Bible Reading: 2 Timothy 1:3-18
“Therefore I remind you to stir up the gift of God which is in you through the laying on of my hands” [2 Timothy 1:6]
Paul had laid hands on Timothy and a gift from God was imparted to him. What exactly was the gift that he received? It is usually understood that Timothy should “activate” his charismatic gifts, which he had received through the laying on of hands. However, there may be something else that Paul is meaning when he speaks of Timothy’s gift.
Throughout both of Paul’s letters to Timothy we find various commands to preach and teach. In 2 Timothy 2:2 he writes, “The sound words that you’ve heard from me, commit to faithful men.” In 2 Timothy 2:15 he says, “Be diligent to present yourself as rightly dividing the word of truth.” In 2 Tim. 4:2 Paul says, “Preach the word… Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching,” and in 2 Timothy 4:5 he says, “Do the work of an evangelist, fulfil your ministry.” Timothy’s ministry gift was to teach and preach.
Paul had charged Timothy to remain in Ephesus to correct those who were wrong, and to basically preach and teach [1 Timothy 1:3]. This word had come through prophecy to Timothy [1 Timothy 1:18]. Paul repeats this later in the epistle and reminds him that a gift was given to him by the laying on of hands of the eldership [1 Timothy 4:14]. The recurring theme through Paul’s letters to Timothy is that he should teach and preach the gospel. It is interesting that Paul says so much about teaching and preaching, and nothing in this epistle about charismatic gifts such as healing, prophecy, and words of knowledge. This would indicate that teaching and preaching was Timothy’s primary gifting, and the gift that Paul says that he should fan into flame.
Somehow Timothy had lost his way in the ministry that God had given him through the prophetic word and laying on of hands. He had lost his cutting edge and was not doing as well in the ministry as Paul might have hoped. In
1 Timothy 4:14 Paul had to exhort Timothy not to neglect the gift that was in him, and in today’s reading Paul has to challenge Timothy to stir up the gift that is within him.
Do you think that God still imparts gifts to people in the way that we read in Paul’s letters to Timothy, through the laying on of hands and prophecy?
If God has given us a particular gift to serve Him, how should that gift be developed? Should we simply wait for God or is there something we can proactively do in order to use our God-given gifts more effectively?
Has God given you a gift to serve Him with, but somehow you have neglected it? Read through today’s chapter and see if you can identify some reasons why Timothy was told by Paul to stir up the gift that was within him.