2 Timothy 1:1–18 (NKJV)
1 Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, according to the promise of life which is in Christ Jesus,
2 To Timothy, a beloved son:
Grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.2 Timothy 1:1-2
Paul addresses his second letter to Timothy with nearly the same greeting as the first letter, affirming his apostleship as the will of God (as opposed to the commandment of God prior) and calls Timothy his beloved son, whereas he identified him as a true son in the faith in the last letter. His blessing of grace is identical to the blessing from First Timothy.
3 I thank God, whom I serve with a pure conscience, as my forefathers did, as without ceasing I remember you in my prayers night and day, 4 greatly desiring to see you, being mindful of your tears, that I may be filled with joy, 5 when I call to remembrance the genuine faith that is in you, which dwelt first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice, and I am persuaded is in you also. 6 Therefore I remind you to stir up the gift of God which is in you through the laying on of my hands. 7 For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.2 Timothy 1:3-7
In the opening of the body of the letter, Paul reports that he thanks God for Timothy and that he prays for him night and day. Paul misses Timothy and longs to see him, sorry that their parting brought sorrow to Timothy. He then relates the joy he feels when remembering the genuine faith of his spiritual son, which was found in his maternal grandmother and his mother before him. Timothy has a powerful spiritual heritage, and Paul instructs him to remember that and to stir up the gift of God with was affirmed in him through the laying on of the hand of Paul. He then encourages Timothy that fear is not from God, for God instead gives power, love, and sound thinking, not fear. Therefore, Timothy should shun fear and live a life of faith through that same power.
8 Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me His prisoner, but share with me in the sufferings for the gospel according to the power of God, 9 who has 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 time began, 10 but has now been revealed by the appearing of our Savior Jesus Christ, who has abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel, 11 to which I was appointed a preacher, an apostle, and a teacher of the Gentiles. 12 For this reason 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 what I have committed to Him until that Day.2 Timothy 1:8-12
Paul goes further to instruct Timothy to never be ashamed of the testimony of the Lord, but to share with Paul in his sufferings. The gospel is essential to a lost world, therefore Timothy must operate in the power of God, saved and called, and minister fearlessly in the purpose and grace of Christ. Jesus has appeared, fulfilled the work for which He came, and has abolished death and brought immortal life to all who will believe the glorious gospel. Paul reaffirms to Timothy that God has appointed Paul as a preacher, apostle, and teacher of the Gentiles. Paul’s suffering is a result of his calling and his ministry, which some resist and oppose because they refuse to understand. Paul sets the example for his beloved son by telling him that he is not ashamed, for his understanding of God’s ability to keep him and what he had committed to Him until the day of reckoning is without doubt. Paul knows in Whom he believes, and knows His ability to take him through every phase of opposition on his way to fulfilling God’s call in his life.
13 Hold fast the pattern of sound words which you have heard from me, in faith and love which are in Christ Jesus. 14 That good thing which was committed to you, keep by the Holy Spirit who dwells in us.2 Timothy 1:13-18
15 This you know, that all those in Asia have turned away from me, among whom are Phygellus and Hermogenes. 16 The Lord grant mercy to the household of Onesiphorus, for he often refreshed me, and was not ashamed of my chain; 17 but when he arrived in Rome, he sought me out very zealously and found me. 18 The Lord grant to him that he may find mercy from the Lord in that Day—and you know very well how many ways he ministered to me at Ephesus.
The final thoughts of this opening chapter remind Timothy to never stop serving and believing in the way Paul taught him. Paul’s sound words are to be kept by his young disciple through the faith and love of Christ. Timothy must keep them through the power of the Holy Spirit who dwells within him. Paul reports that all those in Asia have turned away from him, including Phygellus and Hermogenes. He prays for mercy upon the house of Onesiphorus, who often assisted Paul and was happy to stand with him. Onesiphorus even searched for Paul when he came to Rome, and ministered to Paul after finding him. Paul asked the Lord to grant him mercy on the day of reckoning for how he ministered to Paul in Asia, especially in Ephesus.
Paul seems to be catching up on things that may have transpired since his first letter, and being certain that Timothy is keeping the faith and continuing the good work for which Paul had appointed him. Paul’s faith in Timothy is not weak, but in this period of separation, Paul wants to encourage his son and be sure that he keeps up the good work. We all need encouragement from time to time. We need others to buoy up our faith and let us know we are not alone. Reach out to someone today and let him or her know how much they have meant to you in your times of discouragement or fatigue. We all need friends, and we all need help. Be thankful and glorify God for those who walked with you on those lonely roads.