14 Alexander the coppersmith did me much harm. May the Lord repay him according to his works.
15 You also must beware of him, for he has greatly resisted our words.
16 At my first defense no one stood with me, but all forsook me. May it not be charged against them.
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.
18 And the Lord will deliver me from every evil work and preserve me for His heavenly kingdom. To Him be glory forever and ever. Amen!
Alexander the coppersmith (v.14) — a coppersmith was any worker in metal — Alexander was probably involved in making statues of Diana. Paul’s gospel was hurting his trade. likely the same man mentioned in 1 Timothy 1:20 and/or Acts 19:33-34
did (v14) = showed — not just evil words but evil acts
reward (v.14) — Greek indicates a statement of future fact, not a wish or desire
withstood (v.15) = set oneself against
first defense (v.16) — by his first defense is probably to be understood his first appearance before the imperial tribunal in connection with his last trial. it may be, however, that a twofold charge was made against him, the one, of taking part in the conflagration at Rome (A.D. 64), the other, of treason, shown by hostility to the established customs of society and by weakening the Imperial authority. — Vine, page 228
Other commentaries believe the first defense is a reference to Paul’s trail at his first imprisonment, the one that resulted in his freedom for a time.
defense (v.16) = lit. “to talk oneself off from” — a Greek legal term for a verbal defense in a trial — talking “oneself off from” a charge
stood (v.16) — a technical word used for one who appeared in court on behalf of the accused, an advocate
stood (v.17) = stood alongside — translated “assist” in Romans 16:2
that the message might be preached fully through me (v.17) — Paul, in his defense at his trial, probably preached the gospel (see Acts 9:15-16)
preached (v.17) = a public proclamation by an official heralds
out of the mouth of the lion (v.17) — The expression “I was delivered out of the mouth of the lion,” is an echo of our Lord’s words in Psalm 22:21 where He, while hanging on the Cross, prays to be delivered from the lion’s mouth, namely from death, His humiliation. Hebrews 5:7 (Greek text) makes it clear that our Lord was not praying to be saved from death, that is, saved from dying, but, out of death, that is, saved from the grip of death, namely, to be raised out from among the dead. Paul’s humiliation in these circumstances would be his defeat at the hands of Satan when all his friends had let him down, and he would fail to proclaim the gospel from the pulpit of the then known world. — Wuest, page 170
deliver me from every evil work (v.18) — in the Greek, the evil is only possible here, while in verse 17, the danger is immediate
deliver (v.18) = to draw oneself out of harm’s way
evil work (v.18) — evil, here, is active opposition to the good — the tense of “work” indicates the subjective, an act committed by Paul himself — so, an evil deed of Paul’s own doing — failing to preach the gospel
heavenly kingdom (v.18) — The word “heavenly,” here, is the Greek epouraneous and refers to the “heavenly places” where, by grace, we are seated in Christ (Ephesians 2:6) and are blessed with “all spiritual blessings” (Ephesians 1:3). Thus the “kingdom” is that in which believers today already enjoy a place positionally. The apostle refers to this in Colossians 1:13.
The kingdom of God’s dear Son will one day encompass the earth, where He will reign over Israel and the nations for a thousand years, but we, His heavenly people, will not reign on earth at that time. Rather we will reign over it, much as “the principalities and powers in heavenly places” do now.
Thus the believing member of the Body of Christ, even in the face of death, may triumphantly look forward to deliverance from the adversities, sorrows and temptations of this life, and preservation “unto His heavenly kingdom.” — Stam, pages 227-228