] lit. ’being poured out as a drink offering’: a reference to the shedding of his own blood in his approaching martyr’s death: cp. Philippians 2:17, where the same word is used.

7. A good fight] rather, ’I have contested the good contest.’ The reference is not to a battle, but to a contest in the games: cp. 1 Corinthians 9:25. Kept the faith] ’The faith’ is here regarded as a precious treasure entrusted to him: cp. 1 Timothy 1:11; 1 Timothy 6:20; 2 Timothy 1:13, 2 Timothy 1:14.

8. A crown] RV ’the crown,’ the reward for righteousness. St. Paul here carries on the metaphor of the contest in the games, which he had dropped for the moment in the last clause of 2 Timothy 4:7. At that day] i.e. the day of judgment.

9-15. St. Paul bids Timothy endeavour to come to him quickly, for some of his companions have left him and others have been sent on missions to the Churches. He asks him to bring some things of which he is in want, and warns him against an enemy who has done the Apostle much harm.

10. Demas] mentioned as a companion of St. Paul in Colossians 4:14; Philemon 1:24. Crescens] nowhere else mentioned in NT. Titus] frequently mentioned in 2 Cor and elsewhere as one of the Apostle’s most trusted lieutenants. He had evidently gone to Dalmatia on the E. coast of the Adriatic on a mission from St. Paul.

11. Luke] ’the beloved physician,’ Colossians 4:14. Mark] was with the Apostle on his First Missionary Journey (Acts 12:25), but St. Paul lost confidence in him and refused to take him on the Second Journey (Acts 15:37-40), Mark, however, afterwards redeemed his reputation, and we find him with the Apostle in Rome when the Epistle to the Colossians was written (Colossians 4:10).

12. Tychicus] see Acts 22:5; Ephesians 6:21; Colossians 4:7.

13. The cloke] Probably a long thick mantle which the approach of winter (2 Timothy 4:21) would render necessary to the Apostle in prison.

The books] It is impossible to conjecture what these were. The parchments] may have been some of the books of Scripture.

14. Alexander] may be the same as the Alexander mentioned (1 Timothy 1:20) in conjunction with Hymenaeus. He had evidently been an opponent of St. Paul’s teaching.

16-22. The Apostle mentions the circumstances of his first appearance before his judges, declares his abiding trust inthe Lord, sends salutations to friends, and prays for a blessing on Timothy.

16. My first answer] It would seem that St. Paul’s case had been partly heard, but the evidence had been insufficient for condemnation, and the hearing had been adjourned.

19. Prisca and Aquila] see Acts 18:2. One-siphorus] cp. 2 Timothy 1:16.

20. Erastus] perhaps ’the chamberlain of the city’ of Corinth mentioned in Romans 16:23: see also Acts 19:22. Trophimus] see Acts 20:4; Acts 21:29.

21. The names in this v. are those of members of the Church in Rome. Linus] There was a Linus bishop of the Church of Rome a little later, and this is probably the same person.

22. The first blessing is for Timothy: the second for him and all who are with him (you being plural).

The subscription has no authority, though possibly quite correct.

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Bibliographical Information
Dummelow, John. "Commentary on 2 Timothy 4". "John Dummelow's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/dcb/2-timothy-4.html. 1909.