A Bible study through 2 Timothy
Welcome to a new Bible study! I am excited to dive into the book of 2 Timothy together and mine out the great treasures God has for us in this special letter. To get started, we’re going to explore the background of this letter and get an overview of what this letter is all about before diving into the rich verses. So let’s begin by looking at the author of this powerful book.
“Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God according to the promise of the life that is in Christ Jesus.”
~2 Timothy 1:1
Paul was a giant in the faith. Through his ministry, churches were planted throughout the Roman Empire and many people came to Christ. He was a powerful leader, passionate follower of Christ, humble servant, seasoned saint, prolific writer, and caring spiritual father to many. Of all his spiritual children, Timothy held a special place in his heart as evidenced by the tender words of love used throughout this letter. Paul and Timothy shared a special connection and a deep love and respect for one another. Now, as Paul sat on death row, he remembered some important final exhortations and words of encouragement he wanted to share with his spiritual son, Timothy.
2 Timothy was written during what scholars believe to be Paul’s second imprisonment around 64 AD. In Acts, we read about Paul’s first imprisonment when he was put under house arrest in Rome. Those years were very productive for Paul as he remained active in the ministry and encouraged the churches by writing letters. The books of Ephesians, Colossians, Philippians, and Philemon were written during that season and are filled with faith and hope that Paul’s ministry would continue.
However, the tone in 2 Timothy is very different. While there is still a message of faith and hope, it is not directed towards a release from prison. Rather, it surrounds Paul’s expectation of eternity. During this second imprisonment, Paul knew that he was at the end of his life; however, he was not discouraged by the thought but rather joyful. He knew that he had been faithful to the Lord and had done all that he could with the time God had given him. Therefore, Paul was able to confidently say:
“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that Day, and not only to me but also to all who have loved his appearing.”
~2 Timothy 4:7-8
This is the key verse and central theme of our study through 2 Timothy. Throughout his letters, Paul used the metaphor of the spiritual life being a race. Therefore, it is fitting that as he sought to summarize his life’s work, he returned to the image of running and stated that he finished his race. Paul didn’t point to all the churches he planted as signs of his success. He didn’t mention the miracles he performed or letters he had written. At the end of the day, Paul concluded his life work with the statement: “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.”
Paul was content in knowing that he had been faithful. Faithful to the race God put in front of him and the tasks he had been entrusted with. Faithful to people and ministry opportunities God had given him. And most of all, faithful to his beliefs and faith in Jesus Christ.
May we be able to make the same bold statement at the end of our life’s race. May we be able to look back on our lives and say with confidence that we have finished our race well and kept the faith. Therefore, as we start digging into the book of 2 Timothy, keep this theme and end goal in mind, for this is the heart of the letter and the message, I believe, God wants to encourage us with as we face challenges and obstacles.
So let’s get ready to learn from the wisdom of Paul and the divinely inspired words he wrote to Timothy, his son in the faith. And may we take heart and remember that no matter what life throws at us, we are called to faithfully run our race to the end.