Trophimus: Whose Praise is in the Churches
The 20th chapter of the Book of Acts begins with the statement, ‘After the uproar had ceased’.
Exciting events had taken place in Ephesus, which Luke recounts in Acts 19. After two years of ministry to Jews and Greeks in Ephesus, a riot broke out and it was prudent that Paul leave town for a while.
Paul decided to extend their missionary journey into Macedonia and Greece. In Acts 20:4, Luke says that Paul after going to Macedonia and Greece returned via Macedonia to Asia. Luke of course traveled with Paul; and names the other seven men who accompanied them on this trip. Their journey took several months. They were in Greece for 3 months and before that, they had traveled all over Macedonia as well; and the journey from Ephesus to
Troy and Miletus are included in the story.
One of these men was Trophimus.
He is first mentioned by name here, from the Roman province of Asia. In Acts 21:29 he is specifically called an Ephesian. His name means ‘Adopted’ or ‘Foster Child’. He was a Greek living in Ephesus, who came to faith in Christ, through Paul’s preaching and teaching, which continued there for about 2 years.
When Paul received a letter from the Church at Corinth in Greece, he was deeply disturbed at the account of the events taking place there. He responded to them with his second letter to the Corinthians, written from Ephesus.
The first letter had outlined strong disciplinary measures the Church should take to bring an offending Christian to repentance. Now this second letter was to ensure forgiveness and acceptance by the Church, since the offender had truly shown the fruits of his repentance.
This was such an important matter, that Paul sought out dependable messengers to carry this letter and confirm his instructions.
Trophimus and Titus to whose care Paul entrusted the carrying of this Second Epistle to the Corinthians.
Trophimus was a member of the Ephesian church, whom Paul had found reliable. Second Cor. 8:16-24 specifically mentions that the person referred to was one of Paul’s “Traveling Companions”. A process of elimination, among the 8 traveling companions of Paul, leads me to the conclusion that the trusted and highly esteemed brother, who had Paul’s full confidence, was Trophimus. Titius Justus was a founding member of the Corinthian Church, in whose house Paul began meeting after leaving the Jewish synagogue (Acts 18:7 ESV, ISV, CEV et al) .
The Church at Ephesus also contributed to the offering for the poor in Jerusalem.
They sent delegates along with Paul to see the gift reached the church in Jerusalem, and one of them was Trophimus. 1 Cor. 16:1-3.
During Paul’s defense in Caesarea before Governor Felix, he makes the statement that his last missionary journey was to bring offerings for the poor to Jerusalem. (Acts 24:17) We also learn from the narrative that Trophimus accompanied Paul to Rome, and traveled with him after his release from his first imprisonment.
At one point in their travels, Trophimus became very ill and Paul in his last written letter, (2 Tim 4:20) says he left him at Miletus. This was not far from his home city of Ephesus, and there were friends and family nearby who were able to take care of him, and get him back home after his recovery.
It is interesting to see that the innocent Trophimus, was the person whom the Jews from Asia assumed Paul to have brought into, and defiled, the Temple.
The Temple had an outer court called the ‘Court of the Gentiles’ and there was a partition, or wall, with notices warning Gentiles that the next area was for Jews only, and any Gentile entering that part of the Temple would be stoned to death. Paul in his writing to the Galatians explains how in Christ the “middle wall of partition has been removed”, and how all people now have access to the presence of the most high God. (Eph 2:14)
Tertullus the Lawyer, when accusing Paul, repeated the accusation involving Trophimus during that hearing in Caesarea. Acts 24:6 (cf. Acts 21:28-29,)
Trophimus is one of many, barely noticed, heroes of the “Early Church”.
He traveled with and assisted Paul in his ministry for several years, and finally, tradition tells us, he was beheaded by the Roman Emperor Nero.
You may never have your life story published; but God keeps good records. If you have taken Jesus as your Savior, and are diligent and faithful to Him and the Gospel, you will obtain your reward in that great day when we stand before the Lord. He will say, “Well done, good and faithful servant, enter into the joy of the Lord”.