by Harley Howard

Second Timothy
Harley Howard


Pastoral Epistles:

The three epistles, First and Second Timothy, and Titus, were first called the Pastoral Epistles in the 18th Century; that name having become generally used to denote them as a group. These three letters are called "pastoral" since they express a pastoral concern for the addressees and because they exhibit a concern for the orderly, pastoral care of Christian congregations.

Background and Purpose:

After winning release from his imprisonment in Rome (reported in Acts and mentioned in First Timothy), early tradition tells us that Paul went on to preach in Spain. Later, as official hostility to Christianity hardened, Paul was arrested again.

When Paul wrote this second letter to Timothy his situation had changed considerably. Paul's first imprisonment, described in Acts 28:17-31, was much milder than that which he underwent when writing Second Timothy. In the former, he had liberty to lodge in his own hired house and to receive all who came to see him, guarded only by a single soldier. In other words, he was under house arrest. But now he was a prisoner in Rome and was facing certain death. He looked back over his own life with a sense of deep satisfaction. He kept the faith and looked forward to the rewards he would receive. We will see in this letter that almost all of Paul's associates in the ministry were gone, and that only Luke was at the apostle's side to assist him, more than likely as his physician.

But true to the nature of Paul (and true in virtually all of his letters to both churches and individuals) was that his great concern was not for himself. In this case, his concern was clearly for Timothy and the continuation of the gospel ministry through him. In First Timothy, Paul encouraged his son in the faith to be faithful. As we have learned in our study of that epistle, Timothy was timid. He also suffered from physical ailments and was intimidated by others ...

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