Daily Devotion Text

August 10, 2017

2 Timothy 1

By carmenhsu In 2 Timothy, Devotion Text with Comments Off on 2 Timothy 1
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A Study Through the Book of 2 Timothy

The first two verses of 2 Timothy clearly present the author as Paul and the recipient as Timothy. As with 1 Timothy and Titus (the other two “Pastoral Epistles”), the authorship of 2 Timothy has been challenged in the past 200 years. The challenges to Pauline authorship are the same as those leveled against 1 Timothy (see Introduction to 1 Timothy: Author and Title). However, a number of the scholars who deny Pauline authorship of 1 Timothy and Titus still affirm Pauline authorship of 2 Timothy. The arguments for the authenticity of 1 Timothy apply to 2 Timothy as well, providing a good basis for affirming the straightforward claims of 2 Timothy (and of 1 Timothy and Titus) to be authentic letters written by Paul.

The letter pictures Paul in prison in Rome, awaiting death. Most likely, then, this letter was written during Paul’s second Roman imprisonment (later than the imprisonment recorded in Acts 28). Therefore this letter would have been written after 1 Timothy and Titus. Eusebius (Ecclesiastical History 2.25; 3.1) claims that Paul was martyred sometime during Nero’s reign (which ended in A.D. 68, but intense persecution began in 64). Since Paul wrote 2 Timothy shortly before his death, it was probably written in A.D. 64–65, though some would place it as late as 67. [1]

This is Paul’s final (preserved) letter. At the end, we learn that its primary purpose was to urge Timothy to join Paul in Rome posthaste (4:9, 21) and to bring Mark and some personal items along with him when he comes (4:11, 13). Timothy is to be replaced by Tychicus, the presumed bearer of the letter (4:12). The reason for haste is the onset of winter (4:21) and the fact that Paul’s preliminary court hearing has already taken place (4:16).

But the majority of the letter is very little concerned about this matter and very much an appeal to Timothy to remain loyal to Paul and his gospel by embracing suffering and hardship. And in this sense it also becomes a community document (hence the plural “you” in 4:22b), implicitly urging the believers to loyalty as well. This appeal is made in the context of the continuing influence of the false teachers (2:16-18; 3:13), the defection of many (1:15), and Paul’s expected execution (4:6-8).

Everything in the letter reflects these matters, including the thanksgiving (1:3-5) and the concluding personal matters and instructions (4:9-18). The body of the letter is comprised of three major appeals to loyalty (1:6-2:13; 2:14-3:9; 3:10-4:8), each of which follows a similar ABA pattern, which together create the same pattern for the whole letter. In the first appeal it is loyalty-defection-loyalty (1:6-14/1:15-18/2:1-13); in the second it is opposition-loyalty-opposition (2:14-19/2:20-26/3:19); in the third it is Paul’s loyalty-appeal-Paul’s loyalty (3:10-12/3:14-4:2, 5/4:6-8), interspersed with notes about opposition and desertion (3:13; 4:3-4). In the larger picture, the first and third sections are mostly appeal, while the sandwiched section is mostly about the opposition.[2]

[1] ESV: Study Bible : English Standard Version. Wheaton, Ill: Crossway Bibles, 2008. 2335. 

[2] Fee, Gordon D, and Douglas K. Stuart. How to Read the Bible Book by Book: A Guided Tour. Grand Rapids, Mich: Zondervan, 2002. 379-380.



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