1:6-14 God has not given us the spirit of fear, but the spirit of power, of courage and resolution, to meet difficulties and dangers; the spirit of love to him, which will carry us through opposition. And the spirit of a sound mind, quietness of mind. The Holy Spirit is not the author of a timid or cowardly disposition, or of slavish fears. We are likely to bear afflictions well, when we have strength and power from God to enable us to bear them. As is usual with Paul, when he mentions Christ and his redemption, he enlarges upon them; so full was he of that which is all our salvation, and ought to be all our desire. The call of the gospel is a holy call, making holy. Salvation is of free grace. This is said to be given us before the world began, that is, in the purpose of God from all eternity; in Christ Jesus, for all the gifts that come from God to sinful man, come in and through Christ Jesus alone. And as there is so clear a prospect of eternal happiness by faith in Him, who is the Resurrection and the Life, let us give more diligence in making his salvation sure to our souls. Those who cleave to the gospel, need not be ashamed, the cause will bear them out; but those who oppose it, shall be ashamed. The apostle had trusted his life, his soul, and eternal interests, to the Lord Jesus. No one else could deliver and secure his soul through the trials of life and death. There is a day coming, when our souls will be inquired after. Thou hadst a soul committed to thee; how was it employed? in the service of sin, or in the service of Christ? The hope of the lowest real Christian rests on the same foundation as that of the great apostle. He also has learned the value and the danger of his soul; he also has believed in Christ; and the change wrought in his soul, convinces the believer that the Lord Jesus will keep him to his heavenly kingdom. Paul exhorts Timothy to hold fast the Holy Scriptures, the substance of solid gospel truth in them. It is not enough to assent to the sound words, but we must love them. The Christian doctrine is a trust committed to us; it is of unspeakable value in itself, and will be of unspeakable advantage to us. It is committed to us, to be preserved pure and entire, yet we must not think to keep it by our own strength, but by the power of the Holy Spirit dwelling in us; and it will not be gained by those who trust in their own hearts, and lean to their own understandings.
8. therefore—seeing that God hath given us such a spirit, not that of fear.
Be not thou … ashamed—I agree with Ellicott, in opposition to Alford, that the Greek subjunctive here, with the negative, implies action completed at one time, not continued action, which the present imperative would express; thus implying that Timothy had not decidedly yet evinced such feeling of shame; though I think, Paul, amidst the desertion of others who once promised fair, and from being aware of Timothy's constitutional timidity (see on 2Ti 1:7), felt it necessary to stir him up and guard him against the possibility of unchristian dereliction of duty as to bold confession of Christ. Shame (2Ti 1:8) is the companion of fear (2Ti 1:7); if fear be overcome, false shame flees [Bengel]. Paul himself (2Ti 1:12), and Onesiphorus (2Ti 1:16), were instances of fearless profession removing false shame. He presents in contrast sad instances of fear and shame (2Ti 1:15).
of the testimony of our Lord—of the testimony which thou art bound to give in the cause of our Lord; he says "our," to connect Timothy and himself together in the testimony which both should give for their common Lord. The testimony which Christ gave before Pilate (1Ti 6:12, 13), is an incentive to the believer that he should, after His Lord's example, witness a good testimony or confession.
nor of me his prisoner—The cause of God's servants is the cause of God Himself (Eph 4:1). Timothy might easily be tempted to be ashamed of one in prison, especially as not only worldly shame, but great risk, attended any recognition of Paul the prisoner.
be thou partaker—with me.
of the gospel—rather, as Greek, "for the Gospel," that is, suffered for the Gospel (2Ti 2:3-5; Phm 13).
according to the power of God—exhibited in having saved and called us (2Ti 1:9). God who has done the greater act of power (that is, saved us), will surely do the less (carry us safe through afflictions borne for the Gospel). "Think not that thou hast to bear these afflictions by thine own power; nay, it is by the power of God. It was a greater exercise of power than His making the heaven, His persuading the world to embrace salvation" [Chrysostom].