“Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God according to the promise of the life that is in Christ Jesus, 2 To Timothy, my beloved child: Grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.” (2 Timothy 1:1–2 (ESV)
The third and last Pastoral Epistle by the Apostle Paul is 2 Timothy. The epistle is the second of two inspired letters Paul wrote to his beloved son in the faith, Timothy (1:2; 2:1). Paul wrote 2 Timothy, the climax of his inspired letters, shortly before his martyrdom (c. A.D. 67).
What is the historical context to 2 Timothy? To begin with, Paul was released from his first Roman imprisonment for a short period of time. It was during this period of time that he wrote 1 Timothy and Titus.
However, the Epistle of 2 Timothy Paul was once again in a Roman prison (1:16; 2:9). He apparently was rearrested as part of Nero’s persecution of Christians. Unlike Paul’s confident hope of release during his first imprisonment (Phil. 1:19, 25–26; 2:24; Philem. 22), this time he had no such hope (2 Tim. 4:6–8).
In Paul’s first imprisonment in Rome (c. A.D. 60–62), before Nero had begun the persecution of Christians (A.D. 64), he was only under house arrest and had opportunity for much interaction with people and ministry (Acts 28:16–31). At the time he wrote 2 Timothy, five or six years later (c. A.D. 66–67), he was in a cold cell (2 Tim. 4:13), in chains (2:9), and with no hope of deliverance (4:6).
Paul had been abandoned by virtually all of those close to him for fear of persecution (cf. 1:15; 4:9–12, 16) and he was facing imminent execution. He wrote to Timothy a second time urging him to hasten to Rome for one last visit with the apostle (2 Tim. 4:9, 21). We do not know whether Timothy made it to Rome before Paul’s execution. According to tradition, Paul was not released from this second Roman imprisonment, but suffered martyrdom (2 Timothy 4:6).
Dr. John MacArthur writes, “In this letter, Paul, aware the end was near, passed the non-apostolic mantle of ministry to Timothy (cf. 2:2) and exhorted him to continue to be faithful in his duties (1:6), to hold on to sound doctrine (1:13–14), to avoid error (2:15–18), to accept persecution for the gospel (2:3–4; 3:10–12), to put his confidence in the Scriptures, and to preach it relentlessly (3:15–4:5).”
There is more to come. I urge you to read 2 Timothy. Have a blessed day.
Soli deo Gloria!