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In this chapter the apostle charges Timothy to perform his office as an evangelist with great diligence, constancy, and faithfulness, with reasons for it; gives some hints of several particular persons mentioned, which made him very desirous that Timothy would come quickly to him; relates how things were with him when he made his first defence at Rome; and concludes the epistle with salutations, and his usual blessing. The charge is made in the most solemn manner in the sight of God; and of Christ, as Judge of quick and dead; and directs to the several parts of the ministerial work, and the manner in which they should be performed, ( 2 Timothy 4:1,2). The reason of which charge is, because the time was hastening on that sound doctrine would not be endured, and men would depart from the truth to fables and false teachers, ( 2 Timothy 4:3,4). Wherefore the apostle repeats his charge and exhortation to Timothy, though in other words, to be vigilant, patient, courageous, and faithful in the discharge of his office, ( 2 Timothy 4:5) adding a fresh reason moving to it, taken from the apostle's death being at hand; which is expressed by a sacrifice, and by a departure out of the world, ( 2 Timothy 4:6) which leads him to give an account of his past conduct in fighting the good fight, finishing his course, and keeping the faith, ( 2 Timothy 4:7) and of his firm belief of eternal glory and happiness, ( 2 Timothy 4:8) and next he desires Timothy to use all diligence to come quickly to him, ( 2 Timothy 4:9) his reasons for which were, because he had scarce anybody with him: one had forsook him through love of the world; another was gone to Thessalonica; a third to Galatia, and a fourth to Dalmatia; only Luke the evangelist was with him; and as for Tychicus, he had sent him to Ephesus: he therefore desires he would bring Mark with him, and his cloak, books, and parchments he had left at Troas, ( 2 Timothy 4:10-13) and then takes notice of persons that had used him ill, particularly Alexander the coppersmith; he wishes justice might be done him; and advises Timothy to beware of him, because of his opposition to the doctrines of the Gospel, ( 2 Timothy 4:14,15) and also of others that neglected him, who forsook him when he defended himself: however, he prays that this might not be charged upon them; and observes the goodness of God in standing by him and delivering him; and expresses his faith and confidence that he should be delivered and preserved safe to eternal glory, ( 2 Timothy 4:16-18) and next follow the apostle's salutations of some persons at Ephesus, and an account of two others, one at Corinth, and another at Miletum; and a repetition of his request to Timothy, to come quickly to him, and before winter; and then some salutations of persons at Rome, sent by Timothy; and the whole is concluded with the apostle's usual benediction, ( Timothy 4:19-22).
Ver. 1. I charge thee therefore before God , etc.] Whose word the Scriptures are, and by whom they are inspired; who had made Timothy an able minister of the New Testament, and to whom he was accountable for his ministry: and the Lord Jesus Christ ; who is equal with God, and bestows ministerial gifts on men, and from whom Timothy had his; whose Gospel he preached; in whose cause he was embarked; and before whom he must appear, to give an account of his ministry, talents, and souls under his care: who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom ; it is certain there will be a general judgment; the day is appointed, and Christ is ordained the Judge of all men; all judgment is committed to him, and he is ready to exercise it; for which he is abundantly qualified, being God omniscient and omnipotent; and which he will execute in the most righteous and impartial manner. The persons that will be judged by him are, “the quick and the dead”; by which are meant, not the different parts of men, their souls which are living and immortal, and their bodies which die and will be raised from the dead, though they will be judged in their whole persons; nor the different sorts of men, as good men, who are made alive by the Spirit and grace of God, and evil men, who are dead in trespasses and sins, and die in their sins; though this is a truth that God will judge both the righteous and the wicked: but rather by the “quick”, are meant, such as will be found alive at Christ's coming; and by the “dead”, such as having been dead, will be raised by him; and in short, the characters include all mentioned; who must all stand before the judgment seat of Christ. The time when this will be, is, at his appearing, and his kingdom ; which may be considered as an hendyadis, expressive of one and the same thing; and so the Syriac version renders it, “at the revelation of his kingdom”; or as two things, the one as antecedent and preparatory to the other; the former refers to the appearance of Christ at the last day. He appeared frequently to the Old Testament saints in an human form; and he really appeared in human nature in the fulness of time; and after his resurrection to his apostles and others, and even after his ascension to some; and he appears in a spiritual manner to believers in all ages; but to them that look for him, he will appear a second time in person, in a most glorious manner: for the present he is received up into heaven, where he is as it were hid, and is unseen to corporeal eyes; but in his due time he will be manifested in his own and his Father's glory, and in the glory of his angels; and this appearance will be greatly to the advantage of the saints, who will then appear in glory, and be like him, and see him as he is, and hence they look for it, and love it; and at this time will be the judgment, and then will the kingdom of Christ take place. Christ has a kingdom now, and ever had, which is not of this world, but is of a spiritual nature; and which will be more manifest in that latter day, by the spread of the Gospel, the numerous instances of conversion, and the revival of powerful religion and godliness, which we commonly call the spiritual reign of Christ; but the kingdom here designed, is the personal reign of Christ, for a thousand years: at the beginning of which will be the judgment of the saints, who having the crown of righteousness given them by the Judge, will reign with him as kings and priests; and at the end of this period will be the judgment of the wicked. The charge made before these two divine Persons, God and his Son Jesus Christ, follows.
Ver. 2. Preach the word , etc.] Either Christ the essential Word, who is the sum and substance of the Gospel ministry; or the word of truth and faith, the Gospel of salvation, the word of righteousness, peace, and reconciliation by Christ; which is to be preached, or published, in like manner as heralds proclaim the will of their princes; openly, publicly, and with a loud voice, without adding to it, or taking from speaking out the whole, and keeping back no part of it; and that with all courage and boldness: some copies read, “the word of God”; and the Ethiopic version, “his word”; that is, the word of Christ: be instant in season, out of season ; that is, be constant and assiduous in the work of the ministry; be always and wholly in it, either preparing for it, or performing it; or doing those things which are annexed to it, or follow upon it; redeem time, and take every opportunity of dispensing the mysteries of grace, as a faithful steward of them; not only make use of the common and stated seasons for the ministration of the word and ordinances, but embrace every other that offers; make use not only of those seasons which may seem commodious and advantageous both to preacher and hearer, and promise usefulness and success, but even such as may seem incommodious and disadvantageous to flesh and blood; such as times of persecution and opposition; but none of these things should deter and move from the preaching of the Gospel. Several parts of the ministerial function to be insisted on and attended to are next mentioned, as being within the solemn charge given before God and Christ: reprove ; errors, and men for their errors and heresies; make use of convincing arguments taken out of the Scriptures, which are profitable for reproof of this kind; and which reproof sometimes is to be given with sharpness, as the case requires, that men may be sound in the faith. Rebuke ; or chide for sin; some privately, others more publicly, according to the nature and circumstances of the offence; some more gently, others more roughly, as is needful. Exhort ; to all the duties of religion respecting God and man; to show love, and to do good works; to hold fast the profession of faith, and walk as becomes the Gospel of Christ; and to persevere in faith and holiness: or “comfort”, as the word may be rendered; for as the ministers of the Gospel are in some cases to be “Boanergeses”, sons of thunder, so other cases they should be Barnabases, sons of consolation; and comfort distressed minds, by preaching the comfortable doctrines of peace, pardon, righteousness and salvation by Jesus Christ: with all longsuffering : or patience. The success of the Gospel ministry should be patiently waited for as husbandmen do for the fruits of the earth.
Those that give into error, and oppose themselves to the truth, should be instructed in meekness; and those who are overtaken in a fault should be gently rebuked, and restored in such a spirit; and every exhortation should be pressed as persons are able to bear it: and doctrine ; in a way that is instructive and teaching, and in agreement with the doctrine of the Scriptures, which are profitable for that purpose.
Ver. 3. For the time will come , etc.] This is a reason of the solemn charge above given: the time referred to was future, when the apostle wrote, but quickly came on; and the characters of it have appeared more or less in all ages since; and in none more than in ours: when they will not endure sound doctrine ; the Gospel which contains the wholesome words of Christ, and is sound itself, having no corruption in it, and salutary in its effects to the souls of men; and yet such is the depravity of some men, both in principles and practice, that they cannot receive it, nor bear to hear it, turn their backs on it, express their indignation at it, and treat it not only with neglect, but with ridicule and contempt: but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers ; not being content with the ministry of one man only, or of a few, though of their own sort; but must follow many, and have heaps of them; which seems to express not only the number of false teachers which they accumulate to themselves, but the confused and indiscreet choice they make of them; and that after their own lusts; choosing to hear such as either indulge them in their sinful lusts and pleasures; or are agreeable to their private corrupt sentiments, in opposition to the generally received doctrine of faith. It is a blessing to have pastors and teachers after God's heart, and who preach according to the word of God; these feed men with knowledge and understanding, ( Jeremiah 3:15) but it is a curse upon a people, when they are left to choose teachers after their hearts' lusts: having itching ears ; always desirous of new things, as the Athenians of old; or loving to have their ears scratched and tickled with smooth things; that are pleasing and agreeable to natural men, and carnal minds; as the purity of human nature, the power of man's free will, the excellency of his righteousness, and the merit of his works, and the like; (see Isaiah 30:9,10). Now, this being the case, should not discourage, but rather animate the ministers of the Gospel to preach it; for should they desist, in all likelihood the Gospel would soon be gone.
Ver. 4. And they shall turn away their ears from the truth , etc.] The solid truths of the Gospel, not being able to bear the hearing of them: and shall be turned unto fables ; things idle, trifling, useless, and, unprofitable; and which are no better than old wives' fables; some respect may be had either to Jewish fables, or to the miraculous mythologies of the Gentiles, or of the Gnostics, and others: but in general, it includes everything that is vain, empty, and senseless; and this is to be considered as a just judgment upon them; that since they like not to retain the knowledge of the truth, but turn away their ears from it, God gives them up to a reprobate mind, a mind void of sense and judgment, to attend to things idle and fabulous.
Ver. 5. But watch thou in all things , etc.] Relating to himself, his doctrine, and conversation; and to others, to feed the flock of God under his care, to know the state of them, and care for them; to give the time of night, and notice of approaching danger, and see the laws of Christ put in execution; either in allusion to shepherds, who watch over their flocks night and day; or to watchmen that are upon the walls of cities, or go about them; or to the priests and Levites in the temple: endure afflictions ; the Alexandrian copy adds, “as a good soldier of Jesus Christ”, as in ( 2 Timothy 2:3) meaning reproaches and persecutions for the sake of the Gospel, from without, and all trials and exercises from within, through the infirmities and ill conduct of the saints themselves; all which are to be endured patiently, cheerfully, and courageously; so as not to be moved by them to desist from the work of the ministry: do the work of an evangelist ; which may design either an officer, then in the church, distinct from apostles and prophets on the one hand, and pastors and teachers on the other; and was below the former, and above the latter; and was aiding and assisting to the apostles, and such an one Timothy may be thought to be: or it may intend a preacher of the Gospel in common; and to do the work of such an one is not to read lectures of morality, or to preach up justification and salvation by the works of the law; or to mix law and Gospel together, and confound them both; but to preach peace, pardon, righteousness, life, and salvation alone by Jesus Christ, and through the free grace of God: make full proof of thy ministry : the work of the ministry, which lies in preaching the Gospel, and administering ordinances, and doing all the duties belonging to it, which is to fulfil it, or discharge it; and which gives full proof of a man's being a true and faithful minister of the word; particularly when he diligently and constantly attends to his work; seeks not his own things, but the things of Christ; cheerfully and patiently suffers for Christ and his Gospel, and lives an agreeable life and conversation.
Ver. 6. For I am now ready to be offered , etc.] Or poured out, as a libation, or a drink offering; or as the blood was poured out at the bottom of the altar; which is expressive of martyrdom, and shows that the apostle knew what death he should die; for which he was habitually ready; and this sacrifice of himself was not to atone for sin, his own, or others; Christ's death was the only sacrifice for sin, and that is a complete one, and needs no other to be added to it; but this was in the cause of Christ, and for the confirmation of the Gospel, and the faith of the saints in it: so covenants have been confirmed by libations or drink offerings of wine; and this was an offering acceptable unto God, in whose sight the death of his saints is precious; as the wine in the drink offering is said to cheer God, that is, to be acceptable to him: and the time of my departure is at hand ; death is not an annihilation of man, neither of his body, nor of his soul; the one at death returns to dust, and the other to God that gave it; death is a dissolution of soul and body, or a dissolving of the union that is between them, and a resolution of the body into its first principles; hence the Syriac version renders it, “the time in which I shall be dissolved”; and the Vulgate Latin version, “the time of my resolution”. Death analyzes men, and reduces them to their first original earth; it is a removing of persons from one place and state to another; from an house of clay, from this earthly house of our tabernacle, to an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens, to everlasting habitations, and mansions in Christ's Father's house. This phrase, “a departure”, is an easy representation of death, and supposes an existence after it; (see Gill on “ Philippians 1:23”). Now there is a “time” for this; saints are not to continue here always; this is a state of pilgrimage, and a time of sojourning, and which is fixed and settled; the time for going out of this world, as well as for coming into it, is determined by God, beyond which there is no passing; the number of men's days, months, and years, is with him; and the apostle knew partly from his age, and partly from his situation, being in bonds at Rome, and it may be by divine revelation, that his time of removing out of this world was very near; and which he mentions, to stir up Timothy to diligence, since he would not have him long with him, to give him counsel and advice, to admonish him, or set him an example.
Ver. 7. I have fought a good fight , etc.] The fight of faith; the same as in ( 1 Timothy 6:10 (see Gill on “ 1 Timothy 6:10”)): I have finished my course , or race; the race of life set before him, his course of years; his days were extinct, the grave was ready for him, and he for that; his last sands were dropping, and he was just going the way of all flesh; or else he means the course of his ministry, which he desired to finish with joy, and was now finishing; ( Acts 13:25 20:24) he was now got to the end of his line, to Rome, where he was to be a martyr for Christ, ( Acts 23:11) so that he now concluded his work was done, and his warfare accomplished: I have kept the faith ; by which he means, not so much the grace of faith, that was kept by Christ, the object, author, and finisher of it, and through his effectual grace and powerful intercession; but rather the profession of faith, which he had held fast without wavering; and chiefly the doctrine of faith, which was committed to his trust, which he had kept pure and incorrupt against all opposition; unless his faithfulness and integrity in the ministerial work should be thought rather to be intended; and which sense is favoured by the Syriac and Ethiopic versions, which render it, “I have kept my faith”; or have been faithful to my trust, as a good steward of the mysteries of God; not concealing and keeping back any thing that was profitable, but declaring the whole counsel of God; and now what remained for him was the crown of righteousness; and this he says for the comfort and encouragement and imitation of Timothy and others. The phrase seems to be Jewish; it is said by the Jews, that he that does not keep the feast of unleavened bread, is as he who does not atwnmyhm ryjn , “keep the faith of the holy blessed God”.
Ver. 8. Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness , etc.] The happiness of the future state of the saints is signified by a crown, on account of the glory and excellency of it; and in perfect agreement with the character of the saints, as kings; and who are raised to sit among princes, and to inherit the throne of glory, and have a kingdom prepared for them; and this is called a crown “of righteousness”, because it comes through the righteousness of Christ; it is that which gives a right unto it, and without which it cannot be enjoyed; and because it is obtained and possessed in a righteous way, and not by force and usurpation, as crowns sometimes are: it is God the Father's free gift unto his children, what they are born heirs unto, and have a meetness for, through regenerating and sanctifying grace, and have a legal title to it through the righteousness of Christ. Moreover, this may be expressive of the perfect holiness and righteousness of the heavenly state, and of the saints in it, wherein will dwell none but righteous persons, and who will be entirely without sin. And this happiness, signified by a crown, is “laid up”; in the covenant of grace for the saints, which is ordered in all things and sure; and in Christ, in whose hands their persons are, and their grace is, and with him also is their life of glory hid and secured: and this also is laid up in heaven, and reserved there, and that for me , and thee; for particular persons, for all the vessels of mercy, for all that are chosen in Christ Jesus, and redeemed by his blood, and sanctified by his Spirit; which the Lord, the righteous Judge, shall give me at that day . By the Lord is meant the Lord Jesus Christ; as is evident from his character, as a Judge, for the Father judgeth no man; and from mention being made hereafter of his appearing: Christ is ordained Judge of quick and dead, for which he is abundantly qualified, and a “righteous” one he will be; he is righteous as God, and as man, and as Mediator, in the discharge of all his offices, and so he will be as a Judge, in the administration of that office; righteousness will be the girdle of his loins, and faithfulness the girdle of his reins; and from Christ, under this character, the apostle expected to receive all his future glory and happiness; and that both in a way of gift, as a free grace gift from him, and through him, and in a way of righteousness; and this seems to be a Jewish way of speaking. One of the Septuagint interpreters, whom Ptolomy king of Egypt sent for from Judea, to translate the law of Moses into Greek, in answer to a question put to him by the king, uses this phrase of stefanov dikaiosunhv , “a crown of righteousness”; and which he represents as the gift of God f24 : at that day ; either at the day of death, the time of his dissolution, which was at hand; or at the day of the resurrection, and of the last judgment, when Christ will appear under the above character: and the apostle further observes, to the comfort and encouragement of Timothy, and others, that this happiness was not intended and prepared for himself only, but for others: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing ; that is, his appearing at his second coming; which is to be loved, and so looked for by the saints, not only because it will be glorious in itself, in its attendants and consequences, but will be of great advantage to the saints; Christ will appear unto salvation to them, and so to their joy; they will appear with him in glory, and be like him, and enjoy the everlasting vision of him. The devils believe this appearance of Christ, but tremble at it; wicked men will behold him, and fear; saints know, believe, and love both Christ and his appearing; and such will wear that crown: the Ethiopic version renders it, “who love him at his coming”; all that love him now, will love him then.
Ver. 9. Do thy diligence to come shortly unto me .] From Ephesus, where Timothy was, to Rome, where the apostle was; and this request did not arise purely from a desire of seeing Timothy, as in ( 2 Timothy 1:4) but rather because he had some things to say to him, relating to the care of the churches and the good of the interest of Christ, which he chose not to write with ink and paper; and he desires the rather that he would use diligence, and hasten his coming to him; partly because winter was coming on, when travelling would not be so safe and comfortable, ( 2 Timothy 4:21) and partly because the time of his death was at hand, ( 2 Timothy 4:7) and also because he was almost alone.
Ver. 10. For Demas hath forsaken me , etc.] Of this person, (see Gill on “ Colossians 4:14”). It does not appear by what is said in this clause, and in the following, that he entirely apostatized; he might forsake the apostle, and yet not forsake Christ and his interest, or make shipwreck of faith and a good conscience: his faith might be right, though low, and his love sincere, though not fervent; and through a fear of persecution, and loss of life, he might be tempted to leave the apostle, and withdraw from Rome, for his own safety; which though it was far from being commendable in him, yet may be accounted for in this state of frailty and imperfection, consistent with the grace of God; and it should seem that he afterwards was delivered from this temptation, and returned to the apostle, ( Colossians 4:14 Philemon 1:24) for when those epistles were written, both Timothy and Mark, who are here wrote for, ( 2 Timothy 4:9,11) were with the apostle, ( Colossians 1:1) and ( Philemon 1:1) and especially he ought to be thought very well of after all this, if Demas is only a contraction of Demetrius, and he is the same who is so much commended many years after this, in ( 3 John 1:12), having loved this present world , not the sins and corruptions of the world, the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life; such a love is inconsistent with the love of the Father and the grace of God; nor an immoderate love of worldly substance, or of money, which is the root of all evil; but a love of life, or of a longer life in this present world; he was desirous of living longer in this world, and chose not to hazard his life by staying with the apostle, a prisoner at Rome; and therefore left him, and provided for his own safety and security: and is departed unto Thessalonica: which perhaps was his native country; and however he was at a sufficient distance from Rome, where he might judge himself safe; and if he was a worldly and earthly minded man, this was a fit place for him, being a place of trade and business: and this doubtless gave rise to a tradition, that he afterwards became a priest of the idol gods among the Thessalonians. Epiphanius places him among the heretics Ebion and Cerinthus, as if he was one of them. Crescens to Galatia ; he might not depart on the same account as Demas, but might be sent by the apostle to Galatia, to visit the churches there, to set things in order, and establish them in the faith, and bring an account of their state. Epiphanius f26 , instead of Galatia, reads Gallia, or France; and so does Eusebius and the Ethiopic version; and Jerom asserts, f28 , that Crescens preached in France, and was there buried; though others say he was bishop of Chalcedon in Galatia, and put him among the seventy disciples; (see Gill on “ Luke 10:1”). The Syriac version calls him “Crispus”, and the Arabic version “Priscus”. Titus to Dalmatia ; who Titus was is well known; the place he went to, Dalmatia, is a country in Europe, a part of Illyricum, where the apostle had preached, (see Gill on “ Romans 15:19”). Pliny says f29 , that part of Pannonia, which lies to the Adriatic sea, was called Dalmatia; it had its name from Dalmius, a city in it. The Alexandrian copy reads “Dermatia”.
Here the apostle had doubtless been useful for the conversion of souls, and planting of churches, and therefore sent Titus thither, to assist them in their state and condition, and bring him an account of them. For in the “second” and “third” centuries we read of churches in Dalmatia; and likewise in the “fourth” century; for there were bishops from Dalmatia in the synod at Sardica; and in the “fifth” century, Glycerius was bishop of Salo, a city in this country; and in the “sixth” century, one Malchus was bishop of the Dalmatian church f30 .
Ver. 11. Only Luke is with me , etc.] The beloved physician, who wrote the Gospel that bears his name, and “the Acts of the Apostles”, and was a constant companion of Paul's in his travels and sufferings: take Mark, and bring him with thee ; who might be at Ephesus, or somewhere in Timothy's way as he came to Rome. This seems to be the same with John Mark of Jerusalem, the son of Mary, the sister of Barnabas, and who was with Paul and Barnabas in their travels, and who parted from them at Pamphylia; on whose account, and for that reason, there was so great a difference between Paul and Barnabas, as to separate upon it; but now the apostle had entertained a better opinion of him, and was reconciled unto him, and was very desirous of his company and assistance; and which he had, ( Colossians 4:10 Philemon 1:24). For he is profitable to me for the ministry ; that is, of the Gospel, to assist in preaching it.
Ver. 12. And Tychicus have I sent to Ephesus .] To supply the place of Timothy, while he came to Rome, and continued there: so careful was the apostle of the church there, that they might not be without the ministry of the word during his absence; (see Ephesians 6:20,21).
Ver. 13. The cloak that I left at Troas with Carpus , etc.] About the word here rendered a “cloak”, interpreters are not agreed: some take it for a garment, and about this they differ; some would have it to be a dignified robe, such as the Roman consuls and senators of Rome wore; which is not likely, this being not suitable to the apostle's character, state, and circumstances. Others take it to be a courser and meaner garment, wore in cold and rainy weather, to preserve from the inclementencies of it; and winter now coming on, ( 2 Timothy 4:21) the apostle sends for it; which he perhaps had left at Troas in the summer season, as he came: but others take it to be a kind of desk or scrutoire, to put papers in, or a chest for books, a book press; and so the Syriac version renders it; and which agrees with what follows. Jerom understands it of a book itself, of the Hebrew volume of the Pentateuch f31 . Troas, where this cloak, or book press, or book was, was a city in Asia Minor, that stood upon, or near the same place where old Troy stood, and from whence it seems to have had its name, and lay in Timothy's way from Ephesus to Rome; (see Gill on “ Acts 16:8”) (see Gill on “ Acts 20:7”) and as for Carpus, he was Paul's host when he was at Troas. Some make him to be first bishop of Laodicea, and then of Crete; he is reckoned among the seventy disciples, and is said to be bishop of Berytus in Thrace; (see Gill on “ Luke 10:1”). When thou comest, bring with thee ; he would have him call for it at Troas as he came by, and bring it with him: and the books ; that were in it, or were there, besides the Hebrew Pentateuch: the apostle was a great reader of books, of various sorts, both Gentile and Jewish, as appears by his citations out of the Heathen poets, and his acquaintance with Jewish records, ( Acts 17:28 1 Corinthians 15:33 Titus 1:12 2 Timothy 3:13). And though he was now grown old, and near his exit, yet was mindful and careful of his books, and desirous of having them to read; and herein set an example to Timothy and others, and enforced the exhortation he gave him, ( 1 Timothy 4:13). But especially the parchments : which might contain his own writings he had a mind to revise before his death, and commit into the hands of proper persons; or some observations which he had made in his travels, concerning persons and things; though it is most likely that these were the books of the Old Testament, which were written on parchments, and rolled up together; and hence they are called the volume of the book; and these the apostle had a special regard for, that whatever was neglected, he desired that these might not, but be carefully brought unto him.
Ver. 14. Alexander the coppersmith did me much evil , etc.] This seems to be the same person that was at Ephesus in the tumult, when the apostle was there, ( Acts 20:33,34) and whom he afterwards delivered to Satan, along with Hymenaeus, for blasphemy, ( 1 Timothy 1:20). It was very likely he had lately been at Rome, though now returned to Ephesus, and had done great injury to the apostle's character, and had reproached and reviled him as a man of bad principles and practices; his business is mentioned, to distinguish him from any other of that name, and to show the insolence of the man, that though he was an illiterate person, and in such a mean station of life, yet took upon him to resist the apostle and his doctrine. The Lord reward him according to his works ; which may be considered either as an imprecation upon him, as knowing him to be a wicked blasphemer, and a reprobate person; and which arose, not from private resentment, and on account of the private injury he had done to him; but from a pure zeal for the glory of God, and the honour of his name, without mingling his own spirit and passions with it: or as a prophecy, or declaration of what would be; and so the Alexandrian copy, and the Vulgate Latin and Syriac versions, read, “the Lord will render to him”, etc.
Ver. 15. Of whom be thou ware also , etc.] For he was now at Ephesus; and since he was such a malicious, ill natured, and troublesome person, as well as a blasphemer, an heretic, and had been delivered up to Satan, it was very advisable to shun his company, and have no conversation with him, and be upon the guard against him, that he might have no opportunity of doing hurt to him, or to the church at Ephesus: for he hath greatly withstood our words : or doctrines; the truths of the Gospel preached by Paul and Timothy, which he opposed himself to, and resisted with all his might, and endeavoured to confute and overthrow; and wherein he was deficient in argument, he made up with railing and blasphemy; and this was the true reason of the apostle's imprecations on him, and why he would have Timothy beware of him, and avoid him, and not the personal injury he had done him.
Ver. 16. At my first answer no man stood with me , etc.] Meaning, that when he made his first defence against the charges laid unto him in one of the courts of judicature in Rome, no man appeared in his cause, to speak to his character, to be a witness for him, or plead his cause: but all men forsook me ; all his friends, all that came with him from Judea, or from Asia; (see 2 Timothy 1:15) being timorous of coming into danger, and of the loss of their lives; as the disciples of Christ were, when he was apprehended, who all at that time forsook him and fled: [I pray God] that it may not be laid to their charge ; that this sin may not be imputed to them, or they be punished for it, but that it might be pardoned; so differently does he express himself on the account of these, than on the account of the coppersmith; he sinning through malice, wilfully and obstinately, these through surprise, temptation, and weakness.
Ver. 17. Notwithstanding the Lord stood with me , etc.] Either personally appearing to him, as in ( Acts 23:11) or by the ministry of an angel, ( Acts 27:23,24) or else by granting him his gracious presence, which was what Christ had not when he was forsaken by his disciples: the presence of God or Christ is more than all friends whatever, and is often enjoyed by the believer, when they drop him; and is a bulwark against all enemies and fears of them; if God is with him, and on his side, though friends fail, and enemies rage, he has nothing to fear: and strengthened me ; inwardly with strength in his soul, with might in his inward man, unto all longsuffering with joyfulness: he was weak in himself, and could do nothing without Christ; Christ was his strength, in him it lay, and to him he looked for it; of which he often had experience, and now afresh; he strengthened him to plead his own cause, to make his defence without fear; he gave him presence of mind, boldness, courage, and intrepidity, freedom of thought and expression; and put it into his heart what he should say, and gave him a mouth and wisdom, which his adversaries could not resist. All which he takes notice of with thankfulness, admiring the divine goodness to him, and taking nothing to himself: and the end of this was, that by me the preaching might be fully known ; that is, that the doctrine of the Gospel, preached by him, might be made fully known by him; as to the author and original of it, to be of God, and not of men; and as to the matter of it, to be spiritual, and not concerning the things of the world; and as to the effects and consequences of it, to have no tendency to raise sedition and disturbances in commonwealths, but, on the contrary, promote peace and love: and that all the Gentiles might hear ; in Caesar's palace, or in the courts of judicature at Rome, and all over Rome, and from thence in other parts of the empire, what a Gospel it was that was preached by the apostle; and if not by his personal ministry, at least by his epistles he afterwards wrote in prison: however, the effect of his defence, the Lord being with him, and strengthening him, was his deliverance: and I was delivered out of the mouth of the lion ; from death he was threatened with, which, like a lion, gaped upon him to devour him; or from Satan the roaring lion, who desired to have had him, and sought to have intimidated him, and brought him to have denied his Lord, to have deserted his cause, and blasphemed his name; or else from Nero the Roman emperor, so called from his power and fierceness. So Tiberius is called by Marsyas, Agrippa's freeman, when he brought the news of his death to his master f32 ; and Ahasuerus by Esther f33 ; and Nero himself is called a civil beast by Apollonius Tyanaeus f34 ; though some think that not Nero, but Helius, whom he had appointed governor in his room, he being at this time in Greece, is here meant, before whom Paul was tried, and out of whose hands he was delivered. “Give me eloquent speech in my mouth before the lion: turn his heart to hate him that fighteth against us, that there may be an end of him, and of all that are likeminded to him:” (Esther 14:13) Ver. 18. And the Lord shall deliver me from every evil work , etc.] From wicked and unreasonable men, and all their attempts upon him, and from all afflictions by them; not but that he expected afflictions as long as he was in the world, but he knew that God would support him under them; and in his own time and way deliver out of them; and at last entirely by death, when he should be no more attended with them; and from all the temptations of Satan, and his evil designs upon him, and from sin and iniquity; not that he expected to live free of Satan's temptations, or without sin, but he believed that he should be kept from sinking under the former, and from being under the dominion of the latter; and should not be left to deny his Lord, desert his cause, blaspheme his name, and apostatize from him: and will preserve [me] unto his heavenly kingdom , the ultimate glory and happiness of the saints in heaven; so called, both because of its nature and place, and to distinguish it from the church, which is Christ's kingdom in this world, though it is not of it; and from his personal reign with his saints on earth, for the space of a thousand years; whereas this will be for ever: and unto this the apostle believed he should be preserved, as all the saints will be, notwithstanding the persecutions of the world, the temptations of Satan, and their own corruptions; for they are secured in an everlasting covenant, and in the hands of Christ; and have not only angels to encamp about them, and salvation, as walls and bulwarks to them, but God himself is a wall of fire around them, and they are kept by his power unto salvation: and besides, this heavenly kingdom is prepared for them, and given to them; they are chosen to be heirs and possessors of it; they are called unto it, and Christ is gone to receive it in their name, to prepare it for them, and will come again and introduce them into it: to whom be glory for ever and ever, Amen : of the present deliverance, and of all others he had, or should receive, as well as of the provision of the heavenly kingdom for him, and of his preservation to it.
Ver. 19. Salute Prisca and Aquila , etc.] The same with Priscilla and Aquila: and so the Complutensian edition, and some copies, read here; who were of the same occupation with the apostle, and with whom he wrought at Corinth, and whom he left at Ephesus; and who seem by this salutation to have continued there, ( Acts 18:2,3,18,19). And the household of Onesiphorus : who also lived at Ephesus, and whose kindness to the apostle, when he was at Rome, is before mentioned, ( Timothy 1:16-18).
Ver. 20. Erastus abode at Corinth , etc.] He was chamberlain of that city, ( Romans 16:23) who being sent along with Timothy into Macedonia, ( Acts 19:22) very probably went from thence into Achaia, to Corinth, his native place, where he stayed. But Trophimus have I left at Miletum sick . Trophimus was an Asian, of the city of Ephesus, the same that is spoken of in ( Acts 20:4 21:29). Some say he suffered martyrdom the same day the Apostle Paul did; but others say, that after that time he was bishop of Arles in France. This man went with the apostle into Asia, and from thence to Jerusalem, and came along with him in his voyage to Rome, but falling sick by the way, was left at Miletum. Some, instead of Miletum, would read Melita, that being the island Paul, and the ship's company, escaped to, when they were shipwrecked, ( Acts 28:1) here it is supposed Trophimus was left sick.
Others have observed, that there was a city called Miletus in the island of Crete, under which Paul sailed, ( Acts 27:7), see footnote f35 , and is the place intended; but there is no need to suppose either of these; no doubt Miletum, near to Ephesus, is meant; and as the apostle sailed by the coast of Asia, ( Acts 27:7), on which shore Miletum was, there is no difficulty in supposing him put ashore there. The Alexandrian copy reads “Melotus”.
Ver. 21. Do thy diligence to come before winter , etc.] When travelling would not be so safe and comfortable: the apostle consults Timothy's good, as well as his own advantage. Eubulus greeteth thee . Eusebius makes mention of one of this name of Manganaea, who suffered martyrdom with one Adrian at Caesarea; but he cannot be thought to be the same with this, since he suffered in the times of Dioclesian. And Pudens, and Linus, and Claudia ; the first of these is said to be a person of note at Rome, and of the senatorial order, and the father of two pious virgins, Praxis and Pudentiana. He is put among the seventy disciples; (see Gill on “ Luke 10:1”). Mention is made by Pliny the younger f37 , of Servilius Pudens, a Roman; and Martial, a poet of those times, speaks of the marriage of Pudens and Claudia, and of Aulus Pudens. Linus is said to be the first bishop of Rome after the martyrdom of Peter and Paul f39 . Though some will have it, that he was bishop of Rome in the time of Peter, and that he and one Cletus were co-pastors with Peter; and Platina, who wrote the “Lives of the Popes”, first makes Peter to consecrate Clement his successor, and to commend the chair, and the church of God, to him, and yet afterwards places Linus, and not Clement, as his immediate successor; yea, puts Cletus also before Clement; so much are the Papists at a loss about, and so little account can they give of the boasted succession of their popes from Peter, that they are not agreed about his immediate successor. This Linus is said to be born at Volterra in Tuscany, and to be of the family of the Moors, whose father was one Herculaneus, who sent him at twenty two years of age to Rome, for the sake of his studies; at which time, as is pretended, Peter came thither, by whom he was converted, and with whom he continued as a fellow helper in the Gospel. He is moreover said to be bishop of Rome ten years, (Platina says eleven,) three months, and twelve days, and to have suffered martyrdom under Saturninus the consul, whose daughter he had delivered from a diabolical possession, and was buried in the Vatican. He is reckoned among the seventy disciples of Christ, but very wrongly; (see Gill on “ Luke 10:1”). The name is a Latin one, and is often mentioned by Martial the poet. And Claudia is the name of a woman, very likely of considerable note. Some think she was the wife of Pudens, the same Martial speaks of, and is said to be a Briton. And all the brethren : that is, of the church of Rome, these all sent greeting to Timothy.
Ver. 22. The Lord Jesus Christ be with thy spirit , etc.] To counsel and advise in every difficult matter; to comfort under every distress; to supply with all grace in every time of need; and to strengthen and fit for every part and branch of duty. Grace be with you, Amen : which is the apostle's common salutation in all epistles. The Syriac version renders it, “grace be with thee”; but the Greek copies read in the plural, “with you”; which shows that the epistle was designed for the use of the whole church, as well as of Timothy. The subscription follows, which is not in many ancient copies, and is not to be depended on. The second epistle unto Timotheus ; so far is right; this is certainly the second epistle to Timothy: ordained the first bishop of the church of the Ephesians : this is omitted in the Syriac version; nor is it likely, much less certain, that he ever was bishop of Ephesus, or ordained as a bishop of any place, but was rather an evangelist, ( 2 Timothy 4:5), was written from Rome : this is evident from his being a prisoner when he wrote it, ( 2 Timothy 1:8). And yet in the Alexandrian copy it is said to be written from Laodicea: when Paul was brought before Nero the second time ; but whether he was before Nero at all is a question, or only before a Roman governor or judge.