2 Corinthians 2:12-13

12 Furthermore, when I came to Troas to preach Christ’s gospel, and a door was opened to me by the Lord,

13 I had no rest in my spirit, because I did not find Titus my brother; but taking my leave of them, I departed for Macedonia.

To the simple matter of a journey from Troas to Philippi was, as always with Paul, lifted up into the highest realm of the Divine purposes and activities. As a proof of his deep affection for the Corinthians, he left a delightful field of Gospel success at Troas, and hastened to Macedonia to meet Titus and hear news of them (2 Corinthians 7:6-7). The principle here appears that shepherding the sheep is more important than preaching the Gospel. But it was painful to him to discontinue preaching at Troas, and to leave people who were willing to listen to, and to obey the Gospel. — Williams, page 898


Paul doubtless wrote the above verses to show how strong was his feeling of concern and responsibility toward his Corinthians friends, yet they do raise a serious question. Did he fail, or disobey God by leaving Troas (where the Lord  had opened a door to him) simply because of his own personal feelings toward the Corinthians?

He had visited Troas once before, only to have God call him away by the “Macedonian Vision,” in which he saw a man from Macedonia pleading, “Come over into Macedonia and help us” (Acts 16:9).

Could it be that he now chose Troas as a field in which to “preach Christ’s gospel,” because he had had to leave them the first time? Indeed, we must not forget, in connection with the “Madeconian Vision,” that at this juncture he had been “forbidden of the Holy Ghost to preach the Word in Asia,” and when “they assayed to go into Bithynia … the Spirit suffered them not” (Acts 16:6-7). And then, at Troas, the “Macedonian Vision” had called him away. Evidently, for God’s own reasons, that whole area was not to have the gospel preached to them at that time. Rather, Paul was called into Europe.

But the situation was not entirely the same now, for Paul assures us that when he reached Troas, “a door was opened unto me of the Lord” to “preach Christ’s gospel.” This must mean that the Lord opened hearts to give him an interested hearing, but he explains that he had no rest in his spirit, because of his failure to find Titus, with news from Corinth. Thus, he had left Troas to go into Macedonia in search of Titus.

Was Paul disobedient to God in not remaining at Troas when God Himself had opened a door to him to preach the gospel there? … Paul [was] so troubled in spirit that it had hindered his preaching of the good news he had come to bring. He could not find Titus, whom he had expected to meet there on his return from Corinth, and he could not rest until he knew how the Corinthian brethren were doing. his responsibility toward them weighed heavily on his heart. Thus every day he grew more deeply concerned that Titus did not appear and, “taking leave,” of the brethren at Troas, he went into Macedonia where, evidently, he hoped to find Titus—and did. If only the Corinthians had known how heavily their welfare weighed upon his heart.

Let us not assume, however, that nothing was accomplished during Paul’s brief stay at Troas, much less entertain the notion that he spent virtually no time there. He does not say, “I did not stop at Troas.” Indeed, from Acts 20:6-7 we learn that he “abode there seven days,” and that “on the first day of the week,” (his last day there) “Paul preached unto them … and continued his speech until midnight.” This was when the young man fell out of the third story window, was killed, and then raised from the dead by Paul (vs.8-10). And then they all talked together “a long while, even till the break of day” (v.11), when he had to hurry to Macedonia to seek Titus.

So it is a mistake to suppose that Paul completely failed to enter the door that the Lord had opened to him. … Clearly, Paul had regretted that it had become necessary to leave the people at Troas for the second time, but in the week that God did give him there, he surely made good use of the opportunity, toiling tirelessly to bring them to Christ and to establish them in the faith. — Stam, page 51-53.

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