Exhortations; to Faithfulness as a Good Soldier
of Christ; Errors to Be Shunned; the
Lord's Sure Foundation; the Right Spirit for a Servant of
1. Thou therefore—following my example
12), and that of Onesiphorus (2Ti 1:16-18), and shunning that of those who forsook
my son—Children ought to
imitate their father.
be strong—literally, "be invested with
power." Have power, and show thyself to have it; implying an
abiding state of power.
in the grace—the element IN which the believer's strength has place.
1:7, "God hath given us the
spirit of power."
2. among—Greek, "through," that
is, with the attestation (literally, "intervention") of many witnesses,
namely, the presbyters and others present at his ordination or
consecration (1Ti 4:14; 6:12).
commit—in trust, as a deposit
faithful—the quality most needed by
those having a trust committed to them.
who—Greek, "(persons) such
as shall be competent to teach (them to) others also." Thus the way
is prepared for inculcating the duty of faithful endurance (2Ti 2:3-13). Thou shouldest consider as a
motive to endurance, that thou hast not only to keep the deposit for
thyself, but to transmit it unimpaired to others, who in their turn
shall fulfil the same office. This is so far from supporting oral
tradition now that it rather teaches how precarious a mode of
preserving revealed truth it was, depending, as it did, on the
trustworthiness of each individual in the chain of succession; and how
thankful we ought to be that God Himself has given the
written Word, which is exempt from such risk.
3. Thou therefore endure hardness—The
oldest manuscripts have no "Thou therefore," and read, "Endure
hardship with (me)." "Take thy share in suffering" [Conybeare and Howson].
4. "No one while serving as a soldier."
the affairs of (this) life—"the
businesses of life" [Alford];
mercantile, or other than military.
him who hath chosen him—the general
who at the first enlisted him as a soldier. Paul himself worked at
tent-making (Ac 18:3).
Therefore what is prohibited here is, not all other save religious
occupation, but the becoming entangled, or over-engrossed
strive for masteries—"strive in the
games" [Alford]; namely, the great
national games of Greece.
yet is he not crowned, except—even
though he gain the victory.
strive lawfully—observing all the
conditions of both the contest (keeping within the bounds of the course
and stript of his clothes) and the preparation for it, namely, as to
self-denying diet, anointing, exercise, self-restraint, chastity,
decorum, &c. (1Co 9:24-27).
6. must be first partaker—The right of
first partaking of the fruits belongs to him who is
laboring; do not thou, therefore, relax thy labors, as thou
wouldest be foremost in partaking of the reward. Conybeare explains "first," before the
7. Consider the force of the illustrations I
have given from the soldier, the contender in the games, and the
husbandmen, as applying to thyself in thy ministry.
and the Lord give, &c.—The oldest
manuscripts read, "for the Lord will give thee
understanding." Thou canst understand my meaning so as personally to
apply it to thyself; for the Lord will give thee understanding when
thou seekest it from Him "in all things." Not intellectual perception,
but personal appropriation of the truths metaphorically expressed, was
what he needed to be given him by the Lord.
8. Rather as Greek, "Remember Jesus
Christ, raised from the dead." Remember Christ risen, so as to follow
Him. As He was raised after death, so if thou wouldest share His risen
"life," thou must now share His "death" (2Ti 2:11). The Greek perfect passive
participle, implies a permanent character acquired by Jesus as
the risen Saviour, and our permanent interest in Him as
such. Christ's resurrection is put prominently forward as being the
truth now assailed (2Ti 2:18),
and the one best calculated to stimulate Timothy to steadfastness in
sharing Paul's sufferings for the Gospel's sake (see on 2Ti 2:3).
of the seed of David—The one and only
genealogy (as contrasted with the "endless genealogies," 1Ti 1:4) worth thinking of, for it proves Jesus
to be the Messiah. The absence of the article in the Greek, and
this formula, "of the seed of David" (compare Ro 1:3), imply that the words were probably
part of a recognized short oral creed. In His death He assured us of
His humanity; by His resurrection, of His divinity. That He was not
crucified for His own sin appears from His resurrection; that He
was crucified shows that He bore sin, on Him, though not in
my gospel—that which I always
9. Wherein—in proclaiming which
suffer trouble—literally, "evil." I am
a sufferer of evil as though I were a doer of evil.
word … not bound—Though my
person is bound, my tongue and my pen are not (2Ti 4:17; Ac
28:31). Or he alludes not
merely to his own proclamation of the Gospel, though in chains,
but to the freedom of its circulation by others, even though his
power of circulating it is now prescribed (Php 1:18). He also hints to Timothy that he being
free ought to be the more earnest in the service of it.
10. Therefore—Because of the anxiety I
feel that the Gospel should be extended; that anxiety being implied in
endure—not merely "I passively
suffer," but "I actively and perseveringly endure," and
"am ready to endure patiently all things."
the elect's sakes—for the sake of the
Church: all the members of Christ's spiritual body (Col 1:24).
they … also—as well as myself:
both God's elect not yet converted and those already so.
salvation … glory—not only
salvation from wrath, but glory in reigning with
Him eternally (2Ti 2:12).
Glory is the full expansion of salvation (Ac 2:47; Ro 8:21-24, 30; Heb 9:28). So grace and glory
11. Greek, "Faithful is the
For—"For" the fact is so that, "if we
be dead with Him (the Greek aorist tense implies a state once
for all entered into in past times at the moment of regeneration,
Ro 6:3, 4, 8; Col 2:12), we shall also live with Him." The
symmetrical form of "the saying," 2Ti 2:11-13, and the rhythmical balance of the
parallel clauses, makes it likely, they formed part of a Church hymn
(see on 1Ti 3:16), or accepted formula, perhaps
first uttered by some of the Christian "prophets" in the public
assembly (1Co 14:26).
The phrase "faithful is the saying," which seems to have been the usual
formula (compare 1Ti 1:15; 3:1; 4:9; Tit 3:8) in such cases, favors this.
12. suffer—rather, as the Greek
is the same as in 2Ti 2:10, "If
we endure (with Him)" (Ro 8:17).
reign with him—The peculiar privilege
of the elect Church now suffering with Christ, then to reign with Him
(see on 1Co 6:2). Reigning is something more than
mere salvation (Ro 5:17; Re 3:21; 5:10; 20:4,
deny—with the mouth. As
"believe" with the heart follows, 2Ti 2:12. Compare the opposite, "confess with thy
mouth" and "believe in thine heart" (Ro 10:9, 10).
he also will deny us—(Mt 10:33).
13. believe not—"If we are unbelievers
(literally, 'unfaithful'), He remains faithful" (De 7:9, 10). The oldest manuscripts read, "For He
cannot (it is an impossibility that He should) deny Himself."
He cannot be unfaithful to His word that He will deny those who
deny Him, though we be not faithful to our profession of faith
in Him (Ro
3:3). Three things are
impossible to God, to die, to lie, and to be deceived [Augustine, The Creed, 1.1], (Heb 6:18). This impossibility is not one of
infirmity, but of infinite power and majesty. Also, indirectly, comfort
is suggested to believers, that He is faithful to His promises to them;
at the same time that apostates are shaken out of their self-deceiving
fancy, that because they change, Christ similarly may change. A warning
to Timothy to be steadfast in the faith.
14. them—those over whom thou dost
continually": "adjuring them."
before the Lord—(1Ti 5:21).
that they strive not about
words—rather, "strive with words": "not to have a (mere)
war of words" (2Ti 2:23, 24; 1Ti 6:4) where the most vital matters are at
stake (2Ti 2:17, 18; Ac 18:15). The oldest manuscripts put a stop at
"charging them before the Lord" (which clause is thus connected with
"put them in remembrance") and read the imperative, "Strive not thou in
to no profit—not qualifying "words";
but Greek neuter, in apposition with "strive in words," "(a
thing tending) to no profit," literally, "profitable for nothing"; the
opposite of "meet for the master's use" (2Ti 2:21).
to the subverting—sure to subvert
(overturn) the hearers: the opposite of "edifying" (building up) (2Co 13:10).
15. Study—Greek, "Be earnest," or
to show—Greek, "present," as in
thyself—as distinguished from those
whom Timothy was to charge (2Ti 2:14).
approved—tested by trial: opposed to
"reprobate" (Tit 1:16).
workman—alluding to Mt 20:1, &c.
not to be ashamed—by his work not
being "approved" (Php 1:20).
Contrast "deceitful workers" (2Co 11:13).
rightly dividing—"rightly handling"
[Vulgate]; "rightly administering" [Alford]; literally, cutting "straight" or "right":
the metaphor being from a father or a steward (1Co 4:1) cutting and distributing
bread among his children [Vitringa and
Calvin], (Lu 12:42). The Septuagint, Pr 3:6; 11:5, use it of "making one's way": so
Bengel here takes Paul to mean that
Timothy may make ready a straight way for "the word of truth,"
and may himself walk straight forward according to this line, turning
neither to the right nor to the left, "teaching no other doctrine"
1:3). The same image of a
way appears in the Greek for "increase" (see on 2Ti 2:16). The opposite to "rightly handling," or
"dispensing," is, 2Co 2:17,
"corrupt the word of God."
truth—Greek, "the truth"
(compare 2Ti 2:18).
16. shun—literally, "stand above,"
separate from, and superior to.
vain—opposed to "the truth" (2Ti 2:15).
babblings—with loud voice: opposed to
the temperate "word" (Tit 3:9).
literally, "strike forward": an image from pioneers cutting away
all obstacles before an advancing army. They pretend
progress; the only kind of progress they make is to a
greater pitch of impiety.
more ungodliness—Greek, "a
greater degree of impiety."
17. will eat—literally, "will have
pasture." The consuming progress of mortification is the image. They
pretend to give rich spiritual pasture to their disciples: the
only pasture is that of a spiritual cancer feeding on their
canker—a "cancer" or "gangrene."
Hymenaeus—(See on 1Ti 1:20). After his excommunication he seems to have
been readmitted into the Church and again to have troubled it.
18. erred—Greek, "missed the aim"
is past already—has already taken
place. The beginnings of the subsequent Gnostic heresy already existed.
They "wrested" (2Pe 3:16)
Paul's own words (Ro 6:4; Eph 2:6; Col 2:12) "to their own destruction," as though
the resurrection was merely the spiritual raising of souls from the
death of sin. Compare 1Co 15:12,
where he shows all our hopes of future glory rest on the literal
reality of the resurrection. To believe it past (as the Seleucians or
Hermians did, according to Augustine
[Epistles, 119.55, To Januarius, 4]), is to deny it in
its true sense.
overthrow—trying to subvert "the
foundation" on which alone faith can rest secure (2Ti 2:19; compare Tit 1:11).
19. Nevertheless—Notwithstanding the
subversion of their faith, "the firm foundation of God
standeth" fast (so the Greek ought to be translated). The
"foundation" here is "the Church" [Alford], "the ground" or basement support "of the
3:15), Christ Himself being
the ultimate "foundation" (1Co 3:11). In
the steadfast standing of the Church there is involved the
steadfast certainty of the doctrine in question (2Ti 2:18). Thus the "house" (2Ti 2:20) answers to the "foundation"; it is made
up of the elect whom "the Lord knoweth" (acknowledgeth, recognizes,
Ps 1:6; Mt 7:23; Joh 10:14; 1Co 8:3) as "His," and who persevere to the end,
though others "err concerning the faith" (Mt 24:24; Joh 10:28; Ro 8:38, 39; 1Jo 2:19). Bengel
takes "the foundation" to be the immovable faithfulness of God
(to His promises to His elect [Calvin]).
This contrasts well with the erring from the faith on the part
of the reprobate, 2Ti 2:18.
Though they deny the faith, God abates not His
faithfulness (compare 2Ti 2:13).
having—seeing that it has [Ellicott].
ownership and destination: inscriptions were often
engraven on a "foundation" stone (Re 21:14) [Alford]. This will agree with the view that "the
foundation" is the Church (Eph 2:20). If it be taken God's immovable
faithfulness, the "seal" will be regarded as attached to His
covenant promise, with the inscription or legend, on one side of its
round surface, "The Lord knoweth (it is 'knew' in the
Septuagint, Nu 16:5, to
which Paul here alludes, altering it for his purpose by the Spirit)
them that are His"; on the observe side, "Let every one that nameth (as
his Lord, Ps 20:7, or
preacheth in His name, Jer 20:9)
from iniquity—(Isa 52:11). In both clauses there may be an
allusion to Nu 16:5, 26, Septuagint. God's part and man's
part are marked out. God chooseth and knoweth His elect; our part is to
believe, and by the Spirit depart from all iniquity, an unequivocal
proof of our being the Lord's (compare De 29:29; Lu 13:23-27). St. Lucian when asked by his
persecutors, "Of what country art thou?" replied, "I am a Christian."
"What is your occupation? … I am a Christian." "Of what family?
… I am a Christian." [Chrysostom,
Orations, 75]. He cannot be honored with the name Christian, who
dishonors by iniquity, Christ, the Author of the name. Blandina's
refreshment amidst her tortures was to say, "I am a Christian, and
with us Christians no evil is done" [Eusebius, Ecclesiastical History, 5.1].
Apostasy from the faith is sure soon to be followed by indulgence in
iniquity. It was so with the false teachers (2Ti 3:2-8, 13).
20. in a great house—that is, the
visible professing Christian Church (1Ti 3:15). Paul is speaking, not of those
without, but of the [visible] family of God [Calvin]. So the parable of the sweep-net (Mt
13:47-49) gathering together
of every kind, good and bad: as the good and bad cannot be
distinguished while under the waves, but only when brought to shore, so
believers and unbelievers continue in the same Church, until the
judgment makes the everlasting distinction. "The ark of Noah is a type
of the Church; as in the former there were together the leopard and the
kid, the wolf and the lamb; so in the latter, the righteous and
sinners, vessels of gold and silver, with vessels of wood and earth"
[Jerome, Dialogue against the
Luciferians, 302] (compare Mt 20:16).
vessels of gold …
silver—precious and able to endure fire.
of wood and earth—worthless, fragile,
and soon burnt (1Co 3:12-15; 15:47).
some … some—the former …
to dishonour—(Pr 16:4; Ro
21. If a man … purge himself from
these—The Greek expresses "If one (for example, thou,
Timothy) purify himself (so as to separate) from among these"
(vessels unto dishonor).
sanctified—set apart as wholly
consecrated to the Lord.
and meet—Some oldest manuscripts omit
the master's—the Lord's. Paul himself
was such a vessel: once one among those of earth, but afterwards he
became by grace one of gold.
prepared unto every good work—(2Ti 3:17;
Tit 3:1). Contrast Tit 1:16.
22. Flee—There are many lusts from which
our greatest safety is in flight (Ge 39:12). Avoid occasions of sin. From the
abstemious character of Timothy (1Ti 5:23) it is likely that not animal
indulgences, but the impetuosity, rash self-confidence, hastiness,
strife, and vainglory of young men (1Jo 2:14-16), are what he is here warned
against: though the Spirit probably intended the warning to include
both in its application to the Church in general.
also—Greek, "But"; in contrast
to "every good work," 2Ti 2:21.
youthful—Timothy was a youth (1Ti 4:12).
righteousness—the opposite of
"iniquity," that is, unrighteousness (2Ti 2:19; compare 1Ti 6:11).
peace, with, &c.—rather, put no
comma, "peace with them that call on the Lord out of a pure
heart" (1Ti 1:5; Eph 6:5; Col 3:22). We are to love all men, but it
is not possible to be at peace with all men, for this needs
community of purpose and opinion; they alone who call on the Lord
sincerely (as contrasted with the false teachers who had only the form
of godliness, 2Ti 3:5, 8; Tit 1:15, 16) have this community [Theodoret]. (Ro 12:18).
23. (Tit 3:9.)
"undisciplined"; not tending to promote the discipline of faith and
5:23). "Uninstructive"; in
contrast with "instructing" (2Ti 2:25), and "wise unto salvation" (2Ti 3:15).
24. not strive—"The servant of the Lord"
must imitate his master in not striving contentiously, though
uncompromising in earnestly contending for the faith (Jude 3; Mt
gentle unto all men—"patient"
(Greek, "patient in bearing wrongs") in respect to adversaries.
He is to be gentle so that he may occasion no evils;
patient so that he may endure evils.
apt to teach—implying not only solid
teaching and ease in teaching, but patience and assiduity in it [Bengel].
"disciplining," instructing with correction, which those who
deal in "uninstructive" or "undisciplined questions" need (see
on 2Ti 2:23; 1Ti
those that oppose
themselves—Greek, "oppositely affected"; those of a
if … peradventure—Greek,
"if at any time."
repentance—which they need as
antecedent to the full knowledge (so the Greek for
'acknowledgment') of the truth" (1Ti 2:4), their minds being corrupted (2Ti 3:8), and their lives immoral. The
cause of the spiritual ignorance which prompts such "questions" is
moral, having its seat in the will, not in the intellect (Joh 7:17). Therefore repentance is their
first need. That, not man, but God alone can "give" (Ac 5:31).
26. recover themselves—Greek,
"awake to soberness," namely from the spiritual intoxication whereby
they have fallen into the snare of the devil.
the snare—(Eph 6:11, "the wiles of the devil": 1Ti 3:7; 6:9).
taken captive by him at his will—so
as to follow the will of "THAT" (the
Greek emphatically marks Satan thus) foe. However, different
Greek pronouns stand for "him" and "his"; and the Greek
for "taken captive" means not "captured for destruction," but
"for being saved alive," as in Lu 5:10, "Thou shalt catch men to save them unto
life"; also there is no article before the Greek participle,
which the English Version "who are taken captive," would
require. Therefore, translate, "That they may awake … taken as
saved (and willing) captives by him (the servant of the Lord, 2Ti 2:24), so as to follow the will of
HIM (the Lord, 2Ti 2:24, or "God," 2Ti 2:25)." There are here two evils, the "snare"
and sleep, from which they are delivered: and two goods to which
they are translated, awaking and deliverance. Instead of Satan's
thrall comes the free and willing captivity of obedience
to Christ (2Co 10:5). It
is God who goes before, giving repentance (2Ti 2:25); then the work of His servant following
is sure to be crowned with success, leading the convert henceforth to
"live to the will of God" (Ac 22:14; 1Pe 4:2).