Place Written: Rome
Writing Completed: c. 65 C.E.
The second letter to Timothy is the last inspired letter written by the apostle Paul.
Paul wrote 2 Timothy during his final imprisonment in Rome, not long before his death. (2Ti 1:16, 17; 4:6-8) Timothy was probably still in Ephesus, for Paul had encouraged him to stay there. (1Ti 1:3) By means of this letter, Timothy learned that Paul was faithfully bearing up under adversity and persecution. The younger man surely drew much encouragement from Paul’s example.—2Ti 1:8, 12; 2:3, 8-13; 3:10, 11.
Although Timothy is mentioned by name in 11 of Paul’s 14 inspired letters, the close relationship between the two men is particularly evident in this letter. Paul calls Timothy “a beloved child.” (2Ti 1:2, 4, 5) He gives Timothy fatherly advice in order to help him to keep making progress and to stand firm against false teachers. (2Ti 2:7, 20-23; 4:1-5) Paul urges Timothy to visit him soon and to bring him some necessary items.—2Ti 4:9, 13, 21.
Paul repeatedly highlights the importance of the inspired Scriptures. They will help Timothy stand firm against false teachers and completely equip him for his ministry, both inside and outside the congregation.—2Ti 2:15; 3:14-17; 4:2, 5.
In this letter, Paul gives prophetic warnings about conditions that will become worse in the future. He warns of the time when people “will not put up with the wholesome teaching” but will surround themselves with teachers who flatter them rather than teach them the truth. (2Ti 4:3, 4) Paul also foretells that “in the last days,” there will be “critical times hard to deal with” because people will be wicked.—2Ti 3:1-5.
Paul’s second letter to Timothy was recognized and used by early writers and commentators, such as Polycarp of the second century C.E. In addition, ancient catalogs of the books of the Christian Greek Scriptures list this letter as one of Paul’s writings. For example, it is included in the Muratorian Fragment of the second century C.E. The letter is also included in such important Bible manuscripts as Codex Sinaiticus and Codex Alexandrinus.—See also “Introduction to 1 Timothy.”