2 Timothy 1. 6-18

Faithfulness enjoined in view of (a) the calling (vv. 6-14)

Verse 6.

For the which cause — i.e., because of Timothy’s unfeigned faith.

I put thee in remembrance — a reminder, not merely in recognition of his faith, but in view of the fact of God’s gift imparted to him. In times of trial and difficulty the remembrance of God’s grace and mercy in the past is a stimulus to confidence and steadfastness.

that thou stir up the gift of God,anazdpured, rendered ” stir up,” denotes either to kindle afresh or to keep in full flame. It here suggests the possibility of decline in the exercise of that which we have received spiritually from God. Not that this was actually so in Timothy’s case, though there was doubtless a natural shrinking from the full discharge of his responsibilities owing to their difficult nature.

The word rendered “gift” is charisma, signifying a gift of grace (charis). In regard to God as the Donor, it is used (a) of His unmerited bestowments upon sinners, Rom. 5. 15, 16; 6. 23; 11. 29; (b) of His endowments upon believers by the work of the Holy Spirit, here and in Rom. 12. 6; 1 Cor. 1.7; 12. 4, 9, 30, 31; 1 Tim. 4. 14; 1 Pet. 4. 10; (c) of the natural gift of continence, 1 Cor. 7. 7; (d) of a spiritual gift imparted through human instruction, Rom. 1. 11; (e) of deliverances in answer to prayers of others, 2 Cor. 1. 11.

which is in thee through the laying on of my hands. — the prophetic utterances by which the Apostles had been directed to Timothy as one raised up for the special service to be entrusted to him (see 1 Tim. 1. 18), had been followed by this forihal act on Paul’s part. By this means the Lord bestowed the requisite spiritual gift for the purpose in view. In 1 Tim. 4. 14 he mentions file laying on of hands of the presbytery (see Notes there). They did not impart anything to Timothy. In their act they acknowledged the Divine impartation through the Apostle. The part they took was by way not of ordination, but of public recognition of God’s appointment. For the subject of the laying on of hands see at 1 Tim. 4. 14.

Verse 7.

For God gave us not a spirit of fearfulness; — whilst the Apostle speaks especially of himself and Timothy, the statement is true of every believer and is doubtless intended to be taken in this comprehensive sense. The time at which the gift is imparted is not on some special occasion or crisis in the course of Christian life and service, it is bestowed upon each child of God at the time of the new birth.

The word “spirit” is used here of moral qualities and activities. The first, fearfulness, or cowardice and timidity, as that which is not to characterize the believer. This word deilia is to be distinguished from phobos, fear (a meaning which the A.V. incorrectly suggests). Fearfulness arises from our own natural condition and should never mark the spirit of the believer.

The qualities which should characterize us, and which are about to be mentioned, are indeed the work of the Holy Spirit consequent upon His initial act of regeneration, but the Holy Spirit is not immediately referred to in this statement. The R.V. is right in the rendering “a spirit.”

but of power and love and discipline.dunamis, “power,” here denotes the ability requisite for meeting difficulties and for the fulfilment of the service committed to us. Agape is love expressed in action; love for the souls of men, whether unbelievers or believers, is requisite for the manifestation of the character of Christ in all conduct and service. There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear. Sophronismos, “discipline” (A.V., “a sound mind”) signifies self-control, the power of resisting self-indulgent laxity and the passionate impulses of the natural heart. Since this is the meaning of the synonymous word sophrosune, it may here have the meaning of a power to shape the character and the conduct of others in this respect. Rightly to do the latter is, however, impossible without the exercise of the former.

Verse 8.

Be not ashamed therefore of the testimony of our Lord — an exhortation based on the command in verse 7 and the fact in verse 8. He who exercises power and love and discipline, rejoices in the testimony of the Lord. Bengel’s note is “shame is the companion of fear; if fear is overcome, disgraceful shame flees away.” Cp. Mark 8. 38; Luke 9. 26. The testimony here is not that borne by the Lord, but that which is given concerning Him. Cp. Acts 1.8; 5. 32; 1 Cor. 1.6; 2 Thess. 1. 10; 1 Tim. 2. 6.

nor of me His prisoner: — referring to his imprisonment at Rome as being according to the Lord’s will and appointment for him Cp. Eph. 3. 1; Philm. 9, and possibly conveying an exhortation to Timothy not to shrink from acknowledging his connection with the Apostle, but the rather to suffer in the same way as he had done in consequence of his gospel ministry and his fidelity to the Lord.

but suffer hardship with the gospel according to the power of God; — “suffer hardship with” translates the verb sunkakopatheo. The meaning may be either as in the text or ‘suffer hardship with me for the gospel.’ The gospel, like the Kingdom of God, does not make progress with “outward show.” Its methods do not make an appeal to the natural mind. Its ministry involves hardships, inevitable to all who faithfully proclaim it, as was the case with Him who constitutes its subject.

The power of God is here that which He imparts to enable us to suffer the hardships referred to (cp. ver. 7).

Verse 9.

who saved us, — this begins a description of the gracious way in which the purposes of God have been fulfilled in the salvation of men with a view to, and by means of, the gospel.

Verses 9 and 10 give a compendium of facts relating to the gospel, the details of which may be set out as follows:—

  1. Salvation
  2. The holy calling
  3. The basis of the calling:
    1. not according to our works
    2. according to God’s purpose and grace.
  4. The grace of God:
    1. Its origin — in Christ before times eternal
    2. Its manifestation — in the appearing of our Saviour Christ J esus
    3. Its operation:
      1. He abolished death
      2. He brought life and incorruption to light through the gospel.

and called us with a holy calling, — this and what follows set forth the way in which salvation has operated. The verb and the noun are used especially of God’s invitation to man to accept the benefits of salvation, Rom. 11. 29; 1 Cor. 1. 26; 7. 20 (there said of the condition in which the calling finds one). The calling is always ascribed to God the Father (cp. John 6. 44, 65). In 2 Thess. 2. 14 the call to salvation is mentioned as a single act. In 1 Thess. 2. 12 the present continuous tense is used. For God, who called us to salvation, still calls us to the pursuit of holiness, Heb, 12. 14, encouraging us with the assurance of His purpose and His power to accomplish it, 1 Thess. 5. 24. The calling is here described as “holy”, for those who respond to the call are enabled to participate in the holiness of God, escaping the corruption that is in the world. It is described as, “His calling” Eph. 1. 18; “your calling” Eph. 4. 4; 2 Thess. 1. 11; 2 Pet. 1. 10; “the high calling” Phil. 3. 14; “a heavenly calling” Heb. 3. 1.

not according to our works, — Calvin remarks on this, “If God chose us before the creation of the world He could not have considered the question of our works, which could have had no existence at a period when we ourselves were not.” Cp. Tit. 3. 5.

but according to His own purpose and grace, — the word “own” bears special stress, signifying that God’s purpose sprang solely from His goodwill and love and not from anything external to Himself. The word prothesis is used of the purposes of God in Rom. 8. 28; Eph. 1. 11; 3. 11. It signifies, literally, ‘a putting forth’, or perhaps ‘beforehand.’ A synonymous word is boulema, a will, a deliberated counsel.

which was given us in Christ Jesus before times eternal, — the calling was founded in God’s purpose, and took effect according to His grace; grace both in design and action. The grace was given us in the determinate counsel of God in the past eternity. His purposes, like Himself, had no beginning. For the order of the names see 1 Tim 1. 1.

Verse 10.

but hath now been manifested by the appearing of our Saviour Christ Jesus, — the appearing (epiphaneia) here mentioned is that of the first Advent of Christ, when He became flesh; it includes the whole period,of the days of His flesh and of His manifestation to His disciples after His resurrection.

who abolished death, — the verb katargeo rendered “abolished” literally means to reduce to inactivity. By His death and resurrection He actually and potentially for all His people robbed death of its sting and rendered its activity nugatory. “By dying, death He slew.” As regards death, whether of the body or spiritual death, the Lord Himself said, “He that believeth on Me, though he die, yet shall he live: and whosoever liveth and believeth on Me shall never die” (John 11. 26). For the believer physical death is but the entrance upon a condition in which the spirit enjoys an activity far superior to that experienced here, a life entirely free from all effects of sin. This will be extended to his whole being, when the Lord comes to the air to receive the saints to Himself, death in all its forms having been robbed of its power by Him when He accomplished that for which He became incarnate.

and brought life and incorruption to light through the gospel, — the verb photizo, which sometimes means to illumine, is used here in the same sense as in 1 Cor. 4. 5. Life here has the meaning both of the present spiritual life of the believer and of the glorified state hereafter, to be granted at the coming of Christ for His saints.

Aphtharsia does not denote “immortality” (as in the A.V.). It is the negative of corruption and is used here comprehensively both with a moral significance and in association with glory and honour, as in Rom. 2. 7. Life and incorruption are proclaimed in the gospel and form an essential feature of our holy calling, for the latter involves both eternal life, as the gift of God in Christ, and incorruption as exhibited in a walk of holiness and righteousness. These are conditioned here by certain limitations, but will be experienced in fulness hereafter. They were brought to light personally by the resurrection of Christ, whom the gospel proclaims.

Verse 11.

whereunto I was appointed a preacher, and an apostle, and a teacher. — see notes on 1 Tim. 1. 12 and 2. 7, in the latter of which the same three titles are used.

Verse 12.

For the which cause I suffer also these things: — in verse 11 the Apostle spoke of his appointment, now he speaks of its effects. The sufferings to which he refers were numerous (see 2 Cor. 11. 23-33), and, whilst he was not actually in prison at the time of the writing of this Epistle, the experiences of his confinement at Rome are doubtless included here, together with the’ antagonism and hatred of his various enemies. Cp. 4. 14, 16.

yet I am not ashamed; — this is to be connected with the exhortation to Timothy in verse 8, not to be ashamed. Paul’s example of freedom from shame was intended as an incentive to his younger fellow-missionary to show the same confidence and endurance. He who is conscious of pleasing God has no reason for feelings of shame through experiencing any form of suffering in consequence. Faithfulness to God frees the believer from bondage to human opinion, regard, and reward.

for I know Him whom I have believed, — the phrase in the original necessitates the R.V. rendering “Him whom I have believed” (or rather ‘trusted’). His personal knowledge of God as the One in’ whom he had learned to trust, imparted the absolute assurance of His unfailing faithfulness and goodness. The perfect tense expresses the abiding character of his confidence. Whilst the world knows not Christ (John 17. 25), an increasing knowledge on the part of the believer deepens the experience of confidence in Him.

and I am persuaded — cp. Rom. 8. 38.

that He is abledunatos denotes powerful; it has this significance also in Rom. 4. 21; 9. 22; 11. 23; 12. 18; 15. 1; 1 Cor. 1. 26; 2 Cor. 9. 8.

to guard — not simply to keep as a possession, but to keep secure.

that which I have committed unto Him — in the original this whole clause is, lit., ‘my deposit’ (see R.V. marg.). This may have two meanings, (a) ” that which I have committed unto Him,” or (&) “that which He hath committed unto me” (see the marg.). The latter would seem to be the meaning, for he is here speaking of the gospel as a trust committed to him (see also 1 Tim. 6. 20). He speaks of it as “my gospel” (2 Tim. 2. 8). He is a “joint partaker” with it (1 Cor. 9. 23, R.V.). He could not guard it simply by his own power.

against that day. — he trusted the Lord to guard it for him in view of the day when, at the Judgment-Seat of Christ, he would give an account of his stewardship.

Verse 13.

Hold the pattern of sound words which thou hast heard from me, — the mention of the Apostle’s relation to the gospel leads him now to exhort Timothy that his relation to it may be consistent with his own.

The word hupotuposis (lit., an undertype), rendered “pattern,” is the same as that translated “ensample” in 1 Tim. 1. 16. Paul here views his teaching as an outline, or model, to which Timothy’s teaching (and therefore the teaching of all who preach the gospel) is to be conformed. For the word rendered “sound” (marg., “healthful”) see on 1 Tim. 1. 10.

in faith and love which is in Christ Jesus. — faith God-ward, love man ward. This is to be taken with “hold that pattern of sound words”. Our testimony must be a matter of faith in God, not only for the power to give it, but for the faithfulness to adhere to the teaching of the Scriptures, and to speak “as oracles of God.” It must be given in a spirit of love, not that of a merely sentimental character, but that which is the outcome of union with Christ, and so of the love of God shed abroad in the heart. And Christ Jesus is the Source and Fountain of both faith and love. The order of the titles describes Him as the Exalted One who became incarnate that He might be the Saviour of men.

Verse 14.

That good thing which was committed unto thee guard — here as in verse 12, the whole phrase “that… committed unto thee” is, lit., “the good deposit.” But it differs from that in verse 12, in that the deposit here was entrusted by God to Timothy, whereas the former deposit was something committed by God to Paul. The deposit is the faith, the doctrines of Scripture, to be kept unchanged, unalloyed, unextended. He was not commissioned to produce fresh truth, but to maintain that which had already been imparted. The Scriptures are a complete, permanent revelation of the mind of God. Their very testimony is against post-Apostolic additions to it.

The word rendered “good” is kalos, fair, excellent. See on 1 Tim. 1. 8.

through the Holy Ghost which dwelleth in us. — the Holy Spirit, through whom a person is born again (John 3. 5, 6), there and then comes to dwell in the heart of the believer (Gal. 4. 6, where “because ye are sons” indicates, not the reason why “God sent forth the Spirit of His Son” into our hearts, but the proof of our sonship). In 1 Cor. 6. 19, He is said to dwell in the believer’s body. By this gift of the Spirit and His coming to make His abode in the believer at conversion, he is sealed “unto the day of redemption”, (Eph. 1. 13 and 4. 30).

Only by His power can we accomplish anything for the glory of God. The guarding of the faith against departure or encroachment is a matter not of mere human orthodoxy but of humble dependence upon the Spirit, by whose power indeed the Scriptures were produced.

Faithlessness of Former Associates (ch. 1. 15-18)

Verse 15.

This thou knowest, that all that are in Asia turned away from me; — Asia was the Roman Province of that name. It consisted of the western district of what is now termed Asia Minor, and Ephesus was its metropolis. “All that are Asia” could not mean all the Christians in the Province, as thus Timothy would not be engaging in the work committed to his charge; it probably refers to those who had been especially associated with the Apostle there. There is no evidence that they had been with him in Rome. The aorist or past tense, “turned away”, points to a particular circumstance or incident.

of whom are Phygelus and Hermogenes. — for some reason or other these men, well known to Timothy were singled out on account of the special character of their defection. The retrograde step they had taken must have been a great grief to the Apostle.

Verse 16.

The Lord grant mercy unto the house of Onesiphorus: — this desire for mercy to be granted to him may be an indication that he was among the numbers who had proved, faithless to the Apostle. In any case he seems to stand in conspicuous contrast to the two other men. His name means “benefit-bearer (cp. Onesimus), and in doing what he did for Paul he fulfilled the significance of his name. He was probably a native of Ephesus.

The “house” stands metaphorically for the household or family; Cp. 1 Tim. 3. 4, 5, 12; the plural occurs in Tit. 1. 11. Mercy is the practical expression of pity, it assumes need in the case of the recipient, and resources adequate to meet it on the part of the^bestower. The N.T. is full of illustrations of this. Grace, which is often coupled with mercy, is God’s attitude toward the unworthy,

for he oft refreshed me, and was not ashamed of my chain;anapsucho, to refresh (lit., to make cool), is used here only in the N.T. The corresponding noun is used in Acts 3. 19.

This ministry Onesiphorus doubtless did both by visiting the Apostle and by attending to his material needs (cp. Matt. 25. 36; Heb. 10. 34; 13. 3). That he was not ashamed of doing this carries a suggestion that others were ashamed, whether through, fear or reluctance to be associated with the prisoner.

Verse 17.

but, when he was in Rome, he sought me diligently, and found me — this was probably while Paul was sharing confinement with other prisoners, of whom there was always a large number in the capital, and not while he was “in his own hired dwelling” (Acts 28. 30).

Verse 18.

(the Lord grant unto him to find mercy of the Lord in that day); — this affords no ground for the idea, advocated by some, that the Apostle was setting an example of prayers for the dead. There is no actual intimation that Onesiphorus was dead. Even if he were, Paul’s desire for him would not justify prayers for the dead. It was a frequent wish on the part of the Apostles that their converts might receive a full reward hereafter, and so might not lose the things which they had wrought on their behalf (see 2 John 8, and cp. 1 Cor. 3. 14; 4. 5); “that day” refers to the time in which “we must all be made manifest before the Judgment-Seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body” (2 Cor. 5. 10). Mercy granted in that day will not depend in any way upon prayers offered for them after their decease. Paul’s desire, entertained while Onesiphorus was living, might reasonably be entertained afterwards. To regard the Apostle as offering prayer for his soul is to read into his words what is not there. There is no reason to regard the repetition of “the Lord” as referring to other than to the Lord Jesus in each case.

and in how many things he ministered at Ephesus, thou knowest very well: — referring now, it would seem, to his general and manifold service on behalf of the believers in the assembly there, including ministry also to the Apostle while he was there with Timothy.


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