Commentary Critical and Explanatory
on the Whole Bible
1. This Epistle is the last testament and swan-like death song of
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
was needed to nerve Timothy to fortitude amidst trials, and to boldness
in undertaking the journey to Rome, which would be attended with much
2. my dearly beloved son--In
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
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 Testament].
3. I thank--Greek, "I feel gratitude to God."
whom I serve from my forefathers--whom I serve
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;
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
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
that . . . I have remembrance of thee--"how
unceasing I make my mention concerning thee" (compare
The cause of Paul's feeling thankful is, not that he remembers Timothy
unceasingly in his prayers, but for what Timothy is in faith
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
4. desiring--Greek, "with yearning as for one much
mindful of thy tears--not only at our parting
but also often when under pious feelings.
that I may be filled with joy--to be joined with "desiring to
(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
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
The faith of the one parent sanctified the child
She was probably converted at Paul's first visit to Lystra
It is an undesigned coincidence, and so a mark of truth, that in
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
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 faith.
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"
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
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
imparting fearlessness, power, love, and a sound mind
by the putting on of my hands--In
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
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,
"Power is the invariable accompaniment of the gift of the Holy
"full of faith and of the Holy Ghost," with
"full of faith and power." Fear is the result of "the spirit of
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
love--which moves the believer while "speaking the truth" with
power, when giving his testimony for Christ
at the same time to do so "in love"
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
Tit 2:4, 6).
So Paul urges him, in
to give up worldly entanglements, which as thorns
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
felt it necessary to stir him up and guard him against the possibility
of unchristian dereliction of duty as to bold confession of Christ.
is the companion of fear
if fear be overcome, false shame flees [BENGEL].
were instances of fearless profession removing false shame. He presents
in contrast sad instances of fear and shame
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
(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
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
according to the power of God--exhibited in having saved
and called us
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" [CHRYSOSTOM].
9. Who . . . called us--namely, God the Father
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"
holy calling--the actual call to a life of
"heavenly calling" [TITTMANN, Greek Synonyms of
the New Testament]; whereas we were sinners and
(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
Eph 2:8, 9).
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 CALVIN].
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
10. But . . . now . . . manifest--in
contrast to its concealment heretofore in the eternal purpose of God
"before the world began"
Tit 1:2, 3).
appearing--the visible manifestation in the flesh.
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
Ro 8:2, 38;
1Co 15:26, 55;
The carrying out of the abolition of death into full effect is to be at
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.
immortality--Greek, "incorruptibility" of the new life,
not merely of the risen body [ALFORD],
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
we could never break through the bars of death or gates of hell
11. Whereunto--For the publication of which Gospel.
I am appointed--Greek, "I was appointed."
teacher of the Gentiles--
He brings forward his own example in this verse and
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
I know--though the world knows Him not
(Joh 10:14; 17:25).
whom--I know what a faithful, promise-keeping God He is
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 trusts.
he is able--in spite of so many foes around me.
that which I have committed unto him--Greek, "my
deposit"; the body, soul, and spirit, which I have deposited in God's
So Christ Himself in dying
"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
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
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
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,
14. Translate as Greek, "That goodly deposit keep through
the Holy Ghost," namely, "the sound words which I have committed to
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
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
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 Asia Minor.
16. The Lord give mercy--even as
ONESIPHORUS had abounded in works of mercy.
the house of Onesiphorus--He himself was then absent from
Ephesus, which accounts for the form of expression
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 him.
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 house"
the Lord--who rewards a kindness done to His disciples as if
done to Himself
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
very well--rather as Greek, "Thou knowest better" (than I
can tell thee, seeing that thou art more of a regular resident at