Today I was reading through 2 Timothy. Several verses refreshed deep feelings and thougths within, while others caught me off guard. Each time you read the Bible, depending on your current situation or need, different elements will be brought to light. I was touched today by a couple of ignored lines and phrases. One of those is my topic today.
It comes from 2 Timothy 2:8
“Remember Jesus Christ, risen from the dead, the offspring of David, as preached in my gospel…”
The key phrase here is “my gospel.” I double-checked various versions and the original language, and it is not supposed to say THE Gospel, it is MY Gospel.
There has been a lot of talk lately about the Gospel of Paul that was preached and written down and grew to overtake the “true” Gospel of Jesus. I don’t buy into that, but that isn’t my issue here. I am struck instead by the why I believe Paul called the Gospel his own instead of belong to anyone else.
Is it because of his writings or popularity? I doubt it. If you know many authors personally, most would tell that they do not write to become popular or because they want to have a devout following that respects them and increases their bank account. Rather, they believe they can shed light on something, speak into someone’s life, and find their blessing in being a part of the growth process for other people. Many cannot help but write because their mind is constantly at work and if they do not find an outlet they will either burst or become unable to progress in their own lives because they are constantly shackled by the thoughts they are not passing along. In many ways I believe Paul was similar in his heart; he could not help but write and be involved in the development of those he was privileged to encounter in life, even if he never physically met them.
Paul’s Gospel was HIS Gospel because he had made it integral to life. He could no longer live without it, the fact that Christ died and was raised so that we might be reconciled to the Father, finding new and eternal life in Him, and power through His Holy Spirit. It wasn’t his because he created it, it was his because it defined him.
Calling the Gospel MY Gospel is the simple way of stating what Paul had already said so eloquently and boldly:
I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.
Because he depended upon and lived through Gospel to the point that he could call it his own, Paul was able to endure all the trials that life brought him.
…and so I am willing to put up with anything. Then God’s special people will be saved. They will be given eternal glory because they belong to Christ Jesus.
(2 Timothy 2:10, CEV)
Have you made THE Gospel YOUR Gospel? Sure, you might be able to explain to someone else. But does it define who you are and how you live, what you dream of and what you hope for? That’s what I think Paul is telling us here. Make the Gospel your own.
* Unless otherwise noted, Scriptures are taken from English Standard Version (ESV).