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Bible Commentaries

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible
2 Timothy 1

 

 

Verse 1

1. Paul—Note, 1 Timothy 1:1.

According to the promise—The word rendered promise signifies announcement; and hence Paul styles himself an apostle… according to, or for the purpose of, the announcement of the life… in Christ. Yet in the New Testament this announcement, being of a blessed result, becomes in effect a promise.


Verse 2

2. Beloved—In 1 Timothy 1:2, genuine son, (see note there,) a difference arising from the fact that the first epistle is more official, this more personal and hearty.


Verse 3

I. PAUL’S HORTATORY REHEARSAL OF THE PAST PREPARATORY TO A CONFIRMATION OF TIMOTHY IN THE FUTURE, 2 Timothy 1:3-18.

1. Faithfulness of Timothy’s parentage an incitement to firmness for the glorious gospel of Christ, 2 Timothy 1:3-10.

3. Thank God—For what? The mind of the apostle looks to 2 Timothy 1:5, overleaping the accumulated particulars intervening, for the expression of the object of his thanks, namely, the hereditary and persistent piety of Timothy.

From my forefathers—Not merely the forefathers of his nation, as Abraham, and others; but rather his own more immediate personal progenitors, like those of Timothy in 2 Timothy 1:5.

Serve… with pure conscience—They served God with a pure conscience before Christ came; he serves the same God with as pure a conscience since Christ came. His holy forefathers were in their day as true Christians as he; he in his day is as true Jew as they. See our notes on Acts 26:1; Acts 26:6.


Verse 4

4. Mindful of—That is, recollecting thy tears, shed some time since, probably when Paul first left him at Ephesus to depart to Macedonia. 1 Timothy 1:3. That I refers back to see thee.


Verse 5

5. When—He gives now his theme of thanks in 2 Timothy 1:3. Timothy’s faith, like Paul’s, is hereditary; both are firm Christians, as their parents were devout Jews.

Lois—Here only mentioned. Eunice is referred to, but not named, in Acts 16:1, “which was a Jewess, and believed.” When Paul says that the same unfeigned faith permanently dwelt first in… Lois, he must refer to her previous faith as a devout Jewess before Jesus was preached by Paul in Lystra. In Timothy’s ancestry, then, as well as in his own, (2 Timothy 1:3,) Paul recognises that devout Hebraism was one with devout Christianity. And in this tender reminder of his maternal home, the mind of Timothy is turned back to those past days when the gospel came to Lystra, and perfected the Jewish faith, that there dwelt, into Christian faith.

I am persuaded—In spite of the desertion of almost all others, in thee also. Timothy, he was persuaded, would be found “faithful among the faithless;” and thence he expected that instead of deserting him, like others, (2 Timothy 1:15,) Timothy would hasten to Rome at his call. Chap. 2 Timothy 4:9.


Verse 6

6. Wherefore—In view of thy hereditary and unswerving faith.

Put thee in remembrance—Not any implication of remissness, (as, most absurdly, Alford,) but a permanent reminder (2 Peter 3:1) to ministerial faithfulness.

Gift—The gift of ministerial power, imparted by the Spirit bestowed by Paul’s putting of hands on Timothy. This gift could slumber, like embers beneath the ashes, and wane away, unless the possessor should stir up, that is, enkindle and arouse it, as one does a smothered fire. This is to be done by earnest prayer and diligent exercise. From 1 Timothy 4:14, (where see note,) it appears that the hands of the presbytery were laid upon Timothy concurrently with those of St. Paul as principal.


Verse 7

7. For—Reason for arousing his gift; that bestowed spirit is not the spirit of fear, with which the deserters from Paul and Christ are in these trying times dismayed. It is rather the spirit of power, by which dangers and foes are encountered and overcome. Of love—Which is the true inspirer and regulator of power.

Sound mind—Rather, of admonition or corrective reproof of others, the result at which Timothy’s ordination to the ministry aims.


Verse 8

8. Be not… ashamed—As I am not ashamed, 2 Timothy 1:12.

Therefore— From the fact that ours is the spirit of power, able to vanquish all false shame.

Testimony—In behalf of our Lord; or more properly and forcibly, the Lord’s testimony, a testimony to be performed by us, but truly his. And so in the phrase his prisoner, Paul means to call himself, tersely, Christ’s prisoner; kept a prisoner by Christ in behalf of his gospel.

Partaker—As I am Christ’s prisoner, so be thou co-sharer with me of the afflictions of the gospel, dismissing fear and shame, and maintaining a firm sympathy.

According to—In proportion to the power of God viewed here by St. Paul (as in Ephesians 1:19) as stupendously displayed in the system of salvation as now described in the verse following.


Verse 9

9. The be not ashamed of the preceding verse is now enforced by the grandeur and eternity of God’s purpose and grace… in Christ Jesus, a purpose and grace in the bosom of God before the world began; but is now made manifest.

Hath saved us—With a temporal, preparatory to an eternal, salvation.

Called us… calling—A calling become a permanent state, in consequence of that call to live a holy life, upon our first having become believers. Hence it was a holy calling, embraced in words like these: “As he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy,”

Not… works—See notes on Romans 3:24; Romans 3:27.

His own purpose—His eternal secret purpose, now made manifest, (next verse,) of saving men on condition of faith. See note on Ephesians 1:19.

Given us—As believers, and conditionally in view of our future faith. See notes on Romans 9:10-13. But the successive verbs here, saved, called, given, abolished, speak of the entire great scheme, which is really in an incomplete process, as fully accomplished. St. Paul speaks as from the end. Note, Romans 5:12 and Romans 8:30.

Before the world began—Literally, before aeonic times; before the cycles of events began to roll; from all eternity. Notes on Romans 16:26; 1 Corinthians 2:7; Ephesians 1:4.


Verse 10

2. Paul’s apostleship, and committed trust of the gospel doctrine, 2 Timothy 1:11-14.

10. Now—In sublime antithesis to before the world began. This is the epoch of divine revelation in contrast with ages of concealment.

Appearing—’ επιφανεια, the shining forth, the epiphany, (see notes on 2 Thessalonians 2:8,) including the entire period of Christ’s first residence on earth.

Abolished death—First in his own body, by his own resurrection; and then, by including the race in his resurrective power. See note on 1 Corinthians 15:26. All, like him, die; all, like him, rise again.

Brought… to light—Literally, has illuminated, or shed light upon, life and immortality. The resurrective power lay, as yet, concealed in shades of death and darkness; but the gospel pours light upon and discloses the author, origin, and true nature of life and immortality to our view. Life takes place at the resurrection, and immortality is the eternal consequence of the soul’s enshrinement in the resurrective body. The apostle is not speaking here, nor perhaps anywhere else, of the metaphysical immortality of the soul, based on its own intrinsic immaterial nature, whether that be verity or not; but of that life of the soul consequent on the restoration of the race on the probationary basis as correspondent to the resurrection of the body. Note on 1 Corinthians 15:14.

Immortality—Not undyingness; not the non-annihilation of the soul; but the incorruptibility of the resurrection body. Note, 1 Corinthians 15:42-43.

Through the gospel—For, as it is Christ’s epiphany that has secured this resurrective insolubility, so it is his gospel that throws light upon and discloses it to men. All this implies not that the doctrine of future life was previously unknown to the world. On the contrary, it has been an almost universal thought in the mind of the race. Our love of life, (shared with the lower animals,) united with our intuitive idea of the eternal, (un-shared by lower races.) becomes a hope of endless life. Conscience adds the thought of retribution, which finds its realization only in a future existence. The earliest records of the race, disclosed by Egyptian obelisks and Assyrian bricks, reveal the fact that primitive men even clothed the conception of immortality with an imaginative and often fantastic costume of bodily resurrections. It is the gospel which presents in Christ the definite cause, method, and results of life and immortality.


Verse 11

11. Whereunto—To this most glorious gospel.

Appointed—Not by my own assumption, but by divine will. 2 Timothy 1:1.

A preacher—A herald; for so the Greek word signifies. A herald was an appointed messenger in war from one side to the other, whose person was sacred while in performance of his duties. Often was he the bearer of terms of peace; hence weapons of war must be quiet in his presence.

Apostle—Note, Matthew 10:1-2; Luke 1:2.

Of the Gentiles—Which most of the Ephesian Church were.


Verse 12

12. For the which cause—For this divine and eternal purpose and salvation of 2 Timothy 1:9-11.

Suffer… not ashamed—As he had charged Timothy, 2 Timothy 1:8, to be not ashamed either of the cause or its apostle. For this suffer had a terrible garb of ignominy about it. The chain, the base soldier, the surrounding crowd of malefactors, the scorn of the Roman world, and the withdrawal of even professing Christians, were almost overwhelming loads of shame. Hence our apostle is obliged to say even to his beloved son Timothy, be not ashamed, for I am not ashamed.

For— To give the solid reason for his not ashamed.

I know—There was a moveless basis in this I know. So many proofs he had had that he rested on the eternal rock.

Whom—That rock was Christ.

That which I have committed—In Greek, a single word, the deposit. What was the said deposit? Himself; his own entire being, temporal and eternal, devoted by faith, believed, committed to Christ.

That day—The day on which all Christian thought was then resting, the judgment advent of Christ.


Verse 13

13. Form of sound words—Type of healthful doctrine.

Sound words— The same in Greek as wholesome words in 1 Timothy 6:3. Note, 1 Timothy 1:10. Form of… words, therefore, does not signify some verbal formula committed to memory, as the Lord’s Prayer or the Apostles’ Creed. Words mean principles or doctrines, and the form of sound words was the type or system of healthful theology which Timothy had often heard from St. Paul, and of which 9-11 is a summary. It was to be held in Timothy’s firm faith, and in that love which in Christ Jesus animated his heart.


Verse 14

14. Good thing… committed—That deposit; namely, the gift of 2 Timothy 1:6.

Keep—By faithfulness in its discharge, not solely in his own strength, but by the Holy Ghost.

In us—The common inheritance of all Christians.


Verse 15

3. Maintained amid apostasies of many, with rare exception, 2 Timothy 1:15-18.

15. This—The sad desertion of Paul by his friends in Asia Minor. If we accepted our English translation of the words we should be inclined to adopt the conclusions of Renan, that all Asia went over to the Judaists, adopting the “Petrine gospel;” that Paul was, during the first age, forgotten; and that it was not until the Church, taught by advancing time, dismissed the expectation of an approaching advent, and made search for documents to form her future canon, that St. Paul’s numerous epistles came into Scripture, and renewed his fame in the Church. But the Greek aorist requires that be turned should be rendered simply turned, pointing to a particular time, namely, the crisis of his trial; the same period as that in which Onesiphorus was so faithful. The idea, then, is, that the Christians in Asia deserted Paul at his moment of need; those who came to Rome, Phygellus and Hermogenes, by as strictly avoiding him, and the rest in Asia by inaction through fear, shame, or negligence, endorsing the avoidance. This, however, involves no permanent rejection of Paul or Pauline doctrine. Wiesinger thinks, that the all in Asia were those who had been at Rome during Paul’s crisis, but had now returned to Asia. Huther suggests the construction: All they in Asia belonging to Phygellus and Hermogenes.

This thou knowest—For thou art thyself in Asia, and knowest how they in Asia behave.

Asia—See note, Acts 6:9. This Asia included the great provinces of Mysia, Lydia, and Caria, bordering on the AEgean. Timothy’s residence was at its capital, Ephesus.

Turned from me—Stood aloof from, deserted me.

Phygellus and Hermogenes— Mentioned only here, as flagrant specimens of those who deserted him in his trial, in contrast with the earnest adherence of Onesiphorus and the firmness of Luke. 2 Timothy 4:11.

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Verse 16

16. Onesiphorus is one bright exception to this desertion.

House— Implying, perhaps, that he was himself dead.

Refreshed—As a cooling does a heated person.

Not ashamed—As St. Paul was not, 2 Timothy 1:12, and Timothy should not be, 2 Timothy 1:8.

My chain—Sometimes two chains. Note, Acts 12:6; and so Acts 21:33. Note, Ephesians 6:20.


Verse 17

17. But—Contrastive. He did not find business too pressing to attend to me, or find his Jewish or Roman friends too respectable to condescend to me, but.

Was in Rome—Drawn there by some other call, as probably business, which often drew Asiatics to Rome. Notes on Acts 19:1; and on Acts 18:19.

Sought—For such was the obscurity of my condition that I needed to be sought and found.


Verse 18

18. Lord grant—If Onesiphorus was deceased, here, say the Romanists, is a prayer for the dead. In the early epitaphs of the catacombs, as Mr. Withrow informs us, a rare instance or two is found of a devout wish for the bliss of the dead. One, dated A.D. 268, reads, “Mayest thou live among the holy ones.” Another, 291, reads, “Refresh thyself among sainted spirits.” And so the English service for burial of the dead, “Beseeching Thee, that it may please Thee of Thy gracious goodness to accomplish the number of Thine elect, and to hasten Thy kingdom; that we, with all those that are departed in the true faith of Thy Holy Name, may have our perfect consummation and bliss, both in body and soul, in Thy everlasting glory.” Wesley, in his Journal, thus describes the tomb of Bishop Bedell: “A plain flat stone, inscribed, ‘Depositum Gulielmi Bedell, quondam Episcopi Kilmorensis:’ over whom the Rebel army sung, ‘Requiescat in pace ultimus Anglorum’—May he rest in peace, last of the Englishmen.”

All these ejaculations were not prayers for the redemption of the wicked dead, but devout accords with the divine will in the final glorification of the holy dead, with us.

Of the Lord—A similar repetition of the word Lord in Genesis 19:24. Probably St. Paul, in the course of writing the sentence, remembers that Christ is judge in that day without taking into view the fact that he had already mentioned him as Lord. Thou, as being at Ephesus, knowest very well; Greek, better, that is, than I or better than you know his well-doing in Rome.

 


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Bibliography Information
Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on 2 Timothy 1:4". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/2-timothy-1.html. 1874-1909.

Lectionary Calendar
Friday, November 22nd, 2019
the Week of Proper 28 / Ordinary 33
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