Final Years of Paul & Timothy (2 Timothy 24)


READ: 2 Timothy 4:9-22

When writing a letter in Paul’s day, if was common to sign your name at the start and add personal comments at the end, just the opposite of the way we write our letters today (read 2 Timothy 4:9-22).  Having said what he wanted to Timothy, Paul now includes personal greetings to friends he will never see again (verses 19-21).   He asked Mark, who he had refused to take on his second missionary journey because Mark abandoned him on the first, to come with Timothy and bring his coat and scrolls to him (verse 12-13).  Evidently Mark had matured spiritually and was now a dependable servant.  Only faithful Luke was with Paul in Rome (verse 11).  He concludes with, “The Lord be with your spirit.  Grace be with you all” (verse 22).  Grace was the theme of Paul’s whole life, and should be of ours as well.

No one knows the details of Paul’s death, but it seems certain he was beheaded in Rome during a terrible persecution by Nero.  Nero burned Rome in AD 64 and blamed the Christians, thus starting another wave of awful persecution and murder.  Because he was a Roman citizen, Paul was spared crucifixion.   Peter and his wife were crucified about this same time.  Tradition says Peter wanted to be crucified upside down because he didn’t deserve to die as His Master did.

As for Timothy, it seems he was able to join Paul in Rome about 66 AD when Timothy was about 31 years old.  He spent the rest of his life ministering in Ephesus, the very place he wanted to leave, until he was martyred.  John and Mary also lived there.  What a great help they must have been to him as well.  He died under persecutions by Domitian or Nerva, about 97 AD, when he was 62 years old.

Timothy lived a long life of service to God.  He learned from Paul and passed what he learned on to others who kept passing it on until it has come down to us today (2 Timothy 2:2; 1 Thessalonians 3:2).  He reproduced what he knew in others, training them to ministery. Timothy also had a servant’s heart and was willing to serve instead of being served (Acts 19:22).  He was available to go where God wanted him to go and ministered as a trouble-shooter to churches with problems (Acts 20:4).  The fact that he was teachable and willing to learn was important to keep him growing and staying in ministry (2 Timothy 3:10-11).  He took the things he learned and passed them on to others.

Because he shared Paul’s goals and motives, Timothy could faithfully represent Paul’s (and God’s) will and desire (Philippians 2:19-20).  Some pastors are more interested in building a name and reputation for themselves than helping others and serving where needed.  Despite the difficulties he faced, Timothy was faithful in all he did (1 Corinthians 4:17).  He continues to be a great example for all pastors today.  (July 10, 2023  Doylestown, PA)

PAUL’S ADVICE: Follow Paul and Timothy, not because they are perfect but because they followed Jesus.

1 Corinthians 4:17   I am sending to you Timothy, my son whom I love, who is faithful in the Lord. He will remind you of my way of life in Christ Jesus, which agrees with what I teach everywhere in every church.

Who are you more like, Paul or Timothy?

In what ways are you like Paul?  What problems do you face that he faced?

In what ways are you like Timothy?  What problems do you face that he faced?

What have you learned from Paul and Timothy that can help you be a better pastor?


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