Summary: Spiritual warfare
FIGHT THE GOOD FIGHT (2 TIMOTHYY 4)
What would you say to your family and friends if it were near the end of your life? When my wife had breast cancer, she thought of writing a letter to every family member and friend. Lately she had chosen her funeral songs – Lord of the Universe, Hope of the World; Seek Only They Perfect Way, and Be Thou My Vision. We have also jokingly asked a friend to be in charge of all the music at our funeral. She wants to invite all her students and wants her eulogy to be sent to all. Lastly she wants to have an invitation for attendees to accept Christ.
Twice in 2 Timothy Paul called Timothy “my son” (2 Tim 1:6, 2:1), including once as “my beloved son” (2 Tim 1:6). Paul was at the end of his ministry. According to tradition, the apostle was executed in Rome in 67, shortly after he wrote this epistle.
How are you concerned for God’s word? What is most important for God’s church and people? What reminders do you have for them? What are your parting words?
Suffice Yourself in God’s Word: Ministry & Preaching of the Word:
Be Focused to the Finish
1 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: 2 Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage - with great patience and careful instruction. 3 For the time will come when men 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. 4 They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths. (2 Tim 4:1-4)
At the close of a service, a preacher was stopped by a gentleman who, after conceding that the sermon possessed certain commendable features, added, “But it had one noticeable defect!” The startled minister, on inquiring what this defect was, received the following reply: “I am a Jew. I have only recently been born again. Up to that time I attended the synagogue. But there was really nothing in your sermon that I could not have heard in the synagogue, nothing that a Jewish rabbi might not have preached.” (from Illustrations of Bible Truths # 538)
In lieu of God’s “appearing” (v 1, 4:1 8), which is mentioned more times in 2 Timothy than in any book of the Bible Paul gives a charge to readers. “I give you this charge” (NIV) in verse 1, or “I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ” (KJV), is found only in Paul’s letters to Timothy, one other time in 1 Timothy 5:21.
Paul’s urgent and important message in this last chapter to Timothy comes with five imperatives in verse 2 alone: preach, be prepared, correct, rebuke, and encourage. Words related to the ministry of the word include the Word (v 2), instruction (v 2), doctrine (v 3), teachers (v 3), and truth (v 4).
What is the best way to counter bad doctrine? Good doctrine from the study of God’s word. Preach the word has to do with content, “be prepared” is continuity/constancy, and the last three has to do with to convince/correct, to confront/condemn and to comfort.
Preach the word is the motto at my alma mater, Dallas Theological Seminary, where the front lawn has those words carved in stone. It is to communicate or teach God’s word with passion and purpose. Paul reminded Timothy to preach God’s word, not secular philosophy, pop psychology, self-help, worldly wisdom, prosperity theology or social justice. Even though they are all imperatives their function can be divided into what, when and how. Preach the word is the task or mandate, “in season and out of season” refers to time or moment, and the last three refers to the method. The first is the priority, the second is the preparedness, and the third is the process.
Why? There is a “because” or “for” in verse 3. The four actions of false teachers include “Put up” is translated as “bear” (Acts 18:14, 2 Cor 11:1, 4, Eph 4:2, Col 3:13) and “endure” (2 Thess 1:4, 2 Tim 4:3) in KJV. The idea of “put up” (anechomai) comes from the preposition “up” and the verb “have,” or the English equivalent “I have it up to here!” “Sound doctrine” (v 3) occurs in Pastoral Epistles only (1 Tim 1:10, Titus 1:9, 2:1). Pastor and leaders are front and center in the battle against the attacks on the Bible and sound teaching:
Titus 1:9 He must hold firmly to the trustworthy message as it has been taught, so that he can encourage others by sound doctrine and refute those who oppose it.