The Book of 2 Timothy - "Searchlights from the Word" by G. Campbell Morgan.
The unfeigned faith that is in thee; which dwelt first in thy grandmother Lois, and thy mother Eunice.
2 Timothy 1:5
Two matters arrest our attention in these words: first, the description of faith, and second, the transmission of faith. The description of the faith of Timothy as "unfeigned" is very striking. Unfeigned faith is faith that is not pretended; that is, it is true, it is real, and therefore it is trustworthy. So long as there lurks a suspicion of doubt in faith; or so long as a man's faith is for outward confession, and does not carry the man with it, it is faulty and weak, and not to be depended on. A man can live a better life, and do a better work, on a genuine faith in a small thing, than a pretended faith in a big thing. In Paul's first letter to Timothy, he had placed "unfeigned faith" in company with "a pure conscience"; and said that out of these love proceeds (1 Tim. 1:5). It is good to seek after such a faith. Then we notice that Paul said that this quality of faith was found in Timothy's mother, Eunice, and in his grandmother Lois. There is a sense in which faith cannot be transmitted by parents to their children. Every individual must exercise faith for himself or herself. But it is also true that it is very difficult for some children not to believe, because of what they have seen of the power of faith in their parents. We cannot bequeath faith to our children, but we can make it much easier for them to believe by our own faith. And that is specially true of "unfeigned faith."
No soldier on service entangleth himself in the affairs of this life.
2 Timothy 2:4
This word of Paul took on new meaning for many of us during the years of the Great War. Indeed, today it seems to some of us as though we had never seen it at all before. Of course, we had seen it, and we had given it a certain conventional interpretation. Our thinking, however, of what was included in the phrase "the affairs of this life," was very superficial in many cases. We thought of certain liberties and comforts, which the soldier is denied; and, of course, that thinking was correct so far as it went. We needed the stern and awe-inspiring experiences of those dread years to enable us to apprehend the full content of the phrase. Now we know that nothing is left out. The soldier on active service breaks with everything except the War. We saw them go in millions, leaving father, mother, brother, sister, wife, and lover; we saw them march away from promising careers, loved occupations, high ambitions, and the finest things of responsibility. Nothing was permitted to entangle them, to hinder them, or in any way to interfere with the one thing. This new understanding has brought a new revelation of the claims which our Lord's campaign makes upon us. He only asks His people to do what the sons of the commonwealth did, un-grudgingly. Does not the consideration bring a sense of shame with it? How often those who should constitute the sacramental host of God have played at war! May God forgive us, and give us another chance! And if in His grace He will, may we be worthy of it!
Out of them all the Lord delivered me.
2 Timothy 3:11
The reference of the Apostle was to "things which befell" him, to "persecutions" he "endured"; for they were specific references, for he named the places - Antioch, Iconium, Lystra. What were his experiences then in these places? The story is told in the thirteenth and fourteenth chapters of the Book of the Acts. The men of Antioch "cast them out of their borders." From Iconium they "fled," knowing that there was an intention to "stone" them. At Lystra Paul was "stoned," and his enemies "dragged him out of the city supposing that he was dead." Such were the things that befell him; such the persecutions he endured. Now, looking back, Paul referred to them only to place on record his sense of the deliverances of the Lord. This is always the experience of the servants of the Master as they look back over the pathway. They do not forget the disappointment of being cast out, the bitterness of having to fly, the pain and exhaustion of the stoning; but they are more impressed with the fact of the governance of the Lord, and of how He has always delivered His own. His ways of deliverance are very varied. Sometimes He saves His servants from stoning by causing their enemies to cast them out. Sometimes He saves them from stoning by making known to them the intentions of their foes, and so enabling them to escape. Sometimes He does not deliver them from stoning, but delivers them beyond the stoning, and sends them on their way enriched with new visions, and a new sense of the sufficiency of His grace. Whether in this way, or in that, He never fails to deliver.
Fulfil thy ministry.
2 Timothy 4:5
That was the very last word of Paul in the nature of a charge to Timothy concerning his responsibilities as a minister of Christ. He emphasized it by some great words concerning his own ministry. Afterwards, he gave him certain charges of a personal nature, but on that high note he ended so far as Timothy's responsibilities to his Lord concerning the Truth and the Church were concerned. It was a call to make full proof of his service; that is, so to discharge it that there could be no question as to its authenticity. It is a great word, and all, those called to serve Christ, in whatever capacity, do well to take heed of it. How often our service is unequal! Sometimes it begins well, and then it wilts, it slackens, it evaporates. Sometimes it is characterized by irregularities occasioned by yielding to the insidious forces that are ever the enemies of constant and consistent endeavour. Paul dared to refer to his own example. He was nearing the end, but looking back he could say, "I have fought the good fight; I have finished the course; I have kept the faith." What a glorious ending to a life of service. Well may we earnestly desire so to finish. But the finishing depends upon the way of the going. In words immediately preceding this final injunction, the Apostle had revealed the secrets of obedience: "Be thou sober in all things; suffer hardship; do the work of an evangelist." These words need no interpretation, but they demand careful thought. The last charge: "Do the work of an evangelist," may not be for us all; but the former two: "Be sober in all things," and "Suffer hardship," are for everyone.