The Way - Day 167 (2 Timothy 1)

Daily Reading:
2 Timothy 1
Don't forget to journal in your Foundations Book!
Daily Reading Audio Commentary:
Today's Question or Action Step:
Paul addresses shame of Jesus.  We all have a story of when we should have screamed Jesus's name but didn't.  Share your story, share how it made you feel.  Share what you want to do next time.  Discuss how you can put yourselves more in a position to share Jesus with others!
Weekly Memory Verse(s):
OPTION 1: Psalm 81:10
OPTION 2: Proverbs 20:27
OPTION 3: Matthew 6:25-26
Further Study Resources:
Study Guide for 2 Timothy 1 (Enduring Word - David Guzik)
Pastor Tom's Journal on Today's Reading:
2 Timothy is the final inspired writing by the Apostle Paul before he was martyred around AD 67. He had already written one letter to Timothy, who was his son in the faith, and instructed him about matters of the church. Since Timothy was a young pastor, Paul wanted him to conduct himself with integrity so that the church could be effective in spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ. In his second letter to Timothy, Paul wrote from a Roman prison knowing his time was short but he wanted to be certain Timothy would faithfully continue in the ministry. Paul's themes in this letter include not quitting (chapter 1), following the right examples (chapter 2), avoiding false teachings (chapter 3), and preaching faithfully (chapter 4). Paul may have been concerned that Timothy was compromising his faith due to the carnality of the church and the persecution he was experiencing from the world. Paul did not want Timothy to weaken under this pressure but faithfully carry out the work which God had called him to do. I believe every Christian can relate with the experience of Timothy as we can become frustrated with the apathy of the church and the pressure from the outside world. Instead of fighting apathy and temptation, sometimes we give in and compromise our faith; however, we must remember that God has called us to be faithful.

2 TIMOTHY 1:1-7
Paul writes to the young pastor Timothy as "a beloved son" (1:1-2a) from a Roman prison where he foresees that his end is near. Christians were being persecuted by Nero for their belief in Jesus Christ causing some in the church to abandon their faith, but he had faithfully preached Christ. Paul had spent much time mentoring Timothy in the faith and wanted to make sure that he would continue after Paul had died. In essence, Paul was passing the torch of leadership over to Timothy. If Timothy chose to compromise his faith, the church would also be in danger of becoming fearful and apathetic toward the things of God. With these things in mind, Paul reminds Timothy that he had "serve[d] with a pure conscience, as my forefathers did...." Paul was not a quitter and Timothy also should not be tempted to give up amid persecution and apathy. Instead, Timothy should remember "the genuine faith that is in you [him], which dwelt first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice, and I am persuaded is in you also" (1:5). Timothy had a great heritage of faith and it was his responsibility to pass it on to the next generation. It appears Paul was fearful that Timothy was losing his passion for the things of God so he challenged him "to stir up the gift of God which is in you" (1:6a). God had given Timothy the gift of preaching, teaching, and evangelizing but was not using it to the best of his ability. Paul wanted him to "stir up" or reignite the gift God had given him. It was easy for Timothy to become fearful about preaching Christ because of persecution from the government, the church's questioning of his leadership, and the attacks of false teachers. But Paul reminded him that "God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind" (1:7). God's power has the ability to sustain us even when the enemy is attacking. God's love reminds us that we are also to love one another, even when they seek your harm. A sound mind is a simple recognition that God is ultimately in control of all things even when we think it is out of control. Are you fearing people around you? Are they holding you back from what God has asked you to do? If so, reignite your passion for God's ways and depend on Him to give you power, love, and a sound mind.

2 TIMOTHY 1:8-12
Fearing persecution from the government, pressure from the church, and distraction from false teachers Timothy was weakening in his faith and maybe even contemplating quitting the ministry. Earlier in chapter 1, Paul had written for Timothy not to be consumed with a spirit of fear, but rather a spirit of boldness and courage in spreading the message of the gospel. Obviously in the face of intense persecution and even seeing that preaching the gospel had landed Paul in prison, Timothy feared for his own life. I mean, who wouldn't? No one wants to do something which may have a negative backlash and endanger their very life. But Paul felt as if the message of the gospel was worth laying down his life and he desired Timothy to have the same attitude. Paul writes "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" (1:8). In the first century, Christians feared persecution for their faith mostly because they were rejecting the belief system of the culture and trusting in Jesus Christ, but the modern day church (in the United States) knows nothing of this type of persecution...yet we are ashamed of the gospel. Sure, we may be laughed at or mocked for speaking the gospel, but usually there is no fear for our life. Jesus Christ has freely given us salvation (1:9), "abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel..." (1:10) so that we can share the gospel with others. Paul had been "appointed a preacher, an apostle, and a teacher of the Gentiles" (1:11) in order to make this message accessible to all. I believe it is also our responsibility to make sure this message is placed into the hands of the next generation who will also faithfully share the truth about Jesus Christ. What made Paul so courageous in sharing his faith? He knew that his life was in God's hands and would one day experience eternal life with Christ (1:12). There is no need to fear a life that is temporary anyway, so Paul chose to live radically, live passionately, and live faithfully. What about you?

2 TIMOTHY 1:13-18
Timothy was under tremendous pressure from all sides and the church at Ephesus was also a part of this stress. They probably disregarded his leadership because he was young and may have been listening to false teachers who were seeking to undermine Timothy's doctrine. Rather than stand firm in his faith, Timothy seemed to be weakening under the attacks, but Paul wanted to be sure he did not quit. He wrote "hold fast the pattern of sound doctrine which you have heard from me, in faith and love which are in Christ Jesus. That good thing [salvation] which was committed to you, keep by the Holy Spirit who dwells in us" (1:13-14). Of dire concern was Timothy's belief system (doctrine). Paul had carefully taught Timothy right doctrine, which came directly from God, and he wanted to be certain that he would not compromise his faith. Two men, Phygellus and Hermogenes, had already abandoned Paul in time of opposition and turn their back on their faith (1:15). These men may have been leaders in the church who turned their back on Paul when persecution came their way. Paul did not want Timothy to follow their example, but rather look to Onesiphorus who was a loyal co-laborer with Paul. Onesiphorus did not abandon Paul during the time of persecution, but often visited him in prison and took care of his needs (1:16-18). Through the example of Onesiphorus, Paul was trying to communicate that a person does not have to quit and can be faithful to God's calling, even when it is not popular. You may be looking around and see very few standing for their faith and living the truth; however, you must remember that you are responsible for your life, not the life of others. People may be waiting for you to stand strong in your beliefs and not compromise with the world around you so they can follow. Be the one who remains faithful to your calling as a Christian and do not abandon the God who has saved you and given you all spiritual blessings through Christ Jesus.

Dear God, help me to stand even when no one else is doing so.