Friday

'"I have fought the fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.'" (v.7)

2 Timothy 4:5-17 Friday 18 October 2013

Background

Timothy is a young Christian from Asia Minor (modern-day WesternTurkey), the son of a Jewish mother and a Greek father. He became acompanion to Paul assisting him in his missionary work.

The main theme of this letter is to invite Timothy to share insuffering by following the examples of Paul and Jesus Christ.

The words of this passage are Paul's final advice addressed toTimothy. But before he dies he wishes to pass on to Timothy theresponsibility of the Christian message. He knows that the nextgeneration has to take over.

Paul expects to face death as a martyr within the near future(verse 6). The phrase "poured out as a libation" refers to theRoman practice of ending meals by pouring out a cup of wine to thegods. Paul expects to give his life as a sacrifice to God.

In another reference to the end of his life, verse 7 uses imagesfrom sport. Paul looks forward to successfully completing what hehas been called to do and to receiving the victor's crown (verse8).

Today is the feast of St Luke. Only Luke, (the "beloved physician"- Colossians 4:14), was with Paul at the time hewrote this letter (verse 11). As death approaches, Paul feelsabandoned by almost everyone, just as Jesus did. He asks Timothy tocome to him and bring Mark with him. He wants to have the companyof those he knows and trusts.

"Bring the cloak I left with Carpus at Troas" is explained byPaul's wish for Timothy to join him before winter (4:21). Cloaks were used as bed covers in winteras well as for outdoor wear - this is a real contrast to Paul'sspiritual concerns.

To Ponder

  • Reflect on death, life and reward as Paul did. How do verses6-8 resonate with you?
  • To what extent are we always willing to train the nextgeneration and let them take over from us? 
  • Who do you look to for comfort and support when feelingvulnerable?
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