Fan it! (2)
[I have no illusions that any of these notes of mine on Paul's Second Epistle to Timothy might be somehow fascinating to others, but the process seems helpful to me. If you're interested, the previous posts in the series are here, here, here, and here.]
For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands, for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control. 2Tim 1:6
All the pastoral instruction that will follow in this epistle hinges on this verse. That's my impression. Paul says, I remember your faith, and how you were raised in it by a godly mother and grandmother, and "for this reason" I remind you now to fan into flame (stir up, rekindle) the gift of God in you. Paul is going to follow this exhortation with much pastoral instruction, but it will do Timothy no good if he does not first stir up again that gift that Paul had conferred on Timothy by the laying on of hands.
Whatever this gift may be, it's rekindling is dependent upon--or follows from--the faith that has been resident in Timothy since his youth. So here's the picture. Timothy has a longstanding faith, which was inculcated in him by a godly mother and grandmother. In addition, Timothy has a "gift of God," which was conferred upon him by Paul, his spiritual father and mentor. But the gift, whatever it may be, needs stirring. It needs to be re-ignited. Perhaps it has fallen into disuse, or lies dormant. Given Timothy's faith, that's just not right. The basic structure of Paul's exhortation here is, given your faith, stir up your gift.
But what is this gift of which Paul speaks? In my opinion, it is Timothy's ministry, or is his ministerial gifts. That's why so much of what follows is ministerial instruction--how to be a good shepherd of his flock. Perhaps Timothy had drawn back, from fear, but Paul quickly reminds him that the Spirit in him is not a spirit of fear, but of power, love, and a sound mind.
But all this leads me to wonder--how do you stir it up? How do you rekindle it? Good question, thinks I. More on this tomorrow.