Personal information, 4:9-18
ii] Paul's continuing confidence in the Lord despite his present difficultiesArgument
On returning to his confession, v16-18, Paul reports that at his first court hearing he was forced to defend himself alone, v16, but the Lord was with him and enabled him to give a faithful testimony to the gospel and was delivered, at least on that occasion, v17. In the face of these difficulties Paul expresses his sure confidence in his eternal salvation, v18.
i] Context: See 4:9-15. .
ii] Background: See 1:1-5.
iii] Structure: Paul's concluding testimony presents as follows:
God will bring us safely to his heavenly kingdom
Human support was lacking at Paul's first trial, v16;
Divine support was present at Paul's first trial, v17;
The Lord's ultimate support is guaranteed, v18.
Paul uses the lack of support he received from his colleagues at his first trial / preliminary hearing to contrast with the support he received from the Lord. He felt that the Lord enabled him to testify to the gospel, and at the same time negotiate the legal proceedings successfully ("rescued from the lion's mouth"). This experience leads Paul to express his sure faith in the ultimate defeat of Satan and of his own inclusion in the heavenly kingdom. Paul concludes with a doxology of thankfulness and praise to God for all his gifts.
As with the letter as a whole, the concluding notes, v9-18, are regarded by many commentators as fictional, but as Marshall notes, "where there is no compelling case against the authenticity of the material, it should be accepted for what it is."
v] Exposition: A simple verse-by-verse exposition of this passage may be found in the linked pew-level Sermon Notes.
Text - 4:16
Paul expresses his confidence in the Lord's present and future provision, v16-18. The abandonment of Paul's colleagues.
en "at" - in, on. Here adverbial, probably temporal, "during"; "at the time of my first defense."
mou gen. pro. "my" - The genitive is usually treated as verbal, subjective.
prwth/ adj. "first" - first. Presumably referring to Paul's first appearance at court associated with his present arrest and trial, not the first time he was incarcerated in Rome as recorded in Acts, so Kelly, Fee, Dibelius/Conzelmann.
th/ .... apologia/ (a) "defense" - Probably in the sense of legal defence.
paregeneto (paraginomai) aor. "came to" - [no one] presented, appeared = stood beside. With a dative the verb takes the sense "to stand beside" as in the sense of "support". Possibly used here in a technical sense for a witness coming forward for a prisoner, so Kelly. The use of oudeiV, "no one", and panteV, "all / everyone", expresses the rather sad situation where "everyone without exception deserted" him.
moi dat. pro. "my support" - me. Dative of direct object after the para prefix verb "to appear" / interest, advantage.
alla "but" - but, and. Coordinative; "At my first appearance in court no one supported me. Everyone deserted me", Barclay.
egkatelipon (egkataleipw) aor. "deserted" - [all] forsook, abandoned, deserted, left behind [me].
mh .... logisqeih (logizomai) aor. pas. opt. "may it not be held" - may it not be calculated, counted, reckoned, placed to the account of. The optative serves to express a wish, here a negative wish. The word carries something of its technical use in commercial language for calculations, costs, debts, etc., so Cranfield, Romans.
autoiV dat. pro. "against them" - to them. Dative of indirect object / interest, disadvantage.
Paul's colleagues may have deserted him, but the Lord didn't. In his defense the gospel was proclaimed in the strength that the Lord supplies and he was "rescued from the lion's mouth."
de "but" - but, and. Here contrastive, as NIV.
oJ ... kurioV "the Lord" - Nominative subject of the verb "to stand beside." Probably "the Lord Jesus", but a general "God" is possible.
paresth (paristhmi) aor. "stood at [my] side" - stood beside, with. "Stand by" in the sense of "come to the aid of."
moi dat. "me" - Dative of direct object after the para prefix verb "to stand beside"; "the Lord stood with me."
enedunamwsen (endunamow) aor. "gave [me] strength" - [and] empowered, made strong [me]. "The Lord stood by my side, endowing me with strength", Cassirer.
iJna + subj. "so that" - that. Forming a purpose clause, "in order that." The strengthening of the Lord was for the purpose of enabling Paul to compete his apostolic mission to the Gentiles.
di (dia) + gen. "through [me]" - through, by means of [me]. Instrumental, expressing means. Emphatic by position.
to khrugma (a atoV) "the message" - the proclamation. Nominative subject of the verb "to be fully made." In the NT used of the preaching about Christ / the gospel message.
plhroforhqh/ (plhroforew) aor. pas. subj. "might be fully proclaimed" - might be fully set, made. Possibly "to proclaim the message clearly and fully", Phillips, or in a more theological sense of Paul having completed (fulfilled) his assigned task of proclaiming the gospel to the Gentiles, see kai below.
kai "and" - and. Treated by the NIV as coordinative, but it could be epexegetic, ie. "through me the message might be fully proclaimed, that is / namely, that all the Gentiles might hear it".
akouswsin (akouw) aor. subj. "might hear it" - [and all the Gentiles] might hear. The panta, "all", is obviously a representative all, and ta eqnh, "the Gentiles / nations", probably excludes Israel. At his trial a representative group of people from the Roman administrative districts heard Paul's exposition of the gospel thus fulfilling his mission to take the gospel to "the ends of the earth" = its center, Rome.
kai "and" - Adjunctive, "also"; "the Lord stood by me ..... and also delivered me from the lion's mouth.
ek + gen. "from" - [I was rescued] out of, from. Expressing separation; "away from"
leontoV gen. "[the] lion's [mouth]" - [the mouth] of the lion. The genitive is adjectival, possessive. The imagery is unclear. Is Paul saying he has been literally spared from being thrown to the lions in the Colosseum? Does the image represent Satan, Rome, or the Emperor? Knight suggests Paul is drawing on the imagery of Psalm 22:20-21, while Mounce points to the influence of the story of Daniel in the lion's den. It is clear that if the deliverance is of a physical kind, it is but temporary, allowing Timothy time to visit Paul in prison. If the deliverance is spiritual, then the deliverance is from the attack of powers that would tempt Paul to deny his faith - this deliverance is assured, cf. v18.
Paul moves beyond his deliverance at the first trial / hearing to his ultimate delivery from the powers of darkness and his incorporation into the heavenly kingdom. This assertion of faith leads Paul to express his desire that all glory be to the Lord.
rJusetai (rJuomai) fut. "will rescue" - [the Lord] will deliver [me]. The word is used of rescuing / delivering from an acute danger.
apo + gen. "from" - Expressing separation; "away from."
pantoV adj. "every" - all, every. Either "every", or "each" evil work without exception, cf. Kelly.
ponhrou gen. adj. "evil [attack]" - evil [work]. Attributive adjective. Rescued from what? The NEB has "every attempt to do me harm", ie. every hostile act, but this would surely be too wide an expectation on Paul's part, an expectation unsupported by scripture, unless of course he had received a promise from the Lord to this end. The NEB margin is closer to the mark with "from all that evil can do", obviously in the spiritual sense - as in the Lord's Prayer, "deliver us from evil", ie. every evil power that acts to interfere with a person's place in eternity, so Fee. "God looks after me, keeping me safe in the kingdom of heaven", Peterson.
swsei (swzw) fut. "will bring me safely" - [and] will save me. Again the NEB draws out some of the different meanings that this word can convey. "Keep me safe until his heavenly reign begins", expresses the view that Paul is sure that he will be kept alive until the parousia, the coming of Christ and the full realization of the kingdom of God. In his early years as an apostle Paul may have believed that Christ would return during the lifetime of the apostles, but it is unlikely that he holds this view now. So again, the NEB margin is closer to the mark with "and bring me safely into his heavenly kingdom", ie. preserve me unto the end - again reflecting the Lord's Prayer. Hanson thinks this verse is "a pious addition by the author ..[and].. is not really in accord with Paul's usage", but such a view is somewhat speculative. Reflecting on a truth in the Lord's Prayer is surely not an impossibility for Paul.
eiV + acc. "to" - into. Spacial. Forming a pregnant construction (a phrase that carries an implied expression), swsei, "will save into" = "will save me and bring me into", Bernard. The object of the action being both inclusion in the kingdom of heaven and deliverance from the world, the flesh and the devil = eternal destruction.
thn epouranion adj. "[his] heavenly [kingdom]" - [the] heavenly [kingdom of him]. The articular adjective "the heavenly" is obviously attributive, limiting "the kingdom", "the kingdom which is in heaven" = "heavenly kingdom."This is a unique statement in the NT, although it is not against NT teaching. The "kingdom" is autou, "of him = his", possessive genitive, obviously "Christ's", "the kingdom" being all that entails the eternal reign of God. Paul is simply expressing his hope that he will be preserved "to be at home with the Lord", 2Cor.5:8.
w|/ dat. "to him" - to whom. Usually classified as a dative of possession, the antecedent being oJ kurioV, "the Lord" = "Christ".
hJ doxa (a) "be praise" - the glory [into the ages of the ages. Amen]. A statement of praise to God.
eiV + acc. "for [ever and ever]" - Temporal uses of the preposition; the praise extends "into the ages of the ages" = "for ever". "To him may glory be ascribed for ever and ever", Cassirer.