Tuesday, 13 March 2018
This you know, that all those in Asia have turned away from me, among whom are Phygellus and Hermogenes. 2 Timothy 1:15
“This you know” introduces a new thought which will be explained as he writes the verse, but it shows that Timothy is already aware of the matter which Paul will relay. The specific thing is “that all those in Asia have turned away from me.” The area of Asia is not what we think of as “Asia” in the modern sense. Rather, it is a vague description for the churches around Lydia, Mysia, Phrygia, and so on. It could also be speaking of the area referred to in Revelation 1:4. If so, it includes Ephesus where Timothy is at as Paul writes. With that in mind, he says that in this area everyone had turned away from him.
It is obvious that this was not the case in the absolute sense. Entire churches had not turned from Paul, and Timothy was in Ephesus receiving Paul’s letters. And so what it is believed to mean is that Paul, in prison in Rome, was accompanied by representatives from Asia. In their time with him, they had turned away from him. Although entirely conjecture, it is believed by some scholars that they had been sent to Rome to testify of Paul’s character, but due to the increased pressure on Christians, and the possibility that they too could be caught up in the persecution and imprisonment, they had turned away from him. They were unwilling to stand and defend him in order to save their own skin. This certainly seems likely, and it gives a good reason why Timothy would already be aware of it.
Paul then names two of these offenders, Phygellus and Hermogenes. This is the only time these two are mentioned in Scripture, and so nothing more is known about them. However, Phygellus’ name comes from the word pheugó, meaning to flee, or shun. What an appropriate name for the situation. Hermogenes comes from two words. The first is Hermes, the messenger of the Greek gods. The second is a word meaning “come into being.” In essence, “born of Hermes.” Did Paul choose to name him here to indicate that he was more of a herald to Hermes than he was of one for Christ? He chose two names out of all of the people who had deserted him, maybe in order to tie their names into their actions. Either way, it is probable that Timothy personally knew them because Paul has mentioned them by name.
Life application: Your life is being recorded, and you will be remembered for something. In this verse, the only remembrance of these two people is that they were unwilling to stay with Paul, but instead turned away from him. This is the entire record of their lives. If you are to be remembered, and you will be, what is it that people will say about you?
Lord God, when our lives are up and our actions have been recorded, what will be the thing we are most remembered for? Help us to live our lives out in a manner which will first and foremost be remembered for being Your faithful servants. What else is of any value at all? In the end, all came from You, and all things are Yours. To have been willing to follow You, honor You, and proclaim You is the greatest testimony of all. Help us to live this out in the short lives we have been given. Amen.