Paul cannot visit this church for which he has such concern and love, so he is to send his assistants instead.
Timothy had a Jewish mother and a Greek father. His mother became a Christian and so did her son. Timothy was
well thought of by fellow believers in Lystra, and so Paul invited him to be his companion and fellow worker. Before
they set off Paul had Timothy circumcised so as not to offend the Jewish people of Lystra (Acts 16:1–3).
Paul was obviously concerned about the problems at Philippi and he wanted to send to the church a man whom both they and he trusted. Timothy,
who had already visited them with Paul, was the right man for the job.
(For Paul’s advice to Timothy on a later occasion see his two letters to Timothy in the New Testament.)
We do not know whether in fact Paul himself ever visited Philippi
Epaphroditus was a Macedonian Christian from Philippi. He is not the same man as the
Epaphras mentioned in Colossians 1:7 and 4:12, or in Philemon 23. His name means “comely” or “charming”.
He was probably the bearer of Paul’s letter to the Philippians.
Verse 25: He is the brother, fellow worker and fellow soldier of Paul in the service of Jesus Christ. As adopted
sons of God they were brothers in Christ. As two servants of the Lord Jesus they were fellow-workers, even though Paul
was an apostle and Epaphroditus his assistant. In their fight against Satan, sin and darkness they were active soldiers
in the Lord’s army (Ephesians 6:10ff.).
From the standpoint of the Philippians Epaphroditus was their messenger and minister (servant) to Paul. Through him
they could render service to Paul.
Verse 27: Paul does not attribute Epaphroditus’ recovery to natural means but to a definite act of God’s
mercy. This mercy was also a mercy to Paul, for the recovery of Epaphroditus saved Paul from suffering further hardship.
Verses 28–30: The Philippians are to receive him not merely with the ordinary
Christian courtesies but as one who is an honored servant of the Lord and who has helped Paul in an important way. “To
complete your service to me. . . .” Paul means that by taking a hazardous journey and exposing himself to illness and
death, Epaphroditus was able to complete the service to Paul which the Philippians were not in a position to do.
1. Does self-interest always clash with the interests of others? Does genuine interest for the welfare of others
exclude one’s own?
2. How much influence should a respected and honored member of a Christian community have on its affairs?
3. Do we sufficiently think of other Christians as brothers, sisters, fellow workers and soldiers?
4. Is Christian witness and evangelism weaker where there is no obvious risk to life – as in most of the western