Confraternity Bible: New Testament and Supplemental Commentary

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2 TIMOTHY - Chapter 1

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2 Timothy 1

Supplemental Commentary:


Introduction  1, 1-5

1, 1-2:  Greeting.  In accordance with the promise of life: of which Christ is the source.  See Commentary on Titus 1, 1-2.

1, 3-5:  Thanksgiving and Prayer.    3.  Timothy's attachment to God is inherited.  The addition of the words, with a clear conscience, excludes the worship of God for one's selfish interest.  The idea recurs constantly in the Pastoral Epistles.  The prominence that it has in the mind of St. Paul is due without doubt to the conduct of the false teachers.  It is however found before in 1 Thess. 2, 3 f; 2 Cor. 1, 12.    4.  Timothy's tears make us think of some touching scene of farewell like that of Acts 20, 17 ff.  We cannot say with certainty what the occasion was.  Perhaps it was at Paul's departure for Macedonia (1 Tim. 1, 3); or more probably at the time when the Apostle, again a prisoner, left for Rome.    5.  This unfeigned faith is a part of the ideal St. Paul opposes to the mixed concepts of the Ephesian teachers (1 Tim. 1, 5).  The Apostle refers to a faith in Christ alone, and free from attachment to Jewish fables and religious tendencies of pagans.  Eunice: see Acts 16, 1.

I.  PASTORAL CHARGE  1, 6 -- 2, 13

1, 6-14:  Paul's Example.  The passage, 1, 6-11.13, is intended to encourage Timothy by strengthening his soul, which appears timid and hesitant.  It is supposed that he is acquainted with Paul's imprisonment and the incidents that led up to it.  In fact the impression is given that he witnessed them.

6.  This gift which Timothy, according to 1 Tim. 4, 14, owes to the presbyterate of Lystra, is by the intermediary of St. Paul himself, as this verse shows.  It is reasonable to connect the two conferrings.  Paul and the priests of Lystra together laid hands upon Timothy.  The spiritual gift, not otherwise specified, had rendered Timothy fit to become the co-laborer of St. Paul.  In 4, 5 he is qualified as an evangelist, but we need not insist too strictly on the meaning of the title.    8.  The new imprisonment of St. Paul and the reaction it doubtless had on the affairs of Ephesus and the personal standing of Timothy could not fail to affect his state of mind profoundly.    12.  St. Paul cites to Timothy his own example.  In spite of his trials he experiences no confusion.  The gospel still continues to be what it is, and he himself is its herald, its apostle and teacher.  The deposit which God can keep until the coming of Christ is the gospel, the sound teaching.  See 1 Tim. 6, 20, and 2 Tim. 1, 14.

1, 15-18:  Loyalty and Defections.    15.  All in . . . Asia: the Christians of Asia, particularly those personally attached to Paul.  All have abandoned him.  The context suggests that the Apostle had expected them to send delegates to Rome to visit him, and perhaps serve as witnesses in the course of his trial (2 Tim. 4, 16).  They did not do so.  Phigelus and Hermogenes must have been outstanding persons on whose attachment St. Paul had counted, for their desertion affected him painfully.  We need not understand their fault as that of defection from the faith, nor should we extend their disloyalty beyond this single instance.  From the references to Asia, we are led to consider western Asia Minor, or even Ephesus itself, as the setting of the troubles in the course of which St. Paul was again thrown into prison.    16.  Onesiphorus is unknown.  He must have been a member of the church at Ephesus where his family still resided.  The expression of St. Paul conveys the impression that this generous person was dead at the time he wrote.    17.  The position of the Apostle is no longer that of his first imprisonment.  His sequestration is stricter and his relations with the Roman community are restricted and perhaps secret.  One had to seek him out diligently to find him.  The journey of Onesiphorus to Rome  implies that the second imprisonment of Paul had already lasted some time.

Confraternity Bible:

Greeting  1* Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ, by the will of God, in accordance with the promise of life in Christ Jesus, 2 to Timothy, my beloved son: grace, mercy and peace from God the Father and from Christ Jesus our Lord.

Thanksgiving and Prayer  3 I give thanks to God, whom I serve as did my forefathers, with a clear conscience, that I remember thee without ceasing in my prayers night and day.  4 Recalling thy tears, I long to see thee, that I may be filled with joy.  5 I remember that unfeigned faith of thine, which dwelt first in thy grandmother Lois and in thy mother Eunice, and dwells, I am certain, in thee also.

Paul's Example  6 For this reason I admonish thee to stir up the grace of God which is in thee by the laying on of my hands.  7 For God has not given us the spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of prudence.  8 Do not, therefore, be ashamed of testimony for our Lord, nor of me, his prisoner, but enter into my sufferings for the gospel through the power of God.  9 He has redeemed us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and the grace which was granted to us in Christ Jesus before this world existed, 10 but is now made known by the manifestation of our Savior Jesus Christ.  He has destroyed death and brought to light life and incorruption by the gospel, 11 of which I have been appointed a preacher and an apostle and a teacher of the Gentiles.  12 That is why also I am suffering these things; yet I am not ashamed.  For I know whom I have believed, and I am certain that he is able to guard the trust committed to me against that day.  13 Hold to the form of sound teaching which thou hast heard from me, in the faith and love which are Christ Jesus.  14 Guard the good trust through the Holy Spirit, who dwells in us.

Loyalty and Defections  15 This thou knowest that all in the province of Asia have turned away from me, among them, Phigelus and Hermogenes.  16 May the Lord grant mercy to the house of Onesiphorus, because he often comforted me and was not ashamed of my chains; 17 but when he came to Rome, he sought me out diligently and found me.  18 May the Lord grant him to find mercy from the Lord on that day.  And thou knowest very well the many services he rendered me at Ephesus.


1: In accordance, etc.: the aim and purpose of St. Paul's election and call to the apostleship was to proclaim the fulfillment in Christ of the promises of the Old Testament.