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Bible Commentaries
2 Timothy 4

Garner-Howes Baptist CommentaryGarner-Howes

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Verse 1


1) "I charge thee therefore" (diamarturomai) "I solemnly witness, of my own volition, or I adjure thee;" In the light of judgment against moral degeneration, based on the scriptures just given, 2 Timothy 3:16-17.

2) "Before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ" (enopion tou theou kai christou lesou) "Before the face of, or confronted of God and Christ Jesus;" As a witness is charged to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, Acts 10:42; Acts 17:31.

3) "Who shall judge the quick and the dead" (tou mellontos krinein zontas kai nekrous) "The one being about (appointed to) judge the ones living (now) and those dead," to whom all judgment is committed, John 5:22.

4) "At his appearing and his kingdom" (kai ten epiphaneian autou kai ten Basileian autou) "Both at the point of his manifestation (1 Thessalonians 4:16-17) and at the point of his kingdom setting;" His judgment begins at His coming in the air and continues until the great White Throne Judgment is finished, 2 Corinthians 5:10-11; Romans 2:16; 2 Thessalonians 1:5-10; Revelation 20:11-14.

Verse 2

1) "Preach the word" (kerekson ton logon) "Preach, proclaim, or herald the Word;" The charge of both the ministers and the church, Matthew 28:18-20; 1 Corinthians 1:21-23; 2 Corinthians 5:19-20; Colossians 1:25-29. To preach the word means more than a "pet-part" of it, Acts 20:26-27.

2) "Be instant in season, out of season" (episthethi e u k airos, akairos) "Be attentive, alert, diligent; seasonably, unseasonably;" When things seem favorable and unfavorable, day and night, Acts 20:31.


The bishop sent for John Berridge to reprove him for preaching at all hours and on all days. "My Lord, said he modestly, "I preach only at two times." "Which are they, Mr. Berridge?" "In season and out of season, my Lord. "

-6,000 Windows for Sermons


An Ohio church called a pastor who qualified on nine points beyond all other candidates, being "selected on a strictly scientific basis." Some of these points included -"Spirituality -- but this doesn’t mean belief in the virgin birth, or any of the other dogmas of the old church, such as Jonah and the whale." If candidates professed belief in any such ideas they were marked off on the first point. Other points were Intellectuality, Scholarliness, Adaptability, Poise, Personality, Tolerance and Sympathy, Vision, Appeal to Youth. The minister according to these qualifications, should enjoy the same things a college professor does," have a good "stage appearance," his shoes must always be shined and his suit pressed; he should have a tolerance for all religious sects. The minister chosen "scored ninety-three per cent out of a possible one hundred," outstripping the other candidates by a large majority. It is a relief to turn from this to Paul’s word to ministers: "I charge thee... Preach the Word."

-Sunday School Times

a) "Reprove" (elegkson) For lack of truth and holiness.

b) "Rebuke" (epitimeson) "Admonish" those who live in sin.

c) "Exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine." (parakales en pase makrothumia kai didache) "Exhort in all (kinds of) longsuffering and teaching," (to repentance in faith), in every possible exhibition of suffering and every possible method of teaching, 1 Corinthians 9:20-23.

Verse 3

1) "For the time will come" (estai gar chairos) "For there will be a season;" make the most of the present time and opportunities, prepare for the worst, Matthew 24:1-51.

2) "When they will not endure sound doctrine" (hote tes hugiainouses didaskalias ouk aneksontai) "When they will not bear with healthy, wholesome, or sound teaching," of the Word; the “they” means professing Christians.

3) "But after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves" (alla kata tas idias epithumias heautois episoreusbusin) "But according to (or in keeping with) their own will or lusts they will heap to themselves, choose over them;" a corrupt will leads to a corrupt life, corrupt conduct, Hosea 4:6-9.

4) "Teachers, having itching ears" (didoskalous knethomenoi ten akoen) "Teachers of ear-tickling kind," men-pleasers, a rabble of teachers without holiness of character or conduct, Matthew 7:13-19.

Verse 4

1) "And they shall turn away their ears from the truth" (kai apo men tes aletheias akoen apostrepsousin) "And from the truth, on the one hand, the ear will turn away;" by influence of ear-tickling teachers, 2 Timothy 3:1-8; with great swelling words, 2 Peter 2:18-19.

2) "And shall be turned unto fables" "To, on the other hand, myths (the ear) will be turned aside," or fables, being continually invented and circulated by false teachers, Jeremiah 2:19; Galatians 6:7-8. Such are like backslidden Israel who asked her prophets and seers to tell them lies, to speak deceitfully, and prophecy smooth things to them, See Isaiah 30:8-11.

Verse 5

1) "But watch thou in all things" (su de nephe en posin) "But be thou sober in all situations;" in emotions, passions, speech, etc.; in preparation for witnessing, service, and Christian warfare, 1 Thessalonians 5:6; 1 Thessalonians 5:8; 1 Peter 1:13; 1 Peter 4:7-8.

2) "Endure afflictions" (kakopatheson) "Suffer, endure, or persevere under evil," afflictions, hurtful things, as a good soldier, 2 Timothy 2:3.

3) "Do the work of an evangelist" (ergon poieson evangellistou) "The work of an evangelist do;” an itinerant preacher, with special emphasis on winning to a profession of faith, Acts 21:8; Ephesians 4:11.

4) "Make full proof of thy ministry" (ten diakonian sou plerophoreson) "Fulfill thy common ministry," 1 Timothy 4:12; 1 Timothy 4:15; Give visible evidence, justify by visible fruits, life changes, the hard work of your "common spiritual services," Colossians 4:17; Acts 12:25; 1 Timothy 1:12.

Verse 6

1) "For I am now ready to be offered" (ego gar ede spendomai) "For I am already being poured out;" The sentiment is "’I have done my best, I’m going to the King’s house, leaving the field of battle, the racetrack, the wrestling ring right away. You can no longer look to me for initiative and counsel in what you do." Paul, like a drink offering of sacrifice, was ready to be finally poured out for the Lord, Numbers 28:7.

2) "And the time of my departure is at hand" (kai ho kairos tes analuseos mou ephesteken) "And the appointed season of my disembarkment has arrived;” His death was at hand. The term "departure" is a figure like “cutting tent stakes," or “the ship moor or anchor when moving time comes."

Concerning this, my father, W. J. Garner, stated that as a soldier in World War I battlefields of the Argonne -St. Mihiel, France area, his sergeant would often order, "Fellows, don’t drive your stakes too deep, We will be moving on in the morning." Paul was at this moving on point Jesus often said "Mine hour is not yet come," then finally, "Mine hour is come," John 2:4; John 7:30; John 8:20; John 12:23; John 13:1; John 17:1. Paul, too, foresaw labors and battled on, Philippians 1:23-24; Philippians 3:13-14. His course was finished, he was resigned, 2 Timothy 4:7.


I am standing upon the seashore. A ship at my side spread her white sails To the morning breeze and starts for The blue lagoon.

She is an object of beauty and strength And I stand and watch her until, at length, She is only a ribbon of white cloud just where The sea and sky come to mingle with Each other.

Then someone at my side says, "There! She is gone!" Gone where? Gone from my sight --That is all.

She is just as large in mast and hull as when She left my side, And just as able to bear her load of living Freight to the place of destination.

Her diminished size is in me, nor in her, And just at the moment when someone at my side says, "There! She is gone!" There are other voices Glad to take up the shout, "There! She comes!"

-Mary Pickford

Verse 7

1) "I have fought a good fight" (ton kalon agona egonismai) "The good struggle I have struggled;" 1 Timothy 6:12. Three athletic terms are here used to emphasize the living of a crowning life: 1) the fighter, (struggler or wrestler), 2) the runner on the race course, and 3) the sentry soldier or entrusted guard; like Paul one knows when he has done his best, 1 Corinthians 9:26; Hebrews 12:1-2.

2) "I have finished my course" (ton deromon teteleka) "The course (of me) I have finished;" the race course or track, I completed. I have not fainted, fallen out, or become a quitter, Galatians 6:9. Let each run the full course of life well, all the way.

3) "I have kept the faith" (ten pistin tetereka) "The faith I have kept, guarded like a sentry- soldier;" the "faith" means the historic body of Christian and church truth, and teaching; so should every Christian treasure and guard it; Philippians 1:7; Philippians 1:17; Judges 1:1-3.


0 for a faith that will not shrink,

Though pressed by every foe,

That will not tremble at the brink,

Of any earthly woe,

That will not murmur or complain

Beneath the chastening rod,

But in the hour of grief or pain,

Will lean upon its God

A faith that shines more bright and clear, Men tempests rage without, That when in danger knows no fear, In darkness feels no doubt. Lord, give us such a faith as this, And then whatever may come, We’ll taste even here the hallowed bliss, Of an eternal home.

-John B. Dykes

Verse 8

1) "Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness" (loipon apokeitai moi ho tes dikaosunes stepanos) "There is remaining, laid up for me the crown of righteousness;" a victor’s crown, award, awaits every faithful wrestler, runner, and soldier of Christ, 1 Peter 1:4; James 1:12; Revelation 2:10.

2) "Which the Lord, the righteous judge" (hon ho kurios ho dikaios krites) "Which the Lord (who is) the righteous critic or judge;" 2 Corinthians 5:10; Revelation 22:11; 1 Peter 5:4; 1 Corinthians 9:25.

3) "Shall give me at that day" (apodosei moi en ekenei te hemera) "Will render, or present to me at that particular day," the day rewards and crowns are presented, 1 Corinthians 3:8; 1 Corinthians 9:17; .

4) "And not to me only" (ou monon de emoi) "And not only to me." The righteous Lord, judge, master, rewarder, is no respector of persons, Deuteronomy 1:17; Acts 10:34; Romans 2:11.

5) "But unto all them also that love his appearing,” (alla kai pasi tois agapekosi ten epiphaneian autou) "But also to all the ones having loved the manifestation (the appearance) of him; "Faithful expectancy of the Lord’s personal return to earth should be an incentive for one to live every Christian virtue daily, 1 John 3:3; Hebrews 9:28; Hebrews 10:23; Hebrews 10:37.

Verse 9

1) "Do thy diligence" (spoudason) "Hasten," "Do thy best or earnestly try," is an appeal of anxiety from a lonely, forsaken soul who needed Timothy’s comfort as he faced death.

2) "To come shortly unto me" (eithein pros me tacheos) "To come to me shortly, in as short a period as possible," to come of your own willingness or accord before winter. Timothy also needed to be strengthened by Paul for the gospel work after Paul’s decease, 2 Timothy 1:4; 2 Timothy 1:8.

Verse 10

1) "For Demas hath forsaken me" (demas gar me egkatelipen) "For Demas forsook me;" "Left me behind in my trouble." Demas, contracted from Demetrius, once a "fellow-laborer" of Paul, Mark, and Luke, Colossians 4:14; Philemon 1:24; 3 John 1:12.

2) "Having loved this present world" (agapesas ton nun aiona) "Loving the now and progressive age," love of worldly ease and home comforts, disapproved by the scriptures, Romans 12:2; James 4:4; 1 John 2:15-17; 1 John 3:13.

3) "And is departed unto Thessalonica" (kai eporou eis thessoloniken) "And went to Thessalonica;" went back home, let me down, when I needed him most, Luke 14:33; Luke 16:13.

4) "Crescens to Galatia" (kreskes eis galatian) "Crescens went to Galatia;" a province of Asia Minor.

5) "Titus unto Dalmatia" (titos eis dalmatian) "Titus went to Dalmatia;" a province of southern Europe ... west of Macedonia. Titus had completed his work in Crete where he had "set in order" church matters, Titus 1:5. Paul wrote of his attendants, former confidants, only as having forsook him. He had Christian Roman friends who visited him, but were afraid to appear in court with and for him, .

Verse 11

1) "Only Luke is with me." (loukos estin monos met’ emou) "Luke is alone with me;" as a confidant, missionary helper, a freed man, a physician who joined Paul on his second missionary journey, Acts 16:10; Acts 20:6; Acts 21:15; Acts 24:23; Acts 28:16.

2) "Take Mark, and bring him with thee" (markon analabon age meta seautou) "Take (by influence persuasion) Mark (and) bring (him) with thyself" Mark had been under a cloud for deserting, forsaking Paul on his first missionary journey, at a critical moment, Acts 15:37-41; Acts 13:5; Acts 13:13. Paul wiped out the past censure on Mark with high praise of his present usefulness, after the passing of fourteen years.

3) "For he is profitable to me for the ministry" (estin gar moi euchrestos eis diakonian) "For he is to me useful (a blessing) to the common ministry;" Mark was perhaps in or near Timothy, in Colosse, as two years before he was about to visit them, Colossians 4:10; Acts 20:13-14. His profit to Paul perhaps lay in his knowledge of Latin, so as to preach in Rome. He was Peter’s son by conversion, 1 Peter 5:13.

Verse 12

1) "And Tychicus" (tuchikon de) "And Tychicus indicates the absence of a former missionary helper, but explains his absence as by agreement of the two.

2) "Have I sent to Ephesus" (apesteila eis epheson) "I sent away to Ephesus," on a special mission. Perhaps Tychicus had been sent to Ephesus to replace Timothy whom Paul desired to come to his side, aid him immediately, Acts 20:4; Ephesians 6:21-22; Colossians 4:7-8; Titus 3:12. From these passages it may be concluded that Tychicus had been a continuing missionary helper of Paul, in establishing missions and churches in the faith, and in carrying letters from Paul to the churches, and encouraging the brethren.

Verse 13

1) "The cloke that I left at Troas with Carpus" (ton phailonen hon apelipon en troadi para karpo) "The cloak which I left in Troas with (in care of) Carpus;" It was a cape which, with a hole in it, went down over the head, came down to the knees, giving warmth, to one in cold times.

2) "When thou comest, bring with thee" (erchomenos phere) "When you come, bring (it);" The idea is one of bringing with urgency, right away, 2 Corinthians 11:27.

3) "And the books, but especially the parchments" (kai ta biblia malista tas membranas) "And the scrolls, especially the membranous parchments;" Paul’s love for the Word and knowledge continued, were not dampened by Rome’s cold prisons or his anticipation of imminent death. The books (papyrus rolls) were used for ordinary writings and the parchments for more durable purposes, perhaps the Old Testament writings, Acts 26:24; 1 Timothy 4:13.

Verse 14

1) "Alexander the coppersmith did me much evil" (Aleksandros ho chalkeus polla moi kaka enedeiksato) "Alexander the coppersmith showed (did) many evil things to me," dirty tricks, Acts 19:33-34; 1 Timothy 1:20.

2) "The Lord reward him" (apodosei auto ho kurios) "The Lord will render to him;" Retribution will come to him for his treachery, double-crossing, opposition, Hebrews 2:2; Galatians 6:7-8.

3) "According to his works" (kata ta erga autou) "According to the evil (dirty tricks) deeds or works which he did;" Ecclesiastes 12:13-14; 2 Corinthians 5:10-12; Psalms 28:4; Revelation 18:6. This seems to be an imprecatory prayer of Paul, so much like many of David’s prayers upon his treacherous enemies (2 Samuel 3:39) for example, at the slaying of Abner.

Verse 15

1) "Of whom be thou ware also" (hon kai su pulassou) “Against whom also be thou on guard," cautious. The inference is that Alexander was in Timothy’s vicinity, to be avoided, or watched as a wild beast or poisonous snake; Matthew 7:15.

2) "For he hath greatly withstood our words" (lian gar aneste tois hemeterois logois) "For he stood up against (opposed) our words of doctrine greatly," with argument, zeal, and perhaps threats and instigation of violence;

a) as the Prince of Persia withstood Daniel, Daniel 10:13;

b) as Jannes and Jambres withstood Moses, 2 Timothy 3:8; and

c) as Elymas the sorcerer withstood Paul, Acts 13:8.

Verse 16

1) "At my first answer no man stood with me" (ente prote mou apologia oudeis moi paregeneto) "At the first of my defense, first public examination, not one (witness) was beside me," to comfort and defend; At this his second imprisonment - Timothy was at his first imprisonment hearing, Philippians 1:1; Philippians 1:7.

2) "But all men forsook me" (alla pantes me egkatelipon) "But all men forsook me;" Acts 19:11; 2 Timothy 1:15. Not a single Christian came forward, stood up for, came alongside Paul as a defense witness to defend, assure, and comfort. How forlorn the circumstance for a soldier true who had like his Lord, given his all for the master’s cause, much like his Lord. Matthew 26:56; Mark 14:50.

3) "I pray God that it may not be laid to their charge" (me autois logistheie) "May it not be reckoned, computed, or calculated against them." Paul, like Stephen and like his Lord, prayed for mercy upon brethren who through fear and carelessness deserted him at the top of the hill, in the heat of battle, Matthew 5:44; Luke 23:34; Acts 7:60; Romans 8:15; 1 John 4:17-18. Let every Christian always:

"Beware of Peter’s words, Nor confidentially say; /’// never deny my Lord, But trust / never may.’

Mark 14:29-31

Verse 17

1) "Notwithstanding the Lord stood with me" (ho de kurios moi pareste) "Yet the Lord stood (alongside) with me;" The Lord never deserts, forsakes, or betrays a friend. Never! Psalms 27:10; Deuteronomy 4:31; Deuteronomy 31:6; Hebrews 13:5.

2) "And strengthened me" (kai enedunamosen me) "And empowered me (dynamically)." He not only stands by His own, but He also strengthens them for every trial; Matthew 10:19; Acts 18:9; Acts 23:11; Acts 27:23-24; Psalms 46:1; Psalms 46:7; 1 Corinthians 10:13; 2 Corinthians 12:9.

3) "That by me the preaching might be fully known" (hina di emou to kerugma plerophorethe) "In order that through me the proclamation (of the gospel) might be achieved or accomplished."

4) "And that all the Gentiles might hear" (kai akousosin panta ta ethne) "And in order that all the nations or races might hear (the gospel);" It was to them he was called and sent, Acts 9:15; Acts 26:15-18; Romans 1:5; Romans 1:13-17; Romans 11:13; Ephesians 3:1-10.

5) "And I was delivered out of the mouth of the lion" (kai errusthen ek stomatos leontos) "And I was delivered or brought out of the mouth of (Leo) the lion," or devourer, Satan; in harmony with our model prayer, "Deliver us from evil," the Evil One, Matthew 6:13; 1 Peter 5:8; 2 Peter 2:9; as he delivered Daniel, Daniel 6:22-24.

Verse 18

1) "And the Lord shall deliver me from every evil work" (hrusetai me ho kurios apo pantos ergou ponerou) "The Lord will deliver me from every wicked work," every Satan-designed work, to ultimate victory, 1 Corinthians 15:57-58; deliverance not from, but through evil and the presence of evil, 2 Timothy 4:6.

2) "And will preserve me unto his heavenly kingdom" (kai sosei eis ten basileian autou ten epouranion) "And he will even deliver (me) into his heavenly kingdom;" Jesus is the ultimate, complete, liberator, deliverer, Philippians 3:20; 1 Thessalonians 1:10. Blessed preservation!!!

3) "To whom be glory for every and ever, Amen" (ho de doksa eis tous aionas ton aionon, amen) "To whom be the glory into the ages of the ages,” “Amen, so may it ever be," Philippians 1:21; Ephesians 3:21. His kingdom is heavenly in nature and is to be brought, in its heavenly holy nature to subdue the earth, 1 Corinthians 15:24-26; Revelation 20:14; Revelation 5:9-10; Revelation 11:15-17; Revelation 19:6-10.

Verse 19

1) "Salute Priscilla and Aquila" (aspasai Prisan kai Akulan) "Greet (salute) Priscilla and Aquila." The woman’s name before the man’s is an infrequent appearance of Biblical times. Whenever it does occur it is considered to be because the woman’s family society rank was above that of her husband’s, so emphasized in Acts 18:18; Acts 18:26; Romans 16:3.

2) "And the household of Onesiphorus" (kai ton Onesiphorou oikon) "And the household belonging to Onesiphorus," who had often refreshed Paul, sent material help to Paul in his labors to refresh him, 2 Timothy 1:16.

Verse 20

1) "Erastus abode at Corinth" (Erastos emeinen en Korintho) "Erastus remained, stayed at his post in Corinth;" To depict the occasion of his loneliness, Paul informed Timothy that Erastus had stayed behind at Corinth, his residence, the city where he was chamberlain or city treasurer, Romans 16:23.

2) "But Trophimus have I left at Miletum sick" (trophimon de apelipon en mileto asthenounta) "However, Trophimus I left ailing in Miletus," an Ephesian and Gentile who had once gone with Paul to Troas, Acts 20:4. He also went to Jerusalem where his presence as a Gentile caused a disturbance, . Paul did not heal Trophimus or perform any miracle promiscuously, loosely, at his own will, Acts 19:11-12. Miracles were primarily designed as credentials of New Testament Christians, to convince the unsaved, not for the mere help of believers, Mark 2:9-11; John 3:2; 1 Corinthians 14:21-22.

Verse 21

1) "Do thy diligence to come before winter" (spoudason pro cheimonos elthein) "Hasten to come (if you will), of your own accord, before winter;" when a voyage against the wind was near impossible; also Paul needed his coat, 2 Timothy 4:13.

2) "Eubulus greeteth thee, and" (aspazetai se Euboulos) "Greets or salutes thee Eubulus." Nothing more is known of him than that he loved Timothy, for Paul’s sake, as David did Jonathan. 2 Samuel 9:1.

a) "Pudens" (kai Poudes) Thought to be a Christian Roman knight.

b) "And Linus" (kai Linos) Thought to have later become pastor at Rome.

c) "And Claudia" (kai Klaudia) Thought to be a British Christian convert, saved while attending school in Rome, as per Apostolic Fathers, Volume 1.

d) "And all the brethren" (kai hoi adelphoi pantes) "And all the brothers," from Rome, to 1) Timothy, 2) the church brethren in Ephesus, and 3) Asia, to whom this prison epistle was addressed. The latter three named Christians from Rome may not be elsewhere identified in the New Testament.

Verse 22

1) "The Lord Jesus Christ be with thy spirit" (ho kurios meta tou pneumatos sou) "The Lord be with (in close association or colleague with) thy spirit," to encourage, empower, and help thee -- Timothy, to whom the letter is first directed, 2 Timothy 1:2.

2) "Grace be with you. Amen." (he charis meth humon) "The grace (unmerited favor of God) be with you all," (individually in the Lord) and all of the Ephesian church and neighboring churches of Asia. This was Paul’s final written benediction, praying God’s grace to be upon all those, including you and me, to whom his letter became applicable. How like our Lord’s prayer his (Paul’s) was, John 17:20-24; Philippians 2:5-8.

This second epistle, Paul’s final one, was written by Paul when he was brought before Nero, emperor of Rome, for the second time.

Bibliographical Information
Garner, Albert & Howes, J.C. "Commentary on 2 Timothy 4". Garner-Howes Baptist Commentary. https://studylight.org/commentaries/eng/ghb/2-timothy-4.html. 1985.
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