“But I trust in the Lord Jesus to send Timotheus shortly unto you, that I also may be of good comfort, when I know your state. For I have no man likeminded, who will naturally care for your state. For all seek their own, not the things which are Jesus Christ’s.”
The apostle Paul had a great fondness for the people at Philippi. As he was writing this epistle, he was concerned about their spiritual progress. He sent Timothy to visit them that he might report back to Paul. In our text, Paul gives a glowing commendation of the character of Timothy. Paul had no other students who were as similar in their thinking and spiritual concern as Timothy. Undoubtedly, the great apostle had many capable and committed disciples, but none on the level of Timothy.
One has to put himself in the place of Paul to appreciate what Timothy must have meant to him. Paul was the great missionary and church planter who took the Gospel to many unevangelized areas. In many cases, he may have been the first Christian they had seen and surely the first gospel preacher. He not only gave them the Word of God, but He also gave them an example of how true Christians conduct themselves. As these churches were formed, Paul established the believers on sound doctrine and gave no place to compromise or false teaching. He was jealous over them and guarded the influences that might mislead them.
As he sought to send representatives to check on the growing churches, he wanted to be certain that these preachers appropriately represented him, his message, and his Lord. Timothy was such a man. Notice the words Paul wrote to the Corinthian church: “For this cause have I sent unto you Timotheus, who is my beloved son, and faithful in the Lord, who shall bring you into remembrance of my ways which be in Christ, as I teach every where in every church” (I Corinthians 4:17). Paul had every confidence that Timothy did not have a personal agenda. He had no concern that Timothy might try to inject his own opinions or philosophy into his teaching or behave in such a way as to offend the new believers.
Paul did not need a disciple who would confuse the churches by either his message or his manner. These kinds of students are hard to find. They were a rarity in Paul’s day, and they are few and far between in our day. May God cause their number to increase.