2 Timothy 4:22

Sunday, 20 May 2018

The Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit. Grace be with you. Amen. 2 Timothy 4:22

Though similar to other final benedictions by Paul, this one is unique. It is divided into two independent thoughts. It conveys much the same as elsewhere then, but the division is what makes it unique. Two examples to see the difference are:

Brethren, the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit. Amen. Galatians 6:18
The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit. Amen. Philemon 1:25

Here he blesses Timothy first with “The Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit.” It is a beautiful hope and trust that Christ Jesus would personally remain united to him at all times, guiding him and comforting him through all situations. No matter what need arose, no matter what trial was to be faced, Paul desired that the Lord would be with him. It is reflective of the words of the Lord found in Hebrews 13:5 which state, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” This is Paul’s first petition. It is immediately followed up with, “Grace be with you.”

Paul would normally say something like, “The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you” (1 Corinthians 16:23). However, he has already included Jesus’ name and position of authority in the previous words. And so he states this final sentence in a more simplified form. Grace is unmerited favor. Paul prays that Timothy, and indeed all who read this letter, understand that God is gracious and He indeed will bless His people with grace. He prays Timothy will always receive this, being blessed with blessing continually as he lives out his life in the presence of the Lord.

To close out this marvelous epistle, he then says, “Amen.” The word means, “truth,” or “so be it.” Paul has spoken, he has completed his thoughts, he has made his benediction, and now he asks that what he has conveyed may be as it was relayed. Timothy has been blessed, and we can trust that the blessing will come to pass according to the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ. May it be so.

Life application: In our world of a million emails and posts a day, it is rather easy to close our thoughts without any salutation at all. However, from time to time, we should stop and add in a blessing such as Paul has here. It is a nice touch in conveying that the person, or people, we are addressing have meaning to us, and that we desire that they be blessed with the blessing of the Lord. Let us remember this, and endeavor to follow through with it from time to time.

Lord God, You are marvelous in all ways! Thank You for Your grace which You lavish upon us each day. We deserve nothing from You, and yet You have given us all things in Christ Jesus, even to overflowing abundance. We thank You for the sure and eternal promises which are found in Him, and we praise You ceaselessly for what lies ahead! Praises to You now and forevermore. Amen.

2 Timothy 4:21

Saturday, 19 May 2018

Do your utmost to come before winter.
Eubulus greets you, as well as Pudens, Linus, Claudia, and all the brethren.
2 Timothy 4:21

Paul had asked for Timothy to come to him quickly in verse 9. He then asked him to bring his cloak in verse 13. He now says, “Do your utmost to come before winter.” Putting the three together, it appears that Paul may have needed the cloak to stay warm while in prison. Rather than impose on someone else to purchase him a cloak, and knowing that Timothy was on his way anyway, it seems that his bringing this valuable possession would save burdening others, and save his life from a miserable winter.

After this, he then passes on greetings from others. In verse 19, he had asked for his greetings to be passed on to some. Now he does the passing on of them. Paul is very orderly in his thoughts as he writes to his young protege. Each of the names of this verse is found only here in the Bible. He starts first with, “Eubulus greets you.” The name is Greek, coming from two words which mean “good” and “to plan with full resolve.” Thus, he is Good-willer.

He then notes three others. The first is Pudens. The name is Latin and signifies “modest.” Next is Linus whose name is that of a mythical minstrel. It perhaps comes from linon, the string of a musical instrument which is of flax or linen. It is believed that he became the first in a long line of bishops in Rome. Charles Ellicott notes that the date of his consecration corresponds with the year of Paul’s martyrdom, and so it is possible that Paul personally ordained him as one of his final acts.

And finally is mentioned a female, Claudia. It is the feminine form of the Latin name of a Roman emperor, Claudius. Paul then finishes with, “and all the brethren.” The first four were probably close to Timothy and wanted personal greetings sent on. However, the entire congregation at Rome desired to be remembered to Timothy. It is a touching note of familiarity for Paul’s young protege to cherish until he would again see their faces.

The greetings of these individuals which are passed on to Timothy demonstrate that Timothy should not be in fear of coming and thus being considered an enemy of Rome because of his association with Paul. Rather, these others had obviously visited Paul, talked with him, and even known that he would be writing to Timothy. In this, they sent greetings along. All of it shows that even though Paul was on trial for his life, this did not necessarily transfer suspicion to others.

Life application: How good and how pleasant it is when brethren dwell together in unity.

Lord God, it is a marvelous thing that believers in Christ can fellowship together, even around the world via the internet. We really live in a blessed age in this respect. New acquaintances are made, friendships are established, and churches have the ability to reach out and share in You even around the entire globe. How wonderful to imagine the even greater fellowship which lies ahead for us! Certainly, marvelous things are in store for the redeemed of the Lord! Thank You for this sure hope that we possess. Amen.

2 Timothy 4:20

Friday, 18 May 2018

Erastus stayed in Corinth, but Trophimus I have left in Miletus sick. 2 Timothy 4:20

This is a relatively simple verse. It seems to have nothing doctrinally significant in it, and yet it actually carries great importance in at least one major point. Paul has just asked for greetings to be extended to others. He now gives additional words concerning two people that Timothy obviously knew. Without these words, Timothy might wonder what happened to them. And so Paul begins with, “Erastus stayed in Corinth.”

The name “Erastus” is mentioned two other times in the Bible. It is derived from the word eraó, meaning “to love.” Thus, the name means “Beloved.” The name was first seen in Acts 19:22. There Paul sent Timothy and Erastus from Ephesus into Macedonia while he stayed behind in Asia. Then, in Romans 16:23, an Erastus is mentioned as “the treasurer of the city,” meaning Corinth. It is unknown if this is the same Erastus in both situations, or if the same name is given to different people. However, if he is the same as the one mentioned in Romans, then Paul is noting that he remained at his home in Corinth. From there, he says, “but Trophimus I have left in Miletus sick.”

The name “Trophimus” is also seen three times in the Bible. It is from the word trophé, meaning “food” or “nourishment.” Thus, it may mean something like “Well-educated,” or “Brought up.” Some extend this even further to “Foster child.” The name is first mentioned in Acts 20:4 where “Trophimus of Asia” is noted. Then again in Acts 21:29 he is called “Trophimus the Ephesian.” He had traveled to Jerusalem with Paul. This is most likely the same person in all three instances.

Here Paul says that he had left Trophimus while he was sick in Miletus. The word used for “sick” is one that can mean either physically sick or morally weak. In this instance, it is certainly speaking of a physical sickness. Another time the word is used in this manner is when speaking of Epaphroditus in Philippians 2:25, 26. In those verses, Paul noted the physical sickness which almost ended in the death of Epaphroditus. In these two men, and their physical sicknesses, along with the physical sickness of Timothy in 1 Timothy 5:23, we are taught what should be a readily discernible truth concerning healing. But it is one which is overlooked by false Charismatic faith healers.

It is God who heals, not false teachers who wave their hands over others and supposedly restore them to health. In three instances, the apostle himself could not heal the sickness of others. If nothing else, these instances are given to show us that not all sicknesses can be claimed into healing. It is a false teaching. The deceitfulness of these false healers is an affront to the truth of God which is found in Scripture. The apostles only healed on certain occasions, and only in order to substantiate their apostolic authority. These gifts ended with the termination of the apostolic age.

Now, Christians are to pray for healing of others, but are never to act in a presumptuous and sinful manner by claiming healing. Such notions are to be rejected by those who hold faithfully to God’s word, and to the notion of God’s sovereignty over all things, including the affliction of his people.

Life application: Doctrine matters.

Most glorious heavenly Father, we are the work of Your hands, and at times we sure need Your hand of divine support. Due to our fallen nature, pains come, sicknesses arise, weakness prevails, and our physical limitations can overwhelm us. In these times, we can come to You to find strength through the suffering, and You are there. Thank You for Your ever-present hand of help and strengthening which will carry us through to our final, glorified state. Until then, we will rest in You and in anticipation of that wondrous day ahead. Amen.

2 Timothy 4:19

Thursday, 17 May 2018

Greet Prisca and Aquila, and the household of Onesiphorus. 2 Timothy 4:19

Paul now makes a special request that Timothy “Greet Prisca and Aquila.” These two are noted in Acts, Romans, and 1 Corinthians. This is the only time that she is called Prisca rather than Priscilla, it being a shortened form of the name. This type of shortened nickname is seen elsewhere in the Bible, such as when Silvanus is called Silas, etc. At times, Priscilla is named first, and at times Aquila is named first. This is a clear indication that Paul’s words of Galatians 3:28 were considered relevant even at the earliest times of the church age. There he notes that in Christ Jesus “there is neither male nor female.” However, it must be understood that this is speaking of salvation in Christ, not that males cease being males, or that females cease being females. Further, it is noted that within the family unit, there is still the order that the husband has authority over the wife (see 1 Corinthians 11:1-16).

It is important to understand all such matters by applying proper context to such verses. Paul’s addressing Prisca (Priscilla) first is not a usurpation of the order of things. Placing Priscilla first in the narrative in Acts, or in the greetings in Paul’s letters, is simply a way of acknowledging that all Christians are on an equal level concerning salvation, and thus members in Christ.

From a simply historical note, Paul first met these two in Acts 18. They had been expelled from Rome, along with all of the Jews, by Claudius. Paul and Aquila shared the same trade, tent making. Upon their expulsion from Rome, Aquila and Priscilla took up residence in Corinth. It is there that they met Paul. They are later found with Paul in Ephesus (1 Corinthians 16:19), and eventually went back to Rome where Paul greeted them (Romans 16:3). This verse in 2 Timothy is their last mention in the Bible.

Along with a request for greeting these two, Paul then says, “and the household of Onesiphorus.” The household of Onesiphorus was mentioned in 2 Timothy 1:16 for the first time. Paul now asks that they be greeted again here, and it is the last time Onesiphorus is mentioned in the Bible as well.

Life application: As always, context is king when interpreting Scripture. Some have attempted to say that women are given an equal footing in all things based on the naming of Priscilla first on several occasions when she and her husband are mentioned. That is a giant stretch to make in order to justify what is clearly forbidden elsewhere. It is true that in Christ, all are on an equal level concerning salvation. It comes to all equally. However, this does not mean that all are capable or authorized to perform the same tasks, including within the ministry. Let us not rip verses out of context in order to formulate our doctrine. Instead, may we carefully handle Scripture in order to be pleasing to the Lord, and sound in our walk with Christ.

Lord God, it is so very good to walk in Your presence and to share in Your Spirit because of our Lord Jesus Christ. We were so far from You, but through the giving of Your Son, You have brought us near once again. Praises to You for the great love which You have lavished upon us in Christ Jesus our Lord. Amen.

2 Timothy 4:18

Wednesday, 16 May 2018

And the Lord will deliver me from every evil work and preserve me for His heavenly kingdom. To Him be glory forever and ever. Amen! 2 Timothy 4:18

Paul is rather clear here with his words, and they need to be considered in the context of his situation. He is in a Roman prison, and he has already spoken of himself as a goner, at least in this physical life. His words of verse 6 are specific, “For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure is at hand.” The sacrifice of his life is all but complete, and the sacrifice of his death is at hand. And so he is not at all speaking of being delivered from prison or execution when he says, “And the Lord will deliver me.” Instead, he adds in the words, “from every evil work.”

He doesn’t say, “from death.” His trial though legal under Roman law, is not based on any true wrongdoing. He has been accused of wrongdoing (an evil work), and he is facing execution because of these accusations (another evil work). These, and any other associated evil works, will not be the end of Apostle Paul though. He confidently states that he will be delivered from them. Further, he says that the Lord will “preserve me for his heavenly kingdom.”

This again shows that he is not speaking at all about this earthly life. He is confident that the end of this existence will simply lead to another one, a heavenly one. There is no fear or timidity in his words, but rather bold confidence. It then cannot be said that the Lord would deliver Paul from himself, such as keeping him from being woeful and miserable about what is to come, or that he might embarrass the Lord through allowing his faith to stumble. No such thought is seen here. Instead, his faith is strong, his acceptance of death is noted, but his confidence in triumph over that is steadfast.

With his sure note of faith stated, he then gives forth a resounding cry of exaltation – “To Him be glory forever and ever.” The hope which he possesses leads to a heartfelt doxology of praise. It is God who created, it is He who sent Christ Jesus, it is He who accomplished all the work necessary for our salvation, and it is He who has then guaranteed that the saints will rise and live forever in His presence. He is the glorious God, the omnipotent Sovereign, and the Restorer of life. Surely He is worthy of praise!

In completing his words of praise, he then finishes with, “Amen.” The word signifies, “So be it.” Paul’s words are confident and filled with anticipation of what lies ahead.

Life application: Paul’s words should reflect our state as well when we face the enemies of disease, persecution, unjust judgment against us, or even death. We should simply acknowledge that these enemies hold no sway over us, and we should be thankful for the assured promises which lie ahead, despite any such trivial, temporary trials.

Lord God, what thing can steal our long-term joy? Yes, we have bad days and difficult times, but no matter what happens to us, because of Jesus, we are securely in Your hands. Disease, financial troubles, unfair judgment of our faith in Christ, or even death itself cannot separate us from You. And so despite any temporary trials which rob our temporary joy, nothing should truly take away our faith and our long-term joy. Help us always to keep this perspective. We have a promised and assured good end in store for us. Thank You for Jesus who has made this possible. Amen.