The Second to Timothy 4:1-22

4  I solemnly charge you before God and Christ Jesus, who is to judge+ the living and the dead,+ and by his manifestation+ and his Kingdom:+  Preach the word;+ be at it urgently in favorable times and difficult times; reprove,+ reprimand, exhort, with all patience and art of teaching.+  For there will be a period of time when they will not put up with the wholesome teaching,+ but according to their own desires, they will surround themselves with teachers to have their ears tickled.+  They will turn away from listening to the truth and give attention to false stories.+  You, though, keep your senses in all things,+ endure hardship,+ do the work of an evangelizer, fully accomplish your ministry.+  For I am already being poured out like a drink offering,+ and the time for my releasing+ is imminent.  I have fought the fine fight,+ I have run the race to the finish,+ I have observed the faith.*  From this time on, there is reserved for me the crown of righteousness,+ which the Lord, the righteous judge,+ will give me as a reward in that day,+ yet not to me only, but also to all those who have loved his manifestation.  Do your utmost to come to me shortly. 10  For Deʹmas+ has forsaken me because he loved the present system of things, and he has gone to Thes·sa·lo·niʹca, Cresʹcens to Ga·laʹti·a, Titus to Dal·maʹtia. 11  Only Luke is with me. Bring Mark along with you, for he is helpful to me in the ministry.+ 12  But I have sent Tychʹi·cus+ off to Ephʹe·sus. 13  When you come, bring the cloak I left at Troʹas with Carpus, and the scrolls, especially the parchments. 14  Alexander the coppersmith did me a great deal of harm. Jehovah will repay him according to his deeds.+ 15  You too should be on guard against him, for he opposed our message to an excessive degree. 16  In my first defense no one came to my side, but they all forsook me—may they not be held accountable. 17  But the Lord stood near me and infused power into me,+ so that through me the preaching might be fully accomplished and all the nations might hear it;+ and I was rescued from the lion’s mouth.+ 18  The Lord will rescue me from every wicked work and will save me for his heavenly Kingdom.+ To him be the glory forever and ever. Amen. 19  Give my greetings to Prisʹca and Aqʹui·la+ and the household of On·e·siphʹo·rus.+ 20  E·rasʹtus+ stayed in Corinth, but I left Trophʹi·mus+ sick at Mi·leʹtus. 21  Do your utmost to arrive before winter. Eu·buʹlus sends you his greetings, and so do Puʹdens and Liʹnus and Clauʹdi·a and all the brothers. 22  The Lord be with the spirit you show. His undeserved kindness be with you.

Footnotes

Or “I have maintained faithfulness.”

Study Notes

I solemnly charge you: This weighty phrase translates a single Greek verb. One lexicon defines it as “to exhort with authority in matters of extraordinary importance.” (The same verb occurs in the Septuagint, for example at 1Sa 8:9 and 2Ch 24:19.) Paul has just commented on how cases involving elders who are accused of wrongdoing should be handled; he then emphasizes the need to reprove those who practice sin. Because these matters are so serious, he charges Timothy before God and Christ Jesus, providing a sobering reminder that what takes place even in private discussion among appointed men is plainly visible to the highest authorities of all.​—Ro 2:16; Heb 4:13.

the judgment seat of the Christ: At Ro 14:10, Paul referred to “the judgment seat of God.” However, Jehovah judges by means of his Son (Joh 5:22, 27), so it is here called “the judgment seat of the Christ.” In early Christian times, a judgment seat (Greek, beʹma) was usually a raised outdoor platform, accessed by steps. Seated officials could address the crowds and announce their decisions from this platform. (Mt 27:19; Joh 19:13; Ac 12:21; 18:12; 25:6, 10) Paul’s use of the term here might have reminded the Corinthians of the formidable judgment seat in Corinth.​—See Glossary, “Judgment seat,” and Media Gallery, “Judgment Seat in Corinth.”

the manifestation of our Lord Jesus Christ: The Greek term rendered “manifestation” (e·pi·phaʹnei·a) is used in the Scriptures in the sense of a discernible evidence of something or a display of authority or power. It is used to refer to Jesus’ time on earth. (2Ti 1:10 and study note) The term is also used with regard to various events during his presence in royal power. (For example, see study note on 2Th 2:8.) In this context, “the manifestation” refers to a future appointed time when Jesus’ glorious and powerful position in heaven is clearly recognizable.​—Da 2:44; 7:13, 14; 1Ti 6:15; 2Ti 4:1.

I solemnly charge you: With this expression, Paul seeks to impress on Timothy the seriousness of what the apostle is about to say. (See study note on 1Ti 5:21, where Paul uses the same expression.) Paul and Timothy had been doing much to strengthen the congregations and protect them from the influence of false teachers. Paul knows that his death is near (2Ti 4:6-8), so he wants Timothy to remain vigilant in carrying out the direction that follows (2Ti 4:2-5).

Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead: In the Hebrew Scriptures, Jehovah God is identified as “the Judge of all the earth.” (Ge 18:25) Similarly, in the Christian Greek Scriptures, Jehovah is called “the Judge of all.” (Heb 12:23) However, the Hebrew Scriptures prophesied that the Messiah would also serve as a judge. (Isa 11:3-5) In harmony with such prophecies, Jesus revealed that his Father had “entrusted all the judging to the Son.” (Joh 5:22, 27) Further, the Bible speaks of Jesus as “decreed by God to be judge of the living and the dead.”​—Ac 10:42; 17:31; 1Pe 4:5; see also study note on 2Co 5:10.

his manifestation: In this context, “manifestation” points to a future set time when Christ’s glorious position in heaven will be clearly recognizable. At that time, he will execute God’s judgments on mankind.​—Da 2:44; 7:13, 14; see also study note on 1Ti 6:14.

handling the word of the truth aright: Paul here uses a Greek verb that literally means “to cut straight.” Various suggestions have been made about what Paul was alluding to. For example, as a tentmaker, he might have had in mind cutting a precise, straight line through cloth. Or he may have been alluding to how the term is used at Pr 3:6 and 11:5 in the Septuagint, where the verb describes making one’s figurative path, or road, straight. The verb could also be used in other ways, such as to describe a farmer’s plowing a straight furrow in the soil. In any case, Paul was basically telling Timothy to hold to a straight course when teaching from God’s Word​—to handle it properly, explain it accurately, and avoid turning aside by engaging in debates about personal viewpoints, words, or other trivial matters.​—2Ti 2:14, 16.

do the work of an evangelizer: Or “keep preaching the good news.” Jesus commissioned all Christians to do the work of evangelizing, or proclaiming the good news of salvation from God. (Mt 24:14; 28:19, 20; Ac 5:42; 8:4; Ro 10:9, 10) In the Christian Greek Scriptures, the terms for evangelizing usually refer to preaching to unbelievers. As a Christian overseer, Timothy had many teaching responsibilities within the congregation, as described at 2Ti 4:1, 2. However, he and all other overseers were also to share in preaching the good news outside the congregation.

Reprove: As used in the Bible, the Greek term rendered “reprove” often conveys the idea of convincing someone that he has erred. A reproof is given with the positive goal of moving a person to acknowledge and correct his mistake. One dictionary says that the word includes the meaning “‘to set right,’ namely, ‘to point away from sin to repentance.’” It is discipline that is intended to educate. At Joh 16:8, the same Greek word is rendered “give . . . convincing evidence.”

encourages: Or “exhorts.” The Greek word pa·ra·ka·leʹo literally means “to call to one’s side.” It is broad in meaning and may convey the idea “to encourage” (Ac 11:23; 14:22; 15:32; 1Th 5:11; Heb 10:25); “to comfort” (2Co 1:4; 2:7; 7:6; 2Th 2:17); and in some contexts “to urge strongly; to exhort” (Ac 2:40; Ro 15:30; 1Co 1:10; Php 4:2; 1Th 5:14; 2Ti 4:2; Tit 1:9, ftn.). The close relationship between exhortation, comfort, and encouragement would indicate that a Christian should never exhort someone in a harsh or unkind way.

exhortation: Or “encouragement.” While exhortation involves stirring others to action, the Greek word used here also includes the idea of giving encouragement and comfort. Just as Timothy needed to prepare carefully for public reading and teaching, he needed to devote thought and effort to consoling and encouraging his brothers.​—See study notes on Ro 12:8; Php 2:1.

be patient toward all: The Greek words referring to “patience” denote calm endurance and slowness to anger, qualities that Jehovah and Jesus constantly show in their dealings with humans. (Ro 2:4; 9:22; 1Ti 1:16; 1Pe 3:20; 2Pe 3:9, 15; see study note on Ga 5:22.) As imitators of Jehovah and Jesus, Christians are to be patient. (1Co 11:1; Eph 5:1) The Greek verb for “to be patient” is used twice in Jesus’ illustration about two slaves, each of whom pleaded: “Be patient with me.” (Mt 18:26, 29) The unforgiving “wicked slave” refused to be patient and merciful, in contrast with the master, whom Jesus uses to picture his heavenly Father. (Mt 18:30-35) Jesus’ illustration and the use of the same verb at 2Pe 3:9 suggest that being patient with others includes being forgiving and merciful.

his way of teaching: This expression refers to how Jesus taught, his teaching methods, which included what he taught, the whole body of instruction in the Sermon on the Mount.

teaching them: The Greek word rendered “to teach” involves instruction, explanation, showing things by argument, and offering proofs. (See study notes on Mt 3:1; 4:23.) Teaching them to observe all the things that Jesus had commanded would be an ongoing process, which would include teaching what he taught, applying his teaching, and following his example.​—Joh 13:17; Eph 4:21; 1Pe 2:21.

qualified to teach: An overseer should be a skillful teacher, able to convey Scriptural truths and moral principles to his fellow believers. In his letter to Titus, Paul says that an overseer needs to hold “firmly to the faithful word as respects his art of teaching” in order to encourage, exhort, and reprove. (Tit 1:5, 7, 9 and study notes) Paul also uses the expression “qualified to teach” in his second letter to Timothy. There he says that “a slave of the Lord” needs to show self-control and instruct “with mildness those not favorably disposed.” (2Ti 2:24, 25) So an overseer should be able to reason convincingly from the Scriptures, to give sound counsel, and to reach the hearts of his listeners. (See study note on Mt 28:20.) He needs to be a diligent student of God’s Word in order to teach others who themselves are students of the Bible.

Preach the word: The context suggests that Paul here refers primarily to preaching in the congregation. (2Ti 4:3, 4) Timothy, as an overseer, was to preach the word of God effectively in order to strengthen the faith of his listeners and to help them resist apostate ideas. False teachers stirred up debates about words and relied on personal opinions and false stories. In contrast, overseers were to preach only “the word,” the inspired Word of God. (See study note on 2Ti 2:15; see also 2Ti 3:6-9, 14, 16.) In a broader sense, this counsel may also apply to preaching outside the congregation; Paul goes on to urge Timothy to “do the work of an evangelizer.”​—2Ti 4:5 and study note.

be at it urgently: Paul here uses a Greek verb that literally means “to stand upon,” but the verb is broad in meaning; it often means “to stand by or near, to be ready.” The term was sometimes used in a military setting to refer to a soldier or a guard at his post who was always ready for action. But the word could also refer to giving immediate attention to something. The idea of being zealous and persistent is included. Paul wants Timothy to stand at the ready for any opportunity to “preach the word.”​—See study note on Preach the word in this verse.

in favorable times and difficult times: Or “in season, out of season.” Paul urges Timothy to keep on defending the truths of God’s Word in all circumstances. He should do so during times of relative peace, but he must persist even when facing such obstacles as opposition from false teachers and their attempts to divide the congregation.

reprove: See study note on 1Ti 5:20.

reprimand: The Greek verb here rendered “reprimand” means “to rebuke, to warn strongly, or to instruct sternly.” It could refer to a warning intended to prevent a person from taking an action or to stop him from continuing to act in a certain way.​—Mt 16:20; Mr 8:33; Lu 17:3.

exhort: See study notes on Ro 12:8; 1Ti 4:13.

with all patience: Timothy had learned much about patience from Paul. (2Ti 3:10) As an overseer, Timothy would need to exercise great patience because some in the congregation had been influenced by false teachings. When reproving, reprimanding, and exhorting his fellow Christians, he would always need to show restraint, patiently appealing to their desire to do what was right. If he were to give in to annoyance or frustration, he might alienate or even stumble some.​—1Pe 5:2, 3; see study note on 1Th 5:14.

with all . . . art of teaching: The Greek word here rendered “art of teaching” can refer both to the manner of teaching and to the content of the teaching. (See study note on Mt 7:28, where the same word is rendered “way of teaching.”) In this context, the focus is on the manner of teaching, and that is why the word is rendered “art of teaching.” Because Paul uses the Greek word for “all” in this phrase, some translations use such expressions as “every kind of instruction,” “all your teaching skills,” or “careful instruction.” Commenting on this verse, one scholar stated that Timothy “must always show himself a sound and resourceful teacher of Christian truth.”​—1Ti 4:15, 16; see study notes on Mt 28:20; 1Ti 3:2.

the wholesome instruction: Paul here refers to the teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ. Since everything Jesus taught is in agreement with the rest of the Scriptures, the expression “wholesome [or, “healthful; beneficial”] instruction” can by extension refer to all Bible teachings.​—See study note on 2Ti 1:13.

some will fall away from the faith: Paul foretells that some professing to be Christians will abandon the divine teachings contained in the Scriptures and will leave the true worship of God. The Greek verb here rendered “fall away from” literally means “to stand away from” and can also be rendered “to withdraw; to renounce; to draw away.” (Ac 19:9; 2Ti 2:19; Heb 3:12) It is related to a noun rendered “apostasy.”​—See study note on 2Th 2:3.

wholesome: Or “healthful; beneficial.”​—See study note on 1Ti 6:3.

to have their ears tickled: Or “to tell them what they want to hear.” In this vivid metaphor, Paul uses a Greek verb that can mean “to tickle; to scratch” but also “to feel an itching.” It occurs only here in the Christian Greek Scriptures. The word picture apparently conveys the idea of people who feel a yearning​—which some translations liken to an itch​—to hear what satisfies their selfish desires rather than what would help them to stay healthy in the faith. So they select teachers who tickle their ears, so to speak, by telling them what they want to hear. Because of the foretold apostasy, there would be an abundance of such self-serving disciples and false teachers; so Timothy’s work is urgent.​—See study note on 1Ti 4:1.

false stories: At 2Ti 4:4, Paul contrasts “false stories” with “the truth.” One lexicon defines the Greek word myʹthos, here rendered “false stories,” as “legend, fable . . . fiction, myth.” In the Christian Greek Scriptures, the word is always used in the negative sense. Paul may have had in mind fanciful legends that promoted religious lies or some sensational rumors. (Tit 1:14; 2Pe 1:16; see study note on 1Ti 4:7.) He instructs Christians not to pay attention to, or occupy themselves with, such false stories. These offered no real benefit and could turn the minds of the Christians away from the truth found in God’s Word.​—2Ti 1:13.

false stories: See study note on 1Ti 1:4.

keep our senses: Lit., “may we be sober.” The Greek word used here also appears at 1Th 5:8; 2Ti 4:5; 1Pe 1:13; 4:7 (“be vigilant”); 5:8.

the good news: First occurrence of the Greek word eu·ag·geʹli·on, rendered “gospel” in some English Bibles. A related Greek expression eu·ag·ge·li·stesʹ, rendered “evangelizer,” means “a proclaimer of good news.”​—Ac 21:8; Eph 4:11, ftn.; 2Ti 4:5, ftn.

declare the good news: The Greek verb used here, eu·ag·ge·liʹzo·mai (“to declare good news”), appears 54 times in the Christian Greek Scriptures. It is frequently found in Luke’s writings. (Lu 1:19; 2:10; 3:18; 4:18; 8:1; 9:6; 20:1; Ac 5:42; 8:4; 10:36; 11:20; 13:32; 14:15, 21; 15:35; 16:10; 17:18) There is a difference between the term ke·rysʹso, “to preach; to proclaim” (Mt 3:1; 4:17; 24:14; Lu 4:18, 19; 8:1, 39; 9:2; 24:47; Ac 8:5; 28:31; Re 5:2), and eu·ag·ge·liʹzo·mai, “to declare good news.” The former stresses the manner of the proclamation, that it is a public, authorized pronouncement. The latter stresses the content thereof, the declaring or bringing of “the good news.” The related noun eu·ag·geʹli·on (“good news”) appears 76 times in the Christian Greek Scriptures.​—See study notes on Mt 4:23; 24:14 and Glossary, “Good news, the.”

declaring the good news: The Greek verb eu·ag·ge·liʹzo·mai, used here, is related to the noun eu·ag·geʹli·on, “good news.” In the Christian Greek Scriptures, an important aspect of the good news is closely linked with God’s Kingdom, the theme of Jesus’ preaching and teaching work, and with the salvation by faith in Jesus Christ. In the book of Acts, the Greek verb eu·ag·ge·liʹzo·mai occurs numerous times, emphasizing the preaching work.​—Ac 8:4, 12, 25, 35, 40; 10:36; 11:20; 13:32; 14:7, 15, 21; 15:35; 16:10; 17:18; see study notes on Mt 4:23; 24:14.

evangelizer: The basic meaning of the Greek term eu·ag·ge·li·stesʹ, rendered “evangelizer,” is “a proclaimer of good news.” (See study note on Mt 4:23.) While all Christians are commissioned to proclaim the good news (Mt 24:14; 28:19, 20; Ac 5:42; 8:4; Ro 10:9, 10), the context of the three scriptures where this Greek term occurs shows that “evangelizer” can be used in a special sense (Ac 21:8; Eph 4:11; ftn.; 2Ti 4:5; ftn.). For example, when it is used of a person opening up new fields where the good news had never been preached, the Greek term could also be rendered “missionary.” After Pentecost, Philip pioneered the work in the city of Samaria with great success. He was also directed by an angel to preach the good news about Christ to the Ethiopian eunuch, whom he baptized. Then Philip was led away by the spirit to preach in Ashdod and all the cities on the way to Caesarea. (Ac 8:5, 12, 14, 26-40) Some 20 years later, when the events recorded at Ac 21:8 occurred, Philip is still referred to as “the evangelizer.”

evangelizers: The Greek word that Paul uses here basically means “those who proclaim, or publish, good news.” The word is related to the Greek term for “gospel,” or “good news,” and it occurs only here and in two other verses in the Christian Greek Scriptures. (2Ti 4:5; see study note on Ac 21:8.) All Christians are commissioned to proclaim the good news. (Mt 24:14; 28:19, 20) However, Paul likely uses the term “evangelizers” here in a special sense, meaning “missionaries.” For example, Paul, Timothy, Barnabas, and Silas traveled far to open up the preaching work in places where the good news had not yet been preached.​—Ac 13:2-4; 15:40, 41; 16:3, 4.

glorify: Or “magnify.” The Greek verb do·xaʹzo (to glorify; to give glory to), related to the word doʹxa (glory; honor), is often used in connection with glorifying God. (Mt 5:16; 9:8; Mr 2:12; Lu 2:20; 5:25, 26; Ac 4:21; 11:18; Ro 15:6, 9) In this context, the verb may convey such shades of meaning as “take pride in; take seriously; make the most of.” Paul shows that he highly esteems his “ministry,” regarding it as an honor of the highest order.

my ministry: When Jesus was on earth, he commissioned his followers to make disciples of people of all the nations. (Mt 28:19, 20) Paul called this work “the ministry of the reconciliation.” In Paul’s words, “we beg” a world alienated from God to “become reconciled to God.” (2Co 5:18-20) Paul made the most of his Christian ministry to the nations, but at the same time, his earnest desire was that some Jews would also be moved to take the necessary steps to gain salvation. (Ro 11:14) The basic meaning of the Greek word di·a·ko·niʹa is “service” and the related verb is sometimes used in the Bible with regard to personal services, such as waiting on tables. (Lu 4:39; 17:8; Joh 2:5) Here it refers to the Christian ministry. This is an elevated form of service, that of ministering to the spiritual needs of others.

this ministry: That is, the ministry performed by the “ministers of a new covenant” mentioned at 2Co 3:6. (See study note.) By means of this ministry, which Paul calls a “treasure,” the truth is made manifest.​—2Co 4:2, 7.

I am grateful to Christ Jesus: Paul viewed his assignment “to a ministry” as proof of Christ Jesus’ mercy, love, and trust in him. Previously, he had been “a persecutor and an insolent man,” even approving of the murder of Stephen. (1Ti 1:13; Ac 6:8; 7:58; 8:1, 3; 9:1, 2) To show his gratefulness, Paul was eager to minister to the spiritual needs of others. For example, he enthusiastically preached the good news.​—See study note on Ro 11:13.

keep your senses: The Greek verb here used literally means “to be sober.” (1Pe 1:13; 5:8; see study note on 1Th 5:6.) In the Christian Greek Scriptures, the verb is used figuratively to convey the idea of being “well-balanced, self-controlled.” Paul would not be on the scene much longer. (2Ti 4:6-8) Timothy thus needed to continue doing his part as an overseer to build up the congregation and fortify it against the apostasy to come. (1Ti 3:15; 2Ti 4:3, 4) He had to remain balanced, vigilant, and watchful in all aspects of his ministry.

do the work of an evangelizer: Or “keep preaching the good news.” Jesus commissioned all Christians to do the work of evangelizing, or proclaiming the good news of salvation from God. (Mt 24:14; 28:19, 20; Ac 5:42; 8:4; Ro 10:9, 10) In the Christian Greek Scriptures, the terms for evangelizing usually refer to preaching to unbelievers. As a Christian overseer, Timothy had many teaching responsibilities within the congregation, as described at 2Ti 4:1, 2. However, he and all other overseers were also to share in preaching the good news outside the congregation.

an evangelizer: Or “a proclaimer of the good news.” (See study note on Mt 4:23.) The related Greek verb often rendered “to declare the good news” appears many times in the Christian Greek Scriptures. It frequently describes the way Jesus and all his followers proclaimed the good news of God’s Kingdom. (Lu 4:43 and study note; Ac 5:42 and study note; 8:4; 15:35) However, the specific term that Paul here uses appears only three times; in each case, the context shows that “evangelizer” may also be used in the special sense of “a missionary.” (See study notes on Ac 21:8; Eph 4:11.) As a missionary, Timothy had traveled with Paul to open up the preaching work in places where the good news had not yet reached, and the apostle had also given him other special assignments. (Ac 16:3, 4; 1Ti 1:3) Now Paul encourages him to continue to fulfill any such important assignment.

fully accomplish your ministry: In order to follow this direction, Timothy could look to Paul’s example. Paul highly valued the privilege of ministering to the spiritual needs of others, both inside and outside the congregation. (See study notes on Ro 11:13; 2Co 4:1; 1Ti 1:12.) In fact, all true Christians were entrusted with a ministry. (2Co 4:1) In what may have been his parting exhortation to Timothy, Paul here encourages him to devote himself completely to his ministry and to fulfill all aspects of it.

I am being poured out like a drink offering: The Israelites presented drink offerings of wine along with most other offerings, pouring out the cup of wine on the altar. (Le 23:18, 37; Nu 15:2, 5, 10; 28:7) Here Paul refers to himself as a figurative drink offering. He expressed his willingness to drain himself both physically and emotionally to support the Philippians and other fellow Christians as they presented their spiritual sacrifices and performed their “holy service” to God. (Compare 2Co 12:15.) Shortly before his death, he wrote to Timothy: “I am already being poured out like a drink offering, and the time for my releasing is imminent.”​—2Ti 4:6.

in that day: Paul here refers, not to the day of his death, but to the much later time when Christ is ruling as King of God’s Kingdom. Paul and all other anointed ones in the grave would be raised to immortal life in heaven.​—1Th 4:14-16; 2Ti 1:12.

the releasing: Paul is apparently referring to his death. In his second letter to Timothy, written about 65 C.E., he uses a related Greek word when he says regarding his death: “The time for my releasing is imminent.” (2Ti 4:6) The expressions “the releasing and the being with Christ” are apparently parallel to what Paul says at 2Co 5:8: “We . . . would prefer to be absent from the body and to make our home with the Lord.” He viewed his death as a faithful anointed servant of God as a “releasing,” paving the way for him to be resurrected later to life in Christ’s “heavenly Kingdom.” (2Ti 4:18) As Paul explained at 1Co 15:23, “those who belong to the Christ” would be resurrected to heavenly life “during [Christ’s future] presence.” So Paul is here expressing his desire to finish his earthly course faithfully so that he could later be resurrected to heavenly life. Paul’s usage of the term “releasing” is not unique. Other Greek writers used the term as a euphemism for dying.

being poured out like a drink offering: According to the Mosaic Law, a drink offering was presented along with the burnt offering and the grain offering. (Le 23:18, 37; Nu 15:2, 5, 10; 28:7) One reference work states regarding drink offerings: “As with the burnt offering, all was expended and nothing was given to the priest; the entire libation was poured out.” When writing to the Philippians, Paul alluded to such an offering to show that he was happy to expend himself completely, both physically and emotionally, for his fellow Christians. (Php 2:17 and study note) He uses the same expression here, this time referring to his approaching death.

my releasing: Paul viewed his death as a faithful anointed servant of God as a “releasing,” since it would pave the way for his future resurrection to life in Christ’s “heavenly Kingdom.” (2Ti 4:18; see also study note on 2Ti 4:8.) Similarly, Paul earlier wrote to the Philippians: “I do desire the releasing and the being with Christ.” (Php 1:23 and study note) Timothy likely remembered the expression because he was with Paul in Rome when the apostle wrote that letter.​—Php 1:1; 2:19.

everyone competing in a contest: Or “every athlete.” The Greek verb used here is related to a noun that was often used to refer to athletic contests. At Heb 12:1, this noun is used figuratively for the Christian “race” for life. The same noun is used in the more general sense of a “struggle” (Php 1:30; Col 2:1) or a “fight” (1Ti 6:12; 2Ti 4:7). Forms of the Greek verb used here at 1Co 9:25 are rendered “exert yourselves vigorously” (Lu 13:24), “exerting [oneself]” (Col 1:29; 4:12; 1Ti 4:10), and “fight” (1Ti 6:12).​—See study note on Lu 13:24.

Fight the fine fight of the faith: The Greek verb and noun here rendered “fight” were used to refer to the struggling or contending for victory by athletes in their contests. (See study notes on Lu 13:24; 1Co 9:25.) Paul thus emphasizes that Christians must fight for their faith in Jehovah God, defending Christian truth as revealed in the Bible. This fight is truly a “fine,” or noble, struggle.​—See study notes on 2Ti 4:7.

the runners in a race: Athletic competitions were an integral part of Greek culture, so Paul made good use of these events as illustrations. (1Co 9:24-27; Php 3:14; 2Ti 2:5; 4:7, 8; Heb 12:1, 2) The Corinthian Christians were acquainted with the athletic contests at the Isthmian Games held near Corinth. These games were held every two years. Paul would have been in Corinth during the games of 51 C.E. They were second in importance only to the Olympic Games held at Olympia in Greece. The runners at such Greek games ran races of varying lengths. By using runners and boxers in his illustrations, Paul taught the value of self-control, efficiency, and endurance.​—1Co 9:26.

a race: The word “race” renders the Greek term staʹdi·on, or stadium. That Greek term may refer to the structure used for footraces and other events, to a distance, or to the footraces themselves. In this context, Paul is referring to a footrace. The length of a Greek staʹdi·on varied from place to place. In Corinth, it was about 165 m (540 ft). The approximate length of the Roman stadium was 185 m, or 606.95 ft.​—See App. B14.

stretching forward to the things ahead: Paul’s wording suggests that he is likening himself to a runner, perhaps indirectly referring to athletes in the Greek games. (See study notes on 1Co 9:24.) This imagery was familiar to the Greco-Roman world, and runners were often represented in statues or portrayed on vases. A runner in a footrace would not focus on what was behind him; doing so would only slow him down. Second-century Greek writer Lucian used similar imagery, saying: “A good runner from the moment that the [starting] barrier falls thinks only of getting forward, sets his mind on the finish and counts on his legs to win for him.” The runner would strenuously put forth every effort to reach his goal, the finish line. Paul remained focused, not on the worldly goals he had left behind, but on the reward ahead of him.​—See study note on Php 3:14.

I have fought . . . , I have run . . . , I have observed: Using three different expressions, Paul emphatically repeats the same thought: He has faithfully completed his Christian course of life and ministry, accomplishing all that the Lord Jesus had called him to do. (Ac 20:24) Even though Paul’s life was about to end, his work would continue to bear fruit.

the fine fight: Paul compares his Christian life and ministry to a noble fight, or struggle. (See study notes on 1Co 9:25; 1Ti 6:12.) He faithfully served Jehovah in the face of many hardships. He covered long distances on land and sea during his missionary journeys. He endured all sorts of persecution, such as mob attacks, scourgings, and imprisonments. He also had to deal with opposition from “false brothers.” (2Co 11:23-28) Through it all, Jehovah and Jesus gave him the power he needed to remain faithful and to complete his ministry.​—Php 4:13; 2Ti 4:17.

I have run the race to the finish: Paul compares himself to a runner in a footrace to illustrate his Christian course of life. Now toward the end of his earthly life, he is confident that he has finished his figurative race. A number of times in his letters, Paul has used athletes in the Greek games as an illustration.​—Heb 12:1; see study notes on 1Co 9:24; Php 3:13.

his seal: In Bible times, a seal was used as a signature to prove ownership, authenticity, or agreement. In the case of spirit-anointed Christians, God has figuratively sealed them by his holy spirit to indicate that they are his possession and that they are in line for heavenly life.​—Eph 1:13, 14.

the token of what is to come: Or “the down payment; the guarantee (pledge) of what is to come.” The three occurrences of the Greek word ar·ra·bonʹ in the Christian Greek Scriptures all deal with God’s anointing of Christians with the spirit, that is, God’s holy spirit, or active force. (2Co 5:5; Eph 1:13, 14) This special operation of holy spirit becomes like a down payment of what is to come. Spirit-anointed Christians are convinced of their hope because of this token that they receive. Their full payment, or reward, includes their putting on an incorruptible heavenly body. (2Co 5:1-5) It also includes receiving the gift of immortality.​—1Co 15:48-54.

the manifestation of our Lord Jesus Christ: The Greek term rendered “manifestation” (e·pi·phaʹnei·a) is used in the Scriptures in the sense of a discernible evidence of something or a display of authority or power. It is used to refer to Jesus’ time on earth. (2Ti 1:10 and study note) The term is also used with regard to various events during his presence in royal power. (For example, see study note on 2Th 2:8.) In this context, “the manifestation” refers to a future appointed time when Jesus’ glorious and powerful position in heaven is clearly recognizable.​—Da 2:44; 7:13, 14; 1Ti 6:15; 2Ti 4:1.

From this time on, there is reserved for me: Paul understood that his heavenly reward was now reserved for him; it was set aside, or certain. Paul had earlier received the initial part of his sealing as an anointed son of God. (See study notes on 2Co 1:22.) However, anointed Christians receive their final sealing only when they faithfully endure “to the end.” (Mt 10:22; 2Ti 2:12; Jas 1:12; Re 2:10; 7:1-4; 17:14) Now with death so close, Paul knew that he had fully demonstrated his loyalty. By means of holy spirit, Jehovah made Paul aware that his final sealing was assured, complete. For the remainder of his earthly life, his heavenly hope was guaranteed.

the crown of righteousness: Paul used the Greek word rendered “crown” elsewhere. For instance, at 1Co 9:25, 26, he used it to refer to the literal crown, or wreath, that was awarded to victorious athletes. In that same passage, he wrote that he hoped to receive a far better reward​—“a crown . . . that does not perish.” Paul here refers to that same reward as “the crown of righteousness.” When anointed Christians keep living by righteous standards until death, the Lord Jesus Christ, referred to here as “the righteous judge,” is delighted to grant them this crown​—the reward of immortal life in heaven.

in that day: Paul here refers, not to the day of his death, but to the much later time when Christ is ruling as King of God’s Kingdom. Paul and all other anointed ones in the grave would be raised to immortal life in heaven.​—1Th 4:14-16; 2Ti 1:12.

all those who have loved his manifestation: During his presence in royal power, Christ would turn his attention to spirit-anointed Christians who had been sleeping in death. (1Th 4:15, 16) He would reward them by resurrecting them to immortal life in heaven, fulfilling his promise to receive them home to himself. (Joh 14:3; Re 14:13; see study note on the crown of righteousness in this verse.) In this way, Christ would be powerfully manifested to them. Seeing their beloved Master in his heavenly glory is an event they “have loved,” or have longed for. Faithful Christians who hope to live on earth under the rule of God’s heavenly Kingdom are also eagerly looking forward to Christ’s manifestation when all will clearly recognize Jesus in his glorious and powerful position in heaven.​—Da 2:44; see also study note on 1Ti 6:14.

Demas: Paul mentions this fellow worker in his letter to Philemon as well. (Phm 24) Only a few years later, however, Paul was imprisoned in Rome for the second time. From there, he wrote: “Demas has forsaken me because he loved the present system of things”; Demas had returned to Thessalonica, perhaps his hometown.​—2Ti 4:10.

in a circuit as far as Illyricum: Illyricum was a Roman province and region named for the Illyrian tribes living there. It was located in the NW part of the Balkan Peninsula along the coast of the Adriatic Sea. (See App. B13.) The borders and divisions of the province varied greatly throughout the Roman rule. It is uncertain whether the original Greek term rendered “as far as” means that Paul actually preached in Illyricum or merely up to it.

Demas has forsaken me: The Greek word rendered “forsaken” can refer to deserting a person who faces danger. Demas had been one of Paul’s close companions. In letters that Paul wrote during his first imprisonment in Rome, he indicated that Demas was with him. (Phm 24; see study note on Col 4:14.) However, this time Paul’s situation was worse. A number of fellow Christians had already turned away from him. (2Ti 1:15) Paul does not imply that Demas became an opposer or apostate. Still, Demas lost out on the remarkable privilege of comforting this faithful apostle in his hour of need.

he loved the present system of things: Or “he loved the present age.” (See Glossary, “System(s) of things.”) Perhaps Demas’ love for material things and worldly pleasures became stronger than his love for spiritual things. Or his fear of persecution and martyrdom may have caused him to seek a safer place. One reference work suggests that here “the present system of things” refers to “life in this world free from the danger and sacrifice of attending on the apostle.” It may be that Demas went to Thessalonica because it was his hometown. Any of these factors may help explain why he allowed his love for “the present system of things” to outweigh his love for his special privilege of serving at Paul’s side.

Dalmatia: An area on the Balkan Peninsula, E of the Adriatic Sea. The name was used to describe the southern part of the Roman province of Illyricum. However, when Paul wrote this letter, Dalmatia was a separate province. (See App. B13.) Paul may have passed through Dalmatia, since he had preached “as far as Illyricum.” (Ro 15:19 and study note) He asked Titus to come from Crete to Nicopolis, likely the Nicopolis on the northwestern coast of modern-day Greece. (Tit 3:12) Thus, it seems possible that Titus was with Paul in Nicopolis and then moved to a new assignment in Dalmatia. There Titus may have served as a missionary and helped to keep the congregations organized, much as he had done in Crete.​—Tit 1:5.

the house of Mary: The congregation in Jerusalem apparently met in a private home, that of Mary the mother of John Mark. The house was spacious enough to accommodate “quite a few” worshippers, and a servant girl worked there. So Mary may have been a relatively wealthy woman. (Ac 12:13) Further, the residence is referred to as “the house of Mary,” without any mention of a husband, so it is possible that she was a widow.

John who was called Mark: One of Jesus’ disciples, “the cousin of Barnabas” (Col 4:10), and the writer of the Gospel of Mark. (See study note on Mr Title.) The English name John is the equivalent of the Hebrew name Jehohanan or Johanan, which means “Jehovah Has Shown Favor; Jehovah Has Been Gracious.” At Ac 13:5, 13, this disciple is simply called John. However, here and at Ac 12:25; 15:37, his Roman surname, Mark, is also given. Elsewhere in the Christian Greek Scriptures, he is referred to simply as Mark.​—Col 4:10; 2Ti 4:11; Phm 24; 1Pe 5:13.

Mark: Also called John at Ac 12:12, 25; 13:5, 13. (See study note on Mr Title; Ac 12:12.) A disagreement about bringing Mark on Paul’s second missionary tour (c. 49-52 C.E.) led to “a sharp burst of anger” between Paul and Barnabas, who then went their separate ways. (Ac 15:37-39) However, Paul mentions Barnabas in a positive light at 1Co 9:6, which suggests that the two men had already reconciled by the time Paul wrote to the Colossians. That Mark was with Paul in Rome during this first imprisonment helps to show Paul’s increased regard for him. Paul even calls Mark “a source of great comfort to me.” (See study note on Col 4:11.) Perhaps while visiting Paul in Rome, Mark wrote the Gospel account that bears his name.​—See also “Introduction to Mark.”

Only Luke is with me: It seems that Luke was the only one of the apostle’s fellow travelers who was able to remain in close contact with Paul during his final imprisonment. (Col 4:14; see “Introduction to Acts.”) But they apparently had some support. At 2Ti 4:21, the apostle mentions at least four others who sent greetings to Timothy and to the Ephesians. They may have been Christians from the local congregation who were able to visit Paul.

Bring Mark along with you: Paul refers to John Mark, one of Jesus’ disciples and the writer of the Gospel of Mark. (See study notes on Ac 12:12.) Mark accompanied Paul and Barnabas on Paul’s first missionary tour but left them and returned to Jerusalem. (Ac 12:25; 13:5, 13) For this reason, Paul refused to take Mark along on the next tour. (Ac 15:36-41) However, some ten years later, Mark was with Paul in Rome. At that time, Paul spoke highly of him, showing that they had mended the breach between them and that Paul now considered Mark to be trustworthy. (Phm 23, 24; see study note on Col 4:10.) Now showing confidence in this faithful Christian minister, Paul tells Timothy: “Bring Mark along with you, for he is helpful to me in the ministry.”

Tychicus: A Christian minister from the province of Asia, whose service Paul greatly valued. (Ac 20:2-4) Paul entrusted Tychicus with delivering letters to the Colossians, to Philemon of the Colossian congregation, and to the Ephesians. Tychicus was more than a courier. His assignment included relating to the congregations “all the news about” Paul himself, likely including details about Paul’s imprisonment, his condition, and his needs. Paul knew that this “beloved brother and faithful minister” would do so in a way that would comfort the hearts of his hearers and would reinforce the vital teachings in Paul’s inspired message. (Col 4:8, 9; see also Eph 6:21, 22.) After Paul was released from prison, he contemplated sending Tychicus to Crete. (Tit 3:12) And when Paul was imprisoned in Rome for the second time, he sent Tychicus to Ephesus.​—2Ti 4:12.

I have sent Tychicus off to Ephesus: Paul chose Tychicus, a beloved and faithful companion, to visit the congregation in Ephesus, likely to serve in Timothy’s place. (See study note on Col 4:7.) Knowing that Tychicus would soon arrive and that the congregation would be in good hands, Timothy may have felt free to leave in order to visit Paul in Rome for the last time. (2Ti 4:9) This verse contains Paul’s last written mention of the congregation in Ephesus. However, some 30 years later, the same congregation was among those Jesus addressed in his revelation to the apostle John.​—Re 2:1.

the scrolls: The scrolls that Paul asked for apparently contained parts of the inspired Hebrew Scriptures. The Greek term used here (bi·bliʹon) is related to a word (biʹblos) that originally referred to the soft pith of the papyrus plants. (See Glossary, “Scroll”; “Papyrus.”) Papyrus was used to make writing material, so both Greek terms came to refer to a scroll or a book. (Mr 12:26; Lu 3:4; Ac 1:20; Re 1:11) In the Christian Greek Scriptures, the word Paul here uses can refer to a brief written document (Mt 19:7; Mr 10:4); however, it is more often used of writings of the Hebrew Scriptures (Lu 4:17, 20; Ga 3:10; Heb 9:19; 10:7). The term “Bible” is derived from the Greek word used here.

especially the parchments: Parchment refers to the skin of a sheep, goat, or calf, which has been prepared for use as writing material. (See Glossary, “Parchment.”) Paul does not specifically reveal what he meant by this expression. He may have been referring to leather scrolls of the Hebrew Scriptures. Or these parchments may have contained his own notes or writings. According to some scholars, the Greek word for “parchments” can also refer to parchment notebooks. When Paul wrote this letter, he was confident that he had fought the fine fight to the finish. (2Ti 4:6-8) Even so, he asked Timothy to “bring . . . the scrolls, especially the parchments.” He apparently wanted to continue to strengthen himself and others by means of God’s inspired Word.

Hymenaeus and Alexander are among these: These men had experienced “shipwreck of their faith” (1Ti 1:19) and were apparently promoting false doctrine. At 2Ti 2:16-18, for example, Paul says that Hymenaeus along with Philetus claimed that the resurrection had already occurred. These men were “subverting the faith of some.” (See study notes on 2Ti 2:18.) Alexander may have been the coppersmith mentioned at 2Ti 4:14, 15 who did Paul “a great deal of harm” and who opposed “to an excessive degree” the message that Paul and his companions were proclaiming. (See study note on 2Ti 4:14.) The expression “are among these” implies that there were already a number of individuals who had not stuck to the faith and who were having a negative effect on some in the Christian congregation.

I have handed them over to Satan: This expression apparently refers to expelling, or disfellowshipping, them from the congregation. Such action was necessary because the men Paul mentioned were unrepentantly pursuing a willful course of sin.​—See study note on 1Co 5:5.

Alexander the coppersmith: Paul warns Timothy of a certain Alexander who “to an excessive degree” opposed the message that Paul and his companions were proclaiming. (2Ti 4:15) Paul calls him “the coppersmith,” using a Greek term that in the first century C.E. could refer to any kind of metalworker. It is possible that he is the same Alexander, mentioned at 1Ti 1:20, who had apparently been expelled from the congregation. (See study notes.) Paul does not specify here what kind of harm this man did to him. Some have suggested that Alexander might have been involved in Paul’s arrest and might even have given false testimony against him.

Jehovah will repay him: Paul here expresses confidence that God will repay Alexander the coppersmith according to his deeds. The apostle thus echoes several verses in the Hebrew Scriptures that refer to Jehovah God as the one who repays humans for their actions, whether good or bad. One example is Ps 62:12, where the psalmist says: “O Jehovah, . . . you repay each one according to his deeds.” (See also Ps 28:1, 4; Pr 24:12; La 3:64.) Paul makes a similar point at Ro 2:6, where he says about God: “He will pay back to each one according to his works.” And quoting Jehovah’s words at De 32:35, Paul says at Ro 12:19: “Vengeance is mine; I will repay.”​—For the use of the divine name in this verse, see App. C3 introduction; 2Ti 4:14.

It does not keep account of the injury: The Greek verb lo·giʹzo·mai, here rendered “keep account of,” was regularly used in ancient times for accounting and numerical calculations. It was also used in the sense of “think about” or “dwell on.” (See Php 4:8, where this Greek verb is rendered “continue considering.”) A loving person does not keep a record of, or dwell on, “the injury [or “wrongs”],” such as hurtful words or deeds, as if writing them in a ledger so as not to forget them. The same Greek verb is used at 2Co 5:19, where it says that in Jehovah’s dealings with his people, he is “not counting their offenses against them.”

In my first defense: In Roman legal procedure, an accused person might be asked to defend himself during various stages of a trial. Paul is likely referring to an initial defense that he made during his current, second imprisonment in Rome, about 65 C.E. Some have suggested that Paul is referring to a defense that he made during his earlier imprisonment in Rome, about 61 C.E. (Ac 28:16, 30) That conclusion, however, seems unlikely; it raises a question as to why Paul would write to Timothy about events that were already familiar to him.​—Col 1:1, 2; 4:3.

may they not be held accountable: Paul is apparently referring to the spiritual brothers who failed to support him during his “first defense,” which he describes as a harrowing experience. (2Ti 4:17) However, Paul had learned from Christ how to show forgiveness. Jesus was abandoned by his closest friends when he was arrested. (Mr 14:50) Like Jesus, Paul refused to harbor resentment or ill will against his brothers.​—See study note on 1Co 13:5.

keep on acquiring power: Paul encourages Timothy to tap into the unfailing Source of power, Jehovah God. The apostle uses the Greek verb en·dy·na·moʹo, related to the noun dyʹna·mis (power; strength), which is used at 2Ti 1:8 in the expression “the power of God.” One reference work notes that the verb form Paul uses here “indicates Timothy’s need for continual dependence on God, i.e., ‘keep on being strengthened.’” Paul used the same verb at Eph 6:10, where he encouraged the Ephesian Christians to “go on acquiring power in the Lord [Jehovah God] and in the mightiness of his strength.”

I have fought with wild beasts at Ephesus: The Romans often threw criminals to wild beasts in the arenas. While scholars have suggested that this punishment did not apply to Roman citizens like Paul, there is historical evidence that some Roman citizens were thrown to beasts or made to fight with them. What Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians could describe an encounter with literal wild beasts in an arena. (2Co 1:8-10) If Paul was thrown to literal beasts, then his rescue was likely by divine intervention. (Compare Da 6:22.) This experience may thus have been one of the several “near-deaths” that Paul experienced in his ministry. (2Co 11:23) Other scholars feel that Paul is here referring to wild beasts in a figurative sense, describing the opposition of beastlike opposers in Ephesus.​—Ac 19:23-41.

the Lord stood near me: Apparently, Paul here refers to Jesus Christ as “the Lord” who “infused power into” him. (See also 1Ti 1:12.) Of course, the ultimate Source of power is Jehovah God; he gives strength to his servants by means of Jesus Christ.​—Isa 40:26, 29; Php 4:13; 2Ti 1:7, 8; see also study note on 2Ti 2:1.

I was rescued from the lion’s mouth: It is uncertain whether this expression is to be understood literally or figuratively. (Compare study note on 1Co 15:32.) If Paul was referring to literal lions, his rescue would likely have been similar to the occasion when Jehovah rescued Daniel. (Da 6:16, 20-22) On the other hand, a number of scholars feel that Paul’s Roman citizenship would have protected him from being thrown to the lions. The expression “the lion’s mouth” can be a metaphor for extreme danger. (Compare Ps 7:2; 35:17.) Paul’s words may echo David’s plea at Ps 22:21.

the crown of righteousness: Paul used the Greek word rendered “crown” elsewhere. For instance, at 1Co 9:25, 26, he used it to refer to the literal crown, or wreath, that was awarded to victorious athletes. In that same passage, he wrote that he hoped to receive a far better reward​—“a crown . . . that does not perish.” Paul here refers to that same reward as “the crown of righteousness.” When anointed Christians keep living by righteous standards until death, the Lord Jesus Christ, referred to here as “the righteous judge,” is delighted to grant them this crown​—the reward of immortal life in heaven.

The Lord: As in the preceding verse, Paul is apparently referring to the Lord Jesus Christ.​—See also 2Ti 4:8 and study note.

will rescue me from every wicked work: Because of his faith, Paul had endured many extremely dangerous situations, including vicious persecution; he had also faced attacks from apostates. But the Lord Jesus had always stood near him, infused power into him, and rescued him. (2Ti 3:11; 4:14-17) At this point, Paul was not expecting to avoid death. (2Ti 4:6-8) However, his past experiences reassured him that Jesus would continue to rescue him from anything that might destroy his faith or disqualify him from entering into Christ’s “heavenly Kingdom.”

Aquila: This faithful Christian husband and his loyal wife, Priscilla (also called Prisca), are described as being “fellow workers” with Paul. (Ro 16:3) They are referred to a total of six times in the Christian Greek Scriptures (Ac 18:18, 26; 1Co 16:19; 2Ti 4:19), and on each occasion they are mentioned together. The name Priscilla is the diminutive form of the name Prisca. The shorter form of the name is found in Paul’s writings, the longer form in Luke’s. Such a variation was common in Roman names. Banished from Rome by Emperor Claudius’ decree against the Jews sometime in the year 49 or early 50 C.E., Aquila and Priscilla took up residence in Corinth. When Paul arrived there in the autumn of 50 C.E., he worked with this couple at their common trade of tentmaking. Aquila and Priscilla doubtless aided Paul in building up the new congregation there. Aquila was a native of Pontus, a region of northern Asia Minor along the Black Sea.​—See App. B13.

Prisca and Aquila: This faithful couple had been banished from Rome by Emperor Claudius’ decree against the Jews sometime in the year 49 or early 50 C.E. Claudius died in 54 C.E., and by the time Paul wrote his letter to the Christians in Rome, about 56 C.E., Prisca and Aquila had returned there. (See study note on Ac 18:2.) Paul describes them as his fellow workers. The Greek word for “fellow worker,” sy·ner·gosʹ, appears 12 times in the Christian Greek Scriptures, most often in the letters of Paul. (Ro 16:9, 21; Php 2:25; 4:3; Col 4:11; Phm 1, 24) Notably, at 1Co 3:9, Paul says: “We are God’s fellow workers.”

Onesiphorus: This faithful Christian was outstanding in the way he loyally and selflessly supported Paul, who praises him for “all the services” he rendered earlier in Ephesus. It seems likely that Timothy knew him. The phrase “when he [Onesiphorus] was in Rome” implies that Onesiphorus had traveled there, but the account does not say whether he did so in order to see Paul or for another reason. (2Ti 1:17, 18) Paul here asks for God’s blessing on the household of Onesiphorus; later, as the apostle closes this letter, he sends them his greetings.​—2Ti 4:19.

Give my greetings to Prisca and Aquila: Paul had known this hospitable couple for about 15 years. Prisca and Aquila had worked hard to build up the congregations in several locations. They first met Paul in Corinth after they were forced to leave Rome. (Ac 18:1-3; 1Co 16:19) Then they moved to Ephesus (Ac 18:18, 19, 24-26); back to Rome for a while (Ro 16:3, 4); and back to Ephesus, where Timothy was now serving.​—See study notes on Ac 18:2; Ro 16:3.

the household of Onesiphorus: See study note on 2Ti 1:16.

Do your utmost to arrive before winter: Paul wants Timothy to travel to Rome before winter, likely because the harsh winter months could make such a journey too hazardous. In the ancient Mediterranean world, travel by sea was restricted during late autumn, winter, and early spring. Storms were more frequent and dangerous. (Ac 27:9-44; see also Media Gallery, “Acts of Apostles​—Paul’s Trip to Rome and His First Imprisonment There.”) Furthermore, increased cloud cover​—along with rain, snow, and fog​—reduced visibility and made navigation difficult. Mariners had no compass to guide them, so they had to rely heavily on landmarks or on the positions of the sun, moon, and stars. Moreover, if Timothy were to arrive before winter and bring with him the cloak Paul had left in Troas, the apostle would have something to keep him warm during his imprisonment in the frigid winter months.​—2Ti 4:13; see also Media Gallery, “Bring the Cloak.”

with the spirit you show: Lit., “with your spirit.” The term “spirit” in this context refers to the impelling inner force or dominant mental inclination that causes a person to say or do things in a certain way. For example, the Scriptures speak of “the quiet and mild spirit” (1Pe 3:4) and “a spirit of mildness” (Ga 6:1). At 2Ti 1:7, Paul mentions a spirit “of power and of love and of soundness of mind” in contrast with “a spirit of cowardice.” He then concludes the letter to Timothy by saying: “The Lord be with the spirit you show.” (2Ti 4:22) Just as an individual can show a certain spirit, so can a group of people. Here in his concluding words to the Galatians, as well as in his letter to the Philippians, Paul uses the Greek plural pronoun (“you; your”) to express his desire that all in these congregations show a spirit that is in harmony with God’s will and the example set by Christ.​—Php 4:23.

The Lord: Apparently referring to the Lord Jesus Christ.​—Compare Ga 6:18; Php 4:23; 1Th 5:28; Phm 25.

with the spirit you show: Lit., “with your spirit,” that is, with your dominant mental attitude. (See Glossary, “Spirit.”) Paul concludes this letter by expressing his hope that Timothy’s positive spirit, or attitude, would be blessed.​—See study notes on Ga 6:18; Phm 25.

with you: When addressing Timothy, Paul had just used the Greek singular pronoun for “you.” Now he changes to the plural pronoun for “you.” So Paul likely intended that this personal letter be read to others, including the congregation in Ephesus, where Timothy apparently served at the time.

Media

“Bring the Cloak”
“Bring the Cloak”

While a prisoner in Rome, Paul wrote to Timothy: “Bring the cloak I left at Troas.” (2Ti 4:13) The Greek word for “cloak” likely meant a traveling cloak, similar to the ones shown here. Such a cloak was an indispensable item of clothing in the first century C.E. It protected the wearer against cold or wet weather. These cloaks were often made from a piece of wool, linen, or leather to which a hood was attached. They could also serve as blankets, protecting the owner against the cold during the night. At the time Paul wrote his letter, winter was approaching, which may explain why he asked for his cloak.​—2Ti 4:21.

Parchment—Notebook and Scroll
Parchment—Notebook and Scroll

Parchment was a writing material prepared from the skin of an animal, such as a sheep, goat, or calf. As writing material, parchment was more durable than papyrus. (See Glossary, “Papyrus.”) The photo (1) shows what is left of an ancient parchment notebook dated from the second century C.E. Originally, this notebook would have contained individual sheets of parchment bound together along one edge, much like a book today. Scrolls (2) could also be made of parchment. Individual parchment sheets were joined together to form one long roll. When asking Timothy to bring “the parchments” (2Ti 4:13), Paul may have been referring to leather scrolls of the Hebrew Scriptures. Or he may have wanted his personal study notes; according to some scholars, the Greek word for “parchments” can also refer to parchment notebooks for private notes or drafts.

Paul’s Visits to Miletus
Paul’s Visits to Miletus

Highlighted on the map is the ancient city of Miletus on the west coast of Asia Minor (in modern-day Turkey). The Bible record indicates that Paul visited this city at least twice. The first visit took place toward the end of his third missionary tour (about 56 C.E.). On his way to Jerusalem, he arrived at Miletus by ship and called the elders in the Ephesus congregation to an important meeting. To reach Miletus from Ephesus, the elders traveled by land and also likely by ferry, making a journey of about 70 km (44 mi). After an emotional farewell, Paul was escorted to the ship to continue his journey. (Ac 20:17-38) It seems that Paul again visited Miletus after being released from his first imprisonment in Rome. He wrote that he “left Trophimus sick at Miletus.”​—2Ti 4:20; see the map “Paul’s Journeys After c. 61 C.E.

1. Part of one of the ancient harbors. As a result of silting, the ruins of Miletus are now located about 8 km (5 mi) inland.

2. The ancient theater was originally built in the third century B.C.E. but was renovated several times.

3. The map shows the ancient coastline.