2 TIMOTHY 4:17-22
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.
Susie: Although Paul’s companions did not stand by him during his hearing, the Lord never left him. Paul credits the Lord that he was not immediately executed and has been able to continue writing letters which we now know as New Testament scripture.
Susan: Wait a second. Who were the Gentiles that would hear? Oh yes, the Roman soldiers who were guarding Paul day and night, even chained to him. A captive audience! LOL
Susie: Over and over Paul had been rescued from the “mouth of the lion” meaning perilous, life-threatening dangers. Even though he has told Timothy that he knows his time on earth is growing short, Paul is still actively preaching and teaching the word of God.
2 Timothy 4:18 And the Lord shall deliver me from every evil work, and will preserve me unto his heavenly kingdom: to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.
Susie: Paul is on “death row,” the plan is to behead him. However, he knows the truth that until the Lord is ready to call him to his heavenly home, no evil can stand between him and his God-given purpose. I believe Susan can personally identify with the truth that God is able to preserve His servants to fulfill their calling.
Susan: I have been preserved through sixteen lithotripsies, scoliosis surgery, hip dislocation, knee dislocation, removal of my left kidney, and the loss of both of my legs above the knee due to life-threatening necrotic ulcers. I have been on ventilator twice, once with my family pleading for me not to be given a tracheotomy because my voice belonged to the Lord! God called me to be His megaphone and is preserving me to fulfill His purposes. The doctors gave me a life expectancy of 24 years when I was diagnosed with cerebral palsy, and I have entered my golden decade. God is able to deliver His children!
Susie: We join in the chorus of praise along with the Apostle Paul, giving all glory to God for His power to sustain His people.
2 Timothy 4:19 Salute Prisca and Aquila, and the household of Onesiphorus.
Susie: Prisca (a.k.a. Priscilla) and Aquila were Paul’s close friends when he ministered in Corinth, and they served the Lord in Ephesus as well (Acts 18). They were tent makers by trade as was the Apostle Paul. Together, this husband and wife discipled a preacher named Apollos. All indications are that Priscilla was a skilled teacher of the Gospel in her own right. Eventually they returned to Rome (Romans 16:3) from whence they had fled to Corinth in the past. Apparently, they were again living in Ephesus as Paul asked Timothy to greet them.
Susan: Onesiphorus (2 Timothy 1:16) was a faithful friend of Paul’s residing in Ephesus who often came to minister to Paul’s various needs while he was imprisoned. He may have even risked his life to take care of his precious friend, Paul.
2 Timothy 4:20 Erastus abode at Corinth: but Trophimus have I left at Miletum sick.
Susan: Erastus was a prominent official in the large city of Corinth. He was the city treasurer. Erastus and Timothy had previously been sent on a mission to Macedonia by Paul.
Susie: Trophimus was an official delegate from the church at Ephesus who accompanied Paul when he took an offering to Rome. Apparently, the two of them had been traveling together at some point when Trophimus became ill and had to remain in Miletus which was about 30 miles south of Ephesus.
2 Timothy 4:21 Do thy diligence to come before winter. Eubulus greeteth thee, and Pudens, and Linus, and Claudia, and all the brethren.
Susie: Earlier Paul had given Timothy the task of bringing him his cloak (poncho) and some scrolls and parchments. He needed those items before the winter’s cold and short days in order to have more hours to read those writings and be comfortable while doing so. Paul may have had Timothy bring him some blank scrolls or parchments for dictation.
Susan: I had never noticed Charlie Brown’s friend Linus in the Bible before (LOL)! Seriously, little is known about these people except that Eubulus, Linus, and Pudens were all Latin names and could have been believers from the church in Rome. Paul’s friend Claudia is not mentioned anywhere else in the Bible, but there are traditions associated with her. If you are interested in them, you can find them here:
2 Timothy 4:22 The Lord Jesus Christ be with thy spirit. Grace be with you. Amen.
Susan: Paul, the Apostle, sees the congregation as being as important as their pastor. We know this by his use of the plural you in this closing. It was important to him to include everyone, leaving no one out. Each member of the church had his or her own vital role to fulfill.
Susie: He prayed God’s continued grace and felt presence in their lives. That grace, God working in and through them, would enable them to continue spreading the Gospel throughout their city and beyond.
1. What did Paul mean by being delivered out of the mouth of the lion?
2. What Gentiles could hear Paul’s message even while he was in prison?
3. Paul knew he was soon to be executed. How, then, could he say God was going to preserve him?
4. Who were Prisca and Aquilla?
5. Why did Paul need timothy to visit before winter?