2 Timothy 1:3 MEANING

2 Timothy 1:3
(3) I thank God.--The exact reference of these words of thankfulness on the part of St. Paul has been the subject of much argument. Although the sense is a little obscured by the long parenthesis which intervenes, it seems clear that St. Paul's expression of thankfulness was for his remembrance of the unfeigned faith of Timothy and Lois and Eunice (see 2 Timothy 1:5). The whole passage might be written thus, "I thank God, whom I serve with the devotion of my forefathers with a pure conscience (as it happens that I have thee uppermost in my thought and prayers night and day, longing to see thee, being mindful of thy tears, in order that I may be filled with joy), when I call to remembrance the unfeigned faith which is in thee, which dwelt first in thy grandmother Lois and thy mother Eunice," &c.

Whom I serve from my forefathers.--That is, with the devotion and love I have inherited as a sacred family tradition. St. Paul was here referring, not to the great forefathers of the Jewish race--Abraham, Isaac, and the patriarchs--but to the members of his own family, who, he states, were religious, faithful persons. Van Oosterzee strangely concludes: "Dass Paulus diese historische kontinuitat der wahren Gottesverehrung in seinem geschlecht um so h�her schatzt, da er selbst stirbt, ohne kinder zu hinterlassen!"

With pure conscience.--Literally, in pure conscience. The spiritual sphere in which St. Paul, as a Jew first, then as a Christian, served God. (See Notes on 1 Timothy 1:5.)

That without ceasing I have remembrance of thee.--Better rendered, as unceasing is the remembrance which . . . This long parenthetical sentence leads up to the point for which St. Paul was so deeply thankful to God; namely, the true faith of Timothy himself. These unstudied words tell us something of the inner life of such a one as St. Paul, how ceaselessly, unweariedly he prayed, night as well as day. The object, too, of those constant prayers of St. Paul was not St. Paul but Timothy.

Verse 3. - In a pure for with pure, A.V.; how unceasing for that without ceasing, A.V.; is my remembrance for I have remembrance, A.V.; supplications for prayers, A.V. For whom I serve from my fathers in a pure conscience, comp. Acts 23:1. How unceasing, etc. The construction of the sentence which follows is difficult and ambiguous. For what does the apostle give thanks to God? The answer to this question will give the clue to the explanation. The only thing mentioned in the context which seer, s a proper subject of thanksgiving is that which is named in ver. 5, viz. the "unfeigned faith" that was in Timothy. That this was a proper subject of thanksgiving we learn from Ephesians 1:15, where St. Paul writes that, having heard of their faith in the Lord Jesus, he ceased not to give thanks for then-J, making mention of them in his prayers (see, too, 1 Thessalonians 1:2). Assuming, then, that this was the subject of his thanksgiving, we notice especially the reading of the R.T., λαβών, "having received," and the note of Bengel that ὑπόμνησιν λαμβάνειν means to be reminded of any one by another, as distinguished from ἀνάμνησιν, which is used when any one comes to your recollection without external prompting; both which fall in with our previous conclusion. And we get for the main sentence the satisfactory meaning: "I give thanks to God that I have received (or, because I have received) a most pleasant reminder (from some letter or visitor to which he does not further allude) of your unfeigned faith," etc, The main sentence clearly is: "I thank God... having been reminded of the unfeigned faith that is in thee." The intermediate words are, in Paul's manner, parenthetical and explanatory. Being about to say that it was at some special remembrance of Timothy's faith that he gave thanks, the thought arose in his mind that there was a continual remembrance of him day and night in his prayers; that he was ever thinking of him, longing to see him, and to have the tears shed at their parting turned into joy at their meeting again. And so he interposes this thought, and prefaces it with ὡς - not surely, "how," as in the R.V., but in the sense of καθώς, "as," "just as." And so the whole passage comes out: "Just as I have an unceasing remembrance of you in my prayers, day and night, longing to see you, that the tears which I remember you shed at our parting may be turned into joy, so do I give special thanks to God on the remembrance of your faith."

1:1-5 The promise of eternal life to believers in Christ Jesus, is the leading subject of ministers who are employed according to the will of God. The blessings here named, are the best we can ask for our beloved friends, that they may have peace with God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord. Whatever good we do, God must have the glory. True believers have in every age the same religion as to substance. Their faith is unfeigned; it will stand the trial, and it dwells in them as a living principle. Thus pious women may take encouragement from the success of Lois and Eunice with Timothy, who proved so excellent and useful a minister. Some of the most worthy and valuable ministers the church of Christ has been favoured with, have had to bless God for early religious impressions made upon their minds by the teaching of their mothers or other female relatives.I thank God,.... After the inscription and salutation follows the preface to the epistle; which contains a thanksgiving to God upon Timothy's account, and has a tendency to engage his attention to what he was about to write to him in the body of the epistle. God is the object of praise and thanksgiving, both as the God of nature and providence, and as the God of all grace; for every good thing comes from him, and therefore he ought to have the glory of it; nor should any glory, as though they had not received it: and he is here described, as follows,

whom I serve from my forefathers with pure conscience; the apostle served God in the precepts of the law, as in the hands of Christ, and as written upon his heart by the Spirit of God, in which he delighted after the inward man, and which he served with his regenerated mind; and also in the preaching of the Gospel of Christ, in which he was very diligent and laborious, faithful and successful: and this God, whom he served, was the God of his "forefathers", of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and of Benjamin, of whose tribe he was, and also of his more immediate ancestors. The Ethiopic version renders it, "from my original"; for though he preached the Gospel of Christ, and asserted the abrogation of the ceremonial law, yet he worshipped the one, true, and living God, the God of Israel, and was not an apostate from the true religion, as his enemies would insinuate: and this service of his was performed with a "pure conscience": every man has a conscience, but the conscience of every natural man is defiled with sin; and that is only a pure one, which is sprinkled and purged with the blood of Christ; and whereby a person is only fitted to serve the living God, without the incumbrance of dead works, and slavish fear, and with faith and cheerfulness; and such a conscience the apostle had, and with such an one he served God. For this refers not to his serving of God, and to his conscience, while a Pharisee and a persecutor; for however moral was his conduct and conversation then, and with what sincerity and uprightness soever he behaved, his conscience was not a pure one. He goes on to observe what he thanked God for,

that without ceasing I have remembrance of thee in my prayers night and day; that God had laid him upon his heart, and that he had such reason to remember him at the throne of grace continually. We learn from hence, that the apostle prayed constantly night and day; and if so great a man as he stood in need of continual prayer, much more we; and that in his prayers he was not unmindful of his friends, though at a distance from him; and in both these he is to be imitated: it becomes us to pray without ceasing: to pray always, and not faint and give out, to pray every day and night; and to pray for others as well as for ourselves, for all the saints, yea, for our enemies, as well as for our friends.

Courtesy of Open Bible