2 Timothy Chapter 1: Encouraging Words to Timothy

Jan 10th, 2010 | By | Category: 1 & 2 Timothy, Verse by Verse --Studies led by Br. Frank Shallieu (Click on Book name)

2 Timothy Chapter 1: Encouraging Words to Timothy

2 Tim. 1:1 Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, according to the promise of life which is in Christ Jesus,

Paul very pointedly reminded Timothy that he was an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God. The Father is the Author, the Director, of the plan. God chooses the Bride for the Son. He does the calling, and He decides who is faithful.

Why did Paul add the words “according to the promise of life which is in Christ Jesus”? Not only did Paul call attention to his authority as an apostle, but the message he brought, which pertained to the high calling of being associates with Jesus in the Kingdom of blessing, was equally authentic. Paul was saying, “The promise of life is God’s message, and I am God’s spokesman in this matter.”

2 Tim. 1:2 To Timothy, my dearly beloved son: Grace, mercy, and peace, from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.

Timothy was Paul’s “dearly beloved son.” What tender words! God had said of Jesus, “This is my beloved Son,” and here Paul was giving a very favorable commendation to Timothy. For Paul, who had an intimate relationship with God and Jesus, to write to Timothy in such endearing terms would have been an encouragement.

“Grace, mercy, and peace” from God, the Father, and Christ Jesus, the Son, was a characteristic greeting of Paul in his epistles. We sometimes think of God as being aloof and very high in His thinking, but this affection shows that “God is love” (1 John 4:8). We stand in awe of all His creative works and acts, yet “his tender mercies are over all his works” (Psa. 145:9).

2 Tim. 1:3 I thank God, whom I serve from my forefathers with pure conscience, that without ceasing I have remembrance of thee in my prayers night and day;

Paul served God from his “forefathers” with a pure conscience; that is, he served God as the patriarchs and faithful, noble ones of the past had served the Almighty. After mentioning his personal sincerity and pure conscience, Paul declared that he remembered Timothy in his prayers “without ceasing … night and day”—probably when he closed and opened each day in prayer. In other words, Paul had such concern for Timothy that he remembered him daily with regularity. A day did not go by without his bringing to remembrance in prayer his concern for Timothy, and this was especially true with regard to his nighttime prayers.

Here Paul mentioned his “pure conscience.” He also said, “Now the end of the commandment is charity out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned” (1 Tim. 1:5). And he said, “Herein do I exercise myself, to have always a conscience void of offence toward God, and toward men” (Acts 24:16). We should strive to have to such a conscience.

2 Tim. 1:4 Greatly desiring to see thee, being mindful of thy tears, that I may be filled with joy;

Paul had left Timothy in Ephesus. Timothy had wanted to accompany Paul, but there was a purpose in his staying behind. Nevertheless, Timothy had shed tears at Paul’s departure, probably realizing that the apostle’s days were numbered. Paul was saying in effect, “You may have cried and been very sorrowful when we parted, but I feel the same way and would be filled with joy if we could be reunited.” They shared a close bond of fellowship in the Lord.

The church in Ephesus was the most influential of all the churches in Asia Minor. Timothy had been in Ephesus for quite a long time—through the writing of both epistles. Ephesus was Timothy’s base of operations, and Paul was in Rome at this time. Incidentally, the Apostle John, the second messenger to the Church, went to Ephesus later, probably after Paul died and following the persecution in Jerusalem in AD 69, which resulted in the dispersal of brethren into Egypt, India, Asia Minor, and other places. At that time, John moved to Ephesus, making it his base, and took Mary, Jesus’ mother, with him.

2 Tim. 1:5 When I call to remembrance the unfeigned faith that is in thee, which dwelt first in thy grandmother Lois, and thy mother Eunice; and I am persuaded that in thee also.

Paul credited Timothy’s faith to his mother Eunice and to his grandmother Lois. Paul was persuaded that Timothy had the same sincere faith as these two outstanding women, who had probably finished their course by this time. The implication is that they either knew Jesus personally or knew about him. In the Kingdom, it will be interesting to learn more about their backgrounds—especially how they came into the truth and how they finished their course.

Q: What is the reason for saying that Eunice and Lois were dead at this point?

A: Paul was confident of their faith. Since, theoretically, one can deflect right up to his dying breath, the commendation of their faithfulness indicates they had died. In contradistinction, Timothy was still alive and active. Also, Timothy was now about 45 years old, so it is likely that his mother and grandmother had died.

Timothy was considered young, but he was actually middle-aged. The criticism of his “youth” is that he had not known or seen Jesus (1 Tim. 4:12). This factor alone barred him from eldership in the eyes of some brethren. Paul was similarly criticized for not seeing Jesus during the First Advent, but he repeatedly testified that he had seen Jesus since his resurrection—as “one born out of due time” (1 Cor. 15:8).

Timothy had an “unfeigned faith.” A “feigned” faith is a profession of faith that is not really valid. A genuine, sincere faith is more than just an expression of words; it is backed up by deeds.

Timothy loved and recognized Paul as a true disciple. Considering the apostle exemplary, he wanted to follow after Paul as Paul followed after Christ. Paul knew that was the reason Timothy loved him, and he loved Timothy for his unfeigned faith. Timothy’s faith in God and Christ must have been exhibited on certain occasions we do not know about where Paul could see into Timothy’s heart for a moment. No matter what the relationship was between Paul and Timothy, faith in the Heavenly Father and His Son was the superior relationship. Neither embellishment nor braggadocio characterized such a faith.

2 Tim. 1:6 Wherefore I put thee in remembrance that thou stir up the gift of God, which is in thee by the putting on of my hands.

Feeling that Timothy was very qualified, Paul wanted to give this humble brother a little push so that others would benefit from his talent. Paul urged Timothy to “stir up the gift” that had come from God through the laying on of the apostle’s hands. He was saying to Timothy, “Do not waste the gift that you received.” We can only guess as to what that gift was, but apparently, it was a charge or commission regarding his ministry. The gift may have been a profound understanding of Scripture for a relatively young and perhaps unschooled man. To the contrary, Paul was schooled. Not only did he have natural superior wisdom, but he was trained like Moses and Jesus Christ himself for their respective offices on different levels. Paul saw good qualities in Timothy and wanted him to be a little more outspoken. Not only was Timothy to shun the “vain babblings,” etc., that were beginning to be characteristic in some ecclesias, but he was to rebuke and admonish (1 Tim. 6:20). He was to exercise his office so that more brethren would profit from his ministry. Based on history and the New Testament, we think that as elder, Timothy served as an interim leader of the church in Ephesus for a few years, that is, until the Apostle John came after the demise of both Peter and Paul. John then became the stalwart, the exemplary apostle, of the Church. This Second Epistle to Timothy gives us little insights into what was happening in Asia Minor.

Q: Please explain the laying on of hands.

A: In the early Church, when the apostles were on the scene, a mechanical gift was given to every consecrated believer because no Bible existed at that time, just the Old Testament. When a gift was given, something miraculous happened to the individual that was manifested in a remarkable way. Examples of gifts were the ability to remember, quote Scriptures verbatim, interpret the significance of Scriptures, and speak in a foreign language. The gift lasted until the individual’s death. Although there were exceptions such as Ananias, who laid his hands on Paul, the custom was for an apostle to do the laying on of hands. As soon as that took place, a gift was immediately received as an evidence of the person’s acceptance, and for the rest of his life, he looked back to that moment with assurance that God had called him. To a certain extent, we can do that even today because bona fide Christians have gifts, although they are less discernible. For that reason, Paul said, “Let each esteem [or consider] other[s] better than themselves” (Phil. 2:3). In other words, in each Christian, no matter how simple he may feel he is, there is something that other Christians appreciate and find helpful. Thus the individual is performing a ministry he may not be fully cognizant of.

Generally speaking, if a person was by himself, he did not have the benefit of his gift. Therefore, going to meetings became that much more important, for understanding came through assemblage. The need for meetings and fellowship was felt very keenly in the early Church; in fact, it was a necessity.

2 Tim. 1:7 For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.

Paul was contrasting the “spirit of fear” with the “[spirit] of power,” the “[spirit] of love,” and the “[spirit] of a sound mind.” These qualities were not exactly opposites, for bravery, or courage, is the opposite of fear. However, the thought of bravery is a little too empty because people in the world, who do not have the spirit of Christ, can be brave and courageous.

Therefore, to have the Holy Spirit “of power, and of love, and of a sound mind [soundness of thought]” is quite different. Christian courage includes these other qualities. In what sense, then, does a Christian have the spirit “of power”? He is bold and fearless.

Incidentally, with the spirit of a sound mind, Timothy could see through sophistries and vain babblings. Not being an apostle, he could not thunder against them with authority, but he could see the dangers of certain types of doctrine and behavior.

Comment: There is much “power” in knowing the outcome for humanity. We do not have the fears of the unconsecrated, for we trust in the Lord and know that His plan is true.

Reply: The realization that we have God’s backing is a great offset to fear.

What element of love counteracts the spirit of fear? These verses can be taken two ways. Most heathen religions use fear to prompt the obedience of its subjects. A false fear in the Christian religion is the fear of hell and eternal torment. Evangelists sometimes use a scare tactic to get the attention of the public, and fear becomes the main thrust of their message. The Holy Spirit has the effect of power, love, and a sound mind on both the one who is doing the testifying and the one who is listening. The very boldness of the preaching of Peter and John on the Day of Pentecost, let alone their speaking in different languages, convinced 3,000 to 5,000 people in one day with one sermon to repent. Only a thumbnail description of the sermon is given in the Book of Acts, but it was stated boldly and convincingly that the Jews had crucified the Lord Jesus, the true Lord.

The term “the spirit of” means “a measure of,” not a fullness but the spirit of love, power, and a sound mind. For example, a measure of strength, or power, accompanies or is associated with the message. The truth gives us the spirit of a sound mind, but that does not mean we are sound in all of our judgments and thoughts. Nevertheless, there is a spirit that is different from one who is not a believer or not an informed believer.

Comment: Paul called to remembrance the unfeigned faith that was in Timothy and reminded him to stir up the gift that had been given to him. Then Paul added that God has not given the spirit of timidity or fear, and in the previous epistle, he told Timothy, “Let no man despise thy youth,” so apparently, Timothy had a strong streak of humility and tended to put himself in the background.

Reply: Yes, the two epistles were a personal message to Timothy, but we draw secondary lessons that are very helpful to us.

Comment: Proverbs 29:25 reads, “The fear of man bringeth a snare: but whoso putteth his trust in the LORD shall be safe.”

Reply: In the context of verse 7, the word “fear” does not mean “reverence” but is “timidity.”

Fear of man in some texts has the slant of catering to the whims of men in order to please them, and one who follows this policy compromises principle. When a speaker uses flattery or excessive humor in a talk, he is catering to the audience and is, in effect, minimizing the gospel. The speaker may think he is winning friends, but a loss or a penalty is associated with that type of approach. The admonition is, “Be not ashamed or timid, but be strong and courageous.” The spirit of power is strength.

How wonderful it is that the measure of truth we have received in giving our heart to the Lord is so reasonable! In fact, that is why the truth appealed to us. Therefore, we should try to make the truth appeal to others the same way. If we convincingly present the truth, then others can be persuaded. Even King Agrippa said to Paul, “Almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian” (Acts 26:28).

Paul was urging Timothy to use the gift he had been given and thus fulfill the miraculous commission that had been prophesied concerning him. Timothy would have treasured the two epistles from Paul, and he needed all the encouragement he could get, just as some of us do. In his loneliness, trials from the world, and opposition from brethren, Timothy no doubt read and reread Paul’s letters for comfort, for the letters evoked fresh memories of their relationship.

2 Tim. 1:8 Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me his prisoner: but be thou partaker of the afflictions of the gospel according to the power of God;

Timothy was not to be ashamed of (1) Paul as a prisoner of Jesus or (2) the testimony of Jesus.

Paul was both an apostle and a prisoner of Jesus in literal bonds. People are influenced by a person’s stature or position in life. If one is wealthy, influential, and/or educated, he is usually more easily recognized. Conversely, if one is in prison and/or receiving maltreatment, that circumstance tends to discredit his testimony and advice. What a strong character Paul was! He had a tremendous driving force to be able to go through so many sufferings and persecutions for Christ over and over again. As a spiritual pugilist of the highest order, nothing could stop or deter him, yet he had emotions and low periods. The advice to Timothy was not to be ashamed of sufferings for Christ. The suggestion was that his boldness would incur opposition and real affliction, making him a partaker with Jesus and with Paul in the sufferings and the “afflictions of the gospel,” which are the natural concomitants of faithfulness.

Comment: Paul was saying, “Do not be adversely affected by the circumstances, but be courageous and zealous for the Lord and for the truth. Do not let rejection by another brother deter you. God’s approval is what counts.”

Notice the phrase “according to the power of God.” If we try to do things in our own strength and might, we can get very discouraged and be overwhelmed by our experiences. However, even if we are delicate by nature, we can faithfully and steadfastly endure suffering experiences in the “power of God”—including experiences that would crush a hard, resolute, strong man who did not have the power of God. Some Christians have strengths they are not aware of, but if they truly rely on the Lord when the tests come, the trials will sort out the men and women of God from those who are weaker in faith.

“Be thou partaker of the afflictions of the gospel” means that witnessing for Christ back there—identifying oneself with Paul’s ministry—cost something. That cost is accredited to partaking “of the afflictions of the gospel.” An appropriate saying is, “No cross, no crown.”

Jesus promised, “Be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life” (Rev. 2:10).

2 Tim. 1:9 Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began,

God has saved us and called us with a holy calling. Many people have an ideal or a goal in life such as to be a lawyer or a doctor, which is an earthly profession, or calling, but Paul was called to be “a preacher, and an apostle, and a teacher” of the gospel to the Gentiles (2 Tim. 1:11).

We are called “not according to our works [or our deeds], but according to his [God’s] own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began.” God purposed or predestinated to have a class of 144,000 individuals who would be conformed to the likeness of Jesus. “According as he [God] hath chosen us in him [Jesus] before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will” (Eph. 1:4,5). God is looking for a certain pattern or lifestyle in this class, who are to be conformed to the image of Christ. The calling of each individual has nothing to do with how great he was in the past, prior to consecration, or to how great his deeds were or how holy or right-principled he was. Rather, God is looking for certain predetermined types of individuals who, through obedience and by His grace, can be made into the likeness of Christ. However, a prerequisite for all of the individuals God has called is that they previously had a gift of faith; that is, they had to be rich in natural faith to begin with. “But without [natural] faith it is impossible to please him [God]: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him” (Heb. 11:6). God can use natural faith and divinely instruct and develop it according to His purpose and grace. Incidentally, spiritual faith, as opposed to natural faith, is a development, a fruit of the Spirit (1 Cor. 13:13).

It is important not to attach credits to ourselves as a reason for our being called. We should not think, “Somehow I am above the level of general humanity.” The flesh might wrongly surmise, “Perhaps I excel along intellectual or emotional lines, such as being tender-hearted or noble-minded.” Paul said, “Not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called [but the poor in spirit, the humble]” (1 Cor. 1:26). To keep us humble, we should remember that we just happened to be living in the right age to be eligible for the high calling; that is, we are living in the interim time period subsequent to Christ’s dying for man’s sins and prior to the establishment of the Kingdom on earth.

Although Abraham was called in a prior age, his faith is a good illustration of the type of individual God is looking for in the Gospel Age. Abraham was called to uproot himself from an affluent position in Ur of the Chaldees and take his goods and possessions out into the unknown, where there were predators and robbers, and go to a land he did not know. His decision to go was a very decisive first step. He obeyed subsequently, all along the line, and of course the highest step of obedience was when God asked him to sacrifice his son Isaac. Having that type of faith, Abraham is considered the father of the faithful.

The Gospel Age calling is to be kings and priests. Those predestinated offices, which actually exist in God’s mind, will be filled. As Paul said in Romans 11:5, “Even so then at this present time also there is a remnant according to the election of grace.” The exceedingly high calling is based not on works but on grace. The word “election” indicates that there are offices, and God will fill the vacancies of the 144,000 with a predestinated class who are conformed to the likeness of his Son. “For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified” (Rom. 8:29,30).

Nothing untoward can happen that would in any way thwart God’s will. He is not only the Creator but also the Emperor, the King, of the universe. While God could do a lot of things, there are some things He does not like to think about. For instance, He does not think our thoughts, for He does not want our filth in His mind. “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD” (Isa. 55:8). He knows the thoughts of our heart, but does He dwell on these things? No. He looks at our intent, our will.

We want to be sensitive to evil. Since we were born in sin and “shapen in iniquity,” getting this sensitivity is a lifetime work that will be with us until our dying day (Psa. 51:5). We need to be obstinate for good. We can be dogmatic, but whatever we are dogmatic on has to be based on a proper understanding of what God’s will is.

God works within certain parameters, and one of the parameters is that He does not call those who do not have natural faith (Heb. 11:6). Right away that factor eliminates a whole multitude of people. Of those who are called, certain qualifications are necessary, and we are informed of those qualification as time goes on.

We were called according to God’s “grace.” He forgave our sins and shortcomings because we repented, believed in Christ, and gave Him our heart. By grace, God took us—little nobodies— and gave us the hope of an extremely high calling.

We are called according to God’s “own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began [before the times of the ages began].” For the last clause, some other translations have “before ancient times” or “before the ages,” but when did “the ages” start?

They began with the creation of Adam, as shown on the Chart of the Ages, which is God’s plan. On that chart are the world that was, the world that now is, and the “world to come” (Matt. 12:32; 2 Pet. 3:6,7). No subdivisions are shown within the “world that was” because we do not have enough information about conditions before the Flood, and most of the records pertain to genealogy. As a time clock, God’s plan started with Adam, and the Creative Days were the beginning of a particular plan for tiny planet Earth. In addition, God has billions of other plans that He has not yet started.

Here in verse 9, Paul was saying that the start of this predestinated class was before the creation of Adam. Things were going on in heaven that we do not know about, for we have only very fragmentary information. First, we have to be quite familiar with the Lord’s Word, and then we have to be extremely careful not to interpolate fanciful theories from the little strands of suggestion that are contained therein.

Before Adam’s creation, God saw Jesus as “the Lamb slain from [before] the foundation of the world” (Rev. 13:8). Such information is necessary to show that God was never caught unawares. His foreknowledge, His omniscience, is so pervasive that nothing can surprise Him.

That degree of intuitive knowledge is the difference between Him and every other sentient being, and it is His possession as the Creator. How thankful we can be that such is the case, for there are all kinds of surprises in our individual lives! And from the standpoint of the human race, history shows all kinds of surprises—mechanical failures, diseases, natural disasters, etc.

With His omniscience, God foresaw that Lucifer would sin. God took an eternity to prepare the other planets, and because He has a plan, He calls them all by name—His own names, not the pagan names of Jupiter, Venus, and so forth. Of course He called our planet “Earth,” and perhaps the Sun is spelled “Son,” but the other names are unknown to us at present. God has made a universe for future intelligent beings to dwell in.

To repeat: Without interfering, God could foresee that it was just a matter of time until Lucifer, who was created perfect, would fail. Some who dwell on that fact become infidels and lose faith. They believe there is a Superior Power but think that He has lapses of attention and lacks love and consideration for us as individuals. They consider Him too great and too preoccupied with other matters to deal with the little beings down here. Thus it is dangerous to theorize too much along these lines, whereas Jesus, who died for us, said, “The Father himself [also] loveth you” (John 16:27). God is very cognizant of those who give their heart to Him in this age of disbelief.

Comment: Those who are called need to develop all of the required qualities in order to meet with the Lord’s approval, but the grander purpose is that He knows the characteristics, temperament, and makeup of each of His little ones and where each would fit best into His arrangement for the future Kingdom.

2 Tim. 1:10 But is now made manifest by the appearing of our Saviour Jesus Christ, who hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel:

2 Tim. 1:11 Whereunto I am appointed a preacher, and an apostle, and a teacher of the Gentiles.

The high calling “is now made manifest by the appearing [or coming] of our Saviour Jesus Christ, who hath abolished [the hold of] death, and hath brought [everlasting] life and immortality to light through the gospel.” Paul was referring to the two callings: (1) the calling in the present age to glory, honor, and immortality, and (2) the calling in the Kingdom Age to everlasting life here on earth. The two callings are shown in the Great Pyramid; namely, the high calling to immortality is shown in the King’s Chamber, and the earthly calling to everlasting life is shown in the Queen’s Chamber. Those of the consecrated who fail to make the Little Flock but are of the Great Company class will get everlasting life on the spirit plane.

Everlasting life, which is based upon obedience, is a sustained life whether spiritual or earthly, and this conditional life will be spiritual for the Great Company. At the end of the Kingdom Age, the Ancient Worthies will also get a conditional spiritual life. There is more to the term “life” than just restitution on earth, for it includes the spirit life the Great Company and the Ancient Worthies will receive.

The high calling was made manifest because Jesus had the capability as a teacher to provide information about what has occurred. Although chosen by God as a particular servant of enlightenment, Jesus himself was a “light” who came into the world and said many very profound things (John 1:9; 8:12; 9:5; 12:46).

God also promised eternal life before the world (or ages) began (Titus 1:2). The mystery of “Christ in you, the hope of glory,” which has “been hid from ages and from generations,” has now been “made manifest to his saints” (Col. 1:25-27). Paul could speak confidently along this line because he was involved in bringing “to light” this understanding to the Gentiles. He was very careful in his wording lest he humiliate Jesus, who brought and is the Light, but he came only to his people, the Jews. He was sent “unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel” (Matt. 15:24). Paul extrapolated the same theme that Jesus brought and explained the message to the Gentiles, who needed some historical background. The Gentiles were not present when Jesus came at the First Advent and preached the Sermon on the Mount, so Paul could now boldly declare that he himself was being used as an apostle of Jesus Christ. Jesus brought the light, and now Paul was being used as a light unto the Gentiles as far as the gospel was concerned.

Titus 1:2 raises a question: “In hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began.” To whom did God promise “eternal life” before the ages began? God made a promise to Jesus; that is, God discussed the matter in its entirety with Jesus before the Son’s coming down here. This prior information flooded Jesus’ mind at his baptism, when “the heavens were opened unto him” (Matt. 3:16). As a babe, Jesus did not recall his preexistence, but he grew in “wisdom and stature” and eventually “found [himself] in fashion as a man”

(Luke 2:52; Phil. 2:8). In other words, his preexistent understanding was withheld from him until his consecration at Jordan, but he had a full understanding as the Logos. To suddenly have this information brought back to his mind when he was baptized was so mind-boggling that his new mind drove him into the wilderness for 40 days. As the Logos, however, he absorbed, understood, and assented to what his Father told him, and probably of his own initiative, he responded like Isaiah, saying, “Here am I; send me” (Isa. 6:8). Isaiah was so enthused by a vision of God that, knowing a message had to be given, he said, “Send me!” We think Jesus reacted along the same lines. Of his own volition—and understanding the cost—he volunteered to be the one to redeem Adam and the human race. We can interpolate details in Scripture but have to be very careful because we are responsible for our statements before God and Jesus. In coming to earth, Jesus was changed from the Logos to a seed in Mary’s womb. He was transferred—there was no cessation of life. Now we can see that God has the ability to make a literal camel go through the eye of a needle (Matt. 19:24-26; Mark 10:25-27). We underestimate many Scriptures if we try to reason with the public, whereas with God, nothing is impossible.

By just reversing the mechanism, He can make a camel change form and retrogress instead of progress into adulthood. Man is now trying to make computers go backward because all the steps of a computer are lost. The final result is obtained, but the intermediate steps are gone.

However, God’s “computer” will go forward or backward, so He can reduce a camel to practically nothing, to the size of a molecule, which can easily go through the eye of a needle.

The same was true with Jesus, and when he was transferred, some of the angels would have wondered, “Where is the Logos?” He was “found” as a man. Certain holy angels knew about the birth, for Gabriel announced it to the shepherds, “For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger [a stone feeding box, or trough, in a cave]” (Luke 2:11,12). The shepherds then hastened off to see where the Messiah was. But at age 30, when the astounding knowledge of his preexistence came and Jesus found himself as a man, he was impelled—almost pushed—into the desert because he had to sort out this matter.

Jesus “abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel.”

Here we can see Paul’s faith. Death was not yet abolished, but he knew that Christ had paid the ransom price and was risen, so it was just a matter of time until all things would be accomplished, with death, man’s last enemy, being destroyed (1 Cor. 15:26). How confidently Paul wrote! He was extremely blessed with understanding.

Jesus “hath brought life and immortality to light.” In other words, he is the way, the truth, and the life (John 14:6). Of course Paul was interested in the hope of the high calling, which promises immortality to the faithful Church of this age. Paul and Peter were the two apostles who had a clear understanding of this promise. Peter, who was the leading apostle until Paul came, said, “Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust” (2 Pet. 1:4). When Paul came, Peter stayed with the Jews, whereas Paul, relatively speaking, preached to Gentiles and Jews in Gentile lands.

The Holy Spirit may have stated “life” first and “immortality” second because immortality is the apex of the highest condition of life. The Pastor introduced very unusual reasoning—that when we consecrate, we sacrifice our earthly rights to life. This future earthly inheritance would be ours if we waited for the Kingdom Age and then were faithful, but by our faith in Christ, God takes that inheritance as a basis for what we give up. When this right to life is under the blood, under the covering of Christ’s righteousness, it is acceptable to God. We can then lay down this privileged life and, if faithful, inherit immortality—life on the highest plane. The “holy [high] calling … is now made manifest by the appearing of our Saviour Jesus Christ.”

The main thrust or purpose of the gospel is to find the Lord’s jewels, the Bride of Christ, the Little Flock. Secondarily, the purpose is to give a witness to others and to do a preparation work on behalf of others.

Why did Paul use the following sequence? He was “appointed [1] a preacher, and [2] an apostle, and [3] a teacher of the Gentiles.” All of the consecrated are called to preach, but only 12 were called to be apostles (Isa. 61:1). And of the Twelve, only Paul was called to be a teacher (or apostle) to the Gentiles. The other apostles preached mainly to the Jews, with Peter having a higher commission. As a “preacher,” Paul went from home to home, visiting people in a lesser capacity, as opposed to speaking in the public forum or the synagogue. As an “apostle,” he made public pronouncements. As a “teacher of the Gentiles,” he went to Gentile lands, where he spoke publicly and made converts.

2 Tim. 1:12 For the which cause I also suffer these things: nevertheless I am not ashamed: for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day.

Being a preacher, an apostle, and a teacher of the Gentiles brought repercussions and suffering.

As a result, Paul was in dreadful bonds in a dungeon in Rome at this time, yet he was not ashamed, and he wrote with great strength under those dire conditions. His previous imprisonment, when he was under house arrest, was quite different. Evidently, Paul was able to procure house arrest through an inheritance he had gotten from his family. If a Roman citizen had means, he could obtain that privilege for a certain sum of money.

“For I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day.” What had Paul committed unto God and Christ? He had committed his life in consecration, and verse 12 is a statement of his faith and trust in God and Jesus. As long as he kept up the good work, protection would be provided “against that day,” the day of his death.

What happened in between Paul’s two epistles to Timothy is a big mystery, but tradition says that he went to Spain and England before being arrested again and executed. In the first letter, Paul wrote that he intended to visit Timothy, but we have no record of what he did when he was released from house arrest. Now, in the second letter, Paul again wrote how much he wanted to see Timothy, but there is no evidence that he actually did (2 Tim. 1:4). Incidentally, Paul was beheaded, for in addition to having a fair trial, a Roman citizen could not be crucified. As a Jew, Peter was crucified.

We do not know who delivered this second letter from Paul to Timothy, and written in the dungeon, it may even have arrived after his decease. If so, not only was the letter like a will coming from the dead, but its arrival would have been a very moving experience for Timothy, especially since writing methods required so much effort in those days. Considering the distance to travel and the shortness of Paul’s second imprisonment, that may have been the case. It is touching that Paul wrote, “For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand” (2 Tim. 4:6).

2 Tim. 1:13 Hold fast the form of sound words, which thou hast heard of me, in faith and love which is in Christ Jesus.

Timothy had heard “sound words” from Paul in two ways. (1) When he accompanied Paul on journeys, he learned about the apostle and his doctrine and behavior. (2) In the first letter, Paul laid out the importance of faith and love in Christ Jesus.

Q: Does the term “the form of sound words” refer to basic instruction?

A: In the first epistle, Paul spoke a lot about “sound words” in one way or another. The term refers to the more essential aspects of doctrine. For instance, Paul said that the Christian was to avoid “fables and endless genealogies” and should not desire to be rich (1 Tim. 1:4; 6:9).

Comment: The Diaglott reads, “Retain an outline of wholesome words, which thou didst hear from me.”

Reply: Timothy could read again and again the two letters from Paul. The Christian calling is a holy calling; it is character development, and not just a mere mental acquisition of facts. With the heart, one can believe unto righteousness, but “with the mouth confession is made unto salvation” (Rom. 10:10). In other words, if one keeps secret in his heart the wonderful news of the gospel and becomes an iconoclast or shuns to declare the gospel, he risks losing life.

Comment: Another translation renders verse 13 as follows: “What you heard from me, keep as the pattern of sound teaching for the faith and love in Christ Jesus.”

Reply: Yes, the “form” to follow was more of a pattern or format. Paul went into a lot of detail in the first epistle, instructing Timothy what to do. For example, he was told to rebuke. On the one hand, Timothy was to be peace-loving, speaking that which was wholesome, yet on the other hand, there would come times when it was necessary to speak out. He was to promote peace but not by compromising on vital issues. Paul discussed trivia—babblings, etc.—in the first epistle, but the important things are piety, reverence, holiness, and witnessing to others.

Paul gave a format. The Book of Habakkuk shows that the Pastor, the seventh messenger, was to make “the vision … plain upon tables” (Hab. 2:2). William Miller started diagramming the ages, and the Pastor came along later and made some important corrections, especially in the 1,260 days, and fastened down the significance of other dates in the Book of Daniel. He had the ability to rightly divide the Word of truth and to make the Divine Plan plain on tables.

2 Tim. 1:14 That good thing which was committed unto thee keep by the Holy Ghost which dwelleth in us.

The “good thing” that was committed unto Timothy, which he was told to keep by the power of the Holy Spirit, was the dormant gift he had received earlier when the Apostle Paul laid hands on him when they first met in Timothy’s hometown in Asia Minor. Paul was now encouraging Timothy to make use of that capability in a realistic way. In addition, Timothy was to act on what was committed to him in both the first epistle and this second epistle. Paul gave Timothy guidelines in both letters, and the gift Timothy had would wonderfully assist him in promulgating the instruction to others in the household of faith.

2 Tim. 1:15 This thou knowest, that all they which are in Asia be turned away from me; of whom are Phygellus and Hermogenes.

When Paul commenced his missionary tour throughout Asia Minor, he began in the underbelly and then worked his way to Ephesus, which became the site of a major church. Both Greeks and Jews were in the cities he visited. As a mercantile people, the Jews seemed to congregate more in the larger metropolises. Paul “continued [in Ephesus] by the space of two years; so that all they which dwelt in Asia heard the word of the Lord Jesus, both Jews and Greeks” (Acts 19:10). The term “Greeks” took on a broader meaning to indicate those who were non-Jews, that is, Gentiles. Thus there was a mixture of Jews and Gentiles in the congregations.

Generally speaking, with few exceptions, all of the brethren in Asia Minor had now turned away from Paul. A large disaffection had set in, but why? One reason pertained to his sufferings and imprisonment. Many are psychologically moved by appearances, and the brethren felt that since Paul was an emissary of the gospel, his being a prisoner cast a reflection on the Christian religion. They reasoned, “If he is the Apostle Paul, what is he doing in prison?”

They did not stop to think about Jesus’ being on the Cross. The second reason for turning away from Paul, at least subconsciously, was fear of persecution. The brethren did not want to be imprisoned themselves. A third reason was that Paul spoke directly and boldly about matters which were wrong in the ecclesias. Brethren did not like his plain speech, his hardhitting words—both his manner of delivery and his message. A fourth reason was the doctrine being introduced by Phygellus and Hermogenes, who evidently were gifted speakers. They influenced many of the disciples, causing disaffection for Paul’s method and ministry. The disciples did not necessarily go out of the truth, but they no longer recognized Paul as an apostle, as an authority, as one sent out by the Lord Jesus to be a teacher of the highest rank. Thus several factors were involved in “all they which are in Asia [Minor]” being turned away from Paul. When the reasons are considered together, the cumulative effect was that the brethren forgot him. Earlier they all sent their love, as well as contributions, but now they were turned off, forgetting that we are called to suffer.

Why did Paul name these two individuals? Phygellus and Hermogenes were leaders in drawing others away. They actively hastened the disaffection from Paul, questioning and discrediting his role as an apostle, even though he had testified of his miraculous vision and experience on the way to Damascus. Paul was personally given a commission by Jesus to be an apostle to the Gentiles. The Twelve were originally given new names on one of the mountains in upper Galilee and commissioned to be apostles by Jesus under the guidance of the Heavenly Father.

They were told to start in Israel, then to go to the Samaritans, and finally to fan out into the world, preaching the gospel to the Gentiles. There is no mention of Paul in the Gospel accounts, for the focus of attention was on the life and teachings of Jesus Christ. However, after Judas betrayed Jesus, Paul was selected by divine authority to be the replacement and given an even better apostolic commission by the risen Lord.

Others should have recognized that Paul did more miracles than any of the other apostles, and they could see his zeal. His life, works, logic, scriptural understanding, and willingness to die for Christ all testified to the genuineness of his apostleship. Of those who had seen Jesus during his earthly ministry, a number discredited Paul, and although many had already died, their influence remained.

It is important to note that verse 15 does not say, “All they which are in Asia went out of the truth.” The point is that all in Asia Minor now more or less no longer regarded the Apostle Paul with the same former degree of respect, primarily because of these two named individuals, who were deceitful in their methods. And there were other factors too. For instance, many people have the false thought that if we live a godly life, we will not suffer persecution. In the Old Testament, those who obeyed God had better health, lived longer, defeated their enemies, and prospered temporally, but the calling of the Gospel Age is different. With this cultural background, as well as Paul’s persecutions and imprisonment, there were negative factors and different influences, but the bottom line is that he was not as popular and as highly regarded as previously.

Phygellus and Hermogenes went astray doctrinally and influenced many, damaging their faith. The exceptions were those who listened to Timothy, and Paul was telling Timothy to look into this matter and to try to straighten it out. He exhorted Timothy to exercise more strength in his ministry, saying in effect, “You are qualified. You have a gift—use it. Do not let people think that you are too young.” An earlier instruction of Paul was, “Them that sin rebuke before all, that others also may fear” (1 Tim. 5:20).

2 Tim. 1:16 The Lord give mercy unto the house of Onesiphorus; for he oft refreshed me, and was not ashamed of my chain:

2 Tim. 1:17 But, when he was in Rome, he sought me out very diligently, and found me.

2 Tim. 1:18 The Lord grant unto him that he may find mercy of the Lord in that day: and in how many things he ministered unto me at Ephesus, thou knowest very well.

In contrast to the words and actions of Phygellus and Hermogenes, Onesiphorus went to great lengths and effort to search out Paul in Rome and comfort him and was not ashamed of his “chain.” Notice the term “the house of Onesiphorus.” It is possible that Onesiphorus had died by this time, so the request for mercy went to his “house.” A similar term is used at the end of the epistle: “the household of Onesiphorus” (2 Tim. 4:19). The terminology suggests that he was married and had children. Paul added, “The Lord grant unto him [Onesiphorus] that he may find mercy of the Lord in that day [at the time of his future reward].”

Onesimus and Onesiphorus may have been the same individual (Philem. 10; Col. 4:9). Both names have the same basic meaning in Greek, namely, “profitable” and “bringing profit,” and both individuals certainly brought spiritual “profit” and refreshment to Paul. Not only was his original contact with Onesimus in Rome, but Paul was now in Rome when he mentioned Onesiphorus, who had helped him in Ephesus earlier. Onesimus was a slave, and Paul sent him back to his master, Philemon, with a letter of high recommendation. Philemon was a believer and an influential brother who had meetings in his home. The fact he had servants indicates that he was probably a man of means. If Philemon did free Onesimus, the former slave may have taken the new name of Onesiphorus. (Since the two epistles to Timothy were written at the end of Paul’s life, the name Onesiphorus was a later name.)

Incidentally, Paul’s impersonal letter to the Hebrews as a people was also written at the end of his life. To write that epistle, with its scope and breadth of thought, required tremendous effort and concentration, especially considering the lack of light in the dungeon and Paul’s poor eyesight.

Another possibility is that the ringleaders Phygellus and Hermogenes, in addition to turning whole ecclesias and their elders against Paul in his imprisonment, were also causing disaffection in the household of Onesiphorus. If so, Paul was asking God to have mercy on that household because of what Onesiphorus had done for him. Having searched diligently for Paul in the dungeon in Rome, Onesiphorus often refreshed him and was not ashamed of the apostle’s “chain.” In the search for Paul, there was always the possibility that Onesiphorus himself would be imprisoned.

In the Mideast, the Far East, and parts of Europe, the family and one’s posterity were very meaningful. If Onesiphorus had died and his household had turned away, Paul would be very reluctant to think unfavorably of them, in spite of their disaffection. Because of the faithfulness of Onesiphorus, Paul prayed that his household would not come under special condemnation.

Now we can understand the atmosphere of disaffection for Paul that surrounded Timothy. If “all” had turned against Paul in Asia Minor, we can appreciate the charge and burden the apostle put on Timothy to uphold the Word and the banner of truth. Providentially, the Lord shifted the Apostle John, a son of “thunder,” to that area (Mark 3:17).

Paul said, “The Lord give mercy unto the house of Onesiphorus.” If a sin is committed against another person, we cannot grant the perpetrator carte blanche forgiveness, for the matter is between the one who did the injury and the injured party. If someone sins against God, we cannot forgive the individual unless he first makes the matter right before God. Part of the Lord’s Prayer is, “Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us.”

Forgiveness operates between us and others, but we cannot interfere with affairs that involve others. It is true that we can make recommendations—but very carefully, for we are often given one-sided information. When two people have a dispute, we usually listen more to a friend and how he colors the matter, but both may be partially responsible. Or the other party may be innocent, and the one we think is telling the truth is withholding information. Thus it is very hard to be a judge in the present life. In the final analysis, the Lord is the judge.

When Stephen was stoned, he pleaded for mercy on behalf of those who were guilty. His request was permissible because they were stoning him. Thus God could recognize Stephen’s request on that basis. Some brethren are very forgiving of the sins of others when they have no right to grant forgiveness. It is easy to be loving and kind when there is no cost to us personally.

(1982 Study with Excerpts from 1999 Study)

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