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Bible Commentaries

Zerr's Commentary on Selected Books of the New Testament

2 Timothy 1

Verse 1

2Ti 1:1. Paul began his first epistle to Timothy by saying his apostleship was by the commandment of God and Christ. This one begins by saying it is by the will of God; hence a command of God is an expression of His will. In the other he says Christ is our hope, and in this he says it is according to the promise of life in Christ. The general thought in each place is the same as in the other.

Verse 2

2Ti 1:2. My dearly beloved son. The last word is from HUIOS, and it is explained in detail at 1Ti 1:2. The salutation or good wishes expressed here are virtually repeated in all of Paul's epistles, and are commented upon at 1Co 1:3.

Verse 3

2Ti 1:3. Serve from my forefathers means he had been a servant of God all his life, and that he had served Him according to what they had taught him. Pure conscience denotes that Paul had always done what he thought was right. Since we know that he did grievous wrong when he was persecuting Christians, we should under stand that it is not enough just to be conscientious, but the conscience must act in harmony with faith which is produced by the word of God. (See Rom 10:17 and 1Ti 1:19.) Paul thanked God for his favorable remembrance of Timothy, so that he offered daily prayers concerning him.

Verse 4

2Ti 1:4. Mindful of thy tears refers to some occasion when they had to separate. Since no definite information is available as to when it was, we must be satisfied with the thought that Timothy had a tender feeling for Paul as his father in the Gospel. The memory of those tears made Paul likewise to have a longing to see again his own "beloved son."

Verse 5

2Ti 1:5. Unfeigned faith means one that is sincere and not merely a pretended one. Faith cannot be inherited, but it can be induced by righteous parents or other relatives. Paul attributes the faith of Timothy (at least in part) to the influence of his mother and grandmother. There is a lesson in the case for all parents, to encourage them In training up their children in the way they should go.

Verse 6

2Ti 1:6. Timothy is here told to stir up the gift, and in 1Ti 4:14 it is "neglect not" the gift. Both phrases mean the same, for if a man stirs up a gift, he certainly will not neglect it. This was not the gift of inspiration, for such a gift could not be stirred up. An inspired man speaks or writes "as the Spirit gives him. utterance" (Act 2:4). This gift, whatever it was, came to Timothy by the laying on of the hands of Paul, with endorsement of elders. (See Comments at 1Ti 4:14.)

Verse 7

2Ti 1:7. The word fear is from an original here that is always used in a bad sense, meaning "timidity, fearfulness, cowardice."--Thayer. Christians do not need to have such feelings, for God wishes them to be "strong in the Lord and the power of his might" (Eph 6:10). The love considered in this passage is a sincere desire to do that which will be beneficial for others, even though it might require some unpleasant reproof. Such service would call for good judgment or discretion, which is the meaning of a sound mind.

Verse 8

2Ti 1:8. Timothy was still at Ephesus where there had been much encountering with false teachers. Under such conditions it was appropriate that Paul exhort him not to be ashamed to bear testimony (declare the evidences in favor of) for Christ. Nor of me his prisoner. Paul was in Rome when he wrote this epistle, having been arrested and brought into the jurisdiction of Nero Caesar the second time. Timothy was urged not to be backward about pressing the claims of the Gospel upon the people, even though the great apostle was at the time a prisoner for that very Cause. His prisoner means that Paul was being held in chains because of his devotion to Christ. To be a partaker denotes that he should be willing to endure similar persecutions for the sake of Christ, and in so doing he would be having fellowship with the apostle. According to the power of God. Rom 1:16 says that the Gospel is the "power" of God unto salvation, and it is from the same Greek word as the one in our verse. Hence a sincere belief in the Gospel will enable one to meet and overcome all persecutions for His sake.

Verse 9

2Ti 1:9. Who hath saved us refers to God, because he is the source of all good things, and who arranged this salvation through his Son. Before the world began. The Englishman's Greek New Testament renders this phrase, "before the ages of time." Moffatt renders it, "ages ago." The idea could well be expressed by saying that God had the plan of salvation decided upon before anyone else even heard about it. The plan did not predestinate any certain persons to salvation, but God did determine to save all who would accept the holy calling when it was given to them. And while all who accept the call on its divine terms will be saved, it will not be on the merit of works performed, for man cannot do anything to "earn" salvation. The whole arrangement is based on the grace (unmerited favor) of God, and made possible through the sacrifice of Christ upon the cross.

Verse 10

2Ti 1:10. The plan of salvation through Christ was not fully revealed to man for ages, even after some of its preliminaries were being arranged with certain special servants (Mat 13:17; Eph 3:5; 1Pe 1:12). But when Jesus came to the earth he opened up the complete plan, which began with His death and resurrection. These are the facts of the Gospel (1Co 15:1-4), and when they occurred, the hope of life and immortality was brought to light--was revealed to the world.

Verse 11

2Ti 1:11. After the facts of the Gospel had taken place, they had to be made known to mankind, in Order that they might be heard of and believed (Rom 10:14). For this purpose Paul was appointed as one of the preachers as stated in the passage just cited. But a mere preacher could not spread the good news without being sent with power to speak with inspiration, as Rom 10:15 declares, hence Paul now states that he was appointed to be an apostle, which is defined in the lexicon as, "a delegate, messenger, one sent forth with orders." Teacher of the Gentiles. All nations were to be offered the blessings of the Gospel, but Paul was chosen by the Lord to be sent especially to the Gentiles (Act 9:15; Eph 3:8; 1Ti 2:7).

Verse 12

2Ti 1:12. For the which cause I also suffer. It might seem strange that a man would be persecuted for preaching the good news of salvation. The mere fact of offering salvation was not what brought persecution to Paul, but it was because he claimed that it was obtained through Christ. The Jews were the ones who caused the persecutions, because they had rejected Christ and disliked all men who professed faith in Him. In Act 4:2 the Jews did not all object to the preaching of a resurrection (some of them professed to believe in it themselves), but it was because it was being preached "through Jesus." I am not ashamed. Paul's confidence amidst persecutions is because of the knowledge he has of Christ in whom he believes. Paul had committed his entire interests of soul and body into the care and keeping of Christ, and he firmly believes that it is all in good hands. Against (or until) that day means the day of judgment. It is often referred to In such indefinite language because of the unequalled importance of it, for which reason it needs no other specification.

Verse 13

2Ti 1:13. Form means pattern or example, and sound denotes a condition of good health. The verse means for Timothy to adhere to the pattern of (spiritually) healthy words which he had received from Paul. He was to maintain such a course in faith and love. He should do so because he believed them and because he had love (interest in the welfare of all) in his heart. All of these motives were desirable and possible in Christ Jesus.

Verse 14

2Ti 1:14. That good thing refers to the "faith" that is mentioned in the preceding verse. Timothy was to keep it by holding fast to it and exposing any false teaching that might be attempted against it. The Holy Ghost (or Spirit) is in the church or body of Christ, and all faithful members of that body are made strong by the comforting influence of the divine Guest.

Verse 15

2Ti 1:15. Regardless of whether this refers to residents of Asia, or former professed friends of Paul, the significant fact is that he was deserted in the midst of his persecutions for the cause of Christ. Such treatment was to be expected, for Jesus taught his disciples while he was with them that they would be hated for His sake (Mat 10:22 Matthew 24 Matthew 9), and Paul teaches the same thing in chapter 3:12 of this epistle. Nothing more is known of Phygellus and Hermogenes than is stated here. Paul's specifying them among the large number who had turned against him, indicates that they had been especially active in opposing the apostle's work.

Verse 16

2Ti 1:16. According to Funk and Wagnalls New Standard Bible Dictionary, Onesiphorus was a former resident of Ephesus, but his household only is mentioned directly in this verse, also in chapter 4:19. This indicates that he was dead at the time this epistle was written, but his memory was to be honored by well-wishing for his famiy. While he was living he often refreshed the apostle. That word is from ANAPSUCHO, which Thayer defines, "to refresh," then he explains it to mean, "one's spirit, by fellowship, consolation, kindnesses." Robinson defines it, "to refresh, to cheer." Such ministrations could be accomplished by either the bestowal of bodily needs, or by words of cheer, or both. Not ashamed of my chain. Paul was literally fastened by a chain and was under sentence of death. But Onesiphorus did not let that keep him from showing friendship for the apostle, as some others might do according to Mar 8:38; being ashamed of a disciple of Christ is counted as being against Him (Mat 25:45).

Verse 17

2Ti 1:17. Onesiphorus "proved his faith by his works" in that his interest in Paul was not profession only. He could have contributed material refreshment to hint while absent, by sending necessities of life to him. Such a service would not have exposed him to danger for his life or to shame of being a friend to a prisoner in chains, had he been unwilling to suffer any inconvenience to himself. But his interest in and devotion to Paul was more intense than that as we shall see. When he had occasion to be in Rome, he made diligent inquiry until he contacted the apostle, so as to give him the comfort of his presence.

Verse 18

2Ti 1:18. That day is commented upon at verse 12. The reward prayed for on behalf of the faithful brother was to be given at the day of judgment. This is especially significant if he was dead at the time of this epistle according to verse 16. Paul refers to some kindnesses that he bestowed upon him while he yet lived and the apostle was at Ephesus, Timothy also being in that city at the same time.
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Bibliographical Information
Zerr, E.M. "Commentary on 2 Timothy 1". Zerr's Commentary on Selected Books of the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/znt/2-timothy-1.html. 1952.