2 Timothy 1

 

Notice Paul’s personal request to Timothy. The great apostle, a prisoner in Rome, writes to his spiritual son Timothy and asks him not to be ashamed of him. Like Jesus before him, Paul was about to be condemned to death as a criminal. In the world’s eyes, Paul was a man to be shunned and despised. But let Timothy not despise Paul. Rather, let him follow in Paul’s footsteps and be prepared to suffer for Christ.

9 In verses 9-10, Paul briefly interrupts his teaching in order to praise God, who has saved us through Jesus Christ (see 1 Timothy 1:1 and comment). God has not only saved us, but He has also called us to a holy life (see Ephesians 1:4; 2:10; 1 Peter 1:15-16 and comments). He has called us not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and GRACE (see Ephesians 1:4-5,11; 2:8-9 and comments). This grace was given to us before the beginning of time—that is, before the creation of the world (Ephesians 1:4).

10 This grace was first revealed in the world through the appearing of our Savior, Christ Jesus; that is, God’s grace came into the world in the person of Christ (Titus 2:11). Christ destroyed death, our last enemy (1 Corinthians 15:26). Now we no longer need to fear death (1 Corinthians 15:55-56; Hebrews 2:14-15). Jesus has brought life and immortality—that is, eternal life—to light. This eternal life, or salvation, was at first hidden from men; it was like a “mystery.” But now for all who believe, this mystery has been revealed; it has been brought to light (see Romans 16:25-26; Ephesians 3:4-5). This mystery has been brought to light through the gospel. Indeed, verses 9-10 themselves are a brief summary of the Gospel of Christ.

11 Paul can never forget how he had been appointed to be a herald and an apostle and a teacher of this great Gospel (1 Timothy 2:7). But now, Timothy must step into Paul’s place.

12 It is because of Paul’s preaching of the Gospel of Christ that he has had to suffer. However, there is nothing shameful in suffering for Christ; it is the highest privilege a man or woman can have (see 1 Peter 4:1216).

Paul knows the One in whom he has believed. He knows God personally; he has met Him! Paul has complete confidence in God. Therefore, Paul has entrusted his spirit, his soul, his salvation, and all his work and labor completely to God. Paul knows that God will guard all that Paul has entrusted to Him. God will guard it for that day—that is, for the day when Christ comes again at the end of the world. On that day, Paul will receive his full reward.

13 Paul has given to Timothy the pattern of sound teaching; he has passed on to Timothy the basic doctrines of the Christian faith. Now Timothy must hold on to that pattern and faithfully preach it and teach it to others with faith and love.

14 The pattern of sound teaching (verse 13) is the Gospel of Christ itself, which Paul here calls the good deposit. Timothy is to guard this Gospel, this deposit, from error and from false teachers. In guarding the gospel, as in preaching it, Timothy is to rely on the help of the HOLY SPIRIT.

15 Nowadays, when we read about Paul, we all agree that he was a great apostle—probably the greatest. But in Paul’s time, most people did not have that opinion. Most people despised Paul and did not accept his teaching or his authority. His own Christian brothers betrayed him. He writes here: … everyone in the province of Asia1 has deserted me (see 2 Timothy 4:16).

Christ was also deserted by His disciples (Mark 14:50). But let not such a thing happen in our churches today. Let us never desert or oppose our leaders, or speak evil of them. Great harm comes to the spiritual lives of Christians who oppose or speak against their leaders; many will even leave their faith.

Phygelus and Hermogenes were two such men. Nothing is known of them except what is written in this verse. They are remembered only because they deserted their leader Paul. Let this not be the reason that people remember us!

16-18 Instead, let us, like Onesiphorus, be remembered for our faithfulness, so that we too might find mercy on that day—the day when Christ comes again.

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