Historical Background: Paul finished his ministry in Rome. Thirty years of strenuous service as an Apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ had transformed Saul of Tarsus into Paul, the candidate for “a crown of righteousness” (see 2 Timothy 4:6–8). This second imprisonment was difficult (see 2 Timothy 2:9). Friends deserted him and others betrayed him; only Luke, Paul confided to Timothy, remained true (see 2 Timothy 4:10–11). Still, despite the encircling gloom, Paul remained faithful and courageous to the end. Facing certain conviction and execution, he declared, “I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith” (2 Timothy 4:7). He wrote this letter shortly before his execution in about A.D. 65 (see Bible Dictionary, (“Pauline Epistles,” p. 743,).
Theme: Paul wrote 2 Timothy primarily to give his last instructions to a favorite son in the faith. The letter is positive despite Paul’s circumstances. He encourages Timothy to be faithful, reminds him of the eternal blessings that come to the “good soldier of Jesus Christ” (2 Timothy 2:3), and once again warns of the encroaching evils of false doctrine. Paul wrote that we gain salvation through the grace of God and through applying the true doctrines taught both in the scriptures and by living prophets (see 2 Timothy 3:13–17; 4:1–2).
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