Grace and Peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom;
2 Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all long suffering and doctrine.
3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears;
4 And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.
5 But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry.
6 For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand.
7 I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith:
8 Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.
9 Do thy diligence to come shortly unto me:
10 For Demas hath forsaken me, having loved this present world, and is departed unto Thessalonica; Crescens to Galatia, Titus unto Dalmatia.
11 Only Luke is with me. Take Mark, and bring him with thee: for he is profitable to me for the ministry.
12 And Tychicus have I sent to Ephesus.
13 The cloke that I left at Troas with Carpus, when thou comest, bring with thee, and the books, but especially the parchments.
14 Alexander the coppersmith did me much evil: the Lord reward him according to his works:
15 Of whom be thou ware also; for he hath greatly withstood our words.
16 At my first answer no man stood with me, but all men forsook me: I pray God that it may not be laid to their charge.
17 Notwithstanding the Lord stood with me, and strengthened me; that by me the preaching might be fully known, and that all the Gentiles might hear: and I was delivered out of the mouth of the lion.
18 And the Lord shall deliver me from every evil work, and will preserve me unto his heavenly kingdom: to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.
19 Salute Prisca and Aquila, and the household of Onesiphorus.
20 Erastus abode at Corinth: but Trophimus have I left at Miletum sick.
21 Do thy diligence to come before winter. Eubulus greeteth thee, and Pudens, and Linus, and Claudia, and all the brethren.
22 The Lord Jesus Christ be with thy spirit. Grace be with you. Amen.
A Charge for the Teacher
We are representatives of our Lord in this world, for we are his heirs and his apostles (to use the Greek word, which means “messenger” and “envoy”). When we act in this world, we are seen by the world to be acting for our God, and He is either praised or blasphemed because of it. Let us recall that our calling is before the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall return in glory to judge both the living and the dead, and whose kingdom shall have no end.
We must be prepared at all times, whether we expect it or not, to preach and teach the Word. We rarely know for certain when we will be called upon to give reason for the hope that is in us, and the world is constantly challenging us. Therefore, let us preach the Word and be prepared to teach at all times, so that we are not caught flatfooted when that time might come. Further, as the Scripture is inspired of God and useful for rebuking wickedness, chastising foolishness, and exhorting all to righteousness, let us always be immersed in the Word and be patient with those to whom we seek to explain the great glory and mystery of our God.
A time will come, and indeed is already here, where men will not listen to wisdom and sound teachings. They will reject those doctrines of truth given by our God and seek after their own lusts. They will constantly find new teachers and listen to them, grab onto every new teaching they can find, and always be looking for the next “education” fix, but in so doing they will turn away from truth. Fairy tales, con men’s stories, the utopian visions of foolish men, and emotional appeals to ego shall grab them, and they will become consumed by all the media of which they partake.
For this reason, we must be vigilant. When anyone comes to us seeking new teachings, let them find wisdom and sound doctrine in us. When we are challenged and assaulted for that doctrine, let us endure all things for the sake of our Lord Jesus Christ, who endured all things on our behalf. When we are called by the Spirit to teach and preach, wherever that may be, let us be cheerfully and steadfastly obedient to that call. And let our ministry always be immersed deeply in Scripture, reason, and truth, so that we might have full proof in our ministry.
Preparing for Death
This is often considered to be among Paul’s last writings, for it is clear that his death was drawing near. As a Christian and an apostle, assured of the faith within him, he was ready to be offered up to the unbelievers for execution and death. There is no clear sorrow for his impending death, though, but a deep and abiding peace that made him ready for his death. He had fought the good fight dutifully since his days in Damascus, and he had run the course God laid out for him without wavering. Paul kept the faith, and so death held no fear for him nor power over him (for, remember, our Lord has conquered death and the grave).
We who are in Christ and seek to do His work have our treasures laid up for us in paradise. The crown of righteousness awaits us on the last day, when Christ shall return in glory and justice, and we shall be with Him from that day unto eternity. All of us who love the Lord Jesus Christ and await his return need fear no power of earth, nor persecution, nor death, because our God is greater than all of creation, and that same God has loved us and prepared his kingdom for us. Thanks be to God for all his mercies! His love endureth forever!
I write all these things for you having seen many leave this earth. Many of my grandparents, cousins, family friends, and acquaintances have finished their course and entered into paradise to be with our Lord. This is not the kingdom which he has promised, for that is coming, but they are with Him even as the robber upon the cross was with Him on the day of Christ’s crucifixion. Do not let your hearts be troubled, for they are but sleeping until that day where we shall be reunited before the full glory and majesty of our Lord, resurrected in new bodies that do not sin nor decay nor pass away. I will be there with them, and so shall you, and we shall all together sing praises to our Lord and King.
Timothy, the beloved student and brother of Paul, was still faithful to him, but so many others were not. As Paul’s persecutions grew greater and his death drew closer, Demas departed to Thessalonica, Crescens to Galatia, and even Titus to Dalmatia. These were brothers that stayed with Paul in Rome, but the pressure grew too great for them and they fled. So it is with many who are persecuted, and we do not bear them ill will. Rather, we pray for them that their faith be increased.
Luke and John Mark (who abandoned Paul on his first major missionary trip in Acts), as well, remained with their brother in body and in spirit. It is clear that Paul has forgiven Mark for leaving him (for reasons that are a bit vague), for Paul praises him as profitable for the ministry. Tychicus, mentioned a couple of times in the epistles, has also been sent to Ephesus to bear the doctrine that the apostles passed down unto them.
Also, Alexander the coppersmith deeply wronged Paul. He rejected the doctrines of Christ apparently with great tenacity, and I would hazard a guess that he spread false testimony concerning Paul. The Lord will reward all according to their works, though, so Paul discourages direct action from the Church (a lesson we must always bear in mind – our God takes care of the wicked in his time, and we don’t need mob violence to do His work).
Paul was abandoned, and no man stood with him. When he went to trial, no one testified on his behalf even among his friends. Paul, ever a loving brother and a strong teacher in faith, prays that God forgive them in the same way Jesus prayed at his crucifixion. Even so, the Lord stood with him and strengthened him, so that by his preaching might spread far and wide among the Gentiles and the devil might not take him until his work was done. So, too, will our Lord be with us in times of trouble, for as the Psalmist writes, “My help comes from the LORD, the maker of heaven and earth.”
With this, we come to the end of the epistles to Timothy. I pray you found wisdom and instruction here, from the Scriptures and from my meager exposition upon them. May the same God who was with Paul, and with Timothy, and with all the saints quick and asleep, be with you always.
Let us Pray
Wonderful counselor, mighty God, Prince of Peace, God who is with us, we thank you that you are all these things and more! Holy is the Lord God Almighty, and great are his handiworks. Let all men bear witness to the works He has made and praise Him in heaven forevermore, amen!
Father, who art in heaven, we thank you for our brother Paul and for all the brethren who have preserved his writings to this day. Thank you for making him an excellent teacher with a fiery zeal for Your Word, strengthened by your Spirit and empowered by the faith that is in Christ Jesus, our Lord. May all that we have received from him be made clear unto us, and may we always grow more holy and wise for reading the Scriptures.
Lord for whom we are called to be evangelists, do not forsake us though we have sinned and erred against you. Gently correct us and guide us according to Your will, that we might not stray from the paths and plans you have set apart for us. Prepare us to witness and teach all these things in season and out, being patient and steadfast before those who do not comprehend. Keep us from being like them, with itching ears and lustful obsession with each new teacher, but rather let us know the truth and shun all fables and follies.
And, Lord, when evil comes unto us, preserve us and keep us in the faith. When we suffer, fill us with joy that we might praise you all the more. When we are afflicted, fill us with strength that we might continue to cry out in Your name. When we are challenged, fill us with the Spirit and all truth that we might withstand all assaults. And, when we are to die, let us not fear but rather rejoice in our impending arrival with You.
You alone are God, and there is no authority in heaven or on earth that can rival You. Make us your instruments, to do your works, and be always with us. For You alone are the Lord God Almighty, and You alone have redeemed us from our sins.