The apostle solemnly charges Timothy to be diligent, though many will not bear sound doctrine. (1-5) Enforces the charge from his own martyrdom, then at hand. (6-8) Desires him to come speedily. (9-13) He cautions, and complains of such as had deserted him; and expresses his faith as to his own preservation to the heavenly kingdom. (14-18) Friendly greetings and his usual blessing. (19-22)
Verses 1-5 People will turn away from the truth, they will grow weary of the plain gospel of Christ, they will be greedy of fables, and take pleasure in them. People do so when they will not endure that preaching which is searching, plain, and to the purpose. Those who love souls must be ever watchful, must venture and bear all the painful effects of their faithfulness, and take all opportunities of making known the pure gospel.
Verses 6-8 The blood of the martyrs, though not a sacrifice of atonement, yet was a sacrifice of acknowledgment to the grace of God and his truth. Death to a good man, is his release from the imprisonment of this world, and his departure to the enjoyments of another world. As a Christian, and a minister, Paul had kept the faith, kept the doctrines of the gospel. What comfort will it afford, to be able to speak in this manner toward the end of our days! The crown of believers is a crown of righteousness, purchased by the righteousness of Christ. Believers have it not at present, yet it is sure, for it is laid up for them. The believer, amidst poverty, pain, sickness, and the agonies of death, may rejoice; but if the duties of a man's place and station are neglected, his evidence of interest in Christ will be darkened, and uncertainty and distress may be expected to cloud and harass his last hours.
Verses 9-13 The love of this world, is often the cause of turning back from the truths and ways of Jesus Christ. Paul was guided by Divine inspiration, yet he would have his books. As long as we live, we must still learn. The apostles did not neglect human means, in seeking the necessaries of life, or their own instruction. Let us thank the Divine goodness in having given us so many writings of wise and pious men in all ages; and let us seek that by reading them our profiting may appear to all.
Verses 14-18 There is as much danger from false brethren, as from open enemies. It is dangerous having to do with those who would be enemies to such a man as Paul. The Christians at Rome were forward to meet him, ( Acts 28 ) , but when there seemed to be a danger of suffering with him, then all forsook him. God might justly be angry with them, but he prays God to forgive them. The apostle was delivered out of the mouth of the lion, that is, of Nero, or some of his judges. If the Lord stands by us, he will strengthen us in difficulties and dangers, and his presence will more than supply every one's absence.
Verses 19-22 We need no more to make us happy, than to have the Lord Jesus Christ with our spirits; for in him all spiritual blessings are summed up. It is the best prayer we can offer for our friends, that the Lord Jesus Christ may be with their spirits, to sanctify and save them, and at last to receive them to himself. Many who believed as Paul, are now before the throne, giving glory to their Lord: may we be followers of them.
In this chapter the apostle charges Timothy to perform his office as an evangelist with great diligence, constancy, and faithfulness, with reasons for it; gives some hints of several particular persons mentioned, which made him very desirous that Timothy would come quickly to him; relates how things were with him when he made his first defence at Rome; and concludes the epistle with salutations, and his usual blessing. The charge is made in the most solemn manner in the sight of God; and of Christ, as Judge of quick and dead; and directs to the several parts of the ministerial work, and the manner in which they should be performed, 2Ti 4:1,2. The reason of which charge is, because the time was hastening on that sound doctrine would not be endured, and men would depart from the truth to fables and false teachers, 2Ti 4:3,4. Wherefore the apostle repeats his charge and exhortation to Timothy, though in other words, to be vigilant, patient, courageous, and faithful in the discharge of his office, 2Ti 4:5 adding a fresh reason moving to it, taken from the apostle's death being at hand; which is expressed by a sacrifice, and by a departure out of the world, 2Ti 4:6 which leads him to give an account of his past conduct in fighting the good fight, finishing his course, and keeping the faith, 2Ti 4:7 and of his firm belief of eternal glory and happiness, 2Ti 4:8 and next he desires Timothy to use all diligence to come quickly to him, 2Ti 4:9 his reasons for which were, because he had scarce anybody with him: one had forsook him through love of the world; another was gone to Thessalonica; a third to Galatia, and a fourth to Dalmatia; only Luke the evangelist was with him; and as for Tychicus, he had sent him to Ephesus: he therefore desires he would bring Mark with him, and his cloak, books, and parchments he had left at Troas, 2Ti 4:10-13 and then takes notice of persons that had used him ill, particularly Alexander the coppersmith; he wishes justice might be done him; and advises Timothy to beware of him, because of his opposition to the doctrines of the Gospel, 2Ti 4:14,15 and also of others that neglected him, who forsook him when he defended himself: however, he prays that this might not be charged upon them; and observes the goodness of God in standing by him and delivering him; and expresses his faith and confidence that he should be delivered and preserved safe to eternal glory, 2Ti 4:16-18 and next follow the apostle's salutations of some persons at Ephesus, and an account of two others, one at Corinth, and another at Miletum; and a repetition of his request to Timothy, to come quickly to him, and before winter; and then some salutations of persons at Rome, sent by Timothy; and the whole is concluded with the apostle's usual benediction, 2Ti 4:19-22.