2Timothy 1 - Outline of 2Timothy (Menu Page)

In his first letter to Timothy, Paul provided the younger man with valuable instruction concerning how to provide godly pastoral care of a local church. The young pastor's work would involve confronting false teachers, proclaiming the true Gospel of God's Grace, and selecting godly men to oversee the congregation. He would need to warn of the growing apostasy, while faithfully teaching God's Word. He would also need to lovingly handle interpersonal issues which might otherwise divide the body of Christ.

More than once, in that letter, Paul pointedly charged and lovingly encouraged Timothy to take his own appointment seriously, and to be faithful to the ministry which had been committed to him (eg. 1Tim 1:18; 4:14; 6:20,21). Timothy's work, as a pastor, was far more than a job. It was a gift... a privilege... not afforded to every believer. He had been appointed to this role, by God, at the hands of elders in the faith. His appointment was "given thee by prophecy," for these elders, knowing God's voice and His written Word, had recognized that God was separating Timothy to His service. The privilege of service was coupled with the charge to remain faithful and to fulfill the responsibilities given to him.

In 2Timothy, Paul is again writing to encourage Timothy to remain faithful in the face of danger and opposition. This is Paul's final letter, for he would soon depart this earthly life (2Tim 4:6). The biblical record concerning Paul's travels, ends in the last chapter of Acts, with Paul under house arrest in Rome, awaiting trial for charges brought against him by the Jewish rulers in Jerusalem (Acts 25:10,11; 28:16f). According to early Christian tradition, after Paul was acquitted of those charges and released (c. 64 AD), he continued preaching the Gospel, traveling as far west as Spain, and then returning to visit some of the churches in Asia Minor (western Turkey), Macedonia and Greece. It was toward the end of this period of ministry (c. 65 AD), that he wrote his first letter to Timothy (1Tim 1:3,4). By that time, the Roman Emperor, Nero, had begun a campaign to purge the empire of Christians. Therefore, Paul was again arrested and imprisoned in Rome. As an enemy of the state, he was not afforded the comforts of house arrest, but was cast into the Mamertine dungeon. From there, he wrote this second and last letter to Timothy (c. 66 - 67 AD), not long before he was led out to the place of execution and beheaded. In the days prior to that event, Timothy was on his mind.

Recognizing that the coming days would not be easy for a servant of the Lord, Paul earnestly exhorts his son in the faith to "Be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also." (2Tim 2:1,2). Those two verses seem to summarize the message of this letter, which is a call to faithfulness in a time of apostasy and opposition. (See the Outline.)

1. Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God,
according to the promise of life which is in Christ Jesus,
2 To Timothy, [my] dearly beloved son:
Grace, mercy, [and] peace, from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.
...an apostle... according to the promise of life which is in Christ Jesus.
Paul identifies himself as holding the office of an apostle, 'by the will of God.' This is similar to 'according to the commandment of God,' in 1Tim 1:1, for God's commandment expresses His will. But God's will is also expressed in His grace, which extends 'the promise of life' to those who trust in Christ. This promise was especially precious to Paul, as he lived in expectation that his earthly life would soon be cut off.
     Does that promise belong to you? A promise must be received by faith. In order to receive the promise of eternal life, you must put your trust in the Giver (eg., John 1:11-13).
to... my dearly beloved son...
Paul's heart was especially tender toward Timothy, his "dearly beloved son" in the faith. Timothy, perhaps more than any other of those whom Paul had won to Christ, had demonstrated a heart, like Paul's, which sought the things of Christ above all else (Php 2:19-22).
Grace, mercy and peace...
In his opening lines Paul reminds his son of God's grace {His unmerited favor toward believers}, His mercy {His kindness toward men who are otherwise without hope, for we deserve nothing but condemnation}, and His peace {the peace with God procured by the reconciliation through the blood of Christ, and the peace of God which flows to them who are rightly related to Him} from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.
     As noted in our study of 1Timothy, the salutation in almost all of Paul's epistles includes 'grace and peace,' but only in the three Pastoral Epistles (1Tim, 2Tim, and Titus), he adds the word 'mercy.' While the other letters were written to churches, these were written to individual men, both of whom were responsible for leading local churches. Neither of these men were immune from personal sin, wrong motives or misjudgments which might mar their ministries. As imperfect representatives of their perfect Lord, they would be in continual need of His mercy.
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;
4 Greatly desiring to see thee, being mindful of thy tears, that I may be filled with joy;
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.
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.
7 For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.
I thank God... I have remembrance of thee in my prayers... greatly desiring to see thee... mindful of thy tears...
Paul's love for Timothy was enhanced as he remembered Timothy's tender love toward him, and the tears which fell from Timothy's eyes, as he implored the heavenly Father in behalf of his earthly spiritual father, at their most recent parting. Timothy, atune to the apostle's heart, knew what would give Paul full joy, and prayed accordingly (eg., 1The 2:17 - 3:10).
I thank God... when I call to remembrance the unfeigned faith...
Paul rejoiced in remembering that Timothy sincerely believed God's Word. His conviction of the truth was "without hypocrisy" and "undisguised." He was not ashamed of what he believed. Yet, he was not the first in his family to come to faith in Christ. His grandmother and his mother, who were Jewish women living in Lystra and Derbe, had apparently turned to Christ during Paul's first missionary journey (Acts 14:6,7f).
     Even before they became Christians, Lois and Eunice had given heed to the OT scriptures, and had taught them to Timothy, while he was still a child (2Tim 3:15). In this sense, Paul himself had a godly heritage, for he too was brought up studying the scriptures, and took them seriously (Acts 22:3). He could truthfully say that he had always served God 'with a pure conscience.' However, he had lacked a right understanding of God's Word, until the Lord revealed Himself to him (1Tim 1:12-15).
     We are told that Timothy's physical father, was a Greek. But there is no indication that he was a believer. Perhaps that accounts for some of Timothy's tenderness. His role models were godly women, while he lacked the example of a strong Christian dad. That is, he lacked that example, until Paul had become his spiritual father and took him under his wing, during his second missionary journey (Acts 16:1-5).
     Timothy had a wonderful spiritual heritage. His unfeigned faith grew in an environment of unfeigned faith, as during his early years, his mother and grandmother taught the scriptures and sought to live according to them. Then as a young man, he was discipled, both in word and example, by his spiritual father. [Are your children being raised in an environment of unfeigned faith, or of religious hypocrisy? If they follow you, where will they end up?] There came a time when Paul and other church leaders, recognized Timothy's spiritual maturity and commissioned him for the Lord's service.
Wherefore... stir up the gift of God, which is in thee by the putting on of my hands.
1Tim 1:18; 4:14; 6:20,21
Paul reminded his son in the faith, of his responsibility to fulfill the ministry which had been entrusted to him, even in the face of fearful circumstances.
"For God has not given us the spirit of fear {ie., timidity, cowardice}, Rom 8:15
  • but of power {GK=dunamis, dynamic strength, ability to do...}, Luk 24:49
  • and of love {GK=agape, like the love of God who loves the unlovely, and who loves though it costs Him dearly}
  • and of a sound mind {GK=sophronismos, a mind that is not distraught, but which is constant, sober, self controlled, able to discern and steer a steady course}."
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;
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,
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:
11 Whereunto I am appointed a preacher, and an apostle, and a teacher of the Gentiles.
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.
Be not thou therefore ashamed... but be thou partaker of the afflictions of the gospel...
Paul was in prison for preaching the Gospel of Christ. If Timothy followed in the steps of his mentor, he might suffer similar troubles. Yet, such a fearful possibility was not cause to be 'ashamed' {a state of dishonor, confusion, or distorted thinking}.
     Rather, Paul saw these difficulties as opportunities for "suffering hardship together" {'partaker of the afflictions' is GK=sugkakopatheo, cp. 2:3, where kakopatheo is translated: "endure hardship." The prefix 'sug' means 'together'}. Suffering for Christ's sake would be a point of fellowship between Paul and his son, and also between them and their Lord (cp. Rom 8:16,17; Php 3:10; Col 1:24; 1Pet 4:13,14; Rev 1:9).
     But where will this naturally tender and timid young man find such strength?
...according to the power of God, who saved us, and called us...
The natural spirit of fear, within the believer's heart, is displaced by the Holy Spirit, with God's power (v.7). This is the same power which is expressed in the Gospel of Christ, which is the 'power of God unto salvation' (Rom 1:16).
...who hath saved us... not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace...
In our natural state, we were dead in our sins (Eph 2:1). We had no power or ability to save ourselves from God's righteous sentence of eternal death. But even before we recognized our wretched condition, God was powerfully working in our behalf, to extend grace {undeserved favor} toward us. His Spirit moves, not only with power, but also with love (v.7; Rom 5:8; 1Tim 1:14).
...which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world {GK=aionios, ages} began...
God's purpose to provide salvation, for believing sinners, through the death of Jesus Christ, was established in eternity past, before the creation of the universe {1Pet 1:19,20; Rev 13:8b; 17:8b, in these verses 'world' is GK=kosmos} and also before the fall of man and the 'ages' which have followed that fall {v.9; Titus 1:2, in these verses 'world' is GK=aionios}. When Adam and Eve sinned, God promised that salvation would come through the seed of the woman (Gen 3:15). Centuries passed as believers watched and waited.
...But is now made manifest by the appearing of our Saviour Jesus Christ...
By His power, God fulfilled the promise which He made in love for mankind.
...who hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality {GK=aphtharsia, incorruption} to light through the gospel...
Christ 'abolished' {GK=katargeo, rendered ineffective, removed the force of} death. How comforting this was to Paul, as he saw his execution drawing nearer. The effect of the executioner's axe would be real enough upon his physical body. But in Christ, he possessed eternal life which cannot be taken away. He would never be separated from His Savior. Joh 5:24-29; 11:25,26; 14:6; 1Cor 15:53; 2Cor 5:8; Php 1:21
Whereunto I am appointed a preacher... For the which cause I also suffer these things...
The Lord had put Paul in the position of proclaiming the Gospel of God's power and love, in Christ. Because of Paul's obedience to the Lord, he was in prison, on death row.
...nevertheless I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded...
In his difficult situation, Paul was not overwhelmed with fear. He was not ashamed. Because God's Spirit had given him a 'sound mind' (v.7). Paul's mind confidently rested, not only in the doctrinal truth of the Gospel of salvation, but in the Person of the Savior. Through years of walking with the Lord, Paul had absolute confidence in Him (2Tim 4:17,18). Paul had entrusted the eternal destiny of his soul into the Lord's keeping. Paul was sure that He would be with the Lord, in the day of Christ's return to establish His Kingdom (Rom 8:38,39; 2Tim 4:8).
13 Hold fast the form of sound words, which thou hast heard of me,
in faith and love which is in Christ Jesus.
14 That good thing which was committed unto thee keep by the Holy Ghost which dwelleth in us.
Like Paul, Timothy would maintain a 'sound mind' (v.7), through...
  • Holding fast {possessing, making it his own} the Word of God,
    • in the form {outline, structure, pattern} of sound {healthy} words, which Paul taught,
    • for personal faith and love toward Christ. In v.13, the two occurrences of the word 'in' {GK=enorkizo, lit., 'in-under'} imply immersion. This word is translated 'wholly' in 1Tim 4:15. Through feeding on God's Word, a believer grows in the grace and knowledge of the Lord.
  • Keeping {guarding} the good thing which was committed {GK=parakatatheke, entrusted, placed on deposit with} unto thee...
    Timothy, like all true believers, was entrusted with the Gospel message, and the responsibility to proclaim it (2Cor 5:18-20). As one called and appointed to the Lord's service, he must be especially attentive to his ministry and watchful against distracting influences (1Tim 1:11; 6:20). This work can only be fulfilled in the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit (Acts 1:8).
15. This thou knowest, that all they which are in Asia be turned away from me;
of whom are Phygellus and Hermogenes.
16 The Lord give mercy unto the house of Onesiphorus;
for he oft refreshed me, and was not ashamed of my chain:
17 But, when he was in Rome, he sought me out very diligently, and found [me].
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.
...all they which are in Asia be turned away from me...
Paul is referring to men who had previously been associated with him in ministry. Many of these men may have been won to the Lord and discipled in the faith by Paul, during his extended ministry in Ephesus (Acts 19:10). Some had accompanied him on missionary journeys. Some had turned away from Paul's teachings, in apostasy from the faith (eg. 2Tim 2:17,18). Others, fearing the consequences of associaton with Nero's prisoner, had distanced themselves from Paul, by returning from Rome to their communities in Asia Minor (4:10,16).
...of whom are Phygellus {'little fugitive'} and Hermogenes {'born of Mercury'}...
These men are not mentioned elsewhere in scripture. It is possible that Paul assigned nicknames, which spoke of their haste to depart from him. In any case, Timothy knew these men.
[The word 'all' is used in the sense of 'many' or 'the majority,' for there were some exceptions.]
...the Lord give mercy unto the house of Onesiphorus {meaning 'one who brings profit'}...
Onesiphorus was probably a businessman, whose home was in Ephesus (where Timothy ministered). While he was in Rome on business, he had gone out of his way to find and help Paul. He had put himself at risk, by associating with this prisoner, who was an enemy of the state.
     Noting that Paul does not send a message of thanksgiving directly to Onesiphorus, but rather prays for mercy for him, and for his family (v.16,18; 4:19), some speculate that, for his kindness to Paul, Onesiphorus may have paid a high price, in the form of imprisonment and execution.
     Like Paul, and in contrast to those who turned away, Onesiphorus was another example of v.7.

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