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Lesson 3 of5
In Progress

Background of 2 Timothy

According to details within the letter itself, Paul is imprisoned (1:8, 16; 2:9; 4:16), presumably in Rome (1:17), and he writes to Timothy, who is at Ephesus (1:18; 4:12). Paul is at the point of martyrdom (4:6), and he calls upon Timothy to be faithful in ministry, proclaiming the gospel that he learned from Paul, and even being willing to suffer for it. If all that is so, the book would have been written late in Paul’s career and after his arrival in Rome (Acts 28:16). It is more probable, however, that 2 Timothy is a deutero-Pauline book, written pseudonymously sometime after the death of Paul. It presupposes a background in which false teachers have entered the community for which the book was written. According to the writer, they “have swerved from the truth by claiming that the resurrection has already taken place” and are “upsetting the faith of some” (2:18), which may refer to a type of incipient Gnosticism. The writer seeks to combat the false teachers by appealing to Paul as a suffering apostle. The fact that Paul suffers for the faith attests that both he and his gospel are authentic. It was commonly thought in early Christianity that false teachers would not endure suffering.

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