Monday, March 19, 2012

Claudia


2 Timothy 4:21

Background:

Paul was imprisoned in Rome, for the second time, and was awaiting his trial before Nero. While in prison Paul wrote to Timothy (who was serving as the bishop in Ephesus) telling him how much he loved him, encouraging him to "Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord"(2 Tim. 1:8) , and giving him guidance concerning his stewardship over the saints in Ephesus. Timothy must have been planning on traveling to be with Paul in Rome because Paul asked him to, "...take Mark and bring him with thee" (2 Tim. 4: 11) as well as to bring "the cloke that I left at Troas... and the books, but especially the parchments." (2 Tim. 4: 13) Paul also took the time to inquire after several friends in Ephesus and to send greetings to Timothy from several Roman saints (2 Tim. 4:19-21). Not long after this epistle was written Paul was martyred.

Facts About Her:
  • She was with Paul in Rome;
  • At the end of his epistle Paul sent Timothy greetings from several of the saints who were with him in Rome and she was included among them. Paul wrote, "... Eubulus greeth thee and Pudens, and Linus, and Claudia, and all the brethren." (2 Tim. 4: 21);
  • She had not deserted Paul like so many of his close friends and followers had at this time (2 Tim. 4: 10-11);
  • She was well known enough to Timothy that Paul thought he would be interested to know that she was with him and that she sent her greetings.
Speculations About Her:
  • She was most likely a Roman woman. Her name "Claudia" is not only a Roman name but is a high born Roman name. The "gens Claudia" was an aristocratic Roman family and every female member of that family was given the name "Claudia" and so it is probable that she may have been associated with them (source).
  • Many scholars also think she may have been the wife of Pontius Pilate (who I have written about here) because traditionally the name of Pilate's wife has always been Claudia.
  • Some scholars also think that she may have been married to Pudens, whose name is also listed in 2 Timothy 4:21, because in 90 AD there was a well documented woman named "Claudia Rufina" living in Rome who was associated with a "Pudens" (a common Roman name). Yet the name "Linus" in between their names seems to indicate that they were not married, though some speculate that Linus may have been their son. Source
My Thoughts:

Even though all we really know about Claudia is her name I can't help but wonder what her story was and what she gave up in order to follow Christ. It is very likely that she had been born into wealth and privilege and that by choosing to become a Christian she forfeited this material wealth and position. It is beautiful to me to think of her giving up the treasures of this earth because she realized that Christ offered her treasures in heaven, "where neither moth and rust doth corrupt." (Matt. 6:20)

Claudia, and all the early Christian women converts, are so inspiring to me because they had the courage to live the gospel in some very difficult circumstances. Claudia was living in Rome at a time when many of the stalwart saints were falling away from the church. In 2 Tim. 4: 10-11 Paul tells Timothy that "... Demas hath forsaken me, having loved the present world and is departed unto Thessalonica, Crescens to Galatia, Titus unto Dalmatia. Only Luke is with me..." This was not an easy time to be a Christian, especially not in Rome, and so it is impressive that she stood firm and unmovable in her support of Paul and of the Church. I think that sometimes the greatest trial of our faith comes when what we believe is not popular and we are perceived as being "old fashioned" or "radical" to the rest of the world. It is at those times that we have to search inside ourselves and choose, like Claudia did, to stand firm in our testimony of Christ, no matter what. If we don't then it becomes easy to fall away, like the Demas that Paul wrote to Timothy about, because we " loved the present world." I love Claudia's story because it reminds me that as alluring as the wealth and philosophies of the world are they can not bring us true happiness and joy. The only one who offers true joy and happiness is Jesus Christ and obtaining it means that we must stand firm in our testimonies-- even when when it is hard or when it means we will be standing alone.

Questions to Think About:
  • I am curious to know why it appears that, even though Paul was imprisoned, she still had contact with him. Could it have been that she, along with some of the other Roman saints, administered to his physical needs while he was in prison?
  • What do you think her relationship was with Paul and Timothy? Why would Paul specifically mention her to Timothy?
  • This time period in early Christian history reminds me a lot of a similar time period in early Latter-day Saint history when many of the most stalwart members and leaders of the church began to fall away and persecute the church. What early Latter-day Saint women does Claudia remind you of? How is her situation similar or different from theirs?
  • How do you think Paul's death affected her?
  • Have you ever had a time when you had to take a firm stand on your faith but it left you standing alone? What did you learn from that experience?

4 comments:

  1. Great post. I had a cat named Claudia as a child. :-) But that's beside the point. I love all the information I just learned about this woman and her time period. Thanks for all you do, Heather.

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  2. Heather do you know the names of the 1st sister missionaries in the New testament?

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  3. I'm guessing you know about this article by Ann Madsen.

    http://www.lds.org/ensign/1975/09/cameos-the-women-of-the-new-testament?lang=eng&query=first+woman+missionary+new+testament%3f

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  4. Becky,

    Thanks for the link! I love it.

    I am not quite sure who is considered the first sister missionary. Priscilla was a pretty awesome missionary and there are several others. There are actually two sisters (who were probably missionaries) that I have been wanting to write about... maybe I will just have to do them soon.

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