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Bible Commentaries

Robertson's Word Pictures in the New Testament
2 Timothy 4



Verse 1

I charge thee (διαμαρτυρομαιdiamarturomai). Rather, “I testify.” See 1 Thessalonians 4:6. See 1 Timothy 5:21 for this verb and appeal to God and Christ.

Who shall judge (του μελλοντος κρινεινtou mellontos krinein). “The one going or about to judge” (regular idiom with μελλωmellō). The quick and the dead (ζωντας και νεκρουςzōntas kai nekrous). “Living and dead.” See 1 Thessalonians 4:16.

And by his appearing (και την επιπανειανkai tēn epiphaneian). Accusative of conjuration (verbs of swearing), after διαμαρτυρομαιdiamarturomai as is βασιλειανbasileian (by his kingdom). See note on 1 Thessalonians 5:27. For επιπανειανepiphaneian see note on 1 Thessalonians 1:10; Titus 2:13; 1 Timothy 6:14; 2 Thessalonians 2:8.

Verse 2

Preach the word (κηρυχον τον λογονkēruxon ton logon). First aorist active imperative of κηρυσσωkērussō For “the word” used absolutely, see note on 1 Thessalonians 1:6; Galatians 6:6.

Be instant in season, out of season (επιστητι ευκαιρως ακαιρωςepistēthi eukairōs akairōs). Second aorist (ingressive) active imperative of επιστημιephistēmi (intransitive use), “take a stand,” “stand upon it or up to it,” “carry on,” “stick to it.” The Vulgate has “insta.” The two adverbs are like a proverb or a play (pun) on the word καιροςkairos There are all sorts of seasons (καιροιkairoi), some difficult (χαλεποιchalepoi 2 Timothy 3:1), some easy (ευκαιρηιeukairēi 1 Corinthians 16:12).

Reprove (ελεγχονelegxon). First aorist active imperative of ελεγχωelegchō “Bring to proof.” Ephesians 5:11.

Rebuke (επιτιμησονepitimēson). First aorist active imperative of επιτιμαωepitimaō to give honour (or blame) to, to chide. Common in the Gospels (Luke 17:3).

Exhort (παρακαλεσονparakaleson). First aorist active imperative of παρακαλεωparakaleō common Pauline word.

Verse 3

A time when (καιρος οτεkairos hote). One of the ακαιρωςakairōs (out of season) times.

Will not endure (ουκ ανεχονταιouk anexontai). Future middle (direct) of ανεχωanechō “Will not hold themselves back from” (Colossians 3:13). Having itching ears (κνητομενοι την ακοηνknēthomenoi tēn akoēn). Present middle (causative) participle of κνητωknēthō late and rare form of the Attic κναωknaō to scratch, to tickle, here only in N.T. “Getting the ears (the hearing, την ακοηνtēn akoēn) tickled.” The Vulgate has πρυριεντεςprurientes Cf. the Athenians (Acts 17:21). Clement of Alexandria tells of speakers tickling (κνητοντεςknēthontes) the ears of those who want to be tickled. This is the temptation of the merely “popular” preacher, to furnish the latest tickle.

Verse 4

Will turn away their ears (την ακοην αποστρεπσουσινtēn akoēn apostrepsousin). Future active of old verb αποστρεπωapostrephō See 1 Corinthians 12:17 for this use of ακοηakoē The people stopped their ears and rushed at Stephen in Acts 7:57.

Will turn aside (εκτραπησονταιektrapēsontai). Second future passive of εκτρεπωektrepō They prefer “myths” to “the truth” as some today turn away to “humanism,” “bolshevism,” “new thought” or any other fad that will give a new momentary thrill to their itching ears and morbid minds.

Verse 5

But be thou sober (συ δε νηπεsu de nēphe). Present active imperative of νηπωnēphō for which see note on 1 Thessalonians 5:6, 1 Thessalonians 5:8. “Be sober in thy head.”

Suffer hardship (κακοπατησονkakopathēson). See note on 2 Timothy 2:9.

Do the work of an evangelist (εργον ποιησον ευαγγελιστουergon poiēson euaggelistou). See note on 1 Corinthians 1:17; Ephesians 4:11 for ευαγγελιστηςeuaggelistēs gospelizer.

Fulfil (πληροπορησονplērophorēson). First aorist active imperative of πληροπορεωplērophoreō for which see note on Colossians 4:12. In Colossians 4:17 Paul uses πληροωplēroō to Archippus about his ministry as he here employs πληροπορεωplērophoreō Both verbs mean to fill full.

Verse 6

I am already being offered (ηδη σπενδομαιēdē spendomai). Present (progressive) passive indicative of σπενδωspendō old verb, to pour out a libation or drink offering. In N.T. only here and Philemon 2:17. “What was then a possibility is now a certainty” (Parry). The sacrifice of Paul‘s life-blood has begun.

Of my departure (της αναλυσεως μουtēs analuseōs mou). Our very word “analysis.” Old word from αναλυωanaluō to loosen up or back, to unloose. Only here in N.T., though αναλυσαιanalusai for death is used by Paul in Philemon 1:23 which see for the metaphor.

Is come (επεστηκενephestēken). Perfect active indicative of επιστημιephistēmi (intransitive use). See note on 1 Thessalonians 5:3; Luke 21:34. The hour has struck. The time has come.

Verse 7

I have fought the good fight (τον καλον αγωνα ηγωνισμαιton kalon agōna ēgōnismai). Perfect middle indicative of αγωνιζομαιagōnizomai a favourite figure with Paul (1 Corinthians 9:25; Colossians 1:29), with the cognate accusative αγωναagōna (Philemon 1:27, Philemon 1:30, etc.). The “fight” is the athletic contest of his struggle for Christ.

I have finished the course (τον δρομον τετελεκαton dromon teteleka). Perfect active indicative of τελεωteleō He had used this metaphor also of himself to the elders at Ephesus (Acts 20:24). Then the “course” was ahead of him. Now it is behind him.

I have kept the faith (την πιστιν τετηρηκαtēn pistin tetērēka). Perfect active indicative again of τηρεωtēreō Paul has not deserted. He has kept faith with Christ. For this phrase, see note on Revelation 14:12. Deissmann (Light, etc., p. 309) gives inscriptions in Ephesus of a man who says: “I have kept faith” (την πιστιν ετηρησαtēn pistin etērēsa) and another of a man of whom it is said: “He fought three fights, and twice was crowned.”

Verse 8

Henceforth (λοιπονloipon). Accusative case, “for the rest.”

There is laid up for me (αποκειται μοιapokeitai moi). Present passive of αποκειμαιapokeimai old verb, to be laid away. See note on Colossians 1:5 for the hope laid away. Paul‘s “crown of righteousness” (ο της δικαιοσυνης στεπανοςho tēs dikaiosunēs stephanos genitive of apposition, the crown that consists in righteousness and is also the reward for righteousness, the victor‘s crown as in 1 Corinthians 9:25 which see) “is laid away” for him.

At that day (εν εκεινηι τηι ημεραιen ekeinēi tēi hēmerāi). That great and blessed day (2 Timothy 1:12, 2 Timothy 1:18).

The righteous judge (ο δικαιος κριτηςho dikaios kritēs). “The just judge,” the umpire who makes no mistakes who judges us all (2 Corinthians 5:10).

Shall give me (αποδωσει μοιapodōsei moi). Future active of αποδιδωμιapodidōmi “Will give back” as in Romans 2:6 and in full.

But also to all them that have loved his appearing (αλλα πασιν τοις ηγαπηκοσιν την επιπανειαν αυτουalla pāsin tois ēgapēkosin tēn epiphaneian autou). Dative case of the perfect active participle of αγαπαωagapaō to love, who have loved and still love his second coming. ΕπιπανειαEpiphaneia here can as in 2 Timothy 1:10 be interpreted of Christ‘s Incarnation.

Verse 9

Shortly (ταχεωςtacheōs). In 2 Timothy 4:21 he more definitely says “before winter.” Apparently the trial might drag on through its various stages.

Verse 10

Forsook me (με εγκατελειπενme egkateleipen). Imperfect (MSS. also have aorist, εγκατελιπενegkatelipen) active of the old double compound verb εγκαταλειπωegkataleipō for which see note on Romans 9:29. Clearly in contrast to 2 Timothy 4:9 and in the sense of 1 Timothy 6:17, wilful desertion. Only mentioned elsewhere in Colossians 4:14.

Crescens (ΚρησκηςKrēskēs). No other mention of him.

Titus to Dalmatia (Τιτος εις ΔαλματιανTitos eis Dalmatian). Titus had been asked to rejoin Paul in Nicopolis where he was to winter, probably the winter previous to this one (Titus 3:12). He came and has been with Paul.

Verse 11

Only Luke is with me (Λουκας εστιν μονος μετ εμουLoukas estin monos met' emou). Luke is with Paul now in Rome as during the first Roman imprisonment (Philemon 1:24; Colossians 4:14).

Take Mark (Μαρκον αναλαβωνMarkon analabōn). Second aorist active participle of αναλαμβανωanalambanō old verb, to pick up, as in Ephesians 6:13, Ephesians 6:16. “Pick up Mark.”

He is useful to me (εστιν μοι ευχρηστοςestin moi euchrēstos). See note on 2 Timothy 2:21 for ευχρηστοςeuchrēstos Paul had long ago changed his opinion of Mark (Colossians 4:10) because Mark had changed his conduct and had made good in his ministry. Now Paul longs to have the man that he once scornfully rejected (Acts 15:37.).

Verse 12

Tychicus I sent to Ephesus (Τυχικον απεστειλα εις ΕπεσονTuchikon apesteila eis Epheson). Perhaps Paul had sent him on before he came to Rome. He may have been still on the way to Ephesus.

Verse 13

The cloke (την πελονηνtēn phelonēn). More common form πειλονηpheilonē By metathesis for παινοληphainolē Latin paenula, though which language transliterated the word into the other is not known. The meaning is also uncertain, though probably “cloke” as there are so many papyri examples in that sense (Moulton and Milligan, Vocabulary). Milligan (N.T. Documents, p. 20) had previously urged “book wrap” as probable but he changed his mind and rightly so.

With Carpus (παρα Καρπωιpara Karpōi). “Beside Carpus,” at his house. Not mentioned elsewhere. Probably a visit to Troas after Paul‘s return from Crete.

The books (τα βιβλιαta biblia). Probably papyrus rolls. One can only guess what rolls the old preacher longs to have with him, probably copies of Old Testament books, possibly copies of his own letters, and other books used and loved. The old preacher can be happy with his books.

Especially the parchments (μαλιστα τας μεμβραναςmalista tas membranas). Latin membrana. The dressed skins were first made at Pergamum and so termed “parchments.” These in particular would likely be copies of Old Testament books, parchment being more expensive than papyrus, possibly even copies of Christ‘s sayings (Luke 1:1-4). We recall that in Acts 26:24 Festus referred to Paul‘s learning (τα γραμματαta grammata). He would not waste his time in prison.

Verse 14

Alexander the coppersmith (Αλεχανδρος ο χαλκευςAlexandros ho chalkeus). Old word, only here in N.T., for metal-worker (copper, iron, gold, etc.). Possibly the one in 1 Timothy 1:20, but not the one in Acts 19:33. unless he afterwards became a Christian.

Did me much evil (μοι κακα ενεδειχατοmoi kaka enedeixato). Evidently he had some personal dislike towards Paul and possibly also he was a Gnostic.

Will render (αποδωσειapodōsei). Future active of the same verb used in 2 Timothy 4:8, but with a very different atmosphere.

Verse 15

Be thou ware also (και συ πυλασσουkai su phulassou). Present middle (direct) imperative of πυλασσωphulassō “from whom keep thyself away.”

Withstood (αντεστηantestē). Second aorist active indicative of αντιστημιanthistēmi “stood against my words.” See note on 2 Timothy 3:8; Galatians 2:11.

Verse 16

At my first defence (εν τηι πρωτηι απολογιαιen tēi prōtēi apologiāi). Original sense of “apology” as in Philemon 1:7, Philemon 1:16. Either the first stage in this trial or the previous trial and acquittal at the end of the first Roman imprisonment. Probably the first view is correct, though really there is no way to decide.

No one took my part (ουδεις μοι παρεγενετοoudeis moi paregeneto). “No one came by my side” (second aorist middle indicative of παραγινομαιparaginomai). See note on 1 Corinthians 16:3.

But all forsook me (αλλα παντες με εγκατελειπονalla pantes me egkateleipon). Same verb and tense used of Demas above (2 Timothy 4:10), “But all were forsaking me” (one by one) or, if aorist εγκατελιπονegkatelipon “all at once left me.”

May it not be laid to their account (μη αυτοις λογιστειηmē autois logistheiē). First aorist passive optative in future wish with negative μηmē Common Pauline verb λογιζομαιlogizomai (1 Corinthians 13:5; Romans 4:3, Romans 4:5).

Verse 17

But the Lord stood by me (ο δε κυριος μοι παρεστηho de kurios moi parestē). Second aorist active of παριστημιparistēmi (intransitive use), “took his stand by my side.” See note on Romans 16:2. Clearly Jesus appeared to Paul now at this crisis and climax as he had done so many times before.

Strengthened me (ενεδυναμωσεν μεenedunamōsen me). “Poured power into me.” See note on Philemon 4:13.

That through me the message might be fully proclaimed (ινα δι εμου το κηρυγμα πληροπορητηιhina di' emou to kērugma plērophorēthēi). Final clause with ιναhina and first aorist passive subjunctive of πληροπορεωplērophoreō (see 2 Timothy 4:5). Either to the rulers in Rome now or, if the first imprisonment, by his release and going to Spain.

And that all the Gentiles might hear (και ακουσωσιν παντα τα ετνηkai akousōsin panta ta ethnē). Continuation of the purpose with the aorist active subjunctive of ακουωakouō

I was delivered out of the mouth of the lion (ερυστην εκ στοματος λεοντοςerusthēn ek stomatos leontos). First aorist passive indicative of ρυομαιruomai (1 Thessalonians 1:10). A proverb, but not certain what the application is whether to Nero or to Satan (1 Thessalonians 2:18) or to the lion in the arena where Paul could not be sent because a Roman citizen.

Verse 18

Will deliver me (ρυσεται μεrusetai me). Future middle. Recall the Lord‘s Prayer. Paul is not afraid of death. He will find his triumph in death (Philemon 1:21.).

Unto his heavenly kingdom (εις την βασιλειαν αυτου την επουρανιονeis tēn basileian autou tēn epouranion). The future life of glory as in 1 Corinthians 15:24, 1 Corinthians 15:50. He will save (σωσειsōsei effective future) me there finally and free from all evil.

To whom be the glory (ωι η δοχαhōi hē doxa). No verb in the Greek. Paul‘s final doxology, his Swan Song, to Christ as in Romans 9:5; Romans 16:27.

Verse 19

Prisca and Aquila (Πρισχαν και ΑκυλανPriscan kai Akulan). Paul‘s friends now back in Ephesus, no longer in Rome (Romans 16:3). See note on 2 Timothy 1:16 for the house of Onesiphorus.

Verse 20

Erastus (ΕραστοςErastos). See note on Acts 19:22 and note on Romans 16:23.

Trophimus (ΤροπιμονTrophimon). A native of Ephesus and with Paul in Jerusalem (Acts 20:4; Acts 21:29).

At Miletus sick (εν Μιλητωι αστενουνταen Milētōi asthenounta). Present active participle of αστενεωastheneō to be weak. Probably on Paul‘s return from Crete.

Verse 21

Before winter (προ χειμωνοςpro cheimōnos). Pathetic item if Paul was now in the Mamertine Dungeon in Rome with winter coming on and without his cloak for which he asked. How long he had been in prison this time we do not know. He may even have spent the previous winter or part of it here. Eubulus, Pudens, Linus, Claudia are all unknown otherwise. Irenaeus does speak of Linus.

The Lord be with thy Spirit (ο κυριος μετα του πνευματος σουho kurios meta tou pneumatos sou). Let us hope that Timothy and Mark reached Paul before winter, before the end came, with the cloak and with the books. Our hero, we may be sure, met the end nobly. He is already more than conqueror in Christ who is by his side and who will welcome him to heaven and give him his crown. Luke, Timothy, Mark will do all that mortal hands can do to cheer the heart of Paul with human comfort. He already had the comfort of Christ in full measure.


Copyright Statement
The Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament. Copyright Broadman Press 1932,33, Renewal 1960. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Broadman Press (Southern Baptist Sunday School Board)

Bibliography Information
Robertson, A.T. "Commentary on 2 Timothy 4:4". "Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament". Broadman Press 1932,33. Renewal 1960.

Lectionary Calendar
Tuesday, August 20th, 2019
the Week of Proper 15 / Ordinary 20
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