“Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord, nor of me his prisoner, but share in suffering for the gospel by the power of God, who saved us and called us to a holy calling, not because of our works but because of his own purpose and grace, which he gave us in Christ Jesus before the ages began, and which now has been manifested through the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus, who abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel, for which I was appointed a preacher and apostle and teacher, which is why I suffer as I do. But I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed, and I am convinced that he is able to guard until that Day what has been entrusted to me. Follow the pattern of the sound words that you have heard from me, in the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. By the Holy Spirit who dwells within us, guard the good deposit entrusted to you.” (2 Timothy 1:8-14)
Sometimes, passages of Scripture like this can seem overwhelming. Paul writes sentences which go on for entire paragraphs, and we can often get lost in the words as we try to understand what point he’s trying to make. One method that helps me better understand passages like this is to break it down verse by verse and try to rewrite in my own words what Paul is saying.
Try it with the verses above. Go verse by verse and concentrate on one at a time. Write out in your own words what Paul is saying. It’s okay to use a study Bible or commentary to help figure it out – after all, there are a lot of commas and weird words in there, like “manifested” and “abolished.” Don’t give up if you don’t understand everything. Just move on to the next verse and try it. Once you’ve finished, read through the passage again and see if it’s easier to grasp.
Your end result will look something like this:
Verse 8 – Don’t be ashamed of the gospel or those who are persecuted for sharing it. Share the gospel and rely on God’s power to endure suffering if it comes.
Verse 9 – God saved me and called me for a specific, godly purpose. He didn’t save me because of my good actions but because of His own purpose and grace. He gave me grace in Jesus Christ before the world even began.
Verse 10 – The giving of grace was planned before time began and physically shown when Christ appeared on earth. He destroyed death and revealed how to have real life and immortality. This is the gospel.
Verse 11 – Paul was appointed a preacher and apostle and teacher of the gospel.
Verse 12 – Paul suffers because he was appointed to be these things. But Paul is not ashamed of his suffering because he knows God and trusts Him to protect the gospel (i.e., what has been entrusted to Paul) until the end of time. Paul believes that there is no reason to be ashamed of the gospel because, in the end, it will outlast every enemy.
Verse 13 – I should follow the solid teaching that I have learned from godly people, doing it through the faith and love I have in Christ.
Verse 14 – Through the power of the Holy Spirit living in me, I should also protect what God has given to me – the gospel.
Summary – The gospel is a gift given from God. He saved me so that I could share Him with others. I should not be afraid or embarrassed to do this, but should gladly accept this responsibility and rely on His power to help me through suffering if it comes.
How will you “guard the good deposit entrusted to you?”