Father Callan’s Commentary on 2 Timothy 2:8b-10
Posted by Dim Bulb on March 14, 2011
This post includes Father Callan’s summary of 2 Tim 1:3-14, followed by his notes on today’s reading.
THE APOSTLE THANKS GOD FOR TIMOTHY’S FAITH, AND EXHORTS THE
YOUNG BISHOP TO BE READY TO SUFFER
A Summary of 2 Tim 1:3-14
St. Paul first thanks the God of his forefathers for Timothy’s faith, asserting his remembrance of him in his prayers and his desire to see his devoted son (ver. 3-5). He then exhorts him to rekindle the grace of his ordination and to be courageous in laboring and suffering for the Gospel, relying on that divine power whereof God has already given us a manifestation in the gratuitous salvation imparted to the world through Christ (ver. 6-10). For his election to preach the Gospel and his faithful discharge of his duty Paul now languishes in prison and faces death, but his faith is undaunted. Let Timothy likewise hold fast to the faith taught him, and be true to his trust (ver. 11-14).
8. Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me his prisoner; but endure your share of suffering for the gospel, according to the power of God;
Timothy must not be ashamed to bear witness to Christ in preaching the Gospel; nor should he be ashamed of his master who is in prison for preaching the Gospel. On the contrary, he must be willing to endure his share of suffering, along with Paul, for the sake of the Gospel, not trusting in his own strength, but in the “power of God,” which will never fail him.
The collabora of the Vulgate does not express the sense of the Greek, which means “suffer with,” i.e., to take one’s share in suffering for the Gospel. The word is found only here and in 2:3 below in the Greek Bible.
9. Who hath saved us and called us by his holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace which was given us in Christ Jesus before the times of the world,
A proof that God will never fail His faithful followers is to be seen in the fact that it is He who has already freely saved us from our sins and called us to holiness of life. All this He has done, not in virtue of any works or merits of ours, but in virtue of His own eternal plan and purpose and by the help of His saving grace, which from eternity He determined to carry out and bestow on us in Christ. The Apostle here indicates the two causes of our salvation, namely, the eternal cause, which was divine predestination, or God’s eternal purpose to show us mercy; and the temporal cause, which is sanctifying grace (St. Thomas).
Not according to our works. This phrase at once tempers the stress put on good works in the Pastoral Letters and shows against the Pelagians the existence and the gratuitousness of the grace by which we are led to faith and salvation.
But according to his own purpose, etc. From all eternity God predestined our salvation and the means to that end, which means were the merits and grace of Christ. Hence it was that the Incarnation of Christ was predestined from all eternity, and that in Christ from all eternity God prepared for us the grace which is at length conferred, and by which we are sanctified and saved in time. See on Eph 1:3-6; Tit 3:5; Rom 8:30, 9:12.
10. But is now made manifest by the illumination of our Saviour Jesus Christ, who hath destroyed death, and hath brought to light life and incorruption by the gospel:
God’s eternal purpose and the grace He prepared for us from eternity have now been made manifest to us “by the illumination, etc.,” better, “by the appearing of our Saviour Jesus Christ,” i.e., through the Incarnation of our Lord in time, who by His passion and death for us on the cross has satisfied God for our sins, and has destroyed sin and death, the eflfect of sin (Rom 6:23), thus making known to us through the revelation of the Gospel the spiritual life of the soul and the future resurrection of the body.