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CRITICAL AND EXPLANATORY NOTES
2 Timothy 1:1. According to the promise.—The purport of the promise.
2 Timothy 1:2. My dearly beloved son.—The translators perhaps thought the simple “beloved” too cold, and so put in the adverb.
MAIN HOMILETICS OF THE PARAGRAPH.—2 Timothy 1:1-2
I. Explains the source and purpose of his apostleship.—
1. The source. “An apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God” (2 Timothy 1:1). Bengel calls this epistle the last testament and swanlike death-song of Paul. To the last he is careful to remind the Church that his commission was not of men, nor was it self-assumed, as in the case of the false teachers he refuted, but that it came direct from God. It originated in the will of God, and that will was his supreme authority and guide. He traces his apostleship to the highest source.
2. The purpose. “According to the promise of life in Christ Jesus” (2 Timothy 1:1). He was appointed an apostle to make known and carry into effect this promise of life. All other aims in life were subsidiary to this. His happiest moments were spent in publishing the gospel of hope for a perishing world; and his best abilities were tasked to the utmost in defending it. This cheerful view of the gospel as “the promise of life in Christ Jesus” would inspire fortitude in Timothy in the midst of tribulation, and give him courage to undertake the journey to Rome, which would be attended with much peril. The gospel is the only system that promises life and hope to humanity.
II. Expresses affectionate appreciation.—“To Timothy, my dearly beloved son” (2 Timothy 1:2). The attachment existing between Paul and Timothy was of no ordinary type. Neither of them would have been the men they were but for this friendship: the one was the complement of the other. Their diversities of age, of abilities, of temperament, and of attainments welded them together in closer sympathy and love. The outburst of affectionateness in this address is the more pathetic in view of the apostle’s approaching martyrdom.
III. Invokes the bestowal of Divine blessing.—“Grace, mercy, and peace, from God” (2 Timothy 1:2). These words, though the usual formula in the apostle’s greeting, are more than merely formal in their intrinsic meaning and desire. They constitute an intense prayer that the best blessings of heaven may be the rich and conscious dower of the person addressed. The trinity of blessings—“Grace, mercy, and peace”—include the best gifts of the Trinity of Divine Persons.
1. Power to preach is a Divine gift.
2. True love is lavish and sincere in its greetings.
3. The choicest Divine blessings are enjoyed in answer to prayer.
CRITICAL AND EXPLANATORY NOTES
2 Timothy 1:3. I thank God.—We have here the purely classical form, which means “to entertain and show thankfulness.” Whom I serve.—The idea in the word is that of paid service, but St. Paul would not emphasise it, since he so often styles himself a bond-slave of the Lord. From my forefathers.—There does not seem much to choose between “in the manner handed down by my progenitors” and “with the feelings inherited from my ancestors.” With pure conscience.—With the consciousness that there is no duplicity in what he does. The statement cost Paul ill-usage once (Acts 23:1). Night and day.—St. Luke adopts this order; St. John says “day and night.”
2 Timothy 1:4. Greatly desiring.—An intensive form of the word.
2 Timothy 1:5. Which dwelt.—Made its home. In thy grandmother.—Lois is not elsewhere mentioned.
MAIN HOMILETICS OF THE PARAGRAPH.—2 Timothy 1:3-5
Anxiety for the Spiritual Welfare of the Absent—
I. Evidenced in unceasing prayer (2 Timothy 1:3).—While Paul thanked God for the faith already existing in Timothy, and because of the evidence he gave of growth in faith, he prays constantly and with the greater urgency for its increase. Prayer is the more joyous when offered on behalf of one already saved. Little headway is made in piety where there is not much earnest prayer. Our desire for the spiritual improvement of those we love will break out in prayer; and the more we pray the more anxious we are that prayer should be answered on their behalf, and the greater interest we have in their highest good.
II. Revealed in the intense longing for the joy of a personal interview (2 Timothy 1:4).—While we pray for the absent we are not altogether free from anxiety on their behalf. When Paul last parted from Timothy, he left the young, sensitive evangelist in tears (Acts 20:37), and he remembered the times he had seen him weep under the strain of strong religious emotions. The aged apostle yearned to see Timothy once more, to converse with him, to impart yet more counsel, and to enjoy the fellowship of kindred spirits. A letter, however valued, is a cold medium through which to transmit the love of a warm heart. It is helpful to piety to enjoy congenial intercourse by speech and look and feeling.
III. Shown in recalling the claims of traditional piety (2 Timothy 1:5).—Timothy had a religious training. His mother Eunice was a believing Jewess, though his father was a heathen. Paul also knew his grandmother Lois as a godly woman. So that Timothy was cradled in the midst of pious influences. Paul recognised faith in Timothy, not merely as a blessing transmitted to him from his progenitors, but as a personally enjoyed reality. Children cannot thank God sufficiently for a godly parentage. If they reject the gospel, the piety of their parents will witness against them, and aggravate their condemnation.
1. The absent should be specially remembered in prayer.
2. Christian fellowship is a stimulus to growth in grace.
3. It is a joy to parents to see their children walking with them in the way to heaven.
GERM NOTES ON THE VERSES
2 Timothy 1:3-4. A Sympathetic Friend—
I. Constantly prays for the absent.
II. Remembers the tears shed at parting.
III. Finds his joy in personal intercourse.
2 Timothy 1:5. How far Grace can be entailed.
I. Though grace be not entailed from parent to child, yet the children of godly parents have a great advantage in religion.—
1. The advantage of the promise.
2. Of good precepts.
3. Of good precedents.
4. Of correction.
5. Of many a good prayer.
II. The persuasion of good in others.—
1. There is the persuasion of infallibility, and this only God hath.
2. The persuasion of charity.
3. The persuasion of a well and strong-grounded opinion.
III. The wisest of men easily may and sometimes are deceived in counting them good which are very counterfeit.—
1. In close-natured men, such as lie in at a close guard and offer no play, whose well is deep, and men generally want buckets to measure them.
2. In various and inconstant men, which like Proteus never appear twice in the same shape, but differ as much from themselves as from other men, and are only certain in uncertainty.
3. In affected dissemblers. Hypocrisy is as like piety as hemlock to parsley, and many hath been deceived therein.—T. Fuller.
CRITICAL AND EXPLANATORY NOTES
2 Timothy 1:6. Stir up the gift.—As the soldier draws together the embers of his watch-fire, making the flame leap up, so St. Paul would have this good soldier of Jesus Christ attend to the charisma or gift within him. R.V. margin, “stir into flame.”
2 Timothy 1:7. Spirit of fear.—Or cowardice. Alford thinks there is a touch of severity in this word for “fear,” putting before Timothy his timidity in such a light as to shame him. If so, Timothy was not himself. A sound mind.—R.V. “discipline.” Margin, “Gr. sobering.”
MAIN HOMILETICS OF THE PARAGRAPH.—2 Timothy 1:6-7
The Responsibility of Divine Gifts.
I. Divine gifts are a moral equipment for the highest service.—
1. A spirit of fearlessness. “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power” (2 Timothy 1:7). Not a spirit of cowardice, but of courage.
(1) This courage enables us to confront and vanquish the enmity and reproach of the world.
(2) To bear up under religious trials.
(3) Is a Divinely inspired courage.
2. A spirit of love (2 Timothy 1:7). The spirit of love is a necessary counterpoise to the spirit of power, and prevents it from degenerating into bravado and presumptuous daring.
(1) This love is disinterested.
3. The spirit of a sound mind (2 Timothy 1:7). The spirit of self-discipline and self-government—
(1) Has a keen perception and sober discrimination of the truth.
(2) A love of the truth.
(3) Love in the acquisition of the truth.
(4) In the right use of the truth. What the ballast is to the balloon, the safety-valve to the steam-engine, the beam to the balance, the rudder to the ship, that the sound mind is to the Christian character.
II. The possession of Divine gifts involves responsibility for their use.—God bestows gifts not for display or adornment, but for use. Gifts unused will rust; it is only as they are exercised that they shine and illuminate ourselves and others. No man knows what he can do till he tries. God has left no man without a gift; there are latent possibilities in every man. The world is all the poorer to-day because of its unused talents. It is pitiable to see talent misdirected. Alexander the Great meeting with a man who, with much practice, could throw small peas through a needle’s eye without once missing, ordered him a present suitable to his employment—a basket of peas. We accomplish our mission in life by faithfully and diligently using God’s gifts.
III. We need to be stimulated to renewed zeal in the use of Divine gifts.—“Stir up the gift of God, which is in thee” (2 Timothy 1:6). Away from the magnetic influence of Paul, Timothy might be tempted to be remiss. The apostle recognises the existence of the gift—the gift of grace and faith—of which Timothy gave evidence at his ordination, and urges him to keep it in active exercise. The best of men need reminding of past blessings, and to exert the power they already possess. Keble said on one occasion, he wished he could attend an ordination service every year of his life, that he might be reminded of first principles. We can never make the best of ourselves, or benefit others, without vigorous effort.
1. No one man possesses every gift.
2. God has left no man without a gift.
3. We should use the gifts we have so as to honour God.
GERM NOTES ON THE VERSES
2 Timothy 1:6. Our Gift and the Divine Claim.
I. There is the ethnic or rare gift.
II. There is the family, hereditary gift.
III. There is to each one a gift from God distinctly personal.
IV. We thus come to the Christian gift.—A general capacity for service; a gift composed of many gifts.—Raleigh.
2 Timothy 1:7. The Christian’s prevailing Spirit of Mind.
I. To what it stands opposed.—“A spirit of fear.” Not the natural passion of fear, or a sense of danger; not the reverential fear of God; but a prevailing disposition of terror and timidity, a slavish dread of God as judge, or of man as an adversary, such a shrinking of the soul as destroys all holy confidence towards our heavenly Father and deprives us of all resolution in doing what is right.
II. In what it consists.—
1. A spirit of power. It denotes such a powerful impression of Divine truth and heavenly blessings as inspires us with vigour and resolution of mind in all we are called to do, in order to form ourselves upon the precepts of the gospel and to maintain its influence in the world. It is a spirit of energy in all that concerns the work of God, in opposition to everything like indifference, unsteadfastness, unfruitfulness.
2. A spirit of love. The love of God—a devout adoration of His excellencies and a grateful sense of His benefits, powerfully constraining us to imitate those perfections we adore, and manifest towards others that love which we acknowledge.
3. The spirit of a sound mind. The same thing as wisdom, prudence, a sober judgment, accompanied by composure and self-command; good sense, exalted and enlightened by heavenly wisdom, a mind free from the perturbations of passion and the extravagance of folly, capable of judging soundly and acting with sobriety.
III. Its excellence and use in the Christian life.—A spirit “God hath given us.” All its principles are calculated to support each other and to form by their union a complete and consistent character. We see the spirit of power, without love, hardening into austerity, and, without soundness of mind, rushing into extravagance. We see the spirit of love, without power, sinking into a soft timidity, and, without soundness of mind, yielding the most sinful compliances. We see the spirit of a sound mind, without power, settling in sloth, and, without love, souring into selfishness. Without the spirit of power, all is feebleness; without the spirit of love, all is ferociousness; without the spirit of a sound mind, all is foolishness. The first is the acting hand, the second the feeling heart, the last the directing head.—J. Brewster.
CRITICAL AND EXPLANATORY NOTES
2 Timothy 1:8. Of me His prisoner.—This might mean—(a) the prisoner belonging to Him; or (b) one who is a prisoner for His sake; or again (c) one whom He has bound: (b) seems best. Be thou partaker of the afflictions of the gospel.—R.V. “suffer hardship with the gospel.” Alford, Huther, and Ellicott prefer “but suffer [with me] for the gospel.” According to the power of God.—“In accordance with the power of God which is effectual in thee,” or “which will not fail thee.”
2 Timothy 1:9. Not according to our works, but … His own purpose.—“Purpose” here must not be interpreted quite as “foreordination.”
2 Timothy 1:10. By the appearing.—Lit. “by the epiphany.” This is the only use of the word to describe the advent of Christ in the flesh. It not only covers the act and moment of arrival, but indicates the resultant presence. In 2 Maccabees the word is used frequently of God’s miraculous interposition on behalf of His people. Who hath abolished.—In the Septuagint this word means “to make to cease.” In St. Paul’s writings it always denotes a complete ceasing, an annihilation. Compare also Hebrews 2:14 : “In order that He might destroy [R.V. bring to nought] … the devil.”
2 Timothy 1:11. A preacher, and an apostle, and a teacher.—The first with reference to the work and the method of doing it; the second with reference to his commission and the authority behind him; the third with reference to the recipients of the message, who need continual instruction in it.
2 Timothy 1:12. For I know whom I have believed.—A.V. margin, “trusted.” Note the distinction between knowledge and trust. Faith with Paul has to do with salvation as a present thing. That which I have committed unto Him.—The Greek is capable of two meanings, as the R.V. margin shows. “My deposit” may be that which I entrust to another, or that which another commits to my care. See 2 Timothy 1:14.
MAIN HOMILETICS OF THE PARAGRAPH.—2 Timothy 1:8-12
The Hardships of the Ministerial life—
I. Are to be fearlessly endured.—
1. In company with the bravest of God’s servants. “Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me His prisoner: but be thou partaker of the afflictions of the gospel” (2 Timothy 1:8). These words come with weight from the lips of a brave old warrior like Paul, and could not but inspirit the timid evangelist as they have inspired the courage of many sufferers for the truth since that day. Shame is the result of fear; but the love of Christ and His truth conquers fear and gives us boldness in witnessing and in suffering for Him. Some of the noblest men and women who have ever lived have endured inexpressible tortures for the gospel’s sake. We may never be called to suffer as they did; but whatever may be our afflictions in the gospel, their heroism and fortitude will ever be an example to animate and sustain us.
2. Being assured of Divine help. “According to the power of God” (2 Timothy 1:8). The early martyrs were strengthened in the midst of their sufferings not only by the truth in which they believed and which became so precious to them, but by the power of God directly imparted to their souls. He who originated the gospel and who has saved us will never fail to help us in whatever sufferings we may be involved for the sake of the gospel. “Think not,” writes Chrysostom, “that thou hast to bear these afflictions by thine own power; nay, it is by the power of God. It was a greater exercise of power than His making the heaven, His persuading the world to embrace salvation.” The help of God fills the soul with fearlessness, and enables us even to rejoice in tribulation.
II. Are trifling compared with the substantial character of the gospel.—
1. This gospel provides a plan of salvation Divinely prearranged (2 Timothy 1:9). The purpose to save was in the Divine mind before the world began, and was elaborated independent of any works of our own. Though we are sinners, God calls us with a holy calling; the call comes wholly from God and claims us wholly for God. The blessings offered to us in the gospel abundantly recompense us for whatever affliction we are called to endure.
2. This gospel reveals an immortality of blessedness by the manifestation of Christ (2 Timothy 1:10). The epiphany of Christ has wonderfully changed the outlook for humanity. Death, the dread and bondage of universal men, is abolished by the gospel, and the endless glories of another world are unveiled. In the Zend-Avesta we are told there is a tree, the king of trees, which is called the Death-Destroyer. It grows by the fountain of Ardecision—that is, by the water of life—and its sap confers immortality. It is but a tradition taken from the Bible. To come to Christ, to feed on Him by faith, as He is made known to us in the gospel, is to gain an immortality of bliss.
3. The proclamation of this gospel is an honourable and important commission (2 Timothy 1:11). The apostle regarded it as the highest distinction of his life that he was appointed a preacher and apostle of the gospel and a teacher of this glad evangel to the Gentiles, who had till his day been shut off from the religious privileges that had been exclusively claimed by the Jews. The first Jewish Christian believers were slow to admit that the heathen had an equal right with themselves to all the blessings of the new covenant. The Jewish prejudices of Paul were destroyed by his miraculous conversion, and it was revealed to him that his great life-mission was to proclaim to the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ, in which they had an equal share with all nations. The Christian missionary is honoured with a world-wide commission.
III. Are counterbalanced by the assurance of personal safety in the future (2 Timothy 1:12).—God had committed to Paul the gospel as a sacred deposit for the salvation of others; and he has committed himself—his body, soul, and spirit—as a holy deposit to the Divine care, to be kept to the day of eternal redemption, The same gospel which he declares to others is the only ground for the preacher’s own salvation. The celebrated Philippe de Mornay, prime minister of Henry IV. of France, one of the greatest statesmen and the most exemplary Christians of his age, being asked a little before his death if he still retained the same assured hope of future bliss which he had enjoyed during his illness, replied, “I am as confident of it from the incontestable evidence of the Spirit of God, as I ever was of any mathematical truth from all the demonstrations of Euclid.”
1. Fidelity in ministerial work involves labour and suffering.
2. Whatever hardships the preaching of the gospel imposes should be cheerfully borne.
3. The more we suffer for the truth the greater will be our reward.
GERM NOTES ON THE VERSES
2 Timothy 1:8. The Folly of Moral Cowardice.
I. Indolent indecision is an instrument of Satan for preserving the spirits of men in captivity to his will.
II. Shame—the fear of man’s opinion—is another.
III. Are you ashamed of believing certain established truths such as the gospel comprises?
IV. Is it of the prudence of your course you are ashamed?
V. Is it of your superiority to common temptations, of hopes that place you above the pleasures of this world, and a serenity unaffected by its troubles?
VI. Are you indeed ashamed of communion with God?—A. Butler.
2 Timothy 1:10. Death defeated.
I. Let us inquire why, since Christ has abolished death, it is appointed to all men to die.—
1. This is from no want of power.
2. From no want of merit in the work of human redemption.
3. But it is in order that the truth of God might be vindicated.
4. In order that it may remain as an example of the evil of sin.
5. In order that it may remain as a way of destroying sin.
6. In order to hint at the immortality beyond the grave.
7. In order to teach men the lesson of faith in God.
8. In order to enhance the glory of the ultimate conquest of the Redeemer.
II. Let us inquire in what sense Christ hath abolished death.—
1. It is not a mark of God’s vindictive displeasure.
2. The empire of death is not perpetual.—Homiletic Quarterly.
The Christian in Heaven.
I. The Scripture aids us in conceiving of the heavenly world.—
1. It enables us to conceive of it negatively.
II. The principal constituents of the heavenly state.—
1. You may reckon upon pre-eminent knowledge.
2. Perfect purity.
3. Delightful associations.
4. On the presence and sight of the Saviour.
5. The most exquisite enjoyment.
6. The perpetuity of all this.
III. The Christian in his final destiny.—
1. He is in heaven as a monument of Divine grace.
2. See the conduct of God towards him in this world explained and vindicated.
3. See the justification of his choice.
4. Inquire whether you will be a partaker of the same blessedness.—W. Jay.
I. Christ hath revealed the fact.
II. The gospel hath shed all the light we have on the nature of the life beyond, the mode or manner of immortality.
III. The gospel has not only brought immortality to light, but has revealed the means of reaching it.—J. Hamilton.
2 Timothy 1:12. Faith out of Danger—
I. Because of what we know of the character of the Saviour.
II. Because we know His ability
III. Because of our persuasion of His fidelity.
CRITICAL AND EXPLANATORY NOTES
2 Timothy 1:13. Hold fast the form of sound words.—R.V. “Hold the pattern.” The word for “form” or “pattern” occurs again only 1 Timothy 1:16. “Sound words” are healthy words. Sin is a diseased state of the nature; healthy words are the outcome of a sound heart (Matthew 12:35).
MAIN HOMILETICS OF THE PARAGRAPH.—2 Timothy 1:13-14
Truth and the Soul.
I. That truth to be efficacious must be clearly and vividly apprehended.—“Hold fast the form of sound words, which thou has heard of me” (2 Timothy 1:13). The “form” means a pattern plainly delineated and forcibly impressed on the mind by the sound words which fell from the lips or pen of the apostle. Clearness in the mental conception of the truth is necessary in order to grasp its meaning, see its beauty, and feel its power. Loose views of truth leave the soul more exposed to the ravages of error, and to become an easy victim to false teachers.
II. That truth is efficacious when received in the exercise of faith and love.—“In faith and love which is in Christ Jesus” (2 Timothy 1:13). Faith and love are “the element in which my sound words had place, and in which thou art to have the vivid impression of them as thy inwardly delineated pattern, moulding conformably thy outward profession” (Fausset). The truth is a revelation of Christ; and in order to a saving appropriation of Christ the soul must be not only profoundly convinced that He is the truth, but also cordially embrace Him with a loving faith—a faith that works by love.
III. That truth is to be firmly held and jealously guarded.—“Hold fast the form of sound words.… That good thing which was committed unto thee keep” (2 Timothy 1:13-14). Having once got the truth, never part with it. It is a goodly deposit, to be constantly fenced round with watchful care, and resolutely defended from all attacks of error. If we keep the truth, the truth will keep us. It is too precious to lose, and the pains it has cost us to acquire should teach us to value it the more. The struggle to maintain the truth may be fierce, but it is often only brief; and every triumph adds enormously to our spiritual strength. The more real truth becomes to the soul, the more firmly it is held and the more potent is its influence. Better to yield up our life than yield up the truth.
IV. That truth can be safely kept only by the aid of the indwelling Spirit.—“Keep by the Holy Ghost which dwelleth in us” (2 Timothy 1:14). The Holy Ghost is the Spirit of truth. It is He who reveals it to the soul, deposits it there as a sacred trust, makes it efficacious in renewing the whole man, uses it as a sanctifying instrument; and He only can effectually guard it from the robbers who are seeking to rifle the soul of its hallowed possession. The Spirit plays a prominent part in the ministration of the truth. This should be constantly remembered, and His Divine aid fervently invoked.
1. Truth should be studiously and prayerfully sought.
2. Truth when found should be faithfully maintained.
3. The soul realises its highest happiness in the love of the truth.
GERM NOTES ON THE VERSES
2 Timothy 1:13. The Form of Sound Words.
I. There exists an infinite Being, the great first Cause, whom we call God.
II. The Holy Scriptures are the only sufficient and authorised rule of faith and practice.
III. The sufferings and death of Christ are a full atonement for the sins of mankind.
IV. Man must undergo a great moral change.
V. The soul of man is immortal.
VI. There will be the resurrection of the dead.
VII. God has appointed a day for judgment.
VIII. Do not exchange this form of sound words for the uncertainties and delusions of infidelity.
IX. Beware of error in your religious doctrines.
X. Beware of holding the truth in unrighteousness.—J. Bromley.
2 Timothy 1:14. Religion a Good Thing.
I. Committed to us as a sacred deposit.
II. Is the work of the indwelling Spirit.
III. Is to be jealously guarded.
CRITICAL AND EXPLANATORY NOTES
2 Timothy 1:15. Turned away from me.—This does not mean that they had departed from the place where he was, but that they had turned away their faces from him.
2 Timothy 1:16. The Lord give mercy.—This expression is not found again in the New Testament. The supposition that Onesiphorus was dead, and that therefore we have here warrant for praying for the dead, seems to overlook that St. Paul does not ask God to show mercy to Onesiphorus alone, but to his house. Surely all were not dead! He oft refreshed me.—The word properly means “to cool again.” Like a breath of sweet cool air to a fever-ridden patient, or a draught of spring water to a dust-covered and hot traveller, so had the visits of Onesiphorus been to Paul in his confinement.
2 Timothy 1:17. Very diligently.—Alford translates the comparative form “with more diligence than could have been expected.” R.V. says simply “diligently.”
2 Timothy 1:18. Hay find mercy.—Apparently a play on words. “He found me; may he find mercy.” The best key, perhaps, is to contrast 2 Timothy 4:16, where the apostle indulges the charitable hope that the fickle friends who deserted him at his sorest need may not have to answer for it. Thou knowest very well.—Lit. “thou knowest it better” (than there is any need to say it).
MAIN HOMILETICS OF THE PARAGRAPH.—2 Timothy 1:15-18
The Good Man in Trouble—
I. Is pained by the desertion of former friends (2 Timothy 1:15).—Phygellus and Hermogenes and other Christians of Asia Minor had probably been asked to interest themselves in Paul’s case, or to render some service to him; but they refused, and did not even show sympathy with him in his trouble. Some of the Asian brethren had escorted him on his way to Rome as far as Nicopolis; but when he was apprehended in that place, they turned away from him, not willing to risk the perils of being connected with Paul the prisoner. The desertion of a friend is all the more keenly felt when we are in difficulties, and when we recall his former kindnesses.
II. Is cheered by one conspicuous example of proved fidelity (2 Timothy 1:16-18).—In contrast with the fickleness of others Paul mentions the devotion and generosity of Onesiphorus, who so far from being ashamed of the prisoner sought him out diligently, and ministered to the apostle’s wants in Rome, as he had done before in Ephesus. One friend in adversity is an unspeakable comfort, and the distressed heart clings to him with the greater tenacity. There are times when we are completely thrown back upon the one Friend who is above all others, and who never fails us in our extremity.
III. Breathes a fervent prayer for the man who ministered sympathy and help.—“The Lord give mercy unto the house of Onesiphorus.… The Lord grant unto him that he may find mercy of the Lord in that day” (2 Timothy 1:16; 2 Timothy 1:18). On the assumption that Onesiphorus was dead when this prayer was uttered, a fierce controversy has raged round these words in favour of prayers for the dead. If we admit that Onesiphorus was dead, this prayer can mean nothing more than that God will have mercy at the day of judgment on those who have done good to us and others during their life on earth, which is a very different thing from the prayers for the dead which are advocated and practised by a certain school. But it cannot be satisfactorily proved that Onesiphorus was dead at the time these words were written. His household would not retain his name after the master was dead; and we have no example of Paul praying for the dead. God blesses not only the good man himself, but all his household; and it is a natural and appropriate prayer that God would show mercy to those who have shown mercy to us in our sufferings and need.
1. The good are not exempt from trouble.
2. Trouble tests the reality of professed friendship.
3. In his greatest trouble the good man is not utterly forsaken.
GERM NOTES ON THE VERSES
2 Timothy 1:16. Onesiphorus.
I. The conduct of Onesiphorus.—
1. He visited the apostle in prison.
2. He refreshed him by his conversation.
3. He made common cause with him.
4. On other occasions he rendered him active service.
II. Requital of Paul.—
1. Grateful remembrance of him in his own heart.
2. Fond mention of him to Timothy.
3. Earnest prayer for him to God.
(1) Look more on the bright than on the dark side of the picture of your lot.
(2) Christianity does not extinguish any of the innocent feelings of human nature, and improves those which are amiable.
(3) Beneficence is a native proof of Christianity, and a leading test, specially in the affluent, of Christian character.
(4) There is a Christian mode of expressing gratitude.
(5) By kindness to Christians we acquire an interest in their prayers.
(6) Deeds of charity are not meritorious in the sight of God.—G. Brooks.
2 Timothy 1:18. St. Paul’s Prayer for Onesiphorus.
I. The day the apostle speaks of.—
1. His thoughts were often dwelling on that day.
2. It intimates that that day is a most important one. Other days are important to some, but this will be important to all.
II. His prayer.—
1. Our final salvation in the great day of the Lord will be an act of mercy.
2. We all still need mercy.
3. We all must find mercy.—C. Bradley.
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Exell, Joseph S. "Commentary on 2 Timothy 1". Preacher's Complete Homiletical Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/
the Second Week of Advent