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Joined Together in Perfect Unity

Look at how much encouragement[a] you’ve found in your relationship with the Anointed One! You are filled to overflowing with his comforting love. You have experienced a deepening friendship with the Holy Spirit and have felt his tender affection and mercy.[b]

So I’m asking you, my friends, that you be joined together in perfect unity—with one heart, one passion, and united in one love. Walk together[c] with one harmonious purpose and you will fill my heart with unbounded joy.

Be free from pride-filled opinions, for they will only harm your cherished unity. Don’t allow self-promotion to hide in your hearts, but in authentic humility put others first and view others as more important than yourselves. Abandon every display of selfishness. Possess a greater concern for what matters to others instead of your own interests. And consider the example that Jesus, the Anointed One, has set before us. Let his mindset become your motivation.

The Example of Jesus Christ

He existed in the form of God, yet he gave no thought to seizing equality with God as his supreme prize.[d] Instead he emptied himself of his outward glory by reducing himself to the form of a lowly servant. He became human! He humbled himself and became vulnerable, choosing to be revealed as a man and was obedient.[e] He was a perfect example, even in his death—a criminal’s death by crucifixion![f]

Because of that obedience, God exalted him and multiplied his greatness! He has now been given the greatest of all names!

10 The authority of the name of Jesus causes every knee to bow in reverence! Everything and everyone will one day submit to this name—in the heavenly realm, in the earthly realm, and in the demonic realm.[g] 11 And every tongue will proclaim in every language: “Jesus Christ is Lord Yahweh,”[h] bringing glory and honor to God, his Father![i]

Believers Shine Like Lights in the World

12 My beloved ones, just like you’ve always listened to everything I’ve taught you in the past, I’m asking you now to keep following my instructions as though I were right there with you. Now you must continue to make this new life fully manifested as you live[j] in the holy awe of God—which brings you trembling into his presence. 13 God will continually revitalize you, implanting within you the passion to do what pleases him.[k]

14 Live a cheerful life, without complaining or division among yourselves. 15 For then you will be seen as innocent,[l] faultless, and pure children of God, even though you live in the midst of a brutal and perverse culture.[m] For you will appear among them as shining lights[n] in the universe, 16 holding out[o] the words of eternal life.[p]

I haven’t labored among you for nothing, for your lives are the fruit of my ministry and will be my glorious boast at the unveiling[q] of Christ!

17 But I will rejoice even if my life is poured out like a liquid offering to God over your sacrificial and surrendered lives of faith.[r] 18 And so no matter what happens to me, you should rejoice in ecstatic celebration with me!

The Example of Timothy

19 Yet I’m trusting in our Lord Jesus that I may send Timothy to you soon, so I can be refreshed when I find out how you’re doing. 20 Timothy is like no other. He carries the same passion for your welfare that I carry in my heart. 21 For it seems as though everyone else is busy seeking what is best for themselves instead of the things that are most important to our Lord Jesus Christ. 22 You already know about his excellent reputation, since he has served alongside me as a loyal son in the work of ministry. 23 After I see what transpires with me he’s the one I will send to you to bless you. 24 And I’m trusting in my Lord to return to you in due time.

25 But for now, I feel a stirring in my heart to send Epaphroditus[s] back to you immediately. He’s a friend to me and a wonderful brother and fellow soldier who has worked with me as we serve as ministers of the gospel. And you sent him as your apostle to minister to me in my need. 26 But now he is grieved to know that you found out he had been sick, so he longs to return and comfort you in this.

27 It’s true he almost died, but God showed him mercy and healed him. And I’m so thankful to God for his healing, as I was spared from having the sorrow of losing him on top of all my other troubles! 28 So you can see why I’m delighted to send him to you now. I know that you’re anxious to see him and rejoice in his healing, and it encourages me to know how happy you’ll be to have him back.

29 So warmly welcome him home in the Lord,[t] with joyous love, and esteem him highly, for people like him deserve it. 30 Because of me, he put his life on the line, despising the danger, so that he could provide for me with what you couldn’t, since you were so far away. And he did it all because of his ministry for Christ.


  1. 2:1 The Greek word paraklesis can also mean “exhortation” or “comfort.”
  2. 2:1 Or “sympathies.” The Aramaic can be translated “your heart flutters with his compassion.”
  3. 2:2 Or “Be like-minded.”
  4. 2:6 Or “as something to be exploited.”
  5. 2:8 See also John 5:19.
  6. 2:8 Notice the seven steps Christ took from the throne to the cross in vv. 7–8: (1) He emptied himself. (2) He became a servant. (3) He became human. (4) He humbled himself. (5) He became vulnerable and was revealed as a man. (6) He was obedient until his death. (7) He died a criminal’s death on the cross.
  7. 2:10 Or “heaven, earth, and under the earth.”
  8. 2:11 As translated from the Aramaic. The Greek text uses the word kurios, which is not the highest name for God. Yahweh (Hebrew) or Jehovah (Latin) is the highest name. Kurios is a title also used for false gods, land owners, merchants, and nobles. The Greek language has no equal to the sacred name (the tetragrammaton—YHWH), Yahweh. Only Hebrew and Aramaic have that equivalent. This verse makes it clear that the name given to Jesus at his exaltation was “Lord Jehovah” or “Lord Yahweh.” The Hebrew name for Jesus is Yeshua (lit. “God is a Saving-Cry”), which bears and reveals the name Yahweh. Jesus carries the name and reputation of his Father, Yahweh, within him. See John 17:11.
  9. 2:11 Note the seven steps of exaltation that God gave Jesus after the cross: (1) God exalted him and multiplied his greatness. (2) He possesses the greatest name of all. (3) His sovereign authority will cause every knee to bow. (4) God decreed that everyone in heaven will bow in worship of the God-Man. (5) God decreed that every demonic being will bow to the God-Man. (6) God decreed that every tongue will proclaim that Jesus Christ is Lord Yahweh! (7) God received the glory and honor of sharing his throne with the God-Man.
  10. 2:12 The Aramaic can be translated “push through the service of your life” or “work the work of your life.”
  11. 2:13 The Aramaic can be translated “to accomplish the good things you desire to do.”
  12. 2:15 Or “mature.”
  13. 2:15 See Deut. 32:5–6.
  14. 2:15 The Aramaic can be translated “the enlightened ones.”
  15. 2:16 Or “holding fast to the words of eternal life.”
  16. 2:16 The Aramaic can be translated “you stand in the place of life to them.” The Greek text means “holding out to them the word of life.”
  17. 2:16 Or “day.”
  18. 2:17 The interpretation of this verse is difficult; it is speaking about Paul’s willingness to be a love offering for the Philippians if that’s what God desired. There is a powerful figure of speech contained in the Aramaic, literally translated as “though I imbibe the wine poured over the offering.” This is a metaphor of Paul shedding his blood one day because of his love for the Philippians. Indeed, Paul was later martyred for his faith.
  19. 2:25 His name means “charming.”
  20. 2:29 Or “Lord Yahweh.”

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