II Timothy

II Timothy 4:14-16 Some Fight And Some Forsake.

Some, like Alexander the coppersmith, did Paul “much harm” (v. 14). This could be the same Alexander mentioned with Hymenaeus at I Timothy 1:20. In their case, their faith suffered shipwreck, Paul actually delivering them over to Satan “that they may learn not to blaspheme.” This was church discipline, that they might recognize their errors and repent. Perhaps by the time of the second letter Alexander still had not done so. This kind of behaviour, and dealing with these kinds of issues, surely tax any minister of the word. In the case of this Alexander, he actually opposed their words, in other words, the ministry of the word. For this reason Paul warns Timothy to beware of him (v. 15).

However, as he mentioned in the immediately preceding verses, there were even coworkers in the ministry who had abandoned him (vv. 9-13), or as he adds here-at his first defence none stood with him, but all forsook him (v. 16a). However, in the case of the latter, he in effect prays that this would not be held against them. This echoes what Jesus said on the cross-“Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do” (Lk. 23:34), and later Stephen before his death (Acts7:60). The former are delivered to Satan that they might repent. The latter are forgiven, because they acted in weakness and ignorance (Acts 23:11). The lives of both groups going forward would reveal their true natures, and sadly some may never change their ways.

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