Listen to the podcast below (or right click this link for the mp3 file)
wikipedia page. It seems the authenticity of the letter is in question, not surprising.
Greeting (v. 1-2)
Just another greeting, nothing to see here.
Guard the Deposit Entrusted to You (v. 3-18)
You have a great faith, which was first in you grandmother and now in you.
Other than this being yet another place where faith is seen as a virtue, there's not much here yet.
I didn't realize this until a later reading, but it looks like nepotism. In verse 5, Paul says that he knows that Timothy's mother and grandmother both had great faith, and then says that he is sure Timothy also has that faith.
The rest of the chapter is pretty much just Paul saying he is going to pass the torch to Timothy. He also mentions that he was helped by Onesiphorus when he was in Asia. I have a few questions and comments about some verses along the way, but this seems to be the overall message here.
v8 "do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord"
Why would he be ashamed? Is it because Paul is in prison still and God has apparently not saved him?
David Guzik explains that at this time Jesus has been recently crucified and it would be a difficult thing to follow him. You can imagine that at the time, when the belief isn't so widespread, it would be much more difficult than it is today. Makes sense to me.
v8 "share in the suffering for the gospel by the power of God"
More glorification of suffering. Why would this be a good thing?
v9 God saved them and called them to be holy men not because of works, but because of his own purpose from "before the ages began"
So basically, they haven't done anything to deserve this special treatment, God decided this at the beginning of time. Doesn't really sound like justice to me. By the way, how does this interact with free will? Also, this verse seems to lend itself to the idea of "God works in mysterious ways" which Christians tend to use as a get out of jail free card which is annoying as hell. It's just a cop out non-answer.
v12 Paul says he suffers because he is a teacher, preacher, and apostle. But he is not ashamed of this.
This relates back to my v8 question, it seems that Paul is saying that the church is the source of his suffering but he's not ashamed. Implying that there is an impulse that this should be a source of shame, otherwise why would he bring it up.
v18 talking about Onesiphorus who had helped out Paul in his time of need "may the Lord grant him to find mercy from the Lord on that day"
What day? My first thought here was that Paul is talking about the second coming of Christ, and is hoping Jesus will have mercy on Onesiphorus since he helped out Paul. Reading it again, it isn't completely clear that this is what he is talking about, but I'm not sure what else it would mean. If that is what it means, is this another time when Paul seems to expect the end times to be just around the corner.
Matthew Henry seems to agree with me that we are talking about the end times, when Jesus returns (the day of death and judgement). He doesn't however, address my concerns.
For the overview post (If you think I should add or remove stuff from this list please let me know, I think it would make good conversation)
1:5 faith is a virtue, also nepotism
"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."
1:8 suffering is good
"Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord, nor of me his prisoner, but share in suffering for the gospel by the power of God"
1:9 God works in mysterious ways
"who saved us and called us to a holy calling, not because of our works but because of his own purpose and grace, which he gave us in Christ Jesus before the ages began"
1:18 Paul seems to think the end times are near
"may the Lord grant him to find mercy from the Lord on that Day!--and you well know all the service he rendered at Ephesus"