v1-5 - The letter opens with the familiar introduction and benediction. This will be the last letter Paul writes before he dies. He's writing from prison, and his fatigue is evident as the letter unfolds.
The emotional bond between the Apostle Paul and his protégé Timothy is seen in v3-5.
Whereas Paul came to know salvation from a miraculous conversion experience on the Road to Damascus, Timothy had his faith nurtured from his mother and grandmother. It doesn't matter how fantastic or boring your testimony is, what matters is that you have been made secure in Christ.
v6-12 - Paul gives Pastor Timothy a really interesting command:
Fan into flame the gift of God (v6)
It would seem like a guy like Timothy had already 'arrived.'
If even Pastor Timothy had to put effort into building up the fire of his faith, how much more must you and I do so?
Paul's teaching here is in tension: we must put effort into fanning the flames of our faith, but we do so with the power, love and self-discipline that the Spirit gives us (v7).
v9-12 are a beautiful summary of Christianity:
We are saved and called to a holy (separated from the world) life;
This salvation is God's work, not ours.
This grace was given to us before anything else was created, but it's only recently been revealed.
Jesus Christ has destroyed death and ushered in immortality.
It's these truths that Paul's testifying to when he writes these familiar words:
For I know whom I have believed, and am convinced that he is able to guard what I have entrusted to him until that day (v12)
v13-18 - The Apostle Paul - the founder of Christ's church on earth - does not have a happy life. God doesn't allow him to retire next to the Mediterranean after successfully planting so many churches. Quite the opposite. The 'success' that God grants Paul results in Paul rotting in a freezing dungeon and being abandoned by many of his friends.
Yet Paul implores Pastor Timothy (and you) to "guard this good deposit that was entrusted to you (v14)."
Paul is someone who truly understands the implications of the gospel: that the circumstances of this world do not matter.
OLD TESTAMENT REFERENCE:
When Joseph finally reveals his identity to his brothers, he's able to demonstrate that God is working through all things, despite the particular circumstances:
And now, do not be distressed and do not be angry with yourselves for selling me here, because it was to save lives that God sent me ahead of you. - Genesis 45:5
Use the comment box below to discuss one or more of these questions:
EYE FOR DETAIL—From what you recall seeing in this chapter, try answering the following question without looking at your Bible: Paul asks for God’s mercy for a man named Onesiphorus, because of the service he rendered to Paul. In what two cities does Paul say this man helped him? (See verses 16–18.)
What are specific things you can do to "fan into flame the gift of God" in your life
Question 1 taken from The Complete Bible Discussion Guide: New Testament
Follow the AAA Prayer Pattern:
ACKNOWLEDGE WHO GOD IS: Your Father, who chose you to be His own before He created anything else (v9)
ALIGN YOUR LIFE WITH GOD'S WILL: Pray that you will not be timid, but will use the power, love and self-discipline the Spirit gives (v7)
ASK GOD FOR WHAT YOU NEED: