Copyright ©2018 Keith Holder, Rays of Light Bible Lessons. All Rights Reserved.

Rays of Light Bible Lessons by Keith Holder

UNFEIGNED FAITH

2 Tim 1:1-5 Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, according to the promise of life, which is in Christ Jesus, to Timothy, my dearly beloved son: grace, mercy, and peace, from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord. 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; greatly desiring to see thee, being mindful of thy tears, that I may be filled with joy; 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.

When, where, and how Paul spent the time between the first and second letters to the young preacher, Timothy, is open to much speculation. For the most part, bible scholars seem to agree that Paul wrote this second letter to Timothy from Rome, and, more than likely, a very short time before his martyrdom. The lesson text most certainly confirms Paul's deep care, concern, and love for this fellow laborer in Christ.

As he did in some other epistles, Paul confesses that he was chosen as an apostle of Christ, not because he desired or sought after the position, but because it was the will of God. Certainly his vocation, prior to being chosen as an apostle, did not merit it. As unworthy as he was, God, through His Son, Jesus Christ, still chose Paul to preach and teach the gospel message of salvation throughout the world, and especially to the Gentiles. Here, Paul tells us that the message he preached was the promise of (eternal) life, which is in Christ Jesus. Paul also confesses that the doctrine he preached was not his own, but that which God revealed to him. Galatians 1:12 confirms this fact: For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ.

The letter is specifically addressed to Timothy, my dearly beloved son, to whom he prayerfully extends, not that which he is able to supply, but the grace, mercy, and peace that comes only from God the Father, and Christ Jesus our Lord. For Timothy's diligent effort to preach the gospel of Christ under dangerous, and difficult condition, Paul is deeply thankful to the God of Heaven - the true God, whom, with pure conscience, he has served his entire life. Being imprisoned, one can only imagine the longing Paul had to see young Timothy, and give him spiritual counseling once again. Undoubtedly Paul realized this would never take place. The only thing he had left was the wonderful memories of their close relationship, as fellow servants of Christ Jesus. Even in the sadness he had, in remembering the tears of sorrow that were shed when they parted for the last time, Paul found a comforting joy.

Beginning in Acts 16, we find the account of Paul's introduction to Timothy. He was the son of a Greek father and a Jewish mother. And his faithfulness was well reported of by the brethren that were at Lystra and Iconium (Vss. 1-2). Here Paul reminisces about that first meeting, when he immediately recognized Timothy's unfeigned faith, which was given to him by example, and the teaching of, his grandmother, Lois, and his mother, Eunice, who, no doubt, had previously been converted to Christianity. More often than not, when a trusting and active faith in God and His Son, Jesus Christ dwells in parents and grandparents, it is passed on to their offspring. Such was the case of Timothy. At an early age, he had followed their unerring way, and gave himself to God, through faith and baptism, into the church of Christ.

The faith Timothy had in God and Christ Jesus is described as "unfeigned faith." That is, his faith was real, genuine, and sincere; it was unpretentious, and without a false show of righteousness. For this pure, unmovable faith in Jesus Christ as the Savior of the world, on which the gospel ministry of Timothy was based, Paul gave thanks to God, as noted in these words of encouragement.

The unfeigned faith of young Timothy needs to be imitated by all Christians today. Faith today seems to have lost some of the strength that was apparent in the faith of Timothy. Faith today often carries the meaning of a strong self-confidence. This was not true with Timothy. While at Ephesus, Timothy, no doubt heard these words: For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast (Eph. 2:8-9). By this, Timothy lived! So should we!