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Bible Commentaries

Bridgeway Bible Commentary

2 Timothy

- 2 Timothy

by Donald C. Fleming

2 Timothy

BACKGROUND

Some time after writing 1 Timothy and Titus, Paul left Macedonia. His exact route is unknown, but two of the places he visited were Corinth in the south of Greece and Miletus on the west coast of Asia Minor (2 Timothy 4:20). He also visited Troas to the north, but it seems that he must have been forced to leave Troas in a hurry, for he left behind some of his most valued possessions (2 Timothy 4:13). This suggests that Troas may have been the place where he was arrested. He was then taken to Rome, and from prison he wrote his final letter, 2 Timothy.

Last words to a fellow worker

When the government authorities in Rome laid their charges against Paul, he was deserted by friends that he thought would help him. But God rescued him from violence and enabled him to proclaim the gospel to his captors (2 Timothy 4:16-17). Nevertheless, Paul did not have the optimism of his first imprisonment. Instead of expecting release, he expected execution (2 Timothy 4:6-8).

With time running out, Paul wrote to Timothy to give him final encouragement and make some urgent requests. Because the church in Ephesus was still troubled by false teachers, Paul encouraged Timothy to persevere in giving wholesome Christian teaching and to avoid wasting time with senseless arguments (2 Timothy 1:6-8; 2 Timothy 2:14-16,2 Timothy 2:23-25; 2 Timothy 4:2,2 Timothy 4:5). He also wanted Timothy to come to Rome quickly (2 Timothy 4:9).

Paul was feeling cold and lonely in prison. He missed his friends, he needed warm clothing and he wanted his books (2 Timothy 4:9,2 Timothy 4:13,2 Timothy 4:21). He felt particularly sad that Demas, who had been with him faithfully during his first imprisonment, had now deserted him (2 Timothy 4:10; cf. Colossians 4:14). Some Christians visited him (2 Timothy 1:16-18; 2 Timothy 4:21), but others had gone to various places in the service of God (2 Timothy 4:10,2 Timothy 4:12). Only Luke was able to stay with him for any length of time (2 Timothy 4:11).

The two people that Paul most wanted to come and be with him in his closing days were Timothy and Mark, the two who as young men had set out with him many years earlier on his missionary journeys. Mark was probably working in Colossae, not far from Ephesus, where Timothy was at the time (2 Timothy 4:9,2 Timothy 4:11; cf. Colossians 4:10). It is not certain whether Timothy and Mark reached Rome before Paul’s execution. According to ancient writings, he was executed some time during the first half of the AD 60s.

OUTLINE

1:1-2:13

Encouragement to Timothy

2:14-4:5

An approved worker and false teachers

4:6-22

Paul’s last farewell