Online Bible Commentary

2 Timothy 1:1

Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, according to the promise of life which is in Christ Jesus,
Note 1 at 2 Timothy 1:1: It is important to realize, as we study the book of 2 Timothy, that this letter contains some of the last words Paul ever wrote. The subscript (found in some Bibles) at the end of this letter mentions that Paul wrote this letter from Rome when he was taken before Nero the second time. Many believe this was his second imprisonment in Rome (see Life for Today Study Bible Notes, Introduction to 1 and 2 Timothy, Date of Writing). Tradition says that a short time after this letter was written, Paul was taken to the outskirts of Rome on what is known as the Ostiense Way, and there he was executed by beheading. This is just tradition and has no scriptural confirmation, but it is clear that this letter was one of the Apostle Paul’s last. In 2 Timothy 4:6, Paul said, “The time of my departure is at hand.” In the next verse, he said, “I have finished my course.” In 2 Timothy 4:8, he spoke of receiving rewards from the Lord. Paul was clearly on his way out. This means that Paul was at the peak of his revelation at the time of writing this letter. There are no more recorded Pauline revelations. He was putting all his maturity in this last letter to the man who was closer to him than any other (Philippians 2:20). He was reflective (2 Timothy 3:10-11; 4:6-8, and 14-18) and prophesied about things that would happen in the body of Christ in the coming days (2 Timothy 3:1-5, 13; and 4:3-4). Note 2 at 2 Timothy 1:1: Second Timothy is called a prison epistle because Paul was imprisoned in Rome at the time of its writing. Second Timothy was written several years after 1 Timothy. In this letter, we have insight into some of the circumstances that Paul faced. 1) He seemed to miss his friends. In 2 Timothy 1:3-4, he stated, “I have remembrance of thee in my prayers night and day; Greatly desiring to see thee.” In this letter, Paul urged Timothy to come visit him very soon (2 Timothy 4:9 and 21). 2) He may have felt forsaken by others. He wrote, “All they which are in Asia be turned away from me; of whom are Phygellus and Hermogenes” (2 Timothy 1:15). He also wrote, “Demas hath forsaken me...Crescens to Galatia, Titus unto Dalmatia. Only Luke is with me” (2 Timothy 4:10-11). 3) He was facing poor conditions in prison. He stated, “The cloke that I left at Troas with Carpus, when thou comest, bring with thee” (2 Timothy 4:13). 4) To help with the long hours of imprisonment, he asked Timothy to “bring...the books, but especially the parchments” (2 Timothy 4:13). To the very end, Paul was a lover and student of God’s Word. 5) He knew that the end of his life was near. He wrote, “For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith” (2 Timothy 4:6-7). Despite all he faced, he opened this letter with the truths of “grace, mercy, and peace from God” (2 Timothy 1:2). He described the Gospel as “the promise of life which is in Christ Jesus” (this verse). Paul proved by his life that we can experience God’s abundant life even if facing the hardest of circumstances. Note 3 at 2 Timothy 1:1: It is interesting to compare the opening verse of 2 Timothy with the opening verse of 1 Timothy. In 1 Timothy 1:1, Paul said he was an apostle “by the commandment of God.” In this verse, Paul said he was an apostle “by the will of God.” By comparison, we see that the commandment of God is the will of God.

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