Probably within about two years after writing 1 Timothy, Paul was once again arrested and taken to Rome. This would be his final journey, because he was beheaded there under the growing persecution of Nero against Christians and Christianity. Paul wrote 2 Timothy from prison in Rome around A.D. 66, the last preserved writing we have from his hand and possibly the last letter he ever wrote.
Second Timothy is a personal farewell note from an old mentor to his young friend and colleague, a man who was ready to throw in the towel himself, as he watched everything they had worked for seemingly going up in smoke. Paul’s final few words (only 644 in the Greek text) were full of encouragement and anticipation, not regret or remorse, as he said good-bye until they would meet again in Heaven.
Chapter one opens with Paul’s modified greeting for Timothy – “grace, mercy, and peace” – to the man who needed to remember all three of them (2 Timothy 1:1-2). For the last time Paul identified himself as “an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God,” faithfully obeying his commission even to death.
Knowing the turmoil in Timothy’s heart, the “tears” that he must have shed knowing that he may never see Paul again, the old apostle reminded him of the work that they were doing and the promises of God (2 Timothy 1:3-14). He reminded Timothy that “God did not give us a spirit of fear,” so do not be afraid of what was about to happen, and “do not be ashamed of” God’s word or God’s man, Paul. He reminded Timothy that God was “the one who saved us and called us with a holy calling,” because of his grace and for his own glory, so “hold to the standard of sound words” and “protect that good things entrusted to” Timothy.
Paul also gave him some good news to show that not all was lost (2 Timothy 1:15-18). One of their dear friends, Onesiphorus, tracked down Paul when he arrived in Rome in order to minister to Paul in his final days. Unfortunately, others did not, namely, Phygelus and Hermogenes from “the province of Asia” (modern Turkey), where Timothy was located at Ephesus.