Commentary On Second Timothy
By Jonathan Mitchell

Jump to Chapter One, Two, Three, Four

Chapter One

1. Paul, one sent off with a commission pertaining to (or: from) Christ Jesus through God's will, intent and purpose, down from, in line with and with a view to [the] promise of Life – the one [which is] resident within Christ Jesus (or: through God's design which corresponds to Life's promise, or a Promise which is life: the one belonging to, pertaining to, and from Jesus – in union with [the] Anointing),

Paul did not make a choice to be a person sent off on a mission; he was sent off through God's will, intent and purpose. This sending came down from a Promise, which is life; he was sent in line with Life's promise, and with a view to [the] promise of Life. Each of these renderings gives a different shade of focus, based upon the possible functions of the Greek preposition "kata," and the functions of the word "life" in the genitive case.

In the parenthetical translation, I give three possible renderings of the name Jesus in the genitive case, and give a second option of the Greek "en" as "in union with." Note that here I separated "Jesus" from "Christ," which I render "[the] Anointing," because they are in two different cases, this latter being the dative case that corresponds to "en." Most translators overlook this difference, but I chose to point it out as thus potentially indicating the second meaning of the Greek "Christo." "Within Christ" stresses sphere, location and position; "in union with [the] Anointing" stresses relationship and union with the substance, quality and character of "Christ."

2. to Timothy, a beloved child (or: brought forth one; born one): Grace and favor, mercy, peace and harmony [= shalom] – from Father God, even Christ Jesus, our Lord (or: from God [the] Father, and Christ Jesus, our Owner).

In the first letter Paul called Timothy a "genuine child," while here he uses the term "beloved child." I think that these show Paul's regards Timothy's character in the first, while noting how he feels about him in the second. It also shows that Paul was not locked into a mindset of terms. Then he blesses Timothy, or (as there is no verb in this phrase) makes a statement about the source of grace, mercy and peace: they [are] from Father God. As elsewhere, I give the possible renderings of the conjunction "kai" (even; and) as indicating either identity, in the first, or separation, in the second. Note that "Lord" also means "Owner."

3. I constantly hold grace in God (or: I am habitually having gratitude to God; I repeatedly possess favor, by God), in Whom (or: to, for, by or with Whom) I continually render sacred service – [handed down] from [the] ancestors (or: those born earlier; forefathers) – within a clean conscience (or: co-knowledge; a joint-knowing from shared seeing), as I constantly hold (or: am presently having) an unceasing remembrance (or: a memory which leaves no interval) about you within my expressions of need (or: seekings of aid; requests), by night and by day,

The first clause gives three possible rendering. The first gives the literal of "charis" as grace, but scholars also emphasize the idea of "gratis" in the word, and so tend to render it "thanks" or "gratitude." These latter I regard as secondary aspects of what Paul is saying. The verb means to have, to hold, to possess. Note the different prepositions before "God," as possible functions of the dative spelling of "God."

The word "Whom" is also dative, so you see the options. I also want to point out that Paul does not use the word "worship," but rather the verb "render sacred service," indicating that he continually or constantly does this. He also indicate that this service comes from "[the] ancestors," so that he is implying continuity from the old covenant, yet he does it in a different way since he is not performing as a priest in the temple. Things have changed; the old has passed away.

I expanded the rendering of "conscience" to show the literal meanings of the Greek elements of the word, which I think is worth pondering. I suggest that the other party of the "co-" or "joint-" is God.

Timothy is ever in his thoughts and memory, as he expresses His needs to God, both day and night. The construction indicates that both are concurrent, and around the clock. The one is not separated from the other.

4. constantly and fully longing (or: by habit yearning upon [you]) to see you – having been reminded and being caused to be remembering your tears – so that I may be filled full of joy,

Vs. 4 shows the relationship Paul feels toward Timothy, feeling their separation and the attendant emotions which they both have.

5. taking [other MSS: continually getting] a suggestion to my memory of the unhypocritical faith (or: the faith that is not overly critical of matters; the trust that is not deficient in its ability to sift and decide; the reliance which is not hyper-judgmental; a faith that is not scrutinizing and judging from an inferior position, and then becoming gradually separated) resident within you, which first inhabited (made its home within)your grandmother, Lois, and then in your mother, Eunice. Now I have been persuaded and stand convinced that [it is] also within you.

The first rendering, "unhypocritical" is the common one, but consider the parenthetical options, based upon recent research in Koine Greek, and upon the elements which compose the word: a (without) – hupo (either "under," and thus "low," or, as an intensifier, "hyper" or "overly") – kritos (separating, evaluating, scrutinizing, judging, discriminating). Basically, Paul is saying that Timothy's faith and trust are not distorted or harmful. This quality is resident within him, and was also in both his mother and grandmother. It is interesting that Paul twice affirms that this is in Timothy, the second time associating it with his ancestry – through his mother's line. Faith is something that is implanted in a person by a word or teaching from another person.

6. For (or: Because of; With a view to) which cause I am periodically reminding you to habitually and progressively give life by fire again to (or: revive the fire of; cause the live coal to blaze up for; rekindle the dormant fire into flames of; to again put a spark to) God's [A reads: Christ's] effect of grace and favor (or: gracious gift), which has being (is; exists) within you through the imposition (or: the placing or laying upon) of my hands,

Paul urges Timothy to "cause the live coal to blaze up, etc." to give fresh life to the effect of grace within him. This "effect, or result, of favor and grace" may refer to the life of Christ within Timothy, or it could refer to a specific gift – but if this latter, it is interesting that Paul does not specify what it was.

Now that it came to exist within Timothy "through the imposition of [Paul's] hands" may be referring to a symbolic act of doings so, as Paul prayed into him, with a view to goodness and well-being, imparting words from his own being into Timothy. Or, it may mean that the actual "placing or laying [hands] upon" him transferred energy and life into him through this act.

7. for you see, God does not (or: did not) give to us a spirit of cowardice (or: a Breath-effect or attitude of timidity in us), but rather [a spirit and attitude] of ability and of power, as well as of love and of soundness in frame of mind (of wholeness in thinking; of healthiness of attitude; of sanity; of sensibility; of controlled reasonableness; of rational moderation; anatomically: of a saved diaphragm).

From this verse continuing on the thought of vs. 6, I think we should conclude that it is the result of grace which was imparted to Timothy, and here Paul describes it as a spirit and attitude of ability and of power and of love and of soundness in frame of mind. On this last phrase, note the expansion of renderings. I gave the anatomical one to reveal an aspect of Greek thought and perception through their using a part of the body to picture a concept.

8. Therefore, do not become ashamed of (or: You should not, then, be embarrassed by) the testimony of and from our Lord (or: the witness pertaining to our Master; the evidence which is our Owner), nor yet, [of; or: by] me, His bound-one (or: His prisoner). On the contrary, down from God's ability (or: in the sphere of power, which is God), experience things of bad quality (or: worthless encounters) together with [me] for the message of ease, goodness and well-being (or: But rather, corresponding to God's power, suffer evil and hardship with the evangel; But further, accept your share in bad treatment – in accord with the ability which comes from God – in [the Way of] the Good News),

Again, we see that Paul's focus is "the testimony of and from our Lord; the witness pertaining to our Master; and the evidence, which is our Owner" – not a specific gift that Timothy may or may not have had. It is, in fact, "the message of ease, goodness and well-being," and Timothy is admonished to, in the sphere of power which is God, and down from God's ability, "experience things of bad quality" along with Paul. The parenthetical alternate renderings of the last clause show the variety of nuances that can be expressed from the Greek.

Paul was no doubt in prison when writing this, but he (like Job) does not recognize the intermediary agency and refers to himself as "His bound-one."

9. pertaining to and from the One delivering and calling us (or: which is rescuing, healing restoring, saving and calling us) in a set-apart calling (or: to a holy invitation; for a separated and consecrated call); not corresponding to our works (or: down from our deeds; in accord with and on the level of our works’ actions), but on the contrary, corresponding to (down from; in accord with; on the level of) His own prior placing (or: previously setting-forth), even grace: that [which is] being given to us within Christ Jesus (or: corresponding to His own predetermined purpose and the favor being given to us, [which is] belonging to and pertaining to Jesus, resident within Christ), before times having the qualities and characteristics of the ages (before [the] age-lasting time periods; prior to eonian times; = before [the] time segments of [the] ages [began]),

In the first phrase of this verse I gave three functions of the genitive, "pertaining to," "from," and "which is." The first two would make God the antecedent (in vs. 8), while the last one would make the message the antecedent. Either is viable in the Greek text.

The message, referred to in vs. 8, "pertains to the One delivering and call us" – in a set-apart calling. Note that this last phrase is in the dative without an expressed preposition, so the functions of "in, to and for" are given – since they all make good sense to the context, so prayerfully consider each option.

The next phrase makes an important negative affirmation: it is NOT in correspondence to our works, NOR coming down from our deeds, NOR in accordance with or on the level of our works' actions. To the contrary this set-apart calling is from and in line with "His own prior placing – even grace!" It accords with the grace and favor which is given to us within Jesus Christ. The parenthetical alternate says the same thing in a different way.

The last phrase of this verse tell us that this placing and predetermined purpose took place before the ages began or were created. I think that the suggested paraphrase says its best: "before [the] time segments of [the] ages [began]." God had everything planned out before He even created time, which happened concurrent with the creation of the universe. We were in His mind in this "before." What assurance, confidence and expectation this should give to us.

10. and now (at the present moment), being set in clear light so as to become visible (or: manifested) through the bringing to full light (or: the complete shining upon; the full appearance in light; the complete manifestation by light) of our Deliverer (Savior; Rescuer), Christ Jesus – on the one hand, idling down death (or: The Death) so as to make it unproductive and useless, yet on the other hand, illuminating (giving light to) life and incorruptibility (the absence of the ability to decay; un-ruinableness) through means of the message of goodness, ease and well-being –

It is both the calling and the grace/favor which are being set in clear light so as to be made visible. And this comes through our Savior, Rescuer and Deliverer – Jesus Christ – also being brought to full light, being completely manifested in a full appearance. His being shined upon and manifested had two effects: 1) it idled down death so as to make it unproductive, and 2) it illuminated (or: gave light to) life and incorruptibility. The agency of this was the message of goodness, ease and well-being. So Paul leads us back to the message again: it is through this that Christ come to light among the nations.

But let us consider effect #1: if this is referring to "the Death," i.e., the death that entered into all creation through the disobedience in the Garden of Eden, then Christ rendered this existential realm and event both unproductive and useless – meaning in essence that "there is no more death" in the new creation, despite its existence in the natural, or old creation. Remember that death used to reign (Rom. 5:14)

"from Adam as far as and as long as Moses [= Law]."

But Moses is no more. Death has lost its job in the new Reality which is Christ.

At the same time, both life and incorruptibility have been given light and have been illuminated in the Life of Christ. What does this mean? For one, it is a Life that has the quality of the Age of Messiah, and lasts through the ages, so that those continuously living and believing (or: trusting) in fact, in this kind of life, "can by no means die, on into [this] Age" (John 11:26). It is the power and quality of His Life that gives incorruptibility. But this is not a thing of the flesh, of the natural realm – as was shown by Jesus Himself, as well as His followers.

11. into which (or: into Whom) I am placed (or: I was put): a herald (a public announcer; a proclaimer; a preacher) – even a person sent off with a mission (an envoy; a representative; or: = a messenger) – and a teacher [other MSS add: of the ethnic multitudes (nations; Gentiles; Goyim; non-Jews)].

The first phrase of vs. 11 can refer to either the message (into which), or Christ (into Whom). It was really into both that he was placed/put: to be a herald that was sent off with a mission, as well as a teacher/instructor.

12. For (Because of; In view of) which cause I am also continuously experiencing (also: feeling; being affected by; suffering) these things. But still, I am not feeling shame (or: I am not experiencing embarrassment), for I have seen and thus know by Whom I have believed and now put my trust (or: in Whom I have relied and continue placing confidence), and I have been persuaded and am continuing convinced that He is able (He continues being powerful) to watch over, guard and protect – on into that Day – the deposit placed alongside of me (or: what is entrusted to my charge).

It is because he was placed into the message and into Christ, and further, because he now functioned as Christ's herald and envoy, as well as a teacher, that he was having the experiences to which he refers. The word "experiences" has a wide semantic range, as indicated by the parenthetical expansion. It was not only suffering that he was experiencing.

In all his experiences he felt no shame or embarrassment, because he had seen, and thus knew, by Whom he had believed and now put his trust. Note that the dative phrase can also read, "in Whom..." Having this experiential knowledge has persuaded him that Christ is able, and continues being powerful, to watch over, guard and protect the deposit entrusted to him. He does not specify what this deposit is, but we can deduce that it would have included the Christ life within him, as well as the message which he was sent to herald. The phrase "on into that Day" most likely refers to the "Day of Christ, or Day of the Lord" to which he elsewhere refers. That could have been the day when Christ would come for him personally, at his death by the hand of the Romans, or, he could have been enigmatically referring to the Lords coming in judgment (the term usually referred to this, in the O.T.) through the Romans, which happened in AD 70.

13. Keep on holding a pattern (that which underlies and delineates the sketch or model) of words that continue giving health, healing and a cure (or: Habitually have a model of thoughts, ideas and messages [that] are being progressively sound and healthful) – ones of which you heard (or: hear) from my side – within the midst of faith (or: in union with trust) and love: that [which is] resident within Christ Jesus. (or: Continually be possessing the under-type – the one within [the] Anointing of Jesus – of healthful discourses and conversations which you heard from me, in faith and love.)

The syntax of this verse can read in either of the two ways which I have rendered it. In the first, it is referring to a pattern of words; in the second to an underlying type or pattern which is in Christ. Again, in the first, it is referring to words that are giving health, and that have a model of sound thoughts, etc., that are in union with trust and faith, which in fact are resident within Christ; in the second it is referring back to healthful discourses and conversation which Timothy had heard from him, in faith and love. Both readings make good sense, and reveal Truth.

14. Watch over, guard and protect the beautiful deposit placed alongside [you] (or: the fine and excellent thing that is entrusted to [your] charge) through means of the set-apart Breath-effect (or: Holy Spirit) [that is] continuously inhabiting us (or: by a set-apart spirit: the one constantly making its home within us).

Once again Paul refers to guarding the deposit, here calling it "beautiful." Following the consistency of the ongoing context, I suggest that this deposit is the life of Christ and the message from Him. Note the means of watching over and protecting: through the set-apart Breath-effect (or: Holy spirit) which continuously inhabits us – makes It's/His home within us! This last phrase confirms that we are His Temple, but the reality of it is almost beyond comprehension. Still, we must accept this as fact, and live knowing that we are thus constantly in His presence, and that His presence is within us!

15. You have seen, and thus know this, that all those within [the province of] Asia were turned away from me – of whom are Phygelus and Hermogenes.

16. May the Lord [= Yahweh or Christ] give mercy to the house (or: household) of Onesiphorus, because many times (often; frequently) he refreshed me (he breathed back cool on me; he souled me up again), and he was not ashamed of (or: embarrassed by) my chain (= my imprisonment).

17. On the contrary, on coming to be in Rome, he urgently (quickly; diligently) searched for (or: seeks) me, and found (or: finds) me.

18. May the Lord [= Yahweh or Christ] give to him to find mercy, beside [the] Lord [= Yahweh or Christ], within that Day! And how much (or: how many things) he gave in attending service within Ephesus, you yourself, by intimate experience, continue knowing better.

Vs. 15 seems almost incomprehensible – how could all those within the province of Asia have been turned away from him? I suggest that it was through the Judaizers and their return to the Law and ritual. And we see today that much of Christianity is still turned back to the Law, and away from the message of grace which Paul heralded. We are so blessed to have the record of God's grace through his writings, else we would have only the traditions of the church which often make God's word of no effect.

We see Paul projecting mercy, in 16-18, to the house of Onesiphorus, for his service and faithfulness. Why should he speak for the Lord to give him mercy? Because Paul knew that the Day was coming – the Day when the Lord's presence would be beside Onesiphorus (and others) in a time of judging Jerusalem and the Jewish leadership. Those times would have ripple effects out into the provinces, as the Christians would flee Jerusalem, and many Jews would be killed. There would also come more times of persecution of Christians from Rome.

Jump to Chapter One, Two, Three, Four

Chapter Two

1. You, then, my child (or: one born of me), be habitually enabled (continuously and progressively empowered; repeatedly made powerful inside) within the grace, and in union with the favor, [which are] within Christ Jesus (or: [by being] in union with [the] Anointing of Jesus).

Paul again affirms his spiritual relationship of being a father to Timothy, and encourages him to make it a habit to be enabled and empowered in God's grace and favor. He makes it plain that this ability and power, which reside in the sphere of grace and favor, are available to him through union with "[the] Anointing of Jesus," thus having their source in Christ Jesus, not within Timothy.

2. And whatever you hear (or: heard) from my side through many witnesses, at once place (or: set) these things to the side for people full of faith (or: deposit and commit these things, in trust for safekeeping, to trustworthy people; inculcate these things in reliable humans) – whosoever will be competent (or: adequately qualified) to also teach others (or: different folks).

The tense of the verb "hear" is aorist – which simply states a fact without reference to time or kind of action – and thus can refer to what was heard, or what he may now hear. Paul indicates that the information of which he speaks came from him personally, but through many witnesses, and that Timothy is to pass this along to folks that are full of the faith and trust of Christ. The message or teachings are not to be given over to those that are not yet adequately qualified to be teachers, but rather to those who are competent enough to teach and train other folks. Thus, neophytes should not be teachers. It is those who are "full of faith and trust," and are thus "trustworthy and reliable," to whom the Word and teaching of God should come. Jesus spent three or more years teaching and training His disciples before having them receive the message which was to be proclaimed. Paul Himself spent years being taught of the Lord.

3. Experience things of bad quality (or: worthless encounters) together (or: Accept your share of bad treatment and evil) as a beautiful (ideal; fine) soldier of Christ Jesus.

Here he uses the life of a soldier as a metaphor of how Timothy should handle hardship and bad experiences and indicates that these worthless encounters are corporate experiences. The verb means "to experience (which can include suffering) the bad together," which means this is a shared experience, just as a soldier is part of a "company of soldiers." We are part of a body, not lone individuals. How we handle such things should reflect beauty and that which is fine and ideal – in other words, it should manifest Christ, just as a soldier exhibits the reputation and character of his commanding officer.

4. No one serving a tour of duty as a soldier (currently performing military service or being at war) habitually intertwines or entangles himself in (or: by) everyday affairs (undertakings and activities; business performances) of the course of life (or: of making a living), in order that he may please (or: be acceptable to) the one enlisting him in military service (the one collecting soldiers to gather an army).

The metaphor is continued to advise not becoming distracted away from the message of Christ or one's place of responsibility in God's reign. Christ's followers are to be specialists that have a kingdom job, and are not to become entangled (and thus become ineffective) by the cares of this life. The key words here are "habitually intertwine[d] and entangle[d]." He is not saying that one should not have a job or raise a family, for it is these very things that support the called-out community and are a part of kingdom living. But these and other involvements should not hamper us in doing the will of the Father, Whose will is relational in its nature. It is the spirit of the system – be it cultural, economic or religious – that brings the bondage through entanglements.

5. So also, if anyone may be repeatedly competing in the athletic games, he is not normally being crowned with a winner's wreath if he does not compete lawfully (according to the rules of the game).

Paul moves to another metaphor: following the rules of the game. For us it is following the principles of the kingdom, which Jesus taught, and living in accord to the "the principle and law of, and which is, the spirit of 'The Life within Christ Jesus'" (Rom. 8:2), which Paul teaches.

6. It is constantly binding (It is of continual necessity) for the farmer (or: field worker) that is habitually laboring in the field to be repeatedly first in taking a share of the fruits.

And now another picture: the person doing the work should be the first to reap the benefits of the labor. It is a life of love and giving, but it is foremost a life of fairness and equity, for this is the Way pointed out (rightwised living).

7. [So] give constant thought to (or: Continually put your mind to, so as to perceive and understand) what I am now saying, for you see, the Lord [= Yahweh or Christ] will give comprehension and understanding (a sending and bringing things together into union) to you (for you; in you) within all things and among all people.

First, let us note that Paul advises giving constant thought to what he, by the Spirit, is saying. This is consistent with the path of the fathers who meditated on the Words of God. Next we have the promise that the Lord will "give comprehension and understanding" to us – within all matters, and among our relationships with all people. And these things and people are impacted by what Paul writes to the called-out communities.

8. Be habitually keeping in mind (or: remembering) Jesus Christ, being the One having been aroused and raised, and now continuing risen, forth from out of the midst of dead folks: from out of David's seed! (or: [Who was] from out of David's seed.) – corresponding to and in the sphere of my message of goodness, ease and well-being (or: in line with the good news that came through me),

Here he points out what should be the center of our thoughts, which is the core of his message: Jesus Christ (not our personal ascension in Him). We should keep in mind His being aroused and now being raised forth from the midst of dead folks. Consider what he here defines as dead folks: David's seed! This could refer to those of Christ's lineage who had physically died, and having gone to them He was three days later raised up from the midst of them. Or, Paul could be speaking metaphorically of the Jews that, although physically living, were dead in and by their trespasses and sins. Both perspectives correspond to Paul's message of goodness, ease and well-being.

9. in which I am continually experiencing bad situations (suffering evil; experiencing bad treatment and conditions of poor quality) to the point of bonds (fetters or imprisonment) as a worthless worker (a criminal; one who acts badly; a worker of evil), but by comparison, the Word of God (or: God's thought, idea and message) has not been bound or imprisoned, and thus remains untied!

Paul continues his reference to his message, which now he says is the source of his constantly experiencing bad treatment and conditions of poor quality – even to the point of imprisonment, as if being a criminal or a worthless worker. Nonetheless, his message, "the Word of God and God's ideas" are not bound with him, and so remain untied and free. Here we see that even his bonds did not silence him.

10. Because of this [fact], I continue remaining under to support all people and to patiently enduring all [situations], on account of (= for the sake of) the selected and picked-out folks (the chosen-out people; the elect group; the choice ones), to the end that they, also, may hit the target of deliverance (rescue; health and wholeness; salvation) – that [which is] within Christ Jesus (or: the one pertaining to Jesus, resident within Christ: inherent in the Anointing) – together with glory (or: an appearance; an opinion; an imagination; a manifestation which calls forth praise) which has the characteristics and qualities of the Age (or: eonian glory; an age-lasting reputation).

Here is the joy which is set before Paul: the benefit of those to whom he was sent, who he here characterizes as selected and picked-out folks. On their account, he "continue[d] remaining under to support all people, and patiently enduring all [situations]." He is saying that he is remaining in prison, under those conditions, to give support to the called-out communities. The point to grasp here is not how great Paul was, but that what he did in living in the reign of God had an effect upon those to whom he had been originally sent and was now ministering life via this letter, and I'm sure through his prayers. He was expressing his solidarity with them, but even while imprisoned, in the spirit He was sending forth goodness into them. His "remaining and enduring" had an end in view: that they also may hit the target of deliverance and wholeness which is within Christ Jesus – together with a manifestation which calls forth praise (or: glory) which has the quality and character of the Age of the Messiah, and lasts for the eon to come.

Consider well what this says to us: we, in whatever place or situation, can have a real effect upon those to whom we direct our spirits via our prayers (our thoughts and words are spirit and they are life), and to whom we give service. While laying down our life for our friends, while taking up our crosses, we can do the works that He did. As out of His body came blood and water, out of our innermost being can come a river of living water, bringing life wherever it flows (Ezk. 47:9). We can radiate His glory into every environment to which He directs us.

11. The Word (or: Logos) [is] full of faith. (or: Trustworthy [is] the statement and the message:) For since we died together with [Him] (or: For if we jointly die), we will also live together (or: jointly live; co-live);

Christ, the Logos, is full of faith, and His message is trustworthy. The Greek word "ei" can mean either "since," or "if." We can see the second statement positionally and existentially when rendered "since," and we can also see it as a principle of His reign when rendered "if." But note the union depicted in "live together," "jointly live" and "co-live." We are one, as Jesus prayed that we would be (John 17:21, 23).

12. since we are continuously remaining under for support (or: if we continue patiently enduring), we will also reign (rule as kings) together with [Him]; if we shall deny (disown; not consent; renounce; turn our back on [other MSS: are repeatedly denying]) [Him], That One also will deny (disown; not consent to; renounce; turn His back on) us.

Here, in our doing what Paul did (vs. 10) we not only co-live with Christ, we also co-reign with Him. Likewise, if we deny Him by denying support to others (Matt. 25:45) – or disown, renounce and turn our back on Him – because we are joined to Him and He is within us, we will crucify Him again (put Him back up on the execution stake again – Heb. 6:6) in ourselves, and then like He disowned the Jewish leadership (Matt. 25:12, figured by the foolish virgins), He will have to do so to us and we will have to go off into a time of pruning and burning (Matt. 25:41, 46; Heb. 6:8; 1 Cor. 3:12-17).

13. [Yet] if we are habitually faithless (or: unfaithful; untrustworthy; disloyal; without trust or faith), That One is constantly remaining faithful (or: [Now] if we are repeatedly disbelieving or distrustful, That One continuously remains full of faith, trust, belief and reliance – That One constantly remains loyal and reliable), for to deny (disown; renounce; not consent to) Himself, it continues that He cannot (He is not able; He has no power)! (or: = You see, He cannot turn His back on Himself!)

But there is hope and an expectation, for the good new is grace and mercy. Even if we are unfaithful, or even without faith and belief, His faithfulness covers our mistakes and sins – for He cannot deny and disown Himself. He cannot deny what He did for humanity on the cross, and He cannot deny humanity because they are now a part of Him in the New Creation, the Last Adam, the Second Human. To do so would be to turn His back on Himself!

14. [So] keep reminding [them of] (or: suggesting to [their] memory; causing [them] to think about) these things, repeatedly bearing thorough witness (giving full evidence and testimony) in the sight and presence of God [other MSS: {the} Lord {= Christ or Yahweh}], not to be constantly debating (or: fighting about words; contending over meaning of terms; entering into controversies) – [progressing] into [other MSS: upon] nothing useful or profitable; [leading] on to a downturn (or: an overturning; an upsetting; a negative turn of events [= the opposite of edifying]) of, or for, those folks continuing to listen and hear [it].

Paul returns to an admonition for Timothy to keep on reminding them about what he had just said in vs. 13, and before, and repeatedly to give full evidence about it. Note again, that this is to be done "in the sight and presence" of God. God is right here; we live in His presence.

Then comes practical advice: don't be constantly debating or contending over meaning of terms, etc., because this leads into nothing useful or profitable and even brings a downturn to the lives of those who constantly hear such things.

15. Make haste, with earnest endeavor and diligence, to place yourself alongside as an approved workman in God (or: to present yourself to God as a tried and approved workman), one without cause for shame, consistently cutting a straight and direct [path {cf Prov. 3:6 & 11:5, LXX} in, to, or with] the Word of the Truth (or: habitually cutting an upright and erect [line through] the Word of Truth; continually cutting with the message of reality in a straight direction; constantly making a straight cut {or: wound} with the speech of this Reality; also: = dealing straightforwardly with the discourse of Reality; or: repeatedly dividing and marking out straight [boundaries] by the Word which is Truth).

The two renderings of the first clause are based upon the two meanings of the verb (place; present), and the optional functions of the dative case (in; to) of the word "God." The first speaks to his association with the community, alongside of other workers; the second speaks to his relationship to God. His behavior should not bring shame to the community or to God. His life should cut a straight and direct path (a metaphor of rightwised living in fair relationships) with respect to the message of this new Reality.

Take time to consider the optional renderings of the last clause. Each of them fit the Greek, but each presents a different message. I will let them speak for themselves – ponder their meanings.

16. Yet continue staying at the periphery, going out around so as to avoid the profane, empty voices (the speeches or discussions without content which cross the threshold into the sphere of that which is not set-apart). You see, they will cut a passage forward (progress; advance) upon more aspects of irreverence (things pertaining to impiety or attitudes that lack awe),

17. and their word (speech; discussion; or: thoughts and ideas) will have (or: hold) pasture (or: pasturage) for gnawing and eating away like gangrene (or: a spreading ulcer) – of which sort are Hymenaeus and Philetus,

18. the very ones who miss the mark, deviating around the truth (or: reality), repeatedly saying a [other MSS: the] resurrection has already occurred, and constantly turn back (or: turn again; overturn) the faith and trust of certain folks (or: of some).

Vs. 16 brings to view the negative path which Paul advises to avoid. We should keep to the periphery, and skirt the profane, empty voices and discussions without content. These lead straight to increased irreverence, and give food to that which eats away like gangrene (which is the result of a lack of circulation of the life-giving Blood through the body of Christ).

He cites two men who he says miss the mark and deviate around truth and reality. They do this by repeatedly saying that a (or: the, with other MSS) resurrection has already occurred – which statements are overturning, or turning back (to Judaism?) the faith and trust of certain folks. Paul does not discuss this further, so we would surmise that the, or a, resurrection has not yet happened since the resurrection of Jesus. But Paul does not give any hint, here at least, as to when he expects this to happen. He makes reference to one in 1 Thes. 4:13-18 (see my discussion of that passage in my comments on 1 Thes.). Since this is in that letter associated with Christ's coming in the clouds – which is normally a figure of coming in judgment – then Paul may have been looking for this to happen with God coming in judgment on Jerusalem in AD 70 (see books on Preterism for this viewpoint).

19. Nevertheless (or: However), God's firm and solid deposit which is placed down (a deposit of money; treasure; or: a foundation; basis) stands, continuing to hold (or: have) this seal: "[The] Lord [= Yahweh] knows (or: knew) by intimate experience those being of Him (or: the ones that belong to Him; those having Him as their source)," [Num. 16:5; Nah. 1:7] and: Let everyone repeatedly naming the Name of [the] Lord [= Yahweh or Christ] (or: by habit using the Lord's name) stand away from (withdraw from; keep away from) injustice (that which is unfair and inequitable, which negates relationship and does not correspond to the Way pointed out).” [Num. 16:26]

Note that Paul is using O.T. Scriptures to be a "seal" of God's firm and solid deposit and foundation. The new covenant is rooted and founded in the old; the new creation is an inward renewal and transformation of the old. Paul is using the Torah to establish what he has been saying, but although referencing it, he is not mixing it in with his message of grace. The first quote indicates that Paul does not consider those of vs. 17 to be "of Him" at this point. The second quote reminds folks that if they claim to be "of Him" by naming the Lord's Name, that they should live a rightwised life which is the Way pointed out.

20. Now within a great house (= a palace), there are not only golden and silver containers, equipment and utensils, but also wooden ones and earthenware (ones made of baked clay). And on the one hand some which [come] into [use for] honor (things of value; = to be used on special occasions), on the other hand some which [come] into [use for] dishonor (things without value; = for everyday use).

Paul is using the metaphor of household containers and utensils to illustrate different levels of existence in God's "great house." They each have their own function within the house, and each serve a good purpose, and even if they are used for "dishonor," or, "everyday use," is does not make them not a vital part of the household.

This metaphor could be describing the spiritual and God-breathed level, on the one hand, and the carnal and natural, on the other. Or, it could refer to folks that have been born into Christ, on the one hand, and folks who have not yet been born back up again (John 3:3).

21. If, then, anyone should ever clean himself out from these [aforementioned worthless, dishonorable and common] things, he will be a container (or: utensil; piece of equipment) [placed] into [use for] honor and things of worth, having been set aside (dedicated and being one made sacred and holy) for honorable and valuable use by the Owner (Master of the house), one having been made ready and now being prepared, [directed and now proceeding] into every good work (or: virtuous action).

So Paul gives further explanation here, showing that even if a person is, or was used, in the sphere of the dishonorable, he can still clean himself in the blood of the Lamb or the water of the Word, and he will be transferred into the higher realm of life, ready for the Master's use for virtuous action.

22. So repeatedly take flight away from the youthful (juvenile; adolescent) over-desires (or: rushing upon innovative things; or: full passions for revolutionary or modern wants), yet constantly run after and steadily pursue justice (fair and equitable dealings, in rightwised relationships corresponding to the Way pointed out), faith (trust; fidelity), love [and] peace, together with all those persistently (repeatedly; habitually) calling upon the Lord [= Yahweh or Christ] from out of a clean heart.

This verse gives a practical application for what was just advised in vs. 21. He is speaking to folks in the called-out community, folks already living by the grace of God, having been freed from sin and law. So no they have the power of the Spirit to energize them to take flight from, and run after the values of the community, and the fruit of the Spirit: rightwised relationships and justice; faith and trust; love and peace – and do this in partnership with the rest of the summoned community, "from our of a clean heart" – one that has been sprinkled by Christ's blood (Heb. 10:22)

23. Yet further, consistently refuse (avoid; request to be away from) the stupid (dull; silly; foolish) and uneducated (ignorant; crude; untrained) questionings (seekings through discussions or debates; controversies), having seen and now knowing that they are repeatedly giving birth to (or: generating) fights (battles; conflicts).

Here is more from which we should flee, and which we should refuse: the stupid and uneducated questionings which repeatedly generate conflicts and fights.

24. Now it is continually binding for (or: it is a constant necessity to) a slave of [the] Lord (= Yahweh's or Christ's slave) not to be habitually fighting (or: it is not necessary for the Lord's slave to be battling or contending), but to the contrary [he/she] is to be gentle (kind; mild) toward all, qualified, skillful and able in teaching, one holding up under poor conditions (or: having an upward focus in bad situations; holding an “up attitude” in regard to evil),

This first rendering of the first clause should guide us in regard to whatever stand we may take in regard to doctrines, politics or other issues in life: we are "not to be habitually fighting." We live in a kingdom of peace, Melchisedec is our Priest. The parenthetical rendering shows us that we need not contend for our point of view, or battle against the views of others. We are called to love, and thus be gentle, kind and mild toward all. We need to learn how to teach, and learn the subject of what we propose to teach, so that in this we can be qualified and skillful. We are called to be like Paul – to hold up under poor conditions, and maintain an upward focus in bad situations.

25. in accommodating meekness and with consideration constantly educating (training; disciplining; instructing; correcting) those habitually setting themselves in complete opposition or who offer resistance. May not God at some time give a change of thinking to them (or: Would not God grant in them and supply for them a change of mind), [directing and leading them] into a full and accurate experiential knowledge of Truth and reality?

Again Paul focuses on the fact that we all should be educating, training, etc., other folks – even those who repeatedly set themselves in complete opposition to us and who constantly offer resistance. Obviously this is what God does to and for such folks. Like Him, we need to do this in "accommodating meekness" and "with consideration." What a picture Paul describes here!

Now look closely at the question Paul asks, regarding what he has just admonished us to do. Paul has an expectation for educating, instructing and correcting folks (child-training them): his question suggests that God WILL give a change of thinking to them, granting in them and supplying for them a change of mind.

And then his rationale for our behaving toward them in this way: "May not God at some time GIVE a CHANGE OF THINKING to them...?" We read in Phil. 2:13,

"for you see, God is the One habitually being inwardly active, constantly working and progressively effecting [results] within you folks – both the willing (intending; purposing; resolving) and the [situation] to be continuously effecting the action and inward work – above the thing that pleases (or: over [the situation of] well-thinking and delight; for the sake of [His] good pleasure)."
26. And then they can and may sober up (or: would come back to their proper senses) from out of the adversary's snare (or: forth from out of the midst of the trap of the person who thrusts something through folks) – being folks having been [previously] captured alive under (or: by) him, into the will (intent; design; purpose) of that one (or: that person).

So we educate them, God puts a change of mind in them, then they can come back to their proper senses from out the adversary's snare. They have been captured and trapped by someone thrusting something through them (a false perception; treatment or a word that wounded them; a dominating situation that pierced their soul; etc.) and bringing them under his will. The world is full of such situations. Religions have done this; ideologies have done this; cultures have done this; twisted mind-sets have done this; bad spirits and controlling attitudes have done this – all the things that are adversarial to the Spirit of God, have done this. But with instruction, God will impart a change of thinking by imparting the Word of life into them. This will sober them up (out of the drunkenness from teachings and doctrines of Mystery Babylon – Rev. 17:2, etc.) and bring them to their proper senses, releasing them into the freedom in Christ.

Jump to Chapter One, Two, Three, Four

Chapter Three

1. Now progressively come to know this and continue realizing it, that within [the] last (or: final) days hard seasons (difficult occasions and situations; irksome, perilous or fierce seasons or situations that are hard to deal with; hard appointed periods) will set themselves in (will take a stand within; will put themselves in place),

Paul is giving Timothy an imperative: "progressively come to know this..." He needed to know and be warned about the hard seasons and difficult situations (note the plural) that were going to be coming to their world within the last days of that "present evil age" (Gal. 1:4). Timothy and those to whom he had been sent (as well as the rest of the Roman Empire) were going to encounter these things in their near future – as we know from our historical perspective of those times.

The phrase "will set themselves in" or "put themselves in place" is a poetic way of saying that it would not gradually happen and would not be part of the status quo. Something hard to handle was going to insert itself into their lives.

2. for the people (the humans; mankind) will continue being folks that are fond of themselves (self-loving; selfish), fond of silver (= have affection for money or things of monetary value which makes them stingy), empty pretenders (impostors; ostentatious self-assumers), haughty and arrogant (superior-appearing), blasphemers (insulters; slanderers), uncompliant and disobedient to parents, ungrateful (or: unthankful), undutiful (disloyal; without regard for divine or natural laws; malign),

3. without natural affection, unwilling to make a treaty (implacable; not open to an agreement), devils (adversarial slanderers; folks who throw something, or thrust, through people to hurt or cause divisions), without strength (without [self-] control), uncultivated (wild; untamed; ferocious; fierce), without fondness for expressions of good or aspects of goodness (or: without affection for good people; unfriendly; averse to virtue),

4. betrayers (traitors), rash (forward-falling; reckless), folks having been inflated with the fumes of conceit (or: ones being beclouded in smoke), pleasure-lovers (ones fond of [their own] gratification) rather than friends of God (ones fond of God),

5. continuously holding (having) a form of reverence, devotion and pious care, yet being folks having refused (or: turned their back on) and now denying its power and ability! And so, be habitually turning your steps in a direction away from these folks and avoid them,

This is a universal list describing people who live according to their estranged human nature, being alienated from existential life in His called-out community. But this condition was also what was bringing the coming judgment upon their world. Vs. 4 calls to mind the rich man (a figure of the Jewish leadership in Jesus' day) of Lu. 16:19. The friends of God would have tended, clothed, house and fed (Matt. 25:35, 36) Lazarus.

Vs. 5 described the Pharisees and Judaizers. Stay away from their system of religion, but love the people.

6. for you see, forth from out of the midst of these folks are the people repeatedly slipping-in, into the houses, (or: worming their way into households) and habitually leading into captivity little women [note: this is the diminutive of "women," thus, perhaps: women of undeveloped character, ability, or inward stature. While the word for “woman” is feminine, the noun “little women” and the following participles are neuter – or neutral – so this rare word may be a figure for what was a cultural view for “feminine” aspects of all people, e.g., their feelings and emotions, or general receptive qualities] – those having been piled on and now being heaped up with failures (errors; misses of the target; deviations from the goal; sins), being constantly, or from time to time, led by (or: in; to) various (diverse; many-colored) over-desires (or: full passions; wants and wishes that are rushed upon) [A adds: and gratifications],

7. at all times (or: always) folks [note: again a neuter, or neutral, participle] that are constantly learning, and yet not at any time being able or having consistent power to come into a full, accurate experiential and intimate knowledge of Truth (or: reality).

Vs. 6 is similar to Judah (aka: Jude) 4, 8, 10-13, 16-19 (vs. 18 giving the setting as being "the last time," which is the same situation of which Paul is here speaking). The "houses" refers to the house "churches" of the called-out communities. Unfortunately, we can still see these things in our own day.

Vs. 7 aptly describes the Pharisees. And the religion which became their successor, following AD 70, continues to do the same thing – it is unable to bring them to the experiential knowledge of Jesus Christ.

8. Now, in the manner which (or: by the turn or method that) Jannes and Jambres took a stand in opposition to (or: resisted and opposed) Moses, thus, also, these are continually taking a stand in opposition to (opposing and resisting) the Truth and reality: people (humans) being ones having had the mind decayed down (ruined and spoiled down; corrupted; depraved; put into a sorry state), folks failing to meet the test (disqualified ones) on all sides of (or: about) the faith (or: = ones whose trust does not pass the test, from any angle).

Here again we see a picture of the Pharisees and Judaizers who were continuously adversarial to Paul – the agents of satan who came to strike him down. Now Paul tells us that their minds have become ruined and decayed: they are experiencing God's judgment already. Their concept of faith, and understanding of trust, fails the test. They remain under the curse of the old covenant Law. In opposing Christ, they became like the religions of Egypt that opposed Moses.

9. But they will make no further progress (will not cut a passage forward) upon more [folks] (or: Nevertheless, they won't get very far), for their mindlessness (madness; lack of understanding; folly) will be quite evident (very plain; obvious; outstanding and in clear visibility) to all, even as the [madness] of those [two, i.e., Jannes and Jambres] came to be.

The lack of understanding and mindless religion of Jannes and Jambres became evident when God's power was proved greater than theirs. The power of the risen Christ and the pouring out of His Spirit now was obviously greater than the Jewish religion whose Glory and Power had departed.

10. Yet you, yourself, follow (or: followed) closely beside me: in (or: by; to) teaching (instruction; training); in (or: by; to) the leading, guidance and conduct; in (or: by; to) the purpose (the fore-setting or forth-setting; proposal; [used of setting-forth of the loaves in the holy place of the Temple: Mat. 12:4; Heb. 9:2]); in (or: by; to) the trust (or: faith; loyalty); in (or: by; to) the long-waiting to be in a heat and breathe violently (or: long-suffering patience); in (or: by; to) the love; in (or: by; to) the steadfast remaining-under (persevering and patient endurance while giving support);

11. in (or: by; to) the pursuits and persecutions; in (or: by; to) the experiences and sufferings – the sort of things that were birthed in me and happened to me in Antioch, in Iconium, in Lystra; the sort of pursuits and persecutions which I bear up under (or: carried-on under) and yet out of the midst of which the Lord [= Yahweh or Christ] drags (or: snatched) me forth from all of them.

In vs. 10 he gives Timothy a list of practices and virtues to be following – qualities of the Holy Spirit; characteristics of kingdom life; the life in the Breath-effect. Then in vs. 11 he moves to the aspects of "carrying one's cross" (Matt. 16:24-28 – note that vs. 27-28 speak of the same coming "last days" of which Paul here speaks), and the things which Timothy and others would have to "remain under." Still he ends with an expectation: the witness from his own life – the Lord's deliverance and an ongoing faithfulness.

12. And indeed (or: And so) all those habitually resolving (intending; willing) to be continuously living in a reverent, devout and pious manner within Christ Jesus will be pursued, persecuted and harassed.

Now he makes vs. 11 quite plain: we will all be pursued, persecuted and harassed. He speaks of no exceptions.

13. Now people of a bad condition and of an harmful disposition (useless and malicious humans who bring misery and hard labor), as well as sorcerers (folks who wail and cast spells; or: impostors and swindlers; those who juggle a situation), will cut a path forward upon the worse (or: will advance and make progress from bad to worse), repeatedly leading [folks] astray (or: causing [folks] to wander [from the Path]) and progressively being led astray (or: caused to wander).

Just as we will be persecuted, those who are "of a bad condition" will continue on from bad to worse. Those of false religions, or perhaps here the Judaizers, will repeatedly lead folks astray, while themselves being progressively caused to wander.

14. Yet you, yourself, be constantly remaining within what you learned and in those things of which you were persuaded and became convinced (became assured), having seen, and so knowing, from whose (what folks') side you learned [these things],

15. and that from an infant (babe) you have seen and thus know [the] sacred Scriptures (or: Temple writings): the ones being constantly able (those continuously having power) to give you wisdom – [that leads you] into deliverance (wholeness, good health, rescue and salvation) – through Jesus' faith, resident within Christ (or: through means of faith and trust that [is] in Jesus [the] Anointed; by the faith which is Jesus, in union with an Anointing).

Consider well this imperative: "be constantly remaining within" what Paul had taught him. Don't go to other religions or philosophies. Vs. 15 advise him to stay with the Scriptures – get wisdom from them, not the mystery religions or even the writings of the rabbis. The Scriptures continue having power and are constantly able to give wisdom and bring deliverance and wholeness. But note how he ends this imperative: all this comes through Jesus' faith, which is resident within Christ, and is accessible through union with the Anointing. It was His faith that accomplished our salvation; this same faith resides with Christ.

The last two phrase have the name Jesus in the genitive, corresponding with "through," and thus my final rendering of apposition "the faith which is Jesus," along with the genitive of possession, "Jesus' faith." The Greek of "resident within Christ" puts "Christ" in the dative because of the preposition "en" (resident within), so I have separated the terms Jesus and Christ. However, many grammarians overlook this and simply render it as in my second option, "in Jesus [the] Anointed." May His Spirit unveil the correct understanding to us, or as often, cause us to see that both are correct.

16. All Scripture [is] God-breathed, and [is] beneficial to furtherance toward instruction (or: Every inspired-of-God [temple] writing [is] also profitable {of advantage; [gives] augmentation} with a view to teaching and training), toward (with a view to) testing unto proof (or, negatively: exposure; laying bare), toward full restoration to straightness (or: straightening-up upon; = improvement), toward child-training (education; discipline) of the person within the Way pointed out (the one in rightwised relationships with fair and equitable dealing),

17. to the end that God's [corporate] Person (or: the person belonging to God; the human having his origin in God; humanity in relation to God) may be exactly fitted (can exist being precisely prepared; would be entirely suited), being one having been completely furnished and equipped toward every good work (with a view to every virtuous and excellent action).

Again Paul directs us to stay with the Scriptures, reminding us that they are "God-breathed," and thus beneficial in all the ways that he lists. The Greek "graphe" (writing) is here used to refer to the temple writings, not writing in general. It became a technical religious term for the Jewish, and later the Christian, religions.

The parenthetical rendering of the first clause shows that the Scriptures were beneficial for teaching and training. Following the Reformation, Christians made use of them to give children a general education, as well as to instruct them in the things of Spirit and life in the kingdom – or, as I have rendered it "within the Way pointed out."

Humanity in relation to God needs the Scriptures so that they can be exactly fitted, precisely prepared and entirely suited, being completely furnished and equipped with a view to doing good works and acting in excellence.

Jump to Chapter One, Two, Three, Four

Chapter Four

1. I am habitually giving thorough witness (or: constantly testifying and showing evidence in every direction), in the sight of God – even Christ Jesus: the One now being about to be progressively separating living folks and dead folks (or: continuously making a decision about or judging living ones and dead ones) down from (in accord with; corresponding to; in the sphere of; in respect to; in line with; [other MSS: even]) His full manifestation and His reign (or: [with other MSS: and then] His added display as well as His sovereign kingdom activity).

The verb in the first clause is "to give witness or call forth evidence" with the preposition "dia" prefixed to it. "Dia" in composition can be an intensifier, thus, my rendering "giving thorough witness." But its basic meaning is "throughout in every direction," and so this sense can also be added to the meaning of the verb, as shown in the parenthetical rendering. I suspect that Paul did both. This first clause should be considered in the context of what it just followed, without separation in the Greek text. In ch. 3:16-17, Paul was speaking of the Scripture being God-breathed, and about its beneficial use with a view to "every good work." This is what Paul was everywhere giving full testimony about.

The qualifying clause, "the One now being about to be...," which follows "Christ Jesus," contains the present participle of "mello" which means "to be about to," or "to be on the point of," which signifies that what follows is about to happen. What was about to happen was a separation and then an evaluation and a decision about living folks and dead folks – resulting in a judging for them. The "judgment seat (Greek: bema) of Christ" (Rom. 14:10; 2 Cor. 5:10) was soon to happen at the closing of the age of the old covenant.

There are two well-attested MS readings of the word that follows "dead folks." Some read "kata" (down from and in accord with, etc.) while others read "kai" (even; and then) as you see in my two renderings of the last phrase. Reading "kata," this last phrase describes either source (down from) or character of (in accord with) the judging that was about to be happening in Paul's day.

Reading "kai" as "even" means that the full manifestation and reign are related to this period of judging. Rendering it "and then" shows that these will follow upon the judging. Keeping in mind that this full manifestation and added display are part of what is "on the point of" happening, we are logically led to the climax of that generation of which Jesus frequently spoke, the judgment of Jerusalem in AD 70. The judging of the living and the dead suggests a resurrection that was then soon to take place (cf John 5:21-27).

2. Herald (Proclaim; Preach) the Word (The Logos; the idea; the thought; the reason; the message); stand upon [it; or: It; Him] in season or out of season (if the situation fits favorably, if the conditions are not favorable; whether convenient or not); test and put to the proof; show further honor (give higher value; assess greater worth; or, negatively: respectfully charge; strongly admonish; enjoin); within every emotion which is long in arriving (in all long-suffering patience), and by teaching (or: in union with instruction and training) give aid, relief, comfort and encouragement as you call [others] to your side (perform as a paraclete).

Because of what he had just said in vs. 1, comes the imperative to Timothy, "Proclaim the message!" The verbs of all these imperatives are in the aorist tense, which can both carry the sense of "at once," and at the same time mean "giving a completer picture – a snapshot." So in the first clause Paul is saying, "At once herald and proclaim the whole idea of the message."

Then he says "stand upon [it – the Word/message; or: Him – the Word/Logos]." And Timothy is to do this when the situation is good (Greek: eu-kairos) and the moment is fitting, and even when there is no situation (a-kairos), and the conditions are unfavorable. Next he is to "test and put to the proof." Here I have given the literal meaning of the word, its central concept. 1 Thes. 5:21 tells us to

"be continuously examining and putting all things to the proof (or: yet habitually test all people) – [then] constantly hold tightly to the beautiful, the ideal, the fine!"

The next imperative is the verb "epi-timao," which carries a wide semantic range, but whose core meaning is: to show further honor; give higher value; assess greater worth. "Timao" means to honor, value and give worth to, and "epi" means to add on. It can also have a negative connotation, such as a judge adding on an assessment for damages done, and so it use can also mean to respectfully charge, strong admonish or enjoin – if the situation calls for this – but it still carries the core meaning of honor, respect and value. As 1 Pet. 2:17 says,

"Value and honor all people." This is to be done "within every emotion which is long in arriving (in all long-suffering patience)."

This admonition would apply to all of the foregoing imperatives.

Then he says, "and by teaching (or: in union with instruction and training) give aid, relief, comfort and encouragement as you call [others] to your side (perform as a paraclete)." I give here a transliteration "paraclete" of the Greek word that has been brought into English as "Paraclete" (Comforter) referring to the Holy Spirit, in John 14:16, 26. Just as we are to do the works that Jesus did, we are also to do the works of the Holy Spirit. We do this by teaching and in union with instruction and training.

3. For you see, there will be an appointed season (a situation; a fitting period of time) when they will not hold up to themselves (or: sustain; hold themselves upright by; hold themselves up in; or: put up with; tolerate) instruction (teaching and training) that is being continuously healthy and sound, but rather, they, habitually having their ear gratified by rubbing, scratching or tickling (having their hearing titillated; hearing what their ears itch to hear; or, as a middle: constantly procuring pleasurable excitement by indulging an itching) will pile and heap upon themselves (accumulate for themselves) teachers in line with and corresponding to their own rushing emotions (over-desires; full passions),

4. and then, on the one hand, they will twist the ear (or: the hearing) and turn away from the Truth and reality, yet on the other hand, they will be turned out (have their [steps] turned out of [the Path] into a direction) upon the myths (fictions; legends; speeches; rumors; stories; tales; fables; things delivered by word of mouth).

In vs. 3-4 Paul warns Timothy of a coming season that corresponds to the coming judgment of the Lord. The need for the admonitions in vs. 2 apply to this season that was soon to be upon them all. Paul had already encountered these things through the Judaizers in Galatia, and elsewhere, as well as false sent-forth folks that had come in among the people at Corinth (2 Cor. 11:13). Judah (Jude) also warned of this, and Jesus spoke of the arising of false prophets, and then the love of many growing cold because of the increase of lawlessness (Matt. 24:11, 12).

Here Paul describes another aspect of this season, showing the cause of folks straying from the Path of life: they will not hold up to themselves, or keep themselves in, instruction and teaching that is healthy and sound, but will instead seek teachers that tell them things that gratify their rushing emotions and over-desires. An over-desire is something that you want too much; a rushing emotion is that which compels us beyond the leading of the Holy Spirit, a feeling that is not in line with sound teaching, but pushes us to want to experience good feelings. These lead us to turn our hearing away from Truth and reality, and be led astray into myths, fictions, rumors, stories – things that come to us by word of mouth. This is a condition that has been among the called-out communities even in this age, and to the present moment.

5. Yet you – you be habitually sober (not intoxicated [by such things]; clear-headed and steady) within all things and among all people; experience the bad and the ugly (or: suffer the evil and the worthless) [A adds: as an ideal (beautiful; fine; excellent) soldier of Christ Jesus]; perform [the] act (do [the] deed; produce the action; construct a work) of one who brings goodness and well-being and announces ease and good news (or: act [like] a man who has good news to tell); be fully bent on and bring your attending service to full measure, with complete assurance!

So Paul stresses to Timothy not to be intoxicated by such things, but rather to keep a clear head and be steady: sober. He would be within the midst of such things, as we are now, but he was to experience these ugly and worthless things while at the same time producing the action and constructing a work of one who brings goodness and announces the well-being and ease that are in Christ. He is to "be fully bent on and bring his attending service to full measure" within such situations and among all people, and do it "with complete assurance" that God was working through him. Keep in mind that he was sent to called-out communities of believers. In our day it can mean being sent to "churches" that have turned to myths of pagan traditions (which have over time become "orthodoxy").

6. You see, I, myself, am already being progressively poured out as a drink offering, and the fitting situation (the season; the occasion) of my loosing up (or: my kairos of loosening again [the tent pegs and ropes, or, the ship moorings]; or: the situation of my dissolution [as in breaking camp]) has taken its stand upon [its appointed place] and is imminent.

Paul realizes that his end is near, of which he here speaks metaphorically. He had taken up his cross to follow Christ and had been already pouring out his life on behalf of the called-out, but now the final time approached – as it did for Jerusalem.

7. I have contended the beautiful contest in the racecourse (or: I have with agony struggled, wrestling in the ideal combat {the fine fight} in the public games); I have finished the race (ended the racecourse; reached the goal of my contest; I have fought to the finish); I have kept (observed; watched over; guarded; kept in custody) the faith, trust, confidence and loyalty.

As he reviews his years since being apprehended by Jesus on the road to Damascus, he knows that he has done this by the Spirit of God, which enabled him to do what he metaphorically calls "contended the beautiful contest," etc. He guarded Christ's faith, kept in custody the trust that Jesus had given to him, and had done so with confidence and in the loyalty of Christ. A testimony that gives an example for us all.

8. For the rest (or: Finally; Henceforth) the winner's wreath of the Course having been pointed out (the athlete's laurel wreath consisting of the rightwised relationship in fair and equitable dealings, and pertaining to the justice of right behavior on the course) continues laid away for me (or: is presently reserved in me), which the Lord [= Christ or Yahweh], the Fair (Equitable; Just; Rightwising) Judge [of the games], will pay to (or: award in) me within the sphere of that Day – yet not only to me! ... but further, also, to all those (or: in everyone) being ones having loved His full appearance in Light (or: the complete manifestation of Him; His fully bringing things to light; the shining upon things pertaining to Him; His full and accurate manifestation).

The dependent clause that begins this verse ties in the metaphor of running the Course (or: the Way; the Path) with rightwised living – fair and equitable relationships that are just and are turned in the right direction, i.e., toward Christ. This life is Christ is sometimes called walking. Paul often refers to it as running or being in one of the stadium games. He knows that he has won the wreath that was given to a winner of these games. What he means is that his life has been successful in that to which he had given it. He depicts God as the Judge at these games who awards the wreath to the successful contender. He knows that this is not just for him, but for "ALL those having loved His full appearance in Light.

Now he does not make that last phrase clear as to which manifestation he was referring. Jesus came as the Light (John 1). But in using the same term "manifestation, etc." here as he did in vs. 1, perhaps he is – in tying it to the end of the course (his life, and the age) – he might be referring to the upcoming manifestation which accompanied the destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70.

9. Make haste with earnest endeavor and diligence to come to me quickly,

10. for you see, Demas, loving the present age, forsook and abandoned me and went into Thessalonica; Crescens into Galatia; Titus into Dalmatia.

11. Only Luke is with me. Picking up Mark, be bringing [him] with you, for he continues being very useful to me, with a view to attending service

12. – now I sent off Tychicus with a mission into Ephesus –

13. [and] in coming, be bringing the traveling cloak, which I left behind in Toras with Carpus, and the little scrolls – especially the parchment notebooks (or: vellum [note: which is made from dressed animal skins]).

These verses pertain to personal matters concerning Paul, and his desire to have Timothy soon come to him, etc. They obviously apply to his present time and context.

14. Alexander the coppersmith (or: metalworker) displayed many bad (worthless; evil) things [in his behavior] to me – the Lord [= Yahweh or Christ] will award to him (or: give back in him; pay back for him) corresponding to his works (down from his deeds and on the level of his actions)

15. – from whom you, yourself, also be constantly guarding yourself against, for he stands (or: stood) in opposition to our words (or: thoughts, ideas and messages).

Paul acknowledges Alexander's deeds, but leaves it up to the Lord to do as He sees best in giving back in him (or: to him), or perhaps even "pay[ing] back for him" to the level of his deeds, and down from his actions. His decision will be fair and equitable. Yet Paul advises Timothy to guard himself in regard to Alexander.

16. Within my first verbal defense no one happened to be beside me (no one came along with me), but rather, all forsook (abandoned; other MSS: were forsaking and abandoning) me – may it not be put to their account (may it not be counted against them)!

Here, again, Paul refers to everyone abandoning him. I don't think that he is saying this to complain, but rather to let folks know that they can expect the same. Good news, when it is in conflict with established religions, comes with a price to the person bringing it.

17. Yet the Lord [= Christ or Yahweh] took a stand beside me (or: stood alongside in me) – and He empowered me (enabled me; gave me inward ability), to the end that through me the message that is being heralded (the contents of the public proclamation) would (or: may; could) be fully carried throughout with full assurance, even that all the ethnic multitudes (nations; Gentiles; Goyim; non-Jews) would (could; may) hear [it] – and I was dragged (or: drawn) from out of the mouth of a lion!

But look at Paul's reward: having the Lord take a stand beside him! We, too, can expect to be empowered (inwardly enabled) by His presence. The Lord is here to "stand alongside us," or "take a stand in us," so that through us the message will be heralded would be fully carried throughout, with full assurance. Note that he then says "even that" all the ethnic multitudes would hear [it]. In other words, this same message was presented to the Jews first, but now through the Lord's inward ability in Paul it came to the rest.

The Lord taking a stand beside him was not just for moral support: He dragged Paul out of danger (metaphorically, from the mouth of a lion). His adversaries were about to devour him – Alexander and the Judaizers. I suggest that this is the same lion that Peter refers to in 1 Pet. 5:8.

18. The Lord [= Yahweh or Christ] will drag (or: draw) me away from every harmful act (malicious or evil work) and will deliver me into the midst of the reign and kingdom – the one [having dominion] upon the heavens (or: into the realm of His activities and way of doing things: the one [exercising authority] upon, and which can be compared to, the atmosphere) – which is from Him and belongs to Him, in Whom [is] the glory (or: for Whom [is] the reputation; by Whom [is] the manifestation of that which calls forth praise; to Whom [is] the good opinion), on into the ages of the ages (or: into the principle ages which consummate all the ages; into the obscure time periods of the ages). It is so! (Amen)

This first clause shows Paul's confidence in what God will do for him, based upon what He had done in the past (vs. 17). Note the descriptive verb that he uses, "drag," and the picture it produces of God working on our behalf. And the change of locations or spheres: away from harmful acts and malicious works, and into the midst of the realm of His activities and way of doing things – into the midst of His atmosphere. This declaration is similar to what he said in Col. 1:13,

"He who drags us out of danger (or: rescued us) forth from out of the midst of the authority of the Darkness (Darkness's jurisdiction and right; = the privilege of ignorance), and changes [our] position (or: transported [us], thus, giving [us] a change of standing, and transferred [us]) into the midst of the kingdom and reign of the Son of His love."

The next part makes a statement about Him, "in Whom [is]....," etc. Observe that I choose to supply the present tense "[is]," rather than the normal doxology form "[be]." There is no verb in the text, and I see Paul continuing in making a declaration, rather than slipping into a religious doxology.

I give a literal rendering of the last phrase first, and then expand it with two parenthetical options, the first of which gives a suggested influence of Hebrew idiom (such as, ”the holy of holies"), with the second being another literal rendering which suggests a future time too distant to presently see.

19. Embrace Prisca and Aquila and the household of Onesiphorus, as you give them my greetings.

20. Erastus remains in Corinth, but Trophimus, continuing weak in sickness, I left behind in Miletus.

21. – Make haste with earnest endeavor and diligence to come before winter (the rainy and stormy season)! – Eubulus, Pudens, Linus, Claudia and all the brothers (= fellow believers) each send hugs and good wishes.

These verses give personal greetings, speak of individual situations, a final instruction to Timothy about his return, and sends greetings from those with Paul.

22. The Lord [= Yahweh or Christ; A reads: Jesus; others: Jesus Christ] [is] with your spirit ([is] in accompany with your breath)! Grace and favor [are] with you folks. It is so! (Amen).

The first statement is a personal affirmation to Timothy, about the Lord, or Jesus, being with his spirit. The last statement is to the community, affirming that God's grace and favor are with them.

[Second Timothy was written circa A.D. 58 – Based on the critical analysis of John A.T. Robinson]

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