Paul's charge to Timothy, 2:3-4:8
i] A call to dedication and faithfulness, 2:3-13
b) The reasons for holding firmArgument
In the face of suffering, Paul encourages Timothy to stand firm for Christ in his Christian ministry. To achieve this end, Paul explains why he himself strives to "endure everything." The source of his determined stand for Christ has to do with his desire to preserve God's people to the end.
i] Context: See 2:3-7.
ii] Background: See 1:1-5.
iii] Structure: Reasons for standing firm in times of trouble:
Reasons for putting up with troubles in the Christian life:
The gospel, v8-9:
The power of God for the salvation of "the elect", v10.
The trustworthy saying, v11-12:
"If we endure, we will also reign with him."
Qualification - mercy / grace always applies, v13
In chapter 2 of Paul's second letter to Timothy, Paul gives Timothy further words of encouragement in the Christian life. Timothy, as a minister of the gospel, will face constant opposition, and so Paul takes the time to bolster him up. The opening exhortation in v3-13 serves as an encouragement to "be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus", v1; to stand firm in the face of trouble. This is particularly relevant with respect to the false teachers Timothy will need to confront and deal with, difficult though this may be, v14-26. Timothy is to confront them with Biblical truth and "warn them, before God, against quarrelling about words." So, the appeal to suffer hardship, v3, is now undergirded by the truth of the gospel. Although the gospel prompts persecution, it is the power of God for the salvation of the lost, v9-10. Paul goes on to nail his point home with a faithful saying - we who endure with Christ inevitably reign with Christ, v11-12.
It is unclear whether v13 is part of the trustworthy saying. Commentators are divided, but it does seem to present as if a Pauline qualification - grace always applies.
v] Exposition: A simple verse-by-verse exposition of this passage may be found in the linked pew-level Sermon Notes.
Text - 2:8
The reasons for holding firm in the face of suffering, v8-13: i] Towner suggests that in v8-10 Paul is providing an example of suffering: "remember Jesus Christ and the model he and the imprisoned Paul provide." Yet, it seems more likely that Paul is providing the reason why he is willing to suffer for the gospel, namely, because it is God's instrument for the salvation of "the elect." In this verse Paul provides us with a summary of the gospel. Jesus Christ is the long promised Davidic messiah ("the time is fulfilled") who is risen from the dead - because he lives we can live also ("the kingdom of God is at hand"). Paul's reversal of these primary facts is interesting, as is his mention of "descended from David." Only on one other occasion, Rom.1:3, does Paul include such a phrase in a presentation of the gospel. It is a messianic term defining Jesus as the anointed descendent of David who receives an everlasting kingdom and rules it in power. To a Gentile audience, Paul usually makes the point that Jesus is "Lord".
mnhmoneue (mnhmoneuw) pres. imp. "remember" - The present tense, being durative, may indicate a general command. When faced with life's troubles, the believer need only call to mind the truth of the gospel; "fix this picture firmly in your mind", Peterson.
Ihsoun Criston acc. "Jesus Christ" - "Jesus Christ" is accusative because "remember Jesus Christ" probably serves as an object clause, object of an assumed verb of saying, eg., legw uJmin, "I say to you" = lit. "I say remember Jesus Christ (accusative direct object) to you (dative of indirect object)." Note the reversal of the usual "Christ Jesus." Q/W suggest that Paul at this point wants to emphasise the humanity of Christ.
eghgermenon (egeirw) perf. pas. part. "raised" - having been raised. The participle is possibly adjectival, "remember Jesus Christ who was raised", but probably better taken as introducing an object clause / dependent statement of perception expressing what Timothy should remember, "remember that Jesus Christ was raised." The passive is theological, ie., God does the raising. The perfect tense expresses an ongoing raised state. It is worth noting again how the gospel centres on the resurrection of Christ, rather than his death, reminding us that the resurrection does something more than just authenticate the efficacy of his death - because he lives we live also.
ek + gen. "from" - from. Expressing source / origin, ", out of, from", or separation, "away from", although Perkins suggests the preposition here could also be viewed as a partitive genitive, "from among the dead."
nekrwn adj. "the dead" - dead. This adjective is used as a noun. Note, plural "dead", so "all the dead." Timothy is to remember Jesus who was set upon by evil men and died at their hands, but you can't keep a good man down.
ek + gen. "descended from" - from. Here expressing source / origin.
spermatoV (a atoV) "the seed" - seed, posterity [of david]. "David" is an assumed genitive, "seed of David", thus ablative, source / origin; "descended from David", TNIV. This is one of the many theological statements in the Pastorals which, it is argued, works against Pauline authorship, cf., Barrett. Yet, "the gospel concerning his Son, who was descended from David .....", Rom.1:3, is without a doubt Pauline, so it is difficult to argue that this reference in Timothy is not Pauline. Its difficulty lies in its placement after "raised from the dead." It is possibly a "time is fulfilled" statement ie., the fulfilment of prophecy, so Mounce, or possibly emphasising Jesus' human linage and thus his humanity (as opposed to his exaltation, although surely not his suffering as opposed to his exaltation), "fully God, fully man - the God man", Rolston , so Knight, D/C. It is also possible that the ascension of Christ is in mind, of the Son of God now reigning at the right hand of the Ancient of Days as the long promised Davidic messiah, ie. Jesus is Lord. Yet, Marshall may be right when he notes that the order of the resurrection and linage of Christ is not important, but rather that both together give us a summary of the gospel. However the order plays out, the gospel states that Jesus, the long-promised Davidic messiah, has been raised from the dead. The implication being that he now rules by divine power, ie., he is Lord, and therefore the difficulties we face in life must be placed beside this eternal reality.
kata + acc. "this" - according to. Expressing a standard; "in accordance with my gospel."
euannelion mou "my gospel" - the gospel of me. The genitive mou, "my", is usually taken as verbal, subjective = "the gospel I preach", but it may well be adjectival, possessive, limiting "gospel". The phrase probably implies something unique about Paul's gospel message. The unique element is one of emphasis, an emphasis on the resurrection of Christ and the theological implications which flow from this, namely, grace. At the centre of Paul's theology is the notion that through our identification with Christ's resurrection ("in Christ" and "Christ in us") we are made alive, alive to God (holy) and alive eternally, and this because we share Christ's resurrection life. Although there is a sense where Paul has a particular angle on the gospel, Christ remains the originator of the gospel, ie., "not invented by me, but entrusted to me", Lock. Paul has shaped "his gospel" from the teachings of Christ, such that in the end we can describe Paul as the exegete of Jesus.
Paul now alludes to his own suffering, prompted by his dedication to the gospel. Although a loose stitching to v8, verse 9 should be "regarded as a main affirmation", Marshall. "It is for the sake of that gospel", Barclay.
en + dat. "for [which]" - in [which]. A local sense is certainly possible, "in the sphere of"; "in the preaching of which good tidings", Bernard. None-the-less, a causal sense seems more likely, "because of / on account of", so Knight, as NIV.
kakopaqw (kakopaqew) "I am suffering" - i suffer misfortune / hardship. The present tense is durative expressing the ongoing suffering which Paul is presently experiencing.
mecri + gen. "even to the point" - up to, to the extent of, even to. Serving here as a preposition expressing degree, or measure, with temporal overtones.
desmwn (oV) gen. "of being chained" - of bonds, fetters. Genitive after mecri. Paul is indicating that the conditions of his imprisonment are quite harsh.
wJV "like" - like, as [an evil-doer, criminal]. Possibly comparative, but more likely adverbial, expressing manner, "in the manner of / as if"; "being chained in prison as if I were some sort of criminal", Phillips.
alla "but" - but. Adversative.
tou qeou (oV) gen. "God's" - [the word] of god. The genitive is adjectival, possessive, it is God's word, or verbal, subjective, although it may also be taken as ablative, expressing source / origin, such that it is a word from God.
ou dedetai (dew) perf. mid./pas. "is not chained" - has not been bound. The perfect tense indicating that the Word of God has not, is not, and will not be bound. We are reminded that "God himself takes responsibility for the progress of the gospel", Barclay. Preachers need only place themselves in the centre of God's will, and this apart from the circumstances which may seemingly frustrate the gospel. Preaching / communicating the gospel is what is important, the circumstances are irrelevant. This truth may call into question much of the marketing management employed by church-growth strategists.
Paul now tells us why he is willing to endure suffering for the sake of the gospel. He takes it on the chin for God's special people, that they too might inherit eternal glory. For Paul, one of the strongest motivations for his service to Christ is found in his desire to see all of God's children sharing that glory. That's what keeps him at it, and it can keep Timothy at it as well.
dia + acc. "therefore" - because [of this]. Possibly causal, taken retrospectively, "I endure all things for the sake of the elect because the word of God is not chained (ie. God's Word will achieve its determined will despite all circumstances)", v9. See Knight for a prospective treatment. In translation this causal construction is usually treated as inferential, "therefore", as NIV; see Runge "Discourse Grammar in the Greek New Testament."
uJomenw pres. "I endure" - i remain under, endure, hold out. Usually takes a genitive of direct object, although not here; "I am willing to put up with anything", CEV.
panta "everything" - all things. Accusative direct object of the verb "to endure." "Whatever may happen", Marshall.
dia + acc. "for the sake of" - because of, on account of. Here causal, drifting toward reason, cf. BAGD 180[BII].
touV eklektouV adj. "the elect" - elect, chosen. The adjective serves as a substantive. The "elect" is sometimes defined as those destined to be saved in the foreknowledge of God, but they are better defined as God's community established by sovereign decree. The question that has caused the church difficulty, when it come to the elect, is how does a person get into this family of God? Is it by divine appointment, or by individual request? These notes proceed on the basis that entrance into God's eternal family is open to all and that the means of entry rests on the faithfulness of Christ appropriated through the instrument of faith. Paul's concern in this passage is to protect the "elect" from having their "salvation" undermined. The false teachers who, by undermining the doctrine of God's sovereign grace through the promotion of law-righteousness, potentially undermined salvation. This was the problem Paul tackled in his letters to the Galatians, Colossians and Romans, and he wants Timothy to "endure" in a faithful word-ministry and so tackle the same problem in his church.
iJna + subj. "that [they too may obtain]" - that [they also may obtain, gain, find, experience]. Introducing a purpose clause, "in order that ...." It is God's will that the elect attain salvation and eternal Glory, and so Paul is willing to put up with anything in order to realise (playing his part in / placing himself in the centre of) that divine will.
kai "too" - and. Adjunctive, "also", but is it, as NIV, that "they", namely the elect, may also, with Paul and Timothy, obtain salvation ...., or is it that "they", the elect, may also obtain "salvation" (future salvation in the last day along with their right-standing before God now, so "full salvation", Mounce) ......?
thV gen. "that is" - the [salvation] the. The article serves as an adjectivizer, turning the prepositional phrase, "in Christ Jesus", into an attributive modifier of the genitive noun "salvation", a genitive of direct object after the verb "to obtain"; "the salvation which is in Christ Jesus."
en + dat. "in" - in [christ jesus]. Local, expressing space, incorporative union / state or condition; "signifying the person in whom God's gifts are present and available", Marshall.
meta + gen. "with" - with [eternal glory]. Expressing accompaniment, "indicates what accompanies salvation", Marshall, namely, a divine glory / deity which is eternal. Possibly adverbial, manner, so Perkins.
ii] A faithful saying that serves to draw out the practical and ethical implications of endurance for Christ, v11-13. This trustworthy / faithful saying is often classed as a hymnic fragment serving to summarise the gospel. Some argue that verse 13 is not part of the saying. Note the change of tense throughout the saying: v11, aor. - fut.; v12, pres. - fut. / fut. - fut.; v13, pres. - pres. -pres. As already noted, there are five trustworthy sayings in the Pastoral letters, each a teaching saying, probably in common use throughout the Christian church at the time. Paul quotes the saying to support his exhortation that Timothy should endure in Christian ministry. The saying is made up of three elements:
•*Through our identification with Christ's death and resurrection there is a consequential death to sin and judgement and an enlivening to life eternal, cf. Gal.2:19f, 1Cor.15:45. This is a central Pauline doctrine.
•*Our "reign" with Christ in eternity is preceded by the learning experience of discipleship.
•*The danger we face on the Christian way is denial of Jesus. If we abandon our faith in Jesus, if we "disown him", we are lost, cf., Matt.10:33, 12:32.
pistoV adj. "here is a trustworthy [saying]" - faithful, trustworthy [is the word]. Predicate adjective. Serving to identify a formula saying, doctrinal in nature. Part of the difficulty with these identifiers in the Pastorals is that it remains unclear whether they are referring back or forward. So here, it is possibly backward to v8, so Lock, although better forward, so Knight.
gar "-" - for. Probably emphatic and therefore untranslated, even transitional, introducing the faithful saying, so NIV, but if the faithful saying is v10 then gar would be explanatory, introducing an explanation of the saying.
ei + ind. "if" - Introducing a conditional clause, 1st. class, where the condition is assumed to be true; "if, as is the case, ...... then ...... The faithful saying consists of four 1st. class conditional clauses, as NIV.
sunapeqanomen (sunapoqnhskw) aor. "we died with him" - we died together with. "Him" understood. The aorist is punctiliar expressing a definite completed action. Restating a central tenet of the Christian faith, namely that an identification with Christ in his death, as the one who takes upon himself the curse of our sin, automatically entails an identification with him in his resurrection and thus access to the fullness of life awarded to the faithful Son of God. Commentators tend to tie dying with Christ with Christian baptism, cf., Rom.6:1-4, but it is always unwise to read baptizw, "I baptise" as if referring to water baptism. The word means "immerse" such that ebaptisqhmen eiV Criston, "were immersed into Christ", is more likely to have a figurative sense, descriptive of union with Christ, than to be a literal reference to water baptism.
kai "also" - [we will] and = also [live with him]. Possibly emphatic, so "we will certainly live with him", but at least adjunctive; "we will also live with him."
ei + ind. "if" - Conditional clause, 1st. class, as above.
uJpomenomen (uJpomenw) pres. "we endure" - we endure, remain, abide. The present tense is durative, expressing ongoing action. "The verb "endure" links the behaviour expected of Timothy with the model of endurance ... displayed in Paul's life, reinforcing again the call to action and the need for appropriate response", Towner, so Mounce, Knight - enduring suffering and temptation. None-the-less, "remain / abide" is more likely the sense, - holding to the truth of the gospel, abiding / continuing in faith. Perseverance is at the heart of this truth, such that salvation, with its rewards, rests on an abiding faith.
kai "also" - and. Adjunctive, "also", but possibly emphatic; "we will certainly reign with him."
sumbasileusomen (sunbasileuw) fut. "we will [also] reign with him" - we will reign together with / share in the rule of. The reign of a believer with Christ in the age to come is an amazing concept, cf. Matt.19:28, Lk.22:30.
ei + ind. "if" - Conditional clause, as above, but note the rare use of a future indicative. Probably "a mere contingency, improbable in itself", Bernard.
arnhsomeqa (arneomai) fut. "we disown him" - we will deny. After periods of persecution, the early church authorities didn't know whether or not to welcome the return of those who had offered a libation to the emperor. Many of those who had bravely faced martyrdom actually called into question the standing of brothers who had compromised their faith. Yet, Peter denied Jesus, but Jesus certainly didn't deny him. So, the faithful saying is referring to something more than a loss of courage. A denial of faith, an abandoning of belief, is surely in mind; "if we turn our backs on him, he will turn his back on us", Peterson.
kakeinoV " also" - [that one will] also [deny us]. An example of a crasis, the joining of two words with the loss of a vowel/s: kai, adjunctive, "also" + ekainoV, "this, this one"; "this one also will deny us." The "this one" is usually taken as Christ.
The rhythm of the faithful saying is disturbed in this verse, indicating that it may serve as "an extended reversal", Johnson, of "if we disown him, he will also disown us", or probably better, a Pauline qualification of the saying. Jesus only denies, in the sense of abandons / disowns, those who abandon him, he does not abandon us on the ground of a faithless / disobedient act, eg., Peter's denial of Jesus. Such is the case, because it would be against Jesus' character to act this way - "man's faith in God is not the measure of God's faithfulness to man", Bernard. See Hanson who argues that only the last clause functions as a Pauline comment. Barrett notes that some (eg. Lock) have argued for a restructuring of the stanza, giving the sense "if we are faithless, God keeps faith by denying us, and meeting out the punishment we deserve." Barrett rightly rejects this interpretation. So, there is support for the view that this verse is a Pauline qualification of the last stanza of the faithful saying.
ei + ind. "if" - Here, rather than introducing a conditional clause, 1st. class, we may have a concessive clause in a contrasting sentence; "although, as is the case, we are unfaithful, then Jesus remains faithful."
apistoumen (apistew) pres. "we are faithless" - we are unfaithful, break faith / disbelieve, refuse to believe. If "unbelief" is the intended sense, it is best taken to mean "a wavering of faith", Bernard, but if, as is likely, the sense is "unfaithful" then the meaning is "fail to live up to our profession", Kelly, so also Guthrie, Knight, Johnson.
ekeinoV pro. "he" - this one. Nominative subject of the verb "to remain, abide." Presumably "Christ" is intended, as v12b.
menei (menw) pres. "will remain" - remains, abides, continues [faithful]. In what sense does Jesus remain faithful? Possibly in the sense that "he does not give up" on us, Peterson, but also possibly a theological sense where his faithfulness / righteousness continues to apply to a believer united to him by faith, despite the believer's unfaithfulness / disobedience / unrighteousness.
gar "for" - for. Introducing a causal clause explaining why Christ remains faithful.
arnhsasqai (arneomai) aor. inf. "[he cannot] disown" - [he is not able] to deny [himself]. The infinitive is complementary, completing the sense of the negated verb "is not able". "He cannot be untrue to himself", Knight.