In his first letter to Timothy, Paul provided the younger man with valuable instruction concerning how to provide godly pastoral care of a local church. The young pastor's work would involve confronting false teachers, proclaiming the true Gospel of God's Grace, and selecting godly men to oversee the congregation. He would need to warn of the growing apostasy, while faithfully teaching God's Word. He would also need to lovingly handle interpersonal issues which might otherwise divide the body of Christ.
More than once, in that letter, Paul pointedly charged and lovingly encouraged Timothy to take his own appointment seriously, and to be faithful to the ministry which had been committed to him (eg. 1Tim 1:18; 4:14; 6:20,21). Timothy's work, as a pastor, was far more than a job. It was a gift... a privilege... not afforded to every believer. He had been appointed to this role, by God, at the hands of elders in the faith. His appointment was "given thee by prophecy," for these elders, knowing God's voice and His written Word, had recognized that God was separating Timothy to His service. The privilege of service was coupled with the charge to remain faithful and to fulfill the responsibilities given to him.
In 2Timothy, Paul is again writing to encourage Timothy to remain faithful in the face of danger and opposition. This is Paul's final letter, for he would soon depart this earthly life (2Tim 4:6). The biblical record concerning Paul's travels, ends in the last chapter of Acts, with Paul under house arrest in Rome, awaiting trial for charges brought against him by the Jewish rulers in Jerusalem (Acts 25:10,11; 28:16-f).
According to early Christian tradition, after Paul was acquitted of those charges and released (c. 64 AD), he continued preaching the Gospel, traveling as far west as Spain, and then returning to visit some of the churches in Asia Minor (western Turkey), Macedonia and Greece. It was toward the end of this period of ministry (c. 65 AD), that he wrote his first letter to Timothy (1Tim 1:3,4). By that time, the Roman Emperor, Nero, had begun a campaign to purge the empire of Christians. Therefore, Paul was again arrested and imprisoned in Rome. As an enemy of the state, he was not afforded the comforts of house arrest, but was cast into the Mamertine dungeon. From there, he wrote this second and last letter to Timothy (c. 66 - 67 AD), not long before he was led out to the place of execution and beheaded. In the days prior to that event, Timothy was on his mind.
Recognizing that the coming days would not be easy for a servant of the Lord, Paul earnestly exhorts his son in the faith: "Be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also." (2Tim 2:1,2). Those two verses seem to summarize the message of this letter, which is a call to faithfulness in a time of apostasy and opposition. (See the Outline.)
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