2 Timothy
1-6 Preach the Word 7-15 Personal Circumstances 16-22 Assistance from the Lord and Salutations
Preach the Word

1I 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: 2preach the word; be ready in season [and] out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction. 3For 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, 4and will turn away their ears from the truth and will turn aside to myths. 5But you, be sober in all things, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry. 6For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure has come.

V11I 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:. In the previous verses Paul pointed out to Timothy the situation in Christianity where there is no improvement to be expected, but on the contrary deterioration. In the meantime, after many ages of church history that also appeared. But he also pointed out to Timothy resources for perilous times. He did that in a way from which you also may profit.

Now Timothy is able and has to get down to work. In a penetrating way Paul places Timothy “in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus”, a presence that is reality to Paul himself. He lives before the face of God and of Christ Jesus and not before the face of men. In that way he is like Elijah, who, while he stood before king Ahab, was able to say: “As the LORD, the God of Israel lives, before whom I stand” (1Kgs 17:11Now Elijah the Tishbite, who was of the settlers of Gilead, said to Ahab, “As the LORD, the God of Israel lives, before whom I stand, surely there shall be neither dew nor rain these years, except by my word.”). He wants to give that awareness both to Timothy and also to you too.

The way Paul relates Christ Jesus and God with each other indicates that Christ is God. Then three things of Christ are said that have to do with the fact that He became Man. First of all He “is to judge the living and the dead”. That judgment is given to Him because He is the Son of Man (Jn 5:2727and He gave Him authority to execute judgment, because He is [the] Son of Man.). Then He will visibly appear as Man. Finally He will establish His kingdom.

He will execute the judgment over the living and the dead at different times and at different occasions. He will judge the living when He has appeared on earth and is seated on the throne of His glory. The nations living on earth will appear before Him and be judged by Him (Mt 25:31-4631“But when the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the angels with Him, then He will sit on His glorious throne.32All the nations will be gathered before Him; and He will separate them from one another, as the shepherd separates the sheep from the goats;33and He will put the sheep on His right, and the goats on the left.34“Then the King will say to those on His right, ‘Come, you who are blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.35For I was hungry, and you gave Me [something] to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me [something] to drink; I was a stranger, and you invited Me in;36naked, and you clothed Me; I was sick, and you visited Me; I was in prison, and you came to Me.’37Then the righteous will answer Him, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry, and feed You, or thirsty, and give You [something] to drink?38And when did we see You a stranger, and invite You in, or naked, and clothe You?39When did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’40The King will answer and say to them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, [even] the least [of them], you did it to Me.’41“Then He will also say to those on His left, ‘Depart from Me, accursed ones, into the eternal fire which has been prepared for the devil and his angels;42for I was hungry, and you gave Me [nothing] to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me nothing to drink;43I was a stranger, and you did not invite Me in; naked, and you did not clothe Me; sick, and in prison, and you did not visit Me.’44Then they themselves also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry, or thirsty, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not take care of You?’45Then He will answer them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.’46These will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”). He will judge the dead when He is seated on the great white throne, after His millennial kingdom (Rev 20:11-1211Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat upon it, from whose presence earth and heaven fled away, and no place was found for them.12And I saw the dead, the great and the small, standing before the throne, and books were opened; and another book was opened, which is [the book] of life; and the dead were judged from the things which were written in the books, according to their deeds.).

Allow me to recapitulate the events that are written in this verse:
1. First the Lord Jesus will appear on earth;
2. then He will judge the living, while He is seated on the throne of His glory;
3. then He will establish His kingdom and will reign for thousand years;
4. after which He, being seated on the great white throne, will judge the dead.

For the sake of completeness I mention another judgment that takes place earlier than both these mentioned, namely directly after the rapture of the church (2Cor 5:1010For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may be recompensed for his deeds in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.). There the reward is being paid to the believer according to the measure of faithfulness with which He served the Lord on earth.

As it is said, the charging before the face of two Divine Persons and the three events to come, underline the gravity of the order that must be fulfilled. But it also includes a great encouragement and that is that you may know that the hard times will come to an end when the Lord Jesus, Who is still being rejected, will return in power and majesty. The thought of His coming to judge makes you free from people and delivers you from the fear of men.

V22preach the word; be ready in season [and] out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction.. Against the background of verse 11I 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: the order follows in verse 22preach the word; be ready in season [and] out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction.. The thought of His appearance will not paralyze you, but will actually make you more diligent. When Christ returns He will come with His reward that is determined before the judgment seat. That reward is to be gained by you on earth by using all your efforts and diligence in full devotion to the Lord and to do what He asks of you.

In measured terms Paul tells Timothy what is being expected of him. The whole point is: “Preach the Word.” After the Word of God has become apparent as the equipment of the man of God in the concluding verses of chapter 3 (2Tim 3:16-1716All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness;17so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.), the next step is that it has to be preached. That is a great duty in all times, but certainly when the church has fallen into decay.

‘Preach’ here means openly proclaim, like the imperial herald did. The message to be brought was not made up by the herald himself. Not listening to the message of a herald was a serious matter.

Timothy must always “be ready”. He is supposed to be inwardly always ready to transmit the Word, that is the whole revealed truth of God. He is supposed to be always ready (cf. 1Pet 3:1515but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always [being] ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence;), “in season [and] out of season”, which means whether it is convenient for him or not, or whether the circumstances are favorable or not. He is also supposed to ‘reprove’, that is to deliver the convincing proof of the wrong in doctrine or life (cf. Jn 16:88And He, when He comes, will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment;). When that proof has been delivered then ‘rebuke’ should follow. The rebuking or denouncing, the openly indicating, makes clear how wrong the person has spoken or acted.

Not only courage is needed for that, but also the right mindset. Acting against evil and “exhort” to prevent evil must happen “with great patience”, that is with long-suffering and self-control and not with a quick temper. That must also be accompanied by “instruction” or education. Both with reproving and rebuking and with teaching the doctrine of the Scripture has to be applied. All these actions are to be explained from the Scripture.

Acting on the basis of the Scripture has always been of the greatest importance. As time goes by the importance increases more and more. I hope you are well aware of that or become aware of that. In any case Paul is not to be blamed when you do not consider this.

V33For 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,. He warns us that a time will come that men, namely ‘nominal confessing’ Christians “will not endure sound doctrine”. We have definitely arrived in that time right now. Just tell nominal Christians about ‘the sound doctrine’ of marriage for instance. There is a great chance that they will laugh at you and label you as old fashioned and that your ideas are no more adequate. In that way they reject the doctrine that is sound in itself and in its effect.

They choose for a free experience of sexuality. They do not want to realize that this has been the cause and the spread of a disease like aids. They prefer to hold a ‘Day for aids’ to focus the attention on the problem and they give money in order to overcome this disease themselves. But they have no ears for tackling the root of the problem by starting to live the healthy life in this view, meaning: in accordance with the sound doctrine.

On the contrary, they listen to teachers who say things they love to hear; who bring a message that smoothly enter into their ears. They know a lot of those. They have no lack of variation. A church may then chose or appoint a preacher who has a nice way of preaching. The truthfulness is not important to them, as long as it offers spiritual amusement and it caresses the spiritual emotions. The same happens with people who follow preachers whom they like, without asking themselves whether the preaching is biblical.

V44and will turn away their ears from the truth and will turn aside to myths.. The result of this all will be that such people will look the other way when they really come into contact with the truth. They don’t want to hear the truth at all, but consciously turn their ear away from it time and time again.

The automatic consequence is that they turn themselves under the influence of “myths”. It is actually very ironic if you think that modern, liberal theologians are now trying to ‘demythologize’ the Bible, which means that they indicate the myths in the Bible in order to rob the Bible from its power. They label the miracles of the Bible as myths and they even consider them as fairy tales. But they take refuge in the myths themselves by turning away from the truth.

Paul dismisses all the expressions of modern thinkers and preachers, who base their allegations on science, with one word: fables. A quite recent example of a fable, a myth, is the Da Vinci Code, a book that is full of ridiculous religious mysteries, distortions of the truth and blasphemous allegations about the Lord Jesus. This book, out of which they also made a movie, has dragged millions into its grip. It has been sold more than thirty six million times and has already been translated into more than forty languages. Isn’t it shocking that such a huge number of people turn themselves to the fables? It is the preparation work for the embracement of the anti-Christ when he reveals himself.

V55But you, be sober in all things, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.. For the third time you hear “but you”. Paul is warning you not to let yourself be dragged down by this strong anti-Christian movement. “Be sober in all things.” Be sure to remain free from false influences, for those will hinder you to keep a sober, biblical view on all things. Don’t be gullible and don’t let people encourage you for ideas that have no basis in the truth. Make well-considered decisions. Submit your plans to the Lord in prayer and always consult His Word.

Be willing to carry the consequences of such a way of life and to “endure hardship”. People will not thank and welcome you for your witness to the truth. Remain merciful to the lost man and “do the work of an evangelist”. Don’t hide behind the thought that you possibly don’t have the gift of an evangelist. That is not the issue. The point is that whenever you have the opportunity to point to the Savior you must do that.

The ministry of Timothy is extensive. He is supposed to fully accomplish each aspect of it, that nothing will be left undone. The Lord also expects of you to fully fulfill what He has ordered you to do. Thereby you may be sure that when the Lord orders you to do something He also gives you the strength and the means to do it.

V66For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure has come.. Paul calls on Timothy’s attention for all these things, because he himself will soon disappear from the earthly scene. His departure is another exhortation for Timothy to fully fulfill his ministry. Now he has to work hard himself. But he can build on the foundation that the apostle himself has laid.

Paul compares his departure with the outpouring of a “drink offering”. In the offering service of Israel a drink offering was added to the burnt offering, which was the main offering (Num 28-29; Phil 2:1717But even if I am being poured out as a drink offering upon the sacrifice and service of your faith, I rejoice and share my joy with you all.). His whole life in service to the Lord has been a life of full devotion and in that sense a burnt offering. Now he is close to pass away he sees his “departure” as a drink offering. A drink offering consists of wine and speaks of joy. He knows that he will enter into the joy of his Lord (Mt 25:2121His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful slave. You were faithful with a few things, I will put you in charge of many things; enter into the joy of your master.’).

The word ‘depart’ has the meaning of ‘to unloose’ (Phil 1:2323But I am hard-pressed from both [directions], having the desire to depart and be with Christ, for [that] is very much better;) and sees upon the disconnection of an attachment. Paul doesn’t see the execution, but the liberation! That that moment has come, means joy to him.

Now read 2 Timothy 4:1-6 again.

Reflection: Do you do the work of an evangelist?


Personal Circumstances

7I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith; 8in 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. 9Make every effort to come to me soon; 10for Demas, having loved this present world, has deserted me and gone to Thessalonica; Crescens [has gone] to Galatia, Titus to Dalmatia. 11Only Luke is with me. Pick up Mark and bring him with you, for he is useful to me for service. 12But Tychicus I have sent to Ephesus. 13When you come bring the cloak which I left at Troas with Carpus, and the books, especially the parchments. 14Alexander the coppersmith did me much harm; the Lord will repay him according to his deeds. 15Be on guard against him yourself, for he vigorously opposed our teaching.

V77I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith;. Paul looks back on his ministry. There is nothing that he regrets. What he did in the past still has its full value. He doesn’t speak like a worn out warrior who is glad to have reached the finish. It is the acclamation of joy from a winner. When he says that he has fought the “good fight” he doesn’t emphasize the hardships and efforts and the sufferings that went hand in hand with it. For him the emphasis lies on the privilege that he had by partaking of such an excellent fight. The fight here is the fight of a wrestler.

Also “the course” is a sports term. It is about a race here. The race has been finished. He has reached the finish with full conviction. In Acts 20:2424But I do not consider my life of any account as dear to myself, so that I may finish my course and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify solemnly of the gospel of the grace of God. he also speaks about a ‘race’ (cf. Phil 3:13-1413Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of [it] yet; but one thing [I do]: forgetting what [lies] behind and reaching forward to what [lies] ahead,14I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.). There he looks forward, while here he looks back and sees the goal that he had set before him and which he indeed had reached. At the finish he notes that on his way he has defended and kept the “the faith”, that is the whole truth of faith, against the countless attacks on it. He did not lose anything of all that the Lord entrusted him with.

V88in 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.. The only thing that’s left for him is to receive the crown. He looks like a wrestler here who has won and looks upon the victory platform where he is supposed to receive the prize. That will be given to him by the Lord, the perfectly righteous Judge, Who perfectly knows all his motives and efforts and Who is able to correctly recognize and reward everything.

The reward consists of a public recognition of the Lord Jesus that Paul has lived as a righteous one in the midst of so much unrighteousness. In his life he had, by following his Master, suffered as an unrighteous one.

“That day” is the day that the Lord Jesus will be seated on the judgment seat and will reveal all things (1Cor 4:44For I am conscious of nothing against myself, yet I am not by this acquitted; but the one who examines me is the Lord.; 2Cor 5:1010For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may be recompensed for his deeds in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.). This great perspective didn’t only keep Paul going, but he eagerly looked forward to it.

And he also says that this doesn’t apply to himself alone, but also to you if you at least love the appearance of the Lord Jesus and eagerly look forward to that. Don’t you find it also wonderful that Paul, despite his miserable circumstances and the prospect of the martyr’s death, thinks of other people?

When Christ appears He will be revealed to the world (cf. verse 11I 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:). It is absolutely great to know that He will come first to catch up the church. But the world will sink down further into godlessness. When He appears He will make an end to that by judging all godlessness. Afterwards He will execute His purpose with the earth, which is the territory of His kingdom. What a joy that will be to Him to reign on earth where He was rejected and killed and where He is still being rejected. He will then take the earth into possession for God, that God may be honored. You certainly look forward to that, don’t you?

V99Make every effort to come to me soon;. The desire for the appearance of the Lord Jesus doesn’t make Paul insensitive for the help of other people. He is looking forward to see Timothy and he asks him if he could come as soon as possible and if he could do everything in his power to indeed come. He needed somebody whom he could share the feelings of his heart with and whom would surely understand him.

V1010for Demas, having loved this present world, has deserted me and gone to Thessalonica; Crescens [has gone] to Galatia, Titus to Dalmatia.. Demas is the first of seventeen names Paul mentions in this chapter. Although his days are numbered he thinks of others. With pain in his heart he names Demas. In two earlier letters that he wrote during his first imprisonment, he also mentions Demas (Col 4:1414Luke, the beloved physician, sends you his greetings, and [also] Demas.; Phlm 1:2424[as do] Mark, Aristarchus, Demas, Luke, my fellow workers.). There he appears to be somebody who is close to Paul and who helps him. Nevertheless his heart was apparently not undividedly focused on the Lord.

It is not said that Demas is no longer a Christian and that he openly rejected the Lord. But it was not in his heart to bear the cross with the apostle. He started to love the world and forsook Paul. If you are not willing to pay the price of hardship and suffering, you will forsake the work of the Lord in favor of the present world.

It doesn’t directly mean that Demas submitted himself to lawlessness, but that he searched his future in the world. Probably he chose for an honorable job that absorbed all his attention, however. He traveled to Thessalonica. The church there was a sound church. However, he was not interested. He searched the world there and not the brothers and sisters. His love for the world was in sharp contrast to the love for the appearance of the Lord Jesus in verse 88in 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..

What is said of Demas implies the warning not to let yourself be dragged down by the love for the present, but by the love for the coming. When the present world is perfectly fine for you, you will not look forward to the coming world of Christ’ kingdom.

Especially young believers are highly attracted to the world. John particularly warns them not to love the world nor the things in the world (1Jn 2:1515Do not love the world nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.). The world is not only all kinds of lawlessness, lusts and desires. It is the world as it has become because of the fall of man, where men are in control, who live a life without reverence for God. It also includes hard working people, who pursue a career or who do researches and make discoveries that improve the quality of life. They receive a lot of respect. However, when there is no place for God then it is the world.

Paul mentions two other ones, Crescens and Titus. They also left him. Of those it is not said that they have forsaken him. Most probably they went to another place in order to serve the Lord there. Of Crescens we do not know more than what is written here. Of Titus we know more, because Paul wrote him a letter that directly follows after this second letter to Timothy in the Bible.

V1111Only Luke is with me. Pick up Mark and bring him with you, for he is useful to me for service.. Although these two have not forsaken him like Demas did, Paul feels very alone. Not only that he was left to his fate by most Christians (2Tim 1:1515You are aware of the fact that all who are in Asia turned away from me, among whom are Phygelus and Hermogenes.), but also his companions in the work have left. Fortunately there is somebody with him, Luke. Luke has made the departure of the others, for whatever reason, easier for him.

It would make Paul also happy if Timothy took Mark along with him. Probably Timothy could pick up Mark somewhere on his way. What Paul says about Mark indicates that he has seen a restoration with Mark in his relation to the Lord. Actually also Mark has left Paul once after he first went together with Paul (Acts 12:2525And Barnabas and Saul returned from Jerusalem when they had fulfilled their mission, taking along with [them] John, who was also called Mark.; 13:1313Now Paul and his companions put out to sea from Paphos and came to Perga in Pamphylia; but John left them and returned to Jerusalem.). The price for following the Lord together with Paul had become too high. Due to his attitude he even causes a distance between Paul and Barnabas (Acts 15:36-3936After some days Paul said to Barnabas, “Let us return and visit the brethren in every city in which we proclaimed the word of the Lord, [and see] how they are.”37Barnabas wanted to take John, called Mark, along with them also.38But Paul kept insisting that they should not take him along who had deserted them in Pamphylia and had not gone with them to the work.39And there occurred such a sharp disagreement that they separated from one another, and Barnabas took Mark with him and sailed away to Cyprus.).

Fortunately there has been a moment that Mark became aware of his wrong choice. He chose again for the Lord. In that way the disturbed relationship has been restored and therefore he became useful again for the service. The way Paul writes about him, suggests that Mark wants to be useful with more diligence and devotion. And isn’t it an amazing proof of the grace of the Lord that this failed servant has been allowed to describe the service of the perfect Servant in the gospel according to Mark? The Lord always gives a failing servant the chance for a new start.

V1212But Tychicus I have sent to Ephesus.. The three brethren of verse 1010for Demas, having loved this present world, has deserted me and gone to Thessalonica; Crescens [has gone] to Galatia, Titus to Dalmatia. have departed from the apostle on the basis of their own decision. It was different with Tychicus, who was sent to Ephesus by the apostle. This Tychicus is a wonderful brother who is called by Paul a “beloved brother and faithful servant” (Col 4:77As to all my affairs, Tychicus, [our] beloved brother and faithful servant and fellow bond-servant in the Lord, will bring you information.). He has delivered some letters that Paul has written during his first imprisonment: the letter to the Ephesians and the letter to the Colossians (Eph 6:2121But that you also may know about my circumstances, how I am doing, Tychicus, the beloved brother and faithful minister in the Lord, will make everything known to you.; Col 4:7-87As to all my affairs, Tychicus, [our] beloved brother and faithful servant and fellow bond-servant in the Lord, will bring you information.8[For] I have sent him to you for this very purpose, that you may know about our circumstances and that he may encourage your hearts;).

V1313When you come bring the cloak which I left at Troas with Carpus, and the books, especially the parchments.. His request to bring his cloak and the books shows once more that Paul is an ordinary man. He cares for both his body and spirit. It is a pure human letter from someone who is just a man like we are with his needs and desires. In the place where he is imprisoned it could be cold and his cloak would be very useful. With winter approaching (verse 2121Make every effort to come before winter. Eubulus greets you, also Pudens and Linus and Claudia and all the brethren.) his desire for his coat is greater.

Paul would also be very grateful to have the books and the parchments. Those are not necessarily the inspired Scriptures. He may have asked for scrolls of books and parchments (made of animal skins) with data that are valuable to him. He wants to refresh his spirit with those. It cannot be novels like those, which today are often filled out from a vague memory of the Bible with unbiblical fantasies from the writer.

V1414Alexander the coppersmith did me much harm; the Lord will repay him according to his deeds.. Paul is also not indifferent about the harm that other people do to him, like Alexander the coppersmith. You can fight physical cold with a cloak, but from this man comes a spiritual cold that is not to be fought. It is not said in what way this man caused Paul harm. Any way it is “much harm”. Nevertheless Paul doesn’t call for revenge, but leaves the judgment to the Lord.

V1515Be on guard against him yourself, for he vigorously opposed our teaching.. While Paul puts this matter concerning himself into the hands of the Lord, he warns Timothy of this man. Timothy must keep on going; he is still in the midst of battle. We need to warn each other sometimes of people who resist against the Word. He is a dangerous man, who finds his own words more important than those of the Scripture. At the same time it is a test to ourselves how we stand and how we respond. Such people teach us lessons on patience.

Now read 2 Timothy 4:7-15 again.

Reflection: Do you love the appearance of the Lord?


Assistance from the Lord and Salutations

16At my first defense no one supported me, but all deserted me; may it not be counted against them. 17But 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. 18The 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. 19Greet Prisca and Aquila, and the household of Onesiphorus. 20Erastus remained at Corinth, but Trophimus I left sick at Miletus. 21Make every effort to come before winter. Eubulus greets you, also Pudens and Linus and Claudia and all the brethren. 22The Lord be with your spirit. Grace be with you.

V1616At my first defense no one supported me, but all deserted me; may it not be counted against them.. This second and also last imprisonment of Paul has been extremely harsh. During his first imprisonment he had a certain liberty to receive people and he could preach and teach unhindered (Acts 28:23,30-3123When they had set a day for Paul, they came to him at his lodging in large numbers; and he was explaining to them by solemnly testifying about the kingdom of God and trying to persuade them concerning Jesus, from both the Law of Moses and from the Prophets, from morning until evening.30And he stayed two full years in his own rented quarters and was welcoming all who came to him,31preaching the kingdom of God and teaching concerning the Lord Jesus Christ with all openness, unhindered.). Now he is alone, imprisoned in a place for which you had to make great efforts to find it (2Tim 1:1717but when he was in Rome, he eagerly searched for me and found me—).

There was no one with him at his first interrogation, nobody who defended him and spoke in his favor. Of course he could defend himself, but still he was in need of some assistance. But everybody was afraid to be identified with him. That could be damaging, for then other people will know that you are also such a Christian. Paul felt it being forsaken by them, as Demas had.

Still he does not blame anybody for anything. He is not filled with resentment and doesn’t ask Timothy what he had asked with regard to Alexander the coppersmith (verse 1515Be on guard against him yourself, for he vigorously opposed our teaching.). He doesn’t see them as opponents, although neither could he recognize them as supporters. They have made his imprisonment more difficult by forsaking him. Nevertheless he follows the example of the Lord Jesus, Who prayed: “Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing” (Lk 23:3434But Jesus was saying, “Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing.” And they cast lots, dividing up His garments among themselves.). Also like Stephen who also followed the example of the Lord Jesus (Acts 7:6060Then falling on his knees, he cried out with a loud voice, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them!” Having said this, he fell asleep.). Here you have examples of how to respond when people do not like you anymore, because you testify of the Lord Jesus.

V1717But 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.. Even if you feel left alone, just like Paul here, you are not alone, just like Paul is not alone here. The Lord wants to assist you and strengthen you. That is what Paul is experiencing. Even though everybody has forsaken him, the Lord stands with him (cf. Acts 18:99And the Lord said to Paul in the night by a vision, “Do not be afraid [any longer], but go on speaking and do not be silent;; 23:1111But on the night [immediately] following, the Lord stood at his side and said, “Take courage; for as you have solemnly witnessed to My cause at Jerusalem, so you must witness at Rome also.”). The personal presence of the Lord is the special experience in situations when you lose everything around you because you want to remain faithful to Him. He has “strengthened me” literally means ‘He has poured out strength in me’ or ‘He has given me a power transfusion’ (Phil 4:1313I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.). You feel your power being renewed when His presence is a living reality to you, when you expect everything from Him (Isa 40:3131Yet those who wait for the LORD
Will gain new strength;
They will mount up [with] wings like eagles,
They will run and not get tired,
They will walk and not become weary.
).

The Lord does that to make His work to be fully achieved by His servant. As far as Paul is concerned, it refers to his testimony in the courtroom and down to the palace of Caesar. He appealed to Caesar and he was going there. That he was going to make himself to be heard in the palace, regarding his testimony of the Lord Jesus, is a symbol for a testimony towards the whole western world of which the palace of Caesar is the center.

Only when somebody’s duty has come to an end the Lord will allow His servant to be killed by the enemy (cf. Lk 22:5353While I was with you daily in the temple, you did not lay hands on Me; but this hour and the power of darkness are yours.”; Jn 7:3030So they were seeking to seize Him; and no man laid his hand on Him, because His hour had not yet come.; 8:2020These words He spoke in the treasury, as He taught in the temple; and no one seized Him, because His hour had not yet come.). At Paul’s conversion the Lord announced his duty (Acts 9:1515But the Lord said to him, “Go, for he is a chosen instrument of Mine, to bear My name before the Gentiles and kings and the sons of Israel;). Therefore He allowed that Paul was being imprisoned. Now he will bear the Name of the Lord Jesus before nations and kings. Everything that the enemy meant evil becomes a testimony, so that the rulers of the earth, they who otherwise would be unreachable, may hear the Word of truth.

That’s why for that moment he “was rescued out of the lion’s mouth”. We are reminded of Daniel in the den of lions (Dan 6:2323Then the king was very pleased and gave orders for Daniel to be taken up out of the den. So Daniel was taken up out of the den and no injury whatever was found on him, because he had trusted in his God.). Satan who is rampaging as a roaring lion against Paul to devour him (1Pet 5:88Be of sober [spirit], be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.), still does not get the opportunity for that. He is still being controlled by the Lord, through which Paul has been saved from a premature death.

V1818The 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.. Paul is well aware of the tremendous threat of the lion and his anger to tear him up. But he looks beyond the lion to the Lord. He is assured that as the Lord delivered him from the mouth of the lion, He also will rescue him “from every evil work”.

Satan not only appears like a roaring lion. He can also transform himself into an angel of light (2Cor 11:1414No wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light.). With ‘every evil work’ you may also think of everything that satan wants to whisper in Paul’s ear, in order to bring him to deny what he has kept up so fearless till now. To achieve that satan may be giving those well intentioned advices through people who find themselves good Christians. Of course these people are sober and do not exacerbate matters like Paul does according to their ‘humble opinion’. Paul is more afraid for such whisperings than for death.

He knows that he is not resistant to that in his own power, but that the Lord will deliver him from it and will preserve him. ‘To deliver’ here means to remove out of the danger zone and ‘to preserve’ means to remove into safety. Actually on the one hand the Lord removes him out of an area that is full of dangers and on the other hand the Lord brings him into an area where he is fully safe. That area is “His heavenly kingdom”.

His strong and simple faith counts on the Lord until the end. Even if he would fall asleep instead of being changed, he will always continue to look forward to the appearance of the Lord. Paul is looking forward to the heavenly kingdom of the Lord Jesus. That is not the same as what the evangelist Matthew so often calls ‘the kingdom of heaven’. The kingdom of heaven concerns the government of the Lord Jesus over heaven and earth according to heavenly measures. Therefore that kingdom consists of a heavenly part and an earthly part. The ‘heavenly kingdom’ is the heavenly part.

Paul looks forward to come together with the Lord Jesus when He will appear to the world. Then he will be one of those saints in whom the Lord Jesus will be glorified and one of those believers in whom the Lord Jesus will be admired (2Thes 1:1010when He comes to be glorified in His saints on that day, and to be marveled at among all who have believed—for our testimony to you was believed.). He will be like one of those righteous, who ‘will shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father’ (Mt 13:4343Then THE RIGHTEOUS WILL SHINE FORTH AS THE SUN in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears, let him hear.), another name for this ‘heavenly kingdom’. To shine forth as the sun means to shine forth as the Lord Jesus, for He is the Sun (Mal 4:22“But for you who fear My name, the sun of righteousness will rise with healing in its wings; and you will go forth and skip about like calves from the stall.). It is all about Him. Remembering Him a praise arises out of a cold and stinking prison cell in Rome to the honor of Him Who is worthy of “glory forever and ever”. With a profound ‘amen’ (= that’s true) Paul confirms his trust in the Lord and his praise.

V1919Greet Prisca and Aquila, and the household of Onesiphorus.. Paul wants Timothy to convey his greetings to Prisca and Aquila, his good friends whom he got acquainted with at Corinth (Acts 18:22And he found a Jew named Aquila, a native of Pontus, having recently come from Italy with his wife Priscilla, because Claudius had commanded all the Jews to leave Rome. He came to them,). This faithful couple is now at Ephesus. Paul mentions them with feelings of particular gratitude, not only because they are faithful in the service of the Lord (Acts 18:2626and he began to speak out boldly in the synagogue. But when Priscilla and Aquila heard him, they took him aside and explained to him the way of God more accurately.; 1Cor 16:1919The churches of Asia greet you. Aquila and Prisca greet you heartily in the Lord, with the church that is in their house.), but also because they had made great efforts for him, putting their own lives at risk (Rom 16:3-43Greet Prisca and Aquila, my fellow workers in Christ Jesus,4who for my life risked their own necks, to whom not only do I give thanks, but also all the churches of the Gentiles;). Timothy must also greet the household of Onesiphorus (2Tim 1:1616The Lord grant mercy to the house of Onesiphorus, for he often refreshed me and was not ashamed of my chains;).

V2020Erastus remained at Corinth, but Trophimus I left sick at Miletus.. Then Paul mentions two names of brothers to inform Timothy about their circumstances. We may presume that Timothy was curious about them. Together with Erastus he has done a duty there in Macedonia on Paul’s request (Acts 19:2222And having sent into Macedonia two of those who ministered to him, Timothy and Erastus, he himself stayed in Asia for a while.). In that way Timothy has got the chance to know Erastus better and a relationship may have come into existence. Erastus had a high position as steward in the city of Corinth (Rom 16:2323Gaius, host to me and to the whole church, greets you. Erastus, the city treasurer greets you, and Quartus, the brother. <). Apparently because of the responsibilities of his work he was not allowed to spend more time with Paul.

Trophimus comes from Ephesus (Acts 21:2929For they had previously seen Trophimus the Ephesian in the city with him, and they supposed that Paul had brought him into the temple.). He traveled along with Paul from Ephesus (Acts 20:44And he was accompanied by Sopater of Berea, [the son] of Pyrrhus, and by Aristarchus and Secundus of the Thessalonians, and Gaius of Derbe, and Timothy, and Tychicus and Trophimus of Asia.) but got sick soon. Paul left him behind in Miletus because his sickness made it impossible for him to travel further. You see that Paul didn’t heal him just like that, although he was able to. He actually had the gift of healing. Paul and Trophimus accepted this sickness from the hand of God. It was not a sickness that had to be punished or something like that. There also is no mention of lack of faith at all with Trophimus to become healthy.

When a believer falls sick he can see the hand of the Lord in it and not the hand of the devil. Similarly Job did not accept his disasters and sickness out of the hand of satan, but out of God’s hand (Job 2:1010But he said to her, “You speak as one of the foolish women speaks. Shall we indeed accept good from God and not accept adversity?” In all this Job did not sin with his lips.).

It is possible that a believer falls sick, due to his own fault, incautiousness, possibly even because of a sin (Jam 5:14-1614Is anyone among you sick? [Then] he must call for the elders of the church and they are to pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord;15and the prayer offered in faith will restore the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up, and if he has committed sins, they will be forgiven him.16Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed. The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much.). Then a confession has to be made, so that God can give restoration. Believers may also fall sick due to their efforts on behalf of the work of the Lord, like Epaphroditus (Phil 2:25-3025But I thought it necessary to send to you Epaphroditus, my brother and fellow worker and fellow soldier, who is also your messenger and minister to my need;26because he was longing for you all and was distressed because you had heard that he was sick.27For indeed he was sick to the point of death, but God had mercy on him, and not on him only but also on me, so that I would not have sorrow upon sorrow.28Therefore I have sent him all the more eagerly so that when you see him again you may rejoice and I may be less concerned [about you].29Receive him then in the Lord with all joy, and hold men like him in high regard;30because he came close to death for the work of Christ, risking his life to complete what was deficient in your service to me.).

The Lord Jesus identifies with His sick brethren, as He identifies with them when they are hungry or thirsty or in prison (Mt 25:35-4035For I was hungry, and you gave Me [something] to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me [something] to drink; I was a stranger, and you invited Me in;36naked, and you clothed Me; I was sick, and you visited Me; I was in prison, and you came to Me.’37Then the righteous will answer Him, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry, and feed You, or thirsty, and give You [something] to drink?38And when did we see You a stranger, and invite You in, or naked, and clothe You?39When did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’40The King will answer and say to them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, [even] the least [of them], you did it to Me.’). Here you clearly see that sickness is not supposed to be automatically associated with sin. The Lord will never identify Himself with sin. He did that once for all on the cross in the three hours of darkness. After that He never had anything to do with sin (neither did He have anything to do with it before). Therefore don’t ever let yourself be fooled by extremely charismatic Christians that sickness has to be eliminated as a sin.

V2121Make every effort to come before winter. Eubulus greets you, also Pudens and Linus and Claudia and all the brethren.. Paul would love to see Timothy once more before the Lord calls him to be with Him and his earthly service has ended. That he would like to see him before winter also has a practical reason, namely because of his cloak (verse 1313When you come bring the cloak which I left at Troas with Carpus, and the books, especially the parchments.).

Then he greets Timothy on behalf of three men and a woman who had visited him and who also know Timothy. He passes their greetings to Timothy without any reflection of feelings of disappointment about the attitude of the brethren in Rome.

V2222The Lord be with your spirit. Grace be with you.. He closes his letter with a personal wish for Timothy and a collective wish for all believers with whom Timothy was together. It is wonderful that the letter ends like that. He wishes Timothy that the Lord will be with his spirit. I hope that also for myself and for you. It implies that you in your life and service for God will continually experience the presence of Christ, the Lord. Don’t let your spirit be occupied with the world and its thinking, not even when you see how the decay is increasing more and more in Christianity and you want to do something about it.

When we see this then there is nothing more left than wishing one another the awareness of grace. But how great is that! Grace triumphs over each difficulty.

Now read 2 Timothy 4:16-22 again.

Reflection: What could you learn from the attitude of Paul?