Summary: In prison Paul writes his "son" Timothy and gives him final lessons in being a godly man and evangelist
An Open letter to a Son
The epistles called 1 and 2 Timothy are a mentors heartfelt words to a son. Paul uses these letters as further instructions to a young evangelist that he has watched grow up in Christ. Timothy was an associate of Paul’s on his second and third missionary journeys. The Biblical portrait of Timothy is that of a young man who is somewhat shy. Paul urges his young disciple to stand firm for the gospel against menacing opponents and circumstances.
Timothy’s name means, “honoring God.” His mother Eunice and his grandmother Lois raised him. These women taught him the scriptures. He is a native of Lystra; he may have been converted because of Paul’s first missionary journey. We do know that on the second journey Paul found a grown up Timothy who was of excellent reputation. Paul does refer to Timothy as a child in the faith, which could mean that Paul was instrumental in converting Timothy. Before joining Paul on the second journey, Paul circumcises Timothy because Timothy was half Jewish and they would be ministering to Jews.
Verse 2b “Grace, mercy and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Outside of this letter among the writings of Paul, only 2nd Timothy employs a threefold greeting of grace, mercy and peace. Timothy was in a difficult situation and he had a great need for all three components. All three are gifts from God. We need them daily. My wish for all of you is that you experience God’s grace, mercy and peace in abundant fashion daily.
The reason for this letter comes in this first chapter. It is to prevent the spread of false teaching. Read with me from verse 3 and 4
3 As I urged you when I went into Macedonia, stay there in Ephesus so that you may command certain men not to teach false doctrines any longer 4 nor to devote themselves to myths and endless genealogies. These promote controversies rather than God’s work--which is by faith.
Paul warns against myths and endless genealogies” Some see these as stories either fictitious distortions of the OT, or Gnostic beliefs about creation. These also could be embellished stories about the Lord. Paul opposes these myths because they get people off track, and involved in speculation and argument rather than focusing on the work of proclaiming the gospel and nurturing believers in Christ.
Today that might be like focusing on the “Left Behind” series, or better yet, slanderous accusations against other preachers or schools of evangelism. It starts with, “well I heard that so and so does not believe in the full plan of salvation.” Before you know, these accusations are flying all over the place and may not be true. I have heard them about Bob Russell, Wayne Smith, Max Lucado, and others like them. I have also heard about how some of our Bible colleges are going liberal and such. Such rumors are spread like wildfire and they do nothing to promote Christianity. Instead of tearing on another down, we need to more of building each other up in Christ. If you want to know where Wayne Smith or Bob Russell stand then call them, I did, if you want to know if Max Lucado believes that baptism is necessary and essential for salvation, call him, I did. If you want to know what I found out, ask me later.
Another way is when we spend our time reading other books RATHER than God’s word. This is how cults start, they get people to stop reading the Bible and start reading their books. Now I am not saying there is anything intrinsically wrong with reading other books, but balance it with the Bible. I read many books throughout the year, when I go hunting I take one with me to my stand. Sometimes it is the Bible and sometimes other books. There is nothing wrong with that, but when we start basing our theology on other writings outside of the Bible, that is where the trouble starts. Remember that in the garden, Satan got Eve to take her eyes off God and on to the situation.
There is a Goal to Paul’s warning found in verses 5-7
5 The goal of this command is love, which comes from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith. 6 Some have wandered away from these and turned to meaningless talk. 7 They want to be teachers of the law, but they do not know what they are talking about or what they so confidently affirm.
The purpose of Christian instruction or preaching is to lead people to grow in both their love of God and other human beings. Mature love flows from hearts that are being purified and consciences that are being cleansed with faith that is without pretense