2 Timothy


Opening address, 1:1-14

i] Salutation and thanksgiving


Paul opens his second letter to Timothy with an address and follows it up with a thanksgiving.


i] Context:

The letter opens with a short greeting and blessing, 1:1-2, and then follows up with a thanksgiving and exhortation, 1:3-14. A thanksgiving is common in Paul's letters, although not present in first Timothy. In this introduction Paul remembers Timothy's standing as a believer, v3-5, encouraging him, through the empowering of the Holy Spirit, to stand with him in his time of suffering, v6-12, and to go forward guarding "the good deposit that was entrusted" to him, v13-14.


The body of the letter is encapsulated by two personal notes, 1:15-18, and 4:9-18. This same structure is evident in Paul's letter to Titus. In the first note, Paul speaks about being abandoned during his imprisonment by many of his associates, but of the support given by the household of Onesiphorust, 1:15-18. In the second personal note, 4:9-22, Paul encourages Timothy to visit soon, v9, speaks of those who have deserted him and those who have supported him, v10-15. He goes on to mention his first trial, the limited support of associates, but the strong support of the Lord, v16-18.


The body of the letter covers 2:1-4:8 and rests on a proposition / testamentary disposition whereby Paul appoints Timothy as his theological heir with the responsibility of passing on the Pauline gospel of grace to the next generation of teachers, 2:1-2. The remaining central section of the letter exegetes this responsibility:


First, 2:3-13: Suffer for Christ's sake, v3. Timothy, as a good soldier of Christ Jesus, will need to join with Paul in the way of suffering - he must endure to reign.


Second, 2:14-3:9: Rightly handle the word of truth, v14-15. Given that these are the last days where worldliness runs amuck, evil flourishes and truth is compromised, Timothy must not only flee from such, but confront it with the truth of the Pauline gospel. "Timothy is to withstand those who would overthrow the Pauline heritage", Q/W.


Third, 3:10-4:8: An apostolic testamental charge. As Q/W note, Paul now gives Timothy three charges, each introduced by su de, "but you":


a) Follow the example of the apostolic way of life, 3:10-13. Paul reminds Timothy of his apostolic character, v10, his ministry exploits, v11, and the inevitable persecution such a life fosters, v12-13.


b) Hold firm to the truths of scripture and proclaim the gospel in season and out, 3:14-4:4. Paul encourages Timothy to stay true to Biblical truth, truths he was grounded in as a child and which led him to faith in Christ, v14-17, and now as a follower of Christ in these last days, preach the gospel, 4:1-4.


c) Be sober minded, endure hardship, work as an evangelist, discharge your ministry duties in full, 4:5-8. Paul, speaking of how he has fought the good fight, kept the faith and finished the race, reminds Timothy that there awaits a "crown of righteousness" for both of them in the day of Christ's epifaneian, "appearing".


The letter concludes with greetings, v19-21, and a blessing, v22.


ii] Background

We know very little about the background to Second Timothy other than what we read in the letter itself. Both First Timothy and Titus were written when Paul was, to some degree, a free man (either under house-arrest awaiting his appeal before Caesar, or a free man, having successfully appealed his innocence). Of course, this assumes that the apostle Paul was the author of all the Pastoral epistles, a matter long disputed. At the time he writes Second Timothy, Paul is a prisoner in Rome. In Paul's other letters written from prison, for example Colossians, he expects to be released and able to continue his ministry, but in Second Timothy, Paul writes as a condemned man. There has been a trial at which he was all but abandoned by his associates, and now he faces the death penalty. Circumstances have clearly changed for the worst and it is extremely dangerous for anyone to visit Paul in prison and offer him care. Onesiphorus even had difficulty finding where Paul was being held in the Roman prison system. So, Paul writes to Timothy, setting before him a testamentary disposition while, at the same time, asking him to come and visit him before it's too late.

In this letter, there is a sense where Paul hands over to Timothy his apostolic authority. Timothy must now take over Paul's role of preserving and proclaiming the Pauline gospel of God's grace to the Gentile world. Timothy will face opposition from within the church and from outside the church and so he must stand firm for the truth of the gospel and "be strengthened by the the grace that is in Christ Jesus." Timothy has before him the example of Paul in this struggle for the gospel, and like Paul, he will soon possess the "crown of righteousness."


There are only passing references to the opponents of the Pauline gospel in Second Timothy, unlike First Timothy where these heretics are central to the letter. For notes on Paul's theological opponents, those who were also troubling Timothy in Ephesus, see "Background" 1 Timothy 1:1-11


iii] Structure: The opening address of Paul's second letter to Timothy:

Greeting, v1-2a;

Blessing, v2b;

Thanksgiving, v3-5.


iv] Interpretation:

Following the pattern already set in first Timothy, the letter begins with the author, from whom, namely Paul the apostle. He states that his role as an apostle is in accord with the promise of life that is in Christ Jesus - presumably his role to communicate the hope of this life, ie., to proclaim the gospel. Then follows the addressee, namely, Timothy, Paul's beloved child in the Lord. Then follows the greeting / salutation / blessing, common to Paul's letters, a kind of "may grace, mercy and peace from God be upon you." A thanksgiving follows, again a common feature in Paul's letters. Paul gives thanks for his family, his ancestors, and for Timothy and his family, whom he constantly remembers in prayer. For Paul there is a continuity of faith from Judaism to Christianity, from grandparents, parents, to Paul himself, all playing their part in his present standing before God. Timothy similarly came to possess what his mother and grandmother possessed, and specifically so because they were believers.

Text - 1:1

Introduction, v1-5: Author, addressee and blessing, v1-2.

PauloV (oV) "Paul" - Nominative absolute.

Cristou Ihsou (oV) gen. "of Christ Jesus" - [apostle] of jesus christ. The genitive may be treated as verbal, subjective, or ablative, source, origin / agent. Paul is an apostle sent with authority from Jesus Christ.

dia + gen. "by" - through, by [the will of god]. Here expressing intermediate agency / means; "through / by the will of God." God's will is the "efficient cause" (Knight) of Paul's appointment as an apostle, cf., 1Tim.1:1, "by command of God." The genitive qeou, "of God", is usually treated as verbal, subjective, indicating God's act of willing.

kat (kata) + acc. "in keeping with" - according to. Although an uncommon usage, the preposition here probably expresses purpose. The promise of life that is in Christ Jesus is "the object and intent of [Paul's] appointment", Ellicott. So, the purpose / intent of Paul's appointment as apostle to the Gentiles is for the communication of the promise of new / real life available "in Christ Jesus (ie., the gospel)." "The work of the apostle is one means by which the life which is in Christ is to be disseminated", Barrett. "My work is to bring to people the promised life which Christ Jesus can give them", Barclay.

thV gen. "that is [in Christ Jesus]" - [the promise of life] the. The article serves as an adjectivizer turning the prepositional phrase en Cristw/ Ihsou, "in Christ Jesus", into an attributive modifier limiting the noun "life", as NIV; "that is in Christ Jesus", ESV.

en + dat. "in" - in [christ jesus]. Local; state or condition = in union with / incorporative union. The phrase "in Christ Jesus" is very Pauline.


Timoqew/ (oV) dat. "to Timothy" - to timothy. Dative of recipient / interest.

agaphtw/ dat. adj. "dear" - [child] beloved. Dative standing in apposition to "Timothy". Rather than describing Paul's feeling for Timothy, the adjective possibly expresses the loving sphere within which both Paul and Timothy operate; "I am sending greetings to you Timothy my son, who is greatly loved." Paul's use of child / son expresses a spiritual relationship between Paul and Timothy.

apo + gen. "from" - [grace, mercy, peace] from [god father and christ jesus]. Expressing source / origin. A common greeting from Paul; cf., 1Tim.1:2.

hJmwn gen. pro. "our" - [the lord] of us. The genitive may be viewed as adjectival, idiomatic / subordination; "Lord over us."


ii] Thanksgiving, v3-5. A thanksgiving at this point in a Greek letter is very common and it was certainly common to Paul's correspondence, although it is not found in first Timothy. The thanksgiving expresses "gratitude for God's grace in the life of the recipients", Knight. Verse 3 introduces a somewhat complex sentence running through to v5. In v3 Paul expresses thanks to God, constantly remembering Timothy in his prayers. In v5 he explains the basis of his thanksgiving, namely, Timothy's faith. In a sort of personal aside, v4, prompted by his memory of Timothy, Paul states that nuktoV kai hJmeraV (v4), "night and day" he longs to see Timothy again, as he remembers the sadness of their parting.

tw/ qew/ (oV) dat. "[I thank] God" - [i have gratitude] to god. Dative of indirect object, although the sense "I thank God" implies a dative of direct object, like eucaristew, "to give thanks to, render thanks to", a more common construction.

w|/ dat. pro. "whom" - Dative pronoun in agreement with "God".

latreuw pres. "I serve" - i serve. The present tense, being durative, may express a continuing habit. The verb is often translated "to serve", but it primarily expresses the sense "to do obeisance to / worship", rather than "to serve"; "I feel grateful to God whom, in line with my ancestors, I worship with a clear conscience as without omission", Berkeley.

apo + gen. "as [my ancestors] did" - from [born before, early = forefathers = parents, ancestors]. Expressing source / origin. The sense of the prepositional phrase "from ancestors" is somewhat idiomatic. "As my ancestors did", BAGD, derives from inscriptions. "The God whom he (Paul) serves (worships) in Jesus Christ is the God of the Old Testament; there is complete continuity between the Testaments. ....... Paul is entirely sincere in claiming that Christianity is the fulfilment of Judaism", Barrett.

en dat. "with" - in [a clear conscience]. The preposition here is adverbial, introducing a modal clause expressing the manner by which Paul worships; "with a conscience clear from all guilt", Cassirer.

wJV "as" - as, while [i have a continual remembrance]. The conjunction here is adverbial, either modal, expressing the manner in which the action of thanking God proceeds, "in such a way, how, as ...", or temporal, "when ..... I continually remember you in my prayers", Barclay. It is possible that wJV here is being used instead of oJti, expressing the reason for the thanksgiving, ie., wJV introduces an object clause rather than an adverbial clause. It is probably adverbial here, with the reason for the thanksgiving provided by the participial phrase "having taken remembrance of the genuine faith in you" = "I am reminded of your genuine faith", ESV, v5a, ie., Timothy's faith, so Marshall.

peri + gen. "-" - about [you]. Expressing reference / respect; "with respect / reference to you, concerning you."

en "in [my prayers]" - in [the prayers of me night and day]. Temporal use of the preposition, "while I pray", or local, "in those particular prayers where I mention you."


The difficulty with punctuation in the Gk. sentence is particularly evident in this verse. The following seems likely: the participial construction, serving as a temporal clause, "when I remember you in my prayers, night and day longing to see you as I recall your tears [at our parting], so that I may be filled with joy", sits within the main clause "I thank God .......... for I am reminded of your genuine faith which dwelt first in your grandmother Lois and ......"

memnhmenoV (mimnhskomai) perf. mid./pas. part. "recalling" - [longing to see you], having remembered [your tears, that i may be filled with joy]. The participle is adverbial, best treated as temporal; "I yearn to see you, when I remember the tears you shed", Berkeley. The "tears" are presumably shed at the parting of Paul and Timothy; "when I recall the tears you shed when we parted", Moffatt. The feeling generated by this parting prompts Paul's desire to see Timothy again.

twn dakruwn (on) gen. "[your] tears" - the teardrops [of you]. Genitive of direct object after the verb "to remember", which verb often takes a genitive of the thing.

epipoqwn (epipoqew) pres. part. "I long" - greatly desiring, longing. The participle is adverbial, modal, expressing the manner of Paul's act of remembering Timothy, ie., modifying the verb "I have [remembrance]" = "I remember", v3; "There arises in me, as I call to mind the tears which you shed, a great longing to see you face to face", Cassirer.

idein (oJraw) aor. inf. "to see" - to see [you]. The infinitive introduces a dependent statement of perception expressing what Paul is "desiring, longing for."

iJna "so that" - that [i may be filled]. Introducing a final clause expressing purpose; "I long to see you in order that I may be filled with joy." It "denotes the purpose in view in Paul's longing to see Timothy", Knight.

caraV (a) gen. "with joy" - of joy. The genitive is adjectival, idiomatic / of content; "filled full of / with joy."


labwn (lambanw) aor. part. "I am" - having taken [remembrance]. The participle is adverbial, best taken as causal, "I thank God .... (v3) .... (v4), for I am reminded of your sincere faith", Moffatt, but possibly temporal. To take remembrance of / call to mind / receive a reminder of/about" is idiomatic for "remember"; "I also remember your sincere faith", NJB.

thV ... pistewV (iV ewV) gen. "of [your sincere] faith" - of the [sincere, unfeigned, genuine] faith. The passive sense of, "to receive a reminder of", as here, takes a genitive direct object.

en + dat. "[your]" - in [you] - Local, expressing sphere. Faith is resident in Timothy and thus belongs to him, so "your faith." The expression is Pauline.

prwton adv. "first" - [which] first. Temporal adverb. "Which", h{tiV, serves as the nominative subject of the verb "to dwell."

enwkhsen (enoikew aor. "lived" - dwelt, took up its dwelling. Possibly describing conversion, so "a faith which came alive in your grandmother." Note that the names of Timothy's mother and grandmother are only mentioned in the Pastorals. We know from Acts 16 that Timothy's mother was a Jewess and that his father was a Gentile. The fact that his father in not mentioned as a Christian forebear obviously implies he was not a believer. It is interesting to note how many believers gain their spiritual heritage from their mother.

en + dat. "in [your] grandmother" - in the grandmother] of you, lois, and in the mother of you, eunice]. Local, expressing space. The genitive pronoun sou, "your", is relational. The dative "Lois" stands in apposition to "grandmother", and the dative "Eunice" stands in apposition to "mother".

oJti "-" - [and i have been persuaded] that [it took up its dwelling and = also in you]. Introducing a dependent statement of perception expressing what Paul is persuaded of, namely, that a sincere faith also (kai, adjunctive) dwells in (en, local) Timothy.


2 Timothy Introduction

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