Monday, May 28, 2012

2 Timothy 4:19-22

2 Timothy 4:19-22
19 Greet Prisca and Aquila, and the household of Onesiphorus. 20 Erastus stayed in Corinth, but Trophimus I have left in Miletus sick. 21 Do your utmost to come before winter. Eubulus greets you, as well as Pudens, Linus, Claudia, and all the brethren. 22 The Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit. Grace be with you. Amen.

 Vs. 19-20 This section concludes the Apostle Paul's second epistle (i.e. letter) to Timothy. Here mentioned are some of Paul's closest fellow believers coworkers, friends. Prisca and Aquila are a husband and wife couple that the Apostle Paul first met after departing from Athens and arriving in Corinth, where they too had recently arrived from Italy (Acts 18:1-4). Being both Jewish and of the same trade, the Apostle Paul stayed with them and brought them to faith in Christ. Later they themselves brought a man named Apollos into the faith (Acts 18:24-28). They also hosted a church in their home and are always mentioned favorably by the Apostle Paul, and so here the Apostle on the eve of his "departure" again sends his greetings to them (Rom 16:3; 1 Cor 6:19; 2 Tim 4:19).

Onesiphorus is only mentioned here and at the beginning of this epistle where the Apostle Paul says: 15 This you know, that all those in Asia have turned away from me, among whom are Phygellus and Hermogenes. 16 The Lord grant mercy to the household of Onesiphorus, for he often refreshed me, and was not ashamed of my chain; 17 but when he arrived in Rome, he sought me out very zealously and found me. 18 The Lord grant to him that he may find mercy from the Lord in that Day—and you know very well how many ways he ministered to me at Ephesus. 2 Tim 1:15-18
And thus Onesiphorus was a faithful man when many if not all were turning away from him.

Erastus is mentioned here as staying in Corinth (2 Tim 4:20), there is three occurrences in the N.T. of this name and it's unclear whether they all refer to the same individual. And thus if the Erastus mentioned here was the same individual who ministered to Paul along with Timothy (Acts 19:22). And whether this Erastus is the same Erastus who was a city official in Corinth (Rom 16:23) whose name is inscribed in the pavement of the ancient amphitheater there (Nelson's Bible Dictionary). Now that Erastus was from Corinth and stayed in Corinth while Paul traveled onto Ephesus gives rise to consider that at least two or possibly three of this names occurrences refer to one individual. For it seems unlikely the Apostle Paul on the eve of his own death would mention someone to Timothy whom neither knew Timothy or was not an important part of his Christian ministry and life.

Trophimus Is a Gentile Christian from Asia, i.e. Ephesus. He is first mentioned along with a group of believers who went ahead of the Apostle Paul and his ministry team to meet up with them at Troas while Paul was on his third missionary journey heading onward to Jerusalem (Acts 20:4-6). Later the unbelieving Jews in Jerusalem seeing the Apostle Paul with Trophimus in the city falsely accuse Paul of bringing Trophimus into a restricted area in the Temple which brings about Paul's eventual arrest and being taken to Rome for trial (Acts 21:27 to the end of the Book of Acts covers these events). By the Apostle Paul's mention of Trophimus to Timothy here it appears that Trophimus accompanied the Apostle Paul while Paul was being transported to Rome. That Paul left Trophimus sick in Miletus sick is not an abandonment of him by Paul. Rather one must rightly assume that Paul would've made provisions for him to remain there for his needed care. The Apostle's mentioning him to Timothy indicates that Paul had neither forgotten nor forsaken him, though again himself now imprisoned.

Vs. 21-22 Apostle Paul's exhortation to Timothy to do his best to come before winter indicates that Paul was probably writing in the late summer or early fall. Paul then mentions four brethren by name as personally greeting Timothy; Eubulus, Pudens, Linus, Claudia, and of course all the brethren. And so by them we get a sense of just how closely nit the community of believers truly was. The Apostle Paul's finial exhortation that the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit, that grace be with you is truly the greatest need of us all. For true and fulfilling companionship and love maybe found only in Jesus Christ and His love richly dwelling in us all.

Scripture Quotations
The New King James Version. Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1982

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