Book 16 - PAUL'S SECOND LETTER TO TIMOTHY
With people, places, definitions, map ......
Writer: The apostle Paul, his last recorded words
Date: c AD67, assuming Paul was re-arrested, and returned to Rome for trial and execution
Where written: Rome
Reader: Timothy, Paul's disciple and friend, and still a minister in Ephesus
Why: Paul's last letter before his presumed execution, in which he encourages Timothy in his difficult job as a young minister, and gives him further instruction. He also asks Timothy to visit him in Rome
According to Some Modern Scholarship: Written by an unknown Christian towards the end of the 1st century, using Paul's name and some of his original material to give the letter authority
Map - Paul Writes his Second Pastoral or Teaching Letter to Timothy
Map Key: Letter from 1 to 2
PAUL APPEALS TO TIMOTHY TO SHOW COURAGE
GREETINGS; PAUL'S AFFECTION FOR TIMOTHY
2 Timothy 1:1-4 - Paul, messenger by God's appointment in the promised life of Christ Jesus, to Timothy, my own dearly loved son: grace, mercy and peace be to you from God the Father and Christ Jesus, our Lord.
I thank God for your faith: guard it well
I thank the God of my forefathers, whom I serve with a clear conscience, as I remember you in my prayers. Every day and every night I have been longing to see you, for I can't forget how moved you were when I left you, and to have you with me again would be the greatest possible joy.
HE ENCOURAGES TIMOTHY IN HIS FAITH AND COURAGE
2 Timothy 1:5-7 - I often think of that genuine faith of yours - a faith that first appeared in your grandmother Lois, then in Eunice your mother, and is now, I am convinced, in you (Timothy) as well. Because you have this faith, I now remind you to stir up that inner fire which God gave you at your ordination. For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but a spirit of power and love and a sound mind.
TIMOTHY SHOULD BE PREPARED TO SUFFER FOR THE GOSPEL AS PAUL HAS, FOR GOD HAS CALLED US TO A HOLY LIFE AND GRANTED US IMMORTALITY
2 Timothy 1:8-12 - So never be ashamed of bearing witness to our Lord, nor of me (Paul), his prisoner. Accept, as I do, all the hardship that faithfulness to the Gospel entails in the strength that God gives you. For he has rescued us from all that is really evil and called us to a life of holiness - not because of any of our achievements but for his own purpose. Before time began he planned to give us in Christ the grace to achieve this purpose, but it is only since our saviour Jesus Christ has been revealed that the method has become apparent. For Christ has completely abolished death, and has now, through the Gospel, opened to us men the shining possibilities of the life that is eternal. It is this Gospel that I am commissioned to proclaim; it is of this Gospel that I am appointed both messenger and teacher, and it is for this Gospel that I am now suffering these things. Yet I am not in the least ashamed. For I know the one in whom I have placed my confidence, and I am perfectly certain that the work he has committed to me is safe in his hands until that day.
PAUL'S TEACHING AS AN EXAMPLE TO TIMOTHY
2 Timothy 1:13-14 - So keep my words in your mind as the pattern of sound teaching, given to you in the faith and love of Jesus Christ. Take the greatest care of the good things which were entrusted to you by the Holy Spirit who lives within us.
PAUL'S FRIENDS IN ASIA - THE DISLOYAL AND THE LOYAL
2 Timothy 1:15-18 - You will know, I expect, that all those who were in Asia have turned against me, Phygelus and Hermogenes among them. But may the Lord have mercy on the household of Onesiphorus. ....
Onesiphorus - Paul remembers Onesiphorus and his household with great affection from his time in Ephesus. He is also grateful for the effort Onesiphorus made to find him in his Roman prison. The implication of these verses and the closing greeting (2 Timothy 4:19) is that Onesiphorus is now dead -
.... Many times did that man put fresh heart into me, and he was not in the least ashamed of my being a prisoner in chains. Indeed, when he was in Rome he went to a great deal of trouble to find me - may the Lord grant he finds his mercy in that day! - and you well know in how many ways he helped me at Ephesus as well.
TIMOTHY MUST APPOINT RELIABLE TEACHERS
2 Timothy 2:1-2 - So, my son, be strong in the grace that Jesus Christ gives. Everything that you have heard me preach in public you should in turn entrust to reliable men, who will be able to pass it on to others.
2 Timothy 2:3-7 - Put up with your share of hardship as a loyal soldier in Christ's army. Remember: 1) That no soldier on active service gets himself entangled in business, or he will not please his commanding officer. 2) A man who enters an athletic contest wins no prize unless he keeps the rules laid down. 3) Only the man who works on the land has the right to the first share of its produce. Consider these three illustrations of mine and the Lord will help you to understand all that I mean.
SHARING CHRIST'S SUFFERING MEANS SHARING HIS GLORY
2 Timothy 2:8-13 - Remember always, as the centre of everything, Jesus Christ, a man of human ancestry, yet raised by God from the dead according to my Gospel. For preaching this (the Gospel of the resurrected Christ) I (Paul) am having to endure being chained in prison as if I were some sort of a criminal. But they cannot chain the Word of God, and I can endure all these things for the sake of those whom God is calling, so that they too may receive the salvation of Jesus Christ, and its complement of glory after the world of time. I rely on this saying: If we died with him we shall also live with him: if we suffer with him we shall also reign with him. If we deny him he will also deny us: yet if we are faithless he always remains faithful. He cannot deny his own nature.
HOW TIMOTHY SHOULD DEAL WITH PRESENT PROBLEMS
TIMOTHY'S DUTY TO THE CHURCH AND TO GOD
2 Timothy 2:14-15 - Remind your people of things like this (... sharing Christ's suffering and glory), and tell them as before God not to fight wordy battles, which help no one and may undermine the faith of some who hear them.
For yourself, concentrate on winning God's approval, on being a workman with nothing to be ashamed of, and who knows how to use the word of truth to the best advantage.
FALSE TEACHING DESTROYS FAITH
2 Timothy 2:16-18 - But steer clear of these unchristian babblings, which in practice lead further and further away from Christian living. False teachings are as dangerous as blood-poisoning to the body, and spread like sepsis from a wound. Hymenaeus and Philetus are responsible for this sort of thing, and they are men who are palpable traitors to the truth, for they say that the resurrection has already occurred and, of course, badly upset some people's faith.
2 Timothy 2:19-23 - God's solid foundation still stands, however, with this double inscription: 'the Lord knows those who belong to him', and Let every true Christian have no dealing with evil. In any big household there are naturally not only gold and silver vessels but wooden and earthenware ones as well. Some are used for the highest purposes and some for the lowest. If a man keeps himself clean from the contaminations of evil he will be a vessel used for honourable purposes, clean and serviceable for the use of the master of the household, all ready, in fact, for any good purpose.
Be positively good - and patient
Turn your back on the turbulent desires of youth and give your positive attention to goodness, faith, love and peace in company with all those who approach God in sincerity. But have nothing to do with silly and ill-informed controversies which lead inevitably, as you know, to strife.
2 Timothy 2:24-26 - ... the Lord's servant (such as a minister) must not be a man of strife: he must be kind to all, ready and able to teach: he must have patience and the ability gently to correct those who oppose his message. He must always bear in mind the possibility that God will give them a different outlook, and that they may come to know the truth. They may come to their senses and be rescued from the power of the devil by the servant of the Lord and set to work for God's purposes.
DEALING WITH PROBLEMS TO COME
- There are frequent references to specific types of non-Christian, Gentile or pagan behaviour in the New Testament, but there are also general lists such as the following. These are often contrasted with lists of proper Christian conduct:
2 Timothy 3:1-5 - .... you must realise that in the last days (before the return of Jesus) the times will be full of danger (from evil men and false prophets). Men will become utterly self-centred, greedy for money, full of big words. They will be proud and contemptuous, without any regard for what their parents taught them. They will be utterly lacking in gratitude, purity and normal human affections. They will be men of unscrupulous speech and have no control of themselves. They will be passionate and unprincipled, treacherous, self-willed and conceited, loving all the time what gives them pleasure instead of loving God. They will maintain a facade of "religion", but their conduct will deny its validity. You must keep clear of people like this.
FALSE CHRISTIAN TEACHING, FALSE PROPHETS, CULTS
2 Timothy 3:6-9 - From their number (men claiming to be religious, but whose behaviour is non-Christian) come those creatures who worm their way into people's houses, and find easy prey in silly women with an exaggerated sense of sin and morbid cravings - who are always learning and yet never able to grasp the truth. These men are as much enemies to the truth as Jannes and Jambres (in Jewish tradition, the names of Pharaoh's magicians who opposed Moses before the Exodus) were to Moses. Their minds are distorted, and they are traitors to the faith. But in the long run they won't get far. Their folly will become as obvious to everybody as did that of Moses' opponents.
TIMOTHY SHOULD KNOW WHAT PAUL HAS TAUGHT AND SUFFERED
2 Timothy 3:10-11a - But you, Timothy, have known intimately both what I have taught and how I lived. My purpose and my faith are no secrets to you. You saw my endurance and love and patience as I met all those persecutions and difficulties at Antioch, Iconium and Lystra (... Timothy came from Lystra, and was well known in Iconium, Acts 16:1-2).
TRIALS OF LIFE
2 Timothy 3:11b-13 - ... you know how the Lord brought me (Paul) safely through them all (his many difficulties). Persecution is inevitable for those who are determined to live really Christian lives, while wicked and deceitful men will go from bad to worse, deluding others and deluding themselves.
TIMOTHY'S GROUNDING IN SCRIPTURE SINCE CHILDHOOD; THE HOLY BIBLE
2 Timothy 3:14-17 - Yet you must go on steadily in all those things that you have learned and which you know are true. Remember from what sort of people (such as his mother and grandmother, as well as Paul) your knowledge has come, and how from early childhood your mind has been familiar with the holy scriptures (... which become the Christian Old Testament, and ...), which can open the mind to the salvation which comes through believing in Christ Jesus. All scripture is inspired by God and is useful for teaching the faith and correcting error, for re-setting the direction of a man's life and training him in good living. The scriptures are the comprehensive equipment of the man of God and fit him fully for all branches of his work.
PAUL EXHORTS TIMOTHY TO PREACH AND TEACH
2 Timothy 4:1-2 - I urge you, Timothy, as we live in the sight of God and of Christ Jesus (whose coming in power will judge the living and the dead), to preach the Word of God. Never lose your sense of urgency, in season or out of season. Prove, correct, and encourage, using the utmost patience in your teaching.
2 Timothy 4:3-5 - For the time is coming when men will not tolerate wholesome teaching. They will want something to tickle their own fancies, and they will collect teachers who will pander to their own desires. They will no longer listen to the truth, but will wander off after man-made fictions. For yourself, stand fast in all that you are doing, meeting whatever suffering this may involve. Go on steadily preaching the Gospel and carry out to the full the commission that God gave you.
PAUL PREPARES FOR DEATH
2 Timothy 4:6-8 - As for me, I feel that the last drops of my life are being poured out for God. The glorious fight that God gave me I have fought. The course that I was set I have finished, and I have kept the faith. The future for me holds the crown of righteousness which God, the true judge, will give to those who have loved what they have seen of him.
PAUL'S LONELY IMPRISONMENT; ONLY LUKE IS LEFT TO SUPPORT HIM
2 Timothy 4: 9-15 - Do your best (Timothy) to come to me as soon as you can. Demas, loving this present world, I fear, has left me and gone to Thessalonica. Crescens has gone to Galatia, and Titus is away in Dalmatia. Only Luke is with me now.
When you come, pick up Mark (John Mark, clearly reconciled with Paul after the events of the First Missionary Journey 20 years before, Acts 13:13) and bring him with you. I can certainly find a job for him here. (I had to send Tychicus off to Ephesus.) And please bring with you the cloak I left with Carpus at Troas (where Paul may have been arrested before his final imprisonment), and the books, especially the manuscripts. Alexander the coppersmith did me a great deal of harm - the Lord will reward him for what he did - and I should be very careful of him if I were you. He has been an obstinate opponent of our teaching.
HE FORGIVES THOSE WHO DESERTED HIM; THE LORD SUSTAINED HIM
2 Timothy 4:16-18 - The first time I had to defend myself no one was on my side - they all deserted me. God forgive them! Yet the Lord himself stood by me and gave me the strength to proclaim the message clearly and fully, so that the Gentiles could hear it, and I was rescued "from the lion's mouth". I am sure the Lord will rescue me from every evil plot, and will keep me safe until I reach his heavenly kingdom. Glory be to him for ever and ever!
FINAL GREETINGS AND INSTRUCTIONS; A BLESSING
2 Timothy 4:19-22 - Give my love to Prisca and Aquila and Onesiphorus and his family. Erastus is still staying on at Corinth, and Trophimus I had to leave sick at Miletus.
Erastus - Possibly the Erastus associated with Paul ten or twelve years earlier. Towards the end of his Third Journey, Paul sent an Erastus ahead of him from Ephesus to Macedonia (Acts 19:22). One or years later in his Letter to the Romans, Paul included Erastus, the town clerk of Corinth in his greetings (Romans 16:23). These may all be the same man;
Do your best to get here before the winter. Eubulus, Pudens, Linus, Claudia and all here send their greetings to you. ...
Pudens, Claudia & Linus - Pudens and Claudia were probably husband and wife, and Linus their son, who was traditionally bishop of Rome after the apostle Peter.
.... The Lord be with your spirit. Grace be with you.
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