The Berean Expositor
Volume 50 - Page 159 of 185
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"For they that sleep, sleep in the night; and they that be drunken are drunken in the
night. But let us, who are of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and
love; and for an helmet, the hope of salvation" (I Thess. 5: 7, 8).
Here, moreover is a link with Eph. 6:, and there will be observed that those who put
on the armour of God are called upon to wrestle "with the world-holders of this
darkness" (Eph. 6: 12).
To Timothy and all those faithful men who are able to teach others also (II Tim. 2: 2)
the Apostle says in the day of declension "Watch thou in all things".
Nepho and nephalios are mostly translated `sober' (I Thess. 5: 6, 8; I Pet. 1: 13; 4: 7;
5: 8; I Tim. 3: 11; Titus 2: 2). In two passages nepho is translated `watch' namely in
II Tim. 4: 5 and I Pet. 4: 7; and nephalios `vigilant' in I Tim. 3: 2.
Nepho in its primary meaning refers to abstinence from drink, and while it is obvious
that no man who was addicted to drink could serve as an evangelist with Paul's approval
it can hardly be held in seriousness that he actually counseled Timothy "do not get
drunk" in II Tim. 4: 5.  The word had already moved from its primitive reference to
drink. We shall discover the significance of the Apostle's choice if we turn to another
reference in the same epistle, this time a compound, ananepho translated in the A.V.
"recover themselves" the margin reads "Greek, awake" and the R.V. margin reads
"Greek, return to soberness" and Moffatt "come to their senses". The whole passage is of
supreme importance in view of the subject that is before us, namely, withstanding the
drift that is now setting in toward the foretold departure from the faith.
"Shut your mind against foolish, popular controversy; be sure that only breeds strife.
And the Lord's servant must not be a man of strife; he must be kind to everybody, a
skilled teacher, a man who will not resent injuries; he must be gentle in his admonitions
to the opposition--God may perhaps let them change their minds and admit the Truth;
they may come to their senses again and escape the snare of the Devil, as they are
brought back to life by God to do His will" (II Tim. 2: 23-26, Moffatt).
In the opening article of this series, we observed that the four key words "keep",
"hold", "stand", "watch" while found in several of the Prison Epistles, are all found in the
last epistle that Paul wrote, namely the second epistle to Timothy. One or two elements
of instruction emerge from this fact.
The epistles to Timothy were primarily addressed to a workman, a teacher, an
evangelist, and the approved successor of the Apostle. No believer today stands
exactly in the unique position that was occupied by Timothy.  However,
Timothy himself was instructed how to ensure a succession, and this is found in
II Tim. 2: 2 and in various exhortations regarding service that run through the
The fact that the complete set of words are all found in II Timothy indicates
the great importance of that epistle to us all, who find ourselves living near the
end of the dispensation. We believe the importance is sufficient warrant for a
restatement as we draw to a conclusion.