Where the world comes to study the Bible

An Argument Of The Book Of Philippians

Related Media

Message Statement:

As One Who Is Himself Suffering For The Gospel Paul Honors The Philippians For Their Participation With Him In His Sufferings, And Urges Them To Humble Themselves For The Sake Of One Another Against The Divisive Threats Of Inner Disputes And External False Teachers So That They Might Continue In Their Gospel Ministry And One Day Be Exalted By The Lord

I. INTRODUCTION: As Paul, along with Timothy, writes to the church at Philippi, he prays that they would experience God’s grace and peace, thanks God for their financial participation in his ministry of the Gospel, expresses his God-like love for them, and prays that they would increase in their character of love until Christ returns (1:1-11)

A. Salutation: Paul writes with Timothy as servants of Jesus Christ to all of the saints in relationship with Christ Jesus along with their leaders who dwell in Philippi praying that they would experience grace and peace from God their Father and their Lord Jesus Christ (1:1-2)

1. Senders Name: Paul and Timothy write this letter as servants (δοῦλοι)1 of Jesus Christ (1:1a)

2. Recipients Name: Paul and Timothy are writing to all of the saints in relationship with Christ Jesus, who dwell in Philippi and are with the overseers and deacons (1:1b)

a. Paul and Timothy are writing to all the saints (holy ones)2 who are in relationship with Christ Jesus

b. Paul and Timothy are writing to all of the saints who dwell in Philippi

c. Paul and Timothy are writing to the overseers (bishops, ἐπισκόποις) and deacons (διάκονος) with the saints in Philippi3

3. Greeting: Paul prays for the Philippians to experience grace and peace from God their Father and the Lord Jesus Christ (1:2)

a. Paul prays for the Philippians to experience grace and peace4 1:2a

b. Paul prays for this grace and peace to come from God their Father and the Lord Jesus Christ 1:2b

B. Prologue--Thanks, Love, and Prayer: Paul thanks the Lord for the (financial) participation of the Philippians in his ministry of the Gospel, and thus loves them with the same affection that Christ has for them, and prays that they might steadily increase in their character of love until Christ returns (1:3-11)

1. Paul Is Thankful For Them: Every time Paul prays for all of the Philippians he is full of delight because of their continual (financial) fellowship with him in the gospel concerning which he is confident that God will continue until the return of Christ (1:3-6)

a. Paul regularly thanks the Lord for the Philippians every time he prays for them 1:3

b. Paul always delights in offering prayer for all of the Philippians 1:4

c. The reason Paul always delights in offering prayer for all of the Philippians is because of their fellowship with him5 in the gospel from the beginning until the present6 1:5

d. Paul is confident that the good work7 which God began through the Philippians, God will complete until the return of Christ Jesus8 1:6

2. Paul Loves Them: Paul affirms that he has such confidence in the Philippians because of their great affection for him and their participation with him in the gospel ministry whereupon he affirms that he feels the same heartfelt love for them that Christ has for them (1:7-8)

a. The reason Paul has such confidence toward the Philippians is because they hold him in their heart (affection)9 and are partakers in the Gospel ministry (grace)10 with him (financially) in his imprisonment and in his defense and confirmation11 1:7

b. Paul proclaims God as his witness12 that he longs for (has deep feelings for13) the Philippians with the affection of Christ14 1:8

3. Paul Prays for Them: Paul prays that the Philippians may steadily increase in their character of love through real knowledge of the Lord and discernment in relationships in order that they may know how to make the best choices and be the best possible people in relationships until the Lord returns (1:9-11)

a. Paul prays that the Philippians’ (character of) love may steadily increase15 in real knowledge and discernment16 1:9

b. Paul prays for the Philippians’ increase in love in order that they may know how to make the best choices possible 1:10a

c. Paul prays for the Philippians’ increase in love in order that they themselves might be the best people possible (sincere and blameless, and righteous)17 until the Lord returns18 unto the glory of God 1:10b-11

II. PAUL’S PRESENT STATE AND FUTURE EXPECTATION19--PRISON & GOSPEL, FUTURE MINISTRY: Although Paul is presently in prison, these circumstances have not hindered the gospel, but have advanced it, and his expectations are not to die, but to come to the Philippians and to aid them in the progress of their faith and their ability to boast in Christ Jesus (1:12-26)

A. Present in Prison: Although Paul is in prison, these circumstances have not hindered the gospel from being proclaimed, but have advanced it by expanding its message to the Roman guards and other leaders, by inspiring believers to speak daringly and fearlessly, and by stirring people to proclaim Christ from different attitudes towards Paul (1:12-18a)

1. Statement: Paul desires for the Philippians, as his brethren, to know that what has happened to him (his circumstances) has not hindered the progress of the gospel, but advanced it 1:12

2. Proof: Paul’s imprisonment has not hindered the gospel, but has made the cause of Christ will known by expanding it to the Roman soldiers and leaders, by inspiring believers to speak daringly and fearlessly, and by stirring people to proclaim Christ from different attitudes towards Paul 1:13-14

a. Paul’s imprisonment has not hindered the gospel, but has made the cause of Christ well known throughout the whole praetorian guard and beyond20 1:13

b. Paul’s imprisonment has not hindered the gospel, but has inspired his fellow believers to speak the word daringly and fearlessly 1:14

c. Paul’s imprisonment has not hindered the gospel, but has caused Christ to be proclaimed out of mixed motives by those who love Paul and by those who desire to cause Paul distress, and Paul rejoices 1:15-18a

1) Statement: Some are preaching Christ from envy and strife (with Paul), but some are preaching Christ from good will (toward Paul) 1:15

2) Good Will: Those who preach the gospel from good will do it out of love for Paul knowing that (in spite of his circumstances) he is destined by God to defend the gospel, so this is what he would desire for them to do 1:16

3) Envy and Strife: Those who preach the gospel out of envy and strife do it out of a desire to exalt themselves by causing him distress in his imprisonment21 1:17

4) Statement: Paul rejoices that Christ is being proclaimed for whatever motives (whether in pretense or in truth) 1:18a

B. Future With The Philippians: Paul rejoices over his future in that he expects to be delivered at his trial, and to remain among the Philippians to help them to progress in their faith, and to give glory to Christ Jesus (1:18b-26)

1. Rejoices at Future: Paul not only rejoices that Christ is being proclaimed, but also rejoices22 in his expected fate as a prisoner 1:18b

2. Future Trial: Paul’s future joy is that he knows that at his future trial he will be delivered by means of their prayers and the Spirit’s enabling, that he will be vindicated and that Christ will be exalted 1:19-20

a. Delivered: Paul’s future joy is that he has confidence (knows) that he will be delivered (saved)23 by means of their prayers24 and the provision25 of the Spirit of Jesus Christ26 1:19

b. Vindicated and Christ Exalted: Paul’s future joy is that he knows in accordance with his expectation and hope that he will be vindicated as a messenger of the Gospel (he will not be ashamed at his future trial) and that Christ will be exalted (by making Him known to more at his future trial) by him in a total way (whether by life or by death) 1:20

3. Future Ministry: Although Paul wrestles between the benefits of dying and being with Christ, or living and being with the Philippians, he is convinced that he will live and help them to progress in their faith, and to give honor to Christ 1:21-26

a. Future State: Paul wrestles between desiring life or death himself because life offers opportunities for future ministry, whereas death offers the reality of being in the presence of Christ, but he sees how life would be more profitable for the Philippians at this time:27 1:21-24

1) Life is Christ: Paul sees living as being to serve Christ 21a

2) Death is Gain: Paul sees dying as being personal gain 21b

3) Life is Worthwhile Work: Paul understands continued life in his body (flesh) as being an opportunity for fruitful work for him which is difficult to chose against 22

4) Death is to Be with Christ: Paul understands death to be when he will depart from this life and be present with Christ which he sees as being better personally 23

5) Life is For Others: Paul understands that life in his body is more necessary for the sake of the Philippians than is his going to be with Christ at this time28 24

b. The Philippians Need: Being convinced that the Philippians need him, Paul understands that he will remain in order that the Philippians might make progress in their faith, and might have cause through his efforts to give glory to Christ Jesus 1:25-26

1) Paul is convinced that the Philippians need him29 1:25a

2) One purpose for Paul’s staying on is in order that they Philippians might make progress with joy in their faith30 1:25b

3) Another purpose Paul has for his staying is so that they might have ample cause through his efforts (“in me”) when he comes to glory (be proud) in Christ Jesus31 1:26

III. EXHORTATIONS FROM PAUL TO THE COMMUNITY:32 Paul exhorts the Philippians to humble themselves (as those with confidence in God) for the sake of unity by being self-sacrificing for the sake of one another just as Jesus, he, and Epaphroditus have been--especially in the face of the divisive threats of Jewish false teachers and inner disputes--so that they may continue to be effective with the gospel (1:27--4:9)

A. Be Humble for Unity: Paul exhorts the Philippians to humble themselves for the sake of one another as Christ and he have done for them so that they might continue to be effective with the gospel (1:27--2:18)

1. Exhortation to Maintain Unity in the Faith: Paul exhorts the Philippians to maintain a unified front for the truth of the Gospel and not to be frightened by their opponents even though they see the Philippians’ stand as leading to destruction because it is actually leading to their salvation as they share in the sufferings of Christ, like Paul, on behalf of the truth (1:27-30)

a. Stand Unified: Paul exhorts the Philippians to live their lives at all times in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ by maintaining a unified front for the preservation of the faith 1:27

1) The Statement: The Philippians are to live their lives in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ 1:27a

2) The Time: The Philippians are to live in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ whether Paul comes to them or remains absent (at all times) 1:27b

3) The Explanation: When Paul exhorts the Philippians to live their lives in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ he means that they should maintain a unified front--standing firm in one spirit, with one mind, striving together for the faith of the gospel33 1:27c

b. Against Opponents: Paul exhorts the Philippians in their unified stand for the truth of the Gospel to not be alarmed by their opponents because their stand is perceived by their opponents as leading to their destruction when it is in fact leading to the salvation of their lives as they share in the sufferings of Christ, like Paul, on behalf of the truth 1:28-30

1) Exhortation: Paul exhorts the Philippians to not be alarmed by their opponents34 1:28a

2) Reason 1: Paul reminds the Philippians that what they believe (their “faith”35) is perceived as their destruction36 by the false teachers, but perceived as their salvation from God by them 1:28b

3) Reason 2: Paul reminds the Philippians that in their standing for their faith in Christ they can expect to suffer just as they saw and see Paul suffering37 1:29-30

2. Exhortation to Harmony and Humility For Unity:38 As partakers in the benefits of their faith through their relationship with Paul and God, Paul exhorts the Philippians to pursue unity through a humility which regards the value of one another just as Christ humbled Himself for the sake of men, and Paul was offering himself with joy for them in order that they may continue his life-giving gospel ministry (2:1-18)

a. Exhortation To Unity through Humility:39 As partakers of their benefits of their faith through their relationship with Paul and God, Paul exhorts the Philippians to pursue unity through a humility which regards the value of one another (2:1-4)

1) Benefits of Faith: Through multifold first class conditions (“if it is true, and indeed it is”) Paul asks the Philippians to consider ways that he and God have given them encouragement, consolation, fellowship, and tender compassion so that they might respond well to his request 2:1

a) From Paul: If the Philippians know of Paul’s encouragement of and love for them, then they should respond well to his request 2:1a-b

(1) Encouragement: If Paul's words of encouragement have in any way helped the Philippians to stay true to the faith in the past, then they should respond accordingly in the present 2:1a

(2) Love: If Paul's love has provided the Philippians with any consolation in their suffering, as indeed it has, then Paul asks that they respond properly to his request 2:1b

b) From God: If the Philippians know of the unity created by the Holy Spirit, and the warmth of God’s affection for them, then they should respond properly to his request 2:c-d

(1) Fellowship: If the Philippians belong to that community brought into existence by the Holy Spirit and enjoy any fellowship with one another as a result, then they should respond properly to his request 2:1c

(2) Affection and Compassion: If the Philippians know anything of the mercy and compassion shown them by God in Christ, as they most certainly do, then they should respond properly to Paul's request

2) Pursue Unity Through Humility: Paul’s goal in having the Philippians consider the experiential benefits of their faith is so that they might make Paul’s joy complete pursuing unity with one another 2:2

a) Joy Complete: Paul’s goal in having the Philippians consider the experiential benefits of their faith is so that they might make his joy complete 2:2a

b) Pursue Unity: The way in which the Philippians might make his joy complete is by striving for unity 2:2b

(1) Same Mind: Paul urges the Philippians to make his joy complete by being of the same mind40 2:2b

(2) Same Love: Paul urges the Philippians to make his joy complete by having the same (or mutuality of) love (for one another) 2:2c

(3) Shared Soul: Paul urges the Philippians to make his joy complete by having a shared soul41 2:2d

(4) Same Mind: Paul urges the Philippians to make his joy complete by having one mind42 2:2e

c) Through Humility: The way in which the Philippians might make his joy complete is by striving for unity in humility by caring for others 2:3-4

(1) Selfishness vs. Regard for Others: Paul urges the Philippians to make his joy complete by not acting out of selfishness or empty conceit, but by regarding one another as more important than himself 2:3

(2) Own Needs vs. Needs of Others: Paul urges the Philippians to make his joy complete by not only looking out for their own personal needs, but by looking out for the interests of others as well 2:4

b. The Example of Christ:43 Paul exhorts the Philippians to adopt Christ’s way of thinking who humbled Himself for the sake of men to be exalted by the Father 2:5-11

1) Exhortation to Philippians: Paul exhorts the Philippians to adopt the way of thinking in their relationships (2:1-4)44 which was also adopted by Christ Jesus (2:6-11) 2:5

2) Example of Jesus:45 Because Jesus who was equal with God humbled himself for the sake of men, God exalted him and gave him the name of Lord in order that all beings might obey and honor Him 2:6-11

a) Humiliation by Self: Jesus, who was in the form of God and equal with God did not grasp His rights, but poured himself out by becoming a man and humbled himself for the sake of men by dying on a cross 2:6-8

(1) Jesus Did Not Grasp His Rights: Because Jesus existed in the exact form of God (ἐν μορφῇ)46 he did not consider being equal with God (ι῎σα θεῷ) as grounds for grasping (ἠγήσατο τό ει῎ναι)47 2:6

(2) Jesus Poured Out Himself: Instead of seeing his identity with God as a grounds for grasping (ἀλλὰ), Jesus poured out (emptied) himself (ἐαυτὸν ἐκενωσεν)48 by means of receiving a servant's form (μορφὴν)49 becoming (γενόμενος) in the likeness of men,50 and being found (εὐρεθεὶς)51 in human form52 2:7 [2:7-8a in English]

(3) Jesus Humbled Himself: Jesus humbled himself (ἐταπείνωσεν ἐαυτὸν)53 by means of becoming obedient even to death on a cross54 2:8

b) Exaltation by God:55 As a consequence of Christ’s voluntary humiliation God exalted him and gave Him the name of Lord in order that all beings might obey and honor Him 2:9-11

(1) As a consequence therefore (διὸ),56 God highly exalted (ὑπερύψωσεν)57 Jesus58 2:9a

(2) As a consequence therefore God gave Jesus a name (character/status) of Lord59 which is above every name in order that (ι῞να)60 all everywhere61 will bow62 and confess that Jesus Christ is Lord63 to the glory of God the Father64 2:9b-11

c. Application to the Philippians:65 Paul exhorts the Philippians to follow the self-sacrificing examples of Christ and even himself by obeying his exhortations through the empowerment of God to restore their fellowship so that they might shine upon their dark world and continue to bear the gospel message of life which he gave to them leading to his honor at the Judgment Seat of Christ (2:12-18)

1) Resumption of Exhortation:66 Just as Christ obeyed, Paul exhorts the Philippians to obey his exhortations toward the restoration of their fellowship knowing that God will energize them to change so that they might become blameless children of God who shine to a dark world 2:12-16

a) General Exhortation: As a conclusion from the example of Christ ( ῞Ωστε), Paul urges the Philippians, whom he loves (ἀγαπητοί μου), to obey (as Christ did)67 his exhortations (1:27--2:5) 2:12a

b) Exhortation to the Church: Paul exhorts the Philippian church to obediently (with fear and trembling) work out their own salvation (take whatever steps which are necessary to restore themselves as a body to health and wholeness) not only in light of his anticipated coming to them (τῇ παρουσίᾳ), but in his present absence from them 2:12b

c) Power to Achieve the Exhortation: The reason (γάρ) Paul exhorts the church to do whatever is necessary to restore themselves is because the Energizing God (θεὸς γάρ ἐστιν ὁ ἐνεργῶν) is effectively at work among them (ἐν ὑμῖν) to effect change in their will (to will), and to achieve (ἐνεργεῖν) their community (“good will”) 2:13

d) Specifics of the Exhortation: Paul exhorts the Philippians to do all things without grumbling or arguing so that they might be blameless children of God who shine as lights to a dark world 2:15-16

(1) Paul urges the Philippians to do all things without grumbling (γογγυσμῶν)68 or arguing (διαλογισμῶν) 2:15

(2) The purpose for which Paul exhorts the Philippians is so that they might be blameless, innocent children of God who are thus able to shine as lights to a dark world (dispelling evil and ignorance) 2:15-16

2) The Example of Paul:69 Paul exhorts the Philippians to carry on his life-giving gospel ministry among them, and he rejoices with them even though he may be poured out as a libation upon their sacrifice urging them to adopt the same attitude in their service of one another 2:16

a) Hold Fast the Life Giving Gospel: Paul urges the Philippians to hold fast to the life-giving gospel (the word of life) so that he might glory (boast, exult) at the future judgment seat (day) of Christ70 over his work among them 2:16

b) Rejoicing in Sacrifice: Paul rejoices in the Philippians’ sacrificial ministry (what they have already done) even if he is about to have his life poured out as a libation over their sacrifice to make it complete71 2:17

c) Adopt Paul’s Attitude in Service: Paul urges the Philippians in their sacrificial service for one another to also adopt his attitude of rejoicing and joy 2:18

B. Timothy, Paul, and Epaphroditus:72 Although Paul intends to come soon after Timothy whom he regards so highly, he is sending Epaphroditus to them first in order to encourage them and for them to honor as one who nearly sacrificed his life in service 2:19-30

1. Timothy: Paul is sending Timothy to care for them and to learn of their condition as soon as some matters are cared for where he is (2:19-23)

a. Paul hopes, under the Lordship of Jesus, to send Timothy to the Philippians shortly 2:19a

b. Paul’s purpose in sending Timothy to the Philippians is so that (ι῞να) he too might be encouraged when he learns of the welfare of the Philippians just as they were when they learned of his welfare 2:19b

c. The reason Paul is sending Timothy is because he has no one else who equally shares his feelings and genuinely cares about the affairs of the Philippians 2:20-22

1) No One Else: The reason Paul says that he has no one else like Timothy is because all of the others among him are concerned about their own interests and not those of Jesus Christ73 2:21

2) Shares His Feelings and Genuinely Cares: The Reason Paul says that Timothy shares his feelings and genuinely cares is because the Philippians know of his proven worth, namely, how he worked hard with Paul as a child with his father to advance the cause of the gospel 2:22

d. In view of the above discussion (ου῏ν) Paul intends to send Timothy to the Philippians as soon as he handles some important affairs which he needs to first attend to 2:23

2. Paul: Paul is trusting in the Lord that he himself will follow Timothy soon after his arrival (2:24)

3. Epaphroditus:74 In view of the inability of Paul and Timothy to come immediately Paul announces that he is sending Epaphroditus back to the Philippians as a worthy, exemplary servant so that they might be glad at their reunion with him, honor him and others like him who serve sacrificially, and be aided in their difficulties [thereby resolving Paul’s anxiety] (2:25-30)

a. Paul is Sending Him: In view of Paul and Timothy not being able to come immediately, Paul considers it necessary to send Epaphroditus to the Philippians 2:25a

b. He is a Worthy Man: Paul emphasizes that he is sending Epaphroditus as one who was a worthy fellow worker with him and servant of the Philippians 2:25b

c. The Reason: Paul is sending Epaphroditus because he longs for and is concerned for the Philippians who were concerned about his sickness which was severe, but which God mercifully brought about deliverance for both Epaphroditus’ and Paul’s sakes 2:26-27

1) Paul is sending Epaphroditus because he longs for the Philippians and is concerned for them since they heard that he was sick 2:26

2) Paul affirms that Epaphroditus was sick and nearly died, but God was merciful with him and with Paul so that he would not have to suffer wave upon wave of grief 2:27

d. The Purpose: Paul is sending Epaphroditus sooner than expected75 so that the Philippians might be glad in their reunion that he is alive and well and so that Paul might be relieved of anxiety76 2:28

e. The Exhortation: Paul urges the Philippians to welcome77 Epaphroditus as a brother in the Lord and to hold up others among them in honor who are like him in that he nearly sacrificed himself in order to help Paul on behalf of the Philippians 2:29-30

C. Be Careful of Judaizers--Warning Against False Teachings with Paul’s Experience and Life as a Model to Follow:78 While on one hand Paul urges the Philippians to rejoice in the Lord as a safe-guard to themselves, on the other hand he warns them to watch out for (Jewish) false-teachers who desire to corrupt their true faith (with earthly, external rituals which lead to the delusion of perfection in their faith) by following his example and the example of those who follow his pattern of life which is one that continually strives toward moral perfection in the knowledge of Jesus with a hope of realization only at their final redemption with the return of Christ (3:1-21)

1. Warning--Against Corrupting, Jewish False Teachers: Paul urges the Philippians to rejoice in the Lord as a safe-guard to themselves, and to watch out for Jewish false-teachers who desire to corrupt them in their true faith 3:1-3

a. Rejoice: And now79 Paul urges the Philippians, as he has in the past, to rejoice80 in the sphere of the Lord as a safeguard for themselves (e.g., in order to be saved from the ills that plague their church) 3:1

b. Beware of Jewish False-Teachers:81 Paul urges the Philippians to be cautious of the Jewish false-teachers because they are attempting to corrupt true believers 3:2-3

1) Paul urges the Philippians to pay attention to the corrupting, Jewish, false teachers [dogs (κύνας),82 evil doers (κακοὺς ἐργάτας),83 and mutilators (κατατομήν)84] 3:2

2) The reason (γαρ) Paul calls the false teachers corrupting (“mutilators”) is because those who worship God by His Spirit85 and boast in Christ Jesus rather than themselves are the true people of God (circumcision) whom the false teachers are corrupting 3:3

2. Pauls Life--An Answer to Judaism:86 Although Paul could have confidence in himself more than the false teachers he counts all of his personal and attained assets as unspeakable filth compared to an experiential knowledge of Christ in terms of His righteousness and resurrection 3:4-11

a. The Fleshly-Confidence Which Paul Could Have: Paul could have confidence in himself more than the false teachers because of his Jewish heritage and his zealous adherence to the Law 3:4-6

1) Statement: Paul could have confidence in his birth, religion, position in society et cetera more than others (the Jewish false teachers) 3:4

2) The reasons Paul could have confidence in himself are because of his natural Jewish heritage and his good Jewish works 3:5-6

a) Paul describes himself as a true Jew by virtue of his natural heritage--circumcision and birth 3:5a-d

(1) Circumcised: Paul was circumcised on the eighth day of his life 3:5a

(2) Birth: Paul is a an Israelite by birth 3:5b

(3) Tribe: Paul belongs to the tribe of Benjamin 3:5c

(4) Parents: Paul is a Hebrew born of Hebrew parents (rather than a Hellenist) 3:5d

b) Paul describes himself as a true Jew by virtue of his good works--a teacher of the Law, a zealous persecutor of the church, legally blameless 3:53-6

(1) Pharisee: Paul was a Pharisee with regard to the Jewish Law 3:5e

(2) Persecutor: Paul was a zealous persecutor of the church 3:6a

(3) Blameless: Paul was blameless with regard to legal righteousness 3:6b

b. The Spiritual Re-evaluation Which Paul Has: Paul counts all of his natural and achieved accomplishments as liabilities and filth compared to the goals of attaining righteousness through faith and attaining the present and future aspects of the resurrection through his relationship with Christ 3:7-11

1) The Re-Evaluation Stated: Because of who Christ is Paul counts all of his natural and achieved accomplishments as personal liabilities rather than as assets87 3:7

2) The Re-Evaluation Developed: Paul counts all of his personal assets as liabilities because of the supreme value of a personal knowledge of Christ in terms of attaining His righteousness through faith and attaining the present and future aspects of the resurrection 3:8-11

a) Re-Statement: Paul continues to count everything as a liability (loss) because of the one supreme value of a personal knowledge of Christ Jesus his Lord 3:8a

b) Filth Compared to Christ’s Righteousness: In Paul’s relationship with Christ he lost everything of “personal assets”, but he considers all of those “assets” to be like unspeakable filth for the goal of gaining Christ and being found in relationship with Him with His righteousness through faith rather than Paul’s own personal righteousness through keeping the Law 3:8b-9

c) Filth Compared to The Resurrection: Paul considers his former “personal assets” as unspeakable filth for the goal of experientially knowing Christ in the (inward) power of his resurrection and in the sharing in (fellowship of) his death (to sin)88 as he continually conforms89 himself to Christ’s death in the hope of attaining the resurrection from the dead90 3:10-11

3. Warning--Against Perfection Now:91 Even though there are those among the Philippians who consider themselves to be “perfect” in their experiential knowledge of Christ, Paul informs them that he is not perfect, but strives for perfection and urges them to adopt the same attitude in the state where they presently are 3:12-16

a. Lack of Perfection Stated: Paul affirms that he is not claiming (in his above focus upon Christ) that he has presently grasped perfection in his experiential understanding of Christ, but that he presses on (like a runner) that he might comprehend (apprehend) Christ fully just as he was grasped (apprehended) by Christ92 3:12

b. Lack of Perfection Developed: Paul affirms that he does not think that he has yet fully comprehended Christ and that he runs with a focus ahead towards the goal of the prize of fully knowing Christ 3:13-14

1) Christ Is Not Fully Comprehended: Paul again affirms to his brothers (some of whom believe that they have reached perfection) that he does not think (in a weighed calculation) that he has yet fully comprehended Christ93 3:13a

2) Pressing On Toward Perfect Knowledge of Christ: Paul affirms that as a runner he continually runs with a focus ahead towards the goal of the prize of fully knowing Jesus Christ 3:13b-14

a) The Runner: Paul runs as a focused runner on the one hand forgetting what lies behind him94 and on the other hand stretching out toward what lies ahead of him 3:13b

b) The Race: Paul runs as a focused runner as he runs toward the goal-marker95 straight for the prize to which God calls him, namely Christ Jesus96 3:14

3) Exhortation: Paul exhorts the Philippians to adopt his attitude about perfection even though some disagree with him knowing that God will reveal his view to them and encouraging them to fall in line at the level of knowledge that they already have 3:15-16

a) Have the Same Attitude: Therefore (ου῏ν), Paul exhorts all who are “perfect”97 to have the same attitude (namely, that Christian perfection is in reality a constant striving for perfection) 3:15a

b) God Will Reveal This Truth: Paul assures those of the Philippians who have a different attitude (toward perfection than his) that God will reveal to them the truth about this98 3:15b

c) Fall in Line: Regardless of the difference,99 Paul exhorts all of the Philippians to live up to (to be in line with)100 whatever level of knowledge they have already comprehended about Christ 3:16

4. Pauls Life--A Model to Imitate:101 Paul urges the Philippians to unify as imitators of him and those who live according to the pattern he gave them as they run toward perfection 3:17

a. Imitate Paul: Paul urges the Philippians, as his brothers, to continue to join with one another in imitating him (as he runs toward “perfection”) 3:17a

b. Imitate Others Following Paul: Paul urges the Philippians to run with their eyes on those102 who live according to the pattern that he gave them 3:17b

5. Warning--Against Imitating Other Teachers: The reason Paul urges the Philippians to follow him or those living according to his pattern is because he grievously knows that there are many false teachers who are enemies of the cross of Christ being destined for destruction as those who worship the code of the Law and focus upon earthly things 3:18-19

a. Many False Teachers/Leaders: The reason (γὰρ) Paul urges the Philippians to follow him or those living according to his pattern is because there are many who are living as enemies of the cross of Christ103 whom Paul has discussed before and mentions again now with tears of frustration104 3:18

b. A Description of False Teachers:105 Paul describes the false teachers as those who are destined for destruction, who worship the code of the Law and focus upon earthly things 3:19

1) Destruction: The end of false teachers is destruction106 3:19a

2) Code of Law: The god107 of false teachers is obedience to the code of the law (their observance of food laws [“their god is their belly”]108 and their glorying in circumcision [“whose glory is in their shame”)109 3:19b

3) Earthly Things: The focus of false teachers (their mind-set) is upon earthly things110 3:19c

6. Pauls Life--Hope in the Future and Unseen:111 Paul now concludes his discussion of false teachers by expressing his, and all believers’ contrasting hope as citizens of heaven in Christ’s return and cosmic redemption which will specifically include their resurrection bodies 3:20-21

a. A Heavenly Colony: Unlike the Jewish false teachers who are colonies of Rome, Paul affirms that he and the Philippians have their citizenship in heaven and thus they eagerly await their Savior from heaven--the Lord Jesus Christ 3:20

b. Personal and Cosmic Redemption: Paul affirms that when Jesus comes from heaven he will transform their lowly bodies into bodies like his glorious one as part of his energizing ability to subdue and subject the universe to His authority 3:21

D. Stand Firm in the Lord For The Sake of Harmony and Unity:112 Paul urges the Philippians, whom he dearly loves, to stand firm in the Lord by seeking harmony and unity through helping those in disagreement, having confidence in the good and able work of the Lord during difficulties, being reasonable with all people, praying to God for help, and focusing their thoughts on the good in the body in the way in which Paul has taught them through word and example (4:1-9)

1. Exhortation to Stand Firm: Paul urges the Philippians, whom he loves and longs for as those who presently bring him joy and will be the source of his future reward, to stand firm in the Lord by seeking harmony and unity113 (4:1)

2. Specific Ways to Stand Firm: When Paul urges the Philippians to “stand firm” he is exhorting them to seek harmony and unity in the church by helping those in disagreement, by having confidence in the good and able work of the Lord during difficulties, by being reasonable with all people, by praying to God for help, and by focusing their thoughts on the good in the body in the way in which Paul has taught them through word and example (4:2-9)

a. Helping Those in Disagreement: Paul urges a true yoke-fellow (perhaps the entire Philippian church) to help Eudia and Syntyche, who were co-laborers with Paul in the spread of the gospel along with Clement and others and who are in the book of life, to live in harmony with each other114 (4:2-3)

b. Rejoicing: Paul emphatically urges the Philippians to constantly rejoice in the Lord115 4:4

c. Being Reasonable: Paul urges the Philippians to be magnanimous (reasonable)116 with all people with a sense that the Lord’s return is imminent (near)117 4:5

d. Praying: Paul urges the Philippians not to worry, but to pray to God for help with thanksgiving and the Lord will miraculously resolve tensions (the peace of God) in their hearts and their thinking 4:6-7

e. Focusing on the Good: Paul urges the Philippians to focus their thoughts on the good in the body for peace from God as Paul has demonstrated to them (4:8-9)

IV. Gratitude Expressed for the Philippians’ Generosity:118 Although Paul is clear to express that he was not in dire need as one who learned to be self-sufficient of the world because of his dependence upon God, he does affirm the beautiful partnership that they have had in his afflictions through their gifts and emphasize that they were pleasing to God whereupon he prays that the Lord might in return supply for their physical needs in accordance with His great riches to the glory of their Father (4:10-20)

A. Praise: Paul, knowing that the Philippians have always cared for him but were not always able to show it, expresses great joy in the Lord that the Philippians’ concern for him has once again blossomed119 4:10

B. Disclaimer with Thanks: Paul does not give thanks as one who was in dire need because he was not since he had learned to be self-sufficient from the world’s ups and downs through the One who continually infuses him with strength, nevertheless, Paul does recognize the beauty in the Philippians becoming partners in his afflictions 4:11-13

1. Statement of No Need: Paul does not give thanks as one who was in dire need (in his poverty and thus needed their help)120 4:11a

2. The Reason is Enabled-Contentment: The reason Paul did not have dire “need” for help was because he has learned to be self-sufficient (free from inner worry, how to cope, αὐτάρκης) in every situation which he might find himself through the One who continuously infuses him121 with strength--whether the situation is one of being humbled122 or abounding, being well-fed or hungry, having enough or too little123 4:11b-13

3. Thanks for Partnership: Nevertheless, Paul does recognize the beauty (καλῶς) in the Philippians becoming partners with him in his troubles124 4:14

C. Paul Affirms Partnership: Paul affirms the partnership that the Philippians have had with him in the ministry of the gospel since its earliest days in Macedonia, not to receive more, but out of a desire for them to receive credit for it from the Lord affirming that their last gift not only abundantly supplied for Paul, but was received as a pleasing sacrifice by the Lord 4:15-18

1. Early Partnership: Paul affirms that the Philippians know as well as he125 that it was they alone who entered into a partnership with him when the gospel was in its beginning in Macedonia and when he was in Thessalonica 4:15-16

2. Paul does not acknowledge the past generosity of the Philippians in order to receive more, but because he desires for them to receive credit for this from the Lord126 4:17

3. Paul officially proclaims that he has received all that the Philippians have given in full127 being fully supplied with the gifts through Epaphroditus, and identifies them as a pleasing sacrifice to Christ128 4:18

D. Paul Prays for the Philippians: In return for the Philippians’ partnership in Paul’s hardships he prays that God would meet129 their every physical need in accordance with the marvelous wealth (in glory) in Christ Jesus giving glory to God their Father for all of this forever and ever 4:19-20

V. CONCLUSION: Paul concludes his letter to the Philippians by giving greetings to each saint, sending greetings from the brothers with him, all of the saints and the imperial household, and praying that they might experience Christ’s unifying grace (4:21-23)

A. Paul urges the Philippians to give his greetings to the saints and sends greetings from the brothers with him, all of the saints, and especially those of the imperial household 4:21-22

1. Paul urges the Philippians to give his greetings to every one of the saints130 in Christ Jesus 4:21a

2. Paul sends greetings from the brothers who are with him, all of the saints and especially those of the imperial household 4:21b-22

B. Paul prays for grace from the Lord Jesus Christ’s to be with their spirit131 (4:23)


1 In a unique fashion Paul includes Timothy with the descriptions of servant (or more literally slave) by making the term plural. Perhaps already Paul is emphasizing the theme of unity in this letter as he affirms that relationships in the church are those of humble equality (see Hawthorne, Philippians, pp. 3-4).

2 Paul is not emphasizing their ethical character so much as their special relationship which is because of their relationship with Christ Jesus.

3 Note that (1) these could be two groups “bishops and deacons” or one group “bishops even deacons”, (2) Paul does distinguish them from the congregation, (3) Paul addresses them second and along with the congregation, and (4) at this time there is a plurality of both.

The bishops were originally appointed by the apostle and his companions (cf. Acts 14:23) to in some sense govern, administer, and oversee the affairs, both material and spiritual, of the community (cf. Acts 20:28)

The deacons were involved with service and ministering to others as the heart of their activity caring for the needs of the poor and sick in the community (Acts 6; Rom. 12:7; 16:1-2; 1 Cor. 12:28). However, these were also significant spiritual leaders as Philip and Stephen demonstrate in Acts 6--8!

Perhaps Paul includes them in his greeting along with the saints not so much to honor them as leaders in the church (note they are mentioned second), but to suggest that they, like he and Timothy, need to realize that authority also means responsibility and unity in service. As Hawthorne writes, “How is one to begin to attack selfishness and disunity? By subtly showing from the very beginning that in the church seniority and high calling do not put one Christian leader above another (Paul and Timothy together are one--they are slaves of Christ Jesus) and that ‘church supervisors’ are not above serving, but are by virtue of their office, called to serve (to be diakonoi) ministering to the needs of their fellows” (Hawthorne, Philippians, p. 13).

4 Although this is a standard greeting by Paul in his letters, it is particularly applicable here since the Philippians need to be gracious to one another in order to experience peace in their congregation.

5 While this certainly refers to their faith and own efforts of evangelism, it also includes their financial support, and thus κοινωνία, as partners so that he could spread the good news (cf. Rom. 15:26; 2 Cor. 8:4; 9:13).

6 Note their financial support of Paul (Phil. 4:16; 2 Cor. 11:9; Phil. 4:10,18).

7 This verse is often understood to refer to “God’s redeeming and renewing work” in their lives. However, when tied to its context of verse 5, the good work is their partnership with Paul in the Gospel wherein they shared their resources with him to make its proclamation possible (cf. 2 Cor. 8:6).

8 Paul is certain that the Philippians would never cease sharing their good gifts to help spread the gospel until the return of Christ took place.

9 The Greek is ambiguous, “διὰ τὸ ε῎χειν με ἐν τῇ καρδίᾳ ὑμᾶς.” It is more probable that they are holding Paul in affection than that he is holding them in affection since justification for the way Paul feels about the Philippians has its basis in their affection for him (cf. Hawthorne, Philippians, p. 22-23).

10 Grace probably does not refer to general favor (salvation-grace), but to Paul’s apostolic commission to preach the gospel (cf. Rom. 1:5; 12:3,6; 1 Cor. 3:10; Gal. 2:9; Eph. 3:2).

11 This may well be describing his actual defense before Caesar rather than a general defense of the Gospel. Paul often combined the two (cf. Acts 22ff).

12 Perhaps Paul takes this oath as a defense against those in the church who were not convinced that he had the right to lead them, or that he loved them.

13 These are the feelings of gratitude, joy and confidence which he as articulated in verse 3-6.

14 The Greek is, “ἐν σπλάγχνοις Χριστοῦ ᾿Ιησοῦ.” Paul loves the Philippians with the very emotions of Christ.

15 This of course means that they have not yet reached absolute maturity.

16 This is to be a discriminating love accompanied by knowledge and understanding--intellectual and moral insight concerning the nature of God and wise decisions.

17 All of these terms describe the Philippians in relationship with others: pure, harmless, and good through the work of Jesus Christ in their lives which shows the greatness of God.

18 The “day of Christ” probably refers to the coming judgment seat of Christ (cf. 1 Cor. 3:10-15).

19 Paul begins this section with the statement, “I want you to know.” This formula seems to direct attention to and gives important information about the safety, the activities, the feelings, and so on of the sender (Hawthorne, Philippians, p. 33).

Although this passage is personal, it does not focus attention upon Paul; rather, it draws attention to his mission and the progress of the gospel (Ibid.).

20 Not only have Roman soldiers heard the gospel, but he has brought it before rulers (Felix, Festus, King Herod Agrippa, and soon Caesar).

21 It does not seem that these were Judaizers since Paul did not consider their message to be a true expression of the Gospel (cf. Gal. 1:6-9). They are preaching Christ, but their motives are wrong. Nevertheless, it is possible that they were working hard to provide a mediating role between Christianity and Judaism, so they objected to Paul’s stance of “liberty from the Law.” Therefore, they preached their version of Christ and spoke against Paul.

Other suggestions are that these preachers desired for Paul to be martyred as a true vocation for an apostle (like Jesus and Stephen) and were angry that he was appealing to Rome. Or Perhaps they saw Paul’s weakness as a sign of weakness for an apostle who was to know the triumphant power of Christ (Hawthorne, Philippians, pp. 37-38).

22 The Greek reads, “ἀλλὰ καὶ χαρήσομαι.” This use of “but” (ἀλλὰ) moves the letter on to a new topic--”I am glad Christ is being preached. and in addition I will be glad for still another reason.” (Hawthorne, Philippians, p. 39).

23 One does not know how Paul knows this. Perhaps he is expressing a confidence based upon God and Scripture in that he will be saved from his plight and vindicated (cf. the LXX of Job 13:16).

Although the deliverance may have a hint of ultimate salvation, it seems more probably that Paul has his imprisonment in mind (cf. 1:24-26).

24 Paul often asked for prayer in his difficulties (cf. Rom. 15:30-31; 1 Thess. 5:25; 2 Thess. 3:1-2; 2 Cor. 1:9-11; Col. 4:3; Philem. 22).

25 The Spirit will give Paul assistance as he bears witness to his faith (cf. Mk. 13:11; Matt. 10:20; Lk. 12:12; Acts 5).

26 This title may be just another name for the Spirit. As Hawthorne writes, “the Spirit who animated Jesus in his human life and who, in the risen Christ, is the life principle of believers” (Philippians, p. 41).

27 This unit plays off of the words in 1:20, “whether by life or death” meaning in all of Paul’s life. Paul will now explain what he meant by this image in an excursus as he thinks about what would be profitable for himself.

28 Paul is probably making this choice because God has made it for him in that he expects to be delivered from prison. Paul is not choosing heaven over earth himself. It is not for him to choose.

29 Perhaps this conviction grew out of the things he had learned about problems at Philippi (cf. 2:1-4,14; 4:2-3).

30 This has the sense of doctrine--understanding and practicing the truth of God (cf. 1:27; 1 Tim. 3:9; 4:1,6; 5:8; 6:10,21; Jude 3).

31 See Philippians 3:3, “Our pride is in Christ Jesus”.

32 The transition from discussions about himself to exhortations to the community is subtle with the use of the term “only” (Μόνον). Immediately one is in a parenetic section.

33 Again, this probably refers to “creed” (e.g., what they believe; cf. 1 Tim. 3:9; 4:1,6; 5:8; 6:10,21; Jude 3).

34 It is difficult at this stage to identify the opponents Paul has in view: (1) they could be the Gentiles who persecuted Paul in Philippi (Acts), but this may not be an adequate explanation, (2) they could be Judaizers who either resided in Philippi or came from Thessalonica who were proclaiming a “false gospel” (cf. Acts 17:1-5, 10-13). If so this would be the same group against whom Paul speaks in chapter three.

35 Hawthorne seems to be correct when he identifies η῞τις in verse 28 with τῇ Πίστει in verse 27 (feminine singular; Philippians, pp. 58-59).

36 Through persecution and ultimately death.

37 Hawthorne is correct when he writes, “Redemptive history teaches that those who believe the Word of God, who uncompromisingly speak this Word and unyieldingly live in accordance with it often pay for their courage and resolution with their lives--from the ancient prophets to Jesus (Matt. 5:12; 23:29-37; cf. 21:33-46)” (Philippians, p. 60).

For Paul’s suffering see Acts 16:16-24; 1 Thessalonians 2:2.

38 This unit is closely tied to the previous one with the conjunction “therefore” (ου῏ν) by Paul’s repetition of the idea of harmony as an essential element for Christian community and their defense of the gospel (cf. 1:27; 2:2).

39 Hawthorne seems to be correct when he writes, “Other concepts such as humility and self-sacrifice (2:3-4) are added, not to divert attention away from the fundamental concept of unity, but to show that unity of spirit flows from humility of spirit, and self-sacrifice flows from a willingness to restrain one’s own desires in order to satisfy the desires of others” (Philippians, p. 64).

40 This is emotions, attitudes, and will focused toward unity (τὸ αὐτὸ φρονῆτε; cf. Rom. 12:16; 15:5; 2 Cor. 13:11; Phil. 4:2).

41 The term is σύμψωχοι perhaps emphasizing the sense of “with one soul (μιᾷ ψυχη) as in 1:27. As Hawthorne writes, “the Philippians are to share one soul, possess a common affection, desire, passion, sentiment for living in harmony...” (Philippians, p. 68).

42 This is a repetition of Paul from above (ε῞ν φρονοῦντες). As Hawthorne writes, “Paul repeats the same idea over and over again, hoping that the Philippians will get the point. Unity is essential for the spiritual growth of the church, the progress of the gospel and the victory of believers over their adversaries” (Philippians, p. 68).

43 The preponderance of material on this passage generally agrees that this was a hymn of the early church. That, however, is about as far as their congruence extends. Who wrote the hymn, and how its strophes are to be divided is greatly debated.

Nevertheless, there is a twofold division which can be found in the passage: (1) that which describes Jesus’ humiliation by his own act [with the first two verbs], and (2) that which describes God’s exaltation of Jesus [with the last two verbs].

There may also be parallels with this hymn and John 13:3-17 (see Hawthorne, Philippians, pp. 78-79).

44 The term for “this” (τοῦτο) probably looks backwards rather than forward to the thinking which he has just exhorted them to have twice in 2:2 (φρονεῖτε).

45 While this hymn has enormous Christological truth, Paul uses it in this passage as an ethical example for the Philippians to follow! He is not giving instruction in doctrine so much as instruction in Christian living by appealing to the conduct of Christ (cf. also Rom. 15:1-7; 1 Cor. 10:31--11:1; 2 Cor. 8:6-9; 1 Thess. 1:6; 1 Pet. 2:20-21; 3:17-18).

Concerning the point of this hymn Hawthorne writes, “Paul found it compatible with his own ideas about Christ and precisely fit to illustrate what he wished to teach the Philippians, namely that the surest way up is by stepping down, the surest way to gain for oneself is by giving up oneself, the surest way to life is by death, the surest way to win the praise of God is by steadfastly serving others. The Philippians had been acting in a spirit of ambition, thinking themselves better than others, believing that they were above serving their fellows, studying how they might promote themselves and get ahead without giving adequate attention to the welfare of their neighbor. Christ of the Christ-hymn, however, challengers every one of these false values of the Philippians. He becomes, therefore, for Paul the ultimate model for moral action” (Philippians, p. 95).

46 The preposition ἐν emphasizes a sphere in which Christ existed, or a garment in which Christ was wrapped or clothed (cf. Luke 7:25). While “form” is elusive of a precise definition (glory, image, Mode of being, condition or status), it does express the way in which a thing, being what it is in itself, appears to our senses (Hawthorne, Philippians, pp. 82-83). It describes the essential nature or character of God in verse 6 and of man in verse 7. In verse 6 this may bring us back to “glory” as a possible explanation (cf. John 17:5).

47 Hawthorne writes, “But contrary to what one might expect, the true nature of God is not to grasp or get or selfishly to hold on to things for personal advantage, but to give them up for the enrichment of all” (Philippians, p. 95).

48 “Himself” is in the emphatic position perhaps emphasizing that this was voluntary on the part of Jesus.

The views of what He emptied himself of are numerous: (1) of his glory, (2) of his independent exercise of authority, (3) of the prerogatives of deity, (4) of the insignia of majesty, (5) of the “relative” attributes of deity--omniscience, omnipresence, and omnipotence, et cetera.

Hawthorne suggests that the term can also mean “to pour out” and that “himself” can be its direct object--Christ poured out himself, putting himself totally at the disposal of people, becoming poor that we might become rich (2 Cor. 8:9; Eph. 1:23; 4:10; Philippians, p. 84).

49 He did not “look” like a slave but became a slave as He took on the nature and characteristic attributes of a slave--He become a slave.

Jesus entered human life as a slave--a person without advantage, with no rights of privileges, at the service of all mankind (Mark 10:45; Luke 22:27) in his mission for God.

50 The term, ὁμοιώματι, has the sense of “likeness,” “similarity,” even “identity;” Christ was in all respects like other human beings (Heb. 4:15).

51 This is how Jesus was discovered or recognized to be -- a man!

52 Christ’s self-emptying was achieved by becoming what He was not before; his “emptying” was not by “subtracting from”, but by “adding to”.

53 Hawthorne ties this to the argument well when he writes, “This means that as a man Christ did not strive for some pinnacle of human achievement. He did not stand where the people of Philippi apparently stood (cf. v 3)--’not where the battle was fought for honour, right and credit’ (Barth). Instead, his whole life was characterized by self-surrender, self-renunciation and self-sacrifice--’he humbled himself becoming obedient unto death’” (Philippians, p. 89).

54 Jesus set himself to obey God by serving humankind (cf. Heb. 10:7 with Luke 19:10; Mark 10:45).

The cross was not a natural death, but a degrading criminal’s death.

55 Whereas in the first part Christ was the acting subject of all the verbs, now in the last half it is God who acts and Christ is the object.

56 This conjunction means that God’s activity was a logical outcome of Christ’s humility. Self humbling leads inevitably to exaltation (cf. John 13:3-17; Matt. 16:25-26; Phil. 3:7-8).

57 Jesus is not made higher than he was, but is above all things in a superlative sense even though he was very lowly.

58 This was not in stages as the humiliation was; God in one dramatic act lifted Christ from the depths to the heights.” This no doubt occurred at the resurrection-ascension (cf. Acts 2:32,33; 5:30,31; Eph. 1:20,21).

59 He not only posses the title of Lord, but he is Lord (Matt. 28:18; cf. Eph. 1:20-21; Acts 2:36)!

60 While this is a purpose, it is not a guarantee to occur. Christ has worked that all may choose to submit to Him, but they will not be forced to do so against their will (cf. Rev. 9:20,21; 16:9,11).

61 This probably includes all beings--angels, men and demons. Perhaps the phraseology is an expression of universality through the contemporary perception of a three-storied universe.

62 The One who was completely obedient must now be completely obeyed.

63 This has the OT sense of God (YHWH; cf. Isa. 45:22-23).

64 Whenever anyone does confess Jesus as Lord, God himself is pleased, the Father is glorified, his purposes are fulfilled, his hopes for the world are realized (Hawthorne, Philippians, p. 96).

65 As the imperatives imply, this is still part of the larger parenetic section of 1:27--2:18.

66 Although verses 12-13 may have a reference to the Christ-hymn, these imperatives reach back to 1:27--2:5 as Paul addresses the church’s party spirit, selfishness, conceit, pride, and arrogance.

67 The term is the same in 2:8 and 2:12 (ὑπακούειν).

68 See Exodus 15--17; Numbers 14--17; 1 Corinthians 10:10.

69 In addition to the example of Christ in 2:5-11, Paul now offers himself as an model of one willing to sacrifice his life in service for the Philippians to emulate.

70 See 1 Corinthians 3; 2 Corinthians 5:10; Philippians 1:10.

71 Hawthorne writes, “In the ancient world sacrifices both pagan and Jewish were usually accompanied and completed by a libation of wine poured out either on top of the sacrifice or at the foot of the altar to honor the deity (2 Kings 16:13; Jer 7:18; Hos 9:4)” (Philippians, p. 105).

72 These are those who will help the Philippians (Timothy and Paul), and who illustrate self-sacrificing service.

73 It seems that those who are among Paul are unwilling to interrupt their own present ministries in order to help the church in Philippi. Paul interprets this as a selfish pursuit of their own interests rather than the cause of Christ.

74 This information about Epaphroditus is not only given to inform the Philippians, but to give another illustration of the self-sacrificing service that is demanded of all Christians which he has been talking about above (1:28--2:30).

75 Perhaps the Philippians sent Ephahroditus not only with their gift, but to be a more permanent member of his staff of co-workers.

76 This might be either for being responsible for Ephahroditus’ well being, or for the state of the Philippians church since Ephahroditus would be there to help them resolve their differences.

77 Perhaps Paul is anticipating a negative response to Ephahroditus’ early return. He affirms that there were no problems, but that Ephahroditus should be honored.

78 The structure of this unit is built around an interchange between warnings and Paul’s life as a model (See Hawthorne, Philippians, pp. xlix):

(1) Warning against circumcision and pride 3:1-3

(2) Paul’s life 3:4-11

(3) Warning against perfection now 3:12-16

(4) Paul’s life 3:17

(5) Warning against imitating other teachers 3:18-19

(6) Paul’s life 3:20-21

79 The term Τὸ λοιπόν could well be used to describe the end of a letter (“finally,” or “in conclusion”), but it may also mark a transition to a new topic as it seems to here (“and now,” “furthermore,” “well then” cf. 1 Thess. 4:1; 2 Thess. 3:1).

80 This is a major theme of this epistle (χαίρετε, cf. 1:18; 2:17-18,28; 3:1; 4:4,10).

81 Although one cannot be completely certain, the following descriptions seem to match a Jewish setting.

82 This was a term which Jews used of Gentiles whom they thought defiled them. Paul now turns it around upon the Jews who are defiling with their teaching the pure church.

83 Again this is a play on terms since the Jews considered themselves to be workers of good by obeying the Law. But their reliance upon works now is evil against the work of Christ as they interfere with the role of faith for the Christian.

84 This is another play on words; the covenant through Abraham which circumcision is spiritually realized through Christ (cf. Rom. 2:28-29; Col. 3:11). Now their insistence upon circumcision becomes that which mutilates the body (κατατομή; περιτομή).

85 See John 4:23-24; Romans 12:1; 1 Peter 2:5.

86 This unit is linked to the previous one through the word “confidence” (πεποιθότες, vv. 3,4). Paul uses himself as “an authentic Jew” to be an example of what it means not to have “confidence” in the flesh. As Hawthorne writes Paul permits, “the Philippians to understand, not abstractly but concretely, what it means to consider oneself no longer religious except through the Spirit, no longer able to boast except in Christ Jesus, and no longer able to rely on human privilege or achievement to gain favor with God ...” (Philippians, p. 130).

Paul “boasts” to diminish the status of his opponents by implicitly faulting them for not being his equal. When he disparages personal assets he does so as one who has resources and achievements, but knows that he has nothing without Christ.

87 Paul has abandoned his past “advantages” because they were the very things which kept him from coming to God (cf. Acts 9).

88 See Romans 6; Galatians 2:19-20. Paul is not saying that he wishes to suffer martyrdom with Christ, but that he wishes to know Christ who suffered and died for Him, and therefore, to know that he has suffered and died in Christ, only to be resurrected in him to a new and superlative kind of life (cf. Hawthorne, Philippians, p. 123-144).

89 This term, συμμορφίζεσθαι, is similar to the vocabulary in Romans 6:5,8; cf. also 6:10-11; Eph. 2:5

90 Paul does not doubt that he will be resurrection, but he is expressing a humility which is dependent upon the Lord’s grace and mercy. As Hawthorne writes, “Thus it is, in a deep sense of humility and trust, of expectation and hope, that Paul looks forward to the future and to his own bodily resurrection from among the dead” (Philippians, p. 148).

91 Paul is continuing his emphasis upon knowing Christ from the above verses as he describes the reality that no one (not even he) can know Christ fully in this lifetime. Nevertheless, he will continue to pursue Him as a runner toward a prize. However, the passage may also be a warning against the Jewish false-teachers who affirmed that a person who has been circumcised and is true to the Law can reach perfection (cf. Rigaux, NTS 4[1957-58]: 237-262]). Hence, Paul is reminding the Philippians that such perfection cannot be attained apart from knowing Christ and apart from the resurrection at the last day (cf. 3:21).

92 While this may have the sense of being chosen by Christ for a specific task (Gal. 1:15-16; 4:9; cf. Amos 3:2), it probably refers to his Christ-encounter on the Damascus road when Christ laid his hand upon him setting him in a new direction (cf. 1 Cor. 15:8-10).

93 If this is not true for the apostle Paul, then it is probably not true for others.

94 These are probably the very things he has previously discussed--his former assets which became his liabilities (e.g., his zeal for Judaism at the expense of Christ’s church).

95 This is the post at the end of the race upon which the runner fixes his attention . Hawthorne suggest that, “since it originally was intended to give direction to the runner and incentive to his flagging energies, one might guess, then, that Paul meant by σκοπός anything or anyone that kept the believer from straying from the course of the Christian life, or from slackening in his moral strivings” (Philippians, p. 154).

96 “The prize of the upward call” need not be appositional, meaning that the “prize” is identical with God’s “call.” It could be an allusion to the call in the Olympian games where the victor’s name, his father’s name, and his country were announced or called out whereupon he received a palm branch (cf. G. Glotz, “Hellenodikai,” in C. Daremberg and E. Saglio [eds.], Dictionaire des antiqués et romaines [Paris: Hachette, 1900-1963] 3,2,60-64; cited in Hawthorne, Philippians, p. 154).

Paul is awaiting God’s calling of his name, and to receive the praise which is contained in Christ Jesus.

97 In a touch of irony, since Paul has already clearly stated that he was not prefect in his comprehension of Christ (cf. 3:12), Paul exhorts those who suppose they have reached perfection to nevertheless take the following view of things (e.g., forgetting the past and pressing on toward the goal). Christian perfection only consists of a constant striving for perfection). What is important is not what I have become, but what I am becoming (Luther).

98 This is a good verse for the doctrine of illumination (cf. also Eph. 1:18-19: “I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the surpassing greatness of his power toward us who believe”).

99 The Greek is πλὴν --a term meant to break off the discussion meaning “in any case”.

100 This term is again emphasizing harmony and mutual cooperation in spite of the differences which exist.

101 This verse may be transitional between warnings against the belief that one can be perfect now (3:12-16) and against the belief that external rituals can be a means of grace (3:18-19). Paul is presenting his life as an example of striving toward greater moral endeavors.

102 This would be people like Epaphroditus (2:25-30).

103 This is the strongest hint that these are unbelievers. They are opposed to the belief in salvation through the crucified and resurrected Christ.

104 Paul is probably weeping because he now knows that these Judaizers will probably never change nor abate their hostility toward him and his gospel message.

105 See 3:2 for a similar description of these enemies of the cross.

There are many suggestions for the identity of these false teachers whom Paul does not name: (1) Jewish Christians, (2) heathen who opposed the Christian gospel, (3) antinomian Christians, (4) Christians with gnostic tendencies, (5) Christians who were willing to deny Christ in the time of persecution and the threat of martyrdom, (6) Christians who refused to recognize the decisive eschatological nature of the Cross and Resurrection of Christ, (6) the same group addressed in 3:12-16--Jews who were ardent propagandists seeking to win converts to their religion in every part of the world. This last group may be the best choice, and I would identify them as unbelieving Judaizers.

106 Because they are enemies of the cross of Christ there is no other way for them than destruction.

107 These false teachers worked so hard at performing their religious practices that they made them their god.

108 See Colossians 2:16,20-21,23; cf. Heb. 9:10; Mark 7:1-16.

109 Hawthorne notes well the significance of Paul’s descriptions in this verse: “What makes this section so poignant is that Paul takes the most exalted religious and ethical austerity of those he would warn against and describes it in terms which, if found in any other context, would have to be understood as a description of the basest of bodily sins. But this is intentional. That is precisely how Jewish piety ‘really does look, seen from the standpoint of the preaching of the cross.... Of course Paul is speaking of depravity, but the fact that he brands as depraved those who, bypassing the cross of Christ and bypassing faith and its righteousness, call for holiness and cleanness--that he drags their glory in the mire (he may well and truly do it, after having done exactly the same with his won glory in vv 7-9)--that is the bitter point of vv [18-19]’ (Barth)” (Philippians, pp. 167-168).

110 Since the false teachers became so engrossed with their religious ritual (earthly things), they lost any ability to look up to God who was the essence behind the symbols (cf. Col. 3:2).

111 This may also have been an early hymn in the church as with 2:6-11. It is given in contrast to the description of the false teachers. Unlike the false teachers who were a Jewish colony of the Roman empire on earth, Christians are a colony of heaven on earth. Christians are not earthly-minded, but look toward their future redemption through Christ (see especially Hawthorne, Philippians, pp. 169-170).

112 Paul is now making a transition from the polemical portion of this unit to the close of this unit with exhortations, expressions of gratitude, words of farewell, and so on.

113 “Harmony” and “unity” are the content of what follows in his commands which are themselves the content of the term “thus” or “this” (ου῞τως).

114 Perhaps their division threatened the unity of the church as people were taking sides.

115 Paul is not urging them to always “put on a happy face” even in times of mourning, but to have confidence in God’s good and able working even during difficult times.

116 The term is ἐπιεικὲς describing a “sweet reasonableness” as opposed to a “strict justice” which overlooks people for the “letter of the law”. It is descriptive of one who does not demand his “full rights” (cf. 1 Tim. 3:3; Titus 3:2; 1 Pet. 2:18; James 3:17). Perhaps Paul has in mind enduring harassment of the false teachers whom he has just described.

117 The sense could be that one should be reasonable because the Lord is close by, present to aid and give assistance, but the sense is to probably to endure because the Lord is about to return resulting in deliverance, future reward and the judgment of evil (cf. 1 Cor. 16:22; Heb. 10:24-25; James 5:8; Rev. 1:7; 3:11; 22:20; cf. 2 Thess. 1:7-8).

118 Paul may have saved this discussion of the Philippian gift until the end of the letter because of its delicate nature. Although Paul affirmed his right as an apostle to receive support from the churches, he often emphasizes his policy of not receiving support from the churches so that he might provide the gospel without charge (cf. 1 Thess. 2:9; 2 Thess. 3:8-9). Therefore, Paul now writes a, “careful reply that combined cautious gratitude with a gentile but firm demand that they not henceforth infringe on his own self-reliance.

The very structure of this section makes clear what has just been said. It exhibits a nervous alternation back and forth between Paul’s appreciation on the one hand (vv 10, 14-16, 18-20), and his insistence on his own independence and self-sufficiency on the other (vv 11-13, 17)” (Hawthorne, Philippians, p. 195; cf. also Buchanan, EvQ 36 [1964]: 161-163; Glombitza, NovT [1964-65]: 135-141).

119 For some reason there was a lack of communication by the Philippians to Paul for a period. But now they have expressed their concern for him again--probably through the gift which Epaphroditus brought (4:18).

120 Paul is thankful for their truly Christian deed of sacrificial self-giving love (cf. 2 Cor. 8:5), and not because of his need.

121 The “all things” of “I can do all things” does not speak of “everything” so much as both the good and bad situations which he has just described above.

The paradox is that the secret of Paul’s independence was his dependence upon Another--Christ!

122 See Paul’s model, Christ (2:8).

123 Paul is expressing an independence of the world through his dependence upon God!

124 This is very close to a “thank you” (cf. Acts 10:32; 2 Pet. 1:19; 3 John 6).

125 That Paul even needs to say this is a hint that the Philippians sensed a faint rebuke in their giving. But Paul did not wish to offend them. Therefore, he does emphasize their partnership with him.

126 See 2 Corinthians 9:8-11; Luke 19:11-27.

127 This is technical accounting language. Hawthorne translates this, “Here, then, is my receipt for everything you have given me” (Philippians, p. 193).

128 Although they were given to Paul, Christ is ultimately the one who receives them (cf. Matt. 10:40-42; 25:31-40; Acts 9:3-5).

129 This is probably an aorist optative (πληρώσται); see Hawthorne for support (Philippians, p. 208).

130 Perhaps Paul does not mention anyone in particular in order to emphasize their equality--they were each equally dear to him.

131 Paul writes, “your spirit” (πνεύματος ὑμῶν) in order to emphasize the unified spirit which he desire for the church to have.

Related Topics: Introductions, Arguments, Outlines