New English Translation
1 From Paul[a] and Timothy, slaves[b] of Christ Jesus, to all the saints in Christ Jesus who are in Philippi, with the overseers[c] and deacons. 2 Grace and peace to you[d] from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ!
Prayer for the Church
3 I thank my God every time I remember you.[e] 4 I always pray with joy in my every prayer for all of you 5 because of your participation[f] in the gospel from the first day until now.[g] 6 For I am sure of this very thing,[h] that the one[i] who began a good work in[j] you will perfect it[k] until the day of Christ Jesus. 7 For[l] it is right for me to think this about all of you, because I have you in my heart,[m] since both in my imprisonment[n] and in the defense and confirmation of the gospel all of you became partners in God’s grace[o] together with me. 8 For God is my witness that I long for all of you with the affection of Christ Jesus. 9 And I pray this, that your love may abound even more and more in knowledge and every kind of insight 10 so that you can decide what is best, and thus be sincere and blameless for the day of Christ, 11 filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ to the glory and praise of God.
Ministry as a Prisoner
12 I want you to know, brothers and sisters,[p] that my situation has actually turned out to advance the gospel:[q] 13 The[r] whole imperial guard[s] and everyone else knows[t] that I am in prison[u] for the sake of Christ, 14 and most of the brothers and sisters,[v] having confidence in the Lord[w] because of my imprisonment, now more than ever[x] dare to speak the word[y] fearlessly.
15 Some, to be sure, are preaching Christ from envy and rivalry, but others from goodwill. 16 The latter do so from love because they know that I am placed here for the defense of the gospel. 17 The former proclaim Christ from selfish ambition, not sincerely, because they think they can cause trouble for me in my imprisonment.[z] 18 What is the result? Only that in every way, whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is being proclaimed, and in this I rejoice.
Yes,[aa] and I will continue to rejoice, 19 for I know that this will turn out for my deliverance[ab] through your prayers and the help of the Spirit of Jesus Christ. 20 My confident hope[ac] is that I will in no way be ashamed[ad] but that with complete boldness, even now as always, Christ will be exalted in my body, whether I live or die.[ae] 21 For to me, living is Christ and dying is gain. 22 Now if I am to go on living in the body,[af] this will mean productive work[ag] for me, yet I don’t know which I prefer:[ah] 23 I feel torn between the two,[ai] because I have a desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far, 24 but it is more vital for your sake that I remain[aj] in the body.[ak] 25 And since I am sure of this, I know that I will remain and continue with all of you for the sake of your progress[al] and joy in the faith,[am] 26 so that what you can be proud of may increase[an] because of me in Christ Jesus, when I come back to you.[ao]
27 Only conduct yourselves[ap] in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ so that—whether I come and see you or whether I remain absent—I should hear that[aq] you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind, by contending side by side for the faith of the gospel,[ar] 28 and by not being intimidated in any way by your opponents. This is[as] a sign of their[at] destruction, but of your salvation—a sign which[au] is from God. 29 For it has been granted to you[av] not only to believe in Christ but also to suffer for him, 30 since you are encountering[aw] the same conflict that you saw me face and now hear that I am facing.[ax]
- Philippians 1:1 tn Grk “Paul.” The word “from” is not in the Greek text, but has been supplied to indicate the sender of the letter.
- Philippians 1:1 tn Traditionally, “servants” or “bondservants.” Though δοῦλος (doulos) is normally translated “servant,” the word does not bear the connotation of a free individual serving another. BDAG notes that “‘servant’ for ‘slave’ is largely confined to Biblical transl. and early American times…in normal usage at the present time the two words are carefully distinguished” (BDAG 260 s.v.). One good translation is “bondservant” (sometimes found in the ASV for δοῦλος) in that it often indicates one who sells himself into slavery to another. But as this is archaic, few today understand its force. Also, many slaves in the Roman world became slaves through Rome’s subjugation of conquered nations, kidnapping, or by being born into slave households. sn Undoubtedly the background for the concept of being the Lord’s slave or servant is to be found in the Old Testament scriptures. For a Jew this concept did not connote drudgery, but honor and privilege. It was used of national Israel at times (Isa 43:10), but was especially associated with famous OT personalities, including such great men as Moses (Josh 14:7), David (Ps 89:3; cf. 2 Sam 7:5, 8) and Elijah (2 Kgs 10:10); all these men were “servants (or slaves) of the Lord.”
- Philippians 1:1 sn The overseers (or “church leaders,” L&N 53.71) is another term for the same official position of leadership as the “elder.” This is seen in the interchange of the two terms in Titus 1:6-7 and in Acts 20:17, 28, as well as in the parallels between Titus 1:6-7 and 1 Tim 3:1-7.
- Philippians 1:2 tn Grk “Grace to you and peace.”
- Philippians 1:3 tn This could also be translated “for your every remembrance of me.” See discussion below.
- Philippians 1:5 sn Your participation (Grk “fellowship”) could refer to Paul rejoicing because of the Philippian converts’ “fellowship” in the gospel along with him, but it is more likely that this refers to their active “participation” with him in the gospel by means of the financial support they sent to Paul on more than one occasion, discussed later in this letter (4:10-19, esp. 4:15-16).
- Philippians 1:5 tn Several alternatives for translating vv. 3-5 are possible: (1) “I thank my God every time I remember you, yes, always in my every prayer for all of you. I pray with joy because of your participation…” (see NAB; also M. Silva, Philippians [BECNT], 43-44; G. D. Fee, Philippians [NICNT], 76-80); (2) “I thank my God because of your every remembrance of me. Always in my every prayer for all of you I pray with joy. [I am grateful] for your participation…” (see Moffatt; also P. T. O’Brien, Philippians [NIGTC], 58-61). Option (1) is quite similar to the translation above, but sees v. 4a as more or less parenthetical. Option (2) is significantly different in that Paul thanks God because the Philippians remember him rather than when he remembers them.
- Philippians 1:6 tn Grk “since I am sure of this very thing.” The verse begins with an adverbial participle that is dependent on the main verb in v. 3 (“I thank”). Paul here gives one reason for his thankfulness.
- Philippians 1:6 tn The referent is clearly God from the overall context of the paragraph and the mention of “the day of Christ Jesus” at the end, which would be redundant if Christ were referred to here.
- Philippians 1:6 tn Or “among.”
- Philippians 1:6 tn The word “it” is not in the Greek text but has been supplied. Direct objects were frequently omitted in Greek when clear from the context.
- Philippians 1:7 tn Grk “Just as.” The sense here is probably, “So I give thanks (v. 3) just as it is right for me…”
- Philippians 1:7 tn Or possibly “because you have me in your heart.”
- Philippians 1:7 tn Grk “in my bonds.” The meaning “imprisonment” derives from a figurative extension of the literal meaning (“bonds,” “fetters,” “chains”), L&N 37.115.
- Philippians 1:7 tn The word “God’s” is supplied from the context (v. 2) to clarify the meaning.
- Philippians 1:12 tn Grk “brothers,” but the Greek word may be used for “brothers and sisters” or “fellow Christians” as here (cf. BDAG 18 s.v. ἀδελφός 1, where considerable nonbiblical evidence for the plural ἀδελφοί [adelphoi] meaning “brothers and sisters” is cited).
- Philippians 1:12 tn Grk “for the advance of the gospel.” The genitive εὐαγγελίου (euangeliou) is taken as objective.
- Philippians 1:13 tn Grk “so that the whole imperial guard.” The ὥστε (hōste) clause that begins v. 13 indicates two results of the spread of the gospel: Outsiders know why Paul is imprisoned (v. 13) and believers are emboldened by his imprisonment (v. 14).
- Philippians 1:13 sn The whole imperial guard (Grk “praetorium”) can refer to the elite troops stationed in Rome or the headquarters of administrators in the provinces (cf. Matt 27:27; Mark 15:16; John 18:28, 33; 19:9; Acts 23:35). In either case a metonymy is involved, with the place (the praetorium) put for those (soldiers or government officials) who were connected with it or stationed in it.
- Philippians 1:13 tn Grk “it has become known by the whole imperial guard and all the rest.”
- Philippians 1:13 tn Grk “my bonds [are].”
- Philippians 1:14 tn Grk “brothers.” See note on the phrase “brothers and sisters” in 1:12.
- Philippians 1:14 tn Or “most of the brothers and sisters in the Lord, having confidence.”
- Philippians 1:14 tn Grk “even more so.”
- Philippians 1:14 tc A number of significant mss have “of God” after “word.” Although τοῦ θεοῦ (tou theou) is amply supported in the Alexandrian and Western witnesses (א A B [D*] P Ψ 048vid 075 0278 33 81 1175 1241 2464 al lat co), the omission is difficult to explain as either an intentional deletion or unintentional oversight. To be sure, the pedigree of the witnesses is not nearly as great for the shorter reading (P46 D2 K 1505 1739 1881 M), but it explains well the rise of the other reading. Further, it explains the rise of κυρίου (kuriou, “of the Lord”), the reading of F and G (for if these mss had followed a Vorlage with τοῦ θεοῦ, κυρίου would not have been expected). Further, τοῦ θεοῦ is in different locations among the mss; such dislocations are usually signs of scribal additions to the text. Thus, the Byzantine text and a few other witnesses here have the superior reading, and it should be accepted as the Ausgangstext.
- Philippians 1:17 tn Grk “thinking to cause trouble to my bonds.”
- Philippians 1:18 tn Or “But.” The conjunction ἀλλά (alla) may be emphatic or contrastive. If the former, the idea may be that Paul will continue rejoicing because of the proclamation of the gospel or because of his imminent release from prison (v. 19); if the latter, Paul is now turning his attention solely to this second reason to rejoice, viz., that he will soon be released from prison. In this latter view the clause should be translated, “But I will also rejoice since I know…”
- Philippians 1:19 tn Or “salvation.” Deliverance from prison (i.e., release) is probably what Paul has in view here, although some take this as a reference to his ultimate release from the body, i.e., dying and being with Christ (v. 23).sn The phrase this will turn out for my deliverance may be an echo of Job 13:16 (LXX).
- Philippians 1:20 tn Grk “according to my eager expectation and hope.” The κατά (kata) phrase is taken as governing the following ὅτι (hoti) clause (“that I will not be ashamed…”); the idea could be expressed more verbally as “I confidently hope that I will not be ashamed…”
- Philippians 1:20 tn Or possibly, “be intimidated, be put to shame.”
- Philippians 1:20 tn Grk “whether by life or by death.”
- Philippians 1:22 tn Grk “flesh.”
- Philippians 1:22 tn Grk “fruit of work”; the genitive ἔργου (ergou) is taken as an attributed genitive in which the head noun, καρπός (karpos), functions attributively (cf. ExSyn 89-91).
- Philippians 1:22 tn Grk “what I shall prefer.” The Greek verb αἱρέω (haireō) could also mean “choose,” but in this context such a translation is problematic for it suggests that Paul could perhaps choose suicide (cf. L&N 30.86).sn I don’t know what I prefer. Paul is here struggling with what would be most beneficial for both him and the church. He resolves this issue in vv. 24-25.
- Philippians 1:23 tn Grk “I am hard-pressed between the two.” Cf. L&N 30.18.
- Philippians 1:24 tn Grk “But to remain in the flesh is more necessary for you.”
- Philippians 1:24 tn Grk “the flesh.”
- Philippians 1:25 tn Grk “for your progress.”
- Philippians 1:25 sn Paul’s confidence in his release from prison (I know that I will remain and continue with all of you) implies that this Roman imprisonment did not end in his death. Hence, there is the likelihood that he experienced a second Roman imprisonment later on (since the belief of the early church was that Paul died under Nero in Rome). If so, then the pastoral letters (1-2 Tim, Titus) could well fit into a life of Paul that goes beyond any descriptions in the book of Acts (which ends with Paul’s first Roman imprisonment). Some have argued that the pastorals cannot be genuine because they cannot fit into the history of Acts. But this view presupposes that Paul’s first Roman imprisonment was also his last.
- Philippians 1:26 tn Grk “your boasting may overflow in Christ Jesus because of me,” or possibly, “your boasting in me may overflow in Christ Jesus.” BDAG 536 s.v. καύχημα 1 translates the phrase τὸ καύχημα ὑμῶν (to kauchēma humōn) in Phil 1:26 as “what you can be proud of.”
- Philippians 1:26 tn Grk “through my coming again to you.”
- Philippians 1:27 tn Grk “live as citizens.” The verb πολιτεύεσθε (politeuesthe) connotes the life of a freeman in a free Roman colony.sn Conduct yourselves (Grk “live your lives as citizens”). The Philippians lived in a free Roman city, and thus understood from their own experience what it meant to live as citizens. Paul is here picking up on that motif and elevating it to the citizenship of heaven. Cf. 3:20 (our citizenship is in heaven).
- Philippians 1:27 tn Grk “the things concerning you, [namely,] that.” The ὅτι (hoti) clause is appositional to τὰ περὶ ὑμῶν (ta peri humōn) and therefore “the things concerning you” was not translated.
- Philippians 1:27 tn The phrase “the faith of the gospel” could mean one of three things: “the faith that is the gospel” (genitive of apposition), “the faith that originates from the gospel” (genitive of source), or “faith in the gospel” (objective genitive).
- Philippians 1:28 tn Grk “which is,” continuing the sentence begun in v. 27.sn The antecedent of the pronoun This is conceptual, most likely referring to the Philippian Christians standing firm for the gospel. Thus, their stand for the gospel is the dual sign of their opponents’ destruction and of their own salvation.
- Philippians 1:28 tn Grk “to them.” sn Paul uses the dative “to them” (translated here as their) to describe the coming destruction of the gospel’s enemies, but the genitive “your” to describe the believers’ coming salvation. The dative accents what will happen to the enemies (called a dative of disadvantage [see ExSyn 143-44]), while the genitive accents what the believers will possess (and, in fact, do already possess, as v. 29 makes clear).
- Philippians 1:28 tn Grk “this.” The pronoun refers back to “a sign”; thus these words have been repeated for clarity.
- Philippians 1:29 tn Grk “For that which is on behalf of Christ has been granted to you—namely, not only to believe in him but also to suffer for him.” The infinitive phrases are epexegetical to the subject, τὸ ὑπὲρ Χριστοῦ (to huper Christou), which has the force of “the on-behalf-of-Christ thing,” or “the thing on behalf of Christ.” To translate this in English requires a different idiom.
- Philippians 1:30 tn Grk “having,” most likely as an instrumental participle. Thus their present struggle is evidence that they have received the gift of suffering.
- Philippians 1:30 tn Grk “that you saw in me and now hear [to be] in me.”