A Prisoner for Christ
Paul was arrested during the late summer or autumn of the Great Rebellion of A.D. 66; apparently in northwest Asia Minor or eastern Macedonia, for he had left his belongings for the winter at Troas. He would have been taken by the Via Egnatia and the Adriatic to Rome, thrown into a dungeon, and chained like a common criminal. This time he knew there would be no release. Again, he would write to encourage his “dear son” in the faith.
THE LETTER OF SECOND TIMOTHY. Paul was deserted by all except Luke and felt lonely. He wanted Timothy to join him as well as John Mark. Timothy was to bring before winter the cloak that he left with Carpus at Troas, and his scrolls, especially the parchments. Paul never stopped being a student of the Scriptures! He cares for his physical and spiritual needs until the end.
This intensely personal letter is Paul’s last words, the “swan song” of a soldier of Christ unafraid of death. He mentions twenty-three persons in the letter. Realizing timid Timothy needed to be encouraged to continue his ministry, he wrote this final letter to him. The apostle wants his son in the faith to be bold, courageous, and steadfast in ministry in the face of persecution and false teachers.
In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead, and in view of his appearing and his kingdom, I give you this charge: Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction. For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths. But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry (2 Timothy 4:1-5).
From the time of his conversion, Paul lived this legacy he left to his dear son. No greater memorial could Timothy give to his mentor and best friend than to keep this charge. Here Paul opens his heart to Timothy, thereby, encouraging him to have the right priorities: sound doctrine, steadfast faith, confident endurance and enduring love.
Second Timothy: Holding the Truth
Writer: Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus—the Lord’s prisoner, 2 Timothy 1:8.
Addressee: To Timothy, my dear son, and Christians everywhere since the “you” is plural in 2 Timothy 4:22.
Date and Place Written: From prison in Rome, after two years of freedom, just prior to execution by Nero in the late autumn of A.D. 66. On July 19, A.D. 64, a great fire burst forth and burned most of Rome for six days and seven nights. Nero’s edict made Christianity religio illicita. Apparently, Paul returned to Rome from Spain in A.D. 66/67 and he was arrested.
Occasion and Purpose: Paul was deserted by all except Luke (2 Timothy 4:11) and felt lonely (1:15; 4:10-12). He wanted Timothy to join him (1:4; 4:9; 4:21) as well as John Mark (4:11). This intensely personal letter is Paul’s last words, the “swan song” of a soldier of Christ unafraid of death (4:6-8). In addition, timid Timothy needed to be encouraged to continue his ministry (4:5) in Asia. It reveals Paul’s heart, priorities, sound doctrine, steadfast faith, confident endurance, and enduring love.
Key Verses: 2 Timothy 1:13; 2:15; 3:16-17; 4:2
Key Phrases: In Christ Jesus (1:1, 9, 13; 2:1, 10; 3:12, 15); Endure Hardship (2:3; 4:5)
Key Words: Ashamed (5 times); Gospel (4); Suffering/Endure/Persecution (4); Word (3)
A. Thematic Themes:
1. Fan into flame the gift of God, 2 Timothy 1:6-7
2. Discharge unashamedly all duties as a Minister of the Gospel, 1:8, 14; 2:15; 4:5
The thematic theme of Second Timothy is fan into flame the gift of God and discharges unashamedly all duties as a minister of the Gospel. Thus, Paul illustrates the minister’s duty with a sevenfold picture of the Christian in chapter two:
a. Child, 1
b. Soldier, 3-4
c. Athlete, 5
d. Farmer, 6
e. Workman, 15
f. Vessel, 20-21
g. Servant, 24
B. Primary Themes:
1. Present Testings (1-2)
2. Future Testings (3-4)
3. Coming Apostasy (2 Timothy 3:1-4:4
4. False Teachers in the Churches, 2:16-18; 3:6-9
5. Sound Doctrine:
a. Hold on to it (1)
b. Teach it (2)
c. Abide in it (3)
d. Preach it (4)
C: Subordinate Themes:
Suffering hardship, 2 Timothy 1:8; 2:3; 4:5)
Faithfulness: To God (1); To Self (2); To Ministry (3-4)
Boldness, courage, steadfastness in ministry in the face of persecution and false teachers, 1:7-12; 4:1-5
Inspiration and Function of Scripture, 3:15-17; 2:15
Sevenfold Picture of the Believer in Chapter 2:
a. Child, 2:1
b. Athlete, 2:5
c. Workman 2:15
d. Servant, 2:24
e. Soldier, 2:3-4
f. Farmer, 2:6
g. Vessel, 2:20-21
Twenty-three persons are named in this letter
Timothy’s godly upbringing, 2 Timothy 1:5; 3:14-15
Courageous action of Onesiphorus, 1:16-18
Paul’s example of steadfastness in the midst of persecution, 3:10-13
Paul evaluates his ministry, 4:6-8) —> Romans 12:1
Paul, the student, eager to study the Scriptures to the end (2 Timothy 4:13) —> Romans 12:2
Paul warns Timothy of Alexander, 2 Timothy 4:14-15