Philippians: An Ancient Thank You Letter

A Study of Paul & His Ministry Partners' Relationship

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Passage: 

1. Introduction

Although they have existed through the centuries, partnerships between missionaries and churches have recently become a topic of greater interest both in church and in mission circles. Churches and mission leaders are increasingly aware of how they need each other to accomplish the tasks God has given them. Different forms of that partnership are being discussed and worked out.

As popular as this theme is becoming, and as well developed as it is in Paul’s brief letter to the congregation in Philippi, it is ironic that so few understand how central the missionary-church partnership is in Philippians. The Apostle Paul’s relationship with that young congregation is an outstanding example of how a partnership between a missionary and a church ought to be built. As we will see in the following commentary, this issue is Paul’s central concern in his letter to the congregation in Philippi.

Many churches, especially in the West, want to supplement the traditional partnership role of praying for and financially supporting their career missionaries, but they are unclear about what sort of new partnerships they might build in order to increase their involvement in missions and in the lives of their missionaries.

Many missionary candidates find the idea of developing missions partnerships with local churches overwhelming. They should read Philippians carefully, and see what a high privilege it is for a church to be a part of a missions partnership! Without any sense of embarrassment or apology, Paul tells the congregations that the gifts they have sent him are “a soothing aroma, an acceptable sacrifice, pleasing to God.” These are not the words of a poor orphan going from church door to church door, hoping for a few handouts. These are the words of the Apostle Paul, giving full endorsement to a partnership between churches and missionaries, in which, as the church gives to the missionary, it is as though it were giving holy sacrifices to the sons of Aaron in the Temple of God in Jerusalem! Missionaries today that are supported by local churches give those churches the privilege of participating in the ongoing worldwide ministry of missions, in obedience to the Great Commission.

In this letter we read of a partnership in which missionary and congregation care deeply for one another. This theme of love and concern is expressed explicitly in at least eight verses, and it is implied in others. Growing out of that loving concern, they pray diligently for each other. This “good work” that this partnership produces together is a work of great significance. It is a work that God will continue to the end of the age, and it is a work that will bring great reward from the Lord, if it is done well. It is a work that will be halted neither by Roman chains nor by the whim of popular fashion. The partners of this ministry partnership put the interests of others first and thus imitate our Savior. Both missionary and congregation continue in the “good work” through suffering, and thus participate in Christ’s sufferings. Some workers in this partnership do well, like valued Timothy; others like Epaphroditus, unable to contribute to the work, are sent back to the church. Issues like this are communicated with grace and honesty. The missionary models his deep dependency upon the Lord, not merely for finances, but also for his identity, value, sense of righteousness and ongoing purpose. It is without apology a partnership of giving and receiving, but no manipulative means are ever to be employed. The financial gifts that are a part of that partnership are figuratively referred to as soothing aromas and acceptable sacrifices, just like the animal sacrifices in the Book of Leviticus. It is a partnership which above all brings glory to God, forever and ever.

The Organization of This Book

This study is broken up into several sections. There is a brief section about the city of Philippi, followed by a discussion of Paul and his relationship with the church in Philippi. After that, the place and date of the writing of the letter are briefly discussed, and the purpose of the letter is given. Then this author’s own translation of the letter is presented. It differs in some places from other translations. Sometimes this is simply a different choice of similar words, sometimes because this author has a slightly different understanding of Paul’s intention, and eleven times1 it is because this author accepts the Majority Text view rather than what is called the Critical Text to determine which Greek words were original in the few place the existing Greek manuscripts of Philippians differ from one another.2

After the translation, there is a section titled “Synthesis: How the Letter Unfolds.” Each book of the Bible is great literature (of course, it is much, much more than great literature), and, as great literature, its parts are not arranged in a haphazard way. Each paragraph is tied into the previous one, and each leads on the next. Sometimes these connections are obvious, and sometimes they are more difficult for us to perceive. Sometimes they are marked with a helpful “therefore” or “but,” and sometimes they are not explained at all. The synthesis section attempts to make this flow of thought more clear. It shows how all the paragraphs relate to each another. Understanding the whole flow of thought will deepen our understanding of each individual sentence, just as each sentence must contribute to the overall flow of thought. After the synthesis, the commentary begins. The synthesis and the translation are repeated as the commentary goes through each verse of the letter. Some readers may be interested in the details and comments on Greek words that have been placed in the endnotes.

Philippi: Springs, Gold Mines, Battlefields, and Citizenship

The four centuries between the day Philippi was founded and the day Paul's letter to the church there was first read were filled with a rich history of springs, gold, battles, and political privilege.

The village of Krenides,3 meaning “Springs,” was located on a fertile plain in northeastern Greece. Mount Pangaeus provided protection to the north and northeast, as did the rivers Strymon and Nestos on either side. Likewise a very rocky ridge protected the village from the sea. Those were all good characteristics for a settlement, so it was not surprising that 420 years prior to the writing of Paul's letter to the congregation that would live there, Greek settlers, led by an Athenian, took over the place from local residents.

Four years later, Philip of Macedon conquered Krenides. As pleased as he may have been with the lay of the land, it was the gold and silver mines nearby that attracted him. He fortified the settlement, and renamed it after himself. Krenides became Philippi. Philip of Macedon's miners extracted the huge sum of a thousand talents4 a year from those mines. Since Philip's son, Alexander, conquered so much of that part of the world and brought Greek culture to the whole region, it may not be too much to say that the gold of the Philippian mines bankrolled the Hellenization of the known world. The “goat” prophesied in Daniel 8:5-8 used gold from Philippi for his conquests.

About 230 years before Paul’s letter was written, Rome conquered the area. Then 100 years before Paul’s letter, Mark Antony and Octavian defeated Brutus and Cassius, the assassins of Julius Caesar, in the Battle of Philippi.5 That battle brought fame to Philippi, and many of the victors' army veterans were rewarded with retirement there. Their retirement “pension” would have included tracts of valuable land.6 All that also brought Philippi the elevated status of being a Roman colony, with the high privilege of ius Italicum, or “Italian Law.” This meant that the laws of Rome applied in Philippi, and citizens of Philippi automatically possessed Roman citizenship with all its valuable legal privileges. It meant that the Macedonian provincial government had no authority there, and Philippi was directly under the control of Rome. When Philippi was granted ius Italicum it meant that legally Philippi may as well have been physically located in Italy.

We may think it a shame to be a colony of any empire, but in that day practically the whole known world of the West was a part of the Roman Empire. As a colony enjoying Roman citizenship, “Italian Law,” many tax exemptions, and direct Roman rule, they would perceive themselves with some pride as a branch of victorious Rome rather than a conquered territory. The architecture of Philippi’s buildings, the plan of the city, and the dress of its inhabitants were carefully copied from Rome. They spoke Latin. Doubtless at the time Paul’s letter was written, the children of Philippi knew by heart many stories that began, “When your great-grandfather was an officer under Caesar Augustus he led his men along this path right here and stormed the gates of Brutus' camp – you can still see the ruined gates there….”

Philippi's history produced a mix of cultures and ethnicity, with a strong component of loyalty to Rome. The Philippian congregation, especially the citizens in the congregation, lived with this high status. Their city also enjoyed good agriculture, strategic location and travel routes,7 and a famous school of medicine. In Acts 16:21, when the owners of the slave girl that had been delivered from a demon bring Paul and Silas to the authorities, accusing them of “proclaiming customs that are not lawful for us to receive or practice, we being Romans,” we may detect a bit of the local pride of being a Roman colony. The magistrates' alarm upon learning that Paul and Silas were Roman citizens (Acts 16:38) gives us insight into the protection and privilege of Roman citizenship.

This history of the city of Philippi reaches back to unknown springs, once fabulously rich gold mines, battles between defenders of the Republic and founders of the Empire, and pensioned soldiers.

Paul and Philippi

On his second missionary journey, in about ad 49, Paul and his team8 brought the Gospel to Philippi, as is recounted for us in Acts 16. The congregation in Philippi was the first in Europe of which we have certain knowledge.9 As he left that area, the church helped him financially, according to Philippians 4:15.

While he was in Thessalonica, the Philippian church sent Paul at least two financial gifts according to Philippians 4:16. Later while he was in Corinth some brothers from Macedonia (most likely from Philippi) sent more aid according to 2 Corinthians 11:7-9.

Acts 20:1-6 records two later visits to Macedonia and Philippi at about ad 55-57 on the way to Greece and then on the return trip which ended in Jerusalem. 2 Corinthians 8:1-5 tells is that during this trip the Macedonian believers, again probably in Philippi, made unsolicited contributions to the collection for the believers in Jerusalem. It was in Jerusalem of course that Paul was arrested, an arrest that finally put him under house arrest in Rome. There he probably wrote his letters to the Ephesians, the Philippians, the Colossians, and Philemon, as will be discussed below. While under arrest there, the Philippian congregation sent him a financial gift and the services of Epaphroditus, according to 2:30 and 4:18. Thus they sent Paul at least five gifts, and contributed to the needs of the saints in Jerusalem through him. Even in its purely financial aspects, (though we will see that there were several other aspects as well) this was a serious Gospel partnership.

Place and Date of Writing

Tradition10 and the consensus of scholars agree that Paul wrote the Prison Epistles (Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, and Philemon) from the house arrest in Rome that is described in Acts 28:16-31 sometime in ad 60-62. It has also been suggested that he wrote them during his imprisonment in Caesarea (Acts 23:33–27:1), or during an unrecorded imprisonment in Ephesus.

The tone of optimism of possible release (Philippians 1:19 and 25) does not fit with the imprisonment in Caesarea, nor does the possibility of execution (1:20), because he knew he could always appeal to Caesar. Also, 1:13-17 imply that there was a considerable number of Christian workers preaching the Gospel in town, which is inconsistent with what we know of Caesarea, but consistent with Rome. Furthermore, there would be nothing noteworthy about the whole imperial guard11 of Caesarea knowing that Paul was in chains for Christ (1:13) because in Caesarea the imperial guard was a small group of men. In Rome the term would refer to a group of 9000 men, a remarkable audience. Likewise the “household of Caesar” in 4:22 would seem to point to Rome.

While Ephesus has also been proposed as the location where Paul wrote Philippians, there is no record of Paul ever being imprisoned there. As discussed above, if he were, he would not fear execution in Ephesus because as a Roman citizen he had the right to appeal to Caesar. The one advantage Ephesus has is that it would make the several journeys between the city of origin and Philippi easier to fit into the required time frame.

Between the time Paul was imprisoned to the writing of the letter, the following journeys had to take place:

1. Someone brought the news to Philippi that Paul was imprisoned again.

2. Epaphroditus had to travel from Philippi to Paul with the gift.

3. Someone brought the news to Philippi of Epaphroditus' illness.

4. Someone brought the news to Epaphroditus of how worried the congregation was about him.

Nevertheless there was frequent travel between the Philippian colony and the center of the Empire. The journey from Philippi to Rome could take as little as ten days, and the journey from Rome to Philippi as little as twenty days.12 While it is not a certainty, it does seem most likely that the letter was written while Paul was under house arrest in Rome, in ad 60-62. To allow for those journeys, for the situation of 1:12-18 to develop, for Paul to give up hope that Epaphroditus would recover from his excessive worry, and for the impending judicial decision for or against Paul, the letter would have been written late in that period.

Purpose

The Philippian congregation has become partners with Paul in his missionary work, as manifested by their recent generous giving. Paul writes to thank them and to ensure that they will be the best partners in Gospel ministry they can be, as they make others more important than themselves as Christ did and as they make Christ and His grace their boast and their joy in life.


1 Critical Text vs Majority Text

  • In 3:16 the words rule, and be of one mind are missing in the Critical Text, but they are present in the Majority Text.
  • In 4:13 the word Christ is missing in the Critical Text, but it is present in the Majority Text.
  • Verses 1:16 and 1:17 are in the reverse order.
  • In 4:23 be with you all of the Majority Text is replaced with “be with your spirit” in the Critical Text.
  • In 3:11 resurrection of the dead of the Majority Text is replaced with “resurrection from the dead” in the Critical Text.
  • In 4:23 the word amen of the Majority Text is missing in the Critical Text.
  • In 1:28 the Critical Text reads, “This is to them evidence of destruction, but of your salvation…" but the majority of the manuscripts read “This is on the one hand to them evidence of destruction, but on the other hand to you of salvation…."
  • In 2:30 in the Critical Text he “risks” his own life rather than has no concern for his own life as in the Majority Text.
  • In 1:1 and in 1:8 the words in the Majority Text, Jesus Christ, are in reverse order in the Critical Text.
  • In 2:21 the words in the Majority Text, Christ Jesus, are in reverse order in the Critical Text.

2 The reader may want to read the introductions to the New King James Bible or Zane Hodges' The Greek New Testament for more details about the Majority Text position.

3 Κρηνιδες/Krēnides

4 The weight of a talent varied between 26 and 36 kilograms, or 57 and 80 pounds. At today's gold price one thousand talents of gold would cost about US$560,000,000.

5 Brutus and Cassius had assassinated Julius Caesar in defense of the Roman Republic. Mark Antony and Octavian set out to destroy them and their armies to avenge Julius Caesar's death and to ensure their own takeover of the Roman Republic. It is estimated that both sides threw 100,000 men into the conflict.

6 Eleven years after the Battle of Philippi Mark Antony and Octavian, former allies, fought it out between themselves at the strange naval Battle of Actium, off the western shore of Greece. In the heat of that battle, Antony inexplicably abandoned the fight and followed his famous lover, Cleopatra, with her treasure laden ships, to open sea. Octavian was victorious, the Republic would never be restored, and he was the uncontested Emperor of Rome. He stripped Mark Antony's allies of their estates in Italy, but allowed them to relocate in Philippi. A side note of interest is that it was this Octavian, known also as Caesar Augustus, that supported Herod the Great, confirmed his title of “King,” and expanded his kingdom’s territory.

7 The Roman road that served as the main route from Asia to the west, the Via Egnatia, ran right through Philippi.

8 From the use of the first person plural, it seems that Luke joined Paul's team in Troas (Acts 16:10) and stayed with the team until the team left Philippi. Then he seems to rejoin the team when the team left Philippi on its way to Jerusalem (Acts 20:6). It is reasonable to guess that Luke remained to serve in Philippi for several years, later rejoining Paul's team.

9 From Acts 2:10 we know that some visitors from Rome became believers on that Day of Pentecost in Jerusalem. Hopefully some of them returned to Rome and started a congregation there, but we do not know that for certain. Also, Acts 18:2 indicates that Aquila and Priscilla had come from Rome at about the same time as Paul's initial visit to Philippi. Hopefully they came from a congregation in Rome, but again there are no statements in the NT about their congregation there.

10 The earliest of those traditions is the second century Marcionite Prologue, which says Paul wrote to the Philippians “from prison in Rome.”

11 See the discussion of 1:13.

12 Casson, Travel in the Ancient World, pp. 151-153.

Passage: 

2. Synthesis, Translation and Commentary

Synthesis: How the Letter Unfolds

1:1-2

Greetings, grace, and peace

1:3-11

I am grateful to God for our long-standing partnership together in Gospel work, which for various reasons I am certain will be ongoing.

1:12-18

So, loving you as I do, and with your interest in our work together in the Gospel, this is my ministry report to you: even though I am in chains, our Gospel work is as fruitful as ever.

1:19-26

Are you worried about me, your mission partner, being executed? Dying would be gain for me, but somehow I feel sure I'll live, for your advancement in the Gospel.

1:27-30

Now, if we are partners in the Gospel, and such is my willingness to keep on living for you, I can ask you to stand firm and suffer with me for Him.

2:1-4

I have just written of the struggle we have together in our Gospel partnership, but I also want to write you about the encouragement and comfort that helps us in our partnership.

2:5-11

In fact, the ultimate example of humility, suffering, and then exaltation is Christ. Follow that example.

2:12-18

I am explaining this theology to you now so that you will be Light and Life to the world around you. I will boast and we will rejoice together – are we not partners in Gospel work?

2:19-24

Yes, it is true that I may soon die, so I think of my protégé, Timothy, who serves the Lord selflessly. I want to send him to you, to strengthen our partnership. He will assure me of how you all are doing. But right now, in my situation, I just cannot spare this man until I know how it will go with my imprisonment.

2:25-30

But I have to send back to you Epaphroditus, your missionary to me. Although I appreciate his willingness to serve, even to die, he is just too worried about you all. Honor him.

3:1-3

So the crucial thing I want to remind you about is that you must put your joy and boasting in the Lord, and not in anything of the flesh – not circumcision, not anything. Get your identity from the Gospel.

3:4-9

Let me tell you my own story. I was full of self-confidence, but now I confidently regard all that as rubbish, and Christ as my righteousness, my salvation.

3:10-14

Christ is my salvation, but He is also my goal, because I press on to win the prize He has for His obedient servants.

3:15-21

Follow me in this! Unhappily, the enemies of the cross are many. They will be destroyed, but we have a heavenly citizenship and a Savior from heaven.

4:1-7

So of course you should stand firm in unity, joy, and prayer.

4:8-9

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!

4:10-20

Before closing this letter, I want to be quite specific about the financial aspects of our partnership in missions, our Gospel fellowship.

4:21-23

The brothers here greet you and I bless you with God's grace.

Passage: 

3. Philippians 1

1:1-2

Greetings, grace, and peace

1:1 Paul and Timothy, slaves of Jesus Christ, to all the holy ones13 in Christ Jesus14 in Philippi, with the guardians and servants:

Paul15 seems to have initiated the ministry in Philippi as recorded in Acts 16. This idea is supported by Paul's comments in 1:5 and 4:15 where he reminds them of their support since the early days of his missionary ministry in that region.

Timothy was there in Philippi with Paul in Acts 16. According to Acts 19:22 and 20:1-6 Timothy also made other trips to Macedonia. In fact in Philippians 2:20-22 we learn that Timothy was well known to the Philippian congregation. While Timothy may have done the actual physical writing of this epistle,16 the singular verbs and pronouns Paul uses17 and Paul's commendation of Timothy in 2:19-24 show that Paul alone was the actual author of the letter.

In the Old Testament, Moses and other prophets might be referred to as slaves. If in using this term18 Paul was thinking of that connection, then he may have indirectly been claiming parity with those Old Testament leaders. However, that is unlikely given that in the near context he does not even call himself an apostle, and in the broader context of this letter, Paul stresses humility.19

In the Greek world of that era, as perhaps throughout history, slaves had severely limited civil rights, and were often simply considered human property which was to be used for the owner's purposes and profit.

The members of the congregation in Philippi are called holy ones, or “saints.”20 It is important to remember that they are holy not at all because of their careful religious life, but purely because the holiness of Jesus Christ is given to everyone that has believed in Him. Giving this status does not compromise the justice of God, because our unholiness was sufficiently punished when Christ Jesus, who was perfectly holy, died on the cross.

The word here translated guardians21 is often translated “overseer,” which reflects the literal meaning of “one who looks upon.” However, the reader should also understand that the term carried the sense of guardian. For instance, using this term, pagan deities in that era were sometimes called upon to be guardians of agreements, that is they were to “look upon” the situation so that the agreement was kept.22 These guardians that Paul addresses are guardians of the apostolic traditions, guardians that see to it that the church believes and lives in accord with the teachings of the Word of God.

Besides the guardians, Paul also singles out the servants of the congregation. Used 29 times in the New Testament, this word23 can simply have the general meaning of servant. John 2:5 speaks of the servants at the wedding in Cana, and Matthew 23:11 says, “The greatest among you shall be your servant.” Christ is a servant of the Jews in Romans 15:8, Paul and others are servants of the New Covenant in 2 Corinthians 3:6, Paul is a servant of God in 2 Corinthians 6:4, and a servant of the Gospel in Ephesians 3:7. In 2 Corinthians 11:23 others are referred to as servants of Christ.

Three or four times in the New Testament this term has a narrow technical sense, referring as here to officers in a local church, sometimes simply transliterated from the Greek as “deacons.” Although this term does not appear in Acts 6:1-7, the related words translated “service” and “serve” do appear there, so those events seem to have been the starting point for what became the formal church office of “deacon.” Here in the opening lines of Philippians, Paul endorses this office by highlighting them with the guardians in his greeting. By especially greeting the guardians and servants Paul honors them, but he also especially calls upon them to apply this letter to their hearts and to the life of the congregation under their care.24

1:2 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and from the Lord Jesus Christ.

Paul transforms the standard greeting of a Greek letter into a blessing of Christian grace upon his readers.25 Peace is of course a normal Hebrew greeting. These are not merely empty words or useless tradition. Paul is somehow giving a greeting that conveys grace and peace to his readers. May our words likewise convey grace and peace!

Even though this greeting does actually bring a measure of grace and peace, throughout this letter, and especially in chapter three and in 4:4-9, Paul teaches the reader how to experience the grace and peace of God, and how to better know the God of peace.

1:3-11

I am grateful to God for our long-standing partnership together in Gospel work, which for various reasons I am certain will be ongoing.

In this introduction Paul will not only bring up his main message, but he will also drop hints of all the important things he has to share with them. This passage functions as a “prologue,” and as in normal for Greek letters, introduces the main themes of the letter.26

1:3 I give thanks to my God every time I remember you,

As in all of his letters to the churches except Galatians, Paul expresses thanksgiving to his God. He was really thankful.

1:4 always in my every prayer for you all praying with joy

His thankfulness was consistent and joyful. If we were to take this verse and similar passages in Paul's letters (Romans 1:9; Colossians 1:9; 1 Thessalonians 1:2; 2:13; 3:10; 5:17; and 2 Timothy 1:3) literally, we might picture Paul as a hermit that spends every single moment in prayer, a picture contrary to the picture we have of him in Acts. He is using language very familiar to readers of letters in the ancient Greek world. Exaggeration was very normal in such opening greetings. What he is saying is that he is diligent and consistent in praying for them.27

1:5 over your partnership in the Gospel from the first day until now.

This crucial word28 can be translated “fellowship,” “participation,” “sharing,” or partnership. Early in his introduction Paul brings up this idea, the main message of this letter, which he tastefully develops finally in 4:10-20. He is grateful, not particularly for the money they have sent him, but for their partnership with him in this great and divine Gospel endeavor.29

Concerning this partnership, in chapter 1 alone we see that: it is a long term relationship (1:5), it is a divine and lasting work (1:6), it has Paul’s deep commitment to it (1:7), it is strengthened in prayer (1:9-10), it is to God's glory (1:11), it is prospering despite Paul's chains (1:12-18), it will not be ended by Paul's execution (1:19-26), and it includes suffering (1:27-30).

1:6 I am convinced of this, that the One who began among30 you a good work will bring it to completion all the way until the Day of Christ Jesus.

It was not really Paul that began among them this good work of church planting, but the Lord Himself. Although Paul had to leave Philippi, he is convinced that the Lord will bring this ministry on to completion at the end of the age. The ministry of which they became a part, their Gospel partnership, will certainly not falter. Has not our Lord said, in Matthew 16:18, that He will build His church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it? What they experienced as the Apostle Paul and his team told them the Gospel and discipled them in their new faith was all a part of the work of the Great Commission, and will continue to the end of the age. Although persecution by enemies and seduction by various pleasures might seem to hinder this good work, nothing but the Second Coming at the Day of Christ Jesus will end it.

Of course, Paul does not say that they themselves will be involved in that work until the Second Coming. Even so, this is a tremendous encouragement to them to keep at their ministry partnership with him. He is telling them that this endeavor of which they are a part is not some passing fashion,31 nor does it depend on the whim of an emperor. They are a part of a task that God will continue and perfect all the way to the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. It is a worthy task, and future generations of believers will be called by God to carry it on, all the way until the Day of Christ Jesus. On that great Day, the work will be completed, and the Bride of Christ will be ready for the wedding supper of the Lamb, wearing fine linen, bright and clean. The Lord Himself will bring this good work to completion in that Day, when people from every tribe, language, people, and nation will worship Him.

Some would say that the good work that God began “in” them was their salvation. It is true that we cannot lose our salvation, but that point is not what Paul is making here. If that were what he meant, he would have continued on in verse 7 to say things which he has said elsewhere, like “it is right for me to have this attitude about you all because the salvation that you have is based on the perfect work of the sinless Son of God when He died on the cross. What the Lord Jesus accomplished there, no man, no angel, nothing in all of creation, can undo. It is perfect and eternal.” However, that is not what he gives to justify his assurance of the ongoing nature of the divine work being done among or in them!32 We should read this verse as the words of a visionary missionary convincing his readers about the everlasting importance of Gospel ministry, not the words of a counselor wanting to reassure his readers that they could not lose their salvation.

1:7 It is right of me to have this attitude33 about you all, because I have you in my heart. Both in my chains and also in the defense and confirmation of the Gospel you all are my partners in this grace.

As strange as it may seem to us, the reason it is right for him to have the conviction that God will continue the work of their partnership in the Gospel has to do with emotional loyalty: I have you in my heart. They are beloved partners with him in his Gospel work. He knows their partnership in the Gospel will continue because it is his partnership too!

When he is in chains, when he is defending the Gospel, when he is confirming the Gospel, they are his partners.34 This is both a comfort to the imprisoned missionary and an encouragement to the supporting church. The missionary is comforted by the reminder that although he is far from home and they are far away and he is in distress, his friends stand with him in an important sense. The congregation is encouraged to continue supporting him in the various ways available to them.

While both defense35 and confirmation36 are legal terms, and seem to be references to Paul's legal case, they also seem to refer here to Gospel work. Introduced here, the defense and confirmation of the Gospel are developed in the context of opposition and Paul's life in chapter 3.

This grace is an expression which refers to the Gospel ministry that Paul and the Philippian church are engaged in together. It is an appropriate summary expression because although it is a great deal of work to be involved like this in Gospel ministry, it is fundamentally the grace of God that allows Paul, the Philippians, and us to participate. It is a high privilege, and Paul is delighted that they are with him in it!

1:8 For God is my witness how I long for you all with the affections of Jesus Christ.37

It is right for him to have this conviction about this ongoing partnership because he loves that congregation with godly longing and affections.38 It is almost as if Paul stubbornly refuses to release them from this partnership!

Having written of his love for them, he will turn to the subject of their love.

1:9 And this I pray, that your love will still more and more abound in knowledge and all insight,

Another reason why it is right for him to have his conviction about this ongoing partnership is because he is praying for them, particularly that their love would abound. This prayer is so appropriate, because it was this very love that motivated them to this Gospel ministry partnership with Paul in the first place! He is praying that they will have a stronger and wiser love, thus becoming stronger and wiser in their commitment to their ministry partnership in the Gospel. This Gospel ministry is driven by love and it is demonstrated by the brothers in 1:17, in contrast to those lacking love in 1:16.39

1:10 so that you can discern the things that really matter,40 so that you might be sincere and blameless into the day of Christ,

The Apostle Paul certainly believes with all his heart that as the Lord answers this prayer, they will see that the very things they are accomplishing together in their Gospel partnership are indeed the things that really matter. He would not be pouring out his life like a drink offering in order to develop their faith and the faith of other congregations if he did not believe this unreservedly.

The things that really matter concern the Gospel prospering in human hearts. The expression literally translated would be “the things that carry through.” They “carry through” the ages. This is because we human beings are a beloved everlasting creation, precious in God's eyes, whose own sin would have doomed us to a horrible eternity were it not for the Gospel. Only if the death of Christ is applied to our personal sin problem can we escape everlasting punishment, and much more than that, enjoy an incredibly wonderful eternity. After all is said and done, after all our big and little successes and failures, after all our labors and entertainment, after all our pains and joys, after all our thoughts, words, and actions, what lasts forever is the Gospel ministry accomplished in sincere gratitude to the Lord.

If they have such discernment and consistently act upon it, then41 they will be sincere and blameless into the day of Christ. All that believe in the Lord Jesus have His perfect righteousness before God, but that imputed righteousness does not seem to be in view here. The righteousness that Paul writes about here would be realized if Paul's prayer for them is answered, and their love abounds still more and more in knowledge and all insight. If that happens, and they truly discern the things that really matter, then they will enjoy this sincerity and blamelessness. In Paul's experience in chains, this would be unlike the brothers in 1:16; in the congregation's experience, this would be unlike the false teachers in 3:1.

1:11 being filled with the fruit of righteousness which is through Jesus Christ, to the praise and glory of God.

If Paul's prayer is answered, and if they then know what really matters and acting upon that insight become pure and blameless all the way to the Day of Christ, in other words if Paul succeeds in praying them into greater commitment to their Gospel ministry partnership, not only will they be sincere and blameless at that Day, they will also be full of fruit! They will have a fruitful life and a fruitful ministry behind them, empowered by the Lord, bringing praise and glory to God. That is a good way to appear before the King as He decides what sort of rewards to distribute to His loyal subjects. In 2:14-18 as he is again urging them to “hold fast to the word of life” he explains that that will result in him having “a reason to boast that he did not run in vain nor labor in vain.” In 4:1 Paul boldly speaks of the boasting that he will have before the Lord in that Day because they, his “joy and crown,” are doing so well.

1:12-18

So, loving you as I do, and with your interest in our work together in the Gospel, this is my ministry report to you: even though I am in chains, our Gospel work is as fruitful as ever.

1:12 Now I want you to know, brothers,42 that my circumstances have actually turned out for the advancement of the Gospel,

As he turns for the moment to his side of the Gospel partnership, he first wants his partners to fully understand that what has happened to him was not a surprise to the Lord of the Harvest, and is being used by Him to advance the Gospel. This is very important to the relationship, because they are his well loved partners in his Gospel ministry, and the last thing he wants is for the congregation to come to the conclusion that because he is in chains the ministry that is “through Jesus Christ” has somehow been successfully opposed. Indeed it has not been stymied at all, and Paul himself values this despite the dreadfulness of his situation, because he knows how important the Gospel work is. Paul can write this only because he himself has come to discern “the things that really matter,” thas is, the Gospel prospering in human hearts.

1:13 so that it has become obvious among the whole imperial guard43 and all the others that my chains are for Christ.

His imprisonment has been working out for the advancement of their Gospel partnership in two ways. The first is that people all around, including all the guards that are assigned to guard him every day, every hour, throughly understand that he has been imprisoned because of Christ and the Gospel. As we and the original readers know, this apostle preaches the Gospel even when imprisoned.

1:14 Also, most of the brothers in the Lord, persuaded by my chains, are even more bold to fearlessly speak the Word.

The second way he has discerned that his imprisonment is working out for the advancement of the Gospel is that the believers there in Rome, seeing him imprisoned, are getting bolder in their preaching. Perhaps some of them are thinking, “If Paul can trust the Lord and be so bold in the very hands of those Roman guards, should I not trust the Lord for my safety while no Romans guards are around?” Paul's example influenced them to greater Gospel ministry.

1:15 On the one hand, some of them are preaching Christ because of envy and rivalry, others because of good will.

But Paul knows there are two kinds of Gospel preachers out there. Although the idea of preaching Christ because of envy and rivalry might sound strange to some, Paul explains what he means in the next two verses.

1:16 The former are preaching Christ out of selfish ambition, not sincerely, supposing to bring on trouble in my chains,

Paul does not object to the content of their message, only to their motives, so we should not assume these were Judaizers. These were real Christian preachers overcome with selfish ambition.44 Perhaps in their ambition they had such a low view of God's perfect sovereignty that they thought they could get that rival preacher out of the way permanently if they brought enough of the local population to faith in Christ!

1:17 while the latter do so out of love, knowing45 that I am appointed46 for the defense of the Gospel.

Some of those that were preaching boldly out there in response to Paul's imprisonment were doing so because of a conviction that the Lord has allowed him to be imprisoned as a part of the divine plan. Their love was abounding still more and more, and they too knew what it is that really matters.47

1:18 What then? Only that in every way, whether with false motive or true, Christ is preached. And in this I rejoice. Furthermore I shall rejoice,

As he rejoices that Christ is preached, Paul is showing the readers that he does understand what really matters. The ambitious motive of some is of no concern to this slave of Christ Jesus.

1:19-26

Are you worried about me, your mission partner, being executed? Dying would be gain for me, but somehow I feel sure I'll live, for your advancement in the Gospel.

Some of Paul's readers may have felt that it is all very well that this is the Lord's good plan, but how is Paul doing there? Is he going to survive?

1:19 for I know that this will result in my deliverance through your prayers48 and the support49 of the Spirit of Jesus Christ.

Not only does he rejoice that Christ is preached, whether from a good heart or a bad heart, he also has assurance that through their prayers and the work of the Spirit that very preaching will result in his deliverance.

One of the aspects of their partnership in the Gospel work is that they are praying for him, just as he is praying for them. Paul is convinced that their prayers will be answered. Paul believed in the power of prayer, and the power of the God he served. His assurance of deliverance50 is exactly the opposite of what some of those preachers were hoping for as they sought to stir up trouble for him. Paul was assured that he would be delivered, but what sort of deliverance was he writing of here? As the congregation read verse 19 they probably thought that Paul was writing about being freed from his chains because of their prayers. However, a closer looks shows that he is assured of deliverance as a result of his rejoicing in the Gospel being preached, whether from false motives or true motives. He clarifies the nature of this deliverance in the next verse.

1:20 This is in line with51 my eager expectation and hope, that I will not be ashamed in anything, but as always in all boldness now also I will magnify Christ with my body, whether by life or by death.

Paul is in chains for Christ, and therefore faces the temptation to deny his Lord in exchange for freedom. The deliverance that he is assured of must be understood in accord with his overriding eager expectation and hope that he will continue to boldly glorify the Lord by life or by death. In other words, he has assurance that he has set his joy in the right place, so their prayers will be answered for him and he will be delivered from the temptation to dishonor his Lord in exchange for physical freedom. His heart is still set in accord with his life principle of glorifying the Lord regardless of the expectation of life or death. Paul is not considering denying Christ. He would much rather die. The deliverance he writes of in verse 19 is deliverance from failure to magnify Christ with his body, whether by life or by death.52

1:21 For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.

In this simple statement, the Apostle reveals the depths of his love for the Lord. This sentence, beginning with the word for, is an explanation of the life principle he gave in the previous verse, that in life and in death he wants to glorify Christ. That is the only deliverance that matters to Paul. Even so, in verse 25 we understand that he was sure he would survive because that would be better for his partners, the congregation in Philippi. Nevertheless that is secondary to the simple fact that while he is alive he is dedicated to Christ, and when he dies it is for his gain.53 Expressions of the themes of life and death alternate back and forth in verses 20-24.54

In this attitude about life and death, he is urging his partners not to be anxious about his safety.55

1:22 Now if I live on in the flesh,56 for me this will mean fruitful work.57 I do not know which I prefer.

Paul is so committed to the partnership relationships that he has, which call him to fruitful work, that he is torn between that and the gain of being with Christ.

1:23 So I am torn58 between the two, having the desire to depart and be with Christ, which would be very much better,

Here Paul explains a little of what he meant by “to die is gain” in verse 21. He is assured that dying, a very real possibility when imprisoned awaiting a Roman trial, would mean being with Christ,59 and that is very much better.

1:24 but staying on in the flesh is more necessary, because of you.

Paul puts their interests above his own personal preference, as he will teach them to do. He is committed to his Gospel partnership with them as long as the Lord gives him life.

1:25 So, convinced of this, I know that I shall remain, and remain on with all of you for your advancement and joy in the faith,

Here Paul expresses confidence that indeed the Lord will grant him to live and serve together with them in the Gospel partnership.60 Paul summarizes his ministry with them with the term advancement,61 and the expression joy in the faith. Although it is not the central theme of this letter, joy is an important element in this letter. Paul will help his ministry partners find their joy in their faith later on in chapter 3, which is all an explanation of what 3:1 means with the command to rejoice in the Lord. See the notes on 2:2 below for more on the theme of joy in this letter.

The Pastoral Epistles, including 1 Timothy 1:3 and some historical records outside the New Testament, seem to indicate that Paul was freed from his first Roman imprisonment and was able to travel to Macedonia (and most likely Philippi) before being imprisoned again and martyred.62

1:26 so that your boast63 might abound in Christ Jesus by me through my presence again with you.

If he can remain on with all of them, so they advance and grow in joy in the faith, this will result in their boast abounding in Christ Jesus.

People do boast, it is a normal human activity to take pride in particular things, abilities, and relationships.64 Paul wants to be there with them in Philippi to help them boast in Christ Jesus, and not in any religious compliance like the Galatians. Their boast abounding in Christ Jesus will be the result of their “advancement and joy in the faith” that Paul wanted to shape in them. He will do that very thing in this letter,65 but in the case of the Philippian congregation the written communication was meant to be accompanied by Paul's personal presence and ministry. The expression that your boast might abound in Christ Jesus would be an excellent summary of the entire purpose of Gospel ministry, and is wonderfully spoken of in Jeremiah 9:23-24, in which the LORD says “Let not the wise man boast in his wisdom. And let not the mighty man boast in his might. Let not the rich man boast in his riches. But let him who boasts, boast this: that he understands and knows Me; that I, the LORD, make lovingkindness, justice, and righteousness on the earth, that in these things I delight.”

1:27-30

Now, if we are partners in the Gospel, and such is my willingness to keep on living for you, I can ask you to stand firm and suffer with me for Him.

This call for Paul’s Gospel partners to be united and steadfast introduces chapters 2 and 3, where the Philippians will learn that the best Gospel partners humbly put the interests of others ahead of their own, and that steadfastness in glorying in Christ rather than in any human achievement characterizes the hearts of strong Gospel partners.

1:27 Only live your lives66 in a manner worthy of the Gospel of Christ, so that whether coming and seeing you or being away I will hear concerning you, that you are standing firm in one spirit, struggling together67 as one for the faith of the Gospel,68

Paul has been writing about his own situation there in chains, and whether he would be freed or executed. Now he shifts his attention to the congregation in Philippi, the other side of the partnership, so to speak. He insists that whether he is freed so he can minister to them face to face or he stays under house arrest, they need to conduct their lives appropriately.

Living our lives in a manner worthy of the Gospel is a common theme for Paul, as in Romans 12:1 and Ephesians 4:1. It is true that in the life of faith crises arise in which we need to pray and believe God in a dramatic situation that can only be resolved as an answer to prayer, but that life of faith is more especially a calling to live out our daily routine in a manner worthy of the Gospel. That means that our thoughts, attitudes, words, and deeds all take place in recognition of the truth of the Gospel, and are consistent with the Gospel. This requires faith, wisdom, and discipline. It also requires the help of other believers.

As this verse points out, people that live their lives in a manner worthy of the Gospel of Christ are doing that in unity with other believers. They are standing firm in one spirit, struggling together as one, not alone in study and meditation, but in the community of the Body of Christ. A plant that has healthy roots in good soil can thrive in the garden because of those roots. In the same way a believer lives in the world in a manner worthy of the Gospel because of the strength he gains in a healthy unified church.

This is the first indication that there is opposition which they need to struggle against. This is more developed in the next verse and in chapter 3.

Paul has not diverted from his central message of Gospel partnership. Their struggle is for the faith of the Gospel. If they walk worthily, then they will be effective Gospel partners with him.

1:28 and do not be afraid of anything from those that oppose you.69 This on the one hand will be evidence to them of destruction,70 and on the other hand71 to you of deliverance,72 and that73 from God.

The missionary that wrote these verses had learned a great deal about suffering during the course of his ministry, and at this point he gives some of that insight to the congregation. He wants them to understand that their lack of fear towards their enemies should be compelling evidence of the fact that God is with the congregation and will bring destruction upon its enemies. Likewise their lack of fear is evidence that this God that gives such peace will also deliver the congregation from dishonoring God, the same deliverance Paul was assured of for himself in 1:19-20.

Just as the fearlessness of the congregation is on the one hand evidence of destruction to the enemies and on the other hand evidence of deliverance to the congregation, so in 2 Corinthians 2:15-16 the aroma of Christ is on the one hand the smell of death to those that are perishing and on the other hand the smell of life to those that are being saved.

1:29 This is because to you it has been given on behalf Christ, not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for Him,

The opposition they are facing should not cause them to fear, because that opposition, that suffering, has been given74 to them by Christ. Just as our believing in Christ is a gift of God’s grace, so is the suffering we endure for Him. He grants the one for our eternal salvation, and the other for our present sanctification and to bring Gospel salvation to others. We are urged to be thankful for the second of these grace gifts in several passages including Matthew 5:10-12; Philippians 2:17-18; James 1:2-4; and 1 Peter 4:12-16. In Philippians 3:10 Paul wrote of his longing to know Christ, the power of His resurrection, and the participation in His sufferings.

This verse shows that the Philippian congregation was suffering, apparently from the enemies mentioned in verse 28. Verses 27-29 seem to refer to people that are persecuting the congregation, while 3:2, 4, and 18-19 seem to be warnings of a subtle danger of seduction into a false Gospel at the hands of the Judaizers that dogged Paul's steps in his missionary journeys, whose teachings made such serious inroads into the congregations of Galatia.

1:30 having the same struggle which you saw with me, and now hear about with me.

Opposition does not make Paul afraid, and he invites his partners in Gospel work to take the same attitude. He understands that for himself and for them, it is a gift of God. He has already demonstrated this exact attitude when he wrote in 1:18, “What then? Only that in every way, whether with false motive or true, Christ is preached. And in this I rejoice.” Later in 3:10 we learn that Paul longs to share in Christ's sufferings, the sufferings they are experiencing.

In Acts 16 we read of the initial Gospel ministry in Philippi, and most likely the founding of the Philippian congregation. They saw Paul struggle with opposition then, and as they hear this letter read to them they know he is now struggling with opposition. So their struggle against those that oppose them is a part of their participation with Paul in Gospel ministry. They are partners in Gospel adversity.

The readers of Paul's letter today should likewise not be afraid of adversity in Gospel ministry. These things are a gift from God and are not to be avoided. Partnership in the Gospel is a divine and ongoing work which should not be avoided because of opposition or a fear of loss.


13 This is of course a reference to those that have become holy (ἁγιος/hagios) by believing in Christ Jesus as their Savior, in other words, true Christians.

14 Paul often writes of our being in Christ or in Christ Jesus. This expression speaks of our incorporation with Him, our unity with Him. All aspects of our being should be connected with the fact that the Father has drawn us into a profoundly deep relationship with Christ Jesus (O'Brien, p. 46).

15 Like many of his Jewish contemporaries, Saul used a Greek name that sounded similar to his Hebrew name when he was in Greek contexts. Likewise Silas would use the name Silvanus, and a man named Jesus would use the name Jason (O'Brien, p. 44, quoting Deissmann, Bible Studies, pp. 314-315).

16 We know from passages like Gal. 6:11 that Paul may have followed the common custom of dictating his letters.

17 For instance he says, “I thank my God” rather than “We thank our God” in 1:3.

18 δουλος/doulos

19 O'Brien, p. 45.

20 ἁγιος/hagios

21 επισκοπος/episkopos

22 BDAG ad loc

23 διακονος/diakonos

24 O'Brien, p. 50.

25 Χαιρειν/chairein, “to greet,” becomes χαρις/charis, grace.

26 Swift, in his perceptive article in Bibliotheca Sacra 141:563 (Jul 84) p. 237, quotes Schubert who says, “Generally speaking it may be said that the Pauline thanksgivings… serve as a rather formal introduction to the body of the letter.”

27 O'Brien, p. 57.

28 This word, κοινωνια/koinōnia, and very closely related words, are also found in 1:7; 2:1; 3:10; 4:14 and 4:15. In 2:1 and 3:10 this word has a more general meaning of “fellowship” or “sharing,” but all the other four uses directly relate to this Gospel partnership which is introduced here in the fifth verse of the letter, and is the central theme of the letter. See also endnote 225.

29 While it is true that some have translated this expression “fellowship in the Gospel” and interpreted it to refer to their faith in the contents of the Gospel, so that Paul is rejoicing in his prayers that they are believers, that interpretation ignores the use of the κοινωνια/koinōnia family of words in this letter, particularly in 4:15, “…when I went out from Macedonia, not one church partnered with me in the matter of giving and receiving except you only….”

30 Εν/en can mean “in” or among.

31 Here Paul says that the Gospel work will go on through time to the end of the age. In a similar manner in Col. 1:6 he writes, “…in the whole world this Gospel is bearing fruit and growing….” The Gospel which those two congregations came to believe is not peculiar to their area or to their age.

32 For a detailed study of this question, see “Does Philippians 1:6 Guarantee Progressive Sanctification?” by John F. Hart in The Journal of the Grace Evangelical Society, 9:1, Spring 1996, pp. 37-58 and 9:2, Autumn 1996, pp. 33-60.

33 See the explanation of this verb, φρονεω/phroneō, in endnote 84 concerning 2:5.

34 Paul stresses this partnership relationship even more strongly by using the term συγκοινωνος/sugkoinōnos, which is a combination of συν/sun and κοινωνος/koinōnos, so that they are his “with-partners.”

35 απολογια/apologia

36 βεβαιωσις/bebaiōsis

37 Three ancient manuscripts read “Christ Jesus,” but the majority read Jesus Christ. This difference is not particularly significant.

38 Paul uses the term σπλαγχνον/splagchnon, which literally referred to entrails or viscera (as in Acts 1:18) but in the New Testament almost always refers to love, sympathy, affection, or compassion. The term is used again in 2:1, “affection.”

39 “The Theme and Structure of Philippians,” by Robert C. Swift, p. 239, Bibliotheca Sacra, 141:563, July 1984. This article strongly supports the central thesis of this commentary, which is that Gospel Partnership is the central core and unifying concept of Paul’s letter to the Philippians.

40 Translated here as the things that really matter, this expression (τα διαφεροντα/ta diapheronta) would be translated literally as “the things that carry through.” That literal meaning is present in Mk. 11:16. Paul prays they will know what things really “carry through” the ages, what things last and really matter.

41 Although in translation the expression so that appears twice in this verse, those two expressions are not the same in Greek. The first one is literally “into your discerning...” (using the Greek preposition εις/eis) and the second one is as translated, so that you might be sincere (using the Greek preposition ἱνα/hina). By this we can see that these two purposes are not simply parallel, but the second needs the first. In other words, if they will discern, then they can be sincere.

42 Because the Greek term αδελφοι/adelphoi can certainly include women, some recent translators have used the expression “brothers and sisters.” However, the Greek term αδελφοι/adelphoi does not stress the specific inclusion of women like the expression “brothers and sisters” would. Therefore the translation brothers is retained, with the note that the Greek term here and in 3:11, 13, 17; 4:1, and 8 includes women, referring in fact to the whole Philippian congregation. It is unclear whether there were any women among the αδελφοι/adelphoi emboldened “to fearlessly speak the Word” in 1:14.

43 This term, πραιτωριον/praitōrion, is borrowed from Latin where it originally meant “the tent of the praetor in camp and its surroundings.” Although some would say it refers to one of several buildings, there is no substantial evidence of that usage, and in this context it seems to refer to people, not a building. If Paul was imprisoned in Rome, it would refer to the imperial guard, consisting of about 9000 men. If it was in some other city, then the term refers to everyone living in the Roman governor's residence (BDAG ad loc).

44 Aristotle used this word with the meaning of selfish ambition. It is possible that by the time of the New Testament it came to mean “strife,” but selfish ambition seems to be a more likely translation.

45 There is an interesting contrast of verbs here. The selfish brothers suppose (οιομαι/oiomai) they can bring trouble on Paul, while the loving brothers know (οιδα/oida) that God has put Paul there for the Gospel (O'Brien, ad loc).

46 This common verb, κειμαι/keimai, has the literal idea of “being set or laid somewhere,” as in Mt. 3:10, but here as in 1 Thes. 3:3 it has the idea of being appointed or “destined” for something.

47 Oddly, three very ancient manuscripts from the fourth and fifth centuries have verses 16 and 17 in the reverse order, but the order of these two verses presented here is the order which they have in the vast majority of Greek manuscripts. The meaning of course remains the same.

48 This word for prayer is also used twice in 1:4 and once in 4:6.

49 The word here translated support (επιχορηγιας/epichorēgias) could refer to gifts or grants for the benefit of a city, but it came to have a more general meaning of gift, grant, or support.

50 The word translated deliverance (σωτηρια/sōtēria) is also the normal word for eternal salvation as in Eph. 1:13, but here it seems to have the more common meaning of deliverance, as in Acts 27:34. O'Brien (ad loc) says it refers to Paul being vindicated at the judgment seat of Christ.

51 This verse begins with the preposition κατα/kata, which here means “in accord with.” It is not translated in the NIV, the NET, or the NRSV, but in the KJV and the NASV it is translated “according to.” It is here translated this is in line with.

52 Hodges, The Gospel Under Siege, p. 97.

53 Paul will develop this theme of gain or reward in 1:21; 3:11-14; 4:1 and 17.

54 O'Brien, ad loc.

55 The detrimental effects of that kind of worry is well illustrated in the case of Epaphroditus in 2:25-30, especially the end of verse 28.

56 The term used is σαρξ/sarx rather than σωμα/sōma, meaning “body,” perhaps to emphasize the present mortal frailness of all humanity or the weakness Paul felt in his own life and ministry.

57 Literally “fruit of work.” The word “fruit” (καρπος/karpos) can be used figuratively to mean “profit” as in 4:17.

58 The literal meaning of the verb συνεχω/sunechō is “to have together,” or in effect, “to press together,” as in Lk. 8:45. This verse might also be translated “I am pressed between the two….” Paul experienced real stress in living with this tension.

59 To interpret this expression we need to answer the question, “What is the status of Christians between the moment of one's death and the resurrection of the righteous at the end of the age?” The possible NT answers to that question are either: 1) as spirits, without physical bodies, conscious and in the presence of the Lord or 2) as unconscious spirits without physical bodies. It is often assumed that this verse and 2 Cor. 5:8 (“We are confident, I say, and would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord”) point to the first answer, meaning that when a born again Christian dies, he is immediately transferred into the presence of the Lord. However, it is possible that these two verses simply mean that once he dies his next conscious experience will be with Christ, but that experience actually takes place at the end of the age, just before all the living believers are brought to be with the Lord. Paul comforted the Thessalonians with the fact that the dead in Christ will precede living believers into the presence of the Lord (1 Thes. 4:13-18). If 1) above is correct, the only comfort in this is that they will get bodies first, because they are already with the Lord. If 2) above is correct, it would seem like a greater comfort: believers that die before the end of the age will see the Lord and be given resurrection bodies before living believers. Also, in 1 Cor. 15 Paul teaches how wonderful the resurrection at the end of the age is. If 1) above is true, the resurrection's personal significance is reduced, because believers that have already died already enjoy the presence of the Lord. It would seem that 2) above harmonizes Phil. 1:23; 2 Cor. 5:8; 1 Thes. 4:13-18; and 1 Cor. 15 in that when a believer dies, his or her next conscious experience is in the presence of the Lord, but that event, the resurrection of the dead in Christ, does not actually occur until the end of the age, just before living believers are brought up to be with the Lord. Also, if 2) above is correct, then the common NT expression for believers that have died, that they are “asleep," (Acts 7:60; 13:36; 1 Cor. 11:30; 15:6, 18, 20; 1 Thes. 4:13, 14, and 15) is a fitting figure of speech, but if 1) is correct, one wonders why people that are presently experiencing the presence of the Lord are said to be “asleep."

60 The source of this confidence seems to be his faith and the “inner dialog” that he has shared with his readers in the last several verses (O'Brien, ad loc). If the source of this conviction had been a revelation, it would have been appropriate for him to share that as well with his readers.

61 This same word, advancement, was used in 1:12.

62 EBC ad loc. lists Clement of Rome's First Epistle to the Corinthians ch. 5, the Muratorian Canon, and Eusebius' Ecclesiastical History II.2.

63 Καυχημα/kauchēma can mean “something one takes pride in,” or, less often, “the act of taking pride in something” (as in 1 Cor. 5:6), so that the translation boast is appropriate. This word is used in the NT of an improper boast (Rom. 4:2), but more frequently of a good boast (one can boast properly of Christ and salvation in Him as in Phil. 1:26 and Heb. 3:6, or in one's successful ministry, as in 1 Cor. 9:15; 2 Cor. 9:3; Gal. 6:4; and Phil. 2:16). The related verb is used five times in the Greek OT in Jer. 9:23-24, which says, “Let not the wise man boast of his wisdom or the strong man boast of his strength or the rich man boast of his riches, but let him who boasts boast about this: that he understands and knows me, that I am the Lord, who exercises kindness, justice and righteousness on earth, for in these I delight.” Strangely, in Phil. 1:26 the KJV and the NIV avoid the concept by using the terms “rejoicing” or “joy.” The NET uses the expression “what you can be proud of,” and the ESV uses the term “glory.”

64 Homer's Iliad and Odyssey were by far the two most dominant Greek epics for over a thousand years. The plot of the Iliad centers on Achilles' anger when a slave girl is taken from him by King Agamemnon. The reason this mattered so much to Achilles was that the slave girl was, so to speak, one of the battle trophies that he boasted in. Achilles' boast was always in the prizes of war that he won by his great battle skill. However, battle skill and the accompanying battle prizes can be taken away from us. If those sorts of temporal things are what we boast in, sooner or later we will find that, like Achilles, our boasting and our joy are gone. Given all the time that Paul spent in Greek society, he would have been familiar with this way of thinking. He also knew Jer. 9:23-24. Paul too had his boasts, but no man could take Paul's boasts away.

65 See the discussion of rejoicing and boasting under 2:2.

66 This verb, πολιτευομαι/politeuomai, can be translated “to be a citizen of,” “to rule,” or “to conduct one's life,” and Paul may have chosen it in light of the high political status of their πολις/polis, their city, as a colony of Rome.

67 This word, συναθλεω/sunathleō, brings an athletic metaphor to healthy church life because the root word, αθλεω/athleō, refers to competition in organized games. It is the source of our word “athletics.”

68 This could also be translated “struggling together as one in Gospel faith.”

69 The word you is supplied for the English translation, but it is not there in the original Greek.

70 This word, απωλεια/apōleia, can refer to the ultimate ruin of eternal damnation, as in Jn. 17:12, or simply decay and ruin in this life, as in Mt. 26:8. It is ambiguous here and in Phil. 3:19.

71 Because of three of four very ancient manuscripts, the Critical Text reads, "This is to them evidence of destruction, but of your salvation…." The majority of manuscripts read "This is on the one hand to them evidence of destruction, but on the other hand to you of salvation…."

72 This word, σωτηρια/sōtēria, is often translated “salvation,” and can refer to eternal salvation from hell. However, here it seems to refer to the same kind of deliverance that Paul was assured of in 1:19-20.

73 Since this word is neuter, unlike evidence, destruction, and deliverance, it cannot refer specifically to any of those nouns, but must refer to the whole concept. It might therefore be translated “and all that from God” (O'Brien, ad loc).

74 This word (χαριζομαι/charizomai) is related to the normal word for “grace,” and this could be translated “you have been graced with….”

Passage: 

4. Philippians 2

2:1-4

I have just written of the struggle we have together in our Gospel partnership, but I also want to write you about the encouragement and comfort that helps us in our partnership.

As Paul continues his exhortation to the kind of life that will make their partnership in Gospel ministry all the more effective, he reminds them of the Gospel blessings they enjoy in Christ.

In the overall structure of Romans and Ephesians, after the blessings of the Gospel are explained, they become the basis for Paul's exhortation to Christian living. The same pattern is apparent within these few verses. Since there is such encouragement, comfort, fellowship, affection, and compassion for us in the Gospel, therefore we are urged to live a life of unity, love, and humility. With a profound understanding of the Gospel, with the humility that flows from that understanding, and with the fellowship of the Spirit we can truly live in loving unity!

2:1 If75 therefore there is any encouragement in Christ, if any comfort in love, if any fellowship76 of the Spirit, if any affection and compassion,

There are certainly too many Christians who do not recognize the rich encouragement we have in knowing Christ, who take their comfort from other sources besides the love of God, and who prefer their fellowship outside of what the Spirit produces, but they are not the kind of Christians that make highly effective partners in Gospel ministry.

2:2 complete my joy: be of one mind,77 having the same love, united in spirit,78 having the same concern,79

Paul asks them to complete my joy by living in unity, love, and humility. He uses joy and rejoice in two complementary ways in this letter. First, we should rejoice in who the Lord is and in all that He has done for us, that is, we should find our joy (1:25; 3:1; and 4:4) and our boasting (1:26 and 3:3) in the Lord and in the Gospel. Second, that joy (1:18; 2:2, 17-18; and 4:1) and our boasting (2:16 and 4:1) become complete as our partners in Gospel work live their lives in harmony with the implications of the Gospel. We should remember that Paul's letter to the Philippian congregation is not primarily about joy, it is about the Gospel Partnership he has with them, and about making that partnership more effective. So as that partnership prospers there is great joy to be found in the Gospel, and there is a “completed” joy to be found when one's Gospel partners are united in spirit. It should be clear that without joy in the Lord and in the Gospel, any joy in ministry would be without a sufficient foundation, and in danger of collapse.

The basic command to be of one mind is further elaborated upon in the rest of verse 2 and verses 3-4.

2:3 never with selfish ambition or vainglory, but in humility of mind considering one another more important than oneself.

The unity called for in the previous verse, the unity that would make Paul's joy complete, is so easily destroyed whenever we consider ourselves more important than the people we interact with. Ambition to promote ourselves, however well approved it may be in our culture, is nevertheless destructive. Vainglory,80 the pursuit of honor from men, does not build healthy lives. We really grow as we simply decide that others around us are more important than ourselves. This is of course the great irony of the Christian life. As the Lord taught us in Mark 9:35, “If anyone wants to be first, he must be last of all, and servant of all.” Paul has already supported this exhortation with the negative example of those that preach out of self-interest (1:15-16), and the positive example of himself (1:12-26). He is about to support that exhortation with the positive examples of the Lord Jesus Christ (2:6-11) and Timothy (2:19-24).

2:4 Do not be watching out for your own interests, but each also watching out for the interests of others.

This verse explains what it means to “consider one another more important than oneself.” Doing this is much more difficult than understanding what it means. Our opportunities for applying this verse are endless, and our excuses for not applying it are abundant. This radical call to service and humility is only slightly toned down by the single word also. In using that word Paul acknowledges that we have a basic responsibility to take care of ourselves,81 but the balance of the verse indicates that we will look out for ourselves sufficiently, without any encouragement from him to do so. When the Lord said “Love your neighbor as yourself,” He told us that we already love ourselves with sufficient diligence, and simply do not need any encouragement from Him in that direction!82

2:5-11

In fact, the ultimate example of humility, suffering, and then exaltation is Christ. Follow that example.

Paul's command to not be looking out for our own interests, to not be selfish, is certainly not a concept foreign to our faith. It lies at the very core of our faith, at the cross. Paul insists that all who have believed in Christ, who have been saved by His work on the cross, should likewise adopt the attitude that took Him to the cross. We should do this, not to be saved, or to prove we are saved, but in gratitude, because we are saved, thus becoming more effective partners in Gospel ministry for others.

Because of their style and content, verses 6-11 are sometimes presented as poetry or as a hymn. Unlike for instance in Ephesians 5:14, where Paul writes, “Therefore it is said: 'Awake, O sleeper, get up from among the dead, and Christ will shine on you,'” here there are no clues for us in the text as to whether this was an early Christian hymn or poem, well known to the congregation, which Paul then quotes, or something that he himself wrote particularly for this letter. However, if these words were written by someone else and then adopted by Paul, he must have done so because he approved of how they expressed what needed to be said. Verses 6-11, whatever their source, help us understand what our Savior did, so that we can more fully adopt the attitude of selflessness we need to have.

The parallels between Philippians 2:6-11 and the “Servant Songs” of Isaiah 43:13–53:12 are striking. Both speak so powerfully of humiliation all the way to death, and of the exaltation that results from that humiliation. This relationship between these two passages is strengthened by the fact that Philippians 2:10-11 clearly draws from Isaiah 45:23. The substitutionary atonement so obvious in Isaiah 53 is not mentioned in Philippians 2:6-11, but that might simply be because the atonement is outside our humble service, so it would be inappropriate for Paul to write that we should follow Christ's example in that.83

2:5 For you should let this same attitude84 be in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus,

The distilled theological truths that follow are abused if their use is limited to building our understanding of the incarnation, death and exaltation of Christ Jesus. These truths are written here as a guide to the attitude of selflessness that we are called upon to have in 2:1-4.

The word order of the following translation of verses 6-11 may seem somewhat stilted in English because some of the Greek word order is preserved, carrying over some of the poetic feel of the original.

2:6 Who in the form of God existing,

did not regard being equal with God

as something to be grasped,85

This verse assumes that Christ was and is the eternal God. Who else could have been existing in the glorious and shining form or outward appearance of God?86

The passage is saying that even though Christ had all the glory of divinity up to the time of the incarnation, He was willing to exchange that for the form of a slave. Thus this is the perfect illustration for the kind of selflessness we are called upon to manifest. We need to imitate the attitude of the glorious Lord of Lords, who was willing to somehow shed all that glory and take on the outward form of a slave, for us.

He did not think that such glory, that outward form of God, was something precious that had to be clung to even at the cost of disobeying “the One who sent Him,” to use the expression so common in the Gospel of John. He was willing to let go of that outward glory for the task set before Him by the Father.

2:7 but Himself He emptied,

the form87 of a slave taking on,

in the likeness of men coming.88

The question of precisely what Christ emptied Himself of has occupied theologians for many centuries. The most straightforward answer might simply be that He emptied Himself of the “form of God” mentioned in the previous verse. That is, He somehow let go of the outward manifestation of the glory of God, and took on the outward form of a slave, the least glorious human status.89

In His incarnation He took on the likeness of men. This expression emphasizes the similarity He had with all men, but does not require a complete match with all mankind. This may be to allow for the fact the Jesus Christ, although He became truly human, was not exactly like everybody else in that He never sinned.

The expression taking on contrasts sharply with existing in verse 6.90 While He eternally exists as God, at one point in time He took on His humanity.

2:8 And in appearance being found as man,

He humbled Himself,

becoming obedient to death,

even death on a cross.

Here the word appearance91 refers simply to the outward visible appearance. What people saw was a man.

The expression “humility of mind” in verse 3 and the expression He humbled Himself here use the same root word. He did this out of obedience, likewise we need to obey this calling to unity, humility, and love.

When we read verses 1-4 we are likely to ask, “Yes, but to what extent are we to look out for others rather than ourselves? Should not we be looking out for ourselves to some extent?” However, in the example set before us, the example that we are to follow, He was obedient to death, even death on a cross. He was sent to take upon Himself the form of the lowest status of humanity, a slave. He also was sent to the most cruel and shameful form of death known in the Roman Empire, death on a cross.

2:9 Therefore also God Him exalted,92

and gave to Him a Name which is above every name,

The connecting word used, therefore, should not be overlooked here. Jesus Christ obeyed the Father, and because of that obedience, God exalted Him. Likewise we read in passages like Matthew 23:12; James 4:10; and 1 Peter 5:693 that we will be exalted if we humble ourselves. Here too, the Lord Jesus is our example.

God exalted Christ in several stages. The first stage was the resurrection (Romans 1:4). At some time prior to His ascension He received “all authority in heaven and on earth” (Matthew 28:18). He was certainly exalted in the ascension (Ephesians 4:8-10). Finally, as the reference to Isaiah 45:23 in 2:10-11 shows, this exaltation will continue until the Second Coming and the fulfillment of the Kingdom of God (Daniel 7:9-27; Matthew 24:29-31; 1 Corinthians 15:22-28; and Revelation 19).94

Before He was obedient to death, He received the name “Jesus,” so that is probably not the name intended in this passage, even though it is mentioned in the next verse. Verse 11 suggests that the name given here is “Lord,” or the related Hebrew name of God in the Old Testament, and Paul would understand that as the most exalted name. This text seems to be saying that despite the equality of the Son with the Father, the Son did not possess the name “Lord” prior to the cross. At any rate, in the Bible and the cultures around the New and Old Testaments, the term name could carry with it the idea of position, dignity, or office, as in 2 Samuel 7:13; Ephesians 1:21 and Hebrews 1:4. Also, in Jewish culture, the term “The Name” was commonly used as a reference to God, as in Acts 5:41 and 3 John 795.

2:10 so that at the name of Jesus

every knee should bow,

in heaven and on earth and under the earth,

The exaltation of verse 9 has already happened, but universal worship in acknowledgment of that exaltation awaits the end of the age.96 Some of those knees will bow with ready thankfulness, and others only by force,97 but all will bow.

2:11 and every tongue should confess that

Jesus Christ is Lord,

to the glory of God the Father.

This worship is related to Isaiah 45:23, in which God says, “…every knee will bow to Me, every tongue will swear by Me.” This aspect of Christ's exaltation clearly takes place in an age in which everyone will worship the true God. It awaits the end of the age for fulfillment.

It is to the glory of God the Father that Jesus Christ be glorified. There is no competition between the Son and the Father. This should remind us of our calling to consider one another more important than ourselves.

2:12-18

I am explaining this theology to you now so that you will be Light and Life to the world around you. I will boast and we will rejoice together – are we not partners in Gospel work?

The teaching of how Christ exchanged His glory for the humility of a human being, how He obediently died on a cross, and further, about how He was “super-exalted,” was all given as an example for us to follow. Focusing on that word “obedience,” Paul urges the congregation to more consistent and deeper obedience.

2:12 Therefore my beloved, just as you have always obeyed, not only in my presence, but now all the more in my absence, with fear and trembling accomplish98 your own deliverance.99

This encouragement to ever more consistent obedience is rooted in the rich theological truths Paul has just written to them. He might have said, “Therefore, since what I have just written is true, don't just obey me, don't just follow this preacher when he is with you, but follow Christ in the great example He has given of putting the interests of others ahead of our own.” While he wants to encourage their Gospel partnership, he also wants to discourage dependence upon him.

So, as the congregation imitates the humility of Christ, they can accomplish their own deliverance in the midst of the trouble and persecution they are experiencing. This is certainly not about eternal salvation.100 It is about some sort of deliverance that they can accomplish through the suffering brought on by those that oppose them. The specific kind of deliverance Paul is writing of is already clear from the other passages in which he has written of deliverance in this letter, that is, 1:19-20 concerning himself and 1:27-30 concerning them. As Gospel partners, Paul and the congregation need to be accomplishing a deliverance from dishonoring Christ, whether in life or in death.

The nature of this task can be seen more clearly from the context of this command. In 2:5 Paul called upon the congregation to “let this same attitude be in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus,” then he wrote about the humble obedience of the Lord that led to the suffering of the cross, and then about the exaltation that Christ earned by His humble obedience. After all that, he gives them this command which begins with the word therefore. If because of His humble obedience, God delivered Him to exaltation, you also should be humbly obedient into suffering, and God working in you will deliver you from dishonoring Him and on into an exaltation.

This will only happen with fear and trembling. They need to fear101 God and shudder at the very idea of dishonoring God.

2:13 For it is God who works in you both to will and to work for His good pleasure.

In stark contrast to the fact that they will have to be obedient to produce their own deliverance from dishonoring God, Paul encourages them by reminding them that God is working in them so that they have the will and the strength to do His good pleasure.

2:14 Do everything without grumbling or arguing,

Most of our grumbling and arguing happens when we put our own interests ahead of the interests of others. Whether concealed grumbling or unconcealed arguing, such disunity is forbidden.

2:15 so that you might be blameless and pure,102 children of God unblemished in the midst of a crooked and perverted generation, among whom you shine like stars in the sky,103

They are children of God. If they will cease their grumbling and arguing, they will be blameless and pure children of God! Of course positionally they are already blameless and pure, but Paul would like to see their heavenly position work its way down to their earthly practice!

Paul wants them to be blameless, pure, and unblemished on the day when we will receive what is due us for what we have “done in the body, whether good or evil” (2 Corinthians 5:10).

The beautiful image of the congregation as stars shining in a black sky is reminiscent of Daniel 12:3 which reads, “But the wise will shine like the brightness of the heavenly expanse. And those who bring many to righteousness will be like the stars forever and ever.”104 Some have suggested that this figure of speech refers to evangelistic activity, in that the stars are shining Gospel light upon a dark world. However, Paul speaks of the unblemished congregation (like stars) being in the midst of the crooked generation (like the night sky). The stars do not illumine the night sky. They do just the opposite, showing how dark it is. Just as stars stand in contrast to the dark sky, so the unblemished congregation is to be in stark contrast to the perverted generation. This is not particularly about evangelism, it is about being utterly different from the sinful society around us. Part of the difference we have with the world is the Gospel we proclaim, but that is not the emphasis of this image.

2:16 being intent upon105 the word of life, which means106 a boast107 for me in the Day of Christ, that I neither ran in vain nor labored in vain.

The verb translated being intent upon has about eleven definitions listed for it in the Greek lexicon.108 Among them all, the two that might fit this context are “to hold out, present, offer”109 and “to direct one's mind to a thing, to attend, to be intent upon.”110 Basically this phrase here either means “holding forth the Word” or “holding fast to the Word,” so it is either about doing evangelism or being steadfastly faithful to the Word of God. Because the verb itself could easily have either meaning, the near and more distant contexts must be considered to decide which of these meanings is meant here.

The near context speaks of not grumbling, of being blameless, and of shining like stars in contrast to a dark night sky. That certainly fits well with the idea of being intent upon the word of life. If this phrase were to be translated “holding forth the word of life,” it would be introducing a new concept. It is not likely that Paul would introduce a new concept with a verb that is so ambiguous.

The more distant context is the entire letter to the Philippians. In it there are many calls to serious discipleship entailing obedience, but in the whole letter 1:27 is the closest thing to an actual command that the congregation be preaching the Gospel, and it only says, “that you are standing firm in one spirit, struggling together as one for the faith of the Gospel," or perhaps, “that you are standing firm in one spirit, struggling together in Gospel faith.”

So, given the context of the passage and the context of the entire letter, it seems best to translate this passage being intent upon the word of life.111

As Paul draws near the end of these exhortations to his Gospel partners, he reflects personally on the impact their obedience will have on him. Their obedience will be his boast in the Day of Christ. The success of this Gospel partnership will bring God-glorifying boasting in the Day of Christ.

If the Greek war heroes of Homer’s Iliad were devoted to battle and contest to collect the war trophies with which they were honored by men and in which they boasted, the Jewish apostle Paul was devoted to serve in such a way that on that Day he would be honored by the one Man whose approval he sought, the One who had died and obtained perfect righteousness for Paul, for the Philippians, and for every believer in Christ.

So Paul was motivated by the anticipation of the Day of Christ. He clearly wants to have his boasts ready for that day. He writes a great deal about that Day in his letters. 1 Corinthians 3:12-15; 9:24-27; Colossians 2:18; 2 Timothy 2:3-6, 11-13; and also 4:8 are all about how motivated he is because of that expectation, or how he motivates others by reminding them of that coming Day when believers' actions will be assessed, not to demonstrate that they are really believers, but so that rewards for fruitful labor are properly allocated by the King.

In Philippians 1:6 he wrote, “the One who began among you a good work will bring it to completion all the way until the Day of Christ Jesus.” Perhaps rewards for them and for him is the completion of the “good work” that Paul mentioned in 1:6.

There is also a hint of a negative side here. Paul implies that if they grumble and argue, if they are not blameless, pure, and unblemished when their works are evaluated in the Day of Christ, then sadly he will have run in vain and labored in vain. Paul feels that he would be bringing an empty boast to that Day, if all his running and laboring in Philippi only produced a grumbling and arguing congregation. As he wrote in 1 Corinthians 3:12-13, he hopes for himself and for the congregations that the “fire” of that Day will reveal “gold, silver,” and “precious stones” rather than “wood, hay, or straw.” What a joy that will be!

Paul was motivated in his life and ministry by the prospect of having his Lord and Savior rewarding him for his faithful ministry on that Day. However, that motivation would be one of several motivations which would all be secondary to the motivation of thankfulness for the grace of God which qualified him to even be present on that Day. Paul never said, “The Gospel has completed the joy that I have because you are living for the Lord.” What he did write in 2:2 was “make my joy complete by being like-minded....” This would seem to indicate that joy in effective ministry should be secondary or supplemental to our joy in the Gospel.

Furthermore, serving to gain a reward from the Lord would be quite different from serving to gain salvation, or even to gain God's love. This can be illustrated easily enough if we think about a child and his parents. A child that grows up feeling that he must perform well to earn his parents' love grows up with a painful burden that may never be lifted. However, in a healthy family parents love their children simply because they are their children, not because they perform well. The children know this and they perform well, not to earn their parents' love, but because their parents love them. Their parents reward them in their successes, and discipline them when they do wrong, but always out of a heart full of love. That rewarded or disciplined child never doubts his or her place in the family, and the effects of reward or discipline are heightened by the love the child senses. He or she will say, “My daddy loves me and he was happy that I did that!” When disciplined, he or she may say, “My daddy loves me and he doesn't want me to do that anymore, so I won't ever do that again….

Likewise in our relationship with our heavenly Father, if we feel that we must work harder to experience God's love, we place ourselves under a burden that can never be satisfied, because our hard work does not bring God's love. However, if we delight in God's love as expressed in the Gospel, if we rejoice in the Lord, then the power of His discipline and His reward is heightened by the love we enjoy.

2:17 But if I am being poured out as a drink offering112 upon the sacrifice and service of your faith, I rejoice and I rejoice together with you all.113

As the Day of Christ and Paul's boasts on that Day come to his mind, he considers his own death. He uses a wonderful figure of speech to tell his readers how he views that prospect. He looks at himself as a drink offering which is poured out. The figure of speech is extended: this drink offering is being poured out upon the sacrifice and service of your faith. This might also be translated upon the sacrifice even114 the service of your faith. As he builds them up in their faith, that is, as he works towards drawing them to a more mature faith, his life is like a drink offering that infuses into a grain offering and disappears there. In this way he and they are living according to the model of Christ that is explained in 2:5-8.

This for Paul is a joy not a burden or a loss, and he wants to rejoice together with all of them. Here Paul restates what he wrote in 1:21, “For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.”115

2:18 Have that same joy, and rejoice together with me.116

His view of death is so different from the normal human way of viewing death. For Paul the idea of being utterly “poured out as a drink offering upon the sacrifice and service” of their faith is a cause for rejoicing, and he is calling his Gospel partners into that same joy. He wants his rejoicing to be mirrored with their rejoicing. He wants to draw them into this celebration of their partnership in the Gospel and the end times boasting it should entail.

2:19-24

Yes, it is true that I may soon die, so I think of my protégé, Timothy, who serves the Lord selflessly. I want to send him to you, to strengthen our partnership. He will assure me of how you all are doing. But right now, in my situation, I just cannot spare this man until I know how it will go with my imprisonment.

2:19 I hope in the Lord Jesus to send Timothy to you soon, so that I myself might be encouraged knowing your situation.

Paul has been writing quite a bit about himself, and he seem to realize that it has been too long since he heard an accurate assessment of how the Philippian congregation is doing. He writes as if he is sure the report will be encouraging, but we are left to wonder if he himself is just being optimistic, or whether he himself might have some doubt the report will be positive. At any rate, Timothy would be the right man to go and assess the situation.117

2:20 For I have no one of like heart and mind,118 who will genuinely be concerned119 for your situation,

Timothy really stood out among the disciples who were on Paul's team. Perhaps there were others of similarly good heart and mind, but for whatever reason they were not available. Perhaps they had been sent out on other tasks.

2:21 for they all120 seek after their own interests,121 not those of Christ Jesus.122

Paul, who spoke so positively of how the Gospel was advancing even though he was in chains, was not just putting a “positive spin” on everything so that the Philippians would not feel bad about him being under arrest again. He was no blind optimist. It must have deeply grieved him to write this verse. Although he knew that Timothy had a deep understanding of and commitment to “the things that really matter,” Paul could not say that the other believers around him had that commitment. Although capable of being Paul's emissary to Philippi, we can almost imagine that one brother felt he really should stay in Rome to help with the family business, another could not leave because he was preoccupied with romance, another thought Philippi too distant from home, and yet another thought he could not live in the primitive environment of a colony. Another, though he was very diligent in getting the Gospel to his own people in Rome, was not interested in getting that same benefit to “those people off in the colony.” They were all seeking after their own interests, not those of Christ Jesus. They did not have that understanding of “the things that really matter.” May we all understand the things that really matter, and may these excuses never be heard in our congregations when we are challenged to follow Paul’s footsteps as missionaries.

2:22 Now you know his proven character,123 how as a child with his father he has served124 with me in the Gospel.

Timothy is brought on to Paul's missionary team in Acts 16 during Paul's second journey, and he is mentioned by name in every subsequent chapter of Acts except the very last chapter, in all six times. Paul also mentions Timothy by name eighteen times in his own letters, including the two that he wrote directly to Timothy.

As he opened this letter, Paul wrote of himself and Timothy as “slaves of Jesus Christ.” Going into more detail here, he tells us they have something like a father-son relationship.125 The Philippian congregation already knew Timothy and his relationship with Paul from the times they had been together in Philippi, but Paul reminds them, perhaps so that they will be even more open to his ministry, despite his lesser status and younger age.

2:23 So on the one hand he is the one I hope to send as soon as I see how my situation turns out.126

As Paul summarizes his plans about sending Timothy, the delicate issue of his situation in chains has to come up. As he writes, he cannot imagine being without the help of his protégé, and despite the assurances he has already given and gives in the next verse, it is hard to be absolutely sure about what the authorities will do with his case.

2:24 On the other hand, I am convinced in the Lord that even I myself will come quickly.

Though not complete, this is the same assurance Paul expressed in 1:19, 24, and 25.127

2:25-30

But I have to send back to you Epaphroditus, your missionary to me. Although I appreciate his willingness to serve, even to die, he is just too worried about you all. Honor him.

In striking contrast, Paul now tells them of one of their own number whom he is sending back to them because he is hard to have around.

2:25 Now I think it necessary to send to you Epaphroditus, my brother, fellow worker, and fellow soldier – your missionary128 and minister129 of my need,

For reasons that he will make clear, Paul has deemed it necessary to send back to them one whom they had sent to serve Paul's needs. This man is only mentioned in Philippians (in this verse and in 4:18), so we do not know for certain that the Philippian congregation sent him to take care of Paul because Paul was under house arrest, but that would have been a reasonable thing for them to do. He probably had not been with Paul for too long, because his coming and the gifts he brought seem to be what Paul was referring to in 4:10 when he wrote, “Now I rejoice greatly in the Lord that now at last you have renewed your concern for me.”

Paul certainly does not speak ill of Epaphroditus. He refers to him as his brother, fellow worker, and fellow soldier. He is also called minister of my need. It is possible that the congregation found a suitable young man and sent him simply to see to it that Paul was well fed while he was under house arrest. There is no evidence to support the idea that Epaphroditus was an elder or pastor in Philippi, and the man's unacceptable worrying seems to indicate something of a lack of spiritual depth.

2:26 because he is longing for you all and troubled, because you heard that he was ill.

Here Paul gives the problem, but only in the next two verses do we learn why his past illness, his longing, and his being troubled are the reasons Paul actually has to send him back to his sending church.

2:27 For indeed he was ill, he was130 near death. However, God had mercy on him – not only on him but also on me, so that I might not have grief upon grief.

Paul confirms what they had already heard, their missionary was ill, in fact he was near death. Then he immediately relieves their concern by telling them that God had mercy on him.

He does not say what grief he is already experiencing. Perhaps he is indirectly reminding them that it is already hard enough to be under house arrest and facing a capital trial in Rome. However, since in the very next verse he says he will be “more free of grief” when Epaphroditus is gone, it may be that the grief he has was brought on by Epaphroditus’s worry. In other words, he has enough grief with Epaphroditus’s worry, but the Lord spared him the further grief he would have endured had Epaphroditus died.

2:28 Therefore with more earnestness131 I send him, so that seeing him again you might be glad, and I might be more free of grief.132

Epaphroditus worried that the church at Philippi was continually worrying about him. Epaphroditus’ worrying was excessive and inappropriate for that situation, and Paul wanted to quickly return him to his sending church. Paul saw that Epaphroditus just would not entrust the Philippian congregation to the Lord's care. That servant was fretting too much about their worries over him, so Paul graciously but firmly sent him home. If, as some suppose, the reason Paul sent him back was simply so that they could see that he was no longer ill, Paul could have simply told them that Epaphroditus had recovered, and they would have believed him. No, Paul sent him back so that he might be more free of the grief or pain of mind Paul experienced having Epaphroditus around.

2:29 Therefore receive him in the Lord with all joy, and hold such as him in honor,

Although Epaphroditus was too troubled for Paul to have on his team, he is nevertheless very clear that Epaphroditus should be honored by the congregation, and he expects them to welcome him joyfully.

There are honorable men that are just not qualified for high stress cross-cultural Gospel work, and Paul was not afraid to say so.

2:30 because on account of the work of Christ he came near to death, having no concern for his own life133 so that he might fulfill what was lacking in your service to me.

Paul speaks highly of this man, never questioning his devotion or willingness to suffer. The man just had a serious problem with worry, so serious a problem that it brought too much trouble on Paul and he had to send him home.

Nevertheless, the Philippians – of all people – should give their missionary a warm and honorable welcome. After all, he was just fulfilling what was lacking in their service to Paul. The details behind this reminder to the congregation are now enigmatic. Philippians 4:15-16 indicates that the Philippian congregation had been financially generous to Paul in the past, so it does not seem likely that what was lacking in your service to me refers to lack of financial support. Since the same word for lacking134 was used in 1 Corinthians 16:17 concerning the “lack” that was made up for by the arrival of three men from Corinth,135 it seems like the “lack” that Paul refers to here was the lack of their ability to care for him while under house arrest.

There is an interesting comparison between these men on Paul’s team. Paul simply could not spare Timothy, but he quickly sent back worrying Epaphroditus, with an honorable discharge. To think in modern terms, one wonders what Paul might have put in these two men's personnel files.


75 It is sometimes said that the word used here for these four “if's” (ει/ei) could also be translated “since.” However, the grammar here means that if the first part (“if there is any encouragement in Christ”) is true, then so is the second part (you should “complete my joy”). See James L. Boyer’s article, “First Class Conditions: What Do They Mean?” in Grace Theological Journal, 2:1, pp. 75-114. The other first class conditions in Philippians are in 1:22; 2:17; 3:4, 11, 15; and 4:8.

76 This is the word κοινωνια/koinōnia. This and similar words are usually translated “partner” or “partnership” in this letter. See endnotes 28 and 224.

77 Literally, “take the same attitude.” See the explanation of this verb, φρονεω/phroneō, in endnote 84.

78 The actual Greek term here, συμψυχοι/sumpsuchoi, might literally be translated “with-souls,” and seems to say that their souls are bound together in the same purpose.

79 This word (φρονεω/phroneō) is also translated mind in this verse.

80 This word (κενοδοξια/kenodoxia), which literally means “empty glory,” refers to “a vain or exaggerated self-evaluation” or “empty conceit” (BDAG ad loc).

81 1 Tim. 5:8 is a clear reminder of this responsibility.

82 That verse, quoted from Mt. 22:39, is sometimes interpreted as a command to love oneself, but that is simply an abuse of the verse. The command is in fact to love others with the same diligence that we already have for loving ourselves.

83 Feinberg, Trinity Journal of Theology 1:1, Spring 1980, pp. 36-40.

84 This verb, φρονεω/phroneō, is used ten times in the four chapters of this epistle. It usually refers to taking an attitude of mind, a point of view, or a mindset, but it can also mean “concentrating on” or “being concerned with.”

85 This noun, ἁρπαγμος/harpagmos, has been the subject of much debate. Some say it means “the act of grabbing” so that Paul is saying Christ did not think He had to grab anything to gain equality with God, but it was enough for Him to give away all He had, and thus He gained equality with God. Another view is that it means “something to be grabbed,” again as if Jesus did not already have equality with God. A better interpretation is “something to be held onto,” or grasped. Christ was able to release the outward glory of God, and humble Himself. (See Feinberg's discussion of this noun in Trinity Journal of Theology 1:1, Spring 1980, pp. 30-36.)

86 While it is true that the NIV, RSV, and NEB all imply in their translations that μορφη θεου/morphē theou means “outward form that corresponds to the inner reality of God," so that in those translations this phrase explicitly affirms the divinity of the Lord Jesus, they are relying too heavily upon a technical definition of μορφη/morphē which Plato used, and then Aristotle developed, and ignoring the use of μορφη/morphē in the LXX and other texts outside of Classical Greek philosophy. While it is certainly completely true that up to the point of the incarnation (and upon being exalted) the Lord Jesus was and is God in outer form and in inner reality, in order to claim that this Greek phrase says that you have to say that here Paul was more influenced by Aristotle's terms than the Greek Old Testament's use of terms (Feinberg, Trinity Journal of Theology 1:1, Spring 1980, p. 30).

87 The use of μορφη/morphē here again in this verse confirms the fact that it refers simply to outward form, and does not require that the outward form correspond to an inner reality. That is very clear here in this verse, because while we agree that the Lord Jesus had the outward form of a slave, it would be hard to say that that outward form corresponds to the inner reality of a slave. He was not born as a slave, He was born the free son of a carpenter, although one might say He was figuratively a slave just as Paul was figuratively a slave. It would be better to say that He had the outward form of God, but exchanged that for the outward form of a slave, all the while never abdicating the inner reality of being God. In fact the definition of μορφη/morphē outside of Plato and Aristotle seems to be simply form. The fact that the Lord Jesus was and is fully divine is better proved from the expression “equality with God” in verse 6. Even though μορφη/morphē does not really have the full Aristotelian meaning of “outward form that corresponds to the inner reality,” verse 6 strongly implies Christ was fully God because He had all the outward form of God, that is, the glory of God, which nothing and no one in all creation would ever come close to having.

88 The term coming is literally “becoming.”

89 Scholars debate whether the emptying was merely metaphorical (that is, He made Himself of no reputation), or actually literal (that is, He somehow actually divested Himself of glory). However, since this passage speaks of an actual incarnation, where the God of Glory becomes a man that in outward appearance is just like any other man, it is hard to limit the idea to a metaphor.

90 “Imitating the Incarnation,” David J. MacLeod, Biblioteca Sacra 158:631 (July 2001), p. 322.

91 Two millennia before Mark Twain's The Prince and the Pauper, this word, σχημα/schēma, is used in an ancient text that mentions “a king who exchanges his kingly robes for sackcloth and takes on a σχημα ταπεινον/schēma tapeinon,” that is, “a humble appearance” (BDAG ad loc.). That king (and Mark Twain’s prince) did not become a peasant in fact, but only in appearance. The Lord Jesus became a man in appearance and in fact.

92 Without the preposition ὑπερ/huper attached, this word (ὑψοω/hupsoō) means “to physically lift up” or “to honor.” With the preposition, ὑπερυψοω/huperupsoō means “to lift up over” or “to raise to a high point of honor” (BDAG ad loc).

93 Each of these passages use the related Greek word ὑψοω/hupsoō.

94 Feinberg, Trinity Journal of Theology 1:1, Spring 1980, p. 44.

95 EBC ad loc.

96 See Rev. 5:13.

97 In 2 Sam. 22:40 all of David's adversaries bow at his feet.

98 This word, κατεργαζομαι/katergazomai, means “to produce or accomplish a state or condition” (BDAG ad loc.), or “to commit.” It is fairly common, being used 22 times in the NT. In this passage the KJV, the ASV, the NASB, the NIV, and the NET all translate it “work out.” However, that translation of this word is not found in the BDAG lexicon and is not supported by NT usage. This text is calling for the Philippian congregation to “achieve,” “produce,” or accomplish their own σωτηρια/sōtēria. If they are being called upon to produce their own eternal salvation, then Paul has radically altered the kind of Gospel he is preaching! No, in fact σωτηρια/sōtēria here has a different, although quite common, meaning.

99 Although this noun, σωτηρια/sōtēria, and the related verb certainly can refer to eternal salvation (as in Eph. 2:8), they very often refer to physical deliverance in the NT. Mt. 8:25; 9:21; 14:30; 27:40; John 11:12; 12:27; Acts 4:9; 27:20; 1 Tim. 2:15; 4:16; Heb. 11:7; Jms. 1:21; 2:14; and 5:19-20 is a partial list of verses in which this noun or the related verb have this physical sense of deliverance.

100 Zane Hodges, The Gospel Under Siege, pp. 96-100, and Robert Wilkin, “Working Out Your Salvation: Philippians 2:12,” The Grace Evangelical Society News, May-June 1993, pp. 2-3.

101 This word, φοβος/phobos, really does mean fear, and not merely “reverence.” The Scriptures call upon us to both love and fear God.

102 This word, ακεραιος/akeraios, literally means “unmixed” but has a figurative sense here.

103 The standard lexicon gives sky, as one of the philosophical meanings of κοσμος/kosmos (BDAG ad loc).

104 Daniel wrote chapter 12 in Hebrew, but when it was translated into Greek in the LXX, the word “brightness” was translated with the word φωστηρ/phōstēr, which is the word translated star in Phil. 2:15. It literally means “light giving body” (BDAG ad loc.)

105 The verb here is επεχω/epechō.

106 The expression which means is used to translate εις/eis, which literally means “into,” or “to.”

107 See the comments about this word, καυχημα/kauchēma, in the discussion about 1:26.

108 Liddell and Scott, ad loc.

109 This meaning is not present in the NT, but is common enough in ancient Greek literature outside the NT.

110 Four out of the five times this verb is used in the NT, it has this meaning. Note especially 1 Tim. 4:16, which reads, “Watch your life and doctrine closely…,” but see also Luke 14:7; and Acts 3:5. In Acts 19:22 it means “stay” or “remain.”

111 That would be against the KJV, the NEB, and the NIV, but with the RSV, the ESV, the NASB, and the NET translations. Swift (p. 245) agrees.

112 This entire phrase, being poured out as a drink offering, translates the verb σπενδω/spendō. This verb occurs 19 times in the LXX, describing proper drink offerings to the Lord God of Israel, as well as pagan libations to the gods of the surrounding nations. Drink offerings were also common as acts of worship among the Greeks. The only other place this verb is found in the NT is in 2 Tim. 4:6-8, where Paul also anticipates his death and the reward for his service.

113 Literally translated, this last clause reads, “rejoice and I with-rejoice with all of you.”

114 Και/kai normally means and but it can sometimes be translated “even,” when what follows the και/kai is equivalent to what precedes it.

115 See comments on boasting and rejoicing in the discussion of 2:2.

116 Literally translated, this verse likewise reads, “The same also rejoice and with-rejoice with me.”

117 Paul sent Timothy on a similar mission to the Thessalonian congregation, as he mentions in 1 Thes. 3:1-6. See comments under 1:1 concerning Timothy.

118 The word ισοψυχος/isopsuchos is literally “equal soul,” and is translated here like heart and mind.

119 This verb, μεριμναω/merimnaō, is used 19 times in the NT, only by Jesus and Paul. Jesus uses it 12 times, always reminding the disciples not to worry, as in Mt. 6:25, 27, 28, 31, and 34. Paul uses it 7 times (especially in 1 Cor. 7:32, 33, and 34), sometimes of worry (as in Phil. 4:6), and sometimes of concern (as here in Phil. 2:20).

120 It would seem that the brothers that fearlessly preach Christ out of goodwill (1:14-15) and the brothers that send their greetings with Paul's to Philippi (4:21) would be exceptions to this criticism.

121 The word interests is not there in the original, but it is supplied for clarity in English.

122 The majority of manuscripts of this passage read Christ Jesus, but some older ones read “Jesus Christ.” This is the reverse of the situation of 1:8.

123 This word, δοκιμη/dokimē, which here is translated proven character, emphasizes not just character, but the testing process that proves character.

124 This verb, δουλευω/douleuō, is the verb “to slave,” and is a part of the same word family as the word “slaves,” which Paul used to describe himself and Timothy in 1:1.

125 In 1 Cor. 4:17 Paul even refers to Timothy as “his beloved child.”

126 The expression how my situation turns out is literally “the things concerning me.”

127 See comments on 1:25 about Paul's travels after this imprisonment.

128 This is the word αποστολος/apostolos. Although it was used of the original Twelve Missionaries whom the Lord sent out, it could also be used of missionaries sent out by the churches, including Epaphroditus. Although translated “representatives” in the NIV, this very word is used in 2 Cor. 8:23 to speak of the “missionaries of the churches.” In Heb. 3:1 Christ Himself is referred to as an αποστολος/apostolos, because He was sent as a missionary by God to this world.

129 Paul uses this word, λειτουργος/leitourgos, of himself in Rom. 15:16 and of government officials in Rom. 13:6. It is used of angels in Heb. 1:7 and of Christ in Heb. 8:2. It refers to people that serve for others' benefit. Here it seems to simply mean that Epaphroditus was sent to be Paul's “aide.”

130 The words he was are supplied because of the needs of English grammar.

131 This word, σπουδαιοτερως/spoudaioterōs, might also mean “with more haste.”

132 This key word, αλυποτερος/alupoteros, seems to be Paul's clearest expression of the reason he is returning Epaphroditus to the church in Philippi. The word is composed of three parts. The root is λυπη/lupē, which means “pain of mind or spirit, grief, sorrow” (BDAG ad loc.) That very word is used twice in the previous verse. The suffix is -τερος/-teros, which generally adds the element “more.” Finally, the prefix is α-/a-, meaning “without,” or “free of.” When all three parts are then “reassembled,” the meaning is clear: Paul is sending Epaphroditus back so that he can be relieved of the pain of mind or grief that he has while Epaphroditus is there! This does sound harsh to our ears, but it has to be taken in the context of the generosity of Paul's other comments about the man. Neither Paul's negative nor his positive comments should be softened.

133 Most of manuscripts read παραβουλευσαμενος/parabouleusamenos, meaning having no concern for, but several of the older manuscripts read παραβολευσαμενος/paraboleusamenos. Not only are these two readings very close in spelling, they are also very close in meaning. The majority reading means having no concern for, while the older and uncommon reading has the almost identical meaning of “risking.” It is very easy to see how the original could have been with or without that first υ/u, and the issue simply has very little practical significance.

134 The Greek word is ὑστερημα/husterēma.

135 EBC ad loc.

Passage: 

5. Philippians 3

3:1-3

So the crucial thing I want to remind you about is that you must put your joy and boasting in the Lord, and not in anything of the flesh – not circumcision, not anything. Get your identity from the Gospel.

3:1 From now on,136 my brothers, rejoice in the Lord. Writing the same things to you is not troublesome137 for me, and it is more certain138 for you.

All of chapter 3 is an explanation by Paul of what it means to rejoice in the Lord. He wants us to understand how to learn to make our salvation in Christ, our relationship with Christ, and the service that flows from that salvation, our joy. Just as rejoice in the Lord looks forward and summarizes chapter 3, the statement in 4:1, “in this way stand firm in the Lord,” looks backwards and summarizes chapter 3.

Paul has already shown the congregation how he rejoices that the Gospel is being preached (1:18), and how he rejoices in his ministry (2:17), and called them to rejoice with him in 2:18. Even so, with his warm pastoral heart he does not hesitate to write this out again, so that they, and we, see Christ and the Gospel as our best boast and our best joy, in fact our only safe boast and our only safe joy, apart from, of course, ministry that flows out of that boasting and rejoicing in the Lord.

Just as Paul has exhorted them with a command to humility, a negative example, and three positive examples,139 here too he gives the command to rejoice in the Lord, and he will give the negative example of having confidence in the flesh in 3:2-7, and the positive example of enjoying the righteousness of Christ in 3:9.

3:2 Consider140 the dogs, consider the evil workers, consider the Emasculation.141

As Paul begins to teach on what it means to “rejoice in the Lord,” he first points out a preeminent example of those that do not rejoice in the Lord at all. They rejoice in their own achievement, especially their own supposed ability to obey the Law of Moses. In writing about them, Paul suddenly uses very strong terms. Dogs is of course very negative to both Jewish and Gentile ears.142 The sense of evil workers is plain and literal. Further, to refer to the Party of the Circumcision with the figurative wordplay Emasculation shows us something of how adamantly Paul opposed their teachings.

Paul preached a Gospel of grace, teaching that sinners through no activity of their own may be given the actual life and righteousness of Christ Himself. This gift is possible, and is in no way opposed to the justice of God, because of the work of Christ upon the cross. Because Christ took upon Himself the punishment that we deserved, God can freely share with us Christ's righteousness. The only condition that is imposed upon this gift is that we believe in Him. It is not a work; it is a question of a decision to be made. It simply does not concern one's strength, wisdom, discipline, or other resources. This believing is in radical contrast with human work or action, as Paul emphasized in Romans 4:4-5, which says, “Now to the one who works his wages are not counted as a favor, but as an obligation. But to the one who does not work, but believes in the one who justifies the ungodly, his faith is counted as righteousness.” The problem with the teachings of the Circumcision was that they added circumcision and other Old Testament commands to the only condition described above. Any addition to grace alone distorts the Gospel and feeds human pride, pushing us away from the thankfulness to God, reliance upon Him, and true humility which together bring real spiritual growth and effective ministry.

In Acts 11:2 and 15:1 we read that some Jewish believers in Christ held to the idea that Gentiles that came to believe should also follow the Law of Moses. In fact, in Acts 15 the leadership of the church in Jerusalem took a formal stand against that view, and in Galatians the seriousness of that view’s effect upon some of the local congregations is also painfully evident, since that entire letter is Paul's response to some churches that let themselves be led astray by the teaching of the Party of the Circumcision. However, there is simply not enough information in Philippians to confirm more than the fact that Paul considered them a threat to the congregation. Whether they were active in Philippi or merely likely to go there is not clear from the text.143

The Party of the Circumcision, the Judaizers, were entirely different from those Gospel preachers in 1:14-17 who preached for wrong reasons. Those in 1:14-17 were preaching the true Gospel in an inappropriate way, while the Circumcision was preaching a false and destructive imitation of the Gospel.

The Judaizers’ boast was in their achievements in the flesh, their supposed compliance with the Law of Moses. Since we may not be tempted to boast in compliance to the Law of Moses, perhaps we would do well to inventory our hearts (which are invisible) and our homes (which are visible) and look for those boasts that are outside of Christ and His Gospel.

3:3 For we, we144 are the Circumcision, we are the ones serving145 in the Spirit of God and boasting in Christ Jesus, putting no confidence in the flesh.

Paul exudes the joy of the Lord as he emphatically asserts that he and all who have sided with him in the pure Gospel against the Judaizers are the only ones with the valid claim to be known as the Party of the Circumcision. He explains this idea in more detail in Colossians 2:11, writing, “In Him also you were circumcised with a circumcision accomplished without hands, by the disarming of the sinful body – the flesh, the circumcision that Christ accomplishes.” See also Romans 2:28-29. This idea of an inward circumcision is also in the Old Testament, particularly in Leviticus 26:41 and Ezekiel 44:7.146

Paul strongly asserts that unlike the Party of the Circumcision, they were the ones boasting147 in Christ Jesus, rather than in some human accomplishment. What a profound difference in life, to exult in our Savior, rather than in this and that “success,” here and there where we have met some arbitrary religious standards of conduct, all the time trying to cover over the unseen sins of our hearts. That insidious kind of hypocrisy appears to have also been our Lord's target in passages like Luke 10:25-37 (the Good Samaritan story, told to a scribe that wanted “to justify himself”) and Luke 18:18-25 (the conversation with the rich young ruler that loved his wealth). He served His hearers by helping them understand that they were far from successful in their attempts at obeying the Law, because of their hatred of Samaritans or their love of wealth.

3:4-9

Let me tell you my own story. I was full of self-confidence, but now I confidently regard all that as rubbish, and Christ as my righteousness, my salvation.

3:4 Although I could have reasons for confidence148 also in the flesh. If someone else supposes he can put confidence in the flesh, I more so.

As was stated earlier, all of chapter 3 is an explanation by Paul of what it means to rejoice in the Lord. Here Paul is continuing his explanation of what it means to find our joy in the Lord by dealing with whether or not we can have joy, boasting, or confidence in anything other than the Lord. He knows from experience all about what it means to have confidence in the flesh. By birth and by religious attainment he has already outdone them all, as he will explain in some detail in the verses that follow.

3:5 Circumcised on the eighth day, of the nation of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews – regarding149 the Law, a Pharisee;

Since the ultimate example of those that boast in the flesh and therefore not in the Lord was the Party of the Circumcision, and since their ultimate boast was their physical circumcision, Paul reminds them that he too was circumcised according to the Law, on the eighth day, in accord with Leviticus 12:3.

It may be that Paul mentions that he is a member of the tribe of Benjamin because that tribe had a special status in the nation of Israel. Benjamin himself was the beloved second and youngest son of Rachel. It was only Judah and Benjamin that stayed with the house of David when the tribes of the North seceded (1 Kings 12:21), and Benjamin was untainted by the sin of Judah against Tamar (Genesis 38). Also, Benjamin and Judah seem to have been the core of the restored nation under Zerubbabel (Ezra 4:1). However, that tribe also had its shameful episodes. King Saul was from the tribe of Benjamin, and it was Benjamites that sinned so dreadfully against the Levite's concubine in Judges 19. So perhaps the tribe of Benjamin did not have special prestige among the Jews, and Paul was just being specific about his family heritage.150

The expression a Hebrew of Hebrews seems to indicate that he was an exemplary Jew. The proofs he has already given concern his parentage, and he continues with proofs concerning his own decisions and performance.

He was a member of the Pharisees. They were more numerous than the Sadducees and more strict in their application of the Law of Moses. They were also more geographically dispersed in synagogues, while the Sadducees’ power was based in the Temple in Jerusalem.151

3:6 regarding zeal, a persecutor of the church; regarding the righteousness that comes by the Law, blameless.

When Paul relates the story of his conversion (Acts 22 and 26, as well as in Galatians 1), he always includes the fact that he was a persecutor of the church. At the time he must have considered his efforts against the church to be like Phinehas in Numbers 25, so that he felt he was serving the Lord God of Israel.

Paul did not claim that the righteousness that comes by the Law was worth anything before God. In fact in passages like Galatians 2:16 he explicitly rejects that idea. Here he simply says that whatever sort of righteousness there was in it, he had it all.

3:7 Whatever was gain to me, I have come to count152 as loss because of Christ.

Paul is giving his personal testimony concerning what he has come to understand about where our confidence should be. He used to put confidence in his lineage and his works, but then he came to realize that all those sorts of things are of no benefit at all, in fact they are loss. Confidence in that sort of thing actually works against us, moving us farther from the confidence in Christ Jesus which both brings eternal life and develops our ability to rejoice in Him.

3:8 Furthermore, I consider153 all things154 to be loss on account of the far better knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, on account of whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and I consider them to be refuse,155 with the result that156 I have gained157 Christ,

Paul is not saying we must utterly renounce everything, consider everything in our lives to be trash, so that we can be saved. If that were the case, we must for instance look at the dinner that has been prepared for us, and say, “Ah, this dinner is rubbish, it has no value. I only value my Savior, and I think everything else in the world is trash.” Those that would read this text this way imply that without this ascetic attitude, we are doomed to hell.

Paul does not consider being Jewish or obeying the Law to be evil, but he clearly understands that these things are utterly worthless to trust in for our salvation or our standing with God.158 As means of salvation, as things to put your confidence in, these things are all as useful as refuse.

We need look no further than the very next verse to be reminded that Paul is not advocating becoming a hermit as a requirement for salvation. All these things need to be renounced as means of salvation, but to carry this verse on to mean that the only way to be saved is to utterly remove ourselves from every bit of wealth or status in our lives is to make a new work that must be performed in order to earn salvation!

Both the expressions “gaining Christ” and “being found in Him” seem to refer to initial salvation and the life long process of gaining maturity in Christ.159 Indeed, the word “gain”160 can refer to gaining a profit from an initial capital. It is used that way four times in the Parable of the Talents in Matthew 25:14-30. If that is so, then Paul is saying that as he continues to reject everything that the Judaizers put their confidence in, he gains an ever closer relationship with Christ. The aspect of salvation is more fully developed in verse 9, while the aspect of growing in an ever closer relationship is developed in verse 10.

By writing on account of whom I have suffered the loss of all things, Paul reminds us in a general way, without going into specifics, of the personal losses he himself has experienced because of his relationship with Christ. He is not, however, claiming that he deserves to be saved because of all the sacrifice he has made!

Although the irreligious, with their own various forms of pride, would benefit wonderfully from hearing and believing this passage, it is particularly meant not for them but for the religious. It is not here for those that are religious in any religion, it is meant here for hard working, serious, committed Christians. The danger is that a subtle but terrible shift can take place in our hearts, so that the hard work which earlier in our Christian experience we did out of thankfulness to our Savior, we now do without the thankfulness. Worse yet, we find ourselves feeling we deserve some status and respect from those around us because of all our hard work!

3:9 and am found161 in Him, not having my own righteousness which is from the Law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God, by faith.

Paul already has this righteousness, and has already been found in Him. Here he emphasizes the Gospel, that righteousness given to believers is from God, not from any effort at obedience to the Law.

3:10-14

Christ is my salvation, but He is also my goal, because I press on to win the prize He has for His obedient servants.

3:10 I want162 to know Him and the power of His resurrection and the participation163 in His sufferings, becoming conformed to His death,

In verse 8 the idea of gaining more of Christ was presented. Here this idea is more fully developed. Knowing Christ can refer to simply being redeemed and in the family of God, as in Jeremiah 24:7; 31:34; Ezekiel 38:16; Galatians 4:9; and 1 John 4:7. However it can also go beyond that to refer to a deep, rich, and joyful personal nearness with Him, as in Daniel 11:32; Jeremiah 9:24; John 17:3; 1 John 2:14; and 5:20.

In these few well chosen words, Paul expresses a great deal about what it is to rejoice in the Lord. He longs as well to more deeply experience the power of His resurrection. He prayed for this to happen in the lives of the Ephesian congregation in Ephesians 1:18-20.

While the first and second elements of this verse seem attractive enough to us, we might cringe from the third and fourth.164 However, since Christ was Paul's joy and his boast, and because Paul was following the pattern of Christ's humility that he showed us in 2:5-11, he decided not to cringe from the third and fourth elements. He wanted all he could get of Christ, and if that included participation in His sufferings, that was certainly no reason at all to turn away. Paul wanted to be like Jesus, and to imitate His utter obedience and humility. How could that not include suffering?

In Philippians 1:29 Paul reminded his partners in Gospel ministry that their sufferings, like his, are a grace gift of God. He also wrote in 2:5-13 that just as in humble obedience Christ suffered and was exalted, so they should be humble and obedient and accomplish their own deliverance because it is God who is at work in them.165 Furthermore, he who dared to write of completing “what is lacking in the affliction of Christ” in Colossians 1:24 dares here to write of participating in His sufferings. Christ's sufferings produced the Evangel, the Gospel, but “what is lacking” was the Evangelization that would spread the Evangel to the ends of the earth. That is not to say that the Gospel is imperfect, but there is a part yet to be played for the Lord's servants. In other words, we are offered a participation in His sufferings. Of course our participation in His sufferings does not contribute to the Evangel, but to the Evangelization of the nations.

As if the idea that participation in His sufferings was not radical enough, Paul clarifies further that in that participation he longs to be conformed to His death. Paul would have the same utter obedience that Christ had by which He went to His death.

Hudson Taylor once said, “Do we know much of fellowship with Him in this? There are not two Christs – an easy-going Christ for easy-going Christians, and a suffering, toiling Christ for exceptional believers. There is only one Christ. Are we willing to abide in Him and so to bear fruit?”166 Rather than suggesting that Christians should toil and suffer so that they can earn their salvation, he was candidly pointing out that people are following someone or something other than Christ if their intent is to avoid pain and trouble.

Could it be that some branches of Christendom tend to take this passage too seriously, as it were, and seem to forget that all of the work of obtaining our eternal salvation was accomplished perfectly by Christ Himself once and for all upon the cross, while other branches of Christendom do not live out this passage at all, feeling fine about a lifestyle that unquestioningly pursues comfort and avoids suffering, out of a concern that somehow wanting to participate in His sufferings will dilute the Gospel?

This letter was written to encourage the church in the partnership in the Gospel that they have enjoyed together for so long, but Paul understands very deeply that that partnership together in Gospel ministry must not be founded merely upon their affection for him, or their allegiance to him. It must be founded upon their relationship to Christ: He is the One that saved them at the Cross, and He is the one that modeled for them how to live real life as He died in obedience and humility on that Cross. In order for them to have a truly rich partnership in Gospel ministry, they need to imitate Paul as he imitates Christ, in partnership in Christ's sufferings.

3:11 if somehow167 I might attain168 to the out-resurrection169 of the dead.170

In Romans 6:5 Paul wrote, “For if we have become united with Him in the likeness of His death, we will also be united in the likeness of His resurrection.” He taught that all believers will be resurrected. If by out-resurrection Paul was referring to that resurrection, which according to his own teachings was certain for every redeemed person, then he is in effect admitting two very strange things. First, that he has no assurance of his own participation in this event, and second, that participation in that resurrection was to be earned by participating in the sufferings of Christ and by becoming conformed to His death. The second of those two things is not only very strange, it is “another gospel,” a gospel in which salvation must be earned by incredible self-sacrifice. These two difficulties suggest that out-resurrection has a different meaning.

The “better resurrection” of Hebrews 11:35 points to the solution to this problem. In the context of the great faithfulness of the heroes of the faith in the Old Testament, Hebrews 11:35 says, “women received back their dead raised to life. But others were tortured, not receiving release, so that a better resurrection they might obtain.” Clearly, believers worked for that “better resurrection” through suffering. Paul wanted “to know the participation in His sufferings, becoming conformed to His death,” all in order to attain to the out-resurrection of the dead. He was striving with all his effort to attain to the same thing the heroes in Hebrews 13:5 sought to attain, a better resurrection. The resurrection of those who “were tortured and refused to be released” will be better, because it will involve rich heavenly rewards.

We know that it was because the Lord Jesus “humbled Himself, becoming obedient to death, even death on a cross,” that "God exalted Him, and gave Him a name that is above every name.” The Lord Jesus received more than a resurrection body, He attained His exaltation because of His humble obedience. In the same manner, Paul would participate or partner in His sufferings, and so attain to the out-resurrection of the dead. In other words, Paul's attaining to the out-resurrection of the dead is parallel to the exaltation of the Lord Jesus. Both are contingent upon suffering. Both are contingent upon humility. Both are contingent upon obedience.

3:12 Not that I have already obtained this171 or already been perfected, but I pursue172 it if also I might seize it, the very thing for which also I was seized by Christ Jesus.

Paul does not, in this verse, mention what it is that is obtained, pursued, or seized, but it must be the status that he mentions in the previous verse, attaining to the “out-resurrection.” This same status is the goal also in the next verse and in the verse after that, where it is finally described with the word “prize.” With all the effort that Paul tells us is required to obtain this status, one wonders how it could ever be interpreted as the free gift of eternal salvation, given how explicit Paul is that eternal salvation is not won by our own efforts, but wholly by the work of Christ.

As the “if somehow” of the previous verse made clear, Paul simply does not have assurance that he will attain to the status he aspires to. Here he emphasizes that he has not yet attained it, but it is the object of his diligent efforts. This could hardly be about his eternal salvation. Because Paul knew something of the depths of his own sin,173 because he knew how near dreadful sin lurked in his heart, he could have no assurance that he would persevere in good works all his days and thus win the prize and attain to the out-resurrection of the dead. At the same time, because he knew of the perfect work of Christ on the cross, he had perfect assurance of his salvation. In 2 Timothy 2:11-13 we see that he was assured of his eternal security.

Christ Jesus has seized Paul to make him into a faithful disciple whom He will reward with crowns, a throne, and authority over nations in His coming Kingdom. In fact, He has seized all believers for that goal. In his old age Paul wrote 2 Timothy 4:7, saying, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.” At that point in his life, near death, he finally had assurance that he had obtained the status spoken of here in this verse. In 2 Timothy 4:8 he told Timothy more concerning that status when he wrote, “Finally there is stored away for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that day – and not only to me, but also to all who have loved His appearing.” That is indeed the very thing for which also he was seized by Christ Jesus.

3:13 Brothers, I do not consider myself to have seized it. I have just one thing on my mind,174 forgetting what is past, and straining towards what is ahead.

Again Paul stresses that he has not attained to the status he is writing about, but here he goes on to describe the single-minded zeal with which he pursues that status. Although we know that he has not literally forgotten the past (he has just written about his past), he will not be distracted with that sort of thing. After a race, a runner may think through how he ran, where he ran well and where he ran poorly, but during the race he focuses on the course in front of him. Likewise Paul, in thinking about his past, does not distinguish between his former misguided efforts to justify himself through the Law (as in verses 5-6), or his more recent success in being devoted to Christ (as in verse 10). He will not dwell on any of that, lest he be distracted from the “race” that lies before him.

3:14 Focused on the goal, I pursue175 the prize of the upward calling of God in Christ Jesus.

Look at how strenuous the tone is of this work of Paul's. He uses terms like “seize,” “strain,” and pursue. They are terms that indicate hard work, utterly inappropriate for any discussion about receiving the free gift of eternal life. That is not the topic here! Here Paul is describing the diligent work and suffering required, not to obtain citizenship to the Kingdom of God, but to gain a better resurrection, to reign with Christ in His Kingdom, to be given authority over ten cities, to be given crowns and a throne. Those are the things he is striving for with such single-minded diligence.

Paul works hard for this prize, which he refers to as a “crown” in 1 Corinthians 9:25; 2 Timothy 2:5; and 4:8, as a “reward”176 in 1 Corinthians 3:14 and 9:17, and as “the reward of an inheritance” in Colossians 3:24. In this context Paul has no assurance that he will succeed in this. He tells us of the possibility of being disqualified in 1 Corinthians 9:27. In 2 Timothy 2:5 he reminds Timothy that he needs to compete according to the rules to win the crown. In 2 Timothy 4:7-8 we read that since Paul finished the race, he will receive a crown, and further, that such a crown will be given to all who have loved His appearing. These are not conditions that are set down for our salvation, they are rather conditions set down for receiving a reward for hard work.

3:15-21

Follow me in this! Unhappily, the enemies of the cross are many. They will be destroyed, but we have a heavenly citizenship and a Savior from heaven.

3:15 Therefore, as many of us177 as are mature,178 let us take this attitude,179 and if you take some other view,180 this too God will reveal to you.

Paul wants his partners in Gospel ministry to know how to live their lives rejoicing in the Lord. Having put before them the negative example of the Judaizers and the positive example of taking pride in the cross rather than his own human status and attainment, and having reminded them of the rich rewards by which the Lord would motivate us, with winsome language he now calls upon them to adopt this heart attitude and approach to life. Paul might have sternly commanded them, “Think this way, all of you!” Instead, he draws them in, in effect saying “I know you all. You are not babes in Christ, you are mature in the faith. Let's think this way.” It is winsome language.

Then he puts more force into his language, by suggesting that if we do not take this heart attitude and approach to life as our own, our God is a gracious God, and He will show us what this means. He might do that by a supernatural revelation, but the next verse hints that He may do that simply through the course of events of our lives. If we choose to encourage ourselves on in the Christian life by priding ourselves on our status, our religious attainments, and our performance, the Lord has ways of showing us the spiritual shipwreck we are heading towards. Even the strongest of us will find that the fountain of human status and performance eventually runs dry. Whether we are weak or strong, rejoicing in the cross is the spring that will sustain us through all our years.

3:16 However, to what we have already attained,181 live up to182 that rule, and be of one mind.183

If we allow ourselves to indulge in some hypocrisy and disharmony, we can extend the time that pride of status and performance can sustain us. To prevent that delay in our insight that this heart attitude is not really working, Paul discourages hypocrisy and disharmony. He does that by urging us (if indeed we have decided to “take some other view”) to be sure to try to live up to that standard to which we have already attained and to be of one mind. If we have not taken the attitude that Christ is our righteousness and our boast, and if we diligently try to live up to a performance standard, Paul knows we will not succeed. By disallowing hypocrisy and disharmony Paul would hasten the realization of the spiritual dryness into which we have wandered. In verses 15 and 16 Paul certainly hopes that we will learn the easy way, but he offers a slower and more painful alternative as well. The easy way is to learn from the Word that Christ is our righteousness, our joy, and our boast; the painful way is to try to perform at some standard, to live up to a rule, and then to fail, and realize what we should have known from the beginning, that Christ is our righteousness, our joy, and our boast.

3:17 Join others in following my example,184 brothers, and pay attention to those that walk185 in that way, just as you have our example.186

Paul returns to a positive note by boldly calling the congregation to imitate him and others that conduct their lives with the heart attitude he has been describing. This is not just a general call to be holy or to be a missionary, it is a specific call to imitate Paul in the heart attitudes he has been describing, so that they will find their joy in the Lord, not in their own accomplishments or efforts at sustaining a Christian lifestyle. If someone were to follow his example and pay attention to those that walk in that way, in terms of outstanding holiness and awesome ministry effectiveness, but, at the same time, miss the point of rejoicing in the Lord and in the Gospel, they would not be doing what Paul is saying here at all, and in fact they would be heading towards that spiritual dryness that Paul is steering the congregation away from.

Paul was not ignorant of his sin. In 1 Timothy 1:15-16 he twice refers to himself as the worst of sinners. However, he knew of and exulted in God's grace. He knew that he was primarily and essentially a “holy one.” No false humility prevents him from calling congregations to imitate him and to follow his example. He makes similar calls in 1 Corinthians 4:16 and 11:1, and there is a related commendation in 1 Thessalonian 1:6.

3:18 For as I have often been telling you, and now even weeping I say, many walk187 as enemies of the cross of Christ.

The reason Paul has to urge them so strongly to follow the mindset he has been telling them about, the heart attitude of taking our delight in our salvation in Christ and our relationship with Christ, is because there are so many people around that would draw them into another heart attitude, a heart attitude which will eventually result in spiritual dryness or even apostasy.

The identity of these people living as enemies of the cross of Christ has been debated. Some say they were the Judaizers, who taught that a person must obey the Law of Moses in order to please God. Others say they were Antinomians, who taught that all laws, rules, and regulations must be cast off. The harsh verdict on them in the next verse, and the contrast with the situation of believers (“but our citizenship is in heaven”) in the verse after that, make it seem that they were not Christians. Also, it does not seem that these many were part of the Philippian congregation, to whom he wrote with great warmth and affirmation.

Nevertheless there is great danger here for us. Not only do we need to be ready to reject the seduction by which people like this would draw our joy away from Christ, we also need to watch our own hearts, and help each other beware of that tendency in our own hearts. As we Christians slip away from the attitudes that Paul has been trying to develop in this entire chapter, and fall into the attitudes that he has repeatedly warned us against in this chapter, do we not then resemble too much those enemies of the cross of Christ? We are not His enemies but His beloved children – and that lasts forever – but if we lose our first love, if we slip away from that joy in the Gospel, and if we then begin to pride ourselves instead on our spiritual attainments or quality of life, without losing the salvation He has guaranteed we may act much too much like enemies of the cross of Christ. The cross calls us to humility, but we have become proud. The cross calls us to find our identity in our salvation, but we find our identity in our accomplishments. The cross offers us joy in being loved by our Savior, but we scramble and scrape around to grasp at a bit of joy in our accomplishments, a bit in the praise and respect others give us, and now and then even a bit in the dark entertainments the world offers its citizens. Is not this all too prevalent heart attitude the reason Paul was often telling them, and even weeping to write of again as he composed these lines?

The specific identity of the many that would threaten the Philippian congregation of the middle of the first century ad is an interesting historical issue, but if we want to apply the Word of God we must consider carefully who in our lives are enemies of the cross of Christ that threaten to draw us away from the mindset of finding our worth in Christ, delighting in the Gospel, and rejoicing in the Lord. Anyone that would draw us away from such goals, which they might refer to as our “quaint religious ideas,” towards the mindset and activities they are using to try to fill the empty ache of their hearts are on the one hand enemies of the cross of Christ, and on the other hand people in need of the Lord. The earnestness of Paul's warning here should remind us that we live with the real danger of being tricked into believing that something other than Christ can bring us the deep settled joy Paul is writing about.

3:19 Their end is ruin,188 their god is their belly, and their glory is in their shame. They set their minds189 on earthly things.

While it is possible that he is simply saying that the end result of their attitudes is rot and ruin rather than eternal hell, the end Paul writes of here seems to refer to their ultimate status in hell. Given the contrast with “our citizenship” in the next verse, it does seem like Paul is saying these people are not citizens of the Kingdom of Heaven at all.

While our Savior was glorified because He was willing to endure humiliation for us, these people's end is ruin, because they delight in what is shameful.

As Paul looked for value in life, as he looked for what would bring true joy, he realized that his religious status and attainments were all as good as rubbish, and he decided to find his joy in the Lord. These people did not make the same decision.

Whether these people are sensual antinomians or scrupulously religious, they have nothing of the joy of the Lord, because they are focusing on earthly things. From a human perspective, we might be tempted to think that Paul is a bit out of balance if he has often been telling them, and as he wrote this letter was even weeping, warning them about people that set their minds on earthly things. However, this is crucial to our spiritual development. Like Paul we can consider all things rubbish and refuse, rejoicing in the Lord, or we can be led along by the enemies of the cross to their substitute joys.

3:20 But our citizenship is in heaven,190 out of which we are awaiting a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ,

In contrast with those who set their minds on earthly things, our citizenship is in heaven. They are headed to ruin, but we are awaiting a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ. By pointing out how fundamentally different our situation is, Paul reminds us again how utterly inappropriate it would be for us to act like them, or look for joy in the same places where they look for joy.

3:21 who will transform191 our humble bodies to conformity 192 with His glorious body by the working of His ability even to subject all things to Himself.

Our Savior will not simply save us from our sin, He will transform our humble physical bodies making them like His glorious body. When He does, our bodies will be appropriate for our citizenship! This is the wonder of the resurrection, and it is promised to all believers.193


136 This expression, το λοιπον/to loipon, has the meaning “the rest” or even, “the other.” The usual translation of this expression here in 3:1 is “finally” as in “the rest of what I have to say in this letter is," but since this is not really Paul's final comment in this letter it makes better sense to let this expression have its fairly common meaning of “for the rest of your time," “henceforth," or from now on (BDAG ad loc). as it does in Heb. 10:13. In 2 Tim. 4:8 λοιπον/loipon means “henceforth” or from now on.

137 This word, οκνηρος/oknēros, can mean “hesitant,” “lazy,” or “causing hesitance” (BDAG ad loc.).

138 This word, ασφαλης/asphalēs, means “stable,” "secure," “certain,” "firm" or “safe” (BDAG ad loc). In this verse Paul may simply have meant that he wanted to be certain they understood what he was writing.

139 See the discussion under 2:3.

140 This verb, βλεπω/blepō, which is used three times in this verse, literally means “see” or “look.” When it is not used literally, it often has the meaning “watch out,” but in that case it will always have no object or be followed by “lest” (μη/), “from” (απο/apo), “yourself” (εαυτου/eautou), “how” (πως/pōs), or “what” (τις/tis). However, this verb's usage in 1 Cor. 1:26; 10:18 and this passage does not fit any of those structures. In these three passages this verb just means consider, or “observe and learn a lesson from.”

141 There is a wordplay between this word, κατατομη/katatomē (off-cutting” or “down-cutting”), and the word περιτομη/peritomē (“around cutting” or “circumcision”), which occurs in the next sentence. Paul seems to have coined this term himself, since it is “found nowhere else in primitive Christian literature” (O'Brien, ad loc). The KJV translators tried to preserve the wordplay by using the terms “concision” and “circumcision.” In Gal. 5:12 Paul shows similar zeal against the same kind of people, writing “I even wish those subverting you would cut themselves off!” There he uses the verb αποκοπτω/apokoptō, which literally means “to cut off,” as when Peter cut off Malchus's ear in Jn. 18:10.

142 Among other ancient Greek authors, Homer and Aristotle used this word (κυων/kuōn) in very negative ways (BDAG, ad loc). In Mt. 15:26 when the Lord Jesus implied that the Canaanite woman was a dog, He used the diminutive form of this word (κυναριον/kunarion), which would refer to dogs that were pets, rather than farm dogs, yard dogs, or wild dogs.

143 “No Confidence In The Flesh: The Meaning and Function of Philippians 3:2-21.” David A. deSilva, Trinity Journal 15:1 (Spring 1994) p. 2.

144 The use of the optional pronoun we (ἡμεῖς/hēmeis), as well as its initial position in the sentence, make this we very emphatic.

145 This verb, λατρευω/latreuō, means “serve in religious duty” or “worship.” The related noun is discussed in endnote 129.

146 EBC ad loc.

147 This and related words are discussed under 1:26 and 2:2.

148 This word, πεποιθησις/pepoithēsis, seems to have the meaning of reasons for confidence or “grounds for confidence” here rather than just confidence.

149 In this and the next verse the word regarding is used three times to reflect how the preposition κατα/kata, often translated “according to,” is used three times.

150 EBC, ad loc.

151 When the Roman army destroyed the Temple, the Sadducees' power base was destroyed, and their influence waned sharply. However, the Pharisees survived that national trauma. Their descendants went on to write the Talmud. In fact, today Orthodox Judaism views the Pharisees quiet highly, and they trace their roots through them.

152 The use of the Perfect Tense here indicates a settled and ongoing stance on the issue.

153 The Present Tense here and with the same verb later in this verse indicates Paul's continual attitude, but he gained Christ and was “found in Him” as soon as he took up this attitude.

154 By using the expression all things (παντα/panta), Paul broadens the rejection of grounds for self-confidence beyond his own rather Jewish elements to a rejection of all reasons for self-confidence. See Jer. 9:23-34 for closely related OT command.

155 According to the BDAG lexicon this word, σκυβαλον/skubalon, can refer to any “useless or undesirable material that is subject to disposal.” As such, it was used of such things as kitchen scraps, garbage, manure, and even human waste products. Some commentators have gone so far as to say that the word actually means human excrement, but they are mistaken. Like the word “waste,” the word σκυβαλον/skubalon can be used of kitchen scraps and human waste or any “useless or undesirable material that is subject to disposal.” “Waste” or refuse are better translations for this term.

156 This word, ἱνα/hina, usually expresses purpose and is translated “so that.” It can however mean with the result that, as is clearly the case in John 9:2 when disciples asked the Lord, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, with the result that he was born blind?” Luke 1:43; John 16:32; Rom. 11:11; Gal. 5:17; 1 Th. 5:4; and 1 John 1:9 also clearly use ἱνα/hina to indicate result rather than purpose. Here it also indicates result. Paul is not saying that he is always considering everything rubbish with the continual intent that he might sooner or later be saved, he is saying simply “I always consider such things to have as much value in saving me as garbage would have, and in giving up on such rubbish and choosing Christ, the result has been that I have gained Christ....” The only problem with this translation is that it is a less common use of ἱνα/hina. However, the list above shows that this use of ἱνα/hina is not so rare as to be improbable here.

157 This is an Aorist Subjunctive verb. The NIV has to use the expression “that I may gain” because it takes it as a purpose clause, and that is how English purpose clauses are translated. If it is a result clause, then the English must be that I have gained.

158 Calvin (Commentary on the Epistle to the Philippians, ad loc.) responds to that ascetic sort of thinking by writing, “Paul, therefore, divested himself – not of works, but of that mistaken confidence in works, with which he had been puffed up.”

159 Hendriksen, ad loc.

160 κερδαινω/kerdainō

161 In Acts 8:40 and Gal. 2:17 this same expression, “to be found” (εὑρισκω/heuriskō in the Passive Voice) means simply “to be.”

162 The words I want are supplied for a smoother translation, but are absent in the Greek.

163 Again we see the word κοινωνια/koinōnia. It could even be translated “partnership” here.

164 Rather than cringing from this text, most commentators try to “spiritualize” it, saying that these ideas are not meant literally, but refer to “certain spiritual experiences, such as mental suffering, dying to self, and living the resurrected life” (The Believers' Bible Commentary, ad loc).

165 See the discussion of 2:12 above.

166 Behind the Ranges, p. 170, quoted in The Believers' Bible Commentary, ad loc.

167 This Greek expression, ει πως/ei pōs, is also found in Acts 27:12; Rom. 1:10; and 11:14. It expresses some doubt whether the hoped for event will really come to pass. Paul did not have assurance of this, but he had definite assurance of his participation in the resurrection from the dead and his eternal salvation, as is so clear from passages like Phil. 3:21 in this very letter, as well as Rom. 8:38-39; Gal. 2:16; Col. 1:12; 2 Tim. 1:12; and Titus 3:5.

168 This verb, κατανταω/katantaō, can literally mean “arrive at a geographic destination” or figuratively “arrive at a goal,” and so here might also be translated attain or “reach.”

169 This term, εξαναστασις/exanastasis, is not found elsewhere in the NT, but it is made up of the prefix εξ/ex (out) followed by the noun αναστασις/anastasis (resurrection).

170 Most of the oldest manuscripts of Philippians read “out-resurrection from the dead” while the majority of Greek manuscripts read “out resurrection of the dead,” but the sense in either case is the same.

171 The words this and it are not in the Greek, but are supplied in the English.

172 This verb, διωκω/diōkō, can mean “run towards,” “persecute,” “drive away,” or pursue. It is also used in verse 14.

173 See for instance Rom. 7, 1 Cor. 15:9, which reads “For I am the least of the apostles…,” Eph. 3:8 “Although I am less than the least of all God’s people…,” and 1 Tim. 1:15 “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners – of whom I am the worst….”

174 This Greek phrase, ἑν δε/hen de, is brief and forceful. It has the literal meaning “but one,” and is here translated with the expression I have just one thing on my mind.

175 See the comments on this verb, διωκω/diōkō, in endnote 172.

176 This noun, μισθός/misthos, is frequently translated “wages.”

177 The words of us are added in English.

178 This word, τελειος/teleios, can refer to something that meets the highest (or lowest) standard, or “perfect.” It can refer to a mature adult as opposed to a child. That meaning can be used metaphorically, as here and in 1 Cor. 14:20. It can also refer to the “initiated” in a cult.

179 See the explanation of this verb, φρονεω/phroneō, in endnote 84.

180 The same verb, φρονεω/phroneō, is used here as well.

181 This verb, φθανω/phthanō, means “to precede someone to a place,” “to arrive at a place,” or figuratively to attain.

182 This verb, στοιχεω/stoicheō, literally means “to be drawn up to a line,” like soldiers in formation, but in the NT it means “to hold to or conform to a standard.”

183 Only one of the oldest manuscripts follows the majority of Greek manuscripts, which contain the words rule, and be of one mind. Those who reject the reading of the vast majority of manuscripts would probably accept these words as a helpful and very ancient explanation of Paul's intent.

184 Literally, “My with-imitators (συμμιμητης/summimētēs) become….”

185 Περιπατεω/peripateō literally means to walk, but often it is used figuratively to mean “to live,” “to conduct your life,” or “to behave.” In this verse the people “walking” are worthy of being imitated, but in the next verse they “walk as enemies.”

186 The English word “type” is derived from this Greek word, τυπος/tupos. It first referred to a mark or impression made by a blow or by pressure (as in “the τυπος/tupos of the nails” that Thomas insists on seeing and touching, in Jn. 20:25). It came to refer to a pattern as in Acts 7:44; Rom. 5:14; and Heb. 8:5 (“the τυπος/tupos shown to you on the mountain”), and more specifically, a positive role model as here and in 1 Thes. 1:7; 2 Thes. 3:9; 1 Tim. 4:12; Titus 2:7; and 1 Pet. 5:3. It refers to a negative role model in 1 Cor. 10:6. In Acts 7:43 it refers to an image or idol. It can also refer to the content of a letter or the content of teachings, as in Acts 23:25 and Rom. 6:17.

187 See endnote 185 about this verb, περιπατεω/peripateō.

188 See endnote 70 about this term, απωλεια/apōleia, under the discussion on Phil. 1:28.

189 See the explanation of this verb, φρονεω/phroneō, in endnote 84.

190 While the congregation's citizenship is in heaven, since Philippi was a Roman colony, its citizens possessed Roman citizenship. That would make the image Paul is using here particularly challenging for them, because it would have been tempting and safer to agree with the state that Caesar was Lord and Savior. In N.T. Wright's article entitled, “Paul's Gospel and Caesar's Empire” he says that this verse is saying, “Jesus is Lord, and Caesar isn't. Caesar's empire, of which Philippi is a colonial outpost, is the parody; Jesus' empire, of which the Philippian church is a colonial outpost, is the reality.” In Acts 16:21 Philippi's pride of Roman citizenship is visible (EBC, ad loc.).

191 The root of this verb, μετασχηματιζω/metaschēmatizō, is the noun σχημα/schēma, which is discussed in endnote 91 on 2:8. It refers to outward appearance, which is appropriate in this passage about our bodies.

192 The root of this noun, συμμορφος/summorphos, is μορφη/morphē, which is discussed in endnotes 86 and 87 on 2:6. It refers to “form,” which likewise is appropriate in this passage.

193 Better status in the resurrection, rather than participation in the resurrection, is discussed under 3:11 above.

Passage: 

6. Philippians 4

4:1-7

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.

4:1 So, my brothers, loved and very much missed,194 my joy and my crown,195 in this way stand firm in the Lord, loved ones.196

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.

4:2 To Euodia I appeal198 and to Syntyche I appeal to agree199 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.

4:3 Yes, I ask you, loyal Syzygos,200 to help them, who have struggled together201 in the Gospel with me and Clement and my other coworkers, whose names are in the Book of Life.

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.

These people's names are in the Book of Life. As is clear from Revelation 20:15, this is another way of saying they are born again individuals.202

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.

4:6 Do not worry204 about anything, but in all things by prayer205 and petition206 make your requests207 known to God with thankfulness,

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.

4:7 and the peace of God that excels all intellect208 will guard your hearts and your minds209 in Christ Jesus.

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.

4:8-9

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!

4:10-20

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.

4:14 However, you did well partnering225 with me in my trouble.226

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.

4:16 Also in Thessalonica231 more than once232 you sent something because of my need.

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.

4:17 Not that I am hoping for a gift, but I am hoping for the increasing profit233 into your account.234

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.

4:18 But I have been paid all in full, and I have plenty; I have been filled up, receiving from Epaphroditus the gifts235 from you, a soothing aroma,236 an acceptable sacrifice,237 pleasing to God.

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.

4:19 And my God will provide for238 your every need on the basis of239 His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.

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)

4:21-23

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.

4:23 The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with you all.243 Amen.244

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.”

214 Αρετη/aretē is used five times in the NT, and refers to “moral excellence.” In 2 Pet. 1:5 it is used twice, with a meaning similar to our passage. It is used of God in 1 Pet. 2:9 and 2 Pet. 1:3.

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.

219 φρονεω/phroneō

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).

228 That gift might be the same gift that Paul mentions to the Corinthians in 2 Cor. 11:9.

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.

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7. The Importance of Philippians for Today’s Missionary and His Ministry Partners

Whether you are a missionary raising support in England to preach the Gospel in China, a church planter in Davao City that needs funds to start a church in northern Luzon, or a church leader that is supporting missions and missionaries through the church, what Paul has said to his supporting church, the Philippian congregation, should shape your attitudes as you go about forging the partnerships God is calling you to make in order to further the work of the Great Commission.

As you read Philippians chapter one, you should have noted that missionary and church pray for each other. The missionary prays that the congregation will be graced with discernment for the “things that really matter,” which clearly means that they will see ever more clearly that it is the Gospel prospering in our hearts, and the Gospel prospering throughout the world, that really matters. The missionary understands and communicates that his difficult circumstances have “actually turned out for the advancement of the Gospel,” and there is no bitterness or complaint. Also, the missionary models godly priorities for the congregation, in that death simply means being with the Lord, and continued life is preferred for the sake of the partners’ spiritual growth.

As you read chapters two and three, you were reminded that the spiritual growth of Gospel partners is an important ministry. You will want to model your life after Paul, who lived for others rather than for himself. In doing so, you will then be able to help all your partners to more thoroughly abandon self-interest, and more thoroughly model themselves after you, after Paul, and after Christ Himself. In this way, your partners will become more effective in Gospel ministry with you, just as Paul urged the Philippians to become even better partners with him in their ministry together. Good partners in Gospel ministry are deeply concerned, as Paul was, that they all find neither their boast nor their joy outside of the rich relationship they have with Christ through the Gospel. This is not done out of a hope for more donations, but out of a deep concern for one another’s spiritual life.

As you read the fourth chapter of Paul’s letter to Philippi, you should have been relieved to see that worldly patterns of pressuring and manipulating donors are completely absent. As he finishes his letter, Paul returns to the theme of financial giving, a part of their partnership which was not explicitly discussed at the beginning of the letter. Because he looks to the Lord for his needs and he knows contentment in all circumstances, he does not pursue donations, but knows that it is good for the hearts of the members of the church to give. It is good for all our hearts to be generous, and giving with a good heart will enrich our heavenly reward, our “account.” It is not the gift, but the giver and the partnership that are the missionary’s concern. Paul also assures the readers that, as they give, the Lord will meet all of their needs.

Let us, as partners in Gospel ministries, live out these principles and follow Paul’s example, to the glory of God!

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8. Appendix: Translation of Philippians

1:1 Paul and Timothy, slaves of Jesus Christ, to all the holy ones in Christ Jesus in Philippi, with the guardians and servants:

1:2 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and from the Lord Jesus Christ.

1:3 I give thanks to my God every time I remember you,

1:4 always in my every prayer for you all praying with joy

1:5 over your partnership in the Gospel from the first day until now.

1:6 I am convinced of this, that the One who began among you a good work will bring it to completion all the way until the Day of Christ Jesus.

1:7 It is right of me to have this attitude about you all, because I have you in my heart. Both in my chains and also in the defense and confirmation of the Gospel, you all are my partners in this grace.

1:8 For God is my witness how I long for you all with the affections of Jesus Christ.

1:9 And this I pray, that your love will still more and more abound in knowledge and all insight,

1:10 so that you can discern the things that really matter, so that you might be sincere and blameless into the day of Christ,

1:11 being filled with the fruit of righteousness which is through Jesus Christ, to the praise and glory of God.

1:12 Now I want you to know, brothers, that my circumstances have actually turned out for the advancement of the Gospel,

1:13 so that it has become obvious among the whole imperial guard and all the others that my chains are for Christ.

1:14 Also, most of the brothers in the Lord, persuaded by my chains, are even more bold to fearlessly speak the Word.

1:15 On the one hand, some of them are preaching Christ because of envy and rivalry, others because of good will.

1:16 The former are preaching Christ out of selfish ambition, not sincerely, supposing to bring on trouble in my chains,

1:17 while the latter do so out of love, knowing that I am appointed for the defense of the Gospel.

1:18 What then? Only that in every way, whether with false motive or true, Christ is preached. And in this I rejoice. Furthermore I shall rejoice,

1:19 for I know that this will result in my deliverance through your prayers and the support of the Spirit of Jesus Christ.

1:20 This is in line with my eager expectation and hope, that I will not be ashamed in anything, but as always in all boldness now also I will magnify Christ with my body, whether by life or by death.

1:21 For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.

1:22 Now if I live on in the flesh, for me this will mean fruitful work. I do not know which I prefer.

1:23 So I am torn between the two, having the desire to depart and be with Christ, which would be very much better,

1:24 but staying on in the flesh is more necessary, because of you.

1:25 So, convinced of this, I know that I shall remain, and remain on with all of you for your advancement and joy in the faith,

1:26 so that your boast might abound in Christ Jesus by me through my presence again with you.

1:27 Only live your lives in a manner worthy of the Gospel of Christ, so that whether coming and seeing you or being away I will hear concerning you, that you are standing firm in one spirit, struggling together as one for the faith of the Gospel,

1:28 and do not be afraid of anything from those that oppose you. This on the one hand will be evidence to them of destruction, and on the other hand to you of deliverance, and that from God.

1:29 This is because to you it has been given on behalf of Christ, not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for Him,

1:30 having the same struggle which you saw with me, and now hear about with me.

2:1 If therefore there is any encouragement in Christ, if any comfort in love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and compassion,

2:2 complete my joy: be of one mind, having the same love, united in spirit, having the same concern,

2:3 never with selfish ambition or vainglory, but in humility of mind considering one another more important than oneself.

2:4 Do not be watching out for your own interests, but each also watching out for the interests of others.

2:5 For you should let this same attitude be in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus,

2:6 Who in the form of God existing,

did not regard being equal with God

as something to be grasped,

2:7 but Himself He emptied,

the form of a slave taking on,

in the likeness of men coming.

2:8 And in appearance being found as man,

He humbled Himself,

becoming obedient to death,

even death on a cross.

2:9 Therefore also God Him exalted,

and gave to Him a Name which is above every name,

2:10 so that at the name of Jesus

every knee should bow,

in heaven and on earth and under the earth,

2:11 and every tongue should confess that

Jesus Christ is Lord,

to the glory of God the Father.

2:12 Therefore my beloved, just as you used to obey, not only in my presence, but now all the more in my absence, with fear and trembling accomplish your own deliverance.

2:13 For it is God who works in you both to will and to work for His good pleasure.

2:14 Do everything without grumbling or arguing,

2:15 so that you might be blameless and pure, children of God unblemished in the midst of a crooked and perverted generation, among whom you shine like stars in the sky,

2:16 being intent upon the word of life, which means a boast for me in the Day of Christ, that I neither ran in vain nor labored in vain.

2:17 But if I am being poured out as a drink offering upon the sacrifice and service of your faith, I rejoice and I rejoice together with you all.

2:18 Have that same joy, and rejoice together with me.

2:19 I hope in the Lord Jesus to send Timothy to you soon, so that I myself might be encouraged knowing your situation.

2:20 For I have no one of like heart and mind, who will genuinely be concerned for your situation,

2:21 for they all seek after their own interests, not those of Christ Jesus.

2:22 Now you know his proven character, how as a child with his father he has served with me in the Gospel.

2:23 So on the one hand he is the one I hope to send as soon as I see how my situation turns out.

2:24 On the other hand, I am convinced in the Lord that even I myself will come quickly.

2:25 Now I think it necessary to send to you Epaphroditus, my brother, fellow worker, and fellow soldier – your missionary and servant of my need,

2:26 because he is longing for you all and troubled, because you heard that he was ill.

2:27 For indeed he was ill, he was near death. However, God had mercy on him – not only on him but also on me, so that I might not have grief upon grief.

2:28 Therefore with more earnestness I send him, so that seeing him again you might be glad, and I might be more free of grief.

2:29 Therefore receive him in the Lord with all joy, and hold such as him in honor,

2:30 because on account of the work of Christ he came near to death, having no concern for his own life so that he might fulfill what was lacking in your service to me.

3:1 From now on, my brothers, rejoice in the Lord. Writing the same things to you is not troublesome for me, and it is more certain for you.

3:2 Consider the dogs, consider the evil workers, consider the Emasculation.

3:3 For we, we are the Circumcision, we are the ones serving in the Spirit of God and boasting in Christ Jesus, putting no confidence in the flesh.

3:4 Although I could have reasons for confidence also in the flesh. If someone else supposes he can put confidence in the flesh, I more so.

3:5 Circumcised on the eighth day, of the nation of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews – regarding the Law, a Pharisee;

3:6 regarding zeal, a persecutor of the church; regarding the righteousness that comes by the Law, blameless.

3:7 Whatever was gain to me, I have come to count as loss because of Christ.

3:8 Furthermore, I consider all things to be loss on account of the far better knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, on account of whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and I consider them to be refuse, with the result that I have gained Christ,

3:9 and am found in Him, not having my own righteousness which is from the Law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God, by faith.

3:10 I want to know Him and the power of His resurrection and the participation in His sufferings, becoming conformed to His death,

3:11 if somehow I might attain to the out-resurrection of the dead.

3:12 Not that I have already obtained this or already been perfected, but I pursue it if also I might seize it, the very thing for which also I was seized by Christ Jesus.

3:13 Brothers, I do not consider myself to have seized it. I have just one thing on my mind, forgetting what is past, and straining towards what is ahead.

3:14 Focused on the goal, I pursue the prize of the upward calling of God in Christ Jesus.

3:15 Therefore, as many of us as are mature, let us take this attitude, and if you take some other view, this too God will reveal to you.

3:16 However, to what we have already attained, live up to that rule, and be of one mind.

3:17 Join others in following my example, brothers, and pay attention to those that walk in that way, just as you have our example.

3:18 For as I have often been telling you, and now even weeping I say, many walk as enemies of the cross of Christ.

3:19 Their end is ruin, their god is their belly, and their glory is in their shame. They set their minds on earthly things.

3:20 But our citizenship is in heaven, out of which we are awaiting a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ,

3:21 who will transform our humble bodies to conformity with His glorious body by the working of His ability even to subject all things to Himself.

4:1 So, my brothers, loved and very much missed, my joy and my crown, in this way stand firm in the Lord, loved ones.

4:2 To Euodia I appeal and to Syntyche I appeal to agree in the Lord.

4:3 Yes, I ask you, loyal Syzygos, to help them, who have struggled together in the Gospel with me and Clement and my other coworkers, whose names are in the Book of Life.

4:4 Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice!

4:5 Let your gentleness be known to everyone. The Lord is near.

4:6 Do not worry about anything, but in all things by prayer and petition make your requests known to God with thankfulness,

4:7 and the peace of God that excels all intellect will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

4:8 Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is righteous, whatever is pure, whatever is amiable, whatever is commendable, if something is excellent and if something is praiseworthy, let your minds dwell on these things.

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.

4:10 Now I rejoice greatly in the Lord that now at last you have renewed your concern for me, for whom you were concerned, but you lacked opportunity.

4:11 Not that I am saying this out of need, for I have learned to be content in whatever situation I am in.

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, whether satisfied or hungry, abounding or lacking.

4:13 I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

4:14 However, you did well partnering with me in my trouble.

4:15 And as you Philippians also know, at the beginning of my Gospel ministry, when I went out from Macedonia, not one church partnered with me in the matter of giving and receiving except you only.

4:16 Also in Thessalonica more than once you sent something because of my need.

4:17 Not that I am hoping for a gift, but I am hoping for the increasing profit into your account.

4:18 But I have been paid all in full, and I have plenty; I have been filled up, receiving from Epaphroditus the gifts from you, a soothing aroma, an acceptable sacrifice, pleasing to God.

4:19 And my God will provide for your every need on the basis of His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.

4:20 To God our Father be glory forever and ever, amen.

4:21 Greet all the holy ones in Christ Jesus. The brothers with me greet you.

4:22 All the holy ones greet you, particularly those of the household of Caesar.

4:23 The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.

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