Philippians, Rightly Divided, Verse-by-Verse
Session 10 | Phillippians 2:19-27
Philippians 2:19-30 | Timothy and Epaphras
Verse 19 -- Black
Being unable to visit Philippi immediately due to the imprisonment, Paul hoped (translated trust) to send Timotheus shortly unto you. The purpose was simply to get a report on their state (literally, the things concerning you).
Paul first met Timothy in about AD 52 so they had now known each other about 12 years. Paul would write 1 and 2 Timothy within a couple of years of writing Philippians.
Verse 20 -- Black
Paul did not say nobody else could do the job, or even that there was nobody else who was likeminded. In a few verses he will send Epaphroditus to do the work that he desired Timothy to do. And in Philippians 4:3 Paul mentions Clement along with other fellowlabourers. But there was something with Timothy, either in his demeanor or experience, in which he could naturally care for the Philippians more than the others.
Verse 21 -- Green
“throwing everyone under the bus" except Timothy? I think that the key to understanding is the emphatic I have of verse 20. Though there are other responsible workers, they are not part of Paul's inner circle, so Paul must reach to a broader circle in sending someone to check on the Philippians. Such a task, of course, would be best suited for one who spent time recently and closely with Paul, who could share his heart accurately.
A few years later, Paul would tell Timothy that all they which are in Asia be turned away from me (2 Tim. 1:15). From verses 20-21 and 2 Timothy 1:15 we can see that Pauline theology was never a popular route, and even the inner circle was thin and failed to stay the course at times.
In all times, the default for behavior, sadly, is that all seek their own, not the things which are Jesus Christ's. May it not be said of us.
Verse 22 -- Black
This word of commendation from Paul concerning Timothy is unmatched in Pauline praise for any other laborer. There were many fellow-laborers, but only one Timothy. In 2 Timothy 3:10, Paul says that Timothy hast fully known my doctrine, manner of life, purpose, faith, longsuffering, charity, patience.
Verse 23 -- Black
Whatever ministry Timothy was at the moment to Paul, it was more pressing than Paul's desire to send him personally.
Verse 24 -- Black
The word trust was used in verse 19, but with a different underlying Greek word, the same word being found in verse 23 and translated hope. Here, the trust word is one of *confidence*, as translated in Galatians 5:10. We do not know if Paul ever made this trip, but there is plenty of reason to believe that he did. See note on Philippians 1:10.
Verse 25 -- Black
Paul shifts focus to Epaphroditus, my brother (figuratively speaking). It seems that he was perhaps from Philippi and send by the Philippians to Paul to minister to him. The word wants should not be taken to imply superfluous desires. It is translated as necessity in Philippians 4:16 and need in Philippians 4:19.
We only know of Epaphroditus from the book of Philippians.
Verse 26 -- Black
In our world of instant and constant communication, we forget (if we ever knew) what it was to be out of contact with one you love but having heard rumor that they were not well. Epaphroditus, clearly loving those who sent him, was full of heaviness because he did not want his sending partners to have concern for him.
Verse 27 -- Black
This verse displays an interesting transition away from Kingdom manifestations of earlier years and toward the silence of the dispensation of Grace. Written about AD 64, Israel had all-but rejected the Kingdom and the manifestations of the Spirit were virtually, if not totally gone. But about AD 56 it is recorded that God wrought special miracles by the hands of Paul: So that from his body were brought unto the sick handkerchiefs or aprons, and the diseases departed from them...(Acts 19:11-12). Now, less than 10 years later, there is no indication of any miraculous work nor even the expectation of such.
Both here and in 2 Timothy 4:20 a companion of Paul was left to suffer through their sickness with only prayer, natural remedies, and the mercies of God. Either Paul was a poor steward of his miraculous gifts or those gifts were Kingdom manifestations and by the mid-60s the Kingdom had been rejected and the diminishing of Israel had come in full, only awaiting the destruction of Jerusalem which would come as a natural result.