Monday, August 6, 2012

Paul’s Ministry Team at Philippi


We should probably take a moment to identify who was part of Paul’s ministry team at Philippi. Paul was never a one-man show.

  • Paul. His conversion story, the original “Damascus Road Experience,” is told in Acts 9, and again in Acts 22 and 26, how he encountered the risen Lord Jesus. He comes to prominence in the last half of the book of Acts, where his ministry shifts more and more from the Jews to the Gentiles. We will learn a bit more about his biography when we get to Philippians 3.
  • Silas. We first meet Silas in Acts 15, when the apostles and elders of the church at Jerusalem sent him and Judas Barsabbas, both of them prophets, to Antioch along with Paul and Barnabas. He ended up in itinerant ministry with Paul when Barnabas took John Mark and departed to Cyprus. He is also known as Silvanus (of which, Silas is probably a shortened form) and is mentioned by that name in Paul’s letter to the believers at Corinth (2 Corinthians 1:19) and Thessalonica (1 Thessalonians 1:2; 2 Thessalonians 1:1). He also ministered with Peter and served as the amanuensis (secretary) for the book of First Peter.
  • Timothy. When Paul and Silas came to Derbe and Lystra, “a certain disciple was there named Timothy, the son of a certain Jewish woman who believed, but his father was Greek. He was well spoken of by the brethren who were at Lystra and Derbe” (Acts 16:1-2). Paul was apparently impressed with the young man, because he decided to bring him with them on their mission. Paul mentions him in many of his letters. In Romans 16:21, Paul calls him, “my fellow worker;” in 1 Corinthians 4:17, “my beloved and faithful son in the Lord;” and in 1 Thessalonians 3:2 “our brother and minister of God, and our fellow laborer in the gospel of Christ.” And of course, Paul’s final letters were to Timothy, to encourage and instruct him in pastoral matters. Paul calls him, “a true son in the faith” (1 Timothy 1:2).
  • Luke. Luke was a Gentile who came to faith in Jesus the Messiah. He is mentioned only a few times by name. Paul calls him, “Luke the beloved physician” (Colossians 4:14). In Philemon 24, he is identified as a “fellow laborer.” And yet, what we know of Paul’s ministry, we know from Luke. He is the author of the Gospel of Luke and the book of Acts. Luke apparently became a member of Paul’s team at Troas. We know this because the pronouns in the narrative shift from “they” (in Act 16:8) to “we” (in Acts 16:11). When Paul, Silas and Timothy moved on from Philippi to Thessalonica, the pronoun shifts back to “they” (Acts 17:1), indicating that Luke stayed behind to help with the new church at Philippi.



There is Always Joy!
There is Always Joy!
Paul’s Letters to the Jesus Believers at Philippi
Bite-Size Studies Through the Book of Philippians
by Jeff Doles

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