Indicatives & Imperatives 13

2 Timothy

Paul’s final letter (chronologically and literally) was written between A.D. 65-67 during Paul’s second imprisonment in Rome. This was after the great fire in A.D. 64. Though everyone knew Emperor Nero set fire to the city, he blamed the Christians and used that as an excuse to execute many.

St. Paul the Apostle Claude Vignon

St. Paul the Apostle Claude Vignon

Though Paul anticipates his death (4:6-8), he writes a personal and reflective letter, saddened at some who turned away in times of trouble, yet joyous for those who uplifted him and kept the faith. (1:15-18)

He calls Timothy “my beloved child,” and recalls Timothy’s sincere faith, which Paul appreciates was nurtured by his grandmother Lois and his mother Eunice. He reminds Timothy though he is “bound in chains as a criminal” for preaching the gospel, “the word of God is not bound!”

Paul encourages Timothy to gain strength from the Holy Spirit, and to continue to preach the gospel as Paul taught him – the true gospel of love and faith.

It is believed Paul was beheaded during the end of Nero’s reign which was extinguished in A.D. 68.

(emphasis added)

The Imperatives

Do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord, nor of me his prisoner, but share in suffering for the gospel by the power of God (1:8)

Follow the pattern of the sound words that you have heard from me in the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. By the Holy Spirit who dwells within us, guard the good deposit entrusted to you. (1:13-14)

Remind [believers] and charge them before God not to quarrel about words which does no good but only ruins hearers. Avoid irreverent babble, for it will lead people into more and more ungodliness, and their talk will spread like gangrene. (2:14,16)

So flee youthful passions and pursue righteousness: faith, love and peace, along with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart. (2:22)

Have nothing to do with foolish, ignorant controversies; you know they breed quarrels. And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but be kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil, correcting his opponents with gentleness. (2:23-24)

As for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it (3:14)

Paul reminds Timothy what is important – not law or words or dogma or “being right,” but the pursuit of faith, love and peace which results in righteousness. The word “whom” in 3:14 is plural, and refers not only to Paul, but to Timothy’s mother and grandmother, recalling the sincerity of faith he learned growing up. At the end of Paul’s days, he is clear about the gospel, and encourages us to see through the veil, too.

For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure has come. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race. I have kept the faith. (4:6-7)

The Indicatives

…for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control. ( 1:7)

[God] saved us and called us to a holy calling, not because of our works but because of his own purpose and grace, which he gave us in Christ Jesus before the ages began, and which now has been manifested through the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus, who abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel (1:9-10)

Be strengthened by the grace that is in Christ Jesus. (2:1)

All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work. (3:16-17)

The Lord stood by me and strengthened me so that through me the message might be fully proclaimed and all might hear it…The Lord will rescue me from every evil deed and bring me safely into his heavenly kingdom. To him be the glory forever and ever. Amen. (4:17-18)

For those of us who desire to see the true gospel presented – the gospel of love, faith and peace – the words of Jesus stand as the true representation. This is what Paul repeated in all of his letters: the non-negotiable gospel of grace and love and faith in Christ and the indwelling of the Spirit to transform the way we think and, ultimately, the way we live.

10 comments

  1. Thank you for this highly informative and wonderful read, Dale! Every time I read my Bible, I “un-earth” some additional hidden treasure(s)!

    Love ya,

    Donna

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    1. Hey, Donna. Thank you for reading these. While Dale wrote, “Hope is a Circle” (a beautiful and heartfelt guest blog), I wrote these others. Happy to have you sift your way through my blog.
      Blessing, to you.

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  2. “Paul reminds Timothy what is important – not law or words or dogma or “being right,” but the pursuit of faith, love and peace which results in righteousness.” Amen and amen! Great point.

    The commands (or imperatives) of Paul and the other New Testament writers were not rules we must follow to make us a Christian; they were reminders of what it looks like when you are one. Paul keeps telling us, remember who you are, stop acting like you’re not a new creation! Keep your eyes fixed on the ascended life in Christ, not the way you used to think in your darkened mind. Don’t try to become holy by behavioral modification, BE holy because you ARE holy in Christ…this is who you are!

    Great series, Susan. I have really enjoyed walking through these letters with you. Blessings.

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    1. Love that, Mel – “Don’t try to become holy by behavioral modification.” Absolutely. And thanks, I’ve enjoyed the walk, too. Still ruminating about what’s next. I’m sure He’ll poke me when it’s time. 😉

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  3. Very well said Susan! Thank you for your work here! Blessings!

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    1. Andy, thank you so much. Doing my best to clear the clutter so his light can shine through. Blessings to you and your family.

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  4. My prayer is that we would all come into a full understanding of God’s word and be obedient followers of Christ. Not because of what we might receive but because we love the Lord because he first loved us. Susan I really appreciate the fact that you share God’s word as it is with the world. We need to hear the word unchanged. It is so beautiful and sets us free.

    Blessings and peace to you

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    1. Amen to that prayer, Tom. As I write about it, it helps me go deeper, helps me to rely on the Spirit to awaken understanding in me. Those little light bulbs going on, flipping back and forth through the pages, getting those, “aha” moments that clarify and release burdens. Thanks for continuing on this journey with me.
      Love to you and Carolyn.

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  5. Very inspiring!

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    1. Thank you, Bill. Paul’s words do that. 🙂

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