Solemn Charge to Timothy to Do His Duty
Zealously, for Times of Apostasy Are at Hand, and the Apostle Is near
His Triumphant End: Requests Him to Come
and Bring Mark with Him to Rome, as Luke Alone Is with Him, the Others
Having Gone: Also His Cloak and
Parchments: Warns Him against
Alexander: Tells What Befell Him at His
First Defense: Greetings: Benediction.
1. charge—Greek, "adjure."
therefore—omitted in the oldest
the Lord Jesus Christ—The oldest
manuscripts read simply, "Christ Jesus."
shall judge—His commission from
God is mentioned, Ac 10:42;
his resolution to do so, 1Pe 4:5; the
execution of his commission, here.
at his appearing—The oldest
manuscripts read, "and" for "at"; then translate, "(I charge thee
before God … ) and by His appearing."
and his kingdom—to be set at His
appearing, when we hope to reign with Him. His kingdom is real now, but
not visible. It shall then be both real and visible (Lu 22:18, 30; Re 1:7; 11:15; 19:6). Now he reigns in the midst
of His enemies expecting till they shall be overthrown (Ps
110:2; Heb 10:13).
Then He shall reign with His adversaries prostrate.
2. Preach—literally, "proclaim as a
herald." The term for the discourses in the synagogue was
daraschoth; the corresponding Greek term (implying
dialectial style, dialogue, and discussion, Ac 17:2, 18;
18:4, 19) is applied in Acts
to discourses in the Christian Church. Justin Martyr [Apology, 2], describes the
order of public worship, "On Sunday all meet and the writings of the
apostles and prophets are read; then the president delivers a
discourse; after this all stand up and pray; then there is offered
bread and wine and water; the president likewise prays and gives
thanks, and the people solemnly assent, saying, Amen." The bishops and
presbyters had the right and duty to preach, but they sometimes called
on deacons, and even laymen, to preach. Eusebius [Ecclesiastical History, 6.19]; in
this the Church imitated the synagogue (Lu 4:17-22; Ac 13:15,
be instant—that is, urgent, earnest,
in the whole work of the ministry.
in season, out of season—that is, at
all seasons; whether they regard your speaking as seasonable or
unseasonable. "Just as the fountains, though none may draw from them,
still flow on; and the rivers, though none drink of them, still run; so
must we do all on our part in speaking, though none give heed to us"
[Chrysostom, Homily, 30, vol. 5.,
p. 221]. I think with Chrysostom, there
is included also the idea of times whether seasonable or unseasonable
to Timothy himself; not merely when convenient, but when
inconvenient to thee, night as well as day (Ac 20:31), in danger as well as in safety, in
prison and when doomed to death as well as when at large, not only in
church, but everywhere and on all occasions, whenever and wherever the
Lord's work requires it.
with, &c.—Greek, "IN (the element in which the
exhortation ought to have place) all long-suffering (2Ti 2:24, 25;
3:10) and teaching";
2:24, "apt to teach." The
Greek for "doctrine" here is didache, but in 2Ti 3:16, didascalia. "Didascalia"
is what one receives; "didache" is what is communicated [Tittmann].
3. they—professing Christians.
sound doctrine—Greek, "the
sound (see on 1Ti 1:10) doctrine
(didascalias)" or "teaching," namely, of the Gospel. Presently
follows the concrete, "teachers."
after their own lusts—Instead of
regarding the will of God they dislike being interrupted in their lusts
by true teachers.
heap—one on another: an indiscriminate
mass of false teachers. Variety delights itching ears. "He who despises
sound teaching, leaves sound teachers; they seek instructors like
themselves" [Bengel]. It is the
corruption of the people in the first instance, that creates
priestcraft (Ex 32:1).
to themselves—such as will suit their
depraved tastes; populus vult decipi, et decipiatur—"the
people wish to be deceived, so let them be deceived." "Like priest,
like people" (1Ki 12:31; Ho 4:9).
itching—like to hear teachers who give
them mere pleasure (Ac 17:19-21), and do not offend by truths grating to
their ears. They, as it were, tickle with pleasure the levity of the
multitude [Cicero], who come as to a
theater to hear what will delight their ears, not to learn [Seneca, Epistles, 10.8] what will do
them good. "Itch in the ear is as bad in any other part of the body,
and perhaps worse" [South].
4. The ear brooks not what is opposed to the
turned—Greek, "turned aside"
1:6). It is a righteous
retribution, that when men turn away from the truth, they should
be turned to fables (Jer 2:19).
5. I am no longer here to withstand these
things; be thou a worthy successor of me, no longer depending on me for
counsel, but thine own master, and swimming without the corks [Calvin]; follow my steps, inherit their
result, and the honor of their end [Alford].
watch thou—literally, "with the
wakefulness of one sober."
in all things—on all occasions and
under all circumstances (Tit 2:7).
endure affliction—suffer hardships
evangelist—a missionary bishop
preacher, and teacher.
make full proof of—fulfil in all its
requirements, leaving nothing undone (Ac 12:25; Ro 15:19; Col
6. Greek, "For I am already being
offered"; literally, as a libation; appropriate to the shedding
of his blood. Every sacrifice began with an initiatory libation
on the victim's head (compare Note, see on Php 2:17). A motive to stimulate Timothy to
faithfulness—the departure and final blessedness of Paul; it is
the end that crowns the work [Bengel].
As the time of his departure was indicated to Peter, so to Paul (2Pe 1:14).
my departure—literally, "loosing
anchor" (see on Php 1:23).
7. "I have striven the good strife"; the
Greek is not restricted to a fight, but includes any
competitive contest, for example, that of the racecourse (1Ti 6:12 [Alford]; 1Co 9:24, &c.; Heb 12:1, 2).
kept the faith—the Christian faith
committed to me as a believer and an apostle (compare 2Ti 1:14;
Re 2:10; 3:10).
8. a crown—rather as Greek,
"the crown." The "henceforth" marks the decisive moment; he
looks to his state in a threefold aspect: (1) The past "I have fought";
(2) The immediate present; "there is laid up for me." (3) The future
"the Lord will give in that day" [Bengel].
crown—a crown, or garland, used to be
bestowed at the Greek national games on the successful competitor in
wrestling, running, &c. (compare 1Pe 5:4; Re 2:10).
of righteousness—The reward is in
recognition of righteousness wrought in Paul by God's Spirit; the
crown is prepared for the righteous; but it is a crown which
consists in righteousness. Righteousness will be its own reward
22:11). Compare Ex 39:30. A man is justified gratuitously by the
merits of Christ through faith; and when he is so justified God accepts
his works and honors them with a reward which is not their due, but is
given of grace. "So great is God's goodness to men that He wills that
their works should be merits, though they are merely His own gifts"
[Pope Celestine I., Epistles,
give—Greek, "shall award" in
righteous requital as "Judge" (Ac 17:31; 2Co 5:10; 2Th
in that day—not until His appearing
1:12). The partakers of the
first resurrection may receive a crown also at the last
day, and obtain in that general assembly of all men, a new
award of praise. The favorable sentence passed on the "brethren" of the
Judge, who sit with Him on His throne, is in Mt 25:40, taken for granted as already
awarded, when that affecting those who benefited them is being passed
[Bengel]. The former, the elect Church
who reign with Christ in the millennium, are fewer than the latter. The
righteous heavenly Judge stands in contrast to the unrighteous
earthly judges who condemned Paul.
Greek, "not only to me."
them that love—Greek, "have
loved, and do love"; habitual love and desire for Christ's
appearing, which presupposes faith (compare Heb 9:28). Compare the sad contrast, 2Ti 4:10, "having loved this present
9. (2Ti 4:21; 2Ti 1:4, 8.) Timothy is asked to come to be a
comfort to Paul, and also to be strengthened by Paul, for carrying on
the Gospel work after Paul's decease.
10. Demas—once a "fellow laborer" of
Paul, along with Mark and Luke (Col 4:14; Phm 24). His motive for forsaking Paul seems to
have been love of worldly ease, safety, and comforts at home, and
disinclination to brave danger with Paul (Mt 13:20, 21,
22). Chrysostom implies that Thessalonica was his
Galatia—One oldest manuscript supports
the reading "Gaul." But most oldest manuscripts, &c.,
Titus—He must have therefore left
Crete after "setting in order" the affairs of the churches there (Tit 1:5).
Dalmatia—part of the Roman province of
Illyricum on the coast of the Adriatic. Paul had written to him (Tit 3:12) to come to him in the winter to
Nicopolis (in Epirus), intending in the spring to preach the Gospel in
the adjoining province of Dalmatia. Titus seems to have gone thither to
carry out the apostle's intention, the execution of which was
interrupted by his arrest. Whether he went of his own accord, as is
likely, or was sent by Paul, which the expression "is departed" hardly
accords with, cannot be positively decided. Paul here speaks only of
his personal attendants having forsaken him; he had still friends among
the Roman Christians who visited him (2Ti 4:21), though they had been afraid to stand
by him at his trial (2Ti 4:16).
11. Take—Greek, "take up" on thy
journey (Ac 20:13, 14). John Mark was probably in, or near,
Colosse, as in the Epistle to the Colossians (Col 4:10), written two years before this, he is
mentioned as about to visit them. Timothy was now absent from Ephesus
and somewhere in the interior of Asia Minor; hence he would be sure to
fall in with Mark on his journey.
he is profitable to me for the
ministry—Mark had been under a cloud for having forsaken Paul
at a critical moment in his missionary tour with Barnabas (Ac 15:37-40;
13:5, 13). Timothy had
subsequently occupied the same post in relation to Paul as Mark once
held. Hence Paul, appropriately here, wipes out the past censure by
high praise of Mark and guards against Timothy's making self-complacent
comparisons between himself and Mark, as though he were superior to the
latter (compare Phm 24).
Demas apostatizes. Mark returns to the right way, and is no longer
unprofitable, but is profitable for the Gospel ministry (Phm 11).
12. And—Greek, "But." Thou art to
come to me, but Tychicus I have sent to Ephesus to supply thy
place (if thou so willest it) in presiding over the Church there in thy
absence (compare Tit 3:12). It
is possible Tychicus was the bearer of this Epistle, though the
omission of "to thee" is rather against this view.
13. cloak … I left—probably
obliged to leave it in a hurried departure from Troas.
Carpus—a faithful friend to have been
entrusted with so precious deposits. The mention of his "cloak," so far
from being unworthy of inspiration, is one of those graphic touches
which sheds a flood of light on the last scene of Paul's life, on the
confines of two worlds; in this wanting a cloak to cover him from the
winter cold, in that covered with the righteousness of saints, "clothed
upon with his house from heaven" [Gaussen]. So the inner vesture and outer garment of
Jesus, Paul's master, are suggestive of most instructive thought (Joh 19:2).
books—He was anxious respecting these
that he might transmit them to the faithful, so that they might have
the teaching of his writings when he should be gone.
especially the parchments—containing
perhaps some of his inspired Epistles themselves.
14. Alexander the coppersmith—or "smith"
in general. Perhaps the same as the Alexander (see on 1Ti 1:20) at Ephesus. Excommunicated then he
subsequently was restored, and now vented his personal malice because
of his excommunication in accusing Paul before the Roman judges,
whether of incendiarism or of introducing a new religion. See my Introduction. He may have been the
Alexander put forward by the Jews in the tumult at Ephesus (Ac 19:33,
reward—The oldest manuscripts read,
"shall reward," or "requite him." Personal revenge certainly did
not influence the apostle (2Ti 4:16,
15. our words—the arguments of us
Christians for our common faith. Believers have a common cause.
16. At my first answer—that is,
"defense" in court, at my first public examination. Timothy knew
nothing of this, it is plain, till Paul now informs him. But during his
former imprisonment at Rome, Timothy was with him (Php 1:1, 7). This must have been, therefore, a
second imprisonment. He must have been set free before the
persecution in A.D. 64, when the
Christians were accused of causing the conflagration in Rome; for, had
he been a prisoner then, he certainly would not have been spared. The
tradition [Eusebius, Ecclesiastical
History, 2.251] that he was finally beheaded, accords with
his not having been put to death in the persecution, A.D. 64, when burning to death was the mode
by which the Christians were executed, but subsequently to it. His
"first" trial in his second imprisonment seems to have been on the
charge of complicity in the conflagration; his absence from Rome may
have been the ground of his acquittal on that charge; his final
condemnation was probably on the charge of introducing a new and
unlawful religion into Rome.
stood with me—Greek, "came
forward with me" [Alford] as a friend
may it not be laid to their
charge—The position of "their," in the Greek, is
emphatic. "May it not be laid to THEIR
charge," for they were intimidated; their drawing back from me
was not from bad disposition so much as from fear; it is sure to be
laid to the charge of those who intimidated them. Still Paul, like
Stephen, would doubtless have offered the same prayer for his
persecutors themselves (Ac 7:60).
17. the Lord—the more because men
stood with me—stronger than "came
forward with me" (Greek, 2Ti 4:16).
strength in me."
by me—"through me"; through my means.
One single occasion is often of the greatest moment.
the preaching—"the Gospel
might be fully known—might be fully
made (see on 2Ti 4:5).
that all the Gentiles—present at my
trial, "might hear" the Gospel proclaimed then. Rome was the capital of
the Gentile world, so that a proclamation of the truth to the Romans
was likely to go forth to the rest of the Gentile world.
I was delivered out of the mouth of the
lion—namely, Satan, the roaring, devouring lion (Lu 22:31; 1Pe
5:8). I was prevented falling
into his snare (2Ti 2:26; Ps 22:21; 2Pe 2:9); 2Ti 4:18 agrees with this interpretation, "The
Lord shall deliver me from every evil work," namely, both
from evil and the evil one, as the Greek of the Lord's Prayer
expresses it. It was not deliverance from Nero (who was called the
lion) which he rejoiced in, for he did not fear death (2Ti 4:6-8), but deliverance from the
temptation, through fear, to deny His Lord: so Alford.
18. And the Lord shall, &c.—Hope
draws its conclusions from the past to the future [Bengel].
will preserve me—literally, "will
22:21), "will bring me safe
to." Jesus is the Lord and the Deliverer (Php 3:20; 1Th
1:10): He saves from evil; He
gives good things.
heavenly kingdom—Greek, "His
kingdom which is a heavenly one."
to whom, &c.—Greek, "to
whom be the glory unto the ages of ages." The very hope
produces a doxology: how much greater will be the doxology which the
actual enjoyment shall produce! [Bengel].
19. Prisca and Aquila—(Ac
18:2, 3; Ro 16:3, 4; 1Co 16:19, written from Ephesus, where therefore
Aquila and Priscilla must then have been).
household of Onesiphorus—If he were
dead at the time, the "household" would not have been called "the
household of Onesiphorus." He was probably absent (see on
20. In order to depict his desertion, he
informs Timothy that Erastus, one of his usual companions (Ac 19:22, possibly the same Erastus as in Ro 16:23, though how he could leave his
official duties for missionary journeys is not clear), stayed behind at
Corinth, his native place, or usual residence, of which city he was
"chamberlain," or city steward and treasurer (Ro 16:23); and Trophimus he left behind at
Miletus sick. (On his former history, see on Ac
20:4; Ac 21:29).
This verse is irreconcilable with the imprisonment from which he writes
being the first: for he did not pass by Corinth or Miletus on
his way to Rome when about to be imprisoned for the first time. As
Miletus was near Ephesus, there is a presumption that Timothy was
not at Ephesus when Paul wrote, or he would not need to inform
Timothy of Trophimus lying sick in his immediate neighborhood. However,
Trophimus may not have been still at Miletus at the time when Paul
wrote, though he had left him there on his way to Rome. Prisca and
Aquila were most likely to be at Ephesus (2Ti 4:19), and he desires Timothy to salute
them: so also Onesiphorus' household (2Ti 1:18). Paul had not the power of healing at
19:12), but as the Lord
21. before winter—when a voyage,
according to ancient usages of navigation, would be out of the
question: also, Paul would need his "cloak" against the winter (2Ti 4:13).
Pudens … Claudia—afterwards
husband and wife (according to Martial
[Epigrams, 4.13; 11.54]), he a Roman knight, she a Briton,
surnamed Rufina. Tacitus [On
Agriculture, 14], mentions that territories in southeast Britain
were given to a British king; Cogidunus, in reward for his fidelity to
Rome, A.D. 52, while Claudius was
emperor. In 1772 a marble was dug up at Chichester, mentioning
Cogidunus with the surname Claudius, added from his patron, the
emperor's name; and Pudens in connection with Cogidunus,
doubtless his father-in-law. His daughter would be Claudia, who seems
to have been sent to Rome for education, as a pledge of the father's
fidelity. Here she was under the protection of Pomponia, wife of Aulus
Plautius, conqueror of Britain. Pomponia was accused of foreign
superstitions, A.D. 57 [Tacitus, Annals, 3.32], probably
Christianity. She probably was the instrument of converting
Claudia, who took the name Rufina from her, that being a
cognomen of the Pomponian gens (compare Ro 16:13, Rufus, a Christian). Pudens in
Martial and in the Chichester
inscription, appears as a pagan; but perhaps he or his friends
concealed his Christianity through fear. Tradition represents
Timothy, a son of Pudens, as taking part in converting the
Linus—put third; therefore not at this
time yet, as he was afterwards, bishop. His name being here
inserted between Pudens and Claudia, implies the two were not yet
married. "Eubulus" is identified by some with Aristobulus, who, with
his converts, is said to have been among the first evangelists of
Britain. Paul himself, says Clement,
"visited the farthest west [perhaps Britain, certainly
Spain], and was martyred under the rulers at Rome," who were
Nero's vicegerents in his absence from the city.
22. Grace be with you—plural in oldest
manuscripts, "with YOU," that is, thee
and the members of the Ephesian and neighboring churches.