The background for Timothy is in the 1 Timothy 1 post.
Paul's second letter to Timothy were his final instructions and encouragement written about A.D. 66 or 67 from prison in Rome. After a year or two of freedom, Paul was arrested again and executed by Emperor Nero shortly after writing this last epistle.
During its writing, there was persecution against the gospel, some had turned away from the faith and were deserting, others opposed the truth, and still others were deceiving or being deceived.
It was in this context that Timothy is encouraged to guard the treasure that had been entrusted to him. That treasure was the truth of the gospel. Paul called Timothy to faithfulness in this calling despite his own timidity amidst persecution and hardship. The key words in this epistle are gospel and suffering.
2 Timothy 1
After Paul's expression of thanksgiving for Timothy's sincere (unhypocritical, genuine) faith (firm conviction or persuasion) and how he "constantly" prays for him, he instructs him.
Here are the instructions in 2 Timothy 1:
1:6 Kindle afresh (fan into flame) the gift of God in you
1:8 Do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord
1:8 Join with me in suffering for the gospel
1:13 Retain the standard of sound words
1:14 Guard through the Holy Spirit the treasure
(I highlighted the key words of gospel/truth (and synonyms) and suffering.)
It might be helpful to make a list of or underline the instructions Paul gives to Timothy throughout the entire book.
Timothy obviously needed encouragement to develop his gifts because it appears he was intimidated (1:7). This whole chapter is a "call to courage" for Timothy to retain the standard/hold fast and guard the truth and keep it from being corrupted through the distortions of false teachers. The Holy Spirit would help him in this. Paul concludes by contrasting the character of those who had fallen away with the shining example of faithful Onesiphorus.
From the beginning of human history, Satan has opposed God’s Word. “Yea, hath God said?” was Satan’s first word to mankind (Gen. 3:1), and he continues to ask that question. Throughout the history of the church, the Word of God has been attacked, often by people within the church; yet it still stands today. Why? Because dedicated men and women have (like Paul and Timothy) guarded the deposit and faithfully handed it to a new generation of Christians. When a church or any other Christian organization goes liberal, it usually starts with a weakening of their leaders’ convictions about the Word of God.
Wiersbe, W. W. (1996, c1989). The Bible exposition commentary. "An exposition of the New Testament comprising the entire 'BE' series"--Jkt. (2 Ti 1:13). Wheaton, Ill.: Victor Books.
It takes courage to stand up to the tide of liberal thinking that is so much "cooler" than guarding the truth. It is not the easy road. My husband and I just spent a few days with a pastor and his wife who have had to leave their mainline denomination because it has gone away from following God's Word. It has been heart-wrenching and EXPENSIVE. Even though they paid for their facility with money raised in their local congregation, they must pay 1.3 million dollars to "buy it" from the denomination. Isn't that sad???? Many churches are losing their buildings altogether because of the legal loopholes involved with being in a denomination.
How can you be established and stand firm in the Truth?
Help us to know healthy doctrine and apply it to our lives. Amen.