A Report Concerning Various Acquaintances and the First Hearing.
Various personal matters:
v. 9. Do thy diligence to come shortly unto me;
v. 10. for Demas hath forsaken me, having loved this present world, and is departed unto Thessalonica; Crescens to Galatia, Titus unto Dalmatia.
v. 11. Only Luke is with me. Take Mark, and bring him with thee; for he is profitable to me for the ministry.
v. 12. And Tychicus have I sent to Ephesus.
v. 13. The cloak that I left at Troas with Carpus, when thou comest, bring with thee, and the books, but especially the parchments.
v. 14. Alexander, the coppersmith, did me much evil; the Lord reward him according to his works;
v. 15. of whom be thou ware also, for he hath greatly withstood our words.
Having completed the body of his letter, the apostle now adds a few words concerning his personal affairs and concerning men in whom Timothy would naturally be interested. The tone of deep sadness is everywhere apparent, especially in the pleading cry: Do thy best to come to me quickly. It is possible that Tychicus, in passing through Ephesus, had expressed to Timothy the desire of the apostle to see him before the end. Apparently matters were in such a condition as to cause this urgent appeal. He begged Timothy to use all diligence, to do his very best, to make his trip to Rome with all speed.
Some of the reasons for this appeal are given by the apostle: For Demas has deserted me, since he loved this present world, and has departed to Thessalonica, Crescens to Galatia, Titus to Dalmatia. The first words of the apostle express his deep sorrow over his increasing lonesomeness. That very man Demas who, during Paul's first imprisonment, had remained so faithfully at his side, Col_4:14; Phm_1:24, now yielded to fickleness. The love for this present world, its advantages and lusts, took hold of his heart; he refused to bear the cross which the Lord laid upon him. His deserting the apostle at this time was the first step in his denial of the Lord. Tradition has it that he afterward became priest in a heathen temple in Thessalonica. Thus the love of the world, the desire to enjoy the fruits of this life for a season, has resulted all too often in the denial of the accepted truth and a later enmity against Christ and His Word. The other men mentioned by Paul probably left Rome at his own solicitation. Since his trial took longer than he had anticipated, he very likely urged both Crescens and Titus to continue their work as missionaries; for the work of the Lord must be carried on without intermission. Crescens journeyed to Galatia, undoubtedly the northern part of the province, in order to continue the work of Paul; Titus chose Dalmatia, a province on the Adriatic, the region known at the present time as Bosnia and Herzegovina. There is some basis for the belief that Crescens did missionary work in Gaul, the southern part of what is now France, the word in some manuscripts referring to this province.
Thus, of all the companions of Paul only Luke, the beloved physician, was still with him. No wonder that he desired the companionship of that pupil who had always been nearest to him, and meanwhile wanted at least some other companion for his ministry: Pick up Mark on the way and bring him with thee, for he is of great use to me for service. It seems that John Mark, who on the first missionary journey had deserted the apostle, had meanwhile learned the steadfastness which is so necessary for a servant of the Lord. See Col_4:10-11. Paul here expressly states that he was in need of his services, chiefly for work as his secretary and personal representative. Mark could be of great assistance in transmitting the messages of Paul to the congregation at Rome and otherwise aiding in the work of the Gospel. Since Mark was not at Ephesus, Timothy was to pick him up on the way, Paul's intention being that they arrive together.
The apostle makes mention of another coworker, saying that he had sent Tychicus to Ephesus, thereby implying that the latter might take the place of Mark, wherever he may have been stationed. But Paul's main concern was this, that Timothy come to him as speedily as possible. On the way he could attend to a little matter for the apostle: The cloak which I left in Troas with Carpus, bring when thou comest, also the books, especially the parchments. It seems that Paul, when he was in Troas last, had left his heavy winter overcoat with one of the members by the name of Carpus, not having need of it during the warm season. At the same time he had deposited some books, some writings on papyrus leaves, as well as some valuable parchments, with his friend. Many commentators think that the last-named documents were the apostle's own copy of the Old Testament canon. This would explain his evident solicitude concerning them and his eager wish to have them as soon as possible. The Christians of our day ought to show just as much love for their Bibles, which they can now carry with them in such handy sizes.
The apostle now sketches his own condition in a few words: Alexander, the smith, has done me much harm; the Lord will reward him according to his works; whom also thou guard against, for too bitterly has he withstood our words. This Alexander, a worker in metal, probably copper, brass, gold, and silver, may have been the same one that is mentioned Act_19:33. Ever since the Ephesian tumult this man had been filled with hatred against the apostle, making every effort to hinder the work of the Gospel. He may have been summoned as a witness in the trial of Paul and made use of the opportunity thus offered in maligning and harming the apostle in every conceivable manner, probably by testifying in such a manner as to harm the cause of his person especially. But Paul, instead of giving way to vindictiveness, placed the entire matter into the hands of God. To God belongs all vengeance, He will repay at His time. This Paul well knew, Rom_12:19, and therefore did not presume to interfere with the Lord's business. At the same time the apostle's interest in the work of the Church causes him to warn Timothy against the hateful machinations of this man, bidding him be on his guard and not expose himself and the cause to the attack of Alexander, for the latter took advantage of every opportunity to harm the work of Christ with all bitterness. It may be that he had- meanwhile returned to Ephesus and was endeavoring with all his power to harm Paul and the ministry of the Word. The same unusual hatred is often found in the case of such as believe themselves harmed in some manner by the Christians, especially if their business cannot be recommended to people interested in keeping a good conscience. In that case a similar method of procedure must be followed as that here prescribed by Paul.