THE SECOND LETTER TO TIMOTHY
1. Who wrote the Second Letter to Timothy?
What does 2 Tim 1:1 indicate about the author of 2 Timothy?
that the author of 2 Timothy was Paul.
2. To whom was the Second Letter to Timothy written?
What does 2 Tim1:2 indicate about the intended reader 2 Timothy?
that the intended reader of 2 Timothy was Timothy.
3. When was the Second Letter to Timothy written?
3.1. What were Paul's circumstances at the time of his writing of 2 Timothy according to 2 Tim 1:8, 15-18; 4:9-16?
Paul was in prison (1:8), and had experienced a mass desertion by his associates and supporters from Asia (1:15). Onesiphorus, however, possibly from Asia, was one of the few who helped Paul in Rome; he traveled to Rome for this very reason. Most of Paul's colleagues were not with him. Only Luke had stayed with Paul (4:9-16). A certain Alexander the metalworker gave Paul a hard time in Rome; it is not clear whether Alexander was a believer or not (4:14-15). At his first defense, no one came to Paul's support (4:16). In general, Paul was having a tough time of it in Rome.
3.2. What does Paul think about his future prospects in 2 Tim 4:6-8? How does this compare with Paul's attitude in Phil 1:23-25? Do you think that the same imprisonment is being referred to in both passages? What relevance does this have for dating the composition of the letter?
Unlike his Letter to the Philippians, in 2 Timothy Paul expects to die soon. Paul was probably not writing during his first imprisonment, from which he expected to be released. This implies that he was writing during later imprisonment.
3.3. Based on the above data, relative to Paul's apostolic career, when did Paul write 2 Timothy. What is the likely date of the composition of the letter? (Remember that church tradition places Paul's death during Nero's persecution of the church c. 64-68.)
2 Timothy was when he was in prison in Rome for the second time. Unlike
his first imprisonment, Paul did not expect to be released from this
second Roman imprisonment. (This explains why Paul experienced
a mass desertion: his associates were fleeing a dangerous political
situation.) The date of the composition of 2 Timothy was during
Nero's persecution of the church, c. 64-68.
4. Where was the Second Letter to Timothy written?
From what he says in 2 Tim 1:8, 15-18; 4:9-16, where was Paul at the time of his writing 2 Timothy?
Paul was in
Rome when he wrote 2 Timothy.
5. What is the Second Letter to Timothy?
Outline of the Second Letter to Timothy
This represents the introduction of the letter.
This represents the salutation of the letter.
Paul gives thanks for Timothy, whom he remembers constantly in his prayers. Paul says that he longs to see Timothy, and is reminded of his faith, one that was imparted by his grandmother Lois and his mother Eunice.
This represents the main body of the letter.
Paul encourages Timothy to rekindle the gift of God within, and exhorts him not to be ashamed of the testimony about the Lord or of him as a prisoner, but to join with him in suffering for the gospel, relying on the power of God, who saved them and called them not according to works but according to his purpose and grace. This grace was given before the ages of time and has now been revealed in the appearance of the savior Jesus Christ, who has destroyed death and brought immortality through the gospel.
Paul explains that he was appointed a herald, an apostle and teacher of this gospel, which is why he is suffering; yet he is not ashamed. He encourages Timothy to guard the deposit of teaching that was entrusted to him.
Paul describes his present situation. He has been deserted by most of his associates, with the exception of Onesiphorus, who sought Paul out in Rome.
Paul encourages Timothy to be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus, to entrust Paul's teaching to reliable men and to endure hardship. Timothy is also to remember Jesus Christ raised from the dead and descended from David. This is Paul's gospel, for which he is in chains, but the word of God is not chained. Paul says that he is willing to endure everything for the sake of the elect, that they may obtain salvation. Finally Paul gives Timothy a saying that is sure (2:11-13).
Paul gives directions to Timothy on how to deal with false teachers, who are probably the ones in Ephesus with whom Paul dealt in 1 Timothy (see 1 Tim 1:3-7). He is to warn them against quarrelling over words. He encourages Timothy to do his best to present himself as a workman who knows how to handle the word of truth and has no reason to be ashamed, unlike the false teachers. He is to avoid godless chatter, because it leads to ungodliness. Paul warns Timothy against Hymenaeus and Philetus, who have wandered from the truth, claiming that there is no resurrection (see 1 Tim 1:20). Paul teaches that if a man cleanses himself he will be an instrument useful to God. Finally, he gives Timothy a series of practical exhortations (2:22-26).
Paul describes the last days as a time when people will be generally godless. He warns Timothy to have nothing to do with such people. These men will exploit weak-willed women, but will not make much progress, since their folly will be plain to everyone. He compares them to Jannes and Jambres who opposed Moses. (These two men are identified in Jewish tradition as two of Pharaoh’s sorcerers [Exod 7:11; 8:7].)
Paul explains that everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted, as he has been. He encourages Timothy to continue in what he has learned, in particular the scriptures that are able to make one wise unto salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. Paul then describes the scriptures as god-breathed and useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness.
Paul gives a farewell charge to Timothy to preach the word, correct, rebuke and encourage. The time is coming when men will no longer tolerate sound doctrine, but will turn aside to myths. Paul tells Timothy to be sober, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist and to carry out all the duties of his ministry.
Paul confesses that he is like a drink offering being poured out, that he expects to die. He is hopeful of being rewarded with a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to Paul on that day.
Paul makes a series of personal requests of Timothy.
Paul describes the events connected with his trial. He was deserted by all, but the Lord stood by his side, and rescued him.
Paul makes a confession of faith in the Lord. He is confident that the Lord will protect him from every evil attack and bring him into his heavenly kingdom.
This represents the conclusion,
including greetings, final instructions to Timothy and a benediction.
6. Why was the Second Letter to Timothy written?
6.1. What do 2 Tim 4:9-11, 13, 21 indicate about Paul's purpose in writing the Second Letter to Timothy?
Paul wanted Timothy to come to him quickly before winter because Demas has deserted him and presumably he needs Timothy's help; in addition, he instructs Timothy to bring (John) Mark with him. Paul also asks Timothy to bring with him his cloak and scrolls, especially the parchments.
6.2. From what Paul writes in 2 Tim 2:14-16, 17-18, 22-26; 3:13 what other reasons did Paul have for writing the letter?
Paul was writing
to encourage Timothy (2:22) and to warn him about certain evil men,
who were false teachers deceiving people in the church (2:14-16, 17-18,
23-26; 3:13). These men disputed with one another over what Paul considered
to be foolish and useless theological speculations and were deceived
by Satan (2:14-16, 23-26; 3:13). Two false teachers, identified as Hymenaeus
and Philetus, were teaching that the resurrection had already happened,
probably meaning some type of spiritual resurrection (2:17-18).