• When and Where
2 Timothy is both like and unlike 1 Timothy. They are considered almost certainly to be by the same author and both emphasize “sound teaching” and “sound doctrine” but 2nd Timothy is much more personal. It reads like a “farewell letter” and commissioning.
• Key Insights
This letter’s most famous verse is certainly 3:16 “All Scripture is inspired by God.” Keep in mind though that when it was written, even by this late dating, there was no collected, authorized, agreed upon or canonized “New Testament.” Many, particularly in conservative evangelical circles today, consider all 66 books of the Bible to be “inerrant” and “infallible.” But note how these words are quite different in meaning from from “inspired” and note the context the verse comes in.
• Big Picture
I believe, as a Christian and a United Methodist Pastor, that the New Testament is inspired – and useful for teaching and correction – indeed that is why I have proposed this Lenten journey. Being “god-breathed” means both something significantly more, and significantly less restrictive than “inerrant.” Scripture is an invitation into deeper relationship, not a simple code. Even as we might disagree with the precise dating decisions and rationales Borg (or others) offer – reading the Bible actively, and in community, is the point. I learn something new every time I engage in this process – new insights, new questions. I hope you have as well – and I hope you will repeat this kind of reading journey again.
Blessings on your reading!