2 Timothy 1:8-18 – The Suffering Apostle

Tonight we will be gathering to discuss 2 Timothy 1. This letter opens with Paul’s encouragement of Timothy as Timothy suffers through the trials and tribulations of being a church leader. This chapter also has Paul uplifting himself as well. The book of Acts ends with Paul imprisoned in Rome. (Acts 28). Paul had earlier been arrested in Jerusalem when Jews from Asia (modern-day Turkey, including Galicia and Ephesus) stirred up the Temple crowd against him. (Acts 21:27). With the Jewish leaders from Asia still wanting him dead, Paul languished in prison in Caesarea for two years. (Acts 24:27). In lieu of being tried by the local governor, Paul, as a Roman citizen, appealed to be tried by Caesar and so was sent to Rome. (Acts 25:12). This letter was probably written from this Roman prison. (v.17).

In v.15, Paul laments that all in Asia have abandoned him. (The specific men mentioned, Phygelus and Hermogenes, are not mentioned anywhere else in Scripture.) The cause of this abandonment may be two-fold. First, Paul is under arrest by Rome for breaching the peace and causing a riot in Jerusalem. The primary duty of Caesar is to keep the peace, and those affiliated with Paul could also be arrested. Additionally, we see the power of the anti-Paul Jewish factions that had him arrested in Jerusalem are active in Asia. These are the men that Paul writes against in Galatians who teach that salvation arises by the good works and ritual observances required under the Law. (Gal. 2:16Gal. 6:12-15). In Antioch, these men had even caused Peter to return to Jewish ritual observances and against Paul. (Gal. 2:11). While imprisoned at the end of his ministry, Paul’s primary area of missionary activity has now abandoned him.

The shining light in Paul’s story is Onesiphorus (v.16). We know nothing else about this man except what is mentioned in vv.16-18. Paul holds up this man as a point of light that Timothy and we should emulate. Onesiphorus was not from Rome but went to Rome to eagerly search Paul out. And while in Rome, Onesiphorus gives constant aid to Paul. He is not ashamed to be seen with the prisoner and trouble-maker. “Good people” and those who simply wanted to avoid imperial entanglements stayed away from Paul, but this one man did not.

Dinner is at 6. The menu is chicken salad croissants. Discussion about 6:45. Hope to see you here.

Let the sorrowful sighing of the prisoners come before you, *
and by your great might spare those who are condemned to die.
For we are your people and the sheep of your pasture; *
we will give you thanks for ever and show forth your praise from age to age.

Psalm 78:11, 13

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