Taking the Epistle

A biblical journey through the epistles

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God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control – 2nd Timothy 1:1-7

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God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control – 2nd Timothy 1:1-7 – 03/04/2016

Thank you for clicking on our page for the Pauline epistle which is called 2nd Timothy, the letter is authored by the apostle Paul to Timothy who was in the Ephesian church. This is called a Pastoral Epistle and gives many doctrines that we still use in both church structure and also for choosing leaders in the church. For other bible studies on other epistles please see our main epistle page or for others in 2nd Timothy please click on this link.

2nd Timothy 1:1 (ESV) Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God according to the promise of the life that is in Christ Jesus, 2 To Timothy, my beloved child: Grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord. Guard the Deposit Entrusted to You 3 I thank God whom I serve, as did my ancestors, with a clear conscience, as I remember you constantly in my prayers night and day. 4 As I remember your tears, I long to see you, that I may be filled with joy. 5 I am reminded of your sincere faith, a faith that dwelt first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice and now, I am sure, dwells in you as well. 6 For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands, 7 for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.

When I set this blog up my intention was to explore the epistles and do the occasional bible study based on what I had studied and learned, what you are reading below is notes I have made. I have to confess that this bible study is basic in its content and is not prepared by a pastor and I have to admit I have no theological training; my hope in prayer is that someone will be blessed by the notes below.

Let’s start in verse one of the first chapter of Second Timothy.

V1 Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God according to the promise of the life that is in Christ Jesus,

Paul starts with a typical Pauline greeting calling himself and apostle of Christ Jesus and I doubt there would be many who would argue this fact, but what he said next is what makes the declaration interesting, he states that he is an apostle “by the will of God” and not according to self-ambition or some man declaring that he should take that position. God placed Paul in that ambassador role in order to eventually reach the Gentile world. The mere fact that you are reading this webpage is a continued fruit of that work.

Remember John 3:16? God so loved…the world! Paul was the guy who was going to be the missionary to take the gospel of Jesus beyond the traditional borders of the Jews. He as a Roman citizen had license to travel anywhere within the Roman Empire and this facilitated travel in a way that could not have been possible if that Empire was not still at large.

What are you doing “…by the will of God” What is your role? Are you a worship leader? Chair stacker? Prayer warrior? Encourager? Counselor? Regardless of how grand our servantlike you view your place in the kingdom of God we all have callings and a position that we need to play in the field and much like a team sport, if you are not in your position you will not take part in a victory that is assured for you.

Paul writes about the “promise of life” and this more extraordinary considering that Paul is imprisoned in Rome at this time and this time he is facing a sentence of execution and this letter is written after his re-arrest in Rome. So he is writing from a prison cell in the most desolate of conditions, imprisoned by an empire that is not known for their humanity for criminals and he is still writing letters of hope? How mind blowing is that for anyone else? This is the equivalent of a guy on death row who has become a Christian sending out letters to exhort those who still have liberty to believe.

V2 To Timothy, my beloved child: Grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord. Guard the Deposit Entrusted to You

Paul addresses this letter to Timothy who he describes as his beloved child, in our articles we did on First Timothy we examined the close relationship that Paul had with Timothy and Timothy was really like a relation to Paul and Timothy was very much a student of Paul. The words “grace, mercy and peace” are also used in the other pastoral letters 1st Timothy and Titus and this is a good reminder that these three things are required for leaders just as much and if not more than churches do. Pastors/leaders are men like the rest of us who have struggles like we do and require all three in greater portion. Spurgeon states the following…

“Did you ever notice this one thing about Christian ministers, that they need even more mercy than other people? Although everybody needs mercy, ministers need it more than anybody else; and so we do, for if we are not faithful, we shall be greater sinners even than our hearers, and it needs much grace for us always to be faithful, and much mercy will be required to cover our shortcomings. So I shall take those three things to myself: ‘Grace, mercy, and peace.’ You may have the two, ‘Grace and peace,’ but I need mercy more than any of you; so I take it from my Lord’s loving hand, and I will trust, and not be afraid, despite all my shortcomings, and feebleness, and blunders, and mistakes, in the course of my whole ministry.”

V3 I thank God whom I serve, as did my ancestors, with a clear conscience, as I remember you constantly in my prayers night and day.

Paul harks back to a time where his ancestors served God with a clear conscience and a clear heart when they approached God in the correct repentant manner, it certainly makes me think if I am more like the Old Testament Jewish believers who had a genuine fear of God and wanted to atone for their sins or have I come into the realms of the Pharisee who makes their worship to God a show and do it for their own selfish ends in order to seem holy?

Quite a question to ponder huh? Paul backs up this thought by stating his own spiritual integrity by stating that he remembered him constantly in his prayers both day and night and yes I do understand that Paul was in prison so there was precious little to do in there, however we in our own human nature will find ways of distracting ourselves if we allow our flesh to take over. Paul shows the volume and quantity of his prayers and that is to be admired. I would commend this to be a model in our own prayer lives, how about when you drive round your neighborhood, why not pray for the streets and houses as you pass them? How can you increase your prayer life?

V4 As I remember your tears, I long to see you, that I may be filled with joy.

Paul remarks that their parting was tearful, not in a bad way as Paul writes with such favor however it is clear that these men missed the company of one another and that seeing Timothy would make him filed with joy. We have to ask at this part what makes Paul happy. He answers below.

V5 I am reminded of your sincere faith, a faith that dwelt first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice and now, I am sure, dwells in you as well.

Paul is happy when he is reminded of a sincere faith that Timothy had and it made Paul happy to see the will of God unfold in young men like Timothy and if we are teachers we must also have that goal, to invest in the Timothy’s that God places in our way, to assist the students who want to do his will, to mentor those who are younger in the faith and start them mentoring others to.

Paul references the strong belief of women who were pivotal to Timothy’s faith, we cannot underestimate the place that we have in our children’s lives in showing them whether our faith is genuine or not, in the book of Acts we learn the following…

Acts 16:1 (ESV) Paul came also to Derbe and to Lystra. A disciple was there, named Timothy, the son of a Jewish woman who was a believer, but his father was a Greek. 2 He was well spoken of by the brothers at Lystra and Iconium. 3 Paul wanted Timothy to accompany him, and he took him and circumcised him because of the Jews who were in those places, for they all knew that his father was a Greek. 4 As they went on their way through the cities, they delivered to them for observance the decisions that had been reached by the apostles and elders who were in Jerusalem. 5 So the churches were strengthened in the faith, and they increased in numbers daily.

So Timothy had a less than ideal home situation, the head of the home was not a believer and he was taught the faith by the female in the home. He was also well thought of by the folks who shared the same common faith he did and that is important, in those days it wasn’t like today where you may see your fellow church members once a week. In those days they lived together, they saw each other often and they were involved in each other’s lives, so if he had a good report then that meant that he was the real deal, people saw the faith was genuine from the fruits of the walk of the individual in person.

This is why Paul is sure that it dwells in him also, it is not enough to say “well my descendants had faith, I will be okay” I cannot get into heaven based on my father’s faith or my grandfathers, in the same way my daughter has to choose for herself also. As much as I would wish to be saved for her, she has to reason for herself that this faith is real. It is my job to be the real deal to her and show her that this is real. Paul reminds Timothy more in verse six…

V6 For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands,

Paul exhorts Timothy to use the gifts that God has blessed him with and be bold for Jesus Christ, we learn this in the first epistles to Timothy and Paul starts this epistle the same way and as leaders we have to be bold, be willing to stand in the way of contentious issues and I totally understand because I am also like Timothy that I am not in favor of being confrontational so I understand any angst that Timothy may have in a real and primary fashion.

Paul is encouraging him to not do this as sometimes the leader has to stand in conflict and resolve falsehoods that come into the church, challenge immoral behaviors and apply tough truths from scripture in love. Paul urges Timothy to stir up those gifting’s and be effective for use in his kingdom. We are not robots or zombies, God does gift us but allows us to use the gifts according to our talents but use them according to our willingness or drive. I know gifted pastors who would have a much better ministry if they were more driven or stirred up.

Paul said this should be through the laying of hands and that is something we should not neglect and we should use this common way even today in the commission of our people and asking them to either grant gifts, confirm gifts or commission them for the work of the ministry.

V7 for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.

God has supplied all the tools that Timothy needed in order to fulfil his calling that God has given, he has also given us a spirit which is not of fear and that the fear he faces is not from the Lord, his timidity is his own character but through prayer and supplications he will be strengthened in the Lord. I guess I am so passionate about this because I know that it is true and I know from personal experience that God does strengthen when I need it.

God has also given us a spirit of power, love and self-control; let’s look at these separately…

  • Power – We are empowered by God when we are doing his will and we have the creator of all things backing us up as we are the tool being used for his glory.
  • Love – This power is not a controlling power, it is a power of love, we love, we serve, we are different to this world and we pray for others that persecute us.
  • Self-Control – We are calm, not in a state of emergency or panic, we are not swayed by the rigors of this world. We are in contrast to that spirit of fear.

Don’t you agree that that spirit of fear is such a poor substitute for the riches that God wants to do for us? We are all different and are at different stages with the Lord however God wants us to be bold in the things we are called into. We have to get up, stop being lazy (me included) and get to what God has planned for our lives, for some that will be harder than others and for some it will be a step of faith. If we do indeed step out in God’s will, he will use us far more exceedingly than we could ever dream of.

Lord willing, in our next article in Second Timothy we look at verses eight through fourteen when Paul encourages Timothy and continues to strengthen Timothy by these exhorting words. I pray that you are able to join us as we go through the bible, line by line and precept by precept.

God bless and I pray this was a blessing and please feel free to like, share or comment on here or whatever social media platforms you use as the Lord leads you to, as always I love questions about this or any other article so please feel free to fill in the form below, all comments are moderated to avoid profanity.
TTE
TGBTG
SDG

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Greetings and Salutations Timothy, my true child in the faith

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Greetings and Salutations Timothy, my true child in the faith

This bible study is part of a series on the book of 1st Timothy, in order to see the full series please check out our “epistle” page or alternatively please check out our page dedicated to the book of 1st Timothy for other studies in this book. 

When I set this blog up my intention was to explore the epistles and do the occasional bible study based on what I had studied and learned, what you are reading below is notes I have made. I have to confess that this bible study is basic in its content and is not prepared by a pastor and I have to admit I have no theological training; my hope in prayer is that someone will be blessed by the notes below.

Let’s start in verse one of the first chapter of First Timothy.

1st Timothy 1:1 (ESV) Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by command of God our Savior and of Christ Jesus our hope, 2 To Timothy, my true child in the faith: Grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.

My True Child in the faith

Paul writes this letter to Timothy at Ephesus during his missionary journey, Macedonia is mentioned and it is widely believed that the letter was penned whilst Paul was there. His opening benediction is typical of a Pauline epistle and describes Paul and gives an edited highlight of how he went from being Saul, the Pharisee persecutor of the people of “The Way”, the man who held the coats as Stephen was stoned and the man who was on his way to the modern Syrian city of Damascus with written permission to torture and persecute Christians in that region when Jesus literally stopped him in his tracks.

Blinded by the light

In Acts 9 Paul is blinded by the light. He is scrambling beneath a light that sent him into blindness and then asks the best question he possibly could ask, (being a theological man and zealous for the truth of God he asks “Who are you LORD?”) Jesus introduces himself and reveals himself as the messiah and Saul becomes Paul, the zeal he had to persecute Christians, he also had to spread the good news as a dynamic missionary all throughout the greater Mediterranean area.

Apostle literally by Christ Jesus

Paul was literally a man who was an apostle (messenger) literally sent by Christ Jesus. he had a literal command from heaven to use his skills as an orator and his theological knowledge to show to an audience that was made up of Jewish converts and Gentile new believers. To the Jews he showed how the law pointed to Jesus, to the Gentiles he emphasized the grace we have in Jesus Christ.

Paul gives his credentials in the same way that we would in modern times hand over a credit card, passport, ID card or driving license to prove who he was. His credentials were rich both in the heavenly realm and also on earth. The use of the word “Savior” would have been politically sensitive as the people who were in charge of Rome, the one who was called Caesar was often worshipped as a God and dependent of his political record could be seen as a type of Savior. Paul goes to great lengths to not conform to the standards that the world would like to place on him; he reiterates that Jesus was the one and only real “Savior”.

We can learn from this, we are called to be in the world not of the world. When we start to change our doctrine away from biblical principles in order to make it more palatable to an unforgiving audience, it is time to check where we are going. It is far better for a man’s soul to reveal an uncomfortable truth as opposed to a lie that will send someone to eternal damnation.

The hope we have in Christ

Paul speaks of “the hope we have in Jesus Christ” he talks about his own life and how a relationship with Jesus was a “game changer” he was still looking for the messiah when friends of his were crucifying the chosen one. God chose, in his own time to reveal the truth to Paul and to show him who Jesus was, gave him hope in the death and resurrection of Christ Jesus and a mission to spread that same hope.

Family that is not blood

Paul greets Timothy as “a true son in the faith” he saw him as family. Recently I saw on Facebook a graphic which had the following text…

“I have family that is not blood and I have blood that is not family”

And as tragic as that is to read, I believe that we as Christians should be the former to those who need us. Recently my wife and I have been blessed to facilitate a bible study in the town we live in and I see these people as family, they are my new brothers and sisters, I would do for them what I would do for my own family and I believe that in our “church family” life we would do well to remember this.

Bear others burdens

I have failed in this area so I am not “throwing stones” there are times I could have helped others but I have taken the more convenient route, there are times where I haven’t been willing to “bear others burdens” (Galatians 6:2) there are times when I wanted help and didn’t get it and held it against my brothers. This stuff is real folks and I lay it bare here to show that I am as guilty as any man and say this under this realization. I do this as to not seem “morally superior” as trust me I am not.

Who was Timothy?

Timothy is first introduced to us in Acts 16:1-5 as someone who “was well spoken of by the brothers at Lystra and Iconium.” (Acts 16:2) His family is listed as a mother called “Eunice” (2 Timothy 2:5) he was taught the scriptures by his mother and grandmother (2 Timothy 1:5: 3:15) and had a good foundational knowledge of the word of God.

Timothy was someone who was trusted as Paul left him there, despite his young age to deal with heresies that came up. The timeline of Paul’s journeys tell us that Paul himself would have dealt with these theological issues and then left “his man” Timothy to ensure that sound doctrine was preached and that they did not fall into error.

Paul was sure about who Timothy was and that Timothy was equipped, called and strong enough in the faith to carry out the mission that the LORD had told Paul to give him. This is important to read if you are a leader in the church or in charge of assignments in a ministry as an encouragement to look at a person’s “full package” (most externally and spiritually) and not go for a “popular choice”. I am a great believer in that if you honor God in private, he will honor you in public. I am talking about devotions, private worship time, taking the relationship with Christ Jesus seriously, growing in God, loving your spouse, family and whomever God blesses you come in contact with. Love more, show more grace and forgive the little because of the great amount that you have been forgiven.

I know that Timothy was called and sent to the church and this letter, although addressed to Timothy would have carried the same weight as if Paul was there himself and was intended to be used for proof, reproof and correction of doctrines that were not sound. I would imagine that the letter would either have been circulated or at the very least read out loud. It was by no means a private letter, but one that was useful and God inspired for public teaching.

Grace, peace and mercy

As said previously, Paul uses the typical Pauline greeting using the words “grace, peace and mercy” and this shows the heart of Paul, this letter is not a flowery “how are you doing Timothy? Hope the weather is nice” type of letter, there will be some real tough topics discussed in these six chapters of a letter. Let’s look at why? This was Ephesus, a church that Paul founded on his missionary journey, he had personal interaction and knew many of those who were causing problems and some who were helping heal them. He had spent actual time there, lived there, worked there, preached there and knew who he was talking about.

If you look at Paul’s letters we see that grace and peace are a common greeting, Paul also adds mercy to the letters to Timothy and Titus. These “Pastoral Epistles” involve a lot of correction and establishment of doctrine that may cause contention. Mercy would have to be allowed and given as some of these words may be a bitter pill to swallow for some. Timothy had a tough job and no mistake.

This is a timely reminder to us as we are required to have grace, peace and mercy on others (as stated prior in this article) I believe that the best way to do so is to earnestly pray for those who are in ministry, pray for your Pastors, for their families, for those who are contentious with you, those who have spoken evil of you, those who need your prayer the most. Often times it is the ones who you may not want to pray for are the ones that God moves you to pray for the hardest.

Timothy had a job

Timothy had a job as we will see to find, identify and train other men for the work of the ministry. (Paul goes into great detail of the type of man that he wanted to see in those roles.) Many of us have similar roles today; this book is a great resource for any man who wishes to be used by God in Christian service and ministry.

Thank you again for finding this article and I pray these bible studies are a blessing. Please feel free to comment, like or share as the LORD leads you to.
TGBTG
TTE