Do not be Ashamed of the Testimony of Jesus Christ.
Greeting: 2 Timothy 1:1.
Paul begins this letter with a standard greeting. " I am Paul an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God ''. He was chosen by the will of God to be an apostle. Paul testifies of himself as “the least of all saints, the least of the apostles and the chief of sinners” (Ephesians 3:8;
1 Corinthians 15:9; 1 Tim 1:15). He was converted and commissioned by Christ to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ (Acts 9:15). Paul had all qualifications of an Apostle. He was called, appointed by the risen Christ (1 Corinthians 12:8-11, Acts 1:22; 2 Corinthians 12:12). Paul is an apostle by divine initiative (Galatians 1:15). No one can take this honor for himself. All servants of God must have the confidence that they are called and commissioned by the Lord. Natural gift and ability will not qualify spiritual leadership. The Lord is looking for spiritual leaders in every generation. In his greeting Paul addresses Jesus as Christ Jesus three times. When other apostles speak of Jesus as Jesus Christ, Paul usually calls him Christ Jesus because he was converted and commissioned by the glorified risen Savior. Paul was called to proclaim the life promised through faith in Christ. It is not only the lifegiving gospel but also the life transforming gospel. “For whoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved” (Romans 10:13). This is the preacher’s message and the hope of this world. It is our highest calling to preach the gospel and not to be ashamed of Jesus Christ.
Beloved Son in Faith: 2 Timothy 1:2.
Paul encourages Timothy, his beloved son in faith to remain faithful in the ministry while facing opposition. Paul was his spiritual father. Most probably, Timothy got saved during Paul’s first missionary journey (Acts 14). During Paul’s second missionary journey, he selected Timothy to become his travel companion (Acts 16:1-5). Later Timothy became one of the leaders of the early church. Timothy had a good testimony among the believers (Acts 16:2). He was a fellow worker (Romans 16:21). There was no one like Timothy who cared about the church (Phil 2:20). He was like minded, who was concerned for the welfare of other believers. He was young, physically weak and naturally timid (1 Timothy 4:12; 5:22; 2 Timothy 1:7; 1 Corinthians 16:10, 11). Yet he was useful to the Lord because he was available. God is not looking for our ability but for our availability. Paul wishes Timothy grace, mercy and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus the Lord. Only in Paul’s pastoral epistles, these three blessings appear. Grace for trails (2 Corinthians 12:9), mercy for failures ( Psalms 103:8-10) and peace in times of danger and doubts (John 14:27). These are words of encouragement. Verse 2 shows that Jesus Christ is coequal with the Father. Paul shows his deep affection to Timothy in his greeting. Paul had greater appreciation for young Timothy and was confident that the Lord would use him for his glory. All Christians are blessed with grace and peace to live a life that pleases God and to bring blessings to others.
Prayer for Timothy: 1:3-5.
Paul encouraged Timothy by praying for him. He prayed for Timothy day and night. Paul was a man of prayer. What an encouragement to know others are praying for us. Our ministry must be characterized by prayer. Paul had a great burden for Timothy and his ministry. Prayer is more than asking for needs. Paul's prayer included thanksgiving and adoration. Prayer is the believer's life line to God. A praying church will be a dynamic church. Timothy’s effectiveness in the ministry must be attributed to Paul’s prayer for him. Prayer is not supplemental but fundamental in the ministry. Do we pray for the blessings of the ministry among us? Paul encourages Timothy by reminding him of his spiritual heritage. He was thankful for his sincere faith in Christ and his love toward him. Encouragement must come before exhortation in any ministry. The first thing mentioned about Paul was that he was praying to God (Acts 9:11). Thankfulness is not characteristic of our days (2 Timothy 3:1). Timothy’s faith was influenced by his grandmother and his mother. His faith was a sincere faith. Faith accepts what God reveals in His Word and submit to his will. It was a faith in the person and the work of Christ. This faith comes by grace through the hearing of the Word (Romans 10:17). This is a life transforming work for the believers. The ground of our faith is Christ. And faith is trusting God regarding his promises. It is simply the empty hand that reaches out to receive the gift from God. Faith is not, giving mental assent to some doctrines. It is believing in the promises of God and committing us to the one who made the promises. Faith is seeing the unseen. It is a privilege to have godly parents. Paul’s prayer was from his clear conscience. Clear conscience is the result of confessing our sins to God (Hebrews 9:14; 1 John 1:9). There is only one God and one mediator between God and men Christ Jesus (1 Timothy 2:4). What a privilege to have a praying church behind the ministry.
Paul’s Exhortation: 1:6.
Paul encourages Timothy to remain faithful in his ministry by stirring up the spiritual gift he has received. Paul in his first letter exhorted Timothy, not to neglect his spiritual gift. It was made known to him by inspired prophets and by laying of hands by elders (1 Timothy 4:14). The laying of hands was only a symbolic action. Every Christian is gifted (1 Corinthians 12:7, 11). It is the spiritual responsibility of every believer to know their gift and use it for the edification of the church. We are gifted to serve others (1 Corinthians 12:6-13). Gifts are given to be used and they are not to be put under a bushel or buried (Matthew 5:15; 25:25). When gifts are not used by Christians, the Holy Spirit is quenched, suppressed, despised and belittled (1 Thessslonians 5:19, 20). This is an exhortation given to all believers. Many believers do not exercise their spiritual gift due to discouragement and fear of failure. We should avail every opportunity God gives to use our gift to minister to others. The leadership in the local church should encourage believers to exercise their gifts for the edification of other believers.
The Spirit of Power, Love and Self-control: 1:7.
Paul encourages Timothy by reminding that God has not given us a Spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love and self control (2 Timothy 1:7). Timothy was young, physically weak and probably timid in nature (1 Timothy 4:12; 1 Corinthians 16:10, 11). God can’t use fearful people (Judges 7:3). Fear comes from Satan and it must be resisted (Matthew 16:23). Jesus said to Peter, get behind me Satan! You are a hindrance. We are exhorted to humble ourselves to God and resist the devil. Then Satan will flee from us (James 4:7). Paul wanted Timothy to know that God has given us the power to serve Christ. The disciples waited for the Holy Spirit to empower them for service (Acts 1:8). Our ministry should be the demonstration of Spirit and power of God (1 Corinthians 2:4). Also God has given us the Spirit of love. This love motivates us to serve others sacrificially. Perfect love expels all fear (1 John 4:18). Without love our gifts become unprofitable and offensive to others (1 Corinthians 13:1-3). God has not given us a spirit of confusion but of sound mind. The word "sound mind" here means, disciplined or self controlled mind. A Spirit filled person is a self controlled person. He is sound minded and able to make balanced judgments, contrary to what we observe in unbelievers.
Timothy, Do not to be Ashamed of the Gospel of Christ: 1:8-10.
Paul exhorts Timothy, not to be ashamed of the proclamation of the gospel nor of Paul, a prisoner for Christ. He should be ready to suffer with Paul for the gospel by the power of God
(2 Timothy 1:8). Gospel is the good news that God saves sinners who could not save themselves. Gospel saves us from the penalty and pollution of sin. At that time preaching the gospel was a crime and Christians were imprisoned for that. Many were afraid of persecution and turned away from Paul (4:10). Paul was not ashamed of the gospel (Romans 1:16; 2 Timothy 1:12). Paul gives the motivating description of the gospel to Timothy. God saved us and called us to live a holy life. He did this, not because we deserved it, but because of his mercy. This gospel was planned from the beginning of time (2 Timothy 1:9). It is now manifested through the appearance of Jesus Christ. When the kindness and the love of God appeared through Christ, He saved us (Titus 3:4-5). He died to abolish the death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel (2 Timothy 1:11). He has delivered us from the guilt and the power of sin. One day we will be delivered from the presence of sin. Salvation is a free gift of God. We are saved by grace alone, through faith alone and in Christ alone. Christ broke the power of death and brought life and immortality through the gospel. The fear of death kept humanity under the bondage of Satan. Christians are free from that fear because they are in Christ (Romans 8:1). Now they are being saved from the power of sin. When Christ returns, they will be saved even from the presence of sin. In the Old Testament period, people had some understanding of life after death but only through Christ's death and resurrection it is fully revealed. Are you saved by believing in the Lord Jesus Christ (John 3:16).
Gospel is the Sacred Treasure: 2 Timothy 1:11-14.
Paul encourages Timothy to know that it is their high calling to preach the gospel. Paul was divinely appointed to be a preacher, an apostle and a teacher of Gospel (2 Timothy 1:11). There is nothing greater than to be a servant of Christ. Paul was sure of his calling and commissioning. He had seen the risen Christ, received the divine commission to be an apostle and was inspired to write the scriptures. The responsibility of an apostle is to formulate the New Testament truth and pass it on to others. Preacher is the one who proclaims the gospel with insight, clarity and relevance. Preaching is not less than teaching. Preaching included teaching plus exhortation. It is a divine dialog between God and man. An apostle is one who has been sent by Christ with power and authority. Teacher gives understanding or insight of the truth. Teacher explains the truth in such a way that others can understand it. He explains the truth clearly, plainly and accurately. What A humbling and awesome responsibility! Paul knew beyond any doubt that this gospel is committed to him. He also knew that Christ is able to guard what has been committed to him (1:12). He was confident that one day Christ would reward him for his faithful service at the judgment seat of Christ. Paul exhorts Timothy to hold on to the healthy teaching he received from him. Christian life should be a life of faith and love. This is not only the love towards God but also towards the lost and dying world. “Love” is Christian’s job description (1 Corinthians 13; Colossians 1:4). Timothy's responsibility is to guard the truth by the Holy Spirit who dwells in him. All believers are in-dwelt by the Holy Spirit (Romans 8:9). We can’t do that in our own strength. It is a tragedy that the Word of God is compromised by many preachers. We can guard the truth by believing it firmly and proclaiming it faithfully. We can remain true to the Word only when there is a conscious dependence on the Holy Spirit.
Beware of False Teachers: 2 Tim 1:15.
Paul warns Timothy against false teachers. In order to encourage him, Paul gives two examples. One is a warning and the other is an encouragement. All in Asia turned away from me (1:15). This is one of the saddest verses in the New Testament. Maybe they feared for their own safety. They were instructed by the apostle but they left their first love (Rev 2:4). Paul was discouraged that these professing Christians deserted him when he needed them the most. We do not know much about Phygelus and Hermogenes. They were well known for their apostasy. It seems their turning away was more doctrinal than personal. Paul charges Timothy to beware of such men and their false teaching. Despite apostasy and discouragement, Paul was not ashamed of the gospel because it has transformed his life. May God strengthen us to remain faithful to his Word. The Gospel provides grace not only for forgiveness but also for our daily transformation.
Example of Onesiphorus: 2 Timothy 1:16-18.
Paul encourages Timothy to follow the example of Onesiphorus. He is a faithful servant of God who often refreshed Paul. God is faithful that he provides comfort and encouragement to his servants in times of need. Only twice we read about Onesiphorus (2 Timothy 1:16; 4:19). His name means "Useful". He often refreshed Paul when he was at Ephesus (1:18). "He was not ashamed of my chain" (2 Timothy 1:16). When he came to Rome, he searched Paul everywhere until he found him (1:17). He was a faithful and loyal servant of Christ. His faith was a committed faith, consistent faith, initiating faith and determined faith. Paul prayed that the Lord would reward Onesiphorus for his faithful service at the judgment seat of Christ. Also Paul prayed that God may show special kindness to his family who sacrificed much for the sake of the gospel. What an evangelistic family! The evangelists often travel to preach the gospel and miss their family. Very few people realize the problem and pressure they face. Every believer has a part in the advancement of the gospel. Someone has said, "Cleverness, eloquence and orthodoxy will be forgotten but an act of kindness done in Christ’s name will be remembered for generations to come". What lessons can we take away from the example of Onesiphorus? You don’t have to be famous to minister others. Secondly true commitment has no boundary. Commitment always starts with us and not with others. Committed people will never ask what they get. Commitment takes initiative and determination to succeed. It is easy to be ashamed of the gospel in this pluralistic society. But God wants us to be loyal to him and to his message. We should not be ashamed to identify with his messengers. God is not unjust to forget the labor of love which you have shown to his servants (Hebrews 6:10). A gospel centered life will endure shame and suffering for the gospel. What a blessing to serve Christ!