2 Timothy 4

4:1 In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead, and in view of his appearing [Christ’s return] and his kingdom, I give you this charge:

4:2 Preach [to proclaim or deliver a message on behalf of a king or high official] the Word; be prepared in season and out of season [“whether convenient or not” (HCSB)]; correct, rebuke [one of the functions of God’s Word (2 Tim. 3:16); confronting sin and identifying it for what it is] and encourage [related to noun rendered “Counselor” in Jn. 14:16]—with great patience and careful instruction.

4:3 For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine [the kind of doctrine that leads to spiritual health]. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers [false and deceptive teachers] to say what their itching ears want [rather than what they need] to hear.

4:4 They will turn their ears away [or “turn aside”, a medical term that described a limb pulled out of joint] from the truth and turn aside to myths [something untrue or not valid historically; cf. 1 Tim. 1:4].

4:5 But you, [1] keep your head in all situations [literally, the verb means “keep sober” (in this case to stay spiritually alert to recognize heretical teaching)], [2] endure hardship [such endurance demonstrates faithfulness; hardship is inevitable for a Christian who stays true to the faith], [3] do the work of an evangelist [this noun appears also in Acts 21:8 and Eph. 4:11; to announce or preach the good news], [4] discharge all the duties of your ministry [a general reference to work done in Christ’s name; finish the job God called you to do].

4:6 [Paul used two images to describe his approaching death…] [1] For I am already being poured out like a drink offering [reflects OT practice of pouring out wine in association with specified sacrificial offerings; cf. Num. 15:1-10; 28:7], [2] and the time has come for my departure [or “loosing,” a word that paints a picture of a ship unloosed and ready to sail to another location or of soldiers breaking camp; Paul was being released from this life in order to head to a new destination].

4:7 [Paul made 3 statements to summarize his ministry] [1] I have fought the good fight [Paul compared his service to an athletic contest or military campaign], [2] I have finished the race [Paul had been faithful to the course that God had planned for him; he had not dropped out when he was tired and exhausted], [3] I have kept the faith [this phrase is from the business world and meant to keep the conditions of a contract; Paul demonstrated loyalty to God throughout his ministry].

4:8 Now there is in store for me [the promise of a future reward had motivated Paul to faithfully serve Christ] the crown of righteousness [cf. 1 Cor. 9:25; the rewards God grants believers for their righteous living and serving (cf. Phil. 1:21)], which the Lord, the righteous Judge [cf. Rev. 22:12], will award to me on that day [when He returned as Judge]—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing [refers to Jesus’ second coming].

4:9 Do your best to come to me quickly,

4:10 for Demas, because he loved this world, has deserted me and has gone to Thessalonica. Crescens has gone to Galatia, and Titus to Dalmatia.

4:11 Only Luke is with me. Get Mark and bring him with you, because he is helpful to me in my ministry.

4:12 I sent Tychicus to Ephesus.

4:13 When you come, bring the cloak that I left with Carpus at Troas, and my scrolls, especially the parchments.

4:14 Alexander the metalworker did me a great deal of harm. The Lord will repay him for what he has done.

4:15 You too should be on your guard against him, because he strongly opposed our message.

4:16 At my first defense [possibly at an earlier trial or at an initial stage of his current trial (similar to a hearing before a grand jury in our justice system)], no one came to my support, but everyone [possibly because of fear or weakness of character] deserted me. May it not be held against them [Paul did not harbor bitterness against those who had deserted him; cf. Jesus’ words in Lk. 23:34 and Stephen’s words in Acts 7:60].

4:17 But the Lord stood at my side and gave me strength, so that through me the message might be fully proclaimed and all the Gentiles might hear it. And I was delivered from the lion’s mouth [signifies deliverance from a deadly danger; cf. David’s language in Ps. 22:21].

4:18 The Lord will rescue me from every evil attack and [death would usher Paul into heaven] will bring me safely to his heavenly kingdom. To him be glory for ever and ever. Amen.

4:19 Greet Priscilla and Aquila and the household of Onesiphorus.

4:20 Erastus stayed in Corinth, and I left Trophimus sick in Miletus.

4:21 Do your best to get here before winter. Eubulus greets you, and so do Pudens, Linus, Claudia and all the brothers.

4:22 The Lord be with your spirit. Grace be with you.

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