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THE LIFE OF Paul by Stalker-1 Paul PAUL AND LUKE ON TRIAL

But you know his proven character, because he has served with me in the gospel ministry like a son with a father. (Philippians 2:22)

“Proven character” is the translation of the Greek word (δοκιμή dokimē), which carries the meaning of proof by trial.[1] It has the sense of dependability, the quality of being proven to be dependable or reliable, evidence, proof that something is genuine. It speaks to the fact that the experiences had established Timothy’s character that he had successfully been through. He had been tried and found capable of maintaining the mind of Christ.

Paul says that Timothy discharged his duties as a slave (δουλεύω douleuō)[2] to Jesus  with him to present the gospel or message of good news. They served alongside each other, much like a father and son would. Paul considered Timothy to be a close companion and fellow laborer. He was evidently one of Paul’s own converts, as the apostle describes him as his beloved and faithful son in the Lord; (1 Cor. 4:17) and in 1 Timothy 1:2 he writes to “Timothy my true child in faith;” and in 2 Timothy 1:2 he addresses him as “Timothy my beloved child.” Again, Paul is encouraging the Philippian believers to look forward to Timothy’s visit, just as they would for a visit from Paul himself.

More in-depth Insights

But you know his proven character. The readers of this epistle would have known just how faithful and devoted Timothy was to the proclaiming and promoting the gospel, and how many years he had been serving with the apostle Paul, In the end, it would be for some fifteen years, until the apostle’s death as a martyr. This is evidence that Timothy had been with Paul when he was at Philippi.

Paul and Barnabas considered going to revisit the brothers in the cities during their first missionary journey where they had preached the gospel. However, a disagreement about taking John Mark, since he had left them on the first journey, which occasioned a division between Paul and Barnabas. So, Paul selected Silas (Silvanus) and traveled through Syria and into Asia Minor (c. 49-52 C.E.). While at Lystra, Paul decided that he would have the young man Timothy travel with him. At this point, he had Timothy circumcised. (Ac 15:36–16:3) Circumcision was not a Christian obligation. Yet, Timothy was half Jewish, so if he had remained uncircumcised, almost certainly this would have caused a problem with the narrow-minded Jews that were against Paul’s preaching.

The Epistle to the Hebrews PAUL AND LUKE ON TRIAL

As a son with the father. Timothy had displayed the same spirit toward Paul which like a son does toward a father and demonstrating the same interest in Paul’s missionary work. Timothy made every effort to come to bring relief to Paul, to lighten the weight on his shoulders and limit his suffering. Timothy was energetic, not lazy. He worked intensely, vigorously, and relentlessly together with Paul, and this bolstered the bonds of affection between Timothy and Paul, like a son to a father. Everybody saw his selfless work ethics and knew that he was a sincere minister of God. Why did Timothy remain steadfastly involved in the ministry work instead of returning to his church for a more stable family life? He was sincere in his desire to serve others no matter what the personal cost was to himself.

[1] Wesley J. Perschbacher, ed., The New Analytical Greek Lexicon, ed. Wesley J. Perschbacher (Peabody, Massachusetts: Hendrickson Publishers, Inc., 1990). Page 105.

[2] Wesley J. Perschbacher, ed., The New Analytical Greek Lexicon, ed. Wesley J. Perschbacher (Peabody, Massachusetts: Hendrickson Publishers, Inc., 1990). Page 107.

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