THE SECOND EPISTLE OF PAUL THE APOSTLE TO TIMOTHY Commentary by A. R. Faussett
Place of Writing.–Paul, in the interval between his first and second imprisonment, after having written First Timothy from Macedonia or Corinth [Birks] (if we are to adopt the opinion that First Timothy was written after his first imprisonment), returned to Ephesus, as he intended, by way of Troas, where he left the books, &c. (mentioned in 2Ti 4:13), with Carpus. From Ephesus he went to Crete for a short visit and returned, and then wrote to Titus. Next he went by Miletus to Corinth (2Ti 4:20), and thence to Nicopolis (Tit 3:12), whence he proceeded to Rome. From his prison there he wrote the Second Epistle to Timothy, shortly before his martyrdom. It is not certain where Timothy was at this time. Some of the internal evidences favor the view of his having been then at Ephesus; thus the salutation of Priscilla and Aquila, who generally resided there (2Ti 4:19); also that of the household of Onesiphorus, who is stated in 2Ti 1:16-18 to have ministered to Paul at Ephesus, a circumstance implying his residence there. Also, the Hymenæus of 2Ti 2:17 seems to be the same as the Hymenæus at Ephesus (1Ti 1:20); and probably “Alexander the coppersmith” (2Ti 4:14) is the same as the Alexander joined with Hymenæus (1Ti 1:20), and possibly the same as the Alexander put forward by the Jews to clear themselves, not to befriend Paul, at the riot in Ephesus (Ac 19:33, 34). The difficulty is, on this supposition, how to account for 2Ti 4:12, 20: if Timothy was at Ephesus, why did he need to be told that Paul had sent Tychicus to Ephesus? or that Paul had left Trophimus, himself an Ephesian (Ac 21:29), sick at Miletus, which was only thirty miles from Ephesus? However, see on 2Ti 4:12; 2Ti 4:20. Troas lay on the road to Rome from either Ephesus or Pontus, so that 2Ti 4:13 will accord with the theory of either Ephesus or any other place in the northwest of Asia Minor, being Timothy’s place of sojourn at the time. Probably, he had the general superintendence of the Pauline churches in Asia Minor, in accordance with his mission combining the office of evangelist, or itinerant missionary, with that of presiding overseer. Ephesus was probably his headquarters.
Time of Writing.–(1) Paul’s first imprisonment, described in Ac 28:17-31, was much milder than that in which he was when writing Second Timothy. In the former, he had liberty to lodge in his own hired house, and to receive all comers, guarded only by a single soldier; in the latter, he was so closely confined that Onesiphorus with difficulty found him; he was chained, his friends had forsaken him, and he had narrowly escaped sentence of execution from the Roman emperor. Medieval legends represent the Mamertine prison, or Tullianum, as the scene of his incarceration with Peter. But this is irreconcilable with the fact of Onesiphorus, Linus, Pudens, &c., having access to him. He was probably under military custody, as in his former imprisonment, though of a severer kind (2Ti 1:16-18; 2:9; 4:6-8, 16, 17). (2) The visit to Troas (2Ti 4:13) can hardly have been that mentioned in Ac 20:5-7, the last before his first imprisonment; for, if it were, the interval between that visit and the first imprisonment would be seven or eight years, a period most unlikely for him to have allowed to pass without sending for his cloak and parchments, when they might have been of service to him in the interim. (3) Paul’s leaving Trophimus sick at Miletus (2Ti 4:20), could not have been on the occasion mentioned in Ac 20:15; for, subsequent to that, Trophimus was with Paul in Jerusalem (Ac 21:29). (4) The words (2Ti 4:20), “Erastus abode at Corinth,” imply that Paul had shortly before been at Corinth, where he left Erastus. But before his first imprisonment, Paul had not been at Corinth for several years; and in the interval Timothy had been with him, so that Timothy did not need at a later period to be told about that visit (Ac 20:2, 4). For all these reasons the imprisonment, during which he wrote Second Timothy, is shown to be his second imprisonment. Moreover, Heb 13:23, 24, represents the writer (who was probably Paul) as in Italy, and at liberty. So Clement of Rome [First Epistle to the Corinthians, 1.5], the disciple of Paul, explicitly states, “In the east and west, Paul as a preacher instructed the whole world (that is, the Roman empire) in righteousness, and having gone to the extremity of the west, and having borne witness before the rulers (of Rome), he so was removed from the world.” This plainly implies that he fulfilled his design (Ro 15:24-28) of a missionary journey into Spain. The canon of the New Testament, compiled about A.D. 170 (called Muratori’s Canon), also mentions “the journey of Paul from Rome to Spain.” See Routh [Sacred Fragments, vol. 4, p. 1-12].
His martyrdom is universally said to have occurred in Nero’s reign [Eusebius, Ecclesiastical History, 2.22; Jerome, On Illustrious Men]. Five years thus seem to have elapsed between the first imprisonment, A.D. 63 (Ac 28:17-31), and his martyrdom, June A.D. 68, the last year of Nero’s reign. He was probably arrested by the magistrates in Nicopolis (Tit 3:12) in Epirus, in the winter, on a double charge, first, of being one of the Christians who had conspired, it was alleged by Nero’s partisans, to set fire to Rome, A.D. 64; secondly, of introducing a novel and unlawful religion. His friends all left him, except Luke: Demas from “love of this present world”: the others from various causes (2Ti 4:10, 11). On the first charge he seems to have been acquitted. His liberation from his first imprisonment took place in A.D. 63, the year before the great fire at Rome, which Nero made the pretext for his persecution of the Christians. Every cruelty was heaped on them; some were crucified; some were arrayed in the skins of wild beasts and hunted to death by dogs; some were wrapped in pitch-robes and set on fire by night to illuminate the circus of the Vatican and gardens of Nero, while that monster mixed among the spectators in the garb of a charioteer. But now (A.D. 67 or 68) some years had elapsed since the first excitement which followed the fire. Hence, Paul, being a Roman citizen, was treated in his trial with a greater respect for the forms of the law, and hence was acquitted (2Ti 4:17) on the first charge of having instigated the Christians to their supposed acts of incendiarism before his last departure from Rome. Alexander the coppersmith seems to have been a witness against him (2Ti 4:14). Had he been condemned on the first charge, he would probably have been burnt alive, as the preceding martyrs were, for arson. His judge was the city Præfect. Clement of Rome specifies that his trial was (not before the emperor, but) “before the rulers.” No advocate ventured to plead his cause, no patron appeared for him, such as under ordinary circumstances might have aided him; for instance, one of the powerful Æmilian house, under which his family possibly enjoyed clientship (2Ti 4:16, 17), whence he may have taken his name Paul. The place of trial was, probably, one of the great basilicas in the Forum, two of which were called the Pauline Basilicas, from L. Æmilius Paulus, who had built one and restored the other. He was remanded for the second stage of his trial. He did not expect this to come on until the following “winter” (2Ti 4:21), whereas it took place about midsummer; if in Nero’s reign, not later than June. In the interim Luke was his only constant companion; but one friend from Asia, Onesiphorus, had diligently sought him and visited him in prison, undeterred by the danger. Linus, too, the future bishop of Rome, Pudens, the son of a senator, and Claudia, his bride, perhaps the daughter of a British king (see on 2Ti 4:21), were among his visitors; and Tychicus, before he was sent by Paul to Ephesus (2Ti 4:12; perhaps bearing with him this Epistle).
Object of the epistle.–He was anxious to see his disciple Timothy, before his death, and that Timothy should bring Mark with him (2Ti 1:4; 4:9, 11, 21). But feeling how uncertain it was whether Timothy should arrive in time, he felt it necessary, also, to give him by letter a last warning as to the heresies, the germs of which were then being scattered in the Churches. Hence he writes a series of exhortations to faithfulness, and zeal for sound doctrine, and patience amidst trials: a charge which Timothy seems to have needed, if we are to judge from the apostle’s earnestness in urging him to boldness in Christ’s cause, as though Paul thought he saw in him some signs of constitutional timidity (2Ti 2:2-8; 4:1-5; 1Ti 5:22, 23).
Paul’s Death.–Dioysius, bishop of Corinth (quoted in Eusebius [Ecclesiastical History, 2.25]) about A.D. 170, is the earliest authority for the tradition that Peter suffered martyrdom at Rome “about the same time” as Paul, after having labored for some time there. He calls Peter and Paul “the founders of the Corinthian and Roman Churches.” The Roman presbyter, Caius (about A.D. 200), mentions the tradition that Peter suffered martyrdom in the Vatican. But (1) Peter’s work was among the Jews (Ga 2:9), whereas Rome was a Gentile Church (Ro 1:13. Moreover, (2) the First Epistle of Peter (1Pe 1:1; 5:13) represents him as laboring in Babylon in Mesopotamia. (3) The silence concerning Peter of Paul’s Epistles written in Rome, negatives the tradition of his having founded, or labored long at Rome; though it is possible he may have endured martyrdom there. His martyrdom, certainly, was not, as Jerome says, “on the same day” with that of Paul, else Paul would have mentioned Peter’s being at Rome in 2Ti 4:11. The legend says that Peter, through fear, was fleeing from Rome at early dawn by the Appian Way, when he met our Lord, and falling at His feet, asked, Lord, whither goest thou? to which the Lord replied, I go again to be crucified. The disciple returned penitent and ashamed, and was martyred. The Church of Domine quo vadis, on the Appian Way, commemorates the supposed fact. Paul, according to Caius (quoted in Eusebius [Ecclesiastical History, 2.25]), suffered martyrdom on the Ostian Way. So also Jerome, who gives the date, the fourteenth year of Nero. It was common to send prisoners, whose death might attract too much notice at Rome, to some distance from the city, under a military escort, for execution; hence the soldier’s sword, not the executioner’s axe, was the instrument of his decapitation [Orosius, The Seven Books of History against the Pagans, 7.7]. Paul appears, from Php 1:12-30, to have had his partisans even in the palace, and certainly must have exercised such an influence as would excite sympathy in his behalf, to avoid which the execution was ordered outside the city. Compare Tacitus [Histories, 4.11]. The Basilica of St. Paul, first built by Constantine, now stands outside Rome on the road to Ostia: before the Reformation it was under the protection of the kings of England, and the emblem of the order of the Garter is still to be seen among its decorations. The traditional spot of the martyrdom is the Tre Fontane, not far from the Basilica [Conybeare and Howson].
2Ti 1:1-18. Address: Thankful Expression of Love and Desire to See Him: Remembrance of His Faith and That of His Mother and Grandmother. Exhortation to Stir Up the Gift of God in Him, and Not Shrink from Affliction, Enforced by the Consideration of the Freeness of God’s Grace in Our Gospel Calling, and by the Apostle’s Example. The Defection of Many: The Steadfastness of Onesiphorus.
1. This Epistle is the last testament and swan-like death song of Paul [Bengel].
according to the promise of life … in Christ–Paul’s apostleship is in order to carry into effect this promise. Compare “according to the faith … in hope of eternal life … promise,” &c. (Tit 1:1, 2). This “promise of life in Christ” (compare 2Ti 1:10; 2Ti 2:8) was needed to nerve Timothy to fortitude amidst trials, and to boldness in undertaking the journey to Rome, which would be attended with much risk (2Ti 1:8).
2. my dearly beloved son–In 1Ti 1:2, and Tit 1:4, written at an earlier period than this Epistle, the expression used is in the Greek, “my genuine son.” Alford sees in the change of expression an intimation of an altered tone as to Timothy, more of mere love, and less of confidence, as though Paul saw m him a want of firmness, whence arose the need of his stirring up afresh the faith and grace in Him (2Ti 1:6). But this seems to me not justified by the Greek word agapetos, which implies the attachment of reasoning and choice, on the ground of merit in the one “beloved,” not of merely instinctive love. See Trench [Greek Synonyms of the New Testament].
3. I thank–Greek, “I feel gratitude to God.”
whom I serve from my forefathers–whom I serve (Ro 1:9) as did my forefathers. He does not mean to put on the same footing the Jewish and Christian service of God; but simply to assert his own conscientious service of God as he had received it from his progenitors (not Abraham, Isaac, &c., whom he calls “the fathers,” not “progenitors” as the Greek is here; Ro 9:5). The memory of those who had gone before to whom he is about to be gathered, is now, on the eve of death, pleasant to him; hence also, he calls to mind the faith of the mother and grandmother of Timothy; as he walks in the faith of his forefathers (Ac 23:1; 24:14; 26:6, 7; 28:20), so Timothy should persevere firmly in the faith of his parent and grandparent. Not only Paul, but the Jews who reject Christ, forsake the faith of their forefathers, who looked for Christ; when they accept Him, the hearts of the children shall only be returning to the faith of their forefathers (Mal 4:6; Lu 1:17; Ro 11:23, 24, 28). Probably Paul had, in his recent defense, dwelt on this topic, namely, that he was, in being a Christian, only following his hereditary faith.
that … I have remembrance of thee–“how unceasing I make my mention concerning thee” (compare Phm 4). The cause of Paul’s feeling thankful is, not that he remembers Timothy unceasingly in his prayers, but for what Timothy is in faith (2Ti 1:5) and graces; compare Ro 1:8, 9, from which supply the elliptical sentence thus, “I thank God (for thee, for God is my witness) whom I serve … that (or how) without ceasing I have remembrance (or make mention) of thee,” &c.
night and day–(See on 1Ti 5:5).
4. desiring–Greek, “with yearning as for one much missed.”
mindful of thy tears–not only at our parting (Ac 20:37), but also often when under pious feelings.
that I may be filled with joy–to be joined with “desiring to see thee” (Ro 1:11, 12; 15:32).
5. When I call to remembrance–This increased his “desire to see” Timothy. The oldest manuscripts read, “When I called to remembrance”; implying that some recent incident (perhaps the contrasted cowardice of the hypocrite Demas, who forsook him) had reminded him of the sincerity of Timothy’s faith.
faith that is in thee–Alford translates, “that was in thee.” He remembers Timothy’s faith in the past as a fact; its present existence in him is only matter of his confident persuasion or hope.
which–Greek, “such as.”
dwelt–“made its dwelling” or abode (Joh 14:23). The past tense implies they were now dead.
first–before it dwelt in thee. She was the furthest back of the progenitors of Timothy whom Paul knew.
mother Eunice–a believing Jewess; but his father was a Greek, that is, a heathen (Ac 16:1). The faith of the one parent sanctified the child (2Ti 3:15; 1Co 7:14). She was probably converted at Paul’s first visit to Lystra (Ac 14:6). It is an undesigned coincidence, and so a mark of truth, that in Ac 16:1 the belief of the mother alone is mentioned, just as here praise is bestowed on the faith of the mother, while no notice is taken of the father [Paley, Horæ Paulinæ].
and–Greek, “but,” that is, notwithstanding appearances [Alford].
persuaded that–it dwells, or it shall dwell “in thee also.” The mention of the faith of his mother and grandmother is designed as an incentive to stir up his 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” (1Th 5:19). Paul does not doubt the existence of real faith in Timothy, but he desires it to be put into active exercise. Timothy seems to have become somewhat remiss from being so long without Paul (2Ti 2:22).
gift of God–the spiritual grace received for his ministerial office, either at his original ordination, or at his consecration to the particular office of superintending the Ephesian Church (see on 1Ti 4:14), imparting fearlessness, power, love, and a sound mind (2Ti 1:7).
by the putting on of my hands–In 1Ti 4:14, it is “with [not by] the laying on of the hands of the presbytery.” The apostle was chief in the ordination, and to him “BY” is applied. The presbytery were his assistants; so “with,” implying merely accompaniment, is said of them. Paul was the instrument in Timothy’s ordination and reception of the grace then conferred; the presbyters were the concurrent participants in the act of ordination; so the Greek, “dia” and “meta.” So in ordinations by a bishop in our days, he does the principal act; they join in laying on hands with him.
7. For, &c.–implying that Timothy needed the exhortation “to stir up the gift of God in him,” being constitutionally “timid”: “For God did not give us (so the Greek, namely, at our ordination or consecration) the spirit of fear.” The spirit which He gave us, was not the spirit of timidity (literally, “cowardice,” which is weakness), but of “power” (exhibited in a fearless “testimony” for Christ, 2Ti 1:8). “Power is the invariable accompaniment of the gift of the Holy Ghost. Lu 24:49; Ac 1:8; compare Ac 6:6, “full of faith and of the Holy Ghost,” with 2Ti 1:8, “full of faith and power.” Fear is the result of “the spirit of bondage” (Ro 8:15). Fear within exaggerates the causes of fear without. “The spirit of power” is the spirit of man dwelt in by the Spirit of God imparting power; this power “casteth out fear” from ourselves, and stimulates us to try to cast it out of others (1Jo 4:18).
love–which moves the believer while “speaking the truth” with power, when giving his testimony for Christ (2Ti 1:8), at the same time to do so “in love” (Eph 4:15).
a sound mind–The Greek, is rather, “the bringing of men to a sound mind” [Wahl]. Bengel supports English Version, “a sound mind,” or “sober-mindedness”; a duty to which a young man like Timothy especially needed to be exhorted (2Ti 2:22; 1Ti 4:12; Tit 2:4, 6). So Paul urges him, in 2Ti 2:4, to give up worldly entanglements, which as thorns (Lu 8:14) choke the word. These three gifts are preferable to any miraculous powers whatever.
8. therefore–seeing that God hath given us such a spirit, not that of fear.
Be not thou … ashamed–I agree with Ellicott, in opposition to Alford, that the Greek subjunctive here, with the negative, implies action completed at one time, not continued action, which the present imperative would express; thus implying that Timothy had not decidedly yet evinced such feeling of shame; though I think, Paul, amidst the desertion of others who once promised fair, and from being aware of Timothy’s constitutional timidity (see on 2Ti 1:7), felt it necessary to stir him up and guard him against the possibility of unchristian dereliction of duty as to bold confession of Christ. Shame (2Ti 1:8) is the companion of fear (2Ti 1:7); if fear be overcome, false shame flees [Bengel]. Paul himself (2Ti 1:12), and Onesiphorus (2Ti 1:16), were instances of fearless profession removing false shame. He presents in contrast sad instances of fear and shame (2Ti 1:15).
of the testimony of our Lord–of the testimony which thou art bound to give in the cause of our Lord; he says “our,” to connect Timothy and himself together in the testimony which both should give for their common Lord. The testimony which Christ gave before Pilate (1Ti 6:12, 13), is an incentive to the believer that he should, after His Lord’s example, witness a good testimony or confession.
nor of me his prisoner–The cause of God’s servants is the cause of God Himself (Eph 4:1). Timothy might easily be tempted to be ashamed of one in prison, especially as not only worldly shame, but great risk, attended any recognition of Paul the prisoner.
be thou partaker–with me.
of the gospel–rather, as Greek, “for the Gospel,” that is, suffered for the Gospel (2Ti 2:3-5; Phm 13).
according to the power of God–exhibited in having saved and called us (2Ti 1:9). God who has done the greater act of power (that is, saved us), will surely do the less (carry us safe through afflictions borne for the Gospel). “Think not that thou hast to bear these afflictions by thine own power; nay, it is by the power of God. It was a greater exercise of power than His making the heaven, His persuading the world to embrace salvation” [Chrysostom].
9. Who … called us–namely, God the Father (Ga 1:6). The having “saved us” in His eternal purpose of “grace, given us in Christ before the world began,” precedes his actual “calling” of us in due time with a call made effective to us by the Holy Spirit; therefore, “saved us” comes before “called us” (Ro 8:28-30).
holy calling–the actual call to a life of holiness. Heb 3:1, “heavenly calling” [Tittmann, Greek Synonyms of the New Testament]; whereas we were sinners and enemies (Eph 1:18; 4:1). The call comes wholly from God and claims us wholly for God. “Holy” implies the separation of believers from the rest of the world unto God.
not according to–not having regard to our works in His election and calling of grace (Ro 9:11; Eph 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 (1Co 2:7; Eph 3:11).
10. But … now … manifest–in contrast to its concealment heretofore in the eternal purpose of God “before the world began” (2Ti 1:9; Col 1:16; Tit 1:2, 3).
appearing–the visible manifestation in 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 (Joh 11:26; Ro 8:2, 38; 1Co 15:26, 55; Heb 2:14). The carrying out of the abolition of death into full effect is to be at the resurrection (Re 20:14). The death of the body meanwhile is but temporary, and is made no account of by Christ and the apostles.
brought … to light–making visible by the Gospel what was before hidden in God’s purpose.
life–of the Spirit, acting first on the soul here, about to act on the body also at the resurrection.
immortality–Greek, “incorruptibility” of the new life, not merely of the risen body [Alford], (Ro 8:11).
through–by means of the Gospel, which brings to light the life and immortality purposed by God from eternity, but manifested now first to man by Christ, who in His own resurrection has given the pledge of His people’s final triumph over death through Him. Before the Gospel revelation from God, man, by the light of nature, under the most favorable circumstances, had but a glimmering idea of the possibility of a future being of the soul, but not the faintest idea of the resurrection of the body (Ac 17:18, 32). If Christ were not “the life,” the dead could never live; if He were not the resurrection, they could never rise; had He not the keys of hell and death (Re 1:18), we could never break through the bars of death or gates of hell [Bishop Pearson].
11. Whereunto–For the publication of which Gospel.
I am appointed–Greek, “I was appointed.”
teacher of the Gentiles–(1Ti 2:7). He brings forward his own example in this verse and 2Ti 1:12, as a pattern for Timothy, as a public “preacher,” an “apostle,” or missionary from place to place, and a “teacher” in private instructing His flock with patient perseverance.
12. For the which cause–For the Gospel cause of which I was appointed a preacher (2Ti 1:10, 11).
I also suffer–besides my active work as a missionary. Ellicott translates, “I suffer even these things”; the sufferings attendant on my being a prisoner (2Ti 1:8, 15).
I am not ashamed–neither be thou (2Ti 1:8).
for–Confidence as to the future drives away shame [Bengel].
I know–though the world knows Him not (Joh 10:14; 17:25).
whom–I know what a faithful, promise-keeping God He is (2Ti 2:13). It is not, I know how I have believed, but, I know WHOM I have believed; a feeble faith may clasp a strong Saviour.
believed–rather, “trusted”; carrying out the metaphor of a depositor depositing his pledge with one whom he trusts.
am persuaded–(Ro 8:38).
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 safe keeping (1Th 5:23; 1Pe 4:19). So Christ Himself in dying (Lu 23:46). “God deposits with us His word; we deposit with God our spirit” [Grotius]. There is one deposit (His revelation) committed by God to us, which we ought to keep (2Ti 1:13, 14) and transmit to others (2Ti 2:2); there is another committed by God to us, which we should commit to His keeping, namely, ourselves and our heavenly portion.
that day–the day of His appearing (2Ti 1:18; 2Ti 4:8).
13. Hold fast the form–rather as Greek, “Have (that is, keep) a pattern of sound (Greek, ‘healthy’) words which thou hast heard from me, in faith and love.” “Keep” suits the reference to a deposit in the context. The secondary position of the verb in the Greek forbids our taking it so strongly as English Version, “Hold fast.” The Greek for “form” is translated “pattern” in 1Ti 1:16, the only other passage where it occurs. Have such a pattern drawn from my sound words, in opposition to the unsound doctrines so current at Ephesus, vividly impressed (Wahl translates it “delineation”; the verb implies “to make a lively and lasting impress”) on thy mind.
in faith and love–the element IN which my sound words had place, and in which thou art to have the vivid impression of them as thy inwardly delineated pattern, moulding conformably thy outward profession. So nearly Bengel explains, 1Ti 3:9.
14. Translate as Greek, “That goodly deposit keep through the Holy Ghost,” namely, “the sound words which I have committed to thee” (2Ti 1:13; 2Ti 2:2).
in us–in all believers, not merely in you and me. The indwelling Spirit enables us to keep from the robbers of the soul the deposit of His word committed to us by God.
15. all they which are in Asia–Proconsular Asia; “all who are there now, when they were in Rome (not ‘be’ or ‘are,’ but) turned from me” then; were “ashamed of my chain,” in contrast to Onesiphorus; did not stand with me but forsook me (2Ti 4:16). It is possible that the occasion of their turning from him was at his apprehension in Nicopolis, whither they had escorted him on his way to Rome, but from which they turned back to Asia. A hint to Timothy, now in Asia, not to be like them, but to imitate rather Onesiphorus, and to come to him (2Ti 4:21).
Phygellus and Hermogenes–specified perhaps, as being persons from whom such pusillanimous conduct could least be expected; or, as being well known to Timothy, and spoken of before in conversations between him and Paul, when the latter was in 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 (2Ti 4:19). His household would hardly retain his name after the master was dead, as Bengel supposes him to have been. Nowhere has Paul prayers for the dead, which is fatal to the theory, favored by Alford also, that he was dead. God blesses not only the righteous man himself, but all his household.
my chain–Paul in the second, as in his first imprisonment, was bound by a chain to the soldier who guarded 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” (2Ti 1:16).
the Lord–who rewards a kindness done to His disciples as if done to Himself (Mt 25:45).
of–from the Lord; “the Lord” is emphatically put instead of “from Himself,” for solemnity and emphasis (2Th 3:5).
in how many things–“how many acts of ministry he rendered.”
unto me–omitted in the oldest manuscripts, so that the “ministered” may include services rendered to others as well as to Paul.
very well–rather as Greek, “Thou knowest better” (than I can tell thee, seeing that thou art more of a regular resident at Ephesus).
2Ti 2:1-26. Exhortations; to Faithfulness as a Good Soldier of Christ; Errors to Be Shunned; the Lord’s Sure Foundation; the Right Spirit for a Servant of Christ.
1. Thou therefore–following my example (2Ti 1:8, 12), and that of Onesiphorus (2Ti 1:16-18), and shunning that of those who forsook me (2Ti 1:15).
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 place. Compare 2Ti 1:7, “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 (2Ti 1:14).
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 (2Ti 2:3-13). 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 and Howson].
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 (Ac 18:3). Therefore what is prohibited here is, not all other save religious occupation, but the becoming entangled, or over-engrossed therewith.
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. (1Co 9:24-27).
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 Lord.
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” (2Ti 2:11). 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 (2Ti 2:18), and the one best calculated to stimulate Timothy to steadfastness in sharing Paul’s sufferings for the Gospel’s sake (see on 2Ti 2:3).
of the seed of David–The one and only genealogy (as contrasted with the “endless genealogies,” 1Ti 1:4) 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 David” (compare Ro 1:3), 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 (2Ti 4:17; Ac 28:31). 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 (Php 1:18). 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 2Ti 2:9.
endure–not merely “I passively suffer,” but “I actively and perseveringly endure,” and “am ready to endure patiently all things.”
the elect’s sakes–for the sake of the Church: all the members of Christ’s spiritual body (Col 1:24).
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 (2Ti 2:12). Glory is the full expansion of salvation (Ac 2:47; Ro 8:21-24, 30; Heb 9:28). So grace and glory (Ps 84:12).
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; Col 2:12), we shall also live with Him.” The symmetrical form of “the saying,” 2Ti 2:11-13, and the rhythmical balance of the parallel clauses, makes it likely, they formed part of a Church hymn (see on 1Ti 3:16), or accepted formula, perhaps first uttered by some of the Christian “prophets” in the public assembly (1Co 14:26). The phrase “faithful is the saying,” which seems to have been the usual formula (compare 1Ti 1:15; 3:1; 4:9; Tit 3:8) in such cases, favors this.
12. suffer–rather, as the Greek is the same as in 2Ti 2:10, “If we endure (with Him)” (Ro 8:17).
reign with him–The peculiar privilege of the elect Church now suffering with Christ, then to reign with Him (see on 1Co 6:2). Reigning is something more than mere salvation (Ro 5:17; Re 3:21; 5:10; 20:4, 5).
deny–with the mouth. As “believe” with the heart follows, 2Ti 2:12. Compare the opposite, “confess with thy mouth” and “believe in thine heart” (Ro 10:9, 10).
he also will deny us–(Mt 10:33).
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 (Ro 3:3). Three things are impossible to God, to die, to lie, and to be deceived [Augustine, The Creed, 1.1], (Heb 6:18). 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 the faith.
14. them–those over whom thou dost preside (Tit 3:1).
charging–Greek, “testifying continually”: “adjuring them.”
before the Lord–(1Ti 5:21).
that they strive not about words–rather, “strive with words”: “not to have a (mere) war of words” (2Ti 2:23, 24; 1Ti 6:4) where the most vital matters are at stake (2Ti 2:17, 18; Ac 18:15). 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 master’s use” (2Ti 2:21).
to the subverting–sure to subvert (overturn) the hearers: the opposite of “edifying” (building up) (2Co 13:10).
15. Study–Greek, “Be earnest,” or “diligent.”
to show–Greek, “present,” as in Ro 12:1.
thyself–as distinguished from those whom Timothy was to charge (2Ti 2:14).
approved–tested by trial: opposed to “reprobate” (Tit 1:16).
workman–alluding to Mt 20:1, &c.
not to be ashamed–by his work not being “approved” (Php 1:20). Contrast “deceitful workers” (2Co 11:13).
rightly dividing–“rightly handling” [Vulgate]; “rightly administering” [Alford]; literally, cutting “straight” or “right”: the metaphor being from a father or a steward (1Co 4:1) cutting and distributing bread among his children [Vitringa and Calvin], (Lu 12:42). The Septuagint, 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 doctrine” (1Ti 1:3). The same image of a way appears in the Greek for “increase” (see on 2Ti 2:16). The opposite to “rightly handling,” or “dispensing,” is, 2Co 2:17, “corrupt the word of God.”
truth–Greek, “the truth” (compare 2Ti 2:18).
16. shun–literally, “stand above,” separate from, and superior to.
vain–opposed to “the truth” (2Ti 2:15).
babblings–with loud voice: opposed to the temperate “word” (Tit 3:9).
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.”
Hymenaeus–(See on 1Ti 1:20). 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 1Ti 6:21).
is past already–has already taken place. The beginnings of the subsequent Gnostic heresy already existed. They “wrested” (2Pe 3:16) Paul’s own words (Ro 6:4; Eph 2:6; Col 2:12) “to their own destruction,” as though the resurrection was merely the spiritual raising of souls from the death of sin. Compare 1Co 15:12, 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 (2Ti 2:19; compare Tit 1:11).
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” (1Ti 3:15), Christ Himself being the ultimate “foundation” (1Co 3:11). In the steadfast standing of the Church there is involved the steadfast certainty of the doctrine in question (2Ti 2:18). Thus the “house” (2Ti 2:20) answers to the “foundation”; it is made up of the elect whom “the Lord knoweth” (acknowledgeth, recognizes, Ps 1:6; Mt 7:23; Joh 10:14; 1Co 8:3) as “His,” and who persevere to the end, though others “err concerning the faith” (Mt 24:24; Joh 10:28; Ro 8:38, 39; 1Jo 2:19). 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, 2Ti 2:18. Though they deny the faith, God abates not His faithfulness (compare 2Ti 2:13).
having–seeing that it has [Ellicott].
seal–“inscription”: indicating ownership and destination: inscriptions were often engraven on a “foundation” stone (Re 21:14) [Alford]. This will agree with the view that “the foundation” is the Church (Eph 2:20). 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, Nu 16:5, 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 his Lord, Ps 20:7, or preacheth in His name, Jer 20:9) Christ.”
depart–Greek, “stand aloof.”
from iniquity–(Isa 52:11). 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 Lord’s (compare De 29:29; Lu 13:23-27). 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 Church (1Ti 3:15). Paul is speaking, not of those without, but of the [visible] family of God [Calvin]. So the parable of the sweep-net (Mt 13:47-49) 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, 302] (compare Mt 20:16).
vessels of gold … silver–precious and able to endure fire.
of wood and earth–worthless, fragile, and soon burnt (1Co 3:12-15; 15:47).
some … some–the former … the latter.
to dishonour–(Pr 16:4; Ro 9:17-23).
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 unto dishonor).
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–(2Ti 3:17; Tit 3:1). Contrast Tit 1:16.
22. Flee–There are many lusts from which our greatest safety is in flight (Ge 39:12). Avoid occasions of sin. From the abstemious character of Timothy (1Ti 5:23) it is likely that not animal indulgences, but the impetuosity, rash self-confidence, hastiness, strife, and vainglory of young men (1Jo 2:14-16), 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,” 2Ti 2:21.
youthful–Timothy was a youth (1Ti 4:12).
righteousness–the opposite of “iniquity,” that is, unrighteousness (2Ti 2:19; compare 1Ti 6:11).
peace, with, &c.–rather, put no comma, “peace with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart” (1Ti 1:5; Eph 6:5; Col 3:22). 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]. (Ro 12:18).
23. (Tit 3:9.)
unlearned–Greek, “undisciplined”; not tending to promote the discipline of faith and morals (Pr 5:23). “Uninstructive”; in contrast with “instructing” (2Ti 2:25), and “wise unto salvation” (2Ti 3:15).
24. not strive–“The servant of the Lord” must imitate his master in not striving contentiously, though uncompromising in earnestly contending for the faith (Jude 3; Mt 12:19).
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 evils.
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 2Ti 2:23; 1Ti 1:20).
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 the truth” (1Ti 2:4), their minds being corrupted (2Ti 3:8), 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 (Joh 7:17). Therefore repentance is their first need. That, not man, but God alone can “give” (Ac 5:31).
26. recover themselves–Greek, “awake to soberness,” namely from the spiritual intoxication whereby they have fallen into the snare of the devil.
the snare–(Eph 6:11, “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,” as in Lu 5:10, “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, 2Ti 2:24), so as to follow the will of HIM (the Lord, 2Ti 2:24, or “God,” 2Ti 2:25).” 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 (2Co 10:5). It is God who goes before, giving repentance (2Ti 2:25); 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” (Ac 22:14; 1Pe 4:2).
2Ti 3:1-17. Coming Evil Days: Signs of Evil Already: Contrast in the Doctrine and Life of Paul, Which Timothy Should Follow in Accordance with His Early Training in Scripture.
1. also–Greek, “but.”
last days–preceding Christ’s second coming (2Pe 3:3; Jude 18). “The latter times,” 1Ti 4:1, refer to a period not so remote as “the last days,” namely, the long days of papal and Greek anti-Christianity.
perilous–literally, “difficult times,” in which it is difficult to know what is to be done: “grievous times.”
shall come–Greek, “shall be imminent”; “shall come unexpectedly” [Bengel].
2. men–in the professing Church. Compare the catalogue, Ro 1:29, &c., where much the same sins are attributed to heathen men; it shall be a relapse into virtual heathendom, with all its beast-like propensities, whence the symbol of it is “a beast” (Re 13:1, 11, 12, &c.; 17:3, 8, 11).
covetous–Translate, “money-loving,” a distinct Greek word from that for “covetous” (see on Col 3:5). The cognate Greek substantive (1Ti 6:10) is so translated, “the love of money is a (Greek, not ‘the’) root of all evil.”
boasters–empty boasters [Alford]; boasting of having what they have not.
proud–overweening: literally, showing themselves above their fellows.
blasphemous–rather, “evil-speakers,” revilers.
disobedient to parents–The character of the times is even to be gathered especially from the manners of the young [Bengel].
unthankful–The obligation to gratitude is next to that of obedience to parents.
unholy–irreligious [Alford]; inobservant of the offices of piety.
3. truce-breakers–rather as the Greek is translated in Ro 1:31, “implacable.”
false accusers–slanderers (1Ti 3:11; Tit 2:3).
incontinent, fierce–at once both soft and hard: incontinently indulging themselves, and inhuman to others.
despisers, &c.–“no lovers of good” [Alford]; the opposite of “a lover of good” (Tit 1:8).
4. heady–precipitate in action and in passion.
high-minded–literally, “puffed up” with pride, as with smoke blinding them.
lovers of pleasure … God–Love of pleasure destroys the love and sense of God.
5. form–outward semblance.
denying–rather as Greek, “having denied,” that is, renounced.
the power–the living, regenerating, sanctifying influence of it.
turn away–implying that some of such characters, forerunners of the last days, were already in the Church.
6. of this sort–Greek, “of these,” such as were described (2Ti 3:5).
laden with sins–(Isa 1:4); applying to the “silly women” whose consciences are burdened with sins, and so are a ready prey to the false teachers who promise ease of conscience if they will follow them. A bad conscience leads easily to shipwreck of faith (1Ti 1:19).
divers lusts–not only animal lusts, but passion for change in doctrine and manner of teaching; the running after fashionable men and fashionable tenets, drawing them in the most opposite directions [Alford].
7. Ever learning–some new point, for mere curiosity, to the disparagement of what they seemed to know before.
the knowledge–Greek, “the perfect knowledge”; the only safeguard against further novelties. Gnosticism laid hold especially of the female sex [Estius, 1.13.3]: so Roman Jesuitism.
8. Now–Greek, “But”; it is no wonder there should be now such opponents to the truth, for their prototypes existed in ancient times [Alford].
Jannes … Jambres–traditional names of the Egyptian magicians who resisted Moses (Ex 7:11, 22), derived from “the unwritten teaching of the Jews” [Theodoret]. In a point so immaterial as the names, where Scripture had not recorded them, Paul takes the names which general opinion had assigned the magicians. Eusebius [Preparation of the Gospel], quotes from Numenius, “Jannes and Jambres were sacred scribes (a lower order of priests in Egypt) skilled in magic.” Hiller interprets “Jannes” from the Abyssinian language a trickster, and “Jambres” a juggler” (Ac 13:8).
resist–“withstand,” as before. They did so by trying to rival Moses’ miracles. So the false teachers shall exhibit lying wonders in the last days (Mt 24:24; 2Th 2:9; Re 13:14, 15).
reprobate–incapable of testing the truth (Ro 1:28) [Bengel]. Alford takes passively, “not abiding the test”; rejected on being tested (Jer 6:30).
9. they shall proceed no further–Though for a time (2Ti 2:16) “they shall advance or proceed (English Version, ‘increase’) unto more ungodliness,” yet there is a final limit beyond which they shall not be able to “proceed further” (Job 38:11; Re 11:7, 11). They themselves shall “wax worse and worse” (2Ti 3:13), but they shall at last be for ever prevented from seducing others. “Often malice proceeds deeper down, when it cannot extend itself” [Bengel].
their folly–literally, “dementation”: wise though they think themselves.
shall be manifest–Greek, “shall be brought forth from concealment into open day” [Bengel], (1Co 4:5).
as theirs … was–as that of those magicians was, when not only could they no longer try to rival Moses in sending boils, but the boils fell upon themselves: so as to the lice (Ex 8:18; 9:11).
10. fully known–literally, “fully followed up” and traced; namely, with a view to following me as thy pattern, so far as I follow Christ; the same Greek as in Lu 1:3, “having had perfect understanding of all things.” His pious mother Eunice and grandmother Lois would recommend him to study fully Paul’s Christian course as a pattern. He had not been yet the companion of Paul at the time of the apostle’s persecutions in Antioch, Iconium, and Lystra (Ac 13:50; 14:5, 19), but is first mentioned as such Ac 16:1-3. However, he was “a disciple” already, when introduced to us in Ac 16:1-3; and as Paul calls him “my own son in the faith,” he must have been converted by the apostle previously; perhaps in the visit to those parts three years before. Hence arose Timothy’s knowledge of Paul’s persecutions, which were the common talk of the churches in those regions about the time of his conversion. The incidental allusion to them here forms an undesigned coincidence between the history and the Epistle, indicating genuineness [Paley, Horæ Paulinæ]. A forger of Epistles from the Acts would never allude to Timothy’s knowledge of persecutions, when that knowledge is not expressly mentioned in the history, but is only arrived at by indirect inference; also the omission of Derbe here, in the Epistle, is in minute accordance with the fact that in Derbe no persecution is mentioned in the history, though Derbe and Lystra are commonly mentioned together. The reason why he mentions his persecutions before Timothy became his companion, and not those subsequent, was because Timothy was familiar with the latter as an eye-witness and Paul needed not to remind him of them, but the former Timothy had traced up by seeking the information from others, especially as the date and scene of them was the date and scene of his own conversion.
manner of life–“conduct,” “behavior.”
purpose–The Greek is elsewhere usually used of God’s “purpose.” But here, as in Ac 11:23, of Paul’s determined “purpose of heart in cleaving unto the Lord.” My set aim, or resolution, in my apostolic function, and in every action is, not my selfish gain, but the glory of God in Christ.
long-suffering–towards my adversaries, and the false teachers; towards brethren in bearing their infirmities; towards the unconverted, and the lapsed when penitent (2Ti 4:2; 2Co 6:6; Ga 5:22; Eph 4:2; Col 3:12).
charity–love to all men.
patience–“endurance”; patient continuance in well-doing amidst adversities (2Ti 3:11; Ro 2:7).
which–Greek, “such as.”
in Antioch–of Pisidia (Ac 13:14, 50, 51).
Lystra–(Ac 14:6, 19).
out of … all … Lord delivered me–(2Ti 4:17; Ps 34:17; 2Co 1:10). An encouragement to Timothy not to fear persecutions.
12. Yea, and–an additional consideration for Timothy: if he wishes to live godly in Christ, he must make up his mind to encounter persecution.
that will, &c.–Greek, “all whose will is to live,” &c. So far should persecution be from being a stumbling-block to Timothy, he should consider it a mark of the pious. So the same Greek is used of the same thing, Lu 14:28, 33, “intending (Greek, ‘wishing’) to build a tower … counteth the cost.”
live godly in Christ–(Ga 2:20; Php 1:21). There is no godliness (Greek, “piously”) or piety out of Christ. The world easily puts up with the mask of a religion which depends on itself, but the piety which derives its vigor directly from Christ is as odious to modern Christians as it was to the ancient Jews [Bengel].
shall suffer persecution–and will not decline it (Ga 5:11). Bishop Pearson proves the divine origination of Christianity from its success being inexplicable on the supposition of its being of human origin. The nature of its doctrine was no way likely to command success: (1) it condemns all other religions, some established for ages; (2) it enjoins precepts ungrateful to flesh and blood, the mortifying of the flesh, the love of enemies, and the bearing of the cross; (3) it enforces these seemingly unreasonable precepts by promises seemingly incredible; not good things such as afford complacency to our senses, but such as cannot be obtained till after this life, and presuppose what then seemed impossible, the resurrection; (4) it predicts to its followers what would seem sure to keep most of the world from embracing it, persecutions.
13. Reason why persecutions must be expected, and these becoming worse and worse as the end approaches. The breach between light and darkness, so far from being healed, shall be widened [Alford].
evil men–in contrast to the “godly” (2Ti 3:12).
seducers–literally, “conjurers.” Magical arts prevailed at Ephesus (Ac 19:19), and had been renounced by many Ephesians on embracing Christianity: but now when Paul was writing to Ephesus, symptoms of a return to conjuring tricks appeared: an undesigned coincidence [Burton]. Probably sorcery will characterize the final apostasy (Re 13:15; 18:23; 22:15).
wax worse–literally, “advance in the direction of worse” (see on 2Ti 3:9). Not contradictory to that verse: there the diffusion of the evil was spoken of; here its intensity [Alford].
deceiving, and being deceived–He who has once begun to deceive others, is the less easily able to recover himself from error, and the more easily embraces in turn the errors of others [Bengel].
14. But … thou–Whatever they may do. Resuming the thread begun at 2Ti 3:10.
learned–from me and thy mother and grandmother (2Ti 1:5; 2:2).
assured of–from Scripture (2Ti 3:15).
of whom–plural, not singular, in the oldest manuscripts, “from what teachers.” Not only from me, but from Lois and Eunice.
15. from a child–literally, “from an infant.” The tender age of the first dawn of reason is that wherein the most lasting impressions of faith may be made.
holy scriptures–The Old Testament taught by his Jewish mother. An undesigned coincidence with 2Ti 1:5; Ac 16:1-3.
able–in themselves: though through men’s own fault they often do not in fact make men savingly alive.
wise unto salvation–that is, wise unto the attainment of salvation. Contrast “folly” (2Ti 3:9). Wise also in extending it to others.
through faith–as the instrument of this wisdom. Each knows divine things only as far as his own experience in himself extends. He who has not faith, has not wisdom or salvation.
which is in–that is, rests on Christ Jesus.
16. All scripture–Greek, “Every Scripture,” that is, Scripture in its every part. However, English Version is sustained, though the Greek article be wanting, by the technical use of the term “Scripture” being so well known as not to need the article (compare Greek, Eph 3:15; 2:21). The Greek is never used of writings in general, but only of the sacred Scriptures. The position of the two Greek adjectives closely united by “and,” forbids our taking the one as an epithet, the other as predicated and translated as Alford and Ellicott. “Every Scripture given by inspiration of God is also profitable.” Vulgate and the best manuscripts, favor English Version. Clearly the adjectives are so closely connected that as surely as one is a predicate, the other must be so too. Alford admits his translation to be harsh, though legitimate. It is better with English Version to take it in a construction legitimate, and at the same time not harsh. The Greek, “God-inspired,” is found nowhere else. Most of the New Testament books were written when Paul wrote this his latest Epistle: so he includes in the clause “All Scripture is God-inspired,” not only the Old Testament, in which alone Timothy was taught when a child (2Ti 3:15), but the New Testament books according as they were recognized in the churches which had men gifted with “discerning of spirits,” and so able to distinguish really inspired utterances, persons, and so their writings from spurious. Paul means, “All Scripture is God-inspired and therefore useful”; because we see no utility in any words or portion of it, it does not follow it is not God-inspired. It is useful, because God-inspired; not God-inspired, because useful. One reason for the article not being before the Greek, “Scripture,” may be that, if it had, it might be supposed that it limited the sense to the hiera grammata, “Holy Scriptures” (2Ti 3:15) of the Old Testament, whereas here the assertion is more general: “all Scripture” (compare Greek, 2Pe 1:20). The translation, “all Scripture that is God-inspired is also useful,” would imply that there is some Scripture which is not God-inspired. But this would exclude the appropriated sense of the word “Scripture”; and who would need to be told that “all divine Scripture is useful (‘profitable’)?” Heb 4:13 would, in Alford’s view, have to be rendered, “All naked things are also open to the eyes of Him,” &c.: so also 1Ti 4:4, which would be absurd [Tregelles, Remarks on the Prophetic Visions of the Book of Daniel]. Knapp well defines inspiration, “An extraordinary divine agency upon teachers while giving instruction, whether oral or written, by which they were taught how and what they should speak or write” (compare 2Sa 23:1; Ac 4:25; 2Pe 1:21). The inspiration gives the divine sanction to all the words of Scripture, though those words be the utterances of the individual writer, and only in special cases revealed directly by God (1Co 2:13). Inspiration is here predicated of the writings, “all Scripture,” not of the persons. The question is not how God has done it; it is as to the word, not the men who wrote it. What we must believe is that He has done it, and that all the sacred writings are every where inspired, though not all alike matter of special revelation: and that even the very words are stamped with divine sanction, as Jesus used them (for example in the temptation and Joh 10:34, 35), for deciding all questions of doctrine and practice. There are degrees of revelation in Scripture, but not of inspiration. The sacred writers did not even always know the full significancy of their own God-inspired words (1Pe 1:10, 11, 12). Verbal inspiration does not mean mechanical dictation, but all “Scripture is (so) inspired by God,” that everything in it, its narratives, prophecies, citations, the whole–ideas, phrases, and words–are such as He saw fit to be there. The present condition of the text is no ground for concluding against the original text being inspired, but is a reason why we should use all critical diligence to restore the original inspired text. Again, inspiration may be accompanied by revelation or not, but it is as much needed for writing known doctrines or facts authoritatively, as for communicating new truths [Tregelles]. The omission here of the substantive verb is,’ I think, designed to mark that, not only the Scripture then existing, but what was still to be written till the canon should be completed, is included as God-inspired. The Old Testament law was the schoolmaster to bring us to Christ; so it is appropriately said to be “able to make wise unto salvation through faith in Jesus Christ”: the term wisdom being appropriated to a knowledge of the relations between the Old and New Testaments, and opposed to the pretended wisdom of the false teachers (1Ti 1:7, 8).
doctrine–Greek, “teaching,” that is, teaching the ignorant dogmatic truths which they cannot otherwise know. He so uses the Old Testament, Ro 1:17.
reproof–“refutation,” convicting the erring of their error. Including polemical divinity. As an example of this use of the Old Testament, compare Ga 3:6, 13, 16. “Doctrine and reproof” comprehend the speculative parts of divinity. Next follow the practical: Scripture is profitable for: (1) correction (Greek, “setting one right”; compare an example, 1Co 10:1-10) and instruction (Greek, “disciplining,” as a father does his child, see on 2Ti 2:25; Eph 6:4; Heb 12:5, 11, or “training” by instruction, warning, example, kindnesses, promises, and chastisements; compare an example, 1Co 5:13). Thus the whole science of theology is complete in Scripture. Since Paul is speaking of Scripture in general and in the notion of it, the only general reason why, in order to perfecting the godly (2Ti 3:17), it should extend to every department of revealed truth, must be that it was intended to be the complete and sufficient rule in all things touching perfection. See Article VI, Common Prayer Book.
in–Greek, “instruction which is in righteousness,” as contrasted with the “instruction” in worldly rudiments (Col 2:20, 22).
17. man of God–(See on 1Ti 6:11).
perfect, throughly furnished–Greek, “thoroughly perfected,” and so “perfect.” The man of God is perfectly accoutred out of Scripture for his work, whether he be a minister (compare 2Ti 4:2 with 2Ti 3:16) or a spiritual layman. No oral tradition is needed to be added.
2Ti 4:1-22. Solemn Charge to Timothy to Do His Duty Zealously, for Times of Apostasy Are at Hand, and the Apostle Is near His Triumphant End: Requests Him to Come and Bring Mark with Him to Rome, as Luke Alone Is with Him, the Others Having Gone: Also His Cloak and Parchments: Warns Him against Alexander: Tells What Befell Him at His First Defense: Greetings: Benediction.
1. charge–Greek, “adjure.”
therefore–omitted in the oldest manuscripts.
the Lord Jesus Christ–The oldest manuscripts read simply, “Christ Jesus.”
shall judge–His commission from God is mentioned, Ac 10:42; his resolution to do so, 1Pe 4:5; the execution of his commission, here.
at his appearing–The oldest manuscripts read, “and” for “at”; then translate, “(I charge thee before God … ) and by His appearing.”
and his kingdom–to be set at His appearing, when we hope to reign with Him. His kingdom is real now, but not visible. It shall then be both real and visible (Lu 22:18, 30; Re 1:7; 11:15; 19:6). Now he reigns in the midst of His enemies expecting till they shall be overthrown (Ps 110:2; Heb 10:13). Then He shall reign with His adversaries prostrate.
2. Preach–literally, “proclaim as a herald.” The term for the discourses in the synagogue was daraschoth; the corresponding Greek term (implying dialectial style, dialogue, and discussion, Ac 17:2, 18; 18:4, 19) is applied in Acts to discourses in the Christian Church. Justin Martyr [Apology, 2], describes the order of public worship, “On Sunday all meet and the writings of the apostles and prophets are read; then the president delivers a discourse; after this all stand up and pray; then there is offered bread and wine and water; the president likewise prays and gives thanks, and the people solemnly assent, saying, Amen.” The bishops and presbyters had the right and duty to preach, but they sometimes called on deacons, and even laymen, to preach. Eusebius [Ecclesiastical History, 6.19]; in this the Church imitated the synagogue (Lu 4:17-22; Ac 13:15, 16).
be instant–that is, urgent, earnest, in the whole work of the ministry.
in season, out of season–that is, at all seasons; whether they regard your speaking as seasonable or unseasonable. “Just as the fountains, though none may draw from them, still flow on; and the rivers, though none drink of them, still run; so must we do all on our part in speaking, though none give heed to us” [Chrysostom, Homily, 30, vol. 5., p. 221]. I think with Chrysostom, there is included also the idea of times whether seasonable or unseasonable to Timothy himself; not merely when convenient, but when inconvenient to thee, night as well as day (Ac 20:31), in danger as well as in safety, in prison and when doomed to death as well as when at large, not only in church, but everywhere and on all occasions, whenever and wherever the Lord’s work requires it.
with, &c.–Greek, “IN (the element in which the exhortation ought to have place) all long-suffering (2Ti 2:24, 25; 3:10) and teaching”; compare 2Ti 2:24, “apt to teach.” The Greek for “doctrine” here is didache, but in 2Ti 3:16, didascalia. “Didascalia” is what one receives; “didache” is what is communicated [Tittmann].
3. they–professing Christians.
sound doctrine–Greek, “the sound (see on 1Ti 1:10) doctrine (didascalias)” or “teaching,” namely, of the Gospel. Presently follows the concrete, “teachers.”
after their own lusts–Instead of regarding the will of God they dislike being interrupted in their lusts by true teachers.
heap–one on another: an indiscriminate mass of false teachers. Variety delights itching ears. “He who despises sound teaching, leaves sound teachers; they seek instructors like themselves” [Bengel]. It is the corruption of the people in the first instance, that creates priestcraft (Ex 32:1).
to themselves–such as will suit their depraved tastes; populus vult decipi, et decipiatur–“the people wish to be deceived, so let them be deceived.” “Like priest, like people” (1Ki 12:31; Ho 4:9).
itching–like to hear teachers who give them mere pleasure (Ac 17:19-21), and do not offend by truths grating to their ears. They, as it were, tickle with pleasure the levity of the multitude [Cicero], who come as to a theater to hear what will delight their ears, not to learn [Seneca, Epistles, 10.8] what will do them good. “Itch in the ear is as bad in any other part of the body, and perhaps worse” [South].
4. The ear brooks not what is opposed to the man’s lusts.
turned–Greek, “turned aside” (1Ti 1:6). It is a righteous retribution, that when men turn away from the truth, they should be turned to fables (Jer 2:19).
5. I am no longer here to withstand these things; be thou a worthy successor of me, no longer depending on me for counsel, but thine own master, and swimming without the corks [Calvin]; follow my steps, inherit their result, and the honor of their end [Alford].
watch thou–literally, “with the wakefulness of one sober.”
in all things–on all occasions and under all circumstances (Tit 2:7).
endure affliction–suffer hardships [Alford].
evangelist–a missionary bishop preacher, and teacher.
make full proof of–fulfil in all its requirements, leaving nothing undone (Ac 12:25; Ro 15:19; Col 4:17).
6. Greek, “For I am already being offered”; literally, as a libation; appropriate to the shedding of his blood. Every sacrifice began with an initiatory libation on the victim’s head (compare Note, see on Php 2:17). A motive to stimulate Timothy to faithfulness–the departure and final blessedness of Paul; it is the end that crowns the work [Bengel]. As the time of his departure was indicated to Peter, so to Paul (2Pe 1:14).
my departure–literally, “loosing anchor” (see on Php 1:23). Dissolution.
7. “I have striven the good strife”; the Greek is not restricted to a fight, but includes any competitive contest, for example, that of the racecourse (1Ti 6:12 [Alford]; 1Co 9:24, &c.; Heb 12:1, 2).
kept the faith–the Christian faith committed to me as a believer and an apostle (compare 2Ti 1:14; Re 2:10; 3:10).
8. a crown–rather as Greek, “the crown.” The “henceforth” marks the decisive moment; he looks to his state in a threefold aspect: (1) The past “I have fought”; (2) The immediate present; “there is laid up for me.” (3) The future “the Lord will give in that day” [Bengel].
crown–a crown, or garland, used to be bestowed at the Greek national games on the successful competitor in wrestling, running, &c. (compare 1Pe 5:4; Re 2:10).
of righteousness–The reward is in recognition of righteousness wrought in Paul by God’s Spirit; the crown is prepared for the righteous; but it is a crown which consists in righteousness. Righteousness will be its own reward (Re 22:11). Compare Ex 39:30. A man is justified gratuitously by the merits of Christ through faith; and when he is so justified God accepts his works and honors them with a reward which is not their due, but is given of grace. “So great is God’s goodness to men that He wills that their works should be merits, though they are merely His own gifts” [Pope Celestine I., Epistles, 12].
give–Greek, “shall award” in righteous requital as “Judge” (Ac 17:31; 2Co 5:10; 2Th 1:6, 7).
in that day–not until His appearing (2Ti 1:12). The partakers of the first resurrection may receive a crown also at the last day, and obtain in that general assembly of all men, a new award of praise. The favorable sentence passed on the “brethren” of the Judge, who sit with Him on His throne, is in Mt 25:40, taken for granted as already awarded, when that affecting those who benefited them is being passed [Bengel]. The former, the elect Church who reign with Christ in the millennium, are fewer than the latter. The righteous heavenly Judge stands in contrast to the unrighteous earthly judges who condemned Paul.
me–individual appropriation. Greek, “not only to me.”
them that love–Greek, “have loved, and do love”; habitual love and desire for Christ’s appearing, which presupposes faith (compare Heb 9:28). Compare the sad contrast, 2Ti 4:10, “having loved this present world.”
9. (2Ti 4:21; 2Ti 1:4, 8.) Timothy is asked to come to be a comfort to Paul, and also to be strengthened by Paul, for carrying on the Gospel work after Paul’s decease.
10. Demas–once a “fellow laborer” of Paul, along with Mark and Luke (Col 4:14; Phm 24). His motive for forsaking Paul seems to have been love of worldly ease, safety, and comforts at home, and disinclination to brave danger with Paul (Mt 13:20, 21, 22). Chrysostom implies that Thessalonica was his home.
Galatia–One oldest manuscript supports the reading “Gaul.” But most oldest manuscripts, &c., “Galatia.”
Titus–He must have therefore left Crete after “setting in order” the affairs of the churches there (Tit 1:5).
Dalmatia–part of the Roman province of Illyricum on the coast of the Adriatic. Paul had written to him (Tit 3:12) to come to him in the winter to Nicopolis (in Epirus), intending in the spring to preach the Gospel in the adjoining province of Dalmatia. Titus seems to have gone thither to carry out the apostle’s intention, the execution of which was interrupted by his arrest. Whether he went of his own accord, as is likely, or was sent by Paul, which the expression “is departed” hardly accords with, cannot be positively decided. Paul here speaks only of his personal attendants having forsaken him; he had still friends among the Roman Christians who visited him (2Ti 4:21), though they had been afraid to stand by him at his trial (2Ti 4:16).
11. Take–Greek, “take up” on thy journey (Ac 20:13, 14). John Mark was probably in, or near, Colosse, as in the Epistle to the Colossians (Col 4:10), written two years before this, he is mentioned as about to visit them. Timothy was now absent from Ephesus and somewhere in the interior of Asia Minor; hence he would be sure to fall in with Mark on his journey.
he is profitable to me for the ministry–Mark had been under a cloud for having forsaken Paul at a critical moment in his missionary tour with Barnabas (Ac 15:37-40; 13:5, 13). Timothy had subsequently occupied the same post in relation to Paul as Mark once held. Hence Paul, appropriately here, wipes out the past censure by high praise of Mark and guards against Timothy’s making self-complacent comparisons between himself and Mark, as though he were superior to the latter (compare Phm 24). Demas apostatizes. Mark returns to the right way, and is no longer unprofitable, but is profitable for the Gospel ministry (Phm 11).
12. And–Greek, “But.” Thou art to come to me, but Tychicus I have sent to Ephesus to supply thy place (if thou so willest it) in presiding over the Church there in thy absence (compare Tit 3:12). It is possible Tychicus was the bearer of this Epistle, though the omission of “to thee” is rather against this view.
13. cloak … I left–probably obliged to leave it in a hurried departure from Troas.
Carpus–a faithful friend to have been entrusted with so precious deposits. The mention of his “cloak,” so far from being unworthy of inspiration, is one of those graphic touches which sheds a flood of light on the last scene of Paul’s life, on the confines of two worlds; in this wanting a cloak to cover him from the winter cold, in that covered with the righteousness of saints, “clothed upon with his house from heaven” [Gaussen]. So the inner vesture and outer garment of Jesus, Paul’s master, are suggestive of most instructive thought (Joh 19:2).
books–He was anxious respecting these that he might transmit them to the faithful, so that they might have the teaching of his writings when he should be gone.
especially the parchments–containing perhaps some of his inspired Epistles themselves.
14. Alexander the coppersmith–or “smith” in general. Perhaps the same as the Alexander (see on 1Ti 1:20) at Ephesus. Excommunicated then he subsequently was restored, and now vented his personal malice because of his excommunication in accusing Paul before the Roman judges, whether of incendiarism or of introducing a new religion. See my Introduction. He may have been the Alexander put forward by the Jews in the tumult at Ephesus (Ac 19:33, 34).
reward–The oldest manuscripts read, “shall reward,” or “requite him.” Personal revenge certainly did not influence the apostle (2Ti 4:16, end).
15. our words–the arguments of us Christians for our common faith. Believers have a common cause.
16. At my first answer–that is, “defense” in court, at my first public examination. Timothy knew nothing of this, it is plain, till Paul now informs him. But during his former imprisonment at Rome, Timothy was with him (Php 1:1, 7). This must have been, therefore, a second imprisonment. He must have been set free before the persecution in A.D. 64, when the Christians were accused of causing the conflagration in Rome; for, had he been a prisoner then, he certainly would not have been spared. The tradition [Eusebius, Ecclesiastical History, 2.251] that he was finally beheaded, accords with his not having been put to death in the persecution, A.D. 64, when burning to death was the mode by which the Christians were executed, but subsequently to it. His “first” trial in his second imprisonment seems to have been on the charge of complicity in the conflagration; his absence from Rome may have been the ground of his acquittal on that charge; his final condemnation was probably on the charge of introducing a new and unlawful religion into Rome.
stood with me–Greek, “came forward with me” [Alford] as a friend and advocate.
may it not be laid to their charge–The position of “their,” in the Greek, is emphatic. “May it not be laid to THEIR charge,” for they were intimidated; their drawing back from me was not from bad disposition so much as from fear; it is sure to be laid to the charge of those who intimidated them. Still Paul, like Stephen, would doubtless have offered the same prayer for his persecutors themselves (Ac 7:60).
17. the Lord–the more because men deserted me.
stood with me–stronger than “came forward with me” (Greek, 2Ti 4:16).
strengthened–Greek, “put strength in me.”
by me–“through me”; through my means. One single occasion is often of the greatest moment.
the preaching–“the Gospel proclamation.”
might be fully known–might be fully made (see on 2Ti 4:5).
that all the Gentiles–present at my trial, “might hear” the Gospel proclaimed then. Rome was the capital of the Gentile world, so that a proclamation of the truth to the Romans was likely to go forth to the rest of the Gentile world.
I was delivered out of the mouth of the lion–namely, Satan, the roaring, devouring lion (Lu 22:31; 1Pe 5:8). I was prevented falling into his snare (2Ti 2:26; Ps 22:21; 2Pe 2:9); 2Ti 4:18 agrees with this interpretation, “The Lord shall deliver me from every evil work,” namely, both from evil and the evil one, as the Greek of the Lord’s Prayer expresses it. It was not deliverance from Nero (who was called the lion) which he rejoiced in, for he did not fear death (2Ti 4:6-8), but deliverance from the temptation, through fear, to deny His Lord: so Alford.
18. And the Lord shall, &c.–Hope draws its conclusions from the past to the future [Bengel].
will preserve me–literally, “will save” (Ps 22:21), “will bring me safe to.” Jesus is the Lord and the Deliverer (Php 3:20; 1Th 1:10): He saves from evil; He gives good things.
heavenly kingdom–Greek, “His kingdom which is a heavenly one.”
to whom, &c.–Greek, “to whom be the glory unto the ages of ages.” The very hope produces a doxology: how much greater will be the doxology which the actual enjoyment shall produce! [Bengel].
19. Prisca and Aquila–(Ac 18:2, 3; Ro 16:3, 4; 1Co 16:19, written from Ephesus, where therefore Aquila and Priscilla must then have been).
household of Onesiphorus–If he were dead at the time, the “household” would not have been called “the household of Onesiphorus.” He was probably absent (see on 2Ti 1:16).
20. In order to depict his desertion, he informs Timothy that Erastus, one of his usual companions (Ac 19:22, possibly the same Erastus as in Ro 16:23, though how he could leave his official duties for missionary journeys is not clear), stayed behind at Corinth, his native place, or usual residence, of which city he was “chamberlain,” or city steward and treasurer (Ro 16:23); and Trophimus he left behind at Miletus sick. (On his former history, see on Ac 20:4; Ac 21:29). This verse is irreconcilable with the imprisonment from which he writes being the first: for he did not pass by Corinth or Miletus on his way to Rome when about to be imprisoned for the first time. As Miletus was near Ephesus, there is a presumption that Timothy was not at Ephesus when Paul wrote, or he would not need to inform Timothy of Trophimus lying sick in his immediate neighborhood. However, Trophimus may not have been still at Miletus at the time when Paul wrote, though he had left him there on his way to Rome. Prisca and Aquila were most likely to be at Ephesus (2Ti 4:19), and he desires Timothy to salute them: so also Onesiphorus’ household (2Ti 1:18). Paul had not the power of healing at will (Ac 19:12), but as the Lord allowed him.
21. before winter–when a voyage, according to ancient usages of navigation, would be out of the question: also, Paul would need his “cloak” against the winter (2Ti 4:13).
Pudens … Claudia–afterwards husband and wife (according to Martial [Epigrams, 4.13; 11.54]), he a Roman knight, she a Briton, surnamed Rufina. Tacitus [On Agriculture, 14], mentions that territories in southeast Britain were given to a British king; Cogidunus, in reward for his fidelity to Rome, A.D. 52, while Claudius was emperor. In 1772 a marble was dug up at Chichester, mentioning Cogidunus with the surname Claudius, added from his patron, the emperor’s name; and Pudens in connection with Cogidunus, doubtless his father-in-law. His daughter would be Claudia, who seems to have been sent to Rome for education, as a pledge of the father’s fidelity. Here she was under the protection of Pomponia, wife of Aulus Plautius, conqueror of Britain. Pomponia was accused of foreign superstitions, A.D. 57 [Tacitus, Annals, 3.32], probably Christianity. She probably was the instrument of converting Claudia, who took the name Rufina from her, that being a cognomen of the Pomponian gens (compare Ro 16:13, Rufus, a Christian). Pudens in Martial and in the Chichester inscription, appears as a pagan; but perhaps he or his friends concealed his Christianity through fear. Tradition represents Timothy, a son of Pudens, as taking part in converting the Britons.
Linus–put third; therefore not at this time yet, as he was afterwards, bishop. His name being here inserted between Pudens and Claudia, implies the two were not yet married. “Eubulus” is identified by some with Aristobulus, who, with his converts, is said to have been among the first evangelists of Britain. Paul himself, says Clement, “visited the farthest west [perhaps Britain, certainly Spain], and was martyred under the rulers at Rome,” who were Nero’s vicegerents in his absence from the city.
22. Grace be with you–plural in oldest manuscripts, “with YOU,” that is, thee and the members of the Ephesian and neighboring churches.