Philippians 2:22
(22) The proof of him.--The allusion is justified by their intimate personal knowledge. Timothy was at Philippi with St. Paul on his first visit (Acts 16:12-40); we find him sent to Thessalonica shortly after (1Thessalonians 3:2), and he probably then paid a second visit to Philippi; from Ephesus (Acts 19:22) he is sent again to Macedonia; and with St. Paul on the way to Jerusalem he was at Philippi once more (Acts 20:4-6).

As a son with the father.--The original construction is curiously broken here. It runs, As a son to a father--as though St. Paul was going to speak of Timothy's dutiful ministration and following of his example; but then the sentence changes, in a characteristic humility, and makes Timothy and himself merely fellow-servants--he served with me in the gospel. If we may judge of Timothy's character from the general character of St. Paul's directions to him in the Pastoral Epistles, and especially the significant exhortation, "Let no man despise thy youth, (1Timothy 4:12), it would seem to have been gentle and warm-hearted rather than commanding. Hence, perhaps, the necessity for this singularly emphatic commendation of him. (Comp. 1Corinthians 16:10, "If Timotheus come, see that he be with you without fear.")

Verse 22. - But ye know the proof of him. Ye recognize from your former experience (Acts 16.) his approved character. That, as a son with the father, he hath served with me in the gospel; translate, with R.V., that, as a child serveth a father, so he served with me in furtherance of the gospel. Served ἐδούλευσεν); as a slave. He was both a son and servant to St. Paul, and also a fellow-worker with St. Paul, both being slaves of God.

2:19-30 It is best with us, when our duty becomes natural to us. Naturally, that is, sincerely, and not in pretence only; with a willing heart and upright views. We are apt to prefer our own credit, ease, and safety, before truth, holiness, and duty; but Timothy did not so. Paul desired liberty, not that he might take pleasure, but that he might do good. Epaphroditus was willing to go to the Philippians, that he might be comforted with those who had sorrowed for him when he was sick. It seems, his illness was caused by the work of God. The apostle urges them to love him the more on that account. It is doubly pleasant to have our mercies restored by God, after great danger of their removal; and this should make them more valued. What is given in answer to prayer, should be received with great thankfulness and joy.But ye know the proof of him,.... They had had an experiment of him, a trial of his spirit, and a proof of his gifts and ministry, when he was among them with the apostle at his first preaching the Gospel to them, to the conversion of Lydia, and of the jailer, and their households, which laid the foundation of a Gospel church state among them, see Acts 16:3. The Vulgate Latin version reads in the imperative, "know ye the proof of him"; but the former reading is to be preferred:

that as a son with the father, he hath served with me in the Gospel; he served not the apostle, but with him; he served God as the apostle did, in the Gospel of his Son; he served Jesus Christ, whose Gospel he preached, the interest and spread of which he greatly laboured in with him, as a fellow servant or work fellow; see Romans 16:21; which expresses the modesty of the apostle, and the great honour put upon Timothy, and which was not abused by him; for as a son honours, obeys, and imitates his father, so did he honour the apostle, and give him all respect and reverence that was due to him on account of his office, age, and usefulness; and obeyed his orders cheerfully, going wherever he sent him, and doing whatever he bid him; and imitated him in his ministry, in his constancy, diligence, and zeal, having a true filial affection for him.

Philippians 2:21
Top of Page
Top of Page