Useful Bible Studies > Philippians Commentary > chapter 2

How to train a new church leader

Philippians 2:22

Christ, of course, had 12 disciples or special students. As disciples, they remained with him as he taught them. That was a usual arrangement for the teachers of religion in Israel (Mark 2:18).

There is little evidence that the first Christian leaders had their own disciples or students, however. Probably, the actions of their enemies soon made that kind of arrangement impossible (Acts 8:1). The enemies separated the leaders from the young Christians whom they (the leaders) might wish to train. Also, the enemies scattered the Christians into small groups in each town. So, it became necessary for the Christians to find another way to train young men in the work of God.

Perhaps we can see one solution to this problem in the word-picture of fathers and sons (1 Corinthians 4:17; 1 Peter 5:13). A father sends out his loyal son to do his work (Genesis 37:12-13; John 3:16). The son does not need to remain with his father constantly, because he obeys his father’s instructions. In the same way, Paul taught Timothy by the instructions that he gave to him. Some of those instructions are in the Bible, in the Books of 1 and 2 Timothy. With such instructions, Paul then sent Timothy out to do that work.

Paul could not, of course, teach everything to Timothy, as the teacher of a disciple can. Instead, Paul had to trust God to teach Timothy, for example, from the Bible, from experience, and through other Christian leaders. Clearly God had taught Timothy well, and Paul could see that. For example, Timothy had learned the same qualities that Paul has just described in Philippians 2:1-7. God had taught Timothy truly to care for other people.

Next part: Paul's plan to visit Philippi after Timothy (Philippians 2:23-24)


Please use the links at the top of the page to find our other articles in this series. You can download all our articles if you go to the download page for our free 1000+ page course book.


© 2020, Keith Simons.