The Agora
Bible Commentary

1 2 3 4

Philippians 4

Phi 4:1

MY BROTHERS: Paul's strong affection for the Philippian Christians comes through very clearly in this verse. He called them "brethren" four times (Phi 1:12; 3:1,17; 4:8), "beloved" twice (Phi 2:12 and here), and "beloved brethren" once (here).

WHOM I LOVE AND LONG FOR: Paul has previously expressed his great affection for them: "God can testify how I long for all of you with the affection of Christ Jesus" (Phi 1:8).

MY JOY: In the day when glory, honor, and immortality are bestowed on the faithful, there will be great joy on the part of those who preached the gospel and those who received it. "As you have understood us in part, you will come to understand fully that you can boast of us just as we will boast of you in the day of the Lord Jesus" (2Co 1:14).

CROWN: Gr "stephanos": the coronal wreath bestowed on winners in athletic competitions (Phi 2:16; 1Co 9:25). Their salvation will be Paul's victory as well as their own (Phi 2:15-18). In a similar vein, Paul wrote to the Thessalonians: "For what is our hope, our joy, or the crown in which we will glory in the presence of our Lord Jesus when he comes? Is it not you?" (1Th 2:19).

STAND FIRM IN THE LORD: Gr "stekete", as in Phi 1:27: a military term sig "to stand in an unbroken line" -- the Roman phalanx -- as against the assault of the enemy (also in Gal 5:1; 1Co 16:13).

Standing firm involves living in harmony with one another (vv 2,3), rejoicing on all occasions (vv 4-7), and developing the quality of sweet reasonableness (vv 8,9).

Phi 4:2

I PLEAD WITH EUODIA AND I PLEAD WITH SYNTYCHE TO AGREE WITH EACH OTHER IN THE LORD: "Plead" is "parakaleo": to exhort, encourage. Euodia (sig "success") and Syntyche (sig "lucky") were two sisters who had a difference, perhaps even a long-running feud. Though to be named would surely be embarrassing, Paul considers this serious enough to do so. He does not attempt to arbitrate -- but only to encourage them to find a way to make peace with one another, and to forgive one another even as they have been forgiven (Mat 6:12,14,15). What divided these two we do not know, and it does not matter. There are latent causes of division in the human heart, just as there are latent possibilities of disease in every living organism. Divisions spring from pride and mistrust, and we need to recognize these as evil and destructive of the fellowship which should exist between brethren. Instead, the urge for unity, though unnatural, should be cultivated and eagerly pursued (Eph 4:1-3).

Phi 4:3

The aspects of fellowship: fellow-heirs (Eph 3:6); fellow-soldiers (Phi 2:25); fellow-helpers (3Jo 1:8); fellow-workers (Col 4:11); fellow-servamts (Rev 6:11); fellow-prisoners (Rom 16:7); fellow-laborers (Phi 4:3); fellow-citizens (Eph 2:19).

This verse is rich in "syn-compounds" -- words using the prefix which denotes "together with": "yokefellow" ("suzugos": yoked together); "help" ("sullambano": take hold together with); "contended" ("sunathleo": wrestled together, as helpers in a contest); and "fellow workers" ("sunergos": laborers together).

I ASK YOU, LOYAL YOKEFELLOW, HELP THESE WOMEN: Possibly Paul has a particular brother in mind here: he seems to enlist the aid of a third party, Syzygus (sig "yokefellow", whom he challenges to live up to his name and be a "loyal yokefellow" ("gnesie syzyge") by bringing these women together. (Another Pauline play on a personal name occurs in Phm 1:10,11.) It is possible, of course, that there was no brother by the name Syzygus, and that this is an appeal to an otherwise unnamed brother -- but in that case, how would the Philippians know to whom this exhortation is addressed? The other alternative is that this is a general appeal to any and all in Philippi, to help with this reconciliation between Euodias and Syntyche.

WHO HAVE CONTENDED AT MY SIDE IN THE CAUSE OF THE GOSPEL: Whenever possible, Paul does not rebuke without also commending! In this case, he reminds Euodias and Syntyche of the sterling qualities and faithful service they manifested previously, when the gospel was first preached to them, and when they embraced and labored alongside the apostle (Acts 16:13-40). Possibly they were among the first women in Philippi to hear his message (Acts 16:13-15).

CLEMENT: The only ref to this brother. Probably not the same as the more famous Clement of Rome, who lived at the end of the 1st century -- some 35 or 40 years later. Clement was a common name.

WHOSE NAMES ARE IN THE BOOK OF LIFE: Cp Psa 69:28; Dan 12:1. This divine roll is, in the NT, mentioned only here and in Rev, where the refs are numerous (Rev 3:5; 17:8; 20:12,15; 21:27; 22:19). We are reminded of the occasion when Moses pleaded with God to erase his name from the book of life if this could be a condition of the forgiveness of Israel's sin (Exo 32:32). This request shows that the book is the heavenly register on which are entered the names of God's covenant people. When God takes such notice of men, they are signally honored: "Rejoice that your names are written in heaven" (Luk 10:20). The fact that names, once written, can still be blotted out of the book (Rev 3:5) is a sobering reminder that citizenship of the heavenly commonwealth is not necessarily permanent.

"Practically every city of that day maintained a roll or civic register of its citizens, and in that record was entered the name of every child born in the city. If one of the citizens proved guilty of treachery or disloyalty or of anything bringing shame on the city, he was subjected to public dishonour by the expunging of his name from the register. (The name was in any case normally obliterated at death.) He was deemed no longer worthy to be regarded as a citizen of the city. If, on the other hand, a citizen had performed some outstanding exploit deserving of special distinction, honour was bestowed upon him, either by the recording of the deed in the city roll or by his name being encircled in gold (or overlaid in gold) in the roll" (Tatford, cited in Const).

Phi 4:4

REJOICE IN THE LORD ALWAYS: Cp Phi 3:1. That is, joy in fellowship (v 2). Rejoicing is the antidote to division (Phi 4:2), and the antithesis of ill-temper (1Ti 3:3; Jam 3:17; Psa 86:5, LXX). Paul and Silas rejoiced and sang hymns while in the PHILIPPIAN jail (Act 16:25). The paradox of a man in prison rejoicing lies at the root of what this book is all about. Such an attitude demonstrates an unusual view of life. It is a uniquely Christian view of life. It demonstrates the mind of Christ, which is the key to this epistle.

There were many reasons the Philippian saints could have felt discouraged. Paul's imprisonment and the possibility of his death, Epaphroditus' illness, and the antagonism of unbelievers were a few. The attacks from legalists on the one hand and libertines on the other plus friction among certain members of the church contributed to this spirit. To counteract this attitude Paul prescribed rejoicing in the Lord.

I WILL SAY IT AGAIN: REJOICE: The apostle is anxious that the full implication of his words should not be missed; accordingly, he repeats himself. He repeats the command, because in all the vicissitudes of the Christian life, whether in attacks from errorists, personality clashes among believers, persecution from the world, or threat of imminent death -- all of which Paul himself was experiencing at this very time -- the Christian is to maintain a spirit of joy in the Lord. He is not immune to sorrow nor should he be insensitive to the troubles of others; yet he should count the will of God his highest joy and so be capable of knowing inner peace and joy in every circumstance.

Phi 4:5

GENTLENESS: "Epieikes": "reason" (Vine). "Moderation" (AV). "Considerateness" (Roth), or "reasonableness" (Roth mg). "Forbearance" (RV, RSV). "Gentleness" (Diag). Sw 1Ti 3:3; Tit 3:2; Jam 3:17.

The Gr word contains connotations of gentleness, yielding, kindness, patience, forbearance, leniency, and magnaminity. It recalls the example of Jesus Christ's humility in Phi 2:5-11. The forbearing person does not insist on his or her own rights or privileges. He or she is considerate and gentle toward others.

THE LORD IS NEAR: Or "at hand" (AV, RV, RSV). Two possibilities: (1) Christ's nearness at all times to his brethren: "I am with you always" (Mat 28:20). He can see and appreciate the injustices they were suffering (Phi 1:27-30). This knowledge would comfort them, and enable them to be gentle in the face of mistreatment or other bad conditions. (2) Christ's second coming is near... at least as near as one's death. Then he will reward his faithful servants (cp Phi 3:20,21) and redress all grievances (James 5:8). The knowledge of this would encourage them to be faithful to all his commands. And in view of eternity, any and every affliction will seem to have been only for a "moment" (2Co 4:16-18).

Possibly this phrase is an allusion to Psa 119:151; 145:18: the contexts there would apply to either of the two possibilities of meaning.

Phi 4:6

Do not nag or quarrel, but you may "nag" at God!

Paul used several different words for prayer in this verse. "Prayer" ("proseuche") is the most general term for our communications to God. "Petition" ("deesis") refers to requests for particular benefits. "Thanksgiving" ("eucharistias") is grateful acknowledgment of past mercies. "Requests" ("aitemata") looks at individual requests of God that form part of the whole prayer.

DO NOT BE ANXIOUS ABOUT ANYTHING: Those who are anxious and fearful are not showing confidence in God (cp Mat 6:25-34). Earlier Paul commended Timothy for being anxious over the welfare of the Philippians (Phi 2:20). Here he said we should not be anxious about anything. The same Greek word ("merimnate") appears in both places. The resolution of this problem probably lies in viewing anxiety as concern that may become fretful and inappropriate if taken too far. Paul's point here was that, rather than becoming distraught over a particular situation, we should take it to the Lord in prayer.

BUT IN EVERYTHING, BY PRAYER AND PETITION: This is the great antidote for anxiety. If God's will has been taken into account, then there must be a faithful acceptance of whatever comes -- because, whether it matches up with what we might like or not, it will be for our ultimate benefit: "In all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose" (Rom 8:28).

"And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints" (Eph 6:18).

WITH THANKSGIVING: "Pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus" (1Th 5:17). God wants to hear our prayers. But to keep them from becoming too self-focused, God wants us to always remember to give thanks. Gratitude can only exist where there is appreciation of God's past goodness, and confidence in His future care (Rom 5:4). It is so easy for us to turn prayer into a request line. We are the ones who are left bereft when thanksgiving and praise are robbed from our prayers. Without praise our hearts grow dim because all we think about are problems and prayer becomes a wish list.

PRESENT YOUR REQUESTS TO GOD: God desires that we take all our requests to Him (Psa 50:15; 81:7). Those who walk with God will not fail to do this, and thereby He will draw nigh to them even while they are drawing nigh to Him (Jam 4:8). "Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight" (Pro 3:5,6).

Phi 4:7

Peace: made (Col 1:20), preached (Eph 2:17), enjoyed (Rom 5:1), filling hearts (Rom 15:13), given (John 14:27), keeping (Phi 4:7), and ruling (Col 3:15). Peace achieved by forgiving past bickerings (Col 3:13,15).

THE PEACE OF GOD: This is peace that comes FROM God rather than peace WITH God. A peace which comes from intimate association with God, which cannot be threatened by external circumstances or conditions: Rom 5:1; Col 1:20; John 14:27. "God is not subject to the fluctuations in mood, the storms and tempests born of conflicting interests and passions. The mind that is set on Him shares His peace" (BPh 151). "You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in you" (Isa 26:3).

"These familiar words are remarkable for their atmosphere of complete calm; they rightly constitute one of Paul's most treasured utterances. The apostle was clearly drawing on his own experience when he wrote the passage. He had known many dark moments in his life, but the Lord had delivered him out of them all" (BPh 31).

WHICH TRANSCENDS ALL UNDERSTANDING: Everything about God surpasses human comprehension: " 'For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,' declares the LORD. 'As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts' " (Isa 55:8,9). Our Heavenly Father "is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine" (Eph 3:20).

WILL GUARD YOUR HEARTS AND YOUR MINDS IN CHRIST JESUS: The Gr "phroureo" is "either the work of a garrison in maintaining law and order within a city and protecting it against attacks from without... or the activity of a sentry who ensures that there is no surprise attack" (BPh 102). The sw occurs in Gal 3:23, in the sense of being held prisoner, or kept under guard.

"Everyone -- and everything -- is on a secondary level, in relation to our relationship to God. This includes our family, and the ecclesia, and the ecclesial world. Not that they are unimportant. They are very important to us. But they cannot -- in the ultimate -- mar or jeopardize our personal peace with God. Only we ourselves can do that. Our relationship to God must be such that whatever else happens, it can only have a secondary effect upon us. Sometimes, indeed, a very major and serious effect -- but still secondary, and relatively minor, in comparison with our impregnable, unassailable peace with God. We must -- by deliberate concentration and effort -- get all things into their proper secondary perspective, if we are to have the perfect peace that transcends understanding. And we can have it. We must have it. This is spiritual success. All else is failure. God alone is immutable and unchanging. So He alone can be built on and depended on" (GVG).

"There once was a king who offered a prize to the artist who would paint the best picture of peace. Many artists tried. The King looked at all the pictures, but there were only two he really liked and he had to choose between them. One picture was of a calm lake. The lake was a perfect mirror, for peaceful towering mountains were all around it. Overhead was a blue sky with fluffy white clouds. All who saw this picture thought that it was a perfect picture of peace. The other picture had mountains too. But these were rugged and bare. Above was an angry sky from which rain fell and in which lightning played. Down the side of the mountain tumbled a foaming waterfall. This did not look peaceful at all. But when the King looked, he saw behind the waterfall a tiny bush growing in a crack in the rock. In the bush a mother bird had built her nest. There, in the midst of the rush of angry water, sat the mother bird on her nest... perfect peace. Which picture won the prize? The King chose the second picture 'because,' he explained, 'peace does not mean to be in a place where there is no noise, trouble, or hard work. Peace means to be in the midst of all those things and still be calm in your heart. That is the real meaning of peace' " (MT).

GUARD: The word guard ("phroureo") was a military term that described a sentinel, a Roman soldier holding his weapon, walking back and forth in front of an open gate so that no one could enter. And so God will be a sentinel, guarding our hearts and giving us His peace. Our Father is a Father who delights to give good gifts to His children. He will actively guard ours heart against whatever is troubling us. He will not allow any menacing worry to enter.

Phi 4:8

FINALLY, BROTHERS, WHATEVER...: The lesson is generalized for all ecclesia.

TRUE: Gr "alethe", sig "valid, honest, and reliable" -- the opposite of false. It characterizes God, and should characterize believers (cf Rom 3:4).

NOBLE: Gr "semna", worthy of respect (Prov 8:6; 1Ti 3:8,11; Tit 2:2). Not base or dishonorable. Used in the NT only by Paul -- here and in 1Tim 3:8, 11; Tit 2:2 -- and may ref ecclesial elders. It is a quality that makes them worthy of respect.

RIGHT: Gr "dikaia": what is just and upright; conformable to God's standards and thus worthy of His approval. Cp Phi 3:9; Rev 15:3.

PURE: Gr "hagna" denotes cleanness (cp Jam 3:17), and may connote moral purity, or chastity.

LOVELY: Gr "prosphile" (lit, that which leads to love) means what is amiable, agreeable, or pleasing.

ADMIRABLE: "Of good report" (AV, RV, Roth). Gr "euphema" refers to what is praiseworthy because it measures up to the highest standards. It occurs only here, though Paul uses the cognate "euphemia" in 2Co 6:8.

EXCELLENT: Gr "arete". "Of preeminent estimation" (Vine).

PRAISEWORTHY: Gr "epainos".

THINK ABOUT SUCH THINGS: "Impute" or "reckon", ie consider these qualities to be characteristics of others. Cp thought, 1Co 13:5.

"Commentators point out that heathen philosophers were wont to draw up such catalogues of virtues. Paul would not be blind to the moral qualities exhibited by some in the heathen world... There is sometimes a painful contrast between the conduct of professing Christians and that of men indifferent to Christ's claims. If some of the virtues Paul recommends were practised in the pagan world they were none the worse for that. Having said so much, we must make it clear that Paul is not writing as a moralist or philosopher. The apostle was not writing purely abstract virtues but personal qualities which had already been embodied in a Life. Furthermore, the essentially Christian reference of these things, so far as Paul is concerned, is made clear by the next verse" (BPh 152).

Phi 4:9

WHATEVER YOU HAVE LEARNED OR RECEIVED OR HEARD FROM ME: Wholesome conduct (v 9) should follow wholesome thinking (v 8). Paul was of the conviction that the truths of the Christian gospel must never be abstracted from action and put into high-toned words and phrases, but always expressed in the life of the teacher. And so Paul, unselfconsciously, sets himself up as their example. Specifically to the point of v 2, for example, he had never cherished a grudge or quarreled with anyone.

Phi 4:10

AT LAST YOU HAVE RENEWED YOUR CONCERN FOR ME: Paul is not complaining that they had been negligent, but simply stating that he knew that they had lacked opportunity, until recently, to show their care for him. Now they had showed it practically in a gift brought by Epaphroditus (Phi 2:25; 4:14-18).

RENEWED: A verb used of flowers blooming again in the spring (BPh 153). "Had blossomed afresh" (NEB). Like a person rejoicing over the signs of spring after a hard winter, so Paul rejoiced to see again the signs of personal concern from Philippi after a long interval of silence.

Phi 4:11

I AM NOT SAYING THIS BECAUSE I AM IN NEED: The ground of his joy is not the relief to his own condition but their goodness.

I HAVE LEARNED TO BE CONTENT WHATEVER THE CIRCUMSTANCES: "Content" is the Gr "autarkes", which means "self-sufficient". This usage is derived from Stoic philosophy, describing a person who accepted impassively whatever came -- one whose mental state is independent of his material conditions. In this case, this is true not because Paul subscribes to the school of philosophy, but because he believes that his Heavenly Father will supply all his needs: "Not that we are competent in ourselves to claim anything for ourselves, but our competence comes from God" (2Co 3:5).

"One of the best established principles in economics is the one that says the more you have of anything, the less satisfaction you get from having some more. Otherwise known as the principle of marginal returns. One car may make a big difference to your life. The fourth car just gives you the choice whether you will go there in the sedan or the convertible. One crust of bread may save a man from starvation; a thousand crusts would simply be a litter problem. While this is well understood for specific items, it is not generally grasped that it also applies to material goods when taken as a whole.

"In the early stages of industrialization, the benefits in terms of real satisfaction are great. Running water and electric light made life vastly less onerous. A home, sufficient clothes, good food are of basic importance. But industrial civilization has reached the point where the majority of the population is consuming goods which yield only marginal satisfactions. We consume far more clothing than we need, changing because 'fashion' has changed and discarding clothes which are far from worn out. We know how to make clothes in large quantities, and we do this. But the satisfaction gained is small. It is rather than we avoid the dissatisfaction of being accused of being out of fashion than that we get any positive pleasure. People who live secluded lives seldom bother much about fashion" (GR Taylor, "The Doomsday Book").

"John Wesley's rule of life was to SAVE all he could, and GIVE all he could. When he was at Oxford he had an income of £30 a year. He lived on £28 and gave the balance away. When his income increased to £60, £90, and £120 a year, he still lived on £28 and gave the balance away. The Accountant-General for Household Plate demanded a return from him. His reply was, 'I have two silver teaspoons at London, and two at Bristol. This is all the plate I have at present, and I shall not buy any more while so many around me want bread.' The Romans had a proverb which said that money was like sea-water; the more a man drank the thirstier he became. And so long as a man's attitude is that of the rich fool his desire will always be to get more -- that is the reverse of the Christian way" (William Barclay).

Phi 4:12

TO BE IN NEED: More literally, "to be abased, brought low, or humbled" (as in Phi 2:8).

TO HAVE PLENTY: Gr "perisseuo" = to superabound; to excel.

I HAVE LEARNED THE SECRET: Lit, "I have been initiated into the mystery" -- which is, of course, revealed in v 13!

IN ANY AND EVERY SITUATION: Specifically detailed by Paul in 2Co 11:23-27: "I have worked much harder, been in prison more frequently, been flogged more severely, and been exposed to death again and again. Five times I received from the Jews the forty lashes minus one. Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was stoned, three times I was shipwrecked, I spent a night and a day in the open sea, I have been constantly on the move. I have been in danger from rivers, in danger from bandits, in danger from my own countrymen, in danger from Gentiles; in danger in the city, in danger in the country, in danger at sea; and in danger from false brothers. I have labored and toiled and have often gone without sleep; I have known hunger and thirst and have often gone without food; I have been cold and naked."

WELL FED... LIVING IN PLENTY: Notice that the conditions of prosperity are themselves times of testing and temptation, and prospectively of spiritual danger. Both poverty and wealth bring temptations with them (Prov 30:7-9). Wealth is a different sort of testing than privation, but perhaps even more deadly as a result -- because it may lead to feelings of pride and self-sufficiency, and the forgetting of God.

Phi 4:13

I CAN DO EVERYTHING THROUGH HIM WHO GIVES ME STRENGTH: This is the great lesson for all who would attain salvation. They must "cease from man" and learn to trust in the mercies of God (cp Isa 2:21; Psa 146:3-6; 22:8; Eph 6:10; 2Co 12:9,10; 2:14; 1Ti 1:12). Paul was not a member of the Stoic philosophical school, even though for this purpose he might sound like he was: his secret was... CHRIST!

Phi 4:14

YET IT WAS GOOD OF YOU TO SHARE IN MY TROUBLES: Paul realizes that his disclaimer about plenty and prosperity might, by itself, sound ungrateful -- so he attempts to redress this.

"We know that God loves a cheerful giver, but I believe we also need to stress that God loves a cheerful receiver. Cheerful receivers make giving and receiving a joy... This is not necessarily an easy task. The art of being a gracious, cheerful, thankful receiver may be even more difficult than being a cheerful giver. If we learn to accept the compliments and the special personal gifts which we receive in a gracious, cheerful manner, we will help make giving and receiving a joy for ourselves and for [others]" (Brug, cited in Const).

Phi 4:15

IN THE EARLY DAYS OF YOUR ACQUAINTANCE WITH THE GOSPEL, WHEN I SET OUT FROM MACEDONIA: The events described in Acts 16: Lydia's warmth and hospitality, the jailer's wholeheartedly devotion and commitment.

NOT ONE CHURCH SHARED WITH ME IN THE MATTER OF GIVING AND RECEIVING, EXCEPT YOU ONLY: "The Philippians, by their contributions, had opened an account wi him" (BPh 155). Of them Paul wrote to the Corinthians: "And now, brothers, we want you to know about the grace that God has given the Macedonian churches. Out of the most severe trial, their overflowing joy and their extreme poverty welled up in rich generosity. For I testify that they gave as much as they were able, and even beyond their ability. Entirely on their own, they urgently pleaded with us for the privilege of sharing in this service to the saints. And they did not do as we expected, but they gave themselves first to the Lord and then to us in keeping with God's will" (2Co 8:1-5; cp 2Co 11:8). The Philippians were obviously as close to Paul as any of the ecclesias which he established.

Phi 4:16

THESSALONICA: His first start after departing from Philippi (Acts 17:1).

Phi 4:17

NOT THAT I AM LOOKING FOR A GIFT: Again, Paul says that he did not require it as a necessity, but as a token of their love (cp vv 11-14).

CREDITED TO YOUR ACCOUNT: "But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal" (Mat 6:20; cp 1Ti 6:17-19).

Phi 4:18

A FRAGRANT OFFERING, AN ACCEPTABLE SACRIFICE, PLEASING TO GOD: Burnt offerings, speaking of dedication (Gen 8:20,21; Exo 29:18,25,41; Lev 1:9,13,17; 2:12). In Eph 5:2, Christ's sacrifice is described in similar terms.

Other sacrifices believers can make to God beside our material possessions (v 18) include our bodies (Rom 12:1,2), our converts (Rom 15:16), our praise (Heb 13:15), and our good works (Heb 13:16).

Phi 4:19

MY GOD WILL MEET ALL YOUR NEEDS: Cp Pro 11:25; 19:17; Mat 5:7; 6:33). Note that it is needs that He will meet, not "greeds."

God's liberality to them. Paul's "blank check": the "banker" = "my God"; the promise to pay = "will meet"; the amount = "all your needs" -- 'Fill in the blank!'; the inexhaustible capital = "his glorious riches"; and the "cashier" = Christ Jesus!

"In God through Christ we can have...
A love that can never be fathomed,
A life that can never die,
A righteousness that can never be tarnished,
A peace that can never be understood,
A rest that can never be disturbed,
A joy that can never be diminished,
A hope that can never be disappointed,
A glory that can never be clouded,
A light that can never be darkened,
A purity that can never be defiled,
A beauty that can never be marred,
A wisdom that can never be baffled,
Resources that can never be exhausted.
God can be our all in all!" (MT).

HIS GLORIOUS RICHES IN CHRIST JESUS: Called "the unsearchable riches of Christ" (Eph 1:8; 3:8,20).

Phi 4:20

TO OUR GOD AND FATHER BE GLORY FOR EVER AND EVER: Small wonder that Paul closes this beautiful passage with a doxology. The glory of God's providential care must always be recognized by His children. Even the eternal ages yet to come will not be sufficient to exhaust the praises that belong to Him.

Other doxologies, or ascriptions of praise to God: Rom 16:27; Gal 1:5; Eph 3:20,21; 1Ti 1:17; 2Ti 4:18.

Phi 4:21

It is likely that the remaining words of the letter were written by Paul's own hand, after the pattern announced in 2Th 3:17 (see also Gal 6:11; Col 4:18).

GREET ALL THE SAINTS IN CHRIST JESUS: "As the letter draws to its conclusion, he greets every saint in Christ Jesus and thus, as in the opening verse, embraces all, from the lowliest to the most distinguished, in his salutation.

Phi 4:22

ESPECIALLY THOSE WHO BELONG TO CAESAR'S HOUSEHOLD: Perhaps they had visited Philippi on some sort of official business, and had had opportunity to meet the Philippian brethren.

Phi 4:23

THE GRACE OF THE LORD JESUS CHRIST BE WITH YOUR SPIRIT: The last words of the NT carry the same message (Rev 22:21).

GRACE: "In the Christian message, grace is the first word and the last word" (BPh 157).
Previous Index