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Lesson 8: Stay Faithful to the End (2 Timothy 4:9-22)

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Day One Study—Get the Big Picture

What does the Bible say?

Read 2 Timothy 4:6-22, (including verses from the last lesson). Ask the Lord Jesus to teach you through His Word.

If possible, print out the verses we are studying. Use your own method (colored pencils, lines, shapes) to mark 1) anything that grabs your attention, 2) words you want to understand, and 3) anything repeated in this passage. Draw arrows between thoughts that connect. Put a star  next to anything you think relates to being faithful or staying faithful.

1. What grabbed your attention from these verses?

2. What verses or specific words do you want to understand better?

3. What topics are repeated in this passage or continue an earlier discussion in this letter?

4. What verses illustrate or help you understand what staying faithful looks like?

5. From this lesson’s passage, choose one verse to dwell upon all week long. Write it in the space below. Ask God to teach you through this verse.

Respond to the Lord about what He’s shown you today.

Day Two Study

Read 2 Timothy 4:9-16. Ask the Lord Jesus to teach you through His Word.

What does it mean?

6. What did Paul ask of Timothy in vv. 9, 11, 13, and 21?

Historical Insight: “Winter” severely restricted travel in some parts of the Roman world. Timothy needed to leave Ephesus soon, so he could reach Rome without undue difficulty.

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, he felt the pain of loneliness in his situation. Let’s look at those who were with Paul but were now gone.

7. Demas (v. 10). Demas was one of Paul’s close associates. Read Colossians 4:14 and Philemon 24. Demas had been with Paul in his first Roman imprisonment.

  • What did Paul say about Demas in 2 Timothy 4:10?
  • What could that mean?

Focus on the Meaning: Did he desert Christ or just desert Paul? We can’t tell from this context. If he was afraid of being caught, Thessalonica was safer than Rome.

8. Who else did Paul mention in 2 Timothy 4:10-14, and what is said about them?

Historical Insight: Nothing is known about Crescens, except he was dispatched elsewhere by Paul for God’s service. Titus was a 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. Although Mark had been a deserter on the first missionary journey, he was now restored. Once considered untrustworthy (Acts 15:36-40), he was now helpful to Paul in his ministry. Tychicus was 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).

9. Alexander the metalworker (14-15). This Alexander may have been the same one mentioned in Acts 19:23-33. The one Paul named in 1 Timothy 1:20 might be a different person because Paul didn’t add “the metal worker” that time. Alexander was a common name.

  • What does Paul say about him?
  • What is Paul’s exhortation to Timothy regarding this man?

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 oneself with the courageous and outspoken apostle Paul would almost certainly result in agonizing death.

10. Paul seemed to understand the fear that gripped the Roman Christians. What was his response towards these friends and companions who abandoned him (v. 16)?

What application will you make to stay faithful to God?

11. Paul exemplified one of the toughest tasks a Christian may have to do—to leave his/her hurt with the Lord.

  • Do you recall a time when you felt abandoned by your family and/or friends? What happened? How did their neglect affect you?
  • When others oppose you and undercut your authority or desert you, what is your natural response? How could this natural response damage you more than the person inflicting such pain?
  • Read Romans 12:17-20 and 2 Timothy 2:24-26 for the proper response. How do these verses motivate you to bring your emotions in line with Biblical truth when you’ve been deeply wounded by someone?

Focus on the Meaning: Paul strongly advocated being a “peace”-maker, but he did not promote peace at any price. In some situations, peace might give way to conflict if, for example, the truth is at stake (as we have seen in 2nd Timothy). In any case, the believer should not be the instigator of trouble under normal circumstances. If hostility does erupt, the Christian should not retaliate (“not take . . . revenge”). Rather, he or she should trust God to right the wrong … The expression “heaping burning coals on his head” supposedly alludes to the old custom of carrying burning coals in a pan. When one’s fire went out at home, a person would have to go to a neighbor and request hot coals that he or she would then carry home in a pan, typically on the head. Carrying the coals involved some danger, discomfort, and uneasiness for the person carrying them. Nevertheless, they were the evidence of the neighbor’s love. (Dr. Constables Notes on Romans 2014 Edition, p. 154)

Respond to the Lord about what He’s shown you today.

Day Three Study

Read 2 Timothy 4:9-22. Ask the Lord Jesus to teach you through His Word.

What does it mean?

From the Greek: “Strengthened” comes from the Greek word endunamai, which literally means to “infuse with strength.”

12. Focus on 2 Timothy 4:16-18. During that hour of darkness, who stood with Paul to strengthen him, and for what reason?

13. Look at Paul’s mission from Jesus in Acts 9:15-16; 22:14-15; and 26:16-20. Has anything changed even though 30 years have passed and Paul is an old man?

14. What had Jesus promised to His apostles in Matthew 10:17-20?

15. Before this time, when had Jesus stood by Paul and what did Jesus say to him then?

  • Acts 22:17-21—
  • Acts 18:9-10 —
  • Acts 23:11 —

Summarize how Jesus consistently strengthened Paul.

16. What was the temporary outcome for Paul after his 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 22:21; 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)

17. According to verse 18, how does Paul view his impending death and what would happen?

Scriptural Insight: Look at the chart below to gain confidence about what happens when you die.

What doesnt happen at death

What does happen at death

  • Not annihilation (Luke 16:19-31)
  • Not soul sleep (Philippians 1:23)
  • Not floating spirit (2 Cor. 5:3)
  • Not reincarnation (Hebrews 9:27)
  • Not purgatory (Colossians 1:22)
  • Fall asleep on earth; wake up in heaven (1 Thessalonians 4:14)
  • Leave earthly tent; get heavenly dwelling fashioned for us (2 Cor. 5:1)
  • Be immediately at home with the Lord (2 Cor. 5:8)

Paul was considering the coming heavenly kingdom as he wrote 2 Timothy 4:1-18, especially verses 1 and 18. Paul was likely referring to the way all Christians will participate in Christ’s rule when they enter His presence. That will include His millennial reign on the earth.

18. 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 (end of v. 18)?

Final words

19. What do you learn about Paul’s friends and associates from the following verses? We will see them in heaven one day. 

  • Priscilla and Aquila (v. 19): Read Acts 18:2-3, 18, 26; Romans 16:3; and 1 Corinthians 16:19.
  • Onesiphorus (v. 19): Review also what is said about him in 2 Timothy 1:16-18.
  • Erastus (v. 20): Read Acts 19:22.
  • Trophimus (v. 20): Read Acts 20:4; 21:29.

Historical Insight: The rest are likely members of the church in Rome. Linus may have been the first bishop of Rome following the martyrdom of Peter and Paul.

20. What are Paul’s final words in v. 22, which are also words for you?

What application will you make to stay faithful to God?

21. 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)

22. From this study, what have you learned about making the choice to live faithfully to your God every day?

Respond to the Lord about what He’s shown you today.

© 2019.

Related Topics: Curriculum

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