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2 Timothy 4:16 – BibleTools.info


Bible Verse Explanations and Resources


2 Timothy 4:16

Adam Clarke
Bible Commentary

At my first answer - Εν τῃ τρωτῃ μου απολογιᾳ· At my first apology; this word properly signifies a defense or vindication. To his is the meaning of what we call the apologies of the primitive fathers; they were vindications or defences of Christianity. It is generally allowed that, when St. Paul had been taken this second time by the Romans, he was examined immediately, and required to account for his conduct; and that, so odious was Christianity through the tyranny of Nero, he could procure no person to plead for him. Nero, who had himself set fire to Rome, charged it on the Christians, and they were in consequence persecuted in the most cruel manner; he caused them to be wrapped up in pitched clothes, and then, chaining them to a stake, he ordered them to be set on fire to give light in the streets after night! Tormenti genus! To this Juvenal appears to allude. Sat. i. v. 155.

Pone Tigellinum, taeda lucebis in illa

Qua stantes ardent, qui fixo gulture fumant.

"If into rogues omnipotent you rake,

Death is your doom, impaled upon a stake;

Smear'd o'er with wax, and set on blaze to light

The streets, and make a dreadful fire by night."


I pray God that it may not be laid to their charge - How much more simple, elegant, and expressive are the apostle's own words: Μη αυτοις λογισθειη· let it not be placed to their account! Let them not have to reckon for it with the supreme Judge at the great day!

Albert Barnes
Notes on the Whole Bible

At my first answer - Greek, “apology ( ἀπολογία apologia), plea, or defense.” This evidently refers to some trial which he had had before the Roman emperor. He speaks of a first trial of this kind; but whether it was on some former occasion, and he had been released and permitted again to go abroad, or whether it was a trial which he had already had during his second imprisonment, it is not easy to determine. The former is the most natural supposition; for, if he had had a trial during his present imprisonment, it is difficult to see why he was still held as a prisoner. See this point examined in the introduction, section 1.

No man stood with me - Paul had many friends in Rome (2 Timothy 4:21; compare Job 19:13-17;

He hath put my brethren far from me,

And mine acquaintance verily are estranged from me.

My kinsfolk have failed,

And my familiar friends have forgotten me.

They that dwell in my house, and my maids,

Count me for a stranger.

I am an alien in their sight.

I called my servant, and he gave me no answer; I entreated him with my mouth.

My breath is strange to my wife.

Though I entreated for the children‘s sake of mine own body.

Thus, the Psalmist was forsaken by his friends in the time of calamity; Psalm 35:12-16; Psalm 38:2; Psalm 41:9; Psalm 55:12. And thus the Saviour was forsaken in his trials; Matthew 26:56; compare, for illustration, Zechariah 13:6. The world is full of instances in which those who have been overtaken by overwhelming calamities, have been forsaken by professed friends, and have been left to suffer alone. This has arisen, partly from the circumstance that many sincere friends are timid, and their courage fails them when their attachment for another would expose them to peril; but more commonly from the circumstance that there is much professed friendship in the world which is false, and that calamity becomes a test of it which it cannot abide. There is professed friendship which is caused by wealth Proverbs 14:20; Proverbs 19:4; there is that which is cherished for those in elevated and fashionable circles; there is that which is formed for beauty of person, or graceful manners, rather than for the solid virtues of the heart; there is that which is created in the sunshine of life - the affection of those “swallow friends; who retire in the winter, and return in the spring.” Compare the concluding remarks on the book of Job. Such friendship is always tested by calamity; and when affliction comes, they who in the days of prosperity were surrounded by many flatterers and admirers, are surprised to find how few there were among them who truly loved them.

“In the wind and tempest of his frown,

Distinction, with a broad and powerful fan,

Puffing at all, winnows the light away;

And what hath mass or matter by itself,

Lies, rich in virtue and unmingled.”

Troilus and Cressida.

So common has this been - so little confidence can be placed in professed friends in time of adversity, that we are sometimes disposed to believe that there is more truth than fancy in the representation of the poet when he says:

“And what is friendship but a name,

A charm that lulls to sleep;

A shade that follows wealth or fame.

But leaves the wretch to weep?”

Yet there is true friendship in the world. It existed between Damon and Pythias, and its power and beauty were still more strikingly illustrated in the warm affection of David and Jonathan. In the trials of David - though raised from the condition of a shepherd boy - and though having no powerful friends at court, the son of Saul never forsook him, and never gave him occasion to suspect the sincerity or the depth of his affection. With what exquisite beauty he sang of that attachment when Jonathan was dead!

“I am distressed for thee, my brother Jonathan.

Very pleasant hast thou been unto me:

Thy love to me was wonderful,

Passing the love of women.”

2 Samuel 1:26

True friendship, founded on sincere love, so rare, so difficult to be found, so little known among the gay and the great, is one of the richest of Heaven‘s blessings to man, and when enjoyed, should be regarded as more than a compensation for all of show, and splendor, and flattery that wealth can obtain.

“Though choice of follies fasten on the great,

None clings more obstinate, than fancy fond.

That sacred friendship is their easy prey;

Caught by the wafture of a golden lure,

Or fascination of a high-born smile.

Their smiles, the great, and the coquette, throw out.

For other‘s hearts, tenacious of their own,

And we no less of ours, when such the bait,

Ye fortune‘s cofferers? ye powers of wealth!

Can gold gain friendship! Impudence of hope!

As well mere man an angel might beget.

Love, and love only, is the loan for love.

Lorenzo! pride repress; nor hope to find.

A friend, but what has found a friend in thee.

All like the purchase; few the price will pay,

And this makes friends such miracles below.

A friend is worth all hazards we can run.

Poor is the friendless master of a world;

A world in purchase of a friend is gain.”

Night Thoughts, Night 2

I pray God that it may not be laid to their charge - That it may not be “reckoned,” or imputed to them - λογισθείῃ logistheiēOn the meaning of this word, see the notes on Romans 4:3, and Luke 23:34; compare Acts 7:60.

Matthew Henry
Concise Bible Commentary
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.
Ellen G. White
The Acts of the Apostles, 493

The only reliable record of the occasion is given by Paul himself, in his second letter to Timothy. “At my first answer,” the apostle wrote, “no man stood with me, but all men forsook me: I pray God that it may not be laid to their charge. Notwithstanding the Lord stood with me, and strengthened me; that by me the preaching might be fully known, and that all the Gentiles might hear: and I was delivered out of the mouth of the lion.” 2 Timothy 4:16, 17. AA 493.1

Paul before Nero—how striking the contrast! The haughty monarch before whom the man of God was to answer for his faith, had reached the height of earthly power, authority, and wealth, as well as the lowest depths of crime and iniquity. In power and greatness he stood unrivaled. There were none to question his authority, none to resist his will. Kings laid their crowns at his feet. Powerful armies marched at his command, and the ensigns of his navies betokened victory. His statue was set up in the halls of justice, and the decrees of senators and the decisions of judges were but the echo of his will. Millions bowed in obedience to his mandates. The name of Nero made the world tremble. To incur his displeasure was to lose property, liberty, life; and his frown was more to be dreaded than a pestilence. AA 493.2

Without money, without friends, without counsel, the aged prisoner stood before Nero—the countenance of the emperor bearing the shameful record of the passions that raged within; the face of the accused telling of a heart at peace with God. Paul's experience had been one of poverty, self-denial, and suffering. Notwithstanding constant misrepresentation, reproach, and abuse, by which his enemies had endeavored to intimidate him, he had fearlessly held aloft the standard of the cross. Like his Master, he had been a homeless wanderer, and like Him, he had lived to bless humanity. How could Nero, a capricious, passionate, licentious tyrant, understand or appreciate the character and motives of this son of God? AA 493.3

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Ellen G. White
The Acts of the Apostles, 508

Paul concluded his letter with personal messages to different ones and again repeated the urgent request that Timothy come to him soon, if possible before the winter. He spoke of his loneliness, caused by the desertion of some of his friends and the necessary absence of others; and lest Timothy should hesitate, fearing that the church at Ephesus might need his labors, Paul stated that he had already dispatched Tychicus to fill the vacancy. AA 508.1

After speaking of the scene of his trial before Nero, the desertion of his brethren, and the sustaining grace of a covenant-keeping God, Paul closed his letter by commending his beloved Timothy to the guardianship of the Chief Shepherd, who, though the undershepherds might be stricken down, would still care for His flock. AA 508.2

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Ellen G. White
The Desire of Ages, 354-5

Continuing His instruction to His disciples, Jesus said, “Beware of men.” They were not to put implicit confidence in those who knew not God, and open to them their counsels; for this would give Satan's agents an advantage. Man's inventions often counterwork God's plans. Those who build the temple of the Lord are to build according to the pattern shown in the mount,—the divine similitude. God is dishonored and the gospel is betrayed when His servants depend on the counsel of men who are not under the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Worldly wisdom is foolishness with God. Those who rely upon it will surely err. DA 354.1

“They will deliver you up to councils, ... yea and before governors and kings shall ye be brought for My sake, for a testimony to them and to the Gentiles.” Matthew 10:17, 18, R. V. Persecution will spread the light. The servants of Christ will be brought before the great men of the world, who, but for this, might never hear the gospel. The truth has been misrepresented to these men. They have listened to false charges concerning the faith of Christ's disciples. Often their only means of learning its real character is the testimony of those who are brought to trial for their faith. Under examination these are required to answer, and their judges to listen to the testimony borne. God's grace will be dispensed to His servants to meet the emergency. “It shall be given you,” says Jesus, “in that same hour what ye shall speak. For it is not ye that speak, but the Spirit of your Father which speaketh in you.” As the Spirit of God illuminates the minds of His servants, the truth will be presented in its divine power and preciousness. Those who reject the truth will stand to accuse and oppress the disciples. But under loss and suffering, even unto death, the Lord's children are to reveal the meekness of their divine Example. Thus will be seen the contrast between Satan's agents and the representatives of Christ. The Saviour will be lifted up before the rulers and the people. DA 354.2

The disciples were not endowed with the courage and fortitude of the martyrs until such grace was needed. Then the Saviour's promise was fulfilled. When Peter and John testified before the Sanhedrin council, men “marveled; and they took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus.” Acts 4:13. Of Stephen it is written that “all that sat in the council, looking steadfastly on him, saw his face as it had been the face of an angel.” Men “were not able to resist the wisdom and the spirit by which he spake.” Acts 6:15, 10. And Paul, writing of his own trial at the court of the Caesars, says, “At my first defense no one took my part, but all forsook me.... But the Lord stood by me, and strengthened me; that through me the message might be fully proclaimed, and that all the Gentiles might hear: and I was delivered out of the mouth of the lion.” 2 Timothy 4:16, 17, R. V. DA 354.3

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