2 Timothy 3:11
Persecutions, afflictions, which came to me at Antioch, at Iconium, at Lystra; what persecutions I endured: but out of them all the Lord delivered me.
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(11) Persecutions, afflictions.—St. Paul adds to “persecutions” “afflictions”—for not merely were his plans thwarted, his hopes baffled, his friends alienated, through the persistent enmity of his opponents, but bodily suffering was inflicted on him—stoning, scourging, long and weary periods of imprisonment, were among the repeated sufferings he endured for his Master’s sake. The question has been asked why, out of the pages of the closely written diary of his life’s experiences, does St. Paul select the events which took place at Antioch, Iconium, and Lystra? Was there anything special in what he endured in these places? The most satisfactory answer seems to be that, with regard to the general reader or hearer of this Epistle, what happened in these places, years before, were good examples of what had often taken place since. These were among the first cities in which St. Paul preached in the course of his missionary journeys. But a deeper reason existed for the choice of these places in his case to whom the Epistle was originally addressed. What happened on that first journey would never be forgotten by Timothy: some of the incidents were among his first experiences with St. Paul of the work—others had taken place just before St. Paul took him as his friend and associate, and, no doubt, had been often discussed in Timothy’s hearing in those anxious never-to-be-forgotten hours which preceded his choice of the calling of a missionary. Hearing of these very deeds of endurance done for the crucified Master, perhaps, not a little contributed to Timothy’s resolve to emulate these acts, and to join himself closely to the heroic missionary teacher. Certainly, the memory of what happened then St. Paul knew would possess a strong and weighty influence with his disciple, even though the events themselves were only such as had been repeated often since in his long life’s experience. (For details respecting what took place at Antioch, &c., see Acts 13, 14)

What persecutions I endured.—Some commentators understand these words as an exclamation: “What persecution I endured!” It is, however, better simply to translate the Greek, Such persecutions as I endured; in other words, Thou hast been a witness of my sufferings, such [sufferings] as I endured at Antioch, Iconium, and Lystra, such persecutions as I endured, but out of them, &c. Chrysostom remarks how both these clauses supply encouragement to the harassed servant of God. The first, that St. Paul displayed a noble readiness to endure persecution; the second, that God never left him alone. It was as though he said to Timothy, “surely no danger, no trouble, however great, need appall you. You know what I have gone through, yet in all God was with me and has kept me safe. Be sure He will be with you too.”

3:10-13 The more fully we know the doctrine of Christ, as taught by the apostles, the more closely we shall cleave to it. When we know the afflictions of believers only in part, they tempt us to decline the cause for which they suffer. A form of godliness, a profession of Christian faith without a godly life, often is allowed to pass, while open profession of the truth as it is in Jesus, and resolute attention to the duties of godliness, stir up the scorn and enmity of the world. As good men, by the grace of God, grow better, so bad men, through the craft of Satan, and the power of their own corruptions, grow worse. The way of sin is down-hill; such go on from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived. Those who deceive others, deceive themselves, as they will find at last, to their cost. The history of the outward church, awfully shows that the apostle spake this as he was moved by the Holy Ghost.Persecutions - On the meaning of this word, see the notes at Matthew 5:10.

Afflictions - Trials of other kinds than those which arose from persecutions. The apostle met them everywhere; compare the notes at Acts 20:23.

Which came unto me at Antioch - The Antioch here referred to is not the place of that name in Syria (see the notes at Acts 11:19); but a city of the same name in Pisidia, in Asia Minor; notes, Acts 13:14. Paul there suffered persecution from the Jews; Acts 13:45.

At Iconium; - notes, Acts 13:50. On the persecution there, see the notes at Acts 14:3-6.

At Lystra; - Acts 14:6. At this place, Paul was stoned; notes, Acts 14:19. Timothy was a native of either Derbe or Lystra, cities near to each other, and was doubtless there at the time of this occurrence; Acts 16:1.

But out of them all the Lord delivered me - See the history in the places referred to in the Acts .

11. afflictions—"sufferings."

which—Greek, "such as."

in Antioch—of Pisidia (Ac 13:14, 50, 51).

Iconium—(Ac 14:1-5).

Lystra—(Ac 14:6, 19).

what—How grievous.

out of … all … Lord delivered me—(2Ti 4:17; Ps 34:17; 2Co 1:10). An encouragement to Timothy not to fear persecutions.

What persecutions for the preaching of the gospel I was under; what

afflictions I met with at Antioch in Pisidia, Acts 13:14,45,50; at Iconium, whither he went from Pisidia; of the afflictions he met with there also, read Acts 14:1-28.

At Lystra; what persecutions I endured: the apostle went from Iconium to Lystra, Acts 14:6, there also he was persecuted, Acts 14:19. Now it seemeth that in all these motions Timothy was in Paul’s company and a follower of him, so as he was a witness to all; which assureth us that though we first read of Timothy. Acts 16:3, when he was circumcised, yet Paul knew him before.

But out of them all the Lord delivered me; yet God delivered Paul from all these, and that Timothy, being all that time in company with Paul, knew; from whence the apostle would have him take courage, exercise patience under suffering for such preaching and such living, being assured that God would deliver him also, preaching the same truth, and living the same holy life, though he met with the same troubles, persecutions, and afflictions. Persecutions, afflictions, which came unto me at Antioch,.... In Pisidia; where the Jews that contradicted and blasphemed his doctrine, and envied his success, stirred up the chief of the city, both men and women, against him, and Barnabas; who persecuted them and expelled them out, of their coasts, Acts 13:45 and also at Iconium; where both Jews and Gentiles made an assault upon them, to use them ill, and stone them, Acts 14:5 and likewise at Lystra; where the apostle was stoned, and drawn out of the city, and left for dead, Acts 14:19. And these instances are the rather mentioned because they were done in those parts, where Timothy had lived, Acts 16:1 and so knew the truth of these things, not only from the apostle's mouth, but from the testimonies of others; and perhaps he might have been a witness to some of them himself;

what persecutions I:endured: not only in the above places, but elsewhere; see a detail of them in 2 Corinthians 11:23,

but out of them all the Lord delivered me; see 2 Corinthians 1:10 2 Timothy 4:17, this he says to the glory of the grace and power of God, to whom he ascribes all his deliverances; and for the encouragement of Timothy, and other saints, under sufferings, who may hope and believe that the Lord will deliver them in his own time and way, Psalm 34:19.

Persecutions, afflictions, which came unto me at {c} Antioch, at Iconium, at Lystra; what persecutions I endured: but out of them all the Lord delivered me.

(c) Which is in Pisidia.

2 Timothy 3:11. Ἀντιοχείᾳ: Acts 13:14; Acts 13:45; Acts 13:50; Ἰκονίῳ: Acts 14:1-2; Acts 14:5; Λύστροις: Acts 14:6; Acts 14:19.

οἴους διωγμούς: There is no necessity to supply, with Alf., “Thou sawest”.

καί: and yet. The verse is an echo of Psalms 33 (34):18, ὁ Κύριοςἐκ πασῶν τῶν θλίψεων αὐτῶν ἐρύσατο αὐτούς. See also reff.11. afflictions, which came unto me] It is better to make the ‘afflictions’ go with the preceding, and make a new clause commence with the relative. So R.V. sufferings; what things befell me; what persecutions.

The Antioch meant is that in Pisidia, originally planted by the Magnesians. Seleucus the son of Antiochus re-settled it, and called it Antioch after the name of his father: which name it kept, though under Augustus made a colony with the additional name of Cæsarea. Plin. N.H. v. xxvii. 24 ‘Pisidæ … quorum colonia Cæsarea, eadem Antiochia.’ Its ruins are still to be seen, one of the most striking objects being a very perfect aqueduct of twenty-one arches. See Lewin, Life of St Paul, i. 137. For the work and sufferings at Antioch see Acts 13:14-50. The place usually understood by Antioch would be the large and important city of Antioch in Syria; but in writing to Timothy, whose home was in that district, St Paul would use the word with its well-known local meaning.

Iconium lies S.E. of Antioch at a distance of sixty miles, on the dusty highroad connecting Ephesus with Antioch of Syria. It is still called Cogni, and, like Damascus, is an oasis in the desert, by the dry plains of Lycaonia. See Acts 13:51 to Acts 14:6.

Lystra lies about forty miles to the south of Iconium, on the same road, in a hollow, on the north side of which rises Kara Dagh or the Black Mountain. Its ruins remain and are called ‘the thousand and one churches,’ it having been an episcopal see under the Byzantine emperors. This was Timothy’s birth-place. See Acts 14:6-20.

St Paul mentions these places and his sufferings there, (1) because they were the first, in his first period of ministry, (2) they were well known to Timothy and may well have led him to cast in his lot with the Apostle. See Introduction, pp. 57, 59, 62.

but out of them all] Rather, and, yet with an ascending force which marks a contrast, so that ‘and yet’ is hardly too strong; though the more exact rendering is to lay stress on ‘all’ and on ‘delivered,’ cf. Winer, iii. § 53, 3.2 Timothy 3:11. Ἐν Ἀντιοχείᾳ, ἐν Ἰκονίῳ, ἐν Λύστροις, at Antioch, Iconium, Lystra) Acts 13:14; Acts 13:51; Acts 14:6.—οἷα) οἷς shows the weightiness of the matter in hand: 1Ma 5:56, “he heard the valiant and warlike deeds, οἷα ἐποίησαν, how great were the acts which they did.”οἶους διωγμοὺς, how great persecutions) The noun repeated after the interposition of another adds perspicuity and weight to what is said. Διωγμὸς and πάθημα are species and genus: persecution is properly, when they drive a man from one city to another, or when they attempt to apprehend him in his flight; but suffering is any calamity in general, for example, when Paul was stoned, etc.—ὑπήνεγκα, I endured) The mark of an apostle.—ἐῤῥύσατο, delivered) Another mark, to be miraculously preserved; Psalms 34 (33):17, ἐκ πασῶν τῶν θλίψεων αὐτῶν ἐῤῥύσατο αὐτούς, He delivered them out of all their afflictions.—ὁ Κύριος, the Lord) Christ.Verse 11. - Suffering for afflictions, A.V.; what things befell me for which came unto me, A.V.; and for but, A.V. Persecutions (διωγμοῖς); as Matthew 13:21; Acts 8:1; Acts 13:50; 2 Corinthians 12:10, etc. Sufferings (τοῖς παθήμασιν); usually so rendered in the A.V. (Romans 8:18; 2 Corinthians 1:5; Colossians 1:24. etc.); rendered "afflictions" in Hebrews 10:32; 1 Peter 5:9. At Antioch; in Pisidia (Acts 13:14). For an account of the persecutions encountered by St. Paul at Antioch, Iconium, and Lystra, see Acts 13, 14. It was at St. Paul's second, or rather third, visit to Lystra that he chose Timothy for his companion (Acts 16:1-3). I endured (ὑπενεγκα); not simply "suffered," but "underwent," willingly and firmly suffered (see 1 Peter 2:19). As regards the construction, the antecedent to οῖα is παθήμασιν, and the difference between and οῖα is that would limit the reference to the actual παθήματα at Antioch, Iconium, and Lystra, but οῖα extends the reference to all similar sufferings. The proper English rendering is "such as befell me." But the clause at the end of the sentence should be rendered "what great persecutions I endured." As Bengel notes, "οῖος demonstrat rei gravitatem," and οῖους preceding the substantive with which it agrees (διώγμους), cannot be construed the same as οῖα the relative. The sentence, οἵους διώγμους ὑπένεγκα, is an amplification of the preceding διώγμοις: "Thou hast fully known my persecutions...viz. what great persecutions I endured." And out of them all, etc. This is added for Timothy's encouragement, that he might stand fast in the face of persecutions and sufferings. Delivered me (με ἐῥῤύσατο). Had the apostle in his mind the clause in the Lord's Prayer, "Deliver us from evil" (Matthew 6:13)? Comp. 2 Timothy 4:18, where the resemblance is still more striking. Observe the testimony to Christ's omnipotence in this ascription to him, in both passages, of St. Paul's deliverance (comp. Acts 18:10). Persecutions, afflictions (διωγμοῖς, παθήμασιν)

Διωγμός persecution, only here in Pastorals. Occasionally in Paul. Πάθημα, only here in Pastorals. Often in Paul, usually in the sense of sufferings, but twice of sinful passions, Romans 7:5; Galatians 5:24.

Antioch, Iconium, Lystra

See Acts 13:50; Acts 14:2 ff.; Acts 14:19. These cities may have been selected as illustrations because Timothy was at home in that region. See Acts 16:1, Acts 16:2. Antioch is mentioned by Paul, Galatians 2:11. Iconium and Lystra nowhere in his letters.

Delivered (ἐρύσατο)

Often in Paul. Originally, to draw to one's self; to draw out from peril. Paul, in Romans 11:26, applies the prophecy of Isaiah 59:20 to Christ, who is called a ὁ ῥυόμενος the deliverer, lxx.

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