2 Timothy 1

Verse 25. Likewise also the good works of some] Though those

who are very holy and very useful in the Church cannot be

unknown, yet there are others not less holy who need to be

brought forward; who do much good in private; and their character

and good works are not fully known till after diligent inquiry.

These are they who do not let their left hand know what their

right doeth.

1. AFTER so long and minute an examination of the subjects in

this chapter, little remains to be said in the way of farther and

more satisfactory explanation. The whole account concerning the

widows, who they were, and what their provision, and what their

occupation, and how supported, are to me questions of

considerable difficulty. In the notes I have given the best

account of the different subjects in my power. If the reader be

satisfied and edified, I have gained my end.

2. On the subject of the imposition of hands, or what is

vulgarly but improperly called ordination, I have not said much

here, having given my views of the subject elsewhere in these

notes. See Clarke on 1Ti 3:1, &c. I must again state my conviction

that what is said on this subject in this chapter, and indeed in

the epistle, is rather to be understood prophetically; and to

have been intended for a much lower age of the Christian Church.

That any person should, from impure or secular motives, desire to

be appointed to the ministerial office at such a time, when

poverty and persecution were the least they would reasonably

expect, to me seems altogether inexplicable. But that many,

after the Church got accredited and established, and an ample

revenue appointed for its ministers by emperors and kings, should

wish to get into the priesthood for its emoluments, is a

melancholy truth, which every year's experience testifies. To

those who have the authority from the state to appoint ministers

for the Church, this chapter reads a solemn and awful lesson.

And not to them only, but to all who have the appointment of

ministers or preachers in every sect and party. How few are

there who would kindle a fire on God's altar were there not

secular emoluments attending it! I am afraid the Scottish poet

spoke the truth who said:-

"'Tis gow'd maks sogers feight the fiercer,

Without it, preaching wad be scarcer."

Gold or money is the primum mobile through every department of

life. Proh dolor!





Chronological Notes relative to this Epistle.

-Year of the Constantinopolitan era of the world, or that used

by the Byzantine historians, 5573.

-Year of the Alexandrian era of the world, 5567.

-Year of the Antiochian era of the world, 5557.

-Year of the Julian period, 4775.

-Year of the world, according to Archbishop Usher, 4069

-Year of the world, according to Eusebius, in his Chronicon,


-Year of the minor Jewish era of the world, or that in common

use, 3825.

-Year of the Greater Rabbinical era of the world, 4424.

-Year from the Flood, according to Archbishop Usher, and the

English Bible, 2413.

-Year of the Cali yuga, or Indian era of the Deluge, 3167.

-Year of the era of Iphitus, or since the first commencement of

the Olympic games, 1005.

-Year of the era of Nabonassar, king of Babylon, 812.

-Year of the CCXIth Olympiad, 1.

-Year from the building of Rome, according to Fabius Pictor,


-Year from the building of Rome, according to Frontinus, 816.

-Year from the building of Rome, according to the Fasti

Capitolini, 817.

-Year from the building of Rome, according to Varro, which was

that most generally used, 818.

-Year of the era of the Seleucidae, 377.

-Year of the Caesarean era of Antioch, 113.

-Year of the Julian era, 110.

-Year of the Spanish era, 103.

-Year from the birth of Jesus Christ according to Archbishop

Usher, 69

-Year of the vulgar era of Christ's nativity, 65 or 66.

-Year of Gessius Florus, governor of the Jews, 1.

-Year of Vologesus, king of the Parthians, 16.

-Year of L. C. Gallus, governor of Syria, 1.

-Year of Matthias, high priest of the Jews, 3.

-Year of the Dionysian period, or Easter Cycle, 66.

-Year of the Grecian Cycle of nineteen years, or Common Golden

Number, 9; or the first after the third embolismic.

-Year of the Jewish Cycle of nineteen years, 6, or the second


-Year of the Solar Cycle, 18.

-Dominical Letter, it being the first after the Bissextile, or

Leap Year, F.

-Day of the Jewish Passover, according to the Roman computation

of time, the VIIth of the ides of April, or, in our common

mode of reckoning, the seventh of April, which happened on this

year on the day after the Jewish Sabbath.

-Easter Sunday, the day after the ides of April, or the XVIIIth

of the Calends of May, named by the Jews the 22d of Nisan or

Abib, and by Europeans in general, the 14th of April.

-Epact, or age of the moon on the 22d of March, (the day of the

earliest Easter Sunday possible,) 28.

-Epact, according to the present mode of computation, or the

moon's age on New Year's day, or the Calends of January, 5.

-Monthly Epacts, or age of the moon on the Calends of each month

respectively, (beginning with January,) 5, 7, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10,

11, 12, 12, 14, 14.

-Number of Direction, or the number of days from the

twenty-first of March to the Jewish Passover, 17.

-Year of the reign of Caius Tiberius Claudius Nero Caesar, the

fifth Roman emperor computing from Augustus Caesar, 12.

-Roman Consuls, A. Licinius Nerva Silanus, and M. Vestinius

Atticus; the latter of whom was succeeded by Anicius

Cerealis, on July 1st.

Dr. Lardner and others suppose this epistle to have been

written in A. D. 56, i.e. nine years earlier than is stated

above. See the preface to the First Epistle to Timothy, where

this point is largely considered, and also the general

observations prefixed to the Acts of the Apostles.


Paul's address to Timothy, and declaration of his affection for

him, 1-4.

His account of the piety of Timothy's mother and grandmother,

and the religious education they had given their son, 5.

He exhorts him to stir up the gift of God that is in him, and

not to be ashamed of the testimony of the Lord, 6-8.

How God has saved them that believe; and how Christ has brought

life and immortality to light by the Gospel, 9,10.

The apostle's call to preach it, and the persecutions which he

had been obliged in consequence to endure, 11, 12.

Timothy is exhorted to hold fast the form of sound words,

13, 14.

And is informed of the apostasy of several in Asia: and

particularly of Phygellus and Hermogenes, 15.

And of the great kindness of Onesiphorus to the apostle in his

imprisonment, 16-18.


Verse 1. Paul an apostle] St. Paul at once shows his office,

the authority on which he held it, and the end for which it was

given him. He was an apostle-an extraordinary ambassador from

heaven. He had his apostleship by the will of God-according to

the counsel and design of God's infinite wisdom and goodness. And

he was appointed that he might proclaim that eternal life which

God had in view for mankind by the incarnation of his Son Jesus

Christ, and which was the end of all the promises he had made to

men, and the commandments he had delivered to all his prophets

since the world began. The mention of this life was peculiarly

proper in the apostle, who had now the sentence of death in

himself, and who knew that he must shortly seal the truth with his

blood. His life was hidden with Christ in God; and he knew that,

as soon as he should be absent from the body, he should be present

with the Lord. With these words he both comforted himself and his

son Timothy.

Verse 2. To Timothy, my dearly beloved son]

See Clarke on 1Ti 1:2.

Verse 3. Whom I serve from my forefathers] Being born a Jew,

I was carefully educated in the knowledge of the true God, and the

proper manner of worshipping him.

With pure conscience] Ever aiming to please him, even in the

time when through ignorance I persecuted the Church.

Without ceasing I have remembrance of thee] The apostle thanks

God that he has constant remembrance of Timothy in his prayers.

It is a very rare thing now in the Christian Church, that a man

particularly thanks God that he is enabled to pray for OTHERS.

And yet he that can do this most must have an increase of that

brotherly love which the second greatest commandment of God

requires: Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. It is also a

great blessing to be able to maintain the spirit of a pure

friendship, especially through a considerable lapse of time and

absence. He that can do so may well thank God that he is saved

from that fickleness and unsteadiness of mind which are the bane

of friendships, and the reproach of many once warm-hearted


Verse 4. Being mindful of thy tears] Whether the apostle

refers to the affecting parting with the Ephesian Church,

mentioned Ac 20:37, or to the deep impressions made on Timothy's

heart when he instructed him in the doctrine of Christ crucified,

or to some interview between themselves, it is not certainly

known. The mention of this by the apostle is no small proof of

his most affectionate regards for Timothy, whom he appears to have

loved as a father loves his only son.

Verse 5. The unfeigned faith that is in thee] Timothy had

given the fullest proof of the sincerity of his conversion, and of

the purity of his faith.

Which dwelt first in thy grandmother Lois] In Ac 16:1, we are

informed that Paul came to Derbe and Lystra; and behold, a certain

disciple was there, named Timotheus, the son of a certain woman,

who was a Jewess, and believed; but his father was a Greek. Luke,

the historian, it appears, was not particularly acquainted with

the family; Paul evidently was. Luke mentions the same

circumstance which the apostle mentions here; but in the apostle's

account there are particulars which argue an intimate acquaintance

with the family and its history. Luke says Timothy's father was a

Greek, consequently we may believe him to have been then in his

heathen state; Paul, in mentioning the grandmother, mother, and

son, passes by the father in silence; which intimates that either

the father remained in his unconverted state, or was now dead.

Lois and Eunice are both Grecian, and indeed heathen names; hence

we are led to conclude that, although Timothy's mother was a

Jewess according to St. Luke, yet she was a Grecian or Hellenist

by birth. Lois, the grandmother, appears to have been the first

convert to Christianity: she instructed her daughter Eunice, and

both brought up Timothy in the Christian faith; so that he had a

general knowledge of it before he met with St. Paul at Lystra.

There, it appears the apostle was the instrument of the conversion

of his heart to God; for a man may be well instructed in Divine

things, have a very orthodox creed, and yet his heart not be

changed. Instruction precedes conversion; conversion should

follow it. To be brought up in the fear of God is a great

blessing; and a truly religious education is an advantage of

infinite worth.

Verse 6. Stir up the gift of God, which is in thee] The gift

which Timothy had received was the Holy Spirit; and through him, a

particular power to preach and defend the truth. This gift is

represented here, under the notion of a fire, which, if it be not

frequently stirred up, and fresh fuel added to it, will go out.

This is the precise idea which the apostle had in his mind; hence

the term αναζωπυρειν, which signifies to stir up the fire; to add

fresh fuel to it. From this it plainly appears, that if Timothy

had not continued to be a daily worker with God, he would have

received the grace of God in vain. The Latins have a similar

metaphor, excitare igniculos ingenii, to stir up the sparks of


By the putting on of my hands.] See Clarke on 1Ti 4:14.

Verse 7. God hath not given us the spirit of fear] Here is an

allusion to the giving of the law on mount Sinai. This was

communicated with such terrible majesty as to engender fear in all

the Israelites: even Moses, on the occasion, did exceedingly fear

and tremble. The Gospel was ushered in, in a much milder manner;

every thing was placed on a level with the human intellect; and

within reach of every human spirit. Nothing was terrific, nothing

forbidding; but all was inviting. The very spirit and genius of

it was a spirit of power, of love, and of a sound mind.

Instead of δειλιας, fear, some MSS. and versions have δουλειας,

servitude or bondage; God hath not given unto us the spirit of

BONDAGE-but of power, δυναμεως, to work miracles, to confound

enemies, to support us in trials, and enable us to do that which

is lawful and right in his sight. And of love, which enables us

to hear, believe, hope, and endure all things; and is the

incentive to all obedience. Of a sound mind, σωφρονισμου, of

self-possession and government, according to some. But a sound

mind implies much more; it means a clear understanding, a sound

judgment, a rectified will, holy passions, heavenly tempers; in a

word, the whole soul harmonized in all its powers and faculties;

and completely regulated and influenced so as to think, speak, and

act aright in all things. The apostle says, God hath given the

spirit of these things; they are not factitious; they are not

assumed for times and circumstances; they are radical powers and

tempers; each produced by its proper principle.

Verse 8. Be not-ashamed of the testimony] The testimony of

Christ is the Gospel in general, which proclaims Christ crucified,

and redemption through his blood. In the sight of the world,

there appeared to be reason why a man should be ashamed of this;

ashamed of him who was crucified as a malefactor; but, when this

Gospel became the power of God to the salvation of every one that

believed, it was a subject to exult in. Hence the apostle,

Ro 1:16, said,

I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ; where see the note.

Nor of me his prisoner] When our friends are in power and

credit, we can readily acknowledge them, and take opportunities to

show that we have such and such connections; but when the person

falls into disgrace or discredit, though we cannot pretend not to

know him, yet we take care not to acknowledge him. This induced

Cicero, in relation to friendships, to give for a maxim-Amicus

certus in re incerta cernitur: "A true friend is known in adverse

circumstances;" and from this we have borrowed our proverb, A

friend in need, is a friend indeed.

Be thou partaker of the afflictions of the Gospel] No parent

could love a child better than Paul loved Timothy; and, behold! he

who could wish him nothing but what was great, honourable, and

good, wishes him to be a partaker of the afflictions of the

Gospel! Because, to suffer for Christ, and suffer with Christ,

was the highest glory to which any human being in this state could

arrive. The royal way to the crown of glory, is by the cross of


According to the power of God.] While thou hast no more

affliction than thou hast grace to sustain thee under, thou canst

have no cause to complain. And God will take care that if a

faithful discharge of thy duty shall expose thee to afflictions,

his power manifested in thee shall be in proportion to thy

necessities. His load cannot be oppressive, who is strengthened

to bear it by the power of God.

Verse 9. Who hath saved us] From sin; the spirit of bondage,

and all tormenting fear. This is the design of the Gospel.

And called us with a holy calling] Invited us to holiness and

comfort here; and to eternal glory hereafter.

Not according to our works] We have not deserved any part of

the good we have received; and can never merit one moment of the

exceeding great and eternal weight of glory which is promised.

See the notes on the parallel passages.

Before the world began] προχρονωναιωνιων. Before the Mosaic

dispensation took place, God purposed the salvation of the

Gentiles by Christ Jesus; and the Mosaic dispensation was intended

only as the introducer of the Gospel. The law was our

schoolmaster unto Christ, Ga 3:24. See the parallel places, and

the notes there.

Verse 10. But is now made manifest.] This purpose of God to

save the Gentiles as well as the Jews, and call them to the same

state of salvation by Jesus Christ, was, previously to the

manifestation of Christ, generally hidden; and what was revealed

of it, was only through the means of types and ceremonies.

Who hath abolished death] καταργησαντοςμεντονθανατον. Who

has counterworked death; operated against his operations,

destroyed his batteries, undersunk and destroyed his mines, and

rendered all his instruments and principles of attack useless. By

death here, we are not to understand merely natural death, but

that corruption and decomposition which take place in consequence

of it; and which would be naturally endless, but for the work and

energy of Christ. By him alone, comes the resurrection of the

body; and through him eternal life and glory are given to the

souls of believers.

Brought life and immortality to light] The literal translation

of the original is, He hath illustrated life and incorruption by

the Gospel. Life eternal, or the doctrine of life eternal, even

implying the resurrection of the body, was not unknown among the

Jews. They expected this, for they found it in their prophets.

It abounded among them long before the incarnation: and they

certainly never borrowed any notion in it from the Christians;

therefore the Gospel could not be stated as bringing to light what

certainly was in the light before that time. But this doctrine

was never illustrated and demonstrated before; it existed in

promise, but had never been practically exhibited. Jesus Christ

died, and lay under the empire of death; he arose again from the

dead, and thus illustrated the doctrine of the resurrection: he

took the same human body up into heaven, in the sight of his

disciples; and ever appears in the presence of God for us; and

thus, has illustrated the doctrine of incorruption. In his death,

resurrection, and ascension, the doctrine of eternal life, and the

resurrection of the human body, and its final incorruptibility,

are fully illustrated by example, and established by fact.

Verse 11. Whereunto I am appointed a preacher] κηρυξ, a

herald. See Clarke on Mt 3:17.

And an apostle] Sent immediately from God to man.

A teacher] One whose business it is to instruct men, and

particularly the Gentiles, to whom he was especially sent; to

proclaim the doctrines of eternal life, the resurrection and final

incorruptibility of the human body; and, in a word, the salvation

both of the body and soul of man by Christ Jesus.

Verse 12. I am not ashamed.] Though I suffer for the Gospel,

I am not ashamed of the Gospel; nor am I confounded in my

expectation; his grace being at all times sufficient for me.

For I know whom I have believed] I am well acquainted with the

goodness, mercy, and power of Christ; and know that I cannot

confide in him in vain.

That which I have committed unto him] This is variously

understood. Some think he means his life, which he had put, as it

were, into the hands of Christ, in order that he might receive it

again, in the resurrection, at the great day. Others think he

means his soul. This he had also given into the hands of his

faithful Creator, knowing that although wicked men might be

permitted to take away his life, yet they could not destroy his

soul, nor disturb its peace. Others think that he is speaking of

the Gospel, which he knows will be carefully preserved by the

great Head of the Church; for, though he shall be soon called to

seal the truth with his blood, yet he knows that God will take

care that the same truth shall be proclaimed to the world by

others, whom God shall raise up for that very purpose.

Verse 13. Hold fast the form of sound words] The word

υποτυπωσις signifies the sketch, plan, or outline of a building,

picture, &c.; and here refers to the plan of salvation which the

apostle had taught Timothy. No man was left to invent a religion

for his own use, and after his own mind. God alone knows that

with which God can be pleased. If God did not give a revelation

of himself, the inventions of man, in religious things, would be

endless error, involving itself in contortions of unlimited

confusion. God gives, in his mercy to man, a form of sound words

or doctrines; a perfect plan and sketch of the original building;

fair and well defined outlines of every thing which concerns the

present and eternal welfare of man, and his own glory.

In faith and love] Faith credits the Divine doctrines. Love

reduces them all to practice. Faith lays hold on Jesus Christ,

and obtains that love by which every precept is cheerfully and

effectually obeyed.

Verse 14. That good thing] The everlasting Gospel, keep by

the Holy Ghost; for without a continual spiritual energy man can

do nothing. This indwelling Spirit will make them effectual to

thy own salvation, and enable thee to preach them to the salvation

of the souls of others.

Verse 15. All they which are in Asia] It seems as if the

apostle must refer to the Asiatic Christians which were then at

Rome, or had been lately there. Finding the apostle in disgrace,

and thinking it dangerous to own him or his cause, they neither

visited him, or confessed Christianity. He cannot be speaking of

any general defection of the Asiatic Churches, but of those

Asiatics who had professed a particular friendship for him.

Phygellus and Hermogenes.] These were two of the persons of

whom he complains; but who they were, or what office they held, or

whether they were any thing but private Christians who had for a

time ministered to St. Paul in prison, and, when they found the

state determined to destroy him, ceased to acknowledge him, we

cannot tell.

Verse 16. The Lord give mercy] Onesiphorus had acknowledged

him, and continued to do so; he, and his house, or family,

ministered to him in prison, and were not ashamed of their

imprisoned pastor, nor of the cause for which he was in disgrace

and suffering. As he showed mercy to the apostle, the apostle

prays the Lord to show mercy to him.

Verse 17. When he was in Rome] Onesiphorus was no doubt an

Asiatic, (probably an Ephesian, see below,) who had frequent

business at Rome; and when he came sought out the apostle, who, it

is supposed, had been confined in some close and private prison,

(see the preface,) so that it was with great difficulty he could

find him out. This man had entertained the apostle when he was at

Ephesus, and now he sought him out at Rome. Pure love feels no

loads. Here was a true friend, one that sticketh closer than a


Verse 18. The Lord grant-that he may find mercy of the Lord]

Some think that this is a prayer to God the Father to communicate

grace to him, that he might find mercy in the great day at the

hand of Jesus Christ the Judge. It is probably only a Hebraism

for, God grant that he may here be so saved by Divine grace, that

in the great day he may receive the mercy of the Lord Jesus Christ

unto eternal life. See a similar form of expression,

Ge 9:16; 19:24; Ex 24:1, 2.

IT is impossible to read this chapter over without feeling

deeply interested for this most noble and amiable of men. To what

trials did God expose him! His life was a life of perils and

tribulations, his labours were superabundant, and his success all

but incredible. Wherever he went, he left a track of light and

life behind him. To him, as the grand instrument of God, the

Gentiles, the whole habitable world, owe their salvation. Yet see

him, in his old age, neglected by his friends, apparently forsaken

of God, and abandoned to the hands of ruthless men; in prison and

in chains; triumphing over sufferings and death; perfectly

unshaken, unstumbled, with the evils with which he is obliged to

contend, having the fullest persuasion of the truth of the

doctrines which he had preached, and the strongest and most

encouraging anticipation of the glory that was about to be

revealed. He felt no evil, and he feared none. Sin had lost its

power, and death its sting; the grave its victory, and hell its

horrors. He had the happiness which heathenism spoke of, but

could not attain, because it knew not the great Source whence it

must proceed. This God he knew, feared, loved, obeyed, and was

happy. Who but the righteous man can sing:-

Felix, qui potuit rerum cognoscere causas;

Atque metus omnes et inexorabile fatum

Subjecit pedibus, strepitumque Acherontis avari!-

Illum non populi fasces, non purpura regum

Flexit, et infidos agitans discordia fratres;-

Non res Romanae, perituraque regna.

VIRG. GEORG. ii. v. 490.

No murmur is heard from his heart; he is persuaded that all

things work together for good to them that love God; the miserable

uncertainty of friendship, the defection of cowardly brethren, and

the apostasy of once zealous professors, did not move him. As far

as it is lawful, he courts death, knowing that to be absent from

the body is to be present with the Lord. Glorious system of truth

by which such an apostle was formed! and glorious apostle by whom

this system was illustrated and confirmed! The character and

conduct of St. Paul must make Christianity doubly amiable to

believers and highly respectable even to its enemies.

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