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 2 Timothy 4:1-6


Second Timothy is an epistle, a letter!  Millions of letters have been written through the years ... but none can match the "inspired" letters of Scripture!

These six verses comprise Paul's last words to young Timothy about preaching!

I believe it's one of the greatest letters ever written!

Let's study it verse by verse!

--- Dr. Mike Bagwell


2 TIMOTHY 4:1-6

1 I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom;  2 Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.  3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears;     4 And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.  5 But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry.  6 For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand.



LESSON 1 ... 2 TIMOTHY 4:1

Today I want us to examine one word!  It flows from the pen of Paul (under divine inspiration) in 2 Timothy 4:1.  There he says to a young preacher (Timothy):  "I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ ...."

What does it mean to so "charge" a young man?

The compound verb is spelled "diamarturomai" in Greek.  It is used 15 times in the King James Bible and is translated as follows:  11 times as "testify" and 3 times as "charge" and 1 time as "witness." 

Here it carries the idea of giving very solemn (serious) testimony to someone. (Advice!)  It combines "dia" (a preposition meaning "through") and "martureo" (a verb meaning to witness or testify).  The root word "martus" means a "witness" and gives us the English word "martyr."  (Being "martyred" for something is just about the strongest witness available for one's particular cause!)

Paul is saying to young preacher Timothy:  In the strongest possible terms I am giving you serious advice ... my life testimony.  Do these following things!

Furthermore the verb here is an indicative present middle in the first person singular. By building it in the "middle" voice Paul is letting us know that this "charge" affects him too!  He is changed somehow in giving this advice.  (He is not passively casually telling Timothy something insignificant!)  This is life changing information!

The present tense indicates that Paul is constantly giving this admonition to young Timothy.  It is his on-going counsel.  (He would have given the same to any young preacher he had met during those days!  In fact, he's still giving it today, isn't he?)

The indicative mood for our verb says that it is neither a question ... nor a command ... just a forthright declaration of truth!  (If Timothy really loves and honors Paul ... he does not have to have a strongly expressed command to follow his mentor!  A fervent word of advice is just as good ... if not better!)  That's exactly what we have here.

The rich man in hell used our verb in Luke 16:28 where it is rendered "testify."  Here's that verse:  "For I have five brethren; that he may testify unto them, lest they also come into this place of torment."

And in Acts 2:40 our verb is used as a parallel term for preaching!  It is there used of Peter on the Day of Pentecost.  "And with many other words did he testify and exhort, saying, Save yourselves from this untoward generation."  Also in Acts 8:25 --- "And they, when they had testified and preached the word of the Lord, returned to Jerusalem, and preached the gospel in many villages of the Samaritans."

Paul ascribes this action (using our very same verb) to the Holy Spirit in Acts 20:23 where he says:  "Save that the Holy Ghost WITNESSETH in every city, saying that bonds and afflictions abide me."

By now young Timothy is probably used to Paul's "charges!"  Here is an example. "I charge thee before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, and the elect angels, that thou observe these things without preferring one before another, doing nothing by partiality."  1 Timothy 5:21

Paul has even taught Timothy to "charge" others too!  In 2 Timothy 2:14 he says:  "Of these things put them in remembrance, charging them before the Lord that they strive not about words to no profit, but to the subverting of the hearers."

And even the Word of God seems to be involved in this "charging" process!  In Hebrews Paul quotes Psalm 8 and says:  "But one in a certain place testified, saying, What is man, that thou art mindful of him? or the son of man, that thou visitest him?"  Hebrews 2:6

It looks as if Paul could have hardly phrased his "counsel" any more strongly!  He is soon to be slain for his faith ... and he wants Timothy to make the fullest of his ministry!

Oh!  How these words should impact us today!

The Lord willing, tomorrow we shall further study this great "charge" of Paul.  In fact, it is his last "charge" ever.

We ought to be in a good "field" of "nuggets" this week.

                                                                        --- Dr. Mike Bagwell



LESSON 2 ... 2 TIMOTHY 4:1

In 2 Timothy 4:1 Paul sensed that he didn't have long to live.  He knew his "time of departure" was at hand!

Therefore he set himself to give the young preacher Timothy some parting advice. He clothed his words in the form of a "charge."  (See yesterday's study for a full Bible examination of that verb.)  This is serious business.

Paul can't help it.  He teaches doctrine with every move of his mouth!  The "charge" to Timothy is given "before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom."  (2 Timothy 4:1b)

See that little conjunction "and?"

It connects here two equal Entities!

Paul just (grammatically as well as theologically) declared that the Lord Jesus Christ and God the Father are equal!  I believe that!  I see no order of authority in the Trinity!  We serve One God ... Who expresses Himself in a Triune Manner!

Yet Paul asserts that Jesus will one day "judge" the old world!  (He remembers John 5:22 --- "For the Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son.")  The verb there is "krino" and means to decide or determine in a legal sense. (It's a present tense infinitive!  The Lord Jesus is judging every moment ... even now! He today sees all we do!  Let's live so that He approves!)

Whom will Jesus judge?

The "quick" ("zao" = the living!) and the "dead" ("nekros" = the deceased).  At the Rapture the Lord has made careful plans to get both the living saints and those whose bodies are in their graves!  (Dead bodies ... but live souls and spirits already with Jesus!)

And even at the "Great White Throne" Judgment Scripture seems to indicate both living and dead are to be examined!

Paul's point:  everyone will face the Judge, our dear Lord Jesus Christ some day!

Now earlier in Paul's ministry he fully expected to be alive at the Rapture!  (In 1 Thessalonians 4 he said Jesus would return and WE who are alive and remain shall be "caught up!")  Now he realizes that death is rapidly approaching and he will likely "walk through the valley of the shadow" with His Saviour!

The noun "appearing" translates "epiphaneia," which means brightness!  Its "root" meaning is literally "a shining upon!"  It represents a bright flash of light that remains as intense as ever!  In another place Paul speaks of the "brightness of Jesus' coming!" (2 Thessalonians 2:8)

The word "kingdom" is "basileia."  (It gives us our word "basis."  It means a foundation!  Here in this context it is a foundation for royalty!  (Also this word can particularly emphasize the RIGHT or AUTHORITY to rule and reign!)

In Paul's final days ... he appeals to the Highest Power of all, the Father and His Son ... in solemnly passing on to young Timothy advice for his future ministry!

Lord willing ... more tomorrow.

We are building a "series" of word studies on 2 Timothy 4:1-6.

                                                                    --- Dr. Mike Bagwell



LESSON 3 ... 2 TIMOTHY 4:2

In 2 Timothy 4 Paul is (among other things) giving his last advice to a young preacher named Timothy.  These are particularly powerful words!

He says:  "PREACH THE WORD!"  (2 Timothy 4:2)

The verb "preach" is an imperative here!  Paul issues a command to Timothy! 

By the way, once a preached is "called" of God to preach ... it IS a command!  Listen to how Paul words it elsewhere.  1 Corinthians 9:16 --- "For though I preach the gospel, I have nothing to glory of: for necessity is laid upon me; yea, woe is unto me, if I preach not the gospel!" 

But our word "preach" here is also an "aorist" verb!  That means the "time" sense of it is in the past.  (Like a completed action viewed as one unit of duty!)  Yet Timothy is young and well may have had a whole life of preaching ahead of him!  BUT Paul is at the point of death and is seeing his life and ministry (in an earthly sense) as just about over! 

What I believe he is really saying to Timothy is this.  Life is short.  Soon you will look back on it and think "how brief!"  Make what you're going to do for the Lord really count!  You will soon be where I am today.  (Paul within a short time was killed for his faith.)

And the meaning of the verb "preach?"

It translates "kerusso," which means "to be a herald!"  (Literally to make announcements for the King!)  When a King went into a city ... months ahead of the royal visit ... a fore-runner was sent, a herald.  His duty was to prepare the people for the King's arrival!  He would travel up and down the streets admonishing folks to clean up and get ready for the dignitary's arrival!  "The King is coming!" he would proclaim!  He is a "public crier" as the old timers would have said!

It is (when used of preaching) a type of public discourse that has behind it the very AUTHORITY of the King himself!  (Preachers, take note.  You too speak with the power of heaven backing your every word!)

It also is the kind of proclamation that expects action!  It looks for "results!" Preparation MUST be made!  Get busy!  Time is short!  There is an urgency to this kind of preaching!  And there is an expectancy too!

Paul is not here saying "preach" as if it were just a classroom admonition.  Or just as a preachers' meeting exhortation!  He is saying ... days are short ... soon we leave here ... PREACH God's Word!

Now, what was Timothy to preach?


This noun is spelled "logos."  It means something said.  But it includes more than just the words ... it also implies the thought behind the words!  The Greeks had words to emphasize the ACT of speaking.  Then the SOUND (noise) of speaking.  But here is emphasized the CONTENT of the speech !

The noun "logos" comes from a root verb ("lego") which means "to choose" or "to lay forth" in order.  It is used of systematic and set discourse!

The word gives us our English term "logic!" 

This kind of preaching the Word is NOT empty chatter!  Nor is it mindless illustrations, poems and little short stories.  It's not book reviews or psychological treatises either!

It IS a logical well conceived presentation of the Book of God (the Bible) in an orderly and reverent manner!  In other words, it takes all the best a minister can give in its delivery!  And the Lord deserves our very BEST, doesn't He?

The noun also tells us something of how God put His Word together!  Carefully!  He chose word for word what it should say!  He laid thought by thought in the exact order He deemed best!  (And I believe it is good to preach it that way.  Just like God gave it!)


We've had an emergency lesson today in preaching!

An emergency ... because the teacher soon would be in heaven!

One can hear the seriousness in his voice.

Lord willing, more tomorrow.  Paul is not quite through yet!

I pray you've found a "nugget" or two today!

                                                                     --- Dr. Mike Bagwell



LESSON 4 ... 2 TIMOTHY 4:2

When is a preacher to "preach" the Word? 

Apparently at only two times.

Paul best answers that question in 2 Timothy 4:2.  Let's see exactly how he words it. There he is giving the young preacher Timothy some critical advice.

 "Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine."   2 Timothy 4:2

The verb "be instant" is critical to our study today.  It is a combination of two Greek words, a verb and a preposition.  It is spelled like this:  "ephistemi."  The prefix "epi" means upon.  And the verb "histemi" means to stand.  Therefore ... stand upon!  It also can mean just "to be present."  (Not to be absent!)  But occasionally in first century Greek it is found with the meaning "to assault!"  Also let me tell you that the verb is an imperative here.  Paul is literally commanding Timothy to do this! 

Here are some Bible occasions in which our verb is used.  I have capitalized the word or words that translate "ephistemi."

Luke 4:39 --- "And he (Jesus) stood over her (Peter's Mother-in-law), and rebuked the fever; and it left her: and immediately she arose and ministered unto them." (Sounds like here it nearly means "to take over!")

Acts 17:5 --- "But the Jews which believed not, moved with envy, took unto them certain lewd fellows of the baser sort, and gathered a company, and set all the city on an uproar, and assaulted the house of Jason, and sought to bring them out to the people."  (The word is very aggressive here!)

Acts 23:27 --- "This man (Paul) was taken of the Jews, and should have been killed of them: then came I (the "chief captain" of the Roman army who guarded Paul) with an army, and rescued him, having understood that he was a Roman."  (Here's our verb used in a rescue mission!)

And here's an unusual case.  Acts 28:2 --- "And the barbarous people (on Melita) shewed us (Paul and his company) no little kindness: for they kindled a fire, and received us every one, because of the present rain, and because of the cold."  (Used of a falling rain!)

The expression "in season, out of season" is unique!  In Greek it looks like this (when transliterated):  eukairos akairos!  "Eu" means good or well.  "A" means not or without.

"Kairos" is a noun that means a period of time ... not in its minutes and hours alone ... but in its window of opportunity!  It is an "occasion!"  It can also mean that which is "timely" in the sense of being appropriate or fitting or convenient! Another source says it means an "age" of time.  (As the age of "Grace" now available to the world!) 

The only other time the word "eukairos" (in season) is used in the Bible is in Mark 14:11 and is translated "conveniently!"  Mark 14:11 --- "And when they (the Pharisees) heard it, they were glad, and promised to give him (Judas, the betrayer) money. And he sought how he (Judas) might conveniently betray him (Jesus)."

Paul then says to Timothy PREACH ... especially when they're willing to listen! When its "good" for them to hear!  When its convenient to them!

BUT also preach when it's not convenient!

"Out of season!"

"Akairos" means when there is not good occasion!  (Make one!)  Preach no matter who is listening!  This is the only time the word appears in all of Scripture!

When the fishing is not good ... fish anyway!

When the hearing is not good ... preach anyway!

The Old Testament Prophets had to do this constantly!  Think of Jonah in Ninevah! Or Elijah before the hundreds of false prophets of Baal and backslidden Israel!  Think of Amos before Amaziah!  Or even Paul before the wayward Corinthians!

The lesson here today:  Be faithful!

And Paul certainly practiced what he preached, didn't he?

In fact, he's doing so as he writes these very words!

Here he is preaching to Timothy, enriching his young ministry ... while Paul is locked in his jail cell on death row!  I'd call that pretty inconvenient!

Again, it's like Amos said:  "The lion hath roared, who will not fear? the Lord GOD hath spoken, who can but prophesy?"  (Amos 3:8)

Preach in season ...out of season!  In fact, a true God called preacher will!  He can't keep from it!

Glory to God!

Lord willing, more on our verse tomorrow!

                                                                 --- Dr. Mike Bagwell



LESSON 5 ... 2 TIMOTHY 4:2

What a "lesson" in preaching!  And Paul gives it to young Timothy just before he dies! These are valuable "last" words.

Our "text" today includes 3 imperative verbs ... and 2 dative nouns. 

They tells us (concerning our preaching) what to do and how to do it.

"... reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine."  2 Timothy 4:2c

We will not get a whole verse studied this Friday!  These words are just too important!

Paul commanded Timothy in his (youthful) preaching to "reprove" certain things or certain people.  The verb is "elegcho."  It means to tell a person a fault!  To warn or admonish!  It can even go so far as to mean "to convict!"  It usually has the idea also of putting the reproved person to shame!  It involves more than just sweet idle words! In Matthew 18:15 it is translated "tell him his fault!"  In Luke 3:19 John the Baptist had "reproved" Herod for living with his bother's wife!  Using our same verb, Jesus once said that no one had ever "convinced" Him of sin (John 8:46)!  And this verb is specifically used of the ministry of the Holy Spirit who convicts "reproves" men of sin (John 16:8)!  We Christians are to "reprove" the unfruitful works of darkness in this wicked world (Ephesians 5:11)!  Paul gave Titus this same charge also!  (In Titus 1:13 the great Apostle said:  "This witness is true. Wherefore rebuke them sharply, that they may be sound in the faith.")  Often this reproving must be done with authority (Titus 2:15)! The Lord reserves the right to reprove us as His Own little children (Hebrews 12:15)!  And it is at times connected with other strong words such as "chastening"  (Revelation 3:19)!

The verb is set in the aorist time frame ... action completed in the past.  A preacher might not have to "rebuke" folks every service!  Once effectively done in the past ... it will have lasting impact (at least for a while)!  However ... repeat as necessary!  And, remember, Paul is not giving shy reserved unsure little Timothy a choice here.  He is commanding him to REBUKE those who do wrong!

The next verb is "rebuke."  It is spelled "epitimao."  It is quite interesting!  "Epi" means upon.  "Timao" means to fix a value upon or  (via its root stem) to pay a price!  (Often in this context the price is a penalty!)  Here's a bit of our words New Testament history.  First use:  Jesus "rebuked" the winds and the sea, causing great calm (Matthew 8:26)!  Jesus again and again "rebuked" the demons in His Ministry (for example, Matthew 17:18)!  As far as I can determine, this is the only time Paul ever used the word!  On occasion the Lord can rebuke us (as He did Peter)!  See Mark 8:33. I believe that the word implies there is some penalty for sin.  (Forgiveness is available ... but often the "scars" remain!)

The the verb "exhort" is used.  "Parakaleo" means to come alongside someone for the purpose of encouraging them and helping them on the way!  It is the very word used of the Holy Spirit (the "Comforter")!   It is also the very word used of Jesus (our "Advocate")!  It was used by the Roman army of the general who (the night before battle) would come and speak to the troops ... strengthening them for the battle ahead!  Literally it means "to call to one's side."  To call to one's aid!  The word is used 109 times in the New Testament!  While the Greek word for "reprove" was only used 17 times and "rebuke" 29 times.

In the days in which Paul lived (and died) he saw the negative/positive ratio of preaching to be ideally about 2:1 (that's 2 to 1)!  Twice as much negative as positive! Of course we have changed things along this line today!  (We are living in such a nice society!) Now it's 10:1 (10 to 1) ... positive over negative!  Could something be a little out of line here?

BUT even the negative preaching is to be accompanied by two things:  longsuffering and doctrine!

"Longsuffering" translates makrothumia.  This compound words includes "makros" (long in distance or in time) and "thumos" (passion ... as if breathing hard)!  Long on feeling!  Able to put up with things a long while!  Forbearance!  Vine's says "longanimity!"  It is one of the key New Testament words for "patience" ... especially toward hard-to-love people!

God Himself first exhibited this quality in Scripture!  Again, you may say we are to be longsuffering because He is longsuffering!  This trait is also one of the nine-fold aspects of the Fruit of the Holy Spirit!  See Galatians 5:22-23.  And in Colossians 1:11 Paul prays for us to have "longsuffering with joyfulness!"  Here Pastors are asked to have the same trait that the Prophets had!  James 5:10 --- "Take, my brethren, the prophets, who have spoken in the name of the Lord, for an example of suffering affliction, and of patience ('makrothumia')."  God's longsuffering was particularly seen in the days of Noah ... while the ark was being prepared (1 Peter 3:20)!

Then the word "doctrine" is used.  It is "didache" in Greek and means teaching or instruction.  It's from a root verb "dao" which means to learn or to teach!  Folks must be taught why certain things are wrong and must be avoided!  They must be taught why encouragement is so necessary in the Christian life!  (Even the word "doctor" comes from this verb!  Preachers, you are spiritual "doctors!")

What "doctrine" Jesus taught.  Matthew 7:28 --- "And it came to pass, when Jesus had ended these sayings, the people were astonished at his doctrine."  And according to 2 John 1:9 this doctrine thing is pretty important too!  "Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son."  Wow!

Now, today we have had a veritable course in preaching!

At least in preaching ... Paul's way!

And his every word in the text is divinely inspired!

What "nuggets!"

Pastoral Theology class is ... dismissed!

                                                                           --- Dr. Mike Bagwell



LESSON 6 ... 2 TIMOTHY 4:3

Paul is understandably very "time conscious" as he writes 2 Timothy.  He is aware that his earthly life will soon be over.

As he gives godly advice to the young preacher Timothy he mentions: "For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine."  2 Timothy 4:3

"Time" translates the Greek noun "kairos," which means a season of time, a "window" of time or an opportunity!  Timothy, preach the truth to them while they are willing to listen!  Take advantage of every favorable minute!  This sounds a lot like Paul's well known admonition: "Redeeming the time, because the days are evil." (Ephesians 5:16)

"Will come" is just the future tense of "eimi," the main Greek verb for the state of being.  That "time" had not yet fully arrived ... but Paul knew it was coming!  This reminds me of something God said in Amos!  "Behold, the days come, saith the Lord GOD, that I will send a famine in the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the LORD."  (Amos 8:11)  Perhaps this approaching "condition" is why seven times in Revelation 2 and 3 the Lord warns the churches: "He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith ...."  And if that time was "coming" in Paul's day ... surely it is just about here in 2004!

The verb "endure" is "anexomai."  It combines "ana" and "echo."  Echo means to hold, to hold on to, to take or even to recover!  Ana usually just means "up" but can occasionally mean "again."  It is translated "bear with" 4 times in the Bible.  The days are coming when folks will no longer put up with real Bible preaching!  (Sow the seed while you can!)

Lastly the term "sound doctrine" is used by Paul.  Doctrine is "didaskalia," and is derived from the verb that means "to learn."  It means teaching or instruction.  Paul was a real preacher and TEACHER also!  No wonder he required of Pastors that they also be "apt to teach!"  (1 Timothy 3:2 and 2 Timothy 2:24)  Jesus also was a Teacher!  Matthew 7:29 reminds us --- "For He (Jesus) taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes."

The adjective "sound" is "hugiaino."  When brought into English the "u" becomes a "y."  It's our word hygiene and means "health" or healthy!  In our Bible the word is translated as "whole" or "wholesome" and "be in health" and "safe and sound!"  See 3 John verse 2 and Luke 15:27!  Sound preaching will bring the "lost" son home!  It also will make one's soul to "be in health!"

We've again today had quite a list of edifying words.  Truly the Bible is verbally (word for word) inspired!

Lord willing, more tomorrow.

                                                                        --- Dr. Mike Bagwell



LESSON 7 ... 2 TIMOTHY 4:3

The word is "pedagogy."  It is pronounced "ped-ah-go-jie."  (Accent the first and third syllables.)

It means the art (or science) of teaching.

As time has passed in American history, our methods of teaching surely have changed!

When I was young, teachers controlled the classrooms!  They set the "tone" and mood for the day.  No longer is this true in many places.  Too often the students are in charge.  (In State Universities now the students virtually determine the curriculum ... or at least part of it!)

There even used to be such things as discipline ... and real tests!

But the new "psychology" has largely taken control.  Now it no longer matters what a student learns ... but how he feels!

And what has become true in classrooms has infiltrated the church, I'm afraid.

Paul, in his last few recorded words on earth, addresses this developing situation in 2nd Timothy chapter 4.

Listen to what he says:

"After their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears."  2 Timothy 4:3b

He is talking about local churches!  Professing Christians!  Likely living in Ephesus!

Notice their desire to some day elect certain kinds of teachers.  They deliberately select their instructors!  They "heap" to themselves the very preachers they want! That verb "heap" translates "episoreuo."  (Epi means "upon" and soreuo means "to pile up or to load!"  One text says it means "to accumulate in piles!")  It is only used here in all the Bible!  The verb is a future indicative active.  This has not quite begun in Paul's day ... but he knows it's coming!  I say it has ARRIVED in our land!

The phrase "to themselves" is not just implied in the sentence.  It is carefully placed (by the Holy Spirit) beside the verb "heap!"  These folks will choose those whom THEY want to be their spiritual leaders ... NOT necessarily whom God wants! (Personality profiles and job resumes become more important that the will of God!)

WHY will folks do this?

They will have "itching ears."  The participle here, "knetho," means to "itch."  (It's a present participle ... ears itching constantly!)  The verb originally means "to scrape or to scratch" ... then comes to mean "to tickle." 

Ancient writers used this word picture to describe preachers who did not have the courage to speak the truth ... but reverted to saying pleasing things to the people! (Thus making their ears feel pleasant sensations instead of HEAR YE THE LORD!)

It's another way of saying ... give them what they want to hear!

For example, often when one's back "itches" he or she will ask someone to "scratch" it.  The he might say "more toward the middle" please!  Or "down!"  Then "up!"  "Harder!"  Then "Thank you! That's enough!" 

And the poor "back scratcher" just does what he or she is told in the whole process!

That's the picture Paul is drawing!

Dear friend, if you have a Pastor who tells the truth, thank God for him!

If you know a young preacher, encourage him to be bold in his declaration of the Word of God!

And if you are NOT hearing true Bible preaching ... honestly, I would go to a place where I was!

I don't know if this today is a "Home" Page article or a sermon!

Someone give me some "input" please! 

I am so thankful you have stopped by today ... with a Bible in your hand!

                                                                                        --- Dr. Mike Bagwell



LESSON 8 ... 2 TIMOTHY 4:4

One NEVER rejects the truth ... without paying an extremely high price for doing so!

If he or she refuses to internalize the truth ... invariably something will be accepted in its place!

I have a Bible example of that very situation today.

"And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables."  2 Timothy 4:4

The context for our verse is one of sadness.  Paul will soon be executed by the Roman government.  He knows that his days are limited.  He is writing to the young preacher Timothy with some critical advice for his ministry. 

He literally has already told Timothy to PREACH the Word of God while he can! Paul knows the days are coming (and are now here) when folks will no longer tolerate the bold proclamation of the whole Word of God!  They will want to have their itching ears scratched with pleasing words from their preachers!

Today's verse makes his statement so clear!

To "turn away" (in Greek = apostrepho) means to twist away from.  (Apo = from and "strepho" to turn or twist )  The compound verb is only found 9 times in the New Testament!  It's first use is in Matthew 5:24 where Jesus says:  "Give to him that asketh thee, and from him that would borrow of thee turn not thou away."  Once our verb is translated "put up again!"  Matthew 26:52 --- "Then said Jesus unto him, Put up again thy sword into his place: for all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword."  Watch the verb here in one of the sermons of early Acts:  "Unto you first God, having raised up his Son Jesus, sent him to bless you, in turning away every one of you from his iniquities."  Acts 3:26  And Paul says in 2 Timothy 1:15 --- "This thou knowest, that all they which are in Asia be turned away from me; of whom are Phygellus and Hermogenes."  And here is our truth in reverse: "Not giving heed to Jewish fables, and commandments of men, that turn from the truth." Titus 1:14  And is there a danger in such "turning away?"  Yes!  According to Hebrews 12:25 --- "See that ye refuse not him that speaketh. For if they escaped not who refused him that spake on earth, much more shall not we escape, if we turn away from him that speaketh from heaven."

The "truth" is the Word of God!  That's exactly what Jesus says to His Father in John 17:17!  "Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth."

Then comes the "shocking" part of our verse!

If people "turn away" from the truth ... they will be turned unto something far worse!  (And anything less than the truth is a lie!)

God seems to have built into the sin of "truth rejection" some mighty bad consequences!

God here quite clearly says that if man turns away from the true preaching of His Truth ... that man will be turned unto cheap substitutes for the truth!

Here he or she will be turned unto fables!

First, the verb.

"Shall be turned" translates "ektrepho." (Same stem as apostrepho)  Whereas apostrepho meant to turn away ... ektrepho means to turn out!  The word here is only found 5 times in the whole New Testament!  It's first use, in 1 Timothy 1:6, speaks of folks who have "turned aside to vain jangling!"  (ektrepho eis matailogia) They have turned out into empty talk!  The verb is translated "avoid" in 1 Timothy 6:20 --- "Avoiding profane and vain babblings, and oppositions of science falsely so called."  And its last Bible occurrence:  "And make straight paths for your feet, lest that which is lame be turned out of the way; but let it rather be healed." Hebrews 12:13

The verb also is passive in voice!  To turn from the preaching of the word is to automatically be turned to something else!  (TURN from the truth!  Active voice!  Be turned unto fables!  Passive voice!)

If you don't think God can "turn" us in direct accordance to His ways, see Lamentations 5:21 where Israel prays to God:  "Turn thou us unto thee, O LORD, and we shall be turned; renew our days as of old."

And the word "fables" is so interesting!  It actually translates the Greek term "muthos."  (When that word is assimilated into English the "u" becomes a "y."  Muthos = mythos!  Myths!)  Turned unto myths!  (And it is plural!) The background of this word is one of secrecy and initiation into the dark hidden rites of the ancient cults!  God is saying that if one rejects true religion (Jesus) ... he or she will likely end up in some false religion (Satan)! 

Gnosticism, a just beginning false religion of Paul's day, specialized in myths and fables!  (But certainly no more than the false religions of today do!)  Like the myth of Jesus being in America (Mormonism)!  Or the myth of there being no hell (Jehovah's Witnesses)!  Or the myths of praying to Mary and the existence of purgatory (Roman Catholicism)!  Or the myth of God ordained homosexual pastors (today's brand of Methodism)!  Or the myth of keeping the Law to go to heaven (Seventh Day Adventism)!  Or the newest myth (yet to come) in a few days!

I've got an idea!

I believe I'll just stay with the Truth!

I'm sticking with the Word of God!

How about you?

And I'm going to stay around Bible believing Churches that want to hear just that! The unadulterated Spirit filled preaching of the Book!

I'm so thankful you have visited us today ... with a Bible in your hand!  Come again soon!  You are always welcome here.

                                                                           --- Dr. Mike Bagwell



LESSON 9 ... 2 TIMOTHY 4:5

Who said it would be easy?

Certainly not the Lord Jesus!

And not the Bible!

And even Paul the great Apostle didn't predict smooth sailing for his young preachers either!

He often made such comments as these:

"Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution."  (2 Timothy 3:12)

Paul ... "exhorting them to continue in the faith, and that we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God."  Acts 14:22

Or this statement particularly:

"But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions."  2 Timothy 4:5

With his life nearly over, the elderly Paul speaks to his young preacher-boy Timothy and says several critical things.  Among them are these two instructions.  They really apply to all us Christians ... whether we are preachers or not!

The verb "watch" is in the imperative mood.  Paul expresses it as a requirement for the Believer in general and the Preacher in particular.  It is a stark command!  (It is also in the present tense and the active voice!  Timothy is to "watch" all the time ... and he must put some real effort into the "watching!")

The little word "watch" translates the Greek term "nepho," meaning "to be sober!" That's right!  Not to be drunk!  (One source says "to abstain from wine."  You know, one can be "drunk" on pleasure or ease or social life or popularityor even pride!) However Paul uses the word here to mean "sober minded" or alert!

For example, in 1 Thessalonians 5:6 --- "Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober."  (Being watchful or sober as opposed to being asleep!)

1 Thessalonians 5:8 --- "But let us, who are of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love; and for an helmet, the hope of salvation."  (Here being watchful or sober is the equivalent of being well armored, ready for battle!) 

Peter says:  "Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober."  (1 Peter 1:13)  In other words ... be sober, be mentally aware of your situation at all times, be watchful!

And in 1 Peter 5:8 being sober (again, it's our word "watchful") implies that an enemy is nearby!   "Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour." 

Paul further cautions young Timothy to watch "in all things."  Just beware of everything!  This reminds me of Paul's advice to the whole church at Ephesus.  "See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise."  (Ephesians 5:15)  In English the word "circumspectly" means to walk "looking all around!"  (Specto = to look!  And circum = around!)

Next Paul teaches the young preacher:  "Endure afflictions!"

It's another command!  (And a very interesting word!)

Here it is in Greek:  kakopatheo!  It combines two words:  "kakos" meaning evil and "pathos" meaning suffering or pain! 

Kakos means wicked or evil or sinful ... but it also can mean "good for nothing" and useless!  It is the inner quality of wickedness ... before it spreads to infect and ruin the others around its victim!

And patheo means to experience a sensation (usually painful).  It is our word "pathos."  It gives us words such as passion. 

The verb is only used 3 times in the whole New Testament.  Here it is in 2 Timothy 2:9 --- "Wherein I (Paul) suffer trouble, as an evil doer, even unto bonds; but the word of God is not bound."  And James 5:13 renders it:  "Is any among you afflicted? let him pray. Is any merry? let him sing psalms."

Paul is telling Timothy things are not going to be easy in these last days!  There will be times when young preachers will just have to endure the evil treatment and circumstances of the day.  Stay where God put them.  "Be men!"  (1 Corinthians 16:13 --- "Watch ye, stand fast in the faith, quit you like men, be strong.")

Thus his admonition in 2 Timothy 2:3 --- "Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ."

In fact things are going to get so bad before the Lord comes to get His Church that Jesus wonders:  "Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?"  (Luke 18:8)

This sure gives the word "remnant" special meaning, doesn't it?

Only a few will still be standing for the old fundamentals of the faith ... and it's looking more and more like that "standing" will be hard!

Maybe to be fore-warned is to be fore-armed!

                                                                       --- Dr. Mike Bagwell



LESSON 10 ... 2 TIMOTHY 4:5

Paul couldn't stand "half-heartedness!"

He always wanted to do his very best for the Lord.

He said so again and again!

At the beginning of his ministry he wrote: "But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God."  Acts 20:24   As you can see he was determined to finish (joyfully) the work God had given him to do!

And at the end?  "I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith."  2 Timothy 4:7

He did what he set out to do (with the Lord's help).  In both previous verses the word "course" (Greek = "dromos") means a track on which runners race!  (I would call RUNNING a race a pretty good example of putting one's all into his work!)

And now Paul shares that same godly attitude with young preacher Timothy!  (The English word "enthusiasm" has an interesting background.  "En," from Latin, means within or down inside.  And "theos" means God!  When the Romans saw someone with vitality and determination and resolve ... they actually believed that "God was within him" ... motivating him to behave in such a diligent manner!)

Paul plainly said to Timothy (in 2 Timothy 4:5) to ...


Let's examine those words.  To "make full proof" (in Greek the verb is "plerophoreo") is obviously a compound term.  ("Plero" means to bring into full measure!  To fill a cup all the way to the brim!  Specifically it is used in the sense of properly using one's time to the fullest extent!  And "phoreo" means to have a burden and carry it successfully!  "Phoros" means a heavy load!  "Phero" means to carry or bear or tote that load!)  The assimilated verb is in the imperative mood!  Paul is giving Timothy another command!

In other words, don't waste a day!  Make every hour count!  Time may be running short!  Joyfully carry the load of "duties" God has given you!  Give it all you've got! (In another place Paul told Timothy:  "Meditate upon these things; give thyself wholly to them; that thy profiting may appear to all."  1 Timothy 4:15)  To give oneself wholly to God's calling is just another way of saying "make full proof of thy ministry!"

Now the King James Version also translates this verb ("make full proof") as "most surely believed!"  Luke 1:1 --- "Forasmuch as many have taken in hand to set forth in order a declaration of those things which are most surely believed among us."  And twice as "fully persuaded!"  (I think this is like being "filled to the brim" with assurance!)  See Romans 4:21 and 14:5.  And even once the verb is used by Paul to mean "fully known!"  2 Timothy 4:17 --- "Notwithstanding the Lord stood with me, and strengthened me; that by me the preaching might be fully known, and that all the Gentiles might hear: and I was delivered out of the mouth of the lion."  Paul has asked a lot of Timothy here!

Let me close today by mentioning Someone Else who made full proof of His Ministry!  Our Lord Jesus Christ did ... and still does!  Because of Him ... we are saved and on our journey to Heaven!

If you are a preacher ... "make full proof" of your ministry!

If you are a church member with a godly preacher who feeds you faithfully from the Word of God week after week ... let him know you appreciate his so diligently "fulfilling his ministry" also!

P. S. --- Paul also wanted Timothy to be sure and always remain a preacher of the Gospel!  "Do the work of an evangelist,"  he said!  (One might get so busy in the "ministry" that he neglects the preaching of the Cross!  The word "ministry" is "diakonia" and gives us the English word for deacon.  It comes from an old Greek term that described one who was "a runner of errands!"  He was just a servant in the household!) 

The verb "do" is a command!  It's "poieo" and ultimately gives us the English words such as "poem" or "poetry!"  (Then I guess the work of the ministry to God must be lovely, poetic, pleasant!)

The noun "work" is "ergon" (our word "energy") and means toil or labor!  It implies HARD work!

And the noun "evangelist" combines two words:  "eu" meaning good and "aggelos" meaning messenger (angel)!  An "evangelist" is a bringer of good news!  This Greek word in the New Testament is often rendered "Gospel!"  Timothy, PREACH THE GOSPEL!  What is the Gospel? According to 1 Corinthians 15:3-4 the Gospel is the truth of the death, burial and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ!

Preach it!

I went a little "long" today, didn't I?

But we are dealing with critical issues!

That's why we need ... "a Bible in our hands!"

                                                                       --- Dr. Mike Bagwell



LESSON 11 ... 2 TIMOTHY 4:6

Paul sensed that his time on earth was very short!

He has just given his young son (in the faith) Timothy some of the best advice ever written to a preacher!  (1 Timothy 1:2 --- "Unto Timothy, my own son in the faith: Grace, mercy, and peace, from God our Father and Jesus Christ our Lord.")  That advice is found in 2 Timothy 4:1-5.

Now notice what Paul says.  His words prove that his freshly penned notes to Timothy are consciously his "last words" ever about the subject of preaching!

"For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand."  2 Timothy 4:6

I have just finished reading a book that consists of dozens and dozens of letters from "famous" and "not-so-famous" Americans to their sons and daughters.  These letters are largely in the "last-words" category themselves.  What a difference between what they said to their loved one (or loved ones if they had more than one child) ... and what Paul said to Timothy!

One Greek verb translates the whole verbal phrase in the first half of our verse:  "Am ready to be offered."  That verb is spelled: "spendo."  It is an indicative present passive 1st person singular verb.  Paul states this as a fact (indicative).  This fact will remain so until Paul is martyred for his faith (present).  He is not committing suicide ... it is all in God's hands.  He will not take his own life (passive).  And Paul is only speaking for himself here (1st person singular).

But what does the verb mean?

"Spendo" means to be poured out (as a drink offering)!  In the Old Testament at times a sacrificial offering (a lamb for example) would have poured upon it (as it lay dying on the altar) a "drink offering" of wine!  It is a symbol of joyful sacrifice!  I wonder if Paul may be literally saying that his body (like the lamb) is a living (now soon to be dying) sacrifice and he willingly, joyfully will allow his blood to be "poured out" upon his body to the glory of God!  (Earlier he used the same word picture.  Philippians 2:17 --- "Yea, and if I be offered upon the sacrifice and service of your faith, I joy, and rejoice with you all.")

The verb "spendo" literally gives us our English word "spend" according to Strong's Concordance.

Paul adds to the urgency of his metaphor here by using the adverb "ede," translated now.  In the New Testament our word "ede" is translated "already" 17 times.  As busy as Paul stayed ... this "time" had arrived in a hurry no doubt!  (It will be that way with us too!  Psalm 90:9 says:  "We spend our years as a tale that is told."  James 4:14 calls our life ... a vapour!  "For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away.")

The Paul mentions the "time" of his departure.  Time translates the Greek noun "kairos."  It means a window of time or an opportunity or an occasion.  Paul even looked at dying as an opportunity to be used for the glory of God!  God values the deaths of His saints too!  Psalm 116:15 --- "Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of his saints."

Then look at the "picture" Paul gives to his death!  He calls it his "departure!"  The word is "analusis," in English "analysis!"  It combines two Greek words ("lou" means to loosen!  "ana" means up).  Death to Paul was being "loosed" for an upward journey!  This life had bound him long enough ... He's ready to go!  Technically "analusis" is the word sailors used when untying a ship on this side of the river in preparation for the crossing over to the other side of the river!  (Paul was just crossing the river!)  It was also used by soldiers as they unloosed their tent stakes and prepared for the march home!  (Paul was just heading home soon!)  Glory to God!

Then the adverbial dependent clause "is at hand" must be considered.  Here it is in Greek:  "ephistemi."  Histemi means "to stand."  Epi, the prefix, means "upon."  The time for Paul to be slain for his faith, the time of his death now "stands upon" him. It has arrived.  But watch this!  The Holy Spirit here uses a "perfect" verb!  It indicates action that began in the past and continues to the present!  Paul got ready to die a long time ago!  And he has been ready ever since!  Isn't that exactly how we Christians are supposed to live?  Paul once said "I die daily."  1 Corinthians 15:31

We have been on "holy ground" today!

We have just seen a giant in the faith prepare to die!

And he did so by helping a younger preacher be better equipped to "Preach the Word!"

This sure beats any letter I saw in the book named "Posterity."  (Letters of great Americans to their Children)

I hope you're glad you visited here today ... with an open Bible in your hand!

                                                                                   --- Dr. Mike Bagwell




The New Testament is just full of letters!  There are 14 by Paul alone (counting Hebrews)! 

Peter wrote two more.

And John wrote three (not counting his Gospel and the Revelation).

Plus James and Jude each wrote a letter.


I recently read a book about letters.  A young researcher had gathered dozens and dozens of letters written by some famous and some not-so-famous Americans. In each case the letters studied were written by a Mother or a Father to a son or daughter.  Many were written  late in life and consisted of parting advice!

As I read them I couldn't help but think of the Apostle Paul, one of the greatest letter writers of all time!

Let me show you some things I noticed.

A Supreme Court Justice wrote this to his daughter about her son.  "I am glad that he is turning out to be a rebel.  See that this does not die out!  He must retain the capacity to tell his old lady or old man where to get off.  Try to find a good cause to which he can tie his rebellion."

Listen to what Thomas Jefferson wrote to his daughter about her husband!  He counseled her to make her husband her priority!  "The happiness of your life depends now on the continuing to please a single person (that husband).  To this all other objects must be secondary!"

The Secretary of the Treasury under President Abraham Lincoln (during the Civil War) wrote this to his daughter.  "One thing I am sure of is that true faith in Christ is the only thing on earth really worth having; and the only thing that we can carry from earth."

Sherwood Anderson, a novelist, wrote this to his son, then a university student.  "In the end ART is the essential thing, I think!"

Listen to the great Preacher Jonathan Edwards writing his daughter Mary.  "My greatest concern for you is your soul's good.  I had rather you should remain hundreds of miles distant from us and have God nigh you by His Spirit ... than to have you always with us and live at a distance from God.  The great thing is to be united to Christ."

Daniel Webster in writing his son Edward closes his letter:  "I fervently commend you to the blessing of our heavenly Father."

Novelist Jack London wrote one of the most unforgiving letters to his daughter Joan that I've ever read.  (She had not written him like he thought she should have!) What bitterness!  He writes:  "unless I should accidentally meet you on the street, I doubt if I shall ever see you again."  (This little girl was 12 years old!)

Harriett Beecher Stowe, American author, writes (still grieving over the death of a young son) to her daughter Georgiana:  "I am like the dry, dead leafless tree.  I dread everything I do.  Not that my faith in God in the least fails.  Weak and weary as I am I rest on Jesus.  I know there is coming an inconceivable hour of glory and beauty in which our Lord will give me back my beloved son."

Another writer pens these words to his grandson.  "It is very sweet of you to send the birthday card, where we are walking toward the sunset together.  It is a lovely sunset, but sad!  AND THE NIGHT IS BEYOND IT!"

As I read these my heart bounces from gladness to sadness!  Joy to sorrow!  Peace to turmoil!  They represent whole lives and the philosophies that propelled them.  They furthermore represent men and women who are now either in heaven or hell.


All these letters, especially the "negative" ones, when laid beside Paul's "last words" to his son in the Faith (Timothy) pale in comparison!

Listen to the great Preacher:

"I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom; Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears;  And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.  But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry.  For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand."

I rest my case!

Jesus makes all the difference in the world, doesn't He?

                                                                                    --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

P. S. --- We have been studying Paul's little letter for the past few days.  We have analyzed nearly every word.  It's a classic! 



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