Commentary Critical and Explanatory
on the Whole Bible
FAITHFULNESS AS A
SPIRIT FOR A
1. Thou therefore--following my example
(2Ti 1:8, 12),
and that of ONESIPHORUS
and shunning that of those who forsook me
my son--Children ought to imitate their father.
be strong--literally, "be invested with power." Have
power, and show thyself to have it; implying an abiding state of power.
in the grace--the element IN
which the believer's strength has
"God hath given us the spirit of power."
2. among--Greek, "through," that is, with the attestation
(literally, "intervention") of many witnesses, namely, the presbyters
and others present at his ordination or consecration
(1Ti 4:14; 6:12).
commit--in trust, as a deposit
faithful--the quality most needed by those having a trust
committed to them.
who--Greek, "(persons) such as shall be competent
to teach (them to) others also." Thus the way is prepared for
inculcating the duty of faithful endurance
Thou shouldest consider as a motive to endurance, that thou hast not
only to keep the deposit for thyself, but to transmit it unimpaired to
others, who in their turn shall fulfil the same office. This is so far
from supporting oral tradition now that it rather teaches how
precarious a mode of preserving revealed truth it was, depending, as it
did, on the trustworthiness of each individual in the chain of
succession; and how thankful we ought to be that God Himself has
given the written Word, which is exempt from such risk.
3. Thou therefore endure hardness--The oldest manuscripts have
no "Thou therefore," and read, "Endure hardship with
(me)." "Take thy share in suffering" [CONYBEARE
4. "No one while serving as a soldier."
the affairs of (this) life--"the businesses of life"
[ALFORD]; mercantile, or other than military.
him who hath chosen him--the general who at the first enlisted
him as a soldier. Paul himself worked at tent-making
Therefore what is prohibited here is, not all other save religious
occupation, but the becoming entangled, or over-engrossed
strive for masteries--"strive in the games"
[ALFORD]; namely, the
great national games of Greece.
yet is he not crowned, except--even though he gain the victory.
strive lawfully--observing all the conditions of both the contest
(keeping within the bounds of the course and stript of his clothes) and
the preparation for it, namely, as to self-denying diet, anointing,
exercise, self-restraint, chastity, decorum, &c.
6. must be first partaker--The right of first partaking of
the fruits belongs to him who is laboring; do not
thou, therefore, relax thy labors, as thou wouldest be foremost in
partaking of the reward. CONYBEARE explains
"first," before the idler.
7. Consider the force of the illustrations I have given from the
soldier, the contender in the games, and the husbandmen, as
applying to thyself in thy ministry.
and the Lord give, &c.--The oldest manuscripts read, "for
the Lord will give thee understanding." Thou canst understand my
meaning so as personally to apply it to thyself; for the Lord will give
thee understanding when thou seekest it from Him "in all things." Not
intellectual perception, but personal appropriation of the truths
metaphorically expressed, was what he needed to be given him by the
8. Rather as Greek, "Remember Jesus Christ, raised from
the dead." Remember Christ risen, so as to follow Him. As He was raised
after death, so if thou wouldest share His risen "life," thou must now
share His "death"
The Greek perfect passive participle, implies a permanent
character acquired by Jesus as the risen Saviour, and our
permanent interest in Him as such. Christ's resurrection is put
prominently forward as being the truth now assailed
and the one best calculated to stimulate Timothy to steadfastness in
sharing Paul's sufferings for the Gospel's sake (see on
of the seed of David--The one and only genealogy (as contrasted
with the "endless genealogies,"
worth thinking of, for it proves Jesus to be the Messiah. The absence
of the article in the Greek, and this formula, "of the seed of
imply that the words were probably part of a recognized short oral
creed. In His death He assured us of His humanity; by His resurrection,
of His divinity. That He was not crucified for His own sin
appears from His resurrection; that He was crucified shows that He bore
sin, on Him, though not in Him.
my gospel--that which I always taught.
9. Wherein--in proclaiming which Gospel.
suffer trouble--literally, "evil." I am a sufferer of evil as
though I were a doer of evil.
word . . . not bound--Though my person is bound, my
tongue and my pen are not
Or he alludes not merely to his own proclamation of the Gospel,
though in chains, but to the freedom of its circulation by
others, even though his power of circulating it is now prescribed
He also hints to Timothy that he being free ought to be the more
earnest in the service of it.
10. Therefore--Because of the anxiety I feel that the Gospel
should be extended; that anxiety being implied in
endure--not merely "I passively suffer," but "I actively
and perseveringly endure," and "am ready to endure patiently all
the elect's sakes--for the sake of the Church: all the members of
Christ's spiritual body
they . . . also--as well as myself: both God's elect
not yet converted and those already so.
salvation . . . glory--not only salvation from
wrath, but glory in reigning with Him eternally
Glory is the full expansion of salvation
Ro 8:21-24, 30;
So grace and glory
11. Greek, "Faithful is the saying."
For--"For" the fact is so that, "if we be dead with Him (the
Greek aorist tense implies a state once for all entered into
in past times at the moment of regeneration,
Ro 6:3, 4, 8;
we shall also live with Him." The symmetrical form of "the saying,"
and the rhythmical balance of the parallel clauses, makes it likely,
they formed part of a Church hymn (see on
or accepted formula, perhaps first uttered by some of the Christian
"prophets" in the public assembly
The phrase "faithful is the saying," which seems to have been the usual
1Ti 1:15; 3:1; 4:9;
in such cases, favors this.
12. suffer--rather, as the Greek is the same as in
"If we endure (with Him)"
reign with him--The peculiar privilege of the elect Church now
suffering with Christ, then to reign with Him (see on
Reigning is something more than mere salvation
Re 3:21; 5:10; 20:4, 5).
deny--with the mouth. As "believe" with the heart
Compare the opposite, "confess with thy mouth" and "believe in thine
(Ro 10:9, 10).
he also will deny us--
13. believe not--"If we are unbelievers (literally, 'unfaithful'),
He remains faithful"
(De 7:9, 10).
The oldest manuscripts read, "For He cannot (it is an
impossibility that He should) deny Himself." He cannot be
unfaithful to His word that He will deny those who deny Him, though
we be not faithful to our profession of faith in Him
Three things are impossible to God, to die, to lie, and to be deceived
[AUGUSTINE, The Creed, 1.1],
This impossibility is not one of infirmity, but of infinite power and
majesty. Also, indirectly, comfort is suggested to believers, that He
is faithful to His promises to them; at the same time that apostates
are shaken out of their self-deceiving fancy, that because they change,
Christ similarly may change. A warning to Timothy to be steadfast in
14. them--those over whom thou dost preside
charging--Greek, "testifying continually": "adjuring them."
before the Lord--
that they strive not about words--rather, "strive with words":
"not to have a (mere) war of words"
(2Ti 2:23, 24;
where the most vital matters are at stake
(2Ti 2:17, 18;
The oldest manuscripts put a stop at "charging them before the Lord"
(which clause is thus connected with "put them in remembrance") and
read the imperative, "Strive not thou in words," &c.
to no profit--not qualifying "words"; but Greek neuter, in
apposition with "strive in words," "(a thing tending) to no profit,"
literally, "profitable for nothing"; the opposite of "meet for the
to the subverting--sure to subvert (overturn) the hearers: the
opposite of "edifying" (building up)
15. Study--Greek, "Be earnest," or "diligent."
to show--Greek, "present," as in
thyself--as distinguished from those whom Timothy was to charge
approved--tested by trial: opposed to "reprobate"
not to be ashamed--by his work not being "approved"
Contrast "deceitful workers"
rightly dividing--"rightly handling" [Vulgate]; "rightly
administering" [ALFORD]; literally, cutting
"straight" or "right": the metaphor being from a father or a steward
cutting and distributing bread among his children
[VITRINGA and CALVIN],
Pr 3:6; 11:5,
use it of "making one's way": so BENGEL here takes
Paul to mean that Timothy may make ready a straight way for "the
word of truth," and may himself walk straight forward according to this
line, turning neither to the right nor to the left, "teaching no other
The same image of a way appears in the Greek for
"increase" (see on
The opposite to "rightly handling," or "dispensing," is,
"corrupt the word of God."
truth--Greek, "the truth" (compare
16. shun--literally, "stand above," separate from, and superior
vain--opposed to "the truth"
babblings--with loud voice: opposed to the temperate "word"
increase--Greek, advance"; literally, "strike forward":
an image from pioneers cutting away all obstacles before
an advancing army. They pretend progress; the only kind of
progress they make is to a greater pitch of impiety.
more ungodliness--Greek, "a greater degree of impiety."
17. will eat--literally, "will have pasture." The consuming
progress of mortification is the image. They pretend to give rich
spiritual pasture to their disciples: the only pasture is
that of a spiritual cancer feeding on their vitals.
canker--a "cancer" or "gangrene."
After his excommunication he seems to have been readmitted into the
Church and again to have troubled it.
18. erred--Greek, "missed the aim" (see
is past already--has already taken place. The beginnings of the
subsequent Gnostic heresy already existed. They "wrested"
Paul's own words
"to their own destruction," as though the resurrection was merely the
spiritual raising of souls from the death of sin. Compare
where he shows all our hopes of future glory rest on the literal
reality of the resurrection. To believe it past (as the Seleucians or
Hermians did, according to AUGUSTINE
[Epistles, 119.55, To Januarius, 4]), is to deny it in
its true sense.
overthrow--trying to subvert "the foundation" on which alone faith
can rest secure
19. Nevertheless--Notwithstanding the subversion of their
faith, "the firm foundation of God standeth" fast (so the
Greek ought to be translated). The "foundation" here is "the
Church" [ALFORD], "the ground" or basement support
"of the truth"
Christ Himself being the ultimate "foundation"
In the steadfast standing of the Church there is involved the
steadfast certainty of the doctrine in question
Thus the "house"
answers to the "foundation"; it is made up of the elect whom "the Lord
knoweth" (acknowledgeth, recognizes,
as "His," and who persevere to the end, though others "err concerning
Ro 8:38, 39;
BENGEL takes "the foundation" to be the
immovable faithfulness of God (to His promises to His elect
[CALVIN]). This contrasts well with the erring
from the faith on the part of the reprobate,
Though they deny the faith, God abates not His
having--seeing that it has [ELLICOTT].
seal--"inscription": indicating ownership and
destination: inscriptions were often engraven on a "foundation"
[ALFORD]. This will agree with the view that "the
foundation" is the Church
If it be taken God's immovable faithfulness, the "seal" will be
regarded as attached to His covenant promise, with the inscription or
legend, on one side of its round surface, "The Lord knoweth (it is
'knew' in the Septuagint,
to which Paul here alludes, altering it for his purpose by the Spirit)
them that are His"; on the observe side, "Let every one that nameth (as
or preacheth in His name,
depart--Greek, "stand aloof."
In both clauses there may be an allusion to
Nu 16:5, 26,
Septuagint. God's part and man's part are marked out. God
chooseth and knoweth His elect; our part is to believe, and by the
Spirit depart from all iniquity, an unequivocal proof of our being the
St. Lucian when asked by his persecutors, "Of what country art thou?"
replied, "I am a Christian." "What is your occupation? . . .
I am a Christian." "Of what family? . . . I am a Christian."
[CHRYSOSTOM, Orations, 75]. He cannot be
honored with the name Christian, who dishonors by iniquity, Christ, the
Author of the name. Blandina's refreshment amidst her tortures was to
say, "I am a Christian, and with us Christians no evil is done"
[EUSEBIUS, Ecclesiastical History, 5.1].
Apostasy from the faith is sure soon to be followed by indulgence in
iniquity. It was so with the false teachers
(2Ti 3:2-8, 13).
20. in a great house--that is, the visible professing Christian
Paul is speaking, not of those without, but of the [visible] family of
God [CALVIN]. So the parable of the sweep-net
gathering together of every kind, good and bad: as the good and bad
cannot be distinguished while under the waves, but only when brought to
shore, so believers and unbelievers continue in the same Church, until
the judgment makes the everlasting distinction. "The ark of Noah is a
type of the Church; as in the former there were together the leopard
and the kid, the wolf and the lamb; so in the latter, the righteous and
sinners, vessels of gold and silver, with vessels of wood and earth"
[JEROME, Dialogue against the Luciferians,
vessels of gold . . . silver--precious and able to
of wood and earth--worthless, fragile, and soon burnt
(1Co 3:12-15; 15:47).
some . . . some--the former . . . the latter.
21. If a man . . . purge himself from these--The
Greek expresses "If one (for example, thou, Timothy) purify
himself (so as to separate) from among these" (vessels
sanctified--set apart as wholly consecrated to the Lord.
and meet--Some oldest manuscripts omit "and."
the master's--the Lord's. Paul himself was such a vessel: once one
among those of earth, but afterwards he became by grace one of gold.
prepared unto every good work--
22. Flee--There are many lusts from which our greatest safety is
Avoid occasions of sin. From the abstemious character of Timothy
it is likely that not animal indulgences, but the impetuosity, rash
self-confidence, hastiness, strife, and vainglory of young men
are what he is here warned against: though the Spirit probably
intended the warning to include both in its application to the
Church in general.
also--Greek, "But"; in contrast to "every good work,"
youthful--Timothy was a youth
righteousness--the opposite of "iniquity," that is,
peace, with, &c.--rather, put no comma, "peace with them
that call on the Lord out of a pure heart"
We are to love all men, but it is not possible to be at
peace with all men, for this needs community of purpose and
opinion; they alone who call on the Lord sincerely (as contrasted with
the false teachers who had only the form of godliness,
2Ti 3:5, 8;
Tit 1:15, 16)
have this community [THEODORET].
unlearned--Greek, "undisciplined"; not tending to promote
the discipline of faith and morals
"Uninstructive"; in contrast with "instructing"
and "wise unto salvation"
24. not strive--"The servant of the Lord" must imitate his
master in not striving contentiously, though uncompromising in
earnestly contending for the faith
gentle unto all men--"patient" (Greek, "patient in
bearing wrongs") in respect to adversaries. He is to be gentle
so that he may occasion no evils; patient so that he may endure
apt to teach--implying not only solid teaching and ease in
teaching, but patience and assiduity in it [BENGEL].
25. instructing--Greek, "disciplining," instructing
with correction, which those who deal in "uninstructive" or
"undisciplined questions" need (see on
those that oppose themselves--Greek, "oppositely affected";
those of a different opinion.
if . . . peradventure--Greek, "if at any time."
repentance--which they need as antecedent to the full
knowledge (so the Greek for 'acknowledgment') of
their minds being corrupted
and their lives immoral. The cause of the spiritual ignorance which
prompts such "questions" is moral, having its seat in the will,
not in the intellect
Therefore repentance is their first need. That, not man, but God alone
26. recover themselves--Greek, "awake to soberness,"
namely from the spiritual intoxication whereby they have fallen into
the snare of the devil.
"the wiles of the devil":
1Ti 3:7; 6:9).
taken captive by him at his will--so as to follow the will
of "THAT" (the Greek emphatically marks
Satan thus) foe. However, different Greek pronouns stand for
"him" and "his"; and the Greek for "taken captive" means not
"captured for destruction," but "for being saved alive,"
"Thou shalt catch men to save them unto life"; also there is no article
before the Greek participle, which the English Version
"who are taken captive," would require. Therefore, translate, "That
they may awake . . . taken as saved (and willing) captives by
him (the servant of the Lord,
so as to follow the will of HIM (the Lord,
There are here two evils, the "snare" and sleep, from which they
are delivered: and two goods to which they are translated,
awaking and deliverance. Instead of Satan's thrall comes the
free and willing captivity of obedience to Christ
It is God who goes before, giving repentance
then the work of His servant following is sure to be crowned with
success, leading the convert henceforth to "live to the will of God"