2 Timothy


Opening address, 1:1-14

ii] An exhortation to boldness and faithfulness


It seems that Timothy is a person who is easily overwhelmed by circumstance. Certainly that is how Paul sees him, and so in the opening section of this his second letter to Timothy, Paul does his best to bolster him up so that he will no longer be debilitated by fear. Paul chooses to strengthen him with objective reality, with divine truth.


i] Context: See 1:1-5.


ii] Background: See 1:1-5.


iii] Structure: Paul encourages Timothy in his ministry:

A call to action, v6-8;

"Fan into flame the gift of God."

The gospel, v9-12;

saved by grace apart from works, v9;

through faith in Christ's death and resurrection, v10;

Paul the gospel herald, v11;

for which he suffers, v12.

Paul's appeal to Timothy, v13-14.

"Guard the good deposit."


This passage is rather fluid with no particular design. As Barrett notes, "the writer passes from Paul to Timothy, and from summaries of the gospel and its gifts to claims laid by the gospel upon those who believe, and especially upon ministers."


iv] Interpretation:

Given that we are dealing with a personal letter, the argument in this section is by no means formally presented. In general terms, Paul summarises the gospel and encourages its preservation and presentation. Because of Timothy's sincere faith, Paul encourages him to stoke up his ministry gifts, v6-7. Paul then encourages him not to be ashamed of either the gospel, or his imprisonment, but rather to join with him in struggling for the gospel, v8. Paul then summarises the gospel, v9-10, noting his own gospel ministry for which he is anything but ashamed, v11-12. Paul then encourages Timothy to keep hold of the truths of the gospel which he taught him, v13, and to guard them in the power of the Holy Spirit, v14.


v] Exposition: A simple verse-by-verse exposition of this passage may be found in the linked pew-level Sermon Notes.

Text - 1:6

Paul encourages Timothy to be bold and faithful in his ministry, v6-14: i] A call to action, v6-8. Timothy had received a special endowing / equipping of the Spirit for gospel ministry in service to Christ. This was confirmed by a prophetic word, 1Tim.4:14, and was accompanied by the laying on of hands (prayer visibly expressed). Therefore, as far as Paul is concerned, Timothy should bravely exercise his gifts.

di (dia) + acc. "for [this reason]" - because of, on account of [which cause, reason]. Causal; "because of the inheritance of faith into which Timothy has entered", v5, Barrett, although better "on the basis of", Knight.

anazwpurein (anazwpurew) pres. inf. "to fan into flame" - [i remind you] to ignite, rekindle. Hapax legomenon, once only use in the NT. The present tense is best taken as durative. The infinitive forms a dependent statement, indirect speech, expressing the content of Paul's reminder to Timothy. On the one hand spiritual gifts are given as a gift of God, but on the other hand, they must be exercised, fanned into flame (better than "rekindled").

tou qeou (oV) gen. "of God" - [the gift] of god. The genitive is ablative, expressing source / origin; "the gift from God." Certainly "gift" in the sense of a "spiritual endowment for ministry", but this cannot be separated from the primary gift of the indwelling Spirit of Christ.

en + dat. "in [you]" - [which is] in [you]. Here local, expressing space; "within".

dia + gen. "through" - through, by means of. Instrumental, expressing means, although a causal sense may be intended. Barrett suggests that here the preposition is used to indicate an attendant circumstance, ie., the "imposition of hands was an attendant .... act", the act being an accompaniment to the gift. Most commentators opt for an instrumental sense, eg., Mounce, Marshall. Yet, as Marshall notes, the instrumental sense "through" does not necessarily imply that "it was the act of laying on of hands which conveyed the Spirit."

twn ceirwn (r roV) gen. "[the laying on] of [my] hands" - [the laying on] of the hands [of me]. The genitive is usually taken as verbal, objective, although possibly adjectival, attributive, limiting "laying on." Usually understood as an expression of prayer.


The endowment of spiritual gifts doesn't promote "a timid spirit", a shrinking fear, rather it promotes: "power" - a personal alliance with unseen forces; "love" - an impassioned devotion to Christ which overwhelms all self pleasing; and "self-discipline" - the mastery of self-needs.

gar "for" - for. Introducing a causal clause explaining why Timothy should maximise the potential of his calling, "for the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid", Towner.

hJmin dat. pro. "us" - [god did not give] to us. Dative of indirect object.

pneuma (a atoV) "a spirit / the Spirit" - a spirit. Accusative direct object of the verb "to give." "Spirit" here may refer to the Holy Spirit; "for when God gave us his Spirit, it was not timidity that we received, but power, love and self-discipline", Fee, so also Marshall, cf., CEV. None-the-less, most commentators "view all four qualities as relating to Timothy's spirit ("spirit" in the sense of a person's attitude or disposition, or probably better "the human spirit as endowed by the Holy Spirit with the qualities proper for service", Bernard) recognising that the gifts God gives to Timothy, and all believers, are given through the Holy Spirit", Mounce. "God doesn't want us to be shy with his gifts, but bold and loving and sensible", Peterson.

deiliaV (a) gen. "of timidity" - of cowardice, timidity, fearfulness. As usual, the genitive prompts numerous translations. Probably best taken as adjectival, attributive, limiting by describing "spirit", a "timid spirit", or possibly idiomatic / product, producer. "For the spirit that God gave us is no cowardly spirit, but one to inspire power, love and self-discipline", REB.

alla "but" - Strong adversative standing in a counterpoint construction; "not ....., but ....."

swfronismou (oV) gen. "of self-discipline" - [of power, and of love, and] of self-control, temperance, moderation, sobriety. The three genitive nouns, "power", "love" and "moderation", are best treated adjectivally, possibly idiomatic / product producer, or better attributive, as with "spirit of timidity" = "a cowardly spirit"; "a powerful, loving, prudent spirit."


Given that through the power of the indwelling Spirit Timothy's own spirit/being is "bold, loving and sensible", there is no reason why he should be ashamed of ministering the gospel.

oun "so" - therefore. Drawing a logical conclusion.

mh ... epaiscunqhV (epaiscunomai) aor. pas. subj. "do not be ashamed" - be not ashamed of. A subjunctive of prohibition, the aorist, being punctiliar / perfective, probably indicates the action as a whole.

to marturion (on) "to testify" - the witness, testimony. The accusative direct object of the verb "do [not] be ashamed. Timothy should not be ashamed of "the witness of the Lord", "witness" in the sense of "something that serves as evidence", Johnson, cf., Plato, so "the gospel". It is possible that "the witness" is the act of "bearing witness", as NIV.

tou koriou (oV) gen. "about [our] Lord" - of the lord. The genitive is usually taken as verbal, objective, "the witness concerning the Lord", as NIV, but possibly subjective, "the witness made by Jesus himself", even possessive, "the Lord's testimony" = the gospel.

hJmwn gen. pro. "our" - of us. The genitive can be construed as possessive / relational, "our Lord", but often viewed as idiomatic / subordination, "Lord over us."

mhde "or ashamed of" - neither, nor [me the prisoner of him]. The second object (acc.) of the shame is Paul's status as a criminal.

alla "but" - Strong adversative in a counterpoint construction.

sugkakopaqhson (sugkadapaqew) aor. imp. "join with me in suffering" - share suffering / hard-times together with [me]. The aorist, being punctiliar / perfective, may indicate a specific instruction. Clearly, Paul is of the view that both the gospel and his imprisonment will cause Timothy difficulties. Certainly honour and dishonour are central to Roman ethics, but it seems more likely that the false teachers in the Ephesian congregation are the ones likely to cause Timothy some difficulties when it comes to proclaiming a gospel of grace, as opposed to law, and affirming the apostleship of a man who, by his imprisonment, is presumed under God's curse, rather than blessed. "Be brave and join me in taking your share of suffering for the gospel."

tw/ euaggeliw/ (on) dat. "for the gospel" - to, in = for the gospel. Dative of interest, advantage; "take your share of suffering for the sake of the gospel", Marshall. The word "gospel" simply means "important news."

kata + acc. "by" - according to. Only rarely is this preposition instrumental, expressing means, "by means of", but that seems to be the sense here, as NIV, namely, expressing the fact that "the gospel is the medium of God's saving power", Towner.

qeou "of God" - [the power] of god. The genitive may be taken as adjectival, possessive, or verbal, subjective.


ii] Paul now pens a summary of the gospel and his part in its administration, v9-12. Paul sets out to describe the God whose power enables believers to endure suffering for the sake of the gospel. In doing so he gives us an exposition of the gospel itself. Christ has rescued us from an eternity without God and invited us to share his likeness - to be holy. None of this is of our doing, rather it is the product of God's intention for creation and as such is an act of undeserved favour toward us. All this came to us through the gospel and was set aside for us within God's purpose, even before time began.

Verses 9-12 consist of one complex sentence in the Gk., "The gospel / important news" concerns what God has done. This is described initially with two parallel adjectival participial constructions, "having saved ..." and "having called .....". These constructions are qualified by two prepositional phrases, "not according to our works" and "but according to his purpose and grace." The second prepositional phrase is itself qualified by two participial constructions, "having been given ...." and "having been revealed ....." which identify two separate periods in which God's sovereign grace has been active. Both periods are dependent on the person and work of Jesus Christ. The gospel statement concludes with two adjectival participial constructions which describe the work of Christ, "having put to death ..." and "having brought to life ....", and this through "the gospel" / "gospel proclamation." The sentence concludes with reference to Paul's administration of the gospel and his willingness to suffer for it. The structure of the sentence may be outlined as follows:

who has saved us

and called us ....

not because of our works

but because of his own purpose and grace

which grace he gave us

in Christ Jesus

before the ages began

but is manifested


through the appearing of our Saviour

Christ Jesus

who abolished death

and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel

for which I was appointed ......

which is why I suffer ...

for I am convinced ......


tou swsantoV (swzw) gen. aor. part. "who has saved / he has saved " - the one having saved [us]. The participial is adjectival, attributive, limiting "God", v8, as NIV; genitive in agreement with "God". Given that "saved" is placed before "called", the sense is most likely "God's redemptive act in Christ", Barrett.

kalesantoV (kalew) gen. aor. part. "called " - [and] having called us. The participial is adjectival, attributive; genitive in agreement with "God". This word comes with quite a bit of baggage such that Paul may be referring to an "effectual call", a sovereign determination by God of those who are privileged to appropriate salvation, or simply "call" in the sense of "invited". So, called / invited "to repent and be saved in response to the good news", Johnson.

klhsei aJgia/ dat. "to a holy life" - to / in / with / by a holy calling. The dative is probably instrumental, expressing means, "with / by"; "through the call to his side", Cassirer. "Holy" modifies "calling", ie., the calling is holy in that it proceeds from God.

ou kata + acc. "not because" - not according to [the works of us]. Possibly expressing a standard, "in accordance with our works", but this preposition can express reason or basis, and that seems to be the sense here, as NIV. Even if this letter wasn't written by Paul, it would be hard to believe that anything other than "the works of the law" is the intended sense of "the works". Our participation in the salvation wrought by Christ rests, not on our righteousness, but the grace of God made effective in the righteousness of Christ.

alla "but" - Strong adversative in a counterpoint construction.

proqesin kai carin "[because of his own] purpose and grace" - [according to his own] purpose and grace. It seems likely that we have a hendiadys here, a single idea expressed by two words joined by kai, so "God's sovereign grace", ie., God's divine favour / covenant mercy, where forgiveness is bestowed on members of the covenant when a just condemnation would be more appropriate.

thn doqeisan (didwmi) aor. pas. part. "this grace was given" - the one having been given. The participle is adjectival, attributive, limiting the "sovereign grace" "which was given to us." "Grace is given in the sense that God shows favour to his people and grants them salvation", Marshall.

hmin dat. pro. "us" - to us. Dative of indirect object.

en + dat. "in" - in [christ jesus]. Always a difficult term in that the preposition en may be instrumental, "by /through Christ", or local, "in union with Christ." Local seems best, expressing incorporative union.

pro + gen. "before" - before [time of ages, eternal]. Temporal use of the preposition. Usually recognised as a Semitism = "before the ages", ie., before creation, as NIV; "even before time began", CEV.


de "but" - but/and. Transitional, indicating a step in the argument, temporal.

nun adv. "now" - Adverb of time. The manifestation of God's sovereign grace, planned then, even before the creation of time, is realised "now" in the appearing of Christ.

fanerwqeisan (fanerow) aor. pas. part. "it has [now] been revealed" - having been manifested, revealed, made visible. As with "having been given", the participle is adjectival, attributive, limiting "sovereign grace", a grace "which has been revealed."

dia + gen. "through" - through, by means of. Instrumental, expressing means.

thV epifaneiaV (a) "the appearing" - Obviously not Christ's second coming, although the word is most often used of his appearing in the last day / before the Ancient of Days. Here it refers to the incarnation of Christ. "God's grace was made visible in the earthly ministry of Jesus, in which this Jesus appeared in his capacity as Christ, the anointed one", Knight.

tou swthroV (hr roV) gen. "of [our] Saviour" - of the saviour [of us]. The genitive is usually taken as verbal, objective, but possibly adjectival, attributed, "through our Saviour who appeared, Jesus Christ, ....."

Cristou Ihsou (oV) gen. "Christ Jesus" - Genitive, standing in apposition to "Saviour".

men ...... de - "...... and ....." - on the one hand ...... but = and on the other. Normally an adversative comparative construction, although here coordinative; "on the one hand ....... and on the other ..."

katarghsantoV (katargew) aor. part. "who has destroyed" - having destroyed, nullified, abolished, cancelled, neutralised [the death]. The participle is best treated as adjectival, attributive, limiting by description "Saviour", but possibly adverbial, causal or temporal, so Perkins. As Towner notes, the neutralising of death is usually pared with Christ's resurrection, but here it seems to be pared with his death. Yet, as with the bringing to light of life, the defeat of death is not pared specifically with Christ's death and resurrection, but with his "appearing", ie., the incarnation. In the incarnate Christ the believer finds both the defeat of death and eternal life. Death, both spiritual (a death to God) and physical (eternal death), is nullified. "Christ Jesus, who has broken the power of death", Cassirer.

fwtisantoV (fwtizw) aor. part. "has brought ..... to light" - [and on the other hand] having brought to light. The participle as for "having destroyed." "Brought to light" in the sense of "manifested / revealed"; Jesus has "illuminated" the darkness in which humanity resides with the revelation of God's grace, and this dia "through" the gospel.

zwhn (h) "life" - life [and incorruptibility]. Both "life" and "incorruptibility" are accusative direct objects of the participle "having brought to light." It is likely we have another hendiadys here, such that "life and incorruptibility" produce the single idea "immortality" = "eternal life". The point being made is that "only the gospel clearly shows the eternal life that comes through Christ from God, which is the only true eternal life", Mounce.

dia + gen. "through" - through [the important message, gospel]. Instrumental, expressing means; "by means of the gospel."


Paul was authorised by God to proclaim this divine message to the Gentiles.

eiV o} "and for this gospel" - to = for which. The preposition probably expresses advantage, "for which gospel", "gospel" understood; "for the service of the good news I was appointed", Barclay, or possibly reference / respect, "with respect to which ....."

egw pro. "I" - i [i was appointed]. Emphatic by use.

khrux (ux ukoV) "a herald" - preacher [and an apostle, and a teacher]. All three nouns serve as subject complements, complements of the subject "I". One who proclaims. Note the unlikely variant (cf., 1Tim.2:7), "a preacher, apostle and teacher of the Gentiles." Yet, possessing such authority does not spare Paul from suffering, and this Timothy needs to understand.


Paul has faced the pressures and troubles of gospel ministry, but he remains confident in God's power, ability and intention to guard the truth of the gospel as he now entrusts it to his subordinates, and from them to eternity.

dia + acc. "that is why" - because of, on account of [which cause]. Causal; "this is the reason for my present plight", NEB.

kai tauta "as I am" - and = also [i suffer] these things. The "things" are presumably the sufferings mentioned in v8, and the ascensive kai, "also", expresses the fact that along with his appointment as "a herald and an apostle and a teacher" there also goes suffering.

alla "yet" - but. Adversative, as NIV. "But I am not ashamed of it", NEB.

ouk epaiscunomai pres. "this is no cause for shame" - i am not ashamed. No object is supplied since the shame is an inward feeling prompted by his suffering for the gospel.

gar "because" - for [i know]. Introducing a causal clause explaining why Paul has no reason to feel ashamed, because he knows the person to/in whom he has entrusted his life. The object of his confidence may be personalised in Jesus, although the drift of the argument has had "God" as the agent, cf., v8. "I know whom I have trusted", REB.

w|/ dat. pro. "whom" - in whom [i have believed]. Dative of direct object after the verb "to believe."

oJti "that" - [and i have been persuaded, convinced] that. Here introducing a dependent statement of perception expressing what Paul knows to be true, namely that in the face of life's difficulties, his eternal security is safe in the hands of Jesus; "I am convinced that he is able to keep safely and securely all that I have put on deposit with Him, against the day that I will need it!", Junkins.

fulaxai (fulassw) aor. inf. "[he is able] to guard" - [he is powerful, able] to guard, keep, protect. The infinitive is complementary, completing the sense of the verbal phrase "he is able".

thn paraqhkhn (h) "what I have entrusted to him" - the deposit [of me]. Accusative direct object of the verb "to guard." "Property entrusted to another", BAGD - that which is entrusted to one's care. The Gk., "deposit of me", is unclear. The pronoun is surely possessive such that it is Paul's deposit, but has he been entrusted with the deposit by God, or is he entrusting it to / with God? In 1Tim.6:20 and 2Tim.1:14, Timothy is encouraged to guard what has been entrusted to him ("the deposit"), probably the Pauline gospel of grace, but possibly his gifts of ministry (note that the possessive pronoun mou is not present in these verses). So, is Paul entrusting God to guard the deposit he has put with him, namely his soul / life, his place in eternity, ...., as NIV, cf. NRSV, NASB, or is Paul entrusting God to guard the deposit God has put with Paul, namely the truth of the apostolic gospel, or the exercise of his gospel ministry, cf., NEB, RSV, CEV, "I am sure that he can guard until the last day what he has entrusted me with"? Although, it is possible that Paul entrusts the deposit to God for Him to guard, so Towner, Knight, Mounce, Johnson (for Johnson the deposit is "the person relationship of trust between God and himself), it is probably better to read that the deposit, namely "the pure apostolic gospel", has been entrusted to Paul and that he is sure, despite the vagaries of life, that God will guard it for eternity, so Kelly, Guthrie, Conzelmann, Barrett. None-the-less, given that the possessive mou may well be read as identifying the depositor (ie., Paul makes the deposit, "my deposit"), Marshall suggests that the deposit is "what I, Paul, am entrusting to my successors - elsewhere called my gospel." Paul is sure that God will guard this deposit as it is passed on, and this to the end of time. Given v13, this seems the better interpretation.

eiV "for [that day] / until [that day]" - to [that day]. Probably temporal, "up to that day", as NIV. Obviously the day of judgment, 1:18, 4:8.


iii] Paul now makes a direct appeal to Timothy, v13-14. Given that Paul is sure that God will guard the gospel deposit as it is passed on to a new generation, so he encourages Timothy "to retain and guard the truth-content of the gospel message in the face of the threats from false teachers", Marshall.

par (para) + gen. "from" - [have = keep pattern, healthy words you heard] from [me]. Here expressing source / origin.

ece (ecw) pres. imp. "keep" - have = keep, take hold of. The clause is surely dependent on this verb, rather than hkousaV, "you heard"; "hold / keep = preserve." "Keep before you as a model of sound teaching that which you heard from me", NEBmj.

uJpotupwsin (iV ewV) "as the pattern" - a pattern, model, norm, example, standard. Emphatic by position in the Gk. "An outline", NEB. The grammar in the first part of the verse is awkward and so prompts numerous syntactical suggestions. We are best to follow Perkins when he suggests that "pattern" is an object complement. The direct object of the verb "to have" is the relative clause "what you heard from me", the pronoun w|n, "what", being a genitive of direct object after the verb "to hear / obey", rather than accusative. The direct object, and its complement, serve in a double accusative object complement construction. "Hold onto / what you heard from me / as a standard of sound teaching", Perkins.

uJgiainontwn gen. pres. part. "of sound" - of healthy, sound. The participle is adjectival, attributive, limiting "words = teaching"; "teaching which is sound."

logwn (oV) gen. "teaching" - words, teaching. The genitive is adjectival, epexegetic, limiting "pattern"; "a pattern of (consisting of) teaching which is sound."

en + dat. "with" - in [faith and love]. The preposition is best treated adverbially here, modal, expressing manner, "keep / hold ........ with faith and love ....", as NIV, but possibly instrumental, "by means of faith and love", Perkins.

th/ "-" - which is. The article serves as an adjectivizer turning the prepositional phrase "in Christ Jesus" into an attributive modifier limiting "faith and love."

en + dat. "in" - in [christ jesus]. Local, expressing space, incorporative union, although sometimes Paul's "in Christ" idea moves from relationship to source, see Campbell Paul and Union with Christ, SBG,15, 2012; Jesus "is the source and spring of both faith and love", Bernard.


fulaxon (fulassw) aor. imp. "guard" - guard, keep. Paul is still directly encouraging Timothy, so as well as "keep" .... he is to "guard".

thn ... paraqhkhn (h) "the [good] deposit that was entrusted to you" - the [good] deposit. Accusative direct object of the verb "to guard." As above, either a) the gifts of ministry bestowed on Timothy, or b) the truths of the gospel. The second option still works best; Timothy is to preserve the purity of the apostolic doctrine against the activities of the false teachers in his church. Obviously the imperative applies to Timothy, but the NIV assumes that the deposit is entrusted to him personally. Lit. "guard the good deposit" may mean "keep safe the treasure put into our charge", REB.

dia + gen. "with the help of" - through, by means of [the holy spirit]. Instrumental, expressing means, so Timothy is to guard the integrity of the gospel entrusted to him and to do this with the aid of the indwelling Spirit of Christ.

tou enoikountoV (enoikew) gen. pres. part. "who lives" - living, dwelling. The participle is adjectival, attributive, limiting "Holy Spirit", as NIV.

en + dat. "in [you]" - in [us]. Local, expressing space / sphere - incorporative union.


2 Timothy Introduction



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