2 Timothy 1:1-7
In this passage, we learn about the relationship between the Apostle Paul and Timothy. They had:
- A very close relationship
- God’s blessing was on their relationship
- God used their relationship for His purposes
This passage also invites us to reflect on our own relationships, and specifically God’s hand in our relationships – as they are never just a two-way thing! We should also consider how God might want to use us to reach and serve people close to us.
A very close relationship
Paul’s words to Timothy in 2 Timothy 1:2-7 give us a little window into the relationship between these two men. It is very striking the depth of affections each man had for the other. Timothy is constantly on Paul’s mind and in his prayers (2 Timothy 1:3-5). Timothy evidently showed great emotion at their last parting (2 Timothy 1:4).
If we turn to Acts 16:1-3, we learn a little about how their relationship began. God sovereignly determined that these men’s lives should cross paths during Paul’s travels. We are left to imagine and wonder how their deep and personal relationship matured from the time when Paul chose Timothy as his companion.
A relationship with God’s blessing
In 2 Timothy 1:2, Paul refers to Timothy as his child. These men were not only close – but had formed a father-son type relationship. Back in Acts 16:1 we learn that Timothy’s father was a Greek, and commentaries suggest Timothy’s father had passed away by the time he met Paul. It is touching that God chose to give Timothy a spiritual father in the absence of his biological father. It is also moving to consider that Paul had no biological children that we know of, and so it’s a gracious act of love and kindness that God moves Timothy into Paul’s life.
God at work through their relationship
God uses Paul to speak truth into Timothy’s life, to instruct and encourage him. 2 Timothy 1:6 suggests that Timothy had lost focus and drive. I see a little bit of Paul holding Timothy’s feet to the fire throughout this epistle: Paul’s commands to Timothy are strong (e.g. 2 Timothy 4:1-2), and to the point (e.g. 2 Timothy 4:5). At the same time, I sense Paul is compassionate and understands Timothy’s fears (which are alluded to), and seeks to encourage him and build him up (2 Timothy 1:7).
A three-way thing
I can also see how God uses Timothy in Paul’s life from this passage. Sometimes I think less experienced ministry workers (i.e. myself!) don’t have as much to offer ministry workers who are more wise and experienced. This wrong assumption is challenged when I see how much joy God brings into Paul’s life through Timothy (2 Timothy 1:4). I also observe that in this very bleak time in Paul’s life, God chose to fill Paul’s mind with thoughts of Timothy as a means to sustain him. When Paul writes “I am reminded of your sincere faith”, I can’t help but think about the Spirit of God working behind the scenes in Paul’s mind.
Lessons from 2 Timothy 1:1-7
It is no mistake who is in our lives. God sovereignly and lovingly places people close to us.
Our relationships are God’s doing, and we cannot live as Christians and work in ministry life without them. We should treat our relationships as a gift from the Lord and ask God how He wants to use us as a vessel for reaching others near us with His love and truth.
I believe that 2 Timothy 1:1-7 also attests to God’s faithfulness should we find ourselves alone in an extremely difficult situation. Just as God was with Paul and sustained and encouraged him, God is reminding me that He will always be with me, when my nearest and dearest aren’t in a position to help. And as we see here with Paul, He will always give the grace to endure (Joshua 1:9).