Paul was in prison in Rome, a cold, damp dungeon. And it is here that he writes his last letter of the New Testament, and it is to a young man named Timothy, who he looked upon as his dearly beloved son (2nd Timothy 1:2).
This is the last letter, the last words from the Apostle Paul. Let’s look at some of the thoughts of Paul as he shared his heart with Timothy. In chapter 1, verse 7, Paul encourages Timothy, reminding him that the fear he was experiencing was not of the Holy Spirit. Paul had been put in prison, so this would be enough to stir up this fear Timothy was experiencing.
Paul goes on to share with Timothy, 2nd Timothy 1:7 "For God hath not given us the Spirit of fear, but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind."
of fear, Paul was shackled and placed in prison. Fear would have its grip on the heart of Timothy. Fear cripples, weakens and holds us back. Paul encouraged Timothy, letting him know this fear was not of the Spirit of God, rather God gave Timothy the Spirit...but of power, the Greek word means to empower with ability, to enable. This power is not of ourselves. Paul recognized his weaknesses and acknowledges the power of God within.
Philippians 4:13 “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.” Paul recognized Christ, a divine being within, strengthening him for the work ahead. He wanted Timothy to recognize the power of God within him. Timothy need not fear lack of ability, or not being able for the work ahead of him.
and of love, the Greek word, agape, for love in 2nd Timothy 1:7 comes from the Greek word, agapao, used in John 3:16 for God’s love, “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him, should not perish, but have ever lasting life”
Let's look at the words "so loved," and the remaining words of John 3:16, along with the words of Psalm 103:11 and 12 "For as the heaven is high above the earth, so great is His mercy toward them that fear Him." The Hebrew word used for fear here is used with the meaning of when we stand before someone who is to be exalted, Who we are to revere, to reverence, to be in a state of awe of, and this person here is "the Lord."
Now verse 12 of Psalm 103, "As far as the east is from the west, so far hath He removed our transgressions from us." What we learn from these verses from the Word of God is that He loves us with a depth of love, an unending love, such a sacrificial love, a giving of self, in such a way, that it makes us draw back in fear, we will never experience this kind of love in this world, it is only of the Lord, therefore we find ourselves standing, kneeling, prostrate on the ground, whatever He, before us, brings us to, not of ourselves, but His love brings us to this state, of awe, reverence and exaltation of Him.
and of a sound mind, the Greek word means to exercise discipline and self-control. It is when we acknowledge, we recognize this vast power of the Lord in us, enabling us, His great love for us, affecting our hearts, our minds, our whole being , and the mind set of the Holy Spirit, within us, a sound mind, exercising the discipline and self-control that can come only of Him, then we are prepared to minister, to serve, to give of ourselves, in spite of the cost, in spite of our loss in this world. This is what Paul wanted Timothy to understand.
And now, let’s go to 2nd Timothy 1:8 where Paul continues his letter to Timothy.
8 Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me, His prisoner: but be thou partaker of the afflictions of the gospel according to the power of God:
Be not, the Greek words means “Don’t start,” Paul was saying to Timothy, and he is saying to us today, “you’ve shared among Christians, those as yourself, and you’ve had no reason to be ashamed or to fear. Now is a time to branch out, to reach out with the testimony of our Lord, with those whom you may face ridicule, and don’t start being ashamed or to fear the ridicule you may face.
Let’s look at the word ashamed, The Greek word for ashamed here is shame in the form of fear of the ridicule of others. The emphasis in the Greek word is the reaction to public ridicule. We are not to fear the ridicule of others. We are not to hold back in order to avoid the ridicule. We are to share the testimony of our Lord; we are to be proud to share of Him. We are to be bold, to share the greatest love story written to man. We can expect ridicule in some situations, and we are not to avoid it by holding back.
testimony, the Greek word for testimony means evidential, evidence. The word has to do with the witness sharing evidence of actual events. If our hearers don’t hear us sharing as of an actual event, do we not believe what we’re sharing? Is our lack of faith evident to our listeners? Why are we not speaking out for our Lord with boldness, as if we are sure of the testimony of our Lord?
Here we would need to look into searching our own lives. What problems in our lives have we tried on our own to solve, yet we were not able? Did we look to God in prayer, turning the problem over to Him? Did we see the problem working out in ways we never imagined possible, in ways that were beyond the abilities of ourselves? If we live our lives in prayer with God, looking to Him in our hours of need, in times when life becomes a burden for us, we may see God working out the impossible. Or we may discover He walks along side us throughout our burdens in life. Then we are enabled to share with boldness the testimony of our Lord.
nor of me, His prisoner: The Apostle Paul was telling Timothy to not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of him. Timothy was like a son to Paul, and Timothy looked up to him, for his exhortation and his guidance in the ministry, now Paul tells him, “don’t start fearing identifying with me, who is in chains and imprisoned in a cold damp dungeon."
Let’s look now at the unforgettable glorious appearance of Jesus to Paul, in Acts 9, and then we want to look closer at the original Greek meaning of the word “prisoner:”
As Paul made his way to Damascus, to bring back to Jerusalem, Christians in chains, he was confronted by Jesus. He had risen from the grave, and later ascended into heaven. This time He appears, while a light from heaven shines round about Paul, and Paul falls to the earth.
Jesus spoke to Paul in an audible voice, and even those about Paul heard the voice. “Saul, Saul, why persecutes thou me?…I am Jesus Whom thou persecutest. It is hard for thee to kick against the pricks.”
When Paul rose from the earth, he was blind, and saw no man. Those with him lead him by the hand.
Then Jesus appears in a vision to a man named Ananias, a disciple at Damascus. Ananias was to lay his hand on Paul that he might receive his sight. Then Jesus shares with Ananias that Paul was a chosen vessel to Him, to bear His name “before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel: for I will shew him how great things he must suffer for my name’s sake.”
Afterwards Paul receives the Holy Spirit, is baptized, receives meat and is strengthened both spiritually and physically. Then Paul spent certain days with the disciples at Damascus and afterwards, straightway he preached Christ.
Acts 9:1-18 The pricks, from the Greek word used, are points, that when kicked against, sting as though poisonous, or the pricks are a goad, the ox-goad. The more the ox resists, the deeper the wound. Either way, Jesus’s words suggest that Paul was putting up a strong resistance against conviction, that he was wrong in persecuting the Christians, and not listening to their testimony of Jesus.
Chosen, the Greek word used here is akin to another Greek word. The two words together gives us the meaning that Jesus chose; He favored Paul for Himself. It was not that Jesus was rejecting anyone else, and choosing Paul over others. But for Paul He had a special ministry, and that was to take the name of Jesus before Gentiles, kings, and the children of Israel, and he would suffer great things for Jesus’s name’s sake.
Vessel, here Jesus uses a figure of speech to describe Paul. The word in the Greek refers to a vessel, an implement, an instrument of any kind. Paul, was the person, that had what it would take, to get the job done, in the ministry that Jesus had for him. This was the reason Jesus chose Paul. Jesus knew the heart, the mind and the soul of Paul. He knew that Paul would hold up under all that he would go through to bear His name to the Gentiles, before kings, and to the people of Israel.
Let’s look closer at the original Greek meaning of the word “prisoner,” the word Paul used to describe himself while in prison, in his letters to Timothy. The Greek word for prisoner means shackled, and is figurative of impediment or disability, and tells us that Paul saw himself in a new unique way in his relationship to Jesus, as shackled to the Lord Jesus, disabled, with an impediment, that prevented him from doing anything else. Paul had it within his heart, his mind, his soul, to solely preach the message of Jesus to others. He felt so strongly the presence of Jesus and the love of Jesus that flowed through him, he was committed, extremely dedicated to preach the message of Christ to everyone he came in contact with. He had come to the place in his life, he could not help but preach Jesus. His passion was to preach Jesus, and nothing else.
In our churches, pastors align up every Sunday to preach the gospel, teachers make their way to the churches and into their classrooms to share the message of Christ, and we may gather with other Christians after church around a potluck dinner, discussing the message the pastor brought before the congregation, or the lessons discussed in classrooms, this is comfortable for us.
Then Monday, we may be on the job, among those who live out their lives, never picking up the Bible to read, never attending church, and their lifestyles completely alien to ours, and they may be critical and ostracize Christians. In this situation, do we lead a double life? Are we silent about the Scriptures and our Lord and Savior?
Paul tells us on Monday mornings, “don’t start this.” Be bold and share the love of Christ for all men, share testimonies you may have heard on Sunday how someone’s life has changed because of the love of Christ. Be prepared to always share a word for Christ.
2nd Timothy 2:15 “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” 2nd Timothy 4:2 “Preach the word: be instant in season, out of season: reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.
Paul encourages Timothy to keep yourself always prepared to share the Word of God. And today, in the age and time that we live, this is the message for us.
In 2nd Timothy 4:9 and 13, Paul is writing to Timothy and in verse 9, he makes a request of Timothy, “Do thy diligence to come shortly unto me:” and then we want to look at verse 13, “The cloak that I left at Troas with Carpus, when thou comest bring with thee, and the books, but especially the parchments.”
My Dad lived with us over 12 years. In his elderly years, he was losing some of his eyesight. When he came to me for glasses, because his would break, I took him that day, or if it was the end of day, by the next day, to get new glasses.
And there was one work-book for new Christians, that he read over and over, memorized verses from it, jotted down a note of prayer, and as time went on, the pages would begin to fall from it, and he would come to me and say, “Rosie,” (and he always pronounced my name with a drawn out long “o” sound, “Ro-o-sie,” so this brings back special memories of my Dad) “my book is falling apart. Can we go to that Bible book store and get me a new one?” And that day, or the next day, I would take him to get this new book that was so important to him. This happened on more than one occasion, and I was always faithful to get him that book when he asked for it, because of its importance to him.
This is a type of request that Paul was making to Timothy.Paul had not been given time to collect belongings that mattered most to him. Now that he had been forsaken by others, he was dependent on Timothy. His cloak, books and parchment was a need, essential things he was missing.
Paul points out to Timothy the importance of his request at the very beginning. “Do thy diligence to come shortly to me:” It was much like our To Do list with the important priority things that needed to be done first. “Do this now, Timothy, it is urgent.”
When we study, we don’t want distractions, such as the damp and cold of the dungeon. “Timothy, The cloak that I left at Troas with Carpus, bring with the books, especially the parchments.”
So you want to make sure you have a place, free of things that will distract you from your studies, and you want a Bible, and other books that will help you to understand the Word of God in the language and times that it was originally written. We must make time in our busy every day lives to spend time with our Lord in His Word and in prayer with Him, that we might always be prepared to boldly share the Word of God with those about us.
May Grace Be With You, Amen.
copyright 2017 Rosie Barnett Foshee