An Overview Of The Book Of 2 Timothy

The Historical Background To The Second Letter To Timothy

See The Historical Background To Paul's Pastoral Letters--The Books Of First & Second Timothy And Titus

In the order of the books of the New Testament Paul's Second Letter to Timothy follows his First Letter to Timothy and precedes his letter to Titus. Historically, however, Paul's Second Letter to Timothy was written after his letter to Titus. Second Timothy was Paul's third pastoral letter. It was also Paul's last letter before his death.

When Paul wrote his Second Letter to Timothy, he was again a prisoner in Rome. He was imprisoned in a dungeon in chains for his preaching the gospel (cf. 2 Timothy 2:9). Because of Paul's imprisonment, a number of individuals had deserted him when he needed them the most. All in Asia Minor in the area of Ephesus, where Timothy was serving as pastor, had turned away from Paul (cf. 2 Timothy 1:15). At Paul's first trial no one had supported him. Everyone had deserted him (cf. 2 Timothy 4:16). A certain Alexander, identified as a metal worker, may have even testified against Paul at his trial (cf. 2 Timothy 4:14,15). Only the Lord himself had stood by Paul and had strengthened him that he might be delivered on that occasion from the lion's mouth (cf. 2 Timothy 4:17). One Christian who did not desert Paul was Onesiphorus. He had come to Rome and searched for Paul until he had found him (cf. 2 Timothy 1:16-18).

At the time Paul wrote his Second Letter to Timothy only Luke, the physician and Paul's co-worker, was with him. Paul had sent Tychicus to Ephesus, who seems to have again served as Paul's mail carrier who delivered this second letter to Timothy. Paul appears to also have sent Tychicus to Ephesus to relieve Timothy, so Timothy could travel to Rome to be with him. Paul may possibly have written this second letter out of fear that Timothy might not be able to arrive in Rome before his death. By means of this letter Paul wanted to tell Timothy what he hoped to tell him in person.

The Writer Of The Second Letter To Timothy

Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, 2 Timothy 1:1

The Recipient Of The Second Letter To Timothy

Timothy, my (Paul's) dear son, 2 Timothy 1:2

See the Overview Of The Book Of 1 Timothy for information about Timothy.

Date Of The Second Letter To Timothy

A.D. 67. See The Historical Background To Paul's Pastoral Letters--The Books Of First & Second Timothy And Titus

Where The Second Letter To Timothy Was Written

Rome. See The Historical Background To Paul's Pastoral Letters--The Books Of First & Second Timothy And Titus

Content Of The Second Letter To Timothy

At the time Paul wrote his Second Letter to Timothy he was anticipating that the time of his martyrdom was near. Unlike his situation during his first imprisonment in Rome, Paul on this occasion saw no chance of his being acquitted and released. (Cf. 2 Timothy 4:6-8). He wrote this letter to say farewell. He desired to write one final word of encouragement to his dear son in the faith, Timothy, an encouragement that would also benefit the church.

This Second Letter to Timothy is more personal in nature than Paul's other pastoral letters. He expresses his desire for Timothy's companionship (cf. 2 Timothy 1:4; 4:9,21). Winter was coming. Paul needed Timothy to bring him his warm cloak that he had left in Troas (cf. 2 Timothy 4:13). He also desires to have his books and parchments, which probably contained the Old Testament Scriptures he needed for his comfort and strengthening for the ordeal that lay before him.

Purpose Of The Second Letter To Timothy

1. To request Timothy to come to him as soon as possible that he might see his dear son in the faith one last time (cf. 2 Timothy 1:4; 4:9,21).

2. To request Timothy to bring his warm cloak and books (cf. 2 Timothy 4:13).

3. To encourage Timothy in his faith and ministry to guard and to preach the pure Word of God and the gospel that had been entrusted to him (2 Timothy 1:13,14; 3:14,15; 4:1,2).

Theme Of The Second Letter To Timothy

Encouragement For Timothy's Faith And Ministry In The Face Of Terrible Times

Outline Of The Second Letter To Timothy

Part 1: Greeting, 2 Timothy 1:1,2

Part 2: Paul Gives Thanks To God, 2 Timothy 1:1-5

A. For the strong bond of affection that he has with Timothy whom he longs to see, 2 Timothy 1:3,4

B. For knowing Timothy's sincere faith, 2 Timothy 1:5

Part 3: Paul Encourages Timothy To Rekindle The Gift Of God, 2 Timothy 1:6-18

A. Because Timothy has his sincere faith, Paul encourages him to rekindle the gift that God had given him to fulfill his ministry, 2 Timothy 2:6,7

1. Timothy received this gift of God for his ministry when Paul had laid his hands on him, 2 Timothy 2:6b

2. Timothy is urged to rekindle his gift from God, because God did not give him a spirit of cowardice and fear, but a spirit of power, love, and self-discipline, 2 Timothy 1:7

B. Therefore, having this spirit, Timothy ought not to be ashamed of the Lord's gospel or of Paul, but join Paul in suffering for the gospel by the power God supplies, as Paul himself suffered without shame because of his sincere trust in God, 2 Timothy 1:8-12

C. Empowered by God to suffer for the gospel without shame, Timothy is encouraged by Paul to retain the sound teaching of God's Word that he heard from Paul and guard the good deposit of that Word which was entrusted to him, 2 Timothy 1:13,14

D. Paul had seen those in Asia Minor desert him in shame, except for Onesiphorus who had come to him in Rome, 2 Timothy 1:15-18

Part 4: Paul Encourages Timothy To Be Strong In The Grace That Is In Christ, 2 Timothy 2:1-26

A. Paul encourages Timothy to entrust the teachings he has heard from Paul to faithful men to teach to others, 2 Timothy 2:1,2

B. Paul encourages Timothy to suffer hardship with him for the gospel as a good soldier of Christ and as a hard-working farmer who reaps the benefits that come from doing his work, 2 Timothy 2:3-7

C. Paul encourages Timothy to remember Jesus Christ in enduring hardship for the gospel as one who knows the trustworthy statement about those who remain faithful and about those who deny Christ, 2 Timothy 2:8-13

D. Paul encourages Timothy to present himself to God as an approved workman, 2 Timothy 2:14-26

1. Paul encourages Timothy to remind those who teach others of what he had said above and to charge them not to quarrel about words, 2 Timothy 2:14

2. Paul encourages Timothy to present himself to God as an approved workman, 2 Timothy 2:15-26

a. Who handles the Word accurately, 2 Timothy 2:15

b. Who avoids godless chatter, unlike those who had strayed from the truth and destroyed the faith of some, 2 Timothy 2:16-19

c. Who cleanses himself from ignoble purposes to be an instrument for honorable purposes as one who is holy, useful to the Lord, and is prepared for every good work, 2 Timothy 2:20,21

d. Who flees youthful lusts to pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace with other faithful Christians, 2 Timothy 2:22

e. Who refuses to become entangled in foolish, ignorant speculations that produce quarrels, 2 Timothy 2:23

f. Who is not quarrelsome, but kind, able to teach, patient when wronged, and gentle in correcting others so God may lead them to repent, 2 Timothy 2:24-26

Part 5: Paul Encourages Timothy To Be Prepared For The Terrible Times That Are Ahead, 2 Timothy 3:1-4:8

A. Paul forewarns Timothy about the terrible times to come when many forms of wickedness will characterize the godless people he should avoid, 2 Timothy 3:1-9

B. Paul forewarns Timothy that all who desire to live a godly life in Christ will be persecuted, 2 Timothy 3:10-13

C. Paul encourages Timothy to continue in the teachings of the Scriptures, 2 Timothy 3:14-17

1. Which he learned from his childhood that make him wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus, 2 Timothy 3:15

2. Which are the inspired Word of God to be used for teaching, rebuking, correcting, and training in righteousness, 2 Timothy 3:16

3. Which equip him for every good work, 2 Timothy 3:17

4. Which he is charged to preach and use to correct, rebuke, and encourage carefully with patience, 2 Timothy 4:1,2

a. Because the time was coming when people would not stand for sound doctrine but would gather around false teachers who would tell them what they want to hear, 2 Timothy 4:3,4

b. Paul encourages Timothy in such situations to keep his head and carry out the duties of his ministry, 2 Timothy 4:5

c. For Paul's time to die was near. He had fought this good fight and now looked forward to the crown of righteousness which the Lord would award him, 2 Timothy 4:6-8

Part 6: Personal Matters, 2 Timothy 4:9-18

Part 7: Closing greeting and benediction, 2 Timothy 4:19-22