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PHILIPPIANS 4

Matthew Henrys Concise Commentary


Chapter Contents The apostle exhorts the Philippians to stand fast in the Lord. (1) Gives directions to some, and to all in general. (2-9) Expresses contentment in every condition of life. (10-19) He concludes with prayer to God the Father, and his usual blessing. (20-23) Commentary on Philippians 4:1 The believing hope and prospect of eternal life, should make us steady and constant in our Christian course. There is difference of gifts and graces, yet, being renewed by the same Spirit, we are brethren. To stand fast in the Lord, is to stand fast in his strength, and by his grace. Commentary on Philippians 4:2-9 Let believers be of one mind, and ready to help each other. As the apostle had found the benefit of their assistance, he knew how comfortable it would be to his fellow-labourers to have the help of others. Let us seek to give assurance that our names are written in the book of life. Joy in God is of great consequence in the Christian life; and Christians need to be again and again called to it. It more than outweighs all causes for sorrow. Let their enemies perceive how moderate they were as to outward things, and how composedly they suffered loss and hardships. The day of judgment will soon arrive, with full redemption to believers, and destruction to ungodly men. There is a care of diligence which is our duty, and agrees with a wise forecast and due concern; but there is a care of fear and distrust, which is sin and folly, and only perplexes and distracts the mind. As a remedy against perplexing care, constant prayer is recommended. Not only stated times for prayer, but in every thing by prayer. We must join thanksgivings with prayers and supplications; not only seek supplies of good, but own the mercies we have received. God needs not to be told our wants or desires; he knows them better than we do; but he will have us show that we value the mercy, and feel our dependence on him. The peace of God, the comfortable sense of being reconciled to God, and having a part in his favour, and the hope of the heavenly blessedness, are a greater good than can be fully expressed. This peace will keep our hearts and minds through Christ Jesus; it will keep us from sinning under troubles, and from sinking under them; keep us calm and with inward satisfaction. Believers are to get and to keep a good name; a name for good things with God and good men. We should walk in all the ways of virtue, and abide therein; then, whether our praise is of men or not, it will be of God. The apostle is for an example. His doctrine and life agreed together. The way to have the God of peace with us, is to keep close to our duty. All our privileges and salvation arise in the free mercy of God; yet the enjoyment of them depends on our sincere and holy conduct. These are works of God, pertaining to God, and to him only are they to be ascribed, and to no other, neither men, words, nor deeds. Commentary on Philippians 4:10-19 It is a good work to succour and help a good minister in trouble. The nature of true Christian sympathy, is not only to feel concern for our friends in their troubles, but to do what we can to help them. The apostle was often in bonds, imprisonments, and necessities; but in all, he learned to be content, to bring his mind to his condition, and make the best of it. Pride, unbelief, vain hankering after something we have not got, and fickle disrelish of present things, make men discontented even under favourable circumstances. Let us pray for patient submission and hope when we are abased; for humility and a heavenly mind when exalted. It is a special grace to have an equal temper of mind always. And in a low state not to lose our comfort in God, nor distrust his providence, nor take any wrong course for our own supply. In a prosperous condition not to be proud, or secure, or worldly. This is a harder lesson than the other; for the temptations of fulness and prosperity are more than those of affliction and want. The apostle had no design to urge them to give more, but to encourage such kindness as will meet a glorious reward hereafter. Through Christ we have grace to do what is good, and through him we must expect the reward; and as we have all things by him, let us do all things for him, and to his glory. Commentary on Philippians 4:20-23 The apostle ends with praises to God. We should look upon God, under all our weakness and fears, not as an enemy, but as a Father, disposed to pity us and help us. We must give glory to God as a Father. God's grace and favour, which reconciled souls enjoy, with the whole of the graces in us, which flow from it, are all purchased for us by Christ's merit, and applied by his pleading for us; and therefore are justly called the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ.

John Darbys Synopsis


The Philippians were therefore to stand fast in the Lord. This is difficult when the general tone is lowered; painful also, for one's walk becomes much more solitary, and the hearts of others are straitened. But the Spirit has very plainly given us the example, the principle, the character, and the strength of this walk. With the eye on Christ all is easy; and communion with Him gives light and certainty; and is worth all the rest which perhaps we lose. The apostle nevertheless spoke gently of those persons. They were not like the false judaising teachers who corrupted the sources of life, and stopped up the path of communion with God in love. They had lost this life of communion, or had never had more than the appearance of it. He wept for them. I think that the apostle sent his letter by Epaphroditus, who probably also wrote it from the apostle's dictation; as was done with regard to all the epistles, except that to the Galatians, which, as he tells us, he wrote with his own hand. When therefore he says (chap. 4:3), "true [or faithful] yokefellow," he speaks as I think, of Epaphroditus, and addresses him. But he notices also two sisters even, who were not of one mind in resisting the enemy. In every way he desired unity of heart and mind. He entreats Epaphroditus (if indeed it be he) as the Lord's servant to help those faithful women who had laboured in concert with Paul to spread the gospel. Euodias and Syntyche were perhaps of the number-the connection of thought makes it probable. Their activity, having gone beyond the measure of their spiritual life, betrayed them into an exercise of self-will which set them at variance. Nevertheless they were not forgotten, together with Clement and others, who were fellow-labourers with the apostle himself, whose names were in the book of life. For love for the Lord remembers all that His grace does; and this grace has a place for each of His own. The apostle returns to the practical exhortations addressed to the faithful, with regard to their ordinary life, that they might walk according to their heavenly calling. "Rejoice in the Lord." If he even weeps over many who call themselves Christians, he rejoices always in the Lord; in Him is that which nothing can alter. This is not an indifference to sorrow which hinders weeping, but it is a spring of joy which enlarges when there is distress, because of its immutability, and which becomes even more pure in the heart the more it becomes the only one; and it is in itself the only spring that is infinitely pure. When it is our only spring, we thereby love others. If we love them besides Him, we lose something of Him. When through exercise of heart we are weaned from all other springs, His joy remains in all its purity, and our concern for others partakes of this same purity. Nothing moreover troubles this joy, because Christ never changes. The better we know Him, the better are we able to enjoy that which is ever enlarging through knowing Him. But he exhorts Christians to rejoice: it is a testimony to the worth of Christ, it is their true portion. Four years in prison chained to a soldier had not hindered his doing it, nor being able to exhort others more at ease than he. Now this same thing will make them moderate and meek; their passions will not be excited by other things if Christ is enjoyed. Moreover He is at hand. A little while, and all for which men strive will give place to Him whose presence bridles the will (or rather puts it aside) and fills the heart. We are not to be moved by things here below until He shall come. When He comes, we shall be fully occupied with other things. Not only are the will and the passions to be bridled and silenced, but anxieties also. We are in relationship with God; in all things He is our refuge; and events do not disturb Him. He knows the end from the beginning. He knows everything, He knows it beforehand; events shake neither His throne, nor His heart; they always accomplish His purposes. But to us He is love; we are through grace the objects of His tender care. He listens to us and bows down His ear to hear us. In all things therefore, instead of disquieting ourselves and weighing everything in our own hearts, we ought to present our requests to God with prayer, with supplication, with a heart that makes itself known (for we are human beings) but with the knowledge of the heart of God (for He loves us perfectly); so that, even while making our petition to Him, we can already give thanks, because we are sure of the answer of His grace, be it what it may; and it is our requests that we are to present to Him. Nor is it a cold commandment to find out His will and then come: we are to go with our requests. Hence it does not say, you will have what you ask; but God's peace will keep your hearts. This is trust; and His peace, the peace of God Himself, shall keep our hearts. It does not say that our hearts shall keep the peace of God; but, having cast our burden on Him whose peace nothing can disturb, His peace keeps our hearts. Our trouble is before Him, and the constant peace of the God of love, who takes charge of everything and knows all beforehand, quiets our disburdened hearts, and imparts to us the peace which is in Himself and which is above all understanding (or at least keeps our hearts by it), even as He Himself is above all the circumstances

that can disquiet us, and above the poor human heart that is troubled by them. Oh, what grace! that even our anxieties are a means of our being filled with this marvellous peace, if we know how to bring them to God, and true He is. May we learn indeed how to maintain this intercourse with God and its reality, in order that we may converse with Him and understand His ways with believers! Moreover, the Christian, although walking (as we have seen) in the midst of evil and of trial, is to occupy himself with all that is good, and is able to do it when thus at peace, to live in this atmosphere, so that it shall pervade his heart, that he shall be habitually where God is to be found. This is an all-important command. We may be occupied with evil in order to condemn it; we may be right, but this is not communion with God in that which is good. But if occupied through His grace with that which is good, with that which comes from Himself, the God of peace is with us. In trouble we shall have the peace of God; in our ordinary life, if it be of this nature, we shall have the God of peace. Paul was the practical example of this; with regard to their walk, by following him in that which they had learnt and heard from him and seen in him, they should find that God was with them. Nevertheless, although such was his experience, he rejoiced greatly that their loving care of him had flourished again. He could indeed take refuge in God; but it was sweet to him in the Lord to have this testimony on their part. It is evident that he had been in need; but it was the occasion of more entire trust in God. We can easily gather this from his language; but, he delicately adds, he would not, by saying that their care of him had now at last flourished again, imply that they had forgotten him. The care for him was in their hearts; but they had not had the opportunity of giving expression to their love. Neither did he speak in regard of want; he had learnt-for it is practical experience and its blessed result we find here-to be content under all circumstances, and thus to depend on no one. He knew how to be abased: he knew how to abound; in every way he was instructed both to be full and to be hungry, to be in abundance and to suffer want. He could do all things through Him who strengthened him. Sweet and precious experience! not only because it gives ability to meet all circumstances, which is of great price, but because the Lord is known, the constant, faithful, mighty friend of the heart. It is not 'I can do all things,' but "I can do all through him who strengtheneth me." It is a strength which continually flows from a relationship with Christ, a connection with Him maintained in the heart. Neither is it only 'One can do all things.' This is true; but Paul had learnt it practically. He knew what he could be assured of and reckon on-what ground he stood on. Christ had always been faithful to him, had brought him through so many difficulties and through so many seasons of prosperity, that he had learnt to trust in Him, and not in circumstances. And Christ was the same ever. Still the Philippians had done well, and it was not forgotten. From the first God had bestowed this grace upon them, and they had supplied the apostle's need, even when he was not with them. He remembered it with affection, not that he desired a gift, but fruit to their own account. "But," he says, "I have all," his heart turning back to the simple expression of his love He was in abundance, having received by Epaphroditus that which they had sent him, an acceptable sacrifice of sweet odour, well-pleasing to God. His heart rested in God; his assurance with regard to the Philippians expresses it. My God, he says, shall richly supply all your need. He does not express a wish that God may do so. He had learnt what his God was by his own experience. My God, he says, He whom I have learnt to know in all the circumstances through which I have passed, shall fill you with all good things. And here he returns to His character as he had known Him. God would do it according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus. There he had learnt to know Him at the beginning; and such he had known Him all along his varied path, so full of trials here and of joys from above. Accordingly he thus concludes: "Now unto our God and Father"-for such He was to the Philippians also-"be glory for ever and ever." He applies his own experience of that which God was to him, and his experience of the faithfulness of Christ, to the Philippians. This satisfied his love, and gave him rest with regard to them. It is a comfort when we think of the assembly of God. He sends the greeting of the brethren who were with him, and of the saints in general, especially those of Caesar's household; for even there God had found some who through grace had listened to His voice of love. He ends with the salutation which was a token in all his epistles that they were from himself. The present state of the assembly, of the children of God, dispersed anew, and often as sheep without a shepherd, is a very different condition of ruin from that in which the apostle wrote; but this only adds more value to the experience of the apostle which God has been pleased to give us; the experience of a heart which trusted in God alone, and which applies this experience to the condition of those who are deprived of the natural resources that belonged to the organised body, to the body of Christ as God had formed it on earth. As a whole, the epistle shews proper christian experience, that is, superiority, as walking in the Spirit, to everything through which we have to pass. It is remarkable to see that sin is not mentioned in it, nor flesh, save to say he had no confidence in it.

He had at this time a thorn in the flesh himself, but the proper experience of the Christian is walking in the Spirit above and out of the reach of all that may bring the flesh into activity. The reader will remark that chapter 3 sets the glory before the Christian and gives the energy of christian life; chapter 2, the self-emptying and abasement of Christ, and founds thereon the graciousness of the christian life, and thoughtfulness of others: while the last chapter gives a blessed superiority to all circumstances.

John Wesleys Explanatory Notes


[1] Therefore, my brethren dearly beloved and longed for, my joy and crown, so stand fast in the Lord, my dearly beloved. So stand As ye have done hitherto. [2] I beseech Euodias, and beseech Syntyche, that they be of the same mind in the Lord. I beseech He repeats this twice, as if speaking to each face to face, and that with the utmost tenderness. [3] And I intreat thee also, true yokefellow, help those women which laboured with me in the gospel, with Clement also, and with other my fellowlabourers, whose names are in the book of life. And I entreat thee also, true yokefellow St. Paul had many fellowlabourers, but not many yokefellows. In this number was Barnabas first, and then Silas, whom he probably addresses here; for Silas had been his yokefellow at the very place, Acts 16:19. Help those women who laboured together with me Literally, who wrestled. The Greek word doth not imply preaching, or anything of that kind; but danger and toil endured for the sake of the gospel, which was also endured at the same time, probably at Philippi, by Clement and my other fellowlabourers - This is a different word from the former, and does properly imply fellowpreachers. Whose names, although not set down here, are in the book of life - As are those of all believers. An allusion to the wrestlers in the Olympic games, whose names were all enrolled in a book. Reader, is thy name there? Then walk circumspectly, lest the Lord blot thee out of his book! [5] Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand. Let your gentleness Yieldingness, sweetness of temper, the result of joy in the Lord. Be known By your whole behaviour. To all men Good and bad, gentle and froward. Those of the roughest tempers are good natured to some, from natural sympathy and various motives; a Christian, to all. The Lord The judge, the rewarder, the avenger. Is at hand Standeth at the door. [6] Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. Be anxiously careful for nothing - If men are not gentle towards you, yet neither on this, nor any other account, be careful, but pray. Carefulness and prayer cannot stand together. In every thing Great and small. Let your requests be made known They who by a preposterous shame or distrustful modesty, cover, stifle, or keep in their desires, as if they were either too small or too great, must be racked with care; from which they are entirely delivered, who pour them out with a free and filial confidence. To God It is not always proper to disclose them to men.

By supplication Which is the enlarging upon and pressing our petition. With thanksgiving The surest mark of a soul free from care, and of prayer joined with true resignation. This is always followed by peace. Peace and thanksgiving are both coupled together, Colossians 3:15. [7] And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. And the peace of God That calm, heavenly repose, that tranquility of spirit, which God only can give. Which surpasseth all understanding Which none can comprehend, save he that receiveth it. Shall keep Shall guard, as a garrison does a city. Your hearts Your affections. Your minds Your understandings, and all the various workings of them; through the Spirit and power of Christ Jesus, in the knowledge and love of God. Without a guard set on these likewise, the purity and vigour of our affections cannot long be preserved. [8] Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. Finally To sum up all. Whatsoever things are true Here are eight particulars placed in two fourfold rows; the former containing their duty; the latter, the commendation of it. The first word in the former row answers the first in the latter; the second word, the second and so on. True In speech. Honest In action. Just With regard to others. Pure With regard to yourselves. Lovely And what more lovely than truth? Of good report - As is honesty, even where it is not practised. If there be any virtue And all virtues are contained in justice. If there be any praise In those things which relate rather to ourselves than to our neighbour. Think on these things That ye may both practise them yourselves, and recommend them to others. [9] Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you. The things which ye have learned As catechumens. And received By continual instructions. And heard and seen In my life and conversation. These do, and the God of peace shall be with you Not only the peace of God, but God himself, the fountain of peace. [10] But I rejoiced in the Lord greatly, that now at the last your care of me hath flourished again; wherein ye were also careful, but ye lacked opportunity.

I rejoiced greatly St. Paul was no Stoic: he had strong passions, but all devoted to God. That your care of me hath flourished again As a tree blossoms after the winter. Ye wanted opportunity Either ye had not plenty yourselves, or you wanted a proper messenger. [11] Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. I have learned From God. He only can teach this. In everything, therewith to be content Joyfully and thankfully patient. Nothing less is Christian content. We may observe a beautiful gradation in the expressions, I have learned; I know; I am instructed; I can. [12] I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I know how to be abased Having scarce what is needful for my body. And to abound Having wherewith to relieve others also. Presently after, the order of the words is inverted, to intimate his frequent transition from scarcity to plenty, and from plenty to scarcity. I am instructed Literally, I am initiated in that mystery, unknown to all but Christians. Both to be full and to be hungry For one day. Both to abound and to want For a longer season. [13] I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me. I can do all things Even fulfil all the will of God. [15] Now ye Philippians know also, that in the beginning of the gospel, when I departed from Macedonia, no church communicated with me as concerning giving and receiving, but ye only. In the beginning of the gospel When it was first preached at Philippi. In respect of giving On your part. And receiving On mine. [17] Not because I desire a gift: but I desire fruit that may abound to your account. Not that I desire For my own sake, the very gift which I receive of you. [18] But I have all, and abound: I am full, having received of Epaphroditus the things which were sent from you, an odour of a sweet smell, a sacrifice acceptable, wellpleasing to God. An odour of a sweet smell More pleasing to God than the sweetest perfumes to men. [19] But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus. All your need As ye have mine. According to his riches in glory In his abundant, eternal glory.

Coffman Commentaries on the Old and New Testament


Verse 1 Wherefore, my brethren beloved and longed for, my joy and my crown, so stand fast in the Lord, my beloved. Paul heaped loving title upon loving title to express his affections for the Philippians, there being no less than five expressions of endearment. Significantly, they are Paul's joy at the time present, but in prospect of the Second Advent they will be (at that time) his crown: The Greeks had two words for crown, one signifying the diadem of the emperor, and the other referring to the garland that decorated the winner in an athletic contest, the latter being [Greek: stephanos], the wreath of victory in the games." Barclay pointed out a second meaning of [stephanos], just as applicable here as the other: It was the crown with which guests were crowned when they sat at a banquet, at some time of great joy. It is as if Paul said that the Philippians were the crown of all his toil ... that at the final banquet of God they were his festal crown. So stand fast ... We cannot help being a little surprised at this; for, as Boice said, "If we were writing the passage and were using Paul's image, we should likely speak of invasion, marching or conquest. Paul does not do that, but speaks correctly of standing!" It has been pointed out that Christ conquers new territow; his followers stand firm in holding what Christ gains. This is not the only possible analogy of Christian evangelism, but it is surely one. Perhaps, in the personal sector, this is the most important analogy; because the great challenge for the Christian is not that of overcoming someone else with a knowledge of the truth but with himself standing faithfully for the Lord until life's end. Verses 2, 3 I exhort Euodia, and I exhort Syntyche, to be of the same mind in the Lord. Yea, I beseech thee also, true yokefellow, help these women, for they labored with me in the gospel, with Clement also, and the rest of my fellow-workers, whose names are in the book of life. Despite the unpleasantness regarding the difficulty mentioned, this passage is one of the most precious in the New Testament, because of its mention of the book of life. I exhort Euodia ... Syntyche ... The repetition of "I exhort" was probably for the purpose of avoiding any semblance of partiality, or any hint of taking sides. No one can say just who these ladies were; but their trouble is easy enough to understand. They had a falling out or disagreement over some point of doctrine or practice, and the animosity between them had become a problem in the whole church. Boice believed that the shadow of this personal friction falls upon several passages prior to this passage where Paul dealt with it. In Philp. 1:8,27; Philp. 2:2 and Philp. 3:16, there have already been exhortations to unity and walking by the same rule; but in this passage Paul boldly confronted the difficulty and demanded a reconciliation. Caffin considered the repeated "I exhort" as a probable indication that both ladies were at fault. True yokefellow ... Just who was this? Hewlett allowed that it could have been Luke; Wesley made a conjecture that it was Silas; Clement of Alexandria taught that this referred to Paul's wife! Dummelow said it was probably a proper name on which Paul made a pun, as in the case of Onesimus (profitable). It is hardly necessary to add that we do not know who it was. If this writer were asked to guess at it, the answer would be Epaphroditus, following Lipscomb and Lightfoot. In the Lord ... This expression absolutely dominates Paul's writings. In Philp. 4:1, Paul commanded the Philippiaris to "stand fast" in the Lord; and here those two women at odds with each other were told to be of the same mind "in the Lord." All spiritual achievements result from being in the Lord. As Knight said, "It is implied here that outside Christ there can be no unity; one cannot love man without loving God." Most disputes are insoluble, except from the discipline that comes of being "in the Lord." These women ... labored with me in the gospel ... Not merely these two women, but Lydia also had been an extensive helper of Paul's gospel labors at Philippi. It is not necessary in the case of these, any more than that of Lydia, to suppose that they aided Paul in the

public preaching. Paul could not forget their helpfulness, their love of the truth and their sacrifices on his behalf; but now all that was wrecked by an unfortunate disagreement. No wonder Paul attempted to heal it. With Clement also ... Despite the fact of Lightfoot's opinion that Paul was here enlisting Clement to aid in the reconciliation, the language, as it stands, is a reference to Clement having been, along with Paul, helped by the two sisters in disagreement. One encounters extensive comment with reference to Clement's identity, the conclusion usually being that he is not the same as the famed Clement of Rome. CLEMENT Ever since the times of Origen (185-251 A.D.), who was a disciple of Clement of Alexandria, F11 there has been a positive identification of the Clement mentioned in the above passage with Clement of Rome who lived until the year 101 A.D. and who himself wrote a letter to the Corinthians. Despite the unwillingness of most modern scholars to allow it, Barry insisted that "the fact of Clement's being in Alexandria (apparently) at the time of Paul's writing is no serious objection." Philippi was a Roman colony, and he might well have been there part of the time on business. "Furthermore the chronology is not decisive against the identification, although it would make Clement very old when he wrote his epistle." Barry summed it all up by saying: The identification may stand as not improbable, while the commonness of the name Clement makes it far from certain. And the rest of my fellow-workers ... Paul's mention, a moment before, of the two sisters in disagreement having helped his own labors, and with Clement also, immediately brought into view a large number of others who had been Paul's fellow-laborers, no less than Clement! Any preacher can see the immediate problem of avoiding calling all those personal names with the almost certain result of leaving out someone who should also have been mentioned. Paul cut the Gordian knot by declaring that God has the whole record in the Book of Life. Beautiful! Whose names are in the book of life ... For extended comment on the book of life, see my Commentary on Heb. 12, under "Book of Life." Significantly there is a register of the redeemed kept by God himself without error. As Martin said, "Christian service may pass unnoticed on earth; but the important thing is that God takes note, and will praise at the last (1 Corinthians 4:5)." One's having his name inscribed in the book of life does not, of itself alone, assure eternal life. As Caffin said, "This does not necessarily involve the doctrine of an unconditional, irreversible predestination, or the phrase to blot out of my book (Revelation 3:5) could not be used. Verse 4 Rejoice in the Lord always: again I will say, Rejoice. In the Lord ... The type of rejoicing commanded here is possible only for the redeemed in Christ. After almost 2,000 years, the incredibly beautiful power of this letter still shines. How could such a document have been written from a prison? Surely its writer was "in the Lord Jesus Christ." Verse 5 Let your forbearance be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand. "Moderation" is a better word than "forbearance" here, because it covers a lot more ground. The Christian is to be moderate in all things, acting with restraint, and without bigotry, avoiding all excesses and extremes of every kind. The Christian community should be known "unto all men," not for demanding their rights, but for their moderation. The Lord is at hand ... As Foulkes said, "This may refer to the nearness of the Lord to the believer, or to the nearness of his coming." Since the inspired apostle deliberately chose words that may thus have a double meaning, it is only a crooked exegesis which can latch onto one or another of these, insisting that invariably it has this or that meaning. The scholars who are diligent to prove the holy apostles "mistaken" about the soon-coming of the Lord invariably

make such an expression as this, or the Maranatha of 1 Cor. 16:23, a flat declaration that Christ was soon to appear in the Second Advent. The careful student of God's word should avoid either extreme, always making allowances for the fact that inspiration gave us an expression capable of two meanings. Could this have been otherwise than by deliberate design? Verse 6 In nothing be anxious; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. In nothing be anxious ... In Matt. 6:25-34, our Lord gave extensive admonition on the subject of anxiety; and reference is here made to the comment on those passages in my Commentary on Matthew, Matt. 6:25ff. In order to avoid anxiety here, Paul followed exactly the instruction given by the Lord during his ministry. We must agree with Hendriksen that Paul's instruction here does not forbid "kindly concern ... genuine interest in the welfare of others." THANKSGIVING IN EVERYTHING In everything ... It appears that Paul saw prayer as the fitting human response to every conceivable situation that might arise in life; and the position of this phrase at the beginning of a long clause would make it applicable throughout the clause, with the meaning that "thanksgiving" should characterize every prayer, no matter what unusual or extreme life-situation might have triggered the prayer. But how can anyone be thankful "in everything"? This writer is indebted to George Henry Stephenson for a sermon delivered at Highland congregation in Memphis, Tennessee, which stressed the following: In youth one may thank God for the brightness and prospect of life beckoning to the future. In age one may thank God that life has extended so long. In health one may thank God for the greatest of physical blessings. In illness one may thank God for wise physicians, kind nurses and the tender concern of loved ones. In wealth one may thank God for having been made the steward of such large accounts. In poverty one may thank God for him, who though he was rich became poor that he might make many rich, and for his special promise, "Blessed are ye poor." In the event of great loss one may thank God for blessings he is yet permitted to retain. In death itself the Christian can thank God for the hope of eternal life. At all times and places, in all circumstances and situations, the Christian will thank God for Jesus Christ our Lord, for the Father who gave him, for the life he lived, the death he died, his resurrection from the dead, and for his everlasting gospel which we have received. Let your requests be made known unto God ... But, does not God already know everything? In a sense, of course, he does; but the command of God, as uttered here through an apostle, explains the manner chosen by the Father, through which he will know "the requests" of his children. Note too, that this apostolic order says nothing of making known one's needs or desires. God already knows about them; but our "requests" ... they do not even become requests until they are made known to God in the prayers of his people. WHAT SHOULD BE REQUESTED OF GOD? The forgiveness of sins. Christians are commanded to pray for the forgiveness of their sins (Acts 8:22); but the unbaptized, even though they are belivers, are not so commanded. The believing Saul of Tarsus had been on his knees three days and nights; but God's messenger neither invited him to continue his petition, nor did Saul receive any answer. On the contrary, the inspired preacher commanded him to "arise and be baptized and wash away his (thy) sins" (Acts 22:16). The forgiveness of the sins of others. Both our Lord (Luke 23:34) and the martyr Stephen (Acts 7:60) prayed for the forgiveness of the sins of others. The wisdom of God. "If any man lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally and upbraideth not, and it shall be given." (James 1:5,6).

Relief from bitter experiences. Jesus himself prayed that "the cup" might pass from him (Matthew 26:39). Our daily bread. This line from the Lord's Prayer probably has the larger meaning of "food for today." In any event, prayer for all of life's basic necessities, such as food, clothing and shelter, is authorized by this model prayer. Laborers in the vineyard. "Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth laborers into his vineyard" (Matthew 9:38). Laborers already working. Paul admonished the Ephesians to "Pray for ME, that utterance may be given unto me that I may open my mouth boldly, to make known the mystery of the gospel" (Ephesians 6:19). For mercy. "Come boldly to the throne of grace that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need" (Hebrews 4:16). For the sick. "The prayer of faith shall save the sick" (James 5:14,15). Deliverance from temptation. "Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one" (Matthew 6:13). For them that despitefully use us. This includes prayer for enemies. See Matt. 5:44. In everything. The text before us stresses the need of prayer in all of life's conditions and circumstances. Any list, therefore, of things we should pray for must be partial and incomplete. "Everything" certainly covers a lot of territory. Only one other specific will be noted. For rulers and authorities. Paul singled out as an object of prayer, in all probability, because it is easily overlooked, especially in a corrupt age like that of the New Testament era. He said: I exhort therefore, that first of all prayers, intercession and giving of thanks be made for all men, for kings, and for all that are in authority, that we might lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour (1 Timothy 2:1-3). Two examples of prayers for "all that are in authority" are included here: Eternal Father, Thou art He before whom the generations of men rise and fade away. From everlasting to everlasting, Thou art God. From Thee comes every good and perfect gift. To Thee, we lift our hearts in thanksgiving. Of Thee, we pray forgiveness of our sins. O God, bless the President of the United States, the Members of Congress, and the judiciary. Bless these servants of the people that they may have wisdom to know what is right, courage to do what is right, and sufficient support of their constituents to sustain them in what is right. Endow these Thy servants with grace and knowledge to the end that the wounds of our bleeding world may be healed and peace on earth prevail. May Thy name be glorified and Thy kingdom be increased throughout all nations. God bless the United States of America and this House of Representatives. Through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. (A prayer by Burton Coffman in the House of Representatives, May 26, 1953.) Almighty God, and our eternal Father: We praise and bless Thy holy name for all the benefits Thou hast granted unto the sons of men. We pray especially for that measure of Thy divine Providence which will enable all these Thy servants and ministers of Thy gracious will to know what is right, to have the courage to attempt what is right, and to be endowed with the strength to accomplish it. Bless this great City to the end that it might continue in peace and prosperity according to Thy holy will. In the name of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. (Invocation by Burton Coffman at meeting of New York City Council, January 8, 1965.) WAYS IN WHICH GOD ANSWERS PRAYER

How does God answer prayer? First of all, God answers prayer literally, as when Joshua prayed for the sun to stand still, Elijah prayed for drought, or rain, and when Jonah prayed to God from the belly of the great fish. New Testament confirmation of God's literal answer of prayer is in the following: The supplication of a righteous man availeth much in its working. Elijah was a man of like passions with us, and he prayed fervently that it might not rain; and it rained not on the earth for three years and six months. And he prayed again; and the heaven gave rain, and the earth brought forth her fruit (James 5:16-18). God answers prayer by a refusal to grant the petition. In 2 Cor. 12:7-10 Paul detailed the fact of his earnest prayers that God would take away his thorn in the flesh, a thing God declined to do. God also answers prayer by sending something different from what was requested. For example, in Gethsemane Jesus prayed for the "cup" to pass from him; instead of allowing this, God sent an angel to strengthen the Lord. Similarly, people may pray for lighter loads, but God may send them greater strength. God answers prayer gradually. Hawthorne's allegory of The Great Stone Face illustrates this principle. Little Ernest longed to see a man who exemplified the character visible in the Great Stone Face. Gradually, after long years,. Ernest himself became that character. God answers prayer after delay. It seems strange that God would delay to answer Christian prayers, but it may not be denied. The angel sent to stay the hand of Abraham about to offer Isaac delayed until the latest possible moment. The wine had run completely out at Cana before the Lord answered his mother's implied request. When Jacob wrestled with an angel, day was breaking before the issue was decided. In the New Testament, Jairus came to the Lord; and during Jesus' delay, his daughter died. Here also may be the explanation of why the Lord often delays the answer to prayer; it is that he may give something far more wonderful, or far better, than what was requested. In the case of Jairus' daughter, a resurrection was far better and far more wonderful than a healing would have been. God also answers prayer through natural laws and processes. When fields yield richly; when people enjoy good health; when nature pours out abundant blessings; all of these things are God's answer to his children's prayers for daily bread, nor should the Giver be overlooked merely because the normal processes of nature through which his blessings were conveyed are recognized and partially understood. By way of summarizing the ways in which God answers prayer, some of the ways are: He may answer it literally. He may refuse to grant the petition. He may send something different from what was requested. He may answer it gradually. He may answer it after a long delay. He may answer through natural laws and processes. Verse 7 And the peace of God which passeth all understanding, shall guard your hearts and your thoughts in Christ Jesus. The peace of God ... This was described by Hendriksen as "The smile of God reflected in the soul of the believer, the heart's calm after Calvary's storm, the conviction that God who spared not his own Son will surely also, along with him, freely give us all things (Romans 8:32)." Passeth all understanding ... Those who see it manifested in the lives of Christians cannot understand such peace exhibited despite the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune encountered by them; even those who possess it cannot fully understand it; but those who have experienced it would not exchange it for anything that the world has to offer.

Shall guard your hearts ... The scholars tell us that this is translated from a military term signifying a sentinel guarding a city. As Philippi was a Roman colony, populated with many retirees from the military establishment of Rome, this must rank as another marvelous analogy drawn by Paul from things which he observed in his travels. Such metaphors as those of the athletic contests in Olympian games or the triumphal processions of generals and rulers are also included. In Christ Jesus ... Paul's favorite expression again appears here. To understand all that is meant by these words is to grasp in its fullness the whole theology of the apostle Paul, and indeed all the New Testament writers. One may only be amazed that so many commentators pay no attention at all to these most important words. Out of Christ there is nothing; in him is the life eternal; and people (let all people hear it) are "baptized into Christ," as Paul himself declared (Romans 6:3). What about faith? No unbeliever can be baptized, and no believer is in Christ until he is baptized into him. Verse 8 Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honorable, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. Finally ... Paul had written this in Philp. 3:1; but as Caffin put it, "Again and again he prepares to close his epistle, but he cannot at once bid farewell to his beloved Philippians. Thought control is clearly the practice Paul enjoined here. If people would live correctly in God's sight, let them think of those qualities which possess positive value. Thinking of such things will lead to speaking of them, as exemplified in the lives of associates, thus contributing to the joy and unity of Christian fellowship. Foulkes pointed out that the strong word ([Greek: logizomai]) Paul used here, translated "take such things into account" is Paul's way of saying, "Let such things shape your attitudes." Of special interest in Paul's list given here is the word arete, translated "virtue." This is found nowhere else in Paul's letters and in only two other New Testament references (1 Peter 2:9; 2 Peter 1:3), despite the fact of its being "a frequent word in classical and Hellenistic Greek." Lightfoot believed that Paul "seems studiously to avoid this common heathen term for moral excellence." From this Lightfoot interpreted Paul's meaning to be, "Whatever value may reside in your old heathen conception of virtue, whatever consideration is due to the praise of men, etc." Barry concurred in this discernment, saying that Paul's introduction of virtue and praise after the hypothetical "if there be any" indicated that these last two words "occupy less firm and important ground" than the others (due, of course, to pagan conceptions of what the terms meant). Despite the above, however, this writer holds this list of desirables in the highest respect, the words in their commonly accepted denotations and connotations standing for the very greatest human excellence known to man. God help all people to let their thoughts dwell upon such things as Paul enumerated here. Verse 9 The things which ye both learned and received and heard and saw in me, these things do: and the God of peace shall be with you. This is the equivalent of Paul's frequent admonitions to follow (or imitate) him as he followed (or imitated) Christ. See under Philp. 3:17. The God of peace ... In Philp. 4:7, Paul had written "the peace of God"; and, as Barry said, "The inversion is striking." The peace of God passes all understanding, but the God of peace is more, peace being that which is given, and God being the giver. Verse 10 But I rejoice in the Lord greatly, that now at length ye have revived your thought of me; wherein ye did indeed take thought, but ye lacked opportunity.

Paul reserved his expression of thanks to the Philippian congregation for their financial aid, quite properly, to the very last of his letter. The doctrinal part of the letter being finished, Paul in this verse turned to those intensely personal things between himself and the Philippians. Ye have revived ... Some scholars detect a vein of criticism or disappointment in this, as if Paul has said, "Well, I am glad you have come alive." If there is any thought like this here, then Paul promptly took the sting out of it by pointing out that, actually, there had been "no opportunity" to help him any sooner. Furthermore, as Knight wrote: "Paul wrote 'ye were also careful (ephroneite)' ... using the imperfect tense, which suggests his willingness to believe that the Philippians all along had desired to help but were hindered. Verse 11 Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therein to be content. Not that I speak in respect of want ... This statement has elicited two opinions of scholars: (1) "Paul uses the word content (a moment later) in the sense of his being independent of circumstances; but his all-sufficient resources are by the grace of Christ who lives in him." (2) Sir William M. Ramsay believed that Paul had inherited, or otherwise come into possession of, a large sum of money, founding his opinion on the fact of Luke's attendance upon Paul and other conditions of Paul's imprisonment. Despite the plausibility of Ramsay's deductions it would appear that the preferable view is that after (1). Verse 12 I know how to be abased, and I know also how to abound: in everything and in all things have I learned the secret both to be filled and to be hungry, both to abound and to be in want. Strange as it may appear to us, Paul was, in this verse, disclaiming any need of the Philippians' gifts, rejoicing in the reception of it for the benefit to them, not to himself. This is simply astounding. As Mounce put it, "While not dependent on the gift, or even seeking it, Paul rejoiced in that such sacrifices were well-pleasing to God and beneficial to the giver." Verse 13 I can do all things in him that strengtheneth me. This is a summary of what Paul had just been writing with regard to his having an inward sufficiency "in the Lord" to cope with any of life's circumstances, no matter how severe, and no matter how favorable. Paul truly felt that it was impossible for life to confront him with anything that he and the Lord could not handle! Those who think they find traces of Stoicism in Paul's attitude here know nothing, either of Stoicism or of the heart of the great apostle. As King correctly noted, "Christ is the source of Paul's power; it is Christ who is continually infusing power into him." The key words of this verse, as so often in Paul's writings, are "IN HIM." Verse 14 Howbeit ye did well that ye had fellowship with my affliction. My affliction ... Note Paul does not say "want," leaving room for what he had already implied, namely, that he did not actually need their gift. Hendriksen saw this verse as Paul's statement that their gift had "relieved his need"; F31 but it seems more accurate to see it as encouraging in his affliction (imprisonment). Whether or not Paul could have survived without the gift (after all, Rome was feeding him), he nevertheless deeply appreciated this evidence of loving concern on the part of his dear Philippians. Verses 15, 16 And ye yourselves also know, ye Philipplans, that in the beginning of the gospel, when I departed from Macedonia, no church had fellowship with me in the matter of giving and receiving but ye only; for even in Thessalonica ye sent once and again to my need. From the very beginning of Paul's experience at Philippi, the people there were noted for their liberality and hospitality. It was from the house of Lydia that Paul preached the gospel there. Even before Paul was out of Macedonia, they began sending him money. As Hendriksen said, "Truly the stamp of Luke's and Lydia's commendable generosity was upon this congregation."

Verse 17 Not that I seek for the girl; but I seek for the fruit that increases to your account. Again Paul stressed the truth that he did not covet their money, and yet he was glad for what they had done. Their eternal reward was enhanced and extended as a result of their generous treatment of the apostle. Verse 18 But I have all things, and abound: I am filled, having received from Epaphroditus the things that came from you, an odor of a sweet smell, a sacrifice acceptable, well-pleasing to God. The apostle "credits the givers with the proper spirit, that is, the attitude of faith, love and gratitude." Notice how giving is described in the terms of the worship of God, being a "sacrifice," "an odor of a sweet smell," a figurative reference to the incense burned in the tabernacle, symbolical of the prayers of God's people. Verse 19 And my God shall supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus. Hendriksen made a distinction between God's general providence over all of his creation, including even plants and animals, and "the very special providence of which believers are the objects," applying the latter to the Philippians as promised in this verse. Paul's teaching in 2 Cor. 9:6-10, coupled with this emphatic blessing upon the Philippians, surely supports such a view. However, as Hendriksen further commented on this: This does not mean that the Philippians would now be justified in becoming lazy. "God's word does not advocate fanaticism, nor does it say that one should throw his pocketbook into the nearest river and then announce that he is going to live by faith" (Tenney). To be sure, God was taking care of Paul, but one of the ways in which he was doing so was exemplified by the gift from Philippi. Verse 20 Now unto our God and Father be the glory for ever and ever. Amen. This short, beautiful doxology, so characteristic of Paul's letters, is concluded with the solemn "Amen." For comment on "Amen," see my Commentary on Heb. 13:25. Verses 21, 22 Salute every saint in Christ Jesus. The brethren that are with me salute you. All the saints salute you, especially they that are of Caesar's household. The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit. Hendriksen, like many others, has supposed that Paul might have written these final verses with his own hand, as he sometimes did, thus making such an inscription a kind of signature. Knight wrote that "One would expect in a personal letter such as this to find in the closing salutations a number of names." Despite the fact of many scholars accepting such a proposition, such an expectation as that mentioned by Knight is as fantastically unreasonable as any that could be contrived by the imagination. In no other scholarly assumption is there such a vacuum of intelligent reasoning as in this. Think a moment. If Paul saluted a few friends by name at the end of this epistle, it would have been an insult to a hundred others whom he personally knew in Philippi. We have already seen under Philp. 4:3 how the great apostle had avoided getting involved with writing any more personal names (see comment); and for him gratuitiously to have included a list of names here was unthinkable. Any minister who ever served a large church with hundreds of his personal friends members of it will instantly recognize what an unconscionable blunder it would have been for Paul to tack on a list of personal greetings here, unless he had been planning to name "all of those" whom he knew and loved at Philippi. Thus the objection voiced by Knight uncovers no fault of the apostle's but it does show the fuzzy thinking of many scholars on this point. Salute every saint ... "Only here in the New Testament does [Greek: hagios] (saint) occur in the singular (fifty-seven times in the plural), and even here it is prefaced by every, a strong reminder that Christianity is a corporate affair." Saints in Caesar's household ... As Barclay said, "This is what we would call the Imperial Civil Service." Caesar's houshold was all over the empire, wherever his servants or officers were carrying out the emperor's orders. Despite this, it should be

remembered that Paul was in Rome when this was written, justifying the conclusion that "Christianity had infiltrated into the highest positions in the empire." Lightfoot took a step in the direction of indentifying some of these with some of the individuals saluted in Rom. 16. See my Commentary on Romans under that reference. If slaves of a nobleman in the provinces were willed to the emperor, then upon the death of the nobleman, the slaves would be transferred to Rome, but still retain their family identity, as the "household of Aristobulus" for example; and Lightfoot thought some of the "household" mentioned here might formerly have lived at Philippi. He wrote: This supposition best explains the incidental character of the allusion. Paul obviously assumes that his distant correspondents know all about the persons thus referred to. If so, we are led to look for them in the long list of names saluted by St. Paul some three years before in the epistle to the Romans. The Lord Jesus Christ ... The prevalence of this expression in Philippians is significant. Almost every other line in the epistle has it in one form or another, making it rank along with "in Christ" as a distinctive mark of the Pauline theology. All people should praise God for the remarkable beauty and effectiveness of this priceless personal letter preserved through so many dangers and centuries to bless the saints of all ages.

Philippians 4 Commentary By williamkang on July 12th, 2010


v. 1 Whom I . . . long for, epipothetoi, recalls 1:8, and expresses his ardent desire to see them again. [] The Greek word for crown, stephanos, besides the figurative meaning which expresses ten-der love, was commonly used to denote the festive garland, worn as a sign of gladness, or the wreath awarded to the victor at the athletic contest (cf. 1 Cor. 9:25). If the metaphor is to be applied here, it means that the Philippian Christians would be regarded as his reward, the seal of his apostleship (1 Cor. 9:2), and the proof that his labour had not been in vain in the Lord (1 Cor. 15:58; cf. Phil. 2:16). They would be his crown at the final day. vv. 2-3 This passage iden-tifies two women as important participants in the life of the Philippian church, as fellow contenders with Paul in the cause of the gospel, and as fel-low workers with Paul. These are impressive credentials. Pauls only other use of the verb contend together with appears in 1:27, where he tells the entire congregation that they should be contending as one man for the faith of the gospel. Since Paul is speaking of steadfastness in the face of persecution in 1:27, there is no reason to think that he refers to anything else in 4:2. Euodia and Syntyche, then, have bravely withstood persecution alongside Paul, perhaps during the time when he originally preached the gospel in Philippi. Paul mentions these two in a letter to be read to the church [] Notice that Paul does not, as some pastors do, regard matters such as this as private, to be settled outside the church lest anyone be disturbed. No, in Pauls view, this is precisely the nature and function of the congregation as a partnership. Being members of one another means laying before each other joys, sorrows, and burdens, but also issues to be settled (1 Cor. 6:1-6). v. 2 The common mind they are to share, in reconciliation and mutual love, is one which sets the good of the church above personal interest, and finds its inspiration in the lowliness of the incarnate Lord and the standard he expects of his people (2:3, 5). The reason for their quarrel is not given but it is clear from the wording that it was more than a personal disagree-ment; their quarrel had ecclesiastical repercussions. v. 3 Paul provides an example to his readers of how to work for the unity with which he has been so concerned throughout the letter and with which he is especially concerned here. Such disputes are not the private concern of those quarreling, but of the entire church. It is appropriate, then, for the church to seek to arbitrate such disputes through the mediation of a believer who is gifted with the ability to help people overcome their dif-ferences. are in the book of life, a traditional title of honor frequently used in Jewish literature for the people of God who have suffered persecution but have nevertheless remained faithful (Dan. 12:1; Rev. 3:5; cf. Isa. 4:3; Luke 10:20). How could a loyal yokefellow help feuding women? No one knows for sure who this loyal yokefellow was. Apparently he (the noun is masculine) was a mature Christian whom Paul could trust to help mediate the dispute, perhaps by bringing them together to reconcile their differences.

v. 4 The appeal to constant rejoicing (cf. 1 Thes. 5:16) is no empty phrase. To a company of Christs people, who were in doubt and fear (1:28) and set in the midst of a hostile world (2:15), this assurance rings out like a clarion call, and is repeated so that its message may not be misunderstood. Paul has the supreme qualification to issue the call, for he himself is engrossed in the same struggle (1:30) as that which the Philippians are facing; [] In the Lord is the governing factor in the exhorta-tion. It is the Philippians faith in the Lord which makes rejoicing in the throes of opposition a glorious possibility, as Bonnard finely comments: The Pauline appeals to joy are never simply encouragements; they throw back the distressed churches on their Lord; they are, above all, appeals to faith. v. 5 Christians should be known for a quality that is rendered in both the NIV and the NRSV as gentleness. The Greek term epieikes is more positive than that. It denotes generosity toward others and is a characteristic of Christ himself (cf. 2 Cor. 10:1); the NEBs magnanimity and the REBs consideration of others catch its meaning. In 4:2-3, Paul is concerned with relations within the Christian community, but in 4:5 he turns to the churchs dealings with those outside. Consideration of others is to be shown to everyone, not just to fellow Christians. Since this attitude, too, is a reflection of that seen in Christ, Paul is in effect urging the Philippians to let their lives be a proclamation of the gospel. v. 6 The possibility and reality of prayer give the rationale of the first words of the sentence which, by themselves, seem so impossible to obey. We may be freed from all fretful care and feverish anxiety because we may refer all our distresses and problems to God in prayer. [] anxiety and prayer are more opposed to each other than fire and water. Alert, yes; anxious, no. Have no anxiety about anything (Matt. 6:25-34,) here applies to nervous, doubtfilled concern for their own well being and is not to be taken as a blanket endorsement of total indifference to the conditions of others. In other words, this is no scriptural warrant for not caring. All prayer and supplication are to be accompanied by thanksgiving, something that has characterized the whole of this letter. The result will be that the peace of God will guard their hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. The peace promised here is far more than an absence of conflict. Rather, it is total well-being, and it comes from Godonce again, to those who are in Christ Jesus and who share his attitude, so that his heart and mind become theirs. v. 8 The virtues mentioned in 4:8 were among those that were honored in the pagan world, a fact that reminds us that we should not be afraid to take over the best in our secular world and claim it for Christ. In a sense, of course, this is but a recognition that everything that is true and pure comes from God. How can we think lovely thoughts? Paul is not talking about fleeting impressions that invade our thinking. Thoughts of temptation or discouragement can come unannounced. But we can discipline ourselves, making conscious choices to contemplate good things. vv.8-9 Paul belies any attempt to separate thought from deed in verse 8-9 when he uses the term think in verse 8 and the expression put into practice in verse 9. Since the Philippians must think about his teaching and example in order to put them into practice, and since Paul will not believe that the Philippians have obeyed his command to think about the virtues he lists if they have not also acted on them, the two words have much the same meaning. Our thinking and our actions, then, are closely bound together. Indulging in evil thought and tolerating sloppy thinking can have terrible consequences. Thus, if instead of loving my enemy I indulge the temptation to resent him, resentment turns to anger, anger to hatred, and the link between hatred and murder, as Jesus saw, is close (Matt. 5:21-22). v. 9 Once again, therefore, they are urged to imitate Paul, who embodies for them the gospel message. The verse reminds us yet again of the close link between the proclamation of the gospel and the moral demand to be like Christ, which rests on those who respond. His expression learned and received refers to passing along a tradition. There is a body of teaching giving identity and continuity to the Christian community. vv. 10-20 Paul faces the difficult task of showing the Philippians his genuine appreciation for their financial support, both past and present, but of also showing that his work is neither dependent on nor motivated by

this support. He does this through combining expressions of gratitude with qualifications designed to prevent misunderstanding. v. 10 Perhaps because of their poverty (2 Cor. 8:1-2), however, they had not been able to help Paul in this way recently. Thus Paul rejoices greatly that the opportunity to show their concern for him has returned. At last suggests a harsh and sinister implication as though Paul were chiding the Philippians for forgetfulness or dilatoriness in sending the money to him. But this idea is absent from the Greek, and the following sentence gives the reason for the unavoidable delay in the arrival of the churchs gift. v. 11 Content [] As a moral term it plays an important part in the stoic outlook upon life. Socrates, for instance, is held up by Diogenes Laertius in the third century AD as an example of a self-sufficient man who faced, with equanimity and resolution, all that life brought to him. Pauls use of the term is, however, quite distinct from the stoic ideal as verse 13 shows (cf 2 Cor. 9:8). A stoic term may be used; but it is Christ who is the secret of Pauls serenity (1:21). v.13 What does God give us strength to do? Everything means all that God desires us to do not absurd, selfish or evil things. In Pauls own example, it meant that God had given him the ability to be content whether he had plenty or overwhelming need. Gods grace will sustain us not matter where he leads even when we lack material things. v. 14 The verb sygkoinoneo [to share] is a com-pound of the verb also translated shared in v. 15; equivalent nouns are used in 1:5 and 7 (partnership and, lit., fellow participants). The fel-lowship of those in Christ involves sharing with one another at all levels: The Philippians have shared Pauls distress, just as they shared with him in the matter of giving and receiving (v. 15). This does not mean that the Philippians gave and Paul received. On the contrary, the giving and receiving were mutual, since he goes on to say that he has been paid in full. v. 15 The fact that the Philippians were the only Christians who supported Paul is significant, since it suggests that the bond between him and them was particularly strong. vv. 17-18 Paul has returned once again to the meta-phor of the financial ledger, which he used in 3:7-8, and he hastens to assure them that the books have been balanced. I have been paid in full, he declares; the Greek word [] which he uses here, is the word that would have been used on a receipt. Thus Paul has been paid more than enough. The implication seems to be that the Philippians had once been in his debt; what they owed him, of course, was the fact that he had brought them the gospel. Now Paul changes the metaphor again. The gifts brought by Epaphroditus were a fragrant offering, an accept-able sacrifice, pleasing to God. Though the gifts were offered to Paul, they have in effect been offered to God, since they are being used for the defense and confirmation of the gospel (1:7). It seems, then, that the account is being held with God and that the Philippians are storing up trea-sure in heaven (cf. Matt 6:20; 19:21). v. 18 a fragrant offering, an acceptable sacrifice. The OT background is the sacrifice, not of atonement for sin, but of thanksgiving and praise (cf. Lev 7:12-15; Ro 12:1; Eph 5:2; Heb 13:15-16). Paul then [] begins to speak in language that the Old Testament uses to describe the sacrifices of Gods people. In Israels history these sacrifices were often corrupted by the peoples idolatrous practices or social injustices. But Isaiah looks forward to a time when Gods people will once again offer acceptable sacrifices to the Lord (Isa. 56:7; 60:7). Perhaps Paul understands the generous commitment the Philippians have shown to the gospel to be a partial fulfillment of these prophecies within the new Israel. v. 19 Certainly, verse 19 allows for the possibility that God will supply the phys-ical needs of his people, but this is not the primary concern of the verse. [] If we take Jesus and Paul as examples, it becomes apparent that sometimes obedience to the will of God requires physical deprivation to the point of death. The promise of verse 19 must instead be linked with verse 13, and both verses must be read in light of verses 11-12: God supplies the needs of his people by giving them the resources to cope with hardship. Hardship tempts us to think that God is unmoved by our plight or is against us, and so we despair. Thus, when we experience difficult times, we need the moderating presence of God, who shows us by the cross of Christ that he is for us, not against us, and that he was so filled with love for us that he sent his Son to die on our behalf.

Philippians Chapter 4
Paul appeals for a steady *faith and for unity 4:1-3 v1 So then, my dear brothers and sisters, whom I love and I want very much to see. You are my joy and my crown. Continue to follow the *Lord. v2 I urge Euodia and I urge Syntyche to agree with each other in the *Lord. v3 And you too, my true companion, I ask you to help these women. They worked hard with me to spread the *gospel. So did Clement and all my other companions in the work. Their names are in the book of life. Verse 1 There are many enemies of the *cross. But Christians can look forward to Christs return. So, they must be strong. Paul shows his great love for the Christians at Philippi. He calls them his dear brothers and sisters and his joy and crown. He had the joy of knowing that they were Christians. The crown was not the royal crown of kings. The *Greek word means a ring of leaves. They put it on the head of an *athlete who succeeded in a race. Pauls reward for all his efforts will be his Christian friends at Philippi. The crown was also a sign of honour for guests at a feast (a special meal). The Christians at Philippi will be Pauls sign of honour at Gods feast in heaven. Verse 2 Euodia and Syntyche were two well-known Christian women in Philippi. Either on his first visit or later they had both worked hard with Paul to spread the *gospel. For some reason they had quarrelled. It was a serious matter, as it would make the witness of the Christians there weak. Paul shows how much he cares for both of them by appealing to each woman by name. He wants them to agree in the *Lord, as Christians should. Verse 3 We have translated the *Greek word syzygos by companion. It means someone who works with another person. It is similar to the word for a *yoke. When animals worked together, people joined them with a *yoke. Syzygos might be a mans name. But we do not know of any other examples. He must help the two women. Then his actions will prove that his name is suitable for him. But perhaps Syzygos is not a mans name. Then, we do not know whom Paul meant. But it was someone well-known in Philippi whom people respected. Writers have suggested Epaphroditus, Timothy or Luke. Luke had been a close companion of Paul on his first visit to Philippi (Acts 16:12-17). He may have stayed there until Pauls return some years later (Acts 20:2-5). Clement was a very common name and we know nothing about this person. The other companions may have been too many to mention. But God knew who they were. Paul says that their names are in the book of life. The idea of a book like this comes several times in the Bible. (See, for example, Daniel 12:1; Luke 10:20 and Revelation 13:8.) In this book of life, God keeps a record of those people who are loyal to him. Paul encourages the Christians and he gives them instructions 4:4-9 v4 *Rejoice in your friendship with the *Lord. I say it again, *Rejoice! v5 Show a gentle attitude towards everyone. The *Lord is near. v6 Do not worry about anything. But tell God about everything. And ask God for what you need. And give him thanks. v7 And Gods peace will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. That peace is far beyond anything that human *beings can understand. v8 And now, Christian friends, fill your minds with true, noble, right, pure and lovely things and with things that we should praise. v9 Practise what you have learned from me, in my words and actions. And the *Lord who gives peace will be with you. Verse 4 To *rejoice is the attitude of Paul (Philippians 1:1-4; 2:7; 2:18; 3:1). He tells the Christians at Philippi to *rejoice. Whatever their circumstances, Paul and his friends can have joy, because the *Lord Jesus is always near them. Verse 5 Christians should behave towards other people with *mercy, patience and understanding love. The *Lord is near might mean: 1. The *Lord is always close to them. 2. The *Lord knows everything that a Christian does. 3. The *Lord is coming again soon. These words encourage Christians to remember the love with which God deals with them. They hope that God will deal with them with sympathy. So they should be gentle towards other people who make mistakes. Verse 6 The *Lord is near might also introduce the words Do not worry about anything. These words will remind Christians that the *Lord is always with them. And they will meet him when he returns. Christians should pray about everything. They should pray: 1. that God will forgive them for the past 2. about what they need now, both for the body and for the spirit 3. for God to guide them in the future.

Gods love desires what is best for us. His wisdom knows what is best. His power can cause what is best for us to happen. Every prayer should include thanks. We should be grateful that God wants to listen. We should believe that he will give us the best answer. Verse 7 The result of prayer is that we will have Gods peace in our hearts. Gods peace will be like a soldier who is on guard duty in our hearts. The peace that God gives will protect our thoughts and desires. That is because God has united us to Christ Jesus. This peace is far beyond anything that human *beings can understand. Human people can never produce this peace, however much they try. Good ideas will never free a Christian from worry in the way that Gods peace does. It is also far beyond anything that we can understand. God is able to do so much more than we could ever ask. He is able to do so very much more than we could even think (Ephesians 3:20). Christ loves us more than anyone can ever really know (Ephesians 3:19). Verses 8, 9 Paul gives a list of what Christians should think about. Thoughts like these will help them to live in a way that pleases God: 1. true things. The *Greek word can mean genuine, or free from error. Christians should avoid anything that is false and disappointing. 2. Noble. Christians will concentrate on serious matters. Some things seem attractive, but they are of little value. They are not worth thinking about. And they are not worth spending time on. 3. Right. Christians should do what God wants. They will always deal with other people fairly. 4. Pure. In the world, many people think, speak and act in a nasty way. Christians have to live in that society. But a Christians thoughts and actions should be so clean that they are suitable for God to know about. 5. Lovely. Those who are kind to other people will receive love in return. This word can mean things that are beautiful. 6. things that we should praise. This praise does not mean to speak well of. The *Greek word means words that are suitable for God to hear. Paul had taught the Christians at Philippi about Jesus. He had also given them a good model, by the way that he lived. So they must put his words and actions into practice. Then they will have Gods peace. Paul thanks the Christians at Philippi for their gift 4:10-20 v10 I *rejoice that now at last you have been able to show your care for me again. I do not mean that you had forgotten me. You have had no opportunity to help until now. v11 I am telling you this. But it is not because I need anything. In fact, I have learned to be content whatever happens to me. v12 I know how to live when I need things. And I know how to live when I have plenty. In all circumstances, I have learned the secret of how to be content. I am content whether I have plenty to eat or not. v13 I am ready for anything by Christ who gives me strength. v14 But it was very kind of you to share my troubles. v15 You Christians at Philippi remember what happened in the early days. Those were the days when you first heard the *gospel. When I left Macedonia, you were the only church to share with me. You shared in the matter of giving and receiving gifts. v16 Even when I was in Thessalonica you sent me help. You sent me help when I needed it. You did it again and again. v17 It is not that I am hoping for a gift. I am hoping for the reward that will come to you because of your gift. v18 I have received enough, and more than enough. Epaphroditus has brought me all your gifts. And so, now I have all that I need. They are a sweet smelling gift to God, which pleases him. v19 And my God will supply all that you need from his great riches in Christ Jesus. v20 I pray that honour will be to our God and Father for ever! *Amen. Verse 10 Paul used a word for a plant that had flowered again. It was not dead, like the way a tree or plant seems in winter. At the right time, we see flowers. The right time for Pauls friends has now arrived. Before this there may have been no suitable *messenger. Or there was some other reason for their lack of opportunity. Verses 11-13 The people called Stoics believed that they could be content in any situation by an effort of will. They aimed to be free from every emotion. Paul, however, knew that to be content was a gift from God. Christ had given him the strength to accept pleasant or difficult circumstances. I have ..... known lack of sleep. I have been hungry and *thirsty. I have often been without food, shelter or clothing (2 Corinthians 12:9-10). Verses 14-16 The Christians at Philippi had helped Paul when he went to them during his second journey. His troubles included a night in prison with Silas (Acts 16:11-40). (Now Paul is in prison again, as he writes this letter!) Their practical help had continued when he went on to Thessalonica. He said that they had shared in

the matter of giving and receiving. They had given him what he needed for his physical life. Paul taught them and he encouraged their *spiritual life. He showed them, by his life, how to live as a Christian (1 John 1:6). Verse 17 But Paul was not hoping for a gift. It is you that I want, not your money (2 Corinthians 12:14). He wanted their account with God to have extra credit. Then they would receive the reward for their kindness when Jesus returns. Verse 18 Paul continued to use language from business. He said that he had received enough. He used a word that means, Here is my receipt. Paul had received more than enough for himself, now that Epaphroditus had brought their gifts. These may have been money, food or clothing. The gifts were like a lovely *sacrifice to God himself. In the *Old Testament, the sweet smell of a *sacrifice was pleasant to God (Genesis 8:21). Their Christian service to Paul was an act of *worship that pleased God. And that made Paul very glad. Verse 19 A gift to God does not make anyone who gives it poor (Luke 6:38). God will supply all that they themselves need, for both body and spirit. God, who lives in *glory, created everything. Therefore his wealth is more than enough for everything that we could need. How great are his riches! (See Romans 11:33.) Paul knew from his own experience that this was true. The words my God show that. God will supply all that they need in Christ Jesus. Jesus is the way by which Gods love comes to people. Their *faith in Jesus will bring them true wealth because they will know Gods immense love. Verse 20 As he thinks about Gods great love, Paul can only end in *worship. He is our God, the God both of Paul and of the Christians at Philippi. He is the Father of all who trust in Jesus his Son. He is the *eternal God whom men and women should praise for ever. *Amen adds Pauls wish that this will be so. Final greetings 4:21-23 v21 Greetings to each one of Gods people who belongs to Christ Jesus. The Christian brothers and sisters here with me send their greetings. v22 All Gods people here send greetings, especially those who live in Caesars home. v23 I pray that the *grace of the *Lord Jesus Christ will be with you all. Verse 21 Paul sends his greetings to each Christian in Philippi. He does not mention any by name but he includes them all. The Christian brothers and sisters with Paul are the ones who are working with him. He means Timothy, among other Christians (1:14). Verse 22 Paul sends greetings from the wider number of *believers. Those who live in Caesars home were probably officials in the *Roman government. They may have known government officials in other places, including Philippi, especially as it was a *Roman city. Some may have come from Macedonia and they wanted to greet their friends and relatives. Paul sends greetings to and from Christians in different occupations. In this way, he showed his desire for Christian unity. Reference to *believers among the officials means that the Christian *faith had reached the absolute centre of *Roman government. Verse 23 Paul began his letter by praying that his friends at Philippi will have *grace and peace from God (1:2). He ends by sending them his *blessing. *Grace comes from the *Lord Jesus Christ, whose love is the source of all *spiritual *blessings. The whole letter gives honour to Christ who is *Lord of all *believers.