It goes without saying that Paul was an amazing man. Living out his last days in the infamous Mamertine Prison in Rome, Paul penned what would be his final epistle. No prisoner stayed in the Mamertine Prison for long. This was death row, and executions were conducted hastily and without due process.
That being said, Paul did not have long to live. Many prisoners, at this point, would have slumped into a state of despair resigning themselves to the inevitable. Not Paul. He was a diligent student to the end.
The books were a collection of sacred and secular works. Paul was well read. Like Moses who was “educated in all the wisdom of the Egyptians and was powerful in speech and action” (Acts 7:22), Paul’s ministry was enhanced greatly by his studious habits. Even the Roman Governor Festus, after listening to Paul’s defense, commented on his “much learning” (Acts 26:24). When you become a reader it shows.
The parchments were especially dear to Paul. These were his study notes. Imagine having a copy of Paul’s notes. What a wealth of information. In my library are numerous notebooks containing over thirty years of messages and studies I have done on every book of the Bible, in addition to topical studies. In the event of a fire, I would rescue those notebooks first.
So here was Paul wrapped in the cloak delivered by Timothy because his prison, which was nothing more than a pit carved out of rock, was damp and cold. By the light of a candle, for no outside light penetrated that dark prison cell, we can see Paul the aged reading his books and making notes in the parchments. Along with seasons of prayer, this is how the great apostle spent his last days.
I don’t know about you, but I want to be a lifetime learner. Apathy and mediocrity have no place in the life of a believer. The mind is God’s gift to us. Developing it is our gift to Him. So let’s get to work and study to show ourselves approved by God. Now, go pick up a book and get started!
Pastor Todd Weston
PS - If you are serious about being a lifetime learner, then I would like to invite you to sign up for the next Berean class which begins Monday, June 6th. The next course is Old Testament Survey. The class meets on Monday evenings and will run June - November with break periods along the way. You can sign up by calling Lynda Van Bibber at 239-495-0400. You may also email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.