Bible Query from
2 Timothy

Q: In 2 Tim 1:1; 1 Cor 1:1; 2 Cor 1:1; Eph 1:1; and Col 1:1, why do you think Paul emphasized that it was by the will of God that he was an apostle?
A: Paul did not choose or promote himself to be an apostle. Nobody else appointed or elected him either. It was only God who appointed Paul as an apostle.

Q: In 2 Tim 1:4, Paul did not just have an altruistic love for Timothy; Paul enjoyed his company and longed to see him again. How can we foster that same sort of love with our Christian brothers and sisters?
A: We should pray for them, and with them. We should share theirs (and our) joys and sorrows. We should slow down and choose to spend time with them. Jesus said they will know we are Christians by our love, so part of our witness is our love with have for other people and each other. J.H. Jowett wrote, "Tearless hearts can never be heralds of the passion. When our sympathy loses its pang, we can no longer be the servants of the passion."
(Believerís Bible Commentary p.2109)

Q: In 2 Tim 1:5, from Loisí perspective having faith in God does not guarantee your child will have it, much less your grandchild. How do godly parents influence their kids to follow God?
A: There are at least three aspects.
How you live:
What do your kids see when they see you? On one level do they see drunkenness, drugs, foul language, immorality, lying, pirating media and stealing, etc. On another level do they see someone who delights in God and desires to live to please him. In 2 Timothy 1:5 the word "sincere" means "unhypocritical" or literally, "not wearing a mask".
What you teach:
We are to train our children with words, not just our lives. Do you teach them to feed themselves in reading the Bible and praying. Do you teach them to care for others, and to share the gospel with others?
Their environment:
To the best of your ability, do you live in a place that is a good environment for your children? Do you have a good fellowship of Christians they and you associate with?

Q: In 2 Tim 1:5, why did Paul not talk about Timothyís fatherís faith as well as his motherís?
A: Acts 16:1 says Timothyís mother was a Jewess and a believer, and his father was a Greek. By the way, Lois was probably Jewish when she raised Timothyís mother Eunice, not Christian.

Q: In 2 Tim 1:6 if God gives us one or more spiritual gifts, why do we need to "fan into flame" our gift?
A: What happens when God gives us a spiritual gift? Maybe nothing, because we are negligent and donít use it. Timothy was commanded to be diligent and use and strengthen the gift(s) God have him. We are to do all aspects of ministry, but like Timothy we might have a special aspect that God has gifted us with, and we have a responsibility to develop that. We are supposed to look for opportunities to exercise our special gift as 1 Timothy 4:14 says. We should also look out for other believers. They might have a special gift; we should find opportunities for them to use their gifts too.

Q: In 2 Tim 1:7, does this mean that a true Christian can never have an "unsound mind" including mental illness?
A: Not at all. A few people have claimed this, but this is a command to guard sound teaching in our mind, but that a Christian is any more immune to mental illness than physical illness. We often do not see why God allows what He allows, but we know that God can take us through the storm, even when He does not take us around the storm.

Q: In 2 Tim 1:9, since God saved us only by His own purpose and grace before time began, why should we try to persuade men as 1 Cor 9:20-23 says? Either they are predestined to get saved or they are not.
A: Ephesians 2:8 says they are saved by grace through faith. God did save the elect before time began, but not in a way that lessens our responsibility or our choice. Do not confuse the ends with the means. Our preaching and persuasion, and their response, is a part of the means to their salvation.

Q: In 2 Tim 1:10, since Christ abolished death, why do believers still die?
A: There are two aspects to the answer.
Jesus abolished eternal death for believers.
While Jesus officially conquered death at the cross, He will come and abolish physical death eventually after His Second Coming.
See When Critics Ask p.503 for more info.

Q: In 2 Tim 1:13 what is "sound teaching" here?
A: This means more than just non-heretical teaching; some false teaching is not soul-perishing heresy, but is still false and distracting. Sometimes people can be so caught up in speculations that they lose their focus on Christ.

Q: In 2 Tim 1:13, since we are to hold fast to the form of sound words, why does Paul rebuke those who hold the form of godliness, but deny its power, in 2 Tim 3:5?
A: We are to hold the form of godliness as well as believe its power. We are supposed to have godliness on both the inside and outside, as Jesus taught in Matthew 23:15-26.

Q: In 2 Tim 1:14, who does the guarding, and why is Timothy given this responsibility/command?
A: On one hand, the Holy Spirit guards the deposit within us according to Ephesians 1:14. On the other hand, Paul told Timothy that he had a job to do: not only guard the truth of faith for himself, but guard it for other believers too. The Holy Spirit can use the agency of other believers as the mans for guarding the faith.

Q: In 2 Tim 1:16-18, why do Christians, even like Paul, still need refreshing by other saints?
A: We were made to be together, in one body, as one temple of God. We need to refresh each other in at least three ways.
1) We need each other for encouragement, comfort, correction, and sometimes rebuke (1 Thessalonians 5:18; 2 Thessalonians 2:15-17).
2) In addition to helping each other spiritually, we should help them materially and financially too.
3) Finally, we can refresh other believers just by our presence and spending time with them.
But what about other believers who are isolated by distance, health, or prison? We need to keep them in our prayers, and God can make up for our lack.
In a sense this letter was refreshing for Timothy. It showed that Paul, though in chains in the dungeon, was still thinking of Timothy. Here you have a chained prisoner, about to be executed, instructing Timothy that he does not need to be afraid of anything. And here you have a penniless criminal, telling Timothy you should not be ashamed of anything. It is one thing for me to tell you that; but it is another thing for Paul, the prisoner, to tell you that.

Q: In 2 Tim 1:16-18, how should we refresh other Christians?
A: Besides the previous answer, we should express our love by doing things nice for them, such as making a scarf for them, baking them cookies or food, inviting them over, etc.
Sometimes there are things that seem small to you but are much more important, difficult, or troublesome for someone else. By on the lookout for those things, so that you can help.
Lastly, there are some things that are big for both you and them, and be willing to sacrifice for them. Consider others as more important than yourselves, as Philippians 2:3 says.

Q: In 2 Tim 2:1, since grace is undeserved favor given by God, how can we do something to be strong in grace?
A: There are multiple aspects to Godís grace. Godís grace was promised before time began (Titus 1:2), and redemption through Jesus (Romans 3:24). Grace also sustains us day to day.

Q: In 2 Tim 2:7, why did Paul not explain himself to Timothy as clearly as possible?
A: Why did the Greek philosopher Socrates ask questions? Probably Paul asked for the same reasons. Paul was clear, but Paul spoke these illustrations in general terms for Timothy to ponder. Sometimes when we teach others, a good method is to use general illustrations and questions and have the students go through the process of coming up with the particular answers. Of course, Timothy could write Paul or see him later, to ask on anything about which he failed to get insight.
Likewise, God often uses general illustrations to teach us. He does not leave us in the dark either, for God has given us the Holy Spirit, and each other, to guide us.

Q: In 2 Tim 2:8, why would Paul tell Timothy to remember Jesus raised from the dead, [allegedly] like it was an afterthought easy to forget?
A: It was no afterthought. Paul in 2 Timothy 2:8 is saying to remember to emphasize this as one of the essential and primary parts of the Gospel, as Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 15:1-8. Just one chapter prior Paul says that Christ Jesus "destroyed death" in 2 Timothy 1:10.
One might incorrectly think Paul would not need to mention it at all, since he was writing to his trusted co-worker Timothy. But as Paul still reminded even Timothy about the resurrection, we still need to remind each other.

Q: In 2 Tim 2:10, why does Paul endure for the sake of the elect, and not everyone elseís?
A: Paul preached and suffered persecution indiscriminately for all. Yet, while all of Paulís work glorified God, Paul knew that his efforts would be in vain for those who did not choose the Lord (Joshua 24:21-22) and did not combine the Gospel they heard with faith (Hebrews 4:2).

Q: In 2 Tim 2:11, how would you explain that you have to die to live?
A: Some rich people, seemingly with everything they could want, commit suicide (quickly) or else turn to drugs which is committing suicide slowly. If everything you have to live for is inside yourself, you find that lie is an empty, hollow, shell. Only by loving others and caring about something bigger than yourself can you escape the depressing singularity that everything is meaningless if you have no other purpose. 1 Timothy 5:6 says that someone who lives for pleasure is dead even while she lives. See The Expositorís Bible Commentary vol.11 p.401 for more info.

Q: Does 2 Tim 2:12 indicate we can lose our salvation by denying Christ?
A: Genuine Christians disagree on this. Many early Christians, and Christians today such as many Biblical Methodists, Nazarenes, free-will Baptists, most charismatics, and Lutherans would say yes. Other Baptists, Bible Church, and Reformed would generally say no. See the discussion on Hebrews 6:4-12 for more info.

Q: In 2 Tim 2:12, Col 3:12; Tt 1:1; in what sense are we doing things for the elect?
A: The elect are not just those who have turned to Christ. The elect are also those who will come to Christ but have not yet. We do not know who the elect are. We might have a good general idea about some, but others, like Saul of Tarsus, take us completely by surprise. We love, care for, and share the gospel indiscriminately with everyone, praying for their salvation, i.e., that they will be the elect.

Q: In 2 Tim 2:14, since we should not quarrel about words, should we never dispute with those who disagree with us?
A: No. First, 2 Timothy 2:14 says "quarrel", not debate, dispute, correct, or rebuke. Second, it says quarrel "about words", versus more substantive matters. See When Critics Ask p.503-504 for more info.

Q: In 2 Tim 2:15, should everyone be a student to be approved by God?
A: Yes. Every Christian should study the scriptures, as Acts 2:42, Psalms 119, and 2 Timothy 3:15-16 imply. Only some have the gift of teaching and should be teachers (1 Corinthians 12:29; James 3:1). The closest translation is "Be zealous", "make haste", "do your best" or "make every effort", not only "study", according to The Expositorís Bible Commentary vol.11 p.402.

Q: In 2 Tim 2:17, how does bad teaching spread?
A: The Greek word here, gangraina, can mean gangrene (NIV, NRSV) or cancer/canker (NKJV, KJV, Wuest). Either one could be in view according to the Believers Bible Commentary p.2117. Regardless though, it refers to a disease that if not dealt with promptly and severely will infect and take over the entire body. Imagine a doctor telling you that you just need to live healthy and unlock the healing power you already have in your body, when you have gangrene. No, the doctor needs to take action immediately to save your life. Likewise when an individual or a group is led astray by false teaching, we need to warn and rebuke immediately, to keep the problem from getting more serious.

Q: In 2 Tim 2:20-21, how can we choose what kind of vessel we are, since Rom 9:21-23 says it was God who made some vessels for honor and some for no honor?
A: God formed us like clay, but God and us interact more than simply as a potter and clay. Even more than lifeless clay, we have some ability to either harden ourselves (Exodus 8:15, Hebrews 3:15) or be soft. To at least some degree, all people can choose whether to ignore or to see their own sinfulness, their need for God, and cry out for help.

Q: In 2 Tim 2:21, what does the "latter" refer to?
A: Grammatically "latter" here can be a vessel of wood and clay, or false teaching, or evil people, or all of the above. However, it does not make sense for it just to mean wood and clay, because Paul is not saying we should literally avoid these materials. Rather, it means to avoid the false teaching and evil people that the wood and clay represent, because we donít want to become those too.

Q: In 2 Tim 2:22 since God has already pronounced us righteous, and we love God and have faith in Him, how are we supposed to pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace?
A: 2 Timothy 2:22 pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart. When we came to Christ, our struggle to please God and be Christ-like did not finish; rather it just began.

Q: In 2 Tim 2:14,22-24, how do you oppose heresies without quarreling?
A: We are to oppose the error, not hate the person. We are to vigorously defend the faith, but at the same time make sure people know you love, not hate the person. You want the best thing to happen that can possibly happen to your human opponents. You want them to see the truth, turn their life over to Christ, and you can be with them in heaven forever.

Q: In 2 Tim 2:24-25, how do you handle stupid questions?
A: First of all, recognize that something that might seem stupid to you might be a serious question to the person who asked it. But sometimes people ask questions where they are not serious either, or just want to try to trap you. If you are in doubt, respect the person, assume the first way, and meet their need for an answer. For the second category, realize they might just want to waste your time, and you could say nothing helpful to them, that they would hear. They will only hear if you mess up. However, other people might hear your answer to them, so answer wisely, regardless of whether the questioner is sincere or not.

Q: In 2 Tim 2:25 and Acts 5:31, is repentance given by God, or is it something we are commanded to do as Acts 17:30 and Mark 1:5 show?
A: Both. God gives us the opportunity to repent, but God does not actually repent for us. Repentance is a gift from God, but we have to receive this gift. In 2 Timothy 2:26, the phrase "comes to their senses" literally means "sober up". See When Critics Ask p.504 for more info.

Q: In 2 Tim 2:15,20-21,24-26 How do a workman, vessel, and servant differ?
A: A workman in 2 Tim 2:15 should try to excel in his or her workmanship.
With a vessel in 2 Timothy 2:20 Paul is focused on its composition, use, and destiny. We are commanded to be clean vessels in Isaiah 52:11.
A servant in 2 Timothy 2:24-26 is not just a lowly unlearned slave, but a servant entrusted with responsibility to figure out how to accomplish his masterís will. A servant should try to serve well.

Q: In 2 Tim 3:1-8, instead of God just telling us He knows about a future terrible time, why did God not do something to prevent it?
A: An important part of sound theology is understanding two words: "God permits". Every single thing is worked together in Godís purpose (Ephesians 1:11, Proverbs 16:4), but as Matthew 23:37-39, Ephesians 4:30, and Hebrews 3:10 show, God allows things that break his heart, make Him angry, and grieve His Holy Spirit (Isaiah 63:10). The Bible never says this is the best possible world, but many believe this is Godís best possible process for making the best possible world, in Heaven.

Q: In 2 Tim 3:2, how are some people today lovers of themselves?
A: When you think the most important thing in the universe is you, then your universe appears very small indeed. Meaningless is everything, if there is no purpose outside of your tiny, fleeting life. People can gradually become more and more lovers of themselves when they very others as unimportant, and strive only to advance themselves. Sometimes they are impatient when others slow them down, because they think the other people are not important; only them. But if you donít live for someone or something, then you are living for nothing.
Perhaps an antidote for believers for that is to consider just how long your life is and yet how short is your life on earth. Your time on earth is less than a spec compared to your time in heaven with God, the angels, and other believers. With that in mind, be concerned about the eternal things that are important, not the trivial things that perish.

Q: In 2 Tim 3:2, since it is bad for people to be "lovers of themselves", why are we to love our neighbor as ourselves in Mt 22:39?
A: The meaning of 2 Timothy 3:2 is people who love themselves more than others, including people who love only themselves and not others. We are all to be characterized as lovers of God more than lovers of ourselves. We should also love our neighbors as ourselves and consider others as more important than ourselves as Philippians 2:3 says. See When Critics Ask p.355-356 and Encyclopedia of Bible Difficulties p.335-337 for complementary answers.

Q: In 2 Tim 3:2, why do people love money, and what does this have to do with the deceitfulness of wealth in Mt 13:23?
A: People love money due to greed, due to fear and insecurity, or due to status and prestige. Everyone knows that money can be used for bad, or for good, but many people forget that Jesus also said that wealth itself is "deceitful". We can far too easily rationalized that we are collecting/hoarding money for a good cause, such as giving to charity after we die, when it is primarily for ourselves.
Robin hood robbed from the rich to give to the poor. But I am sure Robin hood and his "poor men" got a substantial share for themselves too. Also, while giving to the poor is a good thing, God does not want people so sin against Him and other people by robbing them. It is better not to give to the poor than to steal or rob to give to the poor.

Q: In 2 Tim 3:3 (KJV), is this "truce breakers" or "implacable" as other translations say?
A: This is a shortcoming in the KJV English translation. It is "implacable" in the Greek manuscripts. See the Wycliffe Bible Dictionary p.1750 for more info.

Q: In 2 Tim 3:8, who are Jannes and Jambres, and how did their names get in the New Testament?
A: These are the Greek form of names of two of the Egyptian magicians who opposed Moses in Exodus 7:11-12,22; 8:7,18-19. Their names are not mentioned in the Old Testament, but their names were preserved in Jewish tradition and the historian Pliny.
The Anchor Bible Dictionary
volume 3 p.638 says, "the two brother magicians appear frequently in Jewish, Christian, and pagan sources extant in Arabic, Aramaic, Greek, Hebrew, Latin, Old and Middle English, and Syriac. Hebrew and Aramaic literature gives the names as y(2)hny// and mmr/ as well as in more Hellenized guise with final samek: ynys and ym(b)rys."
Here are some examples:
Menahoth 85a:
"Yohane and Mambres"
Zadokite Work at Qumran
7:19 "Yohaneh and his brother"
Targum of Jonathan
on Exodus 7:11.
At Qumran 6Q15 (The Damascus Document)
5 17b-19 1st century B.C. (Yohanah/Yhnh) and his brother) Apparently, they are portrayed here as Israelite enemies of Moses and Aaron, rather than Egyptian.
Yalqut Reu
The non-Jewish historian Pliny (77 A.D.) mentions Moses, Jannes, and "Lotapes" as magicians among the Jews thousands of years after Zoroaster.
The neo-Platonist Numenius of Apamea
(2nd century A.D. mentions that Jannes and Jambres were able to undo even the greatest of the disasters which Moses brought against Egypt. (from Eusebiusí Praeparation Evangelica 9:8). Origen also mentions this about Numenius of Apamea.
There was a book called Jannes and Jambres (probably written by a Jew), referenced in Origenís Commentary on the Gospel of Matthew.
Prior to Nicea the Christian writers who referenced Jannes and Jambres are Origen, and Cyprian of Carthage. There are additional Christian references after Nicea too. See The Anchor Bible Dictionary volume 3 p.638-640, The Expositorís Bible Commentary volume 2 p.407-408, and The New Bible Dictionary first edition p.599 for more info.

Q: In 2 Tim 3:12, if someone has not been persecuted, does that mean he or she is not a Christian?
A: No and yes. While godly people, such as Paul, endured severe persecution from other men, other godly people, such as Job, have little or no persecution from people. However, all godly people need to persevere against inevitable persecution from demons. This persecution, in the form of threats, acts, and temptations, often comes through other people too. See When Critics Ask p.505 for more info.

Q: In 2 Tim 3:16, does that mean all scripture, or only the scripture that is given by God?
A: According to rules of Greek grammar, when there is no first main verb, the phrase is "all scripture is inspired by God". It is incorrect to translate it "all scripture that is inspired by God" According to Bible Difficulties and Seeming Contradictions, p.13 Martin Luther translated it the incorrect way, though Luther believed that all Scripture was inspired of God.
"Scripture" that was not given by God was a concept unknown to all the Old and New Testament, and early church witnesses. The first known concept of people of another religion believing that "true" scripture that was not given God, or even given by God and later "abrogated" is not in Christianity but Islam in Mohammedís time.
The KJV and all modern translations I am aware of translated this correctly. The NRSV translates this correctly, but puts in a footnote "Or Every scripture inspired by God is also" See When Critics Ask p.505-506 and Encyclopedia of Bible Difficulties p.416-417 for a more detailed discussion, and 2 Peter 3:16-17 for another difficulty with the RSV.

Q: In 2 Tim 3:16, is Paul referring to just the Old Testament?
A: No. When Paul said "all scripture" that would refer to all that he considered scripture. Bible Difficulties and Seeming Contradictions p.12-13 mentions that Paul in 1 Timothy 5:18 quoted, as Scripture, from the gospels (Matthew 10:10 and Luke 10:7).

Q: In 2 Tim 3:16-17, is it really true that the Bible contains what is needed for Christian doctrine?
A: Yes. Here is an unusual statement from an unlikely source. In the Jehovahís Witnesses Watchtower magazine 8/15/1981 p.28-29 it says, "They say that it is sufficient to read the Bible exclusively, either alone or in small groups at home. But, strangely, through such ĎBible reading,í they have reverted right back to the apostate doctrines that commentaries by Christendomís clergy were teaching 100 years ago..." - strange indeed that Bible readers would revert back to these doctrines!
Jehovahís Witnesses Answered Verse by Verse p.98-100 points out that the Watchtower Society admits that JWís who read the Bible alone stop believing in Watchtower teachings and return to the teachings of Christian churches. Whose doctrines, then, are the ones that are truly based on the Bible?

Q: In 2 Tim 3:17, can people become perfect?
A: -In this life no, but in Heaven all believers will be perfect. See also the discussion on Philippians 3:15.

Q: In 2 Tim 4:7, how did Paul fight the good fight, and how should we today?
A: Forgetting about the evil Paul did in the past, staying close to Christ, and vigorously exercising the gifts God gave him, Paul worked as hard as he could to spread the gospel, disciple others, protect and grow the church, and glorify God. But Paul not only wanted to do more and more. Given his instructions to Timothy about "avoiding entanglements" Paul advised Timothy to do less of what was not concerned with Godís kingdom.

Q: In 2 Tim 4:8, did Paul do things just to get a Heavenly crown?
A: No, it was primarily "the love of God that constrained him" (2 Corinthians 5:14). However, Paul also eagerly longed for his heavenly crown (2 Timothy 4:8). Paulís crown was not just a mere gold weight, but the joy and fellowship of the people to whom Paul introduced the Gospel, as Philippians 4:1 states.

Q: In 2 Tim 4:10, how could Demas forsake Paul, since Paul spoke well of Demas in Phm 24?
A: 2 Timothy and Titus were the last epistles (letters) Paul wrote. Paul spoke well of Demas earlier in Philemon 24, and Paul was with Demas in Colossians 4:14 However, Demas turned back and deserted Paul because Demas loved this world. Even today, some can be serving Christ and yet later turn away because they love this world.

Q: In 2 Tim 4:10, who do Demas and others serve God for a while, but leave because they love this world?
A: It did not say that Demas explicitly turned his back on God. Though he could have, it is possible that Demas still wanted to love God as well as the world also But when you love the world also, that can get larger and larger, until a person eventually and implicitly turns their back on God and His will.

Q: In 2 Tim 4:10 and Titus 3:12, what is interesting about Titus going to Dalmatia?
A: In Titus 3:12 Paul asked Titus to meet him there in Nicopolis. Since Paul said "there", this indicates that Paul had not arrived in Nicopolis yet according to The Expositorís Bible Commentary vol.11 p.448. The New International Bible Commentary p.1491 points out that Nicopolis was a strategic city for moving into Dalmatia. In 2 Timothy 4:10 Paul says that Titus has gone into Dalmatia. This shows us that Paul wrote Titus before 2 Timothy.

Q: In 2 Tim 4:11, why was Mark profitable to Paul, since Paul did not want to take Mark along in Acts 15:37-40?
A: Previously Mark left Paul in the middle of his missionary journey. When Barnabas wanted to give him another chance, Paul refused, so they separated. Church history tells us that Barnabas and Mark were much used of God to evangelize Egypt. Paul had an error in judgment in not taking Mark, but God is so wonderful, He can even use our errors for His glory as a part of His plan.
Paul recognized the Mark was valuable, and to underscore that fact without emphasizing Markís previous behavior, asked for Mark by name.

Q: In 2 Tim 4:13, why did Paul keep personal property, like scrolls and a cloak? The disciples had all things in common in Acts 4:32-35.
A: Acts 4:32-35 is an example, not a command, of the early disciples having all in common. 2 Timothy 4:13 shows that personal property is fine too. However, Ananias and Sapphira in Acts 5:1-11 show that whatever you decide to give to God, be honest about what you give. See the New Dictionary of Christian Ethics and Pastoral Theology p.697-699 for more on owning property.

Q: In 2 Tim 4:13, why is Paul asking a personal favor in Godís word?
A: Scripture shows us not only by direct teaching but by example. This verse is useful to show how Paul related to people and that personal property is fine.

Q: In 2 Tim 4:14, is this the same Alexander mentioned in 1 Tim 1:20?
A: Paul is talking to Timothy both times, and nothing prevents this from being the same Alexander. On the other hand, Alexander was a fairly common Greek name. The NIV Study Bible p.1847 and The Nelson Study Bible p.2061 say it possibly is the same person. The New Geneva Study Bible p.1908 says it is unclear.

Q: In 2 Tim 4:14, is Paul cursing Alexander?
A: Paul never said he cursed Alexander, but Paul reminded his readers that Christians do not need to seek retribution, because God will repay people according to their deeds.

Q: In 2 Tim 4:17, how did the Lord stand by Paulís side give him strength, and how do we get that?
A: Paul read the scriptures and knew the truth, but that is not what he is talking about here. Paul said that Christ lived in him, and the Holy Spirit worked through Paul. We, like Paul, need to abide and walk closely with God.

Q: In 2 Tim, How do we know that Paul really wrote this book?
A: 2 Timothy claims it was by Paul, often just called the apostle", and the early church never found reason to question this claim.
Irenaeus of Lyons
(182-188 A.D.) quotes 2 Timothy 4:10,11 as by Paul in the epistles. Irenaeus Against Heresies book 3 14.1 p.438
The Muratorian Canon
(190-217 A.D.) ch.3 p.603 mentions that Paul wrote to seven churches in his epistles, Corinthians (2 letters), Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, Galatians, Thessalonians (2 letters), Romans. Wrote Philemon, Titus, two letters to Timothy.
Clement of Alexandria
(202 A.D.) quotes 1 Timothy 6:20,21 as by Timothy. Then he says, "Convicted by this utterance, the heretics reject the Epistles to Timothy." Stromata book 2 ch.11 p.359
Tertullian (207/208 A.D.) (partial) asks Marcion why he rejects as scripture the apostleís two letters to Timothy and one to Titus. Five Books Against Marcion book 5 ch.21 p.473.
(225-253/254 A.D.) (implied) quotes 2 Timothy 3:6-7 as by Paul. Origen Against Celsus book 6 ch.24 p.584
Origen (239-242 A.D.) (partial) quotes part of 2 Timothy 3:4 as by the apostle. Homilies on Ezekiel homily 3 ch.5.2 p.59
Origen (233/234 A.D.) (1 Timothy implies a 2 Timothy) quotes 1 Timothy 2:8 as by Paul in 1 Timothy. Prayer ch.9.1 p.38
Cyprian of Carthage
(c.246-258 A.D.) "Of this same thing, Paul in the second Epistle to Timothy: ĎI am now offered up, and the time of my assumption is at hand. I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith. There now remains for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give me in that day; and not only to me, but to all also who love His appearing.í" [2 Timothy 4:6-8] Treatises of Cyprian Treatise 12 third part ch.16 p.539. See also Treatise 12 third part ch.67 p.551.
Cyprian of Carthage (c.246-258 A.D.) "Looking forward to which, the blessed Apostle Paul writes to Timothy, and warns him that a bishop must not be Ďlitigious, nor contentious, but gentle and teachable.í" [2 Timothy 2:24] Epistles of Cyprian Letter 73 ch.10 p.389
Cyprian of Carthage (c.246-258 A.D.) (implied, if a first, then a second) "The apostle in his First Epistle to Timothy: ĎBut if any take not care of his own, and especially of those of his own household, he denies the faith, and is worse than an infidel.í" Treatises of Cyprian Treatise 12 part 3 ch.75 p.552
Alexander of Alexandria
(313-326 A.D.) quotes half of 2 Timothy 3:4. It is at the end of a long catena of three verses introduced as "according to the blessed Paul". Epistles on the Arian Heresy Epistle 1 ch.13 p.296
After Nicea Hegemonius (4th century) "as Paul also gives us to understand when he writes in the following terms in his second Epistle to Timothy: ĎAs Jamnes and Mambres withstood Moses, so have these also resisted the truth: men of corrupt mind, reprobate concerning the faith." (The orthodox Diodorus is speaking) Disputation with Manes ch.45 p.221
Archelaus (262-278 A.D.) (partial) quotes 2 Timothy 4:7-8 as by "the blessed apostle" Disputation with Manes ch.35 p.209. He also alludes to 2 Timothy 3:8,9 in ch.36 p.210.
After Nicea John Chrysostom (c.396 A.D.) said it was by Paul the apostle in Homily 1 on 2 Timothy.
One unusual phrase in 2 Timothy 2:, is that Jesus is "seed of David." It is found elsewhere only in Romans 1:3. Other places, do not use this wording, such as Revelation 5:5 where instead it says, "root of David".

Q: In 2 Tim, how do we know if what we have today is a reliable preservation of what was originally written?
A: There are at least three reasons.
God promised to preserve His word in Isaiah 55:10-11; Isaiah 59:21; Isaiah 40:6-8; 1 Peter 1:24-25; and Matthew 24:35.
2. Evidence of the early church.
Early church writers up to the Council of Nicea I (325 A.D.) quoted from 2 Timothy about 47 times, not counting allusions. They quoted 34% of the Book of 2 Timothy, counting fractional verses as fractions. That is 28.0 out of 83 total verses.
Here are the 8 pre-Nicene writers who referred to verses in 2 Timothy.
(100-155 A.D.) quotes 2 Timothy 2:12 He [the Lord] has promised to us that He will raise us again from the dead, and that if we live worthily of Him, Ďwe shall also reign together with Him,í provided only we believe." Epistle of Polycarp to the Philippians ch.5 p.34
Irenaeus of Lyons
(182-188 A.D.) quotes 2 Timothy 4:10,11 as by Paul in the epistles. Irenaeus Against Heresies book 3 14.1 p.438
The Muratorian Canon (170-210 A.D.) ANF vol.5 p.603 mentions Paulís two letters to Timothy, as well as Paulís other 11 letters.
Clement of Alexandria
(193-202 A.D.) says, "the blessed apostle" wrote 2 Timothy 2:14,16,17 and he quotes those verses. Stromata book 1 ch.10 p.311
(207/208 A.D.) asks Marcion why he rejects as scripture the apostleís two letters to Timothy and one to Titus. Five Books Against Marcion book 5 ch.21 p.473.
Hippolytus (222-235/236 A.D.) alludes to 2 Timothy 4:8a. Treatise on Christ and Antichrist ch.31 p.210
(c.240 A.D.) quotes Isaiah 11:2-3 and then 2 Timothy 1:7. "And you yourself can bring together from the Scriptures these winds." Homilies on Jeremiah Homily 8 ch.5 p.81
Cyprian of Carthage
(c.246-258 A.D.) quotes 2 Timothy 2:4,5 as "to Timothy" Treatises of Cyprian Treatise 3 Third book Testimonies ch.11 p.536
Cyprian of Carthage (c.246-258 A.D.) mentions Paul to Timothy and quotes 2 Timothy 2:24 Letter 73.9 p.389
Alexander of Alexandria
(313-326 A.D.) quotes half of 2 Timothy 3:4. It is at the end of a long catena of three verses introduced as "according to the blessed Paul". Epistles on the Arian Heresy Epistle 1 ch.13 p.296
Alexander of Alexandria (313-326 A.D.) mentions Hymenaeus and Philetus, alluding to 2 Timothy 2:17. Epistles on the Arian Heresy Epistle 2 ch.5 p.298

34+ writers After Nicea

Eusebiusí Ecclesiastical History
(323-326 A.D.)
Aphrahat the Syrian
(337-345 A.D.) paraphrases 2 Timothy 2:11,12 Select Demonstrations Demonstration 6 ch.1 p.363
(4th century) quotes 2 Timothy 4:7-8 as by "the blessed apostle" Disputation with Manes ch.35 p.209. He also alludes to 2 Timothy 3:8,9 in ch.36 p.210.
Athanasius of Alexandria
(367 A.D.) lists the books of the New Testament in Festal Letter 39 p.552
Hilary of Poitiers
(355-367/368 A.D.) quotes half of 2 Timothy 2:17 as by the Apostle, just after he mentioned the Blessed Apostle Paul in the same chapter. On the Trinity book 8 ch.1 p.137
Synopsis Scripturae Sacrae
(350-370 A.D. or 5th century) mentions Paulís two letters to Timothy as part of the New Testament. It quotes 2 Timothy 1:1-2a.
Cheltenham Canon
(ca.360-370 A.D.)
Ephraem the Syrian
(373 A.D.)
Synod of Laodicea
(in Phrygia) (343-381 A.D.) canon 60 p.159 lists the books of the Old Testament and the New Testament. Canon 59 p.158 says only the canonical books of the Old and New Testaments may be read in church.
Basil of Cappadocia
(357-378/379 A.D.) quotes 2 Timothy 2:2 as by Paul. On the Spirit ch.13.29 p.19
Synod of Laodicea
(in Phrygia) (343-381 A.D.) canon 60 p.159 lists the books of the Old Testament and the New Testament. Canon 59 p.158 says only the canonical books of the Old and New Testaments may be read in church.
(after 384 A.D.)
Cyril of Jerusalem
(c.349-386 A.D.)
Ambrose of Milan
(370-390 A.D.) quotes 2 Timothy 4:7,8 as by Paul Duties of the Clergy book 1 ch.15.58 p.11.
Gregory Nanzianus
(330-391 A.D.)
Pacian of Barcelona
(342-379/392 A.D.) quotes 2 Timothy 1:4 as Paul writing to Timothy. Letter 3 ch.15.1 p.55
(before 394 A.D.) Iambi ad Seleucum
John Chrysostom
396 A.D. wrote down ten sermons on 2 Timothy which we still have preserved today. He said it was by Paul the apostle in homily 1 on 2 Timothy.
Gregory of Nyssa
(c.356-397 A.D.) quotes ľ of 2 Timothy 3:16 as by the Apostle in Against Eunomius book 7 ch.1 p.192
Syriac Book of Steps (Liber Graduum)
(350-400 A.D.)
Syrian Catalog of St. Catherineís
(ca.400 A.D.)
Epiphanius of Salamis
(360-403 A.D.)
Pope Innocent I of Rome
(ca.405 A.D.)
(374-406 A.D.)
(after 408 A.D.)
(373-420 A.D.) quotes 2 Timothy 4:7,8 as by the Apostle Paul.
Council of Carthage
(393-419 A.D.)
Augustine of Hippo
(388-430 A.D.) says Paul wrote 1 Timothy and 2 Timothy On the Forgiveness of Sin, and Baptism ch.48 p.33
John Cassian
(419-430 A.D.) quotes 1 Timothy 4:14 and 2 Timothy 1:6 as "To Timothy" in The Third Conference of the Abbot Chaeremon ch.12 p.429
Vincent of Lerins
(c.434 A.D.)
(c.400-439 A.D.) Ecclesiastical History
(ca.424-455) Instructiones
Theodoret of Cyrus
(bishop and historian) (423-458 A.D.)
Cyril of Alexandria
(444 A.D.)
Euthalius of Sulca
(ca.450 A.D.)
Prosper of Aquitaine
(425-465 A.D.) refers to 2 Timothy 1:8f as "To Timothy"
others too.
Among heretics and spurious books

Arian heretic Eunomius (c.360-c.394 A.D.) alludes to 2 Timothy 2:25 as by "the blessed Paul" Apologetic Letter ch.19 p.57
The heretic Pelagius (416-418 A.D.)
The Pelagian heretic Theodore of Mopsuestia (392-423/429 A.D.) quotes part of 2 Timothy 2:19: "The Lord knows who are His." Commentary on Zechariah ch.14 p.393
Earliest manuscripts we have of 2 Timothy show there are small manuscript variations, but zero theologically significant errors.
[Si] 340-350 A.D.
2 Timothy was not preserved in Vaticanus [B]
[A] c.450 A.D.
Ephraemi Rescriptus
[C] 5th century
[D] 5th/6th century
Washington, D.C. 5th century
[Ital] 4th to 13th centuries
Bohairic Coptic
[Boh] 3rd/4th century
Sahidic Coptic
[Sah] 3rd/4rth century
Latin Vulgate
[Vg] 4th and 5th centuries
[Arm] from 5th century
[Geo] from 5th century
[Eth] from c.500 A.D.
Peshitta Syriac
[Syr P] 400-450 A.D.
Harclean Syriac
[Syr H] 616 A.D.

See Timothy Manuscripts.html for more on early manuscripts of 2 Timothy.

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Nov. 2022 version.