2 Timothy 1


Paul’s second letter to Timothy is a personal letter to Timothy, which begins with Paul reflecting on Timothy’s sincere faith. Timothy’s mother, Eunice, and his grandmother, Lois, had taught Timothy from a very young age about what faith is all about. Paul sees evidence of this faith in Timothy and is overjoyed that he is displaying in his life what he was taught.

Paul writes this second letter to Timothy to encourage him to be strong in grace and to continue to be unwavering in what he had been taught, especially in light of the upcoming days of apostasy and godlessness. Paul charges Timothy to continue to hold on to ‘the faith’ and to be bold and prepared in all circumstances to preach God’s Word.


The letter itself and other letters that Paul wrote, especially 1 Timothy and Titus, have brought about some criticism as to whether Paul actually wrote them or not, mainly for four reasons.

1. The historical problem.

2. The ecclesiastical problem.

3. The doctrinal problem.

4. The linguistic problem.

It’s difficult to understand where the confusion comes from as Paul clearly tells us it was, he, himself, was the one who actually wrote the letter, 1 Timothy 1:1 / 2 Timothy 2:1 / Titus 1:1.


According to history, Paul was beheaded in Roman imprisonment around A.D. 67. It’s believed that this letter was written during this second imprisonment in Rome and shortly before his death, 2 Timothy 4:6-8. His first letter to Timothy was probably written immediately before or during his first imprisonment around A.D. 61 to 62.

After the first imprisonment, Paul was set free. After a quick trip through Crete, Ephesus and Macedonia, he was arrested again and sent to Rome. This was his last imprisonment during which he was martyred for preaching the Gospel.


Paul wanted to encourage Timothy as much as he can, to fine-tune his work in Ephesus where he was to stay as an evangelist. Paul is obviously waiting for the result of his trial in 2 Timothy and makes some requests to Timothy to come and see him before he was put to death, 2 Timothy 4:6.

In 1 Timothy Paul gave him very clear guidelines for choosing church leaders, which he understood even though we don’t entirely understand some points. Also in Titus, it appears to be dealing with the same issue and he encourages him to use more or less the same guidelines for choosing church leaders in Crete.

So in both cases, Paul’s letters of encouragement would have helped them in their demanding tasks. 1 Timothy is written to Timothy’s position as an evangelist and in 2 Timothy, Paul addresses Timothy’s own conduct and behaviour.


When Paul was released from prison having been found not guilty, probably because there were no witnesses, which appeared against him. He began to carry on with his work again, probably visiting western and eastern Europe and Asia Minor. It was during this period of time he wrote his first letter to Timothy and his letter to Titus.

The year of his release is recognised by the burning of Rome, for which Nero blamed Christians. Persecution broke out against the Christians at this point and Paul was captured again and taken to Rome as a prisoner. It was during this he probably wrote the second letter to Timothy, the last he ever wrote.

There can be little doubt that he appeared again at Nero’s bar, and this time the charge didn’t break down. In all history, there’s not a more startling illustration of the irony of human life than this scene of Paul at the bar of Nero.

On the judgment seat, clad in the imperial purple, sat a man who, in a bad world, had reached the reputation of being the very worst and meanest human being in it, a man stained with every crime, a man whose whole being was so steeped in every nameable and unnameable vice, that body and soul of him were, as someone said at the time, nothing but a compound of mud and blood and in the prisoner’s dock stood the best man the world possessed, his hair whitened with labours for the good of men and the glory of God.

The trial ended and Paul was condemned and delivered to the executioner. He was led out of the city, with a crowd of the lowest rabble at his heels. He was taken to the place of execution and knelt beside the block.

The headsman’s axe gleamed in the sun and fell and the head of the apostle of the world rolled down in the dust as one commentator puts it. This was probably around 66 A.D., four years before the fall of Jerusalem.


His name means, ‘honouring God’, and his mother, Eunice, and his grandmother, Lois, are mentioned as eminent for their piety, 2 Timothy 1:5. We know nothing of his father but that he was a Greek, Acts 16:1. Timothy became a new convert of Paul the apostle on his first missionary journey, 1 Timothy 1:2 / 1 Timothy 1:18 / Acts 14:6-23, and Timothy became a devoted travelling companion of Pauls.

Timothy was a native of Lystra, and he was with Paul when he was imprisoned in Rome. Paul mentions that Timothy made the journey from Rome to Philippi, Philippians 2:19-23. Sometime later became the minister of the church at Ephesus, and Paul the apostle addresses his letter to Timothy as a minister at Ephesus.

He’s first brought into notice at the time of Paul’s second visit to Lystra, Acts 16:2, where he probably resided, and where it seems he was converted during Paul’s first visit to that place, 1 Timothy 1:2 / 2 Timothy 3:11. Paul, having formed a high opinion of his ‘own son in the faith,’ arranged that he should become his companion, Acts 16:3, and took and circumcised him, so that he might conciliate the Jews.

He was designated to the office of an evangelist, 1 Timothy 4:14, and went with Paul in his journey through Phrygia, Galatia, and Mysia, also to Troas and Philippi and Berea, Acts 17:14. He followed Paul to Athens, and was sent by him with Silas on a mission to Thessalonica, Acts 17:15 / 1 Thessalonians 3:2.

We next find him at Corinth with Paul, 1 Thessalonians 1:1 / 2 Thessalonians 1:1. He passes now out of sight for a few years and is again noticed as with the apostle at Ephesus, Acts 19:22, and he is sent on a mission into Macedonia.

He accompanied Paul afterwards into Asia, Acts 20:4, where he was with him for some time. When the apostle was a prisoner in Rome, Timothy joined him, Philippians 1:1, where it appears he also suffered imprisonment, Hebrews 13:23.

During Paul’s second imprisonment he wrote to Timothy, asking him to rejoin him as soon as possible, and to bring with him certain things which he had left at Troas, his cloak and parchments, 2 Timothy 4:13. According to tradition, after Paul’s death, he settled in Ephesus as his sphere of labour and there found a martyr’s grave.


Persevere In Present Trials. 2 Timothy 2:1-2:26
Thanksgiving For Timothy’s Faith. 2 Timothy 2:1-5
Reminder Of Timothy’s Responsibility. 2 Timothy 2:6-18
Characteristics of a Faithful Minister. 2 Timothy 2:19-26
Endure In Future Trails. 2 Timothy 3:1-4:22
Approaching Day Of Apostasy. 2 Timothy 3:1-17
Charge To Preach The Word. 2 Timothy 4:1-5
Approaching Death Of Paul. 2 Timothy 4:6-22

The Text

‘Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, in keeping with the promise of life that is in Christ Jesus.’ 2 Timothy 1:1

Paul begins his letter by reminding Timothy that he is an ‘apostle of Christ Jesus’, that is, someone who was sent directly by Christ, Romans 1:1 / 1 Corinthians 1:1 / Galatians 1:11-12 / 1 Timothy 1:1-2.

In the book of Acts, we read of the qualifications to be an apostle, Acts 1:21-22, but Paul was different in the sense that he was personally called by Jesus to be an apostle, Acts 9:1-19 / 1 Corinthians 15:8.

Notice that while others are called upon to do the will of God, Paul’s personal calling was the will of God. Paul was called to be an apostle in order to preach the Gospel, ‘the promise of life that is in Christ Jesus’, which would bring life and hope to all those who obeyed the Gospel message, Romans 6:3-6 / Ephesians 3:6 / Titus 1:2 / Hebrews 9:15 / 1 John 5:11.

‘To Timothy, my dear son: Grace, mercy and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.’ 2 Timothy 1:2

It’s very clear that Paul loved Timothy as a father loves his son. This usually happens when a person has the honour of sharing the Gospel with someone and then goes on to baptise them.

Although we don’t know when Paul taught and baptised Timothy, Acts 16:1, we do know Timothy travelled everywhere with Paul before he gained a lot of experience from his travels and from being with Paul, Acts 16:1-3 / Acts 20:4 / Colossians 1:1 / Philemon 1 / 1 Corinthians 16:10-11 / Philippians 2:19 / Titus 1:4.

Paul trained him up as an evangelist in order for him to carry on preaching and teaching God’s Word to others, 1 Timothy 2:2.

With Paul’s greeting, he affirms the standing of Jesus with God, the Father, and His authority. In other words, Paul has attributed his authority in writing this letter to Timothy to be from God, both the Father and the Son, 2 John 3.

Someone once said, ‘grace is the favour of God, mercy is the compassion of God, and peace is the result when God removes guilt and misery’. There’s a lot in this statement because as the Christian walks each day, some days are better, far better, than other days. When we remind ourselves of God’s grace mercy and peace, we remind ourselves of how much God loves us, Romans 8:37-39 / Ephesians 3:18.


‘I thank God, whom I serve, as my ancestors did, with a clear conscience, as night and day I constantly remember you in my prayers. Recalling your tears, I long to see you, so that I may be filled with joy. I am reminded of your sincere faith, which first lived in your grandmother Lois and in your mother Eunice and, I am persuaded, now lives in you also.’ 2 Timothy 1:3-5

Paul thanked the God he served, with a ‘clear conscience’, in other words, throughout his life, he always tried to do what he believed was right, Acts 22:3 / Acts 24:14-16 / Romans 1:9 / 1 Timothy 1:13.

He sincerely believed that Christianity was a sect against Judaism, he was a violent man, Romans 1:30, who persecuted Christians throughout Judea, and he was a blasphemer, Acts 8:3 / 1 Corinthians 15:9.

Barnes, in his commentary, says the following, concerning his ancestors.

‘Paul reckoned among his forefathers the patriarchs and the holy men of former times, as being of the same nation with himself, though it may be that he also included his more immediate ancestors, who, for anything known to the contrary, may have been distinguished examples of piety. His own parents, it is certain, took care that he should be trained up in the ways of religion, Philemon 3:4-5 / Acts 26:4-5.’

‘The phrase ‘from my forefathers,’ probably means, after the example of my ancestors. He worshipped the same God; he held substantially the same truths, he had the same hope of the resurrection and of immortality, he trusted to the same Saviour having come, on whom they relied as about to come. His was not, therefore, a different religion from theirs; it was the same religion carried out and perfected. The religion of the Old Testament and the New is essentially the same, Acts 23:6.’

Paul prayed for Timothy ‘night and day’, Romans 12:12 / 1 Thessalonians 5:17, and although we don’t know what ‘tears’ Paul is referring to, it’s possible he’s referring to the tears which he shed when they parted company.

This also tells us that timothy was an emotional man, Acts 20:37-38 / 2 Timothy 4:9 / 2 Timothy 4:21. Paul longed to see Timothy again because he brought him so much joy.

Paul remembers Timothy’s ‘sincere faith’, which had been instilled in him by his mother, Eunice and his grandmother, Lois, 1 Timothy 1:5 / 1 Timothy 4:6. We don’t know anything about his father, except that he was a Greek, Acts 16:1.

It’s so important for children to be taught the Scriptures from a young age, but we must remember they have to develop their own ‘faith’, they don’t inherit faith from anyone, but parents must not only teach their children from God’s Word, but they must also live their faith out as an example to their children.

Children will have a good chance of developing a strong, sincere faith, even if one of the parents isn’t a believer, 1 Peter 3:1-6. We should never underestimate the impact of a godly parent, which would include single mothers or fathers, Proverbs 22:6.

Appeal For Loyalty To Paul And The Gospel

‘For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands. For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.’ 2 Timothy 1:6-7

Paul now reminds Timothy ‘to fan into flame the gift of God’, this was a miraculous gift that had been imparted to Timothy through ‘the laying on of Paul’s hands’, Acts 8:18 / Romans 1:11.

In 1 Timothy 4:14, Timothy was warned to not neglect the gift that God has given him. God gave Timothy supernatural gifts, and he should trust that God will do great things through him. This shows that there was definitely the possibility that the gifts and abilities in him could be wasted for eternity, Matthew 25:18.

The miraculous gifts were given through the laying on of the apostle’s hands, Acts 8:18 / Romans 1:11. Paul also mentions that the elders laid their hands on him, 1 Timothy 4:14 / Acts 13:1-3, which means they approved and recognised the work Timothy was going to be doing.

Apparently, whilst the elders were publicly approving Timothy, the apostle Paul bestowed a miraculous gift at the same time, which is what Paul is referring to here.

Whatever was happening in Ephesus at this point in time, was clearly intimidating Timothy, and he lost his confidence to teach, possibly because of all the false teachers, 1 Timothy 4:14.

What was the gift that Paul bestowed upon Timothy? It was the gift of power, the power to encounter enemies and dangers, the power to bear up under trials, the power to triumph in persecutions, Luke 24:49 / Acts 1:8 / Philippians 4:13 / Colossians 1:29 / 1 Thessalonians 1:5.

It was the gift of love, to love to God and the souls of men, Romans 5:5 / Ephesians 3:16-17 / 1 John 4:18. It was the gift of self-discipline, to be well balanced, and under the right influences, 2 Timothy 3:16-17.

Timothy must start using the gift again for God’s glory if he is to continue as an evangelist for Christ, John 14:27 / Romans 8:15 / Ephesians 6:10 / 1 John 4:18.

‘So do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord or of me his prisoner. Rather, join with me in suffering for the gospel, by the power of God. He has saved us and called us to a holy life—not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time, but it has now been revealed through the appearing of our Saviour, Christ Jesus, who has destroyed death and has brought life and immortality to light through the gospel.’ 2 Timothy 1:8-10

After telling Timothy ‘to fan into flame the gift of God’, Paul now tells him not to be ashamed of the testimony about Jesus, Romans 1:16 / 2 Timothy 1:12 / 2 Timothy 1:16 / Revelation 22:16. It appears that Timothy was in real danger of being ashamed of the Gospel, possibly because of the trials and persecution he was facing.

Paul also tells him not to be ashamed of Paul himself because he was a prisoner of Christ, Ephesians 3:1 / Ephesians 6:20 / Philemon 1:13-14 / Philemon 1:16 / Colossians 4:3 / Colossians 4:18 / Philemon 1:9.

Timothy knew that Paul had been put in prison because he preached the Gospel, Matthew 10:28-33, and it’s possible that he was ashamed to be associated with someone in prison.

Anyone who preaches the Gospel will suffer the consequences for doing so, Colossians 1:24. However, it’s ‘God’s power’, which helps us endure trials and hardships on account of the Gospel. This means those who preach the Gospel must learn to trust God and rely on Him to give them the strength to keep going, Ephesians 6:10.

God saved us when He ‘called by the grace of God’ that was demonstrated on the cross, Matthew 1:21 / 2 Thessalonians 2:14 / Titus 2:11. We’re called to ‘live holy lives’, which means it’s a calling that is in its own nature holy, and which leads to holiness, Ephesians 4:1 / Philemon 3:14 / Hebrews 3:1.

Notice that God’s grace was given not because of ‘anything we had done’, Romans 3:9-10 / Romans 3:20 / Romans 3:23 / Romans 5:8 / Galatians 2:16.

Paul says that God’s purpose for calling us through His grace happened before the creation of the world, Romans 8:28 / Romans 16:25 / Ephesians 1:4 / Titus 1:2 / Revelation 13:8. We’re called for a purpose, God’s purpose, Romans 8:28 / Romans 8:30.

God’s salvation plan was once hidden, 1 Peter 1:10-12 until it was revealed on the cross of Christ, it was Jesus who revealed God’s plan to save people, Ephesians 1:9. Although physical death will come to us all, Hebrews 9:27, death is not the end.

Through the Gospel, Romans 6:3-6 / 1 Corinthians 15:1-4, death will cease to reign, and over those who are saved, there will be no such thing as we now understand by dying, 1 Corinthians 15:54 / Hebrews 2:14 / 1 John 5:11.

The Old Testament reveals that God’s people of that period had a very simple, one might almost say simplistic, view of life, with a philosophy that declared, ‘Do good, and God will bless you with prosperity and longevity in the Land which He has promised to His people. But do evil, and you will be punished.’

The Pharisees firmly believed in both a future life and a Judgment whilst the Sadducees rejected both. It was the Lord Jesus Himself who ‘brought life and immortality to light, through the Gospel’. He brought it to light, He drove away the mists and doubts which had engulfed it for so long. And He did it, both by His teaching and His own resurrection from the dead.

It’s through faith in Christ and what He did, that Christians will enjoy a resurrected body to live forever in the presence of God, John 5:25-26 / 1 Corinthians 15:26 / 1 Corinthians 15:54-55 / Hebrews 2:14-15.

‘And of this gospel I was appointed a herald and an apostle and a teacher. That is why I am suffering as I am. Yet this is no cause for shame, because I know whom I have believed, and am convinced that he is able to guard what I have entrusted to him until that day.’ 2 Timothy 1:11-12

Paul was commissioned by God to proclaim the Good News, concerning the death, burial and resurrection of Christ, Acts 9:15-16 / 1 Corinthians 15:1-4.

The word ‘herald’ refers to his mission of proclaiming the Gospel to the lost, Ephesians 3:7-8. The word ‘apostle’ refers to his being sent by Jesus to proclaim the cross and resurrection of Jesus to the lost. The word ‘teacher’ refers to his ministry to the saints.

The reason Paul was ‘suffering’, was because he took the Gospel to the Gentiles, Acts 9:19 / Acts 20:22-23 / Acts 21:13-14 / 2 Corinthians 11:16-31 / Colossians 1:24 / 1 Peter 4:19. Despite his suffering, he was never ashamed of the Gospel, he was willing to suffer persecution on account of the Gospel, Romans 1:16.

He knows who he believes in because he had personally seen Jesus, he performed the miraculous, among the people. He was convinced that God was able to guard what had been entrusted to Him, that is his soul, Isaiah 28:16.

The ‘day’ which Paul speaks of here may be referring to a couple of things, first of all, he could be referring to the day in which he dies, 2 Timothy 1:18 / Hebrews 9:27, secondly, he could be referring to the resection of his body when Christ returns, 1 Corinthians 15:35-57 / 2 Corinthians 5:1-8 / 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18.

‘What you heard from me, keep as the pattern of sound teaching, with faith and love in Christ Jesus. Guard the good deposit that was entrusted to you—guard it with the help of the Holy Spirit who lives in us.’ 2 Timothy 1:13-14

Paul now encourages Timothy to ‘keep as the pattern of sound teaching’, what Paul has told him, 1 Timothy 1:3. All Christians should make every effort to continue in the teachings of Jesus, Ephesians 4:14 / 2 Timothy 3:14 / Titus 1:9 / Hebrews 10:23, along with their belief in the death, burial and resurrection of Christ, 1 Corinthians 15:1-4.

The word ‘pattern’ in Greek is ‘hupotuposis’, which suggests true teaching, according to God’s truth, it has a certain pattern, a pattern that can be detected by the discerning heart, 1 Timothy 1:16 / 1 Timothy 6:3.

Timothy was to keep these truths with sincere faith in the Lord Jesus, and with the love of Christ which is shown in all Christian, John 13:35.

Paul tells Timothy to ‘guard the good deposit’, that is, the truth of the Gospel, 1 Corinthians 15:1-4, which was entrusted to him, Psalm 15:4. Timothy had been entrusted and was required to share the Gospel with others, 1 Timothy 6:20, and he would have the help of the Holy Spirit who lives in him, John 14:17 / Acts 2:38 / 1 Corinthians 3:16 / 1 Corinthians 6:19.

Examples Of Disloyalty And Loyalty

‘You know that everyone in the province of Asia has deserted me, including Phygelus and Hermogenes.’ 2 Timothy 1:15

Coffman in his commentary says the following concerning this verse.

‘This does not refer to any general desertion of the faith by Christians throughout Asia, but to the turning away from Paul of any who might have been of help to him in his trial before the imperial government of Nero. The two men named here are examples of those who refused to help Paul. No one knows anything at all about these men, their names standing here in the sacred text and bearing the perpetual infamy which is their deserved reward. Were they among Paul’s friends among the Asiarchs, Acts 19:31, of Ephesus? Whoever they were, it seems that Paul had hoped for their support, hence the disappointment evident here.’

Notice that Paul says that they, including Phygelus and Hermogenes, had deserted him, not the truth of the Gospel, 2 Timothy 1:17. It is a sad thing when the only record made of Phygelus and Hermogenes, the only evidence which we have that they ever lived at all is, that he turned away from a friend.

‘May the Lord show mercy to the household of Onesiphorus, because he often refreshed me and was not ashamed of my chains. On the contrary, when he was in Rome, he searched hard for me until he found me. May the Lord grant that he will find mercy from the Lord on that day! You know very well in how many ways he helped me in Ephesus.’ 2 Timothy 1:16-18

In total contrast to Phygelus and Hermogenes, Onesiphorus didn’t desert Paul when he was in difficult circumstances, Acts 4:19-20 / 2 Timothy 4:19. Because of this prayed for mercy on Onesiphorus and his whole household.

We don’t know much about Onesiphorus but Paul describes him in three wonderful ways.

1. He often refreshed Paul.

This tells us that Onesiphorus was a continual blessing to Paul and his work, Philemon 20, he looked after Paul’s needs as was imprisoned and as Paul continued to preach the Gospel to the lost. The name Onesiphorus means ‘helpbringer’, and that’s exactly what he was doing with Paul.

2. He wasn’t ashamed of Paul’s chains.

This tells us that Onesiphorus wasn’t ashamed to have a friend and brother in Christ in prison and to be associated with Paul, Acts 28:20 / Philippians 1:15-18 / Colossians 4:3 / Colossians 4:18 / Philemon 1:10 / Philemon 1:13-14 / Philemon 1:16.

3. He searched for Paul until he found him.

Rome was a huge city and filled with many prisons and it appears that Onesiphorus went from one prison to another to find Paul, Matthew 25:36.

Paul prays that Onesiphorus will find mercy on the day of judgment, Matthew 6:4 / Mark 9:41 / Matthew 25:31-40 / 2 Timothy 1:12. It appears that Timothy was well aware of who Onesiphorus was and what he had been doing for Paul while he was in Ephesus, Hebrews 6:10.

Although we don’t know for certain where Onesiphorus and his family lived, it’s highly probable they lived in Ephesus, 2 Timothy 4:19.

Go To 2 Timothy 2


"Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go."