Prison is the last place from which to expect a letter of encouragement, but that is where Paul wrote 2 Timothy.
Verse 1 – Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, according to the promise of life which is in Christ Jesus,
Verse 2 – To Timothy, my beloved son: Grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.
Verse 3 – I thank God, whom I serve with a pure conscience, as my forefathers did, as without ceasing I remember you in my prayers night and day,
Verse 4 – greatly desiring to see you, being mindful of your tears, that I may be filled with joy,
Verse 5 – when I call to remembrance the genuine faith that is in you, which dwelt first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice, and I am persuaded is in you also.
Timothy’s mother and grandmother, Eunice and Lois, were early Christian converts, possibly through Paul’s ministry in their home city of Lystra (Acts 16:1). They had communicated their strong Christian faith to Timothy. Nothing is said about Timothy’s father, except that he is Greek, but it’s implied that he is not a believer.
Reminder of Timothy’s Responsibility
Verse 6 – Therefore I remind you to stir up the gift of God which is in you through the laying on of hands.
Any gift that God gives us, needs to be cultivated by our own personal care. Clearly Timothy’s spiritual gift had been given to him when Paul and the elders had laid their hands on him and set him apart for ministry.
Verse 7 – For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.
Timothy was experiencing great opposition to his message as a leader. His youth; his association with non believers alike. Paul urged him to be bold. We should not allow people to intimidate us when sharing the gospel. If we practice what we preach, that will help with boldness.
Verse 8 – Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me His prisoner, but share with me in the suffering for the gospel according to the power of God,
Verse 9 – who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was given to us in Christ Jesus before time began.
Nothing we do could have caused God to call us. He did not choose us because of the good works we would perform after we became a Christian, but according to His own purpose and grace, Romans 9:11-13, which was given to us in Christ Jesus, before the world began.
Verse 10 – But has now been revealed by the appearing of our Savior Jesus Christ, who has abolished death and brought life and immorality to light through the gospel,
Verse 11 – to which I was appointed a preacher, an apostle, and a teacher of the Gentiles.
So certain that death will be abolished, that he spoke as if it is already done! Through the gospel, death will cease to reign, and over those who are saved there will be no such thing as we now understand by dying.
Verse 12 – For this reason I also suffer these things; nevertheless I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep what I have committed to Him until that Day.
Even though Paul was in prison He trusted God in his eternal life. Did we not have to trust Christ in order to believe? Then why would we not trust in all other things He has promised the believer, even in death? We are confident in our eternal life because we trust in Him!
Verse 13 – Hold fast the pattern of sound words which you have heard from me, in faith and love which are in Christ Jesus.
Verse 14 – That good thing which was committed to you, keep by the Holy Spirit who dwells in us.
“That good things, which was committed to you,” is sound Christian doctrine with which Timothy had been instructed, and which he was required to transmit to others. The Holy Spirit will guide us into all truth.
Verse 15 – This you know, that all those in Asia have turned away from me, among whom are Phygellus and Hermogenes.
We know nothing of these two individuals, except what is mentioned here. It would seem, though, they were prominent people, and those from whom Paul would expect better treatment from them. Don’t let others remembrance of you be that you turned away from following Christ.
Verse 16 – The Lord grant mercy to the household of Onesiphorus, for he often refreshed me, and was not ashamed of my chain;
Verse 17 – but when he arrived in Rome, he sought me out very diligently and found me.
Verse 18 – The Lord grant to him that he may find mercy from the Lord in that Day – and you know very well how many ways he ministered to me at Ephesus.