1 & 2 Timothy and Titus are referred to as the Pastoral Letters of Paul. These letters addressed to Timothy and Titus give instructions "about he responsibilities of pastors in leading and ministering to God's people1." They also serve as instructions to anyone in a leadership position. These instructions can apply to any position within the church, in your family, or simply as a leader of your own life. This series of blog posts will focus on 2 Timothy. I was originally going to post a series entitled "The Seven Habits of a Highly Effective Christian" using material from Jennifer LeClaire Ministries2. But as I began to prepare there was more I wanted to say. I will include those seven habits as part of this paper. Those seven habits are my New Years resolutions for 2020. I'll start those beginning with 2 Timothy 1:6-7. But that is for later.
2 Timothy was Pauls last letter before he was martyred in Rome around 64 AD by Nero during Nero's attempt to destroy Christianity. Tradition says that both Paul and Peter were martyred at the same time. 2 Timothy was written after the initial trial was held and Paul was waiting for the final sentence to be delivered. 2 Timothy is Paul's final instructions to his "beloved and faithful child in the Lord" (1 Corinthians 4:17), his "fellow worker" (Romans 16:21), his "brother and God's servant in the gospel of Christ" (1 Thessalonians 3:2). Paul included his most important instructions to Timothy.
Much has been written challenging Paul as the author of the Pastoral Letters. Stott does a very nice job of outlining these objections to Pauls authorship of the Pastoral Letters. I don't think the discussion is relevant to this paper but would refer you to Stott3. But I agree with Stott's conclusion that the letters were written by Paul.
This letter is about the Gospel, it is a very personal letter to Timothy. Paul was giving Timothy instructions about the Gospel. Paul had been spreading the gospel to the Gentiles for approximately 30 years. Now at the end of his life he is passing on the responsibility for the gospel to Timothy, his "brother and God's servant in the gospel of Christ" (1 Thessalonians 3:2). Paul is passing the responsibility for keeping and teaching the gospel to Timothy. Stott summarizes this letter in the following way4:
Chapter 1 The charge to guard the gospel. "Guard the truth that has been entrusted to you by the Holy Spirit who dwells within us (1:14)."
Chapter 2 The charge to suffer for the gospel. "Take your share of suffering as a good soldier of Jesus Christ…Remember Jesus Christ…as preached in my gospel, the gospel for which I am suffering and wearing fetters like a criminal (2:3, 8, 9)."
Chapter 3 The charge to continue the gospel. "Evil men and imposters will go from bad to worse, deceivers and deceived. But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed… (3:13, 14)."
Chapter 4 The charge to proclaim the gospel. "I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus…: preach the word, be urgent in season and out of season, convince, rebuke and exhort, be unfailing in patience and in teaching (4:1, 2)."
There is no more timely or timeless message about the gospel for today5. Today in a world of watered down cheap grace being offered by so many churches the truth of the gospel needs to be proclaimed by this generation. It has been said that the gospel is one generation away from being lost. If it is assumed "in one generation, it will be neglected, ignored, and / or abandoned in the next6." Platt describes six characteristics of the gospel7. First, the gospel is Christ centered. There is no gospel apart from Jesus. 2 Timothy 2:8 NKJV "Remember that Jesus Christ, of the seed of David, was raised from the dead according to my gospel," (emphasis mine).
Second, the gospel is biblical. The Holy Scripture, from Genesis to Revelation tells of the saving work of Jesus Christ (3:15). Also "being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, … even the righteousness of God, through faith in Jesus Christ, to all and on all who believe. …" (Romans 3:21, 22) Third, the gospel is historical. Christ has appeared in human history (1:10) and will come again to bring in His heavenly kingdom (4:18). Fourth, the gospel is doctrinal. Christians have the doctrinal truths in the gospel: the promise of life (1:1), sovereign grace (1:9), Christ's victory over death (1:10), the Spirit's indwelling (1:14), the person and work of Christ (2:8), election (2:10, 19), glorification (2:10), union with Christ (2:11), repentance (2:25), and future rewards (4:8). Fifth, the gospel is personal (1:4, 5). And finally, the gospel is practical. It has to do with all of life, from families, to finances, to schooling, to our purity, and to every area of our lives. To the unbeliever the gospel is a message of salvation and hope8.
2 LeClaire audio file
3 Stott pp. 13-16
4 Stott p. 21
5 Platt p. 134
6 Platt p. 134
7 Platt pp. 134, 135
8 Platt p. 135
LeClaire, Jennifer listened to from https://jenniferleclaire.org/submission-confirmed/?v=7516fd43adaa when I subscribed to email.
Platt, David, et al. Exalting Jesus in 1 & 2 Timothy and Titus. B & H Academic, 2013.
Stott, John R. W. The Message of 2 Timothy. Inter-Varsity Press, 1973.