18 October 2014

2 Timothy 4: 5-17

“I have fought the good fight. I have finished the race. I have kept the faith.” (v. 7)


Today is designated the Feast of Saint Luke the Evangelist, so why are we reading Paul's second letter to Timothy? And why do we hear a great deal about Paul and so little about Luke?

As we grow older we tend to think back on life and appreciate some of the people who have influenced us and been part of our journey. Here Paul is summing up his life, clearly understanding that the end may not be far off and he needs to make some kind of record of those who have helped him along the way. Timothy himself was one of those people. Paul had known him since he was a child, had taken him on some of his journeys and had mentored him and watched him grow into a leader in the church. He thought very highly of Timothy. So Paul sums up his own life with the familiar words, 'I have finished the race. I have kept the faith,' and then goes on to commend certain people to Timothy. Among them is Luke.

We know Luke for his Gospel and his authorship of the book of Acts, but at this point Paul is commending him - in five words - for his faithful companionship and for the care he has given on their journeys. "Only Luke is with me," he says (v. 11), but those words say a great deal. Others may have left, but Luke intended to be faithful to Paul. He had travelled with him before, but he was also with him on the journey to Rome that would lead to Paul's death. In Colossians 4:14, Luke is described as a doctor. And Paul also refers to Luke as a "fellow-worker" in verse 24 of Philemon.

This information on him seems very sparse, but Paul clearly valued Luke. Add our knowledge of him as a writer and there is every reason to give thanks and celebrate such a caring, hard-working servant of God. Paul did.

To Ponder

  • Who are the people who have accompanied you on your journey of faith and how did they help?
  • Why do you think we should celebrate saint's days?
  • Who would you celebrate as someone who has been a saint in your life?

Bible notes author

Marjorie Dobson

Marjorie Dobson is a local preacher and a writer of hymns, prayers, poetry and short dramatic pieces for use in worship. She particularly enjoys writing character pieces - 'getting under the skin of the real person that hides in the shadows of a good story'.