What does it say?

2 Timothy is the last and most intensely personal of Paul’s letters. Paul is a prisoner in Rome for the second time and knows that he will shortly be executed. It is probably the fall of 67 AD as he reaches out one final time to Timothy, his son in ministry, who is apparently still in Ephesus. The tone is not dark or fearful, but rather is filled with thanksgiving to God and words of encouragement to Timothy (2Tim 1). Paul’s very specific instructions to stand strong in God’s grace are applicable to any servant of God at any time (2Tim 2).

Knowing that his end is near, Paul reminds Timothy that all followers of Jesus will suffer persecution and that our equipping resource is God’s word (2Tim 3). The climatic last chapter is a charge to Timothy to simply continue proclaiming God’s word no matter what may come. Paul’s race is over and his fulfillment comes in knowing that he has reproduced himself in others like Timothy (2Tim 4).

What does it mean?

Our mission today is to make disciples of Jesus Christ, and specifically disciples that make other disciples (2:2). This final epistle of Paul is the perfect example of this disciple-making process as we look back to Paul’s first encounter with Timothy years earlier in Acts 16. The constant thrust of the letter is for Timothy to boldly press forward in Paul’s example despite the growing Roman persecution.

Another key theme in the letter is the importance of God’s word. One of the most powerful affirmations of the divine inspiration of scripture is found here (3:16-17). The scriptures are what teach, rebuke, correct and instruct us, and they are the message that we are to proclaim to others without wavering, even when no one seems to listen (4:1-3).

How will I respond?

As I near the end of this journey through the Bible, what is the place of scripture in my life? I am learning to be consistent in my reading, but am I as consistent in applying biblical truth to my daily life? What are three important life lessons that I have learned and applied this past year? What life lesson can I apply from this reading of 2 Timothy?