Timothy, to whom this epistle is written, was known for his early interest in and acquaintance with the scriptures. His mother was a Jewess and His father a Greek, which is the reason why he was not circumcised in his infancy. Mention is made in the second epistle of his mother, Eunice, and his grandmother, Lois, as believers, and of his knowledge of the scriptures from a child. Paul met him at Lystra and chose him to be his companion to assist him in the spread of the gospel. Knowing that it would be disagreeable to many Jews to hear the gospel from the lips of an uncircumcised person, Paul circumcised him, becoming all things to all, that he might gain some. Paul sent Timothy to several places; and now he was at Ephesus, where he was to abide for a while. In these epistles Paul instructs both Timothy and the church in many important matters.
(Vs. 1) If Paul had been writing to Timothy only, it would have been unnecessary to call attention to his apostolic office. Timothy knew that, but Paul had his eye chiefly on others who were not so ready to listen to him or who did not so readily believe his words. These are the words of an apostle of Christ, whose office is by the commandment of God our Saviour. No man makes himself an apostle. Paul owes his apostleship to the Father and the Son. The title "God our Saviour" belongs both to the Father and to the Son, for the Father loved us and gave the Son to redeem us. The Father does nothing except through the Son.
He calls Christ OUR HOPE. He is not only the AUTHOR of a good hope for salvation and eternal life, His righteousness and sacrifice are not only the MEANS of a good hope and His promise the FOUNDATION of a good hope, but CHRIST HIMSELF IS OUR HOPE! He is our wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption (I Cor. 1:30; Col. 1:27). We do not trust a plan but a Person! We do not merely give mental assent to facts, but we receive a Person (John 1:12).
(Vs. 2) Timothy was not related to Paul according to the flesh, but the relationship was spiritual. He calls him his son because of his age, because of his deep affection for him, because he instructed Timothy in the doctrine of faith, and because, as a faithful son, Timothy served with Paul in the ministry of the gospel.
Here is Paul's usual salutation: "May you have a fresh discovery of His love and free favor and an increase of grace and the gifts of His Spirit. May you have a fresh application of the pardoning mercy of God through Christ. May you have peace of heart and conscience through the blood of Christ."
(Vs. 3) Paul reminds Timothy why he was asked to remain in Ephesus. He left him there to oppose the false teachers who corrupted the doctrine of Christ. There were some teachers in this place as in other places who taught justification by the works of the law, but the reference is to charge these teachers that they teach NOTHING THAT WAS NOT TAUGHT BY CHRIST AND HIS APOSTLES! Nothing is to be introduced as doctrine which is not according to revelation!
(Vs. 4) Paul is not only condemning doctrines which are altogether fake, but also those useless speculations, theories, and inquiries into matters which do not edify but only turn believers aside from the gospel and the simplicity of our Lord Jesus Christ. These speculations (endless inquiries into heritage and theories concerning what is to be) are but a fleshly show, do not promote either the salvation or the comfort of the people, and only serve to confuse and distress the mind. They only serve to raise questions, not to answer them.
(Vs. 5-7) These false teachers boasted of having the law on their side and were teachers and guardians of the law. Paul says the law gives them no support, but rather opposes them; for the end and design, the sum and substance of the law is love to God and love to one another (Matt. 22:36-39; Gal. 5: 13-14). This love is not possible from a natural man, BUT SPRINGS FROM A PURE HEART (regenerated and sanctified by the Spirit of God), FROM A GOOD OR A CLEAR CONSCIENCE (purged from dead works, void of ill feelings, vengeance, and pride), and SINCERE FAITH. Sincere faith, with which a man really believes what he professes, always is attended with good works and love.
(Vs. 8) The law is not the ceremonial law, which is disannuled, but the moral law, which is good because God is the author of it; and it contains good and excellent things. It is good if a man uses it for the purpose for which it was designed. But if it be used to obtain life, righteousness, salvation, or acceptance with God, it will only serve to condemn. A lawful use of the law for UNBELIEVERS is for the knowledge of sin, the conviction of sin, and to shut them up to Christ. A lawful use for the BELIEVER is to obey it in the hands of Christ from a principle of love to Him (II Cor. 5:14-15).