An Overview of 2 Timothy and Four Commentary Recommendations

While some books of the Bible can be neatly outlined, others are not while nonetheless being clearly understandable. In 2 Timothy, there are certainly the clear and repeated themes for Timothy to suffer, preach the Word, and be faithful in his ministry (2 Tim 1:8, 13–14; 2:1–3, 14–15; 3:14–17; 4:1–5), especially in the midst of gospel opponents (2 Tim 2:15–18, 22–26; 3:1–9; 4:14–15). The letter’s body revolves around these themes and others (2 Tim 1:3–4:18), bookended by an obvious introduction and conclusion (2 Tim 1:1–2; 4:19–22).

After an introduction (2 Tim 1:1–2), the first section of 2 Timothy includes Paul’s thankfulness and instructions for Timothy (2 Tim 1:3–18). After giving thanks for Timothy and encouraging him to teach (2 Tim 1:3–7), Paul exhorted Timothy to suffer for the gospel (2 Tim 1:8–12) and guard the good deposit of the gospel entrusted to him (2 Tim 1:13–18).

Paul then gives a number of pictures of service for Timothy in order to reinforce Timothy’s faithfulness to his ministry (2 Tim 2:1–26).  He is to teach and suffer as a solder, athlete, and farmer (2 Tim 2:1–7), as motivated by Christ’s salvation to those he would serve (2 Tim 2:8–13), and to do so as a diligent workman, cleansed vessel, and man of God (2 Tim 2:14–26).

Paul again charges Timothy to faithful ministry (2 Tim 3:1–4:8) by promising the presence of ungodly people in these last days (2 Tim 3:1–9), reminding Timothy how he differs from them (2 Tim 3:10–17), and charging Timothy  before divine witnesses to preach the Word, especially in light of Paul’s soon departure (2 Tim 4:1–8).

In bringing the book to an end, Paul requests Timothy to bring some things to him in prison and gives a report of his trial before the Roman authorities (2 Tim 4:9–18). Greetings are given and requested, and the book closes with prayers for Timothy and the rest in Ephesus (2 Tim 4:19–22).

Here are some recommended commentaries, ranging from shorter to longer works:

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