VERSE OF THE DAY
For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.
What Does 2 Timothy 1:7 Mean? ►
For God has not given us a spirit of fearfulness, but one of power, love, and sound judgment.
2 Timothy 1:7(HCSB)
Down through the centuries the normal Christian life has been one of intense persecution and pain – rejection, ridicule, subjugation, and death. The early church of the first century was scattered far and wide, as an increasingly hostile world fed many to the lions and burnt others at the stake. As we read of men and women of faith, (like those listed in the Hebrews 11 role of honour), we discover that many were enslaved, exploited and exterminated for the sake of Christ.
But from his own incarceration in a Roman jail, the apostle Paul was able to encourage His timid labourer in Christ, by reminding Timothy.. (and us as well), that God has not given us a spirit of fearfulness, but one of power; of love; of a sound mind and godly judgment.
Timothy, like us all.. needed to be reminded that we have the permanently, indwelling Holy Spirit of God, Who has gifted us and empowered us with all that we need for life and godliness, no matter how difficult or dangerous life in this world may become.
Jesus Himself warned us that in this world we would suffer tribulations and trials – but He also urged us to remember that He has overcome the world, for greater is He that is in us that he that is in the world.
Timothy was exhorted to reignite the flickering flame of his faltering faith, for although he was saved by grace through faith in Christ, he was timid and afraid.. and felt pressurised by the increasingly hostile world in which we all live. But like him we need to remember.. WHO we are in Christ.. and that we have not been given a spirit of fearfulness and timidity.. but one of power, love, sound judgment and a disciplined mind.
We all need power in our lives, but true strength does not come from relying on our own capabilities but on Christ, Who has promised that His grace is sufficient for all the difficulties and dangers of life we may have to face.. for His strength is made perfect in our weakness – for when we are weak in our own abilities then we become strong in the Lord and in the power of HIS might.
We all need love in our lives, but true godly love is not something that we struggle to produce through our own fleshly efforts, but can only be produced in us as spiritual fruit.. as we abide in Christ and He in us.
We all need sound judgment and a disciplined mind, but we cannot achieve this by self-effort and fleshly struggling, nor can this be developed through extra-biblical training-programmes or webinars. But as we look to Jesus and willingly submit to the on-going child-training and chast
God has not given us a spirit of fear and lack of confidence, but of mighty power, love and grace, and self discipline.not a fear of intimidation but peace and knowledge in sound mind and love.
What Does 2 Timothy 1:7 Mean?
March 01, 2021
by: Brian Tabb
This article is part of the What Does It Mean? series.
For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.—2 Timothy 1:7
The Spirit and the Gifts Are Ours
There are lots of reasons to fear in our world today. News updates about the COVID-19 pandemic, political divisions, and social upheaval worry and concern us, compounding the more mundane pressures we face in our relationships, work, finances, and health. We may feel a bit like Charlie Brown, plagued by pantophobia—the fear of everything! The apostle’s words in 2 Timothy 1:7 offer timely encouragement for fearful saints: “For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.”
Paul calls young Timothy to follow his example of fearlessness in suffering and faithfulness in ministry in 2 Timothy 1:1–2:7. This is the apostle’s final New Testament letter, and he reflects on the real challenges he faces—abandoned by his friends, assaulted by his foes, alone in a Roman prison (2 Tim. 1:8, 15; 2 Tim. 3:11). He exhorts his protégé to be unashamed and “share in suffering for the gospel by the power of God” (2 Tim. 1:8).
To persevere in painful, puzzling times, disciples need more than a pep talk; we need power that comes from God himself. That’s why Paul reminds his spiritual son “to fan into flame the gift of God” (2 Tim. 1:6). We kindle the divine gift by prayerfully and persistently pursuing joyful communion with the divine Giver and by serving others in the strength that he supplies. The next verse explains why Timothy must kindle and not neglect this gift: “For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.” The “spirit” in view here is probably not a God-given attitude or mindset but “the Holy Spirit who dwells within us” (2 Tim. 1:14).
This study shows how the books of 1 and 2 Timothy and Titus exhort all Christians to pass on the true gospel of Jesus Christ, which has the power to save sinners.
Paul unpacks four fruits of the Spirit’s work in our lives in verse 7: fearlessness, power, love, and self-control. The Spirit does not produce in God’s people “fear,” which could be translated timidity or cowardice. Rather, the Spirit gives us courage or fearlessness even in fearful situations. We see this in the book of Acts when Peter and John boldly testify to the crucified, risen Lord Jesus before the hostile Jewish Council and when the early church responds to threats against them by praying for God’s help to continue speaking the word “with all boldness” (Acts 4:8–13, 29). Instead of fear, the Spirit gives us “power.” This doesn’t mean that Christians have superhuman strength like Samson, who tore a lion in pieces when the Spirit rushed upon him (Judges 14:6). Jesus promised his witnesses heavenly power to carry out their global mission, and Paul stresses that God shows his supreme power in our weakness (Luke 24:37–49; 2 Cor. 4:8). Spirit-produced power enables us to endure suffering and to abound in hope in whatever circumstances we face (2 Tim. 1:8; Rom. 15:13).
Instead of fear, the Spirit gives us “power.”
The Spirit also works in us “love” and “self-control.” Because God has demonstrated his love for us by sending his own Son to die in our place and has poured out his love into our hearts through the Spirit, the church is marked by genuine, heartfelt love for one another (Rom. 5:5, 8; 12:9). Love is the supreme fruit of the Spirit’s transforming work in our lives (Gal. 5:22). Paul urges Timothy to pursue love and thereby set an example for other Christians to follow (1 Tim. 4:12; 6:11; 2 Tim. 2:22). Philosophers of Paul’s day urged people to improve themselves by practicing self-restraint and controlling their desires for vice and excess. But the apostle explains that self-control or self-discipline flows from the work of God’s indwelling Spirit. The Spirit brings order to our scattered lives, awakens new desires to resist sin and to please God, and helps us to think and act with sobriety and wisdom.
Christians, remember that God has graciously given us his Holy Spirit, who makes us fearless in troubled times, works his power in our weakness, stirs in us genuine love for our neighbors and even our enemies, and gives us self-control to live as God’s holy people. The apostle’s words in 2 Timothy 1:7 make us want to sing: “The Spirit and the gifts are ours through Him Who with us sideth.”1 Therefore, “fan into flame the gift of God” because of the presence and power of God’s precious Spirit at work in our lives.
1. Martin Luther, “A Mighty Fortress.” R. Kent Hughes similarly references this hymn in 1 & 2 Timothy and Titus: To Guard the Deposit, Preaching the Word (Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2000), 174.
Brian J. Tabb is the author of 1–2 Timothy: A 12-Week Study.
Brian J. Tabb (PhD, London School of Theology) is academic dean and professor of biblical studies at Bethlehem College & Seminary. He is general editor of Themelios and the author of All Things New, Suffering in Ancient Worldview, and 1–2 Timothy and Titus: A 12-Week Study. Brian lives with his wife, Kristin, and their four children in St. Paul.
What does 2 Timothy 1:7 mean?
The opening phrase of this verse may explain why Paul dwells so much on concepts such as bravery and spiritual strength when writing to Timothy. It’s possible this represented a spiritual weakness which Paul was helping Timothy to overcome. Perhaps Timothy was content in his role of serving alongside Paul and did not prefer to be the outspoken leader of a large movement of Christians. And yet, this was the role Timothy held in Ephesus at the time Paul wrote this letter. However, Paul urged Timothy to stand strong. Rather than fear, God had given a spirit or attitude of “power and love and self-control.”
“Power” has always been an important part of God’s work in the church. In the next verse, Paul notes again the “power of God.” In 2 Timothy 3:5, he will speak against those who have an appearance of godliness, but deny its power.
“Love” was also vital theme for Paul (1 Corinthians 13) as well as a prominent topic in the teachings of Jesus. Self-control was a theme in 1 Timothy (1 Timothy 2:9, 15) and appears here again. Paul routinely reminded believers under his care to exhibit self-control, as part of the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22–23).
Second Timothy 1:3–7 encourages Timothy to be brave in the face of hardships. Paul reminds Timothy that he is being prayed for, and that he comes from a family of strong faith. Paul also reassures Timothy that they are both in service of the same God, who gave them a spirit of ”power and love and self-control.”
Paul introduces himself, then recaps Timothy’s path to becoming a minister. He reminds Timothy of how his family brought him up in the faith, and then how Timothy served faithfully with Paul in the past. Paul then focuses on two primary ideas. First, that Timothy’s background in the faith should give him the courage to stand fast against hard times. Second, that Timothy should use that courage to defend the truth of the gospel message. Paul will use these points and examples as the foundation for the rest of his letter.