Philip comes from the Greek word "philippos" meaning "a lover of horses..." He was (according to "Genealogies of the 12 Apostles") of the tribe of Zebulun. He lived in Bethsaida of Galilee (John 1:44, 12:21).
"On the morrow, He was minded to go forth into Galilee, and He findeth Philip, and Jesus saith unto him, Follow Me. Now Philip was from Bethsaida, the city of Andrew and Peter."
For some reason, John emphasized that Philip came from the same city as Peter and Andrew. John did not record unimportant facts. The most important fact is that Philip came from the same city as Peter and Andrew, not just that he came from Bethsaida. It was who the friends of Philip were that made a difference in Philip's life. Philip had been friends of Peter and Andrew. Their influence had made a difference in Philip.
Friends do make a difference in our lives. What and who our friends are can make of break us. I have seen many a backsliding person, who would have made it, had they chosen to have different friends.
Some have asked me, "Do I have to give up my sinner friends, now that I have become a Christian?" My answer has been, "If you live the life, the ones that could harm your relationship with Jesus will give you up."
If someday you would ask Philip why he had was chosen to be one of the disciples, a deacon, ... he likely will say: "I was from the same city as Andrew and Peter." Philip was closely associated with Andrew. Philip always went to Andrew with problems. Philip looked to Andrew as a spiritual father.
Among the souls affected by Andrew will be Philip. Andrew had been more than a fisherman, he was a missionary... He was earnest, serious, looked for the Messiah, was expectant, and spread his zeal and hope.
Philip's friendship with Andrew changed his life. Whose life have you changed by your friendship? Are you a blessing? Do your words bring comfort and healing? Do your words gladden?
Jesus said we were to be "salt of the earth", the "light of the world".
Salt prevents corruption and decay. Do you do such for people? Do you preserve against rottenness and corruption? Do you come between people and corruption?
Light reveals, enlightens. Are you light to anyone? Do you show guidance to anyone?
It says that Jesus "findeth Philip". How did Jesus find Philip? It was not by accident... and it was not by chance. Philip belonged to a small group in Bethsaida who longed to see the Messiah come. He was seeking for the Messiah, and therefore he was found.
Jeremiah recorded God saying: "Ye shall seek Me, and find Me when ye shall search for Me with all your heart." "He that seeketh findeth" we are told, and Philip searched for the Messiah and so the Messiah found him.
After Philip was found by Jesus, Philip ran to Nathanael. Philip said: "We (Andrew and Philip) have found Him of Whom Moses in the law and the prophets did write..."
One search that never fails is Jesus. We may seek gold, riches, fame, etc. and never find them... but, "they that seek Me shall find Me..." Philip, Peter, Andrew, and Nathanael were searching for the Messiah... A small Bible study group wanted to see the Messiah... and they all found Him.
Philip was an enquirer.
Andrew and Peter followed Jesus on the basis of John the Baptist's declaration... Philip tells Nathanael "Him of Whom Moses in the law and the prophets did write..." He had searched the Scriptures, examined the Word. Philip was a searcher, and investigator. Jesus knew this of Philip.
At the feeding of the 5000, Jesus turned to Philip and said:
"Whence are we to buy bread that these may eat?"
Jesus was testing Philip. He knew that Philip was an investigator. He knew that Philip would have been making calculations. Jesus was right, and Philip answered: "200 pennyworth of bread is not sufficient... to eat a little."
Philip had figured it all out.
The Greeks chose Philip as the one to take their request to Jesus... The Greeks were known for inquiring minds, and they realized Philip had a kindred spirit... Philip was an investigator...
The weakness of Philip was also the strength of Philip. Philip was an enquirer... Investigation can sometimes hinder faith... Philip saw the cost of feeding the 5000, and had not considered the possibility of a miracle.
On the night before the crucifixion, he said:
"Lord, show us the Father, and it sufficeth us."
Philip had walked with Jesus. He had seen three years of miracles, heard three years of ministry, and yet was not satisfied... He wanted a sighting of God in order to be satisfied.
Jesus said: "He that hath seen Me, hath seen the Father..." Philip lacked imagination and vision. He was a seeker, but he wanted logical, systematic, and physical proof. Do not just be a seeker... but have a relationship with the One you seek. Gaze upon Jesus and enjoy Him as you seek.
"He that followeth Me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life."
It is all right to be an enquirer of details of theology and eschatology... but seek relationship along with that.
As Andrew went immediately to Peter, Philip went to Nathanael (John 1:45). Andrew had been an impetuous, emotional evangelist... Philip was the versed in Scripture, practical, logical, and thoughtful evangelist. So, Andrew won the impetuous, swift-thinking Peter. Philip won the critical, slow deciding Nathanael.
Philip was cautious, deliberate... and submitted all truth to the test (John 14:8). Since Philip had come to the decision that this Jesus was the Messiah, he knew that Nathanael would also come to the same conclusion.
In the same way, Philip turned to Andrew to go to Jesus about the Greeks, for he did not want it on his record, until he had time to search for Scriptural support first.
We need to be detail persons as was Philip... but as we search the Scriptures, and learn prophetic truths, we need to also be walking, talking, and fellowshipping with our Lord. This balance will allow us to both know, and believe.
Clement of Alexandria (Strom iii 4, 25, iv 9, 73) says that Philip was the disciple that asked permission to bury his father before he followed Jesus. He wanted to take care of details first. He wanted time to study details.
The "Contendings of the Apostles" (II 146) says that Jesus assigned Phrygia to Philip before He ascended from the Mt. of Olives. The "Martyrdom of St. Philip in Phrygia" (Budge II, 156) says that Philip preached there and had many miracles there... He was later crucified there.