Here are video summaries of 2 Timothy . . .
. . . and Titus:
Paul’s second letter to Timothy is thought by most to be written in 64 or 65 AD, though there is considerable debate, and many scholars believe that 2 Timothy was written before 1 Timothy. Regardless, Paul is once again writing to Timothy, his spiritual son and protégé. Timothy’s location is unclear; while it may be that he is still in Ephesus, it is possible he is in Troas, a city on the coast of modern-day Turkey north of Ephesus. Either way, Paul, believing that he is near the end of his life (likely his trial is going poorly), asks Timothy to come visit him to provide some comfort near the end of his earthly journey.
Notice the interesting dichotomy between Paul’s expectation of death and his hope for resurrection. He writes, “I am already being poured out as a libation, and the time of my departure has come. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith” (4:6-7). And yet just a paragraph later, he says, “The Lord will rescue me from every evil attack and save me for his heavenly kingdom.” How are we called to balance this acceptance of our mortality with our confidence in God’s salvation? Could you look at your own life today and say, as Paul says, “I have finished the race, I have kept the faith?” Why or why not?
Paul has experienced a good bit of betrayal by those he cared for (see 1:15-18, 4:10, 4:16, etc). Have you had the experience of being abandoned in a time of need? How are faithful friends (like Timothy) a comfort in those times? Have you been a faithful friend to others in their seasons of crisis?
How does Paul find comfort in Scripture during his trial? See 3:14-17. Do you go to Scripture for encouragement, instruction and comfort?
Paul’s letter to Titus is another “pastoral” letter, written to a spiritual son and fellow pastor, Titus, who is serving a church on the island of Crete. This letter is also likely written in AD 65. Paul implies that he has visited Crete himself, but other than the stop he makes there while under arrest in Acts 27, Paul makes no other trip to Crete in the book of Acts. Some believe that Paul is released from prison in Rome and has a fourth missionary journey, including a stop in Crete with Titus, before Paul’s final arrest and execution in Rome. While this fourth journey is debated, it does help make sense of the timelines in 1 and 2 Timothy and Titus.
Instructions are given to Titus about behavioral expectations for bishops, older men and women, younger women and men, and slaves. Some of these concerns relate to a general understanding of Cretans as “liars, vicious brutes, and lazy gluttons.” Paul’s concern is that the Christians on Crete must reveal through their lives and holiness the merits of the gospel. We also live in a culture that appears to be opposed to the selfless, self-denying ethics of Christ. How are you living in the same counter-cultural lifestyle to which Paul calls the Cretan Christians?
We return to the final Gospel next week; Matthew is one of the most familiar Gospels and your readings will likely be stories you have heard many times before. Pay close attention to those familiar passages, for often what we remember and what the Bible says don’t match perfectly. Pay special attention to the family that God is developing - from the genealogy of Abraham to Jesus, to the Holy Family of Joseph, Mary and Jesus, to the new family Jesus builds with the disciples. This theme of rediscovered family will run throughout the Gospel of Matthew.
Enjoy your readings in Matthew this week!