“Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me his prisoner: but be thou partaker of the afflictions of the gospel according to the power of God.” (2 Timothy 1:8)
Paul had steadfast faith. He was also a very faithful encourager for the saints to “hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering” (Hebrews 10:23). In the text verse for today, he encourages Timothy to publicly express his faith in several tangible, but risky, ways.
Timothy is exhorted to not be ashamed of the Lord. The Bible’s message is both very different from and also very convicting of the world’s thinking. Thus, many outside of Christ react to His messenger with ridicule and personal intimidation. It is hard to stand against this tide, and the believer’s embarrassment may manifest itself in silence. It could have been dangerous in Timothy’s day to claim “I am a Christian,” as is still the case in some places around the world.
But Paul’s exhortation also includes not being ashamed of “the testimony of our Lord,” which is His Word. Every day in schools, on TV, or in other media, the Bible and those who believe it are ridiculed. These attacks can be so scornful and relentless that even many evangelicals find it difficult to not be ashamed.
Next, Paul adds himself to Timothy’s list when he says “nor of me his prisoner.” Fellow believers faithfully and accurately proclaiming God’s Word—especially those in a firestorm of resistance—need other believers to support them, not back away in embarrassment. Paul is actually urging Timothy to move beyond not being ashamed and to actively “get in the fight” with him as he says, “Be thou partaker of the afflictions of the gospel.” Paul knew that Timothy would feel a deep and lasting shame if he withdrew out of fear to the “safety of silence,” watching others boldly proclaim the gospel in a world that can be very hostile to the message. RJG