However, this letter was probably always meant to be public. It is a symbolic "passing of the baton" from Paul to the next generation of preachers who will continue to build on his efforts to establish and nurture Christian congregations. And it is a warning -- there are many who claim Paul's legacy who are not teaching the gospel that Paul preached. Instead, some are offering easy and appealing answers; others are getting bogged down in unimportant controversies. Regardless, they are leading people away from the truth of the gospel.
The problem of false teachers is exacerbated by the times of persecution and unrest. Anxiety and fear creates a climate where people desperately look for explanations for what is going on and why. Good Christian teachers need to provide a clear vision of God's truth in these hard times, especially when others offer easier answers.