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Bible Commentaries

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged
2 Timothy 1

 

 

Verse 1

Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, according to the promise of life which is in Christ Jesus,

This letter is the last testament and swan-like death-song of Paul (Bengel).

According to the promise of life which is in Christ. Paul's apostleship is in order to carry into effect this promise (cf. Titus 1:1-2). This "promise of life ... in Christ" (cf. 2 Timothy 1:10; 2 Timothy 2:8) was needed to nerve Timothy to boldness in undertaking the journey to Rome, which would be attended with much risk (2 Timothy 1:8).


Verse 2

To Timothy, my dearly beloved son: Grace, mercy, and peace, from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.

My dearly beloved son. In 1 Timothy 1:2 and Titus 1:4, written earlier, the expression is (Greek) 'my genuine son;' marking the sincerity of Timothy: "my dearly beloved son" marks the love of Paul. Alford sees in the change an altered tone as to Timothy-more of mere love, less of confidence-as though Paul saw in him a want of firmness, whence arose the need of stirring up the faith in him (2 Timothy 1:6). [This seems to me not justified by agapeetos (Greek #27), which implies the attachment of reasoning and choice, on the ground of merit in the one "beloved," not merely instinctive love. See Trench, 'Synonyms of New Testament.']


Verse 3

I thank God, whom I serve from my forefathers with pure conscience, that without ceasing I have remembrance of thee in my prayers night and day;

I thank , [ charin (Greek #5485) echoo (Greek #2192)] - 'I feel gratitude to God.'

Whom I serve from my forefathers - whose service handed down from them I cherish. He does not mean to put on the same footing the Jewish and Christian service; but to assert his own conscientious service of God in the truth common to Judaism and Christianity, as he had received it 'from his (immediate) progenitors' (not Abraham, Isaac, etc., whom he calls "the fathers," not 'progenitors' [ progonoon (Greek #4269)], Romans 9:5). The memory of those gone before, to whom he is about to be gathered, is now, on the eve of death, pleasant. He calls to mind the faith of the mother and grandmother of Timothy: as he walks in the faith of his forefathers (Acts 23:1; Acts 24:14; Acts 26:6-7; Acts 28:20), so Timothy should persevere in that of his parent and grandparent. The Jews who reject Christ forsake the faith of their forefathers, who looked for Christ; when they accept Him, the hearts of the children shall only be returning to the faith of their forefathers (Malachi 4:6; Luke 1:17; Romans 11:23-24; Romans 11:28). Probably Paul, in his recent defense, dwelt on this-namely, that he was, in being a Christian, following his hereditary faith. Conscience without the Word of God is a lamp in which the candle is apt to go out, or, by its glimmering haze, mislead (John 16:2; Acts 26:9; Titus 1:15).

That - rather, 'as without ceasing I have remembrance of thee' (cf. Philem 4). The cause of Paul's thankfulness is, not that he remembers Timothy unceasingly in his prayers, but that he calls to remembrance Timothy's "unfeigned faith" (2 Timothy 1:5 : cf. Romans 1:8-9). [ hoos (Greek #5613) cannot be used for hoti (Greek #3754).]

Night and day (note, 1 Timothy 5:5).


Verse 4

Greatly desiring to see thee, being mindful of thy tears, that I may be filled with joy;

Desiring , [ epipothoon (Greek #1971)] - 'with yearning as for one much missed.'

Mindful of thy tears - under pious feelings. Wordsworth thinks Timothy's tears were at parting, because of the second arrest of Paul (cf. Acts 20:37).

That I may be filled with joy - joined which "desiring to see thee" (Romans 1:11-12; Romans 15:32). The "joy" would dispel the "tears."


Verse 5

When I call to remembrance the unfeigned faith that is in thee, which dwelt first in thy grandmother Lois, and thy mother Eunice; and I am persuaded that in thee also.

When I call to remembrance ... This increased his 'desire to see' Timothy. [C Delta G f g, Vulgate, read lambanoon (Greek #2983). But 'Aleph (') A, laboon (Greek #2983), 'when I called to remembrance:' implying that some recent incident (perhaps the contrasted cowardice of the hypocrite Demas, who forsook him) had reminded him of the sincerity of Timothy's faith.] 'Having received reminding.' [ Anamneesis (Greek #364), when one recalls to mind something past; hupomneesis (Greek #5280), when one is reminded by another (2 Peter 3:1).]

Faith that is in thee , [ tees (Greek #3588) en (Greek #1722) soi (Greek #4671)] - not merely, as Alford, 'that was in thee.' Which , [ heetis (Greek #3748)] - 'the which:' as being that which in particular.

Dwelt , [ enookeesen (Greek #1774)] - 'made its dwelling' (John 14:23). The past tense implies they were now dead.

First. The family pedigree of indwelling faith began first with Lois, the furthest back of Timothy's progenitors whom Paul knew.

Mother Eunice - a believing Jewess; but his father was a Greek - i:e., a pagan (Acts 16:1). The faith of the one parent sanctified the child (1 Corinthians 7:14; 2 Timothy 3:15). She was probably converted at Paul's first visit to Lystra (Acts 14:6-7). It is an undesigned coincidence, and so a mark of truth, that in Acts 16:1, just as here, the belief of the mother alone is mentioned, while no notice is taken of the father (Paley's 'Horae Paulinae').

And , [ de (Greek #1161)] - 'but;' i:e., notwithstanding appearances (Alford). Rather, 'moreover.' The more persuaded Paul is of Timothy's faith, the more he exhorts him to stir up the gift of God (Leo).

Persuaded that - it dwells "in thee also." The faith of his mother and grandmother is the incentive used to stir up his faith.


Verse 6

Wherefore I put thee in remembrance that thou stir up the gift of God, which is in thee by the putting on of my hands.

Wherefore , [ di' (Greek #1223) heen (Greek #3739) aitian (Greek #156)] - 'For which cause,' namely because thou hast inherited, and I am persuaded dost possess, such unfeigned faith.

Stir up , [ anazoopurein (Greek #329)] - 'kindle up:' fan into a flame: the opposite of 'quench,' or extinguish (1 Thessalonians 5:19), Paul does not doubt Timothy's faith; but, just because of his 'persuasion' of its reality, urges him to put it in full exercise. Timothy probably had become dispirited by the long absence and imprisonment of his spiritual father.

Gift of God - the grace received for his ministerial office, either at his original ordination or at his consecration to the superintendency of the Ephesian church, imparting fearlessness, power, love, and a sound mind (2 Timothy 1:7).

By [ dia (G1223)] the putting on of my hands. In 1 Timothy 4:14 it is [ meta (Greek #3326)] "with (not by) the laying on of the hands of the presbytery." To the apostle, as chief instrument in the ordination and impartation of grace, "BY" is applied; to the presbytery, as his assistants and concurring participants in ordaining, "with," implying mere accompaniment, is applied. So a bishop in our days does the principal act; the presbyters join in laying on hands with him.


Verse 7

For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.

For ... - implying that Timothy needed 'to stir up the gift of God in him,' being constitutionally timid: 'For God did not give us' [ edooken (Greek #1325), at confirmation, Acts 8:15-17; Acts 13:3-4, at ordination], etc. The spirit which He gave us was not the spirit of cowardice [ deilias (Greek #1167)] which is weakness, but of "power" exhibited in a fearless "testimony" for Christ 2 Timothy 1:8). "Power" invariably accompanies the gift of the Holy Spirit (Luke 24:49; Acts 1:8 : cf. 2 Tim. 6:6 with 2 Timothy 1:8). Fear results from "the spirit of bondage" (Romans 8:15). Fear within exaggerates the causes of fear without. 'The spirit of power' is man's spirit dwelt in by the Spirit of God imparting power; this "casteth out fear" from ourselves, and stimulates us to cast it out of others (1 John 4:18).

Love - which moves the believer while "speaking the truth" with power, when testifying for Christ (2 Timothy 1:8), at the same time to do so "in love" (Ephesians 4:15).

A sound mind , [ soofronismou (Greek #4995)] - 'the bringing of men to a sound mind' (Wahl). The Greek admits of the English version, reflexively, the bringing of our own passions under control: self-restraint' (cf. Luke 15:17; Mark 5:15): a duty to which a young man especially needed to be exhorted to (1 Timothy 4:12; 2 Timothy 2:22; Titus 2:4; Titus 2:6). So Paul urges him (2 Timothy 2:4) to give up worldly entanglements (Luke 8:14). These three gifts are preferable to any miraculous power.


Verse 8

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 according to the power of God;

Therefore - seeing that God hath given us such a spirit; not fear.

Be not thou, therefore, ashamed (at any time) [ mee (Greek #3361) epaischunthes (Greek #1870)] The Greek subjunctive, with the negative, implies action completed at one time, not continued, which the present imperative would express: implying, Timothy had not yet evinced such shame; still Paul, being deserted by others who once promised fair, and aware of Timothy's constitutional timidity (note, 2 Timothy 1:6), felt it necessary to guard him against the possibility of failure in bold confession of Christ. Shame (2 Timothy 1:8) is the companion of fear (2 Timothy 1:7): if fear be overcome, false shame flees (Bengel). Paul himself (2 Timothy 1:12), and Onesiphorus (2 Timothy 1:16), were instances of fearless profession removing false 'shame.' Contrast sad instances of fear and shame, 2 Timothy 1:15.

Of the testimony of our Lord - of giving testimony in the cause of our Lord (Acts 1:8). "Our" connects Timothy and himself in the testimony which both should give for their common Lord. The testimony which Christ gave before or under Pilate (1 Timothy 6:12-13) is an incentive to the believer to witness a good Christ gave before or under Pilate (1 Timothy 6:12-13) is an incentive to the believer to witness a good confession.

Nor of me his prisoner. The cause of God's servants is that of God Himself (Ephesians 4:1). Timothy might be tempted to be ashamed of one in prison, especially as great risk attended any recognition of Paul.

Be thou partaker - with me.

Of the Gospel , [ sungkakopatheeson (Greek #4777) too (Greek #3588) euangelioo (Greek #2098)] - 'for (suffered for) the Gospel' (2 Timothy 2:3-5; Philem 13).

According to the power of God - exhibited in having saved and called us (2 Timothy 1:9). God who has done the greater act of power (i:e., saved us) will surely do the less (carry us safe through afflictions borne for the Gospel). 'Thou hast not to bear these afflictions by thine own power, but by the power of God' (Chrysostom). Our readiness to suffer ought to correspond [be proportionate to: kata (Greek #2596)] to the greatness of His power evinced in having "saved us, and called us" (2 Timothy 1:9).


Verse 9

Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began,

Who ... called us - namely, God the Father (Galatians 1:6). The "saved us" in His purpose of "grace, given us in Christ before the world began," precedes His "calling" us in due time with a call made effective by the Holy Spirit; therefore, "saved us" comes before "called us" (Romans 8:28-30).

Holy calling - the actual call to holiness, and "the fellowship of His Son" (1 Corinthians 1:9; Hebrews 3:1, "heavenly calling:" whereas we were sinners and enemies, Ephesians 1:18; Ephesians 4:1). The call comes wholly from, and claims us wholly for, God. "Holy" implies the believer's separation from the world unto God.

Not according to - not having regard to our works in His election and calling (Romans 9:11; Ephesians 2:8-9).

His own purpose. Salvation originated from His own purpose of goodness; not for works of ours, but wholly of His gratuitous, electing love (Theodoret and Calvin).

Grace which was given us - in His everlasting purpose, regarded as actually given.

In Christ. Believers are viewed by God as IN HIM, with whom the Father makes the covenant (Ephesians 1:4; Ephesians 3:11).

Before the world began , [ pro (Greek #4253) chronon (Greek #5550) aioonion (Greek #166)] - 'before eternal times:' before times marked by the lapse of unnumbered ages (Ellicott). From eternity [Aionios]. 'That of which no end is conceived' (Tittmann) (1 Corinthians 2:7; Ephesians 3:11).


Verse 10

But is now made manifest by the appearing of our Saviour Jesus Christ, who hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel:

But is now made manifest - in contrast to its concealment heretofore in God's eternal purpose "before the world began" (2 Timothy 1:9; Colossians 1:26; Titus 1:2-3).

Appearing , [ epifaneias (Greek #2015)] - Christ's whole manifestation on earth.

Abolished - `taken away the power from' (Tittmann). [ Katargeesantos (Greek #2673), without the article; 'Having made, as He did, of none effect' (Ellicott).] The article before "death" [ ton (Greek #3588) thanaton (Greek #2288)] implies that Christ abolished death as a principle (Matthew 4:16) overshadowing the world' (Ellicott), not only in particular instances, but in its essence, as also in all its consequences (John 11:26; Romans 8:2; Romans 8:38; 1 Corinthians 15:26; 1 Corinthians 15:55; Hebrews 2:14). The full abolition shall be at Christ's second coming (Revelation 20:14). The death of the body meanwhile is but temporary, and is made no account of by Scripture. DEATH seems to me personified. Already it is said to be "abolished," because the earnest of it was given in Christ's resurrection. This is an appropriate consolation to Paul, soon about to suffer a violent death (2 Timothy 1:12).

Life - of the Spirit, acting first on the soul here, about to act on the body also at the resurrection.

Immortality , [ aftharsian (Greek #861)] - 'incorruptibility' of the new life, not merely of the raised body (Romans 2:7; Romans 8:11; 1 Peter 1:4; Revelation 21:4).

Through - brought to light by means of the Gospel: life and immortality, purposed by God from eternity, but manifested now first to man. Christ, in His resurrection, has given the pledge of His people's final triumph over death through Him. Before the Gospel revelation, man, by the light of nature, at best had but a glimmering idea of a future being of the soul, but not the faintest idea of the resurrection of the body (Acts 17:18; Acts 17:32). If Christ were not "the life," the dead could never live: if He were not the resurrection, they could never rise; had He not the keys of hell and death (Revelation 1:18), we could never break through the bars of death or gates of hell (Dr. Pearson).


Verse 11

Whereunto I am appointed a preacher, and an apostle, and a teacher of the Gentiles.

Whereunto - For the publication of which gospel.

I am appointed , [ etetheen (Greek #5087)] 'I was appointed.' I am appointed , [ etetheen (Greek #5087)] 'I was appointed.'

Preacher , [ keerux (Greek #2783)] - 'herald.'

Teacher of the Gentiles. Paul (2 Timothy 1:11-12) is a pattern for Timothy, as a public "preacher," an "apostle" or missionary, and a "teacher" in private. In 1 Timothy 2:7 these designations refer to his dignity; here, to his sufferings which attend his offices, and which Timothy therefore must not be ashamed of.


Verse 12

For the which cause I also suffer these things: nevertheless I am not ashamed: for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day.

For the which cause - Because I was appointed a preacher (2 Timothy 1:10-11).

I also suffer - besides my active work. Ellicott, 'I suffer even these things:' bonds, etc. (2 Timothy 1:8; 2 Timothy 1:15).

I am not ashamed - neither be thou (2 Timothy 1:8).

For. Confidence as to the future drives away shame (Bengel).

I know - though the world knows Him not (John 10:14; John 17:25).

Whom - I know what a faithful, promise-keeping God He is (2 Timothy 2:13). It is not, I know how, but WHOM, I have believed: a feeble faith may clasp a strong Saviour.

Believed - put my trust: carrying out the metaphor of a depositor leaving his pledge with one whom He trusts.

Am persuaded - (Romans 8:38).

He is able - in spite of so many foes around me.

That which I have committed unto him , [ teen (Greek #3588) paratheekeen (Greek #3866) mou (Greek #3450)] - 'my deposit:' the body soul, and spirit (1 Thessalonians 5:23; 1 Peter 4:19). So Christ Himself in dying (Luke 23:46). God deposits with us His Word to keep (2 Timothy 1:13-14) and transmit to others (2 Timothy 2:2): God commits another deposit to us, which we should commit to His keeping-namely, ourselves and our heavenly portion. Ellicott, from 2 Timothy 1:14; 1 Timothy 6:20, 'the stewardship committed to me'-namely, of preaching the Gospel. But "keep" applies rather to Paul, the holder, than God, the Giver, of the deposit (cf. also John 17:11; 1 Peter 1:5; Jude 1:24 [ fulaxai (Greek #5442), as here]).

Against that day - the day of His appearing (2 Timothy 1:18; 2 Timothy 4:8).


Verse 13

Hold fast the form of sound words, which thou hast heard of me, in faith and love which is in Christ Jesus.

Hold fast the form , [ hupotupoosin (Greek #5296) eche (Greek #2192)] - 'Have (i:e., keep) the pattern (1 Timothy 1:16, where only, besides here the Greek occurs) of sound (healthy) words which thou hast heard from me, in faith and love.' "Keep" suits the reference to a deposit. The secondary position of the verb forbids our taking it so strongly as "Hold fast." 'Have such a delineation drawn from my sound words,' in opposition to the unsound doctrines so current at Ephesus, 'vividly impressed' (the verb implies to make a lively and lasting impress) on thy mind.

In faith and love - the element IN which keeping the pattern of my sound words is to have place; in it have the vivid impression of them as thy inwardly delineated pattern, moulding comformably thy outward profession (cf. 1 Timothy 3:9).


Verse 14

That good thing which was committed unto thee keep by the Holy Ghost which dwelleth in us.

[ Teen (Greek #3588) kaleen (Greek #2570) paratheekeen (Greek #3866)] 'The goodly deposit keep through the Holy Spirit'-namely, 'the sound words which I have committed to thee' (2 Timothy 1:13; 2 Timothy 2:2).

In us - in all believers; also in you and me. Keep the indwelling Spirit, and He will keep for thee from all robbers the deposit of His Word.


Verse 15

This thou knowest, that all they which are in Asia be turned away from me; of whom are Phygellus and Hermogenes.

All they which are in Asia - Proconsular Asia. 'all there now, when they were in Rome (not "be" but) turned from me' then: "ashamed of my chain," in contrast to Onesiphorus: did not stand with me, but forsook me (2 Timothy 4:16). Possibly the occasion was at his apprehension in Nicopolis, where they had escorted him on his way to Rome, but from which they turned back to Asia. An inspiriting call to Timothy, as being his "son" (2 Timothy 2:1) now in Asia, like Onesiphorus, to make up for their defection, and to come to him (2 Timothy 4:21).

Phygellus and Hermogenes specified perhaps as persons from whom such cowardice could least be Phygellus and Hermogenes - specified, perhaps, as persons from whom such cowardice could least be expected; or, as well known to Timothy, and spoken of in conversations between him and Paul when the latter was in Asia.


Verse 16

The Lord give mercy unto the house of Onesiphorus; for he oft refreshed me, and was not ashamed of my chain:

The Lord give mercy - as Onesiphorus had showed mercy.

The house of Onesiphorus. He was then absent from Ephesus which accounts for the expression (2 Timothy 4:19). He had not yet returned from his visit at Rome (2 Timothy 1:17). His household would hardly retain his name after the master was dead. Nowhere bus Paul prayers for the dead, which is fatal to the theory that he was dead. God blesses not only the righteous man himself, but all his household: even as a good man's household generally join in his good deeds.

My chain. Paul, in the second, as in his first imprisonment, was bound by a chain to the soldier who guarded him ('custodia militaris').


Verse 17

But, when he was in Rome, he sought me out very diligently, and found me.

Very diligently , [ spoudaioteroos (Greek #4708)] - the more diligently as I was a prisoner.

Found me - after an anxious search, in a lonely prison. So in turn may he "find mercy of the Lord in that day" before the assembled universe.


Verse 18

The Lord grant unto him that he may find mercy of the Lord in that day: and in how many things he ministered unto me at Ephesus, thou knowest very well.

Grant unto him - as well as 'unto his house' (2 Timothy 1:16). Of , [ para (Greek #3844)] - 'from the Lord' is put instead of 'from Himself,' for solemnity and emphasis (2 Thessalonians 3:5).

The Lord - who rewards a kindness done to His disciples as done to Himself (Matthew 25:45).

In how many things - `how many acts of ministry he rendered.'

Unto me. Omitted in 'Aleph (') A C Delta G, so that "ministered" includes services to others as well as to Paul.

Very well ( Beltion (Greek #957)) - 'better' (than I can tell thee, seeing thou art a resident at Ephesus).

 


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Bibliography Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on 2 Timothy 1:4". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/2-timothy-1.html. 1871-8.

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