Today is the 22nd day of October. Welcome to the Daily Audio Bible. I’m Brian. It’s great to be with you today. How are you? How are things going? I trust and hope and pray that all is well. All is pretty well here in the rolling hills of Tennessee. And, so, we’ve come together to take the next step forward as we move our way through this month and through the Scriptures and we’re kind of in the back, the latter portion of the book of Jeremiah. We’ll continue to work our way through it but when we get to the New Testament today, we will be beginning another of Paul’s letters, another personal letter and we’ll talk about that when we get there. But first, we’re reading from the English Standard Version this week. Jeremiah 39, 40, and 41 today.
Introduction to second Timothy:
Okay, as promised, we’re beginning another of Paul’s letters today, another personal letter, another pastoral letter, another letter to the same person that we just read, Timothy. And as we will recall, Timothy was pastoring the church in Ephesus, and Paul certainly had great amount…had a great amount of respect for Timothy. He considered him a true son in the faith. And, so, second Timothy is the final of the three pastoral letters, which is odd because we read the first and now we’re gonna read the final and then we’ll move to Titus, which is the one that’s in the middle, but this is thought to be the final writing of the apostle Paul’s life. And, so, that should carry some weight with us as…as we move through this. It’s a small letter, but as we move through it we should understand, okay…this…we read in the book of Acts, the beginning of Paul’s journey with Jesus but now we’re reading the last thing that Paul wrote down. And, so, Paul had been imprisoned in Rome when he appealed to Caesar, and of course, that incarceration was more like a house arrest. And it appears that he was actually released from custody at some point and had the opportunity to travel again for a period of time. And it’s probably during that period of time that Paul wrote first Timothy, the first letter, and also the letter to Titus. Now. somewhere in the vicinity of 66 A.D. Paul was again placed under arrest under a different Emperor, a very ruthless, merciless Emperor named Nero, who savagely persecuted the Christians. So, Paul’s experience would have been radically different, and it’s referred to in this letter. So, he wouldn’t have had house arrest and the ability for people to come and take care of his needs. He was thrown into a cold dungeon to await sentencings that…that were probably gonna end his life and he knew it. And so, from…from this place where he’s imprisoned in a dungeon just not knowing when, but expecting at any moment the rattle of chains and several soldiers coming down into the dungeon could be heard and they would hold Paul down and cut off his head. So that’s kind of like a backdrop from which Paul wrote this letter and it’s a hopeful letter, but it’s a heartbreaking letter, especially when we understand that it’s the last letter. So, there was extreme marginalization going on, there was outbreaks of radical persecution against the Christians. Nearly everyone had deserted Paul when he was thrown into the dungeon. Only Luke the physician, so another figure that it is heavy in the Scriptures, Luke the physician who wrote the gospel of Luke as well as the book of Acts was the only one remaining in Rome. And maybe he was able to do it by saying, “I’m a doctor, like I just, you know, It’s one of my patients or whatever…I just want to kinda keep up with this person’s health until whatever happens happens.” And escaping execution would’ve been miraculous and those kind of miraculous things had happened in Paul’s life but just looking at the circumstances, it’s gonna be very very unlikely that Paul would ever get out of jail. People…people who believed in Jesus, otherwise known as Christians had become…they had become like a scapegoat in society. A lot of bigotry flowed out from Rome throughout the Empire against Christians for the strangest of reasons, but they were misunderstood, they were marginalized, they were cast out, and they eventually sort of became the reason for all the problems in the empire. So, they were persecuted. And all this is going on and Paul sitting in a dungeon and his life is uncertain and he’s hoping, even though he knows he’s probably not gonna make it out alive, hoping to see Timothy, to see his face, his son in the faith, this person who had travelled all over the known world with him, to see him one more time, which…which is the scenario that gives us this backdrop for the tone of this letter. Paul had some final things he wanted to say to his son in the faith. He would’ve liked to say them in person, but if that wasn’t possible and that if the circumstances brought Paul’s death and they couldn’t see each other in person then he wanted to be sure to at least leave a message. And in his own…in his own way to goodbye. It's…it’s in this letter that Paul declares that he had fought the good fight of faith and finished the race. And we know the impact of the apostle Paul on the Christian faith, its profound. Like he’s responsible for vast swaths of the New Testament and throughout the faith he’s regarded as one of the greatest heroes. In fact, this is the reality. The faith as we know it might exist, but it would be entirely different without the apostle Paul. So, if we consider that and who we was and the context and the backdrop of this final letter then we can be encouraged and we can…we can fight the good fight, like we can fight on and endure to the end and be honorable and be faithful. And, so, with that we begin. Second Timothy chapter 1.
Father, we thank You for Your word and although we certainly haven’t heard the last from the apostle Paul, knowing that we are hearing the last of the apostle Paul in the Scriptures, we invite Your Holy Spirit to give this book, this letter, second Timothy, a weightiness, a gravity that it would deserve, Holy Spirit we pray. In the mighty name of Jesus we ask, that You would be in and among us in all things, in our thoughts, and our words, and in all of our deeds we pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.
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And that’s it for today. I’m Brian I love you and I’ll be waiting for you here tomorrow.