Tuesday, June 29, 2021
“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” (Philippians 2:19 KJV).
Today’s Scripture is an example of ancient “distance learning….”
Writing his Epistle to the Philippians, the Apostle Paul is in prison in Rome (cf. Philippians 1:7,13,14,16), over 600 miles (965 kilometers) to the east. There are no cell phones, computers, emails, text messages, social-media platforms, or television sets to instantly convey news among God’s people. Hence, one of Paul’s distresses was how to speedily learn of his converts’ progress—or lack thereof—in sound (grace) Bible doctrine (cf. Philippians 1:25-30).
After enumerating his various ministry difficulties (2 Corinthians 11:23-27), he added: “Beside those things that are without, that which cometh upon me daily, the care of all the churches” (verse 28). Overseeing the Christian assemblies scattered throughout the Roman Empire was exhausting, particularly since false teachers lurked everywhere and sought to corrupt these new believers in Christ with legalistic doctrines: “Wherefore when we could no longer forbear, we thought it good to be left at Athens alone; And sent Timotheus, our brother, and minister of God, and our fellowlabourer in the gospel of Christ, to establish you, and to comfort you concerning your faith:… For this cause, when I could no longer forbear, I sent to know your faith, lest by some means the tempter [Satan] have tempted you [with false doctrine and persecution!], and our labour be in vain” (1 Thessalonians 3:1,2,5).
Closing Colossians, chapter 4, Paul wrote: “ All my state shall Tychicus declare unto you, who is a beloved brother, and a faithful minister and fellowservant in the Lord:  Whom I have sent unto you for the same purpose, that he might know your estate, and comfort your hearts;  With Onesimus, a faithful and beloved brother, who is one of you. They shall make known unto you all things which are done here.” Tychicus and Onesimus would be the couriers, bringing this very Epistle to Colosse, informing the Colossians of Paul’s situation in Rome. Similarly, as today’s Scripture indicates (cf. verses 23,24), Paul would send Timothy to Philippi with news, and Timothy would report back to Paul. Paul intended to be released and visit Philippi, but it is unclear if that transpired. Epaphroditus was the courier of Philippians (2:25,28,29).