Philippians 2:19-24

Wednesday, June 10th, 2015


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Timothy was apparently converted under the ministry of Paul on Paul's first missionary journey. Paul refers to him as my own son in the faith (I Timothy 1:2 ) and as my dearly beloved son (II Timothy 1:2 ).

The first mention of Timothy in the New Testament is in Acts 16:1-3 where we learn that his mother was a saved Jew and his father was a Greek. He had a good testimony before the Christians at Lystra and Iconium, and Paul wanted him to accompany him on his second missionary journey. From then on Timothy became a traveling companion and close associate of Paul. Paul would eventually write two letters to him which have been preserved in the New Testament. They are known as I and II Timothy and are two of the three epistles known as the Pastoral Epistles, which teach us much about what God expects from the pastoral ministry.

Philippians 2:19 But I trust in the Lord Jesus to send Timotheus shortly unto you, that I also may be of good comfort, when I know your state.

As translated, but introduces a mild contrast. It may instead indicate a continuation of the thought and be understood as now.

I trust is I am hoping or I hope.

In the Lord Jesus may mean in the power of the Lord Jesus, in the person of the Lord Jesus, or within the will of the Lord Jesus.

What Paul hopes to do is to send Timotheus shortly unto you, where you refers to the believers in Philippi.

Timotheus is Timothy.

Shortly means quickly, at once, without delay, or soon.

Paul desired to dispatch Timothy to Philippi as soon as practical in order that I also may be of good comfort, when I know your state.

That is in order that or for the purpose that.

I also refers to Paul. I also may be of good comfort is I also may be glad or I also may have courage.

When I know is understood in the sense of after I know or after I come to know. Your state is the things concerning you. Paul was expecting to send Timothy to Philippi so that Timothy might be able to report back to him how things were going with the believers in Philippi. Paul was not planning to send Timothy to Philippi for a long or extended visit.

Philippians 2:20 For I have no man likeminded, who will naturally care for your state.

Although for may be used to introduce an explanation and be understood as now, it may instead be understood as emphatic and understood in the sense of indeed, in fact, or certainly.

I have no man likeminded refers to Timothy who would relate well to these Philippian believers. In addition, they already knew him personally as the result of his having been with Paul when the gospel was first preached in Philippi. At this time Paul had no one else with him in Rome who was available to go to Philippi, who was better suited for this mission than Timothy, or who would go and would naturally care for the Philippian believers like Timothy would.

No man is no one or nobody.

Likeminded is of like soul or of like mind.

Who, which refers to Timothy, is used in the sense of such a one who.

Naturally is sincerely or genuinely, and will . . . care for is will be concerned about.

The things about which Timothy will be concerned, or which he will care about, are for your state, literally about the things concerning you.

Philippians 2:21 For all seek their own, not the things which are Jesus Christ's.

Verse 21 supplies the reason Paul has no one likeminded who will naturally care for the state of the Philippian believers like Timothy. For may be explanatory, but it may instead indicate the reason verse 20 is true and be understood as because.

All implies everyone available to Paul except Timothy.

Seek is are seeking and describes the spiritual state of some who were with him at this time who might also have been able to go to Philippi. Still others with Paul at this time might have been well qualified spiritually but not available or able to go for one reason or another.

Their own means the things of themselves.

Not the things which are Jesus Christ's is not the things of Jesus Christ.

Did Paul have Demas and others like him in mind when he wrote these words? It is reasonable to believe that he may have. In Colossians 4:14 Demas is with Paul during Paul's Roman imprisonment and sends greetings to the believers in Colosse, but within five or six years has forsaken Paul, having loved this present world (II Timothy 4:10 ).

What Paul is saying is that some people are interested in themselves rather than in the Lord Jesus Christ and are more concerned about providing for themselves and doing things for themselves than they are about serving the Lord. What an indictment of some in the ministry today as well as some who may have been with Paul in Rome at this time. We who are full time Christian workers must guard our own thinking and practices so that we are not (or do not become) guilty of seeking our own things rather than the things of Jesus Christ. And, what's good for the full time Christian workers is also good for the rest of the believers as well.

A good thing for all of us to ask ourselves from time to time is what is the most important thing in my life? Is it my finances, my pleasures, my home, my car or truck, my education, my family, my children, my job, my garden or flower bed, or the things of the Lord? If the most important things in our lives are things other than the Lord, we are making a big mistake.

Timothy, however, would not look only on his own things; but he would also look on the things of the Philippian believers as Paul has written in verse 4.

Philippians 2:4 - Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others.

Philippians 2:22 But ye know the proof of him, that, as a son with the father, he hath served with me in the gospel.

Verse 22 continues Paul's discussion of Timothy. But may indicate a continuation of the thought of the previous three verses and be understood in the sense of and. As translated, however, it introduces a mild contrast between Timothy and others. It may instead be emphatic and understood as indeed, in fact, or certainly.

Ye is you and refers to the Philippian believers.

Ye know is used in the sense of you understand.

What they know or understand is indicated by the proof of him, where proof implies the quality of being approved, and is understood in the sense of his character. Timothy had been in Philippi with the Apostle Paul, and Timothy's character was well known to these people. He was a man who had been put to the test and had demonstrated himself to be worthy in his Christian service.

That as a son with the father is understood as saying that as a son (or child) (serves) with his father. It was generally true that a son served with his own father and learned his father's trade as an apprentice. In the same way a son or child serves with his father, Timothy has served in the ministry of the gospel with Paul, his spiritual father.

He hath served means he served as a slave. As a result of what Christ had done for him, Timothy voluntarily enslaved himself to serve his Lord and Master, Jesus Christ, doing whatever Christ wished him to do in assisting Paul.

With me refers to Paul and implies that Timothy had served Christ together with Paul, and in the gospel tells where Timothy had served with Paul. It implies that he had served in the proclamation of the gospel, the good news that Christ died on the cross to pay for the sins of all humanity, that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day from the dead. Timothy had been with Paul in a number of cities and had come with him to Philippi where together they had proclaimed this good news that salvation is found in Christ alone.

Philippians 2:23 Him therefore I hope to send presently, so soon as I shall see how it will go with me.

In verse 23 Paul indicates that he desires to send Timothy soon but not until he has learned what his own situation is going to be.

Him refers to Timothy and has been placed in a position of emphasis in the Greek text. This emphasis has been retained in the King James translation.

Therefore introduces an inference from the previous verse and means then, consequently, or so.

I hope (or I am hoping) is the same word translated I trust in verse 19 and indicates an expectation the Apostle has. It goes beyond the idea of Paul's merely expressing what he wishes or desires to do and expresses what he really expects to do.

Paul's hope or expectation is to send Timothy as quickly as he can.

Presently means that Paul wishes to send Timothy at once, immediately, or soon thereafter.

What Paul is waiting to do before he sends Timothy to the Philippian believers is indicated by so soon as I shall see how it will go with me.

So soon as I shall see indicates that Paul is not really certain when this is going to occur. He expects it to be soon, but there is some doubt whether things will really work out this way.

What Paul is waiting to see is how it will go with me, which is literally the things concerning me; and it is understood as as soon as I see the things concerning me. There is a hint here that, as he writes this epistle, Paul's trial is over and he is awaiting the verdict which will result either in his release from prison or in his execution. As soon as Paul knows the outcome of his trial, he will send word of it by Timothy to the Philippian believers.

Philippians 2:24 But I trust in the Lord that I also myself shall come shortly.

But introduces a statement in mild contrast with verse 23 which indicates a second expectation Paul has.

I trust is the translation of a verb which indicates a state of being. It is emphasizing the result of an action Paul has taken in the past when he placed his trust in the Lord regarding this matter. In Paul's mind, it is a settled matter and not open to second guessing. As a consequence, his trust continues. Hence, it means I depend on or I put my confidence in.

In the Lord indicates where Paul places his trust and implies in the Lord Jesus Christ, recognizing the sovereignty of the Lord in everything in his life.

Paul's trust is indicated by that I also myself shall come shortly.

Also implies something else in addition to hoping to send Timothy as soon as he shall see how things are going for himself: he also hopes to come himself.

Myself intensifies I so that it is understood as I myself. It refers specifically to Paul and to no one else. Paul's desire is that he himself come and not just Timothy. Paul is a prisoner in Rome when he is writing this letter, but he is confident that he will soon be released and able to come and visit the church at Philippi.

Shortly is quickly, at once, without delay, or soon and means that Paul would like to come immediately. This visit may be the one mentioned in I Timothy 1:3 ; but if it is, then Timothy did not go with him to Philippi because Timothy was left in Ephesus and did not accompany Paul into Macedonia where Philippi was located. I Timothy 1:3-4 , where I refers to Paul and where thee refers to Timothy, says,

I Timothy 1:3-4 - (3) As I besought thee to abide still at Ephesus, when I went into Macedonia, that thou mightest charge some that they teach no other doctrine, (4) Neither give heed to fables and endless genealogies, which minister questions, rather than godly edifying which is in faith: so do (emphasis added).

Paul's confidence that he will soon be released from his confinement in Rome suggests that his trial is over and that he is now awaiting the verdict. Philippians 2:24 looks forward to Paul's visit to Philippi before his release from his imprisonment in Rome; whereas, I Timothy 1:3 looks backward to Paul's visit to Philippi after his release from his imprisonment in Rome.