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Bible Commentaries

Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament

2 Timothy 4

Verse 1

2 Timothy 4:1 . Οὖν , therefore ) This is deduced from the whole of ch. 3 ἐγὼ , I ) whom thou hast known, ch. 2 Timothy 3:14 . ζῶντας καὶ νεκροὺς , the living and the dead ) Paul’s death was at hand, while Timothy was to survive. κατὰ ) then when He shall appear; κατὰ refers to time, Hebrews 1:10 [ Κατʼ ἀρχάς ]. ἐπιφάνειαν ) ἐπιφάνεια καὶ βασιλεία is a Hendiadys: ἐπιφάνεια is the revelation and rise of the kingdom , 1 Timothy 6:14-15 .

Verse 2

2 Timothy 4:2 . Ἐπίστηθι ) be instant , be urgent. εὐκαίρως , ἀκαίρως ) Pricæus understands the word as it were proverbially, for assiduously , or at every time; and brings in support of his view the examples which follow: Nicetus Choniates: παιδαγωγῷ ἐμβριθεῖ ἐοικὼς , εὐκαίρως ἀκαίρως ἀπέπληττεν , “like a severe schoolmaster, he was always beating, in and out of season.” Such is that expression of the Tragic writer Seneca: Incipe quicquid potes, Medea, quicquid non potes , “Medea, attempt whatsoever thou canst do and whatsoever thou canst not do;” i.e. anything whatever. Of Plautus: qui comedit quod fuit, quod non fuit , “one who eats up what there was, what there was not;” i.e. who devours everything. Of Terence: cum milite isto prœsens absens ut sies , “that whether present or absent, thou mayest be with that soldier.” Of Catullus: Hoc facias, sive id non pote, sive potest , “Do this, whether it be impossible or possible;” i.e. it must be done. Of Julian: ἐπορεύετο ἐπὶ τὰς τῶν φίλων οἰκίας ἄκλητος κεκλημένος , διαλλάσσων τοὺς οἰκειοτάτους ἀλλήλοις , “he went to the houses of his friends, whether invited or not, reconciling those most nearly related to one another.” Of Aristophanes: δικαίως καὶ ἀδίκως , “justly and unjustly,” where the Scholia say, “for in every way .” Of Virgil: digna, indigna pati , “to suffer things, worthy and unworthy;” where Servius says, it is a proverbial expression for all things . Of Terence: justa injusta, “things just or unjust;” where Donatus says, expressions of this kind are proverbial “fanda nefanda,” right or wrong; “digna indigna,” worthy or unworthy. Pricæus has collected these examples, and more, all of which do not rest on the same footing as the example in the text. This is the meaning of the apostle: Be instant at ordinary and proper times, and beyond these, whether it be convenient for thyself and thy hearers or not, night and day; Acts 20:31 . ἔλεγξον , ἐπιτίμησον , reprove, rebuke ) The want of the conjunction is here appropriate. All these things do no violence to long-suffering [ch. 2 Timothy 3:10 , 2Ti 2:24-25 ], but require it. διδαχῇ , in doctrine ) ch. 2 Timothy 2:24 , note.

Verse 3

2 Timothy 4:3 . Ἔσται ) will be , and now is, ch. 2 Timothy 3:1 . διδασκαλίας , doctrine ) The concrete follows, teachers . He who despises sound doctrine, leaves sound teachers; they seek instructors like themselves. [13] ἐπιθυμίας ) carnal lusts , in the indulgence of which they are unwillingly interrupted by true teachers, and the seasoning of which they seek in the sweetness of softer (laxer) doctrine. ἐπισωρεύσουσι , they shall heap up ) A weighty compound, denoting abundance. Variety delights those who have itching ears.

[13] “Similes labra lactucas quærunt.” Our proverb is, “like teacher, like pupil,” or “like priest, like people.” TR.

Verse 4

2 Timothy 4:4 . Τὴν ἀκοὴν , their hearing ) The ear of man does not brook teachers who are opposed to the lusts of the heart.

Verse 5

2 Timothy 4:5 . Νῆφε ἐν πᾶσι , watch in all things ) in all circumstances, so as never to fall asleep. So περὶ πάντα , Titus 2:7 . ἔργον , the work ) 1 Timothy 3:1 . ποίησον , do ) The journey to Paul is chiefly included. εὐαγγελιστοῦ , of an evangelist ) A magnificent term. πληροφόρησον , fulfil ) by resisting those (followers of their own lusts), and coming to me. The same word occurs, 2 Timothy 4:17 .

Verse 6

2 Timothy 4:6 . Ἐγὼ γὰρ , for I ) A cause which should influence Timothy to the discharge of his duty, the departure and final blessedness of Paul. The end crowns the work . ἤδη , now by this time ) As the time was indicated to Peter, 2 Peter 1:14 , so also to Paul. σπένδομαι , I am poured out as a libation [ I am ready to be offered ]) Philippians 2:17 , note [His converts were the sacrifice or offering, he the minister officiating; and his blood the libation to be poured on the sacrifice]. ἀναλύσεως , of my departure ) Ibid., Philippians 1:23 , note.

Verse 7

2 Timothy 4:7 . Τὸν ἀγῶνα καλὸν ) that good fight . Comp. 1 Timothy 6:12 , note. τὴν πίστιν , the faith ) The real thing, twice expressed by metaphor, is now in this the third instance expressed without a figure. τετήρηκα , I have kept ) to the end, Revelation 2:10 .

Verse 8

2 Timothy 4:8 . Λοιπὸν , Henceforth ) How delightful is this particle! the decisive moment. Paul, in accordance with the actual moment of his departure, looks to his three states: 1. the past, I have fought; 2. the immediately present, there is laid up; 3. the future, the Lord shall give . ἀπόκειται , there is laid up ) after all hardship and danger have been for ever overcome. δικαιοσύνης ) of righteousness , for which I have contended. The righteous refers to this. στέφανος , a crown ) The crown used to be bestowed after wrestling, running, fighting. ἀποδώσει , will award ) The word righteous accords with this, 2 Thessalonians 1:6-7 . ὁ Κύριος , the Lord ) Christ. Of whom also, 2 Timothy 4:1 ; 2 Timothy 4:14 ; 2 Timothy 4:17-18 ; 2 Timothy 4:22 , speak. ἐν ἐκείντῇ ἡμέρᾳ , in that day ) Whether or not Paul knew of the first resurrection, and claimed any such thing for himself, I do not know. That day is the last the day of the universal judgment. A great part of the glory will then, and not till then, be added to the elect, 2 Corinthians 5:10 ; a passage which ought to be understood universally. There is nothing to prevent the partakers of the first resurrection from receiving a crown also at the last day, and from obtaining in that general assembly of all men an entirely new award of praise. The number of the brethren , Matthew 25:40 , will be far less than that of the others who conferred benefits upon them. Therefore the favourable sentence passed upon those ‘brethren’ is taken for granted as already awarded. [14] ἐμοὶ , to me ) Individual application. πᾶσι , to all ) This is a great additional source of joy to Paul; it is calculated to sharpen Timothy. Paul had gained many of these. ἠγαπηκόσι , who love and have loved ) This has a higher signification in the preterite, than ἀγαπήσας , 2 Timothy 4:10 ; where see a mournful antithesis. This desire of the appearing of the Lord presupposes in the individuals the whole state of sincere Christianity, especially faith. A Metonymy of the consequent for the antecedent. ἐπιφάνειαν , His appearance ) viz. the first and the second.

[14] The ‘brethren’ are supposed as already having had glory awarded to them, and as sitting beside the Judge as His assessors in judgment. ED.

Verse 9

2 Timothy 4:9 . Σπούδασον , do thy diligence ) This word is repeated, 2 Timothy 4:21 . ἐλθεῖν πρός με , to come to me ) That which Paul handled hitherto somewhat covertly, he at length, in the epilogue of the epistle, states openly, 2 Timothy 4:21 . Timothy was both about to be a comfort to Paul the martyr, and about to be strengthened by him, and afterwards was about to carry on the work of the Gospel, perhaps, for some little time at Rome. He is reported to have become a martyr at Ephesus.

Verse 10

2 Timothy 4:10 . [15] Εἰς Θεσσαλονίκην ) The Scholiast M.S. in the Medic. Library , καὶ ἐκεῖ ( at Thessalonica ) ἱερεὺς εἰδώλων γενόμενος , “and ( Demas ) became there ( at Thessalonica ) an idolatrous priest;” of which I have read nowhere else: Pricæus. Γαλατίαν , Galatia ) This reading seems to have crept in here owing to the rhythm it forms to Δαλματίαν . Adequate authorities have ΓΑΛΛΊΑΝ ; [16] and some who retain ΓΑΛΑΤΊΑΝ refer it to Western or European Galatia, i.e. Gaul. See Pregizeri Suevia Sacra, page 499, seq. ex P. de Marca. Τίτος , Titus ) He therefore departed from Crete, after the affairs of the churches were “set in order” there, Titus 1:5 . These persons had either attended or visited Paul.

[15] γὰρ , for ) Paul is almost left alone. V. g.

[16] Hence the margin of the 2d Ed. raises the reading Γαλλίαν , formerly marked ε , to γ , and the Germ. Vers. has entirely adopted it. E. B.

AD( Δ )G fg Vulg., Iren., and Rec. Text, read Γαλατίαν . C is the only very old MS. which supports Γαλλίαν : so Epiphanius and Jerome. ED.

Verse 11

2 Timothy 4:11 . Λουκᾶς , Luke ) Luke has not brought down the history of the Acts of the Apostles to this period. μόνος , alone ) He is speaking of his companions; for he had many other friends present: 2 Timothy 4:21 . εὔχρηστος , profitable ) more than formerly, Acts 13:13 ; Acts 15:38 : comp. Philemon 1:11 . Demas apostatizes: Mark recovers himself: but he (viz. Mark), who had gone away in the case of an easier undertaking, ought now to be present in a time of more serious difficulties.

Verse 12

2 Timothy 4:12 . Τυχικὸν , Tychicus ) whom Timothy might set over the Church [in his own absence when going to Paul]; but Paul leaves this to himself [without even suggesting that he should do so]: comp. Titus 3:12 .

Verse 13

2 Timothy 4:13 . Τὸν φαιλόνην , the cloak ) Some take it for a book-case; but it would not be called a case apart from the books. ἀπέλιπον , I left ) The cloak, perhaps, when they first laid violent hands on Paul, might have been taken from him at Rome, if he had brought it with him. Now when Timothy is desired to bring it, personal security is not obscurely promised to him. παρὰ Κάρπῳ , with Carpus ) The man must have been very faithful, to whom the apostle would entrust this most precious deposit.

Verse 14

2 Timothy 4:14 . Ἐνεδείξατο , exhibited towards or occasioned me [did me]) at Ephesus, or even at Rome. ἀποδῴη , reward ) The apostle knew that he would not be unavenged; he therefore [does not hereby indulge in revenge, but] expresses his acquiescence in the judgment of the Lord. λίαν , greatly ) Therefore he will not discontinue. ἡμετέροις , our ) Believers have a common cause and interest: and Timothy already at that time was the companion of Paul. This adversary was there, where Timothy was, and where Paul had been, viz. at Ephesus, and Timothy must therefore be on his guard against him.

Verse 16

2 Timothy 4:16 . Πρώτῃ , in the first ) ( defence ). It was now therefore the second; and at it he wishes Timothy to be present with him, and is confident that the Lord will stand by him, that he may overcome. συμπαρεγένετο ) The σὺν indicates that they were in no great danger. [17] ἐγκατέλιπον , forsook ) from fear. μὴ αὐτοῖς λογισθείη , may it not be laid to their charge) The greatness of the sin is hereby implied, as well as the wish of Paul: the αὐτοῖς , to them ( to their charge ), as being put before the verb, intimates, that it will be laid to the charge of those who had deterred the godly from standing by him. [18]

[17] Πάντες , all ) Lamentable to hear. V. g.

[18] That is to say, the αὐτοῖς is emphatic, being put first, “May it not be laid to their charge,” to the charge of the godly who were intimidated: implying, that will be sure to be laid to the charge of those who intimidated them. ED.

Verse 17

2 Timothy 4:17 . Ὁ δὲ Κύριος , but the Lord ) the more on this account. παρέστη , stood by me ) This is more than παραγίνεσθαι , to be present . ἐνεδυνάμωσε , strengthened me ) The opposite is, forsook . ἵνα διʼ ἑμοῦ , that by me ) One single occasion is often of the greatest moment. πάντα τὰ ἔθνη all the Gentiles ) of whom Rome was the capital. ἐῤῥύσθην ἐκ στόματος λέοντος , I was delivered out of the mouth of the lion ) Psalms 22:22 , σῶσόν με ἐκ στόματος λέοντος . We may suppose that Paul had seen a vision under the form of a lion. The lion signifies either Nero, or some one who threatened danger. It is at all events a figurative expression; for he would have said, from the mouth of the lions , if he intended beasts without a figure. I was delivered , he says, not He delivered me , because, that the Lord had done it , was not outwardly apparent.

Verse 18

2 Timothy 4:18 . Καὶ , and ) Hope draws its conclusions from the past to the future. ῥύσεταί με , shall deliver me ) Paul understands (views) all things on the side of salvation. Does he live? He has been delivered. Shall he be beheaded? He will be delivered; the Lord being his deliverer. ἔργου πονηροῦ ) The antithesis is αὐτοῦ , His . καὶ , and ) A sweet conjunction. He is the Lord, and the Deliverer, 1 Thessalonians 1:10 ; and Saviour, Philippians 3:20 . He takes away evil, He confers good things. σώσει , will preserve ) This word was in Paul’s mind from the Psalm quoted above. βασιλείαν , kingdom ) better than that of Nero. ᾧ ἡ δόξα , to whom be the glory ) The very hope produces a doxology: how much greater will be the doxology, which the actual enjoyment will produce!

Verse 20

2 Timothy 4:20 . Ἔραστος Τρόφιμον , Erastus Trophimus ) The reason why these do not send salutations, is by implication indicated. ἔμεινεν , remained ) while I was prosecuting my journey. The second imprisonment of Paul was not long; for he wrote these things a short time after his journey, a little before his death. ἐν Κορίνθῳ , at Corinth ) his native country, Romans 16:23 . [19] ἐν Μιλήτῳ , at Miletus ) Miletus was near Ephesus. Whether Timothy knew of the sickness of Trophimus or was ignorant of it, still Paul might have mentioned it. And perhaps Trophimus accompanied Timothy afterwards to Rome. The Scholiast on this passage in Pricæus says: “Trophimus, Aristarchus, and Pudens, after they had suffered severely with the apostle in the persecutions, were at last beheaded along with him.”

[19] Ἀπέλιπον , I left ) Therefore Paul had returned from Asia to Rome not very long before. V. g.

Verse 21

2 Timothy 4:21 . Πρὸ χειμῶνος , before winter ) In former times, during the actual winter, there was almost no sailing; and the martyrdom of Paul was at hand. ἐλθεῖν , to come ) He is invited by the mention of Eubulus , etc., who were with Paul, and were notwithstanding alive [therefore Timothy need not be afraid of his life in coming]. καὶ Λίνος , and Linus ) He is put third in order; he was not yet a bishop.

Verse 22

2 Timothy 4:22 . Μεθʼ ὑμῶν ) with you , 2 Timothy 4:19 . [20]

[20] Bengel, J. A. (1860). Vol. 4 : Gnomon of the New Testament (M. E. Bengel & J. C. F. Steudel, Ed.) (J. Bryce, Trans.) (289 316). Edinburgh: T&T Clark.

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Bibliographical Information
Bengel, Johann Albrecht. "Commentary on 2 Timothy 4". Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/jab/2-timothy-4.html. 1897.