2 Timothy 4:9-13
Do your best to come to me soon. For Demas, in love with this present world, has deserted me and gone to Thessalonica. Crescens has gone to Galatia,Titus to Dalmatia. Luke alone is with me. Get Mark and bring him with you, for he is very useful to me for ministry. Tychicus I have sent to Ephesus. When you come, bring the cloak that I left with Carpus at Troas, also the books, and above all the parchments.
About some Scripture we wonder, “These things are so personal, so time-bound; why include such things for us today?” What value are personal notes about Paul’s companions and travel? A left-behind coat, books, parchments?
In reality, these Scriptures reveal instructive aspects of the walk with God through real life relationships, through disappointments and loyalties, in decisions, changing circumstances, in things which anchor hearts despite storms.
Consider the likely backstories. Paul is arrested a 2nd time by Roman authorities, a second Roman incarceration. This time a release is unlikely, the life and death stakes are higher. Some of Paul’s companions desert under the pressure; he is increasingly alone at the very time he needs encouragement. Others leave to strengthen Christian fellowships elsewhere. Crescens’ encouragement was needed in Galatia. Titus to those in Dalmatia. Yet Luke, a physician, attends to Paul’s physical and companionship needs.
Timothy is to bring Mark—a young man who failed Paul’s mission on his first assignment. Now he has proven himself, and Paul needs him for ministry in Rome. Also, “bring the cloak…the books...and above all the parchments.” Arrested individuals often had their 2nd cloak taken from them. Anticipating this when taken in Troas, Paul likely hid it with friends, along with precious materials. The parchments, likely copies of Paul’s favorite Scriptures, now requested, that Paul might spend his final days with God in His Word.