2 Timothy

This is Paul's last letter. He wrote it while he was in prison (1:8; 2:9). And he knew that he was going to die soon (4:6). It was his last opportunity to advise young Timothy. There are two main subjects in this book. First, there are the Christian leader's personal values. Then there is the fact that his work would bring suffering. Paul gave his usual greeting (1:1-2). Then he wrote about:

Memories (Chapter 1:3-7)

Paul's life on earth would end soon. He remembered the past. And this was a natural thing to do. He was grateful about many things. There were his own ancestors (that is, members of his family who had lived long before). They served God too (1:3). And Paul remembered several things about Timothy. There was his love (1:4). He had genuine faith. It was the same faith as his mother and his grandmother had (1:5). Then there was the gift that God gave to him. God did this when Paul put his hands on Timothy (1:6). Most of all, Paul remembered how generous God had been (1:7).

Benefits (Chapter 1:8-18)

There were times when Paul felt lonely (1:15; 4:16). But he understood spiritual realities more than ever before. In God's power, he could bear suffering (1:8). Through God's Son, he declared grace (1:9-11). By God's Spirit, he followed the truth. He realized its great value (1:12-18). Christ trusted Paul to share the Gospel. And Paul was confident that the Spirit would protect it. We, too, guard (1:14) what he protects (1:12).

Paul had many hard times. And many people left him. They did not support him. But one family was different. The family of Onesiphorus often helped him. They were especially kind in two different cities, where Paul was far away from his home. People there opposed Christian believers (1:15-18). So it was not easy for that family to support Paul.

Ideal Examples (Chapter 2:1-26)

This chapter describes seven kinds of people. They showed what Christian life and service should be like. Paul's work would end soon. And he wanted people like this to continue the work (2:1-2). There would be difficult times. People would oppose them. And there would be persecution.

But service for Christ demands:

  • the soldier who is loyal (2:3-4).
  • the runner who obeys the rules (2:5).
  • the farmer who works hard (2:6-7).
  • the person who accepts suffering (2:6-13). The sufferer must remember three things. First, he or she should remember Jesus Christ. He suffered much and died. But he completely overcame. Second, a sufferer should remember God's word. Nobody can tie God's word with chains, like they tied Paul. Third, he or she should remember God's promises. Everyone can always trust them.
  • the Bible teacher who is faithful (2:14-19). He must be someone who uses the truth in the right way. [Note: Greek was the first language of the New Testament, and the Greek word here means to plough a straight line. The Old Testament translation uses this word too. It is in Proverbs 3:6 and 11:5.]
  • The Bible teacher's conversation is important too. He must not argue about words. There is no profit in talk like this. It ruins those people who listen (2:14). He should stay away from people whose talk does not come from God (2:16). Such talk spreads like an illness inside the body (2:17). And it destroys the faith of some people (2:18).
  • The person who is useful (2:20-22). This person is like a dish in the home. There are different uses for each one (2:20). But the dish should be clean. It cannot decide what it wants to have on it. The dish should be ready for any use that its owner has for it (2:21).
  • The slave who is kind (2:22-26). God's servant must be gentle and kind. Each one must be like this with people who oppose him or her. Maybe such people will repent and come to know the truth. Then they will escape from the devil's (Satan's) trap.

Chapter 3:1-9 Dangers

For Paul, ‘the last days’ had already come. And it is the same for us. Paul described people who loved themselves and who loved money (3:2). They loved pleasure more than they loved God (3:4). And we read about the same things in our daily newspapers.

Paul knew that there were people who were not sincere. They were religious. But their lives showed that they did not really serve God (3:5). These people had bad standards for themselves. And they tried hard to get other people to be the same (3:6-9).

Paul mentioned two men who came from Egypt. Their names were Jannes and Jambres (3:8). They were workers of magic. Their names are not in the Old Testament. But they are in other literature. The Jews wrote about them. And so did other writers who were not religious. They were in early Christian literature too. These men opposed Moses. But they were not successful. Everybody could see this. And it would be the same for the false teachers of Paul's time too (3:9).

Faithful Teaching (Chapters 3:10-4:8)

This passage tells about Paul's last task for Timothy. Paul urged him to be a faithful teacher. He must recognize three things about teaching. There was:

Its cost (3:10-13). Paul mentioned the present. He was patient and never stopped his work (3:10). Next, he spoke about the past. Paul suffered much during his first journey as a missionary (3:11). Then he warned about the future. There would be persecution for every person who lived for Christ (3:12-13).

Its nature (3:14-17) Timothy had received a message. His mother, grandmother (1:5) and Paul (2:1) gave it to him. But the message came from God's word.

[Note: This is our Old Testament.]

There is nothing else like it. It:

  • gives wisdom
  • offers salvation
  • brings honour to Christ
  • provides instructions
  • helps with discipline
  • describes resources.

Its importance (4:1-8). Timothy must preach the word at all times (4:2). He must do it even when times are hard (4:3-4). And this work must continue to the end of time.

These were Paul's last instructions to Timothy. They began and ended with a promise. It was the promise of Christ's return (4:1, 8). There would be teachers who said things that people wanted to hear. And these people would look for teachers that pleased them (4:3-4). Paul contrasted Timothy to them. Timothy was loyal to the truth (4:5). And Paul spoke about his own service for God (4:6-8). He had been a good example. He had been faithful as a soldier, a runner and a Bible teacher (4:7).

Helpers (Chapter 4:9-22)

Paul knew that he could not achieve all this on his own. Some friends disappointed him. Demas left him (4:10). And Alexander did many bad things against him (4:14-15). But other people supported him very much. Doctor Luke always supported him (4:11. Read Colossians 4:14). There were loyal partners too. And he mentioned some of them by name. They were Crescens, Titus (4:10) and Tychicus (4:12). Then there was Mark, who was very helpful. And he would now be useful to Paul (4:11. Read Acts 13:13 and 15:36-40). Paul stayed in the home of Carpus (4:13). There were many other believers too (4:19-22). But we do not know what their exact service was.

Paul mentioned 17 people in this passage. (This included the ones who left him.) Then there was Timothy himself (4:21). They supported Paul. They were his helpers. And they must continue the work. Soon Paul would finish his fight. Soon he would win the race (4:7).

The Lord stayed with Paul all the time. The Lord gave him strength (4:17). And the same Lord would be with all of his servants (4:22). He would bring them home safely (4:18).