Philippians 2:19-30 Two Faithful Men

Paul sends Timothy and Epaphroditus to the Philippians. Because Paul is not able to physically visit the church that he loves so much, he sends two trusted men back to them. Timothy is somewhat his representative and Epaphroditus is returning to his home parish of Philippi.

This passage tells us a lot about these two men, but from these examples we can gain insight into a model for ministry in our time.

19-24 Timothy

Timothy is the son of a Christian parent and a non-Christian father. However, it is apparent that he gained much from the influence of his mother and grandmother. It was from them that he received his Christian faith and instruction in the Scriptures.

Paul discovers him on one of his missionary journeys and takes Timothy with him to be his partner in ministry. Timothy becomes a “son” to Paul as Paul mentors him in the faith.

One characteristic of Timothy that we see throughout the NT, is his youth. He apparently was pre-30’s when he was ministering throughout the Pauline mission field. Paul encourages him many times because of this seeming “inadequacy”.

Timothy later settles as bishop of Ephesus after the death of Paul. He ultimately becomes a martyr himself in Ephesus.

In this passage, Paul sends Timothy in place of himself to minister to the Philippians. Here are some criteria that Paul has chosen in order to minister effectively: like-minded with Paul and he sincerely care for the Philippians. Paul also commends him because he does not seek after his own needs (such as those chided in chapter 1), but he seeks only to glorify Christ (21).

25-30 Epaphroditus.

From what we know of Epaphroditus he was a presbyter (priestPhilippiipppi or perhaps the bishop of the city. It does appear that later he becomes bishop of the city. He had come to Rome bringing gifts from the Philippians, and had gotten stuck in Rome due to sickness. He is the one who is carrying the letter back to the Philippians. Paul seems to be consoling the Philippians that Epaphroditus did not abandon them but was delayed in returning due to sickness.

Paul speaks highly of Epaphroditus and by extension is praising the virtues of the Philippian church. Paul introduces liturgical language once again into the letter in verse 25. He says that Epap. ministered to his needs. The word for ministered comes from the root word “leitourgia” where we get liturgy. By using this word, Paul frames Epaphroditus’ ministry in the context of an priest making an offering to God. This means that Epaphroditus’ act is not mere service to the apostle Paul but an act of worship to God. This fits our understanding of the sacramental priesthood in that when the priest makes the offering of bread and wine to God in the Liturgy he is doing it as our representative. In him, we the church are participating in the offering. The Philippians in this example participated in Epaphroditus’ offering to Paul. This also describes accurately every Christian’s role as a member of the royal priesthood. Every time we perform ministry it is an act of worship as we offer something to God.

Another characteristic of Epaphroditus is that he risked his life for the Gospel. Christ was first and he was second. In verse 30, Paul says that he risked his life. This term is a gamblerÂ’s term for rolling the dice with the chance of winning (Farley). He was willing to role the dice with his life for the sake of ChristÂ’s glory.

In class, we discussed these two men as model for us in ministcharacteristicsracterisitics stood out that both these men possessed and we should as well to be faithful ministers.

1. Obedience. Both were obedient to Christ and His authority in the church. They laid down their will at the feet of Christ.
2. Loyal. Paul could trust them due to their loyalty.
3. Their lives were role models for other Christians.
4. Care and love for people.
5. Their motives were to glorify Christ.

Anything else? Please comment below.
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