Basic Facts from 2 Timothy (Part 1)

Basic Facts from 2 Timothy (Part 1)

It is generally believed that Paul’s second letter to Timothy was written in 68 A.D. (or possibly late 67), roughly 4-5 years after the letter we know as 1st Timothy. When Paul had appealed to Caesar in Acts 25:11, it seems very clear that he was confident of being acquitted of the false charges brought against him by the Jewish leaders – even though he would spend about two more years in the Roman legal system (Acts 28:30). Since it is known that Porcius Festus became the Roman governor of Judæa in either 59 or 60 A.D., this means that Paul’s journey to Rome and the two years he spent there took place between about 60-63 A.D. If he was indeed released at the end of the two years mentioned in Acts 28 (as is commonly believed by many new testament scholars), this allows time for his proposed journey to Spain (Romans 15:24 & 28) as well as the time he apparently spent with Timothy in Ephesus (2 Timothy 1:18) and with Titus in Crete (Titus 1:5). None of these events “fit” anywhere in Luke’s chronology of Paul’s travels in the book of Acts.

The character and “tone” of this second letter to Timothy are somewhat more somber than either 1 Timothy or Titus, as well as being much more personal – this may be a reflection of Paul’s realization that he is much nearer the end of his life (2 Timothy 4:6) than when he wrote those earlier letters. Where Luke records in Acts 28 that the leaders of the Roman Jewish community had visited with Paul during his imprisonment, and that he was able during that time to receive visitors and preach/teach without any restrictions (Acts 28:23 & 30-31), in 2 Timothy 4:11 Paul notes that he is now almost alone in Rome. This indicates that his imprisonment at this point is NOT the same as that recorded by Luke.

The close relationship between Paul and Timothy is obvious in chapter 1:1-4 – Paul describes the younger brother not merely as his own “child” (cf. 1 Timothy 1:2, “in the faith” – Timothy was not his biological child), but as his “dearly beloved” son, an expression of strong affection for him. The fact that Timothy had wept over Paul (vs. 4) likewise testifies to the closeness of their relationship in Christ.

Paul’s reference to the faith of Timothy’s mother Eunice and grandmother Lois, in verse 5, as the “root” of Timothy’s own faith, provides a strong lesson for US on the impact and importance of parental teaching and example! The transmission of faith from parent to child, from one generation to the next, is one of the most powerful, effective ways to ensure the spiritual wellbeing of our children. Too often, Christian parents leave it to the church – through a 30-40 minute, once-a-week bible class – to instill bible knowledge and belief in the hearts of their children, instead of taking on themselves the responsibility GOD gave them to “nurture and admonish” their own children themselves (see Ephesians 6:4). Truly, “the hand that rocks the cradle rules the world!”

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