The Greek text of 2 Tim. 1:6 according to Robert Estienne's Textus Receptus (1550) states,
δι᾽ ἣν αἰτίαν ἀναμιμνῄσκω σε ἀναζωπυρεῖν τὸ χάρισμα τοῦ θεοῦ ὅ ἐστιν ἐν σοὶ διὰ τῆς ἐπιθέσεως τῶν χειρῶν μου
There a couple facets of the Greek text worthy of discussion.
- Does the infinitive ἀναζωπυρεῖν function transitively or intransitively?
- Of primary importance, what does τὸ χάρισμα τοῦ θεοῦ refer to?
- What is the relation of τῆς ἐπιθέσεως τῶν χειρῶν μου ("the imposition of my hands") τὸ χάρισμα τοῦ θεοῦ, if any?
ἀναζωπυρέω - Its Meaning and Transitivity
On the Greek verb ἀναζωπυρέω, BDAG states,(1)
ἀναζωπυρέω (ζωπυρέω ‘kindle into flame’) 1 aor. ἀνεζωπύρησα; lit. ‘cause to blaze again’; usu. fig., and in our lit. only so.
trans. (Pla., X. et al.) to cause to begin again, rekindle τὶ someth. (Plut., Per. 152 [1, 4], Pomp. 645 [49, 5]; Iambl., Vi. Pyth. 16, 70; PGM 13, 739; Jos., Bell. 1, 444 [pass. ὁ ἔρως], Ant. 8, 234; Iren. 3, 11, 8 [Harv II 47, 6]) τὸ χάρισμα τοῦ θεοῦ rekindle the gift of God 2 Ti 1:6. ἀναζωπυρησάτω ἡ πίστις αὐτοῦ let faith in God be rekindled 1 Cl 27:3.
intr. (Dionys. Hal. 7, 54; Plut., Timol. 247 [24, 1], Pomp. 640 [41, 2]; Gen 45:27; 1 Macc 13:7; JosAs 19:3 cod B ἀναζωοπύρησαν; Jos., Ant. 11, 240) to take on new life, kindle into flame ἀναζωπυρήσαντες ἐν αἵματι θεοῦ inflamed with new life through God’s blood IEph 1:1.—See Anz 284f.—M-M.
ἀναζωπῠρέω, rekindle, light up again, in tmesi, ἀνʼ αὖ σὺ ζωπυρεῖς νείκη νέα E.El.1121; θερμῷ τὸ θερμὸν ἀ. Arist.Spir.484a7; τὴν ὁλην φύσιν Jul.Or.4.151c; τὸ χάρισμα τοῦ θεοῦ 2Ep.Ti.1.6:
—Pass., to be rekindled, Pl.R.527d, X.HG5.4.46 (mataph.); to be excited, Iamb.VP25.112.
II. intr. in Act. recover one’s spirits, Plu.Pomp.41, etc.
ἀνα-ζωπυρέω, -ῶ; (τὸ ζώπυρον i. e. a. the remains of a fire, embers; b. that by which the fire is kindled anew or lighted up, a pair of bellows); to kindle anew, rekindle, resuscitate, [yet on the force of ἀνα- cf. Ellic. on 2 Tim. as below]; generally trop., to kindle up, inflame, one’s mind, strength, zeal, (Xen. de re equest. 10, 16 of a horse roused to his utmost; Hell. 5, 4, 46; Antonin. 7, 2 φαντασίας; Plut. Pericl. 1, 4; Pomp. 41, 2; 49, 5; Plat. Charm. p. 156 d.; etc.): τὸ χάρισμα, 2 Tim. 1:6, i. e. τὸ πνεῦμα, vs. 7. Intrans. to be enkindled, to gain strength: Gen. 45:27; 1 Macc. 13:7, and in prof. auth.; ἀναζωπυρησάτω ἡ πίστις, Clem. Rom. 1 Cor. 27, 3 [see Gebh. and Harn. ad loc.].*
According to all three lexicons, ἀναζωπυρέω functions transitively, which makes sense, as it is followed by a direct object, τὸ χάρισμα τοῦ θεοῦ.
Identification of τὸ χάρισμα τοῦ θεοῦ
In his entry on the verb ἀναζωπυρέω, Thayer states,
τὸ χάρισμα, 2 Tim. 1:6, i. e. τὸ πνεῦμα
In other words, Thayer asserts that τὸ χάρισμα is the Spirit, i.e. the Holy Spirit. If so, then the Holy Spirit is:
- that which is in Timothy (ὅ ἐστιν ἐν σοὶ)
- in Timothy "by the imposition of [the apostle Paul's] hands (διὰ τῆς ἐπιθέσεως τῶν χειρῶν μου)
Is the Holy Spirit elsewhere referred to as τὸ χάρισμα [τοῦ θεοῦ]? Unfortunately, not explicitly. 1 Tim. 4:4 may refer to the Holy Spirit, but yet again, it does not explicitly state so. However, 2 Tim. 1:7 seems to confirm that it is the Holy Spirit, as the apostle Paul writes,
For, God did not give us [the] Spirit of cowardice, but [the Spirit] of power and love and admonition.
οὐ γὰρ ἔδωκεν ἡμῖν ὁ θεὸς πνεῦμα δειλίας ἀλλὰ δυνάμεως καὶ ἀγάπης καὶ σωφρονισμοῦ
In his commentary on 2 Tim. 1:6, St. John Chrysostom wrote,
"I remind you to rekindle the gift of God that is in you by the imposition of my hands," that is, the grace of the Spirit,(4) which you have received, for presiding over the Church, for the working of miracles, and for every service. For this grace it is in our power to kindle or to extinguish; wherefore he elsewhere says (1 Thes. 5:19), "Do not extinguish the Spirit."
Ἀναμιμνήσκω σε ἀναζωπυρεῖν τὸ χάρισμα τοῦ Θεοῦ, ὅ ἐστιν ἐν σοὶ διὰ τῆς ἐπιθέσεως τῶν χειρῶν μου· τουτέστι, τὴν χάριν τοῦ Πνεύματος, ἣν ἔλαβες εἰς προστασίαν τῆς Ἐκκλησίας, εἰς σημεῖα, εἰς τὴν λατρείαν ἅπασαν. Ἐν ἡμῖν γάρ ἐστι καὶ σβέσαι καὶ ἀνάψαι τοῦτο· διὸ ἀλλαχοῦ λέγει, Τὸ Πνεῦμα μὴ σβέννυτε.
St. Chrysostom notices the obvious parallel. In 2 Tim. 1:6, the apostle Paul reminds Timothy to "rekindle" the gift of God, which invokes the imagery of the gift of God as fire, and then in 1 Thes. 5:19, the apostle Paul exhorts the Thesslonians to not "extinguish" the Spirit, again invoking the imagery of the Holy Spirit as a fire within a Christian. If indeed 2 Tim. 1:6 refers to the Holy Spirit, then the allusion to the Holy Spirit as fire in 2 Tim. 1:6 would be expected and with a precedent.
Relation of Imposition of Hands to τὸ χάρισμα τοῦ θεοῦ
Is there a precedent for an individual receiving the Holy Spirit by the imposition of hands (ἡ ἐπίθεσις τῶν χειρῶν)? Of course; in fact, this was the precedent established by the apostles. For example, in Acts 8:17, it is written,
Then they placed their hands upon them, and they received the Holy Spirit.
τότε ἐπετίθουν τὰς χεῖρας ἐπ᾽ αὐτούς καὶ ἐλάμβανον πνεῦμα ἅγιον
ἐπίθεσις, meaning "placement" or "imposition," is simply the noun form of the verb ἐπιτίθημι, "to place on/upon, set."
(1) BDAG: pp. 62-63
(2) LSJ: p. 104
(3) Thayer: p. 37
(4) The phrase τὴν χάριν τοῦ Πνεύματος, "the grace of the Spirit," is an epexegetical genitive. Therefore, it would be understood as, "the grace, which is the Spirit." This is understood since St. Chrysostom shortly thereafter identifies the Spirit in 1 Thes. 5:9, which is the Holy Spirit. He is evidently tying the two passages together.
Arndt, William, Danker, Frederick W., and Bauer, Walter. A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature. 3rd ed. Chicago: U of Chicago P, 2000.
Liddell, Henry George, Scott, Robert, Jones, Henry Stuart, and McKenzie, Roderick. A Greek-English Lexicon. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1996.
St. John Chrysostom. Ὑπόμνημα εἰς τὴν πρὸς Τιμόθεον Ἐπιστολὴν Δευτέραν ("Commentary regarding the Second Epistle to Timothy").
Thayer, Joseph Henry. A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament: Being Grimm's Wilke's Clavis Novi Testamenti. New York: American Book, 1889.