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2 Timothy 1:17

ESV but when he arrived in Rome he searched for me earnestly and found me—
NIV On the contrary, when he was in Rome, he searched hard for me until he found me.
NASB but when he was in Rome, he eagerly searched for me and found me—
CSB On the contrary, when he was in Rome, he diligently searched for me and found me.
NLT When he came to Rome, he searched everywhere until he found me.
KJV But, when he was in Rome, he sought me out very diligently, and found me.

What does 2 Timothy 1:17 mean?

The prior verse mentioned Onesiphorus as someone who remained loyal to Paul in his imprisonment. It seems this man provided reassurance, and most likely food and water, to Paul while Paul was under Roman arrest. However, Onesiphorus was not from Rome—he was in Ephesus when Timothy received this letter. This probably means he was the one tasked with delivering the letter to Timothy. Paul notes "when he arrived in Rome," clearly indicating Onesiphorus was there for a time, but was not originally from that city.

When he came to Rome, Onesiphorus made great effort to track down Paul. As a jailed criminal, Paul's location would have been difficult to determine. Rome was the capital city of an empire. More than one million people lived there in the first century. With record-keeping and jails being very different from what they are today, finding one man would have been a tall order. Eventually, however, Onesiphorus located Paul, offering important assistance and encouragement to him when others had turned away (2 Timothy 1:15).

According to the Orthodox tradition, Onesiphorus was a bishop at Colophon and later at Corinth. He supposedly became a martyr in Parium near Ephesus. However, these details are traditions from outside of Scripture and are uncertain. This is the only biblical book that speaks of Onesiphorus and his actions.
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