2 Timothy Jewish New Testament and comments of David H. Stern
1. From: Sha’ul, an emissary of the Messiah Yeshua by God’s will, which holds forth a promise of life through being united with Messiah Yeshua
Sha'ul's greetings often look forward to a major topic in his letter; see examples at the beginning of Romans, Galatians, Philippians and Titus. An error not dealt with in 1 Timothy has surfaced: it is being taught that the resurrection of believers has already happened (2:18; compare 2 Th 2:2-3). In anticipation of the discussion, Sha'ul hints that God's will still holds forth a promise of an as yet unrealized life.
2. To: Timothy, my dear son:
Grace, mercy and shalom from God the Father and the Messiah Yeshua, our Lord.
3. I give thanks to God, whom, like my forbears, I worship with a clean conscience, as I regularly remember you in my prayers night and day.
My prayers night and day. See 1 Th 3:10&N, where Sha'ul uses the same expression.
4. I am reminded of your tears, and I long to see you, so that I might be filled with joy.
5. I recall your sincere trust, the same trust that your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice had first; and I am convinced that you too now have this trust.
Lois and Eunice were Jewish, but Timothy's father was not. It is because Jewishness is transmitted through the mother, not the father, that Sha'ul circumcised Timothy (Ac 16M-3&NN).
6. For this reason, I am reminding you to fan the flame of God’s gift, which you received through s’mikhah from me.
Compare 1 Ti 4:14N; on s'mikhah (laying on of hands) see Mt 21:23N.
7. For God gave us a Spirit who produces not timidity, but power, love and self-discipline.
Compare Ro 8:15, 1 Ti 4:12, 1 Yn 4:18. It is easy not to fan the flame of God's gift but to wait passively for it to flash forth by itself. Such apathy and fear must be overcome by the Holy Spirit, who produces not timidity, but the means of conquering it — power, love and self-discipline (KJV's "a sound mind" is slightly off the point).
8. So don’t be ashamed of bearing testimony to our Lord or to me, his prisoner. On the contrary, accept your share in suffering disgrace for the sake of the Good News. God will give you the strength for it,
We should not be ashamed of bearing testimony to Yeshua (Ro 1:16, 10:8b-10N) or of associating with his workers, even if they happen to be in prison, suffering disgrace. Onesiphorus (v. 16) is our model; Sha'ul adds more on the subject at 2:3-7. This verse is relevant for Messianic Jews, since we often find ourselves regarded with contempt or suspicion by unbelievers. We should accept our share of this, knowing that God will give us the strength for it, since he has given us everything worthwhile that is ours (vv. 9-10).
9. since he delivered us and called us to a life of holiness as his people. It was not because of our deeds, but because of his own purpose and the grace which he gave to us who are united with the Messiah Yeshua. He did this before the beginning of time,
10. but made it public only now through the appearing of our Deliverer, the Messiah Yeshua, who abolished death and, through the Good News, revealed life and immortality.
Here is the Gospel in miniature. God delivered us (see 1 Ti 1:1N) from the penalty of eternal death due us for our sins; this is past. For (he present, he has called us to live a life of holiness, not libertinism (3:2-5). This salvation is not because of our deeds; we did not earn it, we have no claim on God (Ro 1:16-8:39, Ep 2:8-10). Rather, it stems from his own purpose; this is what produced the grace which he gave to us who are united with the Messiah Yeshua. God's purpose existed, and his grace was assigned before the beginning of time (see Ep 1:3—14, Rv 13:8), but to humanity it was a secret. Only now, at the time of his own choosing (Ro 5:6, Ga 4:4, 1 Ti 2:6), has he made it public (Ep 3:3-4, 9; Co 1:26) through the appearing of Yeshua the Messiah our deliverer (this is God's role, v. 9), who abolished death and revealed the life and immortality which will be ours in the future (compare 1:1, 2:18). This is the Good News, the Gospel, which anyone can appropriate for himself by trust, love and following its teaching (v.13).
11. It was for this Good News that I was appointed a proclaimer, emissary and teacher of the Goyim;
As he often does, Sha'ul reaffirms his credentials as emissary to the Gentiles — provided the phrase, "of the Goyim." lacking in some manuscripts, is not an adaptation from the parallel passage in 1 Ti 2:7.
12. and this is why I suffer as I do. But I am not ashamed, because I know him in whom I have put my trust, and I am persuaded that he can keep safe until that Day what he has entrusted to me.
A major resource of believers in times of persecution is confidence not that we can hold out. but that Yeshua the Messiah can keep safe what he has entrusted to me (or: "what I have deposited with him" — the Greek is not explicit). That Day, when Yeshua appears in glory to reward the faithful and execute judgment on unbelievers, is much on Sha'ul's mind in this letter (v. 18,4:8), since he believes he is himself soon to die (4:7).
13. Follow the pattern of the sound teachings you have heard from me, with trust and the love which is yours in the Messiah Yeshua.
14. Keep safe the great treasure that has been entrusted to you, with the help of the Ruach HaKodesh, who lives in us.
The sound teachings, equivalent to "the faith" (1 Ti 3:9, 16; 4:1, 6; Yd 3), are the great treasure to be kept safe. This requires the Ruach HaKodesh, the Holy Spirit, who is in us.
15. You know that everyone in the province of Asia turned away from me, including Phygelus and Ermogenes.
It is but a short step from being ashamed (v. 8) to deserting the cause and ils workers. Compare 4:10,16. Phygelus and Hermogenes are not mentioned elsewhere in the New Testament.
16. May the Lord show mercy to the household of Onesiphorus, because he was often a comfort to me and was not ashamed of my being in prison.
17. On the contrary, when he came to Rome, he diligently searched for me and found me.
18. May the Lord grant it to him to find mercy from Adonai on that Day. And you know very well how much he helped me in Ephesus.
The household of Onesiphorus lived in Ephesus (4:19). He exemplifies for Timothy what it means not to be ashamed of Sha'ul's being in prison (see v. 8). May the Lord Yeshua grant it to him to find mercy from Adonai. Since only his household is mentioned, Onesiphorus himself may himself have been no longer alive. If so, this is the unique instance of prayer for the dead in the New Testament. The practice was known in Judaism; this is proved by 2 Maccabees 12:39-45, written in the 1st century B.C.E. and alluded to in 4:8N below.
- chapter 1
- chapter 2
- chapter 3
- chapter 4