2 Timothy 4
Pulpit Commentary
I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom;
Verse 1. - In the sight of God, and of Christ Jesus for therefore before God and the Lord Jesus Christ, A.V. and T.R.; and by for at, A.V. and T.R. I charge thee (διαμαρτύρομαι); as 2 Timothy 2:14 and 1 Timothy 5:21 (where see note). The words οϋν ἐγώ, wanting in some of the best manuscripts, are "rejected by Griesbach, Tischendorf, Lachmann," and by Huther, Alford, Ellicott, and others. The chapter opens rather abruptly without the connecting "therefore." And by his appearing and his kingdom. The reading of the T.R., κατὰ τὴν ἐπιφάνειαν κ.τ.λ.., "at his appearing and kingdom," makes such excellent sense, and is in such perfect accordance with the usual grammar, and with the usual connection of events, that it is difficult not to believe that it is the right reading (see Matthew 27:15, κατὰ ἑορτήν, "at the feast;" κατὰ πᾶν σάββατον, "on every sabbath;" Acts 13:27, κατὰ τὴν ἡμέραν, "in the day;" Hebrews 3:8 for the grammar; and the universal language of Scripture and the Creeds connecting the judgment with the Lord's appearing and kingdom). On the other hand, the reading καὶ is almost impossible to construe. No two commentators scarcely are agreed how to do so. Some take τὴν ἐπιφανείαν καὶ τὴν βασιλείαν as the object governed by διαμαρτύρομαι as in the LXX. of Deuteronomy 4:26, "I call to witness... Christ's epiphany and kingdom," taking διαμαρτύρομαι in two senses or two constructions. Others take them as the accusatives of the things sworn by, "I charge thee before God and Jesus Christ, and by his epiphany and kingdom," as Mark 5:7, τὸν Θεόν, "by God;" Acts 19:13, τὸν Ἰησοῦν, "by Jesus;" 1 Thessalonians 5:27, τὸν Κύριον, "by the Lord." But how awkward such a separation of the thing sworn by from the verb is, and how unnatural it is to couple with καὶ the two ideas, "before God" and "by Christ's epiphany," and how absolutely without example such a swearing by Christ's epiphany and kingdom is, nobody needs to be told. Others, as Huther, try to get over part at least of this awkwardness by taking the two καιs as "both:" "by both his epiphany and his kingdom." Ellicott explains it by saying that as you could not put "the epiphany and the kingdom" in dependence upon ἐνώπιον (as if they were persons like God and Christ), they "naturally pass into the accusative." But surely this is all thoroughly unsatisfactory. The T.R. is perfectly easy and simple. Appearing (ἐπιφανεία); ver. 8; 2 Timothy 1:10; 2 Thessalonians 2:8; 1 Timothy 6:14; Titus 2:13. His kingdom. So in the Nicene Creed: "He shall come again with glory to judge both the quick and the dead: whose kingdom shall have no end" (comp. Matthew 25:31, followed by the judgment).
Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.
Verse 2. - Teaching for doctrine, A.V. Preach the Word (κήρυξον τὸν λόγον). It is impossible to exaggerate the dignity and importance here given to preaching by its being made the subject of so solemn and awful an adjuration as that in ver. 1 (compare the designation of κήρυξ which St. Paul gives to himself in 1 Timothy 2:7; 2 Timothy 1:11). Be instant (ἐπίστηθι). The force of the exhortation must be found, not in the verb itself taken alone, but by coupling εὐκαίρως ἀκαίρως closely with it. Be at your work, attend to it always, in and out of season; let nothing stop you; be always ready, always at hand. Reprove (ἔλεγξον); see 2 Timothy 3:16, note (comp. Matthew 18:15; Ephesians 5:11; 1 Timothy 5:20). Generally with the idea of bringing the fault home to the offender. Rebuke (ἐπιτίμησον); a stronger word than ἔλεγξον, implying more of authority and less of argument (Matthew 8:26: 17:18; Luke 19:39; Jude 1:9, etc.). Exhort (παρακάλεσον). Sometimes the sense of "exhort," and sometimes that of "comfort," predominates (see 1 Timothy 2:1; 1 Timothy 6:2, etc.). Every way of strengthening and establishing souls in the fear and love of God is to be tried, and that with all long suffering and teaching. (For μακροθυμία, see ch. 3:10, note.) For "teaching" or "doctrine" (διδαχή), St. Paul more frequently uses διδασκαλία in the pastoral Epistles (1 Timothy 1:10; 1 Timothy 4:6, 13, 16; 1 Timothy 5:17; ch. 3:10, 16, etc.); but there does not seem to be any great difference of meaning. Possibly διδαχή points more to the act of teaching. The use of it here, coupled with "long suffering," directs that the man of God, whether he preaches, reproves, rebukes, or exhorts, is always to be a patient teacher of God's Word and truth.
For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears;
Verse 3. - The sound for sound, A.V.; having itching ears, will heap to themselves teachers after their own lusts for after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears, A.V. The sound (τῆς ὑγιαινούσης). Nothing is gained by the addition of the article in English. The phrase, ἡ ὑγιαίνουσα διδασκαλία, is characteristic of the pastoral Epistles, having arisen, no doubt, from the growth of heresy (see 1 Timothy 1:10; 1 Timothy 6:3. 2 Timothy 1:13; Titus 1:9, 13; Titus 2:1; also Titus 2:8). In classical Greek, ὑγιής is frequently applied to words, sentiments, advice, etc., in the sense of "sound," "wise;" and ὑγιαίειν is also applied to the mind and character. Endure (ἀνέξονται); usually, as Bishop Ellicott observes, applied by St. Paul to persons as the object, as elsewhere in the New Testament (Matthew 17:17; Acts 18:14; Ephesians 4:2, etc.); but not invariably (see 2 Thessalonians 1:4; so too Hebrews 13:22). In classical Greek, ἀνέχεσθαι, followed by persons or things, usually governs an accusative case, if any, but a genitive frequently in Plato. Having itching ears (κνηθόμενοι τὴν ἀκοήν); only here in the New Testament. The phrase, κνησέως ὤτων, is ascribed by Plutarch to Plato (Alford), "scratching the (itching) ear;" κνᾶσθαι τὰ ῶτα, "to tickle the ears" (Lucian); ἀποκναίουσιν ἡμῶν τὰ ᾤτα (Philo, ap. Ellicott). The verb κνήθω (i.q. κνάω) means "to scratch;" "to tickle," and in the passive "to itch." Will heap to themselves (ἐπισωρεύσουσι); a contemptuous word (found only here in the New Testament, and nowhere in early classical Greek), implying the indiscriminate multiplication of teachers (compare our use of "exaggerate"). The simple σωρεύειν occurs in ch. 3:6. After their own lusts. The measure of the number or the quality of their self-chosen teachers will be their own insatiable and ever-varying fancies and mental appetites, not the desire to be taught God's truth by teachers sent from God. Compare Jeroboam's conduct in ordaining a feast "in the mouth which he had devised of his own heart" (1 Kings 12:33).
And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.
Verse 4. - Will turn for they shall turn, A.V.; turn aside for shall be turned, A.V. Will turn away, etc. The sober, sound doctrine of the Word of God, teaching self-discipline, humility, and purity of heart and life, will not assuage their itching ears, and therefore they will turn away from it, and go after more congenial fables - those taught by the heretics. Turn aside (ἐκτραπήσοναι); as 1 Timothy 1:6, note. Fables (μύθους); see 1 Timothy 1:4; 1 Timothy 4:7; Titus 1:14; 2 Peter 1:16 (on the Jewish origin of these fables, see Bishop Ellicott's note on 1 Timothy 1:4).
But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry.
Verse 5. - Be thou sober for watch thou, A.V.; suffer hardship for endure afflictions, A.V.; fulfil for make full proof of, A.V. Be thou sober (νῆφε); as 1 Thessalonians 5:6, 8; 1 Peter 1:13; 1 Peter 4:7; 1 Peter 5:8. The adjective νηφάλιος occurs in 1 Timothy 3:2 (where see note), 11; Titus 2:2. Here "Be sober in all things" clearly does not refer to literal sobriety, which Timothy was in little danger of transgressing (l Timothy 5:23), but comprehends clearness, calmness, steadiness, and moderation in all things. Suffer hardship (κακοπάθησον); as 2 Timothy 2:3 (T.R.) and 9. An evangelist (εὐαγγελιστοῦ); one whose business it is to preach the gospel, according to Matthew 11:5. The verb εὐαγγελίζειν, "to preach the gospel," and αὐαγγέλιον, "the gospel," are of very frequent use in the New Testament. But εὐαγγελιστής, an evangelist. occurs elsewhere only in Acts 21:8 and Ephesians 4:11. Fulfil thy ministry. This is rather a weak rendering of the Greek πληροφόρησον, adopted also in the R.V. of Luke 1:1. The verb occurs elsewhere in Luke 1:1; Romans 4:21; Romans 14:5, and ver. 17 of this chapter. The phrase is metaphorical, but it is uncertain whether the metaphor is that of a ship borne along by full sails, or of full measure given. If the former is the metaphor, then the derived meaning, when applied to persons, is that of full persuasion, entire and implicit faith, which carries men forward in a bold and unwavering course; or, when applied to things, that of being undoubtedly believed. But if the metaphor is taken from "bringing full measure;" then the sense in the passive voice when applied to persons will be "to be fully satisfied," i.e. to have full assurance, and, when applied to things, "to be fully believed" (Liddell and Scott). Applying the last metaphor to the passage before us, the sense will be "discharge thy ministry to the fall." Let there be no stint of ministerial labour, but carry it out in its completeness, and to the end.
For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand.
Verse 6. - Already being offered for now ready to be offered, A.V.; come for at hand. A.V. I am already being offered. The ἐγώ is emphatic, in contrast with the σύ of ver. 5: "Thou, who hast still life before thee, suffer hardship, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry. I can do so no longer, for my martyrdom has already commenced, and my end is close at hand. Thou must take my place in the great conflict." Am... being offered (σπένδομαι); am being poured out, as the drink offering, or libation, is poured out. St. Paul uses the same figure in Philippians 2:17, where he couples it with the sacrifice and service (or offering up) of the faith of the Philippians by himself as the priest, and looks upon the pouring out of his own life as the completion of that sacrifice (see Ellicott on Philippians). "The libation always formed the conclusion of the sacrifice, and so the apostle's martyrdom closed his apostolic service" (Huther), which had been a continual sacrifice, in which he had been the ministering priest (Romans 15:16). So that the use of σπένδομαι here exactly agrees with that in Philippians 2:17. "My sacrificial work," St. Paul says," being now finished and ended, I am performing the last solemn act, the pouring out of my own life in martyrdom, to which I shall pass out of the prison where I now am." The time of my departure (τῆς ἐμῆς ἀναλύσεως). The word is found nowhere else in the New Testament, but St. Paul uses the verb ἀναλῦσαι, "to depart," in Philippians 1:23, where, the verb being in the active voice, the metaphor clearly is from weighing anchor, as in common use in classical Greek; hence simply "to depart." The classical use of ἀνάλυσις rather favours the sense, either of" release" or of " dissolution." But St. Paul's use of ἀναλύω in Philippians 1:23, and the frequent use of the same verb in the LXX. and by Josephus, in the sense of "to depart," favours the rendering of ἀνάλυσις by "departure," as in the A.V. and R.V. Is come; rather, is at hand (ἐφέστηκε); the same verb as ἐπίστηθι in ver. 2. (On the difference between ἐνέστηκε ("is come") and ἐφέστηκε ("is at hand"), see Alford on 2 Thessalonians 2:2, and comp. Acts 22:20.)
I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith:
Verse 7. - The for a, A.V.; the for my, A.V. I have fought the good fight; as 1 Timothy 6:12 (τὸν ἀγῶνα τὸν καλόν), meaning that, however honourable the contests of the games were deemed, the Christian contest was far more honourable than them all. The word "fight" does not adequately express by agora, which embraces all kinds of contests - chariot race, foot race, wrestling, etc. "I have played out the honourable game" would give the sense, though inelegantly. The course (τὸν δρόμον); Acts 13:25; Acts 20:24. The runner in the race had a definite δρόμος, or course to run, marked out for him. St. Paul's life was that course, and he knew that he had run it out. I have kept the faith. St. Paul here quits metaphor and explains the foregoing figures. Through his long eventful course, in spite of all difficulties, conflicts, dangers, and temptations, he had kept the faith of Jesus Christ committed to him, inviolable, unadulterated, whole, and complete. He had not shrunk from confessing it when death stared him in the face; he had not corrupted it to meet the views of Jews or Gentiles; with courage and resolution and perseverance he had kept it to the end. Oh! let Timothy do the same.
Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.
Verse 8. - The for a, A.V.; to me for me, A.V.; only to me for to me only, A.V.; also to all them for unto all them also, A.V.; have loved for love. Henceforth (λοιπόν); as Hebrews 10:13. The work of conflict being over, it only remains to receive the crown. The crown of righteousness means that crown the possession of which marks the wearer as righteous before God. The analogous phrases are, "the crown of glory" (1 Peter 5:4) and "the crown of life" (James 1:12; Revelation 2:10). The righteousness, the glory, and the life of the saints are conceived as displayed in crowns, as the kingly dignity is in the crown of royalty. The righteous Judge (κριτής). In Acts 10:42 the Lord Jesus is said to be ordained of God Κριτὴς ζώντων καὶ νεκρῶν. "the Judge of quick and dead;" and in Hebrews 12:23 we read, Κριτῇ Θεῷ πάντων, "God the Judge of all." But nowhere else, either in the Old Testament or the New Testament, is this term applied directly either to God or to Christ. Surely its use here is influenced by the preceding metaphor of the ἀγών and the δρόμος and the στέφανος; and "the righteous Judge" is the impartial βραβεύς, or "judge," who assigned the prizes at the games to those who had fairly won them. And this is the proper meaning of κριτής, "the umpire," applied, especially at Athens, to the "judges" at the poetic contests (Liddell and Scott). Thucydides contrasts the κριτής and the ἀγωνιστής; Aristophanes the κριταί and the θεαταί, the "spectators;" and the word "critic" is derived from this meaning of κιτής and κριτικός. The whole picture is that of the apostle running his noble race of righteousness to the very end, and of the Lord himself assigning to him the well earned crown of victory in the presence of heaven and earth assembled for the solemnity of that great day. That have loved his appearing. It will be a characteristic of those who will be crowned at that day that all the time they were lighting the good fight they were looking forward with hope and desire for their Lord's appearing and kingdom. "Thy kingdom come" was their desire and their petition. They will be able to say at that day, "So, this is our God; we have waited for him, and he will save us: this is the Lord; we have waited for him, we will be glad and rejoice in his salvation" (Isaiah 25:9). His appearing; as in ver. 2.
Do thy diligence to come shortly unto me:
Verse 9. - Do thy diligence (σπούδασον); see ch. 2:15, note. St. Paul's affectionate longing for Timothy's company in present danger and desertion is very touching. (For the chronological bearing of this passage, see Introduction.)
For Demas hath forsaken me, having loved this present world, and is departed unto Thessalonica; Crescens to Galatia, Titus unto Dalmatia.
Verse 10. - Forsook for hath forsaken, A.V.; went for is departed, A.V.; to for unto, A.V. (twice). Demas. Nothing more is known of Demas than what is gathered from the mention of him in Colossians 4:14 and Philemon 1:1:24. We learn from those passages that he was a fellow labourer of the apostle, and it is remarkable that in them both he is coupled, as here, with Luke and Mark (Colossians 4:10). (See Introduction.) Having loved this present world. It would appear from this that Demas had not the faith or the courage to run the risk of sharing St. Paul's imminent martyrdom at Rome, but left him, while he was free to do so, under pretence of an urgent call to Thessaloniea; just as Mark left Paul and Barnabas (Acts 13:13). But there is no ground to believe that he was an apostate from the faith. The coupling together of Demas and Aristarchus in Philemon 1:24 suggests that Demas may have been a Thessalonian, as we know that Aristarchus was (Acts 20:4). Demas is thought to be a shortened form of Demarchus. If so, we have a slight additional indication of his being a Thessalonian, as compounds with archos or arches would seem to have been common in Thessalonica (compare Aristarchus and πολιτάρχης, Acts 17:6, 8). Crescens (Κρήσκης); only mentioned here. It is a Latin name, like Πούδης, Pudens, in ver. 21. There was a cynic philosopher of this name in the second century, a great enemy of the Christians. The tradition ('Apost. Constit.,' 7:46) that he preached the gospel in Galatia is probably derived from this passage. Titus, etc. The last mention of Titus, not reckoning the Epistle to Titus, is that in 2 Corinthians 12:18, from which it appears that St. Paul had sent him to Corinth just before his own last visit to that city. How the interval was filled up, and where Titus passed the time, we know not. He is not once named in the Acts of the Apostles, nor in any of St. Paul's Epistles written during his first imprisonment. But we gather from Titus 1:5 that he accompanied St. Paul to Crete, presumably after the apostle's return from Spain; that he was left there for a time to organize the Church; that later he joined the apostle at Nicopolis (Titus 3:12),and, doubtless by St. Paul's desire, went to Dalmatia, as mentioned in this tenth verse. And here our knowledge of him ends. Tradition pretty consistently makes him Bishop of Gortyna, in Crete, where are the ruins of a very ancient church dedicated to St. Titus, in which service is occasionally performed by priests from the neighbourhood (Dean Howson, in 'Dict. of Bible:' art. "Titus").
Only Luke is with me. Take Mark, and bring him with thee: for he is profitable to me for the ministry.
Verse 11. - Useful for profitable, A.V.; ministering for the ministry, A.V. Luke; probably a shortened form of Lucanus. Luke was with St. Paul in his voyage to Rome (Acts 27:1; Acts 28:11, 16), and when he wrote the Epistles to the Colossians and Philemon (Colossians 4:14; Philemon 1:4), having doubtless composed the Acts of the Apostles during St. Paul's two years' imprisonment (Acts 28:30). How he spent his time between that date and the mention of him here as still with St. Paul, we have no knowledge. But it looks as if he may have been in close personal attendance upon him all the time. if he had been permitted to write a supplement to the Acts, perhaps the repeated "we" would have shown this. Take Mark. Mark had apparently been recently reconciled to St. Paul when he wrote Colossians 4:10, and was with him when he wrote Philemon 1:24. We know nothing more of him till we learn from this passage that he was with or near to Timothy, and likely to accompany him to Rome in his last visit to St. Paul. He is mentioned again in 1 Peter 5:13, as being with St. Peter at Babylon. The expression, "take" (ἀναλαβών), seems to imply that Timothy was to pick him up on the way, as the word is used in Acts 20:13, 14; and, though less certainly, in Acts 23:31. He is useful to me, etc. (εὔχρηστος); as ch. 2:21 (where see note). This testimony to Mark's ministerial usefulness, at a time when his faithfulness and courage would be put to a severe test, is very satisfactory. For ministering (εἰς διακονίαν). It may be doubted whether διακονία here means "the ministry," as in the A.V. and 1 Timothy 1:12, or, as in the R.V., more generally "for ministering," i.e. for acting as an assistant to me in my apostolic labours. The words, "to me," favour the latter rendering. The sense would then be the same as that of the verb in Acts 19:22, where we read that Timothy and Erastus "ministered unto him," i.e. to St. Paul, and that of ὑπηρέτης applied to Mark in Acts 13:5.
And Tychicus have I sent to Ephesus.
Verse 12. - But for and, A.V.; sent for have sent, A.V. Tychicus was with St. Paul when he wrote the Epistle to the Colossians (Colossians 4:7), as was also Timothy (Colossians 1:1). The presence of Luke, Timothy, Tychicus, Mark, with Paul now, as then, is remarkable (see ver. 10, note). I sent to Ephesus. Theodoret (quoted by Alford, 'Proleg. to 2 Timothy,' ch. 9. sect. 1) says, "It is plain from this that St. Timothy was not at this time living at Ephesus, but somewhere else." And that certainly is the natural inference at first sight. But Bishop Ellicott suggests the possibility of Tychicus being the bearer of the First Epistle to Timothy, written not very long before, and this being merely an allusion to that well known fact. Another and more probable idea is that he was the bearer of this Epistle, that the object of his mission, like that of Artemas (Titus 3:12), was to take Timothy's place at Ephesus during Timothy's absence at Rome, and that he is thus mentioned in the Epistle in order to commend him to the reverent regard of the Ephesian Church (Wordsworth). It is argued against this that πρός σε would have been the more natural expression after the analogy of Colossians 4:7 and Titus 3:12. But this objection would be removed if we suppose that the Epistle was sent by another hand, and that it was very possible that Timothy might have started for Rome before Tychicus could arrive at Ephesus. He might have orders to visit Corinth or Macedonia on his way. (For the arguments for and against Timothy being at Ephesus at this time, see Alford's 'Proleg.,' as above.)
The cloke that I left at Troas with Carpus, when thou comest, bring with thee, and the books, but especially the parchments.
Verse 13. - Bring when thou comest for when thou comest bring with thee, A.V.; especially for but especially, A.V. The cloke (τὸν φελόνην, more properly written φαινόλην); the Latin paenula, the thick overcoat or cloke. Only here in the New Testament. Some think it was the bag in which the books and parchments were packed. The parchments (τὰς μεμβράνας). This, again, is a Latin word. It occurs only here in the New Testament. They would probably be for the apostle to write his Epistles on. Or they may have been valuable manuscripts of some kind. In ver. 20 we learn that St. Paul had lately been at Miletus; and in 1 Timothy 1:3 that he was then going to Macedonia. Tress would be on his way to Macedonia, Greece, and Rome (Acts 16:8, 9, 11), as it was on the return journey from Macedonia to Miletus (Acts 20:5, 15). It should further be observed that the journey here indicated is the same as that referred to in 1 Timothy 1:3, which confirms the inevitable inference from this chapter that St. Paul, on his way to Rome from Miletus, whither he had come from Crete (Titus 1:5), passed through Tress, Macedonia, and Corinth (ver. 20), leaving Timothy at Ephesus. (See Introduction.)
Alexander the coppersmith did me much evil: the Lord reward him according to his works:
Verse 14. - Will render to him for reward him, A.V. and T.R. Alexander; apparently an Ephesian, as appears by the words, "of whom be thou ware also." It seems probable, though it is necessarily uncertain, that this Alexander is the same person as that mentioned in 1 Timothy 1:20 as "a blasphemer," which agrees exactly with what is here said of him, "he greatly withstood our words" (comp. Acts 13:45, "contradicted the things which were spoken by Paul, and blasphemed"). He may or may not be the same as the Alexander named in Acts 19:33. Supposing the Alexander of 1 Timothy 1:20 and this place to be the same, the points of resemblance with the Alexander of Acts 19:33 are that both resided at Ephesus, that both seem to have been Christians (see note on 1 Timothy 1:20), and both probably Jews, inasmuch as 1 Timothy 1 relates entirely to Jewish heresies (vers. 4, 7, 8), and Acts 19:33 expressly states that he was a Jew. The coppersmith (ὁ χαλκεὺς; only here in the New Testament); properly, a coppersmith, but used generally of any smith - silversmith, or goldsmith, or blacksmith. Did me much evil (πολλά μοι κακὰ ἐνδείξατο). This is a purely Hellenistic idiom, and is found in the LXX. of Genesis 50:15, 17; Song of the Three Children, 19; 2 Macc. 13:9. In classical Greek the verb ἐνδείκυυμαι, in the middle voice, "to display," can only be followed by a subjective quality, as "good will," "virtue," "long suffering," an "opinion," and the like (see Alford, in loc.). And so it is used in 1 Timothy 1:16; Titus 2:10; Titus 3:2. The question naturally arises - When and where did Alexander thus injure St. Paul? - at Ephesus or at Rome? Bengel suggests Rome, and with great probability. Perhaps he did him evil by stirring up the Jews at Rome against the apostle at the time of "his first defence;" or by giving adverse testimony before the Roman tribunal, possibly accusing him of being seditious, and bringing up the riot at Ephesus as a proof of it; or in some other way, of which the memory has perished. Will render. The R.T. has the future, ἀποδώσει for the optative ἀποδώη, "a late and incorrect form for ἀποδοίη (Ellicott, in loc.).
Of whom be thou ware also; for he hath greatly withstood our words.
Verse 15. - Withstood for hath withstood, A.V. Of whom be thou ware (ο{ν φυλάσσου). This is the proper construction in classical Greek, the accusative of the person or thing, after φυλάσσομαι. But it is only found in Acts 21:25. In Luke 12:15 the equally correct phrase, Φυλάσσεσθε ἀπὸ τῆς πλεονεξιας, is used. The inference from this caution to Timothy is that Alexander had left Rome and returned to his native Ephesus. The Jews were always on the move. He greatly withstood our words (ἀντέστη). For an exactly similar use, see Acts 13:8, where Elymas "withstood" Paul and Barnabas; and 2 Timothy 3:8, where Jannes and Jambres "withstood" Moses. In this case we may be sure that Paul, in pleading for his life, did not omit to preach the gospel to his Gentile audience. Alexander tried to refute his words, not without effect. The apostle says "our words" (not "my words"), perhaps to associate with himself those other Christians who were with him. It certainly cannot mean "yours and mine," as Timothy was not with him when the "words" were spoken.
At my first answer no man stood with me, but all men forsook me: I pray God that it may not be laid to their charge.
Verse 16. - Detente for answer, A.V.; no one took my part for no man stood with me, A.V.; all for all men, A.V.; may it not for I pray God it may not, A.V.; account for charge, A.V. Defence (ἀπολογίᾳ). "The technical word in classical Greek for a defence in answer to an accusation;" as Acts 22:1 (where see note for further illustration), and Philippians 1:7. Took my part; παρεγένετο R.T., for συμπαρεγένετο T.R., which occurs elsewhere in the New Testament only in Luke 23:48, in a somewhat different sense. The simple παραγίνομαι is very common in the New Testament, but nowhere in the technical sense in which it is used here. In classical Greek both forms are common in the sense of "coming to aid," "standing by any one," "assisting." Here it represents the Latin assistere or adesse in its technical sense of "standing by" an accused person as friend or assistant, to aid and abet them in their defence. Powerful men sometimes brought such a multitude of assistants as to overawe the magistrate, as Orgetorix the Helvetian, when summoned to trial, appeared with ten thousand followers, and so there was no trial. Paul, like his Lord and Master, of whom it is written, "All his disciples forsook him and fled," had no one to stand with him in his hour of need.
Notwithstanding the Lord stood with me, and strengthened me; that by me the preaching might be fully known, and that all the Gentiles might hear: and I was delivered out of the mouth of the lion.
Verse 17. - But for notwithstanding, A.V.; by for with, A.V.; through for by, A.V.; message for preaching, A.V.; proclaimed for known, A.V. Stood by me (μαοὶ παρέστη); as in Acts 27:23; Romans 16:2 (where see also the use of προστάτις, a helper). Παρίσταμαι means simply to stand by the side of a person - to be present. But, like παραγίνομαι, it acquires the meaning of standing by for the purpose of helping. The contrast between the timid faithless friends who failed him like a deceitful brook (Job 6:15), and the faithfulness of the Lord who was a very present Help in trouble, is very striking. Strengthened me (ἐνεδυνάμωσέ με); see 1 Timothy 1:12, note, and Acts 6:8. The message (κήρυγμα). The A.V. preaching is far better. St. Paul means that gospel which he was commissioned to preach, and which he did preach openly in full court when he was on his trial (see ver. 15, note). Might be fully proclaimed (πληροφορήθη); see 2 Timothy 4:5, note; and comp. Romans 15:19. All the Gentiles might hear (comp. Philippians 1:12-14). The brave, unselfish spirit of the apostle thinking more of the proclamation of the gospel than of his own life, is truly admirable. I was delivered out of the mouth of the lion. Surely there can be no doubt that, as Bengel says, this is a quotation from Psalm 22:20, 21. The verb ἐῥῤύσθην, "I was delivered," comes from the twentieth verse, "Deliver my soul from the sword," and the phrase, ἐκ στόματος λέοντος, is found verbatim in ver. 21. The apostle means his deliverance from the executioner's sword. In the next verse we find both the words ρύσεται and σώσει, and the whole tone of the psalm breathes the same spirit as the saying, "The Lord stood by me." Dean Alford's suggestion that the lion here is Satan, as in 1 Peter 5:8, and the danger which the apostle escaped was not death, which he did not fear, but betraying the gospel under the fear of death, is ingenious, but rather far fetched, though not impossible. It may possibly have been part of what was in St. Paul's mind.
And the Lord shall deliver me from every evil work, and will preserve me unto his heavenly kingdom: to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.
Verse 18. - The Lord for and the Lord, A.V. and T.R.; will for shall, A.V.; save for preserve, A.V.; the glory for glory, A.V. Deliver me... save me (see preceding note). The language here is also very like that of the Lord's Prayer: Ῥῦσαι ἡμᾶς ἀπὸ τοῦ πονηροῦ σοῦ γὰρ ἐστιν ἡ βασιλεία... καὶ δόξα εἰς τοὺς αἰῶνας Ἀμήν (Matthew 6:13). Every evil work. Alford goes altogether astray in his remarks on this passage. Interpreted by the Lord's Prayer, and by its own internal evidence, the meaning clearly is, "The Lord, who stood by me at my trial, will continue to be my Saviour. He will deliver me from every evil design of mine enemies, and from all the wiles and assaults of the devil, in short, from the whole power of evil, and will bring me safe into his own kingdom of light and righteousness." There is a strong contrast, as Bengel pithily observes, between "the evil work" and "his heavenly kingdom." A triumphant martyrdom is as true a deliverance as escape from death. Compare our Lord's promise, "There shall not an hair of your head perish" (Luke 21:18 compared with ver. 16). St. Paul's confidence simply is that the Lord would, in his own good time and way, transfer him from this present evil world, and from the powers of darkness, into his eternal kingdom of light and righteousness.
Salute Prisca and Aquila, and the household of Onesiphorus.
Verse 19. - House for household, A.V. Prisca and Aquila. Prisca is elsewhere always called Priscilla (Acts 18:2, 18, 26; Romans 16:3; 1 Corinthians 16:19). A similar variation of names is seen in Drusa and Drusilla, Livia and Livella, etc. She is named before her husband, as here in Acts 18:18; Romans 16:3. The mention of them here is in favour of Timothy being at Ephesus at this time, as Ephesus is one of the places where they were wont to sojourn (Acts 18:19, 26). The house (as in A.V. ch. 1:16) of Onesiphorus (see ch. 1:16, 18, note). This repetition of the "house of Onesiphorus" is almost conclusive as to the recent death of Onesiphorus himself.
Erastus abode at Corinth: but Trophimus have I left at Miletum sick.
Verse 20. - I left for have I left, A.V.; Miletus for Miletum, A.V. Erastus abode at Corinth. We learn from Romans 16:3 that Erastus was the chamberlain of Corinth, which accounts for his abiding there, he was one of St. Paul's companions in his missionary journey, and we learn from Acts 19:22 that he was sent by St. Paul with Timothy into Macedonia just before the great riot at Ephesus. The mention of him here clearly indicates that St. Paul had gone from Troas, where he left his cloke, to Corinth on his way to Rome. Trophimus is first mentioned in Acts 20:4, where we learn that he was an Asiatic, and more definitely in Acts 21:29, that he was an Ephesian. He had travelled with St. Paul's party from Macedonia to Troas, and thence to Miletus and Jerusalem, where we lose sight of him till we find him again in this passage journeying towards Rome with St. Paul and others, but stopped at Miletus by sickness. Miletus, not Miletum, is the correct form.
Do thy diligence to come before winter. Eubulus greeteth thee, and Pudens, and Linus, and Claudia, and all the brethren.
Verse 21. - Saluteth for greeteth, A.V. Do thy diligence (σπούδασον); see ver. 9 and 2 Timothy 2:15, note. Before winter; lest, when winter storms come, it be impossible to do so. St. Paul's longing to have Timothy with him is apparent throughout. Eubulus; mentioned nowhere else. The name is not uncommon as a Greek name, and appears also in the patronymic Eubulides, and the female name Eubule. And Pudens, and Linus, and Claudia. Of these persons Linus is probably the same as is mentioned by Irenaeus and Eusebius as the first Bishop of Rome. Irenaeus (3:111, 3) says, "When the apostles, therefore, had founded the Church (of Rome) they entrusted the office (λειτουργίαν) of the episcopate to Linus, of whom Paul makes mention in his Epistles to Timothy." Eusebius ('Ecc. Hist.,' 3:2) says, "Linus was ordained the first Bishop of Rome (πρῶτος κληροῦται τὴν ἐπισκοπήν) after the martyrdom of Paul and Peter" (see, too, § 4 of the same book). Some identify him with a certain Llin in Welsh hagiography, said to be the son of Caractacus. As regards Pudens and Claudia, nothing is known about them unless the very ingenious and interesting theory of Archdeacon Williams is true, which is necessarily very uncertain. According to this theory, Claudia is the foreign lady, a Briton, whose marriage with Pudens is spoken of by Martial in two epigrams, and who also bore the cognomen of Rufina. It is supposed that she was the daughter of the British king Cogidubnus, the ally of the Romans and of the Roman governor, Aulus Plautius, whose wife Pomponia is said by Tacitus to have been impeached of the crime of embracing a "foreign superstition," which was probably Christianity. Cogidubnus appears by an ancient inscription now at Goodwood to have taken the name of the Emperor Claudius, being called Tiberius Claudius Cogidubnus, which would naturally lead to his daughter being called Claudia. And if further she was adopted by the wife of her father's ally, the name Rufina would be accounted for, as a distinguished branch of the gens Pomponia bore the name of Rufus. And Martial's epigram is addressed to "Rufus," as one interested in the marriage. Claudia may either have learnt Christianity from Pomponia, or may have conveyed the knowledge of the gospel to her. On the other hand, the name of Pudens appears on the Goodwood inscription as having given, while still a heathen, a site for a temple of Neptune and Minerva, which was built "pro salute" of the imperial family under the authority of King Cogidubnus - curiously connecting him with the British king. It is probable that Pudens and Claudia were not yet married. Thus it will be seen that, while this theory is borne out by many coincidences, it cannot by any means be adopted as certain (see Dean Alford's excussus in the 'Proleg. to 2 Timothy;' and Conybeare and Howson's 'Life of St. Paul,' vol. it. p. 501). Lewin ('Life and Epist. of St. Paul,' vol. 2, p. 392) warmly espouses the theory, but hesitates between Caractacus and Cogidubnus as the father of Claudia. Farrar rejects the whole theory "as an elaborate rope of sand" ('Life of St. Paul,' vol. 2, p. 569). If Linus was the son, and Claudia the daughter, of Caractacus, they would be brother and sister.
The Lord Jesus Christ be with thy spirit. Grace be with you. Amen.
Verse 22. - The Lord for the Lord Jesus Christ, A.V. and T.R. The Lord be with thy spirit, etc. The manuscripts vary. The salutation as it stands in the R.T. is like the versicles, "The Lord be with you. A. And with thy spirit." It is a peculiarity of the salutation here that it is double - one to Timothy personally, μετὰ τοῦ πνεύματός σου; the other to the Church, ἡ χάρις μεθ ὑμῶν. 1 Corinthians 16:24 exhibits another variety. Grace (see 1 Timothy 6:21, note). The R.T. omits the "amen" at the end, as in 1 Timothy 6:21. Thus doses our last authentic account of this great apostle; these are, perhaps, the last words of him who wrought a greater change in the condition of mankind by his speech than any man that ever lived. All honour be to his blessed memory!

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