2 Timothy (2 Tim)

Book 16 of the NT, having 4 chapters. Written by Paul, about AD 66, some 2 years after 1 Timothy.  This letter was addressed to his spiritual son, Timothy, who had remained at Ephesus to oversee the church. Time to read: 10 mins.

The key people are Paul and Timothy.

Outline. Paul was in prison and knew his life would soon be ended (2 Tim 4:6). Aware that this might be his last communication to Timothy he crammed it with further instruction – from which we all can learn. He exhorted Timothy to remain firmly grounded in Christ, despite the suffering during the difficult days ahead. Amongst the various teachings Paul gave, he said the last days will by characterized by sinfulness with people being “lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God” (2 Tim 3:1-4).

Main lesson. “Endure hardship…like a good soldier of Jesus Christ…All who will live godly [lives] will be persecuted” (2 Tim 2:3, 3:12). In the face of opposition we should continue to boldly and unashamedly live out our faith, unafraid of people, who can only destroy the body but not the eternal soul (Mt 10:28). “So do not be ashamed of Christ. He has saved us and called us to a Holy life – not because of anything we have done but because of His own purpose and grace” (2 Tim 1:8,9, 3:15).

Key verses and thoughts: * “I have been reminded of your sincere faith, which was first in your grandmother and mother and now you...fan into flame the gift of God which is in you...God doesn’t give a Spirit of fear but rather a Spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline" (2 Tim 1:5-7). If you have been blessed with a Christian heritage, don’t just coast along on the experience of others but forge ahead for a good foundation needs to be built upon. If you are the first generation in your family line to embrace Christianity ensure you live in such a way that those coming after you will want to be followers of Christ too. We all have abilities – we will be answerable to God for how we use them. Excuses are not accepted with God. Naturally we may be timid, but this should cast us more on Him – His resources are far greater than any deficiency we have. Take your eyes off your perceived weaknesses and fix them on Christ, the all-sufficient one.

* Paul confidently said, “I am not ashamed, because I know whom I have believed, and am convinced that He is able to guard what I have entrusted to Him for that day...Guard the good deposit that was entrusted to you – guard it with the help the Holy Spirit who lives in us” (2 Tim 1:12,14). Paul committed to the Lord his own life, the lives of those who already had become believers, and the ongoing gospel ministry. Look beyond the present and your own little world. Don’t just observe the lives of godly people and think you can’t reach a similar place. God has no favourities. The Holy Spirit is within each Christian, waiting for us to co-operate. Jesus gave His life so that, in turn, we might give Him our all. God only knows the level to which you can attain if you diligently and consistently seek Him. Determine to be all God designed you to be, to fulfill your calling and destiny.

* “Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed who correctly handles the Word of truth...All Scripture is God-inspired and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work...What you have received entrust to reliable men who will also be qualified to teach others...Correct, rebuke and encourage with great patience and careful instruction” (2 Tim 2:2,15, 3:16,17, 4:2). Do I read, meditate on and apply the Word of God to my life and share its truths with others? The Bible has life-changing principles that apply to all aspects of life. Diligently search out the divine counsel and act accordingly. “The Lord knows those who are His, let everyone who confesses the name of the Lord turn away from wickedness” (2 Tim 2:19-26). That is the personal responsibility required to ‘walk in the ways of God’ – it just won’t happen without the effort on our part.

* Paul invested his life in Timothy. Whom do I mentor and pour my life into, or do I just live for myself? It is vital to encourage and train others who can take our place when we are no longer able to fulfill that role, for if there is not a succession of personnel, the ministry will die when we do. Don’t feel threatened, when those we disciple do a better job than we do – rejoice for together we are building the Kingdom of God, not our empire. John the Baptist knew his role and was comfortable stepping aside to let Jesus take the prominent position (Jn 3:30).

See also: fear, mentor, persecution, timid, Timothy, 1 Timothy (1 Tim), truth.