2 Timothy 4:9-22
1. Read 2 Timothy 4:9-22. In Paul’s final words we get an intimate glimpse of his character, needs, and humanity. Although Paul had the assurance of eternal life and confidence in Christ, loneliness and isolation had hit him with devastating impact. What seems to be a major catalyst of Paul’s loneliness in prison?
2. Demas (v. 10) was one of Paul’s close associates. Read Colossians 4:14 and Philemon 24.
· Why did Demas abandon Paul?
· What could the world have to offer Demas that would cause him to neglect Paul in his time of need?
3. Looking at verses 14-15:
· How had Alexander the metalworker affected Paul and his ministry?
· What is Paul’s exhortation to Timothy regarding this man?
4. To Live Faithfully: Describe a time when you felt abandoned by your family and/or friends. What caused them to desert you? How did their neglect affect you?
Historical Insight: In 2 Timothy 4:16 Paul talks about his “first defense.” This was most likely a preliminary hearing (leading up to his present trial) at which advocates for the accused person were usually heard. The Roman legal system allowed for several steps in the prosecution of an accused criminal. But in Paul’s case, no one came to speak in his defense or to stand by in support; everyone had deserted him (see also 2 Timothy 1:15). Under emperor Nero, it was dangerous to be a Christian in Rome. Identifying themselves with the courageous and outspoken apostle Paul would almost certainly result in agonizing death.
5. Paul seemed to understand the fear that gripped the Roman Christians. What was his response towards these friends and companions who abandoned him as well as those who opposed him (verses 14, 16)? Compare this to Jesus’ words as He agonized during his crucifixion (Luke 23:34).
6. To Live Faithfully: Paul exemplified one of the toughest tasks a Christian may have to do—to leave his/her hurt with the Lord. When others oppose you and undercut your authority, leadership, or even your friendship, what is your natural response? How could this natural response damage you more than the person inflicting such pain?
7. To Live Faithfully: Read Psalms 62:12 and Romans 12:17-20.
· What do these scriptures tell us about the response we should have towards those who hurt us?
· To whom are all people accountable at the end of our lives for our actions on this earth?
· How does this motivate you to bring your emotions in line with Biblical truth (i.e., following Paul’s example) when you’ve been deeply wounded by someone?
8. Read verse 2 Timothy 4:16-18. During that hour of darkness, Who stood with Paul and strengthened him? For what reason did the Lord infuse Paul with strength?
From the Greek: “Strengthened” comes from the Greek word endunamai, which literally means to “infuse with strength.”
9. How did Jesus both warn and encourage his apostles about such times? Read these verse:
· Matthew 10:17-20—
· Mark 13:9-11—
· Acts 18:9-10—
· Acts 23:11—
10. What was the temporary outcome for Paul after this hearing?
Focus on the Meaning: “Delivered out of the lion’s mouth (v.18)” Some have seen this as a reference to Nero throwing Christians to the lions in the Coliseum, or perhaps to Satan (for a parallel, see 1 Peter 5:8). More likely, Paul used a common biblical metaphor describing deliverance from extreme danger (see, for example, Psalm 22:2; Daniel 6:22). Paul knew he wouldn’t get out of prison alive, though he was experiencing a temporary reprieve due to a delay in the Roman judicial system. (Life Application Bible Commentary)
11. According to verse 18:
· How does Paul view his impending death?
· Where will the Lord bring Paul?
· How will He bring him? What do you think this means?
12. Paul’s confidence in and appreciation of God is absolute, despite the cruelest of circumstances. Just as Paul praised God in life, what does he write in the face of death?
13. To Live Faithfully: When adversity strikes, what is your “proclamation” towards God? Do you ever search for God’s purpose amidst your pain, or do you usually try and get out of the situation on your terms? Pray that God will continually help you to respond more like Paul: to be aware of His presence, draw from His strength, and be yielded to His purpose for you.
Think About It: Every time God allows us to be in difficulty, it is a marvelous opportunity to give witness and testimony. The most powerful witness is from people in pain, still walking in faith with Jesus Christ...theirs is the kind of stalwart, courageous witness that shouts and proclaims God is real. (Charles Stanley)
Here is more information about Paul’s associates mentioned in 2 Timothy 4:9-21:
· Crescens: Nothing is known about him, except he was dispatched elsewhere by Paul for God’s service.
· Titus: Close friend who aided Paul in two crises and pastored the church at Crete.
· Luke: The “beloved physician”, accompanied Paul on his missionary journeys and had shared the first Roman imprisonment with him (Colossians 4:14; Philippians 24). He wrote the books of Acts and Luke.
· Mark: Although Mark had been a deserter on the first missionary journey, he was later restored. Once considered untrustworthy (Acts 15:36-40), he was now helpful to Paul in his ministry.
· Tychicus: A close companion of Paul (Acts 20:4) he carried Paul’s letters to the Ephesians, the Colossians, and Titus (see Ephesians 6:21; Colossians 4:7 and Titus 3:12).
· Alexander the metalworker (or coppersmith-NAS): May be the same man named in Acts 19:33-34, or the person in 1 Timothy 1:20. But since the name Alexander was common, no one can be certain.
· Priscilla and Aquila: The well-known couple who were fellow Christian leaders with whom Paul had lived and worked (see Acts 18:2-3, 18, 26; Romans 16:3; 1 Corinthians 16:19). While in Corinth, they had made tents together with Paul. They used the freedom and the money garnered from their tentmaking to carry out a ministry of hospitality and teaching in various places. They taught Apollos in Ephesus.
· Onesiphorus: Philemon’s slave whom Paul had met and led to the Lord when he ran away from Rome. He had visited and encouraged Paul in jail during this final imprisonment.
· Erastus: The city treasurer of Corinth whom Paul sent with Timothy into Macedonia. He was one of Paul’s trusted companions and Timothy’s close friend (Acts 19:22).
· Trophimus: Another companion and friend of Paul and Timothy (Acts 20:4; 21:29). He accompanied Paul during his third missionary journey.
· Linus: May have been the first bishop of Rome following the martyrdom of Peter and Paul