II Timothy

Author: Paul of Tarsus

Date Written: 67 or 68 AD


2 Timothy is a deeply personal letter.  Paul is imprisoned in Rome for the second time (1:17).  His first imprisonment apparently ended with his release (Acts 28:30).  But now under the Emperor Nero, Paul is more certain of his fate.  He has completed his last missionary journey and is close to execution.  Timothy is probably still in Ephesus (4:12), but Paul wants him to come to Rome to be near him in his last days (4:9).  Though in prison, Paul still coordinates the movements of the missionaries under his authority (4:10-12) and he is concerned about the condition of the churches.  He has been deserted by his close associates (4:10, 16) and he is combating false teachers (1:15, 2:17).  Paul's purpose for writing the letter is to encourage, exhort and uphold his disciple Timothy and to summon him to Rome.  For more on the person of Timothy see Introduction to 1 Timothy.


Though Paul is pessimistic about his fate (4:6), he is not discouraged.  Instead, he continually affirms the significance of his life and witness (1:8, 11; 4:7).  He hopes in God in the midst of a human disaster.


Paul calls on Timothy to be steadfast in the midst of doctrinal confusion and violent persecution.  He is to guard the deposit of faith (1:14) and to hand on what he has learned from Paul (2:2).  Paul is trusting in Timothy to carry on the mission.  Timothy is to embrace his vocation as a good soldier of Christ and embrace the suffering that it entails (2:4).  Paul is enduring persecution in prison and yet is confident that the word of God is not limited by any suffering (2:9).  Paul wants Timothy to prevent heresies in his congregation by limiting the amount of meaningless disputes (2:14).


Paul struggled against false teachers throughout his career.  At the end of his life, he feels free to name the people who have departed from his teaching or harmed him, which he has not done before.  He cites Phygelus, Hermogenes (1:15), Hymaneus, Alexander (2:17), Demas (4:10) and Alexander (4:14).  He wants Timothy to be aware of the challenges he will face after Paul's death.


Paul mentions wicked people who will dominate the "last days" (3:1), which refers to the period beginning with Christ's life on earth.  Paul presents his endurance of persecution as a model to be imitated by Timothy and the Ephesian believers (3:10-14).  Paul endured much suffering in his life for the sake of the gospel and he fully expects other Christians to undergo similar trials of faith.  He beautifully defines Scripture as the breath of God, showing his respect for the Old Testament as God's word (3:16-17).


Paul charges Timothy to continue his evangelistic work of preaching and teaching the congregation at Ephesus (4:1-5).  He reflects on his own plight, giving witness of his hope for heaven after his immanent martyrdom (4:6-8).  He gives Timothy a run-down of the movements of his missionary delegates (4::10-12).  He asks him to come to Rome and bring Mark and several items (4:9-13).  He reiterates his hope in God for salvation after death and his fearlessness regarding his fate (4:16-18).  Finally, he asks Timothy to greet a few others in Ephesus for Paul (4:19-21).


This letter is filled with all the thoughts of a great saint on his way to martyrdom.  In this way, the Epistle of St. Ignatius to the Romans has a very similar tone.  Yet Paul's humanity shows when he asks Timothy to visit him in order to alleviate his loneliness.


By Mark Giszczak


Ads by Google
(What's this?)


Ads by Google (What's this?)
Ads by Google

Featured Videos

Little Sisters of the Poor press conference in Denver
Little Sisters of the Poor press conference in Denver
Family thrilled to see Pope Francis in Istanbul
Syrian Refugee, Sara, 14, Before Meeting Pope
Ebola orphans thousands of children in West Africa
One year after Haiyan: Philippines rebuilds homes, lives
An Indian contribution to the Vatican's Synod on the Family
Christ Cathedral CNA video Sept 2014
Alejandro Bermudez of CNA accepts ice bucket challenge
'The Real Albania,' remembering those who fled
Pope Francis in Albania, "one of the most important visits of the post-communist era in Albania"
Pope Francis greets paralyzed man who risked all to see him
Franciscans on the banks of the Tiber in Rome, working for the New Evangelization
Pilgrimage from Czech Republic to Assisi and Rome for intentions
Testimony of young Indian who met Pope in Korea
Preparations of the Closing Mass of 6th Asian Youth Day
Missionary of Charity, Korea
Testimony of Christian Love during Pope's Visit to Korea
Religious Sisters in South Korea react to Pope Francis kissing a baby
Warm atmosphere during Holy Mass at Daejeon World Cup Stadium
Images inside Pope Francis flight to South Korea

Liturgical Calendar

December 21, 2014


All readings:
Today »
This year »

Catholic Daily

Gospel of the Day

Mt 21:23-27


Daily Readings

Gospel:: Lk 1: 26-38

Saint of the Day

St. Romuald »


Homily of the Day

Mt 21:23-27

Text only

Follow us: