2 Timothy begins in an inspiring way, and again reminds us of Paul’s commitment in prayer for those he knows. He is constantly praying for Timothy and this commitment is reflected in other letters also.
The start of the letter begins with a reminder of the heritage of faith – Paul serves as his ancestors did and Timothy serves as his grandmother, Lois, and mother, Eunice, did. I’m very glad that I too have a heritage of faith, as my parents are both faithful Christians.
This then causes Paul to tell Timothy to fan into flame the gift of God that has been given to him. The practical outworking of that is somewhat vague, but it’ll be interesting to reflect on it and how to follow that in my own life. I suppose it leads to the asking of two questions:
- What gifts has God given me?
- How do I fan them into flame?
This is followed by an encouragement about the Holy Spirit’s work in us: he gives us power, love and self-discipline. This is things I definitely need, so I pray that this is evident in my life. This empowerment means we should not be ashamed of the gospel and in fact helps us in suffering rather than having an easy life.
The next few verses give a succinct calling of the life of a Christian:
He has saved us and called us to a holy life—not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time, but it has now been revealed through the appearing of our Savior, Christ Jesus, who has destroyed death and has brought life and immortality to light through the gospel.2 Timothy 1: 9-10
What’s interesting about this verse is that it says that grace in Christ was given before the beginning of time. Of course, this is somewhat confusing but we need to remember how God is the creator and outside of time.
Timothy is then exhorted to keep teaching and to “Guard the good deposit that was entrusted to you—guard it with the help of the Holy Spirit who lives in us.” Again that leads me to ask the following questions:
- What deposit have I been entrusted with?
- How do I guard it?
The immediate answer to question 1 is the gospel and sound teacher. The question to number 2 probably needs more thought. I don’t think it’s the wall-up retreat-to-the-castle mindset some churches seem to have. So, how do we go about guarding the word of God and the gospel? I suppose we rely on the Spirit in us to guide us in that.
Paul writes about those that have deserted him. In fact, the pretty much got him thrown in jail. But he also remembers those who have been loyal and helpful. Although our circumstances are often far less extreme than Paul’s, it does sometimes feel to missionaries that they are deserted by those back at home. However, we need to remember those who have been loyal. Sometimes, also, those people are not those who we expect to be most loyal, but show an interest, care and love. In my UK church, there are those who I don’t really know extremely well, but they are committed to keeping in touch and praying. This has been a real blessing and encouragement.