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Bible Commentaries
2 Timothy 1

Gann's Commentary on the BibleGann on the Bible

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Verse 1

Book Comments

2 Timothy 1:1

Walking Thru The Bible



The second letter to Timothy was written from the Mamertine Prison in Rome. Paul writes his most personal letter, and we see more of his thoughts and feelings.

In this letter Paul refers to Timothy twice as his "son," just as in the introduction in 1 Timothy he called him "my son in the faith." Paul urges Timothy to endure hardness as a "good soldier" of Jesus Christ. He exhorts him to "hold fast" to sound words he has heard from Paul and warns him of a coming apostasy or "departure" from the faith (ch. 3).

This is Paul’s last writing. He was facing death-- martyrdom. He had to say much in a little time. Some of the great verses of the Bible are in this Book.

The Central Message

"I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that He is able to keep that which I have committed [deposited] unto Him against that day" (2 Timothy 1:12).

"Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth." (2 Timothy 2:15)

The Structure of the Book

1. Paul the PREACHER -- Chapter 1

2. Paul the PATTERN -- Chapter 2

3. Paul the PROPHET -- Chapter 3

4. Paul the PRISONER -- Chapter 4

Paul the Preacher -- Chapter 1

1. ! Paul’s son in the Gospel was Timothy -- 2 Timothy 1:2

! Paul prayed for him day and night -- 2 Timothy 1:3

! Paul longed to see Timothy -- 2 Timothy 1:4

! He had full confidence in Timothy -- v.5

! He told him to stir up his gift -- v.6

! Timothy is not to be ashamed of the message or messengers -- v.8

! He reminds Timothy of his calling -- v.9

! Timothy is to hold to sound doctrine -- v.13

! Timothy is to remain true to the ministry -- v.14

2. Note some things Paul says about himself.

! an apostle -- v. 1 and 11

! a preacher -- v. 11

! a teacher -- v. 11

! then in v.12 he rings out what every Christian should remember. Paul says -- "I am not ashamed -- for I know -- I have committed."

3. The final verses of ch.1 reveal that Paul has been forsaken by so-called friends. He had been helped by one-- Onesiphorus.

Paul the Pattern -- Chapter 2

In this chapter Paul uses seven figures of speech to describe the duty and activity of a disciple of the Lord


1. A SON--he should follow the example and teach others, so they may teach others-- v.1-2.

2. A SOLDIER -- he is to "endure hardness" or hardships and avoid the entanglements of the world--to please the One who made him a soldier-- v.3-4.

3. AN ATHLETE-- he is to contend for the reward. He is to abide by the rules-- v.5

4. A FARMER-- must labor before he partakes of the fruit --v.6

5. A STUDENT-- must "rightly divide" the Word of God --v.15

6. A VESSEL-- a vessel must be clean to be usable-- v.20-21

7. A SERVANT-- a disciple is a servant, gentle, apt to teach, patient -- v.24.

Paul the Prophet -- Chapter 3

In chapter 3 Paul speaks of "perilous times" that were coming to the church. The "last days" is often misunderstood to mean the "last days" of the Christian age, but in all other passages it refers to the "last days" of the Jewish system which came to its end in AD 70 with the destruction of the temple.

In verses 2-13 Paul uses 22 words or phrases to describe the "perilous times" that were coming upon the church. The church has had to contend with such problems ever since.

1. "lovers of their own selves" -v.2

2. "covetous" -- get what one wants -v.2

3. "boasters" -- braggart

4. "proud" -- haughty

5. "blasphemers" -- denying Christ, using God’s name in vain

6. "disobedient"

7. "unthankful"

8. "unholy" -- profane

9. "without natural affection"-v.3

10. "truce-breakers" -- promises mean nothing

11. "false accusers"

12. "Incontinent" -- without self-control

13. "fierce" -- is savage

14. "despisers of those that are good"

15. "traitors" -- or betrayers -v.4

16. "heady" -- reckless

17. "high-minded" -- drunk with pride

18. "lovers of pleasure more than lovers of God"

19. "have a form" -- hypocritical -v.5

20. "ever learning" -- never able to discern truth -v.7

21. "seducers" -- sorcerers, beguilers -v.13

22. "deceiving and being deceived"

In verse 14-17 we learn that the source of help and truth is the Word of God. Paul says "But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them" etc. v. 14.

Paul the Prisoner -- Chapter 4

1. His Final Charge-- Vs. 1, 2, 5

! "at His appearing" -- the Lord’s Second coming and the judgment of all men dead and alive

! "preach the Word" -- not substitutes

! "be diligent all the time"

! "reprove, rebuke, exhort"

! "watch thou (be alert) in all things"

! "endure afflictions"

! "do the work of an evangelist"

! "make full proof of the ministry"

2. His Final Warning-- Vs. 3-4

! Time will come when men will not listen to doctrine

! Men will try to satisfy their own lusts

! They will find false teachers that please them

! They will turn away from truth-- believe fables

- - - -

DATE of the Book:

Rome burned July 19, 64 AD

Nero died June 68 AD

Paul wrote 2 Timothy somewhere between those two dates.

Verse Comments

Apostle -- Paul’s apostleship was for the purpose of making known God’s promise of life in Christ Jesus.

Promise of life -- Ephesians 3:6.; Hebrews 9:15

Verse 2

2 Timothy 1:2

In 1 Corinthians 4:17 He had already called Timothy his beloved son.

Don’t pray for "justice" we could not stand; we need "mercy."

Verse 3

2 Timothy 1:3

Thank God -- that he remembered to pray for Timothy (perhaps Timothy had requested it, or that Onesiphorus had told him some things about Timothy 2 Timothy 1:16-17)

Forefathers - Paul claims a pious ancestry as in Acts 24:14; Acts 26:5; Galatians 2:14; Philippians 3:4-7.

Robertson’s Word Pictures

Philippians 3:5. He means, in the spirit and with the principles inherited from his fathers. Comp. the sharp distinction between the two periods of Paul’s life, Galatians 1:13, Galatians 1:14. Vincent’s Word Studies

Back of Paul’s mind is the fact the Christianity is not a new, upstart faith, but the culmination of a historical, legitimate faith and the divinely ordained sequel to Judaism.(Coffman)

Paul was not guilty of propagating some illegal religion in the name of a strange deity, as often accused.

Pure conscience -- always, 1st as a persecutor, now in proclaiming Jesus.

Verse 4

2 Timothy 1:4

Desiring to see -- 2 Timothy 4:9, 2 Timothy 4:21

Tears - probably at their partings, as in Acts 20:37 or perhaps over Paul’s afflictions and sufferings, like seeing Paul stoned at Lystra and thought dead. Perhaps Timothy was present on the occasion of Paul’s arrest at Troas. The narrative is too brief to be certain.

Verse 5

2 Timothy 1:5

Continuing the "I thank God"... from vs. 3.

Unfeigned = unhypocritical, genuine, sincere, un-pretended.

Acts 16:1 Luke didn’t mention the family names, perhaps Paul knew the family better than Luke. He seems to know the family on a personal basis, perhaps from a time even before their conversion.

Eunice = while her name is Greek, she was a Jewess.

This faith first dwelled in his grandmother and mother before it came to dwell in him. Timothy was a third generation Christian.

ASV "Having been reminded" -- No record of what it was that reminded Paul, perhaps a personal letter or a visit from one who knew Timothy.

Verse 6

2 Timothy 1:6

Stir up = "to kindle afresh" to re-kindle. (as with bellows). "To keep the fire going", to set a small ember blazing up again. (The single occurrence of this word.)

This does not mean that Timothy had let the gift die, although the word may mean "rekindle" or "relight," [like other words that begin with "re-" but doesn’t necessary mean "again", i.e. Adam and Eve were told to "replenish the earth." Genesis 1:28. ]

Gift = supernatural gifts were given by laying on of an apostles’ hands - Acts 8:18 This was done along with the laying on of hands of the presbyter, 1 Timothy 4:14.

Verse 7

2 Timothy 1:7

Spirit -- Not the HS but a reference to quality and character of Christians. But note, it is something given by God.

Spirit of fear (πνεῦμα δειλίας) Better, of cowardice.

Power = ?? miraculous power. Fruit, cf. Galatians 5:22 In this context power seems to be courage, boldness, to stand up and not be ashamed.

Sound mind = one Gk word (1x) σωφρονισμός sōphronismos (so-fron-is-mos’) from G4994; discipline, that is, self control: - sound mind. The Greek word denotes ...a man of prudence and discretion.

Verse 8

2 Timothy 1:8

ESV "the testimony about our Lord" The phrase emphasizes the testimony borne, the message itself.

Prisoner -- Not of Caesar, but of Christ! Ephesians 3:1; Ephesians 4:1; Philemon 1:9 .

Paul considered it the will of God that he should suffer.

Be not ashamed.. doesn’t mean that Timothy was. Gk present imperative with the negative forbids an action already going on. Here the aorist subjunctive with the negative forbids an act not yet begun. (Wuest).

Partaker = "share in suffering for the gospel". This sharing could have resulted in Timothy’s imprisonment, cf Hebrews 13:23. [From the tone of Paul’s words it appears that Timothy’s imprisonment may have been after this writing. My speculation is that Timothy went to Rome to see Paul as he requested, was imprisoned also with him, but probably because his father was not a Jew, he was released. This was a time of great animosity against both Jews and Christians on the part of the Romans.]

Every Christian should know that Christianity doesn’t promise an easy, convenient, popular or man-pleasing course of action, but the readiness to suffer for adhering to the gospel is the will of God.

Problem: the storm of imperial opposition to Christianity following Nero’s false charges caused powerful friends of Paul in Asia, such as the Asiarches of Ephesus ( Acts 19:31) to find it very difficult and political suicide to support Paul in his appearance before Nero’s court. Timothy was not to be influenced by such shameful and cowardice action.

See James 2:24 note "Being Saved" for the importance of confessing our faith in Christ.

Verse 9

2 Timothy 1:9

The word "God" at the end of the proceeding verse precipitated the next few words which become almost a doxology.

Who saved us -- Past tense, ref to what was accomplished at Calvary, or our initial obedience to the gospel.

Holy calling.. synonymous to being saved. A calling to be holy.

Before times eternal.. the plan and the means of its accomplishment have existed eternally, not a reference to individual predestination.

The plan, grace, and the means, in Christ, were predestined. Men then who respond properly will be saved Revelation 22:17 Mark 16:16.

WORKS - James 2:24, James 2:26, John 12:42, Galatians 5:6, Acts 10:34-35, Matthew 7:21, Hebrews 5:9.

Kinds of Works

1. Works of the flesh- Galatians 5:19-21

2. Our own works- Acts 7:41, 2 Timothy 1:9

3. Works of the law of Moses Galatians 2:16

4. Works of obedience- Acts 10:34-35, Luke 6:46, John 6:29.

Verse 10

2 Timothy 1:10

Made manifest -- revealed.

Ref is to Jesus’ appearance in the flesh (not just birth-time) but his birth, ministry, death, resurrection, and ascension is all included in this. This was Paul’s preaching.

Abolished death -- "He made death of none effect" (Wuest) The word means to render idle, inactive, inoperative. Hebrews 2:14

The gospel robbed death of its terrors and enables the Christians to face it with sanity, composure and hope. 2 Corinthians 5:8, [ Matthew 25:21, 2 Corinthians 5:6; Philippians 1:21-24; 2 Corinthians 5:6-8 ; Revelation 1:18; 1 Corinthians 15:55-56; Hebrews 2:14 Cf. Luke 16:19 ff. Ephesians 4:8-10 ; ?? Matthew 27:51-53 ]

Life and immortality to light -- life = eternal life for the soul; immortality = resurrection of the body.

Verse 11

2 Timothy 1:11

Paul reviewed in brief his years of mission work. His message is in v. 9-10.

Verse 12

2 Timothy 1:12

A brief of Paul’s defense before Nero’s court.

The Gk is "my deposit" the metaphor is the action of one person entrusting another with some precious deposit, to be kept for a time and restored whole and uninjured.

Point: What did Paul commit or entrust to God? 1) the gospel; 2) Paul’s work; 3) souls in Paul card; 4) the welfare of his own soul. The context of Paul facing his own execution seems to point to #4 above.

At the end, Paul had no nagging uncertainty, no shadow of doubt, no waning confidence in the Lord.

Not ground upon what he had done, but upon whom he had believed and trusted.

Verse 13

2 Timothy 1:13

Form = pattern. Hebrews 8:5 Acts 7:44

Strange that some would contend there is no pattern. Clearly there is. We might debate as to what the pattern is, but certainly this passage hold up that there is a pattern of sound words to which we should cling.

Hold fast = disaster in departing from them.

Verse 14

2 Timothy 1:14

Good thing -- the gospel. Which Timothy had been ordained to preach, 2 Timothy 4:2.

Keep -- to guard, watch, preserve, protect

By -- through -- dia διά. (a promise that the Holy Spirit would aid men like Timothy in the guarding of it.)

Verse 15

2 Timothy 1:15

Men of Asia; cf. Acts 19:31;

All that are in Asia -- "This does not refer to any general desertion of the faith by Christians throughout Asia, but to the turning away from Paul of any who might have been of help to him in his trial before the imperial government of Nero. The two men named here are examples of those who refused to help Paul. We don’t know any more about them. Were they among Paul’s friends among the Asiarchs (Acts 19:31) of Ephesus? Whoever they were, it seems that Paul had hoped for their support, hence the disappointment evident here." Coffman.

Turned away from me -- This doesn’t refer to deserting the truth, but to the refusal to stand by the apostle in his trial. ... The savage persecution under Nero would sorely test the strongest.

Paul here expresses no criticism, no bitterness or resentment, but the tragic fact itself of being not having these to stand with him, but he takes comfort in the remembrance of one who did not forsake him 2 Timothy 1:16.

Verse 16

2 Timothy 1:16

One who did not desert him.

His household mentioned again in 2 Timothy 4:19.

It is just possible that Onesiphorus, like the apostle, had been imprisoned and was waiting execution, and that the mercy Paul hoped would be extended to his house would be that of their not being arrested and charged similarly, that is, mercy from Nero’s persecution.

Verse 17

2 Timothy 1:17

v.17 found and v. 18 find seems to be an intentional play on words in the Greek. ευρεν - ευρειν

Verse 18

2 Timothy 1:18

This parenthesis causes some to allege that Onesiphorus had already been executed, or was dead. But the language does not absolute require this.

In that day -- seems to refer to the judgment day of Christ, thought some think it refers to his judgment day before Nero’s court.

Carl Spain observes, "If Onesiphorus was awaiting trial, Paul avoids language that might be used against him."

Bibliographical Information
Gann, Windell. "Commentary on 2 Timothy 1". Gann's Commentary on the Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/gbc/2-timothy-1.html. 2021.
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