1 Timothy


Paul's Testamentary Disposition, 2:1-2

Timothy, the guardian of Paul's theological heritage


Before presenting his charge to Timothy in detail, Paul bestows on Timothy a testamentary disposition whereby Timothy is to become Paul's theological heir with the responsibility of passing on the Pauline gospel of grace to the next generation of teachers. "Hand on to people worthy of trust the things which you have heard me say."


i] Context: See 1:1-5. This testamentary disposition heads the detailed charge covering 2:3-4:5.


ii] Background: See 1:1-5.


iii] Structure: Paul's testamentary disposition:

A word of encouragement, v1:

Be strengthened by the grace found in Christ.

Testamentary disposition, v2:

Preserve and pass on the Pauline gospel.


iv] Interpretation:

Paul encourages Timothy to source his strength for ministry in the grace of God found in Christ, v1, before making clear that he is now responsible for the preservation and transmission of the Pauline gospel, "the things which you heard me say", v2.

Text - 2:1

Look first to the grace of God in Christ, v1. Paul has just given Timothy examples of believers who are both unworthy and worthy to emulate. Like Onesiphorus, rather than Physelus and Hermogenes, Timothy needs to stand strong in his Christian life, particularly since he serves as a minister of the gospel. The exhortation "be strong" is probably better read as a passive, "let yourself be strengthened." This strengthening is an act of divine grace realized through a believer's relationship with Christ Jesus. The CEV "let him make you strong" captures the point Paul is making. In a world where methodology is supreme and success is quantified, we are reminded that "we wrestle not against flesh and blood"; the battle is won by spiritual means, namely, the grace of God.

su "you" - This nominative of address is emphatic by position.

oun "then" - therefore. Inferential; drawing together the thoughts of the previous passage and focusing them on an exhortation, namely, "so, my son, throw yourself into the work for Christ", Peterson. "Therefore" look to divine grace to shape your life in line with Onesiphorus rather than Phygelus and Hermogenes.

mou gen. pro. "my [son]" - [child] of me. The genitive is adjectival, possessive / relational, limiting "child".

endunamou (endunamow) pres. pas./mid. imp. "be strong" - be strengthened, empowered. The imperative virtually functions here as an optative / wish-prayer. Probably passive; "let yourself be strengthened", Marshall.

en + dat. "in" - Probably instrumental, expressing means, "by the grace", ESV, but possibly local, expressing sphere, "in the grace" = "in the power of God's grace", Knight.

cariti (iV ewV) dat. "the grace" - Here probably used of divine enrichment / empowerment for ministry through the Spirit of Christ - the grace of God's gifting for ministry (probably not in any way related to ordination). Possibly "grace" in the wider sense of God's undeserved favour.

th/ "that is" - The article serves as an adjectivizer, turning the prepositional phrase en Cristw/ Ihsou, "in Christ Jesus", into a relative clause; "which is in Christ Jesus."

en + dat. "in" - in [christ jesus]. Local, expressing sphere, incorporative union. Again, in the context, this preposition can also carry the sense of source / origin; "the grace that is found in union with Christ Jesus."


Paul's testamentary disposition: Teach the teachers the apostolic truth, or more particularly the gospel according to Paul, v2. Timothy is to take up Paul's role of apostle to the Gentiles, certainly within the Roman province of Asia, establishing the Pauline gospel of salvation by grace through faith into the future. Some commentators take Paul's words to refer to the ordination of Timothy, or even his baptism (the pollwn marturwn, "many witnesses", suggests the idea of "witnesses attending Timothy's ordination", Barrett), but surely Paul is saying nothing more than that Timothy has heard Paul's exposition of the gospel of God's grace, a message which is supported by many witnesses (the teachings of Jesus and the apostles and prophets), and that his task now is to pass this truth onto other teachers, teachers who are trustworthy and able.

kai "and" - Connective, serving to add a second instruction.

a} pro. "the things" - what things [you heard]. The pronoun serves as the accusative direct object of the verb "to hear", and serves to introduce a dislocated relative clause which refers to tauta, "these things." The "what" / "these things", consist of the "traditions" delivered to Timothy by Paul, in particular, "my gospel", cf. 1Cor.11:2, Col.4:16, 2Thes.2:15, 3:6-7.

par (para) + gen. "from [me]" - Here expressing source / origin.

dia + gen. "in the presence of" - through [many witnesses]. Instrumental; means / agency; "through, by." The function of the preposition here is problematic. This preposition with a genitive can be spacial, although usually with the sense "through in time or space", so "before / in the presence of" is somewhat of a stab in the dark. "Before" many witnesses at Timothy's ordination, or more generally, the witnesses to Paul's preaching, is possible, but it seems more likely we have an example of Pauline short-talk. An instrumental sense is likely, expressing the idea, "confirmed by many witnesses." Jesus' teachings confirm Paul's exposition of the gospel, its authenticity and soundness, an exposition which has also been confirmed by the other apostles "The theology you have heard me teach, a theology pier-reviewed by the other apostles ....."

tauta pro. "-" - these things. This near demonstrative pronoun, accusative direct object of "to set before / entrust", serves as a substantive and references forward to the pronoun a}, "what".

pistoiV dat. adj. "[entrust to] reliable [people]" - [commend, commit] to trustworthy, reliable [men]. "Faith" in the sense of "faithful, trustworthy." This attributive adjective with the noun anqrwpoiV, "men", serves as a dative of indirect object; "hand on the gospel you have heard me teach, a gospel which has been pier-reviewed by the apostles, to those teachers who are trustworthy and able."

oiJtineV pro. "who" - who [will also be able, qualified]. This relative pronoun serves as the nominative subject of the verb to-be, "will be [able]", and introduces an indefinite relative clause which, in the view of some, is consecutive in sense, although not by syntax; "so that they also will be able to teach others." Note the construction in Titus 1:9 and the hina clause "he must have a firm grasp of the word that is trustworthy according to the teaching so that he may be able both to preach with sound doctrine and to refute those who contradict it."

didaxai (didaskw) aor. inf. "to teach" - to teach [others]. The infinitive is epexegetic, specifying what they are "qualified / able", to do, namely, to teach other believers.


2 Timothy Introduction


[Pumpkin Cottage]