The Spirit of Fear
Please listen to 2 Timothy 1:7.. “Indeed, God has not given us the spirit of fearfulness, but of power and love and self-control.” The word translated “fearfulness” in this verse, is only found this one time in the bible. The exact meaning is.. “timidity, fearfulness, and cowardice”. The word seems to imply a lack of confidence in one’s self. There’s another Greek word that’s used to convey the idea of terror and alarm, and that kind of fear. The idea of “reverence” is also implied from this other word. That word is used 47 times in the new testament. But the word in 2 Timothy 1:7, is used only this one time, and it conveys the idea of timidity, and fearfulness,or a lack of confidence, therefore cowardice. That’s why it’s contrasted with power, and self-control. Those are both words implying a “take charge” attitude, and a “confident attitude”. So the idea of being fearful and timid, and feeling cowardly, is CONTRASTED with the idea of having power, which in this instance means to have strength and ability and power.
And it’s also contrasted with the idea of having love, which means.. “affection, good-will, and benevolence”. And by the way, this word “love” comes from the Greek word “agape” which you’ve all heard of. But did you know that the word “agape” has as it’s core meaning.. “preference”. Did you know that? Love means preference. It means preference for others, not for ourselves. It typically refers to “divine love”, or in other words, the love that God prefers; “affection, good-will, and benevolence”. So then “agape” or “divine love”, is a preference for affection, good-will, and benevolence towards others.
All we have to do, is look at God’s definition of love, in 1 Corinthians chapter 13, to see that “preference” is at the very core of it’s meaning.
V-4 says.. “Love is patient, love is kind..” That means patient and kind towards others doesn’t it? Love, “..is not jealous, love does not brag, and is not arrogant.” So, love is not jealous of others; it is not boastful of self, and it does not act arrogantly.. towards others. In other words, love does not think of itself as more important than who? Than others, that’s who.
V-5 says, love.. “Does not act unbecomingly (or improperly), does not seek the things of itself, is not provoked (that word means.. “irritated and aroused to anger”), and does not take into account, wrongs.” Wrongs, are bad things, evil things. Love doesn’t even consider those things, it takes no account of them.
V-6, love.. “Does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth.” Now that could be your own unrighteousness or someone else’s unrighteousness, but love does NOT rejoice in it.
V-7 says, Love.. “bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.” Now there’s a verse that needs to taken in light of other scriptures, and with some rational thought, doesn’t it? For instance; If we think rationally, love can’t possibly bear, and believe in, and hope for sin can it? It sounds to me like verse 7, is a “summation” of everything that was said in the preceding verses. Really what it’s saying is that love.. “bears with”, and “believes in”, and “hopes for”.. patience, and kindness, and humility, and proper conduct, and forgiveness, and truth.
Those are all the things that were mentioned previously. So of course love doesn’t literally “bear with and believe in and hope for” ALL things, but rather, only those things that are godly. The verse just told us that love “does not rejoice in UN-righteousness, but rejoices with the truth!” So sometimes, we’ve got to understand MORE than just the words, we have to understand the MEANING of the whole sentence. And how do we do that? We do it with the use of rational reasoning, with the whole of God’s word.
“Come now, let us reason together, says the Lord.” Isaiah 1:18
So then, this type of love, described in 1 Corinthians, is the love that God prefers. It is the love based on affection, good-will, and benevolence toward others.
“Do unto OTHERS, as you would have them do unto you”, right? Luke 6:31. The “Golden rule”.
“In THIS is love, not that we have loved God, but that He loved us, and sent His son to be the propitiation for our sins.” 1 John 4:10. Isn’t that God’s affection, and His good-will, and His benevolence towards us?
That is God’s “preferential” treatment of us; His love for us.
Now I’d like you to consider this verse in Romans 12:10.
I’ll read it from the KJ version. “Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love, in honor preferring one another.” I wonder how many of you have a correct understanding of what that verse is saying? I know I had a slightly incorrect understanding for a long time; until I really studied the words. There’s one word there in particular that throws people off.
But let’s start with the easy part. The phrase “kindly affectioned”, is translated “devoted” in many bibles. It comes from a word meaning.. “loving affection”, “prone to love”, and “loving tenderly”. It properly means.. “a lover of family”, and it indicates the special love that bonds a family together. And this is another word, that is used only this one time in the bible.
The term, “Brotherly love” is rather self-explanatory, but again, it has the idea of family.
The word “honor” in this verse means.. “price, and value”. so yes, it means honor. such as how much honor do you ascribe to something, or someone? But what it’s really saying is, how much “value” do you put on that person or thing. What’s the “price of it”, what’s it’s “value”?
But here’s the difficult word. The word is “preferring”. What do you think the word “preferring ” means? If you look up that word in a common English dictionary, it means.. “to like one person or one thing, better than another”. Another definition would be.. “to put forward in position or rank”.
To give “preferential treatment” is to treat one person better than another, isn’t it? Or doesn’t it also mean to let someone “go ahead” of you? In other words.. You go ahead, I’m giving preference to you. Or; You decide, I’ll go along with whatever you say. Isn’t that what Abram did with Lot when they had to split up, because the land wouldn’t hold all their flocks to be pastured together?
It says in Genesis 13:6, “And the land could not sustain them while dwelling together. for their possessions were so great, that they were not able to remain together.”
V-7 says, “And there was strife between the herdsmen of Abram’s livestock, and the herdsmen of Lot’s livestock.”
So here’s what Abram said, in V’s 8-9, “Please let there be no strife between you and me, and between my herdsmen and your herdsmen, for we are brothers. Is not the whole land before you? Please separate from me; if to the left, then I will go to the right. And if to the right, then I will go to the left.”
But none of those things, are what the original word in this verse means. As a matter of fact, it means exactly the OPPOSITE of letting someone else go ahead.
Here’s what the word means that is translated “preferring”, or sometimes it’s translated “esteeming”.
And by the way, this is the only time, the word is used in the bible..
The word is “pro-ay-geh’-om-ahee”, and it means.. “I go before”, not you go first, but I go first. But listen to the full definition.. “I go on by example”.
Thayer’s Greek Lexicon says.. “to go before, and show the way”, “to go before and lead”, or “to go before, as the leader”. Another Greek word study says.. Properly, “to lead the way, passing on the right example, by modeling and exhibiting the proper behavior”.
All these definitions show that it means the opposite as letting someone else, go ahead of you. It means, you go ahead of them.
Here’s how the original text phrases it.. “Devoted toward one another with the brotherly love, in honoring one another, take the lead.” So in other words, don’t wait for the other guy to show devotion and brotherly love and honor to you; but TAKE THE LEAD, and do it to him first! Show the other guy some brotherly love. Show them, some devotion and honor first!
It goes right along with this scripture too.. Remember the “Golden rule” that we read earlier? “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you”. Well, listen to the next verses, Luke 6:32-33.. “And if you love those who who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. And if you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners do the same.”
So don’t wait for someone to love you first, take the lead, love them first!
How did we get on he subject of love? Do you remember? Fear is contrasted with love, in 2 Timothy 1:7.
“For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power, and love, and self-control.” God has given us a spirit, hasn’t He? That’s what He said he was going to do in Genesis 1:26. “Let us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness..” God doesn’t have a physical image. God is 100% spiritual. If we’re made in His image, then it’s our spirits that are in His image, and according to His likeness. And God has not given us a spirit of fear! But he ahs given us a spirit of power, and love, and self-control.
We can go to Genesis 2:7, and see WHEN God gave us that spirit. “Then the Lord God formed man of the dust from the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life (that’s our spirit of power and love and self-control), and man BECAME a living being”, or “a living soul”. A living being is a soul, and a soul is a living being. A soul isn’t a dead body, a soul is a living being. God gave man, a living and immortal spirit, according to His likeness, made in own His image, and man became a living soul.
The Spirit of Self-Control
Here’s a word used only this one time in the bible. The word translated “self-control”, means just that. It means.. “self-control, self-discipline, moderation, prudence, and sound, or safe-mindedness”. It’s “behavior that fits the situation, accomplishing God’s will, through the use of sound reasoning”.
If we’re going to accomplish God’s will, we need to deny ourselves of our own will, don’t we? Self-denial is a principle that’s paramount in the scriptures, to accomplishing God’s will.
Jesus says in Luke 9:23, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross DAILY and follow Me. For anyone who wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life, for My sake, shall save it.”
To “lose your life”, in this verse, doesn’t mean to die. It means to give up the things that you would prefer to have for yourself, in this life, in exchange for the things that God prefers you to have. Remember the core meaning of the word “agape”? “Preference” is the core meaning. Preference for others, and especially, preference for God, and for the things God desires. So then, if we are willing to give up “our life” for “His sake”, then we will save our souls. If we will give up the things of this world that appeal to our fleshly desires, and if we will put God first, then we will be gaining eternal life.
we’re told in Mathew 6:33, “But seek FIRST His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added unto you.” “These things” being referred to, are the “necessities” of this life. Not the comforts and the extravagances of this life, but the necessities.
But, we will be given the “extravagances” of heaven in the life to come.
May God bless you in the study of His word, and in carrying your cross.
Please leave your questions and comments below
And it’s also contrasted with the idea of having