2 Timothy 4
2 Timothy 4:1-5-The Charge to Those Who Follow Christ
2 Timothy 4:1-2-4-Be faithful to preach the Word
Based on the inspiration and authority of the Scripture…Paul tells Timothy to be ready at all times to preach the Word...to correct false doctrine. He is to:
• “reprove”…convincingly show from God’s Word where someone is in error
Convict (Including the Av, Convince):
(a) "to convict, confute, refute," usually with the suggestion of putting the convicted person to shame; see Mat 18:15, where more than telling the offender his fault is in view; it is used of "convicting" of sin, Jhn 8:46; 16:8; gainsayers in regard to the faith, Tts 1:9; transgressors of the Law, Jam 2:9; some texts have the verb in Jhn 8:9;
(b) "to reprove," 1Cr 14:24, RV (for AV, "convince"), for the unbeliever is there viewed as being reproved for, or "convicted" of, his sinful state; so in Luk 3:19; it is used of reproving works, Jhn 3:20; Eph 5:11, 13; 1Ti 5:20; 2Ti 4:2; Tts 1:13; 2:15; all these speak of reproof by word of mouth. In Hbr 12:5; Rev 3:19, the word is used of reproving by action.
Vine’s Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words, https://www.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?Strongs=G1651&t=NASB
• “rebuke”…to strongly express the error involved and consequences of wrong behavior
Charge (Nouns, Adjective and Verbs), Chargeable:
(a) to put honour upon (epi, upon, time, honour);
(b) to adjudge, to find fault with, rebuke; hence to charge, or rather, to charge strictly (epi, intensive), e.g., Mat 12:16; Mar 3:12, "charged much;" Mar 8:30; in Mar 10:48, RV, "rebuked."
Vine’s Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words, https://www.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?Strongs=G2008&t=NASB
• “exhort”…to encourage someone to change their behavior to be in keeping with what God’s Word reveals
primarily, "to call to a person" (para, "to the side," kaleo, "to call"), denotes
(a) "to call on, entreat;" see BESEECH;
(b) "to admonish, exhort, to urge" one to pursue some course of conduct (always prospective, looking to the future, in contrast to the meaning to comfort, which is retrospective, having to do with trial experienced), translated "exhort" in the RV of Phl 4:2; 1Th 4:10; Hbr 13:19, 22, for AV, "beseech;" in 1Ti 5:1, for AV, "intreat;" in 1Th 5:11, for AV, "comfort;" "exhorted" in 2Cr 8:6; 12:18, for AV, "desired;" in 1Ti 1:3, for AV, "besought."
Vine’s Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words, https://www.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?Strongs=G3870&t=NASB
Paul instructs Timothy that such admonition may not be readily received. It must be done patiently and with clarity of instruction. The reason is that men will prefer to hear things that satisfy them...but are not necessarily the truth.
2 Timothy 4:5-Be faithful to complete your ministry
Timothy must be ready to endure hardship because of his stand for Christ. And, regardless of what happens…he is to continue in his calling to reach people with the Gospel of Christ (:5).
2 Timothy 4:6-18-The Confidence of Those Who Follow Christ
2 Timothy 4:6-7-Seen in Paul’s confidence that he has been faithful
Paul was in prison and he has probably come to the realization that he does not have much time left to live (:6). As we read these words, Paul exudes a deep sense of satisfaction. There is no regret. There is no lament, or grief. Just peace with a live that has been well lived for his Savior. And now, the time has come for this warrior of the faith to receive his reward.
a. I am already being poured out as a drink offering: A drink offering brought wine before the Lord and poured it out at His altar. It was a way to give wine to God as a sacrifice, just as an animal might be given as a sacrifice.
i. The idea of a drink offering is first presented in Genesis 35:14, where Jacob poured out a drink offering before the Lord as a sacrifice. In the Mosaic Law, drink offerings could be a part of sacrifice to the Lord (Exodus 29:40-41 and Leviticus 23:13).
ii. There was also a Roman idea here. Every Roman meal ended with a small sacrificial ritual to the gods - a cup of wine was taken and poured out before the gods. In this sense Paul said "The day is done, the meal is just about over, and I'm being poured out unto God."
iii. Poured out has the idea of a complete giving, with no reservation. The liquid is completely emptied from the cup, and totally given to God.
iv. So Paul was already being poured out. His head was not on the executioner's block yet, but his heart was there. He was ready to make the ultimate sacrifice. "He considers himself as on the eve of being sacrificed, and looks upon his blood as the libation which was poured on the sacrificial offering. He could not have spoken thus positively had not the sentence of death been already passed upon him." (Clarke)
b. The time of my departure is at hand: Paul felt that he was in the airport and his flight to heaven was ready to depart. He waited for his boarding call.
David Guzik :: Study Guide for 2 Timothy 4, https://www.blueletterbible.org/Comm/guzik_david/StudyGuide_2Ti/2Ti_4.cfm?a=1129007
He is confident in his future because he knows that he has been faithful in the past. No one is perfect and Paul is very aware of his own imperfection (Philippians 3:10-14). But Paul is not basing his future on what he has done. Rather, it is based on what Christ did for him (:8). However, having said this, Paul did have confidence in his future because of his own faithfulness to Christ in the past. He had not stopped. He had not faltered. He speaks of three sources of proof that give him this confidence…
1. “I have fought the good fight”…Indeed, Paul had fought for Christ…and His Gospel. He had been in battle after battle. He had fought against the Jews. He had fought against those who sought to change the Gospel. He had fought against pagan religions. He had fought against local city authorities. He had fought against governors. He had fought against Rome. He had fought against prison. He had fought against the natural elements. He had fought against sickness. He had fought against weariness. He had fought against the betrayal of friends. He had fought against loneliness. It was the “good fight”…because it was a fight that honored Jesus. It was the “good fight”…because it was a fight that led men to salvation.
2. “I have finished the course”…Paul never quit. But Paul didn’t just not quit…just hanging on until the bitter end. But Paul continued to work, to serve, to minister, to stand strong for Christ until the very end…until the course was over. Paul wasn’t finished. The course was finished. He had devotedly served Christ not until he was done for Christ…but until Christ was done with him.
3. “I have kept the faith”…That may not sound so remarkable to us…at least those of use who live in a society that is receptive to religion and particularly to the Christian religion. But it wasn’t so, for Paul. In virtually every city that Paul entered we find that there were those who were trying to change “the faith”. Jews wanted to change the teaching about the deity of Jesus. But He “kept the faith”. Judaizers wanted to add circumcision and other requirements as necessities for salvation. But He “kept the faith”. Pagans wanted to include Jesus as just one more god in their pantheon of deities. But He “kept the faith”. How many times must he have been tempted to cave in, to concede to the pressure. Pressure from the Apostles. Pressure from the very churches he founded. Pressure from traveling religious con men. Pressure from those who didn’t want to have the pressure turned on them. But He “kept the faith”.
Is there any wonder that Paul was confident? No. In the past, he had “fought well, finished strong, and firmly believed.” And now, he looked with confidence towards the future.
2 Timothy 4:8-Seen in Paul’s confidence in the reward for his faithfulness
“In the future there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness…” Paul makes it clear that though he has confidence in the future because of how he has lived…the provision for the future is based on how Christ died. If Christ had not died…then no amount of good works or faithfulness would mean anything. Those things never, ever qualify us for eternal life. Only faith in the work and faithfulness of Christ qualifies us for that. Eternal life is not the result of our good works. But good works are the result of eternal life. Jesus is the one Who “laid up” (reserved, protected, safely stored away) Paul’s reward.
Paul says that there is “crown” laid up for him. It is the crown of a victor…someone who has competed in the athletic games and won (:6; 2:5)…and that Jesus, Himself will one day present it to him. And, Jesus will present a crown to all of those who believe in Him as Savior and who look forward to His return.
Crown (Noun and Verb):
primarily, "that which surrounds, as a wall or crowd" (from stepho, "to encircle"), denotes
(a) "the victor's crown," the symbol of triumph in the games or some such contest; hence, by metonymy, a reward or prize;
(b) "a token of public honor" for distinguished service, military prowess, etc., or of nuptial joy, or festal gladness, especially at the parousia of kings. It was woven as a garland of oak, ivy, parsley, myrtle, or olive, or in imitation of these in gold. In some passages the reference to the games is clear, 1Cr 9:25; 2Ti 4:8 ("crown of righteousness"); it may be so in 1Pe 5:4, where the fadeless character of "the crown of glory" is set in contrast to the garlands of earth. In other passages it stands as an emblem of life, joy, reward and glory, Phl 4:1; 1Th 2:19; Jam 1:12 ("crown of life"); Rev 2:10 (ditto); 3:11; 4:4, 10: of triumph, Rev 6:2; 9:7; 12:1; 14:14.
It is used of "the crown of thorns" which the soldiers plaited and put on Christ's head, Mat 27:29; Mar 15:17; Jhn 19:2, 5. At first sight this might be taken as an alternative for diadema, "a kingly crown" (see below), but considering the blasphemous character of that masquerade, and the materials used, obviously diadema would be quite unfitting and the only alternative was stephanos (see Trench xxxii).
Vine’s Dictionary of New Testament Words, https://www.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?Strongs=G4735&t=NASB
2 Timothy 4:9-18-Seen in Paul’s confidence in the Lord’s faithfulness to him
Paul mentions several people and situations that have caused him difficulties:
• Demas (:9; see Colossians 4:14; Philemon 24) had “deserted” him. The word “desert” means “to abandon, to leave helpless”. Remember, Paul wrote this letter while in prison in Rome. Evidently, Demas was there with him at some time…but, “having loved this present world” he had deserted Paul and gone to Thessalonica. This may mean that there was something that he loved more than Paul and the mission that God had given him. Or, it could mean that he thought that if he stayed much longer with Paul that he would face the same fate that he was about to. He “loved this present world” more than he loved the Gospel (or the ministry) and was unwilling to face the possibility of death for it.
• While Paul doesn’t speak of Crescens and Titus as having deserted him…they have left him to go elsewhere (possibly to minister)…and their absence is emotionally difficult on him (:10).
• Paul had sent Tychicus to Ephesus (:12). The absence of yet another one of his co-workers must have been difficult during these final hours of his life.
• Erastus had not accompanied Paul to Rome, but had stayed in Corinth (Acts 19:22).
• Trophimus had gotten sick and had to stay in Miletus (Acts 20:15).
• When Paul was first brought into custody in Rome none of those present came to his support (:16). He says that they “deserted” (same word as used of Demas) him…and asks that it not be held against them. The phrase "my first defense" (Ryrie, footnote on 4:16) means: "the preliminary hearing with which Paul's final trial opened (though some take this to mean Paul's first trial in Rome three years before)".
• Then there is Alexander (:14-15, a copper smith). We don’t know exactly who he is, or what he has done, but he has been a fervent opponent to Paul and did him “much harm”. There is no prayer by Paul for God’s mercy for him. Instead, he says that God will “repay him according to his deeds”. It is interesting that while Paul prayed for those who deserted him…he did not pray for Alexander who “vigorously opposed our teaching.” It’s as if it is one thing to opposed man, but another thing to oppose God.
2 Timothy 4:9-Paul tells Timothy to come to Rome and to bring Mark with him (11). Mark and Paul had overcome their differences that had caused them to go separate ways some years before (Acts 15:36-41). Now, he wanted his younger friend by his side, again. He then tells Timothy to do all that he can do to get there before winter (:21). It could be that he knows that winter will be cold and will make life miserable in his dark, dank dungeon (:13-he had previously told him to bring his coat when he comes). But, it could be that he is missing the fellowship of his brethren and the moral support that they gave him. As seen from the list of people above, at times Paul had quite a large entourage. You can imagine the depth of their friendship and the warmth of their fellowship that had developed over the years as they traveled together, ministered together, faced opposition together, won people to Christ together, and established new churches together. But now, Paul has grown older, his health is poor, his life is threatened, and that group has dwindled down to just a handful. In an almost melancholy manner he writes, “Only Luke is with me” (:11). In reality, Luke wasn’t the only one that was with him (:21). But, Luke was the only one of his group of friends, his partners in the ministry that was with him. At the moment, even Timothy, to whom this letter is addressed is absent. Of all of the men that Paul had mentored in the ministry…it could be that he was most endeared and felt closest to Timothy. You can almost hear the loneliness in his voice as he writes…”Timothy, my beloved son…make every effort to come before winter.”
2 Timothy 4:17-20-While all of this has happened…Paul is still confident in what the Lord has in store. He says that through everything, “I was delivered out of the lion’s mouth” (:17). And with that thought in mind he is confident that, “The Lord will deliver me from every evil deed, and will bring me safely to His heavenly kingdom…” (:18).
2 Timothy 4:19-22-Paul’s Closing Greetings
For a survey of the Life of the Apostle Paul see:
Easton’s Bible Dictionary,
The Death of Paul…
This first imprisonment came at length to a close, Paul having been acquitted, probably because no witnesses appeared against him. Once more he set out on his missionary labours, probably visiting western and eastern Europe and Asia Minor. During this period of freedom he wrote his First Epistle to Timothy and his Epistle to Titus. The year of his release was signalized by the burning of Rome, which Nero saw fit to attribute to the Christians. A fierce persecution now broke out against the Christians. Paul was seized, and once more conveyed to Rome a prisoner. During this imprisonment he probably wrote the Second Epistle to Timothy, the last he ever wrote. "There can be little doubt that he appeared again at Nero's bar, and this time the charge did not break down. In all history there is not a more startling illustration of the irony of human life than this scene of Paul at the bar of Nero. On the judgment-seat, clad in the imperial purple, sat a man who, in a bad world, had attained the eminence of being the very worst and meanest being in it, a man stained with every crime, a man whose whole being was so steeped in every nameable and unnameable vice, that body and soul of him were, as some one said at the time, nothing but a compound of mud and blood; and in the prisoner's dock stood the best man the world possessed, his hair whitened with labours for the good of men and the glory of God. The trial ended: Paul was condemned, and delivered over to the executioner. He was led out of the city, with a crowd of the lowest rabble at his heels. The fatal spot was reached; he knelt beside the block; the headsman's axe gleamed in the sun and fell; and the head of the apostle of the world rolled down in the dust" (probably A.D. 66), four years before the fall of Jerusalem.
Prayer: Father, please bring other believers alongside me that we might serve You, together. It is difficult to do all that needs to be done, alone. Please help me to fight well for You, to finish the course You have given me, and to maintain the truth of the faith You have established!