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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 Version
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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;  

Adam Clarke Commentary

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, Exodus 24:2.

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 labors 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.

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These files are public domain.
Bibliographical Information
Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on 2 Timothy 1:18". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". 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).

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Text Courtesy of Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Flemming, Donald C. "Commentary on 2 Timothy 1:18". "Brideway Bible Commentary". 2005.

Coffman 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."[23] 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![24]

Lenski affirmed that "The analogy of Scriptures is solidly against anything in the nature of prayers for the dead,"[25] 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 5:23b); (and therefore) the conclusion that Onesiphorus had actually died is not necessary.[26]

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."[27]

[23] Carl Spain, op. cit., p. 123.

[24] Don DeWelt, Paul's Letters to Timothy and Titus (Joplin, Missouri: College Press, 1961).

[25] R. C. H. Lenski, op. cit., p. 776.

[26] William Hendriksen, op. cit., p. 240.

[27] Fred D. Gealy, op. cit., p. 477.

Copyright Statement
Coffman Commentaries reproduced by permission of Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. All other rights reserved.
Bibliographical Information
Coffman, James Burton. "Commentary on 2 Timothy 1:18". "Coffman Commentaries on the Bible". Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. 1983-1999.

Albert 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.

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These files are public domain.
Bibliographical Information
Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on 2 Timothy 1:18". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". 1870.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

Lord. App-98.

ministered. App-190.

unto me. Omit.

at = in. App-104.

knowest. App-132.

very well. Greek. beltion. Only here.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on 2 Timothy 1:18". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". 1909-1922.

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.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Bibliographical Information
Calvin, John. "Commentary on 2 Timothy 1:18". "Calvin's Commentary on the Bible". 1840-57.

Brian Bell Commentary on the Bible

  1. Intro:
    1. Book Overview:
      1. Just 4 years after Paul wrote 1st Timothy(67ad) Christians were not liked in Rome. Nero had already blamed the great fires in Rome on them(64ad).
        1. Christians were official enemies of the state, subject to public torture & execution.
        2. This was his final epistle. An inspired last will & testament.
      2. Paul, was arrested again in Rome. Was facing trial, And almost certain death. He was abandoned by most all his friends.
        1. Listen to 4:6-8.
      3. Paul was placed underground in a Mammertine Dungeon(w/a single hole in the ceiling for light & air) [Tradition tells us] He was alone(except for Luke & a few occasional visitors).He was cold(4:13). He was considered an evildoer(2:9)
      4. This book teaches us how to live & serve & persevere in the ministry of the gospel, successfully in perilous times.
        1. Paul’s message to Timothy, & us is: What the Lord requires in His workers is faithfulness, even unto death; to watch, to endure, to work, & fully to discharge the obligation of their office; to finish their course; & live in anticipation of the crowning day that is coming.
    2. Ch.1 Outline: Don’t be Cold! Don’t be Confused! Don’t be Corrupted! Don’t Cut me off!
  2. FAN INTO FLAME! (1-18)
    1. Intro! (1,2)
    2. DON’T BECOME COLD! (3-7)
    3. (3) He constantly remembers Timothy in his prayers…rather than sit there & feel sorry for himself!
    4. (5) God had saved 3 Generations of his family!
    5. I heard of four scholars who were arguing over Bible translations.
      One said he preferred the King James Version because of its beautiful, eloquent old English. Another said he preferred the American Standard Bible for its literalism, the way it moves the reader from passage to passage with confident feelings of accuracy from the original text. A third man preferred Moffatt because of its quaint, penetrating use of words, the turn of a phrase that captures the attention of the reader. After giving the issue further thought, the fourth scholar admitted, "I have personally preferred my mother's translation." When the other scholars chuckled, he responded, "Yes she translated it. She translated each page of the Bible into life. It is the most convincing translation I ever saw."
    6. When Dr. R.A. Torrey was a young man, he had no faith in God or the Bible. His mother, however, was a devout Christian who constantly prayed for his conversion and often witnessed to him. One day he said to her, "I don't want to hear about my sins and your prayers; I'm going to leave and not bother you any more." With tear-filled eyes the woman followed him to the gate and pleaded with him to change his mind. But he would not be detained. Frantically she cried, "Son, you are going the wrong way, but when you come to the end of your rope and everything seems hopeless, call upon your mother's God with all your heart and He will surely help you!" After Torrey left home, he went deeper into the ways of sin. One night in a hotel room he was unable to sleep. Weary from the problems pressing in on every hand, he decided to take the gun he kept in his dresser and end his life. Just as he reached for the weapon, he remembered his mother's last words. Convicted by the Holy Spirit, he fell on his knees and cried out, "O God of my mother, if there is such a Being, I need Your help. If You will give it to me, I'll follow You!" In a moment his darkened heart was illumined, and peace filled his soul. Later R.A. Torrey became an outstanding evangelist who led thousands to Christ! (1st Dean ofBIOLA)
      1. Are you discouraged because your children or teenagers aren't interested in the things of the Lord? Keep praying for them, loving them, and living a consistent life before them. Never underestimate the power of parental witness!
    7. (6) Stir up – “Fan into flame”(NIV); “Kindle afresh”(NASB); “Keep that ablaze”(Message);
      1. All fires die out unless from time to time they are stirred up! (Pulpit)
      2. Relight the fire of your ministry, your message, your hearts altar.
      3. I sure need my heart reignited! (a week in a Hotel/Casino in Reno)
        1. Taking a walk through the casino.
        2. You know what I saw…lights, smoke, drinking, mirrors.
        3. You know what I heard…people drunk, people losing money, some winning money. - You know what I felt…sad!
        4. Then I talked down the main drag there, & bus station.
        5. You know what I felt…sad! – For the drunks, bums, prostitutes…yep! But what the Lord shared with me…Brian the sins of your mind are no different, just better hidden.
      4. Q: If you compared you hearts flame(your spiritual passion) to one of your burners on your stove top…How high would the flame be?
        1. Oh it doesn’t always have to be on high!
          1. Rice – After it boils you better reduce the heat.
        2. But there are times when the flame becomes so low & starts flickering, that it is dangerously close to going out!
      5. God has built into nature: animals to go into hibernation, fruit trees to go dormant, volcanoes to be inactive.
        1. But none are designed to stay that way!
        2. The bear, the fruit tree, the volcano must awake.
        3. And so with the Christian in his ministry, in his personal life.
      6. Many enemies want to quench the fire!
        1. Can you identify what is trying to snuff your flame?
        2. Busyness? A boy/girl-friend? Your Job? Overtime? Same-ol, same-ol? Monotony? Tired? Depression? Spiritual slumber? Fears? - Summer activities? (out of sync, vacations, mens/womens studies over, home bible study)
      7. An old seaman once said, “In fierce storms we must do one thing, for there is only one way to survive: we must put the ship in a certain position & keep her there.”
        1. Sometimes you can’t see the sun or the stars to help you navigate when the storm is bearing down on you.
        2. Reason cannot help you, past experiences will shed no light, & even prayer will bring no consolation…only one course remains: you must put your soul in one position & keep it there!
        3. Ps.78:7 “set your hope in God”
        4. Ps.78:8 “a generation that did not set its heart aright.”
        5. Anchor yourself steadfastly upon the Lord, so whether wind, waves, rough seas, thunder, lightening, jagged rocks, or roaring breakers, you must tie yourself securely to the helm, firmly holding your confidence in God’s faithfulness, His promises, & His everlasting love in Christ Jesus!
      8. An untended fire finally becomes ashes…fan the flame!
    8. (7) Fear God...& have no other fear!
      1. Fear - During World War II, a military governor met with General George Patton in Sicily. When he praised Patton highly for his courage and bravery, the general replied, "Sir, I am not a brave man -- the truth is, I am an utter craven coward. I have never been within the sound of gunshot or in sight of battle in my whole life that I wasn't so scared that I had sweat in the palms of my hands." Years later, when Patton's autobiography was published, it contained this significant statement by the general: "I learned very early in my life never to take counsel of my fears."
      2. The Holy Spirit does not produce timidity or cowardice.
      3. Are you a somebody, or a nobody? Feel weak, timid, inadequate? You may be an inviting prospect for the H.S.!
      4. Oswald Chambers wrote: “God can achieve his purpose either through the absence of human power & resources, or the abandonment of reliance on them. All through history God has chosen & used nobodies, because their unusual dependence on Him made possible the unique display of his power & grace. He chose & used somebodies only when they renounced dependence on their natural abilities & resources.”
        1. Either: Depend fully on Him! Or, Don’t depend upon you!
    9. What did God gives us?
      1. Power – a reference to a forcefulness of character that can use authority boldly & fulfill difficult tasks.
      2. Love – a love that endures even the most cantankerous opposition, conquering opposition by forgiveness & a refusal to seek revenge.
      3. Sound mind(self discipline)[levelheadedness] – the power to keep oneself in hand.
        1. It’s the Holy Spirit that gives us the resources we need to get the job done.
        2. If a person fears Satan’s persecuting power more than he trusts God’s ability & ever-readiness to help, he has lost his mental balance.
    10. DON’T BECOME CONFUSED! (8-12)
    11. (8) Timothy don’t be embarrassed of either Jesus or me.
      1. Like Peter did! :-0
    12. His prisoner…not Nero’s.
    13. Jackie Robinson was the first African American to play major league baseball. Breaking baseball’s color barrier, he faced jeering crowds in every stadium. While playing one day in his home stadium in Brooklyn, he committed an error. The fans began to ridicule him. He stood at second base, humiliated, while the fans jeered. Then, shortstop Pee Wee Reese(Captain for the Dodgers in the early 50’s) came over and stood next to him. He put his arm around Jackie Robinson and faced the crowd. The fans grew quiet. Robinson later said that arm around his shoulder saved his career.
    14. (9) Who has saved us –
      1. Not saved all but saved “us” (Christians)
      2. Our salvation is an accomplished fact!
      3. It doesn’t say that God may save us, or God will save us…but that He already has!
        1. Read - Jn.3:36; Jn.5:24; Jn.6:47 (also 1 Jn.5:13)
        2. If Jesus said on the cross “it is finished” who am I to be insinuating that it is incomplete?
        3. If God has already accepted it as perfect, who am I to be vainly presuming to add to it?
        4. Is there any use making a solid cube more symmetrical?
      4. The unbeliever may doubt it! The sceptic may deny it! The worldling may deride it! The wiseacre may despise it! The modern preacher may dismiss it!...but each of us born againChristian believers can attest “I was blind but now I see!” (Rev. William Jay; pg.60; Feb.21)
    15. Called us with a holy calling –
      1. He didn’t call us because we were holy, but that we might be holy!
      2. When you hear we are supposed to be holy, just translate it “endeavor to be like Christ”.
    16. (10) “life” & “immortality”-Are these two words tautologous (redundant)?
      1. Life = new spiritual life which only Christ can bring.
      2. Immortality = relates to the body.
    17. (12) I know whom I have believed!
      1. Not what I have believed; Not when I have believed; Not how much I have believed; Not even in whom I have believed.
      2. But I know whom I have believed. I know the person into whose hand I have committed my present condition & my eternal destiny.
        1. You wouldn’t commit a valuable treasure into the hands of a stranger. But you would with someone you trusted deeply.
    18. He is able to keep what I have committed to Him –
      1. Paul knew the deposit he had made w/Him was secure.
    19. DON’T BECOME CORRUPTED! (13,14)
    20. The gospel is a treasure of truth which has been entrusted to us.​​​​​​​
      1. 1 Thes.2:4 “But as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel, even so we speak, not as pleasing men, but God who tests our hearts.”
    21. DON’T CUT ME OFF! (15-18)
    22. Paul wants Timothy to imitate the example of Onesiphorus & avoid the shame of those who deserted him.
      1. Most deserted him out of fear!
      2. Ancient fable “The Two travelers & the Bear” describes a fearsome encounter w/a huge bear. One traveler, in great fear, shimmied high into a tree, giving no thought to his friend. The other, w/no chance to go anywhere, remembered that bears often lose interest in the dead & so fell to the ground feigning death. The bear came along side & nuzzled & sniffed at his face & ears. Thinking the man to be dead the beast ambled away. When the bear was long gone, the man up in the tree climbed down & asked his friend what the bear had whispered to him, “because,” he said, “I noticed that his mouth was long at your ear.” The other said, as he stood dusting himself off, “It is no secret what he told me. What he said was that I should be careful about keeping company with those who, when danger arises, leave their friends in the lurch!” (Taken from Kent Hughes; pg.186.)
      3. Paul was abandoned by his fair-weather friends.
    23. We don’t know anything more about these 2 guys from Scripture.
      1. In other literature(the apocryphal book, acts of Paul & Thecla) they were described as “full of hypocrisy”.
    24. In contrast we have the commendable behavior of Onesiphorus.
      1. Q: Could you befriend one in whom much of the church has despised/blackballed?
    25. Are you like the Shadow that said to the Body: “Who is a friend like me? I follow you wherever you go. In sunlight or moonlight I never forsake you.” “True,” said the Body. “You go w/me in sunlight & moonlight. But where are you when neither the sun nor the moon shines upon me?”
      1. Keep the faith w/me Timothy…in the dark of this dungeon where neither the sun nor the moon shines!
    26. Refresh me spiritually…This is soul refreshment!
      1. (root of refreshed is the word soul)
    27. Turn it up to full flame Timothy! - No Fear Timothy! - No Shame Timothy! Hold fast to the Gospel Timothy! - Refresh me Timothy!
Copyright Statement
These files are the property of Brian Bell.
Text Courtesy of Calvary Chapel of Murrieta. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Bell, Brian. "Commentary on 2 Timothy 1:18". "Brian Bell Commentary". 2017.

Chuck Smith 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" ( Psalm 19:1, Psalm 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.


Copyright Statement
Copyright © 2014, Calvary Chapel of Costa Mesa, Ca.
Bibliographical Information
Smith, Charles Ward. "Commentary on 2 Timothy 1:18". "Chuck Smith Bible Commentary". 2014.

John Dummelow's Commentary on the Bible

Expressions of Affection and Exhortations to Faithfulness

1, 2. Salutation. According to the promise of life] St. Paul declares himself appointed an Apostle with the view of his spreading the knowledge of the life which had been promised and was now being enjoyed by Christians adopted in Christ.

3-5. The happy assurance of Timothy's faithfulness which St. Paul's recollections of past years supply him with.

3. I thank God] The construction is involved. What St. Paul thanks God for is Timothy's unfeigned faith which he remembers night and day, thinking of their last sad parting and hoping to see him again.

5. Eunice] is simply described in Acts 16:1 as 'a woman that was a Jewess.' She was Lois' daughter, Timothy's father was a Greek.

6-14. Exhortation to firmness in his glorious calling.

6. Stir up] as a fire that is beginning to die down. The gift of God] which he received at his ordination by the laying on of the hands of St. Paul and the presbyters of Ephesus (1 Timothy 4:14).

7. Fear] indicating a certain timidity in Timothy, like the 'Be not ashamed' of 2 Timothy 1:8. A sound mind] RV 'discipline.' It means self-discipline, self-control.

8. His prisoner] St. Paul was now undergoing his last imprisonment in Rome. He refers in like manner to his first imprisonment in Ephesians 3:1; Ephesians 4:1; Philemon 1:9. Partaker of the afflictions of the gospel] RV 'suffer hardship with the gospel'; better, 'suffer hardship with me for the gospel'

9. Hath saved] RV, more exactly, 'saved,' God by His free grace and mercy called, and still calls us into a state of salvation, not for our work's sake (which is a false view of justification), but according to His own purpose and by the grace of adoption given us in Christ in eternity. How can the grace of our adoption be said to have been given us in eternity? Because what God determines is regarded as done. That grace and purpose, resolved on in eternity, was first exhibited to the world at the manifestation of Christ in the flesh, who by His death and resurrection made death as a power of no effect, and threw new light upon life and immortality by His gospel,

10. Abolished death] The resurrection of Christ showed that death was under control, and delivered believers from its fear,

12. I.. suffer these things] this imprisonment, etc. Whom I have believed] i.e. trusted. That which I have committed unto him] himself and all his hopes.

13, 14. As God will keep safe that which is committed to Him, so Timothy is by the help of the Holy Ghost to keep the good thing committed unto thee, and that good thing is the form of sound words, which thou hast heard of (from) me. There is nothing so near the heart of the aged Apostle, who knew that he was himself about to depart from the world, as that the faith which he had himself received and preached should be regarded and treasured as a sacred deposit, left in charge of the Church for the salvation of mankind. The First Epistle ends with an earnest appeal to keep the deposit, and the Second Epistle begins with the same charge. For it is one of the chief duties of bishops and rulers of the Church to recall their clergy, straying into error, to the primitive 'pattern' (RV) of doctrine which is set before us in the sound words of the gospel.

15-18. Urging Timothy to be faithful to what he had taught him, St. Paul points to two cases, in the first of which his converts had shown unfaithfulness, and in the second courage. The Asiatic Christians, that is, some—in his bitter disappointment St. Paul says all—of those who lived in proconsular Asia, represented by Phygelus (this seems to have been the spelling of the name) and Hermogenes, of whom we know nothing more, had repudiated St. Paul's authority. On the other hand, Onesiphorus had bravely ministered to him in his imprisonment in Rome, and before that at Ephesus. In memory of his kindness St. Paul prays that God may bless his family and utters an aspiration that mercy may be shown to him at the last day. From the form of the expression, and the fact that both here and in 2 Timothy 4:19 only the household of Onesiphorus is mentioned, it has been inferred with considerable probability that Onesiphorus was dead. On this supposition many Protestant scholars find in the utterance of St. Paul an instance of prayer for a deceased person, but others regard it only as a pious hope or wish.

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These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Dummelow, John. "Commentary on 2 Timothy 1:18". "John Dummelow's Commentary on the Bible". 1909.

Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable


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.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentary on 2 Timothy 1:18". "Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable". 2012.

Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable

C. Examples of faithful and unfaithful service1:15-18

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.

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These files are public domain.
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Bibliographical Information
Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentary on 2 Timothy 1:18". "Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable". 2012.

Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable

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, p135]

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, p200.]

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These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentary on 2 Timothy 1:18". "Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable". 2012.

Darby's Synopsis of the New Testament

2 Timothy Chapter 1

The Second Epistle to Timothy has a very peculiar character. It is the expression of his heart, who out side Palestine had, under God, founded and built the assembly of God on earth, and it was written in sight of its failure, and its departure from the principles on which he had established it. God remained faithful; His foundation was sure and immovable; but the work committed into the hands of men was already enfeebled and decaying. The consciousness of this state of things, which moreover betrayed itself in the way in which the apostle himself was then forsaken oppressed his heart; and he pours it out into the bosom of his faithful Timothy. By this means the Spirit instructs us in the solemn truth, that the church has not kept its first estate, and sets before us the ways of safety for those who seek God, and desire to please Him, in such a state of things as this.

The apostle John gives the history of the fall of the assembly here below, and of its judgment, and that of the world likewise. He also sets before us a life which, apart from all questions of the assembly’s condition, abides ever the same, which renders us capable of enjoying God, and makes us resemble Him in His nature and character.

As a witness John was to remain until the Lord came: but Paul sees for himself the ruin of that which he had built and watched over so faithfully. He had spent himself for the assembly, accomplishing that which was behind of the sufferings of Christ; and he had to see that which he had so much loved (which he had cared for even as a mother cherishes her nursling which he had planted as God’s plant on the earth) grow feeble as to its condition and testimony in the world, depart from the source of strength, and become corrupt. What a painful experience! But it is that of the servant of God in all ages and in all dispensations. He sees indeed the power of God acting to plant the testimony on earth, but he sees that men soon fail in it. The house inhabited by the Holy Ghost becomes dilapidated and in disorder. Nevertheless (and we love to repeat it with the apostle) the sure foundation of the Lord abides for ever. Whatever may be the condition of the whole company, the individual is always to depart from all iniquity, and to maintain, by himself if need be, the true testimony of the name of the Lord. This can never fail the faithful soul.

In view of the mixture and confusion which began to shew itself in the assembly, the apostle’s comfort was founded on these two principles, while remembering and joyfully availing himself of the communion and faithfulness of some precious souls. He had such as Timothy and Onesiphorus, amid the afflictions of the gospel and the sorrow of being forsaken by so many who were seals to his testimony before the Lord.

The apostle begins by taking the ground of grace and of individual life-which never changes in essential character-outside church privileges. Not that these had changed; but he could no longer connect them with the general body on earth. He calls himself here an apostle according to the promise of eternal life which is in Christ Jesus. It is not merely the Messiah, it is not the head of the body, it is the promise of life which is in Him.

Paul addresses his dearly beloved son Timothy, whose affection he remembers. He desired greatly to see him, being mindful of his tears, shed probably at the time when Paul was made prisoner, or when he was separated from him on that occasion, or when he heard of it. It is the confidence of a friend that is speaking to one whose heart he knew. We see something of this, but in the perfection that was peculiar to Himself, in Jesus on the cross, in that which He said to John and to His mother. A similar form would have been unsuitable in Paul. The affections of men shew themselves in and by their wants, the wants of their hearts; those of the Lord by His condescension. With Him all is in itself perfect. With us it is only by grace that all is in its right place. But when separation to service in power, which knows but that, is over, nature according to God has its right place. In the consecrated meat offering that was to be made with fire, honey had no place.

Verse 3. The apostle does not speak any longer of the high character of his work, but of his personal position rightly felt according to the Spirit. He had served God, following in the steps of his forefathers, with a pure conscience. In every way he was a vessel made unto honour. For more than one generation his ancestors were distinguished for a good conscience; and personal piety, founded on the truth, shewed itself in the service of God. Paul was not here e~ pressing a judgment as to the inward condition of each generation: it was their character. He calls to mind a similar fact with regard to Timothy, in whose case however personal faith is referred to, known to Paul himself, so that the bond, though of personal feeling, was Christian. (1) Judaism, as to its outward obligations, is totally absent; for the father of Timothy was a Greek, and the marriage of his Jewish mother was unclean according to the law, and would have rendered Timothy also unclean and deprived him of Jewish rights; and in fact he had not been circumcised when an infant. Paul did it, which was also not according to the law, unless Timothy had become a proselyte. Both heathens and their children were excluded, as we read in Nehemiah. Paul’s act was above the law. Here he takes no notice of it; he leaves the Gentile father out of sight, and speaks only of the personal unfeigned faith of Timothy’s mother and grandmother, and that of his beloved disciple himself.

The state of the assembly was only an additional occasion for the exercise of his faith, and for his zealous activity of heart and courage. Difficulties and dangers multiplied on every hand; the unfaithfulness of Christians was added to all the rest. But God is none the less with His people. God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind, so that the Lord’s labourer, the man of God, he who kept himself in communion with God in order to represent Him on the earth, was to stir up the gift that was in him, and (as the apostle expresses it with admirable and touching force and clearness) to endure the afflictions of the gospel according to the power of God. Here, in the case of Timothy, the apostle could make mention of a special gift of the Spirit, which had been conferred upon Timothy through the laying on of hands. In the First Epistle he had spoken of the prophecy which had called him or pointed him out for the possession of this gift, and told us that it had been accompanied by the laying on of the hands of the elders; here he tells us that the laying on of his own hands was the means of bestowing it upon him.

The apostle reminds him of this proof of power and reality in his ministry (and in that of Paul himself), in view of this period when its exercise was more difficult. When all is prosperous, and the progress of the gospel is remarkable, so that even the world is struck with it, the work is found to be easy, in spite of difficulties and opposition; and-such is man-even in consequence of this opposition one is bold and persevering. But when others, Christians even, forsake the labourer, when evil and the deceptions of the enemy come in, when love has grown cold, and, because one is faithful, prudence takes alarm, and desires a less forward walk, to stand firm in circumstances like these, to persevere in the work, and maintain one’s courage, is not an easy thing. We must possess Christianity with God, so that we know why we stand fast: we must be ourselves in communion with Him, in order to have the strength necessary to continue laboring in His name, and the sustainment of His grace at all times.

God then has given us the Spirit of power and of love and of a sound mind; the apostle had received such a position from God, that he had been able to bestow on Timothy the gift needed for his service but the state of spirit and soul which could use it was part of the inheritance of every Christian who leaned really on God. Nor was he to be ashamed either of the testimony, which was losing outwardly its onward current in the world, nor of Paul who was now a prisoner. How precious to possess that which is eternal, that which is founded on the power and on the work of God Himself! There were indeed the afflictions of the gospel, but he should take part in them and not shrink, enduring according to the power of God. God has saved us, has called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, as though any thing depended on man, but according to His own purpose and His grace given us in Christ Jesus before the world began. This is the sure and immovable foundation, a rock for our souls, against which the waves of difficulty break in vain, shewing a strength which we could not resist for a moment, but shewing also their total powerlessness against the purpose and work of God. The efforts of the enemy only prove that he is without strength, in the presence of that which God is, and of that which He has done for us. And the apostle identifies his ministry with this, and the sufferings he was undergoing. But he knew whom he had believed and his happiness was safe laid up with Him.

That which we have to seek is the power of the Spirit, in order that we may realise this gift of God by faith, and that we may abide, as to our hearts, as to our practical faith, in the sense of our union with Christ, upon this immutable foundation, which is nothing less than the immutability and the glory of God Himself. For His purpose has been manifested; that purpose, which gave us a place and a portion in Christ Himself, was now manifested through the appearance of that very Christ.

It is no longer a nation chosen in the world to display in it the principles of the government of God, and of His ways in righteousness, in patience, in kindness, and in power, on the earth (however unchangeable His counsels, however sure His calling), as manifested in His dealings with regard to the people whom He called.

It is a counsel of God, formed and established in Christ before the world existed, which has its place in the ways of God, outside and above the world, in union with the Person of His Son, and in order to manifest a people united with Him in glory. Thus is it a grace which was given us in Him, before the world was. Hidden in the counsels of God, this purpose of God was manifested with the manifestation of Him in whom it had its accomplishment. It was not merely blessings and dealings of God with regard to men-it was life, eternal life in the soul, and incorruptibility in the body. Thus Paul was apostle according to the promise of life.

While Christ Himself was alive, although life was in Him, this purpose of God was not accomplished with respect to us. The power of life, divine power in life, was to manifest itself in the destruction of the power of death brought in by sin and in which Satan reigned over sinners. Christ then in His resurrection has annulled death, and by the gospel has brought to light both life and incorruptibility, that is to say, that condition of eternal life which puts the soul and the body beyond death and its power. Thus the glad tidings of this work were addressed to all men. Founded in the eternal counsels of God, established in the Person of Christ, the work necessary for its fulfillment being accomplished by Him, possessing a character altogether outside Judaism, and the mere government of God in the earth, Paul’s gospel was unto all men. Being the manifestation of the eternal counsels and power of God, having to do with man as lying under the power of death, and with the accomplishment of a victory that placed man beyond that power, and in an entirely new condition which depended on the power of God and His purposes, it addressed itself to man, to all men, Jews or Gentiles without distinction. Knowing Adam dead by sin and Christ alive in the power of divine life, he announced this good news to man- deliverance, and a totally new state of things.

It was to proclaim this gospel that the apostle had been called as a herald. It was for this he suffered, and, in the sense of what had caused it, was not ashamed to suffer. For he knew whom he had believed; he knew His power. He believed in the gospel that he preached, and therefore in the victorious power of Him in whom he believed. He could die with regard to the life that he had received from the first Adam, he could be dishonoured and put to shame in the world and by the world: life in Christ, the power by which Christ had won a place for man outside the condition of the first Adam, life as Christ now possesses it was not touched thereby. Not that life had not been there before, but death and he that had the power of death were not overcome, and all was dark beyond the closing tomb: a lightning flash might pass across the gloom, adequate ground be laid for the just conclusion of the Pharisee, but life and incorruptibility were not brought to light but in Christ and His resurrection.

But this is not all which is here expressed. The apostle does not say “in what I have believed,” but “whom :” an important difference, which places us (as to our confidence) in connection with the Person of Christ Himself. The apostle had spoken of the truth, but truth is allied to the Person of Christ. He is the truth; and in Him truth has life, has power, is linked with the love which applies it, which maintains it in the heart and the heart by it. “I know,” says the apostle, “whom I have believed.” He had committed his happiness to Christ. In Him was that life in which the apostle participated; in Him, the power that sustained it, and that preserved in heaven the inheritance of glory which was his portion where this life was developed.

Encouraged by this hope and committing himself to Jesus, he had endured all things for Him, and for those who were His; he had accepted all suffering here, he was ready to die daily. His happiness, in the glory of that new life, he had committed to Jesus; he laboured meanwhile in affliction, sure of finding again, without being deceived, that which he had committed to the Lord, in the day when he should see Him and all his sorrows ended. It was in the expectation of that day, in order to find it again at that day, that he had committed to Him his happiness and his joy.

Moreover, his own career would soon be finished; his eyes therefore turn towards Timothy for the welfare of the assembly here below. He exhorts him to be steadfast, to hold fast the truth, as he had taught it to him (it was the testimony of the Lord), but the truth in its realisation by faith in Christ, and according to the power of love that is found in communion with Him. It is this which, as we have seen, the apostle had realised. The truth, and living grace in Jesus, in faith and in love, which gave it its power and its value-these are, as it were, the pivots of strength and faithfulness at all times, and especially for the man of God, when the assembly in general is unfaithful.

Truth as it was taught by the apostles and expressed by them, the manner in which they presented the truth, “the form of sound words,” is the inspired expression of that which God was pleased to reveal; and that, in all the relationships in which the truth is linked together, in all its different parts, according to the living nature and power of God, who is necessarily its centre as He is its source. Nothing except revelation could be this expression. God expresses everything as it is, and in a living way; and by His word all exists. He is the source and the centre of all things. All flow from Him-are in relation with a living Person, namely Himself, who is their source, from whom all hold their existence. This existence only subsists in connection with Him; and the relationship of all things to Him, and between themselves, is found in the expression of His mind-in that measure at least in which He puts Himself in relation with man in all these things. If evil comes in, as regards will or its consequences in judgment, it is because this relationship is broken; and the relationship that is broken is the measure of the evil.

Thus we see the immense importance of the word of God. It is the expression of the relationship of all things to God; whether as regards their existence- that is, creation-or with respect to His counsels; or even as to His own nature, and the relationship of man with Him, and the communication of life received from Him, and the maintenance of His true character. It comes from heaven as did the living Word, reveals what is there, but adapts itself, as the living Word did, to man here, directs him where there is faith here, but leads him up there where the living Word is gone as man.

The more we consider the word, the more we shall see its importance. Analogously to Christ the living Word, it has its source on high, and reveals what is there, and is perfectly adapted to man down here, giving a perfect rule according to what is up there, and, if we are spiritual, leading us up there: our conversation is in heaven. We must distinguish between the relationship in which man stood as child of Adam, and as child of God. The law is the perfect expression of the requirements of the former, the rule of life to him; it is found to be to death. Once we are sons of God, the life of the Son of God as man down here becomes our rule of life. “Be ye imitators of God as dear children, and walk in love as Christ hath loved us.”

In His nature, as the author of all existence, and the centre of all authority and subsistence outside Himself, God is the centre of all, and the upholder of all. As to His counsels, Christ is the centre, and here man has a peculiar place; wisdom’s good pleasure was eternally in Him, and all is to be under His feet. In order that the nature and the counsels of God should not be separated (which indeed is impossible, but what was in His counsels in order that it might not be), God became man. Christ is God made manifest in flesh, the Word made flesh. Thus the divine nature, the expression of that nature, is found in that which is the object of His counsels, that which forms their centre. Thus Christ is the truth-is the centre of all existing relationships: all have reference to Him. We are, through Him, for Him, or we are against Him: all subsist by Him. If we are judged, it is as His enemies. He is the life (spiritually) of all that enjoy the communication of the divine nature; even as He sustains all that exists. His manifestation brings to light the true position of all things. Thus He is the truth. All that He says, being the words of God, are spirit and life; quickening, acting according to grace, judging with regard to the responsibility of His creatures.

But there is yet more than this. He is the revelation of love. God is love, and in Jesus love is in action and is known by the heart that knows Him. The heart that knows Him lives in love, and knows love in God. But He is also the object in whom God is revealed to us, and has become the object of entire reliance. Faith is born by His manifestation. It existed indeed through partial revelation of this same object, by means of which God made Himself known; but these were only partial anticipations of that which has been fully accomplished in the manifestation of Christ, of the Son of

God. The object is the same: formerly, the subject of promise and prophecy; now, the personal revelation of all that God is, the image of the invisible God, the One in whom the Father also is known.

Thus faith and love have their birth, their source, in the object which by grace has created them in the soul: the object in which it has learnt what love is, and with regard to which faith is exercised. By Him we believe in God. No one has ever seen God: the only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, He has revealed Him.

Truth is thus revealed, for Jesus is the Truth, the expression of that which God is, so as to put all things perfectly in their place, in their true relationships with God and with each other. Faith and love find the occasion of their existence in the revelation of the Son of God, of God as a Saviour in Christ.

But there is another aspect of the accomplishment of the work and of the counsels of God, which we have not yet spoken of: that is, the communication of the truth and of the knowledge of God. This is the work of the Holy Ghost, in which the truth and the life are united, for we are begotten by the word. It is divine energy in the Deity, acting in all that connects God with the creature or the creature with God. Acting in divine perfection as God, in union with the Father and the Son, the Holy Ghost reveals the counsels of which we have spoken, and makes them effectual in the heart, according to the purpose of the Father, and by the revelation of the Person and work of the Son. I have said, divine energy, not as a theological definition-which is not my object here-but as a practical truth, for while attributing all that regards the creature to the Father (except judgment, which is entirely committed to the Son, because He is the Son of man) and to the Son the immediate action in creation and on the creature, wherever it takes place, is attributed to the Spirit.

The Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters when this earth was formed; by His Spirit the heavens were garnished; we are born of the Spirit; sealed with the Spirit; holy men of God spake by the Spirit; gifts were the operation of the Spirit distributing to whom He would; He bears witness with our spirits; He groans in us; we pray by the Holy Ghost, if that grace is bestowed upon us. The Lord Himself, born as man in this world was conceived by the Holy Ghost; by the Spirit of God He cast out devils. The Spirit bears witness of all things, that is to say, of all truth in the word:-the love of the Father, the nature and the glory of God Himself, His character, the Person and glory and love of the Son, His work, form the substance of His testimony, with all that relates to man in connection with these truths. The Spirit’s witness to these things is the word, and-produced by means of men-takes the shape of the truth formally set forth by revelation. Christ is the truth, as we have seen, the centre of all the ways of God; but what we are now speaking of is the divine communication of this truth; and in this way it can be said that the word is the truth. (2) But, although communicated by means of men, so that it takes a form adapted to man, its source is divine; and He who has communicated it is divine: He of whom it is said, he shall not speak of himself (that is to say, from Himself-apart from the Father and the Son). Consequently the revelation of the truth has all the depth, the universality of relationship, the inseparable connection with God (without which it would not be truth, for all that is separate from God is falsehood) which truth itself possesses-necessarily possesses- because it is the expression of the relationships which all things have to God in Christ; that is to say, of God’s own thoughts, of which all these relationships are but the expression. It is true that this revelation also judges all that is not in accordance with these relationships, and judges according to the value of the relationship that is broken with regard to God Himself, and the place which this relationship has in His mind.(3) When this word is received through the quickening work of the Holy Ghost in the heart it is efficacious; there is faith, the soul is in real living practical relationship with God according to that which is expressed in the revelation it has received. The truth-which speaks of the love of God, of holiness, of cleansing from all sin, of eternal life, of the relationship of children-being received into the heart, places us in real present living relationship with God, according to the force of all these truths, as God conceives them and as He has revealed them to the soul. Thus they are vital and efficacious by the Holy Ghost; and the consciousness of this revelation of the truth, and of the truth of that which is revealed, and of really hearing the voice of God in His word, is faith.

But all this is true in the revealed word before I believe in it, and in order that I may believe in it- may believe in the truth-although the Holy Ghost alone makes us hear the voice of God in it, and so produces faith. And that which is revealed in it is the divine expression of that which belongs to the infinite on the one side, and is expressed in the finite on the other; of that which has the profoundness of the nature of God, from whom all proceeds, with whom and with whose rights all is in relationship but which is developed-since it is outside God-in creation and in the finite.

The union of God and man in the Person of Christ is the centre-we may say (now that we know it) the necessary centre of all this, as we have seen. And the inspired word is its expression according to the perfection of God, and (we bless God for it, as the Saviour is the grand subject of the scriptures, “for,” said He, “they testify of me “) in human forms.

But this word, being divine, being inspired, is the divine expression of the divine nature, persons, and counsels. Nothing that is not inspired in this way can have this place-for none but God can perfectly express or reveal what God is-hence infinite in what flows in it; because it is the expression of, and connected with, the depths of the divine nature and so in its connection infinite, though expressed in a finite sense, and so far finite in expression, and thus adapted to finite man. Nothing else is the divine expression of the divine mind and truth, or is in direct union with the unmixed source, even though it sprang from the same source. The immediate connection is broken; that which is said is no longer divine. It may contain many truths, but the living derivation, the infinite the union with God, the immediate and uninterrupted derivation from God, are wanting. The infinite is no longer there. The tree grows from its root, and forms one whole; the energy of life pervades it-the sap which flows from the root. We may consider one part, as God has set it there, as a part of the tree; we may see the importance of the trunk; the beauty of the development in its smallest details, the stateliness of the whole, in which the vital energy combines liberty and harmony of form. We see that it is a whole, united in one by the same life that produced it. The leaves, the flowers, the fruit, all tell us of the warmth of that divine Sun which developed them, of the gushing inexhaustible stream which nourishes them. But we cannot separate one part, be it ever so beautiful, from the tree, without depriving it of the energy of life and its relationship with the whole.

When the power of the Spirit of God produces the truth, it develops itself in union with its source, whether in revelation or even in the life and in the service of the individual; although in the two latter cases there is a mixture of other elements, owing to the weakness of the man. When a man’s mind apprehends the truth, and he seeks to give it a form, he does it according to the capacity of man, which is not its source; the truth as he expresses it, even were it pure, is separated in him from its source and its totality; but, besides this, the shapethat a man gives it always bears the stamp of the man’s weakness. He has only apprehended it partially, and he only produces a part of it. Accordingly it is no longer the truth. Moreover, when he separates it from the whole circle of truth in which God has placed it, he must necessarily clothe it in a new form, in a garment which proceeds from man: at once error mixes with it. Thus it is no longer a vital part of the whole, it is partial, and thereby not the truth; and it is in fact mixed with error. That is theology.

In the truth there is, when God expresses it, love, holiness, authority, as they are in Him the expression of His own relationships with man, and of the glory of His being. When man gives it a shape, all this is wanting and cannot be in it, because it is man who shapes it. It is no longer God speaking. God gives it a perfect form; that is to say, He expresses the truth in words of certainty. If man gives it a form, it is no longer the truth given of God. Therefore to hold fast the truth in the form God has given it, the type, the shape in which He has expressed it, is of all importance: we are in relationship with God in it according to the certainty of that which He has revealed. This is the sure resource of the soul, when the assembly has lost its power and its energy, and is no longer a sustainment to feeble souls; and that which bears its name no longer answers to the character given it, in the First Epistle, “the pillar and support of the truth.” (4) The truth, clear and positive truth, given as a revelation from God in the words-clothed with His authority-by which He has given the truth a form, communicating the facts and the divine thoughts which are necessary for the salvation of men, and for their participation in divine life-this it is which we are to hold fast.

We are only sure of the truth when we retain the very language of God which contains it. By grace I may speak of the truth in all liberty, I may seek to explain it, to communicate it, to urge it on the conscience, according to the measure of light and spiritual power bestowed upon me; I may endeavor to demonstrate its beauty, and the connection between its various parts. Every Christian, and especially those who have a gift from God for the purpose, may do this. But the truth which I explain and propose is the truth as God has given it, and in His own words in the revelation He has made. I hold fast the form of sound words, which I have received from a divine source and authority: it gives me certainty in the truth.

And here it is important to remark the assembly’s part when faithful. She receives, she maintains the truth in her own faith; she guards it, she is faithful to it, she is subject to it, as a truth, a revelation, which comes from God Himself. She is not the source of the truth. As an assembly she does not propagate it-does not teach it. She says “I believe,” not “believe.” This last is the function of ministry, in which man is always individually in relationship with God by means of a gift which he holds from God, and for the exercise of which he is responsible to God. This is all-important. Those who possess these gifts are members of the body. The assembly exercises her discipline with regard to all that is of the flesh in them, in the exercise or apparent exercise of a gift, as in all else. She preserves her own purity without respect of persons as to their outward appearance, being guided therein by the word (for this is her responsibility); but she does not teach, she does not preach.

The word goes before the assembly, for she has been gathered together by the word. The apostles, a Paul, those who were scattered abroad by the persecution, a thousand faithful souls, have proclaimed the word, and thus the assembly has been gathered out. It has been said that the assembly was before the scriptures. As regards the written contents of the New Testament, this is true; but the preached word was before the assembly. The assembly is its fruit but is never its source. The edification even of the assembly, when it has been gathered together, comes direct from God, through the gifts which He has bestowed; the Holy Ghost distributing to each according to His will.

The scriptures are the means which God has used to preserve the truth, to give us certainty in it; seeing the fallibility of the instruments by whom it is propagated, since revelation has ceased.

If at the beginning He filled certain persons with His Spirit in such a way that error was excluded from their preaching, if besides this He then gave revelations in which there was nothing but His own word, yet as a general rule preaching is the fruit of the Holy Ghost in the heart, and its spirituality is only in measure, and there is the possibility of error. Here, whatever may be the power of the Spirit’s work, we have to judge. (See Acts 17:11; 1 Corinthians 14:29) Farther on we shall see that in forming this judgment, it is the scriptures which assure those who are led of God.

We have thus in the ways of God respecting this subject three things closely united, yet different: ministry, the assembly, and the word of God, that is, the written word; when it is not written, it belongs to the order of ministry.

Ministry-as regards the word, for this is not the only service-preaches to the world, and teaches or exhorts the members of the assembly.

The assembly enjoys communion with God, is fed, and grows by means of that with which its different members supply it. It preserves, and, in its confession, bears witness to the truth. It maintains holiness, and, by the grace and presence of the Holy Ghost, enjoys mutual communion; and, in love, cares for the temporal need of all its members.

The written word is the rule which God has given, containing all that He has revealed. It is complete. (Colossians 1:25) It can, because it is the truth, be the means of communicating the truth to a soul: the Holy Ghost can use it as a means; but at all events it is the perfect rule, the authoritative communication of the will and the mind of God, for the assembly.

The assembly is subject, is to be faithful, to have no will. It does not reveal, it maintains by its confession, it watches over that which it has, it does not communicate; it has received and is faithfully to keep. The man directs, that is, Christ: the woman obeys, and is faithful to her husband’s thoughts-at least ought to be so (l Cor 2):): this is the assembly. The oracles of God are committed to her. She does not give them; she obeys them.

The minister is bound individually to the same faithfulness. This we understand; and in our epistle we have especially to do with this individual responsibility. That which the assembly is in this respect is revealed in the first epistle. (Chap.3:15) Here it is the individual who is to hold fast this form of sound words which he has received from a divine source, for such the apostle was, in his apostolic function, as an instrument. Neither Timothy nor the assembly could frame such a form of sound words; their part was to hold it fast, having received it. And here, as we have said, however unfaithful the assembly may be, the individual is bound to be faithful and always to be so.

This therefore is what we have to do: the truth which is set before us is the inspired word we are (and I am) to hold fast, in the form in which it is presented to us. I am to hold it fast, not merely as a proposition, but in union with the Head, in faith and love, which are in Christ Jesus. Strength to fulfill comes from above. For here another point is brought before us. The Holy Ghost has been given indeed to the assembly; but a period of unfaithfulness is here contemplated. (Ver. 15) He has been given to the man of God, to each Christian, and to each servant with reference to the service appointed him. By the Holy Ghost we are to keep the good thing that has been committed to us. In days like those, this was the duty of the man of God; and in our day, things have gone much farther. Possessing the promise of life, and forsaken by the mass of Christians, he is to hold fast the truth in the words in which it has been expressed by divine authority (this is what we have in the word, and not merely doctrine: people may say that they have the doctrine of Peter and Paul, but they cannot say that they have their words, the form of the truth as Paul and Peter gave it, elsewhere than in their writings); and he is to hold it fast in faith and love, which are in Christ. Moreover he is to keep, by the power of the Holy Ghost, the substance of the truth, that which has been given us as a treasure-the deposit of divine truth and riches, which has been given us as our portion here below.

In2 Tim. 1: 15-18 we find that the mass had quite turned away from the apostle, so that the affection and faithfulness of one became very precious to him. What a change already since the beginning of the gospel! Compare the Thessalonians, the Ephesians: they were the same people (for Ephesus was the capital of what is here called Asia) among whom Paul had preached, so that all Asia had heard the gospel; and see how they had all now forsaken him! We must not however suppose that they had all abandoned the profession of Christianity; but their faith had become weak, and they did not like to identify themselves with a man who was in disgrace with the authorities, who was despised and persecuted, a prisoner-a man whose energy brought reproach and personal difficulties upon himself. They withdrew from him, and left him to answer alone for himself. Sad result of spiritual decline! But what sentiments should animate the man of God at such a moment? He must be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. Christ was not changed, whatever the case might be with men; and he who suffered from their desertion could, without being discouraged, exhort his beloved Timothy to persevere steadily in the word. Nor do we find anywhere the man of God called to more full and unhesitating courage than in this epistle, which is the testimony of the failure and ruin of the assembly.

Footnotes for 2 Timothy Chapter 1

1: It is indeed the basis of the exhortation of verse 6. When the faith of so many is giving~ way, he turns to the personal confidence which his heart had in Timothy, nourished up through grace by the atmosphere he had lived in.

2: Hence also it is said (l John 5:1-47), “the Spirit is truth.”

3: This is true as regards guilt. But God, being perfectly revealed, and that in grace as the Father and the Son, our apprehension of the ruin in which we are, goes deeper fart than the sense of guilt as the breach of previously existing relationships. We were guilty according to our place as men. But we were “atheos”, without God in the world, and (when God is known) this is awful. The beginning of Romans treats the question of guilt; Ephesians 2:1-22, the sate we were in; John 5:24 briefly resumes grace as to both. The relationship now is an entirely new one, founded on purpose, redemption, and our being children of God.

4: The doctrines or dogmas of scripture have their importance and their adaptation to the simplest soul in this, that they are facts, and so objects of faith, not notions. Thus Christ is God, Christ is man, the Holy Ghost is a Person, and the like, are facts for faith realized in the simplest soul.

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Darby, John. "Commentary on 2 Timothy 1:18". "John Darby's Synopsis of the New Testament". 1857-67.

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

(18) The Lord grant unto him that he may find mercy of the Lord in that day . . .—The Greek should be rendered here, favour of the Lord, instead of by “mercy of the Lord.” Some commentators, who have found a difficulty in this unusual repetition of “the Lord,” explain it thus: The expression, “the Lord grant,” had become among Christians so completely “a formulary,” that the second use of the word “Lord” was not noticed; and the prayer is thus-simply equivalent to “O that he may find mercy of the Lord.” It seems, however, better to keep to the strict. literal meaning, and to understand the first “Lord,” in the sense in which the term is always found in the Epistles of St. Paul, as a title of Christ; and the second “Lord” as used of the Father, to whom here (as in Romans 2:5; Romans 2:16; Hebrews 12:23), judgment at the last day is ascribed.

In that day.—The Apostle can never repay now—not even with thanks—the kindness his dead friend showed him in his hour of need; so he prays that the Judge of quick and dead may remember it in the awful day of judgment. It is worthy of note how St. Paul’s thoughts here pass over the interval between death and judgment. It was on that day when the great white throne would be set up that he thought of the good deeds done in the body being recompensed by the righteous Judge. No doubt the expectation of the early Christians—in which expectation certainly St. Paul shared—of the speedy coming of the Lord influenced all thinking and speaking of the intermediate state of the soul between death and judgment, and almost seems to have effaced the waiting time from their minds.

And in how many things he ministered unto me at Ephesus, thou knowest very well.—These services rendered to St. Paul at Ephesus are placed side by side with those things he had done for him at Rome, but as they are mentioned after, they perhaps refer to kind offices undertaken for the prisoner by Onesiphorus after his return from Rome to Ephesus. These things Timothy, the presiding pastor at Ephesus, would, of course, know in their detail better than St. Paul. The Greek word διηκόνσεν, rendered “he ministered,” has given rise to the suggestion that Onesiphorus was a deacon at Ephesus. Although this is possible, still such an inference from one rather general expression is precarious.

This passage is famous from its being generally quoted among the very rare statements of the New Testament which seem to bear upon the question of the Romish doctrine of praying for the dead.

It may be well very briefly to touch on two points which suggest themselves as to the bearing of this passage on the doctrine in question. (1) Although we here, in common with Roman Catholic interpreters and the majority of the later expositors of the Reformed Church, assume that Onesiphorus was dead when St. Paul wrote to Timothy, and that the words used had reference to St. Paul’s dead friend, still it must be remembered that others, well worthy of being heard, writing many centuries before any doctrinal controversy on this subject arose, have held quite another opinion. Theodoret and Chrysostom (quoted by Alford) understood that Onesiphorus was with St. Paul at this time. (2) The prayer, whether it be taken as a prayer or an ejaculation, is simply the expression of an earnest desire, on the part of St. Paul, that the kind act of the dead—assuming, contrary to the opinion of the above quoted Fathers, that he was dead—Onesiphorus towards himself may be remembered on that day when the books are opened before the Judge of quick and dead. It, indeed, only asks—looking fairly at the context—that an act of unrequited and devoted love shown in this life may be remembered in the final judgment. Without touching upon the controversy itself, it seems only just to point out the extreme precariousness of pressing this text—the only one in the New Testament really touching on this subject, and as to the interpretation of which expositors, as we have seen, are by no means in agreement—in support of a controverted doctrine.

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Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on 2 Timothy 1:18". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". 1905.

Expositor's Dictionary of Texts

2 Timothy 1:5

St. Basil the Great owed his earliest religious education to his grandmother Macrina, who brought him up with his brothers, and formed them upon the doctrine of the great Origenist and saint of Pontus, Gregory Thaumaturgus. Canon Travers Smith wrote in his Life of St. Basil:—"Macrina had not only been taught by the best Christian instructors, but had herself with her husband suffered for the faith. In the persecutions of Maximin she and her family were driven from their home and forced with a few companions to take refuge in a forest among the mountains of Pontus, where they spent nearly seven years, and were wont to attribute to the special interposition of God the supplies of food by which they were maintained at a distance from all civilisation.

"It must not be supposed that the charge of Basil"s childhood thus committed to his grandmother indicated any deficiency in love or piety on the part of his mother. Her name was Emmelia, and Gregory describes her as fitly matched with her husband. They had ten children. Of the five sons three became bishops—Basil, Gregory of Nyssa, and Peter of Sebaste."

References.—I:6.—J. Keble, Sermons for Septuagesima to Ash Wednesday, p323. Spurgeon, Sermons, vol. xviii. No1080.

A Call to Christian Courage

2 Timothy 1:7

Here we have the true Spirit of a Christian set forth in three particulars, and each of these is an antidote to timidity.

I. God has given us the Spirit of power. Herein lies our fitness for whatsoever form our witness-bearing ought to take. The consciousness of inward strength removes all fear. It is said, "The world belongs to those who have courage"; then the saints ought to possess it, and it is because of their cowardice, if they do not.

II. God has given us the Spirit of love. Thus He has brought us into sympathy and fellowship with Himself, for God is love. If conscience make cowards of us all, a good conscience should make us fearless.

III. God has given us the Spirit of a sound mind. As opposed to the madness and folly of sin, religion is a return to the true reason, sound judgment, and right action. (1) A sound mind is a mind evenly balanced. (2) A sound mind is candid, open to all the truth and eager to gather it from all quarters. (3) A sound mind controls the life, and thus ensures true Christian temperance. (4) A sound mind gains, often quite imperceptibly, a great influence over other minds.

—C. O. Eldridge, The Preacher"s Magazine, vol. VI. p81.

2 Timothy 1:7

The last words written by Lady Dilke, which close her Book of the Spiritual Life, run thus: "To their solemn music, the fateful years unroll the great chart in which we may trace the hidden mysteries of the days, and behold those foreshadowings of things to come towards which we know ourselves to be carried by inevitable steps—not gladly, indeed, but with that full and determined consent with which the brave accept unflinchingly the fulfilment of law and fate. "For God hath not given us the Spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.""

References.—I:7.—F. D. Maurice, Sermons, vol. vi. p93. Expositor (6th Series), vol. xi. p204 I:8.—J. Baines, Sermons, p168.

2 Timothy 1:9

What needs admitting, or rather proclaiming, by agnostics who would be just Isaiah, that the Christian doctrine has a power of cultivating and developing saintliness which has had no equal in any other creed or philosophy.

—J. Cotter Morison, in The Service of Man (ch. VII.).

References.—I:9.—Spurgeon, Sermons, vol. xii. No703. Expositor (4th Series), vol. i. p33.

The Promise of Life

2 Timothy 1:10

I presume most of you either own or have seen a print of Millet"s picture, "L"Angelus," which represents a French peasant and his wife resting momentarily from their work in the field to join in prayer at the sound of the vesper bell, and some of you may know the exquisite use to which the late Henry Drummond put this picture in his address on work and love and worship. I shall take these three elements of life—though there is a fourth at which the picture hints but faintly, and of which Drummond said nothing—the element of suffering. And I shall try to remind you how, under a Christian interpretation, these drive our minds toward the life that is life indeed.

I. Let us look first at work, which for most of us means three-quarters of our life, the returning toil of each new day, much of it sordid and monotonous; can it possibly be made to speak to us of the eternal life?

Work, when it is Christianly interpreted, drives our minds toward the thought of the life essentially continuous with this, while in its accidents different. It is this thought that is the climax of St Paul"s reason in his famous resurrection chapter, 1Cor. xv, for after his triumphant hymn of praise because of our victory over death, he brings the whole argument to a climax in reminding us that it is now worth while our working if our work be in line with God"s work, for our work here leads into life beyond, "wherefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, immovable always, abounding in the work of the Lord; for as much as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord"—i.e. such work as you do here show forth God must have its crown of fulfilment in the land where His glory specially rests.

II. It is in the attachment of heart to heart that men have found the most powerful presage of immortality, and poets in all ages have with almost frenzied certitude proclaimed their conviction that love is stronger than death. Where love Isaiah, God is; and where God Isaiah, life must ever be. If our love be drawn from Christ"s there may be sacrifice before it, but never separation. For if our love be baptised into the spirit of Christ, it is taken up into His life and cannot die. This is not subjective conviction: this is not mysticism, this is New Testament doctrine, the very essence and foundation of the last writings of St John, the final interpreter to us in point of time of the incarnation of Jesus Christ our Lord.

III. It Isaiah, however, only when we pass to worship that the promise of eternal life becomes irresistible. For consider what worship is. Worship is a reciprocal movement between the human spirit and God; it consists, that is to say, of our upward aspirations and God"s stooping responses. Worship is friendship between God and man; but think for a moment what it means for the Eternal God to enter into friendly relations with any one. His friendships are not capricious, but partake of His own eternal nature; in other words, they endow those who are the subjects of this friendship with His own immortality.

Now consider how Jesus Christ interpreted and transfigured this experience of worship; through Him it becomes possessed of certain characteristics that emphasise the certitude of the eternal life; for example, it becomes through Him a life of filial intimacy; and sonship carries with it the promise of home. Our filial aspirations, as has been said, are the earliest part of us; there is a sequence of thought which it is almost impossible to escape in the sentences: "Now are we the sons of God," and "It doth not yet appear what we shall be". As we experience it here, the adoption of sons involves the certain hope of a home-coming to God.

Work, love, worship—these, then, Christianly understood, are promises, of eternal life.

IV. And what of suffering? Without its Christian interpretation it is but an emphasis on life"s transiency. When we suffer, it is all that binds us to the physical, that Isaiah, that comes to the front of our thoughts—the pains and disabilities of the body, prospect of dissolution and bereavement.

As sufferers we are the subject of change, and so Buddha read the fact of suffering; it was to him one of the facts that pointed to the desirability of escape from the terrors of self-conscious life. So far from containing within itself any promise of immortality, it was one of the facts that made him long for the cessation of consciousness and of desire. But Christ has transformed all that. He interpreted suffering and so moulded the sufferers who believe in Him that often it is Christian sufferers for whom the veil is worn the thinnest between this life and the life that is to be, so that they become preachers of the land of far distances, and bring the eternal order within our view. It Isaiah, of course, Christ"s own sufferings that have thus suffused all other pain with the heavenly glow; it is in Him that suffering supremely bears the promise and potency of immortality.

—G. A. Johnston Ross, Christian World Pulpit, vol. LXXVII. p257.

2 Timothy 1:10

"I myself," says Thomas Boston in his Memoirs, "have been several times, on this occasion, taking a view of death; and I have found that faith in God through Christ makes another world not quite strange."

References.—I:10.—Eynon Davies, Sermons by Welshmen, p327. The Record, vol. xxvii. p756. E. Bersier, Sermons in Paris, p230. J. C. M. Bellew, Sermons, vol. i. p351. J. H. Holford, Memorial Sermons, p37. T. Binney, King"s Weigh-House Chapel Sermons, p41. Expositor (5th Series), vol. v. p389.

Doctrine and Life

2 Timothy 1:12

I. The Importance of Right Doctrine.—The most living Christian experience, if it is to be better than unauthorised, unverifiable fancy or feeling, is in its essence connected with revealed doctrine. Without that warrant, the warmest emotions about God, or Christ, may have no solidity of fact beneath them. Not that every believer must, or can, enter into the same fulness of doctrinal truth. But some doctrine the little believing child must have, and the old believing cottager who cannot read. To know Whom they trust they must know about Him; they must know something of the doctrine of the Son of God. We may carry our advocacy of the claims of doctrine too far, but our present risk is the very opposite. It is to regard persons more than truths, teachers than teaching. It is to make moral earnestness the first thing and the last It is to look for the glory of God somewhere else than in the face of Jesus Christ, as that face is seen in the mirror of the Word, in the light of the Spirit I plead, then, for the supreme importance of sound and solid doctrine, of clear views, of what is revealed about Christ—

a. His person and His work.

b. His sacrificial blood.

c. His indwelling life.

d. His intercession above.

II. We Turn to the Necessity, the Bliss, of a Personal Acquaintance with the Living Lord Jesus Christ.—We have looked awhile on what some may call the "dry bones" of doctrine, but which are in fact the vertebrae of the backbone of life. But now we look again at St. Paul"s words, and we embrace the blessedness of a personal knowledge of—not it, but Him. If we would live, if our Christianity is not to be a synonym for barren mental speculation, or somewhat commonplace philanthropy, or merely carnal contentiousness, or, worst of all, a cloak for a life of entire and complacent selfishness, then we must know Him and abide in Him. Among the doctrines of the faith is this, that if I know all mysteries, and have not holy love, I am nothing; and that, on the other hand, Christ can dwell in my heart by faith, by the work of the strengthening Spirit. Who shall describe the happiness of direct personal acquaintance with Him, as it were behind (not without) all thinking, and all work, which thought and work He yet can fill and can use? It is the reality of realities.

a. In it the most advanced and instructed believer, and the most timid beginner in the life of faith, alike have part and lot.

b. It gives wings of light to the highest musings and most accurate studies of the believing theologian.

c. It warms and sweetens the arduous tasks of the believing toiler for the souls and bodies and homes of men.

d. It smiles on the dying bed of the little child, and refuses to fall out of the aged mind, which drops everything else in its palsy.

A few years ago, in India, died a little native boy, of twelve years old. Almost unawares he had learned the doctrine, and had found the Lord. Too weak to converse, almost too weak apparently to think, he twice over, at the last, folded his skeleton hands, and slowly repeated those unfathomable words, "The Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord Jesus Christ".

The Assured Knowledge of the Personal Saviour

2 Timothy 1:12

I. This Knowledge is Personal in its Object.—

Evidently the Apostle intended to emphasise the actual personality of the Object of his faith. Christianity is not creed, not document, not church, not Sacrament; Christianity is Christ, Christ is Christianity. But you ask, "Is it possible for me to know Christ in this positive manner? He is no longer on earth. How, then, may I know Him?" Probably the Apostle Paul had never seen Christ in the flesh; he had seen Him in vision only. True knowledge of persons is never obtained through the organs of outward sense. (1) Paul knew Christ through the organ of faith. The margin reads, "I know Him whom I have trusted". (2) By love. Paul gave his heart to Christ It is the lover always who knows. (3) By obedience. As Robertson long ago remarked: "Obedience is an organ of spiritual knowledge". He who will do the will of God shall know. (4) By suffering. Evermore there is a knowledge of Christ sweeter, deeper, more blessed than all other which comes to the believer when he suffers with Christ and for Christ

II. This Knowledge Inspires at once a Noble Character and Life.—As the generations pass the character of the Apostle Paul shines out with ever-increasing glory. The secret of that wonderful character was, according to his own testimony, his faith in Jesus Christ. Thus to know Christ in this positive manner, to wrap the roots of the heart around Him, to draw the sap of life from Him, is to have life cut off from all that is sordid, earthly, and selfish, and transfigured with the glory of the Lord.

III. This Knowledge Inspires Calmness in Trial and Confidence in Death.—Amid the shocks of temporal disaster, or when fierce fires of persecution burn around us—or when cruel wrongs oppress the soul, or when the heart is wrung with parting pangs, and we have to kiss cold lips, and bid the long goodbye; or when fell diseases smite us low, and blot out all the hope of life—we are kept in perfect peace if only we know Him. When we come to the mystery of death, the only thing which will give us calmness and confidence is the assured knowledge of Him who is evermore the Resurrection and the Life.

—J. Tolefree Parr, The White Life, p59.

2 Timothy 1:12

If you have had trials, sickness, and the approach of death, the alienation of friends, poverty at the heels, and have not felt your soul turn round upon these very things and spurn them under—you must be very differently made from me, and, I earnestly believe, from the majority of men.

—R. L. Stevenson.

References.—I:12.—Spurgeon, Sermons, vol. v. No271. J. Stalker, Christian World Pulpit, vol. lvi. p171. S. H. Fleming, Fifteen Minute Sermons for the People, p194. Spurgeon, Sermons, vol. xvi. No908. John Watson, Christian World Pulpit, vol. lix. p299. T. A. Cox, Penny Pulpit, No1484, p9. W. M. Sinclair, Difficulties of our Day, p158. H. P. Liddon, Sermons on Some Words of St. Paul, p276. J. D. Jones, Elims of Life, p220. John Watson, The Inspiration of our Faith, p214. W. H. Brookfield, Sermons, p36. A. W. Hutton, Christian World Pulpit, vol. lxx. p328. Expositor (4th Series), vol. x. p190. A. Maclaren, Expositions of Holy Scripture—Timothy, p16.

The Two Trusts

2 Timothy 1:12; 2 Timothy 1:14

You will observe that these two sayings are in one point identical. They express the one great thought of the Christian life, in its twofold aspect—the thought of Christ"s faithfulness to us, and of our answering fidelity to Him. In both there is the idea of a weighty and solemn trust—of something that has unspeakable value committed to the keeping of another, left under his watchful guard, which he is pledged to defend at all cost. Let me set it briefly before you: Christ"s loving demand that we shall keep that which He has committed to us; our joyous certainty that He will guard for evermore that which we have committed to Him.

I. First, Jet us think of what He has entrusted to us. Paul calls it that good or that beautiful thing; and we say in brief that it is twofold—the name of Jesus and the faith of Jesus. (1) He has left His pure, undefiled name in our keeping. When the crusader went off to the holy war, he left some sworn friend to fill his place—to do what he would have done, to shield those whom he would have defended, and especially to answer all slanders that were uttered against the absent one, and maintain unsullied his pure reputation. In some such way the great Master has left us in charge. The whole Church is made responsible for the honour of her Lord, and every single disciple shares in the sacred trust. (2) He has committed to us what we call "The Faith," the body of truth and doctrine which He gave as His message from the Father, and which constitutes the heritage of the Church—"the faith," to quote the saying which is often misused, but which we are never weary of repeating, "the faith once for all delivered to the Saints". And how are we to keep it? To keep the faith is to live it We cannot be fairly said to hold any doctrine until we make it a part of our everyday life.

II. And now I speak of the other side of the Christian life, of that which relates to our trust in the King"s promise, and of His pledge to keep that which we have committed unto Him. There are certain things which we can do. We can defend the faith, we can maintain the honour of His name, we can preserve our own lives unspotted from the world. But then there remains a large province of things which enter into our deepest life, over which we have no power whatever, which we can but leave with blind, helpless, childlike trust in His loving, mighty hands. There is the future of the Church. There is our own and its results, its rewards. Then, further, there is our own immortality. And, finally, there are our beautiful affections, the friendships which we have cultivated with so much care and cherished with such ardent solicitude, which we have woven about our souls until they have become an inseparable part of our souls. Let us keep our trust, and be assured that He will keep His.

—J. G. Greenhough, The Cross in Modern Life, p178.

References.—I:12-14.—Spurgeon, Sermons, vol. xxxii. No1913. I:13.—A. H. Sayce, Christian World Pulpit. vol. lviii. p241. Spurgeon, Sermons, vol. ii. No79. R. W. Hiley, A Year"s Sermons, vol. iii. p314. Expositor (5th Series), vol. vi. p385. A. Maclaren, Expositions of Holy Scripture—Timothy, p26. I:13, 14.—G. Body, Christian World Pulpit, vol. lviii. p233. I:14.—H. S. Holland, ibid. vol. lix. p380.

A Friend in Need

2 Timothy 1:16

This letter, many scholars think, may have been penned on the very eve of the great Apostle"s death. We seem to have a premonition of the end in that brave verse of the fourth chapter: "I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith". Our text, therefore, has in it something of the peculiar weight and intensity that ofttimes characterise parting words of the dying. St. Paul was never prone to indiscriminate praise or blame. He had greater matters in hand than the strewing of compliments even upon his coadjutors in the proclamation of the Christian Gospel. Hence we may assume that the singularly cordial words he speaks of Onesiphorus are the product of deep and manly feeling.

Onesiphorus means bringer of help; so that in this instance at least name and nature coincide; for it was the promptness and the richness of the help he brought that went to Paul"s heart.

I. First, then, consider Onesiphorus in the rle of a Christian friend. One of the qualities in him which these verses specially underline Isaiah, you will note, the consistency of his helpfulness.

(1) Two features, I imagine, in Onesiphorus" conduct at Rome touched St. Paul with peculiar gratitude. In the first place, he took pains to help his friend. "He sought me out very diligently, and found me."

The main thing required to make us helpful is not sentiment, but action.

(2) Then besides that, Onesiphorus was not ashamed of Paul; and that memory the Apostle treasured with a rare depth of gratitude. Evidently he was used to having people ashamed of him. It was all part of being a Christian. But to treat him so never crossed the other"s mind. To know St. Paul was the pride of Onesiphorus" life. So far from being ashamed or afraid to be seen in his cell, I have no doubt he grew positively elated over his success in finding him.

II. Note secondly, how much this kindness meant to Paul. No one had ever lived more completely human than the Apostle to the Gentiles. The desire for friendship became at times with him almost a physical craving. It is not to be imagined that he always lived upon the heights, on the blue altitudes, for example, to which he soars in Colossians or Ephesians. No; there were hours of loneliness and sorrow, when in his dejection he would have given all he had for the voice of a loved friend, and a look from his kindly eyes. So think of the shock of pleasure that came to the solitary captive when one day his cell-door swung back, and in strode this trusty henchman, all the way from Asia. A friend in need is a friend indeed.

III. Lastly, note how St. Paul repaid the other"s kindness. In one word, he prayed for him; he took his name in love to the throne of God; and this is the best recompense any of us can make for sympathy or help. Says a saint of the seventeenth century, writing to an acquaintance who lived by habit in fellowship with God: "When you have the King"s ear, remember me"; and surely each of us has at least one friend from whom we also might beg this kindness.

—H. R. Mackintosh, Life on God"s Plan, p73.

Reference.—I:18.—Expositor (6th Series), vol. vi. p888.

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Bibliographical Information
Nicol, W. Robertson, M.A., L.L.D. "Commentary on 2 Timothy 1:18". Expositor's Dictionary of Text. 1910.

The Expositor's Greek Testament

2 Timothy 1:18. It is immaterial whether we explain , in this verse, of God the Father, the source of judgment, or of God the Son, the instrument of judgment. It is far-fetched to suppose that the repeated refer to different divine Persons. Huther’s expl., followed by Alf., seems the best, that had become so completely a formula that the recurrence did not seem harsh.

. . .: This clause is an afterthought.

: The verb is used with a perfectly general reference here, as in Hebrews 6:10.

: The comparative here is intensive or elative. See Blass, Grammar, pp. 33, 141, 142. Other examples are in 1 Timothy 3:14 (Tisch.) and in the Received Text of 2 Timothy 1:17 of this chapter.



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Nicol, W. Robertson, M.A., L.L.D. "Commentary on 2 Timothy 1:18". The Expositor's Greek Testament. 1897-1910.

Justin Edwards' Family Bible New Testament

True religion gives a man hearty, steadfast friends, who, in trials when others turn away, will stand by him, sympathize with him, and if possible render him any aid which he needs.

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Edwards, Justin. "Commentary on 2 Timothy 1:18". "Family Bible New Testament". American Tract Society. 1851.

F. B. Hole's Old and New Testament Commentary

IN HIS OPENING words, presenting his apostleship, Paul strikes a note which is prominent all through this epistle. He is an apostle, not only “by the will of God”—that gave him his authority—but also “according to the promise of life which is in Christ Jesus”—that conferred upon his apostleship an unconquerable character. Nature furnishes us with many illustrations of the extraordinary power of life. Here is a green sapling so tender that an infant could crush it in its tiny fist yet under certain conditions the life that is in it will force it through pavements or cause it to displace great stones weighing hundredweights. Here again is life of a certain order with its distinguishing characteristics. From these characteristics no one can divert it try as they will. Neither training nor cajoling nor whip will make a dog express its pleasure by purring nor a cat do so by wagging its tail. The life of the animal with its innate characteristics will conquer all your efforts.

In nature life is an immense force, but the life in Christ Jesus is unconquerable. The life of nature in all its forms, the life of Adam—which is human life—included, ultimately meets its match and is conquered by DEATH. The life in Christ is beyond the reach of death, for it was as having died and risen again that He became the Fountain-head of life to others. That life was promised before the world began (See, Titus 1:2) and brought to light in the Gospel (See, verse 2 Timothy 1:10 of our chapter). Its fruition will be seen in ages yet to come. Hence it is spoken of as a promise here.

We start the epistle therefore with that which will survive all the failures and defections of believers and all the other ravages of time. How good to be connected with a sheet-anchor which never moves before we face the storms indicated in the epistle. Everything that is “in Christ Jesus” abides to eternity.

Having saluted Timothy the Apostle in verse 2 Timothy 1:3 expresses his prayerful remembrance of him; in verses 2 Timothy 1:4-5 he calls to mind the features in him which were to be commended, and then from verse 2 Timothy 1:6 and onwards he exhorts and encourages him in the fear of God.

Both Paul and Timothy came of good stock. The former could speak of serving God from his forefathers with a pure conscience; that is, without defiling his conscience by doing that which he knew to be wrong. He was true up to his light, though, as he confesses elsewhere, once his light was so defective that he was found opposing Christ with conscientious zeal Timothy was the third generation to be marked by faith. Indeed his faith is called “unfeigned,” and faith of a very genuine order is a prime necessity when times of declension and testing set in. Moreover the Apostle can speak of his tears and these indicated that he was a man of deep feeling and of spiritual exercises.

The very remembrance of Timothy’s tears filled Paul with joy. How would he feel about us? Would he turn from us sad and disappointed at our feeble faith and general shallowness of conviction and feeling? Depend upon it, unfeigned faith, the maintenance of a pure conscience and the deep spiritual feelings which express themselves in tears are immense assets wherewith to face the difficulties and perils of “the last days.”

Timothy possessed in addition a special gift from God, which had been administered to him through Paul, and gift carries with it a responsibility to use it in a proper and adequate way. A person of quiet and retiring mind, as

Timothy seems to have been, is sorely tempted to lay up his pound’ in a napkin when confronted by trying circumstances. On the contrary, difficult circumstances are really a trumpet call for the stirring up of any gift that may be possessed, and this is possible for God has given to us His Holy Spirit, and thereby we have a spirit of power and love and a sound mind and not a spirit of fear.

“Power” here does not mean “authority” but rather “might” or “force” We have the force but it needs to be controlled by love, and both force and love must be governed by “a sound mind” or “wise discretion” if the energy that we have by the Holy Spirit is to be rightly employed. We are not therefore to be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord.

There was no danger of Timothy being ashamed of the testimony in earlier days when as recorded in Acts 14:1-28; Acts 15:1-41; Acts 16:1-40; Acts 17:1-34; Acts 18:1-28; Acts 19:1-41, it was triumphing in spite of bitter opposition. Now however it was in reproach, believers even were growing cold and Paul, the chiefest of its heralds, was in prison with no hope of release. There is nothing more trying than to come into a movement when it is on a rising tide of prosperity and then to see it pass its crest and a heavy ebb tide set in. This is the thing to test one’s mettle.

Timothy’s mettle was being tested, but the Apostle’s call to him was that he should now partake of the afflictions of the Gospel. We are all glad to partake of the blessings of the Gospel, and many of us are glad to have a share in the work of the Gospel so that we may partake of its successes, and finally of the rewards in the coming kingdom for faithful service in it, but to partake of its afflictions is another matter. This is only possible “according to the power of God.” Here as in Colossians 1:11, power is connected not with that which is active but with that which is passive—suffering.

Power is in itself a cold impersonal thing. In this passage however the warm personal touch is given to it by verses 2 Timothy 1:9-10. The God, whose power it is, is known to us as the Author of both our salvation and our calling. These two things ever go together, for they give us what we may call the negative and positive sides of the matter. We are saved from that we may be called to. We are delivered from the misery and peril into which sin has plunged us in order that we might be designated to the place of favour and blessing which is to be ours according to the purpose of God.

What God does in saving and calling is always according to His purpose. It was so when He saved Israel out of Egypt, for He called them to bring them into the land that He had purposed for them. There is a great difference however between Israel’s salvation and calling and ours. They were saved in a national way from foes of flesh and blood in this world. We are saved from every spiritual foe and in an individual way. They were called to the Land of Promise with its attendant earthly blessings. We are called into heavenly relationships with their attendant spiritual and heavenly blessings. The kingdom, of which Israel will be the centre-piece was purposed by God “from the foundation of the world” (Matthew 25:34), and their land was mapped out for them from the time when “the Most High divided to the nations their inheritance” (Deuteronomy 32:8), that is, from the time of Babel. Our calling, as we are told here, is according to divine purpose which dates back “before the world began.”

Moreover the calling which we enjoy as Christians is according to grace as well as purpose. In this too we see a contrast, for Israel brought out of Egypt was put under law, and being thus put on their own responsibility they very soon forfeited their inheritance. Our calling rests upon what God Himself is and does on our behalf, and therefore it can never pass away. Yet once again, both our salvation and our calling were given us in Christ Jesus,” and this could not be said of Israel in the Old Testament. The covenant established with them addressed them as natural men and all stood upon a natural basis, and hence did not stand for long. All that we have is ours not as natural men having our standing in Adam, but as those who are before God in Christ Jesus.

Our holy calling was thus purposed before the world began, and its full blessedness will abide when the world has passed away. As yet we have not entered into its full blessedness, still it has been made manifest by the appearing of our Saviour, and we have a foretaste of it inasmuch as death has been annulled by His death and resurrection and life and incorruptibility have been brought to light in the Gospel. “Annulled” and not “abolished” is the right translation. Death most evidently is not yet abolished, but its power is annulled for those who believe in Jesus. Also “incorruptibility” is the word and not “immortality.” The souls of the wicked are not subject to death, but we have the larger hope of being finally placed beyond corruption, where the last breath of it can never touch us.

Paul had been appointed a herald of this Gospel in the Gentile world and his diligent labours had brought him into all this suffering and reproach. Men were beginning to shrug their shoulders and say that his cause was a lost one. He himself began to see the glint of the executioner’s axe as the termination of the dark tunnel of his imprisonment. How did he feel about it?

“Nevertheless I am not ashamed” were his words. Of course not! How could he be? The very Gospel he carried was the glad tidings of life in the present and a glorious state of incorruptibility to come, consequent upon the breaking of the power of death. Who is there that really believing and understanding such tidings as these will be ashamed of them? Moreover his mission and authority proceeded from One whom he knew and believed, and this knowledge gave him the persuasion that all was safe in His hands.

Paul had committed his all to Christ inasmuch as he was a man that had “hazarded” or “delivered up” his life “for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (Acts 15:26). He had “suffered the loss of all things” (Philippians 3:8). He had deposited his reputation and his cause in the hands of his Master, and he had the full assurance that in the day of Christ he would be fully vindicated and recompensed. With that blessed assurance in his heart how could he be ashamed?

All this has been mentioned by the Apostle in order to enforce his earlier exhortation to Timothy that he should not be ashamed of the testimony in days when reproach was increasing. In verse 2 Timothy 1:13 he gives him a second exhortation of great moment. If the adversary cannot intimidate us into defection from the truth he may nevertheless succeed by filching away the truth from us.

Now the truth to be of any practical use to us must be stated in words, and in this the devil may find his opportunity. Timothy had heard the truth from the lips of Paul to whom it was first revealed. It was a good thing—a good deposit—entrusted to him and it was to be kept by the indwelling Holy Spirit, but it only could be preserved intact as he held fast the form, or outline, of sound words in which Paul had conveyed it to him. There are plenty of deceivers today who under cover of zeal for the “idea”, the “conception,” the “spirit” of the truth advocate extreme latitude as to the words used. They ridicule verbal accuracy and especially “verbal inspiration;” but this in order to make it very easy for them to abstract from the minds of their dupes the divine idea and substitute for it ideas of their own. We have never heard Paul personally but we have the form of sound words in his inspired epistles.

He can say to us, as well as to Timothy “Hold fast the form of sound words, which thou hast heard of me”—only we have received it not from his living voice but through his pen, which is after all the more reliable way. If held fast “in faith and love which is in Christ Jesus the truth will be operative in ourselves and effective in others.

Alas! it is very easy to turn away. All in Asia had already done so. The context would indicate that this turning away from Paul was in connection with his inspired unfolding of the truth, to which he had just referred. These Asians were evidently ashamed of Paul and of the testimony. On the other hand there was Onesiphorus who was not ashamed and for whom a bright reward is waiting in “that day.”

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Hole, Frank Binford. "Commentary on 2 Timothy 1:18". "F. B. Hole's Old and New Testament Commentary". 1947.

F.B. Meyer's 'Through the Bible' Commentary


2 Timothy 1:12-18

How striking Paul’s reference to the double committal, as if there had been an agreed exchange between his Master and himself! Paul had handed over to Christ as a sacred deposit all that concerned his well-being in time and eternity, and Christ had handed over to him the interests of His Kingdom, which, by the grace of the Holy Spirit, he was required to maintain inviolate. It is a mutual exchange of which we all ought to know something. Give all to Christ and Christ becomes all to you. The proportion of your self-giving is the measure of your discovery of what Jesus will be to you.

Some of Paul’s former friends shrank from identifying themselves with a suspect-the inmate of the condemned cell. It was no light matter to visit the bearer of a name which the world of that day detested, one who belonged to a sect accused of burning Rome. Demas, 2 Timothy 4:11, and others forsook him, but the good Ephesian, Onesiphorus, set about seeking him through all the prisons of Rome, and was not ashamed of his chain nor content with a single visit. He oft refreshed his friend. Paul sends a grateful message to his family, 2 Timothy 4:19. Perhaps there is here a gentle hint to Timothy. Compare 2 Timothy 1:8 and 2 Timothy 1:16. Never shrink from taking your place beside Christ’s prisoners!

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Meyer, Frederick Brotherton. "Commentary on 2 Timothy 1:18". "F. B. Meyer's 'Through the Bible' Commentary". 1914.

Arno Gaebelein's Annotated Bible

Analysis and Annotations



1. Paul’s affectionate words and confidence (2 Timothy 1:1-5)

2. Difficulties and assurance (2 Timothy 1:6-12)

3. Holding the form of sound words (2 Timothy 1:13-14)

4. Turning away and faithfulness in contrast (2 Timothy 1:15-18)

2 Timothy 1:1-5

Paul speaks in this last Epistle as an apostle of Christ Jesus, by the will of God “according to the promise of life which is in Christ Jesus.” It is a blessed word and shows how the prisoner in Rome, facing now the martyr’s death, had full assurance that all was well. He knew that he was in the hands of God. The promise of life in Christ Jesus was his portion; he possessed that life in Him who ever liveth. Again he addressed Timothy as his beloved son (1 Timothy 1:2) with the greeting of grace, from which all blessings flow, mercy, so constantly needed by all His own, and peace, which his people know and enjoy, who look to Him alone for grace and mercy. The apostle speaks of the past; he had served God, so had his forefathers, with a pure conscience (Acts 23:1); they had been pious, God-fearing Jews.

This also had been the case with Timothy. There was unfeigned faith in him, which dwelt first in his grandmother, Lois, and in his mother, Eunice. Both Lois, the grandmother, and his own mother, who had a Greek for a husband (Acts 16:1) had trained the child Timothy in the Holy Scriptures (the Old Testament) and he had known them from the earliest childhood (2 Timothy 3:15). Therefore when the gospel of Christ was presented to them this unfeigned faith laid hold upon it at once. It was good ground which had been prepared to receive the gospel-seed. Thus it should be in the Christian household. The promise is “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved and thy house.” (Acts 16:31). Unfeigned faith will be produced in the young by instructing them out of the Word of God, for “faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the Word of God” (Romans 10:17). Without ceasing Paul remembered Timothy in his prayers night and day. He remembered his tears, occasioned no doubt by the second imprisonment. How he desired to see his beloved son to be filled with joy!

2 Timothy 1:6-12

“Wherefore I put thee in remembrance that thou stir up (stir up in a “flame” or “rekindle”) the gift of God, which is in thee by the laying on of my hands.” God had used Paul as the instrument in bestowing a gift upon Timothy. This gift needed rekindling. The danger of decline, which began even then to be manifested, is evident by this exhortation. The rekindling of a gift needs constant use of the Word of God and fellowship with the Lord, as well as a prayerful exercise of the gift itself. And the Spirit given of God to minister is not a spirit of fear, or cowardice, fearing men and conditions, but a spirit of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. Therefore he was not to be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, which men began to reject, nor of him, who was now the prisoner of the Lord. It was Timothy’s blessed calling and privilege to be a partaker of the afflictions of the gospel according to the power of God. He was not to shrink from the reproach and difficulties which then set in, but to endure it all, enabled by His gracious power.

The gospel may be rejected and despised, so that the enemy seemingly is victorious, but finally the Lord and His truth will have the complete victory. The believer knows this amidst all present difficulties and discouragements, for God “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.” (This refers to the first promise in Genesis 3:15, the promise of life, salvation and final victory.) “Before the world began” does not mean eternity, but the time before the dispensations, “the age-times,” began. And all is now made manifest by the appearing of our Saviour Jesus Christ, who hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel. The full accomplishment and victory comes when He who abolished death by His death on the cross, and triumphant resurrection, comes again. Paul was the herald of this gospel to all men, to Jews and Gentiles. It was for this he suffered, and he was not ashamed. He knew all he passed through, all reproach, all afflictions, would not leave him ashamed. He knew the Lord and His power. “For I know whom I believed, and am persuaded that He is able to keep that which I have committed unto Him against that day.”

“The apostle does not say ‘in what I have believed,’ but ‘whom,’an important difference, which pleases us (as to our confidence) in connection with the person of Christ Himself The apostle had spoken of the truth, but truth is allied to the person of Christ. He is the truth; and in Him truth has life, has power, is linked with the love which applies it, which maintains it in the heart and the heart by it. ‘I know,’ says the apostle, ‘whom I have believed,’ He had committed his happiness to Christ. In Him was that life in which the apostle participated; in Him, the power that sustained it, and that preserved in heaven the inheritance of glory which was his portion where this life was developed” (J.N. Darby).

2 Timothy 1:13-14.

Next he exhorts Timothy to hold fast the form of sound words. “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.” This is one of the most important exhortations of this Epistle, and of special meaning for all believers who, in these days of departure from the truth, contend earnestly for the faith delivered once for all unto the saints. The expression “the form of sound words” is a strong argument for verbal inspiration. The truth of God is conveyed in the very words of God, and therefore the form in which the truth of God is made known is to be maintained. It is all to be held fast in faith and love, which are in Christ Jesus. It does not mean a certain creed constructed by man, but the whole truth of God as revealed by Him. And whatever good thing is committed unto the believer, in the form of a gift as a member of the body of Christ, must be kept by the energy and power of the Holy Spirit, who dwells in the believer. What we have received, the knowledge of the form of sound words and the gift imparted, must be used. “in proportion as we do not care to communicate to others the ‘sound words’ which we have received, we shall find their power over our own souls diminish and their sweetness for us also.”

Apostasy starts with the giving up of the form of sound words. Critics and other deniers of inspiration speak of the spiritual meaning of the words of the Bible, and, that the Bible contains the Word of God, instead of is the Word of God. And that is the starting point of the ever increasing departure from the truth of God in our days, which will soon culminate in the predicted complete apostasy.

2 Timothy 1:15-18

All in Asia (the province) had heard the Gospel in years gone by from the lips of the apostle. And now the great man of God had to write mournfully: “This thou knowest, that all they which are in Asia be turned away from me; of whom are Phygellus and Hermogenes.” It would be wrong to conclude from this that they had turned their backs completely upon Christianity and abandoned the profession of it. Such was not the case. Their faith had become weak and they had withdrawn from the apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ, because he had become a despised prisoner, and with this act they showed likewise that they were departing from the great and blessed doctrines the Apostle had preached unto them. Perhaps some of those in Asia had visited Rome and had repudiated Paul the prisoner. It was an evidence of the spiritual decline which was setting in.

But there was a notable exception. Onesiphorus had also visited Rome and had diligently sought him and found him finally. There were many thousands of prisoners in Roman dungeons, and we may well imagine how day after day Onesiphorus sought for his beloved brother, going from dungeon to dungeon till he had located Paul. What a meeting that must have been! He had ministered to Paul in Ephesus, which was well known to Timothy, and now he was not ashamed to minister unto the prisoner of the Lord. He prays therefore for his house and that he may find mercy of the Lord in that day. The reward for his faithfulness to Paul will be mercy, as everything else is mercy in the believer’s life.

(Strange it is that the prayer of the Apostle for the house of Onesiphorus is used as an authority to pray for the dead. The assumption that Onesiphorus had died is incorrect.)

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Gaebelein, Arno Clemens. "Commentary on 2 Timothy 1:18". "Gaebelein's Annotated Bible". 1913-1922.

G. Campbell Morgan's Exposition on the Whole Bible

The second letter to Timothy was written from prison. Paul, conscious of the evil existing in the Church, forecast the terrible days that were coming. He was conscious also of the grave responsibility resting on Timothy. He introduced his letter by a revelation of his affection for Timothy, and his thankfulness for him.

His first appeal had to do with Timothy himself. He charged him to "stir up the gift'' he had already received, and not to be "ashamed . . . of the testimony." The qualities of the gift were described as consisting in capacity for oversight, and government in the Church. This must not be exercised in a spirit of cowardice. The kindling to a flame of such a gift would not make the pathway easy. A twofold incentive was revealed in the greatness of the Gospel committed to him as a deposit, and his own experience and convictions.

In this paragraph we have five main assertions, "I was appointed," "I suffered," "I am not ashamed," "I know Him," "I am persuaded." There is yet another, which is subsidiary in the sense of being resultant, "I have believed." Looking back, he wrote, "I was appointed." Thinking of the present, he declared, 'I suffered," ''I am not ashamed," "I know Him." Looking to the future, he said, "I am persuaded."

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Morgan, G. Campbell. "Commentary on 2 Timothy 1:18". "G. Campbell Morgan Exposition on the Bible". 1857-84.

John 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.

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The New John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible Modernised and adapted for the computer by Larry Pierce of Online Bible. All Rights Reserved, Larry Pierce, Winterbourne, Ontario.
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Gill, John. "Commentary on 2 Timothy 1:18". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". 1999.

Gary Hampton Commentary on Selected Books

An Injunction to Steadfastness

The apostle urged Timothy to hold tight to the “pattern of sound words.” The word translated "pattern" is the Greek word hupo-tuposis. Joseph Thayer, in his Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament, says this word means, "the pattern placed before one to be held fast and copied, model." Paul had given Timothy a clear model of sound teachings from which he should not stray. The way to do that was through hearing the word of God and doing what it says to do out of a love for lost souls. As Paul thought of his own approaching death, the importance of men like Timothy preserving the good news in the form God delivered it naturally became a vital matter. The same Holy Spirit who inspired the penmen to write would help Timothy keep the gospel pure ().

When Paul used the expression, "all those in Asia," he likely was using hyperbole, or an exaggeration for emphasis. We use these often. For example, one might say, "I"m so hungry I could eat a horse." Paul"s point is that none from Asia, which was so near by, had come to his defense during his trial in Rome. In fact, the aged apostle used the word "deserted" to describe their actions. For some reason, he singled out the two men named as being among the deserters. Perhaps they led others into such actions (2 Timothy 1:15).

In stark contrast to those who deserted him, Onesiphorus had been like a cool breeze under a shade tree for an over-heated traveler, which is the idea behind the word "refreshed." This kind brother had not been ashamed of the apostle"s chains in prison. Thus, Paul expressed his desire that the entire house of Onesiphorus obtain mercy. He had put forth a great deal of effort to find the imprisoned apostle. Paul"s specific desire for this helpful brother was that he would find mercy in the day of judgment. Timothy was well aware of how helpful Onesiphorus had been in Ephesus and from the above statements would likely conclude that he had continued in the same manner ().

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Hampton, Gary. "Commentary on 2 Timothy 1:18". "Gary Hampton Commentary on Selected Books". 2014.

Gary H. Everett's Study Notes on the Holy Scriptures

Justification by Faith in Christ Jesus through Divine Foreknowledge- Paul first reflects upon Timothy's salvation through faith in Christ Jesus based upon the foreknowledge of God the Father ( ). He tells him of how his own salvation is a fulfillment of God's divine plan since the time of their forefathers, the patriarchs of Israel ( 2 Timothy 1:3) and reminds Timothy of his spiritual heritage in his ancestry ( 2 Timothy 1:4-5). Just as Paul's forefathers passed down the knowledge of God's salvation to him, Timothy's mother and grandmother passed this same knowledge down to him. Timothy is exhorted to stir up the gift of God within him ( 2 Timothy 1:6-7). Paul then uses himself as an example of one saved and called according to the Father's divine purpose and grace before the world began, but made manifest through Christ Jesus ( 2 Timothy 1:8-12). He then exhorts Timothy to hold fast to this salvation by the indwelling power of the Holy Spirit ( 2 Timothy 1:13-14). Paul then warns Timothy by giving him examples of some who have been unfaithful to God's offer of salvation as well as examples of loyalty ( 2 Timothy 1:15-18). Timothy is to respond to this exhortation and example by stirring up the gift of God that is within him ( 2 Timothy 1:6). Thus, we see the underlying theme of serving God faithfully in a divine calling reflected in this opening passage of Scripture.

Outline - Here is a proposed outline:

1. Paul's Thanksgiving to God for Timothy's Faith —

2. Paul Exhorts Timothy to Stir Up His Gifts —

3. Paul's Example of Justification —

4. Paul Exhorts Timothy to be Faithful to God's Word —

5. Paul Gives Timothy Living Examples of Faithfulness —

Paul's Exhortation to Young Timothy- The theme of this epistle is the hope of eternal life that is in Christ Jesus. Paul is exhorting young Timothy to lay hold on eternal life and to fulfill his calling. The context of this chapter is: In the midst of a great host of people in Asia turning back to the world (verse 15), Timothy is exhorted not to compromise (verse 13), nor to become silent (verse 8) to the proclamation of God's Word. To drive home the point clearly, Paul uses two examples in verses 15-18 of people well known by Timothy of their past faithfulness and now their terrible end (verse 15). Then, Paul gives Timothy one example of a faithful man (verses 16-18), as well as giving himself as an example (verses 11-12).

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Everett, Gary H. "Commentary on 2 Timothy 1:18". Gary H. Everett's Study Notes on the Holy Scriptures. 2013.

Gary H. Everett's Study Notes on the Holy Scriptures

Paul Gives Timothy Living Examples of Faithfulness and Loyalty - In Paul warns Timothy by giving him examples of some who have been unfaithful to God's offer of salvation as well as examples of loyalty. In 2 Timothy 1:15-18 Paul describes a falling away of several in Asia who once followed the faith. This falling away may be a reference to the Neronian persecutions that arose during this later period of Paul's ministry, which resulted in his martyrdom (approximately A.D 64). One indication of this first major persecution of the Church is hinted at in 2 Timothy 1:17 when Paul says that Onesiphorus was not ashamed of his bonds in Rome, which implies that those in Asia may now be ashamed, and turning away from their association with Paul in order to save their own lives.

2 Timothy 1:15 This thou knowest, that all they which are in Asia be turned away from me; of whom are Phygellus and Hermogenes.

2 Timothy 1:15Comments- We see in Acts 19 that Paul abode in Ephesus for at least two years and spread the Word of God throughout the province of Asia. Revival even broke out in this region. The Roman province of Asia included the seven churches of Revelation 2-3. But how quickly men seem to turn away from the truth ( Galatians 1:6, Philippians 2:21). Many of the believers were frightened when Paul was imprisoned, fearing that the Roman government would also turn on them. Paul mentions two names to Timothy, Phygellus, and Hermogenes, people whom Timothy probably knew.

Galatians 1:6, "I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel:"

Philippians 2:21, "For all seek their own, not the things which are Jesus Christ"s."

However, we cannot measure eternal results by earthly circumstances. If Paul"s eternal treasures were being determined by earthly results, Paul would not have received a large eternal reward. In this epistle, written just before Paul"s death, he seems to feel that his ministry had become a failure in some areas of the Empire. Some churches turned to apostasy. His friends forsook him ( 2 Timothy 4:10). Although he declared that he had finished his course, Paul could not see his fruit in the temporal realm ( 2 Timothy 4:7). Yet, Paul's was one of the greatest works ever accomplished in the body of Christ.

2 Timothy 4:10, "For Demas hath forsaken me, having loved this present world, and is departed unto Thessalonica; Crescens to Galatia, Titus unto Dalmatia."

2 Timothy 4:7, "I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith:"

Comments - The Love Walk- Although the average believer recognizes obvious abuses of love in his Christian life, there is a deeper walk with the Lord where we become much more sensitive to walking in love with others. In 1 Thessalonians 4:10 Paul exhorts the believers to strive to grow in their love walk by saying "that ye increase more and more." John the apostles defines this type of mature love as "perfect love" ( 1 John 4:18). John explains that it means a believe can come to the place where he no longer makes decisions based on the fear of Prayer of Manasseh, but he strives to please God in pure love and devotion to Him as all costs. We find an excellent example of mature, self-less love in the life of Onesiphorus ( 2 Timothy 1:15-18). In contrast to Phygellus and Hermogenes, who were ashamed of Paul's bonds and hid their faith in Christ for fear of Roman persecutions, Onesiphorus boldly kept the faith in the face of possible persecutions, even going as far as visiting Paul during his Roman imprisonment, which Luke mentions in general in Acts 28:30. Onesiphorus walked in self-less love, while many others in Asia were self-centered because they were moved by fear ( 1 John 4:18).

1 John 4:18, "There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love."

We find another example in , where the author describes the persecutions endured by these believers because of their faith in Christ. Their goods were plundered by those who were persecuting them (Note Jesus' commandment on this issue of the spoiling of their goods in Luke 6:30.) Despite such persecutions, these Hebrew saints were not ashamed of Paul's bonds.

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Greek Testament Critical Exegetical Commentary

15–18.] Notices of the defective adherence of certain brethren. These notices are intimately connected with what has preceded. He has held up to Timotheus, as an example, his own boldness and constancy: and has given him a sample of the faithful sayings which ruled his own conduct, in 2 Timothy 1:12. He proceeds to speak of a few of the discouragements under which in this confidence he was bearing up: and, affectionate gratitude prompting him, and at the same time by way of an example of fidelity to Timotheus, he dilates on the exception to the general dereliction of him, which had been furnished by Onesiphorus. Thou knowest this, that all who are in Asia (it docs not follow, as Chrys., that εἰκὸς ἦν, ἐν ῥώμῃ εἶναι πολλοὺς τότε τῶν ἀπὸ τῶν ἀσίας μερῶν: this would rather require οἱ ἀπὸ τῆς ἀσίας: but he uses the expression with reference to him to whom he was writing, who was in Asia) repudiated me not as E. V., ‘are turned away from mo’ (perf.): the act referred to took place at a stated time, and from what follows, that time appears to have been on occasion of a visit to Rome. They were ashamed of Paul the prisoner, and did not seek him out, see ch. 2 Timothy 4:16 :— ἔφυγον τοῦ ἀποστόλου τὴν συνουσίαν διὰ τὸ νέρωνος δέος, Thdrt.: but perhaps not so much from this motive, as from the one hinted at in the praise of Onesiphorus below. The πάντες must of course apply to all of whom the Apostle had had trial (and not even those without exception, 2 Timothy 1:16-18): the E. V. gives the idea, that a general apostasy of all in Asia from St. Paul had taken place. On ASIA, i.e. the proconsular Asia, see note, Acts 16:6), of whom is ( ἐστιν is hardly to be pressed as indicating that at the present moment Phygelus and Hermogenes were in Rome and were shunning him: it merely includes them in the class just mentioned) Phygelus and Hermogenes (why their names are specially brought forward, does not appear. Suetonius, Domit. c. 10, mentions a certain Hermogenes of Tarsus, who was put to death by Domitian ‘propter quasdam in historia figuras’).

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Greek Testament Critical Exegetical Commentary

18.] May the Lord grant to him to find mercy from the Lord (the account to be given of the double κύριος, κυρίου, here is simply this—that δῴη ὁ κύριος had become so completely a formula, that the recurrence was not noticed. This, which is Huther’s view, is far better than to suppose the second κυρ. merely = ἑαυτοῦ, or to enter into theological distinctions between κύριος as the Father, and παρὰ κυρίου as from the Son, the Judge) in that day (see on 2 Timothy 1:12): and how many services he did (to me: or, to the saints: the general expression will admit of either) in Ephesus (being probably an Ephesian, cf. ch. 2 Timothy 4:19), thou knowest well (the comparative is not for the positive, here or any where: but the signification is, ‘better, than that I need remind thee’).

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Heinrich Meyer's Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament

2 Timothy 1:16-18. With these unfaithful Asiatics, Paul contrasts the faithfulness of Onesiphorus, probably that he might place an example before Timothy.

δῴη ἔλεος κύριος τῷ ὀνησιφόρου οἴκῳ] διδόναι ἔλεος does not occur elsewhere in the N. T. Regarding the form δῴη, proper to later Greek, see Buttmann, Ausführl. Gramm. § 107, Rem. 9; Winer, pp. 75 f. [E. T. p. 94]. By κύριος we must understand Christ, according to the usage of the N. T. Onesiphorus is named only here and at 2 Timothy 4:19. Many expositors (also Hofmann) think that his household only is in both passages mentioned, because he was no longer in life. This opinion is confirmed by the way in which mercy is wished for him in 2 Timothy 1:18 (de Wette).

Paul expressed such a wish because of the love that had been shown him; ὅτι πολλάκις με ἀνέψυξε] ἀναψύχειν, properly, “cool,” then “refresh, enliven” (Od. iv. 568: ἦτορ), occurring only here in the N. T. (more frequently in the LXX.; ἀνάψυξις, Acts 3:19), is not to be derived from ψυχή (Beza), but from ψύχω. De Wette, without ground, thinks that a bodily refreshment of meat and drink only is meant; it should rather be referred more generally to all proofs of love on the part of Onesiphorus. These were all the more precious to the apostle that they were given to him in his imprisonment, and proved that Onesiphorus was not ashamed of his bonds (2 Timothy 1:8; 2 Timothy 1:12); this is expressed in the words that follow. On ἅλυσιν, comp. Ephesians 6:20.—2 Timothy 1:17. ἀλλά] in opposition to the preceding οὐκ.

γενόμενος ἐν ῥώμῃ] (comp. Matthew 26:6; Acts 13:5). It is not said what moved him to journey to Rome; it is mere conjecture to suppose that it was business matters.

σπουδαιότερον-g0- (Rec. Tisch. 8: σπουδαίως) ἐζήτησέ με] The comparative is the right reading, and is to be explained by referring to τ. ἅλυσίν μου οὐκ ἐπαισχύνθη, “all the more eagerly” (Wiesinger, Hofmann).

The ζητεῖν stands in sharp contrast with ἀπεστράφησάν με, 2 Timothy 1:15.

The addition of καὶ εὗρε brings out that Onesiphorus had sought him till he found him.

Paul at first wished mercy only to the house of Onesiphorus; he now does the same to Onesiphorus himself.—2 Timothy 1:18. Matthies, Wiesinger, Hofmann think that εὑρεῖν ἔλεος is a play on words with the preceding εὗρε; but this is at least doubtful.

The repetition of κύριος is striking: κύριοςπαρὰ κυρίου. We can hardly take these to refer to two different subjects (according to de Wette, the first being God, the second Christ; according to Wiesinger and Hofmann, the very opposite).

κύριος here is in any case Christ, as in 2 Timothy 1:16; 2 Timothy 4:18 (certainly not: “the world-ruling, divine principle,” Matthies). The apostle in what follows might simply have said εὑρεῖν ἔλεος ἐν ἐκ. τ. ἡμέρᾳ; but in his mental vision of the judgment, seeing Christ as judge, he writes down παρὰ κυρίου just as it occurs to him, without being anxious to remember that he had begun with δῴη αὐτῷ κύριος.(18) The phrase εὑρίσκειν ἔλεος παρά with genitive does not occur elsewhere; only in the Song of the Three Children, 2 Timothy 1:14, have we εὑρεῖν ἔλεος; in 2 John 1:3 : ἔσται ἔλεος παρὰ θεοῦ. As to the expression, we should compare especially Hebrews 4:16 : ἵνα λάβω΄εν ἔλεος καὶ χάριν εὓρω΄εν ( εὑρίσκ. χάριν, Luke 1:30; Acts 7:46, and often in the LXX. and the Apocrypha of the O. T.). On ἐν ἐκείνῃ τῇ ἡ΄έρᾳ, comp. 2 Timothy 1:12. This wish the apostle utters not only because of the love Onesiphorus had shown him in Rome, but also because of what he had done in Ephesus, of which, however, he does not wish here to speak further, as it is well known to Timothy.

καὶ ὅσα ἐν ἐφέσῳ διηκόνησε] Heydenreich, Hofmann,(19) and some others supply ΄οί, others τοῖς ἁγίοις; both are unnecessary. Even without supplying anything, we can of course understand that he is speaking of services rendered in the church. On the other hand, there is nothing to indicate that Onesiphorus was actually a διάκονος of the church.

βέλτιον σὺ γινώσκεις] The adverb βέλτιον only here; the comparative does not simply stand for the positive, see Winer, pp. 227 f. [E. T. p. 304]. There is a comparison implied here: “than I could tell thee,” or the like.(20)

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Henry Mahan's Commentary on Selected Books of the New Testament

Hold fast the pattern of sound doctrine

2 Timothy 1:12-18

2Ti_1:12. This is why I am suffering as I do. Hated, beaten, imprisoned, and called a mad-man, Paul preached the gospel of Christ; and he preached it to the Gentiles as well as to the Jews! The Gentiles were stirred up against him for introducing a new religion among them to the destruction of their idolatry. The Jews were angry because he preached salvation, righteousness, and resurrection in Christ, making vain their ceremonies, self-righteousness, and traditions. ‘Nevertheless I am not ashamed.’

Here is a definition of the faith that saves – knowledge, confidence, and committal!

1. ‘I know whom I have believed.’ A spiritual knowledge of Christ is necessary to faith in him (Romans 10:13-14). Those who know Christ (who he is, what he did, why he did it, where he is now) believe in him; and the more they know him, the more strongly do they believe.

2. ‘I am persuaded he is able.’ Confidence in the Saviour's willingness to save and power to save is necessary to faith (Romans 4:20-21; Hebrews 7:25; Jude 1:24).

3. ‘I have committed unto him.’ Where there has been no genuine and complete committal of all things to Christ, there is no true saving faith. One cannot separate faith and conduct. Committal to Christ involves our trusting him, casting ourselves upon him, and leaving ourselves totally in his hands to save, sanctify, and glorify (1 Corinthians 1:30).

2 Timothy 1:13. Paul knew how ready men are to depart from pure doctrine and the gospel of God's glory and grace, so he exhorts Timothy to hold fast both in head and heart to the wholesome words and truth of the Lord Jesus Christ. The word ‘form’ is the ‘pattern’ set by Paul and the other apostles. Preach the unsearchable riches of Christ (imputed righteousness, repentance toward God, and faith in Christ) as you have heard me preach it (Acts 20:20; Romans 8:29-34).

Hold the truth of Christ ‘in faith and love.’ These are the marks of sound doctrine, and he places them both in Christ. In the exercise of faith from a principle of love, these two graces always go together and have Christ as their object. No man can persevere in sound doctrine unless he is endued with true faith and genuine love.

2 Timothy 1:14. Guard and keep with the greatest care the precious and excellent gospel (which has been entrusted to you) by the help of the Holy Spirit who dwells in you (1 Timothy 1:11; 1 Timothy 6:20). The gospel is a treasure indeed. It contains the riches of grace, the unsearchable riches of Christ, and is a trust requiring faithfulness in those who are stewards of it, who shall give an account of their stewardship (1 Peter 4:10; Hebrews 13:17). It must be kept pure and free from traditions and mixtures of men. Whereas the apostle knew that neither Timothy nor any other man is sufficient for these things, he directs the keeping of it to the power and leadership of the Holy Spirit who dwells in all believers.

2 Timothy 1:15. Timothy, being at Ephesus, which was in Asia, was well aware of the apostasy and departure from the gospel in that area (2 Timothy 4:11). We are grieved by apostasy, but not discouraged; rather, seeing so many depart from the faith, we are more determined to hold fast the gospel of substitution and keep the treasure committed to us. Evidently Phygellus and Hermogenes were ministers of the word who had shone for a while but erred from the faith and deceived the people.

2 Timothy 1:16-17. The apostle prays for his friend, Onesiphorus, and for his household. I believe that we can infer that the blessings of the Lord rest not only on a devoted servant of Christ, but also on his household. The love of Christ for a faithful believer is so great that it diffuses itself over all who are connected with him. Onesiphorus was not ashamed of Paul's chains and sufferings for Christ. He not only identified himself with the afflicted apostle, but visited him and supplied him with the necessities of life, such as food, clothing, and money.

2 Timothy 1:18. ‘Mercy of the Lord in that day.’ Too many are interested in a return on their works of charity and their investments right now, in this life. This prayer deals with the real blessings of God toward true believers –the mercy of the Lord in that day. How much richer a reward awaits those who, without the expectation of earthly reward from the hand of men, are kind to the people of God, constrained only by the love of Christ! Nothing can compare with the mercy of the Lord in that day (Romans 8:16-18).

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Hamilton Smith's Writings

2The Consolations of the Godly in a Day of Ruin

( 2 Timothy 1)

The Spirit of God is about to set before us the ruin of the house of God and the increasing failure of the Christian profession throughout the dispensation with its culmination of evil in the last days. Such a terrible picture of the hopeless breakdown of Christendom may well dismay the stoutest heart. The apostle, therefore, before delineating the ruin, seeks to establish our souls and strengthen our confidence in God by setting before us our abiding resources in God. In this first chapter there pass before us the life which is in Christ Jesus (verse1); the things which God has given to us (verses6, 7); the testimony of our Lord (verse8); the salvation and calling of God (verses9, 10); the day of glory, referred to as "that day" (verses12, 18); and the sound words of truth that no error can affect (verse13).

(V:1). Paul opens the Epistle by presenting his credentials. He writes with all authority as "apostle of Jesus Christ". Good for us then to read the Epistle as bringing a message to us from Jesus Christ by His sent one. Paul"s apostleship is not by the ordination or will of Prayer of Manasseh, but "by the will of God". Moreover, Paul was sent by Jesus Christ to serve in this world of death having in view the fulfilment of the promise of life, the life which is seen in all its fulness in Christ Jesus in glory. As so often with the apostle Paul, "life" is viewed in its fulness in glory, and, in this sense, can be referred to as a promise. No ruin of the church can touch this life that is in Christ Jesus and that belongs to every believer.

(Vv2-5). The apostle can address Timothy as his "beloved child". What a comfort that in a day of ruin there are those to whom we can unreservedly express our affection, and to whom in all confidence we can unburden our hearts. Two leading characteristics in Timothy drew forth the love and confidence of Paul. Firstly, he was mindful of his tears; secondly, he remembered his unfeigned faith. The tears of Timothy proved that he was a man of spiritual depth and affection who felt the low and broken condition of the Christian profession; his unfeigned faith proved that he was able to rise above all the evil in obedience to, and with confidence in, God.

Timothy may indeed have been of a timid nature and in danger of being overwhelmed by the evil that was coming into the church; as he was marked by tears and faith, the apostle was encouraged to instruct and exhort him, knowing that he had qualities which would enable him to answer to his appeal. Nor is it otherwise today. The instructions of this touching Epistle will find little response unless there are the tears that tell of a tender heart that can mourn over the sorrows of God"s people, and the faith that can take God"s path of separation in the midst of the ruin.

Paul delighted to remember in his prayers this man of tears and faith. What a cheer to any saint, broken hearted by the condition of God"s people, to know that there are devoted and faithful saints by whom he is remembered in prayer. Faithfulness in a day of desertion binds hearts together in the bonds of divine love.

(V:6). Having expressed his love for and confidence in Timothy, the apostle passes on to exhortation, encouragement and instruction. Firstly, he exhorts him to stir up "the gift of God" which had been imparted to him for the service of the Lord. In his case it had been bestowed through the apostle. In the presence of difficulties, dangers and general unfaithfulness, when there would appear to be little result from the ministry, there is the danger of thinking it is almost useless to exercise gift. Therefore we need the warning against letting the gift fall into disuse. We are to stir it up; and, in a day of ruin, to be all the more insistent in its use. A little later the apostle can say, "Proclaim the word; be urgent in season and out of season" ( 2 Timothy 4:2).

(V:7). Having spoken of gifts that are special to the individual, the apostle passes on to remind Timothy of the gift that is common to all believers. To some, God gives a special gift for the ministry of the word; to all His people He gives the spirit of power, and of love, and of wise discretion. It would hardly seem that the reference is to the Holy Spirit, though the gift of the Spirit is implied. It is rather the state and spirit of the believer that is the result of the work of the Holy Spirit and therefore partakes of the character of the Spirit, as the Lord said, "That which is born of the Spirit is spirit." By nature Timothy may have been timid and retiring in disposition, but the Holy Spirit does not produce the spirit of cowardice, but of power and of love and of a sound mind. In the natural man we may find power without love, or love degenerating into mere sentiment. With the Christian, under the control of the Spirit, power is combined with love, and love expressed with a wise discretion.

Thus, however difficult the day, the believer is well equipped with power to do the will of God, to express the love of God, and to exercise a sober judgment in the midst of the ruin.

(V:8). Having reminded us of the spirit of holy boldness that has been given to us, the apostle can at once say, "Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me His prisoner." The testimony of our Lord is the testimony to the glory of Christ set as Man in supreme power after having triumphed over all the power of Satan. Peter was not ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, for he boldly testified, saying, "Let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ" ( Acts 2:36). As one has said, "After the devil has led man on to do his utmost against Christ, lo, Jesus is crowned with glory and honour after all. Now that surely is victory!"

Song of Solomon, in this day, when ruin has come in amongst the people of God, when the triumph of Satan is such that Paul is in prison, the saints have deserted him and evil is increasing, the apostle, though deeply feeling all the failure, is sustained through it all and lifted above it all by the realisation that the Lord Jesus is in the supreme place of power above every influence of Satan. The Lord in glory is his resource. He therefore says, "The Lord stood with me, and strengthened me ... The Lord shall deliver me from every evil work, and will preserve me unto His heavenly kingdom" ( 2 Timothy 4:17; 2 Timothy 4:18).

We rightly speak much of Christ in His earthly pathway, of Christ on the cross, and of Christ coming again, but how rarely we speak of Christ where He is at the present moment in the glory of God, and yet this is the testimony of the Lord- the great testimony that is needed for the moment, the testimony of which we are warned not to be ashamed.

However great the ruin, whatever the failure amongst God"s people, whatever difficulties we may have to meet, whatever the desertion of the saints ( 2 Timothy 1:15), the self-will of those who oppose themselves ( 2 Timothy 2:25; 2 Timothy 2:26), or the malice of those who may seek to do us evil ( 2 Timothy 4:14), our unfailing resource is to be found in the Lord Jesus at God"s right hand. Looking to Him we shall, like the apostle, be lifted above all the failure whether in ourselves or others. Alas! in our difficulties we may make matters worse by seeking to put them right in our own strength, whereas if we turned to the Lord we should find, even as Paul, that the Lord is with us to strengthen us and to deliver from every evil work.

How necessary then that we should render a clear testimony to the present position of the Lord in the place of supremacy and power as a Man in the glory, in whom is every resource to sustain us in the darkest days.

Moreover, let us beware of being ashamed of those who, in a day of departure, boldly seek to give the Lord His place; and let us be prepared to suffer evil, if need be, in the maintenance of the gospel, knowing that we can count upon the power of God to support us.

(Vv9, 10). Having warned us not to be ashamed of the testimony of the Lord, nor of the one who witnesses to His supreme place as Lord and suffers reproach for his witness, and having encouraged us to share in the afflictions of the gospel, the apostle proceeds to remind us of the greatness of that gospel, which is the power of God to them that are saved and called ( 1 Corinthians 1:18; 1 Corinthians 1:24). The realisation of the glory of the Lord and the greatness of the gospel will keep us from being ashamed of the testimony and prepare us to suffer affliction with the gospel.

It becomes clear from these verse that the two great themes of the gospel are salvation and calling. On the one hand the gospel proclaims the way of salvation; on the other hand it presents to us the purpose of God for which we are saved. We are apt to limit the gospel to the important question of our salvation, but so doing we miss the far deeper blessing connected with God"s eternal purpose, and thus fail to enter into the heavenly calling. It is plain that the first great object of the gospel is our salvation, and God would have the believer to be in no uncertainty as to this salvation, as we read in this Scripture, He "hath saved us." The blessed effect of the death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ is to set the believer beyond the judgment due to him on account of his sins, and to deliver him from the course of this world. So we read, He "gave Himself for our sins, so that He should deliver us out of the present evil world" ( Galatians 1:4). Though for the time we are actually in the world, we are, as set free from its power and influence, morally not of it.

This is the first part of the gospel, and with this the mass of God"s people would seek to be content. Nevertheless, the gospel proclaims far greater blessings, for it tells us of the calling of God. Not only has God saved us, but we read He has "called us with an holy calling." In this passage the calling is referred to as "an holy calling"; it is also spoken of as "the heavenly calling" ( Hebrews 3:1) and "the calling on high" ( Philippians 3:14). Salvation sets us free from our sins and the judgment-doomed world: the calling links us with heaven and all those spiritual blessings which God has purposed for us in the heavenlies in Christ. Therefore the blessings of God"s calling are "not according to our works", nor our thoughts, nor our deserts, but "according to His own purpose and grace".

It is not only that all our debts have been paid, and that we have been delivered from the influence and power of the scene in which the debts were incurred, but we learn to our wonder that according to the purpose of God there are things prepared for those who love Him which "eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man" ( 1 Corinthians 2:9). In the calling of God there is revealed to us the secret of His heart as He unrolls before us a vast vista of heavenly blessing, and assures us that all this blessing was purposed for us in Christ before the foundation of the world. We thus learn that long before we had sinned, or incurred a single liability, God had a settled purpose for our eternal blessing. No evil that we have done, no break down in the church in responsibility, can alter God"s purpose, even as no good that we can do can procure it.

This eternal purpose has now been made manifest by the appearing of our Saviour Jesus Christ, who hath annulled death, and brought life and incorruptibility to light through the gospel. By going into death Christ has, for the believer, met the judgment of death that rested upon us, and opened up to us a new scene of life and incorruptibility. Death can no longer prevent the believer entering in to this scene of life and blessedness according to the purpose of God. It is not only that the soul passes from death unto life, but the body will put on incorruption. Thus, by the gospel, there is brought to light a sphere of life and incorruptibility which nevermore can be marred by death or corruption. In the power of the Spirit this new scene can be enjoyed even now.

(V:11). Furthermore, this gospel in all its fulness has been made known to us by a specially appointed vessel- one who comes to us as apostle of Jesus Christ to the Gentiles. It comes therefore on adequate authority through an apostle who speaks by revelation and inspiration.

(V:12). Moreover, it was because of his faithful testimony that Paul had to suffer. It was no wrongdoing that brought him into suffering and reproach. His zeal as a herald, his devotedness as an apostle sent by Christ, his faithfulness to the church as a teacher, enabled him to say, "For which cause I also suffer these things." Imprisonment was only one of "these things" that this faithful servant had to suffer. There were other sufferings more keenly felt by his sensitive heart, for "these things" included the desertion of those he loved in Asia and amongst whom he had laboured so long. Then, too, he suffered from the opposition of professors who opposed the truth ( 2 Timothy 2:25), from the persecution of evil men ( 2 Timothy 3:11-13), and the active malice of individual professors who, like Alexander, did the apostle much evil ( 2 Timothy 4:14). Nevertheless, seeing he was suffering for his faithfulness as a servant of Jesus Christ, he can say, "I am not ashamed." Further, not only was he not ashamed, but he was not cast down, nor does one word of resentful anger escape his lips because of the unrighteousness of the world, and the desertion, ingratitude, and even opposition, on the part of many Christians. He is lifted above all depression, all resentment and all rancour, inasmuch as he is persuaded that Christ is able to keep that which he has committed unto Him against that day. When Christ was reviled He reviled not again, when He suffered He threatened not, but committed Himself to Him that judgeth righteously. In the spirit of his Master, Paul, in the presence of suffering, desertion and insults, commits everything into the hands of Christ. His honour, his reputation, his character, his vindication, his happiness, all are committed to Christ, knowing that, though the saints may desert and even oppose him, yet Christ will never fail him. He is persuaded that Christ is able to care for his interests, vindicate his honour and right every wrong in "that day".

In the light of "that day" Paul can pass triumphantly through "this day" with all its insults, scorn and shame. We may wonder why the devoted apostle was allowed to be deserted and opposed even by the saints; but we shall not wonder in "that day" when every wrong will be righted, and when all the shame and suffering and reproach will be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ. The faithful in this day may indeed be a small and insignificant minority, even as the apostle Paul and the few who were associated with him at the close of his life; nevertheless, in "that day" it will be found to be far better to have been with the despised few than with the unfaithful mass.

The vanity of the flesh likes to be popular and self-important and make itself prominent before the world and the saints, but in view of that day it is better to take a lowly place in self-effacement rather than a public place in self-advertisement, for then it will be found that many that are first shall be last; and the last first.

We may indeed suffer for our own failure, and this should humble us. Nevertheless, with the example of the apostle before us, we do well to remember that, had we walked in absolute faithfulness, we should have suffered still more, for it ever remains true that "all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution" ( 2 Timothy 3:12). If we are faithful to the light that God has given us, and seek to walk in separation from all that is a denial of the truth, we shall find, in our little measure, that we shall have to face persecution and opposition, and, in its most painful forms, from our fellow-Christians. And well for us, when the trial comes, if we can, like Paul, commit all to the Lord, and wait for His vindication in that day. Too often we are fretful and impatient in the presence of wrongs, and seek to have them righted in this day instead of waiting for "that day". If, in the faith of our souls, the glory of that day shines before us, instead of being tempted to rebel at the insults and wrongs that may be allowed, we shall "rejoice and be exceeding glad: for", says the Lord, "great is your reward in heaven" ( Matthew 5:12).

(Vv13, 14). Seeing, then, that this great gospel, with its salvation and calling, comes to Timothy through an inspired source, he is exhorted to "have an outline of sound words", which he had heard of the apostle. The truths communicated to Timothy in "sound words" were to be held by him in an orderly form, or outline, so that he could state clearly and definitely what he did hold. Having this outline, the truths conveyed by the "sound words" would be seen in right relation to one another. For us this outline is found in the written word, and very especially in the Epistles of Paul. Thus, in the Epistle to the Romans, there is an orderly presentation of the truths concerning our salvation, while his other Epistles give an outline concerning the church, the coming of the Lord, and other truths. In Christendom this outline has been largely lost through the use of isolated texts apart from their context. This outline, as presented in Scripture, is to be jealously guarded. Sincere men may seek to formulate their belief in religious confessions, articles of religion, and theological creeds. Such human expedients, whatever use they may have in their place, ever fall short of the truth and cannot take the place of the inspired outline presented in Scripture.

Moreover, this outline of sound words received from the apostle is to be held, not as a mere creed to which we can give our assent, but in faith and love in Christ Jesus, the living Person of whom the truth speaks. It is not enough to have an outline of sound words. If the truth is to be effectual in our lives it must be held "in faith and love which is in Christ Jesus". The truth that, when first presented to the soul, is received with joy will lose its freshness unless held in communion with the Lord.

Moreover, if the truth is to be held in communion with Christ, it can only be in the power of the Holy Spirit. Therefore the whole range of truth contained in the outline of sound words which had been given to Timothy was to be kept by the Holy Ghost which dwells in us.

(V:15). The immense importance of holding the outline of the truth in communion with Christ by the power of the Spirit is emphasised by the solemn fact that the one by whom the truth had been revealed was deserted by the main body of saints in Asia. The very saints to whom the heavenly calling and the whole range of Christian truth had been revealed had turned from Paul. It is not that these saints had turned from Christ, or given up the gospel of their salvation, but the truth of the heavenly calling unfolded by the apostle had not been held in communion with Christ and in the power of the Spirit. Hence they were not prepared to be associated with him in the outside place of rejection in this world that the full truth of Christianity involves.

It is evident, then, that we cannot trust the most enlightened saints for the maintenance of the truth. It is only as Christ commands the affections in the power of the Spirit that we shall keep that good thing which has been committed unto us.

(Vv16-18). The reference to Onesiphorus and his household is very touching. It proves that the indifference and the desertion of the mass did not lead the apostle to overlook the love and kindness of an individual and his family. Indeed, the desertion of the mass made the affection of the few all the more precious. When the great mass grieved the heart of Paul, there was at least one of whom he can say, "He oft refreshed me." Others may be ashamed of him, but of this brother he can say that he "was not ashamed of my chain." When others deserted him, there was still one of whom he can write, "He sought me out very diligently, and found me." When others neglected him he can own with pleasure of this brother that "in many things he ministered unto me."

How gratifying it must have been to the heart of the apostle, in the day of his desertion, to realise the sympathy and consolations of Christ finding their expression through this devoted brother. If Paul does not forget this expression of love in the day of his desertion, the Lord will not forget it "in that day" - the day of the coming glory.

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These files are public domain.
Bibliographical Information
Smith, Hamilton. "Commentary on 2 Timothy 1:18". "Hamilton Smith's Writings". 1832.

The Bible Study New Testament

18. On that Day. The Day of Judgment. Remember Paul was friendless and alone, surrounded by his enemies, when Onesiphorus came to him! Compare Hebrews 6:10.




Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Bibliographical Information
Ice, Rhoderick D. "Commentary on 2 Timothy 1:18". "The Bible Study New Testament". College Press, Joplin, MO. 1974.

Ironside's Notes on Selected Books

Chapter 2 Not Ashamed

2 Timothy 1:8-18

Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, 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, but is now made manifest by the appearing of our Saviour Jesus Christ, who hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel: whereunto I am appointed a preacher, and an apostle, and a teacher of the Gentiles. For the which cause I also suffer these things: nevertheless I am not ashamed: for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day. 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. This thou knowest, that all they which are in Asia be turned away from me; of whom are Phygellus and Hermogenes. 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. 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. (vv. 8-18)

There is so much in these verses that I was almost tempted to divide this portion into about three sections. But in one way they are all linked together, so I thought it best to consider them all at one time. They are connected by that expression “not ashamed.” We have it three times in these verses: first, in the admonition of Paul to Timothy; second, Paul’s own declaration; and third, in that which he testifies concerning his friend, Onesiphorus.

I wish we might fix our attention upon these words, “not ashamed.” In Romans 1:16 we have that declaration of the Apostle, “I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.” Why should anybody be ashamed of the gospel? It answers every question concerning sin and its remedy that the mind of man can possibly raise. God has opened up His heart to men in the gospel. It is His message concerning His blessed Son and the salvation He has wrought out for all who believe.

It was because of his faithfulness in proclaiming the gospel that Paul was in prison. And now, writing to his younger friend, he said, “Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord.” It is as though he said, “Timothy, you have something of which you need never be ashamed as you go forth in Christ’s name, telling how God has given His only begotten Son up to the death of the cross that all who put their trust in Him might be redeemed from sin’s guilt and power.” There are preachers who never seem to have anything to say about the blood of Jesus or the cross on which He died. But this is God’s own message to a lost world, and we to whom it has been committed should never be ashamed of it.

The Apostle adds, “Nor of me his prisoner: but be thou partaker of the afflictions of the gospel according to the power of God.” He says, “Do not be ashamed of me.” There might have been those who would say to Timothy, “You are linked up with that fellow, Paul. I understand he came to a bad end and is now in prison.” It would be easy for Timothy to say, “Oh, I knew him somewhat, but I was not intimate with him.” But Paul said, “Do not be ashamed of me, but speak out boldly and let people know you stand for the same things for which I stand, because it is for this that I am in prison. It is for you to be partaker of the afflictions of the gospel according to the power of God.”

It is a great privilege to partake of the blessings of the gospel, but God has ordained that we should not only have a part in these privileges, but that we should also be permitted to suffer for Christ’s sake. This is the only world in which we can do that. Nobody suffers for Christ in heaven. It is down here only that we have this blessed opportunity. We should ever count it a privilege to bear shame for His name’s sake when we think of what He has done for us.

In verse 9 he says, “Who hath saved us.” Are you sure that you have been saved? There is a lot of uncertainty with many about this question. Some people think of salvation as a process going on all through life, and eventually, if they are faithful enough, they hope to be saved. But the Apostle says, “Who hath saved us.”

In the epistle to the Ephesians he writes, “By grace are ye saved [literally, by grace have ye been saved] through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast” (2:8-9).

There is no reason why any believer in the Lord Jesus Christ should be uncertain in regard to this question of salvation.

It may sound humble to sing as John Newton wrote one time when he had a fit of despondency,

’Tis a point I long to know,

Oft it causes anxious thought;

Do I love my Lord, or no?

Am I His, or am I not?

But that is not the language of faith. The man who believes God can say, He “hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works.” We do not purchase salvation by good behavior or by anything else we can do, but it is “according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began”-that is, before the ages began. Before sin came into the world, God had made all His plans for redemption. It was not an afterthought with God. It was all arranged. The Devil thought he was ahead of God when he caused man to sin, but God had already prepared for man’s redemption, and that redemption “is now made manifest by the appearing of our Saviour Jesus Christ, who hath abolished death.”

It is written in Hebrews 9:27, “And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment.” That is what makes death so terrible for the unconverted man: he has to face God in judgment after he leaves this life. But the Lord Jesus Christ has “abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel.”

Elsewhere it is written, “That through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil; and deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage” (Hebrews 2:14-15). In the Old Testament even believers had a fear of death. They did not know the blessedness of an accomplished redemption; and so many of them were left in a state of doubt and uncertainty as to what death might mean. They could not all say with Job, “For I know that my redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth: and though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God” (19:25-26). Many did not understand that. But now Jesus has gone down into death and has come up in triumph. He says, “ I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, … and have the keys of hell and of death” (Revelation 1:18). Thus He delivers them “who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage” (Hebrews 2:15).

I have often used an illustration of this, and it might not be out of place to repeat it in order to make this clear. Years ago when I was preaching out in the mountains of California the Lord gave me the joy of seeing many souls saved. After they were converted it was my desire to baptize them, and I have always been very old-fashioned in my idea of baptism. I take them right down under the water. Of course, some of you may sympathize with me in my ignorance, but that is all right, I return the compliment. I have baptized in lakes, in rivers, in ponds, and even in horse-troughs.

One time we had quite a group to baptize, both men and women. It was in the winter, and winter in California is a rainy time. It was in the region where the only water available was in the Sacramento River, which runs high in the winter and is very dark because of the silt brought down from the hills. I went out the day before and scouted around to find a place that seemed to be fit. There was room for a good audience to stand on the bank. I waded out into the river to make sure it was all right. On the next day we gathered together. It had been noised around that there was to be baptizing, and so there were hundreds of people gathering from all over the countryside. We preached the gospel. I saw those who were to be baptized looking at that dark river, and away down in their hearts I am sure everyone of them wished they were Presbyterians! I could tell they did not want to walk down into the water; they did not know what kind of experience it might involve.

While the people were singing the final hymn, I left the company, walked out into the water, and went on until I reached the place suitable for the baptizing. I felt around to see that there were no deep holes or dangerous rocks. I could see that those who were to be baptized were watching me. Finally, I went back to the shore, and when I put out my hand they came one after another. They were not afraid anymore. Why? Because I had gone down into the dark river and had come up safely.

Jesus went down into the dark waters of death and came up in triumph. And those who have trusted in Him do not dread death. They know death simply means going home to be forever with the Lord.

Now the Apostle says, “It is this that I was sent to preach, for which ‘ I am appointed… an apostle, and a teacher of the Gentiles. For the which cause I also suffer these things.’” He was in prison. He was enduring much hardship. He was suffering for His name’s sake who gave Himself for lost mankind. And in order that he might carry that gospel to the world, he had given up all his earthly ambitions. He had given himself wholly to this one purpose of carrying the message from nation to nation, from people to people, from city to city. Now they had put him in jail, and this seemed to be the end of life, for in a little while he was going out to die for Jesus’ sake. But he could say, “Nevertheless I am not ashamed: for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day.” Paul gloried in the privilege of suffering for Christ. He was not ashamed of his message or of his Lord.

Observe Paul does not say, “I know what I have believed.” He did know what he had believed. He had no doubts about that. But it is one thing to believe what, and quite another thing to believe whom. He says, “I know whom I have believed, and I am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day.”

Again and again the questions come to me, either by mail or from people whom I meet, “Do you believe in the perseverance of saints? Do you believe that if a man is once saved he is saved forever?” I generally say, “I certainly do not believe in the perseverance of saints as such. I know them too well, for I am one myself. But I believe with all my heart in the perseverance of the Lord Jesus, and I am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day.”

The Apostle had committed his soul to the Lord, and he knew that He would not let him down. That is why he is able to say elsewhere, “For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:38-39). Do you know anything which is neither included in things present nor things to come? Do you know anything that is not included in life or in death? Paul says that nothing in death, nothing in life, nothing present, nothing to come, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Again he says to Timothy, “Hold fast the form of sound words.” In other words, he is saying, “Timothy, do not let anything go that you have received from God. Cleave to the truth, and then in that day when you have to give an account you will have the Lord’s approval because of your faithfulness.” On the other hand, he adds, “Which thou hast heard of me, in faith and love which is in Christ Jesus.” You know it is an easy thing to become very disagreeable and contentious, even when one is endeavoring to be faithful to truth. The servant of God is called upon to contend for the faith. He is to maintain an attitude of faithfulness to Christ and love to the brethren. As we walk in love toward our brethren and stand firmly for the truth, we will commend to others that truth which we seek to proclaim with our lips.

At the time that Timothy went into the service of the Lord, he was commended to the Lord in a special way by a group of the elder brethren at Lystra, Paul joining with them, as we have noted already. In answer to their prayers, God gave Timothy some special gift to fit him for the work. So here in verse 14 Paul says to him, “That good thing which was committed unto thee keep by the Holy Ghost which dwelleth in us.”

Paul had heard that many in Asia had turned away from the truth, the simplicity which is in Christ. Timothy was in Asia at this time where Paul had labored years before, and where many Christians had been led away from the truth by certain evil-disposed men who had gone in among them, teaching things contrary to the grace of God. Many of the saints were getting bewildered and carried away with these teachings. Some had even gone so far as to repudiate Paul’s doctrine and refused to accept him as an apostle. We see that in the epistle to the Galatians. This was a great grief to him.

“This thou knowest, that all they which are in Asia be turned away from me; of whom are Phygellus and Hermogenes.” Now do not misunderstand. Paul did not say they were no longer Christians, but he declared that they had turned away from him. These false teachers had come in and turned the saints away from the full gospel message that Paul had taught them, and they had repudiated him, no longer recognizing him as an apostle of Christ.

Next he mentions one who had come from Asia, who had been very faithful to him and very true. Paul speaks most tenderly concerning him. I do not know what had happened, whether he had been imprisoned or martyred for Christ’s sake, but something had taken place which led him to write, “The Lord give mercy unto the house of Onesiphorus; for he oft refreshed me, and was not ashamed of my chain.”

Evidently this man was what we would call today a traveling man. He moved about, possibly on business, or it may be that in the work of the Lord he went from place to place. In the course of his travels he came to Rome while Paul was a prisoner there. “But, when he was in Rome, he sought me out very diligently, and found me.” It might not have been easy to find Paul in that great city, but Onesiphorus inquired of one and another until he found him.

Paul said, “[He] was not ashamed of my chain.” He was not ashamed to stand by that prisoner in the dungeon and say, “He and I are friends. He and I stand for the same things. We serve the same Master.”

I repeat, I do not know what had happened, but in the next verse Paul says, “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.”

“Not ashamed!” Paul says to Timothy. “I do not want you to be ashamed. Do not be ashamed of the testimony of God; do not be ashamed of those who suffer for Christ’s sake.” Paul himself was not ashamed. Onesiphorus was not ashamed. He boldly identified himself with the prisoner of the Lord.

So I pass the word on to you who know and love the Lord. May we never be ashamed of His name.




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Text Courtesy of Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Ironside, H. A. "Commentary on 2 Timothy 1:18". Ironside's Notes on Selected Books. 1914.

Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament

2 Timothy 1:18. δῴη, give) A pathetic Anaphora [the frequent repetition of a word in beginnings of sections. See 2 Timothy 1:16, “The Lord give.”]— αὐτῷ, to himself) An antithesis to his house.— κύριος, the Lord) Christ, for whom he so acted [to whom he rendered that service, Matthew 25:45].— παρὰ κυρίου, from the Lord) The same Christ, who shall reward him. The noun for the reciprocal pronoun, with emphasis, as Luke 11:17, note; 2 Thessalonians 3:5.— διηκόνησε, ministered) even after my departure; 1 Timothy 1:3.— βέλτιον) better than I [not as Engl. Vers. very well].


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Bengel, Johann Albrecht. "Commentary on 2 Timothy 1:18". Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament. 1897.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

grant unto him — as well as “unto his house” (2 Timothy 1:16).

the Lord — who rewards a kindness done to His disciples as if done to Himself (Matthew 25:45).

offrom the Lord; “the Lord” is emphatically put instead of “from Himself,” for solemnity and emphasis (2 Thessalonians 3:5).

in how many things — “how many acts of ministry he rendered.”

unto me — omitted in the oldest manuscripts, so that the “ministered” may include services rendered to others as well as to Paul.

very well — rather as Greek, “Thou knowest better” (than I can tell thee, seeing that thou art more of a regular resident at Ephesus).

Copyright Statement
These files are a derivative of an electronic edition prepared from text scanned by Woodside Bible Fellowship.
This expanded edition of the Jameison-Faussett-Brown Commentary is in the public domain and may be freely used and distributed.
Bibliographical Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on 2 Timothy 1:18". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible". 1871-8.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

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.

Grant unto him - as well as 'unto his house' (2 Timothy 1:16). Of, [ para (Greek #3844)] - 'from the Lord' is put instead of 'from Himself,' for solemnity and emphasis (2 Thessalonians 3:5).

The Lord - who rewards a kindness done to His disciples as done to Himself (Matthew 25:45).

In how many things - `how many acts of ministry he rendered.'

Unto me. Omitted in 'Aleph (') A C Delta G, so that "ministered" includes services to others as well as to Paul.

Very well ( Beltion (Greek #957)) - 'better' (than I can tell thee, seeing thou art a resident at Ephesus).

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Bibliographical Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on 2 Timothy 1:18". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". 1871-8.

James Gray's Concise Bible Commentary


When Paul addressed his earlier letter to Timothy, the latter was in Ephesus, and there are reasons to believe he was still there.

Paul was now a prisoner in Rome for a second time, awaiting a hearing before the Emperor, and he was not being treated with the consideration shown him on the earlier occasion (Acts 28), but like a common prisoner. The immediate occasion for this letter grew out of this, for he is anxious to have Timothy and Mark as his companions (2 Timothy 1:4; 2 Timothy 4:9, etc.). He is conscious that his death by martyrdom could not long be delayed, for these were the days of wicked Nero, and not knowing whether he should see Timothy again, or not, he was desirous of adding still further to the instructions he had given him.

There is reason to believe that Timothy required these encouragements in a marked degree. His character was not of the stuff that Paul’s was made of. He suggests the diffidence of Jeremiah in the Old Testament, without some of the redeeming qualities he possessed. For references to the lack of courage of Timothy, see 1:5, 7; 3:10.

SALUTATION (2 Timothy 1:1-2) AND THANKSGIVING (2 Timothy 1:3-5)

In this thanksgiving on Timothy’s behalf, there is a reference to his spiritual history which seems to have come down in his mother’s line.

EXHORTATION (2 Timothy 1:6-14)

The exhortation which follows, and which has grown out of the remembrance of Timothy’s past life and the piety of his ancestors, contains three of four natural divisions.

1. An exhortation to firmness in the faith (2 Timothy 1:6-8). This can be cultivated, stirred up. It is inherent in the spiritual gift he received from God at the time he was set apart to the ministry, and is not consonant with fearfulness, the moral cowardice to which he seems to have been addicted, but is evinced rather in the exercise of suitable discipline in the spirit of love (RV), and in boldness of testimony even to the point of suffering.

2. This exhortation enforced by the character of the Gospel and the mercy of God (2 Timothy 1:9-11).

3. Finally, the apostle cites his own example (2 Timothy 1:12-14). He suffers for his testimony, and is not ashamed of it; he is willing to suffer, he counts it worth while, in the light of his faith. Let Timothy profit in word and deed by what he sees in him.


This exhortation to Timothy gathers force from the circumstance that some who professed fealty to Christ have been guilty of defection, if one may judge by their desertion of Christ’s servant in his trial (2 Timothy 1:15). Their action, however, serves to bring out the stronger the love of another brother for whom he prays (2 Timothy 1:16-18).


1. Locate both Paul and Timothy at this time.

2. State the possible reason for this epistle.

3. Analyze Timothy’s character and temperament.

4. Divide the chapter into four parts.

5. Analyze the exhortation in the chapter.

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Gray, James. "Commentary on 2 Timothy 1:18". The James Gray's Concise Bible Commentary. 1897-1910.

The People's Bible by Joseph Parker

Paul"s Last Letter

2 Timothy 1-4

"Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, according to the promise of life which is in Christ Jesus, to Timothy, my dearly beloved son: Grace, mercy, and peace, from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord. 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, 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. Wherefore 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; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me his prisoner: but be thou partaker of the afflictions of the gospel according to the power of God" ( ).

"Thou therefore, my Song of Solomon, 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, who shall be able to teach others also. Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. 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: Wherein I suffer trouble, as an evil doer, even unto bonds; but the word of God is not bound. Therefore I endure all things for the elect"s sakes, that they may also obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory"( , 2 Timothy 2:7-10).

"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 Judges, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing" ( ).

This is the last letter, by general consent of all Christian students, that the Apostle wrote. It has been called his last will and testament. To read the will of Paul! what an advantage, what an honour, what an opportunity! This is our privilege to-day. How will Paul conclude? cannot but be an exciting question. What will Paul do at the close of his last letter? will he be weary? will he write like an old man? will he modify any of his doctrinal positions? Will he say, If I had my time to live over again I would not be so bold, so self-sacrificing; I would take more care of myself; I would live an easier life? Or will he at the last be as ardent and soldier-like and tremendous as ever? Paul was always great. He could not help this quality. There was something in him which he did not create and which he cultivated and studied to express on the largest lines with the most graphic definiteness. Perhaps Paul could not write like an old Prayer of Manasseh, because he was writing to a comparative child. It is wonderful how he loved the young. Because of his love of the young he himself was never old, except in years: never in feeling. The man who knows that he is going to be born into heaven at any moment cannot be old. This is the spirit of the New Testament. There is not an old thing in it; it is verily New—new because it is old: a contradiction in. words but a fact in experience. Old, old time always has had and always will have a new morning. No man ever saw this day before, and it is just as bright and sweet a flower as the Lord ever grew on the acres of time. So the New Testament is always up to date. You cannot out-pray it. Though you bribe genius to write some new supplication it falls back from the effort, saying, It was all done before I was born. No man can add anything to the New Testament that is of the same quality. He can expand it, but the plasm must be found in the book. Men can grow flowers, but they must grow them out of something they had to begin with. So this Paul and his Testament are always writing to oncoming Timothies: it is a great speech to the coming men, a mighty military charge to the infant soldiers of the world. To read the last will and testament of Paul! Let us hasten to it; every word will be music.

After the "Amen" of Timothy, tradition, not history, follows Paul away, sees him fall down before the execution, sees the uplifted flashing sword, sees the venerable head rolling in the dust. It was a grand Amen—"it may be that only in heaven we shall hear the grand Amen." How stood the old man at the last? Bravely? Tell us, ye that saw him, how he looked: did he tremble, did he apologise, did he ask for mercy? The account is before us. It never could have been such an ending, but for the great ribwork of principles round about the Prayer of Manasseh, and in which he lived. This Epistle is full of doctrine, great ideas, solemn principles, burning convictions. He is not drinking out of some silver goblet of scented sentiment; he refreshes himself at the fountains of divinest blood. Oh, ye white-faced, weak-kneed, believers! believers in what? ye shifty speculators, stealers of prophetic mantles! go, drink yourselves to death, and go to your proper devil: ye are not the Church of Christ, might well be the speech which ascended Pauls might deliver to us, as we Revelation -shuffle the theological cards, and rearrange our credenda, and modify and dilute our doctrinal positions and enthusiasms.

We have Paul in this Epistle in all the wondrous undulation of his personality. How he rises, falls, rises again; and again, like waves, falls and breaks and returns!—all the while in the sublimest action. He will write a letter to Timothy, "my dearly beloved son"; he will have a family page in the letter. Paul was no loose thinker; all his thought, how tumultuously soever it was expressed, went back to centres, to fixed points; tethered to these fixities, he allowed himself almost eccentric liberty. He is an unhappy man who is not fixed anywhere. Paul turned over Timothy"s history, and he remembered Timothy"s grandmother, and Timothy"s mother, and said, you are as good as both of them put together: you seem almost to be an inheritor of faith. Some men are born in libraries: what if they should turn out learned students? Some of us were not born in a library, we must not be blamed because we have not any literature; we would have read, but we had no books to read. Some men are born in gardens: what if their raiment be odorous with the fragrance of choicest flowers? Some were born in the wilderness, and never saw a flower until they were quite grown men. The Lord will judge us accordingly. Do not be downhearted because you had no grandmother and mother in Christ. You may start the new generation. God knows where you began and how, and he will reckon it all up at the last, and many are last that shall be first, some are first that shall be last. Yet Paul will have a hand in this family history. Our pastors come into our houses; our bishops are part of our family genealogy. The pastor is a member of every family; no family is complete until its bishop is there; if not in person, yet in remembrance and in love. This is the wonderful charm of the true ministry, that it is free to every honest house Paul says, "Stir up the gift of God, which is in thee, by the putting on of my hands." Literally, Fan the flame; or, fan the little spark: it is only a little red spark indeed, but breathe upon it, softly, more quickly, very carefully; blow again—yes, see how it brightens, whitens, glows!—blow again—stir up the gift that is in thee. All fire is of God. There is no earthly Pentecost; the earth will not grow fire. How was the gift communicated? "by the putting on of my hands." Dear hands! speaking hands! clean hands! There is a touch that makes us men: there is a handshaking that haunts us as a misery,—cold, pithless, soulless,—and we say, Would God we had never seen that man! There is another that makes us forget ten years in a moment, and recover all our lamps and lights, and makes us strong. There is a magnetic touch: every bishop ought to have it; every minister of God truly called and divinely elected has it.

The mystery of touch has never been explained. Jesus touched the leper; Jesus touched the sightless eyes: Jesus touched the little child: Jesus touched the bread which he broke. In his touch was life. We can so touch the Saviour as to get from him everything we want. He said, "Somebody hath touched me." The disciples said, "Seest how the people throng around thee, and sayest thou, Who hath touched me? why, we are all touching thee." No, said Christ, you are not: somebody hath touched me. Do not imagine that approximation to Christ is enough. Do not imagine that formal prayer is sufficient. Never give way to the sophism that because you have been to church, therefore you have been pious, or good in any sense. A man may go to church, and get nothing there, and in the proportion in which he gets nothing will he blame those who minister in the church! it will never occur to him that he is a dead dog, and even the lightnings would not touch him.

What is Timothy to do? He Isaiah, in the first place, not to be "ashamed." Appearances are against him and against Paul. Virtue is in gaol, Nero is on the throne, Rome is alive with the devil: Paul says, this is a time, my Song of Solomon, when we must look up in confidence and love and hope. In the next place, Timothy is to "Hold fast," grip well, make every finger serve,—"keep" something. What? "That good thing which was committed unto thee." The action is that of a child who having a very precious toy or treasure is going to rest or is going from home, and says to the strong father or mother or friend, Take this and keep it for me. What has the child done? The child has committed the treasure to the custody of tested strength. Paul says to Timothy, "Hold fast... that good thing which was committed unto thee by the Holy Ghost which dwelleth in us," for if we can commit our souls to God, God can commit his truth to us: what we have to do is to "hold fast." It would be a poor account to give, if we told the Holy Ghost at the last that we were busy here and there, and some thief came and took the casket with the jewel. The Apostle was an eccentric writer; his was a rough-and-ready style in many instances. He came down from the mountain at a bound, and went back again at one stride. Nobody could ever tell where he was. He is no favourite with the critics. So Paul comes down now from all these high charges, and says, I do not only remember those who have gone away from me, but I remember one who was always kind to me, an Ephesian merchant, Onesiphorus by name—"he oft refreshed me": literally and singularly, he often poured cold water on me. That is to say, the Apostle was footsore, and Onesiphorus came to him with the cold refreshing water and bathed his feet, or the Apostle"s head was burning with fever, and Onesiphorus dipped his generous hands into the cool stream, and bathed the throbbing temples. "He oft refreshed me, and was not afraid of my chain;" some of his kind water fell upon the iron. "When he was in Rome, he sought me out very diligently," therefore he wanted to find me, "and found me." We can always find our friends if we want to. You went out to give some dole to the poor, and the impression was made upon your mind that the poor soul was out, and therefore you went no farther. You could have found him if you wished. What would Paul have done to this merchant of Ephesus? "The Lord grant unto him that he may find mercy of the Lord in that day:" he found me—may the Lord find him! This was not an occasional attention—"in how many things he ministered unto me at Ephesus, thou knowest very well." Why, Paul, hadst thou such a memory of detail? What about saintly passion, apostolic enthusiasm, the holy fury that absorbs the soul? All that, saith Paul, is perfectly consistent with remembering every cup of cold water that was given to me. If so wondrous a thing to serve Paul, what must it be to serve Paul"s Master?

What more is Timothy to be or to do?—"Be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus." A wonderful, double expression: "strong in the grace"—mighty in the beauty—valiant in the gentleness: grow flowers on the rock. And not only so thyself, Timothy, but keep up a good succession of men:—"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,"—a very delicate business; quite a refined profession. No. What, then? This:—"Thou, therefore, endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ." This was a wonderful ministry in the matter of complexity: now so severe, now so gentle and enjoyable; now a ride behind fleet horses on a summer day, now a climbing of rocky mountains where there is no path, and where one has to be made by the poor toiling climber himself. "Endure hardness:" what right had Paul to say that? The right of chapter 2 Timothy 2:10—"Therefore I endure." This was Paul"s right. We have no right to say, Go: we have some right, where we can use it, to say, Come. Timothy was young; Timothy therefore was exposed to intellectual ambition and temptation. Paul knew all this, and he said, "Shun profane and vain babblings: for they will increase unto more ungodliness": shun old wives" fables; have nothing to do with mere word-splitting, it tendeth to more and more ungodliness: keep to great principles. "The foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his:" Timothy, keep to that which is sure. The word "sure" has been etymologically traced to a Hebrew word which means rock; therefore Paul would say to his dearly beloved son Timothy, Stand on the rock: I do not say do not sometimes launch out into the deep, and see what is beyond the rolling waves, but have a rock to return to.

Now he passes on through various exhortations, almost military, always episcopal, always noble and generous, and then he says at last, Now hear me: I want you to come; I would like to see some young life. An old man gets sometimes almost tired of his own shadow. "Do thy diligence to come"—put off anything that can be put off, and make haste to come to me: I want to shake hands with young life, one look at thy young face would make me forget my old age. "Come before winter;" winter is bad almost anywhere, but oh! how wintry is winter in gaol—a great fortress like this. And bring the old skin with thee, the cloke; it gets cold about the time of the year when I expect thee: I like the old skin, it is an old friend of mine; it has stood me in good stead; I do not know that I should care for a new coat: bring the cloke. And the few books: a man like me cannot do without something to read; bring the parchments, the notebooks, the student"s memoranda. To have these to-day! Paul"s very notes, Paul"s lines written by his own hand. He never did much with his own hand in the way of writing, for he was a man who suffered much with an affliction of the eyes; but he did write some little pieces of parchment, and nobody perhaps could read them but himself. He wanted them all with him. It was not much—young life, poor old skin to keep his shivering body warm, and the books and the parchments. What did he care for anything else? He said, I am done, so far as this world is concerned; 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. In the meantime I only want a young soul, and an old sheepskin, and a book or two.

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Parker, Joseph. "Commentary on 2 Timothy 1:18". The People's Bible by Joseph Parker. 1885-95.

Sutcliffe's Commentary on the Old and New Testaments

2 Timothy 1:1. Paul — according to the promise of life which is in Christ Jesus. On this promise of eternal life the whole system of revelation is built; for this cause Paul was made an apostle, that he might preach this hope to a benighted world. This eternal life, now confirmed by Christ, was promised from the foundation of the world. Genesis 17:7. Leviticus 18:5. Deuteronomy 31:16. — When Moses pressed the observance of the law, he added, It is not a vain (or light) thing for you, “because it is your life;” and through this thing you shall prolong your days in the land. Deuteronomy 32:47. Here is a double promise of temporal life in the land, and of eternal life, in the world to come.

2 Timothy 1:2. To Timothy, my dearly beloved son. Children are more especially endeared to a father when he is about to die, and such was now the situation of Paul the aged, looking forward to martyrdom. Grace, or the favour of God, is first implored, as the source of all other good. Mercy, which is a modification of grace, to preserve the life of Timothy amid the dangers of the present world, and to commiserate him under all his trials. And peace from God, as a reconciled Father, the result of grace and mercy, and the earnest of eternal rest.

2 Timothy 1:3-5. I thank God — that I have remembrance of thee in my prayers. Nothing can be more paternal than this address, nothing more pertinent, more impressive, or better calculated to encourage Timothy to persevere in the work of the Lord. He had an interest in the apostle’s affections which perhaps no other individual possessed, and it must have afforded him great satisfaction to know it; nothing is more desirable than the esteem of eminently holy men, next to the lovingkindness of the Lord.

2 Timothy 1:6. Wherefore I put thee in remembrance that thou stir up the gift of God which is in thee, from the putting on of my hands. This is repeated from the first epistle: 1 Timothy 4:14. By the repeating of this reference, we gather that the ordination of Timothy was a memorable occasion; that the heavens had been open to prayer, and that the Spirit of power and love had been largely poured out, as an encouraging token of the glory that would attend the consecration of this young man to the Lord.

2 Timothy 1:8. Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me his prisoner. To justify a man condemned, is to arraign the justice by which he received his sentence. If Paul were involved in the popular fury which then raged against the innocent, it was the more a duty to honour in a most decided manner the character of him who had uniformly been a confessor, and finally became a martyr for the truth. — See the introduction to this epistle.

2 Timothy 1:9. Who hath saved us and called us. Christ saves his people from the guilt and punishment of sin by being made sin for us, thus covering us with his arm, and braving the thunderbolts of justice levelled against us. And having procured for us a plenitude of salvation, and of eternal glory, he has called us according to his own purpose and grace. See on Ephesians 1:4. Titus 1:2.

2 Timothy 1:10. Christ hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel. By becoming a sacrifice for sin, he has abolished death, which is the wages of sin, so that it is no longer a penal sentence against them that believe. He has therefore said, Oh death, I will be thy plague. Oh grave, I will be thy destruction. By consequence, he has illustrated and demonstrated, by the light of the gospel, and by his own resurrection, the promise of eternal life. The temporal promises under the law were figures of spiritual and eternal felicity. St. Paul also has affirmed, that godliness has the promise of present and of eternal life. 1 Timothy 4:8. The heathen world, wide as the wandering tribes of the earth, took with them those ideas of a future state. The poor Indian hopes that his dog shall accompany him there in the chase. But the learned among the heathen had chaster ideas. “The souls of all men,” says Cicero, “are indeed immortal; but the good and the virtuous are divine.” Omnium quidem animi immortales sunt, sed fortium bonorumque divini. — De Legibus. They are made partakers of the divine nature.

Cyrus, as quoted on Ezra 6:10, spake to his sons in his last sickness very explicitly on this subject, as is reported by Xenophon, whose works are now before me. By consequence, the Saviour has given us what we wanted, — demonstration of a future world. “Handle me,” said he to his disciples, “for a spirit hath not flesh and bones as ye see me have.

2 Timothy 1:12. I am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day; the glorious appearing of the great God, even our Lord Jesus Christ. Titus 2:13. Here is the full assurance of faith; yea, of hope unto the end. Paul rested his own salvation on the doctrine he taught to others. He had no fear of falling away when he saw the sword unsheathed, or the axe laid on the block to strike off his head. He trusted in the power of Christ to keep him, not indeed forgetting his former triumph, for he had long been persuaded that nothing should be able to separate him from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:38-39.

But how shall the Lord Jesus be able to keep the souls of all his people, and to guard their everlasting interests, if there lurk in any part of the universe an insidious adversary of which he is not cognizant, and whose machinations he is not competent to defeat? How keep them, unless his power and dominion be absolute and illimitable, extending over every thought and every action that might be hostile, and unless he has the superintendence of all worlds, with ability to controul all possible contingencies and events? How be persuaded that he is able to keep until the great day, the souls committed to his care, unless we are equally persuaded, not only of his infinite ability, but of his faithfulness to the trust reposed, that his promises like himself are all immutable, and his love without the shadow of a change. If he be not God over all, and blessed for ever, neither Paul nor any other saint could exercise unlimited confidence, in committing their immortal interests into the hands of their Redeemer. But the divinity of our Lord is everywhere implied, where it is not directly stated, and lies at the foundation of the entire system of redemption.

2 Timothy 1:13-14. Hold fast the form of sound words, which thou hast heard of me. Let them be treasured up in thy heart, and recited in thy sermons. Let them be repeated in conversation, and transmitted to all the new and rising churches. Keep them with all other truths that have been committed to thee by the Holy Ghost.

2 Timothy 1:16. The Lord give mercy to the house of Onesiphorus, that is, his children and family, for the father was probably resident in some other city. Grateful recollections! He often refreshed me with food and lodging. At the risk of his life he opened his door for me in Iconium, and sought me out diligently in Rome. The Lord grant that he may find mercy in that day, the rewards of righteousness, which in our scriptures are not reckoned as debts, but as the gifts of a Father’s love.

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Sutcliffe, Joseph. "Commentary on 2 Timothy 1:18". Sutcliffe's Commentary on the Old and New Testaments. 1835.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

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.

Ver. 18. The Lord] That is, God the Father "grant he may find mercy of the Lord," that is, of God the Son, as "Jehovah from Jehovah," Genesis 19:24.

That he may find] For his care in finding out me, 2 Timothy 1:17.

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Trapp, John. "Commentary on 2 Timothy 1:18". John Trapp Complete Commentary. 1865-1868.

Kingcomments on the Whole Bible

Word, Spirit and Mercy

2Tim 1:13. In the previous verses Paul spoke out his absolute confidence in the Lord Jesus. That is for Timothy, and also for you, of course a great exhortation to do the same. But still there is another reliable hold in a time of decay. That hold you have in the "sound words". Paul points Timothy out that he should "retain" the 'sound words' he heard from him as "the standard".

The word 'standard' is a 'concept' or 'model' or 'draft' of a set-up, composition, design. Paul speaks about the inspired Word of God. That ought to be kept completely. You are not to neglect or drop anything of it. Not only the content of the message is important, but also the words and their rank order are given by God with the purpose for us to hold on to that.

With creeds people may try to explain God's Word in human words, but they still remain to be words of men and therefore imperfect. They also cannot protect us against the most trivial false doctrine. Only God's Word is perfect and gives a full guarantee against deviation when we keep it as a standard. Each word of it stands on the right place where God intended it to be. God's Word cannot to be improved. Don't let yourself to be confused by sayings as: 'It not about the word choice, but about the message.' It is certainly about the word choice too.

I think that a warning for modern translations of the Bible is justified. I do not mean that a translation in the most possible old English language is the most faithful. The use of nowadays English certainly doesn't exclude a good translation from the original text. No, the point is that only people with a living faith in the Lord Jesus and with great esteem for God's Word are able to faithfully translate the Bible.

The making of a faithful translation is not dependent on technology or science, but on skills connected with the right approach of God's Word. That right approach consists of the deep awareness of the holiness and authority of each word that God had let to be written down in His Word. If that is the mind you also have of reading God's Word you will experience the saving power the Word has. The chance that you fall prey to false teachings is then absolutely excluded.

The original word for 'sound' has to do with hygiene and can therefore also be translated with 'healthy making'. The words of Paul that were inspired have therefore the intention to improve the spiritual health. Still Paul adds something to it, namely that the example of the healthy words has to be retained "in the faith and love which are in Christ Jesus". When God's Word is not connected to the Person of Christ, faith in the letter of the Scripture becomes a dead form. You can only retain the truth when you approach the word in faith and love. These are the two aspects or activities of the new life of which Christ is the source.

It is faith and love that are present and to be found in Him. It is only to be received from Him. From Him you learn how the daily confidence of faith focuses on God. You see that in His life on earth. From Him you also learn how the love of God focuses on men.

This addition is important because otherwise the standard would have become a template that causes the living faith life to sink and to become a dead orthodoxy. When faith and love in Christ are the active elements to retain the standard you will experience the support of the Word. Even if you couldn't find any support in the church as a whole, due to the decline that has entered, you will, even if you're alone, surely find help in God's Word.

2Tim 1:14. There is still one more encouragement. After having pointed to the Lord Jesus and the Word of God, Paul speaks about "the Holy Spirit who dwells in us". Paul is on the brink of dying the martyr's death and going to his Lord. Timothy still has to remain here and you also are still here. The circumstances will not become easier and you will surely agree with that. The decline has become even worse. The attacks on the ministry of Timothy will become tougher. If you want to serve the Lord you will experience that too. Everything will cause such an increasing pressure on him, and on you, that you may want to give up "the treasure which has been entrusted to [you]". But listen: you are being exhorted to guard what has been entrusted to you.

Paul calls it a 'treasure', which means something beautiful, of Divine value. Also to you all the sound words of the Scripture have been committed as something of Divine value. That you must keep and not give up anything of it. You don't have to do that in your own strength. It even is impossible to do that. It is being pointed out to you that the Holy Spirit dwells in you. He gives you the necessary power to guard what has been entrusted to you.

Each part of the truth that you have learnt to see and for which you have thanked God will be criticized by the enemy. But He Who dwells in you is greater than he who is in the world (1Jn 4:4). He enables you to resist against each attack the enemy commits on the truth. The important thing is that you make sure that in no way you hinder the Holy Spirit to have total control over your life.

2Tim 1:15. You shouldn't count much on the support of others in your fight "for the faith which was once for all handed down to the saints" (Jude 1:3). Paul points out to Timothy about the believers in Asia. Timothy knew that all in Asia have turned away from the apostle, while he, as a matter of fact, has intensively preached the gospel in that area. It was he who taught God's thoughts to the many who had come to faith there.

You can for example read in the letters to the Thessalonians and in the letter to the Ephesians how he served the believers there. The elders of Ephesus were all in tears when he left them. What made them most sad was that they wouldn't see him ever again (Acts 20:37-38). Now some years have passed. And how is the situation there? The good memories of Paul have faded. They have even turned their back on him!

The man to whom they owe a lot is rejected by all of them and not only by an individual or a few. Why? They are possibly ashamed for him, the poor prisoner who fell into disgrace with the government. Of course they haven't given up Christendom, but as far as they are concerned, Paul's emphasis on being a Christian is too strong. You shouldn't make efforts to create enemies, should you? That is true, but a faithful witness cannot help but make enemies. He doesn't do that purposely, but actually, being faithful to the Lord and His truth exposes hostility.

Paul is imprisoned because he has witnessed the truth. Therefore turning away from Paul is in fact turning away from the truth that Paul preaches. That has made his imprisonment much heavier. He mentions two of those who have turned away from him by their names. It must have been necessary to mention these names. It is not unlikely that these are leading brothers with great influence who are misusing their influence and the exclusion of Paul to deceive the church. By mentioning their names Paul exposes them.

2Tim 1:16. He also mentions another name, but with joy. The faithfulness of Onesiphorus and his house has been a blessing to him in the midst of all the unfaithfulness that he had experienced. This faithful believer has not been ashamed for God's faithful servant. Onesiphorus has "refreshed", a word that literally means 'to cool', the apostle in the heat of the persecution. This refreshment Paul experienced when in his imprisonment he unexpectedly saw the face of Onesiphorus appear.

2Tim 1:17. It must have done the lonesome prisoner well to be visited by someone who made an effort to come to him. It would not be easy to find Paul, but it must have made Onesiphorus tremendously grateful to the Lord when he could finally embrace Paul. His efforts were not in vain. And how enormously grateful Paul must have been to the Lord. Have you also ever experienced refreshment when believers told you that they were praying for you or supporting you when you were in trouble?

Onesiphorus had no address of where to find Paul, but he must have prayed to the Lord Who could lead him to Paul. And the Lord did it, yet, not by bringing him through the shortest and quickest way to Paul. No, Onesiphorus had to ask the Lord time after time if he was on the right track. When you ask the guidance of the Lord to achieve something of which you know that He wants it, it doesn't mean that you will easily accomplish that goal. The Lord wants you to commit yourself to it. In that way He wants to teach you to depend on Him at every step you make.

2Tim 1:18. Paul wishes that the Lord will reward the household of Onesiphorus because of the mercy he received from him (Mt 5:7). His 'household' – it seems that he was married and had children and probably even his own domestic workers – fully supported the actions of Onesiphorus. They let him go and they must have sent their greetings and probably goods for Paul. What a great blessing it is when there are also households today of which all the family members want to remain faithful to the truth and make efforts for those who preach it.

Then Paul also wishes that the Lord will grant to Onesiphorus that he may find mercy from the Lord "on that day" (cf. Jude 1:21). In this way Paul adds to his earlier wishes that the Lord will reward Onesiphorus for his efforts before the judgment seat. 'That day' is also the day that the Lord will appear with His reward (2Tim 1:12; Rev 22:12).

Onesiphorus is not a stranger to Timothy. He made the acquaintance of him at Ephesus and could tell, even better than Paul, how this man has made it a habit to serve the Lord and His matters. It is wonderful when there are people in a local church of whom can be said that they have performed many services. Wouldn't it be a joy for the Lord and the church when this can also be said of you after some time?

Now read 2 Timothy 1:13-18 again.

Reflection: How do you manage to retain the standard of the sound words?

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de Koning, Ger. Commentaar op 2 Timothy 1:18". "Kingcomments on the Whole Bible". 'Stichting Titus' / 'Stichting Uitgeverij Daniël', Zwolle, Nederland. 2021.

The Popular Commentary by Paul E. Kretzmann

Paul's Sorrowful and Cheerful Experiences. 2Ti_1:15-18

v. 15. This thou knowest, that all they which are in Asia be turned away from me; of whom are Phygellus and Hermogenes.

v. 16. the Lord give mercy unto the house of Onesiphorus; for he oft refreshed me, and was not ashamed of my chain,

v. 17. but, when he was in Rome, he sought me out very diligently and found me.

v. 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.

These historical references are closely connected with the preceding section, in which Paul had emphasized the thought that Christians will gladly suffer persecution for the sake of Christ. His first statement is a complaint of the treatment accorded Him by some of those that formerly professed friendship for him: Thou knowest this, that all those in Asia have repudiated me, among whom are Phygellus and Hermogenes. Whether this repudiation practiced by the Christians of Asia was directed merely against the person of Paul, being inspired by the fear that they might be forced to share his fate if their relation to him were known, or whether it included the actual denial of the truth, is not altogether evident. It seems that the apostle had sent word to certain influential Christians of the province of Asia to give their testimony in his favor, but that these feared an evil outcome for themselves and refused to do Paul this favor. In the case of two men, whose names he mentions, it seems that this conduct had struck the apostle with special force, and a final denial of the Gospel seemed to be only a matter of time. They had been ashamed of his bonds and might be expected soon to be ashamed of his Lord.

As a splendid contrast to this selfish behavior the apostle names the conduct of one other man from Asia: May the Lord grant mercy to the house of Onesiphorus, because often he refreshed me and was not ashamed of my chain, but, coming to Rome, he quickly sought me out and found me. The man whose name is here recorded on account of the shining example he gave to the Christians of all times, seems to have died meanwhile. Paul, therefore, expresses his prayer in the form of an earnest wish that God would bless his entire household for his sake. See Pro_14:26; Pro_20:7. For this man Onesiphorus had provided refreshment and comfort, both for the body and soul of Paul, for in bringing him such gifts as tended to ease the burden of his imprisonment, this good man also refreshed the spirit of the apostle. In doing so he was not ashamed of the chain which Paul bore, he did not consider it a disgrace to be known as a friend of the prisoner, he did not consider the probable danger which was connected with his visits to a Christian teacher. Rather, when his business brought him to Rome, or when he found time to make a special trip to the capital in behalf of the imprisoned apostle, he did not rest until he found out just where Paul was kept captive, in order to offer him what little service he was able to perform. Paul's wish for him is that the Lord would grant him to find mercy on the last day. So far as Paul knew, these and other evidences in good works provided sufficient ground for assuming that Onesiphorus had held the true faith, and that for that reason the reward of mercy would fall to his lot. In conclusion the apostle appeals to Timothy's own knowledge of the case: And in how many ways he served me in Ephesus thou knowest best. It was not necessary for the apostle to enumerate all the good things which he might have stated about this noble, unselfish man. His work was known sufficiently well wherever his name was mentioned. Timothy himself had been in Ephesus as a witness of some of the deeds of kindness, and was therefore able to judge for himself better than Paul, whose opinion therefore did not need to influence him. It is a special blessing of God if all the members of the congregation show proper willingness to be of service in the cause of the kingdom of Christ.


After the address and salutation the apostle reminds Timothy of his early training and its obligations; he admonishes him to steadfastness, incidentally referring to his own sorrowful and comforting experiences.

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Bibliographical Information
Kretzmann, Paul E. Ph. D., D. D. "Commentary on 2 Timothy 1:18". "Kretzmann's Popular Commentary". 1921-23.

Lange's Commentary on the Holy Scriptures: Critical, Doctrinal and Homiletical


Exhortation to Timothy to stir up and to apply well the gifts of grace which had been conferred upon him.—The motive hereto; reference to the example of Paul, and others

2 Timothy 1:6-18

6Wherefore I put thee in remembrance, that thou stir up the gift of God, which is in thee by [through] the putting on of my hands 7 For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; [,] but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind[FN6] 8[self-restraint]. Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me his prisoner: but be thou partaker of the afflictions[FN7] of the gospel 9 according to the power of God; [,] Who hath [omit “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[FN8] 10[before the ages]; But is now made manifest by [through] the appearing of our Saviour Jesus Christ, who hath [both][FN9] abolished death, and hath brought 11 life and immortality [incorruption] to light through the gospel: [,] Where-unto [In respect of which] I am appointed a preacher, and an apostle, and a 12 teacher of the Gentiles. For the [omit “the”] which cause I also suffer these things: nevertheless I am not ashamed; for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed[FN10] unto him against [unto] that day 13 Hold fast the form of sound words, which thou hast heard of [from] me, in faith and love which is in Christ Jesus 14 That good thing [fair trust] which was committed unto [to] thee, keep by [through] the Holy Ghost which [who] dwelleth in us 15 This thou knowest, that all they which are [all those] in Asia be turned away from me; of whom are Phygellus[FN11] and Hermogenes 16 The Lord give mercy unto the house of Onesiphorus; for he oft refreshed me, and was not ashamed of my chain: [,] 17But, when he was in Rome, he sought me out very diligently,[FN12] and found me. 18The 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 [better].


2 Timothy 1:6. Wherefore I put thee in remembrance. With these words the Apostle introduces an exhortation which is farther elaborated in the whole chapter, and founded in differing motives. Δἰ ἥν αἰτίαν refers back clearly to what immediately precedes. Just because Paul knows that the faith of the mother and the grandmother of Timothy dwelt in him also, he has the candor to address an exhortation to him, which would have been entirely out of place to an unbeliever—I put thee in remembrance, ἀναμιμνήσκω; I remind thee, hortandi notione inclusâ; Wahl.—That thou stir up the gift of God.Ἁναζωπυρεῖν, composed of ἀνά and ζωπυρεῖν; properly, to kindle again into a blaze the half-concealed coals under the ashes—to quicken them anew. Hence the significance of the revivifying of the inner spiritual fire. The LXX. use the same word ( Genesis 45:27), for the Hebrew חָיָה. The gift of which Paul here speaks is compared with a fire, precisely as in 1 Thessalonians 5:19, which is capable both of decrease and increase. The Apostle here, as in 1 Timothy 4:14, alludes to the gift of the calling (Lehrberuf) received from God, and addresses Timothy not as a Christian simply, but chiefly as teacher. It is somewhat premature to infer from this exhortation that Timothy was not fervent in spirit ( Romans 12:11). Certainly the holy fire was in him, but it should blaze forth in a yet brighter flame.—What teacher might not need continually such an exhortation, without our construing it into an indirect censure upon him? In the main, it contains nothing else and farther than what is written in 1 Timothy 6:11-12; 2 Timothy 2:15.—By the putting on of my hands (comp. 1 Timothy 4:14). The Apostle had, it is likely, taken personal part in the solemnity there mentioned; and it harmonizes fully with the more fatherly and confidential character of his second Epistle, that he emphasizes specially this his personal share in the transaction.

2 Timothy 1:7. For God hath not given us. The exhortation to increase spiritual capital becomes strengthened by reference to that which has been received already. Paul is himself conscious that he has received one and the self-same πνεῦμα with Timothy; and knows, likewise, on the ground of his own experience, how it operates, and what. This he states, first negatively, and then also positively. It is no spirit of fear, δειλίας (comp. Romans 8:15); with this distinction, however, that there, slavish fear before God, while here feeble timidity before men, is referred to as being in direct contradiction with the peculiar character of the Christian spirit. It appears obviously, that Timothy, who was of gentle disposition, borne down by manifold discouraging cares, was in special danger, more than others, of yielding weakly to despondency, without, however, being justly obnoxious to the suspicion of defect in his faith, or of unfaithfulness in his work. “Timothy seems, from the persecutions which the cause of the gospel encountered, and especially from what Paul had suffered, to have become inwardly affected and crippled (?) in his activity. We cannot well reach any other conclusion from the πνεῦμα δειλίας of 2 Timothy 1:7. He did not exercise the duties of the office conferred upon him with the freedom and energy which the relations of the community demanded.”—But of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. The first characteristic stands opposed to faint-heartedness; the two other qualities are added, apparently, by the Apostle, so that it may be distinctly manifest that he recommends no wild, rough exhibitions of force, but only such as were confined within legal limits. The ἀγαπή renders us capable for the offering of the greatest sacrifice for the cause of the Lord; the σωφρονισμός is that Christian self-control which imparts power to a wise bearing in action, and in all things knows how to keep within true bounds.

2 Timothy 1:8. Be not thou therefore ashamed … of his prisoner. From what he had stated generally in 2 Timothy 1:6-7, the Apostle now proceeds (in 2 Timothy 1:8-12) to particulars. He had declared of himself (in Romans 1:16), that he was not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, since it is a power of God unto salvation. Now it is his wish that Timothy shall freely make the same confession, although ridicule and shame attend the preaching of the gospel.—Of the testimony of our Lord, is not the martyrdom of Christ Himself, nor even the testimony of the death of the Lord upon the cross in particular, but, in general, the testimony of the truth which, by and with the preaching of the gospel, was set forth, and of which preaching, the Lord Jesus Christ was chief person and centre. Very naturally, this admonition is connected with what immediately precedes: “Timorem pudor comitatur, victo timore fugit pudor malus;” Bengel.—Nor of me his prisoner. The one thing was inseparably bound up with the other. Were Timothy ashamed freely to preach the Lord, then he would be in the highest degree unwilling to confess that he stood in any intimate relation with the imprisoned Paul. In the mind of the Apostle himself, his bonds were his badge of honor, which he would be willing at no price to forego (comp. Acts 26:29; Galatians 6:17). How thence could it be a matter of indifference to him, if any one, and especially Timothy, should be offended at them?—But be thou partaker, &c. Instead of avoiding, through an ignominious retreat, Suffering in behalf of the good cause, Timothy must rather courageously submit to it. Συγκακοπάθησον τῷ εὐαγγελίῳ; not, suffer with the gospel, bear with it the disgrace attached to it, but, suffer with me, who also am suffering (σύν) for the gospel, which must be preached at any risk, and is thoroughly deserving of the grandest sacrifices. Τῷ εὐαγγελίῳ, a dativus commodi, wholly like Philippians 1:27. And in order to repel every possible objection, as if the fulfilment of this heavy demand might far surpass the powers of Timothy, the Apostle now adds: according to the power of God; which words are not to be understood as in apposition with τῷ εὐαγγελίῳ, but with συγκακοπάθησον. The Divine power which was already (according to 2 Timothy 1:7) in Timothy, would fit him for the offering of the heaviest sacrifice.

2 Timothy 1:9. Who saved us. That Timothy might be still more emphatically aroused to courageous endurance, Paul reminds him of the infinite wealth of the salvation, to the personal enjoyment of which he had come through the very same gospel. Here also, as usually in the Pastoral Epistles, God is set forth as σωτήρ of the faithful through Christ. Of this σωτηρία, Paul and Timothy, like all believers, are actual partakers. The means through which this σωτηρία becomes theirs, Paul signifies epexegetically when he speaks here of the calling. In this passage, moreover, as generally with the Apostle, we must not think of a mere outward calling which happens without any distinction between believers and unbelievers, but of an outward and an inward calling, to which Prayer of Manasseh, on his part, has responded through the obedience of faith (comp. Romans 8:30). It is in the highest degree arbitrary to think here exclusively of a special calling to the office of a Christian teacher (Heydenreich), since it is evident from the context that nothing else than the general Christian calling is meant. It is called holy not so much because it proceeds forth from the Holy Ghost, but chiefly because it urges and obliges to holiness. But wherein the origin of this wholly incomparable advantage is to be found, the Apostle states in what immediately follows: Not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, &c. A genuine Pauline compendium of his preaching of the gospel (comp. Romans 3:24; Ephesians 1:4). The standard (κατά) is not our works (comp. Titus 3:5; Ephesians 2:8-9), but solely and alone the free grace of God, the only ground of which is in Himself (αὐτοκίνητος), and is excited, merited, or called forth through nothing in the creature. Consequently, the emphasis here must be placed upon ἴδιος; and the grace which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began, is to be regarded as the actualization of God’s idea of that which He had purposed in Himself (comp. Ephesians 1:10). “What God determines in eternity, is as good as already made actual in Time;” De Wette. Here, as always with Paul, Christ is represented as the centre of Divine grace (χάρις). That this grace is already bestowed before the world began, πρὸ χρόνων αἰωνίων, is a proof, moreover, that it is entirely independent of the works of men. “Ab ordine temporis, argumentatur, nobis salutem gratis esse datam, quam minime eramus promeriti. Nam si ante mundi creationem elegit nos Deus, non potuit operum habere rationem, quæ nulla erant, quum nondum essemus ipsi. Nam quod sophistæ cavillantur, Deum operibus, quæ prævidebat, fuisse adductum, non longa solutione indiget. Qualia enim futura erant opera, si essemus a Deo præteriti, quum omnium bonorum fons et initium sit ipsa electio?” Calvin. “From the order of time he adduces argument that salvation is given to us freely, we being in no degree deserving of it. For if God chose us before the creation of the world, he could not have the ground (rationem) of works, which were null when we were not yet in existence. For the cavil of the sophists, that God was governed by the works He foresaw, does not need a lengthened discussion. For what were future works, had we been passed by by God, since election itself is the fountain and beginning of all good works?”

2 Timothy 1:10. But is now made manifest, &c. Over against what God had purposed from eternity, the Apostle sets forth now what He had done in the fulness of time to realize His determination. He means a φανέρωσις, not only through the word of the gospel, but through the highest deed of Divine love, visible in the manifestation of Christ. The Apostle states a sort of antithesis to this in Romans 16:25. The manifestation of the Lord, ἐπιφάνεια, is not only His coming into the world per se, but His earthly manifestation in its complete circumference; and the fulness of blessing from it is expressed, negatively and positively, in these words: Who abolished death, and brought life and incorruption to light. The antithesis of life and death is thoroughly Pauline. Both words here must be understood also in their full force. By death, we must not think simply of the moment of separation between body and soul, but of that death which, as the wages of sin, forms a decided opposition to spiritual and eternal life, ςωή. We must think of death as the power which has seized the entire Prayer of Manasseh, body and soul, in consequence of sin, and which makes physical the precursor of moral death (Wiesinger). Life, on the other hand, is that true, spiritual life, which is perfectly identical with the highest happiness, is enjoyed, indeed, this side the grave, is not destroyed by death, and is perfected beyond. The exegetical clause, καὶ ἀφθαρσίαν, denotes it as eternal, imperishable; so that the idea coincides nearly with the ζωὴ αἰώνιος of John. Christ now has destroyed this death. Καταργεῖν signifies here also, as in 1 Corinthians 15:26; Hebrews 2:14, such a destruction that death is despoiled of his whole power. “In Græcis scriptoribus hoc sensu legere non memini;” Winer. Already now, for believers, death is nothing; the time will come when it shall cease to be. On the other hand, Christ has brought to light life and immortality. Φωτίζειν, an expression which is chosen all the more appropriately here, since also the power of death is a power of darkness. Not only because Christ has imparted this life and immortality to His own (Huther), but chiefly because He has revealed this, and placed it before our eyes, can it be said of Him that He has brought both forth from darkness into light. Never would the world have experienced what eternal life and immortality, in the full meaning of the words, are, had it not beheld them in Christ. We are not accustomed to think here exclusively of the death and resurrection of Christ, although these are in no way excluded. Through His entire manifestation and activity He has bestowed upon us the blessings here mentioned. For the rest, it is obvious that the revelation of life which is given in Christ is likewise, for believers in Him, a communication of life.—Through the gospel; here brought forward as the instrument through which the revelation of life, which was given objectively in Christ, comes subjectively to the knowledge of believing Christians. The gospel is not considered here simply as doctrine, but also as the power of God to save all who believe in it ( Romans 1:16; 1 Thessalonians 2:13).

2 Timothy 1:11. Whereunto … a teacher of the Gentiles (comp. 1 Timothy 2:7). This also is an addition, which does not spring from apologetical considerations, but from the personal heart-necessities of the Apostle. It is as if he felt with twofold force the need of setting forth to himself, in his deep humiliation, his high rank. The accumulation of the words here is in no way a tautology. Κήρυξ is the general signification of the Christian office of teaching, which embraces also evangelists and prophets. Of this genus, ἀπόστολος is a species, while διδάσκαλος ἐθνῶν is the designation of the sphere in which the apostolate of Paul moves. There is no sufficient ground for removing ἐθνῶν[FN13] from the text, as critically suspicious.

2 Timothy 1:12. For which cause, &c. Here also, as in 2 Timothy 1:6, δἰ ἤν αἰτίαν belongs to what immediately precedes. Because, indeed, I am appointed a preacher, &c, καὶ ταῦτα πάσχω. The Apostle thinks of his present imprisonment, with all the calamities connected with it, which for Timothy require no more explicit description.—Ἀλλ̓ οὐκ ἐπαισχύνομαι; namely, of the suffering which I must bear for the Lord’s cause. The Apostle wishes, evidently, to encourage Timothy, through his own example, to carry out his prescript ( 2 Timothy 1:8). And upon the question whether it be possible for him to reach such a height, he refers to the source of his own joyfulness.—For I know, &c. ̔͂Ω πεπίστευκα; pudorem pellit fiducia futuri; Bengel. Christ might be the implied subject of discourse (comp. 2 Timothy 1:10); but it is more evident that God is (comp. Acts 27:25; Titus 3:8), although it is obvious that not God in Himself, but specially God in Christ, is the object of the believing confidence of the Apostle. That which immediately follows, shows upon what ground this trust can be so firm and unwavering.—And am persuaded that he is able, &c. The certitude here expressed is that of living faith, the object of which is the almightiness of God.—To keep that which I have committed, &c, τὴν παραθήκην μου (comp. 1 Timothy 6:20). As the same word is used in 2 Timothy 1:14 in this chapter, the presumption Isaiah, that in all these places the same thing is denoted; which certainly is possible, though by no means necessary. If we understand the word in the sense in which it is used in 1 Timothy 6:20, then we must think necessarily of the apostolic function (De Wette, Otto, and others), and find this thought: I am persuaded that the Lord, according to His might; will ever guard that, the administration of which He has entrusted to me, &c. But how could the Lord guard, in the strict sense of the word, the office of Paul, when Paul himself should no longer be upon the earth, while, in fact, he was expecting to fall asleep before the Parousia? Hence it is more simple, by πὴν παραθήκην μου, to think of something which Paul, on his part, had confided to the Lord, and had given in trust as a costly treasure, so that now he would not be solicitous about it even for a moment. And on the question what this could be, it is altogether the simplest we hold, to think here of the eternal salvation of his soul, and also to understand the word in the sense in which Calvin wrote upon this place: “Observa etiam nomen depositi pro vita æterna; nam inde colligimus, non alitur in manu Dei salutam nostram esse, ac sunt in manu depositarii, quæ ipsius fidei custodienda tradimus. Si penes nos esset salus nostra, quot assidue periculis exposita foret? Nunc vero bene Esther, quod apud talem custodem reposita omni discrimine est superior.”—(“Observe also the name deposit for life eternal: for we collect thence that our salvation is not otherwise in the hand of God than those things are in the hands of a trustee, which we yield under the guardianship of faith itself. If salvation were in our keeping, how constantly would it be exposed to dangers. Now indeed it is well that it is in the keeping of such a custodian, and above all risk.”) Other views can be found collected and examined by De Wette and Huther on this place. By the indefiniteness of the expression, and the absence of any clearer indication in the context, it is difficult to hit upon a view which leaves no single difficulty remaining.—Against that day; the day of the coming of Christ, when that which is hidden shall be brought to light, and the crown of life shall be given to all who love His appearing (comp. 2 Timothy 4:8).

2 Timothy 1:13. Hold fast the form, &c. “Repetit præceptum de conservanda puritate doctrinæ, quod sæpissime in divinis concionibus recitatur. Et summa comprehensa est in hoc dicto: si quis aliud Evangelium docuerit, anathema sit. Usus est Paulus hic singulari verbo: retineas formam sanorum verborum, i.e, quæ tibi antea declineata est. Vult et res ipsas retineri et modos loquendi perspicuos et usitatos prophetis et apostolis. Quamquam enim non superstitiose postulat ubique eadem verba recitari, tamen vult vitari ambiguitates etλογομαχίας;” Melanchthon. (“He repeats the precept concerning the preservation of the purity of doctrine, which is most frequently uttered in Divine addresses. And the sum is comprised in this saying: If any one shall have taught another gospel, let him be anathema. Paul uses here the verb singular: hold fast the form of sound words—i.e., which has been set forth to thee before. He desires that both things be held fast, and also the clear modes of speaking, and such as were customary with apostles and prophets. For although be does not superstitiously demand that the same words be everywhere recited, he wishes nevertheless that ambiguities and λογομαχίαι be avoided.”) By ὑποτύπωσις is to be understood a brief sketch of Christian doctrine over against an extended treatise. Some commentators (e.g., Herder) have thought here of a written draft, which Paul had left behind as a guide to Timothy. But in this case Paul would not have said, which thou hast heard of me, but, which I have sketched for thee. He has certainly written the form here indicated, but in such a style as is meant, e.g., in 2 Corinthians 3:3. Upon the mind of Timothy the ὑποτύπωσις was impressed in indelible colors, and therefore he could do nothing better than to keep himself up to it as closely as possible. Ἕχειν also here is equivalent to κατέχειν, as well as φυλάσσειν, 2 Timothy 1:14.—In faith, &c. (not, of faith and of love; Luther). No indication, this, of what were the contents of sound words, but an exhibition of the style and way in which Timothy should hold fast the words of the Apostle. Not in an outward, mechanical way, but also that faith and love might be like a vase in which the model referred to would be preserved; so that for that reason likewise also, it was the personal and spiritual characteristic of Timothy. If this last existed, then would he reproduce independently, without the slightest injury to the truth, the sound words of the Apostle, and repeat them, in no degree only as an echo, in a lifeless way. By the addition, love Which is in Christ Jesus, is signified that this love must be kept up and preserved in personal life-fellowship with the Lord Jesus Christ. This love of the heart sharpens the memory of the understanding in the preservation of the sound words, as this is seen, e.g., in the Evangelist John, who in his advanced age was still in condition to repeat the extended dialogues and discourses of the Lord.

2 Timothy 1:14. That good thing which was committed unto thee, keep, &c. A concluding exhortation, in which all that is said in 2 Timothy 1:6-13 is yet once briefly summed up. (Upon παραθήκη, see on 1 Timothy 6:20). There is no adequate ground for understanding this word here wholly in the same sense as in 2 Timothy 1:12, There the Apostle spoke of a deposit (depositum) with which he had entrusted his God; here, on the other hand, he speaks of a cause which God had confided to Timothy. Many interpreters think exclusively of the sound words spoken of in 2 Timothy 1:13; but in this case there would be a flat tautology. This exhortation is referred more appropriately, perhaps, to 2 Timothy 1:6, and by παραθήκη is understood the χάρισμα τοῦ Θεοῦ which Timothy had received for the work of his ministry. This trust committed to him is named good, in the same sense in which the Apostle earlier ( 1 Timothy 6:12) had spoken of the good fight of faith. Timothy ought to keep this free from all harm, not through his own, strength, but through the strength of the Holy Ghost who dwells in us, the believing, without distinction, and along with Whom the power to remain true and steadfast is imparted. “Timothy should not apply any human instrument to the keeping of the παραθήκη; the only instrument must be the Holy Ghost; that Isaiah, he must permit Him to rule and work without trammels and freely in him, and do only that to which He directs him” (Huther).

2 Timothy 1:15. This thou knowest, that all, &c. As a warning for Timothy, who ought to see, in the examples, alleged, the consequences of a want of watchfulness, Paul reminds him of what he had suffered at the hands of the unfaithful Asiatics. This thou knowest, οἶδας τοῦτο; the thing itself is known indeed to Timothy, but it is here most appropriately recalled to his memory. “It is indeed very natural, that while he exhorts one to courage, he sets before him examples of cowardice and inconstancy” (Schleiermacher). Perhaps, moreover, the place admits of translation in the form of a question, thus: “Knowest thou indeed this?” Οἶδας τοῦτο =ἀγάπας με ( John 21:15). The matter itself to which Paul here alludes is somewhat obscure. By Asia, Asia proconsularis is to be understood here—Mysia, Phrygia, Lydia, and Caria (Asia cis Taurum, or, according to Ptolemy, ἰδίως καλουμένη Ἀσἱα). There is no occasion, in the meanwhile, to think, by those who are in Asia, (ἐν τῇ ̓Ασιᾳ), exclusively of the teachers of false doctrines, since through their errors they had already become separated from Paul in principle. There were also believers in general, who, after they had first followed the Apostle to a certain point, had, in a way not known to us, turned from him. Ἀποστρέφειν = aversari, to turn the face from any one, to turn the back upon; also, inwardly to renounce any one. A wide field for conjecture has here opened itself to exegetes. The most prevalent view (Chrysostom, Theodoret, et al.) Isaiah, that persons from Asia Minor, who, upon some occasion, had come to Rome during this imprisonment of the Apostle, were ashamed of him in his bonds, and had not taken any notice of him. The view also has some probability, that certain persons had come to Rome from Asia Minor with the design, originally, to serve Paul as witnesses upon his trial, but, when they observed that his cause would terminate unfavorably, had prudently withdrawn. The only difficulty, then, were that we should expect to read, ὁι ἐκ Ἀσίας, while ἐν Ἀσίᾳ is written. If we bear in mind, however, that they had their dwelling in Asia, and that, when this Epistle was written, they had returned thither, this difficulty disappears. Others think otherwise. Of Phygellus and Hermogenes, whom Paul mentions here by name, either because their conduct had affected him most unpleasantly, or also because they were specially known to Timothy, we discover no farther trace. Over against these, was the bearing of him of whom honorable mention is made in part in 2 Timothy 1:16-18, doubly praiseworthy.

2 Timothy 1:16. The Lord give mercy … Onesiphorus. The Onesiphorus here mentioned was probably, too, an “Asiatic,” dwelling at Ephesus (see 2 Timothy 4:19). It is not impossible that he was a merchant, and had come to Rome upon business, and felt himself impelled, by this opportunity, to manifest his sympathy in the fate of the Apostle. The express mention of his house, and the pious wish of the Apostle for Onesiphorus himself ( 2 Timothy 1:18), gave occasion to the supposition that this disciple dwelt no longer among the living when this Epistle was written. Be this as it may, he oft refreshed me, writes the Apostle; through practical proofs of love, and not, indeed, merely through meat and drink (De Wette), but through everything he had done, to give joy to the heart of the Apostle. Ἀνέψυξεν an ἅπαξ λεγόμ., which signifies, in general, to cool off, to refresh. Indeed, this one circumstance, which Paul here expressly mentions, was not with out some influence upon his exhortation ( 2 Timothy 1:8).—And was not ashamed of my chain; had also contributed richly to his comfort. Onesiphorus had acted, in fact, in a way entirely in contrast with the others who were “of Asia.”

2 Timothy 1:17. But when be was … and found me. In a city so populous, in which there could be no scarcity of prisoners held under the most diversified accusations, it was not easy, indeed, to find the imprisoned Apostle, especially since whosoever put too definite inquiries, thereby perilled his own safety. Onesiphorus, meanwhile, as he himself probably afterwards informed the Apostle, shrank from no inquiries, allowed himself no rest, until he had found his forsaken friend. Here also is a proof that the relations of the second imprisonment were far unpleasanter than those of his first (comp. Acts 28:30-31). According to the evidence of A. C. D1 F. G, and other MSS, σπουδαίως seems to deserve preference to the usual reading, σπουδαιότερον.

2 Timothy 1:18. The Lord grant unto him … in that day. What the Apostle himself cannot repay, that, he hopes, the Most High Judge will. Were Onesiphorus already asleep, then also it follows from this place that the Apostle thought of the supreme decision as not occurring immediately after death, but first in the day of the παρουσία of the Lord, whose appearing Hebrews, in the meanwhile, represented as wholly near at hand, so that the interval between death and that great event, for his way of thinking, was fused into on insignificant moment.—The Lord grant unto him that he may find mercy of the Lord; a form of speech without art, in which we may take the second κύριος for the pronoun reflexivum, παῤ ἐαυτοῦ. But in case it is believed necessary to distinguish the subjects, then by the second κύριος Christ must be certainly understood; by the first, either God the Father, or God in the entire fulness and incommunicability of His essence.—And in how many things he ministered, &c. The Apostle does not speak here exclusively of the services done unto him (so Luther: “How much he has served me,” &c.), but wholly in a general way of the services which Onesiphorus, at Ephesus, had rendered to the cause of God’s kingdom. This, Timothy, as dwelling there, knows very well—better, e.g., than the Apostle could tell him (comp. upon this Comparative, Winer, p217).


1. As every true Christian has received his χάρισμα, so the most sacred obligation rests upon him to employ this gift without ceasing. The fire which is not blown upon, goes out; and the spiritual capital which we possess is ours only as long as we care unceasingly for its preservation and increase. Here, also, the word of the Lord applies: “He that hath, to him shall be given,” &c. ( Matthew 13:12). The means through which the awakening of this entrusted gift is brought about, are chiefly threefold: Prayer, whose breath makes the glimmering fire burn brighter; reading of the Word, through which the Spirit speaks to us, and is awakened in us; and the fellowship of the saints, through which the individual life is preserved from sickly conditions and death. Rightly says Melanchthon on this place: “Homo renatus non Esther, ut statua, sed ideo datur Spiritus Sanctus, ut inchoëtur in nobis libertas, et possumus jam inchoare obedientiam, nec Spiritus Sanctus est otium, sed est flamma et agitatio divina, repugnans diabolo et infirmitati carnis et accedens motus tales, qualis ipse Spiritus Sanctus est. Huc pertinet tota parabola de negotiantibus, Luc. xix.” Divine and human agency move here inseparably together.

2. What exercitia pietatis in particular are to be recommended to the minister of the gospel, is a difficult question (comp. Observ. on 1 Timothy 4:7). The Catholic (Roman) Church has surely done too much of a good thing, and laid upon the clergy a daily burden of private exercises (ἀσκησις), whereby the spirit is deadened, and valuable time is passed in a mechanical routine. On the other side, it is certainly to be deplored that so frequently the freedom of the evangelical clergyman, in this respect, is misspent for want of discipline, and that, in the due care for others, his own spiritual well-being is often entierly forgotten. Labor would doubtless be more successful, if the study were also more of a closet for prayer. Without precisely binding himself formally to a strict private rule (privat agende), as this, in the last age, was more than once recommended, it is not to be overlooked that the freest development of the spiritual life needs continuously training and guidance. To the helps which can be recommended freely without qualification, belongs, amongst the rest, the reading of biographies of those of the clergy within whom Christ has gained, above many others, a fulness of stature, as, e.g., Louis Harms, Chalmers, Oberlin, Hofacker, Spleiss, and others.

3. Although Paul had laid his hands upon Timothy with desirable effect, still it in do degree follows that the ordinary communication of the Holy Ghost is bound up sacramentally with the laying on of hands, and that a character indelibilis must be ascribed to ecclesiastical ordination, as this is insisted upon by Rome, while appeal is made, amongst others, to 2 Timothy 1:6. There is here absolutely no mention of ordination in the later, hierarchical sense. The exhortation to stir up the Spirit, presupposes much more, that in spite of the ἐπίθεσις τῶν χειρῶν, He would otherwise become extinct, and in so far proves against rather than for the character indelibilis. Upon the treatment of Ordination in the spirit of Christ and of the evangelical Church, one can find striking words in Nitzsch, Prakt. Theol., Bd2, p441 et seq.

4. To be ashamed of the cause of the Lord is possible enough, especially in gentler Melanchthon-natures, such also as Timothy seems to have been—natures which are better fitted for patient suffering than for courageous conflict for the truth. Here also the power of sin is manifest, that men are so often ashamed of the very thing which they should esteem their highest honor; and inversely, they find their highest honor in that which must produce their deepest shame. Fundamentally, sin has destroyed all, but grace restores again, all.

5. The doctrine of the free grace of God in the calling and election of the sinner, is one of the chief foundations in the structure of Pauline soteriology, and likewise one of the greatest treasures of the Church, reformed according to the word of God. He only who exaggerates and presses in an unspiritual way this doctrine, the supreme consolation of believers, can make it resemble a heathen fatalism. (Comp. P. Lange’s treatise on the question, “What authority is due still to the peculiarity of the Reformed Church in the scheme of faith (Glaubenslehre) of our own time?” in the Miscellanies, New Series, ii, pp1–52. Bielefeld, 1860.)

6. Paul, is to us ( 2 Timothy 1:12) a speaking exemplar of the blessed certitude of faith, whereby the claim of many, that such certitude is the fruit of spiritual pride and idle conceit only, is strikingly contradicted. The Roman Catholic Church denies that the Christian, this side the grave, can be assured of his salvation; and upon this point many Protestants are almost cryptocatholic. Nevertheless, it is palpably clear that the believer does not build his certitude upon anything he finds or is competent to within himself, but upon the eternal grace and fidelity of God, which certainly will complete the good work ( Philippians 1:6). Perhaps the misunderstanding of many would be removed, if less were said of the perseverantia, and more of the conservatio sanctorum.

[This is weir expressed. I think, however, we should distinguish between the certitudo gratiæ and the certitudo beatitudinis æternæ. Certitude is only one form of the fiducia which is the essence of justifying faith. Of this we may be, ought to be assured; but of the certitude of everlasting salvation we cannot speak as an essential or factor in the consciousness of the believer. It is very desirable that we revise our habits of teaching upon this article. The reader is referred to the following observations by the late Sir W. Hamilton (“Discussion on Philosophy,” &c, London, 1852, on pp493, 494) These are important in themselves, and tend to justify in an original style the remark so frequently made, that Protestants and Roman Catholics do not differ as much now as formerly in the article of Justification:

“Assurance, personal assurance (the feeling that God is propitious to me, that my sins are forgiven, fiducia, plerophoria fidei), was long universally held in the Protestant communities to be the criterion and condition of a true or saving faith. Luther declares that he who hath not assurance, spews faith out; and Melanchthon makes assurance the discriminating line of Christianity from heathenism. It was maintained by Calvin—nay, even by Arminius—and is part and parcel of all the Confessions of all the churches of the Reformation down to the Westminster Assembly. In that synod, assurance was in Protestantism, for the first time, declared not to be of the essence of faith; and, accordingly, the Scottish General Assembly has, subsequently, once and again condemned and deposed the holders of this, the doctrine of Luther, of Calvin, and of the older Scottish Church itself. In the English, and more articulately in the Irish Establishment, it still stands a necessary tenet of belief. Assurance is now, however, disavowed when apprehended by churchmen, high and low; but of these, many, like Mr. Hare, are blissfully incognizant of the opinion, its import, its history, and even its name. This dogma, with its fortune past and present, affords, indeed, a series of the most curious contrasts. It is curious that this cardinal point of Luther’s doctrine should, without exception, have been constituted into the fundamental principle of all the churches of the Reformation, and, as their common and uncatholic doctrine, have been explicitly condemned at Trent. It is curious that this common doctrine of the churches of the Reformation should now be abandoned virtually in, or formally by, all these churches themselves. It is curious that Protestants should now generally profess the counter doctrine asserted at Trent in the condemnation of their own principle. It is curious that this, the most important variation in the faith of Protestants, as, in fact, a gravitation of Protestantism back towards Catholicity, should have been overlooked as indeed in his days undeveloped, by the keen-eyed author of “The History of the Variations of the Protestant Churches.” Finally, it is curious that, though now fully developed, this central approximation of Protestantism to Catholicity should not, as far as I know, have been signalized by any theologian, Protestant or Catholic; whilst the Protestant symbol (Fides sola justificat—Faith alone justifies), though now eviscerated of its real import, and now only manifesting a difference of expression, is still supposed to discriminate the two religious denominations. For both agree that the three heavenly virtues must all concur to salvation; and they only differ, whether Faith, as a word, does or does not involve Hope and Charity. This misprision would have been avoided had Luther and Calvin only said, “Fiducia sola justificat,” “Assurance alone justifies;” for, on their doctrine, assurance was convertible with true faith, and true faith implied the other Christian graces. But this primary and peculiar doctrine of the Reformation, is now harmoniously condemned by Roman Catholics and Protestants together.”—E. H.]

7. The evangelical doctrine here alluded to ( 2 Timothy 1:10), that the Lord has overcome death, is illustrated yet farther, chiefly from apostolical expressions, as 1 Corinthians 15:55-57; Hebrews 2:14. Upon the question, how and whereby Christ has achieved this victory, one can refer: 1. To his whole manifestation, by which the true life in its full glory is revealed; 2. to His death, through which sin, the sting of death, is atoned for, and the law, the strength of sin, is fulfilled; 3. to His resurrection on the third day, through which He has burst asunder the bands of death, and triumphed over the power of hell; 4. to His intercession in heaven, whence also He sends down His spirit unceasingly, who imparts the true life, and delivers from the spirit of death; 5. to His final παρουσία, with which He will banish death from the creation ( 1 Corinthians 15:26; comp. Revelation 21:4).

8. What Paul says of the Holy Ghost as indwelling within the believer, refers us to the highest blessing of the New Covenant, in which the Holy Ghost is the immanent vital principle of all the redeemed. During the Old Covenant, He over-shadowed momentarily individual holy men of God; in the New, He abides perpetually in the heart of each Christian.

9. What the Apostle says in praise and recognition of the proofs of love shown to him by Onesiphorus, is also a practical explanation of the words of Jesus ( Matthew 25:34-40).

10. In case, even, that Onesiphorus were really dead at the time of the writing of this Epistle, still the Roman Catholic interpreters are in error when they find, in 2 Timothy 1:18, a proof of the lawfulness and obligation for intercessory prayers for the dead. The case here was altogether special, and cannot, without great wilfulness, be applied as the foundation of a general rule for all the dead. On the other side, it is often forgotten that the gospel nowhere lays down a positive prohibition to follow with our wishes and prayers, if our heart impel us thereto, our departed while in the condition of separation; and hence, in any case, it is well to distinguish between the Christian idea which lies at the foundation of such inward needs, and the form of later church rite, and practice.


Fire is a striking image of the Holy Ghost In this, that it must be kept up and fanned without ceasing.—It is not enough to be in Christ; one must be rooted in Him, grow, and bring forth fruit.—Do ye not know of whose Spirit ye are children?—The Spirit of power, of love, and of a sound mind.—a threefold chord, where no tone can be wanting or transposed without sharp dissonance.—False shame about the gospel of Christ: (1) How general; (2) how unfounded; (3) how destructive it is.—The Christian (1) need not be ashamed of the gospel; (2) dare in no case; and (3) also will not be ashamed of it, if he will in truth be a Christian.—It is not enough to contend for the truth; one must know also how to suffer for it.—There is no better protection against false shame than firm faith in free grace,—The deficiency of merit, and the necessity of good works in the Christian’s life of faith.—“Nisi opera videam extra, non credam fidem, esse intra;” J. Huss.—Jesus the death-conqueror: (1) The enemy which Hebrews, as such, overcomes; (2) the peace which Hebrews, as such, restores; (3) the crown which Hebrews, as such, merits.—In how far is death already conquered for the Christian, and in how far not yet? Comp. “Heidelberg Catechism,” Ans42.—The gospel a revelation of life.—“I know in whom I believe,” the sublimest science of faith.—A science has so much more a higher value, the more (1) it moves in loftier spheres; (2) is built upon firmer foundations; and (3) presents a greater wealth in practical results. All this is true of this, as of no other science.—The way, degree, ground, and fruit of the Christian assurance of faith.—There is no firm hold in sound doctrine which could signify anything in Paul’s judgment, as long as it is not coupled with personal faith and love in life; 2 Timothy 1:14. (1) No servant of Christ is without a committed trust; (2) there is no trust which does not require careful watching; (3) no careful watching is conceivable without the power of the Holy Ghost dwelling within us.—Paul, as the Lord, was also forsaken in distress by unfaithful friends.—True Christian brotherly love ( 2 Timothy 1:16-18) (1) tested; (2) confirmed; (3) requited.—No labor of love which is positive, goes wholly unrewarded ( Hebrews 6:9-10).—Think of those in bonds, as bound with them ( Hebrews 13:3).

Starke: Bibl. Würt.: As sparks go out in the ashes when one does not rekindle them, so also the gifts of God are lost when they are not made use of for the glory of God, for the Church, for the public, and for the benefit of one’s neighbor, as that for which they are bestowed ( Matthew 25:30).—Langii Opus B.: The prisoner of Christ, nevertheless God’s child, redeemed of Christ, and His ransomed possession, and yet His prisoner; this belongs to the mystery of the Cross.—The power of God, which is mighty in them that believe, one never sees more gloriously than in sorrow.—He who allows hands to be laid upon him for the office of preacher, allows them also to be laid upon him for imprisonment, if God so order ( 2 Timothy 1:6).—Believers are already saved in the kingdom of grace.—Hedinger: Christ has obtained for us twofold blessings, privativa and positiva; He has taken away the noxious, and brought for us the salutary.—Wilt thou doubt thy salvation? As truly as thou believest, and art assured of thy faith, canst thou be assured of thy salvation.—Conflagration, plunder, and war take away all! What is there more?—The best in secured. It is on high, in heaven, well secured.—He who will have the assistance of the Holy Ghost; especially in the office of teaching, must have Him also as an indweller.—Starke: We think often, with Elijah, as if we were alone and forsaken; but God preserves for Himself always a Church amongst much erring, godless, and abandoned men ( 1 Kings 19:14-18).—Faith is not high-minded; it associates affectionately with the most insignificant and miserable.—Canst thou not requite thy benefactors, then with and pray heartily that God will ( 2 Samuel 19:32-39).

Heubner: Inspiration must not be fanatical ecstasy.—To desert a friend and benefactor who is fallen into misery and disgrace, is baseness to the last degree.—Where apostolic earnestness Isaiah, can ignominy not long stay away.—The deliverance of the human race is the supremest wonder of Divine love; precisely therefore, also, there is no nobler office than the office of reconciliation.—The hope of immortality first through Christianity is firmly established.—If all Christians should possess the Holy Ghost, how much more the teachers.—Where there is no agreement with Jesus and the Apostles, there is no Holy Ghost.—The persecution of the shepherds shows what genuine sheep are.—Next to suffering for the sake of the gospel, the grandest thing is to support the persecuted against the world, to incur danger for them; as Jerome for Huss, Frederic the Wise for Luther.—Jesus recognizes that as done unto Himself ( Matthew 10:40-41).

Lisco ( 2 Timothy 1:8-14): The power of faith.—( 2 Timothy 1:1-14): What ought to move Timothy to fidelity in faith and in the preaching of the gospel: (1) The example of his ancestors; (2) the gift of the Holy Ghost; (3) the example of Paul.—( 2 Timothy 1:7-14, Whitsun Sermon): The Spirit given to us.—Not fear, but love, is the mark of the Christian.—( 2 Timothy 1:15-18): The conduct of the Christian towards true and false friends—that, amid prevailing unfaithfulness, love nevertheless should not grow cold.—To the merciful, the Lord gives grace here and there.

Leipoldt ( 2 Timothy 1:12), in the collection, “Manifold Gifts and One Spirit,” ii, p 2 Tim279: The blessed certitude of faith.—Palmer, sketch of a sermon for the close of the year, on the same text, Evangelische Homiletik, 4. Aufl, S. 340.

Van der Palm ( 2 Timothy 1:3), Reformation-Sermon: (1) Through the Reformation we, are once more in the possession of sound doctrine; (2) This possession must make itself known through faith and love which are in Christ Jesus.—On 2 Timothy 1:8, comp. a sermon by Van Oosterzee on the cognate text, Romans 1:16, in the Langenberg “Collection,” 1852, pp225–250.


FN#6 - 2 Timothy 1:7.—[σωφρονισμοῦ = self-restraint. It would, amongst other things, restrain “the passion of fear;” Conybeare and Howson.—E. H.]

FN#7 - 2 Timothy 1:8.—[συγκακοπάθησον = suffer evil along with, together with ἐμέ. Sin, συγκακ.—E. H.]

FN#8 - 2 Timothy 1:9.—[πρὸ χρόνων αἰωνίων = ante tempora secularia; Vulg. These times began with the creation of the world; Huther.—E. H.]

FN#9 - 2 Timothy 1:10.—Instead of Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ, Χριστοῦ Ἰησοῦ. The English version loses sight of the force of μέν and δέ in this sentence. The Vulgate has quidem and autem: perhaps we should say: “Who hath both abolished death, and hath brought,” &c.—E. H.]

FN#10 - 2 Timothy 1:12.—[παραθήκην is the reading adopted by the critical editors.—Sin. also; instead of the παρακαταθήκην of the Recepta.—E. H.]

FN#11 - 2 Timothy 1:15.—[Lachmann and Tischendorf, so also Sin, spell φύγελλος, and not φύγελλος. Vulg, Phi(y)gelus.—E. H.]

FN#12 - 2 Timothy 1:17.—[σπουδαίως, by Lachmann, after C. Δ., Orig.: so also Sin. Tischendorf retains σπουδαιότερον.—E. H.]

[Lachmann’s punctuation of this section is noticeable.—E. H.]

FN#13 - Omitted in A.—E. H.]

Copyright Statement
These files are a derivative of an electronic edition available at Public Domain.
Bibliographical Information
Lange, Johann Peter. "Commentary on 2 Timothy 1:18". "Commentary on the Holy Scriptures: Critical, Doctrinal, and Homiletical". 1857-84.

L. M. Grant's Commentary on the Bible

Despite the fact of his heart being so drawn out in this epistle, Paul writes as "an apostle," not as a servant, nor even as a brother. Does this not stress the strongly authoritative character of that which he writes? The truth is urged imperatively upon the soul as that which is so vital to godliness in days of lax giving up to weakness and spiritual decay. And he is an apostle "by the will of God," not by his own choice, nor by that of other men, a matter deeply important in days when democracy and human rights become foremost in men's minds, and Christianity itself is invaded by this subtle corruption of the truth. "The will of God" remains paramount, and calls at all times for the true submission of the individual, whatever the condition of things may be publicly.

Moreover, the epistle is characteristically "according to the promise of life which is in Christ Jesus." Titus (ch. 1:2) shows this promise to have originated "before the ages of time": therefore it is life above and beyond all dispensations and ages: it cannot be affected by all the tests of history: the decay and ruin of all church testimony is no hindrance to this blessed promise. Wonderful encouragement indeed for the child of God! For the promise is "in Christ Jesus," dependent only upon the sufficiency and perfection of His own Person. Precious, stable, faithful resting place for faith!

It is precious to observe how the pressure of affliction more draws out the heart's affections; for the apostle here addresses Timothy as "my dearly beloved child," rather than, as in the first epistle, "my true child in the faith." Nor would this fail to comfort and strengthen the heart of Timothy at such a time. But the same fullness of blessing is desired for him here, the threefold supply of "grace, mercy, and peace," each so necessary and precious in its place, and proceeding "from God the Father, and Christ Jesus our Lord," the fruit therefore of the full revelation of the glory of God in the Person of His beloved Son.

The apostle thanks God, the same God he had served from his forefathers, and this, of course, recognizes the truth he had known before Christianity came, and to which he had been subject "with pure conscience." This does clearly illustrate the fact that conscience is no sufficient guide for the soul; for when Paul (then named Saul) was persecuting Christians, his conscience was actually approving this solemn evil: he thought he was doing God service. But at least, he was not guilty of deliberate dishonesty. And it is with genuine concern that he writes to Timothy, not ceasing to keep him in his prayers "night and day." It is not, of course, that this was the sole occupation of his thoughts, but Paul did not simply pray for Timothy for a few days following his leaving him, and then forget: it was a continuing matter. Night being mentioned first, before day, no doubt indicates that the times of darkness and loneliness were gone through without affecting the ardor of prayer, while in the more pleasant circumstance of "day" it was not neglected either.

Circumstances of pressure and sorrow had the precious effect of drawing out the longing of Paul's heart to see Timothy, whose very character was such as to be a comfort to him, and whose tears (no doubt in connection with the public breaking down of Christian testimony, and departure from Paul's doctrine) were a matter so affecting to Paul that he would not forget them.

And the apostle was free to encourage the younger man by commending "the unfeigned faith" that was evident in him, reminding him too that this dwelt first in his grandmother Lois and his mother Eunice. The meanings of the names here are lovely; Lois meaning "no flight," and Eunice, "happy victory." In days of real trial of faith, is it not sweetly true that "no flight," no slipping away, but facing things with God, will issue in "happy victory"? And the issue of this is "Timothy," meaning "honoring God." Can we not imagine how deeply Timothy would appreciate this verse? And whose heart can fail to be stirred with the desire of earning the same commendation?

Whatever was the nature of Timothy's special gift, he had evidently allowed some feeling of discouragement to hinder its proper exercise. The New Translation of J. N. Darby uses the word "rekindle" rather than "stir up." Whatever was to transpire - whether a general turning away from Paul and his doctrine, or even his being put to death - Timothy must not give in to all these pressures of the enemy! God's gift to him remained, and should be rekindled and used in a full and real way, for it surely was the more needed in times of departure. We learn here also that Timothy's gift was given in an exceptional way, by the putting on of Paul's hands. This is certainly extraordinary, for gift is normally given by the independent operation of the Spirit of God (1 Corinthians 12:7-11). But the Spirit of God in Timothy's case used Paul as the instrument, while accompanied with "the laying on of the hands of the elderhood" (1 Timothy 4:14), that is, with their fully expressed fellowship.

And the Spirit, who communicated the gift and who dwells in every child of God, is not a spirit of fear. If, therefore, we give in to our own fears, we are not walking in the Spirit, for He is the Spirit "of power, and love, and of a sound mind." Observe how power and love are connected here: there is no weakness in the Spirit of God, but love is the very energy by which His power is exercised. "The love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost, who is given unto us" (Romans 5:5). The more positive and full the expanding of the heart in love toward others, the more will the liberty and power of the Spirit be in evidence, with calm courage of faith. And He is the Spirit of a sound mind also, for it is He who brings everything to its proper, sober level; who makes all to take its place in consistent balance with all else. If our minds are otherwise, it is because we do not allow Him His proper control over us. Of course the flesh is still in a believer, and he may be mentally unbalanced, but this stems from the old nature, not from the new. The Spirit is still the Spirit of a sound mind, and in certain areas where the knowledge of Christ is concerned, this will be evident even in a believer who in other respects suffers mental aberrations. It is a great mercy this is so; but a believer should seek in every respect to allow the Spirit of God such liberty and control that it will be manifest in every department of life. This is itself a great preservative of the mind's condition, though one could not suppose it to be a guarantee against physical infirmity and deterioration, which ofttimes affects the brain too, the brain being physical, the mind not so.

Verse 8 shows that God's marvellous provision of verse 7, the living presence of the Spirit of God, is not to be considered as operating independently of the exercise and cooperation of the individual. But a due consideration of the fact of such provision will certainly render one unashamed of the testimony of the Lord. The exhortation not to be ashamed has a most solid basis. There is no right reason for fear: therefore we are perfectly entitled to dismiss it totally. In any real sense, no believer is ashamed of the Lord Himself; but the danger is present that he might be ashamed of His testimony, or ashamed of identification with one suffering for His sake. Timothy needed his mind stirred up as to these things, and he is not alone as regards such a need. He is encouraged to "suffer evil along with the glad tidings, according to the power of God." If the gospel is held in contempt of men, let me be willing to share this by fullest fellowship with it. It was thoroughly this for which Paul suffered, and not at all as an evildoer: therefore fellowship with Paul was fellowship with the pure gospel of God.

Moreover, this would be "according to the power of God." How contrary is this to the natural thought of man, the fact that such power is seen in the willingness to suffer for the sake of the gospel. Even Christians are too often deceived by what appears to be great public displays of power, and many desire these things as evidence of God's working. In this case they will as likely as not be deceived by Satanic delusion. Where are we to see the actual power of God? The answer is evident in our verse: the willingness to suffer in lowly faith along with the precious gospel of grace is a wonderful setting in which the power of God is committed to the individual to enable him to bear tribulation and reproach for Christ's sake. That triumphant energy that carries everything before it is not at all for the child of God today. True moral power - the power of God - is seen in the submission of heart that takes its place along with the despised testimony of God.

That same power is seen in the faCt that He "has saved us, and called us with an holy calling." For the gospel is "the power of God unto salvation" (Romans 1:16): it is not simply kindness and mercy involved here, but power acting on behalf of those previously lost in sin, power acting in the midst of all that is so contrary to God. Precious it is to see this wonderful divine workmanship raising up vital, energetic life out of ruins, and in the very midst of ruins!

It is not a questionable thing, but a settled fact: He "hath saved us" - whether Paul, Timothy, or any other true believer - "and called us with an holy calling." This distinctively places us in a position apart from all former identification: it is a "heavenly calling" (Hebrews 3:1), or "The calling on high of God in Christ Jesus" (Philippians 3:14 -J.N.D. Trans.), a calling of dignity and blessedness infinitely precious, as high as heaven is above the earth.

It is impossible that this could be "according to our works," for in that case it would be our workmanship, not God's: such a result required infinitely more than mankind could achieve: it required the power of God. Therefore, it is "according to his own purpose and grace, given us in Christ Jesus before the ages of time." How completely above and beyond man's works are these precious expressions, "His own purpose and grace! "No one was then present to influence His purpose, no one ever having lived to raise a question as to what kind of a life would be blessed with His grace. No, it is rather the grace of God known and believed that rightly forms man's life.

Yet, this was "given us . . . before the ages of time," and this expression would seem to connect with Titus 1:2 : "In hope of eternal life, which God who cannot lie, promised before the ages of time." If the purpose itself was eternal, yet the promise given us is no doubt in the words of God to the woman in the Garden of Eden, that her seed would crush the serpent's head. The promise was given before man was sent out of the garden to be tested by the various dispensations of God; for these ages evidently only began in connection with man estranged from God. But since the purpose was eternal, and the promise given immediately before man was tested in the various ages of time, therefore this absolute purpose and grace is not in the least affected by all that is involved in man's history.

All of this, however, was not made manifest until "the appearing of our Savior Jesus Christ," for it is by and in Him that these blessed purposes are fulfilled. Only in Him, the supreme Object of faith, could we possibly comprehend the truth of these things, and find them vitally real: only in Him personally could such a manifestation be possible. He is seen as Savior here, acting in both grace and power on our behalf. In His own death and resurrection He "has annulled death." Mere natural wisdom will not understand this, of course, for man knows in experience that death is in painful evidence everywhere around him. But faith can see that all the power of death is broken for the believer. Christ has triumphed over it in His voluntary humiliation even unto death, and in His being raised from the dead the third day. Therefore death holds no terrors for the child of God: it has no power to hold him a helpless prisoner: if he should die, this is only a step in the fulfillment of God's superior purpose concerning him: his resurrection is as certain a matter as that of the Lord Jesus. For "the sting of death is sin," which has been fully atoned for at Calvary, so that for the believer the sting is gone (cf. 1 Corinthians 15:55-57).

Added to this, He "hath brought life and incorruptibility to light through the gospel." Paul very simply declares the gospel in 1 Corinthians 15:1-4, as this, "that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures; and that he was buried, and that he rose again from the dead the third day according to the Scriptures." Hence, it is life out of death - resurrection life - spoken of; and with it "incorruptibility," life therefore in a state impossible of being corrupted. The believer certainly has this life now, as identified with Christ in resurrection, though he also has natural life, which is subject to decay and death; and only when Christ comes again will the resurrection life be seen in full display, "death swallowed up in victory," and life and incorruptibility manifested in the saints then as it is now in Christ.

It was of this glorious gospel that the apostle was appointed a preacher, and apostle, and a teacher of the Gentiles. We must take note of the fact of Paul's appointment here: the Spirit of God required that this be insisted upon. It was no mere appointment of men, and is not by any means intended as a criterion for others to follow. In fact, as to Timothy, no mention whatever is made as to his being appointed to anything, nor are we even told what gift Timothy had been given, though Paul tells him to stir it up, and also tells him to "do the work of an evangelist" (ch. 4:5). But Paul was given the special responsibility of "laying the foundation," as "a wise master builder" (1 Corinthians 3:10), and the Spirit of God therefore emphasizes this in order to press home the authority of the apostle's message. Anyone else attempting this in regard to himself would only display his glaring insubjection to the Spirit of God. As Scripture often notes, so here again, Paul was sent to the nations, not to Israel, though his heart longed after his own people (Romans 10:1).

Those who aspire to some place of official appointment or recognition are not generally those who are fully prepared to suffer persecution for Christ's sake. Paul had not desired the place, but he was thoroughly willing to suffer for Christ if needs be. God put him in the position in which he could not escape suffering. But he was not at all ashamed, for his faith was in the blessed Person of Christ: he knew whom he had believed, not merely what he had believed.

This gives absolute persuasion as to the faithfulness of God in keeping what Paul had committed to Him. Does this not include everything concerning Paul's well-being and his needs of whatever kind? And it is in view of "that day," the day of manifestation, so that the apostle had no slightest doubt as to his being satisfied with the eventual result. The Greek form of the expression here is evidently a noun, literally,,'my deposit." It is as though he had deposited with God everything concerning himself: there could therefore be no doubt of its being securely held. In fact, who can doubt that in such hands the interest itself will multiply immeasurably?

Having spoken of the perfect faithfulness of God through whatever circumstances of dependent need, the apostle now may turn to the becoming responsibility of his child Timothy. It was most important that he should hold a clear outline (or pattern) of sound words. Paul had communicated these things to him, but he was not to take them merely as a disjointed, unrelated collection of good words. To hold them in the soul, in orderly form, as sound words forming a united pattern, is of great importance. For the truth of God is one. It is true that one may see those things connected in a different way than another sees; and it is no mere formal creed here advocated for the acceptance of everybody; but the exercise of the individual in having sound words rightly formed in his soul in a pattern of consistency with the entire Word of God. This personal enjoyment and comprehension of the Word can be likened to the honeycomb. The Word itself is "sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb" (Psalms 19:10), but honey is symbolical of the ministry of the Word and the honeycomb would speak therefore of that ministry stored up for use in orderly form, just the thing that is here urged upon Timothy.

But "sound words" are not to be dry or cold: they are to be liberally mixed with "faith and love which are in Christ Jesus." Faith, the reality of confidence in the Living One, will effectually banish dryness; and love, the warmth of unfeigned affection, is the total opposite of coldness. Then being "in Christ Jesus" lifts the whole matter as high as heaven is above earth, giving precious balance and substance, a fullness with no lack.

It has been seen that Paul had entrusted to God a deposit of all that concerned him. Here rather God has entrusted to Timothy a good deposit, which Timothy is enjoined to keep. Would verse 13 not indicate the way in which Timothy was to assess and appreciate the value of this deposit? This is that which belongs to God, the sacred truth of His Word, and to be held in solemn trust by the servant to whose hand it is committed. Indeed it is only right too that the Master should be entitled to interest in view of so valuable a deposit. Compare Luke 19:23 : at least in one case the servant's pound had gained ten pounds, in another five. The one effective way of keeping this deposited trust is by using it for the Master. But it is not ours to give up to the enemy as we please: we must not allow it to be stolen away. If we feel the great responsibility of this, and at the same time our own helplessness to fulfill it, let us but remember that the Holy Spirit dwells in us, abides continually, and we have but to allow Him to exercise His own blessed power in this matter.

Though Timothy knew this, it was necessary to pen this

reminder, both for his own sake, and for ours. How painfully sad, as the apostle neared the end, to be faced with, not only the increased persecution of the enemy, but the turning away of the large number of saints in Asia. Paul had spent 3 years in Ephesus, ceasing not to warn everyone night and day with tears (Acts 20:31). From there the word had gone out to the surrounding areas of Asia, bearing much fruit. He does not say they had turned away from the Lord, but from himself. It seems likely therefore that Paul's doctrines of the gospel of the glory of Christ, that which sets aside man in the flesh and gives the believer a heavenly position apart from the world entirely, had become too unpalatable; and the attitude of settling down in the world was taking the place of a fresh fervent spirit of affection for the person of Christ. It was not apostasy, but an evident ignoring of Paul and his doctrine.

What a leading up to that of which he warned the Ephesian elders: "For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. Also of your ownselves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them" (Acts 20:29-30). This evil did not appear without warning after his death: the seeds of it are plainly present as he here writes to Timothy. Once Paul and his doctrine are ignored, the door is open for "grievous wolves" to enter in, and for even believers to make themselves leaders by means of twisting the truth in some favorite way. What havoc has this very thing wrought in the Church since that day!

And two men are here specifically named, which seems to indicate they were leaders in this defection from Paul. Phygellus means "a little fugitive"; can it suggest a fearful fleeing from the unpopular stigma of being identified with Paul? And Hermogenes means "lucky born." Is there an intimation in this of his having no real sense of divine direction in his soul? At least, these things can certainly be factors that loom largely in any turning away from Paul and his doctrine - whether the names themselves signify this, or not. Were these men really believers or not? It is not said and we must leave it there. But how solemn to have their names recorded in this way in the Scriptures, for eternity!

In chapter 2 we read of two men, Hymeneus and Philetus; who had gone further than ignoring the truth: they were undermining the truth (vv. 17, 18). A further advance in evil is seen in the two men mentioned in chapter 3, Jannes and Jambres (v. 8), who resisted the truth by means of imitation. They were the Egyptian magicians in the time of Moses, and Paul speaks of others in the last days having the same character. In chapter 4, Alexander is the ultimate development in this, doing Paul "much evil," therefore persecuting the truth (v. 14). Another man, Demas, is also mentioned in that chapter, previously, as having "forsaken" Paul because of love for this present world. But it would seem he was a believer, intimidated by the opposition of the enemy, and clinging too much to life in the world. He had been a helper in the work, but as the persecution against the apostle increased, it was too much for him. But it was desertion, at a time the apostle most needed the help of devoted companionship.

How precious a contrast is seen now in this devoted brother Onesiphorus, his name also eternally inscribed in the Word of God! The heart of the apostle is deeply appreciative of the simple faithfulness of this dear man, who evidently had no place of prominence, but a heart devoted to the Lord and to His afflicted servant. It is no great public work he does, but he often refreshed the apostle, and was not ashamed of being identified with one in prison for Christ's sake. In Rome he sought Paul out, no doubt a difficult matter in so large a city, where prisons would be more than few. One could easily excuse himself from such a task, as being unnecessary: but the apostle (and certainly God also) appreciated the faith that persisted until finding Paul. What an indication that things which may appear small in our eyes are not really so in the estimate of God!

As to his finding "mercy of the Lord in that day," it is no doubt the day of rewards. And rewards are not strictly that which is deserved: that would be wages. It is because God's very character is merciful that he gives rewards. Note in Matthew 25:28 that though the one servant had gained ten talents for his master, by use of his master's goods, yet after he brought it to the master, we find that he still had it in his own possession. The master had allowed him to keep it, and in fact gave him more. This is certainly mercy, a reward not really deserved at all. Then is added the many things in which Onesiphorus had previously ministered to Paul. It was not forgotten by him: how much less with God!

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Grant, L. M. "Commentary on 2 Timothy 1:18". L.M. Grant's Commentary on the Bible. 1897-1910.

Wells of Living Water Commentary

The Ups and Downs of a Christian

2 Timothy 1:1-18


It is a mistake to imagine that those who walk with Christ will find a level pathway without any valley or any mountain top, a pathway foreign to hills and dales. Such is far from the case.

1. Difficulties by the way. When Paul addressed his Second Letter to Timothy he made it plain enough that the Christian is not only called upon to believe in the Lord but also to suffer with Him.

Paul did not shun to set forth the fact of enemies by the way. He gave Timothy his own experiences with certain ones who made difficult his travel.

The Apostle, however, did not only set before his son, Timothy, the difficulties by the way. He also explained how the Lord would deliver him from every evil work, and with glowing prophetic words he told of the glory which would await on the other side.

2. Our guide among the wreckage. We have sometimes thought that the expression above, which we have used for our second thought, is an appropriate one to cover Paul's two Letters to Timothy. If we have ups and downs, hills and dales, turns and curves, we need carefully marked directions lest we should swerve from the main course, and become lost in the wilds of some bypath.

Our God never leaves us unpanoplied for the battle, or unprepared for the onslaught of the enemy. Of old, the Lord led His people Israel with the cloud by day, and with the fire by night. He went before them to choose out the pathway of their journey and to select the place where they should camp. He gave them laws of hygiene, ethical laws to instruct them in morals, and in no way left them exposed and unprotected against the wiles of the devil.

Thus, also, did Paul give God's leadings to Timothy and God's protection against the enemy. It will be the purpose of this lesson, first, to show somewhat the character and the call of God to the young man Timothy, and secondly, to set forth God's directing hand as to how he should preach and suffer and contend for the faith in the midst of a wicked and perverse generation.

3. A call to the young men and women of today. As we close our introductory words we want to extend to every young man and young woman an earnest plea to join with Timothy in the service of the Lord. We set him before you as a model of young manhood. We give to you Paul's instructions to Timothy, with the one thought that each of you may profit thereby.

Who is there who, today, will bend the knee before God and join with the young man Timothy in a full consecration to the Word and the work of their Master?

I. THE YOUNG MAN TIMOTHY (2 Timothy 1:2-5 )

1. Timothy was a young man dearly beloved by Paul. To us the statement above carries two suggestions. The first is that Paul the valiant Apostle had a loving disposition toward others. He knew how to love as well as how to preach.

The second thought is that Timothy, Paul's son in the Gospel, was worthy of being loved. Not only of being loved, but of being dearly beloved.

Some people wonder why they are not loved by other people. As a rule, they are not lovable. We do not talk of looks, but of characteristics. If we want people to love us, we must be kind, gentle, considerate, and not selfish, crabbed, and filled with faultfinding.

2. Timothy was a young man for whom Paul prayed. Again, we have two things; First, the man who prayed. Paul was more than a preacher and an instructor. Paul prayed. Paul prayed for individuals, Paul prayed by day and by night.

Secondly, we have the man for whom Paul prayed. Paul prayed for Timothy because Timothy had knit himself around Paul's heart. Paul saw in Timothy the possibilities of a real workman, and Paul prayed for him.

3. Paul greatly desired to see Timothy. Here is an expression of the genuineness of Paul's love, but not of that alone. Timothy, likewise, loved Paul, we catch this, when Paul tells of how Timothy wept, when Paul was taken from him. These tender touches in the Bible record, make Christianity glow with beauty. They show that the Christian life is not foreign to those marks of tender affection of sympathy, and of love, which make home and comradeship a joy forever.

4. Timothy was a young man of unfeigned faith. According to 2 Timothy 1:5 Timothy had a faith that was unfeigned. It was not a faith that was affected or professed. It was not a faith that was a counterfeit. It was real, it was genuine, it was unfeigned.


"Wherefore I put thee in remembrance that thou stir up the gift of God, which is in thee by the putting on of my hands."

1. Gifts are given of God. We read in the Epistle to Corinthians of the gifts of the Spirit. "There are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit." "For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit; to another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit,"

There are other gifts mentioned.

Concerning the gifts of the Spirit, Paul says: "Covet earnestly the best gifts." If a young man or a young woman desires a special gift of the Spirit, they desire well.

2. Gifts may be received by the laying on of hands. Paul wrote to Timothy definitely of the gift that was in him by the laying on of his (Paul's) hands.

When Paul, himself, was saved, Ananias under the instruction of the Lord visited the young man Saul, and said: "The Lord, even Jesus, that appeared unto thee in the way as thou earnest, hath sent me, that thou mightest receive thy sight, and be filled with the Holy Ghost." Let us observe, however, that, as Ananias spoke, he put his hands on Saul. In the Book of Acts we frequently find the laying on of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost.

Somehow or other we believe that it is entirely right for us to lay our hands upon the heads of young men, and young women, and to pray for them that they also may be filled with the Spirit and receive definite spiritual gifts.

3. Gifts are for service. If we ask God to impart unto us some gift, it is that we may be used of God by this gift. He who would seek the gift of the Spirit in order that he may enhance his own honor or glory, is along with Simon, in the gall of bitterness and distress.

We do not seek the Spirit nor the gifts of the Spirit in order that we may use Him or them, but that we may be effectually used by Him and because of them.


1. God never gives the spirit of fear. This is the statement of 2 Timothy 2:7 . He who walks tremblingly and timidly and dominated by fear knows nothing of the power of the Spirit. When Peter trembled before the maid, he was moving in his own strength; when Peter, at Pentecost, thundered out, "Jesus of Nazareth, * * ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain," he was walking in the Spirit.

2. God does give the Spirit of power and of love and of a sound mind. There is a holy boldness resting upon those who are Spirit-filled. That boldness, however, is not rashness, because it is the Spirit of love as well as of boldness, which God gives. That Spirit also is not the spirit of fanaticism, neither of wild sayings and wild actions.

3. God makes us unashamed of our testimony for Him. We do not preach the Gospel with an apology for the Gospel we preach. We do not preach the Gospel as though we were ashamed of the Gospel. The Gospel is our glory, our joy, and our crown. The god of this world may blind the eyes of the unbelieving against it, and the sinner may deride it, but we know that it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth.

4. God makes us unashamed of our brethren who suffer for Him. The Apostle said to Timothy, "Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me His prisoner." It is sad indeed when Christian people are unwilling to align themselves to God's honored, but persecuted and despised servants.

5. God calls us to suffer the afflictions of the Gospel, but He calls us to do it according to the power of God. This assures us that when we suffer for Him and are not ashamed of Him, He will not be ashamed of us, but will prepare us to suffer, and clothe us with power as we suffer.


"Hold fast the form of sound words, which thou hast heard of me, in faith and love which is in Christ Jesus."

1. The tendency to belittle the importance of the faith. There was, even in Paul's day, a turning from the faith on the part of many. Paul particularly mentioned this fact in his Epistles to Timothy.

(1) In the First Epistle we read, "The Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils." Do you marvel, therefore, that in the same Epistle and the same chapter Paul urges Timothy to be a good minister of Jesus Christ, "Nourished up in the words of faith and of good doctrine"?

(2) The Apostle Paul also speaks of certain ones who have cast off their first faith. These he says have turned aside unto Satan. Then he urges once more that God's servant should not blaspheme the Name of God, nor His doctrine. He also says, "If any man teach otherwise, and consent not to wholesome words, even the Words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which is according to godliness; he is proud, knowing nothing." Then he adds to Timothy, "from such withdraw thyself."

(3) In the First Epistle Paul urges Timothy to fight the good fight of faith and to keep the commandments without spot unrebukable concluding with this statement: "O Timothy, keep that which is committed to thy trust, avoiding profane and vain babblings, and opposition of science falsely so called: which some professing have erred concerning the faith."

2. To the young people, we urge that at this hour there is the same tendency which Paul saw in his day. If he urged Timothy to study, "rightly dividing the Word of Truth," and to shun profane and vain babblings, so do we urge you. False teaching still eats as does a canker, and men who err concerning the truth, still overthrow the faith of some.


1. The young man Timothy had entered into a covenant with God. That covenant was sealed the day that the Apostle put his hands upon Timothy's head, when God's gift was imparted to him.

Can we remember the day when we brought ourselves to God and entered into a covenant to serve Him?

2. The Holy Ghost had placed into the young man's keeping both His Word and work. What a solemn tryst was his; and, what a solemn tryst is ours. The Apostle Paul said on another occasion, "I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that He is able to keep that which I have committed unto Him against that day." If God is faithful in keeping His tryst with us, shall we not be faithful in keeping ours with Him? May God grant that that which He has committed to us, may never be maligned by any infidelity upon our part.

3. The Holy Ghost had entered into Timothy to enforce His "keeping" power. Thus it was that Paul said to Timothy that he should keep that which was committed, "by the Holy Ghost which dwelleth in us." If we think that alone, in our own strength and in the energy of our flesh, we will prove faithful we will be certain to fall. We must remember that God who gives us a tryst, imparts unto us the Spirit of God to enable us to keep our tryst.

VI. THE FIRST OF FOUR CALLS (2 Timothy 3:5 , l.c.)

The first call is in our key verse. The Apostle in the Spirit, had described the last days with their perilous times. He had told how men with a form of godliness, but denying His power thereof, would be "lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, * * lovers, of pleasure more than lovers of God": then he added: "from such turn away."

The call of the whole Bible is a call to separation. How can two walk together except they be agreed? How can believers be yoked together with unbelievers? How can righteousness fellowship unrighteousness? What communion is there between light and darkness? What concourse is there between Christ and Belial? Hear the Words of God as they thunder out their command: "Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you."

God has written unto us, "Not to keep company, if any man that is called a brother be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolater, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner; with such an one no not to eat."

Have we, therefore, any right to remain in company and fellowship in a church which houses and succors such people?

God has said: "Have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them." Shall we call Him Lord, and refuse to obey His command?

VII. THREE OTHER SPECIAL CALLS ( 2Ti 3:10 ; 2 Timothy 3:14 ; 2 Timothy 4:5 )

1. The first call. In 2 Timothy 3:6 Paul goes on to describe those who have a form of godliness, and deny its power. He says: "Of this sort are they which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts."

He says that these, like Jannes and Jambres who withstood Moses, also resist the truth; men of corrupt minds, reprobate concerning the faith. Then follow the ringing words: "But thou." Shall Timothy follow with these reprobates, or shall he, who had fully known Paul's doctrine, manner of life, purpose, and faith, follow with Paul?

2. The second call. In 2 Timothy 3:12, Paul says: "All that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution." In 2 Timothy 3:13 he adds: "But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived."

Once more Paul sounds forth the same remarkable word, "but * * thou," and he says: "Watch thou in all things, in spite of increasing darkness, to continue in the things which he had learned, and had been assured of.

Thank God, that from a child Timothy had known the Holy Scriptures, and now he is encouraged by Paul with the statement that all Scripture is given by inspiration of God.

3, The third call. The Apostle goes on to show Timothy that "the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; and they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables."

With these words spoken, once more Paul sounds forth, "but * * thou," and he says: "Watch thou in all things, endure affliction, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry."

If our young people desire God's guiding hand mid the wreckage of present-day apostasy, let them study these admonitions which Paul gave to Timothy and gives to us, and they will know His will.


Some men are afraid of being too religious. What we need today is men who believe down deep in their soul what they profess. The world is tired and sick of sham. Let your whole heart be given up to God's service. Aim high. God wants us all to be His ambassadors. It is a position higher than that of any monarch on earth to be a herald of the Cross; but you must be filled with the Holy Ghost. A great many people are afraid to be filled with the Spirit of God afraid of being called fanatics. Fox said that every Quaker ought to shake the country ten miles around. What does the Scripture say? "One (shall) chase a thousand, and two put ten thousand to flight." It takes about a thousand to chase one now. It takes about a thousand Christians to make one decent one now. Why? Because they are afraid of being too religious. What does this world want today? Men men that are out and out for God and not halfhearted in their allegiance and service. D. L. Moody.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Neighbour, Robert E. "Wells of Living Water Commentary on 2 Timothy 1:18". "Living Water".

Matthew Henry's Complete Commentary on the Bible

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. 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. 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. 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. 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, Judges 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

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain and are a derivative of an electronic edition that is available on the Christian Classics Ethereal Library Website.
Bibliographical Information
Henry, Matthew. "Complete Commentary on 2 Timothy 1:18". "Matthew Henry Complete Commentary on the Whole Bible". 1706.

Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary on the Bible

The apostle mentions the constancy of Onesiphorus; he oft refreshed him with his letters, and counsels, and comforts, and was not ashamed of him. A good man will seek to do good. The day of death and judgment is an awful day. And if we would have mercy then, we must seek for it now of the Lord. The best we can ask, for ourselves or our friends, is, that the Lord will grant that we and they may find mercy of the Lord, when called to pass out of time into eternity, and to appear before the judgment seat of Christ.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain and are a derivative of an electronic edition that is available on the Christian Classics Ethereal Library Website.
Bibliographical Information
Henry, Matthew. "Concise Commentary on 2 Timothy 1:18". "Matthew Henry Concise Commentary

on the Whole Bible". 1706.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

This would incline us to think that Onesiphorus was yet alive. The term mercy he here prays that he may

find of the Lord, is comprehensive of all good, both corporal and spiritual, which he prays God the Father to grant to this good man, to find from the Lord Jesus Christ in that day when he shall come to judge the quick and the dead; for he had not only ministered to the apostle while he was a prisoner at Rome, but many ways at Ephesus, (where probably this Onesiphorus lived), which Timothy, being there, well knew.

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Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on 2 Timothy 1:18". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. 1685.

Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible

SECTION 1.Paul Calls On Timothy To Hold Firm, To Make Full Use Of His God-given Gifts, And Not To Be Ashamed of His Chains, Presenting Before Him The Shining Example Of Onesiphorus (2 Timothy 1:3-18).

What remains of this chapter now forms a chiasmus in thought as follows:

Overall Analysis.

a Paul longs to see Timothy (2 Timothy 1:3-5).

b He reminds him that God has given him, not a Spirit of fear and timidity, but a Spirit of power and love and sound judgment (2 Timothy 1:6-7).

c He calls on him not to be ashamed of him as the Lord’s prisoner (2 Timothy 1:8).

d He outlines the glory of the Gospel (2 Timothy 1:9-10).

e He describes his own status as a preacher and Apostle who is within the Lord’s guardianship (2 Timothy 1:11-12).

d Timothy is to hold firm to the outline of the Gospel that Paul has committed to him, guarding it carefully through the Holy Spirit (2 Timothy 1:13-14).

c While others were, Onesiphorus was not ashamed of his chains (2 Timothy 1:15-16).

b (Having not the Spirit of fear, but the Spirit of power, love and sound judgment), Onesiphorus had diligently sought him out in his prison and had refreshed him

a Paul reveals how his longing for fellowship had been relieved by Onesiphorus’ visit.

We note that in ‘a’ Paul longs to see Timothy, and in the parallel reveals how a similar longing was met by Onesiphorus. In ‘b’ he reminds Timothy of the Spirit of boldness Whom he has received, and in the parallel describes the boldness of Onesiphorus. In ‘c’ he calls on Timothy not to be ashamed of him as the prisoner of the Lord, and in the parallel he describes how Onesiphorus was not ashamed of him. In ‘d’ he outlines the glory of the Gospel, and in the parallel calls on Timothy to hold firm to it and guard it. And centrally in ‘e’ we learn from him why he is the Lord’s prisoner, it is because of the huge privilege that has been given to him.

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Pett, Peter. "Commentary on 2 Timothy 1:18". "Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible ". 2013.

Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible

Disappointments and Encouragements (2 Timothy 1:15-18).

An imprisoned man in those days had to rely on friends and relatives to visit him and supply his needs, and no doubt some faithful members of the church in Rome were performing this function for Paul. And it would presumably be from them that he learned that the Asian leaders, who had presumably come to Rome to meet the leaders of the Roman church, had returned home without seeing him when they learned that he was in prison. When this news reached Paul in his prison cell it must have been devastatingly disappointing. And then as so often happens in Christian service, God compensated him. One day into his cell strode Onesiphorus, another Asian leader, who apologised for not having arrived before and explained that he had been searching for him everywhere. It must have seemed to Paul like a visitant from Heaven. He was not totally deserted after all. Who can measure the joy that must have filled his soul at this unexpected visitor? And Onesiphorus probably never realised how much good his visit had done Paul (or that history would remember him for it).

We must not underestimate the cold bravery and courage of Onesiphorus. To search for a political prisoner in Rome in the suspicious atmosphere of that time was to court an attention that was undesirable, and to be put at risk of arrest and worse. To visit such a prisoner in his cell was even more dangerous. To do it constantly was to court disaster. But neither he nor Luke (2 Timothy 4:11) hesitated for a moment.


a This you know, that all who are in Asia turned away from me, of whom are Phygelus and Hermogenes (2 Timothy 1:15).

b The Lord grant mercy to the house of Onesiphorus, for he often refreshed me, and was not ashamed of my chain (2 Timothy 1:16).

c But, when he was in Rome, he sought me diligently, and found me (2 Timothy 1:17).

b (The Lord grant to him to find mercy of the Lord in that day) (2 Timothy 1:18 a).

a And in how many things he ministered at Ephesus, you know very well (2 Timothy 1:18 b).

Note that in ‘a’ many turned away from him, while in the parallel one faithful friend ministered to him. In ‘b’ he calls for God’s compassion to be revealed towards the household of Onesiphorus, and in the parallel he asks that that mercy will especially be shown ‘in that Day’. Centrally in ‘c’ Paul describes how Onesiphorus sought him out in his prison and found him.

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Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible

‘And in how many things he ministered at Ephesus, you know very well.

And Onesiphorus’ visits also brought back to mind the good days in Ephesus, and how Onesiphorus had been so hospitable and welcoming then, and had done all that he could to meet Paul’s needs. ‘You remember,’ he says to Timothy, ‘what a good friend he was then.’ His visits now had done Paul more good than anyone can know, and it comes out in his words here.

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Arthur Peake's Commentary on the Bible

(c) . A Personal Appeal.The apostle's earlier disappointments form the third ground of appeal. All his Asian friends—perhaps by withholding help in his captivity—had proved disloyal. Timothy must not add further sorrow by failing him now. A parenthesis (2 Timothy 1:16-18) recognises one honourable exception in Asia. Onesiphorus, according to tradition Paul's host at Iconium, had visited his Roman prison and repeated well-known earlier kindnesses. For his household now, and for Onesiphorus (who was perhaps dead) at the last, Paul craves God's mercy.

2 Timothy 1:15. Phygelus, Hermogenes: of these men nothing certain is recorded.

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Peake, Arthur. "Commentary on 2 Timothy 1:18". "Arthur Peake's Commentary on the Bible ". 1919.

Preacher's Complete Homiletical Commentary


2Ti . Turned away from me.—This does not mean that they had departed from the place where he was, but that they had turned away their faces from him.

2Ti . The Lord give mercy.—This expression is not found again in the New Testament. The supposition that Onesiphorus was dead, and that therefore we have here warrant for praying for the dead, seems to overlook that St. Paul does not ask God to show mercy to Onesiphorus alone, but to his house. Surely all were not dead! He oft refreshed me.—The word properly means "to cool again." Like a breath of sweet cool air to a fever-ridden patient, or a draught of spring water to a dust-covered and hot traveller, so had the visits of Onesiphorus been to Paul in his confinement.

2Ti . Very diligently.—Alford translates the comparative form "with more diligence than could have been expected." R.V. says simply "diligently."

2Ti . Hay find mercy.—Apparently a play on words. "He found me; may he find mercy." The best key, perhaps, is to contrast 2Ti 4:16, where the apostle indulges the charitable hope that the fickle friends who deserted him at his sorest need may not have to answer for it. Thou knowest very well.—Lit. "thou knowest it better" (than there is any need to say it).


The Good Man in Trouble—

I. Is pained by the desertion of former friends (2Ti ).—Phygellus and Hermogenes and other Christians of Asia Minor had probably been asked to interest themselves in Paul's case, or to render some service to him; but they refused, and did not even show sympathy with him in his trouble. Some of the Asian brethren had escorted him on his way to Rome as far as Nicopolis; but when he was apprehended in that place, they turned away from him, not willing to risk the perils of being connected with Paul the prisoner. The desertion of a friend is all the more keenly felt when we are in difficulties, and when we recall his former kindnesses.

II. Is cheered by one conspicuous example of proved fidelity (2Ti ).—In contrast with the fickleness of others Paul mentions the devotion and generosity of Onesiphorus, who so far from being ashamed of the prisoner sought him out diligently, and ministered to the apostle's wants in Rome, as he had done before in Ephesus. One friend in adversity is an unspeakable comfort, and the distressed heart clings to him with the greater tenacity. There are times when we are completely thrown back upon the one Friend who is above all others, and who never fails us in our extremity.

III. Breathes a fervent prayer for the man who ministered sympathy and help.—"The Lord give mercy unto the house of Onesiphorus.… The Lord grant unto him that he may find mercy of the Lord in that day" (2Ti ; 2Ti 1:18). On the assumption that Onesiphorus was dead when this prayer was uttered, a fierce controversy has raged round these words in favour of prayers for the dead. If we admit that Onesiphorus was dead, this prayer can mean nothing more than that God will have mercy at the day of judgment on those who have done good to us and others during their life on earth, which is a very different thing from the prayers for the dead which are advocated and practised by a certain school. But it cannot be satisfactorily proved that Onesiphorus was dead at the time these words were written. His household would not retain his name after the master was dead; and we have no example of Paul praying for the dead. God blesses not only the good man himself, but all his household; and it is a natural and appropriate prayer that God would show mercy to those who have shown mercy to us in our sufferings and need.


1. The good are not exempt from trouble.

2. Trouble tests the reality of professed friendship.

3. In his greatest trouble the good man is not utterly forsaken.


2Ti . Onesiphorus.

I. The conduct of Onesiphorus.—

1. He visited the apostle in prison.

2. He refreshed him by his conversation.

3. He made common cause with him.

4. On other occasions he rendered him active service.

II. Requital of Paul.—

1. Grateful remembrance of him in his own heart.

2. Fond mention of him to Timothy.

3. Earnest prayer for him to God.

(1) Look more on the bright than on the dark side of the picture of your lot.

(2) Christianity does not extinguish any of the innocent feelings of human nature, and improves those which are amiable.

(3) Beneficence is a native proof of Christianity, and a leading test, specially in the affluent, of Christian character.

(4) There is a Christian mode of expressing gratitude.

(5) By kindness to Christians we acquire an interest in their prayers.

(6) Deeds of charity are not meritorious in the sight of God.—G. Brooks.

2Ti . St. Paul's Prayer for Onesiphorus.

I. The day the apostle speaks of.—

1. His thoughts were often dwelling on that day.

2. It intimates that that day is a most important one. Other days are important to some, but this will be important to all.

II. His prayer.—

1. Our final salvation in the great day of the Lord will be an act of mercy.

2. We all still need mercy.

3. We all must find mercy.—C. Bradley.

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Exell, Joseph S. "Commentary on 2 Timothy 1:18". Preacher's Complete Homiletical Commentary. Funk & Wagnalls Company, 1892.

Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary

(14) That good thing which was committed unto thee keep by the Holy Ghost which dwelleth in us. (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.

The principal thing to be noticed by us in this paragraph, is in the first verse. And it is indeed, so highly principal and important, that I must beg the Reader's closest attention to it, as among one of the grand and momentous Truths of our most holy faith. May the Lord be my Teacher, while I humbly attempt to speak of it! That good thing which was committed unto thee, keep by the Holy Ghost which dwelleth in us. The first question, which strikes the mind on reading this blessed scripture, (for it is a very blessed scripture,) is, to enquire, what good thing the Apostle means? It cannot be the gift of the Holy Ghost himself, for the Apostle immediately connects with it, that God the Holy Ghost dwelleth in us. Then it will follow, that it is not God the Holy Ghost's Person; but his graces, his gifts, his works, in shedding abroad the love of God the Father in our hearts, as his regenerated creatures; and directing our whole spirits, into the patient waiting upon, and enjoyment of, the Lord Jesus Christ. Reader! do observe the preciousness of this expression, which Paul makes use of, concerning that good thing. It is indeed, the one thing, and the only one needful. It includes God the Father, in our knowledge of his love, and favor, manifested in all his purposes, counsel, will, and pleasure, of his Covenant grace in Christ. And it includes no less, all that belongs to Christ and his Person, Christ and his relations, Christ and his offices, Christ and his salvation. The good thing, committed to the Church in Christ, by the gifts, and workings of the Spirit, includes the whole of this blessedness; for it is Christ in you the hope of glory. So that, God the Spirit first comes to renew the soul, and then fills the soul with his graces. He first inhabits our souls and bodies as his temple, and then gives grace to his inhabitation. He first enters our spirit, for his indwelling residence and then gives that good thing for the spirit to keep, by his Almighty Power, being himself that holiness which becometh his house forever. Oh! what a wonder of grace, in a wonder-working God! See 1 Corinthians 6:18-19. and Commentary.

Reader! are you amazed at the grace of God the Spirit? So Am 1. But our amazement at the greatness of the mercy, doth not render it less true, and sure. According to human reasoning, we should be ready to say: Surely the Holy Ghost, whose name is emphatically Holy, will first cleanse the soul and body; and then inhabit them. How can it be possible to suppose, that a Being, who is of purer eyes, than to behold iniquity, will dwell in a body of pollution? But here, as in numberless other instances, God's thoughts are not our thoughts; neither his ways our ways. Most certain it is, that God the Holy Ghost doth dwell in his people. So Jesus promised he should; yea, He himself so said: and the fact is unquestionable. John 14:17; Ezekiel 36:25-27. And equally certain it is, that our bodies are still bodies of sin, and uncleanness; yea, and continue so, during the whole time-state of the Church upon earth. For though the spirit is quickened, and regenerated; the flesh profiteth nothing. Paul felt, and acknowledged to the last, and every man like Paul, whom God the Holy Ghost hath brought acquainted with the plague of his own heart, will acknowledge the same; that in a man's own flesh, dwelleth no good thing. Romans 7:1. But is it not, by this very process, of God the Spirit's indwelling residence, we are sanctified? Doth not the Lord say: I will sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean; from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you. Ezekiel 36:25. And do we not, in the circumstances of common life, take pure water, to cleanse filthy vessels? Is not the Holy Ghost a Spirit of judgment, and a Spirit of burning? Isaiah 4:4. And will he not, as fire, purely purge our dross, consume all our lusts, and take away all our tin? Isaiah 1:25. Reader! it is very blessed, thus to know God the Holy Ghost, both in his Person, and Godhead, and ministry; and also, in the exercise of his graces, by his indwelling power in our hearts. That good thing, which is thereby committed unto us; we then keep, by the Holy Ghost which dwelleth in us. See Jude 1:20-21.

I do not think it necessary to detain the Reader, with any long observations on the latter part of this paragraph. The departure of the mere professors, which the Apostle speaks of, in Asia, is similar to the departure of all such, in every age of the Church. Nothing short of regeneration, constitutes a child of God. Where this blessed work is wrought, there can be no possibility of departure, so as to fall away finally. 2 Timothy 2:19. And where this is not, there must be an everlasting falling away, and a final separation from God forever. If the Reader will read Hebrews 6:1-8. with Commentary he will soon discover, under the Lord's teaching, the striking difference, between Professor, and Possessor; between the Lord's people, and the profane. It is very possible, that these men, Phygellus, and Hermogenes, were persons who had made more noise than others, in talking about religion. False meteors of the night, shine for a moment, with more glare than the stated planets. But soon go out, in obscure darkness. Oh! what numbers have there been, of such as Phygellus, and Hermogenes, in all ages of the Church! Paul's testimony of Onesiphorus, is short, but sweet. I admire the suitableness of his name which signifies, to bring usefulness. And the Lord made him very useful, to his servant the Apostle. But I add no more.

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Hawker, Robert, D.D. "Commentary on 2 Timothy 1:18". "Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary". 1828.

Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary


WHAT a lovely representation Paul hath given in this Chapter, of the Covenant love, and faithfulness, of God the Father, in the promise of life which is in Christ Jesus! And how sure is it made, in having saved his people before calling them, and then calling them with an holy calling; not of their holiness, or of their works, but his own purpose, and grace. Oh! the faithfulness, and love, of a faithful Covenant God and Father, in Christ Jesus!

And no less blessedly doth Paul speak, of his adorable Lord and Savior. He it is, saith Paul, which hath abolished death, and brought life and immortality to light, through his Gospel. Who then, with such views, can doubt salvation, while knowing whom he hath believed? Who can fear, but in the end, to be everlastingly happy in Christ; while living to Christ, and having communion with Christ; being persuaded, that He is able to keep that which the soul hath committed unto him against that day!

And, with equal joy we behold, how Paul triumphs, in the love, and favor of God the Holy Ghost; (and so may all truly regenerated believers in Christ,) conscious of that good thing, committed to them by his Almighty Power! Blessed be the Father, Son, and Spirit, for these unspeakable mercies! Lord! let my poor soul, never be ashamed of the Lord's testimony; nor of the golden chain, of being Christ's prisoner!

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Hawker, Robert, D.D. "Commentary on 2 Timothy 1:18". "Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary". 1828.

People's New Testament

This thou knowest. The language seems to mean that there had been a large defection in Asia already. Some think that Paul refers to professors of Christ from the province of Asia, then in Rome, who had all deserted him.

Phygellus and Hermogenes. Nothing more than this reference is known of them.

Onesiphorus. How different with this faithful disciple, from the rest of the Asiatics! In spite of Paul's chain, and danger, he often visited and cheered him. Paul was chained to a soldier.

He sought me. Not only was not ashamed, but sought him at great pains and found him.

In that day. The day when he shall be called to meet the Lord.

He ministered to me at Ephesus. He then belonged to Ephesus, had ministered to Paul there, and shown his faithfulness again at Rome. The language seems to imply that these kind deeds were past. Perhaps Onesiphorus had started back home.

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Original work done by Ernie Stefanik. First published online in 1996 at The Restoration Movement Pages.
Bibliographical Information
Johnson, Barton W. "Commentary on 2 Timothy 1:18". "People's New Testament". 1891.

Joseph Benson's Commentary of the Old and New Testaments

2 Timothy 1:15-18. This thou knowest — Of this thou hast received information; that all they which are in Asia — He appears to mean those of Asia who were known to him by a profession of Christianity, and who had attended him at Rome for a while; are turned away from me — And have proved treacherous friends, after all their forward pretences. See on chap. 2 Timothy 4:16. “What! turned away from Paul, the aged, the faithful soldier, and now prisoner of Christ! This was a glorious trial, and wisely reserved for that time when he was on the borders of immortality.” — Wesley. Of whom are Phygellus and Hermogenes — Probably he mentions these two persons as known to Timothy, or as having distinguished themselves by their profession, so that there was great reason to expect a different conduct from them. The Lord give mercy unto the house — Or family; of Onesiphorus — As well as himself; for he oft refreshed me — By his visits and liberalities, both at Ephesus and Rome; see 2 Timothy 1:18; and was not ashamed of my chain — That is, he both owned and relieved me without fear or shame, in this time of my imprisonment. It appears that offices of kindness done to Paul, especially when in distress, made a deep impression on his mind, and filled him with gratitude. When he was in Rome he sought me out — An expression implying that the apostle was in such close confinement that few knew where he was to be found. The Lord grant, &c., that he may find mercy of the Lord — The Lord, in this latter clause, may mean the Lord Jesus; or the words may be a common Hebraism for, May the Lord grant him mercy. By praying first for the family of Onesiphorus, (2 Timothy 1:16,) the apostle intimated that Onesiphorus was at a distance from his family; and then his praying for that good man himself, implies that he was not dead, as the Papists suppose, inferring from this prayer of the apostle the lawfulness of praying for the dead.

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Benson, Joseph. "Commentary on 2 Timothy 1:18". Joseph Benson's Commentary. 1857.

Robertson's Word Pictures in the New Testament

Grant to him to and mercy (δωιη αυτωι ευρειν ελεοςdōiē autōi heurein eleos). Second aorist active optative in wish for the future again as in 2 Timothy 1:16. Find mercy from the Lord (Jesus) as he found me.

Thou knowest very well (βελτιον συ γινωσκειςbeltion su ginōskeis). Literally, “thou knowest better (than I),” for he did those things in Ephesus where thou art. Only N.T. example of βελτιονbeltion in D text of Acts 10:28.

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The Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament. Copyright © Broadman Press 1932,33, Renewal 1960. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Broadman Press (Southern Baptist Sunday School Board)
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Robertson, A.T. "Commentary on 2 Timothy 1:18". "Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament". Broadman Press 1932,33. Renewal 1960.

Schaff's Popular Commentary on the New Testament

2 Timothy 1:18. That he may find mercy from the Lord in that day. On the assumption already mentioned as probable, this would, of course, be a prayer for the dead. The reference to the great day of judgment falls in with this hypothesis. Such prayers were, we know from 2Ma_12:41-45, common among the Jews a century or more before St. Paul’s time, and there is good ground for thinking that they entered into the ritual of every synagogue, and were to be seen in the epitaphs in every Jewish burial-place. From the controversial point of view, this may appear to favour the doctrine and practice of the Church of Rome, but facts are facts apart from their controversial bearing. It is, at any rate, clear that such a simple utterance of hope in prayer, like the Shalom (Peace) of Jewish, and the ‘Requiescat’ or ‘Refrigerium’ of early Christian epitaphs, and the like prayers in early liturgies, though they sanction the natural outpouring of affectionate yearnings, are as far as possible from the full-blown Romish theory of Purgatory. The singular construction, ‘The Lord grant . . . mercy from the Lord,’ suggests the thought that the former is equivalent to ‘God grant as referring to the Father, the latter to the Lord Jesus as the Judge of quick and dead in the great day.

Thou knowest very well. Literally, ‘too well to need to be told.’ The ministrations refer probably to St. Paul’s last visit to Ephesus, where it would seem from 2 Timothy 4:19, Onesiphorus and his family had resided.

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Schaff, Philip. "Commentary on 2 Timothy 1:18". "Schaff's Popular Commentary on the New Testament". 1879-90.

Stanley Derickson - Notes on Selected Books


1. Taking a stand for Christ and His Word. There are some things to learn in this area.

a. We need to take a stand when the situation warrants it. Allowing things to slide will only cause further trouble down the line.

Many of the problems of decline in organizations is the allowance of minor issues to continue. If a minor issue slides by then later, larger issues are a little easier to allow to slide by till all is by and nothing is left to stand for.

Most liberal and doctrinally incorrect organizations and institutions did not just overnight change their spots - it was a slow-moving process of allowing little things to change away from the solid bedrock Word of God.

When on the east coast for orientation we assisted a couple in moving their belongings into a large four story mansion that had been divided into small apartments. The building as well as others was owned by a very liberal missionary organization. They would rent the apartments for a very token amount to missionaries on furlough. To show how liberal the group was the couple we assisted had nuns for next door neighbors.

The organization began many years ago when a group of fundamentalist pastors got together with some businessmen to purchase old seaside mansions that had been allowed to fall into disrepair by wealthy city folks that didn't go to the coast any more. The group would buy, renovate and rent the buildings as a ministry to fundamental missionaries home from the field.

At one point they needed to fill one slot on their board and there were no fundamental men willing to work with them. They took on a man that had some slight liberal leanings. One thing led to another and before all that many years all of the fundamentalists had died off and all had been replaced by liberal people.

A downward spiral always goes down! Allow the first step and you may hit a slippery spot.

b. We need to take a stand - even if it is alone. Others may not, but you must. Don"t look to the support of peers, look to the support of the Lord.

When we left my teaching position, a doctrinal issue was at the basis of it. It normally is not an issue requiring separation, but I had agreed to leave quietly if I ever came to disagree with the policy or practices of the school. The board changed a long-standing policy on divorce/remarriage. I disagreed, so ethically needed to leave. This we did.

Over a year later one of the other faculty members took me aside and confided that when I left he should have gone with me.

I was willing to do what was right - even if I was alone in the decision. This admission, however, was a real encouragement even though it was a year later in coming.

c. We need to take a stand that others may learn. Others will hear of your stand and possibly come to agreement with you on your position. You have assisted another believer in their walk.

2. Ministering beside one that is in the forefront.

One of the privileges I had years ago was to assist a young pastor in the Portland area. He was pastor of a small church and he called me alongside to teach Sunday school class and assist in the ministry. He included me in a lot of his planning, and desires for the church.

We had our doctrinal and practice differences, but we never saw them as divisive - we knew they were there and just went forward anyway.

The result seemed to be a working of the Spirit in the church body. There was physical growth as well as a lot of spiritual growth because we were working together.

We noticed as well that there were areas where we complimented one another's inadequacies - what an honor to be used in that way.

I raise this point, in that, many pastors can"t stand to have an assistant - they will often run an assistant off rather than seek to work together. There are some problems with this that the pastor's deacons or elders fail to deal with. The arrogance of a man running another person off because he does not want to work with him seems obvious. Oft times these assistants are called and hired by the church leadership/congregation, not the pastor.

Having said that I would be quick to suggest that any assistants called be quite well looked at and evaluated by the pastor that is to work with him. There are personality differences, practice difference etc. that need to be similar. However, an assistant should not be rejected just because the pastor does not want an assistant - he also should work through his congregation/leadership if there are personality/practice differences.

3. A little further concerning the thought of a systematizing of the Word of God.

It isn't that God did not organize the Word He delivered to us, but He didn't. It is a compilation of 66 books by a number of different authors over a multitude of years. It is not a clearly understandable document as it stands. Anyone that disputes this statement must require of himself a literal and careful following of the Word as it was set forth in its present format.

This will require a few items of constraint. There will be a number of chronological errors within the Word. There will be some historical errors. I say this based on the fact that there are some books that cover the same materials and if taken strictly chronologically will have the same event occurring in two different places.

I think the untenablness of this line of thought is obvious without going into further considerations.

For the average person reading the Word of God there is a confusion as to how a particular passage relates to the whole. The outlining or systematizing will allow the reader to find how the passage relates to the whole.

I don't know that I would require the thought of systematizing to relate to systematic theology, though this is quite a plausible line to follow - at least there should be the thought of a system of understanding such as Dispensationalism. Admittedly other systems of understanding are around and these "others" allow for plugging in the passages to assist in understanding, but they also point out the need to adopt the correct and Biblical system before doing any plugging.

I also am quick to point out that any system, or outline is based on man's thinking so may well be flawed, but it is a tool to assist the Bible student.

Years ago we ran into a man that had a very well thought through system of belief. He held that we are all eternal, however his eternity related to one of Einstein's theories. He said as you go out into space time slows down and that if you go fast enough you can stop and look back and see yourself coming - in this sense we are eternal beings. Based on this he was trying to discuss the Bible with us and how the Bible related to his system of belief.

It should not surprise you that in about two hours of discussing different issues he buried his head in his hands and declared loudly, "Wait a minute you have me totally confused." Guess our system of belief worked better than his.

Chafer defines systematic theology as "the collecting, scientifically arranging, comparing, exhibiting, and defending of all facts from any and every source concerning God and His Works." Lewis Sperry Chafer; Systematic Theology; I, 6; Dallas Seminary Press; 1947

I like Hodges definition "Systematic Theology has for its object "to systematize the facts of the Bible, and ascertain the principles or general truths which those facts involve" Dr. Charles Hodge; Systematic Theology, I, 18; quoted in Lewis Sperry Chafer; Systematic Theology; I, 6; Dallas Seminary Press; 1947

In short, we are to have an understandable body of beliefs - based on Scripture - that can be shown to others for their consideration and acceptance.

Can you see how important it is to study before teaching - whether it be teaching children, whether teaching adults, whether teaching lost people or teaching believers - all need truth - all need Biblically based information.

One of the great differences between Colleges and Christian colleges has always been that the Christian colleges teach all subjects in the CONTEXT of the Word of God. If a school leaves this one premise they no longer are a Christian college.

4. Just a note about Phygellus and Hermongenes. Did you notice anything of interest in Paul"s comments relating to them, besides the fact that they left him?

It is of note what he didn"t say of them. Of Onesiphorus he gave praise, of Phygellus and Hermongenes he gave nothing - he didn"t bless them, he didn"t give any good comment of them, he only gave of the negative. This relates to how we ought to treat those that wrong us. We need not be magnanimous in how we talk of those that have wronged us, but just give the facts. He did not belabor their wrong either.

I personally feel that we need to warn others of a persons short comings if they are apt to be a problem to others as they have been to us. Not that we are to go looking for opportunity to demean those that have hindered us, but that we should give information to others that might assist them.

Example: When a pastor is approached by a new person/persons seeking membership. Talk with them and find out where they have been attending. Call their former pastor and inquire of their status with his church. Some would call this snooping, but I would call it protecting the sheep. Why would you want to welcome in someone that has been causing problems in another flock?

Take a stand for the solid doctrine you have been taught.

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Copyright 2008. Used by Permission. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopy, recording or otherwise without the prior permission of the author, except as provided by U.S.A. copyright laws. Do feel free to make copies for friends that might be interested as long as you do not make profit from the copies. This is God's work and I don't want anyone to profit from it in a material way.
Bibliographical Information
Derickson, Stanley. "Commentary on 2 Timothy 1:18". "Stanley Derickson - Notes on Selected Books".

Stanley Derickson - Notes on Selected Books

1:17 "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."

He was with Paul at Ephesus and at Rome. Paul was at Ephesus for two years ministering, thus he must have been assisting in some manner.

Another great truth. There may be a big name preacher but you can bet there are many men like Onesiphorus behind them making the big name possible.

Those big names ought not use those under them incorrectly, nor should they become too big on themselves, because they are big due to those behind them and the work that God has given them.

Really big names are not right and proper. It is God that is working behind the scenes in peoples hearts to make a particular ministry move along, thus the name that should be lifted up should be God"s rather than some man that happens to be at the forefront of a given ministry.

Indeed, most of these large ministries falter because the leader begins to think too highly of himself - that he is above the moral code set up by the one he serves.

Copyright Statement
Copyright 2008. Used by Permission. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopy, recording or otherwise without the prior permission of the author, except as provided by U.S.A. copyright laws. Do feel free to make copies for friends that might be interested as long as you do not make profit from the copies. This is God's work and I don't want anyone to profit from it in a material way.
Bibliographical Information
Derickson, Stanley. "Commentary on 2 Timothy 1:18". "Stanley Derickson - Notes on Selected Books".

Spurgeon's Verse Expositions of the Bible

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

Paul takes high ground. He is not an apostle by the will of the Church, but an apostle by the will of God. God’s will is the great motive power in the Church of God. Some talk a great deal about man’s will. What think you of God’s will, the will of the Almighty? Surely that shall stand. Paul felt that he had that at the back of him. “Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God.” Hence he always speaks very boldly. He never asks leave of anybody. If he is an apostle by the will of God, he exercises his office without fear.

2 Timothy 1:2. To Timothy, my dearly beloved son:

Son in the faith. When all the ties of natural descent shall be forgotten. sonship in Christ will continue. I do not doubt that in heaven Timothy is still Paul’s son; Paul is still father to Timothy, for the relation is of the Spirit.

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

I think I have called upon you to notice that when Paul writes to a church, it is “Grace and peace.” Whenever he writes to a minister, it is “Grace, mercy, and peace.” I have sometimes wondered whether we ministers need mercy more than other people, and I suppose that we do, or else the Apostle would not have said, “Grace, mercy, and peace.” Oh! if a minister gets to heaven, it will be a wonder. His responsibilities are so great. “Who is sufficient for these things?” It will be a marvelous display of mercy if any of us shall be able to say at last, “I am clear of the blood of all men”; for we have not only our own blood, but the blood of others to look to in this matter.

2 Timothy 1:3. 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;

For this Paul thanks God. He never forgot to pray for Timothy, and it is a matter of thankfulness. When we feel moved to pray, though it be for another, the spirit of prayer is essentially the same, whatever its object; and we ought to be thankful when we feel continually able to pray for a friend. “I thank God,” says he, and he says that he had served God with a pure conscience all his days. So he had, but it was a blind conscience. At first, when he was a Pharisee, he still served God, though he then persecuted ignorantly the people of God. Oh! but it is a good thing sincerely to follow after God. May we be helped to do so. “I have remembrance of thee in my prayers night and day.”

2 Timothy 1:4. Greatly desiring to see thee, being mindful of thy tears, that I may be filled with joy;

What were those tears? Tears of holy men and women are as precious as diamonds. Paul had noticed the tear twinkling in brother Timothy’s eye — the tear of repentance, the tear of gratitude, the tear of fervent desire. He had noticed that, and, being mindful of all this, he wished to see that dear face again. Christianity does not make us unsociable. It gives us new ties of love, fresh brothers, fresh sons.

2 Timothy 1:5. 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.

Happy son who has grandmother and mother before him in the faith. Unhappy young man who has quitted the faith of his fathers, and has turned altogether aside. If such be here, we would remember them in our prayers, but we cannot say that we can remember them with joy.

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

Stir up your gifts like a fire. It will not burn without poking sometimes. Stir it up. And every now and then it is a good thing to have our heart stirred up, aroused, quickened, brought to a higher diligence. We must try to do this. Perhaps there are some dear friends here who have a large measure of latent gift, dormant faculty. Stir up the gift that is in thee.

2 Timothy 1:7. For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.

Neither Paul, nor Timothy had a craven spirit. They were none of them afraid. God had taught them his truth, and they knew it, and they held it, defying all opposition.

2 Timothy 1:8. Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of the Lord, nor of me his prisoner:

What! were people ashamed of Paul? Oh! yes, dear friends. The great Apostle, because he was persecuted, found himself despised by some of the very people who owed their souls to him. It is the lot of those who are faithful to Christ to find even good men sometimes turning against them. But what of that? They are responsible to their Master, not to their fellow-servants. Yet it is a hard thing when any come to be ashamed of you — ashamed of you, though you know that you have done right. I do not wonder that he puts it even to Timothy, “Be not thou, therefore, ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me, his prisoner.” Some of us know what it is to have trained and brought up these about us, who were to us what Timothy was to Paul, who have been ashamed of us, and of the testimony of our Lord.

2 Timothy 1:8. But be thou partaker of the afflictions of the gospel according to the power of God;

You will want the power of God to do it, and mind you do it. Take your full share in whatever affliction the gospel brings upon Christians. “According to the power of God.”

2 Timothy 1:9. 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,

How plain it is that he earnestly believed in the eternal election of believers — in their being in Christ, and in their possession of grace in Christ. “Grace which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began.” God’s love to his people is not a thing of yesterday. He loved them before the world was made, and he will love them when the world has ceased to be. “It was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began.”

2 Timothy 1:10-12. But is now made manifest by the appearing of our Saviour Jesus Christ, who hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel: Whereunto I am appointed a preacher, and an apostle, and a teacher of the Gentiles. For the which cause I also suffer these things: nevertheless I am not ashamed: for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day.

Paul knew that grace could keep his soul, but I think that he here means that he could keep his own gospel. Paul had kept it, kept the faith, but he committed it now into the hand of the greater One, who would keep it when every apostle was dead, and every faithful witness had passed away. “He is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day.”

2 Timothy 1:13. Hold fast the form of sound words,

Many say they have no creeds, and there is hardly an Epistle in which there is not a distinct mention of a creed.

2 Timothy 1:13. Which thou hast heard of me, in faith and love which is in Christ Jesus.

Hold fast the truth. Hold fast the very form and shape of it. If you are to keep the life that is in an egg, you must not even break the shell. Take care of it all, and take care of it all the more when with specious reasoning they say, “We will hold the same truth, only in a different form.” Why a different form at all, if they do not wish to hold a different doctrine altogether? Nay, my brethren, especially you that are like young Timothy, take this passage to heart. “Hold fast the form of sound words, which thou hast heard of me in faith and love which is in Christ Jesus.”

2 Timothy 1:14. That good thing which was committed unto thee keep by the Holy Ghost which dwelleth in us.

This is what we want. If the Holy Ghost be in us, we shall never trifle with the truth. He is the lover and revealer of truth, and we shall press the doctrines of the Word of God itself nearer and nearer to our hearts in portion as the Holy Spirit dwells in us.

2 Timothy 1:15. This thou knowest, that all they which are in Asia be turned away from me;

What! turned away from Paul? Some people think it is an awful thing because certain people turn away from a minister of Christ. It is not an awful thing at all, except for them. Paul stands fast; even he, the bravest of the brave, and they all turn aside from him. What of that? Does Paul flinch? Nay, not he. “This thou knowest, that all they which are in Asia be turned away from me.”

2 Timothy 1:15. Of whom are Phygellus and Hermogenes.

Two men who ought to have known better. Paul evidently fixed his eye upon them — more bitter than others, more perverse, more cruel, more willfully guilty in turning aside from him.

2 Timothy 1:16-17. 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.

You could not tell in Rome where a prisoner was. The registers were not open to investigation. You had to go from prison to prison, and fee the guards to get admission, or to be told who might be there, and Onesiphorus was determined to find out Paul. I suppose that he went to the Mamertine, a dungeon in which some of us have been — one dungeon under the bottom of another. The first one has no light, except through a round hole at the top, and the second has a round hole through which you drop into the lower one. We think that Paul was there. And then there is the Palatine prison, which was at the guard-house of the Praetorian guards, near the palace on the Palatine Hill. There Paul certainly was, and Onesiphorus went from one jail to another. “Have you seen a little Jew with weak eye?” I daresay that was his description of him. “He is a friend of mine. I want to speak with him.” “What! that Paul? — the man that is chained to one or another of us every morning? We have twelve hours of it, and he preaches to us most of the time.” “Oh! that is the man,” said Onesiphorus. “That is the man. Does he talk about Jesus Christ?” “Oh! nothing else but that. He will not let any soldier go from being bound to him without hearing about Jesus Christ.” “That is my man,” said Onesiphorus. He sought him out very diligently, and he found him.

2 Timothy 1:18. 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.

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Spurgeon, Charle Haddon. "Commentary on 2 Timothy 1:18". "Spurgeon's Verse Expositions of the Bible". 2011.

The Biblical Illustrator

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Exell, Joseph S. "Commentary on "2 Timothy 1:18". The Biblical Illustrator. 1905-1909. New York.

The Biblical Illustrator

2 Timothy 1:18

The Lord grant unto him that he may find mercy of the Lord in that day.

St. Paul’s prayer for Onesiphorus

I. Mercy is a word we are often using, especially in our prayers. But there are some of us, perhaps, who have no very clear ideas of what mercy is. I must remind you again, that it is not mere kindness or goodness. To ask God to show us mercy is not simply to ask God to do us good. Such a petition includes in it a confession of our wretchedness and our guiltiness; for observe, misery is the proper object of mercy. Mercy, in the strict sense of the word, is kindness exercised towards the wretched; but then there is another use of the term and a more common one. Because our guilt is our greatest misery, mercy often signifies in Scripture pity shown to the guilty; in other words the forgiveness of our sins. In some respects mercy resembles goodness. It is indeed the very same thing, only its object is different. God is good to all, and always has been so; but He was never merciful, till misery appeared needing His compassion. He is good in heaven; every angel there feels and proclaims Him such: but there is no mercy in heaven, for there is no guilt there or wretchedness. And then again mercy is closely allied to grace. If it differs from it at all, it is in this--when we speak of grace, we have respect chiefly to the motive of the giver; when of mercy, to the condition or character of the receiver. Look at God, and then we call mercy grace; look at a man, poor, abject, guilty man, and then we call grace mercy. You see, then, that mercy is the perfection of the Divine goodness. It is that branch or exercise of it, which goes the farthest and does the most. It is goodness blessing us when we merit cursing, and saving us when we are well-nigh lost. Hence, God is said in the Scripture to “delight in mercy.” His goodness can expand itself in it. He finds in it the freest scope, the largest indulgence, of His benevolence. It is not merely the work, it is the enjoyment, the feast and triumph, of His love. And you see also here another fact, that no man can ever deserve mercy. We often put these two words together, but we ought not to do so; there is a positive contradiction between them. Mercy is grace. It is kindness towards one who has no claim whatever to kindness and is totally undeserving of it.

II. Let us pass on now to the day the apostle speaks of. And observe--he does not describe this day; he does not even tell us what day he means: but there is no misunderstanding him: he means the last great day, the day when God will raise the dead and judge the world.

1. The apostle’s thoughts were often dwelling on this day; it was a day very frequently in his contemplation. His mind had evidently become familiar with the prospect of it, and so familiar, that he could not help speaking of it as he would of any well-known and much thought of thing. And so it seems really to have been in the early ages of the Christian Church. We put the day of judgment far from us; we regard it as a day that will certainly come, but after so great an interval of time, that the thought of it need not press on us; but not so the first believers. Their minds were fastened on this day. They “looked for” it; that is, they were like men looking out anxiously in the east for the first dawn of some long wished for day, like men climbing the lofty mountain to get the first sight of the rising sun on some festal morning. They “hastened unto” it; that is again, they would have met it if they could. But there is something else implied in this expression.

2. It intimates also that this day is a most important one. There is the idea of pre-eminence contained in his language. We feel as soon as we begin to think, that we cannot estimate as we ought the importance of this day. It will affect every body and every thing on the face of the earth, and to the greatest possible extent. Other days are important to some, but this wilt be important to all.

III. Turn now to his prayer. He brings together in it, you observe, the mercy and the day we have been considering. We cannot enter into the spirit of this prayer, unless we keep in mind throughout the character of this Onesiphorus. He was evidently a real Christian. And these kind offices, we may fairly presume, he rendered to the apostle for his Master’s sake. This kindness under such trying circumstances, this steadfastness and boldness in the face of shame and danger, were the fruits of his faith in Jesus. They are evidences that he was not only a sincere believer in the gospel, but a man of extraordinary faith and love. The inference, then, that we draw from this prayer is this obvious one--our final salvation, the deliverance of even the best of men in the great day of the Lord, will be aa act of mercy. It is sometimes spoken of as an act of justice, and such it really is, if we view it in reference to the Lord Jesus. Before he made His soul an offering for sin, it was promised Him that this stupendous sacrifice should not be made in vain. And the Scripture speaks of our salvation as a righteous thing in another sense--the Lord Jesus has led His people to expect it. But look to the text. The apostle implores in it mercy in that day for his godly friend; and what does he mean? If he means anything, he means this--that after all it must be mercy, free and abounding mercy, that must save that friend, if he is ever saved. He can talk of justice and of righteousness as he looks at his Master on His throne, and remembers what He has done and promised; but when he looks on a fellow-sinner, he loses sight of justice altogether, and can speak of mercy only. And observe, too, how this is said. It is not cold language. It is language coming warm from a most tender and deeply grateful heart. The good works of this man were all before Paul at this time--his boldness in Christ’s cause, his steadfastness, his kindness; the apostle’s mind was evidently filled with admiration of him, and his heart glowing with love towards him; yet what in this ardour of feeling does he say? The Lord recompense him after his works? No; he sees in this devoted Christian of Ephesus a miserable sinner like himself, one going soon to Christ’s judgment-seat, and his only prayer for him is, that he may find mercy there.

1. We all still need mercy. There is a notion that a sinner once pardoned, has done with this blessed thing; that he may cease to seek it, and almost cease to think of it. It is error, and gross error. We can never have done with mercy As long as we are in the way to heaven; or rather, mercy will never have done with us. And notice also this remarkable fact--in all his other epistles, the salutation of this apostle to his friends is, “Grace unto you and peace”; but when he writes to Timothy and Tiros, men like himself, faithful and beloved, eminent in Christ’s Church, he alters this salutation. As though to force on our minds the point I am urging--A conviction that the holiest of men still need God’s mercy--he adds this word “mercy” to the other two. In each of these epistles his salutation runs, “Grace, mercy, and peace.” (C. Bradley, M. A.)

Paul’s prayer for his friend

To the Christian mind the painful feelings occasioned by the recollection of violated friendship become unspeakably more poignant and intense, when we discover that the claims of friendship and the obligations of religion have been cast off together--that he whom we loved has made shipwreck at once of his faith and of his affection--of his duty to his God and to his friend. An affecting instance of this kind is recorded at the fifteenth verse of the chapter. Was it wonderful, therefore, that from the cold, cruel, and treacherous conduct of these men, he should turn with such a glow of kind and grateful emotion to the faithful and affectionate Onesiphorus?

I. There is a day coming, which, from its transcendent importance, merits the emphatic designation of “that day.” And does not this day deserve the emphatic mention which is here made of it? Compared with every other period in the history of the universe, does it not stand out in unparalleled importance? There are days in the life of every one which, from the event s that transpire in them, are invested with great and merited importance to the individual himself--such as the day of his birth, and of his death. But there is something in the day of final and universal retribution that sinks into obscurity any other eventful period in the history of man. The day of our birth introduces us into a scene empty and shadowy, both in its joys and sorrows, and proverbially brief and transitory in its duration; that day ushers us into a state of being, in which we shall be conversant no more with the dreams only, but with the living realities of perfect felicity or woe, and conversant with them through a duration endless as the reign of the Eternal itself. The day of our death is chiefly interesting to ourselves, and to the little circle who have been connected with us by the ties of kindred or love; the day of judgment is supremely interesting to any rational being who has lived and breathed on the face of our world--A day when the eternal destiny of the whole human race shall be determined with unparalleled publicity and solemnity. How important are those days, in the opinion of men, which have witnessed the fall or the rise of empires. How important was the day that dawned on the tribes of Israel marching from under the yoke of their Egyptian bondage--A day that ever afterwards was held sacred to commemorate their deliverance! How eventful that day that rose on the fall of the Assyrian monarchy, and beheld the empire of the East pass from Belshazzar and his impious race into the hands of the mild and virtuous Cyrus! How painfully memorable, at least to the nation immediately concerned, was the day that beheld the final destruction of Jerusalem, and the rejection and dispersion of its devoted race! How important to these lands of our nativity, and how worthy to be held in grateful remembrance, that day which witnessed the consummation of the glorious struggle that terminated in the vindication and establishment of our civil and religious liberties! But do you not feel that all these days, whether of transient or permanent importance, are so utterly insignificant, when viewed in relation to that day, that the comparison involves in it a kind of incongruity, and is truly a lowering of the awful dignity of the subject? There are but two periods in the history of the world that can be consistently compared, in point of importance to men, with that day--the day that dawned on the creation of our race, which was hailed by the sweet acclaim of the angelic hosts and the day that shone on the birth of the Son of God. In every aspect in which we can view them, these were days big with consequence to the human family; but they were only the introductory scenes to the consummation of the mightiest drama that ever was, or will be, performed on the theatre of the world.

II. On that day the mercy of the lord will de regarded by all as unspeakably precious. The mercy of the Lord is, in this world, regarded in a very different light by the various classes of men, if we may judge of their sentiments and opinions from their uniform practice. The great mass of mankind demonstrate by their conduct that, whatever may be their occasional fears and desires, the prevailing habit of their mind is an utter indifference either to the mercy or vengeance of God. But there are a few who are honourably distinguished by different sentiments, who avow it as their opinion, and evince their sincerity by a corresponding practice, that they esteem everything under heaven as utter vanity compared with the mercy of the Lord. And they who have practically esteemed the mercy of the Lord so highly in this world, will value it the more at that terrible day. With all their successful efforts, by the grace of God, to prepare their souls to meet the Lord in peace, and to be found without spot and blameless at His coming, they will impressively feel themselves still to be the objects of His mercy. Yes, and at that day Paul and his fellow-believers will not be singular in prizing the mercy of the Lord. Much as sinners have despised the mercy of the Lord here, they will then despise it no more.

III. In the mind of a Christian, that day possesses tremendous consequence, and towards it his eye is habitually directed. Such consequence did this day possess in St. Paul’s view, that the importance of everything on earth was estimated by its remote or immediate relation to it. Did he, from the hour of his conversion, despise all distinctions of wealth and honour when brought into competition with the knowledge of Christ? It was, that by any means he might attain to a blessed resurrection on that day. Did he practise the most painful and persevering self-denial; or, to use his own words, did he keep under his body and bring it into subjection? It was, that he might not be found disapproved on that day. Was he not ashamed of the sufferings he endured for the gospel? It was because he knew in whom he had believed, and was persuaded that He was able to keep that which He had committed unto him against that day. Did he labour in season and out of season, warning every man, and teaching every man? It was that he might present every man perfect in Christ on that day. Did he muse on the number and steadfastness of his converts? He thought of them as his hope and joy and crown of rejoicing in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at His coining at that day. Did he engage in prayer for his converts? It was that the Lord might make them to increase and abound in love, to the end that He might establish their hearts unblameable in holiness at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, with all His saints, on that day.

IV. Enlightened Christian affection is especially solicitous about the eternal well being of its objects. Deeply did the grateful and generous heart of Paul feel the kindness of Onesiphorus. There is no doubt he loved him before as a disciple, and very likely as a personal friend; but his conduct, when he visited Rome, awakened still deeper emotions of gratitude and affection towards him in the bosom of the apostle. And how did he express this sense of the kindness of Onesiphorus? Did he employ all his influence to improve the temporal fortune of his benefactor? Did he request his noble converts in the palace--for some such there were of the emperor’s household--to exert their power to procure for Onesiphorus some post of honour and emolument in the civil or military establishment of Rome? Or did he write to the Ephesian Church, to which this person probably belonged, enjoining them to prepare some temporal reward, to be given to their deserving countryman for his kindness to himself? No; Paul attached too much importance to the solemnities of the last day and its immediate consequences; he was too much influenced by the scenes of the world to come, to ask for his beloved comforter so poor, so miserable a recompense. He loved him too well to solicit for him a fading, when he might ask for him an unfading crown. He knew too well the worth of his soul, the importance of an eternal well-being, to overlook these for the trifles for an hour, in his desire to reward him.

V. Genuine saints have it ever in their power to reward their benefactors. Looking at Paul as a poor despised prisoner in Rome, accused before the emperor of heresy and sedition, befriended by none but by a proscribed and despised sect, which was everywhere spoken against, with all the prejudice of the emperor, and the influence of the Jewish nation strenuously exerted against him--looking at Paul in this light one would speedily conclude, on the principles of the world, that he was a very unlikely person richly to reward his benefactors. But ten thousand times rather would I have laid this poor and apparently helpless captive under obligations to me by kindness to him, than have merited, by the most splendid civil or military services, the gratitude and reward of him who wore the imperial purple. What could Nero, even with a world at his nod, have conferred upon me? He might have lavished upon me all the favours of the imperial court. He might have made me the idol of fortune, and the envy of the proudest of the Roman nobility. He might have given me the conduct of the most honourable expeditions. He might have invested me with the command of the richest of the provinces. Paul had no imperial power or influence; he had even no imperial favour; but he was a favourite in a higher court, where he was every day, almost every hour, an acceptable visitant. He was one of those whose effectual fervent prayer reached the heavenly temple, and, through the channel of the atonement, drew down eternal blessings on his soul, and on the souls of those for whom he interceded. In conclusion, there is one inference very naturally suggested by the last remarks: If these statements are true, how wise it is, setting aside the pure love of benevolence altogether, to be kind to the people of God, especially to the pious poor! (J. Mc Gilchrist.)

Mercy in that day

I. That there is a day coming, in which to find mercy of the Lord, will be our only consolation and security.

1. The day here meant is the day so frequently mentioned in Scripture; and in which we are all most deeply concerned. It is described by many different names, as “the Day of Judgment,” “the Day of the Lord,” “the Last Day,” “the Day of Wrath,” “the Day in which God will judge the world.” In that day, then, what will be our only consolation and security? The text reminds us, “To find mercy of the Lord.” Mercy is another word for grace. It is an act of free and unmerited favour. Men sometimes say that such a person deserves to have mercy shown to him! But this is a very incorrect and careless way of speaking. A man can never deserve mercy. There may be some circumstances in his case, which may make him more particularly an object of compassion. When a criminal by his offence has forfeited his life, and is condemned to die; the king, from pity to the offender, or from some other consideration best known to himself, may grant a pardon and remit the sentence. Here is mercy, an act of free, unmerited grace to the undeserving and the guilty. But to say that there could be anything in the criminal which gave him a claim to mercy, would be to talk absurdly. The very idea, then, of mercy naturally shuts out all idea of merit. These two things are totally contrary to each other, and can never exist together. It is to be feared that many, when they talk of hoping to find mercy, mean in fact to say that they hope to find justice in that day; and that their hopes of being favourably received then are built not on God’s free mercy, but on their own merits, and on their secret claims to reward.

II. That there will be some who in that day will not find mercy of the Lord. St. Paul, when he prays that Onesiphorus may find mercy in that day, clearly intimates it to be possible that he may not find it. And if it were not certain that Onesiphorus would find it, it is not certain that others will find it. Indeed, the Scriptures plainly tell us that all will not find it. We are expressly told that in that day some will say, “Lord, Lord, open to us”; to whom He will say, “Verily, I know you not.” Let us see what the Scriptures teach us concerning those who will find mercy of the Lord in that day.

1. They are now seeking mercy, and seeking it in that one way, in which alone God has promised to bestow it.

2. They are duly affected and properly influenced by the views and hopes which they have of the rich mercy of God in Christ. There is a sad propensity in man to abuse the Divine mercy, and to take occasion, from this most glorious perfection of the Almighty, to run the farther and continue the longer in sin. How differently did a sense of God’s mercy work on the pious David! Hear what he says, “O Lord, there is forgiveness with Thee, that Thou mayest be feared.” He felt that the goodness of God led him to repentance. The rich mercy of the Lord, far from hardening his heart, softened and overcame it. (E. Cooper.)

Mercy in that day

Let us consider the language of the text as showing that the exercise of mercy towards us, especially in the proceedings of the final day, is an object of highest desire and hope.

1. The very nature of the occasion shows it to be so: the day of the end of the world. This will differ from all other days. On numbers of the days that are past, our eyes were never opened; they appeared to our forefathers, but fled away ere we had our being; while the days which we behold, they do not witness, for the darkness of death and the grave overshadows them. Thus different in their importance, ordinary days may be to different persons. The day of one man’s prosperity may be the day of another man’s adversity. For ancient days we are not responsible, and yet those days were concerned in the accountability of millions who have no concern with our own. But the day referred to in the text will be common to all the sons of Adam. If, then, we consider the period which it occupies, both as to what it follows and what it precedes, how manifest the need of mercy at that day. What recollections of time, what apprehensions of eternity will fill the mind!

2. As it will be the period when God will display the effects of His probationary dispensations, the worth of mercy will then particularly appear. Such effects will be strictly discriminative of character and condition. Events will have reached their issues; moral consequences will be brought together in vast accumulation, and will bear with all their weight upon the mind. Fruits will be reaped in kind and in degree, according to what we have sown. And while these effects will be so concentrated at that day, they will also be looked upon in their character of perpetuity.

3. As it will be the period when the Lord will reward His servants for all they have done in His name, the apostle could entreat mercy for his friend at that day.

4. It is also to be observed that the importance of an interest in Divine mercy at that day appears in the fact that if it be not then enjoyed the hope of it can be cherished no more. (Essex Remembrancer.)

Mercy in “that day”

I. Whence arises our need of mercy?

1. Our need of mercy arises from our guilt, for mercy is kindness or favour shown to those who are undeserving of it. Our guilt arises from our personal disobedience to the Divine law. We inherit a depraved nature, but it is not for this that God holds us responsible. We are responsible not for what we have inherited, but for what we have done, and therefore it is not by our depraved nature but by our actions we shall be judged.

2. Guilt exposes to the retributive justice of God. There is always the feeling that sin deserves punishment at the hands of God. We know indeed from Scripture that it does so. Nothing could be plainer or more solemn than its statements, than the sinner is even now under the curse of the law which he has broken, and that hereafter he will come under a righteous retribution. But it is not to Scripture that I would now appeal. A man who has violated the laws of his country knows that he deserves to suffer their penalties. It is right, he says, I have sinned, and must bear the punishment. So the sinner against God feels that he deserves to be condemned, and that if God’s justice were to deal with him he could not escape. From this indissoluble connection between sin and punishment arises our need of mercy. Therefore it is, that the prayer of the publican is the universal prayer of poor, sinful, and perishing humanity. Therefore it is, that in the presence of God’s holiness, or confronted with His law, or in the near prospect of an eternal world, we shrink back appalled at the consciousness of our guilt.

II. Whether it is possible to obtain mercy? This is a question of grave importance; easily answered with the Bible in our hands, but, apart from it, filling us with strange perplexity.

1. Without a Divine revelation, we do not know that God is merciful at all. Granting that there is much to excite our hopes, there is as much to awaken our fears. We are ready to say, “God is good--His tender mercies are over all.” But when the pestilence is abroad in the city, and the tempest in the field--when the rivers overflow their banks, and the mildew blights the precious fruits of the earth--when the crimson tide of war rolls through a land--when men’s faces are black with famine--when the sea is strewn with wrecks--then we are filled with alarm, and say, “When I consider, I am afraid of Him.” Think again: What are the conceptions which have been formed of God by those who are destitute of revelation? One of the best and wisest of the heathen doubted whether it was possible for “God to forgive sin.” The sceptre of the Supreme God was a thunder-bolt--He was cruel, harsh and vindictive Again: When we reflect on the nature of moral government, we perceive serious difficulties in the way of the exercise of mercy. Certainly this is not the end of government. The great object for which it exists is the administration of justice; that it may “render to every man according to his works.” If mercy, not justice, be its ruling principle, it is not easy to understand why it should exist at all. The highest praise that can be given to an earthly ruler is, that he is “the terror of evil-doers and the praise of them that do well.” Now apply this to the Divine government. Why does it exist?--whence its language and its laws? Is it not for the maintenance of order?--for the well-being of the creatures whom God has made? And, as far as we have an opportunity of observing, are not the laws of this government strictly carried out--in every case, sooner or later, exacting penalties from the disobedient? If you violate a physical law, there is no mercy for you.

2. But when we turn to the Scriptures, the subject is presented before us in a different light.

III. Why is it that at the day of judgment we shall especially require the exercise of mercy? It is the day that will terminate this world’s history. Whenever it dawns, time will cease, the world will be burnt up, the heavens will pass away, there will be “no more sea.” Wonderful was the day of creation, when God called things that were not as though they were, and His Spirit moved over the chaos, and light dawned, and the earth appeared. But more wonderful still will be that day when the purpose for which the world has been created shall have been accomplished, and, like a faded vesture, it shall be folded up. Then the world’s history will end--its sad tragedies of sorrow, its scenes of suffering; and its works of nature, its wonders of art, the monuments of God’s power, the trophies of man’s skill, shall pass away.

1. Its absolute certainty.

2. Its scrutiny will be so strict. God will set our iniquities before Him--our secret sins in the light of His countenance. And that which we had forgotten shall be remembered; that which appeared to us but trivial shall assume a magnitude which will fill us with profound alarm; that which we supposed none had witnessed shall be proclaimed.

3. The award will be just and final.

4. It will come unexpectedly. All the representations given of the judgment-day describe it as a sudden and unlooked-for event. But what shall we say of the worldly, the ungodly, the profane? What sudden, destruction will overtake them! Where Pompeii was disinterred, there was discovered in the buried city the remains of those who still preserved the very attitude in which death had overtaken them. There was a skeleton before a mirror, another behind a counter; in the theatre, in the forum, in the temples, at a banquet, in every attitude and position they were found. It was the work of a moment, the burning lava fell, and they died. You are looking forward to many years of life, but the Judge may even now be standing at the door. Who then will find mercy? Those who have sought it and found it now--those who have confessed and forsaken sin--those who humbly rest on the merits of the Saviour’s sacrifice. (H. J. Gamble.)

Paul’s good wish on behalf of Onesiphorus

I. Men are all advancing towards a solemn and momentous period.

II. At that period men will stand in need of mercy. When the apostle expresses a wish that his friend may receive mercy, it must be evident to every one that of course he needs it--that without its communication it is impossible that he can be happy. Another inference to be dragon from this principle is, that, in consequence of this transgression by which we are characterised, we are, of course, in danger of punishment by that great Almighty Being whom, in this manner, we have offended. But now, you must at once perceive the whole force of the statement from which these particulars have been deduced. For the purpose of escaping the condemnation of the last great day, there must be a communication of the mercy of the Lord.

III. The mercy of God is diligently to be sought in the present world.

1. A portion in the provision of Divine grace ought to be sought by you as a matter of intense and impassioned desire.

2. A portion in the full provision of Divine grace should be sought in the spirit of fervent and importunate prayer. We must remark--

IV. To receive mercy is to possess the enjoyment of a vast and incalculable blessing. I scarcely dare venture for a single moment to occupy your time by attempting to describe the blessed consequences of having the Judge for your friend on that day of eternal retribution, feeling, as I do, that the grandeur of the property may appear diminished by the feebleness of the description.

V. Those who have the hope of mercy should desire its participation by others. It has already been observed, that the prayer of the apostle is that peculiar form of prayer which is known by the name of intercession. Here is a beautiful example of that spirit which we, as the possessors and heirs of mercy, should cultivate towards those in whom we feel an interest. (James Parsons.)

Mercy in the day of judgment

I. “that day.” Its date is not given. It would but gratify curiosity. Its length is not specified. It will be long enough for the deliberate judgment of all men. Its coming will be solemnly proclaimed. Ushered in with pomp of angels, sound of trumpet, etc., none will be ignorant of it. Its glory, the revelation of Jesus from heaven upon the throne of judgment this will make it most memorable. Its event, the assembly of quick and dead, and the last assize. Its character, excitement of joy or terror. Its personal interest to each one of us will be paramount.

II. The mercy. To arouse us, let us think of those who will find no mercy of the Lord in that day:--Those who had no mercy on others. Those who lived and died impenitent. Those who neglected salvation. How shall they escape? Those who said they needed no mercy: the self-righteous. Those who sought no mercy: procrastinators, and the indifferent. Those who scoffed at Christ, and refused the gospel. Those who sold their Lord, and apostatised from Him. Those who made a false and hypocritical profession.

III. To-Day. Remember that now is the accepted time; for you are not yet standing at the judgment bar. You are yet where prayer is heard. You are where faith will save all who exercise it towards Christ. You are where the Spirit strives. You are where sin may be forgiven, at once, and for ever. You are where grace reigns, even though sin abounds. Today is the day of grace; to-morrow may be a day of another sort, for you at least, and possibly for all mankind. The Judge is at the door. Seek mercy immediately, that mercy may be yours for ever. (C. H. Spurgeon.)

Going to receive mercy

When Thomas Hooker was dying, one said to him, “Brother, you are going to receive the reward of your labors.” He humbly replied, “Brother, I am going to receive mercy.”

The Christian manner of expressing gratitude

The enemies of Christianity, while stating its supposed defects, have asserted that it recognises neither patriotism nor friendship as virtues; that it discountenances, or at least does not encourage, the exercise of gratitude to human benefactors; and that its spirit is unfriendly to many of the finer feelings and sensibilities of our nature. But these assertions prove only that those who make them are unacquainted with the religion, which they blindly assail. Nothing more is necessary to show that they are groundless than a reference to the character of St. Paul. We readily admit, however, or rather we assert it as an important truth, that his religion, though it extinguished none of these feelings, modified them all. It infused into them its own spirit, regulated their exercises and expressions by its own views, and thus stamped upon them a new and distinctive character. It baptized them, if I may be allowed the expression, with the Holy Ghost, in the name of Jesus Christ. Hence, the apostle expressed neither his patriotism, nor his friendship, nor his gratitude, precisely as he would have done, before his conversion to Christianity. These remarks, so far at least as they relate to gratitude, are illustrated and verified by the passage before us, in which he expresses his sense of obligation to a human benefactor. He did not idolise his benefactor; he did not load him with flattering applauses; but from the fulness of his heart he poured out a prayer for him to that God who alone could reward him as the apostle wished him to be rewarded. It is more than possible, that to some persons this mode of expressing gratitude will appear frigid, unmeaning, and unsatisfactory. They will regard it as a very cheap and easy method of requiting a benefactor; and were the case their own, they would probably prefer a small pecuniary recompense, or an honorary reward, to all the prayers which even an apostle could offer on their behalf. It is certain, however, that such persons estimate the value of objects very erroneously, and that their religious views and feelings differ very widely from those which were entertained by St. Paul. But what is the precise import of the petition--that he might then find mercy--and what did it imply? To pray that any one may find mercy of him at the judgment day, is to pray that he may then be pardoned, or saved from deserved punishment, and accepted and treated as if he were righteous. St. Paul, when he prayed that Onesiphorus might find mercy of his Judge at that day, must then have believed, that he would at that day need mercy or pardon. And if so, he must have believed that, in the sight of God, he was guilty; for by the guilty alone can pardoning mercy be needed. The innocent need nothing but justice. A distinguished modern philosopher, Adam Smith, well known by his celebrated treatise on the Wealth of Nations, has some remarks relative to this subject, which are so just and apposite, that you will readily excuse me for quoting them. “Man,” says this writer, “when about to appear before a being of infinite perfection, can feel but little confidence in his own merit, or in the imperfect propriety of his own conduct. To such a being he can scarce imagine that his littleness and weakness should ever seem to be the proper object either of esteem or regard. But he can easily conceive how the numberless violations of duty of which lie has been guilty should render him the object of aversion and punishment; nor can he see any reason why the Divine indignation should not he let loose without any restraint upon so vile an insect as he is sensible that he himself must appear to be. If he would still hope for happiness he is conscious that he cannot demand it from the justice, but that he must entreat it from the mercy of God. Repentance, sorrow, humiliation, contrition at the thought of his past conduct, are, upon this account, the sentiments which become him, and seem to be the only means which he has left of appeasing that wrath which he has justly provoked. He even distrusts the efficacy of all these, and naturally fears, lest the wisdom of God should not, like the weakness of man, be prevailed upon to spare the crime by the most importunate lamentations of the criminal. Some other intercession, some other sacrifice, some other atonement, he imagines, must be made for him, beyond what he himself is capable of making, before the purity of the Divine justice can be reconciled to his manifold offences.” It may perhaps be said, if the apostle’s views were such as have now been described, if he believed that justice must pronounce a sentence of condemnation on all without exception, on what could he found a hope that either himself, or his benefactor, or any other man, will find mercy of the Lord at that day? These questions are perfectly reasonable and proper, and it would be impossible to answer them in such a manner as to justify the apostle, were not a satisfactory answer furnished by the gospel of Jesus Christ. That gospel reveals to us a glorious plan, devised by infinite wisdom, in which the apparently conflicting claims of justice and mercy are perfectly reconciled. (E. Payson, D. D.)

Remember the reckoning day

What shall we think of such who never mind this day? Verily, they are much affected with earthly pleasures and profits, and have little regard of the greatest good. Many men in the inn of this world are like the swaggerers and prodigals in a tavern, who call freely, eat and drink, laugh and are fat, but never mind either the reckoning or the time of harvest; for they have sown no good seed, neither have wherewith to dis charge the shot: therefore suffer these things willingly to slip and absent them selves out from their minds, because they have or can expect no commodity by either. But the faithful man is of a contrary mind; for he is sparing in expense, and hath scattered much good grain, the which will bring a goodly crop at his Master’s appearing, the great day of reaping, both of which cause him often to look upward. (J. Barlow, D. D.)

Mercy on the judgment day

I. An important season. “That day.” The day is that which is elsewhere called “the last day,” because then the end of this world’s history, as a place of trial at least, will be come; it is called also “the great day,” because then scenes unparalleled before in grandeur will be unfolded, and affairs that have never been surpassed in magnitude will be transacted--such scenes and affairs as will throw into the shade the most splendid spectacles and momentous transactions of time.

II. An important blessing. For a man to find mercy even now, amid the trials and changes and imperfections of this present life, is to be truly blessed. It is to have guaranteed to him all that is included in eternal life--that gift of God--that munificent donation of infinite mercy. Nor will the largess be diminished, or the security invalidated, on the day of judgment.

1. There are many considerations besides which go to illustrate the high importance and exceeding desirableness of mercy on that day; and one of these is, that it will then be felt to be peculiarly needful.

2. Another consideration, tending to enhance the value of the blessing, is that it will not be shared in by all. This is obviously implied in the apostle’s intercessory petition. If the mariner who is saved from the wreck, when all his shipmates are lost, estimates his preservation more highly than he who has returned to the desired haven with them all in safety, must it not seem a glorious benefit to appear as “vessels of mercy prepared unto glory,” when many fellow-sinners are found to be “vessels of wrath fitted to destruction”?

3. Another consideration still, which may well exalt the blessing in our eyes, is that if mercy be not found then, it will never be found.

4. And yet another circumstance which magnifies the value of the blessing is, that the condition of those by whom mercy shall not then be found will be pre-eminently wretched. Not to find mercy on that day is to be undone, altogether and eternally undone.


1. If mercy is to be found at last, it must be sought now.

2. Again, if mercy is to be found at all, it must be sought through the mediation of Christ.

3. And, in fine, if mercy is to be found of the Lord, it must be sought in His service. (D. Davidson.)

The requited of friendship

Paul was the friend of Onesiphorus, and how did he manifest his friendship? In carcerated and enchained, poor and destitute, he could not requite, in kind, his benefactor’s generosity. But another mode of expressing friendship was left him, and as he was shut up to it by circumstances, so he turned to it with fondness. As the waters of a spring, when prevented from flowing forth in their natural channel, mount forcibly up towards heaven--as the portion that is prevented, by exhalation, from diffusing fertility along the course of the stream, descends afterwards in fertilising showers; so the emotions of his overflowing heart, being pent up in one direction by the tyranny of man, ascended in devout aspiration to God, and though seeming to vanish in the vapour of fruitless wishes, entailed the communication of invaluable blessings. (D. Davidson.)

The value of a good man’s prayers

I would rather have the gift of a brother’s faithful prayers than of his plentiful substance. And I feel that when I have given to a brother my faithful prayers I have given him my best and greatest gift. (Edward Irving.)

Prayers for the dead

That Onesiphorus was dead is a gratuitous assumption. The fact that Paul nowhere else prays for the dead is fatal to the notion here. (J. Bryce, LL. D.)

In case even that Onesiphorus were really dead at the time of the writing of this Epistle, still the Roman Catholic interpreters are in error when they find in 2 Timothy 1:18 a proof of the lawfulness and obligation for intercessory prayers for the dead. The case here was altogether special, and cannot, without great wilfulness, be applied as the foundation of a general rule for all the dead. On the other side, it is often forgotten that the gospel nowhere lays down a positive prohibition to follow with our wishes and prayers, if our heart impel us thereto, our departed while in the condition of separation; and hence, in any case, it is well to distinguish between the Christian idea which lies at the foundation of such inward needs, and the form of later Church rite and practice. (Dr. Van Oosterzee.)

Beneficent wishes for the dead

On the assumption already mentioned as probable (that Onesiphorus was dead), this would, of course, be a prayer for the dead. The reference to the great day of judgment falls in with this hypothesis. Such prayers were, as we know from 2 Maccabees 12:41-45, common among the Jews a century or more before St. Paul’s time, and there is good ground for thinking that they entered into the ritual of every synagogue and were to be seen in the epitaphs in every Jewish burial-place. From the controversial point of view this may appear to favour the doctrine and practice of the Church of Rome, but facts are facts apart from their controversial bearing. It is, at any rate, clear that such a simple utterance of hope in prayer, like the Shalom (peace) of Jewish, and the Requiescat or Refrigerium of early Christian epitaphs, and the like prayers in early liturgies, though they sanction the natural outpouring of affectionate yearnings, are as far as possible from the full-blown Romish theory of purgatory. (E. H. Plumptre, D. D.)

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Bibliographical Information
Exell, Joseph S. "Commentary on "2 Timothy 1:18". The Biblical Illustrator. 1905-1909. New York.

Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible

2 Timothy 1:18. The Lord grant unto him, &c.— This is a common Hebraism. See Genesis 1:26-27; Genesis 9:6; Genesis 9:16; Genesis 19:24. Isaiah 8:18. 1 Corinthians 1:7-8.

InferencesShall an inspired apostle commit the true doctrine of Christ to ministers by immediate commission from God? And shall they not keep it pure and uncorrupt, and be ready to suffer for it, in dependance on his power, as exerted by the Holy Spirit? Or shall they preach it, and the people not regard it? What a contempt is this of divine authority, and of the glorious gospel, at once! But O! happy souls, that serve God with a pure heart, and receive the gospel with unfeigned faith and love, after the example of religious ancestors; and lay themselves out to propagate it in like manner to others! It contains the promise of everlasting life through Jesus Christ; and sets the immortal life of soul and body, and the way of obtaining it, in the clearer light. Who would not be contented to undergo the severest persecutions, without fear, or shame, for the sake of the rich advantages that are to be hoped from it! May we have the firmest confidence in Christ, as the all-sufficient Saviour!—How dear is one sincere servant of Christ to another, as partakers of the same faith, and embarked in the same noble cause! How greatly do they all need, and how heartily do they wish, and daily pray for grace, mercy, and peace to be multiplied to one another, from God the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ! How affectionately are they desirous of each other's company, especially in times of great tribulation! How tenderly do they sympathize one with another in their afflictions! How concerned are they that a due improvement be made of the gifts of the Spirit, which are graciously bestowed upon their brethren in the ministry, who are endowed, according to the spirit of the gospel, not with a timorous, cowardly temper, but with holy fortitude and love, sobriety, wisdom, and sound judgment, for fulfilling their trust, in the midst of all difficulties, opposition, and danger! And while many desert the cause of Christ, and his suffering servants, like Phygellus and Hermogenes, blessed be God, there are others, who, like Onesiphorus, are not ashamed to own them in the worst of times; but are willing to seek opportunities of shewing all possible regard to them. May the Lord be gracious to such and their families; and grant them mercy to eternal life in the day of judgment!

REFLECTIONS.—1st, St. Paul opens this epistle,

1. With his apostolic salutation to Timothy. Paul an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, acting under a divine commission, according to the promise of life, which is in Christ Jesus, who hath brought life and immortality to light by his gospel; to Timothy, my dearly beloved son, sharing my warmest paternal affection: grace, mercy, and peace, with all the unutterable blessings therein contained, be with thee, from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord. Note; All our mercies come to us as the free gift of God in Jesus Christ, whether the present pardon, peace, and grace, which we receive here, or the promise of immortal life and glory which we expert hereafter.

2. He thanks God for him. I thank God whom I serve from my forefathers, as a true child of Abraham, and descendant of the patriarchs, with pure conscience, purged now from dead works by a Redeemer's blood, that without ceasing I have remembrance of thee in my prayers night and day, which I statedly offer at a throne of grace morning and evening, presenting thee also before the throne of grace at other times; greatly desiring to see thee, being mindful of thy tears, and the distress which appeared at our last parting, that I may be filled with joy, if it so please the Lord, by our happy meeting again: and it more engages my heart to thee, when I call to remembrance the unfeigned faith that is in thee, and which has been proved on so many occasions, which dwelt first in thy grandmother Lois, and thy mother Eunice; and I am persuaded that in thee also, who treadest in the same steps. Note; (1.) It is a singular blessing to have religious parents; for though grace comes not by education, yet God often blesses effectually the labours of those who study to bring up their children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. (2.) Where unfeigned faith dwells, there every good fruit and gracious disposition will be produced.

2nd, The apostle,

1. Stirs up his dear son to the vigorous exercise of his ministry. Wherefore I put thee in remembrance, that thou stir up the gift of God which is in thee, blowing the embers of divine love and zeal into a flame, and making the most profitable use of those distinguished spiritual gifts which God hath bestowed upon thee by the putting on of my hands. For God hath not given us the spirit of fear, that we should be discouraged by opposition, but of power, to bear up against every enemy undismayed, and of love to Christ and men's souls, which all the waters of persecution cannot quench, and of a sound mind, settled in the doctrines of truth, steady in attachment to them, and willing cheerfully to suffer for them. May such a spirit be in every minister!

2. He exhorts him to take up the cross boldly. Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me his prisoner, for they are honourable bonds which are borne for the sake of Jesus and his cause: but be thou partaker of the affections of the gospel, sympathizing with those that suffer, and willing to endure any persecutions on account of the gospel, according to the power of God, which is engaged for the support of all those who are faithful. Note; (1.) All Christians, and ministers especially, must prepare for the cross, and expect it. (2.) They who dare commit their all to God, and look up to him for help, shall experience his almighty assistance in every time of need.

3. The apostle suggests the strongest motives to engage his fidelity to God and his gospel.—Who hath saved us with a present salvation in and through the son of his love Christ Jesus, and hath called us with an holy calling by the word of the gospel, that we might be separate from a world that lieth in wickedness, and sanctified for his honour and glory, not according to our works, for we deserve nothing but an eternal banishment from his presence, in which is the fulness of bliss; but our salvation was according to his own purpose and grace, which wills the salvation of all men, and renders the reprobate who wilfully rejected that grace utterly inexcusable; and was given us in Christ Jesus in and through whom every blessing is conveyed to and possessed by the faithful saint, before the world began, before the secular ages of the Jews, and, in his infinite prescience, from all eternity.—but is now made manifest by the appearing of our Saviour Jesus Christ, who, coming in the human nature, had made the richest discoveries of God's grace to perishing sinners; and, by dying on the cross as their substitute, hath abolished death, delivering every faithful saint from the wages of sin, the curse of the law, and all the fearful consequences thereof in time and eternity; and hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel, giving a brighter and clearer revelation of the eternal blessedness prepared for body and soul in a better world, and of the way which only leads thereto, than had before been made to the sons of men. Note; Every faithful soul may regard death as a vanquished foe: when the sting of sin is taken out, we have nothing to fear, but every thing to hope; while through the grave we see the golden gates of life and immortality unfolded, and the bright beams of everlasting glory illuminating the dark valley of the shadow of death.

4. He proposes to him his own example. Whereunto I am appointed a preacher and an apostle, and a teacher of the Gentiles, and count it my highest honour; for the which cause I also suffer these things, being now the prisoner of Jesus Christ for my fidelity in maintaining the privileges of the Gentiles; nevertheless I am not ashamed, neither of the gospel, nor of the chain that he wore for the sake of it; for I know whom I have believed, the glories of his person, and the riches of his grace; and I am persuaded that he is able, as his promises assure me he is willing in respect to all persevering believers, to keep that which I have committed unto him, even the precious deposit of my immortal soul, against that day, that great day of his appearing and glory. Note; Though we suffer for the gospel, we need not be ashamed; the cause will gloriously support us.

5. He exhorts him to fidelity. Hold fast the form of sound words, the sacred and unadulterated oracles of God, and the pure doctrines of the gospel, which thou hast heard of me, in faith and love, which is in Christ Jesus; copy the pattern of my preaching, especially in these fundamental articles; and as thy faith in and love to the Redeemer, have appeared, urge upon your hearers the same blessed truths with all fidelity, and warm affection. That good thing which was committed unto thee, keep by the Holy Ghost which dwelleth in us; be faithful to the solemn trust committed to thee; and by the power of the Holy Ghost, who abides in the hearts of all his people, maintain the purity of the gospel with persevering diligence. Note; (1.) Jesus is the glorious object of our faith and love, and to him should our hearts for ever cleave. (2.) The Lord must keep us, or we cannot keep ourselves; and the indwelling energy of the Holy Ghost alone can enable us for the discharge of every sacred trust which he hath committed to us.

3rdly, To engage his dear son Timothy's fidelity, he mentions the apostacy of some as a warning, and the steadfastness of Onesiphorus, as an encouragement to him.

1. The apostacy of some. This thou knowest, that all they which are in Asia be turned away from me, either the generality of the Asiatic ministers and churches, or such of the Asiatics as were or had been at Rome, who were ashamed of his chain, and disowned him in his imprisonment out of fear; of whom are Phygellus and Hermogenes. Note; It is one of the bitterest pangs of suffering, to feel ourselves then deserted by those from whom we might reasonably, from their professions, have expected the greater comfort and support.

The steadfastness of Onesiphorus. The Lord give mercy unto the house of Onesiphorus: probably he was an Ephesian, and absent from his family with the apostle, whom he attended and served with great fidelity and zeal; and therefore the grateful Paul, in return, repays him with his prayers, begging, that the choicest blessings of God might descend upon him and his; for he oft refreshed me with seasonable visits, and supplies of necessaries, and was not ashamed of my chain, when cowardice and fear of reproach basely deterred others from coming near me. But when he was in Rome, he sought me out very diligently, and found me. The Lord grant unto him that he may find mercy of the Lord in that day, when Jesus shall come to reward every kindness shewn to his servants, especially to those who are suffering for righteousness' sake. And in how many things he ministered unto me at Ephesus, thou knowest very well. Note; (1.) When we can make no other return to our kind friends, we are bound at least to recommend them in our prayers to the Saviour's mercy, and beg of him to reward them in that day. (2.) That day! How should it be ever in our view, that great decisive day, when our eternity of happiness or misery must be determined! (3.) We have nothing to cry for at God's hands, but mercy; living or dying, the best have no merit to plead, but must expect eternal life as the gift of God through Jesus Christ our Lord.

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Text Courtesy of Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on 2 Timothy 1:18". Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible. 1801-1803.

Expositor's Bible Commentary

Chapter 28


WE have here one of the arguments which St. Paul makes use of in urging his beloved disciple to stir up the gift of God that is in him through the laying on of hands, and not allow himself to be afraid of the ignominy and the sufferings, which the service of Jesus Christ involves. After reminding him of the holy traditions of his family, of the glorious character of the Gospel which has been committed to him, and of the character of the Apostle’s own teaching, St. Paul now goes on to point out, as a warning, the conduct of those in Asia who had deserted him in his hour of need; and, as an example, in marked contrast to them, the affectionate courage and persistent devotion of Onesiphorus. Timothy is not likely to follow those in Asia in their cowardly desertion of the Apostle. He will surely bestir himself to follow an example, the details of which are so well known to him and so very much to the point. Timothy’s special knowledge of both cases, so far as the conduct referred to lay not in Rome, but in Asia, is emphatically insisted upon by St. Paul. He begins by saying, "This thou knowest, that all that are in Asia turned away from me!" and he concludes with the remark, In how many things he ministered at Ephesus, thou knowest very well; or, as the Greek comparative probably means, "thou knowest better than I do." And it is worth noticing that St. Paul uses a different word for "know" in the two cases. Of his desertion by those in Asia he uses a word of general, meaning ( οιδας) which implies knowledge about the things or persons in question, but need not imply more than hearsay knowledge of what is notorious. Of the devoted service of Onesiphorus at Ephesus he uses a word ( γινωσκεις ) which implies progressive personal experience. Timothy had of course heard all about the refusal of Phygelus and Hermogenes and others to recognize the claim which St. Paul had upon their services; what he saw and experienced continually gave him intimate acquaintance with the conduct of Onesiphorus in the Church of which Timothy had the chief care.

There has been a great deal of discussion about the meaning of St. Paul’s statements respecting these two contrasted cases: Phygelus and those like him on the one side, and Onesiphorus on the other: and with regard to both of them a variety of suggestions have been made, which are scarcely compatible with the language used, and which do not after all make the situation more intelligible. It must be admitted that the brevity of the statements does leave room for a certain amount of conjecture; but, nevertheless, they are clear enough to enable us to conjecture with a fair amount of certainty.

And first with regard to the case of those in Asia. They are in Asia at the time when this letter is being written. It is quite inadmissible to twist this plain language and force it to mean "those from Asia who are now in Rome." οι εν τη ασια cannot be equivalent to οι εκ την ασιας. If St. Paul meant the latter, why did he not write it? Secondly, it is the proconsular province of Asia that is meant, that is the western portion of Asia Minor, and not the continent of Asia. Thirdly, the "turning away" of these Christians in Asia Minor does not mean their apostasy from the faith, of which there is no hint either in the word or in the context. St. Paul would hardly have spoken of their abandonment of Christianity as turning away from him. It means that they turned their faces away from him, and refused to have anything to say to him. When he sought their sympathy and assistance, they renounced his acquaintance, or at any rate refused to admit his claim upon them. It is the very expression used by Christ in the Sermon on the Mount; "From him that would borrow of thee, turn not thou away." [Matthew 5:42] This was exactly what these Asiatic disciples had done: the Apostle had asked them to lend him their help and Support; and they had "turned away from" him. But what is the meaning of the "all?" He says that "all that are in Asia turned away from" him. Obviously there is some qualification to be understood. He cannot mean that Timothy is well aware that every believer in Asia Minor had repudiated St. Paul. Some have supposed that the necessary qualification is to be found in what follows; viz., "of whom are Phygelus and Hermogenes." The meaning would then be that the whole of the party to which Phygelus and Hermogenes belong rejected the Apostle. But the arrangement of the sentence is quite against this supposition; and there is nothing either said or implied about these two men being the leaders or representatives of a party. The expression respecting them is exactly parallel to that in the First Epistle respecting those who "made shipwreck concerning the faith: of whom is Hymenaeus and Alexander" (1 Timothy 1:19-20). In each case, out of a class of persons who are spoken of in general terms, two are mentioned by name. What then is the qualification of the "all," which common sense requires? It means simply, "all whom I asked, all to whom I made an appeal for assistance." At the time when this letter was written, there were several Christians in Asia Minor, -some of them known to Timothy, -to whom St. Paul had applied for help in his imprisonment; and, as Timothy was very well aware, they every one of them refused to give it. And this refusal took place in Asia Minor, not in Rome. Some have supposed that, although these unfriendly Christians were in Asia when St. Paul wrote about them, yet it was in Rome that they "turned away from" him. They had been in Rome, and instead of remaining there to comfort the prisoner, they had gone away to Asia Minor. On this supposition a difficulty has been raised, and it has been pressed as if it told against the genuineness of the Epistle. How, it is asked, could Timothy, who was in Ephesus, be supposed to be well aware of what took place in Rome? And to meet this objection it has been conjectured, that shortly before this letter was written some one had gone with news from Rome to Ephesus. But this is to meet an imaginary difficulty with an imaginary fact. Let us imagine nothing, and then all runs smoothly. Every one in Asia Minor, to whom application was made on behalf of St. Paul, "turned away from" him and refused to do what was asked. Of such a fact as this the overseer of the Church of Ephesus could not fail to have knowledge; and, distressing as it was, it ought not to make him sink down into indolent despondency, but stir him up to redoubled exertion. What the precise request was that Phygelus and Hermogenes and the rest had refused, we do not know; but very possibly it was to go to Rome and exert themselves on the Apostle’s behalf. Of the two persons named nothing further is known. They are mentioned as being known to Timothy, and very possibly as being residents in Ephesus.

Now let us turn to the case of Onesiphorus, whose conduct is such a marked contrast to these others. In the most natural way St. Paul first of all tells Timothy what he experienced from Onesiphorus in Rome; and then appeals to Timothy’s own experience of him in Ephesus. In between these two passages there is a sentence, inserted parenthetically, which has been the subject of a good deal of controversy. "The Lord grant unto him to find mercy of the Lord in that day." On the one side it is argued that the context shows that Onesiphorus is dead, and that therefore we have Scriptural authority for prayers for the dead: on the other that it is by no means certain that Onesiphorus was dead at the time when St. Paul wrote; and that, even if he was, this parenthesis is more of the nature of a pious wish, or expression of hope, than a prayer. It need scarcely be said that on the whole the latter is the view taken by Protestant commentators, although by no means universally; while the former is the interpretation which finds favor with Roman Catholics. Scripture elsewhere is almost entirely silent on the subject; and hence this passage is regarded as of special importance. But it ought to be possible to approach the discussion of it without heat or prejudice.

Certainly the balance of probability is decidedly in favor of the view that Onesiphorus was already dead when St. Paul wrote these words. There is not only the fact that he here speaks of "the house of Onesiphorus" in connection with the present, and of Onesiphorus himself only in connection with the past: there is also the still more marked fact that in the final salutations, while greetings are sent to Prisca and Aquila, and from Eubulus, Pudens, Linus, and Claudia, yet it is once more "the house of Onesiphorus" and not Onesiphorus himself who is saluted. This language is thoroughly intelligible, if Onesiphorus was no longer alive, but had a wife and children who were still living at Ephesus; but it is not easy to explain this reference in two places to the household of Onesiphorus, if he himself was still alive. In all the other cases the individual and not the household is mentioned. Nor is this twofold reference to his family rather than to himself the only fact which points in this direction. There is also the character of the Apostle’s prayer. Why does he confine his desires respecting the requital of Onesiphorus’ kindness to the day of judgment? Why does he not also pray that he may be requited in this life? that he "may prosper and be in health, even as his soul prospereth," as St. John prays for Gaius? [3 John 1:2] This again is thoroughly intelligible, if Onesiphorus is already dead. It is much less intelligible if he is still alive. It seems, therefore, to be scarcely too much to say that there is no serious reason for questioning the now widely accepted view that at the time when St. Paul wrote these words Onesiphorus was among the departed.

With regard to the second point there seems to be equal absence of serious reason for doubting that the words in question constitute a prayer. It is difficult to find a term which better describes them than the word "prayer": and in discussing them one would have to be specially careful in order to avoid the words "pray" and "prayer" in connection with them. It does not much matter what meaning we give to "the Lord" in each case; whether both refer to Christ, or both to the Father, or one to Christ and the other to the Father. In any case we have a prayer that the Judge at the last day will remember those good deeds of Onesiphorus, which the Apostle has been unable to repay, and will place them to his account. Paul cannot requite them, but he prays that God will do so by showing mercy upon him at the last day.

Having thus concluded that, according to the more probable and reasonable view, the passage before us contains a prayer offered up by the Apostle on behalf of one who is dead, we seem to have obtained his sanction, and therefore the sanction of Scripture, for using similar prayers ourselves. But what is a similar prayer? There are many kinds of intercessions which may be made on behalf of those who have gone before us into the other world: and it does not follow that, because one kind of intercession has Scriptural authority, therefore any kind of intercession is allowable. This passage may be quoted as reasonable evidence that the death of a person does not extinguish our right or our duty to pray for him: but it ought not to be quoted as authority for such prayers on behalf of the dead as are very different in kind from the one of which we have an example here. Many other kinds of intercession for the dead may be reasonable and allowable; but this passage proves no more than that some kinds of intercession for the dead are allowable, viz., those in which we pray that God will have mercy at the day of judgment on those who have done good to us and others during their life upon earth.

But is the right, which is also the duty, of praying for the departed limited by the amount of sanction which it is possible to obtain from this solitary passage of Scripture? Assuredly not. Two other authorities have to be consulted, -reason and tradition.

I. This pious practice, so full of comfort to affectionate souls, is reasonable in itself. Scripture, which is mercifully reticent respecting a subject so liable to provoke unhealthy curiosity and excitement, nevertheless does tell us plainly some facts respecting the unseen world.

(1) Those whom we call the dead are still alive. God is still the God of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Jacob: and He is not the God of the dead, but of the living. [Matthew 22:32] Those who believe that death is annihilation, and that there can be no resurrection, "do greatly err." [Mark 12:27] and

(2) the living souls of the departed are still conscious: their bodies are asleep in this world, but their spirits are awake in the other. For this truth we are not dependent upon the disputable meaning of the parable of Dives and Lazarus; although we can hardly suppose that that parable would ever have been spoken, unless the continued consciousness of the dead and their interest in the living were a fact.

Christ’s parables are never mere fables, in which nature is distorted in order to point a moral: His lessons are ever drawn from God’s universe as it is. But besides the parable, [Luke 16:19-31] there is His declaration that Abraham not only "exulted" in anticipation of the coming of the Messiah, but "he saw" that coming "and was glad" thereat. [John 8:56] And there is His promise to the penitent thief: "Verily I say unto thee, Today shalt thou be with me in Paradise". [Luke 23:43] Can we believe that this promise, given at so awful a moment with such solemn assurance ("Verily I say unto thee"), would have been made, if the robber’s soul, when in Paradise, would be unconscious of Christ’s companionship? Could Christ then have "preached unto the spirits in prison," [1 Peter 3:19] if the spirits of those who had died in the Flood were deprived of consciousness? And what can be the meaning of "the souls of them that had been slain for the word of God" crying "How long, O Master the holy and true, dost Thou not judge and avenge, our blood?," [Revelation 6:10] if the souls of the slain slumber in the unseen world?

It is not necessary to quote Scripture to prove that the departed are not yet perfect. Their final consummation will not be reached until the coming of Christ at the last great day. [Hebrews 11:40]

If, then, the dead are conscious, and are not yet perfected, they are capable of progress. They may increase in happiness, and possibly in holiness. May we not go farther and say that they must be growing, must be progressing towards a better state; for, so far as we have experience, there is no such thing as conscious life in a state of stagnation. Conscious life is always either growing or decaying: and decay is incipient death. For conscious creatures, who are incapable of decay and death, growth seems to be a necessary attribute. We conclude, therefore, on grounds partly of Scripture and partly of reason, that the faithful departed are consciously progressing towards a condition of higher perfection.

But this conclusion must necessarily carry us still farther. These consciously developing souls are God’s children and our brethren; they are, like ourselves, members of Christ and joint-heirs with us of His kingdom; they are inseparably united with us in "the Communion of Saints." May we not pray for them to aid them in their progress? And if, with St. Paul’s prayer for Onesiphorus before us, we are convinced that we may pray for them, does it not become our bounden duty to do so? On what grounds can we accept the obligation of praying for the spiritual advancement of those who are with us in the flesh, and yet refuse to help by our prayers the spiritual advancement of those who have joined that "great cloud of witnesses" in the unseen world, by which we are perpetually encompassed? [Hebrews 12:1] The very fact that they witness our prayers for them may be to them an increase of strength and joy.

II. Tradition amply confirms us in the belief that this pious practice is lawful, and binding upon all who recognize its lawfulness. The remarkable narrative in /RAPC 2 Maccabees 12:1-45. shows that this belief in a very extreme form was common among the Jews, and publicly acted upon, before the coming of Christ. It is highly improbable that prayers for the dead were omitted from the public worship of the synagogue, in which Jesus Christ so frequently took part. It is quite certain that such prayers are found in every early Christian liturgy, and to this day form part of the liturgies in use throughout the greater portion of Christendom. And, although the mediaeval abuses connected with such prayers induced the reformers of our own liturgy almost, if not quite, entirely to omit them, yet the Church of England has never set any bounds to the liberty of its members in this respect. Each one of us is free in this matter, and therefore has the responsibility of using or neglecting what the whole of the primitive Church, and the large majority of Christians throughout all these centuries, have believed to be a means of advancing the peace and glory of Christ’s kingdom. About the practice of the primitive Church there can be no question. Doubt has been thrown upon the liturgies, because it has been said that some portions are certainly of much later origin than the rest, and therefore these prayers may be later insertions and corruptions. But that cannot be so; for the liturgies do not stand alone. In this matter they have the support of a chain of Christian writers beginning with Tertullian in the second century, and also of early inscriptions in the catacombs. About the meager allusions to the departed in our own liturgy there is more room for doubt: but perhaps the most that can safely be asserted is this; -that here and there sentences have been worded in such a way that it is possible for those who wish to do so to include the faithful departed in the prayer as well as the living. Bishop Cosin has given his authority to this interpretation of the prayer that "we and all Thy whole Church may obtain remission of our sins and all other benefits of His passion." By this, he says, "is to be understood, as well those that have been here before, and those that shall be hereafter, as those that are now members of it": and as one of the revisers his authority is great. And the prayer in the Burial Service, "that we, with all those that are departed in the true faith of Thy holy name, may have our perfect consummation and bliss, both in body and soul," is equally patient of this meaning, even if it does not fairly demand it. For we do not pray that we may have our consummation and bliss with the departed; which might imply that they are enjoying these things now, and that we desire to join them; but we pray that we with the departed may have our consummation and bliss; which includes them in the prayer. And the petition in the Litany, "remember not, Lord, our offences, nor the offences of our forefathers," may, or may not, be a prayer for our forefathers, according to the way in which we understand it.

All this seems to show that neither Scripture nor the English Church forbids prayer for the departed; that, on the contrary, both of them appear to give a certain amount of sanction to it: and that what they allow, reason commends and tradition recommends most strongly. It is for each one of us to decide for himself whether or no he will take part in the charitable work thus placed before him.

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These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Nicoll, William R. "Commentary on 2 Timothy 1:18". "Expositor's Bible Commentary".

The Pulpit Commentaries


2 Timothy 1:1

Christ Jesus for Jesus Christ, A.V. and T.R.; the life for life, A.V. The life is a little clearer than life, as showing that "life" (not "promise") is the antecedent to "which." According to the promise denotes the subject matter with which, as an apostle, he had to deal, viz. the promise of eternal life in Christ Jesus, and the end for which he was called, viz. to preach that promise (comp. Titus 1:2).

2 Timothy 1:2

Beloved child for dearly beloved son, A.V.; peace for and peace, A.V. My beloved child. In 1 Timothy 1:2 (as in Titus 1:4) it is "my true child," or "my own son," A.V. The idea broached by some commentators, that this variation in expression marks some change in St. Paul's confidence in Timothy, seems utterly unfounded. The exhortations to boldness and courage which follow were the natural results of the danger in which St. Paul's own life was, and the depression of spirits caused by the desertion of many friends (2 Timothy 4:10-16). St. Paul, too, knew that the time was close at hand when Timothy, still young, would no longer have him to lean upon and look up to, and therefore would prepare him for it; and possibly he may have seen some symptoms of weakness in Timothy's character, which made him anxious, as appears, indeed, in the course of this Epistle. Grace, etc. (so 1 Timothy 1:2; Titus 1:4, A.V.; 2 John 1:3). Jude has "mercy, peace, and love." The salutation in Ephesians 1:2 is "grace and peace," as also in Romans 1:7; 1 Corinthians 1:3, and elsewhere in St. Paul's Epistles, and in Revelation 1:4.

2 Timothy 1:3

In a pure for with pure, A.V.; how unceasing for that without ceasing, A.V.; is my remembrance for I have remembrance, A.V.; supplications for prayers, A.V. For whom I serve from my fathers in a pure conscience, comp. Acts 23:1. How unceasing, etc. The construction of the sentence which follows is difficult and ambiguous. For what does the apostle give thanks to God? The answer to this question will give the clue to the explanation. The only thing mentioned in the context which seer, s a proper subject of thanksgiving is that which is named in Acts 23:5, viz. the "unfeigned faith" that was in Timothy. That this was a proper subject of thanksgiving we learn from Ephesians 1:15, where St. Paul writes that, having heard of their faith in the Lord Jesus, he ceased not to give thanks for then-J, making mention of them in his prayers (see, too, 1 Thessalonians 1:2). Assuming, then, that this was the subject of his thanksgiving, we notice especially the reading of the R.T., λαβών, "having received," and the note of Bengel that ὑπόμνησιν λαμβάνειν means to be reminded of any one by another, as distinguished from ἀνάμνησιν, which is used when any one comes to your recollection without external prompting; both which fall in with our previous conclusion. And we get for the main sentence the satisfactory meaning: "I give thanks to God that I have received (or, because I have received) a most pleasant reminder (from some letter or visitor to which he does not further allude) of your unfeigned faith," etc, The main sentence clearly is: "I thank God... having been reminded of the unfeigned faith that is in thee." The intermediate words are, in Paul's manner, parenthetical and explanatory. Being about to say that it was at some special remembrance of Timothy's faith that he gave thanks, the thought arose in his mind that there was a continual remembrance of him day and night in his prayers; that he was ever thinking of him, longing to see him, and to have the tears shed at their parting turned into joy at their meeting again. And so he interposes this thought, and prefaces it with ὡς—not surely, "how," as in the R.V., but in the sense of καθώς, "as," "just as." And so the whole passage comes out: "Just as I have an unceasing remembrance of you in my prayers, day and night, longing to see you, that the tears which I remember you shed at our parting may be turned into joy, so do I give special thanks to God on the remembrance of your faith."

2 Timothy 1:4

Longing for greatly desiring, A.V.; remembering for being mindful of, A.V.

2 Timothy 1:5

Having been reminded of for when I call to remembrance, A.V.; in thee for that in thee, A.V. Unfeigned ( ἀνυποκρίτου); as 1 Timothy 1:5 (see also Romans 12:9; 2 Corinthians 6:6; 1 Peter 1:22; James 3:17). Having been reminded, etc. (see preceding note). Thy grandmother Lois. ΄άμμη properly corresponds exactly to our word "mamma." In 4 Macc. 16:9, οὐ μάμμη κληθεῖσα μακαρισθήσομαι, "I shall never be called a happy grandmother," and here (the only place where it is found in the New Testament) it has the sense of "grandmother." It is hardly a real word, and has no place in Stephens' 'Thes.,' except incidentally by comparison with πάππα. It has, however, a classical usage. The proper word for a "grandmother" is τήθη. Lois; a name not found elsewhere, possibly meaning "good," or "excellent," from the same root as λωΐ́τερος and λώΐστος. This and the following Eunice are examples of the frequent use of Greek or Latin names by Jews. Eunice, we know from Acts 16:1, was a Jewess and a Christian, as it would seem her mother Lois was before her.

2 Timothy 1:6

For the which cause for wherefore, A.V.; through the laying for by the putting, A.V. For which cause ( δι ἣν αἰτίαν); so 2 Timothy 1:12 and Titus 1:13, but nowhere else in St. Paul's Epistles, though common elsewhere. The clause seems to depend upon the words immediately preceding, "I am persuaded in thee also; for which cause," etc. Stir up ( ἀναζωπυρεῖν); here only in the New Testament, but found in the LXX. of Genesis 45:27 and I Ma Genesis 13:7, in an intransitive sense, "to revive." In both passages it is contrasted with a previous state of despondency (Genesis 45:26) or fear (1Ma Genesis 13:2). We must, therefore, conclude that St. Paul knew Timothy to be cast down and depressed by his own imprisonment and imminent danger, and therefore exhorted him to revive 'the spirit of power, and of love, and of a sound mind," which was given him at his ordination. The metaphor is taken from kindling slumbering ashes into a flame by the bellows, and the force of ἀνα is to show that the embers had gone down from a previous state of candescence or frame—"to rekindle, light up again." It is a favourite metaphor in classical Greek. The gift of God ( τὸ χάρισμα τοῦ θεοῦ); as 1 Timothy 4:14 (where see note). The laying on of my hands, together with those of the presbytery (1 Timothy 4:14; comp. Acts 13:2, Acts 13:3). The laying on of hands was also the medium through which the Holy Ghost was given in Confirmation (Acts 8:17), and in healing (Mark 16:18; comp. Numbers 27:18, Numbers 27:23).

2 Timothy 1:7

Gave us not for hath not given us, A.V.; a spirit of fearfulness for the spirit of fear, A.V.; and for of, A.V.; discipline for of a sound mind, A.V. A spirit of fearfulness; or, cowardice, as the word δειλία exactly means in classical Greek, where it is very common, though it only occurs here in the New Testament. δειλός also has a reproachful sense, both in classical Greek, and also in the LXX., and in the New Testament. It seems certain, therefore, that St. Paul thought that Timothy's gentle spirit was in danger of being cowed by the adversaries of the gospel. The whole tenor of his exhortation, combined as it was with words of warm affection, is in harmony with this thought. Compare with the phrase, πνεῦμα δειλίας, the πνεῦμα δουλείας εἰς φόβον of Romans 8:15. Of power and love. Power ( δύναμις) is emphatically the attribute of the Holy Spirit (Luke 4:14; Acts 10:38; Romans 15:13; 1 Corinthians 2:4, etc.), and that which he specially imparts to the servants of Christ (Acts 1:8; Acts 6:8; Ephesians 3:16, etc.). Love is added, as showing that the servant of Christ always uses power in conjunction with love, and only as the means of executing what love requires. Discipline ( σωφρονισμοῦ); only here in the New Testament; σωφρονίζειν is found in Titus 2:4, "to teach," A.V.; "to train," R.V. "Discipline" is not a very happy rendering, though it gives the meaning; "correction," or "sound instruction," is perhaps nearer. It would seem that Timothy had shown some signs of weakness, and had not boldly reproved and instructed in their duty certain offenders, as true love for souls required him to do. The phrase from Plutarch's 'Life of Cato,' quoted by Alford, exactly gives the force of σωφρονισμός: ἐπὶ διορθώσαι καὶ σωφρονισμῷ τῶν ἄλλων, "For the amendment and correction of the rest."

2 Timothy 1:8

Be not ashamed therefore for be not thou therefore ashamed, A.V.; suffer hardship with the gospel for be thou partaker of the afflictions of the gospel, A.V. Be not ashamed, etc. The exhortation based upon the previous statement. The spirit of power and love must show itself in a brave, unflinching acceptance of all the hardships and afflictions incident to a faithful execution of his episcopal office (comp. Romans 1:16). Suffer hardship with the gospel. This, of course, is a possible rendering, but an unnatural one, and not at all in harmony with the context. The force of σὺν in συγκακοπάθησον (only found here in the New Testament and in the R.T. of 2 Timothy 2:3) is manifestly to associate Timothy with St. Paul in the afflictions of the gospel. "Be a fellow partaker with me of the afflictions," which is in obvious contrast with being ashamed of the testimony of the Lord and of the apostle his prisoner. The gospel ( τῷ εὐαγγελιω); i.e. for the gospel, as Philippians 1:27, "striving for the faith of the gospel" ( τῇ πίστει), and as Chrysostom explains it: υπὲρ τοῦ εὐαγγελίου (Huther). According to the power of God; either "according to that spirit of power which God gave you at your ordination," or "according to the mighty power of God manifested in our salvation and in the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ." The latter seems to be what St. Paul had in his mind. Timothy ought to feel that this power was on his side.

2 Timothy 1:9

Saved for hath saved, A.V.; a for an, A.V.; times eternal for the world began, A.V. Who saved us, and called us. The saving was in the gift of his only begotten Son to be our Saviour; the calling is the work of the Holy Spirit drawing individual souls to Christ to be saved by him. (For the power of God displayed in man's salvation, comp. Ephesians 1:19, Ephesians 1:20.) With a holy calling (comp. Romans 1:7; 1 Corinthians 1:2). Not according to our works (see Titus 3:5; Ephesians 2:4-10). His own purpose and grace. If our calling were of works, it would not be by grace (Romans 4:4, Romans 4:5; Romans 11:6), but it is "according to the riches of his grace… according to his good pleasure which he purposed in himself" (Ephesians 1:9, Ephesians 1:11). Before times eternal ( πρὸ χρόνων αἰωνίων). The phrase seems to have the same general meaning as πρὸ καταβολῆς κόσμου, "before the foundation of the world" (Ephesians 1:4), where the general context is the same. The phrase itself occurs in Romans 16:25 ( χρόνοις αἰωνίοις) and Titus 1:2, in which last place time is indicated posterior to the creation of men. In 1 Corinthians 2:7 we have simply πρὸ τῶν αἰώνων, "before the worlds," where αἰών is equivalent to αἰωνίοι χρόνοι, and in Ephesians 3:11, πρόθεσιν τῶν αἰώνων, "the eternal purpose." In Luke 1:70 the phrase, ἀπ ̓ αἰῶνος, is rendered "since the world began," and εἰς τοὺς αἰῶνας (Matthew 6:13), "forever." So frequently εἰς τὸν αἰῶνα, "forever" (Matthew 21:19; John 6:51, etc.), and εἰς τοὺς αἰῶνας τῶν αἰώνων (Galatians 1:5; Ephesians 3:21; 1 Timothy 1:17, etc.), "forever and ever." The usage of the LXX. is very similar, where ἀπ αἰῶνος εἰς τὸν αἰῶνα πρὸ τῶν ἀιωνων ωἰὼν τῶν αἰώνων, etc., are frequent, as well as the adjective αἰώνιος. Putting all these passages together, and adverting to the classical meaning of αἰών, and its Latin equivalent, aevum, a "lifetime," we seem to arrive at the primary meaning of αἰών as being a "generation," and then any long period of time analogous to a man's lifetime. Hence χρόνοι αἰώνιοι would be times made up of successive generations, and πρὸ χρόνων αἰωνίων would mean at the very beginning of the times which consisted of human generations. αἰὼν τῶν αἰώνων would be one great generation, consisting of all the successive generations of mankind. The whole duration of mankind in this present world would be in this sense one vast αἰών, to be followed by we know not what succeeding ones. Thus Ephesians 1:21, ἐν τῷ αἰῶνι τούτῳ is contrasted with ἐν τῷ μέλλοντι, the idea being that the world has its lifetime analogous to the lifetime of a man. The same period may also be considered as made up of several shorter αἰῶνες, the prediluvial, the patriarchal, the Mosaic, the Christian, and such like (see note to 1 Timothy 1:17).

2 Timothy 1:10

Hath now been manifested for is now made manifest, A.V.; Christ Jesus for Jesus Christ, A.V.; abolished for hath abolished, A.V.; brought for hath brought, A.V.; incorruption for immortality, A.V. Hath now been manifested ( φανερωθεῖσαν); a word of very frequent use by St. Paul. The same contrast between the long time during which God's gracious purpose lay hidden, and the present time when it was brought to light by the gospel, which is contained in this passage, is forcibly dwelt upon in Ephesians 3:1-12. The appearing ( τῆς ἐπιφανείας), applied here, as in the name of the Festival of the Epiphany, to the first advent, but in Ephesians 4:1 and Titus 2:13 and elsewhere applied to the second advent, "the glorious appearing of our Saviour Jesus Christ" (Titus 2:13). Abolished ( καταργήσαντος); i.e. "destroyed," or "done away," or "made of none effect," as the word is variously rendered (1 Corinthians 15:26; 2 Corinthians 3:11; Galatians 3:17; comp. Hebrews 2:14). Brought… to light ( φωτίσαντος); as in 1 Corinthians 4:15. Elsewhere rather "to give light," or "to enlighten" (see Luke 11:36; Hebrews 6:4; Hebrews 10:32, etc.). For a full description of the abolition of death and the introduction of eternal life in its stead, through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, see Romans 5:1-21. and 6., and especially Romans 6:8-11. Through the gospel; because the gospel both declares the death and resurrection of Christ, and calls us to share in them. These mighty glories of the gospel were good reasons why Timothy should not be ashamed of the testimony of his Lord, nor shrink from the afflictions of the gospel. They were signal evidences of the power of God.

2 Timothy 1:11

Was for am, A.V.; teacher for teacher of the Gentiles, A.V. and T.R. Was appointed ( ἐτέθην); comp. 1 Timothy 1:12, θέμενος εἰς διακονίαν, "appointing me to the ministry;" and 1 Timothy 2:7. A preacher, and an apostle, and a teacher (so also 1 Timothy 2:7). Teacher ( διδάσκαλος) is one of the spiritual offices enumerated in 1 Corinthians 12:28 and Ephesians 4:11. It is surely remarkable that neither here nor elsewhere does St. Paul speak of any call to the priesthood in a sacerdotal sense (see Romans 1:1, Romans 1:5; Romans 15:16; 1 Corinthians 1:1, etc.).

2 Timothy 1:12

Suffer also for also suffer, A.V.; yet for nevertheless, A.V.; him whom for whom, A.V.; guard for keep, A.V. For the which cause (2 Timothy 1:6, note) I suffer also. The apostle adds the weight of his own example to the preceding exhortation. What he was exhorting Timothy to do he was actually doing himself, without any wavering or hesitation or misgiving as to the result. I know him whom I have believed, and I am persuaded that he is able to guard that which I have committed unto him. The ground of the apostle's confidence, even in the hour of extreme peril, was his perfect trust in the faithfulness of God. This he expresses in a metaphor drawn from the common action of one person entrusting another with some precious deposit, to be kept for a time and restored whole and uninjured. All the words in the sentence are part of this metaphor. The verb πεπίστευκα must be taken in the sense of "entrusting" (curae ac fidei alicujus committo), as Luke 16:11. So πιστευθῆναι τὸ εὐαγγέλιον, "to be entrusted with the gospel" (1 Thessalonians 2:4); οἰκονομίαν πεπιστεῦμαι, "I am entrusted with a dispensation" (1 Corinthians 9:17; see Wis. 14:5, etc.). And so in classical Greek, πιστεύειν τινί τι means "to entrust something to another" to take care of for you. Here, then, St. Paul says (not as in the R.V., "I know him whom I have believed," which is quite inadmissible, but), "I know whom I have trusted [i.e. in whom I have placed confidence, and to whom I have committed the keeping of my deposit], and I am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have entrusted to him ( τὴν παραθήκην μου) unto that day." The παραθηκή is the thing which Paul entrusted to his faithful guardian, one who he knew would never betray the trust, but would restore it to him safe and sound at the day of Christ. What the παραθήκη was may be difficult to express in any one word, but it comprised himself, his life, his whole treasure, his salvation, his joy, his eternal happiness—all for the sake of which he risked life and limb in this world, content to lose sight of them for a while, knowing that he should receive them all from the hands of God in the day of Christ. All thus hangs perfectly together. There can be no reasonable doubt that παραθήκην μου means, "my deposit"—that which I have deposited with him. Neither is there the slightest difficulty in the different applications of the same metaphor in Luke 16:14 and in 1 Timothy 6:20. For it is as true that God entrusts to his faithful servants the deposit of the faith, to be kept by them with jealous fidelity, as it is that his servants entrust to him the keeping of their souls, as knowing him to be faithful.

2 Timothy 1:13

Hold for hold fast, A.V.; pattern for form, A.V.; from for of, A.V. Hold ( ἔχε). This use of ἔχειν in the pastoral Epistles is somewhat peculiar. In 1 Timothy 1:19, ἔχων πίστιν, "holding faith;" in 1 Timothy 3:6, ἔχοντας τὰ μυστήριον, "holding the mystery of the faith; ' and here, "hold the pattern," etc. It seems to have a more active sense than merely "have," and yet not to have the very active sense of "hold fast." It may, however, well be doubted whether ἔχε here is used in even as strong a sense as in the other two passages, inasmuch as here it follows instead of preceding the substantive (see Alford, in loc.). The pattern ( ὑποτύπωσιν); only here and 1 Timothy 1:16 (where see note), where it manifestly means a "pattern," not a "form." The word signifies a "sketch," or "outline." St. Paul's meaning, therefore, seems to be: "For your own guidance in teaching the flock committed to you, and for a pattern which you will try and always copy, have before you the pattern or outline of sound words which you have heard of me, in faith and love which is in Christ Jesus." Sound words ( ὑγιαινόντων λόγων); see 1 Timothy 1:10, note. In faith and love; either hold the pattern in faith and love, or which you have heard in faith and love.

2 Timothy 1:14

Guard for keep, A.V.; through for by, A.V. That good thing ( τὴν καλὴν παραθήκην, R.T., for παρακαταθήκην); see 1 Timothy 6:20, and note. This naturally follows the preceding verse. Faithfulness in maintaining the faith was closely connected with the maintenance of sound words.

2 Timothy 1:15

That are for they which are, A.V.; turned for be turned, A.V.; Phygelus for Phygellus, A.V. and T.R. Turned away from ( ἀπεστράφησάν με). This verb is used, as here, governing an accusative of the person or thing turned away from, in Titus 1:14; Hebrews 12:25, as frequently in classical Greek. The use of the aorist here is important, as St. Paul does not mean to say that the Churches of Asia had all forsaken him, which was not true, and which it would be absurd to inform Timothy of if it were true, living as he was at Ephesus, the central city of Asia, but adverts to some occasion, probably connected with his trim before Nero, when they shrank from him in a cowardly way. πάντες οἱ ἐν τῆ ασίᾳ means "the whole party in Asia" connected with the particular transaction to which St. Paul is alluding, and which was known to Timothy though it is not known to us. Perhaps he had applied to certain Asiatics, whether Christians or Jews or GraecoRomans, for a testimony to his orderly conduct in Asia, and they had refused it; or they may have been at Rome at the time, and avoided St. Paul; and among them Phygelus and Hermogenes, whose conduct may have been particularly ungrateful and unexpected. Nothing is known of either of them.

2 Timothy 1:16

Grant for give, A.V. Grant mercy ( δώη ἔλεος). This connection of the words is only found here. The house of Onesiphorus. It is inferred from this expression, coupled with that in 2 Timothy 4:19, that Onesiphorus himself was no longer living; and hence 2 Timothy 4:18 (where see note) is thought by some to be an argument for prayers for the dead. The inference, further strengthened by the peculiar language of 2 Timothy 4:18, though not absolutely certain, is undoubtedly probable. The connection between this and the preceding verse is the contrast between the conduct of Phygelus and Hermogenes and that of Onesiphorus. They repudiated all acquaintance with the apostle in his day of trial; he, when he was in Rome, diligently sought him and with difficulty found him. and oft refreshed him with Christian sympathy and communion, acting with no less courage than love. He was no longer on earth to receive a prophet's reward (Matthew 10:41), but St. Paul prays that he may receive it in the day of Christ, and that meanwhile God may requite to his family the mercy he had showed to St. Paul. Refreshed me ( ἀνεψυξε); literally, revived me. Only here in the New Testament, but comp. Acts 3:19. Chain ( ἅλυσιν); in the singular, as Ephesians 6:20; Acts 28:20 (where see note).

2 Timothy 1:17

Sought for sought out, A.V.; diligently for very diligently, A.V. and T.R.

2 Timothy 1:18

To find for that he may find, A.V.; ministered for ministered unto me, A.V. (The Lord grant unto him). The parenthesis seems only to be required on the supposition that the words δῴη αὐτῷ ὁ κύριος εὑρεῖν ἔλεος κ. τ. λ.., are a kind of play on the εὗρεν of the preceding verse. Otherwise it is better to take the words as a new sentence. The repetition of "the Lord" is remarkable, but nothing seems to hang upon it. The second παρὰ κυίου seems to suppose the Lord sitting on the judgment throne. As regards the amount of encouragement given by this passage to prayers for the dead (supposing Onesiphorus to have been dead), the mere expression of a pious wish or hope that he may find mercy is a very slender foundation on which to build the superstructure of prayer and Masses for the deliverance of souls from purgatory. In how many things, etc. St. Paul does not say, as the A.V. makes him say, that Onesiphorus "ministered unto him" at Ephesus. It may have been so, but the words do not necessarily mean this. "What good service he did at Ephesus" would faithfully represent the Greek words; and this might describe great exertions made by Onesiphorus after his return from Rome to procure the apostle's acquittal and release by the intercession of the principal persons at Ephesus.£ This would, of course, be known to Timothy. It may, however, describe the ministerial labours and services of Onesiphorus at Ephesus after his return from Rome, or it may refer to former ministrations when Paul and Timothy were at Ephesus together (see Introduction). There seem to be no materials for arriving at absolute certainty on the point.


2 Timothy 1:1-7


A ring once given to an old and loved friend, who in later life had been cut off from the former loving intercourse by the inevitable course of events, bore this touching inscription, "Cara memoria dei primieri anni" (dear memory of old times). The memories of a happy unclouded youth, of youthful friendships, of joyous days, of pursuits lit up by sanguine hopes and bright expectations, are indeed often among the most precious treasures of the heart. And in like manner the recollection of former triumphs of faith in days of dark doubt and difficulty, of temptations overcome, of victories gained, of grace received, of work done for God, of Christian intercourse with God's saints, and happy hours of prayer, and treading underfoot all the powers of darkness, are not only bright lights illuminating the past journey of life, but are often among our strongest incentives to perseverance, and our best encouragements to hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering. St. Paul, that great master in the knowledge of human nature, knew this well. And so with inimitable skill—a skill heightened and set off by the warm affections of a tender heart—he calls back Timothy's recollections to the days of his early faith. That there had been anything like a falling away from the faith in Timothy, any real declension in his religious life, there is no reason to believe. But the quick eye of the apostle had detected some symptoms of weakness. The pulse of firm resolution, as dangers thickened around him, had not beaten so steadily as he would have wished. He did not see the symptoms of Christian courage rising with the rising flood of difficulty quite so marked as to set his mind at case as to what might happen if, after his own death, which he felt was near, Timothy were left alone to confront the perils of a fierce persecution, or to guide the wavering purpose of timid and fainting disciples. And so he calls back his dearly beloved son in the faith to the old days of his first conversion. The lessons of faith and obedience learnt on his mother's knee in the dear home at Lystra, whose blessed fruit had attracted St. Paul's notice; the first appearance of the apostle in those regions in the noonday of his apostolic zeal; the bold front with which he had met the storm of affliction and persecution; Timothy's own warm surrender of himself to the companionship of the great teacher, and his exchange of a happy, peaceful home for the wandering life and incessant peril of an evangelist; then the solemn time of his ordination—the time when, with prayer and fasting, he had knelt to receive the laying on of hands, and had exulted in the new gift of God with which he might go forth fearlessly and lovingly, and in a strength not his own, to emulate his father in the faith in preaching the gospel of God's saving grace,—Oh, let Timothy cherish those dear memories of former times! And there were later memories still. Their last meeting, and their last adieu. They had parted, under what circumstances we do not know; St. Paul hastening on to his crown of martyrdom, Timothy remaining at his post of work and of danger. And Timothy had wept. Were they tears of bitterness, tears of compunction, tears of a heart broken and melting under a gentle loving reproof, or were they only tears of sorrow at parting? We cannot say for certain; but St. Paul remembered them, and he recalls them to Timothy's memory too. He adds the hope that, as they had sown in tears, they would reap in joy—the joy, perhaps, of a healed wound and renovated spiritual strength, or, at all events, the joy of meeting once more before the fall of the curtain of death to close the drama of Paul's eventful life. The lesson left for us by these heart-stirring words is the value of the memory of the past when brought to bear upon the work of the future. "Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits," is a sentiment which continually comes up in the varied experiences of the psalmist. He quickened hope in the land of banishment by remembering the days of happy worship in the house of God (Psalms 42:1-11.); he added depth to his sorrow for sin by recalling the memory of that joy of salvation which he had forfeited by his fall (Psalms 51:1-19.). And so we shall do well in times of weakness to remember our former strength; in days of darkness to call to mind the days of light that were of old; in days of slackness and indolence to call back the memory of the time when we were all on fire to do God's work; in days of depression to think of old mercies shown and old graces given to us of God; to quench the fear of defeat by the recollection of ancient victories; and, in a word, to make the past supply the present with incentives to an undying zeal, and a steadfast courage in facing all the afflictions of the gospel according to the unchanging power of God.

2 Timothy 1:8-18

Constancy in the hour of danger.

There are great differences of natural temperament in different men. There are those whose courage is naturally high. Their instinct is to brave danger, and to be confident of overcoming it. They do not know what nervousness, or sinking of heart, or the devices of timidity, mean. Others are of a wholly different temperament. The approach of danger unnerves them. Their instinct is to avoid, not to overcome, danger; to shrink from suffering, not to confront it. There are ever in the Church the bold and dauntless Gideons, and the wavering and timid Peters. But the grace of God is able to strengthen the weak hands and to confirm the feeble knees. He can say to them that are of fearful heart, "Be strong; fear not." lie can give power to the faint, and increase strength to them that have no might. And there is perhaps no more edifying sight than that of the quiet unboasting courage of those whose natural timidity has been overcome by an overpowering sense of duty and of love to Christ, and who have learnt, in the exercises of prayer and meditation on the cross of Christ, to endure hardness without flinching, as good soldiers of Jesus Christ. But to yield to fear, and, under its influence, to be ashamed to confess the Name of Jesus Christ, and to repudiate fellowship with those who are suffering for Christ's sake and the gospel's, lest we should fall into the same reproach with them, is sin, and sin most unworthy of those for whom Christ died, and who have been made partakers of so great salvation. No plea of natural timidity can excuse such unworthy conduct. It behoves, therefore, men of a timid and gentle spirit to fortify their faith by frequent contemplation of the cross of Christ, and habitually to take up that cross, and by it crucify the flesh with its affections and lusts. Let them think often of their holy calling, remember that they are the servants of him who "endured the cross, despising the shame," and look forward to the recompense of reward. Let them contrast the base, unmanly conduct of the men of Asia, who turned away from the noble Paul in his hour of danger, with the faithful, generous conduct of Onesiphorus, who sought him out in his prison and was not ashamed of his chain. And surely they will come to the conclusion that affliction with the people of God is better than immunity from suffering purchased by shame and sin.


2 Timothy 1:1, 2 Timothy 1:2

The apostle's address and greeting.

This Epistle, which has been well described as "the last will and testament" of the apostle, written as it was under the very shadow of death, opens with a touching evidence of personal interest in Timothy.

I. THE ORIGIN AND DESIGN OF THE APOSTLESHIP. "Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God."

1. He was an apostle.

2. The design of his apostleship was "according to the promise of life which is in Christ Jesus." Its design was to make known this promise.

(a) it was "promised before the world began" (Titus 1:2);

(b) in Christ, who is the Prince of life, who procured it, who applies it by his Spirit.

II. THE PERSON ADDRESSED. "To Timothy, my beloved son." Not, as in the former Epistle, "my true son," but a son specially dear to him in view of the approaching severance of the earthly tie that bound them together.

III. THE GREETING. "Grace, mercy, and peace." (See homiletical hints on 1 Timothy 1:2.)—T.C.

2 Timothy 1:3-5

Thankful declaration of love and remembrance of Timothy's faith.

I. THE APOSTLE'S AFFECTIONATE INTEREST IN HIS YOUNG DISCIPLE. "I give thanks to God, whom I serve from my forefathers in a pure conscience, as unceasing is the remembrance I have of thee in my prayers night and day; greatly desiring to see thee, being mindful of thy tears, that I may be filled with joy."

1. The apostle begins all Epistles with the language of thanksgiving. God is the Object of thanksgiving, both as God of nature and as God of grace, and there is no blessing we have received that ought not to be thankfully acknowledged.

2. It is allowable for a good man to take pleasure in the thought of a consistently conscientious career. His service of God was according to the principles and feelings he inherited from his ancestors "in a pure conscience" (Acts 23:1; Acts 24:14).

3. Ministers ought to be much engaged in prayer for one another so as to strengthen each other's hands.

4. The thought of approaching death makes us long to see the friends who have been most endeared to us in life.

II. THE APOSTLE'S THANKSGIVING FOR TIMOTHY'S FAITH. "Being put in remembrance of the unfeigned faith that is in thee, which dwelt first in thy grandmother Lois, and thy mother Eunice; and I am persuaded that also in thee."

1. The quality of this faith. "Unfeigned." Timothy was "an Israelite indeed," who believed with the heart unto righteousness, his faith working by love to God and man, and accompanied by good works.

2. its permanent character. "It dwelt in him." Faith is an abiding grace; Christ, who is its Author, is also its Finisher; and salvation is inseparably connected with it.

3. The subjects of this faith. "First in thy grandmother Lois, and in thy mother Eunice."

(a) It is pleasant to see faith transmitted through three generations. It is sin, and not grace, that is easily transmitted by blood. But when we are "born, not of blood, but of God," we have reason to be thankful, like the apostle, for such a display of rich family mercy.

(b) We see here the advantages of a pious education, for it was from the persons named he obtained in his youth that knowledge of the Scriptures which made him wise unto salvation (2 Timothy 3:15).

(c) How often Christian mothers have given remarkable sons to the ministry of God's Church!

2 Timothy 1:6

The apostle's admonition to Timothy to stir up the gift of God within him.

It was because of his persuasion of Timothy's faith, and perhaps of the apprehension that the young disciple had been depressed by his own long imprisonment, that he addressed him in this manner.

I. THE SPIRITUAL GIFTS POSSESSED BY TIMOTHY. "Wherefore I put thee in remembrance to stir up the gift of God which is in thee by means of the laying on of my hands."

1. He refers to the special gift received by Timothy with a view to his niece as an evangelist. It was not anything either natural or acquired, but something bestowed by the Spirit of God which would fit him for teaching and ruling the Church of God.

2. It was conferred by the hands of the apostle along with the presbytery (1 Timothy 4:14).


1. It is possible there may have been some slackness or decline of power on Timothy's part, arising from various causes of discouragement, to make this injunction necessary.

2. The gift was to be stirred up by reading, meditations, and prayer, so that he might be enabled, with fresh zeal, to reform the abuses of the Church and endure hardship as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.—T.C.

2 Timothy 1:7

The Divine equipment for arduous service in the Church.

The apostle here adds a reason for the injunction just given.

I. NEGATIVELY. "For God did not give us the spirit of cowardice."

1. This refers to the time of the ordination of Timothy and of the apostle. Courage is an essential qualification for ministers of the gospel.

2. Cowardice is unworthy of those who have received the gospel in trust. The fear of man has a very wide dominion, but those who fear God ought to know no other fear.

II. POSITIVELY. "But of power, and of love, and of self-control."

1. The spirit of power, as opposed to the weakness of cowardice; for the servants of Christ are fortified against persecutions and reproaches, are enabled to endure hardness as good soldiers of Christ, and to quit themselves like men.

2. The spirit of love. This will make them earnest in their care for souls, indefatigable in labours, fearless in the midst of trying exigencies, and self-sacrificing in love.

3. The spirit of self-control. This will enable the servant of Christ to keep his whole being in subjection to the Lord, apart from all the solicitations of the world, and to regulate life with a due regard to its duties, its labours, and its cares.—T.C.

2 Timothy 1:8

Warning to Timothy not to be ashamed of the gospel, nor to shrink from afflictions.

This exhortation is dependent upon the previous counsel.

I. THE MINISTER OF GOD MUST NOT BE ASHAMED OF THE GOSPEL. "Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of the Lord, nor of me his prisoner."

1. The testimony of the Lord is that borne concerning his doctrine, sufferings, and death; in a word, the gospel itself.

2. No Christian can be ashamed of a gospel of such power, so true, so gracious, so useful.

3. No Christian can be ashamed of its confessors. The apostle was a prisoner at Rome for its sake, not for crime of any sort. The gospel then laboured under an immense load of pagan prejudice, and Timothy needed to be reminded of his obligations to sympathize with its greatest expounder.

II. THE MINISTER OF GOD MUST SHARE IN THE AFFLICTIONS OF THE GOSPEL. "But be thou partaker of the afflictions of the gospel according to the power of God."

1. Though it is a gospel of peace, it brings a sword wherever it goes, and involves its preachers in tribulations arising out of the perverseness of men who thwart and despise it.

2. We ought to suffer hardship for the gospel, by the consideration that the God who has saved us with such a strong hand is able to succour us under all our afflictions.—T.C.

2 Timothy 1:9-11

The power of God in the salvation manifested by Jesus Christ to the world.

He now proceeds to expound in a glorious sentence the origin, conditions, manifestations of the salvation provided in the gospel.

I. THE MANNER IN WHICH THE POWER OF GOD HAS BEEN DISPLAYED TOWARD US. "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."

1. The power of God has been displayed toward us in salvation. God is the Author of salvation in its most comprehensive sense, as including both its impetration and its application. The salvation may be said to precede the calling, as

2. It has been displayed in our calling.

(a) as its Author is holy;

(b) it is a call to holiness;

(c) the called are enabled to live holy lives.

3. The principle or condition of our salvation. "Not according to our works."

(a) the moving cause of it, which is the love and favour of God (John 3:16);

(b) nor are they the procuring cause, which is the obedience and death of Christ (Romans 3:21-26);

(c) nor do they help in the application of salvation; for works done before our calling are not good, being without fairly; and works done after it are the fruits of our calling, and therefore not the cause of it.

(a) It is "according to the purpose of God." It is a gift from eternity; for it was "before the world began," and therefore it was not dependent upon man's works.

(b) It is according to "his grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began." Though those to whom it was given were not in existence, they existed in Christ as the covenant Head and Representative of his people. They were chosen in him (Ephesians 1:4).

II. THE MANIFESTATION OF THIS PURPOSE AND GRACE IN THE INCARNATION AND WORK OF CHRIST. "But manifested now by the appearing of our Saviour Jesus Christ."

1. The nature of this manifestation. It included

2. The effects of this manifestation. "Who abolished death, and brought to light life and incorruptibility by means of the gospel."

(a) In its physical aspects, Christ has

( α) deprived it of its sting, and made it a blessing to believers (Hebrews 2:14; 1 Corinthians 15:55), and

( β) secured its ultimate abolition (Revelation 21:4).

(b) In its ethical aspects, as working through a law of sin and death, Christ has caused us "to pass from death unto life" in regeneration (1 John 3:14), and secured us from "the second death" (Revelation 2:11).

(a) Life here is the true life, over which death has no power—the new and blessed life of the Spirit. This was, in a sense, known to the Old Testament saints; but Christ exhibited it, in its resurrection aspect, after he rose from the dead. It was in virtue of his resurrection, indeed, that the saints of the old economy had life at all. But they did not see it as we see it.

(b) Incorruptibility. Not in reference to the risen body, but to the life of the soul, in its imperishable qualities, in its perfect exemption from death (1 Peter 1:4; Revelation 21:4).

(c) The means of this revelation is the gospel, which makes this life perfectly known to men, as to its nature, as to the way into it, as to the persons for whom it is prepared or designed.

III. THE CONNECTION OF THE APOSTLE WITH THIS REVELATION OF LIFE. "For which I was appointed a herald and an apostle, and a teacher of the Gentiles." He rehearses his titles of dignity at the very time that he points to them as entailing suffering upon him.—T.C.

2 Timothy 1:12

The grounds of his joyful confidence under all his sufferings

I. HIS APOSTLESHIP WAS THE CAUSE OF HIS SUFFERINGS. "For which cause I also am suffering these things"—imprisonment, solitude, the hatred of Jew and Gentile. He estranged the Jews by preaching the gospel to the Gentiles, and he offended the Gentiles by denouncing their idolatries and undermining their lucrative superstitions.

II. HE OWNS NO SHAME IN THE GOSPEL. It may be an offence to the Greek and a stumbling block to the Jew; but he is not ashamed of it, because he is not ashamed:

1. Of its Author.

2. Of its truths and ordinances.

3. Of his own faith in it.

4. Of his sufferings for it.

III. THE REASON WHY HE IS NOT ASHAMED OF THE GOSPEL. "For I know whom. I have trusted, and am persuaded that he is able to keep my deposit till that day."

1. He knows his Redeemer through faith and love and experience. It is "eternal life" to know him (John 17:3). It is not that he merely knows of him, but he knows him—what he is, what he can do, what he has promised to do—and therefore he can trust him.

2. His trust is in a known Person.

3. The apostle has placed his soul, as a precious deposit, in the hands of Christ, with the assurance of its perfect safety. "I am persuaded that he is able to keep my deposit till that day." Several circumstances enhance the significance of this act of the apostle.

4. Mark the assurance of the apostle as to the safety of his deposit. "I am persuaded that he is able to keep my deposit." This shows

2 Timothy 1:13

Importance of the form of sound words.

"Hold the pattern of sound words."

I. THIS INJUNCTION IMPLIES THAT THE DOCTRINES OF THE GOSPEL HAD BEEN ALREADY MOULDED INTO A CERTAIN SHAPE OR SYSTEM WHICH WAS EASILY GRASPED BY THE POPULAR MIND. As necessity arose, there was a restatement, in a new form, of the faith once professed so as to neutralize false theories. Thus the Apostle John recast the doctrine of Christ's manifestation in the world in his Epistles. There are other examples of such restatement. As errorists often seduce by an adroit use of words, it becomes necessary to have "a pattern of sound words," not merely as a witness for the truth, but as a protest against error. Timothy was in this case to adhere to the form of what he had heard from the apostle, and received with such "faith and love which is in Christ Jesus."


1. It was a centre of doctrinal unity to the Church.

2. It exhibited the truth in a consistent light to the world.

3. It afforded a rallying point in the conflict with systems of error.

4. It tended to spiritual stability.—T.C.

2 Timothy 1:14

The importance of preserving the precious deposit of doctrine.

I. THERE IS A SYSTEM OF TRUTH DEPOSITED IN THE HANDS OF THE CHURCH. "That good deposit keep through the Holy Ghost who dwelleth in us."

1. The truth is not discovered by the Church, but deposited in its keeping. This is the significance of the words of Jude, when he speaks of "the faith once delivered to the saints." That is


1. They ought to do it, because it is a commanded duty.

2. Because it is for the Church's edification, safety, and stability.

3. Because it is for the glory of God.

4. They cannot do it except in the power of "the Holy Ghost who dwelleth in us."

2 Timothy 1:15

The Asiatic desertion of the apostle.

He reminds Timothy of a fact well known to him already, that he had suffered from a melancholy desertion of friends.

I. THE NATURE AND EXTENT OF HIS LOSS. "All who are in Asia turned away from me."

1. As to its nature. It was not a repudiation of Christianity. It was a desertion of the apostle himself, either through fear of persecution, or through a repudiation of his catholic ideas on behalf of the Gentiles. The Christian Jews seem everywhere to have forsaken him. In one of his prison-letters he can only name two or three Jews who were a comfort to him in the gospel (Colossians 4:11).

2. As to its extent. The Asiatic desertion may have probably taken place in Rome itself, probably at a time when his life, and that of all Christians, was threatened by Nero; probably at the time referred to in the end of this Epistle, when he could say, "No man stood by me; all men forsook me." Those who would identify themselves with the apostle of the Gentiles at such a time would probably be Gentiles rather than Jews. Thus the number of the deserters might not be great. If the desertion took place in Asia Minor, it would only suggest a widespread falling away from the aged prisoner at Rome, but not from the gospel. The apostle singles out two persons quite unknown to us—"Phygelus and Hermogenes"—as the ringleaders of this movement. The fact that so few names are mentioned tends to reduce the extent of the sad misfortune.

II. THE EFFECT OF THIS DESERTION. The apostle does not dwell upon it, but rather dismisses the deserters in a single sentence. Yet:

1. It would be a severe trial to the faith of the aged apostle in his dying days. The desertion of friends is always a sore trial, but when the friendship is cemented by religion, its intensity is peculiarly enhanced.

2. The apostle refers to it with the view of stimulating Timothy to still greater courage in the cause of the gospel.—T.C.

2 Timothy 1:16-18

The praiseworthy conduct of Onesiphorus.

In contrast with the Asiatic deserters, he dwells upon the kindly sympathy of one Asiatic Christian whom he had long known at Ephesus.

I. THE KINDNESS OF ONESPHORUS. "He oft refreshed me, and was not ashamed of my chain: but, when he was at Rome, he sought me out very diligently, and found me."

1. The apostle, as well as Timothy, had had an earlier experience of this good man, who was probably an Ephesian merchant, who went from time to time to Rome to do business, for he says, "In how many things he ministered at Ephesus, thou knowest very well."

2. He did not probably come to Rome from Ephesus for the special purpose of visiting the apostle, but, having found himself there, he made it his business to visit the apostle.

(a) that he visited him more than once;

(b) that the imprisonment, though severe, did not quite debar all access to the outside world;

(c) that the Christians at Rome were impliedly ashamed of the apostles' chain, else such prominence would not have been given to the kindness and courage of this noble Ephesian saint.

II. THE RETURN WHICH THE APOSTLE MAKES FOR THE KINDNESS OF ONESIPHORUS. "The Lord give mercy to the house of Onesiphorus… the Lord grant unto him that he may find mercy of the Lord in that day." He cannot make any other return for kindness than a fervent prayer for Onesiphorus and for his family.

1. The prayer suggests that though the apostle is shut up from the world, the way to heaven is still open. He cannot pay his visitor the compliment of seeing him to the door, but he can remember him at a throne of grace.

2. He remembers the household of this good man. What blessings descend upon householders who are blessed with such a head! The apostle prays for "mercy" on this happy household. Every blessing is included in the term.

3. The prayer for Onesiphorus himself is likewise a prayer for mercy. Some have inferred that he was now dead, and that we have here an example of prayer for a dead man. The supposition is entirely gratuitous. Onesiphorus may have been absent from Ephesus, as he necessarily was on his visit to the apostle. Besides, his visit to the apostle, must have occurred only a very short time previously, for it is admitted on all hands that the apostle's last imprisonment was very brief, and it is rather improbable that Onesiphorus should have died immediately after his visit to Rome, or that the apostle should have heard of it. Oncsiphorus would have the blessing promised by our Lord in the memorable saying, "I was in prison, and ye visited me."—T.C.


2 Timothy 1:1

"The promise of life."

It was an age of death when St. Paul wrote this Epistle. Beneath all the gaieties of Roman civilization there was decay of morals, and corruption of the inner life. Suicide, as we have seen, was common in Rome, and men, tired of themselves, and disbelieving alike in present or in future joy, put an end to their earthly existence. St. Paul was now enduring his second imprisonment at Rome. In the year A.D. 63 the great conflagration, for which that master of crime, Nero, was responsible, took place, burning half the city. He falsely charged his own crime on the Christians, some of whom were covered with the skins of beasts and thrown to the dogs; some were covered with inflammable materials, and burnt as human torches, which illuminated the gardens; while the bestial Nero drove abroad in his chariot, and indulged his base delight in the carnival of fire and blood. St. Paul, knowing his own end to be near at hand, in a city where his second imprisonment had become much more severe than the first one had been, had now no opportunity of preaching, as he did under the milder treatment he was subjected to before, and gives this second charge to Timothy, whom he exhorts to be courageous and earnest in the defence and proclamation of a faith which the imprisoned apostle could proclaim no more.

I. THE PROMISE OF LIFE IS SPOKEN OF AS THE REVELATION OF CHRIST. It is in Christ Jesus. That is to say, we as believers have in vital union with him, the pledge and promise of immortality. No power of earth or hell could touch that life. St. Paul feared not those who could kill the body, and after that had no more that they could do. He knew that the life within no sword or flame could slay, and he rejoices in the triumph of faith in Christ.

II. THE PROMISE OF LIFE IS SPOKEN OF AS A DEVELOPING POWER. It was a promise, an earnest, of the inheritance. He was yet to have life more abundantly. He looked forward to a time when his environment would be heavenly in its atmosphere, and ever without the blight of sin or the blastings of temptation, he should enjoy the fruition of life at God's right hand forevermore.—W.M.S.

2 Timothy 1:3

The inner self.

"With pure conscience." There is no music in the world comparable to this. It is "the voice of melody," and it enabled Paul and Silas to sing in prison. The conscience, "that sole monarchy in man," was supreme in his nature under the Lordship of Christ.

I. IT WAS A CLEANSED CONSCIENCE, AND SO PURE. St. Paul is never weary of preaching the great doctrine of the atonement—that we are redeemed and renewed through the precious blood of Christ; and he rejoices to know that the blood of Jesus Christ, God's Son, cleanseth from all sin.

II. IT WAS AN OBEYED CONSCIENCE, AND SO PURE. We have to consider that the conscience may speak truly and authoritatively, and be enlightened by the truth, and yet we may not obey the truth; for duty may be recognized as duty, and yet not discharged as such. Conscience may not be pure as regards the question of accountability.

III. IT WAS FILLED WITH THE SPIRIT, AND SO PURE. "The Holy Ghost which dwelleth in us" is an expression of St. Paul's; and only so far as we have the "indwelling of the Spirit" in thought, imagination, conscience, and desire, can we be said to be pure within.—W.M.S.

2 Timothy 1:5

A holy ancestry.

"Thy grandmother Lois, and thy mother Eunice." We were constituted to be influenced through the family relationship, and it is sad indeed when the young break away from a religious ancestry, and forsake their fathers' God.

I. HERE IS ALREADY AN HISTORIC PEDIGREE OF CHRISTIAN PEOPLE. The gospel had been long enough in the world to have a history in families. We find three generations here. The grandmother Lois, the mother Eunice, and "thee also."

II. HERE IS THE TRUE SPIRIT OF THE GOSPEL MANIFESTED. Unfeigned faith, or undissembled faith. No mere creed. No mere appearance of piety, in that age men of education despised the pagan faiths which they yet professed to believe. They kept up their actual adherence to heathen worship because of custom or family tradition, or because they believed religion in some sort to be the protective police of society, without which there would be revolution. This unfeigned faith was the faith of conviction—the faith that so believed in the risen Christ that it could endure persecution and suffer loss, and live or die for the sake of Christ, with the sure hope of eternal life.—W.M.S.

2 Timothy 1:6

Quickening the memory.

"I put thee in remembrance." Timothy was not to create a gospel, but to preach one. The facts and doctrines were matters of revelation, and Timothy had the humbler task of expanding and applying them. All through his gospel was to be that of the faith once delivered to the saints.

I. REMEMBRANCE IS NEEDED. Why? Memory is liable to slumber and to sleep. Do we mourn over this fact, and ask why this precious faculty was not stronger? Consider! Could you live in peace or joy at all, if all your sorrows and bereavements kept their clear details before your mind? No; their harrowing spectacles would deaden all the springs of life, and crush the heart. If those past griefs preserved their fulness life would be unendurable. There is a beautiful side, therefore, even to forgetfulness. Memory may slumber, but it does not die. It may be awakened and quickened for high and noble ends. Thus all Christians need to be "put in remembrance," that they may hold fast the Word of life.

II. REMEMBRANCE IS COMPREHENSIVE. There are many springs to be touched. We become proud, and need to remember, as the Hebrews did, that we "were slaves." We become self-dependent, and need to be reminded that "without Christ we can do nothing." We become so interested in life that we try to make "home" here, and forget that we are pilgrims and strangers. We become negligent, and forget that responsibility is great and time is short.—W.M.S.

2 Timothy 1:6

Stirring the fire.

"Stir up the gift that is in thee." Literally, "stir up ( ἀναζωπυρεῖν) the fire!" There may be fuel—even of God's Word—but all fires die out unless from time to time they are stirred up.

I. THE FARE WAS THERE. His heart's altar fire had been lighted. It had descended as a Divine flame from on high. But in the best of men there is danger of absence of watchfulness, for, like the light on the Jewish altar, the fire is not to die out night nor day.

II. THERE WERE MANY ENEMIES WHO WOULD QUENCH THE FIRE. The Judaizing teachers would have put out the true gospel light, by turning the gospel into a merely refined Judaism. The world would quench it, as it did the faith of Demas. And there is in us all the danger of spiritual slumber, which leaves the fire to die out by indolence and sloth. Therefore by meditation, by prayer, and by earnest endeavour, by admiration and emulation of heroic lives, we must "stir up the fire" that is in us.—W.M.S.


2 Timothy 1:1-14

Address and salutation.

"Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, according to the promise of the life which is in Christ Jesus, to Timothy, my beloved child: Grace, mercy, peace, from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord." The language is similar to what is found in other of Paul's Epistles. The peculiarity is that his apostleship is here associated with the promise of the gospel, which like a rainbow spans our sky in this dark world. It is the promise by preeminence; for its object is life, which is a name for all that can be needed here, or manifested under better conditions. It is a promise which has actually secured sure footing in Christ Jesus, being the realization of the sure mercies of David. But, in order that this promise may become the means of life to men, it must be proclaimed; and this points to the employment of an instrumentality by God. It was according to the promise in this view that Paul was employed as an apostle. It is further to be observed that his true child in the First Epistle is here his beloved child. If the one points to the possession of his spirit, the other points to the love that is properly founded on it. Good past to be followed by a good future.


1. Personal association in giving thanks. "I thank God, whom I serve from my forefathers in a pure conscience." He implies that Judaism was the forerunner of Christianity, and lays claim to the possession of a godly ancestry. The pure conscience (notwithstanding Acts 23:1) is not to be absolutely applied to his whole life. He did turn aside from the godly direction in an unenlightened and culpable resistance to Christianity as seeming to threaten the existence of his inherited and beloved Judaism. But in the Christian position which he had so long maintained, as he had been indebted to godly forefathers, so he had preserved the godly continuity in his family. It is in view of what he has to say about Timothy that he makes this pleasing and interesting reference to his forefathers.

2. Feelings toward Timothy in giving thanks for him. "How unceasing is my remembrance of thee in my supplications, night and day longing to see thee, remembering thy tears, that I may be filled with joy." Always in the underground of the apostle's consciousness, the thought of his beloved Timothy came up uninterruptedly at his times of devotion. Every night and morning he felt the spell—so tender was this strong man's heart—of the tears shed by Timothy at their parting; and the desire rose within him that he might be filled with the joy of another meeting.

3. Matter for thanksgiving in Timothy's faith which was hereditary. "Having been reminded of the unfeigned faith that is in thee; which dwelt first in thy grandmother Lois, and thy mother Eunice; and, I am persuaded, in thee also." Something had come to the apostle's knowledge which reminded him of the reality of Timothy's faith. It was not feigned faith, that fails under trial. The apostle thinks of it as a kind of heirloom in the family. He could go back himself to two ancestresses of his in whom it dwelt. There was first Lois, his grandmother, who, we can believe, besides being godly according to the Jewish type, was before her end a Christian believer. She had to do with her daughter Eunice becoming a Christian believer. We are told of Eunice, in Acts 16:1, that she was a Jewess who believed, while her husband was a Gentile. She in turn had to do with her son becoming a Christian believer. The apostle had all the greater confidence in the reality, and also vitality, of Timothy's faith that (apart from Jewish influences of a godly nature) he was a Christian believer of the third generation. We have the promise that God will keep covenant and mercy with them that love him and keep his commandments to a thousand generations. God's intention is that godly and Christian influence should be transmitted. He made one generation to follow another, proceeded on a principle of succession and not of contemporaneousness, that he might thereby have a godly seed (Ma Acts 2:15). The best established Christians are among those who are of a godly stock. Therefore let the godly upbringing of the young be attended to. At the same time, let those who have had the advantage of a godly upbringing see that they are not left behind by those who have been reclaimed from ungodly society.


1. Timothy is to stir up his gift. "For the which cause I put thee in remembrance that thou stir up the gift of God, which is in thee through the laying on of my hands." Paul is an adept at exhortation. Timothy, from the memory of Lois and Eunice, must catch fire. Nay, he had a personal association with Timothy, in having laid hands on him at his ordination. On that ground he can call upon him to stir up the gift then received, viz. the ministerial gift. Let him be true to his duties as a minister of Christ.

2. Confirmatory reason pointing to special exhortation. "For God gave us not a spirit of fearfulness; but of power and love and discipline." Let him stir himself up against cowardice to which, as persecuted, he was exposed, and by this consideration that the imparted spirit in its amplitude excludes cowardice. It is a spirit of power. God has no jealousy of us; he wishes to be served with our strength and not with our weakness. It is a spirit of love; warmth of feeling, and not coldness, God would put into our service. It is a spirit of discipline. So far as this is to be distinguished from the other two words, it points to the guidance of reason. God wishes to be served, not with our ignorance, but with our well disciplined thoughts. With more power in our wills, with more glow in our affections, with more reason in our thoughts, we shall not cower before opposition.

3. Timothy is called upon to be specially on his guard against false shame. "Be not ashamed therefore of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me his prisoner: but suffer hardship with the gospel." "Shame attends fear; when fear is conquered false shame takes flight" (Bengel). He had no reason for being ashamed on account of his association with the Lord to whom he testified. Neither had he reason for being ashamed on account of his association with Paul, who was not the Lord's servant, but, more honourably (Galatians 6:17), the Lord's prisoner, i.e. by the will of Christ, more than by the will of Caesar—a prisoner, the disposal of him extending to the time, and all the circumstances, of his imprisonment. To suffer hardship with the gospel involves an unusual collocation of person and thing. It is usual to interpret the hardship as being suffered with Paul for the gospel. But as the thought requires the fixing of the attention, not on the second, but on both of the preceding clauses, it is better to leave indefinite with whom he is associated in suffering hardship.

4. Reason against false shame in the power of God. "According to the power of God." The idea is that we should be free from shame in suffering for the gospel, according to the power on which we have to rely.

5. Reason against false shame in the example of the apostle.

6. Timothy is further called upon to attend specially to his orthodoxy.

2 Timothy 1:15-18


I. PHYGELUS AND HERMOGENES. "This thou knowest, that all that are in Asia turned away from me; of whom are Phygelus and Hermogenes." The defection here referred to was from Paul and his interests. It extended to all that were in Asia, i.e. all Asiatics who at one time had been attached to the apostle, and whose attachment was put to the test when in Rome during his imprisonment. It was to have been expected of them that they would have found their way to his dungeon; but, as if they had put it to themselves whether they would go or not, they chose the latter alternative. They turned away from him. They probably found some excuse in the pressure of business; but in the real character of their action it was turning their back on the imprisoned apostle. In this not very numerous class Phygelus and Hermogenes are singled out for notice, probably because they had showed the greatest unbrotherliness. We know nothing more of them than is mentioned here. It has been their destiny to be handed down to posterity as men who acted an unworthy part toward a noble man in his extremity. They did not know that such an evil immortality was to attach to their action; but their action was on that account only the more free. Let all our actions be upright and generous; for we do not know by which of them we shall be known among men. This defection is referred to Timothy as being within his knowledge; for by their example he was to be deterred from cowardice, and his bravery was to be all the greater that these men were cowards.

II. ONESIPHORUS. There is a distinction observed between the house of Onesiphorus and Onesiphorus himself. With regard to the house of Onesiphorus they are objects of present interest. Blessings are invoked upon them in the sixteenth verse, to the manifest exclusion of Oncsiphorus himself. At the close of the Epistle the same thing is observable: "Salute the house of Onesiphorus." With regard to Onesiphorus himself, nothing is said about his present: the past tense is used of him, and a wish is expressed about his future. It may, therefore, be regarded as certain that Onesiphorus was dead.

1. Interest in departed friends shown in kindness to beloved ones left behind. "The Lord grant mercy unto the house of Onesiphorus." There are around us the three circles of lovers, friends, acquaintances (Psalms 88:18). Our love to the innermost circle is to be most intense, which it can be without interfering with our love to the second circle of friends. The proper cultivation of our affections in our homes will the better qualify us for loving our friends. There is an absence of reserve, and openness to influence, in friendship, which makes it, when properly based, a great blessing. There are duties which we owe to our friends when they are with us, and our duties do not end with their death. Onesiphorus had been the friend of Paul, and, now that he is gone, the large-hearted apostle, in writing to Timothy from his dungeon, breathes a prayer on behalf of the house of Onesiphorus. The Lord, i.e. Jesus Christ, the great Overseer of the Churches, and Appointer for the several households of which the Churches are composed, grant them mercy. They were objects of sympathy, in being deprived of their earthly head on whom it devolved to provide for them, to assist and counsel especially the beginners in life. The Lord mercifully make up for them what they had lost. Would this prayer return from heaven unanswered? Would not this kindly remembrance of them, read in their desolate home, bring good cheer to their hearts, and be an influence for good in all their future life? Would it not also be the means of raising up friends for them?

2. Interest in the living founded on the past kindness of the dead. "For he oft refreshed me, and was not ashamed of my chain; but, when he was in Rome, he sought me diligently, and found me." This was after his first answer, apparently during his second imprisonment, when awaiting his second answer. Paul leaned very much on human sympathy. On one occasion he said, "The Lord that comforteth them that are cast down, comforted me by the coming of Titus." So the Lord refreshed him by those visits of Onesiphorus. This friend was true to his name; he was a real help bringer—bringer of comfort and strength to the great warrior whose battles were nearly over. He was a helper in presence of difficulties. He was not ashamed of his chain, i.e. braved all the dangers connected with his being regarded as the prisoner's friend. There was difficulty of access to him, such as there had not been during the first imprisonment, when he had his own hired house, and received all that came to him; but Onesiphorus sought him all the more diligently that he knew of his unbefriended condition, and overcame all official hindrances. In the strange working of providence, Onesiphorus came to his end before Paul, but his good deeds lived after him, and caused him to be remembered by Paul, and in that form which, had he been conscious of what was taking place on earth, would have been most pleasing to Onesiphorus. And this was not to be wondered at. Onesiphorus loved his home circle—this is an element in the case; but it did not absorb all his attention. He had a place in his heart for friends, and was ready to render them services. And this was acting more truly for the interests of his loved ones than if he had selfishly confined his attention to them. For when he was gone—taken away at a time when he was greatly needed by his children—there were those who were their well wishers for the father's sake. There was the missionary, by whom there had been so much benefit, invoking his blessing on them. The psalmist says, "I have been young, and now am old; yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread." And this can be explained without bringing in a special miracle. Indeed, the psalmist so explains it in the following verse: "He is ever merciful, and lendeth; and his seed is blessed." That is to say, by his good deeds when he is alive, he raises up friends for his children when he is dead.

3. Interest in departed friends shown in pious wishes with respect to their future. "The Lord grant unto him to find mercy of the Lord in that day." The following is to be noted as the teaching of Luther: "We have no command from God to pray for the dead, and therefore no one can sin who does not pray for them. For in what God has neither commanded nor forbidden, no man can sin. Yet because God has not granted us to know the state of the soul, and we must be uncertain about it, thou dost not sin that thou prayest for the dead, but in such wise that thou leave it in doubt and say thus, 'If this soul be in that state that thou mayest yet help it, I pray thee to be gracious unto it.' Therefore if thou hast prayed once or thrice, thou shouldest believe that thou art heard, and pray no more, lest thou tempt God." Beyond that Paul does not go. He follows Onesiphorus into the next world, and, when he thinks of him coming to the settling for what his earthly life had been, he devoutly breathes the wish that he may be mercifully dealt with. Such an expression of feeling is not to be forbidden us as we think of departed friends going forward to judgment; it is to be found in inscriptions in the catacombs. But it has no connection with a belief in purgatory, and is very different from the formal inculcation of prayers for the dead.

4. Reference to Timothy as to services rendered by Onesiphorus at Ephesus. "And in how many things he ministered at Ephesus, thou knowest very well." This was additional to services rendered by Onesiphorus to the apostle at Rome. He had not mentioned it before, because it had been within the sphere of Timothy's own observation. But he brings it in now, as what was fitted to support the charge of constancy he is laying on Timothy.—R.F.

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Exell, Joseph S; Spence-Jones, Henry Donald Maurice. "Commentary on 2 Timothy 1:18". The Pulpit Commentary. 1897.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

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.
that he
16; 1 Kings 17:20; Matthew 25:34-40
Psalms 130:3,4; Luke 1:72,78; Romans 3:23,24; 9:15-23; Ephesians 2:4; 1 Peter 1:10
in that
12; 1 Thessalonians 2:19
Luke 8:3; 2 Corinthians 9:1; Hebrews 6:10
4:12; Acts 19:1; 1 Corinthians 16:8; 1 Timothy 1:3; Revelation 2:1 Reciprocal: Genesis 6:8 - GeneralRuth 2:12 - recompense;  Matthew 7:22 - to me;  Matthew 20:26 - minister;  Acts 18:19 - Ephesus;  Romans 16:2 - for;  1 Corinthians 3:13 - the day;  1 Corinthians 5:5 - the day;  2 Thessalonians 1:10 - in that;  2 Timothy 4:8 - at that;  1 Peter 4:10 - minister

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Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on 2 Timothy 1:18". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge".

Vincent's Word Studies

Very well ( βέλτιον )

N.T.oThe sense is comparative; better than I can tell you.

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Vincent, Marvin R. DD. "Commentary on 2 Timothy 1:18". "Vincent's Word Studies in the New Testament". Charles Schribner's Sons. New York, USA. 1887.

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

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

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

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


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Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on 2 Timothy 1:18". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". 1874-1909.