Paul, in his last letter before his martyrdom, encourages Timothy to preach even if people oppose him, his message, and Jesus. Paul reminds Timothy that believers must give an accounting of their life and will be judged at the Bema Seat Judgment (not for salvation but for rewards). Timothy is then informed that the time will come when people–believers and unbelievers—will not accept God’s message. The prisoner for Christ—Paul—comforts Timothy, encouraging him that he (Paul) had finished his ministry and had kept the faith.
My translation and notes of 2 Timothy 4:1-8
2 Timothy 4:1-8
Preach Regardless of Opposition
1 I earnestly urge yous before God and the Lord Jesus Christ, who is about to judge the living and the dead at his appearing and kingdom,
[The judge is Jesus Christ, and the standard is the Scriptures. All God’s decisions are done in love, truth, holiness, and wisdom. This letter is written to a pastor for ministry in the church (believers). This judgment is the Bema Seat judgment, which is a judgment not for salvation but for rewards (1 Corinthians 3:9-17, Romans 14:10, and 2 Corinthians 5:9-10). If we are like the believers in verses 3-4, they will be saved but have little or no reward. The time of this judgment is shortly after the Rapture—which for believers—is His appearing and kingdom. We must press on doing God’s ministry for us. Jesus’s appearing refers to the Rapture, and kingdom refers to the Judgment at the end of the Millennium (Revelation 20:12-14). A quote from Precept Austin on this passage:
W E Vine—The text used by the A.V. here (2 Timothy 4:1KJV) supports the erroneous idea that Christ will judge the living and the dead together at His appearing and His kingdom. The Scriptures nowhere teach that the judgment of the living and dead will be simultaneous. The judgment of the living will take place when the Lord comes to receive His Church to Himself and will be exercised at the “Judgment Seat of Christ,” when every believer will have the counsels of his heart made manifest and every one will have his praise from God (1 Corinthians 4:5). The judgment of the dead is not a matter of reward but of condemnation, and will take place after the 1,000 years of the Millennial reign of Christ on the earth (Revelation 20:5). The charge to Timothy, given “in the sight of God and of Christ” and in view of the fact that He is to be the judge of all men, first the living and then the dead, is further given by reason of His appearing and the establishment of His kingdom. The life of the believer should ever be lived in view of these things. They need to be kept constantly in mind, as they have an all-important bearing upon the character, effects and issue of all service. (Collected Writings)].
2 Preach the word, be instantly ready [whether] the time [is] suitable or not, admonish, rebuke, and urge them on with all longsuffering and teaching.
[The Greek word for ‘admonish’ is ἐλέγχω elénchō (G1651). It means here to correct someone by verbal means (in our passage, this is to preach). Compare Matthew 18:15. We are to point out our errors and other people’s errors when preaching. When doing this we don’t need to mention their name, just the error. The Greek word for ‘rebuke’ is ἐπιτιμάω epitimáō (G2008). This is a stronger sense of pointing out errors. Compare Luke 23:41. The Greek word for ‘urge’ is παρακαλέω parakaléō (G3870). It means here to encourage, urge, and entreat others to do and believe what is right and true. Compare Matthew 8:5, Mark 5:23, Acts 2:40, and Acts 14:22. Preaching is to strive for godly change, commitment, and encouragement to believe and do what the Scriptures teach. Teaching is to inform].
3 For the time will come when they will not put up with sound teaching, but according to their own sinful desires—[and] having tickling ears—will multiply for themselves teachers.
[The Greek word for ‘put up with’ or ‘endure’ is ἀνέχομαι anéchomai (G430). Compare Mark 9:19. The Greek word for ‘sound’ is ὑγιαίνω hugiainō (G5198). It means healthy, uncorrupted, teaching. It is teaching the Scriptures in their plain, normal sense, defining words in their plain, normal sense, and making applications in their plain, normal sense. We are not to teach to please people, to make them feel good, to satisfy them, etc. We are to teach the truth in God’s worldview, lifestyle, beliefs (doctrine), rules, actions, etc. These people, the church in the future (perhaps it is here today), do not want doctrine, facts, reality, instead, they want to feel good, find comfort, and hear soothing words. Christianity has those, but we are to be alert, chastened, corrected, informed, and living in reality, not popularity. Compare Revelation 2-3. Jesus rebukes and corrects the believers. Compare Psalm 50].
4 They will turn away their ears from the truth, turning instead to myths.
[The Greek word for ‘myths’ is μῦθος mŷthos (G3454). This is a type of lie. TDNTa has this entry: [I]t also stands in antithesis to lógos, which is more closely associated with truth (alḗtheia). As distinct from lógos, mýthos is a. the fairy story in contrast to credible history, b. the mythical form of an idea in contrast to its dialectical presentation, or c. popular myth in contrast to the kernel of truth that it contains. It is hard to believe that some Christians get to the point of rejecting truth (reality). Then, they replace truth with myths, fables, invented scenarios, philosophies, theologies, science, experts, etc. that supplant and usurp truth. Let us beware of anything that claims the highest authority for our lives that does not meet the standard of Scripture. Scripture is the only source of 100% truth].
5 Instead, yous need to clear-headed in everything, endure troubles, and do the work of an evangelist. Make full proof of yours ministry,
[Paul tells Timothy four things that Timothy is to do—be clear-headed, endure troubles, do the work of an evangelist, and make full proof of his ministry. The Greek word for ‘clear-headed’ is νήφω nḗphō (G3525). It means to be sober (not drunk). Figuratively, it means not reactionary or impulsive. Compare 1 Peter 5:8. Endurance breeds steadfastness. God allows troubles to confront us often, battling for our faith, and seeking to destroy us. Compare Romans 5:3-5, and 2 Corinthians 4:17, and Luke 22:31. Christians have the assisting grace of God to strengthen us. Compare Hebrews 4:16].
Paul’s Approaching Death
6 For I am now ready to be offered. The time of my departure is at hand.
7 I have competed in a good fight. I have finished my race. I have kept the faith.
8 Besides, there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness which the Lord, the righteous judge, will give me on that day and not only me but also all those who love his appearing.
[The judgment of the church (believers) is written about in Romans 14:10-12 1 Corinthians 3:11-16, 1 Corinthians 4:1-5, 1 Corinthians 9:24-27, 2 Corinthians 5:10-11, and 2 Timothy 4:8. The judgment of the church is just after the Rapture. These crowns from the Lord Jesus are rewards for faithful service in some area of life].