2 Timothy 4:8 MEANING

2 Timothy 4:8
(8) A crown of righteousness.--More accurately rendered, the crown of righteousness. St. Paul, after speaking calmly of death, the bitterness of which he was already tasting, looks on beyond death, and speaks of the crown which awaited him. The crown was the victory prize which the "good fight" of 2 Timothy 4:7 had won. It is called "the crown of righteousness," it being the crown to which righteousness can lay claim--that is, the crown awarded to righteousness.

Which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me.--As a righteous judge will the Lord award him the crown, recognising him as one who had the prize of victory. Not improbably, the expression "the righteous judge" was written in strong contrast to that unrighteous judge who had condemned Paul, and in accordance with whose unjust sentence he would presently suffer a painful death.

At that day.--This is the third time the words "that day" are used in this Epistle (see 2 Timothy 1:12-18). The day of judgment is, of course, signified, the day when the Lord shall come again with glory.

And not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.--Then St. Paul, instead of concluding this section of his letter with the glorious words telling of his serene courage and of his confidence in a crowned and immortal life, adds a gentle reminder to Timothy: he, too, with any others who really look for the Second Coming of the Lord, might win the same glorious crown--the sure guerdon of righteousness. The Apostle specifies here exactly the persons for whom "the crown" was reserved--those who in this life have indeed longed for the appearance of the Lord in judgment. None here could in very truth desire "His appearing," save His own, who love Him and struggle to live His life. Calvin well remarks: "(St. Paul) excludes from the number of the faithful those to whom Christ's coming is a source of terror."

Verse 8. - The for a, A.V.; to me for me, A.V.; only to me for to me only, A.V.; also to all them for unto all them also, A.V.; have loved for love. Henceforth (λοιπόν); as Hebrews 10:13. The work of conflict being over, it only remains to receive the crown. The crown of righteousness means that crown the possession of which marks the wearer as righteous before God. The analogous phrases are, "the crown of glory" (1 Peter 5:4) and "the crown of life" (James 1:12; Revelation 2:10). The righteousness, the glory, and the life of the saints are conceived as displayed in crowns, as the kingly dignity is in the crown of royalty. The righteous Judge (κριτής). In Acts 10:42 the Lord Jesus is said to be ordained of God Κριτὴς ζώντων καὶ νεκρῶν. "the Judge of quick and dead;" and in Hebrews 12:23 we read, Κριτῇ Θεῷ πάντων, "God the Judge of all." But nowhere else, either in the Old Testament or the New Testament, is this term applied directly either to God or to Christ. Surely its use here is influenced by the preceding metaphor of the ἀγών and the δρόμος and the στέφανος; and "the righteous Judge" is the impartial βραβεύς, or "judge," who assigned the prizes at the games to those who had fairly won them. And this is the proper meaning of κριτής, "the umpire," applied, especially at Athens, to the "judges" at the poetic contests (Liddell and Scott). Thucydides contrasts the κριτής and the ἀγωνιστής; Aristophanes the κριταί and the θεαταί, the "spectators;" and the word "critic" is derived from this meaning of κιτής and κριτικός. The whole picture is that of the apostle running his noble race of righteousness to the very end, and of the Lord himself assigning to him the well earned crown of victory in the presence of heaven and earth assembled for the solemnity of that great day. That have loved his appearing. It will be a characteristic of those who will be crowned at that day that all the time they were lighting the good fight they were looking forward with hope and desire for their Lord's appearing and kingdom. "Thy kingdom come" was their desire and their petition. They will be able to say at that day, "So, this is our God; we have waited for him, and he will save us: this is the Lord; we have waited for him, we will be glad and rejoice in his salvation" (Isaiah 25:9). His appearing; as in ver. 2.

4:6-8 The blood of the martyrs, though not a sacrifice of atonement, yet was a sacrifice of acknowledgment to the grace of God and his truth. Death to a good man, is his release from the imprisonment of this world, and his departure to the enjoyments of another world. As a Christian, and a minister, Paul had kept the faith, kept the doctrines of the gospel. What comfort will it afford, to be able to speak in this manner toward the end of our days! The crown of believers is a crown of righteousness, purchased by the righteousness of Christ. Believers have it not at present, yet it is sure, for it is laid up for them. The believer, amidst poverty, pain, sickness, and the agonies of death, may rejoice; but if the duties of a man's place and station are neglected, his evidence of interest in Christ will be darkened, and uncertainty and distress may be expected to cloud and harass his last hours.Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness,.... The happiness of the future state of the saints is signified by a crown, on account of the glory and excellency of it; and in perfect agreement with the character of the saints, as kings; and who are raised to sit among princes, and to inherit the throne of glory, and have a kingdom prepared for them; and this is called a crown "of righteousness", because it comes through the righteousness of Christ; it is that which gives a right unto it, and without which it cannot be enjoyed; and because it is obtained and possessed in a righteous way, and not by force and usurpation, as crowns sometimes are: it is God the Father's free gift unto his children, what they are born heirs unto, and have a meetness for, through regenerating and sanctifying grace, and have a legal title to it through the righteousness of Christ. Moreover, this may be expressive of the perfect holiness and righteousness of the heavenly state, and of the saints in it, wherein will dwell none but righteous persons, and who will be entirely without sin. And this happiness, signified by a crown, is "laid up"; in the covenant of grace for the saints, which is ordered in all things and sure; and in Christ, in whose hands their persons are, and their grace is, and with him also is their life of glory hid and secured: and this also is laid up in heaven, and reserved there, and that

for me, and thee; for particular persons, for all the vessels of mercy, for all that are chosen in Christ Jesus, and redeemed by his blood, and sanctified by his Spirit;

which the Lord, the righteous Judge, shall give me at that day. By the Lord is meant the Lord Jesus Christ; as is evident from his character, as a Judge, for the Father judgeth no man; and from mention being made hereafter of his appearing: Christ is ordained Judge of quick and dead, for which he is abundantly qualified, and a "righteous" one he will be; he is righteous as God, and as man, and as Mediator, in the discharge of all his offices, and so he will be as a Judge, in the administration of that office; righteousness will be the girdle of his loins, and faithfulness the girdle of his reins; and from Christ, under this character, the apostle expected to receive all his future glory and happiness; and that both in a way of gift, as a free grace gift from him, and through him, and in a way of righteousness; and this seems to be a Jewish way of speaking. One of the Septuagint interpreters, whom Ptolomy king of Egypt sent for from Judea, to translate the law of Moses into Greek, in answer to a question put to him by the king, uses this phrase of , "a crown of righteousness"; and which he represents as the gift of God (z):

at that day; either at the day of death, the time of his dissolution, which was at hand; or at the day of the resurrection, and of the last judgment, when Christ will appear under the above character: and the apostle further observes, to the comfort and encouragement of Timothy, and others, that this happiness was not intended and prepared for himself only, but for others:

and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing; that is, his appearing at his second coming; which is to be loved, and so looked for by the saints, not only because it will be glorious in itself, in its attendants and consequences, but will be of great advantage to the saints; Christ will appear unto salvation to them, and so to their joy; they will appear with him in glory, and be like him, and enjoy the everlasting vision of him. The devils believe this appearance of Christ, but tremble at it; wicked men will behold him, and fear; saints know, believe, and love both Christ and his appearing; and such will wear that crown: the Ethiopic version renders it, "who love him at his coming"; all that love him now, will love him then.

(z) Aristeae Hist. 72. Interpr. p. 91, Ed. Oxon.

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