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No.43. Desertion and Deliverance.
Paul before Nero (4: 14 - 18).
pp. 235 - 239
The apostle mentions Demas and his betrayal, only to follow it with the name of Luke
and the fragrance of his loyalty. We now come to the mention of an active enemy,
Alexander, only to find it followed by most glorious recognition of the Lord's sustaining
and delivering grace.
"Alexander the coppersmith did me much evil, the Lord reward him according to his
works: of whom be thou ware also, for he hath greatly withstood our words. At my first
answer no man stood with me, but all men forsook me: I pray God that it may not be laid
to their charge. Notwithstanding the Lord stood with me, and strengthened me: that by
me the preaching might be fully known, and that all the Gentiles might hear: and I was
delivered out of the mouth of the lion. And the Lord shall deliver me from every evil
work, and will preserve me unto His heavenly kingdom, to Whom be glory for ever and
"Alexander the coppersmith." Was this the same man as is named in I Tim. 1: 20?
Is he the same as the Jew who was put forward to speak at the riot at Ephesus in
Acts 19: 33? Who can say? We can but examine the passages, hear what they say and
seek to arrive at a conclusion that will not strain the testimony of any passage.
The Alexander mentioned in I Tim. 1: 20, was evidently a Christian, for he is said to
be among those who having put away "faith and a good conscience" were making
shipwreck of the faith, and together with HymenŠus had been handed over to Satan that
they may learn not to blaspheme. The Alexander of II Tim. 4: did much evil to the
apostle. Did the apostle mean that Alexander had gone to Rome and had witnessed
against him there? Not necessarily. The statement concerning Alexander is complete in
itself, and the statement concerning the apostle's defence follows as a connected, but
separate event. Alexander is said to have "greatly withstood" Paul's "words". This
seems to refer to opposition to the preaching and teaching of Paul, rather than damaging
evidence against Paul before Nero. There is every probability that HymenŠus and the
Alexander of both I and II Timothy are the same individual, and the added title "the
coppersmith", does suggest that he might also be the Jew, Alexander, who was put
forward to disassociate the Jewish fraternity at Ephesus, from the "heresy" preached by
Paul, for even though Alexander were a believer, he would still have been a "Jew", and
the Jewish Christian were often very bitter against their Gentile brethren, and wished to
avoid the too common lot of being made a scapegoat for others' offences. The evidence
is not sufficient for anyone to-day to dogmatize, we can only say that there is the
possibility that Alexander of Acts 19:, I Tim. 1: and II Tim. 4: were one and the same
person and leave the matter there.
The identity of Alexander is too remote from our present time to be of great interest
to us, but it is of intense interest to Alexander. There will be no mistake when those who
bear the name of Alexander (even though numbers of them had been coppersmith), stand