Sunday School Bible Survey:      II TIMOTHY

Theme: Loyalty to Christ

Key verse:
"I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith; Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day; and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing" (4:7, 8).

From the Scofield Study Bible:

WRITER: The Apostle Paul (1:1).

DATE: The touching letter was written by Paul to his "dearly beloved son" shortly before his martyrdom (II Tim. 4:6-8), and contains the last words of the great apostle which inspiration has preserved.

THEME: Second Timothy (in common with Second Peter, Jude, and Second and Third John) has to do with the personal walk and testimony of a true servant of Christ in a day of apostasy and declension. The key-phrases are, "All they which are in Asia be turned away from me" (1:15); and, "A good soldier of Jesus Christ" (2:3). The Asian churches had not disbanded, nor ceased to call themselves Christian, but they had turned away from the doctrines of grace distinctively revealed through the Apostle Paul (see Introduction, p. 1189). This was the proof that already the apostasy had set in its first form, legalism.

The natural divisions are four:

  1. The Apostle's greeting (1)
  2. The pathway of an approved servant in a day of apostasy (2)
  3. Apostasy and the Word (3)
  4. A faithful servant and his faithful Lord (4)


  1. Regarding the three "Pastoral Epistles" (I & II Timothy and Titus), J. Vernon McGee said, "Although they were addressed by Paul to his young friends in the ministry, the message is for churches. He gave orders for the orderly procedure of local...churches. These letters have a particular message to young pastors, and they have pertinent instructions for the present-day church" (Thru the Bible).
  2. There are many warnings about apostasy in all three of the Pastoral Epistles (cf. II Tim. 1:15; 2:16-18, 23-26; 3:1-13; 4:3, 4, 10, 14-16).
  3. Interestingly, liberals and other religious apostates vehemently attack this epistle as well as II Peter, another epistle which contains strong warnings about false teachers.
  4. Samuel Rutherford, a Scottish pastor and writer, said, "If you were not strangers here, the hounds of the world would not bark at you" (cf. II Tim. 3:10-13).
  5. There is some disagreement regarding Paul's imprisonments. Scofield says this in his introduction to I Timothy, "The date of this Epistle turns upon the question of the two imprisonments of Paul. If there were two (see Acts 28:30, note), then it is clear that First Timothy was written during the interval. If Paul endured but one Roman imprisonment, the Epistle was written shortly before Paul's last journey to Jerusalem" (p. 1274).
  6. Apparently, Paul was a prisoner when he wrote II Timothy (cf. 1:8, 16; 2:9), and he had been in Rome (1:17).
  7. This is probably not the same imprisonment recorded in Acts 28 — this then would be his second imprisonment.
  8. Nero blamed the burning of Rome in AD 64 on Christians and consequently outlawed Christianity. Paul's enemies set him up and had him arrested.
  9. Because Nero died in 68, most scholars believe Paul died somewhere between 66 and early 68.
  10. J. Vernon McGee said the epistle was probably written in A.D. 67. He said, "The following is a probable calendar of the events of Paul's life during his last years:
          A.D. 58 Paul's arrest in Jerusalem.
          A.D. 61 His arrival in Rome.
          A.D. 61-63 His first Roman imprisonment.
          A.D. 64-67 His release. He writes 1 Timothy and Titus, probably from Macedonia.
          A.D. 67-68 His arrest and death. He writes 2 Timothy prior to his death in Rome."
  11. Because Christianity was considered "dangerous," many of Paul's former friends avoided him (1:15; 4:16).
  12. While both of Paul's epistles to Timothy are pastoral, II Timothy is more personal. Twenty-three people are mentioned in this epistle.
  13. Eric W. Hayden wrote, "In such a short letter it is astounding to find twenty-three names listed, especially that of Claudia, thought by some to be a British princess" (Preaching Through the Bible). Claudia is the last name mentioned (4:21).
  14. This epistle probably contains the last recorded words of the apostle Paul (4:6-8).

Outline (adapted from J. Vernon McGee):

  1. Afflictions of the gospel (Chapter 1)
  2. Active in service (Chapter 2)
  3. Apostasy coming; authority of the Scriptures (Chapters 3:1 — 4:5)
  4. Allegiance to the Lord and of the Lord (Chapter 4:6-22)

John Phillips said, "In II Timothy, Paul elaborated on the coming apostasy and sought to fortify the Lord's servants for times of fierce testing to come. He urged a more thorough grasp of the Scriptures (3:15-17) and a faithful discharge of duties despite the inevitable turning away from the truth" (Exploring the Scriptures).

These are simple Sunday School survey notes. They are not for sale. The author used many outlines from popular Bible teachers such as C.I. Scofield and J. Vernon McGee, and he has tried to give credit when using their material.

—  Pastor James J. Barker  —