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Old and New Testament
Philippians 2:21 For they
For the others all seek [to advance] their own interests, not those
of Jesus Christ (the Messiah).
Bible - Lockman)
Barclay: for all men are concerned with their own interest, and
not with the interests of Jesus Christ. (Westminster
For all seek their own, not the things which are Jesus Christ's.
For all pursue their own selfish aims, reckless of
the will of Christ.
NLT: All the others care only for themselves and not for what
matters to Jesus Christ. (NLT
- Tyndale House)
Phillips: All the others seem to be wrapped up in their
own affairs and do not really care for the business of Jesus Christ.
For one and all without exception are constantly seeking their own
things, not the things of Christ Jesus.
Young's Literal: for the
whole seek their own things, not the things of the Christ Jesus,
(Php 2:4; Isa 56:11; Mal 1:10; Mt
16:24; Lk 9:57, 58, 59, 60, 61, 62, 14:26, Acts 13:13, 15:38; 1Co
10:24, 33, 13:5 2Ti 1:15; 3:2; 4:10, 16)
(pas) means one and all. Evidently the church at Rome was
living in a "me generation." In his letter to the saints in Rome Paul
wrote (in about 57-58AD)...
First, I thank my God through Jesus
Christ for you all, because your faith is being proclaimed throughout
the whole world. (see note
At one time
the Roman church was interested in others. They had a reputation for
sharing their faith. Now (the letter to Philippi was written about
61AD) they could care less. They appear to have lost their passion
The word “all” is strong. It means
“the whole of them, one and all, all without exception.”
K. S. Wuest's Word Studies from the Greek New Testament: Studies in
the Vocabulary of the Greek New Testament: Grand Rapids: Eerdmans)
"In a very real sense, all of us live either
in Philippians 1:21 (note) or 2:21!"
(2212) (zeteo) means to strive (continually =
after with the idea of earnestness and devoting attention and priority
to, in this case selfishness rather than the Savior's cause, quite a
contrast with the charge earlier to
"do nothing from
selfishness or empty conceit" and "do not merely look out for
your own personal interests, but also for the interests of
others" (see note
that Paul did
not mean that Paul had no genuine Christian friends in Rome, but that
all shrank from visiting far distant Philippi.
are interested in themselves, their advancement, their concerns.
And do you seek great things your
yourself? Do not seek them (Jer 45:5).
How many professing Christians in our cities and towns are there now
who would be willing to leave their business and their comfortable
homes and go on embassy like this to Philippi? How many are there who
would not seek some excuse, and show that it was a characteristic that
they “sought their own” rather than the things which pertained to the
kingdom of Jesus Christ? (Philippians 2)
Pentecost writes that...
Paul is saying a very sad thing. He
is saying that as great as the need is for someone to minister in the
Philippian church, no one cares — no one! Where are all those whom
Paul has led to the Lord and schooled in truth in order that they
might minister? They are gone. Where are those who walked with Paul
and were trained to carry on Paul’s ministry? They are not here. When
Paul looked for someone to go and meet the need at Philippi, Paul
says, “They all seek their own.” They are selfish, too busy to
go, too occupied with their own business to care, too selfish to
endure what was involved in going. And their selfishness, their
preoccupation with their own things, their preoccupation with the
things of this life caused them to forego the privilege to minister to
the saints of God that the apostle set before them. It is this that is
breaking the heart of the Apostle Paul. Here are saints to be taught.
No one cares. Here are wounded hearts to be bound up. No one cares.
Here are men to be reached for Christ. No one cares. Here are children
to be taught and trained and guided in the things of the Lord, and no
one cares. No one cares except the Apostle Paul.
That which characterized the
Philippians could so well characterize us. There are burdens to be
borne and shared, but no one cares. Saints of God to be taught, but no
one cares. Young people and children to be trained in Sunday school,
Vacation Bible School, youth ministry, home Bible clubs, but no one
cares. Why? Too busy? Too preoccupied with their own business? No one
cares. Recently I read one of the most disturbing articles I have read
in a long time. This article predicted that in ten years vast numbers
of Sunday schools across our nation would have to be closed because of
lack of teachers to teach. It drew our attention to the affluence of
our day that makes it possible for people to have weekend homes and
engage in weekend recreation that takes them away from a commitment to
the Lord’s work. It anticipated a four-day work week when men will
have even longer weekends, providing for greater opportunities for
recreation away from the city. That means less commitment to the
things of the Lord Jesus Christ. Such carelessness is not a sign of
the mind of Christ. Beware lest you become one of those about whom
Paul writes when he says that no one cares. The joy of sacrifice or
the curse of indifference. Which is it?
J. D. The Joy of Living: A study of Philippians. Kregel Publications)
(Phil 1:20 21; 2Cor 1:5; 5:14, 15)
(ou) signifies the absolute negative. There was
absolutely no desire to glorify Christ Jesus. Lloyd Ogilvie remarks
that most of us are overly concerned about our own affairs and allow
our time to be filled by multiple demands and responsibilities. We
must ask ourselves what is truly important. For Timothy, the important
thing was the cause of Christ. Ogilvie says we must ask ourselves the
"Is what I am doing advancing the cause of Christ or have I asked
Christ to bless my causes?"
Edwards writes that...
The second reason for sending
Timothy is now given. No one else qualified for the task. What
disqualified them? They were primarily seeking after the things which
pertained to themselves, not the things which pertained to Christ. The
genitives here appear to be genitives of possession. These believers
were seeking after the things which belonged to them (or so they
thought). They were concerned about saving. their own lives and making
this time on earth comfortable. While they were seeking after their
own things, the things of Christ were passing them by. How opposite to
Phil. 2:5-11. (Philippians)
Bonhoeffer said that
We must be ready to allow ourselves to be interrupted by God. God will
be constantly crossing our paths and canceling our plans by sending us
people with claims and petitions. We may pass them by, preoccupied
with our more important tasks . . . It is a strange fact that
Christians frequently consider their work so important and urgent that
they will allow nothing to disturb them . . . But it is part of the
discipline of humility that we must not spare our hand where it can
perform a service and that we do not assume our schedule is our own to
manage, but allow it to be rearranged by God.
Philippians 2:22 But you
worth, that he
me in the furtherance of the
child serving his
Amplified: But Timothy’s tested worth you know, how as a son
with his father he has toiled with me zealously in [serving and
helping to advance] the good news (the Gospel).
Bible - Lockman)
Barclay: You know his tried and tested character, and you know
that, as a child serves a father, so he has shared my service in the
work of the gospel. (Westminster
But ye know the proof of him, that, as a son with the father, he hath
served with me in the gospel.
But the credentials of Timotheus are before you:
you know how he has been tested by long experience, how as a son with
a father he has labored with me in the service of the Gospel.
NLT: But you know how Timothy has proved himself. Like a son with
his father, he has helped me in preaching the Good News. (NLT
- Tyndale House)
Phillips: But you know how Timothy has proved his worth,
working with me for the Gospel like a son with his father. (Phillips:
But you know from experience his character which has been approved
after having been tested, that as a child to a father, with me he
served as a slave would do in the furtherance of the good news.
Young's Literal: and the
proof of him ye know, that as a child serveth a father, with me he did
serve in regard to the good news;
BUT YOU KNOW OF HIS PROVEN
(Acts 16:3-12; 2Co 2:9, 8:8, 22, 24)
you know from experience his character which has been approved after
having been tested" (Wuest)
the credentials of Timotheus are before you: you know how he has been
tested by long experience," (Lightfoot)
(de) is used here as an adversative
conjunction which places Timothy's character in stark contrast to
those mentioned in the preceding verse.
know (1097) (ginosko)
Present tense) means to know from having gained experience and thus the Philippians
knew Timothy's character from personal encounter, as a man who had
stood the test. Do others know by their personal interaction with you
that you are a man or woman who has stood the test? .
for in depth study of the related verb
dokimazo) 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.
adds that dokime means
to be approved by passing a test.
It has the idea of demonstrating under pressure that you have the “right
stuff.” How did Timothy prove himself? By sticking with Paul
through thick and thin. By volunteering to tackle the hard jobs. By
refusing to cut and run under fire. By doing the menial tasks, the
“dirty work” so that Paul was freed up to do what he did best.
Note that this kind of “proving” doesn’t happen overnight. Too many
people want “instant” spirituality and overnight maturity. God doesn’t
work that way. Producing Christian character takes time and effort.
Here’s a simple equation:
T + D = G
T = Time, D =
Discipline and G = Growth. This formula works in every area of
life, whether it be weight lifting, piano playing, Scripture memory,
or learning to speak Ibo. Nothing worthwhile can be conquered in one
evening. You can’t “blitz” your way to spiritual leadership. You’ve
got to do what Timothy did—put yourself under a good leader and then
pay the price over time.
When will we learn that God is not looking for superstars? We already
have too many superstars in the Christian world – people who build
their careers on hype and glitz and marketing pizzazz. God wants
faithful people who have proved their worth over the long haul.
Remember … you can buy talent,
but you can’t buy faithfulness.
In his first
epistle, Paul had written to the Corinthians
"so that I might put
you to the test (dokime),
whether you are obedient in all things."
In his second epistle Paul gives a commendation to
whom we have often tested (verb form dokimazo) and found diligent in many things, but now even more diligent
because of his great confidence in you." (2Cor 8:22)
In this verse
Paul is referring to an unnamed
brother in Christ whom he had tested and was willing to trust
dealing with the collection for the saints in Jerusalem.
THAT HE SERVED WITH ME IN
THE FURTHERANCE OF THE GOSPEL LIKE A CHILD SERVING HIS FATHER:
euaggelion: (Php 2:20 1Cor 4:17 1Ti 1:2, 18, 2Ti
1:2 Titus 1:4)
"that as a child to a father, with me he served as a slave would do
in the furtherance of the good news" (Wuest)
for in depth study of related word
doulos) means to be in a position of
a bondservant and act accordingly. It describes
a servant who willingly commits himself to serve a master he loves and
respects. The truly surrendered doulos (which Paul certainly
was, and with whom Timothy was equal souled) had no life of his own,
no will of his own, no purpose of his own and no plan of his own. All
was subject to his master. The bondservant's every thought, breath,
and effort was subject to the will of his master. In sum, the picture
of a bondservant is one who is absolutely surrendered and
totally devoted to his master. What a picture of Paul and Timothy's
relation to their Lord! What an example for all believers of every age
Write it down in large letters:
looks for winners …
God looks for servants.
Matthew Henry adds that...
honour of the greatest apostle, and most eminent ministers, is to be
the servants of Jesus Christ; not the masters of the churches, but the
servants of Christ."
When we get to heaven, we aren’t going to be asked
if we were winners or losers on the earth. Forget about your won-lost
record. The one thing we will want to hear Jesus say is,
“Well done, good and faithful servant.”
wrote that Paul's description of serving as a
"does not mean that his was a
service of bondage. Rather he served in the whole-hearted obedience of
one who realized that he had been "bought with a price," even the
precious blood of Christ.
There is a story told of an African
slave whose master was about to slay him with a spear when a
chivalrous British traveler thrust out his arm to ward off the blow,
and it was pierced by the cruel weapon. As the blood spurted out he
demanded the person of the slave, saying he had bought him by his
suffering. To this the former master ruefully agreed. As the latter
walked away, the slave threw himself at the feet of his deliverer
exclaiming, "The blood-bought is now the slave of the son of pity. He
will serve him faithfully." And he insisted on accompanying his
generous deliverer, and took delight in waiting upon him in every
possible way. Thus had Paul, thus has each redeemed one, become the
bondman of Jesus Christ. We have been set free to serve, and may well
exclaim with the Psalmist
O LORD, surely I am Your
servant, I am Your servant, the son of Your handmaid, You have loosed
my bonds. (Ps 116:16 ).
from eú = good + aggéllo = proclaim, tell)
means good news, glad tidings, Saxon = gōd-spell = lit. "good tale,
The phrase "in the gospel"
means in getting the gospel out to the Roman world. Sharing your faith
to a world who never heard of Christ is rough business. But he was
willing to put himself on the line with all its risks and dangers. He
cultivated character through trusting God in difficulty. (Notes
on Philippians 2:22)
Edwards elaborates on Timothy's proven character, writing
These believers didn't have to be
told of Timothy's character, for they knew of it by experience. First,
he was a man of intense loyalty. He related to Paul as a son to
his father, and he labored with him accordingly. Secondly, he was one
of intense servanthood. We see this in "served"... as a
bondslave. Thirdly, we see intense commitment. He served not in
the pursuit of his own things but in "the gospel." (Philippians)
MacArthur adds that
From the time the apostle chose him to serve alongside him, Timothy
surrendered any personal plans he may have had for his life. He began
a non-stop adventure that would bring him great fruitfulness and
spiritual satisfaction, but that would also involve suffering and
J. Philippians. Chicago: Moody Press
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