In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead, and in view of his appearing and his kingdom, I give you this charge:
Paul uses strong legal language here — “charge” meaning to testify under oath, and with Christ as Judge. Paul is saying, Timothy, what I am about to say is extremely important!
2 Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction.
Paul’s emphasis on the word of God has been constant. There are some 36 references to the true gospel in this letter and some 17 references to false teachings. This constant emphasis makes Paul’s point clear to Timothy:
Do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord (2 Timothy 1:8)
Hold fast the pattern of sound words (2 Timothy 1:13)
The things that you have heard from me among many witnesses, commit these to faithful men (2 Timothy 2:2)
Rightly dividing the word of truth (2 Timothy 2:15)
A servant of the Lord must be . . . able to teach (2 Timothy 2:24)
All Scripture is given by inspiration of God (2 Timothy 3:16)
3 For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear.
Adam Clarke (British Methodist theologian and writer of a biblical commentary, died 1832) on “itching ears” — “Endless curiosity, an insatiable desire of variety; and they get their ears tickled with the language and accent of the person, abandoning the good and faithful preacher for the fine speaker.”
4 They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths. 5 But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry.
6 For I am already being poured out like a drink offering, and the time for my departure is near. 7 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. 8 Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.
In Paul’s day winners in the world of sports received a crown of olive or ivy leaves that soon withered and died. But the crown for God’s people lasts forever (1 Corinthians 9:25, 1 Peter 5:4).
We are promised the crown of life if we will endure temptation (James 1:12).
Some people wonder if we will walk around heaven with crowns on, and everyone will notice who has the bigger and better crowns. But in Revelation 4:10, the elders surrounding the throne of God take their crowns and cast them before Jesus — giving any trophy they have received right back to Jesus.
How gladly Paul anticipated meeting Jesus! The same man who callously watched as Stephen gave his life for the Lord, soon is himself a martyr for the faith. And Jesus is worthy of every sacrifice we could ever make for him.
HERE Fernando Ortega sings his version of “Crown Him with Many Crowns.”
9 Do your best to come to me quickly, 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. 11 Only Luke is with me.
Luke, who had traveled with Paul on many of his missionary journeys, remained with Paul. Everyone else was gone. This was a significant contrast to Paul’s first Roman imprisonment years before, where he received many visitors (see Acts 28:30-31).
Get Mark and bring him with you, because he is helpful to me in my ministry. 12 I sent Tychicus to Ephesus. 13 When you come, bring the cloak that I left with Carpus at Troas, and my scrolls, especially the parchments.
14 Alexander the metalworker did me a great deal of harm. The Lord will repay him for what he has done. 15 You too should be on your guard against him, because he strongly opposed our message.
16 At my first defense, no one came to my support, but everyone deserted me. May it not be held against them. 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. 18 The Lord will rescue me from every evil attack and will bring me safely to his heavenly kingdom. To him be glory for ever and ever. Amen.
Paul’s imprisonment in the Mamertine prison (a bleak building, interior shown above, still standing in Rome, built 100 years before Paul’s imprisonment for political enemies of Rome) lasted until he was beheaded under Nero outside Rome’s Ostian Gate at a place called “Three Fountains.” He was martyred in the aftermath of the great fires that swept Rome in A.D. 64 — which Nero, in some manner, tried to blame on Christians. According to some traditions, Paul was beheaded on the same day Peter was crucified upside-down. Since Paul was a Roman citizen, he could not legally be crucified.
19 Greet Priscilla and Aquila and the household of Onesiphorus. 20 Erastus stayed in Corinth, and I left Trophimus sick in Miletus. 21 Do your best to get here before winter. Eubulus greets you, and so do Pudens, Linus, Claudia and all the brothers and sisters.
22 The Lord be with your spirit. Grace be with you all.