2 Timothy 2:9
Wherein I suffer trouble, as an evil doer, even to bonds; but the word of God is not bound.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(9) Wherein I suffer trouble.—Here St. Paul bids Timothy take courage, by thinking of the brave, patient example he was setting him in his Roman prison, undaunted and full of hope. “Wherein I suffer:” in which, that is, discharging my office as a preacher of the gospel, I suffer trouble.

As an evil doer.—Better rendered, as a malefactor: the same word used in St. Luke’s Gospel for the two thieves crucified with Jesus Christ (Luke 23:32-33; Luke 23:39).

Even unto bonds; but the word of God is not bound.—A prisoner in chains and, as he tells us further on in the Epistle, expecting death, and yet he still could write and pray and speak from his narrow prison. Surely his disciple, still free, ought to work on with undiminished spirit and zeal. Though St. Paul was in bonds, his sufferings and imprisonment had in no way weakened the power of the gospel.

2:8-13 Let suffering saints remember, and look to Jesus, the Author and Finisher of their faith, who for the joy that was set before him, endured the cross, despised the shame, and is now set down at the right hand of the throne of God. We must not think it strange if the best men meet with the worst treatment; but this is cheering, that the word of God is not bound. Here we see the real and true cause of the apostle's suffering trouble in, or for, the sake of the gospel. If we are dead to this world, its pleasures, profits, and honours, we shall be for ever with Christ in a better world. He is faithful to his threatenings, and faithful to his promises. This truth makes sure the unbeliever's condemnation, and the believer's salvation.Wherein I suffer trouble, as an evil-doer - as if I were a violator of the laws. That is, I am treated as if I were a criminal.

Even unto bonds - As if I were one of the words kind of malefactors; see the notes at Ephesians 6:20. During the apostle's first imprisonment at Rome, he was permitted to "dwell in his own hired house," though guarded by a soldier, and probably chained to him; see the notes at Acts 28:16, Acts 28:30. What was his condition in his second imprisonment, during which this Epistle was written, we have no means of knowing with certainty. It is probable, however, that he was subjected to much more rigid treatment than he had been in the first instance. The tradition is, that he and Peter were together in the Mamertine prison at Rome; and the place is still shown in which it is said that they were confined. The Mamertine prisons are of great antiquity. According to Livy, they were constructed by Ancus Martius, and enlarged by Servius Tullius. The lower prison is supposed to have been once a quarry, and to have been at one time occupied as a granary. These prisons are on the descent of the Capitoline Mount, toward the Forum. They consist of two apartments, one over the other, built with large, uncemented stones. There is no entrance to either, except by a small aperture in the roof, and by a small hole in the upper floor, leading to the cell below, without any staircase to either. The upper prison is twenty-seven feet long, by twenty wide; the lower one is elliptical, and measures twenty feet by ten. In the lower one is a small spring, which is said at Rome to have arisen at the command of Peter, to enable him to baptize his keepers, Processus and Martianus, with 47 companions, whom he converted. No certain reliance can be placed on any part of this tradition, though in itself there is no improbability in supposing that these prisons may have been used for confining Christians, and the apostle Paul among others. Dr. Burton says that a more horrible place for the confinement of a human being can scarcely be conceived.

But the word of God is not bound - This is one of Paul's happy turns of thought; compare the notes at Acts 26:29. The meaning is plain. The gospel was prospered. that could not be lettered and imprisoned. It circulated with freedom. even when he who was appointed to preach it was in chains; see Philippians 1:13-14. As this was the great matter, his own imprisonment was of comparatively little consequence. What may befall us is of secondary importance. The grand thing is the triumph of truth on the earth; and well may we bear privations and sorrows, if the gospel moves on in triumph.

9. Wherein—in proclaiming which Gospel.

suffer trouble—literally, "evil." I am a sufferer of evil as though I were a doer of evil.

bonds—(2Ti 1:16).

word … not bound—Though my person is bound, my tongue and my pen are not (2Ti 4:17; Ac 28:31). Or he alludes not merely to his own proclamation of the Gospel, though in chains, but to the freedom of its circulation by others, even though his power of circulating it is now prescribed (Php 1:18). He also hints to Timothy that he being free ought to be the more earnest in the service of it.

Wherein I suffer trouble, as an evil-doer, even unto bonds; that is, for which I suffer affliction, as if I were an evil-doer, to that degree that I am put in chains.

But the word of God is not bound; but yet I preach the gospel, or the gospel is preached; though they have restrained me, they are not able to restrain that. Wherein I suffer trouble as an evildoer,.... As a malefactor, as if guilty of some capital crime; an enemy to the law of Moses, a pestilent fellow, a mover of sedition everywhere, and a ringleader of the sect of the Nazarenes, Acts 24:5. The Ethiopic version renders it, "as a thief". The "trouble" he suffered were reproaches, persecutions, whipping, beating, stoning, imprisonment: for he adds,

even unto bonds; for he was now a prisoner, and in chains; nor was it the first time, he was in prisons frequent; and all this for the sake of the Gospel, which he preached, concerning the incarnation, death, and resurrection of Christ:

but the word of God is not bound; for the apostle, while a prisoner at Rome, had the liberty of dwelling by himself, in his own hired house, though held in chains, and guarded by a soldier, and of receiving his friends, and of preaching the Gospel to as many as would come to hear him, Acts 28:16 as well as of sending letters to the churches; for several of his epistles were written by him when a prisoner, as those to the Ephesians, Philippians, and Colossians; and this to Timothy, and also that to Philemon: so that the Gospel was not restrained, or the apostle restrained from publishing it, both by word of mouth, and by writing; which was a great support to him under his troubles. Moreover, the Gospel was the more spread through the bonds of the apostle, and met with great success; it became known in Caesar's palace, and was the means of the conversion of some of his household; and many of the brethren, through his bonds, became bolder to preach the Gospel of Christ; so that it had a free course, and was glorified: and sometimes so it is, that persecution is a means of the greater spread of the Gospel; which was an effect that followed upon the persecution raised against the church at Jerusalem, upon the death of Stephen, Acts 8:1. And indeed, when God opens an effectual door, none can shut it, though there be many adversaries; and when he gives the word a commission, there is no stopping it; when it comes in power, it bears down all before it; it cannot be fettered and bound by men, though men may be fettered and bound for the sake of it.

{7} Wherein I suffer trouble, as an evil doer, even unto bonds; but the word of God is not bound.

(7) The taking away of an objection: it is true that he is kept in prison as an evildoer, yet there is no reason why some should therefore go about to take away credit from his Gospel. And this is because God has blessed his ministry; indeed, the example of this his captivity and patience, did rather in different ways strengthen and encourage his Church in the hope of a better life.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
2 Timothy 2:9. In this verse Paul again, as before, points to his own example, in order to encourage Timothy to the συγκακοπαθεῖν τῷ εὐαγγελίῳ, 2 Timothy 1:8, 2 Timothy 2:3.

ἐν ᾧ] according to Paul’s manner, refers to εὐαγγέλιον immediately preceding, and not to the more distant Ἰησοῦν Χριστόν. The preposition ἐν is not equivalent to διά, Colossians 4:3 (Heydenreich). Matthies presses the original signification too far when he gives the interpretation: “the gospel is, as it were, the ground and soil in which his present lot is rooted.” Beza rightly gives the meaning thus: cujus annuntiandi munere defungens; de Wette says: “in preaching which.” Comp. Php 4:3; 1 Thessalonians 3:2. Hofmann incorrectly explains ἐν by “in consequence of,” which ἐν never does mean, not even in 1 Timothy 1:18.

κακοπαθῶ] is an allusion to 2 Timothy 2:3.

μέχρι δεσμῶν] comp. Php 2:8 : μέχρι θανάτου.

Ὡς κακοῦργος directs attention to the criminal aspect of Paul’s bonds, and thereby strengthens the κακοπαθῶ μέχρι δεσμῶν[27]. The word κακοῦργος occurs only here and in Luke’s gospel; it is synonymous with κακοποιός, 1 Peter 4:14.

ἀλλʼ ὁ λόγος τοῦ Θεοῦ οὐ δέδεται] Chrysostom explains it: δεσμοῦνται μὲν αἱ χεῖρες, ἀλλʼ οὐχ ἡ γλῶττα; comp. Php 1:12. The meaning according to this would be: “the bonds do not, however, hinder me from freely preaching the gospel.” But this limitation is not contained in the words themselves; they have rather the more general meaning: “though I (to whom the gospel is entrusted) am bound, the gospel itself is not thereby fettered, but goes freely forth, into the world and works unfettered” (2 Thessalonians 3:1 : ὁ λόγος τοῦ κυρίου τρέχει). This is the very reason of the apostle’s joy in his bonds, that Christ is preached; comp. Php 1:18. This connection of ideas does not, however, compel us to take διὰ τοῦτο with these words (Hofmann). If so connected, διὰ τοῦτο would rather appear to be a modification added loosely; besides, Paul never places it at the end of a sentence.

Some have wrongly understood by ὁ λόγ. τ. Θ. here, the divine promises, and have taken οὐ δέδεται to mean that these do not remain unfulfilled.

[27] Otto, opposed to Wieseler, rightly remarks that these words do not justify any inference as to an increase in the severity of his imprisonment.2 Timothy 2:9. ἐν ᾧ κακοπαθῶ: in which sphere of action, cf. Romans 1:9, 2 Corinthians 10:14, Php 4:2. The connexion seems to be that St. Paul is now indicating that he himself, in his degree, is an imitator of Jesus Christ.

ὡς κακοῦργος (see reff.): malefactor (R.V.). Evil doer (A.V.) does not so vividly express the notion of criminality implied in the word. Ramsay notes that the use of this word here marks “exactly the tone of the Neronian period, and … refers expressly to the flagitia, for which the Christians were condemned under Nero, and for which they were no longer condemned in A.D. 112” (Church in the Roman Empire, p. 249). Compare 1 Peter 4:15.

ἀλλὰοὐ δέδεται: We have the same contrast between the apostle’s own restricted liberty and the unconfinable range of the Gospel in Php 1:12; Php 1:14, and 2 Timothy 4:17. There is no reference, as Chrys. supposes, to the liberty permitted to St. Paul to preach the kingdom of God in his prison, as during the first imprisonment (Acts 28:30-31). The clause here is a natural reflective parenthetical remark.9. wherein I suffer trouble, as an evil doer] Hardship rather than ‘trouble,’ the same word as in 2 Timothy 2:3; malefactor rather than ‘evil doer,’ the same word as of the thieves on the cross, Luke 23:32, these being the only N.T. occurrences.

even unto bonds] ‘Even’ need not have been italicised in A.V., much less omitted by R.V.; for the force of the preposition is more fully given with than without it. In the similar passage, Php 2:8, the ‘obedient unto death’ of A.V. has actually been altered by R.V. into ‘obedient even unto death.’ Vulg. ‘usque ad.’

‘Over the blackened ruins of the city (the firing of which had been falsely set down to the Christians) amid the squalid misery of its inhabitants, perhaps with many a fierce scowl turned on “the malefactor” he passed to his gloomy dungeon. There as the gate clanged upon him, he sat down, chained night and day, without further hope, a doomed man. His case was far more miserable than it had been in his first imprisonment, two or three years earlier. He was no longer permitted to reside “in his own hired room.” He was in the custody, not as before of an honourable soldier like Burrus, but of the foul Tigellinus, whose hands were still dripping with Christian blood.’ Farrar, Messages of the Books, p. 388.

but the word of God is not bound] Not his own preaching power, but the power of the Gospel at large. The Church is more than the individual, however eminent. The perfect passive tense here represents the state, ‘is not in a bound state,’ is not ‘cribbed, cabin’d and confined’; according to the proper force of the perfect, as in 1 Timothy 6:17, nor have their hope set on,’ 2 Timothy 4:8, ‘who have their love set on his appearing.’2 Timothy 2:9. Ἐν ᾧ, in which) viz. in the Gospel.—κακοπαθῶ, I suffer [trouble]) κακοῦργος, an evil-doer, is the conjugate. The evil of suffering [is my portion], as if the evil of doing had preceded it [on my part].—δεσμῶν, bonds) Οὐ δέδεται, is not bound, is the conjugate.—ὡς κακοῦργος, as an evil-doer) attended with danger of life and with disgrace.—οὐ δέδεται) is not bound, i.e. makes progress without hindrance.Verse 9. - Hardship for trouble, A.V.; unto for even unto, A.V.; as a malefactor for as an evil doer, A.V.; transposition of clause, unto bonds. Wherein (ἐν ῷ); i.e. in which gospel, in the preaching of which. Suffer hardship (κακοπαθῶ); as ver. 3, T.R. Unto bonds (μέχρι δεσμῶν). So μέχρι θανάτου, Philippians 2:8; μέχρις αἵματος, Hebrews 12:4; but most frequently of time, "until," as Matthew 11:23; Matthew 13:30; Acts 10:30, etc. A malefactor (κακοῦργος); as Luke 23:32, 33, 39; common in classical Greek. Bonds (δεσμῶν); as Acts 26:29; Philippians 1:7, 13, etc.; Colossians 4:18. So St. Paul calls himself δέσμιος, in respect of these bonds (Ephesians 3:1; Ephesians 4:1; 2 Timothy 1:8; Philemon 1:9). The Word of God is not bound. A beautiful reflection of an utterly unselfish mind! The thought of his own bonds, likely soon to be exchanged for the bonds of a martyr's death, awakens the comforting thought, Though they bind me with an iron chain, they cannot bind the gospel. While I am here, shut up in prison, the Word of God, preached by a thousand tongues, is giving life and liberty to myriads of my brethren of the human race. The tyrant can silence my voice and confine it within the walls of my dungeon; but all the while the sound of the gospel is going through all the earth, its saving words to the ends of the world; and I therein rejoice, yea, and will rejoice; and not all the lemons of Rome can take this joy from me." Wherein I suffer trouble (ἐν ᾧ κακοπαθῶ)

Wherein refers to the gospel. Κακοπαθεῖν only here, 2 Timothy 4:5, and James 5:13. lxx, Jonah 4:10.

As an evildoer (ὡς κακοῦργος)

Only here and in Luke. Better, malefactor. The meaning is technical. Comp. Luke 23:32, Luke 23:33, Luke 23:39.

Unto bonds (μέχρι δεσμῶν)

Comp. Philippians 2:8, μέχρι θανάτου unto death: Hebrews 12:4, μέχρις αἵματος unto blood. Const. with I suffer trouble.

But the word of God is not bound (ἀλλὰ ὁ λόγος τοῦ θεοῦ οὐ δέδεται)

Nevertheless, although I am in bonds, the gospel which I preach will prevail in spite of all human efforts to hinder it. Word of God often in Paul. In Pastorals, 1 Timothy 4:5; Titus 2:5. Bound, in Paul metaphorically, as here, Romans 7:2; 1 Corinthians 7:27, 1 Corinthians 7:39.

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