I left Trophimus sick

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I left Trophimus sick

2 Timothy 4:19-22 (JDV)

2 Timothy 4:19 Greet Prisca and Aquila, and the household of Onesiphorus.
2 Timothy 4:20 Erastus has remained at Corinth; I left Trophimus sick at Miletus.
2 Timothy 4:21 Make every effort to come before winter. Eubulus greets you, as do Pudens, Linus, Claudia, and all the brothers and sisters.
2 Timothy 4:22 The Lord be with your breath. Favor be with you all.

I left Trophimus sick

I am thankful for this honest statement from Paul to Timothy. He talks about another believer — Trophimus — who was sick, so Paul left him at Miletus to rest and recover. He wanted to heal him, but it didn’t happen.

I believe in healing, but I do not believe in guaranteed healing. Our Lord can heal anyone, and if he wants it, he can heal anyone through us. But if the healing does not happen, I am not going to second guess my faith. If I encounter a Trophimus, I will pray for his healing. But he stays sick, I will trust God to heal him when he wants to. The mission continues.

LORD, help us to heal everyone we can, and trust you with the Trophimuses.

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safely into his sky kingdom

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safely into his sky kingdom

2 Timothy 4:9-18 (JDV)

2 Timothy 4:9 Make every effort to come to me soon,
2 Timothy 4:10 because Demas has deserted me, since he cared about this age now, and has gone to Thessalonica. Crescens has gone to Galatia, Titus to Dalmatia.
2 Timothy 4:11 Only Luke is with me. Bring Mark with you, for he is useful to me as an assistant.
2 Timothy 4:12 I have sent Tychicus to Ephesus.
2 Timothy 4:13 When you come, bring the cloak I left in Troas with Carpus, as well as the scrolls, especially the parchments.
2 Timothy 4:14 Alexander the coppersmith did great harm to me. The Lord will repay him according to his achievements.
2 Timothy 4:15 Watch out for him yourself because he strongly opposed our words.
2 Timothy 4:16 At my first defense, no one stood by me, but everyone deserted me. May it not be counted against them.
2 Timothy 4:17 But the Lord stood with me and strengthened me, so that I might fully preach the word and all the Gentiles might hear it. So I was rescued from the lion’s mouth.
2 Timothy 4:18 The Lord will rescue me from every evil achievement and will bring me safely into his sky kingdom. To him be the glory for ages and ages! Amen.

safely into his sky kingdom

The confidence that Paul expresses here is not what a lot of people think he is expressing. He is not saying that God is going to take him to heaven when he dies. The sky kingdom that he expects to be brought into is the one coming down from the sky at Christ’s return.

The reference to being rescued from the lion’s mouth is a clue to what he means. Daniel was the prophet whom God rescued from the lion’s mouth. Daniel saw that kingdom coming down from the sky in a vision. He prophesied that God’s kingdom would come down from the sky and take over the earth. It’s king would be given sovereignty over all the peoples, nations and language groups on the earth, and his kigdom would not be destroyed like all the other kingdoms would.

This is the sky kingdom that Paul was referring to.

May our Lord bring us all safely into his coming sky kingdom.

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safely into his sky kingdom

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safely into his sky kingdom

2 Timothy 4:9-18 (JDV)

2 Timothy 4:9 Make every effort to come to me soon,
2 Timothy 4:10 because Demas has deserted me, since he cared about this age now, and has gone to Thessalonica. Crescens has gone to Galatia, Titus to Dalmatia.
2 Timothy 4:11 Only Luke is with me. Bring Mark with you, for he is useful to me as an assistant.
2 Timothy 4:12 I have sent Tychicus to Ephesus.
2 Timothy 4:13 When you come, bring the cloak I left in Troas with Carpus, as well as the scrolls, especially the parchments.
2 Timothy 4:14 Alexander the coppersmith did great harm to me. The Lord will repay him according to his achievements.
2 Timothy 4:15 Watch out for him yourself because he strongly opposed our words.
2 Timothy 4:16 At my first defense, no one stood by me, but everyone deserted me. May it not be counted against them.
2 Timothy 4:17 But the Lord stood with me and strengthened me so that I might fully preach the word and all the Gentiles might hear it. So I was rescued from the lion’s mouth.
2 Timothy 4:18 The Lord will rescue me from every evil achievement and will bring me safely into his sky kingdom. To him be the glory for ages and ages! Amen.

safely into his sky kingdom

The confidence that Paul expresses here is not what a lot of people think he is expressing. He is not saying that God is going to take him to heaven when he dies. The sky kingdom that he expects to be brought into is the one coming down from the sky at Christ’s return.

The reference to being rescued from the lion’s mouth is a clue to what he means. Daniel was the prophet whom God rescued from the lion’s mouth. Daniel saw that kingdom coming down from the sky in a vision. He prophesied that God’s kingdom would come down from the sky and take over the earth. Its king would be given sovereignty over all the peoples, nations, and language groups on the earth and his kingdom would not be destroyed like all the other kingdoms would.

This is the sky kingdom that Paul was referring to.

May our Lord bring us all safely into his coming sky kingdom.

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his return and ours

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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.

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they will veer off to myths

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they will veer off to myths

2 Timothy 4:1-5 (JDV)

2 Timothy 4:1 I seriously warn you before God and Christ Jesus, who is going to judge the living and the dead, and because of his appearing and his kingdom:
2 Timothy 4:2 Preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; rebuke, correct, and encourage with great patience and teaching
2 Timothy 4:3 because the season will come when people will not tolerate healthy teaching, but according to their own desires, will accumulate teachers for themselves because they are itching to hear what they want to hear.
2 Timothy 4:4 They will turn away from hearing the truth but will veer off to myths.
2 Timothy 4:5 But you, exercise self-control in everything, endure hardship, doing an evangelist’s achievement, accomplish your assistance {διακονία}.

they will veer off to myths

For some time now, Paul has been warning Timothy of the challenging seasons that are coming in the world, and the church. He had warned him that “Hard seasons {καιρός} will be present in the last days” (3:1). In today’s text, he warns that “the season will come when people will not tolerate healthy teaching, but according to their own desires, will accumulate teachers for themselves because they are itching to hear what they want to hear.”

What do the itching ears want to hear? Paul calls them myths. A myth is an explanation of what is based on appearance. A myth is not science. Science records the observable facts.

But what happens when people choose a myth to explain what is going on all around them, and then choose to label that myth as science — even though it cannot be observed. What happens when every book published and every class taught MUST include that teaching, and every opponent MUST be silenced.

We know what happens. We are living in one of the hard seasons Paul described.

Paul’s instruction for Timothy and us is endure the hardship, keep up our self-control, and keep doing what we were called to do.

Lord, give us the courage to continue in spite of the superstition that surrounds us.

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continue in what you have learned

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continue in what you have learned

2 Timothy 3:10-17 (JDV)

2 Timothy 3:10 You, on the other hand, have followed my teaching, conduct, plan, faith, patience, care, and endurance,
2 Timothy 3:11 along with the persecutions and sufferings that came to me in Antioch, Iconium, and Lystra. What persecutions I endured – and yet the Lord rescued me from them all.
2 Timothy 3:12 In fact, all who want to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.
2 Timothy 3:13 Evil humans and impostors will become worse, deceiving and being deceived.
2 Timothy 3:14 But as for you, continue in what you have learned and firmly believed. You know those who taught you,
2 Timothy 3:15 and you know that from infancy you have known the sacred Scriptures, which are able to give you wisdom for rescue through faith in Christ Jesus.
2 Timothy 3:16 All Scripture is inspired by God and is profitable for teaching, for rebuking, for correcting, for training in righteousness,
2 Timothy 3:17 so that the human of God may be complete, equipped for every good achievement.

continue in what you have learned

Paul had just instructed Timothy to gently instruct those who want to argue about things, but that there will be some that are brilliant but foolish, who will not listen to reason.

Now he tells Timothy to remember those who persecuted Paul himself. These are examples of such brilliant fools.

Paul tells his protege that if he encounters such opposition in his ministry, he should continue in what he has learned. Paul had taught him Scripture, and “All Scripture is inspired by God and is profitable for teaching, for rebuking, for correcting, for training in righteousness, so that the human of God may be complete, equipped for every good achievement.” When faced with opposition this world, we need to be equipped from above.

Lord, give us the courage to stand on your holy word.

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the foolishness of Jannes and Jambres

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the foolishness of Jannes and Jambres

2 Timothy 3:1-9 (JDV)

2 Timothy 3:1 But you should know this: Hard seasons {καιρός} will be present in the last days
2 Timothy 3:2 because humans will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, proud, demeaning, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy,
2 Timothy 3:3 unloving, irreconcilable, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, with no love for what is good,
2 Timothy 3:4 traitors, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God,
2 Timothy 3:5 holding to the form of godliness but denying its power. Avoid these people
2 Timothy 3:6 because among them are those who slip their way into households and deceive gullible women overwhelmed by sins and led astray by a various passions,
2 Timothy 3:7 always learning and never able to come to a knowledge of the truth.
2 Timothy 3:8 Just like Jannes and Jambres resisted Moses, this is how these also resist the truth. They are humans whose minds are corrupt their faith is worthless.
2 Timothy 3:9 But they will not further progress much further, because their foolishness will become clear to all, as was the foolishness of Jannes and Jambres.

the foolishness of Jannes and Jambres

These two names identified Egyptian magicians who opposed Moses and what God was doing among the Israelites. Their names became symbols of those who appear to be skilled and intelligent, but oppose God’s word, his will and his mission.

Do you know anyone like that? Paul warns Timothy that such people will not be moved by the gentle instruction he had talked about earlier (2:25). Instead, they will resist the truth, because their “brilliant” minds are corrupt and their “faith” is worthless.

So, if gentle conversation will not succeed, what will? Waiting. Paul tells Timothy to wait for the other shoe to drop. Sooner or later “their foolishness will become clear to all.” I have seen examples of this. There have been some powerful people I have met, whose bully atheism I could not begin to counter by biblical instruction. Every one of those people is dead now — some at their own hands. God is not mocked. Whoever opposes him will be silenced.

Lord, give us the wisdom to wait on you to answer the fool in his foolishness.

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gently instructing opponents

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gently instructing opponents

2 Timothy 2:22-26 (JDV)

2 Timothy 2:22 Flee from youthful passions, and pursue righteousness, faith, care, and peace, along with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart.
2 Timothy 2:23 But reject foolish and ignorant disputes, because you know that they produce fights.
2 Timothy 2:24 The Lord’s servant must not fight, but must be gentle to everyone, able to teach, and patient,
2 Timothy 2:25 instructing his opponents with gentleness. Perhaps God will grant them repentance leading them to the knowledge of the truth.
2 Timothy 2:26 and recapture his senses from the trap of the devil, who has taken them captive to do his preference.

gently instructing opponents

Paul tells Timothy not to try to get into fights with people over foolish and ignorant disputes. Fighting does not accomplish the Lord’s will. In fact, in spiritual matters, fighting is proof that one has already been taken captive by the devil to do his preference.

Back up, breath in, breath out. Approach differences not as an adversary, but as a concerned friend. If they can be ignored, ignore them. If they must be addressed, do so not as a combatant. Doing the Lord’s will is more important than winning an argument.

Lord, teach us how to gently instruct our opponents.

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for high quality use

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for high quality use

2 Timothy 2:20-21 (JDV)

2 Timothy 2:20 Now in a large house there are not only gold and silver containers, but also those of wood and clay; some for high quality use and some for low quality.
2 Timothy 2:21 So if anyone purifies himself from anything of low quality, he will be a special instrument, set apart, useful to the Master, prepared for every good achievement.

for high quality use

I don’t like drinking out of paper or plastic. I’m sure there is nothing wrong with it, but to me it is just undignified. So, when I am at home, I drink out of a glass — or a mason jar. To me, that’s high quality. Feel free to differ!

Paul instructs Timothy to make himself and those he leads into special instruments set apart for high quality use. Godliness is not just for display purposes. Godliness makes us useful for our Master.

LORD, make us instruments of high quality, so you can use us for your purposes.

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trivial empty talk

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trivial empty talk

2 Timothy 2:14-19 (JDV)

2 Timothy 2:14 Remind them of these things, and be seriously warning {διαμαρτύρομαι} them before God not to fight over words. This is useless and leads to catastrophe for those who listen.
2 Timothy 2:15 Be diligent to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who doesn’t need to be ashamed, correctly teaching the word of truth.
2 Timothy 2:16 Avoid trivial empty talk, since those who engage in it will produce even more godlessness,
2 Timothy 2:17 and their teaching will spread like gangrene. Hymenaeus and Philetus are among them.
2 Timothy 2:18 They have departed from the truth, saying that the resurrection has already taken place, and are ruining the faith of some.
2 Timothy 2:19 Nevertheless, God’s solid foundation stands firm, bearing this inscription: The Lord knows those who are his, and let everyone who calls on the name of the Lord turn away from wickedness.

trivial empty talk

When our theology leads us (and others) away from lives of godliness — we need to rethink our theology.

Not too long ago, a believer with a particular theological position might have expressed his or her beliefs by joining a like-minded denomination, or perhaps writing a book or two on the subject. Today, we can blog, vlog, podcast, join groups on Facebook and other social media sites, and spend all our days promoting our ideas, and defending them against the opposition.

In many ways, this is an improvement. The restrictions to both access to information and to its communication have been very freeing, and all of us should appreciate the changes.

Yet, we should also be very careful that we do not become modern-day examples to the kind of constant bickering that Paul warned Timothy about in the text above. If we post our posts just to foment controversy and keep the flames burning in never-ending debates just for the sake of bickering itself, that is just what we will become.

LORD, keep us from trivial empty talk, and help us to concentrate our testimony on things that matter.

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