The Flame of Gifts


"Wherefore I put thee in remembrance that thou stir up the gift of God, which is in thee by the putting on of my hands." (2 Timothy 1:6)

The apostle Paul uses more unique words in his writings than any other Bible author. Such is the case with the verb anazopureo, translated as "stir up" in our text for today, which is a compound of three Greek terms.

Ana, a primary preposition and adverb, is most often translated as "again" or "each," depending on its context. Zoon is a frequently used noun meaning "life" or "living creature." And pur is a root word meaning "fire" or "fiery." Since it is only used this one time in the Scriptures, the translation is a bit difficult to coin an adequate English word or phrase.

"Bring the fire alive (again)" is certainly implied from the syntax. "Make each fire alive" would emphasize the implied multiplicity of gifts. The tense indicates an ongoing process, and the direct object (the gift) seems to emphasize the need for Timothy’s action--since God gave Timothy the special leadership gift(s) when Paul personally ordained Timothy.

Paul’s first letter to Timothy implies that the young disciple had allowed the "fire" to grow weak in his ministry. Difficulty, discouragement, or doubt can attack anyone. Apathy, pessimism, worry, or lack of confidence can spin into lack of support or encouragement from friends or coworkers. Whatever the cause, the results are the same.

We can quench the Spirit (1 Thessalonians 5:19) so that we no longer sense His leading. We can even grieve the Spirit (Ephesians 4:30), bringing conviction to us in an effort to bring repentance and restoration. Such discipline is not pleasant but is necessary (Hebrews 12:11). But If we are to live in active joy while serving the Lord, we must "stir up" the gifts that He has carefully given us. HMM III