These small group studies of 2 Timothy contain outlines, cross-references, Bible study discussion questions, and applications. Visit our library of inductive Bible studies for more in depth inductive studies on this and other books of the Bible you can use in your small group.
2 Timothy 4:6-22 Inductive Bible Study
I. Fighting the good fight (6-8)
II. Closing remarks and greetings (9-22)
I. Fighting the good fight (6-8)
- What does Paul mean “I am already being poured out as a drink offering?”
- What is a drink offering?
- At the end of Paul’s life, what was his evaluation of how he had lived?
- What is the good fight?
- How can we ensure that we will be able to say the same things at the end of our lives?
- What would Paul receive after death?
- What is the crown of righteousness exactly?
- Who else will receive this crown?
- What does it mean to “love His appearing?”
Exodus 29:40-41 – With the first lamb offer a tenth of an ephah of the finest flour mixed with a quarter of a hin of oil from pressed olives, and a quarter of a hin of wine as a drink offering. Sacrifice the other lamb at twilight with the same grain offering and its drink offering as in the morning—a pleasing aroma, a food offering presented to the Lord.
1 Timothy 6:12 – Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses.
1 Corinthians 9:24-25 – Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever.
1 Thessalonians 2:19 – For what is our hope, our joy, or the crown in which we will glory in the presence of our Lord Jesus when he comes? Is it not you?
2 Timothy 4:8 – Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.
1 Peter 5:4 – And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that will never fade away.
Revelation 2:10 – Do not be afraid of what you are about to suffer. I tell you, the devil will put some of you in prison to test you, and you will suffer persecution for ten days. Be faithful, even to the point of death, and I will give you life as your victor’s crown.
Revelation 4:10 – The twenty-four elders fall down before him who sits on the throne and worship him who lives for ever and ever. They lay their crowns before the throne.
1. Verse 6 – Here Paul comments that he is already being poured out as a drink offering. It means that he is quickly approaching his death. Just as a drink offering is offered as a sacrifice to God, so Paul had offered his own life to God. In Romans 12:1 he tells the believers that they should give themselves as a living sacrifice to God. He himself was willing to do so. Paul had many opportunities to quit and save his own life, but he didn’t take them. When other believers counseled him that Jerusalem was too dangerous, he still went there because fulfilling his calling to God was more important to him than his own life. Paul recognized that his death was not the end. It wasn’t the final destination. Instead it was just a departure. He would depart to be with the Lord. It was this knowledge that pushed him to use the time he had in his life fruitfully.
2. Verse 7 – As Paul nears the end of his life, he reflects on his life. I believe the goal of sharing this with Timothy was to motivate Timothy to follow his model. Throughout the book we have seen Paul encourage Timothy again and again to never give up, never compromise, never quit, but instead to faithfully and boldly push forward to fulfill the ministry God had prepared for him. Paul reminds Timothy that he himself had done the same thing.
He himself had:
A. “fought the good fight” – The Christian life is a fight. Against what or who? We fight our enemies, the first of which is Satan and his demons. Thus our fight is not against flesh and blood, but against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places (Ephesians 6:10). What tools do we need to fight these spiritual forces?
We fight against the evil world system. What tools do we to overcome the world?
We also fight against our own old flesh along with its sinful desires and temptations. In this life, we will face different kinds of fights. Some of them, perhaps even most of them, are not worth fighting. But this fight must be fought. We cannot retreat. We cannot give up. We cannot compromise. We cannot surrender.
B. “finished the course” – Different words are used to describe the Christian life to emphasize different aspects of it. Here the word “course” denotes the fact that our life is like a race. We are supposed to stay on the track and not stray off going our own way. We are supposed to be like an athlete who is disciplined and diligent and energetic and goal-driven. The course may be long and slow. There may be many obstacles. Paul finished the race. He could look back on his life with no regrets knowing that he had served God faithfully and done his best each step of the way.
Application: Many people start the race. But few finish well. Many Christian workers (missionaries, pastors, teachers, etc.) give up after a while. Many professing believers turn away from the Lord when they face trials or temptations. What can we do to help ensure that we finish the course like Paul?
C. “kept the faith” – Paul did not turn away from his rock solid belief in Jesus.
3. Verse 8 – Paul’s labor was remembered by the Lord. Jesus Himself would present him with the crown of righteousness on the day of the judgment for rewards. In the Bible there are five different crowns that are mentioned. Each of these represents an area of potential rewards for believers who go above and beyond in their service for the Lord.
This specific crown is given to those who love His appearing. Likely this refers to people who long for Jesus’ second coming. They long to see Jesus. It is this longing for Jesus that motivates them to live a righteous life and faithfully share with others.
Revelation 4:10-11 -The twenty-four elders fall down before him who sits on the throne and worship him who lives for ever and ever. They lay their crowns before the throne and say: “You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they were created and have their being.”
We see that we will cast crowns (likely these very ones) at Jesus’ feet. On that day will you have any crowns to offer Jesus or will you be empty handed? If you have trusted in Jesus you have eternal life and you are secure in Him. But this doesn’t guarantee that you will receive any rewards for faithful service.
Every day is an opportunity for us to store up treasure in heaven. We can have an impact for eternity. And we can then receive rewards from Christ, which we will then be able to offer back to Him in gratitude since He gave His life for us.
II. Closing remarks and greetings (9-22)
- Why was Paul’s request to Timothy to come soon so urgent?
- What can we learn from verse 10 about Demas?
- What are signs or symptoms of loving the world?
- Considering at one point Paul didn’t want Mark on the missionary journey and now he specifically asked for him, what can we learn from Mark’s story?
- Why does Paul mention Alexander the copper smith to Timothy?
- What does he want Timothy to do about this enemy of the gospel?
- What “first defense” may Paul be referring to?
- Who was with him when no one else was?
- What can we learn from Paul about the fact that he was still witnessing at his trial?
- What did he believe God would rescue him from?
- What can we learn from Paul about relationships from this passage?
1 John 2:15-16 – Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in them. For everything in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—comes not from the Father but from the world.
James 4:4 – You adulterous people, don’t you know that friendship with the world means enmity against God? Therefore, anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God.
Colossians 4:12-14 – Epaphras, who is one of you and a servant of Christ Jesus, sends greetings. He is always wrestling in prayer for you, that you may stand firm in all the will of God, mature and fully assured. I vouch for him that he is working hard for you and for those at Laodicea and Hierapolis. Our dear friend Luke, the doctor, and Demas send greetings.
Philemon 24 – And so do Mark, Aristarchus, Demas and Luke, my fellow workers.
1. Verse 9 – Paul desired to see Timothy again before the end. It is evidence of the close relationship they had.
2. Demas – Demas is a notorious character in the Bible. Demas was previously a co-worker of Paul’s. But he deserted Paul. He gave up the ministry and left. The Greek word is “egkataleipo” and means “to abandon, desert, leave in straits, leave helpless, leave in the lurch, let one down.”
Demas did this because he loved the world. What are some examples of how a person loves the world?
Was he afraid of the persecution? Did he prefer pleasure to preaching? Did he want to make more money? Did he want fame? We don’t know the answers to these questions, although each aspect is an example of loving the world.
The word used for “world” here is “aiona.” This is different than the word John uses in 1 John, “kosmos.” The word “aiona” is related to the concept “eons of time,” the idea being that Demas chose to live for the present rather than for eternity.
Application: We should examine ourselves. If we choose the world over God, we love it more than Him. Our actions, words, and even thoughts will be judged by God. Do we choose temporary pleasure or gratification or do we have an eternal perspective? If we sing praise songs announcing our great love for God, but then choose this world instead, those words will ring hollow.
Give one example of how you can love God instead of the world this week.
3. Luke – Luke serves as a clear contrast with Demas. Luke had stuck with Paul through thick and thin. It was not any less dangerous for Luke to be with Paul than it was for Demas. But Luke didn’t leave. How can we take steps to ensure that we are more like Luke instead of Demas?
4. Verses 14-15 – We don’t know who this Alexander is. Evidently he is someone who opposed Paul and his teaching. There were many such people who stirred up trouble for Paul. Timothy apparently also knew of this case. Paul, however, would not pursue any direct action or retaliation against Alexander. He put the matter into God’s hands, knowing that God would judge this man. Timothy too need not do anything against Alexander.
Instead Paul exhorts Timothy to be on guard. A soldier who is alert will be to ready in case of any surprise attack. By being alert Timothy also could be ready in case Alexander took more action against him.
Application: If people set themselves up in opposition to us or the gospel we need not engage them. God sees. It is not our job to repay them (Romans 12:17-19.) We should pray about it and put it into his hands. At the same time, we should be wise as serpents and innocent as doves. We should not be ignorant about what goes on around us.
5. Verses 16-17 – His first defense likely refers to the first hearings at his trial. It seems that Paul hoped certain people who stand up as favorable witnesses for him. Perhaps they could give testimony in favor of Paul. Some of them might have been able to refute false claims made against Paul. Others could perhaps vouch for his character. But when the day of the trial came around, no one supported him. Likely this was because of a fear of identifying with Paul and bringing persecution onto themselves. Paul seems disappointed, and yet he is forgiving. His words echo what Jesus said on the cross, “Father forgive them because they don’t know what they are doing.”
Paul takes comfort in the fact that God was with Him. God strengthened him. People deserted him, but God did not. God had a task for him at the trial. He wanted Paul to be a witness in front of the Gentiles present. You see, God is not primarily interested in our short-term comfort. We often focus on the short-term. Like Demas, sometimes we choose the present instead of the eternal. But God always looks at the eternal. He had an eternal purpose He wanted to accomplish through Paul’s legal case.
Here we learn that it was so that “all Gentiles might hear.” Many Gentiles in court heard Paul share the gospel whereas they never would have heard it if he hadn’t been arrested and tried. Paul fulfilled the mission God had for him. Throughout the Bible we see that Paul boldly took advantage of opportunities he had to share with anyone and everyone. (Acts 25: He shares with Festus. Acts 24: He shares with Felix.) He shared even with powerful people who had the authority to imprison or kill him. It was yet another way he offered himself as a living sacrifice for God.
A. Even if other people disappoint you, God will never leave you or forsake you. We should not rely on people. If we place our trust and hope in people we will be disappointed. They may not be there for us when we want them. They may break their word. But God will stand with us. He will strengthen us. If He gives you a mission, He will also give you the resources you need to complete the mission. Our Father is the ultimate authority, but He is also our best friend. He will always be there for us.
B. God may lead us into difficulties and trials. It doesn’t mean He has abandoned us (Psalms 23). It means he has a higher purpose for us. During those times, we should ask ourselves if we are fulfilling the mission He has prepared for us.
C. We should stand by the persecuted and afflicted to encourage them when they need it. Yes, God will be with them, but perhaps He wants to use you to strengthen that person’s faith. We see in this passage Luke stayed with Paul. It is likely that Luke not only ministered to Paul’s physical needs, but also encouraged him spiritually. We have seen that God also used Onesiphorus to encourage Paul in 2 Timothy 1:16. Are you a good friend to those in need?
6. Verse 18 – We see clearly that being rescued didn’t mean Paul would be saved from the trial. It didn’t mean God would save him from death. Instead God would bring him through the trial safely to his final place of rest in God’s presence in heaven.
Application: God does not promise to save us from dangers, sickness, persecutions, etc. But he will be with us in the midst of those.
7. Verse 22 – The Lord be with your spirit. Paul was far apart from his closest disciple. But he entrusted Timothy to the Lord, knowing that the Lord loved and cared for Timothy even more than he did. We too should have the same attitude of prayer toward those we seek to minister to and with.
Application: What is one lesson you have learned from this book which you can apply. How, specifically, will you do this?
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