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Bible Commentaries
2 Timothy 4

Robertson's Word Pictures in the New TestamentRobertson's Word Pictures

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Verse 1

I charge thee (διαμαρτυρομα). Rather, "I testify." See 1 Thessalonians 4:6. See 1 Timothy 5:21 for this verb and appeal to God and Christ.

Who shall judge (του μελλοντος κρινειν). "The one going or about to judge" (regular idiom with μελλω). The quick and the dead (ζωντας κα νεκρους). "Living and dead." See 1 Thessalonians 4:16.

And by his appearing (κα την επιφανειαν). Accusative of conjuration (verbs of swearing), after διαμαρτυρομα as is βασιλειαν (by his kingdom). See 1 Thessalonians 5:27. For επιφανειαν, see 2 Timothy 1:10; Titus 2:13; 1 Timothy 6:14; 2 Thessalonians 2:8.

Verse 2

Preach the word (κηρυξον τον λογον). First aorist active imperative of κηρυσσω. For "the word" used absolutely, see 1 Thessalonians 1:6; Galatians 6:6.

Be instant in season, out of season (επιστηθ ευκαιρως ακαιρως). Second aorist (ingressive) active imperative of εφιστημ (intransitive use), "take a stand," "stand upon it or up to it," "carry on," "stick to it." The Vulgate has "insta." The two adverbs are like a proverb or a play (pun) on the word καιρος. There are all sorts of seasons (καιρο), some difficult (χαλεπο, 2 Timothy 3:1), some easy (ευκαιρη, 1 Corinthians 16:12).

Reprove (ελεγξον). First aorist active imperative of ελεγχω. "Bring to proof." Ephesians 5:11.

Rebuke (επιτιμησον). First aorist active imperative of επιτιμαω, to give honour (or blame) to, to chide. Common in the Gospels (Luke 17:3).

Exhort (παρακαλεσον). First aorist active imperative of παρακαλεω, common Pauline word.

Verse 3

A time when (καιρος οτε). One of the ακαιρως (out of season) times.

Will not endure (ουκ ανεξοντα). Future middle (direct) of ανεχω. "Will not hold themselves back from" (Col. 2 Timothy 3:13). Having itching ears (κνηθομενο την ακοην). Present middle (causative) participle of κνηθω, late and rare form of the Attic κναω, to scratch, to tickle, here only in N.T. "Getting the ears (the hearing, την ακοην) tickled." The Vulgate has πρυριεντες. Cf. the Athenians (Acts 17:21). Clement of Alexandria tells of speakers tickling (κνηθοντες) the ears of those who want to be tickled. This is the temptation of the merely "popular" preacher, to furnish the latest tickle.

Verse 4

Will turn away their ears (την ακοην αποστρεψουσιν). Future active of old verb αποστρεφω. See 1 Corinthians 12:17 for this use of ακοη. The people stopped their ears and rushed at Stephen in Acts 7:57.

Will turn aside (εκτραπησοντα). Second future passive of εκτρεπω. They prefer "myths" to "the truth" as some today turn away to "humanism," "bolshevism," "new thought" or any other fad that will give a new momentary thrill to their itching ears and morbid minds.

Verse 5

But be thou sober (συ δε νηφε). Present active imperative of νηφω, for which see 1 Thessalonians 5:6; 1 Thessalonians 5:8. "Be sober in thy head."

Suffer hardship (κακοπαθησον). See 2 Timothy 2:9.

Do the work of an evangelist (εργον ποιησον ευαγγελιστου). See 1 Corinthians 1:17; Ephesians 4:11 for ευαγγελιστης, gospelizer.

Fulfil (πληροφορησον). First aorist active imperative of πληροφορεω, for which see Colossians 4:12. In Colossians 4:17 Paul uses πληροω to Archippus about his ministry as he here employs πληροφορεω. Both verbs mean to fill full.

Verse 6

I am already being offered (ηδη σπενδομα). Present (progressive) passive indicative of σπενδω, old verb, to pour out a libation or drink offering. In N.T. only here and Philippians 2:17. "What was then a possibility is now a certainty" (Parry). The sacrifice of Paul's life-blood has begun.

Of my departure (της αναλυσεως μου). Our very word "analysis." Old word from αναλυω, to loosen up or back, to unloose. Only here in N.T., though αναλυσα for death is used by Paul in Philippians 1:23 which see for the metaphor.

Is come (εφεστηκεν). Perfect active indicative of εφιστημ (intransitive use). See 1 Thessalonians 5:3; Luke 21:34. The hour has struck. The time has come.

Verse 7

I have fought the good fight (τον καλον αγωνα ηγωνισμα). Perfect middle indicative of αγωνιζομα, a favourite figure with Paul (1 Corinthians 9:25; Colossians 1:29), with the cognate accusative αγωνα (Philippians 1:27; Philippians 1:30, etc.). The "fight" is the athletic contest of his struggle for Christ.

I have finished the course (τον δρομον τετελεκα). Perfect active indicative of τελεω. He had used this metaphor also of himself to the elders at Ephesus (Acts 20:24). Then the "course" was ahead of him. Now it is behind him.

I have kept the faith (την πιστιν τετηρηκα). Perfect active indicative again of τηρεω. Paul has not deserted. He has kept faith with Christ. For this phrase, see Revelation 14:12. Deissmann (Light, etc., p. 309) gives inscriptions in Ephesus of a man who says: "I have kept faith" (την πιστιν ετηρησα) and another of a man of whom it is said: "He fought three fights, and twice was crowned."

Verse 8

Henceforth (λοιπον). Accusative case, "for the rest."

There is laid up for me (αποκειτα μο). Present passive of αποκειμα, old verb, to be laid away. See Colossians 1:5 for the hope laid away. Paul's "crown of righteousness" (ο της δικαιοσυνης στεφανος, genitive of apposition, the crown that consists in righteousness and is also the reward for righteousness, the victor's crown as in 1 Corinthians 9:25 which see) "is laid away" for him.

At that day (εν εκεινη τη ημερα). That great and blessed day (2 Timothy 1:12; 2 Timothy 1:18).

The righteous judge (ο δικαιος κριτης). "The just judge," the umpire who makes no mistakes who judges us all (2 Corinthians 5:10).

Shall give me (αποδωσε μο). Future active of αποδιδωμ. "Will give back" as in Romans 2:6 and in full.

But also to all them that have loved his appearing (αλλα πασιν τοις ηγαπηκοσιν την επιφανειαν αυτου). Dative case of the perfect active participle of αγαπαω, to love, who have loved and still love his second coming. Επιφανεια here can as in 2 Timothy 1:10 be interpreted of Christ's Incarnation.

Verse 9

Shortly (ταχεως). In verse 2 Timothy 4:21 he more definitely says "before winter." Apparently the trial might drag on through its various stages.

Verse 10

Forsook me (με εγκατελειπεν). Imperfect (MSS. also have aorist, εγκατελιπεν) active of the old double compound verb εγκαταλειπω, for which see Romans 9:29. Clearly in contrast to verse 2 Timothy 4:9 and in the sense of 1 Timothy 6:17, wilful desertion. Only mentioned elsewhere in Colossians 4:14.

Crescens (Κρησκης). No other mention of him.

Titus to Dalmatia (Τιτος εις Δαλματιαν). Titus had been asked to rejoin Paul in Nicopolis where he was to winter, probably the winter previous to this one (Titus 3:12). He came and has been with Paul.

Verse 11

Only Luke is with me (Λουκας εστιν μονος μετ' εμου). Luke is with Paul now in Rome as during the first Roman imprisonment (Philemon 1:24; Colossians 4:14).

Take Mark (Μαρκον αναλαβων). Second aorist active participle of αναλαμβανω, old verb, to pick up, as in Ephesians 6:13; Ephesians 6:16. "Pick up Mark."

He is useful to me (εστιν μο ευχρηστος). See 2 Timothy 2:21 for ευχρηστος. Paul had long ago changed his opinion of Mark (Colossians 4:10) because Mark had changed his conduct and had made good in his ministry. Now Paul longs to have the man that he once scornfully rejected (Acts 15:37).

Verse 12

Tychicus I sent to Ephesus (Τυχικον απεστειλα εις Εφεσον). Perhaps Paul had sent him on before he came to Rome. He may have been still on the way to Ephesus.

Verse 13

The cloke (την φελονην). More common form φειλονη. By metathesis for φαινολη, Latin paenula, though which language transliterated the word into the other is not known. The meaning is also uncertain, though probably "cloke" as there are so many papyri examples in that sense (Moulton and Milligan, Vocabulary). Milligan (N.T. Documents, p. 20) had previously urged "book wrap" as probable but he changed his mind and rightly so.

With Carpus (παρα Καρπω). "Beside Carpus," at his house. Not mentioned elsewhere. Probably a visit to Troas after Paul's return from Crete.

The books (τα βιβλια). Probably papyrus rolls. One can only guess what rolls the old preacher longs to have with him, probably copies of Old Testament books, possibly copies of his own letters, and other books used and loved. The old preacher can be happy with his books.

Especially the parchments (μαλιστα τας μεμβρανας). Latin membrana. The dressed skins were first made at Pergamum and so termed "parchments." These in particular would likely be copies of Old Testament books, parchment being more expensive than papyrus, possibly even copies of Christ's sayings (Luke 1:1-4). We recall that in Acts 26:24 Festus referred to Paul's learning (τα γραμματα). He would not waste his time in prison.

Verse 14

Alexander the coppersmith (Αλεξανδρος ο χαλκευς). Old word, only here in N.T., for metal-worker (copper, iron, gold, etc.). Possibly the one in 2 Timothy 1:20, but not the one in Acts 19:33 unless he afterwards became a Christian.

Did me much evil (μο κακα ενεδειξατο). Evidently he had some personal dislike towards Paul and possibly also he was a Gnostic.

Will render (αποδωσε). Future active of the same verb used in verse 2 Timothy 4:8, but with a very different atmosphere.

Verse 15

Be thou ware also (κα συ φυλασσου). Present middle (direct) imperative of φυλασσω, "from whom keep thyself away."

Withstood (αντεστη). Second aorist active indicative of ανθιστημ, "stood against my words." See 2 Timothy 3:8; Galatians 2:11.

Verse 16

At my first defence (εν τη πρωτη απολογια). Original sense of "apology" as in Philippians 1:7; Philippians 1:16. Either the first stage in this trial or the previous trial and acquittal at the end of the first Roman imprisonment. Probably the first view is correct, though really there is no way to decide.

No one took my part (ουδεις μο παρεγενετο). "No one came by my side" (second aorist middle indicative of παραγινομα). See 1 Corinthians 16:3.

But all forsook me (αλλα παντες με εγκατελειπον). Same verb and tense used of Demas above (verse 2 Timothy 4:10), "But all were forsaking me" (one by one) or, if aorist εγκατελιπον, "all at once left me."

May it not be laid to their account (μη αυτοις λογισθειη). First aorist passive optative in future wish with negative μη. Common Pauline verb λογιζομα (1 Corinthians 13:5; Romans 4:3; Romans 4:5).

Verse 17

But the Lord stood by me (ο δε κυριος μο παρεστη). Second aorist active of παριστημ (intransitive use), "took his stand by my side." See Romans 16:2. Clearly Jesus appeared to Paul now at this crisis and climax as he had done so many times before.

Strengthened me (ενεδυναμωσεν με). "Poured power into me." See Philippians 4:13.

That through me the message might be fully proclaimed (ινα δι' εμου το κηρυγμα πληροφορηθη). Final clause with ινα and first aorist passive subjunctive of πληροφορεω (see verse 2 Timothy 4:5). Either to the rulers in Rome now or, if the first imprisonment, by his release and going to Spain.

And that all the Gentiles might hear (κα ακουσωσιν παντα τα εθνη). Continuation of the purpose with the aorist active subjunctive of ακουω.

I was delivered out of the mouth of the lion (ερυσθην εκ στοματος λεοντος). First aorist passive indicative of ρυομα (1 Thessalonians 1:10). A proverb, but not certain what the application is whether to Nero or to Satan (1 Thessalonians 2:18) or to the lion in the arena where Paul could not be sent because a Roman citizen.

Verse 18

Will deliver me (ρυσετα με). Future middle. Recall the Lord's Prayer. Paul is not afraid of death. He will find his triumph in death (Philippians 1:21).

Unto his heavenly kingdom (εις την βασιλειαν αυτου την επουρανιον). The future life of glory as in 1 Corinthians 15:24; 1 Corinthians 15:50. He will save (σωσε, effective future) me there finally and free from all evil.

To whom be the glory (ω η δοξα). No verb in the Greek. Paul's final doxology, his Swan Song, to Christ as in Romans 9:5; Romans 16:27.

Verse 19

Prisca and Aquila (Πρισχαν κα Ακυλαν). Paul's friends now back in Ephesus, no longer in Rome (Romans 16:3). See 2 Timothy 1:16 for the house of Onesiphorus.

Verse 20

Erastus (Εραστος). See Acts 19:22; Romans 16:23.

Trophimus (Τροφιμον). A native of Ephesus and with Paul in Jerusalem (Acts 20:4; Acts 21:29).

At Miletus sick (εν Μιλητω ασθενουντα). Present active participle of ασθενεω, to be weak. Probably on Paul's return from Crete.

Verse 21

Before winter (προ χειμωνος). Pathetic item if Paul was now in the Mamertine Dungeon in Rome with winter coming on and without his cloak for which he asked. How long he had been in prison this time we do not know. He may even have spent the previous winter or part of it here. Eubulus, Pudens, Linus, Claudia are all unknown otherwise. Irenaeus does speak of Linus.

The Lord be with thy Spirit (ο κυριος μετα του πνευματος σου). Let us hope that Timothy and Mark reached Paul before winter, before the end came, with the cloak and with the books. Our hero, we may be sure, met the end nobly. He is already more than conqueror in Christ who is by his side and who will welcome him to heaven and give him his crown. Luke, Timothy, Mark will do all that mortal hands can do to cheer the heart of Paul with human comfort. He already had the comfort of Christ in full measure.

Bibliographical Information
Robertson, A.T. "Commentary on 2 Timothy 4". "Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament". https://studylight.org/commentaries/eng/rwp/2-timothy-4.html. Broadman Press 1932,33. Renewal 1960.
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