By Rev. Dr. William H. Chavis, Jr.
We first meet Philip in Acts Chapter 6. As a Greek-speaking Jew, he is described as one with an honorable reputation, controlled by the Holy Spirit and Biblically wise (Acts 6:3, 5). He was known to make competent and skillful decisions based on the understanding of how the world works through Christ Jesus.
Philip had the ministry of mercy to the economically disadvantaged (Acts 6:1-3). He identified with their plight and proceeded to do deeds of kindness. He exercised his gift of mercy with cheerfulness (Romans 12:8) to help alleviate their economic anxieties.
The above qualities caused his peers to appoint him, with six others, to resolve an apparent conflict between Greek-speaking Jews and Hebrew Jews in Jerusalem. Both groups were experiencing poverty in the Christian community. The Greek-speaking Jews wanted assurances that the generosity from the food fund was distributed fairly to their group (Acts 6:1).
Philip was an evangelist (Acts 21:8). He had the Spirit-given ability to proclaim the “good news of great joy” (Luke 2:10-11) concerning the unconditional love of God in Christ Jesus to a dying world. He had four daughters who were preachers of the Gospel. All were virgins and lived with him (Acts 21:8-9). Scripture is silent regarding Philip’s wife.
Philip had preached the Gospel so effectively that unbelievers in Samaria, the Ethiopian eunuch in Gaza, the Philistines at Ashdod, and those at Caesarea became convinced about the claims of Christ (Acts 8:5-8, 12, 26-40). Undoubtedly, he used his gift of evangelism to proclaim the love of God to his daughters
To Philip’s credit, he recognized and accepted God’s authentic, irrevocable call of his daughters to preach the Gospel (Romans 11:29). He became more than a father to them. You can imagine the immeasurable spiritual influence and significance that Philip’s preaching had on his daughters at home. In effect, Philip became their “in-house-rabbi.”
Hebrew girls were forbidden to be taught by rabbis in local synagogues. Girls were trained to be house wives and mothers. At the age of five, boys begin to learn to worship God in local synagogues by studying the written Torah (the first five books of the Old Testament). Studying the Torah was considered the highest form of worship. It is implied that Philip’s daughters were taught the Torah under his instruction.
Jesus was concealed in the pages of the Torah because the New Testament had not been written to explain Him. Philip taught them a Christ-centered view of Scripture. He taught them how to reveal Jesus from the Torah so they may be able to preach to and teach others about the love of God in Christ (2 Timothy 2:2; John 3:16).
Philip was multilingual. The daughters learned to read, write, and speak Hebrew from Philip. Hebrew is the language of the Old Testament Scripture. A similar language to Hebrew was Aramaic which was commonly spoken in and around Judea. Greek was Philip’s native tongue and the language used for business and politics in the Roman Empire.
Philip was the first link in a chain of links that brought his daughters to believe in Christ Jesus as the living God revealed in the Torah. Philip invested Christian values in their lives so they would be able to live out their Christian testimony by “holding to the mystery of the faith” (1 Timothy 3:9). Philip wanted them to attract others to the joy of knowing Christ through the preaching he had skillfully nurtured in them. Philip is a father to be emulated!
HAVE A BLESSED FATHER’S DAY!