Translations: Chinese GB Big5

2Timothy 4 (web)

Preach the Word

4:1 I charge you therefore before God and the Lord Jesus Christ,
who will judge the living and the dead at His appearing and His kingdom:
 
4:2 preach the word; be urgent in season and out of season;
reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with all patience and teaching.
4:3 For the time will come when they will not listen to the sound doctrine,
but, having itching ears, will heap up for themselves teachers after their own lusts;
4:4 and will turn away their ears from the truth, and turn aside to fables.
4:5 But you

Paul's Hope in Death

4:6 For I am already being offered, and the time of my departure has come. 4:8 From now on, there is stored up for me the crown of righteousness,
which the Lord, the righteous judge, will give to me on that day;
and not to me only, but also to all those who have loved his appearing.

Paul's Situation in Prison

4:9 Be diligent to come to me soon,
4:10 for Demas left me, having loved this present world, and went to Thessalonica;
Crescens to Galatia, and Titus to Dalmatia.
4:11 Only Luke is with me. Take Mark, and bring him with you,
for he is useful to me for ministering.

4:12 But I sent Tychicus to Ephesus.
4:13 Bring the cloak that I left at Troas with Carpus when you come,
and the books, especially the parchments.

4:14 Alexander, the coppersmith, did much evil to me.
The Lord will repay him according to his works,
4:15 of whom you also must beware; for he greatly opposed our words.
 

4:16 At my first defense, no one came to help me, but all left me.
May it not be held against them.
4:17 But the Lord stood by me, and strengthened me,
that through me the message might be fully proclaimed,
and that all the Gentiles might hear;
and I was delivered out of the mouth of the lion.

4:18 And the Lord will deliver me from every evil work, and will preserve me for his heavenly kingdom; to whom be the glory forever and ever. Amen.

Paul's Closing Greetings

4:19 Greet Prisca and Aquila, and the house of Onesiphorus.
4:20 Erastus remained at Corinth, but I left Trophimus at Miletus sick.
4:21 Be diligent to come before winter. Eubulus salutes you,
as do Pudens, Linus, Claudia, and all the brothers.
4:22 The Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit. Grace be with you. Amen.


Discussion Questions

vs 1,2 What perspective motivates you to preach the Word?
Do you feel you have the responsibility to preach the Word?
What hinders you from preaching the Word?
When is the Word "out of season"?
Notice the parallel between 2Tim 4:2 with 2Tim 3:16
2Tim 3:16 2Tim 4:2
Teach Preach the Word
Rebuke Correct
Correct Rebuke
Train Encourage
vs 3,4 What kinds of things do people want to hear?
Are there examples of such teachings today?
Are there TV programs that promote such myths and false philosophies?
vs 5 "keep your head" = be watchful and aware
What is your ministry?
How might you efficiently discharge the duties of your ministry?
vs 7 What was Paul fighting? What was his race? (1Cor 9:24; Heb 12:1; 2Cor 10:3,5)
vs 8 If the crown of righteousness is reward for service rendered, then isn't this salvation by works? (1Cor 9:25 Contrary to Roman 4:4) Or is the crown of righteousness an extra thing added to salvation? (1Cor 3:11-15).
vs 9,10 What kinds of things draw Christians away from service? (Matt 13:19-22)
vs 11 Notice the change in Mark and Paul's change of attitude towards him:
"And Barnabas determined to take with them John, whose surname was Mark. But Paul thought not good to take him with them, who departed from them from Pamphylia, and went not with them to the work." Acts 15:37,38
vs 14 Alexander - probably an idolmaker. This group was especially hostile to Paul as his message affected their bottom line (Acts 19:23-27)
vs 19 Onesiphorus (xref 2Tim 1:16)

Comment

Preach the Word

2Tim 4:1,2 In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead, and in view of his appearing and his kingdom, I give you this charge: Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage— with great patience and careful instruction.

This command apparently Paul reckoned so serious above others he's given that he was provoked to introduce it as he did, invoking God's presence and the judgement to come along with the kingdom, so as to put the fear of God in Timothy with regards to this command.

And that's the thing. Christians don't tend take the preaching of the Word seriously enough. The reason is probably the same reason Paul saw it necessary to put the fear of God in Timothy with regards to this command, namely due to the fear of persecution. "Fear of man will prove to be a snare, but whoever trusts in the LORD is kept safe." Pr 29:25

"In Season and Out of Season"
There are those even in the Christian community who treat the preaching of the Word to be limited to particular seasons, like Christmas and Easter, or limited to certain environments, like an institutional church environment, or event there only in the pulpit. Or they reckon only certain topics or passages should be allowed, and others overlooked because they make people feel uncomfortable. The Word is always in season, and there should be no restriction on its content being preached.

Patiently Instruct
Much as the focus of this command is to those given the duty to preach, what is implied is that there is to be an audience willing to learn, as thus respect the preacher as an instructor. Yet it may take great patience to win such a hearing and develop such a reputation as worthy of an instructor. And it takes great patience to study the word, and to learn how to be an effective teacher. And it takes great patience and longsuffering in dealing the immature Christians and non-Christians to bring them to a place of conviction and maturity in their faith and understanding, going on to apply the Word to their lifestyle.


Itching Ears

2Tim 4:3,4 For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths.

Notice that previously Paul had focused on false teachers. But false teaches largely have an audience because there are people who want listen to them because they offer an alternative view that seems pleasant to them. So here the audience is at fault. Those who look back on history for wolves among the sheep often neglect to realize that the wolves are not simply the false teachers. They are also those who follow them. For those who follow false teachers are also influencing others to follow.

As for the time coming, it has been a common phenomenon throughout history to this day. If alleged "Christians" don't like what the Bible says all they need do is find a church that either neglects to let the Bible speak to those issues, or one which reads into the Bible interpretations that are palatable, watering down or twisting its meaning.
 Jehoshaphat asked, "Is there not a prophet of the LORD here whom we can inquire of?" The king of Israel answered Jehoshaphat, "There is still one man through whom we can inquire of the LORD, but I hate him because he never prophesies anything good about me, but always bad." 2Chr 18:6,7
Consider yourself. Are there interpretations of passages in the Bible that you have opted for simply because they suit your desire, or did you come to your conclusions based on an inductive study of the Word free from preconceived notions?


Passing on the Torch

2Tim 4:5,6 But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry. For I am already being poured out like a drink offering, and the time has come for my departure.

Jesus was sent on a mission. Paul was send on a mission. Timothy was sent on a mission. And you also are sent on a mission. Set gear up. There is work to be done. Here Paul passes the torch to the next generation whom he has prepared to continue the mission. And each generation must prepared the next. "The things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable men who will also be qualified to teach others." 2Tim 2:2

"keep your head in all situations" (NIV) is to say "sober" - to be calm and collected in spirit. This in contrast to the reaction of many of Paul's former companions with regards to his circumstances, who even abandoned him. And if you're involved in the Lord's work there will be hardship, but don't worry about it. Even those working in secular jobs knows that hardship and unanticipated things just happen from time to time. Work is hard. Don't think working for the Lord is any easier than it is work in a secular job. (I should know because I do both.)

Develop a sense of duty with regards to your mission in life for the Lord. Don't serve the Lord simply because you feel like doing it. That won't get you through the tough times. Do it because it is the right thing to do, given what Christ has done for us.


Finish Well

2Tim 4:7,8 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day— and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.

Likewise Jesus said, "I have glorified You on the earth. I have finished the work which You have given Me to do. And now, O Father, glorify Me together with Yourself, with the glory which I had with You before the world was. John 17:4,5 By the end of your life are you prepared to pray, "I have finished the work which You have given Me to do."

Paul anticipates receiving a crown of righteousness, as should all who have loved Christ's appearing and acted on it. Jas 1:12 "Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him." And Jesus says, "Be faithful, even to the point of death, and I will give you the crown of life." Rev 2:10b And in anticipation of that event he says, "I am coming soon. Hold on to what you have, so that no one will take your crown." Rev  3:11

Thus your love for Christ will be reflected in your endurance of faith and by walking in that faith to the death.


Deserted

2Tim 4:9,10  Do your best to come to me quickly, for Demas, because he loved this world, has deserted me and has gone to Thessalonica. Crescens has gone to Galatia, and Titus to Dalmatia.

Demas was mentioned in a couple of other of Paul's epistles as a fellow worker, such as Phm 1:24 "Mark, Aristarchus, Demas and Luke, my fellow workers." Crescens is only mentioned here, but was likely an associate of Paul as Demas had been. And Titus, of course, we're all familiar with as he had a whole epistle devoted to him.

These three, along with others, deserted Paul with regards to this particular incident. Not to say that they abandoned the faith, but rather with regards to this event they fled. Much as some who say Paul was just referring to Demas here, yet if one simply puts aside perceived notions and reads the text, one is led to assume he's referring to all three leaving him for illegitimate reasons. John writes, "Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him." 1John 2:15 This is not to say that Demas does not categorically have the Fathers love in him. For John used the present tense, which in Greek alludes to one's lifestyle and not to particular events in time. While Paul used the Aorist tense both for "deserted" and "loved" limiting his comment to that particular event. (People who confuse the aorist and present tense when interpreting the Bible often end up misconstruing its meaning)


A Surprising Mark

2Tim 4:11,12 Only Luke is with me. Get Mark and bring him with you, because he is helpful to me in my ministry.  I sent Tychicus to Ephesus.

That is of his original ministry team only Luke was left. But he had others, such as those mentioned in verse 21. Luke was a faithful companion, and being a physician one would imagine Luke having a particular sense of empathy considering Paul's current state.

Mark is a very interesting case. It was Mark, the cousin of Barnabus, that Paul and Barnabus brought along on their first missionary journey. But when they started to preach the gospel to the Gentiles, Mark abandoned them. This was likely due to Mark, who originally was involved with the Jerusalem church, being prejudice of Gentiles, an attitude common among those from the Church of Jerusalem, including among the apostles there. In Acts 15 we learn of Paul having to put down a cult growing in the church at Jerusalem which the apostles had neglected to deal with but which had started to spread their heresy to the Gentile churches. So, considering Paul's tone in writing the epistle to the Galatians you can imagine Paul's attitude when Barnabus shortly thereafter suggested they take Mark along for their next missionary journey. He was outraged. This caused a split between him and Barnabus who then took Mark to train him himself.

But here we see Paul didn't hold a grudge. For apparently Mark had become useful to Paul in his ministry to the Gentiles, as he had also mentioned him in Philemon as a fellowworker. And I take it likewise that as the years past the apostles got over their prejudice of Gentiles.

Tychicus is mentioned a number of times. Paul used him as a messenger. Note the rhetoric here "I sent" compared to the rhetoric in verse 10 of others who departed from him. Unlike the others Tychicus hadn't abandoned him, but was sent on a mission. He's sending him to Ephesus, and in fact he's mentioned in Ephesians 6:21 "But that you also may know my affairs and how I am doing, Tychicus, a beloved brother and faithful minister in the Lord, will make all things known to you"


Pay Back

2Tim 4:13-15 When you come, bring the cloak that I left with Carpus at Troas, and my scrolls, especially the parchments. Alexander the metalworker did me a great deal of harm. The Lord will repay him for what he has done. You too should be on your guard against him, because he strongly opposed our message.

Verse 13 seems good for not much more than as a Bible trivia question. There's even uncertainty as to what exactly he referred to here. Some even view the term for "cloak" actually referring to a book. The scrolls and parchments were either Old Testament scripture, or versions of his own writings, or just materials to write on. But what we might gather is that despite the circumstances and his possible impending death, he continued to study the Bible and write letters. Jesus said, "If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed." John 8:31 If the genuineness of your faith is reflected by you zeal to study and apply the Bible, how would you measure up?

Though the name "Alexander" is used a few times in the New Testament, it is unclear whether any of them is this "Alexander". Perhaps for this reason Paul specified this was the Alexander who was the metal worker, though while it doesn't help us to distinguish whether he is one of the "Alexanders" of the NT, Timothy would understand the reference. One possibility is that, being a metal worker, he may have been an idol maker much as the circumstance which we read of a situation in Ephesus where a riot broke out, having its inception in this: "A silversmith named Demetrius, who made silver shrines of Artemis, brought in no little business for the craftsmen. He called them together, along with the workmen in related trades, and said: "Men, you know we receive a good income from this business." Acts 19:24,25 And so they incensed the crowds to a riot.

Another possibility is Alexander was an apostate, having left the faith much as those mentioned in 1John 2:19 For the greatest deal of harm is in the realm of ideas and the fact is that there is no comparison between the basis of other religions at the time such as polytheism with its idolatry and Christianity being validated by the in the historic fact of Jesus miracles and his resurrection from the dead. And Paul had previously mentioned of the danger of apostates in this letter. "Their teaching will spread like gangrene." 2Tim 2:17 Be wary of apostates.


Forgiveness

2Tim 4:16 At my first defense, no one came to my support, but everyone deserted me. May it not be held against them.

Just as Christ experienced being deserted at some crucial point, so also such is not an uncommon experience among those who follow in his steps.

Here "deserted" is in the aorist tense in Greek, referring not to a characteristic lifestyle but rather to a particular event. I made this point previously in commenting on Demas deserting him in verse 10. From time to time, particularly under duress, even those born of God will fail at some point, even though such failure be uncharacteristic of their lifestyle. When those born of God fail you, don't be too bothered by it, for they will find they can't stay there. Their conscience convicts them and they will be restored.

Very significantly here is that Paul essentially forgave these Christians for deserting him, prior to their even repenting! This somewhat reminds of what Jesus said on the cross, "Forgive them for they know not what they do." Luke 23:34 How might you apply this principle in your own life?


The Lord Stands at Our Side

2Tim 4:17,18  But the Lord stood at my side and gave me strength, so that through me the message might be fully proclaimed and all the Gentiles might hear it. And I was delivered from the lion’s mouth. The Lord will rescue me from every evil attack and will bring me safely to his heavenly kingdom. To him be glory for ever and ever. Amen.

Reminds one of Acts 7:55 in which after testifying before the Jews, Stephen saw the Lord standing in heaven.

If you were to go through an experience as a consequence of walking with Christ of being deserted by other Christians, I want to encourage you. For not only is it a privilege to fellowship in Christ's sufferings, but also this kind of thing strengthens one's resolve, increasing one's fortitude with regards to their convictions, and with regards to one's confidence in the Lord to bring us safely through the trials of life. Recall Jesus' own experience during his time of trial. "Then an angel appeared to Him from heaven, strengthening Him." Luke 22:43 

Used to be when building one of those old sailing ships, they would find a tree on top of a hill and cut al the trees around it such that it would be subject to the stress of the winds alone, which would strengthened its fibers. Some time later, after it's matured, they would cut it down and use it as the main mast of the sailing ship to have the fortitude against the storms of life.


Final Greetings

2Tim 4:19-22 Greet Priscilla and Aquila and the household of Onesiphorus. Erastus stayed in Corinth, and I left Trophimus sick in Miletus. Do your best to get here before winter. Eubulus greets you, and so do Pudens, Linus, Claudia and all the brothers. The Lord be with your spirit. Grace be with you.

Priscilla and Aquila are mentioned seven times. Four times in Acts and three times in the epistles. They, like Paul, traveled a bit doing ministry. But one epistle its mentioned they had house in which the church would meet. Paul mentioned Onesiphorus earlier in this letter, saying, "May the Lord show mercy to the household of Onesiphorus, because he often refreshed me and was not ashamed of my chains. On the contrary, when he was in Rome, he searched hard for me until he found me. May the Lord grant that he will find mercy from the Lord on that day! You know very well in how many ways he helped me in Ephesus" 2Tim 1:16-18

Erastus was also mentioned a few times in the New Testament as a fellow worker. And Trophimus as well. He apparently accompanied Paul to Jerusalem just before the riot in which Paul was arrested. In fact the unbelieving Jews used Trophimus in Acts 21:29 as an excuse to try and kill Paul.

"The Lord be with your spirit" is actually a prayer, though not a phrase commonly used today. It does remind us of another prayer. "May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ" 1Th 5:23 I would conjecture that the one's spirit is seat of the conscience and intuition. It is that which is behind one's attitude.


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Edition: Wednesday, 29-Jul-2015 17:23:10 EDT