|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
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.
Verse 11. - Useful for profitable, A.V.; ministering for the ministry, A.V. Luke; probably a shortened form of Lucanus. Luke was with St. Paul in his voyage to Rome (Acts 27:1; Acts 28:11, 16), and when he wrote the Epistles to the Colossians and Philemon (Colossians 4:14; Philemon 1:4), having doubtless composed the Acts of the Apostles during St. Paul's two years' imprisonment (Acts 28:30). How he spent his time between that date and the mention of him here as still with St. Paul, we have no knowledge. But it looks as if he may have been in close personal attendance upon him all the time. if he had been permitted to write a supplement to the Acts, perhaps the repeated "we" would have shown this. Take Mark. Mark had apparently been recently reconciled to St. Paul when he wrote Colossians 4:10, and was with him when he wrote Philemon 1:24. We know nothing more of him till we learn from this passage that he was with or near to Timothy, and likely to accompany him to Rome in his last visit to St. Paul. He is mentioned again in 1 Peter 5:13, as being with St. Peter at Babylon. The expression, "take" (ἀναλαβών), seems to imply that Timothy was to pick him up on the way, as the word is used in Acts 20:13, 14; and, though less certainly, in Acts 23:31. He is useful to me, etc. (εὔχρηστος); as ch. 2:21 (where see note). This testimony to Mark's ministerial usefulness, at a time when his faithfulness and courage would be put to a severe test, is very satisfactory. For ministering (εἰς διακονίαν). It may be doubted whether διακονία here means "the ministry," as in the A.V. and 1 Timothy 1:12, or, as in the R.V., more generally "for ministering," i.e. for acting as an assistant to me in my apostolic labours. The words, "to me," favour the latter rendering. The sense would then be the same as that of the verb in Acts 19:22, where we read that Timothy and Erastus "ministered unto him," i.e. to St. Paul, and that of ὑπηρέτης applied to Mark in Acts 13:5.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Only Luke is with me,.... The beloved physician, who wrote the Gospel that bears his name, and "the Acts of the Apostles", and was a constant companion of Paul's in his travels and sufferings:
take Mark, and bring him with thee; who might be at Ephesus, or somewhere in Timothy's way as he came to Rome. This seems to be the same with John Mark of Jerusalem, the son of Mary, the sister of Barnabas, and who was with Paul and Barnabas in their travels, and who parted from them at Pamphylia; on whose account, and for that reason, there was so great a difference between Paul and Barnabas, as to separate upon it; but now the apostle had entertained a better opinion of him, and was reconciled unto him, and was very desirous of his company and assistance; and which he had, Colossians 4:10.
For he is profitable to me for the ministry; that is, of the Gospel, to assist in preaching it.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
11. Take—Greek, "take up" on thy journey (Ac 20:13, 14). John Mark was probably in, or near, Colosse, as in the Epistle to the Colossians (Col 4:10), written two years before this, he is mentioned as about to visit them. Timothy was now absent from Ephesus and somewhere in the interior of Asia Minor; hence he would be sure to fall in with Mark on his journey.
he is profitable to me for the ministry—Mark had been under a cloud for having forsaken Paul at a critical moment in his missionary tour with Barnabas (Ac 15:37-40; 13:5, 13). Timothy had subsequently occupied the same post in relation to Paul as Mark once held. Hence Paul, appropriately here, wipes out the past censure by high praise of Mark and guards against Timothy's making self-complacent comparisons between himself and Mark, as though he were superior to the latter (compare Phm 24). Demas apostatizes. Mark returns to the right way, and is no longer unprofitable, but is profitable for the Gospel ministry (Phm 11).
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