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Bible Commentaries
2 Timothy 2

Meyer's Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the New TestamentMeyer's Commentary

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2 Timothy 2:3 . In place of σὺ ουν κακοπάθησον , we should read συγκακοπάθησον , which is supported by the weightiest authorities, and adopted by Lachm. Buttm. Tisch. It is found in A C* D* E* F G א 17, 31, al., Vulg. It. Aug. Ambrosiast. Pel. Gildas. The Rec. is found apart from K L only in the altered text of C D E, and especially in the Greek Fathers, for which reason Reiche regards it as the original reading. Probably the beginning of 2 Timothy 2:1 gave occasion to the alteration, which was also recommended by the lack of any word to which the prefixed preposition refers. Even the occurrence in some MSS. of the reading συνστρατιώτης for στρατιώτης is a proof that συγκακοπ . is original. [21]

For Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ we should read Χριστοῦ Ἰησοῦ , following the weightiest authorities. 2 Timothy 2:4 . The words τῷ Θεῷ added to στρατευόμενος in some MSS., etc., have arisen from a misapprehension; the apostle is speaking not of God’s foes, but of foes in general. 2 Timothy 2:6 . The reading πρότερον in א for πρῶτον seems to be a mere correction. 2 Timothy 2:7 . ἃ λέγω ] Lachm. Buttm. Tisch. rightly read ὃ λέγω , after A C F G, 17, al. , Chrys.; is a correction, in order to bring out a reference to the three previous sentences.

ΔΏΣΕΙ ] for ΔΏῌ , after A C* D E F G א 17, al. , Copt. Arm. etc., Ambrosiast. Pel. etc.; δώῃ is explained from 2 Timothy 1:17-18 . 2 Timothy 2:12 . For ἀρνούμεθα we find in A C several cursives, translations, and Fathers, the future ἀρνησόμεθα , which Lachm. Buttm. and Tisch. adopted; the presents ( ὑπομένομεν ; ἀπιστοῦμεν ) seem to be in favour of our adopting the present here; but the very same reason might have suggested the alteration of the future into the present. 2 Timothy 2:13 . After ἀρνήσασθαι we should read γάρ , according to the weightiest authorities, and this Griesb. adopted into the text. 2 Timothy 2:14 . τοῦ κυρίου ] Instead of this, C F G א 37, al. , Copt. Arm. etc., Chrys. Theoph. etc., have ΤΟῦ ΘΕΟῦ (Tisch. 8); but ΤΟῦ ΚΥΡΊΟΥ is the original reading; the correction may be explained from 1 Timothy 5:21 ; 2 Timothy 4:1 .

Instead of the infinite ΛΟΓΟΜΑΧΕῖΝ (C*** D E F G K L א , the cursives, several versions, etc., Tisch.), we find ΛΟΓΟΜΆΧΕΙ in A C* Aeth. Vulg. etc. (Lachm. Buttm.). According to the former reading, the verb ΛΟΓΟΜ . is dependent on ΔΙΑΜΑΡΤΥΡΌΜΕΝΟς ; according to the latter, ΔΙΑΜΑΡΤ . is connected with what precedes, and ΛΟΓΟΜΆΧΕΙ begins a new imperative clause. For the decision on the point, see the explanation of the verse.

ΕἸς ΟὐΔΈΝ ] A C, 17, al. , have ἐπʼ οὐδέν (Lachm. Buttm. Tisch.); F G א (first hand), Vulg. It. Ambrosiast. Pelag. etc., ἐπʼ οὐδενὶ γάρ . Of these various readings, least can be said for ἐπʼ οὐδενὶ γάρ ; it seems to have arisen from an endeavour to form these words in the same way as those that follow; even the γάρ is only an insertion by way of explanation. Of the two others, ἐπʼ οὐδέν is to be preferred as the less usual form; εἰς οὐδέν occurs elsewhere in the N. T., and εὔχρηστος , especially in 2 Timothy 4:11 , is construed with εἰς . 2 Timothy 2:19 . א has πάντας before τοὺς ὄντας , probably a later addition.

κυρίου for Χριστοῦ was rightly adopted by Griesb. 2 Timothy 2:21 . ἡγιασμένον , εὔχρηστον , instead of ἡγιασμ . καὶ εὔχρ ., after A C** D* E* F G, etc. 2 Timothy 2:22 . Between μετά and τῶν there is found πάντων (Lachm. Buttm.) in A C F G 17, 23, al. , Aeth. Slav, etc., Chrys. Theodoret, etc.; F G further omit the article ΤῶΝ . Since ΠΆΝΤΕς stands in the same expression at Romans 11:12 , 1 Corinthians 1:2 , it seems to have been inserted from these passages. Tisch. omits ΠΆΝΤΩΝ , on the authority of D E K L, al. , Vulg. Copt. Syr. etc. 2 Timothy 2:25 . For δῷ , Lachm. Buttm. and Tisch. rightly read δῴη , after A C D* F G א (first hand), 31, al. , Ephr. Chrys. ms. Isidor.

[21] To Reiche’s remark: Quomodo in unius Codicis D lectione συνστρατιώτης lectionis συγκακοπ . praesidium sit, non video, it may be replied that the scribe was probably induced by the previous συγκακ . to prefix συν also before the word στρατιώτης .

Verse 1

2 Timothy 2:1 . After interrupting his exhortations by an allusion to the unfaithful Asiatics and to the faithful Onesiphorus, Paul with σύ resumes his exhortations to Timothy, at the same time connecting them by οὖν with those already given. In the first place, he now appeals to him: ἐνδυναμοῦ ἐν τῇ χάριτι τῇ ἐν Χρ . Ἰησ .] ἐνδυναμοῦσθαι does not mean: “feel oneself strong,” nor: “depend on something” (Heydenreich); but: “become strong, grow strong” (see Ephesians 6:10 ). The active voice is found in 2 Timothy 4:17 and 1 Timothy 1:12 . As the apostle sees the end of his labours draw nearer, he is the more anxious that Timothy, for whom he has the warmest paternal love ( τέκνον μου ), should become a stronger and bolder champion for the Lord.

ἐν τῇ χάριτι ] may either be a completion of the idea of ἐνδυναμοῦ (Wiesinger), or define it more precisely (van Oosterzee, Plitt, Hofmann). The second view is the correct one: Timothy is to become strong by the χάρις ἡ ἐν Χρ ., that he may be capable of discharging faithfully the office entrusted to him; comp. the passage in Ephesians 6:10 .

ἡ χάρις ἡ ἐν Χρ . Ἰ .] is not the office of teacher (Calovius and others), nor is it equivalent to χάρισμα , 2 Timothy 1:6 ; on the other hand, it is not “the life imparted by divine grace,” nor “the redemption” of the Christian (Wiesinger); it is objectively the grace dwelling in Christ, the grace of Jesus Christ, or better: “the grace obtained for us in the person of Christ” (Hofmann).

ἐν is explained by Chrysostom and others as equivalent to διά ; this is not incorrect, only that ἐν indicates a more internal relation than διά . The believer lives in the grace which is in Christ; the strengthening to which Timothy is exhorted can only be effected by his abiding in this grace.

Verse 2

2 Timothy 2:2 . While 2 Timothy 2:3 corresponds with the first verse, 2 Timothy 2:2 seems to contain a thought foreign to this connection. But as the contest to which Paul is exhorting Timothy, consists substantially in the undaunted preaching of the pure gospel and in the rejection of all heresy, it was natural for him to exhort Timothy to see that others were armed with the word for which he was to strive. The true warrior must care also for his companions in the fight.

καὶ ἃ ἤκουσας παρʼ ἐμοῦ ] (comp. 2 Timothy 1:13 : διὰ πολλῶν μαρτύρων ). These words belong immediately to ἤκουσας ; Heydenreich is wrong in supplying μαρτυρούμενα or βεβαιούμενα . According to Clemens Alexandrinus, Hypotyp. i. 7, Oecumenius, Grotius, and others, μάρτυρες is equivalent to νόμος καὶ προφηταί , for which there is as little justification as for the opinion that the other apostles are meant. The preposition διά is explained by Winer, p. 354 [E. T. p. 473]: “intervenientibus multis testibus, with intervention, i.e. here in presence of many witnesses” (so, too, the more recent expositors). Right; but διά is not equivalent to ἐνώπιον (1 Timothy 6:12 ). Διά intimates that the witnesses were present to confirm the apostle’s word, or, as Wiesinger says, “that their presence was an integral element of that act to which the apostle is alluding.”

According to Matthies, van Oosterzee, Hofmann, the apostle is thinking here of his public discourses on doctrine; but the whole character of the expression, particularly also the otherwise superfluous addition of διὰ πολλῶν μαρτύρων , make it more probable that the words refer to a definite fact, the fact spoken of in 1 Timothy 4:14 ; 2 Timothy 1:6 (Wiesinger). In that case, the μάρτυρες are the presbyters and other members of the church who were present at Timothy’s ordination. Mack rightly directs attention to 1 Timothy 4:14 ; but he is wrong in explaining διὰ μαρτ . by διὰ προφητείας “in consequence of many testimonies.”

ταῦτα παράθου πιστοῖς ἀνθρώποις ] Heydenreich: “this doctrine commit to faithful keeping and further communication as a legacy, as a precious jewel” (comp. Herod, ix. 45: παραθήκην ὑμῖν τὰ ἔπεα τάδε τίθεμαι ); but the expression ἃ ἤκουσας does not refer so much to the whole of evangelic doctrine as to the instructions given to Timothy for the discharge of his office.

πιστοῖς ἀνθρώποις ] not “believing,” but “faithful, trustworthy” men.

οἵτινες ἱκανοὶ ἔσονται καὶ ἑτέρους διδάξαι ] Heydenreich thinks that this denotes a second quality of those to be instructed by Timothy, a quality in addition to their “honest sense,” viz. their capacity for teaching; but οἵτινες , which, as contrasted with the simple relative pronoun, refers to a subject undefined, but in various ways definable (see Ellendt, Lex. Soph. II. p. 387), points back to πιστοῖς , so that the meaning is: “who as such,” etc. The future ἔσονται does not stand in the same sense as the present, but denotes their capacity as one depending on the tradition to be imparted to them (“as the consequence of the παρατίθεσθαι ,” Wiesinger). The καί before ἑτέρους ; is not to be overlooked; “others too,” i.e. “others in turn.” Who are the ἕτεροι ? According to the common presupposition, with which van Oosterzee also agrees, the ἕτεροι are the church, or more generally the hearers of the preaching of the gospel. But in this view the καί , which does not belong to ἑτέρους διδάξαι (Hofmann), but to ἑτέρους , is inexplicable; it is more probable that Paul means other πιστοὶ ἄνθρωποι (de Wette, Wiesinger). Paul gathered round him pupils to whom he gave instructions in regard to their office; they, too, are to do the same; those chosen by them the same in their turn, etc., that in the church there may abide a stock of apostolic men who will see to the propagation of pure doctrine.

The words διὰ πολλῶν μαρτύρων show that there is no thought of a secret doctrine; nor is he speaking of the regular employment of teachers who, in the absence of Timothy, are to take his place in the church at Ephesus, “ne sine episcopo vaga oberret ecclesia” (Heinrichs).

Verse 3

2 Timothy 2:3 . Συγκακοπάθησον ] Timothy is not to shun a community of suffering with the apostle, 2 Timothy 1:8 ; 2 Timothy 1:12 ; 2 Timothy 1:16 .

ὡς καλὸς στρατιώτης Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ ] στρατιώτης stands elsewhere in the N. T. only in its proper sense, but, as is well known, the kindred words στρατεία , στρατεύεσθαι , are often used of the Christian life. Here, however, the apostle is speaking not generally of Timothy’s work as a Christian, but more specially of his work in the office committed to him, viz. of his struggle against the opponents of evangelic truth and the toils connected therewith.

Verse 4

2 Timothy 2:4 . “Hoc versu commendatur τό abstine; accedit versu seq. τό sustine” (Bengel).

οὐδεὶς στρατευόμενος ] alludes to στρατιώτης : “no one serving as a soldier” (de Wette); comp. 1 Timothy 1:18 .

ἐμπλέκεται ταῖς τοῦ βίου πραγματείαις [22] ] ἐμπλέκεσθαι elsewhere only in 2 Peter 2:20 .

πραγματείαι ] occurs only here in the N. T. (the verb πραγματεύεσθαι , Luke 19:13 ); αἱ τοῦ βίου πραγμ . are the occupations which form means of livelihood; Heydenreich: “the occupations of the working class as opposed to those of the soldier class.”

From these the στρατευόμενος abstains ἵνα τῷ στρατολογήσαντι ἀρέσῃ ] στρατολογήσας (only here), from στρατολογεῖν : “gather an army, raise troops,” is a term for a general.

Only that soldier who gives himself up entirely to military service, and does not permit himself to be distracted by other things, only he fulfils the general’s will. The application to the στρατιώτης Ἰησ . Χρ . is self-evident; he , too, is to devote himself entirely to his service, and not to involve himself in other matters which might hinder him in his proper calling. The literal interpretation, according to which the apostle or preacher should take no concern whatever in civil affairs, is contradicted by Paul’s own example; according to the precept here given, he is to avoid them only when they are a hindrance to the duties of his office.

[22] Ambros. de Offic. i. 1 : is, qui imperatori militat, a susceptionibus litium, actu negotiorum forensium, venditione mercium prohibetur humanis legibus. Athan. Dict. et Interpr. Parab. S. Ev. qu. 119: εἰ γὰρ ἐπιγείῳ βασιλεῖ ὁ μέλλων στρατεύεσθαι οὐκ ἀρέσει , ἐὰν μὴ ἀφήσῃ πάσας τὰς τοῦ βίου φροντίδας , πόσῳ μᾶλλον μέλλων στρατευθῆναι τῷ ἐπουρανίῳ βασιλεῖ ;

Verse 5

2 Timothy 2:5 . A new thought is added, that the contender who wishes to be crowned must contend νομίμως .

ἐὰν δὲ καὶ ἀθλῇ τις ] καί connects this thought with what precedes: “if one, too, does not permit himself to be kept from the struggle by other occupations;” [23] but the figure here is different from that we had in 2 Timothy 2:4 , ἈΘΛΕῖΝ ( ἍΠ . ΛΕΓ . in the N. T.) denoting the contest in running, to which the Christian calling is often compared; comp. 2 Timothy 4:7-8 ; 1 Corinthians 9:24-25 .

Οὐ ΣΤΕΦΑΝΟῦΤΑΙ , ἘᾺΝ ΜῊ ΝΟΜΊΜΩς ἈΘΛΉΣῌ ] The runner, in order to gain the prize, must in the contest adhere to its definite rules. Theodoret: ΚΑῚ ἈΘΛΗΤΙΚῊ ΝΌΜΟΥς ἜΧΕΙ ΤΙΝᾺς , ΚΑΘʼ ΟὛς ΠΡΟΣΉΚΕΙ ΤΟῪς ἈΘΛΗΤᾺς ἈΓΩΝΊΖΕΣΘΑΙ · ΔῈ ΠΑΡᾺ ΤΟΎΤΟΥς ΠΑΛΑΊΩΝ , ΤῶΝ ΣΤΕΦΆΝΩΝ ΔΙΑΜΑΡΤΆΝΕΙ . In this, too, according to 1 Corinthians 9:25 , ἘΓΚΡΑΤΕΎΕΣΘΑΙ should be observed; comp. Galen, Comm. in Hippocr. i. 15: οἱ γυμνασταὶ καὶ οἱ νομίμως ἀθλοῦντες ἐπὶ μὲν τοῦ ἀρίστου τὸν ἄρτον μόνον ἐσθίουσι , ἐπὶ δὲ τοῦ δείπνου τὸ κρέας . The word ΝΟΜΊΜΩς occurs only here and in 1 Timothy 1:8 .

The thought contained in it is this, that Timothy, in order to share in the reward, must conduct himself in his evangelic warfare according to the laws of his evangelic office.

[23] Hofmann denies this connection of thought, maintaining wrongly that καί could only have this meaning if the apostle had continued to use the same figure.

Verse 6

2 Timothy 2:6 . To the two foregoing sentences Paul adds still another, expressed figuratively: τὸν κοπιῶντα γεωργὸν δεῖ πρῶτον κ . τ . λ . Many expositors assume that there is here an inversion of phrase, and explain the words as equivalent to τὸν γεωργόν , κοπιῶντα πρῶτον , δεῖ τῶν καρπῶν μεταλ ., or as Wahl and Winer (in the earlier editions of his Grammar ) put it, τὸν γεωργὸν , τὸν θέλοντα τῶν καρπῶν μεταλ ., δεῖ πρῶτον κοπιᾷν , so that πρῶτον is attached to κοπιᾷν in meaning, and the sentence contains an exhortation; Beza: necesse est agricolam, ut fructus percipiat, prius laborare. Heinrichs, on the other hand, remarks: nihil attinet, mutare quidquam, aut transponere, dummodo πρῶτον cum Grotio adverbialiter pro ita demum dictum putemus, emphasinque ponamus in τὸν κοπιῶντα . But this explanation of πρῶτον cannot be justified. Matthies, de Wette, and others reject the supposition of any inversion, and explain πρῶτον as “first before all others,” so that the meaning would be: “as the husbandman first enjoys the fruits of the field, so, too, has the servant of the gospel a notable reward to expect for his work” (de Wette); but this thought diverges entirely from that contained in 2 Timothy 2:4-5 , and neglects, besides, the emphasis laid on κοπιῶντα .

It is accordingly to be explained: Not every one, but that husbandman who toils hard at his work, is first to enjoy the fruits; Wiesinger: “the working farmer has the right of first enjoying the fruits, not he who does not work; therefore, if thou dost wish to enjoy the fruits, work.” So, too, van, Oosterzee. Hofmann, against this explanation, upholds the meaning of δεῖ , which does not express what ought to happen, but what must happen, in so far as it lies in the nature of things. Δεῖ certainly has this meaning of necessity (not that of duty); but if κοπιῶντα be regarded as furnishing the condition under which the husbandman tilling the ground must, before all others, be partaker of the fruits of the ground tilled, then δεῖ in the former explanation presents no difficulty; in this case it cannot be said, with Hofmann, that the πρῶτον is meaningless. It is to be observed that κοπιῶντα does not contrast the husbandman who works with the husbandman who does not work, but the husbandman who works hard with the husbandman who carries on his work lazily .

Hofmann, in interpreting the sentence as declaring that Timothy must bear everything, whether good or bad, that arises from his work, departs from the figure, which clearly does not say that the husbandman must content himself alike with good fruit and with weeds, but rather that in the nature of things the husbandman should before all others enjoy the fruit for which he has laboured. It is incorrect, with Theodoret and Oecumenius, to understand πρῶτον of the preference over the pupil which is the teacher’s due; or to find in the words of the apostle the thought that the teacher must appropriate to himself the fruits of the spirit which he wishes to impart to others. Even Chrysostom rightly rejected the opinion, [24] that here the apostle is speaking of the bodily support due to the teacher; but he himself gives the words a wrong subsidiary sense when he thinks that Paul wishes to console Timothy regarding the preference shown in the reward.

[24] This opinion is also brought forward by Otto, who refers all three sentences to anxiety regarding bodily wants, as if Timothy had become careless in his office through fear of suffering want in it. This, however, is a reproof which cannot be justified. Van Oosterzee rightly says: It is undoubtedly a Pauline principle that the teacher has a right to suitable support from the church; but this is not the principle taught here .

Verse 7

2 Timothy 2:7 . As he has been expressing his exhortations in figurative gnomes, Paul thus continues: νόει , ὃ λέγω ] which does not refer immediately to the thoughts expressed, as Heydenreich, Matthies, and others think, but to the form of expression. It does not mean, therefore: “lay these exhortations to heart,” but: “mark or understand what I say” (de Wette); comp. Matthew 24:15 ; Ephesians 3:4 ; Ephesians 3:20 ; so, too, Hofmann, only that he for no sufficient reason refers the words merely to the last sentence. Plitt is of opinion that the apostle is intending thereby to give a quite general warning against misconceptions; but this would be an arbitrary disturbance of the connection of ideas.

To this exhortation Paul confidently adds that God will not fail to bestow on Timothy understanding in this and all other points; γάρ here, as elsewhere, is a particle of explanation.

ἐν πᾶσι belongs to this verse, and not, as Sam. Battier thinks, to the following one.

Verse 8

2 Timothy 2:8 . Μνημόνευε Ἰησοῦν Χριστόν ] μνημονεύειν is usually followed by the genitive; but the accusative is found both here and at 1 Thessalonians 2:9 . Timothy is to remember Jesus Christ, that he may gain the proper strength for discharging his official duties to remember especially His resurrection, in which He triumphed over sufferings and death, and in which is contained for the believer the seal of his victory; [25] hence Paul adds: ἘΓΗΓΕΡΜΈΝΟΝ ἘΚ ΝΕΚΡῶΝ , “as one who rose from the dead.”

The added asyndeton: ἘΚ ΣΠΈΡΜΑΤΟς ΔΑΒΊΔ , does not denote the humiliation, but the Messianic dignity of Christ. [26] The antithetical relation between the two clauses is here the same as in Romans 1:3-4 ( ἐκ σπ . Δαβίδ … ἐξ ἀναστάσεως νεκρῶν ), where it is distinctly marked by κατὰ σάρκα … κατὰ πνεῦμα . Hofmann incorrectly makes both ἐκ σπέρμ . Δ . and ἐκ νεκρῶν depend on ἐγηγερμένον ; in that case the verb would have to be taken in two different senses; besides, ἐκ τ . σπέρμ . is nowhere found in connection with ἐγείρεσθαι . There, is nothing to indicate (Wiesinger) that ἐκ σπἐρμ . Δαβίδ is an antithesis “to the docetic error of the heretics” (van Oosterzee). Heydenreich rightly rejected the secondary references which many expositors give to these words, such as: that they indicate a similarity between the vicissitudes of Christ’s life and those of David; or that they are to serve as a proof of the certainty of Christ’s resurrection (Michaelis); or that they denote the whole state of Christ’s humiliation (Mosheim), and so on.

The added words: κατὰ τὸ εὐαγγέλιόν μου , may be referred either to μνημόνευε κ . τ . λ . (Hofmann), or to the attributes of Ἰησ . Χριστόν . The latter reference is the more probable one; Paul, as a rule, does not use the formula κατὰ τὸ εὐαγγ . to denote the rule for the believer’s conduct, but to confirm a truth he has expressed (comp. Romans 2:16 ; Romans 16:25 ; 1 Timothy 1:11 ). To refer it only to ἐκ σπέρμ . Δ . is arbitrary. Still more arbitrary is Jerome’s opinion, that Paul by τὸ εὐαγγ . μου means the gospel of Luke (Baur).

[25] Hofmann wrongly maintains that “the remembrance of Jesus Christ was not to be a pledge to Timothy of his victory over all he had to encounter for Christ’s sake, but only to make him willing to endure.” Such willingness could only have come to him from the conviction that the victory of Christ was a pledge of victory to the believer.

[26] Hofmann ( Schriftbew . II. 1, pp. 113f.): “Timothy being disinclined to suffer for the gospel’s sake, the apostle reminds him that through death Jesus attained to the heavenly glory, to which He had a right through His descent from the line of David.” Van Oosterzee incorrectly assumes that ἐκ σπέρμ . Δ . simply denotes the human origin of Jesus. The apostle clearly goes beyond this in mentioning David by name.

Verse 9

2 Timothy 2:9 . In this verse Paul again, as before, points to his own example, in order to encourage Timothy to the συγκακοπαθεῖν τῷ εὐαγγελίῳ , 2Ti 1:8 , 2 Timothy 2:3 .

ἐν ᾧ ] according to Paul’s manner, refers to εὐαγγέλιον immediately preceding, and not to the more distant Ἰησοῦν Χριστόν . The preposition ἐν is not equivalent to διά , Colossians 4:3 (Heydenreich). Matthies presses the original signification too far when he gives the interpretation: “the gospel is, as it were, the ground and soil in which his present lot is rooted.” Beza rightly gives the meaning thus: cujus annuntiandi munere defungens; de Wette says: “in preaching which.” Comp. Php 4:3 ; 1 Thessalonians 3:2 . Hofmann incorrectly explains ἐν by “in consequence of,” which ἐν never does mean, not even in 1 Timothy 1:18 .

κακοπαθῶ ] is an allusion to 2 Timothy 2:3 .

μέχρι δεσμῶν ] comp. Philippians 2:8 : μέχρι θανάτου .

Ὡς κακοῦργος directs attention to the criminal aspect of Paul’s bonds, and thereby strengthens the κακοπαθῶ μέχρι δεσμῶν [27] . The word κακοῦργος occurs only here and in Luke’s gospel; it is synonymous with κακοποιός , 1 Peter 4:14 .

ἀλλʼ ὁ λόγος τοῦ Θεοῦ οὐ δέδεται ] Chrysostom explains it: δεσμοῦνται μὲν αἱ χεῖρες , ἀλλʼ οὐχ ἡ γλῶττα ; comp. Philippians 1:12 . The meaning according to this would be: “the bonds do not, however, hinder me from freely preaching the gospel.” But this limitation is not contained in the words themselves; they have rather the more general meaning: “though I (to whom the gospel is entrusted) am bound, the gospel itself is not thereby fettered, but goes freely forth, into the world and works unfettered” (2 Thessalonians 3:1 : ὁ λόγος τοῦ κυρίου τρέχει ). This is the very reason of the apostle’s joy in his bonds, that Christ is preached; comp. Philippians 1:18 . This connection of ideas does not, however, compel us to take διὰ τοῦτο with these words (Hofmann). If so connected, διὰ τοῦτο would rather appear to be a modification added loosely; besides, Paul never places it at the end of a sentence.

Some have wrongly understood by ὁ λόγ . τ . Θ . here, the divine promises, and have taken οὐ δέδεται to mean that these do not remain unfulfilled.

[27] Otto, opposed to Wieseler, rightly remarks that these words do not justify any inference as to an increase in the severity of his imprisonment.

Verse 10

2 Timothy 2:10 . Διὰ τοῦτο ] Bengel: “quia me vincto evangelium currit.” Heydenreich wrongly refers it at the same time to the reward to which 2 Timothy 2:8 alludes. The knowledge that the gospel is unfettered in its influence enables Paul to endure all things for the sake of the ἐκλεκτοί . Διὰ τοῦτο cannot be referred to what follows (Wiesinger), because of the διὰ τοὺς ἐκλεκτούς ; it would be another thing if ἵνα κ . τ . λ . were joined immediately with ὑπομένω ; but even in that case the “abrupt transition” would still be an objection.

πάντα ὑπομένω ] ὑπομένειν does not denote suffering pure and simple, but the willing, stedfast endurance of it.

By adding to πάντα ὑπομένω the words διὰ τοὺς ἐκλεκτούς , explained by the succeeding clause, Paul declares that he patiently endured everything for the sake of the ἐκλεκτοί , because he knows that the gospel is not bound is not made ineffectual by his bonds. Were it otherwise, were the gospel hindered in its influence by his suffering, then he would not endure for the sake of the ἐκλεκτοί . Hofmann has no grounds, therefore, for thinking that the connection of διὰ τοῦτο with the sentence following it would give an impossible sense. It is wrong to supply καί before διὰ τ . ἐκλ . (Heydenreich), as if these words furnished an additional reason to that contained in διὰ τοῦτο .

οἱ ἐκλεκτοί ] This name is given to believers, inasmuch as the deepest ground of their faith is the free choice of God (2 Timothy 1:9 ). Heydenreich leaves it indefinite whether “Christians already converted” are meant here, or “those elected to be future confessors of Christianity;” so, too, Matthies; de Wette, on the other hand, understands only the latter, whereas Grotius and Flatt think only of the former. The words themselves do not prove that Paul had any such distinction in mind; καὶ αὐτοί does not necessarily imply a contrast with present believers (de Wette), but may be quite well used in relation to the apostle himself, who was conscious of the σωτηρία attained in Christ (Wiesinger, van Oosterzee). Comp. especially Colossians 1:24 , where the apostle places his suffering in relation to the ἐκκλησία , as the σῶμα τοῦ Χριστοῦ , of which the ἐκλεκτοί are members. [28] In how far the apostle bears his afflictions διὰ τοὺς ἐκλ ., is told by the words: ἵνα καὶ αὐτοὶ σωτηρίας τύχωσι τῆς ἐν Χρ . Ἰησοῦ . The question how the apostle might expect this result from his πάντα ὑπομένειν , cannot be answered, by saying, with Heinrichs: “as he hoped to be freed from his sufferings;” the result was to be effected not by a release, but by the patient endurance of the suffering, inasmuch as this bore testimony to the genuineness and strength of his faith, not, as van Oosterzee thinks, because the apostle stedfastly continued to preach. The apostle’s suffering for the gospel was itself a preaching of the gospel. We must, of course, reject the notion that Paul regarded his sufferings as making atonement for sin, like those of Christ.

The addition μετὰ δόξης αἰωνίου points to the future completion of the salvation. It directs special attention to an element contained in the σωτηρία , and does not contrast the positive with the negative conception (Heydenreich).

[28] Hofmann rightly remarks: “The apostle names those towards whom he has to fulfil his calling, for the elect’s sake, because this designation denotes the heaviness of his responsibility, if he did not help those destined for salvation to that for which God ordained them.”

Verses 11-13

2 Timothy 2:11-13 . In order to arouse the courage of faith, Paul has been directing attention to the resurrection of Christ and to His own example; he now proceeds, in a series of short antithetical clauses, to set forth the relation between our conduct here and our condition hereafter. This he introduces with the words πιστὸς ὁ λόγος . The γάρ following seems, indeed, to make the words a confirmation of the thought previously expressed, as in 1 Timothy 4:9 (Chrysostom, Oecumenius, Theophylact, Flatt, de Wette, Wiesinger, Plitt); but Paul only uses this formula to confirm a general thought. There is, however, no general thought in the preceding words, where Paul is speaking only of his own personal circumstances. Hence the formula must, as in 1 Timothy 1:15 ; 1 Timothy 3:1 , be referred here to what follows, and γάρ explained by “namely” (so, too, van Oosterzee).

We cannot say for certain whether the sentences following are really strophes from a Christian hymn (Münter, Ueber die älteste christliche Poesie , p. 29, and Paulus, Memorabilia , i. 109) or not; still it is not improbable that they are, all the more that the same may be said of 1 Timothy 3:16 . The first sentence runs: εἰ συναπεθάνομεν , καὶ συζήσομεν ] συν refers to Christ, expressing fellowship, and not merely similarity. De Wette points us to Romans 6:8 for an explanation of the thought; but the context shows that he is not speaking here of spiritual dying, the dying of the old man, which is the negative element of regeneration (against van Oosterzee), but of the actual (not merely ideal ) dying with Christ. In other words, he is speaking of sharing in the same sufferings which Christ endured (so also Hofmann), and whose highest point is to undergo death. The meaning therefore is: “if we in the faith of Christ are slain for His sake;” comp. Philippians 3:10 ; also Romans 8:17 ; Matthew 5:11 ; John 15:20 , and other passages. The aorist συναπεθάνομεν is either to be taken: “if we have entered into the fellowship of His death,” or it denotes the actual termination: “if we are dead with Him, we shall also live with Him.”

συζήσομεν , corresponding to συναπεθάνομεν , is not used of the present life in faith, but of the future participation in Christ’s glorified life (so, too, Hofmann); comp. 1 Thessalonians 5:10 . 2 Timothy 2:12 . The second sentence runs: εἰ ὑπομένομεν , καὶ συμβασιλεύσομεν ] This sentence corresponds with the previous one in both members; comp. Romans 8:17 , where συμπάσχειν and συνδοξασθῶμεν are opposed to one another. On συμβασ ., comp. Romans 5:17 ( ἐν ξωῇ βασιλεύσουσι ); it denotes participation in the reign of the glorified Messiah. [29] Like death and life, so are enduring and reigning placed in contrast.

The third sentence is a contrast with the two preceding: ΕἸ ἈΡΝΗΣΌΜΕΘΑ , sc. Χριστόν ] comp. Matthew 10:33 ; 2 Peter 2:1 ; Jude 1:4 ; used here specially of the verbal denial of Christ, made through fear of suffering. ΚἈΚΕῖΝΟς ἈΡΝΉΣΕΤΑΙ ἩΜᾶς : “he will not recognise us as His own,” the result of which will be that we remain in a state without grace and without blessing. The meaning of this sentence is confirmed by 2 Timothy 2:13 .

ΕἸ ἈΠΙΣΤΟῦΜΕΝ , ἘΚΕῖΝΟς ΠΙΣΤῸς ΜΈΝΕΙ ] ἈΠΙΣΤΕῖΝ does not mean here: “not believe, be unbelieving” [30] (Mark 16:11 ; Mark 16:16 ; Acts 28:24 ), but in correspondence with ἀρνεῖσθαι “ be unfaithful ,” which certainly implies lack of that genuine faith from which the faithful confession cannot be separated. In Romans 3:3 also, unbelief and unfaithfulness go together, since the people of Israel, to whom the λόγια Θεοῦ were given, showed themselves unfaithful to God by rejecting the promised Messiah, and this after God had chosen them for His people.

ἐκεῖνος πιστὸς μένει ] πιστός can only mean “ faithful .” The faithfulness of the Lord is shown in the realization of His decree both in acknowledging and in rejecting; the context preceding shows that the latter reference predominates.

The next words confirm this truth: ἀρνήσασθαι γὰρ ἑαυτὸν οὐ δύναται , which declare the ἀπιστία of the Lord to be an impossibility, since it involves a contradiction of Himself, of His nature.

[29] The συζῆν begins for the believer immediately after his death (Philippians 1:23 ; comp. also Luke 23:43 ); the συμβασιλεύειν not till after Christ’s παρουσία ; comp. Hofmann.

[30] Such is the explanation of Chrysostom, who gives Christ’s resurrection as the subject of unbelief: εἰ ἀπιστοῦμεν , ὅτι ἀνέστη , οὐδὲν ἀπὸ τούτου βλάπτεται ἐκεῖνος , and assigns to ἀρνήσασθαι γὰρ ἑαυτ . οὐ δύν . the strange signification of οὐκ ἔχει φύσιν μὴ εἶναι .

Verse 14

2 Timothy 2:14 . In this verse the apostle goes on to set before Timothy how he is to conduct himself in regard to the heresy appearing in the church.

ταῦτα ὑπομίμνησκε ] ταῦτα refers to the thoughts just expressed and introduced by the formula πιστὸς ὁ λόγος ; of these thoughts Timothy is to remind the church, not future teachers in particular (Heydenreich). The apostle says ὑπομιμνήσκειν , because these thoughts were known to the church; comp. 2 Peter 1:12 ( οὐκ ἀμελήσω … ὑμᾶς ὑπομιμνήσκειν … καίπερ εἰδότας ).

διαμαρτυρόμενος ἐνώπιον τοῦ κυρίου ] 2 Timothy 4:1 ; 1 Timothy 5:21 . With the reading λογομάχει (see the critical remarks) these words belong to what precedes, a new section beginning with μὴ λογομάχει ; on the other hand, with the Rec. μὴ λογομαχεῖν , the infinitive depends on διαμαρτ . Hofmann wishes to take the Rec. imperatively; but to give an imperative force to an infinitive standing among several imperatives, would be something unheard of.

It can hardly be decided which is the right reading. De Wette and Wiesinger have declared themselves for the Rec. , because “the verb διαμαρτ . is commonly used by Paul for introducing exhortations, and is not in keeping with the weak appeal ταῦτα ὑπομίμνησκε .” These reasons, however, are not sufficient, since διαμαρτ . may quite as well be connected with what precedes as with what follows, although it does not occur elsewhere in the N. T. in such a connection; and ταῦτα ὑπομ . is not used by the apostle in so weak a sense that he could not strengthen it by such a form of adjuration. Nor can it be maintained that the exhortation μὴ λογομάχει is unsuitable for Timothy, since there is again at 2 Timothy 2:16 an exhortation quite similar in nature; comp. also 2 Timothy 2:23 . There is more force in Reiche’s observation: supervacaneum … fuisset, Timotheo, uno quasi halitu bis fere idem imperare, μὴ λογομάχει , and 2 Timothy 2:16 , τὰς δὲ … κενοφωνίας περιΐστασο ; but, on the other hand, μὴ λογομάχει is a suitable addition to the exhortation: ταῦτα ὑπομίμνησκε . On the whole, seeing that the transition from the one exhortation to the other is somewhat abrupt, and that the authorities are mostly on the side of the Rec. , this reading should be preferred.

On the conception of λογομαχεῖν , comp. 1 Timothy 6:4 .

εἰς [ ἐπʼ ] οὐδὲν χρήσιμον ] Regarding this appended clause in apposition, see Winer, p. 497 [E. T. p. 669]. χρήσιμος is a word which only occurs here; in Titus 3:9 the ζητήσεις of the heretics are called ἀνωφελεῖς καὶ μάταιοι .

ἐπὶ καταστροφῇ τῶν ἀκουόντων ] “ which is useful for nothing, (serving rather) to the perversion of the hearers ;” Chrysostom: οὐ μόνον οὐδὲν ἐκ τούτου κέρδος , ἀλλὰ καὶ βλάβη πολλή . [31]

ΚΑΤΑΣΤΡΟΦΉ (opposed to Τῇ ΟἸΚΟΔΟΜῇ ) here and in 2 Peter 2:16 , where it has its proper meaning; it is synonymous with ΚΑΘΑΊΡΕΣΙς in 2 Corinthians 13:10 . ἘΠΊ here does not express the aim (Galatians 5:13 ; Ephesians 2:10 ), but the result (Wiesinger). Xenophon, Memor . ii. 19: ἐπὶ βλάβῃ .

[31] The harm of λογομαχεῖν consists not so much in this, “that its tendency with those who listen to it is to make the Christian doctrine seem uncertain, since it produces such contention” (Hofmann), as in this, that those who give ear to it are led away from the fundamental principles of Christianity.

Verse 15

2 Timothy 2:15 . Continuation of the exhortation to Timothy.

σπούδασον σεαυτὸν δόκιμον παραστῆσαι τῷ Θεῷ ] σπουδάζειν expresses the eager striving, as in Ephesians 4:3 , 1 Thessalonians 2:17 , etc., and has a suggestion of making haste, 2 Timothy 4:9 ; 2 Timothy 4:21 ; Titus 3:12 .

δόκιμον , equivalent to probatus, tried , is absolute, and should not be taken with ἐργάτην (Luther, Mack). A more precise limitation is given in the next words: παραστῆσαι τῷ Θεῷ ; comp. Romans 6:13 ; Romans 6:16 , and other passages in the Pauline epistles; here it has the additional meaning: “for the service of.” Hofmann gives an unsuitable construction by joining τῷ Θεῷ in spite of παραστῆσαι with δόκιμον (= “approved by one”), separating ἐργάτην ἀνεπαίσχυντον from one another, and connecting ἐργάτην with δόκιμον , so that ἀνεπαίσχυντον forms a second predicate to ἐργάτην , ὀρθοτομοῦντα κ . τ . λ . being added as a third. All this not only assigns to δόκιμος a meaning which it never has in the N. T. (not Romans 14:18 ; comp. Meyer on the passage), but separates παραστῆσαι from the τῷ Θεῷ standing next to it, although Paul almost never uses the word without adding a dative of the person (comp. in particular, Romans 6:13 ; Rom 12:1 ; 1 Corinthians 8:8 ; 2 Corinthians 11:2 ; Ephesians 5:27 ).

ἐργάτην ἀνεπαισχυντον ] ἐργάτης specially de opere rustico; used, besides, of the work in the field of God’s kingdom (2 Corinthians 11:13 ; Philippians 3:2 ).

ἀνεπαίσχυντος ; in the N. T. a ἅπαξ λεγ ., and in classic Greek used only in Sp. as an adverb with the signification: “immodestly, shamelessly.” It is synonymous with ἀναίσχυντος , which in classic Greek is used only in a bad sense: “one who is not ashamed when he ought to be.” It cannot, of course, have this meaning here. The most reliable interpretation is to keep by the fundamental meaning of the word taken in a good sense: “who is not ashamed, because he has nothing to be ashamed of.” Bengel: cui tua ipsius conscientia nullum pudorem incutiat; de Wette, Wiesinger, van Oosterzee, Plitt translate it simply: “who has nothing to be ashamed of.” Hofmann arbitrarily explains it as equivalent to: “of whom God is not ashamed,” a meaning suitable to the context only if δόκιμος be taken in the sense he maintains. The next words make the definition still more precise: ὀρθοτομοῦντα τὸν λόγον τῆς ἀληθείας ] ὀρθοτομεῖν , ἅπαξ λεγ ., is rightly explained by most as recte tractare (which is the actual translation of the Vulgate); but there is very great variety in the derivation of the notion. Melanchthon, Beza, and others derive the expression ab illa legali victimarum sectione ac distributione Leviticus 1:6 ; Vitringa, from the business τοῦ οἰκόνμου , cui competat panem cibosque frangere, distribuere filiis familias; Pricaeus, a lapicidis; Lamb. Bos, from the ploughers, qui arantes τέμνειν τὴν γῆν , σχίζειν et ἐπισχίζειν ἀροῦρας dicuntur, yet in such a way that is committed to those qui rectas vias insistunt. De Wette (Wiesinger agreeing with him) maintains the latter; recte secare viam, λόγον being put for ὁδόν . Certainly τέμνειν is often joined with ὁδός , κέλευθος ; but it does not follow that in ὀρθοτομεῖν by itself there is contained a reference to the way. [32] As little can we say that any other of the references is contained in it. The word in itself means: “cut rightly,” or, according to Pape: “cut straight, in straight direction;” then, the notion of τέμνειν falling into the background, as is often the case with καινοτομεῖν , it has the more general signification: “deal rightly with something so as not to falsify it.” [33]

Hofmann’s explanation is curious: “cut straight through the word of truth, i.e. cut it, so that it is a straight cut, passing into the heart of it, whereas a slanting cut would not reach the inner part of the word of God, but only touch the outwork.” This explanation apart from other reasons is refuted by the fact that ὀρθοτομεῖν has not the signification: “cut through the middle point.” The Gloss. ordinar. explains it: secundum competentiam singulorum, ut: altis spiritualia, lac distribuere parvulis, so that Paul is directing Timothy to preach the word according to his hearers’ capacity of understanding. This is the meaning also according to Luther’s translation: “who rightly parts the word of truth;” but the thought is entirely foreign to the context. [34]

Chrysostom explains it by τέμνειν τὰ νόθα καὶ τὰ τοιαῦτα ἐκκόπτειν ; so, too, Oecumenius; but this is unsuitable, for there is nothing false in the λόγος τῆς ἀληθ ., and therefore nothing to be separated from it.

The expositors are quite wrong who refer the expression to a life in accordance with God’s word = κατὰ τὸ εὐαγγέλιον ὀρθότατα βιοῦν .

The right interpretation makes it the simple opposite of καπηλεύειν τὸν λόγον τοῦ Θεοῦ , 2 Corinthians 2:17 . [35]

[32] De Wette, indeed, appeals to LXX. Proverbs 3:6 ; Proverbs 11:5 ; but in these passages ὁδόν appears, and the verb, like the יִשֵׁר , has the transitive signification: “make straight, smooth.” Nor does the passage in Eurip. Rhes. v. 422: εὐδεῖαν λόγων τέμνων κέλευθον , justify de Wette’s explanation. The possibility of substituting λόγον for ὁδόν is not proved simply by remarking that “the word is a way.” We certainly do speak of “walking in the path of the divine word, of virtue,” etc., but not of “walking in the divine word, in virtue.”

[33] Perhaps the expression may be explained in this way, that the imparting of the λόγος τῆς ἀληθείας makes it necessary to part it, since only a part of it can be delivered each time; it therefore amounts to saying that this parting is to be done rightly, so that the λόγος τῆς ἀληθείας may receive no injury.

[34] In Beza’s explanation: nihil praetermittere, quod dicendum sit, nil adjicere de suo, nil mutilare, discerpere, torquere, deinde diligenter spectare, quid ferat auditorum captus, the first part alone is to the point.

[35] In the Fathers the word ὀρθοτομία is sometimes found synonymous with ὀρθοδοξία . Clemens Alex. Stromata , vii. p. 762: τὴν ἀποστολικὴν ἐκκλησιαστικὴν σώζων ὀρθοτομίαν τῶν δογμάτων ; but this usage took its rise from the above passage.

Verse 16

2 Timothy 2:16 . Τὰς δὲ βεβήλους κενοφωνίας (comp. 1 Timothy 6:20 ) περιΐστασο ] “ avoid ” (comp. Titus 3:9 , synonymous with ἐκτρέπεσθαι , 1 Timothy 6:20 ); properly: “ go out of the way .” Beza is wrong: cohibe, i. e. observa et velut obside, nempe ne in ecclesiam irrepant.

The reason for the exhortation follows in the next words: ἐπὶ πλεῖον γὰρ προκόψουσιν ἀσεβείας ] προκόπτειν here is intransitive (comp. 1 Timothy 3:9 ; 1 Timothy 3:13 ), and ἀσεβείας is the genitive depending on ἐπὶ πλεῖον , [36] not the accusative, as if προκ . had here the transitive meaning “to further.” The subject is formed by the heretics whom the apostle has in mind, not the κενοφωνίαι , as ὁ λόγος αὐτῶν shows. Hence Luther’s translation is incorrect: “it (evil talking) helps much to ungodly character;” besides, it puts the present for the future. Bengel: Futurum, proprie; est enim praedictio, ut ἕξει , 2 Timothy 2:17 ; comp. 1 Timothy 3:3 ff., 1 Timothy 3:6 . Hofmann wishes a distinction to be made between those who deal in βεβ . κενοφωνίαι and those to whose number Hymenaeus and Philetus belong; and according to him, the subject should be taken from the ὧν ἐστι κ . τ . λ ., so as to mean the followers of these two heretics. We cannot, however, understand why Paul should not have included among the βεβ . κενοφωνίαις the heresy that the resurrection had already taken place, unless this expression be greatly weakened, as Hofmann indeed does, to favour his view of the heresy at Ephesus (see Introduction, § 4). In any case, it is a mistake to take the subject for προκόψουσιν only from what follows, since such subject does not present itself naturally; and there is least ground of all for supposing that it must be οἱ περὶ Ὑμέναιον καὶ Φιλητόν .

The γάρ , which refers only to the sentence immediately preceding, makes the increasing godlessness of the heretics the reason why Timothy should not meddle further with the κενοφωνίαι , but simply oppose to them the word of truth.

[36] In Diod. Sicul. there occurs: ἐπὶ πλεῖον κακίας προβαίνειν ; see Bengel on the passage.

Verse 17

2 Timothy 2:17 . The increase of the ἀσέβεια is closely connected with the further spread of the heresy. On this point the apostle says: καὶ ὁ λόγος αὐτῶν ὡς γάγγραινα νομὴν ἕξει ] γάγγραινα , an eating ulcer, like cancer, called in Galen the cold burn ( σφάκελος ); νομὴν ἔχειν = νέμειν (Acts 4:17 : ἐπὶ πλεῖον διανέμεσθαι ), “ eat into the flesh, spread ;” comp. Polybius (Exodus 2:0 , Tauchnitz), i. 4, viii. 5: ἡ τοῦ πυρὸς νομή is equivalent to the spreading of fire; 2Ti 1:8 ; 2 Timothy 1:16 , used of an ulcer (Pape, s.v. νομή ).

Jerome, Ep. ad Galat. : doctrina perversa, ab uno incipiens, vix duos aut tres primum in exordio auditores reperit, sed paulatim cancer serpit in corpore. The body on which the gangrene is found, and in which it spreads ever wider, is the church. He is therefore speaking here not so much of the intensive increase of the evil (Mack, Wiesinger) in those attacked by it, as of its extensive diffusion (so most expositors), thinking, at the same time, of the ever deepening mark which it is making on the inner life of the church. Chrysostom rightly says: τὸ πᾶν λυμαίνεται ; but his further explanation is not apposite: ἐνταῦθα τὸ ἀδιόρθωτον αὐτῶν δηλοῖ , for the apostle does not say here that the heretics are beyond amendment.

Of these heretics Paul mentions two: Hymenaeus and Philetus, of whom nothing further is known, except that the former is possibly the same as the one named in 1 Timothy 1:20 (see on that passage).

Verse 18

2 Timothy 2:18 . More precise description of the heretics, in the first place generally, as men who “ have erred in regard to the truth ” (de Wette).

περὶ τὴν ἀλήθειαν ἠστόχησαν ] see 1 Timothy 1:6 ; 1 Timothy 6:21 . The chief point in their heresy is given thus: λέγοντες τὴν ἀνάστασιν ἤδη γεγονέναι .

Both Irenaeus and Tertullian mention Gnostics, who denied the resurrection in its literal sense. [37] There is no ground for Baur’s assertion, that there is allusion here to Marcion. The passage in 1 Corinthians 15:12 proves that the doctrine of the resurrection of the dead had even in the apostolic age become a stumbling-block to many in the church.

The denial of these heretics was closely related to views which made a false contrast between flesh and spirit.

They had already exercised an injurious influence on others, as the next words declare: καὶ ἀνατρέπουσι τὴν τινῶν πίστιν ] not: “whereby they make many err in their persuasion;” πίστιν is the Christian faith which includes the certainty of the future resurrection, and ἀνατρέπειν (see Titus 1:11 ) means “ evertere, destroy .”

[37] Comp. Tertullian, De Resurr. chap. xix.: resurrectionem mortuorum distorquent asseverantes ipsam etiam mortem spiritualiter intelligendam … resurrectionem earn vindicandam, qua quis addita veritate redanimatus et revivifactus Deo, ignorantiae morte decussa, velut de sepulcro veteris hominis eruperit.

Verse 19

2 Timothy 2:19 . As a contrast to the unsettling action of the heretics, we have ὁ μέντοι στερεὸς θεμέλιος τοῦ Θεοῦ ἔστηκεν ] θεμέλιος (properly an adjective, supply λίθος ) is originally the foundation-stone of a building; if that signification be retained here, the building can only mean the church of Christ. The question then arises, what is its foundation-stone? and to this various answers have been given. Ambrosius understands it to be God’s promises; Bengel, the fides Dei immota; Heinrichs, the Christian religion; Ernesti, the doctrine of the resurrection (2 Timothy 2:18 ); Calvin, the election of grace. All this is arbitrary. The θεμέλιος must be something which, according to the next verse, can also be regarded as οἰκία , viz. as Heydenreich says: ἐκκλησια τεθεμελιωμένη ὑπὸ Θεοῦ (similarly de Wette and Wiesinger). Paul, however, calls it θεμέλιος , not because that word denotes a building, which is not the case, but because the church, as it was originally set by God in the world, only forms the foundation of the building which is to be perfected gradually (so, too, van Oosterzee). Chrysostom’s explanation is inapposite: αἱ στερεαὶ ψυχαὶ ἑστήκασι πεπηγυίαι καὶ ἀκίνητοι ; for Paul is not thinking here of individual believers, but of the church of which they are members. Possibly the θεμέλιος does not mean anything definite, and the apostle “merely intends to say that the church is firmly founded” (Hofmann); but that is not probable, especially as the attribute στερεός and the verb ἕστηκεν point to a definite, concrete conception in the apostle’s mind.

στερεός and ἕστηκεν form a contrast to ἀνατρέπουσι . Though the faith of some may be destroyed, the foundation of God, i.e. which God has laid, still stands firm, unwavering.

The mark of this is given in the next words: ἔχων τὴν σφραγῖδα ταύτην ] σφραγίς , “the seal,” is partly a means of keeping safe, partly a sign of relevancy, partly a form of declaration whereby a document or the like is proved to be valid. Here it is the inscription [38] on the θεμέλιος , according to Wiesinger, “as a guarantee that the ἐκκλησία ὑπὸ τοῦ Θεοῦ τεθεμελιωμένη has an existence not to be shaken;” or, better still, as God’s testimony to the peculiar nature of the structure (similarly Hofmann: “because through it God so acknowledges the structure as to declare of what nature He means it to be when thus founded”); van Oosterzee combines the two interpretations.

Paul mentions two inscriptions. The first, with allusion to Numbers 16:5 (the LXX. puts וְיֹדֵעַ for וְיֹדַע ), is ἔγνω κύριος τοὺς ὄντας αὑτοῦ . Haec sententia … a parte Dei (Wolf).

ἔγνω ] Bengel: novit amanter, nec nosse desinit, sed perpetuo servat suos: a word of comfort for the believers exposed to the destroying influence of the heretics in the church. The other inscription (with which we may compare Numbers 16:26 ; Isaiah 52:11 ) runs: ἈΠΟΣΤΉΤΩ ἈΠῸ ἈΔΙΚΊΑς Πᾶς ὈΝΟΜΆΖΩΝ ΤῸ ὌΝΟΜΑ ΚΥΡΊΟΥ ] Haec sententia … a parte hominum (Wolf). ἈΔΙΚΊΑ is the sum total of everything opposed to God, including heresy.

ὈΝΟΜΆΖΕΙΝ ΤῸ ὌΝ . Τ . ΚΥΡ . , according to Wahl, is equivalent to קָרָא בְּשֵׁם יְהֹוָה , nomen Dei invocare. This is incorrect; it corresponds rather to the phrase: ἘΠΙΚΑΛΕῖΣΘΑΙ ΤῸ ὌΝΟΜ . ΚΥΡΊΟΥ ( ΤῸΝ ΚΎΡΙΟΝ , 2 Timothy 2:22 ). Bengel correctly says: quisquis nominat nomen Christi, ut domini sui.

This second inscription is an exhortation to believers to abstain from all unrighteousness notwithstanding the seductive influence of the heretics.

Heydenreich: two truths must likewise characterize the indestructible temple of God, the church, and these denote the comfort and hope, but also the duty and reponsibility of the true worshippers of Jesus. [39]

[38] The figure is founded on the custom of placing inscriptions on the doorposts as well as on the foundation-stones; comp. Deuteronomy 6:9 ; Deuteronomy 11:20 ; Revelation 21:14 .

[39] Chrysostom understands θεμέλιος of individual believers, and is therefore compelled to give this thought an incorrect reference: πόθεν δηλαὶ εἰσίν ; ἀπὸ τοῦ τὰ γράμματα ταῦτα ἔχειν ἐπὶ τῶν πραγμάτων , ἀπὸ τοῦ γνωρίζεσθαι ὑπὸ τοῦ Θεοῦ καὶ μὴ συμπαραπόλλυσθαι , ἀπὸ τοῦ ἀφιστάναι ἀπὸ ἀδικίας , ταῦτα τὰ γνωρίσματα τοῦ θεμελίου .

Verse 20

2 Timothy 2:20 . To the church as the θεμέλιος τοῦ Θεοῦ only those belong whom the Lord acknowledges as His, and who abstain from every kind of ἀδικία . This thought is contained in 2 Timothy 2:19 . But there were also in the church ἄδικοι , opposing the gospel by word and deed. This strange fact Paul now explains by a figure: ἐν μεγάλῃ δὲ οἰκίᾳ ] The Greek expositors understand by οἰκία “the world,” to which Calvin rightly objects: ac contextus quidem huc potius nos ducit, ut de ecclesia intelligamus; neque enim de extraneis disputat Paulus, sed de ipsa Dei familia. It is different with the similar passage in Romans 9:21 ff.

οὐκ ἔστι μόνον σκεύη χρυσᾶ καὶ ἀργυρᾶ , ἀλλὰ καὶ ξύλινα καὶ ὀστρὰκινα ] By the former articles are meant the worthy, genuine members of the church; by the latter , those not genuine (not: those less good, Estius, Mosheim, and others): “each class, however, contains degrees within itself; comp. Matthew 13:23 ” (Wiesinger). The apostle’s distinction is given more precisely in the next words, which cannot be referred alike to each of the two classes named, but express the same antithesis: καὶ ἃ μὲν εἰς τιμήν , viz. the σκεύη χρ . κ . ἀργ .; ἃ δὲ εἰς ἀτιμίαν , viz. the σκεύη ξυλ . κ . ὀστράκ . To this Hofmann objects, that the material of the vessels does not determine their purpose and use, and that the second clause, therefore, does not correspond with the first; “the first antithesis rather declares that in the house of God there are members of rich gifts and spiritual attainments, and members whose gifts are few and who spiritually are of no consideration.” But in this way there is manifestly imported an antithesis of which there is no hint in the context. It is indeed true that vessels even of wood and clay may be applied to honourable uses; but undue pressure is laid on the apostle’s words when they are interpreted in accordance with such a possibility.

εἰς τιμήν and εἰς ἀτιμίαν do not refer to the house, nor to their possessor, on whom they bring honour or shame (Matthies), but to the vessels themselves (de Wette, Wiesinger, van Oosterzee). To some honour is given, to others shame, i.e. in the various uses to which they are applied by their possessors. The insertion of ἑτοιμασμένα would give an unsuitable thought; see Meyer and de Wette on Romans 9:21 .

Verse 21

2 Timothy 2:21 . Without explaining the figure, the apostle carries it on, but in such a way as to show to the members of the church how each one may become a vessel to honour.

ἐὰν οὖν τις ἐκκαθάρῃ ἑαυτὸν ἀπὸ τούτων ] ἐκκαθαίρειν , according to classic Greek (also 1 Corinthians 5:7 ), is an intensive form of καθαίρειν (N. T. καθαρίζειν ). Chrysostom rightly says: οὐκ εἶπε · καθάρῃ , ἀλλʼ ἐκκαθάρῃ , τουτέστι , παντελῶς καθάρῃ . The opinion (formerly expressed in this commentary) was incorrect, that ἐκ only foreshadows the ἀπὸ τούτων . The translation is inaccurate: “if one keeps himself pure” (Heydenreich, equivalent to καθαρὸν , ἁγνὸν ἑαυτὸν τηρεῖν ); Luther rightly: “purifies himself.” The word indicates the departure from impure companionship; comp. 2 Timothy 2:19 , ἀποστήτω , and 1 Timothy 6:5 (according to Rec. ), ἀφίστασο ἀπὸ τῶν τοιούτων . [40] Wiesinger makes the construction pregnant: “separate oneself from these by self-purification;” it is more correct, however, to regard the separation itself as the purification.

ἈΠῸ ΤΟΎΤΩΝ ] cannot according to the context be taken as a collective neuter: “from such things,” ἈΠῸ ΤῶΝ ΕἸΡΗΜΈΝΩΝ , ἨΓΟῦΝ ἈΔΙΚΊΑς , ἈΤΙΜΊΑς , or even ἈΠῸ ΤῶΝ ΒΕΒΉΛΩΝ ΚΕΝΟΦΟΝΙῶΝ , 2 Timothy 2:16 ; it refers rather to ΔῈ ΕἸς ἈΤΙΜΊΑΝ . Luther: “from such people;” comp. the passage quoted, 1 Timothy 6:5 . Hofmann is altogether mistaken in his curious idea that ἈΠῸ ΤΟΎΤΩΝ means “from that time forward,” and is to be connected with what follows. This reference is nowhere in the N. T. expressed by ἈΠῸ ΤΟΎΤΩΝ (comp. Matthew 26:29 : ἈΠʼ ἌΡΤΙ ); besides, this more precise definition of ἜΣΤΑΙ is quite superfluous, whereas ἘΚΚΑΘΆΡῌ ἘΑΥΤΌΝ without more precise definition is too general.

ἜΣΤΑΙ ΣΚΕῦΟς ΕἸς ΤΙΜῊΝ , ἩΓΙΑΣΜΈΝΟΝ ] Lachmann has wrongly deleted the comma between ΤΙΜ . and ἩΓΙΑΣΜ . ΕἸς does not depend on ἩΓ ., but ΣΚ . ΕἸς ΤΙΜ . forms here, like ΜῈΝ ΕἸς ΤΙΜΉΝ in 2 Timothy 2:20 , one idea to which various attributes, ἡγιασμένον being the first, are added in order to describe the nature of such a ΣΚ . ΕἸς ΤΙΜ .

ἩΓΙΑΣΜΈΝΟΝ ] is not = ΣΚΕῦΟς ἘΚΛΟΓῆς , Acts 9:15 (Heydenreich), but: “ sanctified ;” as belonging to the Lord. Εὔχρηστον = “ good for using ;” τῷ δεσπότῃ , “ the master of the house ;” εἰς πᾶν ἔργον ἀγαθὸν ἡτοιμασμένον (comp. Revelation 9:7 ), “ prepared for every good work .” While all expositors join τῷ δεσπότῃ with ΕὔΧΡΗΣΤΟΝ , Hofmann prefers to refer it to what follows, without giving any reason for so doing. Elsewhere in the N. T. ΕὔΧΡΗΣΤΟς occurs only in connection with the dative of more precise definition (2 Timothy 4:11 ; Philemon 1:11 ).

[40] Bengel remarks: Activum cum pronomine reciproco indicat liberrimam facultatem fidelium. Beza seeks, on the other hand, to save the doctrine of predestination: Volumus et efficimus, sed per eum qui gratis et in solidum efficit in nobis bonam et efficacem voluntatem, turn quod ad διάθεσιν , tum quod ad ἐνέργειαν attinet.

Verse 22

2 Timothy 2:22 . Timothy is exhorted to Christian behaviour; it is impossible to overlook the connection with what precedes.

τάς δὲ νεωτερικὰς ἐπιθυμίας ] νεωτερικαί is ἅπ . λεγ ., juveniles, quibus juvenes indulgent, not cupiditates rerum novarum. Chrysostom and Theophylact rightly remark that the meaning is not to be limited too closely to πορνεία . Theodoret: τρυφὴν , γέλωτος ἀμετρίαν , δόξαν κενὴν καὶ τὰ τούτοις προσόμοια . Hofmann supposes that the desires are meant which are found in younger members in contrast with those advanced in years, e.g. the desire for brilliant gifts and offices; but neither the context nor the expression supports his interpretation. This reference is rather a pure importation into the text, and is adopted by Hofmann that it may agree with his erroneous view of 2 Timothy 2:20 ; it is opposed, finally, by the δίωκε δικαιοσύνην κ . τ . λ .

δίωκε δὲ δικαιοσύνην κ . τ . λ .] very similar to 1 Timothy 6:11 .

εἰρήνην , “ i.e. inner fellowship and harmony” (de Wette).

μετά should not be construed with δίωκε , but with εἰρήνην ; comp. Hebrews 12:14 .

μετὰ πάντων τ . ἐπικαλουμένων τὸν κύριον ] This expression occurs somewhat frequently as a name for Christians; comp. Acts 2:21 ; Acts 9:14 ; Romans 10:12 . The passage in 1 Corinthians 1:2 shows that Christ is meant by κύριος .

ἐκ καθαρᾶς καρδίας ] belonging not to δίωκε but to ἐπικαλουμένων , stands here in special contrast to the heretics who did also call Christ their Lord, but not from a pure heart. Chrysostom’s remark: μετὰ τῶν ἄλλων οὐ χρὴ πρᾷον εἶναι , goes too far, since in 2 Timothy 2:25 there is an express appeal for πρᾳότης towards the ἀντιδιατιθέμενοι ; still the believer can only keep peace with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart, the others he must oppose. Εἰρήνη is mentioned last, because the apostle is thinking of it specially; comp. the next verses.

Verse 23

2 Timothy 2:23 is in contrast ( δέ ) with 2 Timothy 2:22 . As in 1 Timothy 1:4 ; 1 Timothy 6:4 , ζητήσεις are brought forward as the characteristic of heresy. Paul calls them μωραὶ καὶ ἀπαίδευτοι ] μωραί , Titus 3:9 .

ἀπαίδευτοι , properly, “uninstructed;” in N. T. ἅπ . λεγ .; more frequently found in LXX. and Apocrypha, but only in reference to persons. It is synonymous with μωρός ( כְּסִיל ); even here, where it refers to things, it is synonymous with μωρός (= ineptus). There is no just ground for Hofmann’s supposition, that it is to be derived here not from παιδεύεσθαι , but from παιδεύειν , and hence that it means “unsuited for educating spiritually” (Mosheim, Heydenreich, Mack, Matthies).

On παραιτοῦ , comp. 1 Timothy 4:7 ; 1 Timothy 5:11 .

εἰδώς does not give the reason why Timothy should follow the exhortation (equivalent to “since, or because, you know”); it forms part of the exhortation in the sense: “as you know (consider);” comp. Tit 3:11 ; 1 Corinthians 15:58 ; Colossians 3:24 ; Colossians 4:1 .

ὅτι γεννῶσι μάχας ] μάχαι , James 4:1 , synonymous with πόλεμοι ; opposed to εἰρήνη , 2 Timothy 2:22 .

Verses 24-26

2 Timothy 2:24-26 . In regard to the last thoughts, Paul gives a sketch of the conduct which beseems the δοῦλος κυρίου . Δοῦλος κυρίου is here, as often, one who has been charged with the office of preaching the gospel.

Οὐ δεῖ μάχεσθαι ] Luther is inaccurate: “must not be disputatious;” it does not denote so much the disposition as the act, and is in close relation with the preceding μάχας ; it furnishes the reason, therefore, why he should not devote himself to foolish investigations, which only give rise to contentions.

ἀλλʼ ἤπιον εἶναι πρὸς πάντας ] ἤπιος , here and at 1 Thessalonians 2:7 , “ amiable, friendly ;” properly, “addressing in a friendly manner;” it forms a pointed antithesis to μάχεσθαι .

διδακτικόν (1 Timothy 3:2 ). Hoc non solum soliditatem et facilitatem in docendo, sed vel maxime patientiam et assiduitatem significat, Bengel. According to the context here, the word expresses not only the ability, but also the willingness to teach.

ἀνεξίκακον ] ἅπ . λεγ . ( ἀνεξικακία , Wis 2:19 , kindred in meaning with ἐπιείκεια ), denotes the opposite of irritability: “ patient, submissive ” in regard to contradiction (perhaps slanderous). 2 Timothy 2:25 . ἐν πρᾳότητι is wrongly joined by Luther with ἀνεξίκακον : “who can endure the wicked with gentleness;” it belongs rather to what follows, and describes the manner of παιδεύειν .

παιδεύειν is here equivalent not to erudire, but to corripere. Luther: “punish,” set right, see 1 Timothy 1:20 .

τοὺς ἀντιδιατιθεμένους ] ἅπ . λεγ ., synonymous with ἀντιλέγοντες , Titus 1:9 , and denoting all opposed to the word of truth preached by the δοῦλος κυρίου . The context compels us to interpret it not as “the unbelievers” (Hofmann), but specially the heretics. The name, however, is not given to them because they are “weak in faith” (Wiesinger). Luther’s translation is too strong: “contumacious;” comp. with this passage Titus 1:9 ; Titus 1:13 . The rule here laid down is not in contradiction with the ἔλεγχε αὐτοὺς ἀποτόμως , Titus 1:13 , not because the ἀντιδιατιθέμενοι here are different from the ἀντιλέγοντες of Titus 1:9 , as Hofmann maintains, but because even with the ἐλέγχειν ἀποτόμως there should also be the ἐν πρᾳότητι παιδεύειν . The purpose which should guide the servant of the Lord in his conduct towards the ἀντιδιατιθέμενοι is given in the next words.

μήποτε δώῃ αὐτοῖς ὁ Θεὸς μετάνοιαν ] μήποτε , “whether it may not be,” is joined with the conjunctive and the optative; comp. Buttmann, p. 220. The μετάνοια is here supposed to be necessary because the ground of opposition is ἀδικία ; μετάνοια is the change of thought which is necessary εἰς ἐπίγνωσιν ἀληθείας . 2 Timothy 2:26 . καὶ ἀνανήψωσιν ἐκ τῆς τοῦ διαβόλου παγίδος ] In the verb ἀνανήφειν , the ἀνα may express motion from beneath, as in other verbs thus compounded ( e.g. ἀναζέω ), so that it is equivalent to “become sober,” i.e. “come up out of the stupefaction which holds them down” (Hofmann [41] ); but the usual meaning of the word in classic Greek is, however, “become sober again .” If the word has this meaning here, then the ἀντιδιατιθέμενοι must be the heretics. The error into which they had fallen is to be compared with the intoxication which beclouds men’s wits; the verb is ἅπ . λεγ . In 1 Corinthians 15:34 we have ἐκνήφειν .

The figure παγίς is certainly not in harmony with this verb; but a collocation of various figurative expressions is not infrequent; here it is more easy to justify it, as an intermediate thought like καὶ ῥυσθῶσιν (Heydenreich) may be at once supplied. The collocation may indeed be altogether avoided, if, with Michaelis and Hofmann, we connect ἐκ τῆς … παγίδος with ἐζωγρημένοι following; but against this there is the signification of this word, which does not mean being saved, but being taken captive.

ἐζωγρημένοι ὑπʼ αὐτοῦ εἰς τὸ ἐκείνου θέλημα ] ζωγρεῖν has here the same meaning as in Luke 5:10 : “ catch, ” the notion “alive” being allowed to fall into the background. It is questionable whether the devil or the δοῦλος κυρίου (2 Timothy 2:24 ) is to be regarded as the ζωγρῶν . Several expositors, Wetstein, Bengel, Mack, Wiesinger, Hofmann, and others, have declared themselves in favour of the second view. But against this there is the perfect, since the ἀνανήφειν does not take place until they have been caught by the δοῦλος Θεοῦ ; [42] besides, the meaning thus obtained would be open to the reproach of being too artificial. [43]

With the first view (Matthies, de Wette, van Oosterzee, Plitt) ἐζωγρημένοι may be joined in a natural sense with the preceding ΠΑΓΊΔΟς ; Luther is therefore right: “by whom they are caught at his will.” The last words: ΕἸς ΘΈΛΗΜΑ , are by Beza joined with ἈΝΑΝΉΨΩΣΙΝ : ad illius, nempe Dei, voluntatem, videlicet praestandam; hunc enim locum sic esse accipiendum mihi videtur utriusque illius relativi pronominis ( ΑὐΤΟῦ ἘΚΕΊΝΟΥ ) proprietas et ipsa constructio postulare. But ἘΚΕΊΝΟΥ may very easily refer to the same subject as ΑὐΤΟῦ ; see the passage cited by de Wette; Plato, Cratylus , p. 430 E: δεῖξαι αὐτῷ , ἂν μὲν τύχῃ , ἐκείνου εἰκόνα ; comp. also Kühner, § 629, A 3.

As with Beza’s interpretation, ἘΖΩΓΡ . ὙΠ . ΑὐΤΟῦ , “would be made too bare” (de Wette), the additional clause under discussion is to be joined with ἘΖΩΓΡΗΜΈΝΟΙ , as indeed it ought to be, according to its position.

Aretius takes the correct view of ἘΖΩΓΡ ., but wrongly explains the words ΕἸς Κ . Τ . Λ . as equivalent to “according to God’s will, i.e. so long as God pleases.” Heinrichs, too, though he refers ἐκείνου rightly, wrongly says it is equivalent to ex suo arbitrio, pro suo lubitu. ΕἸς stands here rather as in 2 Corinthians 10:5 ; the ΘΈΛΗΜΑ ΤΟῦ ΔΙΑΒΌΛΟΥ is regarded “as a local sphere” into which they have been. taken; see Meyer on the passage quoted.

[41] Hofmann appeals to ἀναζῆν , Romans 7:9 , for this signification; but comp. Meyer on that passage.

[42] Hofmann does not acknowledge the validity of the objection: “The perfect partic. express nothing else than a condition abiding thenceforward;” but this “thenceforward” is quite unsuitable here, for in the connection of ἐζωγρημένοι with ἀνανήψωσι that perfect does not show the position into which they enter only by ἀνανήφειν and which remains thenceforward, but to the position in which they were when the ἀνανήφειν took place.

[43] This is valid also against Theophylact’s explanation: ἐν πλάνῃ νήχονται ἀλλὰ ζωγρηθέντες ὑπὸ Θεοῦ … ἀνανήψωσιν ἀπὸ τῶν ὑδάτων τῆς πλάνης .

Bibliographical Information
Meyer, Heinrich. "Commentary on 2 Timothy 2". Meyer's Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/hmc/2-timothy-2.html. 1832.
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