Paul continues his instructions to Timothy yet applicable to all church workers—especially pastors—and to all believers. We learn from these true-life examples what pleases our Lord Jesus, and what doesn’t. We learn to remain loyal to fellow believers. We learn to pray for those who desert us or remain loyal. Our friendships must be with those who are loyal to Jesus Christ, His worldview, lifestyle, rules, and beliefs.
My translation and notes on 2 Timothy 1:15-18
Those Loyal or Not
15 Yous know this, that all those in [the province of] Asia have turned away from me even Phygellus and Hermogenes.
[The Greek word for ‘turned away from’ is (G654) ἀποστρέφω apostréphō. It means to turn away from by rejecting, reject, repudiate (BDAG). Phygellus (which means fugitive) was a Christian assisting Paul while Paul was imprisoned in Rome. For some reason, he left, deserted, Paul when Paul needed fellowship and encouragement. These two individuals were from the province of Asia (western Turkey). Paul says that they all deserted him in his hour of need, even Phygellus and Hermogenes, among whom earlier must have professed the greatest loyalty to Paul. Perhaps, they were ashamed of Paul; see the next verse. The disappointment and sorrow of the apostle is certainly noted here. Hermogenes (his name means born of Hermes/Mercury) did the very same thing. How horrible when your Christian brother, mentor, encourager, and now prisoner needs you, and you fail to be there in the hour of need. Compare 2 Timothy 4:9-11, 16). Compare Romans 14:13 and 1 Corinthians 3:11-15].
16 May the Lord give the family of Onesiphorus mercy, for he often refreshed me and was not ashamed of my chains.
[Onesiphorus did the opposite. Paul states the Onesiphorus was not ashamed and helped Paul in whatever way he could, which refreshed the aged apostle. The Greek word for ‘refreshed’ is (G404) ἀναψύχω anapsucho. It means to provide relief from obligation or trouble, give someone a breathing space, revive, refresh (BDAG). Let us have the boldness and compassion that Onesiphorus and his family gave to Paul. Paul extends a prayer of apostolic blessing on Onesiphorus and his family].
17 When he was in Rome, he sought for me very diligently and found me.
18 May the Lord grant him that he may find mercy from the Lord on that day. Yous know very well how much he helped to me at Ephesus.
[‘Mercy for Onesiphorus’ does not mean salvation. Some interpret the wording of ‘the family of Onesiphorus’ to mean that Onesiphorus is dead and that the wording of this verse is a prayer of salvation for the dead. It is most reasonable that Onesiphorus is still alive and part of his family. All of the personal pronouns in verse 17 are singular and masculine. ‘That day’ refers to the believers’ judgment at the Bema Seat of Christ for rewards (Romans 14:10 and 2 Corinthians 5:9). The Bema seat judgment is NOT for salvation/damnation. The Great White Throne judgment is for unbelievers regarding their judgment to the Lake of Fire (Revelation 20:11-15].