Not Ashamed – Guarding the Good Deposit - 2 Timothy 1:8-14, Pt. 2

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There is something that is true in every generation. In every generation there are threats to the message of the Gospel. In every generation there are those who distort the Gospel and others who hope to discredit or even destroy the Gospel. Of course, as Christians we know that God will always preserve His Word and the Gospel will go forward, but it’s also important to remember that the primary way that He chooses to guard, protect and preserve His message of salvation is through us, His people.

As Paul writes this letter to Timothy, he is writing in part to call Timothy to be a good and faithful steward of the Gospel. Paul knows that there will be false teachers and there will be enemies of the Gospel. So, Paul is calling on Timothy to be bold and courageous and to stand firm for the sake of the truth. He’s calling on Timothy to be a faithful teacher and a steadfast guardian of the truth.  


In 2 Timothy 1:8 Paul calls on Timothy to not be ashamed of the Gospel and to be ready to share in suffering. Following this call to unashamed living, in verses 9 and 10 Paul spends some time simply rehearsing the realities of salvation and the grace of God that has made salvation possible in Christ.

It’s with this Gospel message ringing in our ears that Paul returns to exhortation, first offering the example of his own life and ministry and then calling on Timothy to follow in his footsteps.

Paul’s Example – A portrait of an unashamed Gospel ministry (1:11-12) 

  • A call to proclaim the Gospel (v. 11) – Paul was given a specific calling from God. As an apostle he helped to clarify the Gospel, as a preacher he proclaimed the Gospel and as teacher he explained the Gospel. While we may not be called to these specific roles, every one of us has been called to share the hope of salvation with those around us. 
  • A willingness to suffer for the Gospel (v. 12a) – Paul’s faithful proclamation of Christ led to incredible suffering, and yet he continued to minister with boldness. His call to Timothy was to be willing to share in suffering for the sake of the Gospel (2 Timothy 1:8).
  • A ministry without shame (v. 12) – In spite of the suffering, Paul continued to minister without fear or shame (Romans 1:16).
  • Reason one: He is unashamed because of his deep and personal knowledge of God – When Paul says that he knows the one in whom he has believed, this is more than an intellectual knowledge. Paul is in close fellowship with God and he knows that God is worthy of sacrifice, that His promises are true and that He can be trusted. 
  • Reason two: He is unashamed because he is confident in God’s keeping power – Paul is giving his life for the sake of the Gospel, and he continues to do so with this confidence – that God will not allow the Gospel to fail. Paul is convinced that God can be trusted to guard the Gospel and that his life and ministry will not be wasted.

Paul’s Charge – A call to a faithful stewardship of the Gospel (1:13-14)

  • Follow the example of sound teaching (v. 13) – Paul’s life is near the end and so he is calling on Timothy to faithfully carry on the work. This begins with a commitment to continue teaching the things that Paul has taught. In a similar way, this is our calling – to continue teaching what is true and what accords with sound doctrine (1 Tim. 6:2-4; Jude 3).
  • The manner of teaching: In faith and love – Paul is not only concerned with what Timothy teaches, but how he teaches it. The truth is important, but it is also important that we teach out of a heart that is marked by love and faith in Christ Jesus. 
  • Protect and preserve the Gospel (v. 14) 
  • Guard the good deposit – In verse 14 Paul uses the language of stewardship. As believers we are entrusted with something precious, the message of the Gospel. Paul’s exhortation to Timothy, and to us by extension, is to guard or protected the Gospel. As false teachers and those with bad intent seek to distort or discredit the message of Christ, we are called to protect, defend and maintain the purity of the Gospel. 
  • By the power of the Spirit - This is a great encouragement. Ultimately, it is God himself who is the guarantor of the gospel. It is his responsibility to preserve it . . . Do not be afraid! God will never allow the light of the Gospel to be finally extinguished. True, he has committed it to us, frail, and fallible creatures. He has placed his treasure in brittle, earthenware vessels. And we must play our part in guarding and defending the truth. Nevertheless, in entrusting the deposit to our hands, he has not taken his own hands off of it. He himself is its final guardian, and he will preserve the truth which he has committed to the church. We know this because we know him in whom we have trusted and continue to trust.1

1John R. W. Stott, The Message of 2 Timothy, The Bible Speaks Today Series, Editor, John Stott, IVP Academic, 2021, pg. 31.