2Timothy 4 - Outline of 2Timothy (Menu Page)
1. I charge [thee] therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ,
who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom;
2 Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season;
reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.
3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine;
but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears;
4 And they shall turn away [their] ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.
5 But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions,
do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry.
I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ...
Five times, in Paul's first letter, he 'charged' {GK=paraggello, commanded, conveyed a message to} Timothy, with a word from God, about specific matters (1Tim 1:3,18; 5:7; 6:15,17).
     Here (and also in 1Tim 5:21), where he says 'I charge thee...,' Paul use a different word {GK=diamarturomai} which means to 'earnestly testify' or 'solemnly affirm.' This is an intense form of the word 'witness' {GK=marturia} from which we get the English word 'martyr.' After a difficult journey, through many troubles (2Tim 3:10,11), Paul was expecting imminent martyrdom (4:6,7). Yet, he had no regrets or doubts. If he had any second thoughts about his life and ministry, his last words to Timothy might have encouraged his 'son' to take an easier path and to enjoy life. But, no, with all of his being, and with God the Father and the Son, as his witnesses, he urged Timothy to be faithful, even unto death.
...the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom...-
The Father has committed full authority, as Judge, to the Lord Jesus Christ (Joh 5:22-27). He will judge the quick {ie., the living} and the dead. These terms have spiritual and physical significance.
  • Believers have been made spiritually alive through faith in Christ (Eph 2:1). Yet, most will die physically.
    But when the Lord appears, at the Rapture, to take His own to Himself, we will rise to live forever with Him (1The 4:15-17). At that time, Christ will judge believers for 'the things done in the body' (2Cor 5:9,10), and He will reward His servants according to their faithfulness to Him.
  • Unbelievers remain spiritually dead in their sins, even while they live physically.
    For the unbeliever, physical death is not an escape, for it is followed by judgment (Heb 9:27). When Christ returns to earth to establish His earthly Kingdom, He will judge the living nations (Mat 25:31-33f). Then, after His 1,000 year reign, the unbelieving dead will be raised to face the final judgment at the Great White Throne (Rev 20:11-15).
Paul, desiring the best for his son in the faith, urged Timothy to look beyond earthly persecutions and tribulations, to the time when he would give an account to his Lord. If he would determine, by God's Grace, in the face of all opposition, to stand faithful to Christ, someday he would hear Him say, 'Well done thou good and faithful servant.' But if, God forbid, he would fall into apostasy as other professing believers had done, he would eventually find himself cast out into outer darkness. 2Tim 2:11-13
Preach the word... {ie., proclaim the Gospel of God's Word}-
The word 'preach' {GK=euangelizo}, by itself, means 'proclaim the Gospel' (eg., Rom 10:15). But here, the good thing to be proclaimed is 'the word.' In context with the previous chapters, this refers to proclaiming the whole Word of God, the entire Bible (2Tim 2:15; 3:14-17)... not just a few favorite passages, but 'all the counsel of God' (Acts 20:27).
     The man of God is to 'preach the Word.' He may be tempted to address the world's problems through politics, psychology, social work, environmental activism, or any number of promising endeavors. But in the best case, these offer a temporary bandaid to a dying world. At worst, they distract the man of God, from his God given task of 'holding forth the word of life' (Php 2:16).
Preach the Word...
  • ...be instant {GK=ephistemi, lit., stand by}, in season, out of season...
    The man of God is to 'be instant' or 'diligent' to stand true to his assigned role, of preaching the Word... when it is convenient, expected, and appreciated (eg., within the confines of a likeminded church), and also when no one expects or wants to hear it.
    The diligent preacher will apply God's Word, to fit the need of the hour...
  • ...reprove {GK=elencho, to convict}...-
    God's Word, being holy and true, convicts of sin and error in life and doctrine. (Eph 5:11,13; 1Tim 5:20; Titus 1:13. Note: In some of these verses, this word is translated as 'rebuke.')
  • ...rebuke {GK=epitimao, lit., to put honor upon, to soundly charge}...-
    God's Word, being authoritative, commands the required corrective action.
    (See how this word is used in Mark 1:25; 4:39; 8:33; 9:25.)
  • ...exhort {GK=parakaleo, to call to one's side, to comfort}...-
    God's Word comforts the repentant sinner, and directs the believer in a right walk with the Savior.
    (See this word's use in Acts 11:23; 14:22; 1The 2:11; 1The 5:14; 1Pet 5:1,12.)
  • ...with all longsuffering and doctrine...-
    'Doctrine' is simply sound teaching of the truth. Longsuffering {GK-makrothumia, forbearance, as in 2Tim 3:10} is required, to endure discouragement, when those who are being discipled stumble along the way... and also to endure opposition, because some will refuse to hear.
For the time will come when they will not endure {ie., bear with, tolerate} sound doctrine... having itching ears.
That time seems to be upon us, as apostasy has largely swept over christendom. Church people will not tolerate the simple teaching of God's Word, because (to their ears) it is 'too convicting' or 'too dull and boring.'
     They reject the man of God, whose preaching troubles their conscience. Instead, they obtain a steady supply of entertaining 'teachers' who will tickle their ears with novel concepts, that are compatible with their fleshly desires. Jer 5:31; 1Tim 4:1,2; 2Tim 3:5-7
     Rejecting the Word of Truth, they willingly follow 'fables' {myths, fictions), which are of no eternal benefit. 1Tim 1:4; 2Tim 2:16; Titus 1:14; 2Pet 1:16.
But watch thou in all things...endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry.
The meaning of 'watch' {GK=nepho, be sober} is to 'be free of intoxicating influences,' such as the fleshly appeal of popular religion. To be watchful, a soldier's mind must be clear. 1The 5:6,8
... endure afflictions {GK=sunkakoucheo, suffer together with}...
This is the same word as 'endure hardness' (in 2Tim 2:3) and 'suffer trouble' (in 2:9). The apostle urged Timothy to participate with him, in suffering for Christ's sake.
...do the work of an evangelist {ie., a messenger of good, a messenger of the Gospel}...
Timothy was gifted, not as an evangelist, but rather as a pastor / teacher (Eph 4:11). As a shepherd, he naturally cared for the state of God's flock (Php 2:20; 1Pet 5:1,2). He felt a bit out of place, when reaching out to the lost, who were outside of Christ's fold. Paul encourages him not to neglect the preaching of the Gospel to the lost. It is by the hearing of the Word, not by the skill of the preacher, that some will call upon the Lord for salvation (Rom 10:13-15).
...make full proof of thy ministry {ie., completely fulfill your service [to God]}- 1Tim 4:12-16
6 For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand.
7 I have fought a good fight, I have finished [my] course, I have kept the faith:
8 Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness,
which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day:
and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.
for...
Paul's urgent testimony to Timothy (v.1-5) was backed up by his example, and intensified by Paul's situation.
...I am now ready to be 'offered' {GK=spendo, 'poured out' as a drink offering}...
At Paul's first imprisonment in Rome, realizing that the executioner might be coming for him soon, he wrote similar words (Php 2:17). He had been spared on that occasion. But now, he knew the time was very near.
     In the OT Tabernacle, the drink offering consisted of wine, which was poured out upon the sacrificial lamb on the altar (Ex 29:38-42). As the drink offering was poured over the burning sacrifice, it rapidly turned to steam and drifted away as a vanishing vapor. The broken body of the sacrifice, representing Christ, remained. Paul's life, like the vanishing drink offering, was about to be poured out in a brief flash of honor to the Lamb of God. Paul was nothing. Christ is all in all. Php 1:20,21
...the time of my departure {GK=analusis, unloosing, dissolving} is at hand.
Paul was about to be loosed from his body and from this world. Php 1:22,23; 2Cor 5:1,8
...I have fought a {lit., the} good fight...
Paul was not congradulating himself on a job well done (as 'a good fight' might suggest). Rather, he had been a faithful participant in 'the' conflict for goodness... 'the' battle which is the Lord's. Through Christ's victory, Paul was on the winning side. 1Tim 6:12
...I have finished my course...
Paul had run the race that the Lord set before him. He was about to cross the finish line. Acts 20:24; 1Cor 9:26,27; Heb 12:1
...I have kept {GK=tereo, to hold, guard, keep} the faith.
He had faithfully observed and guarded the Gospel of Christ. He had not turned away, as some others had, to various counterfeit gospels that cannot save (Gal 1:8,9). By God's Word, the faith is kept (Joh 17:6; 1Tim 6:20; Rev 3:8,10).
Henceforth, there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness...
The Crown of Righteousness must be distinguished from the Gift of Righteousness.
  • The Gift of Righteousness pertains to Salvation.
    We have no acceptable righteousness of our own (Isa 64:6). There is no way that we can earn salvation, or make ourselves acceptable before the Holy God. But God has graciously provided a righteousness apart from works. When a person puts his trust in the person and work of Christ, God imputes His Righteousness, to the believer's account (Rom 3:21-26; 4:22-25). Therefore, Salvation is not of works, but by Grace through faith in Christ (Eph 2:8,9). The Righteousness, by which we are justified in God's sight, is a gift which can only be received from God, by faith in Christ (Rom 5:17).
         A person cannot even start on the way to heaven without that righteousness (for Christ is 'the way'). But once you have been saved, God has works for you to do along the way (Eph 2:8-10).
  • The Crown of Righteousness is a reward given at the end of the race.
    Rewards are awarded according to how well a believer has run the race (ie., how well he has served, or how hard he has worked for the Master). Several 'crowns' are mentioned in scripture (eg., Jam 1:12; 1Pet 5:4). The primary test, of any servant of God, is 'faithfulness' (1Cor 4:2).
         The crown of righteousness is awarded to those who stand faithfully for their Lord against an unrighteous world. In awarding this crown, the Lord, 'the righteous Judge,' vindicates the righteousness of His servant whom the world condemned as a criminal.
         This crown was not uniquely for Paul, but rather "for all them also who love His appearing." Which may especially apply to those who persevere under persecution, clinging confidently to the blessed Hope of Christ's return (Titus 2:11-14; 1Pet 1:5-9).
         For a detailed discussion of Rewards, see the separate study, Rightly Dividing the Word of Truth- Chapter 9 - Salvation and Rewards. (This study is also accessible through the Resource Menu.)
9. Do thy diligence to come shortly unto me:
10 For Demas hath forsaken me, having loved this present world,
and is departed unto Thessalonica;
Crescens to Galatia, Titus unto Dalmatia.
11 Only Luke is with me.
Take Mark, and bring him with thee:
for he is profitable to me for the ministry.
12 And Tychicus have I sent to Ephesus.
13 The cloke that I left at Troas with Carpus,
when thou comest, bring [with thee],
and the books, [but] especially the parchments.
Do thy dilegence to come shortly unto me...
Until the day of his release into the Presence of the Lord, Paul was faced with the unpleasant realities of confinement in the Mamertine prison. Paul was lonely, and longed to see his son in the faith. Most of those who had been with him had departed, for various reasons.
  • Demas hath forsaken me, having loved this present world...
    Demas had been a close associate of Paul in ministry (Col 4:14; Phm 1:24). Apparently, he could not endure the uncertainties of life in association with an enemy of the state. Demas desiring, for himself, something better than Paul's lot in life, had abandoned the apostle to his afflictions.
         We have no indication that Demas forsook the faith or fell into apostasy. Upon arriving in Thessalonica, he may have faithfully served in the church there. Yet, the words "having loved this present world" ought to make us examine ourselves in the light of of Luk 9:62 and 1Joh 2:15-17.
  • Crescens to Galatia -
  • Titus unto Dalmatia -
    Very likely, Paul had sent these two men on missions to these regions. About a year earlier, Titus had been serving on the island of Crete, when Paul wrote his letter to him (Titus 1:5).
  • Only Luke is with me.-
    Luke, the beloved physician, the author of the Gospel of Luke and the book of Acts, was doing whatever he could for Paul. Perhaps he was 'with' Paul as a fellow prisoner.
  • Tychicus have I sent to Ephesus -
    Paul had asked Timothy to serve in Ephesus (1Tim 1:3). Perhaps Paul intended that Tychicus would fill in for Timothy, to allow him to travel to Rome (as he may have filled in for Titus previously, Titus 3:12).
take Mark, and bring him... for he is profitable to me for the ministry.
John Mark had turned back from the work, early in Paul's first missionary journey (Acts 13:13). Therefore, Paul refused to take him on his second journey. Barnabas wanted to give Mark a second chance. Because they could not agree, Paul and Barnabas went separate ways, and Barnabas invested himself in discipling Mark (Acts 15:36-41). With the passing of years, Paul recognized that Mark had matured, and was profitable {ie., useful} for the Lord's service. Perhaps Paul was going to entrust Mark with the work that Demas had been doing.
The cloke {ie., cloak, coat}... bring with thee... and the books... especially the parchments.
It was cold in the dungeon. It would be colder with the arrival of winter (v.21). Paul had undoubtedly left his cloak in Troas, during the summer, with the intention of retrieving it when he passed by again before winter. But in the meantime, he had been arrested, and cast into prison, where he sat shivering.
     In prison, the one thing that he had in abundance, was time. Paul desired to redeem the time. During his first imprisonment in Rome, he had a ministry of teaching the Word and writing letters (Php 1:12,13). At that time, Paul had written Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians and Philemon (which are known as his 'prison epistles'). During this second imprisonment, he had already written his second letter to Timothy. Perhaps he would write more, if he could retrieve the writing materials, which he had left in storage with Carpus in Troas. As far as we know, his second letter to Timothy was his last. If Paul wrote other letters, the Holy Spirit chose not to preserve them.
14 Alexander the coppersmith did me much evil:
the Lord reward him according to his works:
15 Of whom be thou ware also; for he hath greatly withstood our words.
16. At my first answer no man stood with me, but all [men] forsook me:
[I pray God] that it may not be laid to their charge.
17 Notwithstanding the Lord stood with me, and strengthened me;
that by me the preaching might be fully known,
and [that] all the Gentiles might hear:
and I was delivered out of the mouth of the lion.
18 And the Lord shall deliver me from every evil work,
and will preserve [me] unto his heavenly kingdom:
to whom [be] glory for ever and ever. Amen.
Alexander the coppersmith...
The NT mentions four men named Alexander. Some were probably not believers (eg., v.14; Acts 4:6). Some may have professed faith (Mar 15:21; Acts 19:33). At least, one of these men had fallen into apostasy (1Tim 1:20).
     Alexander, the coppersmith, had caused damage to Paul's legal defense. In time, the Lord would set the record straight (cf. 2Sam 3:39; Jer 15:15; 2The 1:6).
at my first answer, no man stood with me... all... forsook me...
Where was Luke? Probably in the dungeon, awaiting his own trial.
Others, fearful for their own heads, had been unwilling to testify in Paul's behalf. Paul, knowing the fearful situation, did not hold this against them, and prayed that the Lord would forgive them. (compare Mar 14:50; Luk 23:34; Acts 7:59,60)
...the Lord stood with me... strengthened me...
The Lord enabled Paul to proclaim the Gospel to the gentile officials who were judging his case, "that by me the preaching might be fully known, and... all the gentiles might hear." This was the Lord's purpose for Paul, from the time of his conversion (Acts 9:15; 26:17,18; 23:11; 27:23,24). The Lord has also promised to stand with us, in similar circumstances (Mat 10:19,20; Luk 21:15).
...delivered... shall deliver me... will preserve me...
The Lord will fulfill his purpose in the life of each of His faithful servants. As He delivered Daniel from the lions' den, He spared Paul's life, to enable him to witness on another day. Paul knew, that when the work of God's servant is done, the Lord will welcome him home (Psa 73:24; 1The 5:23,24; 2Tim 1:12).
...the Lord... to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.
The Westminster Catechism identifies this as 'the chief end of man.' It is the sole purpose of God's faithful servant. It was Paul's continual prayer (eg., Rom 11:36; 1Tim 1:17; 6:16; Heb 13:20,21).
19 Salute Prisca and Aquila, and the household of Onesiphorus.
20 Erastus abode at Corinth:
but Trophimus have I left at Miletum sick.
21 Do thy diligence to come before winter.
Eubulus greeteth thee, and Pudens, and Linus, and Claudia,
and all the brethren.
Paul closes his letters with greetings to friends who were living in Ephesus, where Timothy was ministering.
  • Priscella and Acquila had a long history of work and ministry with Paul (Acts 18:2,18,26; Rom 16:3,4; 1Cor 16:19).
  • Onesiphorous is mentioned only here and in 2Tim 1:16-18.
  • Erastus was a close associate of Paul and Timothy (Acts 19:22, Rom 16:23).
  • Trophimus had traveled with Paul and Timothy (Acts 20:4; 21:29).
    Early in Paul's ministry, the Lord had healed the sicknesses of many people, through contact with Paul (Acts 19:11,12). But from Trophimus' illness, and also from the experience of Paul himself (2Cor 12:7-9), we understand that Paul did not possess the power to heal, and that physical healing is not always God's will. Eternal wellbeing is of far greater importance.
Do thy diligence to come before winter...
Not only was Paul in need of his cloak, but he was also concerned for Timothy's safety, since sea travel would be more dangerous in the winter.
Eubulus greeteth thee, and Pudens... Linus... Claudia... and all the brethren.
The church in Rome sent greetings to Timothy and the church in Ephesus. None of these individuals are mentioned elsewhere in scripture. According to the tradition of the Roman Catholic Church, Peter was the first pope and Linus was the second in succession. However, these claims cannot be supported from scripture. There is no need for an earthly 'vicar of Christ' (one who acts as His representative, in His absence). Because, He is not absent (Mat 28:18-20).
22 The Lord Jesus Christ [be] with thy spirit.
Grace [be] with you. Amen.
True believers are dependent upon the Grace which flows from vital union with our Lord. Apart from Him, we can do nothing (Joh 15:1-5). Therefore, at the beginning and end of each of his epistles, Paul reminds us of Him who meets us in our need for Grace.

This concludes the study in 2Timothy.
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