Contemporary English Version
Being Acceptable to God
3 Finally, my dear friends, be glad that you belong to the Lord. It doesn’t bother me to write the same things to you that I have written before. In fact, it is for your own good.
2 Watch out for those people who behave like dogs! They are evil and want to do more than just circumcise you. 3 But we are the ones who are truly circumcised, because we worship by the power of God’s Spirit[a] and take pride in Christ Jesus. We don’t brag about what we have done, 4 although I could. Others may brag about themselves, but I have more reason to brag than anyone else. 5 I was circumcised when I was eight days old,[b] and I am from the nation of Israel and the tribe of Benjamin. I am a true Hebrew. As a Pharisee, I strictly obeyed the Law of Moses. 6 And I was so eager that I even made trouble for the church. I did everything the Law demands in order to please God.
7 But Christ has shown me that what I once thought was valuable is worthless. 8 Nothing is as wonderful as knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. I have given up everything else and count it all as garbage. All I want is Christ 9 and to know that I belong to him. I could not make myself acceptable to God by obeying the Law of Moses. God accepted me simply because of my faith in Christ. 10 All I want is to know Christ and the power that raised him to life. I want to suffer and die as he did, 11 so that somehow I also may be raised to life.
Running toward the Goal
12 I have not yet reached my goal, and I am not perfect. But Christ has taken hold of me. So I keep on running and struggling to take hold of the prize. 13 My friends, I don’t feel that I have already arrived. But I forget what is behind, and I struggle for what is ahead. 14 I run toward the goal, so that I can win the prize of being called to heaven. This is the prize that God offers because of what Christ Jesus has done. 15 All of us who are mature should think in this same way. And if any of you think differently, God will make it clear to you. 16 But we must keep going in the direction that we are now headed.
17 My friends, I want you to follow my example and learn from others who closely follow the example we set for you. 18 I often warned you that many people are living as enemies of the cross of Christ. And now with tears in my eyes, I warn you again 19 that they are headed for hell! They worship their stomachs and brag about the disgusting things they do. All they can think about are the things of this world.
20 But we are citizens of heaven and are eagerly waiting for our Savior to come from there. Our Lord Jesus Christ 21 has power over everything, and he will make these poor bodies of ours like his own glorious body.
New International Version
No Confidence in the Flesh
3 Further, my brothers and sisters, rejoice in the Lord! It is no trouble for me to write the same things to you again,(A) and it is a safeguard for you. 2 Watch out for those dogs,(B) those evildoers, those mutilators of the flesh. 3 For it is we who are the circumcision,(C) we who serve God by his Spirit, who boast in Christ Jesus,(D) and who put no confidence in the flesh— 4 though I myself have reasons for such confidence.(E)
If someone else thinks they have reasons to put confidence in the flesh, I have more: 5 circumcised(F) on the eighth day, of the people of Israel,(G) of the tribe of Benjamin,(H) a Hebrew of Hebrews; in regard to the law, a Pharisee;(I) 6 as for zeal,(J) persecuting the church;(K) as for righteousness based on the law,(L) faultless.
7 But whatever were gains to me I now consider loss(M) for the sake of Christ. 8 What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing(N) Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ(O) 9 and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law,(P) but that which is through faith in[a] Christ—the righteousness(Q) that comes from God on the basis of faith.(R) 10 I want to know(S) Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings,(T) becoming like him in his death,(U) 11 and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection(V) from the dead.
12 Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal,(W) but I press on to take hold(X) of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me.(Y) 13 Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind(Z) and straining toward what is ahead, 14 I press on(AA) toward the goal to win the prize(AB) for which God has called(AC) me heavenward in Christ Jesus.
Following Paul’s Example
15 All of us, then, who are mature(AD) should take such a view of things.(AE) And if on some point you think differently, that too God will make clear to you.(AF) 16 Only let us live up to what we have already attained.
17 Join together in following my example,(AG) brothers and sisters, and just as you have us as a model, keep your eyes on those who live as we do.(AH) 18 For, as I have often told you before and now tell you again even with tears,(AI) many live as enemies of the cross of Christ.(AJ) 19 Their destiny(AK) is destruction, their god is their stomach,(AL) and their glory is in their shame.(AM) Their mind is set on earthly things.(AN) 20 But our citizenship(AO) is in heaven.(AP) And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ,(AQ) 21 who, by the power(AR) that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies(AS) so that they will be like his glorious body.(AT)
- Philippians 3:9 Or through the faithfulness of