January 22, 2024

Why Did Saint Paul Write a Second Epistle to Timothy? (St. John Chrysostom)

By St. John Chrysostom

What is the reason of his writing this second Epistle to Timothy? He had said, "I hope to come unto you shortly" (1 Timothy 3:14), and as this had not taken place, instead of coming to him, he consoles him by a letter, when he was grieving perhaps for his absence, and oppressed by the cares of the government, which he had now taken in hand. For even great men, when they are placed at the helm, and are charged with the direction of the Church, feel the strangeness of their position, and are overwhelmed, as it were, by the waves of business. This was particularly the case when the gospel was first preached, when the ground was everywhere unturned, and all was opposition and hostility. There were, besides, heresies commencing from the Jewish teachers, as he has shown in his former Epistle. Nor does he only comfort him by letters, he invites him to come to him: "Do your diligence," he says, "to come shortly unto me," and, "when you come, bring with you the books, but especially the parchments" (2 Timothy 4:9-13). And he seems to have written this Epistle when his end was approaching. For he says, "I am now ready to be offered up"; and again, "At my first defense no man stood with me" (2 Timothy 4:6-16).

- Excerpt from Homily 1 on Second Timothy

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