2 Timothy 4:1–18comment (0)
May 2, 2013
By Dale Younce
Related Scripture: 2 Timothy 4:1–18
Explore the Bible
Professor of Christian Ministries, University of Mobile
Be Persistent to the End
2 Timothy 4:1–18
Do secular adults think about heaven? Perhaps rarely and most seem to assume, without foundation, they will get there. Do believers think about heaven? They may think that “heaven is in the bag” and therefore consider eternity infrequently. Other believers think of heaven only when they are faced with a serious illness or death. Some mature believers have a proper regard for heaven but may have questions about whether it is OK to consider the reward aspect of heaven. All adults will benefit from studying Paul’s final words as he anticipated bodily death and expressed confidence about going into the Lord’s “heavenly” kingdom.
Keep Proclaiming (1–4)
Paul gives Timothy his final solemn charge: “Preach the Word” as the first and paramount priority. Timothy is to herald God’s Word with the authority of heaven behind him. There is no substitute for preaching the Word, the entire written Word, God’s complete revealed truth as contained in the Bible.
Two motivating factors encourage Timothy in his proclamation of the Word. The first is that his ministry will be carried out under the omniscient eye of the Lord Jesus Christ. The second is the imminency of Christ’s return as Judge. He will one day evaluate the life and actions of each believer at the Bema (judgment seat) of Christ (1 Cor. 3:12–15). At the Judgment of the Nations, He will separate the unbelievers from the believers and only believers will enter the millennial kingdom (Matt. 25:31–33). He will judge only unbelievers at the Great White Throne Judgment (Rev. 20:11–15).
In view of God’s current observation of His servants and His future reward of those servants, the faithful preacher must proclaim the Word when it is popular and/or convenient and when it is not. The faithful preacher must do this because the time will come when people will not tolerate sound doctrine but will turn away from the truth following after their own desires and preferring false worldviews and philosophies. In such circumstances Timothy is to do the work of an evangelist, winning people to Christ.
Keep the Faith (5–8)
As Paul charged Timothy to fulfill his ministry, he looked back over his life and ministry without regret as he looked ahead to his death, not with fear but with anticipation. He saw his approaching death as a drink offering, in the Old Testament the final offering following the burnt and grain offerings. He saw his “departure” (death) as the last act of sacrificial ministry. He had fought the good fight; he had kept the faith and he views the future with anticipation. He expects the Lord Jesus to award him a crown of righteousness. The word “crown” here refers to the garland “winner’s crown” of athletes, not the diadem of royalty. The crown of righteousness is God’s reward to any believer who has lived righteously and served faithfully while expectantly looking for Christ’s return. Paul fulfilled his ministry and was confident that a crown of righteousness awaited him.
Keep Helping (9–15)
These verses are filled with names and places Timothy would recognize. Paul wanted Timothy to visit him in prison. He asked that Timothy bring his cloak apparently for warmth in a cold prison cell. He also requested Timothy bring the papyrus scrolls, perhaps for writing, and the parchments (perhaps the Old Testament books). It is interesting to note that, even in his imprisonment, Paul wanted to stay busy with his writing and reading. Paul was keeping Timothy aware of who was involved in Paul’s life by mentioning these men by name and providing a bit of information about each.
Keep Trusting (16–18)
In these closing verses Paul summarizes his last days and mentions many of his friends. He ends his letter contrasting the bleakness of his earthly circumstances with the glory of his heavenly but invisible circumstances.