1 Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God according to the promise of the life which is in Christ Jesus, 2 To Timothy, my beloved child: Grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.

3 I thank God whom I serve with a clear conscience, as did my fathers, when I remember you constantly in my prayers. 4 As I remember your tears, I long night and day to see you, that I may be filled with joy. 5 I am reminded of your sincere faith, a faith that dwelt first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice and now, I am sure, dwells in you.

6 Hence I remind you to rekindle the gift of God that is within you through the laying on of my hands; 7 for God did not give us a spirit of timidity but a spirit of power and love and self-control. 8 Do not be ashamed then of testifying to our Lord, nor of me his prisoner, but share in suffering for the gospel in the power of God, 9 who saved us and called us with a holy calling, not in virtue of our works but in virtue of his own purpose and the grace which he gave us in Christ Jesus ages ago, 10 and now has manifested through the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus, who abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel.

11 For this gospel I was appointed a preacher and apostle and teacher, 12 and therefore I suffer as I do. But I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed, and I am sure that he is able to guard until that Day what has been entrusted to me.

13 Follow the pattern of the sound words which you have heard from me, in the faith and love which are in Christ Jesus; 14 guard the truth that has been entrusted to you by the Holy Spirit who dwells within us.

15 You are aware that all who are in Asia turned away from me, and among them Phygelus and Hermogenes. 16 May the Lord grant mercy to the household of Onesiphorus, for he often refreshed me; he was not ashamed of my chains, 17 but when he arrived in Rome he searched for me eagerly and found me -- 18 may the Lord grant him to find mercy from the Lord on that Day -- and you well know all the service he rendered at Ephesus.  Version: New Revised Standard Version

COMMENTS

General:

  • Paul's second letter to Timothy was penned shortly before the apostle's execution (4:6). He writes from prison in Rome.
  • Paul's spiritual genealogy flows into Timothy's spiritual genealogy.
    • Paul refers to his (spiritual) forefathers (1:3).
    • Timothy's genealogy moves from Lois to Eunice to Timothy (1:5).
    • When Paul became a "father" to Timothy (1:2), in a sense adopting him (Acts 16:3), Timothy's line became part of Paul's line.
  • Paul had a very close friendship with Timothy (vv.1-5).
    • He viewed him as a spiritual son.
    • He prayed for him regularly.
    • He longed to see him again.
    • He appreciates the sincerity of Timothy's faith.
  • Paul had imparted a gift to Timothy (v.6), one apparently involving leadership, preaching, and boldness. He reminds him not to neglect this gift, but to fan it into flame.
    • God's Holy Spirit leads us to a life of power and love and discipline.
    • When the Spirit is guiding us, we will not be ashamed (v.8; see also v.12,16).
    • We shouldn't be ashamed because of who Christ is and what he has done for us (vv.9-10).
    • As someone put it, "The Spirit of Christ always insists on making Christ known."
  • Paul shares personally (vv.11ff).
    • He is not ashamed, nor unwilling to suffer, because of his relationship with Jesus Christ. So should Timothy be.
    • Timothy must recall the teaching he'd received from Paul, and hold on to it tenaciously.
    • Paul has been abandoned by the Christians of Asia.
      • This refers to the principal leaders -- not necessarily to every disciple in the province -- and those they influenced (or failed to rally behind the apostle). See 4:16.
      • Phygelus and Hermogenes, mentioned only here in the N.T., are probably leaders (former elders?) who have turned their backs on Paul. They are scandalized that the apostle is in prison.
      • In contrast, Onesiphorus (see also 4:19) sought Paul out, found him, and refreshed his spirit. Just as he had helped Paul in Ephesus (the leading city of Asia), so he had followed Paul to Rome in order to stand by him. We all need friends like this, who stay with us through thick and thin.
  • To sum up, it is time for Timothy to take a stand. Just as Paul challenged him at the end of 1 Timothy, once more Paul calls his faithful comrade in ministry to speak and live boldly for the Lord -- especially now that his mentor is incarcerated, and with only a short time to live (4:9.21).

Advanced:

  • Paul is in Rome (as the letter states), but it is not explicitly stated that Timothy is in Ephesus. I think this is likely (1:18, 4:12).
  • Asia (v.15) is the province of Asia, not Asia Minor (Anatolia or modern Turkey) -- much less the continent of Asia!
  • For a full study of the three pastoral epistles, click here.

Thought questions:

  • Do I have a "Timothy" in my life?
  • Is my Christian life characterized by power, love, and discipline? In which of these three areas am I strongest? most in need of improvement?
  • Am I like Onesiphorus? Do I stay at my task until I have succeeded, or do I give up too easily? And am I equally loyal to my brothers in Christ?