10/30/11 2 Timothy 4:9-18
Leader: Pastor Biebert
Meeting Time: 8:00 AM & 10:15 AM
GOD HELPS US FACE REJECTION
2 Timothy 4:9-18
Paul’s Timothy communiqués were from a cold prison cell in Rome. Paul knew this second letter might be his last, and it really was. Paul’s greatest concern was for his friends, for Timothy and the truth about Jesus. Imagine being Timothy and knowing this is his last message ever from his great friend. In 4:21 Paul urged him to “come before winter.” Winter weather would soon make travel by sea impossible. It would take time for this letter to reach Timothy. Then there would be Timothy’s travel time. Any delay might mean Paul would be dead (4:6).
Where was Timothy when Paul wrote begging him to come (4:9)?
There are at least 100 different men and women the Bible tells about in Acts and Paul’s letters that were his friends and team members. Paul could not do the job by himself. He’d previously mentioned Demas (probable nickname for Demetrius) in Colossians 4:14 and Philemon 24. Paul only mentioned Crescens here. Titus had rejoined Paul since receiving the letter Paul wrote him and had gone on to Dalmatia, also known as Illyricum (modern Yugoslavia; Romans 15:19). His first pastor duties were in Crete (Titus 1:5). We first met Dr. Luke in Acts 16:10. That’s when Luke joined up with Paul. He was not Jewish. He wrote the Gospel of Luke and Acts. Paul mentions him with Demas in Colossians 4:14 and Philemon 24, and there’s a clear contrast. Paul wanted Timothy to pick up Mark along the way. We first meet Mark in Acts 12:12. Barnabas and Paul took him to Antioch, Syria (Acts 12:25) and then took him with them as "their helper" on the first missionary journey (13:5). Young Mark "flunked out" and returned to Jerusalem (13:13). Paul refused to take him along on the second journey (15:36-40). Later Mark matured and was with Paul in his first Roman imprisonment (Col 4:10). We don’t know where Mark was living now. Mark had proved himself in Paul’s estimation since that time some twenty years earlier. Tychicus was from Turkey and serve on Paul’s delegation of church leaders that took the famine relief offering to Jerusalem (Acts 20:4). He was the mailman for Paul’s letters to the Colossians (4:7, 8) and the Ephesians (6:21). Paul must have given him theological training, because it sounds here like Paul is assigning him to relieve Timothy, who probably was still at Ephesus, so Timothy could visit Paul in Rome. This would suggest that Tychicus was the postal service for the letter. This last letter from Paul is the only time we hear about Carpus (4:13).
What were some of the reasons Paul’s “posse” had broken up (4:10-12)?
Timothy apparently didn’t go directly by ship to Rome from the large Ephesus port. Paul expects Timothy to travel north to Troas on his way to Paul in Rome. We don’t often read about Paul’s physical needs. He asked Timothy to bring him his cloak. This sort of cloak was like a blanket with a hole for your head. It was nice in cold or rainy weather. Does this suggest it was chilly in Paul’s prison? Paul’s “books” (4:13) were papyrus rolls; his “papers” were documents on animal skins, a more expensive writing material. Which of his books and papers was Paul requesting? They may have been Old Testament Bible sections, or maybe Paul’s personal notes, or some of each.
How do you think Paul is feeling as he writes this part of his letter (4:9-11)?
4. Why does he feel this way (4:9-16)?
Alexander as “the coppersmith” (4:14; Acts 19:33-34) may be a different person than the Alexander in 1 Timothy 1:20. Alexander must live in Ephesus so that Timothy would know him.
5. Why did Paul say the Lord would “repay” Alexander (4:14)?
6. What is Paul’s “first defense” (4:16), and from what was he defending himself?
Paul’s first defense evidently refers, not to his first time incarcerated in Rome. That was ancient history to Timothy. This must be a preliminary hearing in his present case. These trials let character witnesses step up to the plate for the person on trial. In Paul’s case no one showed up. At this point in Paul’s life it had gotten dangerous to be a Christian in Rome. Things had gone from bad to worse after the fire of Rome in July, a.d. 64. Nero made the Christians scapegoats. He tortured and killed a lot of them. The anti-Christian intensity must have eased somewhat by a.d. 67, but the thought of identifying themselves with a fearless and outspoken apostle must have been more than the Roman Christians and even Paul’s companions could handle.
What is “the lion’s mouth” (4:17)? How did Paul cope with close calls?
When Paul had been discouraged in Corinth, the Lord came to him and encouraged him (Acts 18:9–11). After he had been arrested in Jerusalem, the Lord again visited Paul and encouraged him (Acts 23:11). During that terrible storm, when Paul was on board ship, the Lord had again given him strength and courage (Acts 27:22ff). Paul saw his execution not as a victory for Rome but as a rescue from the Lord.
Did Paul think the authorities would soon let him out of jail (4:18)? If not, what did he believe?
With God’s help, death didn’t scare Paul. Even though most of his friends had deserted him, Paul asked God not to hold it against them. Paul didn’t die alone. He still had a Friend with him to the end. That Friend literally saved Paul’s life, many times before, and especially here at the end.
1. What can we learn from the fact that a lot of people deserted Paul when he was in trouble?
2. Is wanting to have people around you when you die a sign of weakness for a Christian? Explain.
How does this section connect to Matthew 10:16-23? What’s the connection to Daniel 6:10-12, 16-23?