ToBeLikeHim.com Return to Timothy Series
Introduction to 2 Timothy
A Letter To A Spiritual Son - 2nd Timothy
2nd Timothy is one of the three pastoral letters contained in the New Testament (1st Timothy, 2nd Timothy and Titus). The name pastoral letters signifies the epistles were written from a pastor’s viewpoint. In the New Testament church, they have come to be seen by many New Testament scholars as a guide or handbook to pastors. Paul was the author of all three of these letters. These books are sometimes also called filial epistles, since Timothy and Titus were essentially sons in the faith or disciples of the apostle Paul.
Although the two Timothy letters are very
personal and complete with intimate remarks, Paul most likely wrote them to
Timothy with the understanding they would be read by a large audience. The church at
Timothy’s hometown was Lystra. His mother and
grandmother (Lois and Eunice) were both Jewish. His father was a Greek man,
whose name is lost to history. Timothy was probably no more than 16 when he
first met Paul, perhaps during Paul’s visit to
Timothy himself was martyred in 97 AD. Fox’s Book of Martyrs gives the following account of Timothy's death:
“Timothy was the celebrated disciple of St. Paul, and bishop of Ephesus, where he zealously governed the Church until A.D. 97. At this period, as the pagans were about to celebrate a feast called Catagogion, Timothy, meeting the procession, severely reproved them for their ridiculous idolatry, which so exasperated the people that they fell upon him with their clubs, and beat him in so dreadful a manner that he expired of the bruises two days later.”
Exact placement of the writing of the two Timothy
epistles in time is difficult. Both
1st Timothy and Titus were written during the time between the two
imprisonments of Paul, probably during the period AD 61-63. Paul’s second
epistle to Timothy was written just before his execution, probably AD 65-68
and perhaps from the Mamertine Prison in
Paul’s first visit to
The gospel of Acts closes with Paul imprisoned in
Luke suggests Paul was eventually released from
this first arrest and confinement.
Many scholars believe after his release, Paul traveled with Luke,
Timothy and Titus around the
After this second arrest, he was very likely
incarcerated in the Mamertine Prison.
Mamertine, which is a known location in
Paul’s second letter to Timothy may be included
with Paul’s prison epistle, since it was written at a time when the Apostle
was imprisoned for the cause of the Gospel.
There is a tremendous difference in this second letter to Timothy and
the first Timothy epistle. The first
letter was written (probably from
Paul was likely released from his first
imprisonment and resumed his travels around the
The Emperor Nero had tried to blame the
Christians for the great fire, which destroyed over 70% the city of
In response to this, Nero committed many horrible acts against the Christians. He had the Christians dressed in clothes which had been soaked in tar and wax, hung on crosses in his gardens and burned as living torches to light his social gatherings. They were wrapped in fresh animal skins and thrown to the lions. They were forced to face death in The Coliseum by the Gladiators. They were crucified and beheaded.
The Mamertine Dungeon, where Paul was taken was
beside the river, across the street from the old senate building in the Roman
Forum. You can still visit the prison
there, today. There is a circular cell
you enter by descending a series of stone steps. The only light comes from an open hole in
the roof, which also lets in the rain and cold. In a cell there, beside the river, in the
dank darkness and cold was very likely where the aging apostle, who was now
in his 60s wrote his last letter to Timothy.
Scholars agree that 2nd Timothy is probably the last correspondence
penned by Paul. Tradition tells us that
on an April morning, shortly after this letter was written, Paul was removed
from his dungeon cell, taken a few miles outside
Paul’s second letter to Timothy centers around the message it has to convey - the great theme of the epistle is the Gospel and Timothy’s relationship to that Gospel.
2Tim 1:1-2 - Identification of the authorship of the letter and greetings to Timothy. In 1st Timothy, Paul says “My own Son” - Now, “My dearly beloved Son”. Paul again wishes Timothy – “Grace, Mercy and Peace”.
2 Tim 1:2-5 - Prayers of Thanksgiving for Timothy. Paul longs to see him. He has remembrances of him (unfeigned faith), his mother, Lois and grandmother, Eunice.
2 Tim 1:6-14 - Remember your gifts, forget fear, remember love and power and sound mind. Don’t be ashamed. Remember the power of God through Jesus Christ. Hold fast to what I have told you.
"For I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that he is able
to keep that which I have committed to him against that day."
2 Tim 1:
15-18 - Remembrances
of certain people and their households in
2 Tim 2:1-7 - Be strong in Christ’s grace, endure hardness, be a good soldier, stick to the fight.
2 Tim 2:8-14 - Remember Jesus, God’s word, salvation, rewards
2 Tim 2:15-26 - Remain in study, shun babblings (resurrection is past already). Remember - The foundation of God remains sure, regardless of man. Flee from youthful lusts, follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace. Avoid foolish questions. Be gentle, apt to teach and patient.
2 Tim 3:1-9 - Paul speaks of the coming apostasy - describes the failures of men in verses 2 - 9.
2 Tim 3:10-15 - You know me and the scriptures. Follow these things.
2 Tim: 3:16-17 - Paul tells Timothy why we have the scripture.
2 Tim 4:1-5 - Charges Timothy to preach the word though he may encounter resistance. Do the work of an evangelist.
2 Tim 4:6-8 - Paul states that he is ready to see the end. He has fought the good fight, finished the course and kept the faith. He has earned is reward “crown of righteousness.”
2 Tim 4:9-13 - Asks Timothy to come (quickly). Paul has been deserted by all of those who have been with him. Only Dr. Luke remains. He asks his disciple, "Can you bring Mark, also?" Bring my Cloak? (Paul was likely cold and damp). Bring my Books? (He was bored, lonely)
2 Tim 4:14-18 - Alexander obviously hurt Paul greatly.
2 Tim 4:19-21 - Remembers the faithful, mentions his old friends and attempts to tie up loose ends.
“Do thy diligence to come before winter.”
Paul knew the end was at hand, either he would be executed or would not make it through the winter. Either Nero or the cold would get him.
2 Tim 4:22 - Christ be with you, May you have God’s grace, Amen
Copyright © 2009, by ToBeLikeHim Ministries