2 Timothy 1
Overview of 1 & 2 Timothy for New Testament Reading
We can all look back to mentors and teachers in our lives and the impact that they had on our values and world-view. Timothy was a young man who had the benefit of a believing mom and grandmother, plus he was discipled by the Apostle Paul in the Christian faith. These two letters, along with Titus, are known as the pastoral epistles because of their instruction for young men in the ministry of Jesus Christ. It gives us a look into the intense training system in the 1st century as the fledging church of the Living Savior got under way. Paul’s tone changes between the first and second letter as he become acutely aware of his impending earthly death for the cause of Christ. He writes the first letter probably around AD 64 right before his final imprisonment in Rome. The second letter was written from a Roman prison somewhere around AD 67, shortly before his martyrdom. These letters provide much valuable information for leaders in the church and the qualifications of being a man of God in management. As you read 2 Timothy remember that you are reading the final earthly words of a great man of God who sacrificed everything to promote the Kingdom of the Lord. Remember that you, just like Timothy, have a responsibility to commit yourself to stand courageously for the truth, knowing the Word and being empowered by His Holy Spirit to do what He has gifted you to do.
Mentors- Paul provided instruction to this young leader of the church as an example for us today. We are to train up the next generation in the truths of Christian leadership so that the work will continue to grow and prosper in Christ Jesus.
Sound Doctrine, Faith and Teaching- Paul was not writing this text strictly on church administration; instead, he was primarily preparing young Timothy to deal wisely with false teachers who were threatening the vitality and accomplishments of the true body of Christ in the Ephesian church.
Godliness and Personal Discipline- (1 Tim. 2:2) There is much practical instruction about how leaders in the church of the Living God are to act and demonstrate their walk with Christ. Holy living as examples to the brothers and sisters in the Lord is a main point in Paul’s writing in these pastoral letters. This implies a deep reverence for God and the things of God. It stresses a disciplined life that will persevere through difficulty.
Handling Controversies- We are not to devote ourselves to myths or endless genealogies, which produce controversies (1 Tim. 1:4). Controversies and quarrels about words result only in envy, strife, malicious talk, evil suspicions, and constant friction between men of corrupt minds (1 Tim. 6:4, 2 Tim. 2:23-24). The way we handle conflict is important to the Lord and to His church. 1 & 2 Timothy focus on this theme.
Trustworthy Sayings- This phrase is used five times in the pastoral epistles, but found nowhere else in the New Testament (1 Tim. 1:15; 3:1; 4:9, 2 Tim. 2:11, Titus 3:8). These are words we can count on from the Lord, which necessitates our obedience in practical ways as we go through life. Research these “trustworthy sayings” and make them a part of who you are.
Boldness- In the face of opposition and persecution, Timothy was to carry out his ministry without fear or shame. Paul urged him to utilize to his fullest the gifts of preaching and teaching that the Holy Spirit had given him. We, through the power of God, can be wise and strong. God honors our confident testimony even when we suffer. We must get over our fear of what people might say or do, keep your eyes on Jesus Christ.
2 Timothy-Paul provides expressions of love and tenderness for Timothy (1:1-5). Then Timothy is reminded of the qualifications and qualities necessary for a faithful minister of Jesus Christ (1:6-2:12). Timothy should remember his call and use his gifts with boldness (1:6-12), keep to the truth (1:13-18), prepare others to follow him in the ministry (2:1-2), be disciplined and ready to endure suffering (2:3-7), and keep his eyes and mind focused on Christ (2:8-13). Paul challenges Timothy to hold to sound doctrine, reject error and avoid godless chatter, correctly handle the word of truth (2:14-19), and keep his life pure (2:20-26).
Next, Paul warns Timothy of the opposition that he and other believers would face in the last days from self-centered people who use the church for their own gain and teach false doctrines (3:1-9). Paul warns Timothy that there will be unfaithful people, and that he is to follow Paul’s example (3:10-11), understanding the real source of the opposition (3:12-13), and finding strength and power in the Word of God (3:14-17). Then Paul gives Timothy a stirring charge: to preach the Word (4:1-4) and to fulfill his ministry until the end (4:5-8).
Paul concludes with personal requests and items of information. In these final words, he reveals his loneliness and his strong love for his brothers and sisters in Christ (4:9-22).
2 Timothy 2:15- “Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth.”
*Notes from this overview were aided by:
New American Standard Bible: Life Application Study Bible, Zondervan, Grand Rapids, Mich.: 1995, pgs. 2126-2127, 2138-2139.
-Paul offers a similar greeting to his beloved child in this second letter written near the time of the apostle’s martyrdom in Rome. He claims he is an apostle by the will of God appointed to preach and teach “according to the promise of the life that is in Christ Jesus (2 Timothy 1:1, 11).” He extends grace, mercy, and peace from the Father and the Son as is his custom to Timothy and all of his letters in general (2 Timothy 1:2).
-Paul notes his service to the Lord with thanksgiving as he begins the body of his short letter of departure, which we might call a farewell discourse much like other such literature in Scripture (Moses- Deuteronomy, Joshua- Joshua 23-24, David- 1 Chronicles 28-29, and Jesus- Upper Room Discourse, John 14-16). Paul claims to be in a long line of service from his ancestors with a clear conscience and he relates that Timothy too has a great heritage of faith both from his grandmother, Lois, and his mother, Eunice (2 Timothy 1:5). This Spirit of the Lord Paul knows dwells in Timothy as well, and he offers constant prayers with a sincere longing to see him to increase his joy (2 Timothy 1:3-5). Paul then exhorts his beloved child to “fan into flame the gift of God,” which is in him through the laying on of Paul’s hands (2 Timothy 1:6). This gift should be used with confidence because God did not give a spirit of fear, but of power and love and self-control (2 Timothy 1:7). *Application* Great love from a mentor to his spiritual pupil is to be commended. Paul sets an example for us to follow in love and tender care for a young disciple of Christ Jesus. In life, you should always have those who are ahead of you in their spiritual development, those who are your peers, and those you are leading along as a mentor. This will keep you properly engaged in the Christian brotherhood and help you grow as a believer in every way. This is part of loving your neighbor as much as you love yourself.
-Because of this great relationship with the Lord and with fellow believers, Timothy is encouraged not to be ashamed of the testimony, but to share in suffering for the gospel by the power of God, who saved us and called us (aorist past tense, completed action participle) to a holy calling not on our own merit, but because of His purpose and grace given in Christ Jesus before the ages began manifested by His appearing who abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel (2 Timothy 1:8-11). This gospel proclamation is why Paul is suffering, but he is not ashamed because he knows in whom he has believed and is convinced that He is able to guard until that Day (Judgment Day) what has been entrusted to him (2 Timothy 1:12). The apostle then instructs Timothy to follow the pattern of the sound words he’d been taught by Paul in the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus by the Holy Spirit who dwells within every believer. Paul also says to Timothy that by the Holy Spirit, guard the good deposit entrusted (2 Timothy 1:13-14). *Application* The good deposit is the sealing work of the Holy Spirit enabled by Christ Jesus’ work on the cross (Ephesians 1:13; 4:30, Colossians 1:19-20). Our salvation is initiated by God and enabled by our faith in Him. He is the One who sustains us and guards our souls from the destruction of the enemy. Thank God for His great and awesome gifts, which He freely gives to us in love!
-Paul ends the chapter on a somewhat somber note realizing the falling away those who were in Asia, namely Phygelus and Hermogenes (2 Timothy 1:15). He pleads the mercy of the Lord on Onesiphorus, who had been so kind to him in many times and many ways without being ashamed of Paul’s chains as a true friend (2 Timothy 1:16-18). *Application* When the chips are down in our lives, it is the faithfulness of close friends that give important support and encouragement. We see the contrast between good friends and deserters here and it is poignant. Who can you count on in your times of need? We know the Lord is always there, but it is nice to have friends that will stick with us through thick and thin and come to our aid when we most need it. Meditate on those who love you the most and thank them for their endearing devotion today. Be proactive and let them know how much they encourage you. You’ll end up being an encouragement to them as well. Love is circular.
Verse to Memorize- 2 Timothy 1:6-7, 12