2 Timothy 2:1–2 – Strengthened by Grace

Paul wants Timothy to find strength in the grace he has already received from Jesus. This strengthening is continual. Like taking vitamins, one does not take vitamins for a few days and then quit; you would just get weak and sickly again. It is the regular use of vitamins that build up some health and strength.

Popeye and SpinachWhy does Timothy need to be strengthened? He is suffering some sort of hardship, probably from within his churches. He is likely attacked for being too young, probably those who have defected from Paul see him as Paul’s deputy and therefore suspect, and he is possibly suffering some physical problems as well (“take a little wine for your stomach’s sake” might imply illness).

How does this strengthening happen? Paul gives no steps, but only states that it is “by grace in Christ Jesus.” This may seem a bit frustrating to the modern Christian since we would have preferred “ten steps to being strong in Jesus” at this point in the letter. Our relationship with Christ is not a series of hoops we have to jump through or achievement badges we earn. Our relationship with God in Jesus is more like a parent-child relationship. We do not start our at level one and work our way up to level ten, we are wholly a child of God from the moment we accept Christ as our savior.

Once again Timothy is simply told “be what you are,” a child of God. That status alone is the source of his strength – he can do all things through Christ (Phil 4:13).

In order to strengthen the whole church, Timothy is to pass along the things he has already heard from Paul to people who can be trusted to pass it along to a third generation. This is the chain of tradition we have already encountered in 2 Timothy. To whom is the tradition to be passed on? Paul calls the “faithful,” with the sense of trustworthy (sense of “competent, qualified and able”). By analogy, there are some people who you might think are reliable enough to house sit for you. If you get an untrustworthy person, then when you come home, your plants are dear and your pets are starved because they forgot to carry out their responsibility.

What is remarkable here is that Paul sets himself up as a standard, what Timothy heard from Paul in front of many reliable witnesses is to be passed along. This is like saying, make sure they know the standard Pauline sermon. That is foundational to everything else! This is not private teaching, or some sort of speculative teaching, but the sorts of things that Paul has always taught as truth and everyone knows is the core of the gospel.

The others who receive this tradition will teach in the future. Paul is not thinking of Timothy’s generation, but the people Timothy will disciple and prepare for ministry, they will be waning people that will be born long after Paul and Timothy are dead! This is really what all church work is about, preparing the next generation for serving Christ. Perhaps the reason that churches die is that they did not prepare the next generation to preserve to the Gospel.

Paul certainly would include lay leaders here, but looking ahead to the metaphors which follow, he has some kind of specialized training in mind. Not everyone is called to be a soldier nor should everyone train to be a soldier.

Just because you watched war movies does not qualify you to be an officer in the military. Sadly, many Christians think that watching YouTube sermons qualify them to be pastors, often leading to disaster!

5 thoughts on “2 Timothy 2:1–2 – Strengthened by Grace

  1. This is a good blog post. I agree Paul did the right thing of putting Timothy in charge of his ministry and sharing the Gospel because Paul was not going to ministry for a very a long time and needed someone who is young or probably at decent age to be in charge of the ministry. Paul was not thinking about Timothy’s generation or the next generation, he wanted Timothy to be prepared for the ministry so when Timothy’s time comes then someone else will take over the ministry. Paul had leaders to take over, but he had someone in mind that was trained to serve the ministry. It is true that it is not for everyone to be called or trained to be soldier, serve a ministry etc. 2 Timothy 2:1, Timothy had already received from Christ, but Paul wanted him to find strength in grace. Verse 2 what Timothy heard from Paul to people that he can be trusted and faithful to his people. I get that there are some churches that will have a tough time to accept the person to take over the ministry that may is new to it but also know what the person is preaching to the generation like Timothy did. What P. long said about Christians think that watching YouTube sermons will be them share the gospel and is qualify to become a pastor which can fail. Christians out there needs to be careful of what they are sharing even though think it is there calling to be a pastor. First thing is that Christians need to get their facts right and make sure it is their calling.

  2. What it sounds like in this, paul wants to be proactive instead of reactive. He wants to live in God’s grace everyday of his life. Instead of using the grace of God when he needs it. He wants to live in it everyday, and love God for God not just because he needs him. So mny times in my life I have felt like I can start to do things on my own without the help of God. I then realize after some time, and the trials and things that I go through that I need God really bad. He says that nothing with satisfy us. We are also tempted to go and sin. The enemy promises us everything, and gives us nothing. That’s why we always end up empty chasing things that don’t matter.

  3. Our relationship with God is continuously growing. We find that once we are saved that doesn’t mean we stop growing as Christians. We will continue to grow and become wiser and more like Christ with what we put in and how we work towards that. In order for us to achieve living a good Christian lifestyle we have to continue to grow in our personal relationship with God to be more like Him. None of this would have been possible though without the grace that God gives us. God’s grace is undeserved, yet it is what allows us to have these personal relationships with Him. His faithfulness and forgiveness towards us are what makes us have this ability. We are broken as humans, and we could never achieve the love God has to offer without his forgiveness and undeserved grace. Paul has always taught and spoke of truth in his teachings, and he shares how we as Christians become strengthened by grace. The church is about preparing the next generation because the gospel that is shared with others needs to be sustainable to continue the growth of the church. Paul set up the church by being a missionary and spreading the word to many, but what is important is that he builds up disciples who can do the same that he does. Making disciples who can make disciples is sustainable Christianity.

  4. The relationship we have with God is not something that can grow in just one day a week kind of thing. We can not just show up for church on Sunday and then do nothing through the week. Our relationship with God is something each person is to work on by themself but also with the people around them. This is why it is also important to have people around you that you can ask questions with and learn more about God together as well. We are strengthened by God’s grace and we can do many things through Him but we also need to do our part in getting to know God as well. This also means that we need to help the younger generations, we need to help them see how important it is to have a relationship with God and the challenges that come with it. I think it is important to let younger generations see how you learn more about God, let them know what you do to seek knowledge about God and grow your relationship with Him. This is one way we can create the disciples and leaders of the next generation.

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