The second letter in the New Testament that is addressed to Timothy presents a scenario that sees Paul in prison (1:8; 2:9), where he is in contact with a group otherwise unknown from his letters—Phygelus and Hermogenes (1:15), Crescens (4:10), Carpus (4:13), Eubulus, Pudens, Linus and Claudia (4:21)—as well as with others known from letters of Paul and/or that narrative of Acts—Onesiphorus (1:16), Demas and Titus (4:10), Luke and Mark (4:11), Tychicus (4:12), Prisca and Aquila (4:19), Erastus (4:20), Trophimus (4:20), and Timothy himself (1:2).
We have already considered a number of these people connected with Paul; see
The next note is also brief, but reinforcing the mobility of the group: “I have sent Tychicus to Ephesus” (1 Tim 4:12). Tychicus is mentioned late in Acts, in a group which accompanied Paul as he returned to Greece and Macedonia: “Sopater son of Pyrrhus from Beroea, Aristarchus and Secundus from Thessalonica, Gaius from Derbe, and Timothy, as well as Tychicus and Trophimus from Asia” (Acts 20:4).
The author of Colossians (perhaps Paul, although I am not so sure) referred to Tychicus, indicating that he would “tell you all the news about me; he is a beloved brother, a faithful minister, and a fellow servant in the Lord (Col 4:7). These words are repeated almost verbatim in Ephesians (most likely a circular letter, drawing directly on Colossians at this point): “Tychicus will tell you everything; he is a dear brother and a faithful minister in the Lord” (Eph 6:21).
Yet another reference to Tychicus, but without any further description of him, occurs in the letter to Titus: “when I send Artemas to you, or Tychicus, do your best to come to me at Nicopolis, for I have decided to spend the winter there” (Titus 3:2).
Carpus and Alexander
Back to the second letter to Timothy; this letter moves towards a conclusion with further instructions to Timothy: “when you come, bring the cloak that I left with Carpus at Troas, also the books, and above all the parchments” (4:13). Of Carpus, the (temporary?) guardian of Paul’s cloak, we know nothing else.
Mention of Alexander the coppersmith introduces yet another figure into the Pauline circle—although this is the only mention of him, and like the note about Demas, this is not at all a positive note, for Alexander, the letter writer states, “did me great harm; the Lord will pay him back for his deeds” (4:14). Added to this comment is a warning to Timothy: “you also must beware of him, for he strongly opposed our message” (4:14). The polemical context in which Paul and his co-workers undertook their activities is evident at a number of places in Paul’s authentic letters, and the polemical aggravation of that time continued on, as is reflected in this and other comments in the matter Pauline letters.
Further people named
In the verses beyond the section offered by the lectionary this Sunday, there are two more people named to be the recipients of greetings. “Greet Prisca and Aquila” (2 Tim 4:19)—a couple who are well known from Paul’s authentic letters (Rom 16:3; 1 Cor 16:19) as well as the account of Acts (Acts 18:2, 18, 26).
Then, “[greet] the household of Onesiphorus” (2 Tim 4:19)—also mentioned earlier in this letter, with quite some affection: “may the Lord grant mercy to the household of Onesiphorus, because he often refreshed me and was not ashamed of my chain” (2 Tim 1:16).
Then follows mention of what has happened to two individuals; first, “Erastus remained in Corinth” (2 Tim 4:20). Paul has identified Erastus as “the city treasurer” in Corinth, where he writes to the Romans (Rom 16:23); in Acts, we read that whilst in Ephesus, Paul “sent two of his helpers, Timothy and Erastus, to Macedonia, while he himself stayed for some time longer in Asia” (Acts 19:22).
Next, we read that “Trophimus I left ill in Miletus” (2 Tim 4:20). “Trophimus the Ephesian” is noted twice in Acts; the first time is in a list of people with Paul when he changed his travel plans in Greece. We learn that Paul “was accompanied by Sopater son of Pyrrhus from Beroea, by Aristarchus and Secundus from Thessalonica, by Gaius from Derbe, and by Timothy, as well as by Tychicus and Trophimus from Asia” (Acts 20:4). Trophimus is found here along with Aristarchus, Timothy, and Tychicus, already mentioned.
In the next chapter of the narrative of Acts, we encounter Paul in Jerusalem, and “Trophimus the Ephesian with him in the city, and they supposed that Paul had brought him [Trophimus] into the temple” (Acts 21:29), presumably as one of the “Greeks [he had brought] into the temple [who] defiled this holy place”, according to “the Jews from Asia” (Acts 21:27–28).
Finally, the letter ends with greetings being sent from a number of individuals who are not known elsewhere in the New Testament. “Eubulus sends greetings to you” and greetings were also given from “Pudens and Linus and Claudia and all the brothers and sisters” (4:21). Paul was nothing if not a networker supreme; the exchange of greetings in many letters indicate this quite clearly.