The epistle of Second Timothy is considered to be one of Paul’s most personal letters. He is writing during his second and final imprisonment to his trusted and beloved son in the faith. Paul knows his execution is imminent. His concern is not for himself, but for Timothy, who must continue in the spiritual battle. His theme, “the good soldier of Jesus Christ” follows that of first Timothy, “Fight the good fight” (1TI 1:18; 1TI 6:12).
Whereas First Timothy deals more with strategy, or the oversight of the Church (1TI 3:14-15), this epistle is more focused on tactics—the need for Timothy to endure hardships, resist the growing onslaught of early Gnostic teaching, and stand firm in his faith and ministry. Ephesus, Timothy’s toughest assignment, was at this time being wracked by destructive teachings, which called for great spiritual wisdom and courage.
This letter was written in late 67 A.D. Winter is coming (1TI 4:21); Paul knows his execution is approaching (1TI 4:7-8). He urges Timothy to come to him with all speed, desiring to share final mutual encouragement, in order to strengthen the younger minister. Our desire is to study the epistle to gain practical instruction for our time, without losing sight of the historical setting and final courageous battle of the great apostle.
In keeping with our chosen theme, the outline is built around short, imperative statements, designed to challenge us to adapt Paul’s teaching in practical and powerful ways, to become “a good soldier of Jesus Christ.”
The life of Timothy can be of great assurance to believers today. Coming from a divided home and being of a sensitive and timid nature, this young man stands as a testament to the power of God’s Word and the mighty working of the Spirit of God—turning an unlikely candidate for spiritual warfare into a true spiritual warrior.