Father MacEvilly’s Commentary on 2 Timothy 2:8-13

Note: I’ve included the Bishop’s brief analysis of all of chapter 2 to help provide context, his notes on the Sunday reading follows. I’ve also included his interpretive paraphrase of the verses (in purple).

Analysis of 2 Tim 2~In this chapter, the Apostle exhorts Timothy, to display the spirit of fortitude, in the discharge of his functions (verse 1); and, he adduces the several examples of soldiers, wrestlers, and husbandmen, for the purpose of stimulating him to the faithful, laborious, and exclusive performance of his Episcopal functions (2-7).

He proposes to him several motives of encouragement to suffer for the Gospel. First, the glory of Christ, resuscitated after a course of ignominious suffering (8). In the next place, the example of the Apostle himself, in submitting to suffering, and enduring evils for the dissemination of the Gospel (9, 10). And lastly, the eternal glory of martyrdom, for the attainment of which, a course of suffering, after the example of Christ, is an indispensable condition (11-13). He wishes that Timothy should instruct thefaithful in these matters (14).

He next instructs him in the manner in which he is to please God, as minister of the Gospel. He should properly dispense God’s holy word, and avoid profane and impious novelties, putforward by heretics, whose teaching spreads a deadly poison and corrupts its way, like a gangrene or canker (15-18).

He tells him not to be disturbed at the defection of some. This defection will not become general; for, those on whom God has designs of salvation, will remain firm. The reprobate will remain associated with the elect in the “great house,” or church of God (19, 20). Those who have fallen may be restored by penance (21). Resuming the subject referred to in verse 15, and interrupted at verse 16, he gives further instructions to Timothy, as to the manner in which he may become “a workman agreeable to God.” He should shun the passions of youth, and practise the leading Christian virtues. He should avoid all foolish questions and wranglings, and administer correction, with meekness and gentleness.

2Ti 2:8  Be mindful that the Lord Jesus Christ is risen again from the dead, of the seed of David, according to my gospel:

Bear in mind and frequently reflect, that the Lord Jesus Christ, who was born, and assumed flesh of the seed of David, had (after a course of suffering and death) risen glorious, according to the truth of the gospel, which I everywhere preach.

The Apostle now proposes to Timothy the glory to which Christ was raised, after a course of ignominious suffering, as a motive to submit to suffering in the like cause, if he wish to be a sharer in the like glory. Probably, he proposes the article of the resurrection to Timothy, and wishes him to be zealous in inculcating it (verse 14), because it was questioned by many (verse 18), and because it is the foundation of all Christian faith. With this is joined another fundamental article of religion, regarding the Incarnation and the assumption of the real nature of man by Christ, which was also called in question, as appears from St. Augustine and St. Epiphanius. Simon Magus, and the Gnostics, maintained that he had not real, but fantastical, flesh; while St. John tells us, “that there were seducers, who denied that Jesus came in the flesh.”—(2nd Epistle, verse 7).

2Ti 2:9  Wherein I labour even unto bands, as an evildoer. But the word of God is not bound.

In the cause of which gospel I have gone through an ordeal of suffering, even unto chains and imprisonment, as if I were nothing better than a malefactor.  But, though my body is bound in chains, still, the word of God is not in chains (for, from my chains I proclaim the gospel).

The Apostle proposes his own example, in suffering for the gospel, to stimulate Timothy. The Greek word for “I labour,” κακοπαθέω (kakopatheo)̄, means, I suffer, or endure afflictions. Though he is bound in body, still his tongue, his power of proclaiming the gospel, is not chained.

2Ti 2:10  Therefore I endure all things for the sake of the elect, that they also may obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus, with heavenly glory.

It is for this dissemination of the gospel, that I endure all these afflictions, in order that those who are elected by God to salvation, which is obtained through Christ, may obtain the life of grace here, and heavenly glory, hereafter.

“Therefore,” i.e., in order that the gospel may be disseminated, and not kept captive, I endure all these evils, that the elect whom God has destined for salvation through our labours, may obtain here, the salvation of grace and faith, which comes from Christ Jesus, and heavenly eternal glory, hereafter.

2Ti 2:11  A faithful saying: for if we be dead with him, we shall live also with him.

It is an undoubted, unquestionable truth, that if we die with Christ, and for Christ, we will rise with him to a life of immortal glory.

“A faithful saying.” These words are generally used by the Apostle as a preface to some important truth, like “Amen, Amen,” in the Gospel. St. Chrysostom understands them to regard the preceding, as if the Apostle were referring to the salvation of the elect, and their participation in heavenly glory: and the construction of the following—” for if we be dead with him”—would favour this interpretation. It is, however, better refer it to the following, with St. Thomas: for, the entire scope of the Apostle is to excite Timothy to fortitude, by the hope of future glory. Hence, he announces it as an important truth, that if we die with Christ, and for him, we shall share in his glory. Then, “for” will have the meaning of, because.

2Ti 2:12  If we suffer, we shall also reign with him. If we deny him, he will also deny us.

If we suffer for him, we shall also reign together with him for eternity. If we deny him before men, he will deny us before his angels.

If we deny him before men, he will deny us before his angels, and exclude us
from his kingdom.

2Ti 2:13  If we believe not, he continueth faithful, he cannot deny himself.

If we do not believe in his existence, or his words, he shall, nevertheless, remain the same in himself, faithful and veracious in his promises. He cannot deny himself, i.e., he cannot lose his necessary existence, nor deny his words, by lying, (hence, our denial of him, our incredulity will neither add to him, nor take from him).

Our incredulity will in nowise affect him; it will only injure ourselves, if we deny him and his promises; nothing will be added to him, or taken from him, by this denial; he will be what he was from eternity, an immutable God, and he is “faithful,” i.e., veracious, being truth itself Hence, his promises will be always fulfilled. He is true to his words, faithful in his promises, terrible in his menaces.

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8 Responses to Father MacEvilly’s Commentary on 2 Timothy 2:8-13

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