From the Mamertine Prison . . .
Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, according to the promise of life in Christ Jesus, 2 To Timothy, my beloved son: Grace, mercy and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord. . . . 6 For this reason I remind you to kindle afresh the gift of God which is in you through the laying on of my hands. 7 For God has not given us a spirit of timidity, but of power and love and discipline. 8 Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord or of me His prisoner, but join with me in suffering for the gospel according to the power of God, 9 who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was granted us in Christ Jesus from all eternity, 10 but now has been revealed by the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus, who abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel, 11 for which I was appointed a preacher and an apostle and a teacher. 12 For this reason I also suffer these things, but I am not ashamed; for I know whom I have believed and I am convinced that He is able to guard what I have entrusted to Him until that day. 13 Retain the standard of sound words which you have heard from me, in the faith and love which are in Christ Jesus. 14 Guard, through the Holy Spirit who dwells in us, the treasure which has been entrusted to you. 15 You are aware of the fact that all who are in Asia turned away from me, among whom are Phygelus and Hermogenes. . . .2 Timothy 1:1–15
About the Book - While 1 Timothy and Titus were apparently written from Macedonia (around 64 A.D.), 2 Timothy was written from a second Roman imprisonment (not recorded in Acts) in the fall of 67 A.D. For example, 2 Timothy 2:9 and chapter 4 express a very dire situation for Paul, unlike his first Roman imprisonment (the house arrest of Acts 28). Also, Timothy was with Paul in Rome in the first imprisonment (Phil. 2:19), however Timothy is now in Ephesus. Paul was probably arrested in Troas (2 Tim. 4:13) and taken to Rome and imprisoned again, then executed under Nero. Therefore, this book is the last words of Scripture from the Apostle. The purpose of 2 Timothy is to provide a charge to Timothy as a minister to be faithful, as well as some practical instructions to Timothy to come to him (2 Tim. 4:13).
About the Beginning - In the first section of the epistle, Paul conveys his love for Timothy (Acts 16:1) and his desire for Timothy to receive grace, mercy and peace. He remembers Timothy’s tears, showing Timothy’s love for Paul. In the “thanksgiving” (3-4) he foreshadows one of the themes in the epistle, a clear conscience in service to God by proclaiming the gospel. Timothy had learned the faith from his mother and grandmother. Joining Paul’s experience with Timothy’s future, in effect he encourages Timothy, that just as Paul’s has been faithful as his forebears of the tribe of Benjamin, so you too have a deep faith from your mother and grandmother.
About the Purpose - The purpose of the book is expressed first in v. 6: “kindle afresh the gift of God which is in you through the laying on of my hands.” This epistle is repeatedly exhorts Timothy to carry on a faithful ministry after Paul’s death (1:6, 1:13-14, 2:2, 2:14, 2:24, 3:14, 4:2, 4:5). Paul counsels Timothy to not shrink in timidity, but act with power, love and discipline (7). What follows from this is the first of many encouragements to not be ashamed of the gospel, but “stand up, stand up for Jesus.” Christ “abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel” (10). Paul is suffering for his fidelity to this gospel. He expresses his assurance: “I know whom I have believed and I am persuaded…” (12). In the last section of ch. 1 (13-18), Paul continues the exhortation to ministerial faithfulness: “Retain the standard of sound words” (“healthy doctrine” hugiano) and “guard . . . the treasure (kalos = good) which has been entrusted (as a deposit) to you.” He then illustrates this with a contrast. You be faithful, though many laborers have turned away, including Phygelus and Hermogenes. These and Onesiphorus are only mentioned here in the NT, but Hermogenes is a coppersmith and a story is told of Onesiphorus in the second-century work, The Acts of Paul and Thecla which is something of a gnostic story-tale (WBC).
Exhortation: Just as Timothy was charged to complete his ministerial calling, we are all called to fidelity to healthy doctrine that comes from the whole counsel of God in Scripture (3:16/Acts 20:27).