I too believe this passage is timely, so let’s look at it ‘verse by verse’ using the NKJV.

Verse 1: “I charge you therefore before God and the Lord Jesus Christ, who will judge the living and the dead at His appearing and His kingdom.” The apostle Paul knew that he was soon to be martyred for his faith in Christ (see verse 6), and before he seals his testimony in blood he gives Timothy a most weighty charge. Paul did so “before God,” knowing that God would be watching to see if Timothy would follow through on this charge. He also gave him this charge knowing it was only a matter of time and the Lord Jesus Christ would return to “judge the living and the dead.” He will “judge the living” at THE BEGINNING His Millennial Kingdom (see Matthew 25:31-46) and He will “judge the dead” at THE END of His Kingdom reign (see Revelation 20:5-15). As Timothy fulfilled this charge he was to keep the Lord’s appearing and kingdom before him. This holds true for EVERY BELIEVER, for Paul’s charge applies to us too.

Verse 2: “Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching.” Timothy was to be constantly “preaching the Word.” At times it may not seem to be fitting, but that it is just the enemy of our souls whispering in our ears, “Wait for a more convenient season to proclaim the Word.” Our preaching will include CONVINCING (exposing what is false), REBUKING (admonishing those who are teaching error), and EXHORTING (encouraging God’s people to remain faithful to the truth). All was to be done with LONGSUFFERING and TEACHING (with patience towards those who are caught up in error with a view of instructing them and delivering them from error—see 2nd Timothy 2:24-26).

Verses 3-4: “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables.” I have no doubt you had these verses especially in mind, for surely “the time” that Paul warned of here is “now upon us.” We are seeing the fulfillment of these words all around us as we witness men and women boldly denying the truth of Scripture and rejecting those who preach it. Yet because they are still religious by nature, they put on a façade of religion by hiring certain men to teach them. But what are they hired to teach? Not the Word, but FABLES (FALSE TEACHINGS such as evolution that exalt man and leave God out of their thinking). Paul warned of such men and their wicked doctrines in Colossians 2:8, “Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ.” How sad that there are many today who do not heed this warning, but rather they gladly “heap up for themselves teachers” who will “tell them what they WANT to hear,” instead of “telling them what they NEED to hear.”

Verse 5: “But you be watchful in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.” Timothy was NOT to be discouraged as he saw this deplorable state of things develop around him. He would be persecuted for being faithful, so he is told to “endure afflictions.” He should continue to “hold forth the Word of life” to the unsaved (see Philippians 2:16); that is, to “do the work of an evangelist.” If he took to heart the apostle’s message and acted on it, he would indeed “fulfill his ministry” (the service the Lord had committed to him). Again, though these words were given directly to Timothy, they are meant for us as well. May we take them to heart and “fulfill the ministry” the Lord has committed to us. (292.3) (DO)