God Didn’t Give Us A Spirit Of Fear: What Does 2 Timothy 1:7 Mean?


2 Timothy 1:7, “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” King James Version (KJV)

Translation2 Timothy 1:7
ESVfor God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.
NASBFor God has not given us a spirit of timidity, but of power and love and discipline.
NIVFor the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.
NLTFor God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.

God Didn’t Give Us A Spirit Of Fear: Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary

1:6-14 God has not given us the spirit of fear, but the spirit of power, of courage and resolution, to meet difficulties and dangers; the spirit of love to him, which will carry us through opposition. And the spirit of a sound mind, quietness of mind.

The Holy Spirit is not the author of a timid or cowardly disposition, or of slavish fears. We are likely to bear afflictions well, when we have strength and power from God to enable us to bear them.

As is usual with Paul, when he mentions Christ and his redemption, he enlarges upon them; so full was he of that which is all our salvation, and ought to be all our desire. The call of the gospel is a holy call, making holy. Salvation is of free grace.

This is said to be given us before the world began, that is, in the purpose of God from all eternity; in Christ Jesus, for all the gifts that come from God to sinful man, come in and through Christ Jesus alone.

And as there is so clear a prospect of eternal happiness by faith in Him, who is the Resurrection and the Life, let us give more diligence in making his salvation sure to our souls. Those who cleave to the gospel, need not be ashamed, the cause will bear them out; but those who oppose it, shall be ashamed.

The apostle had trusted his life, his soul, and eternal interests, to the Lord Jesus. No one else could deliver and secure his soul through the trials of life and death. There is a day coming, when our souls will be inquired after. Thou hadst a soul committed to thee; how was it employed? in the service of sin, or in the service of Christ?

The hope of the lowest real Christian rests on the same foundation as that of the great apostle. He also has learned the value and the danger of his soul; he also has believed in Christ; and the change wrought in his soul, convinces the believer that the Lord Jesus will keep him to his heavenly kingdom.

Paul exhorts Timothy to hold fast the Holy Scriptures, the substance of solid gospel truth in them. It is not enough to assent to the sound words, but we must love them.

The Christian doctrine is a trust committed to us; it is of unspeakable value in itself, and will be of unspeakable advantage to us.

It is committed to us, to be preserved pure and entire, yet we must not think to keep it by our own strength, but by the power of the Holy Spirit dwelling in us; and it will not be gained by those who trust in their own hearts, and lean to their own understandings.

2 Timothy 1:7 | Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary

7. For, &c.—implying that Timothy needed the exhortation “to stir up the gift of God in him,” being constitutionally “timid”: “For God did not give us (so the Greek, namely, at our ordination or consecration) the spirit of fear.”

The spirit which He gave us, was not the spirit of timidity (literally, “cowardice,” which is weakness), but of “power” (exhibited in a fearless “testimony” for Christ, 2Ti 1:8). “Power is the invariable accompaniment of the gift of the Holy Ghost. Lu 24:49; Ac 1:8; compare Ac 6:6, “full of faith and of the Holy Ghost,” with 2Ti 1:8, “full of faith and power.”

Fear is the result of “the spirit of bondage” (Ro 8:15). Fear within exaggerates the causes of fear without. “The spirit of power” is the spirit of man dwelt in by the Spirit of God imparting power; this power “casteth out fear” from ourselves, and stimulates us to try to cast it out of others (1Jo 4:18).

love—which moves the believer while “speaking the truth” with power, when giving his testimony for Christ (2Ti 1:8), at the same time to do so “in love” (Eph 4:15).

a sound mind—The Greek, is rather, “the bringing of men to a sound mind” [Wahl]. Bengel supports English Version, “a sound mind,” or “sober-mindedness”; a duty to which a young man like Timothy especially needed to be exhorted (2Ti 2:22; 1Ti 4:12; Tit 2:4, 6).

So Paul urges him, in 2Ti 2:4, to give up worldly entanglements, which as thorns (Lu 8:14) choke the word. These three gifts are preferable to any miraculous powers whatever.

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