This epistle, addressed to Timothy, was written by Paul when he was a prisoner at Rome. It appears that it was written a short time before his death, although some believe that Philippians, Colossians, and Philemon came later, since it appears that Timothy did come to him at Rome and is joined with him in those epistles. The design of the letter is to stir up Timothy to the faithful discharge of his ministry, to encourage him to suffer patiently, and to warn him against false teachers who had already risen and would afterward arise.
(Vs. 1) "PAUL, AN APOSTLE OF JESUS CHRIST." This epistle, like all others, is not intended for Timothy alone, but for all believers. Timothy knew that Paul was an apostle. But for the sake of others who would read these words, Paul lays claim to the authority which belonged to his special office.
"BY THE WILL OF GOD" an apostle, not by the will of men, nor by his own will, nor was it owing to any personal merit, but God separated Paul to this office by His own will and purpose (Eph. 1:11-12; Acts 9:15; Luke 7:13).
"ACCORDING TO THE PROMISE OF LIFE." God, from the beginning, promised life in Christ; so now He appointed the apostle and other ministers to proclaim that promise and to bring men to Christ, that in Him they may have life (I John 5:ii-12).
(Vs. 2) Timothy was not Paul's natural son; but because of his youth, because Paul was his teacher in the doctrines of the gospel, because Paul had great affection for him, and because the apostles often referred to believers as their children (Gal. 4:19; I John 2:1; III John 4), Paul calls Timothy his beloved son and desires for him grace, mercy, and peace from the Lord.
(Vs. 3) I serve and worship the Lord God in the spirit of my forefathers (Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob), or, as they did, with a CLEAR CONSCIENCE. Paul was not claiming to be without sin nor to having a conscience always pure; but being sprinkled and purged by the blood of Christ, he was without sin before God. And loving Christ, seeking only His glory, preaching truth IN SINCERITY for the eternal good of his hearers (not for personal gain and honor), his conscience was clear before men (Heb. 10:22; Rom. 9:1-2).
I give thanks to Cod that I am ever mindful of you, that God has laid you on my heart at all times to pray for you. This is a good sign, both for Paul and for Timothy; for Timothy in that God must have His special grace on him, and for Paul in that prayer for others is a mark of grace in his soul. Men of God are always men of prayer! When Paul thought of Timothy, he gave thanks for him and prayed for him. Both are marks of real friendship (I Sam. 12:23; Phil. 4:6; I Thess. 5:17-18).
(Vs. 4-5) When Paul left Timothy at Ephesus (because of the work he had to do), there was great sadness and many tears (Acts 20:36-38). But now Timothy had served that purpose and Paul desired him to come to Rome, for he needed him there; and the sight of Timothy would fill him with great joy.
I remember the genuine and sincere faith that is in you, which was also in your mother, Eunice. This was RICH FAMILY MERCY, deserving special notice and thanksgiving that God should be so gracious to the house of Timothy. Paul designs it as an encouragement to stir up Timothy to the exercise of that grace and gift of faith (II Sam. 7:18).
(Vs. 6) This is why I would remind you (for this cause I advise you) to exercise your gifts, fan the flame, and keep burning the gift of God given to you for the ministry of the word when God instructed me to lay hands upon you. The more abundantly we have received the grace of God, the more attentive we ought to be to exercising it and making progress day by day. In family mercies, in personal faith, and in godly gifts Timothy was abundantly blessed. "To whom much is given, much is required."
(Vs. 7) "FOR GOD HAS NOT GIVEN US A SPIRIT OF FEAR, cowardliness, and timidity to perform our work and office in a cold, lifeless, and indifferent manner! We do not fear men; we do not fear persecution; we do not fear failure; we do not fear devils. But God has given His ministers the power of the Spirit (Luke 24:47-49) to do the work of God (Zech. 4:6). He has given the SPIRIT OF LOVE for God, Christ, His church, and all men; and those who have it seek not their own welfare and ease, but rather the glory of Christ and the good of souls. He has given us a sound mind or self-discipline (self-control) which results in prudent conduct and behavior under all circumstances. Being of a sound mind, conviction, and principles, the believer will stand fast in the faith of Christ.