God hath not given us the spirit of fear - Here is an allusion to the giving of the law on mount Sinai. This was communicated with such terrible majesty as to engender fear in all the Israelites: even Moses, on the occasion, did exceedingly fear and tremble. The Gospel was ushered in, in a much milder manner; every thing was placed on a level with the human intellect; and within reach of every human spirit. Nothing was terrific, nothing forbidding; but all was inviting. The very spirit and genius of it was a spirit of power, of love, and of a sound mind.
Instead of δειλιας, fear, some MSS. and versions have δουλειας, servitude or bondage; God hath not given unto us the spirit of Bondage - but of power, δυναμεως, to work miracles, to confound enemies, to support us in trials, and enable us to do that which is lawful and right in his sight. And of love, which enables us to hear, believe, hope, and endure all things; and is the incentive to all obedience. Of a sound mind, σωφρονισμου, of self-possession and government, according to some. But a sound mind implies much more; it means a clear understanding, a sound judgment, a rectified will, holy passions, heavenly tempers; in a word, the whole soul harmonized in all its powers and faculties; and completely regulated and influenced so as to think, speak, and act aright in all things. The apostle says, God hath given the spirit of these things; they are not factitious; they are not assumed for times and circumstances; they are radical powers and tempers; each produced by its proper principle.
For God hath not given us the spirit of fear - A timorous and servile spirit. This is said in order to encourage Timothy, who was not improbably modest and diffident.
But of power - Power to encounter foes and dangers; power to bear up under trials; power to triumph in persecutions. That is, it is the nature of the gospel to inspire the mind with holy courage; compare, however, Luke 24:49.
And of love - Love to God and to the souls of men. The tendency of This, also, is to “cast out fear” 1 John 4:18, and to make the mind bold and constant. Nothing will do more to inspire courage, to make a man fearless of danger, or ready to endure privation and persecution, than “love.” The love of country, and wife, and children, and home, makes the most timid bold when they are assailed; and the love of Christ and of a dying world nerves the soul to great enterprises, and sustains it in the deepest sorrows.
And of a sound mind - The Greek word denotes one of sober mind; a man of prudence and discretion. The state referred to here is that in which the mind is well balanced, and under right influences; in which it sees things in their just proportions and relations; in which it is not feverish and excited, but when everything is in its proper place. It was this state of mind which Timothy was exhorted to cultivate; this which Paul regarded as so necessary to the performance of the duties of his office. It is as needful now for the minister of religion as it was then.
The encounter with the demoniacs of Gergesa had a lesson for the disciples. It showed the depths of degradation to which Satan is seeking to drag the whole human race, and the mission of Christ to set men free from his power. Those wretched beings, dwelling in the place of graves, possessed by demons, in bondage to uncontrolled passions and loathsome lusts, represent what humanity would become if given up to satanic jurisdiction. Satan's influence is constantly exerted upon men to distract the senses, control the mind for evil, and incite to violence and crime. He weakens the body, darkens the intellect, and debases the soul. Whenever men reject the Saviour's invitation, they are yielding themselves to Satan. Multitudes in every department in life, in the home, in business, and even in the church, are doing this today. It is because of this that violence and crime have overspread the earth, and moral darkness, like the pall of death, enshrouds the habitations of men. Through his specious temptations Satan leads men to worse and worse evils, till utter depravity and ruin are the result. The only safeguard against his power is found in the presence of Jesus. Before men and angels Satan has been revealed as man's enemy and destroyer; Christ, as man's friend and deliverer. His Spirit will develop in man all that will ennoble the character and dignify the nature. It will build man up for the glory of God in body and soul and spirit. “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” 2 Timothy 1:7. He has called us “to the obtaining of the glory”—character—“of our Lord Jesus Christ;” has called us to be “conformed to the image of His Son.” 2 Thessalonians 2:14; Romans 8:29. DA 341.1
And souls that have been degraded into instruments of Satan are still through the power of Christ transformed into messengers of righteousness, and sent forth by the Son of God to tell what “great things the Lord hath done for thee, and hath had compassion on thee.” DA 341.2Read in context »
Under the most favorable circumstances several months must pass before Timothy could reach Rome from Asia Minor. Paul knew that his life was uncertain, and he feared that Timothy might arrive too late to see him. He had important counsel and instruction for the young man, to whom so great responsibility had been entrusted; and while urging him to come without delay, he dictated the dying testimony that he might not be spared to utter. His soul filled with loving solicitude for his son in the gospel and for the church under his care, Paul sought to impress Timothy with the importance of fidelity to his sacred trust. AA 499.1
Paul began his letter with the salutation: “To Timothy, my dearly beloved son: Grace, mercy, and peace, from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord. I thank God, whom I serve from my forefathers with pure conscience, that without ceasing I have remembrance of thee in my prayers night and day.” AA 499.2
The apostle then urged upon Timothy the necessity of steadfastness in the faith. “I put thee in remembrance,” he wrote, “that thou stir up the gift of God, which is in thee by the putting on of my hands. For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. 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.” Paul entreated Timothy to remember that he had been called “with a holy calling” to proclaim the power of Him who had “brought life and immortality to light through the gospel: whereunto,” he declared, “I am appointed a preacher, and an apostle, and a teacher of the Gentiles. For the which cause I also suffer these things: nevertheless I am not ashamed: for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that He is able to keep that which I have committed unto Him against that day.” AA 499.3Read in context »