Author: Paul of
Date Written: 67 or 68 AD
2 Timothy is a deeply personal letter. Paul is imprisoned in
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
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