2 Timothy 4:16-22
2 Tim 4:16 (KJB)
At my first answer no man stood with me, but all men forsook me: I pray God that it may not be laid to their charge.
Paul is probably referring to his preliminary hearing before his main trial. There is a possibility that he was in Rome at an earlier time and maybe he did not have time to get to know the Roman Christians yet. However, the way the verse is worded, it would seem that there were Christians who knew him and that he was asking God not to lay this sin upon them. It may have been because of the evil that Alexander the Coppersmith had done may have been the cause of why Paul was forsaken and that no one showed up to witness for him about his character. Maybe he knew that they forsook him out of fear. The word “answer” is the word “apologia” in the Greek which means “defense.” So Paul may also be referring to his final trial before Nero which is probably what is in view because it was that trial where Paul was finally condemned to death.
2 Tim 4:17 (KJB)
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.
Even though all the human beings had forsaken Paul in that hour, he knew full well that the Lord would never forsake him and stood with him. The Lord strengthened him to the point that he not only defended himself against false charges, but he was able, in that moment to preach the Gospel to the court where he was appearing before. It is a great possibility that Nero had heard the Gospel and maybe this enflamed him more against Christians because it pricked his conscience more then he expected. The word for “hear” in this verse means “hearing with understanding” which means that some of the people in that court may have become saved. One can hear the Gospel and it will not penetrate but if one hears the Gospel and understands, then it means that their spiritual ears have been opened. Paul preached the Gospel no matter where he was. He knew that the final trial would yield his home going, yet he still desired to preach the Gospel to as many as he possibly could. The last phrase in this verse speaks about the mouth of the lion which probably refers to the fact that he was not sentenced to the Coliseum to fight the lions with other Christians. Instead, he was to be beheaded which would have been swift instead of lingering pain and torture.
2 Tim 4:18 (KJB)
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.
Paul knew that his home going was imminent and he realized that when he left this world and entered the portals of Heaven, he would be delivered from every evil work because evil would no longer have any way of reaching him. He knows that the Lord would not only deliver him from all evil works but preserve his soul for the kingdom of Heaven. Throughout his entire earthly ministry, Paul had faced tremendous persecution but now those days are at an end. In Romans 7, Paul had discussed the fact that sin dwells in his flesh but his soul was totally cleansed by the sacrifice of Christ. This is what Paul is speaking about that the real him, which is the cleansed soul, will be preserved to the Kingdom of Heaven. Then Paul lauds the Lord Jesus Christ that to Him belongs the glory, forever and ever because it is He who was the one who cleansed Paul’s soul and also ours.
2 Tim 4:19 (KJB)
Salute Prisca and Aquila, and the household of Onesiphorus.
In the closing verses of this letter, Paul now mentions nine of his beloved companions in ministry. He mentions Priscilla and Aquila who helped him in Corinth and had accompanied him to Ephesus. (Acts 18:1-2 KJV) After these things Paul departed from Athens, and came to Corinth; {2} And found a certain Jew named Aquila, born in Pontus, lately come from Italy, with his wife Priscilla; (because that Claudius had commanded all Jews to depart from Rome:) and came unto them. (Acts 18:18-19 KJV) And Paul after this tarried there yet a good while, and then took his leave of the brethren, and sailed thence into Syria, and with him Priscilla and Aquila; having shorn his head in Cenchrea: for he had a vow. {19} And he came to Ephesus, and left them there: but he himself entered into the synagogue, and reasoned with the Jews.
Onesiphorus was a companion of Paul from Ephesus but he sought him out while he was in Rome. (2 Tim 1:16-17 KJV) The Lord give mercy unto the house of Onesiphorus; for he oft refreshed me, and was not ashamed of my chain: {17} But, when he was in Rome, he sought me out very diligently, and found me.
2 Tim 4:20 (KJB)
Erastus abode at Corinth: but Trophimus have I left at Miletum sick.
Erastus was a fellow companion of Paul and had accompanied Timothy to Macedonia. (Acts 19:22 KJV) So he sent into Macedonia two of them that ministered unto him, Timotheus and Erastus; but he himself stayed in Asia for a season. He was the treasurer of the city of Corinth. (Rom 16:23 KJV) Gaius mine host, and of the whole church, saluteth you. Erastus the chamberlain of the city saluteth you, and Quartus a brother. Trophimus was from Ephesus and he also accompanied Paul on mission trips. (Acts 20:4 KJV) And there accompanied him into Asia Sopater of Berea; and of the Thessalonians, Aristarchus and Secundus; and Gaius of Derbe, and Timotheus; and of Asia, Tychicus and Trophimus. Trophimus was sick and Paul had to leave him in Miletus so he could become well from whatever he was suffering from. Miletus was about 20 miles south of Ephesus which means he became sick while on a journey.
2 Tim 4:21 (KJB)
Do thy diligence to come before winter. Eubulus greeteth thee, and Pudens, and Linus, and Claudia, and all the brethren.
Once again Paul asks Timothy to come to the Mamertine prison where he was being held. Since Paul had asked Timothy to bring the cloak, he needed some kind of outer garment because the winter would be cold in that prison. Now history states that Nero died in June of 68 A.D. which would mean that Paul may have been executed a few months earlier in the fall of 67 A.D. Dates will vary depending upon the commentator. Eubulus was a Christian from Rome. Pudens was also another believer who lived in Rome. Linus was also a believer from Rome and some early writers have him as the first Bishop of Rome which lasted about 20 years. Some of the early writers which mention him are Irenaeus, Julius Africanus, Hippolytus, and Eusebius. Claudia was another Christian worker from Rome. Tradition says that she was the wife of Pudens and Linus was their son. I won’t go into tradition because it is all subjective. When I speak of the Bishop of Rome, it has nothing whatsoever to do with Roman Catholicism.
2 Tim 4:22 (KJB)
The Lord Jesus Christ be with thy spirit. Grace be with you. Amen.
The benediction is in two parts. The first part is singular and addressed to Timothy. The Lord Jesus Christ be with his spirit. That is so Timothy will always have the wisdom and strength of the Lord to face the trials and tribulations which Paul faced. Then Paul speaks to all Christians that the grace of the Lord will be with all of them. The grace of God will under gird the believer in all the situations they will face just as it did Paul. (2 Cor 12:9 KJV) And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. The grace of God not only saves a person but will strengthen the believer to walk through this world and to do the work of an evangelist.
So ends the earthly ministry of the Apostle Paul