2 Timothy 2
ICC New Testament Commentary
Thou therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.
1-13. Further appeal to Timothy to take heart and to entrust his teaching to others.

Paraphrase. So then, as others have failed me, I turn to you to whom I have a right to appeal, such as I had not to Onesiphorus, as you are my own child in the faith—and I bid you to realize constantly the strength which is yours in virtue of the grace given you through your union with Christ Jesus. In that strength, Come to me and, before you come, hand over the truths which you heard from me, in the presence of many witnesses, to men on whom you can rely as being of ability enough to train others in their turn. Then come and take your share of suffering as a true soldier in the army of Christ Jesus: now every soldier hopes to please his general and, therefore, while on active service does not tie himself up with business affairs: so, too, an athlete hopes to win the prize, but he cannot win it unless he observes to the end the rules of the contest: in the same way a husbandman hopes to take his share first of the fruits of the ground, but he must work hard for it. Think over the way in which this applies to you: for the Lord is ready to give you discernment in all things.

Keep ever in your memory Jesus Christ—as one who has been raised from the dead, and as the offspring of a Royal ancestor, as a living Lord, for this is the central truth of the Gospel entrusted to me. In the service of that Gospel, I am now suffering, aye, imprisoned and fettered as though I was a criminal: yet God’s word has never been fettered by man: it has been free and doing its work all the time: and, therefore, I am ready to endure this and anything to help God’s chosen ones that they with me may obtain salvation, that complete salvation which is given by union with Christ Jesus and which carries with it a glory that is eternal. How true is that great saying:

“Who shares Christ’s death His life shall share:

They reign with Him their cross who bear:

Who Him deny He will deny:

Though our faith fall, He cannot lie.”

Nay, He cannot be untrue to Himself.

1. σύ, in contrast to 1:15-18: οὖν, taking up 1:14, “as I need some one to guard the deposit”; cf. 1:14 παραθήκην with 2:2 παράθου. ἐνδυναμοῦ, taking up 1:7, 8, 12: a favourite Pauline word (six times: elsewhere in N.T. only Acts 9:22 where it is used of St. Paul): probably middle voice; cf. Ephesians 6:10 ἐνδυναμοῦσθε ἐν κυρίῳ . . . ἐνδύσασθε: for the thought, cf. 2 Corinthians 12:9. ἐν τῇ χάριτι, “grace” in its widest sense, but perhaps with special reference to the χάρισμα of 1:6.

2. The connexion of 1 and 2 is not clear: there may have been practical difficulties to be faced in the choice of these men so that Timothy would need to fall back on God’s strength: or 1 may refer mainly to the courage needed for coming to Rome; 2 to the necessity of appointing other ministers to take his place while absent and in case he should never return.

ἤκουσας] possibly at the time of 1:6, or during the whole ministry; cf. 3:10.

διὰ π. μαρτύρων] in later Greek almost equivalent to “in the presence of”; cf. διὰ θεῶν μαρτύρων, Plut. ii. p. 338 F (Wetstein). Field (Ot. Norv. ad loc.) suggests that it was a legal term: if so, it would carry a slightly stronger meaning, “supported by many witnesses.” Here they may be the presbyters of 1 Timothy 4:14, or the hearers of St. Paul’s teaching from time to time who bore witness to its truth (cf. 2 Corinthians 1:20 τὸ ἀμήν, John 3:33) and also knew what Timothy had heard; cf. 1 Timothy 6:12. But may it not be constructed with παράθου of the further security which Timothy is to take? in which case the witnesses will be presbyters, as in 1 Timothy 4:14.

παράθου] taking up 1:14.

3. συγκακοπάθησον] cf. 1:8, with me and with all who suffer.

4. καλὸς στρατιώτης] I 1:18 ἵνα στρατεύῃ τὴν καλὴν στρατείαν and συστρατιώτης, Philemon 1:2, Php 2:25, show that St. Paul applied it specially to the ministers of Christ. The three similes are found together in 1 Corinthians 9:6, 1 Corinthians 9:7, 1 Corinthians 9:24-27, and there may be a conscious reminiscence of that chapter, though the main thought is different here. Here stress is laid on two points: (a) the conditions of true service: it needs whole-hearted devotion (4), loyalty to the rules (5), hard work (6); (b) the natural hope of a reward, the reward of pleasing the Master, of winning a crown, of partaking of the results. The same thoughts recur in 11-13. The application is both to Timothy himself and to the regulations he is to make for the πιστοὶ ἄνθρωποι.

ἐμπλέκεται] cf. 2 P 2:20. Epict. iii. 22. 69, of the ideal Cynic, οὐ προσδεδεμένον καθήκουσιν ἰδιωτικοῖς αὐδʼ ἐμπεπλεγμένον σχέσεσιν. ταῖς τοῦ βίου πραγματ.] the businesses by which men earn their livelihood; cf. Hermas, Vis. 3. 6, of rich Christians, ὅταν γένηται θλῖψις, διὰ τὸν πλοῦτον αὐτῶν καὶ διὰ τᾶς πραγματείας ἀπαρνοῦνται τὸν Κύριον αὐτῶν: cf. Clem. Hom., Ep. Clem. c. 5. As applied to ministers this command requires whole-hearted devotion to their work, perhaps implying abstinence from secular trades (cf. 1 Corinthians 9:6, 1 Corinthians 9:7): but this was not required at first. The Council of Chalcedon forbade trading only if done διὰ αἰσχροκέρδειαν or διὰ φιλαργυρίαν, Canon 3, ubi v. Dr. Bright’s note: “Most of the clergy of Cæsarea in Cappadocia practised sedentary trades for a livelihood” (Basil, Ep. 198), “and some African canons allow, or even direct, a cleric to live by a trade, provided that his clerical duties are not neglected” (Mansi, iii. 955). … “In the Anglo-Saxon Church … the canons of King Edgar’s reign ordered every priest diligently to learn a handicraft (No. 2. Wilkins, i. 225).” Cf. also Hatch, Bampton L. vi.; Dict. Chr. Ant., s.v. Commerce.

ἵνα ἀρέσῃ] cf. 1 Corinthians 7:32-34, Romans 8:8, 1 John 3:22. Ign. ad Polyc. 6, ἀρέσκετε ᾧ στρατεύεσθε, ἀφʼ οὗ καὶ τὰ ὀφώνια κομίζεσθε. It includes the thought of “pleasing by good service”; cf. Milligan on 1 Thessalonians 2:4. A useful expansion of these two verses will be found in S. Greg. Reg. Past, ii. 7.

5. ἀθλῇ] cf. 1 Timothy 4:7-10. These two similes are expanded fully in Tertullian, ad Mart. c. 3.

νομίμως] will include both the training for the contest and the regulations for it; cf. Epict. iii. 10, ὁ θεός σοι λέγει ῾δός μοι ἀπόδειξιν εἰ νομίμως ἤθλησας, εἰ ἔφαγες ὅσα δεῖ, εἰ ἐγυμνάσθης, εἰ τοῦ ἀλείπτου ἤκουσας: Plut. Non posse suaviter viv., p. 1105. 1: ἀθληταὶ στέφανον οὐκ ἀγωνιζόμενοι λαμβάνουσι, ἀλλὰ ἀγωνισάμενοι καὶ νικήσαντες (Wetstein). As applied to the Christian minister the training is that of 1 Timothy 4:7; the regulations those of the law of Christ, especially those laid down here in10-12.

6. γεωργόν] cf. γεώργιον, 1 Corinthians 3:9. τῶν καρπῶν. This may well include (a) the “honour” and maintenance he receives from the Church, cf. I 5:17, 18; and δεῖ seems to point to some regulation that Timothy is to enforce; (b) the spiritual reward which comes here on earth in the sense of God’s approval and blessing on the work; cf. Php 1:22 καρπὸς ἔργου: Romans 1:13 ἵνα τινὰ καρπὸν σχῶ καὶ ἐν ὑμῖν: cf. Jam 1:25 μακάριος ἐν τῇ ποιήσει αὐτοῦ: Chrys. (here) ἐν αὐτῷ τῷ κόπῳ ἡ ἀντίδοσις.

7. νόευ] cf. Mark 13:14, Ephesians 3:4, Revelation 13:9; and for the appeal, 1 Corinthians 10:15, κρίνατε ὑμεῖς ὅ φημι. δώσει; cf. Jam 1:5. Ign. ad Polyc. 1, αἰτοῦ σύνεσιν πλείονα ἧς ἔχεις. He does not think it wise to explain his allusion too explicitly. Verbum sapienti.

8. μνημόνευε] so St. Peter is said to have appealed to his wife on her way to martyrdom, μέμνησο, ὦ αὕτη, τοῦ κυρίου, Clem. Alex. Strom. vii. p. 869, § 63 (Wetstein). St. Paul is acting in the spirit of the Eucharist, εἰς τὴν ἐμὴν ἀνάμνησιν, 1 Corinthians 11:24.

Ἰησοῦν χρ.] here only in this Ep. (elsewhere Χρ. Ἰησοῦν): with stress on the historic life as the first thought, and Χριστόν perhaps consciously a predicate. “Jesus—as the Messiah”; cf. Romans 1:3, Romans 1:4.

ἐγηγερμένον] not the mere fact of the Resurrection (ἐγηγέρθαι), but keep Him in your mind as a Living Risen Lord who is able to give His life to you; cf. συζήσομεν 11.

ἐκ σπέρματος Δαβίδ] Perhaps a semi-quotation from an early form of a creed: cf. Ign. Eph. 18, Trall. 9, Smyrn. 1, in all which places it emphasizes the reality of the human nature. There may be some such antidocetic thought here (cf. I 2:5 note), and in ἐγηγερμένον a refutation of Hymenæus and Philetus (18); but the context lays stress rather on the power of Christ to help, so that ἐκ σπ. Δ. expands the thought of Χριστόν—a Messiah and a true descendant of David, a King who can share his Kingdom; cf. συμβασιλεύσομεν, v. 12 and Luke 1:32, Luke 1:33.

κατὰ τὸ εὐαγ. μου] cf. Romans 2:16, Romans 16:25—not invented by me but entrusted to me; cf. 1 Timothy 1:11.

9. ὡς κακοῦργος] “like a criminal,” “quasi male operans,” Vulg.; “ut latro,” Ambros.; “ut malefactor,” Thdt.: or perhaps “on the charge of being a criminal”; cf. 1 P 4:15 μή τις ὑμῶν πασχέτε ὡς φονεὺς ἢ κλέπτης ἢ κακοποιός. This might imply that the writer was not tried for Christianity but for some alleged crime; cf. Suetonius, Nero, 16, “afflicti suppliciis Christiani, genus hominum superstitionis novæ ac maleficæ.” Tac. Ann. xv. 44, “per flagitia invisos”; but some more definite word than κακοῦργος would be more natural in this case, and ἐν ᾧ points to Christianity as the offence. This would be quite possible in Nero’s time; cf. Hort on 1 P 2:12; Chase in Hastings’ D.B. iii. p. 784.

οὐ δέδεται] a strict perfect, while I have been bound the Word has not been, for I have been able to speak on its behalf, cf. 4:17; and others are doing its work, 4:9-12; “God buries His workers but continues His work,” cf. Phill 1:12-18, Ephesians 5:13. For the personification, cf. 1 Thessalonians 2:13, 2 Thessalonians 3:1. Origen, c. Cels. i. 27, μὴ πεφυκὼς κωλύεσθαι, ὡς λόγος θεοῦ (said of Jesus).

10. διὰ τοῦτο] cf. Colossians 4:3 διʼ ὃ καὶ δέδεμαι. πάντα ὑπομένω in the power of Love; cf. 1:7, 1 Corinthians 13:7.

διὰ τοὺς ἐκλεκτούς] both (a) those already called whose faith will be strengthened and their salvation helped by the example of my endurance; cf. Colossians 1:24, 2 Corinthians 1:5, 2 Corinthians 1:6; and (b) those objects of God’s Love who will be drawn to Christ by it; cf. 4:17. This power of endurance was the fact of St. Paul’s life which most impressed his contemporaries; cf. Clem. Romans 1:5, ὑπομονῆς γενόμενος μέγιστος ὑπογραμμός.

δόξης αἰωνίου] Chrys. has an interesting contrast between the temporary glory of Nero and the eternal glory won by St. Paul.

11. πιστὸς ὁ λόγος] almost certainly a quotation (cf. Titus 3:8 note). It may refer to the preceding verses; if so, most probably to v. 8, γάρ 11 confirming the writer’s appeal to the saying about the Risen and Royal Christ by the quotation of a well-known hymn; or possibly to the following11-13; γάρ being explanatory, “namely,” or a part of the quotation. In any case, εἰ γὰρ . . . πιστὸς μένει is a rhythmical saying, a careful balancing of encouragement and warning. The language is full of reminiscences of earlier passages in the N.T., Romans 6:8, Romans 8:17, Romans 3:3, Matthew 10:33, and may be a hymn composed in face of persecution, encouraging to boldness and warning against defection. Polycarp, c. 5, has a reminiscence of this place, or perhaps an independent reminiscence of the same hymn: ὑπέσχετο ἐγεῖραι ἡμᾶς ἐκ νεκρῶν καὶ ὅτι, ἐὰν πολιτευσώμεθα ἀξίως αὐτοῦ, καὶ συμβασιλεύσομεν αὐτῷ, εἴγε πιστεύομεν.

εἰ συναπεθάνομεν] the aorist perhaps anticipates the “one act of self-devotion in martyrdom” (Bernard); but the analogy of Romans 6:8 suggests that the primary reference is to baptism: “if our death with Christ was real and complete, so real that we shall be ready to share his literal death”; so Chrys. θάνατον, τόν τε διὰ τοῦ λουτροῦ καὶ τὸν διὰ τῶν παθημάτων.

συζήσομεν confirms ἐγηγερμένον8; as συμβασιλεύσομεν does ἐκ σπέρματος Δαβίδ 8 and ὑπομένομεν does ὑπομένω 10. The writer’s mind passes from the past (συναπεθάνομεν) through the present (ὑπομ.) to the final test (ἀρνησόμεθα); cf. Tertullian, De Fuga. 14, “Non potest qui pati timet ejus esse qui passus est.”

13. ἐκεῖνος πιστὸς μένει] perhaps, He remains faithful to His promises of mercy, cf. Romans 3:3, Romans 11:29-32 and 1 John 3:20, ἀπιστοῦμεν being then less strong than ἀρνησόμεθα; but the balance of the rhythm and the following clause almost require a note of warning: He remains faithful; He keeps his word both for reward and for punishment; cf. 4:8 and 1:4, Deuteronomy 7:9, Exodus 34:6, Exodus 34:7.

ἀρνήσασθαι . . . δύναται] prob. a comment by the writer. For the thought, cf. Numbers 23:19, “God is not a man that he should lie, neither the son of man that he should repent.” Titus 1:2 ὁ ἀψευδὴς θεός. Clem. Rom. 1:37, οὐδὲν γὰρ ἀδύνατον παρὰ τῷ θεῷ, εἰ μὴ τὸ ψεύσασθαι.

14-26. This paragraph passes from the thought of the subjectmatter (ἅ ἤκουσας, 2:2) to that of the character of the teaching and of the teacher. It begins with advice which Timothy has to give to others, but passes at once to advice to himself. Remind those to whom you hand on your teaching not to strive about mere words (14). Show them in yourself the example of a true worker and teacher, avoiding empty discussions which will tend more and more to lower the tone of religion and eat out the life of the Church (15-17). One case is given of such false teaching (18): two tests of the true teacher (19): there is a great variety of Character within the Church, good and bad, and a teacher must carefully keep from the bad, if he is to be fit for his Master’s work (20, 21). For yourself, avoid merely youthful impulses, aim at the central virtues, keeping in touch with all sincere Christians (22). Avoid profitless discussions and all that is inconsistent with the character of the servant of the Lord, who should be patient, skilful in teaching, hopeful for the conversion of opponents (22-26).

The whole paragraph is very analogous to I 4:6-16; but the notes specially characteristic of this are:

(a) The contrast of work (ἐργάτην 15, πᾶν ἔργον ἀγαθόν 21, τὸ ἐκείνου θέλημα 26) with mere talk (λογομαχεῖν 14, κενοφωνίας 16, λέγοντες 18, ζητήσεις 23).

(b) The contrast of true speech (τὸν λόγον τῆς ἀληθείας 15, ἤπιον 24, διδακτικόν 24, ἐν πρᾳότητι παιδεύοντα 25) and false (ἐπʼ οὐδὲν χρήσιμον, ἐπὶ καταστροφῇ τῶν ἀκουόντων 14, βεβήλους 16, ὁ λόγος αὐτῶν ὡς γάγγραινα 17, ἀνατρέπουσι τήν τινων πίστιν 18, μωράς, ἀπαιδεύτους 23).

Paraphrase. These are the central truths of which you must remind any to whom you entrust your teaching, and you must charge them as in the sight of their Lord and Master not to be “word-warriors,” constantly arguing and wrangling with words as if they wished to ruin rather than to build up their hearers’ faith: such wrangling is perfectly useless. With regard to yourself, take all pains to present yourself before God as one who can stand His test—as a real worker, as one who will never be put to shame for bad or scamped work, but as teaching rightly the one message of the truth. But to all these irreligious and frivolous hair-splittings give a wide berth. Those who take part in them will go forward—on a downward grade of impiety: their message will be like a cancer eating into the sound members of Christ’s body. To that class belongs Hymenæus and Philetus, for they have entirely missed their aim about the truth, explaining away the literal resurrection and saying that Resurrection is only our past resurrection with Christ in Baptism, and thereby they are upsetting the faith of some. Yet be not alarmed; whatever false teachers may say, the solid foundation-stone of God’s Temple has been fixed once for all; and on it are two inscriptions carved first by Moses and renewed by Our Lord: one tells of God’s knowledge, “The Lord knoweth them that are His own”; the other of man’s duty, “Let every one who worships the Lord depart from iniquity.” Yet within the Church there will be great varieties: it is like a big house, in which there are not only vessels of gold and silver, but others of wood and earthenware; some for honourable, some for mean uses. If, then, any teacher keep himself quite clear of these false teachers, he will be a vessel for honourable use, set apart for service, ready to his Master’s hand, prepared to take part in any good work. But that you may be such a vessel, you must turn your back upon all merely youthful impulses and passions; you must set your face towards just dealings with others, towards loyalty, love, and peace with all who call the Lord their God out of a pure heart. But these foolish discussions with men of untrained minds persistently avoid: you know they only engender strifes, and, as Isaiah said, “A servant of the Lord must not strive”; nay, he must be courteous to every one, apt and skilful to teach, ready to bear with contradiction, speaking in a gentle tone, as he has to train the minds of opponents. He must always have in his heart the hopeful question, “May it not be that God will give them a real change of heart, and they will come to a real knowledge of truth? May it not be that they will come back to their sober senses, saved from the devil’s snare? May it not even be that I shall be a fisher of men, and save them alive, and bring them back to do their true Master’s Will?”

14. ταῦτα]=ταῦτα of 2:2, with the addition of the truths in 2:3-13. ὑπομίμνησκε i.e. remind the teachers of 2:2, who have to think of the good of their hearers (τῶν ἀκουόντων). διαμαρτύρομενος: cf. I 5:21, 6:13. λογομαχεῖν: cf. I 6:4 note.

χρήσιμον] perhaps governing ἐπʼ οὐδέν, “a course useful for nothing,” but probably agreeing with οὐδέν, “to no useful result”: cf. ἐπʼ οὐδενὶ χρησίμῳ, Plut. de ira cohib., p. 456 B (ap. Wetstein). Ambrosiaster’s note is suggestive, “Necesse est enim ut contentio extorqueat aliquid, immo multa quæ dicuntur contra conscientiam, ut intus in animo perdat, foris victor abscedat. Nemo enim patitur se vinci, licet sciat vera quæ audit. … Collatio ergo inter Dei servos esse debet, non altercatio”: cf. H. C. G. Moule (ad loc.), “The time of religious controversy is the time above all others to resolve that our souls shall live behind and above words, in conscious touch with the eternal Things.”

ἐπί] denoting the result (Blass, N.T. Gr., § 43. 3, but without any parallel instance); rather, the result is treated half-ironically as the purpose “as if they set themselves deliberately not to build up, but to throw down”; cf. 16.

15. παραστῆσαι] to present yourself for service, cf. 21 and Romans 6:13-16; perhaps also, with the further thought, present yourself for judgment, cf. 1 Corinthians 8:8, the solemn appeal in 14 having suggested the thought of God as Judge.

ἐργάτην] with a slight antithesis to λογομαχεῖν, cf. 1 Corinthians 4:19. 1 Corinthians 4:20.

ἀνεπαίσχυντον] perhaps a conscious reminiscence of 1:8. 12. 17 “a workman who is not ashamed of his task or of his master”; but more probably “a workman who will never be put to shame by being shown to have done bad work” (“inconfusibilem,” Vulg.; “non impudoratum,” Ambros.); cf. Php 1:20 ἐν οὐδενὶ αἰσχυνθήσομαι, and 1 Corinthians 3:10-15. This carries on the thought of δόκιμον, and leads up to 21.

ὀρθοτομοῦντα] “recte tractantem,” Vulg., rightly teaching, keeping the word free from logomachies. The stress is on ὀρθο-: it is doubtful whether in Hellenistic Greek the metaphor in -τομοῦντα is consciously present (cf. καινοτομεῖν). If it is, it may be that of a plough driving a straight furrow (Chrys.), or of a road-maker driving his road straight; cf. Proverbs 3:6, Proverbs 11:5 δικαιοσύνη ἀμώμους ὀρθοτομεῖ ὁδούς, or of a mason squaring and cutting a stone to fit it into its proper place (Parry). The whole phrase is used frequently in the Liturgies as describing the duty of the bishop, cf. Introd., p. xxxix; and ὀρθοτομία is used of orthodoxy, Clem. Alex. Strom. vii. 16. 104, τὴν ἐκκλησιαστικὴν . . . ὀρθοτομίαν τῶν δογμάτων.

16. κενοφωνίας] cf. I 6:20. περιΐστασο Titus 3:9.

προκόψουσιν] i.e. οἱ κενοφωνοῦντες. The word is ironical (cf. I 4:15 note). They will make progress—on a downward grade, cf. 14. Perhaps there is a conscious antithesis to ὀρθοτομοῦντα, προκόπτειν, being also used of road-making.

17. νομὴν ἕξει] perhaps “will eat into their own heart and ruin it more and more,” cf. Titus 1:15; but the chief thought is “will spread further into the Church and corrupt others”; cf. 1 Corinthians 5:6, Acts 4:17 ἵνα μὴ ἐπὶ πλεῖον διανεμηθῇ εἰς τὸν λαόν: Apost. K.O. 17, μήποτε . . . ἐπὶ πλεῖον νεμηθῇ ὡς γάγγραινα.

ὧν ἐστιν: cf. 1:15, 1 Timothy 1:20 note: it might be a later note added by an editor, giving an illustration from his own time, cf. Introd., p. xxxi. Ὑμένσιος, 1 Timothy 1:20. φιλητός, not mentioned elsewhere.

18. ἠστόχησαν] cf. 1 Timothy 1:6 note.

λέγοντες . . . ἀνάστασιν] i.e. that the Resurrection was only a spiritual Resurrection, which took place at Baptism when the Christian rose to newness of life and a knowledge of the truth. This is analogous to Philo’s treatment of the “translation” of Enoch (μετέθηκεν αὐτὸν ὁ θεός, Genesis 5:24) as equivalent to conversion from a lower to a higher stage of moral life (de Abrahamo, Son_3 and 4), and was a natural perversion of the teaching of St. Paul (Romans 6:1-11) and of the Fourth Gospel (John 17:3). It was held by many Gnostics, some denying that the true Christian would ever die (Iren. i. 23. 5 of Menander, “Resurrectionem per id quod est in eum baptisma accipere ejus discipulos et ultra non posse mori sed perseverare non senescentes et immortales”; Tert. de Anima, 50; Justin M. Apol. I. 26, Dial. 80, ἅμα τῷ ἀποθνήσκειν τὰς ψυχὰς ἀναλαμβάνεσθαι εἰς τὸν οὐρανόν. Does this theory lie behind John 21:23?); some holding that there would be no Resurrection of the body (Iren. ii. 31. 2 of Simon and Carpocrates, “esse autem resurrectionem a mortuis agnitionem eius quae ab eis dicitur veritatis”: cf. 1Co_15; Tert. de Res. Carnis, 19). Justin M. (Fragments on the Resurrection, ed. Otto, ii. p. 211) argues fully against this view, and it probably led to the emphasis on the “Resurrection of ‘the flesh’ or of ‘the body,’” in the early Creeds (v. J. Th. St., Jan. 1917, p. 135).

A quite different explanation prevailed very early—that men do not rise at all, but only live on in their posterity: cf. Acta Pauli et Theclœ, c. 14, ἤδη γέγονεν ἀνάστασις ἐφʼ οἷς ἔχομεν τέκνοις: so Ambrosiaster (“Hi autem, sicut ex alia Scriptura” (i.e. probably, The Acts of Paul and Thecla) “docemur, in filiis fieri resurrectionem dicebant”), Pelagius, Theod.-Mops. (“quam in successionem aiunt nostram constare”), Thdt. (τὰς ἐκ παιδοποιΐας διαδοχάς). This was a Jewish view (cf. Ecclus 11:28 (LXX), 30:1sqq.), and might have been introduced from Sadducean sources, but it would have been expressed more clearly, e.g., as in Ecclus 30:4 ἐτελεύτησεν αὐτοῦ ὁ πατὴρ καὶ ὣς οὐκ ἀπέθανεν· ὅμοιον γὰρ αὐτῷ κατέλιπεν μετʼ αὐτόν.

19. Reassurance to Timothy—in spite of the false teachers’ work, ἐπὶ καταστροφῇ 14 and ἀνατρέπουσι 18, the foundation is firmly set and has its mark upon it; God knows his own, and they will depart from iniquity.

ὁ . . . θεμέλιος] i.e. either Christ Jesus and his Apostles (cf. 1 Corinthians 3:11, Ephesians 2:20, Revelation 21:14): or, more widely, “the Church” (cf. 1 Timothy 3:15); or “the truth,” “the deposit” (Hillard): but the emphasis is on ἕστηκεν rather than on θεμέλιος.

σφραγῖδα] perhaps simply “inscription”; cf. Exodus 28:36 ἐκτύπωμα σφραγῖδος ἁγίασμα κυρίου: or, more exactly, “seal,” whether the stonemason’s mark, denoting workmanship, or the owner’s mark, denoting “ownership, security, and destination” (H.D.B. s.v. “Seal”); cf. John 6:27, Ephesians 1:13, Ephesians 4:30.

ἔγνω] Perhaps, of foreknowledge, Romans 8:29; cf. Odes of Solomon, 8. 15, “I do not turn away my face from them that are mine, for I know them, and before they came into being I took knowledge of them, and on their faces I set my seal” (Dibelius): or more likely (as it is an adaptation of an O.T. phrase), of complete insight into character: cf. 1 Corinthians 8:3, Galatians 4:9, Nahum 1:7 κύριος . . . γιγνώσκων τοὺς εὐλαβουμένους αὐτόν, the aorist denoting the complete result of past watching (Moulton, N. T. Gr., p. 113)

ὁ ὀνομάζων τὸ ὄνομα] who names the name of Christ as his Lord, who calls himself Christian and worships Christ; cf. Leviticus 24:16, Joshua 23:7, Isaiah 26:13.

Both inscriptions have their origin in the O.T., and probably both in the story of the rebellion of Korah, Numbers 16:5 ἐπέσκεπται καὶ ἔγνω ὁ θεὸς τοὺς ὄντας αὐτοῦ, 16:26 ἀποσχίσθητε ἀπὸ τῶν σκηνῶν τῶν ἀνθρώπων τῶν σκληρῶν τούτων: cf. Isaiah 52:11. But each is modified by sayings of the Lord; cf. Matthew 7:23 οὐδέποτε ἔγνων ὑμᾶς, Luke 13:27 ἀπόστητε ἀπʼ ἐμοῦ πάντες ἐργάται ἀδικίας, so that the writer may be quoting from some early Gospel or collection of Christian sayings; cf. Apost. Const. ii. 54, καθὼς γέγραπται· τοῖς ἐγγὺς καὶ τοῖς μακράν, οὓς ἔγνω κύριος ὄντας αὐτοῦ (Resch, Agrapha, pp. 204-07).

20. μεγάλῃ οἰκίᾳ …] i.e. the Church (so Ambros. Thd. and modern Commentators, though many Patristic Comm. interpret it of the world). The illustration is perhaps suggested by Isaiah 52:11 ἀπόστητε, ἀπόστητε . . . ἀκαθάρτου μὴ ἅψησθε, οἱ φέροντες τὰ σκέυη κυρίου: cf. Wisd 15:7, Romans 9:20-23. The object is twofold, to teach Timothy patience with varieties of character within the Church, cf. 1 Corinthians 12:20-26, but mainly to warn him against contact with all impurity and false teaching.

21. τις] any member of the Church, but, especially, any who would be a teacher.

ἐκκαθ. ἑαυτόν] Keep himself (cf. 15 and 2 Corinthians 7:1) completely (ἐκ) pure by separation from these, i.e. from the vessels to dishonour: τούτων, prob. neuter, though the reference is primarily to the false teachers, “a doctoribus hæreticis,” Pelagius. σκεῦος ὀστράκινον ἦν ὁ Παῦλος ἀλλʼ ἐγένετο χρυσοῦν, Chrys.

εὔχρηστον] 4:11, Philemon 1:11, easily usable (“utile,” Vulg; “optimum,” Thd.); contrast ἐπʼ οὐδὲν χρήσιμον 14; cf. Epict. ii. 16, τόλμησον ἀναβλέψας πρὸς τὸν θεὸν εἰπεῖν, χ̔ρῶ μοι λοιπὸν εἰς ὃ ἂν θέλῃς . . . σός εἰμι . . . ὅπου θέλεις, ἄγεʼ.

εἰς . . . ἀγαθόν] Titus 1:16, Titus 3:1. ἡτοιμασμένον he is prepared for the tasks prepared for him, Ephesians 2:10 κτισθέντες ἐν Χριστῷ Ἰησοῦ ἐπὶ ἔργοις ἀγαθοῖς οἷς προητοίμασεν ὁ θεός.

22. Combines the thoughts of I 4:12 and 6:11 (q.v.).

τὰς νεωτερικὰς ἐπιθ.] will include impulses to impatience, love of disputation, self-assertion as well as self-indulgence (cf. illustrations in Wetstein); everything inconsistent with the virtues that follow.

δικαιοσύνην] contrast ἀδικιάς 19, “justice”—rather than the more abstract “righteousness.” πίστιν, the main thought is “fidelity,” “trustworthiness” (“integritatem,” Pelagius), as the stress is on relations to other men.

μετά] probably to be joined closely with εἰρήνην, cf. Hebrews 12:14, but possibly with the whole sentence; cf. 1 Corinthians 1:2. τῶν ἐπικαλ. τὸν Κ., cf. 19, Joel 2:32, Romans 10:12 (ubi v. S.-H:), 1 Corinthians 1:2. ἐκ καθ. καρδίας: cf. ἐκκαθάρῃ 21, I 1:5 note.

23. Cf. I 1:4, 4:7, 6:4, Titus 3:9. ἀπαιδεύτους here only in N.T but frequent in Wisdom literature, always of persons, “sine disciplina,” Vulg.; “ineruditos,” Ambros.

24. δοῦλον κυρίου] here in its special sense of a minister (cf. Romans 1:1, Php 1:1), probably with a conscious reference to the picture of the servant of Jehovah in Isaiah 42:1-3, 53. One who like Christ has to do the Lord’s own work of winning and saving; cf. G. A. Smith, Isaiah, ii. p. 288; Chadwick, The Social Teaching of St. Paul, c. 5.

ἤπιον] as both Paul and Timothy had been at Thessalonica; cf. 1 Thessalonians 2:7 (si vera lectio). ἀνεξίκακον here only in N.T. But the ἀνεξίκακος will be tried by persecution; cf. Wisd 2:19 δικάσωμεν τῆν ἀνεξικακίαν αὐτοῦ.

25. παιδεύοντα] contrast ἀπαιδεύτους 23 and cf. Titus 2:12. The servant will be carrying out the work of grace.

τοὺς ἀντιδιατιθεμένους] those who are adversely disposed; cf. Longinus, de Subl. 17, πρὸς τὴν πειθὼ τῶν λόγων πάντως ἀντιδιατίθεται (Field, Ot. Norvic. ad loc.).

μήποτε δῴη] “ne quando,” Vulg.; “si quando,” Ambros. It is an indirect question; cf. Tob 8:10 μὴ καὶ οὗτος ἀποθάνῃ: Luke 3:15 μήποτε αὐτὸς εἴη ὁ Χριστός: Genesis 24:5,Genesis 24:39.

δῴη] οὐκ εἶπε, μήποτε δυνηθῇς . . . τοῦ Κυρίου τὸ πᾶν γίνεται, Chrys The form is optative, cf. 1:16-18; but both here and in Ephesians 1:17 the subjunctive δώῃ would be more natural; cf. Moulton, N. T. Gr., p. 55; W.-H ii. p. 168.

26. ἀνανήψωσιν] cf. 4:5 νῆφε, and 1 Corinthians 15:34 ἐκνήψατε δικαίως—there, too, out of ignorance (ἀγνωσίαν γὰρ θεοῦ ἔχουσιν) and profitless discussion about the Resurrection.

ἐκ τῆς] … παγίδος 1 Timothy 3:6 note, Psalm 124:7 ἡ ψυχὴ ἡμῶν ὡς στρουθίον ἐρρύσθη ἐκ τῆς παγίδος τῶν θηρεύοντων: Proverbs 5:22 παρανομίαι ἄνδρα ἀγρεύουσι.

ἐζωγρημένοι] cf. Luke 5:10 ἀνθρώπους ἔσῃ ζωγρῶν, a saying of the Lord’s which may be in the writer’s mind. In the LXX the emphasis is nearly always on taking or on saving alive; cf. Joshua 2:13, Joshua 6:25, Joshua 9:20.

ὑπʼ αὐτοῦ . . . εἰς τὸ ἐκείνου θέλημα] Four alternative translations are possible.

(i) “Having been captured by the devil to do his will”; cf. Ign. Eph. 17, μὴ αἰχμαλωτίσῃ ὐμᾶς ἐκ τοῦ προκειμένου ζῆν [ὁ ἄρχων τοῦ αἰῶνος τούτου](so “a quo captivi tenentur ad ipsius voluntatem,” Vulg., A.V., most Patristic Comm., Holtzmann, Dibelius); ἐκείνου being substituted for αὐτοῦ to suggest a contrast with God whose will they ought to be doing,—“that false master’s will,”—cf. Test. XII. Patr., Napht. 3, ἐν καθαρότητι καρδίας συνήσετε τὸ θέλημα τοῦ Θεοῦ κρατεῖν καὶ ἀπορῥίπτειν τὸ θέλημα τοῦ Βελίαρ: cf. Wisd 1:16, 2:25. But this adds no new thought and does not give its full force to ἐζωγρημένοι.

(ii) After having been captured by the devil, they may return to do God’s will. “The true master’s will,” so Bernard, Wohlenberg; but the same objections hold good to this.

(iii) “Having been captured by God to do His will” (Thphl. εἰς τὸ ποιῆσαι τὸ θέλημα αὐτοῦ, cf. Hebrews 13:21), but it is doubtful whether God would be said ζωγρεῖν ἀνθρώπους.

(iv) Having been saved alive, captured into life, by the servant of the Lord to do the Lord’s will, and not the devil’s (Bengel, Wetstein, R.V. marg.).

This seems best, as (i) it gives its full force to ἐζωγρημένοι: cf. the Inscr. from Apamea, “my greetings to the beloved of God and the newly-caught” (Authority and Archœlogy, p. 384); cf. 2 Corinthians 10:5 for a similar metaphor.

(ii) It makes εἰς ἐκείνου θέλημα parallel to εἰς ἐπίγνωσιν ἀληθείας.

(iii) It ends on a note of hopefulness and encouragement to Timothy; cf. Chrys. de Sacerdotio, ii. 119, γενναίας οὖν δεῖ ψυχῆς ἵνα μὴ περικακῇ, ἵνα μὴ ἀπογινώσκῃ τὴν τῶν πεπλανημένων σωτηρίαν, ἵνα συνεχῶς ἐκεῖνο καὶ λογίζηται καὶ λέγῃ Μήποτε δῷ αὐτοῖς ὁ θεὸς ἐπίγνωσιν ἀληθείας καὶ ἀπαλλαγῶσι τῆς τοῦ διαβόλου παγίδος.

Blass, Grammar of New Testament Greek, English translation, 1898.

Apost. K.O. Apostolische Kirchen-Ordnung, in Texte und Untersuchungen, ii. 5.

J. Th. St. The Journal of Theological Studies, London, 1910-

H.D.B. Dictionary of the Bible, ed. J. Hastings, 1898-1904.

W.-H The New Testament in Greek, with Introduction and Appendix, by Westcott and Hort, Cambridge, 1881.

A.V. Authorized Version of the English Bible.

R.V. Revised Version of the English Bible.

And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also.
Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.
No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier.
And if a man also strive for masteries, yet is he not crowned, except he strive lawfully.
The husbandman that laboureth must be first partaker of the fruits.
Consider what I say; and the Lord give thee understanding in all things.
Remember that Jesus Christ of the seed of David was raised from the dead according to my gospel:
Wherein I suffer trouble, as an evil doer, even unto bonds; but the word of God is not bound.
Therefore I endure all things for the elect's sakes, that they may also obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory.
It is a faithful saying: For if we be dead with him, we shall also live with him:
If we suffer, we shall also reign with him: if we deny him, he also will deny us:
If we believe not, yet he abideth faithful: he cannot deny himself.
Of these things put them in remembrance, charging them before the Lord that they strive not about words to no profit, but to the subverting of the hearers.
Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.
But shun profane and vain babblings: for they will increase unto more ungodliness.
And their word will eat as doth a canker: of whom is Hymenaeus and Philetus;
Who concerning the truth have erred, saying that the resurrection is past already; and overthrow the faith of some.
Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his. And, Let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity.
But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and of silver, but also of wood and of earth; and some to honour, and some to dishonour.
If a man therefore purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honour, sanctified, and meet for the master's use, and prepared unto every good work.
Flee also youthful lusts: but follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart.
But foolish and unlearned questions avoid, knowing that they do gender strifes.
And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient,
In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth;
And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will.
ICC New Testament commentary on selected books

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