Pulpit Commentary - 2 Timothy 1:1 - 1:18

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Pulpit Commentary - 2 Timothy 1:1 - 1:18

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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. Tit_1:2).


Beloved child for dearly beloved son, A.V.; peace for and peace, A.V. My beloved child. In 1Ti_1:2
(as in Tit_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 (2Ti_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 1Ti_1:2; Tit_1:4, A.V.; 2Jn_1:3). Jude has "mercy, peace, and love." The salutation in Eph_1:2 is "grace and peace," as also in Rom_1:7; 1Co_1:3, and elsewhere in St. Paul's Epistles, and in Rev_1:4.


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. Act_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 Act_23:5, viz. the "unfeigned faith" that was in Timothy. That this was a proper subject of thanksgiving we learn from Eph_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, 1Th_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."


Longing for greatly desiring, A.V.; remembering for being mindful of, A.V.


Having been reminded of for when I call to remembrance, A.V.; in thee for that in thee, A.V. Unfeigned ( ἀνυποκρίτου ); as 1Ti_1:5
(see also Rom_12:9; 2Co_6:6; 1Pe_1:22; Jas_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 λωΐ́τερος and λώΐστος . This and the following Eunice are examples of the frequent use of Greek or Latin names by Jews. Eunice, we know from Act_16:1, was a Jewess and a Christian, as it would seem her mother Lois was before her.


For the which cause for wherefore, A.V.; through the laying for by the putting, A.V. For which cause ( δι ἣν αἰτίαν ); so 2Ti_1:12
and Tit_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 Gen_45:27 and I Ma Gen_13:7, in an intransitive sense, "to revive." In both passages it is contrasted with a previous state of despondency (Gen_45:26) or fear (1Ma Gen_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 1Ti_4:14 (where see note). The laying on of my hands, together with those of the presbytery (1Ti_4:14; comp. Act_13:2, Act_13:3). The laying on of hands was also the medium through which the Holy Ghost was given in Confirmation (Act_8:17), and in healing (Mar_16:18; comp. Num_27:18, Num_27:23).


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. 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 Rom_8:15
. Of power and love. Power ( δύναμις ) is emphatically the attribute of the Holy Spirit (Luk_4:14; Act_10:38; Rom_15:13; 1Co_2:4, etc.), and that which he specially imparts to the servants of Christ (Act_1:8; Act_6:8; Eph_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 Tit_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 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. Rom_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 2Ti_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 Php_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.


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. Eph_1:19
, Eph_1:20.) With a holy calling (comp. Rom_1:7; 1Co_1:2). Not according to our works (see Tit_3:5; Eph_2:4-10). His own purpose and grace. If our calling were of works, it would not be by grace (Rom_4:4, Rom_4:5; Rom_11:6), but it is "according to the riches of his grace… according to his good pleasure which he purposed in himself" (Eph_1:9, Eph_1:11). 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" (Eph_1:4), where the general context is the same. The phrase itself occurs in Rom_16:25 ( χρόνοις αἰωνίοις ) and Tit_1:2, in which last place time is indicated posterior to the creation of men. In 1Co_2:7 we have simply πρὸ τῶν αἰώνων , "before the worlds," where αἰών is equivalent to αἰωνίοι χρόνοι , and in Eph_3:11, πρόθεσιν τῶν αἰώνων , "the eternal purpose." In Luk_1:70 the phrase, ἀπ ̓ αἰῶνος , is rendered "since the world began," and εἰς τοὺς αἰῶνας (Mat_6:13), "forever." So frequently εἰς τὸν αἰῶνα , "forever" (Mat_21:19; Joh_6:51, etc.), and εἰς τοὺς αἰῶνας τῶν αἰώνων (Gal_1:5; Eph_3:21; 1Ti_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 Eph_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 1Ti_1:17).


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 Eph_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 Eph_4:1 and Tit_2:13 and elsewhere applied to the second advent, "the glorious appearing of our Saviour Jesus Christ" (Tit_2:13). Abolished ( καταργήσαντος ); i.e. "destroyed," or "done away," or "made of none effect," as the word is variously rendered (1Co_15:26; 2Co_3:11; Gal_3:17; comp. Heb_2:14). Brought… to light ( φωτίσαντος ); as in 1Co_4:15. Elsewhere rather "to give light," or "to enlighten" (see Luk_11:36; Heb_6:4; Heb_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 Rom_5:1-21. and 6., and especially Rom_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.


Was for am, A.V.; teacher for teacher of the Gentiles, A.V. and T.R. Was appointed ( ἐτέθην ); comp. 1Ti_1:12
, θέμενος εἰς διακονίαν , "appointing me to the ministry;" and 1Ti_2:7. A preacher, and an apostle, and a teacher (so also 1Ti_2:7). Teacher ( διδάσκαλος ) is one of the spiritual offices enumerated in 1Co_12:28 and Eph_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 Rom_1:1, Rom_1:5; Rom_15:16; 1Co_1:1, etc.).


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 (2Ti_1:6, 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 Luk_16:11. So πιστευθῆναι τὸ εὐαγγέλιον , "to be entrusted with the gospel" (1Th_2:4); οἰκονομίαν πεπιστεῦμαι , "I am entrusted with a dispensation" (1Co_9:17; see Wis. 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 Luk_16:14 and in 1Ti_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 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 1Ti_1:19
, ἔχων πίστιν , "holding faith;" in 1Ti_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 1Ti_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 1Ti_1:10, note. In faith and love; either hold the pattern in faith and love, or which you have heard in faith and love.


Guard for keep, A.V.; through for by, A.V. That good thing ( τὴν καλὴν παραθήκην , R.T., for παρακαταθήκην ); see 1Ti_6:20
, and note. This naturally follows the preceding verse. Faithfulness in maintaining the faith was closely connected with the maintenance of sound words.


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 Tit_1:14
; Heb_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.


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 2Ti_4:19
, that Onesiphorus himself was no longer living; and hence 2Ti_4:18 (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 2Ti_4:18, 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 (Mat_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. Act_3:19. Chain ( ἅλυσιν ); in the singular, as Eph_6:20; Act_28:20 (where see note).


Sought for sought out, A.V.; diligently for very diligently, A.V. and T.R.


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 εὗρεν 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.




A ring once given to an old and loved friend, who in later life had been cut off from the former loving intercourse by the inevitable course of events, bore this touching inscription, "Cara memoria dei primieri anni" (dear memory of old times). The memories of a happy unclouded youth, of youthful friendships, of joyous days, of pursuits lit up by sanguine hopes and bright expectations, are indeed often among the most precious treasures of the heart. And in like manner the recollection of former triumphs of faith in days of dark doubt and difficulty, of temptations overcome, of victories gained, of grace received, of work done for God, of Christian intercourse with God's saints, and happy hours of prayer, and treading underfoot all the powers of darkness, are not only bright lights illuminating the past journey of life, but are often among our strongest incentives to perseverance, and our best encouragements to hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering. St. Paul, that great master in the knowledge of human nature, knew this well. And so with inimitable skill—a skill heightened and set off by the warm affections of a tender heart—he calls back Timothy's recollections to the days of his early faith. That there had been anything like a falling away from the faith in Timothy, any real declension in his religious life, there is no reason to believe. But the quick eye of the apostle had detected some symptoms of weakness. The pulse of firm resolution, as dangers thickened around him, had not beaten so steadily as he would have wished. He did not see the symptoms of Christian courage rising with the rising flood of difficulty quite so marked as to set his mind at case as to what might happen if, after his own death, which he felt was near, Timothy were left alone to confront the perils of a fierce persecution, or to guide the wavering purpose of timid and fainting disciples. And so he calls back his dearly beloved son in the faith to the old days of his first conversion. The lessons of faith and obedience learnt on his mother's knee in the dear home at Lystra, whose blessed fruit had attracted St. Paul's notice; the first appearance of the apostle in those regions in the noonday of his apostolic zeal; the bold front with which he had met the storm of affliction and persecution; Timothy's own warm surrender of himself to the companionship of the great teacher, and his exchange of a happy, peaceful home for the wandering life and incessant peril of an evangelist; then the solemn time of his ordination—the time when, with prayer and fasting, he had knelt to receive the laying on of hands, and had exulted in the new gift of God with which he might go forth fearlessly and lovingly, and in a strength not his own, to emulate his father in the faith in preaching the gospel of God's saving grace,—Oh, let Timothy cherish those dear memories of former times! And there were later memories still. Their last meeting, and their last adieu. They had parted, under what circumstances we do not know; St. Paul hastening on to his crown of martyrdom, Timothy remaining at his post of work and of danger. And Timothy had wept. Were they tears of bitterness, tears of compunction, tears of a heart broken and melting under a gentle loving reproof, or were they only tears of sorrow at parting? We cannot say for certain; but St. Paul remembered them, and he recalls them to Timothy's memory too. He adds the hope that, as they had sown in tears, they would reap in joy—the joy, perhaps, of a healed wound and renovated spiritual strength, or, at all events, the joy of meeting once more before the fall of the curtain of death to close the drama of Paul's eventful life. The lesson left for us by these heart-stirring words is the value of the memory of the past when brought to bear upon the work of the future. "Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits," is a sentiment which continually comes up in the varied experiences of the psalmist. He quickened hope in the land of banishment by remembering the days of happy worship in the house of God (Psa_42:1-11.); he added depth to his sorrow for sin by recalling the memory of that joy of salvation which he had forfeited by his fall (Psa_51:1-19.). And so we shall do well in times of weakness to remember our former strength; in days of darkness to call to mind the days of light that were of old; in days of slackness and indolence to call back the memory of the time when we were all on fire to do God's work; in days of depression to think of old mercies shown and old graces given to us of God; to quench the fear of defeat by the recollection of ancient victories; and, in a word, to make the past supply the present with incentives to an undying zeal, and a steadfast courage in facing all the afflictions of the gospel according to the unchanging power of God.


Constancy in the hour of danger.

There are great differences of natural temperament in different men. There are those whose courage is naturally high. Their instinct is to brave danger, and to be confident of overcoming it. They do not know what nervousness, or sinking of heart, or the devices of timidity, mean. Others are of a wholly different temperament. The approach of danger unnerves them. Their instinct is to avoid, not to overcome, danger; to shrink from suffering, not to confront it. There are ever in the Church the bold and dauntless Gideons, and the wavering and timid Peters. But the grace of God is able to strengthen the weak hands and to confirm the feeble knees. He can say to them that are of fearful heart, "Be strong; fear not." lie can give power to the faint, and increase strength to them that have no might. And there is perhaps no more edifying sight than that of the quiet unboasting courage of those whose natural timidity has been overcome by an overpowering sense of duty and of love to Christ, and who have learnt, in the exercises of prayer and meditation on the cross of Christ, to endure hardness without flinching, as good soldiers of Jesus Christ. But to yield to fear, and, under its influence, to be ashamed to confess the Name of Jesus Christ, and to repudiate fellowship with those who are suffering for Christ's sake and the gospel's, lest we should fall into the same reproach with them, is sin, and sin most unworthy of those for whom Christ died, and who have been made partakers of so great salvation. No plea of natural timidity can excuse such unworthy conduct. It behoves, therefore, men of a timid and gentle spirit to fortify their faith by frequent contemplation of the cross of Christ, and habitually to take up that cross, and by it crucify the flesh with its affections and lusts. Let them think often of their holy calling, remember that they are the servants of him who "endured the cross, despising the shame," and look forward to the recompense of reward. Let them contrast the base, unmanly conduct of the men of Asia, who turned away from the noble Paul in his hour of danger, with the faithful, generous conduct of Onesiphorus, who sought him out in his prison and was not ashamed of his chain. And surely they will come to the conclusion that affliction with the people of God is better than immunity from suffering purchased by shame and sin.


2Ti_1:1, 2Ti_1:2

The apostle's address and greeting.

This Epistle, which has been well described as "the last will and testament" of the apostle, written as it was under the very shadow of death, opens with a touching evidence of personal interest in Timothy.

I. THE ORIGIN AND DESIGN OF THE APOSTLESHIP. "Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God."

1. He was an apostle.

(1) Not by the will of man, even of other apostles.

(2) Nor by his own will; for he did not take this honour upon himself.

(3) Nor was it owing to his personal merits; for he always speaks of it as "the grace of apostleship."

(4) He was an apostle by the will of God, whose "chosen vessel" he was for this purpose.

2. The design of his apostleship was "according to the promise of life which is in Christ Jesus." Its design was to make known this promise.

(1) It was life eternal;

(2) promised in Christ Jesus, because

(a) it was "promised before the world began" (Tit_1:2);

(b) in Christ, who is the Prince of life, who procured it, who applies it by his Spirit.

II. THE PERSON ADDRESSED. "To Timothy, my beloved son." Not, as in the former Epistle, "my true son," but a son specially dear to him in view of the approaching severance of the earthly tie that bound them together.

III. THE GREETING. "Grace, mercy, and peace." (See homiletical hints on 1Ti_1:2.)—T.C.


Thankful declaration of love and remembrance of Timothy's faith.

I. THE APOSTLE'S AFFECTIONATE INTEREST IN HIS YOUNG DISCIPLE. "I give thanks to God, whom I serve from my forefathers in a pure conscience, as unceasing is the remembrance I have of thee in my prayers night and day; greatly desiring to see thee, being mindful of thy tears, that I may be filled with joy."

1. The apostle begins all Epistles with the language of thanksgiving. God is the Object of thanksgiving, both as God of nature and as God of grace, and there is no blessing we have received that ought not to be thankfully acknowledged.

2. It is allowable for a good man to take pleasure in the thought of a consistently conscientious career. His service of God was according to the principles and feelings he inherited from his ancestors "in a pure conscience" (Act_23:1; Act_24:14).

3. Ministers ought to be much engaged in prayer for one another so as to strengthen each other's hands.

4. The thought of approaching death makes us long to see the friends who have been most endeared to us in life.

(1) The apostle remembered Timothy's sorrow at their last parting.

(2) Though he had commanded him before to stay at Ephesus, he now desired to see him, because he was alone in prison, with Luke as his only companion.

(3) The sight of Timothy in Rome would fill him with joy beyond that imparted by all the other friends and companions of his apostolic life.

II. THE APOSTLE'S THANKSGIVING FOR TIMOTHY'S FAITH. "Being put in remembrance of the unfeigned faith that is in thee, which dwelt first in thy grandmother Lois, and thy mother Eunice; and I am persuaded that also in thee."

1. The quality of this faith. "Unfeigned." Timothy was "an Israelite indeed," who believed with the heart unto righteousness, his faith working by love to God and man, and accompanied by good works.

2. its permanent character. "It dwelt in him." Faith is an abiding grace; Christ, who is its Author, is also its Finisher; and salvation is inseparably connected with it.

3. The subjects of this faith. "First in thy grandmother Lois, and in thy mother Eunice."

(1) Lois was his grandmother by the mother's side, for his father was a Greek; and Eunice, his mother, was probably converted at Lystra, at no great distance from Tarsus, the native city of the apostle (Act_16:1; Act_14:6).

(a) It is pleasant to see faith transmitted through three generations. It is sin, and not grace, that is easily transmitted by blood. But when we are "born, not of blood, but of God," we have reason to be thankful, like the apostle, for such a display of rich family mercy.

(b) We see here the advantages of a pious education, for it was from the persons named he obtained in his youth that knowledge of the Scriptures which made him wise unto salvation (2Ti_3:15).

(c) How often Christian mothers have given remarkable sons to the ministry of God's Church!

(2) Timothy was himself a subject of this faith. He did not break off the happy continuity of grace in his family, but worthily perpetuated the best type of ancestral piety.—T.C.


The apostle's admonition to Timothy to stir up the gift of God within him.

It was because of his persuasion of Timothy's faith, and perhaps of the apprehension that the young disciple had been depressed by his own long imprisonment, that he addressed him in this manner.

I. THE SPIRITUAL GIFTS POSSESSED BY TIMOTHY. "Wherefore I put thee in remembrance to stir up the gift of God which is in thee by means of the laying on of my hands."

1. He refers to the special gift received by Timothy with a view to his niece as an evangelist. It was not anything either natural or acquired, but something bestowed by the Spirit of God which would fit him for teaching and ruling the Church of God.

2. It was conferred by the hands of the apostle along with the presbytery (1Ti_4:14).


1. It is possible there may have been some slackness or decline of power on Timothy's part, arising from various causes of discouragement, to make this injunction necessary.

2. The gift was to be stirred up by reading, meditations, and prayer, so that he might be enabled, with fresh zeal, to reform the abuses of the Church and endure hardship as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.—T.C.


The Divine equipment for arduous service in the Church.

The apostle here adds a reason for the injunction just given.

I. NEGATIVELY. "For God did not give us the spirit of cowardice."

1. This refers to the time of the ordination of Timothy and of the apostle. Courage is an essential qualification for ministers of the gospel.

2. Cowardice is unworthy of those who have received the gospel in trust. The fear of man has a very wide dominion, but those who fear God ought to know no other fear.

(1) This fear tends to unworthy compliances.

(2) Trust in God is a preservation from fear (Psa_27:1).

(3) Our Lord exhorts us strongly against such fear (Joh_14:27).

II. POSITIVELY. "But of power, and of love, and of self-control."

1. The spirit of power, as opposed to the weakness of cowardice; for the servants of Christ are fortified against persecutions and reproaches, are enabled to endure hardness as good soldiers of Christ, and to quit themselves like men.

2. The spirit of love. This will make them earnest in their care for souls, indefatigable in labours, fearless in the midst of trying exigencies, and self-sacrificing in love.

3. The spirit of self-control. This will enable the servant of Christ to keep his whole being in subjection to the Lord, apart from all the solicitations of the world, and to regulate life with a due regard to its duties, its labours, and its cares.—T.C.


Warning to Timothy not to be ashamed of the gospel, nor to shrink from afflictions.

This exhortation is dependent upon the previous counsel.

I. THE MINISTER OF GOD MUST NOT BE ASHAMED OF THE GOSPEL. "Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of the Lord, nor of me his prisoner."

1. The testimony of the Lord is that borne concerning his doctrine, sufferings, and death; in a word, the gospel itself.

2. No Christian can be ashamed of a gospel of such power, so true, so gracious, so useful.

3. No Christian can be ashamed of its confessors. The apostle was a prisoner at Rome for its sake, not for crime of any sort. The gospel then laboured under an immense load of pagan prejudice, and Timothy needed to be reminded of his obligations to sympathize with its greatest expounder.

II. THE MINISTER OF GOD MUST SHARE IN THE AFFLICTIONS OF THE GOSPEL. "But be thou partaker of the afflictions of the gospel according to the power of God."

1. Though it is a gospel of peace, it brings a sword wherever it goes, and involves its preachers in tribulations arising out of the perverseness of men who thwart and despise it.

2. We ought to suffer hardship for the gospel, by the consideration that the God who has saved us with such a strong hand is able to succour us under all our afflictions.—T.C.


The power of God in the salvation manifested by Jesus Christ to the world.

He now proceeds to expound in a glorious sentence the origin, conditions, manifestations of the salvation provided in the gospel.

I. THE MANNER IN WHICH THE POWER OF GOD HAS BEEN DISPLAYED TOWARD US. "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."

1. The power of God has been displayed toward us in salvation. God is the Author of salvation in its most comprehensive sense, as including both its impetration and its application. The salvation may be said to precede the calling, as

(1) it has its origin in the "purpose of God,"

(2) as Christ has procured it by his death.

2. It has been displayed in our calling.

(1) The call is the act of the Father (Gal_1:6).

(2) It is a "holy calling,"

(a) as its Author is holy;

(b) it is a call to holiness;

(c) the called are enabled to live holy lives.

3. The principle or condition of our salvation. "Not according to our works."

(1) Negatively. Works are not

(a) the moving cause of it, which is the love and favour of God (Joh_3:16);

(b) nor are they the procuring cause, which is the obedience and death of Christ (Rom_3:21-26);

(c) nor do they help in the application of salvation; for works done before our calling are not good, being without fairly; and works done after it are the fruits of our calling, and therefore not the cause of it.

(2) Positively. "But according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ before the world began." Salvation has thus a double aspect.

(a) It is "according to the purpose of God." It is a gift from eternity; for it was "before the world began," and therefore it was not dependent upon man's works.

(b) It is according to "his grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began." Though those to whom it was given were not in existence, they existed in Christ as the covenant Head and Representative of his people. They were chosen in him (Eph_1:4).

II. THE MANIFESTATION OF THIS PURPOSE AND GRACE IN THE INCARNATION AND WORK OF CHRIST. "But manifested now by the appearing of our Saviour Jesus Christ."

1. The nature of this manifestation. It included

(1) the Incarnation; for the Son of God appeared in the fulness of time to make known the "mystery hid from ages," even himself—"the Hope of glory"—to both Jew and Gentile;

(2) the work of Christ, in the obedience of his life and the suffering of his death—in a word, the whole work of redemption.

2. The effects of this manifestation. "Who abolished death, and brought to light life and incorruptibility by means of the gospel."

(1) Its action upon death. It has abolished or made it of none effect. Death is regarded both in its physical and its ethical aspects.

(a) In its physical aspects, Christ has

( α ) deprived it of its sting, and made it a blessing to believers (Heb_2:14; 1Co_15:55), and

( β ) secured its ultimate abolition (Rev_21:4).

(b) In its ethical aspects, as working through a law of sin and death, Christ has caused us "to pass from death unto life" in regeneration (1Jn_3:14), and secured us from "the second death" (Rev_2:11).

(2) Its revelation of life and incorruptibility.

(a) Life here is the true life, over which death has no power—the new and blessed life of the Spirit. This was, in a sense, known to the Old Testament saints; but Christ exhibited it, in its resurrection aspect, after he rose from the dead. It was in virtue of his resurrection, indeed, that the saints of the old economy had life at all. But they did not see it as we see it.

(b) Incorruptibility. Not in reference to the risen body, but to the life of the soul, in its imperishable qualities, in its perfect exemption from death (1Pe_1:4; Rev_21:4).

(c) The means of this revelation is the gospel, which makes this life perfectly known to men, as to its nature, as to the way into it, as to the persons for whom it is prepared or designed.

III. THE CONNECTION OF THE APOSTLE WITH THIS REVELATION OF LIFE. "For which I was appointed a herald and an apostle, and a teacher of the Gentiles." He rehearses his titles of dignity at the very time that he points to them as entailing suffering upon him.—T.C.


The grounds of his joyful confidence under all his sufferings

I. HIS APOSTLESHIP WAS THE CAUSE OF HIS SUFFERINGS. "For which cause I also am suffering these things"—imprisonment, solitude, the hatred of Jew and Gentile. He estranged the Jews by preaching the gospel to the Gentiles, and he offended the Gentiles by denouncing their idolatries and undermining their lucrative superstitions.

II. HE OWNS NO SHAME IN THE GOSPEL. It may be an offence to the Greek and a stumbling block to the Jew; but he is not ashamed of it, because he is not ashamed:

1. Of its Author.

2. Of its truths and ordinances.

3. Of his own faith in it.

4. Of his sufferings for it.

III. THE REASON WHY HE IS NOT ASHAMED OF THE GOSPEL. "For I know whom. I have trusted, and am persuaded that he is able to keep my deposit till that day."

1. He knows his Redeemer through faith and love and experience. It is "eternal life" to know him (Joh_17:3). It is not that he merely knows of him, but he knows him—what he is, what he can do, what he has promised to do—and therefore he can trust him.

2. His trust is in a known Person.

(1) The apostle would have been very foolish to trust an unknown person. We distrust strangers. We will only entrust that which is dear to us—our children or our money—to those known to us.

(2) There are foolish people who think it a wiser, as well as a more meritorious thing, to believe without knowledge; like the Spanish Jesuit who said, "I believe in this doctrine, not in spite of its impossibility, but because it is impossible." The apostle held a very different view.

(3) There are some people of whom we may say that the mere they are known the less are they trusted. A fuller experience discovers flaws in their character forbidding confidence. But our Saviour is One who is trusted the more he is known, in all the various circumstances of human life.

3. The apostle has placed his soul, as a precious deposit, in the hands of Christ, with the assurance of its perfect safety. "I am persuaded that he is able to keep my deposit till that day." Several circumstances enhance the significance of this act of the apostle.

(1) The value of the deposit. What can be more precious than the soul? (Mar_8:37).

(2) The danger of its loss. The soul is a lost thing, and but for grace eternally so.

(3) The sinner feels the deposit is not safe with himself. Man cannot, any more than man's brother, save his own soul.

(4) Who will take charge of this deposit? Many shrink from responsibility in cases of a difficult and delicate nature. But Jesus Christ has undertaken for us; he will take us completely in charge; he will keep our deposit till the day of judgment.

(5) Mark the limit of time as to the safety of the deposit—"till that day." No day short of that—not even the day of death; for the completed glory is reserved for the day of judgment. That will be the day for the bestowal of the crown of life.

4. Mark the assurance of the apostle as to the safety of his deposit. "I am persuaded that he is able to keep my deposit." This shows

(1) that assurance is a possible attainment (1Jn_5:13);

(2) that it is a cheering and sustaining experience.&mdash