Summary: Onesiphorus did a great service to the church by serving Paul.

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2 Timothy 1:16-18 KJV The Lord give mercy unto the house of Onesiphorus; for he oft refreshed me, and was not ashamed of my chain: [17] But, when he was in Rome, he sought me out very diligently, and found me. [18] The Lord grant unto him that he may find mercy of the Lord in that day: and in how many things he ministered unto me at Ephesus, thou knowest very well.

2 Timothy 1:16-18 JB PHILLIPS But may the Lord have mercy on the household of Onesiphorus. Many times did that man put fresh heart into me, and he was not in the least ashamed of my being a prisoner in chains. [17] Indeed, when he was in Rome he went to a great deal of trouble to find me – [18] may the Lord grant he finds his mercy in that day! - and you well know in how many ways he helped me at Ephesus as well.

2 Timothy 1:16-18 Moffatt NT May the Lord show favour to the household of Onesiphorus, for many a time he braced me up; he was not ashamed of my imprisonment — [17] no, he made eager search for me when he reached Rome, and he found me [18] (may he find favour with the Lord on the great Day! The Lord grant it!). And you know very well what a help he was to me in Ephesus.


-Often from the tragic circumstances of captivity comes some of the most heroic tales. One such tale came during the Vietnam War.

Dr. Julius Segal wrote a book entitled Winning Life’s Toughest Battles in which he shared some of his observations after having worked with prisoners of war and the hostages that were in Iran. In the first chapter, he devoted much room to the idea of having friends that prisoners could talk to. He wrote that few individuals can cope with trauma alone. He noted that even the most powerful figures in the world need contact with others in the face of crisis.

In the book he told of Vice Admiral James Stockdale who spent 2,714 days as a POW in Vietnam.

On one occasion the North Vietnamese handcuffed Stockdale’s hands behind his back, locked his legs in heavy irons, and dragged him from his dark prison cell to sit in an un-shaded courtyard so other prisoners could see what happened to anyone who refused to cooperate.

Stockdale remained in that position for three days. Since he had not been in the sun for a long time, he soon felt weak, but the guards would not let him sleep. He was beaten repeatedly. After one beating, Stockdale heard a towel tapping out in prison code the letters: GBUJS. It was a message that he would never forget: “God Bless You, Jim Stockdale.”

In every episode of captivity in recent American history, POW’s and hostages have been sustained by ingeniously improvised lifelines of communication. In Vietnam, a clever tap code, in which the number and sequence of taps spelled out letters of the alphabet, became the prisoners’ chief means of communication. It was this code that sustained Jim Stockdale.

-Captivity has the capacity to bring out both the best and worst in people.


A. His Final Days

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