Commentary on Philippians, 2:19-22 (Proven Character)

Philippians 2:19-22

“19 But I hope in the Lord Jesus to send Timothy to you soon, that I also may be cheered when I receive word regarding you.”

“I hope in the Lord Jesus”

Paul means that his whole life revolves around Christ and His will. He fully entrusted his circumstances to the Lord and to the purposes He wanted to accomplish through him.

“to send Timothy”

Timothy was Paul’s faithful companion and fellow worker. He was also one of Paul’s messengers. Paul was hoping and trusting that the Lord would make a way for him to send Timothy to the Philippian church, that they may be made aware of the things that are going on with him.

“that I also may be cheered when I receive word regarding you.”

This statement assumes the above, that they would both receive news regarding each other, and be cheered and encouraged by what they heard. He was fully expecting that he would receive encouraging news about where they were spiritually. Likewise, he knew that they would be encouraged by what they heard regarding his spiritual well being, and what the Lord was doing in his current circumstances.

“20 For I have no one like-minded who will be genuinely concerned about your well-being.”

“For I have no one like-minded”

This should be understood to refer to those who were presently with him.

“who will be genuinely concerned about your well-being.”

Timothy had a close relationship with Paul, and I think one of the reasons for that is because Timothy had a heart for the same things Paul had a heart for. They were like-minded and like-hearted. The could minister and accomplish things together because they had the same goals. They could walk and fellowship together because they were of kindred spirit. This kindred spirit allowed them to move in the same direction, to be in harmony with one another. Timothy was a wonderful representative not only for Christ, but also for his co-worker and dear friend, Paul.

Blessed is the person who finds a fellow believer who is like-hearted with them. What fruitful ministry they can have together. Blessed is the husband and wife who are of such kindred spirit. So much can be accomplished when two people walk together in unity.

Such unity between two Christians is due to the close walk they each have with the Lord, as the very next verse indicates. When two people are walking in harmony with the Lord, they will walk in harmony with each other.

“21 For they all seek their own concerns, not those of Jesus Christ.”

“their own concerns”  (Gr. heautou – 1438)

Their own interests; their own things.

The word “concerns” (interests; things) is not in the original, but ends with “own.” However, it refers to one’s self, which implies one’s own concerns, interests, things, and ways.

Must be understood to refer to those who were with Paul at that particular time, and obviously he is not counting Timothy.

“those of Jesus Christ”

“Those” refers back to “concerns.” A Christian is a follower of Christ, and as His followers we’re to be seeking, not our own concerns but the concerns of Christ. We have a tendency to seek the things that concern ourselves, rather than pursuing the things of God. We must strive to overcome those inclinations. We can do that in the power of the Holy Spirit. The more time we spend in God’s Word, the more time we spend in time alone with the Lord, the more time we spend ministering to other people and getting a taste of what it’s like to make a difference in someone’s life, the more our heart will be fashioned in the likeness of God’s own heart. His concerns will become our concerns, His interests will become our interests, His ways will become our ways, His focus will become our focus.

We’re influenced by the things we’re exposed to. If all we do is expose ourselves to the  things of the world (by way of television, movies, internet, unsaved friends, secular college, etc.) we will be influenced by those things; it’s those things that will fashion our way of thinking. On the other hand, if we expose ourselves to the things of God, while limiting exposure to the philosophies of the world, then those are the things that will fashion our way of thinking and how we view our life in this world.

“22 But you know how he has proved himself, that like a son with his father, he has served with me in the gospel.”  

“proved himself”  (Gr. dokime – 1382)

Proof of him; proven worth; proven character.


“Can describe a trial, test or ordeal (2Co 8:2). More commonly in  the NT dokime refers to that which has been tested and approved and when used of a person refers to proven character or tested value. Even as precious metals were tried by fire, so believers are often tested in the fires of suffering, adversity and persecution resulting in a purified faith. Three times they had seen Timothy (Acts 16:13; 19:22; 20:3f.) and so the Philippians knew “Timothy’s record” and he had stood the test and proven his worth. Thus they should realize immediately that no “mediocre substitute” was being sent to them.”

Timothy was a follower of Christ who followed. He was a servant of Christ who served. He proved himself to be faithful. He proved himself to be a true Christian. He didn’t just talk, he walked the talk. He wasn’t one of those who was “seeking his own concerns” or “his own interests.” He pursued the the things of Christ. He committed himself to the teaching of the Word. He sought to win the lost to Jesus. He sacrificed the comforts of life to do the work of the Lord. He risked his life for the name of Christ and for the spiritual well being of others. He lived to glorify God.

We see too many who profess Christ with their tongue, but who show little or no evidence that they are who they say they are. Instead they deny Him by the way they live their lives (Tit 1:16). The proof of who we are in our heart of hearts will be manifested outwardly. In other words, our outward lives are a reflection of who we are on the inside. Timothy proved the character of his heart through his obedience and service to the Lord.

“like a son with his father, he has served with me in the gospel.”

This is a heartwarming description of Paul’s relationship with Timothy. He apparently led Timothy to faith in Christ, thus, referred to him as his son (child – 1 Ti 1:2; 2 Ti 1:2). But I think the way Paul felt about Timothy goes beyond that. I think Paul regarded him as a true son, adopting him – so to speak – as his own. It obviously brought Paul great joy to have Timothy at his side to serve with him in advancing the gospel. I’ve often thought how wonderful it would be to serve in ministry with my son. As far as Paul was concerned, he knew what a precious experience that was. Therefore, sending Timothy to the Philippian church was like sending his own son on his behalf.