A Commentary in Simple English on 2 Timothy

A Commentary in Simple English on the Second Letter sent by Paul to Timothy

Paul's two letters to Timothy

The two letters from Paul to Timothy are not alike. Paul sent 1 Timothy and Titus to Timothy and Titus, but the message of these letters was to the churches. This second letter really is to Paul's friend Timothy. In the first letter, Paul writes mainly about the church at Ephesus and the work that Timothy has to do there. In the second letter, Paul writes more about himself and his own problems. In the first letter, Paul tells Timothy to stay in Ephesus and to work there. In the second letter Paul asks Timothy to come to him in Rome as quickly as he can. There are other differences between the two letters. There are more word pictures in the second letter than in the first one. But the false teachers are still at work. [0.1]

Paul wrote the second letter from Rome perhaps a year after the first letter. This was in 64 A.D. or a year or two later. Paul is in prison in Rome. Winter is not far off. Winter in Rome is sometimes very cold. Paul had been a prisoner in Rome from about 60-62 A.D., but then he was able to live in his own rooms. Paul was a Roman 'citizen', so he would not be in the worst part of the prison where slaves would be kept.

There had been Christians in Rome from the start of the church (Acts 2:11). Rome was the biggest city in the world at that time. About a million people lived there. Many of the first Christians would have been Jews. There were eleven Jewish meeting places in Rome. About twenty years later the emperor told all the Jews in Rome to leave the city (Acts 18:2). So then the group of Christians in Rome was much smaller, and there were no Jewish Christians among them.

Paul wrote his letter to the Romans in 57 A.D. We can see from the last chapter of that letter that by then there were again many Jewish Christians in Rome. Yet Paul found that there was a need to preach the Good News to the Jews in Rome (Acts 28:17-28). This was in 60 A.D. Paul must have had many good friends in Rome. He left Rome in 62 A.D. In 64 A.D. the Roman emperor, Nero, killed great numbers of Christians in Rome. Many of the friends Paul had made in Rome would have died then. By the time Paul came back to Rome, he was a prisoner of the Romans and the Christians in Rome were few and very frightened. So Paul was lonely in Rome. Any Christian who came to see Paul in prison would be in danger.

When Paul had to stand in a law court in Rome, he was able to speak and he preached the Good News (4:16). No doubt the Spirit of God was at work and many people believed. So then there was a new beginning for the Christians in Rome. We think that the Romans killed Paul, but not long after this Nero killed himself. For some years after that, the Christians in Rome had more peace and they did not suffer so much.