Introduction to 2 Timothy

A letter from death row

Paul’s final words challenge Timothy to protect and pass on the truth

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.

Who wrote this book and when?

The apostle Paul wrote it to Timothy, probably in AD 66 or 67, while he was held in a Roman prison after the great fire of Rome. Although set by Nero, the fire became the trigger that launched the first major persecution of the church when they were unjustly blamed for the fire.

How does it fit into the big story?

Paul, imprisoned in Rome for the second time, realized he would not be released. Many of his supporters, perhaps thinking things were hopeless, had abandoned him in prison. As Nero’s crazed antics resulted in the death of thousands of believers, Paul knew that his remaining time on earth was short. His difficult circumstances, his concern for the churches he’d planted, and his love for Timothy spurred him to write these final words.

SourceView Insights

All the SourceView text is black because Paul’s letter contains only his side of this written conversation with Timothy. The letter is displayed with a cursive script to give it a handwritten feel and allow us to relive the experience of reading this divinely inspired letter.

World English Bible (WEB)
a Public Domain Modern English translation
of the Holy Bible.

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