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Bible Commentaries

Vincent's Word Studies
2 Timothy 4



Verse 1

I charge ( διαμαρτύρομαι )

See on 1 Timothy 5:21.

At his appearing ( καὶ τὴν ἐπιφάνειαν )

Rend. “and by his appearing,” ἐπιφάνειαν thus depending on διαμαρτύρομαι , and the accusative being the ordinary accusative of conjuration, with which by must be supplied. The A.V. follows the reading κατὰ atFor ἐπιφάνεια appearingsee on 1 Timothy 6:14; see on 2 Thessalonians 2:8. For, βασιλεία kingdomsee on Luke 6:20.

Verse 2

Be instant ( ἐπίστηθι )

Better, be ready. Once in Paul, 1 Thessalonians 5:3. Frequent in Luke and Acts. Lit. stand by, be at hand, be present. To come suddenly upon, Luke 2:38. Hence, be ready. Instant signifies urgent, importunate, persevering. Lat. instare to press upon. Thus Latimer, “I preached at the instant request of a curate.” So N.T., Romans 12:12, “Continuing instant in prayer.”

In season ( εὐκαίρως )

Only here and Mark 14:11. lxx once, Mark href="/desk/?q=mr+6:31&sr=1">Mark 6:31; 1 Corinthians 16:12: εὐκαιρία opportunity Matthew 26:16: εὔκαιρος seasonableconvenient, Mark 6:21; Hebrews 4:16.

Out of season ( ἀκαίρως )

N.T.olxx once, Philemon href="/desk/?q=phm+4:10&sr=1">Philemon 4:10. Timothy is not advised to disregard opportuneness, but to discharge his duty to those with whom he deals, whether it be welcome or not.

Reprove ( ἔλεγξον )

Rather, convict of their errors. See on 1 Timothy 5:20and John 3:20. In Paul, 1 Corinthians 14:24; Ephesians 5:11, Ephesians 5:13. Comp. ἐλεγμόν conviction 2 Timothy 3:16.

Rebuke ( ἐπιτίμησον )

In Pastorals only here. oP. Mostly in the Synoptic Gospels, where it is frequent. It has two meanings: rebuke, as Matthew 8:26; Luke 17:3, and charge, as Matthew 12:16; Matthew 16:20, commonly followed by ἵνα thator λέγων saying(Matthew 20:31; Mark 1:25; Mark 3:12; Mark 8:30; Luke 4:35), but see Luke 9:21. The word implies a sharp, severe rebuke, with, possibly, a suggestion in some cases of impending penalty ( τιμή ); charge on pain of. This might go to justify the rendering of Holtzmann and von Soden, threaten. To charge on pain of penalty for disobedience implies a menace, in this case of future judgment.

Exhort ( παρακάλεσον )

See on consolation, Luke 6:24; see on comfort, Acts 9:31. Tischendorf changes the order of the three imperatives, reading ἔλεγξον, παρακάλεσον, ἐπιτίμησον . In that case there is a climax: first convict of error, then, exhort to forsake error, finally threaten with the penalty of persistence in error.

With all longsuffering and doctrine ( ἐν πασῃ μακροθυμίᾳ )

Πάσῃ , every possible exhibition of longsuffering, etc. For doctrine rend. teaching. The combination is suggestive. Longsuffering is to be maintained against the temptations to anger presented by the obstinacy and perverseness of certain hearers; and such are to be met, not merely with rebuke, but also with sound and reasonable instruction in the truth. So Calvin: “Those who are strong only in fervor and sharpness, but are not fortified with solid doctrine, weary themselves in their vigorous efforts, make a great noise, rave, … make no headway because they build without foundation.” Men will not be won to the truth by scolding. “They should understand what they hear, and learn by perceive why they are rebuked” (Bahnsen). Διδαχή teachingonly here and Titus 1:9in Pastorals. The usual word is διδασκαλία . Paul uses both.

Verse 3

For ( γὰρ )

Ground for the preceding exhortations in the future opposition to sound teaching.

Endure ( ἀνέξονται )

Only here in Pastorals. Mostly in Paul. Comp. Acts 18:14; 2 Corinthians 11:4; Hebrews 13:22.

Sound doctrine ( τῆς ὑγιαινούσης διδασκαλίας )

Or healthful teaching. The A.V. overlooks the article which is important. The teaching plays a prominent part in these Epistles, and signifies more than teaching in general. See on 1 Timothy 1:10.

Shall they heap to themselves teachers ( ἑαυτοῖς ἐπισωρεύ σουσιν διδασκάλους )

A vigorous and graphic statement. Ἑπισωρεύειν toheap up, N.T.oComp. σεσωρευμένα laden 2 Timothy 3:6. The word is ironical; shall invite teachers en masse. In periods of unsettled faith, skepticism, and mere curious speculation in matters of religion, teachers of all kinds swarm like the flies in Egypt. The demand creates the supply. The hearers invite and shape their own preachers. If the people desire a calf to worship, a ministerial calf-maker is readily found. “The master of superstition is the people, and in all superstition wise men follow fools” (Bacon, Ess. 17).

Having itching ears ( κνηθόμενοι τὴν ἀκοήν )

Or, being tickled in their hearing. Κνήθειν totickle, N.T.oolxx. Κνηθόμενοι itchingHesychius explains, “hearing for mere gratification.” Clement of Alexandria describes certain teachers as “scratching and tickling, in no human way, the ears of those who eagerly desire to be scratched” (Strom. v.). Seneca says: “Some come to hear, not to learn, just as we go to the theater, for pleasure, to delight our ears with the speaking or the voice or the plays” (Ep. 108). Ἁκοή , A.V. ears, in N.T. a report, as Matthew 4:24; Matthew 14:1; Matthew 24:6: in the plural, ears (never ear in singular), as Mark 7:35; Luke 7:1: hearing, either the act, as Acts 28:26; Romans 10:17, or the sense, 1 Corinthians 12:17, here, and 2 Timothy 4:4.

Verse 4

Shall be turned unto fables ( ἐπὶ τοὺς μύθους ἐκτραπήσονται )

More correctly, will turn aside. The passive has a middle sense. For fables see on 1 Timothy 1:4.

Verse 5

Watch thou ( σὺ νῆφε )

See on 1 Thessalonians 5:6, and see on ἀνανήψωσιν recover 2 Timothy 2:26.

Endure afflictions ( κακοπάθησον )

Or suffer hardship. See on 2 Timothy 2:9, and comp. 2 Timothy 4:5.

Of an evangelist ( εὐαγγελιστοῦ )

Here, Acts 21:8and Ephesians 4:11. In the last passage, a special function, with apostles, prophets, pastors, and teachers. A traveling, minister whose work was not confined to a particular church. So Philip, Acts 8:5-13, Acts 8:26-40. A helper of the apostles. An apostle, as such, was an evangelist (1 Corinthians 1:17), but every evangelist was not an apostle. In The Teaching of the Twelve Apostles (about 100 a.d.) it is prescribed that an apostle shall not remain in one place longer than two days, and that when he departs he shall take nothing with him except enough bread to last until his next station (ch. xi).

Make full proof of thy ministry ( τὴν διακονίαν σου πληροφόρησον )

Better, fulfill or fully perform. In Pastorals only here and 2 Timothy 4:17. See on Luke 1:1. In lxx once, Ecclesiastes 8:11, is fully persuaded. Only in this passage in the active voice. Comp. πληρώσαντες τὴν διακονίαν havingfulfilled their ministration, Acts 12:25: ἐπλήρου τὸν δρόμον wasfulfilling his course, Acts 13:25, and τὸν δρόμον Ihave finished the course, 2 Timothy 4:7. For διακονίαν ministrysee on 1 Timothy 1:12.

Verse 6

For I am now ready to be offered ( ἐγὼ γὰρ ἤδη σπένδομαι )

I, emphatic contrast with σὺ thou 2 Timothy 4:5. Already. What he is now suffering is the beginning of the end. Σπένδεσθαι tobe poured out as a libation, only here and Philemon 2:17(note). In the active voice quite often in lxx.

Departure ( ἀναλύσεως )

N.T.oolxx. Comp. ἀναλῦσαι todepart, Philemon 1:23. The figure is explained by some of loosing a ship from its moorings; by others of breaking camp. In Philippians the latter is the more probable explanation, because Paul's situation in the custody of the Praetorians at Rome would naturally suggest a military metaphor, and because he is habitually sparing of nautical metaphors. Comp. 2 Corinthians 5:1, and Clement of Rome, ad Corinth. xliv: “Blessed are the presbyters who have gone before, seeing that their departure ( ἀνάλυσιν ) was fruitful and ripe.”

Verse 7

I have fought a good fight ( τὸν καλὸν ἀγῶνα ἠγώνισμαι )

For a good fight rend. the good fight. For the phrase, see on 1 Timothy 6:12. Comp. Philemon 1:27, Philemon 1:30; 1 Corinthians 9:25; Colossians 2:1; 1 Thessalonians 2:2; Ephesians 6:11ff.

Course ( δρόμον )

Metaphor from the race-course. Only here and Acts 13:25; Acts 20:24; comp. 1 Corinthians 9:24; Galatians 2:2; Galatians 5:7; Romans 9:16; Philemon 2:16; Philemon 3:12-14.

I have kept the faith ( τὴν πίστιν τετήρηκα )

The phrase N.T.oFor τηρεῖν tokeep, see on 1 Timothy 5:22; see on 1 Timothy 6:14.

Verse 8

Henceforth ( λοιπὸν )

Lit. as to what remains. Λοιπὸν or τὸ λοιπὸν either finally, as 2 Corinthians 13:11; or henceforth as here, Mark 14:41; 1 Corinthians 7:29, Hebrews 10:13: or for the rest, besides, as 1 Thessalonians 4:1(note); 2 Thessalonians 3:1.

There is laid up ( ἀπόκειται )

Or laid away. In Pastorals only here. In Paul, see Colossians 1:5(note). Luke 19:20of the pound laid up in a napkin.

A crown of righteousness ( ὃ τῆς δικαιοσύνης στέφανος )

The phrase N.T.oSee on στεφανοῦται iscrowned, 2 Timothy 2:5. Rend. the crown.

Judge ( κριτής )

Comp. 2 Timothy 4:1. Mostly in Luke and Acts. oP. Only here in Pastorals. Applied to Christ, Acts 10:42; James 5:9; to God, Hebrews 12:28; James 4:12.

Shall give ( ἀποδώσει )

Most frequent in Synoptic Gospels. It may mean to give over or away, as Matthew 27:58; Acts 5:8; Hebrews 12:16: or to give back, recompose, as here, Matthew 6:4, Matthew 6:6, Matthew 6:18; Romans 2:6.

At that day ( ἐν ἐκείνῃ τῇ ἡμέρᾳ )

See on 2 Timothy 1:12.

That love his appearing ( τοῖς ἠγαπηκόσι τὴν ἐπιφάνειαν αὐτοῦ )

For love rend. have loved. Appearing, Christ's second coming: see on 1 Timothy 6:14; see on 2 Thessalonians 2:8. The phrase N.T.oSome have interpreted appearing as Christ's first coming into the world, as 2 Timothy 1:10; but the other sense is according to the analogy of 1 Corinthians 2:9; Philemon 3:20; Hebrews 9:28.

Verse 9

Do thy diligence ( σπούδασον )

Earnestly endeavor. See on 2 Timothy 2:15, and comp. 2 Timothy 1:3. Do diligence and give diligence (2 Peter 1:10) are old English phrases. So Chaucer:

“And night and day dide ever his diligence

Hir for to please.”

Manciple's T. 141.

“And ech of hem doth al his diligence

To doon un-to the feste reverence.”

Clerke's T. 195

Verse 10


A contraction of Demetrius or Demarchus. He is mentioned Colossians 4:13and Philemon 1:24. It is supposed that he was a Thessalonian. On leaving Paul he went to Thessalonica; and in Philemon his name is mentioned next to that of Aristarchus the Thessalonian. That no epithet is attached to his name in Colossians 4:14(comp. “Luke the beloved physician”) may be a shadow of Demas's behavior mentioned here, in case Colossians was written later than 2nd Timothy.

Hath forsaken ( ἐγκατέλειπεν )

In Pastorals here and 2 Timothy 4:16. See on 2 Corinthians 4:9. The compounded preposition ἐν indicates a condition or circumstances in which one has been left, as the common phrase left in the lurch. Comp. Germ. im Stiche.

Having loved ( ἀγαπήσας )

The participle is explanatory, because he loved.

This present world ( τὸν νῦν αἰῶνα )

See on 1 Timothy 6:17. Contrast love his appearing, 2 Timothy 4:8.

Crescens ( Κρήσκης )


Galatia ( Γαλατίαν )

Most probably Galatia. See Introd. to Galatians. Eusebius (H. E. iii. 4) says: “Paul testifies that Crescens was sent to Gaul ( Γαλλίαν ).” Tischendorf adopts this reading.

Dalmatia ( Δαλματίαν )

Part of the country known generally as Illyricum, along the eastern coast of the Adriatic. See Romans 15:19.

Verse 11


See Introd. to Luke. His connection with Paul appears first in Acts 16:10. He remained at Philippi after Paul's departure, and was there seven years later, when Paul revisited the city (Acts 20:5, Acts 20:6). He accompanied Paul to Jerusalem (Acts 21:15), after which we lose sight of him until he appears at Caesarea (Acts 27:2), whence he accompanies Paul to Rome. He is mentioned Colossians 4:14and Philemon 1:24.

Take ( ἀναλαβὼν )

In N.T. mostly in Acts. See on Acts 23:31, and comp. Acts 20:13, Acts 20:14.


Mentioned Colossians 4:10; Philemon 1:24; 1 Peter 5:13. Probably John Mark (Acts 12:12, Acts 12:25; Acts 15:37), called the cousin of Barnabas (Colossians 4:10). The first mention of him since the separation from Paul (Acts 15:39) occurs in Colossians and Philemon. He is commended to the church at Colossae. In 1st Peter he sends salutations to Asia. In both Colossians and Philemon his name appears along with that of Demas. In Colossians he is named shortly before Luke and along with Aristarchus who does not appear here. He (Mark) is about to come to Asia where 2nd Timothy finds him. The appearance in Colossians of Aristarchus with Mark and of Demas with Luke is probably the point of connection with the representation in 2nd Timothy.

Profitable for the ministry ( εὔχρηστος εἰς διακονίαν )

Ἑύχρηστος profitableonly here, 2 Timothy 2:21, Philemon 1:11. For for the ministry rend. for ministering or for service, and see on 1 Timothy 1:12.

Verse 12


A comparatively uncommon name in N.T., but found in inscriptions of Asia Minor and on Asiatic coins. He is mentioned Acts 20:4, Acts 20:5; Ephesians 6:21; Colossians 4:7. In Acts 20:4he is described as a native of proconsular Asia.

Verse 13

The cloak ( φελόνην )

Hesychius, however, explains as a γλωσσόκομον , originally a case for keeping the mouthpieces of wind-instruments; thence, generally, a box. Γλωσσόκομον is the word for the disciples' treasury-chest (bag, John 12:6). Also a box for transporting or preserving parchments. Specimens have been found at Herculaneum. In lxx, 2 Samuel 6:11, the ark of the Lord (but the reading varies): in 2 Chronicles 24:8, the chest placed by order of Joash at the gate of the temple, to receive contributions for its repair. Joseph. Ant. 6:1,2, of the coffer into which the jewels of gold were put for a trespass-offering when the ark was sent back (1 Samuel 6:8). Phrynicus defines it as “a receptacle for books, clothes, silver, or anything else.” Φαιλόνης or φαινόλης awrapper of parchments, was translated figuratively in Latin by toga or paenula “a cloak,” sometimes of leather; also the wrapping which a shopkeeper put round fish or olives; also the parchment cover for papyrus rolls. Accordingly it is claimed that Timothy is here bidden to bring, not a cloak, but a roll-case. So the Syriac Version. There seems to be no sufficient reason for abandoning the translation of A.V.


Not mentioned elsewhere.

The books ( βιβλία )

Βίβλος or, βιβλίον was the term most widely used by the Greeks for book or volume. The usual derivation is from βύβλος theEgyptian papyrus. Comp. Lat. liber “the inner bark of a tree,” also “ book.” Pliny (Nat. Hist. xiii. 11) says that the pith of the papyrus plant was cut in slices and laid in rows, over which other rows were laid crosswise, and the whole was massed by pressure. The name for the blank papyrus sheets was χάρτης (charta) paper. See on 2 John 1:12. Timothy is here requested to bring some papyrus documents which are distinguished from the vellum manuscripts.

Parchments ( μεμβράνας )

N.T.oManuscripts written on parchment or vellum. Strictly speaking, vellum was made from the skins of young calves and the common parchment from those of sheep, goats, or antelopes. It was a more durable material than papyrus and more expensive. The Latin name was membrana, and also pergamena or pergamina, from Pergamum in Mysia where it was extensively manufactured, and from which it was introduced into Greece. As to the character and contents of these documents which Timothy is requested to bring, we are of course entirely ignorant.

Verse 14

Alexander the coppersmith

Comp. 1 Timothy 1:20, and Acts 19:33. The same person is probably meant in all three cases.

Did me much evil ( πολλά μοι κακὰ ἐνεδείξατο )

Lit. shewed me much ill -treatment. Comp. 1 Timothy 1:16.

May the Lord reward ( ἀποδώσει )

More correctly shall reward. A.V. follows the reading ἀποδω ῄ .

Verse 15

Greatly withstood ( λίαν ἀντέστη )

Comp. 2 Timothy 3:8, and Galatians 2:11. This may refer to the occurrences at Ephesus (Acts 19:33), or to Alexander's attitude during Paul's trial. The former is more probable. Λίαν greatlynot in Paul, except in the compound ὑπερλίαν , 2 Corinthians 11:5; 2 Corinthians 12:11. Only here in Pastorals. Mostly in Synoptic Gospels.

Verse 16

At my first answer ( ἐν τῇ πρώτῃ μου ἀπολογίᾳ )

Ἁπολογία defensein a judicial trial. Comp. Acts 25:16. Also against private persons, as 1 Corinthians 9:3; 2 Corinthians 7:11. Defense of the gospel against its adversaries, as Philemon 1:7, Philemon 1:16; comp. 1 Peter 3:15(note). It is impossible to decide to what this refers. On the assumption of a second imprisonment of Paul (see Introduction) it would probably refer to a preliminary hearing before the main trial. It is not improbable that the writer had before his mind the situation of Paul as described in Philemon href="/desk/?q=phm+1:7&sr=1">Philemon 1:7, Philemon 1:16, has no specific reference to Paul's trial, but refers to the defense of the gospel under any and all circumstances. In any case, the first Romans imprisonment cannot be alluded to here. On that supposition, the omission of all reference to Timothy's presence and personal ministry at that time, and the words about his first defense, which must have taken place before Timothy left Rome (Philemon 2:19-23) and which is here related as a piece of news, are quite inexplicable.

Stood with me ( παρεγένετο )

As a patron or an advocate. The verb mostly in Luke and Acts: once in Paul, 1 Corinthians 16:3: only here in Pastorals. It means to place one's self beside; hence, to come to, and this latter sense is almost universal in N.T. In the sense of coming to or standing by one as a friend, only here.

Be laid to their charge ( αὐτοῖς λογισθείη )

Mostly in Paul: only here in Pastorals. See on Romans 4:3, Romans 4:5; see on 1 Corinthians 13:5.

Verse 17

Strengthened ( ἐνεδυνάμωσεν )

See on 1 Timothy 1:12.

The preaching ( τὸ κήρυγμα )

Better, the message (par excellence ), the gospel message. Usually with a defining word, as of Jonah; of Jesus Christ; my preaching; our preaching. Absolutely, as here, 1 Corinthians 1:21; Titus 1:3.

Might be fully known ( πληροφορηθῇ )

See on 2 Timothy 4:5. Lit. might be fulfilled; fully carried out by being proclaimed before rulers in the capital of the world. Comp. Romans 15:19; Acts 23:11; Acts 28:31; Philemon 1:12-14.

Out of the mouth of the lion ( ἐκ στόματος λέοντος )

Figurative expression for danger of death. Comp. 1 Corinthians 15:32. As usual, all manner of special references have been imagined: the lions of the amphitheatre; Nero; the chief accuser; the Jews; the Devil.

Verse 18

Every evil work ( ἐκ ἔργου πονηρου )

Every design and attempt against him and his work. Πονηρός evilcannot be limited to evil on its active side. See on 1 Corinthians 5:13. The word is connected at the root with πένεσθαι tobe needy, and πονεῖν totoil; and this connection opens a glimpse of that sentiment which associated badness with a poor and toiling condition. The word means originally full of or oppressed by labors; thence, that which brings annoyance or toil. Comp. ἡμέρα πονηρά evilday, Ephesians 5:16; Ephesians 6:13; ἕλκος πονηρὸν agrievous sore, Revelation 16:2.

Heavenly kingdom ( τὴν βασιλείαν τὴν ἐπουράνιον )

The phrase N.T.o Ἑπουράνιος heavenlyonly here in Pastorals. Mostly in Paul and Hebrews. Heavenly kingdom, here the future, glorified life, as 1 Corinthians 6:9, 1 Corinthians 6:10; 1 Corinthians 15:50; Luke 13:29. In the same sense, kingdom of Christ and of God, Ephesians 5:5; kingdom of their Father, Matthew 13:43; my Father's kingdom, Matthew 26:29; kingdom prepared for you, Matthew 25:34; eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, 2 Peter 1:11.

Verse 19

Salute ( ἄσπασαι )

Very often in Paul. The singular only here and Titus 3:15.

Prisca and Aquila

They appear in Corinth, Acts 18:2, Acts 18:3; in Ephesus, Acts 18:18, Acts 18:26; 1 Corinthians 16:19.


Profit-bringer. Comp. 2 Timothy 1:16. One of the punning names so common among slaves. Comp. Chresimus, Chrestus, Onesimus, Symphorus, all of which signify useful or helpful.

Verse 20


In Acts 19:22, sent by Paul with Timothy to Macedonia from Ephesus. Romans 16:23, the city-treasurer who sends salutations. He cannot be certainly identified with the one mentioned here. The writer merely selects names of well-known companions of Paul.


See Acts 22:4; Acts 21:9.

Sick ( ἀσθενοῦντα )

By Paul mostly in a moral sense, as weak in the faith, Romans 4:19; the law was weak, Romans 8:3; the weak brother, 1 Corinthians 8:11. Of bodily sickness, Philemon 2:26, Philemon 2:27.

Verse 21

Eubulus, Pudens, Linus, Claudia


Verse 22

The Lord Jesus Christ be with thy spirit

Omit Jesus Christ. The closing benediction only here in this form.


Copyright Statement
The text of this work is public domain.

Bibliography Information
Vincent, Marvin R. DD. "Commentary on 2 Timothy 4:4". "Vincent's Word Studies in the New Testament". Charles Schribner's Sons. New York, USA. 1887.

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