II Timothy 1:3-14

Once Paul’s vision became clearer after his conversion on the road to Damascus, he carried out an extraordinary mission to spread the meaning of Christ’s life, crucifixion and resurrection to both Jews and gentiles. Paul knew younger followers like Timothy were essential if the church were to thrive.

In the initial part of this pastoral epistle, Paul affirms his love for Timothy and recalls the worthy women who nurtured Timothy in his youth. This background and Timothy’s own deep faith and experience as Paul’s trusted disciple reflect his readiness to continue Paul’s leadership. Paul thus wants to ensure and ignite further Timothy’s understanding of what is required in unashamed testimony about Christ. Paul, a candid mentor, stresses that such conviction and perseverance can lead to imprisonment and even death, but the treasure of grace and the Holy Spirit’s guidance will be present.

Paul’s desire to mentor Timothy is not unlike that of parents, scientists, teachers, and countless others who envision continuity of their values and/or ongoing projects. Such mentors know precise instruction and encouragement are necessary as they “pass their torch” to those who have demonstrated potential in a future role requiring knowledge, enthusiasm, courage, self-discipline, and enhanced approaches, if needed, to effect positive change. Christ’s message and gift of salvation, though, need no enhancement but definitely committed, competent disciples.

Paul has put in writing what Timothy can ponder and incorporate into his own soul.

Prayer: Dear Lord, help us to see more clearly and perpetuate, without hesitation or fear, the power of Christ’s resurrection.

Nancy Brown