Vs. 8. "Do not be ashamed of the gospel." It is the testimony concerning out Lord Jesus - his person, his offices, his righteousness, his suffering for our sins, his resurrection, his intercession and his return. No preacher nor anyone who professes Christ has any reason to be ashamed before this evil world, of a gospel so great, so glorious, so true and so useful (Rom. 1:16; Luke 9:26).
"Nor of me his prisoner." Paul did not consider himself a prisoner of Rome, for he had committed no crime nor broken any law, and he knew that men had no power over him, nor could they hold him any longer than his Lord willed. He was a prisoner at Rome for the sake of Christ on account of professing his name and preaching his gospel! He had no reason to be ashamed himself, and none of his friends should be ashamed of him. He was setting a noble example.
Timothy should prepare himself to endure those afflictions which come upon men for preaching and professing the gospel. The gospel of Christ is the gospel of peace; yet, thought the depravity of men, it brings trouble, division and persecution. The man who shrinks from the offence of the cross will always be ashamed of the gospel.
The power and grace of God will support us in trouble and affliction. If we are called to endure anything for the gospel, our Lord will be our Deliverer. His grace is sufficient.
Vs. 9. How can we be ashamed of him who has saved us with an eternal salvation, who has called us by his Holy Spirit into his righteousness and to a participation of all his grace, who redeemed us and made us his children, not according to our works (at any time, either before or after our calling), but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given to us in Christ before the foundation of the world? The Lord God chose us in Christ, gave his beloved Son to redeem us, would not leave us in our sins, but called us to himself, accepting us in the Beloved and keeping us by his power. To be ashamed of him and his gospel would be unthinkable. To prefer the praise and comforts of the world to the praise and glory of such a gracious Lord would reveal an unregenerate heart (Rom. 8:18). Note the sovereignty of God in our redemption: he saved us! He called us! His purpose was fulfilled in our calling! His grace provided the way! All of this was freely "given" (not earned) "in Christ" before the world began (II Thess. 2:13; Eph. 1:3, 4).
Vs. 10. Salvation is in Christ. Since the beginning the grace, gifts, mercy and love of God for the elect have all been in Christ. First it lay hid in the heart and counsel of God, then it was revealed in the promises and prophecies, then in the types, shadows and sacrifices of the law. But now it is made manifest in the freeness and clearness of it by the appearance of Christ as our Redeemer in human flesh (Gal. 4:4, 5). Were the Old Testament believers ignorant of this grace in Christ? Certainly not! (John 5:46; 8:56; Luke 24:44; Acts 10:43). Abraham and others placed their confidence in his appearance (Heb. 9:26-28).
"Christ has destroyed death."
"He has brought life and immortality to light through the gospel." Christ was the first who rose again from the dead to an immortal life. Immortal life was brought to light (or understanding) by him. The doctrine of the resurrection was known by the Old Testament believers (Job 19:25-27), but not as clearly as it is now revealed in the gospel (I Thess. 4:13-16; I John 3:2, 3), or as fully as it is revealed in the resurrection of our Lord.
Vs. 11. "I am appointed a preacher (of this gospel) (Acts 9:15); 13:2), an apostle of Jesus Christ, and a teacher of the Gentiles." His chief work was among the Gentiles (I Tim. 2:7).