Tonight we are gathering to discuss 2 Timothy 4. The letter ends with instructions or greetings concerning seventeen different individuals. Some of these individuals, such as Crescens (v.10), Carpus (v.13), Alexander (v.14), Eubulus, Pudens, and Claudia (v.21), are mentioned nowhere else. By ancient tradition, Linus (v.21) succeeded St. Peter as the Bishop of Rome but is not elsewhere found in Scripture. Others are only found in other similar lists in Paul’s letters but nothing more is known of them. Tychicus (v.12,) and Trophimus (v.20) are probably from Ephesus (Acts 20:4, 21:29, Eph. 6:21). Erastus (v.20) had been a close companion of Timothy (Acts 19:22). Demus (v.10) is mentioned in two other letters in conjunction with Luke and Mark (Col. 4:10, 14; Philemon 24),
Luke (v.10) also is only mentioned by name in this final greeting and that of Colossians (4:14) and Philemon (v.24) where he is a companion of Paul. Although the third gospel (like all the canonical Gospels) is anonymous, all ancient authorities ascribe the gospel to the Luke mentioned in Paul’s letters. We know that this gospel and Acts are written by the same person (Luke 1:1, Acts 1:1). We also know that the second half of Acts (Ch. 16-28) is devoted to Paul, and that certain passages in Acts (the so-called ”we” passages) are written in the first-person plural indicating that the author was a companion of Paul.
This final greeting also mentions Mark (v.11). Mark is the reason that Paul and Barnabas separated. Acts 15:36-41. Mark is also mentioned by name by Paul in the final greetings in Colossians (4:10) and Philemon (v.24) and mentioned by Peter (1 Peter 5:12). The ancient tradition holds that the “Mark” mentioned by Paul and Peter is the same person and is the writer of the gospel that bears his name.
The people we know about the most in this final greeting are the husband and wife evangelist team of Prisca and Aquila (v.19). We first meet this couple in Acts 18. They are Jewish Christian tentmakers from Rome who had to leave Rome when Emperor Claudius expelled the Jews from the City. They resettled in Corinth where they meet Paul (who is also a Jewish Christian tentmaker). In Acts, Luke mentions the wife first, as does Paul, (which is unusual in that day as in and ours), and relates how both were teachers. Paul also mentions the couple in his farewell greetings in Romans calling them his fellow workers (Rom. 16:3) and in his farewell greetings to the Corinthians where he sends greetings from the couple along with the church meeting in their home (1 Cor. 16:19).
At the time of this letter, these named people were instrumental in Paul’s ministry and the spread of the good news of Jesus, and we know almost nothing about any of them. Their work gave us the Church we have today. And so it should be with us. The laborers in the vineyard are seldom remembered, but their work continues to bear fruit after they have gone.
Dinner is at 6. The menu is fajitas. Discussion about 6:45. Compline at 8. Hope to see you here!
The Lord be with your spirit. Grace be with you.2 Tim. 4:22