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2 Timothy

Background

2 Timothy 1:1
Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, according to the promise of life which is in Christ Jesus,
NKJV

Background Information

Paul:  Paul is the Apostle to the Gentiles (Acts 9:15, Gal 2:9). Philippians 3:5, 6 is the way he describes himself to the church at Philippi. Paul was a Jew through and through. His love for his people is evident in his evangelistic method.  In each city, Paul would first go to the Jews and teach in their synagogues in an effort to win his people, Israel, to the Lord. Only after they rejected him and Jesus, did the Apostle turn to the Gentiles.

From Scripture we learn about Paul.

Timothy:  His name means “honoring God.”

Ephesus:  Ephesus was a leading center in the Roman Empire, a merchant capital full of paganism. Acts records two visits by Paul to the city, once on his second missionary journey (Acts 18:19-22) and the other an extended stay as part of his third missionary journey (Acts 20:31). 2 Timothy 1:18 is the only internal evidence in this letter that Timothy is actually in Ephesus.

Luke’s history records several amazing occurrences in the city during Paul’s extend stay:

The Letter: 2 Timothy is the last of Paul’s 13 letters found in the New Testament (Hebrews may or may not have been written by Paul and would be the 14th letter if Paul is the author). It is written from Rome (1:17). Acts 26-28 records Paul’s first arrest. This would have occurred in approximately 60-62. Tradition holds that Nero beheaded Paul on the Ostean Way. Eusebius (ca. 260–340 was bishop of Caesarea and the “father of church history”) quotes Dionysius of Corinth (ca. 170) to the effect that Paul and Peter were executed at the same time, although Peter was crucified. Beheading would have been the method of execution for a Roman citizen. Nero’s persecution of the Christians occurred in 66-68, with Nero’s life ending in 68. This makes Paul’s death falls sometime within this timeframe.  Since the letter talks of garments suitable for the upcoming winter (4:21), this letter is most likely written in the late summer or early fall, thus, allowing Timothy time to travel from Ephesus to Rome, stopping in Troas to pick up Paul’s clothing and books (4:13). Therefore, Paul’s death most likely comes in 67 or 68. Depending upon which commentary you prefer, these dates could be as early as 65.

All of Paul’s letters have certain characteristics that support the argument that what he writes are letters, but which also distinguish them from the letters of the day. These include:

Four of Paul’s letters were written to individuals, the balance to churches. Of these four, Philemon is clearly separate from 1 & 2 Timothy and Titus. These latter three are written to assist Paul’s “generals” in the field and to help them establish firm, strong churches in the areas where they are ministering. These 3 letters are collectively called the Pastoral Epistles. Timothy at the time of this letter is in Ephesus.

Notwithstanding the collective name of Pastoral Epistles, it is important to keep in mind that Timothy and Titus were NOT pastors in the modern day sense. They are field commanders sent to edify, strengthen, and organize churches previously established.

“Modern scholarship” does not believe Paul wrote many of the epistles carrying his name, including 2 Timothy. They generally conclude the letters had to have been written after 100 A.D., by one of Paul’s disciples who used fragments of Paul’s teachings and non-biblical writings to compose these letters in the apostle’s name.

Paul’s 4th Missionary Journey

Nothing is actually known about Paul’s life after Acts 28 except for a few stray traditions that have survived and the wishes he expressed in his letters. It is reasonably clear that one cannot fit the events of 1 & 2 Timothy and Titus into the events recorded in Acts. Therefore, it appears Paul was released from prison after Acts 28, only to be later arrested. 1 Timothy and Titus were written during this period of release and 2 Timothy written after the apostle’s second arrest.  A comparison of Titus 3:12 and 2 Timothy 4:21 requires that at least two winters are involved in the time frame covered by the Pastoral Epistles. Assuming that Paul more or less kept to the itinerary laid forth in his letters, the 4th missionary journey would be approximately like this:

Overall Theme of the Letter

The importance of God’s Word: 1:11, 12, 14; 2:3, 8, 9 15; 3:13-16; 4:1, 2

Sound Doctrine, Consecrated Living – the application of God’s Word to one’s life

Outline of the Book

 

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September 24, 2017

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