2 KINGS 14, 2 TIMOTHY 4, HOSEA 7, PSALM 120-122

2 Timothy 4:1-5
"Preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching."

Immediately after Paul describes the origin and purpose of Scripture in 2 Timothy 3:16-17 as "All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work”, he commands Timothy in the use of God's word. Paul uses five specific commands; preach, be ready, reprove, rebuke and exhort. We might translate these commands like this; Have your mind fixed on dynamically proclaiming the Word, using it to expose, convict and warn by bringing to light people's sin and need for repentance. Then Paul adds, you need to do this with total patience and self-restraint while explaining the full content of the Word. Writing that amplified translation caused me to think of 2 Corinthians 2:16, "Who is sufficient for these things?" If for no other reason, we should faithfully pray for those who God has called as evangelist, pastors, and teachers. But are those the only believers who Paul commands to use God's Word in this manner? Remember in 2 Timothy 3:17, the purpose of Scripture was to completely equip the man and woman of God for every good work.

The Greek word for exhort in verse two is parakaleo. The Greek word for the Holy Spirit is parakletos. Obviously, these words have a similar meaning. The word for exhort means to comfort primarily by giving exhortation or encouragement. Some translations refer to the Spirit as the Comforter. God's definition of a comforter is not that soft, warm, fluffy cover we use on our bed. In John 16:7-11 Jesus promises to send the Comforter/Helper/Spirit. "When He comes, He will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment: concerning sin, because they do not believe in me; concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father, and you will see me no longer; concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged." Since the Holy Spirit dwells in all disciples of Jesus Christ, don't you think He would use us in fulfilling this task?

The reason Timothy/we need to be this well prepared is because people don't want to have their sins brought to light. Paul says people would rather have preachers/friends who "suit their own passions." The ESV translates that word passion as desires, lusts, covet, longed for, and covetousness. The word primarily means the desire for something forbidden or extreme. So, Paul is saying people desire those who will approve of what they want no matter the consequences.

Holy Spirit, use us to further the Kingdom of our God and Father. Teach us to use Your Word as Jesus did. We believe Your Word provides us everything necessary to live Godly lives. May we not only live but speak the Truth in love.

2 Timothy 4:9-18
2 Timothy is Paul's last preserved letter. As is evident from verses 6-8, Paul anticipates his death, and he wants to see his son in the faith. So, Paul sent Tychicus to replace Timothy in Ephesus. Since Timothy is instructed to bring his cloak, books, and parchments to Troas, Paul must have been unexpectedly arrested in Troas and sent to Rome for trial. According to church history, he was beheaded there by Nero.

"May it not be charged against them!" Can you imagine having no one to support you at a time when your life is in jeopardy? But his response is forgiveness instead of anger or disappointment just like Jesus (Luke 23:34) and Steven (Acts 7:60). He may have no one physically standing by him, but he was not alone because "The Lord stood by me and strengthened me, so that through me the message might be fully proclaimed." Just as the LORD rescued Daniel from the lion's den, He saved Paul that day.

To Him be the glory forever and ever. Amen.