2 Timothy 1.8-Paul Encourages Timothy to Endure Suffering for the Gospel According to the Power Produced by God
Wenstrom Bible Ministries
Pastor-Teacher Bill Wenstrom
Tuesday February 17, 2015
Second Timothy: Second Timothy 1:8-Paul Encourages Timothy to Endure Suffering for the Gospel According to the Power Produced by God
Lesson # 11
2 Timothy 1:3 I thank God, whom I serve with a clear conscience the way my forefathers did, as I constantly remember you in my prayers night and day, 4 longing to see you, even as I recall your tears, so that I may be filled with joy. 5 For I am mindful of the sincere faith within you, which first dwelt in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice, and I am sure that it is in you as well. 6 For this reason I remind you to kindle afresh the gift of God which is in you through the laying on of my hands. 7 For God has not given us a spirit of timidity, but of power and love and discipline. 8 Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord or of me His prisoner, but join with me in suffering for the gospel according to the power of God. (NASB95)
“Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord or of me His prisoner” is an inference from Paul’s statement in Second Timothy 1:7, which presents the reason why he wants Timothy to continue to make it his habit of exercising his spiritual gift with enthusiasm.
So Paul is saying that based upon the fact God the Father by no means gave the Christian a Spirit who produces cowardice but rather power as well as divine-love and in addition self-discipline, Timothy was to suffer along with Paul for the gospel according to the power of God.
“But join with me in suffering for the gospel according to the power of God” is an emphatic contrast between Timothy permitting himself to be ashamed of the Lord’s testimony, i.e. His cross and Paul’s second Roman imprisonment and joining with Paul in suffering for the gospel according to the power of God.
It is contrasting to two fundamentally different concepts, namely, fear and courage.
The contrast is between Timothy permitting himself to be intimidated and entering into fear and his being courageous while suffering by the power of God.
Second Timothy 1:8 Therefore, do not permit yourself to be ashamed of the Lord’s testimony or me, His prisoner but rather I solemnly urge you to accept your share of suffering for sake of the gospel in accordance with the power produced by God. (My translation)
Paul’s statement here in Second Timothy 1:8 denies any idea of Timothy being ashamed of the Lord’s testimony and his.
It forbids the action of Timothy being ashamed of the Lord’s testimony and Paul’s imprisonment.
“The Lord’s testimony” is a reference to the voluntary, substitutionary spiritual and physical deaths of Jesus Christ on the cross, which redeemed the entire human race out of the slave market of sin, reconciled sinful humanity to a holy God and propitiated the Father.
It speaks of our Lord’s crucifixion which was the worst form of capital punishment in the first century A.D. and was an ignominious death reserved only for the criminals guilty of capital crimes.
“Or me, His prisoner” is a reference to Paul’s second Roman imprisonment.
Paul had two Roman imprisonments: (1) A.D. 60-62: Ephesians, Colossians, Philippians and Philemon (2) A.D. 68: 2 Timothy.
The fact that apostle does not describe himself as a prisoner of the Roman government but rather as a prisoner of the Lord Jesus Christ is significant since it expresses the divine perspective of life.
For Paul, being a slave or a prisoner or a free man are transformed because of his union and identification with Jesus Christ in His crucifixion, death, burial, resurrection and session.
This helps to understand Paul’s view with regards to slavery in the first century.
Being a servant of Jesus Christ transcends being a slave or a freeman or a prisoner because of one’s relationship to the Lord.
This is the new reality for the Christian.
Paul was living in this new reality as a prisoner of the state.
Therefore, what would be evil and depressing for Paul, being a prisoner of the state, is in reality good and encouraging because of his union with Christ.
Also, it was good because it was the will of God that he suffered unjustly on behalf of the propagation of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Paul’s circumstances did not depress him since he viewed his adverse circumstances as being the will of the Father.
When Paul prohibits Timothy from permitting himself to be ashamed of the Lord’s cross or his imprisonment, this does not imply that Timothy was guilty of doing this since there is nothing in Second Timothy which would indicate this taking place.
The warnings that Paul issues Timothy throughout this epistle do not imply that Timothy was starting to fall away from the gospel or was no longer faithful but rather they were to protect him from falling into apostasy and unfaithfulness.
Furthermore, Paul in Second Timothy mentions Timothy’s sincere faith in his apostolic teaching which indicates that Timothy was not faltering or slipping into apostasy or was acting like a coward since a Christian who walks by faith is courageous whereas one who is disobedient will be a coward.
The Holy Spirit produces courage in only those who exercise faith in the Word of God which the Spirit has inspired.
Also, in Second Timothy 1:6, Paul informs Timothy that he wants to cause him to remember to continue making it his habit of exercising with enthusiasm the spiritual gift God gave him.
The present tense of the verbs indicate that Timothy was remaining faithful at the time of writing.
Therefore, here in Second Timothy 1:8, Paul is simply reminding Timothy that he has the capacity to endure undeserved suffering through persecution and various trials because he has the omnipotence of the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.
Thus, Paul is encouraging Timothy to continue to depend upon the Spirit’s presence and power in his life.
He is to do this by continuing to obey the Spirit inspired commands and prohibitions in Paul’s apostolic teaching, which is the gospel.
There were many situations which in fact could cause Timothy to be ashamed of the cross of Christ and Paul’s imprisonment.
First of all, Paul’s death would be the result of the Roman Empire Nero’s persecution of Christians.
Rome would in all likelihood confront Timothy since he was a Christian leader intimately associated with Paul.
Secondly, there would be the attacks of the Judaizers and the false teachers in Ephesus.
All of which could prompt Timothy to be unfaithful to his calling.
Therefore, Paul is reminding Timothy that the Holy Spirit permanently indwells him so as to give him the power to endure these things and remain faithful to his calling.
The apostle is again encouraging his young delegate, disciple and friend to persevere in his ministry by appropriating the power of the Spirit.
“The gospel” refers to communicating the good news to the unbeliever that Christ died and rose from the dead for them and that through faith in Him they could receive the gift of eternal life and the forgiveness of sins.
It also refers to the communication of the good news to the Christian that they are identified with Christ in His death and resurrection and by appropriating this identification with Christ they can experience victory over sin and Satan.
In Second Timothy 1:8, “in accordance with the power produced by God” indicates that Paul wants Timothy to suffer with him in accordance with the power which God the Father can produce in him through the Spirit when he exercises faith in the Spirit inspired commands and prohibitions found in the gospel, i.e. his apostolic teaching.
Therefore, Paul wants Timothy to suffer along with him for the sake of the gospel in accordance with the power which God the Father can produce in him through the Spirit when he obeys his Spirit inspired apostolic teaching.
This power refers to divine omnipotence which the Holy Spirit produces in the Christian when they exercise faith in His Spirit inspired teaching which appears in the Word of God.
This divine omnipotence is available to the Christian in order that they might experience victory over sin, Satan and his cosmic system.
The Holy Spirit permanently indwells the Christian (Romans 8:11; 1 Corinthians 3:16) in order to give them the principle of victory over sin, Satan and his cosmic system.
The Christian appropriates the omnipotence of God which indwells them through the Spirit by appropriating by faith their union and identification with Christ.
They can do this by considering themselves dead to sin and alive to God because they are identified with Christ in His death and resurrection (Romans 6:1-13; Galatians 2:20; Philippians 3:10-11).
That this power is produced by the Father in the Christian when they exercise faith in the Spirit inspired commands and prohibitions found in Paul’s apostolic teaching, i.e. the gospel is indicated by Second Timothy 1:7.
This verse records Paul writing that God the Father by no means gave the Christian a Spirit who produces cowardice but rather a Spirit (the Holy Spirit) who produces power as well as divine-love and in addition self-discipline.
So in Second Timothy 1:8, the apostle is exhorting Timothy to endure undeserved suffering with him for the sake of the communication of the gospel and to do so in accordance with the power produced by the Father in him through the Spirit when he exercises faith in the Spirit inspired gospel, i.e. his apostolic teaching.