ICC New Testament Commentary
Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, according to the promise of life which is in Christ Jesus,1:1, 2. Address and Greeting.—Paul to Timothy, his well-loved son, these: Paul writing with authority as one who has received his commission from Christ Jesus, through no choice of his own but by the will of God, who chose him because He had promised life to the world, the life which was realized in Christ Jesus, and who needed men to tell of that promise. I pray God the Father and Christ Jesus Our Lord to give you grace for your work, help in your difficulties, peace in your heart.
As in I, the address is partly official and authoritative, as he wants to strengthen Timothy’s authority (ἀπόστολος) partly personal and affectionate; and this second element is stronger than in I (κατʼ ἐπαγγ. ζωῆς, as contrasted with κατʼ ἐπιταγὴν θεοῦ, ἀγαπητῷ with γνησίῳ τέκνῳ).
διὰ θελ. θεοῦ] so 1 Corinthians 1:1, 2 Corinthians 1:1, Colossians 1:1, Ephesians 1:1; cf. Galatians 1:4.
κατʼ ἐπαγγ ζωῆς] qualifying ἀπόστολος, cf. I 1:1, Galatians 3:29; it gives the standard by which God chose him and to which his Apostleship must be true; cf. 10, 11 εἰς ὃ ἐτέθην . . . ἀπόστολος. It is expanded in Titus 1:2 ἐπʼ ἐλπίδι ζωῆς αἰωνίου ἣν ἐπηγγείλατο ὁ ἀψευδὴς θεὸς πρὸ χρόνων αἰωνίων. It is naturally emphasized by a writer who is face to face with death and is going to exhort Timothy to face it too (2:11-13); but the thought is not only of life beyond the grave, but of a life which begins here and persists through death; cf. 10 and I 4:8.
ἀγαπητῷ] cf. 1 Corinthians 4:17, Php 2:20-22. The latter passage, combined with 1:15, 4:11, 16 infra, perhaps suggests that the thought is not only “loved,” but loved as an only son is loved; the only son on whom I can rely, Hom. Oba 1:2Oba 1:2. 365, μοῦνος ἐὼν ἀγαπητός.
2. Cf. I 1:2 notes.
3-2:13. Thanksgiving to God for Timothy’s past life, and appeal for renewed efforts, for courage to face danger, and for loyal adherence to the apostolic teaching.
3-5. Thanksgiving—called out by (a) the writer’s own feelings and memory (3, 4), and (b) by some recent reminder of Timothy’s faith (5).
Paraphrase. My first word must be to thank God—that God whom my forefathers worshipped and whom I worship with a pure conscience—a thanksgiving which springs up in my heart whenever I make mention of you, as I never fail to do night and morning in my prayers; for I have a yearning to see you once more, as I remember the tears you shed at our parting: if you could only come, my happiness would be complete. And now I have a special ground of thankfulness in the recent reminder of the sincerity of your faith—a faith which you too have inherited, for it dwelt first in your grandmother Lois and in your mother Eunice, aye, and I have had many and many a proof that it dwells equally in you.
This section has striking verbal resemblance with Romans 1:8-12 (cf. also 1 Thessalonians 1:2, 1 Thessalonians 1:3, 1 Thessalonians 1:3:6); but there is no reason to suspect deliberate imitation by a writer copying St. Paul (so Holtzmann), as the thought is common in literary correspondence of the time; cf. J. A. Robinson on Eph., Additional Note “On some current Epistolary Phrases.”
3. χάριν ἔχω] I 1:12 note. ᾧ λατρεύω ἀπὸ προγόνων] cf. Acts 22:14 ὁ θεὸς τῶν πατέρων ἡμῶν: 24:14 λατρεύω τῷ πατρῴῳ θεῷ Php 3:4-6.
ἐν καθαρᾷ συνειδ.] cf. I 1:5. This was true of him even while a Jew; cf. Acts 23:1. The sense of the real continuity of the Christian with the Jewish faith is constant in St. Paul; cf. Gal_3 passim, 6:16, Ephesians 1:1-11, Romans 11:13-24.
As in I 1:3 the construction is not clear: for what does he thank God? probably for Timothy’s life and loyalty. ὡς … ἔχω is almost equivalent to “when,” “as often as,” but adds the thought of the correspondence of the thankfulness with the thought of Timothy, χάριν ἔχω ὡς ἔχω μνείαν: to think of thee is to thank God for thee; to think more is to thank more; to think every day is to thank every day.
νυκτὸς καὶ ἡμέρας] either with prec. “in my evening and morning prayers,” cf. I 5:5; or with seq. “all night and day longing to see you,” cf. 1 Thessalonians 3:10. The balance of the sentence supports the latter construction.
4. τῶν δακρύων] cf. Acts 20:37, though this can scarcely be an allusion to that scene. “Lacrimæ flos cordis” (Bengel).
πληρωθῶ] perhaps to be joined closely with following: “that I may be filled with joy by the receipt of the reminder which your coming would give” (so R.V. margin, W.-H); or ὑπόμν. λαβών is loosely constructed with χάριν ἔχω. “I thank God on the recent receipt of a reminder of your faith.” This implies that he had lately heard news about Timothy, cf. Colossians 1:4, or perhaps had received an affectionate letter from him.
5. ὑπόμνησιν] properly of an external reminder, cf. 2 P 1:13, 3:1 and ὑπομίμνησκε, 2:14; but a comparison of Mark 14:72 ἀνεμνήσθη ὁ Πέτρος τὸ ῥῆμα with Luke 22:61 ὑπεμνήσθη ὁ Πέτρος τοὺ ῥήματος makes it doubtful whether the difference can be pressed in Hellenistic Greek; cf. Clem. Hom. i. 1, συνῆν γάρ μοι λογισμὸς . . . περὶ θανάτου πυκνὰς ποιούμενος ὑπομνήσεις: Marc. Aurel. vii. 27, x. 34.
ἥτις (not ἥ) gives partly the reason for ἀνυποκρίτου π., sincere, for it was inherited as well as personal. Timothy, like the writer (3), has a family religion behind him; cf. the appeal of Virtue to the young Heracles, ἐγὼ ἥκω πρός σε εἰδυῖα τοὺς γεννήσαντάς σε καὶ τὴν φύσιν τὴν σὴν ἐν τῇ παιδείᾳ καταμαθοῦσα, Xen. Mem. ii. 1; cf: I 2:8-15 note, p. 31. This does not necessarily imply that Lois and Eunice had become Christians, though it is probable. The language might have been used by St. Paul of religious Jewesses who had trained the young Timothy in the Jewish expectations of a Messiah, cf. 3:15.
πέπεισμαι] cf. 12, Romans 8:38, Romans 14:14, Romans 15:14. ἐνῴκησε “implies steady and persistent faith,” Hillard. It was always at home in their hearts; cf. 14.
6-2:13. Appeal to Timothy for greater effort, for courage to face danger and difficulty, and for loyalty to the Apostle’s doctrine. The appeal is based upon the reality of God’s power to strengthen him (7-10), the example of the Apostle (11, 12, 2:9, 10), and of Onesiphorus (15-18), the memory of the Risen Christ (2:8), and the sense that the doctrine is a sacred trust (13, 14, 2:1, 2). The key-notes of the section are δύναμις(7, 8. δυνατός 12, ἐνδυναμοῦ 2:1), ἐπαισχύνεσθαι (8, 12, 16), παραθήκη (12, 14, 2:2), συγκακοπαθεῖν (8, 2:3, 9), πίστις (loyalty to a loyal Master, 1:5, 12, 13, 2:2, 11, 13). There are many points of kinship in phrase and thought with the earlier letters, cf. Romans 1:16, Romans 1:8:15, 1 Corinthians 15:55, Ephesians 2:5-9, but none suggest conscious adaptation. The writer is perhaps feeling his way towards the request that Timothy will come to him at once to Rome. For that he will need courage, and he must leave faithful men in charge of his work at Ephesus.
6-14. Paraphrase. Feeling this confidence, I write to remind you to stir into full life that gift of God which is within you, which was given by the laying of my hands upon your head. For the gift which God gave us was no spirit of cowardice, but a spirit of strength combined with a spirit of love for others and of self-discipline. So then, as you have that spirit, do not be ashamed of the witness which we have to bear about Our Lord, do not be ashamed of me because the preaching of Him has led me to imprisonment; nay, be ready to share my sufferings in the cause of the Gospel: you have not to rely on your own strength, but on the strength of God Himself—of the very God who saved us and called us into His kingdom by a holy call to holiness, and that not in virtue of our own efforts, but in virtue of a purpose entirely His own, of a gift freely given—given indeed to us as embodied in Christ Jesus before time began, though only shown in these latter days by the bright light which radiated from the appearance of our Saviour Christ Jesus on earth, when He destroyed the power of the dread tyrant death and brought to clear view the full meaning of life, aye of immortal life, through the good tidings which I was appointed to proclaim, to carry with authority throughout the world and to teach its truths. It is because I have done this that I am a prisoner now, that I endure these fetters; but I am not ashamed of them, for I know Him whom I have trusted, and I feel confident that He has strength to guard safely all that I have entrusted to His keeping till that great day to which we Christians look forward. Take then as your pattern of sound doctrine the pattern of the doctrine which I taught you, hold it firmly in a spirit of faith and of that true love which is only found in union with Christ Jesus. It is a trust put into our hands for safe keeping; it is the most precious of all trusts; guard it then with the help of the Holy Spirit who dwells in our hearts.
6. διʼ ἣν αἰτίαν] Cf. 12, Titus 1:13 note. ἀναζωπυρεῖν (“resuscites,” Vulg.; “recrees,” Ambros.), properly “to stir up smouldering embers into a living flame,” “to keep at white heat” (Parry) (“O joy that in our embers Is something that doth live”); there may be a conscious reference to the thought of the Spirit as fire, cf. Acts 2:3, Matthew 25:8, 1 Thessalonians 5:19; cf. Seneca, Ep. 94, “Honestarum rerum semina animi nostri gerunt quæ admonitione excitantur: non aliter quam scintilla flatu levi adjuta ignem suum explicat” (Wetstein); but the use in the LXX (2 K 8:1, 5 to bring to life a dead child, Genesis 45:27, Genesis 45:1 Mac 13:7 “to revive” (intrans.)), makes it very doubtful whether the metaphor was consciously present in Hellenistic Greek; cf. Ign. ad Eph. c. 1, ἀναζωπυρήσαντες ἐν αἵματι θεοῦ. Chrys. paraphrases happily παρρησίας ἔμπλησον αὐτό, χαρᾶς εὐφροσύνης· στῆθι γενναίως.
τὸ χάρισμα] cf. I 4:14. διὰ τῆς ἐπιθέσεως] cf. I 4:14 note. The time referred to is probably the same as there, the ordination for his present work at Ephesus: the context there suggesting a reference to the presbyters, the personal appeal here suggesting a reference to his own act alone. But the allusion here to Timothy’s home training (5), and the character of the gift conferred (7), leave it possible that the reference is to Paul’s first choice of Timothy to be his minister (Acts 16:2; so Hort, Christian Ecclesia, p. 184), or even to his confirmation at the time of his conversion, Acts 14:7 (so Bp. Chase, Confirmation in the Apostolic Age, pp. 35-40). On the other hand, the whole context of the epistle implies an appeal to one in an ordained and authoritative position.
7. ἡμῖν] “to you and me,” “to us his ministers”; the statement is true of all Christians, cf. I. 2:15, but in a special degree of ministers, and the context (ἔδωκεν taking up τὸ χάρισμα, and cf. 13, 14) points to that limitation here; cf. Romans 8:15 οὐ γὰρ ἐλάβετε πνεῦμα δουλείας πάλιν εἰς φόβον ἀλλὰ πνεῦμα υἱοθεσίας.
δειλίας] cf. 1 Corinthians 16:10 ἐὰν ἔλθῃ Τιμόθεος βλέπετε ἵνα ἀφόβως γένηται πρὸς ὑμᾶς, and compare Mark 4:40 τί δειλοί ἐστε; οὔπω ἔχετε πίστιν; John 14:27.
δυνάμεως (“virtutis,” Vulg.), cf. 8, 12, 2:1 and Romans 1:16 οὐ γὰρ ἐπαισχύνομαι τὸ εὐαγγέλιον· δύναμις γὰρ θεοῦ ἐστιν. In writing from Rome as well as to Rome he dwells upon power as the essential characteristic of the Gospel, a power which is to prove stronger than the Empire of power; cf. also 1 Corinthians 4:19, 1 Corinthians 4:20.
καὶ ἀγάπης] which drives out fear, 1 John 4:18, and gives the impulse to go to the aid of others in their hour of need.
σωφρονισμοῦ (here only in N.T.), the power to make σώφρων; whether to discipline others (cf. Titus 2:4-6), or to discipline oneself, to keep oneself in hand, free from all excitement or hesitation; it is “the sanity of saintliness,” cf. Bp. Paget, Studies in the Christian Character, pp. 64-67. The context probably limits the reference here to self-discipline (“sobrietatis, ” Vulg.; “sanæmentis, ” Tert. Scorp. 13); cf. 2:22. ἀγάπη and σωφρονισμός control the exercise of δύναμις. The Christian minister must be strong, efficient, courageous, but never forget personal tenderness for others (cf. 1 Corinthians 4:20, 1 Corinthians 4:21 ἐν δυνάμει . . . ἐν ἀγαπῇ) or control of his own temper.
8. τὸ μαρτύριον] The witness to a crucified Messiah, “to Jews a stumblingblock, to Gentiles foolishness,” 1 Corinthians 1:23.
τοῦ κυρίου ἡμῶν] perhaps with conscious contrast to the Emperor, “hunc opponit Cæsari quem sui sic appellabant” (Bengel); cf. Titus 2:13 note.
τὸν δέσμιον αὐτοῦ] cf. Ephesians 3:1, Php 1:12 sqq. which show the strain which St. Paul’s imprisonment laid upon his converts.
συγκακοπάθησον] here only in N.T. and not found in earlier writers: probably coined by St. Paul, who frequently coins compounds of σύν out of his deep sense of the close “withness” of Christians with each other and with Christ. The main thought here is “suffer with me on behalf of the Gospel”; cf. 2:3, 9, 3:10 (“collabora in Evangelio,” Ambros.), rather than “suffer with the Gospel” (“collabora Evangelio,” Vulg.), which may also be included; cf. 1 Corinthians 13:6 ἡ ἀγάπη . . . συγχαίρει τῇ ἀληθείᾳ.
9. Every word emphasizes the power which has been given to Christians 7: a power which has done what man could not do of himself, which has acted out of love for man, which has destroyed his chief enemy and given him life, which therefore calls for some return and gives strength to face suffering and death; cf. Titus 1:3, Titus 3:5, Romans 8:28-30, Romans 8:9:11, Romans 8:16:25, Romans 8:26, Ephesians 2:7-9 (some of which may have been in the writer’s mind), and Ep. Barn. c. 5, § 6, which may be based on this passage, αὐτὸς δὲ ἵνα καταργήσῃ τὸν θάνατον . . . ὅτι ἐν σαρκὶ ἔδει αὐτὸν φανερωθῆναι, ὑπέμεινεν.
κλήσει ἁγίᾳ] mainly “with a calling to be holy,” cf. κλητοῖς ἁγίοις, Romans 1:7, 1 Corinthians 1:2, 1 Thessalonians 4:7 ἐκάλεσεν ἡμᾶς ἐν ἁγιασμῷ: but with the further thought of God’s holiness which we have to imitate, cf. 1 P 1:15, 16: “quæ tota ex Deo est et nos totos Deo vindicat” (Bengel).
πρόθεσιν] Romans 8:28, Romans 9:11, ubi v. S.-H.
τὴν δοθεῖσαν … πρὸ χρόνων αἰωνίων] The grace of God is embodied in Christ Jesus: we only gain it through union with Him, and it was given to Him by God long before we were born. The reference may be either to the gift to mankind contained in the promise of the victory of the seed of the woman, Genesis 3:15: this would be supported by the allusion to Gen in I 2:14 and by the use of πρὸ χρ· αἰων. in Titus 1:2; or to the gift to mankind contained in the pre-existent Christ before the world was created, as even then He was the recipient of the Divine life of Sonship of which man was to partake: it was given to us in our ideal. Cf. Ephesians 1:4 καθὼς ἐξελέξατο ἡμᾶς ἐν αὐτῷ πρὸ καταβολῆς κόσμου. The other reminiscences of the Ephesian letter in the verse makes this the more probable view. Pelagius draws a human analogy, “Nam homines solent filiis parare prædia priusquam nascantur.”
πρὸ χρόνων αἰωνίων] cf. Titus 1:2 note; “ante tempora sœcularia, ” Vulg. Ambros.; “œterna, ” Aug. Thd.
10. ἐπιφανείας (“illuminationem,” Vulg.) here only of the Incarnation; but cf. Titus 2:11 note, 3:4 ἐπεφάνη. Here the two thoughts of the divine intervention of a saviour in the hour of need and of the dawning of a new light, cf. φανερωθεῖσαν . . . φωτίσαντος (“illustria verba,” Bengel) and Luke 1:79 ἐπιφᾶναι τοῖς ἐν σκότει καθημένοις, are combined.
καταργήσαντος …] Explanatory of σώσαντος 9, which has just been taken up by σωτῆρος.
τὸν θάνατον] That tyrant death (cf. ἐβασίλευσεν, Romans 5:14) whose presence caused constant fear and took the sense of freedom out of life (cf. Hebrews 2:14 ὅσοι φόβῳ θανάτου διὰ παντὸς τοῦ ζῆν ἔυοχοι ἦσαν δουλείας), that death which the writer has learnt and Timothy must learn to face.
φωτίσαντος] “illuminavit,” Vulg. This was done (a) by His teaching of the nature of eternal life, consisting in a knowledge of God and beginning here on earth; it is interesting to compare the language of Epictetus (1. iv. 31) about Chrysippus: τῷ τὴν ἀλήθειαν εὑρόντι καὶ φωτίσαντι καὶ εἰς πάντας ἀνθρώπους ἐξενεγκόντι, οὐ τὴν περὶ τὸ ζῆν, ἀλλὰ τὴν πρὸς τὸ εὖ ζῆν; (b) but above all by the fact of the Resurrection, cf. 2:8, 1 Corinthians 15:51-56, Acts 2:27. There was hope of immortality in the world before, but the Resurrection had converted it into a certainty and shown from beyond the grave the continuity of life there with life here; cf. Driver, Sermons on the O.T., Sermon 4; Mozley, Essays, ii. pp. 170-75. “The Gospel first gave to a future world clearness and distinctness, shape and outline; the Gospel first made it a positive district and region on which the spiritual eye reposes, and which stretches out on the other side the grave with the same solidity and extension with which the present world does on this side of it. A future life was not an image before the Gospel: the Gospel made it an image. It brought it out of its implicit form, and from its lower residence within the bosom of the great fundamental doctrine of true religion, into a separate and conspicuous position as a truth. This was a bringing to light, and a species of birth, compared with which the previous state of the doctrine was a hidden and an embryo state.”
ζωὴν καὶ ἀφθαρσίαν] a climax, life, aye, unchangeable life; contrast ὄλεθρον καὶ ἀπώλειαν, I 6:9.
11. Cf. 1 Timothy 2:7.
12. ἀλλʼ οὐκ ἐπαισχ.] cf. 8 and Romans 1:16.
ᾧ πεπίστευκα] not “whom I have believed,” as in Titus 3:8 οἱ πεπιστευκότες θεῷ, but rather “whom I have trusted,” “to whom I have entrusted my deposit”; cf. 2 Mac 3:22 τὰ πεπιστευμένα τοῖς πεπιστευκόσι σῶα διαφυλάσσειν. It anticipates the accusative τὴν παραθήκην.
τὴν παραθήκην μου] that which I have deposited with Him. (v. Additional Note, p. 90): all my precious things which I have put under His care. He does not define or limit; it will include his teaching (1 Corinthians 3:12-15), his apostolic work, his converts (Acts 20:32 παρατίθεμαι ὑμᾶς τῷ θεῷ), his life which has been already in God’s keeping and which will remain safe there even through death (cf. Luke 23:46, Luke 23:1 P 4:19). The last is perhaps the primary thought, suggested by ζωὴν καὶ ἀφθαρσίαν 10.
ἐκεινὴν τὴν ἡμέραν] 1:18, 4:8; cf. 2 Thessalonians 1:10; here only in St. Paul, who generally adds some explanatory genitive, ἡμέρα τοῦ κυρίου ἡμῶν, Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ, ἀπολυτρώσεως. The day is now so present to his mind that it needs no defining.
13. ὑποτύπωσιν (“formam habe,” Vulg.; “formationem, ” Thd.; “exemplum, ” Jerome) here and I 1:16 (where see note) only in N.T.; cf. τύπον διδαχῆς, Romans 6:17. ὑγιαιν. λόγων, 1 Timothy 1:10 note.
ὑποτύπωσιν ἔχε.] “hold fast as form of teaching”; cf. I 3:9 ἔχοντας τὸ μυστήριον τῆς πίστεως ἐν καθαρᾷ συνειδήσει; inf. 2:2. Parry would translate “hold forth in your life: let your own character represent to the world wholesome teaching.” This is very parallel to I 4:12 τύπος γίνου τῶν πιστῶν . . . ἐν ἀγάπῃ, ἐν πίστει: but it strains the meaning of ἔχε and scarcely arises out of the context.
ὧν παρʼ ἐμοῦ ἤκουσας] ὧν is probably a loose attraction for οὕς or possibly ἅ (cf. 2:2), “hold as outline of sound teachings those teachings which you heard from me.” Hort regards ὧν as a primitive corruption of ὅν after λόγων, “hold as pattern of sound doctrines that doctrine which you heard from me.” W.-H. ii. p. 135.
14. τὴν κ. παραθήκην] cf. τῆς κ. διδασκαλίας, 1 Timothy 4:6. The thought of his own deposit with God 12 suggests that deposit which Christ has left with him, a far more precious and ideal thing; cf. Philo, Quod det potiori, 19, ἐπιστήμης καλὴν παρακαταθήκην.
διὰ Πν. Ἁγίου] cf. Romans 8:11. This is true of all Christians, but the thought here is, probably, still that of the special gift to ministers for their work 6, 7.
τοῦ ἐνοικοῦντος] perhaps consciously recalling ἥτις ἐνῴκησε 5.
15-18. Examples of warning and encouragement.
Paraphrase. I appeal to yourself: you know instances both of cowardice and of courage: you know that all those in Asia turned away from me, of whom Phygelus and Hermogenes are the chief. On the other hand, may the Lord be merciful to the family of Onesiphorus, for many a time did he refresh me, every visit of his like a breath of fresh air; and he was not ashamed of my fetters, nay, when in Rome on a visit he took great pains to enquire where I was imprisoned and he found me: the Lord grant to him that he may find mercy from the Lord in the last great day. Yes, and all the many services which he rendered in Ephesus you have yourself the best means of knowing.
For similar warning, cf. I 1:19, 20, at the same point in the letter; but here the stress is on the encouragement of Onesiphorus which is described at much fuller length, and accompanied with prayer for him.
ἀπεστράφησαν] The occasion is unknown. It might refer to doctrinal apostasy (cf. 13, 14), but more probably to some failure to help Paul himself (με, cf. Matthew 5:42): as it is introduced mainly as a foil to the personal kindness of Onesiphorus, cf. 4:10 Δημᾶς με ἐγκατέλιπεν. Possibly all the Asiatic Christians who were in Rome at the time, cf. 4:16, failed to support him at his trial and had now returned to Asia (cf. οἶδας and ἐν τῇ Ἀσίᾳ): or all the Christians in Asia at the time when he was arrested there failed to help him or come with him to Rome.
ὧν ἐστι] cf. 2:18, I 1:20. φύγελος, not mentioned elsewhere. Ἑρμογένης is mentioned in the Acts of Paul and Thecla (c. 1) with Demas, both being described as ὑποκρίσεως γέμοντες, Onesiphorus (c. 2), as welcoming Paul to his house at Iconium.
16. ἀνέψυξε] “refrigeravit,” Vulg.; cf. ἀνάψυξις, Acts 3:19; καταψύχειν, Luke 16:24. This would include personal intercourse, cf. 1 Corinthians 16:17, 1 Corinthians 16:18, and gifts to relieve the hardships of his imprisonment, cf. Php 4:14-17; but, though it includes his visit at Rome, it need not be confined to that time. Cf. Ign. Eph. c. 2, Κρόκος . . . κατὰ πάντα με ἀνέπαυσεν, ὡς καὶ αὐτὸν ὁ πατὴρ Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ ἀναψύξαι.
ἅλυσιν] Ephesians 6:20, Acts 28:20. ἐπῃσχύνθη, recalling 8, 12.
17. γενόμενος ἐν] after arriving in Rome, cf. Acts 13:5. ἐζήτησε seems to imply a change from the freedom of the first imprisonment, Acts 28:30.
18. δῴη] A late form of the optative, cf. 2 Thessalonians 3:16; W.-H. ii. p. 168. ὁ κύριος, the Lord Christ; cf. 2, 8, 16. παρὰ κυρίου, possibly also “from Christ” as the Jdg 4:8; or “from the Father,” a stereotyped phrase for mercy at the day of judgment. ἐν ἐκείνῃ τῇ ἡμέρᾳ, cf. 12. ἔνθα πολλοῦ ἐλέους χρεία ἡμῖν, Chrys. Yes, but the Lord will say to Onesiphorus, ἐν φυλακῇ ἤμην καὶ ἦλθες πρός με.
The context implies that Onesiphorus was separated from his family, probably that he was dead; cf. τῷ . . . οἴκῳ (16 and 4:19), ἐν ἐκείνῃ τῇ ἡμέρᾳ 18, and so would provide a sanction for prayer for the departed. This, in this simple form, is a natural instinct; it was practised by some later Jews, cf. 2 Mac 12:43-45, and is found in early Christian epitaphs and in the liturgies; cf. Plummer, ad loc.; Gayford, The Future State, c. 4. Wohlenberg quotes the Acts of Paul and Thecla, § 28, which is a prayer that a heathen may be transferred after death to the abode of the righteous.
εὗρε … εὑρεῖν] It may be fanciful to imagine a conscious play on the words “invenit me in tanta frequentia: inveniat misericordiam in illa panegyri” (Bengel); but Paul was fond of such playful allusions and we can imagine him thinking of the meaning of Onesiphorus, “the help-bringer”; cf. Philemon 1:11.
διηκόνησε] cf. 4:12. It is not defined here, and may include services rendered to Paul himself and to the whole church at Ephesus.
βέλτιον] Perhaps “better than I,” but the comparative sense cannot be pressed; cf. Moulton, Gr. N. T., pp. 78 and 236; M.M. s.v.; Acts 10:28 (D) βέλτιον ἐφίστασθε, 1 T 3:14 τάχιον (?), John 13:27.
Additional Note to Chapter I.
παραθήκη (in Classical Greek more commonly παρακαταθήκη) always implies the situation of one who has to take a long journey and who deposits his money and other valuables with a friend, trusting him to restore it on his return; cf. Tob 1:14 ἐπορευόμην εἰς τὴν Μηδείαν καὶ παρεθέμην Γαβαήλῳ ἀργυρίου τάλαντα δέκα. The παραθήκη is always that of the depositor: the duty of the friend is φυλάσσειν and ἀποδιδόναι. From the earliest days this duty was protected by law; cf. Håammurabi, §§ 122-126. “If a man shall give silver, gold, or anything whatsoever, all whatever he shall give he shall show to witnesses and fix bonds and give on deposit”; and exact regulations were laid down fixing the penalty in the case of loss or damage; cf. Exodus 22:7-13, Leviticus 6:2-7. The striking story of Glaucus, who was condemned by the Pythian oracle for even wishing to retain such a deposit, shows the importance attached to faithfulness in this duty (Herod. vi. 86; Juv. xiii. 199-208), and it was one of the first duties impressed on Christians, who bound themselves on each Sunday “ne fidem fallerent, ne depositum appellati abnegarent,” Pliny, Ep. 96. Among the Jews in Maccabean times the place of the friend was taken by the Temple treasuries, which took charge of such deposits and of the money of those who had no natural guardians; cf. 2 Mac 3:10-40 παρακαταθήκας χηρῶν τε καὶ ὀρφανῶν 10 τοὺς πεπιστευκότας 12 τὰ πεπιστευμένα τοῖς πεπιστευκόσιν σῶα διαφυλάσσειν 22.
In the N.T. the substantive is only used in the Pastoral Epistles: it comes naturally from one who is preparing for his last long journey, but the verb occurs elsewhere, and the word was used metaphorically in many applications. (a) Of the body of truth which Christ deposits with the Apostle and the Apostle with Timothy, cf. 1 T 1:18 παρατίθεμαι, 6:20 τὴν παραθήκην, 2 T 1:14, and which Timothy has to hand on to others when he takes his journey to Rome, 2 T 2:2 παράθου. This use may have been suggested by the parable of the Pounds, Luke 19:12. (b) Of our true self which the Creator has handed over to us to keep safe, cf. Epict. ii. 8, 21, οὐ μόνον σε κατεσκεύασεν ἀλλὰ καὶ σοὶ μόνῳ ἐπίστευσεν καὶ παρακατέθετο . . . παραδέδωκέ σοι σεαυτόν: so Philo, Quis hœres, p. 491, τοῦτʼ ἔπαινός ἐστι τοῦ σπουδαίου, τὴν ἱερὰν ἣν ἔλαβε παρακαταθήκην ψυχῆς, αἰσθήσεως, λόγου . . . καθαρῶς καὶ ἀδόλως μὴ ἑαυτῷ, μόνῳ δὲ τῷ πεπιστευκότι φυλάξαντος (Wetstein), and Hermas, Mand. 3, οἱ ψυεδόμενοι . . . γίνονται ἀποστερηταὶ τοῦ Κυρίου, μὴ παραδιδόντες αὐτῷ τὴν παρακαταθήκην ἣν ἔλαβον. ἒλαβον γὰρ παρʼ αὐτοῦ πνεῦμα ἄψευστον: ibid. Sim. ix. 32, “Reddite ei spiritum integrum sicut accepistis.” (c) Of good works deposited with God in heaven: a very common Jewish thought, 4 Esdr 8:33 “justi quibus sunt opera multa reposita apud te”; Apoc. Bar 1413 “justi sine timore ab hoc domicilio proficiscuntur quia habent apud to vim operum custoditam in thesauris” (Wohlenberg); cf. 1 T 6:19; Ign. ad Polyc. 6, τὰ δεπόσιτα ὑμῶν τὰ ἔργα ὑμῶν, and cf. Abrahams, Studies in Pharisaism and the Gospels, p. 148. (d) Of persons entrusted to the care of others, Clem. Alex. Quis dives salv., c. 42, τὴν παρακαταθήκην ἀπόδος ἡμῖν ἣν ἐγώ τε καὶ ὁ σωτήρ σοι παρακαταθέμεθα: Acts 20:32 παρατίθεμαι ὑμᾶς τῷ θεῷ (this is said of the elders at Ephesus); Chrys. p. 597 C, μεγάλην παρακαταθήκην ἔχομεν τὰ παίδια. (e) Of our life deposited with God at death, Luke 23:46 εἰς χεῖράς σου παρατίθεμαι τὸ πνεῦμά μου: 1 P 4:19 οἱ πάσχοντες κατὰ τὸ θέλημα τοῦ θεοῦ πιστῷ κτίστῃ παρατιθέσθωσαν τὰς ψυχὰς αὐτῶν. The life which at first was God’s deposit with us becomes our deposit with God.
R.V. Revised Version of the English Bible.
W.-H The New Testament in Greek, with Introduction and Appendix, by Westcott and Hort, Cambridge, 1881.
Clem. Hom. Clementis Romani Homiliæ, ed. Dressel, 1853.
S.-H. The Epistle to the Romans, by Sanday and Headlam, in the I.C.C.
M.M. The Vocabulary of the Greek Testament, by J. H. Moulton and G. Milligan, 1914-
Lock, W. (1924). A critical and exegetical commentary on the Pastoral epistles (I & II Timothy and Titus) (82). Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark.
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.
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;
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.
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.
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.
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.