You are on page 1of 23

A Study of 2 Timothy

By John Hopkins
©Copyright 2007-2010, All Rights Reserved

Introduction

One may well ask the question: ‘Why 2 Timothy first, without, 1Timothy?’ I
believe that the answer lies in the purposes of the letters. 1 Timothy and
Titus were addressed to Timothy and Titus as overseers in dealing with the
churches in Ephesus and perhaps the surrounding area and Crete
respectively. On the other hand 2 Timothy is addressed to Timothy as son in
the faith and as a man of God. Most of us are not charged with leading
churches as pastors. All of us are charged, by Christ, with leading lives
devoted to, and useful to, Him. 2 Timothy applies more thoroughly to us than
does 1Timothy.

Luke records only one Roman imprisonment for Paul (Acts 28:23ff). Tradition
says that Paul was eventually released from prison even traveled as far as
Spain. Titus 1:5, 1Timothy 1:3, Titus 3:12, and 2 Timothy 4:13 and 20 all
show travel after that. 1Timothy and Titus seem to have been written during
those journeys at about 64 or 65.

2 Timothy seems to have been written during a second, and final,


imprisonment. Paul knew that he hoped to see Timothy again, but that he
may well not. With Paul executed and his own troubles coming, Paul knew
that Timothy had to have these final encouragement and instructions.
Hebrews 13:23 refers to a Timothy being released from his own
imprisonment. Paul could no longer be there for him, but his words could. We
will have troubles. By the grace of God his encouragement is here for us as
well.

Please take special note of the discussion questions which will be in bold
print. Considering them in advance will allow for the best discussion.

The Text

2 Timothy 1:1-5
Paul, An apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, according to the promise of life in
Christ Jesus, to Timothy, my beloved son: grace, mercy and peace from God the Father
and Christ Jesus our Lord. (2 Tim. 1:1-2 NASB)

Paul does not meet the qualifications for apostleship that Peter lays out in
Acts 1:22.

How can Paul claim to be an apostle? See Acts 9:1-9, 22:2-21 (especially
21).

The word “apostle” has a wider meaning as well. It means one who is sent. It
is applied to Jesus as the apostle of the Father in Hebrews 3:1 and 2. The
writer exalts Jesus as having been “faithful to Him who appointed Him.” Paul
was faithful to Him who appointed him as well, and as a result of both the
commission and the faithfulness carried the authority of Him who sent him.

How is Timothy Paul’s son? See Philippians 2:22

Grace and peace are standard in the salutations of Paul’s letters. He adds
“mercy” only in 1 and 2 Timothy. I believe that we see some of that special
relationship here. I can imagine Paul foreseeing 2 Timothy when he wrote
1Timothy. He knew his time was limited.

Grace, mercy and peace are “from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.”

How did Paul participate in their coming to Timothy?

How can we participate in this way?

“I thank God whom I serve with a clear conscience, the way my forefathers did, as I
constantly remember you in my prayers night and day, longing to see you, longing to see
you, even as I recall your tears, so that I may be filled with joy.” (2 Timothy 1:3-4
NASB)

In what way does Paul serve with a clear conscience?

How can we? Consider 1Timothy 4:2 and Acts 24:16.

“For I am mindful of the sincere faith within you, which first dwelt within your
grandmother Lois, and your mother Eunice, and I am sure that it is in you as well.” (2
Timothy 1:5 NASB)

What is the most powerful thing we can do as parents to pass along


our faith to our children?

2
“…and I am sure that is in you as well.”

How is Paul “sure”?

From here on, in order to cover the material in the time available, we will
center in on certain verses rather than verse by verse. The Holy Spirit
inspired Paul to write all of the text. In order to be true to Paul and to God
please read the entire passage and consider the verses we will center on in
context.

3
2 Timothy 1:6-18
Be Not Ashamed

“And for this reason I remind you to kindle afresh the gift of God which is in you through
the laying on of my hands. For God has not given us a spirit of timidity, but of power and
love and discipline.” (2 Timothy 1:6-7 NASB)

“…for this reason…” The reason is the sincerity of Timothy’s faith.

“…kindle afresh…” NASB, “…fan into flame…” NIV, the gift of God. Paul was
not telling him to start a fire from scratch, but to stoke one already burning.

“We are not simply possessed by God’s spirit we are indwelt. As Christians
we must actively host God’s presence in us.”1

Timothy had not necessarily neglected his gift. Having to work hard to keep
a gift sharp and useful is the way God designed his relationship with us.

Ephesus was a hotbed of sexual excess. That hotbed was financially very
important to powerful people. Timothy pounded against a very solid wall. It is
not difficult to see how it would be hard to go on. It is because that task was,
and is, difficult that Timothy and his fellow workers (like us) have not been
given a spirit of timidity, but of power, and love and self discipline (V.7)

Power is not the power of the preacher. See 1 Corinthians 2:4. In Romans
1:16 tells us that power and the Gospel are one in the same. Power is not to
make Timothy powerful, but to make him effective; not for his own purpose,
but for God’s. Acts 1:8 makes clear why God gives his servants power.

Power without love is brutality.

How does love relate to power?

What would be Timothy’s challenges to self discipline where the


Lord had placed him?

“8 Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord or of me His prisoner, but
join with me in suffering for the gospel according to the power of God, 9 who has saved
us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own
purpose and grace which was granted us in Christ Jesus from all eternity, 10 but now has
been revealed by the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus, who abolished death and
brought life and immortality to light through the gospel, 11 for which I was appointed a
preacher and an apostle and a teacher. 12 For this reason I also suffer these things, but I
am not ashamed ; for I know whom I have believed and I am convinced that He is able to
guard what I have entrusted to Him until that day. 13 Retain the standard of sound words

4
which you have heard from me, in the faith and love which are in Christ Jesus. 14 Guard,
through the Holy Spirit who dwells in us, the treasure which has been entrusted to you.
15 You are aware of the fact that all who are in Asia turned away from me, among who
are Phygelus and Hermogenes. 16 The Lord grant mercy to the house of Onesiphorus, for
he often refreshed me and was not ashamed of my chains ; 17 but when he was in Rome,
he eagerly searched for me and found me- 18 the Lord grant to him to find mercy from
the Lord on that day -and you know very well what services he rendered at Ephesus.” 2
Timothy 1:12-18 (NASB)

Verse 8 begins with “Therefore…”. This leads us back to the previous verses.

“Therefore do not be ashamed…” 1:8


“…I am not ashamed…” 1:12
“…Onisiphorus…was not ashamed…” 1:16

What is the relationship between opposition and shame?

“Do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, or of me His prisoner, …”


V. 8a

How is it that Paul is the Lord’s prisoner and not that of Rome?

“…but join with me in suffering for the gospel according to the power of
God.” V. 8b

Hebrews 13:23 tells us of the end of an imprisonment that Timothy himself


would suffer. Timothy would share in that suffering and would share in the
power.

In verse 12 Paul says “For this reason, I also suffer these things, but I am not
ashamed …”

We are unlikely to suffer persecution (yet) in America for our faith.


Do we have a problem with shame?

Why?

How did Paul maintain his ability to go on? See verse 12

For the most part word order is not very important in the Greek text. The
function of a word in a sentence is shown by its form. For instance if
β ι β λ ο ς or book is the subject of the sentence it will be written as
β ι β λ ο ς. If it is the direct object of the verb it will be written β ι β λ ε .
One way that word order is important is to show the relative importance of
words in the sentence.

5
In 1:13 Paul begins the sentence in Greek with ‘υ π ο τ υ π ω σ ι ν which
is translated “standard” in NASB or “pattern” in NIV. That gives it a
prominence that we miss in English translation. Note also that this thought
immediately follows Paul’s faith that the Lord will guard what Paul has
entrusted to Him.

Timothy has been given a “standard”, literally a sketch, or plan by Paul.2 He


has Paul’s teaching that he has heard, and he has Paul’s earlier writings.

Paul instructed Timothy to “Retain the standard of sound words which you
have heard from me, in the faith and love which are in Christ Jesus. Guard,
through the Holy Spirit who dwells in us, the treasure which has been
entrusted to you.” 1:13-14 NASB.

In his last communication to his “beloved son” who is pressed in a society


which may well kill him, and following his own expression of hope he stresses
knowing the word. That should tell us something of the importance of serious
Bible study.

How should we “guard” the “treasure” entrusted to us?

We who are faced with opposition in an increasingly hostile world, and in


which we are told repeatedly not to be ashamed need to understand the
word of God. In 2:15 we are told to be “a workman who does not need to be
ashamed …”.

That is the importance of what we are doing here.

6
2 Timothy 2:1-13
Be…

In chapter 1 Paul told Timothy to “Be not ashamed…”. In chapter 2 Paul will
instruct Timothy to be…
• Strong 2:1
• A Soldier 2:3
• An Athlete 2:5
• A Farmer 2:6
• A Workman 2:15

“1 You therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. 2 The things
which you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses, entrust these to
faithful men who will be able to teach others also. 3 Suffer hardship with me, as a good
soldier of Christ Jesus. 4 No soldier in active service entangles himself in the affairs of
everyday life, so that he may please the one who enlisted him as a soldier.” 2 Timothy
2:1-4 (NASB)

Paul links strength in grace with the developing of faithful men able to teach
others as well. The source of strength is the same as the source of what was
to be entrusted to others – God. That strength comes several ways, not the
least of which is through the word.

Be… a soldier. I find it interesting that Paul would use the soldier as an
example of faithfulness, dedication and strength.

What is it in being a soldier that would cause Paul to use this


example?

“No soldier in active service entangles himself in the affairs of everyday


life…” 2 Timothy 2:4 NASB or “…gets involved with civilian affairs…” NIV

Jesus was thoroughly engaged with people around Him. He walked where the
people walked. He cared for them. He provided for them. He healed them.

What does it mean to get “entangled” and how does that differ
from caring?

Who is the Christian Soldier’s Commanding Officer?

Who enlisted him?

In verse 5 Paul shifts his illustration to the athlete. He writes:

7
“Similarly, if anyone competes as an athlete, he does not receive the victor's crown unless
he competes according to the rules.” 2 Timothy 2:5 NIV

The victor’s crown here is the Greek σ τ ε φ α ν ο ς (stephanos)

I can imagine a tear coming to Paul’s eyes as he writes it. He has long been
forgiven for the death of Stephen, but he never forgot.

When New Testament writers refer to crowns that we may win it is always
this crown. See 1 Cor. 9:25 for a temporary one or 2 Tim. 4:8 for a
permanent one.

The kingly crown to which Christ is entitled is a totally different word


δ ι α δ ε µ α (diadema).

Why is that difference important?

“…unless he competes according to the rules.”

What rules? What is the importance of rules in the life of a


Christian?

We will get more into doing it right when we reach 4:7

The stephanos is almost certainly a reference to the ancient Greek Olympics.


One of the rules was that to be eligible to win the stephanos or victor’s
crown, one had to swear that he had trained for at least ten months prior to
the games. See end notes 3and 4

Paul’s point here is that we have to have the discipline like an athlete in
order to carry out our duty to God.

What does that mean to us as a practical matter?

“6 The hard-working farmer ought to be the first to receive his share of the crops. 7
Consider what I say, for the Lord will give you understanding in everything.” 2 Timothy
2:6-7 (NASB).

Paul seems to be making several points here. What is the first?

8
“…his share of the crops.” What does he mean here?

1 Cor. 9:10ff gives one meaning here. If a man does the work that Timothy
does he should be supported financially.

“ 8 Remember Jesus Christ, risen from the dead, descendant of David, according to my
gospel, 9 for which I suffer hardship even to imprisonment as a criminal ; but the word of
God is not imprisoned. 10 For this reason I endure all things for the sake of those who are
chosen, so that they also may obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus and with it
eternal glory. 11 It is a trustworthy statement : For if we died with Him, we will also live
with Him; 12 If we endure, we will also reign with Him; If we deny Him, He also will
deny us; 13 If we are faithless, He remains faithful, for He cannot deny Himself.” 2
Timothy 2:8-13 (NASB)

In Acts 20:29 and 30 Paul warns the elders at Ephesus that after he leaves
there will be “fierce wolves” come among them to get the sheep. In
1Timothy 1:3-10 he warns Timothy himself about the same thing.

The classical Gnosticism that would generate the Gnostic gospels was still
decades away, but the Greek influence was strong. Remember that Ephesus
had been founded as a Greek city. Just as many deny that Jesus was/is God
today, many denied that He was man then. They could not conceive of
anything “good” being physical.

Paul nails that down here.

Jesus Christ suffered. Paul suffers for Him and for the chosen. Paul is
imprisoned but the gospel is not.

How does this relate to the theme of Be not… and Be…?

Verses 11b-13 appear to be an early Christian hymn. Timothy no doubt


knows it well. Paul seems to quote it here to encourage Timothy and to
stiffen his resolve.

Remember “…for God has not given us a spirit of timidity…”

Paul’s larger point: Christ wins ergo we win in Him!

Be… 2 Timothy 2:14-26

“14 Remind them of these things, and solemnly charge them in the presence of God not
to wrangle about words, which is useless and leads to the ruin of the hearers. 15 Be
diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be
ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth. 16 But avoid worldly and empty chatter,
for it will lead to further ungodliness, 17 and their talk will spread like gangrene. Among

9
them are Hymenaeus and Philetus, 18 men who have gone astray from the truth saying
that the resurrection has already taken place, and they upset the faith of some. 19
Nevertheless, the firm foundation of God stands, having this seal, "The Lord knows those
who are His," and, "Everyone who names the name of the Lord is to abstain from
wickedness." 20 Now in a large house there are not only gold and silver vessels, but also
vessels of wood and of earthenware, and some to honor and some to dishonor. 21
Therefore, if anyone cleanses himself from these things, he will be a vessel for honor,
sanctified, useful to the Master, prepared for every good work. 22 Now flee from
youthful lusts and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, with those who call on the
Lord from a pure heart. 23 But refuse foolish and ignorant speculations, knowing that
they produce quarrels. 24 The Lord's bond-servant must not be quarrelsome, but be kind
to all, able to teach, patient when wronged, 25 with gentleness correcting those who are
in opposition, if perhaps God may grant them repentance leading to the knowledge of the
truth, 26 and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil,
having been held captive by him to do his will.” 2 Timothy 2:14-26 (NASB)

At the end of the last session we looked at what was likely an early Christian
hymn. Paul now reminds Timothy to:

“Keep reminding them of these things. Warn them before God against
quarreling about words; it is of no value, and only ruins those who listen.” 2
Timothy 2:14 (NIV)

For the most part NIV is a less literal translation than KJV or NASB, but in this
case the NIV has captured a verb tense missed by NASB. I hate to mention it
as Paul warns against “quarreling about words”, but NIV catches the sense in
“Keep on reminding them…”. This would have been obvious to the original
readers reading Greek.

“Warn them before God…” echoes James 3:1 about the enhanced
responsibility of teachers. Commentators differ on what Paul means here. I
believe that he simply means to faithfully warn them as the representative of
God not to quarrel about secondary or tertiary things. In 1 Timothy 1:3-4 NIV
Paul writes:

“As I urged you when I went into Macedonia, stay there in Ephesus so that
you may command certain men not to teach false doctrines any longer 4 nor
to devote themselves to myths and endless genealogies. These promote
controversies rather than God's work--which is by faith.”

What controversies would Paul be talking about today?


(We will list them only – not argue them!)

What are the results of such pointless arguments?

10
“Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who
does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.”
2:15 NIV

Is the shame Paul mentions here different from the shame he talked
about earlier?

If so, how so?

This is directed initially to Timothy, but is ultimately for us as well. We must


correctly handle the word of truth.

Paul is not talking just about memorizing and quoting scripture. Christians at
large are way more vulnerable than they should be because they don’t know
what the Bible says.

The next few verses talk about error spreading like gangrene. This often
happens because, all too often, the average person simply doesn’t know any
better.

What are some of these errors?

“Nevertheless, the firm foundation of God stands, having this seal, "The Lord
knows those who are His," and, "Everyone who names the name of the Lord
is to abstain from wickedness."” 2:19

Paul has warned about a dire condition, but reminds Timothy and us that the
foundation is secure. Ultimately that foundation is Christ Jesus (1 Corinthians.
3:11). The foundation is firm because the Lord knows who are his. John 10:14
and 1 Corinthians 8:3 affirm this. He may also refer to the foundation of
those who remain faithful at Ephesus. There is a core of faithful even with
some named evildoers. In Revelation 2:2, written about thirty years later
show them still there.

Romans 9:21-23 talks about a potter making the vessel he chooses. 1


Corinthians 12 talks about different members whose designs are chosen by
the Holy Spirit.

In 2 Timothy 2:20 Paul refers to different kinds of vessels. In verse 21 though


he talks about the singular “any one” NASB or “A man” NIV. Again there is
some confusion here in English. This was obvious in Greek.

The same vessel will be one of honor or dishonor depending on the man
cleansing himself and being useful to the Master.

11
In verse 22 we can see that this is not directed just to ‘them’, but to Timothy
himself. He too, or he especially must:
“Now flee from youthful lusts and pursue righteousness, faith, love and
peace, with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart.”

How does this challenge you?

In 23-26 he again tells us to avoid “foolish and ignorant speculations” NASB.


We don’t need to go back over that, but he gives the further instruction to do
that kindly and gently.

What is the purpose of the kind and gentle approach?

For Men… But You…


2 Timothy 3

“For Men…”

“But realize this, that in the last days difficult times will come.” 2 Timothy 3:1 NASB

Scholars differ on the meaning of the term “last days”. I believe that
Hebrews 1:2 is definitive.

“In these last days has spoken to us in His Son, whom He appointed heir of
all things, through whom also He made the world.” Hebrews 1:2

The term used in Hebrews and in 2 Tim. 3:1 (ε σ χ α τ ο ς) eschatos is the


same term that is used in every NT reference to the “last days”. It is used 52
times in the NASB NT. In those instances it is translated: end 1, last 46, last
of all 1, last man 1, last men 1, late 1, remotest part 1. In all but one the
term describes the end or farthest out.

Sometimes people find such figures unnecessary or even tedious. I use them
here to try to tempt you to ever higher expectations in your own Bible study.
Two of the most valuable things you can do in your duty to the Lord are 1.
See questions. 2. Be willing to look for answers. Very little will make you
more useful than a hunger to ring every drop out of the word.

Whether Paul envisioned the last days beginning with the resurrection of
Jesus or if they refer to the last few years before the second coming Paul’s
description in 3:2-9 sound very familiar today.

12
“2 For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, revilers,
disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, 3 unloving, irreconcilable, malicious gossips,
without self-control, brutal, haters of good, 4 treacherous, reckless, conceited, lovers of
pleasure rather than lovers of God, 5 holding to a form of godliness, although they have
denied its power ; Avoid such men as these. 6 For among them are those who enter into
households and captivate weak women weighed down with sins, led on by various
impulses, 7 always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth. 8 Just
as Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses, so these men also oppose the truth, men of
depraved mind, rejected in regard to the faith. 9 But they will not make further progress ;
for their folly will be obvious to all, just as Jannes's and Jambres's folly was also.” 2
Timothy 3:2-9 (NASB)

“For men will be…” Women sometimes find solace, justification or even
amusement at the English term here (and elsewhere) “men”. Paul’s term
here is (α ν θ ρ ο π ο ς) anthropos. Such solace, justification and/or
amusement was not afforded the original readers. While the English terms
are the same, the Greek terms for man the species (α ν θ ρ ο π ο ς) and man
the gender (α ν η ρ or α ν δ ρ ε ) look very different. Almost without
exception when a NT writer has something nasty to say about men in
general he uses the term for the species. Sorry ladies.

“…men will be…” For the most part the list here is self explanatory. The
English terms generally capture the Greek ones well. A few of them are
interesting though.

The fifth one, translated “abusive” in NIV and “revilers” in NASB is


blasphemoi.

Does that remind you of anything in English? What does the English
term really mean?

Another interesting one is the term which is translated “malicious gossips” in


NASB and “slanderous” in NIV is diabolos in its plural form here.

What does this remind you of? (See also Job 1:11)
To whom else does the slanderer peddle slander?
“…holding to a form of godliness, although they have denied its power; …”
From 3:5

I believe that this identifies the people to whom Paul refers as being inside
the church in general and, more to his point, in the church at Ephesus.

How does this play itself out practically in a church?

“…avoid such men as these.” NASB, “Have nothing to do with them.” NIV 2
Tim. 3:5b

13
What is the danger here?

In verses 6 and 7 Paul talks at some length about “weak women” (literally
little women) and those who prey upon them. J. Vernon McGee says ““Silly
women” means silly women of both sexes. There are some people who have
attended Bible conferences for years and don’t know any more about the
Word of God now than when they began.”5

McGee calls to mind a certain governor’s use of the term GirlieMan. The
Greek term Paul used there is in a neuter gender. This verse is its sole use in
the New Testament.

Does Paul literally mean to specify female people here? If so, what
does that mean, practically and specifically to men?

The people about whom Paul warns Timothy “…worm their way into
homes…” (v. 6a NIV) of people who are “…always learning, but never able to
come to the knowledge of the truth.” (v. 6b NASB). Paul talks about them
literally “creeping into the houses”6

Given the Paul’s combination of “creeping” and “never able to come


to the knowledge of the truth” what does this tell us to watch out
for?

In verse 8 Paul names two men who opposed Moses. McGee believes that
the names were revealed to Paul by the Holy Spirit.7 Exodus 7:11-12
describes the events. Other commentators state that the names are found in
Jewish legend.8 Legend does not necessarily mean fiction. Daniel Boone is
certainly a legendary figure, and also certainly an historical figure.

“…men of depraved mind…” Here again “men” refers to the species rather
than the gender. The term Paul uses here, and is translated depraved is a
verb (having been corrupted) rather than a noun.

“…rejected as regards the faith.” from v.8

If they are rejected are they still dangerous? If so, why?

“But they will not make further progress…” v. 9a

Why not?

How is Exodus 8:18-19 relevant here?

What is our place in this process?

14
“But You…”

“10 But you followed my teaching, conduct, purpose, faith, patience, love, perseverance,
11 persecutions, and sufferings, such as happened to me at Antioch, at Iconium and at
Lystra ; what persecutions I endured, and out of them all the Lord rescued me! 12 Indeed,
all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted. 13 But evil men and
impostors will proceed from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived. 14 You,
however, continue in the things you have learned and become convinced of, knowing
from whom you have learned them, 15 and that from childhood you have known the
sacred writings which are able to give you the wisdom that leads to salvation through
faith which is in Christ Jesus. 16 All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for
teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness ; 17 so that the man of
God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.” 2 Timothy 3:10-17 (NASB)

Now Paul turns his gaze 180 degrees to Timothy himself.

“But you…” NASB, “You however…” NIV signals the turn around.

We do not know the live and trials of Paul as intimately as Timothy did, but
his instructions are aimed at us as well. When Paul says “You” he is talking
to you.

“But you followed my teaching, conduct, purpose, faith, patience, love,


perseverance, persecutions, and sufferings, such as happened to me at
Antioch, at Iconium and at Lystra;…” from v.10-11 NASB

The term translated “followed” in NASB and “know” in NIV is a stronger term
than the English would indicate. It means literally ‘investigated’. It is the
term that Luke uses in Luke 1:3 to describe the process he used to research
his gospel.

Timothy was not just familiar with Paul’s teaching, conduct, purpose, faith,
patience, love and perseverance; he had come to know them intimately
through experience. We cannot know Paul himself, but we can investigate
these things.

Timothy had yet to meet Paul when the persecutions and sufferings
happened at Antioch and Iconium, and Lystra yet he knew them.

Like many words this one has multiple meanings. Paul applies it in multiple
ways here. Timothy had investigated things that had occurred before he met
Paul and had conformed himself to Paul’s teaching, conduct and so forth.
That is another meaning to the term.9 See also “accompanied” in Mark 16:17
and “following” in 1 Timothy 4:6.

15
In verses 12 and 13 Paul sets up another ‘on the one hand and then on the
other hand’ to set up another “You however…” at the beginning of 14.

Why is it important for Timothy to see himself as different?

“…continue…” translates a word that is translated “abide” in 1 Corinthians


13:13.10 Timothy is to stay put in what he had learned as a child (v.15).

From whom? Look back to 1:5

We have heard verses 16 and 17 quoted so many times that their effect has
largely been blunted. Paul talks about “teaching for reproof” to a man who
has the worst kind of false teachers worming their ways into the homes of
people for whom Timothy is responsible. “…for correction…” He faces people
who are determined to gain power and place at the expense of innocents in
the church. They will teach and say whatever it takes to do it.

Here we have yet another contrast; “for training in righteousness, that the
man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.” The good
work is not just finishing some project. The work is the same work that a
literal shepherd has with a flock menaced by wolves.

The scriptures are the weapon in his hands for a life and death struggle.

You may be called upon to defend some lamb in just such a life and death
struggle. You must be ready to handle your weapon as well.

“And take the Helmet of Salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the
word of God.” Ephesians 6:17

“Suffer hardship with me, as a good soldier of Christ Jesus.” 2 Timothy 2:3.
Sometimes the role of a soldier is to defend the helpless.

Such is the importance of Bible study.

2 Timothy 4
“I solemnly charge you…”

“1 I solemnly 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 : 2 preach the word ; be ready
in season and out of season ; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction.
3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine ; but wanting to have
their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own
desires, 4 and will turn away their ears from the truth and will turn aside to myths. 5 But

16
you, be sober in all things, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your
ministry.” 2 Timothy 4:1-5 (NASB)

“I solemnly 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: …” 2
Timothy 4:1

Compare this charge to that in 1 Timothy 5:21. How is it different


here and why is it different?

In Matthew 16:18 Jesus cites Deuteronomy 19:15 about the need for two or
three witnesses to convict one who is charged. Paul himself had told Timothy
in 1 Tim. 5:19 about the need for two or three witnesses before a charge
could be brought against an elder.

Now Paul invokes two witnesses to his solemn charge to Timothy; God the
Father and Christ Jesus. He reminds Timothy that he will be held accountable
for carrying out his commission.

His charge consists of 5 major commands.

1. “Preach the word;” v.2.

Most of us are not church staff. How does “preach” apply to us?

What can we do to be ready “in season and out of season”?

2. “be ready in season and out of season…” This is not just to be willing, but
to be eager. Paul described his own situation in this way. “For if I preach the
gospel, I have nothing to boast of, for I am under compulsion; for woe is me
if I do not preach the gospel.” 1 Corinthians 9:16

3. Reprove.
This means to correct.11 The term here is identical to the term in Matthew
18:15. Jesus himself defines it there. "And if your brother sins, go and
reprove him in private; if he listens to you, you have won your brother.

4. Rebuke.
This process is a similar, but much stronger term than reprove. This verse is
the only time that Paul uses the term. Jesus is said to have rebuked many
times. In Matthew 8:26 and Luke 8:24 Jesus rebukes a storm. Jesus rebuked
a demon in Matthew 17:18. Simon Peter rebukes Jesus in Matthew 16:22
when Jesus said that He had to go Jerusalem and be crucified.

J. Vernon McGee says that rebuke actually means to threaten.12

17
5. Exhort, with great patience and instruction.
This means to encourage, literally to call alongside.13

Verse 3 begins another of Paul’s contrasts. He describes people who gather


together teachers who will simply tell them what they want to hear and
reject the truth.

In verse 5 we see the ‘But you…” that we have become accustomed to


seeing from Paul. “But you, be sober in all things, endure hardship, do the
work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.” 2 Timothy 4:5

For…

“6 For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure
has come. 7 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith;
8 in the future 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.” 2 Timothy 4:6-8 (NASB)

In Genesis 35:14 Jacob pours a drink offering on a stone pillar he had set up
as a monument at the place where God had spoken to him. In Exodus 29:41
and Numbers 28:24 God calls for such sacrifices.

Paul saw his death as a sacramental act. His blood could never accomplish
what Christ’s blood had, but it was an offering to God.

“…and the time of my departure has come…” In Philippians 1:21-25 Paul


talks about wanting to go and be with the Lord, but understanding the need
for him to stay and minister. He would do what his master’s purpose
required. Now, the time of his departure had come. He could go home.

Next he told Timothy how he could go home with such joy. Confidence came
with the blood of Christ. Joy came with his being able to tell Timothy who
knew his life so well:

“I have fought the good fight…” For all the military imagery that Paul uses,
this term is different. It refers not to fighting in war, but to a contest, like a
boxing match.14

What constitutes a good fight in that arena?

“I have finished the course…” NASB, “I have finished the race…” NIV. The
primary meaning here is of the race itself, but it also means the race track. It
was used in Greek to refer to the paths of the heavenly bodies.15 Paul had
not only run the race all the way to the end, he had not cut across the infield,
or any such thing.

18
What temptations do we face with regard to our courses/races?

“…I have kept the faith…” He had kept the faith pure and had kept it
honestly. He had not let go of it when times got rough.

These three phrases are in the perfect tense. This indicates finality. “I have
fought…I have finished…I have kept…” Not only had Paul be faithful, but the
One who had stood by him and would bring him safely home had been
faithful as well.

“In the future there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness which the
righteous Judge will award to me on that day; and not only to me but to all
who have loved His appearing.”

He did not hesitate to list things about which he could boast. It is instructive
here to note what Paul did not say.

“…circumcised the eighth day, of the nation of Israel, of the tribe of


Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; as to the Law, a Pharisee; as to zeal, a
persecutor of the church; as to the righteousness which is in the Law, found
blameless.” Phil. 3:5-6

He could have written: I have written half the books of the New Testament. I
have been the chief theologian of the church. I have been the most
successful church planter of all time. I shaped the very structure of the
church.

We cannot say any of those things, but we can say what he did say: “I have
fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith.”

In the end, what Paul cited was not achievement, but faithfulness. Whether
we achieve little or much, we can be faithful.

The “crown of righteousness” is the stephanos or athlete’s crown that we


learned about in 2:5. It is the earned crown, not the diadem that Christ
possesses because of who He is. Christ is the righteous Judge.

Who are those “who have loved his appearing”?

How do we work this out in our lives?

We will likely end our discussion at this point, but please read the rest of the
notes in fairness to Paul.

19
“9 Make every effort to come to me soon ; 10 for Demas, having loved this present
world, has deserted me and gone to Thessalonica ; Crescens has gone to Galatia, Titus to
Dalmatia. 11 Only Luke is with me. Pick up Mark and bring him with you, for he is
useful to me for service. 12 But Tychicus I have sent to Ephesus. 13 When you come
bring the cloak which I left at Troas with Carpus, and the books, especially the
parchments. 14 Alexander the coppersmith did me much harm ; the Lord will repay him
according to his deeds. 15 Be on guard against him yourself, for he vigorously opposed
our teaching. 16 At my first defense no one supported me, but all deserted me; may it not
be counted against them. 17 But the Lord stood with me and strengthened me, so that
through me the proclamation might be fully accomplished, and that all the Gentiles might
hear ; and I was rescued out of the lion's mouth. 18 The Lord will rescue me from every
evil deed, and will bring me safely to His heavenly kingdom ; to Him be the glory forever
and ever. Amen.” 2 Timothy 4:9-18 (NASB)

In verse 9 Paul encourages Timothy to “Make every effort to come to me


soon.” At first, and perhaps second glance, this seems to conflict with Paul’s
charges to minister faithfully at Ephesus. We must remember however, that
Paul writes to Timothy in regard to the long term. The current
encouragement is for the short term only. Timothy would then return to his
long term mission.

The reason for the need for Timothy’s presence is that nearly everyone else
is gone.

“…for Demas, having loved this present world, has deserted me and gone to
Thessalonica; …” from v.10 Demas is listed as a fellow minister in good
standing in Colossians 4:14.

“…Crescens has gone to Galatia, Titus to Dalmatia.” Continuing v. 10. Most


scholars write that Crescens and Titus are on authorized mission trips. He
writes in v. 12 “But Tychicus I have sent to Ephesus”

Verse 11 continues with “Only Luke is with me. Pick up Mark and bring him
with you, for he is useful to me for service.” Demas had been a success and
Mark a failure after he had left Paul and Silas on an earlier mission trip (Acts
15:38). Now Demas was a failure and Mark a success.

We must never think of either state as permanent. Failure in our pasts does
not any more doom us to more of the same than success guarantees more
success in the future.

In verse 13 he asks Timothy to bring things to him to continue his work. He


had earlier said (2:9) that “…the word of God is not imprisoned.”

Verses 14 and 15 refer to “Alexander the coppersmith”. This may have been
the Alexander that Paul had “…delivered to Satan…” (1Timothy 1:20). There

20
was another Alexander that tried, unsuccessfully, to stop a riot in Acts 19:33.
In the end, Alexander is just too common a name to make any solid
identification here. Clearly Timothy knows which Alexander this is and is to
steer clear of him.

“But the Lord stood with me and strengthened me, so that through me the
proclamation might be fully accomplished, and that all the Gentiles might
hear; and I was rescued out of the lion's mouth.” 2 Timothy 4:17

Paul makes the point that whatever else happens, the Lord’s purpose will be
accomplished.

“The Lord will rescue me from every evil deed, and will bring me safely to His
heavenly kingdom; to Him be the glory forever and ever. Amen.” 2 Timothy
4:18.

The Roman government believed that it would decide whether Paul lived or
died. Paul tells us that such a choice was in the hands of the Lord. Paul
seems to celebrate the fact that he is about to finally be brought home.

“9 Greet Prisca and Aquila, and the household of Onesiphorus. 20 Erastus remained at
Corinth, but Trophimus I left sick at Miletus. 21 Make every effort to come before
winter. Eubulus greets you, also Pudens and Linus and Claudia and all the brethren. 22
The Lord be with your spirit. Grace be with you.” 2 Timothy 4:19-22 (NASB)

Verses 19-21 are personal greetings.

I join Paul in saying to you (v. 22):

“The Lord be with your spirit. Grace be with you.”

21
22
1
Life Application Bible Commentary, 1&2 Timothy and Titus, Bruce B. Barton, David R. Veerman, Neil Wilson, Tyndale
House Publishers, Wheaton, Illinois, 1993, p.161
2
Thayer and Smith. "Greek Lexicon entry for Hupotuposis". "The NAS New Testament Greek Lexicon".
<http://www.biblestudytools.net/Lexicons/Greek/grk.cgi?number=5296&version=nas>. 1999.

3
Life Application Bible Commentary, 1&2 Timothy and Titus, Bruce B. Barton, David R. Veerman, Neil Wilson, Tyndale
House Publishers, Wheaton, Illinois, 1993, p.181
4
E. Glenn Hinson, The Broadman Bible Commentary, Volume 11, 2 Corinthinans-Phlemon, Broadman Press, Nashville,
Tennessee, 1971 p.344
5
McGee, J. Vernon, The Epistles of First and Second Timothy, Titus, Philemon, Thomas Nelson, Nashville, 1991 p.119
6
Marshal, Alfred, The RSV Interlinear Greek-English New Testament, Zondervan Publishing, Grand Rapids, Mich., First
Zondervon Edition, 1970, Translation of 2 Timothy 3:6
7
McGee, p.120
8
Life Application Bible Commentary, 1&2 Timothy and Titus, Bruce B. Barton, David R. Veerman, Neil Wilson, Tyndale
House Publishers, Wheaton, Illinois, 1993, p.210
9
Thayer and Smith. "Greek Lexicon entry for Parakoloutheo". "The NAS New Testament Greek Lexicon".
<http://www.biblestudytools.net/Lexicons/Greek/grk.cgi?number=3877&version=nas>. 1999.

10
Thayer and Smith. "Greek Lexicon entry for Meno". "The NAS New Testament Greek Lexicon".
<http://www.biblestudytools.net/Lexicons/Greek/grk.cgi?number=3306&version=nas>. 1999.

11
A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and other Early Christian Literature- A translation and adaptation of the
fourth revised and augment edition of Walter Bauer’s Griechisch-Deutsches Worterbuch zu den Schriftent des Neuen
Testaments und ubrigen unchristlichen Litertur by William F. Arndt and F. Wilbur Gingrich, the University of Chicago
Press 1979, article on ε λ ε γ κ ω , 3 , p 249. In subsequent notes this work will be identified simply as Arndt and
Gingrich.
12
McGee, J. Vernon, The Epistles of First and Second Timothy, Titus, Philemon, Thomas Nelson, Nashville, 1991 p.129

13
Arndt and Gingrich, Article on π α ρ α κ α λ ε ω , p.617
14
Vine, W.E., An Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words, Fleming H. Revell, Old Tappan New Jersey, 1940, p.94,
article on α γ ω ν

15
Arndt and Gingrich, Article on δ ρ ο µ ο ν , p. 206