“The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do, and the God of peace will be with you.”
This verse consists of 2 pairs of verbs. Now we come to the second pair: “heard” and “saw.” The first pair, “learned” and “received,” dealt with teaching. “Heard” and “saw” deal with another category.
“Hear” and “saw” have to do with example. Paul is an example both in word (“heard”) and conduct (“saw”). The Philippians saw a concrete example in Paul of his teaching.
They heard Paul teach the Word of God personally. This term does not refer to a formal learning process. In this case they learn from Paul’s person rather than his role as a teacher. A relationship is crucial for the learning process in Christianity.
and saw in me
The Philippians saw Paul translate what he taught into action with their own eyes. His life matched his lips. They “got the point” of what Christianity was all about when they watched his life. The eyes of their soul saw the life of Paul. The soul has perception.
The words “in me” mean the four categories of their exposure to the apostle. Paul’s life was an open book. Everything they experienced from him, whether by teaching or by example, they are to implement into their lives.
“Receive” and “saw” concern the outcome of exposure to truth. It is one thing to sit under formal teaching, but it is another thing to receive or appropriate that teaching into one’s life. It is one thing to observe an example, but it is another to adopt the example into our lives. If we listen to the content of truth but do not apply it to what we currently face in our lives, receiving does not occur. If we observe an example of dynamic spiritual living but do not “get the point,” we waste the example. We can learn or hear formally but not translate what we know into experience.
The soul can see in example what it cannot see in formal teaching.
Example is a powerful mode of teaching. Are you the type of person who exclusively believes in formal teaching as the mode of reaching people? Do you care how you impact people by how you say things? Euodia and Syntyche did not care (Php 4:2,3). As Christian leaders, they set a potent negative example. We should present ourselves to others in the context of a positive relationship.