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The Second Epistle to TIMOTHY
1: 1 - 6.
pp. 26 - 32
We now come to Paul's last epistle, his second letter to Timothy. That this is Paul's
last divinely inspired writing, there can be no doubt. In chapter 4: 6 and 7 we read:
"For I am already on the point of being sacrificed; the time of my departure has come.
I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith" (R.S.V.).
These words are perfectly clear. They can be interpreted in no other way than that the
Apostle had reached the end of his Christ-appointed ministry and his martyrdom was near
at hand. But it has been represented that Col. 1: 25 should read: "According to the
dispensation of God which is given to me for you, to complete the Word of God", instead
of `fulfil' as the A.V. and R.V., and thus Colossians was not only the last epistle of Paul,
but also the last writing of the N.T.
However, such an idea is completely foreign to the context, where the Apostle is
dealing with his special ministry in connection with the Body of Christ which revealed
the Mystery. It was this fulfilled the Word of God relating to this exalted company of
believers. When Paul wished to refer to the Scriptures he used the words grammata and
graphe, "all Scripture is given by inspiration of God" (II Tim. 3: 16) and if the
completion of the Bible had been his subject in Col. 1:, these were the words he would
have used. The word translated `fulfil' he uses in Rom. 15: 19:
"Through mighty signs and wonders, by the power of the Spirit of God; so that from
Jerusalem, and round about unto Illyricum, I have fully preached the gospel of Christ."
He certainly did not mean that his gospel witness by voice and pen ended here because
it was completed in the sense of being finished. In Col. 1: 25 the R.S.V. rendering is `to
make the Word of God fully known'. Professor A. T. Robertson's comment here is:
"A fine phrase of a God-called preacher, to fill full and or give full scope to the Word
of God. The preacher (Paul) is an expert on the Word of God by profession. See Paul's
ideal about preaching in II Thess. 3:1" (Word Pictures of the N.T., p. 484).
Those who deny that II Timothy is Paul's last epistle take refuge in the argument that
the Apostle thought he had finished the race when he wrote this epistle, not knowing
there was a further ministry ahead of him. But if this is true, Paul made some serious
statements which proved to be mistakes on his part. If he erred here, how can we accept
any statement in this epistle as being God's truth? He might have made mistakes in other
places, in which case the very foundation of Truth is undermined. This idea must be
resisted at all costs.
Furthermore much is made of the fact that the word "mystery" does not occur in
II Timothy. But then neither do the words `redemption', `hope' and others that are vital