Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Bring My Bookbag

The cloke
that I left at Troas with Carpus, when thou comest, bring with thee, and the books, but especially the parchments. 2 Timothy 4:13

Beth ktavey in Aramaic means a “bookcase,” and not a “cloak,” as incorrectly translated in the King James and other versions. It is a small container made of leather in the shape of a saddle-bag. When on a journey, Oriental missionaries and religious men always carry their books with them for devotional and educational purposes.

They do not carry extra clothing or shoes, nor do they take their best clothing with them. They generally wear their everyday clothes. This is because styles never change. The same garments are worn all the year round. In some regions, during the winter months, people wear an extra garment.

There are a few exceptions to this. Rich travelers, with servants, and government officials sometimes carry an extra robe and embroidered official garments, but the missionaries take only what they are wearing. Travel is hazardous; bandits often rob men of their clothing and money. Those who are carrying much baggage are attacked first, as they are suspected of being rich. That is why Jesus warned his disciples not to carry extra clothes and shoes.

Paul had no extra cloak to be left behind, nor was he concerned about his clothing, especially on this occasion, when he was in Rome and Timothy at Troas. He would not have asked Timothy to carry a robe such a long distance. Christian converts in Macedonia and Italy who frequently visited him would have provided him with clothes if he had been in need.

What Paul asked, was that the bookcase, containing scrolls and books, be brought to him. He carried these books with him for study, for the instruction of his students and for devotional purposes. The scrolls contained the gospel writings, which Paul usually carried with him, and from which he preached and taught, just as the missionaries do today.

Lamsa, George. New Testament Commentary, A.J. Holman Co., Philadelphia: 1945, pgs 436-437


  1. I have a feeling that if Donna was given one request, she'd be asking for the bookcase too instead of a coat! And aren't we all glad!!!