What does 2 Timothy 1:3 mean?
ESV: I thank God whom I serve, as did my ancestors, with a clear conscience, as I remember you constantly in my prayers night and day.
NIV: I thank God, whom I serve, as my ancestors did, with a clear conscience, as night and day I constantly remember you in my prayers.
NASB: I thank God, whom I serve with a clear conscience the way my forefathers did, as I constantly remember you in my prayers night and day,
CSB: I thank God, whom I serve with a clear conscience as my ancestors did, when I constantly remember you in my prayers night and day.
NLT: Timothy, I thank God for you — the God I serve with a clear conscience, just as my ancestors did. Night and day I constantly remember you in my prayers.
KJV: I thank God, whom I serve from my forefathers with pure conscience, that without ceasing I have remembrance of thee in my prayers night and day;
NKJV: I thank God, whom I serve with a pure conscience, as my forefathers did, as without ceasing I remember you in my prayers night and day,
Verse Commentary:
Paul's prayers of thanks for Timothy are offered to the same God served by both Paul and his ancestors. This one phrase offers several key themes. Paul points out that his service is to the same God as his Jewish ancestors. It's important to remember that Jesus Christ did not come as a change in God's plan, but the fulfillment of the plan God had from the very beginning. Paul's Jewish heritage was one of hope, looking forward to the coming Messiah. These words clearly connect Paul's ancestry with the importance of Timothy's godly family line in verse 5.

Paul's prayers were sincere. He also stresses "a clear conscience," something Paul mentions elsewhere in his writings (Acts 24:16; 1 Timothy 3:9; Hebrews 13:18). Likewise, Paul spoke of his constant prayer in other letters (Ephesians 1:16; Philippians 1:3–4; 1 Thessalonians 1:2; Philemon 1:4), noting prayer as one of his major activities and ministries. The reference to "night and day" was the common Jewish way of referring to an entire day (as in Genesis 1), since for Jews the day began at sunset.
Verse Context:
Second Timothy 1:3–7 encourages Timothy to be brave in the face of hardships. Paul reminds Timothy that he is being prayed for, and that he comes from a family of strong faith. Paul also reassures Timothy that they are both in service of the same God, who gave them a spirit of ''power and love and self-control.''
Chapter Summary:
Paul introduces himself, then recaps Timothy's path to becoming a minister. He reminds Timothy of how his family brought him up in the faith, and then how Timothy served faithfully with Paul in the past. Paul then focuses on two primary ideas. First, that Timothy's background in the faith should give him the courage to stand fast against hard times. Second, that Timothy should use that courage to defend the truth of the gospel message. Paul will use these points and examples as the foundation for the rest of his letter.
Chapter Context:
Chapter 1 establishes Timothy's spiritual background. Paul expresses gratitude for Timothy, by reminding him of his past, in order to set the stage for later teachings. Paul first expresses gratitude for Timothy's prior faithfulness, and reminds him of how God called him into ministry. From that point, Paul encourages Timothy to be brave and to guard the truth of the gospel message. Later chapters will explain why Paul feels these traits are necessary, both for the sake of the world and for Timothy in general.
Book Summary:
Second Timothy is the last New Testament letter written by Paul. Paul writes these words while awaiting execution by Rome. At this time, around AD 67, Timothy was leading the church in Ephesus. Paul writes to Timothy in order to encourage him. Paul is facing the worst of all hardships: his own impending death. So, he encourages Timothy to stand strong in his faith, with a reliance on the written Word of God. This letter echoes many of the themes Paul uses in his other letters.
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