II Tim 1
Paul writes this last letter, addressed to Timothy, a dear friend, fellow Christian, a younger co-worker. He considers Timothy a beloved son. He writes from prison, probably around 64–67 AD, under Nero’s rule. This letter contains several reflective passages reviewing his life; quite appropriate as he faces immanent death. According to writings of Eusebius 1 Paul was beheaded during Nero’s reign. Still, he continues to exhort and to encourage Timothy to join with him in suffering for the cause of spreading the Gospel.
Genuine Christians are Committed to Christ During Difficult Times
Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, according to the promise of life in Christ Jesus,
This seems to be a standard opening for Paul. We are given a reminder that God’s had anointed Paul in his apostolic ministry. And, although this opening is short, Paul, mentions that we have the promise of life in Christ Jesus. No doubt, while facing immanent death, imprisoned during times of persecution under Nero’s rule, this was an especially dear comfort to Paul.
| Grace, | To Timothy, | mercy | | God the Father my beloved son: | and | from | and | peace | | Christ Jesus our Lord. | |
This again, follows very standard openings for Paul. Paul ask for spiritual blessings of grace mercy and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.
I thank God, whom I serve with a clear conscience the way my forefathers did,2 3 as I constantly remember you in my prayers night and day, longing to see you, even as I recall your tears, so that I may be filled with joy.
After the opening, we immediately catch a glimpse of how Timothy is always on Paul’s mind. Paul longs to see him; he mentions remembering a time when Timothy had tears — perhaps this was the last time they were together, before they last parted company. Could it have been that Roman soldiers attested Paul, in Timothy’s presence? Was young Timothy watching as Paul was carried away, filled with tears? Is this why Timothy is always on Paul’s mind in his prayers night and day? I have no basis for this being the case, just curious speculation — just a thought that comes to mind when reading this section.
What we do know, is that, historically, Nero began a campaign of extreme persecutions of Christians around AD 64. Nero was especially wicked; historical accounts claim that he even murdered his own family members, — some accounts even include his own wife. The accuracy of these claims are unknown, but Christians were certainly living in fearful times of severe persecutions and Paul is imprisoned at Rome during these times — and he has a strong desire to see young Timothy, to whom this letter is written. Emotions seem high, even as Paul states, he would be filled with joy if he could see Timothy again.
Here’s some unanswered questions to think about:
- Do you think Timothy was able to meet with Paul in response to this letter?
- If they were able to met before Paul’s death, what do you think they talked about?
- How many times do you think Timothy read this letter from Paul?
- Do you think Timothy felt part of something big, from God, that was greater than his fears of persecution? Do you think he possessed an inner peace from God in his life?
Onto the next page …
- http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/npnf201.iii.vii.xxvi.html [↩]
- This phrase, the way my forefathers did, may refer to: (1) Paul thanks God, as did his forefathers. (2) Paul thanks God with a clear conscious, as did his forefathers. –or– (3) Paul thanks God constantly in prayers, as did his forefathers. [↩]
- who was his forefathers? Is he talking about spiritual forefathers in the family of God, or his blood-related ancestor forefathers? [↩]