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2 Timothy Background & Introduction

  1. 2 Timothy 
  • 4 chapters, 83 verses, and 1,666 words (KJV)
  • Written during Paul’s second imprisonment, shortly before his martyrdom. This is Paul’s last known written work.
  • 1 of the 3 epistles written to local Church leaders. These are considered the “Pastoral Epistles”. They include 1 and 2 Timothy along with Titus. Although not often categorized as one of Paul’s four “Prison Epistles” (Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, and Philemon) when he was under house arrest, some scholars do classify 2 Timothy in the category because Paul was imprisoned during its writing.
  • In this work, Paul realizes that his earthly life is coming to an end, nonetheless, he looks to equip Timothy to carry on ministry (Particularly in Ephesus). 

Broad outline:

  • Salutation (1:1-2)
  • Personal Prolegomena [Introduction] (1:3-18)
  • Gospel Charges (2:1-26)
  • Apostasy Charges (3:1-8)
  • Affirmation and Further Charges (3:9-4:8)
  • Personal Epistolary [Notes] (4:9-21)
  • Benediction (4:21-22)

Conceptual outline:

  • 2 Timothy 1
    • Unashamed testimony & sound doctrine
  • 2 Timothy 2
    • Be strong & endure
  • 2 Timothy 3 
    • Live Godly & be perfect
  • 2 Timothy 4
    • Preach the Word & finish the course
  1. Notes regarding the nature of 2 Timothy 
  • 2 Timothy is a reliable source for those who are equipped with sound doctrine and now need to be sent. Timothy had been taught by Paul and now Paul teaches Timothy to stand strong in grace (2:1) and to preach the Word (4:1)! Timothy had been sent already; however, Paul exhorts Timothy to remain in his calling and continue on a “good soldier of Jesus Christ’ (2:3).
  • With Timothy as Paul’s spiritual “beloved son” (1:2; 2:1), Paul is essentially asking for spiritual grandchildren in his passing.
  • This letter was written during a period of persecution by Emperor Nero. Because of this persecution and the fear many possessed, Paul felt the weight of abandonment and even urged Timothy and Mark to come and see him (4:9-13).
  • Contextually, we can see why Paul was urging Timothy to replace fear with the things of God (1:7).
  • As stated in Enriching Grace’s 1 Timothy study, both letters to Timothy are preparatory for passing the mantle of ministry on to a younger generation of Christians by teaching sound doctrine. 
  • Lastly, 2 Timothy has cornerstone verses defending divine inspiration, inerrancy, and the purpose of Scripture (2:15; 3:15-17). 2 Timothy is an important epistle for accurate Christian understanding of the Holy Bible.
  1. Notes on Timothy
  • Native to Lystra (City in what is present-day Turkey) (Acts 16:1). 
  • Believed in the Gospel, possibly through the ministry of Paul.
  • First joined Paul on Paul’s second missionary journey (Acts 16:1-4)
  • Before joining Paul’s ministry, Timothy was circumcised to be able to better minister to Jewish populations. 
  • Was dispatched to preach in Thessalonica, Corinth, Macedonia, and Ephesus.
  1. Date: It is commonly held that Paul was martyred by beheading in A.D. 67 (According to Jerome), placing 2 Timothy written shortly prior. However, some scholars argue that the writing is slightly or drastically later. 
  2. Title: To Timothy (1:2) in Ephesus (4:19)
  3. Ephesus background:
  • Great commercial center in Asia Minor (In now modern-day Turkey).
  • Situated on the Cayster River, which comes out on the Aegean Sea.
  • Notable for the temple of Artemis (Diana), one of the wonders of the world (Acts 19:27).
  1. Author: The Apostle Paul (1:1)
  2. Written from: Mamertine prison (Traditionally) in Rome, during his second Roman imprisonment (1:17). The apostle had a preliminary hearing and was awaiting his final (4:16).

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