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Bible Commentaries

The Bible Study New Testament
Philippians 4

 

 

Verse 1

So then, my brothers. This burst of praise for the Philippian Christians forms the link between the closing verses of chapter 3, and the instructions he is about to give. You should stand firm. Robert Rainy says: "How the Apostle longed to see this victory achieved in the case of all these Philippians, who were the treasure and the fruit of his life and labor! Be decided about this, be clear about it, cast every other way of it from you."


Verse 2

Euodia and Syntyche. Macedonian women were given an unusual amount of freedom. Women were more than usually active in the Philippian church. Lydia was the first convert, and her house became a meeting place (Acts ch 16). These two Philippian women had a difference of opinion, and we see in them the slight dissension which Paul hints at in places. What it was all about, we have no way of knowing. From the whole tone of this Letter, it cannot have gotten seriously out of hand as yet. Schinz says: "In such a pure church, even slight bickerings would make a great impression." Paul begs each of them individually, wanting to treat each one exactly the same.


Verse 3

My faithful partner. Paul asks a third party to help these two settle their differences. Who this faithful partner was, we have no way of knowing. Have worked hard. Paul certainly refers to Euodia and Syntyche. Together with Clement. These together had worked hard to spread the gospel. Some connect this Clement with the celebrated bishop of Rome, but others think this cannot be so! All my other fellow workers. History gives no record of the many who helped spread Christianity! Only important, is the fact that their names are in God's book of the living (see note on Revelation 20:14-15).


Verse 4

Always be joyful! Rejoice! expresses the mood of this Letter. "Instead of being sad about the evils to which you are exposed, may you always be joyful in your life in the Lord. And because this attitude is very important to Christians, I say it again: rejoice!"


Verse 5

Show a gentle attitude. Gentleness and kindness are characteristics of Christ! See 2 Corinthians 10:1 and note. Coming soon. Christians live in a "last hour" situation. See 1 John 2:18 and note.


Verse 6

Don't worry about anything. See Matthew 6:25-34 and notes. Ask God. "Instead of worrying, you should put yourselves in God's hands! Let your prayer grow out of a thankful heart! Ask God for everything you need, and he will either give it to you, or give you the strength to be patient and endure whatever problems God allows to come your way!" See note on Romans 8:26.


Verse 7

And God's peace. Paul describes this peace which God gives in terms of "one who stands guard duty to secure the area." In union. God's peace is available only to those who are united with Christ and are in his fellowship.


Verse 8

In conclusion. Philippians 4:6 shows that the Christian must actively reach out to God to receive God's peace. Paul's conclusion further explains this reaching out. Fill your minds. The Christian is constantly faced with choices, and because he is new (2 Corinthians 5:17), he must purposely fill his (or her) mind with those things that are good and deserve praise!!! Most of these are familiar enough to need no further explanation. Noble = of good character, worthy, respectable. Lovely = those things whose grace attracts, things which produce love as a response. Greeks would not view this list of virtues (ethical qualities) as religious, but Paul does - in the context of the last hour situation (Philippians 4:5).


Verse 9

Put into practice. Paul is saying for them to imitate the complete example which he set for them by following Christ! Compare Philippians 3:17 and note. And the God. Faith becomes perfect through action (James 2:22). As you reach out through faith, both God's peace and the God who gives us peace will be yours!!!


Verse 10

How great is the Joy! "I praise God as the source of all blessings, and I want you to know how happy I was when Epaphroditus came to me with your gift!" Paul was always very sensitive about money, because of the slander against him (1 Thessalonians 2:5; 1 Corinthians 9:3-18; 2 Corinthians 11:8-9). Note that Paul is not scolding them for taking so long, but rather praising their generosity when his circumstances gave them one more opportunity to help!


Verse 11

And I am not. Neglected is probably the better translation. Would Paul be in actual need, when there were so many Christians in Rome ??? If he was, it would be due to the influence of the circumcision party (Philippians 1:17). Probably it is not the gift itself, but the fact that they used this opportunity to show their great love for him, that gives him such joy! Paul had learned the hard way, to be satisfied with what he had, whether material things or companionship!


Verse 12

I know what it is. This explains the "I have learned to be satisfied" of Philippians 4:11. Compare 2 Corinthians 6:4-10 and notes.


Verse 13

By the power. This sums it all up: by the power that Christ gives me. The Stoics taught that a man ought to be self-sufficient and completely independent! Paul knows he has not done it alone! Compare 2 Corinthians 9:8.


Verse 14

But It was very good of you. "Even though I could have survived, by the power that Christ gives me, I want you to know how much I appreciate what you did! It was very good of you to help me in my troubles!"


Verse 15

You Philippians. Paul looks back to their actions in the past. Kennedy has Paul say: "But this is no new thing, for you have always been generous. You know this as well as I do." Profits and losses. Paul had given them priceless spiritual gifts! It was only squaring the account for them to share their material things with him! Robert Rainy says: "In this connection it is fit we should remember that the view we take of money, and the use we make of it, are referred to with extraordinary frequency in the New Testament, as a decisive test of Christian sincerity. This feature of Bible teaching is very faintly realized by many. The other point noteworthy in relation to this Philippian gift is the assurance that it shall be recompensed (rewarded). God will not be unfaithful to reward their work and labor of love, in that they have ministered to His servant. We are not to shrink from the doctrine of reward [just] because it has been perverted."


Verse 16

More than once. Even though Thessalonica was a larger and richer city, Paul would not allow the people there to support him (1 Thessalonians 2:5; 2 Thessalonians 3:8). Some think the "more than once" also includes other places, such as Corinth.


Verse 17

It is not. Again Paul's sensitivity about money shows through. "I mention all this about your great help in the past, not because I just want to receive gifts, but I want to see your good actions credited to your account." See Acts 20:35 and note.


Verse 18

Here, then. "I write paid in full on any obligation you might have to me! Your generous gift through Epaphroditus has more than paid any debt you might have to me! I have all I need!" A sweet smelling offering. Compare Romans 12:1-2 and notes. Their good actions are praise to God (compare James 1:27 and note).


Verse 19

And my God. "Since you did not forget my needs, God will not forget yours!" Compare 2 Corinthians 9:8 and note.


Verse 20

To our God and Father. "Let us join in praise to our God and Father who has given us this abundant wealth in Christ Jesus, so that everything belongs to us (1 Corinthians 3:21-23) through his great love!!!"


Verse 21

Greetings. "Greetings to all in your city who are now God's people because they belong to Christ!" The brothers here. This shows that Paul was not completely alone.


Verse 22

All God's people here. He expands this greeting to include all the Christians at Rome. [Saints: see note on 1 Corinthians 6:11.] The Emperor's Palace. The Expositor's Greek Testament says: "SH. point out that a number of the names mentioned for salutation in Romans 16 occur in the Corpus of Latin Inscriptions as members of the Imperial household, which seems to have been one of the chief centers of the Christian community at Rome. In the first century A.D. most of the Emperor's household servants came from the East. Under Claudius and Nero they were people of real importance. And we find, from history, that Christian slaves had great influence over their masters." Traditional history links Seneca, brother of Gallio (Acts 18:12), with Paul. Josephus identifies Nero's wife Poppaea as a Gentile converted to Judaism (proselyte of the gate), and some think she might have become a Christian. We have no way of knowing for sure about this, but Paul cites the Christians in the Emperor's Palace as evidence of his success in his service to Christ.


Verse 23

May the grace. This is his benediction as an apostle. Spirit = human spirit = you all (as persons).

 


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Bibliography Information
Ice, Rhoderick D. "Commentary on Philippians 4:4". "The Bible Study New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ice/philippians-4.html. College Press, Joplin, MO. 1974.

Lectionary Calendar
Wednesday, November 13th, 2019
the Week of Proper 27 / Ordinary 32
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