|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
2:1-7 As our trials increase, we need to grow stronger in that which is good; our faith stronger, our resolution stronger, our love to God and Christ stronger. This is opposed to our being strong in our own strength. All Christians, but especially ministers, must be faithful to their Captain, and resolute in his cause. The great care of a Christian must be to please Christ. We are to strive to get the mastery of our lusts and corruptions, but we cannot expect the prize unless we observe the laws. We must take care that we do good in a right manner, that our good may not be spoken evil of. Some who are active, spend their zeal about outward forms and doubtful disputations. But those who strive lawfully shall be crowned at last. If we would partake the fruits, we must labour; if we would gain the prize, we must run the race. We must do the will of God, before we receive the promises, for which reason we have need of patience. Together with our prayers for others, that the Lord would give them understanding in all things, we must exhort and stir them up to consider what they hear or read.
Verse 2. - Which for that, A.V.; from for of, A.V. The things which thou hast heard, etc. Here we have distinctly enunciated the succession of apostolical doctrine through apostolical men. We have also set before us the partnership of the presbyterate, and, in a secondary degree, of the whole Church, with the apostles and bishops their successors, in preserving pure and unadulterated the faith once delivered to the saints. There can be little doubt that St. Paul is here alluding to Timothy's ordination, as in 1 Timothy 4:14; 1 Timothy 6:12; 2 Timothy 1:6, 7, 13, 14. Timothy had then heard from the apostle's lips a certain "form of sound words" - something in the nature of a creed, some summary of gospel truth, which was the deposit placed in his charge; and in committing it to him, he and the presbyters present had laid their hands on him, and the whole Church had assented, and confirmed the same. "Thus through many witnesses," whose presence and assent, like that of witnesses to the execution of a deed of transfer of land (Genesis 23:10, 16, 18), was necessary to make the transaction valid and complete, had Timothy received his commission to preach the Word of God; and what he had received he was to hand on in like manner to faithful men, who should be able to teach the same to others also. Commit (παράθου); identifying the doctrine committed to be handed on with the deposit (παραθήκη) of 1 Timothy 6:20 and 2 Timothy 1:14. It is important to note here both the concurrence of the presbyters and the assent of the Church. The Church has ever been averse to private ordinations, and has ever associated the people as consentient parties in ordination (Thirty-first Canon; Preface to "Form and Manner of Making of Deacons," and rubric at close - "in the face of the Church;" "Form and Manner of Ordering of Priests" - "Good people," etc.).
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
And the things that thou hast heard of me,.... Meaning the doctrines of the Gospel, the form of sound words. The Arabic version renders it, "the secrets, or mysteries that thou hast heard of me"; the mysteries of the grace of God, which he had often heard him discourse of, unfold and explain:
among many witnesses; or by them; which some understand of the testimonies out of Moses, and the prophets, with which the apostle confirmed what he delivered; for the doctrines of justification, pardon of sin, &c. by Christ, were bore witness to by the prophets; though rather the many persons, who, with Timothy, heard the apostle preach, and were and would be sufficient witnesses for Timothy, on occasion, that what he preached and committed to others were the same he had heard and received from the Apostle Paul; unless reference should be had here to the time of imposition of hands upon him, when he received some ministerial gifts, or an increase of them; at which time the apostle might deliver to him the form of doctrine he was to preach, and that in the presence of the presbytery, who joined in the action, and so were witnesses of what was said to him:
the same commit thou to faithful men; who not only have received the grace of God, and are true believers in Christ, but are men of great uprightness and integrity; who having the word of God, will speak it out boldly, and faithfully, and keep back nothing that is profitable, but declare the whole counsel of God, without any mixture or adulteration; for the Gospel being committed to their trust, they would become stewards, and of such it is required that they be faithful; and therefore this is mentioned as a necessary and requisite qualification in them; and not only so, but they must be such
who shall be able or sufficient
to teach others also. No man is sufficient for these things, of himself, but his sufficiency is of God; it is he who makes men able ministers of the word, by giving them gifts suitable for such work; so that they have a furniture in them, a treasure in their earthen vessels, an understanding of the sacred Scriptures, a gift of explaining them, and a faculty of speaking to edification; and so are apt to teach men, to their profit and advantage, The Ethiopic version renders it, "who are fit to teach the foolish".
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
2. among—Greek, "through," that is, with the attestation (literally, "intervention") of many witnesses, namely, the presbyters and others present at his ordination or consecration (1Ti 4:14; 6:12).
commit—in trust, as a deposit (2Ti 1:14).
faithful—the quality most needed by those having a trust committed to them.
who—Greek, "(persons) such as shall be competent to teach (them to) others also." Thus the way is prepared for inculcating the duty of faithful endurance (2Ti 2:3-13). Thou shouldest consider as a motive to endurance, that thou hast not only to keep the deposit for thyself, but to transmit it unimpaired to others, who in their turn shall fulfil the same office. This is so far from supporting oral tradition now that it rather teaches how precarious a mode of preserving revealed truth it was, depending, as it did, on the trustworthiness of each individual in the chain of succession; and how thankful we ought to be that God Himself has given the written Word, which is exempt from such risk.
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