The Pastoral Epistles: 2 Timothy 1 (1)
Pray Psalm 71.1-3.
In You, O LORD, I put my trust;
Let me never be put to shame.
Deliver me in Your righteousness, and cause me to escape;
Incline Your ear to me, and save me.
Be my strong refuge,
To which I may resort continually;
You have given the commandment to save me,
For You are my rock and my fortress.
Read and meditate on 2 Timothy 1.1-5.
1. In what sense was Timothy Paul’s “son”? How would you describe Paul’s attitude toward Timothy, as you see it in these verses?
2. What is “genuine” faith?
Paul’s second epistle to Timothy is much more personal in tone. The first was to Timothy the pastor, so that he might work hard at setting the churches in Ephesus in order (1 Tim. 3.15). The second is to Timothy the beloved son. We would expect to see more of Paul’s heart for Timothy here, as we saw more of his heart for the Lord’s churches in 1 Timothy.
The promise of life is an important phrase. It relates both to the eternal life that we will know forever with our Lord in glory, and to the increasing realization of that life which is promised in the present. Paul’s calling as an apostle was “according to” that promise – that he might realize more of it, and that he might help others do the same. We can assume this is his intent for Timothy, Paul’s son in the faith – that he might increase in the knowledge of God and Christ, which is eternal life. So the concern here is for Timothy the disciple, and not so much Timothy the pastor.
To increase in discipleship, Timothy will need grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father and Jesus Christ the Lord (v. 2).
Verses 3-5 are a strong affirmation of Timothy’s faith, reviewing both his spiritual pedigree and Paul’s own observations. Why was this necessary? For the simple reason that we are all under attack at all times by spiritual forces that sow doubt, unbelief, and fear; and we all therefore need to be reminded that we are people of faith in Jesus. Recalling how we came to faith, and the evidence of the faith that God has brought forth in our lives is a good way to be affirmed and to keep on keeping on in faith. If Timothy needed this, you and I do, too, and every believer in your Personal Mission Field.
Timothy demonstrated genuine faith. The Greek word is “unhypocritical” and it’s the same word Paul used in 1 Timothy 1.5. Genuine faith issues in good works from a mind anchored in truth, a heart overflowing with love, and a conscience that is pure (v. 3) of all corrupting influences. Paul’s love for Timothy is evident in his word of encouragement, prayers, and longing to be with his son in the faith.
Paul shows us the heart of a true soul friend, and thus encourages us to follow his example.
1. Why is it important for believers to encourage one another in their faith? What can we learn from Paul about how to do that?
2. How would you counsel a new believer to always strive for genuine faith? If our faith is not genuine, what is it?
3. How can you see that Paul was not only Timothy’s father in the faith, but his true soul friend as well? To whom can you show this kind of friendship today?
Timothy’s sonship to Paul is that of the soul, not that generated by nature, and is based on the spiritual promise of life. Theodoret of Cyr (393-466), Interpretation of the Second Letter to Timothy
Use me today, Lord, to encourage other believers in their walk with and work for you. Help me to…
Pray Psalm 71.1-3.
Use these verses to meditate on the great privilege of prayer, and to thank God that He is always near, and always ready to hear you when you pray.
Sing Psalm 71.1-3.
Psalm 71.1-3 (Solid Rock: My Hope is Built on Nothing Less)
In You, O Lord, I refuge claim; O let me never be ashamed.
In righteousness deliver me; incline Your ear and hear my plea.
Refrain v. 3
A Rock of habitation be; command Your Word to rescue me;
my Rock and Fortress ever be!
T. M. Moore
Men, we encourage you to follow Paul’s exhortation and to join our Men’s Prayer Movement. Watch this brief video (click here), then download the brochure that accompanies it. Get started praying more consistently, and enlisting other men to pray, by ordering two copies of If Men Will Pray, a fuller exposition of 1 Timothy 2. 1-8, by clicking here. Another excellent way is to register for the course, “Parameters of Prayer,” at The Ailbe Seminary. It’s free, and it will definitely change your life.
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Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. All psalms for singing adapted from The Ailbe Psalter. All quotations from Church Fathers from Ancient Christian Commentary Series, General Editor Thomas C. Oden (Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 2006).All psalms for singing are from The Ailbe Psalter (available by clicking here).