At Troas, Ignatius writes another letter to Smyrna, this time to the venerable bishop, Polycarp. Polycarp is by now a semi-legendary figure, being over 80 years old, and, according to Eusebius and Irenaus, having learned Christianity from John and other apostles.

Nevertheless Ignatius lectures Polycarp on his episcopal duties. He even goes so far as to enjoin the biushop to "Flee evil arts". Chapter 6 either shows Ignatius forgetting his audience, or is a fragment from another letter; since it enjoins the readers to "obey their bishop".

The fact that Ignatius uses the image of a ship's "pilot" is consonant with his having recently been on a ship, as is his mention of "tempests". Ignatius specifically says that he is having to restrict his letter-writing because he is being hurried to "set sail" for Neapolis, the port of Philippi. We played with the idea that some of the letters got mixed in the confusion of his departure.