2 Timothy is Paul’s last known letter written to Christians, written in late 67 or early 68 AD. It was sent to Timothy, Paul’s young protégé, probably at this time in his 20’s. As Paul writes this letter to Timothy, he is an old man and sits in a Roman dungeon, literally days or weeks away from being beheaded under Nero’s rule.
At the time of this letter, the Christian Church was in serious turmoil. Beginning in 64 AD, when Nero blamed Christians with burning Rome, it became dangerous to follow Christ. Many Christians were put to death. Even Paul, who had done so much for so many, was abandoned…You are aware that all who are in Asia turned away from me, among whom are Phygelus and Hermogenes. – 2 Timothy 1:15 (KJV)
Note that Paul isn’t scared to die. He is concerned, however, but not for himself; he wants to advise Timothy on his own future, and how to remain faithful in preaching the Word. This is Paul’s Last Will and Testament- and he is leaving all that he has to Timothy. As a chained prisoner awaiting death in a Roman dungeon that may not seem like much, but it is quite a lot indeed!
Themes of Second Timothy
The Book of Second Timothy has four very important lessons for us:
- Do not be ashamed of Jesus
- Grow in the knowledge of Jesus
- Stand and defend the Gospel
- Stand with those who suffer for the Gospel
Why bother growing if I’m already saved?
If we are justified by faith alone through God’s grace, why be renewed and grow in Christ? Why not simply go about our lives in the comfort that God has saved us? I mean, we’re already ‘in’, right?
Remember the saying, “God changed my want to.” If we love God, we want to do what He says. It’s not a bother, we should want to! Also, because if we do not do the work our faith dies, we die along with it:For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.
– James 2:26 (KJV)
Part of our work is a continual growth in Christ and knowledge of God through His Holy Spirit, and that is a theme of 2 Timothy, as Paul advises young Timothy:Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. –2 Timothy 2:15 (KJV)
Sure, we struggle with the desires of the flesh, but we want to please God. We should want to learn more about God. If we draw close to Him, we will draw close to us (see James 4:8). He will not turn you away, in fact he welcomes you openly. But He likewise will not make you study the Bible or come to church.
As Christians, we can get complacent and lukewarm about God. Remember that God looks at the heart; consider the pastor in the Left Behind series who didn’t get raptured! We do not want to be like this pastor, but there will be some ‘Christians’ who are baffled when they are indeed left behind.
We must guard against that. Find your gift(s) and use them! Read 1 Corinthians Chapter 12. Now read Romans 12:3-8. Finally, consider the parable of the talents in Matthew 25:14-30. Use your talents for God. In doing so, you will be rewarded.
We cannot let ourselves lose sight of what Christ did for us, or what God continues to want to do for us. If we do not grow in God, we are frankly cheating ourselves out of blessings in this world and the next. And it’s our own fault (Philippians 4:19, James 4:2, John 14:13).
In the third and final chapter of 2 Timothy, Paul warns of the godlessness in the last days. See 2 Timothy 3:1-5. In the Book of Revelation we see that it will, in fact, be criminal to profess Christ and refuse the Mark of the Beast. Like the proverbial frog in a pot that begins to boil, complacency will allow heresies to enter the church and the Christians won’t even notice until it’s too late. Think it can’t or won’t happen? Think it isn’t happening now?
It’s pretty easy these days to be a Christian in the US. But it is getting harder and one day will it will be very difficult to be a Christian. We need to make ourselves strong so we don’t give up when times get hard!
Will you give up when it becomes a crime to go to church?
Follow the pattern of the sound words that you have heard from me, in the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. By the Holy Spirit who dwells within us, guard the good deposit entrusted to you. – 2 Timothy 3:13-14 (ESV)