New American Bible (Revised Edition)
VI. Instructions for the Community[a]
Live in Concord. 1 Therefore, my brothers, whom I love and long for, my joy and crown, in this way stand firm in the Lord, beloved.(A)
2 I urge Euodia and I urge Syntyche[b] to come to a mutual understanding in the Lord. 3 Yes, and I ask you also, my true yokemate,[c] to help them, for they have struggled at my side in promoting the gospel, along with Clement and my other co-workers, whose names are in the book of life.(B)
Joy and Peace. 4 Rejoice[d] in the Lord always. I shall say it again: rejoice!(C) 5 Your kindness[e] should be known to all. The Lord is near.(D) 6 Have no anxiety at all, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, make your requests known to God.(E) 7 Then the peace of God that surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.(F)
8 (G)Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.[f] 9 Keep on doing what you have learned and received and heard and seen in me.(H) Then the God of peace will be with you.[g]
VII. Gratitude for the Philippians’ Generosity[h]
10 I rejoice greatly in the Lord that now at last you revived your concern for me. You were, of course, concerned about me but lacked an opportunity.(I) 11 Not that I say this because of need, for I have learned, in whatever situation I find myself, to be self-sufficient.(J) 12 I know indeed how to live in humble circumstances; I know also how to live with abundance. In every circumstance and in all things I have learned the secret of being well fed and of going hungry, of living in abundance and of being in need. 13 I have the strength for everything through him who empowers me.(K) 14 Still, it was kind of you to share in my distress.
15 You Philippians indeed know that at the beginning of the gospel,[i] when I left Macedonia, not a single church shared with me in an account of giving and receiving, except you alone. 16 For even when I was at Thessalonica you sent me something for my needs, not only once but more than once. 17 It is not that I am eager for the gift; rather, I am eager for the profit that accrues to your account. 18 I have received full payment and I abound. I am very well supplied because of what I received from you through Epaphroditus, “a fragrant aroma,” an acceptable sacrifice,[j] pleasing to God.(L) 19 My God will fully supply whatever you need, in accord with his glorious riches in Christ Jesus.(M) 20 To our God and Father, glory forever and ever. Amen.(N)
21 Give my greetings to every holy one in Christ Jesus. The brothers who are with me send you their greetings; 22 (O)all the holy ones send you their greetings, especially those of Caesar’s household.[l] 23 The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit.
- 4:1–9 This series of ethical admonitions rests especially on the view of Christ and his coming (cf. Phil 4:5) in Phil 3:20–21. Paul’s instructions touch on unity within the congregation, joy, prayer, and the Christian outlook on life.
- 4:2 Euodia…Syntyche: two otherwise unknown women in the Philippian congregation; on the advice to them, cf. Phil 2:2–4.
- 4:3 Yokemate: or “comrade,” although the Greek syzygos could also be a proper name. Clement: otherwise unknown, although later writers sought to identify him with Clement, bishop of Rome (Eusebius, Ecclesiastical History 3.15.1).
- 4:4 Rejoice: see note on Phil 3:1.
- 4:5 Kindness: considerateness, forbearance, fairness. The Lord is near: most likely a reference to Christ’s parousia (Phil 1:6, 10; 3:20–21; 1 Cor 16:22), although some sense an echo of Ps 119:151 and the perpetual presence of the Lord.
- 4:8 The language employs terms from Roman Stoic thought.
- 4:9 Cf. note on Phil 3:17.
- 4:10–20 Paul, more directly than anywhere else in the letter (cf. Phil 1:3–5), here thanks the Philippians for their gift of money sent through Epaphroditus (Phil 2:25). Paul’s own policy was to be self-sufficient as a missionary, supporting himself by his own labor (1 Thes 2:5–9; 1 Cor 9:15–18; cf. Acts 18:2–3). In spite of this reliance on self and on God to provide (Phil 4:11–13) Paul accepted gifts from the Philippians not only once but more than once (Phil 4:16) when he was in Thessalonica (Acts 17:1–9), as he does now, in prison (my distress, Phil 4:14). While commercial terms appear in the passage, like an account of giving and receiving (Phil 4:15) and received full payment (Phil 4:18), Paul is most concerned about the spiritual growth of the Philippians (Phil 4:10, 17, 19); he emphasizes that God will care for their needs, through Christ.
- 4:15 The beginning of the gospel: it was at Philippi that Paul first preached Christ in Europe, going on from there to Thessalonica and Beroea (Acts 16:9–17:14).
- 4:18 Aroma…sacrifice: Old Testament cultic language (cf. Gn 8:21; Ex 29:18, 25, 41; Lv 1:9, 13; Ez 20:41) applied to the Philippians’ gift; cf. Eph 5:2; 2 Cor 2:14–16.
- 4:21–23 On the usual greetings at the conclusion of a letter, see note on 1 Cor 16:19–24. Inclusion of greetings from all the holy ones in the place from which Paul writes would involve even the Christians of Phil 1:14–18 who had their differences with Paul.
- 4:22 Those of Caesar’s household: minor officials or even slaves and freedmen, found in Ephesus or Rome, among other places.