Overview of 2 Timothy

Probably within about two years after writing 1 Timothy, Paul was once again arrested and taken to Rome. This would be his final journey because he was beheaded there under Nero’s growing persecution of Christians and Christianity. Paul wrote 2 Timothy from a Roman prison around A.D. 66, the last preserved writing we have from his hand and possibly the last letter he ever wrote.

Second Timothy is a personal farewell note from an old mentor to his young friend and colleague, his son in the Christian faith, a man who was ready to throw in the towel himself as he watched everything they had worked for seemingly going up in smoke. Paul’s final few words (only 644 in the Greek text) were full of encouragement and anticipation, not regret or remorse, as he said goodbye until they would meet again in Heaven.

Final Greetings

2 Timothy 1 opens with Paul’s modified greeting for Timothy – “grace, mercy, and peace” – to the man who needed to remember all three of them (2 Timothy 1:1-2).[1] For the last time, Paul identified himself as “an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God,” faithfully obeying his commission even to death.

Knowing the turmoil in Timothy’s heart, the “tears” that he must have shed knowing that he may never see Paul again, the old apostle reminded him of the work that they were doing and the promises of God (2 Timothy 1:3-14). He reminded Timothy that “God did not give us a spirit of fear,” so he was not to be afraid of what was about to happen and “not be ashamed of” God’s word or God’s man, Paul. He reminded Timothy that God was “the one who saved us and called us with a holy calling” into ministry because of his grace and for his own glory, so he wanted Timothy to “hold to the standard of sound words” and “protect that good thing entrusted to” Timothy.

Paul also gave him some good news, showing that not all was lost (2 Timothy 1:15-18). One of their dear friends, Onesiphorus, tracked down Paul when he arrived in Rome so he could minister to Paul in his final days. Unfortunately, others did not, namely, Phygelus and Hermogenes from “the province of Asia” (modern Turkey), where Timothy was located at Ephesus.

[1] See the notes on 1 Timothy 1 for further explanation about this greeting.

Each Thursday DPH runs a Chapter-by-Chapter blog by Daniel Goepfrich, progressing readers chapter-by-chapter through the New Testament. This series is taken from New Testament Chapter-by-Chapter, published by Trust House Publishers, a division of DPH. Daniel serves as Pastor of Oak Tree Community Church in South Bend, Indiana, and blogs at www.TheologyIsForEveryone.com

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