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!
2 Timothy -
1:1 Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God according to the promise of the life that is in Christ Jesus,
To Timothy, my beloved child:
Grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.
I thank God whom I serve, as did my ancestors, with a clear conscience, as I remember you constantly in my prayers night and day. As I remember your tears, I long to see you, that I may be filled with joy. I am reminded of your sincere faith, a faith that dwelt first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice and now, I am sure, dwells in you as well. For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands, for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.
Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord, nor of me his prisoner, but share in suffering for the gospel by the power of God, who saved us and called us to a holy calling, not because of our works but because of his own purpose and grace, which he gave us in Christ Jesus before the ages began, and which now has been manifested through the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus, who abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel, for which I was appointed a preacher and apostle and teacher, which is why I suffer as I do. But I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed, and I am convinced that he is able to guard until that day what has been entrusted to me. Follow the pattern of the sound words that you have heard from me, in the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. By the Holy Spirit who dwells within us, guard the good deposit entrusted to you.
You are aware that all who are in Asia turned away from me, among whom are Phygelus and Hermogenes. May the Lord grant mercy to the household of Onesiphorus, for he often refreshed me and was not ashamed of my chains, but when he arrived in Rome he searched for me earnestly and found me—may the Lord grant him to find mercy from the Lord on that day!—and you well know all the service he rendered at Ephesus.