This Epistle, which has been well described as "the last will and testament" of the apostle, written as it was under the very shadow of death, opens with a touching evidence of personal interest in Timothy.
I. THE ORIGIN AND DESIGN OF THE APOSTLESHIP. "Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God."
1. He was an apostle.
(1) Not by the will of man, even of other apostles.
(2) Nor by his own will; for he did not take this honour upon himself.
(3) Nor was it owing to his personal merits; for he always speaks of it as "the grace of apostleship."
(4) He was an apostle by the will of God, whose "chosen vessel" he was for this purpose.
2. The design of his apostleship was "according to the promise of life which is in Christ Jesus. Its design was to make known this promise.
(1) It was life eternal;
(2) promised in Christ Jesus, because
(a) it was promised before the world began" (Titus 1:2);
(b) in Christ, who is the Prince of life, who procured it, who applies it by his Spirit.
II. THE PERSON ADDRESSED. "To Timothy, my beloved son." Not, as in the former Epistle, "my true son," but a son specially dear to him in view of the approaching severance of the earthly tie that bound them together.
III. THE GREETING. "Grace, mercy, and peace." (See homiletical hints on 1 Timothy 1:2.) - T.C.
Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God.
Preachers are to maintain the dignity of their persons. Because a good name is as precious ointment, above great riches, and more than the choicest silver and gold, to be regarded. It will rejoice the heart, whereas the contrary is a curse, and to be avoided. Otherwise, if ministers be ill reported of, their doctrine (be it never so sound or sovereign for the soul) will be despised, rejected. If the vessel be counted unsweet, who will with alacrity taste of the liquor: The Word will not speed if the preacher be despised. And for procuring a good report —
1. Be diligent in the discharge of thy duty; avoid idleness in thy Calling.
2. Take heed thou be not justly accused of that which thou hast severely censured in others.
3. Speak not evil of others, for with what measure we mete it shall be measured to us again. Could we cover others' infirmities, they would do the like for us.
4. Seek the glory of God in thy proceedings, for they who honour God shall be honoured of Him, whereas they who seek themselves shall be abased. The people also must take heed how they detract from the credit of their pastors. Nature, by a sacred instinct, will defend the head with the loss of the hand. Why, the preacher is the head of the people, and therefore to be respected; and it is an old axiom, "Do My prophets no harm" (Psalm 105:15).
In 1798 a child was born at Rome, N.Y. His father was a mechanic. At school he showed good talents, and his father at length consented that he might attempt to get a liberal education. His heart was set on the law, but God made him a minister, turned his thoughts towards the Holy Scriptures as a field of study, and before he died (at the age of seventy-two years) a million volumes, of which he was the author, had been sold. This is a very brief sketch of the Rev. Albert Barnes. Now, did he do all these things of his own power and wisdom? Not at all. Hear his modest and truthful statement on the subject: "I have carried out none of the purposes of any early years. I have failed in those things which I had designed, and which I hoped to accomplish. I have done what I never purposed or expected to do. I have known what it was to weep at discouragements. I have been led along contrary to my early anticipations. I can now see, I think, that while I have been conscious of entire freedom in all that I have done, yet that my whole life has been under the absolute control of a Higher Power, and that there has been a will and a plan in regard to my life which was not my own. Even my most voluntary acts, I can see, have been subservient to that higher plan, and what I have done has been done as if I had no agency in the matter."
According to the promise of life
The specific form of the whole gospel is promise, which God gives in the Word and causes to be preached. The last period of the world is the reign of grace (Romans 5:21
). Grace reigns in the Word, only as promise. Grace has nothing to do with law and requisition of law, therefore the word of that grace can be no other than a word of promise. Hence χάρις
. and ἐπαγγελία
form an indissoluble unity (Romans 4:16
). For to this end Christ is the Mediator of the New Covenant, that we might receive the promise of the eternal inheritance (Hebrews 9:15
). The promise of life in Christ-form is the word of the New Covenant (chap. 2 Timothy 1:1). The difference between the gospel of the Old Covenant and that of the New rests alone on the transcendently greater glory of its promise (Hebrews 8:6
; Hebrews 11
. whole). That these great and precious promises are given to us (2 Peter 1:4
; 2 Corinthians 7:1
) establishes the position of a Christian man; if he calls himself a son and heir, he has no other title for this except that of promise alone, purely of grace (Galatians 4:28
; Galatians 3:29
; Romans 4:16
). That, and how God for His own sake blots out our transgressions, and remembers our sin no more (Isaiah 43:25
), is the substance of the word of promise in the New Testament, and which confirms that of the Old.
Satan promises the best, but pays with the worst; he promises honour and pays with disgrace; he promises pleasure and pays with pain; he promises profit and pays with loss; he promises life and pays with death. But God pays as He promises; all His payments are made in pure gold.
An unusual addition to the opening formula of St. Paul's letters, probably rising out of the sense that the promise was near its fulfilment, and that he was about to pass through death to life.
()ll to apostleship
1. Its foundation.
2. Its noble value.Ministry in the gospel is no function of death, but a proclamation of life in Christ Jesus.
Which is in Christ Jesus
This must teach us who have any relation with Christ highly to esteem it and greatly to rejoice in it. Think it no small thing to be an officer in His house, a labourer in His vineyard, and a member of His body, for this is true nobility, unconceivable dignity, and the direct path to eternal felicity. Paul, a preacher of Jesus Christ, is a name of greater price and praise than all human titles and time's adjuncts (though in their nature good) in all the world.
To Timothy, my dearly beloved son
Timothy is one of the unblamed youths of the Bible. He ranks along with Abel, Joseph, Moses, Josiah, and Daniel.
I. TIMOTHY'S BOOK. His father was a Greek and a heathen; but his mother, Eunice, and his grandmother, Lois (who lived with them), were Jews and believers. They did their best for the godly upbringing of their bey; and they would be left to do as they liked in the matter. For heathen fathers gave more attention to their young dogs and horses than to their young children. Books were then very scarce and dear, and probably the Old Testament was the only book in their house. They used it well, and found it to be a library in itself, and the best children's treasury.
II. TIMOTHY'S HOME. The boy would be strongly tempted to follow his dashing heathen father, whose amusements would be such as boys most delight in; yet he sided with and took after his devout mother and grandmother. That fact speaks volumes for him. I believe that he gladly gave himself up to all the best influences of his home. Thus his mother was his mother thrice over, for she gave life to his mind and to his soul as she had given life to his body. Obedience is only one of the outward signs of the true spirit of a child. A girl once heard a sermon upon this subject. On the way home, feeling uneasy, she said, "Mother, do I always obey you?" "You know best yourself, my dear," the mother replied. "Well. I never disobey you," the girl continued, "I always do what you bid me, but I sometimes go slow." The Bible shows concern chiefly about the kind and spirit of your obedience. "Children, obey your parents in the Lord." The right feeling to parents is so like the right feeling to God that people have used one word for both. The noblest characters are found among those men who in youth yielded most to a mother's influence. You will find many striking proofs of my view in such books as Smiles' "Self-help" and "Character." The reason is soon found. Boys like Timothy unite in their characters what is best in roan and woman. They are rich in spirit beyond others, for Nature gives them manly strength, to which a mother's influence adds tenderness and sweetness. A well-known writer has said, "In my best moments I find again my mother in myself." Usually man is the son of woman in his best gifts. "A kiss from my mother," said West, "made me a painter." To love your mother well, then, is a liberal education of head and heart.
III. TIMOTHY'S CONVERSION. Some, like Samuel, ramjet remember a time when they did not trust God. Their love to the Saviour is not an after-love, but a first love. Others, like Timothy, have a well-marked and a well-remembered conversion. Paul calls him "my own son in the faith .... whom I have begotten in the gospel." Often the successful preacher but reaps what the mother had sowed, and watered with her prayers, and brought to the verge of harvest. Timothy must have been a mere boy at the time of his conversion. For he was quite young when he was ordained, and even when Paul wrote his Epistle to him, he was so boyish-looking that people might easily despise his youth. His early conversion was one chief reason why Timothy did so much good, and why he still remains such an inviting example of grace. It made him like Newton, of whom Bishop Burnet says, that he had the whitest soul he ever knew, and was as a very infant in purity of mind. Than youthful piety God has no better gift for you but heaven.
Such persons as are likely to prove good and excellent instruments in the Church are principally to be instructed and encouraged. We will water that plant most, hedge about it, and prune it, which is likeliest to bring forth much and good fruit; the beast of best hopes shall be put in the rankest pasture, the other turned to run in the common field and barrenest ground.
Grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord. —
The salutation in the three pastoral Epistles introduces between the customary "grace" and "peace" the additional idea of "mercy." It is a touching indication of the apostle's own humility, and reveals his deepening sense of the need of "mercy" as he drew near the glory of the unveiled Face. It records the fact that if in Ephesus, Rome, or England there are any children of God who fancy they can rise above an utterance of the cry, "God be merciful to me," apostles and ministers of Christ, even in view of the martyr's crown, cannot forget their profound need of Divine "mercy." The association of Christ Jesus with God the Father as the common source of "grace," "mercy," and "peace" shows what St. Paul thought of his Lord. As he commenced his Epistle with this blended petition, we are not surprised to find that his last recorded words were, "The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you." This was the sum of all blessedness, and the exalted Lord, Christ, was Himself the source of it.
Salutations are not for compliment, but piety.
Hear the Word, search the Scriptures, read good books, receive the sacraments, pray; confer, for these be as so many conduits whereby the Creator conveyeth grace into the soul of the creature.
Dream not, then, that all is peace that seems so; for what peace can a profane person have within him that wanteth faith and grace? Nay, how ever he carry the matter, he is at war within himself. The wounded deer runs and skips and leaps, yet the arrow or bullet stings, pains, torments at the very heart, and before long will cause a fall, a death. So, under a cheerful look, the soul may be sorrowful, and all that laugh in the face are not at peace within. Who, then, is he that would have true and sound peace? Let him strive for mercy and grace; for as the shadow the body, heat the fire, these follow the one the other. Many imagine they have it, yet are foully deluded, deceived. I deny not but the wicked may have a peace; but it is not worth the naming, for it runs nor from a clear fountain, it springs not from a sweet root, and therefore one drop of this we have in hand is worth a thousand of that, as a little rose-water a whole glassful of mud. It is not constant neither, but often interrupted; every thunderclap will cause such to quake, to tremble, and at the last they shall certainly be consumed. Oh that men were wise to gather grace, so should they have peace at their latter end, and in the meanwhile be, like Mount Sion, unmovable! Grant that such may have outward troubles; yet they shall have inward peace that passeth all understanding.
TopicsApostle, Christ, God's, Hope, Paul, Proclaiming, Promise, Purpose
Outline1. Paul's love to Timothy, and unfeigned confidence in Timothy himself, his mother, and grandmother.6. He is exhorted to stir up the gift of God which was in him;8. to be steadfast and patient in persecution;13. and to persist in the form and truth of that doctrine which he had learned of him.15. Phygellus and Hermogenes, and such like, are noted, and Onesiphorus is highly commended.
Dictionary of Bible Themes2 Timothy 1:1
1175 God, will of
5467 promises, divine
6646 eternal life, gift
7709 apostles, authority
2 Timothy 1:1-2
LibraryThe Form of Sound Words
The Apostle most earnestly admonished Timothy to "hold fast the form of sound words which he had heard of him in faith and love which is in Christ Jesus." I do not suppose that by this it is intended that Paul ever wrote out for Timothy a list of doctrines; or that he gave him a small abstract of divinity, to which he desired him to subscribe his name, as the articles of the church over which he was made a pastor. If so, doubtless the document would have been preserved and enrolled in the canons …
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Prefatory Scripture Passages.
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