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Well, hello there! It's Paul writing to his good friend, Timothy, who's currently hanging out in Ephesus. How goes it, Timmy?
Truth be told, things are a little troubled. Apparently there are some people running around the Christian community spreading all kinds of crazy, false teachings about Jesus. Paul is definitely not down with all this and needs Timothy to totally be on his game to counter any naysayers. Just put Timothy in, coach. He's ready to play.
What is Timothy supposed to tell these guys? We're glad you asked. For starters, Christians need to be on their best behavior. That means praying for everyone because Jesus died to save everyone. Men should act like men (all moral and in charge of the household) and ladies should act like the nice, delicate, submissive flowers they are. Rigid gender roles confirmed? Check.
Anything else? Well, anyone who wants to be a leader in the community should be an upstanding citizen. Christians should take care of widows (as long as they're "real widows," if you know what we mean). And slaves? They should obey their masters and most definitely not try to run away. Better luck next millennium, slaves.
Paul's first letter to Timothy may not have smoothed out all the wrinkles in the Christian community, but that doesn't stop Paul from trying again. This time, he's writing to Timothy from prison in Rome. Even though Paul's been put in the slammer, he's cool with it. Suffering for Jesus is one of his favorite things to do—Timothy better get used to it to.
Paul reminds Timothy to keep his behavior on the up and up and keep on teaching the right things about Jesus. That means only teachings with the Paul stamp of approval will do (take note, naysayers). This time, Paul's passing on his wisdom for what looks like the final time. Yup. It's the end of the road for this apostle of Christ. Rome is gonna be his final hurrah.
Paul asks Timothy to come as soon as he can to visit one last time before it's off with his head.
Obviously, Paul's not dead yet because he has time for one last letter. This one's to his other favorite co-worker in Christ, Titus, who's currently hanging out in Crete.
Paul passes along more advice for picking folks to be leaders and calls out some naysayers while he's at it. He also has some time to let everyone know how men and women should be behaving (sorry, no equality, yet). Slaves, too, but it's just more of the whole obey-your-masters line.
In closing, Paul reminds Christians to be nice to everyone because Jesus is for everyone. Kthxbai!