The Divine Lamp

The unfolding of thy words gives light; it imparts understanding to the simple…Make thy face shine upon thy servant, and teach me thy statutes

Father MacEvilly’s Commentary on 2 Timothy 1:6-8, 13-14

Posted by Dim Bulb on August 7, 2016

This post opens with Fr. MacEvilly’s summary overview of 2 Timothy, chapter 1. Text in purple indicates his paraphrasing of the scripture he is commenting on.

2Ti 1:6 For which cause I admonish thee that thou stir up the grace of God which is in thee by the imposition of my hands.

In order, then, to insure this perseverance in faith, I exhort thee to enkindle and resuscitate within thee the grace, which thou didst receive at thy ordination, conferred by me, through the imposition of hands.

“For which cause,” i.e., in order to persevere in the faith, “I admonish thee that thou stir up the grace of God.” The Greek word for “stir up,” αναζωπυρειν, means to blow up the smouldering fire, to which the grace of God is compared. “Which is in thee by the imposition of my hands.” This shows that the grace to which he refers is of an habitual, permanent nature. “Which is in thee,” refers to the sacramental grace of his ordination, which is an habitual sanctifying grace, like every sacramental grace producing certain specific effects, a certain aptitude for particular duties; and, moreover, conferring a right, founded upon God’s gratuitous, but unerring promises, to the necessary actual graces that may, in due time, be required for the proper discharge of the duties of the state for which the sacrament fits us.—(See 1 Tim., 4:14). St. Thomas says, that Timothy grew remiss in the discharge of his Episcopal functions, particularly that of preaching; and hence, the Apostle admonishes him to resuscitate the grace of his ordination. If this was necessary for Timothy—if tepidity and sloth were to be found in this Apostolic man—what cause have not others to tremble for themselves, and to adopt every means, prayer, meditation, and pious works, to revive the grace of their vocation?

2Ti 1:7 For God hath not given us the spirit of fear: but of power and of love and of sobriety.

For, God has not conferred on us, at our ordination, the spirit of timidity or indolence, but the spirit of fortitude, and of love, and equanimity.

“Hath not given us,” i.e., Bishops at ordination, “the spirit of fear,” i.e., timidity and indolence, on account of which we would dread danger and death; “but of power,” i.e., fortitude and intrepidity, so necessary for the leaders in the Christian warfare, to meet the enemies of God and of religion. “And of love,” whereby, after the example of Christ, the Bishop would seek only the glory of God and the honour of his Church. “And sobriety;” a certain equanimity of soul both in prosperity and adversity. This shows, that the grace to which he refers in the preceding verse is an interior, sanctifying grace, of which a Bishop stands no less in need for the discharge of his Episcopal functions, than he does of the “gratiæ gratis datæ.”

2Ti 1:8 Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me his prisoner: but labour with the gospel, according to the power of God.

Be not, therefore, ashamed to bear testimony to our Lord Jesus Christ crucified, by preaching his Gospel; nor be ashamed of me, a prisoner on his account; but labour along with me in bearing the afflictions to which all the ministers of the Gospel are subjected, according to the strength given thee by God.

The “testimony of Christ,” may mean the gospel, which means a testimony handed down by witnesses, or rather the preaching of Christ crucified. “But labour with the gospel.” The Greek, συγκακοπαθησον, means, suffer together with the gospel. This he ought to do, in virtue of that spirit of love and equanimity which he received. “According to the power of God;” distrusting himself, he should repose all his hopes in God.

2Ti 1:13 Hold the form of sound words which thou hast heard of me: in faith and in the love which is in Christ Jesus.

Let the sound words, which you heard from me on subjects of faith and Christian love, be the pattern which you will follow, when treating on the like subjects.

He enjoins on Timothy, and through him on all preachers of the gospel, to make the language of the Apostle their pattern in preaching. Hence, vain novelties are to be avoided, in treating either of Christian faith or morality.

2Ti 1:14 Keep the good thing committed to thy trust by the Holy Ghost who dwelleth in us.

Carefully guard the precious deposit of sound doctrine confided to your keeping, by the grace of the Holy Ghost dwelling in us (and imparted to us at our ordination).

“The good thing committed to thy trust.” This deposit which God has place in the hands of Timothy, is quite different from the deposit placed by Timothy in the hands of God (12). The deposit, in this verse, regards the sound doctrine of faith, which, according to the rules of a deposit, should be kept whole and entire, without increase or diminution. The Bishops are the depositaries of this divine treasure of doctrine in its unchangeable entirety, whether contained in the inspired SS. Scriptures, or Tradition.


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