I am currently preaching through 2 Timothy.
As is an exercise with me, I try to paraphrase the passage I am working on. This is a modest attempt to capture some of Paul’s glorious counsel to Timothy through the Spirit’s inspiration (to Paul, NOT me).
I hope you find it helpful.
Paul, one that God made an apostle as part and parcel of His fulfilling His promises of the spiritual blessings which attend the new life we have in Christ Jesus; To my beloved child Timothy. How I want you to live in and know and enjoy the full realities of God’s unmerited favor. This grace is bestowed in His mercy upon your sinfulness, which results in bringing peace to your relationship with God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.
I thank God, that I can remember you constantly in my prayers day and night, since my conscience is clear before the God I serve – the same God my ancestors did. What do I remember? Your tears. And they make me want to see you and be filled with joy in seeing you. I remember too the sincerity of your faith. A quality that I saw first in your grandmother Lois, and in your Mom, Eunice. And it most certainly dwells in you too.
Now, I really want to remind you and emphasize the need to always be fanning into flame the gift of God’s Spirit within you (which you received through my having laid hands on you). The reason is, because the Spirit’s influence combats in us the tendency to fear, to grow cool in our love, and to live under the dictates of our fallen, human nature. He, the Spirit, produces the very opposite of these three things when His influence is dominant.
Living in His influence, do not be timid or ashamed – either of the Gospel itself, or of me – stuck here in prison. Instead, emboldened by Him, take your part in joining in these sufferings yourself – since He is the power of God to do it! The power of the same God who saved us from the coming wrath, called us to serve Him in a holy calling, and that, not because we had done anything which would have prompted Him to bestow such a high thing upon us: But because of His own purpose, and because of the wonderful favor toward us which He gave us in giving us Christ Jesus. A favor He had toward us even before the worlds began – before creation itself. That is, He purposed to do it from long ago, and now has brought it to pass in the incarnation of Jesus Christ our Savior. This Jesus, who saved us by defeating death, and bringing to us His own life for us to participate in – which is nothing less than bringing to light the gift of His immortality to us – which we have through believing in the Gospel. The very same Gospel I was appointed to preach and to lay as a foundation for the life of Christians, and to instruct everyone in.
This is why I am in prison right now. But let me tell you, in prison or no, I am not intimidated or ashamed. Why? Because I know this God and His Jesus Christ – I know them. And I am absolutely convinced He is able to keep this Gospel which transforms lives, completely intact – the Gospel He has entrusted to me, until the Day of Christ’s return.
So listen Timothy, don’t let this go. Hang on to the things I’ve taught you – even to the WAY I’ve taught them to you – with all your might. Do that by virtue of faith and love that you now have resting in Christ Jesus. Do it by fanning into flame the Holy Spirit’s influence within you. He alone can reveal Christ for your faith, and fill your heart with God’s love. By the Spirit’s work within you – guard the Gospel.
It is by this very means that I have been enabled to stand when abandoned by everyone here – including Hermogenes and Phygelus!
It is by this means Onesiphorus (who is now gone) had the courage not only to keep refreshing while in jail – but he took pains to search me out here. May the Lord be merciful to him on the Day of judgment because of it – and how it was but a continuation of the ministry he had toward me even back in Ephesus.