2 Timothy 4
Paul’s Charge for Timothy (4:1-5)
Paul, with the End in View, Reflecting on His Ministry and Companions (4:6-18)
- Demas. The first was “Demas”, whose name is mentioned in Philemon and in Colossians 4 without any commendation, which was very unusual for Paul.3 By the time we come to 2 Timothy, Demas had been fully swept along with the tide that had turned against Paul (2 Tim. 1:15), and now Paul had to say that Demas had forsaken him. It does not say Demas forsook Christ, but that he forsook Paul; i.e. he remained a Christian, but had no use for Paul. The reason was that Demas “loved the present age”, in contrast with loving Christ’s appearing (v.8). Paul’s ministry has a profound practical significance in that is demands separation from the world. Demas forsook Paul because it was incompatible with his priorities. How sad! This grieved Paul deeply.
- Crescens. Another fellow servant named Crescens is mentioned, and this is the only reference to him, as having departed to Galatia, perhaps on some service for the Lord. With Crescens and Titus there is no accusing comment, although it would seem that Paul wished they had remained with him.
- Titus. Here we have another delegate of the apostle Paul, to whom a pastoral epistle is addressed. Titus, who apparently had finished his work in Crete (Tit. 1:5), had departed to Dalmatia, most likely on some mission.
- Luke. Paul notes that Luke, “the beloved physician” (Col. 4:14) and companion of Paul, and also the New Testament prophet who wrote the gospel of Luke and Acts, had remained with Paul to the very end. How gracious of the Lord to preserve a devoted friend at Paul’s side, especially one who could care for the aged apostle near the end.
- Mark. We have a wonderful comment concerning John Mark.
Mark, or "John, whose surname was Mark", as he is called in Acts 12:12; 12:25; 15:37, was a servant of Christ and a New Testament writer. When we first read of John Mark, we find that his mother, Mary, opened her home up for a prayer meeting. Later in the same chapter, we find that Paul and Barnabas took John Mark with them on the first missionary journey. However, part way along the journey (when they reached the coast of Asia Minor), John Mark abandoned Paul and Barnabas. On account of this, Paul refused to take John Mark on the second missionary journey; "But Paul thought not good to take him with them, who departed from them from Pamphylia, and went not with them to the work" (Acts 15:38). Barnabas disagreed with Paul, and the two servants were separated over the issue. Barnabas took Mark with him, and Paul took Silas. Evidently Mark was restored from his previous failures, and used in broader service (Col. 4:10). Mark was later used to write the gospel of Mark, which fittingly presents Christ as the Perfect Servant. Being shepherded by Peter may have had something to do with Mark's restoration (1 Pet. 5:13). In his second epistle to Timothy, Paul could say, "Take Mark, and bring him with thee: for he is profitable to me for the ministry" (2 Tim. 4:11). Mark is a testament to the fact that failures don't necessarily mean the end of our usefulness for Christ. Perhaps Mark was timid (like Timothy), but more likely his failure was publicly known, and so Paul "ordered" the Colossians to receive Mark if he visited Colosse.
- Tychicus. The final name is Tychicus, who was “a beloved brother and faithful minister in the Lord” from Asia (Eph. 6:21; Acts 20:4), who could be trusted with various commissions and was able to relate Paul’s state to many saints that prayed for him (Col 4:7). Here we find that Tychicus was sent by Paul to Ephesus, perhaps to join Timothy there. It is noteworthy that Crescens and Titus “departed” on the own responsibility before the Lord, but Tychicus was sent by Paul.
Three individuals mentioned in Colossians 4 and 2 Timothy 4:
- Luke: began well, and finished well.
- Mark: had an early failure, but was restored, and finished well.
- Demas: began well, but drifted away, and forsook Paul in the end.
- Galatians 6:18. When we have been carrying on in a legal way, and when we have been corrected.
- Philippians 4:23. When there are disagreements between brethren.
- Philemon 25. When we are called on to forgive someone who has offended us.
- 2 Timothy 4:22. When we look around and see failure in a day of public ruin.
- “the desire to hear what pleases the mind, the taste, and the natural aspirations of man, modified as all is by the governing spirit of the age” – Kelly, W. The Second Epistle to Timothy.
- But that battle of which the apostle speaks is the honourable combat which befits the soul set free, who has Christ before him, and has to face in his measure what Christ faced in the days of His flesh. It is the holy struggle for God’s glory in a hostile world, end not merely the struggling against self in the despairing strife of Rom. 7. – Kelly, W. The Second Epistle to Timothy.
- Another reason nothing critical is said of Demas in Colossians is that Paul refrained from naming bad characters in letters to assemblies, but felt free to do so when writing to individuals, such as Timothy whom he trusted greatly.