2 Timothy 4:6

Friday, 4 May 2018

For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure is at hand. 2 Timothy 4:6

Here we have a strong contrast between “But you” of verse 4:5 and “For I” of this verse. Paul has exhorted Timothy to be watchful, to endure, to carry on his work, and to fulfill his ministry. However, Paul’s words now reveal the contrast. Whereas Timothy is to move forward, Paul was now at his end. He says clearly enough, “For I am already being poured out.”

The KJV says, “For I am now ready to be offered.” That translation falls short in two ways. First, the verb signifies that he is already being offered, not “ready” to be offered. Further, the verb is not well defined. The word is spendó, and it signifies to be made a drink offering, and thus “poured out.” The symbolism is that of the life being drained as a complete offering on the altar of sacrifice. There are all kinds of offerings, some resulting in death, some not resulting in death. The symbolism of the KJV does not convey, at all, the appropriate intent of Paul’s solemn words. What he says here now is more strongly worded than he had previously implied to those at Philippi –

“Yes, and if I am being poured out as a drink offering on the sacrifice and service of your faith, I am glad and rejoice with you all.” Philippines 2:17

There is no “if” here in Paul’s words to Timothy. He is being poured out “as a drink offering.” His life is to end, and indeed his circumstances show that it is already in the process. His life to the Lord will be returned upon the altar of sacrifice to Him. This libation, or drink offering, was the final part of the sacrifice. Paul knew that he would be martyred, closing out his service to the Lord in that manner. With this act coming, he then says, “and the time of my departure is at hand.”

Here he uses a noun, analusis, found only here in the Bible. It signifies a loosing for departure. When animals are unloosed, such as a horse, it is for making a departure. When the anchor is loosed from the ship, it is set to sail away. When the stays of a tent are loosed at a military camp, it is for the purpose of departure. Paul’s words are clear, and his intent would be clearly understood by Timothy. In his pouring out (martyrdom), Paul’s soul would be loosed from its earthly bonds. He would be freed from this present life, and he was ready for his journey to that “building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens” (2 Corinthians 5:1).

Life application: If you knew that your time was coming to an end, how would you redirect your life? What changes would you make so that you were prepared to meet your Maker? Guess what, your life is coming to an end. We know not the day or hour of that event, and so we should always be ready. Let us live our lives out as if every moment counts for eternity. Why? Because… every moment counts for eternity.

Lord God, direct our steps so that we are always prepared to meet you. We do not know the time of our departure from this life, but it is as sure to come as the next sunrise. Help us then to wisely live out our lives with this in mind. Every moment we have counts for eternity. Let us not waste one precious second of our short time in this life. Amen.

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