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2 TIMOTHY CHAPTER 1
2 Timothy 1:1-2 Paul affectionately saluteth Timothy,
2 Timothy 1:3-5 assuring him of his constant prayers for him, and remembrance of that sincere faith which had been derived to Timothy from his mother and grandmother.
2 Timothy 1:6,2 Timothy 1:7 He exhorteth him to stir up the gift of God which was in him,
2 Timothy 1:8-12 and not to be ashamed of the testimony of the gospel, but to be ready to suffer for it, according to his example,
2 Timothy 1:13,2 Timothy 1:14 and to hold fast the form of sound words which he had learned.
2 Timothy 1:15 He putteth him in mind of the general defection of the converts in Asia,
2 Timothy 1:16-18 and commendeth Onesiphorus for his repeated kindness toward him.
Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God: See Poole on "1 Timothy 1:1".
According to the promise of life: it is much the same with Romans 1:1,Romans 1:2, according to the gospel, which he had promised afore by his prophets. These words either signify the end of his apostleship, to declare the gospel in which is the promise of life, or the matter of his preaching.
Which is in Christ Jesus; which eternal life was promised of old, but is not to be had but in Christ Jesus, and in him is the promise fulfilled.
See Poole on "1 Timothy 1:2"; there he calls him his own son, testifying his relation, here his beloved son, to testify his affection to him. The salutation is the same with that in 1 Timothy 1:2.
Paul here by his forefathers either intends his immediate parents, or Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; for he served the same God whom they served.
But how did Paul from his forefathers serve God with pure conscience, who was a native Jew, and zealous in that religion, in opposition to the faith of the gospel, which alone purifieth the heart? Acts 15:9.
Solution. A pure conscience seemeth here to signify the same with Philippians 3:6, touching the righteousness which is in the law, blameless. Paul was strict to the rules of that religion which he professed, though that religion was not that which universally purifieth the heart. Or else his meaning is, that he at this time served that God who was the God of his forefathers, with a pure conscience.
That without ceasing I have remembrance of thee in my prayers night and day: he either thanketh God on the behalf of Timothy for his gifts and graces, or else he blesseth God, that had put it into his heart daily to remember Timothy in his prayers, Philemon 1:4; by which expression he both lets us know the mutual duty of Christians to pray one for another, and also that when we find any inclinations to do our duty, we ought to acknowledge them to God, being not of ourselves sufficient to one good thought.
There was a great brotherly love amongst primitive Christians, so as the apostle often expresseth his desire to see such Christians as were at a distance from him, Romans 1:11; 1 Thessalonians 2:17; but he expresseth aparticular reason of his desire to see Timothy, remembering the
tears he shed at his parting from him and the rest, Acts 20:37,Acts 20:38; besides the desire he had by his presence to satisfy him, and give him occasion of joy, with which he also should be filled; unless he speaketh of the joy he promised himself when he saw Timothy, upon his seeing the improvement he had made both of his graces and gifts in the ministerial office.
The apostle expresseth another cause of his affection to Timothy, viz. his sincere owning and adhering to the profession of the gospel; as his
grandmother Lois and his mother Eunice had done before him (he saith nothing of his father, for he was a Jew proselyted, or a heathen, Acts 16:1); and though he could not infallibly determine, yet he was verily persuaded of his sincerity also.
Wherefore I put thee in remembrance: Paul’s affection to Timothy was so far from abating his faithfulness to him, that it quickened him to admonish him to be faithful in his ministry.
That thou stir up the gift of God which is in thee; and to that end, he adviseth him to put new life unto that holy fire (the word signifies the recovering of fire choked with ashes or decaying) which God had kindled in him, by daily prayer, and meditating on the things of God and use of his gifts, improving those spiritual abilities which God had given him.
By the putting on of my hands; upon the prayers of Paul and the presbytery, when he was by them set apart to the work of an evangelist, for the end for which God had given them to him.
For God hath not given us the spirit of fear: fear in this place signifieth fearfuluess, or cowardice, or poorness of spirit, in opposition to that holy fortitude which becomes ministers; this, he saith, is none of the gifts of the Holy Spirit, and proceedeth not from God.
But of power: by power he means Christian courage and fortitude, not declining duty because of danger threatening us in the performance, but enabling us to encounter the greatest dangers and difficulties.
And of love; love to God, and to the souls of his people; love so strong as to constrain us to be willing to lay down our lives for Christ, and for his church and people.
And of a sound mind; swfronismou we translate it a sound mind; others, sobriety; others, a calm and quiet mind. A sound mind, in the ordinary notion of it, for a judgment sound in the faith, is requisite to it minister of the gospel. Sobriety is the gift of the Spirit: sobriety is a very general term, and signifies the moderation and government of our passions; that which seems to be here meant is such a govermnent, and composure of spirit, that nothing shall deter us from the discharge of our duty; and the term sound mind, opposed to a meak and sickly mind, staggering at every danger, may well enough express the apostle’s sense.
Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord; either the testimony of Christ himself; who before Pontius Pilate witnessed a good confession; or that testimony which thou art obliged to give, for the ministers of Christ are to be witnesses unto him, Acts 1:8.
Nor of me his prisoner: by this it appears that Paul was a prisoner at Rome when he wrote this; he would not have Timothy ashamed to own him, and the doctrine he had taught, because of that circumstance.
But be thou partaker of the afflictions of the gospel; that is, be thou content, if God calls thee to it, to take a share with me in those afflictions which I suffer for preaching and professing the gospel, or those afflictions which are inseparable from the gospel.
According to the power of God; through the power of God, for it is given to us on the behalf of Christ, as to believe, so to suffer for Christ’s sake, Philippians 1:29.
Who hath saved us; that is, brought us into a state of salvation, and given us a right to it.
And called us with an holy calling; and, in order to our obtaining it, hath effectually called, renewed, and sanctified us.
Not according to our works; not for any merits of ours.
But according to his own purpose and grace; but from his own free love purposing and decreeing eternal salvation to us, with the means adequate to it.
Which was given us in Christ Jesus; to be obtained through the merits and mediation of Jesus Christ.
Before the world began; which purpose of his was before the foundation of the world was laid, and therefore could not be according to our works, but must be of his own grace, Ephesians 1:4; Titus 3:5.
But is now made manifest by the appearing of our Saviour
Jesus Christ; which purpose of God in Christ Jesus was in a great measure hidden under the Old Testament, but by the coming of Christ is made evident.
Who hath abolished death; by his death he hath taken away the sting and power of death, delivering us from that which is the second death.
And hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel; and through the doctrine of the gospel he hath made the promises of eternal life plain and clear; which though existent under the law, yet were very obscurely revealed, so as they lay out of the sight of most men and women, but are now brought to light, so as he who runneth may read them.
Whereunto I am appointed a preacher; for the publication of which gracious counsel and purpose of God thus made manifest by Christ’s coming, and of that life and immortality thus by the gospel brought to light, God hath appointed me as his crier;
and an apostle; and sent me immediately as his messenger to make publication of it;
and a teacher of the Gentiles; and hath made the instructing of the heathen my peculiar province, 1 Timothy 2:7.
For the which cause I also suffer these things; for the preaching and publishing of which gospel, or for the teaching of the Gentiles, I suffer these things, being accused by the Jews as a seditious person stirring up the people, and by them delivered to the Romans, and by them imprisoned.
Nevertheless I am not ashamed; yet I am not ashamed of my chains.
For I know whom I have believed, I have committed myself to God,
and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day; and I am out of doubt concerning God’s ability to keep until the day of judgment my soul, or my whole concerns both for this life and another, which I have by faith committed to him. Some, by that which I have committed unto him, in this text, understand the church or body of believers; others understand the fruit and reward of his labours and suffering. Mr. Calvin would have life eternal here meant; our eternal salvation is in Christ’s keeping. I rather incline to the first notion; so it agreeth with 1 Peter 4:19. God commits his gospel to our trust who are ministers, 1 Timothy 6:20; we, according to the phrase of Scripture, are said to commit our souls to him, Luke 23:46; Acts 7:59. I am, saith Paul, unconcerned as to my sufferings, I have intrusted God with all my coucerns in order to this life and that which is to come, and I know he is able to secure them.
By sound words which he had heard from Paul, can be meant nothing but the doctrine of the gospel, which, as it is itself pure, and consistent with itself, not rotten, one piece of which will not hold with the other, so it tends to make souls sound as to their spiritual health: this doctrine Timothy had been instructed in by Paul; whether he had given him a written form of them or no is not much material, for this (if he did) was not that which he would have him
hold fast, but to keep the idea or pattern of that doctrine in his mind, written in his heart, making his discourses conform to it. The sum of which form of sound words he declareth to be faith and love, for all that the gospel teacheth is either believing in the Lord Jesus Christ, or keeping his commandments, which is the demonstration of love, John 14:15; or else the sense may be this: Keep thyself sound in the principles of religion, which thou hast learned of me.
Which is in Christ Jesus; but do not think this enough without exercising a faith in Christ as thy Redeemer, and living in obedience to his commandments. Many an orthodox man may go to hell, notwithstanding his orthodoxy.
That good thing which was committed unto thee keep: this is expounded by 1 Timothy 6:20; he means the doctrine of the gospel, or his office in the publication of it; Be faithful in the ministerial work.
By the Holy Ghost which dwelleth in us; to which purpose beg the assistance and operation of the Holy Spirit, which dwelleth both in all believers, and more particularly assisteth the ministers of the gospel. We can neither keep our minds sound in the faith, as to the doctrine of it, nor our souls steady in the exercises of faith or love, without the assistance of the Holy Spirit; which yet the Lord giveth to them that ask him, and it abides in them who do not vex, quench, grieve, or resist it.
This thou knowest: probably as to some he had a personal knowledge of their apostacy, as to others he knew it by information, which Paul confirmeth.
That all they which are in Asia be turned away from me: it seemeth unreasonable to interpret all here of every individual, but many, as all oft signifieth in holy writ. Some interpret it of all the Jewish proselytes; others, of those of Asia who accompanied Paul to Rome, and there, seeing his sufferings, apostatized; others, of many who still abode in Asia, where Timothy now was: these all, or many of them, deserted Paul, either wholly casting off the Christian profession, or withdrawing themselves from communion with Paul, when they saw him a prisoner.
Of whom are Phygellus and Hermogenes; of these two we have no more said in holy writ, and therefore can assert nothing of them with any certainty.
The Lord give mercy unto the house of Onesiphorus; whether Onesiphorus was at this time alive, or not, is very doubtful, for he only prays for his family in this text, and saluteth them only, 2 Timothy 4:19.
For he oft refreshed me; either when he was in Asia, or (which is more probable by reason of what followeth) at Rome, whither he might attend him, or follow him.
And was not ashamed of my chain; and showed kindness to him when he was a prisoner; for which Paul prayeth mercy for his whole family.
But when he was in Rome, whither he might go upon his private occasions, and, being there,
he sought me out very diligently and found me; he made it his business to find out Paul, and rested not until he found him, either at his inn, or in the prison where he was put.
This would incline us to think that Onesiphorus was yet alive. The term mercy he here prays that he may
find of the Lord, is comprehensive of all good, both corporal and spiritual, which he prays God the Father to grant to this good man, to find from the Lord Jesus Christ in that day when he shall come to judge the quick and the dead; for he had not only ministered to the apostle while he was a prisoner at Rome, but many ways at Ephesus, (where probably this Onesiphorus lived), which Timothy, being there, well knew.
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Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on 2 Timothy 1". Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/
the Third Week after Epiphany