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Bible Encyclopedias

Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature

Trophimus

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(Τρόφιμος, nutritious) a Hellenistic Christian, who with others traveled with the apostle Paul in the course of his third missionary journey, and during part of the route which he took in returning from Macedonia towards Syria (Acts 20:4). A.D. 54. From what we know concerning the collection which was going on at this time for the poor Christians in Judaea, we are disposed to connect him with the business of that contribution. Both he and Tychicus accompanied Paul from Macedonia as far as Asia (ἄχρι τῆς Ἀσίας frag, clc. cit.), but Tychicus seems to have remained there, while Trophimus proceeded with the apostle to Jerusalem.

There he was the innocent cause of the tumult in which Paul was apprehended, and from which the voyage to Rome ultimately resulted. Certain Jews from the district of Asia saw the two Christian missionaries together, and supposed that Paul had taken Trophimus into the Temple (21:27-29). From this passage we learn two new facts, viz. that Trophimus was a Gentile and that he was a native not simply of Asia; but of Ephesus. A considerable interval now elapses, during which we have no trace of either Tychicus or Trophimus; but in the last letter written by Paul, shortly before his martyrdom, from Rome, he mentions them both (Τυχικὸν ἀπέστειλα εἰς ῎Εφεσον;, 2 Timothy 4:12; Τρόφιμον ἀπέλιπον ἐν Μιλητῳ ἀσθε νοῦντα, 2 Timothy 4:20).

From the last of the phrases we gather simply that the apostle had no long time before been in the Levant, that Trophimus had been with him, and a that he had been left in infirm health at Miletus. Of the further details we are ignorant; but this we may say here, that while there would be considerable difficulty in accommodating this passage to any part of the recorded narrative previous to the voyage to Rome, all difficulty vanishes on the supposition of two imprisonments, and a journey in the Levant between them. Trophimus was no doubt at Miletus on the occasion' recorded in Acts 20:15-38, but it is most certain that he was not left there. The theory also that he was left there on the voyage to Rome is preposterous; for the wind forced Paul's vessel to run direct from the south-west corner of Asia Minor to the east end of Crete (Acts 27:7). We may add that when Trophimus was left in sickness at Miletus, whenever that might be; he was within easy reach of his home friends at Ephesus, as we see from 20:17.

Stanley thinks that Trophimus was one of the two brethren who, with Titus, conveyed the Second Epistle to the Corinthians (2 Corinthians 8:16-24). "Trophimus was like Titus, one of the few Gentiles who accompanied the apostle; an Ephesian, and therefore likely to have been sent by the apostle from Ephesus with the first epistle, or to have accompanied him from Ephesus now; he was, as is implied of this brother,' whose praise was in all the churches, well known; so well known that the Jews of Asia [Minor?] at Jerusalem immediately recognized him; he was also especially connected with the apostle on this very mission of the collection for the poor in Judaea. Thus far would appear from the description of him in Acts 21:29. From 20:4 it also appears that he was with Paul on his return from this very visit to Corinth" (Commentary on Corinthians, 2nd ed. p. 492).

The traditional story that Trophimus was one of the seventy disciples is evidently wrong; but that part of the legend which states that he was beheaded by Nero's orders is possibly true (Menol. Gr. 3, 57).

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Bibliography Information
McClintock, John. Strong, James. Entry for 'Trophimus'. Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature. https://www.studylight.org/encyclopedias/eng/tce/t/trophimus.html. Harper & Brothers. New York. 1870.

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