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2 Timothy 1 - I Know Whom I Have Believed!

INTRODUCTION: This second letter to Timothy was written while Paul was a prisoner in Rome, after having been held in Caesarea for about two years until he appealed to Caesar as a Roman citizen. This letter contains perhaps more of a personal tone than his first letter to Timothy, and it likely was written quite a few years later than the first one. More background can be found in the Bible study on "Paul and Timothy" and in the six chapters of 1Timothy that are posted here on the web site.

NOTE: Bible passages are from the World English Bible.


2 Timothy 1 "1 Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ through the will of God, according to the promise of the life which is in Christ Jesus, 2 to Timothy, my beloved child: Grace, mercy, and peace, from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord. 3 I thank God, whom I serve as my forefathers did, with a pure conscience. How unceasing is my memory of you in my petitions, night and day 4 longing to see you, remembering your tears, that I may be filled with joy; 5 having been reminded of the sincere faith that is in you; which lived first in your grandmother Lois, and your mother Eunice, and, I am persuaded, in you also."

COMMENTS: In Paul's first letter to Timothy, he referred to being an apostle at the command of God, and in this second letter he said his apostleship was God's will for him. This affirmed that he was not appointed by any man for this lifetime work, but rather directly by the Lord. Being an apostle was according to the promise of life that is found in Christ Jesus. He now had that new life and he had a commission from the Lord to spread that gospel message to others. He addressed Timothy as a son in the faith as he reminded Timothy of the grace, mercy, and peace, from God the Father and Christ Jesus who was Lord to both of them. Even though Paul addressed Timothy as a son in the faith, it likely was more of a reference to Paul being older than timothy, and not that Paul was the agent of his conversion. Paul spoke of the faith that was in Timothy's mother and grandmother, and Paul was convinced it was also in Timothy. Timothy was already referred to as a disciple before he joined Paul and Silas in missionary work.

Paul said he was thankful that he could serve the LORD with a pure conscience as did his forefathers. An important fact of that statement is that he served the same God as they had, because Christ is the eternal God. He told Timothy that as he prayed, he had vivid memories of Timothy's tears, as he longed to see him again. There is no clear indication in scripture of when this tearful parting took place. Timothy had traveled with Paul and Silas for a number of years before Paul began his last trip to Jerusalem with many stops along the way. Acts 20 "4 These accompanied him as far as Asia: Sopater of Beroea; Aristarchus and Secundus of the Thessalonians; Gaius of Derbe; Timothy; and Tychicus and Trophimus of Asia. 5 But these had gone ahead, and were waiting for us at Troas. 6 We sailed away from Philippi after the days of Unleavened Bread, and came to them at Troas in five days, where we stayed seven days." That passage is the last mention of Timothy by name in the book of Acts.

When the delegation from Ephesus met with Paul, Timothy may have been among those who shed tears at Paul's words. Acts 20 "36 When he had spoken these things, he knelt down and prayed with them all. 37 They all wept a lot, and fell on Paul's neck and kissed him, 38 sorrowing most of all because of the word which he had spoken, that they should see his face no more. And they accompanied him to the ship." Acts records other stops in this journey, and then the party arrived at Caesarea. Acts 21 "8 On the next day, we, who were Paul's companions, departed, and came to Caesarea. We entered into the house of Philip the evangelist, who was one of the seven, and stayed with him. 9 Now this man had four virgin daughters who prophesied. 10 As we stayed there some days, a certain prophet named Agabus came down from Judea. 11 Coming to us, and taking Paul's belt, he bound his own feet and hands, and said, "Thus says the Holy Spirit: 'So will the Jews at Jerusalem bind the man who owns this belt, and will deliver him into the hands of the Gentiles.'" 12 When we heard these things, both we and they of that place begged him not to go up to Jerusalem. 13 Then Paul answered, "What are you doing, weeping and breaking my heart? For I am ready not only to be bound, but also to die at Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus." 14 When he would not be persuaded, we ceased, saying, "The Lord's will be done.""


2 Timothy 1 "6 For this cause, I remind you that you should stir up the gift of God which is in you through the laying on of my hands. 7 For God didn't give us a spirit of fear, but of power, love, and self-control. 8 Therefore don't be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me his prisoner; but endure hardship for the Good News according to the power of God, 9 who saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given to us in Christ Jesus before times eternal, 10 but has now been revealed by the appearing of our Saviour, Christ Jesus, who abolished death, and brought life and immortality to light through the Good News."

COMMENTS: Since Paul was convinced that Timothy had a sincere faith in the Lord, he reminded him to keep that faith active by using the gift he had from God, which Paul had affirmed by the laying on of hands. This had been brought to Timothy's attention in Paul's first letter. 1 Timothy 4:14 "Don't neglect the gift that is in you, which was given to you by prophecy, with the laying on of the hands of the elders." No matter what conditions we may face, we should not allow fear to cause us to be ashamed of the testimony of the Lord, or of other servants of God who suffer severely in their physical bodies. God gives the believer a spirit of power, love, and self control to help in a time of need. Christians should endure hardships by the power of God so the gospel message will still be evident in their lives. The Lord saves and calls each one with a holy calling, not according to works of merit, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given to us in Christ Jesus before times eternal. God's purpose and grace of salvation of souls has now been revealed by the appearing of our Saviour, Christ Jesus, who abolished death, and brought life and immortality to light through the Good News that we now can share with others.


2 Timothy 1 "11 For this, I was appointed as a preacher, an apostle, and a teacher of the Gentiles. 12 For this cause I also suffer these things. Yet I am not ashamed, for I know him whom I have believed, and I am persuaded that he is able to guard that which I have committed to him against that day. 13 Hold the pattern of sound words which you have heard from me, in faith and love which is in Christ Jesus. 14 That good thing which was committed to you, guard through the Holy Spirit who dwells in us."

COMMENTS: Paul clearly stated that he was chosen and assigned as a preacher, an apostle, and a teacher of the Gentiles. Following this calling has resulted in his suffering in prison, but he considers he is actually a prisoner of Christ. So, as he has advised Timothy not to be ashamed, he boldly states that he is not ashamed, for he knows the one he has believed, and he is solidly persuaded that the Lord is undeniably able to guard the hope that Paul has committed to him for the coming day. Paul encouraged Timothy, and encourages each believer by extension, to hold in faith and love which is in Christ Jesus, the pattern of sound words left to us by the Lord through his chosen instruments such as Paul. Believers are then to guard through the Holy Spirit who dwells in us, the pattern of sound words that has now been committed to us.


2 Timothy 1 "15 This you know, that all who are in Asia turned away from me; of whom are Phygelus and Hermogenes. 16 May the Lord grant mercy to the house of Onesiphorus, for he often refreshed me, and was not ashamed of my chain, 17 but when he was in Rome, he sought me diligently, and found me 18 (the Lord grant to him to find the Lord's mercy in that day); and in how many things he served at Ephesus, you know very well."

COMMENTS: Paul did not give detail about Phygelus and Hermogenes as he stated that Timothy knew that these two men had turned away from Paul's teaching, but they must have been especially troublesome as they were specifically named among many of like persuasion in the province of Asia. However, Paul does not dwell on such people, but rather turns his attention to one who had become very dear to him. His comment was reflective of prayer that Paul must have offered as a request to the Lord to grant mercy to the house of Onesiphorus. This man must have displayed many of the qualities written of by both Paul and Peter in other letters, especially related to hospitality. 1Timothy 3 "2 The overseer therefore must be without reproach, the husband of one wife, temperate, sensible, modest, hospitable, good at teaching;" Titus 1 "7 For the overseer must be blameless, as God's steward; not self-pleasing, not easily angered, not given to wine, not violent, not greedy for dishonest gain; 8 but given to hospitality, a lover of good, sober minded, fair, holy, self-controlled;" 1Peter 4 "8 And above all things be earnest in your love among yourselves, for love covers a multitude of sins. 9 Be hospitable to one another without grumbling. 10 As each has received a gift, employ it in serving one another, as good managers of the grace of God in its various forms." Paul said Onesiphorus OFTEN refreshed him, and apparently was not in Rome specifically to see Paul, as Paul said Onesiphorus even diligently sought Paul out when Onesiphorus was there. He was not ashamed to be seen with the prisoner Paul. These facts about Onesiphorus were the reason Paul could say in this letter, "the Lord grant to him to find the Lord's mercy in that day." Paul then closed this section of his letter by reminding Timothy that he knew for himself the many acts of service performed by Onesiphorus at Ephesus.


The relationship Paul had with Timothy probably could not have been any stronger even if they had actually been father and son. Both men kept you, Lord, first in their lives, and this greatly strengthened the affection they had developed for each other. May I set my affection on you my Savior in such a way that all of my earthly relationships are maintained in the way that is most honoring to you. I also want to have no fear of shame as I treat with respect and affection those who suffer before men because they are fully dedicated to serving you Lord. If I lose any of my freedoms, or even directly become a true prisoner as a Christian, give me all the reserve fortitude I may need to bear such things with no shame or rejection of being identified with you, my Lord.

I thank you that Paul has reminded me that I know in whom I have believed, and that you, Lord, are indeed able to keep all that you have promised until the day of your return. May I continually redirect my perspective on any circumstances to the firm expectation that you have a perfect will for my life because of your great love. Help me Lord to be a willing servant to you, and to those who love you, as was the case with Onesiphorus. Amen.

Published 29 October 2013