2 Timothy chapter 1 - Inspiring the Next Generation: Challenging and Encouraging - Dr J Stewart Gillespie
2 Timothy is one of the New Testament second epistles. Like 2 Corinthians, 2 Thessalonians and 2 Peter there is an eye to the future, an eye to the next chapter of the world in general and to individual lives in particular, a perspective beyond the here and now and on to the eternal. There is an eye to the future, the next chapter, the eternal whilst leaving behind a provision for another generation. Timothy is being prepared in 2 Timothy for Paul's departure, as will become abundantly clear in chapter 4. Perhaps we have encountered those in the past who have lived very much in the anticipation of future events but who have remained aloof and unengaged with the present, not so Paul! With an eye to the future, to the eternal he has a deep care and concern for the present. Paul has a burning concern to inspire the generation he will leave behind! He is constrained by circumstances and restrained by chains but the restriction of the prison cell does not diminish his ability to inspire!
There were those who had a burden to pass on the baton, to inspire another generation:
Abraham → Isaac
Moses → Joshua
Elijah → Elisha
Paul → Timothy
How does Paul inspire a rising generation?
- Relationship (1:2-4)
- Prayer (1:3)
- Encouragement (1:5)
- Mentoring (1:6)
Timothy's paternal line is spiritual – through Paul; 1:2 'my dearly beloved son'. Notice here the importance of individual relationships in building the church and the Kingdom! The apostle is charged with the evangelism of the whole of the Gentile world! The other 11 apostles have covered Jerusalem and Judea, Paul's tract run and mission field is the rest of the world! We might be tempted to think that in the light of such a vast challenge that Paul will think big, that perhaps he won't have time for the little guy? Yet it is so very telling that the apostle places great emphasis on the importance of individual relationships, the single connections, Paul takes a special interest in Timothy! This great church will be built one brick at a time!
Paul is Timothy's spiritual father, probably not by conversion (cf. 2 Tim 1:5; 3:15), Timothy is already a disciple by the time Paul is first mentioned in connection with Timothy (Acts 16:1ff), perhaps a son in the sense of discipleship. We can all have an influence on others for their good and for their blessing. So much hinges on these individual, personal relationships, that relationship between:
- Paul and Timothy
- Paul and Onesiphorus (1:16)
- Paul and Luke (4:11)
- Romans 16 list
- Paul and Apollos
- Paul and Priscilla and Aquila
The strength of the early church is found in the bonds between individuals. A church built one brick at a time.
Praying for the next generation
Paul prays regularly
Paul prays frequently
Prayer must be important
Prayer must be effective
So must its absence!
Is the failure of others due to a deficiency in my prayer life?
There is much in 1 Timothy that might make you focus on the failings of Timothy! Ever before Paul utters a word which could discourage or cast a shadow over Timothy's progress, he assures and encourages. At heart Timothy is genuine and the apostle recognises that to Timothy in this epistle. There can be a tendency at times to see only the problems and not the successes, to focus on the negatives. Paul is convinced that Timothy's faith is sincere, genuine faith (1 Timothy 1:5). How does Paul know that Timothy's faith is genuine?
Whilst there are many exhortations:
- 'stir up...' (1:6)
- 'be not ashamed..' (1:8)
- 'hold fast' (1:13)
- 'be strong' (2:1)
- 'study' (2:15)
- 'shun' (2:16)
- 'flee youthful lusts' (2:22)
Yet in all of this, it is a call to 'continue' (3:14) and not to commence. He is already on the right track, showing a love for the Lord, by the tangible love for:
- God's servants (1:4)
- Gods people (2:25ff)
- God's word (3:14ff)
- God's work (4:2ff)
Timothy had received of the same Spirit as that of Paul (1:7); the Spirit of:
- Sound mind
Of these 3 perhaps the effect of the Spirit of Love was the most easily seen.
Timothy has a gift and a responsibility
Paul has a contribution
Paul participated in Timothy's gift
Timothy was nurtured by Paul at:
@ Philippi (Acts 16:3,12)
@ Corinth (Acts 18:5)
@ Ephesus (Acts 19:22)
Recognising the gift of others and giving them space and encouragement to grow was given priority by Paul and is critical for the future health and well being of the church.
Beware the itinerant ministry with no roots and no connections and little personal impact!
Timothy served at Philippi (Philippians chp 2); at Corinth (1 Co 4) and again at Ephesus (1 + 2 Timothy), but he served here, having been with Paul first in the Acts of the apostles, at the time these churches were established. Itinerant ministry is no substitute for serving amongst those for whom we care.