Second Epistle to Timothy
|Light iron-age reading|
|Gabbin' with God|
The Second Epistle to Timothy) is a book in the New Testament, traditionally considered to have been written by St Paul to his companion and assistant Saint Timothy. It is traditionally grouped with 1 Timothy and the Epistle to Titus as a pastoral epistle, concerned with church organisation, specific instructions, and administrative minutiae, rather than abstract theology or praise to God.
2 Tim was probably written at the end of Paul's period of house arrest in Rome (if it was written by him at all), because he writes with discernable resignation: "...for I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith..." Paul's confinement is sufficient to cause one Demas to abandon him, leaving only Luke, but his restrictions are not so overweening that Paul cannot call for Timothy to bring Mark to him, or a cloak and some books he left with Troas in Carpus. Had there been no fire in Rome, Emperor Nero would have probably never scapegoated the Christians and it is likely Paul (a Roman citizen) would have been released to evangelize Spain.
The epistle presents a dilemma to many conservative bibliolaters who believe doctrine should come straight out of the book and not "tradition" because in 2 Tim 2:2 Paul specifically orders Timothy: "And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also."
But Paul redeems himself a few verses later when he says "Study to shew thyself approved unto God...rightly dividing the word of truth." to the eternal bliss of the self-appointed bible interpreters who alone are capable of "rightly dividing" the Word.
In verse 3:16 Paul says, "All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness". The Bible worshipers have a brain fart here and interpret the word "profitable" as "sufficient" in order to further deprecate Paul's order to use oral tradition to commit the faith to following generations (an order which is reinforced in 2 Thessalonians 2:15).
Second Timothy is notable for containing the only mention in the New Testament of Linus. According to Catholic tradition it is this Linus who was the second pope, after Peter. This doctrine predates modern biblical scholarship, which is generally in agreement that Paul was not the author of Second Timothy, so it's a little unclear precisely whose authority backs this belief.
The traditional date, assuming Pauline authorship, and based on the epistle's references to what may be Paul's imprisonment in Rome and what we know of Paul's life, would be around 64-67 CE. On the other hand, Helmut Koester has suggested it may reference Paul's imprisonment in Philippi, northern Greece, not Rome (while probably not actually written by Paul, but by a follower who pretended it was Pauline).
If Paul didn't write it, we need other evidence to date it. It's believed that the Epistle of Polycarp to the Philippians references 2 Timothy. However this is dated anything from 108 CE to the 130s or later; Polycarp died around 155 CE (or maybe as late as 167 CE) which might put an upper limit on 2 Tim assuming (a) Polycarp's epistle references it and (b) Polycarp wrote "Polycarp's" epistle. The first half of the second century seems the default guess for most of the New Testament epistles.
There's not really any evidence who did write it. Whatevs.