In the first chapter of this letter we learn that Paul is in Rome. Rome: according to Acts, this was Paul’s final landing place. He was under house arrest, awaiting trial for stirring up trouble in Judea, all the while welcoming all who came to him, proclaiming the kingdom of God and teaching about the Lord Jesus Christ with all boldness and without hindrance.
The first letter to Timothy, who was stationed in Ephesus, was weighted toward concern for the proper functioning of the church: proper roles, proper conduct and the like. This second letter is composed with much more concern for encouraging Paul’s “beloved child” himself: “Do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord, nor me as His prisoner… be strengthened by the grace that is in Christ Jesus… Remember Jesus Christ, risen from the dead… You have followed my teaching, my aim in life, my faith… I charge you in the presence of God: preach the word.
There are signs woven throughout that Paul is looking beyond this life: the reason that Paul is not ashamed, the difficulties of the last days, the establishment of Scripture for teaching, reproof, correction, and training in righteousness. It is certain that Paul realizes his own chapter is closing, as he confides, “I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure has come.”
There is, finally, a sense of personal urgency and affection throughout this letter, which is best displayed in the closing. It is wonderfully…human, living, when Paul asks:
Do your best to come to me soon. For Demas, in love with this present world, has deserted me and gone to Thessalonica. Crescens has gone to Galatia, Titus to Dalmatia. Luke alone is with me. Get Mark and bring him with you, for he is very useful to me for ministry. Tychicus I have sent to Ephesus. When you come, bring the cloak that I left with Carpus at Troas, also the books, and above all the parchments.”
Our verse for this week is Psalm 71:3: Be to me a rock of refuge, to which I continually come; You have given the command to save me, for You are my rock and my fortress.
The Epistle of 2 Timothy. Now let’s read it!
Be to me a rock of refuge,
to which I may continually come;
you have given the command to save me,
for you are my rock and my fortress.