So of course you should stand firm in unity, joy, and prayer.
Having developed this mindset of rejoicing in the Lord and having warned the congregation about the kinds of people that will pull them away from that mindset, Paul now summarizes and brings some specific application for the Philippian congregation.
Three things stand out very clearly in this verse. First, Paul is very warm, encouraging, and winsome towards his partners in Gospel ministry as he turns his attention specifically to them. Second, he is not just urging them to stand firm in the Lord. Rather, he is claiming that, in the preceding discussion, he has given them the proper approach to standing firm in the Lord. This is not simply a warm encouragement to try as hard as they can to be firm in their faith. It is rather a warm encouragement to take all the preceding discussion to heart and live it.
Second, Paul referred to them as his joy and crown. There and then in their partnership relationship they were a great joy to him. When that great Day would come, Paul was assured that the Lord would give him a reward for the Philippian part of his Gospel work, so he uses a figure of speech to refer to them as his crown.197
Third, they are to stand firm in the Lord in this way. Paul stresses that this is the way we should be doing what we all know we should be doing. Joy in the Lord should propel us to stand firm in the Lord.
Although he has said almost exactly the same thing in the first half of 2:2, Paul repeats himself specifically to Euodia and to Syntyche. We do not have any other information about these two women. Their conflict was serious enough that Paul decided to intervene through this letter.
Paul calls upon a loyal servant in the congregation to work to reestablish unity between these two women, reminding him that the two women have been an effective part of a partnership in Gospel ministry in the past. We simply do not know any more about the situation there, but it is a good guess that Paul thought the situation was serious enough to ask for this man's intervention.
Although there was a Clement in Rome who was identified as the third bishop of Rome in later tradition, it is not clear that these two were the same man.
4:4 Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice!
Paul understood, probably more than they did, about trials in ministry, both from outside the congregation and from within, as in the conflict between Euodia and Syntyche, but he does not shy away from calling them to consistently rejoice in the Lord. He knows that if they can do that, as he has been describing for them in chapter 3, they will have the spiritual resources to work through problems from the outside and problems from within as well.
4:5 Let your gentleness203 be known to everyone. The Lord is near.
A heart rejoicing in the Lord will be gentle, and that should be evident to everyone. It is not stated here, but we may suppose that sooner or later a heart rejoicing in performance and the maintenance of religious standards will be unyielding, ungentle, unkind, discourteous, and intolerant.
In James 5:8 we see a similar connection between our heart attitudes and the anticipation of the Lord's soon return.
As we rejoice in the Lord, we should easily be free of worry and full of prayer and thankfulness. However, without the mindset of the Lord as our pride and our joy, instead of being easy this seems unattainable, appearing to be a habit only saints and monks can maintain. However, we can imitate Paul in this, rejoicing in the Lord, so that, free of worry, we are ready with thankful prayer.
Because of what Christ has done, because of the Gospel, we are at peace with God, but if Christ is not our joy, and if we therefore cannot thankfully bring all our concerns to Him, we will not be experiencing that peace of God. This is a promise of one of the rich benefits of letting Christ be our joy and our boast, and of the prayer life that follows: the peace of God.
Yes, if you live like that you will experience the peace of God – furthermore, if you will fill your minds with true and good things and follow my example, the God of Peace will be with you!
4:8 Finally,210 brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable,211 whatever is righteous, whatever is pure,212 whatever is amiable,213 whatever is commendable, if something is excellent214 and if something is praiseworthy,215 let your minds dwell on216 these things.
Our thought life is of the highest importance in our spiritual development. A great deal of this letter to Paul's partners in Gospel ministry is taken up with teaching and exhortation concerning the mindset and attitude that they should have, so that they can be the best possible partners with him. This and the next verse make up Paul's final exhortation to them. Empowered by having Christ as our joy and our boast, the devotion and discipline these two verses require will be available.
4:9 And the things you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, practice these things; and the God of peace will be with you.
Paul himself has embodied the things he spoke of in the previous verse, so he can now boldly tell them to imitate the model he has lived in front of them. Although there may be a great deal of hypocrisy in Christian ministry, Paul is claiming here that he was no hypocrite. Before them he did not say one thing and do another. This was not accomplished out of sheer self-discipline, however. It must be understood in light of the source of this devotion, which was no longer an attempt to meet the inward and outward moral standards of his religion. The source of his devotion was his personal delight in Jesus Christ and the Gospel, as he described in chapter three.
As his partners in Gospel ministry model what they saw in Paul, they will experience what he experienced: not only will the peace of God guard their hearts, but they will enjoy the presence of the God of peace.
Here Paul could have closed his letter with the personal greetings that are found in verses 21-23. He almost seems ready to do that. However, he appends just one more topic: money!
Before closing this letter, I want to be quite specific about the financial aspects of our partnership in missions, our Gospel fellowship.
Paul began this letter, in 1:3-11, by expressing his gratitude for their long-standing and ongoing partnership in Gospel work, and then he worked hard teaching them various things they need to understand about their Savior and themselves so that they can be the best Gospel partners they can be. Now Paul uses that same vocabulary to explicitly refocus on that subject, their Gospel partnership, explaining in more detail how finances fit in. Just as he opened this topic with thankfulness in 1:3, he reopens it with thankfulness here in 4:10.
4:10 Now I rejoice greatly in the Lord that now at last you have renewed your concern217 for me, for whom you were concerned, but you lacked opportunity.
Now that Paul has finished exhorting them to root their lives, their joy, and their boasting in Christ, he can return to the theme of his response to their partnership in ministry and the Philippians' gift. Because they are renewing their partnership with him in the Gospel, Paul rejoices.218
These verses, 4:10-20, match the opening verses, 1:3-10. Paul was concerned about them in 1:7, they are concerned about him in 4:10, with the same verb.219 Also, the words for partnership occur twice in 1:3-10 and twice in 4:10-20. In this way the whole letter is enclosed within these “bookends.”220
They had sent him at least four gifts in the past221 and in this letter he is thanking them for their fifth in thirteen years. This was a serious Gospel partnership.
Note carefully that in apostolic gentleness Paul does not rebuke them for failing to consistently support him through the years. He does not rebuke them for failing to search him out, to make their own opportunity. Although it may be common enough in our age's fundraising environment, such a self-serving attitude was far from Paul's heart. He is very understanding about this gap in their attention, and simply rejoiced greatly in the Lord that they renewed their concern for him. He does not even allow for the idea that they stopped thinking about him, but comments that they did not have a fit opportunity222 to express that ongoing concern. Given the difficulty of keeping track of people in an age far before telecommunications, this little congregation in Macedonia may not have known at all where Paul was. In that case they simply could not send him any gifts or help because they could not find him.
If such is the attitude of the one often considered the second greatest missionary of all the ages towards a little church that he himself founded, how much more humble and gentle should present day missionaries be towards their supporting churches, even in their complete assurance that God Himself has called them to a highly significant ministry?
Any missionary today that receives a gift from a church or a family that used to support him, with whom he then had lost contact, should very much empathize with Paul as he writes these lines. Because of their participation – not because of the cash in his hands – he will be encouraged that “they really do care about getting the Gospel out to the such-and-such people group.”
4:11 Not that I am saying this out of need, for I have learned to be content in whatever situation I am in.
In this verse and the next two verses Paul tells them that the joy he expresses is not about having some more money, because he is content with any financial situation.
4:12 I know how to be humbled, I know also how to abound. In any and in all situations I have learned the secret,223 whether satisfied or hungry, abounding or lacking.
Although we know that at least by shipwreck and imprisonment Paul experienced humble circumstances, we have little specific information about what bountiful circumstances he experienced. However, we do know the secret that he refers to here. Paul himself told us the secret in chapter three. When we find our joy and our boasting in Christ, it is a simple matter to be content in humble and in bountiful settings.
4:13 I can do all things through Christ224 who strengthens me.
Paul wants his readers to understand that he is dependent upon the Lord, rather than their gifts, as valuable as they may be. So he tells us the secret again. It is Christ.
We should look closely at the idea of all things here. This statement is given right in the middle of a passage on how Paul is content in poverty and in abundance, and how he is certainly not clamoring after more donations from them. What he tells us is that with the power of the One who strengthens him, he can accomplish every single thing the Lord is calling him to do in life and ministry.
By using this word, partnering, here, as well as the related word in the next verse, Paul brings us back to his early comments in 1:5-7. The contentment that Paul possessed was not to be taken as a refusal to partner with them, even financially. In fact their participation with him was commendable.
4:15 And as you Philippians also know, at the beginning of my Gospel ministry,227 when I went out from Macedonia, not one church partnered with me in the matter of giving and receiving except you only.
In this verse and the next verse Paul continues to commend them, by reminding them of how far back their Gospel partnership goes. It was about thirteen years back that they sent him that first gift.228 There were other churches that could have entered into that Gospel partnership with the then obscure missionary named Paul, but none of those others did.
Here finally, with only nine verses left in the letter, Paul directly connects the idea of “sharing” or “partnering” or “participating” (all various possible translations for the same family of words that Paul has been using in this letter)229 with the matter of giving and receiving. It is important to understand that when in various translations we read of a “partnership” or “participation” in the Gospel in 1:5; a sharing or being partners in God’s grace in 1:7; a sharing in Paul’s trouble in 4:14, and a sharing in the matter of giving and receiving in 4:15, Paul is consistently using words from the same root word, and all his readers would understand that in all four of these key passages Paul is developing the idea of their partnership with him in Gospel ministry, and that some of that partnership has to do with the matter of giving and receiving.
If someone in upper-class Greek or Roman society received a gift, that brought him into a moral obligation to reciprocate. He might do this with another gift, or by showing proper gratitude.230 By using the expression giving and receiving Paul acknowledges that societal concept of reciprocity. Since the root idea of the word translated partnered is “hold something in common,” Paul seems to be saying that both the congregation and he too did some giving and some receiving in their relationship. He implies that he gave something to the Philippians, even though he was certainly not able to reciprocate financially. They seem to have sent a sizable cash gift and the services of Epaphroditus, but all Paul could offer was direction, encouragement, and insight into who Christ is, what He has done for us, and how Gospel ministry works, gifts which later led up to the letter which we are now studying! It may be that in the matter of giving in their partnership Paul also contributed to them a sense of satisfaction that they could be a part of something eternal that was taking place there in Rome. In 2:17-18 he certainly urged them to share with him in his joy. While some of the congregation may have thought it rather quaint that the missionary would claim parity in the matter of giving and receiving, we might hope that others in the congregation saw that the gifts Paul gave them were of immeasurably greater value than the cash and services they sent to Paul!
The missionary whom the Philippian congregation supported so many years ago was, among other things, a Bible teacher. He used his spiritual gifts on the field and with his supporters. Whatever spiritual gifts he might have, may every missionary today be as careful and diligent in his missions partnerships as Paul was to enrich the lives of his supporters.
The gifts Paul mentions here could not have been too substantial, because in 1 Thessalonians 2:9 and 2 Thessalonians 3:8-9 Paul reminds them how hard he worked so that they did not have to support him. It would appear that he did work hard to support himself in Thessalonica, and the Philippians supplemented that income, but the Thessalonians did not. While it was good for the congregation in Philippi to send gifts while he worked for his physical needs and served the Thessalonians' spiritual needs, he apparently did not want to receive gifts from the Thessalonians, lest that young congregation interpret his willingness to be supported as an example of an undisciplined life.
Now shifting back to his own attitudes, Paul clarifies his own motive, which is selfless. Although there may be many that would say these sorts of things to manipulate people into giving more, Paul would have none of that. He is only seeking their good.
Whether or not believers have obtained eternal deliverance from damnation is already determined, because we have eternal forgiveness based not on our activity but on the work of Jesus Christ upon the cross. However, even as permanently redeemed believers we each still do have an account with the Lord Jesus. Furthermore, according to this verse what we do or do not do influences the increasing profit into our accounts. While this is merely a passing reference to these accounts of ours, their existence is undeniable, and they matter! Clearly, the people of a church that is active in healthy Gospel partnerships with missionaries will have increasing profit into their accounts.
We read in the parable of the Minas in Luke 19 that at the end of the age those servants' Master will return and settle accounts with them. If He is pleased with a man's account, He will say something like, “Well done, good servant! Because you have been faithful in a small thing, take charge of ten cities.” If He is displeased with one of His servants' accounts, then He will rebuke him. However it is His enemies, not His lazy servants, whom He destroys (compare Luke 19:20-26 with 19:27).
In short, Paul is saying that he wants his Gospel partners to be effective in their partnership so that they will receive a rich reward from the hand of the Lord Jesus at the end of the age. He has already alluded to various aspects of these rewards in 2:16; 3:11, 14; and 4:1.
Paul emphatically dispels any notion that he is manipulating them so they will give more. Not only has he learned how to be content in poverty and in abundance, but he is also well supplied now because of their recent gifts. He goes on to praise their gifts, using terminology unmistakably reminiscent of Old Testament sacrifices. Their giving, a part of their Gospel partnership with Paul, is given the high status of being equated to the physical sacrifices that the nation of Israel made at the temple of God in Jerusalem. For Paul those gifts were acts of worship of the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
As with all things spiritual, we must decide whether we believe this, or consider it merely to be some insincere public relations material from a missionary to a supporting church. Whether we agree or not, Paul elevates their giving to that high level.
While some mistakenly say that the Lord will give great riches to any that donate generously to their ministry, this text says that as they give generously God will provide for their every need on the basis of His riches. This text should not be distorted to say that someone with a need for transportation will be given a new Mercedes Benz as long as that person gives generously to Christian ministry. Paul says their every need will be wonderfully fulfilled, not their every desire. Our God who has infinite riches in glory will wonderfully fulfill all the needs of generous donors like the Philippians, who gave with good motive, out of His riches in glory, but the text cannot be pressed to say that His gifts to us are commensurate to His riches in glory.
4:20 To God our Father be glory forever and ever,240 amen.
While this brief doxology might close the comments above about the perfect provision of God for those involved in Gospel partnership like the Philippians, it more likely closes the entire epistle that revolves around that Gospel partnership. What is clear is that God should receive praise because of His glory through all the ages.
To summarize 4:10-20, in this Gospel ministry partnership,
- the missionary is thankful (vs. 10)
- but not dependent or grasping (vv. 11-13)
- the church does well to help the missionary in trouble (vs. 14)
- this fellowship relationship goes back to the early days (vv. 15-16)
- the missionary is not materialistic about it, but seeks the spiritual good of the church (vs. 17)
- the church's gifts are like a sweet smelling sacrifice to God (vs. 18)
- the missionary assures them that God will meet their needs (vs. 19)
- the missionary praises God (vs. 20)
The brothers here greet you and I bless you with God's grace.
4:21 Greet all the holy ones241 in Christ Jesus. The brothers with me greet you.
As was his custom, Paul sent his and his coworkers' greetings to the entire congregation. It is not clear whether any of these particular brothers were imprisoned with Paul. Perhaps they simply had access to visit him, like Epaphroditus and Timothy. To Paul these interpersonal relationships were important matters. Even in these closing greetings Paul is building up the interconnectivity of the Body of Christ.
4:22 All the holy ones greet you, particularly those of the household of Caesar.
The expression the household of Caesar refers to people that are engaged in imperial service.242 There is no indication in this text why the holy ones of the household of Caesar would be singled out in sending greetings to the congregation in Philippi, but such was the case.
It is so fitting that Paul would close this letter with a benediction of grace, given how central grace has been to the message he has been giving the Philippians, that they will be the best partners in Gospel ministry they can be as they make Christ and His grace their boast and their joy in life.
194 While it is sometimes translated “longed for” or “desired,” this Greek term, επιποθητος/epipothētos, is here translated very much missed, because “longed for” and “desired” may carry inappropriate connotations in today’s English.
195 Literally translated this is “joy and my crown,” but it was changed to my joy and my crown to make a better English sentence.
196 Paul uses αγαπητος/agapētos (“beloved”) twice here, at the beginning and at the very end of this sentence.
197 See the discussion of the term “prize” under 3:14.
198 Although this verb, παρακαλεω/parakaleō, is better known in contexts where it means “to comfort” or “to encourage” here it has its common meaning of to appeal, “to urge,” or even “to implore.”
199 Literally Paul writes, “to think the same” or “to have the same point of view.” See the explanation of this verb, φρονεω/phroneō, in endnote 84.
200 With this word, συζυγος/suzugos, Paul is either calling on the help of a loyal friend named Syzygos, or the help of an individual he is calling “loyal yokefellow.” Although the name Syzygos has not turned up in other ancient Greek documents, it seems preferable to consider Syzygos a man's name. If it was not a person's name or nickname in the congregation, it might have been an overly subtle expression. Did Paul not have more than one person in Philippi he could refer to as his “loyal yokefellow”? If it was a person's name, then this is a wordplay, just as in Philem. 10 and 11.
201 See the comments about this verb, συναθλεω/sunathleō, in endnote 67 under 1:27.
202 A Roman city would have a scroll listing the names of its citizens, and a freed slave that was granted citizenship would have his name added to that scroll. In the same way, this Book of Life is a list of all those that have citizenship in the Kingdom of God. In Revelation 3:5, there is no possibility of someone's name being removed from this book. The Lord is saying, “Far from removing your name, I will indeed confess your name before the Father....” In the OT we read about a different scroll in Exodus 32:32-33 and in Psalm 69:29. That scroll appears to simply be the listing of all the names of living people. When people of any sort die, their names are removed from that list.
203 In 1 Tim. 3:3 this word, επιεικης/epieikēs, is the opposite of “violent.” BDAG gives the meaning, “not insisting on every right of letter of law or custom, yielding, gentle, kind, courteous, tolerant.”
204 See endnote 119 under 2:20 about this verb, μεριμναω/merimnaō.
205 This word, προσευχη/proseuchē, is used 36 times in the NT, always of prayer to God.
206 This word, δεησις/deēsis, is used 18 times in the NT, always of prayer to God. The two words, προσευχη/proseuchē and δεησις/deēsis, are used together four times in the NT. It is difficult to make distinctions between them.
207 This word, αιτημα/aitēma, is only used three times in the NT, twice of requests to God, and once of a request to Pilate. It is closely related to the usual word for “ask,” αιτεω/aiteō.
208 This word, νους/nous, is used 24 times in the NT, and usually refers to one's intellect or “mind,” but can sometimes refer to the result of our mind's work, that is, our “understanding,” “thoughts,” or “opinion.”
209 This word, νοημα/noēma, is only used six times in the NT. It can refer to one's “intellect” or mind, or to “understanding,” “thoughts,” or “opinion.” Paired here with hearts, it seems to refer to minds rather than “thoughts.”
210 See endnote 136 about this expression, το λοιπον/to loipon, under 3:1. Here it does have the meaning finally.
211 According to BDAG, this term, σεμνος/semnos, can refer to people, gods, or characteristics that are honorable, “worthy of respect,” “noble,” or “dignified.” In the NT, deacons (1 Tim. 3:8), their wives or deaconesses (1 Tim. 3:11), and older men (Tit. 2:2) are to be characterized as σεμνος/semnos.
212 This term, ἁγνος/hagnos, is related to the normal Greek word for holy (ἁγιος/hagios). It was used of the Greek deities and their temples. In the NT it means pure and uncontaminated by sin. God's servants and young women are specifically encouraged to be ἁγνος/hagnos in the NT. God's wisdom is ἁγνος/hagnos in Jms. 3:17, and God Himself is ἁγνος/hagnos in 1 Jn. 3:3.
213 This word, προσφιλης/prosphilēs, is only used here in the NT. According to BDAG it can mean amiable, “pleasing,” “agreeable,” or “lovely.”
215 Επαινος/epainos is the normal word for “praise.” It is found eleven times in the NT, but only here does it have the meaning praiseworthy.
216 BDAG gives three definitions for this verb, λογιζομαι/logizomai, 1) “to determine by mathematical process,” “to calculate,” 2) “to give careful thought to a matter,” “to ponder,” “to let one's mind dwell on a matter,” or 3) “to hold a view about something.” The second of those meanings is appropriate here. We are to “ponder” on these things.
217 The verb φρονεω/phroneō, which is discussed in endnote 84 on 2:5, is translated concern and concerned in this verse.
218 See the discussion of 2:2 concerning the two kinds of joy that Paul has.
220 Swift, p. 248.
221 See the comments about this under “Paul and Philippi” in the Background discussion.
222 The verb Paul uses here, ακαιρεομαι/akaireomai, literally would be “lacking a καιρος/kairos moment.” That term, καιρος/kairos, refers to a “time” or a “period,” “frequently with implications of being especially fit for something” (BDAG ad loc), thus the expression some Christians today use, “a καιρος/kairos moment.” Paul seems to be saying they did not have a “fit opportunity.”
223 In the Greek mystery religions this verb, μυεω/mueō, referred to being initiated into the secret mysteries of the cult, so this can also be translated “I have been initiated.” Here this verb is translated I have learned the secret.
224 The vast majority of ancient Greek manuscripts include the words through Christ (Χριστῷ/Christō) here, while it is missing from the three most prominent uncials, that is, Alexandrinus, Vaticanus, and the original writing of Sinaiticus, although a later scribe added it into that manuscript. Without the words through Christ, the reader must understand that it is Christ or God that strengthens Paul, so again, even if the words through Christ are rejected as a later addition, they would be understood as an ancient explanation of the Apostle's intent.
225 See the discussion of κοινωνια/koinōnia (“partnership”) in endnote 28 as well as the discussion of συγκοινωνος/sugkoinōnos (“with-partner”) under 1:7. The literal translation of this word, συγκοινωνεω/sugkoinōneō, would be “with-partnering.” Again, this is about the now renewed Gospel partnership Paul and the Philippians have, and it is the central theme of this letter.
226 This word, θλιψις/thlipsis, is used 45 times in the NT, often of the tribulation at the end of the age. The NIV translations for this term include trouble, “distress,” “persecution,” “suffering,” “anguish,” “hardship,” and “affliction.”
227 Literally this phrase is “at the beginning of the Gospel,” which is then clarified in the very next phrase. This expression is paired with “the first day until now” in 1:5 (Swift, p. 248).
229 That is, κοινωνια/koinōnia (1:5; 2:1; and 3:10), συγκοινωνος/sugkoinōnos (1:7), συγκοινωνεω/sugkoinōneō (4:14), and κοινωνεω/koinōneō (4:15).
230 See Stephen Charles Mott, “The Power of Giving and Receiving: Reciprocity in Hellenistic Benevolence,” Current Issues in Biblical and Patristic Interpretation (ed. G. F. Hawthorne, Eerdmans, 1975) pp. 60-72.
231 Thessalonica is a Macedonian city about 100 miles (160 kilometers) away by road from Philippi.
232 This expression, και ἁπαξ και δις/kai hapax kai dis, is not easy to translate. Literally it means “and once and twice” but according to O'Brien (p. 535) it seems to mean more than once, a meaning that fits well here and in 1 Thes. 2:18.
233 Here the word “fruit” (καρπος/karpos) is better translated with its figurative meaning, profit. See also endnote 57 under 1:22.
234 This word, (λογος/logos), is used 330 times in the NT, and has several meanings. Its most common meaning is “word” or “message,” and it also frequently means “matter” (as in “the matter of” in Phil. 4:15). However, it refers to financial accounts that have to be settled in Mt. 18:23 and 25:19. In Mt. 12:36 and 1 Pet. 4:5 it refers to accounts which people in general will have to settle with the Lord at the end of the ages, and in Rom. 14:12; Heb. 4:13; and Heb. 13:17 it refers to our accounts which we as redeemed believers will have to settle with Him at the end of the age, precisely what it means here in Phil. 4:17.
235 The word gifts is implied in the Greek and supplied in the translation.
236 This expression, οσμη ευωδιας/osmē euōdias, is used about 50 times in the LXX, almost always of physical sacrifices pleasing to the Lord God.
237 Both these terms, θυσια/thusia and δεκτος/dektos, appear in the same verse together about 9 times in the LXX in the context of sacrifices to God.
238 This verb, πληροω/plēroō, also used in verse 18, literally means “to fill.”
239 While this preposition, κατα/kata, usually means “according to,” it can mean “because of,” “as a result of,” or on the basis of as in verse 11 above (BDAG ad loc).
240 This expression, εις τους αιωνας των αιωνων/eis tous aiōnas tōn aiōnōn, literally means “into the ages of ages.”
241 See endnote 13 under 1:1 concerning this term, ἁγιος/hagios.
242 EBC ad loc.
243 The vast majority of the Greek manuscripts read be with you all, but several of the very oldest manuscripts read “be with your spirit.”
244 Even though this amen is in an impressive list of very ancient manuscripts (a papyrus from about 200 ad, manuscripts from the fourth, fifth, sixth, eight, and tenth centuries, as well as almost all the later manuscripts and various ancient translations), its omission from only three manuscripts of the fourth, ninth, and tenth centuries as well as about three later manuscripts has been sufficient to cause most modern textual critics to reject it as an addition “in accord with liturgical practices” (Metzger, ad loc). However, that reasoning is subjective. One might also say that the deletion of this amen in some manuscripts was in accord with the liturgical practices of churches that did not like to say amen. We really do not know that much about how often second and third century Christians said amen.