Matthew Poole's Commentary
I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom;2 Timothy 4:1-5 Paul giveth Timothy a solemn charge to do his duty
with all care and diligence,
2 Timothy 4:6-8 certifieth him of his approaching end, and of the
glorious prospect he had in view.
2 Timothy 4:9-13 He desireth him to hasten his coming, and to bring
Mark with him, and certain other things,
2 Timothy 4:14,15 warneth him to beware of Alexander,
2 Timothy 4:16-18 informeth him what had befallen him at his first apology,
2 Timothy 4:19-22 and concludeth with salutations, and a benediction.
I charge thee therefore before God, who seeth and observeth what thou doest, and will one day call thee to account for thy discharge of thy ministry.
And the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead; and before the Son of God, the Lord Jesus Christ, whom thou hast more reason to regard, not only because he is thy Master, and thou his servant, in a special sense, but because he is to be thy Judge also, for he shall be the Judge, as of those that are dead before his coming, so of those also who shall be alive at his coming, 1 Corinthians 15:52 1 Thessalonians 4:15,17.
At his appearing and his kingdom; when he shall appear the second time, and set up his kingdom of glory, delivering up his mediatory kingdom to this Father. I charge thee, as in the presence of God and this Christ, or as thou hast a regard to God and to this Christ, and fearest the angry face of this Judge, or believest his second coming, or expectest a share in his kingdom of glory: a most severe obtestation, charge, or adjuration. What is that duty which is ushered in in so solemn a manner? It followeth. (See Poole on "2 Timothy 4:2").
Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.Preach; proclaim like a herald, cry like a common crier in the hearing of a multitude. Thus God to Isaiah, Isaiah 58:1: Cry aloud, spare not, lift up thy voice like a trumpet. The word; the word of truth, Isaiah 2:15, or the gospel, called the word by way of emphasis: see Matthew 4:23 24:14 Mark 1:14 13:10 16:15. The word of God, not old wives’ fables, endless genealogies, perverse disputings, unedifying questions, &c. This precept reflects upon unpreaching ministers, and impertinent, vain preachers.
Be instant; be earnest and diligent. This reflects upon a cold and perfunctory preaching. God bid Isaiah cry aloud, lift up his voice like a trumpet. Sinners are like deaf adders.
In season, out of season; that is, at all times, not on the Lord’s days only, but any other time when thou hast opportunity; not in times when thou mayst do it with safety, but when the wisdom of the flesh tells thee it is out of season. This reflects upon such as preach rarely, and consult their flesh, whether they should perform it at all, or no.
Reprove; elegzon, convince such as gainsay the truth.
Rebuke all sinners, all that live an ill life. This reflects upon those effeminate preachers, against whom Ezekiel denounced the woe, Ezekiel 13:18, that sew pillows to all armholes; that prophesy smooth things instead of the right things of the word.
Exhort; persuade or comfort, (the word signifies both), as thou seest occasion.
With all longsuffering; but do what thou doest prudently, with meekness. God needeth not thy passion, though he makes use of thy art in instruction.
And doctrine; do it so as to join instruction with thy reproof. This reflects upon flattering, fawning, unfaithful preachers, and such as vent their own passion, rather than pursue their due end for instruction and reformation of souls.
For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears;For the time will come; this time always was, (as appears by the writings of the prophets), but it will come more and more; as the world grows older, it will grow more mad.
When they, very many that shall live in the world, yea, in the bosom of the church,
will not endure sound doctrine, will not endure that preaching which hath any soundness in it, or is of any tendency, life, power, or efficacy, to recover their souls from the diseases of sin and lusts.
But after their own lusts, but in favour of their own lusts, and to secure their satisfaction in them,
shall they heap to themselves teachers, will be finding out teachers, not according to God’s, but to their own hearts; and there will be plenty of them to be found, they shall heap them up, choosing them without any judgment, regarding nothing but whether they will not be smart upon their lusts.
Having itching ears; for their ears itch, and they must have those that will scratch them. The disease of lust in their souls brings forth an itch in their ears, that they will have a mind to hear only such as will by scratching please them.
And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.And they shall turn away their ears from the truth; either in contempt, or scorn of it, as being delivered in too plain notions or style; or through impatience, not enduring their lusts should be touched, and the evil of their ways showed them.
And shall be turned unto fables; delighting to hear fables, any idle stories, or impertinent discourses, provided they touch not their lusts. Missa non mordet, The mass will not bite, was an old saying of the popish faction.
But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry.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.
For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand.For I am now ready to be offered; spendomai, the word properly signifieth to be offered as a drink-offering, which was offered by being poured out. Some say that spendomai is only used to signify such offerings whereby some covenant was confirmed; so as it not only signifieth that Paul was sensible that he should die a violent death, but that his death should be an establishment and confirmation of the doctrine of the gospel which he had preached, that he should be offered upon the sacrifice and service of their faith, as he speaketh, Philippians 2:17, where the same word is used. A learned author thinks it is there used in a little different sense, there as an accession to the sacrifice, here as a preparation to it, they being wont to prepare their sacrifice by pouring wine upon it; which possibly guided our translators to translate it here, I am ready to be offered. And the time of my departure is at hand; analusewv we translate it departure, it properly signifieth resolution, because in death we are resolved into dust, from whence we are. If any ask how Paul knew that the time of his death was so near;
Answer: He might know it by revelation from God, or from his observation of Nero’s temper, malice, or behaviour toward him.
I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith:I have fought a good fight; my life hath been a military life, but I have not fought the evil fights of ambitious or quarrelsome men: my fighting hath been the good and noble fight of faith, a fight with the world, the flesh, and the devil, a contending for the faith delivered to the saints, a maintaining the lustings of the Spirit against the flesh, a warring with spiritual wickednesses in high places.
I have finished my course; God appointed me a race to run, as a Christian, as an apostle and minister of Christ; I have now finished it.
I have kept the faith; I have kept the doctrine of faith, upholding and maintaining it in and by my ministry; and I have lived in the exercise of the grace of faith.
Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.Henceforth there is laid up for me; as to what remains for me, (so the word loipon signifies, not henceforth, as we translate it), there is prepared, and in safe keeping for me, Colossians 1:5; or, there is appointed for me: see Hebrews 9:27.
A crown; another kind of crown than what the conquerors used to have in the Grecian games; a high and great reward, a glory with which my whole man shall be encompassed, as a man’s head is with a crown.
Of righteousness; the purchase of Christ’s righteousness, and an ample reward of mine also, the giving out of which also will be the effect of God’s truth and justice, 1Jo 1:9.
Which the Lord, the righteous judge; and Jesus Christ, who in this shall show himself a righteous judge,
shall give it me of his free mercy, for all I have done hath not merited it, at that day, at the day of judgment; my soul shall have it at my dissolution, my whole man in the resurrection.
And not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing; nor is this crown my particular reward, but if any persons so lead their lives in this world, as that they can desire and be pleased with the thoughts and hopes of the second coming of Christ to judgment, Christ will give them also the same reward.
Do thy diligence to come shortly unto me:To Rome, where Paul was at this time a prisoner. It appears from Philippians 2:19, that Timothy did go to Paul at Rome, according to this desire of his, and was with him while a prisoner there.
For Demas hath forsaken me, having loved this present world, and is departed unto Thessalonica; Crescens to Galatia, Titus unto Dalmatia.He showeth the reason why he desired Timothy to come to him, because most of those who were with him were gone.
For Demas hath forsaken me; some think this Demas is Demetrius, mentioned 3Jo 1:12, the name being only shortened. He was at Rome with Paul some time, Colossians 4:14. Some make a question, whether Demas wholly apostized or only left Paul for a time, and went to Thessalonica about some secular business, afterward returning.
Having loved this present world; some make the sense of this phrase nor more than minding his worldly business. Others think that he, being frightened with Paul’s danger, wholly left him, and went to Thessalonica; possibly by his own country, however, at a great distance from the danger of Nero’s court.
Crecens to Galatia, a province in the Lesser Asia, whither probably Crescens went to preach the gospel.
Titus unto Dalmatia; Dalmatia is in Sclavonia; Titus went thither (without al doubt) to preach the gospel.
Only Luke is with me. Take Mark, and bring him with thee: for he is profitable to me for the ministry.Only Luke is with me; of whom we also read Colossians 4:14. He was a physician, Paul’s fellow labourer, Philemon 1:24.
Take Mark, and bring him with thee; of Mark we read Acts 12:12 15:37. He was kinsman to Barnabas, Colossians 4:10. It appears by that text that he was at Rome with Paul, and his fellow labourer, Philemon 1:24, For he is prifitable to me for the ministry; the ministry of the gospel. Paul’s care was more for that, than for a ministering to himself, though he was a prisioner.
And Tychicus have I sent to Ephesus.I have given order to Tychius to come to Ephesus in thy absence.
The cloke that I left at Troas with Carpus, when thou comest, bring with thee, and the books, but especially the parchments.Troas was a city in Asia, where we find Paul more than once, Acts 16:8,20:5; he preached Christ there, 2 Corinthians 2:12. There Paul left an upper garment with one Carpus, which probably (having no great wardrobe) he might want, being a prisoner. And the books, but especially the parchments; interpreters idly busy themselves in inquiring after what they can never find out, what these books were, or what was written in these parchments.
Alexander the coppersmith did me much evil: the Lord reward him according to his works:Alesander the coppersmith did me much evil; we read of three Alexanders; one Mark 15:21, the son of him that bare Christ’s cross; another Acts 4:6, akin to Annas the High Priest; a third, Acts 19:33, probably the person here meant, for he was an Ephesian; but he at that time was a disciple of Paul’s, as appears there; probably afterward he apostasized, and was excommunicated by Paul, 1 Timothy 1:20, which might possibly provoke him: what harm he did to him, and where, whether at Ephesus or Rome, it is not said. The Lord reward him according to his works; how far it is lawful to pray against our enemies, (as Paul did here against Alexander), See Poole "Psalm 99:6", See Poole "Jeremiah 11:20", See Poole "Jeremiah 12:3".
Of whom be thou ware also; for he hath greatly withstood our words.No notes from Poole on this verse.
At my first answer no man stood with me, but all men forsook me: I pray God that it may not be laid to their charge.At my first answer, at my first appearing before Nero, and the court of Rome, no man stood with me; none of the Christians stood by me, or owned me; but all men forsook me; but all, being frighted at my danger, left me alone to speak for myself.
I pray God that it may not be laid to their charge; the sinned through weakness and human frailty, and the Lord, I hope, will pardon it; God grant them remission.
Notwithstanding the Lord stood with me, and strengthened me; that by me the preaching might be fully known, and that all the Gentiles might hear: and I was delivered out of the mouth of the lion.Notwithstanding the Lord stood with me; that is, did not leave me. It is opened by the next word, and strengthened me; he gave me courage and inward ability, so as I was able to plead, and to defend my cause.
That by me the preaching might be fully known; that all men that heard me might fully know by God’s presence with me, seen in my courage, that my preaching was not from myself, or from men, but from God, the message of God by one to the sons of men.
And that all the Gentiles might hear; and that all the heathen present in the court of Rome might hear and believe.
And I was delivered out of the mouth of the Lion; and I was for the present delivered out of my great danger: or possibly he calls Nero (the Roman emperor at that time) a lion for his barbarous cruelties.
And the Lord shall deliver me from every evil work, and will preserve me unto his heavenly kingdom: to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.And the Lord shall deliver me from every evil work; faith riseth upon experiences, 1 Samuel 17:37,46 2 Corinthians 1:10. By evil work may be understood any sin into which Paul might fall through temptation; or the evil works of others, designing mischief to the apostle. He expresseth his faith in this term or various signification, to learn us how to exercise our faith in God in an evil time, viz. believing that God will either deliver us from our danger, or from sinning by reason of our danger, for we have no foundation for out faith to believe that God will at all times keep us from evils of suffering.
And will preserve me unto is heavenly kingdom; and that he will save us, and preserve us, if not as to a temporal life, yet to a celestial, honourable, glorious inheritance.
To whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen; this is a usual form of giving praise to God, desiring all honour might be given to him.
Salute Prisca and Aquila, and the household of Onesiphorus.Salute Prisca and Aquila; by this Prisca and Aquila it is mor than probable he means that Priscilla and Aquila mentioned 1 Corinthians 16:19.
And the household of Onesiphorus; it cannot be concluded from hence that Onesiphorus was now dead, but probably he was. It is the same man mentioned 2 Timothy 1:16.
Erastus abode at Corinth: but Trophimus have I left at Miletum sick.Erastus abode at Corinth; of this Erastus see Romans 16:23. He was the chamberlain of Corith, so he abode there. Paul sent him into Macedonia, Acts 19:22.
But Tropimus have I left at Miletus sick; Trophimus was an Ephesian, Acts 21:29, one of Paul’s companions, Acts 20:4; he was left at Miletum, a city in Asia, not far from Ephesus.
Do thy diligence to come before winter. Eubulus greeteth thee, and Pudens, and Linus, and Claudia, and all the brethren.Do thy diligence to come before winter; that is, to come to Rome to me before winter, either because sailing in the winter time would be more dangerous, or because in the winter time he might have more need of assistance.
Eubulus greeteth thee, and Pudens, and Linus, and Claudia, and all the brethren; we have no further account of these persons in holy writ; the first is a Greek name, the rest Latin, Claudia is a woman’s name. Paul sends the respects of these persons, and all the other Christians that at that time were in Rome to Timothy.
The Lord Jesus Christ be with thy spirit. Grace be with you. Amen.The Lord Jesus Christ be with thy spirit; se the like, Galatians 6:18 Philemon 1:25.
Grace be with you; the free grace of God, it its various emanations, suited to all your necessities, be with you. Amen.