2nd Timothy Chapter 4 Study

2 Timothy 4:1: Christ will return to reign.  The Book of Daniel makes it clear that the Messiah will reign over all forever, yet it also speaks of the Messiah being killed for the sake of others (see Daniel 9:25-26).  Psalm 110 is another clear example from the Hebrew Scriptures that the Messiah’s enemies will be crushed under His feet and He will reign over all, yet it can also be inferred from what is said there that He will take on flesh and  blood, and be put in humiliating circumstances, before that happens.  

Daniel 7:13-14: “I saw in the night visions, and, behold, one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days, and they brought him near before him.  And there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve him: his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed.”

Ironically, the Jewish leaders condemned Jesus to death for His claim of being the promised Messiah- a claim which He referenced the passage just quoted from Daniel chapter seven at His trial in making.

Mark 14:55-64: “And the chief priests and all the council sought for witness against Jesus to put him to death; and found none.  For many bare false witness against him, but their witness agreed not together.  And there arose certain, and bare false witness against him, saying, We heard him say, I will destroy this temple that is made with hands, and within three days I will build another made without hands.  But neither so did their witness agree together.  And the high priest stood up in the midst, and asked Jesus, saying, Answerest thou nothing?  what is it which these witness against thee?  But he held his peace, and answered nothing.  Again the high priest asked him, and said unto him, Art thou the Christ, the Son of the Blessed?  And Jesus said, I am: and ye shall see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven.  Then the high priest rent his clothes, and saith, What need we any further witnesses?  Ye have heard the blasphemy: what think ye?  And they all condemned him to be guilty of death.”

Revelation 11:15-19 says about Christ’s appearance and kingdom: “And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever.  And the four and twenty elders, which sat before God on their seats, fell upon their faces, and worshiped God, Saying, We give thee thanks, O Lord God Almighty, which art, and wast, and art to come; because thou hast taken to thee thy great power, and hast reigned.  And the nations were angry, and thy wrath is come, and the time of the dead, that they should be judged, and that thou shouldest give reward unto thy servants the prophets, and to the saints, and them that fear thy name, small and great; and shouldest destroy them which destroy the earth (that is, destroy them that morally corrupt the earth- since they were living in opposition to the righteous ways of His kingdom).  And the temple of God was opened in heaven, and there was seen in his temple the ark of his testament: and there were lightnings, and voices, and thunderings, and an earthquake, and great hail.”

4:2: “Instant” here= Be ready; stand by; be at hand.

As has been spoken of before in the book, anyone who is to be a faithful Gospel minister must make a straight cut with the Word in proclaiming the Word to direct the hearers on how to be properly related to the Lord, in line with His coming kingdom, and thus ready to stand before Him at His appearing and His kingdom.

4:3-4: “Sound” here= Hygiano (hoog-ee-ah’-ee-no); the source of our word hygiene which is used frequently to describe Biblical doctrine, the doctrine of Christ.

“Heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears”= Accumulate teachers to themselves in piles according to their itching ears.  They want relief from the way of the cross, from the crucifixion to their carnality that receiving the true grace of God, which disciplines those who receive it in accordance with the righteous ways of Christ’s kingdom, insists upon.  The delusion in the realm of professing Christianity of a corrupted concept of the grace of God, which does not demand the crucifixion of one’s carnality and rather allows for the practicing of sin and the pursuit of worldly lusts, is no mystery.  It also makes sense that this would be a chief factor in producing the perilous times, warned about and discussed back in chapter three, times which are full of professing Christians displaying evil character and flagrantly committing sin. 

“Fables” here= “Mythos” in the Greek text.  Concepts opposed to the truth of God’s Word.  Vain, empty words.  Unconditional eternal security is a myth.  Much deception now even comes through fictional books (which preach real lies- “The Shack” would be a one key example). 

Two closely related passages to the things Paul is driving home to Timothy in these verses.

Titus 2:11-15: For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Savior Jesus Christ; Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity (lawlessness), and purify unto himself a peculiar people (a special people to Himself), zealous of good works.  These things speak, and exhort, and rebuke with all authority.  Let no man despise thee.”

Acts 20:17-31: “And from Miletus he (the Apostle Paul) sent to Ephesus, and called the elders of the church.  And when they were come to him, he said unto them, Ye know, from the first day that I came into Asia, after what manner I have been with you at all seasons, Serving the Lord with all humility of mind, and with many tears, and temptations, which befell me by the lying in wait of the Jews: And how I kept back nothing that was profitable unto you, but have shewed you, and have taught you publicly, and from house to house, Testifying both to the Jews, and also to the Greeks, repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ (it’s the same Gospel for Jews and Gentiles).  And now, behold, I go bound in the spirit unto Jerusalem, not knowing the things that shall befall me there: Save (Except) that the Holy Ghost witnesseth in every city, saying that bonds and afflictions abide me.  But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God.  And now, behold, I know that ye all, among whom I have gone preaching the kingdom of God shall see my face no more  (notice the connection here between testimony of the true grace of God and of the kingdom of God).  Wherefore I take you to record this day, that I am pure from the blood of all men.  For I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of God.  Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood (by the way, we see the Trinity here).  For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock.  Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them.  Therefore watch, and remember, that by the space of three years I ceased not to warn every one night and day with tears.”

The temptation to turn away from sound doctrine is especially great when lawlessness is abounding and there is much tumult in the world.  The mainstream media and its great corrupt influence is enough in itself to overwhelm people with anxiety.  People get frustrated and want escapes and solutions which abiding in sound doctrine, the doctrine of Christ, doesn’t allow for.  The way is narrow even in relatively peaceful situations because it is simply difficult to endure the crucifixion of the flesh involved in abiding in Christ.  Closely related to that, we’ve done another message on how difficult it is to be saved in this generation because of the multitude of temptations, occasions for distraction, easy accessibility to a torrent of bad concepts which war against the soul, and how easy it is to be psychologically manipulated into a distorted reality in our current age- especially through what the internet has become along with its easy accessibility to most people.  

4:5: Endure affliction= endure hardship as a good soldier of Jesus Christ, going back to 2:3.  

By keeping himself in the truth, and so leading others into the truth, and leading those under his watch to endure in the truth.  That’s what Paul is exhorting Timothy to do.  Refer back to 1 Timothy 4:12-16 where the same basic thing is said in different words.

4:6: “Be offered” here is “spendo” in the Greek text.  I don’t know for sure, but I think that our word in English “spend” is derived from this.  That at least makes sense.  Paul is about to be fully spent and offered for the Lord’s cause, in his witness for the King in accordance with His coming kingdom, the only thing that will remain blessed after Christ shakes the heavens and earth at His second coming.

The writer of Hebrews thus exhorted the Hebrew Christians in Hebrews 12:25-29: “See that ye refuse not him that speaketh. For if they escaped not who refused him that spoke on earth, much more shall not we escape, if we turn away from him that speaketh from heaven: Whose voice then shook the earth: but now he hath promised, saying, Yet once more I shake not the earth only, but also heaven.  And this word, Yet once more, signifieth the removing of those things that are shaken, as of things that are made, that those things which cannot be shaken may remain.  Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear: For our God is a consuming fire.”

4:7: “Fought” here= “agonozomai” in the Greek text.  This word speaks of contending with an adversary in a struggle.  It is where we get the English word “agonoize” from.  And yet, back to the myths which people’s itching ears draw them to and the false easy grace which is so prevalent now, many teachers now actually teach that Christianity isn’t supposed to be a struggle- and many more yet teach that our salvation isn’t dependent upon our victory in that struggle.  

“Fight” here= “agon” in the Greek- the source of the English word “agony.”  Paul is literally saying that he has agonized well in the agony that is authentic Christianity.

Finishing his course is speaking of completing his term of service.  We saw earlier how Paul had said in Acts 20:24: “But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God.”

Paul has, at this point, fought to stay true to Christ the King, by exercising a living faith in Him towards the goal of being in line with His kingdom, in cooperation with His true grace.  He has now all but finished.  At any time he anticipates being fully spent in losing his life, likely by the Romans as a consequence of his testimony of Christ (and that is how he likely died).

4:8: Those who love His appearing are those who have submitted to Him in truth and are governed by the doctrine of His Word.  Even the Thief on the Cross did this.  The Thief on the Cross recognized Jesus’ supreme authority, called on Him for mercy for His misalignment with Him (that is, His sin) and he did all he could do in his circumstances to align himself with His kingdom (the public confession which he made- that was essentially the Thief on the Cross’ Christian baptism since it accomplished the thing which proper Christian baptism signifies- a public proclamation of by the one baptized that they are turning from a life of sin and coming under Jesus the Righteous King’s authority.)

Remember here the things which Paul had already said right in this very book. 

2 Timothy 2:5: “And if a man also strive for masteries, yet is he not crowned, except he strive lawfully.”

2 Timothy 2:11-12: “It is a faithful saying: For if we be dead with him, we shall also live with him: If we suffer, we shall also reign with him: if we deny him, he also will deny us.”

Titus 1:16 also says: “They profess that they know God; but in works they deny him, being abominable, and disobedient, and unto every good work reprobate.”

“Reprobate” in the passage just read is “adokimos” in the Greek text, the source of our word “undocumented” which has been talked about already in these studies on 2 Timothy.  It is a harsh word though some wrongly consider it a nicer term for illegal immigrants.

Look then at Paul’s description of how he agonized to obtain the victory – the victory which he can, as he wrote this second epistle to Timothy, now see is at hand.  In the passage we’re about to read,  Paul is describing the fight which he had to fight to not fall away from Christ and so he would not end up as a reprobate who would not be fit to enter His kingdom.  

1 Corinthians 9:23-27: And this I do for the gospel’s sake, that I might be partaker thereof with you.  Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize?  So run, that ye may obtain.  And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things.  Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible.  I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air: But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway (or, a reprobate- the word here is also adokimos in the Greek text).”

Unlike certain corrupt governments on earth, the Lord, being the righteous Judge that He is, will not allow the undocumented in His eyes into His kingdom.  He will justify the repentant who turn away from their sins and turn to Jesus Christ through Christ’s blood- and He’ll continue to apply His grace to them if they continue to abide in Jesus Christ as the Great King and High Priest which He indeed is.

Revelation 22:12-16: “And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be.  I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last.  Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city.  For without are dogs, and sorcerers, and whoremongers, and murderers, and idolaters, and whosoever loveth and maketh a lie.  I Jesus have sent mine angel to testify unto you these things in the churches.  I am the root and the offspring of David, and the bright and morning star.”

He is King David’s Lord and the Messiah, the Son of Man, who descended from King David according to the flesh in fulfillment of the Hebrew Scriptures.

As Paul had warned Timothy that many would not endure sound doctrine, and would rather turn their ears from the truth to follow myths instead, Paul himself did not do so.  He maintained and walked according to sound doctrine, the doctrine of Christ, until his term of service was accomplished.  Therefore, he had fought a good fight and kept the faith.  And since that was so, he had a true hope of inheriting Christ’s kingdom and reigning as a joint-heir with Him through the true, authentic grace of God.

Paul thus testified to the Roman Christians in Romans 8:13-23: ‘For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live (that is, if you crucify your carnality in identifying with Christ in His death to sin so that you might live to God through His Holy Spirit).  For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons (or, children) of God.  For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.  The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.  For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.  For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God.  For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected the same in hope, Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God.  For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now.  And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit (to know), the redemption of our body.”

We’re about to see though that, sadly, even several of Paul’s closest co-workers turned back from the Lord- and thus forsook the faith, lost the fight, and forfeited their Christian inheritance in Christ’s kingdom.

4:9-10a: Going back to 2 Timothy 3:4, Demas chose to love whatever pleased him in Thessalonica more than God.  He forsook his duty towards a faithful brother in Christ, in a time where that brother greatly needed his fellowship and assistance.  He rather chose the love of this present world.  

1 John 2:15 says: “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.”  

This can even happen by loving one’s country lifestyle and refusing to go to a city as a Christian missionary when the Lord is showing someone that is what they need to do.  Demas may have still attended the Christian church at Thessalonica, but that would have been in hypocrisy at this point.  

The word to describe how Demas loved this present world is “agapao” in the Greek text- a variation of the Greek word “agape.”  Many think that agape is a word in Greek to describe a special type of love that pertains only to God.  But that is a myth.  Several times in the New Testament love that is sinful, and love for sin itself, is described by some form of the word “agape.”  I believe that sometimes this is used in promoting the myth of unconditional eternal security as well.  Both of these myths are commonly taught in Bible colleges and seminaries.   

4:10b: It seems that Crescens and Titus also forsook Paul for no good reason.  Note the contrast with Tychicus who will be mentioned in verse twelve.  Paul mentions his sending of Tychicus as the reason Tychicus isn’t with him now.  

It is possible that Crescens and Titus are those, or among those, whom Paul speaks of in verse 16 who forsook Paul out of fear of what would happen at Paul’s trial (which was likely before the notoriously devilish and cruel Roman Emperor Nero).  

4:11: Perhaps Luke wrote the Book of Acts when he was with Paul at this time.  

Paul had not wanted Mark’s presence to assist him in ministry at a certain point (and you can read about that and the reason for it in Acts 15:36-41).  Mark seems to be an example of someone who failed out of weakness and immaturity, yet eventually overcame these things and became useful for the Lord in ways which he had not previously been.  Perhaps there is also an admission to some degree by Paul here that he had been a bit too hard on Mark before.  There are surely some good lessons here.  Yet many want to think that most or all conflict between professing Christians is of this nature, when (at least one one side, maybe both) there is something obviously dark and wicked involved in the conflict which would be evil to defend or sympathize with, and which patience and time are not the remedy for.  

4:12-13: Paul was not too spiritual to ask Timothy to bring this cloak (likely an overcoat-type garment) to him.  It is possible that the parchments were copies of the book of the Hebrew Scriptures.

4:14: Paul was committing vengeance to God here, just like he should have.  Paul was not going to try to be Alexander’s friend, or tell Timothy to be his friend, while Alexander was seeking to harm Christ’s cause and those who represented that.  He also was not telling Timothy to hire a hit-man to harm Alexander.  Paul would have preferred that Alexander repent and be saved.  Yet if he wasn’t going to, he’d face God’s wrath- and Alexander had apparently been visited extremely brightly by the light of Christ’s Gospel- and only fought against that and become more wicked.  What remedy was left for him?  Yet Paul has committed Alexander’s vengeance to God, though Alexander had hurt him so much.  I wouldn’t be surprised if Alexander got judged in an especially terrifying way in this life before being sent to hell in the next.  The Lord often does that with hardened enemies to His Gospel, as well as to hypocrites who claim to love Him while still hardening themselves against the light of His Word.  Paul’s prayer here is a righteous prayer.  Even Christians who have died and gone to be with the Lord express such prayers in heaven (see Revelation 6:9-11).

4:15: It is not unchristian to use caution according to the circumstances and proven character of the people around you.  Paul is not telling Timothy to compromise in any way, but he still needs to be careful, use common sense, and teach the Christians he oversees to do the same.

4:16: I believe Paul is praying to God not to condemn them over that.  In Demas’ case, at least, there was wickedness other than forsaking a brother in the Lord out of utter terror of a hostile Emperor who had virtually no restraints to either his cruelty or in his accountability to those he ruled over.  Nero was a brutal person who was known to be capable of heinous acts against his enemies which I don’t think I should even mention here.  Paul, along with anyone known to be associated with him, they were practically put into a lion’s den as Paul was brought to court before Nero.  Paul will say so in the next verse.  Paul had escaped the first time.  He seemed to know though that God would allow him to be killed after coming court dates which were imminent for him.  Consider the key implications of Paul even seeing the point of praying this prayer for the Christians who left him at this time.

4:17: Proving what Paul had already said in 2 Corinthians chapter 12, that Christ’s grace is made perfect in weakness.  Paul had to choose to abide in the Lord, not deny Him, and put his body at risk in order for Christ’s grace to be made perfect in Him.  

There were likely many others at Paul’s hearing before Nero.  This trial would have been news in Rome, and this news would inevitably spread to other places from Rome, a heavily populated city which was the capital of a vast empire.

Paul being delivered out of the mouth of the lion is a metaphor related to himself, but it’s referencing Daniel’s literal deliverance from the consequences of false accusation which he received from his enemies recorded in Daniel chapter six (where Daniel was literally put into a lion’s den and God rescued him).

4:18: There is the reference to Christ’s kingdom again.

Paul seems to have had one or a few specific Scriptures in mind here.

Besides the relatively well known Psalm 23, there is Psalm 34:19: “Many are the afflictions of the righteous: but the Lord delivereth him out of them all.”

And then remember back to 2 Timothy 1:12 where Paul said: “for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day.”

Consider then, with 2 Timothy 1:12 and 2 Timothy 4:18 , Psalm 31:5 (which Jesus also evidently referred to before He died on the cross).  I’ll put the verse before it too.

Psalm 31:4-5: “Pull me out of the net that they have laid privily for me: for thou art my strength.  Into thine hand I commit my spirit: thou hast redeemed me, O Lord God of truth.”

4:19: Or, Priscilla.  

These are with Timothy in Ephesus at this time.

4:20-22: Paul obviously wants to see Timothy one last time in this life.

Those listed in verse 21 seem to be local Christians in Rome, rather than those who had been travel companions of Paul in ministry who are spoken of beforehand in the chapter.

Consider here the great error of those who teach the myth that Christians are promised health and/or wealth in this life, when faithful men in the Bible, including Paul and Timothy, were sometimes sick and/or lived in poverty.  Yet some of those who teach that Christians are promised health and/or wealth in this life are among those who preach in front of the biggest audiences, are on television, and sell the most books at the allegedly Christian bookstores.  These times are so perilous that not only is this the case, but it’s also the case that many who can easily see through people like that still give heed to other myths which still leave them outside the narrow way to life in Jesus Christ.  The likes of Joel Osteen, Joyce Meter, and Benny Hinn don’t come right out and tell us with their lips that they are servants of Satan, but they still communicate that very obviously in several other ways.  Many myths regarding salvation in Jesus Christ, along with those who speak them, are much harder to spot.  The need for diligence in understanding and walking in the truth of Biblical doctrine cannot be overstated.  That is proven and illustrated so well for us in Paul’s epistles to Timothy.

Aaron’s email is: [email protected]