Helpers in the Ministry (Philippians 2:19–30)


Phil 2.19-30As we continue our study in Philippians, Paul is still discussing the submissive mind. He gives us adescription of the submissive mind in the example of Jesus Christ (The Great Example, Phil. 2:1–11). He explains the dynamics of the submissive mind in his own experience (The Ins and Outs of Christian Living, Phil. 2:12–18). Now, he introduces us to two of his helpers in the ministry, Timothy and Epaphroditus. He knows that his readers will be prone to say, “It is impossible for us to follow such examples as Christ and Paul! After all, Jesus is the very Son of God and Paul is a chosen apostle who has had great spiritual experiences!” For this reason, Paul introduces us to two “ordinary saints,” men who were not apostles or spectacular miracle workers. He wants us to know the submissive mind is not a luxury enjoyed by a chosen few; it is a necessity for Christian joy and an opportunity for all believers.

Timothy (2:19–24)

Paul probably met Timothy on his first missionary journey (Acts 14:6), at which time, perhaps, the youth was converted (1 Cor. 4:17). Apparently, Timothy’s mother and grandmother had been converted first (2 Tim. 1:3–5). He was the son of a Jewish mother and Gentile father, but Paul always considered the young man his own “dearly beloved son” in the faith (2 Tim. 1:2). When Paul returned to Derbe and Lystra while on his second missionary journey, he enlisted young Timothy as one of his fellow laborers (Acts 16:1–4). In one sense, Timothy replaced John Mark, whom Paul had refused to take along on the journey because of Mark’s previous abandonment of the cause (Acts 13:13; 15:36–41).

In Timothy’s experience, we learn the submissive mind is not something that suddenly, automatically appears in the life of the believer. Timothy had to develop and cultivate the “mind of Christ.” It was not natural for him to be a servant; but, as he walked with the Lord and worked with Paul, he became the kind of servant that Paul could trust and God could bless. Notice the characteristics of this young man.

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