2 Timothy 4:18
And the Lord shall deliver me from every evil work, and will preserve me unto his heavenly kingdom: to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.
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(18) And the Lord shall deliver me from every evil work . . .—Many commentators have explained these words as the expression of St. Paul’s confidence that the Lord not only had, in the late trial, strengthened His servant, and given him courage to endure, but that He would watch over him in the future which still lay before him, and would preserve him from every danger of faint-heartedness, from every risk of doing dishonour to his Master; but such an interpretation seems foreign to the spirit in which St. Paul was writing to Timothy. In the whole Epistle there is not one note of fear—nothing which should lead us to suspect that the martyr Apostle was fearful for himself. It reads—does this last letter of the great Gentile teacher—in many places like a triumphant song of death. It, therefore, appears unnatural to introduce into the closing words of the Epistle the thought of the Lord’s help in the event of the Apostle’s losing heart. Far better is it to supply after “every evil work” the words “of the enemies,” and to understand the deliverance which the Lord will accomplish for him, not as a deliverance from any shrinking or timidity unworthy of an apostle of the Lord, not even as a deliverance from the martyr-death, which he knew lay before him, but that through this very death, the Lord Jesus would deliver him from all weariness and toil, and would bring him safe into His heavenly kingdom. (See Psalm 23:4.) St. Paul before (Philippians 1:23 had expressed a longing to come to Christ through death. He then bursts into an ascription of praise to that Lord Jesus Christ whom he had loved so long and so well, and who, in all his troubles and perplexities, had never left him friendless. For a similar ascription of glory to the Second Person of the ever blessed Trinity, see Hebrews 13:21. (Comp. also Romans 9:5.)

4:14-18 There is as much danger from false brethren, as from open enemies. It is dangerous having to do with those who would be enemies to such a man as Paul. The Christians at Rome were forward to meet him, Ac 28, but when there seemed to be a danger of suffering with him, then all forsook him. God might justly be angry with them, but he prays God to forgive them. The apostle was delivered out of the mouth of the lion, that is, of Nero, or some of his judges. If the Lord stands by us, he will strengthen us in difficulties and dangers, and his presence will more than supply every one's absence.And the Lord shall deliver me from every evil work - He does not say from "death," for he expected now to die; see 2 Timothy 4:6. But he was assured that God would keep him from shrinking from death when the hour approached; from apostasy, and from the manifestation of an improper spirit when he came to die.

And will preserve me unto his heavenly kingdom - So keep me from evil that I shall reach his heavenly kingdom; see 2 Timothy 4:8.

To whom be glory forever and ever - Paul was accustomed to introduce a doxology in his writings when his heart was full (compare Romans 9:5), and in no place could it be more appropriate than here, when he had the fullest confidence that he was soon to be brought to heaven. If man is ever disposed to ascribe glory to God, it is on such an occasion.

18. And the Lord shall, &c.—Hope draws its conclusions from the past to the future [Bengel].

will preserve me—literally, "will save" (Ps 22:21), "will bring me safe to." Jesus is the Lord and the Deliverer (Php 3:20; 1Th 1:10): He saves from evil; He gives good things.

heavenly kingdom—Greek, "His kingdom which is a heavenly one."

to whom, &c.—Greek, "to whom be the glory unto the ages of ages." The very hope produces a doxology: how much greater will be the doxology which the actual enjoyment shall produce! [Bengel].

And the Lord shall deliver me from every evil work; faith riseth upon experiences, 1 Samuel 17:37,46 2 Corinthians 1:10. By evil work may be understood any sin into which Paul might fall through temptation; or the evil works of others, designing mischief to the apostle. He expresseth his faith in this term or various signification, to learn us how to exercise our faith in God in an evil time, viz. believing that God will either deliver us from our danger, or from sinning by reason of our danger, for we have no foundation for out faith to believe that God will at all times keep us from evils of suffering.

And will preserve me unto is heavenly kingdom; and that he will save us, and preserve us, if not as to a temporal life, yet to a celestial, honourable, glorious inheritance.

To whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen; this is a usual form of giving praise to God, desiring all honour might be given to him.

And the Lord shall deliver me from every evil work,.... From wicked and unreasonable men, and all their attempts upon him, and from all afflictions by them; not but that he expected afflictions as long as he was in the world, but he knew that God would support him under them; and in his own time and way deliver out of them; and at last entirely by death, when he should be no more attended with them; and from all the temptations of Satan, and his evil designs upon him, and from sin and iniquity; not that he expected to live free of Satan's temptations, or without sin, but he believed that he should be kept from sinking under the former, and from being under the dominion of the latter; and should not be left to deny his Lord, desert his cause, blaspheme his name, and apostatize from him:

and will preserve me unto his heavenly kingdom, the ultimate glory and happiness of the saints in heaven; so called, both because of its nature and place, and to distinguish it from the church, which is Christ's kingdom in this world, though it is not of it; and from his personal reign with his saints on earth, for the space of a thousand years; whereas this will be for ever: and unto this the apostle believed he should be preserved, as all the saints will be, notwithstanding the persecutions of the world, the temptations of Satan, and their own corruptions; for they are secured in an everlasting covenant, and in the hands of Christ; and have not only angels to encamp about them, and salvation, as walls and bulwarks to them, but God himself is a wall of fire around them, and they are kept by his power unto salvation: and besides, this heavenly kingdom is prepared for them, and given to them; they are chosen to be heirs and possessors of it; they are called unto it, and Christ is gone to receive it in their name, to prepare it for them, and will come again and introduce them into it:

to whom be glory for ever and ever, Amen: of the present deliverance, and of all others he had, or should receive, as well as of the provision of the heavenly kingdom for him, and of his preservation to it.

And the Lord shall deliver me from every {f} evil work, and will preserve me unto his {g} heavenly kingdom: to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.

(f) Preserve me pure from committing anything unworthy of my apostleship.

(g) To make me partaker of his kingdom.

2 Timothy 4:18. In the assured confidence of faith, the apostle adds to ἐῤῥύσθην the word of hope: ῥύσεταί με ὁ κύριος ἀπὸ πάντος ἔργου πονηροῦ, for he knows that the Lord—even if it be through death (2 Timothy 4:6)—will bring him into His kingdom. ἔργον πονηρόν is not equivalent to evil, as Luther translates it and Matthies explains it: “from every evil circumstance.” Taken in this sense, the thought would be quite irreconcilable with the apostle’s conviction in 2 Timothy 4:6. Besides, in the N. T. πονηρόν never refers to merely external affliction; it denotes rather what is morally evil. Still it cannot here mean the evil work which the apostle might do (Chrysostom: πᾶν ἁμάρτημα; Grotius: liberabit me, ne quid agam Christiano, ne quid Apostolo indignum; de Wette: “from all evil work which I might do through want of stedfastness, through apostasy, and the like;” so, too, Beza, Heydenreich, and others). It must be interpreted of the wicked works of the enemies of the divine word; only with this view is the verb ῥύσεται appropriate, especially when combined with σώσει (Wiesinger, van Oosterzee, Hofmann). The apostle was still exposed to the attacks of the evil one, but he expresses the hope that the Lord would save him from them, so that they would do him no harm. Not, indeed, that he would not suffer the martyrdom he expected, but that through this he would come into the heavenly kingdom of the Lord, where there was prepared for him στέφανος τῆς δικαιοσύνης (2 Timothy 4:8).

καὶ σώσει εἰς τὴν βασιλείαν αὑτοῦ τὴν ἐπουράνιον] σώσει εἰς is a pregnant construction: he will save me and bring me into = σώζων ἄξει μὲ εἰς (Heydenreich).

The expression ἡ βασιλεία ἡ ἐπουράνιος does not occur elsewhere in the N. T.; but the idea is thoroughly apostolic and Pauline. For though Paul often calls Christ’s kingdom a future one, Christ is also present to him as βασιλεὺς ἐν τοῖς ἐπουρανίοις, whose βασιλεία, therefore, is also a present one.[72] The context points to this meaning here. In Php 1:23, Paul expresses the longing to come to Christ through death; here he expresses the hope that the Lord would remove him into His kingdom ἐκ παντὸς ἔργου πονηροῦ.

As a suitable and natural utterance of awakened feeling, there follows a doxology which in this place cannot surprise us, though commonly his doxologies refer to God and not to Christ specially.[73]

[72] There is nothing to indicate that the apostle is here alluding to the heavenly kingdom of the Lord, “in contrast with the earthly dominion of the present” (Hofmann).

[73] In Romans 16:27; Romans 9:5, Hebrews 13:21, the reference is at the very least doubtful.

2 Timothy 4:18. ἔργου πονηροῦ: The form of the clause may be modelled on the petition in the Lord’s Prayer, ῥῦσαι ἡμᾶς ἀπὸ τοῦ πονηροῦ; but the addition of ἔργου proves that the deliverance spoken of is not from an external Evil Personality, but from a possible evil deed of the apostle’s own doing. The expression has always a subjective reference. See reff. This exegesis is in harmony with the view taken above of “the mouth of the lion”. Failure to be receptive of the strengthening grace of the Lord would have been, in St. Paul’s judgment, an “evil deed,” though others might easily find excuses for it. Chrys. takes a similar view of ἔργου πονηροῦ, but gives it a wider application: “He will yet again deliver me from every sin, that is, He will not suffer me to depart with condemnation”. This view is also supported by what follows, σώσει, κ.τ.λ. At one moment the apostle sees the crown of righteousness just within his grasp, at another, while no less confident, he acknowledges that he could not yet be said “to have apprehended”.

σώσει εἰς: shall bring me safely to, salvum faciet (Vulg.). “Dominus est et Liberator, 1 Thessalonians 1:10, et Salvator, Php 3:20” (Bengel).

βασιλείανἐπουράνιον: That the Father’s kingdom is also the Son’s is Pauline doctrine. ἐπουράνιος became a necessary addition to βασιλεία as it became increasingly evident that the kingdom of heaven which we see is very different from the kingdom of heaven to be consummated hereafter. It is difficult not to see a connexion between this passage and the doxology appended in primitive times to the Lord’s Prayer, ὄτι σοῦ ἐστιν ἡ βασιλεία καὶ ἡ δύναμις καὶ ἡ δόξα εἰς τοὺς αἰῶνας.

ᾦ ἡ δόξα: The doxology, unmistakably addressed to Christ, need only cause a difficulty to those who maintain that “God blessed for ever” in Romans 9:5 cannot refer to Christ, because St. Paul was an Arian. Yet Romans 16:27, 1 Peter 4:11, not to mention 2 Peter 3:18, Revelation 1:6; Revelation 5:13, are other examples of doxologies to the Son.

18. And the Lord shall deliver] The ‘and’ is omitted in the better mss. The Apostle for the last time ‘goes off abruptly’ at the word ‘deliver,’ and breaks into a final song of ‘faith, hope and love.’ The preposition after the verb is changed to suit the noun it goes with.

every evil work] Substantially the same in reference as above, ‘the mouth of the lion’; ‘Fightings and fears within, without.’ It has been thought that the Apostle had the Lord’s Prayer in his mind, giving faith’s application of the clause ‘deliver us from the evil’; and if so it is interesting to observe his interpretation, not ‘from the evil one,’ masculine, but ‘from the evil,’ neuter. The phrase ‘his heavenly kingdom’ which does not occur elsewhere, and the ascription of the ‘glory,’ may also be a reminiscence of the doxology; which must in that case have been already in use, as an addition to the prayer. And this is what we should expect from its occurrence in Matthew 6:13 in so large a proportion of mss. and versions; see Carr in loco.

preserve me unto] lit. save me into, ‘bring me safe unto.’ Cf. 2 Timothy 2:25. The same construction is found in classical writers. Cf. Soph. Philoct. 311.

2 Timothy 4:18. Καὶ, and) Hope draws its conclusions from the past to the future.—ῥύσεταί με, shall deliver me) Paul understands (views) all things on the side of salvation. Does he live? He has been delivered. Shall he be beheaded? He will be delivered; the Lord being his deliverer.—ἔργου πονηροῦ) The antithesis is αὐτοῦ, His.—καὶ, and) A sweet conjunction. He is the Lord, and the Deliverer, 1 Thessalonians 1:10; and Saviour, Php 3:20. He takes away evil, He confers good things.—σώσει, will preserve) This word was in Paul’s mind from the Psalm quoted above.—βασιλείαν, kingdom) better than that of Nero.—ᾧ ἡ δόξα, to whom be the glory) The very hope produces a doxology: how much greater will be the doxology, which the actual enjoyment will produce!

Verse 18. - The Lord for and the Lord, A.V. and T.R.; will for shall, A.V.; save for preserve, A.V.; the glory for glory, A.V. Deliver me... save me (see preceding note). The language here is also very like that of the Lord's Prayer: Ῥῦσαι ἡμᾶς ἀπὸ τοῦ πονηροῦ σοῦ γὰρ ἐστιν ἡ βασιλεία... καὶ δόξα εἰς τοὺς αἰῶνας Ἀμήν (Matthew 6:13). Every evil work. Alford goes altogether astray in his remarks on this passage. Interpreted by the Lord's Prayer, and by its own internal evidence, the meaning clearly is, "The Lord, who stood by me at my trial, will continue to be my Saviour. He will deliver me from every evil design of mine enemies, and from all the wiles and assaults of the devil, in short, from the whole power of evil, and will bring me safe into his own kingdom of light and righteousness." There is a strong contrast, as Bengel pithily observes, between "the evil work" and "his heavenly kingdom." A triumphant martyrdom is as true a deliverance as escape from death. Compare our Lord's promise, "There shall not an hair of your head perish" (Luke 21:18 compared with ver. 16). St. Paul's confidence simply is that the Lord would, in his own good time and way, transfer him from this present evil world, and from the powers of darkness, into his eternal kingdom of light and righteousness. 2 Timothy 4:18Every evil work (ἐκ ἔργου πονηρου)

Every design and attempt against him and his work. Πονηρός evil cannot be limited to evil on its active side. See on 1 Corinthians 5:13. The word is connected at the root with πένεσθαι to be needy, and πονεῖν to toil; and this connection opens a glimpse of that sentiment which associated badness with a poor and toiling condition. The word means originally full of or oppressed by labors; thence, that which brings annoyance or toil. Comp. ἡμέρα πονηρά evil day, Ephesians 5:16; Ephesians 6:13; ἕλκος πονηρὸν a grievous sore, Revelation 16:2.

Heavenly kingdom (τὴν βασιλείαν τὴν ἐπουράνιον)

The phrase N.T.o. Ἑπουράνιος heavenly only here in Pastorals. Mostly in Paul and Hebrews. Heavenly kingdom, here the future, glorified life, as 1 Corinthians 6:9, 1 Corinthians 6:10; 1 Corinthians 15:50; Luke 13:29. In the same sense, kingdom of Christ and of God, Ephesians 5:5; kingdom of their Father, Matthew 13:43; my Father's kingdom, Matthew 26:29; kingdom prepared for you, Matthew 25:34; eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, 2 Peter 1:11.

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