Paul's charge to Timothy, 2:3-4:8
vi] Paul's testimonyArgument
Although Paul begins to wind up his letter, his personal testimony is made with an eye to the exhortation he has just given Timothy. Paul's analusiV, "departure", is close at hand and therefore Timothy needs to take charge of his ministry without further hesitation, v6. Paul has virtually run his race, a race Timothy must now run, v7. Paul will soon receive his crown, a crown awaiting all those who long for Christ's appearing, v8.
i] Context: See 2:3-7.
ii] Background: See 1:1-5.
iii] Structure: Paul's testimony to Timothy:
Paul has "fought the good fight", and "finished the race", v6-7
"The crown of righteousness" now awaits Paul
and all who look to the coming day, v8.
The confession serves as the centrepiece for this letter; it is a triumphant statement of faith. In the midst of all his troubles, Paul has "fought the good fight" and now awaits the "crown of righteousness."
Marshall argues that the purpose of the passage as threefold: "to put an example before Timothy that he is to follow; to indicate that he (and others) must take the place now being vacated by Paul; and to hold out the promise of reward for faithful service."
Questions as to authorship seem to increase at this point, given that Paul "praises himself", D/C. Hanson agrees, although he thinks there is nothing exaggerated in the language. None-the-less, as Barrett states "there is nothing here that Paul could not have written, and much that could scarcely have been invented." If Paul wasn't the author, it would have to be someone very close to him, someone intent on cementing Paul's theological legacy.
v] Exposition: A simple verse-by-verse exposition of this passage may be found in the linked pew-level Sermon Notes.
Text - 4:6
Paul's final testimony, v6-8. Paul's situation is desperate, but he is ready to lose his life.
gar "for" - Introducing a causal clause explaining why Timothy should take to heart the charge just given him by Paul, but also possibly transitional / paragraph marker, and so left untranslated, eg., CEV.
egw pro. "I" - Emphatic by position and use. "As for me", NEB.
h[dh adv. "already" - Temporal adverb; emphasising the immediacy of the situation.
spendomai (spendw) pres. pas. "am [already] being poured out like a drink" - i am offered as a libation. The present tense is durative, expressing "the certainty of the event", Knight. It seems unwise to treat the passive as theological, in that it is simply stating that Paul is the object of the action.
efesthken (efisthmi) perf. "has come" - [and the time of the departure of me] has come upon, happened, overtaken. The perfect usually takes the sense "imminent", so "the time for my death / martyrdom is near at hand."
thV analusewV (iV ewV) gen. "for [my] departure" - of the unloosing, casting off = departure [of me]. The genitive is adjectival, idiomatic / temporal, "the time when my departure is near", or even appositional, of definition, limiting the noun "time", "the time, namely of my departure", so specifying the time in mind. The genitive could also be classified as a adverbial of time, even reference / respect, "the time, with respect to my departure, is near." However we classify the syntax, the language Paul is using is clear enough - he is using "departure" as a euphemism for death. The word is often used today in a similar fashion. For the dearly departed we have a farewell service; we see them off, to be at rest, etc..... For an inscription, I like safe in the arms of Jesus, although Spike Miligan's very original I told you I was sick beats them all!
In three clear statements, Paul affirms his end: He has fought the battle and won; He has run the race - the race of discipleship; He has kept the faith - reliance on Christ.
hgwnismai (agwnizomai) perf. "I have fought" - i have strived, struggled, fought. The perfect tense in this verb, and the two following, is expressing a completed action with ongoing results / consequences, or possibly "the completion of an action that has gone on for some time", Towner. Possibly the image is of a completed wrestling match, certainly an athletics image rather than a military one. "I have competed in the good contest", Quinn-Wacker.
ton ... agwna (wn wnoV) acc. "the [good] fight" - Cognate accusative, emphatic by position.
teteleka (telew) perf. "I have finished" - i have finished, completed [the course]. The image is of a running race which Paul has completed, and so awaits the garland, the sign of his victory.
tethrhka (threw) perf. "I have kept" - i have kept, guarded [the faith]. Barrett suggests that Paul is possibly using "faith" this time to mean "pledge / oath". As a contestant in the games, Paul has "kept the rules", he is a "faithful" contestant, he has "remained true to his calling, his appointment as an apostle of Christ and a proclaimer of the gospel", Mounce. Throughout the Pastorals, it is not always clear how the word "faith" is being used. The presence of the article in thn pistin, "the faith", often prompts the translation "the Christian faith", in the sense of Christian doctrine, but the article seems to be used loosely in the Pastorals. Another possibility is that "kept faith" means that Paul has retained a strong faith / belief in Jesus. It is impossible to resolve this issue. Kelly argues that personal faith is the primary meaning in the Pastorals, "I have kept on believing / I have kept my trust [in Christ]", with "the faith" in the sense of Christian doctrine / the gospel taking a secondary meaning, "I have preserved the faith intact", Hanson, cf. Marshall. Kelly's approach seems the best option.
Paul's struggle will culminate in glory, the "crown of righteousness". This is not a laurel-wreath given to the righteous man for his virtuous life, but a wreath of righteousness itself, of a right-standing in the sight of God that belongs to those who are united to Christ through faith.
loipon adv. "now" - henceforth, remaining, finally. The accusative of "the rest, remaining" serving as a temporal adverb; "from this point on / now all that is left."
apokeitai (apokeimai) pres. "there is in store" - there is laid up, stored away, put away to one side, laid away. The image expresses the certainty of the prize; the race is won, we just await the award ceremony.
moi dat. pro. "for me" - Dative of interest, advantage.
oJ .... stefanoV (oV) "the crown" - the crown, wreath, garland. Nominative subject of the verb "to store away." All that is left for Paul is the confirmation of his victory with its associated celebrations.
thV dikaiosunhV (h) "of righteousness" - of righteousness, justice. The genitive is adjectival, epexegetic, limiting by specifying the crown; "the crown which consists of / consisting of righteousness", the righteousness that is ours in our identification with Christ, ie., the reward of Christ's faithfulness belongs to those who are in union with Christ through faith (the now / not yet dichotomy is best recognised here rather than holding that this "righteousness" is only "received in full at the Eschaton", Towner), so Barrett, Fee, Knight. On the other hand, it is possible, although unlikely, that it is possessive, such that the righteousness is Paul's holiness of living, so Kelly, Hanson.
oJ dikaioV krithV "the righteous judge" - [which the lord], the righteous judge. Nominative in apposition to "the Lord." The Lord, who is the righteous judge, probably refers to Christ, so Barrett, cf., 4:1, but Biblical usage usually refers to God as the righteous judge. The adjective "righteous" is attributive, limiting by describing "the judge."
apodwsei (apodidwmi) fut. "will award" - will give back, recompense, pay back what is due.
moi dat. pro. "to me" - Dative of indirect object.
en + dat. "on" - in [that day]. The preposition functions adverbially, temporal. The reference is to the day of judgment.
emoi dat. pro. "to me" - [not only] to me. Dative of indirect object / interest, advantage.
alla "but" - Strong adversative standing in a counterpoint construction; "not ......, but ......" "Paul transforms his victory into a hope for all believers", Towner.
toiV hgaphkasi (agapaw) dat. perf. part. "who have longed for" - [to all] the ones having loved. The participle serves as a substantive, dative of indirect object. With the sense of "the ones having set their hearts upon." It is interesting how some commentators feel the need to add a touch of faithful obedience to this hope so as to remove the possible impression of cheap grace. When did grace become cheap? Our eternal reward rests on Christ's faithfulness (by no means cheap!) and is received by faith - our faith + Christ's faith / faithfulness. A longed-for hope is enough in itself. Of course, such a hope, in the power of the indwelling Spirit of Christ, shapes us in the image of Christ, although always imperfectly since, as Luther reminds us, we are not free from our body of sin until it is deposited in the grave.
autou gen. pro. "his" - [the appearing] of him. The genitive is usually viewed as verbal, subjective, as NIV, but possibly adjectival, idiomatic / temporal, "all who have longed for the day when he appears."
thn epifaneian (a) "[his] appearing" - the appearing. The word takes the same sense as parousia, "coming / appearing. There are many comings / appearings of the Lord. The destruction of Jerusalem in 70AD was one of the more memorable ones. All culminate in the appearing / coming of the Son of Man before the Ancient of Days to take up his throne and enact judgment. This appearing / coming is good news for believers, something we set our heart upon, but for those who have rejected the gospel, it is bad news indeed.