Paul, the author of this epistle, wrote it just before his martyrdom. It is considered to be the last words of the apostle which inspiration has preserved. A wave of apostasy was sweeping over the church. Paul said, “all they which are in Asia be turned away from me”. The churches had turned from the doctrines of grace, and began to embrace the legalism of the Judaistic teachers.
There are three divisions to the epistle as follows:
1. Chapters 1 and 2. Personal advice to Timothy.
2. Chapter 3. Latter day apostasy.
3. Chapter 4. Parting exhortation to Timothy.
PERSONAL ADVICE TO TIMOTHY.
Timothy had a good parentage in both his mother and his grandmother. They were women of faith and had passed on to the young man some excellent traits of character, Ch. 1:5. Paul told him to stir up his gift, and that he should not be ashamed of the testimony of Christ, and of Paul His prisoner, vs.6-9. Two men by the names of Phygellus and Hermogenes had influenced many by wrong teaching. That latter with others believed and taught that the resurrection is past already. The apostle called it blasphemy, see I Timothy 1:20; 2 Tim 1:15; 2:17-18, and was very severe in his treatment of such. There was one brother named Onesiphorus who had shown great kindness to Paul, and for him he prayed that God would reward him in the day of divine reckoning, vs.16-18.
Timothy was urged to endure hardness as a good soldier of Jesus Christ, and not to be entangled with the affairs of this life, Ch.2:3-4. God keeps a true record of each one. If we suffer with Christ, we shall also reign with Him, therefore, we should “study to show ourselves approved”, vs.12,15. In a great house are vessels of different materials, and some have a more honorable use than others. So it is with believers. If we endeavor to keep ourselves free from the errors of the times, we shall become vessels unto honor and meet for the Masters use.
LATTER DAY APOSTASY.
“A form of godliness but denying the power thereof” is a very common thing among apostates of today. To join a church can sometimes be the popular choice, but to confess Christ and uphold the fundamentals of His redemption is something from which many will depart in the last days, Ch.3:1-5. We are told to” turn away” from such, v.6. Evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, but the man who continues in the scriptures shall find that they fit him for every good work, vs.13,16-17.
PARTING EXHORTATION TO TIMOTHY.
The apostle sees his end approaching. As a firm believer in the future day of reckoning, he exhorted Timothy to preach the Word in all its various applications, so that people would be warned of the day when Christ shall judge the “quick and the dead”, Ch.4:1-5. Paul then gave his testimony. He could say in view of his approaching martyrdom, “I have fought a good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith”, v.7. Many may mutilate the body, but to those who win out a crown is waiting. Let us all be true in the dark as well as in the light and the reward shall be given in the day of His appearing, v.8.