Evening Bible Study
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.
It was in AD 64 that Nero burned Rome, blamed it on the Christians, and
began 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
Paul will shortly be taken outside the city of Rome where he will be
We left off two weeks ago with this encouragement to Timothy:
(2 Timothy 1:7
NKJV) For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love
and of a sound mind.
fear – deilia – timidity,
:8 Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me His
prisoner, but share with me in the sufferings for the gospel according to the
power of God,
:8 do not be ashamed of the testimony
ashamed – epaischunomai – to be ashamed
from aischuno – to disfigure; to
dishonor; to suffuse with shame
Remember back in vs. 7, that God has not made us cowards, but He has made
available to us power, love, and a sound mind to overcome our cowardice.
Paul doesn’t want Timothy to be a coward when it comes to talking about
Jesus, or admitting his relationship with Paul.
Timothy would indeed live up to this – being bold in his testimony about
Jesus, even dying a martyr’s death in about thirty years.
This is from Fox’s Book of Martyrs (pg.7)
Timothy was the celebrated disciple of St. Paul, and
bishop of Ephesus, where he zealously governed the Church until AD 97. At this
period, as the pagans were about to celebrate a feast called Catagogion,
Timothy, meeting the procession, severely reproved them for their ridiculous
idolatry, which so exasperated the people that they fell upon him with their
clubs, and beat him in so dreadful a manner that he expired of the bruises two
:8 share with me in the sufferings for the gospel
share with me in the sufferings
– sugkakopatheo (“with” + “bad” +
“suffer”) – to suffer hardship together with one
Paul is in prison again, suffering.
Paul has spent a lot of his life as a believer suffering for what he
He invites Timothy to be willing to suffer with him.
Paul isn’t asking Timothy to do anything he isn’t already doing.
:8 according to the power of God
power – dunamis – strength, power, ability
Strength to suffer
We often think of this dunamis power as being able to make us into
some kind of Superman, able to conquer every bad guy with a super punch.
But sometimes God’s power is meant to simply help us make it through the
times of pain, even if the situation doesn’t change.
1:8 NKJV) But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you;
and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria,
and to the end of the earth.”
Sometimes that “power” to be witnesses is the strength or
ability to keep going, even when it’s difficult.
This is the “filling” or “baptism” of the Holy Spirit.
God wants all of us to be filled with the Holy Spirit.
Warren Wiersbe writes,
“Years ago, I read about a Christian who was in prison because of his
faith. He was to be burned at the stake, and he was certain he would never be
able to endure the suffering. One night, he experimented with pain by putting
his little finger into the candle flame. It hurt, and he immediately withdrew
it. “I will disgrace my Lord,” he said to himself. “I cannot bear the pain.”
But when the hour came for him to die, he praised God and gave a noble witness
for Jesus Christ. God gave him the power when he needed it,
and not before.”
Beloved, there are going to be times when we go through difficulty.
Don’t be surprised when trouble hits.
Learn to lean on the power of the Holy Spirit.
:9 who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according
to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was given to us
in Christ Jesus before time began,
:10 but has now been revealed by the appearing of our Savior Jesus Christ, who
has abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the
In the Greek, these two verses are written out in almost poetic form, as if
these two verses might have been part of an early Christian worship song, meant
to teach the basics of the gospel.
Broken up into each line of the song, it would look like this:
who has saved us
and called us with a holy calling,
not according to our works,
but according to His own purpose and grace
which was given to us in Christ Jesus
before time began,
but has now been revealed
by the appearing of our Savior Jesus Christ,
who has abolished death
and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel
That would be an interesting project for a song writer to take these
concepts and put them to music – as a teaching tool for the church about the
basics of the gospel.
:9 not according to our works
Our salvation and our “holy” calling are not based on us being good enough.
They are based on God’s purpose and God’s grace.
:9 given to us in Christ Jesus before time began
God’s plan of salvation wasn’t a hastily cooked up plan, figured out in AD
33, or maybe in AD 35 after Jesus died (like the disciples needed to make an
God had planned our salvation “before time eternal” (literally).
Last night at our elders’ meeting, we were reading this from Revelation 13,
talking about the world worshipping the coming antichrist …
NKJV) All who dwell on the earth will worship him, whose names have not
been written in the Book of Life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the
Jesus is the “Lamb” who was already considered “slain” before the world was
:10 but has now been revealed
Even though God’s plan was made before eternity, the details of the plan
weren’t made clear until Jesus came.
:10 who has abolished death
has abolished – katargeo –
to render idle, unemployed, inactivate, inoperative
Jesus has conquered death through His resurrection.
Even though we may still experience physical death (a separation between
our body and spirit), we will no longer have to experience eternal spiritual
death (a separation between us and God).
:10 brought life and immortality to light
This is what the gospel does – it shines a light into a dark room, and
exposes the truth about life and immortality.
That’s why it’s so important for us to be sharing the gospel – the truth
that Jesus came to die for our sins, and we can now enter into a relationship
with God with forgiveness and eternal life.
:11 to which I was appointed a preacher, an apostle, and a teacher of the
:11 to which I was appointed a preacher …
It’s for the sake of the gospel that Paul was appointed by God to proclaim
the message (preacher), to be sent out as a messenger (apostle), and to teach
even the Gentiles the truth about God.
:12 For this reason I also suffer these things; nevertheless I am not
ashamed, for I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to
keep what I have committed to Him until that Day.
:12 For this reason I also suffer these things
Paul uses courtroom language.
reason – aitia – cause for
which one is worthy of punishment, crime; charge of crime, accusation
Paul is saying that the reason he’s in prison is that he’s been charged
with being a preacher of these things.
:12 nevertheless I am not ashamed
ashamed – epaischunomai –
to be ashamed
This is the same word Paul used to say to Timothy, “Do not be ashamed of
the testimony of our Lord…” (vs. 8)
Paul now shares with Timothy why HE isn’t ashamed.
:12 I know whom I have believed
Paul’s confidence is in Jesus. Paul
Paul doesn’t say, “I know what
I believe”, but he says, “I know whom I have believed”.
Perhaps the courage to not “be
ashamed” comes from the depth of our relationship with Jesus.
Some people are real confident in
“what” they believe, and then beat people over the head with it.
Paul’s confidence was in “whom” he
believed, not that he didn’t know “what” he believed.
:12 He is able to keep what I have committed to Him until that Day
that which I have committed – paratheke
– a deposit, a trust or thing consigned to one’s faithful keeping
What has Paul entrusted Jesus with?
to keep – phulasso – to
guard; to guard a person (or thing) that he may remain safe
he is able – dunatos –
able, powerful, mighty, strong; to be able (to do something)
This word is based on the word dunamai,
as is the word dunamis.
He has the power to guard us and to see us safely through until the day
that we see Him face to face.
This is where Paul gets his “courage”.
This next video is from the movie “Paul, The Apostle”.
The fictional movie is based on Paul’s last days, the days of 2Timothy.
It’s a scene where Luke is in prison with other believers, and he warns
them that they will be facing martyr’s deaths at Caesar Nero’s games. One of the ways Nero killed Christians was
making them face wild animals in the Colosseum.
Notice how Luke reminds them of how death will happen, and what follows
He hasn’t forgotten
Sometimes we can get to thinking that God has forgotten us, and we have to
face the difficulties in our lives all by ourselves.
He knows what’s going on.
He promises to be with us until the end and take us through to the end.
I have to confess that there’s something in my head that keeps thinking
that if I am doing this Christian life right, that I will have no problems in
And then problems hit.
Problems aren’t necessarily a sign that you’ve done something wrong.
Problems are an opportunity to trust God and see Him work.
They are often the times when we can grow the most.
He is worthy of your “trust”. Commit yourself to Him.
At the Men’s retreat last weekend, things were going pretty good and smooth
through Saturday morning. The fellowship
was sweet. The food was good. The messages were great.
And then the afternoon came.
A group of guys went to play paintball. Some of us watched the first game, then
drifted off to do other things.
Later that afternoon we found out that things didn’t end
so well with the paintball. Guys got
mad. Feelings were hurt.
I think in previous years I would have felt that Satan was
trying to destroy the weekend. But this
year I felt like God was allowing difficulty to teach some lessons.
Real life is full of problems.
The big question is how are you going to react?
Do you now in whom you believe?
Do you find peace in knowing that He is able to protect
you right to the end?
Let Him use each situation to teach you something.
:13 Hold fast the pattern of sound words which you have heard from me, in
faith and love which are in Christ Jesus.
:13 Hold fast the pattern of sound words
the pattern – hupotuposis (from the word tupos,
“type”) – an outline, sketch, brief and summary exposition; an example, pattern
It’s based on the word tupos,
which means to strike something and leave a mark.
Paul’s words have left a mark on Timothy, and Paul is encouraging Timothy
to hold to what Paul has taught him.
sound – hugiaino – to be
sound, to be well, to be in good health
Paul’s words have been “healthy” words.
Write it down
We’ve got Paul’s words as well, and they are “healthy” words.
God’s word ought to “leave a mark” in our lives.
In this video clip from “Paul the Apostle” …
Paul and Luke are in prison, having a discussion about how
to handle the intense persecution the church is beginning to face.
Paul is the old man.
Luke is the guy that looks like Jesus.
the Apostle – Write It Down
Did you notice how all of Paul’s dialogue came from
various letters of Paul.
Even though we don’t have record of their actual
conversations in prison, I have no doubt that Paul was saying the same kinds of
things he had already written in his letters.
We ought to work at “writing it down” as well.
We need to “hold fast” to what’s healthy.
:14 That good thing which was committed to you, keep by the Holy Spirit who
dwells in us.
:14 That good thing which was committed to you
What is the good thing that has been committed to Timothy?
His ministry in Ephesus.
:14 keep by the Holy Spirit who dwells in us
Back in vs. 12, Paul said,
(2 Timothy 1:12
NKJV) …for I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able
to keep what I have committed to Him until that Day.
Paul was talking about how he, Paul, had “committed” his own life to Jesus,
and that Jesus was able to “keep” or “guard” it.
Now here in vs. 14, using the same words, it’s God that has committed
ministry to Timothy, and Timothy is supposed to guard (keep) it.
The only way he can guard what God has given him is
through the power of the Holy Spirit.
The only way I can do what God has called me to do is
through the power of the Holy Spirit.
I need to yield my life to the Holy Spirit. It’s the only way I can do this Christian
:15 This you know, that all those in Asia have turned away from me, among
whom are Phygellus and Hermogenes.
:15 all those in Asia have turned away from me
Asia in the Bible refers to “Asia Minor”, or modern Turkey.
What’s one of the major cities of Asia Minor?
Ephesus. The city where Timothy is.
We’re going to see hints through this last letter of Paul that he is very
much alone. Only Luke is with him.
:15 among whom are Phygellus and Hermogenes
We don’t know anything about these fellows other than this – they abandoned
Phygellus – “a little fugitive”
Hermogenes – “lucky born or born of Mercury (Hermes)”
How would you like to have it recorded for all eternity that you were the
guy who abandoned Paul?
:16 The Lord grant mercy to the household of Onesiphorus, for he often
refreshed me, and was not ashamed of my chain;
:16 mercy to the household of Onesiphorus
Onesiphorus – “bringing profit”
Onesiphorus was a believer from Asia, from Ephesus.
:16 he often refreshed me
In ancient days, prisons didn’t feed and take care of the physical needs of
That was left to family and friends.
Onesiphorus had come to take care of Paul, and he did a good job.
:16 was not ashamed of my chain
There’s that same exact word for “ashamed” again.
Onesiphorus was not ashamed to go visit Paul in prison.
Sometimes there are people around us that others are “ashamed” of.
Are you going to be that person that shuns those that others snub, or are
you going to be the person who is “not ashamed” to hang around the “not-cool”
:17 but when he arrived in Rome, he sought me out very zealously and found me.
:17 when he arrived in Rome
Onesiphorus had come from Ephesus apparently for the sake of ministering to
:17 he sought me out very zealously and found me
Onesiphorus wasn’t half-hearted in his attempt to help Paul. He didn’t stop looking for Paul until he
:18 The Lord grant to him that he may find mercy from the Lord in that
Day—and you know very well how many ways he ministered to me at Ephesus.
:18 he ministered to me at Ephesus
Onesiphorus had history with Paul.
On one of Paul’s trips to Ephesus Onesiphorus had spent time helping
Onesiphorus is no longer with Paul, he has gone back to Ephesus.
At the end of his letter, Paul tells Timothy, who is in Ephesus…
(2 Timothy 4:19
NKJV) Greet Prisca and Aquila, and the household of Onesiphorus.
This is what Timothy was to do when he got the letter in Ephesus.
So Paul prays God’s blessings on Onesiphorus for all the help that he gave
Wouldn’t you like it if Paul prayed a blessing on you?