It’s doubtful that we could find a more nostalgic, emotional letter written by the Apostle Paul. Facing death alone in a dungeon, surrounded by memories, and exposed to the elements, this grand old man wrote by candlelight a letter to his dear friend, Timothy. Paul had no assurance it would ever reach him but, nevertheless, he wrote it. And we are so grateful he did!
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.
Every verse in 2 Timothy echoes this everlasting truth: “All that is not eternal is eternally out of date”—including the last six verses of chapter 1. In these verses, Paul reminded Timothy (and us) that only two things are really eternal and worthy of lifelong investment.
Timothy ministered in Ephesus, some 830 miles to the southeast. Ministry was troublesome. Heretical hounds barked and bit. And the naturally reserved Timothy had grown weary and timid. A few tender words from his mentor were just the boost of confidence and courage the young pastor needed.
Some of God’s choicest saints were reluctant (like Moses), rebellious (like Jonah), and fearful (like Timothy). Despite his timidity, Timothy was called to follow God onto the battleground. To do so, the young man needed courage to stand for Christ, even if it meant suffering.
Onesiphorus played a vital role in Paul's life through his rare yet wonderful ability to give breathing room, to provide cooling relief, and to help in the healing process.
When Paul laid out a path of suffering for his protégé, Timothy, the young pastor may have grimaced. But Paul promised more than pain. The path, should Timothy choose it, would take him to heights unknown—to glory after death and to greater maturity in life. The same awaits us, if we choose the rough and rugged road of Christ.
Words are powerful things. With them, we can lead people to life-freeing truth or life-imprisoning falsehood. That’s why Paul was concerned about certain men in the church who had “gone astray from the truth” (2 Timothy 2:18).
Words are powerful things. That’s why Paul was concerned about certain men in the church who had “gone astray from the truth” (2 Timothy 2:18).
Character is no longer king; our culture champions competency. Scripture, however, champions character. So, for those of us who wish to lead in a Christian manner, character must always trump competency. That’s the message of the last seven verses 2 Timothy 2.