What does 2 Timothy chapter 4 mean?Chapter 4, the final chapter of 2 Timothy, includes two major sections. The first section develops the importance of preaching the Word of God (2 Timothy 4:1–5). The second section offers concluding thoughts to Timothy (2 Timothy 4:6–22).
Verses 1–5 include Paul giving a charge to Timothy (2 Timothy 4:1). Paul's reason for using this strong, commanding language is his own impending death. As later verses will show, Paul knows that he will not survive his current run-in with Roman law. After all of the encouragement and coaching he has offered in this letter, Paul wants to leave a clear impression on his friend to continue the work they have done so far.
Timothy is to "preach the word" (2 Timothy 4:2). In the future, people would not endure sound teaching, but select teachers who speak what they want to hear (2 Timothy 4:3), turning from the truth to myths (2 Timothy 4:4). Timothy, in contrast, is commanded to fulfill his calling (2 Timothy 4:5). Rather than being distracted by bickering and errors, Timothy is to hold to the truth. As the prior chapter indicated, the anchor point of this truth is the written word of God (2 Timothy 3:16).
In verses 6–18, Paul speaks about his perspective on the end of his life (2 Timothy 4:6–7), his future with Christ (2 Timothy 4:8), and his friends in this world (2 Timothy 4:9–18).
Many had left Paul, with only Luke remaining (2 Timothy 4:11). Some of these friends had left on good terms, in order to continue Christian work. Others, like Demas, had abandoned the faith completely in order to return to "this present world." Even those who had stayed with Paul, because of the hostile Roman government, were not able to vouch for him during his trial (2 Timothy 4:16). Despite this, Paul felt the help and presence of the Lord (2 Timothy 4:17–18).
Paul asks for Mark and Timothy to visit him (2 Timothy 4:11), bringing his coat, books, and parchments (2 Timothy 4:13). Paul warned against Alexander the coppersmith (2 Timothy 4:14–15). While we are not exactly sure of who this Alexander is, he was clearly enough of a threat that Paul felt the need to name names.
Paul's brief conclusion included greetings to friends (2 Timothy 4:19), information about Erastus and Trophimus (2 Timothy 4:20), and another plea for Timothy to come to him in Rome before winter (2 Timothy 4:21). Others in Rome send their greetings (2 Timothy 4:21), and a concluding word is given, the final words left in the New Testament before Paul's death: "The Lord be with your spirit. Grace be with you" (2 Timothy 4:22). This spotlight on grace is a fitting conclusion to both Paul's writings and his earthly life.