Exhortations to Timothy – (1:6-2:13)
1:6 Because of his godly family background and his own faith, Timothy is urged to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in him. We are not told what the gift of God is. Some take it to mean the Holy Spirit. Others understand it to mean a special ability of Christian service, for instance, the gift of an evangelist, pastor, or teacher. It seems clear that Timothy had been called into Christian service and had been given some special abilities.
Here he is encouraged to fan (kindle) the gift into a living flame. He should not become discouraged by the general failure around him. Neither should he become professional in his service for the Lord and lapse into a comfortable routine. Rather, he should be concerned to use this gift more and more as the days grow darker and darker.
The gift was in Timothy through the laying on of the apostle’s hands. This is not to be confused with the ordination service which is practiced in clerical circles today. This means exactly what it says – that the gift was actually given to Timothy at the moment Paul laid his hands on him. The apostle was the channel by which the gift was conferred.
1:7 Facing martyrdom himself, Paul takes time out to remind Timothy that God has not given us a spirit of timidity (fear) or cowardice. There is no time for fearfulness or timidity.
But God has given us a spirit of power. God has also given us a spirit of love. It is our love for God that casts out fear and makes us willing to give ourselves for Christ, whatever the cost may be. It is our love for our fellow men that makes us willing to endure all kinds of persecutions and repay them with kindness.
Finally, God has given us a spirit of self-discipline.
What this verse is teaching is that God has given us a spirit of self-control or self-mastery. We are to use discretion and not to act rashly, hastily, or foolishly. No matter how difficult our circumstances are, we should maintain balanced judgment and act soberly.
Timothy is told that he should not be ashamed. In verse 12, Paul states that he is not ashamed. Finally, in verse 16, we read that Onesiphorus was not ashamed.
It was a day when preaching the gospel was a crime. Those who would witness publicly for their Lord and Saviour were persecuted. But this should not discourage Timothy. He should not be ashamed of the gospel, even though it involves suffering. Neither should he be ashamed of the Apostle Paul in prison. Already some of the Christians had turned their backs on him. Doubtless they feared that to identify themselves with him would invite persecution and possibly death.
Timothy was exhorted to join Paul in his sufferings for the gospel by the power of God. In other words, he should not try to avoid any disgrace that might be connected with it, but rather join with Paul in enduring such disgrace.
1:9 Apostle Paul has been encouraging Timothy to be zealous (6-7) and courageous (8). Now he explains why this is the only reasonable attitude to take; it is found in God’s wonderful dealings with us in grace. First of all, He saved us. This means that He delivered us from the penalty of sin. He constantly delivers us from the power of sin, and in the future He will deliver us from the very presence of sin. Also, He has freed us from the world and from Satan.
God has called us to a holy life. The Christian’s holy calling is described in some detail in Ephesians 1-3, especially in chapter 1. There we learn that we are adopted as sons, redeemed through His blood, forgiven and given eternal life. (In addition to this holy calling, we have a high calling, Phil.3:14, and heavenly calling, Hebrews 3:1).
This salvation and calling are not because of anything we have done (our works). In other words, they were given to us by God’s grace. This means that we did not deserve them, but rather deserved the very apposite. This is explained by the words but because of His own purpose and grace. Why should God have so loved ungodly sinners that He was willing to send His only Son to die for them? The only possible answer is: because of His own purpose and grace. The reason for His action did not lie in us. Rather, it lay in His own great heart of love. He loved us because He loved us!
His favor was given to us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time. This means that in the past eternity, God had wonderful plan of Salvation. He determined to save guilty sinners through the substitutionary work of His Son. He decided to offer eternal life to as many as would accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour. The method by which we could be saved was planned not only before we were born, but even before the beginning of time.
1:10 The same gospel that was designed in eternity was revealed in time. It was revealed through the appearing of our Saviour, Christ Jesus. During the days of His flesh, He publicly proclaimed the Good News of Salvation. He taught men that He must die, be buried and rise from the dead in order that God might save ungodly sinners.
He destroyed death. But how can this be, when we know that death is still very common in the world? Before Christ’s resurrection, death ruled as a cruel tyrant over men. It was a dreaded enemy. The fear of death held men in bondage. But the resurrection of our Lord Jesus is a pledge that all who trust in Him will rise from the dead to die no more. It is in this sense that He has annulled death. He has robbed it of its sting.
Death is now the messenger of God which brings the Soul of the believer to heaven. It is our servant rather than our master. Not only has Jesus annulled death, He has brought life and immortality to light through the gospel. In the O.T. period most men had a very vague and misty idea of life after death. They spoke of departed loved ones as in sheol, which simply means the invisible state of departed spirits. Although they had a heavenly hope set before them, yet for the most part they did not understand it clearly.
Since the coming of Christ, we have much greater light on this subject. For instance, we know that when a believer dies, his spirit departs to be with Christ, which is far better. He is absent from the body and at home with God. He enters into eternal life in all its fullness.
The O.T. saints did not have this knowledge it was brought to us through the appearing of our Saviour, Christ Jesus.
1:11 It was to proclaim this glorious gospel that Paul was appointed a herald (preacher) and an apostle and a teacher.
A herald is a preacher whose function is to publicly proclaim a message. An apostle is one who has been divinely equipped, and divinely empowered. A teacher is one whose function is to indoctrinate others; he explains the truth in an understandable manner so that others may respond by faith and obedience.
1:12 It was because of his faithful performance of duty that Paul was suffering imprisonment and loneliness. He had not hesitated to declare the truth of God.
No fears for personal safety had sealed his lips. Now that he had been arrested and jailed, he still had no regrets. He was not ashamed, neither should Timothy be ashamed. Although Paul could not be confident as to his personal safety, he was completely confident as to the One whom he had believed.
Though Rome might succeed in putting the Apostle to death, men could not touch his Lord. Paul knew that the One who he had trusted was able. Able to do what? Able to guard what I have entrusted to Him. For that day. Some think he means his life, which he had put, as it were, into the hands of Christ in order that he may receive it again in the resurrection, at the great day. Others understand this to refer to the gospel. In other word, although the Apostle Paul himself might be put to death, yet the gospel could not be hindered. Some think that it is his soul’s salvation. Perhaps it is best to take the expression in its broadest sense. Paul was persuaded that his entire case was in the best of hands. Even as he faced death, he had no misgivings. Jesus Christ was his Almighty Lord, and with Him there could be no defeat or failure. There was nothing to worry about. That day is a favorite expression of Paul. It refers to the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ, and particularly to the Judgment Seat of Christ when service for Him will be brought into review and when the kindness of God will reward the faithfulness of men.
1:13 Keep as the pattern of sound teaching. It is not just that he is to be loyal to the truth of God’s word, but that he is to cling to the very expressions by which this truth is conveyed. In our day, it is sometimes suggested that we should not use such old-fashioned expressions as “being born again” or “the blood of Jesus.” People want to use more sophisticated language. But there is a subtle danger here. In abandoning the scriptural mode of expression, they often abandon the very truths which are communicated by these expressions. Therefore, Timothy should keep as the pattern of sound teaching.
With faith and love in Christ Jesus. Faith credits the divine doctrines. Love reduces them all to practice.
Love includes not only love to God, but also love to our fellow believers and to the perishing world around us.
1:14 The good deposit refers to the gospel. The message of saving love had been entrusted to Timothy. He is not told to add to it or to improve on it in any way. His responsibility is to guard it with the help of the Holy Spirit who lives in us. Timothy was admonished to stand true to the word of God. He would not have to do this in his own strength. The Holy Spirit would supply all that he needed for the task.
1:15 As the Apostle thinks of the dark clouds gathering over the church, he is reminded of how the Christians in Asia had deserted him. It is likely that the Christians in Asia severed their connections with Paul when they learned that he had been arrested and imprisoned.
They forsook him at the very time he needed them most. Probably their reason was that they feared for their own safety. They neither visited him nor confessed faith in Christ.
He cannot be speaking of any general defection of the Asiatic churches, but of those who had professed a special friendship for him.
Phygelus and Hermogenes were two of the persons of whom he complains; but who they were or what office they held or whether they were leaders in the movement to dissociate themselves from Paul, we cannot tell.
1:16 Onesiphorus had acknowledged him and continued to do so; he and his household ministered to him in prison, and were not ashamed of their imprisoned pastor nor of the cause for which he was in disgrace and suffering. As Onesiphorus showed mercy to Apostle Paul, Apostle Paul prays the Lord show mercy to him and his household.
1:17 When Onesiphorus went to Rome he searched hard until he found Paul. He was in prison that is why he found him with great difficulty.
1:18 May the Lord grant that he will find mercy from the Lord on that day. This is either a prayer to God for His mercy on that great day at the hand of Jesus Christ, the Judge, or only a Hebraism for “God may grant that in the great day he may receive the mercy of the Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.”