The book of 2 Timothy (2 Timothy 1)

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As with the other Pastoral letters (1 Timothy and Titus), this epistle purports to have been written by Paul, but that claim is once again denied by many scholars today. Nevertheless, the book may be regarded as authentically Pauline (se The authorship of the Pastoral epistles under 1 Timothy 1).

It appears that after the close of the book of Acts Paul was released from his first Roman imprisonment (ca, A.D. 62), that he travelled to Spain and then back east, where he conducted missionary work in Crete and various cities around the Aegean. Most scholars believe that Paul wrote 2 Timothy after the end of this last missionary journey, after which he travelled back to Rome and was again imprisoned. This scenario suggests a date of about A.D. 67 for the letter.

Paul wrote this letter from prison (2 Timothy 1:16, 2:9) to his disciple and co-worker Timothy (1:2) who was still in Ephesus (see 4:19) where Paul had previously left him (1 Timothy 1:3).

Paul wrote this letter both for personal reasons and out of concern for the churches. On the one hand he was isolated in prison and feeling abandoned (2 Timothy 4:10), aware that he soon was to die (4:6-8). In this situation, the apostle was eager that Timothy, for whom he felt a special affection, get to him as soon as possible (4:9). On the other hand, Paul was alarmed at how quickly heresy and factionalism had grown in the churches (3:1-5, 4:2-3, 14-15) and sensed that severe persecution were soon to begin (2:3). He used this letter as a final occasion to exhort Timothy and other ministers to be faithful in preaching, to oppose false doctrine and cultic teachers and to promote genuine godliness among the churches.

As you read, look for clues about Paul’s loneliness, suffering and future martyrdom – and for his hymn of hope. Even as he suffered, he continued his role as mentor to Timothy by encouraging the younger man and offering practical advice regarding Timothy’s role and responsibilities as pastor-teacher in the church.

Did you know that before Jesus came, the certainty of life after death was somewhat shrouded in darkness (1:10)? Did you know that according to Jewish tradition Jannes and Jambres were the Egyptian court magicians who had opposed Moses (3:8)? Did you know that a Jewish boy formally began studying the Old Testament when he was only five years old (3:15)? Did you know that as a Roman citizen Paul could not be thrown to the lions in the amphitheatre (4:17)?


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