Thursday, October 18, 2012

2 Timothy 1

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Again, I'll start with the wikipedia page. It seems the authenticity of the letter is in question, not surprising.

Greeting (v. 1-2)

Just another greeting, nothing to see here.

Guard the Deposit Entrusted to You (v. 3-18)

You have a great faith, which was first in you grandmother and now in you.

Other than this being yet another place where faith is seen as a virtue, there's not much here yet.

I didn't realize this until a later reading, but it looks like nepotism. In verse 5, Paul says that he knows that Timothy's mother and grandmother both had great faith, and then says that he is sure Timothy also has that faith.

The rest of the chapter is pretty much just Paul saying he is going to pass the torch to Timothy. He also mentions that he was helped by Onesiphorus when he was in Asia. I have a few questions and comments about some verses along the way, but this seems to be the overall message here.

v8 "do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord"

Why would he be ashamed? Is it because Paul is in prison still and God has apparently not saved him?

David Guzik explains that at this time Jesus has been recently crucified and it would be a difficult thing to follow him. You can imagine that at the time, when the belief isn't so widespread, it would be much more difficult than it is today. Makes sense to me.

v8 "share in the suffering for the gospel by the power of God"

More glorification of suffering. Why would this be a good thing?

v9 God saved them and called them to be holy men not because of works, but because of his own purpose from "before the ages began"

So basically, they haven't done anything to deserve this special treatment, God decided this at the beginning of time. Doesn't really sound like justice to me. By the way, how does this interact with free will? Also, this verse seems to lend itself to the idea of "God works in mysterious ways" which Christians tend to use as a get out of jail free card which is annoying as hell. It's just a cop out non-answer.

v12 Paul says he suffers because he is a teacher, preacher, and apostle. But he is not ashamed of this.

This relates back to my v8 question, it seems that Paul is saying that the church is the source of his suffering but he's not ashamed. Implying that there is an impulse that this should be a source of shame, otherwise why would he bring it up.

v18 talking about Onesiphorus who had helped out Paul in his time of need "may the Lord grant him to find mercy from the Lord on that day"

What day? My first thought here was that Paul is talking about the second coming of Christ, and is hoping Jesus will have mercy on Onesiphorus since he helped out Paul. Reading it again, it isn't completely clear that this is what he is talking about, but I'm not sure what else it would mean. If that is what it means, is this another time when Paul seems to expect the end times to be just around the corner.

Matthew Henry seems to agree with me that we are talking about the end times, when Jesus returns (the day of death and judgement). He doesn't however, address my concerns.

For the overview post (If you think I should add or remove stuff from this list please let me know, I think it would make good conversation)


1:5 faith is a virtue, also nepotism

"I am reminded of your sincere faith, a faith that dwelt first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice and now, I am sure, dwells in you as well."

1:8 suffering is good

"Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord, nor of me his prisoner, but share in suffering for the gospel by the power of God"

1:9 God works in mysterious ways

"who saved us and called us to a holy calling, not because of our works but because of his own purpose and grace, which he gave us in Christ Jesus before the ages began"

1:18 Paul seems to think the end times are near

"may the Lord grant him to find mercy from the Lord on that Day!--and you well know all the service he rendered at Ephesus"


  1. Ironically, I think that it's the glorification of suffering which helps Christianity spread and survive. People consider themselves to be honored to suffer in some way like Jesus. And the persecution which comes becomes verification that they are preaching the word of God.

    It's a rather unhealthy relationship...

    1. I think you've got a great point TWF. I think that's why street preachers get so much joy out of being "opposed." The harder they are questioned, instead of thinking about what the other side says, it's an excuse to fall back on your beliefs and think that God is "tempting" or "testing" you. But, you are always right. Plus, it's just viewed as "persecution." The WBC comes to mind.

    2. This is an absolutely brilliant observation TWF. I've often thought that the glorification of suffering promoted by the church is a bad thing, but I've never really thought about it as a good thing for the survival of the religion itself. If something bad happens to you, it sure is nicer to hear "that is God's plan" or "you are suffering for God" or "this is proof that you are working for God", instead of "shit happens" which is pretty much what I could say about it.

      Everyone suffers, if you could get them to think that suffering itself is proof of their God's existence, it could be difficult to dislodge that idea.

  2. Verse 8. I have to agree with you here. I think sometimes, the hard things in our life build character, but it's not really justification for inflicting suffering on others. A few years ago, I was struck by a high speed vehicle. I think it's made me mentally stronger. Would I think that it's okay to hit someone with a car with the intention of building character in someone else? HELL NO!! I guess it's different standards for God, as usual.

    1. This is a really good point too. The fact is, you got hit by a car and went through a great deal of suffering. You made the best of a terrible situation and you came out the other side of it stronger in some ways. I think it would be fairly crazy to say that it was a good thing the car hit you, or that we should hit other people with cars so they would experience the same thing as you and get that same growth.


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