Paul was probably in prison in Rome (second imprisonment, Nero was emperor). He knew that his death was near (1:8;16; 4:6-8). He was cold and alone in the dungeon (4:10-12)...when he wrote this very personal letter to his young protégé. According to tradition, he was soon beheaded on the Ostian Way, west of Rome.
For a more detailed introduction to 2 Timothy see October 21, 1 Timothy.
2 Timothy 1
2 Timothy 1:1-7-Paul’s Confidence in Timothy
Paul speaks of Timothy as "my beloved son" (:2). He remembers him in his prayers "night and day" (:3) and longs to see him as he remembers their last meeting and how Timothy cried when he left (:4). He also recalls that Timothy's mother and grandmother both were believers...and that he has the same faith that they had (:5). He encourages Timothy to "kindle afresh" the ministry that God has given him...and to do so in the power, love, and discipline of the Lord (:6-7). Could it be…that Paul is aware of the fact that this just may be the last time he will ever write to Timothy? The prospect of death looms large before him. Last words. The last time he would ever have to encourage, to train, to bless this young pastor that he had mentored over the years. These were important words. They were important words for Timothy. And, they are important words for us…because like Timothy, we need to “kindle afresh the gift of God” that is in us…so that we too might stand strong with a “spirit…of power and love and discipline.”
2 Timothy 1:8-2:26-The Characteristics of Those Who Follow Christ
2 Timothy 1:8-12-He is not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ
Paul continues, “Therefore”…since we have the power of God, and the love of God, and the discipline of God…don’t ever be “ashamed of the testimony of our Lord”…of being a believer in Jesus Christ. He isn't...because he is convinced of the truth of the Gospel message (:12) and that God will guard him no matter what happens (:8). Notice that the word “ashamed” doesn’t just mean to be embarrassed, or uncomfortable. But it actually means that the feeling is so intense that it stops you from serving God.
Ashamed (To Be), Shame:
from aischos, "shame," always used in the Passive Voice, signifies
(a) "to have a feeling of fear or shame which prevents a person from doing a thing," e.g., Luk 16:3;
Vine’s Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words, https://www.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?strongs=G153&t=NASB
Paul says that the power of God is stronger than the suffering of shame (:8). God has not called us because of what we can do or what we can produce (:9). If that were so, then indeed we might not meet expectations and be ashamed. But God has called us with a “holy calling…according to His own purpose and grace”. Notice four things about this “calling” of God on our lives.
First, the word “calling” means that it originates with God. This is not something that we just decide to do on our own. God calls us to serve Him. It is at His initiative.
Call, Called, Calling:
derived from the root kal--, whence Eng. "call" and "clamour" (see B and C, below), is used
(a) with a personal object, "to call anyone, invite, summon," e.g., Mat 20:8; 25:14; it is used particularly of the Divine call to partake of the blessings of redemption, e.g., Rom 8:30; 1Cr 1:9; 1Th 2:12; Hbr 9:15; cp. B and C, below;
(b) of nomenclature or vocation, "to call by a name, to name;" in the Passive Voice, "to be called by a name, to bear a name." Thus it suggests either vocation or destination; the context determines which, e.g., Rom 9:25-26; "surname," in Act 15:37, AV, is incorrect (RV, "was called").
"a calling" (akin to A, No. 1), is always used in the NT of that "calling" the origin, nature and destiny of which are heavenly (the idea of invitation being implied); it is used especially of God's invitation to man to accept the benefits of salvation, Rom 11:29; 1Cr 1:26; 7:20 (said there of the condition in which the "calling" finds one); Eph 1:18, "His calling;" Phl 3:14, the "high calling;" 2Th 1:11; 2Pe 1:10, "your calling;" 2Ti 1:9, a "holy calling;" Hbr 3:1, a "heavenly calling;" Eph 4:1, "the calling wherewith ye were called;" 4:4, "in one hope of your calling."
Vine’s Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words, https://www.blueletterbible.org/search/Dictionary/viewTopic.cfm?topic=VT0000398
Second, it is “holy”. That means that it is different from anything else. It is different because God is calling us from the mundane and common things of the world…to that which is “holy”…meaning totally committed to Him.
Third, it is by His “grace”. We had nothing to do with it. We haven’t earned or deserved it. We don’t have some unusual talent, or quality, or characteristic. By an act of His “grace”…a decision based on Himself alone…God calls us to serve Him.
Fourth, it is “according to His own purpose.” The word “purpose” has wonderful significance. It is used of the “shewbread” that was in the Temple in Jerusalem (see below). Each Sabbath, the Priest would place 12 loaves of bread in the Temple. Their number 12, represented the 12 tribes of Israel. Their significance (purpose) was to be a constant reminder and demonstration of God’s provision and God’s protection of Israel. In other words, the salvation that He provided for Israel.
Purpose (Noun and Verb):
"a setting forth" (used of the "shewbread"), "a purpose" (akin to B, No. 3), is used
(a) of the "purposes of God," Rom 8:28; 9:11; Eph 1:11; 3:11; 2Ti 1:9;
(b) of "human purposes," as to things material, Act 27:13; spiritual, Act 11:23; 2Ti 3:10.
Vine’s Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words, https://www.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?Strongs=G4286&t=NASB
Note: The phrase rendered "the shewbread" is formed by the combination of the nouns prothesis, "a setting forth" (pro, "before," tithemi, "to place") and artos, "a loaf" (in the plural), each with the article, Mat 12:4; Mar 2:26; Luk 6:4, lit., "the loaves of the setting forth;" in Hbr 9:2, lit., "the setting forth of the loaves." The corresponding OT phrases are lit., "bread of the face," Exd 25:30, i.e., the presence, referring to the Presence of God (cp. Isa 63:9 with Exd 33:14, 15); "the bread of ordering," 1Ch 9:32, marg. In Num 4:7 it is called "the continual bread;" in 1Sa 21:4, 6, "holy bread" (AV, "hallowed"). In the Sept. of 1Ki 7:48, it is called "the bread of the offering" (prosphora, "a bearing towards"). The twelve loaves, representing the tribes of Israel, were set in order every Sabbath day before the Lord, "on the behalf of the children," Lev 24:8, RV (marg., and AV, "from"), "an everlasting covenant." The loaves symbolized the fact that on the basis of the sacrificial atonement of the Cross, believers are accepted before God, and nourished by Him in the Person of Christ. The showbread was partaken of by the priests, as representatives of the nation. Priesthood now being co-extensive with all who belong to Christ, 1Pe 2:5, 9, He, the Living Bread, is the nourishment of all, and where He is, there, representatively, they are.
Vine’s Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words, https://www.blueletterbible.org/search/dictionary/viewTopic.cfm?topic=VT0002589
Paul says that we have been called by God “according to His own purpose”. What is that purpose? Perhaps Paul had the significance of the shewbread in mind. Our lives are to be like the showbread…a constant demonstration of God’s provision for and protection of those that He has saved (:9). In a sense, we are the shewbread of Christ. We are the living demonstration of what Christ has done to provide eternal life (:9-10). Paul says that it is because of this living demonstration through his life that he suffers persecution. And he is certainly not going to back down or stop being that witness (“ashamed”)…because he knows Who he has believed in…and knowing Who Jesus is…he is absolutely confident that He will provide for him and protect him no matter what man does to him (:12).
2 Timothy 1:13-14-He is faithful in his service for Christ
Paul tells Timothy to "Retain the standard of sound words which you have heard from me.” This phrase can be paraphrased, “Let your words present the same message to others that you received from me.” In other words, be careful that you correctly explain the truth of the Gospel to others…just as you received it. No changes. Other people can only be saved by the same message and means as you were. Make sure you get it correct. Then he says, “Guard…the treasure which has been entrusted to you.” The “treasure” is the Gospel…and Paul tells Timothy to “guard” it. To make certain that it is not damaged or influenced by anything. Keep it safe and secure…because it is the only hope of salvation that men have.
2 Timothy 1:15-18-He is faithful to the cause of Christ
Paul gives a negative and a positive example of what it means to be faithful to Christ in the face of persecution. He reminds Timothy of those who lived in Asia (Turkey) that had at one time served alongside him…but now have turned away from him. He specifically mentions two men…Phygelus and Hermogenes. We don’t know who these men were, or exactly what the circumstances were. But it probably had to do with the persecution in Ephesus that Paul had just mentioned (1:12; 4:16). When the persecution came the men left. On the other hand there was Onesiphorus…who ministered to him in Ephesus (:18) and has continued to do so even while he has been in prison in Rome (:17). Paul asks that God bless the home of Onesiphorus (4:19).
Prayer: Lord, I pray that You will allow me the privilege of mentoring young men in the ministry. Please help me to be a godly minister, that others can look to for counsel and direction. Please help me to live in such a manner that You are glorified in all that I do.