Second Epistle to Timothy

(Redirected from 2 Timothy)

The Second Epistle to Timothy[a] is one of the three pastoral epistles traditionally attributed to Paul the Apostle.[3] Addressed to Timothy, a fellow missionary,[3] it is traditionally considered to be the last epistle he wrote before his death. The original language is Koine Greek.

Fragment from the Codex Freerianus (5th century AD); the lower part shows text from 2 Timothy 1:10–12.

Although the pastorals are written under Paul's name, they are different from his other epistles, and since the early 19th century, scholars have increasingly seen them as the work of an unknown student of Paul's doctrine.[4][5] They do not address Paul's common themes, such as the believers' unity with Christ,[3] and they reflect a church hierarchy that is more organized and defined than the church was in Paul's time.[5]

Nonetheless, a number of scholars still defend the traditional authorship of 2 Timothy.[4][6][7]

Authorship edit

Most modern critical scholars argue that 2 Timothy, as well as the other two so-called "pastoral letters" (1 Timothy and Titus), were not written by Paul but by an anonymous author, sometime between 90 and 140 AD.[8][9][5] Some scholars refer to the assumedly pseudonymous author as "the Pastor".[5]

The language and ideas of 2 Timothy are notably different from the other two pastoral epistles yet similar to the later Pauline epistles, especially the ones he wrote in captivity. This has led some scholars to conclude that the author of 2 Timothy is a different person from that of 1 Timothy and Titus. Raymond E. Brown proposed that this letter was written by a follower of Paul who had knowledge of Paul's last days.[10]

Most scholars, both those arguing for and against its authenticity, are of the opinion that 2 Timothy belongs to a pseudepigraphic genre known as the testamentary genre or farewell discourse, the 'testament' genre contains two main elements: ethical warnings to be followed after the death of the writer and revelations of the future. The significant fact about the 'testament' genre was not in its markers but in its nature; it is argued that a piece of 'testament' literature is meant to "be a completely transparent fiction".[11][12]

Jerome Murphy-O'Connor, however, argued that 2 Timothy was written by Paul and that the other two pastoral epistles were written by someone else using it as a model.[6]

Oldest surviving manuscripts edit

The original manuscript of this book is lost, as are about two centuries of the earliest copies. The text of surviving manuscripts varies. The oldest manuscripts containing some or all of the text of this book include:

Content edit

Quotation from 2 Timothy in Czech translation: "Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction." (NIV)

According to the letter, Paul urges Timothy not to have a "spirit of timidity" and not to "be ashamed to testify about our Lord" (1:7–8). He also entreats Timothy to come to him before winter, and to bring Mark with him (cf. Philippians 2:22). He was anticipating that "the time of his departure was at hand" (4:6), and he exhorts his "son Timothy" to all diligence and steadfastness in the face of false teachings, with advice about combating them with reference to the teachings of the past, and to patience under persecution (1:6–15), and to a faithful discharge of all the duties of his office (4:1–5), with all the solemnity of one who was about to appear before the Judge of the quick and the dead.

Paul is depicted by this book (which may have been written after his death) as anticipating his being put to death and realities beyond in his valedictory found in 2 Timothy 4:6–8: "For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing."

2 Timothy contains one of Paul's Christological Hymns in 2:11–13:

It is a faithful saying:
For if we be dead with him, we shall also live with him:
If we suffer, we shall also reign with him:
if we deny him, he also will deny us:
If we believe not, yet he abideth faithful: he cannot deny himself.


The saying is trustworthy, for:
If we have died with him, we will also live with him;
if we endure, we will also reign with him;
if we deny him, he also will deny us;
if we are faithless, he remains faithful—
for he cannot deny himself.

Portions of 2 Timothy parallel the Epistle to the Philippians, also believed to be written (with Timothy's help) near the time of Paul's death.[13]

Based on the traditional view that 2 Timothy was Paul's final epistle, chapter 4 talks (v. 10) about how Demas, formerly considered a "fellow worker", had deserted him for Thessalonica, "having loved this present world". In sharp contrast to his dispute with Barnabas over Mark (Acts 15:37–40), which resulted in the two parting ways, Paul now considered Mark to be "profitable to the ministry" (v. 11). The chapter also features the only biblical mention of Linus (v. 21), who in Catholic tradition is listed as Peter's immediate successor as Bishop of Rome.[citation needed]

In the epistle, Paul asks Timothy to bring his coat and books to him next time he sees him.[14]

2 Timothy 2:14-16 contains a number of commands addressed to Paul's co-worker (in the second person) about how one to teach or relate to those in disputes pertaining heresy.[15] The teaching of Paul was regarded authoritative by Gnostic and anti-Gnostic groups alike in the second century, but this epistle stands out firmly and becomes a basis for anti-Gnostic positions.[16]

See also edit

Notes edit

  1. ^ The book is sometimes called the Second Letter of Paul to Timothy, or simply 2 Timothy.[1] It is most commonly abbreviated as "2 Tim."[2]

References edit

  1. ^ ESV Pew Bible. Wheaton, IL: Crossway. 2018. p. 995. ISBN 978-1-4335-6343-0. Archived from the original on June 3, 2021.
  2. ^ "Bible Book Abbreviations". Logos Bible Software. Archived from the original on April 21, 2022. Retrieved April 21, 2022.
  3. ^ a b c May, Herbert G.; Metzger, Bruce M. (1977), The New Oxford Annotated Bible with the Apocrypha, pp. 1440, 1446–49.
  4. ^ a b Johnson, Luke Timothy (2001). The First and Second Letters to Timothy. Yale University Press. ISBN 0-300-13988-8.
  5. ^ a b c d Harris, Stephen L. (1985), "The Pastoral Epistles", Understanding the Bible, Palo Alto: Mayfield, pp. 340–45.
  6. ^ a b Jerome Murphy-O'Connor, Paul: A Critical Life, Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1996, pp. 356–359.
  7. ^ Wright, N. T. (2018-02-27). Paul: A Biography. HarperCollins. ISBN 978-0-06-219827-3.
  8. ^ Just, Felix, "New Testament Letter Structure", Catholic Resources.
  9. ^ Collins, Raymond F. (2004), 1 & 2 Timothy and Titus: A Commentary, Westminster John Knox Press, p. 4, ISBN 0-664-22247-1, By the end of the twentieth century New Testament scholarship was virtually unanimous in affirming that the Pastoral Epistles were written some time after Paul's death...As always some scholars dissent from the consensus view.
  10. ^ Brown, Raymond E. (1997), An Introduction to the New Testament, New York: Doubleday, pp. 672–75.
  11. ^ Justin Paley. (2017). Authorship of 2 Timothy: Neglected Viewpoints on Genre and Dating. Duke University. pp 69-70. "That being said, it is important to note that there are other scholars who argue in favor of Pauline authorship and a farewell testament genre for 2 Timothy. For those that do argue for the authenticity of 2 Tim, this is the majority opinion. Furthermore, even for those who argue against Pauline authorship for 2 Tim, the majority opinion on genre stands with the farewell testament attribution."
  12. ^ Bauckham, RJ. (2010). The Jewish World Around the New Testament. Baker Academic. pp. 144.
  13. ^ Reiher, Jim (July 2012), "Could Philippians have been written from the Second Roman Imprisonment?", Evangelical Quarterly, LXXXIV (3): 213–33: sums the other theories, offers examples of different scholars who adhere to different theories, but presents a different option for consideration.
  14. ^ "2 Timothy 4:13 When you come, bring the cloak that I left with Carpus at Troas, and my scrolls, especially the parchments". Retrieved 2022-07-22.
  15. ^ Towner, Philip H. (2006). Bruce, Frederick Fyvie (ed.). The Letters to Timothy and Titus. The New International Commentary on the New Testament. Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing. p. 514. ISBN 9780802825131.
  16. ^ Drury, Clare (2007). "73. The Pastoral Epistles". In Barton, John; Muddiman, John (eds.). The Oxford Bible Commentary. Oxford University Press. p. 1229. ISBN 978-0199277186. Retrieved February 6, 2019.

External links edit

Second Epistle to Timothy
Preceded by New Testament
Books of the Bible
Succeeded by