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Bible Commentaries
2 Timothy 1

Hampton's Commentary on Selected BooksHampton's Commentary

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Verses 1-2


That God's will and his commandment are one and the same can be seen by comparing the opening words of the first and second letters to Timothy. Further, such comparison will remind that the Christian’s hope is eternal life in Christ Jesus. Paul may have considered Timothy his son because he helped him learn and obey the gospel. He loved him because of the close relationship they had in the gospel. Paul treated Timothy like a son by training him to carry out the important task of preaching the truth. His prayer for him was that he would receive God's unmerited favor, tender mercy and unsurpassed peace of mind. All of these come from the Father and Son ( 2Ti_1:1-2 ).

Verses 3-7

Timothy’s Faith and Family History

Paul served God, as his fathers had, with a pure, or clear conscience ( Act_23:1 ; Act_24:16 ). The apostle's actions were always in accord with that which he believed to be right. He never stopped giving thanks to God for Timothy. In fact, he remembered him night and day and this led to thanksgiving. Paul joyfully looked forward to seeing him again. This was especially true because of the tears Timothy had shed in his behalf. Paul was also thankful when he thought of Timothy's sincere faith. Faith in God had first been displayed in the life of his grandmother, Lois, and then his mother, Eunice. They had taught him from childhood as 3:15 would indicate ( 2Ti_1:3-5 ).

It appears Timothy’s fire may have needed to be stirred to keep a full blaze going, since Guthrie quotes Abbott- Smith, who says the Greek word for "stir up" can mean "either 'to kindle afresh' or 'to keep in full flame.'" This writer does not know what gift is spoken of here but we can be sure that any gift from God is intended to be used to further the cause of Christ. It should also be observed that it was up to Timothy to so conduct himself as to keep the gift burning bright and useful in his life. As with all Christians, the gift of God helps man to change his inward character, or spirit. We are not fearful, because man can really do nothing to harm us ( Mat_10:28 ). Through Christ, we have power to do all things and overcome infirmities and persecutions ( Php_4:13 ; 2Co_12:9-10 ). We also receive the gift of love that we so desperately needed ( Rom_5:6-8 ). Finally, our inward spirit is turned toward self control ( 1Co_9:27 ; 2Co_5:13-14 ). Notice, it is the love of Christ that helps us hold ourselves back from the things we ought not to do ( 2Ti_1:6-7 ).

Verses 8-12

Paul Was Not Ashamed of the Gospel

Part of Paul's ability to be content in whatever state he was in must have come from the view expressed in 2Ti_1:8 ( Php_4:11 ; Eph_3:1 ; Eph_4:1 ). He was not Nero's or Rome's prisoner, but the Lord's. Wherever he was, he was serving his Master and striving to further the cause of the gospel. Christians have an internal character, as discussed in the previous verse, which allows them to not be ashamed of the gospel or our Lord. Timothy was also told, by Paul, not to be ashamed of him, as if some pressure would be put on him to do just that. Jesus suffered so that we might be saved. We can expect to suffer if we stand up for the righteousness of God. When we are suffering for the right, we can know that God's power is there to sustain us ( 1Pe_4:16-19 ).

All those in Christ have been saved from their past sins by God's precious gift ( 2Pe_1:9 ). We were saved when we accepted God's calling through our obedience (compare Act_2:21 ; Act_2:37-38 ; Act_2:41 ; Act_22:16 ). Our salvation is not earned through works that we do but is bestowed upon us as a gift. Eph_2:8-10 makes this clear while at the same time showing us that God intends for our lives to be centered on doing good works. God planned, even before the world began, to extend the gift of salvation to man in Christ ( Eph_1:9-10 ; Eph_3:10-11 ). For centuries God's plan for man's salvation was hidden ( Rom_16:25-26 ). When Jesus appeared on the earth and carried out his purpose, God's plan of salvation was made known. When Jesus overcame the grave, he also overthrew death by taking away its sting ( 1Co_15:51-57 ). The way of life immortal had been pitch dark until the light of the Son's resurrection and his glorious gospel fully illuminated the way ( 2Ti_1:9-10 ).

Paul went forth as a herald, or proclaimer, for the king to tell the lost of Christ's saving power. He was sent by the king himself, as the word “apostle” shows. His specific charge was to instruct the Gentiles in the way of salvation ( Act_9:15 ; Act_26:16-18 ). Paul was persecuted and imprisoned because he was carrying out the instructions of his commander. He was not ashamed of his suffering because he had complete trust in Jesus Christ. Roberts says the apostle went on to say, "He is able to keep my commitment." He could have meant the Lord was able to keep his charge to preach the gospel or he could have meant his soul. Both ideas are correct and it is actually possible Paul had both in mind. Christ's word will not fail ( Mat_24:36 ), nor will he leave his faithful servants in the grave ( 1Co_15:22-23 ). We can know that Jesus will always be with us if we are faithfully carrying out his command to teach all nations ( 2Ti_1:11-12 ).

Verses 13-18

An Injunction to Steadfastness

The apostle urged Timothy to hold tight to the “pattern of sound words.” The word translated "pattern" is the Greek word hupo-tuposis. Joseph Thayer, in his Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament , says this word means, "the pattern placed before one to be held fast and copied, model." Paul had given Timothy a clear model of sound teachings from which he should not stray. The way to do that was through hearing the word of God and doing what it says to do out of a love for lost souls. As Paul thought of his own approaching death, the importance of men like Timothy preserving the good news in the form God delivered it naturally became a vital matter. The same Holy Spirit who inspired the penmen to write would help Timothy keep the gospel pure ( 2Ti_1:13-14 ).

When Paul used the expression, "all those in Asia," he likely was using hyperbole, or an exaggeration for emphasis. We use these often. For example, one might say, "I'm so hungry I could eat a horse." Paul's point is that none from Asia, which was so near by, had come to his defense during his trial in Rome. In fact, the aged apostle used the word "deserted" to describe their actions. For some reason, he singled out the two men named as being among the deserters. Perhaps they led others into such actions ( 2Ti_1:15 ).

In stark contrast to those who deserted him, Onesiphorus had been like a cool breeze under a shade tree for an over-heated traveler, which is the idea behind the word "refreshed." This kind brother had not been ashamed of the apostle's chains in prison. Thus, Paul expressed his desire that the entire house of Onesiphorus obtain mercy. He had put forth a great deal of effort to find the imprisoned apostle. Paul's specific desire for this helpful brother was that he would find mercy in the day of judgment. Timothy was well aware of how helpful Onesiphorus had been in Ephesus and from the above statements would likely conclude that he had continued in the same manner ( 2Ti_1:16-18 ).

Bibliographical Information
Hampton, Gary. "Commentary on 2 Timothy 1". "Hampton's Commentary on Selected Books". https://studylight.org/commentaries/eng/ghc/2-timothy-1.html. 2014.
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