Wednesday, July 22, 2009

2nd Timothy study, Part 2

I am adding a commentary to my tool box (i.e. Bible, pencil, notebook, the help of the Holy Spirit), "The letters to Timothy, Titus, and Philemon," by William Barclay. Here is the scriptures for today. You can see how much Paul hates ending sentences! lol

Appeal for Faithfulness

3. I thank God, whom I serve from my forefathers with pure conscience, that without ceasing I have remembrance of thee in my prayers night and day;

4. Greatly desiring to see thee, being mindful of thy tears, that I may be filled with joy:

5. when I call to remembrance the unfeigned faith that is in thee, which dwelt first in thy grandmother Lois, and thy mother Eunice; and I am persuaded that in thee also.

6. Wherefore I put thee in remembrance that thou stir up the gift of God, which is in thee by the putting on of my hands.

In verse three Paul says that he thanks God "whom he serves with a clear/pure conscience." What does it mean to have a clear/pure conscience? It means that you know that you are clean, you know that you have done nothing wrong. But Paul was a sinner like the rest of us, how could he have a clean conscience if he was a sinner? Because he knew that Jesus Christ paid the penalty for his sins, that He died in his place. That is what Jesus did for everyone who believes. He died so that we could live forever in heaven! That is the reason why Paul can honestly say that he serves God with a clear/pure conscience. Paul also says that he serves God "from my forefathers," what does that mean? Well, in a different version it puts it as, "I thank God, whom I serve with a clear conscience, as my forefathers did before me." Who is he referring to as his "forefathers?" I think he might be referring to our forefathers, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. If not that, then maybe his father, grandfather, and/or great-grandfathers, believed in the Messiah. I am not so sure of this myself. Next he informs Timothy that he is in his prayers every day, night and day; without ceasing, Paul says, he remembers Timothy. That must have been really encouraging to Timothy to know that Paul was interceding in prayer for him.

In the next verse Paul makes it quite clear that he can't wait to see him! All of us have at least one person in this world that we love and care about so much that we just want to be around them, Paul was the same way. He and Timothy were so close that he called him "son," and really wanted to see him again. The next part of this verse is sort of confusing, it says: "...being mindful of thy tears, that I may be filled with joy." Why would Paul be happy if Timothy was sad? I was very confused about this 'til I read it today in a different version in the Barclay commentary, it put it this way, "remembering your tears when we parted, I never cease to yearn to see you, that I may be filled with joy." Do you cry when someone you love leaves for a long time? I do. I cried a lot when my Dad went overseas to fight in the war. It hurts to see someone you love leave you. It was the same with Timothy, he loved Paul so much that he cried when he left. But Paul says that he remembers Timothy's tears, and wants to be with him again so they can both be happy. So three times or more in the book of 2nd Timothy, Paul urged Timothy to come see him.

Paul next writes about Timothy's faith. He calls Timothy's faith "unfeigned." What does unfeigned mean? According to unfeigned means genuine and true. So Paul tells Timothy that he has a genuine and true faith. If you had any doubts about your faith wouldn't you love for a strong Christian friend to tell you that they thought your faith was genuine? Paul says that he calls to remembrance Timothy's unfeigned faith that is in him, then he goes on to say that Timothy's Grandmother Lois and mother Eunice shared his faith. So most likely Timothy was brought up in a believing household. At the end of that verse Paul writes: "and I am persuaded that in thee also." In the commentary it is put, this faith, "I am convinced, dwells in you also." Paul clearly states that he thinks that Timothy's faith is genuine, that it dwells in him, that he really, truly believes it. Paul has that firm confidence in Timothy, he believes in him. That must have given Timothy an awesome sense of peace, and happiness, to know that his "father" Paul believed in him.

The last verse I am going to cover today is verse 6. In it Paul tells Timothy that "thou stir up the gift of God, which is in thee by the putting on of my hands." In the commentary it puts it as: "That is why I send you this reminder to keep at white heat the gift that is in you and which came to you through the laying of my hands upon you." So the in the first part Paul reminds Timothy to stir up the gift of God that is in him, to use it for God's purpose. In the other version it says "to keep at the white heat the gift that is in you." Why "white heat?" White heat is probably referring to fire, a very hot fire, a white flame. So, Paul is telling Timothy to keep his fire burning, "to keep at white heat the gift that is in you." What do you have to do to keep a fire burning? Well, you usually have to tend it. You have to work on it so that it will keep going. I think that is what Paul is trying to get at, he is trying to tell Timothy to keep his fire blazing, to use his gift for good, not just let it sit around and go to waste. To "stir up" is the same thing, to stir something up what must you do? Move! Do something! If you are making a cake you can't just put the ingredients in the pan and throw it in the oven. yuk! You have to mix them up, to make one batter, not just a bowl full of ingredients. So Paul is telling Timothy to "stir up" his gift, to use it for the glory of God, not just let it sit around doing nothing. The next part of the verse says, "which is in thee by the putting on of my hands." huh? I don't know for sure what he means by that, but what I think is: Paul led Timothy to Christ, he was like his father; when someone puts their hands on someone else in church what are they usually doing? Praying for them. So, as his "father" Paul probably spent a lot of time praying for Timothy. But God gives gifts, not people. How could Paul have given Timothy a spiritual gift? He didn't. He asked God to grant Timothy a gift, because he loved him so much, but he knew that God loved Timothy much more than he ever could.

Well, that wraps up part two. I would love to hear your opinions on this set of four verses that I wrote about today! I am human, you are human, I am definitely not always right, even though I sometimes think so. :P Thanks for reading! God bless! ~Buttercup

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