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TO COME TO ME SOON: Spoudason (2SAMM) elthein (AAN) pros me tacheos:
(2Ti 4:21; 1:4)
Other translations -
Do your best to come to me before long (BBE)
Make every effort
spoude [word study] = earnestness,
diligence) means to do something hurriedly, with the implication of
associated energy and readiness to expend that energy.
11x in 11v - Gal 2:10; Eph 4:3; 1 Thess 2:17; 2 Tim 2:15; 4:9, 21; Titus
3:12; Heb 4:11; 2 Pet 1:10, 15; 3:14. NAS = diligent(6), eager(2), make
primarily of an attitude which is associated with or which leads to
action. To hasten to. To hurry to. To do quickly. To use speed, make
effort, be prompt, be earnest. To manifest zealous persistence to
accomplish an objective.
Hurry and get here (Timothy)! Earnestly endeavour (Timothy)!
Like a commanding general to his junior officers, Paul gives this command (aorist
conveys a sense of urgency. Do this now! Don't delay!
context we know that Paul is about to die and that he is writing
presumably from a cold, dark, dank dungeon in Rome, so that is natural
that he would long for the presence of his beloved son (2Ti 1:2-note), his true child in the faith (1Ti 1:2).
The immediate reason for Paul's desire to see Timothy is most clearly
explained by the preposition for in the next verse.
It is worth noting that while Paul
did not depend on others to meet his needs (cp Php 4:11, 12-note,
he did desire the companionship and encouragement of other like-minded
believers. Timothy especially would be a tremendous source of
refreshment to his wearied soul during the last days of his earthly
If you've ever been
deserted by someone you considered faithful (cp Demas below) you know how
Paul must have felt. Seeing Timothy would affirm that he was still
fighting the good fight of faith and had not deserted the ranks.
Napoleon Bonaparte was a man
who sought greatness, but ended his life imprisoned because the peace of
the world demanded it. In prison he had the remembrance of homes and
cities that he had wrecked in pursuit of world conquest. His efforts
shed rivers of blood. As he came to the end of his life, the saddest
words Napoleon ever uttered were...
I wonder if there is anyone in the
world who really loves me?
A man is truly fortunate in this life
if he has a few friends on whom he can utterly rely. In our day and age
this is a rare thing. We are all so rushed, rushing to work and back to
family. Our plates are "full", and we often have no time to seek after
and cultivate true friendship as we should. But Paul was blessed, for he
had men like his beloved son Timothy, his kindred spirit (Php
his "equal soul" and "like mind", one who was activated by the same
motives as he was and who was of proven
worth having served with Paul in the furtherance of the
gospel like a child serving his father. (Php 2:22-note) And so Paul desired to see
his precious brother during
his last hours on earth.
Wuest has a helpful note writing that...
After his swift glance down the
years of his strenuous life, Paul turns to his present
circumstances. He is a prisoner in a cold, Roman dungeon, awaiting
his second trial before Nero, and death. Great soul that he was,
he yet needed and craved human fellowship and sympathy in his hour
of trial. How this reminds us of the Man of Sorrows who needed the
fellowship and sympathy of the inner circle, Peter, James, and
John, in His hour of trial in Gethsemane. How real a Man He was,
yet all the time Very God. Paul writes to Timothy, “Do thy
diligence to come shortly unto me.” The words, “do thy diligence,”
in the Greek have the idea of “make haste, exert every effort,”
and can be translated “do your best.
K. S. Wuest's Word Studies from the Greek New Testament: Eerdmans
(tacheos gives us our word "tachometer") means quickly,
without delay. Paul was eager to see him, which once again
counters the criticism that Paul was not a "people person". Once
can be a scholar and still love people.
2Timothy 4:10 for
(3SAAI) me and
Crescens has gone to
BBE: For Demas
has gone away from me, for love of this present life, and has gone to
Thessalonica: Crescens has gone to Galatia, Titus to Dalmatia.
For Demas hath forsaken me, having loved this present world, and is
departed unto Thessalonica; Crescens to Galatia, Titus unto Dalmatia.
Demas has abandoned me. He fell in love with this present world and
went to the city of Thessalonica. Crescens went to the province of
Galatia, and Titus went to the province of Dalmatia. (GWT)
loving this present world, I fear, has left me and gone to
Thessalonica. Crescens has gone to Galatia, and Titus is away in
for Demas let me down, having set a high value upon this present age
and thus has come to love it. And he set out for Thessalonica,
Crescens for Galatia, Titus for Dalmatia. (Eerdmans)
for Demas forsook me, having loved the present age, and went on to
Thessalonica, Crescens to Galatia, Titus to Dalmatia,
FOR DEMAS HAVING LOVED THIS PRESENT WORLD: agaphesas (AAPMSN) ton nun aiona:
(Col 4:14,15; Philemon 1:24)
(loved = Lk 9:61;62 14:26 27 33; 16:13; 17:32; Php 2:21; 1Ti 6:10; 1Jn
2:15 16; 5:4 5:5)
He fell in love with this present world
for Demas let me down, having set a high value upon this present age and
thus has come to love it. (Wuest).
The NAS misses Paul's emphasis
because the first words in the Greek sentence are "he left me", followed
by the explanation of why Demas deserted. But first Paul wanted to
emphasize his desertion.
In these last verses, Paul singles
out the names of various faithful and unfaithful men. We
can always learn from the examples of others, either what to
emulate or what to avoid.
Demas is mentioned only three times in
the New Testament...
THE TRAGIC DESERTION
...Mark, Aristarchus, Demas,
Luke, my fellow workers
Luke, the beloved physician,
sends you his greetings, and also Demas
Demas, having loved this
present world, has deserted me and gone to Thessalonica
Demas goes from "fellow
worker" to simply "Demas" to lover of "this
present world"! The first two mentions were during Paul's first
imprisonment and the last here in Timothy during his second imprisonment
The lure of the world became
irresistible to Demas, and he abandoned both Paul and the ministry. We
see here the basic principle taught by our Lord Jesus during His earthly
"No one (absolutely no one) can serve
(present tense = as a lifestyle) two masters (kurios = absolute
ownership and control); for either he will hate the one and love the
other, or he will hold to one and despise the other. You cannot (as
a lifestyle or continually) serve God and mammon (wealth,
possessions)." (Mt 6:24-note)
Jesus had His Judas, and Paul had
his Demas. Anyone who has been in the ministry long enough has shared in
that heartbreaking experience. Isn't it interesting and somewhat
comforting to note that even the two greatest leaders the world has ever
known had those who failed them. In a similar manner, anyone who has
been a Christian long enough has known the heartache and sense of loss
when some mentor or leader who for whatever reason chooses to abandon
the faith and fall in love with the world.
Every saint, be he
pastor or pew member, needs to remember this passage, so he is aware of
the potential for those who, while ostensibly steadfast and faithful,
choose to forsake in the hour of need. If this has happened to you,
beloved, remember that Jesus is able to sympathize, for in His hour of
greatest need His disciples all left Him and fled. (Mark 14:50)
since He Himself was tempted (and tested) in that which
He has suffered, He is (continually ready and) able to come to
the aid (upon hearing the cry for help) of those who are
(continually being) tempted (and tested). (Heb 2:18-note)
related to noun
agape [word study])
speaks of a love not from affection but based on a decision of the will
rather than the emotions. When used in a good sense agapao pictures an unconditional,
sacrificial type of love. (eg, God's love for sinful mankind - Jn 3:16)
In the present
context the object of Demas' agapao love
is this present world which elsewhere Paul describes as this present evil age (aion) (Gal
1:4). Agapao is used of husbands who are commanded to
their wives (Eph 5:25-
= command to do
this continually - Just try to obey this command in your own strength!)
-- this demands death to self, denial of self, dependence on the Spirit
= command to be
filled/controlled by the
Spirit) -- Demas was unwilling to deny self, instead desiring to gratify
The love of this world, is often the cause of turning back from the
truths and ways of Jesus Christ. (cp 1Ti 6:9)
(nun) marks a definite point or period of time, the
(objective) immediate present in antithesis to something future.
Demas chose to live for the present not the
future. What "time" are you living for dear reader? It makes an
Greek says the "now world" -- what a contrast with the "then
world" -- the first will pass, the second will last!
has both a time and an ethical connotation. In the present context the
meaning of aion is primarily the ethical sense which parallels the
ethical/moral use of
("world") in 1Jn 2:15 (cp Jas 4:4-note)
- This refers to the
present sinful age, the world system or the invisible
spiritual system of evil dominated by Satan “the god of this world"
and in opposition to God, His Word, and His people. It is a seductive
system that appeals to all people, believers as well as unbelievers, and
calls for our affection, participation, and loyalty. Satan controls this
system, and believers should shun it. Demas did not.
World in context
represents the sum of the demonic-human philosophy of life and
corresponds to the spirit of the age. It represents the popular culture
and manner of thinking that is in rebellion against God and which will
try to conform us to its ungodly pattern, and that process must be
resisted. Demas could not resist the attraction of the age
in which he lived.
Trench has written that aion
that floating mass of thoughts, opinions, maxims, speculations, hopes,
impulses, aims, aspirations, at any time current in the world, which it
may be impossible to seize and accurately define, but which constitute a
most real and effective power, being the moral, or immoral atmosphere
which at every moment of our lives we inhale, again inevitably to
R. C. Synonyms of the New Testament. Hendrickson Publishers. 2000)
Barton sees a principle and an application in Demas' choice, writing
There are two ways to
love the world. God loves the world as he created it and as it
could be if it were rescued from evil. Others, like Demas, love
the world as it is, sin and all. Do you love the world
as it could be if God’s justice ruled, the hungry were fed, and
people loved one another? Or do you love what the world has
to offer—wealth, power, pleasure—even if gaining it means hurting people
and neglecting the work God has given you to do?" (Bolding added) (Barton,
B. B., et al. Life Application Bible Commentary. Romans: Tyndale House
ME AND GONE TO THESSALONICA: me egkatelipen (3SAAI)...kai eporeuthe (3SAPI) eis Thessaloniken:
(2Ti 4:16, 1:15 Mt 26:56; Acts 13:13; 15:38; 2Pe 2:15)
has abandoned me (GWT),
let me down (Wuest)
(egkataleipo from en = in + kataleípo
= forsake, desert <> kata = intensifies or strengthens the
next word + leipo = leave behind) abandon, desert, or
leave in straits. It speaks of forsaking someone in a state of defeat or
helplessness, even in midst of hostile circumstances.
left Paul in the lurch, utterly forsaking him, letting him down. It was
a disappointment but it also must have broken Paul's heart.
The ultimate fate of Demas is debated
in the commentaries, some considering his action as the manifestation of
an individual who was never a true believer, while others feel that he
was a believer who fell in love with the world. Demas
ostensibly seems to began well but ultimately shipwrecked upon the
shores of worldly affections! Beware of these dangerous reefs!
Although I will not make a dogmatic
statement as to Demas' eternal fate (for God alone knows for certain),
it is interesting to study several parallel passages.
Paul testified that through
the Cross of our Lord Jesus Christ
the world has been
crucified to me, and I to the world. (Gal 6:14)
John taught that
present tense = as a lifestyle) the world
(kosmos), the love of the
Father is not (ou = indicates absolute negation) in
him (1Jn 2:15-note).
James records a parallel
You adulteresses, do you not know
that friendship with the world is hostility toward God? Therefore
whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of
God. (Jas 4:4-note)
Demas' focus on
which he bestowed his agapao
love (this present world) is in stark contrast to what Paul had
just stated regarding
the righteous Judge, (Who) will
award to me (the crown of righteousness) on that day and
not only to me, but also to all who have loved (agapao
- perfect tense = began to love at point in the past, surely when
they were born again, and continue to love) His appearing."
Paul's heart was captivated by Christ
and His coming kingdom, while Demas allowed his heart to be wooed and
won by the kingdom of this world! One is passing away and the other
Do not be deceived beloved
brethren! This world is not our friend
Irregardless of Demas' fate, Paul
was clearly impacted by his tragic departure. One of the bitterest
experiences in Christian service is to be forsaken by those who were
formerly one’s fellow laborers.
Spurgeon comments that...
Demas was once almost a martyr, he
was upon the very edge of suffering, but now you see he goeth back to
the world again; he is not content to lie in the dungeon and rot with
Paul, but will rather seek his own ease. Alas! Demas, how hast thou
dishonoured thyself for ever, for every man who reads this passage as
he passes by, flings another stone at the heap which is the memorial
of one of cowardly spirit who fled from Paul in danger.
Demarest comments that...
The tragedy is that here is one who
at one time was running well but now has dropped out of the race.
Fidelity in Christian life and ministry must be constantly renewed.
Yesterday’s trophies do not win today’s races. And I’ve never known
any parents who named their children after Demas. How sad." (Demarest,
G. W., & Ogilvie, L. J. The Preacher's Commentary Series, Vol 32: 1, 2
Thessalonians / 1, 2 Timothy / Titus. Page 298. Thomas Nelson)
Vance Havner reminds us
Demas and all his sort want their
crowns now and they will get them in Thessalonica. They have their
reward. All who follow Paul will wait for theirs till that day. They
have only two days on their calendar, today and that day. The Day shall
declare it. (See 1Cor 3:13.) If we are living just for today,
we will go with Demas to Thessalonica. If we are living for that day, we
will stay with Paul and exchange the old rugged cross one day for a
DEMAS LOST THE "SCENT" - A MAN
bought a new hunting dog. Eager to see how the dog would perform, the
man took him out to track a bear. No sooner had they gotten into the
woods than the dog picked up the trail. Suddenly he stopped, sniffed the
ground, and headed in a new direction. He had caught the scent of a deer
that had crossed the bear's path. A few moments later he halted again,
this time smelling a rabbit that had crossed the path of the deer. On
and on it went until finally the breathless hunter caught up with his
dog, only to find him barking triumphantly down the hole of a field
Sometimes Christians are like that hunting dog. We start out on the
right trail, following Christ. But soon our attention is diverted to
things of lesser importance. One pursuit leads to another until we've
strayed far from our original purpose. Apparently this is what happened
to one of the apostle Paul's companions, for Paul wrote to Timothy, "Demas
has forsaken me, having loved this present world."
Every day we must renew our dedication to Christ or we will be drawn
away by the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, or the pride of
life. These worldly influences can divert even the most devout
Christian. We easily pick up another scent and follow another trail,
perhaps the pursuit of wealth, power, prestige, or pleasure. When we
realize that has happened, we must admit our waywardness and ask God to
get us back on the right trail. —D J De Haan
Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by
permission. All rights reserved)
Pastor Steven Cole has the
following thoughts on Demas...
Demas was formerly committed, but
deserted the cause of Christ for the world. Paul was probably more
disappointed over Demas than with any of the others. When he had written
to Philemon (Philemon 1:24) a few years before, Paul included Demas
among his “fellow workers.” He had been a part of Paul’s team (see Col
4:14). But now, when identifying with the apostle may have meant death,
Demas had deserted him. Rather than loving the Lord’s appearing (2Ti
4:8), Demas had loved this present world. Paul was left shivering
without even a warm coat, while Demas took off to pursue “the good
We don’t know whether Demas later
came to his senses and, like Peter after his denials, repented. I do
know that the world’s enticements are strong. I live very comfortably,
and yet there are times when I see how the wealthy live and I think,
“Wouldn’t it be nice to have all those things!” But as you face death,
having the things of this world won’t matter much anymore. If you can
join with Paul in saying, “I have been committed to the cause of Jesus
Christ,” you will also join him in facing life’s winter well. It’s never
too late, by the way. I read of a woman who became a Christian at 100.
She devoted her last three years to working with a mission, stuffing
envelopes! So to face life’s winter well, commit yourself to the living
Lord and His eternal cause. (Read
the full sermon - his messages read like verse by verse commentaries!)
Vance Havner on Demas...
1. Who was Demas?
Two . . . references (Col 4.14, Philemon 1:24) tell us that he was an
associate and fellow worker with Paul.
2. What about Demas?
" . Demas hath forsaken me."
3. Why did Demas forsake Paul?
He loved this Present world this world which, if a man love, he is the
enemy of God, and the love of the Father is not in him; this world which
hated my Lord and will hate us; this world which knows us not/ because
it knew Him not; this world whose wisdom is foolishness with God; this
world that our Lord died to save.
4. One question remains: Where did Demas go?
"Demas hath forsaken me and is departed unto Thessalonica. " I do not
know why he went there or what he did when he arrived. There was a good
church in Thessalonica. It was the first gospel broadcasting station:
"For from you sounded out the word of the Lord . ." we read in I
Thessalonians [[1:8|bible.73.1.8]], but I do not think Demas went there
to preach. The devil always has a Thessalonica for a Demas when he is
trying to escape the reproach of a Roman prison and a
Pauline Christianity. If you have a king other than Caesar, Rome is a
hot spot to live and preach in.
Demas and all his sort want their crowns now and they will get them in
Thessalonica. They have their reward. All who follow Paul will wait for
theirs till that day. They have only two days on their calendar, today
and that day. The Day shall declare it. (See 1Corinthians 3:13. If we
are living just for today, we will go with Demas to Thessalonica. If we
are living for that day, we will stay with Paul and exchange the old
rugged cross one day for a crown.
[HAS GONE] TO GALATIA TITUS TO DALMATIA: Kreskes eis Galatian, Titos eis Dalmatian: (Acts
17:1,11,13 Acts 16:6; 18:23; Gal 1:2, 2Co 2:13; 7:6; 8:6,16; Gal 2:1, 2,
3; Titus 1:4)
Crescens - See brief notes on
Has gone - Not in the Greek,
but added for continuity of the sentence. So literally the Greek text
reads "Crescens into
Galatia (click map),
Dalmatia (on the eastern shore
of the Adriatic Sea)" but without any criticism or negative
inference as with Demas.
Thomas Guthrie used to say:
If you find yourself loving any
pleasure better than your prayers, any book better than the Bible, any
house better than the house of God, any table better than the Lord’s
table, any person better than Christ, any indulgence better than the
hope of heaven—take alarm.”
How will you finish the race? Like
Paul or like Demas? Moody's Today in the Word gives us an illustration
of a once fruitful life that ended in barrenness and futility...
One cold January morning in 1864 a
man was found lying in a heap in the seedy Bowery section of New York,
bleeding from a slashed throat. He had staggered to a wash basin,
which fell and shattered. A doctor at the scene used black sewing
thread somebody found to suture the wound. The man—an almost penniless
drunkard—was admitted to Bellevue Hospital, where he languished
unknown for three days before dying. Later, someone seeking him was
directed to the local morgue. The friend knew that the man he sought
was much more than a derelict. He was a genius whose songs captured
the hearts of generations of Americans: “Swanee River,” “Camptown
Races,” “Oh, Susanna,” “Beautiful Dreamer,” and two hundred more.
His name? Stephen Foster.
ONLY LUKE IS WITH ME: Loukas estin (3SPAI) monos met'
emou: (2Ti 1:15, Acts 16:10; Col 4:14; Philemon 24)
Luke is with Paul now in Rome
just as he had been during Paul's first Roman
imprisonment. In two of the "prison epistles" written during that first
imprisonment Paul wrote that...
Luke, the beloved
physician, sends you his greetings, and also Demas. (Col 4:14-note)
Epaphras, my fellow prisoner in Christ Jesus, greets you, as do
Mark, Aristarchus, Demas, Luke, my fellow workers. (Philemon
Luke is first seen associated with Paul in
"And when he [Paul] had seen the vision, immediately
[Luke now writing in the first person] sought to go into Macedonia,
concluding that God had called us to preach the gospel to them.
[those in Philippi]"
Luke accompanied Paul on his last
trip to Jerusalem
And when it came about that
days there were ended, we
departed and started on our
journey, while they all, with wives and children, escorted
until we were out of the city. And after kneeling down on the beach and
said farewell to one another.
We lose sight of Luke until he
identifies himself again at Caesarea on the Mediterranean coast as Paul
departs for Rome
And embarking in an Adramyttian ship, which was about to sail to the
regions along the coast of Asia,
put out to sea, accompanied by Aristarchus, a Macedonian of
Dr Luke not only accompanied Paul
to Rome but he appears to remain at Paul's side through both
imprisonments as suggested by the Scriptures quoted above. Luke in
fact is the only companion who remained with Paul ("only Luke is with
me"). It is clear that an especially tender
relationship had developed between the two men over the years ("the
What a marked contrast: Luke, the
faithful physician whose affection for Paul continued to the end, and
Demas whose affection failed under pressure.
PICK UP MARK
AND BRING HIM WITH YOU: Markon analabon (AAPMSN) age (2SPAM) meta seautou:
(Acts 12:12 25; 15:39; Col 4:10; 1Pe 5:13; Hos 14:4)
Pick up (353)
from aná = up + lambáno
means literally to take up, to
assume. Depending on the context analambano can mean to cause to
go up, to lift up and carry away as in the Ascension of Christ
(Acts 1:2, 11, 22), to take up
in order to carry (Acts 7:43, Eph 6:13, 16), to pick up (someone to take
along on a journey - 2Ti 4:11), to take aboard a ship (Acts 20:13, 14).
that analambano in the
has such senses as
“to load,” “to set on the feet,” “to
raise” (a song), “to lift up” (in prayer), “to receive” (instruction),
and “to keep upright.” It can also become a term for rapture. (Kittel,
G., Friedrich, G., & Bromiley, G. W. Theological Dictionary of the New
As alluded to
above, five of the 13 uses of analambano refer to Jesus'
ascension (cp Rev 12:5 [note]
"her child was caught up (not analambano but
harpazo [word study])
to God and to His throne."
- 13x in 13v - Mk 16:19; Acts 1:2, 11, 22; 7:43; 10:16; 20:13, 14;
23:31; Ep 6:13, 16; 1Ti 3:16; 2Ti4:11 NAS = pick(1), received(1),
take(1), take...on board(1), taken(5), taking(1), took(2), took...on
(ago) means to carry, lead, conduct. This instruction is
imperative mood or in the form of a command.
A separation occurred between Paul and Barnabas because of a sharp
disagreement over Mark:
Mark returns home from
Paul's First Missionary Journey: "Now Paul and his
companions put out to sea from Paphos and came to Perga in
Pamphylia; and John
them and returned to Jerusalem." (Acts 13:13)
Paul and Barnabas had a sharp disagreement over Mark prior to
Paul's Second Missionary Journey: "And after some days Paul
said to Barnabas, "Let us return and visit the brethren in every
city in which we proclaimed the word of the Lord, and see how they
are. 37 And Barnabas was desirous of taking
along with them also.38 But Paul kept insisting that they should
not take him
had deserted them in Pamphylia and had not gone with them to the
work.39 And there arose such a sharp disagreement (paroxusmos: paroxysm = stirring up anger, sharp contention) that they separated from one another, and Barnabas took Mark
with him and sailed away to Cyprus.40 But Paul chose Silas and
departed, being committed by the brethren to the grace of the
Lord.41 And he was traveling through Syria and Cilicia,
strengthening the churches." (Acts 15:36-41)
restored to Paul's favor by the time of his first imprisonment in
AD60-62 (2 Timothy being about 5 years later during Paul's second
imprisonment) for he writes "Aristarchus, my fellow
prisoner, sends you his greetings; and also Barnabas' cousin
(about whom you received instructions: if he comes to you, welcome
him)." (Col 4:10-note)
Paul's request for John Mark reveals that a
reconciliation between the two had transpired since the conflicts of the
first and second missionary journeys (cf. Acts 13:13; 15:36-41). What an
interesting contrast Mark makes with Demas, who started out well and
then jumped ship in favor of the world. One became useless, the other
That is one of the prettiest verses
in the Bible, because you will remember that the Apostle Paul quarreled
with Barnabas about this very Mark, because John Mark would not go into
Bythinia to preach the Word, but left Paul and Barnabas, therefore Paul
would not have Mark with him any more, because he had turned in the day
of trouble. But now Paul is about to die, and he wishes to be perfectly
at peace with everyone. He has quite forgiven poor John Mark himself for
his former weakness; he sees grace in him, and so he is afraid lest John
Mark should be under some apprehensions of the Apostle’s anger, and so
he puts in this very kind passage, without seeming to have any reference
at all to the past, but he gives him this great praise — ”for he is
profitable to me for the ministry.”
Failure - Get Mark, ... for he is useful to me
(2Ti 4:11). Although we can never undo a failure, we can learn
from the experience and profit by it. A baseball pitcher who loses a
game because he throws a fastball right where the batter wants it may
come back four days later and hurl a shutout. He'll never erase the lost
game from his record, but his failure can teach him valuable lessons
that will help him to chalk up more wins than losses.
In Acts we read that John Mark accompanied Paul and Barnabas when they
started their first missionary journey (Acts 13:5), but he soon departed
from them (Acts 13:13). While he was at home, he apparently regretted
what he had done, so he asked to be included the next time his older
friends set out. Barnabas wanted to give him another chance, but Paul
didn't, so they parted company and formed two teams—Barnabas taking
Mark, and Paul taking Silas. Young Mark couldn't erase his first
failure, but he must have learned from it because he became a respected
Christian leader of his clay. Further-more, God used him to write one of
the four gospels; and Paul, in his second prison epistle to Timothy,
asked for Mark, saying, "He is useful to me for ministry."
It doesn't do any good to brood about what went wrong. Wishing we could
do something over is an exercise in futility. Each day is new. With
God's help we can succeed, if we learn from yesterday's
failure. Christians live in "the land of beginning again." —H. V. Lugt
Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by
permission. All rights reserved)
Failure doesn't mean you'll never
It will just take longer.
FOR HE IS USEFUL
TO ME FOR SERVICE: gar moi euchrêstos eis
diakonian: (Mt 19:30; 20:16; Lk 13:30)
for he is profitable to me for ministering work (Wuest)
(euchrestos from eú = well + chráomai
= furnish what is needful) means easy to make use of and so pertaining
to being of positive or good use - valuable,
helpful, serviceable, beneficial.
was a a common term in Greco-Roman secular term in the description of
service that has special social value.
Paul used euchrestos
in his description of the man God can use writing that
if a man
(thoroughly) cleanses himself from these things (from what is
ignoble and unclean, who separates himself from contact with
contaminating and corrupting influences), he will be a vessel for
honor, sanctified, useful (euchrestos) to the
Master, prepared for every good work." (2Ti 2:21-note)
What does this use of euchrestos teach us about Mark?
Edwards comments that
The life of
Mark stands as a testimony to the grace of God, Who is ever "The God of
the Second Chance." Many of God's greatest servants failed miserably at
the start of their course, but returned to finish the race in a
God-honoring fashion. When David Livingstone attempted to preach his
first sermon, he went blank and told the audience, "I have forgotten all
that I had to say." He left the pulpit in utter shame and
discouragement. But through the encouragement of Robert Moffat, he went
on to be an accomplished preacher and doctor. God ever provides a second
chance to the man who is willing to get back on his feet and run the
race set before him. "Now the word of the Lord came to Jonah the second
time, saying, 'Arise, go . . . preach . . . '" Jonah 3:1,2" (2
Timothy- Call to Completion)
(diakonia) means the
rendering or assistance or help by performing certain duties, often of a
humble or menial nature serve, including such mundane activities
as waiting on tables or caring for household needs—activities without
Note: For numerous additional
insights concerning this word group
see the study of
34x in 32v - Luke 10:40; Acts 1:17, 25; 6:1, 4; 11:29; 12:25; 20:24;
21:19; Rom 11:13; 12:7; 15:31; 1 Cor 12:5; 16:15; 2 Cor 3:7ff; 4:1;
5:18; 6:3; 8:4; 9:1, 12f; 11:8; Eph 4:12; Col 4:17; 1 Tim 1:12; 2 Tim
4:5, 11; Heb 1:14; Rev 2:19 and is translated: ministries, 1; ministry,
19; mission, 1; preparations, 1; relief, 1; serve, 1; service, 7;
serving, 2; support, 1.
Since service associated with the
word diakonia necessarily involved dependence, submission,
and constraints of time and freedom, the Greeks regarded diakonia
as degrading and dishonorable. Service for the public good was honored,
voluntary giving of oneself in service of one’s fellow man is alien to
Greek thought. The highest goal before a man was the development of his
Colin, Editor. New International Dictionary of NT Theology. 1986.
That last sentence is
strikingly contemporary, and is mindful of the fact that a culture that
is focused on self-actualization and self-fulfillment will find little
value in servant hood. (This speaks volumes about Paul's
assessment of Mark).
In Greek eyes, diakonia service is not very dignified. Ruling and
not service is proper to a man. The formula of the sophist expressed the
basic Greek attitude: “How can a man be happy when he has to serve
someone?” expresses the basic Greek attitude. For the Greek in his
wisdom and freedom there can certainly be no question of existing to
Judaism had no philosophy of ministry
involving diakonia. Judaism, however, adopted a philosophy
of service not unlike that of the Greeks. If service was rendered at
all, it was done as an act of social obligation or as an act to those
more worthy. A superior would not stoop to become a servant! Such
an attitude, which conforms so closely to man’s natural prejudices,
causes the Lord’s example and teaching to stand out in brilliant
contrast. By our Lord's own testimony (uses the verb form diakoneo)...
Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give
His life a ransom for many. (Mt 20:28)
Though Judaism in the time of Jesus
knew and practiced its social responsibilities, e.g., to the poor, this
was done mainly by alms, not by service (cf. Lk 10:30-35). Lowly service such as
waiting at table, was beneath the dignity of a free man (cf. Lk 7:44ff). Sometimes, the "greater"
would wait at table, but this was unusual. Jesus' example and the NT
introduced a radically new attitude toward diakonia.
Diakonia is not the activity
of a lesser to a greater, but is the lifestyle of a follower of the Lord
Jesus. “Serving” in the form of diakonia pervades
the NT, not merely in the frequency of the word’s usage but in the
constant recurrence of attitudes and examples of service.
Luke records that in the early
period of the newly born church...
the disciples were increasing in number, a complaint arose on the
part of the Hellenistic Jews against the native Hebrews, because
their widows were being overlooked in the daily serving (diakonia) of food. (Acts
Diakonia is modeled on the
pattern and command of the Savior and represents the practical
outworking of God’s love, especially toward fellow believers.
(including "mission" as shown in the reference below) is not the
activity of an elite class, but the mutual caring of a band of brothers.
Luke records that
Barnabas and Saul
returned from Jerusalem when they had fulfilled their mission
taking along with them John, who was also called Mark. (Acts 12:25)
Such service is personal and
practical, rather than institutional. A diakonos is one
who by choice and position has come to be under the authority of his
Master and who therefore serves others in love and gratitude. Paul had
been called and set apart to be a servant, Luke quoting Paul who
I do not consider my
life of any account as dear to myself, in order that I may finish
my course, and the ministry (diakonia)
which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify solemnly of the
gospel of the grace of God. (Acts 20:24)
Martha is an example of service of a
menial nature but without the proper attitude, Luke recording that
Martha was distracted
with all her preparations; and she came up to Him, and said,
"Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to do all the
serving (diakonia) alone? Then tell her to help me. (Lk 10:40)
compassionate love towards the needy within the Christian community.
Paul and Luke in the Acts use the word to designate those who preach
the gospel and have care of the churches, even as Paul
instructed Timothy to...
be sober in all things,
endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your
ministry (diakonia) (2Ti 4:5-note)
diakonia is an office or ministration in the Christian
community viewed with reference to the labor needed for others.
studied the NT nuances of diakonia, can you see how much
more meaningful Paul's statement was that Mark (who previously had not
been useful to Paul) was now "useful...for diakonia"?
a "Mark" in your life, who you might have discounted in the past
for right or wrong reasons, but whose "ministry" you now need to
And possibly whom you need to restore?
Would you classify
your service in your local body as "diakonia"?
Mark Hepner states
Given the highly suggestive basic
meaning of diakoneo (click
for Hepner's discussion of this basic meaning of diakoneo),
it comes as no surprise that the nominalized form of the verb becomes in
the New Testament the standard term to denote the act of providing to
God’s people that which creates and sustains both their physical and
spiritual life “in Christ.” Indeed, this word, used to refer to the
distribution of food in Acts 6:1, is just as easily applied to the
distribution of God’s word to the members of the church a few verses
later (Acts 6:4). It is in this extended sense that the word is used to
designate the evangelistic program of Barnabas and Saul in Acts 12:25.
Similarly, in Acts 20:24 Paul refers to the proclamation “of the gospel
of God’s grace” as the “service” the Lord has given him to do.
Ministry as diakonia provides
what is necessary for each member of the body of Christ to stay alive,
to grow to maturity, and to “discharge all the duties” (2Ti 4:5) of
their divinely assigned tasks. Ministry is expressed in a variety of
forms (1Co 12:5) all of which are aimed at helping every member of the
body in every way possible to arrive at the goal of their faith. As 2Co
6:3 makes clear, ministry is the opposite of causing people to stumble.
In other words, ministry makes it easier, not harder, to keep believing
in Jesus and following him as Lord. This is because ministry is service
to the saints (2Co 8:4) received from the Lord (Col 4:17) who intends by
it the building up of his body (Ep 4:12)...
To sum up, this survey of the
diakonia word group indicates that the core idea of ministry is
supplying what people need to keep on living as Christ’s body in the
world. Christian ministry is fundamentally a practical activity,
consisting of acts of service to others for the purpose of sustaining
their life as a community of faith, promoting their maturity and growth
in Christ-likeness, and enhancing their ability to carry on the mission
of Christ. Ministry is obedient service done on behalf of the Master for
the benefit of his people. Ministry is making the needs of fellow
believers equivalent to the command of the Lord himself and willingly
distributing to them what the Master has placed in their hands to meet
those needs. (Ashland Theological Journal
Volume 37:51ff. 2005)
several synonyms used in the NT to describe service or ministry.
- a minister, waiter, attendant,
servant (applied to a teacher, pastor or deacon), and speaks of
service or ministry to other men and women "as objects of the loving
services we extend to them for Jesus' sake". (Richards)
one who is in bondage and thus a servant related to the master as a
slave who must at all times be subservient. In the NT doulos often
speaks of a believer's submission to their Master Jesus, whereas
diakonos (diakonia, diakoneo) speaks more about the "loving action on
behalf of a brother or sister or neighbor" (Richards) a motif
concerning which Jesus set the premier example (cp Mk 10:45, Mt
(3) Huperetes - literally an under-oarsman (originally an
under–rower in a galley ship) and so a subordinate servant, a
subordinate official waiting to accomplish the commands of his
superior (Mt 5:25, Lk 4:20, Jn 18:36, Acts 13:5)
- in Classic Greek one who
performed public duties (Ro 13:6) but used most often in NT of a
servant or minister of God (Ro 13:6, Ro 15:16 Php 2:25 Heb 1:7 Heb
- a menial attendant
who serves voluntarily. Trench says therapon conveys "the sense
of one whose services are tenderer, nobler, freer than those of the
doulos." (Only used in Heb 3:5)
Oiketes- a household or domestic
servant (Lk 16:13; Ac 10:7; Ro 14:4; 1Pe 2:18)
(7) Misthios and misthotos
- a hired servant, a hireling (in both good and bad sense) (misthios -
Lk 15:17, 19) (misthotos - Mk 1:20; Jn 10:12, 13)
LEARNING FROM THE PAST - We
all have some regrets about the past and try to forget our sins and
mistakes. We feel a lot like the Peanuts comic strip character Linus,
who said, "Maybe we should think only about today." Charlie Brown
disagreed, "No, that's giving up. I'm still hoping yesterday will get
We know that we can't change what happened yesterday. But we can learn
from yesterday's sins and mistakes, and with God's help we can use that
knowledge to make a better tomorrow.
That's what John Mark did. He had started on a missionary journey with
Paul and Barnabas, but when they entered Asia Minor he abandoned them
and went back home (Acts 13:13; 15:38). We're not told why he left, but
the apostle Paul saw it as a shameful desertion.
Later, Mark became a co-worker with Barnabas (15:39). We don't know the
details, but at some point Mark must have changed and reconciled with
Paul (Colossians 4:10, 11). When Paul was in prison awaiting execution,
he asked Timothy to come and to bring Mark with him. He indicated that
Mark was "useful to me for ministry" (2Timothy 4:11).
We cannot erase yesterday, but we can learn from it. When we take our
sins and mistakes to the Lord and seek His help, we can be better today
and tomorrow.— Herbert Vander Lugt
Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by
permission. All rights reserved)
For Further Study
How do we know that God forgives us? (1Jn 1:9, 10, 2:1).
Read the online version of the booklet
When We Don't Measure Up
Failure is never final if you begin again with God.
BUT TYCHICUS: Tychikon de:
(Acts 20:4; Eph 6:21; Col 4:7; Titus 3:12)
- Where is Paul? In prison (2Ti 1:8-note,
about to be martyred (2Ti 4:6-note)
and yet in what endeavor is he still engaged (cp 1Co 4:1, 2, Lk 12:42)?
The work of service (Ep 4:11-note,
Ministry of and for the Lord! He is still about His Father's business.
What a great example Paul presents
to Timothy and to us to imitate
(1Co 11:1 4:16 Php 3:17-note)
Keep on keeping on to the very end of
the good fight of faith. In
contrast to the unbeliever's end, Paul's (and our) end is not a "bitter
end", but a "blessed end" because we enter into the presence of our Lord
and Savior Jesus Christ (cp
from tugchano 
= meet by chance, fortuitous, chance, fortunate - As an aside, in
the sovereignty of God there is no "chance meeting" only providential
meeting!) was Paul’s disciple whose name means "Chance", a name we
occasionally encounter even today. However Tychicus was not "by chance"
Paul's disciple and beloved brother, but "by choice" (God's sovereign
choice of a man named Chance, who exercised his free will choice!
Mysterious, amazing grace indeed! And all that just from one man's
Paul described Tychicus
all my affairs, Tychicus,
our beloved brother and faithful servant (diakonos - see discussion of
in discussion of Mark above) and fellow bond-servant (sundoulos =
doulos) in the Lord,
will bring you information. 8 For I have sent him
to you for this very purpose, that you may know about our
circumstances and that he
may encourage your hearts" (Col 4:7, 8-note)
The term brother brings to
mind the idea of a family and in most families brothers are very close
because share a lot in common, including kinship or blood ties. There is
something about being a brother, about being in a
family. Paul of course is referring to a spiritual brother, a brother in
is a term of endearment and is someone that you love, and are deeply
devoted to. Paul did not call everyone beloved. Beloved means that
the other person has struck a "chord" in
your heart. There is a bond of love, a bond of faith that drew
Tychicus and Paul together. Paul would not call someone "beloved" who did not
genuinely love him. He would not call someone beloved who he did not trust or
who did not have common spiritual interests and goals.
But when you find somebody who loves you that way and you can love them
that way, the two of you to each other are beloved and
that's the way Paul felt about Tychicus. There are people out front, but
how we need the people who are coming alongside, those we can truly call
beloved brothers, those who love the work of Christ the same as we love it,
and yet are gifted differently (cp 1Pe 4:10, 11-note), people who are willing to do the work and
be willing never receive applause (at least in this present earthly
life!), people who are willing be
behind the scenes so that God's work might be done through the body of
Christ, the church (cp 1Co 12:14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23,
24, 25). When we get to heaven and the rewards are passed out (cp 1Co
3:4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15), Tychicus is going to
be blessed as much as Paul, because his heart was the same (cp "kindred
spirit" Php 2:20-note).
His heart's desire was first to devote himself to God (worship) and
then to devote himself to God’s
work (Worship should always proceed work!). If follows that Paul and
Tychicus were a perfect "God ordained" match for accomplishing God's
Paul also refers to Tychicus as a fellow
bond-servant, a sundoulos, where "sun"
means together with, and "doulos"
means a slave. Anytime you see the word slave in
connection with a Christian it is always a bond-servant or "love
slave", one who has chosen to be a slave to the will and the ways
and the Word of the Lord Jesus Himself. Paul says that Tychicus is a
bond-servant with me. In other words, Paul is saying that
he and Tychicus come out of the same heart. This is the bottom line. Do
you want to see where Paul’s heart is?
But I do not consider
my life of any account as dear to myself, [here is a bond-servant] in
order that I may finish my course (dromos
[word study] - "race"), and the ministry
[word study]) which I received
[not achieved or sought!]
from the Lord (kurios)
Jesus, to testify solemnly (diamarturomai
[word study]) of the gospel (euaggelion)
of the grace (charis)
Comment: Paul is saying, "I
want everything about me to bring testimony to the good news of the Lord
Jesus Christ, both living in me and motivating me to do what I do. I
want my life to count for Christ." (cp John Piper's book
Don't Waste Your Life @ Desiring God
Christian Resource Library) Paul goes on
to add that "Tychicus is a fellow bond-servant and shares the
same attitude which I have. He and I share the same heart."
May "Tychicus' tribe" increase in
the modern church in America!
Parenthetically, is this not a great description of the good news as "the
gospel of the grace of God"! How thankful we should be that it does
not read "the gospel of the works we must perform to please God", for
indeed that would be the antithesis of "good news"!
In Ephesians Paul speaks of
Tychicus in "glowing terms"...
But that you also may
know about my circumstances, how I am doing,
the beloved brother and faithful minister in the Lord,
will make everything known to you. I have sent
you for this very purpose, that you may know how we are and that
may (parakaleo) console and cheer and encourage and strengthen your
hearts. (Amplified Version - Ep 6:21, 22-notes)
was one of Paul’s disciples and was first mentioned as a companion of
the apostle during a portion of Paul’s return journey from the third
missionary tour (Acts 20:4)
where Paul identifies him (with Trophimus) as a native of Asia.
Tychicus was with Paul when the apostle wrote the prison epistles
from Rome (during his first imprisonment), and he was with him for a
time when he wrote in a later imprisonment to Timothy (2Ti 4:12-note).
In Paul's letter to Titus, the
apostle clearly expresses his confidence in the ability of Tychicus to
take over for Titus in Crete which would allow the latter to come spend
time with Paul:
When I send Artemas or
to you, make every effort to come to me at Nicopolis, for I have decided
to spend the winter there. (Titus 3:12-note
I HAVE SENT TO EPHESUS: apesteila (1SAAI) eis Epheson:
(Acts 20:16 17 25; 1Ti 1:3)
I have sent to
Ephesus - See note above regarding Paul's perseverance even in the
face of persecution, pain and peril to his very life.
What a great example and high
standard Paul sets, one which should serve to motivate each of us to
live life in the light of eternity and not just time! May Paul's tribe
increase to the glory of God. Amen.
(apostello from apo = from + stello
= appoint to position or literally to send forth - see study of related
apostolos) means to send off,
send forth or send out. The idea is that one is sent forth on a certain
mission. To cause someone to depart for a particular purpose. To
dispatch someone for the achievement of some objective, in this instance
mentioning only who was sent, where he was sent to but not specifically
stating the purpose.
132x in 115v in NAS - Matt 2:16; 8:31; 10:5, 16, 40; 11:10;
13:41; 14:35; 15:24; 20:2; 21:1, 3, 34, 36f; 22:3f, 16; 23:34, 37;
24:31; 27:19; Mark 1:2; 3:14, 31; 4:29; 5:10; 6:7, 17, 27; 8:26; 9:37;
11:1, 3; 12:2ff, 13; 13:27; 14:13; Luke 1:19, 26; 4:18, 43; 7:3, 20, 27;
9:2, 48, 52; 10:1, 3, 16; 11:49; 13:34; 14:17, 32; 19:14, 29, 32; 20:10,
20; 22:8, 35; 24:49; John 1:6, 19, 24; 3:17, 28, 34; 4:38; 5:33, 36, 38;
6:29, 57; 7:29, 32; 8:42; 9:7; 10:36; 11:3, 42; 17:3, 8, 18, 21, 23, 25;
18:24; 20:21; Acts 3:20, 26; 5:21; 7:14, 34f; 8:14; 9:17, 38; 10:8, 17,
20, 36; 11:11, 13, 30; 13:15; 15:27, 33; 16:35f; 19:22; 26:17; 28:28;
Rom 10:15; 1 Cor 1:17; 2 Cor 12:17; 2 Tim 4:12; Heb 1:14; 1 Pet 1:12; 1
John 4:9f, 14; Rev 1:1; 5:6; 22:6. NAS = puts(1), send(17), send
forth(3), sending(3), sends(1), sent(104), sent...away(1), set(1).
(Ephesos - thought to mean desirable or beloved) (Click
for map scroll down)
(see Acts 18:19-20:17) was the most
important city of the Roman province of Asia, and
as noted above
Tychicus was a native of Asia. Ephesus was
built on a natural harbor whose waves, according to the Roman writer
Pliny the Elder, “used to wash up to the temple of Diana.”
16x in 16v - Acts 18:19, 21, 24; 19:1, 17, 26; 20:16 17; 1 Cor 15:32;
16:8; Eph 1:1; 1 Tim 1:3; 2 Tim 1:18; 4:12; Rev 1:11; 2:1.
Ephesus was described by Strabo, an early Greek geographer, as
the largest commercial center west of the Taurus Mountains and was also
well known as the “guardian” of the temple of Artemis (Acts 19:24),
or as the Romans called her, Diana. With an artificial harbor accessible
to the largest ships, and rivaling the harbor at Miletus, standing at
the entrance of the valley which reaches far into the interior of Asia
Minor, and connected by highways with the chief cities of the province, Ephesus was the most easily accessible city in Asia, both
by land and sea. At its zenith Ephesus had a population of over half a
What was Paul's purpose for
sending Tychicus to Ephesus? We can only speculate that perhaps
Tychicus was sent to relieve Timothy, thus allowing him to come to be
As Wiersbe notes
What a blessing it is to have people who can replace others! A relief
pitcher may not get all the glory, but he may help win the game! (Wiersbe,
W: Bible Exposition Commentary. 1989. Victor
2Timothy 4:13 When you
Carpus, and the
BBE: The coat
which I did not take from Troas and which is with Carpus, get when you
come, and the books, specially the papers.
When you come, bring the warm coat I left with Carpus in the city of
Troas. Also bring the scrolls and especially the parchments. (GWT)
The cloak that I left at Troas with Carpus, when thou comest, bring
with thee, and the books, but especially the parchments.
Phillips: And please
bring with you the cloak I left with Carpus at Troas, and the books,
especially the manuscripts (Phillips:
My cloak which I left behind at Troas in the care of Carpus, when you
are coming, be carrying along, and my papyrus rolls, especially my
the cloak that I left in Troas with Carpus, coming, bring thou and the
books -- especially the parchments.
WHEN YOU COME
THE CLOAK WHICH I LEFT AT
TROAS WITH CARPUS: ton phailonen on apelipon (1SAAI) en Troadi para
Karpo erchomenos (PMPMSN) phere (2SPAM): (1Cor
4:11; 2Cor 11:27) (Acts 16:8,11; 20:5-12)
a command to
(phero) the cloak.
In this section we see even the great apostle was a normal human being
with very real needs - friends, physical comfort and the "Bread of
Life", the living word as food for his soul. What a remember that even
the Lord's apostles never become saturated with the living and active
word, but in this present life are ever in need of daily nourishment
found only in His Word taught by His Spirit (Mt 4:4, Lk 4:4, Dt 8:3, 1Pe
Are you hungry?
is a mantle or traveling cloak, used for protection
against stormy weather. This may refer to the ancient cloak which was
generally a large, heavy wool garment that served as both coat and
blanket in cold weather, which Paul would soon face. In the economy of
that day, especially for Christians under Roman persecution, such
clothing was extremely expensive.
H. V. Morton
(In the Steps of St Paul) describes the type of cloak Paul seems to be
referring to noting them on shepherds in Cilicia. These cloaks
were stiff outer garments (that they would even remain standing upright
when taken off!) that were impervious to wind and water. Remember
that Paul was in a Roman prison, which was likely damp and cold and thus
he would have needed such a garment
(apoleipo from apo = from + leípo
= lack) to cause or permit something to remain in a place and to go away
(with or without implying purpose)
(troas = the Troad or region about Troy) (Click
to read more about Troas in the NW region of Modern Day Turkey) is a
city on the coast of
Mysia, in the NW aspect of ancient Asia Minor and
named after ancient Troy, which was at some little distance from it
(about 4 miles) to the north. Troas was strategically
located on the Hellespont (Dardanelles), it was involved in various
struggles to control the straits. Troas was the scene of
the events of the Iliad and was an ancient center of Aegean
civilization. It marked the launching point for the spread of the gospel
to Europe as described below!
At Troas Paul
(Second Missionary Journey) experienced his famous Macedonian vision,
Luke recording that "passing by Mysia, they came down to Troas.
And a vision appeared to Paul in the night: a certain man of Macedonia
was standing and appealing to him, and saying, "Come over to Macedonia
and help us." And when he had seen the vision, immediately we sought to
go into Macedonia, concluding that God had called us to preach the
gospel to them. Therefore putting out to sea from Troas, we ran a
straight course to Samothrace, and on the day following to Neapolis and
from there to Philippi, which is a leading city of the district of
Macedonia, a Roman colony; and we were staying in this city for some
days." (Acts 16:8, 9, 10, 11, 12)
(karpos) is the name of an otherwise unknown acquaintance
of Paul whose name means “fruit.” Although somewhat speculative,
it seems fair to say that Carpus was a believer with whom
Paul may have lodged and for whom Paul had considerable confidence since
he committed to his care not only the “cloak,” but especially his
priceless “books and parchments.” It is noteworthy that even
such so-called menial tasks as faithfully taking care of another's
valuables represents a ministry (diakonia
refers to menial tasks and duties) to the Lord. One might say that
(fruit) will be likely be rewarded with "fruit" at the Judgment
Seat of Christ (cp 2Co 5:10-note)
APPLICATION: No "divine" task should be "beneath
the dignity" of any believer and no such task dutifully and faithfully
performed will go unnoticed or unrewarded by our Lord, the Righteous
AND THE BOOKS: kai ta biblia:
(biblion from bublos = refers to the pith of
the papyrus plant) refers to a roll or volume, as was the form of
ancient books. The papyrus was a tall, aquatic reed that
grew in the Nile Delta of Egypt and was made into a writing material of
the same name. Papyrus was the main writing surface
throughout the Mediterranean world from the fourth century BC to the
seventh century AD. The earliest NT Greek manuscripts were written on
papyrus. The English word paper is derived from
the Greek papyros and the Latin papyrus.
Biblion - 34x in 29v - Matt
19:7; Mark 10:4; Luke 4:17, 20; John 20:30; 21:25; Gal 3:10; 2 Tim 4:13;
Heb 9:19; 10:7; Rev 1:11; 5:1ff, 8f; 6:14; 10:8; 13:8; 17:8; 20:12;
21:27; 22:7, 9f, 18f. NAS = book(27), books(4), certificate(2),
New Unger's Bible Dictionary adds that papyrus was...
growing along the Nile in Egypt during the biblical period. It no
longer is found in the Nile marshes of Lower Egypt, but it grows
in the Sudan. It is also found in the region around Lake Huleh in
Galilee. In the ancient world papyrus, Lat. cyperus
papyrus... was a common writing material. To prepare the writing
product the outer covering of the stem of the plant was removed
and the inner fibers were cut into thin strips. Some of these were
placed vertically. Superimposed upon them were soaked fibers laid
horizontally. These two layers were stuck together with an
adhesive substance, pressure applied, and the strips dried. The
result was a yellowish piece of papyrus paper. Often the
exterior was rubbed smooth to accommodate a finer type of writing with
ink. Papyrus rolls were used in ancient Egypt during the Old Kingdom (c.
2800–2250 b.c.) and perhaps even earlier. Egyptian papyrus rolls are
still in existence from the end of the third millennium b.c."
M. F., Harrison, R. K., Vos, H. F., Barber, C. J., & Unger, M. F. The
New Unger's Bible Dictionary. Chicago: Moody Press)
Timothy is here requested to bring some
papyrus documents which are
distinguished from the vellum manuscripts below.
Even in face of his impending
certain death and his miserable conditions in prison, Paul is ever the
student. Are you convicted? I am as I set at my computer in an air
conditioned house and ponder how often I fritter away valuable moments
on vain pursuits.
ESPECIALLY THE PARCHMENTS: malista tas membranas:
a Greek transliteration of the Latin pergamena = that which pertains to
= membrana; English "membrane" = a thin pliable sheet of material
forming a barrier or lining) describe manuscripts written on
parchment or vellum (this term describes the finest parchment from calf
skin) and made originally from the skin of a sheep, goat or calf.
This verse represents the only NT
use of membrana (no uses in the
In preparation of parchment,
the animal hide was soaked in lime to remove the hair, then shaved,
dried and smoothed out with stones. It follows that
parchment was generally extremely expensive
and were therefore used for only the most important documents.
Moulton and Milligan note
that parchment or membrana is...
form of the Lat. membrana, “parchment,” said to be so called from
Pergamum in Mysia, where it was first manufactured
The ISBE entry says that...
made from the skins of sheep, goats or young calves. The hair and fleshy
portions of the skin are removed as in tanning by first soaking in lime
and then dehairing, scraping and washing. The skin is then stretched on
a frame and treated with powdered chalk, or other absorptive agent, to
remove the fatty substances, and is then dried. It is finally given a
smooth surface by rubbing with powdered pumice. Parchment was
extensively used at the time of the early Christians for scrolls, legal
documents, etc., having replaced papyrus for that purpose. It was no
doubt used at even a much earlier time. The roll mentioned in Jeremiah
36 may have been of parchment. Scrolls were later replaced by codices
of the same material. After the Arabs introduced paper, parchment was
still used for centuries for the book bindings. Diplomas printed on
“sheepskins,” still issued by many universities, represent the
survival of an ancient use of parchment. See following article. (Orr,
J., M.A., D. D. The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia: 1915
Smith's Bible Dictionary
has an interesting note that...
used for the MSS of the Pentateuch in the time of Josephus, and the
membrana of 2 Tim. 4:13 were skins of parchment. It was one of the
provisions in the Talmud that the law should be written on the skins of
clean animals, tame or wild, or even of clean birds.
A T Robertson writes that
membrana refers to...
skins were first made at Pergamum and so termed “parchments.” These in
particular would likely be copies of Old Testament books, parchment
being more expensive than papyrus, possibly even copies of Christ’s
sayings (Luke 1:1-4).
Ralph Earle in his commentary on 2 Timothy notes that...
is an interesting historical parallel to Paul’s request.
William Tyndale, who translated
the first NT printed in English, was imprisoned in Vilvorde Castle
near Brussels before his execution in 1536. In the year preceding his
death he wrote to the governor, begging for warmer clothing, a woolen
shirt, and above all his Hebrew Bible, grammar, and dictionary.
John Wesley told the preachers
under his care to read or get out of the ministry! The great men of God
have notoriously been great prayers and great readers!
Hiebert draws a challenging conclusion from Paul's requests writing
Even as an
old man facing certain death, the apostle has not lost his interest for
study and mental pursuits. It presents a standing challenge to the
minister to be an indefatigable student, especially of the Word of God.
(Hiebert, D. Edmond, Second Timothy, p. 120, 1957)
comments regarding Paul's desire for the books and parchments noting
that he belongs to...
and honorable, and enviable class of men that we call students of New
Testament exegesis. Surely they are the happiest and the most enviable
of all men, who have been set apart to nothing else but to the
understanding and the opening up of the hid treasures of God’s Word and
God’s Son. (The Walk, Conversation, and Character of Jesus Christ our
BOOK FRIENDS - The apostle
Paul sat alone in a Roman prison facing his final weeks on earth. The
wet cold of the dungeon must have pierced his bones as he penned a
letter to his young friend Timothy, urging him to come before winter
(2Ti 4:21). He asked Timothy to bring a cloak with him, which would
shield him from the gnawing chill, and to bring the scrolls, and
especially the parchments.
The parchments, made of animal skins, may have been copies of parts of
the Old Testament. The “books,” made of papyrus, were probably scrolls.
Clearly, Paul did not plan to write another weighty theological letter
like the book of Romans. Nor was he about to prepare more sermons. He
needed those books to warm his heart and to keep his mind alert.
A famous French author has written
men who have written before our time are travelers who have preceded us
in the paths of misfortune, and who reach out to us their hands to
invite us to join their society when all others have abandoned us. A
good book is a good friend.”
We need to cultivate good reading
habits. The Bible, of course, is number one. But God also uses good book
friends to encourage our heart and stimulate our mind.— Haddon W.
Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by
permission. All rights reserved)
Immortal words of truth we’ve read,
So powerfully penned, so filled with grace,
Will follow us through all our days
And spur us on to win life’s race. —DJD
A good book—like a good friend—
is always there in your time of need.
READING AND REMEMBERING - My
elderly aunt was having difficulty with her memory. She tried to recall
Scripture verses she had learned earlier in life, but they weren't
coming to mind. This bothered her. I told her that God understands our
weaknesses. He remembers His promises even when we can't. It's more
important that we rest in His faithfulness.
Author Lillian Helm learned that lesson too. At 91 she spent an hour
each day reading her Bible and Christian literature. Her friends asked,
"What good does all that reading do if you can't remember much of it?"
She replied by recounting her blessings and saying, "My cup runneth
over. I'm not concerned about my memory. I just do my reading and God
does the remembering."
Paul was in prison awaiting execution when he wrote to Timothy, "Bring
. . . the books, especially the parchments," (2Ti 4:13). He knew the
importance of keeping his mind filled with God's truth. All of us need
to do that every day of our lives.
But Paul's confidence wasn't in his books. It was in God, who would
lovingly care for him and preserve him for His heavenly kingdom (2Ti
4:18). That's true for all of us, even if we can no longer read or
remember. — Dennis J. De Haan
Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by
permission. All rights reserved)
I'll trust in God's unchanging Word
Till soul and body sever;
For though all things shall pass away,
His Word shall stand forever. --Anon.
Memory may fail, but never God's promises.
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