St. Timothy

Paul, an Apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God
for the promise of life in Christ Jesus,
to Timothy, my dear child:
grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father
and Christ Jesus our Lord.

I am grateful to God,
whom I worship with a clear conscience as my ancestors did,
as I remember you constantly in my prayers, night and day.
I yearn to see you again, recalling your tears,
so that I may be filled with joy,
as I recall your sincere faith
that first lived in your grandmother Lois
and in your mother Eunice
and that I am confident lives also in you.

For this reason, I remind you to stir into flame
the gift of God that you have through the imposition of my hands.
For God did not give us a spirit of cowardice
but rather of power and love and self-control.
So do not be ashamed of your testimony to our Lord,
nor of me, a prisoner for his sake;
but bear your share of hardship for the Gospel
with the strength that comes from God.
(2 Timothy 1:1-8)

Scripture Study

1:1 Paul, an apostle: The sender of the letter, not the addressee, is named first in ancient epistles. Paul was appointed an ambassador of Jesus Christ and commissioned to spread the gospel to Israel and all nations (1:11; Acts 9:15; 1 Cor 1:17). Paul’s apostleship ranks him alongside the original Twelve selected by Jesus (Lk 6:13–16). promise of life in Christ: Eternal life, which we receive now as grace (1 Jn 5:13) and will possess more abundantly in the state of heavenly glory (Col 3:4; 1 Tim 4:8). Christ offers this life to the world through the preaching of the gospel and communicates it through the sacramental actions of the Church to those properly disposed to receive it.

1:2 Timothy: A friend and companion of Paul ever since his recruitment on the apostle’s second missionary tour (Acts 16:1–3). Grace, mercy, and peace: A slight expansion of Paul’s customary greeting of “grace” and “peace”.

1:4 your tears: Probably shed at the last parting of Paul and Timothy in Ephesus (1 Tim 1:3). Since then, the apostle has not laid eyes on his coworker, despite intentions to rejoin him (1 Tim 3:14). This original plan probably fell through as a result of Paul’s arrest and imprisonment (2 Tim 2:9).

1:5 your grandmother Lois: Otherwise unknown. your mother Eunice: A convert from Judaism who had instructed her son in the OT Scriptures since his childhood (3:15). Timothy’s father was a Greek and may not have become a Christian (Acts 16:1). In any case, Paul is encouraged by the faith that Timothy inherited from the godly women of his family.

1:6 the gift of God: Refers to the grace of priestly ministry. Timothy received the fullness of this grace when Paul and a gathering of elders ordained him as bishop by the imposition of hands. He is now urged to make use of this divine help in order to complete his mission in Ephesus. ● Zeal is required to stir up the gift of God, for it lies within our power to kindle or quench this grace. By laziness and carelessness it is extinguished, and by attentiveness and diligence, it is kept aflame.

1:7 spirit . . . of power Timothy is urged to yield himself to the supernatural strength of the Spirit, and this in order to be an effective teacher and shepherd.

1:8 a prisoner for his sake: Paul is nearly alone (4:10–11) and chained up like a criminal (2:9), suggesting this does not refer to his first Roman imprisonment, where he lived more comfortably under house arrest and was surrounded by friends and crowds eager to listen to him (Acts 28:16–31). Most likely, this refers to his second Roman imprisonment, which is attested by early traditions that supply details about the end of Paul’s life.

Scripture Reflection

That Paul chooses to call Timothy his “beloved” or “dear” child, instead of “true child” as he did in 1 Timothy and Titus, suggests something of the emotion he feels in this, his last will and testament. Many times in ministering to the dying, I have found them desperately eager for reconciliation in their families, even for embracing all with love. Paul must feel the need for that embrace with Timothy. In fact, he will ask him to come as soon as possible.

– George T. Montague

May the virtues of faith, hope, and love go with you today – DV.