21st February 2018

2 Timothy: Week 1 (Wednesday, February 21 2018)

(from www.insightforliving.org.uk)


An Overview



Death lurked in the shadows . . . and Paul knew it. Dropped into a dungeon during the reign of deranged Nero, Paul spent his last days lonely and cold . . . but not desperate and despondent. Writing by lamplight, Paul penned his “swan song” —one final, passionate letter to his “beloved son” Timothy (2 Timothy 1:2). A last will and testament of sorts, 2 Timothy is filled with strong exhortations, insightful instructions, and intimate reflections —and it spurred Timothy onward in his race of faith. It will do the same for us . . . if we hear and heed its admonitions. Then, when death comes, like Paul we will declare: “I have finished the course, I have kept the faith” (4:7).



Let’s Learn Some Valuable Information

Written or spoken, profound or perfunctory, funny or serious, last words serve as an enduring memorial to the dead. For that reason, we should never take a person’s final words lightly. This is especially true when a person takes the time to carefully set down on paper his or her parting words, as was the case of Paul and his second letter to Timothy.


Doing Time in a First-Century Hoosegow

The Mamertine Prison could have been called the “House of Darkness.” Few prisons were as dim, dank, and dirty as the lower chamber Paul occupied. Known in earlier times as the Tullianum dungeon, its “neglect, darkness, and stench” gave it “a hideous and terrifying appearance,” according to Roman historian Sallust.”It sounds like suffice punishment to spend any amount of time in Mamertine, but prisoners in the ancient world were rarely sent to prison as punishment. Rather, prisons typically served as holding cells for those awaiting trial or execution. We see this throughout Scripture. Mosaic Law made no provision for incarceration as a form of punishment. Joseph languished in an Egyptian prison for more than two years, bearing the burden of a false charge of rape (Genesis 39:19 –20; 41:1). Jeremiah was imprisoned under accusation of treason ( Jeremiah 37:11–16) but was transferred to the temple guardhouse after an appeal to King Zedekiah, who sought to protect the prophet (37:17–21). And though Jeremiah was later thrown into a cistern, the purpose was to kill him, not imprison him (38:1– 6). During Paul’s first imprisonment, he awaited trial before Roman governors Felix and Festus (Acts 24 –26). He then was under house arrest in Rome for two years (28:30), awaiting an appearance before Nero. Scholars believe Paul was released sometime in AD 62 because the Jews who had accused him of being “a real pest and a fellow who stirs up dissension” (24:5) didn’t press their case before the emperor. During Paul’s second imprisonment, however, in the Mamertine dungeon, he had apparently had a preliminary hearing and was awaiting a final trial. He didn’t expect acquittal (2 Timothy 4:16) he expected to be found guilty, in all likelihood, for hating mankind. From there, Paul believed only his execution would be left, which was probably carried out in AD 68 (4:6 –7).


Let’s Get an Overview of Second Timothy

Paul wrote this second letter to Timothy to encourage the young pastor to remain faithful to his ministry in Ephesus and to exhort him to remain loyal to his father in the faith, Paul. Paul knew his time was short. That’s why his last words are so personal and passionate . . . and filled with urgency. Guard the treasure!

(2 Timothy 1:14). Endure hardship! (2:3). Continue the journey! (3:14). Proclaim the Word! (4:2).

Guard the Treasure (2 Timothy 1:1–2, 13 –14)

Endure Hardship (2:3 –4)

Continue the Journey (3:12–15)

Proclaim the Word (4:1–2, 21–22)



Even with his life poised under the impending edge of the ax, Paul’s passion for Christ and the gospel was just as steely as it was when he first encountered the risen Savior (Acts 9:1– 9). And Paul wanted Timothy to know —before the hobnailed sandals of the executioner echoed above the apostle’s head —that if the young

man was to finish strong in his race of faith, he would need to be just as passionate about Christ and the gospel. What was true for Timothy is true for us. So, we must keep these four facts and admonitions in mind as we run the race of faith.

• There’s still a treasure to guard. Guard it diligently and never loosen your grip.

• There’s still hardship to endure. Endure it patiently and never run scared.

• There’s still a journey to continue. Continue it faithfully and never get sidetracked.

• There’s still truth to proclaim. Proclaim it courageously and never get tongue-tied.

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