Philip, and Bartholomew; Thomas, and Matthew the publican; James the son of Alphaeus, and Lebbaeus, whose surname was Thaddaeus;Matthew 10:3
There are two prominent men named Philip in the New Testament. One was ordained as one of the seven deacons and later was apparently ordained as a preacher because we find him doing the work of an evangelist. The other Philip was one of the twelve chosen by Jesus to be His Apostles.
The Apostle Philip was a Jew even though his named suggests the heavy influence of the Greek–Hellenistic culture in Judea. He was called to be a disciple personally by Jesus, and he had a very different personality than that of Peter or the other outspoken Apostles.
One of the prominent events recorded about Philip is his trial of faith found in John 6. Many people had followed Jesus and were now out in the wilderness with nothing to eat. Jesus knew what He planned to do but He tested Philip before feeding the people miraculously.
When Jesus then lifted up his eyes, and saw a great company come unto him, he saith unto Philip, Whence shall we buy bread, that these may eat? And this he said to prove him: for he himself knew what he would do. Philip answered him, Two hundred pennyworth of bread is not sufficient for them, that every one of them may take a little.John 6:5-7
Philip, having already seen what wondrous things Jesus had done, abandoned that knowledge and ignored his faith. He responds with a declaration of hopelessness at their situation. Philip didn’t test very well through this trial of faith!
On a later occasion, Philip once again struggled with his faith and knowledge of Jesus:
“esus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. If ye had known me, ye should have known my Father also: and from henceforth ye know him, and have seen him. Philip saith unto him, Lord, shew us the Father, and it sufficeth us. Jesus saith unto him, Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? he that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Shew us the Father?John 14:6-9
Having just heard Jesus say, “when you have seen me, you have seen the Father,” Philip asks to see the Father. This is more than just a lack of using faith. Now, Philip has a fairly serious theological misunderstanding!
If these tests of faith were the chance for Philip to prove his faith in Jesus to God, he failed miserably. And, according to most modern Christian belief systems, is forever lost!
However, God does not need to find out whether we have faith or not. He knows because He is the author of faith in us. These trials were for Philip to discover the faith God had given him. Philip obviously learned he needed to know more about Jesus!
This is the main purpose of the trial of faith. We are to learn to trust and depend Jesus more and more.
We can also learn from the latter example that having imperfect theology does not negate our standing in Christ. Having every detail about Who Jesus is and exactly how He saved His people is very important in order to honor Him properly here on earth. But while a man’s confession may be flawed, his salvation is still secure in the finished work of Christ!