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The Blue Letter Bible

David Guzik :: Study Guide for 2 Timothy 1

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A Spirit of Boldness

A. Greeting and introduction.

1. (2Ti 1:1) A letter from Paul.

Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, according to the promise of life which is in Christ Jesus.

a. Paul's introduction here is like his other letters, with an up-front recognition that he is an apostle according to the will of God, not according to the ambition or whim of man.

i. Paul had a role to play in God's plan for reaching the world for Jesus Christ, and his role was apostle - a unique ambassador from God to the world. Just as Paul had his role to play, we all have our role to play - what's yours?

ii. Some of us could write, "pastor by the will of God" or "evangelist by the will of God" or "pray-er by the will of God" or "encourager by the will of God" or "supporter by the will of God." We all have our role to play, and God wants us to walk in it!

b. The words according to the promise of life are unique in Paul's greetings; since Paul is imprisoned again in Rome, and facing execution (2 Timothy 4:6), this promise is all the more precious to him.

i. After Paul was released from the Roman imprisonment mentioned at the end of the book of Acts, he enjoyed a few more years of liberty until he was re-arrested, and imprisoned in Rome again.

ii. You can go to Rome today and see the place where they say Paul was imprisoned. It is really just a cold dungeon, a cave in the ground, with bare walls and a little hole in the ceiling where food was dropped down. No windows, just a cold, little cell that would have been especially uncomfortable in winter.

iii. Paul writes this letter from his second Roman imprisonment, and he will be condemned and executed in Rome at the command of Nero shortly. Paul senses this ahead of time; therefore 2 Timothy is not only the last letter we have from Paul, there is a note of urgency and passion we might expect from a man who knows he is on death row!

2. (2Ti 1:2-5) A greeting and a happy remembrance.

To Timothy, a beloved son: Grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord. 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, greatly desiring to see you, being mindful of your tears, that I may be filled with joy, 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.

a. Paul is thinking much about his spiritual family - about Timothy, a beloved son; and about his true forefathers, those Jews before Paul's time that genuinely followed God with a pure heart, not in the self-righteousness of the Pharisees.

b. Grace, mercy, and peace: Spurgeon used this verse, along with 1 Timothy 1:2 and Titus 1:4 to show that ministers need more mercy than other believers do. After all, in the beginning to his letters to churches in general, Paul only says grace and peace in his greeting (Romans 1:7, 1 Corinthians 1:3, 2 Corinthians 1:2, Galatians 1:3, Ephesians 1:2, Philippians 1:2, Colossians 1:2, 1 Thessalonians 1:1, 2 Thessalonians 1:2). But when he starts writing the pastors - Timothy and Titus - he is compelled to say grace, mercy, and peace to him!

i. "Did you ever notice this one thing about Christian ministers, that they need even more mercy than other people? Although everybody needs mercy, ministers need it more than anybody else; and so we do, for if we are not faithful, we shall be greater sinners even than our hearers, and it needs much grace for us always to be faithful, and much mercy will be required to cover our shortcomings. So I shall take those three things to myself: 'Grace, mercy, and peace.' You may have the two, 'Grace and peace,' but I need mercy more than any of you; so I take it from my Lord's loving hand, and I will trust, and not be afraid, despite all my shortcomings, and feebleness, and blunders, and mistakes, in the course of my whole ministry." (Spurgeon)

c. Without ceasing I remember you in my prayers night and day: Timothy was on Paul's "prayer list." Paul made it a regular practice to pray with a list and to at least mention in prayer those who were precious to him.

i. Prayers night and day also shows us how much Paul prayed: Whenever it was night or whenever it was day! Of course, one might say this was easy for Paul, since he was in prison; but such prayer is never easy.

ii. Yet, we admire Paul for having a heart to do the most for the Lord that he can where ever he is. So he can't preach? He can pray, and that he will do.

d. Mindful of your tears: Perhaps the tears Paul remembered were the tears Timothy shed at his last parting with Paul.

e. Filled with joy, when I call to remembrance the genuine faith that is in you: What made Paul really happy? To remember the faith of faithful men like Timothy, who were loving and serving the Lord.

f. Which dwelt first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice: Timothy's genuine faith was due, in no small measure, to his godly upbringing and the influence of his grandmother and mother.

i. Timothy and his family came from the ancient city of Lystra, where Paul visited on his first missionary journey. When Paul and Barnabas were there, God used Paul to miraculously heal a crippled man - and the people of the city began to praise Paul and Barnabas as Greek gods from Olympus, and started to sacrifice a bull to them! Paul barely restrained them from doing so, and soon enemies of the gospel had turned the crowd against Paul, so they cast Paul out of the city and stoned him. But God miraculously preserved Paul's life, and he carried on (Acts 14).

ii. On Paul's second missionary journey, he came again to Lystra - and there met a young man who had come to Jesus, and was devoted to serving the Lord. This young man was Timothy, and he is described as having a mother who believed, but his father was Greek. (Acts 16:1)

iii. So, Timothy's mother and grandmother were believers, but his father was not (at least not at first). In the Roman world, fathers had absolute authority over the family, and since Timothy's father was not a Christian, his home situation was less than ideal (though not necessarily terrible). But his mother and grandmother either led him to Jesus or grounded him in the faith! God wants to use parents and grandparents to pass on an eternal legacy to their children and grandchildren!

iv. When Paul left Lystra, he took Timothy with him - and this began a mentor-learner relationship that touched the whole world.

g. I am persuaded is in you also: It wasn't enough that this genuine faith was in Timothy's grandmother and mother; it had to be in Timothy also. Our children, once of age to be accountable before God, must have their own relationship with Jesus Christ. Mom and dad's relationship with God will not then bring eternal life.

i. The phrase genuine faith could be literally translated, "unhypocritical faith" - that is, faith that is not an act. It was for real. Is your faith in God just an act, or is it for real? The whole book of James is about having a real faith.

B. Paul's reminder to Timothy: Boldness matters, so be bold.

1. (2Ti 1:6) Stir up the gift of God which is in you.

Therefore I remind you to stir up the gift of God which is in you through the laying on of my hands.

a. Timothy was gifted, valuable man for the kingdom of God; but he seems to have had a timid streak in him, which required Paul to often encourage him to be strong and bold.

i. These passages suggest Timothy was a man who tended to be timid, and who didn't like to confront people or want to alienate others with a strong stand on the issues. If we were to meet Timothy, we would probably be impressed by his great warmth and love, but it would be a love that tended to be a little "squishy" - love that might accommodate what is wrong and harmful just so no one's feelings were hurt.

ii. On the other hand, we get the feeling Paul was a man of deep love, but also a man who never shied away from confrontation - anyone who would publicly rebuke the Apostle Peter was a man who could confront! (Galatians 2:11-21). Timothy already has a shepherd's tender heart for the sheep; Paul wants to develop within him the boldness necessary to really lead and protect the flock.

iii. Going through 1 and 2 Timothy, you will find no less than 25 different places where Paul encourages Timothy to be bold, to not shy away from confrontation, to stand up where he needs to stand up and be strong. This was something that Timothy, being the kind of person he was, needed to hear!

b. People are at all different places. For some, the last thing they need to hear is, "You've got to be more bold!" because they are already obnoxious. But many others come from the place where they need to hear, "Stir up the gift of God which is in you; be bold, get going, go for it!" Timothy was of this second type.

i. Some who appear bold really are just full of bluster; they use a confrontational, in-your-face attitude to mask a lot of pain and insecurity. They need to become really bold and secure in the Lord, instead of full of bluster.

c. Timothy can't be passive, and just let it all happen; he needs to be bold and to stir up the gift of God which is in you. God may have gifted a person, but just because someone has certain gifts does not mean that they are being used for His glory and Kingdom. Many gifts need to be stirred up!

i. This reminds us that God does not work His gifts through us as if we were robots; even when He gives a man or a woman gifts, He leaves an element that needs the cooperation of their will, of their desire and drive, to fulfill the purpose of His gifts.

ii. Some are waiting passively for God to use them; but God is waiting for them to stir up the gifts that are within them! Some are waiting for some dramatic new anointing from God, and God is waiting for them to stir up what He has already given!

d. Stir up has the idea of stirring up a fire to keep it burning bright and strong; a fire left to itself will always burn out, but God wants us to keep our gifts burning strong for Him.

i. "The Greek anazopureo (stir up) means either 'to kindle afresh' or 'to keep in full flame'. There is no necessary suggestion, therefore, that Timothy had lost his early fire, although undoubtedly, like every Christian, he needed an incentive to keep the fire burning at full flame." (Guthrie)

e. Which is in you through the laying on of my hands: God used the laying on of hands to communicate spiritual gifts to Timothy. This is not the only way God gives gifts, but it is a common way - and means we should never neglect. Have you had someone lay hands on you and pray God would grant you gifts to build up the family of God?

i. "We have no right to assume that hands were laid on Timothy once only. Thus Acts ix. 17 and xiii. 3 are two such occasions in St. Paul's spiritual life. There may have been others." (Expositor's)

2. (2Ti 1:7) Why Timothy can be bold in using the gifts God has given him: God has given him a spirit of power and of love and of a sound mind.

For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.

a. Paul sees the timidity that is in Timothy; Timothy knows the fear he sometimes feels. God wants Timothy to know that this fear isn't from the Lord; God has not given us a spirit of fear.

i. We all face situations where we feel timid and afraid; for some, speaking in front of others makes them fear; others are afraid of confrontation, others of being made to look foolish, others are afraid of rejection. We all deal with fear.

ii. The first step in dealing with such fears is to understand that they are not from God! To be able to say, "This isn't God making me feel like this! God hasn't given me this!" Perhaps it is from your personality, perhaps a weakness of the flesh, perhaps a demonic attack - but it isn't from God.

b. The second step in dealing with such fears is understanding what God has given us: a spirit of power and of love and of a sound mind.

i. God has given us a spirit of power: When we are doing His work, proclaiming His word, representing His kingdom, we have all His power backing us. We are safe in His hands.

ii. God has given us a spirit of love: This tells us a lot about the power He has given us. Many think of power in terms of how much we can control others; but Jesus' power is expressed in how much we can love and serve others. Remember Jesus, on the night before the cross, Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into His hands - what did He do with all that power? He humbly washed His disciples' feet! (John 13:1-11)

iii. God has given us a sound mind: The Greek word here has the idea of a calm, self-controlled mind, in contrast to the panic and confusion that rushes in on us when we are in a fearful situation.

c. We don't need to accept what God has not given us (a spirit of fear), and we need to humbly receive and walk in what He has given us (a spirit … of power and of love and of a sound mind).

d. Boldness matters; without it, we can't fulfill God's purpose for our lives. God's purpose for you is more than making money, being entertained, and being comfortable; it is for you to use the gifts He has given you to touch His people and help a needy world.

e. Fear and timidity will keep you from using the gifts God has given you to touch His people and a needy world. God wants you to take His power, His love, and His calm thinking and overcome fear to be used of Him with all the gifts He has given you.

3. (2Ti 1:8) Using the boldness God gives, don't be ashamed of the imprisoned apostle.

Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me His prisoner, but share with me in the sufferings for the gospel according to the power of God.

a. Therefore: Paul has just told Timothy about the spirit of power, love, and a sound mind, with courage, that is the birthright of every believer in Jesus Christ - now, Paul will tell Timothy how to let what God has given him guide his thinking.

b. If Timothy will take the courage God will give, he will not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord. We often fail to understand that it wasn't easy to follow a crucified Master.

i. Today, we have sanitized Jesus, and disinfected the cross, making it all "safe." But in the day Paul wrote this, it would seem strange indeed to follow a crucified man and call him "savior."

ii. Think of Jesus' teaching; if you want to be great, be the servant of all; be like a child, like a slave, like the younger, like the last instead of the first. This is a testimony some would be ashamed of!

iii. Paul knew that the plan of God in Jesus Christ seemed foolish to many; but he also knew it was the living, active, power of God to save souls and transform lives. Paul would not be ashamed of it, and neither should Timothy - or we!

c. If Timothy will take the courage God will give, he will not be ashamed of Paul (nor of me His prisoner) - it wasn't easy to support an imprisoned apostle.

d. Nor of me His prisoner: Paul sees himself not as the prisoner of Rome, but as a prisoner of God. Paul can see God as the Lord of every circumstance, and if he is free, he is the Lord's free man, if he is imprisoned, he is the Lord's prisoner.

e. But share with me: It isn't enough that Paul tells Timothy to not be ashamed of him and his chains; he invites Timothy to share in it all!

i. How can we share … in the sufferings? We share in the same way Paul spoke of in Romans 12:15: Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep. We can identify with our suffering brethren across the world through prayer, through a heart of concern, and through wise action.

f. According to the power of God: Was Paul really suffering according to the power of God? Yes! The power of God is always there, but it is not always there to remove the difficulty. Sometimes it is there to see us through the difficulty.

i. In one sense, it is absurd for Paul to talk about the power of God - the power of Rome might seem a lot more real! But God's power has been vindicated by history; the Roman Empire is gone, but the gospel of Jesus Christ lives on.

4. (2Ti 1:9-10) The message Timothy is not be ashamed of: God's plan of salvation.

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, but has now been revealed by the appearing of our Savior Jesus Christ, who has abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel,

a. Saved us and called us: We come to God as a response to His call in our lives. We did not initiate the search; we do not "find" God, He finds us; so we must respond to His call when we sense it.

b. Why did God call us? Not according to our works, but according to His own purpose. It wasn't anything great we were, or anything great we had done, but because it fit in with His purpose - because He wanted to.

c. Grace which was given to us in Christ Jesus before time began: God directed His gracious work towards us when we only existed as a fact in God's knowledge. Just as a couple lovingly plans for a baby before the baby is born, so God planned for us.

i. It's been said, "I'm glad God did it before the foundation of the world, because if He would have waited until I started living my life, He would have never done it!"

ii. Before time began also reminds us that time is something God created to give order and arrangement to our present world; time is not essential to God's existence. He existed before time was created, and will remain when time is ended - and we live on in eternity with Him.

d. God's purpose and grace were revealed by the appearing of our Savior Jesus Christ: He fulfilled the eternal plan of God; Jesus truly shows us what God and His plan are all about.

i. That's why we can never know Jesus too much; if you would know as much as you can about the invisible God in the heavens, God has revealed Himself to us all in the person of Jesus Christ. Jesus reveals Him. Become a Ph.D. in the study of Jesus!

e. What Jesus did: He abolished death. Death isn't death anymore. In regard to believers, it is called sleep - not because we are unconscious, but because it is pleasant and peaceful. Death does not take anything from the Christian; it graduates them to glory!

i. The Christian has no place for "RIP" on his tombstone; "Rest In Peace" does not adequately describe our eternal fate. Why not the letters "CAD"? "Christ Abolished Death" would let everyone know that we are more alive than ever, enjoying the eternal glory of our Lord.

f. What Jesus did: He brought life and immortality to light through the gospel. The understanding of the after-life was murky at best in the Old Testament; but Jesus let us know more about heaven - and hell - than anyone else could. He created them!

i. Jesus brought the truth about our immortal state to life through His own resurrection; He showed us what our own immortal bodies would be like, and assured us that we would in fact have them.

ii. These things make Jesus a more reliable spokesman regarding the world beyond than anyone who has a "near-death" experience.

g. God's plan of salvation began for us in eternity past, before time began; it continued with the appearing of our Savior Jesus Christ, and came to us when He saved us and called us, continues as we live our holy calling, and will one day show itself in immortality - eternal life!

i. When we consider the greatness of this message, no wonder Paul calls it the gospel - Good News!

ii. It is good news that God thought of you and loved you before you even existed; good news that Jesus came to perfectly show us God, good news that He called us and saved us, good news that He gives us a holy calling, and good news that He shows us and gives us eternal life.

iii. No wonder Paul was willing to go to jail - even die - rather than be silent about this great message!

5. (2Ti 1:11-12) The boldness God gives will enable Paul to stand strong for the Lord in the midst of his present distress.

To which I was appointed a preacher, an apostle, and a teacher of the Gentiles. 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.

a. To which I was appointed a preacher: We can almost sense Paul growing in strength as he pens these words; he understands again that it is a privilege to suffer for such a great gospel - so far from being ashamed, he is honored!

i. Flashing through his mind are the sermons he has preached (a preacher), the churches he has led (an apostle), and the diverse nations he has brought to Jesus Christ (a teacher of the Gentiles) - and as he considers each one, surely he must say, "Thank you Jesus!"

b. How could Paul be so bold? So honored by something others might be ashamed of? First, because I know whom I have believed. Paul knew the God he was serving.

i. We must know what we believe; but it is even more important to know whom we believe. When we know how great God is; when God and His glory becomes the great fact of our lives, then we have real boldness.

ii. "'Know thyself,' said the heathen philosopher; that is well, but that knowledge may only lead a man to hell. 'Know Christ,' says the Christian philosopher, 'know him, and then you shall know yourself,' and this shall certainly lead you to heaven, for the knowledge of Christ Jesus is saving knowledge." (Spurgeon)

c. Second, Paul could be so bold, because he was persuaded that He is able to keep what I have committed to Him until that Day. Paul gave Jesus his life, and knew Jesus was fully able to keep it!

i. What was it that Paul committed to Him? Surely, he first has in mind his life. Paul knew he could not keep his own life; he knew that only God could keep it. God was able; Paul was not. Knowing this made Paul full of boldness, but it wasn't boldness in self, but in God!

ii. But it wasn't only his life that Paul had committed to God. Paul had committed everything to Jesus - his life, his body, his character and reputation, his life's work, everything that was precious. What do you need to commit to Him? Everything that is precious!

d. That Day. What day? You know what day - the day Paul would see Jesus; either by Jesus coming for Paul or by Paul going to Jesus. They lived in such awareness of that day, they did not even need to identify it. That Day was enough.

i. How precious is that Day to you? It probably depends on how much you have committed to Him!

3. (2Ti 1:13-14) Faithfulness matters, so hold fast the truth.

Hold fast the pattern of sound words which you have heard from me, in faith and love which are in Christ Jesus. That good thing which was committed to you, keep by the Holy Spirit who dwells in us.

a. After speaking of the importance of boldness, Paul now calls Timothy to Hold fast the pattern of sound words - Timothy, and all godly ministers, are called to be faithful to the truth.

i. Hold fast suggests someone or something will try to take the truth from us; that unless we hold on in faithfulness, it will be snatched from us.

ii. It takes a special man or woman to truly hold fast; it takes someone who is not tossed to and fro and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men (Ephesians 4:14).

iii. Isn't this an important measure for any pastor? Does he hold fast the pattern of sound words? The primary measures shouldn't be, "he's really funny" or "he's really exciting" or "he's never boring" or even "he has a real heart for the lost" because some, claiming a heart for the lost, have abandoned the gospel. The true measure is to ask, "Does he hold fast the pattern of sound words?"

b. The pattern of sound words suggests that true teaching, according to God's truth, has a certain "pattern" to it - a pattern that can be detected by the discerning heart.

c. Which you have heard from me: The sound words Timothy was to hold fast came to him from a man - Paul the apostle. God uses human instruments to communicate His eternal truth.

i. We must always beware of the person who rejects all human teachers and says, "It's just me and my Bible." God used Paul to communicate the pattern of sound words Timothy was expected to be faithful to, and God uses other men and women to communicate that same truth today.

d. Timothy's faithfulness has to be tempered with faith and love which are in Christ Jesus. Some people take God's word and consider it only an intellectual matter, and leave out faith and love.

i. Faith and love describe how the truth is to be held. We hold it in faith, truly believing it and putting our lives on it; and we hold it in love, not in proud arrogance or self-seeking superiority.

ii. If you think you are being faithful to the truth, but aren't showing faith and love in your life, you may be nothing more than a Pharisee. They were a group in Jesus' day that was very committed to holding certain teachings, but had no fruit of faith and love flowing in their lives.

e. Timothy had something committed to him - Paul calls it that good thing, no doubt meaning the gospel and the truth of God - and he needed to have faithfulness to keep that good thing.

i. God has committed many good things to us; will we be faithful and keep them? Keep has more than just the idea of holding on to something; it also means to guard it and to use it wisely.

ii. What good things has God committed to you? His Word? A family? Time? Gifts and talents? An education? Are you being faithful with those things?

iii. We live in a time where faithfulness is only expected so long as it serves our own interests. When it stops being in our immediate advantage to be faithful, many people feel just fine about giving up their responsibility. But this is not honoring to God.

iv. Being faithful to God means having the heart that will to what is right even when it seems to be crazy to do so. But he honors those who fear the LORD; He who swears to his own hurt and does not change (Psalm 15:4). When is the last time you were faithful to something when it cost you to be faithful?

v. God is faithful with what we commit to Him (2 Timothy 1:12). Will we be faithful with what He has committed to us?

f. The last phrase of 2 Timothy 1:14 gives us the key to faithfulness: keep by the Holy Spirit who dwells in us. God requires a faithfulness from us that is greater than we can fulfill by our own resources. Unless we are walking in the Spirit and filled with the Holy Spirit, we cannot keep faithful to what we must keep faithful to.

4. (2Ti 1:15) An example of unfaithful men.

This you know, that all those in Asia have turned away from me, among whom are Phygellus and Hermogenes.

a. Phygellus and Hermogenes stand as examples of those who did not hold fast. Apparently, these were "fair-weather friends" of Paul, who did not faithfully continue on with him when times got tough.

i. These two men were among all those in Asia; when you read Asia in the New Testament, it doesn't mean the Far Eastern continent as it does today; it means the Roman province of Asia, which today would mostly be Turkey.

ii. These two were not the only ones, but Paul found it necessary to point out Phygellus and Hermogenes particularly: "He names two of the deserters - probably the best known - in order to put a stop to these slanderous attacks. For it usually happens that deserters from the Christian warfare seek to excuse their own disgraceful conduct by inventing whatever accusations they can against faithful and upright ministers of the gospel." (Calvin)

b. We don't know much about these two men; this is the only place they are mentioned in the Bible. What a terrible thing to have your name recorded in God's holy word as an example of unfaithfulness!

i. If we had to be described in one sentence, what would it be? Would it be the verdict of a traitor, or an unfaithful person, or of a faithful man or woman?

c. We do know that Paul did not have much use for men who "abandoned ship" on him. From Acts 15:26-41, we learn that Paul got into a sharp contention with Barnabas over a man named John Mark - who had deserted Paul in a needful time before, but now wanted to continue on with him.

d. We shouldn't think that Phygellus and Hermogenes simply woke up one day with the burning desire to be unfaithful; probably, it happened just like it happens with us - they just found it in their own interest to cut Paul loose and go their own way. Many times, it seems to make sense to "do your own thing" and be unfaithful.

e. All those in Asia had turned away from me: Think of it - the great apostle Paul, at the end of his days and a fantastic missionary career, almost all alone. He is not praised by the world, or even regarded much among other Christians. If there was Christian radio back then, no one would want to interview Paul. If there were Christian magazines back then, Paul would not have been on the cover. Paul would have had a hard time finding a publisher for the books he had written! For many Christians of that day, Paul seemed too extreme, too committed, not flashy or famous enough.

i. But Paul is tremendously famous in heaven, and has all the friendship in heaven a man could ever want. Why are we surprised when people forsake us, betray us, turn away from us and let us down? Are we greater than Paul? Are we greater than Jesus?

ii. Just make sure that if people are turning away from you, you are walking in the footsteps of Jesus and Paul, and not in the footsteps of the obnoxious.

5. (2Ti 1:16-18) An example of a faithful man.

The Lord grant mercy to the household of Onesiphorus, for he often refreshed me, and was not ashamed of my chain; but when he arrived in Rome, he sought me out very zealously and found me. 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.

a. Onesiphorus was cut from a different cloth than Phygellus and Hermogenes; he stuck with Paul through thick and thin. Paul prays for mercy on Onesiphorus and his whole household!

i. We don't know much about Onesiphorus, other than that his home town was where Timothy was right then, because at the end of the letter, Paul asks Timothy to greet Onesiphorus' household.

b. What did Onesiphorus do that was so special to Paul?

i. He often refreshed me: When is the last time you refreshed another Christian?

ii. Was not ashamed of my chain: When Paul was in prison, he found out who his true friends were. Onesiphorus was one of those who stuck by him.

iii. He sought me out very zealously and found me: There were many prisons in Rome, and Onesiphorus just couldn't pick up the phone and start calling prisons! It was real work for Onesiphorus to be faithful to Paul, but he did it. If we are only faithful when it comes easily, we aren't very faithful.

c. Paul has a special prayer for Onesiphorus: That he may find mercy from the Lord in that Day. If a faithful servant like Onesiphoris needed such a prayer, how much more the rest of us!

d. You know very well: Apparently, Onesiphorus' service was so faithful, so outstanding, that it was famous - Paul could simply tell Timothy, "You know for yourself how well he served."

i. Onesiphorus lived up to the meaning of his name, which means "help-bringer."

e. Onesiphorus stands as a tremendous example; when all others had forsaken Paul, he loved Paul and ministered to him. Whom would God have you be an Onesiphorus to? Whom would God have you diligently seek out, not be ashamed of, and refresh?

i. Is there not one "fringe" person you know that others have forgotten about, who has no status or reward to give you back, that you can reach out and love in the name of Jesus? Is there not one person on the outside whom you can draw into your circle of friends, and refresh them in the name of the Lord?

© 2006 David Guzik - No distribution beyond personal use without permission

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