Paul’s Second Epistle to Timothy

Paul is now back in prison, not under house arrest as during his first detention in Rome, but in a cold dungeon where even his friends took a time to find him. This is the last letter Paul wrote. His mixed emotions of confidence in his salvation, his desperation to see Timothy again, and his concern for the welfare of the church can all be found in his words.

Greetings and encouragement

[1] Paul demonstrates his great affection for Timothy in his greeting by referring to him as his ‘dearly beloved child’. He gives thanks to God for Timothy’s continued faith and expresses his great desire to see him again. He encourages him to be strong in the Spirit of power and love, and not to be ashamed of the gospel, given by grace, which is the way to eternal life. Paul reminds Timothy that many of his own followers in Asia had turned away from him, then offers a prayer for the house of Onesiphorus who had supported him and shown kindness to him.

Advice for the pastor

[2] Timothy is encouraged to continue to be strong in his faith and to teach others so they too will be able to teach. As Christ suffered and died, all his servants must suffer and (their old selves) die for him, for if we suffer, we will also reign with him. Paul exhorts Timothy to study to show himself approved of God, and to shun false teachings that will lead to more ungodliness, citing the examples of Hymenaeus and Philetus. He is urged to purge himself of anything less than pure, in order that he might be a vessel worthy for the use of his Master. To accomplish this he must flee youthful lusts, follow the path of faith, love and peace, and avoid being sidetracked by foolish and unlearned questions designed to produce strife. An atmosphere of gentility and meekness, not strife, is the way to bring people to God.

Troubles ahead

[3] Paul warns Timothy there will be troubles to come from a growing number of people who will appear to be godly, but will love the pleasures of this life more than God. Numerous sinful faults are listed, but the deceit is that they will influence people who will learn from them, and who will never come to the knowledge of the truth in God’s word. These deceivers, as well as afflictions and persecutions, will continue and grow. Hence the importance of scripture is emphasised as the rock on which the Christian life is built, for All Scripture is God breathed, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be perfected, thoroughly furnished to every good work.

Preach and evangelise; final requests and greetings

[4] Timothy is exhorted to continue to preach and evangelise, for false teachers will grow in numbers with people hearing what they want to hear, rather than what they should hear. Paul knows the end is not far away for him. Many have deserted him, but Luke is still with him at the prison. A plea is made for Timothy to come to see him, to bring Paul’s cloak, some books and parchments and to bring Mark with him. People Timothy should be aware of are mentioned. Those who send their greetings and those whom Paul asks Timothy to greet are named. Paul’s letter then ends with the words, May the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit. Grace be with you. Amen.
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