Study Notes

2Timothy 4:1-22


Paul has spent a long time reminding Timothy of the value of the Word, the necessity of the Word, and the power of the Word in people's lives. He is about to close this letter, and gives Timothy one more set of reminders regarding the Word.

4:1-2 Preach The Word

"Timothy, in complete seriousness, I'm telling you, preach the Word. Because God is going to judge every person, it is your responsibility to preach the gospel to them, and teach the Bible to them. Be ready with it all the time - in season out of season - being ready at the times that you're not expecting to share.

Solomon wrote,

Prov. 25:11 {Like} apples of gold in settings of silver Is a word spoken in right circumstances.

How valuable it is when you're prepared with the Word in every situation! I can't count how many times that the Lord has opened up opportunities for me to share, to counsel, and to give my input when I've been in just the right place with my personal studies.

Many of you know of what I am speaking. You were listening to a Bible study on CSN, and later that day, a situation arose that this study applied to perfectly. You had just the right answer - just the right Scripture to bring about an answer.

You were reading in your morning devotions, and later that morning, someone asked you a question which you were immediately able to answer. You knew what the Bible had to say, because you had allowed the Bible to be saying it to you earlier.

That is what it is to be in season out of season. Ready at a time that you did not expect to have to be ready.

Reprove, Rebuke, Exhort With Great Patience And Instruction

As we saw in chapter three, the Word is profitable not just for teaching, but also for reproof and correction.

However, along with the pastoral command for reproof, rebuke, and exhortation comes an instruction to the pastor personally: with great patience and instruction.

I'll confess that it I often get very impatient with my correction. I'll bring a teaching in the word that says to stop certain behaviors. And I expect that because it's the Word of God and that I'm teaching it clearly, that everyone will just immediately submit themselves to the Word and stop that behavior. But it doesn't always happen like that. The next week, there's someone in the church doing the same thing that I taught that the Word said not to do!

But what I need to remind myself over and over is that it is not my powers of persuasion that will alter your life. It is the Spirit of God working within you, and your submission to Him that will bring about these changes.

I also need to be aware of instruction. It is not enough to simply say, "Hey, stop this. Don't do that. Start doing the other thing." I need to patiently bring instruction and explain the "because" part of the deal too. I can't just say, "quit drinking." I need to instruct you in what the Word says about its sinfulness and effects. I can't just say, "come to church more." I need to patiently bring instruction about what the Lord says is the value of it.

4:3-4 Not Enduring Sound Doctrine

Timothy was seriously told to preach the Word, just as the church today is being told that, because as time passes, more and more people are in church that don't want to hear the true Word of God.

More than ever before, they want to be entertained. They want church to be more like the MTV music awards, in order to keep their interest.

They want to hear messages that make them feel good, that tell them they're okay right where they're at. Lots of people don't want to be challenged to grow or convicted in their hearts. Thus, many will no longer stand for Biblical teaching.

This has led to the corruption of the church and the desecration of the true gospel message. The fact is, every one of us is a sinner. And each of us was - or is - an enemy of God's because of our sin. God sent His Son Jesus Christ to get in the middle and make peace. To pay the death penalty that our sins deserve.

He bought us with His own blood, and we are now not our own. And God expects us to give our lives to Him completely. To live not for our own pleasure, but to walk in holiness, and to live in righteousness.

That's not a message that's very popular in many churches today. It's too convicting. It's not user-friendly, it's not seeker-sensitive. But it is the truth.

And as the years progress, more and more people are turning away their ears from the truth.

4:5 Sober In All Things

Far from being all fun and games, music and video, there is much of the Christian life that is serious. We are not supposed to be getting drunk, getting high, and acting like there's no hell.

Now that is not to say that there is no time for fun. Even Solomon wrote that there is...

Eccl. 3:4 A time to weep, and a time to laugh; A time to mourn, and a time to dance.

But life here is not one big party. We are called to share in the sufferings of Jesus as they present themselves.

Suffer Hardship

That's one thing that I think is sadly funny about some people wanting to become pastors. You see, a lot of people pursue the ministry because they think, "he's the guy that everyone listens to! He's the one everyone quotes. He's the one that everyone wants to talk to at church! He's practically a celebrity! Plus, he only works one or two days a week!"

But in actuality, the ministry attracts hardship. You've got unbelievers that hate you because you're a vocal Christian. You've got satan and his demons out to get you because you're building the kingdom of God. And you've even got Christians that for some reason think that you've got a big target painted on your shirt that says, "Hurt me when I trust you. Kick me when I'm down. Resent me when I'm blessed. Gossip about me when I fall. Lie about me when you can't find anything else to hold against me."

Saints, don't let anyone deceive you: the ministry is hard. Not just the pastoral ministry. But the ministry of a Sunday School teacher. The ministry of the nursery workers. The ministry of the deacons and elders. There is attack from every side, because you're on the front lines.

As Peter wrote,

1Pet. 5:8-10 Be of sober {spirit,} be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls about like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. But resist him, firm in {your} faith, knowing that the same experiences of suffering are being accomplished by your brethren who are in the world. And after you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself perfect, confirm, strengthen {and} establish you.

Look at what being willing to suffer hardship in the kingdom will do for you!

Do The Work Of An Evangelist

Here's another fun thing that most people getting into ministry don't expect: in addition to teaching the Word, you must also do the work of an evangelist - whether you're good at it or bad, whether you're personable or shy, whether you're comfortable with it or not.

Why? Because the great commission that Jesus gave to us was,

Mark 16:15 And He said to them, "Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.

Everyone needs to hear about the salvation that Jesus Christ offers.

4:6-8 Poured Out As A Drink Offering

A drink offering was a sacrifice to God. Instead of being burnt on an altar, it was poured out.

In 2Samuel 23, we read that while David was hiding out in the cave of Ad-ool-LAWM, the Philistines had set up a garrison in Bethlehem. He longed for a drink of the water from the well of Bethlehem.

2Sam. 23:15-17 And David had a craving and said, "Oh that someone would give me water to drink from the well of Bethlehem which is by the gate!" So the three mighty men broke through the camp of the Philistines, and drew water from the well of Bethlehem which was by the gate, and took {it} and brought {it} to David. Nevertheless he would not drink it, but poured it out to the LORD; and he said, "Be it far from me, O LORD, that I should do this. {Shall I drink} the blood of the men who went in {jeopardy} of their lives?" Therefore he would not drink it.

These three mightiest of David's mighty men took it upon themselves to fight the Philistines and get their leader a drink of water from the well.

But when David received it, he could not drink of it, because it could have cost such a high price. Instead, he poured it out as a sacrifice to the Lord.

David had longed for this, craved it, thirsted for it, and now gave it to the Lord, rather than drinking it himself. He poured it out on the ground as a sacrifice to the Lord.

Paul is saying, "I'm like that water - poured out on the ground as a sacrifice to the Lord. In the world's eyes, my life is wasted - ending early because of an invisible God. But I know better. I know what is waiting for me - a crown in heaven."

4:9-12 Demas

Paul finishes the letter with personal notes to Timothy about his current situation, and where the partners in ministry have gone. KRACE-kace went to Galatia, Titus to Dal-mat-EE-ah, and Too-khee-KOS to Ephesus. At this point, only Luke was with Paul.

He also tells Timothy what happened to Day-MAS, how he loved the world and deserted Paul. This is disturbing, because when Paul was writing to the Colossians (4:14) and Philemon (1:24), Day-MAS was partnered with Paul in the ministry, a fellow worker. But now, we find out that he was more into the things of the world than the things of God.

I can tell you as a pastor, that there are few greater sorrows in the ministry than to see people that you have led to Christ, discipled, or served in ministry with, walk away from the Lord, from fellowship, and from the church.

4:13 When You Come

Winter was approaching, and Paul was getting cold. He also really wanted his library back.

4:14-15 Alexander

Alexander is the guy that Paul had told Timothy about in the first letter.

1Tim. 1:19-20 ...some have rejected (faith and a good conscience) and suffered shipwreck in regard to their faith. Among these are Hoo-men-AH-yos and Alexander, whom I have delivered over to Satan, so that they may be taught not to blaspheme.

Apparently, Alexander continued to cause trouble in the church and with Paul. He warns Timothy to watch out for him. Again, I see that Paul was not afraid to name names when it came to dangerous people in the church.

4:16-18 The Lord Stood With Me

Through many of Paul's legal troubles, he stood alone. But he wasn't really alone - the Lord was with him, and he knew that God was going to safely carry him to heaven, no matter what happened on earth.

4:19-22 Final Greetings

Paul tells Timothy to give his greetings to PRIS-kah and Ak-OO-las, and the household of On-ay-SIF-or-os. He also fills Timothy in on the status of ER-as-tos and TROF-ee-mos, as well as sending greetings from YOO-boo-los, POO-dace, Linus, Claudia, and others that Timothy knew.

In an earthly sense, it is somewhat sad to read the final words of Paul. Yet we know that he is now in Paradise, having received the crown that he so longed for.

Go to next study

Go to previous study