Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, according to the promise of life which is in Christ Jesus,2 Timothy 1:1-5. Paul, an apostle by the will of God — See 1 Corinthians 1:1-5; according to the promise of life — Appointed to exhibit, by preaching the gospel, and to bring men to, eternal life, promised by God to all true believers; in — And through; Christ Jesus — Who hath revealed and procured it. I thank God, whom I serve from my forefathers — That is, whom both I and my ancestors served, or, whom I serve as the holy patriarchs did of old; with a pure conscience — He always worshipped God according to his conscience, both before and after his conversion. Before his conversion, however, his conscience was neither truly enlightened nor awakened; for he was neither acquainted with the spirituality and extent of the moral law, nor with his own sinfulness and guilt through his violations of it. That without ceasing I have remembrance of thee in my prayers — See on Romans 1:8-9. To know that the apostle prayed for him continually, must have afforded great encouragement to Timothy amidst his labours and sufferings: being mindful of thy tears — Perhaps frequently shed, as well as at the apostle’s last parting with him; that I may be filled with joy — In conversing with thee, and giving thee my dying charge and blessing. When I call to remembrance, &c. — That is, my desire to see thee is greatly increased by my calling to remembrance the unfeigned faith — In the gospel, and in its glorious Author; that is in thee — Of which thou hast given convincing evidence; and which dwelt — An expression not applicable to a transient guest, but only to a settled inhabitant; first in thy grandmother Lois — Probably this was before Timothy was born. Here it is insinuated, to the great praise of Timothy’s grandmother Lois, that, having embraced the Christian faith herself, she persevered in it, and persuaded her daughter Eunice to do the same; and that the instructions and example of these pious women prepared their son for receiving the gospel when it was preached to him: a fit example this for the imitation of all mothers, who, if they take the same pains with their children, may hope that, by the blessing of God, their care will be followed with similar happy effects.
To Timothy, my dearly beloved son: Grace, mercy, and peace, from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.
I thank God, whom I serve from my forefathers with pure conscience, that without ceasing I have remembrance of thee in my prayers night and day;
Greatly desiring to see thee, being mindful of thy tears, that I may be filled with joy;
When I call to remembrance the unfeigned faith that is in thee, which dwelt first in thy grandmother Lois, and thy mother Eunice; and I am persuaded that in thee also.
Wherefore I put thee in remembrance that thou stir up the gift of God, which is in thee by the putting on of my hands.2 Timothy 1:6-7. Wherefore — Because I remember this; I put thee in remembrance — Because of my love to thee; that thou stir up the gift of God — That is, every gift which the grace of God has given thee. The word αναζωπυρειν is a metaphorical expression, borrowed from stirring up fire when it is almost extinct, and thereby causing it to burn with a fresh flame. The meaning is, that Timothy was to embrace the opportunities which his station afforded him for improving his spiritual gifts, by boldly and diligently exercising them in inculcating and defending the doctrines of the gospel. By the putting on of my hands — Together with those of the presbytery, 1 Timothy 4:14. And let nothing discourage thee, for God hath not given us the spirit of fear — That is, the spirit which God hath given us Christians, is not the spirit of fear, or of timidity, or cowardice, as δειλιας signifies; but of power — Banishing fear; or of Christian courage in the midst of dangers and troubles; and of love — To God and all mankind, animating us to zeal and diligence in God’s service, and in our endeavours to save men’s souls. And of a sound mind — So as to act according to the best principles of reason and religion.
For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.
Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me his prisoner: but be thou partaker of the afflictions of the gospel according to the power of God;2 Timothy 1:8-10. Be not thou, therefore — Discouraged by any dangers or trials; or ashamed of the testimony of our Lord — The gospel which testifies of Christ, or of testifying the truth and importance of it to all men; nor of me his prisoner — The cause of the servants of God, doing his work, cannot be separated from the cause of God himself. But be thou partaker of the afflictions of the gospel — Of such afflictions as I endure for the gospel’s sake: or, be ready to undergo the persecutions and troubles which attend the profession and preaching of the gospel: according to the power of God — That is, as God shall enable thee; who hath saved us —
By faith in his Son and in his gospel, from sin and misery, present and eternal, and therefore we may the more readily endure any temporal evils for the gospel. The love of the Father, the grace of our Saviour, and the whole economy of salvation, are here admirably described. And called us with a holy calling — A calling holy in regard, 1st, Of the author, God; 2d, The means, his word and Spirit; 3d, The end, holiness; not according to our works — See on Romans 9:11; Romans 11:6. But according to his own purpose and grace — That is, his gracious purpose; (see on Ephesians 3:11;) which was given us in Christ — Through his mediation and grace; before the world began — He being appointed, in the everlasting and unchangeable counsels of God, to be the Redeemer and Saviour of all that should believe in and obey him. But now is made manifest — Is openly revealed and exhibited; by the appearing of our Saviour — By his manifestation in the flesh, and the publication of the gospel of his grace. Who hath abolished death — Hath obtained for persevering believers a glorious resurrection even from temporal death hereafter, and deliverance from the sting of it here; with a title to, and meetness for, the eternal life of both soul and body; so that death shall be completely swallowed up in victory. And hath brought life and immortality to light — Hath clearly revealed by the gospel that immortal life which he hath purchased for us. Or, if αφθαρσιαν be rendered, as it properly may, not immortality, but incorruption, the meaning will be, he hath clearly revealed the life, or existence and happiness, of the soul immediately after death, and the incorruption of the body: or rather, hath made them clear; for the word φωτιζω, here used, means to make a thing clear and plain which was formerly obscure, a translation which is more proper here than to bring to light. “For the Israelites had an obscure knowledge of the immortality of the soul, and of the resurrection of the body, given them in the writings of Moses, as is plain from our Lord’s words, (Luke 20:37,) and from what is related 2Ma 7:9; 2Ma 7:14; 2Ma 7:23. Nevertheless, as these things were but obscurely revealed in the ancient oracles, the far more clear discovery of them in the gospel, but especially Christ’s express promise to raise the dead, and give eternal life to believers, might with the greatest propriety be called a making these things clear.” The heathen also had some confused hopes of the immortality of the soul, but as they had no ground for these hopes but uncertain tradition and their own wishes, they were much in the dark concerning it.
Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began,
But is now made manifest by the appearing of our Saviour Jesus Christ, who hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel:
Whereunto I am appointed a preacher, and an apostle, and a teacher of the Gentiles.2 Timothy 1:11-12. Whereunto — For proclaiming which good news; I am appointed a preacher — Κηρυξ, a herald; and an apostle — Invested with an extraordinary commission, and furnished with spiritual gifts to make me a successful teacher of the Gentiles — That is, of them chiefly. For which — Namely, my preaching to the Gentiles; I suffer these things — “By assigning his preaching salvation to the Gentiles through Christ, without obedience to the law of Moses, as the cause of his second bonds in Rome, he hath insinuated that the unbelieving Jews were active in getting him imprisoned, and tried for his life as a criminal.” — Macknight. Nevertheless — Though my condition may seem infamous; I am not ashamed — Either of my doctrine or of my sufferings. For I know whom I have believed — That is, whose word and promise I have credited, and to whom I have trusted all my important concerns: I know his power, and love, and faithfulness; and am persuaded, fully satisfied, he is able to keep that which I have committed to him — Την παραθηκην μου, my deposite, until that day — Of final retribution; meaning, undoubtedly, his immortal soul, or his whole person, soul and body. Thus Peter, (1 Peter 4:19,) Let them that suffer according to the will of God, commit the keeping of their souls to him, (or, as may be included, the preservation, or, if taken away, the restoration, of the life of their bodies,) in well-doing, as unto a faithful Creator, who never did, and never will, deceive, or disappoint the hopes of any that trust in him.
For the which cause I also suffer these things: nevertheless I am not ashamed: for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day.
Hold fast the form of sound words, which thou hast heard of me, in faith and love which is in Christ Jesus.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.”
That good thing which was committed unto thee keep by the Holy Ghost which dwelleth in us.
This thou knowest, that all they which are in Asia be turned away from me; of whom are Phygellus and Hermogenes.2 Timothy 1:15-18. This thou knowest — Of this thou hast received information; that all they which are in Asia — He appears to mean those of Asia who were known to him by a profession of Christianity, and who had attended him at Rome for a while; are turned away from me — And have proved treacherous friends, after all their forward pretences. See on chap. 2 Timothy 4:16. “What! turned away from Paul, the aged, the faithful soldier, and now prisoner of Christ! This was a glorious trial, and wisely reserved for that time when he was on the borders of immortality.” — Wesley. Of whom are Phygellus and Hermogenes — Probably he mentions these two persons as known to Timothy, or as having distinguished themselves by their profession, so that there was great reason to expect a different conduct from them. The Lord give mercy unto the house — Or family; of Onesiphorus — As well as himself; for he oft refreshed me — By his visits and liberalities, both at Ephesus and Rome; see 2 Timothy 1:18; and was not ashamed of my chain — That is, he both owned and relieved me without fear or shame, in this time of my imprisonment. It appears that offices of kindness done to Paul, especially when in distress, made a deep impression on his mind, and filled him with gratitude. When he was in Rome he sought me out — An expression implying that the apostle was in such close confinement that few knew where he was to be found. The Lord grant, &c., that he may find mercy of the Lord — The Lord, in this latter clause, may mean the Lord Jesus; or the words may be a common Hebraism for, May the Lord grant him mercy. By praying first for the family of Onesiphorus, (2 Timothy 1:16,) the apostle intimated that Onesiphorus was at a distance from his family; and then his praying for that good man himself, implies that he was not dead, as the Papists suppose, inferring from this prayer of the apostle the lawfulness of praying for the dead.
The Lord give mercy unto the house of Onesiphorus; for he oft refreshed me, and was not ashamed of my chain:
But, when he was in Rome, he sought me out very diligently, and found me.
The Lord grant unto him that he may find mercy of the Lord in that day: and in how many things he ministered unto me at Ephesus, thou knowest very well.