2 Timothy 1-4

Paul considered Timothy his “true son in the faith” and so his letter offers “fatherly” advice.  But more than that, it’s a challenge to excel and not settle for a mediocre Christian life.
Read 2 Timothy 1-4
Paul identifies himself as an apostle, and then he defines it as well.  An Apostle is simply one who is sent out.  By that definition you are I are apostles.   We were commissioned to “go into all the world” in Matthew 28, to make disciples, train and baptise them.   We aren’t apostles in the same sense that the 12 were apostles…they were something more than that descriptive term.   However, our ministry can (and probably should) be every bit as effective as theirs was.  After all, it’s the same Holy Spirit living in us as was living in them.
Because of the way Paul writes I am left to think that he expects more from Timothy.    I don’t think he’s disappointed…it’s more like he’s speaking to a senator and knows that he has the potential to be president.      His tone makes me wonder when this was written.   I mean, if it was before Paul was in prison and early in Timothy’s ministry I could understand it better.    While writing this, I did a quick check on when 2 Timothy was written, and discovered (like everything else) there is some controversy surrounding it.     Some think Paul wrote it before his first incarceration, and others think it was between the first and second.    Either was it doesn’t matter because Timothy was a well-developed leader by both of those times.     So, Paul is talking about Timothy “fanning into flame..” after Tim has spent time in prison and has been leading a local church.   He might even have been with Paul in prison…but probably not in Rome.     I’m thinking that we never get so “mature” in our faith that we can’t burst into even greater flames for Christ.    What we have accomplished and the state to which we have grown is nothing compared to what we have the potential to become.   There will always be ways in which we can continue to develop and improve in our ministry and service.    Thinking that way, it’s no surprise that Paul wants Timothy to go even further in his spiritual journey.
One of the ways that Paul might be looking for Tim to develop could involve his boldness.   Paul encourages him to shake off fear and timidity several times over the course of the letter.    I plan to remember that particular point by remembering “timid tim”, which may be entirely unfair to Timothy….my apologies.  
Paul identifies himself as a preacher, apostle and teacher; which are three different gifts.   It would appear that Paul had them all.   The pastor would be more nurture, the apostle would be a messenger and the teacher….well that speaks for itself.     I wonder how many ministers and leaders today are similarly equipped….maybe Paul was unique….but I doubt it.   
3:1 as desperate as times seem to be, I cannot bring myself to agree that they are as bad as this describes.   There are people who care about nothing but money and themselves, but there are others who are selfless and compassionate.    The stories about them are few, but occasionally the news will still pick up one or two of them.   “Doing Good” has not fallen on hard times nearly as much as we think…it’s just that “bad news” gets more press.
I like the NLT translation of 3:16.   I often think these phrases should be printed off and hung around the church…and our homes.
4:5  the theme of “don’t be afraid” has come up several times now.   Paul must feel that Timothy is reluctant to venture into harms way.   I’m sure that compared to Paul none of us measure up.    And compared to Jesus….well….
4:2 says “Patiently correct…..”  I’m noticing the word “patient” today.   These changes in behavior don’t happen overnight.  One sermon or one Bible study doesn’t radically alter a life.   It’s a process that may hinge on one experience, but it needs teaching that prepares, and then supports after the fact.
4:10   “loved the things of this life…”   This is an example of a person who was a devout follower, but then fell away.   I remind myself that can happen, and I should reinforce my life against it.
Well, as usual there is more to say and learn…but I have to move along with other tasks for today.