Category: Pastoral Epistles|2 Timothy|2 Timothy 1 (Page 1 of 2)

Zamfir, “‘When he arrived in Rome, he eagerly searched for me!’ (2 Tim 1, 17)”

A recent article in 2 Timothy:

Zamfir, Korinna. “When he arrived in Rome, he eagerly searched for me!” (2 Tim 1, 17): Friends, Foes, and Networks in 2 Timothy.” Studia Universitatis Babes-Bolyai, Theologia Catholica 67.2 (2022): 65–88.

Abstract: The antagonistic discourse of 2 Timothy divides the community into two camps: the truthful believers and the heterodox opponents of Paul. Emphasis on cohesion, on the strong links between Paul and friends and delineation from those depicted as dangerous outsiders strengthen group identity. However, perspectives from network theory show that Christ-believers did not belong to impermeable camps. Proximity, multiplex social relations (shared family, neighbourhood, or occupational ties, worship, and commensality) created opportunities for communication and exchange. Weak ties bridged the gap between various clusters, shaping networks akin to small worlds, allowing for interactions across partisan lines and for more inclusive forms of identity.

The article is available here, though you may have to set up a free account.

Towner, “2 Tim 1,7, Cowardice, and the Specter of Betrayal: The Intersection of Intertextuality and Paronomasia”

Philip Towner has published an article of interest to Pastorals researchers:

Philip H. Towner, “2 Tim 1,7, Cowardice, and the Specter of Betrayal: The Intersection of Intertextuality and Paronomasia.” Biblica 101.4 (2020): 577–601.

Abstract: This article explores the opening exhortation to Timothy in 2 Timothy 1, with a particular focus on 1,7 as an admonition whose gravity has been missed. Close examination of 2 Tim 1,7 reveals it to be an intertextual rewriting of Rom 8,15 intentionally complicated by an instance of wordplay (paronomasia). The subtle wordplay produces a second stage of intertextuality that leads to the tradition of Joshua’s succession of Moses (Deuteronomy 31) and the formulaic language of commissioning. But the resonance reaches beyond this tradition to another web of texts that, especially when translated into Greek (LXX), form a dark topos taken up with the relation between cowardice and unbelief (the cowardice topos). Once the intertextual ground has been covered and the cowardice topos observed, the admonitory nature of 2 Tim 1,7 can be seen: the intertextual remembrance, which of course includes the heroic figure of Joshua and his faithfulness, nonetheless issues a dire warning, calling to mind the consequences of unbelief and cowardice as it raises the specter of betrayal.

To my knowledge, this is the Towner’s first publication on the Pastorals since the release of his 2006 NICNT commentary, and his 2007 treatment of the use of the OT in the Pastorals in Carson and Beale, Commentary on the New Testament Use of the Old Testament.

New Coptic Fragments of 2 Timothy & Titus

In the most recent Journal of Biblical Literature, Brice C. Jones has published an article on three new Coptic papyrus fragments that witness text of the Pastoral Epistles.

Brice C. Jones, “Three New Coptic Papyrus Fragments of 2 Timothy and Titus (P.Mich. inv. 3535b)”. Journal of Biblical Literature, no 2 (2014): 389–397.

The article provides discussion and transcriptions of the fragments. Text on the fragments are:

  • Fragment 1: 2 Tim 2:14–18; 2:26–3:3
  • Fragment 2: 2 Tim 1:6–11; 1:18–2:6
  • Fragment 3: 2 Tim 4:18–20; Titus 1:7–9

Jones hesitates to provide dates any more specific than “sometime between the fourth and sixth centuries” (392).

I have yet to really read the article, but any time fragments of NT text are located, it is an important thing. Thanks to Brice C. Jones (see his blog) for his work in publishing these fragments.

Second Timothy 1.1–5

Almost three years ago now (yikes) I began blogging through the text of Second Timothy and created a “Phrasal Interlinear” with notes on grammar and syntax. Nothing comprehensive, just a high-level walk through the text, paying attention to grammar and syntax in the notes.

In that, however, I never actually had notes on verses 1-5.

I’m in the process of reviewing and editing those notes to work them into something else less bloggy and more suited to study. So I quickly wrote notes for vv. 1-5. They are below.

Question (for those actually still reading this blog): Are these kinds of notes useful? Do you like them?


Verses 1–2 are a relatively standard Pauline prescript. Ancient letters typically have a prescript consisting of superscription (sender’s name in nominative case), adscription (recipient’s name in dative case), and salutation (some expression of greeting). [[Letter component terminology (prescript, superscription, adscription, salutation, etc.) taken from Hans-Josef Klauck, Ancient Letters and the New Testament: A Guide to Context and Exegesis. Waco: Baylor Press, 2006, pp. 17–27]]

Verse 1

Παῦλος] Sender’s name in nominative case.

ἀπόστολος Χριστοῦ Ἰησοῦ] Appositional phrase, further describing Paul. He is an apostle of Jesus Christ.
διὰ θελήματος θεοῦ] Prepositional phrase adjectivally modifying ἀπόστολος, informing of the basis of Paul’s apostleship. Paul is an apostle of Jesus through the will of God.

κατʼ ἐπαγγελίαν ζωῆς] Prepositional phrase further  modifying ἀπόστολος, giving further information of the basis of Paul’s apostleship. Not only is it through the will of God, it is also according to the promise of life.

τῆς ἐν Χριστῷ Ἰησοῦ] Here the article functions as a pronoun in a relative clause, providing clarification of the promise of life. The life is that which is had in Jesus.

Verse 2

Τιμοθέῳ] Recipient’s name in the dative case, beginning the adscription.

ἀγαπητῷ τέκνῳ] Appositional phrase further describing the relationship of the recipient to the sender. The sender considers Timothy to be his beloved son.

χάρις, ἔλεος, εἰρήνη] A new clause, the salutation. The subject of the salutation is threefold: grace, mercy and peace.

ἀπὸ θεοῦ πατρὸς καὶ Χριστοῦ Ἰησοῦ τοῦ κυρίου ἡμῶν] Prepositional phrase modifying an implied verb. The source of the grace, mercy and peace comes from both the God the Father and Jesus Christ our Lord.

Verse 3

Χάριν ἔχω τῷ θεῷ] A new clause beginning the thanksgiving portion of the letter introduction. Paul’s letters (apart from Galatians) contain a thanksgiving section after the prescript.

ᾧ λατρεύω ἀπὸ προγόνων ἐν καθαρᾷ συνειδήσει] A relative clause. The pronoun referent is God (τῷ θεῷ). Two prepositional phrases adverbially modify the verb λατρεύω (I serve); these detail the reason for service (Paul’s ‘forbears’ served God) and the manner of service (Paul serves with a clear conscience).

ὡς ἀδιάλειπτον ἔχω τὴν περὶ σοῦ μνείαν] This clause functions subordinately, modifying the main clause. It provides some further reason and explanation for Paul’s giving of thanks.

ἐν ταῖς δεήσεσίν μου νυκτὸς καὶ ἡμέρας] A prepositional phrase adverbially modifying the previous subordinate clause. Paul said he “constantly” remembers Timothy; here he provides further detail to his constant rememberance, it is in his prayers both night and day.

Verse 4

ἐπιποθῶν σε ἰδεῖν] This participial clause also modifies the subordinate clause, reiterating Paul’s closeness to Timothy. Not only does Paul pray constantly for Timothy, he also longs to see Timothy.

μεμνημένος σου τῶν δακρύων] Another participial clause. With “remembering your tears,” Paul further indicates the closeness of his relationship with Timothy.

ἵνα χαρᾶς πληρωθῶ] Subordinate clause further modifying the participial clause at the beginning of the verse. Paul longs to see his friend Timothy so that he may be filled with joy.

Verse 5

ὑπόμνησιν λαβὼν τῆς ἐν σοὶ ἀνυποκρίτου πίστεως] This begins a complex participial structure that further modifies the subordinate clause that began in the middle of verse 3. This parallels a previous participial structure, “longing to see you.” It includes a prepositional phrase, “in you” embedded within a noun phrase, “the sincere/unhypocritical faith.”

ἥτις ἐνῴκησεν] A relative clause referring to the sincere faith.

πρῶτον ἐν τῇ μάμμῃ σου Λωΐδι καὶ τῇ μητρί σου Εὐνίκῃ] Paul is tracing Timothy’s spiritual lineage. This clause provides order using “first” then a prepositional phrase with compound object. The sincere faith that Timothy has first dwelt in his grandmother and his mother (Lois and Eunice).

πέπεισμαι δὲ] The δὲ here is developmental. Paul noticed Timothy’s faith first in his grandmother and mother, from there Paul confirms it in Timothy as well.

ὅτι καὶ ἐν σοί] Subordinate clause modifying previous. The καὶ is what would typically be called “adverbial” and is best translated as “also.” The faith Paul saw in Timothy’s mother and grandmother also dwells in Timothy.

The Gospel, The Cure of Cowardice

“cowardice [δειλια] would seem to be a sort of fearful yielding of the soul” (Theophrastus, Characters [371-287 BC])

Cowardice (δειλια) “is a disease graver than any that affects the body since it destroys the faculties [δυναμις] of the soul. Diseases of the body flourish but for a short time, but cowardice is an inbred evil, as closely inherent or more so than any part of the bodily system from the earliest years to extreme old age, unless it is healed by God. For all things are possible to Him” (Philo, On the Virtues, 26; 1st century AD).

“For God did not give us a spirit of cowardice (δειλια) but of power[δυναμις], love and self-control.
Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord, nor of me his prisoner, but share in suffering for the gospel by the power [δυναμις] of God, who saved us and called us to a holy calling, not because of our works but because of his own purpose and grace, which he gave us in Christ Jesus before the ages began, and which now has been manifested through the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus, who abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel, for which I was appointed a preacher and apostle and teacher, which is why I suffer as I do. But I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed, and I am convinced that he is able to guard until that Day what has been entrusted to me. Follow the pattern of the sound words that you have heard from me, in the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. By the Holy Spirit who dwells within us, guard the good deposit entrusted to you.” (Paul, 2 Timothy 1:7-14; 1st century AD [ESV, altered])

Thinking about 2Ti 1.8-12

Our pastor has commenced working through Second Timothy (one of the reasons for my recent jaunt through Second Timothy) and today’s text was 2Ti 1.9-10 (he’d discussed the larger section, 2Ti 1.8-12, last week). But I really don’t see the rationale for splitting this out from the larger unit because it is all one sentence (in the Greek) with components building one upon the other to the crescendo of v. 12. Below is my translation of these verses:

And so do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord, or of me his prisoner, but suffer together with me for the gospel according to the power of God, who saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works but according to his own purpose and grace, which has been granted to us in Christ Jesus from times eternal, and now has been revealed through the appearance of our Savior Christ Jesus, who indeed abolished death and brought to light life and immortality through the gospel into which I was appointed herald and apostle and teacher. For this reason I also suffer these things, but I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed and I am convinced that he is quite capable to guard my deposit until that day. (2Ti 1.8-12)

On my reading, Paul’s first bit about not being ashamed of the testimony or being ashamed of Paul is an attention-getter that is then immediately trumped. This isn’t about Timothy being ashamed, it is about Paul’s exhortation to Timothy to “suffer together” with him for the gospel. In the underlying Greek, the portion after this initial “but” corrects. Timothy is not to be ashamed of Paul’s suffering (or the gospel for that matter), he is instead to join with Paul in his suffering for the gospel.

From here, Paul gives further information on how Timothy can in his right mind sign up for such suffering: the power of God is what will enable him.

As if that’s not enough, Paul then describes what God has already done: he’s saved them (the start of v. 9). In addition to that, he has called them with a “holy calling”.

But what is the holy calling? Paul explains that too. The holy calling is not one given because they are worthy based on the merit of their own works, they are worthy because God has called them to it. God has his own purpose and his grace will enable him to meet that purpose to which he has called Timothy (and Paul).

But Paul isn’t done; he next has to get in some explanation of how this grace works to enable for the holy calling. The grace has been in place since the foundation of time, only recently revealed in Jesus Christ.

And again, Paul isn’t done.

Note how Paul doesn’t just refer to “Jesus Christ”, but to “our Savior Jesus Christ”. This as well is for a reason, it is so Paul can remind Timothy once again of what Christ did. He abolished death (by his grace saving from eternal death) and brought life. He is the life-bringer. And this was done “through the gospel” (remember that thing Paul initially exhorted Timothy to not be ashamed of?). (this is the end of v. 10)

Still, Paul has more.

This gospel, the accounting of how our Savior provided for our deliverance, is what Paul has been called to proclaim. He is a “herald” (a proclaimer), an apostle and a teacher of the gospel. He proclaims it, he advocates it, he practices it and he teaches it.

Paul continues, “For this reason …”. This is Paul’s justification of his suffering. Paul doesn’t hide his suffering, he embraces it. And he wants Timothy to embrace it too. Again, as when the section started, there is a contrastive “but”: “I also suffer these things, but I am not ashamed …”. This as the same contrast as the beginning of the section, between suffering and being ashamed of the suffering. Paul offers himself as an example to Timothy: “I’m embracing the suffering, you should too.” (an aside: recall 2Ti 1.7, immediately previous to this whole section, where Paul reminds Timothy that “God has not given us a spirit of cowardice, but of power and love and self-discipline”.)

Paul then gives reason for his embracing of the suffering he finds himself in: He knows that the one who saved him will bring him through it until “that day” (which is, in my opinion, an eschatological reference).

The whole section progresses, each clause or phrase expanding some portion of the previous one, making Paul’s case. And it ends up right where it started, advocating the embrace of suffering for the gospel over against being ashamed of the gospel.

From here, Paul will begin to contrast the gospel against the false teaching prevalent in Ephesus, holding up the standard of the gospel. But before then, Paul needs to make the reader aware that there is a choice between the hard way (holding to the gospel and undergoing the suffering which will come) and the easy way (letting go of the gospel and not challenging the false teachers). Paul makes Timothy aware of this choice, encouraging his embrace of the gospel and related suffering, before getting into the ramifications of it.

Also interesting (at least to me) is that throughout this section, Paul is exhorting Timothy to join together with him in this suffering for the gospel; he is not exhorting Timothy to take his place in this suffering. So many times Second Timothy is read as “Paul’s last will and testament” but, at least here, we see that Paul has no hint of wanting to let go of the reins. Timothy is joining together with Paul, he isn’t taking Paul’s place.

Second Timothy 1.15-18

[This is part of a running series on translating Second Timothy. See the introductory post for more information — RB]

Phrasing/Translation: 2Ti 1.15-18

15 Οἶδας τοῦτο,
15 You know this,
    ὅτι ἀπεστράφησάν με
    that they have turned away from me—
    πάντες οἱ ἐν τῇ Ἀσίᾳ,
    all those in Asia,
            ὧν ἐστιν Φύγελος καὶ Ἑρμογένης.
            among whom are Phygelus and Hermogenes.

16 δῴη ἔλεος ὁ κύριος τῷ Ὀνησιφόρου οἴκῳ,
16 May the Lord grant mercy to the house of Onesiphorus,
    ὅτι πολλάκις με ἀνέψυξεν
    because many times he refreshed me.
    καὶ τὴν ἅλυσίν μου οὐκ ἐπαισχύνθη,
    He was not afraid of my chains,
    17 ἀλλὰ γενόμενος ἐν Ῥώμῃ σπουδαίως ἐζήτησέν με καὶ εὗρεν·
    17 but having arrived in Rome he diligently sought and found me.

18 δῴη αὐτῷ ὁ κύριος εὑρεῖν ἔλεος
18 May the Lord grant him to find mercy
    παρὰ κυρίου
    from the Lord
    ἐν ἐκείνῃ τῇ ἡμέρᾳ.
    on that day.

    ὅσα ἐν Ἐφέσῳ διηκόνησεν,
    of all the service he rendered in Ephesus,
βέλτιον σὺ γινώσκεις.
you are well aware.


Verse 15

Οἶδας τοῦτο] Runge (Discourse Grammar) labels this a “meta-comment”; from an epistolary form-critical perspective it may also be seen as an instance of the “disclosure formula” (e.g. Marshall). The idea of both approaches is to recognize that this is an instance where the author steps back from his default voice and exhorts the reader/hearer to pay attention to what follows because it is important. In this case, τοῦτο looks ahead to the content of the subordinate clause that immediately follows. Note also that Οἶδας is in the second person singular (that is, the referent would be the addressee, Timothy). Many think that this letter was written to a larger group, but grammatical cues such as this may argue against that notion.

ὅτι ἀπεστράφησάν με] subordinate clause, this is the content referenced by “know this”.

πάντες οἱ ἐν τῇ Ἀσίᾳ] Here Paul more fully describes who was turning away from him. This is likely not a reference to everyone, everywhere in Asia, who was a Christian. It is more likely a reference to subordinates of Paul in Asia. This scope is clarified by the next comment, a relative clause that sharpens the scope of “all those in Asia”.

ὧν ἐστιν Φύγελος καὶ Ἑρμογένης] Here Paul references two specific people, Phygelus and Hermogenes, among the group of “all those who are in Asia”. Because Paul goes to this level of detail here, it is likely that the previous reference is also a smaller group of people, not the mass of Asian Christendom.

Verse 16

δῴη ἔλεος ὁ κύριος] Here δῴη is the aorist optative of διδωμι. Occurrence of the optative is relatively rare in the NT, notable is use of the same verb (with same parsing) in verse 18 below.

ὅτι πολλάκις με ἀνέψυξεν] A subordinate clause, here providing the reason for Paul’s wish that the Lord bestow mercy on the household of Onesiphorus: “because many times he refreshed me”.

καὶ] In the above translation, what is one sentence in the Greek I have split into two English sentences. As I read the verse at present, this καὶ marks the beginning of a new clause, where two parts are joined by αλλα and a comparison is made. In the English, this makes more sense as a separate sentence. This instance of καὶ is necessary in that it marks development of the previous clause, but it need not be “Englished” literally (“and”) as inserting a sentence break in the translation recognizes its function.

καὶ τὴν ἅλυσίν μου οὐκ ἐπαισχύνθη] As noted above, this clause (“He was not afraid of my chains”) is involved in a contrast with the clause that follows it. This portion is the “Counterpoint” (cf. Runge, Discourse Grammar), providing a platform for contrast with what follows.

Verse 17

ἀλλὰ γενόμενος ἐν Ῥώμῃ σπουδαίως ἐζήτησέν με καὶ εὗρεν] This is the “Point” of the contrasted pair, the item Paul desires to make prominent. Onesiphorus “sought and found” Paul instead of shying away because Paul was in prison.

γενόμενος ἐν Ῥώμῃ] Runge (Discourse Grammar) calls this a “nominative circumstantial frame”. This is when a participle is fronted before the primary verb of the clause, providing background to the current situation. Here the background is “having arrived in Rome”, which provides more background to the main action of the clause, “[Onesiphorus] sought and found me”.

Verse 18

δῴη αὐτῷ ὁ κύριος εὑρεῖν ἔλεος] Note the similarity with the first portion of v. 16 above. The verb is the same, the subject is the same (“May the Lord grant”). The one receiving is the same as well, in v. 16 it is “the house of Onesiphorus”, in v. 18 it is “him” (e.g., Onesiphorus). In v. 16 “mercy” is directly wished; in v. 18 it is wished for Onesiphorus to be able “to find mercy”. The wishes, however, are slightly different in that v. 18 has a more directly eschatological vibe to it. On this (optative, syntactic and lexical similarity) see Van Neste, Cohesion and Structure, 159.

παρὰ κυρίου] prepositional phrase, “from the Lord”, and according to the analysis is modifying (providing circumstance) to the infinitive εὑρεῖν (“to find”).

ἐν ἐκείνῃ τῇ ἡμέρᾳ] prepositional phrase, “in that day”. This as well modifies the infinitive εὑρεῖν, “to find”. Paul wishes that Onesiphorus, on that final day, will find mercy from the Lord. This prepositional phrase is doubly interesting with the use of the far demonstrative ἐκεῖνος, “that”, which creates some metaphoric distance between the present time (of the composition) and the time of “that day” (cf. Runge, Discourse Grammar). Secondly, the use of the article with ἡμέρᾳ could be seen and further stressing the nature of “that particular day”.

καὶ ὅσα ἐν Ἐφέσῳ διηκόνησεν] “and of all the service he rendered in Ephesus”. The correlative pronoun indicates a comparison of sorts; Paul is reminding the reader(s) that Onesiphorus served well, and that the reader(s) know about it.

ἐν Ἐφέσῳ] A spatial frame (Runge, Discourse Grammar), the larger structure isn’t about Onesiphorus’ service in general, it is specifically about the service he rendered in Ephesus. Also, ΕΝ ΕΦΕΣΩ is a great blog you should really have in your blog reader.

βέλτιον σὺ γινώσκεις] Note the verb here (γινώσκεις, “you know”) is also second person singular, modified by the adverb βέλτιον (only here in the NT). The pronoun σὺ is also second person. As the second person reference is grammaticalized in the verb itself, the existence of the pronoun could be seen to be emphatic, making the second person reference all the more prominent. The referent here is Timothy. Also worthy of note is how this set of verses begins with “you know this” (v. 15) and ends with “you are well aware”. A semantic chain (on semantic chains, cf. Van Neste, Cohesion and Structure) of knowing/being aware may be indicated, with vocabulary of cognition beginning and ending the section.

All in all, Onesiphorus’ example has been held up as worthy to Timothy; this in juxtaposition with the information that several in Asia have left Paul. The offshoot is to be like Onesiphorus, do not be like Phygelus and Hermogenes and those who are with them.

Second Timothy 1.13-14

[This is part of a running series on translating Second Timothy. See the introductory post for more information — RB]

Phrasing/Translation: 2Ti 1.13-14

13 Ὑποτύπωσιν ἔχε ὑγιαινόντων λόγων
13 Hold to the standard of sound words
    ὧν παρʼ ἐμοῦ ἤκουσας
    which you have heard from me
    ἐν πίστει καὶ ἀγάπῃ
    in faith and love
        τῇ ἐν Χριστῷ Ἰησοῦ·
        which are in Christ Jesus.

14 τὴν καλὴν παραθήκην φύλαξον
14 Guard the good deposit
    διὰ πνεύματος ἁγίου
    through the Holy Spirit
        τοῦ ἐνοικοῦντος
        who dwells
            ἐν ἡμῖν.
            in us.


Verse 13

Ὑποτύπωσιν] See 1Ti 1.16. The above translation takes Ὑποτύπωσιν as the object, which (cf. Marshall 712) seems best. In both v. 13 and v. 14 the object is fronted in the clause, creating a topical frame (cf. Runge, Discourse Grammar). This introduces new information, new participants, or a new concept to the discourse in such a way as to draw attention to it.

ἔχε] imperative. Note also that the predicator in the following verse is an imperative. Also note the basic pattern of both verses: Object-Verb-Adjunct.

ὑγιαινόντων λόγων] “sound words” or “healthy words”, this is a concept unique to the Pastoral Epistles.

ὧν παρʼ ἐμοῦ ἤκουσας] relative clause. Here Paul takes responsibility for providing the “standard of sound words”

ἐν πίστει καὶ ἀγάπῃ] prepositional phrase. This functions adverbially, providing circumstance to ἔχε (“hold to”). It further describes in what way Timothy is to hold to the standard of sound words.

τῇ ἐν Χριστῷ Ἰησοῦ·] Here the article τῇ functions like a pronoun, the structure is like a relative clause. It tells us where the faith and love of the previous prepositional phrase come from.

Verse 14

τὴν καλὴν παραθήκην] fronted object, creating a topical frame (see comment on v. 13 above).

τὴν καλὴν παραθήκην φύλαξον] “guard the good deposit”. Note that “deposit” was used earlier in 2Ti 1.12 with the same verb, “guard”: “he is quite capable to guard my deposit”. Similar language is also in 1Ti 6.20, also see $af(Did 4.13) and $af(EpBarn 19.11). The “deposit” in 1&2 Timothy is Paul’s teaching, the true teaching (sound words, healthy doctrine) which is the antidote to the false teaching that Timothy finds himself combating in Ephesus.

διὰ πνεύματος ἁγίου] prepositional phrase, functioning adverbially. This provides further circumstance to the verb, “guard”. The Holy Spirit, in some unspecified manner, helps with the guarding of the deposit.

τοῦ ἐνοικοῦντος ἐν ἡμῖν] participle clause functioning as relative clause, note the embedded prepositional phrase. This gives further information about the Holy Spirit. The “Holy Spirit who dwells in us” is who assists with the guarding of the deposit.

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