Paul’s second letter to Timothy, the younger man he called his son in the ministry, is the last correspondence we have from the great apostle. He wrote it from a dungeon as he awaited his execution in Rome around 66 AD. The last time Paul saw Timothy was probably when he was arrested, and Timothy’s tears spoke of the depth of their friendship in Christ (v.4).
Paul’s words of affirmation must have meant a great deal to Timothy. Paul was convinced the young man was the real deal: “I am reminded of your sincere faith” (v.5). Timothy’s childlike faith had saved him as a boy, but he had grown and matured since then. He was a (supernaturally) gifted leader with a special calling on his life and an important ministry to perform.
Ever the encourager, Paul assured Timothy that any suffering he would endure for the sake of the gospel would be worth it (v.8-12). He summarized the gospel as a reminder of what should be Timothy’s focus: the grace of God (in the works since “before the ages began”, v.9), manifested in the person of Jesus Christ, who defeated death and made eternal life possible for those who believe. Paul was not ashamed of that message (v.12). He had seen it transform too many lives — including his own — to be embarrassed by the demands of the gospel and the Person of the gospel, the Lord Jesus. That message is still transforming lives today, and it is eternally relevant. If we stray from that message we really have nothing of any value to offer (v.13-14). We should guard its purity while sharing it generously.