2 Timothy 1:1
Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, according to the promise of life which is in Christ Jesus,
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(1) Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God.—As in the Epistles to the Corinthians, the Ephesians, and Colossians, he ascribes his apostleship to the sovereign will and election of God. Apart from any merit or work of his own, God chose him for the office. He neither aspired to it nor wished for it. The reference to the Almighty will in this Epistle is singularly in harmony with the spirit of calm resignation which breathes through it. It was that sovereign will which chose him as an Apostle, which guided him all through that eventful life of his, and which brought him to the prison of the Cæsar, where, face to face with death, he wrote this last letter to his friend and disciple Timothy.

According to the promise of life which is in Christ Jesus.—The Greek word rendered “according to” should here be translated “for the promise of life.” This preposition here denotes the object or intention of his appointment as apostle, which was to make known, to publish abroad, the promise of eternal life. Almost the first words of an Epistle, written evidently under the expectation of death, dwell upon the promise of life—the life which knows no ending—the life in Christ. The central point of all Evangelical preaching was the true, blessed life eternal, that life which, in the person of the Redeemer, was revealed to man, and which, through the Redeemer, is offered to the sinner.

2 Timothy


2 Timothy 1:1-7 2 Timothy 3:14-17PAUL’S heart had been drawn to Timothy long before this letter was written, as far back as the beginning of his second missionary journey, and Timothy had cherished the enthusiastic devotion of a young man for his great leader. He seems to have been the best beloved of the circle which the magnetism of Paul’s character bound to him.

The tone of the two epistles suggests that Timothy needed to be braced up, and have a tonic administered. Probably he inclined to be too much affected by difficulties and opposition, and required the ‘ soul-animating strains’ which Paul sounded in his ears. Possibly the Apostle’s imprisonment and evidently impending death had discouraged and saddened the younger and weaker man. At all events, it is beautiful and pathetic that the words of cheer and brave trust should come from the martyr, and not from the sorrowing friend. Timothy should have been the encourager of Paul, but Paul was the encourager of Timothy.

The verses of this passage embody mainly two counsels. Verse 6 exhorts Timothy to ‘stir up the gift’ that was in him; 2 Timothy 3:14 bids him ‘abide in the things which’ he has learned. These two - diligent effort to increase his spiritual force and persistent holding by the teaching already received - are based on Paul’s knowledge of his faith and on Timothy’s knowledge of the saving power of that truth. But Paul loved him too ardently to give him cold counsels. The advices are wrapped in the softest covering of gracious affection and recognition of Timothy’s inherited faith and personal devotion to Paul.

I. Before dealing with the advices, look at the lovely prelude in verses 1-5.

Paul does not lay aside his apostolic authority, but he uses it to make his greeting more sweet and strong. What had he been made an apostle by? The will of God. What had he been made an apostle for? To make known the promise of the life which is in Christ. Thus clothed with authority, and bearing the great gift of life, he takes Timothy to his heart as his beloved child. The captain stoops to embrace the private. Christ’s apostle pours his love and benediction over the young servant, and when such lips wish’ grace, mercy, and peace,’ the wish is a prophecy as much as a prayer.

The flow of Paul’s love outstrips that of his words, and there is some verbal obscurity in verses 3-5, but the meaning is plain. Paul’s thankfulness was for Timothy’s ‘unfeigned faith,’ but when he is about to say that, other tender thoughts start up, and insist on being uttered. The language of love in absence is the same all the world over. It comes across all the intervening centuries like the speech of today: ‘I never forget you.’ But love should be sublimed by religion, and find its best expression in ‘supplications.’ Think of the prisoner in Rome, expecting a near death by violence, and yet telling his young friend that he was always thinking about him, Timothy, and wearying for him with a great yearning.

How beautiful is that touch, too, that the remembrance of Timothy’s tears, when he had had to part from Paul, fed the Apostle’s desire to see him again! And how graceful, and evidently more than graceful, is the contrast between the tears of Timothy at parting and the hoped-for joy of Paul at meeting! No wonder that such a leader kindled passionate enthusiasm.

One can fancy the throb of pleasure with which Timothy would read the recognition of his ‘unfeigned faith.’ It is always a memorable moment to a young beginner when a veteran lays his hand on his shoulder and acknowledges his devotion. Nor less fitted to warm Timothy’s heart was the praise of his grandmother and mother. It would not only do that, but would make him feel that his descent added force to the exhortation which

followed. Whoever might become careless, one who had such blood in his veins was called on to be true to his ancestral faith. One can well understand how such a beginning prepared Timothy for the succeeding counsels. But this was not art or rhetorical advice on Paul’s part, but deep affection. The soil thus watered by love was ready for the seed.

II. The counsel thus delicately introduced is delicately expressed, as putting in remembrance rather than as enjoining authoritatively.

Paul gives Timothy credit for having already recognised the duty. The ‘gift of God’ is the whole bestowments which fitted him for his work, and which were given from the Holy Spirit, through the imposition of the hands of Paul and of the elders {1 Timothy 4:14}.

But whilst there was a special force in the command to Timothy, the principle involved applies to all Christians, and in a wider aspect to all men; for every Christian has received the gift of that self-same Spirit, and every man is endowed with some gifts from God. All God’s gifts are held on similar conditions. They may be neglected, and, if so, will cease as surely as an untended fire dies down into grey ashes. The highest and the lowest are alike in this. An unused muscle atrophies, an uncultivated capacity diminishes. The grace of God itself wanes if we are unfaithful stewards. The gift of the Spirit is not a substitute for our own activity, and the extent to which we possess it is determined by our rousing ourselves to tend the sacred flame.

Timothy had probably been depressed by Paul’s imprisonment and the prospect of his death. He had been accustomed to lean upon the Apostle, and now the strong prop was to be withdrawn, and he was to stand alone, and, worst of all, to take up some of the tasks dropped by Paul. Therefore the Apostle tries to brace up his drooping spirit with his clear clarion note. The message comes to us all, that discouraging circumstances and heavy responsibilities are reasons for gathering ourselves up to our work, and for ‘stirring up’ smouldering fires kindled by God in our hearts, and too often left untended by us.

Paul points to the proper effects of the gift of God, as the ground of his counsel That Spirit does not infuse cowardice, which blenches at danger or shrinks from duty, as probably Timothy was tempted to do; but it breathes ‘power’ into the weak, enabling them to do and bear all things, and ‘love,’ which makes eager for service to God and man, at whatever cost, and ‘self-control,’ which curbs the tendencies to seek easy tasks and to listen to the

voices within or without whispering ignoble avoidance of the narrow way. Surely this exhortation in its most general form should come to all young hearts, and summon them to open their doors for the entrance of that Divine Helper who will make them strong, loving, and masters of themselves.

III. The second exhortation in 2 Timothy 3:14-17, like the first, presupposes Timothy’s previous Christian character, and draws some of its persuasive force from his home and the dear ones there - an argument which, no doubt, Paul knew would tell on such a clinging, affectionate nature.

We note the double reason for steadfastness-the teachers, and the early beginning of the knowledge of the truth. It is thought a sign of independence and advancement by many young people nowadays to fling away their mother’s faith, just because it was hers, and taught them by her when they were infants. The fact that it was is no bar against investigation, nor against the adoption of other conclusions, if needful; but in the present temper of men, it is well to remember that it creates no presumption against a creed that some white-haired Lois, or some tender mother Eunice has striven to engrave it on the young heart.

But the great reason adduced for steadfast grip of the truth is that the ‘sacred writings’ {by which are to be understood the Old Testament} have power, as Timothy had experience, to give a wisdom which led to salvation, and to ‘furnish’ a Christian, especially. the Christian teacher, for ‘every good work.’ In either of the two usually adopted renderings of verse 16, the divine origin of Scripture and its value for the manifold processes for perfecting character are broadly asserted. That origin and these uses are unaffected by variety of view as to the methods of inspiration or by critical researches. It will always be true that the Bible is the chief instrument employed by the Spirit of power and of love and of self-control to mould our characters into beauty of holiness. He who has that Spirit in his heart and the Scriptures in his hands has all he needs.

The one exhortation for such is to ‘abide in’ what he has received. That counsel as given to Timothy was probably directed chiefly against temptations very unlike those which attack us. But the spirit of it applies to us. It enjoins no irrational conservatism, scowling at all new thoughts, but it bids us aim at keeping up our personal hold of the central truths of Christ’s incarnation, sacrifice, and gift of the Divine Spirit, which hold is

slackened by worldliness and carelessness twenty times for once that it is so from intellectual dissatisfaction with the principles of Christianity.

Timothy was relegated, not only to his early memoriam, but to his own experience. He had not only learned these things from revered lips, but had been ‘assured of’ them by the response they had found and the effects they had produced in himself. That is the deepest ground of our holding fast by the gospel, and it is one we may all have. ‘He that believeth hath the witness in himself,’ and may wait with equanimity while the dust of controversy clears off, for he ‘knows in whom he has believed,’ and what that Saviour has done for and in him;

2 Timothy 1:1-5. Paul, an apostle by the will of God — See 1 Corinthians 1:1-5; according to the promise of life — Appointed to exhibit, by preaching the gospel, and to bring men to, eternal life, promised by God to all true believers; in — And through; Christ Jesus — Who hath revealed and procured it. I thank God, whom I serve from my forefathers — That is, whom both I and my ancestors served, or, whom I serve as the holy patriarchs did of old; with a pure conscience — He always worshipped God according to his conscience, both before and after his conversion. Before his conversion, however, his conscience was neither truly enlightened nor awakened; for he was neither acquainted with the spirituality and extent of the moral law, nor with his own sinfulness and guilt through his violations of it. That without ceasing I have remembrance of thee in my prayers — See on Romans 1:8-9. To know that the apostle prayed for him continually, must have afforded great encouragement to Timothy amidst his labours and sufferings: being mindful of thy tears — Perhaps frequently shed, as well as at the apostle’s last parting with him; that I may be filled with joy — In conversing with thee, and giving thee my dying charge and blessing. When I call to remembrance, &c. — That is, my desire to see thee is greatly increased by my calling to remembrance the unfeigned faith — In the gospel, and in its glorious Author; that is in thee — Of which thou hast given convincing evidence; and which dwelt — An expression not applicable to a transient guest, but only to a settled inhabitant; first in thy grandmother Lois — Probably this was before Timothy was born. Here it is insinuated, to the great praise of Timothy’s grandmother Lois, that, having embraced the Christian faith herself, she persevered in it, and persuaded her daughter Eunice to do the same; and that the instructions and example of these pious women prepared their son for receiving the gospel when it was preached to him: a fit example this for the imitation of all mothers, who, if they take the same pains with their children, may hope that, by the blessing of God, their care will be followed with similar happy effects.

1:1-5 The promise of eternal life to believers in Christ Jesus, is the leading subject of ministers who are employed according to the will of God. The blessings here named, are the best we can ask for our beloved friends, that they may have peace with God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord. Whatever good we do, God must have the glory. True believers have in every age the same religion as to substance. Their faith is unfeigned; it will stand the trial, and it dwells in them as a living principle. Thus pious women may take encouragement from the success of Lois and Eunice with Timothy, who proved so excellent and useful a minister. Some of the most worthy and valuable ministers the church of Christ has been favoured with, have had to bless God for early religious impressions made upon their minds by the teaching of their mothers or other female relatives.Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ, - See the notes at Romans 1:1.

By the will of God - Called to be an apostle in accordance with the divine will and purpose; see the notes at Galatians 1:1.

According to the promise of life which is in Christ Jesus - In accordance with the great promise of eternal life through the Saviour; that is, he was called to be an apostle to carry out the great purpose of human salvation; compare Ephesians 3:6. God has made a promise of life to mankind through faith in the Lord Jesus, and it was with reference to this that he was called to the apostleship.



Place of Writing.—Paul, in the interval between his first and second imprisonment, after having written First Timothy from Macedonia or Corinth [Birks] (if we are to adopt the opinion that First Timothy was written after his first imprisonment), returned to Ephesus, as he intended, by way of Troas, where he left the books, &c. (mentioned in 2Ti 4:13), with Carpus. From Ephesus he went to Crete for a short visit and returned, and then wrote to Titus. Next he went by Miletus to Corinth (2Ti 4:20), and thence to Nicopolis (Tit 3:12), whence he proceeded to Rome. From his prison there he wrote the Second Epistle to Timothy, shortly before his martyrdom. It is not certain where Timothy was at this time. Some of the internal evidences favor the view of his having been then at Ephesus; thus the salutation of Priscilla and Aquila, who generally resided there (2Ti 4:19); also that of the household of Onesiphorus, who is stated in 2Ti 1:16-18 to have ministered to Paul at Ephesus, a circumstance implying his residence there. Also, the Hymenæus of 2Ti 2:17 seems to be the same as the Hymenæus at Ephesus (1Ti 1:20); and probably "Alexander the coppersmith" (2Ti 4:14) is the same as the Alexander joined with Hymenæus (1Ti 1:20), and possibly the same as the Alexander put forward by the Jews to clear themselves, not to befriend Paul, at the riot in Ephesus (Ac 19:33, 34). The difficulty is, on this supposition, how to account for 2Ti 4:12, 20: if Timothy was at Ephesus, why did he need to be told that Paul had sent Tychicus to Ephesus? or that Paul had left Trophimus, himself an Ephesian (Ac 21:29), sick at Miletus, which was only thirty miles from Ephesus? However, see on [2489]2Ti 4:12; [2490]2Ti 4:20. Troas lay on the road to Rome from either Ephesus or Pontus, so that 2Ti 4:13 will accord with the theory of either Ephesus or any other place in the northwest of Asia Minor, being Timothy's place of sojourn at the time. Probably, he had the general superintendence of the Pauline churches in Asia Minor, in accordance with his mission combining the office of evangelist, or itinerant missionary, with that of presiding overseer. Ephesus was probably his headquarters.

Time of Writing.—(1) Paul's first imprisonment, described in Ac 28:17-31, was much milder than that in which he was when writing Second Timothy. In the former, he had liberty to lodge in his own hired house, and to receive all comers, guarded only by a single soldier; in the latter, he was so closely confined that Onesiphorus with difficulty found him; he was chained, his friends had forsaken him, and he had narrowly escaped sentence of execution from the Roman emperor. Medieval legends represent the Mamertine prison, or Tullianum, as the scene of his incarceration with Peter. But this is irreconcilable with the fact of Onesiphorus, Linus, Pudens, &c., having access to him. He was probably under military custody, as in his former imprisonment, though of a severer kind (2Ti 1:16-18; 2:9; 4:6-8, 16, 17). (2) The visit to Troas (2Ti 4:13) can hardly have been that mentioned in Ac 20:5-7, the last before his first imprisonment; for, if it were, the interval between that visit and the first imprisonment would be seven or eight years, a period most unlikely for him to have allowed to pass without sending for his cloak and parchments, when they might have been of service to him in the interim. (3) Paul's leaving Trophimus sick at Miletus (2Ti 4:20), could not have been on the occasion mentioned in Ac 20:15; for, subsequent to that, Trophimus was with Paul in Jerusalem (Ac 21:29). (4) The words (2Ti 4:20), "Erastus abode at Corinth," imply that Paul had shortly before been at Corinth, where he left Erastus. But before his first imprisonment, Paul had not been at Corinth for several years; and in the interval Timothy had been with him, so that Timothy did not need at a later period to be told about that visit (Ac 20:2, 4). For all these reasons the imprisonment, during which he wrote Second Timothy, is shown to be his second imprisonment. Moreover, Heb 13:23, 24, represents the writer (who was probably Paul) as in Italy, and at liberty. So Clement of Rome [First Epistle to the Corinthians, 1.5], the disciple of Paul, explicitly states, "In the east and west, Paul as a preacher instructed the whole world (that is, the Roman empire) in righteousness, and having gone to the extremity of the west, and having borne witness before the rulers (of Rome), he so was removed from the world." This plainly implies that he fulfilled his design (Ro 15:24-28) of a missionary journey into Spain. The canon of the New Testament, compiled about A.D. 170 (called Muratori's Canon), also mentions "the journey of Paul from Rome to Spain." See Routh [Sacred Fragments, vol. 4, p. 1-12].

His martyrdom is universally said to have occurred in Nero's reign [Eusebius, Ecclesiastical History, 2.22; Jerome, On Illustrious Men]. Five years thus seem to have elapsed between the first imprisonment, A.D. 63 (Ac 28:17-31), and his martyrdom, June A.D. 68, the last year of Nero's reign. He was probably arrested by the magistrates in Nicopolis (Tit 3:12) in Epirus, in the winter, on a double charge, first, of being one of the Christians who had conspired, it was alleged by Nero's partisans, to set fire to Rome, A.D. 64; secondly, of introducing a novel and unlawful religion. His friends all left him, except Luke: Demas from "love of this present world": the others from various causes (2Ti 4:10, 11). On the first charge he seems to have been acquitted. His liberation from his first imprisonment took place in A.D. 63, the year before the great fire at Rome, which Nero made the pretext for his persecution of the Christians. Every cruelty was heaped on them; some were crucified; some were arrayed in the skins of wild beasts and hunted to death by dogs; some were wrapped in pitch-robes and set on fire by night to illuminate the circus of the Vatican and gardens of Nero, while that monster mixed among the spectators in the garb of a charioteer. But now (A.D. 67 or 68) some years had elapsed since the first excitement which followed the fire. Hence, Paul, being a Roman citizen, was treated in his trial with a greater respect for the forms of the law, and hence was acquitted (2Ti 4:17) on the first charge of having instigated the Christians to their supposed acts of incendiarism before his last departure from Rome. Alexander the coppersmith seems to have been a witness against him (2Ti 4:14). Had he been condemned on the first charge, he would probably have been burnt alive, as the preceding martyrs were, for arson. His judge was the city Præfect. Clement of Rome specifies that his trial was (not before the emperor, but) "before the rulers." No advocate ventured to plead his cause, no patron appeared for him, such as under ordinary circumstances might have aided him; for instance, one of the powerful Æmilian house, under which his family possibly enjoyed clientship (2Ti 4:16, 17), whence he may have taken his name Paul. The place of trial was, probably, one of the great basilicas in the Forum, two of which were called the Pauline Basilicas, from L. Æmilius Paulus, who had built one and restored the other. He was remanded for the second stage of his trial. He did not expect this to come on until the following "winter" (2Ti 4:21), whereas it took place about midsummer; if in Nero's reign, not later than June. In the interim Luke was his only constant companion; but one friend from Asia, Onesiphorus, had diligently sought him and visited him in prison, undeterred by the danger. Linus, too, the future bishop of Rome, Pudens, the son of a senator, and Claudia, his bride, perhaps the daughter of a British king (see on [2491]2Ti 4:21), were among his visitors; and Tychicus, before he was sent by Paul to Ephesus (2Ti 4:12; perhaps bearing with him this Epistle).

Object of the epistle.—He was anxious to see his disciple Timothy, before his death, and that Timothy should bring Mark with him (2Ti 1:4; 4:9, 11, 21). But feeling how uncertain it was whether Timothy should arrive in time, he felt it necessary, also, to give him by letter a last warning as to the heresies, the germs of which were then being scattered in the Churches. Hence he writes a series of exhortations to faithfulness, and zeal for sound doctrine, and patience amidst trials: a charge which Timothy seems to have needed, if we are to judge from the apostle's earnestness in urging him to boldness in Christ's cause, as though Paul thought he saw in him some signs of constitutional timidity (2Ti 2:2-8; 4:1-5; 1Ti 5:22, 23).

Paul's Death.—Dioysius, bishop of Corinth (quoted in Eusebius [Ecclesiastical History, 2.25]) about A.D. 170, is the earliest authority for the tradition that Peter suffered martyrdom at Rome "about the same time" as Paul, after having labored for some time there. He calls Peter and Paul "the founders of the Corinthian and Roman Churches." The Roman presbyter, Caius (about A.D. 200), mentions the tradition that Peter suffered martyrdom in the Vatican. But (1) Peter's work was among the Jews (Ga 2:9), whereas Rome was a Gentile Church (Ro 1:13. Moreover, (2) the First Epistle of Peter (1Pe 1:1; 5:13) represents him as laboring in Babylon in Mesopotamia. (3) The silence concerning Peter of Paul's Epistles written in Rome, negatives the tradition of his having founded, or labored long at Rome; though it is possible he may have endured martyrdom there. His martyrdom, certainly, was not, as Jerome says, "on the same day" with that of Paul, else Paul would have mentioned Peter's being at Rome in 2Ti 4:11. The legend says that Peter, through fear, was fleeing from Rome at early dawn by the Appian Way, when he met our Lord, and falling at His feet, asked, Lord, whither goest thou? to which the Lord replied, I go again to be crucified. The disciple returned penitent and ashamed, and was martyred. The Church of Domine quo vadis, on the Appian Way, commemorates the supposed fact. Paul, according to Caius (quoted in Eusebius [Ecclesiastical History, 2.25]), suffered martyrdom on the Ostian Way. So also Jerome, who gives the date, the fourteenth year of Nero. It was common to send prisoners, whose death might attract too much notice at Rome, to some distance from the city, under a military escort, for execution; hence the soldier's sword, not the executioner's axe, was the instrument of his decapitation [Orosius, The Seven Books of History against the Pagans, 7.7]. Paul appears, from Php 1:12-30, to have had his partisans even in the palace, and certainly must have exercised such an influence as would excite sympathy in his behalf, to avoid which the execution was ordered outside the city. Compare Tacitus [Histories, 4.11]. The Basilica of St. Paul, first built by Constantine, now stands outside Rome on the road to Ostia: before the Reformation it was under the protection of the kings of England, and the emblem of the order of the Garter is still to be seen among its decorations. The traditional spot of the martyrdom is the Tre Fontane, not far from the Basilica [Conybeare and Howson].

2Ti 1:1-18. Address: Thankful Expression of Love and Desire to See Him: Remembrance of His Faith and That of His Mother and Grandmother. Exhortation to Stir Up the Gift of God in Him, and Not Shrink from Affliction, Enforced by the Consideration of the Freeness of God's Grace in Our Gospel Calling, and by the Apostle's Example. The Defection of Many: The Steadfastness of Onesiphorus.


1. This Epistle is the last testament and swan-like death song of Paul [Bengel].

according to the promise of life … in Christ—Paul's apostleship is in order to carry into effect this promise. Compare "according to the faith … in hope of eternal life … promise," &c. (Tit 1:1, 2). This "promise of life in Christ" (compare 2Ti 1:10; 2Ti 2:8) was needed to nerve Timothy to fortitude amidst trials, and to boldness in undertaking the journey to Rome, which would be attended with much risk (2Ti 1:8).2Ti 1:1-2 Paul affectionately saluteth Timothy,

2Ti 1:3-5 assuring him of his constant prayers for him, and

remembrance of that sincere faith which had been

derived to Timothy from his mother and grandmother.

2Ti 1:6,7 He exhorteth him to stir up the gift of God which was

in him,

2Ti 1:8-12 and not to be ashamed of the testimony of the gospel,

but to be ready to suffer for it, according to his example,

2Ti 1:13,14 and to hold fast the form of sound words which he

had learned.

2Ti 1:15 He putteth him in mind of the general defection of

the converts in Asia,

2Ti 1:16-18 and commendeth Onesiphorus for his repeated kindness

toward him.

Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God: See Poole on "1Ti 1:1".

According to the promise of life: it is much the same with Rom 1:1,2, according to the gospel, which he had promised afore by his prophets. These words either signify the end of his apostleship, to declare the gospel in which is the promise of life, or the matter of his preaching.

Which is in Christ Jesus; which eternal life was promised of old, but is not to be had but in Christ Jesus, and in him is the promise fulfilled.

Paul an apostle of Jesus Christ,.... Not of men, nor by men, but by Jesus Christ, from whom he was sent; by whom he was qualified; in whose name he came, and ministered; and whom he preached. Of his name Paul, and of his office, as an apostle; see Gill on Romans 1:1 into which office he came

by the will of God; not by the will of man, no, not of the best of men, of James, Cephas, or John, or any of the other apostles; nor by his own will, he did not thrust himself into this office, or take this honour upon himself; nor was it owing to any merits of his, which he always disclaims, but to the will and grace of God; it was by the secret determining will of God, that he was from all eternity separated unto the Gospel of Christ; and it was by the revealed will of God to the church, that he, with Barnabas, was set apart to the ministry of the word; see Romans 1:1.

According to the promise of life which is in Christ Jesus; or "with respect unto it"; this points at the sum and substance, or subject matter, and end of his apostleship, for which this grace was given to him, which was to publish the free promise of life and salvation by Jesus Christ. By "life" here is meant, not this corporeal life, which, and a continuation of it, were promised in the covenant of works, on condition of man's obedience to it; but eternal life, the promise of which is a free promise made by God, of his own free sovereign will and pleasure, in the covenant of grace, from everlasting; and is an absolute and unconditional one, not at all depending upon the works of the law, or obedience to it; see Romans 14:16 and this promise is "in Christ", in whom all the promises are yea and arisen: for it was made before the world began, Titus 1:2 when the persons on whose account it was made were not in actual being; but Christ, their head and representative, then existed; and to him it was given, and into his hands was it put for them, where it is sure to all the seed; and not only the promise, but the life itself is in him, and which is here intended. Christ, as Mediator, asked it of his Father for all his people, and he gave it to him, where it is hid safe and secure. Christ is the Prince or author of life; he is the procuring cause of it; he was sent, and came, that his sheep might have it; he gave his flesh, his human nature for it; and by his sufferings and death removed all obstructions which sin had thrown in the way, and opened the way for their enjoyment of it; and he is the giver of it to as many as the Father has given him; nor is it to be had in any other way, or of any other; but of him; and it lies in the knowledge of him, communion with him, and conformity to him. Now it is the business, of Gospel ministers, not to direct persons to work for life, or to seek to obtain eternal life by their own works of righteousness, but to hold forth the word of life, or to show men the way of life and salvation by Christ alone.

Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, {a} according to the promise of life which is in Christ Jesus,

(a) Sent of God to preach that life which he promised in Christ Jesus.

2 Timothy 1:1-2. Διὰ θελήματος] comp. on 1 Timothy 1:1.

The words of this address are peculiar: κατʼ ἐπαγγελίαν ζωῆς τῆς ἐν Χριστῷ Ἰησοῦ; they are not to be joined with θελήματος, nor with the following Τιμοθέῳ, but with ἀπόστολος κ.τ.λ. Ἐπαγγελία in the N. T. constantly means “the promise;” it is incorrect to translate it here by “preaching;” comp. 1 Timothy 4:8. Its object is the ζωή, the blessed life which “exists objectively, and is presented in Christ” (Wiesinger). The preposition κατά shows that Paul’s apostleship stands in connection with this promise. Matthies defines this connection more precisely by saying that κατά denotes the harmony between the plan of salvation, of which that ἐπαγγελία is the chief element, and the apostleship. But it is more natural, and more in accordance with the passage in Titus 1:2, to explain it, as does Theodoret, followed by de Wette and Wiesinger: ἀπόστολόν με προεβάλετο ὁ Θεὸς, ὥστε με τὴν ἐπαγγελθεῖσαν αἰώνιον ζωὴν τοῖς ἀνθρώποις κηρύξαι, so that κατά directs attention to the purpose; see Winer, p. 376 [E. T. p. 502]. Otto contends that κατά means “for the purpose,” and that κηρύξαι should be supplied. He explains it more generally: “in the matter of, in regard to,” with the remark: “Paul means to say that his apostolic office … in its entire work is defined by that promise.” This explanation, however, comes back substantially to the former one, since the work of the apostolic office is specially the κηρύσσειν. Hofmann explains κατά as equivalent to “in consequence of,” in the sense, viz., that the promise of life forms the presupposition of Paul’s apostleship; but for this there is no support in usage; besides, it is self-evident that without that promise of life there would be no apostleship.—2 Timothy 1:2. Τιμοθέῳ ἀγαπητῷ τέκνῳ] ἀγαπητῷ, in distinction from γνησίῳ, 1 Timothy 1:2 and Titus 1:4, does not indicate a greater confidence, nor even blame, as if Timothy, by showing a want of courageous faith, no longer deserved the name (Mack).

2 Timothy 1:1-2. Salutation.

1, 2. The Salutation to Timothy

1. an apostle of Jesus Christ] Read with the mss. Christ Jesus, and see note on 1 Timothy 1:1 for the frequency of this order of the words.

by the will of God] This phrase with the preceding words in precisely the same order commences the Ep. to Colossians and Ep. to Ephesians, followed in the former by ‘and Timothy our brother.’ The phrase also introduces both 1 Cor. and 2 Cor. The use here shews that there is no asserting of impugned authority intended by it; but rather there is a going back to the first calling and sending by God, from no personal merit, but by His purpose of mercy alone; and apostle through the will of God is a short phrase for the full statement of Galatians 1:15-16, ‘it was the good pleasure of God, who separated me even from my mother’s womb and called me through His grace, to reveal His Son in me, that I might preach Him among the Gentiles.’

according to the promise of life] This, for Timothy, is the sphere of his apostleship as of his life. ‘To me to live is Christ.’ If any man be in Christ, he is a new creation.’ Lay hold on the life which is life indeed.’ For the apostleship in regard to Titus and the Cretans see note on Titus 1:1. Render, with R.V., the promise of the life, the article with ‘in Christ Jesus’ making ‘life’ definite at once; while according to regular use no article is required in the Greek prepositional phrase on which ‘life’ depends, ‘according to the promise,’ from the nature of the word ‘promise.’ Compare the usage in 1 Timothy 4:8, ‘having the promise of the life which now is and which is to come.’ That passage and 1 Timothy 6:12 give the clue to the choice of the phrase here. Timothy there is exhorted to train himself in the godliness which has the promise of ‘the divine life’ and to ‘lay hold of it’ (see notes). So here his spiritual father recalls his own experience and assurance to encourage his son—the free love of God which had laid hold of him and given him work as the seal of pardon, and (in the doing of that work) ‘life in Christ Jesus,’ begun here to be perfected hereafter in spite of persecution. The greater the sense of sin, the stronger the sense of rescuing ‘grace and mercy,’ and the clearer the assurance of ‘peace,’ the crown of blessings.

2 Timothy 1:1. Παῦλος, Paul) This epistle has three divisions.

  I.  The Inscription, 2 Timothy 1:1-2.

  II.  An Invitation, Come to me in prison, variously hinted at.

1.  He expresses his affection for Timothy, 2 Timothy 1:3-4,

  And kindly exhorts him: be not ashamed of me, 2 Timothy 1:6-7; to which are subjoined sad instances of abandonment, 2 Timothy 1:15, and blessed examples of attachment, 2 Timothy 1:16-17.

2.  The twofold proposition, Be strong, and commit thy office to faithful men, 2 Timothy 2:1-2. The first part is treated, 2 Timothy 2:3-13; the second, 2 Timothy 2:14, with an exhortation to Timothy to behave himself as a man of God before his journey, 2 Timothy 2:15-16; 2 Timothy 3:1-2; 2 Timothy 4:1-2.

3.  Come quickly, 2 Timothy 4:9. Here Paul—

1.  Mentions his solitary state, 2 Timothy 4:10-11.

2.  He orders his books to be brought, 2 Timothy 4:13.

3.  He admonishes him concerning the adversary, 2 Timothy 4:14-15.

4.  He points out the inconstancy of men, and proclaims the faithfulness of God, 2 Timothy 4:16-17.

4.  Come before winter. This invitation is encompassed with salutations, 2 Timothy 4:19-20.

Paul wished Timothy to come to him in prison without fear, and he was about to deliver up to him before his decease the lamp (torch-light) of the evangelical office, ch. 2 Timothy 4:5-6. This epistle is the testament and last words [“cygnea cantio,” swanlike death-song] of Paul. It was written long after the first Epistle to Timothy, and yet the tone of both is very much alike.—κατʼ ἐπαγγελίαν, according to the promise) Paul subserves the fulfilment of this promise in the discharge of his office. So κατὰ, according to, in accordance with, John 2:6 : comp. on the particle and on the truth itself, Titus 1:1-2.—ζωῆς, of life) prepared both for me and thee and the elect. This is the secret spring of the power, which he exhibits in exhorting Timothy, 2 Timothy 1:10; 2 Timothy 2:8. [In fact the journey which he wishes to be undertaken by Timothy did not seem to be without risk of life.—V. g.]

Verse 1. - Christ Jesus for Jesus Christ, A.V. and T.R.; the life for life, A.V. The life is a little clearer than life, as showing that "life" (not "promise") is the antecedent to "which." According to the promise denotes the subject matter with which, as an apostle, he had to deal, viz. the promise of eternal life in Christ Jesus, and the end for which he was called, viz. to preach that promise (comp. Titus 1:2). 2 Timothy 1:1An apostle by the will of God

So 2nd Corinthians, Ephesians, Colossians 1st Corinthians adds called or by call (κλητὸς).

According to the promise, etc. (κατ' ἐπαγγελίαν)

Αποστόλος κατὰ does not appear in any of the Pauline salutations. In 1 Timothy, κατ' ἐπιταγὴν according to the commandment, and in Titus κατὰ πίστιν etc., according to the faith, etc. Κατ' ἐπαγγελίαν, though in other connections, Acts 13:23; Galatians 3:29. Ἑπαγγελία, primarily announcement, but habitually promise in N.T. In Pastorals only here and 1 Timothy 4:8. With the promise of the life in Christ goes the provision for its proclamation. Hence the apostle, in proclaiming "ye shall live; through Christ," is an apostle according to the promise.

Of life which is in Christ Jesus

The phrase promise of life only here and 1 Timothy 4:8. oP. Life in Christ is a Pauline thought. See Romans 8:2; 2 Corinthians 4:10; Romans 6:2-14; Galatians 2:19, Galatians 2:20; Colossians 3:4; Philippians 1:21. It is also a Johannine thought; see John 1:4; John 3:15; John 6:25; John 14:6; 1 John 5:11.

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