2 Timothy 4.14-22 – Last Words

Written whilst in prison awaiting death, the letter we know as Timothy is generally held to be the last that Paul wrote. Here, he signs off in typical fashion.

14 Alexander the coppersmith did me great harm; the Lord will repay him according to his deeds. 15 Beware of him yourself, for he strongly opposed our message. 16 At my first defense no one came to stand by me, but all deserted me. May it not be charged against them! 17 But the Lord stood by me and strengthened me, so that through me the message might be fully proclaimed and all the Gentiles might hear it. So I was rescued from the lion’s mouth. 18 The Lord will rescue me from every evil deed and bring me safely into his heavenly kingdom. To him be the glory forever and ever. Amen.19 Greet Prisca and Aquila, and the household of Onesiphorus. 20 Erastus remained at Corinth, and I left Trophimus, who was ill, at Miletus. 21 Do your best to come before winter. Eubulus sends greetings to you, as do Pudens and Linus and Claudia and all the brothers.

22 The Lord be with your spirit. Grace be with you.

Paul warns his younger protege about particularly dangerous people who may cross his path (v.14), displays staggering spiritual maturity (v.16), and shows that as he neared the end of his life he knew from where his help came (vv.17-18, cf. Psalm 121). Even with death so close, even with his surroundings so dire, Paul still has a heart for people and desperately wants to see his friend one more time (vv.20-21). 

On the last words that Paul wrote, David Guzik comments,

The last words of Paul reflect a man who simply loved Jesus and had received His grace.

This simplicity, and all the power that went with it, marked the entire ministry of Paul.

Is that something that could be said of us?

Are we people who simply love Jesus and have received His grace?

Does this mark our lives? 

Paul was held here, in the Mamertine Prison, amid bleak and dreary surroundings.

Mamertine+Prison+ancient+cell+of+Paul’s+imprisonment

Despite this, he still had a heart for others and a steadfast and sure anchor to hold on to, the eternal hope found in Jesus. The last words he wrote to Timothy, possibly ever, show us the heart of the man, and the heart to which we must strive today.

22 The Lord be with your spirit. Grace be with you.

2 Timothy 4.9-13 – A Man and His Books

Towards the end of 2 Timothy we see just how human Paul was, despite him being used so powerfully and mightily by the Lord.

Do your best to come to me soon. 10 For Demas, in love with this present world, has deserted me and gone to Thessalonica. Crescens has gone to Galatia, Titus to Dalmatia. 11 Luke alone is with me. Get Mark and bring him with you, for he is very useful to me for ministry. 12 Tychicus I have sent to Ephesus. 13 When you come, bring the cloak that I left with Carpus at Troas, also the books, and above all the parchments.

Paul is nearing the end of his earthly life (vv.6-8), and he has been either deserted or left behind by many of his traveling companions. He writes that Luke alone is with me. The great Apostle then makes some very human requests – bring me some friends, bring me my cloak, and bring me my books (v.13).

Even though this man did more than most for the advancement of the Gospel, he remained just that, a man. He was evidently lonely, he was evidently cold, and was evidently wanting to read Scripture in his darkest hour. Above all the parchments most likely means portions of what we would call the Old Testament. 

John Calvin said this about Paul’s life-long desire to read Scripture,

“…this passage refute the madness of the fanatics who despise books and condemn all reading and boast only of . . . their private inspirations by God. But we should note that this passage commends continual reading to all godly men as a thing from which they can profit.”

So here is Paul, just a man and his books, earthly life ending, eternity on the horizon. No matter his present circumstances he still had the desire to read Scripture, and what a wonderful lesson that is for us. No matter what is going on around us, we must still have the desire to commune with the Lord through reading His Word to us, seeing His faithfulness committed to paper, and watching His people learn just how much they need Him.

 

2 Timothy 4.6-8 – The Stephanos Crown

Do you ever wonder what you will be given upon arrival to heaven?

For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure has come. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Henceforth there is laid up 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 loved his appearing.

Here Paul tells Timothy he is being poured out as a drink offering (Genesis 35.14), and that as drinks flow from a cup until empty, Paul knows that his time of…departure has come. Throughout his writings Paul often refers to life here as a struggle, a conflict, a battle or a race, and the marker of a life well lived, so we read, is that we have kept the faith

This is where we read of our heavenly welcome-gift, Paul writes that there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award me on that day, and not only to me but also to all who have loved his appearing

If we are loving His appearing, we are keeping the faith, and we are promised the crown of righteousness. This is not a crown given to royalty, rather a crown given to the winner of a contest, like this;

Image result for stephanos victory crown


Upon passing from death to life, from time to eternity, those who have fought the good fight, those who have finished the race, those who have kept the faith will be given the crown of victory from the Lord.


This was huge motivation for Timothy to fulfill his ministry (v.5), and should help each of us to keep going towards the upward call of God in Christ, all of us to fight the good fight, to finish our race, and to keep the faith.

2 Timothy 4.1-5 – Preach, Teach, Reach

Today Paul charges Timothy with his ministerial duties in as clear a way as he can, and it still rings true today for those called to preach and teach God’s Word.

I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom: preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching. For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths. As for you, always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.

The charge is given its proper authority and backing (v.1), and then Timothy is told to preach, to teach, and to reach.

The preaching is to be something Timothy is always ready to do and is to come with reproving, rebuking, and exhorting. This need to be something that the preacher and teacher of God’s Word works hard at, because as we read, people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths.

How true is that? Generally people don’t want to be reproved, rebuked, and exhorted, they want to have their ears tickled with some feel-good speech. 

Timothy is to preach (v.2), and to teach (v.3) that which is sound, and Paul has laboured over telling him – and us – what we ought to be preaching and teaching (3.10-17, 2.1-13).

The call to reach comes in v.5, and Paul writes that the minister is to do the work of an evangelist and to fulfill your ministry. Paul knew that none of the preaching or teaching can happen without people, and we too know that without people we cannot share the Good News of Jesus.

I would encourage you today to look at who God has put in your life right now with fresh eyes, look around and see to who you can preach, to who you can teach, and who can reach with the truth.

2 Timothy 3.12-15 – Never Look Past The Word

After discussing his circumstances and example, Paul makes another strong contrast for Timothy.

12 Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted, 13 while evil people and impostors will go on from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived. 14 But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it 15 and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.

Contrary to prosperity teaching or word of faith teaching, Paul here writes that all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted. This may look different in all of our lives, but the objective truth remains, that those who make a stand for Jesus, His will, His words, and His ways will find push-back and persecution from the world at large. Paul writes that there are, basically, two kinds of places this will come from, evil people and impostors. This is those who are flat-out against Jesus, and those who think they are for Him, but there is no evidence of this. One group deceives, the other is being deceived

The contrast comes when Timothy, and we, are told but as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed…Interesting that learning comes first, we really do need to know what we are believing, so that when push-back and persecution come, we know on what we are relying, we know on what we are believing, and we know in Whom we are trusting.

Timothy has been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. This is what we would refer to as the Old Testament, and Paul says that it is able to make us wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.

Friends, we must never look past the Word of God to make us wise for salvation. It all points us in the direction of Jesus, it all whispers His name, it all urges and encourages us to put hope, faith, and trust in Him for salvation

Maybe you have started the new year with a reading plan arranged in this way or that way, but the best reading plan you can start is one where you read the Word every day. So, let us continue in what we have learned and firmly believed, let us turn to the sacred writings, and let us look to Christ alone for salvation, as the Word of God urges us to do.