2Co 2:12-14 “Furthermore, when I came to Troas to preach Christ’s gospel, and a door was opened unto me of the Lord, I had no rest in my spirit, because I found not Titus my brother: but taking my leave of them, I went from thence into Macedonia. Now thanks be unto God, which always causeth us to triumph in Christ, and maketh manifest the savour of his knowledge by us in every place.”
On what is referred to as Paul’s second journey, he spent some time in Troas. According to scholars, this would have been sometime between 49 and 52 AD. Paul found himself in Troas on this occasion because he and his companions had been forbidden by the Spirit to go into Asia (Minor) and Bithynia. It was while in Troas on this journey that he saw the vision of a man asking him to come to Macedonia and help them (Act 16:6-10).
Paul’s third journey was from 53 to 58 AD, and this Second Corinthian letter was written about 55 AD. It is reasonable to suppose that Paul was basically passing through Troas on his second journey. However, on this third journey, Paul says he specifically came to Troas to preach Christ’s gospel. He did not make this determination strictly on his own cognizance. A door was opened unto him of (or from) the Lord.
It is in our nature to assume that when the Lord is in a matter, then we are at rest and content with that labor. However, we are human, and that is not always the case. While we sometimes forget that Paul was not some sort of superman, we clearly see his humanity here. Even though he was in Troas and the Lord had opened a door there for him to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ, Paul was not content.
He had a longing, and possibly an expectation, that he would see his brother (in Christ and the ministry), Titus, when he was in Troas. He was obviously looking forward to having some face-to-face fellowship with Titus. Titus came up under Paul’s ministry and was with him when he and Barnabas went from Antioch to Jerusalem to present their case before the other apostles for not binding upon the Gentiles the requirement of circumcision of the flesh (Act 15:1-6).
It is apparent in Paul’s letter to the Galatians that Titus was among “certain other” of the disciples that went up to Jerusalem. Further, it is evident that Titus was a Greek (Gentile) and uncircumcised, by Paul’s words (Gal 2:1-3). This trip to Jerusalem took place around 49-50 AD. From this timeline, it is apparent that Paul and Titus had been friends and brothers in Christ for at least five or six years.
Paul’s concern for Titus is obvious in that he “had not rest” in his spirit and took his leave” from the brethren at Troas. In Paul’s expression of taking his leave, it is understood that he did not simply pull up and run out on the believers there. Instead, we should understand that Paul had established them in the faith before he left, even though his heart longed to find Titus.
As ministers of the gospel of Christ, we may sometimes find ourselves in a place where God has opened a door. We may not always be perfectly at peace with being there because our heart has a longing to see other brethren as well. However, it is needful that we are always careful to look to the Lord and take our leave as seems good to Him. We must always trust Him to work things according to the counsel of His own will.
Paul manifests that this was the case in the fourteenth verse. He gives God praise (thanks) because He always causes us to triumph in Christ. Even when our humanity would cause us to be restless in spirit, God causes us to overcome. He gives us grace to do His will in spite of our humanity. And then, by His grace, we are often allowed that fellowship for which we are longing on a personal level. How wonderful that God makes it obvious that it is the fragrance of His knowledge through us and not by our own conceits.
May we, by the gospel of Christ, always give God glory!