1 Paul and Timothy, bond-servants of Christ Jesus (the Messiah, the Anointed),
To all the saints (God’s people) in Christ Jesus who are at Philippi, including the overseers and deacons: 2 Grace to you and peace [inner calm and spiritual well-being] from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
3 I thank my God in every remembrance of you, 4 always offering every prayer of mine with joy [and with specific requests] for all of you, 5 [thanking God] for your participation and partnership [both your comforting fellowship and gracious contributions] in [advancing] the good news [regarding salvation] from the first day [you heard it] until now. 6 I am convinced and confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will [continue to] perfect and complete it until the day of Christ Jesus [the time of His return].(A) 7 It is right for me to feel this way about you, because [you have me in your heart as] I have you in my heart, since both in my imprisonment and in the defense and confirmation of the good news [regarding salvation], all of you share in [His matchless] grace with me. 8 For God is my witness, how I long for all of you with the affection of Christ Jesus [whose great love fills me]. 9 And this I pray, that your love may abound more and more [displaying itself in greater depth] in real knowledge and in practical insight, 10 so that you may learn to recognize and treasure what is excellent [identifying the best, and distinguishing moral differences], and that you may be pure and blameless until the day of Christ [actually living lives that lead others away from sin]; 11 filled with the fruit of righteousness which comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God [so that His glory may be both revealed and recognized].
The Gospel Is Preached
12 Now I want you to know, [a]believers, that what has happened to me [this imprisonment that was meant to stop me] has actually served to advance [the spread of] the good news [regarding salvation]. 13 My imprisonment in [the cause of] Christ has become common knowledge throughout the whole [b]praetorian (imperial) guard and to everyone else. 14 Because of my chains [seeing that I am doing well and that God is accomplishing great things], most of the [c]brothers have renewed confidence in the Lord, and have far more courage to speak the word of God [concerning salvation] without fear [of the consequences, seeing that God can work His good in all circumstances]. 15 Some, it is true, are [actually] preaching Christ out of envy and rivalry [toward me—for no better reason than a competitive spirit or misguided ambition], but others out of goodwill and a loyal spirit [toward me]. 16 The latter [preach Christ] out of love, because they know that I have been put here [by God on purpose] for the defense of the gospel; 17 but the former preach Christ [insincerely] out of selfish ambition [just self-promotion], thinking that they are causing me distress in my imprisonment. 18 What then [does it matter]? So long as in every way, whether in pretense [for self-promotion] or in all honesty [to spread the truth], Christ is being preached; and in this I rejoice.
Yes, and I will rejoice [later as well], 19 for I know [with confidence] that this will turn out for my deliverance and spiritual well-being, through your prayers and the [superabundant] supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ [which upholds me]. 20 It is my own eager expectation and hope, that [looking toward the future] I will not disgrace myself nor be ashamed in anything, but that with courage and the utmost freedom of speech, even now as always, Christ will be magnified and exalted in my body, whether by life or by death.
To Live Is Christ
21 For to me, to live is Christ [He is my source of joy, my reason to live] and to die is gain [for I will be with Him in eternity]. 22 If, however, it is to be life here and I am to go on living, this will mean useful and productive service for me; so I do not know which to choose [if I am given that choice]. 23 But I am hard-pressed between the two. I have the desire to leave [this world] and be with Christ, for that is far, far better; 24 yet to remain in my body is more necessary and essential for your sake. 25 Since I am convinced of this, I know that I will remain and continue with all of you for your progress and joy in the faith, 26 so that your rejoicing for me may overflow in Christ Jesus through my coming to you again.
27 Only [be sure to] lead your lives in a manner [that will be] worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I do come and see you or remain absent, I will hear about you that you are standing firm in one spirit [and one purpose], with one [d]mind striving side by side [as if in combat] for the faith of the gospel. 28 And in no way be alarmed or intimidated [in anything] by your opponents, for such [constancy and fearlessness on your part] is a [clear] sign [a proof and a seal] for them of [their impending] destruction, but [a clear sign] for you of deliverance and salvation, and that too, from God. 29 For you have been granted [the privilege] for Christ’s sake, not only to believe and confidently trust in Him, but also to suffer for His sake, 30 [and so you are] experiencing the same [kind of] conflict which [e]you saw me endure, and which you hear to be mine now.
Be Like Christ
2 Therefore if there is any encouragement and comfort in Christ [as there certainly is in abundance], if there is any consolation of love, if there is any fellowship [that we share] in the Spirit, if [there is] any [great depth of] affection and compassion, 2 make my joy complete by being of the same mind, having the same [f]love [toward one another], knit together in spirit, intent on one purpose [and living a life that reflects your faith and spreads the gospel—the good news regarding salvation through faith in Christ]. 3 Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit [through factional motives, or strife], but with [an attitude of] humility [being neither arrogant nor self-righteous], regard others as more important than yourselves. 4 Do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others. 5 Have this same attitude in yourselves which was in Christ Jesus [look to Him as your example in selfless humility], 6 who, although He existed in the form and unchanging essence of God [as One with Him, possessing the fullness of all the divine attributes—the entire nature of deity], did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped or asserted [as if He did not already possess it, or was afraid of losing it]; 7 but emptied Himself [without renouncing or diminishing His deity, but only temporarily giving up the outward expression of divine equality and His rightful dignity] by assuming the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men [He became completely human but was without sin, being fully God and fully man]. 8 After He was found in [terms of His] outward appearance as a man [for a divinely-appointed time], He humbled Himself [still further] by becoming obedient [to the Father] to the point of death, even death on a cross. 9 For this reason also [because He obeyed and so completely humbled Himself], God has highly exalted Him and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, 10 so that at the name of Jesus [g]every knee shall bow [in submission], of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth,(B) 11 and that every tongue will confess and openly acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord (sovereign God), to the glory of God the Father.
12 So then, my dear ones, just as you have always obeyed [my instructions with enthusiasm], not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence, continue to work out your salvation [that is, cultivate it, bring it to full effect, actively pursue spiritual maturity] with awe-inspired fear and trembling [using serious caution and critical self-evaluation to avoid anything that might offend God or discredit the name of Christ]. 13 For it is [not your strength, but it is] [h]God who is effectively at work in you, both to will and to work [that is, strengthening, energizing, and creating in you the longing and the ability to fulfill your purpose] for His good pleasure.
14 Do everything without murmuring or questioning [the providence of God], 15 so that you may prove yourselves to be blameless and guileless, innocent and uncontaminated, children of God without blemish in the midst of a [morally] crooked and [spiritually] perverted generation, among whom you are seen as bright lights [beacons shining out clearly] in the world [of darkness], 16 holding out and offering to everyone the word of life, so that in the day of Christ I will have reason to rejoice greatly because I did not run [my race] in vain nor labor without result. 17 But even if I am being poured out as a [i]drink offering on the sacrifice and service of your faith [for preaching the message of salvation], still I rejoice and share my joy with you all.(C) 18 You too, rejoice in the same way and share your joy with me.
Timothy and Epaphroditus
19 But I hope in the Lord Jesus to send Timothy to you soon, so that I may also be encouraged by learning news about you. 20 For I have no one else [like him who is] so kindred a spirit who will be genuinely concerned for your [spiritual] welfare. 21 For the others [who deserted me after my arrest] all seek [to advance] their own interests, not those of Jesus Christ. 22 But you know of Timothy’s tested worth and his proven character, that he has served with me to advance the gospel like a son serving with his father. 23 Therefore, I hope [that it is His will] to send him immediately, just as soon as I see how [j]my case turns out; 24 and I trust [confidently] in the Lord that soon I also will be coming to you. 25 However, I thought it necessary to send back to you Epaphroditus, [who has been] my brother and companion and fellow soldier, who was also sent as your messenger to take care of my needs. 26 For he has been longing [k]for all of you and was distressed because you had heard that he was sick. 27 He certainly was sick and close to death. But God had mercy on him, and not only on him but also on me, so that I would not have sorrow upon sorrow. 28 So I have sent him all the more eagerly so that when you see him again you may rejoice and I may be less concerned about you. 29 Welcome him home in the Lord with great joy, and appreciate and honor men like him; 30 because he came close to death for the work of Christ, risking his life to complete what was lacking in your service to me [which distance prevented you from rendering personally].
The Goal of Life
3 Finally, my [l]fellow believers, continue to rejoice and delight in the Lord. To write the same things again is no trouble for me, and it is a safeguard for you.
2 Look out for the [m]dogs [the Judaizers, the legalists], look out for the troublemakers, look out for the [n]false circumcision [those who claim circumcision is necessary for salvation]; 3 for we [who are born-again have been reborn from above—spiritually transformed, renewed, set apart for His purpose and] are the true circumcision, who worship in the Spirit of God and glory and take pride and exult in Christ Jesus and place no confidence [in what we have or who we are] in the flesh— 4 though I myself might have [some grounds for] confidence in the flesh [if I were pursuing salvation by works]. If anyone else thinks that he has reason to be confident in the flesh [that is, in his own efforts to achieve salvation], I have far more: 5 circumcised when I was eight days old, of the nation of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews [an exemplary Hebrew]; as to the [observance of the] Law, a Pharisee; 6 as to my zeal [for Jewish tradition], a persecutor of the church; and as to righteousness [supposed right living] which [my fellow Jews believe] is in the Law, I proved myself blameless.
7 But whatever former things were gains to me [as I thought then], these things [once regarded as advancements in merit] I have come to consider as loss [absolutely worthless] for the sake of Christ [and the purpose which He has given my life]. 8 But more than that, I count everything as loss compared to the priceless privilege and supreme advantage of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord [and of growing more deeply and thoroughly acquainted with Him—a joy unequaled]. For His sake I have lost everything, and I consider it all garbage, so that I may gain Christ, 9 and may be found in Him [believing and relying on Him], not having any righteousness of my own derived from [my obedience to] the Law and its rituals, but [possessing] that [genuine righteousness] which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith. 10 And this, so that I may know Him [experientially, becoming more thoroughly acquainted with Him, understanding the remarkable wonders of His Person more completely] and [in that same way experience] the power of His resurrection [which overflows and is active in believers], and [that I may share] the fellowship of His sufferings, by being continually conformed [inwardly into His likeness even] to His death [dying as He did]; 11 [o]so that I may attain to the resurrection [that will raise me] from the dead.
12 Not that I have already obtained it [this goal of being Christlike] or have already been made perfect, but I actively press on [p]so that I may take hold of that [perfection] for which Christ Jesus took hold of me and made me His own.(D) 13 [q]Brothers and sisters, I do not consider that I have made it my own yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal to win the [heavenly] prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. 15 All of us who are mature [pursuing spiritual perfection] should have this attitude. And if in any respect you have a different attitude, that too God will make clear to you. 16 Only let us stay true to what we have already attained.
17 Brothers and sisters, together follow my example and observe those who live by the pattern we gave you. 18 For there are many, of whom I have often told you, and now tell you even with tears, who live as enemies of the cross of Christ [rejecting and opposing His way of salvation], 19 whose fate is destruction, whose god is their belly [their worldly appetite, their sensuality, their vanity], and whose glory is in their shame—who focus their mind on earthly and temporal things. 20 But [we are different, because] our citizenship is in heaven. And from there we eagerly await [the coming of] the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ; 21 who, by exerting that power which enables Him even to subject everything to Himself, will [not only] transform [but completely refashion] our earthly bodies so that they will be like His glorious resurrected body.
Think of Excellence
4 Therefore, my [r]fellow believers, whom I love and long for, my delight and crown [my wreath of victory], in this way stand firm in the Lord, my beloved.
2 I urge Euodia and I urge Syntyche to agree and to work in harmony in the Lord. 3 Indeed, I ask you too, my true companion, to help these women [to keep on cooperating], for they have shared my struggle in the [cause of the] gospel, together with Clement and the rest of my fellow workers, whose names are in the Book of Life.(E)
4 Rejoice in the Lord always [delight, take pleasure in Him]; again I will say, rejoice!(F) 5 Let your gentle spirit [your graciousness, unselfishness, mercy, tolerance, and patience] be known to all people. The Lord is near. 6 Do not be anxious or worried about anything, but in everything [every circumstance and situation] by prayer and petition with thanksgiving, continue to make your [specific] requests known to God. 7 And the peace of God [that peace which reassures the heart, that peace] which transcends all understanding, [that peace which] stands guard over your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus [is yours].(G)
8 Finally, [s]believers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable and worthy of respect, whatever is right and confirmed by God’s word, whatever is pure and wholesome, whatever is lovely and brings peace, whatever is admirable and of good repute; if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think continually on these things [center your mind on them, and implant them in your heart]. 9 The things which you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, practice these things [in daily life], and the God [who is the source] of peace and well-being will be with you.
10 I rejoiced greatly in the Lord, that now at last you have renewed your concern for me; indeed, you were concerned about me before, but you had no opportunity to show it. 11 Not that I speak from [any personal] need, for I have learned to be content [and self-sufficient through Christ, satisfied to the point where I am not disturbed or uneasy] regardless of my circumstances. 12 I know how to get along and live humbly [in difficult times], and I also know how to enjoy abundance and live in prosperity. In any and every circumstance I have learned the secret [of facing life], whether well-fed or going hungry, whether having an abundance or being in need. 13 I can do all things [which He has called me to do] through Him who strengthens and empowers me [to fulfill His purpose—I am self-sufficient in Christ’s sufficiency; I am ready for anything and equal to anything through Him who infuses me with inner strength and confident peace.] 14 Nevertheless, it was right of you to share [with me] in my difficulties.
15 And you Philippians know that in the early days of preaching the gospel, after I left Macedonia, no church shared with me in the matter of [t]giving and receiving except you alone; 16 for even in Thessalonica you sent a gift more than once for my needs. 17 Not that I seek the gift itself, but I do seek the profit which increases to your [heavenly] account [the blessing which is accumulating for you]. 18 But I have received everything in full and more; I am amply supplied, having received from Epaphroditus the gifts you sent me. They are the fragrant aroma of an offering, an acceptable sacrifice which God welcomes and in which He delights. 19 And my God will liberally supply (fill until full) your every need according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus. 20 To our God and Father be the glory [u]forever and ever. Amen.
23 The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit.
- Philippians 1:12 Lit brethren.
- Philippians 1:13 This word is derived from the Latin praetor (leader, commander). Paul’s use of the word here indicates that he is referring to the troops who served as the emperor’s bodyguard, and evidently were also entrusted with the custody of prisoners who had come to Rome on appeal.
- Philippians 1:14 Lit brethren.
- Philippians 1:27 Lit soul.
- Philippians 1:30 Paul and Silas were beaten and imprisoned in Philippi during their first trip to the region. See Acts 16:19-40.
- Philippians 2:2 The key to understanding this and other statements about love is to know that this love (the Greek word agape) is not so much a matter of emotion as it is of doing things for the benefit of another person, that is, having an unselfish concern for another and a willingness to seek the best for another.
- Philippians 2:10 All intelligent beings in the universe, whether saved or unsaved, whether in spirit or as mortal mankind, will acknowledge Him.
- Philippians 2:13 God supports the believer, but it is the believer’s responsibility to do what he has been called by God to do.
- Philippians 2:17 The drink offering (wine) was required as part of the sacrificial system of the old covenant.
- Philippians 2:23 Lit things go with me. This letter to the Philippians was written near the end of Paul’s two-year period of imprisonment in Rome. This was the first of his two Roman imprisonments. At this time he was under house arrest and was living in his own rented home. About five years after his release he was imprisoned again. Emperor Nero was actively persecuting the Christians during this period, so Paul was held in the Mamertine dungeon (Tullianum). Shortly before his execution Paul wrote his second and final letter to Timothy from his cell in Rome.
- Philippians 2:26 One early ms reads to see you all.
- Philippians 3:1 Lit brethren.
- Philippians 3:2 Jews often used “dogs” as a derogatory term to refer to Gentiles, so Paul’s reference to his Jewish opponents in this verse is ironic. Most dogs were untamed scavengers and considered disgusting because they ate anything.
- Philippians 3:2 Because circumcision was not necessary for salvation, the circumcision demanded by the Judaizers was nothing more than mutilation.
- Philippians 3:11 Lit if somehow.
- Philippians 3:12 Lit even if I may. Paul knew that he could not really reach perfection in this life, but his goal was to “press on” as if it were attainable.
- Philippians 3:13 Lit Brethren.
- Philippians 4:1 Lit brethren.
- Philippians 4:8 Lit brethren.
- Philippians 4:15 The word used here was commonly used in financial transactions referring to payments or installments.
- Philippians 4:20 Lit to the ages of the ages.
- Philippians 4:21 Every born-again believer (saint) has been reborn from above—spiritually transformed, renewed, made holy and set apart for God’s purpose.
- Philippians 4:21 Lit brethren.
- Philippians 4:22 Lit the saints.