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Bible Commentaries
2 Timothy 4

Godbey's Commentary on the New TestamentGodbey's NT Commentary

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Verses 1-18



1. I testify before God and Christ Jesus, who is about to judge the living and the dead, both his appearing and his kingdom. ” The E.V. signally fails to bring out the great salient truth of this verse, “ His appearing and his kingdom ” are both in the accusative case (objective in English), the direct object of “testify.” Hence, we have the clear and simple statement of the apostle that he testifies both the appearing and kingdom of his ascended Lord. It is an irrefutable argument in favor of the millennium, inaugurated and administered by the personal Christ, in contradistinction to the millennium of the popular pulpits brought in by human agency and impersonal influences. The great fact of the Bible is, the world is not going to gradually improve until it reaches the millennium; but, as we see in these prophecies, it will deteriorate continually and ripen for destruction. The progression preached from the pulpits is nothing but the evolution of Ingersoll infidelity. The people are unwilling for Bob to preach in their pulpits, but they receive appreciatively Bob’s doctrine from their own pastors. The Bible millennium is to be the work of the glorified Jesus when he comes, as this verse says, to execute judgment, taking the devil and his incorrigible myrmidons out of the world, and girdling the globe with his glorious kingdom, to shine and shout forever.

2. Preach the Word, be instant in season and out of season, convict, exhort, rebuke, with all long-suffering and teaching. ” This verse is only separated from the preceding by a comma. Hence, this burning injunction of Paul to Timothy is to preach the appearing and the kingdom of his Lord, everywhere notifying the Lord is coming in judgment to set up his kingdom.

3. For the time will come when they will not endure hygienic teaching. ” This word “hygienic” is constantly used by the Holy Ghost where E.V. has “sound.” It is a sanitary word, and means soul health. Regeneration gives life to the dead sinner, and sanctification applies the precious blood, the infallible panacea of all human ills, to the soul, curing its hereditary disease, and imparting perfect spiritual health. Hence, this “ sound doctrine ” simply means holiness. You all know we are living in the last days, because this awful prophecy is everywhere now being fulfilled, in the alarming fact that the popular Churches will not permit the clear and forcible preaching of entire sanctification. This mournful fulfillment of latter-day prophecy has really come on the world in the last twenty years; so look out for His “ appearing and His kingdom. ” “ But according to their own lust they will heap to themselves teachers, itching as to their hearing. ” It is not, as you conclude from E.V., the teachers who have itching ears, but the people. Their ears are itching for nice smooth eloquence, which will not dig them up, and flattery to feed their vanity, really Satan’s trickery for their damnation. Since the great apostasy in the last forty years, the time has already arrived when the wicked people of the Churches, by their money as well as their numerical majority, rule them, dictating the character of their pastor, and thus literally fulfilling this awful prophecy. Satan’s deluded votaries in all ages have ignorantly fulfilled the prophecies. It is preeminently true nowadays, “ And they shall be turned unto fables. ” Everything except the pure “ God-breathed ” truth of the Bible is fabulous. That is precisely what is now going on. The nice little sermonettes preached by the popular pastors are mainly fabulous, having scarcely a scintillation of solid gospel truth. The people who are not right with God are not willing to get right, despise the lightning truth of God, which rives into atoms the man of sin. Hence, they demand comfort from the pulpit, which can only be given at the cost of their damnation. God’s truth makes good people feel good, and bad people feel bad; while Satan’s lies make bad people feel good, and good people feel bad. This solves the problem, and explains the awful fulfillment of this alarming prophecy; i. e., wicked people rule the Churches, “ heaping to themselves teachers (itching as to their hearing); i. e., eager for the preacher to say something pleasing, thus helping the devil to blind them till they drop into hell.

5. Be sober in all things, suffer affliction, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry. ” We see that Paul believed in evangelistic work, notwithstanding multiplied thousands at the present day, who claim

to be his gospel sons, are violently opposed to it. Preachers who do not preach the whole truth, don’t want anybody else to preach it; from the simple fact that it takes their own heads off. There is no opposition to evangelists if they do not preach sanctification. Hence, all this opposition to evangelists is simply Satan’s trick to keep the gospel out of the pulpit and feed the people on fables.

6. For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand. ” Paul’s valedictory is beautiful, brief, and profoundly significant. I believe the critics are correct in locating his martyrdom about A.D. 68, instead of 66 (E.V.), subsequent to the conflagration, and initiatory to the great imperial persecution, which rolled in rivers of blood three hundred years.

7. I have fought the beautiful fight. ” How true this dying testimony! From the time of his sanctification, at the close of his three years’ exile with God in Arabia, when he “was pleased to reveal his Son in him” (Galatians 1:15), Paul was never known to flicker on the battlefield. Truly, he lived a hero and died a martyr. “ I have finished my course. ” His peregrinations over different countries of Asia and Europe, despite intervening seas, robbers, and persecutions, were really wonderful, considering the absence of public conveyance except their frail barks, steamless and compassless, floating over the seas, at the mercy of the winds and caprice of the billows. “ I have kept the faith. ” Amid every conceivable discouragement his own nation tracking him like bloodhounds, Gentile princes and potentates as well as the roaring rabble arrayed against him, his faith never wavered an iota from the moment the light of the glorified Savior flashed on him as he journeyed to Damascus till he laid down his neck on Nero’s block. Paul is doubtless in all respects the champion of the world’s history, a gigantic intellectualist, a double graduate, with a miraculous conversion and a sanctification which left not a vestige of Adam the first. In labors he was indefatigable, in sufferings invincible, and in heroism he casts upon the escutcheon of all ages a brilliancy throwing into eclipse the master spirits of the world’s battlefields.

8. Finally there is laid up or me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord the righteous Judge will give me in that day, and not to me only, but to all them that love his appearing. ” Paul looked constantly for Christ to come to the end of his life, illustrating the true attitude of Saintship; i. e., that of constant expectancy. Does not Christ come in death? He did not in case of Stephen, but stood and saw him leave the body and come to him. He sent the angels for Lazarus. Here we see a crown of righteousness awaits all who (as the Greek reads ) have loved and still love his appearing more and more. ” Would you really be delighted to have the Lord return to the earth this day? Would you run to meet him with a shout? The clear affirmative answer to this question is transcendently important, if you would join Paul in the blood washed throng beyond the stars. He is anxious to see Timothy, but doubtless saw him no more till he joined him on the golden shore. As this is the last word we hear from him, evidently Luke, his faithful amanuensis, would have written again if he had lived. A part of the punishment of the martyrs in all ages was the suddenness of their execution. Perhaps Paul’s head was off before the ink of this epistle was dry. In that they had no factories, and garments were scarce and valuable, a winter in that filthy old Mamertine prison will be awful.

Hence, he wants the cloak he left at Troas, away over the sea. But he spent that winter in heaven. “ And the books, especially the parchments; i. e., the raw hides. These were the Scriptures. When Tischendorf found this wonderful Sinaitic manuscript I hold in my hand, in 1859, it was a roll of leather perhaps fifteen hundred years old.

14. Alexander the coppersmith did me much evil; the Lord will reward him according to his works. ” A simple statement of fact, and not an imprecation, as E.V., exhibiting, as alleged by infidels, a retaliatory spirit.

16. In my first trial no one stood by me, but all left me; may it not be charged unto them:

17. But the Lord stood by me, and empowered me, in order that through me the ministry may be fulfilled, and all the Gentiles may hear, and I was delivered out of the mouth of the lion. ” As they were not allowed to cast a Roman citizen to a wild beast, the presumption is, that lion here symbolizes Nero. The preaching here mentioned as following his first trial favors the theory of the two Roman imprisonments. That would locate the first trial away back in 63, and on the hypothesis of his martyrdom in 68, it gives about five years for preaching in Asia and Europe. The presumption is, he was led from his second trial on criminal charge concerning the conflagration, directly to the executioner’s block.

18. Paul gloriously triumphs to the end. “ I left Trophimus in Miletum sick. ” God healed the old king of Malta, and many others there and elsewhere, through the ministry of Paul, but not Trophimus. But all do not get healed. If they did, no one would get to heaven. I have frequently been sick, and had faith to be healed, and was healed. If He tarrieth, the time is at hand when I will have no faith to be healed. Then I will get to go to heaven. As your faith is, so be it unto you, is as true of the body as the soul. We are saved by the grace of faith, and healed by the gift of faith (1 Corinthians 12:0), which is in me by the sovereign discriminating providence of God, and subsidiary to the spiritual interest. A Methodist in Kentucky fell at the cradle of his dying boy baby, and cried aloud to God to spare his life. Twenty years afterward, when he saw the sheriff tie the rope round his neck, he realized his sad mistake in not letting him go to heaven in his infancy. We should always crown our petition for bodily healing with, “ Thy will be done. ” It may be God’s good time for us to go to heaven. Our perfect bodily healing is postponed till the transfiguration.

Yet God, in his mercy, patches us up to finish our work. But let us remember, heaven is infinitely better than health.

Bibliographical Information
Godbey, William. "Commentary on 2 Timothy 4". "Godbey's Commentary on the New Testament". https://studylight.org/commentaries/eng/ges/2-timothy-4.html.
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