Paul describes the pitfalls that surround Timothy and that will also come in the last days, putting these alongside of commands to follow in his teachings and lead others in the same way. He gives Timothy what seems like a simple charge, but by no means an easy one. Timothy doesn’t need to reinvent the wheel, rather Paul wants Timothy to continue with what he has heard. To keep true to the message of the gospel and not be ashamed to proclaim it (1:8).
I am reminded of your sincere faith, a faith that dwelt first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice and now, I am sure, dwells in you as well.
2 Timothy 1:5
Follow the pattern of the sound words that you have heard from me, in the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus.
2 Timothy 1:13
But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.
2 Timothy 3:14-15
To face the demands of his ministry, Timothy must not veer from the message he has received from Paul and from family, and importantly from God’s Word. It is simple enough, but it is a difficult task for Timothy as he will come up against false teachings and false teachers. Paul anticipates the push back Timothy will receive, since he knows of it firsthand. People do not like to be corrected or challenged, so he encourages Timothy.
For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands, for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.
2 Timothy 1:6-7
And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil, correcting his opponents with gentleness. God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth, and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, after being captured by him to do his will.
2 Timothy 2:24-26
This isn’t then a work of Timothy’s based in his own opinions. Just as he was blessed with teachings from the sacred writings, he needs to continue in that way and base his teaching upon that same authority.
All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.
2 Timothy 3:16-17
To complicate matters Timothy is a young man and Paul, in 1 Timothy, touches on this as well, again anticipating some of the problems.
Let no one despise you for your youth, but set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity. Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to exhortation, to teaching. Do not neglect the gift you have, which was given you by prophecy when the council of elders laid their hands on you. Practice these things, immerse yourself in them, so that all may see your progress. Keep a close watch on yourself and on the teaching. Persist in this, for by so doing you will save both yourself and your hearers.
1 Timothy 4:12-16
In and around the church there will be those who flee the truth and turn toward themselves. Just read the beginning of 2 Timothy 3 and you will find a dire description of the last days that is sadly not unlike any time in history. God’s way is ignored and the demanding call of Christ that leads to hardship and persecution (2 Tim 2:3, 3:12, 4:5) is rejected. To meet this culture head on does not require some silver bullet. Timothy doesn’t need something brand new to share Christ. Timothy doesn’t need to be someone different (him being young is fine). What does he need? What does Paul instruct Timothy to do in watching over the church? Remember Jesus Christ. Guard the faith by the help of the Holy Spirit. Flee evil, pursue righteousness. It is simple and Paul charges Timothy in this way:
I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom: preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching. For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths. As for you, always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.
2 Timothy 4:1-5