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Bible Commentaries

Bridgeway Bible Commentary
Philippians 2

 

 

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Verses 1-11

Christ's example of humility (2:1-11)

Paul gives four reasons why Christians should have greater unity between them: the encouragement given them by Christ; the power of Christ's love working in them; the common sharing they have in the same Spirit; and the sympathetic kindness that God's children should show to each other. Although the Philippians bring Paul much joy, that joy will not be complete till there is genuine unity among them (2:1-2). They are not to be concerned solely with their own spiritual progress, for this can lead to self-satisfaction and pride. They must learn to look for and admire the good points in others (3-4).

If they are indeed 'in Christ Jesus', they should share his spirit of humility; and humility means denying self for the sake of serving others. Christ did not selfishly grasp for the supreme glory of heaven, even though it was his by right (for he was God). Rather he became a servant for the sake of sinful humankind. He became a man, and accepted the restrictions and hardships that human nature placed upon him. But, unlike all other members of the human race, he did not sin. He entered the world of human beings in order to save human beings from their sins. As a servant he spent his earthly life doing whatever his Father required, even though it meant that he suffered and eventually died on a cross (5-8).

Only after this humility, suffering and death was Christ raised to the place of supreme glory. The honour that he refused to seek by selfish ambition was given to him in even greater measure because of his humility and obedience. One day all people, angels and demons will acknowledge that he is Lord (9-11).


Verses 12-18

Putting belief into practice (2:12-18)

In view of Christ's example, the Philippians must remove all trace of pride and quarrelling, and show in their lives the nature of the salvation that God has given them. They must obey God's will as Christ did, and they will be able to do this because God works within them (12-13). They will then be like lights shining in darkness. They will be people of blameless conduct who take God's message to a spiritually and morally corrupt world. In this way they will fulfil God's purpose for them as well as please Paul (14-16). Their lives will be like a sacrifice offered on the altar to God; and if Paul is executed, his blood will be like an additional offering poured on top of their sacrifice. It will be a triumphant climax to Paul's life and a cause for rejoicing in praise to God (17-18).


Verses 19-30

Timothy and Epaphroditus (2:19-30)

For an example of self-denying humility and service, Paul refers them to Timothy. They will have a chance to meet Timothy again soon, as Paul is sending him to Philippi to help the church through its problems. Paul trusts that Timothy will return to him with the good news that the Philippians are united in love once again (19-20). Most people are too concerned with looking after themselves to stop and think how they can help others, but Timothy gives himself unsparingly to serve others for the sake of Jesus Christ (21-24).

Epaphroditus is another good example. He had been sent by the Philippian church to comfort and help Paul in his imprisonment. While there he fell ill and almost died, but far from looking for pity, he was upset to think that news of his illness had caused the Philippians anxiety (25-27). In being prepared to sacrifice his life for the sake of Paul, Epaphroditus gave an example of self-denying service for others. Paul himself is now another example, for he is about to sacrifice the valuable help of Epaphroditus just at the time when he needs it most. For the sake of the Philippians, Paul is going to send Epaphroditus back (28-30).

 


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Bibliography Information
Flemming, Donald C. "Commentary on Philippians 2:4". "Brideway Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bbc/philippians-2.html. 2005.

Lectionary Calendar
Friday, December 6th, 2019
the First Week of Advent
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