The importance of faithfully and courageously continuing to preach the Word despite intense opposition ensures an unbroken chain of spiritual leadership. These are the last words of the Apostle Paul to his chief protege, Timothy.
Any leadership transition brings a certain amount of uncertainty and vulnerability. But as long as preaching the Word remains paramount, even in the face of growing opposition as these last days prove to be perilous, we will continue to run the race that has been set before us and finish strong.
Persevere in the Hard Work of the Gospel Ministry Through Courage and Faithfulness in Preaching the Word in the Face of Growing Opposition
2 Timothy 2:2 “And the things which you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses, these entrust to faithful men, who will be able to teach others also.”
1:1-7 INTRODUCTION: DON’T DROP THE BATON!
I. (1:8-2:2) A CALL TO COURAGE AND FAITHFULNESS
A. (1:8-12) A CALL TO COURAGE
B. (1:13-18) A CALL TO FAITHFULNESS / LOYALTY
C. (2:1-2) THE SOURCE OF COURAGE AND THE GOAL OF FAITHFULNESS
II. (2:3-26) A CALL TO PERSEVERANCE AND GODLINESS IN THE HARD WORK OF THE GOSPEL MINISTRY
A. (2:3-7) THE RIGHT STUFF FOR THE HARD WORK OF THE GOSPEL MINISTRY
B. (2:8-13) KEEP RUNNING THE RACE
C. (2:14-26) TRUTH AND GODLINESS MUST GO HAND IN HAND
III. (3:1-17) A CALL TO WITHSTAND THE TOUGH TIMES AHEAD — OF GROWING DEPRAVITY AND OPPOSITION
A. (3:1-9) TOUGH TIMES AHEAD – PART 1
B. (3:10-17) TOUGH TIMES AHEAD – PART 2
IV. (4:1-8) PREACH THE WORD TO THE VERY END
A. (4:1-5) PREACH THE WORD
B. (4:6-8) A VIEW FROM THE FINISH LINE – FINAL REFLECTIONS FROM THE APOSTLE PAUL
4:9-22 FINAL REQUESTS
WHY STUDY THIS BOOK?
• Suffering hardship in the ministry requires a special type of fortitude and perseverance
• The charge to stir up one’s spiritual gift and fulfill one’s ministry is always challenging
• There is great comfort in being reminded about our eternal security
• The perilous nature of the last days needs to be anticipated in order to live godly in the midst of persecution
• The exhortation to “Finish strong” in light of the future reward keeps things in perspective
• The last words of any man facing imminent death are always particularly revealing
David Malick: Paul writes as a man whose life and ministry is nearly at an end to not only request that Timothy join him in Rome, but to encourage Timothy to be loyal to the Lord, Paul and especially the gospel ministry under any and all circumstances as he gently, but firmly resists the false teachers in Ephesus knowing that the Lord will reward him for faithfulness just as he is about to reward Paul.
Dwight Edwards: The book of II Timothy has been often called “Paul’s last will and testament.” This is a fitting title, for it was almost certainly the last letter Paul wrote before his earthly sojourn came to an end. Probably even before this letter reached Timothy, Paul’s head had been severed from his body by the sword of a Roman soldier, somewhere along the Appian Way. Thus, this great man of God died just as he had lived–as a living sacrifice (Rom. 12:1). Perhaps no more fitting epitaph could be written for Paul than his own words at the end of this epistle, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.” II Tim. 4:7 . . .
This is a very PERSONAL letter, one which unmistakably shows us the personal affection Paul had for Timothy. Note especially 1:3-6; 2:1; 4:9.
It is also a PASTORAL letter, along with I Timothy and Titus. Timothy was pastoring the church in Ephesus, which was not an easy task (I Tim. 1:3,4,18; II Tim. 1:6-8). Paul writes to encourage and exhort him towards continued faithfulness and not stopping short of “completely fulfilling his ministry.” II Tim. 4:5.
Finally, it is a PRACTICAL letter. There is relatively little deep theology in this epistle such as is found in Romans, Ephesians, etc. Of course all of Paul’s letters are practical but this one especially concentrates on the practical aspects of discipleship and “fighting the good fight.”
Dr. Daniel Wallace: The theme of this short epistle is bound up with the fact that this is both Paul’s last letter and it is to his closest companion. Although the apostle could have dwelt on his own accomplishments, he is more interested in making sure that Timothy is prepared to carry on the work. The double emphasis seen throughout is on endurance and faithfulness to the truth. The theme might be summed up this way: “Persevere in the proclamation of the gospel.”
J Sidlow Baxter: It is a challenge to fortitude and faithfulness in face of present testings and of further testings which were yet to come. It is equally orderly as the first. The four chapters break into two pairs. Chapters i. and ii. are about the Christian pastor and his true reactions to present testings. Chapters iii. and iv., commencing “This know, also that in the last days perilous times shall come,” concern the pastor’s reaction to age-end troubles.
Homer A. Kent: The tone of this epistle, a remarkable blending of gloom and joy, can be accounted for by several factors. The shadow of impending death certainly gives reason for solemnity (4:6). Furthermore, Paul is almost alone at this time, his only companion being Luke (4:11). The circumstances involved in the absence of some companions was most discouraging (4:10, 16). Also, his anxiety about the churches was sufficient to cause the shepherd heart of the great apostle to be somewhat subdued (ch. 3). But greater than all of this was his unflinching faith that God was still sovereign, and that the privilege of serving Him was worth any sacrifice (3:11, 4:1, 8, 17, 18).
William Hendriksen: There are no sharp divisions. Rather, the emphasis gradually shifts from one point to another. When a new point is made, the old one is not entirely relinquished. The thoughts overlap like shingles on a roof. For example, a key passage in chapter 1 is, “Do not be ashamed” (verses 8, 12, 16). The idea recurs, however, in chapter 2 (verse 15). Similarly, a key passage in chapter 2 is, “Suffer hardship along with us” (verse 3; cf. verse 9). But this has been anticipated in chapter 1 (verse 8).
Outline: As Regards Sound Doctrine:
Hold on to it (chapter 1)
Teach it (chapter 2)
Abide in it (chapter 3)
Preach it (chapter 4)