2 Timothy 4:9–22 (NKJV)
9 Be diligent to come to me quickly; 10 for Demas has forsaken me, having loved this present world, and has departed for Thessalonica—Crescens for Galatia, Titus for Dalmatia. 11 Only Luke is with me. Get Mark and bring him with you, for he is useful to me for ministry. 12 And Tychicus I have sent to Ephesus. 13 Bring the cloak that I left with Carpus at Troas when you come—and the books, especially the parchments.2 Timothy 4:9-16
14 Alexander the coppersmith did me much harm. May the Lord repay him according to his works. 15 You also must beware of him, for he has greatly resisted our words.
16 At my first defense no one stood with me, but all forsook me. May it not be charged against them.
Paul begins to sum up his letter to Timothy here with a combination of news, housekeeping items, instructions, and teachings. Paul calls for Timothy to come to him quickly. Many of his companions in the faith have either traveled away from Paul at this point or else have forsaken the faith. Paul had little patience for those who did not remain faithful or did not contribute meaningfully to the gospel ministry. He named Demas–who had forsaken him–along with Crescens and Titus, who had traveled to different areas. He instructs Timothy to get Mark and bring him with him to see Paul. You may recall that Mark was a source of contention between Paul and Barnabus, as Paul did not want to take him on one of their missionary journeys. This disagreement is recorded in Acts 15. Paul parted company with Barnabus over Mark, and traveled on with Silas to his next journey. Now, it appears that Paul has either heard of Mark’s maturing in ministry, or else has had a change of heart based on God’s direction. Either way, Paul calls for him and deems him useful for ministry. He reports on Tychicus’ travel to Ephesus, perhaps to relieve Timothy while he travels to Paul. He asks for a cloak he left in Troas, and parchments which were needed by Paul. Additionally, Paul names Alexander the coppersmith as an enemy, doing much harm to the faith and to Paul. His warning to Timothy is warranted in light of his resistance to the gospel. Paul then explains how no one stood with him at his first defense, but he hopes that God will not hold it against them.
17 But the Lord stood with me and strengthened me, so that the message might be preached fully through me, and that all the Gentiles might hear. Also I was delivered out of the mouth of the lion. 18 And the Lord will deliver me from every evil work and preserve me for His heavenly kingdom. To Him be glory forever and ever. Amen!2 Timothy 4:17-18
Paul does, though, praise the Lord for the fact that He always stands with Paul and strengthens him in his time of trouble. God has enabled Paul to preach the great message of good news to the Gentiles and win a harvest. He was delivered from his fierce enemies, lion-like men who opposed Paul, and Paul is confident that He will always deliver him from every work against him performed by evil men. Paul is assured that the Lord will preserve him for heaven, and he glorifies Him greatly.
19 Greet Prisca and Aquila, and the household of Onesiphorus. 20 Erastus stayed in Corinth, but Trophimus I have left in Miletus sick.2 Timothy 4:19-22
21 Do your utmost to come before winter.
Eubulus greets you, as well as Pudens, Linus, Claudia, and all the brethren. 22 The Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit. Grace be with you. Amen.
Paul sums up the letter by sending greetings to Prisca (Priscilla) and Aquila, his companions on many occasions, and Onesiphorus. He updates Timothy on the condition of Erastus and Trophimus. These updates indicate the more personal nature of this letter, sent to a son instead of an entire church. Paul then offers greetings from several who are with him and blesses Timothy with the presence of the Lord and grace. This loving, instructive letter is such a powerful example of pastoral care and affection. Paul loved Timothy and set him forth as a pastor as well. If Timothy would heed the words and live the example of his pastor, Paul, the church under his care would be blessed richly. One other statement rings loudly here. Paul tells Timothy to do his utmost to come before winter. Whether this is a reference to Paul’s thought that his life was nearing an end, or else advice to travel before winter hits and makes traveling treacherous, it reminds us today that life is short and could end suddenly. Do not waste the time God has given you. Use it well, and redeem the time so that souls can be saved and the church strengthened. Just as Paul saw the opportunities before him being shortened, we all must live with urgency to reap the harvest while we can.