2 Timothy 1
Pulpit Commentary
Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, according to the promise of life which is in Christ Jesus,
Verse 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).
To Timothy, my dearly beloved son: Grace, mercy, and peace, from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.
Verse 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 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.
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;
Verse 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 ver. 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."
Greatly desiring to see thee, being mindful of thy tears, that I may be filled with joy;
Verse 4. - Longing for greatly desiring, A.V.; remembering for being mindful of, A.V.
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.
Verse 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. Μάμμη 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 λωί'τερος and λώι'στος. 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.
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.
Verse 6. - For the which cause for wherefore, A.V.; through the laying for by the putting, A.V. For which cause (δι η{ν αἰτίαν); so ver. 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 Macc. 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 (1 Macc. 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, 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, 23).
For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.
Verse 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 (see Matthew 8:26; Mark 4:40; Revelation 21:8). 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."
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;
Verse 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.
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,
Verse 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, 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, 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, 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).
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:
Verse 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 ch. 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. 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.
Whereunto I am appointed a preacher, and an apostle, and a teacher of the Gentiles.
Verse 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 Tim 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, 5; Romans 15:16; 1 Corinthians 1:1, etc.).
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.
Verse 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 (ver. 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 Wisd. 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 ver. 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.
Hold fast the form of sound words, which thou hast heard of me, in faith and love which is in Christ Jesus.
Verse 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.
That good thing which was committed unto thee keep by the Holy Ghost which dwelleth in us.
Verse 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.
This thou knowest, that all they which are in Asia be turned away from me; of whom are Phygellus and Hermogenes.
Verse 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.
The Lord give mercy unto the house of Onesiphorus; for he oft refreshed me, and was not ashamed of my chain:
Verse 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 ver. 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 ver. 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).
But, when he was in Rome, he sought me out very diligently, and found me.
Verse 17. - Sought for sought out, A.V.; diligently for very diligently, A.V. and T.R.
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.
Verse 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 εῦρεν 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.

Pulpit Commentary


1 Timothy 6
Top of Page
Top of Page