Peter Misselbrook's Blog
Oct 22 2013 - 2 Timothy 1:1-18 – Handing on the faith

Paul writes to Timothy to encourage him in the faith, a faith "which first lived in your grandmother Lois and in your mother Eunice and, I am persuaded, now lives in you also" (2 Timothy 1:5). Timothy had learned of the living God through his mother and grandmother. His life had been shaped by their faith, a faith which had now become his own.

Timothy had grown up learning of God’s great acts of salvation recorded in the pages of the Old Testament. He had learned how God had rescued the Israelites from Egypt, bringing them through the Red Sea, caring for them during forty years in the desert and bringing them to the Promised Land. He had learnt of the faith and conquests of King David and the glory of Solomon and of the Temple he built for the Lord. He had been told of the many promises of God, rooted in God’s promise to Abraham that through him all nations would be blessed, echoed in the promises of God in the prophets.

Then Paul had turned up at Lystra, preaching about the Lord Jesus Christ. Timothy had come to understand that in Jesus all of the promises of God to his people were now finding their fulfilment. He is the descendant of Abraham in whom all nations will be blessed. He is the Saviour of the world. Timothy had joined Paul’s missionary team and, having been thoroughly trained by Paul, had now been entrusted to minister to the church in Ephesus.

Paul is writing to Timothy from prison in Rome. He knows that he may soon face death. This is probably the last of his letters (the letter to Titus probably having been written between 1 and 2 Timothy). This is Paul’s “last will and testament to the church” (Stott). In it Paul reminds Timothy of what God has done for us in Jesus Christ and his consequent call upon our lives; “He has saved us and called us to a holy life – not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time, but it has now been revealed through the appearing of our Saviour, Christ Jesus, who has destroyed death and has brought life and immortality to light through the gospel” (1:9-10). All that God promised and purposed beforehand has been accomplished and brought out into the light in Jesus. Death has been destroyed; indestructible life has been given in him.

Paul had been appointed by Christ to herald this message and he had been faithful to that calling. Now he is entrusting it to others – to Timothy and to those whom he will also train and equip for the work of the gospel. Timothy is being encouraged to be fearless in ministry; tireless in teaching others the things he has learned not only from his mother and grandmother but also from Paul.

And so the message of salvation has been passed on through the generations: from parents and grandparents to their children and grandchildren; from ministers of the gospel and evangelists preaching to those gathered to hear them; from many ordinary Christians captivated by this message gossiping the gospel to friends and strangers. And many generations later it has come to us. From whom did you learn this saving message?

What are you now going to do to herald this message to generations to come: to children and grandchildren; to friends and strangers? The best inheritance we can leave is an inheritance of faith.

Father, thank you that Jesus has destroyed the power of death and has brought life and immortality to light. Thank you that this good news was passed on to us. Help us by your Spirit to respond to his call to a holy life – a life devoted to his service. Help us also to make him known to others that the message may resound through coming generations to the blessing of the nations and the glory of your name.

Peter Misselbrook