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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Steve Macchia

Founder & President

Steve is a graduate of Northwestern College (IA) and Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary (M.Div. and D.Min.). His prior ministry includes serving on the pastoral staff at Grace Chapel (Lexington, MA) and as president of Vision New England. Since July 1, 2003 Steve has served as founder and president of Leadership Transformations, director of the Pierce Center for Disciple-Building, and adjunct faculty in the Doctor of Ministry department at Gordon-Conwell. He is the author of sixteen books, including The Discerning Life (Zondervan Reflective),  Baker bestseller Becoming a Healthy Church, and Crafting a Rule of Life (IVP). He lives in the Boston area with his wife Ruth and is the proud father of two grown children, Rebekah and Nathan, daughter in-love Ashley, and papa to his beloved granddaughter, Brenna Lynn and twin grandsons, Aiden Joseph and Carson Stephen. “My soul comes alive singing the great hymns of the church and enjoying the beauty of God’s creation. I’m in awe of God for fulfilling the dream for LTI that he birthed in my heart, for the team he has assembled, and the transformational impact experienced in the leaders and teams we serve.

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