RPM, Volume 18, Number 48, November 20 to November 26, 2016

Barnes' New Testament Notes

Notes on the New Testament
Explanatory and Practical
Part 81

By Albert Barnes




There has been much diversity of sentiment on the question when this epistle was written. That it was written at Rome, and when the apostle was imprisoned there, is the unanimous opinion of all who have written on the epistle, and indeed is apparent on the face of it. See 2 Ti 1:8,16; 4:6.

But whether it was written during his first imprisonment there, or during a second imprisonment, is a question on which critics even now are by no means agreed. The most respectable names may be found on each side of this question, though the common opinion has been that it was during a second imprisonment. Of this opinion are Mosheim, Michaelis, Benson, Mill, Macknight, Le Clerc, Paley, Stuart, Clarke, and Doddridge. The reasons for this may be seen at length in Hug's Introduction, pp. 761-763, Macknight, and in Paley's Horae Paulinae. Dr. Lardner, Baronius, Witsius, Lightfoot, Hammond, Hug, Hemsen, and others, maintain that it was written during the first imprisonment, and that it was sent about the same time as the epistles to the Ephesians, Colossians, Philippians, and Philemon. The reasons for this opinion may be found in Hug's Introduction, pp. 556-559, and in Lardner, vol. vi. pp. 38—72. It is not consistent with the design of these Notes to go at length into an examination of this question, and it is not material in order to an exposition of the epistle.

After considering the reasons of Lardner and Hug to prove that this epistle was written during Paul's first imprisonment at Rome—that is, as they suppose, during his only imprisonment there, and not long after the first epistle was written—it seems to me still that there are insuperable difficulties in such a view, and that the evidence is clear that it was during a second imprisonment. The reasons for this are briefly the following:—

(1.) In the epistles to the Philippians and to Philemon, written during his first imprisonment, Paul confidently looked forward to a release, and to a speedy departure from Rome. In this, he had no such expectation. Thus he tells the Philippians, (Php 2:24,) "I trust in the Lord, that I myself shall come shortly." See also Php 1:24. In the epistle to Philemon, Phm 1:22, he says, "But withal prepare me also a lodging: for I trust that through your prayers I shall be given unto you." In this epistle, however, the author had no such expectation. 2 Ti 4:6, "For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith; henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness."

(2.) In 2 Ti 4:16, the apostle uses the following language: "At my first answer, no man stood with me, but all forsook me." It is true that this may refer to a hearing which he had had before Nero during the same imprisonment at Rome in which this second epistle was written; but the most natural interpretation is to suppose that he had had one hearing, and had been discharged, and that the imprisonment of which he speaks in this epistle was a second one. This seems to me to be confirmed by what he says in the next verse: "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." Here it appears

(a) that he had been delivered, on that occasion, from death— "I was delivered out of the mouth of the lion," which is equivalent to saying that he was discharged;

(b) that after that discharge he was permitted to preach the gospel— "that by me the preaching might be fully known;"

(c) that he had been permitted after that to travel and preach—" and that all the Gentiles might hear," which is just such an expression as he would use on the supposition that he had been discharged, and been permitted to go abroad and preach the gospel extensively, and is not such an expression as he could have used if he had been imprisoned but once.

(3.) The expression occurring in 2 Ti 4:20, "Erastus at Corinth," implies that he had made a second journey to Rome. The word rendered 'abode' emeinen is such as would be used where two were travelling together, and where one of them chose to remain at a certain place. It implies that, at the time referred to, the two were together, and that one chose to go on, and the other to remain. But it is capable of very clear proof that, when Paul was sent to Rome by Festus, Acts chapters 16, 17. He did not stop at Corinth; and if Erastus had been with him then, he would have passed by that place with him on his way to Rome. Further, when Paul left Corinth, as related in Acts chapter 20, on his way to Jerusalem, Timothy was with him. This is the last time that Paul is mentioned as having been at Corinth before coming to Rome, and there could have been no need of informing Timothy of the fact that Erastus remained there, if this were so, because that fact would be known to Timothy as well as Paul. Besides, that departure from Corinth took place some five years before Paul wrote this second epistle to Timothy; and what would be the use of his reminding Timothy of this after so long an interval? It is clear, moreover, that Paul refers to some recent transaction. He is urging Timothy to use all diligence to come to him before winter; that is, as soon as possible. 2 Ti 4:21. But how could it be a reason for this urgency to say that, some five years before, he had been forsaken by one fellow-labourer, and had been obliged to leave another one sick on the way?

(4.) Similar remarks may be made respecting what Paul says in the close of the same verse, 2 Ti 4:20, "Trophimus have I left at Miletum sick." Paul, when sent by Festus to Rome, did not stop at Miletus; for the course which the ship took on that occasion is minutely described, (Ac 27,) and there is every certainty that there can be that it did not put in at that place. The time, then, to which Paul must refer here, unless he made a second journey to Rome after he had been once discharged, must have been several years before; certainly as far back as when he took leave of the elders of the church of Ephesus, as recorded in Ac 20. But this was about five years before; and what would have been the pertinency of informing Timothy that, some five years before, he had left a fellow-labourer sick there, as a reason why he should then hasten to Rome as soon as possible? It was evidently a recent occurrence to which the apostle refers here; and the only natural supposition is, that, not long before his arrival at Rome, he had parted with both these friends, and now needed, in consequence, especially the presence of Timothy. Of course, if this be so, Paul must have made another circuit through these countries, of which the Acts of the Apostles gives us no account, and which must have been after his first imprisonment. It is true that Hug suggests that the word rendered 'I have left' apelipon -may be in the third person plural, and may be rendered 'they have left.' But who left him there?. We are not told; and as "nothing is suggested in the context which would supply us with a subject of the verb in the third person plural, we are led naturally to construe it of the first person singular, and, consequently, to apply it to Paul." Prof. Stuart, in Hug's Intro.

(5.) With this supposition of a second and recent journey, agrees the passage in 2 Ti 4:13, "The cloak which I left at Troas with Carpus, when thou comest, bring with thee, and the books, but especially the parchments." This evidently refers to some recent affair. Can it be believed that these had been there for some five years, and that Paul had not needed them before? He was two years at Caesarea. He had abundant opportunity of sending for them. An article of wearing apparel, or books to study, or his own writings, he would be likely to need long before, and it is highly improbable that he suffered them to remain during this long period without sending for them.

(6.) In the epistles which were written during Paul's first imprisonment, certain persons are referred to as being then with him, who are in this epistle mentioned as absent. It is almost beyond a doubt that the epistles to the Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, and to Philemon, were written during Paul's first imprisonment at Rome. See the Introduction to those epistles. In the epistle to the Colossians, Col 1:1, Timothy is mentioned as being then with the apostle. When this was written, of course he was absent in the same epistle, Mark is mentioned as with Paul, and unites with him in the salutation to the Colossians, Col 4:10; when this epistle was written, he was absent, for Timothy is ordered to bring him with him, (2 Ti 4:11.) Demas was then with him, (Col 4:4;) now he was absent for Paul says, "Demas hath forsaken me, having loved this present world, and is departed unto Thessalonica." 2 Ti 4:10. These circumstances make it quite clear that the second epistle to Timothy was not written during the imprisonment at Rome in which the epistles to the Colossians, to Philemon, etc., were written, unless a change had taken place in the circumstances of the apostle, which we have no reason to suppose occurred. The probability, then, seems to be strong, that the apostle was imprisoned there a second time, and that the things referred to in this epistle occurred then.

(7.) To these circumstances should be added the fact, that many of the Fathers say that Paul was liberated from his first imprisonment, and afterwards travelled extensively in preaching the gospel. This testimony is borne by Eusebius, Chrysostom, Theodoret, and others. See Calmet's Dictionary, and Lives of the Apostles, by D. F. Bacon, New Haven, pp. 619-621. If the supposition of a second imprisonment at Rome, during which this epistle was written, is correct, then it was written probably not far from the year 65. Lardner, however, who supposes it was written during the first imprisonment, places its date in May, A.D. 61; Hug, also, in the same year.


THERE can be little doubt that Timothy was at Ephesus at the time when this epistle was addressed to him. The evidence for this opinion is thus stated by Lightfoot and others.—

(1.) Paul directs Timothy to salute the household of Onesiphorus, 2 Ti 4:19. But it is evident, from 2 Ti 1:18, that Onesiphorus was an Ephesian, and, as the direction is to salute his 'household,' it may be argued with the more certainty that Timothy was then at Ephesus, the ordinary residence of the family of Onesiphorus.

(2.) He directs Timothy to take Troas in the way as he came to him at Rome, 2 Ti 4:13, which was the way that Paul had gone to Ephesus, 2 Co 2:12; Ac 20:5, thus showing that this was the usual route of travel, and was a way which Timothy would naturally take in passing from Ephesus to Rome. It is true that this does not absolutely prove that he was at Ephesus, since, if he bad been in any other part of the western portion of Asia Minor, the direction would have been the same—but it is a slight circumstance corroborating others.

(3.) He warns him to beware of Alexander, 2 Ti 4:14, who we know was an Ephesian, 1 Ti 1:20; Ac 19:33.

(4.) In 2 Ti 4:9, he gives direction to Timothy to come to him as soon as possible, and then adds, 2 Ti 4:12, "Tychicus have I sent to Ephesus." From this it would seem that one reason why he wished him then to come was, that he had appointed one to occupy his place there, so that he could leave without injury to the cause. But it would seem also probable that Paul was not in the habit of calling away a labourer from an important station without supplying his place. Thus, in Tit 3:12, he says, "When I shall send Artemas unto thee, or Tychicus, be diligent to come unto me." It may thence be inferred that Timothy was at Ephesus at the time when Paul wrote to him, and that he had taken care that his place should not be left vacant, by the appointment of Tychicus to fill it when he should leave.

(5.) It may be added, that the errors and vices Timothy is directed to oppose, are the same as referred to in the first epistle, and it may be hence inferred that he was at the same place.

How long Timothy had been in Ephesus is not certainly known, and is not material to be known in order to a proper understanding of the epistle. It does not appear, from the Acts, that he was with Paul during the two years in which he was in Caesarea, nor during his voyage to Rome; yet it is certain that he was in Rome when Paul wrote to the Philippians, to the Colossians, and to Philemon, because he is named in the titles to those epistles. In Heb 13:23, Paul says that Timothy was "set at liberty," or, more probably, "sent away," See Barnes "Heb 13:23, but to what place he had gone is not mentioned. Nothing would be more natural, however, than that he should visit Ephesus again, and it is not improbable that Paul would leave him there when he again visited Rome.


THE epistle was evidently written when the apostle was expecting soon to be put to death. 2 Ti 4:6-8. The main object of writing it seems to have been to request Timothy to come to him as speedily as possible, 2 Ti 4:9. But, in doing this, it was natural that Paul should accompany the request with such counsel as Timothy needed, and such as it was proper for Paul to give in probably the last letter that he would write to him. The particular reason why the apostle desired the presence of Timothy seems to have been, that nearly all the others on whom he might have supposed he could rely in a time of trial, had left him. Thus he says that Demas had forsaken him; Crescens had gone to Galatia; Titus to Dalmatia, and Tychicus he had himself sent to Ephesus. 2 Ti 4:10-12. No one remained with him but Luke, 2 Ti 4:11, and he was, therefore, desirous that Timothy and Mark should be with him. 2 Ti 4:11. He did not ask their presence merely that they might sustain him in his trials, but that they might aid him in the work of the ministry, 2 Ti 4:11, for it would seem that all hope of doing good in Rome was not closed.

If the view of the time when this epistle was written which has been taken in this Introduction, is correct, and if this is the last epistle which was written by the apostle Paul before his martyrdom, then it occupies a very important place in sacred canon, and is invested with great interest. It may be regarded as the dying counsels of the most eminent of the apostles to one who had just entered on the ministerial life. We should read it with the interest with which we do the last words of the great and the good Then we feel that every word which they utter has a weight which demands attention. We feel that, whatever a man might do at other times, he will not trifle then. We feel that, having little time to express his wishes, he will select topics that lie nearest his heart, and that he deems most important. There is no more interesting position in which we can be placed, than when we sit down at such a man's feet, and listen to his parting counsels. To a young minister of the gospel, therefore, this epistle is invaluable; to any and every Christian, it cannot fail to be a matter of interest to listen to the last words of the great apostle of the Gentiles, and to ponder his last written testimony in favour of that religion to the promulgation of which he had devoted his talents and his life.




THE principal design of this chapter is to exhort Timothy to steadfastness and fidelity as a Christian and a minister; and to entreat him to adhere to the truth, and live as became a Christian, in the midst of all the temptations by which he was surrounded, and while so many were turning away from the Christian faith. Timothy was young; he was exposed, like others, to trials; he could not be unaware that not a few had apostatized; he knew that his father in Christ was in bonds, and he was liable to become disheartened, or to be led astray. In these circumstances, the apostle seems to have resolved to place before him strong reasons to induce him to devote himself steadfastly to the cause of religion, and not to allow those things which might tend to alienate him from Christianity to have any effect on his mind. After the usual salutations, therefore, 1 Ti 1:1,2, he proceeds to present these considerations to the mind of Timothy:

(1.) He commences the chapter with delicate praise of his young friend—one of the most happy methods of inducing him to persevere in the course of life on which he had entered, 2 Ti 1:3-5. We naturally desire to perfect that in which we already excel; we feel encouraged for future efforts in a cause in which we have already been successful. The apostle, therefore, reminds Timothy of the manner in which he had been trained; of the piety of his mother and grandmother, and assures him of his belief that their efforts to train him up in the ways of religion had not been in vain.

(2.) He urges various considerations to induce him not to turn away from that holy purpose to which he had devoted himself. The considerations which he urges are these:

(a) he had been solemnly consecrated to the work of preaching the gospel, 2 Ti 1:6;

(b) God had imparted to him, as to others, a spirit of love and power, and a sound mind, 1 Ti 1:7;

(c) the grace of God had called him to his great work, and he possessed that gospel by which life and immortality are brought to light, 1 Ti 1:8-11;

(d) Paul urges his own example, and says that, amidst all his own trials, he had never seen occasion to be ashamed of the gospel, 2 Ti 1:12-14; and

(e) he reminds Timothy that all his other friends in Asia had turned away from him, specifying two of them, and urges him, therefore, to maintain a steadfast attachment to the principles which he had professed, 2 Ti 1:15.

(3.) The chapter closes with the expression of an earnest prayer that the Lord would bless the family of Onesiphorus, and with a grateful mention of his kindness to him, 2 Ti 1:16-18.

Verse 1. Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ. See Barnes "Ro 1:1".

By the will of God. Called to be an apostle in accordance with the Divine will and purpose. See Barnes "Ga 1:1".

According to the promise of life which is in Christ Jesus. In accordance with the great promise of eternal life through the Saviour; that is, he was called to be an apostle to carry out the great purpose of human salvation. Comp. Eph 3:6. God has made a promise of life to mankind through faith in the Lord Jesus, and it was with reference to this that he was called to the apostleship.

{a} "promise" Eph 3:6


Verse 2. To Timothy, my dearly beloved son. See Barnes "1 Ti 1:2".

Grace, mercy, and peace, etc. See Barnes "Ro 1:7".

{b} "beloved son" 1 Ti 1:2


Verse 3. I thank God, whom I serve from my forefathers. Paul reckoned among his forefathers the patriarchs and the holy men of former times, as being of the same nation with himself; though it may be that he also included his more immediate ancestors, who, for anything known to the contrary, may have been distinguished examples of piety. His own parents, it is certain, took care that he should be trained up in the ways of religion. Comp. See Barnes "Php 3:4, See Barnes "Php 3:5; See Barnes "Ac 26:4" See Barnes "Ac 26:5".

The phrase "from my forefathers," probably means, after the example of my ancestors. He worshipped the same God; he held substantially the same truths; he had the same hope of the resurrection and of immortality; he trusted to the same Saviour having come, on whom they relied as about to come. His was not, therefore, a different religion from theirs; it was the same religion carried out and perfected. The religion of the Old Testament and the New is essentially the same. See Barnes "Ac 23:6".

With pure conscience. See Barnes "Ac 23:1".

That without ceasing. Comp. See Barnes "Ro 12:12 1 Th 5:17.

I have remembrance of thee in my prayers night and day. See Barnes "Php 1:3, See Barnes "1:4".

{c} "serve" Ac 23:1

{*} "from my forefathers" "After"

{d} "pure conscience" Heb 13:18


Verse 4. Greatly desiring to see thee. See 2 Ti 4:9,21. It was probably on account of this earnest desire that this epistle was written. He wished to see him, not only on account of the warm friendship which he had for him, but because he would be useful to him in present circumstances. See Intro., paragraph 3.

Being mindful of thy tears. Alluding probably to the tears which he shed at parting from him. The occasion to which he refers is not mentioned; but nothing is more probable than that Timothy would weep when separated from such a father and friend. It is not wrong thus to weep, for religion is not intended to make us stoics or savages.

That I may be filled with joy. By seeing you again. It is easy to imagine what joy it would give Paul, then a prisoner, and forsaken by nearly all his friends, and about to die, to see a friend whom he loved as he did this young man. Learn, hence, that there may be very pure and warm friendship between an old and young man, and that the warmth of true friendship is not diminished by the near prospect of death.

{e} "desiring" 2 Ti 4:6


Verse 5. When I call to remembrance the unfeigned faith that is in thee. See Barnes "1 Ti 1:5".

On the faith of Timothy, See Barnes "1 Ti 4:6".

Which dwelt first in thy grandmother Lois. That is, the same faith dwelt in her; or, she was a sincere believer in Christ. It would seem probable from this, that she was the first of the family who had been converted. In the Acts of the Apostles Ac 16:1, we have an account of the family of Timothy:—"Then came he to Derbe and Lystra; and behold a certain disciple was there, named Timotheus, the son of a certain woman which was a Jewess, and believed; but his father was a Greek." In this account no mention is made of the grandmother Lois, but there is no improbability in supposing that Paul was better acquainted with the family than Luke. There is, at any rate, no contradiction between the two accounts; but the one confirms the other, and the "undesigned coincidence" furnishes an argument for the authenticity of both. See Paley's Horae Paulinae, in loc. As the mother of Timothy was a Hebrew, it is clear that his grandmother was also. Nothing more is known of her than is here mentioned.

And in thy mother Eunice. In Ac 16:1, it is said that the mother of Timothy was "a Jewess, and believed;" but her name is not mentioned. This shows that Paul was acquainted with the family, and that the statement in the epistle to Timothy was not forged from the account in the Acts. Here is another "undesigned coincidence." In the history in the Acts, nothing is said of the father, except that he was "a Greek," but it is implied that he was not a believer. In the epistle before us, nothing whatever is said of him. But the piety of his mother alone is commended, and it is fairly implied that his father was not a believer. This is one of those coincidences on which Paley has constructed his beautiful argument in the Horae Paulinae in favour of the genuineness of the New Testament.

{f} "unfeigned faith" 1 Ti 4:6

{g} "mother" Ac 16:1


Verse 6. That thou stir up the gift of God. Gr., That thou kindle up as a fire. The original word used here denotes the kindling of a fire, as by bellows, etc. It is not uncommon to compare piety to a flame or a fire, and the image is one that is obvious when we speak of causing that to burn more brightly. The idea is, that Timothy was to use all proper means to keep the flame of pure religion in the soul burning, and more particularly his zeal in the great cause to which he had been set apart. The agency of man himself is needful to keep the religion of the heart warm and glowing. However rich the gifts which God has bestowed upon us, they do not grow of their own accord, but need to be cultivated by our own personal care.

Which is in thee by the putting on of my hands. In connection with the presbytery. See Barnes "1 Ti 4:14".

This proves that Paul took part in the ordination of Timothy; but it does not prove either that he performed the duty alone, or that the "ordaining virtue," whatever that was, was imparted by him only; for

(1.) it is expressly said 1 Ti 4:14, that he was ordained by the laying on of the hands of the presbytery, of which Paul was doubtless one; and

(2.) the language here used, "by the putting on of my hands," is just such as Paul, or any other one of the presbytery, would use in referring to the ordination of Timothy, though they were all regarded as on a level. It is such an expression as an aged Presbyterian, or Congregational, or Baptist minister would address to a son whom he had assisted to ordain. Nothing would be more natural than to remind him that his own hands had been laid on him when he was set apart to the work of the ministry. It would be in the nature of a tender, pathetic, and solemn appeal, bringing all that there was in his own character, age, and relation to the other, to bear on him, in order to induce him to be faithful to his trust. On other occasions, he would naturally remind him that others had united with him in the act, and that he had derived his authority through the presbytery, just as Paul appeals to Timothy, 1 Ti 4:14. But no one would now think of inferring from this, that he meant to be understood as saying that he alone had ordained him, or that all the authority for preaching the gospel had been imparted through his hands, and that those who were associated with him only expressed "concurrence;" that is, that their presence there was only an unmeaning ceremony. What was the "gift of God" which had been conferred in this way, Paul specifies in the next verse. It is "the spirit of power, and of love, and of a sound mind." The meaning is, that these had been conferred by God, and that the gift had been recognised by his ordination. It does not imply that any mysterious influence had gone from the hands of the ordainers, parting any holiness to Timothy which he had not before.

{a} "Gift of God" 1 Ti 4:14


Verse 7. For God hath not given us the spirit of fear. A timorous and servile spirit. This is said in order to encourage Timothy, who was not improbably modest and diffident.

But of power. Power to encounter foes and dangers; power to bear up under trials; power to triumph in persecutions. That is, it is the nature of the gospel to inspire the mind with holy courage. Comp., however, Lu 24:49.

And of Love to God and to the souls of men. The tendency of this also, is to "cast out fear," 1 Jo 4:18, and to make the mind bold and constant. Nothing will do more to inspire courage, to make a man fearless of danger, or ready to endure privation and persecution, than love. The love of country, and wife, and children, and home, makes the most timid bold when they are assailed; and the love of Christ and of a dying world nerves the soul to great enterprises, and sustains it in the deepest sorrows.

And of a sound mind. The Greek word denotes one of sober mind; a man of prudence and discretion. The state referred to here is that in which the mind is well balanced, and under right influences; in which it sees things in their just proportions and relations; in which it is not feverish and excited, but when everything is in its proper place. It was this state of mind which Timothy was exhorted to cultivate; this which Paul regarded as so necessary to the performance of the duties of his office. It is as needful now for the minister of religion as it was then.

{b} "fear" Ro 8:15; 1 Jo 4:18

{c} "power" Lu 24:49


Verse 8. Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord. Do not be ashamed to bear your testimony to the doctrines taught by the Lord Jesus. Joh 3:11,32,33; 7:7.

Comp. Ac 10:42; 20:24; 1 Co 1:6; Re 22:16. Paul seems to have apprehended that Timothy was in some danger of being ashamed of this gospel, or of shrinking back from its open avowal in the trials and persecutions to which he now saw it exposed him.

Nor of me his prisoner. Of the testimony which I have borne to the truth of the gospel. This passage proves that, when Paul wrote this epistle, he was in confinement. Comp. Eph 3:1; 6:20; Php 1:13,14,16; Col 4:3,18; Phm 1:9.

Timothy knew that he had been thrown into prison on account of his love for the gospel. To avoid that himself, there might be some danger that a timid young man might shrink from an open avowal of his belief in the same system of truth.

But be thou partaker of the afflictions of the gospel. The sufferings to which the profession of the gospel may expose you. Comp. See Barnes "Col 1:24".

According to the power of God. That is, according to the power which God gives to those who are afflicted on account of the gospel. The apostle evidently supposes that they who were subjected to trials on account of the gospel, might look for Divine strength to uphold them, and asks him to endure those trials, relying on that strength, and not on his own.

{d} "partaker" Col 1:24


Verse 9. Who hath saved us. See Barnes "Mt 1:21".

He has brought us into a state in which salvation is so certain, that Paul could speak of it as if it were already done.

And called us. See Barnes "Ro 8:28" See Barnes "Ro 8:30".

With an holy calling. A calling which is in its own mature holy, and which leads to holiness. Comp. See Barnes "Eph 4:1" See Barnes "Php 3:14" See Barnes "Heb 3:1".

Not according to our works. Tit 3:6; See Barnes "Eph 2:8, See Barnes "Eph 2:9".

The idea is, that our own works have nothing to do in inducing God to call us. As, when we become Christians, he does not choose us because of our works, so the eternal purpose in regard to our salvation could not have been formed because he foresaw that we would perform such works as would be a reason why he should choose us. The whole arrangement was irrespective of our deserts.

But according to his own purpose and grace. See Barnes "Ro 9:11" also Ro 9:12-13,16; See Barnes "Eph 1:4,6".

Which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began. That is, which he intended to give us, for it was not then actually given. The thing was so certain in the Divine purposes, that it might be said to be already done. Comp. See Barnes "Ro 4:17".

{e} "saved us" Mt 1:21

{f} "called" Ro 8:28,30

{g} "not according" Tit 3:5

{h} "purpose" De 7:7,8

{i} "before" Eph 1:4


Verse 10. But is now made manifest. The purpose to save us was long concealed in the Divine Mind, but the Saviour came that he might make it known.

Who hath abolished death. That is, he has made it so certain that death will be abolished, that it may be spoken of as already done. It is remarkable how often, in this chapter, Paul speaks of what God intends to do as so certain, that it may be spoken of as a thing that is already done. On the meaning of the expression here, See Barnes "1 Co 15:54".

Comp. See Barnes "Heb 2:14".

The meaning is, that, through the gospel, death will cease to reign, and over those who are saved there will be no such thing as we now understand by dying.

And hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel. This is one of the great and glorious achievements of the gospel, and one of the things by which it is distinguished from every other system. The word rendered "hath brought to light" fwtizw— means to give light, to shine; then to give light to, to shine upon; and then to bring to light, to make known. Rob. Lex. The sense is, that these things were before obscure or unknown, and that they have been disclosed to us by the gospel. It is, of course, not meant that there were no intimations of these truths before, or that nothing was known of them—for the Old Testament shed some light on them; but that they are fully disclosed to man in the gospel. It is there that all ambiguity and doubt are removed, and that the evidence is so clearly stated as to leave no doubt on the subject. The intimations of a future state, among the wisest of the heathen, were certainly very obscure, and their hopes very faint. The hope of a future state is styled by Cicero, Futurorum quoddam augurinto sieculorum— a conjecture or surmise of future ages. Tusc. Q. 1. Seneca says it is "that which our wise men do promise, but they do not prove." Epis. 102. Socrates, even at his death, said, "I hope to go hence to good men, but of that I am not very confident; nor doth it become any wise man to be positive that so it will be. I must now die, and you shall live; but which of us is in the better state, the living or the dead, God only knows." Pliny says, "Neither soul nor body has any more sense after death, than before it was born." Cicero begins his discourse on the subject with a profession that he intended to deliver nothing as fixed and certain, but only as probable, and as having some likelihood of truth. And, having mentioned the different sentiments of philosophers, he concludes,—"Which of these opinions is true, some god must tell us; which is most like to truth, is a great question." See Whitby, in loc. Such doubts existed in regard to the immortality of the soul; but of the resurrection and future life of the body, they had no conception whatever. Comp. Ac 17:32. With what propriety, then, may it be said that these doctrines were brought to light through the gospel! Man would never have known them if it had not been for revelation. The word "life," here, refers undoubtedly to life in the future world. The question was, whether man would live at all; and that question has been determined by the gospel. The word "immortality" means, properly, incorruption, incapacity of decay; and may be applied either to the body or the soul. See it explained See Barnes "1 Co 15:42".

It is used in reference to the body, in 1 Co 15:42,53,54.

In Ro 2:7, it is applied to the future state of rewards, without special reference to the body or soul. Here it seems to refer to the future state as that in which there will be no corruption or decay. Many suppose that the phrase "life and immortality," here, is used by hendiadys (two things for one,) as meaning immortal or incorruptible life. The gospel thus has truths not found in any other system, and contains what man never would have discovered of himself. As fair a trial had been made among the philosophers of Greece and Rome as could be made, to determine whether the unaided powers of the human mind could arrive at these great truths; and their most distinguished philosophers confessed that they could arrive at no certainty on the subject. In this state of things, the gospel comes and reveals truths worthy of all acceptation; sheds light where man had desired it; solves the great problems which had for ages perplexed the human mind, and discloses to man all that he could wish—that not only the soul will live for ever, but that the body will be raised from the grave, and that the entire man will become immortal. How strange it is that men will not embrace the gospel! Socrates and Cicero would have hailed its light, and welcomed its truths, as those which their whole nature panted to know.

{j} "manifest" 1 Pe 1:20

{k} "death" 1 Co 15:54

{l} "life" Joh 5:24-29


Verse 11. Whereunto I am appointed a preacher. That is, I am appointed to make these truths known. See Barnes "Eph 3:7, See Barnes "Eph 3:8".


Verse 12. For the which cause I also suffer these things. That is, I suffer on account of my purpose to carry the gospel to the Gentiles. See Barnes "Col 1:24".

Nevertheless I am not ashamed. Comp. See Barnes "Ro 1:16".

For I know whom I have believed. Marg., trusted. The idea is, that he understood the character of that Redeemer to whom he had committed his eternal interests, and knew that he had no reason to be ashamed of confiding in him. He was able to keep all that he had intrusted to his care, and would not suffer him to be lost. See Barnes "Isa 28:16".

And am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him. That is, the soul with all its immortal interests. A man has nothing of higher value to intrust to another than the intereats of his soul, and there is no other act of confidence like that in which he intrusts the keeping of that soul to the Son of God. Learn hence,

(1.) that religion consists in committing the soul to the care of the Lord Jesus; because

(a) we feel that we cannot secure its salvation ourselves;

(b) it is by nature in danger;

(c) if not saved by him, it will not be saved at all.

(2.) That is a great and invaluable treasure which is committed to him.

(a) No higher treasure can be committed to another;

(b) in connection with that the whole question of our happiness on earth and in heaven is intrusted to him, and all depends on his fidelity.

(3.) It is done by the true Christian with file most entire confidence, so that the mind is at rest. The grounds of this confidence are

(a) what is said of the mighty power of the Saviour;

(b) his promises that he will keep all who confide in him, (comp. Joh 10:27-29;)

(c) experience—the fact that those who have trusted in him have found that he is able to keep them.

(4.) This act of committing the soul, with all its interests, to the Saviour, is the true source of peace in the trials of life. This is so because

(a) having done this, we feel that our great interests are secure. If the soul is safe, why need we be disturbed by the loss of health, or property, or other temporal comforts. Those are secondary things. A man who is shipwrecked, and who sees his son or daughter safe with him on the shore, will be little concerned that a casket of jewels fell overboard—however valuable it might be.

(b) All those trials will soon pass away, and he will be safe in heaven.

(c) These very things may further the great object—the salvation of the soul. A man's great interests may be more safe when in a prison than when in a palace; on a pallet of straw than on a bed of down; when constrained to say, "Give us this day our daily bread," than when encompassed with the wealth of Croesus.

Against that day. The day of judgment—called "that day," without anything further to designate it, because it is the great day; "the day for which all other days were made." It seems to have been so much the object of thought and conversation among the early Christians that the apostle supposed that he would be understood by merely referring to it as "that day;" that is, the day which they were always preaching about, and talking about, and thinking about.

{a} "nevertheless" Ro 1:18

{1} "whom I have believed" "trusted"

{b} "have committed"


Verse 13. Hold fast the form of sound words. See Barnes "1 Ti 1:3".

On the Greek word here rendered "form," See Barnes "1 Ti 1:16, where it is rendered pattern. The word means a form, sketch, or imperfect delineation—an outline. Grotius says that it here means "an exemplar, but an exemplar fixed in the mind—an idea." Calvin says that the command is that he should adhere to the doctrine which he had learned, not only in its substance, but in its form. Archbishop Tilotson explains this as meaning the profession of faith which was made by Christians at baptism. There seems to be an allusion to some summary or outline of truth which Paul had given to Timothy, though there is no evidence that it was written. Indeed, there is every presumption that, if it refers to such a summary, it was not committed to writing. If it had been, it would have been regarded as inspired, and would have taken its place in the canon of Scripture. It may be presumed that almost none of the sacred writings would have been more sacredly preserved than such a condensed summary of Christian truth. But there is no improbability in supposing that Paul, either at his ordination, or on some other occasion, may have stated the outlines of the Christian religion to Timothy, that he might have a clear and connected view of the subject. The passage, therefore, may be used as an argument for the propriety of some brief summary of doctrine as a matter of convenience, though not as having binding authority on the consciences of others.

Of sound words. Comp. See Barnes "1 Ti 6:3".

The Greek is the same in both places.

Which thou hast heard of me. This proves that he does not refer to a written creed, since what he refers to was something which he had heard.

In faith and love which is in Christ Jesus. Hold these truths with sincere faith in the Lord Jesus, and with that love which is the best evidence of attachment to him.

{c} "fast" Re 2:25

{d} "form" Ro 6:17

{e} "sound words" 1 Ti 6:3


Verse 14. That good thing which was committed unto thee. See Barnes "1 Ti 6:20".

The reference here in the phrase, "that good thing committed to thee," is to the sound Christian doctrine with which he had been intrusted, and which he was required to transmit to others.

Keep by the Holy Ghost. By the aid of the Holy Ghost. One of the best methods of preserving the knowledge and the love of truth is to cherish the influences of the Holy Spirit.

{a} "good thing" 1 Ti 6:20

{*} "Holy Ghost" "Spirit"


Verse 15. This thou knowest, that all they which are in Asia be turned away from me. That is, in that part of Asia Minor of which Ephesus was the capital. The name Asia was often given particularly to that of Asia Minor. See Barnes "Ac 2:9" See Barnes "Ac 16:6".

This passage proves that Timothy was somewhere in that region when this epistle was written to him, for otherwise he could not be supposed to "know" what is here said. When Paul says that "all" were turned away from him, he must use the word in a general sense, for he immediately specifies one who had been faithful and kind to him.

Of whom are Phygellus and Hermogenes. We know nothing of these individuals but what is here mentioned. It would seem that they were prominent persons, and those from whom the apostle had a right to expect other treatment. "The ecclesiastical traditions allege that they were of the seventy disciples, and, in the end, became followers of Simon Magus. We imagine that this is little more than conjecture." Pict. Bib.

It is a end thing when the only record made of a man—the only evidence which we have that he ever lived at all—is, that he turned away from a friend, or forsook the paths of true religion. And yet there are many men of whom the only thing to be remembered of them is, that they lived to do wrong.

{b} "all" Ac 19:10

{c} "turned away" 2 Ti 4:10,16


Verse 16. The Lord give mercy unto the house of Onesiphorus. The family of Onesiphorus—for so the word house is often used. He was himself still living, 2 Ti 1:18, but not improbably then absent from his home. Comp. 2 Ti 4:19. H e was evidently of Asia, and is the only one who is mentioned from that region who had showed the apostle kindness in his trials. He is mentioned only in this epistle, and nothing more is known of him. The record is entirely honourable to him, and for his family the apostle felt a warm interest on account of the kindness which he had shown to him in prison. The ecclesiastical traditions also state that he was one of the seventy disciples, and was ultimately bishop of Corone. But there is no evidence of this. There is much force in the remark of the editor of the Pictorial Bible, that "the pretended lists of the seventy disciples seem to have been made out on the principle of including all the names incidentally mentioned in the sacred books, and not otherwise appropriated."

For he oft refreshed me. That is, showed me kindness, and ministered to my wants.

And was not ashamed of my chain. Was not ashamed to be known as a friend of one who was a prisoner on account of religion. Paul was bound with a chain when a prisoner at Rome, Php 1:13,14,16; Col 4:3,18; Phm 1:10; See Barnes "Ac 28:20".

{d} "Onesiphorus" 2 Ti 4:19

{e} "chain" Ac 28:20


Verse 17. But when he was in Rome. What was the employment of Onesiphorus is not known. It may have been that he was a merchant, and had occasion to visit Rome on business. At all events, he was at pains to search out the apostle, and his attention was the more valuable because it cost him trouble to find him. It is not every one, even among professors of religion, who, in a great and splendid city, would be at the trouble to search out a Christian brother, or even a minister, who was a prisoner, and endeavour to relieve his sorrows. This man, so kind to the great apostle, will be among those to whom the Saviour will say, at the final judgment, "I was in prison, and ye came unto me," Mt 25:36.


Verse 18. The Lord grant unto him that he may find mercy of the Lord in that day. The day of judgment. See Barnes "2 Ti 1:12".

This proves that Onesiphorus was then alive, as Paul would not offer prayer for him if he were dead. The Papists, indeed, argue from this in favour of praying for the dead—assuming from 2 Ti 4:19, that Onesiphorus was then dead. But there is no evidence of that. The passage in 2 Ti 4:19 would prove only that he was then absent from his family.

And in how many things he ministered unto me at Ephesus. This was the home of Onesiphorus, and his family was still there, 2 Ti 4:19. When Paul was at Ephesus, it would seem that Onesiphorus had showed him great kindness. His affection for him did not change when he became a prisoner. True friendship, and especially that which is based on religion, will live in all the vicissitudes of fortune, whether we are in prosperity or adversity; whether in a home of plenty, or in a prison.

This chapter is full of interest, and may suggest many interesting reflections. We see

(1.) A holy man in prison and about to die. He had nearly finished his course, and had the prospect of soon departing.

(2.) He was forsaken by his friends, and left to bear his sorrows alone. They on whom he might have relied, had left him; and to all his outward sufferings, there was added this, one of the keenest which his Master endured before him, that his friends forsook him, and left him to bear his sorrows alone.

(3.) Yet his mind is calm, and his faith in the gospel is unshaken. tie expresses no regret that he had embraced the gospel; no sorrow that he had been so zealous in it as to bring these calamities upon himself. That gospel he still loves, and his great solicitude is, that his young friend may never shrink from avowing it, though it may call him also to pass through scenes of persecution and sorrow.

(4.) In the general apostasy, the turning away of those on whom he might have relied, it is refreshing and interesting, to find mention made of one unshaken friend, 2 Ti 4:16. He never swerved in his affections. He had been kind to him in former years of comparative honour, and he did not leave him now in the dark day of adversity. It is always interesting to find true friendship in this world—friendship that survives all reverses, and that is willing to manifest itself when the great mass turn coldly away. There is such a thing as friendship, and there is such a thing as religion; and when they meet and mingle in the same heart, the one strengthens the other; and then neither persecution, nor poverty, nor chains, will prevent our doing good to him who is in prison is about to die. See Barnes "2 Ti 4:16".

{f} "that day" Mt 25:34-40




THIS chapter is made up of various exhortations and encouragements to duty. The apostle exhorts Timothy to be strong in the Christian graces, 2 Ti 2:1; to commit the great trust which he had received to faithful men, 2 Ti 2:2; to endure hardships like a good soldier, 2 Ti 2:3-7, and refers him

(a.) to the case of one who goes to war, whose great business it is to please him in whose service he is 2 Ti 2:4;

(b.) to the case of one who strives for a crown at the games, 2 Ti 2:5; and

(c.) to the husbandman who looks onward for the reward of his labour, 2 Ti 2:6. He then, in order to encourage to be patient in enduring the trials to which he would be exposed, refers him

(a.) to the certainty of the truth of that religion in whose cause he would suffer, 2 Ti 2:8;

(b.) to his own case, reminding him how much he had endured in that cause, 2 Ti 2:9,10;

(c.) to the fact that our sufferings here will be crowned with certain glory hereafter, 2 Ti 2:11,12; and

(d.) to the assurance that the Lord Jesus will be faithful to all his promises to his people, 2 Ti 2:13. These things the apostle then exhorts him to press upon the hearts of others, that they might not waste their time in unprofitable pursuits, but might engage in the same great and arduous struggle for securing the reward, 2 Ti 2:14. He then exhorts Timothy to study to perform his duties in such a way that he Would not be ashamed, and to avoid the unimportant strifes which were then raging; and to enforce this, he refers to a real case with which Timothy was acquainted—that of Hymeneus and Philetus, who, by unprofitable speculations, had been led to deny a fundamental doctrine of religion, 2 Ti 2:15-18. Yet, Paul says, he should not be discouraged because some had been led into dangerous errors. The foundation of God remained firm. Those that were truly his were known, and would not apostatize, 2 Ti 2:19. In illustration of this, and to show that it was to be expected that all would not honour religion, the apostle refers to a house in which there were all sorts of vessels, some to honour and some to dishonour, and says that, if any one would endeavour to free himself from all that was base and impure, he would be a vessel meet for the use of the Master, 2 Ti 2:20,21. To accomplish this, he gives Timothy various directions respecting his conduct. He was to flee from youthful lusts; he was to follow righteousness, faith, charity, and peace; he was to avoid foolish questions; he was to be example of gentleness and meekness, and he was patiently to instruct those that were of a different character, 2 Ti 2:22-26.

Verse 1. Thou therefore. In view of the fact stated in the previous chapter, that many had turned away from the apostle, and had forsaken the paths of truth.

Be strong in the grace which is in Christ Jesus. Comp. See Barnes "Eph 6:10".

The meaning is, Be strong, relying on the grace which the Lord Jesus only can impart.

{a} "be strong" Jos 1:7; Eph 6:10


Verse 2. And the things which thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, Marg. by. Before, or in the presence of, many witnesses. Perhaps he refers to a solemn charge which he gave him, in the presence of the church, when he was ordained. It is by no means improbable that such a charge was given then to a newly-ordained minister, as it is now. On such an occasion, the apostle would be likely to state a summary of Christian doctrine,— See Barnes "2 Ti 1:13, —and to exhort Timothy to a faithful adherence to it.

The same commit thou to faithful men. In the same way as those things have been committed to you. The reference is undoubtedly to ordination to the ministerial office. Timothy was to see that those only were admitted to the ministry who were qualified to understand the truths of religion, and to communicate them to others. This is a clear warrant for ministers to set apart others to the same sacred office. It does not prove that the people are not at liberty to choose their own pastor, but only that those in the ministry are to set apart others to the same office with themselves. There is, doubtless, to be a succession of ministers in the church; but the true line of the succession is to be found in good men who are qualified to teach, and who have the Spirit of Christ, and not merely in those who have been ordained.

Who shall be able to teach others also. On the qualifications of ministers, See Barnes "1 Ti 3:2, also 1 Ti 3:3-7.

{1} "among many witnesses" "by"

{b} "thou to faithful" 1 Ti 1:18

{c} "able to teach" Tit 1:9


Verse 3. Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. Such hardships as a soldier is called to endure. The apostle supposes that a minister of the gospel might be called to endure hardships, and that it is reasonable that he should be as ready to do it as a soldier is. On the hardships which he endured himself, See Barnes "2 Co 11:23-29".

Soldiers often endure great privations. Taken from their homes and friends; exposed to cold, or heat, or storms, or fatiguing marches; sustained on coarse fare, or almost destitute of food, they are often compelled to endure as much as the human frame can bear, and often, indeed, sink under their burdens and die. If, for reward or their country's sake, they are willing to do this, the soldier of the cross should be willing to do it for his Saviour's sake, and for the good of the human race. Hence, let no man seek the office of the ministry as a place of ease. Let no one' come into it merely to enjoy himself. Let no one enter it who is not prepared to lead a soldier's life, and to welcome hard, ship and trial as his portion. He would make a bad soldier, who, at his enlistment, should make it a condition that he should be permitted to sleep on a bed of down, and always be well clothed and fed, and never exposed to peril, or compelled to pursue a wearisome march. Yet do not some men enter the ministry, making these the conditions? And would they enter the ministry on any other terms?

{d} "hardness" 1 Ti 1:18


Verse 4. No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life. Having alluded to the soldier, and stated one thing in which the Christian minister is to resemble him, another point of resemblance is suggested to the mind of the apostle. Neither the minister nor the soldier is to be encumbered with the affairs of this life, and the one should not be more than the other. This is always a condition in becoming a soldier. He gives up his own business during the time for which he is enlisted, and devotes himself to the service of his country. The farmer leaves his plough, and the mechanic his shop, and the merchant his store, and the student his books, and the lawyer his brief; and neither of them expect to pursue these things while engaged in the service of their country. It would be wholly impracticable to carry on the plans of a campaign, if each one of these classes should undertake to prosecute his private business. See this fully illustrated from the Rules of War among the Romans, by Grotius, in loc. Roman soldiers were not allowed to marry, or to engage in any husbandry or trade; and they were forbidden to act as tutors to any person, or curators to any man's estate, or proctors in the cause of other men. The general principle was, that they were excluded from those relations, agencies, and engagements, which it was thought would divert their minds from that which was to be the sole object of pursuit. So with the ministers of the gospel. It is equally improper for them to 'entangle' themselves with the business of a farm or plantation; with plans of speculation and gain, and with any purpose of worldly aggrandizement. The minister of the gospel accomplishes the design of his appointment only when he can say in sincerity, that he "is not entangled with the affairs of this life." Comp. See Barnes "1 Co 9:25-27".

That he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier. That is, him who has enlisted him, or in whose employ he is. His great object is, to approve himself to him. It is not to pursue his own plans, or to have his own will, or to accumulate property or fame for himself. His will is absorbed in the will of his commander, and his purpose is accomplished if he meet with his approbation. Nowhere else is it so true that the will of one becomes lost in that of another, as in the case of the soldier. In an army it is contemplated that there shall be but one mind, one heart, one purpose, that of the commander; and that the whole army shall be as obedient to that as the members of the human body are to the one will that controls all. The application of this is obvious. The grand purpose of the minister of the gospel is to please Christ. He is to pursue no separate plans, and to have no separate will, of his own; and it is contemplated that the whole corps of Christian ministers and members of the churches shall be as entirely subordinate to the will of Christ, as an army is to the orders of its chief.

{e} "warreth" 1 Co 9:25,26


Verse 5. And if a man also strive for masteries. As in the Grecian games. See this favourite illustration of Paul explained See Barnes "1 Co 9:24, seq.

Yet is he not crowned except he strives lawfully. In conformity with the rules of the games. See Grotius, in loc. NO one could obtain the prize unless he had complied with all the laws of the games, and had thus given to those with whom he contended, a fair opportunity to succeed. "In those contests, he who transgressed the rules in the least matter, not only failed of the prize, even though the apparent victor, but was sometimes disgraced and punished," Pict. Bib. So the apostle here represents the Christian minister as engaged in a struggle or conflict for the crown. He says, that he could not hope to win it unless he should comply with all the laws by which it is conferred; unless he should subdue every improper propensity; and make an effort like that evinced by the combatants at the Olympic games. Comp. See Barnes "1 Co 9:26, See Barnes "1 Co 9:27".


Verse 6. The husbandman that laboureth. The margin is, "labouring first, must be partaker." The idea, according to the translation in the text, is, that there is a fitness or propriety (dei) that the man who cultivates the earth, should enjoy the fruits of his labour. See the same image explained See Barnes "1 Co 9:10".

But if this be the meaning here, it is not easy to see why the apostle introduces it. According to the marginal reading, the word 'first' is introduced in connexion with the word labour—" labouring first, must be partaker." That is, it is a great law that the husbandman must work before he receives a harvest. This sense will accord with the purpose of the apostle. It was to remind Timothy that labour must precede reward; that if a man would reap, he must sow; that he could hope for no fruits, unless he toiled for them. The point was not that the husbandman would be the first one who would partake of the fruits; but that he must first labour before he obtained the reward. Thus understood, this would be an encouragement to Timothy to persevere in his toils, looking onward to the reward. The Greek will bear this construction, though it is not the most obvious one.

{2} "that laboureth" "labouring first must be partaker"


Verse 7. Consider what I say. See Barnes "1 Ti 4:15".

The sense is, "Think of the condition of the soldier, and the principles on which he is enlisted; think of the aspirant for the crown in the Grecian games; think of the farmer, patiently toiling in the prospect of the distant harvest; and then go to your work with a similar spirit." These things are worth attention. When the minister of the gospel thinks of his hardships, of his struggles against an evil world, and of his arduous and constant discouraging toil, let him think of the soldier, of the man who struggles for this world's honours, and of the patient farmer —and be content. How patiently do they bear all, and yet for what inferior rewards! And the Lord give thee understanding in all things. Enable you to see the force of these considerations, and to apply them to your own case. Such are often the discouragements of the ministry; so prone is the mind to despondency, that we need the help of the Lord to enable us to apply the most obvious considerations, and to derive support from the most plain and simple truths and promises.

{b} "the Lord" Pr 2:6


Verse 8. Remember that Jesus Christ, of the seed of David, was raised from the dead. Or rather, perhaps, "Remember Jesus Christ; who was raised from the dead." The idea seems not to be, as our translators supposed, that he was to reflect on the fact that he was raised from the dead; but rather that he was to think of the Saviour himself. "Think of the Saviour, now raised up from the dead after all the sorrows of this life, and let this encourage you to bear your trials." There is nothing better fitted to enable Us to endure the labours and trials of this life, than to think of the Saviour. On the phrase, 'seed of David,' See Barnes "Ro 1:3".

According to my gospel. The gospel which I preach. See Barnes "2 Th 2:14".

{c} "Jesus Christ" Ro 1:3,4


Verse 9. Wherein I suffer trouble as an evil-doer. As if I were a violator of the laws. That is, I am treated as if I were a criminal.

Even unto bonds. As if I were one of the worst kind of malefactors, See Barnes "Eph 6:20".

During the apostle's first imprisonment at Rome, he was permitted to "dwell in his own hired house," though guarded by a soldier, and probably chained to him. See Barnes "Ac 28:16,30".

What was his condition in his second imprisonment, during which this epistle was written, we have no means of knowing with certainty. It is probable, however, that he was subjected to much more rigid treatment than he had been in the first instance. The tradition is, that he and Peter were together in the Mamertine prison at Rome; and the place is still shown in which it is said that they were confined. The Mamertine prisons are of great antiquity. According to Livy, they were constructed by Ancus Marrtius, and enlarged by Servius Tullius. The lower prison is supposed to have been once a quarry, and to have been at one time occupied as a granary. These prisons are on the descent of the Capitoline Mount, towards the Forum. They consist of two apartments, one over the other, built with large, uncemented stones. There is no entrance to either, except by a small aperture in the roof, and by a small hole in the upper floor, leading to the cell below, without any staircase to either. The upper prison is twenty-seven feet long, by twenty wide; the lower one is elliptical, and measures twenty feet by ten. In the lower one is a small spring, which is said at Rome to have arisen at the command of Peter, to enable him to baptize his keepers, Processus and Martianus, with forty-seven companions, whom he converted. No certain reliance can be placed on any part of this tradition, though in itself there is no improbability in supposing that these prisons may have been used for confining Christians, and the apostle Paul among others. Dr. Burton says, that a more horrible place for the confinement of a human being can scarcely be conceived.

But the word of God is not bound. This is one of Paul's happy turns of thought. Comp. Ac 26:29. The meaning is plain. The gospel was prospered. That could not be lettered hand imprisoned. It circulated with freedom, even when he who was appointed to preach it was in chains. See Php 1:13,14. As this was the great matter, his own imprisonment was of comparatively little consequence. What may befall us is of secondary importance. The grand thing is, the triumph of truth on the earth; and well may we bear privations and sorrows, if the gospel moves on in triumph.

{d} "unto bonds" Eph 6:20


Verse 10. Therefore I endure all things for the elect's sakes. See Barnes "2 Co 1:6".

The sense is, What I suffer is in the cause of the church, spoken of here, as it is often, as chosen, or elected. See Barnes "Eph 1:4".

That they may also obtain the salvation, etc. Their salvation, though they were elected, could not be secured without proper efforts. The meaning of the apostle here is, that he was willing to suffer if he might save others; and any one ought to be willing to suffer in order to secure the salvation of the elect—for it was an object for which the Redeemer was willing to lay down his life.

{e} "elect's sake" 2 Co 1:6


Verse 11. It is a faithful saying. Or, rather, that which he was about to say was worthy of entire credence and profound attention. See Barnes "1 Ti 1:15".

The object is, to encourage Timothy to bear trials by the hope of salvation.

For if we be dead with him. See Barnes "Ro 6:8".

We shall also live with him. This was a sort of maxim, or a settled point, which is often referred to in the Bible. See Barnes "Ro 6:3".

See Barnes "Ro 6:4, See Barnes "Ro 6:5" See Barnes "Joh 11:25" See Barnes "1 Th 4:14".

{f} "if we be dead" Ro 6:5,8


Verse 12. If we suffer, we shall also reign with him. The meaning is, that the members will be treated as the Head is. We become united with him by faith; and, if we share his treatment on earth we shall share his triumphs in heaven. See Barnes "Ro 8:17".

If we deny him, he also will deny us. See Barnes "Mt 10:32, See Barnes "Mt 10:33".

{g} "deny him" Mt 10:33


Verse 13. If we believe not, yet he abideth faithful. This cannot mean that, if we live in sin, he will certainly save us, as if he had made any promise to the elect, or formed any purpose that he would save them, whatever might be their conduct; for

(1.) he had just said, that if we deny him he will deny us; and

(2.) there is no such promise in the Bible, and no such purpose has been formed. The promise is, that he that is a believer shall be saved, and there is no purpose to save any but such as lead holy lives. The meaning must be, that if we are unbelieving and unfaithful, Christ will remain true to his word, and we cannot hope to be saved. The object of the apostle evidently is, to excite Timothy to fidelity in the performance of duty, and to encourage him to bear trials, by the assurance that we cannot hope to escape if we are not faithful to the cause of the Saviour. This interpretation accords with the design which he had in view.

He cannot deny himself. Implying that it would be a denial of his very nature to save those who are unfaithful. He is holy; and how can he save one who is unholy? His very nature is purity; and how can he save one who has no purity? Let no one, then, suppose that, because he is elected, he is safe, if he lives in sin. The electing purpose of God, indeed, makes salvation sure; but it is only for those who lead righteous lives. Nothing would be more dishonourable for God than to resolve to save a man that lived habitually in sin; and if that were the doctrine of election, it would deserve all the opprobrium that has ever been heaped upon it.

{h} "If we believe not" Ro 3:3

{i} "he cannot" Nu 23:19


Verse 14. Of these things put them in remembrance. These great principles in regard to the kingdom of Christ. They would be as useful to others as they were for Timothy, to whom they were specially addressed.

Charging them before the Lord. In the presence of the Lord, implying that it was a very important matter. See Barnes "1 Ti 1:18".

That they strive not about words to no profit. See Barnes "1 Ti 1:6" See Barnes "1 Ti 6:4".

But to the subverting of the hearers. Turning them away from the simplicity of faith. It is rare, indeed, that a religious controversy does not produce this effect, and this is commonly the case, where, as often happens, the matter in dispute is of little importance.

{k} "put them" 2 Pe 1:13

{l} "strive not" Tit 3:9,10


Verse 15. Study to show thyself approved unto God. Give diligence, 2 Pe 1:10, or make an effort so to discharge-the duties of the ministerial office as to meet the Divine approbation. The object of the ministry is not to please men. Such doctrines should be preached, and such plans formed, and such a manner of life pursued, as God will approve. To do this demands study or care—for there are many temptations to the opposite course; there are many things the tendency of which is to lead a minister to seek popular favour rather than the Divine approval. If any man please God, it will be as the result of deliberate intention and a careful life.

A workman that needeth not to be ashamed. A man faithfully performing his duty, so that when he looks over what he has done, he may not blush.

Rightly dividing the word of truth. The word here rendered "rightly dividing," occurs nowhere else in the New Testament. It means, properly, to cut straight, to divide right; and the allusion here may be to a steward who makes a proper distribution to each one under his care of such things as his office and their necessities require. Comp. See Barnes "Mt 13:52".

Some have supposed that there is an allusion here to the Jewish priest cutting or dividing the sacrifice into proper parts; others, that the allusion is to the Scribes dividing the law into sections; others, to a carver distributing food to the guests at a feast. Robinson (Lex.) renders it, "rightly proceeding as to the word of truth;" that is, rightfully and skilfully teaching the word of truth. The idea seems to be, that the minister of the gospel is to make a proper distribution of that word, adapting his instructions to the circumstances and wants of his hearers, and giving to each that which will be fitted to nourish the soul for heaven.

{a} "Study" 2 Pe 1:10

{b} "rightly dividing" Mt 13:52


Verse 16. But shun profane and vain babblings. See Barnes "1 Ti 6:20".

For they will increase unto more ungodliness. Their tendency is to alienate the soul from God, and to lead to impiety. Such kinds of disputation are not merely a waste of time, they are productive of positive mischief. A man fond of contention in religious things is seldom one who has much love for the practical duties of piety, or any very deep sense of the distinction between right and wrong. You will not usually look for him in the place of prayer, nor can you expect his aid in the conversion of sinners, nor will you find that he has any very strict views of religious obligation.


Verse 17. And their word. The word, or the discourses of those who love vain and idle disputations.

Will eat as doth a canker. Marg. gangrene. This word— gaggraina occurs nowhere else in the New Testament. It is derived from graiw, grainw, graio or graino—to devour, corrode, and means gangrene or mortifications the death of a part, spreading, unless arrested, by degrees over the whole body. The words rendered "will eat," mean will have nutriment; that is, will spread over and consumes the healthful parts. It will not merely destroy the parts immediately affected, bat will extend into the surrounding healthy parts and destroy them also. So it is with erroneous doctrines. They will not merely eat out the truth in the particular matter to which they refer, but they will also spread over and corrupt other truths. The doctrines of religion are closely connected, and are dependent on each other—like the different parts of the human body. One cannot be corrupted without affecting those adjacent to it, and unless checked, the corruption will soon spread over the whole.

Of whom is Hymeneus and Philetus. In regard to Hymeneus, See Barnes "1 Ti 1:20".

Of Philetus nothing more is known. They have gained an undesirable immortality, destined to be known to the end of time only as the advocates of error.

{1} "canker" "gangrene"


Verse 18. Who concerning the truth have erred. To what extent they had erred is unknown. Paul mentions only one point—that pertaining to the resurrection; but says that this was like a gangrene. It would certainly, unless checked, destroy all the other doctrines of religion. No man can safely hold a single error, any more than he can safely have one part of his body in a state of mortification.

Saying, that the resurrection is past already. It is not known in what form they held this opinion. It may have been, as Augustine supposes, that they taught that there was no resurrection but that which occurs in the soul when it is recovered from the death of sin, and made to live anew. Or it may be that they held that those who had died had experienced all the resurrection which they ever would, by passing into another state, and receiving at death a spiritual body fitted to their mode of being in the heavenly world. Whatever was the form of the opinion, the apostle regarded it: as a most dangerous error, for just views of the resurrection undoubtedly lie at the foundation of correct apprehensions of the Christian system. Comp. See Barnes "1 Co 15:12, seq.

And overthrow the faith of some. That is, on this point, and as would appear on all the correlative subjects of Christian belief. Comp. 1 Ti 1:19,20.

{c} "have erred" 1 Ti 6:21

{d} "saying" 1 Co 15:12


Verse 19. Nevertheless the foundation of God is sure. Marg. steady. The meaning is, that though some had been turned away by the arts of these errorists, yet the foundation of the church which God had laid remained firm. Comp. Eph 2:20, "And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner-stone." As long as this foundation remained farm, there was no reason to be troubled from the few-instances of apostasy which had occurred. Comp. Ps 11:3. It is not uncommon to compare the church to a building erected on a solid foundation. Eph 2:20,21 1 Co 3:9,10; Mt 16:18.

Having this seal. Or rather a seal with this inscription. The word seal is sometimes used to denote the instrument by which an impression is made, and sometimes the impression or inscription itself. A seal is used for security Mt 27:66, or as a mark of genuineness, Re 9:4. The seal here is one that was affixed to the foundation, and seems to refer to some inscription on the foundation-stone which always remained there, and which denoted the character and design of the edifice. The allusion is to the custom, in rearing an edifice, of inscribing the name of the builder and the design of the edifice on the corner-stone. See Rosenmuller, Alte u. neue Morgenland, No. 405. So the church of Christ is a budding reared by the hands of God. Its foundation has been firmly and securely laid, and on that foundation there is an inscription always remaining, which determines the character of the edifice.

The Lord knoweth them that are his. This is one of the inscriptions on the foundation-stone of the church, which seems to mark the character of the building. It always stands there, no matter who apostatizes. It is, at the same time, a fearful inscription —showing that no one can deceive God; that he is intimately acquainted with all who enter that building; and that in the multitudes which enter there, the friends and the foes of God are intimately known. He can separate his own friends from all others, and his constant care will be extended to all who are truly his own, to keep them from failing. This has the appearance of being a quotation, but no such passage is found in the Old Testament in so many words. In Na 1:7, the following words are found: "And he knoweth them that trust in him;" and it is possible that Paul may have had that in his eye; but it is not necessary to suppose that he designed it as a quotation. A phrase somewhat similar to this is found in Nu 16:5, "The Lord will show who are his," rendered in the Septuagint, "God knoweth who are his;" and Whitby supposes that this is the passage referred to. But whether Paul had these passages in view or not, it is clear that he meant to say that it was one of the fundamental things in religion, that God knew who were his own people, and that he would preserve them from the danger of making shipwreck of their faith.

And, Let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity. This is the other seal or inscription which is made on the foundation which God has laid. The foundation has two inscriptions-the first implying that God knows all who are his own people; the other, that all who are his professed people should depart from evil. This is not found in so many words in the Old Testament, and, like the former, it is not to be regarded as a quotation. The meaning is, that it is an elementary principle in the true church, that all who become members of it should lead holy lives. It was also true that they would lead holy lives, and amidst all the defections of errorists, and all their attempts to draw away others from the true faith, those might be known to be the true people of God who did avoid evil.

{e} "foundation" Pr 10:25

{f} "Lord" Na 1:7; Joh 10:14,27

{g} "Let every one" Ps 97:10


Verse 20. But in a great house. Still keeping up the comparison of the church with a building. The idea is, that the church is a large edifice, and that in such a building we are not to expect entire uniformity in all the articles which it contains.

There are not only vessels of gold and of silver, etc. You are not to expect to find all the articles of furniture alike, or all made of the same material. Variety in the form, and use, and material, is necessary in furnishing such a house.

And some to honour, and some to dishonour. Some to most honourable uses—as drinking-vessels, and vessels to contain costly viands, and some for the less honourable purposes connected with cooking, etc. The same thing is to be expected in the church. See this idea illustrated at greater length under another figure: See Barnes "1 Co 12:14, also 1 Co 12:15-26. Comp. See Barnes "Ro 9:21".

The application here seems to be, that in the church it is to be presumed that there will be a great variety of gifts and attainments, and that we are no more to expect that all will be alike than we are that all the vessels in a large house will be made of gold.

{a} "vessels" Ro 9:21


Verse 21. If a man therefore purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel of honour. If a man cleanse or purify himself. Comp. See Barnes "Joh 15:2".

The word "these" refers, here, to the persons represented by the vessels of wood and of earth—the vessels made to dishonour, as mentioned in the previous verse. The idea is, that if one would preserve himself from the corrupting influence of such men, he would be fitted to be a vessel of honour, or to be employed in the most useful and honourable service in the cause of his Master. On the word vessel, See Barnes "Ac 9:16".

And meet for the Master's use. Fit to be employed by the Lord Jesus in promoting his work on earth.

{b} "If a man" Jer 15:19

{c} "prepared" 2 Ti 3:17


Verse 22. Flee also youthful lusts. Such passions as youth are o. On subject to. the word flee, and the pertinency of its use in such a connection, See Barnes "1 Co 6:18".

Paul felt that Timothy, then a young man, was subject to the same passions as other young men; and hence his repeated cautions to him to avoid all those things arising from his youth, which might be the occasion of scandal. Comp. See Barnes "1 Ti 4:12".

See Barnes "1Ti 5:2".

It is to be remembered that this epistle is applicable to other ministers, as well as to Timothy; and, to a young man in the ministry no counsel could be more appropriate than to "Flee from youthful lusts;" not to indulge for a moment in those corrupt passions to which youth are subject, but to cultivate the pure and sober virtues which become the ministerial office.

But follow righteousness, etc. Comp. See Barnes "Heb 12:14".

The general meaning here is, that he was to practise all that is good and virtuous. He was to practise righteousness, or justice and equity, in all his dealings with men; faith, or fidelity in his duties; charity, or love to all men, See Barnes "1 Co 13:1, seq. peace, or harmony and concord with all others. What virtues could be more appropriate for a minister of the gospel?

With them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart. That is, with all Christians, who are often characterized as those who call on the Lord, 1 Co 1:2. Comp. Ac 9:11. In all his intercourse with them, Timothy was to manifest the virtues above recommended. But not with them alone. It would be incumbent on him to exhibit the same virtues in his intercourse with all.

{d} "Flee" Ec 11:9,10

{e} "follow" Heb 12:14

{f} "call on the Lord" 1 Co 1:2


Verse 23. But foolish and unlearned questions avoid. See Barnes "1 Ti 1:4" See Barnes "1 Ti 1:6" See Barnes "1 Ti 4:7".

The word unlearned, here, means trifling; that which does not tend to edification; stupid. The Greeks and the Hebrews were greatly given to controversies of various kinds; and many of the questions discussed pertained to points which could not be settled, or which, if settled, were of no importance. Such has been the character of no small part of the disputes which have agitated the world. Paul correctly says that the only effect of such disputes is to engender harsh contention. Points of real importance can be discussed with no injury to the temper; but men cannot safely dispute about trifles.

{g} "questions" 2 Ti 2:16


Verse 24. And the servant of the Lord. Referring here primarily to the Christian minister, but applicable to all Christians; for all profess to be the servants of the Lord.

Must not strive. He may calmly inquire after truth; he may discuss points of morals, or theology, if he will do it with a proper spirit; he may "contend earnestly for the faith once delivered to the saints," (Jude 1:3;) but he may not do that which is here mentioned as strife. The Greek word— macesyai —commonly denotes, to fight to make war, to contend. In Joh 6:52; Ac 7:26; 2 Ti 2:24, it is rendered strove, and strive; in Jas 4:2, fight. It is not elsewhere used in the New Testament. The meaning is, that the servant of Christ should be a man of peace. He should not indulge in the feelings which commonly give rise to contention, and which commonly characterize it. He should not struggle for mere victory, even when endeavouring to maintain truth; but should do this, in all cases, with a kind spirit, and a mild temper; with entire candour; with nothing designed to provoke and irritate an adversary; and so that, whatever may be the result of the discussion, "the bond of peace" may, if possible, be preserved. Comp. See Barnes "Ro 12:18".

But be gentle unto all men. See Barnes "1 Th 2:7".

The word rendered gentle, does not occur elsewhere in the New Testament. It means that the Christian minister is to be meek and mild towards all, not disputatious and quarrelsome.

Apt to teach. Notes, 1 Ti 3:2.

Patient. Marg., forbearing. The Greek word here used does not elsewhere occur in the New Testament. It means, patient under evils and injuries. Robinson, Lex. Comp. See Barnes "Eph 4:2" See Barnes "Col 3:13"

{1} "patient" "forbearing" iv. 2; Col. 3:13.


Verse 25. In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves. That is, those who embrace error, and array themselves against the truth. We are not to become angry with such persons, and denounce them at once as heretics. We are not to hold them up to public reproach and scorn; but we are to set about the business of patiently instructing them. Their grand difficulty, it is supposed in this direction, is, that they are ignorant of the truth. Our business with them is, calmly to show them what the truth is. If they are angry, we are not to be. If they oppose the truth, we are still calmly to state it to them. If they are slow to see it, we are not to become weary or impatient, Nor, if they do not embrace it at all, are we to become angry with them, and denounce them. We may pity them, but we need not use hard words. This is the apostolic precept about the way of treating those who are in error; and can any one fail to see its beauty and propriety? Let it be remembered, also, that this is not only beautiful and proper in itself; it is the wisest course, if we would bring others over to our opinions. You are not likely to convince a man that you are right, and that he is wrong, if you first make him angry; nor are you very likely to do it, if you enter into harsh contention. You then put him on his guard; you make him a party; and, from self-respect, or pride, or anger, he will endeavour to defend his own opinions, and will not yield to yours. Meekness and gentleness are the very best things, if you wish to convince another that he is wrong. Win his heart first, and then modestly and kindly show him what the truth is, in as few words, and with as unassuming a spirit, as possible, and you have him.

If God peradventure will give them repentance, etc. Give them such a view of the error which they have embraced, and such regret for having embraced it, that they shall be willing to admit the truth. After all our care in teaching others the truth, our only dependence is on God for its success. We cannot be absolutely certain that they will see their error; we cannot rely certainly on any power which argument will have; we can only hope that God may show them their error, and enable them to see and embrace the truth. Compare Ac 11:18. The word rendered peradventure, here mhpote—means, usually, not even, never; and then, that never, lest ever—the same as lest perhaps. It is translated lest at any time, Mt 4:6; 5:26; 13:15; Mr 4:12; Lu 21:34

lest, Mt 7:6; 13:29; 15:32, et al.; lest haply, Lu 14:12; Ac 5:39. It does not imply that there was any chance about what is said, but rather that there was uncertainty in the mind of the speaker, and that there was need of caution lest something should occur; or, that anything was done, or should be done, to prevent something from happening. It is not used elsewhere in the New Testament in the sense which our translators, and all the critics, so far as I have examined, give to it here—as implying a hope that God would give them repentance, etc. But I may be permitted to suggest another interpretation, which will accord with the uniform meaning of the word in the New Testament, and which will refer the matter to those who had embraced the error, and not to God. It is this: "In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves—(antidiatiyemenouv) lest —mhpote —God should give them repentance, and they should recover themselves out of the snare of the devil," etc. That is, they put themselves in this posture of opposition so that they shall not be brought to repentance, and recover themselves. They do it with a precautionary view that they may not be thus brought to repentance, and be recovered to God. They take this position of opposition to the truth, intending not to be converted; and this is the reason why they are not converted.

{h} "meekness" Ga 6:1

{i} "peradventure" Ac 8:22

{k} "acknowledge" Tit 1:1


Verse 26. And that they may recover themselves. Marg., awake. The word which is rendered recover in the text and awake in the margin ananhqwsin occurs nowhere else in the New Testament. It properly means, to become sober again, as from inebriation; to awake from a deep sleep; and then, to come to a right mind, as one does who is aroused from a state of inebriety, or from sleep. The representation in this part of the verse implies that while under the influence of error, they were like a man intoxicated, or like one in deep slumber. From this state they were to be roused, as one is from sleep, or as a man is recovered from the stupor and dullness of intoxication.

Out of the snare of the devil. The snare which the devil has spread for them, and in which they have become entangled. There is a little confusion of metaphor here, since in the first part of the verse, they are represented as asleep, or intoxicated; and, here, as taken in a snare. Yet the general idea is clear. In one part of the verse, the influence of error is represented as producing sleep, or stupor; in the other, as being taken in a snare or net; and, in both, the idea is, that an effort was to be made that they might be rescued from this perilous condition.

Who are taken captive by him at his will. Marg., alive. The Greek word means, properly, to take alive; and then to take captive, to win over, Lu 5:10; and then to ensnare, or seduce. Here it means that they had been ensnared by the arts oh Satan unto (eiv) his will; that is, they were so influenced by him, that they complied with his will. Another interpretation of this passage should be mentioned here, by which it is proposed to avoid the incongruousness of the metaphor of awaking one from a snare. It is adopted by Doddridge, and is suggested also by Burder, as quoted by Rosenmuller, A.u.n. Morgenland. According to this, the reference is to an artifice of fowlers, to scatter seeds impregnated with some intoxicating drugs, intended to lay birds asleep, that they may draw the snare over them more securely. There can be no doubt that such arts were practised, and it is possible that Paul may have alluded to it. Whatever is the allusion, the general idea is clear. It is an affecting representation of those who have fallen into error. They are in a deep slumber. They are as if under the fatal influence of some stupefying potion. They are like birds taken alive in this state, and at the mercy of the fowler. They will remain in this condition, unless they shall be roused by the mercy of God; and it is the business of the ministers of religion to carry to them that gospel call, which God is accustomed to bless in showing them their danger. That message should be continually sounded in the ears of the sinner, with the prayer and the hope that God will make it the means of arousing him to seek his salvation.

{1} "recover" "awake"

{a} "snare" 1 Ti 3:7

{2} "captive" "alive"


2nd Timothy Chapter 3


IN the first part of this chapter, 2 Ti 3:1-8, Paul reminds Timothy of the great apostasy which was to be expected in the church, and states some of the characteristics of it. In 2 Ti 3:9, he says that that apostasy would not always continue; but would be at some time arrested, and so arrested as to show to all men the folly of those who were concerned in it. In 2 Ti 3:10,11, he refers Timothy to his own manner of life in the midst of persecutions, as an encouragement to him to bear the trials which might be expected to occur to him in a similar manner. "Perilous times" were to come, and Timothy might be expected to be called to pass through trials similar to those which Paul himself had experienced. In those times the remembrance of his example would be invaluable. In 2 Ti 3:12,13, he assures Timothy that persecutions and trials were to be expected by all who aimed to lead holy lives, and that it was as certainly to be expected that evil men would become worse and worse. And in 2 Ti 3:14-17, he exhorts him to be steadfast in maintaining the truth; and to encourage him to do this, reminds him of his early training in the Holy Scriptures, and of the value of those Scriptures. To the Scriptures he might repair in all times of trial, and find support in the Divine promises. What he had learned there was the inspired truth of God, and was able to make him wise, and to furnish him abundantly for all that he was to do or to suffer.

Verse 1. This know also. The object of this reference to the perilous times which were to occur, was evidently to show the necessity of using every precaution to preserve the purity of the church, from the fact that such sad scenes were to open upon it. The apostle had dwelt upon this subject in his first epistle to Timothy, 1 Ti 4, but its importance leads him to advert to it again.

In the last days. Under the gospel dispensation; some time in that period during which the affairs of the world will be closed up. See Barnes "1 Ti 4:1; Heb 1:2".

Perilous times shall come. Times of danger, of persecution, and of trial. On the general meaning of this passage, and the general characteristics of those times, the reader may consult See Barnes "2 Th 2:1" seq. See Barnes "1 Ti 4:1, seq. There can be no doubt that in all these passages the apostle refers to the same events.

{b} "that" 1 Ti 4:1; 2 Pe 3:3; 1 Jo 2:18; Jude 1:17,18


Verse 2. For men shall be lovers of their own selves. It shall be one of the characteristics of those times, that men shall be eminently selfish, evidently under the garb of religion. 2 Ti 3:5. The word here used filautov—does not elsewhere occur in the New Testament. It means a lover of one's self, selfish. Such a love of self as to lead us to secure our salvation is proper. But this interferes with the rights and happiness of no other persons. the selfishness which is condemned, is that regard to our own interests which interferes with the rights and comforts of others; which makes self the central and leading object of living; and which tramples on all that would interfere with that. As such it is a base and hateful and narrow passion; but it has been so common in the world that no one can doubt the correctness of the prophecy of the apostle that it would exist "in the last times."

Covetous. Gr., Lovers of silver; i.e., of money, see Lu 16:14. See Barnes "1 Ti 6:10".

Boasters. See Barnes "Ro 1:30".

Proud. See Barnes "Ro 1:30".

Blasphemers. See Barnes "Mt 9:3".

Disobedient to parents. See Barnes "Ro 1:30".

Unthankful. See Lu 6:35. The word here used occurs in the New Testament only in these two places. Ingratitude has always been regarded as one of the worst of crimes. It is said here that it would characterize that wicked age of which the apostle speaks, and its prevalence would, as it always does, indicate a decline of religion. Religion makes us grateful to every benefactor—to God, and to man.

Unholy. See Barnes "1 Ti 1:9".

{c} "men" Ro 1:29-31


Verse 3. Without natural affection. See Barnes "Ro 1:31".

Trucebreakers. The same word in Ro 1:31, is rendered implacable. See Barnes "Ro 1:31".

It properly means, without treaty; that is, those who are averse to any treaty or compact. It may thus refer to those who are unwilling to enter into any agreement; that is, either those who are unwilling to be reconciled to others when there is a variance— implacable; or those who disregard treaties or agreements. In either case, this marks a very corrupt condition of society. Nothing would be more indicative of the lowest state of degradation, than that in which all compacts and agreements were utterly disregarded.

False accusers. Marg., makebates. The word makebate means one who excites contentions and quarrels. Webster. The Greek here is diaboloi—devils —the primitive meaning of which is, calumniator, slanderer, accuser. Comp. See Barnes "1 Ti 3:11, where the word is rendered slanderers.

Incontinent. 1 Co 7:5. Literally, without strength; that is, without strength to resist the solicitations of passion, or who readily yield to it.

Fierce. The Greek word used here— anhmerov does not elsewhere occur in the New Testament. It means ungentle, harsh, severe, and is the opposite of gentleness and mildness. Religion produces gentleness; the want of it makes men rough, harsh, cruel. See Barnes "2 Ti 2:24".

Despisers of those that are good. In Tit 1:8, it is said of a bishop that he must be "a lover of good men." This, in every condition of life, is a virtue; and hence the opposite of it is here set down as one of the characteristics of that evil age of which the apostle speaks.

{1} "false accusers" "makebates"


Verse 4. Traitors. This word is used in the New Testament only here and in Lu 6:16; Ac 7:52. It means any one who betrays— whether it be a friend or his country. Treason has been in all ages regarded as one of the worst crimes that man can commit.

Heady. The same word in Ac 19:36, is rendered rashly. It occurs only there and in this place in the New Testament. It properly means falling forwards; prone, inclined, ready to do anything; then precipitate, headlong, rash. It is opposed to that which is deliberate and calm; and here means, that men would be ready to do anything without deliberation, or concern for the consequences. They would engage in enterprises which would only disturb society, or prove their own ruin.

High-minded. Literally, puffed up. See Barnes "1 Ti 3:6, where the same word is rendered lifted up with pride. The meaning is, that they would be inflated with pride or self-conceit.

Lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God. That is, of sensual pleasures, or vain amusements. This has been, and is, the characteristic of a great part of the world, and has often distinguished even many who profess religion. Of a large portion of mankind it may be said that this is their characteristic, that they live for pleasure; they have no serious pursuits; they brook no restraints which interfere with their amusements, and they greatly prefer the pleasures to be found in the gay assembly, in the ball-room, or in the place of low dissipation, to the friendship of their Creator.

{a} "heady" 2 Pe 2:10

{+} "high-minded" "headstrong"

{b} "lovers" Php 3:19


Verse 5. Having a form of godliness. That is, they profess religion, or are in connexion with the church. This shows that the apostle referred to some great corruption in the church; and there can be little doubt that he had his eye on the same great apostasy to which he refers in 2 Th 2; 1 Ti 4.

All these things to which he refers here have been practised and tolerated in that apostate church, while no body of men, at any time, have been more zealous in maintaining a form of godliness; that is, in keeping up the forms of religion.

But denying the power thereof. Opposing the real power of religion; not allowing it to exert any influence in their lives. It imposes no restraint on their passions and carnal propensities; but in all respects, except in the form of religion, they live as if they had none. This has been common in the world. The most regular and bigoted adherence to the forms of religion, furnishes no evidence in itself that there is any true piety at heart, or that true religion has any actual control over the soul. It is much easier for men to observe the forms of religion than it is to bring the heart under its controlling influence.

From such turn away. Have no intercourse with them as if they were Christians; show no countenance to their religion; do not associate with them. Comp. 2 Jo 1:10,11; See Barnes "2 Co 6:17".

{c} "form" Tit 1:16


Verse 6. For of this sort are they which creep into houses. Who go slyly and insidiously into families. They are not open and manly in endeavouring to propagate their views, but they endeavour by their address to ingratiate themselves first with weak women, and through them to influence men. Comp. Tit 1:11. The word translated "creep into," is rendered by Doddridge, insinuate themselves; by Bloomfield, wind their way into, in the manner of serpents; by Bretschneider, deceitfully enter; by Robinson and Passow, go in, enter in. It is not certain that the idea of deceit or cunning is contained in this word, yet the whole complexion of the passage implies that they made their way by art and deceitful tricks.

And lead captive silly women. One of the tricks always played by the advocates of error, and one of the ways by which they seek to promote their purposes. Satan began his work of temptation with Eve rather than with Adam, and the advocates of error usually follow his example. There are always weak-minded women enough in any community to give an opportunity of practicing these arts, and often the aims of the imposter and deceiver can be best secured by appealing to them. Such women are easily flattered; they are charmed by the graceful manners of religious instructors; they lend a willing ear to anything that has the appearance of religion, and their hearts are open to anything that promises to advance the welfare of the world. At the same time, they are just such persons as the propagators of error can rely on. They have leisure; they have wealth; they are busy; they move about in society, and by their activity they obtain an influence, to which they are by no means entitled by their piety or talents. There are, indeed, very many women in the world who cannot be so easily led away as men; but it cannot be denied also that there are those who are just adapted to the purposes of such as seek to spread plausible error. The word rendered silly women, means properly little women, and then weak women.

Laden with sins. With so many sins that they seem to be burdened with them. The idea is, that they are under the influence of sinful desires and propensities, and hence are better adapted to the purposes of deceivers.

Led away with divers lusts. With various kinds of passions or desires— epiyumiaiv —such as pride, vanity, the love of novelty, or a susceptibility to flattery, so as to make them an easy prey to deceivers.

{d} "creep" Tit 1:16


Verse 7. Ever learning. That is, these "silly women;" for so the Greek demands. The idea is, that they seem to be disciples. They put themselves wholly under the care of these professedly religious teachers, but they never acquire the true knowledge of the way of salvation.

And never able to come to the knowledge of the truth. They may learn many things, but the true nature of religion they do not learn. There are many such persons in the world, who, whatever attention they may pay to religion, never understand its nature. Many obtain much speculative acquaintance with the doctrines of Christianity, but never become savingly acquainted with the system; many study the constitution and government of the church, but remain strangers to practical piety; many become familiar with the various philosophical theories of religion, but never become truly acquainted with what religion is; and many embrace visionary theories, who never show that they are influenced by the Spirit of the gospel. Nothing is more common than for persons to be very busy and active in religion, and even to learn many things about it, who still remain strangers to the saving power of the gospel.


Verse 8. Now as Jannes and Jambres withstood Moses. The names of these two men are not elsewhere mentioned in the Bible. They are supposed to have been two of the magicians who resisted Moses, Ex 7:11, et al., and who opposed their miracles to those of Moses and Aaron. It is not certain where the apostle obtained their names; but they are frequently mentioned by the Hebrew writers, and also by other writers; so that there can be no reasonable doubt that their names were correctly handed down by tradition. Nothing is more probable than that the names of the more distinguished magicians who attempted to imitate the miracles of Moses, would be preserved by tradition; and though they are not mentioned by Moses himself, and the Jews have told many ridiculous stories respecting them, yet this should not lead us to doubt the truth of the tradition respecting their names. A full collection of the Jewish statements in regard to them may be found in Wetstein, in loc. They are also mentioned by Pliny, Nat. Hist. xxx. 7; and by Numenius, the philosopher, as quoted by Eusebius, ix. 8; and Origen, against Celsus, p. 199. See Wetstein. By the rabbinical writers, they are sometimes mentioned as Egyptian magicians who opposed Moses in Egypt, and sometimes as the sons of Balaam. The more common account is, that they were the princes of the Egyptian magicians. One of the Jewish rabins represents them as having been convinced by the miracles of Moses, and as having become converts to the Hebrew religion. There is no reason to doubt that these were, in fact, the leading men who opposed Moses in Egypt, by attempting to work counter miracles. The point of the remark of the apostle here, is, that they resisted Moses by attempting to imitate his miracles; thus neutralizing the evidence that he was sent from God. In like manner, the persons here referred to, opposed the progress of the gospel by setting up a similar claim to that of the apostles; by pretending to have as much authority as they had; and by thus neutralizing the claims of the true religion, and leading off weak-minded persons from the truth. This is often the most dangerous kind of opposition that is made to religion.

Men of corrupt minds. Comp. See Barnes "1 Ti 6:5".

Reprobate concerning the faith. So far as the Christian faith is concerned. On the word rendered reprobate, See Barnes "Ro 1:28".

See Barnes "1 Co 9:27, rendered cast-away. See Barnes "2 Co 13:5".

The margin here is, "of no judgment." The meaning is, that in respect to the Christian faith, or the doctrines of religion, their views could not be approved, and they were not to be regarded as true teachers of religion.

{e} "Jannes and Jambres" Ex 7:11

{f} "of corrupt minds" 1 Ti 6:5

{2} "reprobate" "of no judgment"

{&} "concerning" "disproved"


Verse 9. But they shall proceed no further. There is a certain point beyond which they will not be allowed to go. Their folly will become manifest, and the world will understand it. The apostle does not say how far these false teachers would be allowed to go, but that they would not be suffered always to prosper and prevail. They might be plausible at first, and lead many astray; they might, by art and cunning, cover up the real character of their system, but there would be a fair development of it, and it would be seen to be folly. The apostle here may be understood as declaring a general truth in regard to error. It often is so plausible at first, that it seems to be true. It wins the hearts of many persons, and leads them astray. It flatters them personally, or it flatters them with the hope of a better state of things in the church and the world. But the time will always come when men will see the folly of it. Error will advance only to a certain point, when it will be seen to be falsehood and folly, and when the world will arise and cast it off. In some cases, this point may be slower in being reached than in others; but there is a point, beyond which error will not go. At the reformation under Luther, that point had been reached when the teachings of the great apostasy were seen to be "folly," and when the awakened intellect of the world would allow it to "proceed no farther," and aroused itself and threw it off. In the workings of society, as well as by the direct appointment of God, there is a point beyond which error cannot prevail; and hence there is a certainty that truth will finally triumph.

For their folly shall be manifest unto all men. The world will see and understand what they are, and what they teach. By smooth sophistry, and cunning arts, they will not be able always to deceive mankind.

As their's also was. That of Jannes and Jambres. That is, it became manifest to all that they could not compete with Moses and Aaron; that their claims to the power of working miracles were the mere arts of magicians, and that they had set up pretensions which they could not sustain. Comp. Ex 8:18,19. In regard to the time to which the apostle referred in this description, it has already been observed See Barnes "2 Ti 3:1, that it was probably to that great apostasy of the "latter days," which he has described in 2 Th 2; 1 Ti 4.

But there seems to be no reason to doubt that he had his eye immediately on some persons who had appeared then, and who had evinced some of the traits which would characterize the great apostasy, and whose conduct showed that the great "falling away" had already commenced. In 2 Th 2:7, he says that the "mystery of iniquity" was already at work, or was even then manifesting itself; and there can be no doubt that the apostle saw that there had then commenced what he knew would yet grow up into the great defection from the truth. In some persons, at that time, who had the form of godliness, but who denied its power; who made use of insinuating arts to proselyte the weak and the credulous; who endeavoured to imitate the true apostles, perhaps by attempting to work miracles, as Jannes and Jambres did, he saw the germ of what was yet to grow up into so gigantic a system of iniquity as to overshadow the world. Yet he consoled Timothy with the assurance that there was a point beyond which the system of error would not be allowed to go, but where its folly must be seen, and where it would be arrested.


Verse 10. But thou hast fully known my doctrine, etc. Marg., been a diligent follower of. The margin is more in accordance with the usual meaning of the Greek word, which means, properly, to accompany side by side; to follow closely; to trace out; to examine, (Lu 1:3;) and to conform to. The meaning here, however, seems to be, that Timothy had an opportunity to follow out; i.e., to examine closely the manner of life of the apostle Paul. He had been so long his companion, that he had had the fullest opportunity of knowing how he had lived and taught, and how he had borne persecutions. The object of this reference to his own life and sufferings is evidently to encourage Timothy to bear persecutions and trials in the same manner. Comp. 2 Ti 3:14. He saw, in the events began already to develop themselves, that trials must be; he knew that all who would live holy lives must suffer persecution; and hence he sought to prepare the mind of Timothy for the proper endurance of trials, by a reference to his own case. The word doctrine, here, refers to his teaching, or manner of giving instruction. It does not refer, as the word now does, to the opinions which he held. See Barnes "1 Ti 4:16".

In regard to the opportunities which Timothy had for knowing the manner of Paul's life, see the introduction to the epistle, and Paley, Hor. Paul., in loc. Timothy had been the companion of Paul during a considerable portion of the time after his conversion. The persecutions referred to here 2 Ti 3:11 are those which occurred in the vicinity of Timothy's native place, and which he would have had a particular opportunity of being acquainted with. This circumstance, and the fact that Paul did not refer to other persecutions in more remote places, is one of the "undesigned coincidences," of which Paley has made so much in his incomparable little work, the Horae Paulinae.

Manner of life. Literally, leading, guidance; then, the method in which one is led—his manner of life. Comp. 1 Th 2:1.

Purpose. Plans, or designs.

Faith. Perhaps fidelity, or faithfulness.

Long-suffering. With the evil passions of others, and their efforts to injure him. See the word explained See Barnes "1 Co 13:4".

Charity. See Barnes "1 Co 13:1, seq.

Patience, "A calm temper, which suffers evils without murmuring or discontent." Webster.

{1} "fully known" "been a diligent follower of"


Verse 11. Persecutions. On the meaning of this word, See Barnes "Mt 5:10".

Afflictions. Trials of other kinds than those which arose from persecutions. The apostle met them everywhere.

See Barnes "Ac 20:23".

Which came unto me at Antioch. The Antioch here referred to is not the place of that name in Syria, See Barnes "Ac 11:19" but a city of the same name in Pisidia, in Asia Minor. See Barnes "Ac 13:14".

Paul there suffered persecution from the Jews. Ac 13:46.

At Iconium. See Barnes "Ac 13:51".

On the persecution there, See Barnes "Ac 14:3, seq.

At Lystra. Ac 14:6. At this place, Paul was stoned. See Barnes "Ac 14:19".

Timothy was a native of either Derbe or Lystra, cities near to each other, and was doubtless there at the time of this occurrence. Ac 16:1.

But out of them all the Lord delivered me. See the history in the places referred to in the Acts of the Apostles.

{a} "Antioch" Ac 13:45,50

{b} "Iconium" Ac 14:5,6,19

{c} "all" Ps 34:19


Verse 12. Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution. Paul takes occasion from the reference to his own persecutions, to say that his case was not peculiar. It was the common lot of all who endeavoured to serve their Redeemer faithfully; and Timothy himself, therefore, must not hope to escape from it. The apostle had a particular reference, doubtless, to his own times; but he has put his remark into the most general form, as applicable to all periods. It is undoubtedly true at all times, and will ever be, that they who are devoted Christians—who live as the Saviour did —and who carry out his principles always, will experience some form of persecution. The essence of persecution consists in subjecting a person to injury or disadvantage on account of his opinions. It is something more than meeting his opinions by argument, which is always right and proper; it is inflicting some injury on him: depriving him of some privilege, or right; subjecting him to some disadvantage, or placing him in less favourable circumstances, on account of his sentiments. This may be either an injury done to his feelings, his family, his reputation, his property, his liberty, his influence; it may be by depriving him of an office which he held, or preventing him from obtaining one to which he is eligible; it may be by subjecting him to fine or imprisonment, to banishment, torture, or death. If, in any manner, or in any way, he is subjected to disadvantage on account of his religious opinions, and deprived of any immunities and rights to which he would be otherwise entitled, this is persecution. Now, it is doubtless as true as it ever was, that a man who will live as the Saviour did, will, like him, be subjected to some such injury or disadvantage. On account of his opinions, he may be held up to ridicule, or treated with neglect, or excluded from society to which his attainments and manners would otherwise introduce him, or shunned by those who might otherwise value his friendship. These things may be expected in the best times, and under the most favourable circumstances; and it is known that a large part of the history of the world, in its relation to the church, is nothing more than a history of persecution. It follows, from this,

(1.) that they who make a profession of religion, should come prepared to be persecuted. It should be considered as one of the proper qualifications for membership in the church, to be willing to bear persecution, and to resolve not to shrink from any duty in order to avoid it.

(2.) They who are persecuted for their opinions, should consider that this may be one evidence that they have the Spirit of Christ, and are his true friends. They should remember that, in this respect, they are treated as the Master was, and are in the goodly company of the prophets, apostles, and martyrs; for they were all persecuted. Yet,

(3.) if we are persecuted, we should carefully inquire, before we avail ourselves of this consolation, whether we are persecuted because we "live godly in Christ Jesus," or for some other reason. A man may embrace some absurd opinion, and call it religion; he may adopt some mode of dress irresistibly ludicrous, from the mere love of singularity, and may call it conscience; or he may be boorish in his manners, and uncivil in his deportment, outraging all the laws of social life, and may call this "deadness to the world;" and for these, and similar things, he may be contemned, ridiculed, and despised. But let him not infer, therefore, that he is to be enrolled among the martyrs, and that he is certainly a real Christian. That persecution which will properly furnish any evidence that we are the friends of Christ, must be only that which is "for righteousness' sake," Mt 5:10, and must be brought upon us in an honest effort to obey the commands of God.

(4.) Let those who have never been persecuted in any way, inquire whether it is not an evidence that they have no religion. If they had been more faithful, and more like their Master, would they have always escaped? And may not their freedom from it prove that they have surrendered the principles of their religion, where they should have stood firm, though the world were arrayed against them? It is easy for a professed Christian to avoid persecution, if he yields every point in which religion is opposed to the world. But let not a man who will do this, suppose that he has any claim to be numbered among the martyrs, or even entitled to the Christian name.


Verse 13. But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse. That is, it is the character of such men to do this; they may be expected to do it. This is the general law of depravity—that if men are not converted, they are always growing worse, and sinking deeper into iniquity. Their progress will be certain, though it may be gradual, since nemo repente turpissimus. The connexion here is this: that Timothy was not to expect that he would be exempt from persecution, 2 Ti 3:12, by any change for the better in the wicked men referred to. He was to anticipate in them the operation of the general law in regard to bad men and seducers—that they would grow worse and worse, from this fact, he was to regard it as certain that he, as well as others, would be liable to be persecuted. The word rendered seducers gohv—occurs nowhere else in the New Testament. It means, properly, a juggler, or diviner; and then, a deceiver, or impostor. Here it refers to those who, by seductive arts, lead persons into error.

Deceiving. Making others believe that to be true and right, which is false and wrong. This was, of course, done by seductive arts.

And being deceived. Under delusion themselves. The advocates of error are often themselves as really under deception, as those whom they impose upon. They are often sincere in the belief of error, and then they are under a delusion; or, if they are insincere, they are equally deluded in supposing that they can make error pass for truth before God, or can deceive the Searcher of hearts. The worst victims of delusion are those who attempt to delude others.

{*} "wax" "grow"

{a} "being deceived" 2 Th 2:1


Verse 14. But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of. To wit, the truths of religion. Timothy had been taught those truths when a child, and he had been confirmed in them by the instructions of Paul. Amidst the errors and seductions of false teachers, Paul now exhorts him to hold fast those doctrines, whoever might oppose them, or whatever might be the consequence. Comp. See Barnes "2 Ti 1:13".

Knowing of whom thou hast learned them. To wit, of his mother 2 Ti 1:5) and of Paul, 2 Ti 1:13. The reference seems to be particularly to the fact that he had learned these truths first from the lips of a mother, 2 Ti 3:15; and the doctrine taught here is, that the fact that we have received the views of truth from a parent's lips, is a strong motive for adhering to them. It is not to be supposed, indeed, that this is the highest motive, or that we are always to adhere to the doctrines which have been taught us, if, on maturer examination, we are convinced they are erroneous; but that this is a strong reason for adhering to what we have been taught in early life. It is so, because,

(1.) a parent has no motive for deceiving a child, and it cannot be supposed that he would teach him what he knew to be false;

(2.) a parent usually has had much more experience, and much better opportunities of examining what is true, than his child has;

(3.) there is a degree of respect which nature teaches us to be due to the sentiments of a parent. A child should depart very slowly from the opinions held by a father or mother; and, when it is done, it should be only as the result of prolonged examination and prayer. These considerations should have the greater weight, if a parent has been eminent for piety, and especially if that parent has been removed to heaven. A child, standing by the grave of a pious father or mother, should reflect and pray much, before he deliberately adopts opinions which he knows that father or mother would regard as wrong.

{b} "continue" 2 Ti 1:13


Verse 15. And that from a child thou hast known the holy Scriptures. That is, the Old Testament; for the New Testament was not then written. See Barnes "Joh 5:39".

The mother of Timothy was a pious Hebrewess, and regarded it as one of the duties of her religion to train her son in the careful knowledge of the word of God. This was regarded by the Hebrews as an important duty of religion, and there is reason to believe that it was commonly faithfully performed. The Jewish writings abound with lessons on this subject. Rabbi Judah says, "The boy of five years of age ought to apply to the study of the sacred Scriptures." Rabbi Solomon, on De 11:19, says, "When the boy begins to talk, his father ought to converse with him in the sacred language, and to teach him the law; if he does not do that he seems to bury him." See numerous instances referred to in Wetstein, in loc. The expression used by Paul—from a child, (apo brefouv) does not make it certain at precisely what age Timothy was first instructed in the Scriptures, though it would denote an early age. The word used brefov denotes,

(1.) a babe unborn, Lu 1:41,44;

(2.) an infant, babe, suckling. In the New Testament, it is rendered babe and babes, Lu 1:41,44; 2:12,16; 1 Pe 2:2; infants, Lu 18:15; and young children, Ac 7:19. It does not elsewhere occur, and its current use would make it probable that Timothy had been taught the Scriptures as soon as he was capable of learning anything. Dr. Doddridge correctly renders it here "from infancy." It may be remarked then,

(1.) that it is proper to teach the Bible to children at as early a period of life as possible.

(2.) That there is reason to hope that such instruction will not be forgotten, but will have a salutary influence on their future lives. The piety of Timothy is traced by the apostle to the fact that he had been early taught to read the Scriptures, and a great proportion of those who are in the church have been early made acquainted with the Bible.

(3.) It is proper to teach the Old Testament to children— since this was all that Timothy had, and this was made the means of his salvation.

(4.) We may see the utility of Sabbath schools. The great and almost the sole object of such schools is to teach the Bible; and from the view which Paul had of the advantage to Timothy of having been early made acquainted with the Bible, there can be no doubt that if Sunday schools had then been in existence, he would have been their hearty patron and friend.

Which are able to make thee wise unto salvation. So to instruct you in the way of salvation, that you may find the path to life. Learn hence,

(1.) that the plan of salvation may be learned from the Old Testament. It is not as clearly revealed there as it is in the New, but it is there; and if a man had only the Old Testament, he might find the way to be saved. The Jew, then, has no excuse if he is not saved.

(2.) The Scriptures have power. They are "able to make one wise to salvation." They are not a cold, tame, dead thing. There is no book that has so much power as the Bible; none that is so efficient in moving the hearts, and consciences, and intellects of man-kind. There is no book that has moved so many minds; none that has produced so deep and permanent effects on the world.

(3.) To find the way of salvation, is the best kind of wisdom; and none are wise who do not make that the great object of life.

Through faith which is in Christ Jesus. See Barnes "Mr 16:16". See Barnes "Ro 1:17".

Paul knew of no salvation, except through the Lord Jesus. He says, therefore, that the study of the Scriptures, valuable as they were, would not save the soul unless there was faith in the Redeemer; and it is implied, also, that the proper effect of a careful study of the Old Testament, would be to lead one to put his trust in the Messiah.

{c} "which are able" Joh 5:39


Verse 16. All Scripture. This properly refers to the Old Testament, and should not be applied to any part of the New Testament, unless it can be shown that that part was then written, and was included under the general name of the Scriptures. Comp. 2 Pe 3:15,16. But it includes the whole of the Old Testament, and is the solemn testimony of Paul that it was all inspired. If now it can be proved that Paul himself was an inspired man, this settles the question as to the inspiration of the Old Testament.

Is given by inspiration of God. All this is expressed in the original by one word yeopneustov theopneustos. This word occurs nowhere else in the New Testament. It properly means, God-inspired—from yeov, God, and pnew, to breathe, to breathe out. The idea of breathing upon, or breathing into the soul, is that which the word naturally conveys. Thus God breathed into the nostrils of Adam the breath of life, Ge 2:7; and thus the Saviour breathed on his disciples, and said, "Receive ye the Holy Ghost," Joh 20:22. The idea seems to have been, that the life was in the breath, and that an intelligent spirit was communicated with the breath. The expression was used among the Greeks, and a similar one was employed by the Romans. Plutarch ed. B. ix, p. 683, 9. touv oneirouv touv yeopneustouv; Phocylid. 121. thv de yeopneustou sofihv logov estin aristov. Perhaps, however, this is not an expression of Phocylides, but of the pseudo Phocylides. So it is understood by Bloomfield. Cicero, pro Arch., 8. poetam—quasi divino quodam spiritu infiari. The word does not occur in the Septuagint, but is found in Josephus, C. Ap. i. 7. "The Scriptures of the prophets who were taught according to the inspiration of God, kata t hn epipnoian thn apo tou yeou" In regard to the manner of inspiration, and to the various questions which have been started as to its nature, nothing can he learned from the use of this word. It asserts a fact—that the Old Testament was composed under a Divine influence, which might be represented by breathing on one, and so imparting life. But the language must be figurative, for God does not breathe; though the fair inference is that those Scriptures are as much the production of God, or as much to be traced to him as life is. Comp. Mt 22:43; 2 Pe 1:21. The question as to the degree of inspiration, and whether it extends to the words of Scripture, and how far the sacred writers were left to the exercise of their own faculties, is foreign to the design of these Notes. All that is necessary to be held is, that the sacred writers were kept from error on those subjects which were matters of their own observation, or which pertained to memory; and that there were truths imparted to them directly by the Spirit of God, which they never could have arrived at by the unaided exercise of their own minds. Comp. Intro. to Isaiah and Job.

And is profitable. It is useful, it is adapted to give instruction, to administer reproof, etc. If "all" Scripture is thus valuable, then we are to esteem no part of the Old Testament as worthless. There is no portion of it, even now, which may not be fitted, in certain circumstances, to furnish us valuable lessons, and, consequently, no part of it which could be spared from the sacred canon. There is no part of the human body which is not useful in its place, and no part of it which can be spared without sensible loss.

For doctrine. For teaching or communicating instruction. Comp. See Barnes "1 Ti 4:16".

For reproof. On the meaning of the word here rendered reproof elegcov—See Barnes "Heb 11:1".

It here means, probably, for convincing; that is, convincing a man of his sins, of the truth and claims of religion, etc., See Barnes "Joh 16:8".

For correction. The word here used—epanorywsiv—occurs nowhere else in the New Testament. It means properly, a setting to rights, reparation, restoration, (from epanoryow, to right up again, to restore;) and here means, the leading to a correction or amendment of life—a reformation. The meaning is, that the Scriptures are a powerful means of reformation, or of putting men into the proper condition in regard to morals. After all the means which have been employed to reform mankind; all the appeals which are made to them on the score of health, happiness, respectability, property, and long life, the word of God is still the most powerful and the most effectual means of recovering those who have fallen into vice. No reformation can be permanent which is not based on the principles of the word of God.

For instruction in righteousness. Instruction in regard to the principles of justice, or what is right. Man needs not only to be made acquainted with truth, to be convinced of his error, and to be reformed; but he needs to be taught what is right, or what is required of him, in order that he may lead a holy life. Every reformed and regenerated man needs instruction, and should not be left merely with the evidence that he is reformed, or converted, he should be followed with the principles of the word of God, to show him how he may lead an upright life. The Scriptures furnish the rules of holy living in abundance, and thus they are adapted to the whole work of recovering man, and of guiding him to heaven.

{a} "All scripture" 2 Pe 1:21

{b} "is profitable" Ro 15:4


Verse 17. That the man of God may be perfect. The object is not merely to convince and to convert him; it is to furnish all the instruction needful for his entire perfection. The idea here is, not that any one is absolutely perfect, but that the Scriptures have laid down the way which leads to perfection, and that if any one were perfect, he would find in the Scriptures all the instruction which he needed in those circumstances. There is no deficiency in the Bible for man, in any of the situations in which he may be placed in life; and the whole tendency of the book is to make him who will put himself fairly under its instructions, absolutely perfect.

Thoroughly furnished unto all good works. Marg., or "perfected" The Greek means, to bring to an end; to make complete. The idea is, that whatever good work the man of God desires to perform, or however perfect he aims to be, he will find no deficiency in the Scriptures, but will find there the most ample instructions that he needs. He can never advance so far, as to become forsaken of his guide. He can never make such progress, as to have gone in advance of the volume of revealed truth, and to be thrown upon his own resources in a region which was not thought of by the Author of the Bible. No new phase of human affairs can appear, in which it will not direct him; no new plan of benevolence can be started, for which he will not find principles there to guide him; and he can make no progress in knowledge or holiness, where he will not feel that his holy counsellor is in advance of him still, and that it is capable of conducting him even yet into higher and purer regions. Let us, then, study and prize the Bible. It is a holy and a safe guide. It has conducted millions along the dark and dangerous way of life, and has never led one astray. The human mind, in its investigations of truth, has never gone beyond its teachings; nor has man ever advanced into a region so bright that its light has become dim, or where it has not thrown its beams of glory on still far distant objects. We are often in circumstances in which we feel that we have reached the outer limit of what man can teach us; but we never get into such circumstance in regard to the word of God.

How precious is the book Divine,
By respiration given!
Bright as a lamp its doctrines shine,
To guide our souls to heaven.

It sweetly cheers our drooping hearts
In this dark vale of tears;
Life, light, and joy, it still imparts,
And quells our rising fears.

This lamp, through all the tedious night
Of life, shall guide our way;
Till we behold the clearer light
Of an eternal day.

{c} "perfect" Ps 119:98-100

{1} "thoroughly finished" "perfected"


2nd Timothy Chapter 4


THIS chapter comprises the following subjects:

1. A solemn charge to Timothy, to be faithful in preaching the gospel, and in the whole.work of the ministry, 2 Ti 4:1-5. The particular reason given for this charge was, that the time was approaching when men would not endure sound doctrine, but would turn away from the truth. Hence, Timothy is exhorted to be faithful in his work, and to be prepared to endure the trials which, in such circumstances, a faithful minister must be expected to meet.

2. A statement of Paul that his own work was nearly done, and that the hour of his departure drew near, 2 Ti 4:6-8. This statement, also, seems to be made in order to excite Timothy to increased fidelity in the ministry. His teacher, guide, father, and friend, was about to be withdrawn, and the great work of preaching was to be committed to other hands. Hence, in view of his own departure, Paul exhorts Timothy to fidelity when he himself should be removed.

3. An exhortation to Timothy to come to him as soon as practicable, 2 Ti 4:9-15. Paul was then in bonds, and was expecting soon to die. He was alone. For various reasons, those who had been with him had left him, and he needed some companion and friend. He therefore exhorts Timothy to come to him as soon as possible.

4. Paul refers now to his first trial before the emperor, and to the fact that then no one stood by him, 2 Ti 4:16-19. The reason of his referring to this seems to be, to induce Timothy to come to him in view of his anticipated second trial. The Lord, he says, then stood by him, and he had confidence that he would continue to do it; yet who is there that does not feel it desirable to have some dear earthly friend to be with him when he dies?

5. The epistle is closed, in the usual manner, with various salutations, and with the benediction, 2 Ti 4:19-22.

Verse 1. I charge thee therefore before God. See Barnes "1 Ti 5:21".

Who shall judge the quick and the dead. That is, the Lord Jesus; for he is to be the Judge of men, Mt 25:31-46; 2 Co 5:10. The word quick means living, See Barnes "Ac 10:42" See Barnes "Eph 2:1" and the idea is, that he would be alike the Judge of all who were alive when he should come, and of all who had died. See Barnes "1 Th 4:16, See Barnes "1 Th 4:17".

In view of the fact that all, whether preachers or hearers, must give up their account to the final Judge, Paul charges Timothy to be faithful; and what is there which will more conduce to fidelity in the discharge of duty, than the thought that we must soon give up a solemn account of the manner in which we have performed it?

At his appearing. That is, the judgment shall then take place. This must refer to a judgment yet to take place, for the Lord Jesus has not yet "appeared" the second time to men; and, if this be so, then there is to be a resurrection of the dead. On the meaning of the word rendered appearing, See Barnes "2 Th 2:8".

It is there rendered brightness. Comp. 1 Ti 6:14; 2 Ti 1:10; Tit 2:13.

And his kingdom. Or, at the setting up of his kingdom. The idea of his reigning, or setting up his kingdom, is not unfrequently associated with the idea of his coming. See Mt 16:28. The meaning is, that, at his second advent, the extent and majesty of his kingdom will be fully displayed. It will be seen that he has control over the elements, over the graves of the dead, and over all the living. It will be seen that the earth and the heavens are under his sway, and that all things there acknowledge him as their sovereign Lord. In order to meet the full force of the language used by Paul here, it is not necessary to suppose that he will set up a visible kingdom on the earth, but only that there will be an illustrious display of himself as a king, and of the extent and majesty of the empire over which he presides. Comp. See Barnes "Ro 14:11" See Barnes "Php 2:10".

{a} "charge" 1 Ti 5:21; 6:13

{b} "judge" Re 20:12,13


Verse 2. Preach the word. The word of God; the gospel. This was to be the main business of the life of Timothy, and Paul solemnly charges him, in view of the certain coming of the Redeemer to judgment, to be faithful in the performance of it.

Be instant. See Barnes "Ro 12:12, The meaning here is, that he should be constant in this duty. Literally, to stand by, or to stand fast by; that is, he was to be pressing or urgent in the performance of this work. He was always to be at his post, and was to embrace every opportunity of making known the gospel. What Paul seems to have contemplated was not merely that he should perform the duty at stated and regular times; but that he should press the matter as one who had the subject much at heart, and never lose an opportunity of making the gospel known.

In season. eukairwv. In good time; opportunely. Comp. Mt 16:16; Lu 22:6; Mr 14:11.

The sense is, when it could be conveniently done; when all things were favourable, and when there were no obstructions or hinderances. It may include the stated and regular seasons for public worship, but is not confined to them.

Out of season. Akairwv. This word does not elsewhere occur in the New Testament. It is the opposite of the former, and means that a minister is to seek opportunities to preach the gospel even at such periods as might be inconvenient to himself, or when there might be hinderances and embarrassments, or when there was no stated appointment for preaching. He is not to confine himself to the appointed times of worship, or to preach only when it will be perfectly convenient for himself; but he is to have such an interest and earnestness in the work, that it will lead him to do it in the face of embarrassments and discouragements, and whenever he can find an opportunity. A man who is greatly intent on an object will seek every opportunity to promote it. He will not confine himself to stated times and places, but will present it everywhere, and at all times. A man, therefore, who merely confines himself to the stated seasons of preaching the gospel, or who merely reaches when it is convenient to himself, should not consider that he has come up to the requirement of the rule laid down by the apostle. He should preach in his private conversation, and in the intervals of his public labours, at the side of the sick bed, and wherever there is a prospect of doing good to any one. If his heart is full of love to the Saviour and to souls, he cannot help doing this.

Reprove. Or convince. See Barnes "2 Ti 3:16".

The meaning is, that he was to use such arguments as would convince men of the truth of religion, and of their own need of it.

Rebuke. Rebuke offenders. Tit 2:15. See the use of the word in Mt 8:26; 12:16, (rendered charged;) Mt 16:22; 17:18; Mt 19:13; 20:31; Lu 4:35,39; 17:3; 18:15; Jude 1:9.

In the New Testament the word is used to express a judgment of what is wrong, or contrary to one's will, and hence to admonish or reprove. It implies our conviction that there is something evil, or some fault in him who is rebuked. The word in this verse rendered reprove, does not imply this, but merely that one may be in error, and needs to have arguments presented to convince him of the truth. That word also implies no superior authority in him who does it. He presents reasons, or argues the case, for the purpose of convincing. The word here rendered rebuke, implies authority or superiority, and means merely that we may say that a thing is wrong, and administer a rebuke for it, as if there were no doubt that it was wrong. The propriety of the rebuke rests on our authority for doing it, not on the arguments which we present. This is based on the presumption that men often know that they are doing wrong, and need no arguments to convince them of it. The idea is, that the minister is not merely to reason about sin, and convince men that it is wrong; but he may solemnly admonish them not to do it, and warn them of the consequences.

Exhort. See Barnes "Ro 12:8".

With all long-suffering. That is, with a patient and persevering spirit if you are opposed. See Barnes "2 Ti 2:25".

Comp. See Barnes "Ro 2:4".
Comp. Ro 9:22; 2 Co 6:6; Ga 5:22; Eph 4:2; Col 1:11; 3:12; 1 Ti 1:16.

And doctrine. Teaching, or patient instruction.

{c} "reprove" Tit 2:15


Verse 3. For the time will come, etc. Probably referring to the time mentioned in 2 Ti 3:1, seq.

When they will not endure sound doctrine. Greek, healthful doctrine; i.e., doctrine contributing to the health of the soul, or to salvation. At that time they would seek a kind of instruction more conformable to their wishes and feelings.

But after their own lusts. They will seek such kind of preaching as will accord with their carnal desires; or such as will palliate their evil propensities, and deal gently with their vices. Comp. Isa 30:10, "Speak unto us smooth things; prophesy deceits."

Shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears. The word rendered heap episwreuw—does not occur elsewhere in the New Testament. It means to heap up upon, to accumulate; and here to multiply. The word rendered itching—knhyw—also occurs only in this place in the New Testament. It means to rub, to scratch; and then to tickle, and here to feel an itching for something pleasing or gratifying. The image is derived from the desire which we have when there is an itching sensation, to have it rubbed or scratched. Such an uneasiness would these persons have to have, some kind of instruction that would allay their restless and uneasy desires, or would gratify them. In explanation of this passage we may observe,

(1.) that there will be always religious teachers of some kind, and that, in proportion as error and sin abound, they will be multiplied. The apostle here says, that by turning away from Timothy, and from sound instruction, they would not abandon all religious teachers, but would rather increase and multiply them. Men often declaim much against a regular ministry, and call it priestcraft; and yet, if they were to get rid of such a ministry, they would by no means escape from all kinds of religious teachers. The deeper the darkness, and the more gross the errors, and the more prevalent the wickedness of men, the more will a certain kind of religious teachers abound, and the more it will cost to support them. Italy and Spain swarm with priests, and in every heathen nation they constitute a very numerous class of the population. The cheapest ministry on the earth is a well-educated Protestant clergy, and if society wishes to free itself from swarms of preachers, and prophets, and exhorters, it should secure the regular services of an educated and pious ministry.

(2.) In such classes of persons as the apostle here refers to, there is a restless, uneasy desire to have some kind of preachers. They have "itching ears." They will be ready to run after all kinds of public instructors. They will be little pleased with any, and this will be one reason why they will have so many. They are fickle, and unsettled, and never satisfied. desire to hear the truth, and to learn the way of salvation, is a good desire. But this can be better gratified by far under the patient and intelligent labour of a single religious teacher, than by running after many teachers, or than by frequent changes. How much would a child learn if he were constantly running from one school to another?

(3.) Such persons would have teachers according to "their own lusts;" that is, their own tastes, or wishes. They would have those who would coincides with their whims; who would foster every vagary which might enter their imagination; who would countenance every wild project for doing good; who would be the advocates of the errors which they held; and who would be afraid to rebuke their faults. These are the principles on which many persons choose their religious teachers. The true principle should be, to select those who will faithfully declare the truth, and who will not shrink from exposing and denouncing sin, wherever it may be found.

{*} "lusts" "desires"


Verse 4. And they shall turn away their ears from the truth. That is, the people themselves will turn away from the truth. It does not mean that the teachers would turn them away by the influence of their instructions.

And shall be turned unto fables. See Barnes "1 Ti 1:4".

{a} "fables" 1 Ti 1:4


Verse 5. But watch thou in all things. Be vigilant against error and against sin, and faithful in the performance of duty. See Barnes "Mt 25:13" See Barnes "1 Co 16:13".

Endure afflictions. See Barnes "2 Ti 2:3".

The Greek word here is the same which is there rendered "endure hardness."

Do the work of an evangelist. On the word evangelist, See Barnes "Ac 21:8".

The phrase here means, do the work of preaching the gospel, or of one appointed to proclaim the glad tidings of salvation. This is the proper business of all ministers, whatever other rank they may maintain. Whether it was ever regarded as the proper duty of a separate class of men to do this, See Barnes "Eph 5:11".

Make full proof of thy ministry. Marg., fulfil. Comp. See Barnes "Ro 14:5".

The word here used denotes, properly, to bear or bring fully; then to persuade fully; and then to make fully assured of, to give full proof of. The meaning here seems to be, to furnish full evidence of what is the design of the Christian ministry, and of what it is adapted to accomplish, by the faithful performance of all its duties. Timothy was so to discharge the duties of his office as to furnish a fair illustration of what the ministry could do, and thus to show the wisdom of the Saviour in its institution. This should be the aim of all the ministers of the gospel. Each one should resolve, by the blessing of God, that the ministry, in his hands, shall be allowed, by a fair trial, to show to the utmost what it is adapted to do for the welfare of mankind.

{b} "things" 2 Ti 2:3

{1} "full proof" "fulfil"

{c} "of thy ministry" 1 Ti 4:12,15


Verse 6. For I am now ready to be offered. This conviction of the apostle that he was about to die, is urged as a reason why Timothy should be laborious and faithful in the performance of the duties of his office. His own work was nearly done. He was soon to be withdrawn from the earth, and whatever benefit the world might have derived from his experience or active exertions, it was now to be deprived of it. He was about to leave a work which he much loved, and to which he had devoted the rigour of his life, and he was anxious that they who were to succeed him should carry on the work with all the energy and zeal in their power. This expresses the common feeling of aged ministers as death draws near. The word "ready," in the phrase "ready to be offered," conveys an idea which is not in the original. It implies a willingness to depart, which, whether true or not, is not the idea conveyed by the apostle. His statement is merely of the fact that he was about to die, or that his work was drawing to a close. No doubt he was "ready," in the sense of being willing and prepared, but this is not the idea in the Greek. The single Greek word rendered "I am ready to be offered"—spendomai—occurs nowhere else in the New Testament, except in Php 2:17, where it is translated, "if I be offered." See it explained See Barnes "Php 2:17".

The allusion here, says Burder (in Rosenmuller's A. u. n. Morgenland,) is to the custom which prevailed among the heathen generally, of pouring wine and oil on the head of a victim when it was about to be offered in sacrifice. The idea of the apostle then is, that he was in the condition of the victim on whose head the wine and oil had been already poured, and which was just about to be put to death; that is, he was about to die. Every preparation had been made, and he only awaited the blow which was to strike him down. The meaning is not that he was to be a sacrifice; it is that his death was about to occur. Nothing more remained to be done but to die. The victim was all ready, and he was sure that the blow would soon fall. What was the ground of his expectation, he has not told us. Probably there were events occurring in Rome which made it morally certain that though he had once been acquitted, he could not now escape. At all events, it is interesting to contemplate an aged and experienced Christian on the borders of the grave, and to learn what were his feelings in the prospect of his departure to the eternal world. Happily, Paul has in more places than one (comp. Php 1:23) stated his views in such circumstances, and we know that his religion then did not fail him. He found it to be in the prospect of death what he had found it to be through all his life—the source of unspeakable consolation; and he was enabled to look calmly onward to the hour which should summon him into the presence of his Judge.

And the time of my departure is at hand. Gr., dissolving, or dissolution. So we speak of the dissolution of the soul and body. The verb from which the noun (analusiv,) is derived (analuw,) means to loosen again; to undo. It is applied to the act of unloosing or casting off the fastenings of a ship, preparatory to a departure. The proper idea in the use of the word would be, that he had been bound to the present world, like a ship to its moorings, and that death would be a release. He would now spread his sails on the broad ocean of eternity. The true idea of death is that of loosening the bands that confine us to the present world; of setting us free, and permitting the soul to go forth, as with expanded sails, on its eternal voyage. With such a view of death, why should a Christian fear to die?

{+} "offered" "sacrificed"

{d} "departure" Php 1:23; 2 Pe 1:14


Verse 7. I have fought a good fight. The Christian life is often represented as a conflict, or warfare. See Barnes "1 Ti 6:12".

That noble conflict with sin, the world, the flesh, and the devil, Paul now says he had been able to maintain.

I have finished my course. The Christian life, too, is often represented as a race to be run. Comp. See Barnes "1 Co 9:24, See Barnes "1 Co 9:25, See Barnes "1 Co 9:26".

I have kept the faith. I have steadfastly maintained the faith of the gospel; or, have lived a life of fidelity to my Master. Probably the expression means that he had kept his plighted faith to the Redeemer, or had spent a life in faithfully endeavouring to serve his Lord:

{a} "fought" 1 Ti 6:12

{b} "finished" Ac 20:24

{c} "kept the faith" Pr 23:23; Re 3:10


Verse 8. Henceforth there is laid up for me. At the end of my race, as there was a crown in reserve for those who had successfully striven in the Grecian games. Compare See Barnes "1 Co 9:25".

The word henceforth—loipon—means what remains, or, as to the rest; and the idea is, that that was what remained of the whole career. The race had been run; the conflict had been waged; and all that was now necessary to complete the whole transaction, was merely that the crown be bestowed.

A crown of righteousness. That is, a crown won in the cause of righteousness, and conferred as the reward of his conflicts and efforts in the cause of holiness. It was not the crown of ambition; it was not a garland won in struggles for earthly distinction; it was that which was the appropriate reward of his efforts to be personally holy, and to spread the principles of holiness as far as possible through the world.

Which the Lord, the righteous Judge, shall give me. The Lord Jesus, appointed to judge the world, and to dispense the rewards of eternity. It will be seen, in the last day, that the rewards of heaven are not conferred in an arbitrary manner, but that they are bestowed because they ought to be, or that God is righteous and just in doing it. No man will be admitted to heaven who ought not, under all the circumstances of the case, to be admitted there; no one will be excluded who ought to have been saved.

At that day. That is, the time when he will come to judge the world, Mt 25.

And not to me only. "Though my life has been spent in laboriously endeavouring to spread his religion; though I have suffered much, and laboured long; though I have struggled hard to win the prize, and now have it full in view, yet I do not suppose that it is to be conferred on me alone. It is not like the wreath of olive, laurel, pine, or parsley, See Barnes "1 Co 9:25, which could be conferred only on one victor, See Barnes "1 Co 9:24; but here every one may obtain the crown who strives for it. The struggle is not between me and a competitor in such a sense that, if I obtain the crown, he must be excluded; but it is a crown which he can obtain as well as I. As many as run—as many as fight the good fight—as many as keep the faith—as many as love his appearing, may win the crown as well as I." Such is religion, and such is the manner in which its rewards differ from all others. At the Grecian games, but one could obtain the prize, 1 Co 9:24. All the rest who contended in those games, no matter how numerous they were, or how skilfully they contended, or how much effort they made, were of course subjected to the mortification of a failure, and to all the ill-feeling and envy to which such a failure might give rise. So it is in respect to all the prizes which this world can bestow. In a lottery, but one can obtain the highest prize; in a class in college, but one can secure the highest honour in the scramble for office, no matter how numerous the competitors may be, or what may be their merits, but one can obtain it. All the rest are liable to the disappointments and mortifications of defeat. Not so in religion. No matter how numerous the competitors', or how worthy any one of them may be, or how pre-eminent above his brethren, yet all may obtain the prize; all may be crowned with a diadem of life of equal brilliancy. No one is excluded because another is successful; no one fails of the reward because another obtains it. Who, then, would not make an effort to win the immortal crown?

Unto all them also that love his appearing. That is, unto all who desire his second coming. To believe in the second advent of the Lord Jesus to judge the world, and to desire his return, became a kind of a criterion by which Christians Were known. No others but true Christians were supposed to believe in that, and no others truly desired it. Comp. Re 1:7; 22:20. It is so now. It is one of the characteristics of a true Christian, that he sincerely desires the return of his Saviour, and would welcome his appearing in the clouds of heaven.

{d} "crown of righteousness" 1 Co 9:25; 1 Pe 5:4; Re 2:10

{e} "all them also" 1 Co 2:9


Verse 9. Do thy diligence to come shortly unto me. As soon as possible. Timothy had been Paul's travelling companion, and was his intimate friend. The apostle was now nearly forsaken, and was about to pass through severe trials. It is not certainly known for what purpose he wished him to come to him, but perhaps he desired to give him some parting counsels; perhaps he wished him to be near him when he died. It is evident from this that he did not regard him as the prelatical "bishop of the church of the Ephesians," or consider that he was so confined to that place in his labours, that he was not also to go to other places if he was called in the providence of God. It is probable that Timothy would obey such a summons, and there is no reason to believe that he ever returned to Ephesus.


Verse 10. For Demas hath forsaken me. Demas is honourably mentioned in Col 4:14; but nothing more is known of him than what can be gathered from that place and this—that he was at first a friend and fellow-labourer of Paul, but that, under the influence of a desire to live, he afterwards forsook him, even in circumstances where he greatly needed the presence of a friend.

Having loved this present world. This does not mean necessarily, that he was an avaricious man, or that, in itself, he loved the honours or wealth of this world; but it means that he desired to live. He was not willing to stay with Paul, and subject himself to the probabilities of martyrdom; and, in order to secure his life, he departed to a place of safety. The Greek is, agaphsav ton nun aiwna—having loved the world that now is; that is, this world as it is, with all its cares, and troubles, and comforts; having desired to remain in this world, rather than go to the other. There is, perhaps, a slight censure here in the language of Paul —the censure of grief; but there is no reason why Demas should be held up as an example of a worldly man. That he desired to live longer; that he was unwilling to remain, and risk the loss of life, is indeed clear. That Paul was pained by his departure, and that he felt lonely and sad, is quite apparent; but I see no evidence that Demas was influenced by what are commonly called worldly feelings, or that he was led to this course by the desire of wealth, fame, or pleasure.

And is departed unto Thessalonica. Perhaps his native place. Calmet.

Crescens. Nothing more is known of Crescens than is here mentioned. "He is thought by Eusebius and others to have preached in Gaul, and to have founded the church in Vienne, in Dauphiny." Calmet.

To Galatia. See Intro. to the epistle to the Galatians, paragraph 1. It is not known to what part of Galatia he had gone, or why he went there.

Titus unto Dalmatia. Dalmatia was a part of Illyricum, on the gulf of Venice, or the Adriatic sea. On the situation of Illyricum, See Barnes "Ro 15:19".

Paul does not mention the reason why Titus had gone there: but it is not improbable that he had gone to preach the gospel, or to visit the churches which Paul had planted in that region. The apostle does not suggest that he was deserving of blame for having gone, and it can hardly be supposed that Titus would have left him at this time without his concurrence. Perhaps when he permitted him to go, he did not know how soon events would come to a crisis with him; and as a letter would more readily reach Timothy at Ephesus than Titus in Dalmatia, he requested him to come to him, instead of directing Titus to return.

{f} "loved" 1 Jo 2:15


Verse 11. Only Luke is with me. Luke, the author of the gospel which bears his name, and of the Acts of the Apostles. For a considerable part of the ministry of Paul, he was his travelling companion, comp. See Barnes "Ac 16:10" and we know that he went with him to Rome, Ac 27:1.

Take Mark. John Mark, See Barnes "Ac 15:37".

He was the son of a sister of Barnabas, and had been the travelling companion of Barnabas and Paul. There had been a temporary alienation between Paul and him, Ac 15:38, but this passage proves that that had been removed, and that Paul was reconciled to him.

For he is profitable to me for the ministry. In what way he would be profitable he does not say; nor is it known why Mark was at that time with Timothy. It may be observed however, that this is such language as Paul might be expected to use of Mark, after what had occurred, as recorded in Ac 15:38. He felt that he was now about to die. If he suspected that there was on the part of Mark any lingering apprehension that the great apostle was not entirely reconciled to him, or retained a recollection of what had formerly occurred, nothing would be more natural than that at this trying time of his life, Paul should summon him to his side, and express towards him the kindest emotions. It would soothe any lingering irritation in the mind of Mark to receive such a message.


Verse 12. And Tychicus. See Ac 20:4. In Eph 6:21, Paul calls him "a beloved brother, and faithful minister in the Lord." But it may be asked, why he did not retain him with him, or why should he have sent him away, and then call Timothy to him? The probability is, that he had sent him before he had seen reason to apprehend that he would be put to death; and now, feeling the need of a friend to be with him, he sent to Timothy, rather than to him, because Tychicus had been employed to perform some service which he could not well leave, and because Paul wished to give some special instructions to Timothy before he died.

Have I sent to Ephesus. Why, is not certainly known. Comp. Intro paragraph 2.

{a} "Tychius" Tit 3:12


Verse 13. The cloak that I left at Troas. On the situation of Troas, See Barnes "Ac 16:8".

It was not on the most direct route from Ephesus to Rome, but was a route frequently taken. See Intro. to the Acts, paragraph 2. In regard to what the "cloak" here mentioned was, there has been considerable difference of opinion. The Greek word used, (felonhv variously written, failonhv, felonhv, and felwnhv,) occurs nowhere else in the New Testament. It is supposed to be used for a similar Greek word, (fainolhv,) to denote a cloak, or great-coat, with a hood, used chiefly on journeys, or in the army: Latin, penula. It is described by Eschenberg, (Man. Class. Lit. p. 209,) as a "cloak without sleeves, for cold or rainy weather." See the uses of it in the quotations made by Wetstein, in loc. Others, however, have supposed that the word means a travelling-case for books, etc. So Hesychus understands it. Bloomfield endeavours to unite the two opinions by suggesting that it may mean a cloak-bag, and that he had left his books and parchments in it. It is impossible to settle the precise meaning of the word here, and it is not material. The common opinion, that it was a wrapper or travelling-cloak, is the most probable; and such a garment would not be undesirable for a prisoner. It should be remembered, also, that winter was approaching, 2 Ti 4:21, and such a cloak would be particularly needed. He had, probably, passed through Troas in summer, and, not needing the cloak, and not choosing to encumber himself with it, had left it at the house of a friend. On the meaning of the word, see Wetstein, Robinson, Lex., and Schleusner, Lex. Comp. also, Suic. Thess. ii. 1422. The doubt in regard to what is here meant, is as old as Chrysostom. He says, (Horn. x. on this epistle,) "that the word (felonhn) denotes a garment—to imation. But some understood by it a capsula, or bag— glwssokomon," compare See Barnes "Joh 12:6"

"in which books, etc., were carried."

With Carpus. Carpus is not elsewhere mentioned, he was evidently a friend of the apostle, and it would seem probable that Paul had made his house his home when he was in Troas.

And the books. It is impossible to determine what books are meant here. They may have been portions of the Old Testament, or classic writings, or books written by other Christians, or by himself. It is worthy of remark, that even Paul did not travel without books, and that he found them in some way necessary for the work of the ministry.

Especially the parchments. The word here used, (membranov, whence our word membrane,) occurs only in this place in the New Testament, and means skin, membrane, or parchment. Dressed skins were among the earliest materials for writing, and were in common use before the art of making paper from rags was discovered. These "parchments" seem to have been something different from "books," and, probably, refer to some of his own writings. They may have contained notes, memorandums, journals, or unfinished letters. It is, of course, impossible now to determine what they were. Benson supposes they were letters which he had received from the churches; Macknight, that they were the originals of the letters which he had written; Bishop Bull, that they were a kind of common-place book, in which he inserted hints and extracts of the most remarkable passages in the authors which he read. All this, however, is mere conjecture.


Verse 14. Alexander the coppersmith. Or, rather, the brazier o calkeuv. The word is used, however, to denote a worker in any kind of metals. This is, probably, the same person who is mentioned in 1 Ti 1:20, and, perhaps, the same as the one mentioned in Ac 19:33. See Barnes "1 Ti 1:20".

Did me much evil. In what way this was done, is not mentioned. If this is the same person who is referred to in 1 Ti 1:20, it is probable that it was not evil to Paul personally, so much as embarrassment to the cause of religion which he advocated. Comp. 2 Ti 2:17,18.

The Lord reward him according to his works. Comp. See Barnes "1 Ti 1:20".

This need not be regarded as an expression of private feeling; still less should it be understood as expressing a desire of revenge. It is the language of one who wished that God would treat him exactly as he ought to be treated, and might be in accordance with the highest benevolence of any heart. It is the aim of every just government that every one should be treated exactly as he deserves; and every good citizen should desire and pray that exact justice may be done to all. It is the business of a police officer to ferret out the guilty, to bring them to trial, to secure a just sentence; and any police officer might pray, with the utmost propriety, that God would assist him in his endeavours, and enable him to perform his duty. This might be done with no malevolent feeling toward any human being, but with the purest love of country, and the most earnest desire for the welfare of all. If such a police officer, or if a judge, or a juryman, were heard thus to pray, who would dare to accuse him of having a vindictive spirit, or a malevolent heart? And why should Paul be so charged, when his prayer amounts to no more than this? For it remains yet to be proved, that he refers to any private wrong which Alexander had done him, or that he was actuated by any other desire than that the sacred interests of truth should be guarded, and equal justice done to all. Why is it wrong to desire or to pray that universal justice may be done, and that every man may be treated as, under all the circumstances of the case, he ought to be treated? On the subject of the "Imprecations in the Scriptures," the reader may consult an article in the Bibliotheca Sacra, vol. 1, pp. 97— 110. It should be added, here, that some manuscripts, instead of apodwh, "may the Lord reward," read it in the future— apodwsei, "will reward." See Wetstein. The future is also found in the Vulgate, Coptic, and in Augustine, Theodoret, and Chrysostom. Augustine says, (on the Sermon on the Mount,) "He does not say, may he reward, (reddat;) but, he will reward, (redder,) which is a verb of prophecy, not of imprecation." The authority, however, is not sufficient to justify a change in the present reading. These variations have, do doubtless, arisen from a belief, that the common reading expresses a sentiment inconsistent with the true spirit of a Christian, and a desire to find a better. But there is no reason for desiring a change in the text.

{b} "Lord reward him" Ps 28:4


Verse 15. Of whom be thou ware also. It would seem from this, that Alexander was still a public teacher, and that his discourses were plausible and artful. The best and the wisest of men need to be on their guard against the efforts of the advocates of error.

For he hath greatly withstood our words. Marg., preachings. The Greek is, words; but the reference is, doubtless, to the public teachings of Paul. This verse makes it clear that it was no private wrong that Paul referred to, but the injury which he was doing to the cause of truth as a professed public teacher.

{1} "words" "preachings"


Verse 16. At my first answer. Or, apology, apologia, plea, or defence. This evidently refers to some trial which he had had before the Roman emperor. He speaks of a first trial of this kind; but whether it was on some former occasion, and he had been released and permitted again to go abroad, or whether it was a trial which he had already had during his second imprisonment, it is not easy to determine. The former is the most natural supposition; for, if he had had a trial during his present imprisonment, it is difficult to see why he was still held as a prisoner. See this point examined in the Intro., & 1.

No man stood with me. Paul had many friends in Rome, 2 Ti 4:21; comp. Ro 16; but it seems that they did not wish to appear as such when he was put on trial for his life. They were, doubtless, afraid that they would be identified with him, and would endanger their own lives. It should be said that some of the friends of the apostle, mentioned in Ro 16, and who were there when that epistle was written, may have died before the apostle arrived there, or, in the trials and persecutions to which they were exposed, may have left the city. Still, it is remarkable that those who were there should have all left him on so trying an occasion. But to forsake a friend in the day of calamity is not uncommon, and Paul experienced what thousands before him and since have done. Thus Job was forsaken by friends and kindred in the day of his trials. See his pathetic description in Job 19:13-17:

He hath put my brethren far from me,
And mine acquaintance verily are estranged from me.
My kinsfolk have failed.
And my familiar friends have forgotten me.
They that dwelt in my house, and my maids, count me for a stranger,
I am an alien in their sight.
I called my servant, and he gave me no answer; I entreated him with
my mouth.
My breath is strange to my wife,
Though I entreated for the children's sake of mine own body.

Thus the Psalmist was forsaken by his friends in the time of calamity, Ps 35:12-16; 38:11; 41:9; 55:12.

And thus the Saviour was forsaken in his trials, Mt 26:66. Comp., for illustration, Zec 13:6. The world is full of instances in which those who have been overtaken by overwhelming calamities, have been forsaken by professed friends, and have been left to suffer alone. This has arisen, partly, from the circumstance that many sincere friends are timid, and their courage fails them when their attachment for another would expose them to peril; but more commonly from the circumstance that there is much professed friendship in the world which is false, and that calamity becomes a test of it which it cannot abide. There is professed friendship which is caused by wealth, (Pr 14:20; 19:4;) there is that which is cherished for those in elevated and fashionable circles; there is that which is formed for beauty of person, or graceful manners, rather than for the solid virtues of the heart; there is that which is created in the sunshine of life—the affection of those "swallow friends, who retire in the winter, and return in the spring." Comp. the concluding remarks on the book of Job. Such friendship is always tested by calamity; and when affliction comes, they, who in the days of prosperity were surrounded by many flatterers and admirers, are surprised to find how few there were among them who truly loved them.

In the wind and tempest of his frown,
Distinction, with a broad and powerful fan,
Puffing at all, winnows the light away;
And, what hath mass or matter by itself,
Lies, rich in virtue and unmingled.—Troilus and Cressida

So common has this been—so little confidence can be placed in professed friends in time of adversity, that we are sometimes disposed to believe that there is more truth than fancy in the representation of the poet—

"And what is friendship but a name,
A charm that lulls to sleep;
A shade that follows wealth or fame,
But leaves the wretch to weep?"

Yet there is true friendship in the world. It existed between Damon and Pythias, and its power and beauty were still more strikingly illustrated in the warm affection of David and Jonathan. In the trials of David—though raised from the condition of a shepherd boy—and though having no powerful friends at court, the son of Saul never forsook him, and never gave him occasion to suspect the sincerity or the depth of his affection. With what exquisite beauty he sang of that attachment when Jonathan was dead!

"I am distressed for thee, my brother Jonathan !
Very pleasant hast thou been unto me !
Thy love to me was wonderful,
Passing the love of women !"
2 Sa 1:26.

True friendship, founded on sincere love, so rare, so difficult to be found, so little known among the gay and the great, is one of the richest of Heaven's blessings to man; and, when enjoyed, should be regarded as more than a compensation for all of show, and splendour, and flattery, that wealth can obtain.

Though choice of follies fasten on the great,
None clings more obstinate, than fancy fond,
That sacred friendship is their easy prey;
Caught by the wafture of a golden lure,
Or fascination of a high-born smile.
Their smiles, the great, and the coquette, throw out
For other's hearts, tenacious of their own,
And we no less of ours, when such the bait.
Ye fortune's cofferers! ye powers of wealth!
Can gold gain friendship? Impudence of hope!
As well mere man an angel might beget.
Love, and love only, is the loan for love.
Lorenzo! pride repress; nor hope to find
A friend, but what has found a friend in thee.
All like the purchase; few the price will pay,
And this makes friends such miracles below.
A friend is worth all hazards we can run.
Poor is the friendless master of a world;
A world in purchase of a friend is gain.—Night Thoughts, Night 2.

I pray God that it may not be laid to their charge. That it may not be reckoned, or imputed to them—logisyeih. On the meaning of this word, See Barnes "Ro 4:3, See Barnes "Phm 1:18".

The prayer of the apostle here breathes the very spirit of Christ. See Barnes "Lu 23:34".

Comp. Ac 7:60.

{a} "all men forsook" 2 Ti 1:15

{b} "laid" Ac 7:60


Verse 17. Notwithstanding the Lord stood with me. Though all men forsook me, yet God did not. This expresses an universal truth in regard to the faithfulness of God. See Ps 27:10. Comp. Job 5:17-19; Isa 43:1,2.

That by me the preaching might be fully known. The word preaching here probably means the gospel as preached by him. The word rendered "might be fully known" plhroforhyh means, "might obtain full credence;" that is, might be fully confirmed, so that others might be assured of its truth. The apostle, doubtless, means that on his trial, though forsaken by all men, he was enabled to be so steadfast in his profession of the truth, and so calm in the prospect of death, that all who witnessed his trial, saw that there was a reality in religion, and that the gospel was founded in truth. He had maintained as a preacher that the gospel was able to support the soul in trial, and he was now able to illustrate its power in his own case. He had proclaimed the gospel as the true system of religion, and he was now able to bear testimony to it with the prospect of approaching martyrdom. The sentiment of this passage then is, that the truth of the gospel is made known, or that men may become fully assured of it, by the testimony which is borne to it by its friends in the near prospect of death. One of the most important means of establishing the truth of the gospel in the world, has been the testimony borne to it by martyrs, and the spirit of unwavering confidence in God which they have evinced. And now, one of the most important methods of keeping up the knowledge of the value of religion in the world, and of convincing men of the truth of Christianity, is the spirit evinced by its friends when they are about to die. Men judge much, and justly, of the value of a system of religion by its power to comfort in the day of calamity, and to sustain the soul when about to enter on an untried state of being. That system is of little value to mankind which leaves us in the day of trial; that is of inestimable worth which will enable us to die with the firm hope of a brighter and better world. Christian, having served his God faithfully in life, may, therefore, be eminently useful when he comes to die.

And that all the Gentiles might hear. Paul was at this time in Rome. His trial was before a heathen tribunal, and he was surrounded by Pagans. Rome, too, was then the centre of the world, and at all times there was a great conflux of strangers thee. His trial, therefore, gave him an opportunity of testifying to the truth of Christianity before Gentile rulers; and in such circumstances, that the knowledge of his sufferings, and of the religion for which he suffered, might be conveyed by the strangers who witnessed it to the ends of the world. His main object in life was, to make the gospel known to the Gentiles, and he had thus an opportunity of furthering that great cause, even on what he supposed might be the trial which would determine with him the question of life or death. Comp. See Barnes "Ro 1:10".

And I was delivered out of the mouth of the lion. This may either mean that he was delivered from Nero, compared with a lion, or, literally, that he was saved from being thrown to lions in the amphitheatre, as was common in Rome. See Barnes "1 Co 15:32.

(3.) It is not uncommon in the Scriptures to compare tyrants and persecutors with ravenous wild beasts. Comp. Ps 22:13,21; Jer 2:30.

Nero is called a lion by Seneca, and it was usual among heathen writers to apply the term in various senses to princes and warriors. See Grotius, in loc. The common interpretation here has been, that this refers to Nero, and there is no improbability in the interpretation. Still, it is quite as natural to suppose, that the punishment which had been appointed for him, or to which he would have been subjected, was, to be thrown to lions, and that in some way, now unknown to us, he had been delivered from it. Paul attributes his deliverance entirely to the Lord; but what instrumental agency there may have been, he does not specify. It seems probable that it was his own defence; that he was enabled to plead his own cause with so much ability, that he found favour even with the Roman emperor, and was discharged. If it had been through the help of a friend at court, it is hardly to be supposed that he would not have mentioned the name of him to whom he owed his deliverance.

{c} "Lord stood" Mt 10:19; Ac 23:11

{d} "mouth of the lion" Ps 22:21


Verse 18. And the Lord shall deliver me from every evil work. He does not say from death, for he expected now to die. See 2 Ti 4:6. But he was assured that God would keep him from shrinking from death when the hour approached; from apostasy, and from the manifestation of an improper spirit when he came to die.

And will preserve me unto his heavenly kingdom. So keep me from evil that I shall reach his heavenly kingdom. See 2 Ti 4:8.

To whom be glory for ever and ever. Paul was accustomed to introduce a doxology in his writings when his heart was full, (comp. Ro 9:5,) and in no place could it be more appropriate than here, when he had the fullest confidence that he was soon to be brought to heaven. If man is ever disposed to ascribe glory to God, it is on such an occasion.

{a} "shall deliver" Ps 121:7


Verse 19. Salute Priscilla and Aquila. Prisca, or Priscilla, was the wife of Aquila, though her name is sometimes mentioned first. In regard to their history, See Barnes "Ro 16:3".

They were at Rome when Paul wrote his epistle to the Romans, but afterwards went into Asia Minor, which was the native place of Aquila, Ac 18:2, and where they probably died.

And the household of Onesiphorus. See Barnes "2 Ti 1:16".


Verse 20. Erastus. See Barnes "Ro 16:23".

Abode at Corinth. This was his home, where he filled an important office. See Barnes "Ro 16:23".

It would seem, that when Paul went to Rome, there was some expectation that he would accompany him, but that reasons had occurred for his remaining in Corinth. His doing so is referred to without blame.

But Trophimus. See Ac 20:4. He was a native of Asia Minor.

Have I left at Miletum sick. Probably he designed to accompany him to Rome, as he had been often with him in his journeys. On the situation of Miletus, or Miletum, See Barnes "Ac 20:15".


Verse 21. Do thy diligence, 2 Ti 4:9.

To come before winter. Probably because of the dangers of the navigation then, and because the circumstances of the apostle were such as to demand the presence of a friend.

Eubulus, etc. These names are of common occurrence in the classic writers, but of the persons here referred to we know nothing.

{*} "diligence" "thy best"


Verse 22. The Lord Jesus Christ be with thy spirit. See Ga 6:18; Ro 16:20. The subscription to this epistle was not added by Paul himself, nor is there any evidence that it was by an inspired man, and it is of no authority. There is not the slightest evidence that Timothy was "ordained the first bishop of the church of the Ephesians," or that he was a "bishop" there at all. There is no reason to believe that he was even a pastor there, in the technical sense. See Barnes "1 Ti 1:3".

Compare the remarks on the subscriptions to the Epistle to the Romans, I Corinthians, and especially Titus.

{1} "Nero" "Caesar Nero, or the Emperor Nero"

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