3 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,
4 greatly desiring to see you, being mindful of your tears, that I may be filled with joy,
5 when I call to remembrance the genuine faith that is in you, which dwelt first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice, and I am persuaded is in you also.
I thank God (v.3) = I am constantly thanking God
pure conscience (v.3) — Paul has more to say about conscience than any other Bible writer. And he lived what he preached.
As he stood before the Sanhedrin he fixed his eyes intently on them, avowing that he — could they say as much? — had lived before God in all good conscience “until this day” (See Acts 23:1).
He had even been conscientious (though conscientiously wrong) in his persecution of Christ (Acts 26:9), and while it is clear that he was not saved through obedience to his conscience, this characteristic of his make-up became the more strongly marked after his regeneration and enlightenment by the Holy Spirit. Thus he could say to Felix: Herein do I exercise myself, to have always a conscience void of offense toward God and toward man (Acts 24:16).
And he proved this to Felix as he refused to yield to the temptation to seek freedom by giving him a bribe (Acts 24:26).
From his words in 2 Corinthians 1:12 we learn something of what blessing a clear conscience can impart. There he says: For our rejoicing is this, the testimony of our conscience, that in simplicity and godly sincerity, not with fleshly wisdom, but by the grace of God, we have had our conversation in the world, and more abundantly to you-ward. — Stam, pages 147-148.
prayers (v.3) = supplications — a fervent entreaty to meet a need
your tears (v.4) — on Paul’s last departure
Of all men Timothy had been closest to Paul through the years. He had labored and suffered with hi since his early youth. Paul joins Timothy’s name with his own in the salutation of six of his epistles and refers to him in others, so that Timothy is mentioned in the majority of Paul’s epistles. Timothy had been imprisoned with Paul, apart from Paul and, it appears from Philippians 2:19, had visited Paul in prison at Rome. Thus it seems probably that Paul’s reference to Timothy’s tears recalls his sorrow at having to go back to Ephesus and leave Paul in prison. And now that Paul must soon leave this world the Apostle longs to see his “dearly beloved son” just once more. — Stam, page 149.
that I may be filled with joy (v.4) — referring back to “greatly desiring to see you”
when I call to remembrance (v.5) = having received a reminder from a person or thing (as opposed to self-originated thoughts)
genuine (v.5) = non-hypocritical
dwelt (v.5) = lit. “was at home in”