BIBLE STUDY


Paul's Letters To Timothy
by Greg Williamson (c) 2014, 2019
Featuring the text of the New American Standard Bible *
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Intro | 1 Timothy 1:1-11 / 1:12-17 / 1:18-20 | 2:1-8 / 2:9-15 | 3:1-7 / 3:8-13 / 3:14-16 | 4:1-6 / 4:7-12 / 4:13-16 | 5:1-16 / 5:17-25 | 6:1-2 / 6:3-10 / 6:11-21 | 2 Timothy 1:1-7 / 1:8-12 / 1:13-18 | 2:1-7 / 2:8-13 / 2:14-18 / 2:19-26 | 3:1-9 / 3:10-12 / 3:13-17 | 4:1-4 / 4:5-8 / 4:9-22 ** | Articles & Definitions | Sources

COURAGEOUS ENTHUSIASM
(2 Timothy 1:1-7)

1 Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, according to the promise of life in Christ Jesus,
2 To Timothy, my beloved son: Grace, mercy and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.
3 I thank God, whom I serve with a clear conscience the way my forefathers did, as I constantly remember you in my prayers night and day,
4 longing to see you, even as I recall your tears, so that I may be filled with joy.
5 For I am mindful of the sincere faith within you, which first dwelt in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice, and I am sure that it is in you as well.
6 For this reason I remind you to kindle afresh the gift of God which is in you through the laying on of my hands.
7 For God has not given us a spirit of timidity, but of power and love and discipline.

 
Perhaps some of the “enemies” that attacked Timothy are attacking you and making you want to give up. Self-pity: Timothy was having a hard time in Ephesus and wanted to leave. Perhaps that caused his tears. When you start feeling sorry for yourself, remember that others are praying for you and that God still honors your faith. Neglect: Timothy had neglected his spiritual life, and the flame was low on the altar of his heart. No wonder he needed to exercise himself! Timidity: Fear in this verse means “cowardice” or “timidity.” Timothy was not enthusiastic in his witness or ministry. The Holy Spirit can give us the resources we need to get the job done. - Warren Wiersbe [ref]
 

QuoteWorthy: Make Way
We need to make way for those who are younger because along with the potential for an occasional mess in the stable, there is about them a vitality and an ability to relate sometimes lacking in those of us who are older. - Jon Courson [ref]

2 TIMOTHY 1:1 - The Sender


A PRINCIPLE TO LIVE BY
Deepening Relationships

As we get to know one another as brothers and sisters in Christ, our relationships should grow closer and deeper. (see 2 Timothy 1:1-5) [ref]

One source summarizes well the circumstances of Paul's second letter to Timothy:

 
Timothy is still in the Asian churches and supervising them as Paul’s representative. But Paul is in a Roman prison awaiting trial, certain that the verdict will be death. We take it that he writes immediately after his arrest and begs Timothy to hurry to his side. As far as we know, Timothy did so and remained with Paul and witnessed his execution.

The first letter to Timothy is full of directions and instructions which tell him how to proceed in the management of the churches. This second letter contains no such directions. It is Paul’s last will and testament for Timothy, his great legacy for the rest of Timothy’s life. In the shadow of death Paul lays the work into Timothy’s hands so that he might carry it forward as his worthy successor in the field where God shall place this beloved assistant of his.

This letter is personal throughout. Tender, yet with the tenderness of a strong, heroic heart. It is far from being sentimental. Timothy may have read and reread it with tears blurring his eyes, but every line braced him with power to make him valiant to contend in the noble contest, to receive at his own death the crown laid up also for him.

After Paul’s death Timothy labored on in the churches in Asia Minor, which had received him under Paul’s direction (1 Tim. 1:3). The Apostle John made his headquarters in Ephesus some time during or shortly after the war in Palestine which brought an end to the Jews as a nation. We do not know what finally happened to Timothy. [ref]
 

We last read of Timothy "in Heb 13:23, which discusses Timothy’s release from Roman captivity. The exact identification of this Timothy is unknown. It may refer to the Timothy mentioned in the Pauline corpus. If this is the case, Timothy may have been held captive when he delivered the items Paul wished to have while in Roman prison (2 Tim 4:13)." [ref]

Writing about 325 A.D., the famous Church historian Eusebius "reported that Timothy was the first bishop of Ephesus. In 356 Constantius transferred what was thought to be Timothy’s remains from Ephesus to Constantinople (modern Istanbul) and buried them in the Church of the Apostles, which had been built by his father Constantine." [ref]

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PAUL'S TWO IMPRISONMENTS

Date
1st: A.D. 60-62
2nd: A.D. 66-67

Reason
1st: Accused by Jews and appealed to Rome
2nd: Persecuted by the Roman government

Conditions
1st: Relatively comfortable: in a rented house (Acts 28:30-31)
2nd: Cold, dark, lonely dungeon

Relationships
1st: Visited by many friends
2nd: Almost totally alone

Freedom
1st: Had many opportunities to witness for Christ -- eventually was freed
2nd: Was totally confined to prison but was able to read and write

Outlook
1st: Expected freedom (Philippians 1:24-26)
2nd: Expected to be executed (2 Timothy 4:6), but looked forward to heaven (2 Timothy 1:12; 2:8; 4:18)

- Life Application Bible Commentary on the New Testament [ref]

In the opening verse, "Paul states his office, the authority by which he held it, and the reason it was given to him." [ref]

an apostle of Christ Jesus (2 Timothy 1:1)
"Apostle"

 
is, lit., “one sent forth” (apo, “from,” stello, “to send”). “The word is used of the Lord Jesus to describe His relation to God, Heb. 3:1; see John 17:3. The twelve disciples chosen by the Lord for special training were so called, Luke 6:13; 9:10. Paul, though he had seen the Lord Jesus, 1 Cor. 9:1; 15:8, had not ‘companied with’ the Twelve ‘all the time’ of His earthly ministry, and hence was not eligible for a place among them, according to Peter’s description of the necessary qualifications, Acts 1:22. Paul was commissioned directly, by the Lord Himself, after His Ascension, to carry the gospel to the Gentiles.

“The word has also a wider reference. In Acts 14:4, 14, it is used of Barnabas as well as of Paul; in Rom. 16:7 of Andronicus and Junias. In 2 Cor. 8:23 (RV, margin) two unnamed brethren are called ‘apostles of the churches’; in Phil. 2:25 (RV, margin) Epaphroditus is referred to as ‘your apostle.’ It is used in 1 Thess. 2:6 of Paul, Silas and Timothy, to define their relation to Christ.” (From Notes on Thessalonians, by Hogg and Vine, pp. 59-60.) [ref]
 

Paul's Damascus road experience resulted in both his conversion to the Christian faith and his commission as an apostle of Christ (Acts 26:16-18). "This commissioning Paul could never forget. He defended his apostolic mission and message against all his detractors, insisting that his apostleship came from Christ and not from men (e.g. Gal. 1:1, 11, 12). Even now, at the moment of writing, humiliated by men and awaiting the emperor’s pleasure, this common prisoner is a privileged apostle of Christ Jesus, the King of kings." [ref]

Paul began 9 of his 13 letters with a reference to his apostleship (Romans 1:1; 1 Corinthians 1:1; 2 Corinthians 1:1; Galatians 1:1; Ephesians 1:1; Colossians 1:1; 1 Timothy 1:1; 2 Timothy 1:1; Titus 1:1). As in his first letter to Timothy (1 Timothy 1:1), here Paul makes note of his apostleship in an effort "to strengthen Timothy’s authority." [ref] [ref] As one source puts it, Paul wrote to Timothy "with spiritual authority given him by God. This established the necessity that not only Timothy, but also all others comply with the inspired mandates of the epistle." [ref]

One commentator explains well what Paul's apostleship meant to him, and how that applies to us:

 
When Paul speaks of his own apostleship there are always certain unmistakable notes in his voice. To him it was always certain things.
  • His apostleship was an honour. He was chosen to it by the will of God. Every Christian must regard himself as a God-chosen man.
  • His apostleship was a responsibility. God chose him because he wanted to do something with him. He wished to make him the instrument by which the tidings of new life went out to men. No Christian is ever chosen entirely for his own sake, but for what he can do for others. A Christian is a man lost in wonder, love and praise at what God has done for him and aflame with eagerness to tell others what God can do for them.
  • His apostleship was a privilege. It is most significant to see what Paul conceived it his duty to bring to others -- the promise of God, not his threat. To him, Christianity was not the threat of damnation; it was the good news of salvation. It is worth remembering that the greatest evangelist and missionary the world has ever seen was out, not to terrify men by shaking them over the flames of hell, but to move them to astonished submission at the sight of the love of God. The dynamic of his gospel was love, not fear. [ref] (italics added)
 

by the will of God (2 Timothy 1:1)
"It was [Paul's] sustained conviction, from the beginning to the end of his apostolic career, that his appointment as an apostle had come neither from the church, nor from any man or group of men. Nor was he self-appointed. On the contrary, his apostleship originated in the eternal will and historical call of almighty God through Jesus Christ." [ref]

"Will" (Greek thelēma) is used a total of 21x by Paul. In almost every case it refers to God's will and "signifies His gracious disposition toward something. Used to designate what God Himself does of His own good pleasure." [ref] One source says it is "always used of the Father’s eternal purpose as regards the salvation of man (Romans 2:18; 12:2; 2 Corinthians 8:5; Galatians 1:4; Ephesians 1:5, 9, 11; Colossians 1:9; 4:12; 1 Thessalonians 4:3; 5:18, etc.)." [ref]

according to the promise of life in Christ Jesus (2 Timothy 1:1)
"Life in Christ" is "union with Christ." [ref]

Paul "was called to be an apostle to carry out the great purpose of human salvation." [ref] What's more, the possibility of new life in Christ "is a compelling reason to persevere in ministry and a powerful source of personal encouragement and hope." [ref] "The preciousness of that promise is never wholly absent from the minds of Christians; though of course it comes to the surface of our consciousness at crises when death is, or seems to be, imminent" [ref], as in Paul's case.

"According to the promise of life" expresses "the aim and purpose of [Paul's] apostleship" [ref]; it "was for the accomplishment of the promise." [ref] "With the promise of the life in Christ goes the provision for its proclamation. Hence the apostle, in proclaiming 'ye shall live through Christ,' is an apostle according to the promise." [ref] "Promise of life" actually carries a double meaning: it refers to both "a present reality" and "a future hope." [ref]

The Gospel -- and indeed the entire Bible -- is "a divine promise of life": "The gospel does more than ‘offer’ life; it ‘promises’ life to all who are in Christ. It says dogmatically: ‘he who has the Son has life’ (1 Jn. 5:12). Indeed, the whole Bible may fairly be described as a divine promise of life, from the first mention of ‘the tree of life’ in Genesis 3 to the last chapter of the Revelation in which God’s redeemed people eat of the tree of life and drink of the water of life freely. Eternal life is a gift ‘which God, who never lies, promised ages ago’, but has now made known through the preaching of the gospel (cf. verses 9, 10; Tit. 1:2, 3; Rom. 1:1, 2)." [ref]

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THIS IS THE LIFE

When we are united with Christ, life takes on both immediate and eternal dimensions. Paul's use of the word promise can apply to the "life" that Jesus gives immediately to those who trust him, as well as to the "life" fully realized in eternity.

On one hand, Paul said, "If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation" (2 Corinthians 5:17 NKJV). So new life begins at conversion. Yet on the other hand, "We wait eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. For in this hope we were saved" (Romans 8:23-24 NIV).

The present experience we enjoy provides a foretaste of our complete redemption at Christ's return. When we struggle with difficulties in this life, remember that the best is yet to come.

- Life Application Bible Commentary on the New Testament [ref]

"In Christ Jesus" is Paul's way of referring "to the mystical union between Christ and the believers. This means that the relationship that exists between Jesus and those who have received him (John 1:12) is unlike any other. In one place, Paul describes this as 'Christ in you, the hope of glory' (Colossians 1:27 NIV), while in another he affirms, 'If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!' (2 Corinthians 5:17 NIV). To be 'in Christ Jesus,' then, involves trusting him, identifying with him, seeing ourselves under his protection and authority, and recognizing his presence in us." [ref]

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2 TIMOTHY 1:2 - The Recipient ... The Blessing

Timothy, my beloved son (2 timothy 1:2)
Whereas "Paul, an apostle" is "official and authoritative," "Timothy, my beloved son" is "personal and affectionate." [ref] "Beloved son" = "loved as an only son is loved; the only son on whom I can rely." [ref] (In Paul's day, "[b]oth rabbis and philosophers could call their disciples 'sons.'" [ref])

Whereas in "1 Tim. 1:2 'genuine child' is significant since the whole letter [1 Timothy] expects Timothy to show his genuineness as a dear child of God in the varied tasks allotted to him. Here 'child beloved' strikes a different note: so beloved of the apostle, his spiritual father, so long in true love associated with him in this father’s work. The verbal of agapan indicates intelligent and purposeful love for Timothy. ... The whole letter [2 Timothy] throbs with the love of a father for a beloved child." [ref]

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TIMOTHY'S CALLING

For over 15 years, since he had first been recruited in his home town Lystra, Timothy had been Paul’s faithful missionary companion. He had travelled with him throughout most of the second and third missionary journeys and had been sent during them as a trusted apostolic delegate on several special missions, e.g. to Thessalonica and Corinth (1 Thes. 3:1 ff.; 1 Cor. 4:17). He had then accompanied Paul to Jerusalem (Acts 20:1–5) and may have been with him on the perilous voyage to Rome. At all events, he was certainly in Rome during the first imprisonment, for the apostle bracketed Timothy’s name with his own when he wrote the prison Epistles to Philemon, the Philippians and the Colossians (Phm. 1; Phil. 1:1; 2:19–24; Col. 1:1).

It is not just that Paul had a strong affection for Timothy as a friend whom he had evidently led to Christ, so that he could call him his ‘beloved and faithful child in the Lord’ (1 Cor. 4:17). It is also that he had grown to trust Timothy as his ‘fellow-worker’ (Rom. 16:21) and his ‘brother and God’s servant in the gospel of Christ’ (1 Thes. 3:2). Indeed, because of Timothy’s genuine concern for the welfare of the churches and because of the loyalty with which ‘as a son with a father’ he had served with Paul in the gospel, Paul could go so far as to say ‘I have no one like him’ (Phil. 2:20–22). Among all Paul’s associates Timothy was unique.

It is not surprising, therefore, that when the first imprisonment was over Paul left Timothy in Ephesus as the accepted leader of the church, a kind of embryonic ‘bishop’. Wide responsibilities were given him: to combat the heretics who were troubling the church there, to order the church’s worship, to select and ordain its elders, to regularize the relief and ministry of its widows, to command and teach the apostolic faith, together with the moral duties which flow from it. (See the contents of Paul’s First Letter to Timothy, with its varied instructions to a church leader.) And now still heavier burdens were about to fall on Timothy’s shoulders. For Paul was on the point of martyrdom, and then the task of preserving the apostle’s teaching intact would be his in yet greater measure. Yet, humanly speaking, Timothy was hopelessly unfit to assume these weighty responsibilities of leadership in the church.

For one thing, Timothy was still comparatively young. Paul had urged him in his first letter: ‘let no one despise your youth’ (1 Tim. 4:12). And in his second letter a year or two later he warned him to ‘shun youthful passions’ (2 Tim. 2:22). We do not know his precise age. If he had been about 20 years old when Paul enrolled him as a missionary associate, he would be in his mid-thirties now. This period of life was regarded as belonging to youth, ‘for there were only two recognized standards of age to the Greek or Roman, neos and gerōn, juvenis and senex, and the former of these conveyed no such juvenile implication as our term youngster … It was employed of adults in the full vigour of life and of soldiers of military age to the verge of forty’ (Simpson, p. 8). Certainly the thirties would be a young age for such church leadership as had been committed to Timothy.

Next, Timothy was prone to illness. In his first letter to him the apostle referred to his ‘frequent ailments’, though without specifying what they were. He went on to recommend a tonic. For his stomach’s sake, he advised, he should give up drinking only water and try a little wine as well (1 Tim. 5:23).

Thirdly, Timothy was timid by temperament. He seems to have been naturally shy. If he had lived in our generation, I think we would have described him as an ‘introvert’. He evidently shrank from difficult tasks, so that Paul in writing to the Corinthians had to pave the way for his mission: ‘When Timothy comes, see that you put him at case among you.’ Again, ‘let no one despise him’ (1 Cor. 16:10, 11). Several times in this second letter which the apostle wrote him, he exhorted him to take his share of suffering and not to be afraid or ashamed, since God had not given us a spirit of cowardice (e.g. 2 Tim. 1:7, 8; 2:1, 3; 3:12; 4:5). These admonitions were evidently necessary. Paul knew Timothy’s weaknesses. He could not forget his tears when they had parted (2 Tim. 1:4). In Fairbairn’s words, Timothy was ‘disposed to lean rather than to lead’ (Fairbairn, p. 314).

This, then, was Timothy -- young in years, frail in physique, retiring in disposition -- who nevertheless was called to exacting responsibilities in the church of God. Greatness was being thrust upon him, and like Moses and Jeremiah and a host of others before and after him, Timothy was exceedingly reluctant to accept it. Is someone who is reading these pages in a similar situation? You are young and weak and shy, and yet God is calling you to leadership? This letter has a special message for all timid Timothys.

- John Stott [ref]

Grace, mercy (and) peace (2 Timothy 1:2)
grace
"God’s enabling power" [ref]; "unmerited pardoning and transforming favor" [ref]

mercy
"[God's] compassion" [ref]; "warm and tender affection shown to the one who is in a difficult situation" [ref]

peace
"[God's] stability and tranquility" [ref]; "the consciousness of having been reconciled to God through the accomplished mediatorial work of Christ" [ref]

As one commentator aptly explains:

 
To his ‘beloved child’ Paul now sends his usual greeting of ‘grace … and peace’, though adding in both letters to Timothy ‘mercy’ as well. We may be sure that this threefold greeting is no mere epistolary convention. For these are pregnant theological words. They tell us much both about man’s sorry condition in sin and about God’s great love for him all the same. For if grace is God’s kindness to the undeserving, mercy is shown to the weak and helpless who cannot help themselves. In the parables of Jesus it was mercy which the good Samaritan showed to the brigands’ victim and which the king extended to his servant who was so deeply in debt that he could not pay (Lk. 10:37; Mt. 18:33). And it was mercy which had converted Saul of Tarsus, the old blasphemer and persecutor. ‘I received mercy’, he had written in his earlier letter to Timothy (1 Tim. 1:13, 16). ‘Peace’, on the other hand, is reconciliation, the restoration of harmony to lives spoiled by discord. We may perhaps summarize these three blessings of God’s love as being grace to the worthless, mercy to the helpless and peace to the restless, while ‘God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord’ together constitute the one spring from which this threefold stream flows forth. [ref]
 

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2 TIMOTHY 1:3 - Thanksgiving (vv. 3-5)

I thank God (2 Timothy 1:3)
This is significant, because "[i]t indicates Paul’s recognition that it was God who had made Timothy what he was." [ref]

What is the cause of Paul's thankfulness? "What makes Paul feel grateful is implied in all that follows, namely in all his memories of Timothy, in every reminder that recalls him." [ref]

"Drawing very near to his martyrdom, still [Paul] gives thanks." [ref] As seen in his writings, an aittude of gratude was one of Paul's ever-present possessions. He wrote of thanks, including giving thanks and encouraging others to do the same, a total of 36 times (e.g., Romans 1:21; 7:25; 1 Corinthians 10:30; 2 Corinthians 8:16; 9:15; Ephesians 5:20; Philippians 1:3; Colossians 1:12; 1 Thessalonians 5:18; 2 Thessalonians 2:13; Philemon 1:4).

whom I serve with a clear conscience (2 Timothy 1:3)
"I serve" (Greek latreuō) is a priestly phrase [ref] meaning "to perform religous rites as a part of worship -- ‘to perform religious rites, to worship, to venerate, worship.’" [ref]

Why does Paul feel the need to assert a "clear conscience" and then tie that directly to his "forefathers"? "Paul joined himself to his Jewish ancestors as serving God without a sense of guilt. Following Christ did not make a Jew feel guilty. Neither should it make Timothy, son of a Greek father, feel guilty." [ref] As one commentator explains further:

 
This God, to whom Paul is so grateful, the worship of whom is now charged as a mortal crime against Paul, is not a new, strange, illegal god in the empire, who could thus be worshipped only with a bad conscience, but the true God, who was served already in Tarsus, one of the great Roman cities, by Paul’s forebears and in the entire empire by the Jews, in a religion that was legally allowed by the emperors and the imperial authorities, served thus in all good conscience for generations. The charge against Paul and this new imprisonment were thus the height of illegality. Why had Paul’s forebears and also Timothy’s mother and grandmother not been arrested and condemned? Yea verily, Paul’s conscience as a servant of this true God is “clean” and remains so despite what Rome is doing to him. The thought that Paul is defending himself in the eyes of Timothy is untenable. Paul touches this defense of his, the one he is now offering the authorities, because it includes also Timothy and Timothy’s Jewish forebears, and because Paul now urges Timothy not to be ashamed of this true God, of the testimony that the Lord Jesus has made regarding him, and of Paul, the Lord’s prisoner who is suffering disgrace for this testimony. [ref]
 

But how could Paul lay claim to "a clear conscience" considering all the terrible deeds committed by Saul the Pharisee and persecutor of the Church?

 
We must not assume that Paul tried to defend his evil actions before his conversion by claiming he did it all with “a pure conscience.” After all, he was guilty of causing terror among Christians, forcing people to blaspheme by denying Christ, and agreeing to the murder of Stephen! It is true that Paul thought he was serving God (see John 16:2), and that he was in spiritual ignorance (1 Tim. 1:13), but these facts cannot guarantee a pure conscience.

Paul had known God from his earliest years because he was “an Hebrew of the Hebrews” (Phil. 3:5). His ancestors had given him the orthodox Jewish faith. But when he met Jesus Christ, Paul realized that his Jewish faith was but preparation for the fulfillment Christ gave him in Christianity. He did not serve God with a pure conscience “from his forefathers,” as the King James Version says. Rather, he heard about the true God from his forefathers; and now he was serving that God with a pure conscience. The fact that he had a pure conscience helped give power to his prayers. [ref]
 

Similarly, Paul could rightly condemn the Jewish culture "to the extent that it fostered self-righteous pride, exclusive attitudes, or a belief in salvation by the Law rather than by faith in Christ" (Philippians 3:4-8), and yet "value his heritage for the good things it gave him." [ref]

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CONSCIENCE

Conscience: "Self-awareness that judges whether or not an act one has carried out or plans to carry out is in harmony with one’s moral standards." [ref]

Conscience is a little understood human endowment. Literally, the Greek word means “to know with.” The idea is that the conscience is a moral faculty of perception which operates within the human spirit to aid man in decision making. However, never does the conscience operate in splendid isolation. Rather, it operates within a context. If that context is the world, then the conscience becomes distorted and is only partially, if at all, reliable, being “seared with a hot iron” and, therefore, insensitive to the things of God. If, on the other hand, the conscience functions within the context of the word of God and the Holy Spirit’s application of that word in various situations, then the conscience becomes an invaluable assistant to the man who seeks a spiritual walk.

- The Believer's Study Bible [ref]


Conscience provides evidence of humanity’s moral nature. But conscience is not an adequate guide to moral behavior. The conscience cannot move us to do right, and all too often its judgments are faulty.

Moreover, conscience reminds us constantly of past failures and of guilt. It robs us of confidence and hope for a better future. But God has acted in Christ to provide a forgiveness that cleanses our conscience, releasing us from bondage to our past. With God’s forgiveness, that past is wiped away, and you and I can go on to live in obedience to God.

Believers want to maintain a clear conscience. This is accomplished by doing what we believe to be God’s will. Our understanding of God’s will grows, and our consciences become stronger as we mature in our faith.

Within the Christian community, conscience can become a problem. This happens when some insist that their personal convictions are the standard that should govern the believing community. God’s Word on this issue is clear. We are to recognize the inadequacy of conscience and acknowledge the lordship of Jesus. Where there is no clear word from God, each individual must be free to respond as he or she believes Jesus desires. Rather than make such matters issues in the Christian community, “whatever you believe about these things keep between yourself and God” and build unity through love for one another and by mutual commitment to Jesus.

- Lawrence O. Richards [ref]

the way my forefathers did (2 Timothy 1:3)
This phrase "probably means, after the example of my ancestors. He worshipped the same God; he held substantially the same truths; he had the same hope of the resurrection and of immortality; he trusted to the same Saviour having come, on whom they relied as about to come. His was not, therefore, a different religion from theirs; it was the same religion carried out and perfected."  [ref]

"As a Jew, Paul had been taught faith in the true God and the proper way to worship Him. When he became a Christian, he did not abandon those teachings, but discovered the fulfillment of Judaism." [ref]

To be sure, Paul's "faith became richer, fuller and deeper when God had revealed Christ to him. Yet it was still substantially the same faith as that of Old Testament believers like Abraham and David, as he had argued in Romans 4, for it was the same God in whom they had all believed. No wonder he had been able to affirm to Felix the procurator: ‘I worship the God of my fathers’ (Acts 24:14; cf. 26:6)." [ref]

As one commentator explains: "If St. Paul had been asked, 'When did you first serve God?' he would have answered, 'Even before God separated me from my mother’s womb for His service.' St. Paul was conscious that he was the result of generations of God-fearing people. His inborn, natural instincts were all towards the service of God. (See Acts 22:3; 24:14; Romans 11:1; 2 Corinthians 11:22; Philippians 3:5). Moreover St. Paul always maintained that the Gospel was the divinely ordained sequel of Judaism; not a new religion, but the fulfilment of 'the promise made of God unto our fathers' (Acts 26:6; see also Acts 23:6; 24:14)." [ref]

THE FALSE TEACHERS: An alternate theory of interpretation assumes that the presence and influence of false teachers was Paul's main reason for writing this second letter to Timothy. [ref] Assuming that is true: Here Paul "describes his service to God as the proper outgrowth of the service of God's people (his forefathers; compare Acts 22:3-5; Phil 3:5-7) before Christ came. This and the insistence on his clear conscience are aimed at contrasting his apostleship and message with the claims of the false teachers, who badly misinterpreted the Old Testament and perverted the gospel, and whose consciences were ineffective guides to behavior." [ref] (Even if the false teachers was not Paul's main reason for writing, it certainly was an important one.)

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QUITE A FOLLOWING

Just as Timothy had been influenced by Lois and Eunice, Paul recognized that he had been influenced by faithful and God-fearing ancestors, not only people of Old Testament times, but people in his own family line.

Christians today have a key role, to be witnesses not just to our neighbors and friends, but to those in our family line who will come after us. Our faith builds a heritage and a legacy for all those who follow. Will the generations to come see the evidence of your love for God and faithfulness to his Word?

As the psalmist knew: "A posterity shall serve Him. It will be recounted of the Lord to the next generation" (Psalm 22:30 NKJV); "I will make Your name to be remembered in all generations; therefore the people shall praise You forever and ever" (Psalm 45:17 NKJV).

- Life Application Bible Commentary on the New Testament [ref]


Perhaps God can use a grandmother to help mold a future minister.

No greater meaning to life could be found than for a devout grandmother to pray for, encourage, and challenge grandchildren to keep the faith. She can begin by reading Bible stories and challenging grandchildren to read the Bible and memorize verses. Then she can encourage them to get involved in church summer activities or to attend Christian camps (maybe with her help).

Grandparents need to be more than examples; they must encourage and teach whenever possible.

- Life Application Bible Commentary on the New Testament [ref]

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THE GIFT OF AN ETHNIC HERITAGE

Culture provides people with a common set of experiences and values that bind them together over time. As Paul concludes his letter to the Colossians, he mentions three men who shared his Jewish heritage: Aristarchus, Mark the cousin of Barnabas, and Jesus who was called Justus (Col. 4:10–11). He says that they were the only Jews still working with him.

Even though Paul was “the apostle to the Gentiles,” he still cherished his Jewish roots. No Gentile could fully appreciate what it meant to grow up and live with the traditions of Judaism. But Aristarchus, Mark, and Justus could. No wonder Paul calls them “a comfort” to him.

God never asks us to reject our roots. We can affirm our ethnic heritage as a rich gift from Him, no matter how our surrounding culture regards it. To be sure, ethnicity ought not to create barriers with other people (Gal. 3:28; Col. 3:11). But we need not hide the cultural background from which God has called us. We need never deny who God has created us to be.

- The Word in Life Study Bible [ref]

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ANCESTRY

Roots and lineage are extremely important to Bible history. Their importance is illustrated in the many genealogies found in the OT and in constant references to the forefathers. Their importance is particularly found in the distinctive covenant relationship that God established between himself and the descendants of Abraham.

OLD TESTAMENT
The OT tells the story of God’s dealings with one family called out of all humankind to be the avenue through whom God would redeem humanity. God established a special relationship with this family and formalized the relationship in great OT covenants. Membership in the covenant community, therefore, was a matter of physical descent from the family founders -- Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. The identity of the individual, and his claim to special relationship with God, rested on ancestry.

The significance of ancestry
God makes a promise that illustrates the importance of ancestry to the Hebrew people. In Lev 26, Moses reviews God’s promise of reward for obedience to the Mosaic Law and God’s warnings about punishment for disobedience. After describing the troubles sin would bring, God said that if the Israelites would confess their sins, this is what he would do: “I will remember my covenant with Jacob and my covenant with Isaac and my covenant with Abraham, and I will remember the land … I will remember the covenant with their ancestors whom I brought out of Egypt in the sight of the nations to be their God” (Lev 26:42, 45).

The basic promise was given to the ancestors. Each generation might appeal to God, but it must be on the basis of the ancient promises. Ancestry became the foundation on which the community and the individual might have confidence that God would hear their confession and appeal.

Membership in the family of Abraham did not guarantee an individual a personal relationship with God. That was won by faith and was demonstrated in obedience to the Mosaic code. But those outside the Jewish family had no claim on God and no basis for guaranteed access to him.

Biblical genealogies
Since physical lineage is so important in the OT, it is not surprising to find a number of genealogies recorded in Scripture. These provided evidence that an individual or group had the right to membership in the community of Israel, a right that could be established only by proof of descent from the patriarchal ancestors. ... Genealogies, therefore, were essential. They alone could guarantee the right of Jewish individuals and families to membership in the community and in relationship with God.

Key OT genealogies are found in Genesis (chaps. 5 and 11). They trace history from Adam to Noah and from Noah to Abraham. Also, the first ten chapters of 1 Chronicles provides a detailed ancestry list, with genealogies collected from various records. ... Biblical genealogies are frequently schematic and incomplete. Often only chief persons, not every individual in a line, are recorded in biblical records. Generally these names have been arranged in easily memorized groups of ten or fourteen.

NEW TESTAMENT
Four passages in the Epistles speak of ancestry. In two the Greek word is patēr, usually rendered “father.” Ro 9:5 and Heb 7:16 use “ancestry” to express the meaning of the phrase “fleshly descent.”

SUMMARY
In our day, relationship with God is viewed as an individual issue. What our parents did or did not believe does not change the fact that each of us must make a personal faith-commitment to Jesus and establish our own personal relationship with him. Faith was the basis for a personal relationship with God in OT times too. But faith existed then in the context of covenant. The individual knew that God had made promises to the ancestors, and it was because the individual was a member of the covenant family that he or she had the right to call God his or her own.

The great historic promises of God were made to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob. It was the individual’s descent from these patriarchs that made it possible to share in the blessings God committed himself to make available to the chosen people.

- Lawrence O. Richards [ref] (condensed/extracted from longer article)

as I constantly remember you (2 Timothy 1:3)
Here "Paul is saying that whenever he thinks of Timothy he views him as a man who likewise serves the true God with a pure conscience." [ref] "Constantly" "probably means in Paul’s regular times of prayer" throughout the day. [ref]

Second only to our parents, "it is our friends who influence us most, especially if they are also in some sense our teachers. And Timothy had in Paul an outstanding teacher-friend. ... Such a Christian friendship, including the companionship, the letters and the prayers through which it was expressed, did not fail to have a powerful moulding effect on young Timothy, strengthening and sustaining him in his Christian life and service." [ref]

Notice Paul's pattern of remembrance: "I constantly remember" (2 Timothy 1:3) ... "I recall" (2 Timothy 1:4) ... "I am mindful" (2 Timothy 1:5) ... "I remind you" (2 Timothy 1:6). [ref] [ref]

in my prayers night and day (2 Timothy 1:3)
Notice the connection between service and prayer: "I serve ... my prayers" (2 Timothy 1:3). "[H]eld in a cold and damp prison [2 Timothy 4:13], the aged apostle was still worshiping God and offering prayers on behalf of Timothy. Christian service and worship go hand in hand in ministry. No matter what their circumstances, believers should pray to their heavenly Father, committing everything to His loving hands." [ref]

"Night and day" may reflect the Jewish custom of beginning the day at sundown [ref] (cf. "night and day" in Deuteronomy 28:66; 1 Kings 8:29; Isaiah 27:3; Jeremiah 14:17; Mark 5:5; Luke 2:37; Acts 20:31; 26:7; 1 Thessalonians 2:9; 3:10; 2 Thessalonians 3:8; 1 Timothy 5:5).

Related: Prayer

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2 TIMOTHY 1:4 - Thanksgiving (vv. 3-5)

longing to see you ... so that I may be filled with joy (2 Timothy 1:4)
Paul was in prison awaiting execution. He wanted to experience the joy of seeing Timothy once more before he died (cf. Romans 1:11, 12; 15:32). [ref]  Here we see how "[e]ven the great apostle at times became lonely, discouraged, and in need of support from fellow Christians." [ref]

"It is easy to imagine what joy it would give Paul, then a prisoner, and forsaken by nearly all his friends, and about to die, to see a friend whom he loved as he did this young man." [ref] "Paul’s memories afford him great joy as he sits in his dismal dungeon, but once more to get to see Timothy, his beloved Timothy, will fill Paul’s cup of joy to the very brim. Gratitude is coupled with anticipated joy." [ref]

as I recall your tears (2 Timothy 1:4)
This probably refers "to the tears shed by Timothy at his parting from Paul." [ref] [ref] ("In the East, tears were an appropriate expression of sadness for troubled or long partings." [ref]) "Paul planned to return to Ephesus after writing First Timothy (see 1 Tim. 3:14; 4:13). We have good reason to think that he returned and that, when Paul left to spend the winter in Nicopolis and from there to go on to Spain* -- a long separation -- Timothy shed many tears at parting." [ref] (*see Romans 15:24, 28; cf. 2 Corinthians 10:16).

Timothy's tears "had shown how wholehearted and genuine was his devotion to Paul, how warm and tender his affection, and how deep and poignant his sorrow at the thought of separation." [ref] "Paul himself was frequently moved to tears on behalf of those whom he was trying to help (e.g., Acts 20:31; Philippians 3:18). John also wept (Revelation 5:4), and so did Jesus (John 11:35; Luke 19:41). There is, indeed, 'a time to weep' (Ecclesiastes 3:4)." [ref]

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TO SPAIN!

Paul was more than simply a pastor. Paul was a pioneer, with his eye always on fresh fields to conquer: for instance, he hoped that his projected visit to Rome would be a staging post for a mission to Spain, providing him as well with an opportunity for securing the support of the Christians at Rome for this mission (Rom 15:28). Primarily a church planter, Paul was content to leave the task of watering to others (1 Cor 3:6); he was far more concerned to break new territory (Rom 15:20).

- P. Beasley-Murray [ref]


If a comprehensive strategy or plan is not demonstrable for Paul’s mission, he did certainly perceive the scope of his assignment in broad terms. Thus the spreading gospel is “bearing fruit and growing in the whole world” (Col 1:6), and his own apostleship is “for obedience of faith among all the nations” (Rom 1:5). And the presence of Spain in Paul’s missionary plans probably also indicates, at least in part, a desire to attain to “the ends of the earth” of OT eschatology. In antiquity Spain was conceived to lie at the western edge of the inhabited earth, and of the four extremities of popular conception it was the only one within the Empire and hence relatively accessible. Given the already generally westward orientation of his missionary movement, Paul may have come to look on Spain as an eschatologically meaningful objective for his mission, so that by preaching in Spain he would have traversed his world with the gospel, from its place of origin at the eastern edge of the empire right across to earth’s western boundary.

- W. P. Bowers [ref]


The probability of a missionary journey to Spain arises largely (1) from the anticipation of such a task in Romans 15:24, Acts 1:8 and Acts 13:47, and (2) from the evidence for it in 1 Clement 5.7 (c. A.D. 70, cf. Robinson), the Acts of Peter (Vercelli) 1–3, 40 (probably Asia Minor, c. A.D. 160–180) and the Muratorian Canon (Rome, c. A.D. 170–190). The last two are independent witnesses to a widespread second-century tradition that Paul journeyed from Rome to Spain and, in the Acts of Peter, that he returned to Rome for martyrdom.

Clement of Rome knows of seven imprisonments of Paul, calls Paul and Peter “our good apostles,” and, according to Irenaeus (Haer. 3.3.3; c. A.D. 180), Clement sat under their teaching. He speaks of Paul’s preaching in the West, which for a writer in Rome would mean Spain or Gaul (cf. 2 Tim 4:10), and of his reaching “the extreme limits of the West” (to terma tēs dyseōs). The latter phrase, like “to the end of the earth” (heōs eschatou tēs gēs, Acts 1:8), referred in the usage of the time to the region of Spain around Gades (= Cadiz), where the apostle probably traveled after he was set free from his first Roman imprisonment (cf. Ellis 1991 “End of the Earth”). These sources are supported by later traditions of Paul’s release and of his post-Acts 28 ministry (Eusebius Hist. Eccl. 2.22.1–8: logos echei, 2). Since Paul’s Spanish sojourn was apparently unknown to Origen (cf. Eusebius Hist. Eccl. 3.1.3) and produced no churches in Spain that claimed Pauline origins, it may have been a brief mission (c. A.D. 63–64), undertaken soon after his release (cf. Zahn, II.64–66), from which he returned to his churches in the Aegean area.

- E. E. Ellis [ref]

QuoteWorthy: Watch The Fire
The tendency of fire is to go out; watch the fire on the altar of your heart. - General William Booth, founder of the Salvation Army [ref]

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2 TIMOTHY 1:5 - Thanksgiving (vv. 3-5)

I am mindful (2 Timothy 1:5)
The literal thought is "having received a reminder" [ref], indicating that "[s]ome external occasion, or a message from Timothy, had brought his faith to Paul’s remembrance." [ref] Apparently "[s]omething had occurred in Rome and under Paul’s eyes which vividly reminded him of Timothy and of Timothy’s unhypocritical faith, and had done that to such a degree that it left a deep impression on Paul. The apostle must have exclaimed: 'Just like my beloved Timothy’s faith!'" [ref]

the sincere faith within you (2 Timothy 1:5)
"So many, it seems, had opposed or deserted Paul (cf. 2 Timothy 1:15; 2:17; 3:1-9, 13; 4:3-4, 10-21) that Timothy’s 'sincere (anypokritou, 'unhypocritical' cf. 1 Timothy 1:5) faith' stood out in bold relief." [ref] [ref]

Paul's "thought is probably not confined to Christian faith, but has in view the continuity of Judaism and Christianity. In 2 Timothy 1:3 he speaks of serving God from his forefathers. In Acts 24:14 Paul is represented as saying that even as a Christian he serves the God of his fathers, believing all things contained in the law and the prophets." [ref]

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FAITH

Faith in the OT and NT carries several meanings. It may mean simple trust in God or in the Word of God, and at other times faith almost becomes equivalent to active obedience. It may also find expression in the affirmation of a creedal statement. Thus it also comes to mean the entire body of received Christian teaching or truth.

OLD TESTAMENT
In the OT, faith first involved God as the Creator, Sustainer of life, and the Controller of history. Psalms such as 19 and 24 are evidence of the trust in God as the Creator, whose sovereign power continues to operate in the creation.

The OT also strongly emphasizes faith as confidence in God’s covenant or in the covenant God has made with Abraham and his descendants. There was to be strict obedience to God’s commands as an expression of faith. This response of human faith to Jehovah’s faithfulness was national and collective. There also were, however, commands to and instances of personal faith.

Not only the narrative and legal portions of the OT, but also the poetic and prophetic writings emphasize faith. The Psalms abound in expressions of personal confidence in Jehovah even in dark times. Habbakuk points out that “the righteous shall live by his faith” (2:4). From such instances it is clear that as Jehovah’s education of Israel proceeded, the matter of faith in God’s faithfulness became more and more a matter of individual and personal response, and it is in the prophets that several ingredients such as trust, obedience, fear, and certainty blend into the understanding of such personal faith.

NEW TESTAMENT
As over against the OT, where the accent is on the faithfulness of God, in the NT the emphasis is placed on the active, responding faith of the hearer to the promised, final revelation in the Messiah, Jesus Christ.

The Synoptic Gospels
Jesus is portrayed as one who by his work and word opens the door to faith and makes faith possible. The question is not whether the faith is in Jesus or in the Father; the implication is undoubtedly both, but as with every true bearer of the Word of God the eye of faith is turned to the One who sends.

On more than one occasion Jesus denies the request for a miracle to substantiate his words (Mt 12:38, 39; 16:1–4). Faith is response to the Word alone without any supporting props. The Word demands self-surrender and commitment.

Faith is the medium by which the power of God is made visible. It moves mountains, heals the sick, and is the means of entrance into the kingdom. It may be mingled with doubt. The synoptic Gospels portray the early faith of the disciples in all its limitations and weaknesses, yet it is still faith in that it is their positive response to Jesus’ word and work.

The Fourth Gospel
Faith is an especially significant concept in the Gospel of John, though the word (in the Greek) occurs only as a verb. Quite often the reference has to do with the acceptance that something is true, that is, simple credence, or belief.

Even more significant is the special expression “to believe into” in the sense of putting one’s trust into another. The particular form of the expression is without parallel before the fourth Gospel and may well express the strong sense of personal trust in the eternal Word made flesh.

In other places John speaks of trust or faith in an absolute sense, that is, without referring to the one in whom trust is placed.

To believe is also expressed in the verb “receive.” Those who receive Christ are given power to become the sons of God (Jn 1:12). Trust is that form of knowing or seeing by which the glory of God (1:14; 17:4) is made present.

Paul
In his letters Paul writes about faith from a number of angles. He sets faith over against “works of the Law” as the only and true basis for righteousness (Rom 1–4; Gal 1–4) and appeals to Abraham to prove his point: “Abraham believed God and it was reckoned to him for righteousness” (Gn 15:6; Rom 4:5; Gal 3:6). This is entirely apart from the Law (Rom 3:21); righteousness is the gift of God through faith in Christ, specifically in his atoning work. Behind Paul’s conviction lies his awareness of the radical and pervasive sinfulness of humans which renders each one helpless. Humanity is dead in sin, but is made alive by faith in the word and work of Jesus mediated through the gospel.

Faith, then, is faith in Jesus Christ. The number of metaphors Paul employs to describe the consequences of faith is staggering. It is by faith that believers are justified (Rom 5:1), reconciled (2 Cor 5:18), redeemed (Eph 1:7), made alive (Eph 2:5), adopted into the family of God (Rom 8:15, 16), re-created (2 Cor 5:17), transported into a new kingdom (Col 1:13), and set free (Gal 5:1). Faith is, for Paul, the sine qua non of every aspect of salvation, from the grace that convicts to the receiving of the full inheritance at the coming of the Lord.

In Paul’s letters faith is bound up with love so that the great exponent of justification by faith becomes also the articulate exponent of distinctive Christian love. To say that faith is indispensable to salvation is only part of the truth, for faith expresses itself through love. Hence, even for Paul there can be no total separation between faith and works. This love of which Paul speaks is the essential fruit of the Spirit through whom the life of faith is lived. Only by virtue of the indwelling Spirit does faith find expression in love.

Rest of the NT
James speaks of faith as being completed by works (Jas 2:22). He is opposing that concept of faith which thinks primarily of creedal assent, of believing that something is true without acting upon it. The writer of Hebrews recognizes that faith has always been characteristic of the people of God and their specially called leaders.

FAITH AND REASON
Historically, three major views have emerged regarding this relationship.

The Thomistic View
Reason precedes faith in the sense that the truth of at least some of the objects of belief can be rationally demonstrated. Thus, the existence of God can be proved to any rational human being willing to honestly examine the evidence. Some forms of this position undertake to prove the whole of the teachings of Christianity, so that faith is virtually a function of reason. In other forms, faith takes over where reason leaves off, accepting on the basis of authority what cannot be established by reason.

The Augustinian View
Faith precedes reason, but makes reason possible. From the perspective of faith, understanding can emerge. Thus, while faith does not result from reason, it is in harmony with it. Neither faith nor reason can dispense with each other.

The Tertullian View
Faith and reason do not support one another. Hence one believes virtually in spite of reason. This position, often referred to as fideism (faithism), may either take the form that faith and reason are quite independent of one another, or that they are opposed. In the latter case, there is a disjunction between the two, leading to conflict or tension.

Scripture takes for granted that reason and faith are not two separate and unrelated abilities; rather, they are both inescapably bound up in the structure of the total person. In the final analysis, neither can safely stand alone. Reason without faith may deteriorate into a mere gathering of facts -- facts that are never really put together. Faith without reason, on the other hand, can trail off into vagueness and lack of meaning.

- Robert W. Lyon [ref] (condensed/extracted from longer article)

dwelt (2 Timothy 1:5)
The past tense may indicate that Lois and Eunice were no longer alive. [ref]

grandmother Lois ... mother Eunice (2 Timothy 1:5)
To waver in his faith would be to betray the faith of his grandmother and mother. [ref]

Regarding this situation, one source helpfully notes:

 
The fact that Paul names “Lois,” the grandmother, and “Eunice,” the mother of Timothy, leads us to think that Paul knew both women well. In Acts 16:1 only the mother is mentioned together with Timothy; at that time both were already Christian believers. We are not told who had converted them to Christianity. We think that this was Paul himself from the way in which he speaks of Timothy as “my child.” This conversion was probably brought about on Paul’s first missionary journey (Acts 14:6, etc.). It is the general conviction that Timothy’s Greek father was dead when Paul first came to Lystra. We deem it equally fair to assume that Timothy’s grandmother lived with her daughter. These two truly believing Israelites reared Timothy in the true faith of Israel, and Paul and Barnabas advanced this faith to Christian faith.

The main thing is, however, that Paul here combines himself with Timothy by way of their ancestors because now this true God of Paul’s ancestors and this old true Israelitish faith of Timothy’s mother and his grandmother, to which Paul and Timothy both held with the New Testament gospel faith, were being condemned in Rome as a religio illicita. Paul was facing death on this charge. What would happen to Timothy, to others, to the Christian churches everywhere if the imperial authorities proceeded consistently along this line? This explains the admonitions that follow in this letter. Paul, the expectant martyr (3:6), is in advance fortifying his child and through him the churches under him. [ref]
 

"Regarding Timothy’s biological father, we’re only told that he 'was a Greek,' which indicates he was probably an unbeliever (Ac 16:1). This would have intensified the growing spiritual father-son relationship between Paul and Timothy. In this sense, Paul probably became the father Timothy never had. We see this relationship growing even more intimate as Paul faced death." [ref]

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NEW TESTAMENT WOMEN
Name
Description
Bible Reference
Anna
Recognized Jesus as the long-awaited Messiah Luke 2:36-38
Bernice
Sister of Agrippa before whom Paul made his defense Acts 25:13
Candace
A queen of Ethiopia Acts 8:27
Chloe Woman who knew of divisions in the church at Corinth 1 Cor. 1:11
Claudia
Christian of Rome 2 Tim. 4:21
Damaris
Woman of Athens converted under Paul’s ministry Acts 17:34
Dorcas (Tabitha)
Christian in Joppa who was raised from the dead by Peter Acts 9:36-41
Drusilla
Wife of Felix, governor of Judea Acts 24:24
Elizabeth
Mother of John the Baptist Luke 1:5, 13
Eunice
Mother of Timothy 2 Tim. 1:5
Herodias
Queen who demanded the execution of John the Baptist Matt. 14:3-10
Joanna
Provided for the material needs of Jesus Luke 8:3
Lois
Grandmother of Timothy 2 Tim. 1:5
Lydia
Convert under Paul’s ministry in Philippi Acts 16:14
Martha and Mary
Sisters of Lazarus; friends of Jesus Luke 10:38-42
Mary Magdalene
Woman from whom Jesus cast out demons Matt. 27:56–61;
Mark 16:9
Phoebe
A servant, perhaps a deconess, in the church at Cenchrea Rom. 16:1, 2
Priscilla
Wife of Aquila; laborer with Paul at Corinth and Ephesus Acts 18:2, 18, 19
Salome
Mother of Jesus’ disciples James and John Matt. 20:20-24
Sapphira
Held back goods from the early Christian community Acts 5:1
Susanna Provided for the material needs of Jesus Luke 8:3

- The Nelson Study Bible [ref]

I am sure that (it is) in you as well (2 Timothy 1:5)
Here Paul is saying "that he is persuaded that before he met Timothy and his mother and his grandmother these two had made of Timothy a true Israelitish believer in the coming Messiah." [ref]

"[T]he first influence on [Timothy] was his parental upbringing, and in particular a mother and a grandmother who were sincere believers and who had taught him out of the Scriptures from his childhood." [ref] Or, as John Calvin phrased it, Timothy "had been educated from his infancy in such a manner that he might have sucked godliness along with his milk." [ref] [ref]

THE FALSE TEACHERS: "The tears shed by Timothy may well have been tears of frustration and fear caused by his inability to resolve the problems created by the opponents in Ephesus. Timothy's faith also stemmed in part from the faith of his family members (Lois and Eunice). Their faith was not contaminated by the false teaching (see on 1 Tim 1:5). The heritage of genuine faith and the special relationships through which it was transmitted to Timothy were recalled to restore his confidence. But they also called to mind a responsibility (to continue in the faith, to persevere in ministry) that he could not walk away from. No matter how bitter the opposition, he could not deny his heritage." [ref]

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2 TIMOTHY 1:6 - Relying on the Holy Spirit (vv. 6-7)
A PRINCIPLE TO LIVE BY
Identifying with Christ

With God’s help, we should determine never to be ashamed of the gospel of Jesus Christ. (see 2 Timothy 1:6-12) [ref]

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MISUNDERSTANDINGS ABOUT THE SPIRIT AND RESURRECTION

[2 Timothy 2:18] identifies clearly what was probably the central doctrine of the false teaching -- the belief that the resurrection has already taken place -- and it almost certainly implies a related view about the Holy Spirit. This belief in a "realized" resurrection could conceivably have grown out of a misunderstanding of Paul's own teaching about the believer's present participation in Christ's death and resurrection (Rom 6:1-11; see introduction), in which the role of the Spirit was central. Apparently the gift of the Holy Spirit came to be viewed as proof of one's resurrection, just as in Corinth, rather than as the down payment guaranteeing future resurrection (Eph 1:13-14). And also similar to the Corinthian misunderstanding (1 Cor 15:12), the resurrection itself was held to pertain only to the spiritual side of humanity (the "flesh" and "body" belong to the material sphere, which is temporary), because of a dualistic understanding (current in their pagan religious environment) that accorded more importance to the spiritual dimension of life. A committed adherent's approach to life in this world tended to one of two extremes. Either life in the body became irrelevant in view of the attainment of spiritual perfection (apparently the Corinthian response -- 1 Cor 4:8; 5:1-2), or it was something to be severely restricted through ascetic practices so that the spiritual side could be kept pure (1 Tim 4:1-2; compare Tit 1:15).

In this context, Paul's teaching to Timothy about the importance of the Spirit for ministry introduces a challenge to the opponents' views about the Spirit. The crucial matter here is the effect of their view of the Spirit on the church's understanding of Christian life and ministry in this world. For them (1) "Spirit" meant power in the sense of the completion of their spiritual life; (2) the gift of the Spirit at conversion meant transfer (resurrection) from this fallen world to a spiritual dimension of final triumph; and consequently (3) the Holy Spirit had very little to do with suffering and struggling, things that pertain to the physical, bodily existence. Suffering and struggling may have been viewed as indications of unspirituality.

The current teaching was much the same as what in our times has come to be called "triumphalism" and the "health and wealth gospel," the idea that faith in Christ promises immediate solutions to life's problems. These views are tough to overcome—it is much easier to hear that the gospel brings peace and rest than it is to be reminded of the "sword" and the opposition of the world that Jesus promised. Timothy had grown tired and discouraged at the resistance of the false teachers to a balanced biblical message and at the church's willingness to receive a sugar-coated message (2 Tim 4:3). He had grown weary of the struggle. The solution comes in the form of a reminder that the gift of the Holy Spirit means power for the Christian struggle, not removal from it.

- Philip H. Towner [ref]

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EDUCATING THE YOUNG

Even though fathers were responsible for their sons’ education, Judaism and Greco-Roman aristocrats wanted mothers to be knowledgeable so they could impart knowledge to their young children. (This is true even though Judaism did not provide women advanced education in the law, and even though Greco-Roman society generally reserved rhetorical and philosophical training for men.) Until the age of seven a Roman boy’s mother was his main formative influence; many thought that children should not be taught reading until age seven, but others wished to begin it much earlier, even at the age of three. Jewish Scripture education began by the age of five or six, although this education always emphasized memorization and recitation more than reading skills.

The “faith” of Timothy’s mother and grandmother was Jewish (Jewish Christian by the time Paul met them -- Acts 16:1). Jewish fathers were primarily responsible for their son’s instruction in the law, but Timothy’s father was a Gentile (Acts 16:1, 3). Those without a living religious father also learned from grandmothers if they were still living (cf. Tobit 1:8).

Most education included corporal discipline, but some ancient education experts stressed instead encouraging the child, making him or her feel successful, provoking competition and making learning enjoyable (Quintilian). Ancient writers differed on whether public instructors or home schooling was better, provided the former held classes small enough to permit private instruction.

- Craig S. Keener [ref]

For this reason (2 Timothy 1:6)
That is, "on account of the unfeigned faith inherited and possessed by Timothy, of which the Apostle has just been reminded." [ref]

I remind you (2 Timothy 1:6)
"It has been supposed by some that here and throughout the Epistle we have allusions to weakness and timidity on the part of Timothy which had come to St Paul’s knowledge; but the evidence does not seem sufficient to establish anything more than a very natural anxiety on the part of the older man lest the younger one should faint under his heavy burden. Paul does not here tell Timothy of any new gift; he reminds him of that which was already his, and which Timothy knew to be his." [ref]

to kindle afresh the gift of God (2 Timothy 1:6)
"Kindle afresh" is "literally, 'rekindle,' 'revive the spark of'; the opposite of 'quench' or 'extinguish' (1 Thessalonians 5:19)." [ref] "To kindle afresh" is a present, active, infinitive verb, meaning: "keep rekindling" or "continue reviving." [ref]

As one source explains: "The gift is likened to a fire. The Greek verb anazōpureō, which occurs nowhere else in the New Testament, does not necessarily imply that Timothy has let the fire die down and must now fan the dying embers into flame again. The prefix ana can indicate as much a stirring up as a re-kindling. It seems, then, that Paul’s exhortation is to continue fanning it, to ‘stir up that inner fire’ (JBP), to keep it alive, even ablaze, presumably by exercising the gift faithfully and by waiting upon God in prayer for its constant renewal." [ref]

Put simply, Paul is exhorting Timothy to persevere. [ref] Why? Because "Paul was about to depart from the scene of history. Timothy must carry on where Paul was about to leave off." [rf]

Up to this point, "Timothy has had only a task with such difficulties as gospel work had always had since Paul and Timothy had entered upon it; now Rome was frowning upon this work, was bringing Paul to martyrdom. Instead of being only an assistant, Timothy would soon himself be the lone chief in his great Asian field. Instead of being distressed and allowing the flame to burn lower, he must ever keep it burning brightly as Paul is passing from the scene. There is no touch of censure. Paul does not say, 'Make the flame burn hotter than ever.' Timothy is as ardent as Paul can wish him to be, and all that Paul asks is that he continue in the same ardor." [ref]

the gift of God (2 Timothy 1:6)
This does not refer to "an ordinary gift of God’s grace, such as every Christian may seek and obtain according to his need; but is the special grace received by Timothy to fit him for his ministerial functions." [ref] In fact, "the gift" could be shorthand for all "of the gifts necessary for the ministry" [ref], including that of "administration and rule." [ref] "Timothy’s charisma was the ability to preach, to teach, to admonish, and to supervise such work in the churches, for which God gave him both the office and the field for the full exercise of this gift." [ref] In simplest terms, it refers to "the authority and power to be a minister of Christ." [ref]

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LESSONS FROM THE CAMPFIRE

A fire that has died down will not respond well to an armload of large logs dumped upon it. Without flames, the logs will actually stifle the remaining embers. Small, dried twigs and extra air will have to be used to "fan the flames" back to life. Then the fire will be able to handle larger wood.

A time of spiritual dryness shouldn't be treated by taking on a monumental spiritual challenge of "large logs." Instead, seek sources for spiritual rekindling:

  • Visit a motivating friend or mentor to keep you fresh and excited.
  • Look for seminars or conferences that will energize your ministry.
  • Rethink your involvement in evangelism. New, excited believers can greatly enthuse your ministry.
  • Feed daily from God's Word, complementing long-range study projects.
  • Get outside in God's creation for a few hours to recharge your spiritual life.
- Life Application Bible Commentary on the New Testament [ref]

the laying on of my hands (2 Timothy 1:6)
This refers either to Timothy's original ordination or when he was set apart "to the particular office of superintending the Ephesian Church" [ref] (cf. 1 Timothy 4:14). Paul's language appears to be intentionally vague; in no way does it "bear the weight of any detailed conclusions about how spiritual gifts are bestowed, much less full-blown theories of apostolic succession or of ordination as a means of grace." [ref]

Related: Laying On Of Hands

ALTERNATE VIEW: An alternate view is that

 
the gift of God in [2 Timothy 1:6], which Timothy is to rekindle, is the Holy Spirit himself, and this passage and 1 Timothy 4:14 do not necessarily reflect on the same event. First, if [2 Timothy 1:7] is explaining [2 Timothy 1:6] as the connecting for suggests, it is the Spirit to which Paul refers. Second, a reference to the Spirit at the outset of this exhortation balances well with the closing emphasis on the help of the Holy Spirit who lives in us [2 Timothy 1:14]. Third, to judge from 1 Thessalonians 5:19, Paul was apt to employ the imagery of fire to describe the Holy Spirit: there the Spirit could be "put out"; here he is to be "fanned into flame" (compare Mt 3:11 par; Acts 2:3). Finally, given what were the false teachers' probable misconceptions about the Holy Spirit, a reference to this fundamental gift as the source of courage and stamina for continuing the messy struggle of the faith would serve as an encouraging reminder to Timothy and a correction of the false doctrine. It is also in keeping with this context for Paul to follow a reference to Timothy's genuine faith with a reminder about the corollary gift of the Spirit (and his role) in his life. If the statement that the Holy Spirit came to Timothy via Paul's hands sounds strange, we might recall that Timothy came to faith during the apostolic ministry through which (at least in certain cases) this very thing occurred (see Acts 8:17-18; 9:12, 17; 19:6). [ref] (also see: [ref])
 

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2 TIMOTHY 1:7 - Relying on the Holy Spirit (vv. 6-7)

given us (2 Timothy 1:7)
While in the immediate context this refers to Paul and Timothy when they "were set apart for His service by prayer and the imposition of hands" [ref], it applies to all ministers and, more broadly still, to all believers.

not ... a spirit of timidity (2 Timothy 1:7)
Here "spirit" denotes "the human personality under the Spirit's influence as in 1 Corinthians 4:21; Galatians 6:1; 1 Peter 3:4." [ref] Some commentators believe Paul is speaking of the Holy Spirit directly, and so prefer "Spirit" over "spirit." [ref]

Not a spirit "of cowardice." [ref] [ref] Here "['spirit'] does not stand for the natural human temper, but (as generally in St Paul; cp. Romans 8:15; 2 Corinthians 4:13; Ephesians 1:17) for the human spirit supernaturally affected by the Divine. Of the gifts of the Holy Spirit cowardice is not one; a Christian man, a Christian minister, has no right to be a coward, for God has given him the spirit of power." [ref] "The threat of Roman persecution, which was escalating under Nero, the hostility of those in the Ephesian church who resented Timothy’s leadership, and the assaults of false teachers with their sophisticated systems of deceptions may have been overwhelming Timothy. But if he was fearful, it didn’t come from God." [ref]

"The exhortation not to be afraid was one of the most prominent biblical assurances from God (e.g., Gen 26:24; Jer 1:8) and was a customary expression of assurance from others as well (Gen 43:23)." [ref] We should "have fear in the sense of awe (1 Peter 1:17; 1 Peter 2:17) but not cowardice." [ref]

"The fear meant is that of which the causes are in the mind, rather than from without. This fear within in too great a degree exaggerates the causes which are without. The act of fear always has its cause in the mind, but a courageous disposition repels and overcomes external causes" [ref] (cf. 1 John 4:18). [ref]

"It was not craven fear but courage that Christian service should bring to a man. It always takes courage to be a Christian, and that courage comes from the continual consciousness of the presence of Christ." [ref]

a spirit of ... power and love and discipline (2 Timothy 1:7)
"These three graces are specially named, as specially needed for one in Timothy’s circumstances." [ref] We should also note that while "[t]he Spirit does not turn a timid man into a powerful personality," He does provide "the resources necessary for each situation." [ref]

power:

  • Rather than weakness. [ref]
  • This is "power to fulfil his arduous tasks" [ref], "the power to overcome all obstacles and to face all dangers." [ref]
  • "[C]ourage to fulfill his ministerial duties, namely, the proclamation of the gospel (compare Rom 15:19; 1 Cor 2:4)." [ref]
  • "Power to encounter foes and dangers; power to bear up under trials; power to triumph in persecutions." [ref]
  •  "[P]ower to work on, to hold out, to endure all things, to suffer, to die -- victorious, triumphant power, an unquenched flame of living fire." [ref]
  • "In the true Christian there is the power to cope, the power to shoulder the back-breaking task, the power to stand erect in face of the shattering situation, the power to retain faith in face of the soul-searing sorrow and the wounding disappointment. The Christian is characteristically the man who could pass the breaking-point and not break." [ref]
  • "We do not need to have naturally powerful personalities. God gives strength of character and confidence that wins us respect when we face opposition as we speak, preach, and live the truth." [ref]
  • "Positively, God has already given believers all the spiritual resources they need for every trial and threat (cf. Matt. 10:19, 20). Divine power -- effective, productive spiritual energy -- belongs to believers (Eph. 1:18–20; 3:20; cf. Zech. 4:6)." [ref]

love:

  • Real love rather than merely complying with other people's expectations. [ref]
  • "[L]ove to suffer gladly all opposition -- being ready to believe that for the most part it springs from ignorance." [ref]
  • "Nothing will do more to inspire courage, to make a man fearless of danger, or ready to endure privation and persecution, than 'love.' The love of country, and wife, and children, and home, makes the most timid bold when they are assailed; and the love of Christ and of a dying world nerves the soul to great enterprises, and sustains it in the deepest sorrows." [ref]
  • "Here the thought is not that this love works a thousand good works but that it faces and conquers the world’s hostility with its power. It burns on and on. It sees all the sin and woe, and its one purpose is that of Jesus, to seek and to save." [ref]
  • "In Timothy's case this was love for the brethren, for the congregation of the people of Christ over whom he was set. It is precisely that love which gives the Christian pastor his other qualities. He must love his people so much that he will never find any toil too great to undertake for them or any situation threatening enough to daunt him. No man should ever enter the ministry of the Church unless there is love for Christ's people within his heart." [ref]
  • "Accompanying the power to speak the truth must be love for the listeners, believers and nonbelievers alike. Love separates Christians from the heathen world around them." [ref]
  • "This kind of love centers on pleasing God and seeking others’ welfare before one’s own (cf. Rom. 14:8; Gal. 5:22, 25; Eph. 3:19; 1 Pet. 1:22; 1 John 4:18)." [ref]

discipline:

  • To have "discipline" is "to behave in a sensible manner, with the implication of thoughtful awareness of what is best -- ‘moderation, sensibility.’" [ref]
  • Other words within this same word group convey "the idea of spiritual health, a correct or appropriate way of reasoning, but also a sense of moderation, a moderation or reserve that is expressed in inner equilibrium." [ref]
  • "This guides our power, applies the intelligence and the purpose of our love, and, while it is needed at all times, is most needed in dangerous times." [ref]
  • "It is Christ alone who can give us that self-mastery which will keep us alike from being swept away and from running away. No man can ever rule others unless he has first mastered himself. Sophronismos ['discipline'] is that divinely given self-control which makes a man a great ruler of others because he is first of all the servant of Christ and the master of himself." [ref]
  • "Paul has in mind a measure of control over one's thinking and actions that allows a balanced outlook on any situation. When everything is coming unglued, this quality of 'levelheadedness' will keep the Christian focused calmly on the power and love that the Spirit provides, and so it makes perseverance in life and ministry possible." [ref]
  • "In order to lead others, the true minister must have control over himself. To put it another way, a good leader must have a cool head." [ref]
  • "Refers to a disciplined, self-controlled, and properly prioritized mind. This is the opposite of fear and cowardice that causes disorder and confusion. Focusing on the sovereign nature and perfect purposes of our eternal God allows believers to control their lives with godly wisdom and confidence in every situation (cf. Rom. 12:3; 1 Tim. 3:2; Titus 1:8; 2:2)." [ref]

All of the qualities listed by Paul "(boldness, power, love, and self-control) are gifts of the Spirit, not just natural tendencies. They function best in harmony. Boldness and power are tempered by love and self-control. Under the pressures of leadership, people tend to gravitate toward a desire for power and boldness as the most effective tools for success. But used alone, these qualities are self-defeating. The inclusion of love and self-control clearly indicates that a leader's effectiveness comes from God's Spirit. We may be impressed by a leader who exhibits boldness and power, but without love or self-control, such a leader is little more than a bully." [ref]

Whether Paul was speaking of our human "spirit" as controlled and directed by God's Holy Spirit, or describing the Holy Spirit himself, the end result is essentially the same. For example, as one commentator understands it: "Notice that, though a particular spiritual gift was given to ‘you’, Timothy, the gift of the Spirit himself has been given to us, to all of us who are in Christ. And this Spirit God has given to us all is a Spirit not of ‘timidity’ but of ‘power and love and self-control’. Since he is the Spirit of power we may be confident of his enabling as we exercise our ministry. Since he is the Spirit of love we must use God’s authority and power in serving others, not in self-assertion or vainglory. And since he is the Spirit of self-control we must use them with seemly reverence and restraint." [ref]

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GOD'S SOVEREIGNTY + OUR RESPONSIBILITY

So far we have studied what the first seven verses of the letter tell us about these two men, Paul and Timothy, and their making. Paul claims to be Jesus Christ’s apostle ‘by the will of God’, as previously he had said it was ‘by the grace of God’ that he was what he was (1 Cor. 15:10). And a whole complex of factors had made Timothy what he was -- a godly upbringing, Paul’s friendship and training, God’s gift to him and his own self-discipline in stirring it up.

In principle, it is the same with all God’s people. Perhaps the most striking thing is the combination in both Paul and Timothy of divine sovereignty and human responsibility, those two facts of revelation and of experience which we find it difficult to reconcile and impossible to systematize into a tidy doctrine.

Paul could write of God’s will and assert that God’s grace had made him what he was. But then he would at once add: ‘and his grace toward me was not in vain. On the contrary, I worked harder than any of them, though it was not I, but the grace of God which is with me’ (1 Cor. 15:10). That is, he added his labour to God’s grace, although, to be sure, it was God’s grace which inspired his labour.

Timothy was similar. His mother and grandmother could teach him out of the Scriptures and lead him towards conversion. Paul could actually bring him to Christ, befriend him, pray for him, write to him, train and exhort him. And God could give him a special gift at his ordination. But still Timothy must himself stir up the divine gift within him. He must add his own self-discipline to God’s gifts.

We are no different. However much (or little) we may have received from God, either directly in natural and spiritual endowment or indirectly through parents, friends and teachers, we must still apply ourselves in active self-discipline to cooperate with God’s grace, to keep fanning the inner fire into flame. Otherwise, we shall never be the men and women God wants us to be, or fulfil the ministry he has given us to exercise.

- John Stott [ref]

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*Scripture taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, © Copyright 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. (www.Lockman.org) | **This outline is from The Bible Exposition Commentary, by Warren W. Wiersbe