Introduction To Second Timothy

This is Paul's last letter, written from a Roman prison just before his death.

Although Pauline authorship has been challenged, no conclusive argument has been raised to set aside
the convincing marks of Paul upon it.

The time of writing is A. D. 64 or 65, on the very eve of Paul's martyrdom.

Timothy has remained in Ephesus to continue the missionary labors of Paul; and the great Apostle pours forth
his last, urgent words of counsel to the younger man who must carry on the work when he is gone.

Apparently Timothy needed encouragement.
The entire letter is an exhortation to endurance and boldness in Christ.
Specific suggestions are given for laboring in the ministry, rightly dividing the word of truth, and fulfilling the role
of the Lord's servant.

Paul makes a strong plea that Timothy be grounded firmly in the Scriptures and that he remained faithful
to sound doctrine in the face of false teachers, "having itching ears."

Study of 2 Timothy -- An Unashamed Witness


As a young Christian leader, Timothy was given every encouragement by the apostle Paul.
Paul looked upon Timothy as his spiritual son.
He always prayed for his young friend.
He prayed that he would become a strong and courageous witness for Jesus Christ.

At the time of this letter, Timothy was in the city of Ephesus.
Ephesus was a difficult and dangerous situation because of the onslaught of heathenism.
Christianity was always in a battle with idolatry.
The idolatry in the heathen temples was the evil of male and female prostitution.

The dangers and temptations the young Christians was always a challenge.
They were surrounded by seductive forces.
As a pastor Timothy, needed all of the help he can get in fighting against the powers of sin.
He needed the moral strength within himself that he might carry his witness to everyone.
Timothy recognized his obligation to give a clear testimony of Christ and the power of the gospel.

Paul reminded Timothy of the faith which dwelt first in his grandmother Lois, and in his mother Eunice.
And now that same faith lived in Timothy.

2 Timothy 1:6-14

2 Timothy 1:6-14
is a call to Timothy and a call to every Christian to a life of courage.
We must be unashamed witnesses.
We must also remember that witnesses are martyrs who lived as well as died for Christ.

1. The remembrance of the call, verse 6 – "Stir up the gift."

Paul knew that the end of his life was drawing near.
He used the language of the Olympic Games to say to Timothy that he would hand him a flaming torch.
Paul and Timothy understood what that meant.
Paul was speaking of the idiom of his day when he reminded Timothy "to fan the flames of that spiritual gift
of God

Paul mentions his prayers for Timothy and his confidence in Timothy.
There was a strong tradition of the family of Timothy in its faith.
That is the call of God to a young man to serve the living God.
There is the aging man, Paul, who could have been unconcerned and disinterested in this young man.
and could have shown some impatience with him.

But Paul knew that one day he would leave his mission and another one would take his place.
He is privileged to know that one was Timothy.
He will hand the task to his successor and encourage him.
In the history of the church, many have followed Paul's example and God has provided leaders
from one generation to another.

Timothy received a call from God.
How this came to him is not told.

The only suggestion that we have is that it was a gradual unfolding of spiritual conviction as he was nurtured
within the Christian faith through his Christian family training.
However, the call was confirmed when the presbytery set him apart from ministry and service
by "laying on of Paul's hands."

Paul did this as representing the whole church.
The gift here is God-given, and not man-produced.
Without the gift, a man will labor in vain as a servant of God.

Of course, he also needs and receives grace, but the two must go together.
No training center or university can make a man a minister of the gospel.
They can polish and discipline his gifts and endowments, but they cannot impart these.
The vocation or calling of God is associated with the gift of God.

This gift which Timothy had is not stated, but we may assume it was pastoral in relation to the work
in which he was engaged.

Paul knew that Timothy had been called of God, so he encouraged him to use a gift bestowed by the Holy Spirit.
The gift and calling of God are seen in natural abilities that are combined with spiritual grace and wisdom.
There is a responsibility on the part of parents and pastors to watch for the unfolding of gifts in young people.
I thank God for my pastor who recognize those unfolding gifts within me, and encouraged me,
and gave me opportunities to serve.

As parents and pastors see the natural gifts developing in their young people, they should be praying always
for the spiritual gift to be given from God.
If that is imparted and the young person exercises this in one of the many means of service within the church,
then the young man should be encouraged to think of divine service in special ways.
If the congregation is satisfied that the young man is so endowed and let the church send him awayfor further training.

Many young men have been discouraged when older persons have spoken with discouragement
and rebuffed the would be servant of God.
How gracious are those within the church who have not embittered youth in its early enthusiasms and passion.
Timothy was urged not to let that flame die down, but to fan the fire and keep it glowing.

2. The resources of the spirit – verse 7

"God gave us."

After Paul reminded Timothy of his initial call to serve Christ, he now tells of the resources available for the Christian witness.
Here is his exhortation to preserve and continue in the faith without wavering.
The strain and tension of the pastoral office cannot be minimized.
There are many who crack under the strain.
There are many who endure without any relief or joy in their tasks.

Paul desires for Timothy to have a strong and virile ministry so that his words take on a new meaning of hope
and confidence to spur him on, and never lose heart in the midst of the struggle.

Timothy is reminded here that everything he has is God-given.
This is statutory for the ministry.
One of the perils of standing in the holy place is to imagine that as a pastor-preacher this has come about
by one's own toil and work.
Paul is saying that it is nothing of the sort.

This is God-given – the gift of natural ability, the gifts of the spiritual grace, and the gifts of the opportunityto minister.

It is so easy to be "faint-hearted" in the work.
The feeling of fearfulness can readily over take even the strongest.
There are movements of the soul.

Once in a while the servant of God is caught in the gusts of temptation and in the reaction of weakness.
Then he is in danger of being afraid – afraid that he will fail, and thus lose heart by being discouraged.
Elijah experienced this as we read in 1 Kings 17-19, but Paul had a cheerful word to help young Timothy
who did not need to fall into the trap of the devil.
The spirit is not one of faintheartedness, but of power and love and of self-mastery.

These three expressions of the spirit of man are reflections of the divine enduement through the Holy Spirit.

(1) Power is the dynamic quality which recharges the inner life with fortitude and strength during the ordeal.

Timothy was not called to be a weakling.
Sometimes Christian service demands the heroic, if not in physical sacrifices, certainly in moral and spiritual stamina.
No coward is called to this task.
Fear can overtake anyone, but there is power to overcome the worst enemy of the soul.
A trained soldier might well tremble when he engages in the first battle, but only in that experience is he tempered
and made strong as he uses his powers trained for that occasion.

(2) Love is the emotional strength of devotion which is the possession of the young pastor, Timothy.

Having become a disciple through the Christian faith given to him he also expressed that faith in love to God
and love to others.
The love of God filled his heart, and this brought divine strength.
He might feel sick at heart as he looked out on the heathen world, but he would not imagine the work futile
and in vain when the divine love constrained him.

(3) Sound mind is the control of the Holy Spirit over the human spirit.

This implies a disciplined mind and life.
No man can serve in the struggle as Timothy did without having this great-gift.
It took courage for the young pastor to shepherd his people and lead them in the heathen environment of Ephesus.
Timothy knew this self-control and mastery as he stood in the evil day.
Thus he was fearless and unashamed as a witness.

3. The relevance of the testimony, verses 8-10

"Be not ashamed."

Further counsel by Paul linked the resources available to Timothy with the fact that his testimony and witness had relevance.
To be ashamed was to be weak and cowardly.
It was unthinkable that Timothy would fail his Lord.
Our Lord's testimony was set before him as the standard.
Our Lord's life and teaching touched his life at every level.
The record was clear about that life which was despised by his enemies but loved by those who accepted it
and found in Christ their salvation

Paul also was linked in devotion and suffering as he ministered for Christ.
This was further proof of the power of the gospel.
In that gospel lay the power to save people.
Timothy had also seen this power at work.
In his own life he had come to know the Saviour.
He had seen Paul endure for the faith during the most severe sufferings and persecutions.

Now he had been called with a holy calling to engage in the service of the same Master.
Timothy so that this divine experience was not something he had achieved through his own efforts – "Not according
to our works
He acknowledged gladly as Paul stated it that everything was "according to the divine purpose and grace … in Christ Jesus
before times eternal

A true man of God who has been placed into the ministry of the gospel knows that he is there because God put him there.
All the human forces and the circumstantial events were only part of the divine providence which has appointed
him to this end.

Here is the all-sufficient reason for the testimony of Timothy as a man in whose life God had done unusual things
through His grace.
He could now lead his people in the knowledge and conviction that he had known the divine working in his own life.
That Saviour who operated so graciously was the one who had "abolished death, and brought life and immortality to light
through the gospel

The fact of the death and resurrection of Christ was the keystone of the arch of triumph.
He did not need to be ashamed of this as it was relevant to life.
It brought salvation from sin.
It brought deliverance from evil habits.
It turned the light on the dark unknown beyond death to bring hope and assurance of life eternal.

4. The reliance of the witness, verses 11

"I was appointed."

Paul's words are striking as he relates his sure contact with divine grace.
As he encourages Timothy, he recalls his own ordination and call to ministry under Christ.
Then he describes the threefold ministry wrapped up in that transfiguring hour.
Timothy could be encouraged when he was told how Paul received his divine commission to serve his Lord and Master.

(1) A preacher is the general term to describe the major work in which he was engaged.

This has the ideal of the herald, the man with the trumpet who proclaims to others the message that he bears.
He is a messenger of the King.
Paul had mentioned that he was "a prisoner of the Lord" and therefore was on call to "suffer hardship" for the sake
of the gospel.
All this was part of the task of the herald.

(2) An apostle is the term for one who is sent under orders.

This is the missionary vision given to God's servant.
Paul was appointed as the missionary to the Gentiles.
It is true he had gone to his Jewish brethren at every opportunity.
But finally he came to accept the special commission to blaze the trail for Christ throughout the Roman world.
He did this at the cost of much suffering.

(3) A teacher is the designation of work to be done on behalf of those who came out of heathenism in the light of the gospel.

They needed to be instructed in the Christian faith, and Paul did this.
Paul had exceptional knowledge of the Christian gospel and shared this with those to whom he ministered.
He also talked by his writings in the Letters that he sent everywhere.
In these three designations Paul is seen as a unique servant of God.

Paul claimed that he was "appointed" which suggest an act of God in a special way.
He was placed there, and set apart for this task as no other.
Having received his marching orders, Paul never wavered in the conviction that this was so.
He was not timid when he confessed his indebtedness to Christ.
This was the spirit he he sought to inculcate in young Timothy concerning the ministry.

As a pastor, Timothy could also know this divine calling and placement for service.
Such a man is not easily moved when he can rely on the divine appointment.
No other task will side-track him from this, the greatest of all services.

5. The recompense of the trust, verses 12-14

"Guard through the Spirit."

For Timothy to be a true witness he needed finally to learn from Paul that God had entrusted him with a priceless gift.
Twice Paul speaks of that which was "committed" – first to himself, and then to Timothy.
The intent is the same in each case.
Paul saw the ministry of witnessing as linked to this wondrous truth that he "knew Christ in whom he believed."
This was something Christ would guard well – even Paul's faith and Paul's committal of himself – against the day
of victory and the coming kingdom.

And to "guard the deposit" was Paul's assurance that what he had deposited with his Lord would not be lost.
All of Paul's life and labor, all his service and devotion was placed in that safekeeping.

Because of this conviction Paul now urges Timothy to do two things.

(1) Hold the pattern of sound words.

Timothy was told to keep safe the gospel in its doctrine and ethic.
The words are described as "sound" and this carries with it the ideal of "healthful" and "beautiful" words.
The gospel words carry with them the healing of the sick mind and the deliverance from sin.
Salvation is wholeness and completeness whereby the whole life is given soundless.

(2) That good thing… committed.

Even as Paul spoke (verse 12) of depositing his life into the bank of heaven, so now another deposit
or committal is made to Timothy. (Verse 14)

A pastor must guard well what Christ entrusts with him.
The gospel is part of the trust.
The teaching of the church is in this.
The ministry in all its forms is described as a trust from God.
Timothy must guard well this valuable deposit.

To keep and hold fast was not to be done in his own strength and by his limited resources.
The Holy Spirit is there to assist because the same Spirit indwells the Christian.
No pastor can engage in his ministry without the ministry of the Holy Spirit.

Any pastor attempting to work in his own strength and with human resources would soon find himself
inadequate for the task and would soon be shown up as a failure.
The divine resources are always available, so Paul tells Timothy.

Thus the work of Timothy is seen to have its recompense and reward.
This is not in any sense worldly success or monetary accretions.
There is a deeper level of satisfaction in the pastoral ministry.
There are the lonely people who have found the presence and power of God.
There are the defeated young lives who have found victory once more through the platitude of divine strength.
There are the laws who have been founded by the Good Shepherd.
There are the lambs of the flock who have been taught and nurtured to maturity.

In "faith and love" this work continues today.

Like Timothy, young men enter upon their ministry with the enthusiasm and zeal, and then find discouragement and setbacks.
It is then that a Paul is needed, and is often available to bring cheer and good hope again.

In the day of the ordeal no one is free from obstacles and tests.
This Letter in this section is full of good cheer to the lonely pastor or church leader who seeks to be a witness for Christ.
He need not be ashamed of the Lord.

As Paul put it in verse 12, "I am persuaded that He is able…"

There is the crux of the victory over adverse circumstances.
He is able, cries Paul to Timothy.
Witnessing is not only possible, it is actually achieved without fear!

This concludes this section.

Next is Timothy 2:8-15; 3:14-17 which is of an "approved workman."