This charge I commit unto thee, son Timothy
After a digression the apostle had made concerning himself, his conversion, and call to the ministry, he returns to his former subject, and original design, and renews the charge he gave to Timothy; and which was not only an order to charge others to teach no other doctrine than that of the Gospel; but includes the charge of preaching it himself, and intends the glorious Gospel of the blessed God committed to his trust, and the whole form of sound words he had heard of him, and which he had charged him to keep pure and incorrupt: and this was done,
according to the prophecies which went before on thee;
by which are meant, not the prophecies of the Old Testament, though of these Timothy had a considerable share of knowledge from a child, and was hereby greatly qualified to have such a charge committed to him; but then these were not prophecies concerning him, but the Messiah, his person, office, kingdom, and grace: nor are any particular revelations made unto the Apostle Paul concerning Timothy intended, of which there is no account; the revelations and visions he had, related not to men, and their characters, but to doctrines; rather the testimonies of the brethren at Lystra and Iconium, and the good reports they made of him to the apostle, which promised and foreboded future usefulness, are designed; though it seems best of all to understand these prophecies of such as were delivered out by the prophets in the church, for such there were in those times; who, when Timothy was a child, or a youth, foretold that he would have great gifts bestowed upon him, and would be a very useful, diligent, laborious, and successful preacher of the Gospel; and therefore the apostle mentions these to stimulate him the more to the discharge of his work, that he might answer the prophecies concerning him: for he adds,
that thou by them mightest war a good warfare:
that is, that in consideration of the charge committed to him, and the prophecies that went before of him, might be the more industrious to fulfil his ministry, is signified by a warfare, in allusion to the service of the Levites, which is so called, ( Numbers 8:24 ) with zeal and courage, faithfulness and integrity: for not that warfare is intended, which is common to all believers; who being enlisted as volunteers under Christ, the Captain of their salvation, and having on the whole armour of God, fight against the world, the flesh, and the devil; and are more than conquerors through him that has loved them: but that warfare, which is peculiar to the ministers of the word; whose business it is more especially to fight the good fight of faith, and as good soldiers of Christ, to endure hardness for the sake of him, and his Gospel; and who, besides the other enemies, have to do with false teachers; and their warfare lies in publishing and defending the Gospel of Christ, and in contending for it, and in the weakening of Satan's kingdom, and enlarging the kingdom of Christ; and for which the weapons of their warfare are peculiarly made, and are eminently succeeded; and when they are used to such good purposes, by the ministers of the Gospel, they war a good warfare.