Undoubtedly the most personal letter Paul had written, 2 Timothy prepared his faithful son for the inevitable: suffering and death. Suffering was as much from persecution as it was from the anguish of seeing people fall away from the Lord. In spite of this, Timothy was challenged to remain strong and vigilant in his calling because it was Christ himself who would sustain him through difficulty.
He was to entrust what he learned to others who would pass it further along. As Tertullian later picked up, “We multiply whenever we are mown down by you; the blood of Christians is seed” (Apologeticus 50.13). Paul not only taught the reality of suffering, but also struggled through it himself. So, it was not an admonishment to suffer alone, but to join with Paul in his sufferings. Ultimately, those who come out on the other side will receive a crown of righteousness that is for all who believe.
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