Summary: 2 Timothy 4:9-22 gives us the final instructions of a man facing death.


Commentator David Helm notes the following:

Final words are often meant to communicate things of first importance. Parents remind children of something important just before walking out the door—“Now, remember what I told you. Don’t forget!” Bosses give their employees final instructions before leaving for an extended vacation. And every spring, educational institutions gather their graduating seniors for one final speech before sending them out into the world. Final words communicate things of first importance.

I suppose this explains why the church has always placed special significance on the last words of her leaders. When Samuel Rutherford was on his deathbed, someone was close by with a pen to record his dying testament: “Dear brethren, do all for Him. Pray for Christ. Preach for Christ. Do all for Christ; beware of men-pleasing. The chief shepherd will shortly appear.” John Wesley’s final declaration was captured as well: “The best of all is, God is with us.” He would say those words three times in succession, as if for emphasis, and then he expired with, “Farewell.” Lyle Dorsett, able historian and lover of Jesus, retells some of the closing declarations of the great evangelist D. L. Moody. “The ailing preacher roused from sleep and in slow, measured words announced: ‘Earth recedes; Heaven opens for me.’ ” Dorsett goes on to speak of various family members coming to Moody’s bedside to receive final instructions about their role in the work after his departure.

The Apostle Paul concluded his last letter to Timothy with some final instructions. It is filled with names—18 by my count—of people with whom Paul has interacted. As Paul concluded this letter, he gave final instructions of a dying man.


Let’s read 2 Timothy 4:9-22:

9 Do your best to come to me soon. 10 For Demas, in love with this present world, has deserted me and gone to Thessalonica. Crescens has gone to Galatia, Titus to Dalmatia. 11 Luke alone is with me. Get Mark and bring him with you, for he is very useful to me for ministry. 12 Tychicus I have sent to Ephesus. 13 When you come, bring the cloak that I left with Carpus at Troas, also the books, and above all the parchments. 14 Alexander the coppersmith did me great harm; the Lord will repay him according to his deeds. 15 Beware of him yourself, for he strongly opposed our message. 16 At my first defense no one came to stand by me, but all deserted me. May it not be charged against them! 17 But the Lord stood by me and strengthened me, so that through me the message might be fully proclaimed and all the Gentiles might hear it. So I was rescued from the lion’s mouth. 18 The Lord will rescue me from every evil deed and bring me safely into his heavenly kingdom. To him be the glory forever and ever. Amen.

19 Greet Prisca and Aquila, and the household of Onesiphorus. 20 Erastus remained at Corinth, and I left Trophimus, who was ill, at Miletus. 21 Do your best to come before winter. Eubulus sends greetings to you, as do Pudens and Linus and Claudia and all the brothers.

22 The Lord be with your spirit. Grace be with you. (2 Timothy 4:9-22)


2 Timothy 4:9-22 gives us the final instructions of a man facing death.

Let’s use the following outline:

1. Final Requests (4:9, 11-13, 21a)

2. Final Sorrow (4:10, 16)

3. Final Warning (4:14-15)

4. Final Deliverance (4:17-18)

5. Final Greetings (4:19-20, 21b)

6. Final Benediction (4:22)

I. Final Requests (4:9, 11-13, 21a)

First, a man facing death expresses his final requests.

Paul wrote to Timothy in verse 9, “Do your best to come to me soon.” Paul wanted Timothy to come to him soon (quickly) because he knew that his death was imminent. Paul repeated this request in verse 21a, where he wrote, “Do your best to come before winter.” Traveling on the Adriatic Sea during winter was treacherous. Paul did not expect to live until spring. Paul wanted to see his beloved associate Timothy before he died. More importantly, it seems that Paul wanted Timothy to “bring the cloak that I left with Carpus at Troas, also the books, and above all the parchments” (4:13). Even though Paul anticipated death sometime soon, he wanted to continue his work for the sake of the gospel.

Paul noted in verse 11, “Luke alone is with me. Get Mark and bring him with you, for he is very useful to me for ministry.” Paul wrote about two more coworkers. In Colossians 4:14, Paul called Luke “the beloved physician,” and in Philemon 24, Paul referred to Luke as a “fellow worker.” Luke had accompanied Paul on several of his missionary journeys and was presently staying with Paul to care for him and his medical needs. The other coworker Paul mentioned in this verse is Mark. John Mark had previously deserted Paul and Barnabas (Acts 13:13), but he later proved himself and attended Paul in his first Roman imprisonment (Colossians 4:10; Philemon 24). Paul now wanted Timothy to bring Mark to him because he had proven his usefulness in his ministry to Paul.

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