The Example of Timothy

I hope in the Lord Jesus to send Timothy to you shortly.
–Philippians 2:19

Philippians 2 is the climax of Paul’s letter to Philippians. He said in verses 5-8: “Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.” Paul was saying, “Have the same attitude as Jesus Christ.” What attitude? The attitude of putting the interests of others above yourself. The attitude of submitting your will to God’s will. The attitude of being willing to sacrifice temporary pleasure for eternal gain. He said, “Emulate the example of Jesus Christ.”

Paul was a student of human nature, though. He knew most of us would read the example of Jesus and say, “Sure, He could do that. He was the Son of God. But, Paul, you don’t understand what I go through every day. How can I be expected to do that?” So Paul singled out two men the Philippians knew very well who illustrate what it means to subject your will to the will of God.

In Philippians 2:19, we meet a man named Timothy who was an example of unselfish service. Paul said, “I hope in the Lord Jesus to send Timothy to you shortly, so that I also may be encouraged when I learn of your condition.” At this time, Paul was in prison. He was under house arrest. Timothy was with him, and Paul said, “As soon as the outcome of my trial is known, I’m hoping to send Timothy back to you. I’ve heard about the problems in the church at Philippi, and I want to send Timothy to you.”

Who was this person named Timothy the Philippians were familiar with? On Paul’s first missionary journey, recorded in the book of Acts, Paul was traveling through Asia Minor, and he came to a home. In the home was a mother named Eunice, a grandmother named Lois, and Timothy. Timothy’s father was Greek, but his mother and grandmother were both Jewish believers. Apparently, they had been instrumental in leading Timothy to know the Scriptures. But it was the apostle Paul, on his first missionary journey, who had the privilege of leading Timothy to Christ. That’s why Paul referred to Timothy as “my true child in the faith” (1 Timothy 1:2). That was on Paul’s first missionary journey.

On his second missionary journey, recorded in Acts 16, Paul came back through Asia Minor. Timothy was probably a teenager, and Paul selected Timothy to be a part of that second missionary journey. That journey involved going to the city of Philippi, where the Philippian church was founded. So these Philippians knew all about Timothy.

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Today’s devotion is excerpted from “Heroes” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2007.

Scripture quotations are taken from the New American Standard Bible®, copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by the Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.

 

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