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Bible: What Does 2 Timothy 1 Teach Us About Spiritual Gifts and Faithfulness?

Updated on September 15, 2016

The Apostle Paul


Instruction to Timothy

The Second Epistle of Paul to Timothy

In the opening words of his greeting to Timothy, Paul identifies himself as an ambassador/sent one of Messiah Jesus, who became such by the will of God (and not by his own choosing).

This divine calling to such a role coincides with the eternal life he has received as a promise from Christ, its origin and “environment” (“according to the promise of life which is in Christ Jesus”) [v. 1].

He addresses Timothy as “a beloved son,” having instructed him in “the faith” as a father would guide his son in life, and asks that the Lord would shower this young man with His “grace, mercy, and peace” (v. 2; see 1 Timothy 1:2).

Paul informs his beloved young associate that he thanks God for him on every available occasion (“night and day”) that he prays on his behalf (v. 3).

[Why does he include the relative clause comparing the purity of his service to the Lord with that of his ancestors?

Why is it so important for Jewish people to connect with their ancestors?]

The apostle yearns to visit with Timothy again; he remembers his friend’s past sorrowing and wants to experience joy with him once more (v. 4).

[He does not reveal why Timothy wept; his tears may have been related either to his or Paul’s suffering, or to a reunion they once had.]

Timothy and Grandmother


A Godly Heritage

He encourages Timothy by telling him that he knows that the latter possesses genuine faith in Christ.

Paul also strongly suggests that Timothy’s mother and grandmother—women whom Paul may have led to Christ—were greatly instrumental in bringing Timothy to the Lord and nurturing him in his spiritual walk (v. 5; cf. Acts 16:1).

At this point, Paul urges him to reignite his spiritual giftedness.

Apparently suffering from timidity, Timothy needed Paul to remind him of his responsibility to use the spiritual abilities God had given him (v. 6).

[Since Paul earlier reported that Timothy received “the gift” by prophecy with the laying on of the hands of the presbytery (“eldership”) [see 1 Tim. 4:14], one may assume that either the apostle was one of these elders or he also participated in this ceremony at Timothy’s ordination.]

Which Spirit?

According to this passage, which Spirit/spirit has God given to believers?

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The Spirit of Power, Love, and Sound Judgment

This “Spirit” Whom God gives believers enables them to live victoriously over fear through divine strength, to manifest Christ-like love for all people, and to make wise decisions in life (v. 7).

[This "spirit" is probably the Holy Spirit, but it may refer to the believer’s regenerated spirit.]

Because this powerful, loving and wise Spirit indwells him, Timothy should not shrink away in fear and shame when faced with preaching Christ or with visiting Paul in prison; instead, he should join the apostle in suffering for the gospel’s sake, drawing upon the Holy Spirit’s power when he does so (v. 8).

Timothy's Responsibility

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Keep the Gospel Safe

Paul reminds Timothy that God purposely rescued believers and called them to a special ministry.

They did not deserve to receive such a privilege because their holy lives merited it; rather, God had a secret, eternal purpose for them that arose solely from His grace (v. 9) that Christ’s epiphaneias unveiled to the world (v. 10a).

The good news of the resurrection of Jesus—the message God appointed Paul to proclaim—makes evident the reality of the Lord’s deathlessness to all people (vv. 10-11).

Weighing his astounding privilege in the balance, Paul is willing to suffer for Christ without shame; he knows in his heart that his Savior is trustworthy, and that He will certainly preserve his soul until he stands before his Lord at the bemata (v. 12).

The apostle exhorts Timothy to hold onto the substance of the teaching (“the pattern of sound words”) that he had passed down to him along with the faith and love he has in Christ (v. 13).

The indwelling Holy Spirit, Paul tells Timothy, will enable him to keep the gospel safe from all those who have abandoned the apostle, such as their former associates Phygellus and Hermogenes (vv. 14-15).

The Judgment Seat (Bema)



Not desiring to end this section of his epistle on a sad note, Paul remembers the household of Onesiphorus.

After pleading the Lord’s mercy upon all these people for the sake of their head, Onesiphorus—a disciple who frequently ministered to him in Ephesus and who has now come to his aid in his Roman dungeon—, the apostle also asks God to show mercy to Onesiphorus himself when he stands before the bemata (vv. 16-18).

© 2014 glynch1


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    • glynch1 profile image

      glynch1 2 years ago

      Timothy's mother was a "Jewish woman who believed" (Acts 16:1). So, perhaps she was saved even before Paul arrived in Philippi, and she led Timothy to Christ.

    • glynch1 profile image

      glynch1 3 years ago

      You're welcome. Do you agree?

    • lifegate profile image

      William Kovacic 3 years ago from Pleasant Gap, PA


    • glynch1 profile image

      glynch1 3 years ago

      It appears that Paul first led the women to Christ, and then one of them brought Timothy to the Lord. I think Paul instructed Timothy in Christian doctrine after the young man's salvation.

    • lifegate profile image

      William Kovacic 3 years ago from Pleasant Gap, PA

      Just a question - do you think Paul was responsible for leading

      Timothy to Christ (as he refers to Timothy as a son II Tim. 1:2), or do you think Lois and Eunice led him to Christ (II Tim. 1:5)?