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The genuineness of the three Pastoral Epistles was almost universally accepted in the early church. Allusions to them occur possibly in the Corinthian letter of Clement of Rome as early as c. AD95, probably in the letters of Ignatius and Polycarp during the first decades of the second century, and certainly in the works of Irenaeus towards the end of the century. The Muratorian Canon (c.AD200) ascribes all three letters to the apostle Paul. The words in chapter 4 are some of the very last words of the Apostle. He is writing within weeks, perhaps days, of his martyrdom.
1 1Paul [Paulos], an apostle [apostolos]
Here Paul is advancing a considerable claim for himself; he is in fact ranking himself with the Twelve whom Jesus personally selected out of the wider company of his disciples and specially called 'apostles', cf. Lk 6:13.
For over 15 years, since he had first been recruited in his home town Lystra, Timothy had been Paul's faithful missionary companion. He had traveled with him throughout most of the second and third missionary journeys and had been sent during them as a trusted apostolic delegate on several special missions (1 Thess 3:1ff; 1 Cor 4:17). He had accompanied Paul to Jerusalem (Ac 20:1-5) and may have been with him on the perilous voyage to Rome. He was with Paul during the first imprisonment, for the apostle bracketed Timothy's name with his own when he wrote the prison Epistles to Philemon, the Philippians and the Colossians. When the first imprisonment was over Paul left Timothy in Ephesus as the accepted leader of the church, like a bishop, with wide responsibilities to combat the heretics (cf. the Asian apostasy of 2 Tim 1:15), to order the church's worship, to select and ordain elders, to regularize the relief and ministry of widows, and to command and teach the apostolic faith. Now the greater responsibility of preserving the apostle's teaching intact would be his in yet greater measure. Yet Timothy was hopelessly unfit to assume these responsibilities: he was comparatively young (1 Tim 4:12; cf. 2 Tim 2:22). Timothy could have been in his mid-thirties, a period of life regarded as belonging to youth for the Greeks and Romans only recognized two standards of age: neos and gerōn, juvenis and senex; the former being employed of adults in the full vigour of life and of soldiers of military age to the verge of forty. Secondly, Timothy had a weak constitution (1 Tim 5:23). And thirdly he was timid by temperament (cf. 1 Cor 16:10,11; 2 Tim 1:7,8; 2:1,3; 3:12; 4:5; 2 Tim 1:4).
Luke tells us that Timothy was the son of a mixed marriage, in that his father was Greek and his mother Jewish (Ac 16:1). Presumably his father was an unbeliever, but his mother Eunice was a believing Jewess who became a Christian.
Occurs nowhere else in the NT. The prefix ana can imply a stirring up as much as a rekindling. Timothy was by nature shy and sensitive. He resisted responsibility. Perhaps he was fearful of spiritual excesses and extravagances. Aside from his temperament he battled with the problems of youth and ill-health. Paul exhorts Timothy not to be diffident about exercising his gift.
Paul is in a dungeon in Rome, from which there is to be no escape but death. This was Paul's second Roman imprisonment. He is not now enjoying the comparative freedom and comfort of his own hired house (cf. Acts) from which he seems to have been set free, as he expected (cf. 1 Tit 1:5; 1 Tim 1:3, 4; Phm 22; 1 Tim 1:3; Phil 2:24 (From Macedonia Paul addressed his first letter to Timothy in Ephesus and his letter to Titus in Crete); Tit 3:12; Ro 15:24,28; 1 Tim 3:14,15; 2 Tim 4:20; 2 Tim 4:13, 20; cf. Ro 16:23 for details of how Paul 'again journeyed on the ministry of preaching' (Eusebius. II.22.2.) Clement of Rome in his famous letter to the Corinthians (ch 5) said that Paul had 'come to the extreme limit of the west. Gaul, Spain and even Britain have been suggested). Instead, he was incarcerated in a dismal underground dungeon which was poorly ventilated by a hole in the ceiling. Tradition says it was the Mamertine prison. The preliminary hearing of his case had taken place and now Paul awaited the full trial, but did not expect to be acquitted (cf. 4:6-8). For now the Neronian persecution was in full swing (AD64). The emperor was bent on suppressing all secret societies, and misunderstanding the nature of the Christian church, seemed determined to destroy it. And the tradition is likely to be correct that Paul was condemned to death and then beheaded (as a Roman citizen would have been) on the Ostian Way about three miles outside the city. Eusebius quotes Dionysius of Corinth that Paul and Peter 'were martyred both on the same occasion', though he adds that Paul's execution was by beheading and Peter's (at his own request) by crucifixion 'head-downwards' (Eusebius, II.25.5,8 and III.1.2.) Paul sends his second message to Timothy under the shadow of execution - an intensely personal communication but also his last will and testament to the church. He had for thirty years or so faithfully preached the good news, planted churches, defended the truth and consolidated the work.
Used with a variety of meanings though its first and foremost meaning is 'make ineffective, powerless, idle' or 'nullify'; cf. 1 Cor 15:55; Heb 2:14; Ro 6:6.
Has been thought of as an outline sketch such as an architect might make before making detailed plans ('delineation'). The implication is that Timothy must amplify, expound and apply the apostle's teaching. However, the only other occurrence in the NT is in 1 Timothy where Paul describes himself as an example. It is used in the sense of 'prototype' in 1 Tim 1:16 but 'standard' or 'model' in here in 2 Tim 1:13.
The Greek expression is used in the Gospels of people whom Jesus healed and made well or 'whole'; cf. Ac 20:27.
Means to guard something so that it is not lost or damaged; used of guarding a palace against marauders and possessions against thieves (Lk 11:21; Ac 22:20). Heretics could rob the church of the priceless treasure which had been entrusted to it.
His name means 'a bringer of profit'. He had often entertained Paul in his home. It seems that Onesiphorus is in Rome and separated from his family who are in Ephesus. Feeling unashamed of Paul's conviction, perhaps he had followed or accompanied Paul to Rome, and then diligently searched for him in his dungeon.
Cf. 1:13 This statement of Paul's became important in the following century when Gnosticism had grown and spread. For example, in chapter 25 of his Prescriptions against Heretics (c. AD 200) Tertullian of Carthage was particularly writing against Gnostics who claimed both to have had private revelations of their own and to possess secret traditions handed down from the apostles. He would not allow that the apostles had 'entrusted some things openly to all and some things secretly to a few'.
The discipline of the Roman army was severe. Weapons were heavy, and in addition to them, the ordinary foot soldier carried a saw, basket, pickax, ax, a leather strip and hook, and three days' rations. Paul's prison experiences had given him ample opportunity to watch Roman soldiers and to meditate on the parallels between the soldier and the Christian. Hardship, risk and suffering was a matter of course. As Turtullian put it in his Address to Martyrs: 'No soldier comes to the war surrounded by luxuries, nor goes into action from a comfortable bedroom, but from the makeshift and narrow tent, where every kind of hardness and severity and unpleasantness is to be found (ch 2). However, the camp they built after every day's march, always identical, night after night, provided the Roman soldiers not only with security against ambushes, but also a reminder of civilisation, of home. In the midst of barbarism, a forum and two straight streets would be laid out.
A Roman army was not the private militia of the general who commanded it, but the embodiment of the Republic at war. Its loyalty was owed to whomever was appointed to its command by the due processes of the constitution.
The soldiers fought for the dream of returning home as well as to test themselves, in the approved Roman manner, against the savagery of the enemy and the fear of a violent death. And for outcast as well as rich there was an obsession to obtain the regard of his fellow citizens, and to taste the sweetness of glory (and loot). The legions' combination of efficiency and ruthlessness was something for which few opponents found themselves prepared. When the Romans were compelled by defiance to take a city by storm, it was their practice to slaughter every living creature they found. Dogs' heads and limbs of cattle would lie strewn among the human corpses. The Romans killed to inspire terror, not in a savage frenzy but as the disciplined components of a fighting machine. No Roman could tolerate the prospect of his city losing face. Rather than endure it, he would put up with any amount of suffering, go to any lengths.
It was taboo for men in arms to enter the city of Rome unless as citizens marching in triumphal parades. Civilians had to take the oath that transformed them into soldiers on the Plain of Mars, the Campus Martius. Here they had been ranked according to wealth and status, for every citizen had to know his place. Those rich enough to afford their own horses were at the top of the hierarchy: the equites; below the equestrian class were five further classes of infantry; at the bottom of the heap were citizens too poor to buy even a sling and a few sling-stones, the proletarii. These seven classes subdivided again into further units, known as 'centuries'.
To the Roman soldier, service of his commander was an overriding duty. He could not marry, nor engage in agriculture, trade, or manufacture.
Every event had its prize, and the prizes awarded at the Greek games were evergreen wreaths.
The regulations for running, leaping, boxing, or wrestling applied to both training and competing.
The verb implies 'toil'. It means to become weary through struggle. Both the noun kopos and the verb kopiaō were often used by Paul.
The horny-handed peasant, tending to his small plot, was the object of much sentimental attachment and patriotic pride for the Romans. There was an ancient principle that a citizen should subsist off the produce of his land. Roman nostalgia for the countryside cut across every social boundary. (To the Romans there was no such thing as the boorish bumpkin that existed in the mind of the Greeks.) For centuries the Roman infantry had consisted of yeoman-farmers leaving their plots and following their magistrates obediently to war. With the expansion of Republic these farmer-soldiers were away for longer and his land became easy prey to the rich who worked the land using chain-gangs. After this the army was opened up to every citizen, and possession of a farm was no longer the qualification for military service, but the reward.
Occurs nowhere else in the NT although cf. logomachia, 'word-battle', 1 Tim 6:4 and some MSS of Tit 3:9; 'hair-splittings'.
Tested like coins or metals and passed the test so that they are recognized as being 'sterling'.
Lit. not to 'divide rightly' but to 'cut straight'. It is an unusual word and occurs only three times in biblical Greek, once here in the NT and elsewhere in Prov 3:6 and 11:5. The picture may be of a road cutting straight across country (that is forested or difficult to pass through) or a path cut in a straight direction so that the traveler may go directly to his destination. Or, possibly, as Chrysostom saw it, the metaphor is taken from ploughing: 'driving a straight furrow in your proclamation of the truth' (NEB). Sophocles used the word in the context of expounding soundly. Cf. Ac 13:10. The noun orthotomia was used by both Clement of Alexandria and Eusebius for 'orthodoxy'.
From stochos, a 'target'. Means to 'miss the mark' and so to 'deviate'.
Perhaps these were the early Gnostics to whom the body was an evil encumbrance and the concept of any bodily resurrection was inconceivable. So they 'spiritualized' resurrection as a release from the flesh through gnōsis or by asserting that the promise of resurrection had been entirely fulfilled when by faith and baptism we were raised with Christ.
In the background may be the OT story of the rebellion of Korah, Dathan and Abiram, from which incident both quotations come; Nu 16:5,26.
Inscriptions were placed on buildings, customarily on the foundation stones of large buildings which gave details of the purpose for which the building was constructed, or provided a striking maxim, cf. Rev 21:14.
Cf. Ac 9:15; 2 Cor 4:7. Any kind of utensil. The theme of service is prominent. As a 'vessel' Paul's function was to carry Christ's name before unbelievers, and in the earthenware vessel he carried the treasure of the gospel, as a fragile lamp carries the light.
'Shun'. Means literally to 'seek safety in flight' or 'escape'. It is used of flight from physical danger, e.g., Ac 7:29; Mt 2:13; Jn 10:12,13; Lk 21:21; cf. figurative use, Mt 3:7; 1 Cor 10:14; 6:18; 1 Tim 6:11; Jas 4:7; Gn 39:12.
'Aim at'; 'run after', 'pursue, chase, in war or hunting'. Its distinctive literal use in the NT (about 30 times) is of persecution. Metaphorically it is used to portray the Christian's pursuit of the will of God.
Means either 'investigation and inquiry', e.g., Ac 25:20 or 'discussion and debate', e.g., Ac 15:2,7. In the former sense of a philosophical investigation it could be translated 'speculation' but in the latter sense 'controversy'.
'Mild.' Used of a nurse taking care of her children (1 Thess 2:7).
Lit. 'bearing evil without resentment.
The opposite of brash, haughty and rude so humble, courteous, considerate and meek.
Means to 'become sober' or 'come to one's senses again'.
Means to 'capture alive. Only other use is Lk 5:10. Here the devil is likened to a hunter who captures his quarry alive in some clever 'snare' or trap. As indicated above the devil after trapping his victims dopes or intoxicates them.
Means 'hard' or 'difficult', implying either 'hard to bear' (e.g., in the case of physical or mental pain) or 'hard to deal with, violent, dangerous', 'menacing'. The word was used in classical Greek both of dangerous wild animals and of the raging sea. Its only other NT occurrence refers to the Gadarene demoniacs, whom no one could pass (Mt 8:28).
An Aristotelian term for inordinate self-love.
'Braggarts' or 'swashbucklers'.
'Haughty' or 'disdainful'.
Hosios normally means 'devout' or 'pious' towards God. But like the similar adjective eusebēs ('reverent') it was sometimes used in classical Greek of filial respect.
'Inhuman'; cf. Ro 1:31.
Lit. 'devils', also translated as 'backbiters' and 'scandalmongers'.
Used of Judas in Lk 6:16.
Their proselytizing zeal is portrayed as a military operation. Aichmalōtizō, 'capture', properly means to take prisoner in war which could have come to mean 'carry away' and so 'mislead, deceive'.
'Little women', a term of contempt for women who were idle, silly and weak.
These were the traditional names of the two chief magicians in Pharaoh's court. They are not named in the OT text, although one of the Targums inserts their names in Exodus 7:11 which reads: 'Then Pharaoh summoned the wise men and the sorcerers; and they also, the magicians of Egypt, did the same (sc. miracles) by their secret arts'. Not just are the Asian false teachers likened to the Egyptian magicians but Paul is implicitly likening himself to Moses!.
'Conterfeit'; 'tried and found wanting'.
Can be used literally, of following a person as he goes somewhere and of walking in his footsteps, but not so used in the NT. Its figurative use can refer either to an intellectual following or to a real commitment of mind and life, such as being a follower of someone; to 'embrace'.
'Conduct', 'whole demeanor and way of life.
'Tolerance or long-suffering towards aggravating people'.
The patient endurance of trying circumstances, in distinction to makrothymia, the patient endurance of trying people.
Timothy was a citizen of this Galatian city and had possibly witnessed the occasion when the apostle had been stoned by a hostile mob, dragged out of the city and left in the gutter for dead. Perhaps Paul's courage under persecution played a part in Timothy's conversion, much as Stephen's bravery in martyrdom had done in Paul's.
See Ac 13:14-14:23 for the Galatian cities Paul visited on his first missionary journey, and for the persecutions he endured there.
Means 'sorcerer, juggler' and so in early Christian literature, 'swindler, cheat'.
Properly means to 'go forward, progress' but used ironically here, since the only advance they make is backwards, not forwards.
Paul does not explicitly call his Epistles 'Scripture' but on a number of occasions comes very close to saying so, and he certainly directs that his letters be read publicly in the Christian assemblies, no doubt alongside OT readings (e.g., Col 4:16; 1 Thess 5:27). Paul claims to speak in the name and with the authority of Christ (e.g., 2 Cor 2:17; 13:3; Gal 4:14) and calls his message the 'word of God' (e.g., 1 Thes 2:13. Also cf. 1 Cor 2:13). Peter clearly regarded Paul's letters as Scripture (2 Pet 3:16). Paul appears to envisage the possibility of a Christian supplement to the OT because he could combine a quotation from Deuteronomy (25:4) with a saying of Jesus recorded by Luke (10:7) and call both alike 'Scripture' (1 Tim 5:18).
Lit. 'God-breathed' which indicates not that Scripture itself or its human authors were breathed into by God, but that Scripture was breathed or breathed out by God. 'Spiration' or 'expiration' would convey the meaning well.
This was an OT title of respect applied to some of God's spokesmen (e.g., Dt 33:1; 2 Ch 8:14; 1 Ki 17:18; cf. 1 Tim 6:11.
Has legal connections and can mean to 'testify under oath' in a court of law or to 'adjure' a witness to do so. Used in the NT of any solemn and emphatic utterance.
'Be urgent'; lit., 'stand by' and 'be ready, be on hand'. Here also carries the sense of insistence and urgency.
'With all teaching'. The distinction has been made between kērygma (proclamation of Christ to unbelievers with a summons to repent) and didachē (the ethical instruction of converts). Certainly this verse shows that the distinction cannot be pressed too rigidly.
A figure of speech for that kind of curiosity which 'looks for interesting and spicy bits of information'; 'itching for novelty'.
Lit. to be sober, and figuratively to 'be free from every form of mental and spiritual drunkenness'; 'well-balanced, self-controlled'.
'Poured out.' Paul likens his life to a libation or drink offering. So imminent does he believe his martyrdom to be that he speaks of the sacrifice as having already begun. The completing act of Paul's own mission could have taken place in the forum itself. Or, if not, in a court to which the public had access; and the Roman public at this time was the most representative in the world. So Paul's dying words were before the imperial bench in the imperial city and would have been relayed throughout the civilized world.
Seems to be a regular word for death, meaning 'loosing' and used either of striking a tent or of release from shackles, or of untying a boat from its moorings. If the latter is correct, the two images correspond, for the end of this life (outpoured as a libation) is the beginning of another (putting out to sea). Already the anchor is weighed, the ropes are slipped, and the boat is about to set sail for another shore. Paul used both metaphors during an earlier imprisonment, in which he had also faced the possibility of death (Phil 2:17; 1:23).
Or better 'garland'. These were made of evergreen leaves rather than gold or silver and so had no intrinsic worth although they were greatly prized. Many towns dismantled a section of their white city wall so that its son, crowned with the crown of the isthmus or of Olympia, might enter it by a gate unused before.
Here dikaiosynēs could have a legal connotation, and is in deliberate contrast to the sentence hanging over him by a human court.
'Cloak'. Equivalent to the Latin paenula. The thick outer garment of wool or sometimes leather was used in traveling as a protection against the weather. It was a long, sleeveless garment, made like a sack, circular in shape with a hole in the middle for the head.
The difference between the two is probably that the scrolls were made of papyrus rather than parchment. These papyrus rolls may have been writing materials or his correspondence or some official documents, even perhaps his certificate of Roman citizenship. The parchments may have been unused but were more likely to have been 'books' of some kind, perhaps Paul's OT (no small favour to ask to carry) or possibly official copies of the Lord's words or early narratives of his life.
Lit. 'informed many evil things against me'. The word for 'informer' is connected with the verb for 'did': enedeiknymi. It has been suggested that Alexander was the informer responsible for Paul's second arrest. If this happened at Troas, it might explain Paul's warning to Timothy in v15.
We do not know what charges had been laid against Paul but we do know from Tacitus, Pliny and other contemporary writers the kind of allegations which were being made against Christians at that time. They were supposed to be guilty of horrid crimes against the state and against civilized society. They were accused of 'atheism' (because they eschewed idolatry and emperor-worship), of cannibalism (because they spoke of eating Christ's body), and even of a general 'hatred of the human race' (because of their supposed disloyalty to Caesar and perhaps because they had renounced the popular pleasures of sin).
As in 2:1 and Phil 4:13.
It was impossible for the lions of the amphitheatre to be the fate of a Roman citizen but other possibilities have been suggested. The early Greek commentators believed that Paul was referring obliquely to Nero, 'on account of his cruel nature' (Eusebuis, II.22:4). According to Josephus, the news of the Emperor Tiberius' death in AD 37 reached Herod Agrippa in the cryptic form "the lion is dead". Other possibilities are that the lion is Satan (as in 1 Pet 5:8), Paul's prosecutor in court, death, or the danger his enemies had placed him in (cf. Pass 22:21; 35:17). At all events Paul emerges as a NT Daniel.
Described as fellow workers, hosts in Corinth, and evidently still in Ephesus (cf. Ro 16:3; Ac 18:2; 1 Cor 16:19; 18:26.
Perhaps Corinth's 'city treasurer' (Rom 16:23) who was sent with Timothy into Macedonia (Ac 19:22). Perhaps Erastus accompanied Paul to Corinth after his re-arrest.
A native Ephesian and one of Paul's companions during his third journey (Ac 20:1-5; 21:29).
When navigation by sea would become impossible.