Sunday, August 30
Philip the Evangelist
“While we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal” (2 Cor. 4:18, NKJV). Think about what Paul is saying here, especially as we study this week about Philip the evangelist, someone of whom we know little except for the few references in the Bible. As we will see, though, Philip did a good work even though most of what he accomplished we know little about. Who are some people whom you know of who have done great things for God but with little outward recognition? Why is it always important to keep the principle of Paul’s words in mind, especially if we do a work that doesn’t garner much acclaim or attention? See also 1 Cor. 4:13.
Philip was a popular Greek name that means “horse lover” In the New Testament there are four persons called by that name. Two had the additional name “Herod” and were part of the Herodian ruling family, which exerted a generally harsh rule over Israel in New Testament times. The remaining Philips had outstanding roles in mission.
The first, Philip of Bethsaida, was a disciples who was instrumental in binging Nathanael to Jesus (John 1:43-46). Later he brought Greeks to Jesus (John 12:20, 21).
The second Philip was designated “the evangelist” in Acts 21:8 to distinguish him form Philip the disciple. He first appeared in the Jerusalem church as “table waiter” (Acts 6:2-5) who turned evangelist and missionary (Acts 8:12). His missionary service, extending over twenty years and supplemented by his four prophesying daughters, is mentioned in Acts, We know little else of his background.
“It was Philip who preached the gospel to the Samaritans; it was Philip who had the courage to baptize the Ethiopian eunuch. For a time the history of these two workers [Philip and Paul] had been closely intertwined. It was the violent persecution of Saul the Pharisee that had scattered the church at Jerusalem, and destroyed the effectives of the organization to the seven deacons. The flight form Jerusalem had led Philip to change his manner of labor, and resulted is his pursuing the same calling to which Paul gave his life. Precious hours were these that Paul and Philip spent in each other’s society; thrilling were the memories that they recalled of the days when the light which had shone upon the face of Stephen upturened to Heaven as he suffered martyrdom flashed in its glory upon Saul the persecutor, bringing him, helpless suppliant, to the feet of Jesus.” – Ellen G. White, Sketches From Life of Paul, P. 204.