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2Timothy 4:1-5

Thursday Evening Bible Study

June 14, 2018


The history recorded in the book of Acts ends around AD 60, with Paul being confined under house arrest in his own apartment in Rome.

We believe that Paul was released after a couple of years, and would travel to Ephesus, Macedonia, Crete, Nicopolis, and then be rearrested in Troas and taken back to Rome.

In AD 64 Nero burned Rome, blamed it on the Christians, and kicked off a period of persecution.

This time, Paul would be confined in the Mamertine Prison.

Everyone has abandoned Paul except for his friend Luke the physician.
(2 Timothy 4:11 NKJV) Only Luke is with me.
It’s from here that Paul writes this letter, his final letter somewhere around AD 66-67, just prior to his death.
Paul is hoping that Timothy would come to him, but that isn’t going to happen.
Paul will shortly be taken outside the city of Rome where he will be beheaded.

In two weeks we have a treat for you…

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Paul’s second letter to Timothy was written around AD 66-67 while Paul was in prison in Rome, being held in chains in the Mamertine prison.

These are Paul’s last words, written just days away from being led out of the city where he will be beheaded.

The account is recorded in Foxe’s Book of Martyrs:

“Paul, the apostle, who before was called Saul, after his great travail and unspeakable labors in promoting the Gospel of Christ, suffered also in this first persecution under Nero. Abdias, declareth that under his execution Nero sent two of his esquires, Ferega and Parthemius, to bring him word of his death. They, coming to Paul instructing the people, desired him to pray for them, that they might believe; who told them that shortly after they should believe and be baptized at His sepulcher. This done, the soldiers came and led him out of the city to the place of execution, where he, after his prayers made, gave his neck to the sword.”
(don’t forget this when we get to the end tonight…)

Paul has expressed a concern for doctrinal purity throughout the letter.

Some were teaching strange doctrines.

Timothy needed to be “rightly dividing” the Word.

Timothy, as a servant of God, needed to be able to help those who were going off track in doctrine.

We saw last week that the best tool to deal with keeping people on track with the truth is the Scriptures.

(2 Timothy 3:16–17 NKJV) —16 All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.

4:1-5 Preach the Word

:1 I charge you therefore before God and the Lord Jesus Christ, who will judge the living and the dead at His appearing and His kingdom:

chargediamarturomai – to testify; earnestly, religiously to charge; to attest, testify to, solemnly affirm

willmello – to be about; to be on the point of doing or suffering something

livingzao – to live, breathe, be among the living (not lifeless, not dead); to enjoy real life

appearingepiphaneia – an appearing, appearance

:1 who will judge the living and the dead

There will be a day when every single human will stand before Christ, both living and dead, Jew and Gentile, believer and unbeliever.

As believers, the issue will not be about punishment for our sins, because Jesus has paid that punishment.
For believers, the issue is about the rewards that God has promised us for serving Him.


Don’t lose sight of the goal

Paul wrote to the Corinthians:
(2 Corinthians 5:9–10 NKJV) —9 Therefore we make it our aim, whether present or absent, to be well pleasing to Him. 10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.

The term translated “judgment seat” (bema) is a term used for the throne that a governor might sit on.

It might be simply the spot he sits on in the amphitheater, but it also might be a place for bringing judgment on the cases brought before him.

Paul tells us that Jesus has a bema, upon which He will judge “all”.

Paul warned the Romans about their relationships with other believers, saying,
(Romans 14:10 NKJV) But why do you judge your brother? Or why do you show contempt for your brother? For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ.

In other words, leave the judging to Jesus.  He will be judging you, and He will be judging the other person.

Paul gave the Corinthians a picture of what happens before the bema:
(1 Corinthians 3:12–15 NKJV) —12 Now if anyone builds on this foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, 13 each one’s work will become clear; for the Day will declare it, because it will be revealed by fire; and the fire will test each one’s work, of what sort it is. 14 If anyone’s work which he has built on it endures, he will receive a reward. 15 If anyone’s work is burned, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire.

There is a day coming when we will each receive a reward for all the things we’ve done for the Lord.

I think motives will be one of the major issues of how we will be judged - whether we have done things in love or not.

(1 Corinthians 13:3 NKJV) And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profits me nothing.

One of the ancient places you’d find a bema would be at the games.
It’s where the prize was handed out to the victors.
(1 Corinthians 9:24–27 NKJV) —24 Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may obtain it. 25 And everyone who competes for the prize is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a perishable crown, but we for an imperishable crown. 26 Therefore I run thus: not with uncertainty. Thus I fight: not as one who beats the air. 27 But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified.
One of the important lessons in athletic competition is to be sure you don’t celebrate your victory before you’ve actually won the race.
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Paul is reminding Timothy about the finish line in life.

Paul is getting close to finishing his race, and he wants to make sure that Timothy doesn’t quit the race too quickly.

We will go through different seasons in life, our ministries will change, the direction of our life will change, but one thing remains – run the race to the end.  Don’t quit too early.

And so Paul reminds Timothy of what his race is all about…

:2 Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching.

:2 Preach the word!

preachkerusso – to proclaim after the manner of a herald; always with the suggestion of formality, gravity and an authority which must be listened to and obeyed

It’s almost exclusively translated “preach” or “proclaim”.

(Matthew 4:17 NKJV) From that time Jesus began to preach and to say, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”

There’s no teaching here, just a proclamation for people to turn their lives around.

The emphasis isn’t on explaining things, but in speaking with authority.

Timothy needs to “proclaim” God’s Word.  Speak it out.

:2 Be ready in season and out of season.

be ready ephistemi – to place at, be present; take a stand, carry on, stick to it.

in season eukairos (“good” + “time”) – seasonably, opportunely

out of season akairos (“not” + “time”) – unseasonable

There are times when it seems to be a “good time” to share Christ with people, things we’ve planned out, ministries we’ve set up for this.

There will also be times when we haven’t been planning on sharing Christ, but suddenly somebody asks a question.
Be ready.

:2 Convince, rebuke, exhort,

convince elegcho – to convict; generally with a suggestion of shame of the person convicted

This is the same word that was translated “reproof” back in 2Tim. 3:16 –
(2 Timothy 3:16 NKJV) All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness,
I have to tell you that this isn’t something that I generally enjoy doing.
I’d rather tell someone, “there, there, it’s okay” and give them a hug, when sometimes God is wanting to make sure that they know just how serious their sin is.
Yet this is exactly what the false prophets were doing back in Jeremiah’s day:

(Lamentations 2:14 NKJV) Your prophets have seen for you false and deceptive visions; They have not uncovered your iniquity, To bring back your captives, But have envisioned for you false prophecies and delusions.

God is concerned that people not be deceived into thinking that they are going to get away with their sins.  He will bring judgment against sin and He longs for people to be reminded to repent from their sins.
And what is our best tool to see this happen?

God’s Word.  It is profitable for reproof…

rebuke epitimao – to chide, censure severely; to admonish or charge sharply. 

Often the word does bring about a change in the thing being rebuked –
(Matthew 17:18 NKJV) And Jesus rebuked the demon, and it came out of him; and the child was cured from that very hour.
Yet with a rebuke, the point is to get the message across whether or not the other person changes.
(Luke 17:3 NKJV) Take heed to yourselves. If your brother sins against you, rebuke him; and if he repents, forgive him.

But he might not repent.

There are times you need to speak up, whether or not the person changes … but if they do change, they you need to respond with forgiveness.

Paul wants Timothy to not shy away from saying hard things when hard things need to be said.

exhort parakaleo – to call to one’s side; exhortation, entreaty, comfort, instruction

Though we often focus on this word as “encourage” or “comfort”, it’s most common usage in the New Testament is to “entreat” or, “beg”, or “appeal”
The word does not have the same harsh edge that the other two words (convince, rebuke) do.
Listen to the heart behind some of the places where this word is used:
(1 Thessalonians 2:11 NKJV) as you know how we exhorted, and comforted, and charged every one of you, as a father does his own children,

The loving heart of a good father.

(Philemon 9 NKJV) yet for love’s sake I rather appeal to you—being such a one as Paul, the aged, and now also a prisoner of Jesus Christ—

The “appeal” comes from love.

(1 Peter 2:11 NKJV) Beloved, I beg you as sojourners and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts which war against the soul,
When we are trying to influence people towards walking closer with God, we need to balance “conviction” and “rebuke” with compassion (that’s “exhortation”)
(Ephesians 4:15 NKJV) but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ—
(Galatians 6:1 NKJV) Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness, considering yourself lest you also be tempted.

:2 with all longsuffering and teaching.

longsufferingmakrothumia – patience, endurance, slowness in avenging wrongs. 

This word has to do with being patient with difficult people.
Timothy needs to not give up too quickly on people, but to be patient with them.
I have to confess that sometimes I have a difficult time being patient with idiots.
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Missionary Amy Carmichael expressed her desire to become more and more like Jesus when she wrote,

 “If in dealing with one who does not respond, I weary of the strain, and slip from under the burden, then I know nothing of Calvary Love. 

If I have not the patience of my Savior with souls who grow slowly; if I know little of travail till Christ be fully formed in them, then I know nothing of Calvary Love. 

If I avoid being ‘ploughed under’ with all that such ploughing entails of rough handling, isolation, uncongenial situations, strange test, then I know nothing of Calvary Love.”

When we have trouble with difficult people, think about Jesus and what He did for difficult people.

teachingdidache – teaching

Whereas “preaching” is the proclamation or speaking out of God’s Word, “teaching” is the explaining of God’s Word.
People don’t grow if all they hear are “rebukes”.
People need to be taught, they need to be “fed”.
Jesus told Peter to “feed My sheep” (John 21:17)

(John 21:17 NKJV) He said to him the third time, “Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me?” Peter was grieved because He said to him the third time, “Do you love Me?” And he said to Him, “Lord, You know all things; You know that I love You.” Jesus said to him, “Feed My sheep.

Sometimes teaching is done through the words we speak to others.
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Sometimes teaching involves illustrating with stories (Jesus used parables) or showing by example.
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Timothy is not to just preach, but to teach.

:3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers;

:4 and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables.

time kairos – due measure; a measure of time

Timothy was to be ready “in season and out of season”, or, “in good times and bad times”.  This will be one of the bad times.

:3 they will not endure sound doctrine

sound hugiaino – to be sound, to be well, to be in good health

There is “healthy” teaching, and “unhealthy” teaching.

doctrinedidaskalia – teaching, instruction; that which is taught, doctrine

endureanechomai – to hold up; to hold one’s self erect and firm; to sustain, to bear, to endure

We are in those times.

I’m afraid that some pastors will use this an excuse to preach dry, boring messages that put people to sleep, and then complain that their people are not “enduring” sound doctrine.

Paul is talking about the content of the teaching, not the way it’s being presented.
Healthy doctrine, correct doctrine, teaching the orthodox truths of Christianity can be done in a way that doesn’t make the people feel like they have to “endure” torture.
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Paul is not talking about enduring poorly done teaching, but that there will be a day when people will not want to listen to any kind of healthy teaching.

:3 according to their own desires, because they have itching ears

desiresepithumia – desire, craving, longing, desire for what is forbidden, lust

The real motive in deciding what people will want to listen to or not is “lust”.
Desires for the wrong things will influence people’s decisions of who they will listen to and who they won’t.

ownidios – pertaining to one’s self, one’s own, belonging to one’s self

itchingknetho – to scratch, tickle, make to itch; to itch; desirous of hearing something pleasant

They will have an “itch” they want scratched, and they’ll look for a teacher who will make them feel better about their lusts.

I can’t help but think of today’s “prosperity” teachers.
People want to become rich.
These guys promise they’ll make you rich.

heapepisoreuo (“upon” + “heap”) – to heap up, accumulate in piles

teachersdidaskalos – a teacher

:4 turn their ears away from the truth

turn awayapostrepho – to turn away; to remove anything from anyone; to turn him away from allegiance to any one; tempt to defect


The old evangelist, Wilbur Chapman, told of a preacher friend who delivered a powerful sermon on the subject of sin. After the service, one of the church officers confronted the minister in his study and offered what he thought was some needed counsel.  “Pastor,” he said, “we don’t want you to talk as openly as you do about man’s guilt and corruption, because if our boys and girls hear you discussing that subject they will more easily become sinners.  Call it a mistake, if you will, but do not speak so plainly about sin.”  The pastor removed a small bottle from a shelf behind his desk.  Showing it to the man, he said, “You see this label?  It says ‘Strychnine,’ and underneath in bold, red letters is the word ‘poison.’  What you are asking me to do would be like changing this label.  Suppose I write over it ‘Essence of Peppermint.’  Someone who doesn’t know the danger might use it and become very ill.  The milder the label, the more dangerous the poison!”

We’ve got to speak the truth.

:4 be turned aside to fables

turned asideektrepo – to turn or twist out; in a medical sense used of dislocated limbs

fablesmuthos – a fiction, a fable; an invention, a falsehood

I think it’s interesting that this word is only found five times in the New Testament, three of them written to Timothy, one to Titus, and the other used by Peter in his second letter.  All four letters were written on the late side, after AD 60. 
I get the idea that Paul and Peter were concerned about the “myths” that had begun to creep into the church.
(1 Timothy 1:4 NKJV) nor give heed to fables and endless genealogies, which cause disputes rather than godly edification which is in faith.
(1 Timothy 4:7 NKJV) But reject profane and old wives’ fables, and exercise yourself toward godliness.
(2 Timothy 4:4 NKJV) and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables.
(Titus 1:14 NKJV) not giving heed to Jewish fables and commandments of men who turn from the truth.
(2 Peter 1:16 NKJV) For we did not follow cunningly devised fables when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of His majesty.
There are other ancient writings called pseudopigrapha (“false writings”), things written around this time by people claiming to be Christians or even claiming to be important people like Thomas and Barnabas. 
These writings were beginning to circulate around the church and the church flatly rejected them as false, as “myths”. 
I find it interesting that there are scholars (and fiction writers like Dan Brown) who want to look at these things and try to put them back into the church.

:5 But you be watchful in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.

:5 But you be watchful in all things

be watchful nepho – to be sober, to be calm and collected in spirit; to be temperate, dispassionate, circumspect

This is the opposite of being “drunk”.

:5 endure afflictions

endure afflictions kakopatheo (“evil” + “suffer”) – to suffer (endure) evils (hardships, troubles); to be afflicted

Don’t forget where Paul is when he’s writing this.

He’s in prison awaiting his own death.
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This is the third time Paul has used this word with Timothy in this same letter:

(2 Timothy 2:3 NKJV) You therefore must endure hardship as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.
(2 Timothy 2:9 NKJV) for which I suffer trouble as an evildoer, even to the point of chains; but the word of God is not chained.
By the way, this word is only used four times in the New Testament, three of them here in 2Timothy.

James is the only other person to use this word:

(James 5:13a NKJV) Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray.
I like that.  We need to pray.

:5 do the work of an evangelist

workergon – business, employment, that which any one is occupied; an act, deed, thing done: the idea of working is emphasised in opp. to that which is less than work

evangelisteuaggelistes – a bringer of good tidings, an evangelist

The title “evangelist” is among those listed as leaders in the church –
(Ephesians 4:11 NKJV) And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers,

This is where some get the idea that “evangelism” is a spiritual gift.

I’m not going to quarrel with that idea – there are some people who do seem to be more “gifted” at leading others to Christ than most.

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There is only one person who was given the title “evangelist” – Philip. (Acts 21:8)
(Acts 21:8 NKJV) —8 On the next day we who were Paul’s companions departed and came to Caesarea, and entered the house of Philip the evangelist, who was one of the seven, and stayed with him.
Philip was one of the seven “deacons” in Acts 6 who were given the job of waiting on tables in the church’s food distribution ministry.
But Philip also couldn’t keep quiet when it came to sharing Jesus with others.
He would go to Samaria and be the lead of a great revival among the Samaritans (Acts 8), before leading the Ethiopian Eunuch to the Lord on the way to Egypt.
The problem with isolating a gift of “evangelism” is that we forget that we’re all called to share the gospel.
(Matthew 28:18–20 NKJV) —18 And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen.

That means that we have the same responsibility.

We have no record of Timothy leading large revival meetings.  We don’t even have a record of him preaching – he was just Paul’s helper.
Yet Paul reminds him that he too has to do the work of an evangelist.
God give us a heart for lost people, and a willingness to open up and speak about Jesus.

:5 fulfill your ministry

ministrydiakonia – service, ministering, esp. of those who execute the commands of others

fulfillplerophoreo – to bear or bring full, to make full; to cause a thing to be shown to the full; to fulfil the ministry in every part; to carry through to the end, accomplish

We started tonight talking about people who don’t finish the race, but quit a little bit too early.

Timothy needs to complete his ministry.  Finish the race.