Lectionary Calendar
Friday, February 23rd, 2024
the First Week of Lent
There are 37 days til Easter!
We are taking food to Ukrainians still living near the front lines. You can help by getting your church involved.
Click to donate today!

Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary
2 Timothy 1:18

the Lord grant to him to find mercy from the Lord on that day—and you know very well what services he rendered at Ephesus.
New American Standard Bible

Bible Study Resources

Nave's Topical Bible - Beneficence;   Ephesus;   Intercession;   Kindness;   Thankfulness;   Scofield Reference Index - Assurance-Security;   Thompson Chain Reference - Ephesus;   Service;   Timely Service;   Torrey's Topical Textbook - Love to Man;   Mercy of God, the;   Prisons;  
American Tract Society Bible Dictionary - Onesiphorus;   Bridgeway Bible Dictionary - Ephesus;   Gifts of the spirit;   Servant;   Timothy, letters to;   Baker Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology - Mercy;   Easton Bible Dictionary - Day;   Ephesus;   Onesiphorus;   Fausset Bible Dictionary - Ephesus;   Onesiphorus;   Timothy, the First Epistle to;   Timothy, the Second Epistle to;   Holman Bible Dictionary - Ephesus;   Onesiphorus;   Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible - Paul the Apostle;   Prayer;   Sanctification, Sanctify;   Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament - Day;   Day and Night;   Mercy;   Mercy ;   Minister Ministry;   Minister, Ministration;   Onesiphorus ;   Paul;   Prayer;   Timothy;   Timothy and Titus Epistles to;   Morrish Bible Dictionary - Ephesus ;   People's Dictionary of the Bible - Day;   Onesiphorus;   Smith Bible Dictionary - Onesiph'orus;  
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - Ephesians, Epistle to the;   Eschatology of the New Testament;   Pastoral Epistles, the;   Paul, the Apostle;  
Every Day Light - Devotion for October 17;  

Clarke's Commentary

Verse 2 Timothy 1:18. The Lord grant-that he may find mercy of the Lord — Some think that this is a prayer to God the Father to communicate grace to him, that he might find mercy in the great day at the hand of Jesus Christ the Judge. It is probably only a Hebraism for, God grant that he may here be so saved by Divine grace, that in the great day he may receive the mercy of the Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life. See a similar form of expression, Genesis 9:16; Genesis 19:24; Exodus 24:1-2.

IT is impossible to read this chapter over without feeling deeply interested for this most noble and amiable of men. To what trials did God expose him! His life was a life of perils and tribulations, his labours were superabundant, and his success all but incredible. Wherever he went, he left a track of light and life behind him. To him, as the grand instrument of God, the Gentiles, the whole habitable world, owe their salvation. Yet see him, in his old age, neglected by his friends, apparently forsaken of God, and abandoned to the hands of ruthless men; in prison and in chains; triumphing over sufferings and death; perfectly unshaken, unstumbled, with the evils with which he is obliged to contend, having the fullest persuasion of the truth of the doctrines which he had preached, and the strongest and most encouraging anticipation of the glory that was about to be revealed. He felt no evil, and he feared none. Sin had lost its power, and death its sting; the grave its victory, and hell its horrors. He had the happiness which heathenism spoke of, but could not attain, because it knew not the great Source whence it must proceed. This God he knew, feared, loved, obeyed, and was happy. Who but the righteous man can sing: -

Felix, qui potuit rerum cognoscere causas;

Atque metus omnes et inexorabile fatum

Subjecit pedibus, strepitumque Acherontis avari! -

Illum non populi fasces, non purpura regum

Flexit, et infidos agitans discordia fratres; -

Non res Romanae, perituraque regna.

VIRG. GEORG. ii. v. 490.

No murmur is heard from his heart; he is persuaded that all things work together for good to them that love God; the miserable uncertainty of friendship, the defection of cowardly brethren, and the apostasy of once zealous professors, did not move him. As far as it is lawful, he courts death, knowing that to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord. Glorious system of truth by which such an apostle was formed! and glorious apostle by whom this system was illustrated and confirmed! The character and conduct of St. Paul must make Christianity doubly amiable to believers and highly respectable even to its enemies.

Bibliographical Information
Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on 2 Timothy 1:18". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/​commentaries/​acc/2-timothy-1.html. 1832.

Bridgeway Bible Commentary


Need for courage and faithfulness (1:1-18)

Paul recalls the time when he left Timothy behind in Ephesus, and remembers how Timothy wept as they parted. He longs to see him again (1:1-4). No doubt the quality of Timothy’s faith, which so attracted Paul to him, was largely the result of a godly upbringing by those of sincere faith (5). At the beginning of Timothy’s ministry Paul had shown publicly that he believed Timothy to be divinely gifted for his work. He encourages Timothy to keep working and not to become hesitant through fear of opposition (6-7).
Far from being timid, Timothy must be bold in showing himself of one mind with Paul in standing for the truth of Jesus Christ. True, this will result in suffering, but he will willingly bear such suffering when he remembers all that God has freely done for him (8). God saves sinners and makes them his people solely by his grace, not because of anything they have done. Before the world was made, God planned to give people eternal life, but this gift becomes theirs only through Christ’s victory over death on the cross (9-10).
The imprisonment Paul suffers is not because he has failed in any way, but because he has steadfastly upheld the gospel. He has carried out the work God gave him to do. Therefore, his imprisonment neither causes him shame nor weakens his confidence. He knows that God will be faithful to him and will preserve the gospel, no matter how severe the persecution (11-12). Timothy also must stand firm and, with the help of God’s Spirit, uphold the message of truth that God has entrusted to him (13-14).
Paul gives Timothy two examples of commitment, one bad the other good. The bad example concerns Christians from the province of Asia who apparently deserted Paul at the time of his arrest (15). By contrast another from Asia, Onesiphorus of Ephesus, went looking for Paul, in spite of the difficulties and risks involved. Paul prays that God will reward him with blessing on his family now, and mercy in the day of judgment (16-18; cf. 4:19).

Bibliographical Information
Flemming, Donald C. "Commentary on 2 Timothy 1:18". "Fleming's Bridgeway Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/​commentaries/​bbc/2-timothy-1.html. 2005.

Coffman's Commentaries on the Bible

(the Lord grant unto him to find mercy of the Lord in that day); and in how many things he ministered at Ephesus, thou knowest very well.

The parenthesis here is alleged by some to be an authentic New Testament example of prayers offered for the dead, but there is no proof at all that Onesiphorus was dead; and, even if he was, the expression of this fervent hope on Paul’s part cannot be called a prayer, except in the most accommodative sense. It is not in the form of a prayer, qualifying rather as a prayerful hope, and not as a petition in the form of a specific request. Carl Spain wisely observed that, "If Onesiphorus was awaiting trial, Paul avoids language that might be used against him." Carl Spain, op. cit., p. 123. Before any proposition that justifies prayers for the dead could be supported by this passage, it would have to be proved that Onesiphorus was dead, and Paul’s omission of his name in 2 Timothy 1:16 simply does not constitute any such proof. As DeWelt noted:

Where was Onesiphorus when this letter was written? If he was in Rome, and Paul was writing from Rome to Ephesus, how could Paul (in a letter addressed to Timothy in Ephesus) greet someone who wasn’t there? Does this prove he was dead? How ridiculous! Don DeWelt, Paul’s Letters to Timothy and Titus (Joplin, Missouri: College Press, 1961).

Lenski affirmed that "The analogy of Scriptures is solidly against anything in the nature of prayers for the dead," R. C. H. Lenski, op. cit., p. 776. a fact no student of the word may deny. A further word on this from Hendriksen will suffice:

Paul at times expresses the wish that eschatological blessings be granted to those who, while the apostle is writing, are still living on earth (1 Thessalonians 5:23 b); (and therefore) the conclusion that Onesiphorus had actually died is not necessary. William Hendriksen, op. cit., p. 240.

It is best, therefore, to view this rather difficult passage, not as any kind of prayer on behalf of the dead; but, as Gealy suggested, "It may be that we should see in the prayer — it is not in the form of direct address — merely a gracious fervent wish or expression of hope." Fred D. Gealy, op. cit., p. 477.

Bibliographical Information
Coffman, James Burton. "Commentary on 2 Timothy 1:18". "Coffman's Commentaries on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/​commentaries/​bcc/2-timothy-1.html. Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. 1983-1999.

Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

The Lord grant unto him that he may find mercy of the Lord in that day - The day of judgment; notes at 2 Timothy 1:12. This proves that Onesiphorus was then alive, as Paul would not offer prayer for him if he was dead. The Papists, indeed, argue from this in favor of praying for the dead - assuminG from 2 Timothy 4:19, that Onesiphorus was then dead. But there is no evidence of that. The passage in 2 Timothy 4:19, would prove only that he was then absent from his family.

And in how many things he ministered unto me at Ephesus - This was the home of Onesiphorus, and his family was still there; 2 Timothy 4:19. When Paul was at Ephesus, it would seem that Onesiphorus had showed him great kindness. His affection for him did not change when he became a prisoner. True friendship, and especially that which is based on religion, will live in all the vicissitudes of fortune, whether we are in prosperity or adversity; whether in a home of plenty, or in a prison.

This chapter is full of interest, and may suggest many interesting reflections. We see:

(1) A holy man imprisoned and about to die. He had nearly finished his course, and had the prospect of soon departing.

(2) He was forsaken by his friends, and left to bear his sorrows alone. They on whom he might have relied, had left him; and to all his outward sufferings, there was added this, one of the keenest which his Master endured before him, that his friends forsook him, and left him to bear his sorrows alone.

(3) Yet his mind is calm, and his faith in the gospel is unshaken. He expresses no regret that he had embraced the gospel; no sorrow that he had been so zealous in it as to bring these calamities upon himself. That gospel he still loves, and his great solicitude is, that his young friend may never shrink from avowing it, though it may call him also to pass through scenes of persecution and sorrow.

(4) In the general apostasy, the turning away of those on whom he might have relied, it is refreshing and interesting, to find mention made of one unshaken friend; 2 Timothy 1:16. He never swerved in his affections. He had been kind to him in former years of comparative honor, and he did not leave him now in the dark day of adversity. It is always interesting to find true friendship in this world - friendship that survives all reverses, and that is willing to manifest itself when the great mass turn coldly away. There is such a thing as friendship, and there is such a thing as religion, and when they meet and mingle in the same heart, the one strengthens the other; and then neither persecution, nor poverty, nor chains, will prevent our doing good to him who is in prison and is about to die; see the notes at 2 Timothy 4:16.

Bibliographical Information
Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on 2 Timothy 1:18". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/​commentaries/​bnb/2-timothy-1.html. 1870.

Calvin's Commentary on the Bible

18May the Lord grant to him Some explain it thus: — “May God grant to him that he may find mercy with Christ the Judge.” And, indeed, this is somewhat more tolerable than to interpret that passage in the writings of Moses:

“The Lord rained fire from the Lord,” (Genesis 19:24,)

as meaning, — “The Father rained from the Son.” (154) Yet it is possible that strong feeling may have prompted Paul, as often happens, to make a superfluous repetition.

That he may find mercy with the Lord on that day (155) This prayer shews us how much richer a recompense awaits those who, without the expectation of an earthly reward, perform kind offices to the saints, than if they received it immediately from the hand of men. And what does he pray for? “That he may find mercy;” for he who hath been merciful to his neighbors will receive such mercy from God to himself. And if this promise does not powerfully animate and encourage us to the exercise of kindness, we are worse than stupid. Hence it follows, also, that when God rewards us, it is not on account of our merits or of any excellence that is in us; but that the best and most valuable reward which he bestows upon us is, when he pardons us, and shews himself to be, not a stern judge, but a kind and indulgent Father.

(154) See Calvin on Genesis, vol. 1, p. 512, where that remarkable expression is copiously explained. — Ed.

(155) “No Christian can read this passage without being powerfully affected by it; for we see that Paul was, as it were, transported, when he spoke of that coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and of the final resurrection. He does not say, “May the Lord grant that he may find favor at his coming, on the day of our redemption, when he shall appear again to judge the world!” But he says, “On that day;” as if he presented the Lord Jesus visibly, with his angels. Paul did not speak those things coldly, or like a man, but he rose above all men, that he might be able to exclaim, “That day, that day!” And where is it? True, none of those who wish to be wise in themselves will take any pains to find it; for that saying must be fulfilled, — “Eye hath not seen, ears have not heard, neither hath entered into the heart of man, what God hath prepared for them that love him.” (Isaiah 64:4.) Let men task their powers to the utmost to know it, it will be to them a dark and mysterious thing, and they will not be able to approach to it. But when we shall embrace the promise which he hath given to us, and after having known that Christ, being risen from the dead, displayed his power, not for his own sake, but to gather together all his members, and to unite them to himself, then shall we be able truly to say, That day.”-Fr. Ser.

Bibliographical Information
Calvin, John. "Commentary on 2 Timothy 1:18". "Calvin's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/​commentaries/​cal/2-timothy-1.html. 1840-57.

Smith's Bible Commentary

Shall we turn now to second Timothy? This is the last epistle that Paul wrote. He is again in prison in Rome. It would seem that he was released from the first imprisonment and allowed a little more time of liberty to preach the Gospel. And putting together from the various epistles and from the book of Acts, it would seem that he went to Miletus and then on over to Corinth and to Troas, probably to Ephesus, and then on back where he was arrested and taken back to Rome.

Paul realizes that the situation is now changed in Rome. He realizes that the sentence of death is upon him. He knows that his time is very short, that he will soon be executed by Nero for his faith in Jesus Christ. And so realizing that his execution is only a matter of time, Paul writes his final letter to Timothy, his son in the faith. This young man that Paul had discipled and spent so much time with to invest in Timothy's life so that he could carry on the work of Paul once he was gone.

So Paul now is writing his final epistle, this is the last of Paul's epistles. Shortly after this, he was beheaded there on the Appian Way just outside of Rome.


Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, according to the promise of life which is in Christ Jesus ( 2 Timothy 1:1 ),

You see, the sentence of death is now hanging on him. So what's he talk about? Life in Christ Jesus, that eternal life. Jesus said, "Don't be afraid of those who can kill your body, and after that they don't have any power" ( Matthew 10:28 ). And so as Paul is writing with the sentence of death upon him, knowing that his execution is only a matter of time, it is interesting how he writes about life. I'm "an apostle by the will of God, according to the promise of life," not of death but "of life which is in Christ Jesus."

John tells us, "This is the record, God has given to us eternal life, and that life is in the Son. And he who has the Son has life" ( 1 John 5:11 ). "According to the promise of life that is in Christ Jesus." Oh thank God, even with the sentence of death hanging over us, we can talk about life, that eternal life, that age-abiding life that we have in Christ Jesus. When the rich young ruler came to Jesus and fell there at His feet, he said, "Good Master, what good thing must I do to inherit this age-abiding life" ( Matthew 19:16 )? He saw in Christ that quality of life and he desired it, that quality of life that is ours through our faith in Jesus Christ. "He who has the Son has life."

To Timothy, my dearly beloved son ( 2 Timothy 1:2 ):

Notice the endearing terms of Paul now towards Timothy as he realizes this is probably the last time I'm going to write, be able to write to him "my dearly beloved son." And so there's a lot of emotion, a lot of pathos in this second letter to Timothy because of the background of this whole epistle.

Grace, mercy, and peace, from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord ( 2 Timothy 1:2 ).

These beautiful gifts of God: His grace, His mercy, His peace.

I thank God, whom I serve from my forefathers with a pure conscience, that without ceasing I have remembrance of you in my prayers night and day ( 2 Timothy 1:3 );

The men that God uses are men of prayer. Paul is constantly in his epistles referring to his prayer life. He was a man who lived and slept and breathed prayer. He lived in close relationship with God and with Jesus Christ, and so is the case with those men that God uses, they are men of prayer. And here Paul speaks about his praying for Timothy without ceasing night and day, because Paul realized that if the ministry of the Word was to be carried on in truth, really the heavy burden was going to be upon Timothy once Paul left. When Paul sent Timothy to the church in Philippi, he said, "I have sent unto you my beloved son Timothy because I don't have anyone else who is likeminded as I am, who really has you at his heart" ( Philippians 2:19-20 ).

Timothy was one that had really modeled his life after Paul. Paul could say, hey, this young man has caught the vision. This young man knows my heart. And so he realized that Timothy was going to be the natural one to carry on that same ministry of the grace of God to the people. And that is no doubt why Paul invested so much time in prayer for Timothy, night and day. Oh Lord, he's a young man. Lord, he doesn't have the background and the experience but God, use him, help him, bless him, Lord. Oh, wouldn't you love to have Paul praying for you night and day?

And Paul said,

I greatly desire to see you, because I remember your tears ( 2 Timothy 1:4 ),

No doubt the last time Paul had seen Timothy there at Ephesus and had to leave him, Timothy was crying, probably wanted to go with Paul. Paul, they believed, was arrested in Ephesus at this time when the Roman church began to, I mean the Roman government began to persecute the church again. And probably as they bound Paul to take him back to Rome, as he said his farewell to Timothy, Timothy was just weeping and sobbing. And yet it was necessary that he stay and establish those brethren in the church of Ephesus, which were being harassed by the false teachers that had come in. And so Timothy, weeping; and Paul had vividly in his mind this beloved co-laborer, his son in the Lord, he had in his mind the tears as they were coming down Timothy's face. He said, Oh, I greatly desire to see you. I remember your tears and I love to see you.

that I might be filled with joy ( 2 Timothy 1:4 );

What a beautiful bond is created through Jesus Christ among men and among women. This family of God, it exceeds even our natural family. The bond that God creates in our hearts and in our lives for each other, that love that is there. Paul said,

I call to remembrance the unfeigned faith ( 2 Timothy 1:5 )

Or the pure faith.

that is in you, which dwelt first in your grandmother Lois, and in your mother Eunice; and I am persuaded is also in you ( 2 Timothy 1:5 ).

So he came from a good line, you know, a godly heritage. What a blessing it is. What a blessing to have a godly grandmother. What a blessing to have a godly mother, the faith that was in my grandmother, the faith that was in my mother, the faith that God has planted in my heart.

You know, it's an interesting thing my grandmother was a very special woman. She lived in Santa Barbara and the pastor that came to the church there was just a young man, he wasn't married yet. And so she used to go with him on his calls so that there would be no questions in the minds of people if he called on some of the young wives or whatever, my grandmother was always with him and made his calls with him. She lived a life dedicated to the Lord, to serve the Lord. That was the whole passion of her life was to serve the Lord.

When she was in the hospital dying of cancer, they were short of nurses and so she would get up and go around and take bed pans to people and took care of them and waited on people there in the hospital because that was her life, just service. It was a life of service to God and a trust in God.

I recently found out that inscribed on her tombstone are the words "Jesus never fails." And that was just the story of her life, it was a life of faith in the Lord. And so the family members, because that was just, was sort of the hallmark of her life, "Jesus never fails," they put that on her tombstone. I didn't know that, but over in Fairhaven here in Santa Ana on my mother's tombstone, we have placed "Jesus never fails," because the faith that was in my grandmother was passed down to my mother.

And I could remember from a child, my younger brother had asthma. And when he would have his attacks and start wheezing, couldn't sleep, we had an old rocking chair that creaked. And as a little child, I could remember lying in bed hearing my brother wheeze, you know, that asthmatic wheeze that you know, it has a unique sound to it, and I could hear that. I could hear the creaking rocking chair out in the other room and I could hear my mother singing Jesus Never Fails. Jesus never fails. Heaven and earth may pass away but Jesus never fails. And I would go to sleep hearing her rock my brother during his asthmatic attacks singing of the unfailing grace of Jesus Christ. Whenever we were sick, she would come in and sing to us, Jesus Never Fails. My brother was healed of asthma; the Lord didn't fail. And all through our life the Lord has taken care of us. The Lord didn't fail.

And so because this was so much a part of her life, without knowing it was on my grandmother's tombstone, we had it put on her tombstone over here in Santa Ana. And so there in the cemetery in Montecito you'll find a gravestone of my grandmother's that says, "Jesus never fails". Over here in Fairhaven you'll find my mother's gravestone that says, "Jesus never fails," the faith that came from my grandmother to my mother and now passed on to us and we, of course, passing it on to our sons and now they, too, their sons and grandchildren and all. Oh how glorious it is the heritage that is ours in the Lord and in the things of the Spirit and it's just, it's just a beautiful thing.

Paul said I know the faith that was in your grandmother Lois and also in your mother Eunice and I know it's in you. Oh, the greatest thing that we can offer and give to our children is this heritage of trusting God in faith. How important that we pass it on.

Wherefore I put thee in remembrance that you stir up the gift of God, that is in thee by the putting on of my hands ( 2 Timothy 1:6 ).

Now Paul has a couple of times already made reference to this. When Timothy was a young man and began to join Paul in the ministry there in Lystra, the elders laid hands on Timothy and prayed for him. And as they did, the Lord gave to Paul a word of prophecy in which the Lord spoke to Timothy, telling him the gifts that the Lord was giving to him and outlining somewhat the ministry that Timothy was to fulfill. And Paul has made mention before of this experience that Timothy had when the elders laid hands on him and he received the Holy Spirit and the gifts of the Spirit and the word of prophecy directing his life and his ministry. And so Paul said, remember and stir up the gift that is in you that you received when the hands were laid upon you and the gift of prophecy was exercised.

It is possible for us to neglect the gifts of God within our lives, but God did not give us these gifts to be neglected. He gave us these gifts to be used. And so Paul's exhortation to Timothy, "Stir up that gift that is in you," begin to exercise it again. By faith, begin to exercise again that gift of the Spirit that God has given unto you.

For God has not given us the spirit of fear ( 2 Timothy 1:7 );

Now evidently, Timothy became a little fearful in the exercise of this gift. And I think that that is a tool that Satan often uses to discourage our exercises of the gifts of the Spirit. Fear. I don't know what people are going to think, you know, if I say that to them. And we have this fear that many times restricts us from the exercise of gifts. But "God hasn't given us the spirit of fear;"

but of power, love, and a sound mind ( 2 Timothy 1:7 ).

Spirit of power. Oh, thank God, the spirit of love, how important, and a sound mind.


Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me his prisoner: but be thou a partaker of the afflictions of the gospel according to the power of God ( 2 Timothy 1:8 );

Now there are a lot of situations where we can just keep our mouths shut and stay out of trouble when we really ought to be opening our mouths and getting into trouble. You know, when people are saying blasphemous things we can just keep our mouth shut and sort of shrug and say, you know, poor stupid soul. Or we can say to them, Do you realize what you are saying? What a filthy mouth you have! Doesn't it bother you to have such a filthy mind and mouth?

I've often said to people when they are using the name of Jesus in a blasphemous way, Hey, that hurts me. You're talking about a man who I love more than anyone else, who died to save me from my sins, and it hurts me to hear you talk about Him that way. Hey. They sometimes get upset and they, you know, look like, Who do you think you are, you know, and all that kind of stuff. But yet Paul tells Timothy that "God has given us the power of the spirit of power, of love and of a sound mind." Therefore, don't be ashamed of our Lord but be a partaker of the afflictions of the gospel, we'll get to a little bit, "They who live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution" ( 2 Timothy 3:12 ). The promise in the Bible that I hate the most.

The power of God; Who hath saved us, and called us with a 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 ( 2 Timothy 1:9 ),

So God who called us and saved us, but it wasn't according to our works. We are not saved according to our works but according to the purposes of God.

Now this was the message that Paul was proclaiming and the message that was being perverted by the legalism that was creeping into the church. Now remember that Timothy was ministering there in Ephesus, to the church in Ephesus. And already there were those seeds of legalism that had taken root and were beginning to turn the people away from the glorious gospel of grace that Paul had proclaimed. And Paul speaks to Timothy of his concern that they were turning away from the grace of God, and for him to establish them in the grace of God.

A few years later Jesus wrote a letter to Ephesus and all was not well within the church. In fact, Jesus called the church of Ephesus to repentance and He said unless you repent I will remove My presence from you. They had come to the place where their whole religion was a works thing, because the Lord said, I know thy works, thy labor and so forth, and thy works. They had come to a legal relationship with the Lord. They had come to a salvation based upon works. "Who saved us, and called us," Paul said, "not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began."

Now the result of a legal relationship to the Lord is really the loss of relationship because Jesus doesn't want a legal relationship with you. He desires a loving relationship with you. He wants you to relate to Him in love. And so He said to Ephesus, "You've left your first love"(Revelation 2:4 ). You've got all these works, man, you got this whole thing going all kinds of works, but I have this against you, because you've left your first love. I don't want a legal relationship with you. I want a loving relationship with you.

And tonight Jesus is looking for a loving relationship with you. He's not interested in all of these little rules and regulations and keeping your works up. He's interested in your just loving Him supremely, this loving relationship. "I have this against you, you've left your first love. Now remember from whence you are fallen, and repent, and do the first works over" ( Revelation 2:4-5 ). That is, the works that were motivated and prompted by love. "Or else, I will move the candlestick out of his place." Where was the place of the candlestick? Jesus was walking in the midst. So Jesus is saying, I'll take my presence from your midst if you try to have a legal relationship with Me. That's not what I want, I want love relationship.

And so Paul is encouraging him, in the grace God has called us, with this holy calling. But God didn't call you because of your works or because you were deserving or worthy of it, but just to accomplish His purposes of love and of grace which was given us in Christ before the world began.

But it is now made manifest ( 2 Timothy 1:10 )

God has always loved us but the love was manifested.

by the appearing of Jesus Christ ( 2 Timothy 1:10 ),

You see, "Heavens declare the glory of God; the earth shows his handiwork. Day unto day they utter their speech" ( Psalms 19:1 , Psalms 19:2 ). I have no argument with the man who says, God speaks to me in nature. God speaks to me in nature. And how I love for God to speak to me through nature. How I love to walk along the beach. How I love to get into the surf. How I love to watch a beautiful sunset. How I love to sit under the stars out in the desert and just look up into the heavens and the vastness of the galaxies and all. How I love to see the raging streams. I love Yosemite. I love nature. God speaks to me through nature. I have no argument. The Bible says that God speaks to you through nature. "Day unto day they utter their speech. Night unto night their voice goes forth. There isn't a speech or a language where their voice isn't heard." Yes, I believe that God can speak to you when you go out to the desert. When you go up to the mountains. When you take a Sunday off and just go out among nature and just enjoy the beauty of God's creation. I believe that God speaks to you there. I have no argument with that.

But what nature cannot and does not tell you is how much God loves you. It took more than nature to reveal that. It took Jesus Christ. It is interesting that whenever God wants to show you His love or to prove His love to you, He always points to the cross. And so God who loved us before the world ever existed, but has manifested it by the appearing of our Savior Jesus Christ.

who has abolished death ( 2 Timothy 1:10 ),

Now here Paul got the death sentence. Nero says, you know, death sentence is upon him, but Paul says God has abolished death. Oh, thank God for the life that is ours.

and has brought life and immortality to light through the gospel ( 2 Timothy 1:10 ):

The Christian does not die. It is wrong to say of a child of God he died. The Christian does not die. Paul the apostle said "we know that when the earthly tent of our body is dissolved," when my body goes back to dust, decomposes and goes back to dust, I "have a building of God, not made with hands, that's eternal in the heavens. So then we who are in these bodies, in these tents, do often groan, earnestly desiring to move out of this old tent: not to be unembodied spirit, but to be clothed upon with a new body which is from heaven. For we know that, as long as we are living in these bodies, we are absent from the Lord: but we would choose rather to be absent from these bodies, to be present with the Lord" ( 2 Corinthians 5:1-8 ).

So when a Christian dies, rather than saying, Oh, he died last week, we should say, Oh, he moved last week. Have you seen John lately? Oh, didn't you know, he moved into a beautiful mansion. He's no longer living in that old tent. "Who has abolished death, and has brought life and immortality."

Jesus said to Martha, "I am the resurrection, and the life:" Yes, Lord, I know on the last day he's going to rise. No, Jesus said, "I am the resurrection, and the life." I'm here now, and "he that believeth on me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: And if you live and believe in me, you'll never die". He said, "Do you believe this?" ( John 11:25 , John 11:26 ) That's the Gospel. That's the good news that we have to proclaim. The Lord has abolished death. He who lives and believes shall never die. Oh, move, yes. That's important and that's desirable. I wouldn't want to live in this dumb, old tent forever.

Everyday I live the Lord is making it just a little bit easier, more desirable to move. I'm getting aches and creaks that I've never had before. I've had the most difficult time walking across the floor the first thing in the morning. I mean, it takes awhile now to get warmed up. My feet just kill me in the morning, especially after a few sets of tennis. Not a funny thing, it's miserable, growing old. The old tent slowly dissolving, but I have a building of God for God has abolished death and brought us life and immortality.

Whereunto [he said] I am appointed a preacher, and an apostle, and a teacher of the Gentiles ( 2 Timothy 1:11 ).

The three things that Paul was called to do. He was a preacher, he was an apostle, he was a teacher. Preaching is ordained by God to bring the unbeliever to a faith in Jesus Christ. Preaching is not for the Christian or the saint or the church, preaching is for the unregenerate. For in the preaching, I am proclaiming to the unregenerate God's good news to man. You don't have to go on in sin and die in your sin and trespasses. You can have eternal life through Jesus Christ. Repent; believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, that's preaching.

Teaching is what the church needs. Now the weakness of the church today is that there is too much preaching and not enough teaching in the church. The church has been preached almost to death, and what the church needs is teaching. Teaching us how to walk, teaching us how to grow, teaching us how to develop in our relationship with God. That's what the church needs, the teaching of the Word, and that's where the church is failing in a real teaching ministry. So Paul had a combination of a preaching and a teaching ministry, called as an apostle.

For the which cause [he said] I also suffer these things: nevertheless ( 2 Timothy 1:12 )

These things you know, I'm in prison, I've been sentenced to death and it's because of my teaching and preaching that I'm here in prison. Nevertheless, he said,

I am not ashamed: for I know whom I have believed ( 2 Timothy 1:12 ),

Now notice, he didn't say I know what I believe. Now there's a lot of people today say, Well I know what I believe. You know, I believe in the Orthodoxy. I believe in the Apostle's Creed. I believe, and they know what they believe. But it's not what you believe or in what you believe but it's in whom you believe that's important. "I know in whom I have believed."

and I am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day ( 2 Timothy 1:12 ).

I have committed my life to Him. I am persuaded He's able to keep it. I know in whom I have believed. Correct orthodoxy is important, but a Creed can't save you, only Jesus Christ can save you. It's not belief in a system. It's not belief in a religion. It's not belief in a doctrinal position. It's belief in a person that brings salvation. It's the belief in Jesus Christ. And so we know, we need to know in whom we have believed.

Paul said, "I'm persuaded He's able to keep that which I have committed". That word "I have committed" in the Greek is an interesting word. It's a word that is used for making a bank deposit. I've entrusted it. So I've entrusted my life to Him. He's able to keep it. Nero may take my head off but He's going to keep my life because I know in whom I have believed. I am persuaded He's able to keep me.

Hold fast that form of sound words, which you have heard of me, in faith and love which is in Christ Jesus ( 2 Timothy 1:13 ).

As these false teachers were beginning to come along. And you remember Paul in his last recorded visit in the book of Acts, with the elders of Ephesus, as he had come to Miletus and he had sent a message to the elders in Ephesus to meet him in Miletus because he was in a hurry to get back to Jerusalem, wanted to get back there before the feast, that he might take the offering back to the church in Jerusalem that he had collected among the Gentile churches. And so they met him on the beach, the ship was offshore waiting for Paul. And he was talking with the elders of the church of Ephesus. He said I'm going to Jerusalem. I don't know what's going to happen. All I know is everywhere I'm going, the Spirit's warning me I'm going to be bound and so forth. Beyond that, I really don't know, the Lord hasn't shown me.

But I want you to bear record, that night and day I bore faithful witness of Jesus Christ as I lived among you and I told you and I showed you the things of the Lord. Now he said I know that after I depart, grievous wolves are going to come in not really with pure motives. They're not going to spare the flock of God. They're going to bring in these pernicious doctrines. And even from your own midst, men are going to rise up and trying to draw men after themselves, trying to create little factious groups. And Paul was weeping. He said I know that this is going to happen. I can't stop it. But he encouraged them to the faithfulness of the Word and the faithfulness of the teaching that he had given to them.

Well, it was true. After Paul left, these men did come in. And so as Timothy is there and trying to buck these doctrines that are raising up their ugly heads within the church of Ephesus and these men who are trying to create these little divisions by getting these weird doctrines and espousing some strange thing and all. Paul says, "hold fast that form of sound doctrine or words which you have heard of me."

That good thing which was committed unto you ( 2 Timothy 1:14 )

That is, the truth, the word of God.

keep by the Holy Spirit which dwells in us. For this you know, that all of they which are in Asia have turned away from me; of whom are Phygellus and Hermogenes ( 2 Timothy 1:14-15 ).

Those in Asia had now turned their backs upon Paul. He was no longer able to be a strong influence there. They didn't have to fear him come in apostolic power to correct their false doctrines anymore and they were becoming emboldened in their heresies and in the drawing of people after themselves. Paul names a couple of them, "they've turned away from me". What a sad thing. Paul was really pretty much forsaken now. With the sentence of death upon him, even Demas who had been a companion for so long had forsaken him. Others have fled. Luke only was remaining with him there in Rome, but there was one faithful brother, Onesiphorus.

The Lord give mercy unto the house of Onesiphorus; for he often refreshed me, and was not ashamed of my chains ( 2 Timothy 1:16 ):

Paul was chained there in a dungeon in Rome and Onesiphorus went to Rome and searched through dungeon after dungeon until he finally found Paul and there ministered to him and encouraged him.

But, when he was in Rome, he sought me out very diligently, and he found me. And 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, you know very well ( 2 Timothy 1:17-18 ).

So this Onesiphorus had been just a blessed man and had ministered to Paul while Paul was in Ephesus and then came to Rome and searched until he found him and there ministered to him. Paul praised God's mercy and blessing upon him for it.


Bibliographical Information
Smith, Charles Ward. "Commentary on 2 Timothy 1:18". "Smith's Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/​commentaries/​csc/2-timothy-1.html. 2014.

Contending for the Faith


Clarke, Adam. Commentary: Romans to Revelation. Vol. 6. New York: Abingdon Press, n.d.

Coffman, James Burton. Commentary on 1 and 2 Thessalonians , 1 and 2 Timothy, Titus and Philemon. Revised Edition. Abilene, Texas: ACU Press, 1978.

Jamieson, Robert, Fausset, A.R., and Brown, David. Commentary Practical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible. Nashville, Tennessee: The Southwestern Co., 1968.

Johnson, B.W. The People’s New Testament: The Epistles and Revelation. Vol. 2. Nashville, Tennessee: Gospel Advocate Company, n.d.

Lenski, R.C.H. The Interpretation of St. Paul’s Epistles to the Colossians, to the Thessalonians, to Timothy, to Titus and to Philemon. Minneapolis, Minnesota: Augsburg Publishing House, 1961.

Robertson, A.T. Word Pictures in the New Testament: The Epistles of Paul. Vol. IV. Nashville, Tennessee: Broadman Press, 1931.

Thayer, Joseph H. Thayer’s Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Baker Book House, 1977.

Vincent, Marvin B. Word Studies in the New Testament. Vol. IV. McLean, Virginia: McDonald Publishing Co., n.d.

Vine, W.E. An Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words. Old Tappan, New Jersey: Fleming H. Revell Co., 1966.

Bibliographical Information
Editor Charles Baily, "Commentary on 2 Timothy 1:18". "Contending for the Faith". https://www.studylight.org/​commentaries/​ctf/2-timothy-1.html. 1993-2022.

Contending for the Faith

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.

Some have suggested this as an example of prayer for the dead, speculating that Onesiphorus had died. First, there is no proof that Onesiphorus had died; and, second, even if he had died, this scripture does not substantiate the doctrine of praying for the dead. As Coffman states, "The expression of this fervent hope on Paul’s part cannot be called a prayer, except in the most accommodative sense. It is not in the form of a prayer, qualifying rather as a prayerful hope, and not as a petition in the form of a request" (Coffman 242).

Bibliographical Information
Editor Charles Baily, "Commentary on 2 Timothy 1:18". "Contending for the Faith". https://www.studylight.org/​commentaries/​ctf/2-timothy-1.html. 1993-2022.

Dr. Constable's Expository Notes


In this first major part of the epistle Paul thanked God for Timothy and encouraged him to remain faithful. He recalled the unfaithfulness of other fellow workers and used their example to challenge Timothy to remain faithful to the Lord and to his calling.

Bibliographical Information
Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentary on 2 Timothy 1:18". "Dr. Constable's Expository Notes". https://www.studylight.org/​commentaries/​dcc/2-timothy-1.html. 2012.

Dr. Constable's Expository Notes

C. Examples of faithful and unfaithful service 1:15-18

To further impress upon Timothy the need for him to remain faithful to his calling Paul cited records of the ministries of other Christians who were mutual acquaintances.

Bibliographical Information
Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentary on 2 Timothy 1:18". "Dr. Constable's Expository Notes". https://www.studylight.org/​commentaries/​dcc/2-timothy-1.html. 2012.

Dr. Constable's Expository Notes

Some have suggested that Onesiphorus (lit. help-bringer) may have been dead when Paul wrote this epistle since Paul spoke only of his household. But that seems unlikely to me in view of 2 Timothy 1:18.

"In the Apocryphal Acts of Paul and Thecla, Onesiphorus is spoken of as a convert of Paul’s who gave him hospitality on his first visit to Iconium." [Note: Guthrie, p. 135]

Onesiphorus’ household was an exception to the "all" above (2 Timothy 1:15), or perhaps they had felt differently and had later reaffirmed their loyalty to Paul. In any case his family had diligently and unashamedly sought out Paul and had ministered to him during his current imprisonment. For this Paul wished the Lord would show Onesiphorus "mercy" at the judgment seat of Christ (cf. "that day" in 2 Timothy 1:12). Because Onesiphorus had "found" Paul, Paul hoped that Onesiphorus would "find" mercy from the Lord. Paul seems to have been envisioning a scene in which all his brethren would stand before the Lord, Onesiphorus among them, namely, Christ’s judgment seat. God would express displeasure with the failure of the others, but Onesiphorus would escape that shame (cf. 1 John 2:28). Paul again used the possibility of shame to motivate Timothy (cf. 2 Timothy 1:8). Timothy knew about Onesiphorus’ earlier faithful ministry in Ephesus. Paul referred to this as well to encourage Timothy to throw in his lot with Onesiphorus and his family rather than with those who had turned against the chained apostle.

"Moral behavior is best learned by observing such commitment in others. Children learn this behavior from parents. Young Christians learn it from older Christians. Ultimately moral behavior cannot be taught merely by character-building courses in the public schools. Christians must see moral commitment as a sterling example in others.

"Paul was not ashamed to present himself as the initial example he gave to Timothy. He had no doubt that his behavior was worth imitating. Christian leaders today need to have such a commitment to Christ that they are unashamed to say in humility, ’If you want an example to follow, look at me!’" [Note: Lea, p. 200.]

Bibliographical Information
Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentary on 2 Timothy 1:18". "Dr. Constable's Expository Notes". https://www.studylight.org/​commentaries/​dcc/2-timothy-1.html. 2012.

Barclay's Daily Study Bible

Chapter 1


1:1-7 This is a letter from Paul, who was made an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, and whose apostleship was designed to make known to all men God's promise of real life in Christ Jesus, to Timothy his own beloved child. Grace, mercy and peace be to you from God, the Father, and from Christ Jesus, our Lord.

I thank God, whom I serve with a clear conscience, as my forefathers did before me, for all that you are to me, just as in my prayers I never cease to remember you, for, remembering your tears when we parted, I never cease to yearn to see you, that I may be filled with joy. And I thank God that I have received a fresh reminder of that sincere faith which is in you, a faith of the same kind as first dwelt in your grandmother Lois and in your mother Eunice, and which, I am convinced, dwells in you too. That is why I send you this reminder to keep at white heat the gift that is in you and which came to you through the laying of my hands upon you; for God did not give us the spirit of craven fear, but of power and love and self-discipline.

When Paul speaks of his own apostleship there are always certain unmistakable notes in his voice. To him it was always certain things.

(a) His apostleship was an honour. He was chosen to it by the will of God. Every Christian must regard himself as a God-chosen man.

(b) His apostleship was a responsibility. God chose him because he wanted to do something with him. He wished to make him the instrument by which the tidings of new life went out to men. No Christian is ever chosen entirely for his own sake, but for what he can do for others. A Christian is a man lost in wonder, love and praise at what God has done for him and aflame with eagerness to tell others what God can do for them.

(c) His apostleship was a privilege. It is most significant to see what Paul conceived it his duty to bring to others--the promise of God, not his threat. To him, Christianity was not the threat of damnation; it was the good news of salvation. It is worth remembering that the greatest evangelist and missionary the world has ever seen was out, not to terrify men by shaking them over the flames of hell, but to move them to astonished submission at the sight of the love of God. The dynamic of his gospel was love, not fear.

As always when he speaks to Timothy, there is a warmth of loving affection in Paul's voice. "My beloved child," he calls him. Timothy was his child in the faith. Timothy's parents had given him physical life; but it was Paul who gave him eternal life. Many a person who never knew physical parenthood has had the joy and privilege of being a father or a mother in the faith; and there is no joy in all the world like that of bringing one soul to Christ.

THE INSPIRING OF TIMOTHY ( 2 Timothy 1:1-7 continued)

Paul's object in writing is to inspire and strengthen Timothy for his task in Ephesus. Timothy was young and he had a hard task in battling against the heresies and the infections that were bound to threaten the Church. So, then, in order to keep his courage high and his effort strenuous, Paul reminds Timothy of certain things.

(i) He reminds him of his own confidence in him. There is no greater inspiration than to feel that someone believes in us. An appeal to honour is always more effective than a threat of punishment. The fear of letting down those who love us is a cleansing thing.

(ii) He reminds him of his family tradition. Timothy was walking in a fine heritage, and if he failed, not only would he smirch his own name, but he would lessen the honour of his family name as well. A fine parentage is one of the greatest gifts a man can have. Let him thank God for it and never bring dishonour to it.

(iii) He reminds him of his setting apart to office and of the gift which was conferred upon him. Once a man enters upon the service of any association with a tradition, anything that he does affects not only himself nor has it to be done only in his own strength. There is the strength of a tradition to draw upon and the honour of a tradition to preserve. That is specially true of the Church. He who serves it has its honour in his hands; he who serves it is strengthened by the consciousness of the communion of all the saints.

(iv) He reminds him of the qualities which should characterize the Christian teacher. These, as Paul at that moment saw them, were four.

(a) There was courage. It was not craven fear but courage that Christian service should bring to a man. It always takes courage to be a Christian, and that courage comes from the continual consciousness of the presence of Christ.

(b) There was power. In the true Christian there is the power to cope, the power to shoulder the back-breaking task, the power to stand erect in face of the shattering situation, the power to retain faith in face of the soul-searing sorrow and the wounding disappointment. The Christian is characteristically the man who could pass the breaking-point and not break.

(c) There was love. In Timothy's case this was love for the brethren, for the congregation of the people of Christ over whom he was set. It is precisely that love which gives the Christian pastor his other qualities. He must love his people so much that he will never find any toil too great to undertake for them or any situation threatening enough to daunt him. No man should ever enter the ministry of the Church unless there is love for Christ's people within his heart.

(d) There was self-discipline. The word is sophronismos ( G4995) , one of these great Greek untranslatable words. Someone has defined it as "the sanity of saintliness." Falconer defines it as "control of oneself in face of panic or of passion." It is Christ alone who can give us that self-mastery which will keep us alike from being swept away and from running away. No man can ever rule others unless he has first mastered himself. Sophronismos ( G4995) is that divinely given self-control which makes a man a great ruler of others because he is first of all the servant of Christ and the master of himself.


1:8-11 So, then, do not be ashamed to bear your witness to our Lord; and do not be ashamed of me his prisoner; but accept with me the suffering which the gospel brings, and do so in the power of God, who saved us, and who called us with a call to consecration, a call which had nothing to do with our own achievements, but which was dependent solely on his purpose, and on the grace which was given to us in Christ Jesus: and all this was planned before the world began, but now it stands full-displayed through the appearance of our Savior Christ Jesus, who abolished death and brought life and incorruption to light by means of the good news which he brought, good news in the service of which I have been appointed a herald, and an apostle and a teacher.

It is inevitable that loyalty to the gospel will bring trouble. For Timothy, it meant loyalty to a man who was regarded as a criminal, because as Paul wrote he was in prison in Rome. But here Paul sets out the gospel in all its glory, something worth suffering for. Sometimes by implication and sometimes by direct statement he brings out element after element in that glory. Few passages in the New Testament have in them and behind them such a sense of the sheer grandeur of the gospel.

(i) It is the gospel of power. Any suffering which it involves is to be borne in the power of God. To the ancient world the gospel was the power to live. That very age in which Paul was writing was the great age of suicide. The highest-principled of the ancient thinkers were the Stoics; but they had their own way out when life became intolerable. They had a saying: "God gave men life, but God gave men the still greater gift of being able to take their own lives away." The gospel was, and is, power, power to conquer self, power to master circumstances, power to go on living when life is unlivable, power to be a Christian when being a Christian looks impossible.

(ii) It is the gospel of salvation. God is the God who saves us. The gospel is rescue. It is rescue from sin; it liberates a man from the things which have him in their grip; it enables him to break with the habits which are unbreakable. The gospel is a rescuing force which can make bad men good.

(iii) It is the gospel of consecration. It is not simply rescue from the consequences of past sin; it is a summons to walk the way of holiness. In The Bible in World Evangelism A. M. Chirgwin quotes two amazing instances of the miraculous changing power of Christ.

There was a New York gangster who had recently been in prison for robbery with violence. He was on his way to join his old gang with a view to taking part in another robbery when he picked a man's pocket in Fifth Avenue. He went into Central Park to see what he had succeeded in stealing and discovered to his disgust that it was a New Testament. Since he had time to spare, he began idly to turn over the pages and to read. Soon he was deep in the book, and he read to such effect that a few hours later he went to his old comrades and broke with them for ever. For that ex-convict the gospel was the call to holiness.

There was a young Arab in Aleppo who had a bitter quarrel with a former friend. He told a Christian evangelist: "I hated him so much that I plotted revenge, even to the point of murder. Then," he went on, "one day I ran into you and you induced me to buy a copy of St. Matthew. I only bought it to please you. I never intended to read. it. But as I was going to bed that night the book fell out of my pocket, and I picked it up and started to read. When I reached the place where it says: 'Ye have heard that it hath been said of old time, Thou shalt not kill.... But I say unto you that whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment,' I remembered the hatred I was nourishing against my enemy. As I read on my uneasiness grew until I reached the words, 'Come unto me all ye who labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart; and ye shall find rest unto your souls.' Then I was compelled to cry: 'God be merciful to me a sinner.' Joy and peace filled my heart and my hatred disappeared. Since then I have been a new man, and my chief delight is to read God's word."

It was the gospel which set the ex-convict in New York and the would-be murderer in Aleppo on the road to holiness. It is here that so much of our Church Christianity falls down. It does not change people; and therefore is not real. The man who has known the saving power of the gospel is a changed man, in his business, in his pleasure, in his home, in his character. There should be an essential difference between the Christian and the non-Christian, because the Christian has obeyed the summons to walk the road to holiness.

A GOSPEL WORTH SUFFERING FOR ( 2 Timothy 1:8-11 continued)

(iv) It is the gospel of grace. It is not something which we achieve, but something which we accept. God did not call us because we are holy; he called us to make us holy. If we had to deserve the love of God, our situation would be helpless and hopeless. The gospel is the free gift of God. He does not love us because we deserve his love; he loves us out of the sheer generosity of his heart.

(v) It is the gospel of God's eternal purpose. It was planned before time began. We must never think that once God was stern law and that only since the life and death of Jesus, he has been forgiving love. From the beginning of time God's love has been searching for men, and his grace and forgiveness have been offered to them. Love is the essence of the eternal nature of God.

(vi) It is the gospel of life and immortality. It is Paul's conviction that Christ Jesus brought life and incorruption to light. The ancient world feared death; or, if it did not fear it, regarded it as extinction. It was the message of Jesus that death was the way to life, and that so far from separating men from God, it brought men into his nearer presence.

(vii) It is the gospel of service. It was this gospel which made Paul a herald, an apostle and a teacher of the faith. It did not leave him comfortably feeling that now his own soul was saved and he did not need to worry any more. It laid on him the inescapable task of wearing himself out in the service of God and of his fellow-men. This gospel laid three necessities on Paul.

(a) It made him a herald. The word is kerux ( G2783) , which has three main lines of meaning, each with something to suggest about our Christian duty. The kerux ( G2783) was the herald who brought the announcement from the king. The kerux ( G2783) was the emissary when two armies were opposed to each other, who brought the terms of or the request for truce and peace. The kerux ( G2783) was the man whom an auctioneer or a merchantman employed to shout his wares and invite people to come and buy. So the Christian is to be the man who brings the message to his fellow-men; the man who brings men into peace with God; the man who calls on his fellow-men to accept the rich offer which God is making to them.

(b) It made him an apostle, apostolos ( G652) , literally one who is sent out. The word can mean an envoy or an ambassador. The apostolos ( G652) did not speak for himself, but for him who sent him. He did not come in his own authority, but in the authority of him who sent him. The Christian is the ambassador of Christ, come to speak for him and to represent him to men.

(c) It made him a teacher. There is a very real sense in which the teaching task of the Christian and of the Church is the most important of all. Certainly the task of the teacher is very much harder than the task of the evangelist. The evangelist's task is to appeal to men and confront them with the love of God. In a moment of vivid emotion, a man may respond to that summons. But a long road remains. He must learn the meaning and discipline of the Christian life. The foundations have been laid but the edifice has still to be raised. The flame of evangelism has to be followed by the steady glow of Christian teaching. It may well be that people drift away from the Church, after their first decision, for the simple, yet fundamental, reason that they have not been taught into the meaning of the Christian faith.

Herald, ambassador, teacher--here is the threefold function of the Christian who would serve his Lord and his Church.

(viii) It is the gospel of Christ Jesus. It was full displayed through his appearance. The word Paul uses for appearance is one with a great history. It is epiphaneia ( G2015) , a word which the Jews repeatedly used of the great saving manifestations of God in the terrible days of the Maccabean struggles, when the enemies of Israel were deliberately seeking to obliterate him.

In the days of Onias the High Priest there came a certain Heliodorus to plunder the Temple treasury at Jerusalem. Neither prayers nor entreaties would stop him carrying out this sacrilege. And, so the story runs, as Heliodorus was about to set hands on the treasury, "the Lord of Spirits and the Prince of Power caused a great epiphaneia ( G2015) .... For there appeared unto them an horse with a terrible rider upon him... and he ran fiercely and smote at Heliodorus with his forefeet.... And Heliodorus fell suddenly to the ground and was compassed with great darkness" ( 2Ma_3:24-30 ). What exactly happened we may never know; but in Israel's hour of need there came this tremendous epiphaneia ( G2015) of God. When Judas Maccabaeus and his little army were confronted with the might of Nicanor, they prayed: "O Lord, who didst send thine angel in the time of Hezekiah king of Judea, and didst slay in the host of Sennacherib an hundred fourscore and five thousand (compare 2 Kings 19:35-36), wherefore now also, O Lord of Heaven, send a good angel before us for a fear and a dread unto them; and through the might of thine arm let those be stricken with terror, that come against thy holy people to blaspheme." And then the story goes on: "Then Nicanor and they that were with him came forward with trumpets and with songs. But Judas and his company encountered the enemy with invocation and prayer. So that, fighting with their hands and praying unto God with their hearts, they slew no less than thirty and five thousand men; for through the epiphaneia ( G2015) of God they were greatly cheered" ( 2Ma_15:22-27 ). Once again we do not know exactly what happened; but God made a great and saving appearance for his people. To the Jew epiphaneia ( G2015) denoted a rescuing intervention of God.

To the Greek this was an equally great word. The accession of the Emperor to his throne was called his epiphaneia ( G2015) . It was his manifestation. Every Emperor came to the throne with high hopes; his coming was hailed as the dawn of a new and precious day, and of great blessings to come.

The gospel was full displayed with the epiphaneia ( G2015) of Jesus; the very word shows that he was God's great, rescuing intervention and manifestation into the world.

TRUST, HUMAN AND DIVINE ( 2 Timothy 1:12-14 )

1:12-14 And that is the reason why I am going through these things I am going through. But I am not ashamed, for I know him in whom my belief is fixed, and I am quite certain that he is able to keep safe what I have entrusted to him until the last day comes. Hold fast the pattern of health-giving words you have received from me, never slackening in that faith and love which are in Christ Jesus. Guard the fine trust that has been given to you through the Holy Spirit who dwells in you.

This passage uses a very vivid Greek word in a most suggestive double way. Paul talks of that which he has entrusted to God; and he urges Timothy to safeguard the trust God has reposed in him. In both cases the word is paratheke ( G3866) , which means a deposit committed to someone's trust. A man might deposit something with a friend to be kept for his children or his loved ones; he might deposit his valuables in a temple for safe keeping, for the temples were the banks of the ancient world. In each case the thing deposited was a paratheke ( G3866) . In the ancient world there was no more sacred duty than the safe-guarding of such a deposit and the returning of it when in due time it was claimed.

There was a famous Greek story which told just how sacred such a trust was (Herodotus 6: 89; Juvenal: Satires, 13: 199-208). The Spartans were famous for their strict honour and honesty. A certain man of Miletus came to a certain Glaucus of Sparta. He said that he had heard such great reports of the honesty of the Spartans that he had turned half his possessions into money and wished to deposit that money with Glaucus, until he or his heirs should claim it again. Certain symbols were given and received which would identify the rightful claimant when he should make his claim. The years passed on; the man of Miletus died; his sons came to Sparta to see Glaucus, produced the identifying tallies and asked for the return of the deposited money. But Glaucus claimed that he had no memory of ever receiving it. The sons from Miletus went sorrowfully away; but Glaucus went to the famous oracle at Delphi to see whether he should admit the trust or, as Greek law entitled him to do, should swear that he knew nothing about it. The oracle answered:

"Best for the present it were, O Glaucus, to do as thou


Swearing an oath to prevail, and so to make prize of the


Swear then--death is the lot even of those who never swear


Yet hath the Oath-god a son who is nameless, footless and


Mighty in strength he approaches to vengeance, and whelms in


All who belong to the race, or the house of the man who is


But oath-keeping men leave behind them a flourishing offspring."

Glaucus understood; the oracle was telling him that if he wished for momentary profit, he should deny the trust, but such a denial would inevitably bring eternal loss. He besought the oracle to pardon his question; but the answer was that to have tempted the god was as bad as to have done the deed. He sent for the sons of the man of Miletus and restored the money. Herodotus goes on: "Glaucus at this present time has not a single descendant; nor is there any family known as his; root and branch has he been removed from Sparta. It is a good thing therefore, when a pledge has been left with one, not even in thought to doubt about restoring it." To the Greeks a paratheke ( G3866) was completely sacred.

Paul says that he has made his deposit with God. He means that he has entrusted both his work and his life to him. It might seem that he had been cut off in mid-career; that he should end as a criminal in a Roman jail might seem the undoing of all his work. But he had sowed his seed and preached his gospel, and the result he left in the hands of God. Paul had entrusted his life to God; and he was sure that in life and in death he was safe. Why was he so sure? Because he knew whom he had believed in. We must always remember that Paul does not say that he knew what he had believed. His certainty did not come from the intellectual knowledge of a creed or a theology; it came from a personal knowledge of God. He knew God personally and intimately; he knew what he was like in love and in power; and to Paul it was inconceivable that he should fail him. If we have worked honestly and done the best that we can, we can leave the result to God, however meager that work may seem to us. With him in this or any other world life is safe, for nothing can separate us from his love in Christ Jesus our Lord.

TRUST HUMAN AND DIVINE ( 2 Timothy 1:12-14 continued)

But there is another side to this matter of trust; there is another paratheke ( G3866) . Paul urges Timothy to safeguard and keep inviolate the trust God has reposed in him. Not only do we put our trust in God; he also puts his trust in us. The idea of God's dependence on men is never far from New Testament thought. When God wants something done, he has to find a man to do it. If he wants a child taught, a message brought, a sermon preached, a wanderer found, a sorrowing one comforted, a sick one healed, he has to find some instrument to do his work.

The trust that God had particularly reposed in Timothy was the oversight and the edification of the Church. If Timothy was truly to discharge that trust, he had to do certain things.

(i) He had to hold fast to the pattern of health-giving words. That is to say, he had to see to it that Christian belief was maintained in all its purity and that false and misleading ideas were not allowed to enter in. That is not to say that in the Christian Church there must be no new thought and no development in doctrine and belief; but it does mean to say that there are certain great Christian verities which must always be preserved intact. And it may well be that the one Christian truth which must for ever stand is summed up in the creed of the early Church, "Jesus Christ is Lord" ( Php_2:11 ). Any theology which seeks to remove Christ from the topmost niche or take from him his unique place in the scheme of revelation and salvation is necessarily wrong. The Christian Church must ever be restating its faith--but the faith restated must be faith in Christ.

(ii) He must never slacken in faith. Faith here has two ideas at its heart. (a) It has the idea of fidelity. The Christian leader must be for ever true and loyal to Jesus Christ. He must never be ashamed to show whose he is and whom he serves. Fidelity is the oldest and the most essential virtue in the world. (b) But faith also has in it the idea of hope. The Christian must never lose his confidence in God; he must never despair. As A. H. Clough wrote:

"Say not, 'The struggle naught availeth;

The labour and the wounds are vain;

The enemy faints not, nor faileth,

And as things have been they remain.'

For while the tired waves, vainly breaking,

Seem here no painful inch to gain,

Far back, through creeks and inlets making,

Comes silent, flooding in, the main."

There must be no pessimism, either for himself or for the world, in the heart of the Christian.

(iii) He must never slacken in love. To love men is to see them as God sees them. It is to refuse ever to do anything but seek their highest good. It is to meet bitterness with forgiveness; it is to meet hatred with love; it is to meet indifference with a flaming passion which cannot be quenched. Christian love insistently seeks to love men as God loves them and as he has first loved us.


1:15-18 You know this, that as a whole the people who live in Asia deserted me, and among the deserters are Phygelus and Hermogenes. May the Lord give mercy to the family of Onesiphorus, because he often refreshed me, and was not ashamed of my chain. So far from that, when he arrived in Rome he eagerly sought me out and found me--may the Lord grant to him mercy from the Lord on that day--and you know better than I do the many services he rendered in Ephesus.

Here is a passage in which pathos and joy are combined. In the end the same thing happened to Paul as happened to Jesus, his Master. His friends forsook him and fled. In the New Testament Asia is not the continent of Asia, but the Roman province which consisted of the western part of Asia Minor. Its capital was the city of Ephesus. When Paul was imprisoned his friends abandoned him--most likely out of fear. The Romans would never have proceeded against him on a purely religious charge; the Jews must have persuaded them that he was a dangerous troublemaker and disturber of the public peace. There can be no doubt that in the end Paul would be held on a political charge. To be a friend of a man like that was dangerous; and in his hour of need his friends from Asia abandoned him because they were afraid for their own safety.

But however others might desert, one man was loyal to the end. His name was Onesiphorus, which means profitable. P. N. Harrison draws a vivid picture of Onesiphorus' search for Paul in Rome: "We seem to catch glimpses of one purposeful face in a drifting crowd, and follow with quickening interest this stranger from the far coasts of the Aegean, as he threads the maze of unfamiliar streets, knocking at many doors, following up every clue, warned of the risks he is taking but not to be turned from his quest; till in some obscure prison-house a known voice greets him, and he discovers Paul chained to a Roman soldier. Having once found his way Onesiphorus is not content with a single visit, but, true to his name, proves unwearied in his ministrations. Others have flinched from the menace and ignominy of that chain; but this visitor counts it the supreme privilege of his life to share with such a criminal the reproach of the Cross. One series of turnings in the vast labyrinth (of the streets of Rome) he comes to know as if it were his own Ephesus." There is no doubt that, when Onesiphorus sought out Paul and came to see him again and again, he took his life in his hands. It was dangerous to keep asking where a certain criminal could be found; it was dangerous to visit him; it was still more dangerous to keep on visiting him; but that is what Onesiphorus did.

Again and again the Bible bangs us face to face with a question which is real for every one of us. Again and again it introduces and dismisses a man from the stage of history with a single sentence. Hermogenes and Phygelus--we know nothing whatever of them beyond their names and the fact that they were traitors to Paul. Onesiphorus--we know nothing of him except that in his loyalty to Paul he risked--and perhaps lost--his life. Hermogenes and Phygelus go down to history branded as deserters; Onesiphorus goes down to history as the friend who stuck closer than a brother. If we were to be described in one sentence, what would it be? Would it be the verdict on a traitor, or the verdict on a disciple who was true?

Before we leave this passage we must note that in one particular connection it is a storm centre. Each one must form his own opinion, but there are many who feel that the implication is that Onesiphorus is dead. It is for his family that Paul first prays. Now if he was dead, this passage shows us Paul praying for the dead, for it shows him praying that Onesiphorus may find mercy on the last day.

Prayers for the dead are a much-disputed problem which we do not intend to discuss here. But one thing we can say--to the Jews prayers for the dead were by no means unknown. In the days of the Maccabean wars there was a battle between the troops of Judas Maccabaeus and the army of Gorgias, the governor of Idumaea, which ended in a victory for Judas Maccabaeus. After the battle the Jews were gathering the bodies of those who had fallen in battle. On each one of them they found "things consecrated to the idols of the Jamnites, which is forbidden the Jews by the law." What is meant is that the dead Jewish soldiers were wearing heathen amulets in a superstitious attempt to protect their lives. The story goes on to say that every man who had been slain was wearing such an amulet and it was because of this that he was in fact slain. Seeing this, Judas and all the people prayed that the sin of these men "might be wholly put out of remembrance." Judas then collected money and made a sin-offering for those who had fallen, because they believed that, since there was a resurrection, it was not superfluous "to pray and offer sacrifices for the dead." The story ends with the saying of Judas Maccabaeus that "it was an holy and good thing to pray for the dead. Whereupon he made a reconciliation for the dead, that they might be delivered from sin" ( 2Ma_12:39-45 ).

It is clear that Paul was brought up in a way of belief which saw in prayers for the dead, not a hateful, but a lovely thing. This is a subject on which there has been long and bitter dispute; but this one thing we can and must say--if we love a person with all our hearts, and if the remembrance of that person is never absent from our minds and memories, then, whatever the intellect of the theologian may say about it, the instinct of the heart is to remember such a one in prayer, whether he is in this or in any other world.

-Barclay's Daily Study Bible (NT)

Bibliographical Information
Barclay, William. "Commentary on 2 Timothy 1:18". "William Barclay's Daily Study Bible". https://www.studylight.org/​commentaries/​dsb/2-timothy-1.html. 1956-1959.

Gann's Commentary on the Bible

2 Timothy 1:18

This parenthesis causes some to allege that Onesiphorus had already been executed, or was dead. But the language does not absolute require this.

In that day -- seems to refer to the judgment day of Christ, thought some think it refers to his judgment day before Nero’s court.

Carl Spain observes, "If Onesiphorus was awaiting trial, Paul avoids language that might be used against him."

Bibliographical Information
Gann, Windell. "Commentary on 2 Timothy 1:18". Gann's Commentary on the Bible. https://www.studylight.org/​commentaries/​gbc/2-timothy-1.html. 2021.

Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

The Lord grant unto him that he may find mercy of the Lord in that day;.... In return for his diligent seeking till he found the apostle. By "mercy", he means the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life; or that crown of righteousness and everlasting glory and happiness, which will be a grant from the Lord, or a free gift through Jesus Christ; the effect of pure grace and mercy, and not of merit. The apostle does not propose to requite him himself; he knew it was out of his power; but he had an interest in the Lord, and at the throne of grace; and he makes use of that in his favour, and prays the Lord that he might find mercy of him: and the meaning is either, that he prayed to God, that he might find mercy of him; or he prayed particularly to the Lord Jesus Christ to act the part of a Mediator for him with his Father, that he might enjoy eternal life through him; or he prayed to God the Father, that he would grant that he might find mercy at the hands of Jesus Christ his Son, the Judge of quick and dead, who, at the great and last day, will give the crown of righteousness to all that love him, and his appearance:

and in how many things he ministered unto me at Ephesus, thou knowest very well: or "better". Timothy being at Ephesus, of which city Onesiphorus seems to have been, and that when the apostle was there, he very freely communicated to him, as Timothy, who was with him there, knew very well: the apostle does not forget, but remembers former kindnesses, as well as takes notice of present favours, and which shows a grateful mind. The phrase, "unto me", is not in the Greek copies, though it is in the Vulgate Latin and in all the Oriental versions; wherefore the words may be understood of the things which Onesiphorus had ministered to Timothy, and to the church at Ephesus, and to the poor saints there; which Timothy was "better" acquainted with than the apostle could be, he being on the spot: and now since there were so many fallen off, and so few that remained hearty and faithful, but one Onesiphorus to all them that were in Asia; the apostle exhorts to firmness and constancy, in a dependence on the Spirit and grace of God, as follows.

Bibliographical Information
Gill, John. "Commentary on 2 Timothy 1:18". "Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible". https://www.studylight.org/​commentaries/​geb/2-timothy-1.html. 1999.

Henry's Complete Commentary on the Bible

Ministerial Fortitude. A. D. 66.

      15 This thou knowest, that all they which are in Asia be turned away from me; of whom are Phygellus and Hermogenes.   16 The Lord give mercy unto the house of Onesiphorus; for he oft refreshed me, and was not ashamed of my chain:   17 But, when he was in Rome, he sought me out very diligently, and found me.   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.

      Having (2 Timothy 1:13; 2 Timothy 1:14) exhorted Timothy to hold fast,

      I. He mentions the apostasy of many from the doctrine of Christ, 2 Timothy 1:15; 2 Timothy 1:15. It seems, in the best and purest ages of the church, there were those that had embraced the Christian faith, and yet afterwards revolted from it, nay, there were many such. He does not say that they had turned away from the doctrine of Christ (though it should seem they had) but they had turned away from him, they had turned their backs upon him, and disowned him in the time of his distress. And should we wonder at it, when many turned their backs on a much better than Paul? I mean the Lord Jesus Christ, John 6:66.

      II. He mentions the constancy of one that adhered to him, namely, Onesiphorus: For he often refreshed me, and was not ashamed of my chain,2 Timothy 1:16; 2 Timothy 1:16. Observe, 1. What kindness Onesiphorus had shown to Paul: he refreshed him, he often refreshed him with his letters, and counsels, and comforts, and he was not ashamed of his chains. He was not ashamed of him, not withstanding the disgrace he was now under. He was kind to him not once or twice, but often; not only when he was at Ephesus among his own friends, but when Onesiphorus was at Rome; he took care to seek Paul out very diligently, and found him,2 Timothy 1:17; 2 Timothy 1:17. Observe, A good man will seek opportunities of doing good, and will not shun any that offer. At Ephesus he had ministered to him, and been very kind to him: Timothy knew it. 2. How Paul returns his kindness, 2 Timothy 1:16-18; 2 Timothy 1:16-18. He that receives a prophet shall have a prophet's reward. He repays him with his prayers: The Lord give mercy to Onesiphorus. It is probable that Onesiphorus was now absent from home, and in company with Paul; Paul therefore prays that his house might be kept during his absence. Though the papists will have it that he was now dead; and, from Paul's praying for him that he might find mercy, they conclude the warrantableness of praying for the dead; but who told them that Onesiphorus was dead? And can it be safe to ground a doctrine and practice of such importance on a mere supposition and very great uncertainty?

      III. He prays for Onesiphorus himself, as well as for his house: That he may find mercy in that day, in the day of death and of judgment, when Christ will account all the good offices done to his poor members as done to himself. Observe, 1. The day of death and judgment is an awful day, and may be emphatically called that day. 2. We need desire no more to make us happy than to find mercy of the Lord in that day, when those that have shown no mercy will have judgment without mercy. 3. The best Christians will want mercy in that day; looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ,Jude 1:21. 4. If you would have mercy then, you must seek for it now of the Lord. 5. It is of and from the Lord that we must have mercy; for, unless the Lord has mercy on us, in vain will be the pity and compassion of men or angels. 6. We are to seek and ask for mercy of the Lord, who is the giver and bestower of it; for the Lord Jesus Christ has satisfied justice, that mercy might be displayed. We are to come to a throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in the time of need. 7. The best thing we can seek, either for ourselves or our friends, is that the Lord will grant to them that they may find mercy of the Lord in that day, when they must pass our of time into eternity, and exchange this world for the other, and appear before the judgment-seat of Christ: the Lord then grant unto all of us that we may find mercy of the Lord in that day.

Bibliographical Information
Henry, Matthew. "Complete Commentary on 2 Timothy 1:18". "Henry's Complete Commentary on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/​commentaries/​mhm/2-timothy-1.html. 1706.

Kelly Commentary on Books of the Bible

Turning to the SECOND EPISTLE, we find that, although there is the same grand truth of the Saviour God maintained, the state of things had become sensibly worse, and the hour for the apostle's departure from the world was drawing near. Accordingly, there is a depth of feeling that one may safely say far exceeds the first epistle, although it had shown so much tenderness and care both for Timothy and the faithful of those days. But now there were other reasons for it, namely, that Christians were neglecting godliness and order. They had been long accustomed to the truth, and alas! human nature began to show itself out in indifference. There was no longer the freshness of a new thing; and where the heart was not kept up in communion with the Lord, the value of divine things was less felt, if it did not quite fade away. Accordingly, in much grief of heart, the apostle writes to his tried and trembling child in the faith, and seeks to strengthen him, above all things not to be discouraged, and to make up his mind to endure hard things. "Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, according to the promise." (2 Timothy 1:1.) It is not "the commandment," as of authority, but "according to the promise of life which is in Christ Jesus." The crumbling away of everything here was before the apostle; and accordingly it is one of the peculiar features of this second epistle, that he brings out that which never can decay which was before there was a world to dissolve namely, that life which was in Christ Jesus before the world began.

Thus the apostle comes to the close of his ministry, and touches upon the line of St. John. There is no part of John's doctrine more strikingly characteristic than life in Christ. Now we see that when Paul was touching the confines of that difficult and most perilous moment when John was to be left alone, he brings out as his last note that very truth which John was to develop with special care and fulness. "To Timothy, my dearly-beloved child: Grace, mercy, and peace, from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord. I thank God, whom I serve from my forefathers," what singular language this from Paul! How comes it so? Paul "the aged," as he says, was just about to leave this world. Activity of service was no longer before him. This he had known most extensively, but it was closed; no longer had he before him any prospect of having to fight the battles of the church of God. He had fought the good fight of faith. Others must do that kind of work in future. But now before his heart just as in principle before the dying Lord Himself, wonderful to say two things come together: a deeper sense of what is in God, as revealed in Christ Himself, before there was any creation at all; and on the other hand so much the deeper sense also of what could be owned in nature. Now these seem to many very difficult indeed to combine. They appear to think that if you hold life in Christ to be the one thing that is most precious, to be the prize that your heart reverts to, all owning of anything short of this would be out of place; but it is exactly the contrary. When the Lord was entering on His ministry He says, "Woman, what have I to do with thee?" But when dying upon the cross, He calls to John to behold His mother. We find a precisely similar kind of combination in Paul. Of course it was infinitely higher, it is needless to say, in the Master; but the servant was as closely as possible following in His steps.

It is beautiful to trace this double working and current of the apostle that is, what is imperishable, above and beyond nature; and, along with this, the utmost value put on everything that he would own in those naturally bound up with him those of either family that feared God. "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, greatly desiring to see thee, being mindful of thy tears." He had not said a word about them before. There was infirmity in the character of Timothy. There might be a mixture of timid shrinking from pain and shame. He was one that needed to lean on an arm stronger than his own. It was a part of his lot. Thus it was that God had made him: there was no use denying it. But the apostle at the same time owns, and loves to own, that which another might perhaps despise. There was no despising natural links or spiritual here, far from it.

Timothy, again, winced under trials, too sensitive to slights, disappointments, and the manifold griefs that came upon him. But the apostle remembered it all, felt deeply for if not with him, and greatly desiring to see him once more. His own desire after going to the Lord did not prevent this, but the reverse: "that I may be filled with joy: 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." I refer to this just to remark that such links as these, which are connected with nature, all come before the apostle's mind, at the very moment when a spurious feeling would have judged it precisely the time to banish and forget them. There are persons who think that the approach of death is intended to blot out everything here. Not so the apostle Paul. In that large heart which weighed so justly and with single eye, there was a deepening feeling as to all that he saw around him; there was a realizing of the importance of things of which he had said not a word before. For him the light of eternity already shone strongly on present things, instead of taking him completely out of them. And this, I believe, is much to be considered.

"I put thee in remembrance that thou stir up the gift of God, which is in thee by the putting on of my hands. For God hath not given us the spirit of fear" (it was what Timothy was manifesting), "but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord" (there must, I suppose, have been some ground for the exhortation), "nor of me his prisoner: but be thou partaker of the afflictions of the gospel, according to the power of God; 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." Here we have him recurring to that which was entirely outside nature, and before its very platform existed. At the same time there is the carrying on his full notice of everything found here below that would be a source of comfort to one who anticipated the ruin of Christendom.

Afterwards he also speaks of his own work and of that which he was suffering. Instead of hiding either from Timothy, he points all out to him. He wants to accustom his mind to expect hardship instead of shirking it. He tells him further to "hold fast the form of sound words, which thou hast heard of me, in faith and love which is in Christ Jesus. That good thing which was committed unto thee keep by the Holy Ghost which dwelleth in us." At the same time he shows also his sense of the kindness of a particular individual and his family. "The Lord give mercy unto the house of Onesiphorus; for he oft refreshed me, and was not ashamed of my chain; but, when. he was in Rome, he sought me out very diligently, and found me." It appears it was not merely in Rome. "The Lord grant unto him that he may find mercy of the Lord in that day." The same tone of mercy is equally promised in this #epistle as in the last. "And in how many things he ministered unto me at Ephesus, thou knowest very well."

In the second chapter he turns to another theme, he instructs and exhorts Timothy as to communicating (not authority, or status, or gift, but) truth to others. It is not a question here about elders, but what would abide all the same when elders could not be duly appointed. He is now looking at the state of disorder in the house of God, instead of contemplating it in its public integrity, as in the first epistle. There was a state of things coming when it would be impossible to have local charges chosen according to the full sanction which they had in apostolic days. Indeed it may be well to remark here, that we never read of Timothy appointing bishops or elders. Possibly he did appoint them; but there is no scriptural proof of it. Titus, we know, did so; but God took care that it should never be positively stated about Timothy. The peculiar task confided to the latter was care of doctrine much more than of outward order. As far as appointment went, Titus had a commission to establish elders in each city of Crete; but not so Timothy, as far as the inspired records speak.

"Thou therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men." (2 Timothy 2:1.) We must not be afraid of a manifest duty because it has been abused. There are those who shrink from helping on others in order to the work and doctrine of the Lord. This I cannot but consider as a proof of want of faith. What is a man well taught in the truth for, if not to communicate his knowledge to others that are faithful, but not equally instructed in the word of God? Surely if it is an urgent call to convey what we know of Christ and the truth to those that know nothing, it is a great privilege to help to contribute a greater knowledge of the truth to those that know little. The great thing is to do the will of God, let others say what they please; and so the apostle Paul exhorts Timothy. It is to be supposed that the younger labourer cowered somewhat, unwilling to incur the odious charge, so easily made but hard to refute, of setting himself up and taking the place of some great one. This might deter a sensitive saint from his duty. But, says the apostle, "be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus." This was to touch the right chord in his heart. Had the Lord Jesus not sent him? Why then yield to the enemy? Assuredly he would rejoice to scare Timothy from the field of serving Christ, and would shrink from no means to secure it.

"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." He would not have him to be spreading doubtful opinions; but what he had heard from the apostle himself he need not scruple to give out freely. Let me remark, that there are comparatively few indeed that receive truth without help of others directly from God. A great many certainly flatter themselves that they are thus favoured; but the cases are uncommon where it is more than pretence. The fact is that God loves to make His children mutually dependent; and if we are only humble, there are very few saints from whom we may not derive some good, though not always in the same way. Nor do I at all see that any Christians should be above learning, if others can teach. At any rate the apostle presses this very strongly on Timothy. He was to communicate the things he had learnt of Paul, that they might be able to teach others also.

Next he comes to a more personal need. "Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ." To take pains and to endure are requisite even in what pertains to this life. "No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life" (he must be unencumbered, and undivided in his object); "that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier. And if a man also strive for masteries, yet is he not crowned, except he strive lawfully." He must take care of the manner in which he strives. And then again "the husbandman that laboureth must be first partaker of the fruits." Rather he must "labour before he partake of the fruits." That is, he must first labour, and then partake of the fruits. God takes care of His people, and ensures them a blessed end. At the same time He will have them undividedly for Himself; and He is also jealous of the way in which they seek even the ends of God.

Then the apostle puts before them a blessed model of that which he had before his own soul. "Consider what I say; and the Lord give thee understanding in all things. Remember that Jesus Christ, of the seed of David, was raised from the dead according to my gospel." This is a very striking word. For he does not say Jesus Christ simply in. His connection with the church, but "of the seed of David," the fulfiller of the promises, and object of the prophecies. Even if we look at Him so, He was raised from the dead. Resurrection is the form and character of the lowest blessings of which Jesus is the dispenser; much more is He risen to exalt God in the highest. Death and resurrection, then, are thus put before this servant of God; the more remarkably, because the point here is a practical and not a doctrinal question. He was to remember, then, "that Jesus Christ, of the seed of David, was raised from the dead according to my gospel: wherein I suffer trouble, as an evil-doer, even unto bonds; but the word of God is not bound." Paul suffered as he taught: a single eye to Christ and His grace made him consistent. "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. Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. But shun profane and vain babblings."

It was thus Paul treated the proud reasonings and speculations of man; withal briefly touching on those that had gone entirely astray Hymenaeus and Philetus. It was not merely now that they had made their consciences bad and slipped away from faith. Their own word would eat as a canker, and do harm to others as well as to themselves, "who concerning the truth have erred, saying that the resurrection is past already; and overthrow the faith of some." This was to reverse the lesson of a risen Christ, and to open the way for all laxity. It was a kindred error, though in an opposite direction, to that which false teachers sought to infuse among the Thessalonians: there that the day of the Lord was come, producing panic; here that the resurrection was past, leading, to ease. The one was suited to upset the young, the other to beguile the old.

Then the apostle brings out most important directions for the days that were then coming in, but now come, and more. Questions are before him more serious than a maintenance of order. How are we to walk so as to please the Lord when disorder reigns, claiming to be the only true order? In a measure, no doubt, the truth is in Christendom, and only there; for one cannot look for the truth in Judaism or heathenism now. Judaism had its divine institutions and hopes, but the truth is found in Christendom only: nevertheless in Christendom, who fails to discern Jewish elements and heathenish enormities? How is a man to walk in such a state of things as this? In the former epistle, Timothy was told how to behave in the house of God, as yet in order; but now we are told how to behave in such a state of things as the present disorder. "The foundation of God standeth sure [or, the firm foundation of God standeth], having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his. And, let every one that nameth the name" not of "Christ," but "of the Lord depart from iniquity." I must do so, if I own Him only in the indispensable truth of His Lordship if I own Him simply as the One that has authority over my soul. And a less confession than this God never permitted the church to accept; nor in fact in Jerusalem itself was less ever accepted than the naming the name of the Lord. God had made Jesus to be Lord and Christ, preached Peter on that day of power, when as yet much lay hid, and the great instrument of the revelation of the mystery was still shrouded in the darkness of midnight. But, if one confesses the name of the Lord, the word is imperative: "let him depart from iniquity." The disorder might be so great that we might make mistakes in our anxiety; but "The Lord knoweth them that are his." On the other hand, if a soul confesses the name of the Lord, he must have done with iniquity.

This of itself indicates that the epistle provides for a time when it is no longer simply a question of recognising persons coming out of the world. It is needful to exercise judgment now. One must try disorders and prove profession. Truth and holiness and endurance are wanted, not authority or outward order. Why cannot a man be as simple now as in apostolic times? Why not baptize at once every soul around? It would not be accordant with the mind of God. It is a duty in the present state of confusion to use scriptural means; and here we have our warrant, as in the epistles we find more. Whatever therefore may be right in certain cases, the assembly of God ought never to be forced to put every case on the same dead level ought never to be bound by any special process, as if it were unalterable. The cause of this is the present confusion, and accordingly the apostle brings a picture of it before Timothy's mind.

"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. 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." That is, it is not enough that I should walk with the Lord individually, but I must clear myself of association with that which is contrary to His name. Such is the meaning of purging himself. It is not the question of discipline dealing With evil ways; but here we are in a state of things where we are in danger of being mixed up with vessels unto the Lord's dishonour. Nothing can sanction this. I am not at liberty of course to leave Christendom, I dare not get out of the great house at all; indeed I cannot (at any rate without becoming an apostate) leave the house of God, however bad its state may be. This is evidently not the true remedy to abandon the confession of Christ: only an apostate could think of it. On the other hand, it is unholy to tamper with evil. Therefore it is incumbent for the Christian to look to this gravely, never to be dragged by the fear of breaking unity into accrediting what dishonours the Lord. Now this is in particular a difficulty for saints, when they have revived before the soul the blessedness of maintaining the unity of the Spirit. It can never cease to be a Christian's duty to maintain the unity of the Spirit; but it is not maintaining the unity of the Spirit to couple with the name of the Lord that which is fleshly and sinful. It is well to be exclusive of sin, but of nothing else. It is well to maintain the largest heart for everything that is really of Christ. But we must exclude that which is contrary to His name; and the very same desire to prove one's love, one's faith, one's appreciation of Christ, will make one anxious not to be dragged into that which is not for His glory. "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."

But then another thing. He lets Timothy know that while he laid this on others, he must look carefully to his own ways. "Flee also youthful lusts: but follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace." It is not simply now to follow these, as urged in the first epistle (1 Timothy 6:11); but he adds a most characteristic word in the second epistle. And this, I apprehend, is the reason. He forbad his going on in association with those that dishonour the Lord with vessels to dishonour; but he tells him to follow these things "with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart." Therefore, isolation is never desirable, though it may be sometimes necessary. But no man ought to separate himself from the children of God, unless it be a dire necessity for the Lord; it is clearly not according to Christ. It seems to me, I confess, that if there were simplicity of faith, the Lord would give one eyes to see some at least that call upon the Lord out of a pure heart.

Thus we have everything cared for here; the state of confusion is clearly depicted, as it then was beginning, and as results have proved yet more. How gracious of the Lord to point out the path for the saint, separate from that which grieves the Lord, yet enjoying all that He sees good for us of the privileges of Christianity! Otherwise this might have seemed to be (what unbelief taunts and stigmatizes it, spite of His sanction) pride of heart and presumption. And the comfort is that, if prepared to cleave to the will of the Lord alone, we shall have, through His grace, fellowship with the true-hearted. "Follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart. But foolish and unlearned questions avoid, knowing that they do gender strifes. And a servant of the Lord must not strive, but be gentle toward all, apt to teach, forbearing, in meekness correcting those that oppose, if perhaps God may give them repentance for acknowledgment of the truth, and they may for his will wake up out of the snare of the devil, having been taken captive by him." This was always the becoming tone; but now it is imperiously necessary, as well as wise and good.

Then in 2 Timothy 3:1-17 he proceeds to show us not merely a picture of the condition that Christianity will fall into, but, besides, a state of things that would be produced by this confusion. Here we find the perilous times fairly brought before us. "Men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, without natural affection, truce-breakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, traitors, heady, high-minded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God." Things are very much taking this direction of late, and at the present moment. Take what is called physical Christianity a stupid, gross, and heathenish phrase, but just enough to show where people are drifting to. It answers not a little to the kind of thing ,;et forth here. As we know, there may be over it all a certain form of godliness, but underneath it is really wickedness. This the apostle guards Timothy against, and indeed ourselves, he warns him how seduction would go on more and more, but "from such turn away." No matter what the reasons or excuses for joining with them, "turn away."

Then he points out the two principal guards for the faithful, in such a perilous state. The first is the moral character of the source or channel whence Timothy had derived what he knew. "Thou hast fully known my doctrine, manner of life, purpose, faith, long-suffering, charity, patience, persecutions, afflictions." It is the whole spiritual experience, so to speak, of the apostle. He was to continue in the things which he had learned, and had been assured of, knowing of whom he had learned them a very important point. Persons sometimes say it does not matter who taught; but God does not treat the matter so lightly. It is often a very great safeguard for the saint of God; for, after all, it makes no small difference who says this or that. A word altogether unbecoming in one mouth might be most proper in another. The apostle well knew that the God who had brought these glorious truths to man, the God that had manifested His grace, had given a witness of their reality in the man from whom he had learned them; and this was meant to have an enduring effect on the conscience and heart of Timothy. For it is not dogma pure and simple, it is not mere instruction; and we may thank God for it. It is an immense blessing that we have the truth not only in a book, but in a practical shape, the truth that comes out of the heart and from the lips of living men of God. Accordingly the apostle reminds Timothy of this.

At the same time there is not the smallest slight of the only and abiding standard. He brings out the infinite value of the Scriptures, that is of what was written, the one transcendent resource for perilous times when we have not the presence and personal help of apostles. It is not merely what had been preached, but what is in a permanent shape for the good of the saints of God here below, which elicits the remarkable assertion of its peculiar worth. "Every scripture" for this is the proper force of the passage "Every scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: that the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works."

The closing chapter (2 Timothy 4:1-22) then gives his solemn charge, and at the same time his own expression of what was before him. As Timothy was about to enter upon a new phase of his ministry, without the apostle's presence or living counsel, the latter charges him with great emphasis, "before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom; preach the word, be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all long-suffering and doctrine." And the reason why he makes it so urgent not to be turned aside was, that the time would come when men would not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts they should heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; and they should turn away their ears from the truth, and should be. turned unto fables. "But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry. For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing." Thus he looks not to the coming of the Lord to receive him to Himself, but to the "appearing of the Lord," which is the usual side of the truth taken in these epistles. The reason is obvious. The coming of the Lord will in no way manifest the faithfulness of the servant; His appearing will. At "that day" will be the display of whatever has been endured, as well as done, for the Lord's sake.

With this prospect he comforts Timothy no less than his own spirit; but at the same time he speaks as to joining him, with a glance at one that had forsaken him. "Demas hath forsaken me, having loved this present world, and is departed unto Thessalonica; Crescens to Galatia, Titus unto Dalmatia. Only Luke is with me." He was comparatively alone. If he does not hide the sorrowful view of an old fellow-labourer's cooling in zeal, with all its dangers, the consolation is also before Timothy both of those that go on in faithful labour, and of one at least restored. "Take Mark, and bring him with thee: for he is profitable to me for the ministry." So we find that God knows how to temper the bitter with the sweet, always doing the right thing in the right place and time.

Thus he comforts Timothy at the same time that he admonishes him. In the midst of all, he is told to bring the cloak that he left at Troas with Carpus, and the books, but especially the parchments. This again has stumbled the minds of men. They cannot understand an inspired apostle talking about a cloak in the midst of a divinely given pastoral charge. The reason is manifest: they themselves savour of the things of men, and not of God. There is nothing that more shows God than His ability to combine that which is eternal with care for the smallest things of this life. It was not then an indifferent matter to God. The Holy Spirit would make it to be most practical and precious. Be assured, that if you do not bring the Spirit of God into these matters, perhaps your cloak, perhaps a book, will become a snare to you. To many a man and woman has a little bit of dress done no small injury, just because they think it is too little for the Spirit of God to direct them in. "The cloke," then says he, "that I left at Troas with Carpus, when thou comest, bring with thee, and the books," not only the clothing, but even that which he is to read, "especially the parchments;" what he was going to write on, probably. "Alexander the coppersmith did me much evil: the Lord reward him according to his works: of whom be thou ware also; for he hath greatly withstood our words."

Finally, we have his assertion of the blessed Lord's care, and his confidence in Him that He would preserve him from all evil to His heavenly kingdom; closing this solemn and touching epistle (it would seem the last words he wrote) with salutations to various saints.

Bibliographical Information
Kelly, William. "Commentary on 2 Timothy 1:18". Kelly Commentary on Books of the Bible. https://www.studylight.org/​commentaries/​wkc/2-timothy-1.html. 1860-1890.
adsFree icon
Ads FreeProfile