SUMMARY.--An Apostasy in Latter Times. Some of the Marks of that Apostasy. Directions to Timothy in View of This. The Preacher to Be an Example. To Take Heed to Himself.
6-9. If thou put the brethren in remembrance. Impress upon them what has just been written. A good minister. Thus shall Timothy well discharge his office, and prove himself a faithful minister. 7. Refuse profane and old wives' fables. The foolish myths and legends of the heathen, and also the marvelous additions which Jewish rabbis had made to the Old Testament. Reject all these. Exercise thyself rather unto godliness. Train thyself to a godly life, as a gymnast trains himself to bodily exercise. 8. For bodily exercise. The Greeks gave great attention to bodily training. At Ephesus, where Timothy was, may still be seen the remains of the stadium where the athletes displayed their skill. Let Christians display the same assiduity in training for godliness. For the bodily exercise profits little, while the godly training is profitable in all things. It makes men happier, more prosperous, more healthy here, and in addition it prepares them for the life to come. The way to reach heaven is not either to starve, or to exercise the body. 9. This is a faithful saying. A trustworthy saying. Verse 8 is referred to.
10, 11. For therefore. On account of the eternal life which godliness insures. We labor and suffer reproach. Compare 2 Cor. 11:21-27 . 11. These things. Especially what has been embraced in verses 8-10 .
12-16. Let no man despise thy youth. The remainder of the chapter is personal. Timothy was much younger than Paul, much younger than most of the presbyters, but he must have been fully thirty-five years old. He was converted about A. D. 46 and was then a young man, quite young, according to the ideas of that age, to be over presbyters. In A. D. 51 ( Acts 16:1-3 ), Paul had taken him away from home. I suppose that he must have been twenty at that time. If so, he was from thirty-five to thirty-eight years old at this time. Be thou an example. So should every preacher be, and in all the characteristics which follow. 13. Give attendance to reading. To the reading of the Scriptures to the people. In that age, when printed books were unknown, the knowledge of the Scriptures had to be communicated in this way. To doctrine. To instruction. 14. Neglect not the gift. The allusion is to special spiritual gifts given to him to fit him for the duties of an evangelist. These were given, and were essential, in that first age. By prophecy. As the Spirit at Antioch said to the prophets, "Separate for me Paul and Barnabas" I suppose a revelation was given that Timothy was to be set apart, and that he would be spiritually endowed for his work. With the laying on of the hands. He was ordained in the usual way, and at the ordination the Spirit conferred upon him new gifts. It must be borne in mind that the ancient evangelists had no New Testament to guide them, and hence needed special qualifications. 15. Meditate upon, etc. Rather, Let these things be thy special care. Give thyself wholly to them. The preacher must be heart and soul in his work in order to succeed. 16. Take heed unto thyself. This is the special duty of every minister. Let him watch himself first of all. And unto the doctrine. Take heed what you teach.