1. This Epistle is the last testament and
swan-like death song of Paul [Bengel].
according to the promise of life … in
Christ—Paul's apostleship is in order to carry into
effect this promise. Compare "according to the faith … in
hope of eternal life … promise," &c. (Tit 1:1, 2). This "promise of life in Christ"
(compare 2Ti 1:10; 2Ti 2:8) was needed to nerve Timothy to
fortitude amidst trials, and to boldness in undertaking the journey to
Rome, which would be attended with much risk (2Ti 1:8).
2. my dearly beloved son—In 1Ti 1:2, and Tit
1:4, written at an earlier
period than this Epistle, the expression used is in the Greek,
"my genuine son." Alford sees in
the change of expression an intimation of an altered tone as to
Timothy, more of mere love, and less of confidence, as though Paul saw
m him a want of firmness, whence arose the need of his stirring
up afresh the faith and grace in Him (2Ti 1:6). But this seems to me not justified by
the Greek word agapetos, which implies the attachment of
reasoning and choice, on the ground of merit in
the one "beloved," not of merely instinctive love. See Trench [Greek Synonyms of the New
3. I thank—Greek, "I feel
gratitude to God."
whom I serve from my
forefathers—whom I serve (Ro 1:9) as did my forefathers. He does
not mean to put on the same footing the Jewish and Christian service of
God; but simply to assert his own conscientious service of God as he
had received it from his progenitors (not Abraham, Isaac,
&c., whom he calls "the fathers," not "progenitors" as the
Greek is here; Ro 9:5). The
memory of those who had gone before to whom he is about to be gathered,
is now, on the eve of death, pleasant to him; hence also, he calls to
mind the faith of the mother and grandmother of Timothy; as he walks in
the faith of his forefathers (Ac 23:1; 24:14; 26:6, 7;
28:20), so Timothy should
persevere firmly in the faith of his parent and grandparent. Not only
Paul, but the Jews who reject Christ, forsake the faith of their
forefathers, who looked for Christ; when they accept Him, the hearts of
the children shall only be returning to the faith of their forefathers
(Mal 4:6; Lu 1:17; Ro 11:23, 24, 28). Probably Paul had, in his recent
defense, dwelt on this topic, namely, that he was, in being a
Christian, only following his hereditary faith.
that … I have remembrance of
thee—"how unceasing I make my mention
concerning thee" (compare Phm 4). The
cause of Paul's feeling thankful is, not that he remembers Timothy
unceasingly in his prayers, but for what Timothy is in faith (2Ti 1:5) and graces; compare Ro 1:8, 9, from which supply the elliptical
sentence thus, "I thank God (for thee, for God is my witness) whom I
serve … that (or how) without ceasing I have remembrance
(or make mention) of thee," &c.
night and day—(See on 1Ti 5:5).
4. desiring—Greek, "with
yearning as for one much missed."
mindful of thy tears—not only at our
20:37), but also often when
under pious feelings.
that I may be filled with joy—to be
joined with "desiring to see thee" (Ro 1:11, 12; 15:32).
5. When I call to remembrance—This
increased his "desire to see" Timothy. The oldest manuscripts read,
"When I called to remembrance"; implying that some recent
incident (perhaps the contrasted cowardice of the hypocrite Demas, who
forsook him) had reminded him of the sincerity of Timothy's faith.
faith that is in thee—Alford translates, "that was in thee." He
remembers Timothy's faith in the past as a fact; its
present existence in him is only matter of his confident
persuasion or hope.
which—Greek, "such as."
dwelt—"made its dwelling" or abode
14:23). The past tense
implies they were now dead.
first—before it dwelt in thee. She was
the furthest back of the progenitors of Timothy whom Paul knew.
mother Eunice—a believing Jewess; but
his father was a Greek, that is, a heathen (Ac 16:1). The faith of the one parent sanctified
the child (2Ti 3:15; 1Co 7:14). She was probably converted at Paul's
first visit to Lystra (Ac 14:6). It
is an undesigned coincidence, and so a mark of truth, that in Ac 16:1 the belief of the mother
alone is mentioned, just as here praise is bestowed on the faith
of the mother, while no notice is taken of the father [Paley, Horæ Paulinæ].
and—Greek, "but," that is,
notwithstanding appearances [Alford].
persuaded that—it dwells, or
it shall dwell "in thee also." The mention of the faith of his
mother and grandmother is designed as an incentive to stir up his
6. Wherefore—Greek, "For which
cause," namely, because thou hast inherited, didst once possess, and I
trust ("am persuaded") still dost possess, such unfeigned faith [Alford].
stir up—literally, "rekindle," "revive
the spark of"; the opposite of "quench" or "extinguish" (1Th 5:19). Paul does not doubt the existence of
real faith in Timothy, but he desires it to be put into active
exercise. Timothy seems to have become somewhat remiss from being so
long without Paul (2Ti 2:22).
gift of God—the spiritual grace
received for his ministerial office, either at his original ordination,
or at his consecration to the particular office of superintending the
Ephesian Church (see on 1Ti 4:14), imparting
fearlessness, power, love, and a sound mind (2Ti 1:7).
by the putting on of my hands—In 1Ti 4:14, it is "with [not by] the
laying on of the hands of the presbytery." The apostle was chief
in the ordination, and to him "BY" is
applied. The presbytery were his assistants; so "with," implying merely
accompaniment, is said of them. Paul was the instrument in
Timothy's ordination and reception of the grace then conferred; the
presbyters were the concurrent participants in the act of ordination;
so the Greek, "dia" and "meta." So in ordinations
by a bishop in our days, he does the principal act; they join in
laying on hands with him.
7. For, &c.—implying that Timothy
needed the exhortation "to stir up the gift of God in him," being
constitutionally "timid": "For God did not give us (so the
Greek, namely, at our ordination or consecration) the spirit of
fear." The spirit which He gave us, was not the spirit of
timidity (literally, "cowardice," which is weakness), but of "power"
(exhibited in a fearless "testimony" for Christ, 2Ti 1:8). "Power is the invariable accompaniment
of the gift of the Holy Ghost. Lu 24:49; Ac 1:8; compare Ac 6:6, "full of faith and of the Holy
Ghost," with 2Ti 1:8, "full
of faith and power." Fear is the result of "the spirit of
8:15). Fear within
exaggerates the causes of fear without. "The spirit of power" is
the spirit of man dwelt in by the Spirit of God imparting power;
this power "casteth out fear" from ourselves, and stimulates us to try
to cast it out of others (1Jo 4:18).
love—which moves the believer while
"speaking the truth" with power, when giving his testimony for
1:8), at the same time to do
so "in love" (Eph 4:15).
a sound mind—The Greek, is
rather, "the bringing of men to a sound mind" [Wahl]. Bengel
supports English Version, "a sound mind," or "sober-mindedness";
a duty to which a young man like Timothy especially needed to be
exhorted (2Ti 2:22; 1Ti 4:12; Tit 2:4, 6). So Paul urges him, in 2Ti 2:4, to give up worldly entanglements, which
as thorns (Lu 8:14)
choke the word. These three gifts are preferable to any miraculous
8. therefore—seeing that God hath given
us such a spirit, not that of fear.
Be not thou … ashamed—I agree
with Ellicott, in opposition to Alford, that the Greek subjunctive
here, with the negative, implies action completed at one time,
not continued action, which the present imperative would
express; thus implying that Timothy had not decidedly yet
evinced such feeling of shame; though I think, Paul, amidst the
desertion of others who once promised fair, and from being aware of
Timothy's constitutional timidity (see on 2Ti
1:7), felt it necessary to stir him up and guard him against the
possibility of unchristian dereliction of duty as to bold confession of
Christ. Shame (2Ti 1:8) is
the companion of fear (2Ti 1:7); if fear be overcome, false shame flees
[Bengel]. Paul himself (2Ti 1:12), and Onesiphorus (2Ti 1:16), were instances of fearless profession
removing false shame. He presents in contrast sad instances of fear and
of the testimony of our Lord—of the
testimony which thou art bound to give in the cause of our
Lord; he says "our," to connect Timothy and himself together in the
testimony which both should give for their common Lord. The
testimony which Christ gave before Pilate (1Ti 6:12, 13), is an incentive to the believer
that he should, after His Lord's example, witness a good
testimony or confession.
nor of me his prisoner—The cause of
God's servants is the cause of God Himself (Eph 4:1). Timothy might easily be tempted to be
ashamed of one in prison, especially as not only worldly shame, but
great risk, attended any recognition of Paul the prisoner.
be thou partaker—with me.
of the gospel—rather, as Greek,
"for the Gospel," that is, suffered for the Gospel (2Ti
2:3-5; Phm 13).
according to the power of
God—exhibited in having saved and called us
1:9). God who has done the
greater act of power (that is, saved us), will surely do the less
(carry us safe through afflictions borne for the Gospel).
"Think not that thou hast to bear these afflictions by thine own power;
nay, it is by the power of God. It was a greater exercise of power than
His making the heaven, His persuading the world to embrace salvation"
9. Who … called us—namely, God the
1:6). The having "saved us"
in His eternal purpose of "grace, given us in Christ before the world
began," precedes his actual "calling" of us in due time with a call
made effective to us by the Holy Spirit; therefore, "saved us" comes
before "called us" (Ro 8:28-30).
holy calling—the actual call to
a life of holiness. Heb 3:1,
"heavenly calling" [Tittmann, Greek
Synonyms of the New Testament]; whereas we were sinners and
enemies (Eph 1:18; 4:1). The call comes wholly from God
and claims us wholly for God. "Holy" implies the
separation of believers from the rest of the world unto God.
not according to—not having regard to
our works in His election and calling of grace (Ro 9:11; Eph
his own purpose—The origination of
salvation was of His own purpose, flowing from His own goodness,
not for works of ours coming first, but wholly because of His own
gratuitous, electing love [Theodoret and
grace … given us—in His
everlasting purpose, regarded as the same as when actually accomplished
in due time.
in Christ—believers being regarded by
God as IN Him, with whom the Father
makes the covenant of salvation (Eph 1:4; 3:11).
before the world began—Greek,
"before the times (periods) of ages"; the enduring ages of which no end
is contemplated (1Co 2:7; Eph 3:11).
10. But … now … manifest—in
contrast to its concealment heretofore in the eternal purpose of God
"before the world began" (2Ti 1:9; Col 1:16; Tit 1:2, 3).
appearing—the visible manifestation in
abolished death—Greek, "taken
away the power from death" [Tittmann]. The Greek article before "death"
implies that Christ abolished death, not only in some particular
instance, but in its very essence, being, and idea, as well as in all
its aspects and consequences (Joh
11:26; Ro 8:2, 38; 1Co 15:26, 55; Heb 2:14). The carrying out of the abolition of
death into full effect is to be at the resurrection (Re 20:14). The death of the body meanwhile is but
temporary, and is made no account of by Christ and the apostles.
brought … to light—making
visible by the Gospel what was before hidden in God's purpose.
life—of the Spirit, acting first on
the soul here, about to act on the body also at the resurrection.
"incorruptibility" of the new life, not merely of the risen body [Alford], (Ro 8:11).
through—by means of the Gospel,
which brings to light the life and immortality purposed by God
from eternity, but manifested now first to man by Christ, who in His
own resurrection has given the pledge of His people's final triumph
over death through Him. Before the Gospel revelation from God, man, by
the light of nature, under the most favorable circumstances, had but a
glimmering idea of the possibility of a future being of the
soul, but not the faintest idea of the resurrection of the
body (Ac 17:18, 32). If Christ were not "the life," the
dead could never live; if He were not the resurrection, they could
never rise; had He not the keys of hell and death (Re 1:18), we could never break through the bars
of death or gates of hell [Bishop
11. Whereunto—For the publication of
I am appointed—Greek, "I was
teacher of the Gentiles—(1Ti 2:7). He brings forward his own example in
this verse and 2Ti 1:12, as
a pattern for Timothy, as a public "preacher," an "apostle," or
missionary from place to place, and a "teacher" in
private instructing His flock with patient perseverance.
12. For the which cause—For the Gospel
cause of which I was appointed a preacher (2Ti 1:10, 11).
I also suffer—besides my active
work as a missionary. Ellicott
translates, "I suffer even these things"; the sufferings attendant on
my being a prisoner (2Ti 1:8, 15).
I am not ashamed—neither be thou
for—Confidence as to the future drives
away shame [Bengel].
I know—though the world knows Him not
whom—I know what a faithful,
promise-keeping God He is (2Ti 2:13). It
is not, I know how I have believed, but, I know WHOM I have believed; a feeble faith may clasp a
believed—rather, "trusted"; carrying
out the metaphor of a depositor depositing his pledge with one whom he
am persuaded—(Ro 8:38).
he is able—in spite of so many foes
that which I have committed unto
him—Greek, "my deposit"; the body, soul, and spirit,
which I have deposited in God's safe keeping (1Th 5:23; 1Pe
4:19). So Christ Himself in
23:46). "God deposits with us
His word; we deposit with God our spirit" [Grotius]. There is one deposit (His revelation)
committed by God to us, which we ought to keep (2Ti 1:13, 14) and transmit to others (2Ti 2:2); there is another committed by
God to us, which we should commit to His keeping, namely, ourselves and
our heavenly portion.
that day—the day of His appearing
(2Ti 1:18; 2Ti 4:8).
13. Hold fast the form—rather as
Greek, "Have (that is, keep) a pattern of sound
(Greek, 'healthy') words which thou hast heard from me, in faith
and love." "Keep" suits the reference to a deposit in the
context. The secondary position of the verb in the Greek forbids
our taking it so strongly as English Version, "Hold fast." The
Greek for "form" is translated "pattern" in 1Ti 1:16, the only other passage where it occurs.
Have such a pattern drawn from my sound words, in
opposition to the unsound doctrines so current at Ephesus,
vividly impressed (Wahl
translates it "delineation"; the verb implies "to make a lively and
lasting impress") on thy mind.
in faith and love—the element IN which
my sound words had place, and in which thou art to have the vivid
impression of them as thy inwardly delineated pattern,
moulding conformably thy outward profession. So nearly Bengel explains, 1Ti 3:9.
14. Translate as Greek, "That goodly
deposit keep through the Holy Ghost," namely, "the sound words which I
have committed to thee" (2Ti 1:13; 2Ti 2:2).
in us—in all believers, not merely in
you and me. The indwelling Spirit enables us to keep from the robbers
of the soul the deposit of His word committed to us by God.
15. all they which are in
Asia—Proconsular Asia; "all who are there now, when they
were in Rome (not 'be' or 'are,' but) turned from me"
then; were "ashamed of my chain," in contrast to Onesiphorus; did not stand with me but forsook me
4:16). It is possible that
the occasion of their turning from him was at his apprehension in
Nicopolis, whither they had escorted him on his way to Rome, but from
which they turned back to Asia. A hint to Timothy, now in Asia, not to
be like them, but to imitate rather Onesiphorus, and to come to him (2Ti 4:21).
Phygellus and Hermogenes—specified
perhaps, as being persons from whom such pusillanimous conduct could
least be expected; or, as being well known to Timothy, and spoken of
before in conversations between him and Paul, when the latter was in
16. The Lord give mercy—even as Onesiphorus had abounded in works of
the house of Onesiphorus—He himself
was then absent from Ephesus, which accounts for the form of expression
4:19). His household
would hardly retain his name after the master was dead, as Bengel supposes him to have been. Nowhere has Paul
prayers for the dead, which is fatal to the theory, favored by Alford also, that he was dead. God blesses not
only the righteous man himself, but all his household.
my chain—Paul in the second, as in his
first imprisonment, was bound by a chain to the soldier who guarded
17. found me—in the crowded metropolis.
So in turn "may he find mercy of the Lord in that day" when the
whole universe shall be assembled.
18. grant unto him—as well as "unto his
the Lord—who rewards a kindness done
to His disciples as if done to Himself (Mt 25:45).
of—from the Lord; "the Lord" is
emphatically put instead of "from Himself," for solemnity and emphasis
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).