2 Timothy 4:5
But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry.
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(5) But watch thou in all things.—“But do thou,” continued St. Paul, “do thou be watchful.” The Greek word translated “watch thou,” signifies literally, be sober. It has been well paraphrased, “Keep thy coolness and presence of mind, that thou be not entrapped into forgetfulness, but as one ever wakeful and ready, be on the watch.” The word, as it were, sums up all those last directions of St. Paul, from 2Timothy 2:14, in which St. Paul charged Timothy to abstain from vain arguments and confine himself to the simple word of truth, to avoid discussions which would be likely to lead to strife, and to be patient and gentle with all—to separate himself from merely nominal Christians, and to keep steadily to the old paths in which the Apostles had walked. He was to be ever watchful in all these things.

Endure afflictions.—And in his watch must Timothy be ready to suffer. He would remember what had been said before respecting a true Christian suffering (2Timothy 2:3-12), and what was the high reward purposed for such brave endurance. He would remember, too, the hard and faithful life of his master, St. Paul (2Timothy 3:10-12).

Do the work of an evangelist.—The “evangelists” of the early Church seem to have been preachers of the Gospel: in the first place, assistants to the Apostles and missionaries under their direction. The especial functions of a preacher and public teacher seem always to have been allotted to Timothy, and, no doubt, a peculiar persuasive power of oratory was one of the chief gifts conferred on this eminent follower of St. Paul. In the midst of the many grave and absorbing duties of his charge of the Ephesian Church, he must be mindful not to neglect this great power which he possessed. It is here especially termed “the work of an evangelist,” to remind him that to perform rightly this duty, needed zeal, close work, much study, thought, and prayer; and it was by worthily performing the duties of an evangelist that the many who were turning from the truth to fables, would be best won back, by hearing the great facts of the Gospel placed side by side with the tables of the false teachers.

Make full proof of thy ministry.—In other words, “Fully carry out the many duties imposed upon thee by thy great office.” The office of Timothy, it should be remembered, in Ephesus, included far more than merely those of a preacher or evangelist. He was the presiding presbyter of the Church, to whom its government was intrusted: in fact, the many-sided life of St. Paul was now to be lived by Timothy.

2 Timothy 4:5-8. But watch thou — Both over thyself and flock, and withstand the beginnings of all these corruptions; let thy mind be awake and watchful; in all things — Whatever thou art doing, let this be thy earnest, constant, persevering exercise. Observe, reader, the Scripture watching or waiting implies steadfast faith, patient hope, labouring love, unceasing prayer; yea, the mighty exertion of all the affections of the soul that a man is capable of: endure afflictions — Or adversity, as κακοπαθησον signifies. Expect ill- treatment from the enemies of the gospel, and other trials, and bear them patiently. Do the work of an evangelist — Which was next to that of an apostle. Make full proof of thy ministry — So perform all the duties of thy calling, as fully to approve thyself to be a faithful minister of Christ. For, &c. — And the rather do these things, considering how soon the world will lose whatever advantage it may now receive from my personal labours. For I am now ready to be offered — Or poured out, as σπενδομαι means, as a libation upon God’s altar. See on Php 2:17. And the time of my departure is at hand — So undoubtedly God had shown him. I have fought a, rather the, good fight — Greek, τον αγωνα τον καλον ηγωνισμαι, I have contended the good contention; or, as Macknight renders it, I have combated the good combat. I have finished my course — Of duty and of suffering: or, I have finished the race; for he likens his labour in the gospel not only to fighting and wrestling, but also to a race, which was likewise one of the Olympic exercises. I have kept the faith — Committed to my trust, and with the strictest fidelity have endeavoured to preserve it free from all additions and corruptions. Henceforth Λοιπον, what remains; there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness — Namely, of that righteousness which God has imputed to me, and wrought in me, and enabled me to practise. Having compared his labours as an apostle to the exertions of the combatants, wrestlers, and racers, in the Grecian games, he represents his reward under the idea of a crown, because a crown was the reward bestowed on the victors in those exercises. It was not, however, a crown of leaves like theirs, but of righteousness, which he expected Christ to bestow on him, counting his faith to him for righteousness, and rewarding him for all the fruits brought forth by this righteousness. See on Php 1:11. Which the Lord, the righteous Judge, shall give me at that day — This text evidently proves, that the great and most glorious reward of faithful Christians is referred to the day of general judgment. But, as Doddridge observes, “it would be very precarious to argue from hence, that there shall be no prelibation and anticipation of this happiness in a separate state. And when the many texts, which have been so often urged in proof of that intermediate happiness, are considered, it is surprising that any stress should be laid on the objection which has been drawn from such passages as this.” And not to me only — This increases the joy of Paul, and encourages Timothy; but to all that love his appearing — Which only a true Christian can do. Many of those Paul himself had gained, and he rejoiced to think, that through his having gained them, they should receive an unutterable and eternal reward of felicity and glory.

4:1-5 People will turn away from the truth, they will grow weary of the plain gospel of Christ, they will be greedy of fables, and take pleasure in them. People do so when they will not endure that preaching which is searching, plain, and to the purpose. Those who love souls must be ever watchful, must venture and bear all the painful effects of their faithfulness, and take all opportunities of making known the pure gospel.But watch thou in all things - Be vigilant against error and against sin, and faithful in the performance of duty; See the Matthew 25:13 note; 1 Corinthians 16:13 note.

Endure afflictions - See the notes at 2 Timothy 2:3. The Greek word here is the same which is there rendered "endure hardness."

Do the work of an evangelist - On the word "evangelist," see the notes on Acts 21:8. The phrase here means, "do the work of preaching the gospel," or of one appointed to proclaim the glad tidings of salvation. This is the proper business of all ministers, whatever other rank they may maintain. Whether it was ever regarded as the proper duty of a separate class of men to do this, see the notes on Ephesians 4:11.

Make full proof of thy ministry - Margin, "fulfill;" compare the notes at Romans 14:5. The word here used denotes, properly, to bear or bring fully; then to persuade fully; and then to make fully assured of, to give full proof of. The meaning here seems to be, "to furnish full evidence of what is the design of the Christian ministry, and of what it is adapted to accomplish," by the faithful performance of all its duties. Timothy was so to discharge the duties of his office as to furnish "a fair illustration" of what the ministry could do, and thus to show the wisdom of the Saviour in its institution. This should be the aim of all the ministers of the gospel. Each one should resolve, by the blessing of God, that the ministry, in his hands, shall be allowed, "by a fair trial," to show to the utmost what it is adapted to do for the welfare of mankind.

5. I am no longer here to withstand these things; be thou a worthy successor of me, no longer depending on me for counsel, but thine own master, and swimming without the corks [Calvin]; follow my steps, inherit their result, and the honor of their end [Alford].

watch thou—literally, "with the wakefulness of one sober."

in all things—on all occasions and under all circumstances (Tit 2:7).

endure affliction—suffer hardships [Alford].

evangelist—a missionary bishop preacher, and teacher.

make full proof of—fulfil in all its requirements, leaving nothing undone (Ac 12:25; Ro 15:19; Col 4:17).

But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions: watching implieth:

1. A negation of sleep.

2. An industrious keeping ourselves awake for some end.

Keep thyself from all sin, and from all idleness and laziness, and do this industriously, that thou mayst honour God in thy work.

Do the work of an evangelist; for thy work is a great work, the work of one who is to publish the gospel; or of one who is left by me the apostle of Christ to settle the church which I have laid the foundation of, Acts 21:8 Ephesians 4:11.

Make full proof of thy ministry; make a full proof unto others of thy faithfulness in thy ministerial office and employment.

But watch thou in all things,.... Relating to himself, his doctrine, and conversation; and to others, to feed the flock of God under his care, to know the state of them, and care for them; to give the time of night, and notice of approaching danger, and see the laws of Christ put in execution; either in allusion to shepherds, who watch over their flocks night and day; or to watchmen that are upon the walls of cities, or go about them; or to the priests and Levites in the temple:

endure afflictions; the Alexandrian copy adds, "as a good soldier of Jesus Christ", as in 2 Timothy 2:3 meaning reproaches and persecutions for the sake of the Gospel, from without, and all trials and exercises from within, through the infirmities and ill conduct of the saints themselves; all which are to be endured patiently, cheerfully, and courageously; so as not to be moved by them to desist from the work of the ministry:

do the work of an evangelist; which may design either an officer, then in the church, distinct from apostles and prophets on the one hand, and pastors and teachers on the other; and was below the former, and above the latter; and was aiding and assisting to the apostles, and such an one Timothy may be thought to be: or it may intend a preacher of the Gospel in common; and to do the work of such an one is not to read lectures of morality, or to preach up justification and salvation by the works of the law; or to mix law and Gospel together, and confound them both; but to preach peace, pardon, righteousness, life, and salvation alone by Jesus Christ, and through the free grace of God:

make full proof of thy ministry: the work of the ministry, which lies in preaching the Gospel, and administering ordinances, and doing all the duties belonging to it, which is to fulfil it, or discharge it; and which gives full proof of a man's being a true and faithful minister of the word; particularly when he diligently and constantly attends to his work; seeks not his own things, but the things of Christ; cheerfully and patiently suffers for Christ and his Gospel, and lives an agreeable life and conversation.

{3} But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, {b} make full proof of thy ministry.

(3) The wickedness and falling away of the world ought to cause faithful ministers to be so much the more careful.

(b) Prove and show by good and substantial proof, that you are the true minister of God.

2 Timothy 4:5. A general exhortation summing up the particulars already mentioned.

σὺ δέ] see 2 Timothy 3:10.

νῆφε ἐν πᾶσι] νήφειν, synonymous with γρηγορεῖν, 1 Thessalonians 5:6, and σωφρονεῖν, 1 Peter 4:7, opposite of “be intoxicated;” it denotes the clear prudence in thought and action which it is all the more necessary for Timothy to show, because there is impending what the apostle in 2 Timothy 4:3-4 has described.

ἐν πᾶσι] “in all parts.”

κακοπάθησον] see 2 Timothy 1:8, 2 Timothy 2:3.

ἔργον ποίησον εὐαγγελιστοῦ] According to Ephesians 4:11, there were special evangelists, who were distinct both from the apostles and from the pastors and teachers. Theodoret characterizes them in the well-known words: πριΐοντες ἐκήρυττον. They did not belong to a particular church like the ποιμένες, but travelled about like the apostles, preaching the Gospel to the Jews or heathen. They could lay no claim to authority in their office, since, as Otto rightly remarks (comp. too, Hofmann, Schriftbew. II. 2, pp. 272 f.), they laboured not in consequence of an office committed to them, but by means of a χάρισμα imparted to them, as did also the προφῆται. It is incorrect to identify them with the assistant apostles. Philip was an evangelist (Acts 21:8), but not an assistant apostle. Timothy, Titus, and others were assistant apostles, and as such, evangelists only in the same sense in which the apostles themselves were evangelists; standing in closer relation to the apostles, they were their συνέργοι in all official duties, and all they did belonged to their διακονία (so, too, Plitt).[58] As the εὐαγγελίζεσθαι was Timothy’s chief vocation (as with the Apostle Paul, 1 Corinthians 1:17), the apostle exhorts him: ἜΡΓΟΝ ΠΟΊΗΣΟΝ ΕὐΑΓΓΕΛΙΣΤΟῦ, adding the further exhortation: ΤῊΝ ΔΙΑΚΟΝΊΑΝ ΣΟΥ ΠΛΗΡΟΦΌΡΗΣΟΝ. This latter is not to be taken as a mere repetition of the preceding one, or as “only laying emphasis on the same thought by the use of ΠΛΗΡΟΦΌΡΗΣΟΝ” (Wiesinger), since, as the whole of the first epistle testifies, his ΔΙΑΚΟΝΊΑ included more than the ΕὐΑΓΓΕΛΊΖΕΣΘΑΙ (which Hofmann wrongly denies[59]).

ΠΛΗΡΟΦΟΡΕῖΝ] synonymous here with ΠΛΗΡΟῦΝ, which is even the reading of some MSS. Luther rightly: “execute;” see Colossians 4:17; Acts 12:25. Though ΠΛΗΡΟΦΟΡΕῖΝ in this sense is ἍΠ. ΛΕΓ., still it is well employed “to indicate the full measure of activity, in which not the least point may fail” (van Oosterzee). Beza’s exposition is too ingenious: ministerii tui plenam fidem facito, i.e. veris argumentis comproba te germanum esse dei ministrum.

[58] Wiesinger is wrong in thinking that Timothy’s office was only that of an evangelist, and therefore quite the same as Philip had, and that his labours beyond that in Ephesus did not belong to his διακονία. It is certain that his labours were done on the special commission of Paul; but it is incorrect to suppose that Paul commissioned him to do anything beyond his office.—Otto’s remark on the relation of the evangelists to the assistant apostles agrees in substance with what has been said above, only it might be more than doubtful that their preaching, as he thinks, was confined to an account of Christ’s words and works, that they were therefore only “heralds of the gospel history.”—Otto rightly says that the assistant apostles “represented the apostle in the entire range of his work.”

[59] Hofmann, without reason, supposes that at the time when Paul wrote this epistle, and even before, Timothy was no longer an assistant to Paul in the apostleship. There is no hint of this anywhere; on the contrary, the contents of the second epistle are decidedly against the supposition.

2 Timothy 4:5. νῆφε: Be sober (R.V.). Sobrius esto ([315]). vigila (Vulg.) [but Vulg. Clem. inserts Sobrius esto at end of verse]. So A.V., watch, and Chrys. Sober is certainly right in 1 Thessalonians 5:6; 1 Thessalonians 5:8; but in 1 Peter 1:13; 1 Peter 4:7, and perhaps 1 Peter 5:8, to be watchful or alert seems more appropriate.

[315] The Latin text of Codex Claromontanus (sæc. vi.), a Græco-Latin MS. at Paris, edited by Tischendorf in 1852.

ἔργον εὐαγγελιστοῦ: The office of evangelist is mentioned Acts 21:8, Ephesians 4:11. The evangelist was an itinerant preacher who had not the supervising functions of an apostle, nor the inspiration of a prophet; though both apostle and prophet did, inter alia, the work of evangelist. This was in all likelihood the work to which Timothy had originally been called. St. Paul here reminds him that in the faithful performance of what might seem to be subordinate duties lies the best preservative of the Church from error. Note, that the office of an episcopus is also an ἔργον, 1 Timothy 3:1, cf. 1 Corinthians 16:10, Php 2:30, Ephesians 4:12, 1 Thessalonians 5:13.

τὴν διακονίαν σον πληροφόρησον: fulfil. According to Chrys., this does not differ from πλήρωσον. See Colossians 4:17, Acts 12:25. For διακονία, ministry or service in general, see 1 Timm. 2 Timothy 1:12.

5. But watch thou] Exactly and fully, but thou, be thou watchful and sober, combining A.V. and R.V., and emphasising the pronoun. The proper force of the verb is certainly ‘sobriety’ literal and then metaphorical. See note on the adjective, 1 Timothy 3:2. The metaphorical sobriety is in effect ‘watchfulness,’ though not from ‘wakefulness’ so much as from ‘wariness,’ cool-headedness. Hence the proverb, ‘the tongue of the drunkard, but the heart of the sober.’ The present tense is plainly most suitable to this state of calm sober consideration in everything; while the aorists which follow as suitably express the going to and taking up ‘hardship,’ ‘preaching,’ ‘ministry,’ just as in 2 Timothy 4:1.

the work of an evangelist] Not here that of any separate class, but that which belonged to Apostles and the humblest Evangelists proper, equally. See the Prayer in the Form of Consecration of Bishops (Eng. Pr.-Bk.), ‘that he may evermore be ready to spread abroad thy gospel, the glad tidings of reconciliation with thee.’

make full proof] Or fulfil, i.e. fully perform, the same meaning of the word as is most probably to be assigned to Luke 1:1, ‘those matters which have been fulfilled among us.’ Vulg. ‘ministerium tuum imple.’

2 Timothy 4:5. Νῆφε ἐν πᾶσι, watch in all things) in all circumstances, so as never to fall asleep. So περὶ πάντα, Titus 2:7.—ἔργον, the work) 1 Timothy 3:1.—ποίησον, do) The journey to Paul is chiefly included.—εὐαγγελιστοῦ, of an evangelist) A magnificent term.—πληροφόρησον, fulfil) by resisting those (followers of their own lusts), and coming to me. The same word occurs, 2 Timothy 4:17.

Verse 5. - Be thou sober for watch thou, A.V.; suffer hardship for endure afflictions, A.V.; fulfil for make full proof of, A.V. Be thou sober (νῆφε); as 1 Thessalonians 5:6, 8; 1 Peter 1:13; 1 Peter 4:7; 1 Peter 5:8. The adjective νηφάλιος occurs in 1 Timothy 3:2 (where see note), 11; Titus 2:2. Here "Be sober in all things" clearly does not refer to literal sobriety, which Timothy was in little danger of transgressing (l Timothy 5:23), but comprehends clearness, calmness, steadiness, and moderation in all things. Suffer hardship (κακοπάθησον); as 2 Timothy 2:3 (T.R.) and 9. An evangelist (εὐαγγελιστοῦ); one whose business it is to preach the gospel, according to Matthew 11:5. The verb εὐαγγελίζειν, "to preach the gospel," and αὐαγγέλιον, "the gospel," are of very frequent use in the New Testament. But εὐαγγελιστής, an evangelist. occurs elsewhere only in Acts 21:8 and Ephesians 4:11. Fulfil thy ministry. This is rather a weak rendering of the Greek πληροφόρησον, adopted also in the R.V. of Luke 1:1. The verb occurs elsewhere in Luke 1:1; Romans 4:21; Romans 14:5, and ver. 17 of this chapter. The phrase is metaphorical, but it is uncertain whether the metaphor is that of a ship borne along by full sails, or of full measure given. If the former is the metaphor, then the derived meaning, when applied to persons, is that of full persuasion, entire and implicit faith, which carries men forward in a bold and unwavering course; or, when applied to things, that of being undoubtedly believed. But if the metaphor is taken from "bringing full measure;" then the sense in the passive voice when applied to persons will be "to be fully satisfied," i.e. to have full assurance, and, when applied to things, "to be fully believed" (Liddell and Scott). Applying the last metaphor to the passage before us, the sense will be "discharge thy ministry to the fall." Let there be no stint of ministerial labour, but carry it out in its completeness, and to the end. 2 Timothy 4:5Watch thou (σὺ νῆφε)

See on 1 Thessalonians 5:6, and see on ἀνανήψωσιν recover, 2 Timothy 2:26.

Endure afflictions (κακοπάθησον)

Or suffer hardship. See on 2 Timothy 2:9, and comp. 2 Timothy 4:5.

Of an evangelist (εὐαγγελιστοῦ)

Here, Acts 21:8 and Ephesians 4:11. In the last passage, a special function, with apostles, prophets, pastors, and teachers. A traveling, minister whose work was not confined to a particular church. So Philip, Acts 8:5-13, Acts 8:26-40. A helper of the apostles. An apostle, as such, was an evangelist (1 Corinthians 1:17), but every evangelist was not an apostle. In The Teaching of the Twelve Apostles (about 100 a.d.) it is prescribed that an apostle shall not remain in one place longer than two days, and that when he departs he shall take nothing with him except enough bread to last until his next station (ch. xi).

Make full proof of thy ministry (τὴν διακονίαν σου πληροφόρησον)

Better, fulfill or fully perform. In Pastorals only here and 2 Timothy 4:17. See on Luke 1:1. In lxx once, Ecclesiastes 8:11, is fully persuaded. Only in this passage in the active voice. Comp. πληρώσαντες τὴν διακονίαν having fulfilled their ministration, Acts 12:25 : ἐπλήρου τὸν δρόμον was fulfilling his course, Acts 13:25, and τὸν δρόμον I have finished the course, 2 Timothy 4:7. For διακονίαν ministry, see on 1 Timothy 1:12.

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