Pulpit Commentary - 2 Timothy 2:1 - 2:26

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Pulpit Commentary - 2 Timothy 2:1 - 2:26

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Child for son, A.V.; strengthened for strong, A.V. Be strengthened ( ἐνδυναμοῦ ); more exactly (as Huther), become strong, or, which is the same thing, strengthen thyself; implying, perhaps, though gently expressed, some previous weakness, as m Heb_11:34, "From weakness were made strong;" where the image seems to be that of recovery from sickness. In Eph_6:10, however ( ἐνδυναμοῦσθε ἐν Κυρίῳ ), there is no evidence of preceding weakness, but only a call to use the strength they had; and it may be so here too. The strength, Timothy is reminded, by which he was to fight the good fight, was not his own, but that which would come to him from the grace and love of Jesus Christ.


Which for that, A.V.; from for of, A.V. The things which thou hast heard, etc. Here we have distinctly enunciated the succession of apostolical doctrine through apostolical men. We have also set before us the partnership of the presbyterate, and, in a secondary degree, of the whole Church, with the apostles and bishops their successors, in preserving pure and unadulterated the faith once delivered to the saints. There can be little doubt that St. Paul is here alluding to Timothy's ordination, as in 1Ti_4:14
; 1Ti_6:12; 2Ti_1:6, 2Ti_1:7, 2Ti_1:13, 2Ti_1:14. Timothy had then heard from the apostle's lips a certain "form of sound words"—something in the nature of a creed, some summary of gospel truth, which was the deposit placed in his charge; and in committing it to him, he and the presbyters present had laid their hands on him, and the whole Church had assented, and confirmed the same. "Thus through many witnesses," whose presence and assent, like that of witnesses to the execution of a deed of transfer of land (Gen_23:10, Gen_23:16, Gen_23:18), was necessary to make the transaction valid and complete, had Timothy received his commission to preach the Word of God; and what he had received he was to hand on in like manner to faithful men, who should be able to teach the same to others also. Commit ( παράθου ); identifying the doctrine committed to be handed on with the deposit ( παραθήκη ) of 1Ti_6:20 and 2Ti_1:14. It is important to note here both the concurrence of the presbyters and the assent of the Church. The Church has ever been averse to private ordinations, and has ever associated the people as consentient parties in ordination (Thirty-first Canon; Preface to "Form and Manner of Making of Deacons," and rubric at close—"in the face of the Church;" "Form and Manner of Ordering of Priests"—"Good people," etc.).


Suffer hardship with me for thou therefore endure hardness, A.V. and T.R.; Christ Jesus for Jesus Christ, A.V. and T.R. Suffer hardship with me ( συγκακοπάθησον ), which is the reading "supported by the weightiest authorities" (Huther), as in 2Ti_1:8
. The simple form κακοπάθησον , which is the reading of the T.R., occurs also in 2Ti_1:9 of this chapter, in 2Ti_4:5, and in Jas_5:13, and κακοπαθεία in Jas_5:10. Both these simple forms are classical. But the context favours the compound form, and is supported by 2Ti_1:8, 2Ti_1:12. (For the sentiment, see the "Ministration of Public Baptism"—"We receive this child," etc.)


Soldier on service for man that warreth, A.V.; in for with, A.V.; enrolled him as for hath chosen him to be, A.V. Soldier on service ( στρατευόμενος ); as 1Co_9:7
(see, too. 1Ti_1:18). In Luk_3:14 στρατευόμενοι is rendered simply "soldiers," with margin, "Greek, soldiers on service." There is no difference in meaning between the "man that warreth" in the A.V., and the "soldier on service" of the R.V. Affairs ( πραγματείσις ); only here in the New Testament, but common in the LXX. and in classical Greek, where it means, as here, "business," "affairs," "occupation," "trade," and the like, with the accessory idea of its being an "absorbing, engrossing pursuit." Enrolled him, etc. ( στρατολογήσαντι ); only here in the New Testament, not found in the LXX., but common in classical Greek for "to levy an army," "to enlist soldiers." The great lesson here taught is that the warfare of the Christian soldier requires the same concentration of purpose as that of the earthly warrior, if he would win the victory.


Also a man for a man also, A.V.; contend in the games for strive for masteries, A.V.; he is not for yet is he not, A.V.; have contended for strive, A.V. Contend in the games ( ἀθλῇ ); only here in the New Testament, and not found in the LXX., but common in classical Greek. It means "to contend for ἄθλον " the prize, to be an "athlete." This is also the meaning of the A.V. "strive for masteries." "To strive," means properly to contend with an antagonist, and "mastery" is an old English word for "superiority," "victory," or the like. Dryden has "mastership" in the same sense—

"When noble youths for mastership should strive,

To quoit, to run, and steeds and chariots drive."

(Ovid., 'Met,' bk. 1.)

Lawfully ( νομίμως , as 1Ti_1:8); according to the laws and usages of the games. So Timothy must conform to the laws of the Christian warfare, and not shrink from afflictions, if he would gain the great Christian prize.


The first to partake for first partaker, A.V. That laboureth ( τὸν κοπιῶντα ). Let not Timothy think to shirk labour and yet enjoy its fruits. (For κοπιάω , see note on 1Ti_5:17


For the Lord shall give for and the Lord give, A.V. Consider what I say. The apostle's lessons had been given in parables or similitudes. He therefore begs Timothy to note them well, lest the application to himself should escape him, suggesting further that he should seek the necessary wisdom and understanding from God. So our Lord, at the end of the parables recorded in Mat_13:1-58
., says to his disciples in Mat_13:51, "Have ye understood all these things?" and elsewhere, "He that hath ears to hear, let him hear." Understanding ( σύνεσιν ); one of the special gifts of the Spirit (Isa_11:2, LXX.; see Col_1:9; Col_2:2).


Jesus Christ, risen from the dead for that Jesus Christ...was raised from the dead, A.V.; of the seed of David for Jesus Christ of the seed of David, A.V. Remember Jesus Christ. The A.V. seems to give the sense more correctly than the R.V. The point of the exhortation is to remember that Jesus Christ was raised from the dead, and by that remembrance to be encouraged to face even death courageously. The verb μνημονεύω , in the New Testament, usually governs the genitive case as e.g. Act_20:35
; Gal_2:10. But in 1Th_2:9; Mat_16:9; Rev_18:5, it has an accusative, as here, and commonly in classical Greek. There seems to be hardly sufficient ground for the distinction mentioned by Bishop Ellicott, that with a genitive it means simply "remember," with the accusative "keep in remembrance." It is more difficult to determine the exact force and intent of the clause, "of the seed of David." It seems, however, to point to Christ's human nature, so as to make the example of Christ's resurrection apposite as an encouragement to Timothy. And this view is much strengthened by Rom_1:3, where the addition, "according to the flesh," as contrasted with "the Son of God according to the Spirit of holiness," marks the clause, "of the seed of David," as specially pointing to the human nature of Christ. The particular form which the reference takes probably arises from the form to which the apostle refers us as "my gospel." In that creed, which was the epitome of the gospel as preached by St. Paul, there was no doubt mention made of Christ's Davidic descent. Others, as Huther, think the clause points to the Messianic dignity of David. Others that it is inserted in refutation of the Docetae, and to show the reality of the death and resurrection of Christ; or that it is meant to mark especially the fulfilment of prophecy. But the first explanation is quite satisfactory, and the general purpose of the reference to our Lord as intended to encourage Timothy to endure hardness as a good soldier of Jesus Christ, is fully borne out by the "faithful saying" in Rom_1:11 and Rom_1:12, "If we died with him, we shall also live with him: if we endure, we shall also reign with him."


Hardship for trouble, A.V.; unto for even unto, A.V.; as a malefactor for as an evil doer, A.V.; transposition of clause, unto bonds. Wherein ( ἐν ᾧ ); i.e. in which gospel, in the preaching of which. Suffer hardship ( κακοπαθῶ ); as 2Ti_2:3, T.R. Unto bonds ( μέχρι δεσμῶν ). So μέχρι θανάτου , Php_2:8; μέχρις αἵματος , Heb_12:4; but most frequently of time, "until," as Mat_11:23; Mat_13:30; Act_10:30, etc. A malefactor ( κακοῦργος ); as Luk_23:32, Luk_23:33, Luk_23:39; common in classical Greek. Bonds ( δεσμῶν ); as Act_26:29; Php_1:7, Php_1:13, etc.; Col_4:18. So St. Paul calls himself δέσμιος , in respect of these bonds (Eph_3:1; Eph_4:1; 2Ti_1:8; Phm_1:9). The Word of God is not bound. A beautiful reflection of an utterly unselfish mind! The thought of his own bonds, likely soon to be exchanged for the bonds of a martyr's death, awakens the comforting thought, Though they bind me with an iron chain, they cannot bind the gospel. While I am here, shut up in prison, the Word of God, preached by a thousand tongues, is giving life and liberty to myriads of my brethren of the human race. The tyrant can silence my voice and confine it within the walls of my dungeon; but all the while the sound of the gospel is going through all the earth, its saving words to the ends of the world; and I therein rejoice, yea, and will rejoice; and not all the lemons of Rome can take this joy from me."


Sake for sakes, A.V.; also may for may also, A.V. Therefore ( δια τοῦτο ); for this cause. Some (Wiesinger, Alford, etc.) refer this to what follows, viz. "that the elect may obtain the salvation," etc., after the model of 1Ti_1:16
and Phm_1:15, where διὰ τοῦτο clearly refers to the words which follow. But the interposition of the words, διὰ τοὺς ἐκλεκτούς , is strongly adverse to this view. It seems, therefore, rather to refer collectively to all the considerations which he had just been urging upon Timothy, perhaps especially the last, of the resurrection of Christ, which he now again enforces by his own example of willing suffering in order that the elect may obtain the eternal salvation which is in Jesus Christ—adding, in Phm_1:11 and Phm_1:12, the encouragement to suffering derived from the "faithful saying." I endure ( ὑπομένω ); the exact force of which is seen in the substantive ὑπομονή , patience, so frequently attributed to the suffering saints of God.


Faithful is the saying for it is a faithful saying, A.V.; died for be dead, A.V. Died; i.e. in baptism (Rom_6:8
), as denoted by the aorist. But the death with Christ in baptism is conceived of as carrying with it, as a consequence, the daily death of which St. Paul speaks so often (Gal_2:20;1Co_15:31; 2Co_4:10), as well as the death to sin.


Endure for suffer, A.V.; shall deny for deny, A.V. and T.R. Endure; as 2Ti_2:10
. Mark the present tense as distinguished from the aorist in ἀπεθάνομεν , betokening patient continuance in suffering. If we shall deny him ( ἀρνησόμεθα ); comp. Mat_10:30; Luk_12:9; Act_3:13, Act_3:14, etc.


Are faithless for believe not. A.V.; he for yet he, A.V.; for he for he, A.V. and T.B. Are faithless ( ἀπιστοῦμεν ); meaning the same as the A.V. believe not, which is everywhere in the New Testament the sense of ἀπιστέω Mar_16:11
; Luk_24:11; Rom_3:3, etc.). (For the contrast between man's unbelief and God's faithfulness, see Rom_3:3.) He cannot deny himself, by coming short of any promise once made by him (comp. Tit_1:2; Heb_6:18; Heb_10:23, etc.). This and the two preceding couplets in Rom_3:11 and Rom_3:12 make up "the faithful saying" spoken of in Rom_3:11 (see 1Ti_1:15, note).


In the sight of for before, A.V.; to for but to, A.V.; them that hear for the hearers, A.V. Put them in remembrance ( ὑπομίμνησκε ; Joh_14:26; Tit_3:1; 2Pe_1:12). St. Paul skilfully strengthens his preceding exhortations to Timothy by now charging him to impress upon others—referring, perhaps, especially to "the faithful men" spoken of in 2Ti_2:2, but generally to the whole flock committed to him—the truths which he had just been urging upon Timothy. Charging ( διαμαρτύρομενος ); as 1Ti_5:21 and 2Ti_4:1. Strive … about words ( λογομαχεῖν ); only here in the New Testament or elsewhere. But λογομαχία occurs in 1Ti_6:4 and in late Greek. Another reading is λογομάχει , as if addressed to Timothy himself, but λογομαχεῖν is supported by the best authorities, and agrees best with the context. To no profit; literally, useful for nothing; serving no good purpose. Ξρήσιμον , which occurs nowhere else in the New Testament, is found repeatedly in the LXX., and is very common in classical Greek, where it is followed by εἰς ἐπί , and πρός . The construction is "not to strive about words, a thing useful for nothing, but, on the contrary, tending to subvert those who hear such strife." To the subverting ( ἐπὶ καταστροφῇ ); elsewhere only in 2Pe_2:6, where it is used of a material overthrow, as it is in the LXX. of Gen_19:29, to which St. Peter is referring. The history of its use here of a moral overthrow, which is not borne out by its classical use, seems to be that the apostle had in his mind the very common metaphor of οἰκοδομή , edification, as the proper result of speaking and teaching, and so uses the contrary to "building up," viz. an "overthrowing" or "destruction," to describe the effect of the teaching of those vain talkers and deceivers (comp. Gen_19:18).


Give diligence to present for study to show, A.V.; handling aright for rightly dividing, A.V. Give diligence. The A.V. "study," if we give it its proper force, as in the Latin studeo, studium, studiosus, expresses the sense of σπούδασον exactly. Zeal, earnest desire, effort, and haste, are all implied in it. To present thyself ( παραστῆσαι , to present); as in Luk_2:22
; Act_1:3; Act_9:41. In 1Co_8:8 it has the sense of "to commend," nearly the same as δόκιμον παραστῆσαι . The rendering, to show thyself, of the A.V. is a very good one, and is preserved in the R.V. of Act_1:3. Approved ( δόκιμον ; Rom_16:10; 1Co_11:19, etc.); one that has been tried and tested and found to be sterling; properly of metals. This, with the two following qualifications, "a workman that needeth not to be ashamed," and "one that rightly handles the Word of truth," is the character which Timothy is exhorted to appear in before God. The dative τῷ Θεῷ is governed by παραστῆσαι , not by δόκιμον . A workman ( ἐργάτην ). How natural is such a figure in the mouth of Paul, who wrought at his trade with Aquila and Priscilla (Act_18:3), and was working night and day at Thessalonica, that he might earn his own living! That needeth not to be ashamed ( ἀνεπαισχυντον ); not found anywhere else, either in the New Testament or in the LXX., or in classical Greek. Bengel hits the right force of the word when he renders it "non pudefactum," only that by the common use of the passive participial form (compare ἀνεξιχνίαστος ἀνεξερεύνητος ἀναρίβμητος , etc.), it means further "that cannot be put to shame." The workman whose work is skimped is put to shame when, upon its being tested, it is found to be bad, dishonest work; the workman whose work, like himself, is δόκιμος , honest, conscientious, good work, and moreover sound and skilful work, never has been, and never can be, put to shame. St. Paul shows how to secure its being good work, viz. by its being done for the eye of God. Handling aright the Word of truth ( ὀρθοτομοῦντα τὸν λόγον τῆς ἀληθείας ). The verb ὀρθοτομεῖν occurs only here in the New Testament. In the LXX., in Pro_3:6, it stands for "he shall direct [or 'make straight'] thy paths;" and so in Pro_11:5. The idea is the same as that in Heb_12:13, "Make straight paths for your feet ( τροχιὰς ὀρθὰς ποιήσατε )." But this does not at all suit the context. We must look, therefore, at the etymology of the word. ̓Ορθοτόμεω must mean "to cut straight," and, as the apostle is speaking of a good workman, he must be thinking of some work in which the workman's skill consists in cutting straight: why not his own trade, in which it was all-important to cut the pieces straight that were afterwards to be joined to each other (see ὀρθότομος and ὀρθοτομία )? Hence, by an easy metaphor, "divide rightly," or "handle rightly, the Word of truth," preserving the true measure of the different portions of Divine truth.


Profane for profane and vain, A.V.; proceed further in ungodliness for increase unto more ungodliness, A.V. Shun ( περιΐ́στασο , as in Tit_3:9
); literally, step out of the way of, or stand away from—an unusual use of the word, found also in Josephus, 'Ant. Jud.,' 4. 6:12. Profane babblings (see 1Ti_4:7; 1Ti_6:20). They will proceed ( προκόψουσιν ); see note on προκοπή in 1Ti_4:15. Further in ungodliness ( ἐπὶ πεῖον ἀσεβείας ); surely better rendered in the A.V. to more ungodliness. It may be questioned whether "they" refers to the babblings or to the false teachers. It makes very good sense to say, "Avoid these profane babblings, for they won't stop there—they will grow into open impiety and blasphemy." But verse 17, as Alford observes, is in favour of the "teachers" being the subject of "will proceed;" but it is not conclusive. If a full stop be put after "ungodliness," as in the A.V., verse 17 comes in quite naturally with the further statement that "their word will eat as doth a gangrene."


Gangrene for canker, A.V. Their word; as opposed to "the Word of truth" in 2Ti_2:15. Will eat ( νομὴν ἕξει ); i.e. spread, like a gangrene, which gradually enlarges its area, corrupting the flesh that was sound before. So these heretical opinions spread in the body of the Church which is affected by them. Νομή is literally "pasture" (Joh_10:9), "grazing of flocks," and hence is applied to fire (Polybius), which as it were feeds upon all around it, and, in medical language (Hippocrates), to sores and gangrenes, which grow larger and depasture the flesh. Of whom; of the number of those pointed at in the phrase, "their word." Hymenaeus; probably the same person as is mentioned as a blasphemer in 1Ti_1:20. Philetus. Nothing is known of him.


Men who for who, A.V. Have erred ( ἠστόχησαν ); see 1Ti_1:6
(note) and 1Ti_6:21. In Mat_22:29 and in Mar_12:24 our Lord's word for "erring" is πλανᾶσθε . It is remarkable that it was the subject of the resurrection which was so misunderstood in both cases. The heretics to whom St. Paul here alludes probably explained away the resurrection, as the Gnostics in the time of Irenaeus and Tertullian did (Huther), by spiritualizing it in the sense of Rom_6:4; Eph_2:1; Col_2:12; Col_3:1, etc. It is the usual way with heresy to corrupt and destroy the gospel, under pretence of improving it. And there are always some weak brethren ready to be deceived and misled. Overthrow ( ἀνατρέπουσί ); elsewhere in the New Testament only in Tit_1:11; but common in LXX. and in classical Greek.


Howbeit for nevertheless, A.V.; firm foundation of God standeth for foundation of God standeth sure, A.V.; this for the, A.V.; the Lord for Christ, A.V. and T.R.; unrighteousness for iniquity, A.V. The firm foundation of God standeth; i.e., though the faith of some is thrown down like a wall built with untempered mortar, the foundation which God has laid fast and firm stands unmoved and unmovable. This is equally true of individual souls (the at στερεαὶ ψυχαί of Chrysostom), and of the Church, against which the gates of hell shall not prevail. Compare our Lord's saying, when the Pharisees were offended at him, "Every plant which my heavenly Father hath not planted shall be rooted up" (Mat_15:13
); and those in Joh_10:28, Joh_10:29; and 1Jn_2:19. Θεμέλιος in classical Greek is always an adjective agreeing with λίθος expressed or understood. In the New Testament it is used only as a substantive (Luk_6:48; 1Co_3:10; 1Ti_6:19, etc.). Here the word seems to be employed, not so much to denote a foundation on which a house was to be built, as to denote strength and solidity. The elect of God are like foundationstones, which may not be moved. Having this seal. In Rev_12:14 the twelve foundationstones of the new Jerusalem were each inscribed with the name of an apostle. In like manner there are inscriptions, of the nature of seals, on God's strong foundations, showing their immutable condition. One is, "THE LORD KNOWETH THEM THAT ARE HIS," taken verbatim from the LXX. of Num_16:5 : the other is, "LET EVERY ONE THAT NAMETH THE NAME OF THE LORD DEPART FROM UNRIGHTEOUSNESS," This is nowhere to be found in the Old Testament.

The first part of the verse is indeed equivalent to Κύριε τὸ ὀνομά σου ὀνομάζομεν in Isa_26:13, but there is nothing to answer to the second part. The passages quoted by commentators from Num_16:26 and Isa_52:11 are far too general to indicate any particular reference. Possibly the motto is one of those "faithful sayings" before referred to. The two inscriptions, taken together, show the two sides of the Christian standing—God's election, and man's holiness.


Now for but, A.V.; unto for to, A.V. (twice). Now in a great house, etc. "Now" is hardly the right conjunction. It should rather be "howbeit." The object of the figure of the various vessels in the "great house" is to show that, though every one that names the Name of the Lord ought to depart from unrighteousness, yet we must not be surprised if it is not so, and if there are found in the Church some professing Christians whose practice is quite inconsistent with their profession. Perhaps even the vilest members of the visible Church perform some useful function, howbeit they do not mean it. With this mention of the vessels, compare the enumeration in 1Co_3:12
. Of earth ( ὀστράκινα ); only here and 2Co_4:7, where it is also applied to σκεύη , "earthen vessels;" as it is in the LXX., e.g. Le 6:28; and to ἄγγος (Num_5:17). Ὄστρακον "a tile." (For the same figure, see Rom_9:22, Rom_9:23.)


Meet for and meet, A.V. and T.R.; prepared for and prepared, A.V. Purge himself from these ( ἐκκαθάρῃ ); stronger than the simple καθάρῃ , "thoroughly purge himself," as in 1Co_5:7
(the only other place in the New Testament where it occurs) and as in classical Greek. It is used also by the LXX. in Jdg_7:4, as the rendering of ôøÇõÈ , to try metals. The idea, therefore, seems to be that of separation, and, if so, "from these" may certainly mean from the false teachers described under the image of the vessels unto dishonour, as usually explained. At the same time, the image is better sustained if we understand "from these" to mean the babblings, and ungodliness, and eating words of the heretics denounced. It is hardly natural to imply that one vessel in the house will become a golden vessel by purging itself from the wooden and earthen vessels. Neither is separation from the false teachers the point which St. Paul is here pressing, but avoidance of false doctrines. Meet for…use ( εὔχρηστος ); only here and Jdg_4:11 and Phm_1:11. Also Pro_29:1-27 :(31) 13, LXX. Common in classical Greek. The master ( τῷ δεσπότῃ ); the master of the house, the οἰκοδεσπότης .


But flee for flee also, A.V.; and follow after for but follow, A.V.; love for charity, A.V. Youthful ( νεωτερικάς ); of or belonging to νεώτεροι , young men; "cupiditates adolescentiae" (Tacit., 'Hist.,' 2Ti_1:15
). The word only occurs here in the New Testament, never in the LXX., but is found in Josephus, who speaks of αὐθαδεία νεωτερική , "youthful arrogance," and is common in classical Greek. Lusts ( ἐπιθυμίαι ) include, besides the σαρκικαὶ ἐπιθυμίαι of 1Pe_2:11, all those ill-regulated passions to which youth is peculiarly liable, such as intem perance, love of company, arrogance, petulance, ambition, love of display, levity, vehemence of action, wilfulness, and the like. Timothy at this time was probably under forty (see note on q Ti 1Pe_4:12, and Ellicott on ditto). Follow after ( δίωκε ); as 1Ti_6:11, where, as here, it is in contrast with φεῦγε . Eagerness in pursuit, and difficulty in attainment, seem to be indicated by the word. With them, etc. ( μετὰ τῶν ἐπικαλουμένων κ . τ . λ ..). "With them" may mean either pursue righteousness, etc., in partnership with all who call upon the Lord; i.e. make the pursuit of righteousness, etc., your pursuit, as it is that of all who call upon the Lord; or it may be construed with εἰρήνην , so as to limit the exhortation to peace to those who call upon the Lord, εἰρήνην μετὰ τῶν ἐπικαλουμένων "peace with those that call," etc., which is the construction in Heb_12:14 and Rom_12:18. It is, however, remarkable that in both these passages, which are referred to for the grammar, the inference from the doctrine goes rather the other way, as they teach "peace with all men." So does the balance of the sentence here.


Ignorant questionings for unlearned questions, A.V.; refuse for avoid, A.V.; gender for do gender, A.V. Ignorant ( ἀπαιδεύτους ); only here in the New Testament, but not uncommon in the LXX., applied to persons, and in classical Greek. Unlearned is quite as good a rendering as ignorant. It is a term applied properly to ill-educated, ill-disciplined people, and thence, by an easy metonymy, to the questions such persons delight in. Questionings ( ζητήσεις ); see 1Ti_1:4
, note, and Tit_3:9. Refuse ( παραίτου ); "have nothing to do with" (see 1Ti_4:7; Tit_3:10). Gender ( γεννῶσι ). This is the only place in the New Testament where γεννάω is used in this metaphorical sense, unless Gal_4:24 is included. (For the sentiment, see 1Ti_6:4, "Whereof cometh envy, strife," etc.) Strifes ( μάχας ); compare μάχας νομικάς , "fightings about the Law" (Tit_3:9); and "wars and fightings" (Jas_4:1, Jas_4:2). Compare, too, the verb λογομαχεῖν , in Gal_4:14. Nothing can be more emphatic than St. Paul's warnings against foolish and angry controversies about words, and yet nothing has been more neglected in the Church, in all ages.


The Lord's servant for the servant of the Lord, A.V.; towards all for unto all men, A.V.; forbearing for patient, A.V. The Lord's servant ( δοῦλον Κυρίου ). So St. Paul repeatedly describes himself (Rom_1:1
; Gal_1:10; Php_1:1; Tit_1:1), as do also the apostles James, Peter, Jude, and John (Jas_1:1; 2Pe_1:1; Jud 2Pe_1:1; Rev_1:1). The term seems, therefore, especially (though not exclusively, Eph_6:6; 1Pe_2:16; Rev_19:2, Rev_19:5; Rev_22:3) to describe those whose office it is to preach the gospel, either as apostles or as ministers (Col_4:12). Must not strive ( μάχεσθαι ); a conclusive reason against engaging in those foolish and ignorant questionings which necessarily engender strife. Gentle ( ἤπιον ); only here and in 1Th_2:7, where we see how St. Paul carried this precept into practice. A nurse does not meet the child's waywardness by blows or threats, but by gentleness and love. It is a classical word. Apt to teach (see 1Ti_3:2, note). Forbearing ( ἀνεξίκακον ); only here in the New Testament, not found in the LXX., and only in late Greek. It means literally "bearing up against ill treatment," patiently enduring it.


Correcting them for instructing those, A.V.; peradventure God for God peradventure, A.V.; may for will, A.V.; unto the knowledge for to the acknowledging, A.V. Correcting ( παιδεύοντα ), παιδεύειν means properly to "educate," "bring up," or "train" a child. Hence sometimes the idea of teaching predominates, sometimes that of correcting or chastising. Here the context shows that the idea of teaching is pre-dominant—partly because the word suggests something contrary to the ἀπαίδευτοι ζητήσεις of 2Ti_2:23
, and partly because the end of this παιδεία is to bring them to the knowledge of God's truth. The A.V. "instructing" is therefore the right word here. Them that oppose themselves ( τοὺς ἀντιδιατιθέμενους ); only here in the New Testament or the LXX., or in classical Greek. Literally, those who arrange or set themselves in opposition; or, in one word, "opponents," referring, no doubt, chiefly to such ἀντιλέγοντες as are mentioned in the very similar passage, Tit_1:9 (see too Tit_2:8). If peradventure ( μήποτε ). " Μήποτε , in later Greek, loses its aversative meaning ('lest at any time'), and is almost equivalent to εἴποτε " (Alford, in loc.)—equivalent to "in case God should," etc. Repentance ( μετανοία ); such a change of mind as shall lead them to embrace the truth. Knowledge ( ἐπίγνωσις ); almost invariably used of the knowledge of God or of God's truth (Tit_3:7; Rom_1:28; Eph_1:17; Eph_4:13; Col_1:9, Col_1:10; Col_3:10; Tit_1:1; Heb_10:26, etc.). The truth; that truth which before they set themselves to oppose, disputing against it and resisting it. The servant of the Lord must never despair of any one, never throw an additional obstacle in any one's way by roughness or harsh speech, and never allow unkind feelings to be roused in his own breast by the perverseness or unreasonableness of them that oppose themselves to him.


They for that they, A.V.; having been taken captive by the Lord's servant unto the will of God for who are taken captive by him at his will, A.V. Having been taken captive, etc. This is undoubtedly a difficult passage. We will first take the individual words, and then turn to the general meaning. Recover themselves ( ἀνανήψωσιν ); only found here in the New Testament, and never in the LXX. In classical Greek, where it is, however, uncommon, it means literally "to recover from drunkenness," hence, "to come to one's self," "to come to a right mind" (see Steph., 'Thes.'). Snare ( παγίς ); as 1Ti_3:7
; 1Ti_6:9. Compare the use of παγιδεύω (Mat_22:15). Having been taken captive ( ἐζωγρήμενοι ); only found in the New Testament in Luk_5:10 besides this place, but common in the LXX. and in classical Greek, in the sense of "to take alive," of prisoners of war, who, if not ransomed, always became slaves of the conqueror. Here, therefore, the meaning is "having been captured and enslaved." By him (margin), ( ὑπ αὐτοῦ ); i.e. of course the devil, who had just been named as having ensnared them. Unto the will of him (margin), ( ἐκείνου θέλημα ). The difficulty of the passage lies in the word ἐκείνου , which at first sight seems to indicate a different antecedent from the antecedent of αὐτοῦ . This grammatical difficulty has led to the strange rendering of the R.V., and to the wholly unjustifiable intrusion into the text of the words, "the Lord's servant" and of "God," producing altogether a sentence of unparalleled awkwardness and grotesqueness, and utter improbability. But there is no real difficulty in referring ἐκείνου to the same person as αὐτοῦ (meaning in both cases the devil), as in the passage from Plato's 'Cratylus,' cited by Huther, after De Wette, the cause of the use of ἐκείνου being that St. Paul was at the moment emphasizing the fact of these captives being deprived of their own will, and made subservient to the will of another. The passage may be paraphrased: "If peradventure God may give them repentance unto the knowledge of the truth, so as to recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, after they had been led captive by him, so as to be no longer their own masters, but obliged to do his will."

The implied contrast is οὐ τὸ ἑαυτῶν ἀλλ ἐκείνου θέλημα , just as in the passage from the 'Cratylus,' p. 430, ἐκείνου is contrasted with γυναικός . The full passage is Δεῖξαι αὐτῷ ἂν μὲν τύχῃ ἐκείνου εἰκόνα ἂν δὲ τύχῃ γυναικός . Another example of the transition from αὐτός to ἐκεῖνος is in Joh_1:7, Joh_1:8, Οὗτος ἦλθεν εἰς μαρτυρίαν , ἵνα μαρτυρήσῃ περὶ τοῦ φωτὸς ἵνα πάντες πιστεύσωσι δι αὐτοῦ οὐκ ἦν ἐκεῖνος τὸ φῶς κ . τ . λ ., where there is a contrast between John as the witness and Christ as the true Light (compare, too, Joh_4:25, where ἐκείνος has the force of "not you, but he"). For the general turn of phrase, comp. 2Co_10:5, "Bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ," where αἰχμαλωτίζοντες (see 2Ti_3:6) corresponds to ἐζωγρημένοι and εἰς τὴν ὑπακοὴν τοῦ Ξριστοῦ to εἰς τὸ ἐκείνου θέλημα . It should be noted further that the sentence is certainly rather a peculiar one, from the use of such uncommon words as ἀνανήφω and ζωγρέω , and the mixture of metaphors. But the sense of the A.V. is fully borne out. The interpretation preferred by Bishop Ellicott is "they may recover themselves from the snare of the devil unto his will (viz. God's), having (previously) been led captive by him (viz. the devil)."



Endurance the lot of Christ's ministers.

Continual endurance of evil, whether directed specially against himself, or generally thwarting the cause which he has most at heart, is the ordinary lot of the minister of Jesus Christ exercising his ministry in an evil world. And in order to be ready to encounter this evil, actively or passively, as the case may require, a complete concentration of purpose on the fulfilment of his ministry is absolutely required. If the heart is divided between the ministry of God's Word and the enjoyment of an easy life, there will be a constant temptation to avoid those various forms of "hardship" which properly belong to the campaign of the soldiers of Christ. Troubles will be shirked rather than endured; and ministerial duties will be made to stand on one side when they interfere with the inclinations of the moment. Labour will be evaded when the soul calls for ease. The determined struggle, and the sturdy stand against evil, whether in his own heart or in the world around him, will be postponed to a more convenient season, while weak compromises and sinful compliances take their place in the immediate present. At the same time, contradiction and opposition, crooks and crosses of various kinds, untoward events, troubles, disappointments, and difficulties of all sorts, will be met, not in the spirit of Christian fortitude, not in the spirit of Christian meekness and patience, but with petulant complaints, or with roughness and ill temper, as running against the current of the love of ease in the soul. It is, therefore, incumbent upon the servant of God to be wholly given up to the ministry which he has received. He must resolutely shake off the entanglements of the affairs of this life, that he may please him who called him to be a soldier. He must feel, "My work in life, my mission, the dispensation committed to me, is to advance the kingdom of Christ in the world. I am set by my Lord and Master for the defence of the gospel—to preach it, to vindicate it, to uphold it against all gainsayers, to adorn it with my own life, to use my utmost endeavour for its maintenance, its propagation, its triumphs. I must no more shrink from obloquy, from labour, from suffering, from troubles, or, if need be, from bonds and death, in the fulfilment of this work and ministry, than the soldier shrinks from fatigue and exposure, from hunger and hardship, from wounds and from death,, in bravely discharging the duties of his warfare." For his encouragement in carrying out this resolve, he has the example of his Lord who suffered unto death and was raised again from the dead. tie has the example of the apostles who endured troubles and bonds and imprisonment, and yet saw the gospel which they preached triumphing over all opposition. He has the promises of God assuring life, and a kingdom, to those who suffer and die with Christ. And so, accepting endurance as the portion of Christ's servants, he pursues his ministry diligently, joyfully, and steadfastly, throws his whole strength into it, and looks forward with an unwavering hope to obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory.


The skilful workman.

Besides the concentration of purpose, and the willingness to endure, which are necessary to the faithful minister of Christ, two other qualifications are no less needed. The one is skill in his work; the other is gentleness and patience in dealing with those that oppose themselves. By skill in his work we mean both the knowing what to avoid and shun, and the effective handling of the Word of truth. The minister of Christ who wastes his time, and spends his strength in foolish and unlearned questions and profane babblings; who strives about words to no profit; who dabbles with philosophy and vain deceit, after the traditions of men, and not after Christ; who intrudes into things which he hath not seen, bringing in strange doctrines and carnal ordinances, and laying burdens upon the consciences of his hearers, which God has not laid;—however earnest he may be, and however willing he may be to endure trouble in defence of his teaching, is not a workman approved unto God, or one that needeth not to be ashamed of his work. He builds upon the foundation hay and stubble, instead of gold and costly stones. But the skilful workman shuns this. He will not allow himself to be enticed into unprofitable controversies, or fritter away his zeal upon things of no moment. But he bends all the powers of his mind to divide rightly the Word of truth. Holy Scripture is his model. What is made much of in Scripture he makes much of in his teaching. He endeavours to preserve the relative proportion of doctrines which he finds in the inspired pages; to treat of doctrine and of practice in the same way that they are treated of in the Word—to speak as do the oracles of God. His aim is neither to exaggerate nor to attenuate; to speak soberly, hut not to speak coldly; to say nothing that ought not to be said, and to leave unsaid nothing that ought to be said. Thus will he be a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, "rightly dividing the Word of truth." The other qualification is scarcely less important. "The Lord's servant must not strive." He must meet contradiction, opposition, gainsaying, with gentleness, meekness, and love. The voice of his Master was not heard in the street, lifted up in anger, or crying out in wrangling and disputes. He neither reviled his revilers nor threatened his persecutors. His servant must be like him. Loving, forbearing, patient, apt to teach, with a burning desire to save his opponents, he must go on his work, despairing of none, wearied out by none, praying for all, if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth, and bring them out of the captivity of sin into the glorious liberty of the children of God.



Exhortation to Timothy to be strong.

The apostle founds upon the foregoing examples and warnings an admonition to Christian firmness and courage.

I. THE NEED OF SPIRITUAL STRENGTH. "Thou therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus."

1. Strength was necessary to meet the difficulties and dangers of his official life at Ephesus.

2. The admonition was probably needed on account of the discouragements which Timothy himself must have felt at the conduct of the Asiatic deserters.

3. Strength is the spring of happy activity in any sphere. "The joy of the Lord shall be your strength."

II. THE SOURCE OF THIS SPIRITUAL STRENGTH. "The grace that is in Christ Jesus." It seems strange to say, "Be strong," to a spiritually discouraged man, as it would be strange to say the same thing to a physically weak man. The injunction is reasonable, however, when we consider that the source of our renewed power is at hand. The grace of Christ is the inward power which enables us "to will and to do of his good pleasure." "Be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might" (Eph_6:10). Here lies the true source of our strength. The apostle declared he could do all things through Christ who strengthened him.—T.C.


Admonition to Timothy respecting the appointment of faithful preachers.

At such a period of unfaithfulness and timidity, it was necessary to provide for the continuous wants o