BIBLE STUDY


Paul's Letters To Timothy
by Greg Williamson (c) 2014, 2019
Featuring the text of the New American Standard Bible *
( = pop-up definition)


Intro | 1 Timothy 1:1-11 / 1:12-17 / 1:18-20 | 2:1-8 / 2:9-15 | 3:1-7 / 3:8-13 / 3:14-16 | 4:1-6 / 4:7-12 / 4:13-16 | 5:1-16 / 5:17-25 | 6:1-2 / 6:3-10 / 6:11-21 | 2 Timothy 1:1-7 / 1:8-12 / 1:13-18 | 2:1-7 / 2:8-13 / 2:14-18 / 2:19-26 | 3:1-9 / 3:10-12 / 3:13-17 | 4:1-4 / 4:5-8 / 4:9-22 ** | Articles & Definitions | Sources

BE DILIGENT AND FAITHFUL
(2 Timothy 4:9-22)


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.
19 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.

 
Help is coming! Paul was greatly disappointed when the people he had ministered to turned away from him and were ashamed of his bonds. He asked Timothy to come as soon as possible and to bring Mark with him. But best of all, the Lord came to Paul and encouraged him! No matter what His people may do, Jesus will never leave you or forsake you (Acts 18:9–11; Heb. 13:5–6). - Warren Wiersbe [ref]
 

QuoteWorthy: Better Safe Than Sorry
It is always better to be in danger for a moment and safe for eternity, than to be safe for a moment and jeopardize eternity. - William Barclay [ref]

2 TIMOTHY 4:9 - Paul and His Coworkers (vv. 9-13)
A PRINCIPLE TO LIVE BY
A Loyal Friend

When even those we’ve loved and trusted fail to be true and loyal friends, we are to focus on the Lord Jesus Christ who will never forsake us. (see 2 Timothy 4:9-18) [ref]

Make every effort to come to me soon (2 Timothy 4:9)
Here we find a testimony to human friendship. As one commentator explains:

 
The same apostle who has set his love and hope upon the coming of Christ [2 Timothy 4:8], nevertheless also longs for the coming of Timothy. ‘I long night and day to see you,’ he has written at the beginning of his letter, ‘that I may be filled with joy’ [2 Timothy 1:4]. The two longings are not incompatible. One sometimes meets super-spiritual people who claim that they never feel lonely and have no need of human friends, for the companionship of Christ satisfies all their needs. But human friendship is the loving provision of God for mankind. It was God himself who said in the beginning: ‘it is not good that the man should be alone’ (Gn. 2:18). Wonderful as are both the presence of the Lord Jesus every day and the prospect of his coming on the last day, they are not intended to be a substitute for human friendships. [ref]
 

What's more, it was the custom of the day "for close friends to come by and visit a dying person a final time, and this principle applied above all else to a son, even an adopted or surrogate son [2 Timothy 1:2]. (Sons normally also buried their fathers, but the officials might be reticent to hand Paul’s body over to Timothy.) It was especially important to Paul that Timothy be with him before he died." [ref]

BackToText

2 TIMOTHY 4:10 - Paul and His Coworkers (vv. 9-13)

Demas, having loved this present world, has deserted me (2 Timothy 4:10)
"It is wrong to conclude from this that Demas ceased to be a Christian and had renounced the name of the Lord. He, with love for the present age in his soul, would avoid the cross and its shame, and therefore abandoned Paul." [ref] Demas was unwilling "to stay with Paul, and subject himself to the probabilities of martyrdom; and, in order to secure his life, he departed to a place of safety." [ref] "Demas was once almost a martyr, he was upon the very edge of suffering, but now you see he goeth back to the world again; he is not content to lie in the dungeon and rot with Paul, but will rather seek his own ease." [ref]

Because "nowhere is there a word about the restoration of Demas," some commentators believe he should be placed in the same general category as those condemned in Matthew 7:22-23. [ref] (But was Demas's sin any worse than that of the apostles when they abandoned Jesus on the night of his betrayal [Matthew 26:45/Mark 14:50]?) Whether or not this is so, we find in Demas an example of the truism that faithfulness in ministry today in no way guarantees faithfulness in ministry tomorrow. In order to remain faithful in ministry, we need to be in it for the long haul, including being willing to suffer severe hardship for the Gospel.

A
P
P
L
I
C
A
T
I
O
N
LOVING THIS WORLD

There are two ways to love the world. God loves the world as he created it and as it could be if it were rescued from evil. Others, like Demas, love the world as it is, sin and all. Do you love the world as it could be if justice were done, the hungry were fed, and people loved one another? Or do you love what the world has to offer -- wealth, power, pleasure -- even if gaining it means hurting people and neglecting the work God has given you to do?

Demas's example reminds us that each of us is vulnerable to enticements of comfort and pleasure. To resist worldly desires, we must

  • Remind ourselves that the world is not our home: we are literally just passing through.
  • Refocus our minds on our mission in this life to represent Jesus Christ in all we do and say.
  • Return to the basic truth that we have been bought with a price; Christ is our Savior, and we require salvation.
  • Request the Spirit's help to restrain our self-centered impulses.
- Life Application Bible Commentary on the New Testament [ref]

Crescens (has gone) to Galatia (2 Timothy 4:10)
Tradition tells us that Crescens became "bishop of Chalcedon in Gaul, and founder of the Churches of Vienne and Mayence." [ref]

Titus to Dalmatia (2 Timothy 4:10)
Dalmatia is today's Yugoslavia. [ref] [ref] It is "[a]nother name for the Roman province of Illyricum, the westernmost province reached by Paul on his first three missionary journeys (Rom. 15:19)." [ref]

"It is supposed that Titus joined Paul at Nicopolis (Titus 3:12) and accompanied him to Rome, and then went to Dalmatia to preach the gospel there." [ref]

As one commentator conjectures: "Paul does not mention the reason why Titus had gone there; but it is not improbable that he had gone to preach the gospel, or to visit the churches which Paul had planted in that region. The apostle does not suggest that he was deserving of blame for having gone, and it can hardly be supposed that Titus would have left him at this time without his concurrence. Perhaps, when he permitted him to go, he did not know how soon events would come to a crisis with him; and as a letter would more readily reach Timothy at Ephesus, than Titus in Dalmatia, he requested him to come to him, instead of directing Titus to return."  [ref]

"If Timothy came overland to see Paul (2 Tim 4:13), he would probably pass through at least Thessalonia and Dalmatia (the latter on the Adriatic coast), and Paul gives him advance notice that he would find some of his former companions in this area." [ref]

D
I
G
G
I
N
G

D
E
E
P
E
R
DEMAS, CRESCENS, TYCHICUS, CARPUS, ALEXANDER THE COPPERSMITH

Demas

One of Paul’s associates who was with him during one of his imprisonments. Little is known about Demas beyond the brief information given in the NT. Initially he supported Paul’s ministry and was mentioned in the salutations of Paul’s letters to the Colossians (Col 4:14) and to Philemon (Philm 1:24). However, in 2 Timothy 4:10 Paul writes that Demas deserted him because of his love for the present world. [ref]


Crescens

A companion of Paul in his last imprisonment (2 Tim. 4:10). He is said to have left the apostle and gone to Galatia, which could refer to Phrygian Galatia or to Gaul. If the latter (which is implied by the textual variant Gallian in several MSS), then this detail, taken with the mission of Titus to Dalmatia in the same context, seems to indicate that as Paul’s life ended, his comrades were penetrating the W[est] with the gospel. Traditions associating Crescens with the churches of Vienne and Mayence are probably no more than inferences from this passage. [ref]


Tychicus

One of the brethren who accompanied Paul in his deputation for the offering for the Jerusalem church (Acts 20:4). Determining whether Tychicus accompanied Paul all the way to Jerusalem or whether he stayed in Miletus when Paul stopped there to greet the Ephesian elders is difficult. Though Acts 21:8 speaks of “Paul’s company” (KJV) as if all of the delegation remained with him, the fact that Tychicus is not mentioned with Trophimus in the Jews’ charge against Paul would seem to indicate that Tychicus was not in Jerusalem [Acts 21:29]. Since he is often mentioned with Trophimus, Tychicus was likely also a native of Ephesus. He served as the courier for Paul’s letter to Ephesus (Eph 6:21), as well as Paul’s letters to Philemon and the Colossians (Col 4:7). Most believe that he was also one of the two brethren (with Trophimus) who accompanied Titus in the delivery of 2 Corinthians (2 Cor 8:16–24). Paul mentions Tychicus twice in his later letters, first sending him to Crete to be with Titus (Ti 3:12), and later mentioning to Timothy that he had sent Tychicus to Ephesus so that he was no longer with him (2 Tim 4:12). Evidently Tychicus and Paul were close friends as well as fellow workers since Paul frequently refers to Tychicus as a “beloved brother.” [ref]


Carpus

The friend with whom Paul left his cloak at Troas. From the prison in which he was confined (cf. 2 Tim. 1:8), Paul asks Timothy, among several other requests, to return the cloak to him. The incident indicates that Paul must have been well acquainted with the family of Carpus. He was presumably one of Paul’s converts; and the apostle must have lodged with him and also have had considerable confidence in him, since he committed to his care not only the cloak but also his books and parchments. [ref] (According to tradition, Carpus became bishop of Berytus at Thrace. [ref])


Alexander the coppersmith

Paul warns Timothy to beware of this man, who had done much harm to Paul and had strongly opposed the message of the gospel. Some equate this Alexander with the apostate Alexander of 1 Timothy 1:20 who, with Hymenaeus, was mentioned as having shipwrecked his faith because of his rejection of conscience (1 Tim 1:20). Paul states that he had “delivered [them] to Satan that they may learn not to blaspheme.” [ref]

BackToText

2 TIMOTHY 4:11 - Paul and His Coworkers (vv. 9-13)

Only Luke is with me (2 Timothy 4:11)
"It has been inferred from this that Luke was the amanuensis who wrote this letter." [ref] [ref] [ref]

"Only Luke, the beloved physician, remained with him, and no doubt he ministered in every way to the comfort of Paul." [ref]

That said, "we are not to understand that Paul is all alone, for 2 Timothy 4:21 indicates there were a number of other friends with him. Luke was the only fellow-worker of those several who labored with Paul, who yet remained in Rome." [ref]

Pick up Mark (2 Timothy 4:11)
"Paul had long ago changed his opinion of Mark (Colossians 4:10) because Mark had changed his conduct and had made good in his ministry. Now Paul longs to have the man that he once scornfully rejected (Acts 15:37)." [ref] "Coming from Asia Minor in the vicinity of Ephesus, Timothy could take the route to the port town of Troas and from there take the road around to Macedonia and make his way to Rome." [ref]

useful to me for service (2 Timothy 4:11)
"The context indicates that when Paul uses the term ministry or service, he is thinking of kingdom-work, service in the interest of the gospel, and does not merely mean, 'He can perform certain duties to make life easier for me personally.'" [ref]

"It is characteristic of St. Paul that he should not regard 'the ministry which he had received from the Lord Jesus' as 'accomplished' so long as he had breath to 'testify the gospel of the grace of God' (Acts 20:24)." [ref]

What's more, if Paul "suspected that there was on the part of Mark any lingering apprehension that the great apostle was not entirely reconciled to him, or retained a recollection of what had formerly occurred, nothing would be more natural than that, at this trying time of his life, Paul should summon him to his side, and express toward him the kindest emotions. It would soothe any lingering irritation in the mind of Mark, to receive such a message." [ref

"There's a lesson in these few words. We should allow people to grow up and not hold them back from ministry or leadership for faults in the past that have now been corrected. When we encourage someone and open our minds to the possibility that he or she has changed and matured, we may be salvaging a significant ministry. Mark went on not only to be Paul's good friend and a trusted Christian leader (Colossians 4:10; Philemon 1:24), but he also wrote the Gospel of Mark." [ref]

D
I
G
G
I
N
G

D
E
E
P
E
R
MARK & HIS GOSPEL

John Mark ("John" is a Hebrew name meaning "God is gracious; "Mark"/"Marcus" is a Roman name meaning "larger hammer"). [ref]

Besides the early Church's testimony that Mark served as the apostle Peter's "interpreter" ("a term meaning something like 'private secretary' and aide-de-camp" [ref]), Mark had firsthand knowledge of the leaders of the early Church and the Gospel they espoused:

  • Mark was the cousin of Barnabas (Colossians 4:10), a leader in the early Church.
  • Mark came from a wealthy family who were among the first in Jerusalem to become Christians, and whose home served as a meeting place for believers (a house church) (Acts 12:11-13).
  • He was a traveling companion of the apostle Paul during Paul's first missionary journey (c. A.D. 46–48) (Acts 12:25; 13:5).
  • However, because Mark had abandoned Paul and Barnabas (Acts 13:13), Paul refused to take him along on the next trip (c. A.D. 49–52), a decision that created a rift between he and Barnabas. The latter took John Mark and headed in a different direction (Acts 15:36-39)..
  • At some point Paul and Mark were reconciled, since Paul later speaks highly of him (Colossians 4:10-11; 2 Timothy 4:11; Philemon 24).

Mark was a companion of the apostle Peter and may even have been converted by him (see 1 Peter 5:13). It is  believed that Mark's gospel is based on Peter's sermons and recollections regarding Jesus, and it is obvious that Mark chose to present his material thematically rather than chronologically. Mark's gospel was held in high esteem immediately after it was written (because of Peter's authority, plus its endorsement by the Christian church at Rome), but it did fall out of favor once the longer and smoother gospels of Matthew and Luke arrived on the scene. [ref]

Tradition tells us that John Mark went on to establish churches in Alexandria (Egypt), he was martyred, and his remains were carried to Venice and placed under the Church of St. Mark. [ref] [ref] [ref]

Mark wrote his gospel for the (Gentile) Christians living in and around Rome during the persecution under Emperor Nero. Mark sought both to encourage and to equip them by reminding them of who Jesus Christ is and what it means to follow him.

"The Gospel of Mark teaches about the person and acts of God as revealed in the words and works of his Son, Jesus Christ. In his ministry, defined as good news (gospel), Jesus as the Christ fulfills the promises of the Old Testament  concerning the Davidic Messiah-King in a unique way as the Son of God." [ref] In Mark's historical narrative we learn that Jesus: was empowered by God's Spirit; proclaimed God's good news; announced God's kingdom; called for "repentance and belief in that good news";  suffered and died to ransom us from sin; and was raised back to life. [ref]

The setting for Mark's gospel is the persecution of Christians under Emperor Nero in Rome, beginning A.D. 65. (The date and circumstances of writing are not absolutely certain. Most Bible scholars argue for a date of A.D. 65–70, in which case Nero's persecution would have been a major reason for Mark's writing. This seems the best guess considering all the known facts. Some scholars, however, argue for a date as early as A.D. 45–50.

"In A.D. 64 a fire broke out at the Circus Maximus in Rome. It spread quickly, devouring everything in its path. Fanned by the wind, it raged for more than five days and devastated a large area of the city before being brought under control. At the time Nero was at Antium, his birthplace, some 33 miles to the south. He rushed to Rome to organize relief work. Because of his evil record, however, people put stock in the rumor that Nero had set the fire himself. Nero, in turn, found a scapegoat in the Christians, whom he charged with the crime. Many were persecuted." [ref] It was during this period that both Paul and Peter were put to death. As one source notes: "Writing in the last two or three years of Nero's life, when the Jewish rebellion was in its early stages, when persecution of Christians was severe, and when many 'prophets' and 'deliverers' were making themselves known, the Markan evangelist puts forward Jesus as the true son of God, in whom the good news for the world truly has its beginning." [ref]

Mark's book is a gospel narrative centering on the words and works of Jesus Christ. Jesus' public ministry began in A.D. 29 and ended in A.D. 33. Mark opens his narrative by placing the Gospel within its proper historical context: Old Testament prophets => John the Baptist => Jesus. The nation of Israel had long anticipated God's Messiah and the deliverance he would offer; the "good news" was that he had finally arrived. As one source summarizes: "Since the usage and associations of the term in the Synoptics coincide with those in Isaiah, it is likely that the meaning of gospel has its roots in this message of restoration and healing for the helpless. The preaching of the "good news" is collocated with the kingdom in both the Synoptics (Mark 1:14–15; Matthew 4:23; 9:35; Luke 4:43; 8:1; 16:16) and in Isaiah (Isaiah 40:9–10; 52:7) and so also with healing in both the Synoptics (Matthew 4:23; 9:35; 11:5; Luke 7:22; 9:6) and in Isaiah (Isaiah 61:1; 26:19; 29:18; 35:5–6)." [ref]

Mark's is actually one of four separate but related gospels, the others having been written by Matthew, Luke and John. Because their subject (Jesus) is unique, in many ways theirs is a unique type of literature. Their basic style, however, reflects a type of biography popular at the time. These biographies of philosophers or writers (rather than generals or politicians) "were shaped over a skeleton chronology running from their birth, or entrance on the stage of public history, to their death, interrupted here and there by topical excursions." [ref] The gospel writers (or "evangelists") present us with a series of snapshots of the life and times of Jesus, culminating with his death, resurrection, and promised future return.

Mark's is "a biography charged with energy" [ref] - it emphasizes action and climaxes with Jesus' crucifixion. [ref] Mark's frequent use of the word "immediately" (40 x) "adds to the rapid flow of his narrative, which, dwelling more on Jesus' activity than on his discourses (in contrast to Matthew and Luke), shifts from scene to scene with hardly a pause." [ref] As one source puts it, it is as if Mark "rushes on in a kind of breathless attempt to make the story as vivid to others as it is to himself," [ref] the end result being what has been called "essentially a transcript from life." [ref]  Besides showing Jesus in action, Mark includes quite a number of details appropriate to an eyewitness account - "details of persons, times, numbers, and places." [ref] Although such intimate details may be unimportant in and of themselves, nonetheless they offer additional proof of authenticity since they are what an "eyewitness would have been likely to recall later when he related the mighty works and words of Jesus and the decisive reactions of those present." [ref] As one source puts it: "Mark's Gospel throbs with life and bristles with vivid details. We see with Peter's eyes and catch almost the very look and gesture of Jesus as he moved among men in his work of healing men's bodies and saving men's souls." [ref]

- AC21DOJ [ref] (condensed/extracted from longer article)

Also see: The Gospel According to Mark

D
I
G
G
I
N
G

D
E
E
P
E
R
DOCTOR LUKE

Contracted from Lucanus, as Silas is contracted from Silvanus. A slave name. As Luke was a "physician," a profession often exercised by slaves and freedmen, he may have been a freedman. Eusebius (H.E. iii. 4) states that Antioch was his native city. He was of Gentile parentage before he became a Christian; as appears from Colossians 4:11,14: "Luke the beloved physician" (one of "my fellow workers unto the kingdom of God which have been a comfort unto me") is distinguished from those "of the circumcision."

That he was not of "the seventy" disciples, as Epiphanius (Haer. i. 12) reports, is clear from his preface in which he implies he was not an" eye witness"; the tradition arose perhaps from his Gospel alone recording the mission of the seventy. His history in Acts is first joined with that of Paul at Troas (Acts 16:10), where the "we" implies that the writer was then Paul's companion. He accompanied the apostle in his journey to Jerusalem and Rome, at Paul's first Roman imprisonment "Luke my fellow labourer," Philemon (Philemon 1:24) written from Rome, as also Colossians (Colossians 4:14); also in Paul's last imprisonment there, when others forsook him Luke remained faithful (2 Timothy 1:15; 4:11 "only Luke is with me".) His death by martyrdom between A.D. 75 and 100 is generally reported.

- Andrew Robert Fausset [ref]


The date and circumstances of his conversion are unknown. According to his own statement (Luke 1:2), he was not an “eye-witness and minister of the word from the beginning.” It is probable that he was a physician in Troas, and was there converted by Paul, to whom he attached himself. He accompanied him to Philippi, but did not there share his imprisonment, nor did he accompany him further after his release in his missionary journey at this time (Acts 17:1). On Paul's third visit to Philippi (Acts 20:5, 6) we again meet with Luke, who probably had spent all the intervening time in that city, a period of seven or eight years. From this time Luke was Paul's constant companion during his journey to Jerusalem (Acts 20:6-21:18). He again disappears from view during Paul's imprisonment at Jerusalem and Caesarea, and only reappears when Paul sets out for Rome (Acts 27:1), whither he accompanies him (Acts 28:2, 12-16), and where he remains with him till the close of his first imprisonment (Philemon 1:24; Colossians 4:14). The last notice of the “beloved physician” is in 2 Timothy 4:11.

There are many passages in Paul's epistles, as well as in the writings of Luke, which show the extent and accuracy of his medical knowledge.

- M. G. Easton [ref]

BackToText

2 TIMOTHY 4:12 - Paul and His Coworkers (vv. 9-13)

Tychicus I have sent to Ephesus (2 Timothy 4:12)
"Tychicus is bearer of the letter, a mutual traveling companion of Paul and Timothy (Acts 20:4; Col 4:7). Because the only Roman mail service was by imperial envoys for government use, personal mail had to be carried by travelers." [ref] It seems Paul intended Tychicus to oversee the Ephesian churches while Timothy was visiting Paul in Rome. [ref] [ref] [ref] [ref] [ref] [ref] Tradition tells us that Tychicus became "bishop of Colophonia or of Chalcedon." [ref]

As one commentator explains in some detail:

 
Tychicus (Greek proper name, meaning “fortuitous”) was a beloved brother, faithful minister and fellow-servant in the gospel, a man worthy of all confidence. He was one of several intimate friends who had accompanied the apostle when at the close of his third missionary journey he was returning from Greece through Macedonia into Asia, with the purpose of going to Jerusalem on a charitable mission (Acts 20:4). Also later, during the first Roman imprisonment, Tychicus had been with Paul. He had been commissioned by the apostle to carry to their destinations the epistle to the Ephesians, the one to the Colossians, and probably also the one to Philemon. He was, moreover, the right person to supply the necessary “atmosphere” -- more detailed information about Paul's circumstances -- so that the letters which he delivered could be understood all the more readily (Ephesians 6:21; Colossians 4:7). During the interval between the first and second Roman imprisonments Tychicus is again (or still) working in close cooperation with Paul. And now, during the second Roman imprisonment, Paul finds that Tychicus is the logical person to send to Ephesus with this letter (2 Timothy). In addition, he is also the right man to serve for a while as director of affairs in the churches of Asia Minor, as a substitute for Timothy during the latter's absence, which would be of rather lengthy duration, since Timothy would not be able to return to Ephesus until at least April (see on verse 2 Timothy 4:21). [ref]
 

BackToText

2 TIMOTHY 4:13 - Paul and His Coworkers (vv. 9-13)

bring the cloak (2 Timothy 4:13)
This refers to "a circular cape which fell down below the knees, with an opening for the head in the centre" [ref]; "a kind of blanket of coarse wool that was used as an outer garment to protect against the cold and the rain. It had a hole in the middle for the head to pass through. There were no sleeves." [ref]

"It is touching to note that Paul, who could have become a rich Pharisee, was willing instead to suffer the loss of all things for Christ (Philippians 3:8), ending up in a cold, filthy, damp Roman dungeon next to the Tiber River, needing a cloke just to keep warm in the coming winter (2 Timothy 4:21). But he would soon receive a crown!" [ref]

which I left at Troas (2 Timothy 4:13)
"Perhaps St. Paul had been arrested at Troas, and had not been allowed to take his cloak, etc." [ref] [ref] [ref] [ref] Or perhaps he had otherwise been in a hurry to leave and so had left behind the heavy (and at that time of year not needed [ref]) cloak, as well as the heavy books and parchments. [ref] [ref]

"Paul apparently expects Timothy to journey northward to Troas, from which he would cross over to Macedonia and take the main Roman road through Thessalonica and to Dalmatia, sailing thence to Italy." [ref]

the books, especially the parchments (2 Timothy 4:13)
A "book" (Greek biblion) is "a document consisting of a scroll or book -- ‘scroll, roll, book.’" [ref] Here in 2 Timothy 4:13 "the books" probably refers to "papyrus rolls. One can only guess what rolls the old preacher longs to have with him, probably copies of Old Testament books, possibly copies of his own letters, and other books used and loved. The old preacher can be happy with his books." [ref] [ref] [ref] "It is worthy of remark that even Paul did not travel without books, and that he found them in some way necessary for the work of the ministry." [ref] What's more, if these were indeed Paul's own writings, then doubtless he was anxious to "transmit them to the faithful, so that they might have the teaching of his writings when he should be gone." [ref]

A "parchment" (Greek membrana) is "a sheet of specially prepared animal skin on which one could write with pen and ink -- ‘parchment.’ In 2 Tm 4:13 the reference may be to documents written on parchment or to blank sheets of parchment. Sheets of parchment were either sewn together in long scrolls or, in later developments, bound together into book form." [ref] Here in 2 Timothy 4:13 "the parchments" refers to "[t]he dressed [animal] skins [which] were first made at Pergamum and so termed 'parchments.' These in particular would likely be copies of Old Testament books, parchment being more expensive than papyrus, possibly even copies of Christ’s sayings (Luke 1:1-4). We recall that in Acts 26:24 Festus referred to Paul’s learning. He would not waste his time in prison." [ref] [ref] [ref]

It is possible that "especially the parchments" is Paul's way of specifying which books he wants: "that is, those made of parchment." [ref]

"[The parchments] may have included documents proving [Paul's] Roman citizenship, or other materials for his defence." [ref] Along those same lines, one commentator notes:

 
There has been much surmising regarding these documents, and many questions have been asked as to why Paul needed them. It is generally supposed that the parchments were a copy of the LXX. Whatever these book rolls may have contained, our personal guess is that Paul did not want them for personal reading or study but as aids in his trial, to lay before the court as evidence that he was teaching no religio illicita, but a religion that was as legitimate legally as that of the Jews because it used the identical sacred writings as its source. These his own book rolls which he had used for many a year were the ones he needed and not some others that were borrowed from other Christians, say from the elders of the church at Rome. Of these “the parchments” would be most valuable if they were, indeed, a copy of the LXX. [ref]
 

"There is an interesting historical parallel to Paul's request. William Tyndale, who translated the first NT printed in English, was imprisoned in Vilvorde Castle near Brussels before his execution in 1536. In the year preceding his death he wrote to the governor, begging for warmer clothing, a woolen shirt, and above all his Hebrew Bible, grammar, and dictionary." [ref] [ref]

BackToText

2 TIMOTHY 4:14 - An Enemy of the Gospel (vv. 14-15)

Alexander the coppersmith did me much harm (2 Timothy 4:14)
"Coppersmith" (Greek chalkeus) refers to "a worker in any kind of metals" [ref]: "one who makes objects out of brass, bronze, copper, or other metals -- ‘coppersmith, metalworker.’" [ref]

Paul's report is meant to serve as a warning to Timothy regarding Alexander. [ref] "Why mention Alexander the coppersmith at this particular time? It was either because Alexander was on his way to Ephesus and would give Timothy trouble when he arrived, or that Timothy would meet him in Rome and would need preparation and warning." [ref]

The harm done to Paul most likely took place at Ephesus, Troas, or Rome. [ref] [ref] It is even possible that Alexander "stirred up the Gentile and Jewish unbelievers in Rome, and perhaps caused Paul’s second imprisonment." [ref] [ref]

the Lord will repay him according to his deeds (2 Timothy 4:14)
"If God is a moral governor; if sin is a reality; those who know themselves to be on God’s side cannot help a feeling of joy in knowing that evil will not always triumph over good. The sentiment comes from Deuteronomy 32:35, as quoted in Romans 12:19" [ref] and "echoes the Old Testament consolation of the righteous who suffer in the midst of the prospering wicked (Psalms 28:4; 62:12; Proverbs 24:12; Romans 12:17-21)." [ref]

"Paul here makes a prediction (future tense) rather than a prayer for vengeance (cf. Ps 52:5; 55:23; 63:9–10; 73:17–20; etc.); nevertheless, his point is that God will put things right on behalf of his servants in the end." [ref]

A
P
P
L
I
C
A
T
I
O
N
HANDLING HURTS

Paul's statement, "May the Lord repay him," is more a prediction or prophecy of what will happen than a prayer cursing Alexander. Paul exemplified one of the toughest tasks a Christian may have to do -- to leave his or her hurt with the Lord.

When others oppose us and undercut our authority, our leadership, or even our friendship, our natural response is to want revenge. Yet revenge and vindictiveness do the most damage to us. Our anger and bitterness cut us off from God's supply of power and love. Each person who hurts us must stand and give account before the Lord for his or her actions.

Let go of your hurt and leave the judgment up to God.

- Life Application Bible Commentary on the New Testament [ref]

BackToText

2 TIMOTHY 4:15 - An Enemy of the Gospel (vv. 14-15)

Be on guard against him (2 Timothy 4:15)
It may be that Alexander is either already in the vicinity of Ephesus [ref], or he will be returning there soon. [ref] On the other hand, Alexander may be in Rome and will seek to waylay Timothy when he comes to visit Paul. [ref]

In any event, Timothy's guarding against him would include Timothy's taking "the necessary precautions so that he will know what to say and what to do if and when he should be confronted with Alexander. And, prayer being at all times the best prophylactic, let him pray about this matter, in order that the proper words may be given to him when he needs them, and the proper actions may be suggested to him." [ref]

he vigorously opposed our teaching (2 Timothy 4:15)
"Our teaching" could refer to "the logoi or statements made ... before the court at the time of the hearing. ... the statements made at the trial on our side, on the side of the defense, over against 'their own' statements, those on the side of the prosecution. ... Alexander, who was either the chief and most violent witness for the prosecution or the complainant and accuser, brought the strongest contradictions, severely and meanly damaging Paul’s case in the eyes of the court." [ref]

BackToText

2 TIMOTHY 4:16 - The Lord's Help (vv. 16-18)

Apparently "Paul was greatly influenced and encoiuraged by" [ref] Psalm 22, which is the same Psalm from which Jesus quoted while on the cross. As one commentator notes:

 
One of the curious things about [2 Timothy 4:16-22] is the number of reminiscences of [Psalm 22:1-31].
  • "Why hast thou forsaken me? -- all forsook me."
  • "There is none to help -- no one was there to stand by me."
  • "Save me from the mouth of the lion -- I was rescued from the mouth of the lion."
  • "All the ends of the earth shall turn to the Lord -- that the Gentiles might hear it."
  • "Dominion belongs to the Lord -- The Lord will save me for his heavenly kingdom."
It seems certain that the words of this psalm were running in Paul's mind. And the lovely thing is that this was the psalm which was in the mind of Jesus when he hung upon his Cross. As Paul faced death, he encouraged his heart with the same psalm as his Lord used in the same circumstances. [ref] (bullets added)
 

At my first defense (2 Timothy 4:16)
This refers to "[e]ither the first stage in this trial or the previous trial and acquittal at the end of the first Roman imprisonment. Probably the first view is correct." [ref] (Paul's first Roman imprisonment may have ended when, in accordance with Roman custom, he was "automatically released without trial at the end of two years." [ref]) Assuming this is so, "St. Paul is here referring to the preliminary investigation (prima actio) which he underwent after he arrived at Rome a prisoner for the second time, and which resulted in his remand. He was now writing to Timothy during the interval between his remand and the second, and final, trial." [ref] [ref] [ref] [ref]

"In the Roman legal system, an accused person received two hearings: the prima actio, much like a contemporary arraignment, established the charge and determined if there was a need for a trial. The secunda actio then established the accused’s guilt or innocence." [ref] At the prima actio "it was common to hear advocates for the accused." [ref]

no one supported me, but all deserted me (2 Timothy 4:16)
Here "supported" (Greek paraginomai) is used in a technical sense referring to "a defense lawyer or advocate." [ref]

As one commentator explains well:

 
When Paul says that no one was at his side but that all abandoned him he does nor refer to witnesses but to assistants such as the Roman courts allowed. These appeared in the capacity of patroni et amici of the accused, to stand by him at the trial, to lend their prestige before the court. These had to be men of importance and influence, whose word and whose action in favor of the defendant would have weight with the court to incline the judge either toward acquittal or toward mitigation of the severity of the sentence. ... Alas, at this first hearing not a single man of this kind had the courage to appear at Paul’s side, all abandoned him.

If we understand the function of such patrons in a Roman court we see that men like Luke, Tychicus, or any of Paul’s own assistants, and men like those named in [2 Timothy 4:21] were not competent to act in this capacity. It is not necessary, therefore, to offer excuses for them as some do. None of these men had sufficient, yea, any standing with the imperial court. We have no means of knowing to whom Paul refers when he writes: “all abandoned me.” All we know is that several men, whether they were Christians or non-Christians, could have acted as patrons for Paul but failed to do so. Their reason was, we may be sure, the nature of the indictment against Paul and the great danger of acting as a patron before the court in behalf of a man who was under such an indictment. [ref]
 

That said, the departure or abandonment merely serves as the backdrop to Paul's main point. "Paul is emphasizing how the Lord was near (see Acts 23:11; 27:23), that he gave the necessary strength (Phil 4:13), and that therefore, though all had departed, in the Lord's strength alone he has been able to continue the work given to him: making the gospel known to all the Gentiles" [ref] (see 2 Timothy 4:17).

may it not be counted against them (2 Timothy 4:16)
The implication is that the guilt will fall on "those who had deterred the godly from standing by [Paul]." [ref] As one source explains: "The position of 'their,' in the Greek, is emphatic. 'May it not be laid to THEIR charge,' for they were intimidated; their drawing back from me was not from bad disposition so much as from fear; it is sure to be laid to the charge of those who intimidated them." [ref]

BackToText

2 TIMOTHY 4:17 - The Lord's Help (vv. 16-18)

the Lord stood with me (2 Timothy 4:17)
Meaning: "Though all 'men' forsook me, yet 'God' did not. This expresses a universal truth in regard to the faithfulness of God (see Psalms 27:10; compare Job 5:17-19; Isaiah 14:1-2)." [ref]

strengthened me (2 Timothy 4:17)
Meaning: "Poured power into me." [ref] God's strength "is always available. There is no need to give in or give up." [ref]

that through me the proclamation might be fully accomplished, and that all the Gentiles might hear (2 Timothy 4:17)
Assuming Paul is speaking of his current imprisonment and trial, he may be referring "to the rulers in Rome now." [ref] (If he is speaking of his first imprisonment, then he may be referring to "his release and going to Spain." [ref]) "Rome was the capital of the Gentile world, so that a proclamation of the truth to the Romans was likely to go forth to the rest of the Gentile world." [ref]

As one commentator explains: "The basilicas were buildings of great size so that a vast multitude of spectators was always present at any trial which excited public interest. Before such an audience it was that Paul was now called to speak in his defense. His earthly friends had deserted him, but his heavenly Friend stood by him. He was strengthened by the power of Christ’s Spirit and pleaded the cause, not of himself only, but of the gospel. He spoke of Jesus, of his death and his resurrection, so that all the heathen multitude may hear." [ref]

that through me the proclamation might be fully accomplished (2 Timothy 4:17)
Neither the cold shoulder given him by some nor the cold and damp of his prison cell could dampen "Paul’s courage in proclaiming the gospel." [ref]

that all the Gentiles might hear (2 Timothy 4:16)
"[Paul's] one thought always was that the gospel should be heard by men, whether they would hear or forbear. If that were secured, he did not count the cost to himself." [ref]

"Paul was able to speak before many Gentiles at his first trial, and the word of this would spread throughout the whole Roman Empire, especially to Gentile Christians!" [ref] Just as a pebble tossed in the center of a lake creates waves that ripple out for quite some distance, Paul's proclaiming the Gospel in an open and official setting within Rome could/would cause the Gospel to ripple out and encompass countless Gentiles. As one commentator puts it: "We annex a territory by the mere act of planting our country’s flag on a small portion of its soil; so in St. Paul’s thought a single proclamation of the gospel might have a spiritual, almost a prophetical, significance, immeasurably greater than could be imagined by one who heard it." [ref] And as another commentator explains: "Paul was at this time in Rome. His trial was before a pagan tribunal, and he was surrounded by Pagans. Rome, too, was then the center of the world, and at all times there was a great conflux of strangers there. His trial, therefore, gave him an opportunity of testifying to the truth of Christianity before Gentile rulers, and in such circumstances that the knowledge of his sufferings, and of the religion for which he suffered, might be conveyed by the strangers who witnessed it to the ends of the world." [ref]

The above interpretation assumes that "all the Gentiles" refers to "all the Gentiles who were present at Rome at the time of [Paul's] present trial [who] might hear his proclamation of the Gospel in his defence" [ref] -- and go on to share that same Gospel with other Gentiles. (If Paul has in mind his first Roman imprisonment [as recorded in the book of Acts], then he is probably thinking of the events that followed his acquittal at his first trial, including his missionary journey to Spain. [ref])

I was rescued out of the lion's mouth (2 Timothy 4:17)
The "lion" pictured here "cannot mean a literal lion because Paul was a Roman citizen and, if convicted, he could not be thrown to the lions. Instead, he would be executed by being beheaded. Was 'the lion' the Emperor Nero? Probably not. If he had been delivered from Nero, then this meant he was acquitted; yet, he had only had a preliminary first hearing. The lion is a symbol of Satan (1 Peter 5:8). Perhaps Paul was referring to some scheme of the devil to defeat him and hinder the work of the Gospel. To be 'saved from the lion’s mouth' was a proverbial saying which meant 'to be delivered from great danger" (Ps. 22:21).'" [ref]

Here Paul may be alluding "to David’s or Daniel’s exploits of faith in the Old Testament (1 Sam 17:37; Dan 6:27; cf. 1 Macc 2:60); Daniel was sent to the lions by the decree of a king, albeit a reluctant one. The image of a lion in ancient literature is one of supreme strength, appropriately applied here to Nero’s court. Under Nero’s persecution in which Paul died, some Christians were literally fed to beasts in the arena, but Paul uses 'lion' metaphorically, as often in the Old Testament (e.g., Ps 22:13, 21). The term translated 'delivered' meant earthly rescue and safety [2 Timothy 4:17] but was also applied to ultimate salvation [2 Timothy 4:18]." [ref]

QuoteWorthy: Most Real
It’s when we feel let down by a friend who ignores us, disheartened by an illness that strikes us, or abandoned when a loved one leaves us that the Lord becomes most real to us.. - Jon Courson [ref]

BackToText

2 TIMOTHY 4:18 - The Lord's Help (vv. 16-18)

The Lord will rescue me from every evil deed (2 Timothy 4:18)
"Evil" originally meant "full of or oppressed by labors; thence, that which brings annoyance or toil." [ref]

"That thought, deliverance from evil, whether within or without, is more precious to the apostle than any deliverance from danger." [ref] "Paul’s greatest fear was not of death; it was that he might deny his Lord or do something else that would disgrace God’s name. Paul was certain that the time had come for his permanent departure (2 Tim. 4:6). He wanted to end his life-race well and be free from any disobedience." [ref]

This could also mean that "[d]espite every evil attack, [Paul] had complete confidence that God would bring him safely to His heavenly kingdom." [ref] [ref]

His heavenly kingdom (2 Timothy 4:18)
This refers to "the future, glorified life" (compare Matthew 13:43; 25:46; 26:29; Luke 13:29; 1 Corinthians 6:9, 10; 15:50; 2 Peter 1:11). [ref]

Related: Kingdom ... Kingdom of God ... Christ As King

BackToText

2 TIMOTHY 4:19 - Closing Greetings (vv. 19-22)

A
P
P
L
I
C
A
T
I
O
N
WEAVING 101

Paul ended the final chapter in his book and in his life by greeting those who were closest to him. Although Paul had spent most of his life traveling, he had developed close and lasting friendships. Too often we rush through our days, barely touching anyone's life.

  • Do you have a Paul -- a mentor or teacher who provides leadership, accountability, and encouragement?
  • Do you have a Priscilla or Aquila -- a coworker or peer who prays with you in times of stress, loves you, and supports you?
  • Do you have a Timothy -- a younger leader whom you are helping, encouraging, and discipling?

Like Paul, we should take time to weave our lives into others' through close personal relationships.

- Life Application Study Bible [ref] (bullets added)

Prisca and Aquila (2 Timothy 4:20)
This couple "were fellow Christian leaders with whom Paul had lived and worked (see Acts 18:2-3, 18, 26; Romans 16:3; 1 Corinthians 16:19). While in Corinth, Priscilla, Aquila, and Paul had made tents together. Priscilla and Aquila were an itinerant couple who used the freedom and the money provided by their tentmaking skills to carry out a ministry of hospitality and teaching in various places. They had lived in Rome and Corinth. This time they were in Ephesus, undoubtedly helping Timothy with his work." [ref]

As one commentator explains in a bit more detail:

 
Priscilla and Aquila figured prominently in Paul's life. When Paul first arrived in Corinth -- evidently short of funds and disappointed at the meager results of his ministry in Athens -- he found both employment and lodging with Aquila and Priscilla. Like him, they were tentmakers (Acts 18:2, 3). When Paul left Corinth, this couple sailed across the Aegean with him to Ephesus and stayed there (Acts 18:18, 19). They performed a useful function by instructing Apollos (Acts 18:26). From there they, and the church that met in their home, sent greetings to the Christians at Corinth (1 Cor 16:19). Later we apparently find them back in Rome (Rom 16:3); Paul sent greetings to them there and referred (Rom 16:4) to an occasion when they had "risked their lives" for him. But now they are once more in Ephesus. In those days prosperous Jews traveled a great deal from city to city. In four of the six places where Priscilla and Aquila are mentioned, Priscilla's name comes first. Evidently she was the stronger character of the two. It may well be that their moves were due as much to her missionary concern as to her husband's trade. [ref]
 

BackToText

2 TIMOTHY 4:20 - Closing Greetings (vv. 19-22) ... Personal Details (vv. 20-21)

Erastus ... Trophimus (2 Timothy 4:20)
"It is possible that Erastus and Trophimus were with St. Paul when he was arrested the second time, and that they remained in his company as far as Miletus and Corinth respectively." [ref] Miletus was "[a] port city in southwestern Asia Minor. Paul said farewell to the elders of the church in Ephesus at Miletus (Acts 20:15–38)." [ref]

The fact that Paul was forced to leave Trophimus sick reminds us that "[c]ommitment to ministry does not mean immunity to diseases, discouragement, or death. Paul experienced in himself and in his closest associates the realities of serving God in frail human frames under difficult circumstances. Hope, health, and security in this life are always temporary." [ref]

While some Christians believe "divine healing is part of the saints’ inheritance (see Matt. 8:14-17), sometimes we are not healed, even when we have prayed in faith and confessed our faith outwardly. The Bible gives no explicit answers to this puzzle, and the fact that a close associate of an apostle was not healed shows that the dilemma has existed from the early days of the church. Such a fact should never discourage or introduce doubt to our prayers. It should, however, serve as a guard against presumption or condemnation." [ref]

BackToText

2 TIMOTHY 4:21 - Closing Greetings (vv. 19-22) ... Personal Details (vv. 20-21)

Make every effort to come before winter (2 Timothy 4:21)
Meaning: "as quickly as possible: before winter sets in which will make travelling dangerous for you, and when I shall specially need your presence -- and (perhaps) the warm cloak." [ref] [ref] "Timothy was to ensure that he left soon enough to cross the Adriatic Sea before winter weather (November to March) closed it to travel. There was also the matter of getting Paul's winter cloak to him in time to be of use." [ref]

As one source explains: "The seas were closed down to traffic in winter; shipping was completely closed down from around November 10 to as late as March 10, but the periods from about September 15 to November 10 and March 11 to May 26 were risky periods as well. Timothy thus could not sail from Ephesus in winter, but even if he took the overland route north of Greece, as Paul seems to expect (4:13), he would still need to sail across the Adriatic, which was also closed. If Timothy delayed, he would not be able to come until spring -- and Paul might not still be alive then. Paul may have sent this letter by Tychicus in summer, leaving Timothy little time to set matters in order and come to him." [ref]

A
P
P
L
I
C
A
T
I
O
N
RESPOND TO OPPORTUNITIES

Paul’s plea, “Come before winter” (2 Tim. 4:21), is a reminder to us that opportunities do not wait forever. Once the winter season began, Timothy could not travel easily to Rome and see his beloved friend for the last time.

“Before winter or never!” said Dr. Clarence Macartney in his famous sermon “Come Before Winter.” He continued, “There are some things which will never be done unless they are done ‘before winter.’”

Are there opportunities you are neglecting today that may soon vanish forever? Are there people you should contact and decisions you should make? Today is yours; tomorrow may be too late. Come before winter!

- Warren Wiersbe [ref]

Eubulus greets you, also Pudens and Linus and Claudia and all the brethren (2 Timothy 4:21)
The Roman fellowship sends greetings to Timothy. He "may have met previously the four individuals who are singled out from the whole church (three men and a woman -- the last three names are Latin). Or perhaps they were key figures in the church. Early tradition names Linus as bishop of Rome. But nothing more is known of Eubulus, Pudens and Claudia." [ref]

"'Pudens,' 'Linus' and 'Claudia' are Latin names. Jewish people could have Latin names ('Claudia' would fit a slave woman freed during Claudius’s reign), but most Roman Jews had Greek names. Thus three out of four names’ being Latin might suggest that Christianity was making inroads into new sectors of Roman society. If they are church leaders (although only these are named, Paul appends 'all the brethren' as a distinct group), the woman’s name is significant. Second-century tradition declares that Linus succeeded Peter as the second bishop of Rome." [ref]

BackToText

2 TIMOTHY 4:22 - Closing Greetings (vv. 19-22) ... Benediction

The Lord be with your spirit. Grace be with you. (2 Timothy 2:22)
"Here a very close personal association between the Lord and Timothy is prayed for" (compare Galatians 6:18; Philemon 1:25). [ref]

"Be with your spirit" "implies that the spirit of Timothy needs to be strengthened, so that he will fully discharge his ministerial task and in the fulfilment of his duties will even be able to endure suffering for the sake of Christ, and this without protest." [ref]

"Spirit here refers to the spiritual dimension of human life, that dimension in which the Lord communicates and has fellowship through the Holy Spirit (Rom 8.16). This is probably just as much a prayer that Timothy be able to perceive the Lord's presence." [ref]

It may be worth noting that "your" is singular, while "you" is plural. Thus "Paul’s closing benediction is first directed to Timothy and then to his other readers, once again demonstrating that the epistle was designed to be read widely." [ref] [ref] What's more, "[grace] encompasses the whole of God's love and concern for his people. Thus it is a wish that they will continue to draw meaning and purpose from a life lived responsively in this orbit." [ref]

These words were probably written by Paul's own hand ("an autograph blessing") [ref] [ref] and, considering its personal nature, possibly this entire section (2Timothy 4:9-22) as well. [ref]

"It would be difficult to find a better summary than these two sentences of the apostle’s life and ambition. First, he received grace from Christ. Then he returned glory to Christ. ‘From him grace; to him glory.’ In all our Christian life and service we should desire no other philosophy than this." [ref]

Concluding Comments

  • "Shortly after this Letter was written, within a few months at most, Paul had his second hearing, was sentenced to death by execution, was led out of the city at the Ostian Gate to a place called the Three Fountains, and was there beheaded. At least all early tradition [traditional history], and the Fathers, among them Clement, one of his companions, support this view." [ref]
  • "'It is evident that this Epistle was written when the apostle thought his departure near at hand, and when the faith of Christians had grievously declined, which was proved by their having forsaken the apostle. His faith was sustained by grace. He did not hide from himself that all was going wrong: his heart felt it -- was broken by it; he saw that it would grow worse and worse. But his own testimony stood firm; he was strong for the Lord through grace. The strength of the Lord was with him to confess Christ, and to exhort Timothy to so much the more diligent and devoted an exercise of his ministry, because the days were evil' (Synopsis of the Bible)." [ref]
  • "The Bible does not record the final days of Paul. Tradition tells us that he was found guilty and sentenced to die. He was probably taken outside the city and beheaded. But Timothy and the other devoted believers carried on the work! As John Wesley used to say, 'God buries His workmen, but His work goes on.' You and I must be faithful so that (if the Lord does not return soon) future generations may hear the Gospel and have the opportunity to be saved." [ref]
BackToText

*Scripture taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, © Copyright 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. (www.Lockman.org) | **This outline is from The Bible Exposition Commentary, by Warren W. Wiersbe