November 3, 2022

Alexander the Coppersmith

I’ve read the Bible from cover to cover multiple times. But, for whatever reason, I hadn’t noticed Alexander the Coppersmith until recently.

Do you know who he is and why he’s referenced specifically in the Scriptures?

In 2 Timothy 4, Paul references this rather obscure metalworker by name…as “one who did me a great deal of harm.” He warns Timothy, “You too should be on your guard against him, because he strongly opposed our message.” And offers this assurance, “The Lord will repay him for what he has done.”

Scholars have speculated about who this is…someone previously referenced in Acts (an idolatrous business man) or 1 Timothy (who shipwrecked his faith with blasphemy)? We simply don’t know for sure.

I find it intriguing to note that Paul calls him out by name. The early Church would have known who Paul was referencing. Alexander the Coppersmith was obviously a thorn in Paul’s side and he warns Timothy, his young son in the faith, to keep his eyes and ears wide open to the harmful ways of Alexander.

What could have been the harm he mustered up against Paul?

Perhaps gossip or slander, speaking ill of the Apostle? Or, acting out against Paul in either word or deed? Holding a grudge against Paul, thinking he had impure motivations? Perhaps being unwilling to mend fences and ultimately withhold blessings? Powering over Paul with corruption, coercion, or condescension? Or simply unwilling to embrace the Gospel message of grace in Christ?

Bringing harm against a brother or sister in Christ is often unfathomable to consider. But, it happens all the time. Perhaps you have your own “Alexander the Coppersmith” who has brought you a great deal of harm. It’s more frequent than it should be, especially within the walls of the Church.

Paul reminds us here that it’s ok to name your accuser, especially in a letter to a trusted confidante like Timothy. And in calling him to account, remembering that it’s God who will deal with him according to the damages inflicted. In that we can rest assured. With our hearts wide open to receive the grace and mercy of Christ, we entrust our own Alexander to the Lord.

In this day of harmful treatment of/among/to Christian leaders, we are comforted by heeding the words of the Apostle, “The Lord stands by our side and gives us strength, so that our message might be fully proclaimed…he will rescue us from every evil attack and will bring us safely to his heavenly kingdom. To him be glory for ever and ever. Amen.” 2 Timothy 4: 14-18

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James Bryan Smith | Discerning God in Our Stories, Episode 5

Host: Steve Macchia, Guest: James Bryan Smith

Every need that my soul has, Jesus meets them – every single one of them.” – James Bryan Smith

James Bryan Smith is the author of the Good and Beautiful Series which includes The Good and Beautiful God, The Good and Beautiful You, The Good and Beautiful Life, and The Good and Beautiful Community. He earned his MDiv at Yale and his D. Min at Fuller and is a theology professor at Friends University in Wichita, Kansas, where he also serves as the director of the Apprentice Institute for Christian Spiritual Formation. A founding member of Richard J. Foster’s spiritual renewal ministry, Renovaré, Smith is an ordained United Methodist Church minister and has served in various capacities in local churches. James joins Steve for a conversation about how our view of God transforms our understanding/experience of spiritual disciplines. With a toxic view of God, James says “spiritual formation not only won’t help you, they might make you worse, you might turn them into legalism.” With a right view of God, “the disciplines take on a new understanding. Now it’s not, ‘I’m doing these things to get this angry God to be less angry.’ It’s,‘I’m doing these things because I want to be with this God.’”

Join the conversation about spiritual discernment as a way of life at and consider participation in our online and in-person program offerings. Additional LTI spiritual formation resources can be found at and and

Steve Macchia (Podcast Host)
Founder and President of Leadership Transformations
Steve is the author of The Discerning Life,  Becoming a Healthy ChurchBroken and WholeCrafting a Rule of Life and several other titles. Steve has over 40 years in ministry and two postgraduate degrees from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary.

James Bryan Smith (Season Twenty-Two Guest)
James Bryan Smith is the author of several books including The Good and Beautiful God, The Good and Beautiful Life, The Good and Beautiful Community, and most recently, The Good and Beautiful You. He earned his MDiv from Yale and his DMin from Fuller and is a theology professor at Friends University in Wichita, Kansas, where he also serves as the director of the Apprentice Institute for Spiritual Formation.

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Mitzi Mak

Selah-West Faculty

Mitzi started her professional life as a high school social studies teacher. She and her husband Jerry then served cross-culturally for ten+ years, living abroad first in India and then Kurdistan, N. Iraq. In addition to being a Spiritual Director, she now serves as a Formation and Care pastor in her local church in Houston, TX. She has graduated from LTI’s Selah Spiritual Direction training as well as LTI’s Emmaus Formational Leadership Program.

Mitzi enjoys engaging conversation, reading fiction, doing jigsaw/crossword puzzles, ocean gazing and exploring the world with Jerry through food and travel.

God has two main callings in Mitzi’s life: to care for those who care for others and to be a guide in helping others have a healthy relationship with the Trinity – recognizing God’s loving presence and activity in their lives and how to faithfully respond.

Selah was a transformative experience for me – allowing the contemplative within to emerge and to beautifully co-exist with my extraverted personality.