2 Timothy 4:20
Erastus stayed in Corinth, and I left Trophimus sick in Miletus.
This is a very common verse to used against, that it’s always Gods will to heal and that divine healing is included in the atonement. But is this interpretation of 2 Timothy 4:20 fair when you consider the NT in whole?
1. It’s not stated in the verse that Paul prayed for Trophimus. You have to assume that he did and you yourself add that into the verse.
2. The only information we have is that Paul left Trophimus sick. The Bible is full of events where an author mentions something very short, but you get more info about what happened through other authors in the Bible and thereby get an overall ensemble. For example;
- Jesus temptation in the desert (Mark 1:12-13, Matt 4:1-11, Luke 4:1-13).
- John the Baptist’s death (Luke 9:7-9, Matt 14:1-12, Mark 6:14-29).
- Peter’s confession of Christ (Mark 8:27-30, Luke 9:18-20, Matt 16:13-20).
- The religious leaders double standards (Mark 12:38-40 Luke 20:45-47, Matt 23:1-12).
- Jesus appears to his disciples after his death (Mark 16:14, John 20:24-29).
What if Paul wasn’t even with Trophimus when he received the news that he was sick? He might have been in the same city when he found out, but where too far away from Trophimus, and therefore continued the journey without him – meaning Trophimus is left sick. We don`t really know what happened. But we know that Paul was in a hurry at this time because he wanted to be in Jerusalem to Pentecost, Acts 20:1-16.
3. There is over 100.000 of healings taking place from Matthew and forward (Matt 10:5-8, Mark 6:12–13, Luk 9:6, Luk 10:1-9, Apg 5:15-16, 6:8, 8:5-8, 14:3, 15:12, 19:11-12, 28:7-9, Rom 15:19). The crowds where healing took place was huge, in Matt 14:15-21, Mark 6:35-44, Luk 9:12-17, Joh 6:5-13, Matt 15:32-38, 16:8-10 and Mark 8:1-9 we can read about two different crowds, one consisted of 5000 people and the other 4000 people ( without women and children). These where the crowds that Jesus, the apostles and the disciples healed on a daily basis. Not once did Jesus, the apostles and the disciples fail to heal the sick except for (Matt 17:14-21, Mark 9:14–28, Luk 9:37–42 ), but that one time Jesus also rebuke his disciples for their lack of faith(Matt 17:17-21) and goes on to heal the sick boy himself. Why do you assume that Paul was unable to do what he have done thousands of times and never failed what we know of?
Considering what’s stated above we can conclude that Paul did not pray for Trophiums. However we can’t surely know what actually happened, so why use an uncertain verse to try to verify something that cannot be confirmed in the rest of the bible?
Even If Paul actually did pray for Trophimus and failed to heal him, which I do definitely not believe! Would that mean that healing is not in the atonement or that God don`t always want to heal everyone, it certainly does not. If in fact Paul fail to heal him, God’s promise still has higher authority than Paul’s failure ( Psalms 89:34-35, 138:2b). In this case you still have to explain a lot of verses (Isaiah 53:4, Matt 8:17, Matt.10:1-8, 17:14-20, Mark 16:15-20, Luke 10:1, 9, 17-19, Eph. 1:20-23).
Maybe Paul didn’t like him.