Copyright ©2018 Keith Holder, Rays of Light Bible Lessons. All Rights Reserved.

Rays of Light Bible Lessons by Keith Holder

PAUL'S CLOSING COMMENTS

2 Tim 4:9-13 Do thy diligence to come shortly unto me: for Demas hath forsaken me, having loved this present world, and is departed unto Thessalonica; Crescens to Galatia, Titus unto Dalmatia. Only Luke is with me. Take Mark, and bring him with thee: for he is profitable to me for the ministry. And Tychicus have I sent to Ephesus. The cloke that I left at Troas with Carpus, when thou comest, bring with thee, and the books, but especially the parchments.

Imprisoned in Rome, the apostle Paul was awaiting sure death at the hands of the Roman government's executioners. With these last few words, he concludes this second letter to Timothy, his young fellow soldier in Christ, who was currently ministering to the church of Christ in Ephesus. Realizing death was near, Paul requests that Timothy earnestly endeavor to come visit him, in his Roman prison, just as soon as possible. This confirms Paul's opening comments in this letter. There, he thanked God and told Timothy, I have remembrance of thee in my prayers night and day; greatly desiring to see thee, being mindful of thy tears, that I may be filled with joy (2 Tim. 1:3-4). No doubt, the few days before his sure death, Paul felt forsaken, and needed the comfort of one of his dearest friends and fellow gospel ministers, Timothy.

Paul was alone in a Roman prison. Seemingly almost all other companions had abandoned him. Demas hath forsaken me, having loved this present world, and is departed unto Thessalonica. Mentioned in Colossians 4:14, and Philemon 24 as a fellow-laborer, Demas, having been a companion of Paul in Rome, had abandoned him. Paul gives us the reason for his departure as having loved this present world. Whether this meant that Demas was lured back into the world by its sinful allure, or whether he would receive the same fate of Paul if he remained with him, is all merely speculation. This we know: he loved the world more that he loved, and was devoted to, laboring with Paul, to preach, and promote, the cause of Jesus Christ. Other than what is written here, nothing else is known about Demas' fate.

Although nothing is known of them from this time forward, Crescens had departed to Galatia, and Titus left Paul to go to Dalmatia. Since the same accusation was not made of these two companions of Paul as it was concerning Demas, it can be assumed that they had his blessing, and may have been dispatched by Paul to preach the gospel of Christ in Galatia and Dalmatia. Paul continues by writing that only Luke is with me. All others had either been sent away by Paul with missionary responsibilities to preach the gospel of Christ, or they had abandoned him, and service to God, for fear of losing their lives, preferring to live in worldliness. Luke remained Paul's only companion at this time. Luke had accompanied Paul on his second and third missionary journeys, and had returned with him to Jerusalem. Luke was with Paul at the time of this writing, but we are not told whether he accompanied Paul, when he returned to Rome as a prisoner, or whether he came to serve his needs at a later time.

Timothy was asked by Paul to take Mark, and bring him with thee: for he is profitable to me for the ministry. Mark, a nephew of Barnabas, was to be used in the ministry of Christ. However, for some unknown reason, he desired to leave their service for a time. Because of this incident, his departure brought contention between Paul and Barnabas resulting in them going in different directions to minister for the cause of Christ (See Acts 15:36-39). Ironically, any differences Paul and Mark had most certainly been resolved, because, at the time of this writing, Paul desired to see Mark again, and considered him to be profitable to me for the ministry. Continuing his closing comments, Paul says: And Tychicus have I sent to Ephesus. This was a beloved brother and faithful minister in the Lord that had been sent by Paul to the members of church of Christ in Ephesus, possibly to deliver a message to them, and to let them know my affairs, and how I do (Eph. 6:21).

Paul also gave Timothy this instruction: The cloke that I left at Troas with Carpus, when thou comest, bring with thee, and the books, but especially the parchments. While at Troas, and probably at the home of his host, Carpus, Paul had left certain things that were dear and needful to him while imprisoned. With winter approaching (2 Tim. 4:21), his cloak was needed. Manuscripts possibly written by himself or others, and parchments on which letters were written by, or to, him were also dear to Paul. No doubt these were useful in his service to Christ. They were needed, in order to continue his ministry as long as possible, and he probably desired to preserve them, by passing them along to his fellow gospel preachers.