The Epistles of Paul the Apostle to Timothy, written by the apostle to his friend Timothy at Lystra, tell of the conditions in the church and describe the qualifications and duties of church officers. Second Timothy contains Paul’s request that Timothy come to Rome to see him.
Two key passages to look at:
II Timothy 2:3-4 – “You therefore must endure hardship as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. No one engaged in warfare entangles himself with the affairs of this life, that he may please him who enlisted him as a soldier.”
II Timothy 3:14-17 – “But you must continue in the things which you have learned and been assured of, knowing from whom you have learned them, and that from childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.”
Key Chapter: II Timothy 2
Observations about II Timothy:
– Prison is the last place from which to expect a letter of encouragement, but that is exactly where Paul’s second letter to Timothy originates.
– He begins by assuring Timothy of his continuing love and prayers, and he reminds him of his spiritual heritage and responsibilities.
– Only the one who perseveres, whether as a soldier, athlete, farmer, or minister of Jesus Christ, will reap the reward.
– Paul warns Timothy that his teaching will come under attack as men desert the truth for ear “itching “ words (4:3).
– But Timothy has Paul’s example to guide him and God’s Word to fortify him as he faces growing opposition and glowing opportunities in the last days.
– Timothy’s conversion took place when Paul was in Lystra on his first missionary journey (Acts 14:8-20).
– When he visited Lystra on his second missionary journey, Paul decided to take Timothy with him and circumcised him because of the Jews (Acts 16:1-3)
– Timothy was a valuable asset to the ministry and served as a devoted helper to Paul in Troas, Berea, Thessalonica, and Corinth.
– During his third missionary journey, Timothy labored with Paul during his first Roman imprisonment and evidently went to Philippi (2:19-23) after Paul’s release.
– In 2 Timothy 2 Paul lists the keys to a productive ministry (2:1-2), an enduring ministry (2:3-13), a studying ministry (2:14-18), and a holy ministry (2:19-26).
Paul knows as he writes this final epistle that his days on earth are quickly drawing to a close. About to relinquish his heavy burdens, the godly apostle seeks to challenge and strengthen his somewhat timid but faithful associate, Timothy, in his difficult ministry in Ephesus. In spite of Paul’s bleak circumstances, this is a letter of encouragement that urges Timothy on to steadfastness in the fulfillment of his divinely appointed task. Paul calls Timothy a “good soldier of Jesus Christ” (2:3).
It is clear from the sharp imperatives that this letter is really a combat manual for use in the spiritual warfare:
a. “Stir up” (1:6)
b. “Do not be ashamed” (1:8, 12-13)
c. “Share with me in the sufferings” (1:8)
d. “Hold fast . . . sound words” (1:13)
e. “That good thing . . . keep” (1:14)
f. “Be strong” (2:1)
g. “Endure hardship” (2:3)
h. “Be diligent to present yourself approved” (2:15)
i. “Flee . . . pursue” (2:22)
j. “Avoid” (2:23)
k. “You . . . must beware” (4:15)
– Central to everything in II Timothy is the sure foundation of the Word of God.
There are two major sections in the book wherein Paul focuses on the need to:
After his salutation to his “beloved son” (1:2), Paul expresses his thanksgiving for Timothy’s “genuine faith” (1:15). He then encourages Timothy to stand firm in the power of the gospel and to overcome any fear in the face of opposition. At personal risk, Onesiphorus boldly sought out Paul in Rome, but most of the Asian
Christians failed to stand behind Paul at the time of his arrest. Timothy must remain faithful and not fear possible persecution. Paul then exhorts his spiritual son to reproduce in the lives of others what he has received in Christ. Four generations are mentioned in 2:2 – “And the things you have
heard from me among many witnesses, commit these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.
Timothy must work hard and discipline himself like a teacher, soldier, farmer, workman, vessel, or servant.
He is to follow the example of Paul in perseverance (2:1-13). In his dealings with others, Timothy must not become entangled in false speculation,
foolish quarrels, or youthful lusts, which would hamper his effectiveness. As he pursues “righteousness, faith, love, peace,” (2:22), he must know how to
overcome error graciously.
Paul anticipates a time of growing apostasy and wickedness when men and women will be increasingly susceptible to empty religiosity and false teaching (3:1-9).
Arrogance and godlessness will breed further deception and persecution, but Timothy must not waver in using the Scripture to combat doctrinal error and moral evil (3:10-17). The Scriptures are inspired (“God-breathed”) and with them Timothy is equipped to carry out the ministry to which he was called.
Paul’s final exhortation to Timothy (4:1-5) is a classic summary of the task of the man of God to proclaim the gospel in spite of opposing circumstances.
Paul longs to see Timothy before the end, and he also needs certain articles, especially “the parchments” (probably portions of the Old Testament Scriptures).