2 Timothy 1:6
Why I put you in remembrance that you stir up the gift of God, which is in you by the putting on of my hands.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(6) Wherefore I put thee in remembrance.Wherefore (seeing that I am so thoroughly persuaded of thy faith) I am determined to put thee in remembrance . . . It seems, from the general tenor of the Epistle, that Timothy was deeply cast down by the imprisonment of St. Paul. Timothy, as well as the martyr himself, was conscious that the end of that great and glorious career of his old master was at last come; and the heart of the younger man sank—as well it might—under the prospect of having to fight the Lord’s battle at Ephesus—that famous centre of Greek culture and of Oriental luxury—against enemies without and enemies within, alone, and without the help of the great genius, the master mind, and the indomitable courage of the man who for a quarter of a century had been the guiding spirit of Gentile Christianity, and his dear and intimate friend. So St. Paul now, persuaded that faith burned in his disciple’s heart with the old steady flame, but knowing, too, that he was dispirited and heavy-hearted, was minded, if possible, to cheer up the fainting heart, and to inspire it with fresh courage to fight the Master’s fight when he (St. Paul) had left the scene.

That thou stir up the gift of God, which is in thee by the putting on of my hands.—The Greek word rendered “stir up” literally means to kindle up, to fan into flame. Chrysostom brings home the great lesson taught by this word, which belongs to all Christ’s people alike, when he quotes 1Thessalonians 5:19, “Quench not the Spirit;” for it is in our power both to quench this Spirit and also to fan it into flame. The “gift of God” here alluded to is that special gift of the Spirit conferred on Timothy at his ordination, and which included, in his case, powers necessary for the performance of the many and important duties to which he was in the providence of God called, especially those gifts of ruling and teaching which are necessary for the chief pastor’s office. This “gift of God” was conferred through the medium of the hands laid on Timothy’s head at his ordination at Lystra. In this act the presbytery at Lystra were joined with the Apostle. (See 1Timothy 4:14.) We know that St. Paul frequently uses for his illustrations of Christian life scenes well known among the Greek heathen nations of the Old World, such as the Greek athletic games. Is it not possible (the suggestion is Wordsworth’s) that the Apostle while here charging Timothy to take care that the sacred fire of the Holy Ghost did not languish in his heart, while urging him to watch the flame, to keep it burning brightly, to fan the flame if burning dimly—is it not possible that St. Paul had in mind the solemn words of the Roman law, “Let them watch the eternal flame of the public hearth”? (Cicero, de Legibus, xi. 8.) The failure of the flame was regarded as an omen of dire misfortune, and the watchers, if they neglected the duty, were punished with the severest penalties.

2 Timothy 1:6-7. Wherefore — Because I remember this; I put thee in remembrance — Because of my love to thee; that thou stir up the gift of God — That is, every gift which the grace of God has given thee. The word αναζωπυρειν is a metaphorical expression, borrowed from stirring up fire when it is almost extinct, and thereby causing it to burn with a fresh flame. The meaning is, that Timothy was to embrace the opportunities which his station afforded him for improving his spiritual gifts, by boldly and diligently exercising them in inculcating and defending the doctrines of the gospel. By the putting on of my hands — Together with those of the presbytery, 1 Timothy 4:14. And let nothing discourage thee, for God hath not given us the spirit of fear — That is, the spirit which God hath given us Christians, is not the spirit of fear, or of timidity, or cowardice, as δειλιας signifies; but of power — Banishing fear; or of Christian courage in the midst of dangers and troubles; and of love — To God and all mankind, animating us to zeal and diligence in God’s service, and in our endeavours to save men’s souls. And of a sound mind — So as to act according to the best principles of reason and religion.1:6-14 God has not given us the spirit of fear, but the spirit of power, of courage and resolution, to meet difficulties and dangers; the spirit of love to him, which will carry us through opposition. And the spirit of a sound mind, quietness of mind. The Holy Spirit is not the author of a timid or cowardly disposition, or of slavish fears. We are likely to bear afflictions well, when we have strength and power from God to enable us to bear them. As is usual with Paul, when he mentions Christ and his redemption, he enlarges upon them; so full was he of that which is all our salvation, and ought to be all our desire. The call of the gospel is a holy call, making holy. Salvation is of free grace. This is said to be given us before the world began, that is, in the purpose of God from all eternity; in Christ Jesus, for all the gifts that come from God to sinful man, come in and through Christ Jesus alone. And as there is so clear a prospect of eternal happiness by faith in Him, who is the Resurrection and the Life, let us give more diligence in making his salvation sure to our souls. Those who cleave to the gospel, need not be ashamed, the cause will bear them out; but those who oppose it, shall be ashamed. The apostle had trusted his life, his soul, and eternal interests, to the Lord Jesus. No one else could deliver and secure his soul through the trials of life and death. There is a day coming, when our souls will be inquired after. Thou hadst a soul committed to thee; how was it employed? in the service of sin, or in the service of Christ? The hope of the lowest real Christian rests on the same foundation as that of the great apostle. He also has learned the value and the danger of his soul; he also has believed in Christ; and the change wrought in his soul, convinces the believer that the Lord Jesus will keep him to his heavenly kingdom. Paul exhorts Timothy to hold fast the Holy Scriptures, the substance of solid gospel truth in them. It is not enough to assent to the sound words, but we must love them. The Christian doctrine is a trust committed to us; it is of unspeakable value in itself, and will be of unspeakable advantage to us. It is committed to us, to be preserved pure and entire, yet we must not think to keep it by our own strength, but by the power of the Holy Spirit dwelling in us; and it will not be gained by those who trust in their own hearts, and lean to their own understandings.That thou stir up the gift of God - Greek, That thou "kindle up" as a fire. The original word used here denotes the kindling of a fire, as by bellows, etc. It is not uncommon to compare piety to a flame or a fire, and the image is one that is obvious when we speak of causing that to burn more brightly. The idea is, that Timothy was to use all proper means to keep the flame of pure religion in the soul burning, and more particularly his zeal in the great cause to which he had been set apart. The agency of man himself is needful to keep the religion of the heart warm and glowing. However rich the gifts which God has bestowed upon us, they do not grow of their own accord, but need to be cultivated by our own personal care.

Which is in thee by the putting on of my hands - In connection with the presbytery; see the notes at 1 Timothy 4:14. This proves that Paul took part in the ordination of Timothy; but it does not prove either that he performed the duty alone, or that the "ordaining virtue," whatever that was, was imparted by him only; because:

(1) it is expressly said 1 Timothy 4:14, that he was ordained by the laying on of the hands of the presbytery, of which Paul was doubtless one; and,

(2) the language here used, "by the putting on of my hands," is just such as Paul, or any other one of the presbytery, would use in referring to the ordination of Timothy, though they were all regarded as on a level. It is such an expression as an aged Presbyterian, or Congregational, or Baptist minister would address to a son whom he had assisted to ordain. Nothing would be more natural than to remind him that his own hands had been laid on him when he was set apart to the work of the ministry. It would be in the nature of a tender, pathetic, and solemn appeal, bringing all that there was in his own character, age, and relation to the other, to bear on him, in order to induce him to be faithful to his trust. On other occasions, he would naturally remind him that others had united with him in the act, and that he had derived his authority through the presbytery, just as Paul appeals to Timothy, 1 Timothy 4:14. But no one would now think of inferring from this, that he meant to be understood as saying that he alone had ordained him, or that all the authority for preaching the gospel had been imparted through his hands, and that those who were associated with him only expressed "concurrence;" that is, that their presence there was only an unmeaning ceremony. What was the "gift of God" which had been conferred in this way, Paul specifies in the next verse 2 Timothy 1:7. It is "the spirit of power, and of love, and of a sound mind." The meaning is, that these had been conferred by God, and that the gift had been recognized by his ordination. It does not imply that any mysterious influence had gone from the hands of the ordainers, imparting any holiness to Timothy which he had not before.

6. Wherefore—Greek, "For which cause," namely, because thou hast inherited, didst once possess, and I trust ("am persuaded") still dost possess, such unfeigned faith [Alford].

stir up—literally, "rekindle," "revive the spark of"; the opposite of "quench" or "extinguish" (1Th 5:19). Paul does not doubt the existence of real faith in Timothy, but he desires it to be put into active exercise. Timothy seems to have become somewhat remiss from being so long without Paul (2Ti 2:22).

gift of God—the spiritual grace received for his ministerial office, either at his original ordination, or at his consecration to the particular office of superintending the Ephesian Church (see on [2493]1Ti 4:14), imparting fearlessness, power, love, and a sound mind (2Ti 1:7).

by the putting on of my hands—In 1Ti 4:14, it is "with [not by] the laying on of the hands of the presbytery." The apostle was chief in the ordination, and to him "BY" is applied. The presbytery were his assistants; so "with," implying merely accompaniment, is said of them. Paul was the instrument in Timothy's ordination and reception of the grace then conferred; the presbyters were the concurrent participants in the act of ordination; so the Greek, "dia" and "meta." So in ordinations by a bishop in our days, he does the principal act; they join in laying on hands with him.

Wherefore I put thee in remembrance: Paul’s affection to Timothy was so far from abating his faithfulness to him, that it quickened him to admonish him to be faithful in his ministry.

That thou stir up the gift of God which is in thee; and to that end, he adviseth him to put new life unto that holy fire (the word signifies the recovering of fire choked with ashes or decaying) which God had kindled in him, by daily prayer, and meditating on the things of God and use of his gifts, improving those spiritual abilities which God had given him.

By the putting on of my hands; upon the prayers of Paul and the presbytery, when he was by them set apart to the work of an evangelist, for the end for which God had given them to him. Wherefore I put thee in remembrance,.... Because of the great affection the apostle had for Timothy, and because of that confidence he had of him, that unfeigned faith dwelt in him, as well as because this had had a place in his relations before him; he therefore acts the part of a kind monitor to him, and, upon these considerations, doubts not of succeeding in his following admonition:

that thou stir up the gift of God which is in thee; by "the gift" is meant his ministerial gift; for what qualifies men for the ministry, is not anything natural in them, nor acquired by them, but what is given unto them, and that of God: and this was "in" him; it continued with him; it was not lost by him, nor taken from him, as gifts may be, when they are not used; and yet it seems as if there was some decline, some backwardness and indifference as to the exercise of it: he might be too remiss, negligent, and forgetful of it; wherefore the apostle puts him in mind to "stir" it up: there is in the word used a metaphor taken from coals of fire covered with ashes, as if almost extinct, and need to be blown up into a flame, and a very apt one it is; since the gifts of the Spirit, especially his extraordinary ones, such as ministers in those times had, are compared to fire: see Matthew 3:11 and these may be reinflamed or increased, when they seem on the decline, by reading, meditation, prayer, and the frequent exercise of them. Agreeably to this the Arabic version renders it, "that thou kindle the fire of the gift of God which is in thee"; and the rather the apostle took this freedom with Timothy, not only because of his superior age and office, but because this gift was through his means;

by the putting on of my hands; though not alone, but with the rest of the presbytery; See Gill on 1 Timothy 4:14.

{2} Wherefore I put thee in remembrance that thou {c} stir up the gift of God, which is in thee by the putting on of my hands.

(2) He urges us to set the invincible power of the Spirit which God has given us, against those storms which may, and do come upon us.

(c) The gift of God is as it were a certain living flame kindled in our hearts, which the flesh and the devil go about to put out: and therefore we as their opponents must labour as much as we can to foster and keep it burning.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
2 Timothy 1:6. Δἰ ἣν αἰτίαν ἀναμιμνήσκω σε κ.τ.λ.] This verse contains the chief thought of the whole chapter. By διʼ ἣν αἰτίαν (a formula which occurs in Paul only here, at 2 Timothy 1:12, and at Titus 1:13; αἰτία not at all in the other Pauline epistles), the apostle connects his exhortation with the previous πέπεισμαι κ.τ.λ., since his conviction of Timothy’s faith was the occasion of his giving the exhortation. There is no ground for the objection raised by Otto against this connection of thought, that αἰτία “never expresses anything but the external objective occasion;” he is no less wrong in wishing to refer διʼ ἣν αἰτίαν not to ἀναμιμνήσκω, but to ἀναζωπυρεῖν. In that case the apostle would have written διʼ ἣν αἰτίαν ἀναζωπύρει κ.τ.λ. (as Otto explains the expression). The verb ἀναμιμνήσκειν, properly, “remind of something,” contains in itself the idea of exhorting; the apostle finely interprets the word so as to make Timothy appear himself conscious of the duty which was urged on him; ὑπομιμνήσκειν is often used exactly in this way.

ἀναζωπυρεῖν τὸ χάρισμα τοῦ Θεοῦ] ἀναζωπυρεῖν: ἅπ. λεγ.: “fan into life again;” comp. Jamblichus, De Vit. Pyth. chap. 16.: ἀνεζωπύρει τὸ θεῖον ἐν αὐτῇ. By χάρισμα τ. Θ. is meant here, as in 1 Timothy 4:14, the fitness (ἱκανότης) bestowed by God on Timothy for discharging the ἔργον εὐαγγελιστοῦ (2 Timothy 4:5), which fitness includes both the capacity and also (though Hofmann denies this) zeal and spirit for official labours. The context shows that the courage of a Christian martyr is here specially meant. This παῤῥησία is not the work of man, but the gift of God’s grace to man. It can only be kept alive unceasingly by the labour of man. Chrysostom: δεῖ σου προθυμίας πρὸς τὸ χάρισμα τοῦ Θεοῦ· … ἐν ἡμῖν γὰρ ἐστὶ καὶ σβέσαι, καὶ ἀνάψαι τοῦτο· ὑπὸ μὲν γὰρ ῥαθυμίας καὶ ἀκηδίας σβέννυται, ὑπὸ δὲ νήψεως καὶ προσοχῆς διεγείρεται. Bengel is not incorrect in remarking on this exhortation: videtur Timotheus, Paulo diu carens, nonnihil remisisse; certe nunc ad majora stimulatur. His former zeal seems to have been weakened, particularly by the apostle’s suffering (2 Timothy 1:8), so that it needed to be quickened again.[6] Otto here, too, understands by χάρισμα, the “right of office;” but this does not accord with the verb ἀναζωπυρεῖν, since the right did not need to be revived. However Timothy might conduct himself in regard to the right imparted to him, it remained always the same; if he did not exercise it as he should have done, he himself or his activity needed the ἀναζωπυρεῖν, but not the right which had been delivered to him with the office.[7] On the next words: ὅ ἐστιν ἐν σοὶ διὰ τῆς ἐπιθέσεως τῶν χειρῶν μου, comp. 1 Timothy 4:14. There can be no reason for doubting that the same act is meant in both passages. As to the difficulty that, whereas in the former passage it was the presbytery, here it is Paul who is said to have imposed hands, see the remark on that passage. The reason for this lies both in the character of the epistle, “which has for its foundation and in part for its subject the personal relation between the apostle and Timothy,” as well as in Paul’s exhortation to Timothy in 2 Timothy 1:8, “to make the gift an effective agent for him through whom the gift was received” (Wiesinger).

[6] It has been already remarked (Introd. § 3, p. 27) that Otto is not justified in accusing Timothy of having almost laid down his office through anxiety and timidity. It is a part of this accusation that Otto here finds it said that “Timothy was to resume the duties delivered to him by the apostolic laying on of hands.”—The meaning of ἀναζωπυρεῖν is mistaken by van Oosterzee and Plitt, if they think that we cannot infer from it that there had been an actual decrease of Timothy’s official zeal.

[7] Otto contends, that “along with the office, when the hands were laid on him, Timothy received the understanding, the personal gifts for filling it.” Against this it is to be remarked—(1) That the natural talents are not bestowed along with the office, but the conscious and intentional concentration and employment of them in the office, otherwise the receiver of the office is only a dead machine in it; and (2) that the apostle, in laying on hands, acted as the instrument of the Holy Spirit; and of this Timothy was also aware.2 Timothy 1:6. διʼ ἣν αἰτίαν: not so much “because I am persuaded of thine unfeigned faith” (Theoph., Thdrt.), as, “because this faith does of a surety dwell in thee”. We are most fruitfully stimulated to noble action, not when we know other people think well of us, but when their good opinion makes us recognise the gifts to us of God’s grace. Faith, as well as salvation, is the gift of God, Ephesians 2:8. Except in this phrase (see reff. and Acts 28:20), αἰτία is not found elsewhere in Paul. It is common in Matt., Mark, John, and Acts.

ἀναζωπυρεῖν: In both places cited in reff.—the only occurrences in the Greek Bible—the verb is intransitive: his, or their, spirit revived. Chrys. well compares with the image suggested by ἀναζωπυρεῖν (“stir into flame,”) “quench not the Spirit,” 1 Thessalonians 5:19, where by “the Spirit” is meant His charismatic manifestations of every kind. It is interesting to note in this connexion that ἀναζωπυρεῖν φαντασίας is opposed to σβεννύναι in M. Antoninus, vii. 2 (quoted by Wetstein).

τὸ χάρισμα τοῦ θεοῦ: This expression refers to the salvation of the soul by God’s grace, in Romans 6:23; Romans 11:29. The narrower signification, as here, of a gift given to us to use to God’s glory is χάρισμα ἐκ θεοῦ, 1 Corinthians 7:7, or more usually simply χάρισμα. The particular nature of the gift must be determined by the context. In this case it was a charisma that was exercised in a spirit not of fearfulness We can scarcely be wrong, then, if we suppose the charisma of administration and rule to be in St. Paul’s mind rather than “the work of an evangelist” (ch. 2 Timothy 4:5). So Chrys., “for presiding over the Church, for the working of miracles, and for every service”.

διὰ τῆς ἐπιθέσεωςμου: See note on 1 Timothy 4:14, where it is pointed out that we have no right to assume that hands were laid on Timothy once only. Thus Acts 9:17; Acts 13:3 are two such occasions in St. Paul’s spiritual life. There may have been others.6. Wherefore I put thee in remembrance] More decidedly For which cause. It will break the whole delicacy and tenderness of the exhortation, unless the cause be taken as the thankful recognition of Timothy’s living faith and likeness to his spiritual father.

put thee in remembrance] See note on the last verse. Timothy had been sent himself to ‘put the Corinthians in remembrance of St Paul’s ways that were in Christ,’ ten years before, and was then his ‘child beloved and faithful in the Lord.’ See the same word 1 Corinthians 4:17, the only other use in N.T. in the active.

that thou stir up the gift of God] The verb may be rendered fully, dwelling on the metaphor, ‘kindle the glowing embers of the gift of God,’ or as margin of R.V. ‘stir into flame.’ The ‘live coal from the altar’ had ‘touched his lips’ at his ordination; the ‘lightening with celestial fire’ from ‘the anointing Spirit’ in His ‘sevenfold gifts’ had taken place, as it has ever been invoked and bestowed at ‘The Ordering of Priests,’ cf. 5:14. According to the view taken of Timothy’s greater or less despondency and slackness, the stress may be either on the verb or on the preposition with which it is compounded; either ‘re kindle’ or ‘kindle into flame.’ Perhaps we may best adopt Dr Reynolds’s interpretation of the position. ‘We ought not to infer more than that Timothy’s work had suffered through his despondency arising from the peril and imprisonment of his master. He may have been ready to despair of the Church. The special charisma needed therefore in his case was parrhesia or a clear bold utterance of the faith that was in him.’

by the putting on of my hands] Rather, through the laying on. See note on 1 Timothy 4:14, where the character of this ‘laying on of hands’ is shewn. ‘My hands’ here is not inconsistent with ‘the hands of the presbytery’ there. St Paul of course was chief among the presbyters. But there the largeness of the attendant testimony, the fulness of the circle of ordaining elders, is put forward as a reason for every nerve being strained to run the race: since he is compassed with so great a cloud of witnesses, let him give all heed that his ‘progress may be manifest unto all.’ Here one chief figure, the closest and the dearest, fills all the view: ‘for my sake, my son.’2 Timothy 1:6. Δἰ ἣν αἰτίαν, for which cause) namely, because I have been reminded, ὑπεμνήσθην [referring to 2 Timothy 1:5, ὑπόμνησιν λαμβάνων].—ἀναμιμνήσκω, I put thee in remembrance) Being reminded himself, he puts others [sc. Timothy] in mind.—ἀναζωπυρεῖν) to stir up. The same word occurs, Genesis 45:27, 1Ma 13:7 : ζωπυρίω, of raising the dead, 2 Kings 8:1; 2 Kings 8:5. The opposite σβεννύειν, to extinguish; Matthew 25:8; 1 Thessalonians 5:19. Timothy, being long without Paul, seems to have become somewhat remiss; comp. note to ch. 2 Timothy 2:22 : at least he is now stirred up to greater exertions.—τὸ χάρισμα, the gift) which is joined with faith, 2 Timothy 1:5 : and is energetic and lively, 2 Timothy 1:7.Verse 6. - For the which cause for wherefore, A.V.; through the laying for by the putting, A.V. For which cause (δι η{ν αἰτίαν); so ver. 12 and Titus 1:13, but nowhere else in St. Paul's Epistles, though common elsewhere. The clause seems to depend upon the words immediately preceding, "I am persuaded in thee also; for which cause," etc. Stir up (ἀναζωπυρεῖν); here only in the New Testament, but found in the LXX. of Genesis 45:27 and I Macc. 13:7, in an intransitive sense, "to revive." In both passages it is contrasted with a previous state of despondency (Genesis 45:26) or fear (1 Macc. 13:2). We must, therefore, conclude that St. Paul knew Timothy to be cast down and depressed by his own imprisonment and imminent danger, and therefore exhorted him to revive . 'the spirit of power, and of love, and of a sound mind," which was given him at his ordination. The metaphor is taken from kindling slumbering ashes into a flame by the bellows, and the force of ἀνα is to show that the embers had gone down from a previous state of candescence or frame - "to rekindle, light up again." It is a favourite metaphor in classical Greek. The gift of God (τὸ χάρισμα τοῦ Θεοῦ); as 1 Timothy 4:14 (where see note). The laying on of my hands, together with those of the presbytery (1 Timothy 4:14; comp. Acts 13:2, 3). The laying on of hands was also the medium through which the Holy Ghost was given in Confirmation (Acts 8:17), and in healing (Mark 16:18; comp. Numbers 27:18, 23). Wherefore (δἰ ἣν αἰτίαν)

Lit. for which cause. Ἁιτία not in Paul. The phrase in 2 Timothy 1:12; Titus 1:13; also in Luke, Acts, and Hebrews. Paul's expression is διό or διὰ τοῦτο.

Stir up (ἀναζωπυρεῖν)

N.T.o. lxx, (Genesis 45:27; 1 Macc. 13:7. In Class., as Eurip. Electra, 1121, ἀν' αὖ σὺ ζωπυρεῖς νείκη νέα you are rekindling old strifes. From ἀνά again ζωός alive, πῦρ fire. Τὸ ζώπυρον is a piece of hot coal, an ember, a spark. Plato calls the survivors of the flood σμικρὰ ζώπυρα τοῦ τῶν ἀνθρώπων γένους διασεσωσμένα small sparks of the human race preserved. The word is, therefore, figurative, to stir or kindle the embers. Ἁνὰ combines the meanings again and up, rekindle or kindle up. Vulg. only the former, resuscitare. Comp. ἀνάπτειν kindle up, Luke 12:49; James 3:5. It is not necessary to assume that Timothy's zeal had become cold.

The gift of God (τὸ χάρισμα τοῦ θεοῦ)

See on 1 Timothy 4:14.

The laying on of my hands

See on 1 Timothy 4:14.

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