2 Timothy 1:13
Hold fast the form of sound words, which you have heard of me, in faith and love which is in Christ Jesus.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(13) Hold fast the form of sound words, which thou hast heard of me.—It was not sufficient for Timothy to renew his fainting courage and to brace himself up for fresh efforts; he must do something more—in his teaching he must never let those solemn formularies he had once received from him be changed. Perhaps in the heart of St. Paul lurked some dread that the new glosses and specious explanations which the school of false teachers, so often referred to in these Pastoral Epistles, chose to add to the great doctrines of Christianity would be more likely to be listened to by Timothy when the hand of his old master was cold and the heart had ceased to beat; so he urged upon him to hold fast those inspired formularies he had heard from St. Paul’s lips—such, for instance, as those “faithful sayings” which come before us so often in these Epistles to Timothy and Titus.

In faith and love which is in Christ Jesus.—Timothy, in days to come, must mould and shape his teaching after the pattern of the teaching of his master St. Paul, and he must do it in that faith and love which alone comes from a life passed in communion with Christ.

The very frequent reference to the “sound, healthy words” in these Epistles by St. Paul, and from which he urges his disciples and successors never to depart, indicate to us the deep importance St. Paul and the first generation of believers attached to the very words and expressions used by the apostles and those who had been with the Lord.

False doctrines so easily might creep in, and loose forms of expression respecting great truths were an ever-present danger; a lax life, too, St. Paul knew, was the almost invariable accompaniment of false doctrine, hence these repeated exhortations of his to these representative teachers, Timothy and Titus, of the second generation of Christians, to hold fast the form of sound, healthy words—such words as these had again and again been heard from the lips of apostles and hearers of the Lord—“words which thou hast heard of me,” St. Paul.

2 Timothy

‘SOUND WORDS’

2 Timothy 1:13ANY great author or artist passes, in the course of his work, from one manner to another; so that a person familiar with him can date pretty accurately his books or pictures as being in his ‘earlier’ or ‘later’ style So there is nothing surprising in the fact that there are great differences between Paul’s last writings and his previous ones. The surprising thing would have been if there had not been such differences. The peculiarities of the so-called three pastoral Epistles {the two to Timothy, and the one to Titus} are not greater than can fairly be accounted for by advancing years, changed circumstances, and the emergence of new difficulties and enemies.

Amongst them there are certain expressions, very frequent in these letters and wholly unknown in any of Paul’s other work. These have been pounced upon as disproving the genuineness of these letters, hut they only do so if you assume that a man, when he gets old, must never use any words that he did not use when he was young, whatever new ideas may have come to him. Now, in this text of mine is one of these phrases peculiar to these later letters - ‘sound words.’ That phrase and its parallel one, ‘sound doctrine,’ occur in all some half-dozen times in these letters, and never anywhere else. The expression has become very common among us. It is more often used than understood; and the popular interpretation of it hides its real meaning and obscures the very important lessons which are to be drawn from the true understanding of it, lessons which, I take leave to think, modern Christianity stands very sorely in need of. I desire now to try to unfold the thoughts and lessons con-rained in this phrase.

I. What does Paul mean by a ‘form of sound words’?

I begin the answer by saying that he does not mean a doctrinal formula. The word here rendered ‘form’ is the same which he employs in the first of the letters to Timothy, when he speaks of himself and his own conversion as being ‘a pattern to them that should hereafter believe.’ The notion intended here is not a cut-and-dried creed, but a body of teaching winch will not be compressed within the limits of an iron form, but will be a pattern for the lives of the men to whom it is given. The Revised Version has ‘the pattern; and not ‘the form.’ I take leave to think that there were no creeds in the

apostolic time, and that the Church would probably have had a firmer grasp of God’s truth if there had never been any. At all events the idea of a cast-iron creed, into which the whole magnificence of the Christian faith is crushed, is by no means Paul’s idea in the word here. Then, with regard to the other part of the phrase - ‘sound words’ - we all know how that is generally understood by people. Words are supposed to be ‘sound,’ when they are in conformity with the creed of the critic. A sound High Churchman is an entirely different person from a sound Nonconformist. Puritan and Sacramentarian differ with regard to the standard which they set up, but they use the word in the same way, to express theological statements in conformity with that standard. And we all know how harshly the judgment is sometimes made, and how easy it is to damn a man by a solemn shake of the head or a shrug of the shoulders, and the question whether he is ‘sound.’

Now, all that is clean away from the apostolic notion of the word in question. If we turn to the other form of this phrase, which occurs frequently in these letters, ‘sound doctrine,’ there is another remark to be made. ‘Doctrine’ conveys to the ordinary reader the notion of an abstract, dry, theological statement of some truth. Now, what the Apostle means is not ‘doctrine’ so much as ‘teaching’; and if you will substitute ‘teaching’ for ‘doctrine’ you get much nearer his thought just as you will get nearer it if for ‘sound,’ with its meaning of conformity to a thee-logical standard, you substitute what the word really means, ‘healthy,’ wholesome, health-giving, healing. All these ideas run into each other. That which is in itself healthy is health-giving as food, and as a medicine is healing. The Apostle is not describing the teaching that he had given to Timothy by its conformity with any standard, but is pointing to its essential nature as being wholesome, sound in a physical sense; and to its effect as being healthy and health-giving. Keep hold of that thought and the whole aspect of this saying changes at once.

There is only one other point that I would suggest in this first part of my sermon, as to the Apostolic meaning of these words, and it is this: ‘healing’ and ‘holy’ are etymologically connected, they tell us. The healing properties of the teaching to which Paul refers are to be found entirely in this - its tendency to make men better, to produce a purer morality, a loftier goodness, a more unselfish love, and so to bring harmony and health into the diseased nature. The one healing for a man is to be holy; and, says Paul, the way to be holy is to keep a firm hold of that body of teaching which I have presented.

Now, that this tendency to produce nobler manners and purer conduct and holier character is the true meaning of the word ‘ sound’ here, and not ‘ orthodox’ as we generally take it, will be quite clear, I think, if you will notice how, in another part of these same letters, the Apostle gives a long catalogue of the things which are contrary to the health-giving doctrine. If the ordinary notion of the expression were correct, that catalogue ought to be a list of heresies. But what is it? A black list of vices - ‘deceivers,’ ‘ungodly, sinners, ‘unholy,’ profane,’ ‘murderers,’ ‘man-slayers,’ ‘whoremongers,’ ‘man-stealers,’ ‘liars,’ ‘perjured’ persons. Not one of these refers to aberration of opinion; all of them point to divergences of conduct, and these are the things that are contrary to the healing doctrine. But they are not contrary, often, to sound orthodoxy. For there have been a great many imitators of that king of France, who carried little leaden images of saints and the Virgin in his hat and the devil in his heart. ‘The form of sound words’ is the pattern of healing teaching, which proves itself healing because it makes holy. Now, that is my first question answered.

II. Where Paul thought these healing words were to be found.

He had no doubt whatever as to that. They were in the message that he preached of Jesus Christ and His salvation. There and there only, in his estimation and inspired teaching, are such words to be found. The truth of Christ, His incarnation, His sacrifice, His resurrection, His ascension, the gift of His Divine Spirit, with all the mighty truths on which these great facts rest, and all which flow from these great facts, these, in the aggregate, are the health-giving words for the sickly world.

Now, historically, it is proved to Be so. I do not need to defend, as if it were in full conformity with the dictates and principles of Christianity, the life and practice of any generation of Christian people. But this I do venture to say, that the world has been slowly lifted, all through the generations, by the influence, direct and indirect, of the great truths of Christianity, and that today the very men who, in the name of certain large principles which they have learned from the gospel, are desirous of brushing aside the old-fashioned gospel, are kicking down the ladder by which they climbed, and that, with all the imperfections, for which we have to take shame to ourselves before God, still the reflection of the perfect Imago which is east into the world from the mirror of the collective

Christian conduct and character, though it be distorted by many a flaw in the glass, and imperfect by reason of many a piece of the reflecting medium having dropped away, is still the fairest embodiment of character that the world has ever seen. Why, what is the meaning of the sarcasms that we have all heard, till we are wearied of them, about ‘the Nonconformist conscience’? The adjective is wrong; it should be ‘the Christian conscience.’ But with that correction I claim the sarcasms as unconscious testimony to the fact that the Christian ideal of character and conduct set forth, and approximately realised, by religious people, is far above the average morality of even a so-called Christian nation. And all that is duo to the ‘pattern of health-giving words.’

Now, the historical confirmation of Paul’s claim that these health-giving words were to be found in his gospel is no more than is to be expected, if we look at the contents of that gospel to which he thus appeals. For there never has been such an instrument for regenerating individuals and society as lies in the truths of Christianity, firmly grasped and honestly worked out. Their healing power comes, first, from their giving the sense of pardon and acceptance. Brethren, there is nothing, as I humbly venture to affirm, that will go down to the fountain and origin of all the ills of man, except that teaching ‘God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing unto them their trespasses.’ That reality of guilt, that schism and alienation between man and God, must be dealt with first before you can produce high morality. Unless you deal with that central disease you do very little. Something you do; but the cancer is deep-seated, and the world’s remedies for it may cure pimples on the surface, but are powerless to extirpate the malignant tumour that has laid hold of the vitals. You must begin by dealing with the disease of sin, not only in its aspect as habit, but in its consequence of guilt and responsibility and separation from God, before you can bring health to the sick man.

And then, beyond that, I need not remind you of how a higher and more wholesome morality is made possible by these health-giving words, inasmuch as they set forth for us the perfect example of Jesus Christ, inasmuch as they bring into operation love, the mightiest of all powers to mould a life, inasmuch as they open up for us, far more solemnly and certainly than ever else has been revealed, the solemn thought of judgment, and of every man giving account of himself to God, and the assurance that ‘whatsoever a man soweth here, that,’ a thousand-fold increased in the crop, ‘shall he also reap’ in the eternities. In addition to the example of perfection in the beloved Christ, the mighty motive of love, the solemn urgency of judgment and retribution, the health-giving words bring to us the assurance of a divine power dwelling within us, to lift us to heights of purity and goodness to which our unaided feet can never, never climb. And for all these reasons the message of Christ’s incarnation and death is the health-giving word for the world.

But, further, let me remind you that, according to the apostolic teaching, these healing and health-giving effects will not be produced except by that gospel. Some of you, perhaps, may have listened to the first part of my sermon with approbation, because it seemed to fit in with the general disparagement of doctrine prevalent in this day. Will you listen to this part too? I venture to assert that, although there are many men apart from Christ who have as clear a conception of what they ought to be and to do as any Christian, and some men apart from Christ who do aim after high and pure, noble lives, not altogether unsuccessfully, yet on the whole, on the wide scale, and in the long-run, if you change the ‘pattern of health-giving words’ you lower the health of the world. It seems to me that this generation is an object-lesson in that matter. Why is it that these two things are running side by side in the literature of these closing years of the century - viz., a rejection of the plain laws of morality, especially in regard of the relations of the sexes, and a rejection of the old-fashioned gospel of Jesus Christ? I venture to think that the two things stand to each other very largely in the relation of cause and effect, and that, if you want to bring back the world to Puritan morality, you will have to go back in the main to Puritan theology. I do not mean to insist upon any pinning of faith to any theological system, but this I am bound to say, and I beseech you to consider, that if you strike out from the ‘pattern of health-giving words’ the truth of the Incarnation, the sacrifice on the Cross, the Resurrection, the Ascension, and the gift of the Spirit, the ‘health-giving words’ that you have left are not enough to give health to a fly.

III. Lastly, notice what Paul would have us do with these’ health-giving words.’

‘Hold fast the form.., in faith and love, which is in Christ Jesus.’ Now that exhortation includes three things. Your time will not allow me to do more than just touch them. First it applies to the understanding. ‘Hold fast the teaching’ by letting it occupy your minds Brethren, I am unwillingly bound to acknowledge my suspicion that a very large number of Christian people scarcely ever occupy their thoughts with the facts and principles of the gospel, and that they have no firm and intelligent grasp of these, either singly or in their connection. I would plead for less newspaper and more Bible; for less novel and more gospel. I know how hard it is for busy men to have spare energy for anything beyond their business and the necessary claims of society, but I would even venture to advise a little less of what is called Christian work, in order to get a little more Christian knowledge. ‘Come ye yourselves apart into a solitary place,’ said the Master; and all busy workers need that. ‘Hold fast the health-giving words’ by meditation, a lost art among so many Christians.

The exhortation applies next to the heart. ‘Hold in faith and love.’ If that notion of the expression, which I have been trying to combat, were the correct one, there would be no need for anything beyond familiarising the understanding with the bearings of the doctrinal truths. But Paul sees need for a great deal more. The understanding brings to the emotions that on which they fasten and feed. Faith - which is more than credence, being an act of the will - casts itself on the truth believed, or rather on the Person revealed in the truth; and love, kindled by faith, and flowing out in grateful response, and self-abandonment, are as needful as orthodox belief, in order to hold fast the health-giving words.

The exhortation applies, finally, to Character and conduct. Emotion, even when it takes the shape of faith and love, is as little the end of God’s revelation as is knowledge. He makes Himself known to us in all the greatness of His grace and love in Jesus Christ, not that we may know, and there an end, nor even that knowing, we may feel, and there an end, though a great many emotional Christians seem to think that is all; but that knowing, we may feel, and knowing and feeling, we may be and do what He would have us do and be. We have the great river flowing past our doors. It is not only intended that we should fill our cisterns by knowledge, nor only bathe our parched lips by faith and love, but that we should use it to drive all the wheels of the mill of life. Not he that understands, nor he that glows, but he that does, is the man who holds fast the pattern of sound health-giving words.

The world is like that five-porched pool in which were gathered a great multitude of sick folks. Its name is the ‘House of Mercy,’ for so Bethesda means, tragically as the title seems to be contradicted by the condition of the cripples and diseased lying there. But this fountain once moved gushes up for ever; and whosoever will may step into it, and immediately be made whole of whatsoever disease he has.2 Timothy 1:13-14. Hold fast the form — The draught, pattern, or model; (so υποτυπωσις signifies;) of sound words — Of pure and salutary doctrine; which thou hast heard of me — Hast received repeatedly from my own lips: keep this, not merely in theory, and in thy memory, but in thy heart; in faith and love — In that cordial faith and sincere love which are essentially necessary to our being in Christ Jesus, and which will ensure our being owned by him as his true disciples. Macknight thinks the phrase υγιαινοντων λογων, sound, wholesome, or salutary words, here used by the apostle, is an insinuation that the false teachers had introduced into their discourses a variety of high-sounding, mysterious words and phrases of their own invention, on a pretence that they expressed the Christian doctrines better than those used by the apostles; and that Timothy was hereby required to “resist this bad practice, by adhering closely to the words and phrases in which the apostle had taught him the doctrines of the gospel, and which he terms wholesome words, because, being dictated by the Spirit, (1 Corinthians 2:13,) they are more fit for expressing the doctrines of Christ than any words of human invention. The teachers in modern times, who, in explaining the articles of the Christian faith, use phrases different from the Scripture phraseology, would do well to attend to this apostolical injunction.” That good thing which was committed, &c. — Greek, την καλην παρακαταθηκην, literally, the good deposite. “Our translators have added the words to thee, which are not in the original; and besides are unnecessary, because the apostle is speaking of a deposite committed in trust to himself, as well as to Timothy; as is plain from the last words of the verse, φυλαξον, guard by the Holy Ghost which dwelleth in us.” Concerning this deposite, see on 1 Timothy 6:20. “As the form of sound words, mentioned in the preceding verse, was a part of this deposite, an exhortation to guard them was extremely necessary, before the writings of the apostles and evangelists were published, in which the doctrines of the gospel are expressed in words taught by the Holy Ghost. And now that these inspired writings are in our possession, this exhortation implies that we ought to preserve them pure, without any alteration; and that all the translations which are made of them ought to exhibit, as nearly as possible, the very words which were dictated to the inspired writers by the Spirit of God.”1:6-14 God has not given us the spirit of fear, but the spirit of power, of courage and resolution, to meet difficulties and dangers; the spirit of love to him, which will carry us through opposition. And the spirit of a sound mind, quietness of mind. The Holy Spirit is not the author of a timid or cowardly disposition, or of slavish fears. We are likely to bear afflictions well, when we have strength and power from God to enable us to bear them. As is usual with Paul, when he mentions Christ and his redemption, he enlarges upon them; so full was he of that which is all our salvation, and ought to be all our desire. The call of the gospel is a holy call, making holy. Salvation is of free grace. This is said to be given us before the world began, that is, in the purpose of God from all eternity; in Christ Jesus, for all the gifts that come from God to sinful man, come in and through Christ Jesus alone. And as there is so clear a prospect of eternal happiness by faith in Him, who is the Resurrection and the Life, let us give more diligence in making his salvation sure to our souls. Those who cleave to the gospel, need not be ashamed, the cause will bear them out; but those who oppose it, shall be ashamed. The apostle had trusted his life, his soul, and eternal interests, to the Lord Jesus. No one else could deliver and secure his soul through the trials of life and death. There is a day coming, when our souls will be inquired after. Thou hadst a soul committed to thee; how was it employed? in the service of sin, or in the service of Christ? The hope of the lowest real Christian rests on the same foundation as that of the great apostle. He also has learned the value and the danger of his soul; he also has believed in Christ; and the change wrought in his soul, convinces the believer that the Lord Jesus will keep him to his heavenly kingdom. Paul exhorts Timothy to hold fast the Holy Scriptures, the substance of solid gospel truth in them. It is not enough to assent to the sound words, but we must love them. The Christian doctrine is a trust committed to us; it is of unspeakable value in itself, and will be of unspeakable advantage to us. It is committed to us, to be preserved pure and entire, yet we must not think to keep it by our own strength, but by the power of the Holy Spirit dwelling in us; and it will not be gained by those who trust in their own hearts, and lean to their own understandings.Hold fast the form of sound words; - see the notes at 1 Timothy 1:3. On the Greek word here rendered "form," see the notes at 1 Timothy 1:16, where it is rendered pattern. The word means a form, sketch, or imperfect delineation - an outline. Grotius says that it here means "an exemplar, but an exemplar fixed in the mind - an idea." Calvin says that the command is that he should adhere to the doctrine which he had learned, not only in its substance, but in its form. Dr. Tillotson explains this as meaning the profession of faith which was made by Christians at baptism. There seems to be an allusion to some summary or outline of truth which Paul had given to Timothy, though there is no evidence that it was written. Indeed, there is every presumption that, if it refers to such a summary, it was not committed to writing. If it had been, it would have been regarded as inspired, and would have taken its place in the canon of Scripture. It may be presumed that almost none of the sacred writings would have been more sacredly preserved than such a condensed summary of Christian truth. But there is no improbability in supposing that Paul, either at his ordination, or on some other occasion, may have stated the outlines of the Christian religion to Timothy, that he might have a clear and connected view of the subject. The passage, therefore, may be used as an argument for the propriety of some brief summary of doctrine as a matter of convenience, though not as having binding authority on the consciences of others. "Of sound words;" compare the notes at 1 Timothy 6:3. The Greek is the same in both places.

Which thou hast heard of me - This proves that he does not refer to a written creed, since what he refers to was something which he had heard.

In faith and love which is in Christ Jesus - Hold these truths with sincere faith in the Lord Jesus, and with that love which is the best evidence of attachment to him.

13. Hold fast the form—rather as Greek, "Have (that is, keep) a pattern of sound (Greek, 'healthy') words which thou hast heard from me, in faith and love." "Keep" suits the reference to a deposit in the context. The secondary position of the verb in the Greek forbids our taking it so strongly as English Version, "Hold fast." The Greek for "form" is translated "pattern" in 1Ti 1:16, the only other passage where it occurs. Have such a pattern drawn from my sound words, in opposition to the unsound doctrines so current at Ephesus, vividly impressed (Wahl translates it "delineation"; the verb implies "to make a lively and lasting impress") on thy mind.

in faith and love—the element IN which my sound words had place, and in which thou art to have the vivid impression of them as thy inwardly delineated pattern, moulding conformably thy outward profession. So nearly Bengel explains, 1Ti 3:9.

By sound words which he had heard from Paul, can be meant nothing but the doctrine of the gospel, which, as it is itself pure, and consistent with itself, not rotten, one piece of which will not hold with the other, so it tends to make souls sound as to their spiritual health: this doctrine Timothy had been instructed in by Paul; whether he had given him a written form of them or no is not much material, for this (if he did) was not that which he would have him

hold fast, but to keep the idea or pattern of that doctrine in his mind, written in his heart, making his discourses conform to it. The sum of which form of sound words he declareth to be faith and love, for all that the gospel teacheth is either believing in the Lord Jesus Christ, or keeping his commandments, which is the demonstration of love, John 14:15: or else the sense may be this: Keep thyself sound in the principles of religion, which thou hast learned of me.

Which is in Christ Jesus; but do not think this enough without exercising a faith in Christ as thy Redeemer, and living in obedience to his commandments. Many an orthodox man may go to hell, notwithstanding his orthodoxy. Hold fast the form of sound words,.... By "words" are meant, not mere words, but doctrines; for the servants of the Lord should not strive about words, to no profit, or be too tenacious of them. Indeed when words have long obtained, and have been very useful to convey just ideas of truth to the mind, they are not to be easily parted with, though they are not syllabically expressed in Scripture, unless other and better words can be substituted in their room; and especially they are to be tenaciously abode by, when the apparent design by dropping or changing them is to set aside the truths signified by them; such as trinity, unity, essence, person, imputed righteousness, satisfaction, &c. But here words design doctrines, the words of faith and good doctrine, the wholesome words of our Lord Jesus Christ; and which are said to be "sound", in opposition to the words and doctrines of false teachers, which are corrupt and unsound, and are pernicious, and eat as do a canker; and because they are so in themselves; they are not only sweet and pleasant, but salutary and nourishing; they are milk for babes, and meat for strong men; they are food for faith, and nourish up to eternal life. The "form" of them either intends the manner of teaching them, which should be it, apt and acceptable words, plain and easy to be understood, and not with the enticing words of men's wisdom; or a brief summary, a compendium of Gospel truth. It was usual with both Jews and Christians to reduce the principles of their religion into a narrow compass, into a short form or breviary. The Jew had his "form of knowledge, and of the truth in the law", Romans 2:20, which was a rule to himself, and an instruction to others; and such a form, or Jewish creed, may be seen in Hebrews 6:1. The Apostle Paul gives a summary of the Gospel, which he preached, and which he reduces to two heads; repentance towards God, and faith towards our Lord Jesus Christ, Acts 20:20 and an excellent compendium and abridgment of the Gospel, and a glorious form of sound words, we have in Romans 8:29 and such an one Timothy had heard and received from the apostle, as a "pattern" for him hereafter to preach by, as this word signifies; and as it is rendered in 1 Timothy 1:16. There seems to be an allusion to painters, who first make their outlines, and take a rough draught before they lay on their colours and beautiful strokes; and which rough draught and first lines are the rule and pattern of their after work; and which they never exceed, but keep within the compass of: so there is a set of Gospel truths, which may be called the analogy or proportion of faith, which are a rule and pattern, as for hearers to judge by, so for ministers to preach according to, 1 Timothy 6:3 And such a form or pattern was the apostle's doctrine to Timothy, and which he full well knew: and this form includes the doctrines concerning the trinity of persons in the Godhead, Father, Son, and Spirit, and the proper deity and distinct personality of each of them; concerning the everlasting love of the three Persons to the elect, the covenant of grace, and the transactions in it relating to them; their personal and eternal election in Christ, and his suretyship engagements for them; the state and condition of men by the fall, and through, sin, as that Adam's sin is imputed to all his posterity, and a corrupt nature propagated from him, and that man is altogether impure, and entirely impotent all that is spiritually good; as also such doctrines as concern particular redemption by Christ, satisfaction for sin by his sacrifice, free and full pardon by his blood, and justification by his imputed righteousness: regeneration and sanctification by the powerful and efficacious grace of the Spirit of God; and the final perseverance of the saints to eternal glory, as the free gift of God. And this is a form never to departed from, but to be held fast, as Timothy is exhorted; which supposes that he had it, as he had, not only in his head, but in his heart; and that there was danger of dropping it through the temptations that surrounded him, the reproach and persecution the Gospel lay under, and through the sleight of false teachers, who lay in wait to deceive, and to take every opportunity of wringing it out of his hands; and therefore it became him, as he had it, not only to hold it forth, and publish it, but to hold it fast, in opposition to any wavering about it, or cowardice in it, or departure from it in any degree. And the argument to hold it fast follows,

which thou hast heard of me; both in private conversation, and in the public ministry of the word; and which the apostle had not from men, but by the revelation of Christ; and therefore was to be depended upon, and to be abode by, or held fast, in the manner next directed to:

in faith and love which is in Christ Jesus; in the exercise of faith, and from a principle of love; which two graces always go together, and have Christ, as here, for their object: though this clause, may be connected with the word "heard", and the sense be, either that Timothy had heard Paul preach these sound doctrines with great faith and faithfulness, and with much fervency and affection to Christ, and the souls of men; or Timothy had heard them himself, and embraced and mixed them with faith, and received them in love: or it may be read in connection with "the form of sound words"; the sum of which is faith in Christ, and love to him; the Gospel is the doctrine of faith; and it puts men on discharging their duty from love to Christ.

{8} Hold fast the form of sound words, which thou hast heard of me, in faith and love which is in Christ Jesus.

(8) He shows in what he ought to be most constant, that is, both in the doctrine itself, the essential parts of which are faith and charity, and next in the manner of teaching it, a living pattern and shape of which Timothy knew in the apostle.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
2 Timothy 1:13. Exhortation to Timothy.

ὑποτύπωσιν ἔχε ὑγιαινόντων λόγων, ὧν κ.τ.λ.] For ὑποτύπωσις here, as in 1 Timothy 1:16, “type” is to be retained. There is no reason for explaining the word here by “sketch” (Flatt), or docendi forma et ratio (Beza), or a written sketch given by the apostle to Timothy (Herder). Timothy is to carry with him the words he had heard from Paul as a type, i.e. in order to direct his ministry according to it. Luther translates ὑποτύπωσις by “pattern” (so, too, de Wette, Wiesinger, and others), but the reference thus given is not in the words themselves. The verb ἔχειν stands here in the sense of κατέχειν. Bengel rightly: vult Paulus ea, quae Timotheus semel audierat, semper animo ejus observari et impressa manere. It is incorrect, with Hofmann, to take ὑποτ. ὑγιαιν. λόγων as the predicate of the object, and to assume accordingly that it is a contracted form for ὑποτύπωσιν ἔχε ὑγιαινόντων λόγων τὴν ὑποτύπωσιν τῶν λόγων ὧν κ.τ.λ. Such a contraction is inconceivable, nor does Hofmann give any instance to prove its possibility. The words ἐν τῇ πίστει καὶ ἀγάπῃ τῇ κ.τ.λ., which are neither to be joined with ἤκουσας, nor, with Hofmann, referred to what follows, show that the ἔχειν does not take place externally, but is an effort of memory. Ἐν is not equivalent to “with” (Heydenreich); the πίστις and ἀγάπη are rather regarded as the vessel, in which Timothy is to keep that type. The added words: τῇ ἐν Χριστῷ Ἰησοῦ, which go only with ἀγάπῃ (de Wette, Wiesinger, Hofmann), mark the Christian character of the love which Paul desires from Timothy: “the love grounded in Jesus Christ;” comp. 1 Timothy 1:14. On the expression λογ. ὑγ., comp. 1 Timothy 1:10. The article is wanting, “because this expression had become quite current (like νόμος and others) with the author” (de Wette, Wiesinger).

Why this exhortation, as de Wette thinks, gives Timothy a low place, we cannot understand; every appearance of such a thing disappears when it is remembered that the apostle, grey-headed and near his end, is speaking to his pupil and colleague after enduring painful experience of the unfaithfulness of others, to which unfaithfulness he returns afterwards.

Even de Wette wrongly asserts that this verse has no connection with the one preceding; for Paul has been speaking of himself and of the gospel entrusted to him, with the desire that Timothy should always keep in mind his example.2 Timothy 1:13. ὑποτύπωσιν ἔχε: A resumption of the exhortation which was broken off in 2 Timothy 1:9. This command is strictly parallel to that which follows: ὑποτ. ὑγιαιν.—ἤκουσας corresponds to, and is the external expression of, τὴν καλ. παραθήκην; ἔχε corresponds to φύλαξον; and ἐν πίστειἸησοῦ to διὰἡμῖν.

ὑποτύπωσιν ὑγιαινόντων λόγων: The gen. is that of apposition: a pattern, sc. of faith, expressed in sound words. The phrase marks an advance on the μόρφωσις τῆς γνώσεως (Romans 2:20) or μόρφ. εὐσεβείας (2 Timothy 3:5). It happily suggests the power of expansion latent in the simplest and most primitive dogmatic formulas of the Christian faith.

ἔχε has the same strengthened signification as in 1 Timothy 1:19, where see note.

ὑγιαινόντων λόγων: See note on 1 Timothy 1:10.

ὦνἤκουσας: Alf. notes that the use of ὧν rather than ἤν shows that ὑγιαιν. λόγ. and not ὑποτύπ. is the chief thing in St. Paul’s mind. It is obvious that Timothy could not have heard the ὑποτύπωσις, which is a concept of the mind expressed in many sound words heard on various occasions. As to the translation, von Soden agrees with Hort, who insists on “the order, the absence of τὴν, and the use of ἔχε” as compelling us to render, “Hold as a pattern,” etc. This rendering would favour Hort’s conjecture that “ΩΝ is a primitive corruption for ON,” i.e., “Hold as a pattern of sound words the word which thou hast heard,” etc. But the absence of the article is such a marked feature in the Pastorals that no argument can be based on it here.

Bengel calls attention to the change in order in 2 Timothy 2:2. Here, παρʼ ἐμοῦ ἤκουσας, the emphasis being on St. Paul’s personal authority; there, ἤκουσας παρʼ ἐμοῦ, because of the antithesis between ἤκουσας and παράθου.

ἐν πίστει, κ.τ.λ.: See note on 1 Timothy 1:14. This clause must be joined with ἔχε, not with ἤκουσας, nor with ὑγιαιν. λόγ. only: as given in faith, etc. (von Soden),13, 14. The double ground of Appeal is also the double line of Responsive Action

13. Hold fast the form of sound words] Rather, Hold to the model; the word for ‘form has occurred in 1 Timothy 1:16. As Bp Lightfoot points out, Clem, ad Cor. c. v. fin., the compound signifies the first roughly modelled block in the sculptor’s art; just as in the sister art the similarly formed compound hypogrammos is the pencil drawing to be traced over in ink, or the outline to be filled in and coloured. Cf. 1 Peter 2:21, leaving you an example that ye should follow his steps.’ Hold to or keep to rather than ‘hold fast,’ because it is the simple not the compound verb.

sound words] Here opposed to the gangrene of Hymenæus and Philetus, ch. 2 Timothy 2:17, see notes on 1 Timothy 1:10; Titus 1:9. Add the following from Dean Vaughan on ‘The Wholesome Words of Jesus Christ,’ Cambridge ‘University Sermons’ of 1866. ‘Never before through the whole volume of his letters has St Paul applied that term to the Gospel. Now it is almost his only epithet for it.… New experiences make new expressions.… St Paul himself saw the first symptoms of this morbid action of the Gospel; alternations of hectic flush and deadly pallor; of a pulse now throbbing, now torpid; of lost appetite and broken sleep; of deformed excrescence and palsied limb.… Each falsehood in religion is some overstrained onesided or isolated truth. Either free grace or free will—either faith or duty—either truth or charity—either dependence or responsibility—either the Humanity or the Divinity—not both, not all—this has been in all time the oscillation, the ebb and flow, of human doctrine; and the Gospel has been not healthy, not well, but sickly, at times almost dying, in consequence. The wholesome words are known by this sign—that in them every part of the truth is equally present, every function of the life equally vigorous. Health is the balance of the powers: a healthy Gospel is one which holds in exact equilibrium opposite forces—excluding nothing that is good, yet suffering no one good thing to engross and swallow up the whole.’

which thou hast heard of me] ‘Of’ in the sense of from, the Latin a not de; so very frequently in A.V. representing the other meaning of a, ‘by’; cf. 1 Corinthians 11:32 ‘chastened of the Lord.’

in faith and love which is in Christ Jesus] The faith and the love are both ‘in Christ Jesus,’ and are, as Fairbairn puts it, ‘the spiritual element or frame of mind in which the pattern of things exhibited to him should be remembered and applied.’ The clause belongs to ‘keep,’ not (as Alford) to ‘heard.’ So A.V. and R.V., by the insertion of the comma. St Paul had as his secret of activity and endurance the present sense of a present Saviour, and he longs for Timothy too to possess it as constantly. See note on 2 Timothy 2:1.2 Timothy 1:13. Ὑποτύπωσιν) Ὑποτυπόομαι, I revolve in the mind. Therefore Paul wishes that those things which Timothy had once heard, should be always kept in view, and should remain impressed on his mind. It is from this that an outward profession must derive its strength. Paul placed before Timothy faith and love: let Timothy ‘express’ and ‘represent’ in turn [alluding to ὑποτύπωσις, τύπος] faith and love.—ἔχε) hold: a word suited to the context, which is respecting a deposit. He uses ἔχε, not ἔχεις. Nor was it the intention of Paul to give as a teacher information to Timothy about the sum of sound words [a verbal summary of the plan of salvation].—παρʼ ἐμοῦ ἤκουσας, which from me thou hast heard) Comp. 2 Timothy 2:2, where thou hast heard of me, occurs in a different order of the words. Here indeed, 2 Timothy 1:13, the authority of Paul is urged as a reason, why he should hold it the more on that account; hence from me is put first. But ch. 2 Timothy 2:2, thou hast heard, and commit, are the words in antithesis; hence thou hast heard is put first.—ἐν, in) Construed with ἔχε, hold; comp. 1 Timothy 3:9.Verse 13. - Hold for hold fast, A.V.; pattern for form, A.V.; from for of, A.V. Hold (ἔχε). This use of ἔχειν in the pastoral Epistles is somewhat peculiar. In 1 Timothy 1:19, ἔχων πίστιν, "holding faith;" in 1 Timothy 3:6, ἔχοντας τὰ μυστήριον, "holding the mystery of the faith; ' and here, "hold the pattern," etc. It seems to have a more active sense than merely "have," and yet not to have the very active sense of "hold fast." It may, however, well be doubted whether ἔχε here is used in even as strong a sense as in the other two passages, inasmuch as here it follows instead of preceding the substantive (see Alford, in loc.). The pattern (ὑποτύπωσιν); only here and 1 Timothy 1:16 (where see note), where it manifestly means a "pattern," not a "form." The word signifies a "sketch," or "outline." St. Paul's meaning, therefore, seems to be: "For your own guidance in teaching the flock committed to you, and for a pattern which you will try and always copy, have before you the pattern or outline of sound words which you have heard of me, in faith and love which is in Christ Jesus." Sound words (ὑγιαινόντων λόγων); see 1 Timothy 1:10, note. In faith and love; either hold the pattern in faith and love, or which you have heard in faith and love. The form (ὑποτύπωσιν)

Pastso. olxx, oClass. See on 1 Timothy 1:16.

Of sound words (ὑγιαινόντων λόγων)

See on 1 Timothy 1:16.

In faith and love

The teaching is to be held, preached, and practiced, not as a mere schedule of conduct, however excellent, but with the strong conviction of faith and the favor of love.

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