What Does 2 Timothy 4:5 Mean?

But you, be sober in all things, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.

2 Timothy 4:5(NASB)

Verse Thoughts

There is an urgency in this final letter from Paul which exhorts Timothy to maintain fidelity; faithfulness and endurance in his Christian service and warns him of a fast-approaching apostasy. Having reminded him of the rise of false teachers, who compromise the truth of the glorious gospel with a 'comfortable' creed, designed to tickle men's itching ears, Paul's final instruction to his 'son in the faith' is.. "but you, be sober in all things; endure hardship; do the work of an evangelist - fulfil your ministry".

Following his warning of approaching apostasy and a reminder of the soon return of Christ at His appearing, Timothy received four specific commands, First he is instructed to be sober in all things. This is not a specific reference to drinking alcohol, for Paul suggested in his earlier letter that Timothy take a little wine for the sake of his digestion.

The summon to be sober was a call to be watchful and wise, resolute and sensible in every area of life. His words and actions; decisions, temperament... and the very motives of his heart should honour the Lord Jesus and demonstrate godly consideration and concern for the spiritual well-being of others.

Timothy is then instructed to "endure suffering". He is not to search out afflictions and distressing situations, but should be willing to suffer whatever hurt or hardships come his way. Suffering afflictions for Christ's sake should be considered as part of our service to the Lord Jesus. Paul teaches elsewhere that His grace is sufficient no matter what problems; pain or persecution we may face - and that God works all thing together for our eternal good and to glorify His holy name.

Timothy's third instruction is to "do the work of an evangelist".  He was to preach the word of God, in season and out of season. He was to share the good news of the gospel of grace. He was tell others the wonderful truth that Christ died for our sin; was buried; rose from the dead and is coming again... and he was to give instruction in spiritual growth and Christian living.

It is unlikely that Paul is here referring to the spiritual gift of 'evangelist', mentioned in Acts 6, but was reminding him that like ALL believers, he needed to faithfully fulfil whatever work God had prepared for him to do, and to use every opportunity to share the good news of the gospel of Christ with those who are dead in their sin and on the path to eternal damnation.

Paul's fourth instruction to Timothy was specifically to "fulfil you ministry". He was never to give-up when difficulties arose but was to keep on to the very end and accomplish the purpose for which he had been called.

Timothy had accompanied Paul on a number of his missionary journeys and had learned many things from this great apostle to the gentiles. But as Paul's life was soon to cease, the urgency to remind Timothy to be sober in all things; to endure hardship; to do the work of an evangelist and to fulfil the sacred ministry for which he was called, was close to Paul's heart.

We many not had been with Paul and learned important truths from this apostle - but we have the word of God and the indwelling Holy Spirit Who has promised to guide us into all truth - but we also have the responsibility to heed Paul's words of warning; his instructions on living the Christlike life and to be sober in all things; endure hardship; do the work of an evangelist, and fulfil our unique ministry.

My Prayer

Heavenly Father, how blessed we are to have the living word of God which teaches; trains; convicts and corrects us... instructing us in disciplined obedience and tutoring us in righteousness. I pray that I may take to heart everything that that You would teach me through Paul's epistles. I pray that I may learn to be watchful and sober in all things; enduring hardship; doing the work of an evangelist and fulfilling my ministry. Keep me low at the cross; broken before you; protected from false teachings and enable me to fight the good fight of faith for Your praise and glory - this I ask in Jesus' name, AMEN.

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