2 Timothy 4.9-13 – A Man and His Books

Towards the end of 2 Timothy we see just how human Paul was, despite him being used so powerfully and mightily by the Lord.

Do your best to come to me soon. 10 For Demas, in love with this present world, has deserted me and gone to Thessalonica. Crescens has gone to Galatia, Titus to Dalmatia. 11 Luke alone is with me. Get Mark and bring him with you, for he is very useful to me for ministry. 12 Tychicus I have sent to Ephesus. 13 When you come, bring the cloak that I left with Carpus at Troas, also the books, and above all the parchments.

Paul is nearing the end of his earthly life (vv.6-8), and he has been either deserted or left behind by many of his traveling companions. He writes that Luke alone is with me. The great Apostle then makes some very human requests – bring me some friends, bring me my cloak, and bring me my books (v.13).

Even though this man did more than most for the advancement of the Gospel, he remained just that, a man. He was evidently lonely, he was evidently cold, and was evidently wanting to read Scripture in his darkest hour. Above all the parchments most likely means portions of what we would call the Old Testament. 

John Calvin said this about Paul’s life-long desire to read Scripture,

“…this passage refute the madness of the fanatics who despise books and condemn all reading and boast only of . . . their private inspirations by God. But we should note that this passage commends continual reading to all godly men as a thing from which they can profit.”

So here is Paul, just a man and his books, earthly life ending, eternity on the horizon. No matter his present circumstances he still had the desire to read Scripture, and what a wonderful lesson that is for us. No matter what is going on around us, we must still have the desire to commune with the Lord through reading His Word to us, seeing His faithfulness committed to paper, and watching His people learn just how much they need Him.


Published by James Travis

Pastor of Saar Fellowship in the Kingdom of Bahrain. Married to Robyn and Dad to our two boys.

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