Bible Topics
in the Christian Library

Philippians 2:19-24

John L. Kachelman, Jr.


I. Of all persons identified as a "companion" of Paul, this one stands out as most prominent.

1. We find first record of him in Acts 16:1.

2. It is possible that Paul was responsible for converting him on his first missionary tour through the area.

3. Timothy was associated with Paul through a longer range of time than any other whom we have record.

4. There is a tenderness of feeling which is evident between Paul and Timothy which is not shared by another.

5. The two letters of Paul to Timothy are filled with tenderness and minute mention of detail which indicates that here was a friend for whom Paul's personal preferences were the greatest.

6. This man's faith was developed and nurtured by his mother and grandmother from early infancy.

II. Of particular interest at the present is the character of this man as described by Paul in our present text.

1. Paul is writing to the Philippians in regard to Christian maturity.

2. He turns now to illustrate to his readers and calls upon two men: Timothy and Epaphroditus.

3. In these two men one can find various traits of maturity discussed by Paul in the previous verses: steadfastness, unity, like-mindedness, unselfishness, humility, and sacrificial in attitudes and actions.

4. We are presented with a wonderful lesson in these few verses. Consider some of the traits brought up by Paul.


I. Timothy was a person of commendation (vrs. 19a).

A. In study of Paul's writings one observes Timothy possessing the greatest confidence of the Apostle.

1. Paul saw Timothy as the qualified man to do this task.

2. This respect is evident in other texts as well: 

a. 1 Ths 3:2-3 -- Serious troubles had arisen in Thessalonica and Timothy was sent to correct the problems.

b. Acts 19:21-22 -- Timothy was sent to prepare the detail for the collection, to correct the party divisions in Corinth and correct other abuses there.

c. How great the trust reposed in Timothy is evident from the tasks which Paul's letters convey. He is to repress false doctrine, regulate public worship, ordain elders and deacons, and above all else to be an example to the believers.

3. Had we no other revelations about the character of Timothy, the great commendation held toward him by Paul is sufficient for us to fully appreciate him!

B. We should strive for a commendation of this sort today.

1. Ro 14:18; 2 Co 10:18; Pr 12:8a.

2. This commendation must be earned by hard service and faithful duty to Christ!

3. This commendation is that which will allow us to enter into our eternal reward! (Mt 25:34).

II. Timothy was a man of positive nature (vr 19b).

A. Paul knew that is Timothy went to Philippi he would uplift the brethren there and on his return would "cheer" himself!

B. It is wonderful to be around a person who has the unique but lovely talent to lift your spirits and lighten your load in life!

1. This is one who always will see the good, positive points and readily bring these to other's attention. S/He is careful not to dwell on the negative points too long. 

2. Such was like Barnabas (cf. Ac 4:36).

C. Have you ever considered the importance of developing such a positive attitude?

1.The Scriptures often speak of such: Job 16:5a; Ps 39:1a; Pr 15:23; 16:24; Ep 4:29; Rv 14:5.

2. Let us emphasize the need to be optimistic in the work of the Lord's Church and in life. I read somewhere the account of a soldier who was court-martialed. The charge? He was accused of being a "Discourager of men." He had not defected or sold valuable miliary secrets. He did nothing more than go among his fellow soldiers with discouraging words and criticism for their cause. He broke the spirit and morale of the soldiers and hindered the task at hand! 

How much like him are some Christians! They do not actually sell out to Satan or completely leave the Church. They simply mingle with other Christians, constantly complaining, openly criticizing the Elders, and voicing skepticism concerning future plans. In a very real sense these are "Discouragers of men" and they ought to be court-martialed, but, unfortunately they are not. And so they continue spreading their venom and doing their deadly work, hindering the progress of the Lord's Church. Beware of them ... and beware of your own words, lest you too, become a "Discourager of men"!

III. Timothy was a person of strong, sincere concern (vr 20).

A. Paul's concern was great, but Timothy's was just as intense.

1. Here is one truly concerned about his brethren.

2. He is anxious for these to mature and develop. He is grateful for the fellowship shared between them.

3. Concern is such a wonderful character trait!

B. We need desperately to instill this trait--a lack of concern for our fellow brethren is a terrible thing -- such stems from selfishness and isolation (cf. Amos 6:6b).

1. We are commanded to have concern -- Gal 6:1; 1 Ths 5:11, 14; Hb 10:24-25; 1 Pt 3:8.

2. Concern for one another is a trait of our fellowship bond -- Do we demonstrate this concern? Are we aware of those among us who need our help, support, and encouragement?

3. Let us instill this admirable quality in our life today!

IV. Timothy was a man of outstanding commitment to Christ (vr 21, cf. vr 20a).

A. While others are concerned about their goals. Timothy's overruling concern was devotion to God and Christ. Here is one who fully understood Matthew 6:33!

1. This commitment was due to such being planted in him from early infancy (2 Ti 3:14-15).

2. This devotion is seen as he leaves the security of his mother and goes on the path of uncertainty with Paul (Mt 19:29).

B. One will never fully understand the joys of Christianity until he/she is fully committed to Jesus Christ.

1. Such is demonstrated in Psalms 31:1-5.

2. The rewards of this is seen in 2 Timothy 1:12.

3. May we unite with Job and say the words of Job 5:8!

V. Timothy was not a "super-Christian" who had no faults -- In other texts we are given some of this failings.

A. These briefly listed:

1. Social Problems -- His youth (1 Ti 4:12). This was a hindrance to some extent.

2. Psychological Problems -- Some suggest that he was timid, sensitive, and was easily threatened (1 Co 16:10-11; 2 Ti 1:7-8).

3. Health Problems -- He had stomach problems (1 Ti 5:23).

B. However in the face of these problems, he still served Christ. Though he had many uphill battles, he did not allow his human weaknesses to stand in the way of his spiritual duties!


I. Thus a brief sketch of this companion of Paul is offered.

1. We have many excellent points to contemplate and personally apply.

2. Are you as dedicated as Timothy--

a. In your commendation by God?

b. In your optimistic outlook on duty and life?

c. In your concern for other Christians?

d. In your commitment to Christ Jesus?

e. In your reputation?

3. Do you allow your faults and failings to hinder you from serving Christ?

a. Do you use your age for an excuse?

b. Do you allow your personality to prevent you from serving as you should?

c. Do you excuse yourself from service by referring to physical problems?

II. Please take the suggested points to heart and make whatever changes are necessary so that you can develop a character like this of Timothy!

Copyright 1998 by John L. Kachelman, Jr. may be reproducted for non-commercial purposes at no cost to others.

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