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Second Letter to Timothy
Theme: Afflictions of the Gospel
This Second Letter to Timothy was most likely written from Rome, when Paul was a prisoner there (2 Tim.1:8), and as most think, a very short time before his death, for he tells us in (2 Tim.4:7-8), that he was ready to be offered, he had finished his course, the time of his departure was at hand. It seems this letter was written about sixteen years after the writing of the first one. The contents of it is much the same as of the first one; which was to keep on encouraging and urging Timothy to be faithful in his ministry, to stand firm in the faith, to be diligent in his work; to avoid all conflicting words and perverse arguments. Paul also admonishes (cautions, warns) Timothy, that the latter times were likely to be yet more dangerous, and therefore advises him to prepare for hardship and persecutions, submitting his own example to him, both as to doctrine and as to suffering.
In this chapter, after the salutation, Paul expresses his great affection for Timothy, and highly commends and praises him, encouraging and urging him to various things relating to his office, as a preacher of the Gospel. Paul concludes by taking notice of the kindness shown to Timothy by Onesiphorus. The inscription and salutation are in verses 1-2, followed by the foreword to the epistle, in which Paul testifies of his great love to Timothy, and praises him by declaring his thankfulness to God, that he had reason always to remember him in his prayers. Paul had a deep desire to see Timothy again, and had shed many tears for him that his joy might be filled; and by taking notice of his genuine faith, the same that had dwelt in his ancestors.
Paul then proceeds to urge him to exercise and improve his ministerial gift; to show a firmness of mind, and a persistent spirit in the cause of Christ; and to suffer cheerfully for the sake of it (verses 6-8). In order to move and encourage Timothy to do this, Paul gives a summary of the Gospel, as containing in it the great doctrines of salvation, and eternal life, according to the free grace of God through Jesus Christ (verses 9-10).
Introduction (2 Timothy 1:1-7)
2 Timothy 1:1 Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, according to the promise of life which is in Christ Jesus, (KJV)
Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ . . . (Rom.1:1).
By the will of God . . . Paul was called to be an apostle in accordance with the Divine will and purpose Gal.1:1).
According to the promise of life which is in Christ Jesus . . . in agreement with the great Promise of eternal life through the One and Only Saviour of all mankind. Paul was called to be an apostle to carry out the great purpose of human salvation (Eph.3:6). The Gentiles: (Rom.8:15-17; Gal.3:26-29; 4:5-7).
God has made a Promise of life to ALL mankind, Jews and Gentiles, red, yellow, black or white, through faith in the Lord Jesus, and it was to this, that Paul was called to the apostleship.
How do you accept a Promise from God? By faith! That is the ONLY way anyone can obtain eternal life. God offers eternal life to you as a gift (Rom.3:24; 6:23; Eph.2:8-9). You accept a gift by reaching out and taking it! You receive eternal life by believing God. The Lord Jesus GIVES you eternal life when you believe God (1 Jn.5:10-13), and TRUST Christ Jesus as Saviour because He paid the penalty of your sin. Jesus offers you Heaven (Jn.14:2; 1 Pet.1:4) on the foundation of your faith and trust in Him. When you believe Him and come His way, you honor Him. The "promise of life which is in Christ Jesus" makes it clear that JESUS is the only way you can get eternal life in Heaven!
2 Timothy 1:2 To Timothy, my dearly beloved son: Grace, mercy, and peace, from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord. (KJV)
The salutation is the same as that in (1 Tim.1:2).
2 Timothy 1:3 I thank God, whom I serve from my forefathers with pure conscience, that without ceasing I have remembrance of thee in my prayers night and day; (KJV)
I thank God, whom I serve from my forefathers . . . Paul was born a Jew, and was educated in the knowledge of the true God, and the proper way of worshipping Him.
With pure conscience . . . Paul always tried to please God, even when through ignorance he persecuted the Church (Acts 9:1-2).
Without ceasing I have remembrance of thee in my prayers night and day . . . Paul thanks God that he has continual remembrance of Timothy in his prayers. It is a very rare thing in today’s church, that a man mainly thanks God and prays for others. And yet this is our greatest commands from Jesus. Matthew 22:36-40 Master, which is the great commandment in the law? 37 Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. 38 This is the first and great commandment. 39 And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. 40 On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets. (KJV)
2 Timothy 1:4 Greatly desiring to see thee, being mindful of thy tears, that I may be filled with joy; (KJV)
Greatly desiring to see thee . . . (2 Tim.4:6,9,21). It was probably because of this earnest desire to see Timothy that this letter was written.
Being mindful of thy tears . . . referring to the tears Timothy had shed when he departed from Paul. The incident to which he refers is not mentioned; but nothing is more likely than that Timothy would weep when separated from such a father and friend. It is not wrong to weep heart-felt tears for such things.
That I may be filled with joy . . . by seeing Timothy again. It is easy to see what joy it would give Paul, then a prisoner, and forsaken by nearly all his friends, and about to die, to see a friend whom he loved as he did this young man. There are many times when a pure and warm friendship between an old and young man, and that the warmth of true friendship is not lessened by the nearness of death.
2 Timothy 1:5 When I call to remembrance the unfeigned faith that is in thee, which dwelt first in thy grandmother Lois, and thy mother Eunice; and I am persuaded that in thee also. (KJV)
When I call to remembrance the unfeigned faith that is in thee . . . the sincere faith of Timothy (1 Tim.1:5; 4:6).
Which dwelt first in thy grandmother Lois . . . the same faith was in Lois. She was a true believer in Christ Jesus. It would seem likely from this, that Lois was the first of the family who had been converted. Acts 16:1 Then came he to Derbe and Lystra: and, behold, a certain disciple was there, named Timotheus, the son of a certain woman, which was a Jewess, and believed; but his father was a Greek: (KJV)
And in thy mother Eunice . . . Timothy’s mother Eunice was "a Jewess, and believed;" but her name is not mentioned. This indicates that Paul knew the family, and that the statement in the Letter to Timothy was not copied from the account in the Acts. Nothing is said of Timothy’s father, except that he was "a Greek," but it is implied that he was not a believer.
2 Timothy 1:6 Wherefore I put thee in remembrance that thou stir up the gift of God, which is in thee by the putting on of my hands. (KJV)
Wherefore I put thee in remembrance that thou stir up the gift of God . . . unless you stir up a fire occasionally, it has a tendency to go out. Timothy was to use all proper means to keep the flame of faith in Jesus, burning in his soul, and also his passion in the great cause to which he had been set apart. No matter how rich the gifts which God bestows on us, they do not grow of their own accord, they need to be cultivated (stirred up) by our own personal attention.
Which is in thee by the putting on of my hands . . . do not neglect the gift that is in you, which was given to you when the elders laid their hands on you.
2 Timothy 1:7 For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. (KJV)
For God hath not given us the spirit of fear . . .fear here means being fearful, cowardly or poor in spirit, just the opposite of the holy courage which should clothe pastors. Fear is NOT of the Holy Spirit, and does NOT proceed from God, but from the devil.
But of power . . . by power Paul means Christian courage and strength, not weakening in his duty because of threatening danger, but enabling him to meeting the greatest dangers and difficulties.
And of love . . . love to God, and to the souls of His people; love so strong as to compel us to be willing to lay down our lives for Christ, and for His church and people.
And of a sound mind . . . an earnest, calm and quiet mind. Clear-headedness is the gift of the Spirit. A man of caution and carefulness; a well-balanced mind under right influences; in which it sees things in their fair proportions; not easily agitated and excited. It was this state of mind which Timothy was urged to nurture; for Paul regarded it as necessary to perform the duties of his office. It is just as needful today for the minister of religion as it was then, and also any child of God.
2 Timothy 1:8 Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me his prisoner: but be thou partaker of the afflictions of the gospel according to the power of God; (KJV)
Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord . . . either the testimony of Christ Himself, or the testimony of Jesus which Timothy was obliged to give, for the ministers of Christ are to be witnesses unto Him (Acts 1:8).
Nor of me his prisoner . . . it appears that Paul was a prisoner at Rome when he wrote this. He did not want Timothy to be ashamed of him, and the doctrine he had taught, because he was a prisoner.
But be thou partaker of the afflictions of the gospel . . . meaning to be content, if God were to call Timothy to it, to take a share with me in those afflictions which I suffer for preaching and professing the Gospel, or those afflictions which are inseparable from the Gospel.
According to the power of God . . . through the power of God, for it is given to us on the behalf of Christ, as to believe, so to suffer for Christ's sake (Phil.1:29).
2 Timothy 1:9 Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began, (KJV)
Who hath saved us . . . only Jesus can bring us into a state of salvation, and give us a right to it.
And called us with an holy calling . . . in order for us to obtain it, He has to call us (Rom.8:28-30; 9:24; Eph.4:1,4; 1 Thes.2:12; 4:7; 1 Pet.2:9; 5:10; 2 Pet.1:3). He then renews and justifies us (Rom.8:30).
Not according to our works . . . our works merit absolutely NOTHING in salvation (Eph.2:8-9).
But according to his own purpose and grace . . . only God’s love and grace offer and declare eternal salvation to us, and is the only means to supply it.
Which was given us in Christ Jesus . . . eternal salvation can be obtained ONLY through the merits and intercession of Jesus Christ (Jn.14:6; Acts 4:12).
Before the world began . . . God’s Plan of salvation was planned before the foundation of the world was laid, and so could NOT be according to our works, but has to be by His is own grace (Eph.1:4; Tit.3:5). Before the foundation of the world (Mat.25:34; Jn.17:24; Acts 15:18; 1 Pet.1:20; Rev.13:8; 17:80.
2 Timothy 1:10 But is now made manifest by the appearing of our Saviour Jesus Christ, who hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel: (KJV)
But is now made manifest by the appearing of our Saviour Jesus Christ . . . eternal life in Christ was in a great degree hidden in the Old Testament, but the Coming of Christ made it plain.
Who hath abolished death . . . by the death of Jesus on the cross, He took away the sting and power of death (1 Cor.15:55-56), delivering us from the second death (Rev.2:11; 20:6,14; 21:8).
And hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel . . . only through the doctrine of the Gospel has He made the Promises of eternal life simple and clear. Even though the Promises existed under the Law, yet they were vaguely revealed, laying out of the sight of most men and women, but are now are brought to light, so that he who desires may read them in the Gospel.
2 Timothy 1:11 Whereunto I am appointed a preacher, and an apostle, and a teacher of the Gentiles. (KJV)
Whereunto I am appointed a preacher . . . for publishing the gracious counsel and purpose of God which were made manifest by Christ's Coming. Eternal life was by the Gospel brought to light, and Paul was appointed to preach it.
And an apostle . . . Jesus had sent Paul immediately as His messenger to speak it (Acts 9).
And a teacher of the Gentiles . . . and hath made the instructing of the heathen (Gentiles) Paul’s special job (1 Tim.2:7).
2 Timothy 1:12 For the which cause I also suffer these things: nevertheless I am not ashamed: for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day. (KJV)
For the which cause I also suffer these things . . . the reason Paul was in prison was because he preached the Gospel, or for the teaching of the Gentiles. Paul was accused by the Jews as a rebellious person stirring up the people, and it was the Jews who delivered Paul to the Romans, and by them imprisoned (Acts 28:17).
Nevertheless I am not ashamed . . . but Paul was not ashamed of his chains.
For I know whom I have believed . . . Paul believed God, and committed himself to God. Does your faith allow you to commit your soul to Jesus?
And am persuaded that he is able . . . Paul had NO doubt concerning God's ability to keep his soul safe until Judgment Day. Paul committed his soul to Jesus, have you done this?
To keep that which I have committed unto him against that day . . . I believe eternal life is meant here. Our soul is eternal, and our eternal salvation is in Christ's keeping (1 Pet.4:19). Paul entrusted God with all his concerns in this life and that which is to come, and he was sure, he knew Jesus was able to secure them.
For I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day. . . marvelous words! Thank You Jesus!
2 Timothy 1:13 Hold fast the form of sound words, which thou hast heard of me, in faith and love which is in Christ Jesus. (KJV)
Hold fast the form of sound words . . . sound words means nothing but the doctrine of the Gospel, which, since it is itself pure and reliable, it tends to make souls sound as to their spiritual health. Timothy was urged to keep himself sound in the values of Truth,
Which thou hast heard of me . . . which Timothy had learned from Paul.
In faith and love which is in Christ Jesus . . . faith and love must be exercised. We must never think sound words are enough without exercising faith and love in Christ as the Redeemer, and living in obedience to His commandments.
2 Timothy 1:14 That good thing which was committed unto thee keep by the Holy Ghost which dwelleth in us. (KJV)
That good thing which was committed unto thee keep . . . (1 Tim.6:20). Paul means the doctrine of the Gospel. Timothy needed to be faithful in the ministerial work.
By the Holy Ghost which dwelleth in us . . . any job in ministry work needs the assistance of the Holy Spirit, which dwells in all believers (Rom.8:9), and especially in helping pastors of the Gospel. We cannot keep our minds sound in the faith, as to the doctrine of it, nor can we keep our souls steady when we exercise faith or love, without the assistance of the Holy Spirit; which the Lord gives to them that ask Him, and it abides in them for ever (Jn.14:16; 2 Jn.1:2). Only a fool would blaspheme, grieve, resist, quench or vex the Holy Spirit of God!
2 Timothy 1:15 This thou knowest, that all they which are in Asia be turned away from me; of whom are Phygellus and Hermogenes. (KJV)
This thou knowest . . . probably as to some, Paul had a personal knowledge of their apostasy, as to others he knew it by evidence.
That all they which are in Asia be turned away from me . . . I do not think all here means every individual, but instead many, as all often means in holy writing. Some think this was the Jewish proselytes; others think it was those of Asia who accompanied Paul to Rome, and there, seeing his sufferings, apostatized. We are not told who these all were. These all, or many of them, deserted Paul, either completely casting off the Christian profession, or withdrawing themselves from any closeness with Paul, when they saw him a prisoner.
Of whom are Phygellus and Hermogenes . . . of these two apostates, no more said. It would seem that they were prominent persons, and those from whom the apostle had a right to expect better treatment. Historical traditions claim that they were of the seventy disciples (Lk.10:1,17), and, in the end, became followers of Simon Magus. I personally think this is just a guess. If we are not told, we need not know.
2 Timothy 1:16 The Lord give mercy unto the house of Onesiphorus; for he oft refreshed me, and was not ashamed of my chain: (KJV)
The Lord give mercy unto the house of Onesiphorus . . . whether Onesiphorus was at this time alive, or not, we do not know. Paul only prays for his family in this text, and saluteth them only (2 Tim.4:19). Some think he was alive, others say he was not.
For he oft refreshed me . . . meaning he showed kindness to Paul, and ministered to his wants.
And was not ashamed of my chain . . . Onesiphorus showed kindness to Paul when he was a prisoner, and was not ashamed to be known as a friend of one who was a prisoner because of Jesus. Paul was bound with a chain when a prisoner at Rome (Acts 28:20; Phil.1:13-14,16; Col.4;3,18; Philemon 1:10).
2 Timothy 1:17 But, when he was in Rome, he sought me out very diligently, and found me. (KJV)
But when he was in Rome . . . when Onesiphorus was in Rome, on private occasions,
He sought me out very diligently and found me . . . he made it his business to find Paul, and did not rest until he found him, either at an inn, or in the prison where Paul was put.
We do not know what Onesiphorus did. Maybe he was a merchant, and went to Rome on business. But when in Rome, he took pains to find the apostle, and his doing so was all the more valuable because it was not easy to find him. Not everyone would do this! This man was very kind to the great apostle Paul, will be among those to whom the Saviour will say, on Judgment day: "I was in prison, and ye came unto me," (Mat.25:36).
2 Timothy 1:18 The Lord grant unto him that he may find mercy of the Lord in that day: and in how many things he ministered unto me at Ephesus, thou knowest very well. (KJV)
The Lord grant unto him that he may find mercy of the Lord in that day . . . the day of judgment (verse 12). This proves that Onesiphorus was then alive, as Paul would NOT offer prayer for him if he were dead. The Catholics argue from this in favor of praying for the dead, assuming from (2 Tim.4:19), that Onesiphorus was then dead. But there is no evidence of that. That Passage would prove only that he was then absent from his family.
And in how many things he ministered unto me at Ephesus . . . this was the home of Onesiphorus, and his family was still there. When Paul was at Ephesus, it would seem that Onesiphorus had showed him great kindness. His affection for him did not change when he became a prisoner. True friendship, and especially that which is based on Christ Jesus, will live in all the changes of life, whether we are in prosperity or hardship; whether in a home of plenty, or in a prison.
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