Second Timothy 1:12




The Apostle Paul wrote in the Bible in Second Timothy 1:12, “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.” This verse is tied to the one that went before it. Why did Paul suffer being a condemned man in a Roman prison? What led to it? What went before that resulted in him being a prisoner? In Second Timothy 1:11 Paul wrote, “I am appointed a preacher, and apostle, and a teacher of the Gentiles.” Of course, in accomplishing those responsibilities, one of the primary things that the Apostle Paul was doing was speaking: speaking the truth about salvation and grace that is found in Jesus. He spoke the truth. He spoke for the benefit of the hearers, and one of the consequences for doing so was that he suffered.


In spite of the suffering that he had to do, Paul said that he was not ashamed. He meant that he was not ashamed of Christ, and he was not ashamed of the gospel. Paul was not going to stop speaking, and he was not going to stop preaching, and he was not going to stop teaching about Jesus just because he suffered in this life for it. Paul said that in spite of what he suffered, he had confidence. He said, “I know whom I have believed.” This verse helps to explain the biblical concept of belief. Knowing Christ is an important part of believing. In order to know someone there must be a time when you have been introduced to them and when you have met them. When a person tastes of salvation and believes on Jesus for the first time, that person actually meets Christ spiritually and comes to know Him, and from that point forward has a personal relationship with Jesus, whom they now know.  


Paul said that he knew Jesus; and Paul said, “I am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto Him against that day.” The question is: what did Paul commit to Christ? Of course, he committed his future. That is why Paul said, “against that day.” He was looking forward and talking about a future day: the day of the Lord. In this life Paul was sitting a condemned man in a Roman prison. Most had forsaken him. Paul had committed everything to Jesus Christ. If you looked at Paul’s life from a human standpoint, you would readily say that he had not amounted to much. You might think that Paul had committed the resources of his life to the wrong thing. But if you did, you would be wrong. Instead of committing his life to the kingdoms of this world that are passing away, Paul committed his future both in this life and the next to the King of kings. Instead of investing in this age, in this life, or in this world, Paul invested in the next. The next kingdom, the next age, will start at the day of Christ. The day will come when Christ will appear again. That day could be today and it could be tomorrow, but one thing is for sure: “that day” will come.


Certainly, Paul wanted Timothy to be ready for the day of the Lord, so he wrote to him in Second Timothy 1:13, “Hold fast the form of sound words, which you have heard of me, in faith and love which is in Christ Jesus.” The best way to get ready for the next appearing of Christ is to “hold fast the form of sound words” which came from the Apostle Paul. Timothy heard those words from Paul himself and from the writings of Paul. We also have the writings of Paul, at least the ones that God preserved. Timothy was commanded to “hold fast” the form of sound words. In other words there is a certain human effort involved if we are going to avoid slipping away from the word. Why do some people slip away in regards to doctrine and practice? For some it is because they did not “hold fast” the form of sound words.


Notice that the Bible does not just say to hold fast the words. It says, “hold fast the form of sound words.” The “form” refers to a “pattern.” We must be very careful how we use the words that Paul wrote by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. That is why we must be very careful to use translations of the Bible that are very literal in nature. Every translator should have a philosophy of translation whereby they attempt as much as is linguistically possible to make a translation that is literal and that follows the original language word for word. Remember that Paul said to use the same pattern of words that he used. Some supposed translations are really commentaries instead of translations. Some translations contain too much of the opinions and theology of the translators, and therefore they do not “hold fast the form of sound words.” That is one of the reasons that it is good to use the King James Version. It is a good translation in which the translators obviously attempted to follow the literal translation method.


Paul told Timothy to hold fast the form of sound words “in faith and love which is in Christ Jesus.” There is a direct connection to our holding on to the Word of God and the two great spiritual principles of faith and love. There is a direct connection between the form of sound words and both faith and love. We understand the connection to faith. “Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God.” If you want to have more faith, then spend more time with the Word of God: reading it, studying it, and thinking about it. If you want to have more faith, then make sure that you use “the form of sound words.” The words that you use will have a direct impact on your faith and on the faith of those who hear you. If you say negative words about anything, the very words that you say will war against your capacity to live by faith in the promises of God.


There is a direct connection between the form of sound words and your faith, and there is also a connection between these words and the amount of love that you have. There is nothing greater than love. Jesus said that the greatest commandment is to love God with all the heart, mind, soul, and strength; and the second greatest commandment is to love your neighbor as yourself. The Word of God will teach you to love. “God is love.” The better that you come to know the heart of God through His Word, the better that you will come to love Him. We love Him because He first loved us. The better that you come to know the mind of God through His Word, the better that you will understand the power of God and the plan of God for all human beings. You will love what God loves, and God loves everyone.


There is an important relationship between the form of sound words and faith and love. There is also a unique relationship between the Word of God and Jesus Christ. “Hold fast the form of sound words, which you have heard of me, in faith and love which is in Christ Jesus.” Faith and love are in Jesus Christ. You will never know faith and love unless you know Jesus Christ. The form of sound words that came from Paul the Apostle were all about Jesus Christ. His words always uplifted, revealed, and magnified the person of Jesus Christ. If the words that you hold onto do not bring you closer to Jesus, then you are holding on to the wrong words. The Word of God is Jesus Christ. He is the living Word. Jesus is the communication from God whereby we know truth. “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God


In Second Timothy 1:14 Paul wrote to Timothy, “That good thing which was committed unto thee keep by the Holy Ghost which dwelleth in us.” The phrase that “which was committed unto thee” used in this verse is almost the identical phrase used in verse 12 when Paul said “that which I have committed unto Him.” We have committed something unto God and he has committed something unto us. What we have committed unto Jesus is our entire future, both in this life and in the next. What God has committed unto us is the things that He has set before us to do. As a matter of fact, that is exactly what the word that is translated “commit” here means. It means to set before or to set in front of. That is why the Bible says in   Ecclesiastes 9:10, “Whatsoever thy hand finds to do, do with thy might.” The things that are before you to do, God has given you to do. Someone might say, “Someone else has six hundred people to look after. I only have six. Therefore, what I have must not be very important.” God thinks it to be important because it is what He gave you to do. In the grand scheme of things what God has given you to do might be more important than what He has given to someone else. Perhaps they are equally important. Do not measure the way that man measures. Each calling is just as important as another calling. We are links in a chain, we are members of the same body, and we are fellow-laborers in Christ.


The important thing is that you “keep” that which has been committed unto you. The key thing to remember in regards to how to  keep what has been committed unto you is the phrase “by the Holy Spirit.” Of course, everything in the Christian life must be “by the Holy Spirit.” You will either do things by the arm of the flesh or by the Spirit. Once you receive Christ, you also receive the Holy Spirit. There are important things to remember about the Holy Spirit. He empowers us, He guides us, and He enlightens us. Romans 8:14 says, “For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.” We cannot do anything in the service of God apart from the Holy Spirit who is within us. If we attempt to do so, our efforts will be in vain. As believers we are totally dependent upon the Holy Spirit. We must be led by the Spirit, we must be filled by the Spirit, and we must be empowered by the Spirit, or else our efforts are meaningless. Jesus had the Spirit without measure when He was on the earth. Jesus said in Luke 11:13, “How much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?” When Jesus came to the earth, in certain ways He set aside His divine prerogatives, and He lived as a man filled and led by the Spirit. Jesus showed what is possible for mankind living this way. If we are going to keep that which has been committed unto us, we must do it by the Holy Spirit.


In Second Timothy 1:15-18 Paul wrote, “This thou knowest, that all they which are in Asia be turned away from me; of whom are Phygellus and Hermogenes. The Lord give mercy unto the house of Onesiphorus; for he oft refreshed me, and was not ashamed of my chain: But, when he was in Rome, he sought me out very diligently, and found me. The Lord grant unto him that he may find mercy of the Lord in that day: and in how many things he ministered unto me at Ephesus, thou knowest very well.” Some very terrible things had happened to the Apostle Paul. Two of those things are mentioned in these verses. He was a prisoner in a Roman prison, which he alludes to when he expressed gratitude for the fact that Onesiphorus had not been ashamed of Paul’s “chain.” This probably means that Paul was bound by a literal chain as he sat in his Roman jail cell.


Probably a greater suffering than being a prisoner was the fact that Paul said, “All they which are in Asia are turned away from me.” Of course, he was talking about Asia Minor. This is a part of the Mediterranean world where a vast number of the early Christian churches were located, many of which Paul himself had established. This being the case, it is really hard to believe that these believers could have been so cruel and so unspiritual and so hard-of-heart to have turned away from the Apostle Paul. It was probably all about religious politics and who was the authoritative voice that people would listen to. Religious politics can have a very dark side to it. If someone turned away from Paul, it probably means that they turned away from the Pauline doctrines; and if they did that, they were in big trouble spiritually. The Pauline doctrines were given to Paul by the Holy Spirit to keep us from going into false doctrine. If we look at the map of Asia Minor right after Paul did his work there, we see many spiritually prosperous churches. Eventually these churches turned away from Paul. We look at the map of Asia Minor today and we do not see any such spiritual churches. It is no wonder.


In spite of these bad things that happened to Paul, Paul was not thinking of revenge. As he spoke of his own misfortune, he still had mercy on his mind in his thoughts regarding others. Paul mentions by name two of those who had turned against Him. Remember mercy is only applied to those who repent. You should always be willing to forgive people, but you cannot forgive unless someone repents. That is the way God does it. He offers His mercy and salvation through the Lord Jesus Christ. But those who go on in their evil ways will never know the mercy of God. God offers you His mercy, but He does not force it upon you. You have a free choice. You can choose to repent and turn to Jesus. If you choose not to do so, then instead of choosing God’s mercy; you will be choosing His judgment. “It is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment                



Copyright; 2002 by Charles F. (Rick) Creech
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