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The Plan for Perpetuation of the Faith (2:1–2)
Supporting Idea: Each generation bears the responsibility of preserving and handing on the basic Christian beliefs to those who follow.
2:1. Having just shared his disappointment over the growing apostasy spreading through Asia, Paul turned to Timothy and wrote, You then, my son, be strong. Difficult circumstances, our own weaknesses and fears, and the negative attitudes or unfaithfulness of others should not determine our course in life. Just as Paul wrote of the power which comes from the Holy Spirit (2 Tim. 1:7), so now he wrote of the strength which comes from Jesus Christ.
No doubt Timothy knew, as Paul did, that he could not find adequate strength within himself to fulfill the responsibilities thrust upon him on to endure the hardships ahead. Our confidence and ability to live successfully as followers of Christ comes when we are strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. Paul knew that God’s grace not only saves us; it enables us to carry out the life of faithful obedience.
2:2. Our own relationship with Christ Jesus must be developing in trust and dependence before we can expect to influence others for his kingdom. The perpetual strength of God’s grace would enable Timothy to fulfill his tasks. Timothy must not only guard the gospel; he must take the gospel and the apostolic instructions (things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses) and entrust [them] to reliable men.
Unlike the false teachers who claimed special revelation or secret knowledge, Paul’s message stood in accord with all Scripture and in agreement with the apostles. What he received from the Lord he passed on in an open manner (1 Cor. 11:23). Likewise, Timothy received no inside information from Paul. The message was widely known, spoken of freely and before many witnesses.
In his assignment to entrust the gospel to other people, Timothy needed to observe in these believers the quality of adherence to God’s truth. Reliability and trustworthiness in remaining true to the gospel were prerequisites.
Timothy must also seek those who evidenced a knowledge and ability to teach others. Paul warned to establish people of godly character who possessed the aptitude for relating divine truth to everyday life, for clarifying ideas, and for maintaining purity in their instruction.