2 Timothy 4. Forum Discussion

Staying true to God during times of adversity

Today we will begin the fourth and final chapter of Paul’s second letter to Timothy. Before we do, let us review what we have learned so far:

  1. In chapter 1, we looked at the relationship between grace, mercy, and peace. Paul reminded Timothy that God has not given them a spirit of timidity, but one of power and love and discipline.
  2. Chapter 2 saw Paul continuing to encourage Timothy to keep on fighting the good fight and to remain strong. Paul said to Timothy, “You, therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.” – 2 Timothy 2:1.
  3. In the third chapter, we focused on 2 Timothy 3:16-17, “All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.” Paul reminded Timothy about the difficult times that will take place, “In the end of days,” and encouraged Timothy to use the scriptures to teach, reproof, correct, and to train in righteousness.

Now in chapter 4, Paul concludes his letter to Timothy. He understands that he will likely be executed soon, and he makes his final requests. Even as Paul prepares to die, his mind is not on himself, but on others and the task at hand to spread the gospel. Paul writes to Timothy in 2 Timothy 4:5:

“But you, be sober in all things, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.”

If we imagine ourselves in Paul’s position, would we be able to keep our focus on the Lord? To make matters worse, Paul seems to have been left by himself except for Luke who stayed with him:

“Demas, having loved this present world, has deserted me and gone to Thessalonica; Crescens has gone to Galatia, Titus to Dalmatia. Only Luke is with me.” – 2 Timothy 4:10-11.

Paul’s example of keeping God first during times of great adversity is a powerful one. We all are going to face our own struggles in life. If we are lucky, we have a strong mentor, like Paul, to encourage us to remain strong and continue serving God during difficult times.

In his letter, Paul charged Timothy to:

  • Preach the word.
  • Be ready in season and out of season.
  • Reprove.
  • Rebuke.
  • And to exhort with great patience and instruction.

Paul also warns Timothy that false doctrines are going to be on the increase. People are going to seek to find leaders that will tell them what they want to hear, and they will pretend that these things are from God.

Beginning in verse 7, Paul says:

“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith; in the future there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day; and not only to me, but also to all who have loved His appearing.”

In the end, Paul’s words about finishing the course and fighting the good fight are what we all hope to be able to say. Despite all that is weighing heavily on Paul, he must have taken great comfort in knowing that he had accomplished what he set out to do and stayed true to God.

Next Paul moves onto his final requests. Paul instructs Timothy to pick up Mark and come with him to visit. He lets Timothy know that he has sent Tychicus to Ephesus and asks Timothy to bring the cloak that he left in Troas, the books, and the parchments.

He asks Timothy to make every effort to visit before the winter comes and concludes his letter with, “The Lord be with your spirit. Grace be with you.” Paul’s two letters to Timothy contain powerful examples of staying true to God despite great personal struggles. Paul is about to face death and yet finds the strength to remain focused on serving Christ and preparing those that will be left behind. How great God’s word is at preparing us for our own adversity in life. We are blessed to have written records of how those closest to Jesus handled their own adversity.



It seems like they had a very strong relationship and a lot of respect for one another. Paul acts as a great mentor in trying to prepare Timothy and keep him from repeating some of the mistakes that Paul has seen in his years of experience.

And Timothy is a great mentee - receptive to the advise of Paul, hard working and driven.

Heather Ann

I think that it is worth mentioning that Paul is preparing Timothy to take over. Paul is giving Timothy the education and training to go on without him. I think that while there is a great strength in their relationship, there is also preparation for loss.

Heather Ann

Hmmmm... how would Timothy “take over?

Pat Dermody

Timothy was probably nervous about proceeding without Paul. Would he be able to continue Paul’s work of spreading the Word? But Paul reminded Timothy that even when we think we’re all alone in life God is always there and will give Timothy the courage to carry on these works. 17:“But the Lord stood with me and gave me strength so that I might preach the Good News in its entirety for all the Gentiles to hear.”