Confraternity Bible: New Testament and Supplemental Commentary

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2 TIMOTHY - Chapter 2

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2 Timothy 2

Supplemental Commentary:

I.  PASTORAL CHARGE  1, 6 -- 2, 13 (continued)

2, 1-7:  Devotion to His Office.    2.  The reference is to the preaching of Paul, of which Timothy was an habitual hearer.  In confirmation of the facts which he relates, the Apostle cites the words of numerous witnesses.  In 1 Cor. 15, 3-11, where he deals with the resurrection of Christ, we can form an idea of his manner of preaching.  Now a prisoner the second time, he has no hope of deliverance.  He sees his death as near, and is concerned with assuring the perpetuity of the gospel and its transmission.  Hence the command given Timothy, to entrust it to capable men with the charge to transmit the teaching received from him.    3-7.  It seems that Timothy, desirous of imitating his master in all things and also because of his timidity, took care of his own needs by his personal work and refrained from asking any support from the community, even refusing what they offered.  The result was that his ministry suffered from this care for the necessaries of life.  Worldly affairs: the generic name for all occupations which tend to assure subsistence for those who are given to them.  One might even gather from the context of the exhortations that Timothy had created by this very conduct a plausible reason for escaping to a certain extent from the difficult duties of his office.  In any event, that was the result, and St. Paul in truly paternal fashion calls it to his attention.  Let him enjoy the rights that belong to the cultivation of the field in which he works (1 Tim. 5, 17 f; 1 Cor. 9, 1-12).

2, 8-13:  The Thought of Christ.  St. Paul tries to set before Timothy considerations that are most suited to encourage him.  He bids him recall the Christ, asserts that he himself in spite of his chains stands firm, and puts before his eyes the great Christian hope.    8.  The emphasis is on rose from the dead.  This doctrine Timothy is to remember above all.    11. The expression here, so peculiar to the Pastoral Epistles, refers less to the word of God itself or the teaching of Christ, than to the apostolic teaching promulgating the word or teaching and commenting on it.  The preaching of the Christian apostles is true.  This solemn attestation is notable inasmuch as it always refers to the reality of the salvation which is in Christ.

II.  FIDELITY TO HIS OFFICE  2, 14 -- 4, 8

2, 14-18:  False Teachers.  Having comforted Timothy, St. Paul resumes the principal question of the new teachers.  He fixes the conduct of Timothy towards them.    16.  Hymeneus and Philetus must have understood the resurrection in a purely spiritual fashion.  We have here doubtless the extreme consequence of the ascetical and mystical ideas of Ephesian and Cretan teachers.  And yet this excess seems to have been peculiar to these two persons.  The exceptionally grave sentence pronounced by St. Paul against Hymeneus (1 Tim. 1, 20) confirms this impression.  See however 2 Tim. 2, 8-13, where the Apostle sees fit to affirm solemnly the reality of the Christian hope.

2, 19-26:  The Faithful Servant.    19.  To outward appearance all is upset.  But in reality the solid foundation, established by God, on which the Church rests, stands firm.  This foundation must be Jesus Christ, but the Apostle does not stress the point.  That which interests him is to assert the permanence and cohesion of the building set on this foundation.  Outwardly its lines appear to totter, its very existence is threatened by the multiplying of false teachers and their followers.    20.  An abrupt change of metaphor.  The Christians are now compared to different vessels which are part of the furniture of the house.  Materially it is the same image as in Rom. 9, 19-24, but in Timothy all the vessels are figures of Christians.


Confraternity Bible:

Devotion to His Office  1 Therefore, my child, be strengthened in the grace which is in Christ Jesus; 2 and the things that thou hast heard from me through many witnesses, commend to trustworthy men who shall be competent in turn to teach others.  3 Conduct thyself in work as a good soldier of Christ Jesus.  4 No one serving as God's soldier entangles himself in worldly affairs, that he may please him whose approval he has secured.  5 And again, one who enters a contest is not crowned unless he has competed according to the rules.  6 The farmer who toils must be the first to partake of the fruits.  7 Take in what I tell thee, for the Lord will give thee understanding in all things.

The Thought of Christ  8 Remember that Jesus Christ rose from the dead and was descended from David; this is my gospel, 9 in which I suffer even to bonds, as a criminal.  But the word of God is not bound.  10 This is why I bear all things for the sake of the elect, that they also may obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus, with heavenly glory.  11 This saying is true: If we have died with him, we shall also live with him; 12 if we endure, we shall also reign with him; if we disown him, he also will disown us; 13 if we are faithless, he remains faithful, for he cannot disown himself.

False Teachers  14 Recall these things to their mind, charging them in the sight of the Lord not to dispute with words, for that is useless, leading to the ruin of the listeners.  15 Use all care to present thyself to God as a man approved, a worker that cannot be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth.  16 But avoid profane and empty babblings, for they contribute much to ungodliness, 17 and their speech spreads like a cancer.  Of this sort are Hymeneus and Philetus, 18 who have erred from the truth in saying that the resurrection has taken place already; and they are destroying the faith of some.

The Faithful Servant  19* But the sure foundation of God stands firm, bearing this seal: "The Lord knows who are his"; and, "Let everyone depart from iniquity who names the name of the Lord."

20 But in a great house there are vessels not only of gold and silver, but also of wood and clay; and some are for honorable uses, but some for ignoble.  21 If anyone, therefore, has cleansed himself from these, he will be a vessel for honorable uses, sanctified and useful to the Lord, ready for every good work.  22 But flee the cravings of youth and pursue justice, faith, charity and peace with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart.  23 Avoid also foolish and ignorant controversies, knowing that they breed quarrels.  24 But the servant of the Lord must not quarrel, but be gentle towards all, ready to teach, patient, 25 gently admonishing those who resist, in case God should give them repentance to know the truth, 26 and they recover themselves from the snare of the devil, to whose will they are held captive.
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19: These are the two fundamental truths of the relations of God to man: on God's part, predestination; on man's part, free rejection of sin.