Each was passionately devoted to the Lord Jesus Christ, not consumed with his owninterests.For the Lords sake, each had risked his health, his freedom, and even his life.Each of the three reflected distinct personal and spiritual characteristics:Paul might therefore be described as the sacrificial rejoicer,Timothy as the single-minded sympathizer, andEpaphroditus as the loving gambler.TIMOTHY THE SINGLE-MINDED SYMPATHIZERPhilippians 2:19-2419) “But I hope in the Lord Jesus to send Timothy to you shortly, so that I also may beencouraged when I learn of your condition.20) For I have no one else of kindred spirit who will genuinely be concerned for yourwelfare.21) For they all seek after their own interests, not those of Christ Jesus.22) But you know of his proven worth, that he served with me in the furtherance of theGospel like a child serving his father.23) Therefore I hope to send him immediately, as soon as I see how things go with me;24) and I trust in the Lord that I myself also will be coming shortly.” (2:19-24)Timothy is known as Pauls beloved son in the faith.Like Paul, his mentor and model, Timothy is a trustworthy example for other believersto emulate.“But I hope in the Lord Jesus” 2:19The apostles hope was not an idle wish but the deep longing of his heart.Because Paul never wanted to act independently of his Masters will, his hope andexpectation was in line with the purpose of the Lord Jesus.Paul no doubt prayed earnestly for the Lords direction and was determined to adjustor discard his own plans if necessary.Timothy was a native of Lystra in the province of Galatia (part of modern Turkey).His mother, Eunice, was Jewish and his father was a Greek and probably a pagan.Paul led him to Christ (1 Cor 4:17; 1 Tim 1:2,18; 2 Tim 1:2), probably during the apostlesvisit to Lystra on his first missionary journey (Acts 14:6-23).
Both his mother and his grandmother, Lois, were believers (2 Tim 1:5) and hadinstructed Timothy in the Old Testament (2 Tim 3:15).That he was not circumcised as a child suggests that his father had educated him inGreek learning and culture.Along with his spiritual maturity, his combined Jewish and Greek heritage made himuniquely qualified to minister the Gospel with Paul to the Gentile world.You are uniquely qualified to be and to do what God created you for.“For this reason I remind you to fan into flames the gift of God, which is in you”2 Tim 1:6 NIV.To make Timothy more acceptable to the Jews, especially to those in Galatia whoknew of him, Paul circumcised him (Acts 16:3).By the time Paul wrote Philippians, Timothy had been his almost constant companionfor about ten years.Timothy was faithful and dependable in every way and clearly was qualified to be amodel for the Philippians to emulate.Because he wanted the Philippians to accept Timothy without hesitation, Paul gavethem a brief profile of that dedicated servant of Jesus Christ (vv. 20-24).The apostle highlighted seven personal characteristics for the Philippians to emulate:Timothy was: similar, sympathetic, single-minded, seasoned, submissive, sacrificial,and serviceable.First, Timothys spiritual character was similar to that of the apostles.In many ways Timothy was a true kindred spirit with Paul.There was no one else that Paul could send to them that was of Timothys stature.He had been instructed in the Scriptures from childhood by his mother andgrandmother (2 Tim 1:5; 3:15) and was highly regarded by those who knew him(Acts 16:2).Yet Timothys greatest spiritual growth began when he started traveling andministering with Paul.Except for the Lord Jesus Christ, there has never been a spiritual mentor on a par withPaul.Timothy had the unique and enviable privilege of being the apostles protégé.
”I have no one else of kindred spirit” 2:20Used only here in the New Testament, isopsuchos (kindred spirit) is a compoundadjective, composed of isos(equal) and psuche(soul). It literally means "equal-souled" or "one-souled," referring to persons who are like-minded, of kindred spirit.The goal of true discipleship is reproduction; when a person is fully discipled, Jesussaid, he will be like his teacher (Matt 10:25).Over the course of time, Timothy came to think like Paul, relate to believers andunbelievers like Paul, evaluate ideas and situations like Paul, trust in the Lord like Paul,and pray like Paul.Those two men of God had similar qualities of soul, similar passions, similar objectives,and similar zeal.In effect, Paul was saying to the believers in Philippi what he had said to those inCorinth a few years earlier: "I exhort you, be imitators of me.“For this reason I have sent to you Timothy, who is my beloved and faithful child in theLord, and he will remind you of my ways which are in Christ, just as I teacheverywhere in every church" (1 Cor 4:16-17).So here, as at Corinth, until Paul was able to visit Philippi again, Timothy was by far hisbest substitute.He was the ultimate fulfillment of the apostles desire that other believers be faithfulimitators of him, as he was of Jesus Christ (1 Cor 11:1).No wonder Timothy was so beloved and dear to Paul.Not only was Timothy very similar to Paul, he also had the virtue of being sympathetic.”For I have no one else of kindred spirit who will genuinely be concerned for yourwelfare.” Philippians 2:20The verb merimnao (concerned for) expresses a strong feeling for something orsomeone, often to the point of being burdened.Like his Lord, Paul had constant "concern for all the churches" (2 Cor 11:28) and wasconfident that Timothy shared that concern.They were true shepherds, whose foremost concern was for the welfare of theirsheep.A third virtue that characterized Timothy was his single-mindedness, stated hereindirectly by contrast with the leaders of the church in Rome.
Paul laments the self-centered, loveless attitude of those leaders. “Seek after”translates the present tense of the verb zeteo and could be rendered "continuallyseek after."It must have deeply grieved Paul to have to say of them that they all seek after theirown interests, “not those of Christ Jesus”.Although the Gospel was being proclaimed by a number of men in Rome, it wasoften preached out of "envy, strife and selfish ambition rather than from puremotives“ (1:15,17).Paul nevertheless rejoiced "that in every way, whether in pretense or in truth, Christ isproclaimed" (v. 18).It seems that those who preached out of good will and love (1:15-16) either weregone or were silent. Despite Pauls presence, many preachers had become worldlyand self-centered.They were not apostate or heretical but obviously had left their first love for Christ andbecome self-centered(Rev 2:4). Their primary interests now were no longer those ofChrist Jesus but their own.Unlike Timothy, they were no longer single-minded but had become double mindedand therefore spiritually unstable (James 1:8).They were exemplified by Demas, a dependable coworker of Pauls in Rome (Col4:14; Philem 24), who would eventually desert him (2 Tim 4:10,16).The few faithful men with Paul in Rome, such as Luke and Aristarchus (Col 4:10; Philem24), were evidently not available to travel to Philippi.The apostle was down to his last reliable coworker; faithful Timothy was the lonesingle-minded exception in Rome.This was again Pauls plight in his final imprisonment in Rome.In his last letter to Timothy, he said, "All who are in Asia turned away from me" (2 Tim1:15) and called for Timothy to remain loyal (2 Tim 1:13).Like Paul, Timothy’s dominant interests were still those of Christ Jesus.Timothy had been tested many times in his service to the Lord.When agitators from Thessalonica forced Paul to leave Berea, Timothy and Silas wereentrusted to remain there and carry on the work (Acts 17:14).
Similarly, "after Paul had passed through Macedonia and Achaia, . . . he sent intoMacedonia two of those who ministered to him, Timothy and Erastus" (Acts 19:21-22).A short while later, Timothy accompanied the apostle and others when they returnedto Macedonia (Acts 20:3-4), of which Philippi was a key city.The church at Philippi was well acquainted with Timothy and had benefited from hisfaithful service for many years.It is important to note that Paul is not speaking of Timothys personal service to him,although that was considerable.Timothy was completely submissive to Paul, as an apostle, a spiritual father, and anincomparable model of godliness. But Paul makes it clear that this particular servicewas not to him, but with him.They served the Lord together in a loving and noncompetitive partnership. Paul wasclearly the senior and Timothy the respectful junior.Yet the two men were both "bond-servants of Christ Jesus" (Phil 1:1), "doing the Lordswork" together (1 Cor 16:10).Timothy not only was Pauls coworker, but also "Gods fellow worker in the Gospel ofChrist" (1 Thess 3:2).Timothys sixth virtue was his willingness to be sacrificial, as implied by his ministeringwith Paul in the furtherance of the Gospel like a child serving his father.From the time the apostle chose him to serve alongside him, Timothy surrendered anypersonal plans he may have had for his life.He began a non-stop adventure that would bring him great fruitfulness and spiritualsatisfaction, but that would also involve suffering and sacrifice.Like Paul, Timothy considered himself under obligation to preach Christ to everyone,knowing that the Gospel "is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes,to the Jew first and also to the Greek" (Rom 1:14-16).He, too, was "determined to know nothing . . . except Jesus Christ, and Him crucified"(1 Cor 2:2), was willing to "become a spectacle to the world, both to angels and tomen," being considered a fool "for Christs sake," and was willing to be hungry andthirsty, poorly clothed, roughly treated, homeless, reviled, persecuted, and slandered"as the scum of the world, the dregs of all things, even until now" (1 Cor 4:9-13).
He could say sincerely with Paul that "we do not preach ourselves but Christ Jesus asLord, and ourselves as your bond-servants for Jesus sake," and that he was "afflictedin every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not despairing; persecuted, but notforsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying about in the body thedying of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body"(2 Cor 4:5,8-10).The Lord had also given him "the ministry of reconciliation" as an ambassador forChrist (2 Cor 5:18,20). And like Paul, he was eventually imprisoned for his faith (Heb13:23).Hebrews 13:2323“Take notice that our brother Timothy has been released, with whom, if he comessoon, I will see you.”For the sake of his Lord, Timothy left his home and his godly mother and grandmother.There is no evidence in Scripture that he ever married, had children, and experiencedthe joys of family life.He could truthfully declare as Paul did to the Ephesian elders: "I do not consider mylife of any account as dear to myself, so that I may finish my course and the ministrywhich I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify solemnly of the Gospel of the grace ofGod" (Acts 20:24).Timothys seventh virtue was that he was available, a characteristic implied in theothers. Because he was so eminently qualified for service, Paul could affirm withouthesitation, “Therefore I hope to send him immediately”. Philippians 2:23Qualifying immediately, the apostle explained that he first wanted to “see how thingsgo with me” (2:23).Paul still needed Timothys help a while longer.The context makes it clear that Timothy was willing to do whatever Paul asked of him.He had no agenda of his own. For him, being available to the Lord essentially meantbeing serviceable to the Lords apostle.His staying or leaving was entirely Pauls decision, not his own. It must have beenchallenging for this intelligent, energetic, talented, and gifted young man to beconstantly severing relationships with family, friends, and fellow workers.For most people, especially those with his capabilities, it would be all but unthinkableto be at someone elses beck and call.
But Timothy was just that sort of willing, dependable, and joyful servant of Paul in theirmutual service of Jesus Christ. He was ready to spend and be spent as seemed bestto his beloved friend and apostle.Timothy had human frailties. Despite his divine calling and spiritual gifts, he apparentlylacked self-confidence because of his youthfulness (1 Tim 4:12,14). He was temptedby youthful passions.In Paul’s second letter to him, the apostle warns:21) "If anyone cleanses himself from these things, he will be a vessel for honor,sanctified, useful to the Master, prepared for every good work.22) Now flee from youthful lusts and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, withthose who call on the Lord from a pure heart" (2 Tim 2:21-22).Apparently, Timothy was then at a low point in his personal life and ministry. He hadvictories and defeats, satisfaction and disappointment, happiness and sadness.But he heeded Pauls counsel: "Continue in the things you have learned and becomeconvinced of, knowing from whom you have learned them. . . . Preach the word; beready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience andinstruction. . . . Be sober in all things, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist,fulfill your ministry" (2 Tim 3:14; 4:2,5), which Timothy did!