2 Timothy 4

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2 Timothy 4:2 reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine

Neal A. Maxwell
"To exhort isn't simply to scold, though it sometimes may include that; but it involves tender beseeching, entreating, and comforting. The long-suffering prescribed includes not only patience but also forbearance with another while he or she is in the untidy process of trying to set things right. These and other doctrines are needed to help produce such 'a change of mind.' No wonder the Lord said we, His servants, are to 'teach the doctrine[s] of the kingdom' (D&C 88:77), which are especially powerful (see Alma 31:5)." (Lord, Increase Our Faith [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1994], 97.)

2 Timothy 4:3 the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine

M. Russell Ballard
"Early Christians endured the challenges of persecution and hardship. Peter and his brethren had a difficult time holding the Church together and keeping the doctrine pure. They traveled extensively and wrote to one another about the problems they were facing, but information moved so slowly and the Church and its teachings were so new that heading off false teachings before they became firmly entrenched was difficult.
"The New Testament indicates that the early Apostles worked hard to preserve the church that Jesus Christ left to their care and keeping, but they knew their efforts would ultimately be in vain. Paul wrote to the Thessalonian Saints, who were anxiously anticipating the second coming of Christ, that 'that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first' (2 Thes. 2:3). He also warned Timothy that 'the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; ... And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables' (2 Tim. 4:3-4)." ("Restored Truth," Ensign, Nov. 1994, 65-66)

2 Timothy 4:3 after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears

Itching ears are ears which long to hear that which is pleasing to 'the carnal mind' (Alma 30:53). The terrible itching can only be soothed with the salve of doctrinal flattery spoken of in the Book of Mormon (Jacob 7:4). Samuel the Lamanite described this phenomenon among the people of Zarahemla saying, ' behold, if a man shall come among you and shall say: Do this, and there is no iniquity; do that and ye shall not suffer; yea, he will say: Walk after the pride of your own hearts; yea, walk after the pride of your eyes, and do whatsoever your heart desireth-and if a man shall come among you and say this, ye will receive him, and say that he is a prophet...because he speaketh flattering words unto you, and he saith that all is well' (Hel. 13:27-28).
George A. Smith
"These false teachers have a strong hold on the minds of the people; the rulers bear rule by their means, and most of the people love to have it so. If anybody comes to change this order of things, almost every man is up in arms against him. They are so perfectly organized that it takes but a few devils to keep them in subjection.
"This makes me think of an old Chinese fable. A man travelling through the country came to a large city, very rich and splendid; he looked at it and said to his guide, 'This must be a very righteous people, for I can only see but one little devil in this great city.'
"The guide replied, 'You do not understand, sir. This city is so perfectly given up to wickedness, corruption, degradation, and abomination of every kind, that it requires but one devil to keep them all in subjection.'" (Journal of Discourses, 26 vols. [London: Latter-day Saints' Book Depot, 1854-1886], 5: 363.)

2 Timothy 4:4 they shall turn away their ears from the truth

Neal A. Maxwell
"A dying civilization can, of course, be annoyed by the living Church. People who are cut to the very center by the truth, the laser of our Lord that emanates from the living Church, will gladly 'turn away their ears from the truth, and be turned unto fables' (2 Tim. 4:4) it is so much less painful." (Cory H. Maxwell, ed., The Neal A. Maxwell Quote Book [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1997], 354.)

2 Timothy 4:6 I am now ready to be offered

"'The time of my departure is at hand' (2 Tim. 4:6). This tells how serious Paul's feelings were as he wrote his last letter to Timothy, and also how seriously anyone ought to read his convictions written in the shadow of eternity. He had suffered in many prisons and had faced death many times. Now the Spirit whispered that his mission was finished, and he wrote with the realization that Nero had made Christian blood cheap. Indeed, what could he expect but to walk to Calvary with the Master, who promised nothing less to his apostles? But, like the Lord, on the eve of his death he continued to pour out precious counsel to those about him. He asked for some help but repaid it by giving the strength of his mind and spirit, not complaining but building up others to the end. Paul's final example of courage is as precious as are the words of his letter. His faith glows so strongly that it is easy to read 2 Timothy without realizing the grim conditions under which it was written." (Richard Lloyd Anderson, Understanding Paul [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1983], 365.)

2 Timothy 4:7 I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith

Elder Alma Sonne
"I think of Paul, the apostle. We are told he was a little man, like the soldier boy, but intellectually he was a giant. He towered head and shoulders above his fellows. He shook the very foundations of skepticism and complacency in the cities and provinces which he visited. He carried light and truth to a heathen people. He appeared on the scene fourteen or fifteen years after the crucifixion of the Savior. The unbelievers and the cynics found it very difficult to dispose of him. He had no ulterior motives. He laid his worldly treasures and his earthly ambitions on the altar for the gospel's sake, as he put it.
"His penetrating testimony has baffled his foes, past and present. It is reverberating throughout the world and is rankling in the souls of those who deny and will not believe in the true and living God. Finally, he stood before the bar of Nero, a blood-thirsty tyrant who had murdered his own mother, his wives, and his best benefactors. The scene illustrates the irony of human life. On the judgment seat sat the wickedest man in a wicked world. Before him stood the prisoner Paul, the servant of God, probably the best man the world contained. The execution was ordered and carried out, but how empty, after all, was the victory.
"Paul still lives in the hearts of millions. His light still shines. His letters and admonitions are still read. They are the very heart and center of the Christian faith. His valedictory, my friends, is magnificent:
'I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith:
Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness . . .' (2 Tim. 4:7-8)
"That is not the strain of the vanquished. It is a triumphant shout of victory. Paul lives. His testimony lives, and the light which emanated from him and from God is still shining in the world."
Marvin J. Ashton
"Greatness is best measured by how well an individual responds to the happenings in life that appear to be totally unfair, unreasonable, and undeserved. Sometimes we are inclined to put up with a situation rather than endure. To endure is to bear up under, to stand firm against, to suffer without yielding, to continue to be, or to exhibit the state or power of lasting.
"Day by day we can make the effort to gain the power to last and to suffer without yielding. Inspiration and motivation are found in many places...I pray that God will help us to endure well, with purpose and power. When we so do, the meaningful declaration in 2 Timothy 4:7 will take on a new dimension:
'I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith.'
"When heartaches, tragedies, disappointments, injury, unusual attention, fame, or excessive prosperity become part of our lives, our challenges and responsibilities will be to endure them well. God will assist us in our quest to conquer, triumph, and continue if we humbly rededicate ourselves to the meaningful declaration 'We have endured many things, and hope to be able to endure all things.' (Articles of Faith 1:13.)" (Be of Good Cheer [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1987], 22.)

2 Timothy 4:8 Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness

Joseph Smith
"No one who believes the account will doubt for a moment this assertion of Paul which was made, as he knew, just before he was to take his leave of this world. Though he once, according to his own word, persecuted the Church of God and wasted it, yet after embracing the faith his labors were unceasing to spread the glorious news. And like a faithful soldier, when called to give his life in the cause which he had espoused, he laid it down, as he says, with an assurance of an eternal crown.
"Follow the labors of this apostle from the time of his conversion to the time of his death, and you will have a fair sample of industry and patience in promulgating the gospel of Christ. Whipped, stoned, and derided, the moment he escaped the hands of his persecutors he as zealously as ever proclaimed the doctrine of the Savior. And all may know that he did not embrace the faith for the honor of this life, nor for the gain of earthly goods. What, then, could have induced him to undergo all this toil? It was, as he said, that he might obtain that crown of righteousness from the hand of God. No one, we presume, will doubt the faithfulness of Paul to the end. None will say that he did not keep the faith, that he did not fight the good fight, that he did not preach and persuade to the last. And what was he to receive? A crown of righteousness. And what shall others receive who do not labor faithfully and continue to the end? We leave such to search out their own promises, if any they have. And if they have any they are welcome to them, on our part, for the Lord says that every man is to receive according to his works. Reflect for a moment, brethren, and enquire whether you would consider yourselves worthy [for] a seat at the marriage feast with Paul and others like him if you had been unfaithful. Had you not fought the good fight and kept the faith, could you expect to receive? Have you a promise of receiving a crown of righteousness from the hand of the Lord with the Church of the Firstborn? Here, then, we understand that Paul rested his hope in Christ, because he had kept the faith and loved his appearing; and from his hand he had a promise of receiving a crown of righteousness." (Kent P. Jackson, comp. and ed., Joseph Smith's Commentary on the Bible [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1994], 184 - 185.)
Thomas S. Monson
"At the end of our mortal journey, may we be able to echo the words of Paul: 'I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith.' (2 Timothy 4:7.) By so doing we shall be given that 'crown of righteousness' which perisheth not, and hear the plaudit from our Eternal Judge: 'Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.' (Matthew 25:21.)
"Each will then have completed his journey, not to a nebulous 'Anywhere,' but to his heavenly home-even eternal life in the celestial kingdom of God." (Be Your Best Self [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1979], 53.)

2 Timothy 4:10 Demas hath forsaken me, having loved this present world

Alexander B. Morrison
"One of the saddest statements in all of Paul's writings is found in his second letter to his beloved Timothy. 'For Demas hath forsaken me,' wrote Paul from Rome, 'having loved this present world' (2 Tim. 4:10).
"I have often wondered and worried about what happened to Demas. He is mentioned in two of Paul's earlier letters- to the Colossians and to Philemon. He had obviously been a useful and loved companion in the work. Why did he forsake the cause he had once embraced? Did he perhaps tire of the discipline needed for Christian commitment?
"Was he overcome by the selfishness of the natural man, and, looking back to old ways and old habits, did he become unfit for the kingdom of God? (See Luke 9:62.) Perhaps he was seduced by one or more of the temptations of the flesh. Certainly Demas did not endure to the end; but losing his grip on the iron rod, he fell away into the dark and filthy torrent of the world. Remembering the Savior's admonition to seek after and bring back the lost lamb, how Paul must have wept and grieved over Demas.
"Though our world of the late twentieth century is much different from that in which Paul lived, there are many who represent the modern counterparts of Demas. Having loved too much this present world, thinking more of themselves than of the Savior, they slip away from the Church and kingdom of God, forsaking the sweet and satisfying fruits of fellowship with the Saints for the tinsel and glitter of the world's tawdry counterfeits. With no 'deepness of earth' they are soon scorched and wither away (see Matt. 13:5-6). For some such 'social saints,' the root of the problem is selfishness, an unwillingness to 'give away all [their] sins to know [Christ]' (see Alma 22:18)." (Zion: A Light in the Darkness [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1997], 65.)

2 Timothy 4:11 Only Luke is with me

"Paul had arrived in Rome in the spring and was imprisoned two years, with a probable release at the beginning of the travel season of A.D. 63 (Acts 28:30-31). The angel's prophecy said he would stand 'before Caesar' (Acts 27:24), which he apparently did before leaving Rome. Why didn't Luke write the rest of the story [of Paul's life]? The best explanation for breaking off writing is that he was too busy making history to write it. This missionary-recorder must have been involved in the labors of the final years. After joining in greetings at the end of Colossians and Philemon, Luke does not appear again until the painful notice that he is the only one present to support Paul in his final crisis (2 Tim. 4:11). Christians high and low were then being executed. If Luke did record the last years, his work probably perished with him in the brutal events surrounding 2 Timothy. So the Pastoral Letters stand alone in this closing era." (Richard Lloyd Anderson, Understanding Paul [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1983], 316.)

2 Timothy 4:11 Mark...is profitable to me for the ministry

"When Paul and Barnabas, by the influence of the Holy Ghost, were called and set apart to go on a mission, they took with them John Mark, a lad filled with faith and zeal. (Acts 12:25.) At Perga, for some unstated reason, John Mark left them and went back to Jerusalem. (Acts 13:13.) Paul's feeling about the matter was that there was no excuse for Mark's turning back. So strong was Paul's disapproval that he refused to take Mark with him on a second journey. (Acts 15:37-41.) So Paul took Silas instead, and Mark went with Barnabas to Cyprus...
"It seems also that Mark reestablished himself in the eyes of Paul, for in the letter to the Colossians, Paul asked the congregation to make Mark welcome. (Col. 4:10.) If this is the same Mark, then it appears that Paul wanted to be sure that Mark's former behavior would not be held against him. Mark had proved himself by his works.
"In his last letter, Paul, while facing martyrdom, wrote a very moving statement to Timothy: 'Take Mark, and bring him with thee: for he is profitable to me for the ministry.' (2 Tim. 4:11.)
"When confined to the loneliness of a prison cell, Paul, facing execution, wanted Mark by his side-Mark, who had previously disappointed him, but who had since that time exemplified faithfulness and loyalty." (Curtis E. Ledbetter, "The Shepherd's Flock," Ensign, Apr. 1973, 11)

2 Timothy 4:13 The cloke...when thou comest , bring with thee, and the books, but especially the parchments

"The Roman dungeon was no doubt chilly, particularly in the winter, and Paul needed a cloak. He also wanted something to read, and especially desired some writing materials. There is a note of sadness in Paul's words. He is not discouraged but is probably lonesome. There can be no mistaking the great love that Paul had for his young companion, whom he wished to have with him at the time of his last imprisonment. Paul was probably executed just outside of Rome soon after sending his letter to Timothy. We are not informed whether or not Timothy was able to reach him before Paul's death." (Robert J. Matthews, Behold the Messiah [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1994], 331.)
"As to the content of the books (literally, rolls of papyrus) and parchments, we can only surmise; but does it require too great a stretch of the imagination to reason that they contained portions of the holy scripture? Surely after a lifetime of immersion in the scriptures, Paul would want to spend his last days and weeks in pondering once again upon those inspired messages that had so forcefully shaped his life." (Robert L. Millet, Selected Writings of Robert L. Millet: Gospel Scholars Series [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 2000], 3.)
Marion D. Hanks
"He was cold and alone, he wanted his coat and his friends, he missed his beloved books, but he especially wanted the parchments! He had something he had to say, and since the time was at hand when he was 'ready to be offered ... the time of departure,' he had to put it in writing for his people and for us." ("Failing Never: What the Apostles Teach Us about Love," Ensign, Sept. 1975, 74)

2 Timothy 4:14-16 Alexander the coppersmith did me much evil

Spencer W. Kimball
"A mark of true greatness is the forgiving heart. Consider the life of Paul. Though he may not have been perfect, he was a most righteous man after his conversion. He gave us a beautiful example of forgiving others. He recalled: 'Alexander the coppersmith did me much evil: the Lord reward him according to his works.' (2 Tim. 4:14.)
"Paul was willing to leave the judgment and penalty to the Lord, who would be wise and just. In spite of all he suffered at the hands of oppressors, some of whom were his own false brethren, he was not consumed and scorched with hate or bitterness or rancor. Quite the reverse.
"To the Corinthians he urged the very traits he had so fully developed in himself. (2 Cor. 11:23-28.) Here we have the noble Paul who had suffered much from his contemporaries Paul, who had been tortured with beatings, who had suffered incarceration in many prisons; Paul, who had received two hundred stripes across his back, who had been beaten with rods; Paul, who had been stoned and left for dead, and who had three times been shipwrecked and had struggled many hours in the water; Paul, who had suffered from robbers and had been hidden from his pursuers and had escaped in a basket over the wall this Paul who had suffered so much at the hands of others came near the end of his life with a forgiving heart and said: 'At my first answer no man stood with me, but all men forsook me: I pray God that it may not be, laid to their charge.' (2 Tim. 4:16. Italics added.)" (The Miracle of Forgiveness [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1969], 278-279)

2 Timothy 4:17 the Lord stood with me

"In his first imprisonment, Paul had been well treated, partly because he had been accused by Jews of offenses that the Romans took somewhat lightly. Now the Jews in Palestine were in definite disfavor because of their rebellion; and Paul the Jew was in prison for a pretended offense against the Romans. The Apostle was even chained to his prison as a criminal. (2 Tim. 2:9) It is true that his friends were allowed to see him, but he seems to have done no preaching. Even some of his friends found it difficult, if not dangerous, to find him...So perilous was Paul's situation that no one dared to stand by him at his first hearing or at the first stage of his trial, called by the Romans the primo actio. (2 Tim. 4:16) But the Lord stood by him, as he says, and at his first hearing the Apostle did so well that he was 'delivered out of the mouth of the lion.' (2 Tim. 4:17)." (Sidney B. Sperry, Paul's Life and Letters [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1955], 297.)