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- 2 Timothy
by Rhoderick D. Ice
INTRODUCTION TO THE SECOND LETTER TO TIMOTHY
The year is 67 A.D. Paul is in chains, imprisoned at Rome for the second time. This time he is not allowed to live by himself (Acts 28:16) but is placed in the dungeon. This Letter he writes from Rome to Timothy, is the last he will ever write. Perhaps three months after this, he will be executed (beheaded) as a criminal (armed terrorist) who had tried to destroy the city. [The Christians were made the scapegoat for the burning of Rome.] Peter was also executed in Rome about his same time, crucified upside-down. The uniform testimony of the early church verifies these things.
Jewish “knowledge” was a great threat to Christianity as Paul wrote these Letters to Timothy and Titus. Some of the circumcision party had found elements of Greek Philosophy which pleased them. The Gnostics claimed that to reach God, very special knowledge was necessary, and a strict asceticism. This permitted certain Jews to claim that the Law of Moses and the Jewish dietary restrictions gave that special knowledge and asceticism. Two evil extremes grew out of this: (1) the grace of God was turned into debauchery (see 1 Timothy 6:3-5; 2 Timothy 3:1-9); (2) a legalistic asceticism (see 1 Timothy 4:3). This was especially dangerous, because it claimed to be grounded in God’s Old Testament revelation. These Scriptures were used to invent legends and lists of names to “prove” what they wanted to prove. They said Jesus Christ could not have come as a human being, since all matter (material things) was evil, and this would have involved Him in sin. Paul stresses that Jesus came as a man (1 Timothy 2:5; 1 Timothy 3:16). See also 1 John 4:2-3. The Letters to Timothy and Titus are a positive and healthy affirmation of the good life in Christ, who is the Wisdom of God! Read also the introduction to First Timothy.
Timothy, Paul’s dear son in the gospel, is still in distant Ephesus. Paul would like to see him once more, as he writes from the dungeon. He asks Timothy to come to him (at Rome) soon! The key to this Letter is found in 2 Timothy 1:8. Paul writes to help him understand the ghastly events which would make both of them martyrs for Christ! [Timothy would outlive Paul by some twenty-five years.]
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