Paul’s letter to the church at Philippi is very tame when compared to those he wrote to other churches, such as those at Galatia and Corinth (292). This proves to be the case in Philippians 2:19-24. In these six verses Paul is intending to communicate two main points: (1) He believes that Timothy is a respectable teacher of God’s word, and he wants the Philippian congregation to recognize this (Phil 2:22); (2) Paul intends for Timothy’s visit to be encouraging to the Philippian brethren, and for their encouragement to be reciprocated in himself.
In writing this section of verses, Paul also communicates another message through implication. Paul is sending Timothy to the church in Philippi because he is unable to go himself. While writing this letter, Paul is under house arrest (Phil. 1:7). His place of imprisonment is either Rome, or a closer province to Philippi, such as Ephesus (Phil. 1:13). However, in the face of the impending danger of death, Paul remains hopeful and demonstrates his faith in The Lord (Phil. 2:24).
Paul is not able to go to the Philippian brethren at the time of his writing. However, he sends Timothy, and also Epaphroditus, with a message that he hopes to be coming to them as well. This all pends upon the will of Christ, which Paul explicitly states he follows regardless of his own desires.
19 Ἐλπίζω δὲ ἐν κυρίῳ Ἰησοῦ Τιμόθεον ταχέως πέμψαι ὑμῖν, ἵνα κἀγὼ εὐψυχῶ γνοὺς τὰ περὶ ὑμῶν. 20 οὐδένα γὰρ ἔχω ἰσόψυχον ὅστις γνησίως τὰ περὶ ὑμῶν μεριμνήσει, 21 οἱ πάντες γὰρ τὰ ἑαυτῶν ζητοῦσιν, οὐ τὰ [a]Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ. 22 τὴν δὲ δοκιμὴν αὐτοῦ γινώσκετε, ὅτι ὡς πατρὶ τέκνον σὺν ἐμοὶ ἐδούλευσεν εἰς τὸ εὐαγγέλιον. 23 τοῦτον μὲν οὖν ἐλπίζω πέμψαι ὡς ἂν ἀφίδω τὰ περὶ ἐμὲ ἐξαυτῆς· 24 πέποιθα δὲ ἐν κυρίῳ ὅτι καὶ αὐτὸς ταχέως ἐλεύσομαι. (ΠΡΟΣ ΦΙΛΙΠΠΗΣΙΟΥΣ 2:19-24)
Paul begins this segment of verses with three things: (1) he states that his hope is in the Lord; (2) he communicates his intention to send Timothy; (3) he hopes to be cheered by the Philippians. Paul hopes in the Lord Jesus to send Timothy to the church at Philippi in order to encourage them, and also to bring a report back to him for the sake of his own encouragement.
Although Paul’s tone is indicative that he foresees a likelihood of death in his near future, his use of jElpivzw adds dissonance to this idea. Marvin Vincent believes that Paul is not claiming freedom from a death sentence. Rather, he is demonstrating his desire to live, and then framing that desire within the context of his submission to Christ’s will (73). On the other hand, Gordon Clark affirms that Paul is counting on living longer, and that his mention of sacrifice in verse 17 was purely metaphorical.
Paul uses a a”pax legovmenon, εὐψυχῶ, which has no equitable English translation, carries the idea of “taking to heart” or “sincerely internalizing” something (78). Paul is communicating the important nature of the mission that Timothy is undertaking. In the final...