Do not be like Phygelus and Hermogenes and be more like Onesiphorus – 2nd Timothy 1:15-18 – 04/01/2016
Thank you for clicking on our page for the Pauline epistle which is called 2nd Timothy, the letter is authored by the apostle Paul to Timothy who was in the Ephesian church. This is called a Pastoral Epistle and gives many doctrines that we still use in both church structure and also for choosing leaders in the church. For other bible studies on other epistles please see our main epistle page or for others in 2nd Timothy please click on this link.
2nd Timothy 1:15 (ESV) You are aware that all who are in Asia turned away from me, among whom are Phygelus and Hermogenes. 16 May the Lord grant mercy to the household of Onesiphorus, for he often refreshed me and was not ashamed of my chains, 17 but when he arrived in Rome he searched for me earnestly and found me— 18 may the Lord grant him to find mercy from the Lord on that Day!—and you well know all the service he rendered at Ephesus.
When I set this blog up my intention was to explore the epistles and do the occasional bible study based on what I had studied and learned, what you are reading below is notes I have made. I have to confess that this bible study is basic in its content and is not prepared by a pastor and I have to admit I have no theological training; my hope in prayer is that someone will be blessed by the notes below.
Let’s start in verse fifteen of the first chapter of Second Timothy.
V15 You are aware that all who are in Asia turned away from me, among whom are Phygelus and Hermogenes.
We all know a Phygelus and Hermogenes, a friend that is only there during the good times and are very thin on the ground when times are tough. I also realize times in my life where I have resembled these two “not really” friends at all. If this article brings some of those people out then glory be to God for the opportunity of recompense and restoration.
Paul writes that all who were in Asia turned away from him. They did not continue on the same journey as Paul when trouble began to brew. When we read Asia it is referring to the Asian part of the Roman Empire which would still have been in the near east, around the area that is modern day Turkey.
I have no idea why Paul singles out these two folks for naming, the reason I mention this is because Paul does state that the whole region went away from him. Perhaps it was that these were famous locally for their dissention but the truth is that this is the only place they are mentioned in scripture and what a thing to be known for?
Which leads me to a question, if your life thus far was summed up in a sentence of scripture what would it be? Would it be a life of faithfulness? Would it be one who is redeemed despite themselves? Would you be a faithful friend? Would you be a deserter?
Jesus stated that the world will not always love you if you follow him completely so let’s look at that scripture below…
John 15:18 (ESV) “If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you. 19 If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. 20 Remember the word that I said to you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you. If they kept my word, they will also keep yours. 21 But all these things they will do to you on account of my name, because they do not know him who sent me.
The world will not always regard you in high esteem if you are following God’s word, often times I have found in my life that the more I am ignored, the more I am maligned and the more that the world does not care for me is also the times I dig deeper into God and my relationship with him and my focus on my Christian walk and desiring to know more of the Word.
V16 May the Lord grant mercy to the household of Onesiphorus, for he often refreshed me and was not ashamed of my chains, 17 but when he arrived in Rome he searched for me earnestly and found me— 18 may the Lord grant him to find mercy from the Lord on that Day!—and you well know all the service he rendered at Ephesus.
In typical Pauline fashion, after giving an example of unfaithful servants he gives an example of faithful servant. This is a mark of Paul’s ministry that despite being known as a man who always tells the truth he had a heart of encouragement and I pray that I will be that way always also.
Again Onesiphorus is not abundantly mentioned in scripture and was not listed among the famous and great and good of faithful servants, however he was a faithful servant and his example should be one that we all strive to be like. We should all be looking to nail the Christian basics and be like him in the ways that he helped Paul.
Paul states that he did the following…
- He often refreshed me (v16) – This is a challenge for us all we are called to “bear one another’s burdens” but this man did much more than that, he refreshed Paul, he was a blessing to be around and gave Paul strength to carry on. Is there anyone that you are a refreshment to?
- He was not ashamed of my chains (v16) – When you are in a tight spot you find out who your real friends are and Onesiphorus was just that, when everyone around him deserted him he was confronted with who the faithful friends were and Onesiphorus was counted among that number. What are you like with your friends? Are there “deal breakers” that would cost your friendship or do you love unconditionally?
- When he arrived in Rome he searched for me earnestly and found me (v17) – This was in the days before GPS and cell phones so he went to the biggest city in the Roman Empire and looked in all the places that someone may be jailed and did not stop until he found Paul, such was his desire to be faithful to his friend.
- You well know all the service he rendered at Ephesus (v18) – His service was not just known to Paul but in Ephesus where he was famous for his service. If you looked at the definition of his name it means “help bringer” and he truly was. Paul states to Timothy that you know how he served as he must have seen it himself.
I am enthused by the example of Onesiphorus, in that I am wondering if there are folks in my life that I could be refreshing. Who should I be seeking out? Is there someone I could be helping? Not someone who may give me a lift up in ministry but someone whom I help where there is no tangible reward. I am looking for someone who needs the love of Jesus and this ties in with a sermon I heard recently where a pastor invited the congregation to have someone a “little bit dangerous” around their table, someone that needs the love of Christ and needs a good Christian example. I am in, are you?
Lord willing, in our next article in Second Timothy we will look at the first seven verses of chapter two where Paul talks about becoming a good soldier in Christ, having read ahead I love these scriptures and I pray that you are able to join us as we go through the bible, line by line and precept by precept.
God bless and I pray this was a blessing and please feel free to like, share or comment on here or whatever social media platforms you use as the Lord leads you to, as always I love questions about this or any other article so please feel free to fill in the form below, all comments are moderated to avoid profanity.