II Timothy 1

 

 

1 “Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, according to the

promise of life which is in Christ Jesus,” 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 (compare Titus 1:2).

 

 

 

                                    The Promise of Life (v. 1)

 

It was an age of death when Paul wrote this Epistle. Beneath all the

gaieties of Roman civilization there was decay of morals, and corruption of

the inner life. Suicide, as we have seen, was common in Rome, and men,

tired of themselves, and disbelieving alike in present or in future joy, put an

end to their earthly existence. Paul was now enduring his second

imprisonment at Rome. In the year A.D. 63 the great conflagration, for

which that master of crime, Nero, was responsible, took place, burning half

the city. He falsely charged his own crime on the Christians, some of whom

were covered with the skins of beasts and thrown to the dogs; some were

covered with inflammable materials, and burnt as human torches, which

illuminated the gardens; while the bestial Nero drove abroad in his chariot,

and indulged his base delight in the carnival of fire and blood.  Paul,

knowing his own end to be near at hand, in a city where his second

imprisonment had become much more severe than the first one had been,

had now no opportunity of preaching, as he did under the milder treatment

he was subjected to before, and gives this second charge to Timothy,

whom he exhorts to be courageous and earnest in the defense and

proclamation of a faith which the imprisoned apostle could proclaim no

more.

 

·         THE PROMISE OF LIFE IS SPOKEN OF AS THE REVELATION

OF CHRIST. It is in Christ Jesus. That is to say, we as believers have in

vital union with Him, the pledge and promise of immortality. No power of

earth or hell could touch that life.  Paul feared not those who could kill

the body, and after that had no more that they could do. He knew that the

life within no sword or flame could slay, and he rejoices in the triumph of

faith in Christ.

 

·         THE PROMISE OF LIFE IS SPOKEN OF AS A DEVELOPING

POWER. It was a promise, an earnest, of the inheritance. He was yet to

have life more abundantly. He looked forward to a time when his

environment would be heavenly in its atmosphere, and ever without the

blight of sin or the blastings of temptation, he should enjoy the fruition of

life at God’s right hand forevermore.   (Psalm 16:11)

 

2 “To Timothy, my dearly beloved son: Grace, mercy, and peace, from

God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.”  My dearly beloved son.

In I Timothy 1:2 (as in Titus 1:4) it is “my true child,” or “my own son,”

Authorized Version.  The idea broached by some commentators, that this

variation in expression marks some change in 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 Paul’s own life was, and the

depression of spirits caused by the desertion of many friends (ch.4:10-16). 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 I Timothy 1:2; Titus 1:4, Authorized Version; II John 1:3). Jude 1:2  has “mercy,

peace, and love.” The salutation in Ephesians 1:2 is “grace and peace,” as also in

Romans 1:7; I Corinthians 1:3, and elsewhere in Paul’s Epistles, and in Revelation 1:4.

 

 

 

                        The Apostle’s Address and Greeting (vs. 1-2)

 

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.

 

·         THE ORIGIN AND DESIGN OF THE APOSTLESHIP.  “Paul, an

apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God.”

 

Ø      He was an apostle.

 

o       Not by the will of man, nor of other apostles.

o        Not by his own will; for he did not take this honor upon himself.

o       Nor was it owing to his personal merits; for he always speaks of

      it as “the grace of apostleship.”

o       He was an apostle by the will of God, whose “chosen vessel”

       he was for this purpose.

Ø      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.

 

o       It was life eternal;

o       promised in Christ Jesus, because

§         it was “promised before the world began” (Titus 1:2);

§         in Christ, who is the Prince of life, who procured it, who

      applies it by his Spirit.

·         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.

·         THE GREETING. “Grace, mercy, and peace.” (See homiletical hints

            on I Timothy 1:2.).

 

3 “I thank God, whom I serve from my forefathers with pure conscience,

that without ceasing I have remembrance of thee in my prayers night and day;”

Whom I serve from my forefathers with a pure conscience, compare Acts 23:1.

That without ceasing, 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 seems a proper subject of thanksgiving is that which is named in v. 5, viz. the

unfeigned faith” that was in Timothy. That this was a proper subject of thanksgiving

we learn from Ephesians 1:15-16, where Paul writes that, having heard of their faith in the

Lord Jesus, he ceased not to give thanks for them, making mention of them in his

prayers (see, too, I Thessalonians 1:2). Assuming, then, that this was the subject of his

thanksgiving, we notice especially the reading of the R.T., λαβώνlabon - having

received and the note of Bengel that ὑπόμνησιν λαμβάνειν hupomnaesin

 lambanein means to be reminded of any one by another, as distinguished from

ἀνάμνησινanamnaesin - 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 hos - not surely, “how,” as in the Revised Version, but

in the sense of καθώς kathos -  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.”

 

 

 

                                                The Inner Self (v. 3)

 

“With pure conscience.” There is no music in the world comparable to this.

It is “the voice of melody,” and it enabled Paul and Silas to sing in prison.

The conscience, “that sole monarchy in man,” was supreme in his nature

under the Lordship of Christ.

 

·         IT WAS A CLEANSED CONSCIENCE, AND SO PURE.  Paul is

            never weary of preaching the great doctrine of the atonement — that we

are redeemed and renewed through the precious blood of Christ; and he

rejoices to know that the blood of Jesus Christ, God’s Son, cleanseth from

all sin.  (I John 1:7)

 

·         IT WAS AN OBEYED CONSCIENCE, AND SO PURE. We have to

consider that the conscience may speak truly and authoritatively, and be

enlightened by the truth, and yet we may not obey the truth; for duty may

be recognized as duty, and yet not discharged as such. Conscience may not

be pure as regards the question of accountability.

 

·         IT WAS FILLED WITH THE SPIRIT, AND SO PURE. “The Holy

Ghost which dwelleth in us” is an expression of Paul’s; and only so far

as we have the “indwelling of the Spirit” in:

 

Ø      thought,

Ø      imagination,

Ø      conscience, and

Ø      desire, can we be said to be pure within.

 

4 “Greatly desiring to see thee, being mindful of thy tears, that I may

be filled with joy;  5 When I call to remembrance the unfeigned faith that is in

thee, which dwelt first in thy grandmother Lois, and thy mother Eunice;

and I am persuaded that in thee also.”  Unfeigned (ἀνυποκρίτουanupokritou

unfeigned); as I Timothy 1:5 (see also Romans 12:9; II Corinthians 6:6; I Peter

1:22; James 3:17).   Being mindful.  Having been reminded, etc. (see preceding note).

Thy grandmother Lois. Μάμμηmammae  - properly corresponds exactly to our

word “mamma.” In IV Maccabees 16:9, Οὐ μάμμη κληθεῖσα μακαρισθήσομαι

ou mammae klaetheisa makaristhaesomai -  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’ ‘Thesaurus  except incidentally by comparison with πάππαpappa.

It has, however, a classical usage. The proper word for a “grandmother” is th>qh

 taethae.   Lois; a name not found elsewhere, possibly meaning “good,” or

excellent,” from the same root as λωί'τεροςloiteros  and λώι'στοςloistos.

This and the following Eunice are examples of the frequent use of Greek or Latin

names by Jews. Eunice, we know from Acts 16:1, was a Jewess and a

Christian, as it would seem her mother Lois was before her.

 

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” (John 1:13), we have reason to be thankful, like

the apostle, for such a display of rich family mercy.  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

(ch.3:15).  How often Christian mothers have given remarkable sons to the

ministry of God’s Church!

 

We have the promise that God will keep covenant and mercy with them that love

Him and keep His commandments to a thousand generations. (Exodus 34:7) 

God’s intention is that godly and Christian influence SHOULD BE

TRANSMITTED! He made one generation to follow another, proceeded on a

principle of succession and not of contemporaneousness, that He might

thereby have a godly seed (Malachi 2:15). The best established Christians are

among those who are of a godly stock. Therefore let the godly upbringing of

 the young be attended to.

 

 

 

            Thankful Declaration of Love and Remembrance of Timothy’s Faith

                                           (VS. 3-5)

 

·         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.”

 

Ø      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.  (“Every good gift and perfect gift is from above, and

cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness,

neither shadow of turning.” James 1:17)

 

Ø      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 (Acts 23:1; 24:14).

Ø      Ministers ought to be much engaged in prayer for one another so as to

strengthen each others hands.

Ø      The thought of approaching death makes us long to see the friends who

have been most endeared to us in life.

 

o       The apostle remembered Timothy’s sorrow at their last parting.

o       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.

            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.

·         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.”

 

Ø      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.

 

Ø      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.

Ø      The subjects of this faith. “First in thy grandmother Lois, and in thy

mother Eunice.”

 

o        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

(Acts 16:1; 14:6).

                   

§         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.

 

§         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 (ch. 3:15).

 

§         How often Christian mothers have given remarkable sons to

the ministry of God’s Church! (Augustine and Monica.)

 

§         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.

 

 

 

 

                                                A Holy Ancestry (v. 5)

 

“Thy grandmother Lois, and thy mother Eunice.” We were constituted to

be influenced through the family relationship, and it is sad indeed when the

young break away from a religious ancestry, and forsake their fathers’

God.

 

·         HERE IS ALREADY AN HISTORIC PEDIGREE OF CHRISTIAN

PEOPLE. The gospel had been long enough in the world to have a history

in families. We find three generations here. The grandmother Lois, the

mother Eunice, and “thee also.”  (God is faithful unto a thousand generations!

(Exodus 20:6; 34:6; Deuteronomy 7:9)

 

·         HERE IS THE TRUE SPIRIT OF THE GOSPEL MANIFESTED.

Unfeigned faith, or undissembled faith. No mere creed. No mere

appearance of piety, in that age men of education despised the pagan faiths

which they yet professed to believe. They kept up their actual adherence to

heathen worship because of custom or family tradition, or because they

believed religion in some sort to be the protective police of society,

without which there would be revolution. This unfeigned faith was the faith

of conviction — the faith that so believed in the risen Christ that it could

endure persecution and suffer loss, and live or die for the sake of Christ,

with the sure hope of eternal life!

 

6 “Wherefore I put thee in remembrance that thou stir up the gift of

God, which is in thee by the putting on of my hands.”  Wherefore.

 (δι η{ν αἰτίαν - di haen aitian - for which cause); so v. 12 and

Titus 1:13, but nowhere else in 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

(ἀναζωπυρεῖνanazopurein – stir up; to be rekindling); here only in the

New Testament, but found in the Septuagint of Genesis 45:27 and I Maccabees

13:7, in an intransitive sense, “to revive.”  (Even though this last text is not

in the Bible, it is in the Jewish Bible and can be googled, if interested, without

difficulty – CY – 2013).   In both passages it is contrasted with

a previous state of despondency (Genesis 45:26) or fear (I Maccabees 13:2).

We must, therefore, conclude that 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(v.7),

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 the prefix ἀνα ana -

a rekindling - is to show that the embers had gone down from a previous state

of candescence or flame — “to rekindle, light up again.” It is a favurite metaphor

in classical Greek.  The gift of God (τὸ χάρισμα τοῦ Θεοῦ   to charisma tou

Theou ; as I Timothy 4:14 (where see note). The laying on of my hands, together

with those of the presbytery (Ibid.; compare Acts 13:2-3). The laying on of

hands was also the medium through which the Holy Ghost was given in

Confirmation (Acts 8:17), and in healing (Mark 16:18; compare Numbers 27:18, 23).

 

 

 

The Apostle’s Admonition to Timothy to Stir Up the Gift of God within Him

                                                            (v. 6)

 

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.

 

·         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.”

 

Ø      He refers to the special gift received by Timothy with a view to his

      office 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.

Ø      It was conferred by the hands of the apostle along with the presbytery

(I Timothy 4:14).

·         THE NECESSITY OF STIRRING UP THIS SPIRITUAL GIFT.

 

Ø      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.

 

Ø      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.

 

 

 

                                    Quickening the Memory (v. 6)

 

“I put thee in remembrance.” Timothy was not to create a gospel, but to

preach one. The facts and doctrines were MATTERS OF REVELATION, and

Timothy had the humbler task of expanding and applying them. All through

his gospel was to be that of the faith once delivered to the saints.

 

·         REMEMBRANCE IS NEEDED. Why? Memory is liable to slumber and

to sleep. Do we mourn over this fact, and ask why this precious faculty

was not stronger? Consider! Could you live in peace or joy at all, if all your

sorrows and bereavements kept their clear details before your mind? No;

their harrowing spectacles would deaden all the springs of life, and crush

the heart. If those past griefs preserved their fullness life would be

unendurable. There is a beautiful side, therefore, even to forgetfulness.

Memory may slumber, but it does not die. It may be awakened and

quickened for high and noble ends. Thus all Christians need to be “put in

remembrance,” that they may hold fast the Word of life.

 

·         REMEMBRANCE IS COMPREHENSIVE. There are many springs to

be touched. We become proud, and need to remember, as the Hebrews did,

that we “were slaves.” We become self-dependent, and need to be

reminded that “without Christ we can do nothing.” We become so

interested in life that we try to make “home” here, and forget that we are

pilgrims and strangers. We become negligent, and forget that responsibility

is great and TIME IS SHORT!

 

 

 

                                                Stirring the Fire (v. 6)

 

“Stir up the gift that is in thee.” Literally, “stir up (ἀναζωπυρεῖνanazopurein

stir up; to be rekindling) the fire!” There may be fuel — even of God’s Word —

but all fires die out unless from time to time they are stirred up.

 

·         THE FIRE WAS THERE. His heart’s altar fire had been lighted. It had

descended as a Divine flame from on high. But in the best of men there is

danger of absence of watchfulness, for, like the light on the Jewish altar,

the fire is not to die out night nor day.

 

·         THERE WERE MANY ENEMIES WHO WOULD QUENCH THE

FIRE. The Judaizing teachers would have put out the true gospel light, by

turning the gospel into a merely refined Judaism. The world would quench

it, as it did the faith of Demas. And there is in us all the danger of spiritual

slumber, which leaves the fire to die out by indolence and sloth. Therefore

by meditation, by prayer, and by earnest endeavor, by admiration and

emulation of heroic lives, we must “stir up the fire” that is in us.

 

7 “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of

love, and of a sound mind.” A spirit of fearfulness; or, cowardice, as the

word δειλίαdeliadread; fear; timidity; cowardice -  exactly means in

classical Greek, where it is very common, though it only occurs here in the New

Testament. Δειλόςdeilos – cowardly - also has a reproachful sense,

both in classical Greek, and also in the Septuagint, and in the New Testament

(see Matthew 8:26; Mark 4:40; Revelation 21:8). It seems certain, therefore, that

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 δειλίαςpneuma deilias – spirit of fearfulness ,

the πνεῦμα δουλείας εἰς φόβον pneuma douleias eis phobon

the spirit of slavery into fear -  of Romans 8:15. Of power and

love. Power (δύναμιςdunamis - power) is EMPHATICALLY THE

ATTRIBUTE OF THE HOLY SPIRIT!  (Luke 4:14; Acts 10:38; Romans

15:13; I Corinthians 2:4, etc.), and that which He specially imparts to the

servants of Christ (Acts 1:8; 6:8; Ephesians 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. Sound mind. 

(σωφρονισμοῦ sophronismou – sanity; sound mind); only here in the

New Testament; σωφρονίζεινsophronizein  - that they may teach,

that they be bringing to sense -   is found in Titus 2:4, “to teach,” Authorized

Version; “to train,  Revised Version.   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, -

 sophronismos  Epi diorthosai kai sophronismo ton allon

“For the amendment and correction of the rest.”

 

Courage is an essential qualification for ministers of the gospel.

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:

 

  • Trust in God is a preservation from fear - “The Lord is my light and

my salvation; whom shall I fear?  The Lord is the strength of

my life; of whom shall I be afraid? (Psalm 27:1).

 

  • Our Lord exhorts us strongly against such fear (“Peace I leave with

You, my peace I give unto you:  not as the world giveth, give

I unto you.  Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be

afraid.” (John 14:27).

 

We have the spirit of power, as opposed to the weakness of cowardice; for the

servants of Christ are fortified against persecutions and reproaches, and are

enabled to endure hardness as good soldiers of Christ, and to quit themselves

 like men.  (ch. 2:3; I Corinthians 16:13).

 

We have the spirit of love  which will make us earnest in our care for souls,

indefatigable in labors, fearless in the midst of trying exigencies, and self-sacrificing

in love.

 

We have the spirit of self-control which enables 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 labors, and its cares.

 

 

Reminiscences (vs. 1-7)

 

A ring once given to an old and loved friend, who in later life had been cut

off from the former loving relationship 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. 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 learned on his

mother’s knee in the dear home at Lystra, whose blessed fruit had attracted

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; 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

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” (Psalm 103:2), 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 (Psalm

42.); he added depth to his sorrow for sin by recalling the memory of that

joy of salvation which he had forfeited by his fall (Psalm 51.). 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.

 

 

The Divine Equipment for Arduous Service in the Church (v. 7)

 

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

 

·         NEGATIVELY. “For God did not give us the spirit of cowardice.”

 

Ø      This refers to the time of the ordination of Timothy and of the apostle.

Courage is an essential qualification for ministers of the gospel.

 

Ø      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.

 

o       This fear tends to unworthy compliances.

o       Trust in God is a preservation from fear (Psalm 27:1).

o       Our Lord exhorts us strongly against such fear (John 14:27).

 

·         POSITIVELY. “But of power, and of love, and of self-control.”

 

Ø      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 (ch. 2:3),

and to quit themselves like men (I Corinthians 16:13).

 

Ø      The spirit of love. This will make them earnest in their care for souls,

indefatigable in labors, fearless in the midst of trying exigencies, and

self-sacrificing in love.

 

Ø      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:

 

o       its duties,

o       its labors, and

                         its cares.

 

8 “Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of

me his prisoner: but be thou partaker of the afflictions of the gospel

according to the power of God;”  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 (compare

Romans 1:16). Partaker of the afflictions of the gospel.  The force of

σὺν - sun in συγκακοπάθησον sugkakopathaesonsuffer hardship –

 (only found here in the New Testament and in the R.T. of ch.2:3) is manifestly

to associate Timothy with 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 – to euaggelio); i.e. for the gospel, as

Philippians 1:27, “striving for the faith of the gospel” (τῇ πίστει – tae pistei

the faith).  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 Paul had in his mind. Timothy

ought to feel that this power was on his side.

 

 

 

                        Warning to Timothy not to be Ashamed of the Gospel,

                                                            nor

                                    to Shrink from Afflictions (v. 8)

 

This exhortation is dependent upon the previous counsel.

 

·         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.”

 

Ø      The testimony of the Lord is that borne concerning His doctrine,

sufferings, and death; in a word, the gospel itself.

 

Ø      No Christian can be ashamed of A GOSPEL OF SUCH POWER,

o       so true,

o       so gracious,

o       so useful.

 

Ø      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

labored under an immense load of pagan prejudice, and Timothy

needed to be reminded of his obligations to sympathize with its greatest

expounder.

 

·         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.”

 

Ø      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.

 

Ø      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 succor us

under all our afflictions.

 

9 “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,”

Who saved us, and called us.

 

o       The saving was in the gift of His only begotten

Son to be our Savior;

o       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, compare Ephesians 1:19-20.)

With a holy calling (compare Romans 1:7; I Corinthians 1:2). Not according to

 our works (see Titus 3:5; Ephesians 2:4-10). His own purpose and grace. If our

calling were of works, it would not be by grace (Romans 4:4, 5; 11:6), but it is

 according to the riches of His grace… according to His good pleasure

 which He purposed in Himself” (Ephesians 1:9, 11). Before the world

began.  (πρὸ χρόνων αἰωνίων - pro chronon aionion - before times eternal).

The phrase seems to have the same general meaning as pro< katabolh~v ko>smou

pro katabolaes kosmou - before the foundation of the world (Ephesians

1:4), where the general context is the same. The phrase itself occurs in

Romans 16:25 (χρόνοις αἰωνίοιςchronois aioniois – since the world

began) and Titus 1:2, in which last place time is indicated posterior to the

creation of men. In I Corinthians 2:7 we have simply πρὸ τῶν αἰώνων

proton aionon  - before the worlds - where αἰών - aionage; era  - is

equivalent to αἰωνίοι χρόνοιaionioi chronoi – time eternal - and in

Ephesians 3:11, πρόθεσιν τῶν αἰώνωνprothesin ton aionon - the

eternal purpose.  In Luke 1:70 the phrase, ἀπ αἰῶνοςap aionos -  is

rendered since the world began and forever (Matthew 6:13). So frequently

εἰς τὸν αἰῶνας eis ton aionaforever (Matthew 21:19; John 6:51), and εἰς τοὺς

αἰῶνας τῶν αἰώνων eis tous aionas ton aionon -  forever and ever [literally into

the age of the ages -  CY – 2013]  (Galatians 1:5; Ephesians 3:21; I Timothy 1:17),

The usage of the Septuagint is very similar, where ἀπ αἰῶνος εἰς τὸν αἰῶνα πρὸ τῶν

ἀιωνων ωἰὼν τῶν αἰώνωνap aionos eis ton aiona pro ton aionon oion aionon, etc.,

are frequent, as well as the adjective αἰώνιος - aionioseternal.  Putting all these

passages together, and  adverting to the classical meaning of aijw>n, 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 aijw>n 

TO BE FOLLOWED BY WE KNOW NOT WHAT SUCCEEDING

ONES.   Thus Ephesians 1:21, ἐν τῷ αἰῶνι τούτῳ - en to aioni touto

in this world - is contrasted with ἐν τῷ μέλλοντι – en to mellonti – in

that which is to come; the one impending -  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 αἰῶνεςaionesages –

 

o       the prediluvial,

o       the patriarchal,

o       the Mosaic,

o       the Christian, and such like (see note to I Timothy 1:17).

 

10 “But is now made manifest by the appearing of our Savior Jesus

Christ, who hath abolished death, and hath brought life and

immortality to light through the gospel:”  Is now made manifest –

(φανερωθεῖσανphanerotheisanbeing manifested); a word of very

frequent use by 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 Ephesians 3:1-12. The appearing (τῆς ἐπιφανείας - taes epiphaneias

the appearing, the advent), applied here, as in the name of the Festival of the

Epiphany, to the first advent, but in ch. 4:1 and Titus 2:13 and elsewhere applied to

the second advent, “the glorious appearing of our Saviour Jesus Christ”

(Titus 2:13). Abolished (καταργήσαντοςkatargaesantos - ); i.e. destroyed,”

or “done away,” or “made of none effect,” as the word is variously rendered

(I Corinthians 15:26; II Corinthians 3:11; Galatians 3:17; compare Hebrews 2:14).

Brought… to light (φωτίσαντος - photisantos); as in I Corinthians 4:5.

 

Elsewhere rather “to give light,” or “to enlighten” (see Luke 11:36;

Hebrews 6:4; 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 Romans 5. and 6., and especially 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!

 

 

A Glorious and Powerful Manifestation (v.10)

 

 “But hath now been manifested by the appearing of our Saviour Christ Jesus,

who abolished death, and brought light and immortality to light through the

gospel.”  Hidden in God in eternity, it was for a time partially manifested. The time of

its full manifestation corresponded with THE APPEARING OF CHRIST which

was also the medium of the manifestation. This is the only place in the New

Testament  in which the appearing is to be identified with the Incarnation, or the whole

of Christ’s appearance in flesh. That appearing was as one of the weak things of the

world.  Especially did Christ seem to be the very impersonation of weakness when

He was on the cross. And yet this was the grandest display of power, confounding

the mighty; for it is here said that by this appearing He abolished death. He

appeared in flesh, and endured death in all its reality, and, by doing so, He has

made it no longer a reality to His people. He has made it of none effect. He has

made it so that it cannot tyrannize over them. And, though they have to endure

death, it is not as a token of God’s displeasure, but as His wise and good

arrangement “the passing from death unto life (John 5:24), and introduction

into a state from which DEATH IS FOR EVER EXCLUDED!   The

positive side of the benefit derived from the appearing is presented under a

slightly different aspect. It is regarded as presented in the gospel. And as death is

a dark power, so the gospel is a light-giving power. What it has brought to light is

of the utmost consequence. It is life, and life with the superlative quality of

IMPERISHABLENESS!   Under heathenism men had no right conception of life.

Even with all the help that philosophy could give them, the meaning of life

was dark to them. The gospel has shown it to consist in the favor of God,

and the quickening of all our faculties under the breath of His Spirit. But

specially are we to think of life in its imperishableness. We know that, to

the heathen generally, the future was AN ABSOLUTE BLANK!

 A few of them had glimmerings, not of a resurrection, but of the survival of the

thinking part, with some reward for the good. THE GOSPEL HAS

BROUGHT IMMORTALITY INTO THE FULL CLEAR LIGHT!

It has given us THE CERTAINTY OF OUR EXISTENCE AFTER

DEATH!   It, moreover, holds out before us the prospect of a life that is to be

spent, without intermission or end, IN THE SUNSHINE OF GOD’S

LOVE  with ever increased quickening of all our powers — a life in which there

will be a reunion of soul and body, of which already we have the earnest in the

resurrection of Christ.  (“He hath appointed a day, in the which He will

judge the world in righteousness by that man whom He hath ordained;

whereof He hath given assurance unto all men, in that HE HATH

RAISED HIM FROM THE DEAD.”  - Acts 17:31).  It is our great

privilege that we live UNDER THE LIGHT OF THIS GOSPEL!   It is

the imperishableness of the life of  God that is here begun that has power to

nerve the soul, even to martyrdom!

 

11 “Whereunto I am appointed a preacher, and an apostle, and a

teacher of the Gentiles.”  Am appointed (ἐτέθην etethaenwas

appointed); compare I Timothy 1:12, θέμενος εἰς διακονίανthemenos

eis diakonian - appointing me to the ministry; and 2:7. A preacher,

and an apostle, and a teacher (so also (Ibid. ch. 2:7). Teacher

(διδάσκαλοςdidaskalos) is one of the spiritual offices enumerated in

I  Corinthians 12:28 and Ephesians 4:11. It is surely remarkable that

neither here nor elsewhere does Paul speak of any call to the priesthood

in a sacerdotal sense (see Romans 1:1, 5; 15:16; I Corinthians 1:1).

 

      The Power of God

in the Salvation Manifested

                                                        by

                                Jesus Christ to the World (vs. 9-11)

 

Paul now proceeds to expound in a glorious sentence the origin, conditions,

manifestations of the salvation provided in the gospel.

 

  • 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.”

 

Ø      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:

 

o       it has its origin in the “purpose of God,”

o       as Christ has procured it by His death.

 

Ø      It has been displayed in our calling.

 

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

o       It is a “holy calling,”

 

§         as its Author is holy;

§         it is a call to holiness;

§         the called are enabled to live holy lives.

 

Ø      The principle or condition of our salvation. “Not

according to our works.”

 

o       Negatively. Works are not:

 

§         the moving cause of it, which is the love and

favor of God (John 3:16);

§         nor are they the procuring cause, which is the

obedience and death of Christ (Romans 3:21-26);

§         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.

 

o       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.

 

§         It is “according to the purpose of God.” It is a gift

from eternity; for it was “before the world began”

(Revelation 13:8), and therefore it was not dependent

upon MAN’S WORKS!

 

§         It is according to “His grace, which was given us in

Christ Jesus before the world began” (Ibid.; v. 9).

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 (Ephesians 1:4).  (You could say that we were

in His spiritual loins like it is said of the Jews in the

natural loins of Abraham.  – Hebrews 7:5,10 – CY –

2013)

 

  • 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.”

 

Ø      The nature of this manifestation. It included:

 

o       the Incarnation; for the Son of God appeared in the fullness

of time to make known the “mystery hid from ages,” even

Himself — “the Hope of glory” — to both Jew and Gentile;

(Colossians 1:26-27; Romans 16:25; Ephesians 3:4-5)

o       the work of Christ, in the obedience of his life and the

suffering of His death — in a word, the whole work

of redemption.

 

Ø      The effects of this manifestation. “Who abolished death,

and brought to light life and immortality to light by means

of the gospel.”

 

o       Its action upon death. It has abolished or made it of none

effect. Death is regarded both in its physical and its ethical aspects.

 

§         In its physical aspects, Christ has

 

v     deprived it of its sting, and made it a

blessing to believers (Hebrews 2:14;

I Corinthians 15:55), and

v     secured its ultimate abolition (Revelation 21:4).

 

§         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 (I John 3:14), and secured us

from “the second death” (Revelation 2:11).

 

o       Its revelation of life and incorruptibility.

 

§         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.

 

§         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 (I Peter 1:4;

Revelation 21:4).

 

§         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.

 

  • 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.

 

12 “For the which cause I also suffer these things: nevertheless I am not

ashamed: for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that

He is able to keep that which I have committed unto Him against

that day.” For the which cause (see v. 6, note) I also suffer . 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 - pepisteukaI have believed - must be taken in the sense of

“entrusting” (curae ac fidei alicujus committo), as Luke 16:11. So

πιστευθῆναι τὸ εὐαγγέλιονpisteuthaenai to euaggelion - to be entrusted with

the gospel  (I  Thessalonians 2:4); οἰκονομίαν πεπιστεῦμαιoikonomian pepisteumai - 

I am entrusted with a dispensation (I Corinthians 9:17). And so in classical Greek,

πιστεύειν τινί τι pisteuein tini ti -  means “to entrust something to another”

to take care of for you. Here, then, Paul says “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 μουtaen parathaekaen

 mou  that which I have committed) 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 v. 14 and in I Timothy 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.

 

Paul had put into Christ’s hands his deposit, and he trusted in Him being able

to guard it against that day, viz. the day of judgment, when it would become

irreversibly and gloriously, his, being as it were, handed back to him by Christ!

 

 

            The Grounds of His Joyful Confidence under All His Sufferings

                                                            (v. 12)

 

·         HIS APOSTLESHIP WAS THE CAUSE OF HIS SUFFERINGS. “For

which cause I also am suffering these things”

 

Ø      imprisonment,

Ø      solitude,

Ø      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.

 

·         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:

 

Ø      Of its Author.

Ø      Of its truths and ordinances.

Ø      Of his own faith in it.

Ø      Of his sufferings for it.

 

·         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.”

 

Ø      He knows his Redeemer through faith and love and experience. It is

eternal life” to know Him (John 17:3). It is not that he merely knows

of Him, but he knows Him:

 

o       what He is,

o       what He can do,

o       what He has promised to do,

 

 and therefore he can trust Him.

 

Ø      His trust is in a known Person.

 

o        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.

 

o        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.

 

o        There are some people of whom we may say that the more 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.

 

Ø      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.

 

o       The value of the deposit. What can be more precious than the

      soul? (Mark 8:37).

o       The danger of its loss. The soul is a lost thing, and BUT FOR

      GRACE IS ETERNALLY SO!

o       The sinner feels the deposit is not safe with himself. Man cannot,

      any more than man’s brother, save his own soul.

o       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.

o       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!

 

Ø      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

 

o       that assurance is a possible attainment (I John 5:13);

o       that it is a cheering and sustaining experience.

 

13 “Hold fast the form of sound words, which thou hast heard of me, in

faith and love which is in Christ Jesus.”  Hold (ἔχε eche – be you having;

be you holding). This use of ἔχειν echeinholding; having -  in the pastoral

Epistles is somewhat peculiar. In I Timothy 1:19, ἔχων πίστιν echon pistin

 holding faith;” in Ibid. ch.3:9 ἔχοντας τὰ μυστήριον echontas ta

 mustaerion“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.  The form.  (ὑποτύπωσιν

hupotuposin – the form; the pattern); only here and I Timothy 1:16 (where see

note), where it manifestly means a “pattern,” not a “form.” The word signifies a

“sketch,” or “outline.” 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 hugianonton

logon); see I Timothy 1:10, note. In faith and love; either hold the pattern in

faith and love, or which you have heard in faith and love.

 

 

 

                        The Importance of the Form of Sound Words (v. 13)

 

“Hold the pattern of sound words.”

 

·         THIS INJUNCTION IMPLIES THAT THE DOCTRINES OF THE

GOSPEL HAD BEEN ALREADY MOLDED INTO A CERTAIN

SHAPE OR SYSTEM WHICH WAS EASILY GRASPED BY THE

POPULAR MIND. As necessity arose, there was a restatement, in a new

form, of the faith once professed so as to neutralize false theories. Thus the

Apostle John recast the doctrine of Christ’s manifestation in the world in

his Epistles. There are other examples of such restatement. As errorists

often seduce by an adroit use of words, it becomes necessary to have “a

pattern of sound words,” not merely as a witness for the truth, but as a

protest against error. Timothy was in this case to adhere to the form of

what he had heard from the apostle, and received with such “faith and love

which is in Christ Jesus.”

 

·         THE USE OF SUCH A FORM.

 

Ø      It was a center of doctrinal unity to the Church.

Ø      It exhibited the truth in a consistent light to the world.

Ø      It afforded a rallying point in the conflict with systems of error.

Ø      It tended to spiritual stability.

 

14 “That good thing which was committed unto thee keep by the Holy

Ghost which dwelleth in us.”  That good thing.  (τὴν καλὴν παραθήκην

 taen kalaen parathaekaen – that good thing which was committed to your

trust -  see I Timothy 6:20, and note. This naturally follows the preceding verse.

Faithfulness in maintaining the faith was closely connected with THE

MAINTENANCE OF SOUND WORDS.

 

 

                                    Address and Salutation (vs. 1-14)

 

“Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, according to the

promise of the life which is in Christ Jesus, to Timothy, my beloved child:

Grace, mercy, peace, from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.” The

language is similar to what is found in other of Paul’s Epistles. The

peculiarity is that his apostleship is here associated with the promise of the

gospel, which like a rainbow spans our sky in this dark world. It is the

promise by preeminence; for its object is life, which is a name for all that

can be needed here, or manifested under better conditions. It is a promise

which has actually secured sure footing in CHRIST JESUS, being the

realization of the sure mercies of David. But, in order that this promise

may become the means of life to men, it must be proclaimed; and this

points to the employment of an instrumentality by God. It was according to

the promise in this view that Paul was employed as an apostle. It is further

to be observed that his true child in the First Epistle is here his beloved

child. If the one points to the possession of his spirit, the other points to

the love that is properly founded on it. A good past to be followed by a good

future.

 

·         THANKSGIVING.

 

Ø      Personal association in giving thanks. “I thank God, whom I serve from

my forefathers in a pure conscience.” He implies that Judaism was the

forerunner of Christianity, and lays claim to the possession of a godly

ancestry. The pure conscience (notwithstanding Acts 23:1) is not to be

absolutely applied to his whole life. He did turn aside from the godly

direction in an unenlightened and culpable resistance to Christianity as

seeming to threaten the existence of his inherited and beloved Judaism. But

in the Christian position which he had so long maintained, as he had been

indebted to godly forefathers, so he had preserved the godly continuity in

his family. It is in view of what he has to say about Timothy that he makes

this pleasing and interesting reference to his forefathers.

 

Ø      Feelings toward Timothy in giving thanks for him. “How unceasing is

my remembrance of thee in my supplications, night and day longing to see

thee, remembering thy tears, that I may be filled with joy.” Always in the

underground of the apostle’s consciousness, the thought of his beloved

Timothy came up uninterruptedly at his times of devotion. Every night and

morning he felt the spell — so tender was this strong man’s heart — of the

tears shed by Timothy at their parting; and the desire rose within him that

he might be filled with the joy of another meeting.

 

Ø      Matter for thanksgiving in Timothy’s faith which was hereditary.

“Having been reminded of the unfeigned faith that is in thee; which dwelt

first in thy grandmother Lois, and thy mother Eunice; and, I am persuaded,

in thee also.” Something had come to the apostle’s knowledge which

reminded him of the reality of Timothy’s faith. It was not feigned faith, that

fails under trial. The apostle thinks of it as a kind of heirloom in the family.

He could go back himself to two ancestresses of his in whom it dwelt.

There was first Lois, his grandmother, who, we can believe, besides being

godly according to the Jewish type, was before her end a Christian

believer. She had to do with her daughter Eunice becoming a Christian

believer. We are told of Eunice, in Acts 16:1, that she was a Jewess

who believed, while her husband was a Gentile. She in turn had to do with

her son becoming a Christian believer. The apostle had all the greater

confidence in the reality, and also vitality, of Timothy’s faith that (apart

from Jewish influences of a godly nature) he was a Christian believer of the

third generation. We have the promise that God will keep covenant and

mercy with them that love him and keep his commandments to a thousand

generations. God’s intention is that godly and Christian influence should be

transmitted. He made one generation to follow another, proceeded on a

principle of succession and not of contemporaneousness, that he might

thereby have a godly seed (Malachi 2:15). The best established

Christians are among those who are of a godly stock. Therefore let the

godly upbringing of the young be attended to. At the same time, let those

who have had the advantage of a godly upbringing see that they are not left

behind by those who have been reclaimed from ungodly society.

 

·         EXHORTATION.

 

Ø      Timothy is to stir up his gift. “For the which cause I put thee in

remembrance that thou stir up the gift of God, which is in thee through the

laying on of my hands.” Paul is an adept at exhortation. Timothy, from the

memory of Lois and Eunice, must catch fire. Nay, he had a personal

association with Timothy, in having laid hands on him at his ordination. On

that ground he can call upon him to stir up the gift then received, viz. the

ministerial gift. Let him be true to his duties as a minister of Christ.

 

Ø      Confirmatory reason pointing to special exhortation. “For God gave us

not a spirit of fearfulness; but of power and love and discipline.” Let him

stir himself up against cowardice to which, as persecuted, he was exposed,

and by this consideration that the imparted spirit in its amplitude excludes

cowardice. It is a spirit of power. God has no jealousy of us; he wishes to

be served with our strength and not with our weakness. It is a spirit of

love; warmth of feeling, and not coldness, God would put into our service.

It is a spirit of discipline. So far as this is to be distinguished from the other

two words, it points to the guidance of reason. God wishes to be served,

not with our ignorance, but with our well disciplined thoughts. With more

power in our wills, with more glow in our affections, with more reason in

our thoughts, we shall not cower before opposition.

 

Ø      Timothy is called upon to be specially on his guard against false

shame. “Be not ashamed therefore of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me

his prisoner: but suffer hardship with the gospel.” “Shame attends fear;

when fear is conquered false shame takes flight” (Bengel). He had no

reason for being ashamed on account of his association with the Lord to

whom he testified. Neither had he reason for being ashamed on account of

his association with Paul, who was not the Lord’s servant, but, more

honorably (Galatians 6:17), the Lord’s prisoner, i.e. by the will of

Christ, more than by the will of Caesar — a prisoner, the disposal of him

extending to the time, and all the circumstances, of his imprisonment. To

suffer hardship with the gospel involves an unusual collocation of person

and thing. It is usual to interpret the hardship as being suffered with Paul

for the gospel. But as the thought requires the fixing of the attention, not

on the second, but on both of the preceding clauses, it is better to leave

indefinite with whom he is associated in suffering hardship.

 

Ø      Reason against false shame in the power of God. “According to the

power of God.” The idea is that we should be free from shame in suffering

for the gospel, according to the power on which we have to rely.

 

o        It is a saving power. “Who saved us, and called us with a holy

      calling.”  Power has already been displayed toward us in salvation,

which we can think of as completed outside of us. It has also been

operative within us, in our being called. When our unwillingness

to accept of salvation was broken down, then we were called of God.

It was with a holy calling that we were called, and it belongs to it as

holy that we should be above shame in connection with Christ’s cause.

The power that has already been displayed toward us is all in the

direction of our being saved from this shame.

 

o        It is a free power. “Not according to our works, but according to his

own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before

times eternal.” It is a power that is not determined in its exercise by

our works or deservings. It was according to His own purpose, i.e.

not from outward occasion, but arising in the depths of His own being.

It was according to a purpose of grace, i.e. in which sinners, or the

undeserving, were contemplated as in need. It was according to a

purpose of grace in Christ Jesus, i.e. in which there was a looking to

human merit only as in Christ. It was according to a purpose of grace

before times eternal, i.e. long before man could have to do with it.

(“...before the world began!”)  Being a power so entirely pending on

God, we can have confidence that it will go out, in the freest, most

gracious manner, toward us.

 

o        It is a glorious power. “But hath now been manifested by the

      appearing of our Saviour Christ Jesus, who abolished death, and

brought light and incorruption to light through the gospel.” Hidden

in God in eternity, it was for a time partially manifested. The time of

its full manifestation corresponded with THE APPEARING OF

JESUS CHRIST who was also the medium of the manifestation.

This is the only place in the New Testament in which the appearing

is to be identified with the Incarnation, or the whole of Christ’s

appearance in flesh. That appearing was as one of the weak things of

the world. Especially did Christ seem to be the very impersonation of

weakness when He was on the cross. And yet this was the grandest

display of power, confounding the mighty (i.e. Satan); for it is here

said that by this appearing HE ABOLISHED DEATH!   He appeared

in flesh, and endured death in all its reality, and, by doing so, He has

made it no longer a reality to His people.  He has made it of none

effect. He has made it so that it cannot tyrannize over them. And,

though they have to endure death, it is not as a token of God’s

displeasure, but as His wise and good arrangement, and introduction

into a state from which DEATH IS FOREVER EXCLUDED! 

The positive side of the benefit derived from the appearing is presented

under a slightly different aspect. It is regarded as presented in the gospel.

And as death is a dark power, so the gospel is a light-giving power.

What it has brought to light is of the utmost consequence. It is life, and

life with the superlative quality of IMPERISHABLENESS.  Under

heathenism men had no right conception of life.  Even with all the help

that philosophy could give them, THE MEANING OF LIFE WAS

DARK TO THEM!   The gospel has shown it to consist in the favor

of God, and the quickening of all our faculties under the breath of

His Spirit. But specially are we to think of life in its imperishableness.

We know that, to the heathen generally, the future was AN ABSOLUTE

BLANK!   A few of them had glimmerings, not of a resurrection, but

of the survival of the thinking part, with some reward for the good.

THE GOSPEL HAS BROUGHT IMMORTALITY INTO

FULL CLEAR LIGHT! It has given us THE CERTAINTY OF

OUR EXISTENCE after death.  It, moreover, holds out before

us the prospect of a life that is to be spent, without intermission or

end, in the sunshine of God’s love, with ever increased quickening

of all our powers — a life in which there will be A REUNION OF

SOUL AND BODY of which already we have the earnest in the

resurrection of Christ. (And that resurrection is of extra significance

“Because He hath appointed a day, in the which He will judge the

world i n righteousness by that man whom He hath ordained,

whereof He hath given assurance unto all men, in that He hath

raised Him from the dead.”  Acts 17:31 – CY – 2019)  It is our great

privilege that we live under this LIGHT OF THE GOSPEL!

 It is the imperishableness of the life of God that is here

begun that has power to nerve the soul, even to martyrdom.

 

Ø      Reason against false shame in the example of the apostle.

 

o        Suffering connected with his office. “Whereunto I was appointed a

preacher, and an apostle, and a teacher. For the which cause I suffer

also these things.” As in I Timothy 2:8, he takes a threefold designation

of office.

 

§         As preacher or herald, it was his duty to cry aloud.

§         As apostle, he was specially invested with authority.

§         As teacher, he had to go among the Gentiles.

 

It was a glad message in relation to which he exercised his office,

and it should have brought him many a welcome. “How beautiful

upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings,

that publisheth peace!” (Isaiah 52:7; Romans 10:15) But it brought

him many a rebuff, and much outward disgrace; for at this time he

was suffering his second imprisonment in Rome, and was nearing

his martyrdom.

 

o        Triumph over shame. “Yet I am not ashamed.” The apostle does not

exhort Timothy without setting him an example. It was no small matter

to him to be counted by men only worthy of imprisonment, and, very

soon, of death. But he was so much impressed with the supreme

importance of the gospel, that he heeded not the shame.

 

o        Its personal assurance. Its strength. “For I know Him whom I have

believed.” As he is here speaking of his being a prisoner, we naturally

take the reference to be to Him whose prisoner in the eighth verse he

declared himself to be, viz. the Lord. He had lived a life of faith on

Christ; and he could speak confidently, from his own experience of

Him. Not I think I know Him, but, as one would speak of a friend

whom he has long and intimately lived with, I know Him. Without

experience we cannot have the assurance that excludes doubt. Only

when we have tried Christ, and found Him sufficient for us in all

positions of life, can we rise above the language of hesitation.

 

o        Its well supported nature. “And I am persuaded that he is able

      to guard that which I have committed unto him against that day.”

What is guarded is literally my deposit, and, as in the thirteenth verse

deposit is something committed to Timothy, so some would think

here of something committed to Paul, viz. his stewardship. But, as

the guardian is also naturally the holder, we naturally think of

something committed by Paul to Christ; and what was that but his

interest, his stake in the future world, dependent on his faithfulness

in this? How did Paul know that it would not turn out a blank, or be

much diminished by future failure? The explanation was that he had

put it into Christ’s hands, and he trusted in Him being able to guard

it for him against that day, viz. the day of judgment, when it would

become irreversibly, gloriously his, being as it were handed

back to him by Christ. One who has this well grounded assurance

can meet death even triumphantly.

 

Ø      Timothy is further called upon to attend specially to his orthodoxy.

 

o        The pattern. “Hold the pattern of sound words which thou hast heard

from me, in faith and love which is in Christ Jesus.” There is a form

of sound words, i.e. there is a correct expression of truth which is to be

coveted, because on this depends the healthfulness of the life. To this

form Paul had shaped his preaching. He had not indulged in

logomachies (arguments over words), or private speculations, or

adaptations to other systems, but he had kept himself, as a well

disciplined thinker, to a plain, rational, forcible statement, and urging

of what he believed to be necessary for the salvation of souls.

Timothy was familiar with his truthful and healthful style; let it be the

pattern to which he disciplined his thoughts and his preaching. He

could only hold the pattern in the Christian element of faith and love.

 

o        The good deposit. “That good thing which was committed unto thee

guard through the Holy Ghost which dwelleth in us.” This is the

same thing under a different aspect, viz. the talent of the universal faith,

which a preacher has to guard. It is good, has vast blessings connected

with it; therefore it is not to be neglected, it is to be kept from all

mischances. The preacher must pray, think, use the help of the rule

of faith, practice himself.  But all his keeping, to be of any avail,

must be allowing the Holy Ghost to keep, who is not far to seek,

but is an Indweller in our souls. “So he giveth his beloved sleep”

(Psalm 127:2), delivers him from the consuming restlessness which

would haunt him, if the keeping simply depended on himself.

 

 

 

            The Importance of Preserving the Precious Deposit of Doctrine (v. 14)

 

·         THERE IS A SYSTEM OF TRUTH DEPOSITED IN THE HANDS

OF THE CHURCH. “That good deposit keep through the Holy Ghost who

dwelleth in us.”

 

Ø      The truth is not discovered by the Church, but deposited in its keeping.

This is the significance of the words of Jude, when he speaks of “the faith

once delivered to the saints.” That is:

 

o        “the faith” — a system of gospel doctrines recognized by the Church

      at large;

o        “delivered,” not discovered or elaborated out of the Christian

consciousness, but was A REVELATION FROM GOD!

o        “once” delivered, in reference to the point of time when the revelation

was made by inspired men;

o        deposited in the hands of men — “to the saints” — as trustees, for its

safe keeping. It is “a good deposit;” good in its Author, its matter, its

results, its end.

 

·         IT IS THE DUTY OF MINISTERS AND MEMBERS OF THE

CHURCH TO KEEP THIS DEPOSIT.

 

Ø      They ought to do it, because it is a commanded duty.

Ø      Because it is for the Church’s edification, safety, and stability.

Ø      Because it is for the glory of God.

Ø      They cannot do it except in the power of “the Holy Ghost who dwelleth

      in us.”

 

o       Because He leads us into all truth;

o       Because He by the truth builds up the Church as “a habitation

      of God;”

o       Because He gives the insight and the courage by which believers

      are enabled to reject the adulterations and mixtures of false

      systems.

 

15 “This thou knowest, that all they which are in Asia be turned away

from me; of whom are Phygellus and Hermogenes.”  Turned away from

(ἀπεστράφησάν με - apestraphaesan me – were turned from me). This verb

is used, as here, governing an accusative of the person or thing turned away from,

in Titus 1:14; Hebrews 12:25, as frequently in classical Greek. The use of the aorist

here is important, as 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

trial before Nero, when they shrank from him in a cowardly way. Πάντες οἱ ἐν τῆ

Ασίᾳ pantes hoi en tae Asia | means “the whole party in Asia

connected with the particular transaction to which 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 Paul; and among them Phygellus and

Hermogenes, whose conduct may have been particularly ungrateful and

unexpected. Nothing is known of either of them.

 

 

 

 

                                    The Asiatic Desertion of the Apostle (v. 15)

 

He reminds Timothy of a fact well known to him already, that he had

suffered from a melancholy desertion of friends.

 

·         THE NATURE AND EXTENT OF HIS LOSS. “All who are in Asia

turned away from me.”

 

Ø      As to its nature. It was not a repudiation of Christianity. It was a

desertion of the apostle himself, either through fear of persecution, or

through a repudiation of his universal ideas on behalf of the Gentiles.

The Christian Jews seem everywhere to have forsaken him. In one of

his prison letters he can only name two or three Jews who were a

comfort to him in the gospel (Colossians 4:11).

 

Ø      As to its extent. The Asiatic desertion may have probably taken place in

Rome itself, probably at a time when his life, and that of all Christians,

was threatened by Nero; probably at the time referred to in the end of this

Epistle, when he could say, “No man stood by me; all men forsook me.”

Those who would identify themselves with the apostle of the Gentiles at

such a time would probably be Gentiles rather than Jews. Thus the number

of the deserters might not be great. If the desertion took place in Asia

Minor, it would only suggest a widespread falling away from the aged

prisoner at Rome, but not from the gospel. The apostle singles out two

persons quite unknown to us — Phygelus and Hermogenes — as the

ringleaders of this movement. The fact that so few names are mentioned

tends to reduce the extent of the sad misfortune.

 

·         THE EFFECT OF THIS DESERTION. The apostle does not dwell

upon it, but rather dismisses the deserters in a single sentence. Yet:

 

Ø      It would be a severe trial to the faith of the aged apostle in his dying

days. The desertion of friends is always a sore trial, but when the

friendship is cemented by religion, its intensity is peculiarly enhanced.

 

Ø      The apostle refers to it with the view of stimulating Timothy to still

                        greater courage in the cause of the gospel.

 

16 “The Lord give mercy unto the house of Onesiphorus; for he oft

refreshed me, and was not ashamed of my chain:” Give mercy (δώη ἔλεος

doae eleos – give mercy; grant mercy). This connection of the words is only

found here. The house of Onesiphorus. It is inferred from this expression,

coupled with that in ch. 4:19, that Onesiphorus himself was no longer living; and

hence v.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 v.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 (Matthew 10:41),

but 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 Paul. Refreshed me (ἀνεψυξε)

anepsuxe ; literally, revived me. Only here in the New Testament, but compare

Acts 3:19. Chain (ἅλυσιν) - halusin; in the singular, as Ephesians 6:20; Acts 28:20

(where see note).

 

17 “But, when he was in Rome, he sought me out very diligently, and

found me.  18 The Lord grant unto him that he may find mercy of the

Lord in that day: and in how many things he ministered unto me at

Ephesus, thou knowest very well.”  (The Lord grant unto him). The

parenthesis seems only to be required on the supposition that the words

δῴη αὐτῷΚύριος εὑρεῖν ἔλεος - doae auto ho Kurios heurein eleos

the Lord grant unto him that he might find mercy - are a kind of play on

the εῦρεν heuren – found (me) - 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 para Kuriou

of the Lord - 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. Paul does not say, as the Authorized Version 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 labors 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.  There

seem to be no materials for arriving at absolute certainty on the point.

 

 

 

Constancy in the Hour of Danger (vs. 8-16)

 

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.” He can give power

to the faint, and increase strength to them that have no might (Isaiah 40:29).

And there is perhaps no more edifying sight than that of the quiet boastless

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  (ch. 2:3). 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,” (Hebrews 12:2) and, like Moses,  look forward to the recompense

of reward  (Ibid. ch. 11:24-27).   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.

 

 

 

                                                Contrasts (15-18)

 

·         PHYGELUS AND HERMOGENES. “This thou knowest, that all that

are in Asia turned away from me; of whom are Phygelus and

Hermogenes. The defection here referred to was from Paul and his

interests. It extended to all that were in Asia, i.e. all Asiatics who at one

time had been attached to the apostle, and whose attachment was put to

the test when in Rome during his imprisonment. It was to have been

expected of them that they would have found their way to his dungeon;

but, as if they had put it to themselves whether they would go or not, they

chose the latter alternative. They turned away from him. They probably

found some excuse in the pressure of business; but in the real character of

their action it was turning their back on the imprisoned apostle. In this not

very numerous class Phygelus and Hermogenes are singled out for notice,

probably because they had showed the greatest unbrotherliness. We know

nothing more of them than is mentioned here. It has been their destiny to

be handed down to posterity as men who acted an unworthy part toward a

noble man in his extremity. They did not know that such an evil

immortality was to attach to their action; but their action was on that

account only the more free. Let all our actions be upright and generous; for

we do not know by which of them we shall be known among men. This

defection is referred to Timothy as being within his knowledge; for by their

example he was to be deterred from cowardice, and his bravery was to be

all the greater that these men were cowards.

 

·         ONESIPHORUS. There is a distinction observed between the house of

Onesiphorus and Onesiphorus himself. With regard to the house of

Onesiphorus they are objects of present interest. Blessings are invoked

upon them in the sixteenth verse, to the manifest exclusion of Oncsiphorus

himself. At the close of the Epistle the same thing is observable: “Salute the

house of Onesiphorus.” With regard to Onesiphorus himself, nothing is

said about his present: the past tense is used of him, and a wish is

expressed about his future. It may, therefore, be regarded as certain that

Onesiphorus was dead.

 

Ø      Interest in departed friends shown in kindness to beloved ones left

behind. “The Lord grant mercy unto the house of Onesiphorus.” There are

around us the three circles of lovers, friends, acquaintances (Psalm

88:18). Our love to the innermost circle is to be most intense, which it can

be without interfering with our love to the second circle of friends. The

proper cultivation of our affections in our homes will the better qualify us

for loving our friends. There is an absence of reserve, and openness to

influence, in friendship, which makes it, when properly based, a great

blessing. There are duties which we owe to our friends when they are with

us, and our duties do not end with their death. Onesiphorus had been the

friend of Paul, and, now that he is gone, the large-hearted apostle, in

writing to Timothy from his dungeon, breathes a prayer on behalf of the

house of Onesiphorus. The Lord, i.e. Jesus Christ, the great Overseer of

the Churches, and Appointer for the several households of which the

Churches are composed, grant them mercy. They were objects of

sympathy, in being deprived of their earthly head on whom it devolved to

provide for them, to assist and counsel especially the beginners in life. The

Lord mercifully make up for them what they had lost. Would this prayer

return from heaven unanswered? Would not this kindly remembrance of

them, read in their desolate home, bring good cheer to their hearts, and be

an influence for good in all their future life? Would it not also be the means

of raising up friends for them?

 

Ø      Interest in the living founded on the past kindness of the dead. “For he

oft refreshed me, and was not ashamed of my chain; but, when he was in

Rome, he sought me diligently, and found me.” This was after his first

answer, apparently during his second imprisonment, when awaiting his

second answer. Paul leaned very much on human sympathy. On one

occasion he said, “The Lord that comforteth them that are cast down,

comforted me by the coming of Titus.” (II Corinthians 7:6)  So the Lord

refreshed him by those visits of Onesiphorus. This friend was true to his name;

he was a real help bringer — bringer of comfort and strength to the great warrior

whose battles were nearly over. He was a helper in presence of difficulties. He

was not ashamed of his chain, i.e. braved all the dangers connected with his

being regarded as the prisoner’s friend. There was difficulty of access to

him, such as there had not been during the first imprisonment, when he had

his own hired house, and received all that came to him; but Onesiphorus

sought him all the more diligently that he knew of his unbefriended

condition, and overcame all official hindrances. In the strange working of

providence, Onesiphorus came to his end before Paul, but his good deeds

lived after him, and caused him to be remembered by Paul, and in that form

which, had he been conscious of what was taking place on earth, would

have been most pleasing to Onesiphorus. And this was not to be wondered

at. Onesiphorus loved his home circle — this is an element in the case; but

it did not absorb all his attention. He had a place in his heart for friends,

and was ready to render them services. And this was acting more truly for

the interests of his loved ones than if he had selfishly confined his attention

to them. For when he was gone — taken away at a time when he was

greatly needed by his children — there were those who were their well

wishers for the father’s sake. There was the missionary, by whom there had

been so much benefit, invoking his blessing on them. The psalmist says, “I

have been young, and now am old; yet have I not seen the righteous

forsaken, nor his seed begging bread.” (Psalm 37:25)  And this can be

explained withoutbringing in a special miracle. Indeed, the psalmist so

explains it in the following verse: “He is ever merciful, and lendeth; and

his seed is blessed.”  (ibid. v. 26)That is to say, by his good deeds when

he is alive,  God raises up friends for his children when he is dead.

 

Ø      Interest in departed friends shown in pious wishes with respect to their

future. “The Lord grant unto him to find mercy of the Lord in that day.”

The following is to be noted as the teaching of Luther: “We have no

command from God to pray for the dead, and therefore no one can sin who

does not pray for them. For in what God has neither commanded nor

forbidden, no man can sin. Yet because God has not granted us to know

the state of the soul, and we must be uncertain about it, thou dost not sin

that thou prayest for the dead, but in such wise that thou leave it in doubt

and say thus, ‘If this soul be in that state that thou mayest yet help it, I pray

thee to be gracious unto it.’ Therefore if thou hast prayed once or thrice,

thou shouldest believe that thou art heard, and pray no more, lest thou

tempt God.” Beyond that Paul does not go. He follows Onesiphorus into

the next world, and, when he thinks of him coming to the settling for what

his earthly life had been, he devoutly breathes the wish that he may be

mercifully dealt with. Such an expression of feeling is not to be forbidden

us as we think of departed friends going forward to judgment; it is to be

found in inscriptions in the catacombs. But it has no connection with a

belief in purgatory, and is very different from the formal inculcation of

prayers for the dead.

 

Ø      Reference to Timothy as to services rendered by Onesiphorus at

Ephesus. “And in how many things he ministered at Ephesus, thou knowest

very well.” This was additional to services rendered by Onesiphorus to the

apostle at Rome. He had not mentioned it before, because it had been

within the sphere of Timothy’s own observation. But he brings it in now,

as what was fitted to support the charge of constancy he is laying on

Timothy.

 

 

 

                        The Praiseworthy Conduct of Onesiphorus (vs. 16-18)

 

In contrast with the Asiatic deserters, he dwells upon the kindly sympathy

of one Asiatic Christian whom he had long known at Ephesus.

 

·         THE KINDNESS OF ONESPHORUS. “He oft refreshed me, and was

not ashamed of my chain: but, when he was at Rome, he sought me out

very diligently, and found me.”

 

Ø      The apostle, as well as Timothy, had had an earlier experience of this

good man, who was probably an Ephesian merchant, who went from time

to time to Rome to do business, for he says, “In how many things he

ministered at Ephesus, thou knowest very well.”

 

Ø      He did not probably come to Rome from Ephesus for the special

purpose of visiting the apostle, but, having found himself there, he made it

his business to visit the apostle.

 

o        He took pains to find out the apostle. “He sought me out very

diligently.” Why was it so difficult to discover the prison in which the

apostle was confined? There were many prisons in Rome, and he may

have been transferred from prison to prison. But where were the Roman

Christians who met the apostle on his first visit to the city, that they

could not inform Onesiphorus of the place of the imprisonment? Had

they too turned away from him? Or had Nero struck an unworthy terror

into their hearts? Onesiphorus persevered, however, in his search, and

found him in his prison.

 

o        He “oft refreshed the apostle, and was not ashamed of his chain.”

This implies:

 

§         that he visited him more than once;

§         that the imprisonment, though severe, did not quite debar

all access to the outside world;

§         that the Christians at Rome were impliedly ashamed of the

apostles’ chain, else such prominence would not have been

given to the kindness and courage of this noble Ephesian saint.

 

·         THE RETURN WHICH THE APOSTLE MAKES FOR THE

KINDNESS OF ONESIPHORUS. “The Lord give mercy to the house of

Onesiphorus… the Lord grant unto him that he may find mercy of the Lord

in that day.” He cannot make any other return for kindness than a fervent

prayer for Onesiphorus and for his family.

 

Ø      The prayer suggests that though the apostle is shut up from the world,

THE WAY TO HEAVEN WAS STILL OPEN!  He cannot pay his

visitor the compliment of seeing him to the door, but he can remember

him at a throne of grace.

 

Ø      He remembers the household of this good man. What blessings descend

upon householders who are blessed with such a head! The apostle prays

for “mercy” on this happy household. Every blessing is included in the

term.

 

Ø      The prayer for Onesiphorus himself is likewise a prayer for mercy.

Oncsiphorus would have the blessing promised by our Lord in the

memorable saying, “I was in prison, and ye visited me.”

                        (Matthew 25:36)

 

 

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