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Timothy Series

Studies in 2nd Timothy

2nd Timothy Chapter 4

 

John Baugh
February 20, 2009

 

"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.

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.

 

Personal Concerns

 

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.

 

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.

 

The Last Known Words of Paul

 

The sobering thought that comes to my mind as I begin my description of this last chapter of Second Timothy is that in these few remaining sentences (as I count – a total of nineteen in the New American Standard Translation), this incredible world traveling evangelist, church builder, faithful missionary and apostle will complete his last known correspondence. These are certainly not casual words and there is no reason to view them as such. Given his situation, Paul surely must have intended to bring things to a close with words of life completing importance. The reasonable question is, “What things – what topics - are so important as to be restated and shared at the very end?”

 

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.

 

How Could Paul Have Known The Situation of Today So Well?

 

It is difficult to read Paul’s words to Timothy here and not to think that he is exactly describing the world we inhabit today. Although Paul placed pen to paper almost 2000 years ago, his words fit in with today’s situation very well. One of the incredible things about scripture is how relevant it is and how well it fits in to the today of life.

And so Paul begins Chapter 4 of this letter by telling Timothy how important the things are that he has been called to do. I am not aware of any way Paul could be more serious than with his statement:

 

”I 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.”

 

Most people see their efforts for the Lord as being almost insignificant in the great scheme of life and Timothy may have been no different. Considering everything that Ephesus was, how could he have believed that he would have any great impact on the spiritual condition of that City? Although there may have been doubts of effectiveness in Timothy’s mind, there certainly were none in Paul’s. Paul knew what Timothy could achieve and he knew how Timothy would achieve, and so he charges his course of action – actually what he expected from the Disciple for the rest of his days.

 

Perhaps, more importantly, he chose to remind Timothy in the presence of whom he would be working and their importance. He tells Timothy he is working in the presence of the one who created the universe and everything in it – the eternal ruler who is in control of all events and every breath of every living soul. Paul also reminds Timothy that he will carry out his work in the sight of the only begotten (singularly unique) son of the father, who is designated to be the judge over all men and women, who has exposed, examined and knows the contents of every human heart, both believer and unbeliever, so that at the accounting of judgment there will be nothing withheld from the Lord of Lords and King of Kings.

 

With this understanding of importance, Paul tells Timothy to:

 

·        “Preach the Word” – This is the most essential element of Christian witness to a dying world. The importance of the word is stated time after time throughout scripture. It is what God gave us so that we could see him. It is our instruction. It is what convicts us. It is what brings us comfort and peace. It is the way we were given to salvation.

This exhortation is not written just to pastors. It is an instruction that scripture places on all believers. In fact the word “preach” as used here might be better translated as announce, proclaim, set it forth, deliver the truth or make it known. Each of us should make the word known around the world. In that way, we take the “Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven” of the Lord’s Prayer and put it into action, (as if we really meant it when we prayed the words).

Our job is not to argue the word. It is not to use it to beat people up with the word. It is to live it, cherish it and share it as we go from place to place and in every situation (Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven). Our hearts and our mouths should announce, proclaim, set forth deliver and make known the word in whatever situation God places us and at whatever opportunity he provides.

 

·        The statement “never be in a position where you are not ready to preach” tells Timothy how he is to preach the word. If Paul were a Scout Master and Timothy a Boy Scout, he would tell him to “Be Prepared”. Paul uses the words, be ready. Obviously being ready indicates some sort of preparation before hand and the Christian needs to be ready. We get that way through time in the word, thought, practice and experience. Those who are best at witnessing have witnessed before. They have some level of past experience in sharing (in season and out of season).

No effective witness begins with, “There is something I want to share with you, if I can just remember it…”

In season and out of season does not mean that we are to force or witness on people regardless of their desire to hear it. It means that we are to be ready at any moment not whether we are ready or not, but that we must always be ready.

 

·        Use the word to reprove, rebuke and exhort – there are a variety of ways to use the word, all of which are applicable and valuable in the life of witness, ad so we use the word to reprove (admonish, take to task), rebuke (call on the carpet), and exhort (cheer or encourage).

·        Do these things with great patience and (a spirit of) instruction – The word is not a whip and not a tool for punishment. We are to use it in a manner of patience and instruction, where we present the word and rely on the Holy Spirit for conviction. The gospel is logical and should appeal to the mind as right and correct – reasonable. No psychological tricks, gimmicks or pressure tactics are needed to show the relevance and application of grace, mercy, forgiveness, reconciliation and healing to broken lives. The gospel naturally appeals to our emotions, but conviction need not rely on emotional appeal. Our witness should be straightforward and certain. Conviction should come as a realization of the truth and application of that truth to the lives of those we seek to reach as we proclaim the truth.

 

Coming Times

 

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.

 

Paul looks at scripture and our (the world’s) relationship to the soundness of God’s Holy word and warns Timothy that At some point, men will turn away from the things that God has placed before us.  God’s doctrine (seeking righteousness, loving justice, turning away from sin and hate and pursuing a life of service to him and others) will cease to be desirable to men. Instead they will seek to meet only their needs of self. Paul states this in terms of those who seek to tickle their ears with the teachings of those who meet their own desires. Obviously, the desires of these people (seeking to have their ears tickled) are not the the desires (the will) of God.

 

Paul says that these people will no longer “endure” sound doctrine. Obviously anyone who endures anything has already stopped seeking it out and enjoying it. The fully righteous person who loves the Lord and seeks to do his will daily (with a desire to grow in righteousness) never considers Gods doctrine to be something that is endured. In his statement, Paul knows that these people have grown even colder than those who simply endure God’s doctrine. They have turned away from God, to the teachings of man and the reasoning of the world. They have reached a point where they “accumulate” teachers who will tell them the things they want to hear.

 

In turning away from sound teaching, they turn away from the things of God, which are provided for us in order to support and maintain our spiritual health and well being. Just as junk food will eventually kill the body, junk teaching will eventually kill the soul.

 

Paul says that they will “turn their ears away from the truth”. Not only do they no longer hear the truth (the healthy things God provides for maintenance of spirit and soul and guidance of life toward wholeness and righteousness), they take whatever steps are needed to avoid the truth and as Paul writes, they turn aside (from the truth) to Myths (anything to provide the things they want to hear). In the same way that children cannot live on candy bars and sugar cookies the spirit and soul cannot exist on a diet of myth and false teachings. Spiritual malnourishment eventually leads to spiritual sickness a death of the spirit.

 

Someone said that accepting the truth of God’s holy word requires us to admit human weakness and that people do not like to admit that they are weak. The worldly human condition believes that we can make it on our own strength and that submission to the authority of God (accepting the truth of scripture) and placing our lives within his will is not needed and so the world rejects the truth that God’s way is the only way to wholeness and well being. As Paul writes, the world turns away from the truth and toward the things it wants to hear. Reality eventually shows us that seeking the way of the world, relying on our understanding and belief and surrounding ourselves with those who tickle our ears with the attractive lies, speculative philosophies and theological fantasies we want to hear will only lead us to spiritual harm, injury and death.

 

Passing the Torch

 

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.

 

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.

 

As to the question of Paul’s understanding of the gravity of his prison situation, we can only speculate, but his words in this portion of his letter certainly support his “passing the torch” to Timothy. All through this last letter, he has challenged the young pastor toward a commitment to the ministry in Ephesus.

 

Paul was certain of his ministry. He had stated it very well several years earlier in an address to the church in Ephesus, recorded by Luke in the book of Acts:

 

"But 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.” (Acts 20:24 NASB)

 

Here in his letter to Timothy he drops all pretenses (if he ever minced his words) and plainly states his condition and hopes for Timothy. 

 

But you, be sober in all things, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry. (2 Timothy 4:5 NASB)

 

Once again, he challenges Timothy to do the work of an evangelist (Paul’s own mission in life as he had stated in Ephesus several years earlier). In doing this, he reminds Timothy that accepting the torch of evangelism is the fulfillment of his ministry – what he must do for the rest of his life. He has already told (in verses one and two) Timothy that what he does (his ministry) is being accomplished in full view of God the Father and his Son Jesus Christ. We do not know how Timothy felt (doubts or certainty) concerning his future in the ministry and the will of God for his life, but Paul leaves no doubt. In his mind, for Timothy to fulfill his ministry, he must do the work of an evangelist.

 

So what work is that?

 

For Timothy’s time, evangelism was the most significant work of the church. As an evangelist, he was announcing the Father’s plan for advancing his kingdom. He was sharing the good news (Gospel) of the new covenant of the Father’s plan to reach a lost world and to provide reconciliation (reunion) through his son. As a teacher evangelist, Timothy was to build up the foundation that the church of today sits upon. He was to share the good news and teach those who would go out from Ephesus to the world, across geography and time to where we are and to our condition today. As an evangelist, he was to offer the gospel for safe keeping in the hearts of men and women, for days when parts of the world would turn away from sound teaching, so that it would survive and grow. As an evangelist, he was to serve as guardian of the word, always ready to proclaim it in season and out of season. As an evangelist, he is to “be sober in all things”. He is to “endure hardship” and to “do the work”. Evangelism (leading non-Christians to Jesus Christ) is no easy task. It will require much from Timothy, but it will be the only way to fulfill Timothy’s ministry. Some of us have the ministry of work witness. Some minister to the sick. Some have the ministry of Sunday school leadership. Some of us serve the Lord in children’s ministry. Some feed the hungry. Timothy was to be an evangelist. He was to lead those who did not know Christ Jesus to salvation (a saving knowledge of Christ).

 

“Take my place”

 

There can be little doubt why Paul is so serious, but if there is, he suddenly writes very serious words to his son in the faith.

 

6For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure has come.

 

Paul states his condition in no uncertain terms. He is being poured out as an offering to the Lord (“already being poured out”). In his mind he has come to the understanding that the time for that to happen has come. There can be no delay. He knows in his heart that the time for Timothy to take over the work has arrived.

Pastor Ray Stedman describes the drink offering this way:

 

“The ‘sacrifice’ is a reference to the drink offering which in the Jewish feasts terminated the great Day of Atonement. At the end of all the offerings, a drink offering, a jug of wine, was poured out upon the altar. Paul sees himself in that way. Perhaps he knows that he is about to be beheaded. That was the Roman method of execution for those who were Roman citizens. Others were crucified, but citizens had the right to be beheaded if they were to be executed. So Paul, according to tradition, was taken out and had his head laid on a block and an executioner with an axe or a sword severed his head. Paul saw the pouring out of his blood as a drink offering.

 

He seems to have no regrets at all about this. He does not view it as a disaster, a thing to be feared. He sees it as a normal outcome of the kind of life he lived, a sacrificial life so to be poured out as a sacrifice is a fitting conclusion … I do not think Paul looked toward this with any dread whatsoever, but with expectation and thankfulness that his death could be like his ministry, a pouring out of himself on behalf of others.”

 

To see Paul as viewing his death as an offering to the Lord, poured out on behalf of others is a huge testimony to his faith in the Lord.

 

The time of my departure:

 

Again, from Ray Stedman, referencing the Revised Standard Translation “The time of my loosing has come”

 

The second word Paul employs is one that is used of soldiers when they pull up their tent-stakes and leave. The word is also used in Greek literature of a ship that looses its moorings and sets out to sea. Surely that is the most beautiful figure the apostle could employ: "The time of my loosing has come." He will be set free from earthly ties to sail out on a new adventure in life. What a wonderful view of death that is! There is no fear on the apostle's part, no regrets over his termination as a sacrifice, but a sense of adventure as he sails out into a new experience of life with Christ. "To depart and to be with Christ ... is far better," he says in Philippians {Phil 1:23}.

 

Why Pass the Torch?

 

In his heart, Paul knows that the church is changing. The time of the Gospel definition of Apostles is coming to an end and so he challenges Timothy to take on the new role of Apostle, not as one who had walked with Jesus as the twelve, or as one selected by Jesus as with Paul on the Road to Damascus, but as one to be sent out to proclaim the good news to the world (Inwardly motivated to go out). It is the same role each of us is challenged to fulfill today.

 

What is Paul’s State of Mind?”

 

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.

 

Paul has considered his performance and knows what his testimony will be when he faces the Master. In his mind, the things of importance are clear.

 

·      He has fought the good fight. He did it right. He chose the proper fight; the worthy cause. In his mind, if he was to fight, it must be the worthy fight and in fighting for Christ Jesus, he has chosen well. Notice that Paul did not say I have fought a good fight. He said the fought the good fight. He selected well.

·      He has finished the course. We do not know everything about the course Paul ran, but we do know that he finished it. In his mind, whatever Christ Jesus placed before him, Paul ran. In his mind. He completed the assigned course.

·      He kept the Faith. He remained true, regardless of cost, he remained faithful to his Lord.

And so he looks to the future.

 

·        There is laid up for him (already in place) a crown of righteousness. He will receive whatever reward is reserved for those deemed righteous. Having been made righteous by the blood of Christ, he now awaits the crown he will receive at judgment.

·        The Lord (the righteous judge), having judged him on that day, will award him for his faithfulness and effort. Perhaps Paul is thinking of his scheduled appearance before Nero (the unrighteous judge). Regardless, he knows his Lord as the only righteous judge.

·        He will not be the only one who will receive a reward at judgment. Others (who have loved his appearing) will also be rewarded at judgment. The reward of righteousness will be a shared reward.

 

Personal Concerns

 

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.

 

It is easy to read verses 9 – 13 and imagine the loneliness of this old (65 years plus or minus) warrior for the Gospel as he sits in the cold dampness of Mamertine prison awaiting his execution. For most of his life as a missionary, Paul has traveled, preached and taught with the company of several close associates. It is no longer that way in these closing days. His fellow worker, Demas has deserted him, leaving him in his Roman Prison cell for the worldly comforts of Thessalonica.  Perhaps he was frightened of the dangers to be encountered in Rome with the high level of Christian persecution under Nero, or the difficulty of dealing with a Christian prisoner in the Roman penal system. Regardless he has deserted his friend in the time of his greatest need. It is easy to read disappointment and pain in Paul’s statement.

 

Likewise, Crescens has departed for Galitia and Titus for Dalmatia, possible sent there by Paul to help the churches in those two places.

 

And so in his letter, he calls for Timothy to depart Ephesus for Rome. Perhaps this is the actual reason for the correspondence. Timothy would have had two travel options for the journey. He might find passage by ship and cross the Mediterranean Sea or he might travel overland north from Ephesus and across Macedonia to the eastern shore of the Adriatic Sea and the across to southern Italy and then by land across the mountains to Rome. Either route would be difficult and time consuming. In summer the trip would be difficult. In winter it would be almost impossible. Still Paul asks Timothy to come quickly.   

 

Only Luke is With Me

 

I can imagine no more touching statement of faithfulness to a friend than these five words and what they must have meant to Paul, and to Dr. Luke (“the beloved physician” Colossians 4:14). It would have been extremely difficult for Luke to have remained in Rome with his friend during the time of his imprisonment. Scholars have said that for Luke to be granted visitation privileges to see Paul in Mamertine Prison he would have had to declare himself Paul’s slave. Only then would the solders of the Roman garrison assigned to guard the prisoners in this prison have allowed him visitation privileges. Even under those circumstances, Luke would have been in constant danger of being arrested himself and made subject to the horrible persecution raging against any Christians found in Rome. As a Christian, Luke would have been subject to charges of Cannibalism (eating the body and drinking the blood of Christ), Atheism (Refusing to call Caesar Nero God), and Revolutionary actions against Rome (for worshiping only God and not Caesar). Remaining with his friend would have been a very dangerous decision and yet that was the decision Dr. Luke made.      

 

Pick up Mark and Bring Him with You for He is Useful to Me for Service

 

Paul’s request for Timothy to find and bring John Mark with him is on the same level of importance to me as is his mention of Luke staying at his side. From Luke’s account of Paul’s first missionary journey in Acts 13 we learn that John Mark accompanied Paul and Barnabas and then deserted the team when they reached Pamphylia. (Acts 13:13). NO reason is given for his leaving, only that he returned to Jerusalem when he left them. Mark is mentioned again when Barnabas and Paul are in preparation for the second journey (Acts 15: 36-40) and Paul refuses to allow John Mark to accompany them. Luke writes that such a disagreement arose between Barnabas and Paul over Mark, that they split the team and went in separate directions.

 

It gives me great comfort to read that Paul eventually forgives the young disciple and author of the Book of Mark (probably the Gospel according to Peter). For whatever problems they may have had in the past, Paul asks for Mark at this time of great need in his life. One of the modern translations of 2 Timothy words this passage “He is a good man to have around the place”. We have no way of knowing if Timothy and Mark reached Paul before his execution, but I hope they did. When things are dark “good men” are wonderful companions. My hope is that in the end, Luke, Timothy and John Mark were there with Paul.

 

Here Paul mentions that he is sending Tychicus to Ephesus, perhaps to take over for Timothy so that he can come to Rome. He is the one mentioned as the bearer of Paul’s letters to the Colossians, and the Ephesians.

 

A Cold and Lonely Old Man

 

It is easy to think of Paul as a strong warrior for Christ, willing to walk into any fight or the most hostile of circumstances with no fear or regret and that is the way I like to see him as I think of who he was and what he did. There is another Paul though that we should remember. When this letter was composed, Paul would have been in his 60’s. He had been on the missionary trail for many years, traveling by foot all across the known world of that time. Living outside when traveling, working as a tentmaker to support his itinerant ministry and suffering from beatings, stoning, nights sleeping on the ground and finally incarceration in Mamertine Prison, a cold damp hole in the ground, across from the Tiber River and subject to migration of water from the river through the walls, leaving the cells damp and cold. Additionally, the top of the prison was little more than a hole in the ground, allowing any rain fall to enter. Historians say that the rule of Mamertine was that to enter as a prisoner was a death sentence in itself; that before long, the sanitary and environmental conditions within the prison would accomplish the executioner’s task for him.

 

The second Paul is the person who comes through in the requests Paul makes in verse 13.

 

13When you come bring the cloak which I left at Troas with Carpus, and the books, especially the parchments.

 

There is little doubt that Paul knew he would be in trouble with the coming of winter. He knew that he would need the cloak to help stay warm and dry. Perhaps Paul was arrested in Troas and was forced to leave his belongings, including his cloak and books, behind with Carpus when he was taken into custody. IN addition to his cloak, he also knew that he wanted to have his books and especially his parchments with him, most likely his copies of Old Testament scripture and his notes. Perhaps Paul had a copy of the Gospels of Matthew and Mark, which would have been written and copied by this time. Having scripture (God’s Holy Word) would have brought him great comfort, even in the dismal conditions of Mamertine.

 

Difficult Memories

 

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.

 

Paul believes that he needs to warn Timothy about the potential harm that Alexander the Coppersmith has caused. It could be that Alexander was the person who turned Paul over to the Roman Authorities when he was arrested (perhaps in Troas), since the word Paul uses for “did me harm” is the same Greek word used to describe an informer. This man is evidently the same person Paul warns Timothy about in his first letter. Looking back at that mention, Paul indicates that he has “delivered (him) to Satan that (he) not learn to blaspheme”. Perhaps Paul believed that if Timothy encountered Alexander on his journey to Rome similar bad things would happen and that the young Pastor needed to be warned.

 

Paul does not tell Timothy to have anything to do with Alexander. There is no “get even” bitterness in Paul’s heart. Instead he turns Alexander over to the Lord.

 

Paul’s Report of His First Defense in Rome

 

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.

 

Sadly, Paul’s first involvement with the Roman Court did not go well. He reports to Timothy that when he came up before Nero’s Court (what we would call his arraignment – where the charges against him were read and documented for the court records) that everyone deserted him – no one stood with him in court. This was a terribly dangerous time fro Christians in Rome. Historians say that Nero was terribly vindictive. If anyone gave even the impression of being in opposition to Nero, he had the means to have them arrested or even assonated. He could show bitterness and most of us would do that. Instead, he hopes it will not be held against them. Instead he praises God for standing with him and providing strength so that his (Paul’s) testimony might be known to all of the Gentiles.

Paul then reports that so far, he has been rescued from the Lion’s mouth. This probably indicates that Nero’s wrath has been postponed and that he has been saved from Satan. Some believe that this statement indicates that Paul was grateful that he was not thrown to the loins in the Coliseum after his initial arraignment. However, if records are accurate, this favorite way of Nero for dealing with Christians he wanted to get rid of was not implemented until about three years later.

 

It is true that in cases where no one was willing to stand up for an accused person, the court had the right to have the prisoner executed immediately and Paul was grateful that this did not happen, delivering him (immediately) to the mouth of the lion (Nero or Satan).

 

Paul’s Prayer, Concerning his Condition.

 

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.

 

At this point, Paul seems to not be praying for release from prison. He is praying for deliverance to Heaven. If this statement is as it reads, Paul knows that he will eventually lose his life to the Roman executioner and in hi sprayer he deals with that. His hope at this point is that God will rescue him from the evil deeds of the Roman’s who are holding him prisoner (mistreatment by his jailers) and that he will be delivered safely to God’s heavenly kingdom. For that he gives glory to God.

 

Final Words to a Select Few

 

19Greet Prisca and Aquila, and the household of Onesiphorus.

 

Prisca (Priscilla) and Aquila are the tentmakers Paul first met in Corinth and has mentioned in other letters. Each time Paul mentions them in his letters he mentions that they have a church meeting in their home. Paul’s history with this couple is lengthy (Corinth, Ephesus, Rome and back in Ehpesus) and full of good memories. Here, He remembers them at a time when recollections are precious.

 

Paul also sends greetings to the family of Onesiphorous, the man who sought him out in Prison and refreshed him during his darkest times. Apparently, his friend is still away from his family.

 

20Erastus remained at Corinth, but Trophimus I left sick at Miletus.

 

In his letter to the Romans, Paul mentions that Erastus is the city treasurer of Corinth.

 

In Jerusalem, Trophimus was with Paul in the temple the day the riots started there that led to Paul’s first arrest and his first imprisonment in Rome. Now, Paul mentions that he had to leave him sick at Miletus.  

 

21Make every effort to come before winter. Eubulus greets you, also Pudens and Linus and Claudia and all the brethren.

 

We have no knowledge of who Eubulus is, only that he is in Rome and evidently Timothy or those in the church in Ephesus know him.

 

Pudens, Linus and Claudia are all Roman Christians who send greetings to the church in Ephesus. A person named Linus is mentioned by Irenaeus (one of the early church writers) in some of his writings as the Bishop of Rome. Perhaps this Linus is Paul’s successor to the church in Rome. We know almost nothing short of contrived speculation about Pudens and Claudia. Some have speculated that they are the parents of Linus and that this listing is a prominent family in the Roman church.

 

Conclusion of a Life Well Lived

 

We do not know if Timothy and John Mark made it to Rome before Paul was executed. Tradition tells us that on a spring morning in the year 68 perhaps six or seven months after the coming winter for which Paul needed his cloak (late fall of the year 67), Paul was taken out the Ostian Way by a contingent of Roman soldiers and executed by decapitation.

 

If Timothy had been able to make it to Rome before winter as Paul asked in his letter, he would have been able to spend a few months with his beloved teacher. If that happened, Paul would have had the comfort of several of his most loved companions during the weeks before his execution.

 

It is interesting to note that within two or three years of executing Paul, Nero had committed suicide and was no more.

 

So, What Were Paul’s Final Words?

 

We don’t know. All we have are his last words to Timothy.

 

22The Lord be with your spirit Grace be with you.

 

The Lord be with your spirit – That is our hope. The presence of the Lord is the foundation of Life for the believer; the rock upon which everything else must be built. What we seek is the union of our spirit with his Holy Spirit, giving us power when needed, peace when needed and the assurance of his grace throughout our days.

 

Grace be with you – That is our need. Daily we seek to live in his grace, giving us what we do not deserve, strengthening us and feeding us to meet the needs of each day.

 

 

 

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