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Bible Commentaries

John Trapp Complete Commentary
2 Timothy 2

 

 

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Verse 1

1 Thou therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.

Ver. 1. Be strong] Together with the word there goes forth a power, as Luke 5:17. Exhortations are God’s means to make us such as he requireth us to be.

In the grace that is in Christ Jesus] Weak grace may evidence pardon of sin; but it is strong grace that can overcome the temptations of Satan, 1 John 2:12; 1 John 2:14, and bear up the heart in strong consolation, {a} The blessing upon man in the first creation was, "Increase and multiply;" in the second, "Grow in grace, be strong," &c.

{a} θαττον αν ειδης την καρδιαν η τα εν τη καρδια.


Verse 2

2 And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also.

Ver. 2. Commit them to faithful men] No talent is given us for private and proper use, but that we be trading and transmitting it also to others. Synesius speaks of some, who having a treasure of abilities in them, yet would as soon part with their hearts as with their meditations, &c., the canker of whose great skill shall be a witness against them.


Verse 3

3 Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.

Ver. 3. Endure hardship] Never dream of a delicacy; think not to find God in the gardens of Egypt, whom Moses found not but in the burning bush. Many love Canaan, but loathe the wilderness; commend the country, but look upon the conquest as impossible; would sit in the seat of honour with Zebedee’s children, but not drink the cup of affliction. These deceive themselves.

As a good soldier, &c.] Christ saith to us (as the Black Prince’s father sent to him, fighting as it were in blood to the knees, and in a great distress), Either vanquish or die; as the Prince of Orange said to his soldiers at the battle of Newport, when they had the sea on the one side, and the Spaniards on the other, If you will live, you must either eat up these Spaniards or drink up this sea.


Verse 4

4 No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier.

Ver. 4. With the affairs] Or, gainful negotiations with marriage matters, say the Papists here, but without all show of sense. The Council of Chalcedon strictly forbiddeth ministers to meddle in worldly matters: Clericus in oppido, piscis in arido. (Canon 31.) The apostle seemeth to allude to the Roman soldiers, who might not be tutors to other men’s persons, proctors of other men’s causes; they might not meddle with husbandry, merchandise, &c.


Verse 5

5 And if a man also strive for masteries, yet is he not crowned, except he strive lawfully.

Ver. 5. Except we strive lawfully] Tam circa ciborum quam continentiae ac honestatis rationem, saith Cassianus, except for matter and manner he observe the laws of wrestling, both for preparation and execution. Aristotle saith, Not he that had a strong body, but he that ran well had the crown in the Olympic games; it was not he that had an athletic ability, but he that wrestled best, that get the garland.


Verse 6

6 The husbandman that laboureth must be first partaker of the fruits.

Ver. 6. The husbandman labouring first] Spes alit agricolas. Nae illi falsi sunt (saith Salhst, in Jugur.) qui diversissimas res expectant, ignaviae voluptatem, et praemia virtutis. They are utterly out, that think to have the pleasure of sloth and the guerdon {a} of goodness.

{a} A reward, requital, or recompence. ŒD


Verse 7

7 Consider what I say; and the Lord give thee understanding in all things.

Ver. 7. Consider what I say] Apply to thyself these forementioned similes, and so buckle close to thy business.

And the Lord give thee] Unless God open Hagar’s eyes, she cannot see the fountain that is hard by. Rebecca cooks the venison, but Isaac only blesseth.


Verse 8

8 Remember that Jesus Christ of the seed of David was raised from the dead according to my gospel:

Ver. 8. Remember that Jesus] Remember it for thine encouragement; that Christ, for a reward of his sufferings, was both raised and exalted, Philippians 2:9.


Verse 9

9 Wherein I suffer trouble, as an evil doer, even unto bonds; but the word of God is not bound.

Ver. 9. But the word of God is not bound] It runs and is glorified, 2 Thessalonians 3:1, being free and not fettered. I preach, though a prisoner, saith Paul; so did Bradford and other martyrs. Within a few days of Queen Mary’s reign, almost all the prisons in England were become right Christian schools and churches (saith Mr Fox), so that there was no greater comfort for Christian hearts than to come to the prisons to behold their virtuous conversation, and to hear their prayers, preachings, &c. The Earl of Derby’s accusation in the Parliament house against Mr Bradford was, that he did more hurt (so he called good evil) by letters and conferences in prison, than ever he did when he was abroad by preaching.


Verse 10

10 Therefore I endure all things for the elect’s sakes, that they may also obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory.

Ver. 10. That they may also obtain] viz. By my pains in preaching, though bound, and by example of my patience in suffering bonds, &c.


Verse 11

11 It is a faithful saying: For if we be dead with him, we shall also live with him:

Ver. 11. It is a faithful saying] A sound and a sure assertion, Romans 8:17. Afflictions are the praeludia triumphi, prelide of a triumph.

If we be dead] As Christ, 2 Timothy 2:8. Or, for Christ, if we be in deaths often, and at length lose our lives for his name’s sake.


Verse 12

12 If we suffer, we shall also reign with him: if we deny him, he also will deny us:

Ver. 12. If we suffer] No wearing the crown but by bearing the cross first. Ne Iesum quidem audias gloriosum, nisi videris prius crucifixum, saith Luther (Epist. ad Melancthon). Christ himself was not glorified till first crucified. Queen Elizabeth is said to have swam to her crown through a sea of sorrow; so must we.

If we deny him] {See Trapp on "Matthew 10:33"} God usually retaliates, pays men home in their own coin, proportions jealousy to jealousy, provocation to provocation, Deuteronomy 22:21; Isaiah 66:3-4.


Verse 13

13 If we believe not, yet he abideth faithful: he cannot deny himself.

Ver. 13. If we believe not] {See Trapp on "Romans 3:3"} Some sense it thus: though we prove perfidious, yet he is no loser by us, as having all within himself. Howbeit hereby we show that we have no interest in Christ; for he cannot deny himself, though we can deny him.


Verse 14

14 Of these things put them in remembrance, charging them before the Lord that they strive not about words to no profit, but to the subverting of the hearers.

Ver. 14. Strive not about words] Either out of novelty or niceness. As Longolius, who would not use the word Ecclesia, Church, but instead thereof, Respublica Christiana, The State of Christians. Another Italian bishop for Episcopus took up the heathenish word Flamen; so Castalio for Angelus hath Genius. (Joh. Manl. loc. com.) And Pomponius Laetus was full of such like fooleries, airy contestations, and empty strifes. (Lud. Vives.) Or, strive not with words, bandying contumelious speeches (which is but to wash off dirt with dirt). Bishop Montague could not name any one, that did never so little dissent from him, without a reproach, as Rivet noteth of him. Arbitror te veritate convictum, ad maledicta converti, saith Jerome to Helvidius, I suppose thou hast nothing to say against the truth, and dost therefore fall a railing at me that defend it. Or, think not to carry it by big and boasting words without better proof, but stone thine adversaries with arguments, as Athanasius adviseth; burn heretics with the fire of charity, as Luther teacheth.


Verse 15

15 Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.

Ver. 15. Study to show thyself] There are crept into God’s sanctuary such Levites to divide the word, that are not worthy the place of Gibeonites to cleave wood; like those unlearned logicians in Plato, Lacerant doctrinas, sicut caniculi panniculos, saith he; they tear up a text, and torment it, they wrest the Scriptures and wrong them, set them upon the rack, and make them speak what they never meant. These should be driven from the work, as those bastard Levites were by the Tirshatha, Ezra 2:63.

Rightly dividing the word of God] The Syriac renders it, "Rightly preaching the word." Aeschines saith, an orator’s oration and the law (so a preacher’s sermon and the word) must be unisons. {a} And if Galen could say, that in anatomizing man’s brain, physicians must carry themselves as men do in the temple, how much more must divines do so, in dividing God’s Holy Word! The metaphor seems to be taken either from the priests of the law, who were to cut up the sacrifices accurately, and to lay them upon the altar orderly; or else from householders, that cut and carve to every one at table their share of meat. So must ministers, and not do as he in the emblem, that gave straw to the dog and a bone to the ass, but see that every one have their proper portion: this is workmanlike, such as need not be ashamed.

{a} χρη το αυτο φθεγγεσθαι τον ρητορα και τον νομον. Aesch.


Verse 16

16 But shun profane and vain babblings: for they will increase unto more ungodliness.

Ver. 16. But shun] Gr. περμστασο, go round about them, viz. to suppress them on every side. St Peter calls them bubbles of words, full of wind, 2 Peter 2:18.

For they will increase] The Greek word προκοψουσι signifies, to "cut a thing before," to make a passage for other things: as in some countries they cut a passage for their sheep because of the ice. Sure it is that error is of an encroaching nature. Let the serpent but wind in his head, and he will quickly bring in his whole body. He that saith yea to the devil in a little, shall not say nay when he pleases; he that tumbleth down the hill of error, will never leave tumbling till he comes to the bottom. The popish superstition at first grew secretly, the tares were hid under the grain; but now they overtop and choke it. How many (today) first turn Separatists, then Antinomians, then Anabaptists, then Arminians, then Socinians, Anti-scripturists, Anti-trinitarians, Stark-atheists. The London ministers in their late vindication complain of this wretched defection of many of their formerly forward hearers, and not without cause. It were far easier to write a book of apostates in this age than a book of martyrs.


Verse 17

17 And their word will eat as doth a canker: of whom is Hymenaeus and Philetus;

Ver. 17. Eat as doth a gangrene] Which presently overruns the parts, and takes the brain, pierceth into the very bones, and if not suddenly cured by cutting off the part infected, kills the patient. Lo, such is heresy and error, which made Placilla the empress earnestly beseech her husband Theodosius senior, not to confer with Eunomius the heretic, lest he should be perverted by his speeches. (Sozom. vii. c. 7.) Anasius II, bishop of Rome, A.D. 497, while he sought to win Acacius the heretic, was seduced by him. (Jac. Revius, de Vit. Pont.) Error is exceeding infectious, and for most part mortal, as the leprosy in the head was held to be. Jealousy, frenzy, and heresy can hardly be cured, saith the Italian proverb.


Verse 18

18 Who concerning the truth have erred, saying that the resurrection is past already; and overthrow the faith of some.

Ver. 18. Have erred] Gr. ηστοχησαν, have missed the mark, as unskilful archers, or as inconsiderate mariners, by misreckoning of a point, they have missed the haven and run upon the rocks.

That the resurrection is past] These were (likely) the progenitors of Marcion, who taught that there was no resurrection of the body to be believed, but of the soul only from sin. (Epiph. Haeres. 43.) This heresy is now revived among us, and raked again out of the grave; as many other also are and will be, by this lawless liberty.

And overthrow the faith of some.] Not the grace, but the profession of faith; and this they are ever doing at (the word, ανατρεπουσι is in the present tense), that they may undo their disciples; by digging at the foundation thus, that they may demolish the whole fabric.


Verse 19

19 Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his. And, Let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity.

Ver. 19. Nevertheless the foundation] viz. Of God’s election, which is here compared to a sealed book: on the one side of the seal is written, "The Lord knoweth them that are his." On the other side, "And let every one that nameth," &c. This the apostle setteth forth, for the better settling of such as were shaken by the fall of Hymenaeus and Philetus, two such forward professors.

Standeth sure] As on a rock. Our English word "sure" seems to come from the Hebrew tzur, a rock.

Having this seal] A seal is for two ends, safety and secrecy. The Jews use to write on the back of their sealed packets, Nun, Cheth, Shin, that is, Niddui, Cherem, and Shammatha, all sorts of excommunication to him that shall offer to break up sealed businesses. God’s hidden ones are in a safe hand, and out of danger of utter apostasy, though he again suffereth the tree of his Church to be shaken, that rotten fruit may fall off.

The Lord knoweth them, &c.] In respect of the freeness of his election and immobility of his affection. Howbeit this knowledge that God hath of his, is carried secret, as a river underground, till he calls and separates us from the rest.

That nameth the name of Christ] He may have an infallible seal of salvation, that but nameth Christ’s name in prayer, that can say no more than Abba, Father, desiring and resolving to depart from iniquity.


Verse 20

20 But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and of silver, but also of wood and of earth; and some to honour, and some to dishonour.

Ver. 20. There are not only, &c.] Wonder not therefore, murmur not that there are a mixture of good and bad in God’s house. He knows how to serve himself of both, Romans 9:20-22. Neither be offended that some of great note fall away, as did Hymenaeus and Philetus. God hath his vessels of all sorts.


Verse 21

21 If a man therefore purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honour, sanctified, and meet for the master’s use, and prepared unto every good work.

Ver. 21. Purge himself from these] From these seducers or arch-heretics, those vessels of dishonour, whose doctrine defileth worse than any kitchen stuff or leprosy.

He shall be a vessel, &c.] You know (said John Careless, the martyr, in a letter to Mr Philpot) that the vessel before it be made bright is soiled with oil and many other things, that it may scour the better. Oh, happy be you that you be now in this scouring house; for shortly you shall be set upon the celestial shelf as bright as angels, &c.


Verse 22

22 Flee also youthful lusts: but follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart.

Ver. 22. Flee also youthful lusts] φευγε, Flee them he must with post haste, though such a chaste and chastened piece as he was. Youth is a slippery age, slippery as glass, easily contracting dust and filth, as the word used by David importeth, Psalms 119:9, . and should therefore cleanse its ways by cleaving to the word. Youth is a hot age, as the Greek word signifies; {a} a black dark age, as the Hebrew word noteth, Ecclesiastes 11:10. Therefore put away evil from thy flesh, saith the wise man there, out of his own experience. St Paul repeats and inculcates this precept upon his son Timothy, as men do not only anoint their flesh, but rub in the ointment. He knew that all was but enough. Summopere cavendum divine praeconi, ne dicta factis deficientibus erubescant. Nihil turpius Peripatetico claudo, saith one.

But follow righteousness, faith, &c.] Let not the devil find thee idle, but do what thou canst to be out of the way when the temptation cometh. Keep close to God in other matters, Ecclesiastes 7:26; Proverbs 22:14; exercise thyself in duties of piety with an upright heart, Proverbs 23:26-27; Proverbs 6:23-24; Proverbs 2:10-11; Proverbs 2:16, Romans 1:28.

{a} ηιθεος, of αιθω, uro; αιζεος, of ζεω, ferveo.


Verse 23

23 But foolish and unlearned questions avoid, knowing that they do gender strifes.

Ver. 23. But foolish and unlearned, &c.] παραιτου. Vitiligatorum naenias devita. Shift them off, set them by as seeds of sedition. Shake off vain questionists as great triflers. Such were the schoolmen, in detestation of whose vain jangling and doting about questions Luther saith, Prope est ut iurem nullum esse Theologum Scholasticum qui unum caput Evangelii intelligat; I could almost swear that there is not a schoolman that understands one chapter of the New Testament. One of their doctors said, that he had publicly expounded the Book of Job; but by that time he came to the 10th and 11th chapters, he did verily believe that Job was more vexed and tortured by his interpretations than ever he had been by his botches and ulcers. (Joh. Manl. loc. com.)


Verse 24

24 And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient,

Ver. 24. Must not strive] μαχεσθαι, scold, wrangle, Ne rixando amittatur veritas, ut fere fit, lest by striving about the truth we utterly lose it. Facta est fides Evangeliorum, fides temporum, et cum fides una esse debeat, eo pene ventum est ut nulla sit. A sad complaint of Hilary. Erasmus observeth, that in the primitive times there were so many sects and heresies, and so much pretending to the truth by them all, that it was a witty thing to be a right believer. A late writer complaineth, that a Christian now is not the same thing as formerly. Our heads are so big (like children that have the rickets) that all the body fares the worse for it.

Patient] Or, tolerant of evil, both persons and occurrences; he shall have his back-burden of both, and must both bear and forbear: {a} Taceo, Fero, Spero, I am silent, I endure, I hope, must be his motto, as it was Hyperius’.

{a} ανεξικακον. ανεχου και απεχου. sustine, abstine


Verse 25

25 In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth;

Ver. 25. Those that oppose themselves] Though they should deal as absurdly with us as those that deny the snow to be white, &c. Aristotle forbids to dispute with such. {a} But Christ commands not only by force of argument to convince them, 1:22, but also to handle them gently, and in meekness to instruct them.

If God will give them, &c.] Repentance is God’s gift: neither is it in the power of any to repent at pleasure. Some vainly conceit that these five words, Lord, have mercy upon me, are as efficacious to send them to heaven, as the Papists that their five words of consecration are to transubstantiate the bread. But as many are undone (saith a divine) by buying a counterfeit jewel; so many are in hell by mistake of their repentance.

{a} ελεγχετε διακρινομενοι. Arguite disputatos; sic Lorinus vertit.


Verse 26

26 And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will.

Ver. 26. Recover themselves] ανανηψωσι. Put away their spiritual drunkenness, 1 Samuel 1:14, and go forth and shake themselves, as Samson, out of sin’s lethargy. "Out of the snare of the devil," i.e. heretical doctrines or sensual pleasures; both which do intoxicate men’s brains and make them dead drunk.

Taken alive] But to be destroyed, 2 Peter 2:12, without repentance unto life, Acts 11:18. εζωγρημενοι, taken alive, and in hunting.

 


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Bibliography Information
Trapp, John. "Commentary on 2 Timothy 2:4". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/2-timothy-2.html. 1865-1868.

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