|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
4:1-5 People will turn away from the truth, they will grow weary of the plain gospel of Christ, they will be greedy of fables, and take pleasure in them. People do so when they will not endure that preaching which is searching, plain, and to the purpose. Those who love souls must be ever watchful, must venture and bear all the painful effects of their faithfulness, and take all opportunities of making known the pure gospel.
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.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
But watch thou in all things,.... Relating to himself, his doctrine, and conversation; and to others, to feed the flock of God under his care, to know the state of them, and care for them; to give the time of night, and notice of approaching danger, and see the laws of Christ put in execution; either in allusion to shepherds, who watch over their flocks night and day; or to watchmen that are upon the walls of cities, or go about them; or to the priests and Levites in the temple:
endure afflictions; the Alexandrian copy adds, "as a good soldier of Jesus Christ", as in 2 Timothy 2:3 meaning reproaches and persecutions for the sake of the Gospel, from without, and all trials and exercises from within, through the infirmities and ill conduct of the saints themselves; all which are to be endured patiently, cheerfully, and courageously; so as not to be moved by them to desist from the work of the ministry:
do the work of an evangelist; which may design either an officer, then in the church, distinct from apostles and prophets on the one hand, and pastors and teachers on the other; and was below the former, and above the latter; and was aiding and assisting to the apostles, and such an one Timothy may be thought to be: or it may intend a preacher of the Gospel in common; and to do the work of such an one is not to read lectures of morality, or to preach up justification and salvation by the works of the law; or to mix law and Gospel together, and confound them both; but to preach peace, pardon, righteousness, life, and salvation alone by Jesus Christ, and through the free grace of God:
make full proof of thy ministry: the work of the ministry, which lies in preaching the Gospel, and administering ordinances, and doing all the duties belonging to it, which is to fulfil it, or discharge it; and which gives full proof of a man's being a true and faithful minister of the word; particularly when he diligently and constantly attends to his work; seeks not his own things, but the things of Christ; cheerfully and patiently suffers for Christ and his Gospel, and lives an agreeable life and conversation.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
5. I am no longer here to withstand these things; be thou a worthy successor of me, no longer depending on me for counsel, but thine own master, and swimming without the corks [Calvin]; follow my steps, inherit their result, and the honor of their end [Alford].
watch thou—literally, "with the wakefulness of one sober."
in all things—on all occasions and under all circumstances (Tit 2:7).
endure affliction—suffer hardships [Alford].
evangelist—a missionary bishop preacher, and teacher.
make full proof of—fulfil in all its requirements, leaving nothing undone (Ac 12:25; Ro 15:19; Col 4:17).
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