The Library Left Behind

The Apostle Paul, sometime during the early to mid-60s, as he sat in his Roman prison cell, wrote the closing lines of what proved to be his final epistle, Second Timothy.

The apostle knew he was soon to die: “I am already being poured out, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.” But even as he briefly reflects on the “crown of righteousness” he is sure of receiving from “the righteous Judge,” Paul is preoccupied with the active ministry. He has just dispatched Crescens, Titus, and Tychicus to ministries to the east.

Meanwhile, there is still so much yet to be done at Rome, and only Luke is with him. Can Timothy come, please, and bring Mark along? They would need to hustle; Paul knew well, it was important to start before the winter storms that began in October (Acts 27:9).

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Patrick Henry Reardon is pastor emeritus of All Saints Antiochian Orthodox Church in Chicago, Illinois, and the author of numerous books, including, most recently, Out of Step with God: Orthodox Christian Reflections on the Book of Numbers (Ancient Faith Publishing, 2019).

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