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2 Timothy

Introduction to 2 Timothy

AUTHOR: The apostle Paul, as stated in the salutation (1:1). The references of a personal nature also confirm this, especially when compared to other Pauline epistles (cf. 4:9-12; Co 4:7-14).

RECIPIENT: Timothy, Paul's "beloved son " (1:2; cf. 1 Ti 1:2,18). We are first introduced to Timothy in Ac 16:1-3, where we learn that his mother was Jewish and his father Greek. From this epistle we also learn that his mother and grandmother had been believers in Christ, who raised Timothy in the Scriptures (1:5; 3:14-15). Well spoken of by the brethren at Lystra and Iconium, Paul desired that Timothy travel with him and therefore had him circumcised to accommodate Jews they would seek to evangelize.

This began a long relationship of service together in the work of the Lord, in which Timothy served Paul as a son would his father (Ph 2:19-24). Such service included not only traveling with Paul, but remaining with new congregations when Paul had to leave suddenly (Ac 17:13-14), going back to encourage such congregations (1 Th 3:1-3), and serving as Paul's personal emissary (1 Co 16:10-11; Ph 2:19-24). He had the honor of joining Paul in the salutation of several epistles written by Paul (2 Co 1:1; Ph 1:1; Co 1:1; 1 Th 1:1; 2 Th 1:1), and from such epistles we learn that Timothy had been with Paul during his imprisonment at Rome. Such faithful service also resulted in his being left in Ephesus as Paul's personal representative (1 Ti 1:3). He may have still been in the area when this letter was penned.

TIME AND PLACE OF WRITING: The general consensus is that following his first imprisonment in Rome (cf. Ac 28:16,30-31) Paul was released and allowed to travel for several years before being arrested again. It was during this second imprisonment that Paul wrote this epistle from Rome (cf. 1:16-17). Every indication is that he did not expect to be released (cf. 4:6-7) and shortly after this letter was put to death by Nero. Since Nero was killed in 68 A.D., Paul would have died a short time earlier. This letter can therefore be dated around 66-67 A.D.

PURPOSE OF THE EPISTLE: This epistle contains Paul's stirring words of encouragement and instructions to Timothy, his "beloved son." Longing to see him (1:4), Paul writes this letter to have Timothy come quickly to Rome, and to bring along Mark, a cloak that was left at Troas, and some books and parchments (4:9-13). He uses the occasion, however, to write concerning those things that are most heavy on his heart related to Timothy's work. Therefore, Paul writes to encourage Timothy:

  • To stand strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus (2:1)
  • To commit to others what Paul had taught him (2:2,14)
  • To preach the Word! (4:1)
  • To endure hardship and afflictions (2:3; 4:5)
  • To fulfill his ministry as an evangelist (4:5)

THEME OF THE EPISTLE: With all the exhortations and instructions related to his work as a minister of the gospel of Christ, an appropriate theme for this epistle might therefore be:

"FULFILL YOUR MINISTRY!"

KEY VERSE: 2 Timothy 4:5

"But you be watchful in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry."
Outline

INTRODUCTION (1:1-5)

  1. EXHORTATIONS TO STEADFAST SERVICE (1:6-2:26)
    1. WITH ZEAL AND COURAGE (1:6-12)
    2. WITH STEADFASTNESS AND LOYALTY (1:13-18)
    3. TRANSMITTING THE TRUTH TO OTHERS (2:1-2)
    4. ENDURING HARDSHIP (2:3-13)
    5. DILIGENT AS A SERVANT OF THE LORD (2:14-26)
  2. EXHORTATIONS TO SOUND DOCTRINE (3:1-4:5)
    1. IN VIEW OF PERILOUS TIMES TO COME (3:1-9)
    2. REMEMBERING PAUL'S OWN EXAMPLE (3:10-13)
    3. BY ABIDING IN THE SCRIPTURES (3:14-17)
    4. BY PREACHING THE WORD (4:1-5)
  3. EXHORTATIONS TO COME QUICKLY (4:6-18)
    1. PAUL'S END IS NEAR (4:6-8)
    2. PAUL'S CIRCUMSTANCES AND REQUESTS (4:9-18)

CONCLUSION (4:19-22)

Review Questions for the Introduction
  1. Where do we first read about Timothy?
  2. What was the name of his grandmother and mother? (2 Ti 1:5)
    • Lois (grandmother)
    • Eunice (mother)
  3. How did Paul affectionately regard Timothy? (1:2)
    • As his beloved son
  4. What is the general consensus for the time and place that Paul wrote this letter?
    • Sometime around 66-67 A.D., at Rome shortly before his death
  5. What were Paul's circumstances in Rome? (4:6,10-11)
    • Near the time of his execution
    • Forsaken by Demas, others have gone, only Luke is with him
  6. What two purposes does Paul have in writing this epistle?
    • To ask Timothy to come quickly
    • To exhort Timothy in his service as an evangelist
  7. What is the theme of this epistle, as suggested in the introductory material?
    • Fulfill Your Ministry!
  8. What is the key verse?
  9. According to the outline proposed above, what are the main points of this epistle?
    • Exhortations to steadfast service
    • Exhortations to sound doctrine
    • Exhortations to come quickly
CONTENT DISCLAIMER:

The Blue Letter Bible ministry and the BLB Institute hold to the historical, conservative Christian faith, which includes a firm belief in the inerrancy of Scripture. Since the text and audio content provided by BLB represent a range of evangelical traditions, all of the ideas and principles conveyed in the resource materials are not necessarily affirmed, in total, by this ministry.

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