“Delivered out of the mouth of the lion”—2 Timothy 4:17

2 Timothy 4:17 (NKJV)

17 But the Lord stood with me and strengthened me, so that the message might be preached fully through me, and that all the Gentiles might hear. Also I WAS DELIVERED OUT OF THE MOUTH OF THE LION. 

As Paul approaches the end of his life, he recounts his ordeals in the work of the ministry and the persecutions he faced. The Lord had kept Paul safe, even in the face of trials. He speaks of being “delivered out of the mouth of the lion.

The “lion” here would simply be figurative for extreme danger, faced at the hands of oppressors. It was common practice amongst the Jews to compare persecutors to wild animals.

Psalm 22:12-13 (NKJV)

12 MANY BULLS have surrounded Me; STRONG BULLS OF BASHAN HAVE ENCIRCLED ME. 13 They gape at Me with their mouths, LIKE A RAGING AND ROARING LION.

Vs. 21

21 Save Me from THE LION’S MOUTH and from the HORNS OF THE WILD OXEN! You have answered Me.

So Paul had been delivered from adversaries (the lion’s mouth) multiple times, and this was chiefly due to the saints’ intercession for him.

Paul often told the Churches he wrote to, “Pray for us” (see 1 Thess 5:25, 2 Thess 3:1). The “us” are the Church leaders, those who laboured in the propagation of the Gospel.

In 2 Thessalonians, he tells the saints at Thessalonica to pray for their deliverance from “unreasonable and wicked men” (2 Thess 3:1-2). These are the “lions,” those who opposed the course of the Gospel.

If the saints will simply pray, deliverance will be wrought on behalf of their leaders.


© Josh Banks Ministries. 2022.


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