Unger's Bible Dictionary: Second Timothy



TIMOTHY, SECOND EPISTLE. This pastoral letter has been called the "swan song" of Paul. It is the final message of the apostle. There is a deep solemnity in the epistle bordering on a note of sadness. But above it there is a tone of triumph. "I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith" (4:6-8).


Date. The following is a probable calendar of Paul's life during the closing years of his career: A.D. 58 he was arrested in Jerusalem; A.D. 61 he arrived in Rome; A.D. 61-63 mark his first Roman imprisonment; A.D. 64-67 he was released, during which interval he wrote 1 Timothy and Titus from Macedonia; A.D. 67, 2 Timothy was penned from Rome; A.D. 67-68 Paul was arrested and put to death.


Purpose. Second Timothy, like 2 Peter, Jude, and 2 and 3 John, concerns the personal walk and testimony of a true servant-soldier of Christ in a day of apostasy. After the salutation, 1:1-3, Paul (1) appeals for loyalty to the gospel, 1:3-18, and for soldierly endurance in Timothy's ministry, 2:1-13. (2) He gives important direction concerning Timothy's ministerial conduct, 2:14-26. (3) He warns against perilous times that are to come, 3:1-9. (4) He urges Timothy to follow his example, 3:10-13. (5) He alludes to Timothy's early training as a basis for his present faithfulness, 3:14-17. (6) He urges faithful proclamation of the word of truth in view of approaching apostasy and his own martyrdom, 4:1-8. (7) He expresses longing for fellowship, 4:9-18. (8) He dispatches greetings, 4:19-22.



BIBLIOGRAPHY: D. E. Hiebert, Second Timothy (1958); J. R. W. Stott, Guard the Gospel (1973). See also Timothy, First Epistle.

(from The New Unger's Bible Dictionary. Originally published by Moody Press of Chicago, Illinois. Copyright (c) 1988.)

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