Back to The Quick Teachings Page


2 Timothy 4: 20 Erastus stayed in Corinth, but Trophimus I have left in Miletus sick.

This passage is an opportunity for many to justify the fact that healing is not systematic in the thought and in the will of God. They take the pretext that Paul would have left one of his companions in a condition of physical illness in the city of Miletus.
This kind of theory is in contradiction with the essence of salvation in Jesus Christ. In the word 'saved' we know that is understood the notion of being always in good physical and mental health.
God wanting us in good health is a fact.

Trophimus is the name of the boy who accompanied Paul. It was from his prison cell in Rome that Paul wrote this text to Timothy. So he tells Timothy what happened with Trophimus.
We see in Acts 21: 27 that it’s where the problems started.

Acts 21: 27-30  Now when the seven days were almost ended, the Jews from Asia, seeing him in the temple, stirred up the whole crowd and laid hands on him,  crying out, “Men of Israel, help! This is the man who teaches all men everywhere against the people, the law, and this place; and furthermore he also brought Greeks into the temple and has defiled this holy place.”  (For they had previously seen Trophimus the Ephesian with him in the city, whom they supposed that Paul had brought into the temple.  And all the city was disturbed; and the people ran together, seized Paul, and dragged him out of the temple; and immediately the doors were shut.

Paul was in Jerusalem, and Trophimus was with him. We see that Paul was arrested because he was falsely accused of having entered a non-Jew in the temple, in the person of Trophimus. Then from Jerusalem Paul is transferred to Rome to stand trial, he goes with his comagnons.
How Paul could have left Trophimus in Miletus since he hasn’t apparently returned on its own initiative?

The first assumption would be that Paul left Trophimus in Miletus while he was on his way by boat to Rome escorted by Roman soldiers. Miletus is in the current Turkey in the South-West of the country near the coast. It is quite possible that a boat on which Paul was, did stop near Miletus. This decision of Paul would have coincided with letting Trophimus still weak in his faith, to get close to the brothers of Ephesus that Paul appreciated particularly.

The second assumption would be that Paul would have been imprisoned in Rome, then released, and would have left Trophimus in Miletus during a stop on his way back.

In either case, we can ask ourselves what happened to Trophimus.

Now, in the light of this context, and if we look at this verse in 2 Timothy 4: 20, we can examine what means the word "sick".

It comes from the Greek word ASTHENEO.
This word means:
• Sick physically.
• To be low in strength or means.
• To be weak in his faith.

Our explanation will now make sense, thanks to the complete definition of the word translated as "sick", in a broader sense. We may think that Paul left Trophimus in Miletus weak in his faith, and not sick of a physical or moral point of view. It is possible that Trophimus decided to no longer stay with Paul, after all these pressures of percussion during these trips. He didn't continue, that is why Paul says: " I left Trophimus weak in his faith in Miletus . ». 

If Trophimus had actually suffered from a disease, it would be the only person mentioned in the new Covenant that Paul would have left behind "physically sick". This seems impossible. In all cases, nothing says Trophimus remained sick, it is quite conceivable that Trophimus (if it turns out that he was sick), was in a healing process that lasted a few days, following the prayer of Paul for Trophimus.

This hypothesis is therefore possible, but doesn't "fit" with the other writing of Paul regarding the healings, for the reasons mentioned above.

Whether Paul left Trophimus in Miletus during his first trip to Rome, or left him a little later, we can find elements that say Trophimus was sick and on his way to be healed, than the fact that Paul tells Timothy that he had left Trophimus weak in his faith in Miletus, that is to say no longer stay with Paul any longer due to the pressure of percussion.

We can now demonstrate that the history of Trophimus is in no way affirming that God does not heal in all circumstances. So the fact to say that the case of Trophimus would be used to try to prove that God does not always heal, cannot stand at this light of the Scriptures.

Bye for now.