Epistle of 2nd Timothy
We come now to Paul's final epistle, written in the last months of his life during his imprisonment in Rome around 67 AD. Knowing he is about to die, Paul's exhortation to Timothy is that he carry on the work of the Gospel. Paul reminds his protégé he has been given the power of the Spirit to fulfill the mission he has been commissioned with, and that God has been, and will continue to be, faithful regardless of what man can do.
Paul was beheaded some time after writing this letter. According to tradition, the soldiers who guarded him in the prison died with him as his last converts.
1 Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, according to the promise of life which is in Christ Jesus,
2 To Timothy, my dearly beloved son: Grace, mercy, and peace, from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.
3 I thank God, whom I serve from my forefathers with pure conscience, that without ceasing I have remembrance of thee in my prayers night and day;
4 Greatly desiring to see thee, being mindful of thy tears, that I may be filled with joy;
5 When I call to remembrance the unfeigned faith that is in thee, which dwelt first in thy grandmother Lois, and thy mother Eunice; and I am persuaded that in thee also.
6 Wherefore I put thee in remembrance that thou stir up the gift of God, which is in thee by the putting on of my hands.1
7 For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.2
8 Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me his prisoner: but be thou partaker of the afflictions of the gospel according to the power of God;
9 Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began,
10 But is now made manifest by the appearing of our Saviour Jesus Christ, who hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel:
11 Whereunto I am appointed a preacher, and an apostle, and a teacher of the Gentiles.
12 For the which cause I also suffer these things: nevertheless I am not ashamed: for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day.3
13 Hold fast the form of sound words4, which thou hast heard of me, in faith and love which is in Christ Jesus.
14 That good thing which was committed unto thee keep by the Holy Ghost which dwelleth in us.
15 This thou knowest, that all they which are in Asia be turned away from me; of whom are Phygellus and Hermogenes.
16 The Lord give mercy unto the house of Onesiphorus; for he oft refreshed5 me, and was not ashamed of my chain:
17 But, when he was in Rome, he sought me out very diligently, and found me.
18 The Lord grant unto him that he may find mercy of the Lord in that day6: and in how many things he ministered unto me at Ephesus, thou knowest very well.
Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, according to the promise
of life that is in Christ Jesus,
2 To Timothy, my dearly beloved son: Grace, mercy, and peace to you, from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.
3 I thank God--whom I serve with a clear conscience as did my forefathers--that I unceasingly remember you in my prayers, day and night,
4-5 Greatly wanting to see you when I remember your tears, that I may be filled with joy when I call to mind the sincere faith you have that first was in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice, and I am sure is in you too.
6 That is why I am reminding you to fan into fire the gift of God that was placed in you when I (laid hands on, and ordained you).
7 For God has not given us an attitude of fear--but of power, love, and a disciplined mind.
8-10 So do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me, his prisoner--but be willing to share my afflictions for the Gospel, relying on the power of God, who saved us and gave us a holy calling not for anything we have done, but for His own purpose, through His grace which was ordained for us in Christ Jesus before the world began, but is now manifested by the appearing of our Savior, Jesus Christ, who has abolished death, and through the Gospel has brought to light the way to life and immortality.
11 And it is this very Gospel to which I am appointed a preacher, apostle, and teacher of the Gentiles.
12 And its also because of the Gospel that I am suffering these things. Even so, I am not ashamed, because I know in whom I have believed, and I am persuaded that he is able to keep safe (the Gospel message) he revealed to me, until the day of his appearance.
13 In the faith and love that is in Christ Jesus, hold fast, and conform yourself, to the sound teachings that you heard from me.
14 Keep safe, through the Holy Spirit who dwells in us, that good thing that was ordained to you to keep.
15 You already know that all who came with me from Turkey have turned away from me, including Phygellus and Hermogenes.
16 But may the Lord show mercy to the family of Onesiphorus, for he was often here as a breath of cool, fresh air, and was not ashamed of my chain.
17 In fact, when he arrived in Rome, he hunted everywhere until he found me.
18 May the Lord Jesus grant him mercy in that Day, for you know very well all he did to aid me in Ephesus.
1. Paul here refers to a Charismatic anointing given to Timothy by the laying on of hands. This is over and above the basic indwelling of the Spirit and access to normal spiritual fruit available to all Christians.
2. Disciplined mind is a better translation.
3. There are a couple of different ways to understand this verse. Paul may be saying that despite the fact he is about to die, and God has not somehow preserved him, he has not failed in his mission, nor will that mission end in failure with his demise, for God will perpetuate it through those who will follow the apostle. Based on verse 2 of the following chapter, the paraphrase takes this view. Otherwise, Paul is saying that he has entrusted something for God to faithfully keep safe. (Presumably, the churches and people.)
See also the commentary in 6.
4. Words should be understood as: Teachings.
5. The word here in Greek eventually came down to us as the word refrigerator. In the heat of his prison, Paul mentions that Onesiphorus visits were a great refreshment to him.
6. The phrase, the Day of the LORD, and others like it, have a variety of meanings. The chief meaning, foretold in the Old Testament, is that of the Tribulation period--culminated with the second coming of Christ--where the judgment and wrath of God is unleashed against sin (Amos 5:18).It also refers to a time when the Jews during the Tribulation will call upon Christ (i.e., the LORD) and be saved (Joel 2:32). It also includes the Last Judgment (2 Tim. 4:1) and the destruction and re-creation of the universe (2 Peter 3:10). Some teach this and verse 12 refer to the Last Judgment, and conclude: See? We can have no certainty about our salvation, because we will need mercy at the Last Judgment as God reviews our deeds! So we must make certain we live as righteously as we can so our deeds will pass scrutiny and we can enter into eternal life. Otherwise, we will fail the test, and be lost!
That view is, of course, the fruit of a false Gospel of Law and works, not Grace and Faith.
That view is, of course, the fruit of a false Gospel of Law and works, not Grace and Faith.
In verse 12, Paul is saying God will keep safe the church or Pauls message to the final appearance of Christ at the end of the Tribulation. In verse 18, Paul is again referring to the Tribulation period. He is not praying God will show mercy to Onesiphorus--a righteous man to start with--at the Last Judgment so he gets into heaven; he is praying Onesiphorus be found worthy to escape the wrath coming on the earth as Jesus commands to do (Luke 24:36).
No saved Christian--especially a righteous one like Onesiphorus--will stand at the Last Judgment, needing the mercy of God to escape Hell during a scrutiny of his life. Instead, hell be welcomed (2 Peter 1:10-11)! The Christian has already been shown mercy at the Cross! No Christian--that is, one actually dying in a state of grace and salvation--will somehow fail some sort of scrutiny at the Last Judgment and wind up damned. The redeemed are consigned to eternal life the moment they die--just as the lost are consigned to damnation--and no scrutiny can change that. No additional mercy is required to assure that or the basis for getting in would be based on the good works of the individual and not the merits of Christ alone, thus requiring a scrutinizing God to show mercy to overlook the imperfect works of the redeemed, making salvation a process of co-redemption. What a Christian may need some mercy for at the Judgment is to avoid losing reward for the imperfection of works done in the name of the Master for less than selfless motives, or to avoid losing reward for the trials he underwent in life, failing to respond with the most Christlike attitude. But never for his sins, which have been fully atoned for by Christ's blood, nor for the believer's unrighteousness, which has been freely exchanged for Christ's perfect righteousness independent of his deeds and lifestyle! Yes, he can lose his salvation based on his willful, unrepentant serious sin and rebellion, which can cause him to lose his saving faith--but no scrutiny is needed at the Last Judgment to determine if this has happened or if he needs mercy to avoid the repercussions. He is either saved or not saved at the moment of death. No scrutiny can alter that.
Bottom line: when Paul uses any phrase like the Day of Christ or that Day, he defines that as the return and revealing of Christ after the Tribulation, not simply the Last Judgment (see 1 Cor. 1:7-8), which is only one component part of it.
1 Thou therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.
2 And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also.
3 Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.
4 No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier.
5 And if a man also strive for masteries,1 yet is he not crowned, except he strive lawfully.
6 The husbandman that laboureth must be first partaker of the fruits.
7 Consider what I say; and the Lord give thee understanding in all things.
8 Remember that Jesus Christ of the seed of David was raised from the dead according to my gospel:
9 Wherein I suffer trouble, as an evil doer, even unto bonds; but the word of God is not bound.
10 Therefore I endure all things for the elect's sakes, that they may also obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory.
11 It is a faithful saying: For if we be dead with him, we shall also live with him:
12 If we suffer, we shall also reign with him: if we deny him, he also will deny us:
13 If we believe not, yet he abideth faithful: he cannot deny himself.
14 Of these things put them in remembrance, charging them before the Lord that they strive not about words to no profit, but to the subverting of the hearers.2
15 Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.
16 But shun profane and vain babblings: for they will increase unto more ungodliness.
17 And their word will eat as doth a canker: of whom is Hymenaeus and Philetus;
18 Who concerning the truth have erred, saying that the resurrection is past already; and overthrow the faith of some.
19 Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his. And, Let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity.
20 But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and of silver, but also of wood and of earth; and some to honour, and some to dishonour.
21 If a man therefore purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honour, sanctified, and meet for the master's use, and prepared unto every good work.
22 Flee also youthful lusts: but follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart.
23 But foolish and unlearned questions avoid, knowing that they do gender strifes.
24 And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient,
25 In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth;3
26 And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will.4
Therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.
2 And the teachings you heard me proclaim among many witnesses--impart these to faithful men with the ability to teach them to others also.
3 Endure hardship well, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ should.
4 No man who goes to war worries about the pragmatic, day-to-day concerns of life in order to be pleasing to the commander who drafted him.
5 And no one in a race wins the crown unless he plays by the rules.
6 The vinedresser who works in the vineyard must be the first to sample the fruits.
7 Consider what I say, and may the Lord give you understanding in everything.
8 Never forget the foundation of what I proclaim: That Jesus Christ, of Davids lineage, was raised from the dead according to my Gospel:
9 And that is why I am treated like some evildoer, being placed in chains--but the Message of God is not hindered or chained in any way!
10 Therefore, I endure everything for the sake of the elect so that they may also obtain salvation and eternal glory through Christ Jesus.
11 You can believe this saying: If we die with him, we shall certainly live with him.
12 If we endure for him, we shall also reign with him. But if we deny him, he will deny us.
13 Even if we lose faith, he is still faithful, for he cannot deny himself.
14 Emphasize this to the ones you select, and charge them before the Lord not to get into wordy arguments which only destroy those who are listening.
15 Strive to show yourself approved of God, and be a workman who has no reason to be ashamed, correctly teaching and handling the Message of truth.
16 But avoid pointless arguments, for they will only lead to more ungodliness,
17 And will rot like gangrene among the congregation. Hymenaeus and Philetus are two good examples of this,
18 Who, so far as the truth is concerned, have strayed from the truth, saying that the resurrection has already occurred. They and their teachings are overthrowing some peoples faith.
19 Even so, the foundation stone of God is still standing secure, with this inscription on it: The Lord knows those who are His. And: Let every one that names the name of Christ depart from iniquity.
20 In a great house, there are not only containers of gold and silver, but also containers of wood and clay. And some are used for important purposes, and some are (chamber pots).
21 If a man purges himself from the things Ive been warning about, he shall be a container of importance, set apart and available for the Master to use in every good work of his.
22 Flee also from youthful desires. Instead, with all those who call upon the Lord with a pure heart, pursue righteousness, faith, charity, and peace.
23 But avoid foolish and ignorant questions, knowing they only create strife.
24 And the slave of the Lord must not be in strife, but must be soft-spoken to all men, able to teach, able to turn the other cheek,
25 Meekly correcting those who oppose him in hope God will sober up their thinking, that they may repent, and acknowledge the truth,
26 And by this escape the snare of the devil, who takes the unsaved captive at his will.
26 (Alternate reading) And by this escape the snare of the devil who has taken them captive, that they may do (Gods) will.
1. Run in a race would be a better understanding of the single Greek word here translated as: Strive for masteries.
2. Paul here is admonishing Timothy and the elders to avoid arguing over extraneous points of the Law that can serve no real purpose other than to bring division and confusion over issues of no great importance.
3. An extremely important verse that shows repentance comes only from the Holy Spirit granting a man the capability to repent. This is why intellectually trying to persuade the skeptic through use of Apologetics is often a waste of time, for it is through a mans spirit, not his rational mind, that he is enabled to obtain eternal life. In almost every case, no argument satisfies the skeptic because he has already chosen not to believe.
4. Another key verse suggesting that the devil has overwhelming control over the unsaved. However, it could theoretically be understood like this: ...And by this escape the snare of the devil who has taken them captive, that they may do (Gods) will.
1 This know also, that in the last days1 perilous2 times shall come.
2 For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy,
3 Without natural affection,3 trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good,
4 Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God;
5 Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.
6 For of this sort are they which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts,
7 Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.
8 Now as Jannes and Jambres4 withstood Moses, so do these also resist the truth: men of corrupt minds, reprobate concerning the faith.
9 But they shall proceed no further: for their folly shall be manifest unto all men, as theirs also was.
10 But thou hast fully known my doctrine, manner of life, purpose, faith, longsuffering, charity, patience,
11 Persecutions, afflictions, which came unto me at Antioch, at Iconium, at Lystra; what persecutions I endured: but out of them all the Lord delivered me.
12 Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.
13 But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived.
14 But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them;
15 And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.
16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:5
17 That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.
You should also know this: In the last days of this Age (just before the
Messianic Age begins), very violent times will come.
2 (These times will be marked by unprecedented selfishness and self-gratification.) Men will not care about anyone but themselves; their only love will be for material things. They will be loud-mouthed. They will be arrogant. They will be blasphemous. Disobedient to their parents. Unthankful. Unholy.
3 They will not even have love for others in their family. They wont keep their word. Slander will flow from their lips like water. Self-control will be a totally alien concept to them. They will be violent. They will hate anything or anyone good.
4 They will be traitors. They will be reckless. They will be haughty. They will love pleasure rather than God.
5 They will have an outward form of being religious, but will deny the true power of God (to change the inside). Turn your back on these sorts of people.
6 For people like this are the sort who creep into houses and take captive silly women who, in their sinful lust, crave fantasy in place of reality.
7 Such women think theyre always learning from them--but they never learn enough to come to the truth.
7 (Alternate Reading) These men think theyre always learning--but they never learn enough to come to the truth!
8 Now as Pharaohs magicians, Jannes and Jambres, opposed Moses, so these men also stand against the truth. They are men of corrupt minds, and are heretics so far as the true Christian faith goes.
9 But they will prosper no longer, for their folly will be shown to all men for what it is, just as happened with the magicians.
10-11 But you have been made fully aware of my doctrine, and have seen my lifestyle, goals, faith, perseverance, charity, patience, persecutions, and afflictions that befell me at Antioch, Iconium, and Lystra. Yes, those were horrible persecutions I went through, but the Lord delivered me from all of them.
12 And yes, all in Christ Jesus who live godly will suffer persecution.
13 But evil men and impostors shall get worse and worse, deceiving others while sinking into deeper deception themselves.
14 But continue in what you have learned and been assured of is the truth, mindful of who taught you.
15 From the time you were a babe, you have also known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise, leading to salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.
16 All Scripture, in fact, is given through the inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for confronting one about his sin, for correction, and to instruct one in godly living,
17 So that the man of God may be mature and thoroughly equipped to perform all sorts of good works.
1. Some people appeal to Acts 2, and ridicule those who see the term last days as applying to modern times, for in their view we have been in the last days since the time of Christ, based on Peters reference to Joels prophecy. However, we see Paul here clearly articulating that there is a future time to come that will see mankind descend into anarchy.
2. Some assert the term demon-filled times is a more correct rendering of the word here, but violent, chaotic times is probably closest to the meaning of the word.
3. Without natural affection is not some reference to homosexuality, but is better understood as lacking familial love and fidelity.
4. This pair are not mentioned by name in Scripture, but are named in Jewish oral tradition and apocryphal writings.
5. One of the most important verses Paul has written, for he illustrates here the purpose and use of Scripture: To reveal the Messiah, and then reprove, correct, and instruct believers in the manner of godly living. Outside these parameters, things like perceived contradictions or errors are irrelevant since, for instance, whether there was one Gadarene demoniac, or two, has no bearing on issues dealing with salvation and the Christian lifestyle. It is the theological message the Scripture intends to convey, and not the minutiae of text used to covey the message, that is inerrant.
1 I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom;
2 Preach the word; be instant1 in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.
3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears;
4 And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.2
5 But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry.
6 For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand.
7 I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith:
8 Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.
9 Do thy diligence to come shortly unto me:
10 For Demas hath forsaken me, having loved this present world, and is departed unto Thessalonica; Crescens to Galatia, Titus unto Dalmatia.
11 Only Luke is with me. Take Mark, and bring him with thee: for he is profitable to me for the ministry.
12 And Tychicus have I sent to Ephesus.
13 The cloke3 that I left at Troas with Carpus, when thou comest, bring with thee, and the books, but especially the parchments.
14 Alexander the coppersmith4 did me much evil: the Lord reward him according to his works:
15 Of whom be thou ware also; for he hath greatly withstood our words.
16 At my first answer no man stood with me, but all men forsook me: I pray God that it may not be laid to their charge.
17 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.
18 And the Lord shall deliver me from every evil work, and will preserve me unto his heavenly kingdom: to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.
19 Salute Prisca and Aquila, and the household of Onesiphorus.
20 Erastus abode at Corinth: but Trophimus have I left at Miletum sick.
21 Do thy diligence to come before winter. Eubulus greeteth thee, and Pudens, and Linus,5 and Claudia, and all the brethren.
22 The Lord Jesus Christ be with thy spirit. Grace be with you. Amen.
I charge you therefore before God and the Lord Jesus Christ, who will judge
the living and the dead at his appearance and the ushering in of his Kingdom,
2 That you preach the Message, and that you are ready, whether the Message will be received or rejected, to patiently reprove, rebuke, and exhort, in accordance with sound doctrine.
3 For the time will come when people will not accept sound doctrine. Instead, to justify their own selfish desires, they will find teachers to say what they want to hear.
4 They will stuff cotton into their ears to avoid hearing the truth, and instead open their ears to myths.
5 But be steadfast in everything that is true. Endure afflictions. Do the work of an evangelist, and fulfill your ministry.
6 For I am ready to be offered up, and the time of my departure is at hand.
7 I have fought a good fight...
I have finished the race
I have guarded the faith.
8 And now there is a crown of righteousness awaiting me, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will present to me on that day. And I wont be the only one to get one--all who love his appearance will receive crowns too!
9 Do all you can to get here quickly,
10 For Demas has abandoned me, having had more love for the things of this world than the Gospel, and left for Thessalonica. Crescens is gone to Galatia, and Titus has left for Dalmatia.
11 Only Luke has remained behind with me. Find Mark and bring him with you, because he is helpful to me in the ministry.
12 I have sent Tychicus to Ephesus.
13 Bring the (scroll case) I left with Carpus at Troas when you come, along with the scrolls, and especially the parchments in it.
14 Alexander the coppersmith did much evil to me (with his testimony to the Romans that put me here)--may God give him the reward he deserves for it!
15 You watch out for him, for he has greatly opposed our teachings.
16 At my first appearance before the Praetorian Praefect no one stood with me, and I was all alone, for they all abandoned me. I pray God not hold that sin against them.
17 Even so, the Lord stood with me and strengthened me so that through me the Gospel message might be fully proclaimed to the Gentiles. So that time, anyway, I was delivered out of the mouth of the lion.
18 And the Lord shall deliver me from every evil plot, and will preserve me until I enter his heavenly kingdom. Glory to him forever and ever! Amen.
19 Greet Priscilla and Aquila, and the household of Onesiphorus.
20 Erastus stayed at Corinth, but I had to leave Trophimus sick at Miletus.
21 Do all you can to get here before winter. Eubulus sends greeting, along with Pudens, Linus, Claudia, and all the brethren.
22 The Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit. Grace be with you. Amen.
1 Instant is better translated as: Prepared, ready, etc.
2 Fables refers to myths and false teachings, such as the claims of Mormonism, or the messages to humanity by alleged extraterrestrials or other spirit entities.
3. Lamsa speculates that a mistranslation has crept into the text here. He reasonably points out that Paul would have no great concern over an article of clothing, but if the Greek word is traced back to the Aramaic, it refers to a book or scroll case containing important documents, which melds perfectly with the words following. In this rare case, the paraphrase will follow that line of reasoning.
4. Tradition asserts that this metalworker ratted Paul out to the Roman authorities, resulting in his final trial and execution.
5. Catholic tradition asserts this Linus became the second pope, replacing Peter as Bishop of Rome.