2 Timothy 4
The Last Solemn Charge.
SUMMARY.--A Charge to Preach the Word.
Paul's Time of Departure at Hand.
His Blessed Confidence.
Timothy Asked to Come.
Deserted by Others in the Hour of Trial, Yet the Lord was with Him.
1, 2. I charge thee. How impressive this charge from the weary,
war-worn apostle, as he stood on the edge of the grave! The names of
God and of Christ are invoked to give it solemnity. Christ is named in
his capacity of Judge, who shall judge not only Timothy's hearers, but
Quick and the dead. See
1 Thess. 4:15.
At his appearing and his kingdom. This final judgment is placed
at the time when Christ shall appear in his kingdom of glory. See
2. Preach the word. Proclaim the Word, as a herald of Christ.
This is implied in the Greek. The Word is the Gospel and its teachings.
Nothing else must be preached. The excellence of the Scriptures has
just been mentioned
These equip the preacher for his work.
Be instant, etc. Preach on all occasions. Be urgent in the
3, 4. For the time will come. Hence, there is need of diligence
Sound doctrine. Gospel teaching.
Heap to themselves teachers. Run from one teacher to another;
unsettled and restless.
Having itching ears. Ears which seek to be tickled by some new
sensation. This class is numerous still.
4. And they shall turn away their ears from the truth. It is a
moral law, continually illustrated, that those who do not seek truth
will receive untruth.
5-8. Watch thou. Rather, be thou sober, and on the alert. Do not
Do the work of an evangelist. Preach the gospel and look after
Make full proof. Discharge thy ministry fully.
6. For I am now ready to be offered. Poured out as an offering
by having his blood shed. See margin of Revision.
The time of my departure. Death, to Paul, was simply a departure,
a leaving the body and this world for a better state.
At hand. His death had been predetermined by his enemies, and
7. I have fought the good fight. The figure is drawn from the
Grecian games. Literally, "I have striven a good strife."
I have finished my course. Drawn from the games also. The
race is run to the end.
I have kept the faith. In spite of every opposition and
affliction he has remained true. How true, his who life shows.
8. Henceforth there is laid up for me. As the successful
competitor in the games receives a crown, so the crown awaited him.
The crown of righteousness. The crown given for righteousness.
The righteous judge. He was about to die by the sentence of an
unrighteous judge. The higher Judge would reverse the sentence and give
him a crown.
And not to me only. All can have the same hope. All who serve
him, and would love to see him come as their best friend, shall have
the same crown.
9-13. Do thy diligence to come. In view of his speedy departure,
in view of Paul's need of him.
10. For Demas hath forsaken me. Demas is named in
Col. 4:14 and Philemon 24
favorably, but in the time of trial his courage failed. Death seemed
to threaten, and as he clung to life, he fled.
Crescens. Not named elsewhere.
Titus. Well known as one of Paul's companions.
Dalmatia. The district east of the Adriatic in Illyricum, where
we know churches were already planted. It is likely he was there by
Paul's orders. See
11. Only Luke is with me. Of my traveling companions. The old
friend is faithful to the last.
Take Mark. John Mark, so well known. He seems to have been at
this date at Ephesus. For more of
see Introduction to the Gospels which they wrote.
12. Tychicus have I sent to Ephesus. He probably carried this
letter and was to supply Timothy's place. Tychicus is named several
Titus 3:12 and in the last chapters of Colossians and Ephesians).
13. The cloke. If his imprisonment is prolonged he will need it.
Carpus. Probably his host at Troas.
The books. Manuscripts.
Especially the parchments. Papyrus and parchment were both used
for books, and he wishes particularly the latter.
14, 15. Alexander the coppersmith. An Alexander is named in
Acts 19:33 and in 1 Tim. 1:20
as belonging to Ephesus. This may have been the same man. We cannot be
sure whether the evil was done in Ephesus, or Rome.
Did me much evil. By his opposition.
The Lord reward him. The Christian, when wronged, is to turn
over to the Lord the recompense for the wrong.
15. Of whom be thou ware. This seems to indicate that Alexander
was at Ephesus still.
16-18. At my first answer. This seems to point to a first
hearing of the case, which had then been adjourned, perhaps to wait for
witnesses. Then, as now, cases were often postponed, or there were
No man stood with me. None of his brethren dared to appear in
his support. It was the last year of the reign of Nero, and times were
17. The Lord stood with me. He had a better helper than man. He
had an assurance that the Lord was with him.
That by me. The Lord
strengthened him, so that in his defense he could proclaim to the
Gentiles boldly the principles of the gospel. For the manner in which
he was wont to defend himself, see in Acts his famous speeches before
Out of the mouth of the lion. Probably a proverbial expression
indicating deliverance from great danger. Some have thought it meant
that he was delivered from being thrown to the lions.
18. And the Lord shall deliver me. In the future as in the past.
From every evil work. From evil doers.
19-22. Salute Prisca and Aquila. These tried friends, whom he
first met in Corinth, afterwards in Ephesus, who returned also to Rome,
were now again in Ephesus.
The house of Onesiphorus. See
2 Tim. 1:16.
Some have thought that this form implies that Onesiphorus was dead, but
that does not follow necessarily.
20. Erastus abode at Corinth. Probably his old home
Trophimus. He was an Ephesian
These personal details were better understood by Timothy than by us,
but I suppose this statement is made to explain why Trophimus was not
in Rome. This verse proves that this letter does not belong to the date
of Paul's first imprisonment, since years have passed between Paul's
last visit to Miletus and the first Roman imprisonment.
21. Come before winter. He could not come in the winter because
navigation was suspended.
Eubulus. Not before mentioned. It is probable that all these
were Roman brethren.
Prudens. He is thought to have been a Roman senator, from data
secured outside the New Testament.
Linus. A Linus appears as a bishop of Rome not many years later.
Claudia. It has been argued that this lady was the daughter of a
British king, and the wife of Prudens. See Conybeare and Howson.
Shortly after this Epistle was written, within a few months at most,
Paul had his second hearing, was sentenced to death by execution, was
led out of the city at the Ostian Gate to a place called the Three
Fountains, and there was beheaded. At least all early tradition, and
the Fathers, among them Clement, one of his companions, support this