September 6, 2015.
Daily Reading: II Timothy 1-2.
Background: See I Timothy background. This is Paul’s second letter to His beloved child in the faith, Timothy, who had been an aid and fellow servant to him throughout his ministry (see Philippians 2:19-24). This letter seems to be written at the end of Paul’s life, just before he was going to be martyred for his faith. The purpose of this letter in large part is to encourage Timothy to live as and example to the believers and to cling to Christ in his walk with Him, following Paul’s example and teaching, encouraging and admonishing the brethren.
Concepts and Connections.
Paul’s encouragement to Timothy: Paul opens this letter in his normal fashion and addresses Timothy immediately, telling him that he longs to see him, is praying for him and knows that the faith that dwelt in his mother and grandmother is surly in him as well. We can get a sense of Paul’s love for Timothy in this passage as he pours emotions into the words that he writes to the evangelist. He encourages Timothy to make use of the spiritual gift that was bestowed upon him through the laying on of hands and then reminds him that we do not have the spirit of fear, but of power, love and self-control. He tells him not to be ashamed of the gospel, the story of Christ, nor to be ashamed of Paul’s own testimony, as it seems that some were (v. 15). We are not to be ashamed of the gospel of Christ, the manifestation of the purpose and grace of God though Jesus Christ, for this the source of not only our sanction, but to any who will hear and follow. Paul had put his full faith and trust in the Lord, who was able to guard him though the Day of his glorious appearing. And just like Paul and Timothy, the Holy Spirit dwells in all of those who have put on Christ (see Acts 2:38, I Corinthians 6:18-20, Galatians 3:27).
1. Doing the work of Christ: Paul continues his encouragement to Timothy into the second chapter as he reminds him to stay strong in the testimony of healthy words that he had heard from Paul during his ministry, teaching others that they might do the same. He notes the analogy of a solider who is focused on his duty and not on the civilian tasks and burdens, the athlete that must compete by the rules to win the prize and the hard working farmer who will reap the benefits of his labor. Then as Paul often does, he points to Jesus Christ, from whom proceeds salvation and glory, as his reason for doing the things he does, the joy in his suffering. Paul can endure hardship because he knows that the grave was left empty, and just as Jesus rose from the dead, so we will too raise with Him to eternal glory, glory that will outweigh any small pain or trial we could ever have on this earth. This was Paul’s hope, and he encourages Timothy to hold on to this same hope, for God always remains faithful to His promises.
2. The workman of God: In this section, Paul encourages Timothy to be diligent to show himself as an approved workman of God, correctly handling the word of truth. Paul spends a considerable amount of time in this section dedicated to warning Timothy against foolish arguments, ignorant controversies and irreverent babble, and to not be quarrelsome, but to rather be kind to everyone, correcting people in gentleness. He was not to partake in the gossip and harsh words that were apparently being spread in the church that he was in. We too should read this passage carefully and apply these words to our own hearts, as this problem seems to persist in our midst today. Quarreling about words does not good, but only ruins the hearers. Let us cleanse ourselves from what is dishonorable, pursuing righteousness, faith, love, and peace with a pure heart so that we might be ready to be used for honorable service in the kingdom, as workmen who need not to be ashamed.
Tomorrow’s Reading: Numbers 1-4.
Be diligent to show yourself as a workmen of God.