2 Timothy 1 (day 1126) 30 January 2013
1-2: The greeting in this letter is much like that of 1 Timothy, but there Paul was an apostle by the command of God while here his apostleship is by the will of God. Reading Paul’s letters it is often difficult to decide whether he felt invited to be an apostle or compelled to it.
3-7: We learn some personal details about Timothy and the relationship between Timothy and Paul. Timothy was from Lystra and was the son of a Jewish mother and a Gentile father (Acts 16:1). Now we learn that his mother’s name was Eunice and his grandmother’s was Lois, that Paul commissioned him to the work of evangelist through the ceremony known as the “laying on of hands,” and that when Paul left him to continue his journey the separation was a tearful one.
8-14: The great sweep of salvation history is covered in these few verses. Christ was “before the ages began,” then came in the flesh to abolish death and give life. Paul was appointed as herald, apostle and teacher, and because of that he has had to endure much suffering, including times of imprisonment. He tells Timothy to be brave and not shrink from the same suffering for the sake of the gospel.
15-18: Paul mourns the loss of others who served in Ephesus before Timothy, whether they broke with Paul or left the church altogether is not specified; Paul would have thought one was like the other in any case. Onesiphorus stands out, however, as one who remained under Paul’s tutelage.
2 Timothy 2 (day 1127) 31 January 2013
1-7: Paul uses a hodgepodge of metaphors to describe the work in which they are engaged; the good soldier, the enlisting officer, the athlete, the farmer. They are a bit tangled and it is confusing as to which are intended to apply to Timothy (the good soldier, the athlete or the farmer, perhaps?) and which apply to Paul (the enlisting officer, the athlete, the farmer?).
8-13: Paul says he is willing to endure every hardship, even chains, for the sake of “the elect,” i.e. those who will hear and receive the gospel and become believers. We should not be afraid to die with Christ, or to endure the suffering he endured because that makes us a partner with him to live and to reign. But denial of him reaps a reciprocal denial from him, although his faithfulness will never be compromised by our lack of faith.
14-19: Timothy is to warn “them” that they must be like Christ in suffering and enduring in order to share in eternal life with him. Paul roundly condemns Hymenaeus and Phletus for trying to convince people that the general resurrection of the dead had already taken place (see 2 Thessalonians 2:2).
20-26: Slipping now into the metaphor of household pots and pans, Paul says the faithful are like the more valuable utensils in the house. Stick to your guns, he tells Timothy. Live a life of mature faith not swayed by youthful pursuits but steady and pure. Stay away from controversy and be gentle but firm in correcting others; maybe your faithfulness will lead to their repentance. (Note that Paul is convinced that they are agents of the devil himself.)
2 Timothy 3 (day 1128) 1 February 2013
1-9: Paul sees distressing days ahead. From the extensive catalogue of ills, the kind that Paul is fond of listing, we see that the cause of those distressing days will be that many people will love everything but God. Jannes and Jambres were the magicians in Pharaoh’s court who, through their arts, were able to copy several of the miracles Moses cast against the Egyptians (see Exodus 7:11, 8:7 and 9:11). Their names are not in the Old Testament; Paul gets them from other popular Jewish literature, works of fiction that sought to fill in some of the missing details of the Biblical texts.
10-17: Paul beseeches Timothy to recall what he has seen Paul go through and how Paul conducted himself in difficult situations. (The persecutions he suffered in Antioch, Iconium and Lystra are described in Acts 13:48-14:20. But Paul also had much success in those places – remember that Timothy is from Lystra.) God can be trusted, he says, to come to the rescue of the godly people who are destined to come under persecution. Wicked people will grow in wickedness, but Timothy is to grow in knowledge of the scriptures and in his devotion to teaching others the way of salvation.
2 Timothy 4 (day 1129) 2 February 2013
1-5: Paul foresees the day when people will look for “teachers to suit their own desires,” so he urges Timothy to teach as hard as he can, to be patient and never give up, to persist even when everything is going against him, to stick to it under all circumstances and to demonstrate the gospel by his own way of life. (It does seem to me that we now live in an age of “information” when people around the world can easily know all about Christianity without knowing Christ, and our age certainly fits the description given here.)
6-8: Paul apparently believes that his life is drawing to its close. He has lived the advice he just gave Timothy. The “crown of righteousness” is not to be imagined as a physical crown but rather a way of saying that God will account him, like Abraham, to be righteous because he has kept the faith (see, for example, Romans 4:9).
9-15: A number of people are named, some of whom played a prominent role in the establishment of churches around the Northern
Mediterranean world. Demas is sometimes named as Paul’s companion (see Colossians 4:14 and Philemon 1:24), and apparently is another with whom Paul had some sort of dispute. Crescens (not mentioned elsewhere) and Titus have also left him, but I don’t think he means that they, too, have had a falling-out with him – especially Titus. Luke, the beloved physician seems to have been a faithful and constant companion. Paul did have a falling-out with Mark (Acts 15:37-39), but apparently that rift has been remedied. Tychicus was someone on whom Paul depended as a messenger to his churches (see Ephesians 6:21, Colossians 4:7 and Titus 3:12). There are several Alexanders, though none of them are elsewhere identified as a coppersmith. The Alexander here mentioned is likely the same as the man condemned earlier (1 Timothy 1:20) along with one Hymenaeus. The mention of books and parchments is an interesting glimpse into Paul’s personal habits.
16-18: This is a most intriguing passage. We imagine Paul is in Rome where he was to be put on trial. He indicates that some kind of hearing or trial has taken place, and for whatever reason none of his friends were there to testify on his behalf; he felt deserted, he says. On the other hand, that hearing apparently resulted in no action being taken against him, and some have seen in the remark about being saved from the lion’s mouth an indication that Paul was acquitted and allowed to go free (throwing prisoners into an arena filled with lions was apparently one of the ways in which criminals were executed in Rome, and elsewhere in those days).
19-22: Another gathering of names. Aquila and Prisca (Priscilla) Paul had met in Corinth (Acts 18:2), and they had accompanied him on some of his journeys (Acts 18:18). Now they are apparently in Ephesus with Timothy. Onesiphorus was apparently a resident of Ephesus and a member of the church there (see 2 Timothy 1:16). Erastus was a helper who was paired with Timothy on at least one other occasion (Acts 19:22). Trophimus was a Gentile Christian from Ephesus (Acts 20:4, 21:29) who had accompanied Paul to Jerusalem – his presence there was apparently the reason for the riot that resulted in Paul’s arrest. Eubulus, Pudens, Linus and Claudia are not mentioned elsewhere. Claudia is a woman’s name (Claudius is the male counterpart), indicating that leadership roles in the church were shared by both sexes. Paul put together quite a team, didn’t he?