Study 5 PAUL’S SON IN THE FAITH
(Scripture Portion: Philippians 2: 19-24)
What do we know about Timothy? We know that he had a Greek father and that his mother was a Jewess (Acts 16:1); that his home was at Lystra and that his grandmother was Lois (2 Timothy 1:5); we know also that it was a godly home (2 Timothy 3:15). When young Timothy was about 15 years of age Paul and Barnabas visited Lystra when they were on their first missionary journey (Acts 14:6-7), and it is probable that it was at this time that Timothy was converted. When Paul re-visited Lystra six years later “The brothers…spoke well of him” (Acts 16:2). During this second visit Paul invited Timothy to join forces with him (Acts 16:3), and subsequently these two were together at Corinth, Athens, Antioch, Philippi and Rome. When Paul wrote this epistle to the Philippians he was probably about 65 years of age and Timothy was about 35. Now turn to Philippians 2:19-23, and notice:-
1. PAUL’S SPIRITUAL RELATIONSHIP WITH TIMOTHY
This was a three-fold relationship:
- Of Father and Son (verse 22) – compare 1 Timothy 1:2 and 1:18. Timothy was Paul’s spiritual son – look up 1 Corinthians 4:15.
- Of Master and Assistant (verse 19 “to send”). Timothy was available to do Paul’s bidding, and he recognised that Paul was his spiritual leader and superior. We are “all one in Christ Jesus” (Galatians 3:28), but there are times when we must submit to those over us in the faith.
- Of Fellowship in the Gospel (verse 22). Notice, Paul does not say, “he has served under me”, but “he has served with me” This is an indication of Paul’s graciousness and humility. It was a partnership, and both Paul and Timothy were “God’s fellow-workers” (2 Corinthians 6:1).
2. PAUL’S TENDER AFFECTION FOR TIMOTHY
Read through the two letters that the apostle addressed to his young son in the faith, and notice how frequently he addresses Timothy in terms of great affection. Now look at verse 20: the word “likeminded” (in the KJV) may be transliterated, “so dear to me.” This reminds us of David and Jonathan (2 Samuel 1:26), with this difference, that Paul was thirty years older than Timothy. How grateful many of us are for spiritual fathers, counsellors and guides who have loved us and helped us!
3. PAUL’S GRACIOUS COMMENDATION OF TIMOTHY
The apostle said a very great thing about Timothy in verse 22; the words “has proved himself” may be translated as “He has stood the test”. Could there be a greater commendation than this? To be a Christian, a missionary, a servant of God or a Pastor will bring testing; it is inevitably so. It was so in the case of Timothy, and it must be so in our case. In Timothy’s case he stood the test. Paul commended Timothy for:-
- His dependability (verse 19). Paul could rely upon Timothy.
- His sincerity (verse 20). Notice the word “genuine” here. Timothy was genuine through and through.
- His self-forgetfulness (verses 21 and 22). Particularly notice the word “but” in verse 22. Timothy was different from “everyone” in verse 21.
In concluding this study we shall turn to the Second Epistle of Paul to Timothy, “which has to do with the personal walk and testimony of a true servant of Christ in a day of apostasy and declension” (Scofield), and we shall consider:-
4. PAUL’S LOVING COUNSEL TO TIMOTHY
Of the many exhortations in 2 Timothy, we have selected the following seven, each of which is introduced by key-words.
- “FAN INTO FLAME” – 1:6-7. The gift which Timothy was to “fan into flame” was evidently the gift of the Holy Spirit. It is as though Paul said to Timothy, “Let the Holy Spirit blaze up and set your whole being on fire” in other words, Ephesians 5:18! We need this exhortation, and notice in verse 7 that if we will “fan into flame the gift of God”, we shall experience emancipation, enduement, enrichment and enlightenment.
- “KEEP” – 1:13. Compare 1 Timothy 6:3, which explains what is meant. Paul encouraged Timothy to keep hold of the truth because he lived in a day of apostasy – as we do – look up 1 Timothy 1:3-10; 4:6; 4:16 and 6:20. Notice how we are to keep hold of the truth – in faith (God-ward); and in love (man-ward) – compare Ephesians 4:15.
- “ENDURE” – 2:3-4. Timothy was a soldier, and as such he needed to prepare to endure hardships. The Christian life is no “bed of roses”. Grace is needed (verse 1), but grit is needed also (verse 3) – compare Luke 9:23. Because there is a war on (verse 4), we are to free ourselves from every entanglement, and notice the reason we are to do this (verse 4).
- “PRESENT” – 2:15. Timothy’s great ambition was to be that of gaining God’s approval. The way to achieve this ambition is to give the Word of God its rightful place in our lives, and this will safeguard us against verses 16,17, 18 and 23 compare 1 Timothy 6:20-21.
- “FLEE” – 2:22. This simply means “to run away from” – compare 1 Timothy 6:9-11. What are we to run away from? – “evil desires of youth” – and compare 1 Timothy 4:12, i.e. those temptations to impurity which are especially perilous in the time of youth. We are to “flee” from every suggestion of impurity, and then we are to “pursue” four things (verse 22). Read Genesis 39:7-12 and compare Proverbs 18:10.
- “CONTINUE” – 3:14. So many start but do not go on look up John 8:31 and 15:9, and compare Acts 1:14; 2:42; 13:43; 14:22; Colossians 4:2 and Hebrews 13:1. Also look up Luke 9:62 and 2 Timothy 4:10.
- “KEEP YOUR HEAD” – 4:5. Look up Matthew 26:41; Colossians 4:2 and 1 Peter 4:7.
These exhortations were addressed to Timothy, but they all apply to us!