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Bible Commentaries

Greek Testament Critical Exegetical Commentary

2 Timothy 1



Verse 1

1. διὰ θελ. θεοῦ] Cf. reff. κατʼ ἐπαγγ. ζωῆς] according to (in pursuance of, with a view to the fulfilment of) the promise (ref.) of life which is in Christ Jesus (all this is to be taken with ἀπόστολος, not with θελήματος. Thdrt. explains it well, ὥστε με τὴν ἐπαγγελθεῖσαν αἰώνιον ζωὴν τοῖς ἀνθρώποις κηρύξαι. Chrysostom sees, in this mention of the promise of life in Christ, a consolation to Timotheus under present troubles: ἀπὸ τῆς ἀρχῆς ποιεῖται τὴν παραμυθίανεἰ ἐπαγγελία ἐστί, μὴ ζήτει αὐτὴν ἐνταῦθα· ἐλπὶς γὰρ βλεπομένη οὐκ ἔστιν ἐλπίς. And this idea seems to be borne out by the strain of the subsequent portion of the Epistle, which is throughout one of confirmation and encouragement. So Bengel,—“nervus ad Timotheum hortandum, 2 Timothy 1:10, cap. ii. 8”).

Verse 1-2

προσ τι΄οθεον β

2 Timothy 1:1-2.] ADDRESS AND GREETING.

Verse 2

2. ἀγαπητῷ τέκνῳ] “Can it be accidental,” says Mack, “that instead of γνησίῳ τέκν., as Timotheus is called in the first Epistle, 2 Timothy 1:2, and Titus 1:4,—here we have ἀγαπητῷ? Or may a reason for the change be found in this, that it now behoved Timotheus to stir up afresh the faith and the grace in him, before he could again be worthy of the name γνησίον τέκνον in its full sense?” This may be too much pressed: but certainly there is throughout this Epistle an altered tone with regard to Timotheus—more of mere love, and less of confidence, than in the former: and this would naturally shew itself even in passing words of address. When Bengel says, “in Ep. i., scripserat, genuino: id compensator hic versu 5,” he certainly misses the delicate sense of 2 Timothy 1:5; see below. To find in ἀγαπητῷ more confidence, as Heyd. (and Chrys., maintaining that οἱ κατὰ πίστιν ὅταν ὦσιν ἀγαπητοί, διʼ οὐδὲν ἕτερόν εἰσιν, ἀλλʼ ἢ διʼ ἀρετήν), can hardly be correct: the expression of feeling is different in kind, not comparable in degree: suiting an Epistle of warm affection and somewhat saddened reminding, rather than one of rising hope and confidence. I regret to be, on this point, at issue throughout this second Epistle, with my friend Bishop Ellicott, who seems to me too anxious to rescue the character of Timotheus from the slightest imputation of weakness: thereby marring the delicate texture of many of St. Paul’s characteristic periods, in which tender reproof, vigorous reassurance, and fervent affection are exquisitely intermingled.

See reff. and notes.

Verses 3-5

3–5.] Thankful declaration of love and anxiety to see him. I give thanks (reff.) to God whom I serve from my ancestors (i.e. as Bengel, “majores, innuit, non Abrahamum &c., quos patres, nunquam προγόνους appellat: sed progenitores proximos.” The reason for the profession may perhaps be found in the following mention of the faith of the mother and grandmother of Timotheus, which was already in the Apostle’s mind. We may observe that he does not, as De W. charges him, place on the same ground the Jewish and Christian service of God: but simply asserts what he had before asserted, Acts 23:1; Acts 24:14,—that his own service of God had been at all times conscientious and single-hearted, and that he had received it as such from his forefathers) in pure conscience, how (not ‘that,’ as Chrys. ( εὐχαριστῶ τῷ θεῷ ὅτι μέμνημαί σου, φησίν, οὕτω σε φιλῶ), Luth., E. V., al.,—nor ‘when,’ as Calv. (‘quoties tui recordor in precibus meis, id enim facio continenter, simul etiam de te gratias ago’],—nor ‘since,’ ‘seeing that,’ as Heyd., Flatt, al.,—nor ‘as,’ as De W., Huther, Ellic., al.: but as in the parallel, Romans 1:9, the construction is a mixed one between μάρτυς μου ἐστὶν ὁ θεός, ὡς ἀδιάλ. ἔχω, and εὐχαριστῶ ἀδιάλειπτον ἔχων: and hence the meaning ‘how’ must be retained, and with it the involution of construction, which is characteristic of one with whom expressions like these had now become fixed in diction, and liable to be combined without regard to strict logical accuracy) unceasing I make my mention (not ‘mention’ only, on account of the article, which specifies the μνεία as a thing constantly happening) concerning thee (so Herod. i. 36, παιδὸς μὲν περὶ τοῦ ἐμοῦ μὴ μνήσθητε ἔτι:—Xen. Cyr. i. 6. 12, οὐδʼ ὁτιοῦν περὶ τούτου ἑπεμνήσθη:—Plato, Laches, p. 181 a, ὅδʼ ἐστὶ σωκράτης, περὶ οὗ ἑκάστοτε μέμνησθε: and Hebrews 11:22) in my prayers, night and day (see Luke 2:37 note: belongs to ἀδιάλειπτ. ἔχω κ. τ. λ., not to δεήσεσιν, much less, as Mack, al., to the following, for which 1 Thessalonians 2:9; 1 Thessalonians 3:10 are no precedents, as here such an arrangement would deprive the participle ἐπιποθῶν of its place of emphasis); longing ( ἐπί, as the prep. in composition so often, seems to mark not intensification, but direction: see Ellic.’s note) to see thee, remembering thy tears (shed at our parting), that I may be filled with joy (the expressions in this verse are assurances of the most fervent personal love, strengthened by the proof of such love having been reciprocal. From these he gently and most skilfully passes to a tone of fatherly exhortation and reproof): having remembrance (the aor. participle may be taken either (1) as de pendent on ἵνα, and the condition of πληρωθῶ,—or, which is more probable, (2) as in apposition with ἐπιποθῶν and μεμνημένος) of the unfeigned faith (which was) (Ellic. objects to ‘was,’ and would render ‘is;’sec note above on 2 Timothy 1:2. But I do not see how St. Paul could be said ὑπόμνησιν λαβεῖν of a thing then present. Surely the remembrance is of the time when they parted, and the faith then existing. But the sentence does not require any temporal filling up—‘the unfeigned faith in thee’ is quite enough, and is necessarily thrown into the past by the ὑπόμνησιν λαβών. See more below) in thee (there is perhaps a slight reproach in this ὑπόμνησιν and τῆς ἐν σοί, as if it were a thing once certain as fact, and as matter of memory, but now only, as below, resting on a πέπεισμαι ὅτι: and in presence of such a possible inference, and of ὑπόμνησιν, I have ventured therefore to render τῆς ἐν σοί, ‘which was in thee,’ viz. at the time of τὰ δὰκρυα,—its present existence being only by and by introduced as a confident hope) such as dwelt first (before it dwelt in thee) in thy grandmother ( μάμμην τὴν τοῦ πατρὸς ἢ μητρὸς μητέρα, οὐ λέγουσιν οἱ ἀρχαῖοι, ἀλλὰ τίτθην (l. τήθην). Phryn., p. 133, where see Lobeck’s note. It is thus used, as he shews, by Josephus, Plutarch, Appian, Herodian, &c., and Pollux says (iii. 17), ἡ δὲ πατρὸς ἢ μητρὸς μήτηρ τήθη καὶ μάμμη καὶ μάμμα. But he adduces all the stricter philologists as agreeing with Phrynichus) Lois (not elsewhere mentioned), and thy mother Eunice ( τιμόθεος, υἱὸς γυναικὸς ἰουδαίας πιστῆς, πατρὸς δὲ ἕλληνος, Acts 16:1; see also ch. 2 Timothy 3:15. Both these were probably converts on Paul’s former visit to Lystra, Acts 14:6 ff.), but (the δέ gives the meaning ‘notwithstanding appearances.’ It is entirely missed by Ellic., and not fairly rendered in the E. V., ‘and;’see note below) I am persuaded that (supply ἐνοικεῖ, not ἐνοικήσει, as Grot., al.) also in thee (there is undoubtedly a want of entire confidence here expressed; and such a feeling will account for the mention of the faith of his mother and grandmother, to which if he wavered, he was proving untrue. This has been felt by several of the ancient Commentators; e.g. Thdrt.,— τῇ μετʼ εὐφημίας μνήμῃ τῶν προγόνων ὁ θεῖς ἀπόστολος κρατύνει τὴν πίστιν ἐν τῷ μαθητῇ. οὐδὲν γὰρ οὕτως ὀνίνησιν ὡς οἰκεῖον παράδειγμα. καὶ ἐπειδὴ συμβαίνει τινὰς ἐξ εὐσεβῶν γενομένους μὴ ζηλῶσαι τὴν τῶν προγόνων εὐσέβειαν, ἀναγκαίως ἐπήγαγεπέπεισμαι δὲ ὅτι καὶ ἐν σοί.” εἶτα τοῦτο αὐτὸ τῆς παραινέσεως ὑποβάθραν ποιεῖται).

Verses 6-14

6–14.] Exhortation to Timotheus to be firm in the faith, and not to shrink from suffering: enforced (9–11) by the glorious character of the Gospel, and free mercy of God in it, and (11–13) by his own example. For which cause (reff.: viz. because thou hast inherited, didst once possess, and I trust still dost possess, such unfeigned faith;— ταῦτα περί σου πεπεισμένος, Thdrt.) I put thee in mind to stir up (see examples in reff. and in Wetst. The metaphorical use of the word was so common, that there is hardly need to recur to its literal sense. Cf. especially, Iambl, vit. Pythagor. c. 16: ἀπεκάθαιρε τὴν ψυχήν, καὶ ἀνεζωπύρει τὸ θεῖον ἐν αὐτῇ. At the same time it is well to compare, as Chrys. does, 1 Thessalonians 5:19, τὸ πνεῦμα μὴ σβέννυτε. He adds, ἐν ἡμῖν γάρ ἐστι καὶ σβέσι καὶ ἀνάψαι τοῦτο. ὑπὸ μὲν γὰρ ἀκηδίας καὶ ῥᾳθυμίας σβέννυται, ὑπὸ δὲ νήψεως καὶ προσοχῆς διεγείρεται) the gift of God ( χάρισμα, singular, as combining the whole of the gifts necessary for the ministry in one aggregate ( τὴν χάριν τοῦ πνεύματος, ἢν ἔλαβες εἰς προστασίαν τῆς ἐκκλησίας, Chrys.): not ‘the gift of the Spirit imparted to all believers:’ see 1 Timothy 4:14, note. Of those ministerial gifts, that of παῤῥησία would be most required in this case, “videtur Timotheus, Paulo diu carens, nonnihil remisisse: certe nunc ad majora stimulatur.” Bengel), which is in thee by means of the laying on of my hands (these words, especially when compared with 1 Timothy 4:14, mark the sense of χάρισμα to be as above, and not the general gifts of the Spirit which followed the laying on of hands after baptism. Any apparent discrepancy with that passage, from the Apostle here speaking of the laying on of his own hands alone, may be removed by regarding the Apostle as chief in the ordination, and the presbytery us his assistants, as is the case with Bishops at the present day. As to the διὰ τῆς ἐπιθ., we can only appeal, against the Roman-Catholic expositors, e.g. Mack, to the whole spirit of St. Paul’s teaching, as declaring that by such an expression he does not mean that the inward spiritual grace is operated merely and barely by the outward visible sign,—but is only asserting, in a mode of speech common to us all, that the solemn dedication by him of Timotheus to God’s work, of which the laying on of his hands was the sign and seal, did bring with it gifts and grace for that work. In this sense and in this alone, the gift came διὰ τῆς ἐπιθέσεως, that laying on being the concentrated and effective sign of the setting apart, and conveying in faith the answer, assumed by faith, to the prayers of the church. That the Apostle had authority thus to set apart, was necessary to the validity of the act, and thus to the reception of the grace:—but the authority did not convey the grace. I may just add that the ‘indelibility of orders,’ which Mack infers from this passage, is simply and directly refuted by it. If the χάρισμα τὸ ἐν σοί required ἀναζωπυρεῖσθαι, if, as Chrys. above, ἐν ἡμῖν ἐστι καὶ σβέσαι καὶ ἀνάψαι τοῦτο,—then plainly it is not indelible).

Verse 7

7.] For (q. d., ‘and there is reason for my thus exhorting thee, seeing that thou hast shewn a spirit inconsistent with the character of that χάρισμα.’ The particle is passed over by Ellicott) God did not give (when we were admitted to the ministry: not ‘has not given’ ( δέδωκεν)) us the Spirit (q. d., ‘the spirit which He gave us was not:’ see Romans 8:15 and note. The usage of πνεῦμα without the art. in the sense of the spirit of man dwelt in by the Spirit of God, and as the Spirit of God working in the spirit of man, as e.g. continually in Romans 7. (2 Timothy 1:4-5; 2 Timothy 1:9 bis, 13, 14), in 1 Corinthians 2:4; cf. 1 Corinthians 6:17, forbids our rendering πνεῦμαa spirit’ (subjective), as Conyb. al.) of cowardice (the coincidence in sound with the πνεῦμα δουλείας of Romans 8:15, is remarkable, and the most decisive of all testimonies against De Wette’s unworthy and preposterous idea that this passage is an imitation from that. Rather I should account the circumstance a fine and deep indication of genuineness:—the habitual assertion of the one axiom having made even its sound and chime so familiar to the Apostle’s ear, that he selects, when enouncing another like it, a word almost reproducing that other. There is also doubtless a touch of severity in this δειλίας, putting before Timotheus his timidity in such a light as to shame him: οὐχ ἵνα δειλιῶμεν τοὺς ὑπὲρ τῆς εὐσεβίας κινδύνους, Thdrt.), but (the spirit) of power (as opposed to the weakness implied in δειλία), and love (as opposed to that false compliance with men, which shrinks from bold rebuke:—that lofty self-abandonment of love for others, which will even sacrifice repute, and security, and all that belongs to self, in the noble struggle to do men good), and correction (the original meaning of σωφρονισμός, ‘admonition of others that they may become σωφρ.,’— τὸ σωφρονίζειν τινά, cf. Titus 2:4,—must be retained, as necessary both on account of that usage of the verb, and on account of the context. It is this bearing bold testimony before others, from which Timotheus appears to have shrunk: cf. μὴ οὖν ἑπαισχυνθῇς τὸ μαρτύριον, 2 Timothy 1:8. It also suits the construction of the other two genitives (against Huther), which both express that which the Spirit inspires a man with. For the meaning itself, cf. Palm and Rost’s Lex. We have examples of it in Hippodamus (Stob. 43. 93, p, 250),— τοὶ μὲν νέοι δέονται σωφρονισμῶ καὶ καταρτύσις: Plut. Cat. maj. 5,— ἐπὶ διορθώσει καὶ σωφρονισμῷ τῶν ἄλλων: Appian, de rebus Punicis viii. 65,— εἰσὶ γὰρ οἳ καὶ τόδε νομίζουσιν, αὐτὸν ἐς ῥωμαίων σωφρονισμὸν ἐθελῆσαι γείτονα καὶ ἀντίπαλον αὐτοῖς φόβον ἐς ἀεὶ καταλιπεῖν. The word in after times became a common one for discipline or ecclesiastical correction: see examples under σωφρονίζω and - ισμός in Suicer. Some, retaining this proper meaning, understand by it that the Spirit σωφρονίζει ἡμᾶς: so (alt.) Chrys., Thl. ( ἢ ἵνα σωφρονισμὸν ἔχωμεν τὸ πνεῦμα); but this does not suit the construction of the other genitives, in which it is not power over us, or love towards us, that is meant, but power and love wrought in us as towards others, and opposed to cowardice and fear of man. Thl. gives as another alternative the right meaning— ἢ ἵνα καὶ ἄλλοις ὦμεν σωφρονισταὶ καὶ παιδευταί. The making σωφρονισμός = σωφροσύνη, as E. V. and many Commentators, is surely not allowable, though Chrys. puts it doubtfully as an alternative. The only way in which it can come virtually to that, is by supposing the σωφρονισμός to be exercised by ourselves over ourselves, as Thdrt.: ἵνα σωφρονίσωμεν τῶν ἐν ἡμῖν κινουμένων παθημάτων τὴν ἀταξίαν. But this does not seem to me to suit the context so well as the meaning given above).

Verse 8

8.] Be not then (seeing that God gave us such a Spirit, not the other) ashamed of (for construction see reff. I cannot see, with Ellic., that the aor. subjunc. with μή, ‘ne te pudeat unquam,’ as Leo, implies in matter of fact that “Timothy had as yet evinced no such feeling.” Surely, granting that such is the primary constructional inference from the words, it would be just in keeping with the delicate tact of the Apostle, to use such form of admonition, when in fact the blame had been already partly incurred. See note on 2 Timothy 1:1) the testimony of our Lord (i.e. the testimony which thou art to give concerning our Lord, gen. objective: not ‘the testimony which He bore,’ gen. subjective, as Corn.-a-lap., al.,—nor, as Chrys. (apparently), ‘the martyrdom of our Lord,’ nor must we, with Mack, lay stress on κυρίου, and understand the μαρτύριον to be especially this, that Jesus is the Lord. The ἡμῶν is added, hardly for the reason Bengel gives, ‘hunc opponit Cæsari, quem sui sic appellabant,’ which would hardly have been thus expressed, requiring more prominence to be given to ἡμῶν,—but because, being about to introduce himself, he binds by this word Timotheus and himself together), nor of me His prisoner (I would hardly say, with De W., Huther, al., that this refers only to the services which the Apostle expected from Timotheus in coming to him at Rome: such thought may have been in his mind, and may have mingled with his motive in making the exhortation: but I believe the main reference to be to his duty as upholding St. Paul and his teaching in the face of personal danger and persecution. It is impossible to deny that the above personal reference does enter again and again: but I cannot believe it to be more than secondary. On the expression, τὸν δέσμιον αὐτοῦ, see Ephesians 3:1 note: the gen. implies not possession, but the reason for which he was imprisoned, cf. Philemon 1:13, δεσμοὶ τοῦ εὐαγγελίου), but suffer hardship with me for the Gospel (this is the meaning (ref.), and not ‘suffer hardship together with the Gospel,’ as Thdrt. ( τῶν κηρύκων τὸ πάθος τοῦ εὐαγγελίου προσηγόρευσε πάθος), Calv. (?), Grot. (‘ προσωποποιεῖ evangelium, eique sensum tribuit, quomodo alibi legi, morti, peccato’): for St. Paul, speaking of his own bonds, ch. 2 Timothy 2:9, says, ὁ λόγος τοῦ θεοῦ οὐ δέδεται. This συγκακοπάθησον extends the sphere of his fellow-suffering with the Apostle beyond his mere visiting Rome) according to the power of God (what power? that which God has manifested in our salvation, as described below (gen. subj.), or that which God imparts to us (gen. obj.),—God’s power, or the power which we get from God? On all grounds, the former seems to me the juster and worthier sense: the former, as implying indeed the latter à fortiori—that God, who by his strong hand and mighty arm has done all this for us, will help us through all trouble incurred for Him. Chrys. gives this meaning very finely: ἐπεὶ φορτικὸν ἦν τὸ εἰπεῖν, κακοπάθησον, πάλιν αὐτὸν παραμυθεῖται λέγων, οὐ κατὰ τὰ ἔργα ἡμῶν· τουτέστι, μὴ τῇ δυνάμει λογίζου τῇ σῇ, ἀλλὰ τῇ τοῦ θεοῦ ταῦτα φέρειν. σὸν μὲν γὰρ τὸ ἑλέσθαι καὶ προθυμηθῆναι, θεοῦ δὲ τὸ κουφίσαι καὶ παῦσαι. εἶτα καὶ τῆς δυνάμεως αὐτοῦ δείκνυσι τὰ τεκμήρια. πῶς ἐσώθης ἐννόει, πῶς ἐκλήθης. ὥσπερ φησὶν ἀλλαχοῦ, κατὰ τὴν ἐνέργειαν αὐτοῦ τὴν ἐνεργουμένην ἐν ἡμῖν. οὕτω τοῦ ποιῆσαι τὸν οὐρανὸν μείζων δύναμις αὕτη ἦν, τὸ πεῖσαι τὴν οἰκουμένην), who saved us (all believers: there is no reason for limiting this ἡμᾶς to Paul and Timotheus. It is painful to see such Commentators as De Wette so blinded by a preconceived notion of the spuriousness of the Epistle, as to call this which follows ‘eine ganz allgemeine überflüssige Erinnerung an die christlichen Heilsthatsachen.’ I need hardly say to the reader who has been hitherto following the course and spirit of the passage, that it is in the strictest coherence, as indeed is shewn by Chrys. above. ‘Be not cowardly nor ashamed of the Gospel, but join me in endurance on its behalf, according to God’s power, who has given such proofs of that power and of its exercise towards us, in saving us,—calling us in Christ,—destroying death—&c., of which endurance I am an example (11–13)—which example do thou follow’ (13, 14)), and called us (this, as indeed the whole context, shews that it is the Father who is spoken of: see note on Galatians 1:6), with an holy ( τουτέστιν, ἁγίους ἐξειργάσατο ἁμαρτωλοὺς ὄντας καὶ ἐχθρούς, Chrys. κλῆσις expressing the state, rather than merely the summoning into it (as does ‘vocation’ also), ἁγία is its quality) calling (see Ephesians 4:1; Ephesians 1:18; Romans 8:28-30, and notes), not according to (after the measure of, in accordance with) our works: but according to (after the measure of, in pursuance of) his own purpose ( τουτέστιν οὐδενὸς ἀναγκάζοντος, οὐδενὸς συμβουλεύοντος, ἀλλʼ ἐξ ἰδίας προθέσεως, οἴκοθεν ἐκ τῆς ἀγαθότητος αὐτοῦ ὁρμώμενος, Chrys. οὐκ εἰς τὸν ἡμέτερον ἀποβλέψας βίον, ἀλλὰ διὰ μόνην φιλανθρωπίαν, Thdrt. “Originem tam vocationis nostræ quam totius salutis designat: non enim erant nobis opera quibus Deum præveniremus: sed totum a gratuito ejus proposito et electione pendet.” Calv.), and (according to) the grace which was given to us (this expression, which properly belongs only to an actual imparting, is used, because, as De W., that which God determines in Eternity, is as good as already accomplished in time. No weakening of δοθεῖσαν into destinatam must be thought of) in Christ Jesus (as its element and condition, see Ephesians 1:4; Ephesians 3:11) before the periods of ages (see reff.; τουτέστιν, ἀναρχῶς, Chrys. It is hardly possible in the presence of Scripture analogy to take the expression πρὸ χρόνων αἰωνίων as ‘meaning (? Conyb.) the Jewish dispensation:’ still less, as Dr. Burton, that ‘the scheme of redemption was arranged by God immediately after the fall, before any ages or dispensations.’ Even Calvin’s interpretation, ‘perpetuam annorum seriem a mundo condito,’ fails to reach the full meaning. In the parallel, Romans 16:25, the mystery of redemption is described as having been χρόνοις αἰωνίοις σεσιγημένον,—which obviously includes ages previous to the καταβολὴ κόσμου as well as after it;—see Ephesians 3:11, compared with 2 Timothy 1:4; 1 Corinthians 2:7), but (contrast to the concealment from eternity in the manifestation in time) manifested now ( νυνὶ τοῖς προορισθεῖσι τὸ πέρας ἐπέθηκε, Thdrt. See Colossians 1:26; Titus 1:3) by the appearing (in the flesh: here only used thus, see reff.: but not referring to the birth only: ‘His whole manifestation’) of our Saviour Jesus Christ, who abolished (‘when he made of none effect,’ Ellic., objecting to my rendering, as confounding an anarthrous participle with one preceded by the article. But, pace tanti viri, and recognizing to the full the distinction, I must hold that the slightly ratiocinative force of the anarthrous participle is more accurately represented by “who abolished,” than by introducing the temporal element contained in “when He.” The bald literal rendering, ‘abolishing (not, ‘having abolished;’ the aor. participles are synchronous throughout) as He did,’ is most nearly approached by ‘who abolished:’ and it is an approximation to the sense, not grammatical purism, which must be our object) (indeed) death (cf. especially 1 Corinthians 15:26. By the death of Christ, Death has lost his sting, and is henceforth of no more account: consequently the mere act of natural death is evermore treated by the Lord Himself and his Apostles as of no account: cf. John 11:26; Romans 8:2; Romans 8:38; 1 Corinthians 15:55; Hebrews 2:14; and its actual and total abolition foretold, Revelation 21:4. θάνατον must be kept here to its literal sense, and its spiritual only so far understood as involved in the other. The delivering from the fear of death is manifestly not to the purpose, even did διὰ τοῦ εὐαγγ. belong to both participles. Notice τὸν θάνατον. As Bengel says, ‘Articulus notanter positus.’ As if he had said, ‘Orcum illum.’ ζωήν and ἀφθαρσίαν below have no articles), but (contrast to the gloom involved in θάνατον) brought to light (threw light upon, see ref. 1 Cor., and thus made visible what was before hidden: ἀντὶ τοῦ προμηνύσαντος, Thdrt.) life (i.e. the new and glorious life of the Spirit, begun here below and enduring for ever: the only life worthy of being so called) and incorruptibility (immortality—of the new life, not merely of the risen body: that is not in question here, but is, though a glorious yet only a secondary consequence of this ἀφθαρσία; see Romans 8:11) by means of the (preaching of the) Gospel (which makes these glorious things known to men. These words are better taken as belonging only to φωτ. δὲ ζω. κ. ἀφθ., not to καταργ. μὲν τὸν θάν. For this former is an absolute act of Christ, the latter a manifestation to those who see it), for which (viz. the εὐαγγέλιον, the publication of this good news to men) I was appointed a herald, and an apostle, and a teacher of the Gentiles (see the same expression, and note, in 1 Timothy 2:7. The connexion in which he here introduces himself is noticed above, on 2 Timothy 1:8. It is to bring in his own example and endurance in sufferings, and grounds of trust, for a pattern to Timotheus): on which account (viz. because ι ἐτέθην, as above) I also (besides doing the active work of such a mission. Or καί may be taken with ταῦτα, as Ellic.,—‘even these things’) am suffering these things (viz. the things implied in τὸν δέσμιον αὐτοῦ, 2 Timothy 1:8, and further specified by way of explanation and encouragement to Timotheus below, 2 Timothy 1:15): but I am not ashamed (cf. μὴ ἐπαισχυνθῇς, 2 Timothy 1:8), for I know whom I have trusted (hardly to be formally expressed so strongly as De W. ‘in whom I have put my trust’ ( εἰς ὃν πεπ.), though the meaning, in the spiritual explanation, is virtually the same: the metaphor here is that of a pledge deposited, and the depositor trusting the depositary: and it is best to keep to the figure. The refers to God, as Titus 3:8; Acts 27:25?), and am persuaded that He is able (reff. as used of God) to keep my deposit (how are the words to be taken,—and what is meant by them? Does μου import, the deposit which He has entrusted to me, or the deposit which I have entrusted to Him? Let us consider the latter first. In this case μου is the gen. subjective. Now what is there which the Apostle can be said to have entrusted to God? Some say, (a) his eternal reward, the crown laid up for him, ch. 2 Timothy 4:8; so Thl., Beza, Calov., Wolf (‘hoc est κληρονομία quæ dicitur τετηρημένη ἐν οὐρανοῖς, 1 Peter 1:4; habes hic τὸ φυλάσσειν’): but then we should have this reward represented as a matter not of God’s free grace, but of his own, delivered to God to keep: (b) his soul, as in 1 Peter 4:19; Luke 23:46; so Grot. (‘Deus apud nos deponit verbum suum: nos apud Deum deponimus spiritum nostrum’), Beng. (‘anima nostra: nos ipsi, et portio nostra cœlestis. Paulus, decessui proximus, duo deposita habebat: alterum Domino, alterum Timotheo committendum’), Conyb. and others (see this treated below): (c) his salvation, so Ambr., Calv., Huther, al. (see ib.): (d) the believers who had been converted by his means, as Chrys. and Thl. (alt.), and as in the Ep. ad Heron. of the Pseudo-Ignatius, 7, p. 916,— φύλαξόν μου τὴν παραθήκην· … παρατίθημί σοι τὴν ἐκκλησίαν ἀντιοχέων, which hardly needs refutation, as altogether unsupported by the context. Then, under the former head, which would make μου a gen. possessive, we have the following meanings assigned:—(e) the Holy Spirit, as Thdrt. ( ὅσην παρέσχε μοι τοῦ πνεύματος χάριν ἀκήρατον φυλάξει μέχρι τῆς αὐτοῦ παρουσίας):—(f) the faith, and its proclamation to the world. So Chrys. ( τί ἐστι παρακαταθήκη; ἡ πίστις, τὸ κήρυγμα: but only as an alternative, see above), Ellic.; not Grot. as De W. see above: (g) the apostolic office (Corn.-a-lap., Heinrichs, De W., al.) which the Apostle regarded as a thing entrusted to him, a stewardship, 1 Corinthians 9:17; (h) the faithful who had been converted by him, in the (alternative in Chrys. and Thl.) view of their having been committed to him by Christ: (i) his own soul, as entrusted to him by God, as Bretschneider, al., after Josephus, B. J. iii. 8. 5, where speaking against suicide, he says, εἰλήφαμεν παρʼ αὐτοῦ τὸ εἶναιψυχὴ ἀθάνατος ἀεί, καὶ θεοῦ μοῖρα τοῖς σώμασιν ἐνοικίζεται. εἶτα ἂν μὲν ἀφανίσῃ τις ἀνθρώπου παρακαταθήκην, ἢ διάθηται κακῶς, πονηρὸς εἶναι δοκεῖ καὶ ἄπιστος. And even more strikingly Philo, quis rerum div. hæres, 26, vol. i. p. 491:— τοῦτʼ ἔπαινός ἐστι τοῦ σπουδαίου, τὴν ἱερὰν ἣν ἔλαβε παρακαταθήκην, ψυχῆς, αἰσθήσεως, λόγου, θείας σοφίας, ἀνθρωπίνης ἐπιστήμης, καθαρῶς καὶ ἀδόλως, μὴ ἑαυτῷ, μόνῳ δὲ τῷ πεπιστευκότι φυλάξαντος. And Hermas Pastor, ii. 3, p. 918: “qui ergo mentiuntur, abnegant Dominum, non reddentes Domino depositum, quod acceperunt.” On all these, and this view of the παραθήκη generally, I may remark, that we may fairly be guided by the same words παραθήκην φύλαξον in 2 Timothy 1:14 as to their sense here. And from this consideration I deduce an inference precisely the contrary to that of De Wette. He argues from it, that παραθήκη must necessarily have the same meaning in both places, without reference to the verb with which it is joined: and consequently that because in 2 Timothy 1:14 it signifies a matter entrusted to Timotheus, therefore here it must signify a matter entrusted to St. Paul. But this surely is a very lax and careless way of reasoning. The analogy between the two verses, if good for any thing, goes farther than this. As, in 2 Timothy 1:14, παραθήκην φυλάξαι is said of the subject of the sentence, viz. Timotheus, keeping a deposit entrusted to him,—so here παραθήκην φυλάξαι must be said of the subject of the sentence, viz. God, keeping a deposit entrusted to Him. Otherwise, while keeping the mere word παραθήκη to the same formal meaning in both places, we shall, most harshly and unnaturally, be requiring the phrase παραθήκην φυλάξαι to bear, in two almost consecutive verses, two totally different meanings. The analogy therefore of 2 Timothy 1:14, which De W. uses so abundantly for his view, makes, if thoroughly considered, entirely against it, and in fact necessitates the adoption of the first alternative, viz. the objective genitive,—and the deposit committed by the Apostle to God. And when we enquire what this deposit was, we have the reply, I conceive, in the previous words, ᾧ πεπίστευκα (see this especially shewn in the quotation from Philo above, where the πεπιστευκώς is God, not man). He had entrusted HIMSELF, body, soul, and spirit, to the keeping of his heavenly Father, and lay safe in his hands, confident of His abiding and effectual care. A strong confirmation of this view is gained,—notwithstanding what Ellic. says of the moral reference there, and not here: for the parallel is to be sought not between φυλάξαι and ἁγιάσαι, but between φυλάξαι and τηρῆσαι, which is a very close one,—from 1 Thessalonians 5:23, αὐτὺς δὲ ὁ θεὸς τῆς εἰρήνης ἁγιάσαι ὑμᾶς ὁλοτελεῖς, καὶ ὁλόκληρον ὑμῶν τὸ πνεῦμα καὶ ἡ ψυχὴ καὶ τὸ σῶμα ἀμέμπτως ἐν τῇ παρουσίᾳ τοῦ κυρίου ἡμῶν ἰησοῦ χριστοῦ τηρηθείη) for (with reference to, as an object;—‘against,’ as we say, in a temporal sense: not simply ‘until’) that day (viz. the day of the παρουσία; see reff., and cf. especially ch. 2 Timothy 4:8).

Verse 13

13.] The utmost care is required, in interpreting this verse, to ascertain the probable meaning of the words in reference to the context. On the right appreciation of this depends the question, whether they are to be taken in their strict meaning, and simple grammatical sense, or to be forced to some possible but far-fetched rendering. It has been generally, as far as I know by all the Commentators, assumed that ὑποτύπωσιν ἔχε = ἔχε (= κάτεχε, see reff.) τὴν ὑποτύπωσιν, and that then ὑγιαινόντων λόγων is to be taken as a subject. gen. after ὑποτύπ.; i.e. as in E. V., ‘Hold fast the form of sound words:’ thus making the exhortation perfectly general,—equivalent in fact to the following one in 2 Timothy 1:14. But to this there are several objections. The want of the art. before ὑποτύπωσιν might indeed be got over: a definite word emphatically prefixed to its verb is frequently anarthrous. But (1) this sense of ἔχε can hardly be maintained in its present unemphatic position. The sense is found (or something approaching to it, for it would require to be stronger here than in either place) in the reff.: but in both, the verb precedes the substantive, as indeed always throughout the N. T. where any stress whatever is to be laid on it. Cf., for some examples of both arrangements, (a) ἔχω preceding, with more or less reference to its sense of having or holding, as a matter to be taken into account, Matthew 5:23; Matthew 8:9(1), Matthew 11:15 (2) (always thus), al.,—Mark 9:50; Mark 10:21; Mark 11:22, al.,—Luke 3:11; Luke 8:6; Luke 11:5, al.,—John 3:15-16; John 3:29; John 3:36, al.,—Acts 2:44; Acts 2:47; Acts 9:14; Acts 9:31, &c.,—Romans 2:20; Romans 4:2; Romans 6:22 (cf. Romans 6:21), Romans 12:6, &c.: and (b) ἔχω following its substantive, with always the stress on the subst., and not on the verb, Matthew 3:14; Matthew 5:46; Matthew 8:20, &c.,—Mark 3:22; Mark 3:26; Mark 8:14-18, &c.,—Luke 3:8; Luke 8:13, &c.,—John 2:3; John 4:17 (instances of both arrangements, and each in full significance), &c.,—Romans 14:22, &c. I cannot therefore assent to the view, which would give ἔχε the chief emphasis in the sentence, but must reserve that emphasis for ὑποτύπωσιν. Then (2) there is an objection to taking ὑποτύπωσιν as ‘a form’ with a subjective genitive,—a ‘form consisting of sound words.’ The word is once only used (ref.) elsewhere, and that in these Epistles, as a ‘pattern,’ ‘specimen:’ and there can hardly be a doubt that so uncommon a word must be taken, as again used by the same writer, in the same meaning, unless the context manifestly point to another. (3) A third objection, not so important as the other two, but still a valid one, will be that according to the usual rendering, the relative ὧν would much more naturally be ἥν, referring as it ought to do in that case to ὑποτύπωσιν, the object of ἔχε, not to the λόγοι of which that ὑποτύπωσις was composed. This being so, we shall have the rendering so far,—Have (take) an ensample of (the) healthy words which thou heardest of me in faith and love which are in Christ Jesus. Then two questions arise for us: to what (1) does ὑποτύπωσιν ἔχε refer? I answer,—to the saying immediately preceding, οἶδα γὰρ κ. τ. λ. This was one of those πιστοὶ λόγοι or ὑγιαίνοντες λόγοι, of which we hear so often in these Epistles; one which, in his timidity, Timotheus was perhaps in danger of forgetting, and of which therefore the Apostle reminds him, and bids him take it as a specimen or pattern of those sound words which had been committed to him by his father in the faith. To what (2) do the words ἐν πίστει κ. ἀγάπῃ τῇ ἐν χρ. ἰησ. refer? Certainly not, as Thdrt., to παρʼ ἐμοῦ, taking ἐν as = περὶ ( τὴν παρʼ ἐμοῦ περὶ πίστεως κ. ἀγάπης γεγενημένην διδασκαλίαν): not, again, to ἔχε, to which in our understanding of ὑποτύπωσιν ἔχε, such a qualification would be altogether inapplicable: but to ἤκουσας, reminding Timotheus of the readiness of belief, and warmth of affection, with which he had at first received the wholesome words from the mouth of the Apostle, and thus tacitly reproaching him for his present want of growth in that faith and love; q. d. Let me in thus speaking, ‘I know whom I have believed &c.,’ call to thy mind, by one example, those faithful sayings, those words of spiritual health, which thou once heardest with such receptivity and ardour as a Christian believer. (I am bound to add, that Chrys., having too much sense of the import of the Greek arrangement, does not fall into the ordinary mistake of making ἔχε = κάτεχε and emphatic, but, as will be seen, understands it, “From the ὑγιαίνοντες λόγοι which I delivered thee, take thine examples and maxims on every subject.” But that would rather require ὑγιαίνοντας λόγους οὓςι subjoin his words; καθάπερ ἐπὶ τῶν ζωγράφων ἐνετυπωσάμην, φησίν, εἰκόνα σοι τῆς ἀρετῆς, καὶ τῶν τῷ θεῷ δοκούντων ( εὐδοκούντων?) ἁπάντων, ὥσπερ τινὰ κανόνα κ. ἀρχέτυπον κ. ὅρους καταβαλὼν εἰς τὴν σὴν ψυχήν. ταῦτα οὖν ἔχε, κἂν περὶ πίστεως, κἂν περὶ ἀγάπης, κἂν περὶ σωφρονισμοῦ δέῃ τὶ βουλεύσασθαι, ἐκεῖθεν λάμβανε τὰ παραδείγματα. Ellic.’s note seems not altogether perspicuous. He does not enter into the difficulty: and his “not for κάτεχε, though somewhat approaching it in meaning,” leaves the student under some doubt as to whether he does or does not agree with the E. V.) Then as following on this single example, the whole glorious deposit is solemnly committed to his care:—being a servant of One who will keep that which we have entrusted to HIM, do thou in thy turn keep that which HE, by my means, has entrusted to thee:

Verse 14

14.] that goodly deposit keep, through the Holy Spirit who dwelleth in us (not thee and me merely, but all believers: cf. Acts 13:52. Chrys. remarks: οὐ γάρ ἐστιν ἀνθρωπίνης ψυχῆς οὐδὲ δυνάμεως, τοσαῦτα ἐμπιστευθέντα, ἀρκέσαι πρὸς τὴν φυλακήν. διὰ τί; ὅτι πολλοὶ οἱ λῃσταί, σκότος βαθύ· ὁ διάβολος ἐφέστηκεν ἤδη κ. ἐφεδρεύει).

Verses 15-18

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’).

Verse 16

16.] May the Lord give mercy (an expression not found elsewhere in N. T.) to the house of Onesiphorus (from this expression, here and in ch. 2 Timothy 4:19, and from what follows, 2 Timothy 1:18, it has been not improbably supposed, that Onesiphorus himself was no longer living at this time. Some indeed, as Thdrt. ( οὐ μόνον αὐτῷ ἀλλὰ καὶ παντὶ τῷ οἴκῳ τὸν θεῖον ἀντέδωκεν ἔλεον), Calv. (“ob eum toti familiæ bene precatur. Unde colligimus Dei benedictionem non tantum super caput justi sed super totam domum residero”), al., take it as merely all extension of the gratitude of the Apostle from Onesiphorus to his household: but ch. 2 Timothy 4:19 is against this. Thdrt. indeed (as also Chrys.) understands that Onesiphorus was with him at this time: but the aorists here (cf. γενόμενος) will hardly allow that), because on many occasions he refreshed me (from ψύχω, not from ψυχή. Any kind of refreshing, of body or mind, may be implied), and was not ashamed of (2 Timothy 1:8) my chain (reff.): but when he was in Rome, sought me out with extraordinary diligence (literally: with more diligence than could have been looked for. Or perhaps, the more diligently: scil. because I was in chains. They all ἀπεστράφησάν με: he not only did not this, but earnestly sought me) and found me.

Verse 18

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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Bibliography Information
Alford, Henry. "Commentary on 2 Timothy 1:4". Greek Testament Critical Exegetical Commentary. 1863-1878.

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