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- 2 Timothy
by Thomas Coke
THE SECOND EPISTLE OF PAUL THE APOSTLE TO TIMOTHY.
THIS Second Epistle to Timothy was not written till some years after the First. St. Paul had not yet been carried prisoner to Rome, where he remained two full years, Acts 28:30 when he wrote the First; whereas, at the time he wrote this Second Epistle to his dear disciple, he was for the second time a prisoner at Rome, and on the point of suffering martyrdom for the Gospel, as he says in Chap. 2 Timothy 4:6-7. He begins this Epistle with expressions of tenderness and esteem towards Timothy: he then encourages him to fulfil worthily all the duties of his office; and, as Timothy had been called to the ministry very young, and had gained great reputation, the apostle warns him to flee youthful lusts, Ch. 2Ti 2:22 because nothing is more difficult, than to keep the mind within the bounds of humility, at an age when the vivacity of the passions is raised by a consciousness of talent, and by the applauses of the public. Upon this occasion St. Paul repeats to his disciple and dear brother in Christ, the advice that he had given him in his former Epistle, to avoid foolish and unlearned questions, 2Ti 2:23 because no benefit arises in general from such disputes, being mostly upon subjects rather of curiosity than importance, and producing no solid instruction: and, since self is oftentimes more the object than truth, the consequence is, that each remains confirmed in his own opinion, and takes credit as having gained a victory over his adversary, while he himself is really conquered by his own vanity. After this, the apostle foretels a great corruption in the morals of Christians in the last days; Ch. 2 Timothy 3:1, &c. He adds to this, a commendation of the writings of the Old Testament, such as might render them more and more respected by the whole church, in order to teach the ministers of the Gospel frequently to draw from that holy source the doctrines of eternal life, and to raise in all the faithful an inclination to make reading and meditating on the Holy Scriptures their chief study. Lastly, the apostle shews with what tranquility a servant of the Lord, who has faithfully performed his duty, can look upon death; and how, amidst ignominy and torture, he can keep his eyes firmly fixed upon the Saviour who stands ready to receive and to crown him.