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Peoples New Testament, 2 Timothy 4

The Last Solemn Charge

SUMMARY OF II TIMOTHY 4: A Charge to Preach the Word. Paul's Time of Departure at Hand. His Blessed Confidence. Timothy Asked to Come. Deserted by Others in the Hour of Trial, Yet the Lord Was with. Him. Parting Salutations.

1   I charge [thee]. How impressive this charge from the weary, war-worn apostle, as he stood on the edge of the grave!
Before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ. The names of God and of Christ are invoked to give it solemnity.
Who shall judge. Christ is named in his capacity of Judge, who shall judge not only Timothy's hearers, but himself.
The quick and the dead. See 1Th 4:15.
At his appearing and his kingdom. This final judgment is placed at the time when Christ shall appear in his kingdom of glory. See Mt 25:31.

2   Preach the word. Proclaim the Word, as a herald of Christ. This is implied in the Greek. The Word is the Gospel and its teachings. Nothing else must be preached. The excellence of the Scriptures has just been mentioned (2Ti 3:16,17). These equip the preacher for his work.
Be instant in season, out of season. Preach on all occasions. Be urgent in the work.

3   For the time will come. Hence, there is need of diligence now.
Sound doctrine. Gospel teaching.
Heap to themselves teachers. Run from one teacher to another; unsettled and restless.
Having itching ears. Ears which seek to be tickled by some new sensation. This class is numerous still.

4   Turn away [their] ears from the truth. It is a moral law, continually illustrated, that those who do not seek truth will receive untruth.

5   Watch thou in all things. Rather, be thou sober, and on the alert. Do not sleep.
Do the work of an evangelist. Preach the gospel and look after the churches.
Make full proof of your ministry. Discharge thy ministry fully.

6   For I am now ready to be offered. "Poured out as a drink offering" (Revised Version, margin) by having his blood shed.
The time of my departure. Death, to Paul, was simply a departure, a leaving the body and this world for a better state.
Is at hand. His death had been predetermined by his enemies, and was near.

7   I have fought a good fight. The figure is drawn from the Grecian games. Literally, "I have striven a good strife".
I have finished [my] course. Drawn from the games also. The race is run to the end.
I have kept the faith. In spite of every opposition and affliction he has remained true.

8   Henceforth there is laid up for me. As the successful competitor in the games receives a crown, so the crown awaited him.
A crown of righteousness. The crown given for righteousness.
The Lord, the righteous judge. He was about to die by the sentence of an unrighteous judge. The higher Judge would reverse the sentence and give him a crown.
And not to me only. All can have the same hope. All who serve him, and would love to see him come as their vest friend, shall have the same crown.

9   Do thy diligence to come shortly unto me. In view of his speedy departure, in view of Paul's need of him.

10  For Demas hath forsaken me. Demas is named in Col 4:14 Phm 1:24 favorably, but in the time of trial has courage failed. Death seemed to threaten, and as he clung to life, he fled.
Crescens. Not named elsewhere.
Titus. Well known as one of Paul's companions. See superscription in 2Co 13:14. See also Ga 2:1 Tit 1:4.
Dalmatia. The district east of the Adriatic in Illyricum, where we know churches were already planted. It is likely he was there by Paul's orders. See Tit 3:12.

11  Only Luke is with me. Of my traveling companions. The old friend is faithful to the last. For more of Luke, see topic 9154.
Take Mark, and bring him with thee. John Mark, so well known. He seems to have been at this date at Ephesus. For more of Mark, see topic 9153.

12  Tychicus have I sent to Ephesus. He probably carried this letter and was to supply Timothy's place. Tychicus is named several times (Ac 20:4 Eph 6:21,24 Col 4:7,18 Tit 3:12).

13  The cloke that I left at Troas. If his imprisonment is prolonged he will need it.
Carpus. Probably his host at Troas.
The books. Manuscripts.
Especially the parchments. Papyrus and parchment were both used for books, and he wishes particularly the latter.

14  Alexander the coppersmith. An Alexander is named as belonging to Ephesus in Ac 19:33 1Ti 1:20. This may have been the same man. We cannot be sure whether the evil was done in Ephesus, or Rome.
Did me much evil. By his opposition.
The Lord reward him according to his works. The Christian, when wronged, is to turn over to the Lord the recompense for the wrong. See Mt 16:27.

15  Of whom be thou ware also. This seems to indicate that Alexander was at Ephesus still.

16  At my first answer. This seems to point to a first hearing of the case, which had then been adjourned, perhaps to wait for witnesses. Then, as now, cases were often postponed, or there were second trials.
No man stood with me. None of his brethren dared to appear in his support. It was the last year of the reign of Nero, and times were terrible.

17  The Lord stood with me, and strengthened me. He had a better helper than man. He had an assurance that the Lord was with him.
That by me ... all the Gentiles might hear. The Lord strengthened him, so that in his defense he could proclaim to the Gentiles boldly the principles of the gospel. For the manner in which he was wont to defend himself, see in his famous speeches before Felix (Ac 11-21), Festus (Ac 25:8,10,11), and Agrippa (Ac 26:2-30).
I was delivered out of the mouth of the lion. Probably a proverbial expression indicating deliverance from great danger. Some have thought it meant that he was delivered from being thrown to the lions.

18  And the Lord shall deliver me. In the future as in the past.
From every evil work. From evil doers.

19  Salute Prisca and Aquila. These tried friends, whom he first met in Corinth, afterwards in Ephesus, who returned also to Rome, were now again in Ephesus.
The household of Onesiphorus. See 2Ti 1:16. Some have thought that this form implies that Onesiphorus was dead, but that does not follow necessarily.

20  Erastus abode at Corinth. Probably his old home (Ro 16:23).
Trophimus. He was an Ephesian (Ac 20:4 21:29).
Have I left at Miletum sick. These personal details were better understood by Timothy than by us, but I suppose this statement is made to explain why Trophimus was not in Rome. This verse proves that this letter does not belong to the date of Paul's first imprisonment, since years have passed between Paul's last visit to Miletus and the first Roman imprisonment.

21  Come before winter. He could not come in the winter because navigation was suspended.
Eubulus. Not before mentioned. It is probable that all these were Roman brethren.
Prudens. He is thought to have been a Roman senator, from data secured outside the New Testament.
Linus. A Linus appears as a bishop of Rome not many years later.
Claudia. It has been argued that this lady was the daughter of a British king, and the wife of Prudens. See Conybeare and Howson.

22  The second [epistle] unto Timotheus. Shortly after this Epistle 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 there was beheaded. At least all early tradition, and the Fathers, among them Clement, one of his companions, support this view.


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The People's New Testament commentary by B.W. Johnson (1891), Public Domain

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