For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.
There are hints in Paul’s letters that Timothy was naturally more timid. But Paul, as his father in the faith and mentor, wanted to encourage and strengthen him.
This summary verse gives an overview of the working of God’s Spirit in us. God gives us power through the Spirit, but that power must be controlled by that essential characteristic of God, love. “God is love,” and He wants us to “love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another” (1 John 4:8; John 13:34).
The third element, “a sound mind,” is also translated “self-control” and “self-discipline.” In doing God’s work “often the deciding factor between success and failure is the matter of self-discipline” (Zondervan NIV Bible Commentary, Vol. 2, p. 910).
For more about the Holy Spirit, see our article “How Do You Know You Have the Holy Spirit?”