CONTEXT: This is the last of Pauls’ epistles, written while he is pending execution in Rome. It is a very personal letter to a very close friend, it is a letter of great encouragement to continue the fight of faith even in suffering. Matthew Henry breaks it down like this: Paul expresses great affection for Timothy. (1-5) Exhorts him to improve his spiritual gifts. (6-14) Tells of many who basely deserted him, but speaks with affection of Onesiphorus. (15-18)
Our text for today v.13-14, comes in the second section the Henry describes as an exhortation to improve his spiritual gifts. We are not talking about Gifts as in preaching, teaching, etc. but as MH says in paraphrasing v.7: 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.
I think everyone can agree that this is a task we need help with. Look back at v.5 for a moment, it is key to anyone desiring this is Sound Doctrine. You CAN NOT have a strong Faith, one that enables you to endure suffering and trials, built upon a weak and sinking foundation.
Paul repeats this here, in v.13, telling Timothy to Hold fast the form of sound words, which thou hast heard of me, in other words, keep and follow the sound teaching (Doctrine) you have heard from me. remember this is prior to the written Bible, internet, etc. so being a Berean (Acts 17:11) was not an option for every believer like it is today.
In v.14, Paul continues his encouragement of Timothy by telling him, he is not alone in his efforts for: That good thing which was committed unto thee keep by the Holy Ghost which dwelleth in us. Timothy is to be encouraged because the Holy Spirit which indwells every true believer (YES YOU TOO) helped us to preserve the Good News of Christ, the sound doctrine we learn, the message of hope we share [Good Thing].
This is not the first time Paul speaks of preserving the Gospel, at the Jerusalem Council he is clear on its importance too. Just as Paul directly charged Timothy to preserve the unblemished Gospel Doctrine, he in fact charged every true believer, who reads the Bible to do the same. What are you doing to preserve the Unblemish Truth of God’s word?
That the Truth of the Gospel Be Preserved for You – John Piper