Monday 24 September 2018

Bible Book:
2 Timothy

But I am not ashamed, for I know the one in whom I have put my trust, and I am sure that he is able to guard until that day what I have entrusted to him. (v. 12)

2 Timothy 1:1-14 Monday 24 September 2018

Psalm: Psalm 144


We might describe Paul as a mentor to Timothy. “My beloved child” indicates great affection, and is expanded in the equivalent greeting at the start of the first letter to Timothy (1 Timothy 1:2) as “my loyal child in the faith”. Paul’s first meeting with Timothy and his decision to invite him along on his travels as apprentice missioner is reported in Acts 16:1-3. It was probably at that point that Paul symbolically laid his hands on Timothy (v. 6), such acts of ordination having been practiced by Jews since the time of Moses (see Deuteronomy 34:9).

When we read further into this letter it becomes clear that it is written from prison and that Paul expects his life to be soon cut short. The “tears” (v. 4) were presumably shed by Timothy when Paul was arrested and taken away. The whole passage seeks to bolster Timothy in the timidity and uncertainty he now understandably feels in relation to his own ministry. He does this both by emphasising that “God did not give us a spirit of cowardice” (v. 7) and, rather more particularly, by reminding Timothy of the power and grace of God in Christ. This reminder includes the typical Pauline themes of salvation by grace not through any works of our own (v. 9), the centrality of Christ’s resurrection to God’s salvation plan (v. 10), and the link between apostleship and expectation of suffering for the gospel (v. 11).

Verse 12, quoted above these notes, is a concise statement of the Christian doctrine of perseverance. Since it is God’s grace in Christ that first saved us we can continue until the day our salvation is complete to trust God’s power to guard our faith. In the particular context here, Timothy need not fear that suffering might lead to the loss of his faith. Yet he must hold to the teaching he has received (v. 13-14) in circumstances where other teachers might seek to distort the truth, a theme that will be taken up in the next chapter.


To Ponder

  • In v. 5, Paul reminds Timothy that he has inherited the faith of his mother and grandmother. How significant do you consider upbringing to be in determining whether a person will have faith in Jesus Christ as an adult?
  • Paul believes (v. 6) that a particular gift of God is conveyed by ordination, and that the work he and Timothy are engaged in is “a holy calling” (v. 9). What are your own views about God calling and equipping people for particular life work? Is such language appropriate to describe some career choices and not others, or does it have to do with how any individual perceives their work?
  • Many claim that undeserved suffering has strengthened their Christian faith, yet others claim similar experiences have caused them to lose faith in a God who allows such. What has been, or what do you think would be, the effect of such trauma on your own faith journey?
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