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2 Timothy

CHAPTER 1

I.                   Introduction (1:1-7): Paul thanks God for Timothy and encourages him in Christ

1.      Paul, [an] Apostle[1] of Christ Jesus through[2] the will of God according to the promise of life that is in Christ Jesus[3],

2.      to Timothy, [my] beloved child[4]: grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.

3.      I am thankful to God[5], whom I am serving with a clean conscience as my ancestors did[6], as I constantly remember you in my prayers[7] night and day[8];

4.      As I recall your tears I am longing to see you, so that I may be filled with joy;

5.      For I am mindful of the sincere faith[9] within you[10], which first dwelt in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice, and I stand convinced[11] is in you also.

6.      For this reason I am reminding you to fan into flame[12] the gift of God that exists within you through the laying on of my hands,

7.      for God did not give us a spirit[13] of cowardice[14], but rather of strength and love and self-control.

II.                The Commission of a Soldier in Christ (1:8-2:26): Paul reminds Timothy of his commission into Christ’s army

a.       A Commission to Courage (1:8-14)

8.      Therefore[15] do not be ashamed[16] of the testimony of our Lord, or of me[17] His prisoner[18]; but rather suffer alongside of me for the gospel by God’s strength[19],

9.      who saved us and called us[20] to a calling to holiness[21]

Not according to[22] our works

But rather according to His own purpose and grace,

which was given to us in Christ Jesus[23]

before time began

10.  but has been revealed now[24]

by means of the appearing of our Savior, Christ Jesus,

who on the one hand abolished death

and on the other[25] brought life and immortality[26] to light through the gospel,

11.  into which I myself[27] was appointed a preacher and Apostle and a teacher.

12.  For this reason I am also suffering these things; however, I am not ashamed, for I know who I have believed[28] and I am convinced that he is mighty to guard my deposit[29] until that day[30].

13.  Hold on[31] to the example of correct words which you have heard from me[32], in the faith and love which is in Christ Jesus[33].

14.  Guard[34] the good deposit[35] through the Holy Spirit who dwells in us.

b.      A Commission to Character (1:15-2:7)

15.  You know[36] this, that all those in Asia[37] have deserted me[38], among whom are Phygelus and Hermogenes.

16.  May the Lord give[39] mercy to the house of Onesiphorus, because he often refreshed me and was not ashamed[40] of my chain[41];

17.  but rather, when he came to Rome he diligently[42] searched for me and found me.

18.  May the Lord grant to him to find mercy from the Lord on that day (and you [also] know well what services he rendered at Ephesus).

CHAPTER 2

1.      Accordingly you[43], my child, be strengthened[44] by[45] the grace that is in Christ Jesus;

2.      and the things you heard from me among many witnesses[46], entrust these to faithful[47] men who will be competent also to teach others[48].

3.      Suffer together with [me] as[49] a good soldier of Christ Jesus.

4.      No one serving as a soldier gets entangled[50] in matters of everyday life, so that he may please the one who recruited him.

5.      Also, if anyone competes as an athlete, he will not be crowned as the winner unless he competes according to the rules[51].

6.      The farmer[52] who works hard should be the first to take his share of the crops.

7.      Think about what I am saying, for the Lord will give to you understanding of all of this.

c.       A Commission to Confidence (2:8-13)

 

8.      Keep remembering[53] Jesus Christ, raised[54] from the dead[55], from the seed of David, according to my gospel[56],

9.      because of which[57] I am suffering hardship even to the point of bonds as a criminal[58]; however, the word of God is not bound[59]!

10.  This is why[60] I am enduring[61] all these things: for the sake of the chosen ones, so that they also[62] may attain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory[63].

11.  This is a trustworthy saying:[64]

For if we died with [Him][65], we will also live with [Him];[66]

12.                          If we endure[67], we will also reign with [Him];[68]

If we will deny [Him][69], He also will deny us;[70]

13.                          If we are unfaithful[71], He remains faithful,

For[72] He cannot deny[73] Himself.[74]

 

d.      A Commission to Compassion (2:14-26)

 

14.  Remind [them][75] of these things, solemnly warning[76] them in the presence of God not to wrangle with words[77] over nothing useful[78], because[79] [it] ruins the hearers.

15.  Make every effort to present yourself approved to God [as an] unashamed worker by providing a straight path[80] for the word of truth[81].

16.  But avoid worthless chatter[82], for they [who engage in it] will progress further into ungodliness,

17.  and their message will spread like gangrene.  Among them are Hymanaeus[83] and Philetus.

18.   They have strayed from the truth, saying the resurrection has already taken place[84], and are destroying the faith of some [people].

19.  Nevertheless the firm foundation of God[85] stands[86], bearing this mark[87]: “The Lord knew the ones who are His[88], and all who name the name of the Lord must turn away from evil.”

20.  In a large house there are not only gold and silver instruments, but rather also wooden and earthenware [instruments]; some of value and some for common use.

21.  Now if anyone cleanses himself[89] from these[90] [things] he will be a valuable instrument[91], made holy[92], useful for the owner, prepared[93] for all good works[94].

22.  Keep away from youthful lusts[95] and pursue righteousness, faith, love, [and] peace with those who call on the Lord from a cleansed heart[96].

23.  But reject stupid and ignorant[97] controversies, knowing that they bring about fights.

24.  It is necessary for the Lord’s servant not to engage in heated fights, but rather to be kind to all, able to teach, patient[98],

25.  Correcting[99] the opposition with gentleness[100].  Perhaps God will give them repentance leading to the understanding of the truth;

26.  And they may come to their senses [and escape] the devil’s trap, where they are captured by him to do his will.

III.             The Challenge of a Soldier in Christ (3:1-17)

a.      Challenge #1: A Crafty Enemy (3:1-9)

 

CHAPTER 3

1.      But keep this in mind[101], that in the last days[102] hard times[103] will come.

2.      For men will be[104] selfish[105], greedy[106], boastful, arrogant, demeaning[107], disobedient to parents, ungrateful, wicked[108],

3.      Hard-hearted, irreconcilable, slanderous[109], without self-control, brutal, opposed to good,

4.      Treacherous, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure instead of lovers of God,

5.      Having an appearance[110] of godliness[111] despite denying[112] its power.  Avoid these [people]!

6.      For [people] like this[113] slip into homes and mislead weak women[114] [who are] overwhelmed by [their] sins and led along[115] by various lusts,

7.      Always learning[116] and never able to come into the knowledge of truth[117].

8.      Just as Jannes and Jambres[118] opposed Moses, so these [men] also oppose the truth, men who have warped their mind[119] and are disqualified with respect to the faith[120].

9.      However, they will not progress[121] far, for their folly will be easily known by all, just as theirs[122] was.

b.      Know your equipment (3:10-17)

10.  You, on the other hand, followed my teaching, way of life, purpose, faith, patience, love, endurance,

11.  Persecutions, [and] sufferings, like the ones that happened to me in Antioch, [and] in Iconia, [and] in Lystra[123]; what persecutions I endured, and the Lord delivered me from all of them!

12.  In fact, everyone in Christ Jesus[124] who wants to live in a godly manner will be persecuted!

13.   But evil men and swindlers will progress from bad to worse, deceiving others and being deceived.

14.  But you must persist in the things you have been taught and have believed, knowing from whom[125] you learned them,

15.  And that from childhood you have known the sacred writings that have the ability to make [you] wise, leading to salvation through faith which is[126] in Christ Jesus.

16.  All Scripture is God-breathed[127], and is useful for teaching, for rebuking, for improvement, for instruction that is in righteousness,

17.  So that[128] the man of God may be capable, equipped for every good work.

 

IV.             The Charge of a Soldier in Christ (4:1-6)

V.                The Consolation of a Soldier in Christ (4:7-22)


----

[1] Apostle: This use of Paul’s appears to be a technical term for those specifically commissioned by Christ to be His authoritative spokesmen rather than the more general “sent ones.” (so George W. Knight, The Pastoral Epistles : A Commentary on the Greek Text. New International Greek Testament Commentary [Grand Rapids, MI; W.B. Eerdmans, 1992], 363)

[2] Through: Paul uses the phrase διὰ θελήματος θεοῦ here to describe his Apostleship.  Daniel B. Wallace, Greek Grammar Beyond the Basics-An Exegetical Syntax of the New Testament (Grand Rapids, MI; Zondervan, 1996), lists διὰ plus the genitive as having the semantic range of agency, means, spatial, or temporal.  Spatial and temporal make no sense contextually, leaving agency and means as the possibilities here.  It seems the shading between agency and means here is difficult to differentiate.  Is Paul discussing the will of God as the agency (i.e. the working force) behind his Apostleship, or the means by which he is an Apostle?  William Mounce, Pastoral Epistles, Word Biblical Commentary v. 46 (Dallas; Word, Inc., 2000), 464 identifies this use as the “efficient cause” of Paul’s Apostleship.  The difference between the options is almost unrecognizable.  Paul uses the exact same greeting in 1 Cor, 2 Cor, Eph, and Col.  

[3] According to the promise of life that is in Christ Jesus: Mounce (464) adds this helpful insight:

 κατ ʼ ἐπαγγελίαν ζωῆς τῆς ἐν Χριστῷ Ἰησοῦ, “according to [the] promise of life that [is] in Christ Jesus.” Paul’s second clarifying statement concerning his apostleship is that the intended goal (κατά, “according to”; BAGD 406–7 [II4]) of his ministry is the fulfillment of God’s promise, which is life in its fullest. (The promise is based not on law, a fact not understood by the Ephesian opponents [cf. 1 Tim 1:7–11], but on union “in Christ.”) The promise of life is God’s promise within the context of salvation to give life to believers. ζωῆς, “life,” denotes not so much existence as it does a quality of life, life at its fullest, both on earth and in heaven. The gift of life comes from Christ Jesus to those who are in Christ Jesus…

[4] Child: Paul calls Timothy his τέκνον; though there is no genetic relationship between the two, it infers a close and loving relationship (so Knight, 364).  William Arndt, Frederick Danker, and Walter Bauer, A Greek English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature, 3rd ed. (Chicago, University of Chicago Press, 2000) (hereafter referred to as BDAG) definition #3 notes that this type of address has no distinction in age, and denotes a close spiritual relationship.  Paul can call Timothy his τέκνον whether Timothy is young or old due to Paul’s fatherly influence in his life.

                When Paul meets Timothy in Acts 16:1, Luke begins by describing Timothy as a disciple and his mother as a believer.  It seems, then, that Paul’s ministry was not an instrument in Timothy’s conversion, and yet they became so close that Paul considered Timothy his “son.”

[5] I am thankful to God: Verses 3-5 constitute a complete sentence in the Greek text.  Verse 5 tells us why Paul was thankful to God (so Mounce, 467); the remainder of verse 3 and verse 4 give the reader the attending circumstances of Paul’s thankfulness.  Paul is thankful for the sincere faith that Timothy has.

[6] As my ancestors did: The phrase ἀπὸ προγόνων literally means “from forefathers.” Paul does not claim originality; rather, appealing to Timothy as a father, Paul shows that he also had spiritual progenitors who have served God with a clean conscience and showed Paul the way.  Thus we see Paul exemplifying the command he will give to Timothy at 2:2, taking what was given to him and passing it on to faithful men who will teach others.

Paul is not claiming here that all Jews before him were practicing authentic worship of Yahweh (the fact that he uses a very rare word for ancestors, προγόνων, bears witness to this) , but he is showing here that he does not view his worship as something new or original.  Paul viewed his Apostleship as unique (see Gal 1), but not his discipleship.  Paul sees himself in the long line of authentic worshippers, from Adam, through Abraham, and even to him.  The real point of this statement, though, is not a comment on the validity of Judaism; rather, it shows Timothy that Paul is carrying on a line of discipleship that he is passing on to Timothy in order to carry it to the next generation.

[7] As I constantly remember you in my prayers: Paul’s fatherly heart shines through here.  Paul wants Timothy to do well, and lifts him up to the Lord constantly.  This is a challenge to fathers everywhere.

[8] Night and day: This phrase is more likely a reference to Paul’s regular habit of prayer at set times than a mention of continual or ongoing prayer.  Paul lifted Timothy up to the Lord in his daily prayer routine (so Mounce, 469).  Knight (367) puts it this way:

The phrase signifies that in the regularly recurring cycles of Paul’s prayer life that correspond to the two main divisions of his daily existence he remembers Timothy in his prayers (the phrase of prayer in 1 Thes. 3:10; 1 Tim. 5:5; here; the other 2x in Paul are with reference to work).

[9] Sincere faith: interestingly, Paul is not thankful for Timothy’s faith.  Rather, Paul is thankful for the sincerity of Timothy’s faith.  The fact that Paul qualifies Timothy’s faith is very important.  It stands in contrast to the faith of Phygelus and Hermogenes (1:15), or Hymaneus and Philetus (2:17).  The term ἀνυπόκριτος does not appear to differentiate between “true” faith and “false” faith (if those distinctions even exist), but rather between a faith “on the sleeve” so to speak and one “with impurity.”  (contra Mounce, 471).  Paul does not praise Timothy for his faith as opposed to the lack of true faith in others.  He encourages Timothy because of the quality of his faith.

[10] The sincere faith within you: Mounce (468) gives a rundown of Timothy’s assets: “Timothy’s faith is sincere (1:5), and he has the spiritual gifts (1:6) and Spirit of power (1:7) to accomplish his task in Ephesus and elsewhere.”

[11] Stand convinced: The perfect passive πέπεισμαι is rich with nuance.  The perfect denotes a past time event with enduring consequences.  Wallace, 573, notes the exegetical importance of the perfect tense.  It is rarer than the other tenses in the NT, and most scholars feel that when NT writers used it they did so deliberately and to great effect.  The emphasis of the perfect is more upon the enduring present effect than on the past completion of action, though both are present.  In this instance, Paul has not immediately come under the notion that Timothy has a sincere faith (or faithfulness); rather, that surety came at some past point.  Paul’s confidence has not waned with time, and at the time of his writing he was as convinced as ever that Timothy was a man of God.

[12] Fan into flame: The word ἀναζωπυρεῖν is a hapax legomenon; hence, meaning is not certain.  The preposition ἀνα denotes “again,” and ζωπυρεῖν is “to kindle a fire.”  We might be tempted to place the two side-by-side and go with BDAG, which lists the meaning as “to cause to begin again, to rekindle” (emphasis theirs as indicative of an appropriate gloss).  However, this appears to run perilously close to the root fallacy.  Closer, perhaps, is BDAG definition 2, which defines it as “to take on new life; kindle into flame.”  Seen this way, Paul is not admonishing Timothy for failure; rather, he is encouraging Timothy to take his gift to new heights using the analogy of taking a smoldering ember to start a raging fire.  Timothy is being encouraged in much the same manner that Paul encourages the Thessalonian church in 1 Thess 4:1, 10, telling them to “excel still more.” (as Mounce, 476, and Knight, 370, suggest)

[13] A spirit: The lower case “s” was chosen to delineate a person’s spirit as opposed to the Holy Spirit.  See the discussion in Mounce, 477-479, for the discussion of the evidence for both options.  Mounce (477) summarizes:

πνεῦμα here is generally understood as “spirit,” a person’s attitude or disposition, as opposed to “Spirit,” the Holy Spirit. This is the more natural reading of the text, and Paul elsewhere uses πνεῦμα in this way (Rom 8:15, “spirit of slavery” [this is a literary foil]; 11:8, “spirit of stupor”; 1 Cor 4:21, “spirit of gentleness”; 2 Cor 4:13, “same spirit of faith”; Gal 6:1, “spirit of gentleness”; Phil 1:27, “stand fast in one spirit”; also 1 Cor 2:12; 5:3–4; 2 Cor 2:13; 7:13; 12:18). It is not quite the same as the use of πνεῦμα that designates the human spirit as separate from the body, but it is related (cf. Rom 1:9; 8:16; 1 Cor 5:3–5; 7:34; 14:14–16; 16:18; 2 Cor 7:1; Phil 3:3; Col 2:5; and in Paul’s epilogues, Gal 6:18; Phil 4:23; 1 Thess 5:23; 2 Tim 4:22; Phlm 25).

[14] Cowardice: Is Paul calling Timothy a coward here?  This seems doubtful in light of Paul’s high praise of Timothy to this point, and doubly doubtful in light of Timothy’s steadfast support of and ministry with Paul in the face of opposition.  Paul has just called Timothy to take his gift to new heights, an endeavor which certainly would be a risk for Timothy (as opposed to simply maintaining the status quo).  The answer lies in Paul’s use of the οὐ/ἀλλὰ construction.  Paul’s emphasis is upon the second part of the verse and not the first.  Paul’s encouragement to Timothy to gain more ground is based upon the imparting by God of strength, love, and self-control rather than cowardice.

[15] Therefore: Paul uses the inferential particle οὖν to begin this clause (it is in its customary postpositive position).  BDAG gives this primary definition for οὖν: “inferential, denoting that what it introduces is the result of or an inference fr. what precedes, so, therefore, consequently, accordingly, then.”  This use would best fall under section b, as an intensifying marker as a part of a command/invitation.  Paul here begins the a discussion on the inference from his introduction.  This use marks the beginning of the letter proper at the beginning of verse 8; verses 1-7, then, are best seen as an introductory unit.

[16] Do not be ashamed: Paul uses the phrase μὴ οὖν ἐπαισχυνθῇς; he will use the verb again in verses 12 and 16 (to describe himself and Onesiphorus, respectively).  This is the first of three imperatives Paul will give Timothy between here and verse 14.  The question at hand is whether or not ἐπαισχύνομαι is acting in a middle/passive sense, or whether it is instead a deponent (and hence passive in form but active in meaning).  Wallace, 428-30, discusses the difficult time exegetes face in determining whether or not to declare a verb to be deponent.  Using Wallace’s “rough and ready rule” (see pg. 429), the fact that BDAG lists the verb under the passive form gives us reason to treat it as a deponent.  However, if we utilize Wallace’s ideal approach, the waters muddy considerably.

                BDAG does not note that ἐπαισχύνομαι is middle and passive only in the Bible and in patristic citations, giving more credibility to the deponent concept.  Moulton and Milligan have no listing for ἐπαισχύνομαι (see Moulton, James Hope and George Milligan. The Vocabulary of the Greek Testament. London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1930.); however, Bultmann (TDNT I, 189) claims that ἐπαισχύνομαι is fully interchangeable with αἰσχύνω.  BDAG does note that αἰσχύνωis only found in the middle and passive in our literature, meaning that it is found in the active in secular literature (which M-M confirms).  Furthermore, the author of Hebrews uses ἐπαισχύνομαι twice (2:11; 11:16), and neither of those would make any sense if ἐπαισχύνομαι is deponent.  Therefore the passive sense must be allowed to stand in exegesis (contra Knight, 372); Paul here is inviting Timothy, in light of the spirit of strength and love and self control that we have been given by God, to stand firm in the face of ridicule from those who would disparage Jesus for His crucifixion and Paul for his imprisonment.  Mounce (480) clarifies further:

From a human point of view, there was much in the gospel of which to be ashamed. It was the message of a failed prophet, rejected by his people, executed by the world’s power, and preached by a collection of fishermen and other undesirables. The message they proclaimed was foolishness in the world’s eyes (1 Cor 1:23), based on assumptions that ran counter to the generally accepted norms of Greek philosophy (Acts 17:32). And there was, on the surface, much to be ashamed about in reference to Paul, a man who met constant opposition (2 Cor 11:23–27) and was imprisoned in Rome. But Timothy was called not to be ashamed; in fact, he was called to share in suffering for this very gospel with Paul.

[17] Me: Paul uses the emphatic ἐμὲ here.  He wants Timothy to stand strong for the gospel, and also strongly encourages him to not be ashamed of Paul’s chains.

[18] His prisoner: Knight (373) comments:

It is striking that Paul refers to himself not as Rome’s prisoner but as “his” (αὐτοῦ), i.e., “the Lord’s” prisoner, with αὐτοῦ referring back to τοῦ κυρίου. His imprisonment is for no other reason than that he serves the Lord. Paul always refers to himself as a δέσμιος in this way (δέσμιος Χριστοῦ Ἰησοῦ, Eph. 3:1; Phm. 1, 9; δέσμιος ἐν κυρίῳ, Eph. 4:1). That he does so here gives Timothy perspective on Paul’s imprisonment and thereby gives him reason not to be ashamed of the apostle.

[19] By God’s strength: Timothy is not asked to suffer alongside of Paul from his own ability or resourcefulness; rather, Paul tells Timothy to suffer according to God’s strength (κατὰ plus the accusative of standard).

[20] And called us: NA27 places verses 9 and 10 in poetic arrangement; the arrangement has been preserved here as a probable marker of an early church hymn.  Memory devices like these were common in a culture in which paper was incredibly expensive.

                It is certainly worth noting that in Paul’s eyes, God not only saves, but goes beyond that and calls.  In light of our salvation He calls us to fulfill Paul’s charge to Timothy in verse 8.  Both saves (σώσαντος) and calls (καλέσαντος) are aorist participles, making it clear that in Paul’s eyes these two events happened simultaneously.  It is doubtful that Paul is discussing ordo salutis here; rather it seems far more likely that Paul is encouraging Timothy even more.  God not only saved Timothy, he also at the same time provided Timothy with a calling for which he would have to suffer, just as Paul did.

[21] To a calling to holiness: Paul has in mind here a calling that is ἅγιος “dedicated or consecrated to the service of God” (BDAG).  This appears to be a dative of destination (Wallace, 147-8) describing the intended destination of the verb (so Mounce, 482; it is rendered this way in the NIV and NLT).  The fact that this is a double dative (κλήσει ἁγίᾳ) should not be missed.  “A holy calling” as a dative of instrument (as the NASB and NET render it) would most naturally be rendered with ἅγιος in the genitive.  In fact, this is one of three occurrences of this phrase (Rom 1:7 and 1 Cor 1:2, both in epistolary greetings, are the others), which with one exception (Eph 3:5, which is a part of a paralleling there that makes the use elegant and therefore special) are the only occurrences of the doubling of the dative with ἅγιος (excepting uses with the preposition ἐν).  Paul is not describing the quality of the calling, but rather its goal.  It is a call to holiness.

This isn’t a secular or profane calling; rather, upon salvation Timothy was called by God to be set apart for use in the Lord’s service.  Mounce (482) clarifies:

Sometimes when Paul speaks of God’s call, he is looking back to conversion (e.g., 1 Cor 1:26), but more often he is looking forward. It is not so much that believers are called but that they are called to something: to the peace of Christ (Col 3:15), to know their hope (Eph 1:18; 4:4), to lead a life worthy of their calling (Eph 4:1; 1 Thess 2:12; 2 Thess 1:11; cf. Heb 3:1), to “press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus” (Phil 3:14; cf. 2 Pet 1:10), to eternal life (1 Tim 6:12), toward freedom (Gal 5:13), holiness (1 Thess 4:7), the unity of believers (Col 3:15), fellowship (1 Cor 1:9), and the glory of Christ (2 Thess 2:14). In other words, God’s call is highly ethical: God does not just call believers; he calls them toward himself, toward holiness. (This call has little to do with social change; cf. 1 Cor 7:17–24.)

This calling, then, which occurs simultaneously with salvation (but is not interchangeable with it) is a calling to discipleship and sanctification.  Though every believer has distinct and unique gifting (see 1 Cor 12), we are all called to lead lives of holiness for the Lord.

[22] For the purpose of: Wallace (376-77) lists several options for κατὰ plus the accusative (standard, spatial, temporal, distributive, purpose, reference/respect).  Of these, it is difficult to decide between standard and purpose.  We might be tempted to see this as standard (especially if we see Paul’s point here as a description of our salvation instead of our calling, as Mounce [482-3]).  However, purpose makes sense of Paul’s argument in light of verse 8.  Paul encourages Timothy to suffer by God’s power in verse 8, and then in verse 9 he reminds Timothy of why he should.  We have a salvation and a calling that are not for our own benefit, but rather to showcase God and His grace.

                However, Paul’s overwhelming use of κατὰ is standard or respect.  It would be a unique use in the Pauline corpus, which argues against the use here of purpose.  This is doubly true in light of the probability that this preposition occurs within an early creedal statement.  It seems more likely that this is an affirmation of a salvation and calling that is not dependent upon works (i.e. not according to works) than arguing against our works (i.e. not for the purpose of our works), especially in a creed arguing for our sanctification.

[23] In Christ Jesus: This is Paul’s second use of this phrase in 2 Timothy (1:1 was the first), with 5 more to come (1:13; 2:1, 10; 3:12, 15).  Of 47 occurrences of the phrase in the NT, only one (1 Pet 5:10) is non-Pauline, and that instance is a textual variant that is dubious at best (cf. Bruce Metzger, Bruce Manning, and United Bible Societies. A Textual Commentary on the Greek New Testament, Second Edition a Companion Volume to the United Bible Societies' Greek New Testament (4th Rev. Ed.). New York: United Bible Societies, 1994; 627).  This phrase is uniquely Pauline, and the implications of being “in Christ Jesus” are vast.  The mystical union oif elievers and Christ is, in Paul’s theology, the source and sphere for the entirety of the Christian life.

                Another important consideration is Paul’s use of the phrase ἡμῖν ἐν Χριστῷ Ἰησοῦ.  The consensus has been to see ἐν Χριστῷ Ἰησοῦ as modifying the verb δοθεῖσαν.  Indeed, prepositional phrases are normally adverbial in force (so Wallace, 356); this is doubly the case with prepositions that take the dative case (Ibid, 357).  On the other hand, Wallace notes that some prepositions can at times function adjectivally (Ibid), and that the more common a preposition, the more varied its uses (Ibid, where he also notes that ἐν occurs 2,752 times in the NT, about ¼ of all NT prepositional uses).  A cursory glance at the occurrences of ἐν Χριστῷ in the Pauline corpus reveal numerous occasions where Paul uses the phrase adjectivally (Rom 8:2, 39; 16:3, 9, 10; 1 Cor 3:1; 4:10 among the many).  There appear to be several places where this phrase is a technical designation for believers, i.e. where it is not so much describing the “sphere” of a blessing or a promise (as ἐν plus the dative would do as an adverbial phrase), but delimiting the group Paul is discussing as being “the ones who belong to Christ.”  These include 1 Cor 1:4 (weith nearly identical phrasing to this occurrence); 2 Cor 5:17; 12:2 (probably the most explicit instances of the proposed delimitation); Eph. 2:7 (the phrase is incredibly far from the verb, and thus is probably adjectival); Phil 1:1; 4:7, 21; Col 1:2, 4; 1 Thess 4:16 (also explicitly delimiting “the dead who belong to Christ”).  Paul is more than capable of including “us” in a blessing (note especially Eph 4:32, where the personal pronoun occurs at the end to explicitly separate it from ἐν Χριστῷ; see also 1 Thess 5:18).

In light of the theme of 2 Timothy and the evidence above, I would suggest adopting the idea here that Paul is using a technical term to describe those owned by Christ Jesus.  Paul is thematically discussing Timothy’s calling (contra Mounce, 483, who sees this clause as describing Jesus’ role in Timothy’s salvation), and notes that Timothy shares his calling with all of those who belong to Christ.  Our calling was given to us before time began, but only now revealed.

[24] Has been revealed now: Paul makes a parallelism between the aorist passive participles δοθεῖσαν and φανερωθεῖσαν (the remaining four participles in the hymn are active).  He contrasts “eternity past”, when the calling was given, with “now,” when it is revealed by the appearance of Christ.

[25] On the one hand…on the other: Paul here uses the μὲνδὲ formula, which is a correlative conjunction (Wallace, 672) that compares two like but distinct items.  Here, Paul coordinates Christ’s abolition of death with His revealing “life and immortality.” See Mounce’s comment on 1:3 concerning Paul’s view of “life.”  Christ on the one hand abolished the penalty for sin (Rom 5:12), while in a related but distinct sense revealed to the world the abundance of life and immortality.  As Knight (376) clarifies:

The μέν ... δέ particles indicate both “connection and contrast” (Fairbairn; cf. further Robertson, Grammar, 1150–53). Hence θάνατον, “death,” is defined in part by contrast to “life and immortality” (cf. Jn. 5:24). The “life” that is brought is not physical but spiritual life, and “immortality” itself speaks of life beyond physical death. Therefore, “death” here must be the spiritual death associated with sin (cf. Rom. 6:6 [the same verb]; 7:24; 8:2). Christ has “abolished” (καταργήσαντος) this death, so that it no longer has a hold on his people. Thus Paul speaks of Christ bringing “life” to Christians (cf. Rom. 6:4, 11, 13).

[26] Immortality: Mounce (485) notes: “While ἀφθαρσία, ‘incorruptibility, immortality’ (BAGD 125), is a Hellenistic concept, it is also fully Pauline, describing the resurrection body (1 Cor 15:42, 50, 53, 54).”

[27] I myself: Paul emphatically uses the personal pronoun here (so Knight, 377).  In verse 8 Paul tells us that he is the Lord’s prisoner, and here he tells us more, namely that God appointed him into the gospel as a preacher and an Apostle and a teacher.

[28] Who I have believed: The phrase οἶδα γὰρ πεπίστευκα is rich with meaning.  Paul uses the perfect three times in this verse, and the meaning is best not left unmined.  The perfect focuses upon the enduring results of a past action; Paul is trying here to convey the truth that Paul knows the God whom He placed his faith in (and the effects of that faith endure).  Not only has Paul placed faith in Christ, but here he proclaims that He knows that God well.

[29] My deposit: The phrase τὴν παραθήκην μου is ambiguous.  It could refer to what God has entrusted to Paul (i.e. the gospel message) or to what Paul has entrusted to God (i.e. his life, as well as perhaps his ministry).  The former would make sense of Paul’s argument to come in 2:2 of Timothy guarding the deposit, then taking it and passing it along to others.  Mounce (488), however, argues strongly for the latter sense:

τὴν παραθήκην μου, “my deposit,” could also refer to something Paul has entrusted to God, namely, his life (e.g., nasb, niv, Calvin, Lock, Fee, Knight). (1) In the other two passages[1 Tim 6:20; 2 Tim 2:2], Timothy is the guard and not God, and here Paul states that it is “my” (μοῦ) deposit. These two differences set our passage apart from the others. (2) The eschatological orientation of guarding the deposit “until that day,” the day of judgment, fits better with Paul’s soul being kept safe than with the gospel being kept safe. (3) The previous phrase, “in whom I have trusted,” suggests the idea of Paul placing something of his own (“faith,” “my deposit”) into God’s care. (4) It also fits the flow of the passage as Paul encourages Timothy to share in suffering. Paul has suffered his share for the gospel, and despite his current imprisonment and certain death, he is fully convinced that God can continue to protect his life, even through death. Likewise Timothy should have no fear of his Ephesian opponents or of suffering for the gospel, for he too can trust that God is able to guard his life. Fee paraphrases, “Just as the gospel announces a salvation that God in grace initiated and effected, and through which he rendered death ineffective, so also the same God can be trusted to guard . . . for the End the life that has been entrusted to his care” (232; cf. Luke 23:46; 1 Pet 4:19). While the gospel plays a large role in Paul’s discussion, the real point here is to encourage Timothy by showing him Paul’s victory despite the appearance of suffering and defeat. The second view seems best to support this flow of thought and also is the most natural reading of “my deposit.” Paul does not limit what he means by deposit, so there is no reason to limit it to just one item. Paul’s deposit (singular) could be the sum total of all that Paul has entrusted to God, including his life, apostolic ministry, converts, etc. (so Lock, 88).

As Knight (379) mentions, the same idea crops up only a few verses later, at 1:14.  In that instance, clearly Timothy is called to guard what has been entrusted into his care, which would lend itself to the idea that Paul has in mind here what he has entrusted to God to guard, namely his life and ministry.  God will guard what Paul has given to Him; Timothy must follow that example and guard what Paul has put in his care as well.

[30] That day: Paul will use similar phraseology at 3:1, and identical phraseology at 4:8.  2 Thess 1:10 is similar as well.  Paul has in mind here the day of the appearing of Jesus at His Second Advent.  Paul knows that God is able to guard what he has placed in His care until Christ comes to right all wrongs, including Paul’s imprisonment.

[31] Hold on: This is the second imperative in this section.  Timothy was first told in verse 8 to suffer along

[32] From me: Paul once again uses the emphatic personal pronoun ἐμοῦ.

[33] In the faith and love which are in Christ Jesus: Coming directly after the participle ἤκουσας, the phrase ἐν πίστει καὶ ἀγάπῃ τῇ ἐν Χριστῷ Ἰησοῦ is probably referring to the sphere in which Timothy heard Paul rather than the place he is to guard the correct words.  Timothy learned from Paul in faith and love which come from Christ, and as such he should stay there.

[34] Guard: This is the final imperative in chapter 1.

[35] The good deposit: The phrase τὴν καλὴν παραθήκην is placed in first position in the sentence for emphasis.  The qualifier “good” (καλὴν) sets this deposit apart from Paul’s deposit in v. 12.  God guards what Paul has entrusted to Him (i.e. his life); so also Paul charges Timothy to guard what Paul has entrusted to him (i.e. the gospel message).

[36] You know: Paul uses the perfect indicative oἶδας to describe Timothy’s knowledge.  Paul is not giving Timothy new information, but rather reminding him of something that he already had come to know.

[37] In Asia: Knight (383) adds: “By Ἀσία Paul means the Roman province embracing the western parts of Asia Minor (now western Turkey) and having as its capital Ephesus.”

[38] All those in Asia have deserted me: Mounce (493) comments:

The easiest reading of the text remains that Paul means “all the Christians in Asia” in a statement that is slightly hyperbolic (Guthrie, 135). It appears that while Paul was victorious in Spirit (see above), he was also suffering the natural psychological depression of a person in his situation. “The defections in Asia have been so staggering” (Fee, 236).

It seems doubtful that the desertion Paul has in mind is a desertion of Christ, as he specifically identifies the object of the desertion as “me.” Keeping in mind that clearly Timothy and Onesiphorus had not deserted Paul, he seems to clearly be using some hyperbole for effect. 

[39] May the Lord give: Paul uses the rare optative to express the desire of his heart.  He asks the Lord to grant Onesiphorus mercy!

[40] Was not ashamed: Paul uses the same word here of Onesiphorus (ἐπαισχύνθη) that he commanded Timothy with at v.8.  Onesiphorus serves as a positive example of the commands that Paul has given in 1:8-14 as well as 2:1-7.

[41] Ashamed of my chain: Knight (384-5) helpfully comments:

Although it is possible that ἅλυσις, “chain” (Pl.* 2x), is used figuratively here and in Eph. 6:20 of Paul’s “imprisonment” (BAGD s.v. 2), it is more likely that it refers to the actual “chain” with which he was bound. All other NT occurrences of the word are literal, and this is how Paul uses the term in his comment recorded in Acts 28:20. Furthermore, Paul uses other terms when speaking of his imprisonment (cf., e.g., v. 8). If the literal understanding of “chain” is correct, it makes the comment even more vivid and striking: Onesiphorus was not ashamed to come to me even when I was bound by a chain.

In Acts 22:29, the chiliarch who had seized Paul in Jerusalem was afraid, because he had chained Paul, a Roman citizen.  Though our knowledge of the Roman laws surrounding this issue is scarce, it appears that after at least a preliminary hearing even a Roman citizen could be chained.  Paul’s chain would be a painful and visible reminder of his sad condition.

[42] Diligently: The word σπουδαίως denotes haste as well as conscientious fulfillment of a duty or obligation (BDAG).  It appears that Onesiphorus had difficulty finding Paul, and it caused him to have to search with diligence to find Paul. (Mounce, 492)  Mounce (496) comments:

That Onesiphorus has to seek for Paul σπουδαίως, “earnestly” (Titus 3:13; Note a on 2 Tim 1:17), and the previous reference to lack of shame despite Paul’s chain suggest that Paul’s current imprisonment was more severe than previous ones (cf. Comment on v 15 and “serious criminal” in 2:9) and was definitely different from the imprisonment in Acts 28.

[43] Accordingly, you: Mounce (503) provides this helpful synopsis:

σὺ οὖν, “you, therefore,” is highly emphatic in both position and meaning. In contrast to Phygelus and Hermogenes (1:15), but following the examples of Paul (1:12) and Onesiphorus (1:16–18; contra Ellicott, 113), and remembering his own giftedness (1:6), Timothy is to do his work.

Knight (389) adds:

οὖν, “therefore,” an inferential particle introducing the following exhortation (cf. 1:8), denotes that the exhortation is required because of what can be inferred from what precedes it. Thus it harkens back to two elements: the imperatives of vv. 8, 13–14 to suffer for the gospel, to retain the standard of sound words, and to guard the deposit, which all necessitate the enabling power of Christ’s grace, and the defection of some (1:15) and the difficulties faced by those who remain faithful (1:16–18). These difficulties also make that power necessary.

[44] Be strengthened: Paul uses the present passive imperative ἐνδυναμοῦ to continue to command Timothy.  Based upon the examples set (negatively by Phygelus and Hermogenes and positively by Onesiphorus) for him, Timothy is commanded to be ἐνδυναμόω.  BDAG lists definition 2 (identified as the passive) as “to become strong,” though even this maintains an active sense.  The ESV renders this verb “be strengthened,” (as opposed to the NET, NASB, NKJV, and NIV which all render it “be strong”) which is more akin to the force of the passive imperative.  Mounce (503) comments:

ἐνδυναμοῦ, “be continually strengthened,” is a present (linear) passive imperative, God being the agent of the empowerment. Unlike the other occurrences of the verb in the PE, which are aorists and look back to specific events (1 Tim 1:12; 2 Tim 4:17), Paul is speaking here of a daily empowerment (cf. Rom 4:20; Eph 6:10; Phil 4:13), an ongoing strengthening required to carry out the commands in chap. 1 (cf. 1 Tim 4:6 for the same idea).

[45] By: This translation takes the preposition ἐν as an instrumental.  This makes best sense of the passive “be strengthened,” as it takes it as describing what Timothy was to strengthened with.  It could be a reference to sphere as well, though this seems less likely. (so Mounce, 504)

[46] Among many witnesses: The preposition διὰ plus the genitive here is taken as a spatial preposition of attendant circumstances, i.e. “through” in the sense of “while there were many around.”  Perhaps (though it is pure conjecture) Paul’s detractors in Ephesus were using a tactic of claiming special, private interaction with Paul as a means of undermining Timothy.  Alternately, the opponents might be claiming a hidden or mystical knowledge that might be a type of proto-gnosticism.  Paul reminds Timothy that he should teach what Paul publicly proclaimed, with the idea that what Paul taught publicly was the message he continued to hold (so Knight, 390).  If 2 Timothy was expected to be read to the congregation (which seems likely), those who claimed any special access to Paul or any special revelation that contradicted what Paul had publicly preached would lose their leverage.

[47] Faithful: Paul characterizes the men Timothy is to find.  Timothy is not to entrust the ministry to anyone; the recipients must be people of character. 

[48] You…me….faithful men…others: Paul identifies at least four generations of believers in this verse who are entrusted with the message of Christ.  Paul passed the message on to Timothy, who must hand it off to others who will carry on the process.  This is not a discussion at all of apostolic succession (Mounce, 504-5); rather, in his desire to see Timothy, Paul does not want to abandon the church at Ephesus to his opponents.  He wants Timothy to ensure there are reliable men in place to carry on the ministry Paul started before Timothy leaves Ephesus to see Paul in Rome.

[49] As: The comparative particle ὡς is a particle that marks the manner of something or provides a point of comparison between two things (BDAG def 1 and 2).  Comparison seems a better fit here, and thus Paul calls Timothy to suffer just like a good soldier would, especially a soldier belonging to Christ.  Soldiers endure many hardships, and their attitude to hardship can border on pride.  Soldiers are known to take kinship and wear their hardship as a badge of worth, and it is to this kind of attitude that Paul calls Timothy.

[50] Gets entangled: Mounce (508-9) comments:

The text does not speak simply of involvement but says ἐμπλέκεται, “is entangled,” in everyday affairs (cf. 2 Pet 2:20). When everyday life becomes an entanglement to ministry, when the pursuit of life apart from ministry results in God’s displeasure, when believers are no longer willing to suffer the pain to which all godly people are called (3:12), then they, like Timothy, are no longer good soldiers and no longer please the one who enlisted them. This is an especially important distinction if the metaphor is intended to include not just leaders but all Christians as the relativizing οὐδείς, “no one,” and the following ἐὰν . . . τις, “if anyone” (v 5), imply. Obviously, Christians in general must have some involvement in day-to-day affairs, but they can never become entangled in them.

[51] Unless he competes according to the rules: It is not clear with the phrase ἐὰν μὴ νομίμως ἀθλήσῃ if Paul has in mind the preparation that an athlete must swear to have completed, or a proper conduct during the games themselves.  Perhaps to try to differentiate between the two pushes the analogy too far; at any rate, if the athlete broke either the preparation or competition rules he was disqualified from the prize.

[52] Soldier…athlete…farmer: Mounce (507) parallels the examples with the following chart:

Share in Suffering
metaphor soldier athlete farmer
call to suffer single-mindedness to compete by the rules to work hard
reward to please one who to win prize to share crop
enlists him

The soldier suffers by refusing the myriad joys and pleasures that life may have to offer for the strict discipline of soldiering.  An athlete in the Isthmian or Olympic games endured many months of rigorous and intense training to even be allowed to compete, and then must scrupulously obey the rules of the contest or be disqualified.  The hard work and dedication of the farmer to his craft is almost axiomatic.

[53] Keep remembering: The present imperative Μνημόνευε calls for continual action in this instance.  Paul is calling Timothy to keep Christ front-and-center in his memory.  As Mounce (511) reminds, Paul is more consoling and encouraging Timothy here than commanding him.  Paul is giving Timothy a reason to have confidence and encouragement.

[54] Raised: Mounce (512) notes that the perfect tense ἐγηγερμένον emphasizes “abiding significance,” though in participles the aspect is certainly subject to reduction in force (Wallace, 615-16).  The passive is perhaps more open to interpretive significance.  The divine passive denotes Jesus as the recipient of resurrection rather than the agent.

[55] Raised from the dead: Mounce (512) helpfully analyzes the participle:

The punctuation of UBSGNT4—no punctuation before ἐγηγερμένον, comma after νεκρῶν, “dead”—implies that the participle is adverbial, used in indirect discourse following μνημόνευε, “remember”: “Remember that Jesus Christ has been raised from the dead” (Knight, 397; cf. Robertson, Grammar, 1041). Yet the following phrase (ἐκ σπέρματος Δαυίδ, “from [the] seed of David”) reads as if it is parallel to the preceding participial phrase, and therefore ἐγηγερμένον should be viewed as adjectival, modifying Ἰησοῦν, “Jesus.”

[56] According to my gospel: Mounce (511) comments:

Within the context of calling for Timothy’s loyalty to Paul and the gospel, Paul defines that gospel: it is the account of Jesus the Messiah as the fulfillment of prophecy; it is also the account of Christ, raised from the dead.

[57] Because of which: BDAG definition 9 denotes ἐν as a marker of cause or reason, and that makes the best sense of the current construction.  Knight (398) discusses the antecedent of :

The significance of ἐν in the first clause of this verse is difficult to determine. The antecedent of the relative pronoun is most likely εὐαγγέλιον, not Ἰησοῦν Χριστόν. ἐν has been understood in various ways, e.g., “in whose service” (NEB), or in a causal sense, “for which” (RSV, NASB, NIV). The latter commends itself through comparison with 1:12, where a similar transition is presented in the flow of argument (Ridderbos).

 Paul is suffering because of his proclamation of “the gospel.” (see discussion above about what that phrase means)

[58] As a criminal: BDAG defines κακοῦργος as, “…one who commits gross misdeeds and serious crimes.”  Paul wasn’t under “house arrest” as a suspect; he was suffering under an imprisonment reserved for those who had committed serious and violent crimes.

[59] Is not bound: The perfect passive δέδεται describes mainly the existing state (i.e. the word is not now bound), but also calls to mind the past action (i.e. the word has never been bound!).  Mounce (514) calls it an intensive perfect, emphasizing the ongoing freedom of the gospel.  There is a fairly clear paronomasia with Paul’s status as bound.

[60] This is why: διὰ τοῦτο is literally translated “because of this” (διὰ plus the accusative of cause; Wallace, 369).  Rhetorically, verse 10 “fleshes out” verse 9 and reminds Timothy of why Paul is willing to suffer hardship to the point of being treated like a criminal.  Paul’s imprisonment allows the gospel to spread in a way that it could not with Paul free, and the rest of the verse explains that Paul wants other “chosen ones” to be able to achieve what he has: salvation with eternal glory.

[61] I am enduring: Paul uses the present ὑπομένω, and the idea he is putting forward is his reasoning behind the continuance of his suffering.  Paul may have been able to buy his way out of his imprisonment or otherwise end his suffering, but he chose not to. 

[62] They also: The emphatic (Mounce, 514) καὶ αὐτοὶ points even more strongly to Paul’s intent.  Paul knows he has finished well; he also wants others to have an example of how to finish their lives well, and receive eternal rewards in the same manner that he is confident that he will. 

[63] With eternal glory: The construction μετὰ δόξης αἰωνίου describes the attendant circumstance (Wallace, 377).  This is the rendering of the ESV and NKJV (which is more appropriate than the rendering found in NET, NASB, NIV, or NLT).  Paul wants more for the chosen ones than their salvation (as the following verses make clear); Paul wants their salvation to be attended by eternal glory!  He suffers so that they can endure and be rewarded, as verses 11-13 amplify.  Mounce (515) notes that this is “an essential element of the verse”, though he misses the point of the inclusion of this qualifier.  The focus is less on salvation than it is on rewards.  Paul wants salvation, but by discussing his heart for “the elect” it appears Paul focuses not on salvation or justification, but upon the final phrase and its implications.  Paul wants the elect to meet Jesus with joy, not shame (see 1 Cor 3:12-15).

[64] A trustworthy saying: NET Bible note #19 comment:

The following passage has been typeset as poetry because many scholars regard this passage as poetic or hymnic. These terms are used broadly to refer to the genre of writing, not to the content. There are two broad criteria for determining if a passage is poetic or hymnic: “(a) stylistic: a certain rhythmical lilt when the passages are read aloud, the presence of parallelismus membrorum (i.e., an arrangement into couplets), the semblance of some metre, and the presence of rhetorical devices such as alliteration, chiasmus, and antithesis; and (b) linguistic: an unusual vocabulary, particularly the presence of theological terms, which is different from the surrounding context” (P. T. O’Brien, Philippians [NIGTC], 188–89). Classifying a passage as hymnic or poetic is important because understanding this genre can provide keys to interpretation. However, not all scholars agree that the above criteria are present in this passage, so the decision to typeset it as poetry should be viewed as a tentative decision about its genre.

The fact that Paul introduces the saying as “faithful” or “trustworthy,” and the chiastic structure of the text, leads me to think that he is quoting an early creed or hymn (and hence is poetic or hymnic).  The chiastic structure of the text is arranged as follows:

                A             If we died with [Him], we will also live with [Him] (security)

                                B             If we endure, we will also reign with [Him] (accountability/scrutiny)

                                B’            If we deny [Him], He will also deny us (accountability/scrutiny)

                A’            If we are unfaithful, He remains faithful, for He cannot deny Himself (security)

For an excellent analysis of the “trustworthy saying,” see Brad McCoy, “Secure Yet Scrutinized: 2 Timothy 2:11-13” in Journal of the Grace Evangelical Society 1:1 (August 1988); 21-33.  For a general introduction to the exegetical value in analyzing chiasmus, see Ronald E. Man, “The Value of Chiasm for New Testament Interpretation,” Bibliotheca Sacra 141:562 (April 1984), 146-154; see also Brad McCoy, “Chiasmus: An Important Structural Device Commonly Found in Biblical Literature,” Chafer Theological Seminary Journal 9:2 (Fall 03), 18-34.  These articles should impress upon the reader the immense exegetical value of chiasmus.  Many times scholars will see a chiasmus and note it as a literary nicety without considering its potential in exegetical decisions.

[65] If we died with [Him]: This statement is the aorist active συναπεθάνομεν.  The focus here is on a past-time event without any duration implicit.

[66] If we died with [Him], we will also live with [Him]:  The point of the first half part of the saying is a statement of eternal security.  Mounce (515-6) notes that this verse refers to conversion, and bears close resemblance to Rom 6:8.  If we place faith alone in Christ alone, our future is completely secure.  By becoming united to Christ in His death, we also become united to Him in His resurrection (2:8). 

Knight (403-404) argues that the life mentioned should be seen as a current “life to the fullest” with Christ, but his reasons depend too heavily on the association with Rom 6:8 and not enough on an analysis of the text at hand.  Though there is a connection with Rom 6:8, we should expect that they will have different emphases.  The whole context of Romans 6 is a discussion of our current life; the context here is more of a comfort to Timothy, and thus an eschatological emphasis is appropriate contextually.  The future, then, should be allowed to bear its usual weight.

[67] If we endure: This line begins with the present indicative ὑπομένομεν, focusing upon the present, linear aspect.  If Timothy keeps enduring, he can expect the promise of reigning.

[68] If we endure, we will also reign with [Him]: Mounce (516) labels this line “Perseverance.”  He comments:

The second line moves into the present life of the believer. It also provides the primary tie-in to the context. Paul endures all things (v 10), Timothy should also, and as a result they will reign together with Christ in the eschatological kingdom. The consequences of not enduring are covered in the next two lines. Context requires εἰ to be translated “if” … and consequently the verse is both a promise (“If we endure, then we will reign”) and an implied warning (“If we endure, and this is not to say that we will, then . . .”)

The verb συμβασιλεύσομεν refers to a reigning as a king together (as the compound implies).  Paul tells Timothy in verse 10 that he is enduring (ὑπομένω), and in this verse he generalizes the principle to apply to all believers using the same term (ὑπομένομεν). 

[69] If we will deny [Him]: Paul shifts to the future here.  There has been a progression in this text, from an aorist (normally past tense), to a present (normally present time), to a future (normally future time).  If in the future we give up our endurance, it will indeed be costly.  Paul calls this statement “trustworthy” or “faithful,” and clearly places himself and Timothy under its proscription. 

However we interpret the entirety of the saying, it must integrate it into Paul’s rhetorical message here.  This is a part of Paul’s comforting of Timothy and calling him to confidence in his mission; it seems unlikely that a warning of potential damnation is very encouraging! 

In light of verse 11, another option is necessary.  The semantic range of ἀρνέομαι includes the idea of “to hold in contempt” (BDAG def. 1) or “to repudiate, to disown” (BDAG Def. 3).  Paul’s idea here could well be the idea of holding Christ in contempt or disowning Him.  In response, Jesus will hold us in contempt or disown us.  The way to untie the knot is to integrate with other Pauline ideas, such as 1 Cor 3:12-15 and 9:24-27.  Paul is discussing an accountability of all believers to stand before the judgment seat of Christ, and perhaps comforts Timothy that his detractors will be held accountable by Jesus for their false teaching.  This idea will come to the forefront much more strongly in verses 14-18.  By way of modern analogy, a parent may “disown” a child if they are persistently rebellious, cutting them out of the family inheritance which was their natural blessing.  However, a parent cannot change that child’s genetics; they are still the parent’s child.

[70] If we will deny [Him], He also will deny us: Mounce labels this line “Judgment,” and in light of the seriousness of the denial (the text tells us that He will deny “us,” not something to us) interprets this as a sending to hell of those under its condemnation.  Whether this comes from a Reformed or Arminian perspective is not expressly stated (and is probably insignificant).  However, Paul includes himself firmly in the warning (the first-person plural clearly includes Paul and Timothy within the warning), and Timothy as well. 

How Mounce’s interpretation can withstand an integration with verse 11, where Paul expressly assures himself and all who have died with Christ a place in heaven, is unknown.  It is far better to see this verse as a part of a chiasm, and thus related to verse 12a rather than an independent thought.  What Paul has in mind here is the judgment of 1 Cor 3; some will receive great reward, while others will be saved (v. 11) as through fire.  The fact that the denial is of “us” (the ἡμᾶς in the text is emphatic, especially in light of the absence of some of the other pronouns) proves little; to say that the denial is a denial of eternal life is an argument from silence, because the text simply does not tell us what is denied.  The saying is short and does not give an exhaustive treatment; integrating it with other Pauline texts (such as 1 Cor 3:12-15 and 1 Cor 9:23-27) gives a fuller understanding of what is being denied.  As McCoy (28) puts it:

How will Christ deny the unfaithful believer? Or to put the question another way: What and how will He refuse the unfaithful believer? First the interpreter must remember that this passage has already established the fact that every believer will live with Christ (v 11). Additionally, Paul has also affirmed that those believers who faithfully endure in their Christian experience will receive special rewards and prerogatives in Christ’s Kingdom (they “will reign with Him”). In context then, the denial spoken of here has to do with the Lord’s denying the unfaithful believer the privilege of intimate, high-level interaction with Him in governing the millennial state. First Corinthians 3:15 sheds additional light on the negative consequences of such denial because it indicates that the unfaithful, unfruitful believer will be denied reward at the Judgment Seat of Christ, “but he himself shall be saved” (i.e., the unrewarded believer will still “live with Christ”).

[71] If we are unfaithful: Paul shifts back to the present active indicative, first person plural ἀπιστοῦμεν.  Again, he places himself and Timothy squarely within the rubric of this passage.  The tie to verse 12a by way of antithesis is clear: if we keep our endurance we will reign, but even if we are unfaithful He will stay faithful to His promise to us.

[72] For: The γὰρ introduces a reason for Christ’s faithfulness.  Even if we are unfaithful, Jesus remains faithful, and the remainder of this line explains the logical grounds or reason for that faithfulness.

[73] Deny: The saying goes back to the aorist (in this case, the infinitive ἀρνήσασθαι) in the apodosis here, connecting it with the first verse in some sense.  The infinitive here is a complementary infinitive (Wallace, 598-99), meaning that it completes the thought of its controlling verb δύναται

[74] If we are unfaithful, He remains faithful, for He cannot deny Himself: The end of the chiasm returns to the subject of justification.  Even if we (again the first-person plural includes Paul and Timothy) as believers are faithless (i.e. unfaithful, ἀπιστοῦμεν), we have been united with Christ and thus our eternal life is bound up with His.  He cannot deny His own righteousness, which He has given forensically to every believer in Christ (Rom 4:5); therefore even our unfaithfulness cannot lead to our denial for entrance to heaven.  Timothy can take great comfort that his justification does not rely upon his faithfulness, while somberly and seriously realizing that his faithfulness will be evaluated by Christ (v. 12).  As Mounce (518) summarizes:

While in the first three lines the reason for the “then” clause is contained in the “if” clause, in the fourth line God’s faithfulness (the “then” clause) is not explained by human faithlessness (the “if” clause). The final phrase (v 13c) is therefore required to make sense of the fourth line (cf. Knight, Faithful Sayings, 135). As such it becomes the highlight of the saying, the fact of God’s faithfulness being buried deep inside the graciousness of the covenantal God who always acts in conformity to his nature, which is the point made by the final phrase. It seems best to limit the scope of this promise just to the fourth line because only it requires explanation (although God’s consistency is the basis for all that he does and hence the basis for the entire hymn). For God to remain faithful (v 13b) means that he is faithful to his character (v 13c). It is a magnificient [sic] promise and comfort to believers struggling in their Christian walk.

[75] Remind [them]: There is considerable discussion as to who Paul has in mind for Timothy to remind not to argue.  Mounce (523) does not address the issue directly, but states that Timothy is to warn “the Ephesians,” implying the whole church.  Knight (410) thinks that Paul has in mind the “faithful men” of 2:2, and the tone (especially surfacing in 2:19; see comment there) of discussion toward church leaders could indeed point in that direction.  However, verse 2 is far removed from this reference, and so a strict identification is unlikely.  Timothy is called to remind them “in the presence of God,” which could well be an oblique reference to the worship service.  It seems the best referent, then, is the church at Ephesus, with perhaps special emphasis put upon the leaders and teachers.

The present imperative ὑπομίμνῃσκε is iterative (Wallace, 520-21), describing an event that is repeated frequently.  Timothy is to bring the “trustworthy statement” to mind as often as the church needs it.

[76] Solemnly warning: The present participle διαμαρτυρόμενος describes the purpose of reminding “them” of the preceding verses. (Wallace, 635-37, also describes it as a “telic” adverbial participle)  This participle, then, describes the purpose of bringing to mind the “faithful saying” of v. 11-13: to exhort Timothy’s opponents to cease their needless verbal wars, which brings ruin upon the whole church. (so Mounce, 523)  Alternatively, Knight (410) sees the dependence of the participle as carrying over the force of the imperative, but even though participles are dependent upon their main verbs for time and aspect, it seems more likely the participle is acting as purpose.

[77] To wrangle with words: The word λογομαχεῖν is a NT hapax legomenon; BDAG defines it as “to dispute about words, split hairs.” Knight (410) disagrees, arguing that this is a serious doctrinal dispute on the grounds of v. 16-18.  In light of the qualifications Paul puts on the disagreement (ἐπʼ οὐδὲν χρήσιμον, “over nothing useful”) it appears BDAG is to be preferred.

[78] Over nothing useful: Paul did not command Timothy to forbid all disagreement; rather, he forbids wrangling over useless issues.  Galatians shows us that Paul was perfectly willing to go to war for the foundational truths of the faith!

[79] Over…because: The preposition ἐπὶ is repeated here in the phrase ἐπʼ οὐδὲν χρήσιμον, ἐπὶ καταστροφῇ τῶν ἀκουόντων.  The first occurrence is followed by the accusative; the second by the dative.  The semantic range of ἐπὶ plus the accusative and dative overlap almost completely (Wallace, 376); however, the dative also could include the idea of cause.  The first occurrence is spatial (i.e. “over” or “about” nothing useful) and the second cause (i.e. no wrangling because it leads to καταστροφῇ); this makes sense of Paul’s argument (contra Mounce, 524, who views both instances as result).  He is telling Timothy not to allow wars over words over useless things within the church, because to allow them would ruin those who heard the arguments.

[80] By providing a straight path: The participle ὀρθοτομοῦντα is translated “rightly dividing” in the KJV; NASB, ESV, NKJV, NLT, NET, NIV all follow some form of “accurately handling.” The word is built from the words ὀρθός (“straight”) and τέμνω (“to cut”), but we must be very careful not to commit the root fallacy (Mounce [524-6] makes much of the adjective ὀρθός; in so doing he appears to cross the line into the root fallacy; see D.A. Carson, Exegetical Fallacies (Grand Rapids; Baker, 1984[1991]), 26) when finding the intended meaning.  The word is a NT hapax legomenon, which makes interpretation difficult; this is more so in that the word is not found in secular literature (or in Christian literature independent of this use).  The only other instances come in the LXX of Prov 3:6 and 11:5, where the idea is to make a straight path (translating the Piel stem of יָשַׁר).  BDAG lists this entry:

ὀρθοτομέω (ὀρθός, τέμνω) found elsewh. independently of the NT only Pr 3:6; 11:5, where it is used w. ὁδούς and plainly means ‘cut a path in a straight direction’ or ‘cut a road across country (that is forested or otherwise difficult to pass through) in a straight direction’, so that the traveler may go directly to his destination (cp. Thu. 2, 100, 2 ὁδοὺς εὐθείας ἔτεμε; Hdt. 4, 136 τετμημένη ὁδός; Pla., Leg. 7, 810e; Plut., Galba 24, 7; Jos., C. Ap. 1, 309). Then ὀρθοτομεῖν τὸν λόγον τῆς ἀληθείας would prob. mean guide the word of truth along a straight path (like a road that goes straight to its goal), without being turned aside by wordy debates or impious talk…

Helmut Koster (TDNT 8:111) puts it this way:

Whereas the false teachers engage in irreligious theological chatter which can only destroy their hearers and which leads to an ungodly walk (2:14, 16), Timothy is to be a workman of God who need not be ashamed since he “does what is right with reference to the word of truth.” This cannot mean in the context that Timothy should “trim” or “handle” the word of truth rightly. The view that he is to deliver the word of truth correctly in proclamation is also impossible in view of the parallels adduced, One can no longer take into account the metaphorical aspect, nor can the word of truth be the object of Timothy’s ὀρθοτομέω in the simple sense. Rather one is to construe the expression along the lines of κατορθόομαι τὰς ἐντολάς (Herm. v., 3, 5, 3) and ὀρθοποδέω πρὸς τὴν ἀλήθειαν τοῦ εὐαγγαλίου (Gl. 2:14 → V, 451, 16 ff.). In his conduct Timothy must “speak the word of truth aright,” i.e., follow it. When he puts his acts under the word of truth he is worthy before God and he need not be ashamed, 2 Tm. 2:15. He is superior to the false teachers, not because he can present the word better, nor because he offers it in a theologically legitimate form, but because he follows this word of truth aright in his own life, and thus confirms it.

The focus here is upon Timothy’s deportment rather than his doctrine.  Timothy will present himself unashamed as he eschews worthless arguments and provides a straight path for the word of truth to enter people’s lives.  Whereas his opponents’ wrangling lead to ruin for the hearers, Timothy is called to have his life be characterized in such a way as to allow God’s Word no hindrance in working in other people’s lives.  Mounce (525) correctly observes here:

Here the emphasis is on Timothy’s behavior, that it be in line with the gospel and that it be in contrast to the opponents. This agrees with the emphasis in the PE on the necessity of right conduct both in Paul’s condemnation of the opponents’ misconduct and in the repeated reminder to Timothy to observe his own conduct (cf. 1 Tim 4:6–16). It also agrees with the emphasis on conduct in this paragraph (2:14–18) and the repetition of the same ideas in 2:20–26. Perhaps the rarity of ὀρθοτομεῖν should serve as a caution against making too precise a distinction between the two options, especially in light of the theme in the PE that right belief and right conduct go hand in hand. Treating the gospel correctly cannot stop at right belief but must move into right conduct, and in fact vv 16–18 discuss both behavior and belief.

[81] The word of truth: This phrase is also found at Eph 1:13, where it is expressly defined as “the gospel of your salvation.” (see also Col 1:5)

[82] Worthless chatter: Paul notes similar issues in 1 Tim 1:3-4; 4:7; 6:20.  He will make explicit mention of two practitioners in the next verse.  Apparently this was an ongoing problem in Ephesus.  As Mounce (526) puts it, “Paul does not discourage argumentation, nor is this a call for isolationism, but wisdom calls for avoidance of fruitless discussion that only produces envy and strife.”

[83] Hymanaeus: This is most likely the same man referred to in 1 Tim 1:20 (Knight, 413, perhaps too strongly says they are “undoubtedly” the same); he had “suffered shipwreck in regard to [his] faith” and was handed by Paul over to Satan.  It appears that he still exerted much influence over the church (note the present ἀνατρέπουσιν, “they are destroying”)

[84] Has already taken place: This phrase (ἤδη γεγονέναι) is quite emphatic.  Paul uses the perfect infinitive γεγονέναι, which by itself could have conveyed the idea of the resurrection taking place in the past.  When combined with ἤδη (“already”), the idea becomes emphatic.  Knight (414) clarifies the error:

Their teaching apparently related the resurrection only to the inner spiritual life. It was probably associated with a false asceticism and a low view of the material world, especially of the human body (cf. 1 Tim. 4:1ff.), and might have resulted from an incorrect handling of Paul’s words (cf. 2 Pet. 3:16) about Christians being presently raised with Christ (Rom. 6:1–11; Eph. 2:6; 5:14; Col. 2:12, 13; 3:1–4; cf. Irenaeus, Haer. 1.23.5; for other early church references see BAGD s.v. ἀνάστασις 2b). Already in 1 Corinthians 15 Paul wrote against a similar (but not identical) form of error about the resurrection of believers, saying that such teaching calls in question Christ’s own resurrection and is thus completely unacceptable.

[85] The firm foundation of God: Knight (415) comments:

Paul asserts metaphorically that the foundation laid by God in Ephesus and elsewhere stands—even though there are false teachers and some who heed their teaching. Some have suggested that Paul is referring to the gospel message under this imagery, and others that he is referring to the church. The latter is more likely since Paul has done so elsewhere (cf. 1 Tim. 3:15; 1 Cor. 3:10–12; Eph. 2:20–22), and this perspective is strengthened by his use of the house imagery in vv. 20–21.

This comment is helpful in sorting through this section.  The church will stand because God has established it, and the marks (God-appointed leaders [see below] and holy conduct among members) confirm it.

[86] Stands: The perfect ἕστηκεν calls attention to the enduring results from a past occurrence.  The foundation of God stands despite the opposition, just as it has done in the past.

[87] Bearing this mark: Mounce (529) adds this insight:

The metaphor is based on the practice of inscribing a seal on the foundation of a building in order to indicate ownership and sometimes the function of the building (cf. the seal of the twelve disciples on the foundation of the new Jerusalem in Rev 21:14). The following two phrases specify what the seal actually says; it was common to have the seal contain a motto or short phrase (Lyall, Slaves, 151).

[88] The Lord knows the ones who are His: This is a near-quote of Num 16:5 LXX (κύριος stands in place of θεός; perhaps this is a conscious change on Paul’s part to put Christ emphatically in the picture).  Notes in the margin of NCV, NET, NKJV, NLT, and ESV all note the quote; only the NASB fails to mention it!

Looking at the context of Num 15 and 16, the point seems not to be a differentiation between those who are “saved” and those who are “unsaved.”  In Num 16 Korah and his henchmen (250 other Levitical leaders) try to usurp Moses’ authority and his right to lead the people into the land of Canaan.  Moses’ response in 16:5 was to tell Korah that the Lord knew who the leader should be, and He would make it known to the whole congregation.  Korah and his Levitical followers tried to usurp the position of leadership God had given them for a higher one (see Num 16:9-11).  That is the point Paul is bringing to Timothy’s mind; not who is saved, but who God’s leader for the church at Ephesus is.  God knew (aorist) who He put in charge (Paul applying to Timothy the point of Moses’ statement in Num 16:5), even if the congregation didn’t.  Timothy had opposition from men like Hymanaeus and Philetus, just as Moses had opposition from Korah and those who followed him.  However, Paul comforts Timothy with the truth that just as Korah was proven wrong (and decisively; see Num 16:31-35), so Timothy could look forward to vindication as well.  In Korah’s rebellion, Moses wasn’t the one to rebuke the rebels; rather, Moses put the decision in God’s hands, and God answered decisively by opening the ground and swallowing up the dissenters and their families (see Num 16:31-35).

[89] Cleanses himself: The phrase τις ἐκκαθάρῃ ἑαυτὸν puts this discussion clearly under the rubric of sanctification rather than justification.  A person cannot “cleanse themselves” (the inclusion of ἑαυτὸν is very clear as to who is doing the action) in a justifying sense, but it is each person’s responsibility to root out the sin in their life and live in a holy and worthwhile manner.

[90] These: The antecedent of “these” is not easy grammatically, but rhetorically seems to be the error of Timothy’s opponents, namely their unwholesome demeanor and attacking style.  Their battling over useless and destructive things is wht Timothy is called to cleanse himself from.

[91] He will be a valuable instrument: Paul gives the point of the metaphor here.  If Timothy, or anyone else, “cleanses himself” from the bickering and quarrelling going on in Ephesus, he will be categorized among the valuable and useful tools rather than the ones used for refuse and excrement. 

[92] Made holy: The perfect participle ἡγιασμένον is meaningful here. (Perfects are almost always exegetically significant)  The passive form recalls God’s activity in sanctification; the perfect recalls enduring results (i.e. holiness or sanctification) resulting from past action (namely, “cleansing himself from evil”).  This participle could be either passive or middle; the middle would match with the earlier thought (i.e. “he will make himself holy”), but the passive could be a divine passive and thus speak of God’s involvement in sanctification.  With Paul’s emphatic statement of “cleanses himself” earlier in the verse, it seems unlikely that Paul would use such a subtle means to communicate a reflexive idea in this instance.  Therefore the passive is preferable.

[93] Prepared: The participle ἡτοιμασμένον could be passive or middle (the forms are identical).  If it is passive it speaks of God’s preparation (much as “made holy” before); if it is middle it speaks to the preparation that Timothy has done by cleansing himself.  Again, the passive seems preferable (see above argument on “made holy”).

[94] Good works: Paul will use this exact phrase at 3:17 (though the verbs are different), and there he describes it as the end goal of the equipping of the saints by the Word of God.

[95] Youthful lusts: Mounce (533) comments:

νεωτερικὰς ἐπιθυμίας, “youthful passions,” could refer to the sensual lusts of youth (cf. 1 Tim 4:12; 5:2; Titus 2:6), but the following verses do not speak about this issue. While these may be included, the emphasis is more on Timothy’s youthful temperament and the possible difficulty of avoiding arguments and being gentle in instruction (cf. Kelly, 188–89; Fee, 263, who translates “headstrong passions of youth,” citing W. Metzger, TZ 33 [1977] 129–36). In this context, “youthful passions” include that which is contrary to “righteousness, faith, love, and peace” (v 22b).

[96] A cleansed heart: The adjectival form (καθαρᾶς) of the verb “cleanses” in v. 21 (ἐκκαθάρῃ) comes up again.  Timothy is called to run after the Lord with those who have done what he is called to do (namely, cleanse himself).  When an instrument cleanses itself, it will become common again if it associates with other common instruments.  Paul here calls upon the sanctified ones to band together against the opposition as they live for Christ.

[97] Ignorant: Mounce (534) comments:

ἀπαίδευτος occurs only here in the NT. It means “uninstructed, uneducated” (BAGD 79; Hanson, [1983] 141). Dibelius-Conzelmann show that in Epictetus it means “the man who has not learned to think” (113). In the LXX, it translates כסיל kesåîl, most often in the wisdom literature (Prov 8:5; 15:14; Abbott-Smith, Lexicon, 44), hence “foolish, undisciplined.” Most suggest a meaning such as “illiterate, ill-informed, undisciplined, senseless.” However, since the opponents saw themselves as teachers of the law even though they were ignorant of it (1 Tim 1:7), and because Paul is speaking specifically of the heresy, it is best to keep the etymological nuance of the word, “uneducated,” and see it as an appraisal of the heresy and its proponents.

Paul will use the positive verb cognate in v. 25 to exhort Timothy to instruct and train these men.  They think they are the progressive, educated ones, but Paul tells Timothy here that instead they are foolish and ignorant.

[98] Patient: The word ἀνεξίκακον includes the ideas of “bearing evil without resentment” and “tolerant of poor treatment” (BDAG).

[99] Correcting: The participle παιδεύοντα is used of child training.  It can bear a positive weight, i.e. “educate” (BDAG def. 1) or, as here, the negative side “practice discipline” (BDAG def. 2b).  It is the opposite of ἀπαίδευτος in v. 23.

[100] Gentleness: BDAG defines πραΰτης as, “the quality of not being overly impressed by a sense of one’s self-importance,” and provides the glosses of gentleness, humility, courtesy, considerateness, and meekness.  This attitude stands in stark contrast to the self-importance of Timothy’s opponents.

[101] Keep this in mind: The present imperative γίνωσκε is literally “keep knowing,” with an iterative idea nearly identical to 2:14.  Rhetorically this section ties closely with what preceded it (the paralleling of the tense/voice/mood with the imperative in 2:14 is surely not coincidental).  Even though Timothy is called to compassion for his opposition, he should not expect complete victory.  The road ahead is difficult.  Τοῦτο is functioning in apposition to ὅτι (Wallace, 459). Paul is not imparting new information; rather, he is bringing to mind something that Timothy already knows (so Mounce, 544).

[102] In the last days: There is a dichotomy between the “already” beginning of the last days and the “not yet” of their fulfillment.  Jesus spoke of “the last days” in John (John 6:39, 40, 44, 54; 11:24; 12:48) with a reference to the resurrection; Peter seems to do the same in 1 Pet 1:5, 20.  However, “the last days” is also seen as a present reality (see especially Acts 2:17; 2 Pet 3:3 [with the same idea as this passage]).  Jude 18 looks at words such as these penned by Paul as confirmation to his readers of their situation!  Therefore this seems unlikely to be a reference to the return of Christ, but rather to the “already” aspect of “the last days.”  Even when Timothy does it all correctly and has a heart of compassion, there will be those who reject the Word of God.  As Mounce (542) observes, “Paul’s day is part of the eschatological time of great sin.” Knight (428) further clarifies:

Although Paul speaks of these “last days” (v. 1) with future tense verbs (vv. 1, 9), this is a future in which Timothy is already involved, since the passage is applied to him in his present situation (note the second person singular present tense imperatives in vv. 1 and 5) and since the activity of the false teachers is depicted as already occurring (in the present tense verb forms in vv. 6–8).

[103] Hard times: καιρός refers to a period of time rather than a linear progression.  The “last days” will be marked as a period of difficulty.  Knight (428) adds:

Paul indicates with δέ a contrast with what he has just written. There the emphasis was on possible recovery of those in opposition; here, in contrast, is a fuller statement of the difficulties of the age. In speaking of that hoped for recovery, Paul does not want Timothy to be naive about the difficulty that “the spirit of the age” presents to his ministry.

[104] Men will be: There are nineteen vices to come in the following list strung together in asyndeton (so Knight, 429; Mounce, 543, counts 18 by seeing v. 5 as a summation).  The futuristic aspect here is, in connection with the “last days,” to be seen in the immediate future and not at the Parousia.  Note that Timothy is to “avoid” these men now (present tense, v. 5) and they are now slipping into homes and captivating women (also present tense, v. 6).  This is the present for Timothy; despite his godliness, there will be great debauchery.  The theme of moral debauchery preceding the return of Christ is common in the NT.  Mounce (544) continues:

The prophecy of apostasy in the last times originally referred to a future event, but the context shows that this prophecy is now in the present time for Timothy…Although there is no prophecy explicitly mentioned in 2 Tim 3:1–9, the tenor of the passage and its parallel to 1 Tim 4:1–5 show that vv 1–2 are the future in which Timothy now finds himself embroiled. The future tense therefore does not exclude the present inception of the increasingly evil days to come.

[105] Selfish: literally “self-loving” (φίλαυτος); the idea is of preoccupation with self and self-interest.  This begins what Knight (429-30) describes in this manner:

The list has a somewhat chiastic arrangement: It begins and ends with terms expressing similar concepts and has within this framework other matched groupings of terms working from the beginning and end of the list:

Φίλαυτοι [selfish]

Φιλάργυροι [greedy]

ἀλαζόνες [boastful]

ὑπερήφανοι [arrogant]

βλάσφημοι [demeaning]

γονεῦσιν ἀπειθεῖς [disobedient to parents]

ἀχάριστοι [ungrateful]

ἀνόσιοι [wicked]

ἄστοργοι [hard-hearted]

ἄσπονδοι [irreconcilable]

διάβολοι [slanderous]

ἀκρατεῖς [without self-control]

ἀνήμεροι [brutal]

ἀφιλάγαθοι [opposed to good]

προδόται [treacherous]

προπετεῖς [reckless]

τετυφωμένοι [conceited]

φιλήδονοι [lovers of pleasure]

μᾶλλον φιλόθεοι [rather than lovers of God]

The key to this loose structure is to see the worst level of this vice list, “διάβολοι.”  In 2:25 the opponents are ἐκ τῆς τοῦ διαβόλου παγίδος, “captured by the slanderer;” here they have taken over his character and thus represent him in the church!  We can also see in this loosely chiastic arrangement a “cascading effect” of bad decisions.  Using Knight’s basic outline, we can sense a pattern of events that culminates in the opponents becoming διάβολοι:

·         The portion furthest left (compounds of φίλος) at the beginning and end describes a misdirection of love.  These people begin by placing self above God, and in the process put money and pleasure in positions before the Lord.

·         The “second tier” describes a person who has allowed that preoccupation with self to manifest in pride and hostility to others and their needs.  This person becomes boastful, arrogant, demeaning, traitorous (i.e. does not hold to agreements), reckless and conceited.

·         The third tier takes the previous idea to its extreme, abandoning even the pretense of civility by disobeying parents and God, becoming unloving and implacable, and being completely undisciplined.

·         Finally, at the pinnacle the person becomes διάβολοι, a tool of Satan within the church.

[106] Greedy: literally “money-loving” (φιλάργυρος).  Similarly to φίλαυτος, the idea is a preoccupation with money.

[107] Demeaning: the English transliteration of βλάσφημος, “blasphemy,” is normally associated with speech that demeans or defames God.  It is often used in that manner, but the semantic range of the term itself is more general. BDAG defines it as “defaming, denigrating, demeaning.”  This character trait is right in line with the previous description.  As Mounce (545) clarifies:

βλάσφημος (cf. MM, 112) probably means “abusive” in speech since the vices are generally directed toward people and not toward God. It occurs elsewhere in the PE in 1 Tim 1:13 (cf. there for discussion), but cognates occur five other times, showing that this was a common problem in Ephesus (cf. 1 Tim 6:4).

[108] Wicked: The term ἀνόσιος is translated “unholy” by ESV, NET, NASB, NIV, NKJV, and NIV.  BDAG notes, “The view that certain actions make holy beings or places off limits to their agents invites the connotation of moral turpitude: wicked, i.e. revolting to God or to a well-minded person.” 

[109] Slanderous: The term used is διάβολοι.  Mounce (546) comments:

διάβολοι, “slanderous,” breaks the alliteration of the vices starting with alpha and the possible emphasis on vices within the family context. The word occurs six times in the PE and indicates a serious problem in Ephesus …Perhaps the choice of terms is designed to recall Paul’s earlier comment that the opponents have been ensnared by the devil (διάβολος; 2 Tim 2:26).

It appears likely that the break is intentional, and marks this as the farthest point in the chiastic structure of vices from v. 2-4.  When the opponents allow Satan room in their lives they eventually embody his character instead of God’s!

[110] Appearance: The term μόρφωσις can have the idea of “embodiment” or “formulation,” but as BDAG notes here the context requires that this be an outward manifestation.

[111] An appearance of godliness: It is a shocking statement indeed after the debauched list of vices in verses 1-4 that Paul would claim that these people have an appearance of godliness!  Rather than taking Mounce’s approach (547) of making the external sins the barometer of these people’s true heart, Paul seems more to be pointing to a veneer or religiosity hiding an inner core of sin.  These people look good (hence their ability to “sneak into homes” and sway people to their opinion) on the outside, knowing the right words to say and the right buttons to push.  However, they fall under Jesus’ denunciation as full of “dead men’s bones and all uncleanness.” (Matt 23:27)  Clearly we must look past the surface and the appearance, for even those who appear to have it all together may well be a mess inside!

[112] Denying: The perfect participle ἠρνημένοι is from the same root (ἀρνέομαι) as 2:12b.  Paul puts these people under the condemnation of that verse.  They look great, but have held Christ in contempt.  The connection of the terms is very important for understanding the connection to the preceding section as well as the enduring significance of this pericope.  (Knight and Mounce both appear to miss this connection)  These men are described by Paul as believers who are leading the weak in the congregation astray.  They know Christ, but are not leading Christ-like lives.  As such they are denying Christ, and have His displeasure to look forward to.  They are doing all the right things with all the wrong motives, thus showing that what Paul had in mind in the “faithful saying” of 2:11-13 has more to do with internals than with externals.  Certainly the vice list has some external manifestations, but the “outward form” of religion has some in the church fooled.

[113] People like this: The phrase Ἐκ τούτων is literally “from these,” and is most likely partitive (i.e., “some of the people I just described”).

[114] Weak women: This word (γυναικάρια) is the diminutive of γυνή (so Henry Liddell and Robert Scott, A Greek-English Lexicon, 9th ed. Revised by Henry Stuart Jones [New York; Oxford Press, 1940; 1978]; s.v. γυναικάρια.)  BDAG lists the use as derogatory, while Moulton and Milligan see it as a reference to “high society” ladies who are filled by idle curiosity.  Regardless, the idea is of women who are easily misled.  It is interesting to note that not all women are under Paul’s gaze here; only the easily beguiled earn his scorn. (so Knight, 433).

[115] Overwhelmed…led along: Knight (433-34) comments:

The reason that these women are characterized as childish and weak is given in two qualifying participial clauses. The passive participle σεσωρευμένα** (the verb also in Rom 12:20, basically “heap or pile up”) means here “overwhelmed,” and its perfect tense specifies that this is a condition that these women are continually in (see Field, Notes). They are overwhelmed by their “sins” (ἁμαρτίαις, dative of means; elsewhere in the PE* in 1 Tim. 5:22, 23).

Not only are they overwhelmed by past sins, they are being continually led in the present (ἀγόμενα, present passive; cf. 1 Cor. 12:2) by a multitude of desires (ἐπιθυμίαις ποικίλαις, dative of means; on ἐπιθυμία see 1 Tim. 6:9; on its use with ποικίλος see Tit. 3:3). ἐπιθυμίαις is used here specifically of evil desires (as it usually is in the NT). These women’s desires are ποικίλαις, “manifold,” or “of various kinds.” That their consciences are burdened by past sins and their lives controlled by such desires puts them in a weakened condition and makes them vulnerable to false teachers who “capture” them as followers.

[116] Always learning: Paul derides these women with the phrase πάντοτε μανθάνοντα.  The present participle is intensified by the adverb πάντοτε, “always.”  It seems that part of the problem is the cycle of manipulation and advantage taking these opponents used to gain control of the church.  They would offer some special knowledge (an early, proto-Gnosticism?) which would get them in the door; the resulting knowledge would beget more need for knowledge and hence more dependence upon the false teachers.

[117] The knowledge of truth: The goal of Paul for the people of Ephesus is that they would learn εἰς ἐπίγνωσιν ἀληθείας.  This is the exact phrase Paul sought as the goal of the opposition in 2:25.  He wanted a full and accurate knowledge of the truth for the opposition as well as for those they had mislead!  Paul uses the truth (ἀληθείας) liberally in 2 Timothy (2:15, 18, 25; 3:7, 8; 4:4), as well as elsewhere (47 uses total in the Pauline corpus).  It is what the opponents have left (2:18), and since their teachers do not have it these women cannot gain it either.  Their insatiable thirst for some new fad or idea can never lead them to the place of knowing the heart of God.

[118] Jannes and Jambres: These are the traditional names assigned to the magicians in Pharaoh’s court.  Knight (435) clarifies:

The Egyptian sorcerers who opposed Moses before Pharaoh (Ex. 7:11ff., 22) were called Ἰάννης and Ἰαμβρῆς in Jewish writings (e.g., Targum Ps.-Jonathan 1.3; 7.2; at an earlier date in CD 5:17–19). The names were also widely known in pagan writings (e.g., Pliny, Natural History 30.1.11), so Paul’s reference to them would have presented no problem for the church at Ephesus (especially not for the false teachers, with their interest in genealogies [1 Tim. 1:4]). Even though the names do not occur in the OT text, there is no reason to doubt the reliability of the Jewish tradition (so Ellicott; for further discussion of the names and references to primary and secondary literature see BAGD; H. Odeberg, TDNT III, 192f.; Str-B III, 660–64; McNamara, NT and Palestinian Targum, 82–96).

[119] Warped their mind: Knight (436) gives this insight:

With respect to their minds, these teachers have been “ruined” or “corrupted” (see 1 Tim. 6:5), with the passive perhaps an allusion to the devil’s activity (cf. 2:26 and the related verb διαφθείρω of the evil one in 2 Cor. 11:3).

[120] Disqualified with respect to the faith:  The opponents have been likened to Jannes and Jambres, and here Paul gives an analysis of their usefulness: they are worthless! (ἀδόκιμοι περὶ τὴν πίστινἀδόκιμος is “unqualified, worthless, base” (BDAG), and as such they are of no use to the church at Ephesus (i.e., to “the faith”).  See Mounce, 67, for an interesting discussion of the articular use of πίστις here. (contra Knight, 436, who sees the use here as being rejected with respect to a relationship with God)

[121] They will not progress: Mounce (551) comments:

Twice Paul uses the verb προκόπτειν, “to progress,” sarcastically, first of the opponents’ progress into ungodliness (2 Tim 2:16) and then of evil men progressing from bad to worse (2 Tim 3:13). Here he adds that their progress has its limits and they will eventually fail. Just as the magicians failed to copy Moses’ miracle of the plague of gnats (Exod 8:18–19) and failed to deal with the boils (Exod 9:11), so also Timothy’s opponents will eventually fail.

With the additional reference at 2:16, it is not a stretch to see this as a sarcastic remark by Paul aimed perhaps at the teaching of the opponents.  Perhaps they saw themselves as “progressives” whose stated aim was to help people “progress” in life toward God (again betraying an early proto-Gnosticism).  Paul will have none of it, denouncing them and showing that their “progress” will come to a swift end.

[122] Theirs: The referent here is Jannes and Jambres.

[123] Antioch…Iconia…Lystra: Acts 13-14 recount this harrowing journey for Paul.

[124] Everyone in Christ Jesus: The phrase ἐν Χριστῷ Ἰησοῦ is a Pauline favorite (he uses it 46 times; the phrase ἐν Χριστῷ appears in the Pauline corpus an additional 27 times).  He uses it to describe the mystical union between the believer and Jesus, and as shorthand for those who are united with Christ.  Here it seems to be a delineation of believers rather than a sphere for living.  That is why the translation “everyone in Christ Jesus” was chosen.

[125] From whom: This pronoun (τίνων) is plural; Paul is speaking of more than himself.  He certainly has Timothy’s mother and grandmother, and perhaps the witnesses Timothy learned with as well.

[126] Which is: Paul includes the article τῆς between πίστεως and ἐν Χριστῷ Ἰησοῦ.

[127] God-breathed: A literal rendering of θεόπνευστος; Perhaps it is best to view Scripture as “expired” (“breathed out” by God) rather than inspired (“breathed in” by God), though in modern parlance “expired” denotes something old and out-of-date.

[128] So that: Here we see the purpose of inspiration: to equip us to be suitable for our task.

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