2 Timothy 4. 9-22

Chapter 4. 9-18 Introductory Note

This passage contains messages about the Apostle’s immediate circumstances. His first alludes to some of those who had been his associates, and then mentions the evil doings of a vigorous opponent. After this he recalls his experiences before the Imperial Tribunal and how the Lord delivered him, closing with the assurance of future deliverance and with the doxology.

Verse 9

Do thy diligence to come shortly unto me: - a touching evidence of Paul’s unshaken confidence in Timothy’s fidelity and devotedness.

Verse 10

for Demas forsook me, having loved this present world, and went to Thessalonica; Crescens to Galatia, Titus to Dalmatia. - there is no indication, as some suppose, that Demas was an apostate from the Christian’ faith. He seems to have been actuated by a desire for worldly advantage or comfort. He would not be very helpful to the church in Thessalonica. His love of the world stands in contrast to those who love Christ’s appearing. Dalmatia is part of the province of Illyricum on the east side of the Adriatic sea.

Verse 11

Only Luke is with me. - the faithful physician’s affection for Paul continued to the end, unlike that of Demas. He was by his side during his first imprisonment (Col. 4. 14).

Take Mark, and bring him with thee: for he is useful to me for ministering. - the verb rendered “take” implies that Mark was staying at some place along the journey which Timothy would take in going to Rome. That Mark had been to Rome previously to this, is to be gathered from the statement that he was useful to the Apostle for ministering, a touching issue to the difficulty that had arisen between Paul and Barnabas years before in connection with Mark’s decision to leave them on this first missionary journey. Barnabas had taken his nephew to Cyprus, and we know little further about him than what is now intimated in this Epistle. The Lord had found use for him, though he probably was brought again into contact with Paul only in his later years of service. “There is hope of a tree, if it be cut down, that it will sprout again, and that the tender branch thereof will not cease” (Job 14. 7). Paul felt that he had reason for the cutting down, but rejoiced in the fresh sprouting of the tender branch.

Verse 12

But Tychicus I sent to Ephesus. - for other details concerning him see Acts 20. 4; Eph. 6. 21; Col. 4. 7; Tit. 3. 12.

Verse 13.

The cloke that I left at Troas with Carpus, bring when thou comest, and the books, especially the parchments. - the cloke would doubtless be needed in view of the approaching winter (see ver. 21). The idea that it was a light mantle for wrapping up books is just possible. The suggestion that it was an ecclesiastical vestment is preposterous. The apostles did not put on special garments for their ministry.

As to the parchments, the writing material was prepared from the skin of sheep or goats, but the finest kind is called vellum and was made from the skins of calves or kids. The word parchment is connected with the name Pergamum, the city in Asia Minor where it was either invented or brought into use.

Verse 14

Alexander the coppersmith did me much evil: - possibly he was the individual mentioned with Hymenaeus in 1 Tim. 1. 20. If so, Paul’s disciplinary treatment had apparently aroused his fierce indignation. But Alexander was a very common name and the identification mentioned is only surmise. It may be that his opposition had some connection with Paul’s trial at Rome.

the Lord will render to him according to his works: - the Apostle leaves the man in the hands of the Lord (see Rom. 12. 19), simply warning Timothy against him as an opponent of the truth.

Verse 15

Of whom be thou ware also; for he greatly withstood our words, - some take the occasion to be that of Paul’s defence mentioned in the next verse. Perhaps, however, the opponent is to be identified with the Alexander of Acts 19. 33, 34. If so he was a Jew and may have belonged to the strictest Pharisee party. This would account for his bitterness, as Paul himself had once belonged to that sect.

Verse 16

At my first defence no one took my part, but all forsook me: - by his first defence is probably to be understood his first appearance before the Imperial Tribunal in connection with his last trial. It may be, however, that a twofold charge was made against him, the one, of taking part in the conflagration at Rome (A.D. 64), the other, as Prof. W. M. Ramsey says in “St. Paul the Traveller,” p.361, of “treason, shown by hostility to the established customs of society and by weakening the Imperial authority.” In any case his peril was so great that all his friends forsook him. He was certainly following in the steps of his Master, -who foretold to His disciples that they would be scattered and would leave Him alone (John 16. 32).

may it not be laid to their account. - such was His Christlike spirit that He prays that their defection may not be reckoned against them, with the consequences that would issue at the Judgment-Seat of Christ.

Verse 17

But the Lord stood by me, and strengthened me; - on the occasion mentioned in Acts 27. 23, an angel “stood by” him (the same verb as here, a stronger word than that in verse 16, rendered “took my part,” A.V. “stood with”). The Lord more than made up to him for man’s unfaithfulness. The verb rendered “strengthened” is frequently used by the Apostle in connection with the grace and power of Christ. See at 2. 1 and cp. Eph. 6. 10; Phil. 4. 13; 1 Tim. 1. 12. See also Acts 9.22. The only other place where the verb is found is Rom, 4. 20. The Lord imparted sustaining comfort and spiritual power to His servant and still does so to those who trust in Him and abide in His will.

that through me the message might be fully proclaimed, and that all the Gentiles might hear: - evidently on the occasion of this trial he seized the opportunity afforded by his speech in his own defence to give a full gospel testimony. His trial would be attended by a large number of people, especially if it was held, as seems likely, in one of the courts of the forum in Rome. The Lord had said, at the time of his conversion, “he is a chosen vessel unto Me, to bear My name before the Gentiles and kings, and the children of Israel,” and made known to him how much suffering he would endure for His Name’s sake (Acts 9. 15, 16).

and I was delivered out of the mouth of the lion. - it is not necessary to suppose that he was likely to be thrown to the lions in the arena. The Greek commentators generally understood the lion to be Nero. Josephus provides a parallel to this in speaking of the announcement to Agrippa of the death of Tiberius as the death of the lion. Here, however, there is no article before the word lion in the original, which renders that idea improbable. The same applies to the suggestion that Satan is intended; the probability is that the Apostle is using a common metaphorical expression indicating deliverance from imminent peril.

Verse 18

The Lord will deliver me from every evil work, - the preposition here is apo, whereas in verse 17 it is ek. There ek was used to express vividly that he was, as it were, in the very jaws of the lion; apo is used now because the evils are regarded as only possible. The assurance entertained by Paul is quite consistent with his expectation of impending death (ver. 6).

and will save me unto His heavenly kingdom: - the confidence he entertains is that the Lord would maintain him to the end, confirming him in his faithful testimony in spite of all opposition and threats, and giving him a glorious issue in the Kingdom of Christ.

to whom be the glory for ever and ever. Amen. - this doxology is addressed to the Lord Jesus; compare Rom. 9. 5, and see Rev. 1. 6. The phrase signifying “for ever and ever” should not be rendered literally by “unto the ages of the ages.” It may be rendered “for evermore.” It is used elsewhere in Gal. 1. 5; Phil. 4. 20; 1 Tim. 1. 17; Heb. 13. 21; 1 Pet. 4. 11; 5. 11 (in the best texts); and in twelve places in Revelation. When “Amen” is said by God, it signifies “it shall be so when said by men it signifies “so let it be it is used once in the N.T. as a title of Christ, Rev. 3. 14, because through Him the purposes of God are established. Christ often used the word to introduce new revelations of the mind of God, and in those cases where it is translated “verily” in John’s Gospel it is always repeated, “Amen, Amen,” but not elsewhere.

Concluding Messages (Chapter 4. 19-22). Introductory Note

This was probably the last written message from the Apostle’s pen. Shortly after this letter was sent he laid down his life under the stroke of the executioner’s sword, outside the city of Rome, at a place now known as the Three Fountains. There is a spot about halfway between this and the city where the visitor is pointed to the grave of the faithful servant of the Lord, to whom was committed the high privilege of doing more in missionary service than any other save the Lord Himself.

Verse 19

Salute Prisca and Aquila, - the same order of the wife before the husband is found in Acts 18. 18, 26 (R.V.); Rom. 16. 3, but not in Acts 18. 2; 1 Cor. 16. 19. Ramsey suggests that Prisca was of higher rank than her husband, for her name is that of a good old Roman family. The longer form, Priscilla, is a diminutive.

and the house of Onesiphorus. - see at 1. 16.

Verse 20

Erastus abode at Corinth: - he seems to have been a native of Corinth, Rom. 16. 23. Possibly he is the same one as the companion of Timothy in Acts 19. 22. The present statement indicates that Paul had been travelling about since his first imprisonment.

but Trophimus I left at Miletus sick. - this might seem somewhat strange, considering that the Apostle possessed the gift of healing (Acts 19. 11, 12; 28. 8). Whilst such supernatural gifts were bestowed to confirm the work of the gospel, there were limitations as to its exercise. The Apostles’ use of the gift was not directed by their own wishes. They were acting simply as the Lord’s servants and their power was controlled by their Master, and not by their personal affections or desires. The healing was accomplished by faith, but faith-healing was not practised as an art.

Verse 21

Do thy diligence to come before winter. - navigation would be more difficult then. As for Paul’s circumstances, see above at verse 9.

Eubulus saluteth thee, and Pudens, and Linus, and Claudia, and all the brethren. - attempts to identify these proper names have been ingenious but not satisfactory,

Verse 22

The Lord be with thy spirit. - Paul had reminded him in the beginning of his Epistle that God had imparted to him a spirit of power and love and discipline. His benediction is therefore in keeping with this and the whole tenor of the Epistle.

Grace be with you. - here the pronoun is plural; that is, all the believers who were where Timothy was located. For the former benediction see at 1. 2.

The End

We feel we have been privileged in being able to provide our readers with such a spiritual and scholarly exposition of the Epistles to Timothy,and we are grateful for the many appreciations which have reached us. The series has proved especially valuable to Bible Classes and students and for that reason we are happy to announce that, with the kind co-operation of Mr. J. Williamson, we are hoping to make the late Mr. W. E. Vine’s notes on Titus available to our readers. In this and many other ways the ministry of our departed brother continues to bear fruit.


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