Sunday, January 08, 2012

2 TIMOTHY 1:1-7

Paul wrote this letter to Timothy from prison in Rome. He was released from the imprisonment we read about it Acts. He did more missionary work. Then he was arrested again. He was eventually executed.

Eusebius wrote in his book, Church History, that Nero executed Paul. If Eusebius was correct, Paul had to write the book before 68 A.D., the end of Nero’s reign. Nero’s persecution of Christians became intense in 64 A.D. Many people think this letter was written in 64 or 65 A.D.

Paul and Timothy had a very strong relationship. Paul thought of him as a son. Timothy travelled with Paul, served with him, took care of him during his first imprisonment in Rome, carried messages from Paul to churches and, ultimately, was sent by Paul to the church in Ephesus to lead it. 1 Timothy 1:3. This letter is likely from Paul in prison in Rome to Timothy in Ephesus.

The Greeting
1 Timothy 1:1-2

Paul referred to himself as an apostle of Christ by the will of God. (1) The apostles were special. God chose them and called them. Jesus told the Twelve: “You did not choose me but I chose you and appointed you…” John 15:16. Paul’s conversion and appointment was a dramatic act of the Lord, not a volunteering by Paul. In fact, Paul (Saul) persecuted the church until the dramatic appearance of Christ in Acts 9. The Lord told Ananias about Paul “…he is a chosen instrument of mine to carry my name before the Gentiles…” Acts 9:15.

Paul’s apostleship was to preach the gospel. Here in 2 Timothy he calls in the “promise of life that is in Christ Jesus”. In Acts 13:26, he said the message of salvation had been given to him to preach.

In verse 2, Paul called Timothy his “beloved child”. Paul and Timothy had a father-son relationship. Paul loved Timothy dearly: he called him “beloved”. In 1 Corinthians 4:17 he called Timothy his beloved and faithful child. In Philippians 2:22 he said Timothy served him as a son serves a father.

Paul thanked God for Timothy. He prayed for him day and night. (3) That is a good example for us. We all have friends. We do not see them all the time. But we can pray for them all the time. You like to get an email or note that says someone prayed for you. So do the same for others.

The Encouragement
2 Timothy 1:3-14

Paul longed to see Timothy. He knew it would fill him with joy to see Timothy again. (4) Timothy must have felt the same way about Paul. Paul remembered his tears, probably when Paul sent him off to Ephesus and they were parted. So we see here that Paul is a real person. He got lonely. He needed support. He missed his younger friend and longed to see him before he died. He may have been a super apostle, but it was not without cost. He loved. He suffered.

Paul also used his greeting to encourage Timothy. First, he commended Timothy’s faith as “sincere”. (5) He had proved his sincerity by sticking with Paul through adversity and through faithfully fulfilling the assignments Paul gave him.

Paul also reminded Timothy of his heritage of faith. He mentioned Timothy’s grandmother and his mother, saying he knew their strong faith resided in Timothy as well. You may take comfort and strength from this as well. I often think of my grandmother, who had only a few years of education, but who never missed church, knew her Bible and passed on her faith to her children and grandchildren.

Paul wanted Timothy to know he thought well of him. He wanted Timothy to know he had a strong heritage and a strong personal faith to stand on as did Paul. Then he moved on to give specific encouragement.

Timothy evidently had the gift of preaching. The gift was given by God. This gift was given to Timothy when Paul laid hands on him. Paul compared it to hot coals ready to catch fire. He said Timothy needed to fan it into flame.

Here we get an idea that Timothy, despite his faithfulness, might have been timid. Paul told him in verse seven not to be timid or fearful, for God gave us a spirit that was not fearful, but a spirit of power and love and self control. The Revised Standard Version and the New American Standard Bible say “timidity” rather than fearful. Paul recognized Timothy’s gift and wanted him to use it boldly.
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