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Bible Commentaries

Spurgeon's Verse Expositions of the Bible

2 Timothy 1

 

 

Verses 1-8

2 Timothy 1:1-2. Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, according to the promise of life which is in Christ Jesus, to Timothy, my dearly beloved son:

There is the greatest possible affection between the preacher and his convert. This is a relationship which even death will not destroy. They neither marry nor are given in marriage in the Heavenly Kingdom, but this fatherhood and sonship shall endure for ever.

2 Timothy 1:2. Grace, mercy, and peace, from God the father and Christ Jesus our Lord.

It is not a little remarkable that, when the apostle writes to churches, he usually wishes them “Grace and peace”; but when he writes to a minister, he generally prays for “Grace, mercy, and peace”, as if we needed more mercy than other Christians. Having so great a work to do, and falling into such great sin if we are unfaithful in it, we may well ask that we may have special mercy showed unto us by the God of mercy.

2 Timothy 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;

At that time, Timothy was very specially laid upon the apostle’s heart and he did not seem to think of anything without young Timothy’s image rising up before him “night and day.”

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

Paul had seen Timothy’s tears when he parted from him. He remembered, perhaps, his tears when under conviction of sin, his tears of joy when he found the Saviour, and the tears he shed in his early preaching, when the gracious youth touched the hearts of others because he so evidently spoke out of his own heart.

2 Timothy 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.

There is no transmigration of souls, but there is a kind of transmigration of faith, as if the very form and shape of faith, which was in Lois and Eunice, afterwards appeared in Timothy. Truly, there are certain idiosyncrasies which may pass from some Christian people to others; and when those idiosyncrasies are of a high and noble kind, it is a great mercy to see them reproduced in children and children’s children. “I thought I heard your mother speak,” said one, when she heard a Christian woman talking of the Saviour, “you speak in just the way in which she used to tell out her experience, and describe the love of Christ.”

2 Timothy 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.

The fire needs stirring every now and then; it is apt to die out if it is not stirred.

2 Timothy 1:7-8. For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. 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, never be ashamed of the gospel of Christ, and never be ashamed of Paul when he is put in prison for the sake of the gospel; but ask to partake, not only of the gospel, and of the power of it, but even of the afflictions which come for its sake, for this is one of the highest honours that can be put upon us, that we may suffer with God’s saints for the truth’s sake. Paul, in the 3rd chapter, goes on to tell Timothy of the danger of his times.

This exposition consisted of readings from 2 Timothy 1:1-8; 2 Timothy 3; and 2 Timothy 4:1-6


Verses 1-18

2 Timothy 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 takes high ground. He is not an apostle by the will of the Church, but an apostle by the will of God. God’s will is the great motive power in the Church of God. Some talk a great deal about man’s will. What think you of God’s will, the will of the Almighty? Surely that shall stand. Paul felt that he had that at the back of him. “Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God.” Hence he always speaks very boldly. He never asks leave of anybody. If he is an apostle by the will of God, he exercises his office without fear.

2 Timothy 1:2. To Timothy, my dearly beloved son:

Son in the faith. When all the ties of natural descent shall be forgotten. sonship in Christ will continue. I do not doubt that in heaven Timothy is still Paul’s son; Paul is still father to Timothy, for the relation is of the Spirit.

2 Timothy 1:2. Grace, mercy, and peace, from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.

I think I have called upon you to notice that when Paul writes to a church, it is “Grace and peace.” Whenever he writes to a minister, it is “Grace, mercy, and peace.” I have sometimes wondered whether we ministers need mercy more than other people, and I suppose that we do, or else the Apostle would not have said, “Grace, mercy, and peace.” Oh! if a minister gets to heaven, it will be a wonder. His responsibilities are so great. “Who is sufficient for these things?” It will be a marvelous display of mercy if any of us shall be able to say at last, “I am clear of the blood of all men”; for we have not only our own blood, but the blood of others to look to in this matter.

2 Timothy 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;

For this Paul thanks God. He never forgot to pray for Timothy, and it is a matter of thankfulness. When we feel moved to pray, though it be for another, the spirit of prayer is essentially the same, whatever its object; and we ought to be thankful when we feel continually able to pray for a friend. “I thank God,” says he, and he says that he had served God with a pure conscience all his days. So he had, but it was a blind conscience. At first, when he was a Pharisee, he still served God, though he then persecuted ignorantly the people of God. Oh! but it is a good thing sincerely to follow after God. May we be helped to do so. “I have remembrance of thee in my prayers night and day.”

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

What were those tears? Tears of holy men and women are as precious as diamonds. Paul had noticed the tear twinkling in brother Timothy’s eye — the tear of repentance, the tear of gratitude, the tear of fervent desire. He had noticed that, and, being mindful of all this, he wished to see that dear face again. Christianity does not make us unsociable. It gives us new ties of love, fresh brothers, fresh sons.

2 Timothy 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.

Happy son who has grandmother and mother before him in the faith. Unhappy young man who has quitted the faith of his fathers, and has turned altogether aside. If such be here, we would remember them in our prayers, but we cannot say that we can remember them with joy.

2 Timothy 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.

Stir up your gifts like a fire. It will not burn without poking sometimes. Stir it up. And every now and then it is a good thing to have our heart stirred up, aroused, quickened, brought to a higher diligence. We must try to do this. Perhaps there are some dear friends here who have a large measure of latent gift, dormant faculty. Stir up the gift that is in thee.

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

Neither Paul, nor Timothy had a craven spirit. They were none of them afraid. God had taught them his truth, and they knew it, and they held it, defying all opposition.

2 Timothy 1:8. Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of the Lord, nor of me his prisoner:

What! were people ashamed of Paul? Oh! yes, dear friends. The great Apostle, because he was persecuted, found himself despised by some of the very people who owed their souls to him. It is the lot of those who are faithful to Christ to find even good men sometimes turning against them. But what of that? They are responsible to their Master, not to their fellow-servants. Yet it is a hard thing when any come to be ashamed of you — ashamed of you, though you know that you have done right. I do not wonder that he puts it even to Timothy, “Be not thou, therefore, ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me, his prisoner.” Some of us know what it is to have trained and brought up these about us, who were to us what Timothy was to Paul, who have been ashamed of us, and of the testimony of our Lord.

2 Timothy 1:8. But be thou partaker of the afflictions of the gospel according to the power of God;

You will want the power of God to do it, and mind you do it. Take your full share in whatever affliction the gospel brings upon Christians. “According to the power of God.”

2 Timothy 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,

How plain it is that he earnestly believed in the eternal election of believers — in their being in Christ, and in their possession of grace in Christ. “Grace which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began.” God’s love to his people is not a thing of yesterday. He loved them before the world was made, and he will love them when the world has ceased to be. “It was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began.”

2 Timothy 1:10-12. 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: Whereunto I am appointed a preacher, and an apostle, and a teacher of the Gentiles. 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.

Paul knew that grace could keep his soul, but I think that he here means that he could keep his own gospel. Paul had kept it, kept the faith, but he committed it now into the hand of the greater One, who would keep it when every apostle was dead, and every faithful witness had passed away. “He is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day.”

2 Timothy 1:13. Hold fast the form of sound words,

Many say they have no creeds, and there is hardly an Epistle in which there is not a distinct mention of a creed.

2 Timothy 1:13. Which thou hast heard of me, in faith and love which is in Christ Jesus.

Hold fast the truth. Hold fast the very form and shape of it. If you are to keep the life that is in an egg, you must not even break the shell. Take care of it all, and take care of it all the more when with specious reasoning they say, “We will hold the same truth, only in a different form.” Why a different form at all, if they do not wish to hold a different doctrine altogether? Nay, my brethren, especially you that are like young Timothy, take this passage to heart. “Hold fast the form of sound words, which thou hast heard of me in faith and love which is in Christ Jesus.”

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

This is what we want. If the Holy Ghost be in us, we shall never trifle with the truth. He is the lover and revealer of truth, and we shall press the doctrines of the Word of God itself nearer and nearer to our hearts in portion as the Holy Spirit dwells in us.

2 Timothy 1:15. This thou knowest, that all they which are in Asia be turned away from me;

What! turned away from Paul? Some people think it is an awful thing because certain people turn away from a minister of Christ. It is not an awful thing at all, except for them. Paul stands fast; even he, the bravest of the brave, and they all turn aside from him. What of that? Does Paul flinch? Nay, not he. “This thou knowest, that all they which are in Asia be turned away from me.”

2 Timothy 1:15. Of whom are Phygellus and Hermogenes.

Two men who ought to have known better. Paul evidently fixed his eye upon them — more bitter than others, more perverse, more cruel, more willfully guilty in turning aside from him.

2 Timothy 1:16-17. The Lord give mercy unto the house of Onesiphorus; for he oft refreshed me, and was not ashamed of my chain: But, when he was in Rome, he sought me out very diligently, and found me.

You could not tell in Rome where a prisoner was. The registers were not open to investigation. You had to go from prison to prison, and fee the guards to get admission, or to be told who might be there, and Onesiphorus was determined to find out Paul. I suppose that he went to the Mamertine, a dungeon in which some of us have been — one dungeon under the bottom of another. The first one has no light, except through a round hole at the top, and the second has a round hole through which you drop into the lower one. We think that Paul was there. And then there is the Palatine prison, which was at the guard-house of the Praetorian guards, near the palace on the Palatine Hill. There Paul certainly was, and Onesiphorus went from one jail to another. “Have you seen a little Jew with weak eye?” I daresay that was his description of him. “He is a friend of mine. I want to speak with him.” “What! that Paul? — the man that is chained to one or another of us every morning? We have twelve hours of it, and he preaches to us most of the time.” “Oh! that is the man,” said Onesiphorus. “That is the man. Does he talk about Jesus Christ?” “Oh! nothing else but that. He will not let any soldier go from being bound to him without hearing about Jesus Christ.” “That is my man,” said Onesiphorus. He sought him out very diligently, and he found him.

2 Timothy 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.

 


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Bibliography Information
Spurgeon, Charle Haddon. "Commentary on 2 Timothy 1:4". "Spurgeon's Verse Expositions of the Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/spe/2-timothy-1.html. 2011.

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