2 Timothy

Reading 0,11 - 4 Chapters - 83 verses - 1,703 words

Vital Statistics

 Purpose: To give final instruction and encouragement to Timothy, pastor of the church at Ephesus
 Original audience:  Timothy
 Author:  Paul 
 Date written:  Approximately A.D. 66 or 67, from prison in Rome. After a year or two of freedom. Paul was arrested again and executed under Emperor Nero
 Setting:  Paul was virtually alone in prison; only Luke was with him Paul wrote this letter to pass the torch to the new generation of church leaders. He also asked for visits from his friends and for his books, especially the papers – possibly parts of the Old Testament, the Gospels, and other biblical manuscripts  
 Key verse:  Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth. (2:15)
 Key people:  Paul, Timothy, Luke, Mark, and others 
 Special features:  Because this is Paul's last letter, it reveals his heart and his priorities – sound doctrine, steadfast faith, confident endurance, and lasting love 


Author, Date and Setting

    After Paul's release from prison in Rome in A.D. 62 (Ac 28) and after his fourth missionary journey, during which he wrote 1 Timothy and Titus, Paul was again imprisoned under Emperor Nero c. 66-67. It was during this time that he wrote 2 Timothy. In contrast to his first imprisonment, when he lived in a "rented house" (Ac 28:30), he how languished in a cold dungeon, chained like a common criminal (1:16; 2:9). His friends even had a hard time finding out where he was being kept (1:17). Paul knew that his work was done and that his life was nearly at an end (4:6-8). 

Reasons for Writing

    Paul had three reasons for writing to Timothy at this time:
    1. Paul was lonely. Phygelus and Hermogenes, "everyone in the province of Asia" (1:15), and Demas (4:10) had deserted him. Crescens, Titus and Tychicus were away (4:10-12), and only Luke was with him (4:11). Paul wanted very much for Timothy to join also. Timothy was his "fellow worker" (Ro 16:21), who "as a son with his father" (Php 2:22) had served closely with Paul (1Co 4:17). Of him Paul could say, "I have no one else like him" (Php 2:20). Paul longed for Timothy (1:4) and twice asked him to come soon (4:9,21). For more information on Timothy see introduction to 1 Timothy: Recipient.    
    2. Paul was concerned about the welfare of the churches during this time of persecution under Nero, and he admonishes Timothy to guard the gospel (1:14), to persevere in ti (3:14), to keep on preaching it (4:2) and, if necessary, to suffer for it (1:8; 2:3).
    3. Paul wanted to write to the Ephesian church through his letter to Timothy (4:22).

How to read 2 Timothy

    The last words of a person facing imminent death often make a significant impact. This is certainly the case in Paul’s last letter to his beloved disciple and faithful colleague! Paul, imprisoned in Rome for the second time, faced certain martyrdom. The clarity and power of these his final words not only served Timothy, his son in the faith, but have echoed through the hearts of believers around the world down through the ages. Certainly his “dying words” are words to live by!

    Paul’s passionate advice is just as vital for us as it was for Timothy back in his day: Guard the priceless gift—the pure gospel of salvation by grace alone; endure hardship; rely on God’s inspired Word; and stay focused on spreading the gospel.

Watch for pithy statements, as Paul attempts to pull together the wisdom of a lifetime of service to God. Note particularly the ways he challenged Timothy to a more effective ministry. The nuggets hidden here were forged in the crucible of life-threatening experiences, but they point to the hope that belongs to all of us in Jesus Christ.

2 Timothy Interpretive Challenges

There are no major challenges in this letter involving theological issues. There is limited data regarding several individuals named in the epistle; eg., Phygelus and Hermogenes (1:15), Onesiphorus (1:16; cf. 4:19), Hymenaeus and Philetus (2:17, 18), Jannes and Jambres (3:8), and Alexander (4:14)


I. Introduction (1:1-4)

II. Paul’s Concern for Timothy (1:5-14)

III. Paul’s Situation (1:15-18)

IV. Special Instructions to Timothy (ch.2)

A. Call for Endurance (2:1-13)

B. Warning about Foolish Controversies (2:14-26)

V. Warning about the Last Days (ch.3)

A. Terrible Times (3:1-9)

B. Means of Combating (3:10-17)

VI. Paul’s Departing Remarks (4:1-8)

A. Charge to Preach the Word (4:1-5)

B. Paul’s Victorious Prospect (4:6-8)

VII. Final Request, Greetings and Benediction 4:9-22)

2 Timothy Horizontal

1:1 - Paul an apostle

1:2 - To Timothy



1:3 - Your sincere faith




1:8 - Do not be ashamed




1:15 - Turned away from me


2:1 - Be strong


2:8 - Remember Jesus Christ



2:14 - Remind them

the Lord’s



2:20 - The Lord’s servant




3:1 - Distressing times


3:10 - As for you, continue

Us vs.


4:1 - Proclaim the message



4:6 - Time of my departure



4:9 - Come to me soon


4:16 - Lord will rescue me




4:19 - Greet



4:22 - Lord be with you

God's character in 2 Timothy

  1. God is powerful - 1:8
  2. God is a promise keeper - 1:1
  3. God is wise - 2:19

Christ in 2 Timothy

    Paul's second letter encourages Timothy to keep close to the "sound words which you have heard from me, in the faith and love which are in Christ Jesus" (1:13). Left to carry on Paul's ministry, Timothy was reminded of the person of Christ (2:8; 4:1, 8), and his call to "preach the word" (4:2). Timothy was promised persecution by following Christ (3:12), yet he was urged to keep strong in the faith "which is in Christ Jesus" (3:15).