One of the most unfairly-treated characters in the New Testament is a companion of Paul called Demas. Preachers use him as an example of a person in a blessed situation who feel away from the gospel because they loved the things of the world too much. However, that is only one possible interpretation of the one verse where he is mentioned.
When Paul was alone and under pressure, he wrote to Timothy and asked him to come to him, along with Mark. Here is what he wrote about Demas.
Demas forsook me, having loved the present age, and went on to Thessalonica, Crescens to Galatia, Titus to Dalmatia. Luke only is with me (1 Tim 4:10-11).
It is plausible that Demas fell from grace because he loved the world and escaped to Thessalonica for a sinful life. But it is just as plausible that Demas loved the people Thessalonica who were trapped in the worldly Roman culture and went to them to preach the gospel. This the sort of thing that a person who had hung out with Paul would do. If there was an opportunity for the gospel in Thessalonica, Paul would have encouraged Demas to go.
Paul lumps Demas together with Crescens and Titus together in one sentence, without any explanation, as those who have gone out to share the gospel. I doubt that he would not have done that if Demas had deserted the faith.
The Greek word translated “forsake” is egkataleipo. It can mean deserted, but it can simply means departed. I think that we should give Demas the benefit of the doubt, and not be to quick to condemn him.
Paul would have supported Demas, because was always looking for opportunities for the advance of the gospel. Paul wanted Timothy and Mark to come, not because he wanted them to care for him, but because there were opportunities for sharing the gospel that they could take up (2 Time 4:11).
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