the Week of Proper 20 / Ordinary 25
The Expositor's Bible Commentary The Expositor's Bible Commentary
Book Overview - 2 Timothy
by Arend Remmers
The Second Epistle to Timothy (4 chapters)
a) Subject and Purpose of Epistle
This second epistle which was written several years after the first draws a totally different picture before our eyes. Paul was a prisoner again and awaited death. But the condition of the believers had deteriorated. The assemlies which Paul had so carefully planted and nourished departed more and more from their source of life and strength, the Lord Jesus. But even if the house of God, the church, is in decay because the believers become unfaithful to their Lord, the Lord Jesus abides faithful: He cannot deny Himself (2 Timothy 2:13).
Paul saw that his young co-worker Timothy might be frightened and maybe despair at his spiritual father's death as he might see himself all by his own amidst the beginning decline of Christendom. This is why Paul wrote to Timothy to encourage and strengthen him by this farewell epistle.
Paul could no longer write of the house of God or the church of the living God (1 Timothy 3:15). The departure had so much progressed that he had to write of a great house with vessels to honour and some to dishonour (2 Timothy 2:20). In the first epistle Paul had given instructions regarding elders and deacons. This indicated the normal state of the churches. For he had himself as apostle and depute of the Lord appointed elders (see Acts 14:23; Acts 20:17; Acts 20:28; Philippians 1:1). This second epistle however gives mostly personal exhortations to Timothy, such as the thrice repeated 'but you...' (3:10 ,14; 4:5).
But there is neither giving way nor resignation! However bad and difficult the time, the strength of God and the grace of the Lord Jesus remain the same forever. This is why the epistle has been an encouragement through the ages for those Christians who want to follow their Lord and Saviour faithfully.
'In Christ Jesus'
In spite of the decay of Christendom the Lord Jesus remains always the same. In Him everything is sure and stable. In this epistle we, therefore, find seven times the expression 'in Christ Jesus':
• Life (chap. 1:1)
• Saving Grace (chap. 1:9)
• Faith and Love (chap. 1:13)
• Keeping Grace (chap. 2:1)
• Salvation (chap. 2:10)
• Godly Living (chap. 3:12)
• Faith (chap. 3:15)
c) Overview of Contents
• 2 Timothy 1 - Sufferings of a Servant of the Lord
• 2 Timothy 2 - Ministry of a Servant of the Lord
• 2 Timothy 3 - Resources of a Servant at Decline of Christendom
• 2 Timothy 4 - A Faithful Servant and a Faithful Lord