2 Timothy 4:13
The cloke that I left at Troas with Carpus, when thou comest, bring with thee, and the books, but especially the parchments.
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(13) The cloke that I left at Troas.—The apparently trivial nature of this request in an Epistle containing such weighty matter, and also the fact of such a wish on the part of one expecting death being made at all, is at first a little puzzling. To explain this seemingly strange request, some have wished to understand by “the cloke” some garment St. Paul was in the habit of wearing when performing certain sacred functions: in other words, as a vestment; but such a supposition would be in the highest degree precarious, for nowhere in the New Testament is the slightest hint given us that any such vestment was ever used in the primitive Christian Church. It is much better to understand the words as simply requesting Timothy, on his way, to bring with him a thick cloak, or mantle, which St. Paul had left with a certain Carpus at Troas. Probably, when he left it, it was summer, and he was disinclined to burden himself in his hurried journey with any superfluous things. Winter was now coming on, and the poor aged prisoner in the cold damp prison, with few friends and scant resources, remembered and wished for his cloak. It is just such a request which the master would make of his disciple, who, knowing well the old man’s frail, shattered health, would never be surprised at such a request even in an Epistle so solemn. Then too St. Paul, by his very wish here expressed, to see Timothy, as above discussed, hopes against hope that still a little while for work in the coming winter months was still before him, though he felt death was for him very near; no forger of the Epistle had dreamed of putting down such a request.

And the books.—The books were, most likely, a few choice works, some bearing on Jewish sacred history, partly exegetical and explanatory of the mysterious senses veiled under the letter of the law and the prophets, and partly historical. Others were probably heathen writings, of which we know, from his many references in his Epistles, St. Paul was a diligent student. These few choice books, it has been suggested, with high probability, St. Paul “had made a shift to get and preserve,” and these, if God spared his life yet a few short months, he would have with him for reference in his prison room.

But especially the parchments.—These precious papers, above all, would St. Paul have with him. These were, most likely, common-place books, in which the Apostle—evidently always a diligent student—had written what he had observed as worthy of especial notice in the reading of either of the Scriptures of the Old Testament, or the other books bearing on Jewish or Pagan literature and history. These precious notes were probably the result of many years’ reading and study. He would have them with him as long as life remained to him. (Compare on this strange but interesting verse Bp. Bull’s learned and exhaustive sermon: Works, vol. i. p. 240, Oxford Edition, 1846.) Erasmus remarks on this request of St. Paul: “Behold the Apostle’s goods or movables: a poor cloke to keep him from the weather, and a few books!”

A suggestion has been made that the words translated “Much learning doth make thee mad” (Acts 26:24) should be rendered, Thy many rolls of parchment are turning thy brain, and that these rolls of parchment referred to by Festus as the companions of St. Paul’s captivity at Cæsarea were identical with those parchments left with Carpus. The Greek words, however, are not the same in the two passages. Of this Carpus nothing is known.

2 Timothy


2 Timothy 4:13.

If we leave out of notice for a moment the two or three salutations and personal messages which follow, these are the last words of Paul’s last letter. So he disappears from history with this ringing cry of confidence upon his lips. There was enough in his circumstances to breed the very opposite disposition. He was half-way through his trial before Nero, and suspense, we all know, gnaws at the very roots of courage. He was all but absolutely certain that death was near, as he had said a minute before: ‘I have finished my course; I have kept the faith; henceforth there is’ nothing but the crown to look for. His heart was wrung by the desertion of friends; Demas had forsaken him, and when the pinch of his trial came, and his head was, as it were, in the lion’s open mouth, none of his friends plucked up heart of grace to stand beside him. But in spite of all, indomitable courage and a bright flame of hope, that nothing could blow or batter out, burned in the Apostle’s heart still Therefore he rays, even while facing the block, ‘the Lord will deliver me from every evil work, and preserve me unto His everlasting Kingdom.’ He is so sure of this that he beings his thanks beforehand - ‘to whom be glory for ever and ever. The thing is as good as done; and so I render my praise.’

Note here a very striking trace and echo of -

I. Christ’s words. I suppose you will often have observed that my text is a variation on the theme of the Lord’s Prayer.

That said, ‘Deliver us from evil’; Paul says, ‘The Lord shall deliver me from every evil work.’ That, according to one form of Matthew’s version, ends with the doxology: ‘Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory for ever. Amen’ Paul echoes that ascription of praise with his ‘to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.’ So we have here a little window through which we can see a wide prospect. For the gospels are later in date than Paul’s letters, and the text shows that long before they were in existence the ‘Lord’s Prayer’ was familiar, so that allusions to it were made tacitly, and would be recognised. This allusion is interesting in another point of view, in so far as it seems to prove that, in Paul’s time, at any rate, the doxology was appended to the Lord’s Prayer; and that, therefore, the fuller form of that prayer with the doxology is more original than the truncated form without it.

But passing from such considerations, let us note this word of Paul’s as an instance of how his mind was saturated with the Lord’s utterances. So it should be with us. Christ’s words should have so entered into the very substance of our minds and thoughts as that we give them freely forth again, in other shapes and in other connections; and the sweetness of them, like that of some perfume diffused through else scentless air, shall make all our words and thoughts fragrant, Do you so summer and winter with the Master’s words that they suggest themselves spontaneously to you often when you scarcely know that they are His, and that you speak them, not with formal quotation marks in front and behind, but in that allusive fashion, which indicates familiarity and the free use, in other combinations, of the great truths which He has spoken?

Notice, too, that Paul turned the prayer into confidence. In the prayer his Master had taught him to say, ‘Deliver us from evil.’ He had offered the petition, and therefore he had no more doubt than he had of his own existence or of Timothy’s, that, having asked, he would receive. Therefore he is sure that ‘the Lord shall deliver me from every evil work.’ Is that how you treat your prayers? Are they worth treating so? Are they offered with such confidence as that you have any right to be sure that they will be answered? Are they offered with such submission as that you may well be certain of it; and do you wait, as this Apostle did, quietly expecting to have the answers? And are your eyes anointed to see the answers in things that some people might take to be the contradictions of them? Unless we have so moulded our petitions into assurances there is something wrong with them. If we pray aright, ‘Deliver us from evil,’ there will rise up in our hearts the quiet confidence, ‘the Lord will deliver me from every evil work.’

Here we have a beautiful illustration of the true use of -

II. Past experience.

Paul links two clauses together. He says, describing how these faint-hearted if not faithless friends had run away from him when the pinch of peril came, ‘They all forsook me, but the Lord stood with me; and I was delivered out of the mouth of the lion.’ He looks back to that recent instance of Christ’s protecting care and delivering might, and so he changes his tenses, and brings the light of the past to flood the darkness of the present, and to flash into the obscurity of the future, and he says, ‘I was delivered.., and the Lord will deliver me, from every evil.’

He has the same collocation of thoughts, as you may remember in another place where, speaking of other kinds of deliverances, he says that the Lord ‘delivered him from so great a death’ - that was in the past - ‘and doth deliver’ - that is the thrilling consciousness that the same power is in the present as in the past; that to-day is no more prosaic and devoid of God than any yesterday; and then he adds, ‘In whom we trust that He will deliver us.’ Such is the true attitude for a Christian man. Experience is not meant only, as is too often its sole effect, to throw light upon the past, but also to flash a cheery beam on the else dim. future; just as the eastern sky will sometimes throw a hint of its own glory upon the western heaven. To a Christian, every yesterday is a prophecy of a to-morrow that will be like it, and God’s past is a pledge for God’s future.

If we, if we are truly trusting in Him, may have the prerogative which belongs to His children alone, of being absolutely certain that ‘to-morrow shall be as this day, and much more abundant,’ For there is nothing in the past, nothing in the miracles of former generations, nothing in the great deeds by which God has vindicated HIS protecting care over His people in the days that are gone, and nothing in the mercies and blessings and deliverances and immunities which we ourselves have received that is not available for to-morrow’s consumption. The psalmist said, ‘As we have heard so have we seen, in the City of our God.’ The deeds of ancient days were repeated in the prosaic present.

And that is as true about the individual life as it is about the corporate life of the community. All of us, looking back to what God has done for us, may find therein the basis of the surest confidence that all that is but a specimen and pledge of what He will do. Nobody else but a Christian has the right to say, ‘I have had this, that, and the other good; therefore I shall have it.’ Rather, alas! a man that has wrenched himself away from God has to say sadly, ‘I have had; therefore the likelihood is that I shall not have any more.’

Have you ever thought that the belief which we all have, and cannot get rid of, in the uniformity of nature, has no scientific basis? Everybody expects that the sun will rise to-morrow, and for a great many millions of years, perhaps the expectation is right; but there is coming a day when it will not rise. There is a last time - ‘positively the very last’ - for everything in the world, and in the order of nature, and the expectation of permanence by which we guide our lives is, at bottom, absolutely unfounded, and yet there it is, and we have to act upon it. But you can give no rational explanation of it, and it will not always serve., There was once made a calculating machine. You turned a handle, and ground out a succession of numbers, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, etc., each increasing on the preceding by one. And after that had gone on for a long series the sequence was broken, and there came out a number which did not stand in the series at all. That is how God has made nature; grinding away for millions of years, and everything going in regular sequence; but then there comes a break, and the old order changeth. A day will come which is the last day. The sun will set and not rise again, and the world, and all there is in it, shall cease to be.

And as with nature, so with our little lives, and with the men that we trust to. We have no right to say, ‘I have been delivered, and therefore shall be delivered,’ unless we have the Lord, who is the same yesterday and to-day and for ever at the back of our confidence. For men’s resources fail and men’s dispositions change. If I have helped a man a hundred times, that is not a reason for my helping him the hundred and first time. I may get tired, or perhaps I have not the wherewithal, or circumstances alter. Continuity does not guarantee permanence. You can weary out the most patient patience, and chill the warmest love. And so we have to turn from all the limited and changeful grounds of confidence in ourselves, in others, in the order of things about us, and to acknowledge that we do not know what to-morrow is going to do for us. We have had a great many blessings, but the future may be beggared and bankrupt of them all, unless we can say, like Paul, ‘the Lord delivered me, and the Lord will deliver me.’ For His past is the parent and the prophecy of His present, and He does not let His resources be exhausted or His patience wearied or His love disgusted. Thou hast been with me in six troubles, says Job-art Thou tired of being with me? - ‘in the seventh Thou wilt not forsake me.’ Thy past is the revelation of Thine eternal Self, and as Thou bast been so Thou wilt be. Christ, as the Incarnation of Divinity, lives, if I might use such a phrase, in a region that is high above the tenses of our verbs, in one eternal now, far below which, Past, Present, and Future, as we know them, are like the little partitions in our fields, which from the mountain-top melt away into invisibility, and do not divide the far-reaching plain.

Travellers see, in deserted, ancient cities, half-hewn statues, with one part polished and the rest rough, and the block not detached from the native rock. They were meant to be carried by ‘the subjects of some forgotten king to build up some unfinished and never-to-be-finished temple or palace. There are no half-finished works in God’s workshop; no pictures begun and uncompleted in Christ’s studio: and so we can go to Him with the old prayer of the psalmist: ‘The Lord will perfect that which concerneth me. Thy mercy, O Lord, endureth for ever; forsake not the work of Thine own hands.’

Lastly, we have here a great lesson of how -

III. A man close to death may think of it, ‘The Lord will deliver me.’

Did He? ‘The Lord will save me... into His everlasting kingdom.’ Was that a mistake on Paul’s part? Very soon after he wrote these words, perhaps even before the winter against the cold of which he asked Timothy to bring his one cloak that he had left at Troas, he was again brought before the Emperor, and then was led outside the walls of Rome, where a gorgeous church now bears his name, and there, according to tradition was decapitated. Yes; that was just what he expected. For, as I have already pointed out, a verse or two before my text says, ‘I have finished my course.’ And yet, with the certainty that Death was close by him, he lifts up this ringing song Of triumph, ‘The Lord will deliver me from every evil work, and will save me into His heavenly Kingdom,’ He expected that deliverance and saving into the Kingdom to be accomplished precisely by the fact of his death.

A man who has a firm grip of Christ’s hand sees all things differently from him who has no such stay. If Jesus is standing by us, and strengthening us, we can look with a smile at the worst that Nero can do, and can tell even the executioner: You do not mean it; do you know what you are doing? You think you are inflicting evil upon me. You are delivering me from every evil.’ Death is the great emancipator from all manner of evil, be it the evil of sorrows or the evil of their parent sins. And he who rightly understands the operation of that, the last of earthly incidents, understands that it is, in the fullest sense, the smiting off of his chains, and the lifting of him up high into a region where no malaria of evil can ever rise.

Death is not merely to be looked at on the side of what it takes a man away from, but on the side of what it introduces him to. ‘He shall deliver me from every evil’; that is much, but it might be effected by crushing the man’s consciousness and annihilating him. Bare exemption and escape from the ills that flesh is heir to are not all the choice gifts with which Death-comes laden. In his bony left hand is the gift of deliverance from all evil. In his right there is the positive gift of participation in all good. ‘He shall deliver me from evil, and shall save me into His everlasting Kingdom.’ And so that grim form is the porter at the gate, who ushers the man who has hoped in Christ into the royalty of His presence.

Mark that here, for the only time in Scripture, we have the expression, the ‘heavenly Kingdom.’ Why? Because Paul knew and felt that he was in the Kingdom already, and so he could not say barely that Christ through death was going to save him into the Kingdom. He was already there, but just because he was, therefore the last enemy assumed this friendly and familiar form to him, and was sure to bring him into the heavenly form of the Kingdom, of whose earthly form he was already a subject. If - and only if - you are in the Kingdom here, can you quietly look forward and be sure that the Lord, when He sends His messenger, will send Him to do the double work of delivering you out of all evil, and ushering you into all glory of good.

2 Timothy 4:13. The cloak — Perhaps the toga which belonged to him as a Roman citizen, or an upper garment, which might be needful as winter came on. The word φαιλονη, however, so rendered, also signifies a bag, in which sense the Syriac translator understood it, paraphrasing the expression, a bag containing books; or a kind of portmanteau, the contents of which might be more important than the thing itself. Which I left at Troas with Carpus — Who was probably his host there; when thou comest bring with thee, and the books, especially the parchments — What the books here referred to were, commentators nave not attempted to conjecture: but Dr. Benson fancies the parchments were the letters which he received from the churches, and the autographs of his own letters to the churches. For that he employed persons to transcribe his letters is probable from Romans 16:22, where the name of the amanuensis of that epistle is inserted. In those fair copies the apostle wrote the salutations with his own hand, (1 Corinthians 16:21; Galatians 6:11; Colossians 4:18; 2 Thessalonians 3:17,) and thereby authenticated them as his letters.

4:9-13 The love of this world, is often the cause of turning back from the truths and ways of Jesus Christ. Paul was guided by Divine inspiration, yet he would have his books. As long as we live, we must still learn. The apostles did not neglect human means, in seeking the necessaries of life, or their own instruction. Let us thank the Divine goodness in having given us so many writings of wise and pious men in all ages; and let us seek that by reading them our profiting may appear to all.The cloak that I left at Troas - On the situation of Troas, see the notes on Acts 16:8. It was not on the most direct route from Ephesus to Rome, but was a route frequently taken. See also the introduction, section 2. In regard to what the "cloak" here mentioned was, there has been considerable difference of opinion. The Greek word used (φελόνης phelonēs, - variously written φαιλόνης phailonēs, φελόνης phelonēs, and φελώνης phelōnēs), occurs nowhere else in the New Testament. It is supposed to be used for a similar Greek word (φαινόλης phainolēs) to denote a cloak, or great-coat, with a hood, used chiefly on journeys, or in the army: Latin, "penula." It is described by Eschenberg (Man. Class. Lit., p. 209) as a "cloak without sleeves, for cold or rainy weather." See the uses of it in the quotations made by Wetstein, in loc.

Others, however, have supposed that the word means a traveling-case for books, etc. So Hesychius understands it. Bloomfield endeavors to unite the two opinions by suggesting that it may mean a "cloak-bag," and that he had left his books and parchments in it. It is impossible to settle the precise meaning of the word here, and it is not material. The common opinion that it was a wrapper or traveling-cloak, is the most probable; and such a garment would not be undesirable for a prisoner. It should be remembered, also, that winter was approaching 2 Timothy 4:21, and such a cloak would be particularly needed. He had probably passed through Troas in summer, and, not needing the cloak, and not choosing to encumber himself with it, had left it at the house of a friend. On the meaning of the word, see Wetstein, Robinson, Lex., and Schleusner, Lexicon. Compare, also, Suic. Thes ii. 1422. The doubt in regard to what is here meant, is as old as Chrysostom. He says (Homily x. on this Epistle), that the word φελόνην phelonēn denotes a garment - τὸ ἱματίον to himation. But some understood by it a capsula, or bag - γλωσσόκομον glōssokomon," (compare the notes on John 12:6), "in which books, etc. were carried."

With Carpus - Carpus is not elsewhere mentioned. He was evidently a friend of the apostle, and it would seem probable that Paul had made his house his home when he was in Troas.

And the books - It is impossible to determine what books are meant here. They may have been portions of the Old Testament, or classic writings, or books written by other Christians, or by himself. It is worthy of remark that even Paul did not travel without books, and that he found them in some way necessary for the work of the ministry.

Especially the parchments - The word here used (μεμβράνας membranas, whence our word "membrane"), occurs only in this place in the New Testament, and means skin, membrane, or parchment. Dressed skins were among the earliest materials for writing, and were in common use before the art of making paper from rags was discovered. These "parchments" seem to have been something different from "books," and probably refer to some of his own writings. They may have contained notes, memorandums, journals, or unfinished letters. It is, of course, impossible now to determine what they were. Benson supposes they were letters which he had received from the churches; Macknight, that they were the originals of the letters which he had written; Dr. Bull, that they were a kind of common-place book, in which he inserted hints and extracts of the most remarkable passages in the authors which he read. All this, however, is mere conjecture.

13. cloak … I left—probably obliged to leave it in a hurried departure from Troas.

Carpus—a faithful friend to have been entrusted with so precious deposits. The mention of his "cloak," so far from being unworthy of inspiration, is one of those graphic touches which sheds a flood of light on the last scene of Paul's life, on the confines of two worlds; in this wanting a cloak to cover him from the winter cold, in that covered with the righteousness of saints, "clothed upon with his house from heaven" [Gaussen]. So the inner vesture and outer garment of Jesus, Paul's master, are suggestive of most instructive thought (Joh 19:2).

books—He was anxious respecting these that he might transmit them to the faithful, so that they might have the teaching of his writings when he should be gone.

especially the parchments—containing perhaps some of his inspired Epistles themselves.

Troas was a city in Asia, where we find Paul more than once, Acts 16:8,20:5; he preached Christ there, 2 Corinthians 2:12. There Paul left an upper garment with one Carpus, which probably (having no great wardrobe) he might want, being a prisoner. And the books, but especially the parchments; interpreters idly busy themselves in inquiring after what they can never find out, what these books were, or what was written in these parchments.

The cloak that I left at Troas with Carpus,.... About the word here rendered a "cloak", interpreters are not agreed: some take it for a garment, and about this they differ; some would have it to be a dignified robe, such as the Roman consuls and senators of Rome wore; which is not likely, this being not suitable to the apostle's character, state, and circumstances. Others take it to be a courser and meaner garment, wore in cold and rainy weather, to preserve from the inclementencies of it; and winter now coming on, 2 Timothy 4:21 the apostle sends for it; which he perhaps had left at Troas in the summer season, as he came: but others take it to be a kind of desk or scrutoire, to put papers in, or a chest for books, a book press; and so the Syriac version renders it; and which agrees with what follows. Jerom understands it of a book itself, of the Hebrew volume of the Pentateuch (g). Troas, where this cloak, or book press, or book was, was a city in Asia Minor, that stood upon, or near the same place where old Troy stood, and from whence it seems to have had its name, and lay in Timothy's way from Ephesus to Rome; See Gill on Acts 16:8, Acts 20:7 and as for Carpus, he was Paul's host when he was at Troas. Some make him to be first bishop of Laodicea, and then of Crete; he is reckoned among the seventy disciples, and is said to be bishop of Berytus in Thrace; See Gill on Luke 10:1.

When thou comest, bring with thee; he would have him call for it at Troas as he came by, and bring it with him:

and the books; that were in it, or were there, besides the Hebrew Pentateuch: the apostle was a great reader of books, of various sorts, both Gentile and Jewish, as appears by his citations out of the Heathen poets, and his acquaintance with Jewish records, Acts 17:28. And though he was now grown old, and near his exit, yet was mindful and careful of his books, and desirous of having them to read; and herein set an example to Timothy and others, and enforced the exhortation he gave him, 1 Timothy 4:13.

But especially the parchments: which might contain his own writings he had a mind to revise before his death, and commit into the hands of proper persons; or some observations which he had made in his travels, concerning persons and things; though it is most likely that these were the books of the Old Testament, which were written on parchments, and rolled up together; and hence they are called the volume of the book; and these the apostle had a special regard for, that whatever was neglected, he desired that these might not, but be carefully brought unto him.

(g) Epist. ad Damas. qu. 2. p. 12. Tom. 3.

The cloke that I left at Troas with Carpus, when thou comest, bring with thee, and the books, but especially the parchments.
2 Timothy 4:13. Timothy is commissioned to bring with him certain belongings. The first named is τὸν φελόνην. On the various spellings of this word, see the Greek lexicons. Regarding the meaning, Chrysostom said: φελόνην ἐνταῦθα τὸ ἱμάτιον λέγει· τινὲς δέ φασι τὸ γλωσσόκομον, ἔνθα τὰ βιβλία ἔκειτο; and the most recent expositors are still at variance. Matthies takes it in the second meaning: “cloakbag, covering for books,” because it is improbable that Paul should have left his travelling cloak behind him. De Wette adopts the first meaning, for the reason given by Bengel: theca non seorsum a libris appellaretur. This is the more probable view; there is little force in the objection, that we cannot see what use Paul would have for the mantle when he was expecting death so soon.

ὃν ἀπέλιπον ἐν Τρωάδι παρὰ Κάρπῳ] From this it is clear that Paul had been in Troas before he came to Rome, but the time is not stated. In any case, it is very improbable (see Introd. p. 25) that this sojourn was the one mentioned in Acts 20:6. He did not, however, touch at Troas on his voyage from Caesarea to Rome.

Carpus is mentioned only here.

καὶ τὰ βιβλία, μάλιστα τὰς μεμβράνας] Since Paul says nothing further about them, it is idle conjecture to define more precisely the contents of the books written on papyrus, and of the more valuable rolls of parchment.

2 Timothy 4:13. I want my warm winter cloak and my books.

τὸν φελόνην: The φελόνης, or φαιλόνης, by metathesis for φαινόλης, was the same as the Latin paenula, from which it is derived, a circular cape which fell down below the knees, with an opening for the head in the centre. (So Chrys. on Php 2:30; Tert. De orat. xii.). The Syriac here renders it a case for writings, a portfolio, an explanation noted by Chrys., τὸ γλωσσόκομον ἔνθα τὰ βιβλία ἔκειτο. But this is merely a guess suggested by its being coupled with βιβλία and μεμβράνας.

Τρῳάδι: Even if Timothy was not in Ephesus, he was in Asia, and travellers thence to Rome usually passed through Troas. Perhaps St. Paul had been arrested at Troas, and had not been allowed to take his cloak, etc. This is a more plausible supposition than that he was making a hurried flight from Alexander, as Lock conjectures, Hastings’ D. B., iv. 775, a.

κάρπῳ: See art. in Hastings’ D. B.

τὰ βιβλία would be papyrus rolls in use for ordinary purposes, while the more costly μεμβράναι contained, in all likelihood, portions of the Hebrew Scriptures, hence μάλιστα (see Kenyon, Textual Crit. of N. T. p. 22). We know that St. Paul employed in study the enforced leisure of prison (Acts 26:24). We may note that, like Browning’s Grammarian, he did not allow his normal strenuous life to be affected or diverted by the known near approach of death.

13. The cloke] Vulg. ‘penulam.’ The oldest use of the word is traced back beyond the Latins nearly to the time of Alexander the Great, in a fragment of a Doric poet, Rhinthon (Julius Pollux Onomast. vii. 60). Hence the Latin must have adopted it from the Greek, not vice versa. The Roman paenula was a travelling cloak, long, and thick, and sleeveless, made generally of wool, sometimes of leather. Cf. Mart. xiv. 145 paenula gausapina, xiv. 13 paenula scortea. Dr Farrar suggests that ‘perhaps St Paul had woven it himself of that cilicium, the black goats’ hair of his native province, which it was his trade to make into tents. Doubtless the cloke was an old companion. It may have been wetted many a time with the water-torrents of Pamphylia, and whitened with the dust of the long roads, and stained with the brine of shipwreck. Now, shivering in some gloomy cell under the Palace, or it may be on the rocky floor of the Tullianum, with the wintry nights coming on, he bethinks him of the old cloke and asks Timothy to bring it with him.’ He quotes also the letter of Tyndale, the translator of the English Bible, from his prison in the damp cells of the Vilvoorde: ‘I entreat your Lordship, and that by the Lord Jesus, that, if I must remain here for the winter, you would beg the Commissary to be so kind as to send me, from the things of mine which he has, a warmer cap … I feel the cold painfully in my head.… Also a warmer cloke, for the one I have is very thin.… He has a woollen shirt of mine, if he will send it. But most of all … my Hebrew Bible, Grammar and Vocabulary, that I may spend my time in that pursuit. William Tyndale.’ There is some foundation for the interpretation ‘a book-case’ or ‘portfolio,’ which the Syriac versions support: none for the meaning ‘a chasuble,’ the passages of Tertullian and Chrysostom, quoted in favour, being really conclusive for the meaning ‘travelling cloak.’ There is no certain case of the use of the term in this technical sense before the time of Germanus, patriarch of Constantinople in the 8th century. See Dr Sinker’s Article, Dict. Christ. Antiq.

at Troas] We do not know when this was; Farrar suggests that ‘he left them behind, with Carpus, to take care of them, in his hasty arrest at Troas.’ But see Introduction, p. 43.

and the books] The papyrus books; ‘perhaps poems of Aratus, a Cilician like himself, or pamphlets of Philo or the Wisdom of Solomon.’ See Bp Bull, Sermon x. p. 242.

the parchments] Writings on vellum; membrana, the Latin word, of which the Greek is a transcript, is properly a feminine adjective with which cutis is supplied, ‘the skin covering the limbs (membra).’ Hence membrana Pergamena was the thin sheep or calf skin sheet invented by Eumenes of Pergamus; of which membrana supplies the Greek word, and Pergamena has been corrupted into ‘parchment.’ Our ‘vellum’ is said to be from the French vélin, calf-skin. Bp Bull, Sermon x. p. 245, takes these ‘parchments’ (after Estius) to be St Paul’s adversaria or commonplace books ‘wherein he had noted what he thought might be of use to him out of the many books he had read.’ Farrar suggests ‘a document to prove his rights as a Roman citizen’ or ‘any precious rolls of Isaiah or the Psalms or the lesser Prophets.’

2 Timothy 4:13. Τὸν φαιλόνην, the cloak) Some take it for a book-case; but it would not be called a case apart from the books.—ἀπέλιπον, I left) The cloak, perhaps, when they first laid violent hands on Paul, might have been taken from him at Rome, if he had brought it with him. Now when Timothy is desired to bring it, personal security is not obscurely promised to him.—παρὰ Κάρπῳ, with Carpus) The man must have been very faithful, to whom the apostle would entrust this most precious deposit.

Verse 13. - Bring when thou comest for when thou comest bring with thee, A.V.; especially for but especially, A.V. The cloke (τὸν φελόνην, more properly written φαινόλην); the Latin paenula, the thick overcoat or cloke. Only here in the New Testament. Some think it was the bag in which the books and parchments were packed. The parchments (τὰς μεμβράνας). This, again, is a Latin word. It occurs only here in the New Testament. They would probably be for the apostle to write his Epistles on. Or they may have been valuable manuscripts of some kind. In ver. 20 we learn that St. Paul had lately been at Miletus; and in 1 Timothy 1:3 that he was then going to Macedonia. Tress would be on his way to Macedonia, Greece, and Rome (Acts 16:8, 9, 11), as it was on the return journey from Macedonia to Miletus (Acts 20:5, 15). It should further be observed that the journey here indicated is the same as that referred to in 1 Timothy 1:3, which confirms the inevitable inference from this chapter that St. Paul, on his way to Rome from Miletus, whither he had come from Crete (Titus 1:5), passed through Tress, Macedonia, and Corinth (ver. 20), leaving Timothy at Ephesus. (See Introduction.) 2 Timothy 4:13The cloak (φελόνην)

Hesychius, however, explains as a γλωσσόκομον, originally a case for keeping the mouthpieces of wind-instruments; thence, generally, a box. Γλωσσόκομον is the word for the disciples' treasury-chest (bag, John 12:6). Also a box for transporting or preserving parchments. Specimens have been found at Herculaneum. In lxx, 2 Samuel 6:11, the ark of the Lord (but the reading varies): in 2 Chronicles 24:8, the chest placed by order of Joash at the gate of the temple, to receive contributions for its repair. Joseph. Ant. 6:1, 2, of the coffer into which the jewels of gold were put for a trespass-offering when the ark was sent back (1 Samuel 6:8). Phrynicus defines it as "a receptacle for books, clothes, silver, or anything else." Φαιλόνης or φαινόλης a wrapper of parchments, was translated figuratively in Latin by toga or paenula "a cloak," sometimes of leather; also the wrapping which a shopkeeper put round fish or olives; also the parchment cover for papyrus rolls. Accordingly it is claimed that Timothy is here bidden to bring, not a cloak, but a roll-case. So the Syriac Version. There seems to be no sufficient reason for abandoning the translation of A.V.


Not mentioned elsewhere.

The books (βιβλία)

Βίβλος or, βιβλίον was the term most widely used by the Greeks for book or volume. The usual derivation is from βύβλος the Egyptian papyrus. Comp. Lat. liber "the inner bark of a tree," also " book." Pliny (Nat. Hist. xiii. 11) says that the pith of the papyrus plant was cut in slices and laid in rows, over which other rows were laid crosswise, and the whole was massed by pressure. The name for the blank papyrus sheets was χάρτης (charta) paper. See on 2 John 1:12. Timothy is here requested to bring some papyrus documents which are distinguished from the vellum manuscripts.

Parchments (μεμβράνας)

N.T.o. Manuscripts written on parchment or vellum. Strictly speaking, vellum was made from the skins of young calves and the common parchment from those of sheep, goats, or antelopes. It was a more durable material than papyrus and more expensive. The Latin name was membrana, and also pergamena or pergamina, from Pergamum in Mysia where it was extensively manufactured, and from which it was introduced into Greece. As to the character and contents of these documents which Timothy is requested to bring, we are of course entirely ignorant.

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