For Demas hath forsaken me
Of this person, (See Gill on Colossians 4:14). It does not appear by what is said in this clause, and in the following, that he entirely apostatized; he might forsake the apostle, and yet not forsake Christ and his interest, or make shipwreck of faith and a good conscience: his faith might be right, though low, and his love sincere, though not fervent; and through a fear of persecution, and loss of life, he might be tempted to leave the apostle, and withdraw from Rome, for his own safety; which though it was far from being commendable in him, yet may be accounted for in this state of frailty and imperfection, consistent with the grace of God; and it should seem that he afterwards was delivered from this temptation, and returned to the apostle, ( Colossians 4:14 ) ( Philemon 1:24 ) for when those epistles were written, both Timothy and Mark, who are here wrote for, ( 2 Timothy 4:9 2 Timothy 4:11 ) were with the apostle, ( Colossians 1:1 ) and ( Philemon 1:1 ) and especially he ought to be thought very well of after all this, if Demas is only a contraction of Demetrius, and he is the same who is so much commended many years after this, in ( 3 John 1:12 ) ,
having loved this present world,
not the sins and corruptions of the world, the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life; such a love is inconsistent with the love of the Father and the grace of God; nor an immoderate love of worldly substance, or of money, which is the root of all evil; but a love of life, or of a longer life in this present world; he was desirous of living longer in this world, and chose not to hazard his life by staying with the apostle, a prisoner at Rome; and therefore left him, and provided for his own safety and security: and is departed unto Thessalonica: which perhaps was his native country; and however he was at a sufficient distance from Rome, where he might judge himself safe; and if he was a worldly and earthly minded man, this was a fit place for him, being a place of trade and business: and this doubtless gave rise to a tradition, that he afterwards became a priest of the idol gods among the Thessalonians. Epiphanius F1 places him among the heretics Ebion and Cerinthus, as if he was one of them.
Crescens to Galatia;
he might not depart on the same account as Demas, but might be sent by the apostle to Galatia, to visit the churches there, to set things in order, and establish them in the faith, and bring an account of their state. Epiphanius F2, instead of Galatia, reads Gallia, or France; and so does Eusebius F3 and the Ethiopic version; and Jerom asserts, F4, that Crescens preached in France, and was there buried; though others say he was bishop of Chalcedon in Galatia, and put him among the seventy disciples; (See Gill on Luke 10:1). The Syriac version calls him "Crispus", and the Arabic version "Priscus".
Titus to Dalmatia;
who Titus was is well known; the place he went to, Dalmatia, is a country in Europe, a part of Illyricum, where the apostle had preached, (See Gill on Romans 15:19). Pliny says F5, that part of Pannonia, which lies to the Adriatic sea, was called Dalmatia; it had its name from Dalmius, a city in it. The Alexandrian copy reads "Dermatia". Here the apostle had doubtless been useful for the conversion of souls, and planting of churches, and therefore sent Titus thither, to assist them in their state and condition, and bring him an account of them. For in the "second" and "third" centuries we read of churches in Dalmatia; and likewise in the "fourth" century; for there were bishops from Dalmatia in the synod at Sardica; and in the "fifth" century, Glycerius was bishop of Salo, a city in this country; and in the "sixth" century, one Malchus was bishop of the Dalmatian church F6.
F1 Contra Haeres, Haeres. 51.
F3 Hist. Eccl l. 3. c. 4.
F4 Catalog. Script. Eccles. sect. 13. p. 90.
F5 Nat. Hist. l. 3. c. 25.
F6 Hist. Eccl. Magdeburg, cent. 2. c. 2. p. 4. cent. 3. c. 2. p. 4. cent. 4. c. 2. p. 6. c. 9. p. 425. cent. 5. c. 2. p. 7. cent 6. c. 2. p. 8.