2 Timothy 4

CHAPTER IV.

The apostle charges Timothy to be diligent, incessant, and

faithful in his preaching; to watch, suffer patiently, and give

full proof of his ministry, 1-5.

He predicts his own approaching death, and expresses the

strongest confidence of being eternally happy, 6-8.

Desires Timothy to come and see him; shows that several had

forsaken him, that others were gone to different districts, and

that he had only Luke with him, 9-12.

Desires him to bring the cloak, book, and parchments, which he

had left at Troas, 13.

Of Alexander the coppersmith's opposition, 14, 15.

Tells Timothy how he was deserted by all when obliged to make

his first defence before Nero; how God supported him, and the

confidence with which he was inspired, 16-18.

Salutations to different persons at Ephesus, and from different

persons at Rome, 19-21.

The apostolical benediction, 22.

NOTES ON CHAP. IV.

Verse 1. I charge thee therefore before God] Whose herald

thou art; and before the Lord Jesus Christ, whose salvation thou

art to proclaim, and who is coming to judge the world-all that

shall be found then alive, and all that have died from the

foundation of the world.

Verse 2. Preach the word] κηρυξονλογον. Proclaim the

doctrine, the doctrine of Christ crucified, for the sins of the

whole world; the doctrine, that the Gentiles are invited to be

fellow heirs with the Jews, and that for Jews and Gentiles there

is no salvation but by faith in Christ.

Be instant in season, out of season] επιστηθιευκαιρως

ακαιρως. Be urgent whether the times be prosperous or adverse,

whenever there is an opportunity; and when there is none, strive

to make one. The Judge is at the door, and to every man eternity

is at hand! Wherever thou meetest a sinner, speak to him the word

of reconciliation. Do not be contented with stated times and

accustomed places merely; all time and place belong to God, and

are proper for his work. Wherever it can be done, there it should

be done. Satan will omit neither time nor place where he can

destroy. Omit thou none where thou mayest be the instrument of

salvation to any.

Reprove] ελεγξον. Confute, the false teacher.

Rebuke] επιτιμησον. Reprove cuttingly and severely those

who will not abandon their sins.

Exhort] παρακαλεσον. Comfort the feeble-minded, the diffident

and the tempted.

With all long-suffering] In reference to each and all of these

cases.

And doctrine.] The different modes of teaching suited to each.

Verse 3. For the time will come] There is a time coming to

the Church when men will not hear the practical truths of the

Gospel, when they will prefer speculative opinions, which either

do no good to the soul, or corrupt and destroy it, to that

wholesome doctrine of "deny thyself, take up thy cross and follow

me," which Jesus Christ has left in his Church.

But after their own lusts] For these they will follow, and

hate those preachers and that doctrine by which they are opposed.

Shall they heap to themselves teachers] They will add one

teacher to another, run and gad about after all, to find out those

who insist not on the necessity of bearing the cross, of being

crucified to the world, and of having the mind that was in Jesus.

In this disposition interested men often find their account; they

set up for teachers, "and widen and strew with flowers the way,

down to eternal ruin," taking care to soothe the passions and

flatter the vices of a trifling, superficial people.

Having itching ears] Endless curiosity, an insatiable desire

of variety; and they get their ears tickled with the language and

accent of the person, abandoning the good and faithful preacher

for the fine speaker.

Verse 4. And they shall turn away their ears from the truth]

The truth strips them of their vices, sacrifices their idols,

darts its lightnings against their easily besetting sins, and

absolutely requires a conformity to a crucified Christ; therefore

they turn their ears away from it.

And shall be turned unto fables.] Believe any kind of stuff

and nonsense; for, as one has justly observed, "Those who reject

the truth are abandoned by the just judgment of God to credit the

most degrading nonsense." This is remarkably the case with most

deists; their creed often exhibits what is grossly absurd.

Verse 5. But watch thou in all things] It is possible to be

overtaken in a fault, to neglect one's duty, and to lose one's

soul. Watching unto prayer prevents all these evils.

Endure afflictions] Let no sufferings affright thee; nor let

the dread of them either cause thee to abandon the truth, or relax

in thy zeal for the salvation of men.

Do the work of an evangelist] That is: Preach Christ crucified

for the sins of the whole world; for this, and this alone, is

doing the work of an evangelist, or preacher of the glad tidings

of peace and salvation by Christ. An angel from God was first

sent to do the work of an evangelist, and how did he do it?

Behold, said he, I bring you good tidings of great joy; ιδουγαρ

ευαγγελιζομαιυμινχαρανμεγαληνητιςεσταιπαντιτωλαω.

Behold, I evangelize unto you great joy, which shall be to all

people; to you is born a Saviour. Those who do not proclaim

Christ as having tasted death for every man, and who do not

implicitly show that every human soul may be saved, do not perform

the work of evangelists; they, God help them! limit the Holy

One of Israel. Yet, as far as they preach the truth in sincerity,

so far God acknowledges and blesses them and their labours; they

do a part of the work, but not the whole.

Make full proof of thy ministry.] Push all thy principles to

their utmost power of activity; carry them on to all their

consequences; and try what God will do for thee, and by thee.

Neglect no part of thy sacred function; perform faithfully all the

duties of which it is composed; and do God's work in his own way

and in his own spirit.

Verse 6. For I am now ready to be offered] ηοηαπενδομαι.

I am already poured out as a libation.

See Clarke on Php 2:17.

He considers himself as on the eve of being sacrificed, and looks

upon his blood as the libation which was poured on the sacrificial

offering. He could not have spoken thus positively had not the

sentence of death been already passed upon him.

Verse 7. I have fought a good fight] Every reader will

perceive that the apostle, as was his very frequent custom,

alludes to the contests at the Grecian games: τοναγυνατονκαλον

ηγωνισμαι. I have wrestled that good wrestling-I have struggled

hard, and have over come, in a most honourable cause.

I have finished my course] I have started for the prize, and

have come up to the goal, outstripping all my competitors, and

have gained this prize also.

I have kept the faith] As the laws of these games must be most

diligently observed and kept, (for though a man overcome, yet is

he not crowned, except he strive lawfully,) so I have kept the

rules of the spiritual combat and race; and thus, having contended

lawfully, and conquered in each exercise, I have a right to expect

the prize.

Verse 8. Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown] This I

can claim as my due; but the crown I expect is not one of fading

leaves, but a crown of righteousness; the reward which God, in his

kindness, has promised to them who are faithful to the grace he

has bestowed upon them.

The Lord, the righteous Judge] He alludes here to the brabeus,

or umpire in the Grecian games, whose office it was to declare the

victor, and to give the crown.

At that day] The day of judgment; the morning of the

resurrection from the dead.

Unto all them also that love his appearing.] All who live in

expectation of the coming of Christ, who anticipate it with

joyfulness, having buried the world and laid up all their hopes

above. Here is a reward, but it is a reward not of debt but of

grace; for it is by the grace of God that even an apostle is

fitted for glory. And this reward is common to the faithful; it

is given, not only to apostles, but to all them that love his

appearing. This crown is laid up-it is in view, but not in

possession. We must die first.

I have several times noted the allusions of St. Paul to the

Greek poets, and such as seemed to argue that he quoted

immediately from them. There is a passage in the Alcestis of

Euripides, in which the very expressions used here by the apostle

are found, and spoken on the occasion of a wife laying down her

life for her husband, when both his parents had refused to do it.

ουκηθελησαςουδετολμησαςθανειν`

τουσουπροπαιδος. αλλατηνδειασατε

γυναικοθνειανηνεγωκαιμητερα

πατερατεγενδικωςανηγοιμηνμονην.

καιτοικαλονγαντανδαγωνηγωνισω

θουσουπροπαιδοςκατθανων Alcest. v. 644.

"Thou wouldst not, neither darest thou to die for thy son; but

hast suffered this strange woman to do it, whom I justly esteem to

be alone my father and mother: thou wouldst have fought a good

fight hadst thou died for thy son."

See Sophocles and AEschylus, quoted 1Ti 6:15.

The καλοςαγων, good fight, was used among the Greeks to

express a contest of the most honourable kind, and in this sense

the apostle uses it.

Verse 9. Do thy diligence to come shortly unto me] He appears

to have wished Timothy to be present at his death, that he might

have his faith confirmed by seeing how a Christian could die; and,

as he had but a short time to live, he begs Timothy to hasten his

visit, and particularly so as he had scarcely now any companions.

Verse 10. Demas hath forsaken me] This is another proof of

the posteriority of this epistle: for Demas was with the apostle

in his first imprisonment, and joins in the salutations, see

Col 4:14, which were written when Paul was a prisoner at Rome

for the first time.

Having loved this present world] αγαπησαςτοννυναιωνα

Having preferred Judaism to Christianity; or having loved the

Jews, and having sought their welfare in preference to that of the

Gentiles.

The words olam hazzeh, which answer to the Greek τον

νυναιωνα, are generally to be understood as signifying, either

the Jewish people, or the system of Judaism. It was now become

doubly dangerous to be a Christian; and those who had not religion

enough to enable them to burn, or in any other way to expose life

for it, took refuge in that religion which was exposed to no

persecution. This is a light in which the conduct of Demas may be

viewed. It could not have been the love of secular gain which had

induced Demas to abandon St. Paul; he must have counted this cost

before he became a Christian. See below.

Crescens to Galatia] Whether the departure of Crescens was

similar to that of Demas, as intimated above, or whether he went

on an evangelical embassy, we know not. Charity would hope the

latter; for we can hardly suppose that Titus, who is here said to

have departed to Dalmatia, had abandoned his Cretan Churches, his

apostolical office, and especially his aged father and friend, now

about to seal the truth with his blood! It is probable that both

these persons had gone on sacred missions, and perhaps had been

gone some time before the apostle was brought into such imminent

danger. Even for Demas, as standing in this connection, something

might be said. It is not intimated that he had denied the faith,

but simply that he had left the apostle and gone into

Thessalonica; for which this reason is given, that he loved the

present world. Now, if αγαπησας, having loved, can be applied to

a desire to save the souls of the Jews, and that he went into

Thessalonica, where they abounded, for this very purpose, then we

shall find all three-Demas, Crescens, and Titus, one at

Thessalonica, another at Galatia, and the third at Dalmatia, doing

the work of evangelists, visiting the Churches, and converting

both Jews and Gentiles. This interpretation I leave to the

charitable reader, and must own that, with all the presumptive

evidences against it, it has some fair show of probability. Demas

has received little justice from interpreters and preachers in

general. It is even fashionable to hunt him down.

Verse 11. Only Luke is with me.] This was Luke the

evangelist, and writer of the Acts of the Apostles, who was always

much attached to St. Paul, and it is supposed continued with him

even to his martyrdom.

Take Mark, and bring him with thee] This was John Mark, the

sister's son of Barnabas, who, after having wavered a little at

first, became a steady, zealous, and useful man; his name and

conduct have been often before the reader. See the parallel

passages.

For he is profitable to me for the ministry.] ειςδιακονιαν.

For service; that is, he would be very useful to the apostle, to

minister to him in his present close confinement. Some think that

the apostle means his preaching the Gospel; but at this time, I

should suppose, there was very little, if any, public preaching at

Rome.

Verse 12. Tychicus have I sent to Ephesus.] For this person,

see Ac 20:4; Eph 6:21; Col 4:7. It is rather strange that

the apostle should say, I have sent Tychicus to Ephesus, if

Timothy was at Ephesus at this time; but it is probable that

Tychicus had been sent to Ephesus some time before this, and

therefore the apostle might say, though writing now to Ephesus,

Tychicus have I sent, &c.

Verse 13. The cloak that I left at Troas] τονφελονην is by

several translated bag or portmanteau; and it is most likely that

it was something of this kind, in which he might carry his

clothes, books, and travelling necessaries. What the books were

we cannot tell, it is most likely they were his own writings; and

as to the parchments, they were probably the Jewish Scriptures and

a copy of the Septuagint. These he must have had at hand at all

times. The books and parchments now sent for could not be for the

apostle's own use, as he was now on the eve of his martyrdom. He

had probably intended to bequeath them to the faithful, that they

might be preserved for the use of the Church.

Verse 14. Alexander the coppersmith] We are not to understand

this of any tradesman, but of some rabbin; for it was not unusual

for the Jews to apply the name of some trade as an epithet to

their rabbins and literary men. He is, in all probability, the

very same mentioned Ac 19:33, where see the note; and it is not

unlikely that he may have been the same whom the apostle was

obliged to excommunicate, 1Ti 1:20.

The Lord reward him] αποδωηαυτωοκυριος. But instead of

αποδωη, which has here the power of a solemn imprecation,

αποδωσει, he will reward, is the reading of the very best MSS.,

several of the versions, and some of the chief Greek fathers.

This makes the sentence declaratory: The Lord WILL reward him

according to his works. This reading is most like the spirit and

temper of this heavenly man. See 2Ti 4:16.

Verse 15. Of whom be thou ware also] It seems that this

rabbin travelled about from place to place for the purpose of

opposing the Gospel, the Jews putting him forward, as it is said,

Ac 19:33.

He hath greatly withstood our words.] Has been a constant

opposer of the Christian doctrines.

Verse 16. At my first answer] εντηπρωτημουαπολογια. At

my first apology; this word properly signifies a defence or

vindication. To his is the meaning of what we call the apologies

of the primitive fathers; they were vindications or defences of

Christianity. It is generally allowed that, when St. Paul had

been taken this second time by the Romans, he was examined

immediately, and required to account for his conduct; and that, so

odious was Christianity through the tyranny of Nero, he could

procure no person to plead for him. Nero, who had himself set

fire to Rome, charged it on the Christians, and they were in

consequence persecuted in the most cruel manner; he caused them to

be wrapped up in pitched clothes, and then, chaining them to a

stake, he ordered them to be set on fire to give light in the

streets after night! Tormenti genus! To this Juvenal appears to

allude. Sat. i. v. 155.

Pone Tigellinum, taeda lucebis in illa,

Qua stantes ardent, qui fixo gulture fumant.

"If into rogues omnipotent you rake,

Death is your doom, impaled upon a stake;

Smear'd o'er with wax, and set on blaze to light

The streets, and make a dreadful fire by night."

DRYDEN.

I pray God that it may not be laid to their charge.] How much

more simple, elegant, and expressive are the apostle's own words:

μηαυτοιςλογισθειη. let it not be placed to their account! Let

them not have to reckon for it with the supreme Judge at the great

day!

Verse 17. The Lord stood with me] When all human help failed,

God, in a more remarkable manner, interposed; and thus the

excellency plainly appeared to be of God, and not of man.

That by me the preaching might be fully known] When called on

to make his defence he took occasion to preach the Gospel, and to

show that the great God of heaven and earth had designed to

illuminate the Gentile world with the rays of his light and glory.

This must have endeared him to some, while others might consider

him an opposer of their gods, and be the more incensed against

him.

I was delivered out of the mouth of the lion.] I escaped the

imminent danger at that time. Probably he was seized in a

tumultuous manner, and expected to be torn to pieces. The words

εκστοματος or εκθρυγμουλεοντοςρυεσθαι, to be rescued from

the mouth or jaws of the lion, are a proverbial form of speech for

deliverance from the most imminent danger. Several writers think

Nero to be intended by the lion, because of his rage and

oppressive cruelty. But Helius Caesarinus was at this time

prefect of the city; Nero being in Greece. He was a bloody

tyrant, and Nero had given him the power of life and death in his

absence. The apostle may mean him, if the words be not

proverbial.

Verse 18. And the Lord shall deliver me from every evil work]

None of the evil designs formed against me to make me unfaithful

or unsteady, to cause me to save my life at the expense of faith

and a good conscience, shall succeed; my life may go, but he will

preserve me unto his heavenly kingdom. A continuance on earth the

apostle expects not; but he has glory full in view, and therefore

he gives God glory for what he had done, and for what he had

promised to do.

Verse 19. Salute Prisca and Aquila] Several MSS., versions,

and fathers have Priscilla instead of Prisca: they are probably

the same as those mentioned Ac 18:18, 26.

The household of Onesiphorus.] See 2Ti 1:16. Onesiphorus was

probably at this time dead: his family still remained at Ephesus.

Verse 20. Erastus abode at Corinth] He was treasurer of that

city, as we learn from Ro 16:23. See the note there. The

apostle had sent him and Timothy on a mission to Macedonia,

Ac 19:22, whence it is probable he returned to Corinth, and

there became finally settled.

Trophimus have I left at Miletum sick.] Even the apostles

could not work miracles when they pleased; that power was but

rarely given, and that for very special purposes. Trophimus was

an Ephesian. See Ac 20:4, and the note there.

Miletus was a maritime town of Ionia, not far from Ephesus; but

there was another Miletus, in Crete, which some learned men think

to be intended here. It appears that St. Paul went from Macedonia

to Corinth, where he left Erastus; from Corinth he proceeded to

Troas, where he lodged with Carpus: from Troas he went to Ephesus,

where he visited Timothy; from Ephesus he went to Miletus, where

he left Trophimus sick; and having embarked at Miletus, he went by

sea to Rome. See Calmet. It is most likely, therefore, that the

Miletus of Ionia is the place intended.

Verse 21. Come before winter.] 1. Because the apostle's time

was short and uncertain. 2. Because sailing in those seas was

very dangerous in winter. Whether Timothy saw the apostle before

he was martyred is not known.

Eubulus] This person is nowhere else mentioned in the New

Testament.

Pudens] Of this person we have traditions and legends, but

nothing certain. The Catholics make him bishop of Rome.

Linus] He also is made, by the same persons, bishop of Rome;

but there is no sufficient ground for these pretensions.

Claudia] Supposed to be the wife of Pudens. Some think she

was a British lady, converted by St. Paul; and that she was the

first that brought the Gospel to Britain.

All the brethren.] All the Christians, of whom there were many

at Rome; though of Paul's companions in travel, only Luke remained

there.

Verse 22. The Lord Jesus Christ be with thy spirit.] This is

a prayer addressed to Christ by one of the most eminent of his

apostles; another proof of the untruth of the assertion, that

prayer is never offered to Christ in the New Testament. He prays

that Christ may be with his spirit, enlightening, strengthening,

and confirming it to the end.

Grace be with you.] These words show that the epistle was

addressed to the whole Church, and that it is not to be considered

of a private nature.

Amen.] Omitted by ACFG and some others. See the note on this

word at the end of the preceding epistle. The principal

subscriptions, both in the versions and MSS., are the following:-

The Second Epistle to Timothy was written from Rome.-SYRIAC.

To the man Timothy.-AETHIOPIC,

Nothing in the VULGATE.

End of the epistle; it was written from the city of Rome when

Timothy had been constituted bishop over Ephesus; and when Paul

had stood the second time in the presence of Nero Caesar, the

Roman emperor. Praise to the Lord of glory, perpetual, perennial,

and eternal! Amen, Amen, Amen.-ARABIC.

The Second Epistle to Timothy is ended, who was the first

bishop of the Church of Ephesus. It was written from Rome when

Paul had stood the second time before Nero, the Roman emperor.

-PHILOXENIAN SYRIAC.

Written from Rome, and sent by Onesimus.-COPTIC.

The MSS. are also various:-

The Second Epistle to Timothy is finished; that to Titus

begins.

The second to Timothy, written from Laodicea.-CODEX

ALEXANDRINUS.

The Second Epistle of Paul the Apostle to Timothy, ordained the

first bishop of the Church of the Ephesians, was written from Rome

when Paul was brought the second time before Nero Caesar.-COMMON

GREEK TEXT.

There are other slighter differences in the MSS., but they are

unworthy of note.

That the epistle was written from Rome, about the year 65 or

66, and a little before St. Paul's martyrdom, is the general

opinion of learned men. See the preface.

The reader has already been apprized that this is most probably

the last epistle the apostle ever wrote; and it is impossible to

see him in a more advantageous point of view than he now appears,

standing on the verge of eternity, full of God, and strongly

anticipating an eternity of glory. For farther observations, see

the conclusion of the first epistle.

ON 2Ti 4:16

I have mentioned the apologies of the primitive fathers, or their

vindications of Christianity against the aspersions and calumnies

of the Gentiles. Several of these writings are still extant; of

the whole I shall here give a short account in chronological order.

1. QUADRATUS. St. Jerome relates that this man was

contemporary with the apostles, and one also of their disciples.

There is only a fragment of his apology extant; it is preserved by

Eusebius, in Hist. Eccles, lib. iv. c. 3, and was addressed to the

Emperor Adrian about A. D. 126, on whom it is said to have had a

good effect.

2. ARISTIDES, according to Eusebius, was an Athenian

philosopher, and contemporary with Quadratus; he wrote his apology

for the Christians about the same time, (A. D. 126,) and addressed

it to the same emperor. St. Jerome gives some remarkable

particulars of him in his book Of Illustrious Men. "He was," says

he, "a most eloquent philosopher, and after his conversion he

continued to wear his former habit." His apology was extant in

the days of St. Jerome, but is now utterly lost.

3. JUSTIN MARTYR flourished about A. D. 140, and presented his

first apology for Christianity to the Emperor Antoninus Pius and

the Roman senate, about A. D. 150; and his second apology was

presented to Marcus Antoninus about A. D. 162 or 166. These two

very important apologies are come down to us nearly entire, and

are exceedingly useful and important.

4. ATHENAGORAS wrote his apology for the Christians about the

year 178. He is said to have sat down to write AGAINST the

Christians; and that he might the better confute them he read over

the Scriptures, and was so thoroughly converted by what he read,

that he immediately wrote an apology FOR them, instead of an

invective against them. This piece is still extant.

5. TERTULLIAN, who flourished about A. D. 200, was the

earliest, and one of the chief of the Latin fathers: he was born

in Carthage, and was a presbyter of the Church in that city. His

apology was written about A. D. 198, or, according to some, 200.

It appears to have been addressed to the governors of provinces,

and is allowed to be a work of extraordinary eminence, and a

master piece of its kind. It is still extant.

6. MARCUS MINUCIUS FELIX flourished towards the end of the reign

of Septimius Severus, about A. D. 210. His apology for the

Christian religion is written in the form of a dialogue between

Caecilius Natalis, a heathen, and Octavius Januarius, a Christian,

in which Minucius sits as judge. "This work," says Dr. Lardner,

"is a monument of the author's ingenuity, learning, and eloquence;

and the conversion of a man of his great natural and acquired

abilities to the Christian religion, and his public and courageous

defence of it, notwithstanding the many worldly temptations to the

contrary, which he must have met with at that time, as they give

an advantageous idea of his virtue, so they likewise afford a very

agreeable argument in favour of the truth of our religion."

WORKS, vol. ii., p. 367.

To the above, who are properly the Christian apologists for the

first 200 years, several add Tatian's book against the Gentiles;

Clemens Alexandrinus' Exhortation to the Gentiles; Origen's eight

books against Celsus; Cyprian Of the Vanity of Idols; Arnobius'

seven books against the Gentiles; the Institutions of Lactantius,

and Julius Fermicus Maturnus Of the Errors of Profane Religion.

All these works contain much important information, and are well

worthy the attention of the studious reader. The principal part

of these writings I have analyzed in my Succession of Sacred

Literature, and to this they who cannot conveniently consult the

originals may refer.

As the word apology generally signifies now an excuse for a

fault, or "something spoken rather in extenuation of guilt than to

prove innocence," it is seldom used in its primitive sense; and

for some hundreds of years no defence of Christianity has borne

this title till that by the late bishop of Llandaff, entitled, An

Apology for the BIBLE, in a Series of Letters addressed to THOMAS

PAINE. This is a very masterly work, and a complete refutation of

Paine's "Age of Reason," and of any thing that has yet appeared,

or can appear, under the same form. Ever since the days of St.

Paul, God has raised up able apologists for the truth of

Christianity, when it has been attacked by the most powerful

partisans of the kingdom of darkness; and each attack and apology

has been a new triumph for the religion of Christ.

Finished correcting for a new edition, Dec. 23, 1831.

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