2 Timothy Chapter 1
“An apostle” [one sent with a commission] “of Jesus Christ (literally “from Jesus Christ”): Paul was not one of Jesus’ earthly disciples; he received his apostleship by direct appointment of the risen Christ.
Verses 1-2: Paul reminded Timothy that, despite their intimate spiritual relationship, the apostle wrote to him 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.
2 Timothy 1:1 “Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, according to the promise of life which is in Christ Jesus,”
“An apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God” (see note on 1 Tim. 1:1). His call was according to God’s sovereign plan and purpose (1 Cor. 1:1; 2 Cor. 1:1; Eph. 1:1; Col. 1:1).
“Promise of life which is in Christ Jesus”: The gospel promises that those who are spiritually dead but by faith embrace the gospel’s message, will be united to Christ and find eternal life in Him (John 3:16; 10:10; 14:6; Col. 3:4).
Notice, Paul makes it very clear, that his calling to preach was of the will of God, and not his own will. The message that Paul had for everyone, everywhere was the promise of eternal life in Jesus Christ.
Let us touch one more time on the name, Christ Jesus. Christ (Messiah), means the Anointed One. Jesus means Jehovah Savior. Christians alone, of all religions, have hope of the resurrection.
2 Timothy 1:2 “To Timothy, [my] dearly beloved son: Grace, mercy, [and] peace, from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.”
“Timothy, my dearly beloved son” (see note on 1 Tim. 1:2).
“Grace … our Lord” (see note on 1 Tim. 1:2). More than a standard greeting by Paul, this expressed his genuine desire for God’s best in Timothy’s life.
Notice, the love that Paul shows Timothy, in the name that he calls him in the introduction of the letter. Timothy was not Paul’s son in the flesh. He was Paul’s son in the fact that Paul had trained him in the ministry. Even in this, we can see the devotion that Paul has for Timothy.
Paul knows if he is executed, that Timothy will carry on the work. Paul knew better than anyone else at this point, that the only real peace is in God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
2 Timothy 1:3 “I thank God, whom I serve from [my] forefathers with pure conscience, that without ceasing I have remembrance of thee in my prayers night and day;”
“I thank God … in my prayers” (see notes on Phil. 1:3-4).
“Pure conscience” (see note on 1 Tim. 1:5).
Paul is speaking of God the Father here, because his forefathers were Jews. Paul is explaining that his conscience is clear. Paul prayed for Timothy every day. No one knew better the hardships that faced those who lived for Jesus than Paul.
This mention of his forefathers and his pure conscience is also to let Timothy know that he had not done anything wrong in the sight of God the Father, by worshipping Jesus.
2 Timothy 1:4 “Greatly desiring to see thee, being mindful of thy tears, that I may be filled with joy;”
“Greatly desiring to see thee”: Because of Paul’s affection for Timothy and the urgency of the hour in Paul’s life, as he faced death, Paul had an intense yearning to see Timothy again (4:9, 13, 21).
“Mindful of thy tears”: Paul perhaps remembered this occurring at their latest parting, which occurred after a short visit to Ephesus, following the writing of 1 Timothy, and prior to Paul’s arrest at Troas (see note on 4:13), and his second imprisonment in Rome. Years before, Paul had a similar parting with the elders at Ephesus (Acts 20:36-38).
Paul, facing death, wanted to see his beloved Timothy one more time. Any parent, facing death of the body, longs to see their children one more time. He knew that to see Timothy would bring him great joy.
He also, was concerned at the grief that Timothy would experience at his death. He thought, perhaps if he could see him one more time, he could comfort Timothy. His prayers were partly that Timothy would not weaken in the faith, when he was executed.
2 Timothy 1:5 “When I call to remembrance the unfeigned faith that is in thee, which dwelt first in thy grandmother Lois, and thy mother Eunice; and I am persuaded that in thee also.”
“Lois … Eunice”: Mention of their names suggests that Paul knew them personally, perhaps because he (with Barnabas), led them to faith in Christ during his first missionary journey (Acts 13:13 – 14:21).
The women were true Old Testament Jewish believers, who understood the Scripture well enough to prepare themselves and Timothy (3:15), to immediately accept Jesus as Messiah when they first heard the gospel from Paul.
Paul is reminding Timothy that his faith has never faltered. He knew the faith of Timothy’s mother and grandmother had been strong, and that same faith had been instilled in Timothy. “Unfeigned” means sincere. Lois and Eunice were both Jews and Christians; Jews by birth and Christians by faith.
Verses 6-10: Paul urges Timothy to “stir up” [keep in full flame] “the gift of God” (the “grace gift” which came from God). “By the putting on of my hands:” This refers to Timothy’s ordination. The gift was given by God at Timothy’s conversion and officially recognized at his ordination.
“Power” (Greek dunamis), is the ability to accomplish whatever He wills us to accomplish. “Love” (Greek agape), is volitional love. A “sound mind” is a disciplined mind. “The testimony of our Lord” refers to the gospel Paul preached.
“Me his prisoner” indicates that although Paul is actually a prisoner in a dungeon cell in the city of Rome, he regards himself there in the directive will of God. Hence, he is really God’s prisoner, and Rome is merely God’s agent to put him where God wants him.
“Who hath saved us” refers to the ultimate effect: our salvation. “And called us with grace … was given us” indicates that our salvation was totally unmerited. “Abolished death” (“having rendered death ineffective”): By His vicarious death, Christ reversed the curse of sin and “brought life” [eternal union of the soul with God] “and immortality” (“incorruption”), which is guaranteed by His resurrection.
2 Timothy 1:6 “Wherefore I put thee in remembrance that thou stir up the gift of God, which is in thee by the putting on of my hands.”
“Stir up the gift of God”: This seems to indicate Paul was unsatisfied with Timothy’s level of current faithfulness.
“Stir up” means literally “to keep the fire alive,” and “gift” refers to the believers’ spiritual gift (see notes on Rom. 12:4-8; 1 Cor. 12:7-11). Regarding Timothy’s spiritual gift (see notes on 4:2-6; 1 Tim. 4:14). Paul reminds Timothy that as a steward of his God-given gift for preaching, teaching, and evangelizing, he could not let it fall into disuse (4:2-5).
“Putting on of my hands” (see notes on 1 Tim. 4:14; 5:22; 6:12). Paul might have done this at the time of Timothy’s conversion, in which case it would have corresponded to when Timothy received his spiritual gift. The expression may also refer to an extraordinary spiritual endowment, which was received or enhanced at some point after his conversion.
It seems that Paul himself, had anointed Timothy. The gift of God is one or more of the gifts of the Holy Spirit. Some of the gifts are miracles, healings, etc. Read (1 Corinthians chapter 12), to learn more about the gifts of the Spirit. We do not know for sure how many of these gifts of the Spirit Timothy had been anointed with. We do know he had some of the gifts.
These gifts of the Spirit are received when the leaders of the church lay their hands on you, and you receive gifts from the Holy Spirit of God. Paul is telling Timothy here, to use the gift that God has given him. The gifts grow with use.
2 Timothy 1:7 “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.”
“Spirit of fear”: The Greek word, which can also be translated “fear,” denotes a cowardly, shameful fear caused by a weak, selfish character.
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.
“Power”: Positively, God has already given believers all the spiritual resources they need for every trial and threat (Matt. 10:19-20). Divine power, effective, productive spiritual energy, belongs to believers (Eph. 1:18-20; 3:20; Zech. 4:6).
“Love” (see note on 1 Tim. 1:5). This kind of love centers on pleasing God and seeking others’ welfare before one’s own (Rom. 14:8; Gal. 5:22, 25; Eph. 3:19; 1 Pet. 1:22; 1 John 4:18).
“Sound mind”: Refers to a 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 (Rom. 12:3; 1 Tim. 3:2; Titus 1:8; 2:2).
Paul is reminding Timothy to not let his death cause him to fear. Fear is the opposite of faith. The spirit of fear is from the enemy the devil. God has given him, and us, the power to overcome fear in our life. Great faith does away with fear. God’s love for us is enough to keep us going. He had given Timothy, and will give all of us, a sound mind.
Usually nerve problems come because of things we cannot decide in our life. When we are at peace with God and man, our mind is clear. In the book of Acts, we see that the Holy Ghost brings the power of God in our life.
2 Timothy 1:8 “Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me his prisoner: but be thou partaker of the afflictions of the gospel according to the power of God;”
“The testimony of our Lord”: The gospel message concerning Jesus Christ. Paul did not want Timothy to be “ashamed” to name the name of Christ because he was afraid of the potential persecution (verses 12-16).
“Me his prisoner” (see notes on Eph. 3:1; Phil. 1:12-14). Being linked to Paul, who was a prisoner because of his preaching of the gospel, could have put Timothy’s life and freedom in jeopardy (Heb. 13:23).
Timothy was perhaps a shy person, and Paul is telling him to be bold in the Lord. He asks Timothy to not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord. The following is what Jesus had to say about this very thing.
Mark 8:38 “Whosoever therefore shall be ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation; of him also shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he cometh in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.”
Paul wanted Timothy to become bold in the Lord, even in the face of death. Paul was not promising Timothy that he would not suffer for Christ, but was telling Him to draw his strength to face the hardships from Jesus.
2 Timothy 1:9 “Who hath saved us, and called [us] with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began,”
“With a holy calling”: As always in the New Testament epistles, this calling is not a general invitation to sinners to believe the gospel and be saved (as in Matt. 20:16), but refers to God’s effectual call of the elect to salvation (see note on Rom. 1:7). This calling results in holiness, imputed (justification), and imparted (sanctification), and finally completed (glorification).
“Not … works, but … grace”: This truth is the foundation of the gospel. Salvation is by grace through faith, apart from works (see notes on Rom. 3:20-25; Gal. 3:10-11; Eph. 2:8-9; Phil. 3:8-9). Grace is also the basis for God’s sustaining work in believers (Phil. 1:6; Jude 24-25).
“According to his own purpose”: God’s sovereign plan of election (see notes on 2:10; John 6:37-40, 44; Acts 13:48; Rom. 8:29; 9:6-23; Eph. 1:4; 3:11; 2 Thess. 2:13; Titus 1:1-2; 1 Peter 1:2).
“In Christ Jesus”: His sacrifice made God’s salvation plan possible, because He became the substitute sacrifice for the sins of God’s people (see notes on 2 Cor. 5:21).
“Before the world began”: The same Greek phrase appears (in Titus 1:2). The destiny of God’s chosen was determined and sealed from eternity past (John 17:24; Ephesians 1:4-5; Philippians 1:29; 1 Peter 1-2).
By grace are ye saved, not of works lest any man should boast. Jesus Christ gave His body on the cross that you and I might be saved. We are not saved, because we are worthy, but because He is worthy. It is the precious blood of the Lamb of God (Jesus Christ), that saved us. He traded us His righteousness for our sin.
Jesus took our sin upon His body on the cross. He in turn clothed us in His righteousness. The plan of salvation was from the foundation of the world. We are saved to become sons of God. It was part of the plan for us to become sons of God.
2 Timothy 1:10 “But is now made manifest by the appearing of our Savior Jesus Christ, who hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel:”
“Appearing”: “Epiphany” is the English equivalent of this Greek word, most often used of Christ’s second coming (4:18; 1 Tim. 6:14; Titus 2:13), but here of his first coming.
“Abolished death … immortality”: “Abolished” means “rendered inoperative.” Physical death still exists, but it is no longer a threat or an enemy for Christians (1 Cor. 15:54-55; Heb. 2:14). It was not until the incarnation and the gospel that God chose to fully make known the truth of Immortality and eternal life, a reality only partially understood by Old Testament believers (John 19:26).
To “make manifest” is to make real. Jesus abolished sin (for the believer), on the cross. He abolished death, when He rose from the tomb.
To those who will believe, He has given eternal life. It was the Light of Jesus that shone on Paul and caused him to believe. The good news of the gospel is that we have eternal life in Jesus Christ. Death and sin no longer rule in our life. When we accept Jesus as our Savior, we receive forgiveness of sins and receive eternal life in Him.
2 Timothy 1:11 “Whereunto I am appointed a preacher, and an apostle, and a teacher of the Gentiles.”
“Preacher … teacher” (see notes on 1 Tim. 2:7).
Paul is speaking of three different things here. Preaching, in this sense, is to bring people to the knowledge of God and get them saved. Apostle, in the sense it is used here, would mean anointed with signs and wonders following.
The Gentiles had never been taught in God’s ways, as the Jews had. Paul was to teach them and bring them along in the ways of God. Jesus had specifically called Paul to minister to the Gentiles.
2 Timothy 1:12 “For the which cause I also suffer these things: nevertheless I am not ashamed: for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day.”
“I also suffer” (verse 8, see notes on 2 Cor. 4:8-18; 6:4-10; 11:23-28; Gal. 6:17; Phil 3:10).
“I am not ashamed” (see notes on verse 8; Rom. 1:16; 1 Pet. 4:16). Paul had no fear of persecution and death from preaching the gospel in a hostile setting, because he was so confident God had sealed his future glory and blessing.
“Know whom I have believed”: “Know” describes the certainty of Paul’s intimate, saving knowledge, the object of which was God Himself. The form of the Greek verb translated “I have believed”, refers to something that began in the past and has continuing results (see note on Rom. 1:16). This knowing is equal to “the knowledge of the truth” (3:7; 1 Tim. 2:4).
“He is able to keep” (see notes on Jude 24-25).
“Which I have committed”: Paul’s life in time and eternity had been given to his Lord. He lived with unwavering confidence and boldness because of the revealed truth about God’s power and faithfulness, and his own experience of an unbreakable relationship to the Lord (Rom. 8:31-39).
“That day” (verse 18; 4:8; see notes on Phil. 1:6). Also called “day of Christ” (see notes on Phil. 1:10), when believers will stand before the judgment seat and be rewarded (see notes on 1 Cor. 3:13; 2 Cor. 5:10; 1 Peter 1:5).
“Persuaded” (Greek peitho): The perfect tense indicates that “I was persuaded in the past and remain so now”. “That he is able to keep”, refers to the assurance of salvation which is “committed … against that day,” when we will stand before the judgment seat of Christ.
Jesus left no question about it when He called Paul. He told him he would suffer for the gospel;
Acts 9:16 “For I will shew him how great things he must suffer for my name’s sake.”
To suffer for Christ, brings great rewards in heaven.
Romans 8:17 “And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with [him], that we may be also glorified together.”
Paul never once complained about the suffering. He felt that the job he was given was worth suffering for. Paul’s suffering was because he was a preacher, apostle, and teacher of the Gentiles. His greatest persecution came from the Jews, who could not accept the Gentiles as equals.
Paul was thoroughly convinced that God was able to protect him wherever he was, if that was part of God’s plan. Paul was ready and willing to go and be with God, if that were his fate. Paul was not ashamed to be imprisoned, or even killed for the gospel. He knew God was with him.
2 Timothy 1:13 “Hold fast the form of sound words, which thou hast heard of me, in faith and love which is in Christ Jesus.”
“Sound words” (1 Tim. 4:6; 6:3). The Scripture and the doctrine it teaches (see notes on 3:15-17).
“Of me”: Paul had been the source of this divine revelation (2:2; 3:10, 14; Phil. 4:9; see notes on Eph. 3:1-5).
“Faith and love … in Christ Jesus”: “Faith” is confidence that God’s Word is true, and “love” is kindness and compassion in teaching that truth (Eph. 4:15).
The main purpose of this chapter was to help Timothy stand strong in the time of Paul’s death. Keep the faith and continue to love God more than you love your own life, was the message he wanted Timothy to remember. Do not be shaken by what happens, stay in the Word of God.
This is like a father comforting a son at his death. Paul had made a pattern with his life that Timothy must follow. The sound words that Paul had brought set the pattern for the others to follow. Paul always expressed the importance of the Word. Place your faith and your love in Jesus.
2 Timothy 1:14 “That good thing which was committed unto thee keep by the Holy Ghost which dwelleth in us.”
“Good thing … committed unto thee”: The treasure of the good news of salvation revealed in the Scripture (see note on 1 Tim. 6:20).
In the last lesson, we discovered that the Truth was the good thing that had been committed to Timothy. The Holy Ghost leads us into all Truth.
John 16:13 “Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, [that] shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come.”
The Holy Ghost is our Teacher and Guide.
Verses 15-18: “Asia” refers to the Roman province of Asia Minor of which Ephesus was the chief city. “Phygellus and Hermogenes:” Nothing is known of these men besides this citation, although they were well known to Timothy. “Onesiphorus” (is mentioned only here and in 4:19). He frequently helped Paul in Ephesus and evidently made a special effort to visit him in Rome.
2 Timothy 1:15 “This thou knowest, that all they which are in Asia be turned away from me; of whom are Phygellus and Hermogenes.”
“Asia”: A Roman province that is part of modern Turkey; this is not a reference to the entire region of Asia Minor.
Phygellus and Hermogenes”: Nothing else is known about these two men, who apparently had shown promise as leaders, had been close to Paul, and were well known among the Asian churches, but deserted Paul under the pressure of persecution.
This is speaking, probably, of those of Asia who were in Rome with Paul. They probably had not stood up for Paul fearing the loss of their life. Paul, of course, does not mean the churches of Asia. This has to be speaking of the Christians from Asia who had followed Paul. This letter to Timothy was actually going to Ephesus which was a city in Asia.
2 Timothy 1:16 “The Lord give mercy unto the house of Onesiphorus; for he oft refreshed me, and was not ashamed of my chain:”
“Onesiphorus”: One of Paul’s loyal coworkers who had not deserted Paul, but befriended him in prison and was not ashamed or afraid to visit the apostle there regularly and minister to his needs. Since Paul asks Timothy to greet those in his house (4:19), the family obviously lived in or near Ephesus.
We see from this that not everyone had abandoned Paul. He had visited Paul while he had been in prison. Paul speaks a blessing on Onesiphorus’ entire family for the comfort he gave him.
2 Timothy 1:17 “But, when he was in Rome, he sought me out very diligently, and found [me].”
“When he was in Rome”: Onesiphorus was perhaps on a business trip, and the text implies that his search involved time, effort, and possibly even danger.
It seems he was a Christian from another area other than Rome. He had gone to the trouble to look up Paul and help him. The “very diligently” would make you believe, it was not easy to get in to see Paul.
2 Timothy 1:18 “The Lord grant unto him that he may find mercy of the Lord in that day: and in how many things he ministered unto me at Ephesus, thou knowest very well.”
“That day” (see note on verse 12).
“Ephesus”: Onesiphorus’ faithfulness began here many years earlier, when Paul ministered on his third or fourth missionary journey.
We see from this that he was from Ephesus which was in Asia. Perhaps, Paul mentioned him to show an exception. Paul is saying that God will reward him in the day of the Lord. This man had come a very long way, and searched Paul out to help him in his time of need.
God would not overlook this. He would be mightily blessed in the life to come. He would receive a prophet’s reward.
2 Timothy Chapter 1 Questions
- What is another name letter is called?
- Who wrote this letter to Timothy?
- Where was he, when he wrote it?
- Approximately when was it written?
- When do the history books tell us that Rome burned?
- Who do the fables say fiddled while Rome burned?
- What terrible outcome for the Christians occurred, because of Rome burning?
- How does history say Paul was killed?
- What does Paul call himself in verse 1?
- What endearing relation does Paul call Timothy in verse two?
- Was he really Paul’s son?
- What reassurance does Paul have that the work will go on, if he is executed?
- Where is the only peace any of us can find?
- Why does Paul mention his forefathers in verse 3?
- How often did Paul pray for Timothy?
- What did Paul desire Timothy to do?
- Paul told Timothy, he was mindful of _______ _____________.
- What two women made Paul confident of Timothy’s strength in the faith?
- What does “unfeigned” mean?
- Paul wanted Timothy to stir up what within him?
- Who had anointed Timothy?
- What chapter of the Bible tells us of the gifts of the Spirit?
- How are the gifts of the Spirit received?
- God hath not given us the spirit of fear, but of ________, and of ______, and of a ________ ______.
- What does away with fear?
- What two things did Paul tell Timothy not to be ashamed of?
- Why was Paul telling him to be bold?
- God has called us, not because of our works, but because of what?
- What does to “make manifest” mean?
- What did Jesus abolish for the believer?
- What 3 things did Paul say, he was appointed to be?
- What does Romans chapter 8 verse 17 tell us about suffering with Christ?
- Who did Paul’s greatest persecution come from?
- What was the main purpose of this chapter?
- What was the good thing which was committed unto him?
- Who turned against Paul in time of trouble?
- Who stood by him and refreshed him?
- Where was Ephesus located?
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