2 Timothy

Good morning! Second Timothy reads quite a bit differently from First Timothy, though some elements of “Paul’s” combativeness remain. This letter has none of the hierarchical language regarding women, slaves, children, widows, etc. Instead, the writer addresses Timothy with tenderness and encouragement. He does mention those who have wronged or abandoned him in the faith, presumably because their doctrine went “off the rails” at some point (including with the idea that the resurrection has already occurred). Despite the grudge-baring and occasional bitter remarks about others, I get a sense of acquiescence and trust that all shall be well. Two areas that caught my attention are the remarks about faith and about Scripture.

In his opening, the author here praises the faith that Timothy first learned from his grandmother Lois and his mother Eunice, then goes on to encourage growth in that same faith. This struck me because of the many female mentors in my own faith (including especially my grandmother). Countless generations of women have sparked or fanned faith in those around them through formal teaching in church settings, but also through the example set in daily living. Perhaps Priscilla and Aquila (or other women mentioned here) taught “Paul” the sense of restraint and meekness that he now advises to Timothy in service of a righteous faith.

Those who have been in arguments around biblical inerrancy and the literal interpretation of Scripture will have likely heard this from 2 Timothy 3:16 (in another translation): “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness”. This verse has been used to bless even the most unholy things in the Bible as directly from God. I don’t need to tell you that I disagree with such an interpretation. However, even if one did think there was a divine reason for everything in the Bible, this verse might suggest that some in the Bible is *meant* to be judged as sinful. The teachings of 1 Timothy yesterday, for example, may be “useful for…training in righteousness” because they show how unrighteous sanctimonious human beings can get when they believe they speak with the full authority of God. Happy reading!

Read 2 Timothy. (Note that the link here is only to 2 Timothy 1. For copyright reasons, you will need to click the button at the bottom of the linked page to read further chapters.)

Please join discussion of this passage at the Daily Bible Facebook group, or comment below. The passage for tomorrow is Titus and Philemon. Thanks for reading!

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