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

Archive for the ‘Notes on 2 Tim’ Category

Father Callan’s Commentary on 2 Timothy Chapter 4

Posted by Dim Bulb on January 26, 2019

Text in red are my additions. Text in purple are from Fr. Callan’s other commentaries.

A LAST APPEAL TO TIMOTHY

A Summary of 2 Timothy 4:1-8~Now that the end is drawing near, the aged Apostle, feeling his days are numbered and his work is done, adjures Timothy incessantly to continue the labors of the ministry and to bear up under its trials, being prepared for the onslaughts of future false teachers. As for Paul himself, he is about to pour out his blood as a sacrifice for the cause; but he is ready and his reward is waiting for him. The just Judge will never fail him, nor anyone else who has lived and labored for the cause.

2 Tim 4:1. I charge thee, before God and Christ Jesus, who shall judge the living and the dead, by his coming and his kingdom:

St. Paul in verses 1-4 solemnly charges Timothy so much the more to preach the word of God as the wicked stray farther from the truth.

I charge thee, etc. Better, “I solemnly charge thee, etc.” The same solemn formula occurs again in 1 Tim 5:21 and 2 Tim 2:14.

The living and the dead. See commentary on 1 Thess 4:16-17.

His coming (his second coming), in General Judgment to render to each one according to his works.

The word “coming” is the Greek επιφανειαν (epiphaneian), whence our word “epiphany.” The same word was used earlier in the letter in reference to our Lord’s first coming.  Already at the beginning of the letter St Paul was gearing up for the charge he is now giving: I give thanks to God, whom I serve from my forefathers, with a pure conscience, that without ceasing I have a remembrance of thee in my prayers, night and day. Desiring to see thee, being mindful of thy tears, that I may be filled with joy: Calling to mind that faith which is in thee unfeigned, which also dwelt first in thy grandmother Lois and in thy mother Eunice, and I am certain that in thee also. For which cause I admonish thee that thou stir up the grace of God which is in thee by the imposition of my hands. For God hath not given us the spirit of fear: but of power and of love and of sobriety. 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. Who hath delivered us and called us by his holy calling, not according to our own works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the times of the world: But is now made manifest by the illumination (επιφανειας = epiphaneius) of our Saviour Jesus Christ, who hath destroyed death and hath brought to light life and incorruption by the gospel. Wherein I am appointed a preacher and an apostle and teacher of the Gentiles. For which cause, I also suffer these things: but I am not ashamed. For I know whom I have believed and I am certain that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him, against that day. Hold the form of sound words which thou hast heard of me: in faith and in the love which is in Christ Jesus. Keep the good thing committed to thy trust by the Holy Ghost who dwelleth in us (2 Tim 1:3-14). The preaching of the Gospel is rooted God’s eternal purpose, inaugurated as a result of Christ’s first coming, and oriented towards his second coming.

His kingdom, which the good will be invited to share.

 

The word “coming” and “kingdom” are accusatives of adjuration in Greek and form part of the Apostle’s charge. The charge St Paul issues to Timothy is in view of Christ’s “coming” and his “kingdom.” What he charges Timothy to do in verse 2 is essential in view of the “coming” and the “kingdom,” and the reason is supplied in verse 4 (false teaching) and verse 5 (the effect of false teaching).

2 Tim 4:2. Preach the word: be instant in season and out of season: reprove, entreat, rebuke in all patience and doctrine.

Preach the word: be instant (επιστηθι) in season and out of season. One could almost translate: “Preach the word: take your stand (επιστηθι) in season and out of season.” The admonition St Paul gives here is in marked contrast to that of first century pagan moralists who cautioned that the call for right action should be seasonable only (i.e., at the right time). On this point see Father Benjamin Fiore’s THE PASTORAL EPISTLES.  The fact that Christians know they are in the end times and do not know when Christ will return to judge is what motivates Paul’s insistence here and, also, the knowledge that there shall be a time when they (people) will not endure sound doctrine but, according to their own desires, they will heap to themselves teachers having itching ears: And will indeed turn away their hearing from the truth, but will be turned unto fables (see below, verses 3-4). The Spirit had predicted that such people would come: Now the Spirit manifestly saith that in the last times some shall depart from (αποστησονται = “cease to stand upon”) the faith, giving heed to spirits of error and doctrines of devils (1 Tim 4:1). This is why Timothy is to be instant (επιστηθι = “take his stand”) in season and out of season.

The word, i.e., the Gospel message (Gal 6:6; Col 4:3). This Timothy is to proclaim incessantly, in order that all may hear it and have the opportunity to embrace its teachings. “Proclaim incessantly, in order that all may hear:” Father George T. Montague, in his Commentary on FIRST AND SECOND TIMOTHY, TITUS notes that the phrase “preach the word” might today give some people the impression that what St Paul has in mind are brief sermons preached occasionally in the assembly. The word “preach”, however, has very public overtones and implies a very public message meant to be announced from the rooftops (see Matt 10:27).  The idea that religion ought to be private is very foreign to the Scripture. A contrast is being drawn between the very public nature of the Gospel and the practices of the false teachers who “creep into houses” (2 Tim 3:6), “subvert whole houses” (Titus 1:11).

Preach…reprove…entreat…rebuke. What St Timothy is told to do here calls to mind what St Paul had said regarding the use of Scripture for the man of God: All scripture, inspired of God, is profitable to teach, to reprove, to correct, to instruct in justice: That the man of God may be perfect, furnished to every good work (2 Tim 3:16-17).

 

In doctrine. Preaching without doctrine is of little value, since it lacks substance and leaves rebuke and exhortation without a reason and basis. The Greek word translated here as “doctrine” is διδαχή (didache). The word can denote both the act of instructing or the subject matter of the instruction.

2 Tim 4:3. For there shall be a time when they will not endure sound doctrine; but according to their own lusts they will heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears:

The reason is now given why Timothy must redouble his zeal; for during his own lifetime there will be persons who, following their own lusts and craving for novelties, will reject sound doctrine they will repudiate and turn away from the dogmas of the Church, and instead will seek out teachers whose doctrines appeal to the passions and lower appetites. In our own time this is precisely what is taking place. Multitudes are now ridiculing the very notion of dogfma as old-fashioned and out of date, and are running after those preachers who justify artificial birth-control, trial marriages, divorces, and similar disorders. In case you’re wondering, Father Callan wrote these words nearly 100 years ago, in 1922.

For there shall be a time (καιρος = kairos, an appointed, set, or proper time). As already indicated, this is what necessitates that St Timothy and all those commissioned to preach the Gospel take their stand in season (ευκαιρως = eukairos) and out of season (ακαιρως = akairos).

They will not endure ( have, hold, ανεξονται) sound ( healthy, υγιαινουσης) doctrine (instruction, learning, διδασκαλιας). The word translated here as “endure” could also be translated as “suffer”, suggesting a somewhat sarcastic statement: They will not suffer healthy learning. But the word ανεξονται appears only here in the pastorals, and St Paul uses a different word for suffering (see 2 Tim 3:11). The root of ανεξονται is ἔχω (“to have, hold or possess”).   This word is used several times in the Pastorals and its use in 2 Timothy is instructive inasmuch as it sometimes is applied to Gospel preachers and, sometimes to false teachers; thus establishing a contrast: Hold the form of sound words which thou hast heard of me: in faith and in the love which is in Christ Jesus (2 Tim 1:13). And their (i.e., false teachers’) talk takes hold like a canker (2 Tim 2:17). But the sure foundation of God standeth firm, having this seal: the Lord knoweth who are his; and let every one depart from iniquity who nameth the name of the Lord (2 Tim 2:19).  Having an appearance indeed of godliness but denying the power thereof. Now these avoid (2 Tim 3:5).

But according to their own lusts. Establishes the motivation for their not enduring sound, healthy doctrine. “Their own” indicates self-centered individualism and the whole phrase calls to mind the earlier warning: Know also this, that in the last days shall come dangerous times. Men shall be lovers of themselves, covetous, haughty, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, wicked, Without affection, without peace, slanderers, incontinent, unmerciful, without kindness, Traitors, stubborn, puffed up, and lovers of pleasure more than of God: Having an appearance indeed of godliness but denying the power thereof. Now these avoid (2 Tim 3:1-5). Note that those who reject the Gospel for their own desires are to be avoided (1 Cor 5:9-11; Matt 18:15-18).

They will heap to themselves (επισωρευσουσιν) teachers. It is the people who are laden with (“piled up with” σεσωρευμενα) sins, who are led away with divers desires who do this (see 2 Tim 3:6).

Having itching ears, i.e., they will be eager for all kinds of novelties.

2 Tim 4:4. And will indeed turn away their hearing from the truth, but will be turned unto fables.

They will turn away their hearing. Because of their “itching ears”. For “turning away” see 2 Tim 1:15; Titus 1:14.

Turned unto fable. For “turned unto” see 1 Tim 1:65:15. In 1 Tim 6:20 St Paul warns St Timothy to avoid (literally, keep from turning to) novelties of words.

Fables. See on 1 Tim 1:4, 4:7. On 1 Tim 1:4 Father Callan wrote: “Fables were most probably Jewish legends (Titus 1:14), such as are frequently found in the Talmud; and genealogies were extravagant, legendary stories about the ancient patriarchs, such as we find in the Book of Jubilees. Speculation on these useless subjects would lead away from the great truths of faith and the practical realities of Christian life; and thus vast harm would be done to the Church and to souls”.

2 Tim 4:5. But be thou sober, labor in all things, suffer hardship, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill thy ministry.

In the face of the difficulties just described, Timothy is to be prudent and well poised in all things, to endure hardship, to preach the Gospel, and faithfully to fulfill all his duties as a minister of Christ, entrusted with his master’s business.

Evangelists. Evangelist. See on Eph 4:11. In his notes on Eph 4:11 Father Callan wrote: Evangelists are not necessarily those only who wrote the Gospels, but missionaries and preachers of the word among strangers and infidels (John 21:15 ff.; Acts 21:8; 2 Tim 4:5; 1 Peter 2:25).

Ministry. See on 1 Tim 1:12. In his notes on 1 Tim 1:12 Father Callan wrote: “The Greek word for “ministry” here in the time of St. Paul meant the apostolate, whereas in the second century it had come to designate the order of deaconship. Hence we have in the use of the word here an argument for the early date of this letter. St. Paul would hardly be speaking of himself as having been called to the deaconship.” In Father Callan’s day some rationalist scholars were postulating a second century date for the Pastorals, a position now almost completely abandoned.

2 Tim 4:6. For I am even now ready to be sacrificed: and the time of my departure is at hand.

The secret of the Apostle’s anxiety about Timothy’s preparedness, zeal, readiness to suffer, etc., is now revealed; the old champion of the Gospel is going to leave him very soon, he is looking into his open grave.

Ready to be sacrificed. Better, “being poured out In sacrifice,” i.e., he was about to shed his blood as a sacrifice to God, as the drink-offering of wine used to be poured out as a libation to God in certain of the old Jewish sacrifices (Num 15:1-10); the Apostle’s death is at hand. Calls to mind what he wrote in Philippians 2:17~Even if I am to be poured as a libation upon the sacrificial offering of your faith, I am glad and rejoice with you all (RSV).

My departure. Another image to signify the imminence of his death. In Philippians 1:23 St Paul spoke of his desire to depart and be with Christ.

2 Tim 4:7. I have fought the good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith.
2 Tim 4:8. As to the rest, there is laid up for me a crown of justice, which the
 Lord the just judge will render to me in that day; and not only to me, but to them also that love his coming.

The metaphors are here drawn from the arena and the racecourse. Like a strong athlete, the Apostle has fought the good fight in defence of the faith (1 Tim 6:12); like a faithful runner in the race, he has completed the course; he has fulfilled all his duties and preserved the deposit of faith entrusted to him. Now he is ready for the crown, the reward with which the Lord, his just Judge, will recompense him.

This reward is called “a crown of justice,” because it has been merited; it is something due the Apostle in justice. Here we have an explicit proof that the just, by means of good works performed in the state of grace, can merit eternal life de condigno. And yet it remains true that the joys of heaven are a gratuitous gift; for God from eternity has gratuitously predestined the just to life eternal, and in time He gratuitously confers on them the grace by which they work out their salvation and merit eternal rewards. Cf. Conc. Trid., sess. VI, can. 32.

In that day, i.e., on the day of the Last Judgment. Immediately after death the Apostle, as is the case with all the just, received his crown, but the crown of life will not shine in all its splendor till the final judgment is over, when the body will have its reward along with the soul.

SOME PERSONAL MESSAGES

A Summary of 2 Timothy 4:9-18 ~St. Paul bids Timothy to make haste to join him in Rome; for Demas has deserted him, and all his other companions, save Luke, have been dispatched to other places. He requests Timothy to bring with him Mark and certain effects that had been left behind at Troas, and warns him against Alexander the coppersmith (2 Tim 4:9-15). At his first hearing all deserted him, but the Lord stood by him and strengthened him that he might have time to complete his work (2 Tim 4:16-18).

2 Tim 4:9. Make effort to come to me quickly. For Demas hath left me, loving this world, and is gone to Thessalonica;

Timothy was to come to St. Paul by way of Troas and the great Via Egnatia from Philippi to Dyrrachium, and thence to Brundisium. This would require some time, but it seems the Apostle thought his life would be spared long enough for Timothy to make the journey.

Demas, who was a Gentile convert, was with St. Paul during the first Roman captivity (Phlm. 24). He is also mentioned in Col. 4:14. For fear of being associated with Paul at this critical time and most likely for business purposes also, he forsook him and returned to Thessalonica, probably his native town. His name is an abbreviation of Demetrius, which Lightfoot tells us occurs twice in the list of politarchs of Thessalonica.

2 Tim 4:10. Crescens into Galatia, Titus into Dalmatia.

Crescens, of whom we know nothing further from St. Paul. Tradition says he became a Bishop of Gaul.

Galatia, most probably the Asiatic province by that name, though Gaul was sometimes called Galatia, and some few MSS. read Gaul here.

Titus, the Bishop of Crete, to whom St. Paul had already addressed a letter.

Dalmatia, a part of the Roman province of lUyria on the eastern coast of the Adriatic.

 

2 Tim 4:11. Only Luke is with me. Take Mark and bring him with thee, for he is profitable to me for the ministry.

Luke, who was with St. Paul also during the first captivity (Col. 4:14), and who wrote the Third Gospel and the Book of Acts. All the other companions and disciples of the Apostle had left him.

Mark, the author of the Second Gospel, who was also with St. Paul during the first Roman imprisonment (Col. 4:10), but who at this time must have been some place along the route Timothy would take going to Rome from Ephesus.

For the ministry, i.e., for the work of the Gospel, or probably for personal service in place of Tychicus (Eph. 6:21; Col. 4:7; Acts 20:4).

2 Tim 4:12. But Tychicus I have sent to Ephesus.

Tychicus, who had been the bearer of the letters to the Ephesians and Colossians (Eph. 6:21; Col. 4:7), very probably was taking this present Epistle to Timothy in Ephesus and was to remain in that city to look after the affairs of the Church there during Timothy’s absence. Tychicus is also mentioned in Acts 20:4; Titus 3:12.

I have sent is very likely an epistolary aorist. An epistolary aorist is when a letter writer uses the past tense to refer to an event that has not yet happened at the time of writing, but will have occurred at the time the letter is received. If Tychicus was the bearer of 2 Timothy (see previous comment), then, obviously, he would not have yet been sent while Paul was still writing the letter, but he would have been sent by the time the letter’s contents were read to the congregation.

2 Tim 4:13. The cloak that I left at Troas with Carpus, when thou comest, bring with thee, and the books, especially the parchments.

The cloak, probably a heavy outer garment for winter wear. Some translate the word “wrapper,” meaning a satchel for carrying or protecting books.

Carpus, an otherwise unknown Christian of Troas.

The books, i.e., rolls of papyrus, a kind of writing material generally used in the first century for writing letters of ordinary importance. Paul wrote on papyrus but his Epistles were later copied on vellum rolls.

Parchments, i.e., rolls of vellum, a much more valuable and durable writing material made from the skins of animals. Probably the parchments contained the Old Testament Scriptures, and the papyrus was used by the Apostle for his letters. This would explain the early disappearance of the original copies of the latter, because papyrus was not a very durable material like parchment.

From the way St. Paul speaks in this verse and in verse 20 below It is sufficiently evident that he is referring to a recent visit to Asia Minor, doubtless between the two Roman Captivities, and not to his sojourn there years before, of which there is question in Acts 20:6.

2 Tim 4:14. Alexander the coppersmith hath done me much evil: the Lord will reward him according to his works:

Alexander. See on i Tim. i. 20. Perhaps this enemy of St. Paul’s lived at Ephesus or was there at this time, but had been in Rome testifying against the Apostle.

The Lord will reward, etc. These words are from Psalm 62:12, but the reading which makes them an imprecation here is less probable.

2 Tim 4:15. Whom do thou also avoid, for he greatly withstood our words.

He greatly withstood, etc. The aorist points to a definite occasion, very probably during St. Paul’s trial in Rome when the Apostle was defending his cause and the preaching of the Gospel.

2 Tim 4:16. At my first defence no man stood with me, but all forsook me: may it not be laid to their charge.

At my first defence. It is remarkable that St. Chrysostom, St. Thomas, and many modern commentators take these words to refer to the Apostle’s first Roman captivity, and verse 17 to his preaching between the two Roman captivities. It seems more consistent with the context to refer them to his first hearing or the first stage in his trial before his judges (called in Roman law the prima actio) during the second and last imprisonment in Rome. At this crisis no one came to his defence, doubtless out of fear and human weakness, as the words that follow would indicate.

2 Tim 4:17. But the Lord stood by me, and strengthened me, that by me the preaching may be completed, and that all the Gentiles may hear; and I was delivered out of the mouth of the lion.

By the grace and help of God St. Paul was not condemned at his first hearing, but was given another chance of explaining himself and his cause, and thus of completing the preaching of the Gospel there in Rome, the official centre of the empire and of the world.

Out of the mouth of the lion expresses the extreme peril from which he was delivered, though many of the Fathers understood the reference to be to Nero. This same phrase is found in Psalm 22:22; Dan 6:20.

2 Tim 4:18. The Lord shall deliver me from every evil work, and will preserve me unto his heavenly kingdom, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.

The Apostle is confident of his final liberation from all evil and his reception into Christ’s heavenly kingdom, though the gateway will be martyrdom.

The (past) tense of liberavit of the Vulgate, instead of the future (liberabit), has little support in the MSS., and so should be changed. A translation of the old Vulgate would read in the past tense: The Lord has delivered me. The New Latin Vulgate (Nova Vulgata) reflects the change to the future, reading librerabit, rather than liberavit. Note that the future tense is employed in Father Callan’s translation.

FINAL FAREWELL

2 Tim 4:19. Salute Prisca and Aquila, and the household of Onesiphorus.

Prisca and Aquila are first mentioned in Acts 18:2 ff., then in Acts 18:26, and 1 Cor. 16:19. They were probably among the first Christians in the Roman Church. Prisca is the same as Priscilla.

The household of Onesiphorus. See above, on 2 Tim 1:16.

2 Tim 4:20. Erastus remained at Corinth, and Trophimus I left sick at Miletus.

Erastus was probably the same person spoken of in Acts 19:22, who accompanied Timothy from Ephesus to Macedonia; he is hardly to be identified with the Erastus of Rom. 16:23.

Trophimus is mentioned in Acts 20:4, 21:29. He was a Gentile Christian of Ephesus. St. Paul left him at Miletus some time between the first and second Roman imprisonments.

2 Tim 4:21. Make haste to come before winter. Eubulus and Pudens, and Linus and Claudia, and all the brethren, salute thee.

St. Paul urges Timothy to come to him before winter, either because the traveling would be harder in winter, or because he felt that winter would bring the end of his life. The Apostle sends the greetings of a number of persons whose acquaintance Timothy had apparently made during his stay in Rome when St. Paul was a prisoner there the first time. Of the four names here given we know nothing for certain, except that Linus was the first successor of St. Peter as Bishop of Rome (Irenaeus, Adv. Hcbt., iii. 3; Eusebius, Hist. Eccl., iii. 2).

2 Tim 4:22. The Lord be with thy spirit. Grace be with you. Amen.

The blessing is to Timothy and the whole Church at Ephesus; it is not like any other blessing at the end of the Apostle’s Epistles.

The Jesus Christus and the Amen of the Vulgate are not in the best Greek.

Posted in Bible, Catholic, Fr. Callan, Notes on 2 Tim, Scripture | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

Father Callan’s Commentary on 2 Timothy Chapter 3

Posted by Dim Bulb on January 26, 2019

Text in red are my additions.

EVIL DAYS AHEAD

A Summary of 2 Timothy 3:1-9 ~In order to impress more forcefully on Timothy the need of cultivating undivided devotion to Christ, loyalty to the teachings of the Gospel, readiness and courage to suffer, and a Christian character that would exemplify his faith and be an inspiration to all with whom he might come in contact, the Apostle now warns him of frightful evils to come, when all manner of revolting sins will be rampant, committed by men who pretend to be godly but who will never be able to come to a knowledge of the truth, being depraved in mind and reprobate as regards faith, like Jannes and Jambres of old. Against these, who are already appearing, Timothy must be on his guard and fight, though their wickedness will be cut short as soon as their true character becomes known.

2 Tim 3:1. Know also this, that in the last days shall come dangerous times.

The last days are not to be limited to the times just before the Second Coming of the Lord; for the evils that will darken those days are already present to some extent (ver. 5), though their number and extremity will increase as the end of the world draws near.

2 Tim 3:2. Men shall be lovers of themselves, covetous, haughty, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, wicked,
2 Tim 3:3. Without affection, without peace, slanderers, incontinent, unmerciful, without kindness,
2 Tim 3:4. Traitors, stubborn, puffed up, and lovers of pleasures more than of God;

For a somewhat similar list of vices see Rom. 1:29-31.

Lovers of themselves. The Greek expression here does not occur elsewhere in the Greek Bible. Inordinate self-love is the root of all vices, and is rightly placed at the beginning of the catalogue that follows.

Blasphemers should rather be “railers,” meaning evil-speakers against men rather than against God.

Without peace. Better, “implacable.” The word ἄσπονδοι, (= aspondoi) is found only here in the Bible.

Without kindness. Better, “without love for the good.” The word occurs only here.

Lovers of pleasure more than of God. Literally, “lovers of pleasure more than lovers of God.” There is a play on the words in Greek, and the two substantives do not occur elsewhere in the New Testament.

2 Tim 3:5. Having an appearance indeed of godliness, but denying the power thereof. Now these avoid.

From this and the following verses we see that the corruptions in question were already a present danger, which Timothy was to avoid. The most dangerous characteristic of these evil men is their semblance of piety, which makes their influence the more seductive, while internally they are devoid of all religion; they are wolves in sheep’s clothing (Matt. 7:15).

2 Tim 3:6. For of these are they who creep into houses and lead captive silly women laden with sins, who are led away with divers desires,
2 Tim 3:7. Ever learning, and never attaining to the knowledge of the truth
.

These false Christians appeal to the weaknesses and susceptibilities of silly and unstable women as proselytes and propagators of their errors, knowing that these weaker creatures, being themselves sin-laden, will welcome any teaching that gives promise of easing their consciences, and that they will be the most effective mediums through which to spread false teachings.

Divers desires. The reference is not only to fleshly lusts, but to those of the spirit also, such as curiosity, love of novelty, and the like, which cause these flighty women to run after false rather than true teachers of religion. These people are endlessly seeking and discussing religious matters, but they never attain to a knowledge of the truth, because their seeking is neither with a sincere and pure heart nor in the right direction.

2 Tim 3:8. Now, as Jannes and Mambres resisted Moses, so these also resist the truth, men corrupted in mind, reprobate concerning the faith.

The Apostle now cites an incident of Jewish history illustrative of that which was taking place in Ephesus at this time.

Jannes and Mambres (or Jambres) are the traditional names of two of King Pharaoh’s principal magicians who opposed Moses and tried to duplicate his prodigies, thus hardening Pharaoh’s heart against the demands of the people of Israel (Ex 7:11 ff., 8:7). These two names are not mentioned in Scripture, but they have come down variously transcribed from tradition. They are mentioned in the Targum of Jonathan on Ex 7:11in the Talmud (Buxtorf, Lex Chald. talm. rabh., pp. 945 ff.), in Pliny (Hist, nat., xxx. i), in Apuleius of the second century {Apol., p. 544), in Eusebius (PrcEp. evang., ix. 8), and in Origen (In Matt. 27:9). As these two resisted Moses, so do the false teachers at Ephesus resist the Gospel, being “corrupted in mind” (i.e., perverted in their judgment of the truth) and “reprobate concerning the faith” (i.e., heretics, who have lost the faith).

2 Tim 3:9. But they shall proceed no farther; for their folly shall be manifest to all men, as theirs also was.

While these wicked men always grow worse in their evil ways (2 Tim 2:16 above and 2 Tim 3:13 below), nevertheless their wickedness will not prevail against the truth any more than did the efforts of the Egyptian magicians prevail against Moses (Ex 8:18-19). No intellectual victory can ever be won against faith rightly understood; for God is the author of both the truths of faith and the intellectual faculties of man, and truth is not contradictory.

TIMOTHY IS ABLE TO MEET THE SITUATION

2 Tim 3:10. But thou hast fully known my doctrine, manner of life, purpose, faith, longsuffering, love, patience,
2 Tim 3:11. Persecutions, afflictions: such as came upon me at Antioch, at Iconium, and at Lystra: what persecutions I endured, and out of them all the Lord delivered me.

St. Paul is near to death and is writing a private letter to his dear son in the faith; and to encourage him to suffer and endure, he Speaks openly and familiarly about his own teaching, manner of life, and sufferings. He mentions in particular what he endured in the cities of Southern Asia Minor, because Timothy himself was from Lystra and was more familiar with these persecutions of his master than with the more severe ones later endured at Philippi and elsewhere.

But thou, in contrast with the false teachers.

Purpose, i.e., the aim he had in all his actions.

Antioch, Iconium, Lystra. See Acts 13:50, 14:2 ff., 14:18 ff.

The Lord delivered me. This fact is mentioned so that Timothy will not lose courage in his sufferings and trials.

2 Tim 3:12. And all that will live godly in Christ Jesus, shall suffer persecution.

Timothy will be further encouraged to suffer willingly and gladly for the Gospel by reflecting that such is the lot of all whose habitual desire and effort it is to live that life which is in Christ Jesus: “And you shall be hated by all men for my name’s sake, etc.” (Matt. 10:22) ; “Blessed are they that suffer persecution for justice’ sake, etc.” (Matt. 5:10).

2 Tim 3:13. But evil men and seducers shall grow worse and worse, erring and driving into error.

See above on verse 9.

But evil men, etc. In contrast with the godly of the preceding verse, the wicked and impostors will go from bad to worse, because they have no persecution to suffer. This may be the meaning here, though some expositors think this verse gives the reason of the preceding: the good are persecuted because of the progress of the wicked in evil.

Seducers. More literally, “imposters,” “wizards.” The word occurs only here in the Greek Bible. Probably these deceivers practised magical arts at Ephesus (Acts 19:19).

2 Tim 3:14. But continue thou in those things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing from whom thou hast learned them;

In contrast with the impostors, Timothy must continue firm in the faith which he has received, being mindful of those by whom he was taught it.

And hast been assured of. This is the meaning of the Greek here, which the Vulgate has missed. 

Knowing from whom, etc. The best Greek reading makes “whom” plural in this phrase, and hence the reference is to St. Paul and Timothy’s mother and grandmother (see above, on  2 Tim 1:5).

The Vulgate a quo should be a quibus.

2 Tim 3:15. And that from thy infancy thou hast known the holy scriptures, which can instruct thee to salvation through the faith which is in Christ Jesus.

The Jews were obliged to teach the Scriptures to their children (Ex 10:2, 12:26; Deut. 4:9, etc.), and the Rabbins enjoined that this instruction should begin when they were five years old. Thus, Timothy’s Jewish mother had taught him the Old Testament from his infancy.

The holy scriptures. The best Greek reading here retains the article. This is the only passage in the New Testament where the adjective ἱερὰ (= hiera) is applied to the Scriptures, meaning sacred as opposed to profane writings. But to ἱερὰ γράμματα (= hiera grammata) was a quasi-technical xpression signifying the Old Testament Scriptures, as we learn from Philo (Vita Mos., Ill, 39, and Frag, in Exod., Mangey’s ed., II, 657, and cap, de Vit., cont. 3) and from Josephus (Ant. Proem. 3 and X, 10, 4). Clement of Alexandria was the first Christian writer to apply this phrase to the New Testament (Strom., I, 20, § 98). Cf. Bernard, op. cit., h. I.

Which can instruct thee, etc. Better, “which can make thee wise unto salvation.” Other books impart knowledge, but the Divine Scriptures give also wisdom—a wisdom that is not of this world; but for their true and full meaning they must be studied in the light of the faith of Jesus Christ, because they are all directly or indirectly ordained to Christ, and speak directly or indirectly of His Person, ministry, life, work. Church, etc.

2 Tim 3:16. All scripture is inspired of God and profitable to teach, to reprove, to correct, to instruct in justice;

We must understand this verse in the light of the preceding one, and hence “scripture” here must mean the Old Testament. Moreover, the word γράμματα (= grammata), scripture, occurs some fifty times in the New Testament, and everywhere it means the Old Testament.

All scripture. It is better to translate “every scripture,” meaning each and every part of the Old Testament.

Inspired of God, etc. We may translate as in the Douai version, since the verb is not expressed in Greek; but it is perhaps better to render, “is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, etc.” St. Paul seems to be impressing on Timothy the usefulness of the Holy Scriptures, as inspired by God, for wisdom unto salvation (ver. 15) and for teaching, reproving, correcting, etc. (ver. 16). If we adopt the first rendering, it will mean that St. Paul is taking the inspiration of Scripture for granted by Timothy, and is insisting here on its profitableness for teaching, reproving, etc. In either case the inspiration of the Old Testament and all its parts is certain to the mind of St. Paul. The word here translated “inspired” does not occur elsewhere in the Greek Bible, but is common in Greek literature. It was first applied to the New Testament by Clement of Alexandria (Strom., VII, 16, § loi).

Four uses of Scripture are here stressed: (a) “to teach,” the truths of faith; (b) “to reprove,” or refute the errors against faith; (c) “to correct,” vices and sins; (d) “to instruct in justice,” by giving practical norms for the practice of virtue and the attainment of sanctity.

2 Tim 3:17. That the man of God may be perfect, furnished unto every good work.

The final result for Timothy of a study of the Divine Scriptures will be to fit him for a perfect discharge of his ministry. 

Man of God. See on 1 Tim. 6:11. Here the expression means the minister of Christ, as the context shows. 

Perfect. The Greek word is a common one, but it is found only here in the Bible. 

Unto every good work, pertinent to his ministry.

Posted in Bible, Catholic, Fr. Callan, Notes on 2 Tim, Scripture | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

Father Callan’s Commentary on 2 Timothy Chapter 2

Posted by Dim Bulb on January 26, 2019

TIMOTHY IS EXHORTED TO FAITHFULNESS AND PATIENCE

A Summary of 2 Timothy 2:1-13~The Apostle’s end is near. He exhorts Timothy to be strengthened in grace and to pass on to other faithful workers the truths he has learned from his master. Timothy’s fidelity and devotion must be like that of a good soldier who wishes to please his leader; he must be like the athlete who adheres to the rules of his game in order to win the prize, like the husbandman who toils faithfully that he may reap a good harvest (2 Tim 2:1-6). The Lord will help him to understand his heavy responsibility; and his duties will become ever more clear if he keeps in mind the Resurrection of Christ, which is according to the Gospel for which Paul suffers. The word of God cannot be stopped; and hence St. Paul endures all things for the sake of the salvation of the elect. We have God’s word for it that we shall not suffer for Him in vain (2 Tim 2:7-13). 

2 Tim 2:1. Thou therefore, my son, be strengthened in the grace which is in Christ Jesus: 

Therefore refers back to the unfaithfulness spoken of in verse 15 of the preceding Chapter, and aims to impress on Timothy the need of the grace of Christ for a faithful fulfillment of his duties. 

2 Tim 2:2. And the things which thou didst hear of me by many witnesses, the same commend to faithful men, who shall be fit to teach others also.

Didst hear. The aorist refers to something definitely past, for which see verse 13 of the preceding Chapter. 

By many witnesses, or “through many witnesses,” or “in the presence of many witnesses” (St. Chrysostom). The Apostle is alluding to the instruction he had given Timothy in the presence of others, perhaps at the time of the latter’s ordination (1 Tim 4:14, 1 Tim 6:12; 2 Tim 1:6), and also to his own preaching of which Timothy and many more had been frequent hearers, and of which Timothy had heard indirectly from others. All this teaching of the Apostle, which Timothy has heard and learned, he is to transmit to other faithful custodians, who in turn are to teach it to the faithful in general. Here again we have a strong argument for the authority of unwritten Apostolic tradition. 

2 Tim 2:3. Endure your share of suffering as a good soldier of Christ Jesus.

In verses 3-6 St. Paul endeavors to stimulate the zeal of Timothy by citing the example of a soldier, of an athlete, and of a husbandman, whose devotion and efforts for temporal success the young bishop is to emulate for success in spiritual things. 

Endure your share, etc. See above on 2 Tim 1:8. That passage reads: 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. Here is what Fr. Callan wrote concerning it:  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.

A good soldier, etc. See on Eph 6:14 ff. As Jesus Christ, our divine Captain, suffered and died for the Gospel, so all His faithful followers, and especially His ministers, must be ready to suffer and die for the Gospel. Here is what Fr. Callan wrote concerning Ephesians 6:14-17:

Eph 6:14. Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of justice,

The Apostle now begins to describe the various parts of the Christian soldier’s equipment, and his imagery is drawn partly from the dress of the Roman soldiers who in turn had charge of him in prison, and partly from two passages in Isaias where the Messiah is described as a warrior (Isa 11:4, 59:17). He speaks first (ver. 14-17) of defensive and then of oflfensive arms, giving a spiritual meaning to each of the arms and each article of dress of the Roman soldier. The Christian soldier must “stand” (i.e., be ready for the conflict), having “truth” (i.e., sincerity and moral rectitude) for belt, and “justice” (i.e., loyalty in word and action to the law of God) as breastplate; for shoes he must have readiness and alacrity of soul to affirm “the gospel of peace”; “faith” must be his shield, and the inspired “word of God” his sword.

Eph 6:15. And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace:

Preparation. The Greek for this word occurs here only in the New Testament, and it most probably means readiness and alacrity of soul to preach the Gospel. Spiritual equipment gives the meaning of the term as well as anything. St. Chrysostom says: “The preparation of the gospel is nothing else than the best life.”

Eph 6:16. In all things taking the shield of faith, wherewith you may be able to extinguish all the fiery darts of the wicked one.

In all things, etc. A lesser reading has “above all things, etc.,” which would mean that, besides all that has been just said, we should take the shield of faith, etc. But “in all things, etc.” is the better reading; and it means that in all the circumstances of our life of warfare faith is our shield, the heavy armor of our souls, by which we can ward off “the fiery darts of the wicked one,” i.e.,  of Satan.

Eph 6:17. And take unto you the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit (which is the word of God).

“The helmet of salvation” means our salvation, the salvation offered us by Christ (Cajetan), or the hope of salvation (1 Thess 5:8). The helmet protects the head, and the salvation offered us by our Lord is the pledge of our eternal inheritance. The “sword of the Spirit” is “the word of God,” i.e., the utterance of God; the two phrases are in apposition here, and they explain each other: “The word of God is living and effectual, and more piercing than any two-edged sword” (Heb 4:12).

2 Tim 2:4. No man being a soldier to God, entangleth himself with secular businesses, that he may please him to whom he hath engaged himself.

The singleness of devotion needed for success as a soldier of Christ requires as a consequence that one keep oneself free from entanglements in temporal affairs.

Secular businesses is in Greek “the affairs of life,” i.e., of this present temporal life ( του βιου); we cannot serve God and mammon.

That he may please him, etc. The Greek is “that he may please him who enrolled him as a soldier.” The verb here, meaning “to enroll as a soldier,” is not found again in the Greek Bible.

2 Tim 2:5. For he also that striveth for the mastery is not crowned, except he strive lawfully.

The Greek of this verse is as follows: “Again, if any man strive as an athlete, he will not be crowned unless he strive according to the rules.” St. Paul was fond of appealing to the Olympic games to illustrate the spiritual contest (see below 2 Tim 4:7; 1 Tim 6:12; 1 Cor 9:25-27). See comment on 1 Cor 9:25-27 Here is what Fr. Callan wrote concerning that passage:

1 Cor 9:25. And every one that striveth for the mastery, refraineth himself from all things: and they indeed that may receive a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible one.

In the days of the Grecian games, as now, athletes who took part in the public contests severely disciplined themselves beforehand for a long period of time, abstaining from every indulgence that might weaken their bodies and lessen their strength; and all this that they might win a corruptible crown of leaves. How much more, then, should we Christians deny ourselves for the glory of never-fading crowns in heaven!

From ancient writers we learn that candidates for the prize at the Isthmian and Olympic games had to abstain from every kind of sensual indulgence for ten months, and to undergo a most rigorous bodily training (cf. Horace, De Arte Poetica, 412; Epictetus, Enchir. 29). And (Vulg., et) after all things is not represented in the Greek.

1 Cor 9:26. I therefore so run, not as at an uncertainty: I so fight, not as one beating the air:

Calling attention to his own conduct, which the Corinthians should strive to imitate, St. Paul says he directs all his efforts to the goal of eternal life. He so runs as to obtain the prize; he so fights as to overcome his adversaries. The latter figure is an allusion to the pugilistic contests in Greek games.

1 Cor 9:27. But I chastise my body, and bring it into subjection: lest perhaps, when I have preached to others, I myself should become a castaway.

I chastise. The best Greek reading here (υπωπιαζω) means literally, “I beat the face black and blue.” As the pugilist beat the face of his adversary black and blue, so St. Paul practiced such corporal austerities as figuratively to make his body black and blue.

And bring it into subjection, i.e., conquer its evil propensities and bring it, as it were, into bondage. The conqueror in some Greek contests was permitted to lead his adversary around the arena and exhibit him to the spectators as a captive and slave.

When I have preached. Literally, “Having announced” (κηρυξας) . The allusion is again to the games in which’ a herald made the announcements of the combatants, proclaimed the conditions, and excluded any who were unworthy. St. Paul was not only a herald but a competitor in the struggle for eternal life, and he feared that while he had announced the conditions for victory to others, he himself might fail to observe them and thus lose his own prize.

2 Tim 2:6. The husbandman that laboreth must first partake of the fruits.

The thought in this and the two preceding verses is that discipline, labor and toil are the necessary conditions of success in temporal enterprises, and therefore in spiritual undertakings also.

First, i.e., he that labors strenuously will have his reward ahead of him that does not labor so well; or, according to others, the meaning is that he who would be successful must first put forth the required efforts. See on 1 Tim 5:17. The verb for “partake” here does not occur elsewhere in St. Paul’s writings.

Commenting on St Paul’s teaching in 1 Tim 5:17 that those in the church who rule well be esteemed worthy of a double honor wrote:

Double honor is a Hebraism meaning here more ample material reward or provision. Those of the clergy who fulfill their duties faithfully should be well taken care of by the Church, and especially those who preach the Divine Word and teach the doctrines of faith to others. This verse seems to distinguish between those who were engaged in preaching and those who were occupied in ministerial work, and to show that some of the presbyters of the Pastoral Epistles did not teach. See St. Cyprian (Epist., xxix) on the presbyteri doctores.

2 Tim 2:7. Understand what I say, for the Lord will give thee in all things understanding.

Without making application of the three illustrations just given, St. Paul tells Timothy to reflect on them attentively and the Lord will make him understand their pertinence to himself.

All things, that are necessary for a faithful discharge of Timothy’s duties.

2 Tim 2:8. Be mindful that Jesus Christ is risen again from the dead, of the seed of David, according to my gospel.

Timothy will be encouraged and sustained in his labors and trials by keeping ever in mind his Risen Saviour, who is at once the pledge and the exemplar of our own glorious future state.

Of the seed of David, i.e., the Risen Saviour, who is the centre and source of the New Dispensation, took His humanity from the stock of David, according to the hopes and promises of the Old Dispensation. See on Rom 1:3.

According to my gospel, i.e., the teaching just enunciated is according to the doctrine Paul has been commissioned to preach.

The Dominum of the Vulgate is not in the Greek.

2 Tim 2:9. Wherein I suffer evils, even unto bonds, as an evildoer; but the word of God is not bound.

To help Timothy to bear his trials for the Gospel, the Apostle now cites his own sufferings for the same cause; but he observes that, while he may be impeded from working, the Gospel preaching cannot be restrained: it is being done by other workers and is spreading over the world.

The laboro of the Vulgate does not express the Greek, which means ‘I suffer evils,” or “am ill-treated.”

2 Tim 2:10. Therefore I endure all things for the sake of the elect, that they also may obtain the salvation, which is in Christ Jesus, with heavenly glory.

Therefore, i.e., since the Gospel is going forward, the Apostle gladly endures all his sufferings, that all of God’s chosen ones may have a share in the saving graces of the Gospel, which Christ has provided, and whose ultimate issue is eternal glory. The “elect” here are all those whom God would have come to a knowledge of the truth and whom He would save unto life eternal.

2 Tim 2:11. Faithful is the saying: For if we be dead with him, we shall live also with him:
2 Tim 2:12. If we suffer, we shall also reign with him : if we deny him, he will also deny us.

11-12. Faithful is the saying. See on 1 Tim. 1:15, 3:1, 4:9, This formula in the present passage without doubt refers to the words that follow here and in verse 13, which seem to be a portion of an ancient hymn on the glories of martyrdom, and which at the end of verse 12 become a quotation of our Lord’s words in Matt 10:23, and Luke xii. 9. These quotations are given as an incentive to courage and patience in suffering in union with Christ in view of the glories to come in heaven. See on 1 Tim 3:16; Rom 6:3, 8:17 ff. ; 1 Cor 12:26; Eph 1:23, etc.

2 Tim 2:13. If we believe not, he continueth faithful, he cannot deny himself.

If we believe not. Better, “if we are unfaithful,” in refusing to accept the doctrines God has revealed to us, “he continueth faithful,” i.e., true to His promises to reward the good and punish the wicked; for “he cannot deny himself,” by going counter to His nature and the laws He has established.

THE APOSTLE COUNSELS TIMOTHY FURTHER

A Summary of 2 Timothy 2:14-26~Timothy is admonished to avoid irrelevant controversies, which only distract from the main truths of revelation and do much harm to the faith. He is to preach the sound doctrine by word and example, remembering the fatal mistakes of Hymenseus and Philetus who, in their wranglings about the resurrection, fell into error themselves and upset the faith of others. In spite of such false teachers, the relations God has established with man remain unshaken: He knows who are His, whom He has predestined for salvation; and all those who have been thus chosen must manifest it in their lives by a free and complete rejection of sin and all unrighteousness (2 Tim 2:14-19). As in a large house there are many vessels, some for honorable and some for dishonorable purposes, so it is with the Church and its members. Timothy must see that he is a vessel of the former class by fleeing degrading sins, practicing Christian virtues, and keeping company with the good. He must be peaceful, gentle, patient, and thus by meek methods lead the erring to better ways (2 Tiom 2:20-26).

2 Tim 2:14. Of these things put them in mind, charging them before God to contend not in words, for it is to no profit, but to the subverting of the hearers.

Of these things, etc. Timothy should remind men of the need and the reward of courage and patient endurance spoken of in the preceding verses, charging them before God to avoid controversy, which only leads to the ruin of the faith of the hearers. The word for “subverting” occurs only here in the New Testament, but it is found in the LXX.

We have corrected the translation of this verse so as to agree with the best Greek, and the Vulgate should be corrected likewise.

2 Tim 2:15. Carefully study to present thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth.

Timothy by his example will best show others how God is to be served, and to this end he must see that his work be of such quality as to merit the approval of his Master. The word here rendered “rightly handling” does not occur again in the New Testament; but it is found twice in the LXX (Prov 3:6, Prov 11:5), where it conveys the idea of making a straight road, or more literally, of “cutting stones square to fit,” as for a road or building. The translation given in our version seems to express the meaning here, where Timothy is told to deliver the teachings of the Gospel properly and correctly without yielding to error of any kind.

2 Tim 2:16. But shun the profane babblings; for they will grow much towards ungodliness,

The profane babblings, i.e., of the false teachers.

They will grow, etc. The subject of the verb here is the false teachers, as is evident from the following verse; they will go from bad to worse.

We have revised the English of this verse so as to conform to the Greek, and the Vulgate needs a similar revision.

2 Tim 2:17. And their speech will spread like a cancer: of whom are Hymenaeus and Philetus,

The Apostle here describes the baneful progress of the demoralizing talk of the false teachers, which “will spread” (literally, “will have pasture”) like a cancer. The word for “cancer” is found only here in the Bible. Hymenasus is mentioned in 1 Tim. 1:20. Of him or Philetus we know nothing further. 

Serpit (cancer, gangrene) of the Vulgate should be future, as in the Greek.

2 Tim 2:18. Who have erred from the truth, saying that the resurrection is past already, and they subvert the faith of some.

It appears that the two heretics just mentioned, like the Gnostics after them and some so-called preachers of the Gospel today, gave a mystical explanation of the doctrine of the resurrection, denying its physical reality and holding that it consisted in the soul’s transition from error to truth, from a state of sin to a state of grace. Their false conclusion was probably drawn from such passages as Rom. 6:1 ff., Col. 2:12, and the like.

In the Vulgate subverterunt should be present tense.

2 Tim 2:19. Howbeit the firm foundation of God standeth, having this seal: the Lord knoweth who are his; and let every one depart from iniquity who nameth the name of the Lord.

Despite the errors and aberrations of some members of the Christian society, the Church itself remains firm and unshaken, for it is the pillar and ground of truth (1 Tim. 3:14-16) ; and this solid and immovable character of the Church is distinguished by two seals or fundamental truths, namely, the predestination by God of the salvation of the elect and the free acceptance of grace and the rejection of sin on the part of the faithful. The first of these truths is announced in the words of Num. 16:5 ; the second, more freely, in Num. 16:26, Isa. 26:13, 52:11, and other passages. God knows who are to be with Him in glory; and those who would belong to Christ here and hereafter, must keep themselves free from the corruption of error and false teachers.

Who nameth the name, etc., i.e., he that professes to belong to Christ must see to it that his life corresponds with his profession.

2 Tim 2:20. But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and silver, but also of wood and of earth; and some indeed unto honor, but some unto dishonor.

The metaphor now changes. In the preceding verse the Apostle spoke of the faithful as the stones with which the Church is built (1 Cor. 3:10-15), but here he regards them as utensils which go to make up the furnishings of the same great house (Rom. 9:19-24). St. Paul is probably forestalling now a misunderstanding of what he said in the preceding verse, from which it might be wrongly concluded that only good members would be found in the Church; hence the adversative conjunction with which this verse is introduced. We are admonished here, as in Matt. 13:24 ff., that we must expect to find in the Church both good and bad members and varying degrees of goodness and badness in those members; and that some will be saved, while others will be lost if they do not repent of their sins. The grace of God makes it possible for all to be saved, but the abuse of free will makes it possible for some to be lost; none will be saved without the grace of God, and no one will be lost without his own fault.

2 Tim 2:21. If any man therefore cleanse himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honor, sanctified and profitable to the Lord, prepared unto every good work.

Cleanse himself from these. It is uncertain whether “these” refers to the false teachers or to their erroneous teachings. The sense would be the same in either case. The servant of God must keep himself fit for the work of His Master; a higher motive for holiness he can hardly have.

2 Tim 2:22. But flee thou youthful desires, and pursue justice, faith, charity, and peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart.

Speaking now more directly to Timothy, St. Paul admonishes him to guard against the passions and desires (ἐπιθυμίας = epithymias) which are apt to allure a young man, and to pursue those virtues which make for the finest Christian character. The word for “youthful” is found only here in the New Testament.

2 Tim 2:23. And avoid foolish and unlearned questions, knowing that they beget strifes.

See on 1 Tim. 1:4; 2 Tim. 2:16-18. The term “unlearned” occurs only here in the New Testament, and means “uneducated,” “untaught,” and so “ignorant.”

The first passage referenced, 1 Tim 1:4, reads~Not to give heed to fables and endless genealogies, which furnish questions rather than the edification of God, which is in faith. Fr. Callan commented: Fables were most probably Jewish legends (Tit. 1:14), such as are frequently found in the Talmud; and genealogies were extravagant, legendary stories about the ancient patriarchs, such as we find in the Book of Jubilees. Speculation on these useless subjects would lead away from the great truths of faith and the practical realities of Christian life ; and thus vast harm would be done to the Church and to souls. You just read the commentary on the second passage.

2 Tim 2:24. But the servant of the Lord must not wrangle : but be mild towards all men, apt to teach, patient,
2 Tim 2:25. With meekness admonishing them that resist, if peradventure God may give them repentance to know the truth,

Special qualities of every servant of the Lord, and in particular of the Christian minister, are here stressed. First, he must be apt to teach, then patient with those who are difficult, and finally meek with those who resist ; and all this with the consistent purpose of fitting his hearers and subjects for the acceptable time of God’s grace. The word here translated “patient” does not occur elsewhere in the Greek Bible, and the term “peradventure” is found only here
in St. Paul.

Veritati (= the truth) in the Vulgate of verse 25 is not represented in the Greek. The end of verse 25 reads “…if peradventure God may giv4e them repentance to know truth.”

2 Tim 2:26. And they may recover themselves from the snares of the devil, by whom (αὐτοῦ) they are held captive at his (ἐκείνου) wil.

May recover themselves, better “may return to soberness.” The phrase is expressed by one verb in Greek, which does not occur elsewhere in the Greek Bible.

From the snares of the devil, etc. The rest of this verse causes a difficulty because of the use of two different pronouns in Greek (αὐτοῦ = autou, and ἐκείνου = enkeinou), both of which are referred to the devil by some scholars, as in our version and in the Westminster Version. The Revisers refer the first pronoun to “the servant of the Lord” of verse 24, and the second to “God” of verse 25. Still others refer αὐτοῦ (= autou)  to the devil and ἐκείνου (= enkeinou) to God, thus making the whole verse read quite literally from the Greek : “And may return to soberness out of the snare of the devil, having been caught alive by him (the devil) unto his (God’s) will,” i.e., to do God’s will. The verb “to catch alive” is found only here and in Luke 5:10 in the New Testament.

Posted in Bible, Catholic, Fr. Callan, Notes on 2 Tim, Scripture | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

Father Callan’s Commentary on 2 Timothy Chapter 1

Posted by Dim Bulb on January 26, 2019

Text in red are my additions. Text in purple are quotations from Fr. Callan’s other commentaries.

INTRODUCTION AND GREETING

A Summary of 2 Timothy 1:1-2 ~Again, as in the first letter, asserting his Apostolic authority and divine election to preach the Gospel, St. Paul salutes Timothy, his beloved child, whom he has begotten in Christ Jesus.

2 Tim 1:1. Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus, by the will of God, according to the promise of the life, which is in Christ Jesus.
2 Tim 1:2. To Timothy my beloved son: grace, mercy, and peace, from God the Father, and from Christ Jesus our Lord.

1. See on 1 Tim 1:1. Father Callan wrote there: “Paul an apostle, etc. St. Paul thus asserts his apostolic authority at the beginning of nine of his letters—in all, therefore, except Phil., Phlm., 1 and 2 Thess., and Heb. This he does in order to give greater weight and solemnity to his words, not only with the faithful and to those to whom he is writing, but also and especially with the false teachers or enemies whom, as in the present Epistle, he is combating.”

By the will of God, as in 1 Cor 1:1; Eph 1:1; Col 1:1. St. Paul was not a self-appointed Apostle, but a vessel of divine election. According to the promise, etc., means that the aim and purpose of St. Paul’s election and call to the Apostleship was to proclaim the fulfillment in Christ of the promises of eternal life which were given in the Old Testament.

Grace, mercy, and peace. Grace, God’s special help and favor, is the root and source of our supernatural union with Him and with Christ, and peace is the blessed fruit of that same union.  The word “mercy” is here added to the salutation, as in 1 Tim 1:2, perhaps because the aged Apostle now felt the greater need of this most attractive and conspicuous attribute of God, and also in order to draw attention to the source of “grace” and “peace.”

THE APOSTLE THANKS GOD FOR TIMOTHY’S FAITH, AND EXHORTS THE YOUNG BISHOP TO BE READY TO SUFFER

A Summary of 2 Timothy 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 (2 Tim 1:3-5). 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 (2 Tim 1:6-10). 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 (2 Tim 1:11-14).

2 Tim 1:3. I give thanks to God, whom I serve from my forefathers with a pure conscience, as without ceasing I have a remembrance of thee in my prayers, night and day,
2 Tim 1:4. Desiring to see thee, being mindful of thy tears, that I may be filled with joy,

3-4. St. Paul thanks God for Timothy’s faith (ver. 5), as he remembers him in his prayers every day and every night ; and he is longing to see him, recalling the tears that were shed at their parting.

Whom I serve, etc. The Apostle’s Jewiish opponents had accused him of betraying the religion of his ancestors, but he here asserts that the God whom he serves is the same God that his forefathers adored, and that his service of Him is pure and free from self-interest, unlike their service of that same God of whom they boast.

2 Tim 1:5. Calling to mind that faith which is in thee unfeigned, which also dwelt first in thy grandmother Lois, and in thy mother Eunice, and I am certain that in thee also. 

It was the recollection of the readiness and generosity with which Timothy received the faith from his mother and grandmother that moved St, Paul to give thanks to God (ver. 3).

Unfeigned, i.e., unmixed with error or hypocrisy.

Which also dwelt first, etc., i.e., Lois (most likely the mother of Eunice) and Eunice embraced the faith first, when Paul preached at Lystra (Acts 14:6, 16:1), and under their instruction Timothy readily followed their example. It would seem that Eunice was a widow at the time of Timothy’s circumcision, and this is probably the reason why St. Paul does not make any mention of her husband in his Epistles.   

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

For which reason, etc. Having reminded Timothy of the alacrity with which he had received the faith, the aged Apostle now exhorts him to “stir up”—more literally, “kindle to fresh flame” (the word occurs onlv here in the New Testament)—the sacramental “grace of God” which he received when Paul ordained him, and which remains with him still (cf. 1 Tim 4:14). Timothy was naturally timid and may have been somewhat remiss in the exercise of his sacred powers. But perhaps St. Paul is only anxious that his young disciple will ever be courageous and faithful in spite of difficulties. The Council of Trent (sess. XXIII, cap. 3) cites this verse to prove that Holy Orders is a true Sacrament.  

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

In this verse the Apostle gives the reason why Timothy should rekindle in himself the grace of his ordination; for God has given his chosen Apostles the graces and powers necessary for a faithful and rigorous fulfillment of all their duties, however great the obstacles they may encounter.

Us refers to Paul and Timothy both. St. Paul includes himself so as to soften his words. In giving His Apostles the Holy Ghost, God has endowed them with the spirit (a) of “power,” to discharge all their offices and to encounter all difficulties, (b) of “love,” to endure all things patiently for Christ’s sake, (c) of “sobriety” (better, “wisdom” or “prudence”) in dealing with others, and therefore in the exercise of discipline.

2 Tim 1:8. 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.

2 Tim 1:9. 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; Titus 3:5; Rom 8:30, Rom 9:12.

The liberavit of the Vulgate ought to be salvavit, as in the Greek.

2 Tim 1:10. 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.

2 Tim 1:11. Whereunto I am appointed a preacher and an apostle and teacher of the Gentiles. 

Having spoken of the Gospel, St. Paul now encourages Timothy (ver. 11-12) by citing his own experience and example. It was for preaching this very Gospel to the world that he is now a prisoner.

The Vulgate in quo should be ad quod, i.e., for which Gospel, etc. There is a strong connection between the beginning of this verse and the end of the previous one, which mentioned the Gospel. The connection of the two verses might be rendered  thus by using an interpretive paraphrase at the beginning of verse 11: (God’s purpose and grace, ver. 10)  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 (11). It is for this Gospel that I am appointed a preacher and an apostle and teacher of the Gentiles

2 Tim 1:12. For which reason I also suffer these things; but I am not ashamed. For I know whom I have believed, and I am certain that he is able to keep my deposit unto that day. 

For which reason, etc., i.e., for preaching which Gospel the Apostle is now a prisoner in chains.

Have believed. The perfect tense shows the continued unshaken faith and confidence in his Saviour.

My deposit. The Greek word for “deposit” here is found in the New Testament only in the Pastoral Letters. It occurs again in verse 14 below and in 1 Tim 6:20; and from these parallel passages we can safely conclude that its meaning here is the Gospel teaching which Paul has been commissioned by God to preach, and which in turn he has entrusted to Timothy to keep and to teach. The Apostle’s stay in this world is now very short, but he is certain the Gospel will not suffer with his passing; for the Almighty God who gave it to him to preach is able to preserve it inviolate and uncorrupted till the end of time, till the day of the General Judgment.

Others understand “deposit” to mean Paul’s faith, which he is sure God will preserve unshaken till the end. Still others think the expression refers to the Apostle’s labors, sufferings and fatigues, which the Lord will change to a crown of glory in the Day of Judgment.

2 Tim 1:13. Hold the form of sound words which thou hast heard from me, in faith and in the love which is in Christ Jesus.
2 Tim 1:14. Keep the good deposit through the Holy Ghost, who dwelleth in us.

Timothy is earnestly exhorted to guard faithfully the Gospel teaching which he has been taught by St. Paul; and the means by which he will be able to do this are faith and love, assisted by the grace of Christ. The word for “form” is found only here and in 1 Tim. 1:16 in the New Testament, and it means “model,” “pattern,” “norm.” 

Which thou hast heard. These words show that the doctrines of faith are contained not only in what is written, but also in the unwritten words of Apostolic tradition. 

In faith, etc. Here we have indicated the means by which the sound doctrine can be preserved; it can be done only through the grace of Christ and His Holy Spirit.

In the Vulgate there should be a comma after audisti, instead of after fide.

ST PAUL COMMENDS A FAITHFUL FRIEND

A Summary of 2 Tim 1:15-18~The Apostle reminds Timothy that certain former followers turned away from him when he needed their help, mentioning two In particular, who were probably now back in Ephesus, their own city. Unlike these deserters, his true friend, Onesiphorus who had been kind to him in Ephesus, also stood by him in his need in Rome. He seems nov^ to be dead, and the Apostle commends him and his household to the mercy of God.

2 Tim 1:15. Thou knowcst this, that all they who are in Asia, turned away from me: of whom are Phigellus and Hcrmogenes.

All who are in Asia. This does not mean all the Christians of Asia Minor, but certain ones who were at this writing in Asia,, and who had been with St. Paul and had abandoned him at a critical time, whether before his arrest in Troas or as the time of his trial in Rome was drawing nearer. Of the two here mentioned we know nothing further, except that Hermogenes is spoken of in the beginning of the apocryphal Acts of Paul and Thecla as “full of hypocrisy.” Timothy must be on his guard against such as these.

2 Tim 1:16. The Lord give mercy to the house of Onesiphorus, because he hath often refreshed me, and hath not been ashamed of my chain;
2 Tim 1:17. But when he was come to Rome, he carefully sought me, and found me
.

St. Paul prays for the household of Onesiphorus, which was at Ephesus (2 Tim 4:19).

Give mercy, a phrase occurring only here in the New Testament.

Refreshed. This word also is found only here in the New Testament, but the corresponding substantive is used in the LXX of Psalm 56:12, where it means a place of refreshment.

He carefully sought me. It was not easy to find St. Paul at this time in Rome, where many prisoners were held for trial, and when he was not allowed to enjoy a private lodging as during his first captivity (Acts 28:16).

2 Tim 1:18. The Lord grant unto him to find mercy of the Lord in that day; and in how many things he ministered unto me at Ephesus, thou very well knowest.

In verse 16 St. Paul prayed for the household of Onesiphorus, and now he utters a prayer to our Lord for the man himself, that God the Father may show him mercy on the Day of Judgment. The obvious implication here seems to be that Onesiphorus was dead. The Jewish practice of praying for the dead is thoroughly established by 2 Macc 12:43-45 ; and that this practice was taken over from the Jews by the early Christian Church, as in the light of Christ’s revelation it realized the full implication of the consoling underlying doctrine, is clear from many sepulchral inscriptions in the Catacombs and elsewhere.

Posted in Bible, Catholic, Fr. Callan, Notes on 2 Tim, Scripture | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

Father Callan’s Commentary on 2 Timothy 4:9-22

Posted by Dim Bulb on December 16, 2018

SOME PERSONAL MESSAGES
A Summary of 2 Timothy 4:9-18

St. Paul bids Timothy to make haste to join him in Rome; for Demas has deserted him, and all his other companions, save Luke, have been dispatched to other places. He requests Timothy to bring with him Mark and certain effects that had been left behind at Troas, and warns him against Alexander the coppersmith (2 Tim 4:9-15). At his first hearing all deserted him, but the Lord stood by him and strengthened him that he might have time to complete his work (2 Tim 4:16-18).

2 Tim 4:9. Make effort to come to me quickly. For Demas hath left me, loving this world, and is gone to Thessalonica;

Timothy was to come to St. Paul by way of Troas and the great Via Egnatia from Philippi to Dyrrachium, and thence to Brundisium. This would require some time, but it seems the Apostle thought his life would be spared long enough for Timothy to make the journey.

Demas, who was a Gentile convert, was with St. Paul during the first Roman captivity (Phlm. 24). He is also mentioned in Col. 4:14. For fear of being associated with Paul at this critical time and most likely for business purposes also, he forsook him and returned to Thessalonica, probably his native town. His name is an abbreviation of Demetrius, which Lightfoot tells us occurs twice in the list of politarchs of Thessalonica.

2 Tim 4:10. Crescens into Galatia, Titus into Dalmatia.

Crescens, of whom we know nothing further from St. Paul. Tradition says he became a Bishop of Gaul.

Galatia, most probably the Asiatic province by that name, though Gaul was sometimes called Galatia, and some few MSS. read Gaul here.

Titus, the Bishop of Crete, to whom St. Paul had already addressed a letter.

Dalmatia, a part of the Roman province of lUyria on the eastern coast of the Adriatic.

2 Tim 4:11. Only Luke is with me. Take Mark and bring him with thee, for he is profitable to me for the ministry.

Luke, who was with St. Paul also during the first captivity (Col. 4:14), and who wrote the Third Gospel and the Book of Acts. All the other companions and disciples of the Apostle had left him.

Mark, the author of the Second Gospel, who was also with St. Paul during the first Roman imprisonment (Col. 4:10), but who at this time must have been some place along the route Timothy would take going to Rome from Ephesus.

For the ministry, i.e., for the work of the Gospel, or probably for personal service in place of Tychicus (Eph. 6:21; Col. 4:7; Acts 20:4).

2 Tim 4:12. But Tychicus I have sent to Ephesus.

Tychicus, who had been the bearer of the letters to the Ephesians and Colossians (Eph. 6:21; Col. 4:7), very probably was taking this present Epistle to Timothy in Ephesus and was to remain in that city to look after the affairs of the Church there during Timothy’s absence. Tychicus is also mentioned in Acts 20:4; Titus 3:12.

I have sent is very likely an epistolary aorist. An epistolary aorist is when a letter writer uses the past tense to refer to an event that has not yet happened at the time of writing, but will have occurred at the time the letter is received. If Tychicus was the bearer of 2 Timothy (see previous comment), then, obviously, he would not have yet been sent while Paul was still writing the letter, but he would have been sent by the time the letter’s contents were read to the congregation.

2 Tim 4:13. The cloak that I left at Troas with Carpus, when thou comest, bring with thee, and the books, especially the parchments.

The cloak, probably a heavy outer garment for winter wear. Some translate the word “wrapper,” meaning a satchel for carrying or protecting books.

Carpus, an otherwise unknown Christian of Troas.

The books, i.e., rolls of papyrus, a kind of writing material generally used in the first century for writing letters of ordinary importance. Paul wrote on papyrus but his Epistles were later copied on vellum rolls.

Parchments, i.e., rolls of vellum, a much more valuable and durable writing material made from the skins of animals. Probably the parchments contained the Old Testament Scriptures, and the papyrus was used by the Apostle for his letters. This would explain the early disappearance of the original copies of the latter, because papyrus was not a very durable material like parchment.

From the way St. Paul speaks in this verse and in verse 20 below It is sufficiently evident that he is referring to a recent visit to Asia Minor, doubtless between the two Roman Captivities, and not to his sojourn there years before, of which there is question in Acts 20:6.

2 Tim 4:14. Alexander the coppersmith hath done me much evil: the Lord will reward him according to his works:

Alexander. See on i Tim. i. 20. Perhaps this enemy of St. Paul’s lived at Ephesus or was there at this time, but had been in Rome testifying against the Apostle.

The Lord will reward, etc. These words are from Psalm 62:12, but the reading which makes them an imprecation here is less probable.

2 Tim 4:15. Whom do thou also avoid, for he greatly withstood our words.

He greatly withstood, etc. The aorist points to a definite occasion, very probably during St. Paul’s trial in Rome when the Apostle was defending his cause and the preaching of the Gospel.

2 Tim 4:16. At my first defence no man stood with me, but all forsook me: may it not be laid to their charge.

At my first defence. It is remarkable that St. Chrysostom, St. Thomas, and many modern commentators take these words to refer to the Apostle’s first Roman captivity, and verse 17 to his preaching between the two Roman captivities. It seems more consistent with the context to refer them to his first hearing or the first stage in his trial before his judges (called in Roman law the prima actio) during the second and last imprisonment in Rome. At this crisis no one came to his defence, doubtless out of fear and human weakness, as the words that follow would indicate.

2 Tim 4:17. But the Lord stood by me, and strengthened me, that by me the preaching may be completed, and that all the Gentiles may hear; and I was delivered out of the mouth of the lion.

By the grace and help of God St. Paul was not condemned at his first hearing, but was given another chance of explaining himself and his cause, and thus of completing the preaching of the Gospel there in Rome, the official centre of the empire and of the world.

Out of the mouth of the lion expresses the extreme peril from which he was delivered, though many of the Fathers understood the reference to be to Nero. This same phrase is found in Psalm 22:22; Dan 6:20.

2 Tim 4:18. The Lord shall deliver me from every evil work, and will preserve me unto his heavenly kingdom, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.

The Apostle is confident of his final liberation from all evil and his reception into Christ’s heavenly kingdom, though the gateway will be martyrdom.

The (past) tense of liberavit of the Vulgate, instead of the future (liberabit), has little support in the MSS., and so should be changed. A translation of the old Vulgate would read in the past tense: The Lord has delivered me. The New Latin Vulgate (Nova Vulgata) reflects the change to the future, reading librerabit, rather than liberavit. Note that the future tense is employed in Father Callan’s translation.

FINAL FAREWELL

2 Tim 4:19. Salute Prisca and Aquila, and the household of Onesiphorus.

Prisca and Aquila are first mentioned in Acts 18:2 ff., then in Acts 18:26, and 1 Cor. 16:19. They were probably among the first Christians in the Roman Church. Prisca is the same as Priscilla.

The household of Onesiphorus. See above, on 2 Tim 1:16.

2 Tim 4:20. Erastus remained at Corinth, and Trophimus I left sick at Miletus.

Erastus was probably the same person spoken of in Acts 19:22, who accompanied Timothy from Ephesus to Macedonia; he is hardly to be identified with the Erastus of Rom. 16:23.

Trophimus is mentioned in Acts 20:4, 21:29. He was a Gentile Christian of Ephesus. St. Paul left him at Miletus some time between the first and second Roman imprisonments.

2 Tim 4:21. Make haste to come before winter. Eubulus and Pudens, and Linus and Claudia, and all the brethren, salute thee.

St. Paul urges Timothy to come to him before winter, either because the traveling would be harder in winter, or because he felt that winter would bring the end of his life. The Apostle sends the greetings of a number of persons whose acquaintance Timothy had apparently made during his stay in Rome when St. Paul was a prisoner there the first time. Of the four names here given we know nothing for certain, except that Linus was the first successor of St. Peter as Bishop of Rome (Irenaeus, Adv. Hcbt., iii. 3; Eusebius, Hist. Eccl., iii. 2).

2 Tim 4:22. The Lord be with thy spirit. Grace be with you. Amen.

The blessing is to Timothy and the whole Church at Ephesus; it is not like any other blessing at the end of the Apostle’s Epistles.

The Jesus Christus and the Amen of the Vulgate are not in the best Greek.

Posted in Bible, Catholic, Notes on 2 Tim, Scripture | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

Father Callan’s Commentary on 2 Timothy Chapter 3

Posted by Dim Bulb on December 15, 2018

Text in red are my additions.

EVIL DAYS AHEAD
A Summary of 2 Timothy 3:1-9

In order to impress more forcefully on Timothy the need of cultivating undivided devotion to Christ, loyalty to the teachings of the Gospel, readiness and courage to suffer, and a Christian character that would exemplify his faith and be an inspiration to all with whom he might come in contact, the Apostle now warns him of frightful evils to come, when all manner of revolting sins will be rampant, committed by men who pretend to be godly but who will never be able to come to a knowledge of the truth, being depraved in mind and reprobate as regards faith, like Jannes and
Jambres of old. Against these, who are already appearing, Timothy must be on his guard and fight, though their wickedness will be cut short as soon as their true character becomes known.

2 Tim 3:1. Know also this, that in the last days shall come dangerous times.

The last days are not to be limited to the times just before the Second Coming of the Lord; for the evils that will darken those days are already present to some extent (ver. 5), though their number and extremity will increase as the end of the world draws near.

2 Tim 3:2. Men shall be lovers of themselves, covetous, haughty, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, wicked,
2 Tim 3:3. Without affection, without peace, slanderers, incontinent, unmerciful, without kindness,
2 Tim 3:4. Traitors, stubborn, puffed up, and lovers of pleasures more than of God;

For a somewhat similar list of vices see Rom. 1:29-31.

Lovers of themselves. The Greek expression here does not occur elsewhere in the Greek Bible. Inordinate self-love is the root of all vices, and is rightly placed at the beginning of the catalogue
that follows.

Blasphemers should rather be “railers,” meaning evil-speakers against men rather than against God.

Without peace. Better, “implacable.” The word ἄσπονδοι, (= aspondoi) is found only here in the Bible.

Without kindness. Better, “without love for the good.” The word occurs only here.

Lovers of pleasure more than of God. Literally, “lovers of pleasure more than lovers of God.” There is a play on the words in Greek, and the two substantives do not occur elsewhere in the New Testament.

2 Tim 3:5. Having an appearance indeed of godliness, but denying the power thereof. Now these avoid.

From this and the following verses we see that the corruptions in question were already a present danger, which Timothy was to avoid. The most dangerous characteristic of these evil men is their semblance of piety, which makes their influence the more seductive, while internally they are devoid of all religion; they are wolves in sheep’s clothing (Matt. 7:15).

2 Tim 3:6. For of these are they who creep into houses and lead captive silly women laden with sins, who are led away with divers desires,
2 Tim 3:7. Ever learning, and never attaining to the knowledge of the truth
.

These false Christians appeal to the weaknesses and susceptibilities of silly and unstable women as proselytes and propagators of their errors, knowing that these weaker creatures, being themselves sin-laden, will welcome any teaching that gives promise of easing their consciences, and that they will be the most effective mediums through which to spread false teachings.

Divers desires. The reference is not only to fleshly lusts, but to those of the spirit also, such as curiosity, love of novelty, and the like, which cause these flighty women to run after false rather than true teachers of religion. These people are endlessly seeking and discussing religious matters, but they never attain to a knowledge of the truth, because their seeking is neither with a sincere and pure heart nor in the right direction.

2 Tim 3:8. Now, as Jannes and Mambres resisted Moses, so these also resist the truth, men corrupted in mind, reprobate concerning the faith.

The Apostle now cites an incident of Jewish history illustrative of that which was taking place in Ephesus at this time.

Jannes and Mambres (or Jambres) are the traditional names of two of King Pharaoh’s principal magicians who opposed Moses and tried to duplicate his prodigies, thus hardening Pharaoh’s heart against the demands of the people of Israel (Ex 7:11 ff., 8:7). These two names are not mentioned in Scripture, but they have come down variously transcribed from tradition. They are mentioned in the Targum of Jonathan on Ex 7:11in the Talmud (Buxtorf, Lex Chald. talm. rabh., pp. 945 ff.), in Pliny (Hist, nat., xxx. i), in Apuleius of the second century {Apol., p. 544), in Eusebius (PrcEp. evang., ix. 8), and in Origen (In Matt. 27:9). As these two resisted Moses, so do the false teachers at Ephesus resist the Gospel, being “corrupted in mind” (i.e., perverted in their judgment of the truth) and “reprobate concerning the faith” (i.e., heretics, who have lost the faith).

2 Tim 3:9. But they shall proceed no farther; for their folly shall be manifest to all men, as theirs also was.

While these wicked men always grow worse in their evil ways (2 Tim 2:16 above and 2 Tim 3:13 below), nevertheless their wickedness will not prevail against the truth any more than did the efforts of the Egyptian magicians prevail against Moses (Ex 8:18-19). No intellectual victory can ever be won against faith rightly understood; for God is the author of both the truths of faith and the intellectual faculties of man, and truth is not contradictory.

TIMOTHY IS ABLE TO MEET THE SITUATION
A Summary of 2 Timothy 3:10-17

2 Tim 3:10. But thou hast fully known my doctrine, manner of life, purpose, faith, longsuffering, love, patience,
2 Tim 3:11. Persecutions, afflictions: such as came upon me at Antioch, at Iconium, and at Lystra: what persecutions I endured, and out of them all the Lord delivered me.

St. Paul is near to death and is writing a private letter to his dear son in the faith; and to encourage him to suffer and endure, he Speaks openly and familiarly about his own teaching, manner of life, and sufferings. He mentions in particular what he endured in the cities of Southern Asia Minor, because Timothy himself was from Lystra and was more familiar with these persecutions of his master than with the more severe ones later endured at Philippi and elsewhere.

But thou, in contrast with the false teachers.

Purpose, i.e., the aim he had in all his actions.

Antioch, Iconium, Lystra. See Acts 13:50, 14:2 ff., 14:18 ff.

The Lord delivered me. This fact is mentioned so that Timothy will not lose courage in his sufferings and trials.

2 Tim 3:12. And all that will live godly in Christ Jesus, shall suffer persecution.

Timothy will be further encouraged to suffer willingly and gladly for the Gospel by reflecting that such is the lot of all whose habitual desire and effort it is to live that life which is in Christ Jesus: “And you shall be hated by all men for my name’s sake, etc.” (Matt. 10:22) ; “Blessed are they that suffer persecution for justice’ sake, etc.” (Matt. 5:10).

2 Tim 3:13. But evil men and seducers shall grow worse and worse, erring and driving into error.

See above on verse 9.

But evil men, etc. In contrast with the godly of the preceding verse, the wicked and impostors will go from bad to worse, because they have no persecution to suffer. This may be the meaning here, though some expositors think this verse gives the reason of the preceding: the good are persecuted because of the progress of the wicked in evil.

Seducers. More literally, “imposters,” “wizards.” The word occurs only here in the Greek Bible. Probably these deceivers practised magical arts at Ephesus (Acts 19:19).

2 Tim 3:14. But continue thou in those things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing from whom thou hast learned them;

In contrast with the impostors, Timothy must continue firm in the faith which he has received, being mindful of those by whom he was taught it.

And hast been assured of. This is the meaning of the Greek here, which the Vulgate has missed. 

Knowing from whom, etc. The best Greek reading makes “whom” plural in this phrase, and hence the reference is to St. Paul and Timothy’s mother and grandmother (see above, on  2 Tim 1:5).

The Vulgate a quo should be a quibus.

2 Tim 3:15. And that from thy infancy thou hast known the holy scriptures, which can instruct thee to salvation through the faith which is in Christ Jesus.

The Jews were obliged to teach the Scriptures to their children (Ex 10:2, 12:26; Deut. 4:9, etc.), and the Rabbins enjoined that this instruction should begin when they were five years old. Thus, Timothy’s Jewish mother had taught him the Old Testament from his infancy.

The holy scriptures. The best Greek reading here retains the article. This is the only passage in the New Testament where the adjective ἱερὰ (= hiera) is applied to the Scriptures, meaning sacred as opposed to profane writings. But to ἱερὰ γράμματα (= hiera grammata) was a quasi-technical xpression signifying the Old Testament Scriptures, as we learn from Philo (Vita Mos., Ill, 39, and Frag, in Exod., Mangey’s ed., II, 657, and cap, de Vit., cont. 3) and from Josephus (Ant. Proem. 3 and X, 10, 4). Clement of Alexandria was the first Christian writer to apply this phrase to the New Testament (Strom., I, 20, § 98). Cf. Bernard, op. cit., h. I.

Which can instruct thee, etc. Better, “which can make thee wise unto salvation.” Other books impart knowledge, but the Divine Scriptures give also wisdom—a wisdom that is not of this world; but for their true and full meaning they must be studied in the light of the faith of Jesus Christ, because they are all directly or indirectly ordained to Christ, and speak directly or indirectly of His Person, ministry, life, work. Church, etc.

2 Tim 3:16. All scripture is inspired of God and profitable to teach, to reprove, to correct, to instruct in justice;

We must understand this verse in the light of the preceding one, and hence “scripture” here must mean the Old Testament. Moreover, the word γράμματα (= grammata), scripture, occurs some fifty times in the New Testament, and everywhere it means the Old Testament.

All scripture. It is better to translate “every scripture,” meaning each and every part of the Old Testament.

Inspired of God, etc. We may translate as in the Douai version, since the verb is not expressed in Greek; but it is perhaps better to render, “is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, etc.” St. Paul seems to be impressing on Timothy the usefulness of the Holy Scriptures, as inspired by God, for wisdom unto salvation (ver. 15) and for teaching, reproving, correcting, etc. (ver. 16). If we adopt the first rendering, it will mean that St. Paul is taking the inspiration of Scripture for granted by Timothy, and is insisting here on its profitableness for teaching, reproving, etc. In either case the inspiration of the Old Testament and all its parts is certain to the mind of St. Paul. The word here translated “inspired” does not occur elsewhere in the Greek Bible, but is common in Greek literature. It was first applied to the New Testament by Clement of Alexandria (Strom., VII, 16, § loi).

Four uses of Scripture are here stressed: (a) “to teach,” the truths of faith; (b) “to reprove,” or refute the errors against faith; (c) “to correct,” vices and sins; (d) “to instruct in justice,” by giving practical norms for the practice of virtue and the attainment of sanctity.

2 Tim 3:17. That the man of God may be perfect, furnished unto every good work.

The final result for Timothy of a study of the Divine Scriptures will be to fit him for a perfect discharge of his ministry. 

Man of God. See on 1 Tim. 6:11. Here the expression means the minister of Christ, as the context shows. 

Perfect. The Greek word is a common one, but it is found only here in the Bible. 

Unto every good work, pertinent to his ministry.

Posted in Bible, Catholic, Notes on 2 Tim, Scripture | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

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.

Posted in Bible, Catholic, Notes on 2 Tim, Notes on the Lectionary, Scripture | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Bishop MacEvilly’s Commentary on 2 Timothy 4:6-8, 16-18

Posted by Dim Bulb on October 21, 2013

This post begins with the bishop’s brief analysis of 2 Timothy chapter 4 followed by his notes on verses 6-8 and 16-18. Text in purple indicates his paraphrasing of the scripture he is commenting on.

ANALYSIS OF 2 TIMOTHY CHAPTER 4

In this chapter, the Apostle earnestly conjures Timothy to apply himself to the zealous discharge of his duties, particularly that of preaching the word of God in all forms, and on all occasions. And he assigns as a reason for this earnest injunction, the near approach of corruption in morals, and instability of faith, among the faithful themselves (1–5). He predicts that his own death shall occur at no distant period, and consoles Timothy, by telling him that he is only going to receive a crown of justice, in reward for his past works (5–9). He invites Timothy to come to him, and brings the Epistle to a close with the usual salutations.

2Ti 4:6  For I am even now ready to be sacrificed: and the time of my dissolution is at hand.

(You cannot long enjoy the benefit of my counsels), for, I am now subjected to the immediate process preceding my oblation as a victim, and the hour of my death is just at hand.

“I am now ready to be sacrificed.” The Vulgate reading for “sacrificed,” (delibor), and the Greek, σπενδομαι, clearly expresses that immediate preparation for sacrifice, consisting in pouring out a libation on the victim, as if he said: I am sprinkled with wine, as a libation preparatory to my immediate immolation as a victim. This he says with a view of stimulating Timothy to greater exertions, during the very short period of his own existence; for, he will be immediately deprived of the benefit of his counsels.

2Ti 4:7  I have fought a good fight: I have finished my course: I have kept the faith.

(This should be for you a subject of congratulation rather than of grief). For, I have fought a glorious fight, on behalf of the gospel and faith of Christ. I have successfully finished my course, and I have kept inviolable my promise of fidelity.

“I have fought a good fight,” i.e., a glorious fight for the gospel; “I have finished my course.” In both these, he alludes to the athletic exercises of wrestling, and running, at the Olympic games. “I have kept the faith,” commonly understood of his promise of fidelity, in allusion to the promise, which a soldier makes to his commander. It would be no great matter for him to glory in having kept the faith of Christ, or in not having become an apostate. Hence, the word “faith,” refers to fidelity in the discharge of his Apostolic functions.

2Ti 4:8  As to the rest, there is laid up for me a crown of justice which the Lord the just judge will render to me in that day: and not only to me, but to them also that love his coming. Make haste to come to me quickly.

As to what remains, there is stored up and safely kept for me, now almost on the point of victory, the crown which I have justly merited, and which the Lord Jesus Christ, as a just judge, will award to me on the day of General Judgment; and not only to me, but to all who expect and love his glorious coming. Hasten to come to me, without delay, to Rome.

He continues his allusion to the Olympic games. As a prize-fighter, he had come off victorious in the glorious contest; as a runner, he had reached the goal, observing all the rules of the race course. It remained, therefore, for him to receive from the master or judge of the games, the crown which he merited, i.e., to receive from God the reward of eternal life, which is held out by our Lord Jesus Christ, to such as triumphantly struggle in the stadium of a Christian life. Then, this reward is not to be seen, but it is “laid up,” and faithfully kept by God. It is “a crown of justice,” or a crown justly merited; eternal life is, therefore, to be the reward of merit. It is also a grace, because grace is indispensable for merit; hence, as St. Augustine expresses it:—“In crowning our merits, God only crowns his own gifts.” And although eternal life be “a crown of justice,” because due to our good works, owing to the liberal promises of God, it is also “a crown of mercy,” because it is merited through the merciful grace of God, as being infinitely above the reach of our natural powers. “On that day,” the day of General Judgment, when the soul and body shall be publicly glorified, though it virtually commences, on the day of particular judgment. “And not only to me,” &c. “It is a crown reserved for all Christians who shall finish their course well.” “That love his coming,” i.e., who by good works are prepared for him, and show that they love his coming to reward them, as the faithful servant, who performs the wishes of his master, loves his coming.

What an exhortation this passage conveys to us to labour zealously for eternal life! The period of our exertions is but momentary; to the man on the point of death, his past life, no matter how long, appears but a mere point. We have the judge of the games, the author and finisher of our faith, who is to be judge and witness, at the same time, holding out from heaven, the crown, that will never fade, and animating us by the sure prospect of enjoying it.

From the present passage, it appears quite clear, that this Epistle was written, when the Apostle was at the very point of death, which he knew, either from revelation or from circumstances, to “be at hand.” The object of the Apostle in this passage is to excite Timothy to greater zeal, by telling him that these are the last written instructions he will receive from him—for, that he is now in the position of the victim, on whose head is poured forth the preparatory libation, his death, just at hand. He removes the grief which this might naturally occasion Timothy, by telling him that he is about to enter on the possession of the crown of eternal life. Looking, then, to the plain, obvious meaning of the words, they can bear no other interpretation than that which fixes his death as instantly to occur. This Epistle was, therefore, written during his second imprisonment.

2Ti 4:16  At my first answer, no man stood with me: but all forsook me. May it not be laid to their charge!

The first time during this imprisonment, that I pleaded my cause before Nero, none of my friends stood by me, they all forsook me. May this not be imputed to them as a sin, i.e., may God forgive them for this desertion of me.

“In my answer.” (In Greek, ἀπολογίᾳ, apology), i.e., the first time he pleaded his cause during this second imprisonment, either before Nero, or before some subordinate judge. “No man” (of his friends), stood with him, “but all,” i.e., almost all; for, Luke and others did not desert him, but all who could be of any service to him in the court of Nero “forsook” him, from a dread of that Emperor’s cruelty. “May it not be laid to their charge;” may God forgive them, because they sinned only through weakness.

2Ti 4:17  But the Lord stood by me and strengthened me, that by me the preaching may be accomplished and that all the Gentiles may hear. And I was delivered out of the mouth of the lion.

But the Lord did not abandon me, he stood by me, and supplied me with spirit and courage for my defence, in order that the preaching of the gospel would be accomplished by me, and that all nations might hear it, and, therefore, I was delivered out of the mouth of the lion.

“The Lord stood by me;” he was not altogether forsaken—the Lord stood by him, encouraging him. “And strengthened me;” giving him strength and courage to go through his defence. Some persons interpret the Greek word corresponding with “stood by me,” παρεστη, to mean, appeared to me, and by his presence refreshed me, giving me strength and confidence. “That by me the preaching may be accomplished;” not that I deserved any such divine interposition; but, the end for which he stood by me, and for which I wished to have my life prolonged, was, that the preaching of the gospel might receive its consummation through me, and that all the nations might hear it at the centre of the greatest power then existing—viz., at Rome, and even in the palace of Nero, to which many had flocked from all parts of the then known world. Hence, it came to pass, that in his second imprisonment, as well as in his first, “his bonds were made manifest in all the court,” and to all the rest (Philip. 1); and, therefore, “he was delivered out of the mouth of the lion.” Such was the appellation which Nero received for his savage ferocity and cruelty. He was delivered from Nero’s grasp, and permitted to live some time longer, perhaps comparatively free, under the custody of a single soldier, as had been allowed him, during his first imprisonment. This passage furnishes no argument against the opinion of the ancients, that the present Epistle was written during the Apostle’s second imprisonment. It is rather in favour of that opinion. Because, he says, that “in his first defence,” or as in Greek, apology, “all had forsaken him,” fearing the cruelty of Nero; and he calls him the “lion,” on account of his cruelty. Now, these expressions could not be used in reference to Nero during the Apostle’s first imprisonment; for, as Ecclesiastical writers tell us, St. Paul’s first imprisonment occurred during the early part of Nero’s reign, some say, in the second or third year of it. And it is quite certain that during the four first years of his reign, Nero was a most benevolent prince. So much so that Seneca declares, that when he was called upon to write the sentence for the execution of two robbers, he exclaimed, would I never knew letters! Why, therefore, should the faithful dread so clement and kind-hearted a prince?—why call him “a lion”? This would be true of him only in the subsequent part of his reign, during the Apostle’s second imprisonment. Then, he calls the defence his “first,” because he was often interrogated during his second imprisonment.

2Ti 4:18  The Lord hath delivered me from every evil work and will preserve me unto his heavenly kingdom. To whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.

But as he has rescued me from the earthly lion so I hope he will rescue me from the spiritual lion—viz., from sin, and will preserve me unto his heavenly kingdom—to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.

“The Lord hath delivered (in Greek, ῥύσεται, will deliver) me from every evil work,” from the incursions of the infernal lion, from all sin, and will grant me victory over all temptation, and transfer me to his heavenly kingdom.

Posted in Bible, Catholic, Catholic lectionary, Christ, Devotional Resources, Notes on 2 Tim, Notes on the Lectionary, Scripture | Tagged: , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Bishop MacEvilly’s Commentary on 2 Timothy 4:10-17

Posted by Dim Bulb on October 12, 2013

This post opens with the bishop’s brief analysis of 2 Timothy 4, followed by his notes on verses 10-17. Text in purple indicates the bishop’s paraphrasing of the scripture he is commenting on.

ANALYSIS OF 2 TIMOTHY CHAPTER 4

In this chapter, the Apostle earnestly conjures Timothy to apply himself to the zealous discharge of his duties, particularly that of preaching the word of God in all forms, and on all occasions. And he assigns as a reason for this earnest injunction, the near approach of corruption in morals, and instability of faith, among the faithful themselves (1–5). He predicts that his own death shall occur at no distant period, and consoles Timothy, by telling him that he is only going to receive a crown of justice, in reward for his past works (5–9). He invites Timothy to come to him, and brings the Epistle to a close with the usual salutations.

2Ti 4:10  Crescens into Galatia, Titus into Dalmatia.

2Ti 4:11  Only Luke is with me. Take Mark and bring him with thee: for he is profitable to me for the ministry.

Luke only remains with me. Take (John) Mark, and bring him with you, for, he is of service to me for the ministry of the gospel.

Luke is the only person able to serve him; that the Apostle was not alone towards the end of his imprisonment—that he and St. Peter were both confined in the Mamertine prison, for nine months before their martyrdom, is the common tradition of the Romans, as we learn from Baronius (A.D. 69). “Mark,” i.e., John Mark, the cousin of Barnabas, who was before rejected by the Apostle (Acts, 15:27). After doing penance, the Apostle received him; he was before useless, but now of some service, while Demas becomes useless. The man who stands should not presume, nor should he who falls, despair.

2Ti 4:12  But Tychicus I have sent to Ephesus.

Tychicus I have sent to Ephesus (to supply your place).

 He did not wish to leave Ephesus without a pastor during Timothy’s absence; he, therefore, sends Tychicus to supply his place.

2Ti 4:13  The cloak that I left at Troas, with Carpus, when thou comest, bring with thee: and the books, especially the parchments.

Call on your way for the cloak, which I left with Carpus at Troas, and for the books also, but particularly the parchments.

“The cloak.” This was an outer garment, which the Apostle wished to have in prison, in order to keep off the cold, and not to be troublesome to others, in borrowing from them. His sending for it to so great a distance, shows his great poverty. “The books,” long since written; probably the books of the Old Testament, and “the parchments,” refer to the manuscripts lately written by himself. From this it appears, that though the Apostle was divinely inspired, and taught by Christ himself; still, he omitted no human labour or study for self-improvement. For the short time he had to live, he desired to engage in some useful occupation, and wished for these books to give them to the faithful. If the Doctor of Nations, taught by Christ himself, and after having discharged the Apostleship for so many years, wishes for books to read, how much more necessary must it be for us to make the SS. Scripture and pious books, the subject of our daily study and meditation!

2Ti 4:14  Alexander the coppersmith hath done me much evil: the Lord will reward him according to his works:
Alexander, the copper-smith, has done me much evil: the Lord will inflict on him punishment proportioned to his misdeeds.
2Ti 4:15  Whom do thou also avoid: for he hath greatly withstood our words.
For fear of similar maltreatment, do you also shun him. For, he has offered very great resistance to our preaching.

“Alexander, the copper-smith.” The same, probably, to whom reference is made (1 Tim. 1). Irritated at the excommunication with which the Apostle visited him, he resisted his preaching; he also, very likely, spoke of St. Paul to the friends of Nero, as a seditious person, and an enemy of the Jewish religion, which was tolerated at Rome. “The Lord will reward him,” &c. (In Greek, ἀποδῴη αὐτῷ ὁ Κύριος may the Lord reward him), which is a prophecy, joined with an approval, of the Divine vengeance with which he was to be visited.

2Ti 4:16  At my first answer, no man stood with me: but all forsook me. May it not be laid to their charge!

 The first time during this imprisonment, that I pleaded my cause before Nero, none of my friends stood by me, they all forsook me. May this not be imputed to them as a sin, i.e., may God forgive them for this desertion of me.

“In my answer.” (In Greek, ἀπολογίᾳ, apology), i.e., the first time he pleaded his cause during this second imprisonment, either before Nero, or before some subordinate judge. “No man” (of his friends), stood with him, “but all,” i.e., almost all; for, Luke and others did not desert him, but all who could be of any service to him in the court of Nero “forsook” him, from a dread of that Emperor’s cruelty. “May it not be laid to their charge;” may God forgive them, because they sinned only through weakness.

2Ti 4:17  But the Lord stood by me and strengthened me, that by me the preaching may be accomplished and that all the Gentiles may hear. And I was delivered out of the mouth of the lion.

But the Lord did not abandon me, he stood by me, and supplied me with spirit and courage for my defence, in order that the preaching of the gospel would be accomplished by me, and that all nations might hear it, and, therefore, I was delivered out of the mouth of the lion.

 “The Lord stood by me;” he was not altogether forsaken—the Lord stood by him, encouraging him. “And strengthened me;” giving him strength and courage to go through his defence. Some persons interpret the Greek word corresponding with “stood by me,” παρεστη, to mean, appeared to me, and by his presence refreshed me, giving me strength and confidence. “That by me the preaching may be accomplished;” not that I deserved any such divine interposition; but, the end for which he stood by me, and for which I wished to have my life prolonged, was, that the preaching of the gospel might receive its consummation through me, and that all the nations might hear it at the centre of the greatest power then existing—viz., at Rome, and even in the palace of Nero, to which many had flocked from all parts of the then known world. Hence, it came to pass, that in his second imprisonment, as well as in his first, “his bonds were made manifest in all the court,” and to all the rest (Philip. 1); and, therefore, “he was delivered out of the mouth of the lion.” Such was the appellation which Nero received for his savage ferocity and cruelty. He was delivered from Nero’s grasp, and permitted to live some time longer, perhaps comparatively free, under the custody of a single soldier, as had been allowed him, during his first imprisonment. This passage furnishes no argument against the opinion of the ancients, that the present Epistle was written during the Apostle’s second imprisonment. It is rather in favour of that opinion. Because, he says, that “in his first defence,” or as in Greek, apology, “all had forsaken him,” fearing the cruelty of Nero; and he calls him the “lion,” on account of his cruelty. Now, these expressions could not be used in reference to Nero during the Apostle’s first imprisonment; for, as Ecclesiastical writers tell us, St. Paul’s first imprisonment occurred during the early part of Nero’s reign, some say, in the second or third year of it. And it is quite certain that during the four first years of his reign, Nero was a most benevolent prince. So much so that Seneca declares, that when he was called upon to write the sentence for the execution of two robbers, he exclaimed, would I never knew letters! Why, therefore, should the faithful dread so clement and kind-hearted a prince?—why call him “a lion”? This would be true of him only in the subsequent part of his reign, during the Apostle’s second imprisonment. Then, he calls the defence his “first,” because he was often interrogated during his second imprisonment.

Posted in Bible, Catholic, Catholic lectionary, Christ, Devotional Resources, Notes on 2 Tim, Notes on the Lectionary, Scripture | Tagged: , , , , , | 1 Comment »

St John Chrysostom’s Homiletic Commentary on 2 Timothy 2:1-14

Posted by Dim Bulb on October 9, 2013

The following post consists of St John Chrysostom’s 4th Homily on 2 Timothy, covering 2:1-10. And excerpt from his 5th homily coverse verses 11-14.

“Thou therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also. Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier. And if a man also strive for masteries, yet is he not crowned, except he strive lawfully. The husbandman that laboreth must be first partaker of the fruits. Consider what I say; and the Lord give thee understanding in all things.”

THE young sailor at sea is inspired with great confidence, if the Master of the ship has been preserved in a shipwreck. For he will not consider that it is from his inexperience that he is exposed to the storm, but from the nature of things; and this has no little effect upon his mind. In war also the Captain, who sees his General wounded and recovered again, is much encouraged. And thus it produces some consolation to the faithful, that the Apostle should have been exposed to great sufferings, and not rendered weak by the utmost of them. And had it not been so, he would not have related his sufferings. For when Timothy heard, that he who possessed so great powers, who had conquered the whole world, is a prisoner, and afflicted, yet is not impatient, nor discontented upon the desertion of his friends; he, if ever exposed to the same sufferings himself, would not consider that it proceeded from human weakness, nor from the circumstance of his being a disciple, and inferior to Paul, since his teacher too suffered the like, but that all this happened from the natural course of things. For Paul himself did this,1 and related what had befallen him, that he might strengthen Timothy, and renew his courage. And he shows that it was for this reason he mentioned his trials and afflictions, in that he has added, “Thou, therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.” What sayest thou? Thou hast shaken us with terrors, thou hast told us that thou art in chains, in afflictions, that all have forsaken thee, and, as if thou hadst said thou hadst not suffered anything, nor been abandoned by any, thou addest, “Thou therefore, my son, be strong”?—And justly too. For these things were to thy strengthening more than to his.1 For if I, Paul, endure these things, much more oughtest thou to bear them. If the master, much more the disciple. And this exhortation he introduces with much affection, calling him “son,” and not only so, but “my son.” If thou art a son, he means, imitate thy father. If thou art a son, be strong in consideration of the things which I have said, or rather be strong, not merely from what I have told you, but “of God.” “Be strong,” he says, “in the grace that is in Christ Jesus”; that is, “through the grace of Christ.” That is, stand firmly. Thou knowest the battle. For elsewhere he says, “We wrestle not against flesh and blood.” (Eph. 6:12.) And this he says not to depress but to excite them. Be sober therefore, he means, and watch, have the grace of the Lord coöperating with thee, and aiding thee in thy contest, contribute thy own part with much alacrity and resolution. “And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men”; to “faithful” men, not to questioners nor to reasoners, to “faithful.” How faithful? Such as betray not the Gospel they should preach. “The things which thou hast heard,” not which thou hast searched out. For “faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” (Rom. 10:17.) But wherefore, “among many witnesses”? As if he had said: Thou hast not heard in secret, nor apart, but in the presence of many, with all openness of speech. Nor does he say, Tell, but “commit,” as a treasure committed is deposited in safety. Again he alarms his disciple, both from things above and things below. But he says not only “commit to faithful men”; for of what advantage is it that one is faithful, if he is not able to convey his doctrine to others? when he does not indeed betray the faith; but does not render others faithful? The teacher therefore ought to have two qualities, to be both faithful, and apt to teach; wherefore he says, “who shall be able to teach others also.”

“Thou therefore endure hardness as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.” Oh, how great a dignity is this, to be a soldier of Jesus Christ! Observe the kings on earth, how great an honor it is esteemed to serve under them. If therefore the soldier of the king ought to endure hardness, not to endure hardness is not the part of any soldier. So that it behooves thee not to complain, if thou endurest hardness, for that is the part of a soldier; but to complain, if thou dost not endure hardness.

“No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life, that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier. And if a man also strive for masteries, yet is he not crowned except he strive lawfully.”

These things are said indeed to Timothy, but through him they are addressed to every teacher and disciple. Let no one therefore of those who hold the office of a Bishop disdain to hear these things, but let him be ashamed not to do them. “If any one strive for masteries,” he says, “he is not crowned, except he strive lawfully.” What is meant by “lawfully”? It is not enough that he enters into the lists, that he is anointed, and even engages, unless he comply with all the laws of the exercise, with respect to diet, to temperance and sobriety, and all the rules of the wrestling school, unless, in short, he go through all that is befitting for a wrestler,2 he is not crowned. And observe the wisdom of Paul. He mentions wrestlers and soldiers, the one to prepare him for slaughter and blood, the other with reference to endurance, that he might bear everything with fortitude, and be ever in exercise.

“The husbandman that laboreth must be first partaker of the fruits.”

He had first spoken from his own example as a teacher. He now speaks from those that are more common, as wrestlers and soldiers, and in their case he sets before him the rewards. First, that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier; secondly, that he may be crowned; now he proposes a third example that more particularly suits himself. For the instance of the soldier and the wrestler corresponds to those who are under rule, but that of the husbandman to the Teacher. (Strive) not as a soldier or a wrestler only, but as a husbandman too. The husbandman takes care not of himself alone, but of the fruits of the earth. That is, no little reward of his labors is enjoyed by the husbandman.

Here he both shows, that to God nothing is wanting, and that there is a reward for Teaching, which he shows by a common instance. As the husbandman, he says, does not labor without profit, but enjoys before others the fruits of his own toils, so is it fit that the teacher should do: either he means this, or he is speaking of the honor to be paid to teachers, but this is less consistent. For why does he not say the husbandman simply, but him “that laboreth”? not only that worketh, but that is worn with toil? And here with reference to the delay of reward, that no one may be impatient, he says, thou reapest the fruit already, or there is a reward in the labor itself. When therefore he has set before him the examples of soldiers, of wrestlers, and husbandmen, and all figuratively, “No one,” he says, “is crowned except he strive lawfully.” And having observed that “the husbandman who laboreth must first be partaker of the fruits,” he adds,

“Consider what I say, and the Lord give thee understanding in all things.”

It is on this account that he has spoken these things in proverb and parable. Then again to show his affectionate disposition, he ceases not to pray for him, as fearing for his own son, and he says,

Ver. 8, 9. “Remember that Jesus Christ, of the seed of David, was raised from the dead, according to my Gospel. Wherein I suffer trouble as an evil-doer, even unto bonds.”

On what account is this mentioned? It is directed chiefly against the heretics, at the same time to encourage Timothy, by showing the advantage of sufferings, since Christ, our Master, Himself overcame death by suffering. Remember this, he says, and thou wilt have sufficient comfort. “Remember that Jesus Christ, of the seed of David, was raised from the dead.” For upon that point many had already begun to subvert the dispensation, being ashamed at the immensity of God’s love to mankind. For of such a nature are the benefits which God has conferred upon us, that men were ashamed to ascribe them to God, and could not believe He had so far condescended. “According to my Gospel.” Thus he everywhere speaks in his Epistles, saying “according to my Gospel,”1 either because they were bound to believe him, or because there were some who preached “another Gospel.” (Gal. 1:6).

“Wherein I suffer trouble,” he says, “as an evil-doer, even unto bonds.” Again he introduces consolation and encouragement from himself, and he prepares2 his hearer’s mind with these two things; first, that he should know him to endure hardness; and, secondly, that he did not so but for a useful purpose, for in this case he will gain, in the other will even suffer harm. For what advantage is it, that you can show that a Teacher has exposed himself to hardship, but not for any useful purpose? But if it is for any benefit, if for the profit of those who are taught, then it is worthy of admiration.3

“But the word of God is not bound.” That is, if we were soldiers of this world, and waged an earthly warfare, the chains that confine our hands would avail. But now God has made us such that nothing can subdue us. For our hands are bound, but not our tongue, since nothing can bind the tongue but cowardice and unbelief alone; and where these are not, though you fasten chains upon us, the preaching of the Gospel is not bound. If indeed you bind a husbandman, you prevent his sowing, for he sows with his hand: but if you bind a Teacher, you hinder not the word, for it is sown with his tongue, not with his hand. Our word therefore is not subjected to bonds. For though we are bound, that is free, and runs its course. How? Because though bound, behold, we preach. This is for the encouragement of those that are free. For if we that are bound preach, much more does it behoove you that are loose to do so. You have heard that I suffer these things, as an evil-doer. Be not dejected. For it is a great wonder, that being bound I do the work of those that are free, that being bound I overcome all, that being bound I prevail over those that bound me. For it is the word of God, not ours. Human chains cannot bind the word of God. “These things I suffer on account of the elect.”

Ver. 10. “Therefore I endure all things,” he says, “for the elect’s sake, that they may also obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory.”

Behold another incentive. I endure these things, he says, not for myself, but for the salvation of others. It was in my power to have lived free from danger; to have suffered none of these things, if I had consulted my own interest. On what account then do I suffer these things? For the good of others, that others may obtain eternal life. What then dost thou promise thyself? He has not said, simply on account of these particular persons; but “for the elect’s sake.” If God has chosen them, it becomes us to suffer everything for their sakes. “That they also may obtain salvation.” By saying, “they also,” he means, as well as we. For God hath chosen us also; and as God suffered for our sakes, so should we suffer for their sakes. Thus it is a matter of retribution, not of favor. On the part of God it was grace, for He having received no previous benefit, hath done us good: but on our parts it is retribution, we having previously received benefits from God, suffer for these, for whom we suffer, in order “that they may obtain salvation.” What sayest thou? What salvation? Art thou who wast not the author of salvation to thyself, but wast destroying thyself, art thou the author of salvation to others? Surely not, and therefore he adds, “salvation that is in Christ Jesus”; that which is truly salvation, “with eternal glory.” Present things are afflictive, but they are but on earth. Present things are ignominious, but they are temporary. They are full of bitterness and pain; but they last only to-day and to-morrow.

Such is not the nature of the good things, they are eternal, they are in heaven. That is true glory, this is dishonor.

MORAL. For observe, I pray, beloved, that is not glory which is on earth, the true glory is in heaven. But if any one would be glorified, let him be dishonored. If he would obtain rest, let him suffer affliction. If any one would be forever illustrious, would enjoy pleasure, let him despise temporal things. And that dishonor is glory, and glory dishonor, let us now set before us to the best of our power, that we may see what is real glory. It is not possible to be glorified upon earth; if thou wouldest be glorified, it must be through dishonor. And let us prove this in the examples of two persons, Nero and Paul. The one had the glory of this world, the other the dishonor. How? The first was a tyrant, had obtained great success had raised many trophies, had wealth ever flowing in, numerous armies everywhere; he had the greater part of the world and the imperial city subject to his sway, the whole senate crouching to him, and his palace too1 was advancing with splendid show. When he must be armed, he went forth arrayed in gold and precious stones. When he was to sit still in peace, he sat clothed in robes of purple. He was surrounded by numerous guards and attendants. He was called Lord of land and sea, Emperor,2 Augustus, Cæsar, King, and other such high-sounding names as implied3 flattery and courtship; and nothing was wanting that might tend to glory. Even wise men and potentates and sovereigns trembled at him. For beside all this, he was said to be a cruel and violent man. He even wished to be thought a god, and he despised both all the idols, and the very God Who is over all. He was worshiped as a god. What greater glory than this? Or rather what greater dishonor? For—I know not how—my tongue is carried away by the force of truth, and passes sentence before judgment. Meanwhile let us examine the matter according to the opinion of the multitude, and of unbelievers, and the estimation of flattery.

What is greater in the common estimation of glory than to be reputed a god? It is indeed a great disgrace that any human being should be so mad, but for the present let us consider the matter according to the opinion of the multitude. Nothing then was wanting to him, that contributes to human glory, but he was worshiped by all as a god. Now in opposition to him, let us consider Paul. He was a Cilician, and the difference between Rome and Cilicia, all know. He was a tent-maker, a poor man, unskilled in the wisdom of those without, knowing only the Hebrew tongue, a language despised by all, especially by the Italians. For they do not so much despise the barbarian, the Greek, or any other tongue as the Syriac, and this has affinity with the Hebrew. Nor wonder at this, for if they despised the Greek, which is so admirable and beautiful, much more the Hebrew. He was a man that often lived in hunger, often went to bed without food, a man that was naked, and had not clothes to put on; “in cold, and nakedness,” as he says of himself. (1 Cor. 11:27.) Nor was this all; but he was cast into prison at the command of Nero himself, and confined with robbers, with impostors, with gave-breakers, with murderers, and he was, as he himself says, scourged as a malefactor. Who then is the more illustrious? The name of the one the greater part have never heard of. The other is daily celebrated by Greeks, and Barbarians, and Scythians, and those who inhabit the extremities of the earth.

But let us not yet consider what is the case now, but even at that time who was the more illustrious, who the more glorious, he that was in chains, and dragged bound from prison, or he that was clothed in a purple robe, and walked forth from a palace? The prisoner certainly. For the other, who had armies at his command, and sat arrayed in purple, was not able to do what he would. But the prisoner, that was like a malefactor, and in mean attire, could do everything with more authority. How? The one said, “Do not disseminate the word of God.” The other said, “I cannot forbear; ‘the word of God is not bound.’ ” Thus the Cilician, the prisoner, the poor tent-maker, who lived in hunger, despised the Roman, rich as he was, and emperor, and ruling over all, who enriched so many thousands; and with all his armies he availed nothing. Who then was illustrious? who venerable? He that in chains was a conqueror, or he that in a purple robe was conquered? He that standing below, smote, or he that sitting above, was smitten? He that commanded and was despised, or he who was commanded and made no account of the commands? He who being alone was victorious, or he who with numerous armies was defeated? The king therefore so came off, that his prisoner triumphed over him. Tell me then on whose side you would be? For do not look to what comes afterwards, but to what was then their state. Would you be on the side of Nero, or of Paul? I speak not according to the estimate of faith, for that is manifest; but according to the estimate of glory, and reverence, and preëminence. Any man of right understanding would say, on the side of Paul. For if to conquer is more illustrious than to be conquered, he is more glorious. And this is not yet much, that he conquered, but that being in so mean a state he conquered one in so exalted a condition. For I say, and will not cease to repeat it, though bound with a chain, yet he smote him that was invested with a diadem.

Such is the power of Christ. The chain surpassed the kingly crown, and this apparel was shown more brilliant than that. Clothed in filthy rags, as the inhabitant of a prison, he turned all eyes upon the chains that hung on him, rather than on the purple robe. He stood on earth bound down and stooping low, and all left the tyrant mounted on a golden chariot to gaze on him. And well they might. For it was customary to see a king with white horses, but it was a strange and unwonted sight to behold a prisoner conversing with a king with as much confidence as a king would converse with a pitiful and wretched slave. The surrounding multitude were all slaves of the king, yet they admired not their lord, but him who was superior to their lord. And he before whom all feared and trembled, was trampled upon by one solitary man. See then how great was the brightness of these very chains!

And what need to mention what followed after these things? The tomb of the one is nowhere to be seen; but the other lies in the royal city itself, in greater splendor than any king, even there where he conquered, where he raised his trophy. If mention is made of the one, it is with reproach, even among his kindred, for he is said to have been profligate. But the memory of the other is everywhere accompanied with a good report, not among1 us only, but among his enemies. For when truth shines forth, it puts to shame even one’s enemies, and if they admire him not for his faith, yet they admire him for his boldness and his manly freedom. The one is proclaimed by all mouths, as one that is crowned, the other is loaded with reproaches and accusations. Which then is the real splendor?

And yet I am but praising the lion for his talons, when I ought to be speaking of his real honors. And what are these? Those in the heavens. How will he come in a shining vesture with the King of Heaven! How will Nero stand then, mournful and dejected! And if what I say seems to thee incredible and ridiculous, thou art ridiculous for deriding that which is no subject for laughter. For if thou disbelievest the future, be convinced from what is past. The season for being crowned is not yet come, and yet how great honor has the combatant gained! What honor then will he not obtain, when the Distributor of the prizes shall come! He was among foreigners, “a stranger and a sojourner” (Heb. 11:13), and thus is he admired: what good will he not enjoy, when he is amongst his own? Now “our life is hid with Christ in God” (Col. 3:3); yet he who is dead worketh more and is more honored than the living. When that our life shall come, what will he not participate? What will he not attain?

On this account God made him enjoy these honors, not because he wanted them. For if when in the body he despised popular glory, much more will he despise it now that he is delivered from the body. Nor only on this account has He caused him to enjoy honor, but that those who disbelieve the future may be convinced from the present. I say that when the Resurrection shall be, Paul will come with the King of Heaven, and will enjoy infinite blessings. But the unbeliever will not be convinced. Let him believe then from the present. The tent-maker is more illustrious, more honored than the king. No emperor of Rome ever enjoyed so great honor. The emperor is cast out, and lies, no one knows where. The tent-maker occupies the midst of the city, as if he were a king, and living. From these things believe, even with respect to the future. If he enjoys so great honor here, where he was persecuted and banished, what will he not be when he shall come hereafter? If when he was a tent-maker, he was so illustrious, what will he be when he shall come rivaling the beams of the sun? If in so much meanness he overcame such magnificence, to whom, at his coming, will he not be superior? Can we avoid the conclusion? Who is not moved by the fact, that a tent-maker became more honorable than the most honored of kings? If here things happen so beyond the course of nature, much more will it be so hereafter. If thou wilt not believe the future, O man, believe the present. If thou wilt not believe invisible things, believe things that are seen: or rather believe things which are seen, for so thou wilt believe things which are invisible. But if thou wilt not, we may fitly say with the Apostle, “We are pure from your blood” (Acts 20:26): for we have testified to you of all things, and have left out nothing that we should have said. Blame yourselves therefore, and to yourselves2 will ye impute the punishment of Hell. But let us, my beloved children, be imitators of Paul, not in his faith only, but in his life, that we may attain to heavenly glory, and trample upon that glory that is here. Let not any things present attract us. Let us despise visible things, that we may obtain heavenly things, or rather may3 through these obtain the others, but let it be our aim preeminently to obtain those, of which God grant that we may be all accounted worthy, through the grace and lovingkindness, &c.

“It is a faithful saying: for if we be dead with Him, we shall also live with Him: if we suffer, we shall also reign with Him: if we deny Him, He also will deny us: if we believe not, yet He abideth faithful: He cannot deny Himself. Of these things put them in remembrance, charging them before the Lord, that they strive not about words to no profit, but to the subverting of the hearers.”

MANY of the weaker sort of men give up the effort of faith, and do not endure the deferring of their hope. They seek things present, and form from these their judgment of the future. When therefore their lot here was death, torments, and chains, and yet he says, they shall come to eternal life, they would not have believed, but would have said, “What sayest thou? When I live, I die; and when I die, I live? Thou promisest nothing on earth, and dost thou give it in heaven? Little things thou dost not bestow; and dost thou offer great things?” That none therefore may argue thus, he places beyond doubt the proof of these things, laying it down beforehand already, and giving certain signs. For, “remember,” he says, “that Jesus Christ was raised from the dead”; that is, rose again after death. And now showing the same thing he says, “It is a faithful saying,” that he who has attained a heavenly life, will attain eternal life also. Whence is it “faithful”? Because, he says, “If we be dead with Him, we shall also live with Him.” For say, shall we partake with Him in things laborious and painful; and shall we not in things beneficial? But not even a man would act thus, nor, if one had chosen to suffer affliction and death with him, would he refuse to him a share in his rest, if he had attained it. But how are we “dead with Him”? This death he means both of that in the Laver, and that in sufferings. For he says, “Bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus” (2 Cor. 4:10); and, “We are buried with Him by baptism into death” (Rom. 6:4); and, “Our old man is crucified with Him”; and, “We have been planted together in the likeness of His death.” (Rom. 6:5, 6.) But he also speaks here of death by trials: and that more especially, for he was also suffering trials when he wrote it. And this is what he says, “If we have suffered death on His account, shall we not live on His account? This is not to be doubted. ‘If we suffer, we shall also reign with Him,’ ” not absolutely, we shall reign, but “if we suffer,” showing that it is not enough to die once, (the blessed man himself died daily,) but there was need of much patient endurance; and especially Timothy had need of it. For tell me not, he says, of your first sufferings, but that you continue to suffer.

Then on the other side he exhorts him, not from the good, but from the evil. For if wicked men were to partake of the same things, this would be no consolation. And if having endured they were to reign with Him, but not having endured were not indeed to reign with Him, but were to suffer no worse evil, though this were terrible, yet it would not be enough to affect most men with concern. Wherefore he speaks of something more dreadful still. If we deny Him, He will also deny us. So then there is a retribution not of good things only, but of the contrary. And consider what it is probable that he will suffer, who is denied in that kingdom. “Whosoever shall deny Me, him will I also deny.” (Matt. 10:33.) And the retribution is not equal, though it seems so expressed. For we who deny Him are men, but He who denies us is God; and how great is the distance between God and man, it is needless to say.

Besides, we injure ourselves; Him we cannot injure. And to show this, he has added, “If we believe not, He abideth faithful: He cannot deny Himself”: that is, if we believe not that He rose again, He is not injured by it. He is faithful and unshaken, whether we say so or not. If then He is not at all injured by our denying Him, it is for nothing else than for our benefit that He desires our confession. For He abideth the same, whether we deny Him or not. He cannot deny Himself, that is, His own Being. We may say that He is not; though such is not the fact. It is not in His nature, it is not possible for Him not to be, that is, to go into nonentity.1 His subsistence always abides, always is. Let us not therefore be so affected, as if we could gratify or could injure Him. But lest any one should think that Timothy needed this advice, he has added,

“Of these things put them in remembrance, charging them before the Lord, that they strive not about words to no profit, but to the subverting of the hearers.” It is an overawing thing to call God to witness what we say, for if no one would dare to set at nought the testimony of man when appealed to, much less when the appeal is to God. If any one, for instance, entering into a contract, or making his will, chooses to call witnesses worthy of credit, would any transfer the things to those who are not included? Surely not. And even if he wishes it, yet fearing the credibility of the witnesses, he avoids it. What is “charging them before the Lord”? he calls God to witness both what was said, and what was done.

“That they strive not about words to no profit;” and not merely so, but “to the subverting of the hearers.” Not only is there no gain from it, but much harm. “Of these things then put them in remembrance,” and if they despise thee, God will judge them. But why does he admonish them not to strive about words? He knows that it is a dainty1 thing, and that the human soul is ever prone to contend and to dispute about words. To guard against this, he has not only charged them “not to strive about words,” but to render his discourse more alarming, he adds, “to the subverting of the hearers.” The  rest of this homily can be read here.

Posted in Bible, Catholic, Catholic lectionary, fathers of the church, Notes on 2 Tim, Notes on the Lectionary, Scripture, St John Chrysostom | Tagged: , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

 
%d bloggers like this: