New Testament Survey: The Book Of Second Timothy
The Book Of Second Timothy
- Paul (2 Tim 1:1)(Autobiographical details of Paul’s life are also alluded to in 2 Tim 1:8-18, 2 Tim 3:10-11, and 2 Tim 4:9-22)
(For more on Paul see: Survey: Biography Of Paul)
- Two key phrases found in 2nd Timothy are the same as what are found in Paul’s Epistle to the Galatians:
- “To whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.” (2 Tim 4:18) / (Gal 1:5)
- “before God” (2 Tim 2:14)(2 Tim 4:1) / (Gal 1:20)
- As we discussed in 1st Timothy, a few in recent times have questioned the Pauline authorship of the “Pastoral Epistles” because of such things as: they differ in vocabulary and language from Paul’s other Epistles, they do not fit into Acts as do other Pauline letters, etc… However, most scholars easily refute these claims and do not give them much credibility.
- Nearly everyone is curious to know what a person’s dying words were. While the words in this letter were not Paul’s very last words, they were his last written words as far as we know. This is a very personal, intimate and heartfelt letter, that is much less formal than Paul’s usual letters. Calvin described it as, “written not with ink, but with Paul’s own blood.”
- The early church fathers (Clement of Rome, Ignatius, Polycarp, Irenaeus, Clement of Alexandria, Tertullian, Hippolytus, Origen, Eusebius) agreed that Paul authored this book.
- Nearly all scholars agree that this is the last of the 13 Epistles that Paul wrote.
- Chapters: 4
- Verses: 83
- Likely in fall of 67 A.D. (Paul asked Timothy to come before winter: 2 Tim 4:21)(Written about 3-5 years after 1st Timothy, during Paul’s 2nd Roman imprisonment, and shortly before he was to be martyred.)
- We know that Emperor Nero reigned in Rome from 54 A.D., until he was killed on June 8, 68 A.D.
- On July 18, 64 A.D., there was a great fire (lasting 6-7 days) that destroyed about 3/4 of Rome. It was suspected that Nero himself started this fire (he was a very unstable person), so in order to divert attention away from himself, he placed the blame for it on Christians, who were already unpopular at the time.
- Nero rounded up Christians by the thousands and killed them in horrible ways. Some were crucified, some thrown to the lions in the coliseum, some wrapped in animal skins and hunted to death by dogs, some were rolled in tar and lit on fire to light Nero’s parties at night.
- Almost certainly having been released from his first Roman imprisonment prior to this fire, we know that Paul continued his missionary work. It is believed that this work continued for 2 to 4 years (62 or 63 A.D. to 65 or 66 A.D). During this time, he traveled to a number of cities. Some of these were likely: Macedonia (Phil 1:25)(Phil 2:24)(1 Tim 1:3), Troas (2 Tim 4:13), Spain (Rom 15:24), Ephesus (Phile 1:22)(1 Tim 3:14), Crete (Titus 1:5), Miletus and Corinth (2 Tim 4:20), and Nicopolis (Titus 3:12).
- Clement of Rome stated in his writings that after Paul’s first imprisonment, “In the east and west, Paul as a preacher instructed the whole world (i.e. the Roman Empire) in righteousness, and having gone to the extremity of the west, and having borne witness before the rulers (of Rome), he was so removed from the world.”
- We don’t know why, when, or where, but at some point while doing his missionary work, Paul was arrested (some believe in Nicopolis), taken to Rome, and imprisoned again. This second imprisonment was much worse than the first.
- In the first, he was imprisoned in his own rented house (Acts 28:30-31), guarded by only one soldier (Acts 28:16), was able to receive all visitors (Acts 28:17-22), and witness freely (Acts 28:23-28). He was imprisoned because of accusations made by the Jews, and was expecting release (Phil 1:23-26).
- In the second, he was chained (2 Tim 1:16) in a cold, dark dungeon (2 Tim 4:13) with only a small hole in the ceiling for contact with the outside world. (The Mamertine Prison which can be visited today.) He had limited opportunities to witness or receive visitors (most had abandoned him: verses below). He was imprisoned for crimes against the Roman Empire and was expecting to be executed rather than released (2 Tim 4:6-8).
- It was from here, at this time, that Paul wrote 2nd Timothy. He was martyred shortly afterwards, being beheaded. (Paul was a Roman citizen, so he could not be killed cruelly as many other Christians had been.) The traditional place that this occurred was the Tre Fontane, on the Ostian Way. Because Paul’s death might cause a disturbance (he even had friends in Caesar’s household: Phil 4:22), he was taken to this place outside of the city.
- Timothy in Ephesus (Paul’s “son” in the faith [1 Tim 1:2,18][2 Tim 1:2][1 Cor 4:17])
(2 Tim 1:7)(2 Tim 2:15-16,22-23)(2 Tim 3:1-7,12,16-17)(2 Tim 4:2,7-8)
- To encourage Timothy and give him final instructions on how to carry out his ministry to the church at Ephesus.
- To exhort Timothy to be faithful, especially under persecution (2 Tim 1:6-12)(2 Tim 2:3-4)(2 Tim 3:10-12).
(These were likely needed because it appears that Timothy may have struggled with people looking down on him (1 Tim 4:12), and also possibly with “youthful lusts” (2 Tim 2:22). Apparently, he may also have had problems with being fearful (2 Tim 1:7)(1 Cor 16:10-11) and being strong (2 Tim 2:1).)
- Almost everyone had deserted Paul (2 Tim 1:15)(2 Tim 4:10,16). Only Onesiphorus (2 Tim 1:16-18) and Luke (2 Tim 4:11) had been faithful to him. Paul wanted Timothy (and Mark) to come to him (2 Tim 4:9,11) “before winter” (2 Tim 4:21):
- for companionship
- to see him one last time in the flesh because Paul knew he was about to be martyred (2 Tim 4:6)
- to bring him his cloak, books, and parchments (2 Tim 4:13)
** We do not know if Timothy made it before Paul’s death or not, but it is believed that he did.
- 2nd Timothy contains the fullest description in the Bible of the conditions that will exist on the Earth before Jesus returns (2 Tim 3:1-9)(2 Tim 4:3-4). (When Paul says “itching ears” in 4:3, it is the only time the word “itching” is used in the Bible.)
- The word “doctrine” is used 4 times in 2nd Timothy. Only in 1st Timothy did Paul use this word more.
- The natural divisions are four:
1. The Apostle’s greeting, 1:1-18.
2. The pathway of an approved servant in a day of apostasy, 2:1-26.
3. Apostasy and the Word, 3:1-17.
4. A faithful servant and his faithful Lord, 4:1-22.
(Survey from Scofield Reference Notes [1917 ed.]: Public Domain)