In our study of 2 Timothy, we will look at Paul's extreme loyalty to the gospel of Jesus Christ as he urges Timothy to share in that loyalty. This letter was written to Timothy who was a leader in the church at Ephesus at the time of Paul's second imprisonment in Rome. This was during the time of the emperor Nero's persecution of Christians and Paul was waiting to be executed for being faithful in the ministry that God had called him to.
"Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, in keeping with the promise of life that is in Christ Jesus," NIV translation
As was usual with Paul's letters, he begins with his credentials as an apostle and reminds us that it was by "the will of God". This could be a personal reflection as he looked at his present situation on death row. He was probably reflecting on the fact that God is in control and that it was God's will that his personal ministry would come to an end. It seems that his life has come full circle as he started as one who hunted down Christians in order to kill them for their faith and now he is awaiting that same fate.
With this in mind, he still holds onto the "promise of life" that is eternal through the blood of Jesus Christ. This, too , may be a reflection on the fact that, before he came face to face with Jesus Christ, he was trying to earn that eternal life through his own efforts.
"To Timothy, my dear son: Grace, mercy and peace from God the father and Christ Jesus our Lord." NIV translation
This is the usual way that Paul started his letters and it points to his extreme loyalty as he did not let his present circumstances change the way that he had conducted the ministry from the beginning. You get the sense of a calm resolution as he speaks of the peace that can only come from God. We also see the fact that Paul thought of Timothy as his son even though they were not biologically related. They had been constant companions as Paul had raised him up in the faith and we are reminded that that is the most important duty of any parent that has been entrusted with a child.