his return and ours
2 Timothy 4:6-8 (JDV)
2 Timothy 4:6 You see, I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the season for my return is close.
2 Timothy 4:7 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.
2 Timothy 4:8 The crown of righteousness is reserved for me, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give me on that day, and not only to me, but to all those who have cared about his appearing.
his return and ours
One word is often mistranslated in the text above, and the mistranslation leads to bad theology. By translating ἀνάλυσις as “departure” common English versions give the impression that Paul is looking forward to something happening when he dies. The popular belief in an immortal soul that survives death feeds on such foolishness.
But ἀνάλυσις means return in this text. That is when Paul expects to receive the crown of righteousness, not at his death. That is when the Lord, the righteous judge will appear. Paul was saying that his death is imminent, but so is his return to life.
The verb form of ἀνάλυσις is ἀναλύω, which is translated come back in Luke’s Gospel.
“be like people waiting for their master to come back from the wedding celebration, so that when he comes and knocks they can immediately open the door for him” Luke 12:36 NET.
This same verb is found in Philippians 1:23, where it is also mistranslated as “depart.” But Paul is saying the same thing to the Philippians as he said to Timothy here. His desire is not to depart life but to return to life and be with Christ at his return.
When believers die, they are unconscious in the intermediate state, and their next conscious moment will be when they are woken by the Lord at his return. Thus, his return is our return. If we die before he comes, his return to the earth is our return to life. His coming — not our death — is the blessed hope (Titus 2:13).
LORD, thank you for the blessed hope of your return, and ours.