4:9-12 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.
This last portion of Paul’s letter is his final request before his impending physical death. His last request is addressed to Timothy and is requesting his presence.
This request is made upon the desertion of “fellow-laborer” Demas (Philemon 24). Demas was once considered a faithful fellow-worker and associated with the physician Luke, but at the gravity of Paul’s situation feared for his own life and returned to Thessalonica, where he likely resided (Colossians 4:14).
Paul claiming that Demas loving “this present world” alludes to the fact that Demas did not feel ready or convinced to be delivered and preserved into the Heavenly kingdom as Paul was .
Along with Demas, companions Crescens and Titus, also had left Paul for reasons not specified.
As for Luke, he was known by Paul as “the beloved physician.” In ministry, these two words signify ministry to the spirit and body of Paul. He was a travel companion with Paul and a preacher alongside him (Acts 16:9-10).
Within his request to Timothy for his presence, Paul requests Mark as well, which suggests that Mark and Timothy were cooperatively working in ministry or near each other. This is referring to John Mark. John was his Jewish name and Mark (As in Marcus) was his Roman name.
This request is an interesting one from Paul and shows God’s power working in the Christian to forgive. I write this, considering Paul’s former mistrust of John Mark due to John Mark’s desertion prior in Paul’s ministry (Acts 13:13; 15:37-38). Nonetheless, Paul addresses Mark as a fellow laborer later in his ministry and within these verses, implies full reinstatement (Philemon 24).
This request for Paul also illustrates John Mark’s spiritual maturity and growth. John Mark had progressed from mistrustful in the eyes of Paul to a “profitable” component of Paul’s ministry.
Tychicus was an important ministry companion to Paul as well. He was a Christian from Asia and considered a beloved brother and a faithful minister (Acts 20:4; Ephesians 6:21). He often held the role of a messenger, minister, and carried messages of comfort (Colossians 4:7-8).
4:13 The cloke that I left at Troas with Carpus, when thou comest, bring with thee, and the books, but especially the parchments.
Paul’s cloak was left in Troas with a fellow Christian named Carpus, who evidently was hosting Paul as he ministered. Many scholars believe that Paul’s cloak was left because this is the location that he was apprehended.
Practically, this cloak would be a God-send to the Apostle Paul who would be residing in a damp, cold Roman prison. It is also noteworthy that winter is approaching and that an under-clothed Paul would suffer greatly without some protection from the elements . As for the books, anything that I write or suggest would be pure speculation of which I am to avoid. Regardless, these works were obviously dear to Paul.
The parchments being brought may have been blank or could in fact, hold copies of Paul’s own letters to other churches, which we still read today. But once again, this is merely speculation.
4:14-15 Alexander the coppersmith did me much evil: the Lord reward him according to his works:
Of whom be thou ware also; for he hath greatly withstood our words.
Paul had a poor history with men known as Alexander. This could very well be the blasphemer mentioned in 1 Timothy 1:20 and synonymously, the Ephesian Jew mentioned in Acts 19:33-34 who opposed Paul and his Gospel.
In Christ, we are counted as righteous. When the day comes and the Christian stands before God, we will stand justified by Christ and rewarded according to our works (Romans 2:6; Romans 8:1; 1 Corinthians 3:11-17). It appears that Alexander, unless justified, would stand condemned by both (Romans 2).
4:16-18 At my first answer no man stood with me, but all men forsook me: I pray God that it may not be laid to their charge.
Notwithstanding the Lord stood with me, and strengthened me; that by me the preaching might be fully known, and that all the Gentiles might hear: and I was delivered out of the mouth of the lion.
And the Lord shall deliver me from every evil work, and will preserve me unto his heavenly kingdom: to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.
“At my first answer” is a reference to Paul’s first trial hearing, whether that was before the emperor or before a prefect. The Greek word here for “answer” is apologia. Although this word’s connotation implies an apology, it simply means “defense” or a “clearing of one’s self.”
It was during this hearing and in a time that Paul desired them most, that he was rejected by his companions. Paul understood though the concern that led to this desertion, and therefore prayed to God for there not to be a punishment reciprocated for their association to Paul in this time.
Regardless of his companion’s exits, the Lord stood with Paul and empowered him to speak the Gospel boldly and to survive. This is an applicable lesson to all who are in Christ, that no desertion by those closest to us, will remove us from the presence of God’s Spirit and His love for us thereof (Romans 8:38-39). He will always stand with us in trials.
Paul acknowledged this truth despite the coming reality. He was not senile when he proclaimed that the Lord would deliver him from every evil work. Paul knew well that ultimately deliverance comes in preservation and translation unto the Heavenly realm, where God reigns in glory for eternity (Philippians 1:19-23).
4:19-20 Salute Prisca and Aquila, and the household of Onesiphorus.
Erastus abode at Corinth: but Trophimus have I left at Miletum sick.
Prisca (Priscilla) and Aquila were a Corinthian couple who greatly assisted Paul within his missionary journeys. The two names are always mentioned together in the New Testament and they provide a good example of a Godly Christian marriage. They exemplify unity in a marriage bound together by the love of Christ.
Prisca and Aquila were tentmakers like Paul and notably hosted Paul and a house church within their home (Acts 18:1-3; 1 Corinthians 16:19). It is also notable that Paul commends them for “lay[ing] down their necks” on his behalf (Romans 16:3-5). The context of this sacrifice is not specified, although this is likely regarding their operations from their home.
For Onesiphorus references notes on 2 Timothy 1:16-18.
Erastus was another Corinthian companion of Paul and is mentioned three times within Scripture. One mention of him, groups Timothy and Erastus as ministry partners in Macedonia (Acts 19:22).
If Erastus is the same man noted in Romans 16:23, he was a chamberlain (Treasurer) of Corinth. This logically would make sense considering Paul addresses Erastus as “at Corinth.”
Trophimus was an Ephesian companion of Paul, who at this period in Paul’s life was sick (Acts 20:4). Trophimus was not unfamiliar with trials and had been a crucial proponent of one of Paul’s imprisonments (Acts 21:29). Paul prior to his death, left Trophimus in Miletum, where he remained sick. (An ancient Turkish city).
4:21 Do thy diligence to come before winter. Eubulus greeteth thee, and Pudens, and Linus, and Claudia, and all the brethren.
Paul adds a timeline to his request to Timothy in verse 9 and pleads for him to come before winter. This addition could be introduced by Paul to elicit a sense of urgency, and or simply could be a practical please as when winter sets in, travel may be slowed or hindered.
Next to nothing outside of this verse is anything known of Eubulus and Claudia. It appears that Eubulus and Claudia were Christian’s who resided in Rome and were in contact with Paul during his imprisonment and knew Timothy.
There is no extra Scripture regarding Pudens and Linus, although they are referenced in various traditional writings. Tradition states that Pudens was an early convert by the apostle Peter and an eventual martyr for the faith. Tradition (Primarily Catholic) holds to the view that Linus was one of Rome’s original bishops.
4:22 The Lord Jesus Christ be with thy spirit. Grace be with you. Amen.
This conclusion is nearly reciprocated in other letters by Paul (Galatians 6:18; Philemon 25). All three examples’ pair grace with the spirit by the Lord Jesus Christ. Christ is the supplier and sustainer of all grace to humanity, and this is only possibly His Gospel (1 Corinthians 15:3-4).