2 Timothy is Paul’s final letter.
After his first release from Roman prison, his travels include Ephesus and Crete. The last place we know he visited was either Nicopolis, a resort community on the western coast of Greece (where he wrote his letter to Titus) or Troas on the coast of Asia Minor.
At some point, Paul was arrested again and returned to Rome for trial. As he writes this letter to Timothy, he doesn’t feel this trial will go as well. The end, he feels, is coming.
And as the end approaches, Paul’s concern is for the faith of his long-time traveling companion and helper, Timothy. The troubles of this great apostle, his impending death, Timothy’s own trials, the opposition he faces, the insecurity he feels come crashing down on Timothy. His faith is about to fail.
What to do?
Paul, facing his own martyrdom, reminds Timothy of who he serves: Jesus. He reminds him of the example he follows – also Jesus, and of the reward awaiting him. He calls him to remember who he is, and the dishonor of failure.
Sometimes, the only way to handle discouragement is to press on. There is no desirable alternative.