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Monday, July 15th, 2024
the Week of Proper 10 / Ordinary 15
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Bible Commentaries
2 Timothy 2

The Expositor's Greek TestamentExpositor's Greek Testament

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Verse 1

2 Timothy 2:1 . σύ : emphatic, as in 1 Timothy 6:11 and ch. 2 Timothy 3:10 ; but the appeal is not primarily that Timothy should imitate Onesiphorus, or learn by the example of Phygelus and Hermogenes, but rather marks the intensity of the apostle’s anxiety for the future conduct of Timothy in the Church; and similarly οὖν is resumptive of all the considerations and appeals for loyalty in chap. 1.

τέκνον : See note on 1 Timothy 1:2 .

ἐνδυναμοῦ ἐν , κ . τ . λ .: The thought is resumed from 2 Timothy 1:8-9 , and expanded in 2 Timothy 2:3-13 . The closest parallel is that in Ephesians 6:10 , ἐνδυναμοῦσθε ἐν Κυρίῳ , κ . τ . λ . See note on 1 Timothy 1:12 and reff., esp. Romans 4:20 , Philippians 4:13 . Although the verb is passive, as indicated in the R.V., those who are, or who are exhorted to be, strengthened are not merely passive recipients of an influence from without. The act of reception involves man’s co-operation with God. Compare “Abide in me, and I in you” (John 15:4 ). The perfection of God’s power is conditioned by the weakness of man (2 Corinthians 12:9 ).

τῇ χάριτι τῇ ἐν Χρ . Ἰησ .: The two passages, 2 Corinthians 12:9 , and Ephesians 6:10 , alluded to in the last note, explain this. Grace here has its simplest theological meaning, as the divine help, the unmerited gift of assistance that comes from God.

Verses 1-2

2 Timothy 1:8 to 2 Timothy 2:2 . The leading thoughts in this section are ( a ) the Day of reward and judgment which is surely coming (2 Timothy 1:12 ; 2 Timothy 1:18 ), ( b ) the unreasonableness therefore of cowardly shame (2 Timothy 1:8 ; 2 Timothy 1:12 ; 2 Timothy 1:16 ), and ( c ) the necessity that Timothy should guard the deposit and hand it on (2 Timothy 1:14 to 2 Timothy 2:2 ).

Be not ashamed, therefore, of the Gospel to which our Lord was not ashamed to testify; nor be ashamed of me, who am in prison because of testimony borne to Him and it. Share our sufferings in the strength given by God, whose power is displayed in the Gospel of life of which I was appointed a preacher. This is the direct cause of my present lot; but I am not ashamed; for I know the power of Him to whom I have committed myself in trust. Do you imitate His faithfulness: guard the deposit committed to you. I am not asking you to do more than some others have done. You know Onesiphorus and his work as well as I do. When all turned their backs on me, he was not ashamed to make inquiries for me; and, finding me in prison, he constantly cheered me by his visits. May God bless him and his! Do you, then, welcome the strengthening grace of Christ, and provide for a succession of faithful teachers to preserve intact the sacred deposit of the faith.

Verse 2

2 Timothy 2:2 . St. Paul is here contemplating an apostolical succession in respect of teaching rather than of administration. It is natural that in the circumstances of the primitive Church the building up of converts in the faith should have occupied a larger place in the Christian consciousness than the functions of an official ministry; but the historical continuity of the ministry of order is of course involved in the direction here. St. Paul would have been surprised if any other conclusion had been drawn from his words. In any case, the Providence of God sees further than do His servants.

ἃ ἤκουσας παρʼ ἐμοῦ : See note on 2 Timothy 1:13 .

διὰ πολλῶν μαρτύρων : not per multos testes (Vulg.), but coram multis testibus (Tert. de Praescript . 25). The usual Greek for “in the presence of witnesses” is ἐπὶ μαρτύρων ; but διὰ θεῶν μαρτύρων is quoted from Plutarch (see Field, in loc. ).

The διὰ is that of accompanying circumstances. The reference is to a solemn traditio of the essentials of the faith on the occasion of Timothy’s ordination, rather than his baptism. The former reference seems clear from the parallel drawn between St. Paul’s committal of the faith to Timothy and Timothy’s committal of it to others. On the other hand, a comparison of 1 Timothy 6:12 favours the view that this refers to a formal public instruction at baptism. Reasons have been already suggested against the identification of the laying-on of hands of 1 Timothy 4:14 with that of 2 Timothy 1:6 . Otherwise it would be natural to suppose that the many witnesses were the members of the presbytery who were joined with St. Paul in the ordination of Timothy. But there is no reason why the reference should be thus restricted. The action was a public one, “in the face of the Church”. So Chrys., “Thou hast not heard in secret, nor apart, but in the presence of many, with all openness of speech”. The view of Clem. Alex. ( Hypot . vii. ed. Potter, ii. p. 1015) that the πολλοὶ μάρτυρες mean testimonies from the Law and the Prophets is only a curiosity of exegesis.

παράθου : See note on 1 Timothy 1:8 .

πιστοῖς : trustworthy , carries on the figure of the faith as a deposit. It is possible, as Bengel suggests, that the injunctions in 2 Timothy 2:14-21 have reference to these ministers.

ἱκανοί : qualified . See reff. δυνατός , in Titus 1:9 , expresses capability as proved by experience.

Verse 3

2 Timothy 2:3 . συνκακοπάθησον : Take thy part in suffering hardship (R.V.m.). This general reference is better than to supply μοι , as R.V. See note on 2 Timothy 1:8 . στρατιώτης : cf. συνστρατιώτης , Philippians 2:25 , Philemon 1:2 .

Verses 3-13

2 Timothy 2:3-13 . The condition of all success is toil; toil which may involve pain. Think of the price of a soldier’s victory, the conditions of an athlete’s crown, of a field-labourer’s wage. Our Lord Jesus Himself, as man, is the great Exemplar of this law. I am another. This is a faithful saying; and therefore we sing, “We shall live with Him because we died with Him, etc.”.

Verse 4

2 Timothy 2:4 . στρατευόμενος : militans Deo (Vulg.). Soldier , in the sense of a person belonging to the army, not soldier on service , as R.V., which makes the same error in Luke 3:14 marg. (See Expositor , vi., vii. 120).

ἐμπλέκεται : implicat se (Vulg.). The verb is used in a similar metaphor, 2 Peter 2:20 , but in a more adverse sense than here. A soldier, who is bound to go anywhere and do any thing at the bidding of his captain, must have no ties of home or business. The implied counsel is the same as that given in 1 Corinthians 7:26-34 , with its warnings against distraction between the possibly conflicting interests of the Lord and of this life. Note the use of ἀρέσκω in 1 Corinthians 7:32-34 .

ἀρέσῃ : that he may be of use to (see Milligan on 1 Thessalonians 2:4 ).

Verse 5

2 Timothy 2:5 . The sequence of images here the soldier, the athlete, the field-labourer affords an interesting illustration of repetition due to association of ideas. The soldier and the field-labourer are combined in 1 Corinthians 9:7-10 ; the athlete appears in 1 Corinthians 9:24 sqq . And the present passage has light thrown upon it from the earlier epistle, in which the various figures are more fully developed.

The connexion between the thought of the soldier and the athlete lies in the word νομίμως (see note on 1 Timothy 1:8 ); and the exact force of νομίμως will appear from a reference to 1 Corinthians 9:25 , “Every man that striveth in the games is temperate in all things”. No one can be said to comply with the rules of the contest who has not undergone the usual preliminary training. One illustration from those cited by Wetstein will suffice, that from Galen, comm. in Hippocr . i. 15: οἱ γυμνασταὶ καὶ οἱ νομίμως ἀθλοῦντες , ἐπὶ μὲν τοῦ ἀρίστου τὸν ἄρτον μόνον ἐσθίουσιν , ἐπὶ δὲ τοῦ δείπνου τὸ κρέας .

Verse 6

2 Timothy 2:6 . The difficulty in this verse is that the principle here laid down seems to be employed in 1 Corinthians 9:7 ; 1 Corinthians 9:9 , as an argument from analogy in support of the liberty of Christian ministers to enjoy some temporal profit from their spiritual labours; whereas here St. Paul is urging a temper of other-worldliness. It is sufficient to say that there is no practical inconsistency between the two passages; “each man hath his own gift from God, one after this manner, and another after that”. There is a time to insist on one’s liberty to “use the world,” and there is a time to warn ourselves and others that self-repression is necessary to keep ourselves from “using it to the full”. The main connexion here lies in the word κοπιῶντα , which is emphatic; while πρῶτον , which is also emphatic, expresses in the illustration from the γεωργός the idea corresponding to τῷ στρατ . ἀρέσῃ , and to στεφανοῦται in the others respectively. The labourer receives his hire, no matter how poor the crop may be: his wages are the first charge on the field. Cf. γῆ … τίκτουσα βοτάνην εὔθετον ἐκείνοις διʼ οὓς καὶ γεωργεῖται (Hebrews 6:7 ); his reward is sure, but then he must really labour. “The fruits” are the reward of faithful labour in the Lord’s vineyard, the “well done!” heard from the Captain’s lips, “the crown of glory that fadeth not away”. We must not press all the details of an allegory.

Verse 7

2 Timothy 2:7 . νόει ὃ λέγω : Intellige quae dico (Vulg.), Grasp the meaning , cautionary and encouraging, of these three similes. Cf. “I speak as to wise men; judge ye what I say” (1 Corinthians 10:15 ), and the use of the verb in 1 Timothy 1:7 .

δώσει , κ . τ . λ .: If you have not sufficient wisdom to follow my argument, “ask of God, who giveth to all men liberally” (James 1:5 ).

μνημόνευε Ἰησοῦν Χριστὸν Δαυείδ : These words form rather the conclusion of the preceding paragraph than the beginning of a new one. St. Paul in pressing home his lesson, passes from figures of speech to the great concrete example of suffering followed by glory. And as he has, immediately before, been laying stress on the certainty of reward, he gives a prominent place to ἐγηγερμένον ἐκ νεκρῶν . Jesus Christ, of the seed of David, “Himself man” (1 Timothy 2:5 ), is the ideal soldier, athlete, and field-labourer; yet One who can be an example to us. It is not the resurrection as a doctrinal fact (A.V.) that St. Paul has in mind, but the resurrection as a personal experience of Jesus Christ, the reward He received, His being “crowned with glory and honour, because of the suffering of death” (Hebrews 2:9 ). It is not τὸν Ἰησοῦν καὶ τὴν ἀνάστασιν (Acts 17:18 ), but Ἰησοῦν ἐγηγερμένον , the perfect (as in 1 Corinthians 15:4 ; 1 Corinthians 15:12-14 ; 1 Corinthians 15:16-17 ; 1 Corinthians 15:20 ) preserving the notion of the permanent significance of that personal experience of Jesus. In the other passage, Romans 1:3 , in which St. Paul distinctly alludes to our Lord’s human ancestry, the phrase τοῦ γενομένου ἐκ σπέρματος Δαυεὶδ has a directly historical and polemical intention, as expressing and emphasising the human nature of Christ in antithesis to His Divinity. Here ἐκ σπερμ . Δ . merely expresses the fact of His humanity. We cannot affirm with certainty that the phrase has the Messianic import that Son of David has in the Gospels.

κατὰ τὸ εὐαγγέλιόν μου : The Gospel preached by me . See reff., and τὸ εὐ . τὸ εὐαγγελισθὲν ὑπʼ ἐμοῦ (Galatians 1:11 ; 1 Corinthians 15:1 ), which of course is identical in substance with τὸ εὐ .… ὃ ἐπιστεύθην ἐγώ (1 Timothy 1:11 ). The verity both of Christ’s humanity and of His resurrection was emphasised in the Gospel preached by St. Paul. This is brought out by the punctuation of R.V.

Verse 9

2 Timothy 2:9 . ἐν ᾧ κακοπαθῶ : in which sphere of action , cf. Romans 1:9 , 2 Corinthians 10:14 , Philippians 4:2 . The connexion seems to be that St. Paul is now indicating that he himself, in his degree, is an imitator of Jesus Christ.

ὡς κακοῦργος (see reff.): malefactor (R.V.). Evil doer (A.V.) does not so vividly express the notion of criminality implied in the word. Ramsay notes that the use of this word here marks “exactly the tone of the Neronian period, and … refers expressly to the flagitia , for which the Christians were condemned under Nero, and for which they were no longer condemned in A.D. 112” ( Church in the Roman Empire , p. 249). Compare 1 Peter 4:15 .

ἀλλὰ οὐ δέδεται : We have the same contrast between the apostle’s own restricted liberty and the unconfinable range of the Gospel in Philippians 1:12 ; Philippians 1:14 , and 2 Timothy 4:17 . There is no reference, as Chrys. supposes, to the liberty permitted to St. Paul to preach the kingdom of God in his prison, as during the first imprisonment (Acts 28:30-31 ). The clause here is a natural reflective parenthetical remark.

Verse 10

2 Timothy 2:10 . διὰ τοῦτο : The knowledge that others had been, and were being, saved through his ministry was regarded by St. Paul as no small part of his reward. Thus, the Churches of Macedonia were his “crown,” as well as his “joy” (Philippians 4:1 , 1 Thessalonians 2:19 ). He had already in sight his “crown of righteousness”. This consideration suggests that we should refer διὰ τοῦτο to what follows rather than to what immediately precedes ( ὁ λόγος … δέδεται ). So Alf., who cites in illustration Romans 4:16 , 2Co 13:10 , 1 Timothy 1:16 , Philemon 1:15 . On this view, we have completely displayed the conformity of Jesus Christ and of St. Paul to the conditions of success exemplified in the soldier, the athlete, and the field-labourer.

πάντα ὑπομένω : as Love does, 1 Corinthians 13:7 . Ellicott rightly points out that Christian endurance is active, not passive: pain is felt as pain, but is recognised as having a moral and spiritual purpose.

διὰ τοὺς ἐκλεκτούς : St. Paul was much sustained by the thought that his labours and sufferings were, in the providence of God, beneficial to others ( 2Co 1:6 ; 2 Corinthians 12:15 ; Ephesians 3:1 ; Ephesians 3:13 ; Philippians 2:17 ; Colossians 1:24 ; Titus 1:1 ). “The elect” are those who, in the providence of God’s grace, are selected for spiritual privileges with a view directly to the salvation of others, as well as of themselves. The absolute phrase as here is found in Matthew 24:22 ; Matthew 24:24 = Mark 13:20 ; Mark 13:22 ; οἱ ἐκλεκτοὶ αὐτοῦ in Matthew 24:31 = Mark 13:27 (?), Luke 18:7 ; ἐκλεκτοὶ θεοῦ in Romans 8:33 , Colossians 3:12 , Titus 1:1 ; ὁ ἐκλεκτὸς ἐν Κυρίῳ in Romans 16:13 .

καὶ αὐτοί : they also (as well as I). It would be no Paradise to St. Paul “to live in Paradise alone”. Compare his supreme expression of selflessness in Romans 9:3 .

σωτηρίας μετὰ δόξης αἰωνίου : Salvation may be enjoyed in part in this life; it will be consummated in eternal glory. See ref., and 2 Corinthians 4:17 .

Verse 11

2 Timothy 2:11 . πιστὸς ὁ λόγος : The teaching or saying referred to is “the word of the cross” as set forth by simile and living example in the preceding verses, 4 11. So R.V.m. This is an exactly parallel case to 1 Timothy 4:9 . Here, as there, γὰρ introduces a reinforcement of the teaching.

εἰ γὰρ συναπεθάνομεν , κ . τ . λ .: The presence of γάρ does not militate against the supposition that we have here a fragment of a Christian hymn. A quotation adduced in the course of an argument must be introduced by some inferential particle; See on 1 Timothy 4:10 . On the other hand, it is questionable if εἰ ἀρνησόμεθα , κ . τ . λ . is suitable in tone to a hymn; and St. Paul’s prose constantly rises to rhythmical cadences, e.g. , Romans 8:33 sqq. , 1 Corinthians 13:0 . We have here contrasted two crises, and two states in the spiritual life: συναπεθάνομεν and ἀρνησόμεθα point to definite acts at definite times; while ὑπομένομεν and ἀπιστοῦμεν indicate states of being, more or less prolonged.

εἰ συναπεθάνομεν καὶ συνζήσομεν : The two verbs are coupled also in 2 Corinthians 7:3 ; but the actual parallel in thought is found in Romans 6:4-5 ; Romans 6:8 . We died (aor., R.V.) with Christ at our baptism (Romans 6:8 ; Colossians 3:3 ), which, as normally administered by immersion, symbolises our burial with Christ and our rising again with Him to newness of life (Romans 6:4 ; Colossians 2:12 ). The future, συνζήσομεν , must not be projected altogether into the resurrection life; it includes and is completed by that; and no doubt the prominent notion here is of the life to come; but here, and in Romans 6:8 , it is implied that there is a beginning of eternal life even while we are in the flesh, viz . in that newness of life to which we are called, and for which we are enabled, in our baptism.

Verse 12

2 Timothy 2:12 . εἰ ὑπομένομεν καὶ συνβασιλεύσομεν : See Matthew 25:34 ; Luke 22:28-29 ; Acts 14:22 ; Rom 8:17 ; 2 Thessalonians 1:5 ; Revelation 1:6 ; Revelation 20:4 .

εἰ ἀρνησόμεθα , κ . τ . λ .: An echo of our Lord’s teaching, Matthew 10:33 . See also 2 Peter 2:1 ; Jude 1:4 . “The future conveys the ethical possibility of the action” (Ell.)

Verse 13

2 Timothy 2:13 . εἰ ἀπιοτοῦμεν : It is reasonable to hold that the sense of ἀπιστέω in this place must be determined by the antithesis of πιστὸς μένει . Now πιστός , as applied to God, must mean faithful (Deuteronomy 7:9 ); one who “keepeth truth for ever” ( Psa 146:6 ; 2 Corinthians 1:18 ; 1 Thessalonians 5:24 ; 2 Thessalonians 3:3 ; Hebrews 10:23 ; Hebrews 11:11 ). There is the same contrast in Romans 3:3 , “Shall their want of faith ( ἀπιστία ) make of none effect the faithfulness ( πίστιν ) of God?” But while we render ἀπιστοῦμεν , with R.V., are faithless , we must remember that unreliability and disbelief in the truth were closely allied in St. Paul’s conception of them.

ἀρνήσασθαι γὰρ οὐ δύναται : Being essentially the unchangeable Truth, He cannot be false to His own nature, as we, when ἀπιστοῦμεν , are false to our better nature which has affinity with the Eternal. A lie in word, or unfaithfulness in act, is confessedly only an expedient to meet a temporary difficulty; it involves a disregard of the permanent element in our personality. The more a man realises the transitory nature of created things, and his own kinship with the Eternal, the more unnatural and unnecessary does falsity in word or deed appear to him. It is therefore inconceivable that God should lie (Numbers 23:19 ; 1 Samuel 15:29 ; Malachi 3:6 ; Titus 1:2 ; Hebrews 6:18 ). The application of the clause here is not that “He will not break faith with us” (Alf.), but that the consideration of our powerlessness to affect the constancy of God our Father should brace us up to exhibit moral courage, as being His “true children”.

Verse 14

2 Timothy 2:14 . ταῦτα has special reference to the issues of life and death set out in 2 Timothy 2:11-13 . There is no such prophylactic against striving about words as a serious endeavour to realise the relative importance of time and of eternity. “He to whom the eternal Word speaks is set at liberty from a multitude of opinions” ( De Imitatione Christi , i. 3).

ὑπομίμνησκε : sc . αὐτους , as in Titus 3:1 .

διαμαρτυρόμενος : See on 1 Timothy 5:21 .

ἐνώπιον τοῦ θεοῦ : It is an argument in favour of this reading that ἐνώπιον Κυρίου only occurs once in Paul (in a quotation), in 2 Corinthians 8:21 .

λογομαχεῖν : See on 1 Timothy 6:4 .

ἐπʼ οὐδὲν χρήσιμον and ἐπὶ καταστροφῇ τῶν ἀκουόντων are coordinate, and describe the negative and the positive results of λογομαχία . The subject of this λογομαχία is probably identical with that of the μάχαι νομικαί of Titus 3:9 , which were “unprofitable and vain”.

ἐπὶ καταστροφῇ , κ . τ . λ .: contrast λόγος … ἀγαθὸς προς οἰκοδομὴν τῆς χρείας , Ephesians 4:29 ; and compare the antithesis between καθαίρεσις and οἰκοδομή in 2 Corinthians 13:10 .

It should be added that ἐπʼ οὐδὲν χρήσιμου is connected closely with λογομαχεῖν (or λογομάχει ) by Cyr. Alex., Clem. Alex., and the Bohairic version. The Clementine Vulg. renders unambiguously, ad nihil enim utile est ; so F.G. add γάρ .

In addition to the weight of adverse textual evidence against the reading λογομάχει , it is open to the objections that ταῦτα θεοῦ , disconnected with what follows, is a feeble sentence; and that μαρτύρομαι and διαμαρτύρομαι in Paul are always followed and completed by an exhortation, e.g. , Ephesians 4:17 ; 1 Timothy 5:21 ; 2 Timothy 4:1 .

Verses 14-26

2 Timothy 2:14-26 . Discourage the new false teaching by precept and example. There is no need, however, that you should despair of the Church. It is founded upon a rock, in spite of appearances. Take a broad view of the case: the Church is not the special apartment of the Master from which things unseemly are banished; it is a great House with places and utensils for every need of life. This great House differs from those of earth in that provision is made for the promotion of the utensils from the basest use to the Master’s personal service.

Verse 15

2 Timothy 2:15 . σπούδασον : Give diligence to present thyself (as well as thy work) to God, approved .

ἀνεπαίσχυντον : Chrys. takes this to mean a workman that does not scorn to put his hand to anything ; but it is better explained as a workman who has no cause for shame when his work is being inspected . In any case, the word must be so explained as to qualify ἐργάτης naturally; and therefore it cannot be interpreted by a reference to 2 Timothy 1:8 ( μὴ ἐπαισχυνθῇς ), of the shame that may deter a man from confessing Christ.

ὀρθοτομοῦντα : ὀρθοτομέω is found in reff. as the translation of ישׁר (Piel) direct, make straight, make plain . “He shall direct thy paths,” “The righteousness of the perfect shall direct his way”. This use of the word suggests that the metaphor passes from the general idea of a workman to the particular notion of the minister as one who “makes straight paths” ( τροχιὰς ὀρθάς ) for the feet of his people to tread in (Hebrews 12:13 ). The word of truth is “The Way” (Acts 9:2 , etc.). Theodoret explains it of a ploughman who drives a straight furrow. Similarly R.V. m. (1), Holding a straight course in the word of truth . Chrys., of cutting away what is spurious or bad. Alf. follows Huther in supposing that the idea of cutting has passed out of this word, as it has out of καινοτομεῖν , and renders, rightly administering , as opposed to “adulterating the word of God” (2 Corinthians 2:17 ). Other examples of words which have wholly lost their derivational meaning are πρόσφατος and συκοφαντέω . The imagery underlying the A.V., R.V.m. (2), rightly dividing , is either that of the correct cutting up of a Levitical victim (Beza), or a father (Calvin), or steward (Vitringa), cutting portions for the food of the household. The R.V., handling aright , follows the Vulg., recte tractantem , and gives the general sense well enough. The use of ὀρθοτομία in the sense of orthodoxy , in Clem. Al. Strom . vii. xvi., and Eus. H. E . iv. 3, is probably based on this passage.

Verse 16

2 Timothy 2:16 . κενοφωνίας : See on 1 Timothy 6:20 . Here, as Bengel suggests, κενο - is contrasted with ἀληθείας , φωνίας with λόγον .

περιίστασο : shun, devita , “ Give them a wide berth ” (Plummer), also in Titus 3:9 . In these places περιίστασθαι has the same meaning as ἐκτρέπεσθαι , 1 Timothy 6:20 . In fact Ell. cites from Lucian, Hermot . § 86, ἐκτραπήσομαι καὶ περιστήσομαι , where the two verbs are evidently used as indifferent alternatives. Where περιίστημι elsewhere occurs (N.T.), viz. , John 11:42 , Acts 25:7 , it means “to stand around”.

ἐπὶ πλεῖον , κ . τ . λ .: Those who utter “babblings” (subject of προκόψουσιν ) are not, as is sometimes supposed, merely negatively useless; they are positively and increasingly mischievous. In 2 Timothy 3:9 , οὐ προκόψουσιν ἐπὶ πλεῖον , the situation is different. When a man’s ἄνοια has become manifest to all, he has lost his power to do mischief to others; on the other hand there is no limit to the deterioration of “evil men and impostors” in themselves, προκόψουσιν ἐπὶ τὸ χεῖρον (2 Timothy 3:13 ).

ἀσεβείας : genitive after ἐπὶ πλεῖον . The commentators compare Joseph. Bell. Jud . vi. 2, 3. προὔκοψαν εἰς τοσοῦτον παρανομίας . Charles thinks προκόψουσιν ἐπὶ κακῷ ἐν πλεονεξίᾳ , Test. of Twelve Patriarchs , Judah, 21:8, the source of this phrase; but it is merely a parallel.

Verse 17

2 Timothy 2:17 . ὡς γάγγραινα νομὴν ἕξει : spread , R.V.m., ut cancer serpit , Vulg. Ell. compares Ovid. Metam . ii. 825, “solet immedicabile cancer Serpere, et illaesas vitiatis addere partes”. Alf. supplies many illustrations of νομή as “the medical term for the consuming progress of mortifying disease”.

Harnack ( Mission , vol. i., pp. 114, 115) illustrates copiously this conception of moral evil from the writings of the early fathers.

Ὑμέναιος καὶ φίλητος . This Hymenaeus is perhaps the same as he who is mentioned in 1 Timothy 1:20 . Of Philetus nothing is known from other sources.

Verse 18

2 Timothy 2:18 . οἵτινες implies that Hymenaeus and Philetus were only the more conspicuous members of a class of false teachers.

περὶ ἠστόχησαν : See notes on 1 Timothy 1:6 ; 1 Timothy 1:19 .

λέγοντες , κ . τ . λ .: There can be little doubt that the false teaching here alluded to was akin to, if not the same as, that of some in Corinth a few years earlier who said, “There is no resurrection of the dead” (1 Corinthians 15:12 ). What these persons meant was that the language of Jesus about eternal life and a resurrection received its complete fulfilment in our present conditions of existence, through the acquisition of that more elevated knowledge of God and man and morality and spiritual existence generally which Christ and His coming had imparted to mankind. This sublimest knowledge of things divine is, they said, a resurrection, and the only resurrection that men can attain unto. These false teachers combined a plausible but false spirituality, or sentimentality, with an invincible materialism; and they attempted to find support for their materialistic disbelief in the resurrection of the body in a perverse misunderstanding of the Christian language about “newness of life” (Romans 6:4 ; Colossians 2:12 ; Colossians 3:1 ). “Esse resurrectionem a mortuis, agnitionem ejus quae ab ipsis dicitur veritatis” (Irenæus, Haer . ii. 31, 2; cf. Tert. de Resurr . 19); an achieved moral experience, in fact; not a future hope. The heresy of Marcion, on the other hand, while denying the future resurrection of the body, affirmed positively the immortality of the soul; cf. Justin Martyr, Dial . 80. “Marcion enim in totum carnis resurrectionem non admittens, et soli animae salutem repromittens, non qualitatis sed substantiae facit quaestionem” (Tert. adv. Marcionem , 2 Timothy 2:10 ).

τινων : See note on 1 Timothy 1:3 .

Verse 19

2 Timothy 2:19 . “We will not fear. The city of God … shall not be moved” (Psalms 46:2 ; Psalms 46:4 ; cf. Hebrews 12:28 ). The Church of the New Covenant is like the Church of the Old Covenant: it has an ideal integrity unaffected by the defection of some who had seemed to belong to it. “They are not all Israel, which are of Israel.… All Israel shall be saved” (Romans 9:6 ; Romans 11:26 ). “They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us” (1 John 2:19 ). The Church, as existing in the Divine Knowledge, not as apprehended by man’s intellect, is the firm foundation of God (R.V.), i.e. , that which God has firmly founded. It is called here θεμέλιος τοῦ θεοῦ rather than οἶκος τ . θεοῦ , so as to express the better its immobility, unaffected by those who ἀνατρέπουσι , κ . τ . λ .; cf. στύλος καὶ ἑδραίωμα τῆς ἀληθείας (1 Timothy 3:15 ). There can hardly be an allusion to the parable with which the Sermon on the Mount closes, Luke 6:48-49 . With στερεός compare the use of στερεόω , Acts 16:5 , and of στερέωμα , Colossians 2:5 .

ἔχων τὴν σφραγῖδα : It was noted on 1 Timothy 6:19 that in the two places in which θεμέλιος occurs in the Pastorals, there is a condensation of expression resulting in a confusion of metaphor. Here the apostle passes rapidly from the notion of the Church collectively as a foundation, or a building well founded, to that of the men and women of whom it is composed, and who have been sealed by God (see reff. and also Ezekiel 9:4 ; John 6:27 ; 2 Corinthians 1:22 ; Ephesians 1:13 ; Ephesians 4:30 ; Revelation 7:3-8 ). They are marked by God so as to be recognised by Him as His; and this mark also serves as a perpetual reminder to them that “they are not their own,” and of their consequent obligation to holiness of life (1 Corinthians 6:19-20 ). There is no allusion to the practice of carving inscriptions over doors and on pillars and foundation stones (Deuteronomy 6:9 ; Deuteronomy 11:20 ; Revelation 21:14 ). The one seal bears two inscriptions, two mutually complementary parts or aspects: ( a ) The objective fact of God’s superintending knowledge of His chosen; ( b ) the recognition by the consciousness of each individual of the relation in which he stands to God, with its imperative call to holiness.

Ἔγνω Κύριος κ . τ . λ .: The words are taken from Numbers 16:5 , ἐπέσκεπται καὶ ἔγνω ὁ θεὸς τοὺς ὄντας αὐτοῦ , “In the morning the Lord will shew who are His”. The intensive use of know is Illustrated by Genesis 18:19 , Exodus 33:12 ; Exodus 33:17 , Nahum 1:7 , John 10:14 ; John 10:27 , 1 Corinthians 8:3 ; 1Co 13:12 ; 1 Corinthians 14:38 , R.V.m., Galatians 4:9 .

Ἀποστήτω κ . τ . λ .: The language is perhaps another echo of the story of Korah: Ἀποσχίσθητε ἀπὸ τῶν σκηνῶν τῶν ἀνθρώπων τῶν σκληρῶν τούτων … μὴ συναπόλησθε ἐν πάσῃ τῇ ἁμαρτίᾳ αὐτῶν . καὶ ἀπέστησαν ἀπὸ τῆς σκηνῆς Κόρε (Numbers 16:26-27 ). But Isaiah 52:11 is nearer in sentiment, ἀπόστητε ἀπόστητε , ἐξέλθατε ἐκεῖθεν καὶ ἀκαθάρτου μὴ ἅψησθε , … οἱ φέροντες τὰ σκεύη Κυρίου , cf. Luke 13:27 . Also Isaiah 26:13 , Κύριε , ἐκτὸς σοῦ ἄλλον οὐκ οἴδαμεν , τὸ ὄνομά σου ὀνομάζομεν . The spiritual logic of the appeal is the same as that of Galatians 5:25 , “If we live by the Spirit, by the Spirit let us also walk”. Bengel thinks that ἀπὸ ἀδικίας is equivalent to ἀπὸ ἀδίκων , the abstract for the concrete; cf. 2 Timothy 2:21 , “purge himself from these”.

Verse 20

2 Timothy 2:20 . Although the notional Church, the corpus Christi verum , is unaffected by the vacillation and disloyalty of its members, nevertheless ( δὲ ) the Church as we experience it contains many unworthy persons, the recognition of whom as members of the Church is a trial to faith. The notional Church is best figured as a foundation, which is out of sight. But the idea of the superstructure must be added in order to shadow forth the Church as it meets the eye. It is a house, a Great House too, the House of God (1 Timothy 3:15 ), and therefore containing a great variety of kinds and quality of furniture and utensils. On οἰκία , a whole house, as distinguished from οἶκος , which might mean a set of rooms only, a dwelling, see Moulton in Expositor , vi., vii. 117. There are two thoughts in the apostle’s mind, thoughts which logically are conflicting, but which balance each other in practice. These are: (1) the reality of the ideal Church, and (2) the providential ordering of the actual Church. Until the drag-net is full, and drawn up on the beach, the bad fish in it cannot be cast away (Matthew 13:47-48 ). This is the view of the passage taken by the Latin expositors, e.g. , Cyprian, Ep . Leviticus 25:0 . The explanation of the Greek commentators, that by the “great house” is meant the world at large, is out of harmony with the context. It is to be observed that St. Paul expresses here a milder and more hopeful view of the unworthy elements in the Church than he does in the parallel passage in Romans 9:21-22 . There “the vessels unto dishonour” are “vessels of wrath fitted unto destruction”. Here they are all at least in the Great House, and all for some use, even if for less honourable purposes than those served by the vessels of gold and silver; and the next verse suggests that it is perhaps possible for that which had been a “vessel unto dishonour” to become fit for honourable use in the Master’s personal service. We are reminded of the various qualities of superstructure mentioned in 1 Corinthians 3:12 , “gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay, stubble”. See also Wis 15:7 . Field, Notes, in loc. , suggests that δεσπότης here is best rendered the owner . See notes on 1 Timothy 3:15 ; 1 Timothy 6:1 .

Verse 21

2 Timothy 2:21 . St. Paul drops the metaphor. The general meaning is clear enough, that a man may become “heaven’s consummate cup,” σκεῦος ἐκλογῆς (Acts 9:15 ), if he “mistake not his end, to slake the thirst of God”. When we endue the vessels with consciousness, it is seen that they may “rise on stepping-stones of their dead selves to higher things”. The τις has been, it is implied, among the “vessels unto dishonour”. “Paul was an earthen vessel, and became a golden one. Judas was a golden vessel, and became an earthen one” (Chrys.). Bengel supposes that the ἐάν τις is an exhortation to Timothy himself. This is suggested in R.V. of 2 Timothy 2:22 , “But flee,” etc. The reference in τούτων is not quite clear. It is best perhaps to explain it of the false teachers themselves, “vessels unto dishonour,” rather than of their teaching or immoral characteristics, though of course this is implied. The thoroughness of the separation from the corrupting environment of evil company is expressed by the ἐκ - and ἀπό . Where ἐκκαθαίρω occurs again, 1 Corinthians 5:7 , the metaphor (leaven) also refers to the removal of a corrupting personal element. There the person is to be expelled; here the persons are to be forsaken. ἡγιασμένον is the equivalent in actual experience of the simile σκεῦος εἰς τιμήν , as εἰς πᾶν ἡτοιμασμένον is of εὔχρηστον τῷ δεσπότῃ . Compare 1 Corinthians 6:11 , “And such were some of you: but ye were washed [lit. washed yourselves], but ye were sanctified” ( ἡγιάσθητε ).

ἡτοιμασμένον : “Even though he do not do it, he is fit for it, and has a capacity for it” (Chrys.). Cf. Ephesians 2:10 , κτισθέντες … ἐπὶ ἔργοις ἀγαθοῖς οἶς προητοίμασεν ὁ θεὸς ἵνα ἐν αὐτοῖς περιπατήσωμεν , and reff.

Verse 22

2 Timothy 2:22 . νεωτερικὰς ἐπιθυμίας : “Every inordinate desire is a youthful lust. Let the aged learn that they ought not to do the deeds of the youthful”. (Chrys.). This is sound exegesis; yet it is reasonable to suppose that Timothy was still of an age to need the warning in its natural sense. See 1 Timothy 4:12 . He has just been cautioned against errors of the intellect; he must be warned also ( δὲ ) against vices of the blood.

φεῦγε · δίωκε δὲ , κ . τ . λ .: See note on 1 Timothy 6:11 .

εἰρήνην : to be joined closely with the following words, cf. Hebrews 12:14 . While avoiding the company of evil men, he is to cultivate friendly relations with those who are sincere worshippers of the same God as himself. οἱ ἐπικαλούμενοι τὸν Κύριον , i.e. , Christ, is almost a technical term for Christians. See reff. It comes ultimately from Joel 2:32 (2 Timothy 3:5 ).

ἐκ καθαρᾶς καρδίας is emphatic. See Titus 1:15-16 .

Verse 23

2 Timothy 2:23 . ἀπαιδεύτους : ignorant . An ignorant question is one that arises from a misunderstanding of the matter in dispute. Misunderstandings are a fruitful source of strife. Cf. 1 Timothy 6:4 .

παραιτοῦ : refuse, i.e. , Such questions will be brought before you: refuse to discuss them. The A.V., avoid might mean merely, Evade the necessity of meeting them.

γεννῶσι : There is no other instance of the metaphorical use of this word in the N.T.

μάχας : in the weaker sense of contention, quarrel , as in 2 Corinthians 7:5 , Titus 3:9 ; but not James 4:1 .

Verse 24

2 Timothy 2:24 . δοῦλον δὲ Κυρίου : here is used in its special application to the ministers of the Church. On the general teaching, see 1 Thessalonians 2:7 , 1 Timothy 3:3 , Titus 3:2 .

ἤπιος , as Ell. notes, implies gentleness in demeanour, πραΰτης meekness of disposition. “ Gentle unto all men, so he will be apt to teach; forbearing towards opponents, so he will be able to correct ” (Bengel).

Verse 25

2 Timothy 2:25 . τοὺς ἀντιδιατιθεμένους : They who err from right thinking are to be dealt with as tenderly and considerately as they who err from right living. Cf. Galatians 6:1 , καταρτίζετε τὸν τοιοῦτον ἐν πνεύματι πραΰτητος . See also chap. 2 Timothy 4:2 , and reff. Field takes ἀντιδιατίθεσθαι as equivalent to ἐναντίως διατίθεσθαι , “to be contrariwise or adversely affected”. Similarly Ambrosiaster, eos qui diversa sentiunt . Field notes that “the only other example of the compound verb is to be found in Longinus περὶ ὕψους , xvii. 1”. The A.V. and R.V. take the word here as middle, them that oppose themselves, eos qui resistunt [veritati] (Vulg.). von Soden finds in this word the key to the meaning of ἀντιθέσεις , 1 Timothy 6:20 .

μήποτε (not elsewhere in Paul) = εἴποτε .

δώῃ : The subjunctive seems a syntactical necessity. See J. H. Moulton, Grammar , vol. i. pp. 55, 193, 194, Blass, Grammar , p. 213. On the other hand, W. H. text, and Winer-Moulton, Grammar , p. 374, read δῴη , optative.

μετάνοιαν : It is certainly implied that false theories in religion are not unconnected with moral obliquity and faulty practice. See Titus 1:15-16 ; Titus 3:11 .

Verse 26

2 Timothy 2:26 . ἀνανήψωσιν is to be connected with εἰς τὸ ἐκείνου θέλημα . Compare ἐκνήψατε δικαίως , 1 Corinthians 15:34 . ἐκείνου then refers to ὁ θεός , and θέλημα will have its usual force as the Will of God (see 1 Peter 4:2 ): That they who had been taken captive by the devil may recover themselves ( respiscant , Vulg.) out of his snare, so as to serve the will of God . This is Beza’s explanation and that of von Soden (nearly), who compares αἰχμαλωτίζοντες , 2 Corinthians 10:5 . It has the advantage of giving a natural reference to αὐτοῦ and ἐκείνου respectively, which are employed accurately in 2 Timothy 3:9 . The paradoxical use of ζωγρέω in Luke 5:10 must not be taken as determining the use of the word elsewhere. Of the other explanations, that of the A.V. and Vulg., which supposes an inelegant but not impossible reference of both αὐτοῦ and ἐκείνου to τοῦ διαβόλου , is preferable to the R.V., following Wetstein and Bengel, which refers αὐτοῦ back to δοῦλον Κυρίου , and dissociates ἐζωγρημένοι from παγίδος , with which it is naturally connected. The reference of αὐτοῦ and ἐκείνου to the same subject, as given in the A.V., is paralleled by Wis 1:16 , συνθήκην ἔθεντο πρὸς αὐτόν , ὅτι ἄξιοί εἰσιν τῆς ἐκείνου μερίδος εἶναι .

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