World Wide Study Bible
a Bible passage
11. Take—Greek, "take up" on thy journey (Ac 20:13, 14). John Mark was probably in, or near, Colosse, as in the Epistle to the Colossians (Col 4:10), written two years before this, he is mentioned as about to visit them. Timothy was now absent from Ephesus and somewhere in the interior of Asia Minor; hence he would be sure to fall in with Mark on his journey.
he is profitable to me for the ministry—Mark had been under a cloud for having forsaken Paul at a critical moment in his missionary tour with Barnabas (Ac 15:37-40; 13:5, 13). Timothy had subsequently occupied the same post in relation to Paul as Mark once held. Hence Paul, appropriately here, wipes out the past censure by high praise of Mark and guards against Timothy's making self-complacent comparisons between himself and Mark, as though he were superior to the latter (compare Phm 24). Demas apostatizes. Mark returns to the right way, and is no longer unprofitable, but is profitable for the Gospel ministry (Phm 11).