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Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Philippians 4:22

All the saints greet you, especially those of Caesar's household.
New American Standard Version
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  1. Adam Clarke Commentary
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  3. Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible
  4. E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes
  5. Calvin's Commentary on the Bible
  6. James Nisbet's Church Pulpit Commentary
  7. Chuck Smith Bible Commentary
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Bible Study Resources

Nave's Topical Bible - Caesar;   Roman Empire;   Rome;   Thompson Chain Reference - Caesar;   Nero;   Roman Emperors;   Torrey's Topical Textbook - Roman Empire, the;  
American Tract Society Bible Dictionary - Caesar;   Easton Bible Dictionary - Nero;   Fausset Bible Dictionary - Caesar;   Judgment Hall;   Obadiah;   Palace;   Patrobas;   Philippians, the Epistle to the;   Roman Empire;   Romans, the Epistle to the;   Holman Bible Dictionary - Caesar's Household;   Philippians;   Rome and the Roman Empire;   Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible - Ampliatus;   Caesar's Household;   Nero;   Philippians, Epistle to;   Slave, Slavery;   Tertius;   Tryphaena;   Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament - Alexander and Rufus;   Caesar, Caesar's Household;   Family;   Nero;   Palace ;   Philippians Epistle to the;   Salutations;   Morrish Bible Dictionary - Caesar ;   Household;   Rome;   People's Dictionary of the Bible - Nero;   Smith Bible Dictionary - Rome,;  
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - Caesar's Household;   Literature, Sub-Apostolic;   Philippians, the Epistle to;   Romans, Epistle to the;  

Adam Clarke Commentary

All the saints - All the Christians now at Rome.

They that are of Caesar‘s household - Nero was at this time emperor of Rome: a more worthless, cruel, and diabolic wretch never disgraced the name or form of man; yet in his family there were Christians: but whether this relates to the members of the imperial family, or to guards, or courtiers, or to servants, we cannot tell. If even some of his slaves were converted to Christianity, it would he sufficiently marvellous. Converts to Christianity in this family there certainly were; and this shows how powerfully the Divine word had been preached and spread. That the Empress Poppaea may have been favourably inclined to Christianity is possible; for Josephus relates of her, Antiq., lib. xx. cap. 7: Θεοσεβης γαρ ην· She was a worshipper of the true God; it is not likely, therefore, that she threw any hinderances in the way of her servants who might wish to embrace the Christian faith. St. Jerome, in Phlippians, states that St. Paul had converted many in Caesar‘s family; A Caesare missus in carcerem, notior familiae ejus factus, persecutoris Christi domum fecit ecclesiam.
“Being by the emperor cast into prison, he became the more known to his family, and he turned the house of Christ‘s persecutor into a church.” Some imagine that Seneca, the preceptor of Nero and the poet Lucan, were converted by St. Paul; and there are still extant, and in a MS. now before me, letters which profess to have passed between Paul and Seneca; but they are worthy of neither. They have been printed in some editions of Seneca‘s works. See the remarks below.

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Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Philippians 4:22". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". 1832.

Bridgeway Bible Commentary

Thanks for the Philippians' gifts (4:10-23)

The Philippians thought constantly of Paul's needs, but were not able to send anything to him in his imprisonment until now. Paul's joy at receiving this gift is not because he has a greedy desire for money, because he has long ago learnt to be satisfied with whatever he has. His contentment comes not through money or possessions, but through the assurance that Christ enables him to meet every situation (10-13).

Paul repeats that his pleasure is not because of the personal profit he has gained through the Philippians' gifts, whether now or on previous occasions. Rather it is because of the profit they will gain through their sacrifice and generosity. Their gifts are like an investment with God, who, as their banker, will add interest to their account (14-17). Through their offerings, Paul has more than enough. They too will have more than enough, because God will repay them according to his abundant wealth in Jesus Christ (18-20).

On this joyous note Paul finishes his letter. Among the Christians who join him in sending greetings are a number of government officials. These people are of special interest to Paul, as they had probably been converted as a result of their contact with Paul at his place of imprisonment (21-23).

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Flemming, Donald C. "Commentary on Philippians 4:22". "Brideway Bible Commentary". 2005.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

All the saints salute you - All in Rome, where this Epistle was written. No individuals are specified, perhaps because none of the Christians at Rome wore personally known to the church at Philippi. They would, however, feel a deep interest in a church which had thus the confidence and affection of Paul. There is reason to believe that the bonds of affection among the churches then were much stronger than they are now. There was a generous warmth in the newness of the Christian affection - the first ardor of love; and the common trials to which they were exposed would serve to bind them closely together.

Chiefly they that are of Caesar‘s household - That is, of Nero, who was at that time the reigning emperor. The name Caesar was given to all the emperors after the time of Julius Caesar, as the name Pharaoh was the common name of the kings of Egypt. The phrase used here - “the household of Caesar” - may refer to the relatives of the emperor; and it is certainly possible that some of them may have been converted to Christianity. But it does not of necessity refer to those related to him, but may be applied to his domestics, or to some of the officers of the court that were more particularly employed around his person; and as it is more probable that some of them would be converted than his own relatives, it is more safe to suppose that they were intended; see the notes at Phlippians 1:13.

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Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Philippians 4:22". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". 1870.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

chiefly = specially.

of. App-104.

household. Literally house. Greek. oikia.

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Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on Philippians 4:22". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". 1909-1922.

Calvin's Commentary on the Bible

22The brethren that are with me salute you In these salutations he names first of all his intimate associates, (260) afterwards all the saints in general, that is, the whole Church at Rome, but chiefly those of the household of Nero — a thing well deserving to be noticed; for it is no common evidence of divine mercy, that the gospel had made its way into that sink of all crimes and iniquities. It is also the more to be admired, in proportion as it is a rare thing for holiness to reign in the courts of sovereigns. The conjecture formed by some, that Seneca is here referred to among others, has no appearance of foundation; for he never gave any evidence, even the smallest, of his being a Christian; nor did he belong to the household of Caesar, but was a senator, and had at one time held the office of praetor. (261)


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Calvin, John. "Commentary on Philippians 4:22". "Calvin's Commentary on the Bible". 1840-57.

James Nisbet's Church Pulpit Commentary


‘All the saints salute you, chiefly they that are of Cæsar’s household.’

Philippians 4:22

Who are these of whom the text speaks, ‘saints of Cæsar’s household’? We do not know. The Bible is silent. The history of the world has passed them over, the history of the Church knows them not. By chance, indeed, in the dark recesses of the Catacombs, amid the quaint symbols of the hope of immortality, their names may even now be deciphered, but beyond that we know them not.

I. Christians under adverse circumstances.—It is about them that I would fain say to you just two words. One is that if we can conceive of any place in the world more unlikely than another at that day in which to find a Christian man it was Nero’s palace. The encouragement to us is this, that, if there, then anywhere it is possible to be a follower of our Blessed Lord. The encouragement is, that there must surely be no difficulties of life, no post of duty, no situation of temptation, in which a Christian man, by the grace of God, may not work his life unharmed.

II. Our real danger.—The world in which we live, our domestic, professional, social, political world, it is to us Cæsar’s household. We have to live there, work there, wait there for our Blessed Master, and though of course superficially the world has changed, there is no arena, there is no garment of flaming pitch, there is no fierce cry of ‘Christians to the lions!’ nothing that could tempt to apostasy in our case, or offer excuse to weak human nature to compromise with sin and infidelity, yet our dangers are no less real. The world is, after all, though softer and gentler, no less dangerous to Christian men, because day by day they are brought in contact with those who neither serve nor know our Divine Master, and then zeal in duty brings its own temptation, earthly labour has its own peril.

III. Never despair of finding good men anywhere.—Moreover, I think that from these unknown saints in Cæsar’s household we may all of us, men and women, learn a lesson of charity, never to despair of finding good men anywhere. God sees not as we see, sufficient if He knows His own, and will one day bring them into the light. Depend upon it there will be many in heaven whom we did not expect to meet. For God’s servants are often hidden, sometimes from pure unobtrusiveness, sometimes from a shrinking fear lest they should after profession fall and bring dishonour on the cause, sometimes again from circumstances which have not brought out their character before those with whom they live. But let us comfort ourselves with the assurance that God knows them and will declare them one day.

Rev. Dr. H. G. Woods.


‘There are few contrasts so startling as that which is suggested by this Epistle to the Philippians. We read our pagan history and we read our Bible, but it is not often that the two come so close together and that the lines of both histories touch for one moment to separate again. Here we have for the first time that union of sacred and profane history. Here seems to commence that long struggle between the religion of Christ and the Empire of Rome which ended by establishing the Gospel upon the ruins of the Eternal City. Here we read of Philippi, the advanced guard of the ambition of Macedonian kings, but now the seat of a Christian Church. Philippi, on whose battlefield the future of the world was decided just a hundred years before, now sending Epaphroditus to bear comfort and help to the Apostle in his Roman prison. Everything seems to point to the same contrast between the inspired word of Christian advice as written in this Epistle and the Roman Prætorian command, between the purity and piety of the writer and that golden palace of sin and shame outside the walls of which he wrote.’

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Nisbet, James. "Commentary on Philippians 4:22". Church Pulpit Commentary. 1876.

Chuck Smith Bible Commentary


Therefore, my brethren dearly beloved and longed for ( Philippians 4:1 ),

What a beautiful words by Paul to the church, expressing his heart, just bearing his heart to them, "Dearly beloved, I long for you. My brothers, who I dearly love and I long for,"

[You are] my joy and [you are] my crown, so stand fast in the Lord, my dearly beloved ( Philippians 4:1 ).

The heart of the apostle. He is bearing his heart now, his love for those who he ministered to and those who ministered to him. Now, there were a couple of women in Philippi who were having an argument, a fight. That"s not becoming the church, so Paul said,

I beseech Euodia ( Philippians 4:2 ),

And the s isn"t there, it is just, the s would make it a masculine name, but in the Greek, unfortunately, it is a feminine name, Euodia,

and I beseech Syntyche, that they be of the same mind in the Lord ( Philippians 4:2 ).

Now, let"s not argue, let"s not fight, let"s not create division within the body. Let"s be of the same mind in the Lord.

And I entreat thee also, true yokefellow ( Philippians 4:3 ),

Now, we don"t know who Paul is referring to here. There have been a lot of guesses. Probably all of them are wrong. But the yokefellow would be one who had labored together. Maybe he was writing to the Philippian jailer who had been converted. There are some, I think it was Tertullium, one of the early church fathers, said he was writing her to his wife. But that hardly seems possible.

help those women which labored with me in the gospel, with Clement also, and with other of my other fellow laborers, whose names are in the book of life ( Philippians 4:3 ).

When Paul went to Philippi, he first shared the gospel by the river where a group of ladies had gathered together for prayer. Among them, Lydia, you remember, the seller of purple. And having shared with the women, the following week they told their friends, and a big crowd of people gathered to hear Paul share the gospel of Jesus Christ. Because many of the women believed and were saved and baptized, and so the work of God really began with women, and they had a very important part in the ministry in the church in Philippi. And so, "Help those women who labored with me in the gospel, with Clement also, my fellow laborers, whose names are in the Book of Life."

In Luke"s gospel, chapter10, there is the report of the disciples who had been sent out by Jesus, two by two, the seventy of them. And they came back and they said, "Lord, it was fantastic. A lot of people were healed; people who were blind, their eyes were opened. And Lord, even the devils were subject unto us." And Jesus said to them, "Don"t rejoice in these things, but rejoice rather that your name is written in heaven." Hey, that is the most important thing. There is nothing more important to me that my name is written in heaven. Not in what God is done through my life, that is not so important is that my name be written in heaven. That"s what is really important to me. God has a book of life. It is exciting to realize that my name is there in His Book of Life.

We read in Revelation 20:1-15 of the great white throne judgment of God, "And the books were open, and the people were judged out of the things that were written in the book, and death and hell gave up their dead, and they were judged, and whosoever name was not found written in the Book of Life was cast into Gehenna and this is the second death." But there again, the mention of the Book of Life. It is interesting to me that God has this book in heaven, the Book of Life, and the names of those who are heirs of the heavenly kingdom, ordained of God to share, and He has inscribed their names in the Book of Life.

Now, when did God write my name in the Book of Life? When did He write your name in the Book of Life? You say, "Well, I was saved on October2, 1968, so I guess God wrote my name in the Book of Life October2, l968." No! We read in the book of Revelation that our names were written in the Book of Life before the foundation of the world. How could He do that? Because He is God, and He is smarter than you are, because He is omniscient, He knows all things. And if God ever . . . well, because He knows all things, He can"t learn anything. It is impossible for God to learn anything. So, if God ever is to know who is going to be saved, He has always known who is going to be saved, and having always known those that were going to be saved, He wrote their names in the Book of Life before the foundation of the earth. Aren"t you glad? He knew you and wrote your name there before He ever laid the foundations of the earth. "Whose names were written in the Book of Life," from the foundations of the earth. And so those fellow laborers, Paul said, "Whose names are written in the Book of Life." Something that Jesus mentions, something that Paul mentions, something that John mentions in the book of Revelation. Now,

Rejoice in the Lord always: and again I say, Rejoice ( Philippians 4:4 ).

Again, notice the rejoicing is in the Lord. There is always cause for rejoicing in the Lord. I can rejoice because He wrote my name in His Book of Life before the foundation of the world. Oh, thank you, Lord. I can rejoice in the Lord. Rejoice in the Lord always, and again I say rejoice. A sad, sour Christian is no real witness to the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand ( Philippians 4:5 ).

That is, live moderately, don"t live extravagantly. There"s no place in the Christian life for extravagant living. Live moderately. Why? Because the Lord is at hand. Don"t get too involved in the things of the world, the Lord"s coming.

Be careful [or anxious] for nothing [don"t worry about anything]; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God ( Philippians 4:6 ).

The answer for worry is prayer. Prayer and commitment, those things that concern me, those things that are prone to cause me to worry are the very things I need to be praying about. And once I pray about them, I need to just trust God to take care of them. I need to know that once I commit them to God, they are in His hands and He will work them out for His glory. Now, it may not be for my pleasure, it may not be like I want it to be, but I thank God I"m not in control. I thank God that He is in control of the circumstances that surround me. If I were in control of my life, I could make the worst mess of my life thinking that I was just doing what was good. But, you know, if you just let a kid go, they will just eat ice cream sundaes and nothing else. And so I would order my life, you know, make it sweet, make it delectable, put hot fudge and whipped cream on top and toasted almonds, you know. I want a bed of roses, Lord. I want to take it easy. But it doesn"t always work out that way. Many times there are hardships, there are difficulties. There are things that I don"t understand, but my faith is being tested, and my faith is being developed because I"m learning to trust in God even when I can"t see the way. And though it doesn"t fall the way I would like it to fall, I still trust the Lord and I learn that He has a better plan. Yes, it was tough, yes, I did hurt, yes, there was suffering. But ohhh the lessons that I learned that I wouldn"t trade for anything, because I grew immensely and my walk and relationship with God has been enhanced by the whole thing. And I count that which I gained in my relationship with Him far more than the struggle that I went through.

We used to hear down in the south that song, "Farther along we"ll know all about it. Farther along we"ll understand why. Cheer up, my brother, live in the sunshine. We"ll understand it all by and by." It was written during the depression years, I think. Hard times down in the south. Song of encouragement.

They that live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution. It"s not going to be easy, but the Lord is going to be there. And the Lord will give you strength, and the Lord will help you. So, the worries, the concerns, the anxieties, pray about them, give them over to the Lord, cast all of your cares on Him, because He cares for you.

And so, with prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, three aspects of prayer. Prayer itself is very broad term that describes communion with God. Prayer is not a monologue; it is a dialogue. And it is important that we wait for God to speak to us, as well as to speak to God. So many people consider prayer a monologue. I want to go in and talk to God, and I do all of the talking, and when I am finished talking, I get up and leave. I never wait for God to respond or to answer. Through the years, I have come to the conclusion that it is more important that God talk to me than I talk to God. I am convinced that what God has to say to me is far more important than what I have to say to God. And I have sought to develop that listening side of prayer. The communion, prayer is communion with God. Listening for Him to speak to my heart. Laying my heart out before Him, waiting upon Him, worshipping Him, loving Him, all a part of prayer. Another part of prayer is supplication: my requests, where I present to God those needs of my life, those needs in the lives of those around me. The supplications are personal, but they can also go into intercession. So, there is request, and in the narrow sense, for my own needs, and then in the broader sense, for the needs of those around me, the intercessory prayer. And then there is that thanksgiving aspect of prayer.

Now, as we look at the Lord"s prayer as a model, "Our Father, which art in heaven, and hallowed be thou name," you see it begins with the acknowledgment of God and the greatness and the glory of God. The name of God, hallowed be that name, reverend be that name. Petitions in a broad sense, "Thy kingdom come, thy will be done, in earth even as it is in heaven." Petitions in a narrow sense, "Give us this day, our daily bread, and forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors. Lead us not into temptation, deliver us from evil." Praise, glory, thanksgiving, "For thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever." So it begins with worship, it ends with worship, sandwiched in between, our petitions and intercession. And so, we find prayer, supplications, thanksgiving, let your request be made known unto God.

And the peace of God [the result of this will be the peace of God], which passeth all [human] understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus ( Philippians 4:7 ).

You will experience such peace. "Hey, what are you going to do?" "Well, I have prayed about it." "Yah, but what are you going to do about it?" "Well, I have already done it, I have prayed." "Yah, but you can"t just pray; you have got to do more than that." "Now God is going to take care of it. I have peace. It is in God"s hands; I have turned it over to Him. I am not struggling with it anymore. I am not wrestling with the issues anymore; I have turned them over to God, and now I am going to rest in Him. I am going to have an experience." That peace that passeth human understanding, passes your own understanding. You can"t understand how that you can feel such peace in the midst of such turmoil.

Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things ( Philippians 4:8 ).

That pretty well eliminates television, doesn"t it? Of all of the mental pollution that is going out night after night over the major networks. Our whole nation is being polluted by the television industry and by the movie industry. I mean, it is leading the nation right down the tubes. Why? Because it is having people think on things that are impure, unholy, filthy, unrighteous, immoral, and there is other things we need to be thinking on. Sort of tragic, a lot of people watch television just before they go to sleep, because you plant that junk in your mind just before you drop off.

You know, I have found that what I plant in my mind the last thing at night before I go to sleep is something that sticks with me. I learned as a child that I can memorize any poem by reading it over three times before I went to sleep. In the morning I could get up and recite it. Poems of several pages, all I do is read them over three times before I went to sleep, and in the morning I could recite them. Because it seems like during the night, what you plant just before you go to sleep has a way of your mind continuing to work on it.

And many areas across the United States we have begun our Word for Today broadcast on many stations now Acts 10:00 o"clock at night. And a lot of people have gotten in the habit of setting their clocks on the radios to, you know, from Philippians 10:00 to Philippians 10:30,then, you know, and I put them to sleep every night. What a wonderful thing. The last thing in the night to be planting in your mind: that which is pure, that which is true, that which is honest, that which is just, that which is lovely, that which is of virtue and good report, think on these things. Interesting how we like to think on other things, isn"t it? The hurts, the disappointments, the nasty thing that he said to me. Here is a good model to follow, I think that somewhere around the house we ought to put up, "True, Honest, Just, Pure," that our minds, we gear them toward these things.

Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me ( Philippians 4:9 ),

Paul the apostle, when he was talking with the elders at Ephesus, he said, "I was daily with you teaching you and showing you." It was show and tell with Paul. His life was the example of that which he was preaching, and so should it always be. It isn"t just the proclaiming of the truth, it is the demonstration of the truth. And so Paul tells them, "Those things which ye have learned, and received, and heard, and you have seen in me, I set the example before you."

do [them]: and the God of peace shall be with you. But I rejoiced in the Lord greatly, that now at the last your care of me hath flourished again; wherein ye were also careful, but ye lacked opportunity ( Philippians 4:9-10 ).

In other words, "You were anxious to send me some help, but you lacked opportunity. " Epaphroditus, you remember, had come to Rome, with a offering from the church in Philippi for Paul. And so, the care of him has flourished again. They sent him a very generous offering. They desired to do it before now, but, of course, he had been on his way from a Caesarea to Rome. He had been on that ship that was wrecked and spent a lot of time; they weren"t able to catch up with him. But now, finally, that he is sitting there in prison in Rome, they are able to get to him again, and they send this offering. And so he thanks them that this care for him is flourished again.

Not that I speak in respect of want ( Philippians 4:11 ):

It is not that I really am, you know, desperately in need. It isn"t that I have tremendous needs while I am here.

for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content ( Philippians 4:11 ).

Oh, what a tremendous lesson we need to learn. Because always the state that we are in might not be the most pleasant state to be in. Paul was in prison when he wrote this, chained twenty-four hours a day to a different Roman guard, as they would make their changes. And yet, content. "For I have learned whatever state I am in to be content."

I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need ( Philippians 4:12 ).

It doesn"t matter to me; I can live with it, I can live without it. I have learned to be content with it. I have learned to be content without it. Whatever state God sees to put me, I am content, because my life is in God"s hands; He is in control of those things that surround me. He wrote, "Godliness with contentment is great riches." I have learned how to be content.

[For] I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me ( Philippians 4:13 ).

And there is the secret: I can abound, I can be poor, I can do all things through Christ which strengthens me.

In the fifteenth chapter of the gospel of John, as Jesus is talking about His relationship to His disciples, He said unto them, "I am the vine, ye the branches, my Father is the husbandman. Every branch in Me that bears fruit, He washes it that it might bring forth more fruit. Now you are clean through the word which I"ve spoken unto you. Abide in Me, and let My words abide in you, as the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine, neither more can ye except you abide in Me, for without Me you can do nothing."

Do you believe that? I didn"t for a long time. The Lord had to prove that to me. I thought there was something I could do worthwhile in my flesh. And I tried too long to offer to God the sacrifices of my flesh. But one day, after years of struggle, I came to the truth of the statement of Christ and realized the truth of it, apart from Him I could do nothing. But thank God, in the same day I also learned the truth that I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. And so, rather than being all wiped out because I can"t do anything in myself, I rejoice because of what I can do in Him. I can do all things through Christ. There are two verses I count extremely important in my own experience. Vitally important. To learn those two verses is vital to Christian growth. "Apart from me you can do nothing," Jesus said. But Paul said, "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me."

Notwithstanding, ye have done well, that ye did communicate with my affliction [to my needs]. Now ye Philippians know also that in the beginning of the gospel, when I departed from Macedonia [Philippi was in the area of Macedonia], no church communicated with me as concerning giving and receiving, but ye only ( Philippians 4:14-15 ).

When I left you, you were the only church. Now, there was a church at Thessalonica, Paul established the church of Berea. They didn"t do anything for him. The only church that really sought to help Paul and support that ministry was the church of Philippi.

For even in Thessalonica [when I was there] ye sent once and again unto my necessity [to take care of my needs]. Not because I desire a gift: but I desire fruit that may abound to your account ( Philippians 4:16-17 ).

I love that. Paul was thanking them for what they sent, "not because I desire a gift. I desire that fruit might abound to your account." Now, God has a very interesting bookkeeping system. And in God"s bookkeeping system, your investments that you make in the kingdom of God bring fruit to your account. Jesus said, "Don"t lay up for yourself treasures on earth where moth and rust can corrupt and decay and thieves can break through and steal. But lay up for yourself treasures in heaven where these things cannot happen, for where your treasure is there will your heart be also."

God accounts to the person who supports the missionary the fruit that comes from the missionary"s service. How can they hear without a preacher? How can they preach except they be sent? So, those that send share equally in the fruit of the ministry of those who go. That is why in supporting a ministry, I want to be very careful what ministry I support. I want to make sure that it is an effective ministry, doing a good work for God. Because there is a lot of charlatans out there that are padding their own pockets and not really doing a real service for God.

We were in Goroka, New Guinea, a beautiful place, sort of an ideal place to live. Weather is perfect year around. And just up in the highlands in New Guinea just beautiful, beautiful streams, beautiful forest, beautiful place to live. And as they were taking us through there, they said there is just a lot of paper missionaries here. And I said, "Paper missionaries, what do you mean?" And he said there are a lot of people who have retired here in Goroka who get their support by writing letters to people in the United States and Australia and England, sharing with them the ministry here among the New Guinea people. And what they do is, they get in their Land Rovers and they go out to the villages and they pass out candy to the children. And they will take pictures of the children reaching out for candy. And then they will send these pictures and letters back to the people and say, you know, "The children are reaching out for the New Testaments that we are passing out in the villages and all, and look at how, you know, all of the children, and all, had a tremendous response and God is doing a glorious work and all." And people are supporting them. Yet, they are just retired; they don"t do anything but go out to the village once a month to take pictures of kids getting candy. Unfortunately, those people do exist. Frauds, charlatans, they"ll have to answer to God.

The World Counsel of Churches uses a portion of their funds to support terrorist groups in Africa, supporting the P.L.O. their terrorism programs. A lot of missionaries were killed in Zabway by the terrorists, missionary children, by the dollars given in the churches that have a part in the National Counsel of Churches and the World Counsel of Churches.

I wouldn"t give a dime to any church that"s affiliated with the World Counsel of Churches, knowing that a portion of that dime would be going to support the World Counsel of Churches. I don"t want to be giving money to terrorists in Africa who are murdering missionaries and their families. Nor would I want to be supporting Angelia Davis"s defense, which received a generous contribution from the National Counsel of Churches. Careful where you invest. Paul said, "That fruit might abound to your account." Well, there is some kind of fruit that I really don"t want to my account. And thus, I don"t want to invest in that. I want to know that there is a valid and legitimate work being done, and that it is a fruit-bearing work, that fruit might abound. I want to support that kind of work.

And so Paul said, "Not that I desire a gift. I desire that fruit might abound to your account."

But [I have everything] I have all, I abound ( Philippians 4:18 ):

Got plenty. What a beautiful thing to say even though you"re broke. I have all, I abound. Why? Because I have Jesus. That"s enough.

I am full, having received from Epaphroditus the things which were sent from you, an odor of a sweet smell [Probably some cologne, I guess], a sacrifice acceptable, [and] well-pleasing to God. But my God shall supply all of your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus ( Philippians 4:18-19 ).

Isn"t that a glorious promise? Take hold of it tonight. My God shall supply all of your need according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus. Now who can measure that kind of riches? If God spared not His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how much more then shall He not freely give us all things?

Now unto God and our Father be glory forever and ever. Amen. Salute [greet] every saint in Christ Jesus. The brethren which are with me greet you. All the saints salute you, chiefly they that are of Caesar"s household ( Philippians 4:20-22 ).

As Paul was chained to the Roman guard, those were Caesar"s guards, and so many of Caesar"s household send their greetings through Paul, who had received Christ because Paul"s imprisonment there.

The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen ( Philippians 4:23 ).

Beautiful, beautiful epistle to the Philippians, and now the glorious epistle to the Colossians; next week, the first two chapters. The preeminence of Jesus Christ. Aw, this one just lifts you into glory as we behold Jesus Christ our Lord, and we see the preeminence that God has given unto Him. The preeminence of Christ. The book of Colossians, one that will enrich us so completely as we study it together.

And now may God cause you to abound in love and in your walk in the Spirit. And may indeed you find the promise to be true as God supplies all of your needs: spiritual, financial, physical, according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus our Lord. God bless and keep you and give you a beautiful week. In Jesus" name. "

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Bibliographical Information
Smith, Charles Ward. "Commentary on Philippians 4:22". "Chuck Smith Bible Commentary". 2014.

John Dummelow's Commentary on the Bible

Final Charge. Acknowledgement of Philippian Bounty

VI. Closing Exhortations (Philippians 4:1-9)

§ 15. Philippians 4:1-3. With heightened feeling St. Paul resumes the vein of exhortation commenced in Philippians 3:1 : Wherefore (in view of the grand hope of our calling).. so stand fast in the Lord (see Philippians 1:27)—'so,' i.e. in 'imitating' the Apostle and 'marking those' of like 'walk' (Philippians 3:17); this appeal sums up the foregoing homily. For the endearing epithets accumulated here, cp. Philippians 1:3-8; Philippians 2:16-17 also 1 Thessalonians 2:19, 1 Thessalonians 2:20.

2. The entreaty to Euodia and Syntyche to be of one mind in the Lord, is a pointed application of Philippians 1:27 and Philippians 2:1-5 they have a serious difference of judgment in carrying out the will of Christ. These ladies bear good Greek names; one of them is, possibly, the same as the Lydia of Acts 16, the latter name in that case being an ethnic appellation ('the Lydian'). As at Thessalonica (Acts 17:4), women were conspicuous amongst the earliest converts in Philippi: see Intro.

3. The Gk. 'Synzygos' (yoke-fellow) is better read as a proper name, on which the Apostle plays, as upon 'Onesimus' (serviceable) in Phlippians 1:11 : Yea, I ask also thee, true Synzygos—worthy of thy name—help them (Euodia and Syntyche) to come to an understanding. Others suppose Epaphroditus to be addressed as 'yokefellow': cp. Philippians 2:25. The disagreeing women had shared St. Paul's struggles (this Gk. verb is rendered striving together in Philippians 1:27) in the gospel,—a fact which makes him specially anxious for their reconciliation. With these former comrades St. Paul associates a certain Clement otherwise unknown (hardly the Clement of Rome, famous a generation later), and the rest of my fellow workers, whose names are in the book of life (see Revelation 3:5, etc., Luke 10:20; Hebrews 12:23),-and therefore need not be enumerated here.

§ 16. Philippians 4:4-7. Joy in the Lord, and the peace of God, are the sovereign factors in the Christian temper (Philippians 4:4, Philippians 4:7); these manifest themselves in gentleness (RM; AV 'moderation') toward men, and serenity (In nothing be anxious, RV) in all events, maintained by continual prayer and thanksgiving. Philippians 4:4 repeats, with resolute emphasis, the command of Philippians 3:1 : see note.

5. Gentleness (ascribed, under the same word, to Christ in 2 Corinthians 10:1) is the opposite of self-assertion and rivalry. Like 'patience' in James 5:8, it is enforced by the nearness of the Lord's advent, the prospect of which quenches worldly passions: cp. 1 Corinthians 7:29-31; Luke 12:29-40. Though we may not think of the second coming of Christ as at hand in the sense in which the first Christians did, our appearance at His judgment-seat is no less certain, and the thought of it should affect us in the same way.

6. Anxiety is precluded by the direction, let your requests be made known unto God—since 'he careth for you' (1 Peter 5:7 cp. Matthew 6:31-32). Prayer is devout address to God in general, supplication the specific appeal for help, and request the particular petition made. In everything includes temporal with spiritual needs, covering all occasions of anxiety.

7. The peace of God is that which ensues on reconciliation through Christ and the bestowment of the Holy Spirit, who breathes the Father's love into the heart: see Romans 5:1-2, Romans 5:8-11; Ephesians 2:13-18. The consciousness of this fortifies the mind against trouble: it shall guard (or garrison) your hearts and your thoughts in Christ Jesus. God's peace surpasses (AV 'passes': the same word was rendered 'better than' in Philippians 2:3, and 'excellency' in Philippians 3:8) all reason (Gk. nous) in its fortifying power. Greek philosophy sought in Reason the prophylactic against care and fear; the true remedy is found in Christ.

§ 17. Philippians 4:8, Philippians 4:9. The real Finally is now reached: see on Philippians 3:1. The list of virtues here commended is unique in St. Paul's writings, resembling the catalogues of Greek moralists; its items belong to natural ethics. These things, St. Paul says, take account of (RM); i.e. reckon and allow for (the verb of Philippians 3:13; 1 Corinthians 4:1; 1 Corinthians 13:5, etc.): he desiderates in the readers a larger appreciation of goodness, a catholic moral taste—mark the reiterated whatsoever. This Church was intensely devoted, but intellectually narrow (see on Philippians 1:9),—a defect naturally aggravated by persecution. Hence the stress laid on 'gentleness' in Philippians 4:5, and on the amenities of life in Philippians 4:8. Things true and honourable (to be revered) constitute the integrities of personal character; things pure and just represent the moralities, and things amiable and winning the graces, of social life. The further expressions, if there be any virtue and if there be any praise (aught to be praised), bring in every conceivable form and instance of moral excellence. Virtue—the ruling category of heathen ethics—figures only in this passage of St. Paul; the Apostle is seeking common ethical ground as between the Church and Gentile society. The Christian man must prize every fragment of human worth, claiming it for God.

9. So much for reflexion and appreciation; for practice, the writer points once more, as in Philippians 3, to himself,—to his personal teaching (what things you both learned and received) and behaviour (and heard of and saw in me). The God of peace shall be with you is a virtual repetition of Philippians 4:7 : men of large-hearted charity and steadfast loyalty dwell in God's peace amidst all storms.

VII. Acknowledgement of the Contribution from Philippi (Philippians 4:10-20)

§ 18. Philippians 4:10-16. With the Benediction of Philippians 4:9 (cp. Romans 15:33) the letter might have ended; but St. Paul in sending back Epaphroditus (Philippians 2:25-30) desires to make ample recognition of the gift conveyed by him, and has reserved this matter to the last. The remittance had surely been acknowledged earlier; communications had been exchanged since Epaphroditus' arrival in Rome: see Intro. It looks as though the Philippians had been grieved in some way over the reception of their contribution. Perhaps the Apostle's former acknowledgment through its brevity was open to misconstruction. With care and earnestness he now endeavours to set himself right with his friends:—'Greatly was I gladdened,' he writes, 'that now once again you have blossomed out in your thoughtfulness for me; indeed, you were thinking of me in this way before, but you lacked opportunity to show it.' The recent gift was the revival of the care for the Apostle's wants shown by the Philippians at an earlier time; no other Church had so markedly proved its gratitude in this kind (Philippians 4:15). The readers are aware of this fact (Moreover ye yourselves know, ye Philippians); they had probably referred to it, in their Church letter, with pardonable pride. In the beginning of the gospel means at the time of its coming to these regions (cp. Philippians 1:5); in the matter of giving and receiving (RV) might be rendered 'by way of credit and debit account' (cp. 1 Corinthians 9:11; Galatians 6:6; Phlippians 1:18-19)—a mercantile idiom. When I went out from Macedonia refers to contributions sent to the writer at Athens or Corinth (see 2 Corinthians 11:7-10); even before this, during the short time he stayed in Thessalonica, they had helped him once and again (Philippians 4:16).

In the intervening passage (Philippians 4:11-14) St. Paul explains his attitude. He does not speak as though in want and dependent on such support; he has learned to be self sufficient (content) under all conditions. I know, he continues, how to be abased (by poverty: see 1 Corinthians 4:11; 2 Corinthians 11:9, 2 Corinthians 11:27; Acts 20:34), and I know also how to be in affluence; in every variety of state and circumstance, I have become versed (lit. 'initiated') both in feasting and hungering, both in affluence and destitution. Thrice St. Paul speaks of his 'abundance' (Philippians 4:12 and Philippians 4:18); and this bears out the conjecture of Sir W. M. Ramsay, suggested by the heavy cost entailed in the 'appeal to Cæsar' (Acts 25:11-12) and the unlikelihood of his taxing the Churches for this purpose, that he had by this time come into the inheritance of property and is no longer a poor man. If this was so, then St. Paul is thinking of the trials of both estates when he says, I am equal to everything, in him that enables me (Philippians 4:13): cp. 2 Corinthians 12:9-10; Ephesians 3:20; Colossians 1:29. He rejoices, therefore, in the gift of the Philippians for their sake rather than his own (Philippians 4:14): Howbeit ye did well, that ye had fellowship with my affliction (showed sympathy with my persecuted condition)—not, as 'in Thessalonica,' with 'my need' (Philippians 4:16).

§ 19. Philippians 4:17-20. Hence the Apostle was not eager for the gift (as a boon to himself), but for the evidence it afforded of God's grace in the givers (cp. Philippians 1:11; 2 Corinthians 9:6-11; Ephesians 5:9)—the fruit that increaseth to your account. But I have enough and to spare; I am filled full—in satisfaction of mind as of bodily wants (cp. Philippians 2:2; 2 Corinthians 7:4)—now that I have received from Epaphroditus what you have sent,—a fragrant savour, an acceptable sacrifice, well-pleasing to God (cp. Hebrews 13:16): the religious, not the material value of the gift weighs with its receiver.

19. Since the offering is a sacrifice to God, He will recompense it (cp. Hebrews 6:10; Proverbs 19:17): my God will fill up every need of yours—as you have striven to meet His servant's need—according to his riches. Temporal and spiritual needs are together included in the promise; God's 'wealth' contains all kinds of treasure. In glory points to the heavenly consummation (cp. Romans 2:4, Romans 2:7; Ephesians 1:7, Ephesians 1:18), in Christ Jesus to the ground and channel of divine supplies.

20. The Doxology (cp. 2 Corinthians 9:15, in relation to its context) magnifies the bountiful Giver as our Father: see Matthew 6:8, Matthew 6:32.

§ 20. Philippians 4:21-23. In conclusion, the Apostle bids a greeting to every saint in Christ Jesus—his good will knows no exception: see Philippians 1:1, Philippians 1:4, Philippians 1:7-8; With his own he sends greetings from his companions, from the whole Roman Church, and particularly from those of Cæsar's household (to think of Christians in Nero's house!)—the latter singled out because their salutation would peculiarly touch the Philippians: see Intro. The circumstances of his captivity and trial brought the Apostle into contact with the palace and the imperial attendants; friends in that quarter were specially serviceable to him.

23. The Benediction (RV) is nearly identical with that of Galatians, Phlippians, and 2 Timothy.

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Dummelow, John. "Commentary on Philippians 4:22". "John Dummelow's Commentary on the Bible". 1909.

Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable


Paul concluded this warm, positive epistle with some greetings and a final benediction. He did this to cement good relations with the Philippians and to point them again in closing to the Lord Jesus Christ. This closing section of the epistle balances the salutation that opened it ( Philippians 1:1-2).

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Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentary on Philippians 4:22". "Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable". 2012.

Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable

"All the saints" probably refers to the Christians at Rome. Of these, some were employees of the imperial government. [Note: Cf. Robertson, 4:463.] Paul had already referred to the praetorian guards, some of whom had evidently become believers ( Philippians 1:13). Since Philippi as a colony had close ties with Rome, it is likely that some of the Roman Christians had friends in the Philippian church.

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Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentary on Philippians 4:22". "Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable". 2012.

Meyer's Devotional Commentary on Philippians


Philippians 4:21-23

PROBABLE, at this point, the Apostle took in hand the style with which his amanuensis had been rapidly penning his glowing thoughts, that in the clumsy letters, to which he refers in the Epistle of Galatians (Galatians 6:11), probably due to his defective eyesight, he might append his autograph.

The Universality of his Greetings.

"Salute every saint in Christ Jesus." There were many distinctions between the disciples in that distant city. Some who professed a lofty spirituality, but lacked the spirit of loving concord; some who were tinctured with the pharisaic disputations of his own earlier days; and some who were able to appreciate the deepest teachings of the nature of Christ which human words can unfold. It was enough, however, that they were in Christ Jesus, that He had accepted them, and that already they were separated from the corruption that is in the world through lust, and were set apart for the glorious purpose of the Son of God, and therefore their faithful friend was able to include them all in his tender salutation.

How good it is when Christian love enables us to rise above sectarian strife, and the misunderstandings which are generated by the differences of our temperament and education, so that we are able to view each other as common members of the Body, and contiguous branches of the Vine, praying for each other, and prepared to communicate grace by word and act. Let us salute every saint, whether belonging to our own Church or to some other. It is enough to know that they with us are partakers of the grace of God, and if He loves, there must be something lovable upon which our hearts can fasten.

Paul's Humility.

There is no trace of the priest in these simple words. Having sent his own personal greetings, he hastens to class with himself his colleagues, as Timothy and Mark, or his travelling companions, as Luke and Silas, or prominent believers who dwelt in Rome, and had the right of entrance into his hired room. They were brethren more or less unknown, but the Apostle recognised that they had as much right to salute the saints in Philippi as he had, and he hastened to strengthen his own message by the inclusion of their good-will.

It is interesting to notice how fond the Apostle was of having others with him in his Christian work. Their fellowship gave him strength and comfort. Probably, he entered into the Spirit of the Master, who sent His disciples out two and two. Sometimes, he allied himself with Barnabas, at other times with Silas, at other times with Mark. The opening words of this Epistle show how closely he was associated with Timothy, "his own son in the faith." Two are better than one. It is a matter of great encouragement and strength when some kindred soul is united with us in any service.

The Gathering Wealth of Christian Love.

"All the saints salute you." The Apostle first salutes for himself; then he associates the brethren that were with him; and now his voice seems to have stirred a large circle of consenting hearts, and from them all a torrent of tender affection sets in towards the Philippian Church. There is every probability that the saints who here send greeting are those who themselves had been greeted and mentioned by name in Romans 16:1-27. Bishop Lightfoot, in an essay on this passage which is full of interest, has pointed out that many of the names mentioned by Paul in the last chapter of his letter to the Romans are identical with the names deciphered in sepulchral inscriptions, and known to have had a place in the Imperial household. Of these he specifies Ampliatus, Appeles, Stachys, Rufus and Hermes, and the two women, Tryphaena and Tryphosa. These were almost certainly included in "all the saints."

Thus this Epistle, so full of love, seems like a shuttle to have shot between these far-removed centres of Christian life, uniting each to the other. Epaphroditus had brought a sweet savour of Philippi unto Rome, now this letter carries the fragrance of Roman Christianity to Philippi. It is thus that the Churches in all ages have exchanged words and actions of Christian courtesy.

The Saints that are Specially Distinguished.

"Especially them that are of Caesar's household." The great commentator already referred to has shown that the household of Caesar was a term embracing a vast number of persons, not only in Rome, but in the provinces, all of whom were either actual or former slaves of the Emperor, and filled every possible description of office. There is every reason to believe that this term included household slaves who were in immediate attendance upon the Emperor; soldiers who through being attached to the prisoner had been constrained to hear the story of salvation, and yielded to the claims of Jesus: and perhaps beyond, there was a still wider circle of senators and knights, men of intellectual power and large wealth, who composed the Imperial retinue and court. The household of Caesar was constituted by a vast concourse, many of whom were the agents of murders, bitter cruelties, and licentious intrigues, but large numbers of whom were men of upright character, who found it possible, amid such surroundings as those of Nero's palace, to be simple followers of Jesus. It is as possible to be a Christian in a royal court as in a slum, in a fashionable circle as amongst peasants and labourers, amongst rulers as amongst the poor and destitute. Character may be independent of circumstances. Joseph may pursue his life of purity amid the corruption of Egypt, and Daniel his life of prayer amid the idolatry of Babylon.

Circumstances may differ; in some cases they are more, whilst in others they are less favourable to the growth of Christian character, but Christianity is indigenous to all climates, and will flourish on any soil. It is like the corn plant which grows alike upon the alluvial soil of the Nile Delta, and the broad expanse of Western prairies.

It speaks much for the earnestness of individual workers in those early days, when there were no great conventions, nor many eloquent and commanding preachers, that such vast multitudes of believers were being gathered in every part of the known world through the individual effort of those who, like the first apostles, could say, "Come and see."

The Final Benediction.

"The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit." The Epistle begins with grace (Philippians 1:2) and with grace it ends. It is impossible to define all that is meant by this comprehensive prayer. Illumination for the soul, love for the heart, strength for the mind, purity for the character, help in every time of need, direction in all perplexity and difficulty--all these are included in the word grace. It was impossible for the Apostle to know in detail all that his friends might be passing through amid the temptations and perils of Philippi, but he wished that always and everywhere they might be conscious that the grace of the Lord Jesus beset them behind and before, encompassed their going out and coming in, enwrapped them in their lying down and rising up, canopied them with skies opening Godward, and was their shield and their exceeding great reward.

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Meyer, F.B. "Commentary on Philippians 4:22". "Meyer's Devotional Commentary on Philippians".

Darby's Synopsis of the New Testament

Philippians Chapter 4

The Philippians were therefore to stand fast in the Lord. This is difficult when the general tone is lowered; painful also, for one’s walk becomes much more solitary, and the hearts of others are straitened. But the Spirit has very plainly given us the example, the principle, the character, and the strength of this walk. With the eye on Christ all is easy; and communion with Him gives light and certainty; and is worth all the rest which perhaps we lose.

The apostle nevertheless spoke gently of those persons. They were not like the false judaising teachers who corrupted the sources of life, and stopped up the path of communion with God in love. They had lost this life of communion, or had never had more than the appearance of it. He wept for them.

I think that the apostle sent his letter by Epaphroditus, who probably also wrote it from the apostle’s dictation; as was done with regard to all the epistles, except that to the Galatians, which, as he tells us, he wrote with his own hand. When therefore he says (chap. 4:3), “true [or faithful] yokefellow,” he speaks as I think, of Epaphroditus, and addresses him.

But he notices also two sisters even, who were not of one mind in resisting the enemy. In every way he desired unity of heart and mind. He entreats Epaphroditus (if indeed it be he) as the Lord’s servant to help those faithful women who had laboured in concert with Paul to spread the gospel. Euodias and Syntyche were perhaps of the number-the connection of thought makes it probable. Their activity, having gone beyond the measure of their spiritual life, betrayed them into an exercise of self-will which set them at variance. Nevertheless they were not forgotten, together with Clement and others, who were fellow-labourers with the apostle himself, whose names were in the book of life. For love for the Lord remembers all that His grace does; and this grace has a place for each of His own.

The apostle returns to the practical exhortations addressed to the faithful, with regard to their ordinary life, that they might walk according to their heavenly calling. “Rejoice in the Lord.” If he even weeps over many who call themselves Christians, he rejoices always in the Lord; in Him is that which nothing can alter. This is not an indifference to sorrow which hinders weeping, but it is a spring of joy which enlarges when there is distress, because of its immutability, and which becomes even more pure in the heart the more it becomes the only one; and it is in itself the only spring that is infinitely pure. When it is our only spring, we thereby love others. If we love them besides Him, we lose something of Him. When through exercise of heart we are weaned from all other springs, His joy remains in all its purity, and our concern for others partakes of this same purity. Nothing moreover troubles this joy, because Christ never changes. The better we know Him, the better are we able to enjoy that which is ever enlarging through knowing Him. But he exhorts Christians to rejoice: it is a testimony to the worth of Christ, it is their true portion. Four years in prison chained to a soldier had not hindered his doing it, nor being able to exhort others more at ease than he.

Now this same thing will make them moderate and meek; their passions will not be excited by other things if Christ is enjoyed. Moreover He is at hand. A little while, and all for which men strive will give place to Him whose presence bridles the will (or rather puts it aside) and fills the heart. We are not to be moved by things here below until He shall come. When He comes, we shall be fully occupied with other things.

Not only are the will and the passions to be bridled and silenced, but anxieties also. We are in relationship with God; in all things He is our refuge; and events do not disturb Him. He knows the end from the beginning. He knows everything, He knows it beforehand; events shake neither His throne, nor His heart; they always accomplish His purposes. But to us He is love; we are through grace the objects of His tender care. He listens to us and bows down His ear to hear us. In all things therefore, instead of disquieting ourselves and weighing everything in our own hearts, we ought to present our requests to God with prayer, with supplication, with a heart that makes itself known (for we are human beings) but with the knowledge of the heart of God (for He loves us perfectly); so that, even while making our petition to Him, we can already give thanks, because we are sure of the answer of His grace, be it what it may; and it is our requests that we are to present to Him. Nor is it a cold commandment to find out His will and then come: we are to go with our requests. Hence it does not say, you will have what you ask; but God’s peace will keep your hearts. This is trust; and His peace, the peace of God Himself, shall keep our hearts. It does not say that our hearts shall keep the peace of God; but, having cast our burden on Him whose peace nothing can disturb, His peace keeps our hearts. Our trouble is before Him, and the constant peace of the God of love, who takes charge of everything and knows all beforehand, quiets our disburdened hearts, and imparts to us the peace which is in Himself and which is above all understanding (or at least keeps our hearts by it), even as He Himself is above all the circumstances that can disquiet us, and above the poor human heart that is troubled by them. Oh, what grace! that even our anxieties are a means of our being filled with this marvellous peace, if we know how to bring them to God, and true He is. May we learn indeed how to maintain this intercourse with God and its reality, in order that we may converse with Him and understand His ways with believers!

Moreover, the Christian, although walking (as we have seen) in the midst of evil and of trial, is to occupy himself with all that is good, and is able to do it when thus at peace, to live in this atmosphere, so that it shall pervade his heart, that he shall be habitually where God is to be found. This is an all-important command. We may be occupied with evil in order to condemn it; we may be right, but this is not communion with God in that which is good. But if occupied through His grace with that which is good, with that which comes from Himself, the God of peace is with us. In trouble we shall have the peace of God; in our ordinary life, if it be of this nature, we shall have the God of peace. Paul was the practical example of this; with regard to their walk, by following him in that which they had learnt and heard from him and seen in him, they should find that God was with them.

Nevertheless, although such was his experience, he rejoiced greatly that their loving care of him had flourished again. He could indeed take refuge in God; but it was sweet to him in the Lord to have this testimony on their part. It is evident that he had been in need; but it was the occasion of more entire trust in God. We can easily gather this from his language; but, he delicately adds, he would not, by saying that their care of him had now at last flourished again, imply that they had forgotten him. The care for him was in their hearts; but they had not had the opportunity of giving expression to their love. Neither did he speak in regard of want; he had learnt-for it is practical experience and its blessed result we find here-to be content under all circumstances, and thus to depend on no one. He knew how to be abased: he knew how to abound; in every way he was instructed both to be full and to be hungry, to be in abundance and to suffer want. He could do all things through Him who strengthened him. Sweet and precious experience! not only because it gives ability to meet all circumstances, which is of great price, but because the Lord is known, the constant, faithful, mighty friend of the heart. It is not ‘I can do all things,’ but “I can do all through him who strengtheneth me.” It is a strength which continually flows from a relationship with Christ, a connection with Him maintained in the heart. Neither is it only ‘One can do all things.’ This is true; but Paul had learnt it practically. He knew what he could be assured of and reckon on-what ground he stood on. Christ had always been faithful to him, had brought him through so many difficulties and through so many seasons of prosperity, that he had learnt to trust in Him, and not in circumstances. And Christ was the same ever. Still the Philippians had done well, and it was not forgotten. From the first God had bestowed this grace upon them, and they had supplied the apostle’s need, even when he was not with them. He remembered it with affection, not that he desired a gift, but fruit to their own account. “But,” he says, “I have all,” his heart turning back to the simple expression of his love He was in abundance, having received by Epaphroditus that which they had sent him, an acceptable sacrifice of sweet odour, well-pleasing to God.

His heart rested in God; his assurance with regard to the Philippians expresses it. My God, he says, shall richly supply all your need. He does not express a wish that God may do so. He had learnt what his God was by his own experience. My God, he says, He whom I have learnt to know in all the circumstances through which I have passed, shall fill you with all good things. And here he returns to His character as he had known Him. God would do it according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus. There he had learnt to know Him at the beginning; and such he had known Him all along his varied path, so full of trials here and of joys from above. Accordingly he thus concludes: “Now unto our God and Father”-for such He was to the Philippians also-”be glory for ever and ever.” He applies his own experience of that which God was to him, and his experience of the faithfulness of Christ, to the Philippians. This satisfied his love, and gave him rest with regard to them. It is a comfort when we think of the assembly of God.

He sends the greeting of the brethren who were with him, and of the saints in general, especially those of Caesar’s household; for even there God had found some who through grace had listened to His voice of love.

He ends with the salutation which was a token in all his epistles that they were from himself.

The present state of the assembly, of the children of God, dispersed anew, and often as sheep without a shepherd, is a very different condition of ruin from that in which the apostle wrote; but this only adds more value to the experience of the apostle which God has been pleased to give us; the experience of a heart which trusted in God alone, and which applies this experience to the condition of those who are deprived of the natural resources that belonged to the organised body, to the body of Christ as God had formed it on earth. As a whole, the epistle shews proper Christian experience, that is, superiority, as walking in the Spirit, to everything through which we have to pass. It is remarkable to see that sin is not mentioned in it, nor flesh, save to say he had no confidence in it.

He had at this time a thorn in the flesh himself, but the proper experience of the Christian is walking in the Spirit above and out of the reach of all that may bring the flesh into activity.

The reader will remark that chapter 3 sets the glory before the Christian and gives the energy of Christian life; chapter 2, the self-emptying and abasement of Christ, and founds thereon the graciousness of the Christian life, and thoughtfulness of others: while the last chapter gives a blessed superiority to all circumstances.

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Darby, John. "Commentary on Philippians 4:22". "John Darby's Synopsis of the New Testament". 1857-67.

Mark Dunagan Commentary on the Bible

Philippians 4:22 “All the saints salute you, especially they that are of Caesar"s household”

“All the saints salute you”: All the Christians in Rome spend greetings.

“Especially they that are of Caesar’s household”: Probably not members of the imperial family, but those connected with the imperial establishment. Servants and slaves of the emperor. “Caesar’s household”: “This expression is used in the literature to refer both to the highest officials in the Roman government and to the lowest servants in the emperor"s employ. It is likely that Paul is speaking now of Roman soldiers stationed in the barracks, or slaves or freedmen handling the domestic affairs of the emperor, or both” (Hawthorne p. 215). “Especially”: “The reason these are singled out may be to show that the gospel was beginning to penetrate even these loftier circles” (Hawthorne p. 215). Or, since Philippi was a Roman colony, it could be that many members in Philippi knew friends and relatives who were members of the imperial staff. “These may have been soldiers, slaves or freedmen, who, because they have been involved in the service of the emperor in provincial matters for an extended period of time, had come to know many of the believers in the Roman city of Philippi” (Hawthorne p. 216). Hendriksen remarks, “A considerable percentage of those who belonged to Caesar"s household in Rome had come from regions east of Rome” (pp. 212-213). He also notes, “If among the early Christians there were those who belonged to Nero"s ‘household’, today"s government-employees in far more favorable circumstances will have great difficulty when they try to find an excuse for failing to bear witness for Christ” (p. 214).

Erdman points out, “The emperor was Nero. Yet amid all its darkness and superstition and wickedness the gospel of Christ had taken root. There are no conditions over which the power of Christ cannot triumph. To find saints in Caesar"s household may be surprising, yet it should also be remarked that this was the very place where saints were most needed, where heathenism and godlessness are most firmly entrenched, there the true apostle is most eager to have the gospel proclaimed. Where the world is at is worst, there the church should be at its best”.

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Dunagan, Mark. "Commentary on Philippians 4:22". "Mark Dunagan Commentaries on the Bible". 1999-2014.

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

(22) of Cæsar’s household.—The “household of Cæsar” included a multitude of persons of all ages and ranks and occupations. Dr. Lightfoot, in a very interesting excursus on this verse, remarking that these Christians of Cæsar’s household are alluded to as if well known to the Philippians, has examined the various names mentioned in Romans 16. (three years before this time), and finds many of them identical with names actually found in sepulchral inscriptions, as belonging to members of the “domus Augusta,” or imperial household. These were earlier converts; but, wherever St. Paul’s prison was, he can hardly have failed to gain through the prætorians some communication with the household of the emperor, whose body-guard they were; and the allusion here seems to show that for some reason these Christians of Caesar’s household were in an especial familiarity of intercourse with him. Probably, therefore, he had added from that household new converts to Christ; and he mentions this here, as he had before spoken of his bonds being made manifest in the “prætorium” (Philippians 1:13), in order to show the Philippians that his very imprisonment had given special opportunity for the spread of the gospel.

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Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on Philippians 4:22". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". 1905.

Expositor's Dictionary of Texts

Euodia and Syntyche

Philippians 4:2

This is a dual biography in a nutshell. These persons are nowhere else referred to. The outline is faint enough; yet on thoughtful consideration it reveals not a few interesting facts.

I. The persons here mentioned were women. They were members of the Philippian Church, which is often spoken of as a "woman"s church". It is frequently said by way of criticism that two-thirds of the members of the entire Christian Church are of the gentler sex. But shall the fact be regarded as a reflection on the character of the church? Before we leap to that conclusion, let us yoke with it another fact; to wit, seven-eighths of the inmates of our prisons and penitentiaries are men. A fair deduction from both these premises can place no discredit upon the Church for her preponderance of female membership. Indeed, it speaks eloquently for her thoughtfulness and purity of character.

II. We are given to understand that Euodia and Syntyche were good women. There is much in a name. Euodia means "fragrance"; Syntyche means "happiness". We are informed that they were "labourers in the Gospel". We have a further intimation as to the character of Euodia and Syntyche in the statement that their names were written "in the Book of Life".

III. These good women were not of one mind.

IV. The quarrel was about a trifle. We infer this from the fact that Paul asked for no investigation of their case. Indeed, the whole affair would appear to have been much ado about nothing. It may have originated in a bit of gossip, a flash of temper, or an inadvertent word. Is it not true that most disagreements have a slight origin? We should find it difficult to account for most of our likes and dislikes; and as for our bitter disagreements, it would be quite impossible to justify them.

V. It would appear that both women were to blame. This may be inferred from their having an equal interest in the message: "I beseech Euodia, and beseech Syntyche". It takes two to make a quarrel.

VI. The results of this quarrel were far-reaching. It has come down through nineteen hundred years.

VII. We do not know that Euodia and Syntyche were ever reconciled on earth. The women who were parties to this Philippian quarrel are generic types. And the practical application is plain. If there are bitternesses to be healed or differences to compose, let us not wait until the shadows enfold us.

—D. J. Burrell, The Gospel of Certainty, p73.

Philippians 4:2

"It has been justly observed," says Dr. Johnson in The Rambler (99), "that discord generally operates in little things; it is inflamed to its utmost vehemence by contrariety of tests, oftener than of principles."

References.—IV:2.—Expositor (6th Series), vol. x. p46. IV:2, 3.—J. H. Jowett, The High Calling, p162.

Philippians 4:3

In his Specimen Days in America, describing the cases of the soldiers he visited in hospital during the Civil War, Walt Whitman writes: "No formal general"s report, nor book in library, nor column in the paper, embalms the bravest, north or south, east or west Unnamed, unknown, remain and still remain, the bravest soldiers."

References.—IV:3.—S. K. Hocking, Christian World Pulpit, vol. xlvii. p102. J. G. Greenhough, ibid. vol. liii. p264. A. Maclaren, Expositions of Holy Scripture— Philippians, p11.

Philippians 4:4

Dr. Marcus Dods wrote at the age of twenty-six to his sister Marcia: "If you are going to send texts I"ll send you one that will last you all the year and more—χαίρετε, Rejoice in the Lord always: again I say, rejoice: then notice the connections on to the end of the paragraph".—Early Letters, p165 (see also p257).

Equanimity (Christmas)

Philippians 4:4

In other parts of Scripture the prospect of Christ"s coming is made a reason for solemn fear and awe, and a call for watching and prayer, but in the verses connected with the text a distinct view of the Christian character is set before us, and distinct duties urged on us. "The Lord is at hand," and what then?—why, if Song of Solomon, we must "rejoice in the Lord"; we must be conspicuous for "moderation"; we must be "careful for nothing"; we must seek from God"s bounty, and not from Prayer of Manasseh, whatever we need; we must abound in "thanksgiving"; and we must cherish, or rather we must pray for, and we shall receive from above, "the peace of God which passeth all understanding," to "keep our hearts and minds through Christ Jesus". Now this is a view of the Christian character definite and complete enough to admit of commenting on, and it may be useful to show that the thought of Christ"s coming not only leads to fear, but to a calm and cheerful frame of mind.

I. Nothing perhaps is more remarkable than that an Apostle—a man of toil and blood, a man combating with powers unseen, and a spectacle for men and Angels, and much more that St. Paul, a man whose natural temper was so zealous, so severe, and so vehement—I say, nothing is more striking and significant than that St. Paul should have given us this view of what a Christian should be. It would be nothing wonderful, it is nothing wonderful, that writers in a day like this should speak of peace, quiet, sobriety, and cheerfulness, as being the tone of mind that becomes a Christian; but considering that St. Paul was by birth a Jew, and by education a Pharisee; that he wrote at a time when, if at any time, Christians were in lively and incessant agitation of mind; when persecution and rumours of persecution abounded; when all things seemed in commotion around them; when there was nothing fixed; when there were no churches to soothe them, no course of worship to sober them, no homes to refresh them; and, again, considering that the Gospel is full of high and noble, and what may be called even romantic, principles and motives, and deep mysteries; and, further, considering the very topic which the Apostle combines with his admonitions is that awful subject, the coming of Christ; it is well worthy of notice that, in such a time, under such a covenant, and with such a prospect, he should draw a picture of the Christian character as free from excitement and effort, as full of repose, as still and as equable, as if the great Apostle wrote in some monastery of the desert or some country parsonage. Here surely is the finger of God; here is the evidence of supernatural influences, making the mind of man independent of circumstances! This is the thought that first suggests itself; and the second is this, how deep and refined is the true Christian spirit!—how difficult to enter into, how vast to embrace, how impossible to exhaust! Who would expect such composure and equanimity from the fervent Apostle of the Gentiles? We know St. Paul could do great things; could suffer and achieve, could preach and confess, could be high and could be low; but we might have thought that all this was the limit and the perfection of the Christian temper, as he viewed it; and that no room was left him for the feelings which the text and following verses lead us to ascribe to him.

And yet he who "laboured more abundantly than all" his brethren, is also a pattern of simplicity, meekness, cheerfulness, thankfulness, and serenity of mind.

II. It is observable, too, that it was foretold as the peculiarity of Gospel times by the Prophet Isaiah:

"The work of righteousness shall be peace; and the effect of righteousness, quietness and assurance for ever. And My people shall dwell in a peaceable habitation, and in sure dwellings, and in quiet resting-places."

"But this I say, brethren, the time is short." What matters it what we eat, what we drink, how we are clothed, where we lodge, what is thought of us, what becomes of us, since we are not at home? It is felt every day, even as regards this world, that when we leave home for a while we are unsettled. This, then, is the kind of feeling which a belief in Christ"s coming will create within us. It is not worth while establishing ourselves here; it is not worth while spending time and thought on such an object. We shall hardly have got settled when we shall have to move.

"Be careful for nothing," St. Paul says, or, as St. Peter, "casting all your care upon Him," or, as He Himself, "Take no thought" or care "for the morrow, for the morrow will take thought for the things of itself". This of course is the state of mind which is directly consequent on the belief, that "the Lord is at hand". Who would care for any loss or gain today, if he knew for certain that Christ would show Himself tomorrow? no one. Well, then, the true Christian feels as he would feel, did he know for certain that Christ would be here tomorrow.

III. The Christian has a deep, silent, hidden peace, which the world sees not,—like some well in a retired and shady place, difficult of access. He is the greater part of his time by himself, and when he is in solitude, that is his real state. What he is when left to himself and to his God, that is his true life. He can bear himself; he can (as it were) joy in himself, for it is the grace of God within him, it is the presence of the Eternal Comforter, in which he joys. He can bear, he finds it pleasant, to be with himself at all times,—"never less alone than when alone". He can lay his head on his pillow at night, and own in God"s sight, with overflowing heart, that he wants nothing, that he "is full and abounds," that God has been all things to him, and that nothing is not his which God could give him. More thankfulness, more holiness, more of heaven he needs indeed, but the thought that he can have more is not a thought of trouble, but of joy. It does not interfere with his peace to know that he may grow nearer God. Such is the Christian"s peace, when, with a single heart and the Cross in his eye, he addresses and commends himself to Him with whom the night is as clear as the day. St Paul says that "the peace of God shall keep our hearts and minds. By "keep" is meant "guard," or "garrison," our hearts; so as to keep out enemies. And he says, our "hearts and minds" in contrast to what the world sees of us. Many hard things may be said of the Christian, and done against him, but he has a secret preservative or charm, and minds them not.

—J. H. Newman.

References.—IV:4.—Spurgeon, Sermons, vol. xli. No2405. B. J. Snell, The Virtue of Gladness, p73. W. H. Evans, Sermons far the Church"s Year, p15. J. T. Bramston, Fratribus, p66. J. H. Jowett, The High Calling, p168. A. Maclaren, Expositions of Holy Scripture— Philippians, p21. IV:4-7.—F. J. A. Hort, Village Sermons in Outline, p221.

The Golden Mean

Philippians 4:5

"Your moderation," forbearance, conciliatoriness, yieldingness.

I. Note this admonition as it applies to matters of faith. The Apostle designed to put the Philippians on their guard against treating coldly or harshly those of another creed; the text is a warning against bigotry and dogmatism. The danger was lest they should exhibit an intolerant spirit in dealing with their unconverted neighbours. This admonition is by no means out of date; the modern Christian needs to give it most prayerful consideration, for he also is in danger of haughtiness and exclusiveness. (1) There is a pride of orthodoxy. (2) There is the pride of denominationalism.

II. The admonition of the text applies to matters of character. We are tempted to judge our brethren harshly; some of them are not like us in certain particulars, and we conclude that they are inferior in wisdom or devotion. (1) We must beware how we deal offensively with any whom we may imagine to be inferior to ourselves. (2) And let us be careful lest we grieve those who are different from ourselves.

III. This admonition applies to matters of conduct We are to display our reasonableness in daily life, and not severely to judge our fellows. It is not always easy to say what is exactly right and fitting to be done; we must, therefore, watch against illiberality and painful dogmatism. "Reasonableness of dealing, not strictness of legal right, but consideration for one another," is the lesson of the text and the high duty of the Christian life. The earth itself is not a rigid body; it yields to stress, it displays a certain plasticity for which the astronomer allows; and such is the character of living goodness. Just as the mighty ocean softly adjusts itself to all the articulations of the shore without any sacrifice of majesty; as the rock-ribbed earth is tremblingly sensitive, yielding to stress whilst delicately true to its orbit; so the strong, sincere, pure soul has a quick sense of the essential and non-essential—is ready within well-understood lines to give and take, and so preserves that aspect of ease and beauty which belongs to whatever is strong and free.

—W. L. Watkinson, Themes for Hours of Meditation, p113.

References.—IV:5.—W. M. Sinclair, Christ and Our Times, p231. R. W. Hiley. A Year"s Sermons, vol. ii. p346. F. St. John Corbett, The Preacher"s Year, p7. W. H. Evans, Short Sermons for the Seasons, p20. J. Keble, Sermons or Advent to Christmas Eve, p391. J. Jefferis, Christian World Pulpit, vol. xliv. p403. J. H. Jowett, The High Calling, p174. IV:6.—Ibid. p180. Spurgeon, Sermons, vol. xxv. No1469. A. Maclaren, Expositions of Holy Scripture— Philippians, p31.

Man"s Care Conquered By God"s Peace

Philippians 4:6-7

Let us see whether this exhortation against anxiety is as impracticable and visionary as some assume it to be; whether, on the contrary, it is not one of the wisest and kindest precepts God ever gave to His children; whether fuller obedience to it would not relieve us of our burdens and wipe away our tears, giving smiles in the place of sadness and peace in the midst of storms.

I. In distinguishing between various kinds of care, there are some which are evidently right, others as evidently wrong, and some which require thought before we can determine whether they are lawful or unlawful. (1) It is clear that some cares are perfectly justifiable. The injunction to pray about them implies this, and our obedience to Divine precepts necessitates them. (2) There are some cares which are as certainly wrong, because they flow from an evil source which taints them. Envy, suspicion, ambition, consciousness of guilt, pride, ill-temper may originate them and often do. (3) But, besides these, there are cares about which it is by no means easy to say whether they are lawful or unlawful. Can we find any touchstone to which we can bring a doubtful care, to test whether it be right or wrong? I think we can, and that it lies before us in my text, where we are pointed to prayer. Any care you can confidently pray about is lawful. (4) But some cares, lawful enough in themselves, become unlawful through their excess.

II. To let in the light of heaven on anxieties and cares—in other words, to pray over them—is to expel the evils in them. (1) Those evils are manifold. Even the body suffers from over-anxiety, as sleepless nights, a careworn face, and shattered nerves often testify. Our mental faculties are affected too. (2) How is this to be averted? We want a power put within us which will drive out the strong man armed, being stronger than he. And this is brought in by prayer.

III. The effect of obedience to this precept is set forth in the words: "And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. This peace is not a passive possession but an active power which "keeps the heart"; or, as Paul says to the Colossians, "rules the heart".

—A. Rowland, Open Windows and other Sermons, p130.

References.—IV:6, 7.—Spurgeon, Sermons, vol. xl. No2351. J. A. Beet, Christian World Pulpit, vol. xliv. p273. E. Armitage, ibid. vol. xlviii. p149.

Philippians 4:7

In the letters of J. M. Neale, an account is given of the death of the Rev. Charles Simeon. It is from the pen of Mr. Cams. "I went in to him after chapel this morning, and he was then lying with his eyes closed. I thought he was asleep, but after standing there a little while he put out his hand to me. I said, "The peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your heart and mind". He said nothing. I said again, "They washed their robes, dear Sirach, and made them white in the Blood of the Lamb; therefore they are before the throne of God". "I have, I have!" he said. "I have washed my robes in the Blood of the Lamb; they are clean, quite clean—I know it." He shut his eyes for a few minutes, and when he again opened them I said, "Well, dear Sirach, you will soon comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height, and know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye may—He tried to raise himself, and said, after his quick manner, "Stop! stop! you don"t understand a bit about that text; don"t go on with it—I won"t hear it—I shall understand it soon!" After a little while he said, "Forty years ago I blessed God because I met one man in the street who spoke to me, and, oh, what a change there is now"!

References.—IV:7.—Spurgeon, Sermons, vol. iv. No180 and vol. xxiv. No1397. Bishop Creighton. University and other Sermons, p1. T. Arnold, Christian Life: Its Hopes, p238. Archbishop Benson, Living Theology, p211. E. J. Boyce, Parochial Sermons, p188. Phillips Brooks, The Law of Growth, p219. T. Binney, King"s Weigh-House Chapel Sermons (2Series), p79, 94, 106, 121. J. H. Jowett, The High Calling, p186. A. Maclaren, Expositions of Holy Scripture— Philippians, p39.

Protected Thoughts

Philippians 4:7-8

In the Christian life the thought-realm is the seat of the greatest difficulty with which a man is confronted. Our thoughts are so elusive, so difficult to control, and so entirely independent of any known law, that to order them arightly seems an impossibility. It is characteristic of the Gospel that such a difficulty is not ignored, but is honestly faced and frankly dealt with. It proposes a solution of the problem of the thought-life the worth of which can only be known by personal test, and the man who would know the fulness of the Evangel must seek the fulfilment of its promises here. Indeed, in its ultimate analysis the adequacy of the Gospel as a scheme of salvation depends upon its power in this hidden realm of our being, for our thoughts are by far the largest parts of our lives. We think far more than we speak or Acts, and it is a matter of common experience that our thoughts are the springs of both speech and action.

I. The power of thought is the strongest force in the life of any one of us, as witness its annihilation of distance and time, and its disregard of circumstances. Our holiest moments are often invaded by our un-holiest imaginations, and uncontrolled thought at such times makes vivid to us things long since past. On this account it is that thought manifests its greatest strength as an avenue of temptation. Our temptations come to us mainly by our thoughts, which gather strength in this respect from their own past victories.

II. The fact, that our thoughts have a direct and powerful influence upon others is an added emphasis upon the necessity of our endeavouring to apprehend the fulness of Christ"s salvation in this respect. It is quite impossible to disregard what is now known as the power of thought-communication and transference, a misapprehension of which has led not a few into a regular cult of thought-power, from which a right understanding of the Gospel in its fulness would have saved them. Now we may understand something of its reality and influence by looking at it inversely. We all know the power of thoughtlessness and the strength which it has to wound and to hurt. We all know that nothing cuts us so deeply as thoughtless treatment on the part of those from whom we expected something better. And by introversion we may understand something also of the influence of holy, pure, and loving thought.

III. Along with the creation of personal self-discovery, the Gospel proclaims an inward emancipation, promising to the surrendered heart a guardianship of thought which liberates from moral bondage, and a communication of power which brings "every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ". And these words are not expressive of an unattainable ideal, spoken to mock us with the sense of shortcoming which they create, but are rather a call to us to enter into the joy of our Lord.

The Gospel does not call us to a life of mere passivity, which would be, to say the least, of but questionable morality. We are to co-operate with Him, and it is always within our own power to keep ourselves in the love of God. Hence it is that the Gospel imposes a rigid self-discipline with regard to thoughts, and lays upon us the responsibility for thought-selection. Assuming that we have learned our own helplessness, that we have yielded ourselves to the Lord, and are now relying upon His promise to undertake the responsibility of guarding our hearts and our thoughts, it enjoins "Whatsoever things are true, honest, lovely, of good report think on these things". Christ does not supersede our own activities but rather strengthens them, and to us is committed the task of crowding out the evil by the good, always in reliance upon His imparted strength.

—J. Stuart Holden, The Pre-Eminent Lord, p181.

Right Thoughts

Philippians 4:8

St. Paul here tells the beloved Philippians what things to think of, what to value, what to practise in their lives; if they do this, he says that the "God of Peace" will certainly be with them. Let us look at the things which he suggests for their meditation and practice a little more closely.

I. Whatsoever Things are True.—The word has a fuller and deeper meaning in the Bible than it now has. Truth with us means the opposite of falsity in speech, but in Scripture it means the opposite of all unreality, all sham. St. Paul bids them think habitually of all that is real; on the substance, not on the shadow; on the eternal, not on the transitory; on God, not on the world. "Whatsoever things are real"—God, the Soul, Eternity, the Gospel of Jesus Christ—"think on these things."

II. Whatsoever Things are Honest.—The word in the original means "noble," "grave," "reverend," "seemly". It is an exhortation to dignity of thought as opposite to meanness of thought. It invites to the gravity of self-respect. Nothing becomes too bad for men who have lost their self-respect. Why is this sea of life strewn with hopeless wrecks? Could the unmanly Prayer of Manasseh, the unwomanly woman, have sunk to such depths of loathsome degradation if they had ever thought of whatsoever things are honest? There are no words of counsel more deep-reaching than these, especially to young men and women.

III. Whatsoever Things are Just.—Justice is one of the most elementary of human duties, and one of the rarest. Try to be, what so few are, habitually fair.

IV. Whatsoever Things are Pure.—Ah! that this warning might reach the heart of every one of you, and inspire you with the resolve to banish from your minds everything that defileth. Impure thoughts encouraged lead inevitably to fatal deeds and blasted lives.

V. Whatsoever Things are Lovely.—Winning and attractive thoughts that live and are radiant in the light. If you think of such things, the baser and viler will have no charm for you. Try then, above all, "the expulsive power of good affections". Empty by filling—empty of what is mean and impure by filling with what is noble and lovely.

VI. Whatsoever Things are of Good Report.—The world delights in whatsoever things are of ill report—base stories, vile innuendoes, evil surmisings, scandalous hints; it revels in envy, hatred, malice, and all uncharitableness. If you would be noble, if you would be a Christian Prayer of Manasseh, have nothing to do with such things.

VII. Then, if there be any Virtue, and if there be any Praise, think on these Things.—The words do not imply the least doubt that there is virtue, and that there is praise, but they mean, whatever virtue and praise there be, think on these. There is no nobler character than the man who knows the awful reverence which is due from himself to his own soul; who loveth the thing that is just and doeth that which is lawful and right, in singleness of heart; who keeps the temple of his soul pure and bright with the presence of the Holy One; who hates all that is ignoble and loves his neighbour as himself. What has such a man to fear? The eternal forces are with him. His heart, his hope, his treasure, are beyond the grave; and ever and anon he is permitted to see the heavens open, and "the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of Man".

—Dean Farrar.

What to Think About

Philippians 4:8

"Think on these things." "These things" constitute the prescribed liberty of Christian manhood. They are a kind of inventory of the mental furnishings of the Christian life. And I think everybody will readily grant that the furnishings are not cheap and stingy, not bare and monotonous, but liberal and varied, graceful and refined.

Now let me review these glorious possibilities, this authorised dominion in Christian freedom of thought.

I. Whatsoever Things are True.—True, not simply veracious. The word "true" is not used by the Apostle as we use it in a court of law, when we enjoin a witness to "speak the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth". The things described in a police court as true are usually ugly and repulsive; truth is always beautiful. Truth in a police court is correspondence with fact. Truth as used in the New Testament is correspondence with God. An unclean story may be accurate; an unclean story can never be true. A story is true when in very substance it shares the likeness of Him who is the truth. Veracity accurately describes a happening, truth describes a particular happening. We are therefore enjoined not to think about merely accurate things, but about accurate things which unveil the face of God.

II. Whatsoever Things are Honourable.—Things that are worthy of honour, worthy of reverence, the august and the venerable. The Authorised Version uses the old English word "honest," which is suggestive of gravity, seemliness, dignity. There is a certain fine stateliness in the word, recalling the impressive grandeur of a cathedral pile. Whatsoever things make the character of men and women to resemble the imposing proportions of a cathedral, "think on these things".

III. Whatsoever Things are Just.—And yet our word "just" does not convey the Apostle"s mind and meaning. Justice can be very cold and steely, like the justice of a Shylock. It may mean only superficial exactitude as between man and man. But to be really just is to be right with God. No man is really just until he is adjusted to his Maker. Whatsoever things satisfy the standards of the Almighty, "think on these things".

IV. Whatsoever Things are Pure.—But to be pure is to be more than just. It is to be stainless, blameless, and unblemished.

V. Whatsoever Things are Lovely.—We are to bring the amiable and the lovable within the circle of our regard. John Calvin gives the meaning as "morally agreeable and pleasant. I am glad that juicy word came from the lips of that austere prophet. Dr. Matheson tells of a young woman who came to him in great distress over her failure to fulfil the religious duties of life. He was aware that at this very time she was living a life of sacrificial devotion to a blind father. "I asked if this service of hers was not a religious duty. She answered, "Oh no, it cannot be, because that brings me such joy, and it is the delight of my heart to serve my father"." It is a most common and perilous mistake. There are tens of thousands of duties and liberties which are juicy and delicious, and they are the portion of those who sit down at the Lord"s feast.

VI. Whatsoever Things are of Good Report.—Not merely things that are well reported of, but things which themselves have a fine voice, things that are fair speaking, and therefore gracious, winsome, winning, and attractive. And then, as though he were afraid that the vast enclosure was not yet wide enough, and that some fair and beautiful thing might still be outside its comprehensive pale, the Apostle adds still more inclusive terms, and says, "If there be any virtue" whatever is merely excellent; "and if there be any praise," whatever is in any degree commendable—take account of them, bring them within the circle of your commendation and delight, "think on these things". Fasten your eyes upon the lovely wheresoever the lovely may be found.

—J. H. Jowett, The High Galling, p192.

Time to Think

Philippians 4:8

This age has been called an age of growth, and so in many ways it is—growth of empire, of commerce, of wealth, of population, and an improvement in physique.

But what of spiritual growth? There is a growth in organisations, in spiritual activities, in spiritual fuss, but this is only the scaffolding; the building itself grows but little. What is the remedy? We find it in the first word of our text, "Think".

I. Get Time to Think.—It is more necessary than many realise; it is indeed absolutely necessary, for without time to think our spiritual life cannot grow. We hear too much of the voice of man. Get time to hear the voice of God.

II. Acquire the Habit of Thinking.—The mind quickly forms habits just as the body does, and if those habits are habits of idleness or day-dreams or vanity, the mind will soon become useless for thinking. Discipline your mind! Keep still and think. Think deeply, and so become deep. Think regularly, and so acquire the habit of thinking.

III. What shall we Think?—It is a good thing to drive out wrong and impure thoughts from our hearts—we must do so; but unless we obtain good thoughts to fill their place the evil thoughts will return with sevenfold force. What, then, shall we think? "Whatsoever things are true, honest, just, pure, lovely, of good report, if there be any virtue, any praise, think on these things." That is the great remedy for our lack of spiritual growth. The scaffolding is here; let us build up the spiritual building.

The Regulation of Thoughts

Philippians 4:8

What a vast and varied domain there is spread out before man in which his thought may expatiate! Have we not in this itself an intimation of our immortality? It has been said that "art is long, and life is short". The truth is that life is long too, as long as art—long even to infinity. He who has given the eternal faculties and the eternal longing will also give the eternal life. "As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he." A man can never be better than his thoughts. Everything good and everything evil originates in thought. And herein we are greatly helped or hindered, as the case may be, by the power of habit. What you want is carefully—painfully, if necessary—to cultivate the habit of choosing those things which are good and pure and honourable and lovely and of good report. It may be a slow process, but it is a sure one, if only, by the grace of God, you persevere. For you must remember that interest in a particular subject Isaiah, to a very large extent, a matter of habit. Bearing in mind that what is necessary is not simply a good resolution such as one might make at the close of a sermon, or in one of his better moods, but a steady and persevering course of training and culture, let us see more precisely what it is we have to do.

I. The first thing clearly is to select that which is good (as opposed to that which is evil) to think about. Here comes in the weighty truth that "to the pure all things are pure, but unto them that are defiled and unbelieving is nothing pure; but even their mind and conscience is defiled". It is not so much the things at which we look as the way in which we look at them, which makes the great difference.

II. Not only, however, is it our duty to select that which is good as opposed to that which is bad, but to choose that which is best in preference to that which is inferior, to think about. God made us to soar. He has given us atmosphere enough to soar in, and heaven enough to soar to; and it is a shame that so many of us should be content to think such paltry thoughts as we do. There is one theme which is loftier and more inspiring than all others, which we neglect at the peril of all that is highest and best, and most hopeful in us—the great theme of the Gospel—"Jesus Christ and Him crucified".

III. While the greatest theme of all which can engage our attention is the truth as it is in Jesus, there is no disposition to narrow the range of our thinking. There is only one thing narrow in Christianity, and that is the gate—the entrance.

—J. M. Gibson, A Strong City, p165.

The Discipline of Thought

Philippians 4:8

When we speak of unseen things, we commonly refer to things that are eternal. We associate the unseen with the world beyond the veil, where the angels of God, innumerable, are around the throne. But the world of thought, of feeling, of passion, and of desire—that world still baffles the finest powers of vision: as surely as there is an unseen heaven above us, there is an unseen universe within. I wish, then, to turn to the world within. I believe that most of us give far too little heed to what I might call the discipline of thought First, I shall speak on the vital need there is of governing our thoughts. Next, on how the Gospel helps man to this government.

I. First, then, on the government of our thoughts—and at the outset I would recognise the difficulty of it. I question if there is a harder task in all the world than that of bringing our thoughts into subjection to our will. And yet there are one or two considerations I can bring before you, that will show you how, in the whole circle of self-mastery, there is nothing more vital than the mastery of thought (1) Think, for example, how much of our happiness—our common happiness—depends on thought. Our common happiness does not hang on what we view. Our common happinesss hangs on our point of view. Largely, it is not things themselves; it is our thoughts about them, that constitute the gentle art of being happy. (2) Again, how much of our unconscious influence lies in our thoughts. That very suggestive and spiritual writer, Maeterlinck, puts the matter in his own poetic way. He says: "Though you assume the face of a saint, a hero, or a martyr, the eye of the passing child will not greet you with the same unapproachable smile if there lurk within you an evil thought". (3) There is only one other consideration I would mention, and that is the power of thought in our temptations. In the government of thought—in the power to bring thought to heel—lies one of our greatest moral safeguards against sin.

II. How does the Gospel help us to govern our thoughts? To some of you the mastery of thought may seem impossible—it is never viewed as impossible in Scripture, and the secret of that Gospel-power lies in the three great words—light, love, life. (1) Think first of light as a power for thought-mastery. In twilight or darkness what sad thoughts come thronging which the glory of sunlight instantly dispels. The glory of Christ is that by His life and death He has shed a light where before there was only darkness. The light of Christ, for the man who lives in it, is an untold help in the government of thought (2) Then think of love—is it not one mark of love that our thoughts always follow in its train? (3) Then think of life—are not our thoughts affected by the largeness and abundance of our life? Christ"s great tide of life, like the tide of the sea that covers up the mudbanks, is the greatest power in the moral world for submerging every base and bitter thought.

—G. H. Morrison, The Unlighted Lustre, p1.

Things That Are Lovely

Philippians 4:8

And "these things" constitute the prescribed liberty of Christian manhood. They are a sort of inventory of the mental furnishings of the Christian life. If we are to find our mental furnishings among things that are lovely, where shall we make our explorations? We can find them in humanity, in nature, and in God as revealed to us of Jesus Christ our Lord.

I. Turn, then, to humanity, and whatsoever things are lovely think on these things. And do not be surprised if I counsel you to begin with yourselves. Steadily seek and contemplate the true and the gracious, and the better side of your own self. Do you imagine that this will foster self-conceit? It will only nourish a healthy self-respect In the most barren wastes of life solitary blooms are blowing. They may be weak and fragile and sickly, but "think on these things". And we must busy ourselves in diligently seeking hidden beauties in the lives of others. It is a very chivalrous and manly guest, and it receives a rich reward.

II. And turn to nature, and "whatsoever things are lovely think on these things". We need to "get back to the land" in more senses than the political one of which we are so helpfully hearing today. We want to get back to its poetic significance, its mystic interpretations, its subtle influences upon the spirit by its ministry of light, and shade, and colour, and fragrance, its delicate graces, and its awful austerity. We need a refreshed communion with God"s beautiful world. It is a most neglected side of modern education.

III. And lastly—and surely firstly, too—turn to the Lord Jesus, and contemplate "the chief among ten thousand, the altogether lovely". Is it not relevant counsel to our age to advise men to sometimes lay down their apparatus of criticism, and just bask in the contemplation of the moral glory of our Lord? I am not disparaging criticism, but I am advising that criticism be not allowed to suffocate devotion. I once saw an eminent professor of physics who was so intent upon watching the disturbance effected in a cup of coffee by allowing the bowl of his spoon to rest upon it that he took no breakfast at all! It is possible to be so occupied with critical problems concerning the Bread of Life that we altogether forget to eat. And so I say it is well at times, and very frequently too, to lay all critical questions on one side, and just absorbently contemplate the spiritual glory of our Redeemer.

—J. H. Jowett, The British Congregationalist, p252.

References.—IV:8.—F. W. Farrar, Everyday Christian Life, p46. H. Howard, The Raiment of the Soul, p44. T. Sadler, Sunday Thoughts, p139. W. J. Hocking, Christian World Pulpit, vol. xlv. p59. F. W. Farrar, ibid. vol. xlviii. pp49, 52. A. P. Stanley, Canterbury Sermons, p291. A. L. Lilley, Christian World Pulpit, vol. liii. p202. Church Family Newspaper, vol. xv. p564. R. J. Drummond, Faith"s Certainties, p215. Expositor (5th Series), vol. ix. p437; ibid. (6th Series), vol. xi. p147. A. Maclaren, Expositions of Holy Scripture— Philippians, p48.

Philippians 4:9

There may be something more finely sensitive in the modern humour that tends more and more to withdraw a man"s personality from the lessons he inculcates, or the cause that he has espoused; but there is a loss herewith of wholesome responsibility; and when we find in the works of Knox, as in the Epistles of Paul, the man himself standing nakedly forward, courting and anticipating criticism, putting his character, as it were, in pledge for the sincerity of his doctrine, we had best waive the question of delicacy, and make our acknowledgment for a lesson of courage, not unnecessary in these days of anonymous criticism, and much light, otherwise unattainable, in the spirit in which great movements were initiated and carried forward.

—R. L. Stevenson, in Men and Books.

References.—IV:9.—J. H. Jowett, The High Galling, p198. IV:10.—Expositor (5th Series), vol. viii. p409; ibid. vol. x. p196. IV:10-14.—A. Maclaren, Expositions of Holy Scripture— Philippians, p58. IV:10-23.—W. C. Smith, Scottish Review, vol. vi. p248. IV:11.—Spurgeon, Sermons, vol. vi. No320. T. F. Crosse, Sermons (2Series), p122. H. P. Liddon, Sermons on Some Words of St. Paul, p262. J. Keble, Sermons for the Sundays After Trinity, p86. J. H. Jowett, The High Calling, p204. Expositor (6th Series), vol. xi. p285.

Concurrent Adaptation

Philippians 4:11-12

True life with serene acquiescence accommodates itself to things as they are, and, whilst still pursuing its highest ideals, finds in its surroundings the conditions of its unfolding and satisfaction. All inward irritation and revolt on the score of circumstance mean so much defect of life.

I. Note the wide range of the Apostle"s experience. We are naturally curious as to the history of a teacher who declares that he has found the secret of perennial content. If the circumstances of such a man were narrow and monotonous, if his life were cloistered and uneventful, we should not be greatly impressed by his avowal; he who is to witness with effect on this subject must have a history. This the Apostle had. He had ranged all climes from the south to the north pole of human circumstance and sentiment. He assures us, however, that no change found him unprepared. From none did he shrink, and by none did he suffer loss. Those who have not mastered the secret of adjusting themselves to the incidence of the perpetual unsettlements of life are liable to suffer terribly in spirit and faith, temper and character.

II. Mark the process by which the Apostle arrived at this perfect contentment. Whatever may be the aspect of his lot to the carnal eye, he accepts it with gratitude and expectation: "I can do all things in Him that strengtheneth me". How, then, is the Christian thoroughly reconciled to a life which occasions the natural man such deep discomfort, and which involves him in dire peril? (1) Christ restores the inner harmony of our nature upon which the interpretation of the outer world depends. In the sovereign power of redeeming and sanctifying grace the conscience is sprinkled from guilt, the passions are purified, the heart glows with love, the will is sceptred, and with peace, patience, and power dwelling within there is no longer any reason or temptation to quarrel with things outside. (2) By rendering us self-sufficing, Christ renders us largely independent of the outer world. To the natural man the world of circumstance is the whole of life. But he who lives in the Spirit, and walks in the Spirit, has an altogether different conception of the place and power of circumstance. He knows of another world than that which meets the carnal eye—of a kingdom within him having marvellous interests, treasures, dignities, sciences, and delights of its own. Within his own heart he carries the summer, the fountain, the nightingale, and the rose, therefore the palace does not mock nor the prison paralyse. (3) By strengthening us in the inner man Christ makes us masters of circumstance.

—W. L. Watkinson, Themes for Hours of Meditation, p72.

Reference.—IV:11, 12.—E. Armitage, Christian World Pulpit, vol. lii. p202.

Philippians 4:11-13

Oliver Cromwell, a few days after the death of his daughter, Lady Elizabeth Claypole, "called for his Bible, and desired an honourable and godly person there (with others) present to read to him "Not that I speak in respect of want, for I have learned, in whatsoever state I Amos, therewith to be content. I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I am instructed, both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things, through Christ which strengtheneth me," which read, saith he: to use his own word, "This Scripture did once save my life, when my eldest son died, which went as a dagger to my heart, indeed it did". And then, repeating the words of the text himself, declared his then thoughts to this purpose, reading the tenth and eleventh verses of Paul"s contentation, and submission to the will of God in all conditions (said he): ""Tis true, Paul, you have learned this, and attained to this measure of grace: but what shall I do? Ah, poor creature, it is a hard lesson for me to take out! I find it so!" But reading on to the thirteenth verse, where Paul saith, "I can do all things through Christ that strengtheneth me"—then faith began to work, and his heart to find support and comfort, and he said thus to himself: "He that was Paul"s Christ is my Christ too," and so drew water out of the wells of salvation, Christ in the covenant of grace."

Adversity is sometimes hard upon a man; but for one man who can stand prosperity, there are a hundred that will stand adversity.

—Carlyle, Heroes (v.).

Acclimatisation of Character

Philippians 4:12-13

I. The vicissitudes of our life, especially when they are sudden and unexpected, are always attended by serious peril. Artificial acclimatisation in Nature is possible only when effected with great care, and even then it is often followed by disappointment. Said a tourist to a famous Swiss guide: "You have been in all weathers, and all changes of weather". "The changes are worse than the weather," replied the guide. The alternations of circumstance and experience in human life are repeatedly more dangerous to faith and principle than the most trying settled conditions to which time and habit have reconciled us.

II. And this ordeal of change was never more incessant and sharp than it is today. In the simple times of the past things were more stereotyped and existence more sluggish than we now know them to be. Every hour we see and feel the ebb and flow of things, and without swift handling of the helm we may easily make shipwreck.

III. Yet this acclimatisation of character is happily possible, as we learn from our text. With a patience and skill that science cannot rival, with subtle and inexhaustible resources, Nature effects marvellous acclimatisations in plants and flowers, creating in regions intermediate between hot and cold climates a profuse vegetation of a tropical character which can, nevertheless, sustain almost an arctic severity. Grace effects much the same thing for human nature. "I can do all things in Him that strengtheneth me". What is entirely impossible in artificial acclimatisation is effected by Nature; and that which is unattainable in character through any artifice of our own becomes delightfully actual and experimental through the grace of Christ In a high and sincere spirituality of life we attain perfect liberty touching the outside world, drawing wisdom and blessing from all surroundings and sensations, as the bee sips honey from flowers of all shapes and colours.

—W. L. Watkinson, Inspiration in Common Life, p108.

The Power of the Cross

Philippians 4:13

"Crucified with Christ" Such is the language in which the author of the Epistle to the Philippians elsewhere describes his relation to Calvary. But is there any life which, unless we are admitted to its secret history, seems less like crucifixion than the career of the stout Apostle Paul? There is no paleness in its presentation. Its hours are crowded with glorious life. It is romantic, adventurous, and vivid. If happiness indeed consist in the unimpeded exercise of function there is abundance of this quality in the missionary journeys which the Acts records. St. Paul is perhaps the most vigorous, efficient, self-realising character in the pages of the New Testament He who bids the Christian imitate the humility of Him who took upon Him the form of a slave is himself one of the world"s masters. He would withstand you to the face as soon as look at you. He knows his mind and carries through his purpose. No doubt he was impatient of dull wits, and was, it may be, too ready to call the tiresome unbeliever a fool, the priestly bully a whited wall. None can deny him the honour of the strong Prayer of Manasseh, who leaves his Mark, creates ideals, and makes history. "I can do all things" seems to portray the man more faithfully than "I am crucified".

His missionary journeys rival in interest the travels of Odysseus. They impress us by the fulness of their experience rather than by the greatness of their self-sacrifice. The strong man delights in dangers, in hair-breadth escapes, in critical situations. The adventurous lad who first hears the celebrated catalogue of Pauline perils hardly pities the man who encountered them. These are all in the day"s work of him who would earn the reward of efficiency.

I. The Christian, then, according to the type which is presented to us in the New Testament, is the man that can do all things, or, to borrow a striking phrase from the Lord"s own teaching, who through faith can remove mountains. The characteristic note of the Gospel is not sacrifice but salvation. "In hoc signo vinces" is the legend inscribed upon the banner of the cross. Calvary is the symbol not of renunciation but of life. It is very easy to get a distorted view of the real message which the Gospel brings to human needs if we go for our ideals outside the range of the Apostolic Church, if we seek for the pattern of Christian manhood whether in mediaeval or modern times. We need not hesitate to acknowledge the witness of the saints in every age to the manifoldness of Christ if we look rather to the New Testament for the due proportions of Christian discipleship.

The gospel of the cross was no apotheosis of pain, but the proclamation of power. It presents to our gaze a spectacle of Divine tenderness only because it is the message of victorious life. And for St Paul it is the Gospel which is the fixed thing in Christianity; the inviolable unchangeable centre of authority; the standard presentation of the fact of Christ which gives unity, cohesion, and solidity to all the riches of wisdom and knowledge which are hid in Him.

II. In Jesus pain is transmuted into power, only because to Him is given all authority in heaven and in earth, and in His hands He bears the keys of hell. In Him we behold no servile submission of the creature to the Law of the God who made it He is Himself the very son and substance of the Everlasting Will, enthroning the humanity which He assumes, manifested as the goal and destiny of all creation. How near to every age and to each human life He seems—how near and yet how far! As, when some traveller among the mountains has climbed the shoulder of a westward hill and almost thinks his journey at an end, the scene expands; the perspective widens; ridge behind ridge, alp behind alp, peak behind peak appears, rising in stairs and terraces to meet the horizon now almost lost in dreamy distances of dazzling light; so Christ the end of human life becomes a vaster Christ the nearer we attain.

But with God all things are possible. This is no formal acknowledgment of an omnipotence which, if it have concrete existence, is a fact too general and remote to have any real bearing upon the practical concerns of life, but a great experience which has made men strong. "Ye shall receive power" was the form in which the risen Master renewed the promise of an energising influence, an inward presence, a controlling Personality, which entering into His elect should make them sons of God. "Repent ye and be baptised every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ unto the remission of your sins," such was the burthen of St. Peter"s witness on the Day of Pentecost, "and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit".

—J. G. Simpson, Christus Crucifixus, p25.

Philippians 4:13

Cardinal Vaughan wrote in the spring of1882: "I am fifty years old. It is said that no man becomes a saint after fifty. I am determined to give no peace to myself or to my Holy Patrons, or indeed to our dear Lord Himself. By prayer even this miracle can be performed, and a dry, hard, stupid old stick like me can reach great sanctity in eo qui me confortat. St. Francis of Sales died at fifty-six: St. Francis of Assisi, Xavier, and St. Charles were dead and saints about ten years earlier. What a grace to have spatium paenitentiae. I am determined to use the remaining time better than the last, God helping."

—J. G. Snead-Cox, Life of Cardinal Vaughan, vol1. p452.

References.—IV:13.—Spurgeon, Sermons, vol. vi. No346. J. B. Lightfoot, Cambridge Sermons, p317. J. M. Neale, Sermons Preached in Sackville College Chapel, vol. i. p400. F. A. Noble, Christian World Pulpit, vol1. p162. T. F. Crosse, Sermons (2Series), p122. J. A. Alexander, The Gospel of Jesus Christ, p410. J. H. Jowett, The High Calling, p210. J. G. Simpson, Christus Crucifixus, p25. IV:14.—Ibid. p216.

Philippians 4:15

Nothing is harder to manage, on either side, than the sense of an obligation conferred or received.

—Morley"s, Life of Cobden (ch1.).

The law of benefit is a difficult channel, which requires careful sailing or rude boats.


References.—IV:15.—Expositor (5th Series), vol. viii. pp122, 135; ibid. (7th Series), vol. vi. p371. IV:16.—Ibid. (4th Series), vol. x. p333. IV:17.—Bishop Westcott, The Incarnation and Common Life, p195. IV:18.—Expositor (4th Series), vol. vi. p194. IV:19.—Spurgeon, Sermons, vol. xxix. No1712. H. J. Bevis, Sermons, p131. IV:19, 20.—J. H. Jowett, The High Calling, p222. IV:20-23.—A. Maclaren, Expositions of Holy Scripture— Philippians, p74.

The Saints of Caesar"s Household

Philippians 4:22

It is the chiefly upon which I want to lav the stress—that the warmest and most loving salutation should have come from the unlikeliest place. St. Paul is sending a letter to the Church at Philippi. He sits in all the rude discomforts of a prison, writing amidst much difficulty, secured by a coupling chain to a soldier. Is this life wasted? He is preaching in this prison to a greater congregation than could ever be gathered in the market place or on Mars" Hill. At that hour, when time seemed to stand still, he was preaching to all the ages. And this day this word is ours because Paul was in prison. But of this ministry in the dungeon the fruit was not only afar off in the future, it was immediate.

I. Let us think of those of whom St. Paul writes, "the saints of Caesar"s household"—certainly the last place to which we should go to look for saints. Rome at that time was the most unlikely place in the world to look for a saint. No language could utter the depth of abomination to which it had sunk. And of all its people the most miserable was the lot of the slave. So many of these were there that they could only be kept in subjection by the most terrible severity. To complete it all they were slaves in Caesar"s household. This Caesar was Nero—a very monster in iniquity. Here it Isaiah, then, where the example and influence of this monster had poisoned the very atmosphere—within the walls of Nero"s palace—that a little company of his own slaves gather in loving fellowship around Paul the prisoner, and send their loving greeting to the Church at Philippi.

II. To us, too, the saints of Caesar"s household send their greetings. (1) There are those whose position seems to make Christianity a difficulty—they may think sometimes, perhaps, almost an impossibility. My brother, my sister, these saints of Caesar"s household salute you. What think you would they count those hindrances of which you make so much? (2) And yet again, others shrink in fear of themselves. Surely, again, these saints of Caesar"s household salute you! (8) Does it seem to some that their sphere is so little, so narrow, so lowly, that there is no room for any service for God? Again the saints of Caesar"s household salute you.

—M. G. Pearse, The Gentleness of Jesus, p125.

Saints in the Household of Caesar

Philippians 4:22

There are few contrasts so startling as that which is suggested by this Epistle to the Philippians. We read our pagan history and we read our Bible, but it is not often that the two come so close together and that the lines of both histories touch for one moment to separate again. Here we have for the first time that union of sacred and profane history. Here seems to commence that long struggle between the religion of Christ and the Empire of Rome, which ended by establishing the Gospel upon the ruins of the Eternal City. Here we read of Philippi, the advanced guard of the ambition of Macedonian kings, but now the seat of a Christian Church. Philippi, on whose battlefield the future of the world was decided just a hundred years before, now sending Epaphroditus to bear comfort and help to the Apostle in his Roman prison. Everything seems to point to the same contrast between the inspired word of Christian advice as written in this Epistle and the Roman Praetorian command, between the purity and piety of the writer and that golden palace of sin and shame outside the walls of which he wrote, between the preaching of St. Paul, Apostle of Christ, and Nero, Emperor of Rome, tyrant, matricide, and anti-Christ. There, for two years, as we know, waiting for his trial, the Apostle abode, and thither came many of his friends, Timotheus, Luke, Aristarehus, Marcus, Demas—their names are familiar to the whole Christian world; but who are these of whom the text speaks, "saints of Caesar"s household"? We do not know. The Bible is silent. The history of the world has passed them over, the history of the Church knows them not. By chance, indeed, in the dark recesses of the Catacombs, amid the quaint symbols of the hope of immortality, their names may even now be deciphered, but beyond that we know them not.

I. Christians under Adverse Circumstances.—It is about them that I would fain say to you just two words. One is that if we can conceive of any place in the world more unlikely than another at that day in which to find a Christian man it was Nero"s palace. If we had been asked where we should expect to hear of a Christian in Rome, Nero"s gilded palace would be the very last place which would be mentioned. A friend of Paul, a follower of Jesus Christ in that palace of bastard art, and lust, and murder! What sins he must have witnessed, what temptations must have beset his path, what responsibility, what difficulties, I had almost said what impossibilities, in the way of a Christian life. Well, then, the encouragement to us is this, that, if there, then anywhere it is possible to be a follower of our Blessed Lord. The encouragement Isaiah, that there must surely be no difficulties of life, no post of duty, no situation of temptation, in which a Christian Prayer of Manasseh, by the grace of God, may not work his life unharmed. All may learn by this example the sufficiency of the Grace of God to sustain and strengthen them in the most adverse circumstances.

II. Our Real Danger.—The world in which we live, our domestic, professional, social, political world, it is to us Caesar"s household. We have to live there, work there, wait there for our Blessed Master, and, though of course superficially the world has changed, there is no arena, there is no garment of flaming pitch, there is no fierce cry, of "Christians to the lions!" nothing that could tempt to apostasy in our case, or offer excuse to weak human nature to compromise with sin and infidelity, yet our dangers are no less real. The world Isaiah, after all, though softer and gentler, no less dangerous to Christian men, because day by day they are brought in contact with those who neither serve nor know our Divine Master, and then zeal in duty brings its own temptation, earthly labour has its own peril. Our fees are really not so much the foes that we find in the world, but the foe we bear about with us wherever we go. But a heart right with God, a mind directed by His Spirit, a habit of dependence on His grace and of prayer, a habit of close walking with our Lord and Saviour, these will keep a man safe anywhere, and the more difficult it is to make profession of faith in our own individual circumstances, so much the more distinct and decided by the grace of God may that profession be.

III. Never Despair of Finding Good Men Anywhere.—Moreover, I think that from these unknown saints in Caesar"s household we may all of us, men and women, learn a lesson of charity, never to despair of finding good men anywhere. God sees not as we see, sufficient if He knows His own, and will one day bring them into the light. Depend upon it there will be many in heaven whom we did not expect to meet For God"s servants are often hidden sometimes from pure unobtrusiveness, sometimes from a shrinking fear lest they should after profession fall and bring dishonour on the cause, sometimes again from circumstances which have not brought out their character before those with whom they live. But let us comfort ourselves with the assurance that God knows them and will declare them one day. We ourselves are blind and err in our judgment, and we have no right to pass sentence on one another. Let it be enough for us that our heavenly Father allots to all His children the post that they are to take in life, and when the pressure is too strong or the temptation too great for their strength, then the same loving Father will assuredly call them from it, or if not then, He can by His grace sustain them in it and hold up their goings that they slip not, for if there could be saints in the golden palace of Nero it is incongruous and illogical to suppose that there is any post of earthly duty or difficulty or temptation to which we could be subjected, in which we could plead that it is impossible to do right.

References.—IV:22.—J. H. Jowett, The High Calling, p234. J. Tolefree Parr, The White Life, p106. J. Thew, Broken Ideals, p97. IV:23.—J. H. Jowett, The High Calling, p239.

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Nicol, W. Robertson, M.A., L.L.D. "Commentary on Philippians 4:22". Expositor's Dictionary of Text. 1910.

The Expositor's Greek Testament




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Nicol, W. Robertson, M.A., L.L.D. "Commentary on Philippians 4:22". The Expositor's Greek Testament. 1897-1910.

The Expositor's Greek Testament

Philippians 4:22. . If by this time, as is probable (see Introduction), Paul had been removed from his lodging to one of the state prisons near the palace, it is plain that Christians of the Imperial household would have special opportunities of close intercourse with him.— . . See esp[73]. SH[74]., Romans, pp. 418–423, as supplementary to Lightfoot’s important discussion; and also, Riggenbach, Neue Jahrb. f. deutsche Th., 1892, pp. 498–525, Mommsen, Handbuch d. röm. Alterth., ii., 2 (ed. 3), pp. 833–839. SH[75]. 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 centres 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. See Friedländer, Sittengeschichte Roms, i., pp. 70 ff., 74, 110–112.

[73] especially.

[74]. Sanday and Headlam (Romans).

[75]. Sanday and Headlam (Romans).



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Nicol, W. Robertson, M.A., L.L.D. "Commentary on Philippians 4:22". The Expositor's Greek Testament. 1897-1910.

Justin Edwards' Family Bible New Testament

They that are of Cesar’s household; persons attached to the emperor’s household, who had been converted by the labors of Paul or his associates.

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Edwards, Justin. "Commentary on Philippians 4:22". "Family Bible New Testament". American Tract Society. 1851.

F. B. Hole's Old and New Testament Commentary

THERE ARE TWO words in the first verse which direct our thoughts to what has gone before: “Therefore” and “so.” We are to stand fast in the Lord therefore, that is, because of, or in view of, what has just been stated. Well, what has been stated? Our heavenly calling, our heavenly citizenship, our expectation of that body of glory, fashioned like unto Christ’s in which we shall enter into our heavenly portion. No uncertainty here! And no disappointment when the moment of realization comes! We may well stand fast in the Lord!

But we are to stand fast so, that is, in like manner to the way in which Paul himself stood fast as delineated in chapter 3. We are to be “followers together” of him, and have him “for an ensample,” as he told us. If we too find in the knowledge of Christ an excellency that far outshines all else, we shall indeed “stand fast in the Lord.” Our affections, our very beings will be so rooted in Him that nothing can move us.

As we have previously noticed the adversary was attempting to mar the testimony through the Philippians by means of dissension. In verse Philippians 4:2 we discover that at the moment the trouble largely centred in two excellent women who were in their midst. The Apostle now turns to them, naming them with the entreaty that they be of the same mind in the Lord. The three words emphasized are of all importance. If both came thoroughly under the domination of the Lord, having their hearts set for Him as Paul’s was, differences of mind, which existed at that moment, would disappear. The mind of Euodias as to the matter, and Syntyche’s mind, would disappear and the mind of the Lord would remain. Thus they would be of the same mind by having the Lord’s mind.

Verse Philippians 4:3 appears to be a request to Epaphroditus, who was returning to Philippi bearing this letter, that he would help these two women in the matter, for they had been in the past devoted labourers in the Gospel along with the Apostle himself, Clement and others. If they could be helped the main root of dissension would be removed.

With verse Philippians 4:4 we come back to the exhortation of the first verse of Philippians 3:1-21. There we were told to rejoice in the Lord. Here we are to rejoice in the Lord alway; for nothing is to be allowed to divert us from it. Further, he emphasizes by repeating the word, that we are to rejoice. We are not merely to believe and to trust, we are also to rejoice.

This leads to the consideration of things that would hinder our rejoicing in the Lord. The harsh unyielding spirit that always insists on its own rights is one of these things, for it is a fruitful source of discontent and self-occupation. In contrast thereto we are to be characterized by moderation and gentleness, for the Lord is near and He will undertake our cause.

Then again there are the varied testings and worries of life, things which have a tendency to fill our hearts with anxious care. In regard to these prayer is our resource. We should mingle thanksgivings with our prayers, for we should ever be mindful of the abundant mercies of the past. And the scope of our prayers is only limited by the word, “everything.”

This scripture invites us to turn everything into a matter of prayer, and freely make known our requests to God. There is no guarantee, you notice, that all our requests will be granted. That would never do for our understanding is very limited and consequently we often ask for that which, if granted to us, would be neither to the glory of our Lord nor to our own blessing. What is guaranteed is that our hearts and minds shall be guarded by the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding. Again and again when Christians have passed through trials, from which they had in vain requested to be exempted, we find them looking back and saying, “I am a wonder to myself. How I could have passed through so heavy a trial, and yet have been lifted above it into such serenity, I cannot understand.”

“The peace of God,” must be distinguished from “peace with God,” of which we read in Romans 5:1. That is the peace in relation to God, which comes from the knowledge of being justified before Him. This is the peace, in character like unto God’s own peace, which fills our hearts when having committed everything to Him in prayer, we trust in His love and wisdom on our behalf, and consequently have anxious care as to nothing.

It may also be helpful to distinguish between prayer as presented in this passage and as presented in John 14:13, John 14:14. There the Lord was speaking more particularly to the Apostolic band, in their character as the representatives that He was leaving behind Him in the world, and He gives them plenary powers as regards prayer in His Name. The force of “in My Name,” is “as My representatives.” This praying in His Name is a tremendously responsible and solemn thing. Every cheque drawn really in His Name on the Bank of Heaven will be honoured. Only we must be very careful that we do not draw cheques for purely personal purposes of our own, under cover of drawing in His Name. That would be a kind of misappropriation of trust funds! And let us remember that in the Bank of Heaven there is a penetrating vision which can infallibly discriminate between the cheque which is genuinely in His Name and the one which is not.

Still, though there are a thousand and one matters in our lives that we could hardly present to God in prayer as being directly connected with the Name and interests of Christ, yet we have full liberty to present them to God, and indeed are bidden to do so. As we do so we may be in the enjoyment of the peace of God. We may be anxious as to nothing, because prayerful as to everything, and thankful for anything.

Anxious care being driven out of our hearts there is room for all that is good to come in. Of this verse Philippians 4:8 speaks. One can hardly exaggerate the importance of having the mind filled with all that is true and pure and lovely, the highest expression of which is found in Christ. Our lives are so largely controlled by our thoughts, and hence it says, “As he thinketh in his heart, so is he” (Proverbs 23:7). Hence to have our minds filled with what is true and just and pure is like a high road leading to a life marked by truth and justice and purity. We have of necessity to come into contact with much that is evil, but needlessly to occupy ourselves with it is disastrous, and a source of spiritual weakness.

But if the supreme and perfect expression of all these good things was found in Christ, there was also a very real exhibition of them in the life of the Apostle himself. The Philippians had not only learned and received and heard them, but also seen them in Paul, and what they had seen they themselves were to do. To DO, notice, for the excellent things that fill our minds are to come into practical display in our lives. Then indeed the God of peace shall be with us, which is something beyond the peace of God filling our hearts.

With verse Philippians 4:10 the closing messages of the epistle begin, and Paul again refers to the gift which the Philippians had sent him. That gift had been a cause of great rejoicing to him in his imprisonment. He knew that he had not been out of their thoughts, but they had not had opportunity to send help until this occasion of the journey of Epaphroditus. It had now arrived most opportunely; yet his joy was not primarily because it relieved him of privation, as the beginning of verse Philippians 4:11 shows, but because he knew it meant more fruit towards God, which would be to their credit in the coming day, as verse Philippians 4:17 shows.

Speaking of want or privation leads the Apostle to give us a wonderful insight into the way in which he faced his sufferings and imprisonment. These tragic circumstances had become to him a fountain of practical instruction, for he had learned to be content. To be content in present circumstances, no matter what they be, was not natural to Paul any more than it is to us. But he had learned it. And learned it, not as a matter of theory, but in experimental fashion by passing through the most adverse circumstances, with his heart full of Christ, as we see in chapter 3. Hence he was able to face changes of the most violent sort. Abasement or abounding, fulness or hunger, abounding or acute privation, all was the same to Paul, for Christ was the same, and all Paul’s resources and joys were in Him.

In Christ Paul had strength for all things, and the same strength in the same way is available for every one of us. If only we exploited all that is in Christ for us we could do all things. But Paul did not simply say, “I could,” but rather, “I can.” It is easy to admire the wonderful fortitude, the serene superiority to circumstances which marked the Apostle, and it is not difficult to discern the source of his power, but it is another thing to tread in his steps. That is hardly possible except we go through his circumstances, or similar ones. Here it is that our weakness is so manifest. We conform to the world, we lack spiritual vigour and aggressiveness, we avoid the suffering, and we miss the spiritual education. We cannot say, “I have learned... I know... I am instructed... I can do,” as Paul could. It is just as well that we should candidly face these defects that mark us, lest we should think that we are “rich and increased with goods,” that we are picked Christians of the twentieth century, and consequently as to “spiritual intelligence” almost the last word as to what Christians ought to be.

The Apostle then was not in any sense dependent on the gifts of the Philippian saints or of others, and he would have them know it; yet though this was so he assures them, and that in a very delicate and beautiful way, that he was fully alive to the love and devotion both towards the Lord and himself that had prompted their gift. He recognized that the Philippians peculiarly shone in this grace, and had done so from the first moment that the Gospel had reached them. They had thought of him in the past, when no other assemblies had done so, both in Macedonia and Thessalonica, and now again in Rome.

The devotion of the Philippians in this respect was heightened by the fact that they were very poor. We are enlightened as to this in 2 Corinthians 8:2. They also had been in much affliction themselves, and they had experienced much joy in the Lord. All this is very instructive for us. Oftentimes we are unsympathetic and stingy because our own experiences both of suffering and spiritual refreshment are so very shallow.

Having received of their bounty through Epaphroditus, Paul would have them know that now he had a full supply and was enjoying abundance. But their gift had not only met his need, it was in the nature of a sacrifice acceptable to God, like to those sacrifices of a sweet smelling odour of which the Old Testament speaks. This was a greater thing still.

But what of the Philippians themselves? They had further impoverished themselves, further reduced their already slender resources by their gifts in favour of an aged prisoner who could in no wise reciprocate or help them. Paul felt this and in verse Philippians 4:19 he expresses his confidence as to them. God would supply all their need. Notice how he speaks of Him as, “My God,”—the God whom Paul knew and had practically tested for himself. That God would be their Supplier, not according to their need, nor even according to Paul’s ardent desires on their behalf, but according to His own riches in glory in Christ Jesus. It would have been a wonderful thing had God engaged to supply them according to His riches on earth in Christ Jesus. His riches in glory are more wonderful still. The Philippians or ourselves may never be rich in the things of earth and yet be enriched in the things of glory. If so we shall indeed respond, in attributing glory to God our Father for ever and ever.

It is interesting to note in the closing word of salutation that there were saints found even in Caesar’s household. The first chapter told us that his bonds had been manifested as being in Christ in all the palace, and if in all the palace even to Caesar himself, we suppose. But with some of his attendants and servants things had gone further than that, and they had been converted. In a great stronghold of the adversary’s power souls had been translated from the kingdom of darkness and brought into the kingdom of God’s dear Son.

Such triumphs does grace effect! How fittingly comes the closing desire, “The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.”

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Hole, Frank Binford. "Commentary on Philippians 4:22". "F. B. Hole's Old and New Testament Commentary". 1947.

F.B. Meyer's 'Through the Bible' Commentary


Philippians 4:10-23

The Apostle had been glad to receive the gifts of his friends, because these evidenced their earnest religious life. It was fruit that increased to their account. On his own part he had learned one of the greatest of lessons-contentment with whatever state he found himself in. This is a secret that can only be acquired by our experience of life in the will of God. When once the soul lives in God and finds its highest ideal in the fulfillment of His will, it becomes absolutely assured that all things which are necessary will be added. All things are possible to those who derive their daily strength from God.

It is wonderful to hear Paul say that he abounded, Philippians 4:18. A prison, a chain, a meager existence! The great ones of the world would have ridiculed the idea that any could be said to abound in such conditions. But they could not imagine the other hemisphere in which Paul lived; and out of his own blessed experience of what Christ could do, he promised that one’s every need would be supplied. God’s measure is his riches in glory; and his channel is Jesus Christ. Let us learn from Philippians 4:18 that every gift to God’s children which is given from a pure motive is acceptable to Him as a fragrant sacrifice. That reference in Philippians 4:22 shows that Paul was making good use of his stay in Rome!

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Meyer, Frederick Brotherton. "Commentary on Philippians 4:22". "F. B. Meyer's 'Through the Bible' Commentary". 1914.

Arno Gaebelein's Annotated Bible




1. Stand fast and rejoice (Philippians 4:1-4)

2. Dependence on God and true heart occupation (Philippians 4:5-9)

3. I can do all things through Christ (Philippians 4:10-13)

4. The fellowship of the Philippians (Philippians 4:14-20)

5. The greeting (Philippians 4:21-23)

Philippians 4:1-4

And now the final testimony of the prisoner of the Lord, telling us from his own experience that Christ is sufficient for all circumstances down here. The first verse is filled with the precious fragrance of the great apostle’s affection. What refreshment there is for all His dear saints in these opening words of this chapter! “Therefore my brethren dearly beloved and longed for, my joy and crown, so stand fast in the Lord, dearly beloved.” How he loved the saints and longed for them. He looked upon them as his joy and crown; his joy down here and his crown in the day of Christ. So the aged John testified, “I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth” (3 John 1:4). They were to stand fast in the Lord, for this gives strength and the Lord constantly before the heart and mind gives victory. Euodias and Syntyche, two sisters in the Lord, are exhorted to be of the same mind in the Lord. They had difficulties and had become separated. How graciously and tenderly they are exhorted to overcome their differences. The true yokefellow is probably Epaphroditus, who was now fully restored and carried this letter to the Philippians. Paul requests him to assist those women who had contended with him in the gospel, of course in the sphere which belongs to woman. And there were Clement and other fellow laborers, whose names are in the book of life. These names are known to Him and in His day their labors will come to light and they will receive their reward. It is enough for the laborers to know that his name, though unknown to the world, is in the book of life, and his service, though unapplauded by the world, has His approval. Once more he exhorts to rejoice in the Lord alway, under all circumstances, at all times. And again I say, Rejoice. He did not write such words when he was taken up into the third heaven, but these blessed words come from the prison in Rome. When the Lord is before the heart, if He is the controlling principle of our life, the pattern and the goal, never lost sight of, then He giveth songs in the night.

“Were a light at the end of a long straight alley, I would not have the light itself till I get to it; but I have ever increasing light in proportion as I go forward; I know it better. I am more in the light myself. Thus it is with a glorified Christ, and such is the Christian life.”

Philippians 4:5-9

And this walk in Christ and with Christ must be characterized by dependence on God. “Let your moderation be known to all men. The Lord is at hand.” Walking thus means to walk in meekness, not reaching out after the things which are but for a moment, content with such things as we have, never asserting one’s right. Moderation means to put a check upon our own will. How easy all this becomes if we just have it as a present reality that the Lord is nigh and that when He comes all will be made right. A little while longer and all will be changed. And while we walk here in His fellowship, His command to us is, “Be anxious for nothing.” All rests in His loving hands. His people have tribulation down here. He told us so. “In the world ye shall have tribulation; be of good cheer, I have overcome the world” (John 16:33). And prayer is our refuge. Most blessed words! How the child of God loves, appreciates and makes use of them! “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” We can cast all our cares upon Him, for we know He careth for us. He is our burden bearer. We may look upon all our burdens as being permitted by Him so that we may give them back to Him and find out His love and power.

“We are in relationship with God; in all things He is our refuge; and events do not disturb Him. He knows the end from the beginning. He knows everything, He knows it beforehand; events shake neither His throne, nor His heart; they always accomplish His purposes. But to us He is love; we are through grace the objects of His tender care. He listens to us and bows down His ear to hear us. In all things therefore, instead of disquieting ourselves and weighing everything in our hearts, we ought to present our requests to God with prayer, with supplication, with a heart that makes itself known (for we are human beings) but with the knowledge of the heart of God (for He loves us perfectly); so that, even while making our petition to Him, we can already give thanks, because we are sure of the answer of His grace, be it what it may; and it is our requests that we are to present to Him. Nor is it a cold commandment to find out His will and then come: we are to go with our requests. Hence it does not say, you will have what you ask; but God’s peace will keep your hearts. This is trust; and His peace, the peace of God Himself, shall keep our hearts. It does not say that our hearts shall keep the peace of God; but, having cast our burden on Him whose peace nothing can disturb, His peace keeps our hearts. Our trouble is before Him, and the constant peace of the God of love, who takes charge of everything and knows all beforehand, quiets our disburdened hearts, and imparts to us the peace which is in Himself and which is above all understanding (or at least keeps our hearts by it), even as He Himself is above all the circumstances that can disquiet us, and above the poor human heart that is troubled by them. oh, what grace! that even our anxieties are a means of our being filled with this marvellous peace, if we know how to bring them to God, and true He is. May we learn indeed How to maintain this intercourse with God and its reality, in order that we may converse with Him and understand His ways with believers!” (Synopsis of the Bible).

Our prayers may not always be answered as we want to have them answered, for He alone knows what is best. We speak to Him about our cares and put them thus into His heart and He puts His own peace into our hearts.

What are thy wants today? Whate’er they be Lift up thy heart and pray: God heareth thee, Then trustfully rely that all thy need He surely will supply in every deed. But every prayer of thine, and every want Of either thine or mine, He may not grant, Yet all our prayers God hears, and He will show Some day, in coming years, He best did know--C. Murray

And in the life down here, surrounded by every form of evil, we are to be occupied with only that which is good, things true, things noble, just, pure, lovely, things of good report; if there be any virtue or any praise, think on these things. This is the way how peace of mind and blessing, happiness and joy may be maintained, not being occupied with the evil which surrounds us, or the evil in others, but with the very opposite. The Word of God is given to us for this purpose. As we read it prayerfully and meditate on it we are kept in that which is good, true, noble, just and lovely. Walking according to these exhortations they would find that the God of peace is with them. And so shall we.

Philippians 4:10-13

Paul also rejoiced in the Lord greatly because their care for him had flourished again, and added “wherein ye were also careful, but ye lacked opportunity.” They had ministered to him as the Lord’s servant, in temporal things. The words, “now at last your care of me hath flourished again,” indicates that they had delayed their ministration, but he puts another meaning upon it. He does not insinuate that it was a failure and neglect on their side, “but ye lacked opportunity.” He did not mention this in respect of want. “For I have learned in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.” He had learned it all practically and knew about being abased and abounding--”everywhere and in all things I have learned the secret, both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer want. I can do all things through Christ who strengtheneth me.” The secret of this victory over all circumstances, whether good or evil, was Christ. It was “not I but Christ.” In himself he had no strength, but all His strength to be abased and to abound, to be full or hungry, in abounding and in suffering want, was the Lord Jesus Christ. And this strength continually flows from and is supplied by our relationship with Christ as it is maintained by faith in a close walk with Him. He had learnt to trust Him fully; he trusted Him and walked in fellowship with Him in adversity, and, also, which is more difficult, in prosperity. His faith always reckoned on Christ. He kept him from being careless and indifferent, when he was full and abounded in all things and He kept him from being discouraged and dissatisfied when he suffered privations. He had found Christ sufficient in every circumstance. This is the happy life, which, too, we may live if Christ is our object and our all.

(Prosperity in earthly things is for many children of God a snare. The person who requested prayer for a brother who was getting rich made a good request. We need more prayer and need more watching when all goes well and when we abound. Then the danger to become unspiritual and indifferent is great.)

Philippians 4:14-20

He reminds them of their faithfulness to himself; he had not forgotten their love and what they had done in the past. He delighted in the remembrance of it, nor does God forget the ministries to His servants. “But to do good and communicate forget not, for with such sacrifices God is well pleased” (Hebrews 13:16). “For God is not unrighteous to forget your work and labor of love, which you have showed toward His name, in that ye have ministered to the saints, and do minister” (Hebrews 6:10). Yet he does not want them to misunderstand him, as if he was anxious to receive further fellowship from them for his personal need. Therefore he adds, “Not because I desire a gift, but I desire fruit that may abound to your account. But I have all, and abound; I am full, having received of Epaphroditus the things which were sent from you, an odor of a sweet smell, a sacrifice acceptable, well pleasing to God.” In reminding them and himself of their love he did not desire more gifts for the sake of having them, but he desired the fruit which would result from their faithfulness and liberality, which would abound to their account in the day of Christ. All ministry to God’s servants and to the saints should be done from this viewpoint.

“But my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus. Now unto God and our Father be glory for ever and ever. Amen.” The God whom He had learnt to know so well in all circumstances--my God, as he called Him--would supply all their need. It is not a wish that He may do so, nor a prayer that he prays, but it is an assured fact. He knows his God so well that he counts on Him for the supply of all the need of the beloved saints according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.

Philippians 4:21-23

The greetings close this blessed little Epistle of love and joy, so full of the realities of true Christian experience, made possible for every child of God through the indwelling Spirit. He sends his greetings to every saint and conveys the greetings of the saints with him, chiefly they that are of Caesar’s household. Blessed hint that even there the gospel had manifested its power in the salvation of some.

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Gaebelein, Arno Clemens. "Commentary on Philippians 4:22". "Gaebelein's Annotated Bible". 1913-1922.

G. Campbell Morgan's Exposition on the Whole Bible

Passing from particular to general instruction, the apostle first enjoined the grace of rejoicing. Twice he repeated his injunction. Moreover, he charged the Philippians that forbearance toward all men should be manifested. Continuing, he showed that the cure for anxiety is supplication with thanksgiving. In this connection he used that remarkable phrase, "the peace of God." Observe it carefully, the peace of God, His quietness as serenity, based on His infinite knowledge and unlimited power. Well does the apostle declare that it passes all understanding. This is the peace which is to guard the heart of such as make their requests known to God. To know that He knows, to be sure that He cares, to obey in the confidence that He is able to accomplish all His perfect will, is to have the heart at rest, and the thoughts guarded against anxiety, and free for highest service.

The mind thus guarded by the peace of God is set free to think on the highest things which Paul here named. Drawing to the conclusion of his letter, the apostle expressed thankfulness for the love manifested to him by the saints at Philippi, and declared that in all things he had learned the secret of rest in the midst of varying circumstances. That secret is ultimately revealed in the words, "I can do all things in Him that strengtheneth me."

The deepest reason for his thankfulness for their care is not selfish, but that their giving meant that fruit increased to their account. What a fulness of thought there is in the declaration so familiar, and yet forevermore surprising. "My God shall supply every need of yours, according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus."

The doxology constitutes a fitting expression of the experience of the Christian. This prisoner of the Lord Jesus recognizing his relationship to God, ascribes to Him the glory and is thus seen superior to all the limitations which characterized his position. The last words are those of personal and tender salutation by the pronouncement of the single and inclusive benediction of the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ.

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Morgan, G. Campbell. "Commentary on Philippians 4:22". "G. Campbell Morgan Exposition on the Bible". 1857-84.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

All the saints salute you,.... The members of the church at Rome,

chiefly they that are of Caesar's household; for by means of the apostle's bonds, which were made manifest in the emperor's palace, Christ was made known to some there likewise; though Nero, the then reigning emperor, was a very wicked prince, and his court a very debauched one, yet the grace of God reached some there: who these were cannot be said; as for the conjecture that Seneca the philosopher, Nero's master, was one of them, it is without foundation; the eight letters of his to the Apostle Paul, and the six letters of the apostle to him, are spurious, though of ancient date, being made mention of by Austin and JeromF7Vid. Fabricii Bibliothec. Latin, p. 69. : a like groundless conjecture is that, that Lucan the poet, Seneca's brother's son, was another; for there is nothing in his writings, or in any account of him, any more than in the former, that shows him to be a Christian. Torpes, a man in great favour and dignity in Nero's court, and Evellius his counsellor, who both suffered martyrdom under him, according to the Roman martyrology, are also mentioned,

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The New John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible Modernised and adapted for the computer by Larry Pierce of Online Bible. All Rights Reserved, Larry Pierce, Winterbourne, Ontario.
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Bibliographical Information
Gill, John. "Commentary on Philippians 4:22". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". 1999.

Gary Hampton Commentary on Selected Books

Closing Words

Paul reminded the Philippian brethren that all praise and glory rightly belong to God. In the sermon on the mount, Christ told his disciples, "Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven" (Matthew 5:16). The apostle, knowing the truthfulness of his statement, adds the word "Amen", which Shepherd says means, "so it is", or "so it shall be" (Philippians 4:20; Nehemiah 8:6; Psalms 41:13; 1 Corinthians 14:15-16).

Paul wanted to say hello to all, overlooking none. He loved all of them and expressed that love with prayers for only the best in their lives. Those with Paul, the Roman brethren and even some in Caesar"s service, also wished them well and sent greetings. Paul concluded, as he started, with a prayer that grace continue with all of them. Grace is, after all, our only means of salvation ().

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Hampton, Gary. "Commentary on Philippians 4:22". "Gary Hampton Commentary on Selected Books". 2014.

Geneva Study Bible

All the saints salute you, chiefly they that are of p Caesar's household.

(p) Those who belong to the emperor Nero.
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Beza, Theodore. "Commentary on Philippians 4:22". "The 1599 Geneva Study Bible". 1599-1645.

Greek Testament Critical Exegetical Commentary


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Alford, Henry. "Commentary on Philippians 4:22". Greek Testament Critical Exegetical Commentary. 1863-1878.

Greek Testament Critical Exegetical Commentary

22.] πάντες οἱ ἅγιοι, all the Christians here.

οἱ ἐκ τῆς καίσαρος οἰκίας] These perhaps were slaves belonging to the familia of Nero, who had been converted by intercourse with St. Paul, probably at this time a prisoner in the prætorian barracks (see ch. Philippians 1:13 note) attached to the palace. This is much more likely, than that any of the actual family of Nero should have embraced Christianity. The hint which Chrys., al., find here, εἰ γὰρ οἱ ἐν τοῖς βασιλείοις πάντων κατεφρόνησαν διὰ τὸν βασιλέα τῶν οὐρανῶν, πολλῷ μᾶλλον αὐτοὺς χρὴ τοῦτο ποιεῖν, is alien from the simplicity of the close of an Epistle. The reason of these being specified is not plain: the connexion perhaps between a colonia, and some of the imperial household, might account for it.

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Alford, Henry. "Commentary on Philippians 4:22". Greek Testament Critical Exegetical Commentary. 1863-1878.

Heinrich Meyer's Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament

Philippians 4:21-23. πάντα ἅγιον] every one, no one in the church being excepted,—a point which is more definitely expressed by the singular.(196)

ἐν χ. .] is not to be joined to ἅγιον (so usually, as by Rheinwald, Hoelemann, Matthies, van Hengel, de Wette, Ewald, Weiss, Hofmann), but belongs to ἀσπάσ. (comp. Romans 16:22; 1 Corinthians 16:19), denoting the specifically Christian salutation, in conveying which the consciousness lives in Christ. This is the connection adopted by Ambrosiaster, Estius, Heinrichs, Rilliet, Wiesinger, Schenkel, and J. B. Lightfoot, and it is the right one, since with ἅγιον it is self-evident that Christians are meant, and there would be no motive for specially expressing this here, as there was, for instance, in the address Philippians 1:1, where τοῖς ἁγίοις ἐν χ. . bears a certain formal character.

οἱ σὺν ἐμοὶ ἀδελφ.] is the narrower circle of those Christians who were round the apostle in Rome, including also the official colleagues who were with him, though there is no ground for understanding these alone (Chrysostom, Oecumenius, Theophylact, and many others), Grotius even pointing distinctly to Timothy, Linus, and Clement. The difficulty, which has been raised in this case by a comparison of Philippians 2:20, is unfounded, since, in fact, the expression in Philippians 2:20 excludes neither the giving of a salutation nor the mention of brethren; groundless, therefore, are the attempted solutions of the difficulty, as, for example, that of Chrysostom, that either Philippians 2:20 is meant οὐ περὶ τῶν ἐν τῇ πόλει, or that Paul οὐ παραιτεῖται καὶ τούτους ἀδελφοὺς καλεῖν (comp. Oecumenius, who brings forward the latter as a proof of the σπλάγχνα of the apostle). Misapprehending this second and in itself correct remark of Chrysostom, van Hengel insists on a distinction being drawn between two classes of companions in office, namely, travelling companions, such as Luke, Mark, Titus, Silas, and those who were resident in the places where the apostle sojourned (among whom van Hengel reckons in Rome, Clement, Euodia, Syntyche, and even Epaphroditus), and holds that only the latter class is here meant. The limits of the narrower circle designated by οἱ σὺν ἐμοὶ ἀδ. are not at all to be definitely drawn. Estius well says: “Qui … mihi vincto ministrant, qui me visitant, qui mecum hic in evangelio laborant.”

πάντες οἱ ἅγιοι] generally, all Christians who are here; comp. on 2 Corinthians 13:12; 1 Corinthians 16:20.

μάλιστα δέ] but most of all, pre-eminently; they have requested the apostle to give special prominence to their salutation. Comp. Plat. Critias, p. 108 D: τούς τε ἄλλους κλητέον καὶ δὴ καὶ τὰ μάλιστα ΄νημοσύνην. Whether these persons stood in any personal relations to the Philippians, remains uncertain. It is enough to assume that Paul had said to them much that was honourable concerning the church to which he was about to write.

οἱ ἐκ τῆς καίσαρος οἰκίας] sc. ἅγιοι as is plain from the connection with the preceding (in opposition to Hofmann): those from the emperor’s house (from the Palatium, see Böttger, Beitr. II. p. 49) who belong to the saints. We have to think of probably inferior servants of the emperor (according to Grotius, Hitzig, and others: freedmen), who dwelt, or at least were employed, in the palace. In this way there is no need for departing from the immediate meaning of the word, and taking it in the sense of household (Hofmann). In no case, however, can we adopt as the direct meaning of οἰκία the sense of domestic servants, a meaning which it does not bear even in Xen. Mem. ii. 7. 6; Joseph. Antt. xvi. 5. 8; and Tac. Hist. ii. 92;(197) domestic servants would be οἰκετεία. Others have taken οἰκία, in accordance with current usage, as family (1 Corinthians 16:15, and frequently), and have understood kinsmen of the emperor, a meaning which in itself seems by no means shown by Philo in Flacc. p. 190 A to be at variance with linguistic usage(198) (in opposition to Hofmann). So recently Baur, who needed this point for his combinations against the genuineness of the epistle, and van Hengel.(199) But apart from the fact that through Nero himself this family was greatly diminished, and that conversions among those related to the emperor were à priori (comp. also 1 Corinthians 1:26 ff.) very improbable, doubtless some historical traces of such a striking success would have been preserved in tradition.(200) Matthies, quite arbitrarily, understands the Praetorians, as if Paid had written: οἱ ἐκ τοῦ πραιτωρίου (Philippians 1:13). This also applies, in opposition to Wieseler, Chronol. d. apostol. Zeitalt. p. 420, who, considering the Praetorium to be a portion of the palace (see remark on Philippians 1:13), thinks the apostle alludes especially to the Praetorians. Those who transfer the epistle to Caesarea (see Introduction, § 2), suppose the Praetorium of Herod in that place to be intended, and consequently also think of Praetorians, Acts 23:35 (Paulus, Böttger); or (so Rilliet) taking οἰκία as familia, of administrators of the imperial private domain, called Caesariani or Procurators—a view against which the plural should have warned them; or even of “the family of the imperial freedman Felix” (Thiersch). What persons, moreover, were meant (various of the older expositors have even included Seneca(201) among them), is a point just as unknown to us, as it was well known to the Philippians or became known to them through Epaphroditus. The general result is, that people from the imperial palace were Christians, and that those could obtain access to the apostle probably with special ease and frequency; hence their especial salutation. The question also, whether one or another of the persons saluted in Romans 16 should be understood as included here (see especially J. B. Lightfoot, p. 173 ff.), must remain entirely undecided. Calvin, moreover, well points to the working of the divine mercy, in that the gospel “in illam scelerum omnium et flagitiorum abyssum penetraverit.”

χάρις τ. κυρ. . χ.] see on Galatians 1:6.

΄ετὰ πάντων ὑ΄.] Comp. Romans 16:24; 1 Corinthians 16:24; 2 Corinthians 13:13; 2 Thessalonians 3:18; Titus 3:15.

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Meyer, Heinrich. "Commentary on Philippians 4:22". Heinrich Meyer's Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament. 1832.

Henry Mahan's Commentary on Selected Books of the New Testament

The support of missionaries and preachers

Philippians 4:9-23

Philippians 4:9. Throughout this epistle, Paul has exhorted the people to have unity of spirit and purpose, to love one another, to have real concern and care for one another, to be of a humble mind and disposition, to avoid false teachers, to rest in Christ alone for righteousness and to meditate on holy things. Now in this verse, he makes a very important point: ‘Those things which you have learned and received.’ It is hoped that you have not just learned these things in a doctrinal way, but that you have received them not just in your head, but in your heart, and have not only ‘heard them from me, but you have seen them in me.’ What good are words if our actions and attitudes are contrary? ‘Do these things. Put them in daily practice. God will be with you!’

Philippians 4:10. Paul rejoiced over the gifts and supplies this church had sent him by their pastor. Evidently they had for some reason neglected to communicate with him for a long time. He adds, ‘I'm sure you were thinking of me, but you had no opportunity to show it.’ Let this be a lesson to us: let us always be faithful in our prayers, care and concern for those who labour faithfully in the word. Don't forget those missionaries and ministers whom you do not see for a season.

Philippians 4:11. Paul did not mean to imply that he was wanting anything, though he possessed nothing. He had all things in Christ and found contentment and peace in whatever condition the providence of God put him, be it adversity or prosperity, with much or little (Luke 12:15; 1 Timothy 6:6-10). He learned this in the school of grace, taught by the Spirit.

Philippians 4:12. ‘I know how to be treated with contempt by men, to live humbly in a low condition, to work with my hands, to be hungry and cold – yet not to be depressed, cast down or murmur against God. I know how to be held in the esteem of men, to have an abundance – yet not to be lifted up with pride and forget that ‘the Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away.’ I have learned of God how to behave toward the temporary things of earth, how to put them in their proper perspective.’

Philippians 4:13. And now, lest he be thought to be proud of his grace and ascribe too much to himself, he attributes all grace to the power of Christ in him. ‘I can be happy in any state and endure all these things, not in my own strength (for no man was more conscious of his own weakness than Paul). I am ready for anything through the power of Christ in me.’

Content with beholding his face,

my all to his pleasure resigned;

No changes of season or place

would make any change in my mind.

While blest with a sense of his love,

a palace a toy would appear;

And prisons would palaces prove

if Jesus would dwell with me there.

Philippians 4:14. Paul adds this lest they should think that he was discounting their gift and was not grateful. He has declared, ‘I can be content in need or in plenty, but I appreciate your help. You have done what you should have done. You have done well in providing for those who preach God's word’ (1 Corinthians 9:6-11).

Philippians 4:15-17. This church was the only church that talked with Paul about the subject of giving and supporting the ministry of the word. Even when he left Philippi and went to Thessalonica, they supported his ministry and took care of his needs. Strange that, even in the days of the apostles, churches were negligent in the matter of missions and supporting missionaries. He says, ‘I have not entered into this subject because I desire a gift from you. I am eager to see the fruits of righteousness and salvation in you. The kingdom of God can get along without you and me, but I would like to see some evidence that you and I are in that kingdom of grace’ (James 2:14-20).

Philippians 4:18-19. ‘I have in hand all of your gifts, sent to me through your pastor. These gifts have the sweet smell of an offering and sacrifice which God welcomes and in which he delights. I cannot repay you, but my God will! He shall supply all your needs according to his riches in glory through Christ Jesus!’

Philippians 4:20. To God, who is our Father in Christ Jesus, be all the glory for the grace he gives now, for the glory and happiness expected and for the supply of every need, both temporal and spiritual.

Philippians 4:21-23. ‘Greet all the brethren there. The brethren and believers here send their greetings to you. The grace of our Lord Jesus be with you!’

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Mahan, Henry. "Commentary on Philippians 4:22". Henry Mahan's Commentary on Selected Books of the New Testament. 2013.

Hamilton Smith's Writings

Philippians 4.

Christ our Power.

In the former chapters Christ has been presented as our life, our pattern, and our object in glory: our life to govern our path through this world, our pattern to characterize our walk, and our object in glory to give energy in pressing on. In this closing chapter, Christ is presented as our power to make us superior to all the circumstances of this present life. The Christian is viewed in the Epistle as passing through an adverse world, opposed by a vigilant and unscrupulous enemy ever ready to use every means to turn the pilgrim from the heavenly path.

In his path, as set before us in this chapter, he finds the enemy against him; dissensions within the Christian circle; special trials peculiar to the Christian as such; the ordinary cares of life common to all; the evil and unlovely things of a world without God, and the adverse or prosperous circumstances of life. It will not, indeed, be found that all these things are specifically mentioned, but they are involved by the exhortations.

Furthermore, we have very blessedly set before us the One who alone can lift us above every trial and keep our feet in the heavenly path. Christ is our unfailing resource. His hand of power can alone enable us to walk in superiority to the dangers and snares of an adverse world, even as His mighty power enabled Peter to walk upon the water. Again and again the apostle delights to keep the Lord before us. He says," Stand fast in the Lord," "be of the same mind in the Lord," Rejoice in the Lord alway." Again he says, "I rejoiced in the Lord greatly," and, "I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me."

1. The Opposition of the Enemy (Verse1).

The chapter opens with the exhortation, "Stand fast in the Lord." This supposes all the power of the enemy arrayed against us, and that the Christian profession no longer walks at the height of the Christian calling. With the devil opposing, true saints giving up the heavenly calling, and mere professors denying the Cross of Christ, what hope is there that any will remain true to Christ, be preserved from giving up the heavenly path, and drifting into an easy-going and lifeless profession? Our one hope, our unfailing resource, is Christ. We cannot "stand fast" in our own strength. We cannot stand fast in our brethren. They, like ourselves, are weak and failing. We can "stand fast in the Lord." He will never fail us; and in Him we shall find strength to stand against the enemy and all his wiles.

2. The Dissensions of Believers (Verses2, 3).

We have not only to meet the unceasing hostility of the enemy, but the ever present dissensions amongst the people of God. Even in the bright Philippian assembly the spirit of dissension was at work. Two sisters were not of the same mind. Nothing is more distressing, disheartening and wearying to the spirit, than the constant dissensions amongst the Lord"s people. How often have such dissensions given the enemy an occasion, which he has not been slow to use, to turn aside a weak believer from the separate path of the heavenly calling, to settle down in some easy-going religious system of men"s devising!

Again, however, our true resource in the presence of our dissensions is the Lord. Why should we turn aside from the heavenly path, when difficulties rise, if we have the Lord to whom we can turn? Our differences will never be settled by mere discussion, or by way of compromise, or even by seeking to arrive at a common judgment, which might indeed be "one mind" and yet only our own mind. The only way to end dissension is for those who differ to turn to the Lord, seeking His mind. This, however, supposes the judgment of the flesh, the refusal of self-will, and subjection to the authority of the Lord. Thus only shall we arrive at the same mind in the Lord.

3. The Special Trials of Believers (Verses4, 5).

There are special trials that are peculiar to the believer as such. There are sufferings for Christ"s sake, and sorrow of heart over the condition of the Christian profession. Paul, when writing this Epistle, was in prison for Christ"s sake. He was sorrowing over those who were turning aside to their own things, and weeping over others whose low walk made them enemies of the cross of Christ.

In the presence of these special sorrows we are exhorted to "Rejoice in the Lord alway." Thus only shall we be sustained whether the days be dark or bright. We cannot always rejoice in our circumstances or in the saints, we can always rejoice in the Lord. Others change, others pass away; He remains, and He is the same.

Paul had known the Lord when a free Prayer of Manasseh, and he had proved the Lord when a prisoner, and, from his own experience of the Lord"s sufficiency, he can say, "Rejoice in the Lord alway again I say rejoice."

Moreover, this delight in the Lord delivers from the power of present things. If rejoicing in the Lord, and all the resources in Him; if confident that He is at hand, and that at His coming He will right every wrong; we shall not be over-troubled with the confusions in the world or the professing Church. We shall not be asserting our rights, or vehemently expressing our opinions on this world"s affairs. We can afford to be quiet if the Lord is at hand, and thus be known by all men for gentleness and moderation.

4. The Cares of this Life (Verses6, 7).

Not only are there special trials peculiar to the Christian, but also there are the ordinary trials of life common to mankind. There are the everyday anxieties connected with our homes, our families, our health, our callings, and our circumstances. How are we made superior to these varied cares? It is evident that God would have his children to be free from all worry and anxiety. This, the word clearly tells us, can only be brought about by taking everything to God in prayer. It is not simply the great trials that we are to take to God, but the small worries. The little thing that worries might appear foolish or fanciful to others, nevertheless let us not weary ourselves with reasoning about it in our minds, but by prayer and supplication make it known to God. He knows all about the burden before we go to Him. We cannot tell Him anything that He does not know; but making it known we know that He knows. In result we are relieved from anxiety. It does not follow that we get our request, but we obtain the peace of God to garrison our hearts.

The story of Hannah in the Old Testament affords a striking example of the relief afforded by prayer. Wearied by a trial that made her fret and weep, there came a moment when she "poured out her soul before the Lord," with the result that, though her circumstances were not altered or her prayer answered, she went on her way "in peace," and was "no more sad" ( 1 Samuel 1:6; 1 Samuel 1:7; 1 Samuel 1:15-8).

David, in the day of his great sorrow, could say, "I cried unto the Lord, and He heard me"; with the result that he could add, "I laid me down and slept." His circumstances were not altered, but his heart was relieved by casting his care upon the Lord ( ).

Did not Mary of the eleventh of John learn the blessed effect of casting her sorrow upon the Lord when, having sent a message to the Lord concerning her trial, she was enabled to "sit still" in the house? ( John 2:3; John 2:20).

5. The Defilements of the World (Verses8, 9).

The fallen world through which we are passing is characterized by things that are false, and mean, and wrong; things unholy and unlovely; things that are of evil report, vicious and to be condemned.

There is indeed much that is beautiful in nature, and the natural man is capable of producing and appreciating much that is beautiful in music and art and literature, and yet sets little value on that which is morally beautiful. How can it be otherwise in a world that could see no beauty in the One who is altogether lovely?

The evil of the world is ever present, flaunting itself in public, retailed by the daily press, and broadcasted by wireless. It is gloated over in fiction, depicted in places of entertainment, and exploited for gain.

How then is the Christian to be kept from the defiling influences of such a world? Only by having his mind occupied with things that are true, noble, just, pure and lovely; things that are of good report, virtuous and to be praised. These things find their perfect expression in Christ and in His people in the measure in which Christ is formed in them. Thus, again, Christ is our resource to lift us above the defiling influences of a world without God. The character is formed by what the mind feeds on. Hence the importance of the exhortation, "Think on these things."

The one whose mind is occupied with the things that are morally lovely, the things that Christ delights in, will be ready to do the things that are pleasing to Christ. Hence the "thinking" of verse8 is followed by the "doing" of verse9. Just as the evil thoughts of the heart find their expression in evil ways, so right thinking is followed by right acting. Thinking of things morally beautiful and doing that which is pleasing to God, we shall have, not only the peace of God in our hearts, but the God of peace with us in our walk.

6. The Circumstances of Life (Verses10-13).

In his passage through this world the Christian may be tried through seasons of adversity, or tested by times of prosperity. Either condition has dangers for the believer. In adversity we may be tempted by the devil to lose confidence in God and question His ways or His love. It was thus Job was tested ( ; Job 2:9; Job 2:10). In prosperity we may grow self-confident and forget God. It was so with David ( Psalm 30:6). Moses warns God"s people lest in days of temporal fulness the heart be lifted up and God be forgotten ( Deuteronomy 8:14).

Speaking from his own experience, the apostle instructs us how to escape both snares. Tested in every way he knew how "to be abased" without being cast down and losing confidence in God; and how to "abound" without being lifted up and forgetting God. What was it sustained Paul whether in fulness or hunger, whether abounding or suffering? His answer, in one word, is "Christ." He had experienced the support of Christ in days of need as in days of plenty and he proved that in Christ he had strength for all things.

7. The Need of Others (Verses14-19)

If, like the apostle, we have "learned" and been "instructed" by the support of Christ to be lifted above our circumstances, be they adverse or prosperous, we shall be ready to communicate to others. If overcome by need we shall think only of ourselves; if overcome by prosperity we shall forget God and the people of God. If strengthened by Christ in every circumstance our hearts will go out to others in need. And as with the Philippians, so with ourselves, it is well to communicate in the afflictions of the needy. Such gifts comfort the needy, bear fruit to the giver, and rise up as an odour of a sweet smell, a sacrifice acceptable, well pleasing to God.

Thus in this closing chapter the apostle anticipates the opposition of the enemy, the special trials of the believer, the cares of this life, the defiling influences of the world, circumstances whether adverse or prosperous, and turns us to the Lord as the One who is able to sustain through all and lift us above all, that we may be kept for the glory of our God and our Father (verse20).

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Smith, Hamilton. "Commentary on Philippians 4:22". "Hamilton Smith's Writings". 1832.

The Bible Study New Testament

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.




Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Bibliographical Information
Ice, Rhoderick D. "Commentary on Philippians 4:22". "The Bible Study New Testament". College Press, Joplin, MO. 1974.

Ironside's Notes on Selected Books

Chapter Four Christ, The Believer’s Strength

Steadfastness and Unity (Philippians 4:1-3)

Having concluded the long parenthesis of chapter 3, the apostle again exhorted believers to strive for steadfastness and unity. It is evident that there was incipient division in the assembly of believers at Philippi. The Epistle to the Philippians was written in order to deal with this problem, but Paul did not put his finger on the difficulty immediately. The ministry of chapters 1-3 was an attempt to prepare the hearts of the offenders for a final word of exhortation. Then in chapter 4 he called them by name and pleaded with them not to let self-interest hinder the work of the Lord.

With expressions of deepest affection he addressed the assembly as a whole. They were his dearly beloved brethren, for whom he yearned. They would be his “joy and crown” at the judgment seat of Christ. Notice that this expression in Philippians 4:1 is analogous to that of 1 Thessalonians 2:19-20. There, addressing the saints who had been won to Christ through his ministry, he could say, “For what is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing? Are not even ye in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at his coming? For ye are our glory and joy.”

Paul was saying that when he stands at the judgment seat of Christ as His servant, that which will fill his heart with gladness will be the sight of those for whose eternal blessing he labored on earth. Rutherford beautifully expressed the same thought when, speaking of the town in which he had labored so long, he cried:

Oh, if one soul from Anwoth Meet me at God’s right hand, My heaven will be two heavens, In Immanuel’s land.

At the judgment seat of Christ, he who sows and he who reaps will rejoice together. Each servant will come bringing in his sheaves and, looking up into the face of the Lord, will be able to say, “Behold I and the children which God hath given me” (Hebrews 2:13).

The crown of rejoicing is the soul-winner’s garland composed of those he has won for Christ. (A Christian must always stand in a more precious relationship to the one who was used for his conversion than to any other.) Those the soul-winner has won are his children in the faith, his sons and daughters in Christ Jesus. Their happy progress in the Christian life gladdens his heart and is rich reward for his service on their behalf. On the other hand, their failure-as evidenced by loss of interest in divine things, by dissension, or by resumption of worldly ways-must rend his heart with grief and fill him with a sense of shame.

“Now we live,” wrote Paul in 1 Thessalonians 3:8, “if ye stand fast in the Lord.” A brother-servant, the apostle John, wrote to his converts, “And now, little children, abide in him; that, when he shall appear, we may have confidence, and not be ashamed before him at his coming” (1 John 2:28). Notice that John said “ that…we…may not be ashamed” (italics added), not they. He was not referring to the shame of converts who failed, but to the shame of those who were instrumental in leading them to Christ.

So Paul earnestly exhorted his beloved Philippians to “stand fast” in the faith. Satan is always trying to hinder the people of God from clinging steadfastly together and presenting a united front to the enemy. It is unfortunate that his efforts to introduce dissension so readily succeed because of the flesh.

In Philippians 4:2, without further delay and with perfect frankness, the apostle spoke directly to the two offenders against unity (whom he had in mind from the beginning of the letter). There is no sternness, no lording it over their consciences; instead there is pleading. As though Christ Himself were beseeching, Paul entreated Euodias and Syntyche. They had been earnest laborers in the gospel, but they had quarreled, so Paul exhorted them to “be of the same mind in the Lord.”

Paul certainly did not mean by that they had to think alike in everything or see all things from the same standpoint. That would have been asking for the impossible. The very possession of mind, which distinguishes men from animals, gives occasion for differences of judgment and so calls for much patience. No two people ever see the same rainbow. The slightest difference of position gives each a view at a different angle. The formation and contour of the eye also affect the view. One person may be able to discern every distinct shade while another person may be colorblind. No amount of argument or persuasion will enable the second person to see what is so clear to the first.

We might even say that no two people have ever read the same Bible. Of course there is not one book from God for one person and a different book for another, but there is a difference in our understanding. We are so influenced by our environment and our education that we are prejudiced without realizing it. Even when we try to be open-minded, we are often misled by our impressions and the limitations of our comprehension. Therefore we need to be patient with each other.

But if what we have been saying is true, how can we be of one mind? Philippians 4:2 makes the answer plain, for Paul beseeched Euodias and Syntyche to “be of the same mind in the Lord” (italics added). If both had the lowly mind of Christ, if both sought to be subject to the Lord even though there were differences of judgment, each would respect the other’s viewpoint and neither would try to control the other’s conscience. Then there would be no reason for dissension.

Unfortunately we do not always have the lowly mind and often we insist on what seems to be an exceedingly important truth when nothing vital is at stake. An equally honest and earnest brother or sister in Christ may fail to see things as we see them. At the judgment seat of Christ, it may be revealed that they, not we, were right-or perhaps that both of us were wrong.

Philippians 4:3 was probably spoken by Paul directly to Epaphroditus, to whom the apostle was, I presume, dictating this letter. Epaphroditus, having fulfilled his mission and having regained strength after his illness, was about to return to Philippi and he was to be the bearer of this Epistle. The apostle entreated him as a true yokefellow to help Euodias and Syntyche reach the unity of mind about which he had been writing.

Paul mentioned that the two women had labored “in the gospel” with him, with Clement, and with others whose names, though not given here, are in the book of life. We are not to understand from Paul’s words that the women had occupied the public platform, taught in the assembly of God’s people, or participated in public testimony, for this would contradict the words of the Holy Ghost given through Paul in 1 Corinthians 14:33-34 and 1 Timothy 2:9-15.

There are many Scriptural ways in which devoted women can serve the Lord “in the gospel.” In oriental as well as occidental lands, the gospel work done by women is of tremendous importance. Godly women may have free access to many places where men cannot go. Laboring “in the gospel” implies a great deal more than simply speaking from a platform. In many instances speaking from a platform may be of lesser value than individual heart-to-heart work.

Epaphroditus evidently caught the note of inspiration in Paul’s personal words to him, and so he included them in the Epistle. We can be thankful to God that these words have come down to us. They give us deeper insight into the working of the spirit of grace in the mind of Paul, and until the church’s history on earth has ended, these words will be valuable to all who seek to serve the Lord.

Joy and Confidence (Philippians 4:4-7)

In Philippians 3:1 Paul wrote, “Finally, my brethren, rejoice in the Lord.” Undoubtedly, as far as his own mind was concerned, the apostle was ready to bring his letter to a close. But, as we have already seen, this was not the mind of the Spirit. Like his brother-apostle Jude, Paul was led to exhort the saints to “earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered” (Jude 1:3).

Now in Philippians 4:4 Paul again referred to that which was so much on his heart: he exhorted the saints to “rejoice in the Lord.” Joy and holiness are inseparable. Holy Christians are able to rejoice even when passing through the deepest afflictions. But believers who through lack of watchfulness have permitted themselves to fall into unholy ways, lose immediately the joy of the Lord, which is the strength of those who walk in communion with Christ.

A second exhortation (see Philippians 4:5) is one we should earnestly heed: “Let your moderation be known unto all men.” Moderation is a most commendable Christian virtue, but the word translated “moderation” has other meanings. The word has been rendered “yieldingness” by some. This translation is excellent and suggests that Paul is urging resilience of character, which many of us sadly lack. Rotherham translated the word as “considerateness” and the Revised Version renders it as “forbearance” or “gentleness.” All these various meanings are summed up, I think, in Matthew Arnold’s rendering. This English critic translated the passage, “Let your sweet reasonableness be manifested to all men.” He pointed out the interesting fact that the original word is unknown in classical Greek; it was his impression that Paul coined the word for the occasion.

Sweet reasonableness is a lovely trait in a Christian. It is the very opposite of that unyielding, harshly dogmatic, self-determined spirit which so often dominates in place of the meekness and gentleness of Christ. “I beseech you, my brethren,” wrote Cromwell to the warring theologians of his day, “remember that it is possible you may be wrong.” We are apt to forget this when we are engaged in discussions about doctrines, methods of service, or church principles.

Sweet reasonableness does not indicate a lack in intensity of conviction or a lack of assurance about the correctness of doctrines, principles, or practices that one believes he has learned from the Word of God. But it does imply a kindly consideration for the judgment of others who may be equally sincere and equally devoted-and possibly even more enlightened. Nothing is ever lost by recognizing this and by remembering that we all know only “in part” (1 Corinthians 13:12).

How apt is the brief sentence that follows the exhortation to sweet reasonableness: “The Lord is at hand.” I take it that the thought here is not exactly that the Lord is coming; rather it is that the Lord is standing by, looking on, hearing every word spoken, taking note of every action. “Closer is He than breathing, / Nearer than hands or feet.” If believers truly realized that He is “at hand,” strife and dissension would quickly cease and the forbearance and grace exhibited in Christ would be seen in His followers.

In Philippians 4:6 a wonderful promise in connection with prayer is based on a third exhortation. Our Lord warned against anxious thoughts, and the Holy Spirit expanded His teaching by saying here, “Be careful [anxious] for nothing.”

But how am I to obey an exhortation like this when troubles are surging around me and my restless mind will not be at peace? I need to talk to someone, but like the psalmist, “I am so agitated, that I cannot speak” (F. W. Grant’s translation of Psalms 77:4). What should I do? To whom should I turn? It is natural to worry and fret in circumstances such as these, even though I tell myself over and over again that nothing is gained by worrying, and my trouble only seems to become exaggerated as I try to carry my own burdens.

The Spirit of God points the way out. He wants me to bring everything-the great things and the little things, the perplexing conditions and the trying circumstances-into the presence of God and leave them there. “By prayer and supplication,” not forgetting thanksgiving for past and present mercies, He wants me to pour out my requests to God. I may feel that I do not know the mind of the Lord in regard to them, but that need not stop me. I am to make known my requests, counting on His wisdom to do for me what is best both for time and for eternity. If I cast my cares on Him and leave everything in His own blessed hands, the peace of God will guard my heart and mind through Christ Jesus. This peace is that which He Himself always enjoys, even though storms and darkness may be round about. It is a peace that passes all understanding.

I cannot obtain this peace for myself. I may tell myself over and over not to fret, but my thoughts, like untamed horses with bits in their teeth, run away with me. Or like an attacking army, worries crowd into the citadel of my mind and threaten to overwhelm me. But God, by the Holy Spirit, has promised to garrison my mind and protect my restless heart so that my thoughts will neither run away with me nor overwhelm me. Every thought will be brought into captivity to the obedience to Christ.

I will enjoy the peace of God, a peace beyond all human comprehension, as I leave my burdens where faith delights to cast every care. I leave them at the feet of Him who, having not withheld His own Son, has now declared that through Him He will freely give me all things. I can rest in this promise because He cannot deny Himself.

Holiness and Peace (Philippians 4:8-9)

Philippians 4:8-9 concludes the apostle’s instructions. All that follows (verses 10-23) is a postscript of much practical value, although not addressed directly to the saints as homiletic teaching.

Throughout the Epistle, Paul presented Christ to his readers in many different aspects. Now in Philippians 4:8-9 the apostle summed his presentation up in a brief exhortation to think on holy things. He thus recognized the Old Testament principle, “As [a man] thinketh in his heart, so is he” (Proverbs 23:7).

Thinking of “these things” in an abstract way, many have missed the point Paul was making. The apostle was not just urging us to fill our minds with beautiful sentiments and poetic ideals. It would be exceedingly difficult to think on things true, honest, just, pure, and lovely without focusing on a concrete example. We have an example before us in our Lord Jesus Christ (the perfect man), in whom all these qualities are found. And to a certain degree these qualities are reproduced by the Holy Spirit in all who have been made partakers of the divine nature.

When we link Philippians 4:8-9 with 4:2, we realize that Euodias and Syntyche needed to see what the Spirit had accomplished in each other. If Euodias looked critically on Syntyche and dwelt on what was contrary to the virtues mentioned in verse 8, the breach between them would be widened immeasurably. If Syntyche retorted by exaggerating every defect or shortcoming in Euodias, she would soon become so alienated from her sister in Christ that reconciliation would be almost impossible.

If, on the other hand, Euodias and Syntyche, realized that they both had been redeemed to God by the same precious blood and were indwelt by the same Holy Spirit, they would be determined to think of each other’s virtues, to recognize in each other anything worthy of praise, and to refuse to indulge in unkind criticism. As each magnified the other’s graces and minimized her faults, each would be so attracted to what was of Christ in the other that she would find herself linked in heart to the one from whom she previously had turned coldly away.

Is not this kind of thinking what we all need in our dealings with one another? In every truly converted soul can be found virtues produced by the Spirit of God, evidences of the new nature: things that are honest, just, pure, lovely, and of good report. If we think on these things instead of dwelling on the failures to which we all are liable, our fellowship will become increasingly precious as the days go by. Even when there is actual cause for blame, we should stop to consider the circumstances that may have led up to that which seems so blameworthy. Then Christian pity and compassion will take the place of criticism and unkind judgment. Criticism cannot restore the erring one; it only drives him further into sin. “To err is human; to forgive divine” (Alexander Pope).

Even the secular world recognizes the folly of judging that which the eye cannot see. A Scottish poet taught us: “We only ken the wrang that’s dune, / We ken na’ what’s resisted.” We may blame a wrongdoer for things that have already deeply troubled his heart and conscience and have already been cleansed away by “the washing of water by the word” as applied by the Lord Jesus Himself (Ephesians 5:26).

Of course it is important that we never permit our minds to feed like carrion vultures on the wicked, filthy, and unholy things of the flesh, as the carnal man naturally does. The carnal mind is still present in believers, and will be until the day our bodies of humiliation are changed and made like Christ’s body of glory. But we are not to allow the carnal mind to dominate us, since the Holy Spirit dwells in us to control us for Christ. There is so much that is honest, so much that is just or righteous, so much that is pure, so much that is lovely and lovable, so much that is of good report, so much that is virtuous and trustworthy, that it would be foolish for us to be occupied with their opposites.

As we meditate on things that are positive and good, we “grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 3:18), for all the beautiful traits Paul mentioned were fully exemplified in Him. As noted before, they have also been imparted in measure to each of His servants-probably in larger measure to Paul than to anyone else. So without pride but as an example to the flock of Christ, the apostle could add, “Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do.”

As we walk the Christian path according to the power of the indwelling Spirit, we have the sweet assurance that “the God of peace shall be with you.” These words of assurance connect all the exhortations in Philippians 4:8-9 with the promise of 4:7, where we are told that the peace of God will guard the minds and hearts of all who cast their cares on Him. In 4:9 we learn that the God of peace will walk with those who seek to walk before Him in piety and holiness of mind and practice.

Gratitude and Assurance (Philippians 4:10-23)

In this closing section of the Epistle, Paul thanked the assembly of believers at Philippi for the practical way in which they had demonstrated their fellowship in the gospel. They were not like those who are willing to profit eternally through the gospel ministry, but have very little concern about the temporal welfare of the servants of Christ to whom they owe the knowledge of that truth which has made them free. From the beginning of their Christian lives, the Philippian saints had cared for the needs of the apostle as opportunities arose. They even sent funds to him when he was laboring in Thessalonica, where he and his companions had gone after being released from the Philippian jail.

But years had elapsed since then and Paul had traveled far and passed through many varied experiences. Often he had found it impossible to keep in close touch with the different churches he had been used of God to establish. Consequently it was not strange that at times it seemed as if his dearest friends had forgotten him. But they had not forgotten him. The love was there, but they had lacked opportunity to display it. When the Philippians learned that he was in Rome and that he was a prisoner for the truth’s sake, they hastened to show their fellowship in his sufferings by sending Epaphroditus with a gift of love.

In acknowledging their kindness, Paul took the occasion to glorify God for His care of him even when the churches had forgotten their indebtedness to him. The apostle had known cold neglect, but such indifference had never soured his spirit or led him to complain. Paul noted the coldheartedness, but he did not find fault. He left it all with the Lord and committed his circumstances to Him. Assured that He never forgot and was never an unconcerned spectator of His servant’s sufferings, Paul accepted people’s neglect as a lesson in the school of God. The apostle could say, “I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content” (Philippians 4:11 ).The Lord was his portion, and he could rest in the knowledge of Christ’s unchanging love and care.

Paul had not in a moment learned to be content. Like all disciples in God’s school, he had to advance in the life of faith by learning practically the things he later taught to others. But he had earned his degree, so to speak, and he could now declare, “I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need” (Philippians 4:12). These are blessed lessons. The soul is never really at rest in the trials and testings of life until these precious secrets have been learned.

John Wesley is reported to have said that he did not know which dishonored God the most: to worry (which really is to doubt His love and care) or to curse and swear. Every saint would shrink from the latter with abhorrence, but many of us have no sense of the wrong we do when we worry. Our attitude should always be to rest in faith on the knowledge that “all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28).

Those who go forth to serve in entire dependence on the One who has sent them out as His ambassadors, are called on to exemplify the trusting attitude in a very special sense as they minister in Word and doctrine. This leads me to say something about the New Testament principle for the support of those who labor entirely in spiritual things. First let it be noted that there is no such thing in Scripture as putting the servant of God on the low level of a salary basis. In the Bible the only man hired by the year as a “minister” was the apostate Levite who was engaged by Micah of mount Ephraim and later by the Danites to be their father and priest (Judges 17-18). In the legal dispensation Jehovah was the portion of the Levites. They prospered and were cared for according to the measure in which God blessed His people and their hearts responded to His goodness. In the Christian economy we have no special clerical or extra-priestly class to be supported as professional men by their so-called lay brethren. The distinction between clergy and laity is utterly unscriptural; it is part of the Judaizing system that has perverted the truth of the church.

But there are those who are specially gifted as evangelists, pastors, and teachers, and in many instances these believers are called on to separate themselves from secular pursuits in order to devote their time exclusively to spiritual service. In the early church such men “went forth, taking nothing of the Gentiles” (3 John 1:7). They depended on the Lord to supply their needs and He cared for them through His own grateful people, who obeyed the injunction in Galatians 6:6: “Let him that is taught in the word communicate unto him that teacheth in all good things.” Inspired by the Spirit, John wrote, “We therefore ought to receive such, that we might be fellow helpers to the truth” (3 John 1:8). Such teachers have a claim on the people of God-not because they are official ministers, but because they are engaged in making known the truth. All believers are privileged to share in their service by supporting their work.

Observe carefully, however, that the servant of God is never to look to the saints for his support. He is to look directly to the Lord; he is to make his personal needs known only to Him. The servant of God should not hesitate to contact assemblies of believers to acquaint them with special opportunities for ministry to others as occasions arise. Paul did this frequently and earnestly. But rather than mention his personal needs, the apostle labored with his own hands. He did not feel he was degrading his calling by doing this. Rather, he felt that by laboring with his hands he was able to “provide things honest in the sight of all men” (Romans 12:17) and set an example to any who were inclined to seek an easy path and depend on support from those in better circumstances.

The principle is clear: The servant of Christ is to go forth in absolute dependence on the One who has commissioned him and who makes Himself responsible to meet his needs. At the same time, the people of God are called on to pray about what share they should have in the support of those who are engaged in full time ministry. No ministering brother has the right or authority to demand support from the saints. They, not he, must judge whether he is worthy of support. But if they benefit from his spiritual ministry, he should receive material benefits from them (see 1 Corinthians 9:11). ‘They which preach the gospel should live of the gospel” (1 Corinthians 9:14).

If a servant of the Lord finds fault because his support is small, he is showing that his dependence is on man rather than on God. But if the saints are callously indifferent to the temporal needs of one whom they recognize as a God-sent messenger, they show that they are out of touch with Him who has given them the privilege of helping financially in the spread of the truth. Both those who minister and those who are ministered to should seek direction from the Lord about their mutual responsibilities.

Paul had walked in dependence on the Lord for many years. As he looked back over the journey and saw how he had been sustained of God, he knew he could count on Him for the future. He faced the days to come with the assurance that he could do all things through Christ who was his strength. The One who was his life, example, and object was also his unfailing source of supply for every emergency that might arise, even a martyr’s death.

While Paul did not look to man for his supplies, he was truly grateful for those who ministered to him. He did not take for granted the gift of love sent by his dear Philippian children in the faith. He expressed himself in most appreciative terms as he thanked them for their fellowship. In his expression of gratitude he is an example to all of Christ’s servants, some of whom have been neglectful of courtesies that often mean more to the saints than they realize.

Paul did not receive the gift of the Philippians because he desired to profit from their generosity. He received the gift because he saw in it evidence of the working of the Spirit of grace in their souls. The Spirit was working for their blessing as well as his. And so he gladly accepted the gift, seeing in it “an odour of a sweet smell, a sacrifice acceptable, wellpleasing to God” (Philippians 4:18).

The Lord-for whose glory the Philippians ministered to His imprisoned servant-would not allow them to put Him in their debt. Instead He promised to supply all their need “according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:19). When we have given to our utmost limit, we have only returned a little of His own, and even that He will abundantly repay.

The last three verses of the Epistle give the concluding salutation. Note how “every saint” is again greeted affectionately (Philippians 4:21; compare 1:1); Paul refused to recognize any factions. All the believers who were with Paul joined in the salutation. He particularly mentioned those “of Caesar’s household” who belonged to the imperial guard (4:22). Some of these were evidently new converts, having come to the faith as a result of their contact with Paul in his prison cell.

We close our meditations on this instructive Epistle with a message of grace ringing in our souls. “The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. A-men” (Philippians 4:23).




Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Ironside, H. A. "Commentary on Philippians 4:22". Ironside's Notes on Selected Books. 1914.

Joseph Beet's Commentary on Selected Books of the New Testament


CH. 4:10-23.

I rejoice in the Lord greatly that now at length ye have revived your thought on my behalf; for which also ye were taking thought, but ye were without opportunity. Not that I speak in respect of want. For I leave learnt in whatever circumstances I am to be content. I both know how to be abased and I know how to abound. In everything and in all things I have been initiated into the mystery both to be filled with food and to be hungry, both to abound and to be in want. For all things I have strength in Him who gives me power. Nevertheless ye did well that ye had fellowship with me in my affliction. Moreover, yourselves also know, Philippians, that in the beginning of the Gospel when I went out from Macedonia no church had fellowship with me for the matter of giving and receiving except ye only. Because even in Thessalonica both once and twice ye sent for my need. Not that I seek for the gift, but I seek for the fruit which is increasing for your account. But I have got all things, and I abound; I am full, having received from Epaphroditus the things from you, an odour of a sweet perfume, a sacrifice acceptable, well-pleasing to God. And my God will supply every need of yours, according to His wealth, in glory, in Christ Jesus. To God, our Father, be the glory for the ages of the ages. Amen.

Greet every saint in Christ Jesus. There greet you the brethren with me. There greet you all the saints, especially they of Cæsar’s household.

The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit.

This section contains the specific occasion of the Epistle, viz. the gift brought to Paul at Rome from Philippi by Epaphroditus, added almost as a postscript to the far more important matters mentioned above.

Philippians 4:10. I rejoice, literally rejoiced: when the gift arrived from Philippi. Paul himself does what in Philippians 4:4 he bid his readers do, This keeps up the tone of joy which runs through the Epistle: so Philippians 1:4; Philippians 1:18; Philippians 1:25; Philippians 2:2; Philippians 2:17-18; Philippians 2:28-29; Philippians 3:1; Philippians 4:1; Philippians 4:4; Philippians 4:10.

In the Lord: as in Philippians 3:1. The joy occasioned by the gift from Philippi was no mere human emotion, but was distinctly Christian, i.e. prompted by union with the Master.

Greatly: calling marked attention to a cause of special joy; cp. Matthew 2:10.

Now at length; suggests delay. But not reproach: for the delay is at once and satisfactorily explained.

Revived, or burst forth-again: as a branch puts forth new shoots. So did the Philippians produce, by this gift to Paul, a new development of spiritual life.

Thought or thinking: same word as in Philippians 1:7; Philippians 2:2 : mental activity for the good of Paul. This was the specific matter of the new development: touching your thought on my behalf.

For which: viz. the well-being of Paul, represented as the mental basis or aim of their thought. Not only had their Christian life burst forth now into a new practical development of care for Paul, but even before this their minds were at work in the same direction: ye were also taking thought.

Ye-were-without-opportunity: apparently, without means to send a contribution. The opportunity was afterwards found in the journey of Epaphroditus, whether it was undertaken expressly to carry the gift or for some other purpose. In the former case, the circumstances which made the journey possible were the opportunity; in the latter, the journey itself. Possibly poverty may have been the hindrance; and better circumstances the subsequent opportunity. But an approaching journey of Epaphroditus to Rome for other reasons is the easiest explanation.

Thus Paul mentions the delay, and apologises for it. The new shoot reveals continuous life, latent before, but now assuming visible form. The gift was somewhat late. But its lateness was caused not by want of loving care but by lack of means to carry thought into action. At last the means had been found: and the consequent outburst of pent-up love had filled Paul with joy.

This delay implies that, when the relief from Philippi arrived, Paul had been a long time in want, For the news had reached Philippi, and after some delay a gift had been sent to Rome. It is difficult to suppose that this time of want includes the two years (Acts 24:27) at Cæsarea. And, if not, Paul must have been many months at Rome when he wrote this Epistle. This is therefore an indication of its date. See Introd. v.

Philippians 4:11. Not that: introducing, as in Philippians 3:12, a safeguard against misinterpretation.

By way of want: as though his words were prompted by deep need. The expression of joy in Philippians 4:10 might seem to be the voice of a starving man whose distress had been unexpectedly relieved. That this is the explanation of his glowing words, Paul denies.

For I have etc.: proof of this denial.

Content: or literally self-sufficient. The cognate substantive occurs in 2 Corinthians 9:8; 1 Timothy 6:6 : a simpler word, in 2 Corinthians 12:9, where we have the same thought in another form. The syllable self- states not the source, but the inwardness, of this sufficiency, in contrast to external possessions. Its divine source is stated in Philippians 4:13. Aristotle, Nicom. Ethics bk. i. 7, defines the self-sufficient to be that which even by itself alone makes life worthy of choice and needing nothing. This definition we may accept. That is self-sufficient which has in itself whatever is needful for its highest well-being, and is therefore independent of everything external to itself. Christian contentment is not a narrowing down of our desires to our poor possessions, but a consciousness of infinite wealth in Christ, in whose hands are all things already working for His servants moment by moment their highest good. He who has this consciousness is independent of his environment. His sufficiency is in himself.

In whatever circumstances I am: including the dungeon in which Paul wrote these words, and in which before the arrival of Epaphroditus he had been in actual want. Paul’s contentment was not natural but acquired.

I-have-learnt; suggests gradual acquirement by the toilsome effort of the learner. But the task has been accomplished.

I: very emphatic. In this school each must learn personally and for himself.

Philippians 4:12-13. Exposition in detail of Paul’s self-sufficiency. Having learnt, he says I know. The lesson learnt, he then unfolds.

To-be-abased: same word in 2 Corinthians 11:7, where it is the exact opposite of being exalted; so Luke 14:11. It includes every kind of going down, whether into poverty, or dishonour, or prison, or sickness, or the grave. This downward path Paul knows how to tread so as not to slip, so to descend that every step down be spiritual elevation. This knowledge many have not. Consequently adversity produces in them gloom and repining and fear and resentment and rebellion, thus doing them serious spiritual harm. E.g. many have lost their confidence in God and their spiritual life through commercial disaster. But the real cause of this ruin is not adversity which is powerless to injure those who understand its source and purpose, but want of knowledge. He who has found in Christ the full supply of all his need can take these perilous steps with safety.

I-know-also; adds to the foregoing, with stately repetition, its necessary complement.

To-abound: to have more than we need. It is a counterpart, not to abase, which would require as counterpart exalted, but to the special kind of abasement which Paul had been enduring, viz. poverty. Many who passed unscathed through adversity are ruined by prosperity. For they are satisfied with material good. This ruin is caused by their not knowing how to rise in wealth, fame, power, and yet remain lowly in heart. But Paul had learnt even this difficult lesson. Consequently, he was beyond reach of injury from either the ups or downs of life. He was independent of the uncertainties of the world around; and therefore self-sufficient.

Philippians 4:12 b is a fuller exposition of Philippians 4:12 a; as is Philippians 4:12 a of Philippians 4:11 b.

In everything and in all things: things around looked at individually and collectively. In whatever position I am, and in whatever combination of circumstances.

Initiated-into-the-mystery: cognate to the Greek original of our word mystery. See note under 1 Corinthians 3:4. The use of this word here sheds light upon the cognate word already found in 1 Corinthians 2:7; 1 Corinthians 4:1; Romans 16:25, by suggesting that Paul refers, not to a mere secret, but definitely to teaching known only, like the Eleusinian mysteries, to the initiated. It thus embodies a development of Paul’s earlier teaching. Paul is telling us how he came to know how to be abased etc. He had been led into the secret chamber of God and had there learnt that which is known only by those whose eyes and ears God opens. Notice the gradation: I have learnt, I know, I have been initiated into the mystery.

Both… and, both… and; suggests the completeness and the unity of the secret Paul has learnt.

To-be filled-with-food: i.e. satisfied. Same word in Matthew 15:33; Matthew 15:37 etc. It suggests that in prison Paul had been in want of food.

Hungry: exact opposite of the foregoing. This contrast is a specific case under the more general contrast in Philippians 4:12 a. It is followed by a restatement of the more general contrast.

To-abound: to have more than we need.

To fall-short or to-be-in-want: to have less than we need. Same word in same sense in 2 Corinthians 11:9 etc,

Philippians 4:13. Triumphant summing up of the practical result of what Paul has learnt. He knows: therefore he is strong.

All-things: very emphatic: it includes abasement, hunger, abundance.

Strength: spiritual muscle and force, In the Christian struggle Paul was like a man in robust bodily health and strength. For all things within the horizon of duty and desire, he has unlimited strength.

In Him who gives me power: Christ, in whom Paul lives and acts, and whose power (2 Corinthians 12:9) rests upon him, He is to Paul not merely the bulwark protecting him on every side by its own strength, but an all-pervading and life-giving personal element breathing into him His own omnipotence. From this inward union with Christ is derived the strength which fits Paul for all things he has to do. The strong man helps the weak by bearing his burden for him. Christ helps us by breathing into us a strength which makes our burdens light.

The word Christ, (A.V.) appears in the margin of the Sinai and Clermont MSS. and in nearly all the later Greek copies. This suggests the origin of a large class of various readings, viz, that they were explanatory glosses, afterwards incorporated into the text.

This great assertion must not be diluted. Whatever lies within the horizon of duty and necessity and desire, Paul can do. To him as to God there is no question of can or cannot. In Christ Paul is morally omnipotent, But, just as God’s inability to lie (Hebrews 6:18) does not in the least degree limit His infinite power, (for lying is contrary to the divine nature and therefore outside the horizon of divine action,) so Paul is strong only for that which Christ would have Him do. All else is outside Christ, the sphere of his strength. But within the limits of the personality of Christ lay Paul’s whole action, thought, and life. Consequently, this limit was no limit to him. And he felt himself endowed with infinite strength. To him therefore the burdens of life were light; and its toil was easy.

These words embody an important secret into which Paul had been initiated, and which enabled him to sink or to rise without spiritual injury. He knows how to be abased because he knows that underneath him are the Everlasting Arms: he can therefore go down into the depth without fear and without damage. He can rise without danger: for he knows that God who raises him will guard His servant from the perils of exaltation. He is therefore safe. Neither height nor depth can separate him from the love of God in Christ Jesus.

Notice the four steps in this great climax. Paul has learnt: therefore he knows: he has learnt the secret: consequently he can do all things.

Philippians 4:14. Nevertheless etc.: a corrective on another side to the corrective introduced in Philippians 4:11. Although it would be an error to suppose that Paul’s joy was prompted by his deep need, he by no means valued lightly the gift which supplied that need. He says that his readers did nobly.

My affliction: Paul’s hardship at Rome, which was relieved by the contribution from Philippi. This involved monetary loss, and therefore some degree of hardship, to the Christians there. They cheerfully submitted to this hardship, and thus became partners (see under Philippians 1:4; Philippians 3:10) with Paul in his affliction. In so doing they did well.

Philippians 4:15-16. Additional facts, known to the readers and casting light upon the fact just mentioned.

Also yourselves know: as well as Paul. He thus supports the foregoing statement, not by new information, but by an appeal to knowledge shared by himself and his readers.

Philippians; gives definiteness to this appeal by naming the persons appealed to.

In the beginning of the Gospel: thrust prominently forward, contrasting conspicuously with the gift just acknowledged the liberality of days long past.

These words are explained at once by those following. They take us back to the time when Paul first preached in Europe; and remind the Philippians that their present action was only continuance in a path entered at the beginning of their Christian course. We find the same words in the Ep. of Clement, ch. 47 (see my Corinthians p. 528) referring to the time when Paul wrote 1 Corinthians.

When I went out from Macedonia; grammatically may refer to an event contemporary with, or following, Paul’s departure from Macedonia. [See Winer’s Grammar § 40, 5a.]

From Acts 17:15 we learn that some Macedonian Christians, apparently from Berœa, went with Paul out of Macedonia to Athens. The words before us imply that then or soon afterwards the Philippian Christians sent money to Paul. Whether this was the gift mentioned in 2 Corinthians 11:9, we do not know. If, hearing that Paul had gone to Corinth, they sent to him there a deputation with a gift, this would explain both Philippians 4:15 and 2 Corinthians 11:9. For it would be a gift in the beginning of the Gospel after Paul had left Macedonia. Or, less probably, the gift from Philippi may have reached Paul as he was leaving Berœa for Athens. In any case, the contribution here mentioned is an important coincidence with 2 Corinthians 11:9 : for this passage proves that Paul did not refuse gifts from friends at a distance.

Had-fellowship: simpler form of the word in Philippians 4:14. They became partners with Paul.

For an account of giving and receiving: purpose of this partnership; similarly Philippians 1:5, fellowship for the Gospel. They entered into partnership with Paul in order to have with him dealings about giving and receiving, i.e. about transferring money from one to the other. Paul leaves his readers to remember that the giving was on their part, and the receiving on his; merely saying that both sides of the transaction were present to their mind and purpose. This explains abundantly the words here used, without involving the idea of spiritual recompense as in Romans 15:27.

Except ye alone: an example splendid in its solitariness. Not only did their spiritual life at once take this form: but the example thus set was at first not even imitated by others.

Philippians 4:16. Because even etc.: a definite fact confirming the foregoing negative statement.

Even in Thessalonica: in addition to, and earlier than, what they did when Paul went forth from Macedonia. A close coincidence with Acts 17:1, which tells us that Thessalonica was the first city at which Paul lingered after leaving Philippi. During the few weeks (Acts 17:2) spent there, the Philippian Christians sent twice to supply his need: a wonderful proof of the influence upon them of his preaching. Truly their liberality dated from the beginning of the Gospel.

Once and twice; lingers over the repetition of this kindness. This second contribution in so short a time is very significant. Others would have thought that one gift was all that could be expected from them. But even a second present did not exhaust the liberality of the Philippian Christians. For, apparently, they sent to him another shortly afterwards to Corinth.

My need: as in Philippians 2:25, Paul’s poverty (cp. 2 Corinthians 11:8) owing probably to his inability to maintain himself

(2 Thessalonians 3:8) while preaching at Corinth.

Philippians 4:17. Not that; introduces a corrective to Philippians 4:15-16, as do the same words in Philippians 4:11 a similar corrective to Philippians 4:10. Each corrective supplements the other. Paul’s joy about the gift from Philippi (Philippians 4:10) was not prompted by his deep need. And his appreciation of it (Philippians 4:15-16) was prompted, not by eagerness for money, but by eagerness for his readers’ spiritual profit.

The gift: whatever from time to time, as circumstances determine, their liberality might prompt; this looked upon as a definite object of thought.

I seek for the gift: an abiding state of mind which Paul disavows.

But I seek for: stately repetition.

Fruit: as in Romans 1:13 : the reward of the Philippians’ liberality; this looked upon as its organic outworking according to the laws of the Christian life, Day by day, as one act of liberality follows another, this reward is increasing.

For your account; recalls the same words in Philippians 4:15, for account of giving and receiving. While the Philippian Christians entered into partnership with Paul in order to have dealings with him in a matter of giving and receiving, a harvest of reward was growing which was reckoned to their credit. These last words, and Paul’s constant reference of reward and punishment to the Great Day, indicate that to this he refers here: so Philippians 1:6; Philippians 1:10.

Philippians 4:18. An added statement containing another reason why Paul does not desire a gift; viz. that his wants are completely supplied.

I have all: or better, I have to the full all things.

And abound: not only supply but overflow.

I-am-filled full: of all material good. Notice the climax: I have all, l abound, I am filled full.

Having received etc.: means by which his needs have been fully supplied. This clear assertion that Epaphroditus had brought to Paul a gift from Philippi explains Philippians 2:25; Philippians 2:30.

An odour etc.: a comment on the gift from Philippi, revealing its real significance.

Odour of perfume: Ephesians 5:2; Genesis 8:21; Exodus 29:18; Leviticus 1:9; Leviticus 1:13; Leviticus 1:17, etc.: a frequent O.T. phrase picturing the acceptableness of sacrifice to God.

Sacrifice: as in Romans 12:1.

Acceptable, well-pleasing: a climax. Same words in Acts 10:35; Romans 12:1-2; Romans 14:18; 2 Corinthians 5:9. Since all these phrases are frequently followed by the word to-God, it probably refers to all of them. To God a fragrant perfume goes up and a sacrifice is offered which is acceptable and well-pleasing to Him. Apparently the gift from Philippi was only kindness to a prisoner in poverty at Rome. But whatever is done to the servant is done for the Master: and whatever is done for Christ brings abundant recompense. This gift is therefore a seed producing already a harvest of blessing for its generous donors; and a sacrifice laid on the altar of God. The sacrifice is fragrant tn the mind of God: it is a gift He will receive and be pleased with.

Philippians 4:19. Philippians 4:18 has brought the gift from Philippi into the presence of God. This reminds Paul of the recompense which will follow it.

My God: as in Philippians 1:3. The recompense will follow because the prisoner at Rome stands in a personal relation to God.

Supply, or fill: same words as filled-full in Philippians 4:18, which it recalls.

Will-supply: a definite promise, as in Philippians 4:7; Philippians 4:9.

Every need: of body and spirit; every necessity and every yearning of their whole nature.

Need of yours: corresponding to my need in Philippians 4:16.

His riches: a favourite conception of Paul; Romans 2:4; Romans 9:23; Romans 11:33; Ephesians 1:7; Ephesians 1:18; Ephesians 2:7; Ephesians 3:8; Ephesians 3:16. It is here a picture of God’s ability to supply our need, as a rich man can remove the present want of the poor man: cp. Ephesians 3:20.

According to His riches: measure of the promised supply. This will not only come out of the wealth of God but will correspond with its infinite abundance. Consequently, every need will be supplied.

In glory: locality or surrounding element of this supply. Same words in similar sense in 2 Corinthians 3:7-9; 2 Corinthians 3:11. It is the splendour which will surround the final reward and triumph as in Colossians 3:4; Colossians 1:27; Romans 5:2; Romans 2:7; Romans 2:10. Amid the brightness of the great day, every need and every yearning will be gratified.

In Christ: in virtue of our inward union with Him. The abundant supply will be in glory, as its visible clothing evoking admiration; and in Christ, as its encompassing, all-pervading source and element. Cp. same words at end of Philippians 4:7.

This great promise makes even the half-conscious yearnings of our nature to be themselves a prophecy of future blessing. For their complete satisfaction in the glory of heaven is pledged by the wealth of God.

Philippians 4:20. Outburst of praise evoked by the promise in Philippians 4:19; and marking the close of the topic introduced in Philippians 4:10.

To God, our Father: literally God and our Father; i.e. God who is also our Father. See note under Galatians 1:5. As ever, Paul’s song of praise is directed to the Father. In these words he acquiesces in the eternal recognition of the grandeur of God manifested in His mercy to men. This recognition he seals by a final Amen.

Philippians 4:10-20 preserve for us one of the most beautiful incidents in the story of Paul or of the early Church. From them we learn that his imprisonment at Rome was aggravated by poverty, that he was not only in prison but in want. All this reached the ears and moved the hearts of the Christians at Philippi. But either from straitened circumstances or more probably from lack of a messenger they were for a time unable to render the help they were eager to give. At length an opportunity occurred.

Epaphroditus offered to take their contribution to Rome. On the way he fell dangerously ill. Indeed he risked his life in order to discharge his mission of mercy. But the gift from Philippi arrived safely at Rome, and supplied at once and fully the prisoner’s need. Paul was filled with joy. But his was not the joy of a starving man suddenly relieved. His happiness was not dependent on the kindness of far-off friends. For he had learnt the secret of the Christian’s poverty and suffering. To him the presence and smile of God were an all-sufficient supply of every need and a source of infinite strength. The prisoner’s joy is distinctively Christian. He knows that this gift is seed from which already an abundant harvest is growing up for the donor’s enrichment. Being prompted by loyalty to Christ, it is a sacrifice laid upon the altar of God, an acceptable sacrifice filling His courts with pleasant perfume. And it will be repaid, as will everything done for God, by a full supply of every need in the splendour of heaven.

Paul remembers that this was not the first gift from Philippi. Very soon after he founded the Church there the brethren sent him money while preaching the Gospel in the city of Thessalonica; and that not once but twice. And apparently shortly afterwards they again sent him money to Corinth. Consequently, their action now is but continuance in a path entered at the commencement of their Christian course. It is only another outflow of that spirit of brotherhood which, as Paul said in Philippians 1:5, they had manifested from the beginning. In monetary help they set the first example; an example which others were somewhat slow to follow. Nay more. We learn from 2 Corinthians 8:1 that in the great collection for the poor Christians at Jerusalem the Churches of Macedonia were very conspicuous. Our thoughts go at once to the acknowledged liberality of the Church at Philippi, the earliest of the Macedonian Churches founded by Paul. And we cannot doubt that they who set the first example in Macedonia of Christian giving were equally prominent in the contribution for Jerusalem. Indeed the liberality of Macedonia must have been in great part an imitation of the example set by the Church at Philippi. If so, then as so often since, men who were eager to contribute money for the need of a beloved teacher were also ready to do so for unknown, but suffering, Christians in a far-off land. Thus 2 Corinthians 8:1 is an important coincidence with Philippians 4:16.

It is worthy of note that the Church marked by this constancy of liberality, not only presented nothing needing from Paul even a word of rebuke, but affords the noblest of the many pictures of early Christian Churches reflected in his Epistles. In the apostolic age the Church at Philippi stands supreme in its spotless beauty. And to the generosity of that Church we owe this letter, written to acknowledge it, and all the untold blessings it has conveyed to thousands of the servants of Christ. Little thought the faithful ones at Philippi that the gift they so readily sent to relieve the Apostle’s distress would enrich the Church of Christ in all ages with a priceless treasure. Never was there a more wonderful proof that they who do good do better than they think.

Philippians 4:21-22. Salutation. To the Church collectively is committed a greeting for every member of it: greet ye every saint. We may expound either every saint in Christ Jesus, noting their relation to Christ as in Philippians 1:1; or greet in Christ Jesus every saint, noting a definitely Christian greeting. Since the word saint is already sufficiently definite, this latter exposition which would give spiritual emphasis to the greeting is somewhat the more likely. So 1 Corinthians 16:19, and probably Romans 16:22.

Why, writing to a Church so much beloved, in which there must have been so many persons well known to him, Paul does not add greetings to individuals, we do not know. Possibly, where all (Philippians 1:4; but compare Romans 1:8 and contrast Romans 16:3-15) were so good, Paul was unwilling to give special prominence to any; or preferred to give them less prominence by sending personal greeting orally by Epaphroditus.

The brethren with me: those more closely associated with Paul in prison, and thus distinguished from all the saints, i.e. the church members at Rome. Same words in similar, though perhaps slightly different, sense in Galatians 1:2. These companions are called brethren, although

(Philippians 2:20) they do not fully share the Apostle’s spirit.

Cæsar’s household, or house: either the emperor’s palace, or its inmates of all kinds from his relatives and state officials down to the humblest slaves. Between these meanings the difference is very slight. So Diogenes Lærtius (Lives of Philosophers bk. v. 4, 3) says that Demetrius was of Conon’s house. Paul’s words assert that even in the home of Nero, perhaps the most corrupt spot on earth, were Christians. The servants of the palace were very numerous and various; and even the lowest of them would naturally, among others of the same class, be proud of his position.

Possibly this special salutation was occasioned by the closer contact of the members of the imperial household with the prisoner of the Prætorian Guard.

Philippians 4:23. Paul’s farewell, almost word for word as in Galatians 6:18. REVIEW OF THE EPISTLE. The prisoner at Rome, over whose head hangs the sword of a capricious tyrant and whose imprisonment had been aggravated by poverty, writes to the Christians at Philippi to acknowledge a gift which has completely supplied his need.

To beloved brethren, Paul has no need to assert his official position, and simply places himself beside Timothy as a servant of Christ. But the officers of the Church have, for reasons unknown to us but probably creditable to them, the unique honour of definite mention in the opening salutation. After the salutation, Paul’s first thought is thanks to God for the universal excellence of the Christians at Philippi, which makes prayer for them a delight and encourages a just and loving confidence of their final salvation. These thanks are followed by prayer for their growth in knowledge and in usefulness.

The anxiety of the Philippian Christians calls for news about the imprisoned Apostle, about his circumstances and his feelings. His apparent misfortunes have, by inspiring confidence in the Christians at Rome helped forward the preaching of the Gospel. This gives Paul abiding joy. And this joy is not destroyed by the fact that some preach Christ out of ill-will to the Apostle. Their hostility pains him the less because he knows that it is working for him spiritual good, and is therefore helping his eternal salvation. This reference to Paul’s inner thought becomes a reflection on the page on which he writes of his utter uncertainty of life and death, and of the profound and equal calm with which he views each side of this tremendous alternative.

From himself Paul now turns again to his readers. One thing only he begs from them, that they play their part as citizens of the Kingdom of God in a way worthy of Christ. This will require from them persevering courage and united effort in face of their enemies. On unity the Apostle lays special emphasis; and warns against the subtle forms of selfishness so fatal to it. As a supreme example of unselfishness, he points to the incarnation and death, and subsequent exaltation, of the Son of God. He also warns his readers that upon their conduct depends their salvation, and begs them so to act as to be lights in a dark world and an eternal joy to himself. To him, every sacrifice for them is an abiding joy.

Paul then commends Timothy, his proved and faithful son in the Gospel, whom he hopes soon to send; and Epaphroditus who at the risk of his life had discharged the mission entrusted to him and had thus rendered to the Apostle eminent service. He bids the Philippian Christians receive back with due honour their faithful messenger.

With this commendation Paul was closing his letter. But, for his readers’

safety, he adds a warning, viz. against Jewish opponents and Jewish self-confidence. In such confidence Paul might himself indulge: but his knowledge of Christ has made it impossible. He has no present attainments in which to rest; but is eagerly pressing forward to a goal still beyond him. He bids all who claim to be men in Christ to imitate his example. A sadder warning follows. Some church-members, by their worldly and sensual spirit, prove themselves to be enemies of Christ. This unworthy Spirit Paul rebukes by pointing to the expected Saviour and the complete change which His coming will bring.

Next follows a word of kindly expostulation with two excellent ladies whose quarrel was the more serious because of their Christian activity. Then come charming words of spiritual exhortation and of wise counsel.

Lastly, Paul speaks at some length about the gift which prompted this letter. The gift filled him with joy; not because of the poverty it relieved-for Paul has learnt a secret which makes him superior to the burdens of life-but because of the harvest of blessing which already it is producing for his readers, and because it is an acceptable sacrifice to God, who will supply in the glory of heaven the givers’ every need. A few words of general greeting close the Epistle.

In the pages of the Epistle to the Philippians we see reflected the most attractive picture in the New Testament of Christian life and a Christian Church. Scarcely a word of reproof disturbs the joyous outflow of Paul’s warm affection. And this affection finds equal response in the abiding and loving care of the Philippian Christians for Paul. Among the Apostolic Churches they hold indisputably the place of honour. And to thousands of men and women tossed about by the uncertainties and anxieties of life, this letter, written in a dungeon at Rome under the shadow of the gallows yet everywhere vocal with exuberant joy, has been the light of life. As our gladdened eyes turn from that far-shining light to rest for a moment on the broad and silent pastures where once was the busy Roman colony of Philippi, we see fulfilled in ancient prophecy: THE GRASS WITHERETH, THE FLOWER FADETH BUT THE WORD OF OUR GOD SHALL STAND FOR EVER.

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Beet, Joseph. "Commentary on Philippians 4:22". Joseph Beet's Commentary. 1877-90.

John Eadie's Commentary on Galatians, Ephesians, Colossians and Philippians

(Philippians 4:22.) ᾿ασπάζονται ὑμᾶς πάντες οἱ ἅγιοι—“All the saints salute you.” Of course the brethren are saints, but all the saints are not brethren in the very same sense. The apostle refers to two circles of Christians about him; those bound by some nearer and more special tie to him, and named “brethren;” and those beyond them having no such familiar relationship with him, “the saints.” Who composed this inner circle we know not. He may refer to the brethren spoken of in Philippians 1:14, or principally to those mentioned by him in the epistles written at this period to the church in Colosse, and to Phlippians. Chrysostom alludes to a difficulty. The apostle has said, in Philippians 2:20-21, that none with him were like-minded with Timothy, and that all sought their own, and his solution is, that “he did not refuse to call even them brethren.” Nor might all these brethren be qualified for such a mission as Timothy's. See p. 149. A special class are subjoined-

μάλιστα δὲ οἱ ἐκ καίσαρος οἰκίας—“but chiefly they of Caesar's household.” A special prominence is attached to their salutation. The very source of it must have excited wonder and gratitude. Calvin remarks-ac eo quidem admirabilius, quo rarius est exemplum, sanctitatem in aulis regnare. They of Caesar's household must have taken a deep interest in the apostle, and might have been converted by him during his imprisonment. They must also, so far as permitted to them, have ministered to his comfort, and they could not but feel a special sympathy for a church which had sent Epaphroditus to do a similar service. Who they were, has been keenly disputed.

The term οἰκία is not the same with πραιτώριον, but refers to the imperial residence. Matthies indeed says-so ist dieses am natürlichsten hier zu verstehen, und an solche aus der Kaiserlichen Leibwache zu denken. But the statement is unsupported. It has been supposed to mean:-

1. The emperor's family or relatives. So van Hengel and many others, including Baur, for a sinister purpose of his own. The words may bear such a signification-1 Corinthians 16:15, οἴδατε τὴν οἰκίαν στεφανᾶ; Luke 1:27; Luke 2:4, ἐξ οἴκου δαυίδ.

2. The word is used in an inferior sense to signify domestics generally. So in Josephus, Antiq. 17.5. 8- τοῦ καίσαρος τὴν οἰκίαν. Also Philo- τὸν ἐπίτροπον τῆς οἰκίας, and in a yet more honourable sense- εἰ δὲ μὴ βασιλεὺς ἀλλὰ τις τῶν ἐκ τῆς καίσαρος οἰκίας—“if he had not been king, but only one of Caesar's household, ought he not to have had some precedence and honour?” In Flaccum, vol. ii. p. 522. Or Tacitus, Hist. 2.92-quidam in domum Caesaris transgressi, atque ipsis dominis potentiores. Nero, as has been often remarked, had but few relations, and the probability is, that domestics, either slaves or freedmen, are here intended. The persons referred to are not named, as Epaphroditus could give the Philippians the requisite information. It is almost needless to allude to any hypothesis on this subject; yet out of this reference arose the fiction of Paul's correspondence with Seneca, Nero's preceptor. Lucan the poet, Seneca's nephew, has also been included. Estius refers to two names, Evellius and Torpetes, as being Neronis familiares, and as occupying a place in the Roman martyrology of this period. But this is all uncertainty. Witsius gives Pomponia Graecina, a name occurring in Tacitus. Meletem. Leid. p. 212. Some have fixed on Poppaea Sabina, Nero's wife. These domestics were, in all probability, brought into contact with the apostle during his confinement in the praetorium. For the opinions of those who think that this epistle was written at Caesarea the reader may turn to the Introduction.

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Eadie, John. "Commentary on Philippians 4:22". John Eadie's Commentary on Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians and Colossians.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

they that are of Caesar‘s household — the slaves and dependents of Nero who had been probably converted through Paul‘s teaching while he was a prisoner in the Praetorian barrack attached to the palace. Philippi was a Roman “colony,” hence there might arise a tie between the citizens of the mother city and those of the colony; especially between those of both cities who were Christians, converted as many of them were by the same apostle, and under like circumstances, he having been imprisoned at Philippi, as he now is at Rome.

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Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Philippians 4:22". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible". 1871-8.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

All the saints salute you, chiefly they that are of Caesar's household.

Chiefly (as being nearest me) they that are of Caesar's household - dependents of Nero, probably converted through Paul while a prisoner in the praetorian barrack attached to the palace. Philippi was a Roman 'colony;' hence, there might arise a tie between the citizens of the mother city and those of the colony, especially between those of both cities converted by the same apostle and under like circumstances, he having been imprisoned at Philippi as he now is at Rome.

Copyright Statement
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Bibliographical Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Philippians 4:22". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". 1871-8.

James Gray's Concise Bible Commentary


The chapter opens with another exhortation to unity, but this time in a specific case (Philippians 4:1-3). Two Christian women, probably deaconesses, like Phoebe (Romans 16:1), were at variance. The spirit of self had got in and Paul pleads with them to come together again, and pleads with his “true yokefellow,” whoever he may have been, to help them do it.

This leads to a statement of a great truth about self-will (Philippians 4:4-9). In the first place, to “rejoice in the Lord” is an antidote to self-will (Philippians 4:4). Second, the absence of mere self-will in a Christian should “be known to all men,” i.e., it should be a reality in his life, since the Lord is always “at hand” to help and to calm his spirit. Third, since the occasion of the Christians self- will is likely to be some cause for anxiety about himself, he is to remove this by telling it to the Lord (Philippians 4:6). Thus God’s peace will garrison his heart, keeping it as with a sentinel from being invaded by disquiet, giving rise to self-will. The Christian who thus draws his strength from God is able to act on the advice of Philippians 4:8, and to follow the example of Paul in Philippians 4:9. How wonderful the grace of God in Paul, when he might dare to remind them of himself in these respects, not in egotism, but in sober and blessed fact!

The remainder of the letter is taken up with personal matters. The church at Philippi had contributed to the apostle’s physical needs through the ministration of Epaphroditus. They had aided him in his necessity before; but sometime had elapsed since they had done so, because they “lacked opportunity” (Philippians 4:10). The apostle was not complaining. He had not wanted anything, not because he had much, but because he had learned to do with little (Philippians 4:11-12). This was not a natural gift of his, but a supernatural enduement (Philippians 4:13). Nevertheless the kindnesses of the Philippians were appreciated, and especially because they were the fruit of Paul’s ministry among them, which ultimately would bring reward to them “abound to your account” (Philippians 4:14-17). This would be true because they did it for him in the name of the Lord, Who would supply all their need (Philippians 4:18-19).

Note in the closing salutation, “They that are of Caesar’s household” (Philippians 4:22), which means Christian believers “gathered from the retainers of the palace.” “The household of Caesar” embraced a vast number of persons in Rome and in the provinces, all of whom were either actual or former slaves of the Empire, filling every description of office more or less domestic. It should be added that they were not necessarily of inferior races, but captives taken in war, just as the Hebrews were made to serve at the court of Babylon. Their associations and functions give a noble view of the power of grace to triumph over circumstances, and to transfigure life where it seems most impossible.


1. Explain Philippians 4:1-3.

2. State in your own words the inspired teaching about self-will.

3. State in your own words Paul’s feeling about the ministrations of this church to him.

4. Who are meant by “Caesar’s household”?

5. How is the power of grace illustrated in them?

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These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Gray, James. "Commentary on Philippians 4:22". The James Gray's Concise Bible Commentary. 1897-1910.

Mitchell's Commentary on Selected New Testament Books

Good-day, friends. We've been spending quite a bit of time on this last chapter, and the reason for it is that it is a wonderful illustration of what the real Christian life and experience is. It's a life of full joy. We are to rejoice in the Lord always. He is the ground of our joy.

He goes on to speak about a perfect peace, the peace of God which passes understanding that shall garrison your heart and your mind through Christ Jesus. Then he talks about the life that is fully content in Christ. And then he talks about the blessedness of giving, and we were discussing in our last lesson this19th verse again:

Philippians 4:19. But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.

Philippians 4:20. Now unto God and our Father be glory for ever and ever. Amen.

And may I close this book of Philippians today with this wonderful keynote: All the riches that you and I need are within reach, and we're finding them in Christ Jesus. The source of supply is in Christ.

You remember, in Colossians 2:3 : "In whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge." Think of it! All that I need of Wisdom of Solomon, of joy, of peace, of strength—all that I need is found in Him, the unlimited supply of the grace of God and the grace of glory. The riches of glory are for the believer in Christ Jesus.

You know, I think every one of us will remember a verse in the Old Testament. In fact, it is one of the first verses we teach children in Sunday school; and I'm thinking of the 23rd Psalm, the1st verse. Remember it? "The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.". Or as the little fellow said in Sunday school class, "The Lord is my shepherd. I should worry?"

My God shall supply all your needs. The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want. And He expands that. "He leadeth me beside the still waters." He leads us to the green pastures and we lie down, our hunger satisfied. This is . We have peace and contentment. He restores our soul even when we fail Him. He forgives us and cleanses us and leads us in the paths of righteousness for His name's sake. Contentment, satisfaction—though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death I will fear no evil.

Why? Thou art with me.

What do I need? Comfort.

What do I need? Peace of heart and peace of mind.

And He is with me. His rod and staff comfort me. He has already defeated death, and not one child of God goes through this experience of death without the Savior right there with Him.

My, what a wonderful thing to know that the Lord of life; the Lord over all resurrection; the Lord of glory, is with us whatever the hour, whatever the affliction, whatever the circumstance.

And even when I get bruised on the way, who is it who puts oil upon my head? He does. My shepherd. My head with oil He anoints. My cup runs over. Goodness and mercy, these twins, shall follow me—shall chase after me, all the days of my life.

And then the wonderful assurance, "I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever." The23Psalm. Read it with the4th chapter of Philippians. Full joy, full peace, full contentment. Even my very giving He takes note of and He's willing—able—to supply any need that I may have.

Now before I close this book of Philippians I would like you to notice one more thing here, reading verses21-23, the last three verses of the book.

Philippians 4:21. Salute every saint in Christ Jesus. The brethren which are with me greet you. There were some in prison with him.

Philippians 4:22. All the saints salute you, chiefly they that are of Caesar's household.

Now he's writing from Rome. Remember this—he's a prisoner in Rome. And why do you think Paul was a prisoner in Rome? Why? You remember in the first chapter the Apostle Paul rejoiced that Christ was preached, whether out of contention or in love. As long as people heard about his Savior he would rejoice. What's the result?

Philippians 4:22. All the saints salute you, chiefly they that are of Caesar's household.

Did you ever stop to think one of the reasons why God permitted the Apostle Paul to be a prisoner, to be chained to Roman soldiers? My friend, God had some people there He wanted to save. How were they going to be reached? Certainly they wouldn't go down to the little church at Rome— in a house more than likely. No. God takes a prisoner by the name of Paul right into the very palace of Caesar. He's chained to Roman soldiers.

Can't you visualize this?

Here is a change of the guard; and, if the guard is changed, here are some new guards he has never seen before, and his heart would jump for joy.

"Here are some people going to be chained to me," he says. "They can't get away from me. I'm chained to them and I'm going to discuss with them, give them the good news from God to their hearts—that God has provided a Savior." Can't you hear him saying that joyfully?

God has made provision to cleanse them from sin. God has made the provision whereby they can become children of the living God and spend eternity in the presence of God. How do you think these people in Caesar's household heard the gospel? Through a man who was full of joy.

Don't you forget that when Paul wrote the fourth chapter of Philippians he was in jail, and, when he talks to these Philippians about wonderful peace and wonderful joy and wonderful contentment, he was experiencing that in jail.

You know, it makes me hang my head in shame. Not only for myself but for God's people. How we grumble and we growl if our circumstances are not what we think they ought to be. We blame God for it. Shame on us.

Here is a man chained to Roman soldiers. He's not a free man in the sense of physical freeness. Every day the guard is changed and possibly some of these would be the praetorian guard—the select men of Caesar's household chained to a prisoner. And how Paul thanked God for these chains. He had brought them who were of Caesar's household to hear the gospel of God's wonderful grace. I tell you, it's an amazing thing.

Now I can understand a little wee bit of this book of Philippians. In chapter1, he wrote—may I repeat it?

Philippians 1:20. According to my earnest expectation and my hope, that in nothing I shall be ashamed, but that with all boldness, as always, now also Christ shall be magnified in my body, whether it be by life, or by death.

Philippians 1:21. For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.

"If I'm going to be martyred for the gospel," he is saying, "I'll rejoice because Christ is going to be glorified. If I'm going to be chained in prison, I'll rejoice because through this very thing, these very circumstances, those of Caesar's household are hearing the gospel. Whatever the cost may be, let it be as long as Christ is magnified.

"And I take the very tests of life, the very afflictions and misunderstandings of life, the very sufferings of life, the very sorrows of life, and see that they're used for the glory of Christ in my life."

And in chapter2that humility and meekness of the Savior were manifested in Paul and in Timothy and Epaphroditus. And, my friend, if these men of the first century could glorify God in their bodies in the midst of the circumstances and things through which they went, there is no excuse for you and me.

I don't care what your circumstances are. They could possibly be worse than mine. I know they could. And yet, whatever our circumstances, whatever the situation may be, remember He's the God over all. He loves you and He wants you to enjoy His power and His presence and His blessing and His peace and contentment in the midst of it all.

Then in chapter3he could say:

Philippians 3:8. I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have

suffered the loss of all things.

All things—good things, bad thingsjust to know Christ, just to win Christ, to be found in Christ. I tell you, what a passion this man had. Even the very good things of life which would hinder his knowing Christ he's willing to put to one side just to know Christ.

Now we come to the last chapter

Philippians 4:13. I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.

Philippians 4:19. But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.

Oh, read and Revelation -read this wonderful book of Philippians. It is the book of Christian experience.

And I trust that even today you will have a joy in Christ you never had before, and a peace that passes all understanding and a contentment even in the midst of your afflictions and hard and sad circumstances. The Lord Jesus can come into your life and give you that contentment and that peace and that strength that's beyond the understanding of men.

I tell you, Christian friend, we've got a wonderful Savior. He's made marvelous provision for your daily, hourly needs. And again I say, if you can trust the Lord with your eternal home for eternity, surely you can trust Him for the next24hours, whatever your circumstance may be.

Live for Him. Don't growl about what's going to happen tomorrow. You live today for the Savior. Enjoy the riches of glory in Christ Jesus and may you and I be available to God to be His channel of blessing to some heart today.

Who knows—who knows? God may use you and me in some precious soul today who will pass from death to life, who will pass out of darkness into light, who will be transformed from a sinner, from a child of wrath, into a child of God reveling in the Savior.

Who knows? God can use you.

You say, "Mr. Mitchell, I have no gift."

I'm not talking about gifts. All I want, and I'm sure all God wants, is a channel. He'll do it. He's got the supply. He has the ability. He has the power. He has all that is necessary. All He wants is a channel. He's got to use men and women whom He has redeemed with His own blood.

And I just plead with your heart today, make yourself available to God, will you? Is that asking too much?

Just say, "Father, I'm going to give myself to You to be available, to be used by the Son of God, to be a channel of blessing to some heart today." He asks for just a kind Acts, just a kind word, just an understanding spirit.

You may never know it—you may never know it, but that kind word, that kind deed can mean so much to people in their condition. You may not even know their condition, but God does; and He's picked you as a vessel of honor to be used in that person's life today.

May you draw on Him.

Remember, "My God shall supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.

And may the Lord wonderfully bless you as you Revelation -read the book of Philippians today.

Bibliographical Information
Mitchell, John G. D.D. "Commentary on Philippians 4:22". "Mitchell's Commentary on Selected New Testament Books".

Sutcliffe's Commentary on the Old and New Testaments

Philippians 4:6. Be careful for nothing — let your requests be made known unto God. Not that we are to abandon all care, or become careless, about the things of the present life, for that would be inconsistent with the requirement, to provide things honest in the sight of all men, and for that purpose to be diligent in business, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord. But it becomes christians not to be burdened with inordinate care, or to be over solicitous about any temporal good, so as anxiously to enquire, what shall we eat, what shall we drink, or wherewithal shall we be clothed; for our heavenly Father knoweth that we have need of these things, and he is able to provide. Matthew 6:31-32. The Lord is my shepherd, said the pious psalmist: I shall not want. If sorrow and trouble come upon us, if threatened with poverty or destitution, let us flee without delay to the mercyseat, and make our requests known unto God, who has appointed this way of relief, that we may feel our dependence upon him, and that we may go to him day by day for our daily bread as children to their father. And what a happy life, free from corroding care and depressing anxiety, having cast all our cares on Him who careth for us, and is able to supply all our need. It is also one of the tests of true religion that we not only pray on special occasions, but on all occasions, and in every thing make our requests known unto God; that we tell him all our wants and all our hearts, even in matters that to others might appear trivial or unimportant.

Philippians 4:7. And the peace of God — shall keep your hearts and minds. This follows as a consequence upon the foregoing exhortation. The way to be kept in perfect peace, is to have our minds stayed upon the Lord, as a building rests upon its foundation. Isaiah 26:3. Then, when troubles come, “our hearts” shall be kept as in a garrison, which no enemy can invade. This peace of God, arising from reconciliation with him and a consciousness of acceptance in his sight, will diffuse a sweet tranquility over all the sorrows of life, and enable the believer to view without dread the approaching hour of death and a judgment to come. And while many errors, as well as troubles, are abroad in the world, it will keep “our minds” free from them, and prevent our being corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. 1 Corinthians 11:3. He that lives in communion with God will neither be in danger of any fatal error, nor of sinking under the trials of life.


“How condescending is this great apostle in the kind notice he takes, not only of his fellow-labourers in the work of the christian ministry, but even of the women, who, according to the opportunity which God gave them, lent their assistance for the service of the gospel, whatever those assistances were; whether by their prayers, or familiar addresses to their friends, or their kind offices to the bodies of those in distress, or that uniform example by which the several virtues of christianity were recommended, and the christian profession adorned. Let none then object the privacy of their stations, as if that must necessarily cut them off from usefulness, but let them endeavour diligently and humbly to do their utmost, and pray for encreasing wisdom and grace, to guide them in their deliberations and resolves.

It will be very subservient to this happy design, that christians, in whatever stations they are, should be of one mind in the Lord; that they should endeavour to lay aside mutual prejudices, and unite in love, if they cannot perfectly agree in all their sentiments. Then may they rejoice in the Lord; and it is to be urged upon them again and again, that they do so. It is to be urged, not only as a privilege, but a duty. And surely, if we consider what a Saviour he is, and how perfectly accommodated to what our necessities require, and what our hearts could wish, we shall easily enter into the reasonableness of the exhortation.

Let us often represent it to ourselves as a truth equally important and certain, that the Lord is at hand. By his spiritual presence he is ever near us, and the day of his final and visible appearance is continually approaching. Let our hearts be duly influenced by it, and particularly be taught that holy moderation which becomes those who see the season so nearly advancing, when all these things shall be dissolved. And let this abate our anxiety about them. Why should we be solicitous about things which shall so soon be as if they had never been? Let us seek the repose of our minds in prayer. In every thing by humble supplication let us make known our requests to God, and let us mingle thankful acknowledgments for past favours with our addresses to the throne of grace for what we farther need. This will establish the serenity of our souls, so that the peace of God, more sweet and delightful than any who have not experienced it can conceive, will keep our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus, and make our state secure as well as pleasant. Let us study the beautiful and the venerable, as well as what is true and just in actions, and pursue every thing which shall, as such, approve itself to our consciences, every thing in which there shall be virtue and praise. Let us always in this view endeavour to keep the moral sense uncorrupted, and pray that God would, if I may be allowed the expression, preserve the delicacy of our mind in this respect, that a holy sensibility of soul may warn and alarm us, to guard against every distant appearance of evil. That so cautious of venturing to the utmost boundaries of what may be innocent, we may be more secure than we could otherwise be from the danger of passing over to the confines of guilt, and of wandering from one degree of it to another. And while we exhort others to such a care, let us ourselves endeavour to be like this holy apostle, among the brighter examples of it.

What a noble spirit of generosity and gratitude appears in the apostle. How handsomely does he acknowledge the favour of his friends, still maintaining the dignity of his character, rejoicing in the tokens of their affection to him, chiefly as fruits abounding to their account, and as it would be a sweet savour acceptable to God. And as the incense which they were presenting at the divine altar, would also by its fragrancy delight them, surely they enjoyed what they had of their own, whether it were more or less, with greater satisfaction, when they were imparting something with filial gratitude to their father in Christ, to make his bonds and imprisonments the less grievous.

The apostle freely professes that he received these tokens of their affection with pleasure, but much happier was he in that noble superiority of mind to external circumstances which he so amiably describes. Truly rich and truly great, in knowing how to be content in every circumstance; possessed of the noblest kind of learning, in having learned how to be exalted, and to be abused, to abound or to suffer need. This alsufficiency of which he boasts, is it haughty arrogance? Far from it; he is never humbler than when he speaks of himself in this exalted language. It is in the strength of another that he glories. I am sufficient for all things through Christ which strengthens me. And here the feeblest christian may join issue with him, and say, If Christ will strengthen me, I also am sufficient for all.

His grace let us constantly seek, and endeavour to maintain a continual dependance upon it, praying for ourselves and for each other, that the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ may be with us. This grace produced and maintained saints, where of all places upon earth we should least have expected to find them, even the palace of Cæsar, of Nero. Let it encourage us to look to God to supply our spiritual necessities out of the riches of his glory in Christ. And in a cheerful hope that he will do it, let us through him ascribe glory to our God and Father for ever and ever. Amen.”


Philippians 4:1. My joy and crown, so stand fast in the Lord. Other combatants fought for garlands which fade in a day, but Paul’s contest was for a crown of righteousness which fadeth not away. Daniel had said before, that those who are wise, and those who turn many to righteousness, should shine as the brightness of the firmament, and as the stars for ever and ever. Paul had turned multitudes of gentiles to the Lord, and his crown was bedecked with a whole galaxy of celestial luminaries. What an argument for perseverance, and steadfastness in the faith. Other robbers steal a person’s money, but backsliders steal away irradiated crowns from the heads of their dejected pastors.

Philippians 4:3. I entreat thee also, true yoke-fellow, help those women which laboured with me in the gospel. Erasmus is almost singular in understanding this of Paul’s wife. Eusebius affirms that he was married, but does not say at what period of his life. Others understand it of Epaphroditus, the bishop of Philippi, the genuine yoke-fellow of Paul, and therefore joined with Euodias, Syntyche, and Clement; and it was his business to succour and comfort the deaconesses of the church. But the name Syntyche having a feminine termination, Calmet, after some others, thinks she was a woman in the church of Philippi eminent for piety and good works. If so, she must, like the daughters of Philip, have been a prophetess in the church, a mother in Israel. The inscriptions to the bishops, in Philippians 1:1, does not affect this idea, for Paul’s epistles were provincial, as well as particular, and he refers to the bishops of adjacent towns. True yoke-fellow is therefore a term of courtesy, Epaphroditus having laboured with Paul in the ministry. Women in the east, being separated from the men, as indicated by the court of the women in the temple, matrons were alike essential in the synagogue and in the church of Christ. Romans 16:1.

Whose names are in the book of life. See on Exodus 32:32. Homer says of Ulyses, that his name was in Jupiter’s court. τουνομα εν διου αυλη. Indeed all the heroes claimed divine descent, as is intimated by many of their names. Christ keeps the register of the faithful in the archives of heaven.

Philippians 4:4. Rejoice in the Lord alway; and again I say rejoice. The believer has indeed cause for joy, both in this world and in that which is to come. He has a God, a Redeemer, a hope laid up in heaven. Why not then, like David, bless the Lord at all times, and call upon him seven times a day. Why not dispose of his cares, and sorrows, and crosses; and being persuaded that all his affairs are in the hands of a heavenly Father, why not sing, though the figtree should not blossom?

Philippians 4:5. Let your moderation be known unto all men. The adjective, επιεικες, is here put for the substantive: let your modesty, meekness, lenity, candour, probity, humanity, be noted and approved of all. Men shrink away from the Nabals of the age.

Philippians 4:8-9. Whatsoever things are honest, pure, lovely. Here the moral glory of the christian character is described, similar to what we find in Psalms 15, 119. and in our Lord’s sermon on the mount. It is the want of this amiable and lovely character that hinders the world from believing in Christ, by giving an unjust and unfavourable view of the gospel. John 17:20-21. Christianity, they say, has done nothing for us — a most grievous sarcasm against the true church. Her charities at this moment are blazing out to distant lands, under every form of active benevolence.

Philippians 4:11-13. I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. This is not a lesson of theory, but of practice; nor is it one that nature teaches, for Paul had to learn it long after his conversion; and he learned it in hunger and affluence, in stripes and jails. At Philippi he sung at midnight in the stocks; he was calm in the tempest at sea, and he saw his bonds the means of converting many in Cæsar’s court. Well then did the Saviour say of outward troubles and calamities, “In patience possess ye your souls.” Christ can strengthen us to do and to suffer all his pleasure.

Philippians 4:15. No church communicated with me — but ye only. Paul had asked nothing for his journey to Jerusalem; but now, being in affliction and bonds, they more than supplied all his lack at Rome. This was an odour of sweet smell to Him, who in return would supply all their need, according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.

Philippians 4:23. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. As he began so he closes with benedictions, and pours upon them the full effusions of his heart. Nor are we to think lightly of paternal benedictions. The peace of a messenger of the Lord rests upon the good man’s house, and who can estimate the good which that blessing contains. Assuredly, the reading of this epistle would warm every heart, and brighten every countenance. The eye of him that sees the Saviour shall not be dim, nor the ear dull of hearing.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Sutcliffe, Joseph. "Commentary on Philippians 4:22". Sutcliffe's Commentary on the Old and New Testaments. 1835.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

22 All the saints salute you, chiefly they that are of Caesar’s household.

Ver. 22. All the saints salute you] Christianity is no enemy to courtesy. God’s scholars are taught better manners than to neglect so much as salutations.

They that are of Caesar’s household] When Caesar himself lived and died an unconverted caitiff (wretch) and a castaway. So did Seneca, for aught we can find by his writings, though some would have him to be here designed among the rest. {See Trapp on "Romans 1:18"}

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Trapp, John. "Commentary on Philippians 4:22". John Trapp Complete Commentary. 1865-1868.

Kingcomments on the Whole Bible

Supply All Needs and Salutations

Phil 4:15. You have already seen that a special bond existed between Paul and the Philippians. Paul points out that this special relationship was visible in their support for him in the beginning of the gospel. He reflects on this beginning with joy after a gap of ten or more years.

That he had accepted money from them was something special. He wanted to be self-supporting and also wanted to support those who were with him (Acts 18:3; Acts 20:34). He accepted no money from other churches, for instance from the Corinthians (1Cor 9:12; 2Cor 11:7-10). Why did he refuse the gifts from them? Often money has relegated the servant of God to a servant of people. It can become a means by which a person who serves God can become a servant of people. People bribe and are bribed.

But Paul could not be bought for money. For instance he accepted no money from the Corinthians because it would have meant that he had stimulated their sense of honor. Those who serve God must constantly examine the motives when accepting money. Money should never tarnish the purity of the work that must be done only according to the mandate of God. Also when it is known that it is given with base motives it should not be accepted. These issues do not have a place in the relationship between Paul and the Philippians. Both the donor and the receiver did it for the Lord.

Phil 4:16. More than once Paul received gifts from the Philippians. He also recalls the times when he was in Thessalonica. Apparently he did not accept anything from the Thessalonians also. That was a new church and he did not want to give the impression that money played a role in the proclamation of the gospel. He wanted to maintain the relationship pure. There he worked for his maintenance (1Thes 2:9) and was also grateful for the gifts the Philippians sent him.

You cannot forget the manifestation of the grace of God when you keep it fresh in your mind. Otherwise it can happen to you as it happened with the Israelites. It was a miracle that the Israelites got manna day by day during the wilderness journey. But when it happened, everyday for decades, they forgot the wonder of it and began to get an aversion to the marvels of God. Such is man when he does not give the glory to God.

Phil 4:17. Paul gives the glory to God. Primarily his point is not the benefits he himself had of the gift. He was not looking for the next gift. His emphasis is mainly what the gift would add to them. While being grateful for the gift, his main concern was about the fruit for the giver. The gift is not only for the use of the receiver. It means also the spiritual fruit for the giver in whose account the fruit is credited. He did not seek theirs but they themselves (2Cor 12:14). Their material balance indeed has become smaller, but the balance in their spiritual account has increased. It is one of the principles of the kingdom of God that you will be spiritually enriched by giving your materials (2Cor 9:6; Pro 11:25).

Phil 4:18. To experience this you need faith which is the trust in God that He actually deals this way with what you give. Paul knows that God so works. Therefore he speaks almost in superlatives about what the Philippians had sent him through Epaphroditus. He used words such as "everything", "full", "abundance". You may think: 'That must have been a lot of money.' But Paul does not mean that.

For sure, with the money he can manage for a time. But above all he has an abundance of gratitude in his heart. He is full of joy through this gift of love. The gift which indeed is the proof of their love was sent to him but he sees it as sacrifice to God. And what a sacrifice! It was "a fragrant aroma, an acceptable sacrifice, well-pleasing to God". It might sound too sublime a level of praise for such an earthly thing. Here a gift to someone is called a fragrant sacrifice to God. It is the same expression 'fragrant aroma' that is used for what the Lord Jesus brought on the cross (Eph 5:2). Here you can see the significance of a material sacrifice.

You can also see how very much they both belong to each other. You see the same in Hebrews 13 (Heb 13:15-16). There the sacrifice of praise and giving of thanks and the sharing and doing good are called in the same breath. Your giving attitude must be properly upgraded in this light.

Phil 4:19. The Philippians had given something to Paul. I presume it was money; for it is not said what the gift consisted of. In any case they literally lessened what they had and yet they suffered no loss. On the contrary it brought spiritual gain. You must know this by experience in order to understand the truth of it. Yes, this letter is the letter of Christian experience. Well, there is more experience coming.

Paul gives the Philippians something of what he had experienced himself. He has received something from the Philippians. Now he has something for them, something very personal, that he wants to send as gift. What he sends as gift is more than a wish. It is an assurance. He knew from personal experience that God would do it, and therefore he calls Him "my God". This God whom he knew personally through all his circumstances would provide for them.

You see, you can say this to another only when you have experienced it yourself. This God had supplied all his needs, and He would also supply all their needs. God knows all the needs of His people. He makes sure that they are supplied. For this He uses His children, and sometimes even non-believers, the 'raven', as in the case of Elijah (1Kgs 17:4). Everyone and everything is available to Him and He uses everything He wants whether they are aware of it or not.

And how will God supply? Not sparsely, but according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus. Is there a limit? All the wealth of God is found in the glory of Christ Jesus. He is the Creator and Sustainer of all things and of all that lives. Paul knows that God gives out this wealth to those who give to another in the cause of His work. What God gives is not according to the needs of His people but according to His riches.

How blessed are you! You cannot invest your property in a better way than to give it away in this manner. What you get back for this is remarkably stable and independent of all the earthly economic tides. In Malachi 3 God challenges you to throw yourself on the promise that He will return much more than you give (Mal 3:10; Pro 19:17).

Phil 4:20. Paul concludes his thanks for the gift and for the blessing that was lying in wait for the Philippians with a communal song of praise of God. He makes the Philippians one in mind with himself and wishes our God and Father the glory forever and ever. Praise is the result from some material given from one to another!

This is quite different from all the charities in this world which always revolves around people. Donation behavior is investigated, statistics compiled, begging letters are sent, and the names of donors are published together with the amounts. Everything revolves around the honor of people. Brochures are distributed in abundance to persuade people to transfer their will and money as gift for a good cause. Organizations pay for mentioning their names in the brochure hoping to get a piece of the cake.

It should not be so in the church. What is given to our God in secret, He will repay (Mt 6:3-4) because it gives glory to Him now and for eternity. So it is, Amen!

Phil 4:21. Paul concludes his letter with some greetings. The believers in Philippi were all equally dear to him. He had no preference. He greets every saint and among them were the two women who could not get along (Phil 4:2). Besides being spiritually minded he was aware of his connection to every saint in Christ Jesus. This fits in with this letter in which he exhorts that everyone should esteem others better than himself (Phil 2:3).

Phil 4:22. There is a relationship not only between Paul and the believers in Philippi, but there is a relationship between the brethren who are with Paul and the Philippians, and between all the saints and the Philippians. Many believers had never seen each other. The greetings give expression to the inter connectedness that existed in Christ Jesus.

It is nice to read that even in Caesar's household there were people who had heard the loving voice of God. The gospel produced fruit in that place also. We do not know what positions these saints in Caesar's household held. In any case it should definitely be an encouragement to pray for all who are in authority (1Tim 2:1-4).

Phil 4:23. Paul ends his letter to them with the wish that the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with their spirit. Grace is the hallmark of God. You owe everything to it and you are constantly dependent on it. It is the fountain of all the goodness in your life. It is the source of all that you are allowed to do for the Lord. Grace is here connected with the full name of the Lord Jesus Christ.

He is your 'Lord'; He is 'Jesus' Who was on the earth in humility; He is 'Christ' Who is now in glory. You saw it all in this letter. Paul wishes that your spirit may be constantly filled with all that is written in this letter. Then your life will be focused on one purpose: on the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

Now read Philippians 4:15-23 again.

Reflection: Name a few things of the riches of God in glory in Christ Jesus. Praise Him that He supplies all your needs according to these riches.

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de Koning, Ger. Commentaar op Philippians 4:22". "Kingcomments on the Whole Bible". 'Stichting Titus' / 'Stichting Uitgeverij Daniël', Zwolle, Nederland. 2021.

The Popular Commentary by Paul E. Kretzmann

Greetings and Conclusion.

v. 21. Salute every saint in Christ Jesus. The brethren which are with me greet you.

v. 22. All the saints salute you, chiefly they that are of Caesar's household.

v. 23. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all! Amen.

Every saint, every member of the Philippian congregation, is remembered in the final salutation of the apostle. Being believers, they are saints, cleansed and sanctified by the blood of Christ. The brethren in Rome also wished to be remembered. Though they were not acquainted personally with the Philippian Christians, they felt themselves united with them in the fellowship of a common faith and love. Especially the Christians that belonged to Caesar's household, with whom Paul undoubtedly was most intimately acquainted and whom he saw oftener individually than many others, sent their greetings. Into the very palace of the emperor that hated the Christians the news of Christ had spread and made converts. Whether servants only were included, or whether some members, of the emperor's family had also been gained for Christ, as tradition has it, cannot be determined from this passage. The apostle closes with the earnest wish that the grace of Jesus Christ the Lord, the supreme gift and blessing of salvation, may be with the spirit of his readers. See Gal_6:18; Rom_16:24; 2Co_13:13.


The apostle closes his letter with general exhortations regarding the cultivation of all Christian virtues, recommends the Philippians for their liberality, and closes with the customary greetings.

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Kretzmann, Paul E. Ph. D., D. D. "Commentary on Philippians 4:22". "Kretzmann's Popular Commentary". 1921-23.

Lange's Commentary on the Holy Scriptures: Critical, Doctrinal and Homiletical

             VII. CONCLUSION:

Salutation and Benediction ( Philippians 4:21-23)

Philippians 4:21-23

21Salute every saint in Christ Jesus. The brethren who are with me greet [salute] you 22 All the saints salute you, chiefly [but especially] they that are of Cæsar’s household 23 The grace of our [the[FN11]] Lord Jesus Christ be with you all [your spirit[FN12]]. Amen.[FN13]


Philippians 4:21. Salute every saint in Christ Jesus, ἀσπάσαθε πάντα αγιου ἐν Χριστῷ Ἰησοῦ. He desires to single out every member of the church as embraced in this greeting; and hence he uses the singular (πάντα), and does not write πάντας τοὺς ἁγίους. The nearer limitation, ἐν Χριστῷ Ἰησοῦ, belongs to the verb ( Romans 16:16; 1 Corinthians 16:20; 2 Corinthians 13:12 : ἐν ἁγίῳ φιλήματι). It is to be a Christian salutation; ἅγιος does not need any limitation (Van Hengel, et al.), as Ephesians 1:1 shows.—The brethren who are with me salute you, adds salutations (ἀσπάζονται ὑμᾶς) entrusted to him by others, οἱ σὺν ἐμοὶ ἀδελφοί, qui mihi vincto ministrant, qui me visitant, qui mecum hic in evangelio laborant (Estius); hence the smaller circle ( Philippians 1:14), which, however, we are not to divide into travelling companions (as Luke, Titus and others) and those who lived in the place (as Clemens, Euodia, et al.) (Van Hengel).

Philippians 4:22. All the saints salute you (ἀσπάζονται ὑμᾶς πάντες οἱ ἅγιοι), all Christians in Rome who did not happen to stand in personal or official relations with himself.—But especially, μάλιστα δέ, marks a greeting delivered to him with great earnestness.—They that are of Cæsar’s household, οἱ ἐκ τῆςχ Καίσαρος οἰκίας. Since οἰκία most naturally means house, then palace, the imperial servants are probably meant. Neither the context nor the history gives us reason to understand the word in the sense of family, as in 1 Corinthians 16:15, and to suppose the members of the imperial family, the relatives of the Emperor, to be referred to (Baur, Van Hengel). Still less appropriate is it to suppose the Prætorians to be meant (Matthies), as in Philippians 1:13. The expressions ‘palace’ and ‘prætorium’ do not admit of being interchanged. It is not correct to think of Cæsarea and the βασίλειον τοῦ Ἡρώδου on account of Καίσαρος (Böttger, et al.). Who they were and why they sent an especial salutation is not stated. [Neander conjectures that possibly they may have been natives of Philippi, or have known some of the Philippian Christians who had been at Rome. Perhaps we are not to seek so far for an explanation. The Apostle’s ‘especially’ (μάλιοτα), which so emphasizes the greeting of ‘those of Cæsar’s household,’ may represent the tone of hearty earnestness with which they spoke up, as he was writing or dictating the letter, and asked them to send their kiss of love (ἀσπασμός) to these Philippians of whom they had heard so much from the Apostle. For this the parties need not have had any personal knowledge of each other. As servants in the palace (especially if Paul was quartered in that neighborhood) they may have been brought into relations of special intimacy with Paul.[FN14]—H.]

[This remark must be understood of a similarity in the import and not the form of the salutations.—H.]


1. Salutations are tokens of personal interest and living fellowship which should not be lightly esteemed.

2. It is important that the grace of the Lord be in us, not merely that we be surrounded by it.


Starke:—The Apostolic salutations teach that the Christian religion does not make men unfriendly and stubborn, but courteous and friendly.—A Christian salutation is a benediction, and not merely a custom: the fashionable world uses instead its empty compliments.—O Rome! Rome! how greatly hast thou changed! Formerly thou hadst true saints even in the household of a pagan and tyrannical emperor; but now hast thou false saints, especially in and around the Song of Solomon -called chair of Peter and at the court of his supposed successor.

Gerlach:—Thus among the slaves of the emperor Nero there existed a believing and loving community of Christians who felt a special interest in foreign churches. Perhaps it is on account of this noteworthy circumstance that Paul brings them forward so prominently.[FN15]

Heubner:—Christianity had forced its way into the very presence of the emperor, had found entrance among the servants of the court. Whether Seneca was among them or not is unknown. Christianity finds its way every where, and the worst places are not closed to grace.

Nitzsch:—The salutations of the saints which the Apostle delivered in such numbers and so earnestly rest—1) on faith and a confession of the one true church of the Lord; 2) they are an expression of the feeling of our communion, of our higher, heavenly relationship in the family of God; 3) they furnish significant proofs of Christian love.


FN#11 - Philippians 4:23.—[The A. V. reads ἡμῶν after κυρίσυ, but on no sufficient authority.—H.]

FN#12 - Lachmann and Tischendorf adopt the former in their text. Meyer. regards μετὰ τοῦ πνευμάτος ὑμῶν as borrowed from Galatians 6:18. The English Version translates the common μετὰ παντῶν ἡμῶν, which is not well supported.—H.]

FN#13 - Ibid.—Ἀμήν is found in א A D E K L. The subscription in א is πρὸς φιλιππησίους, and in B the same with ἐγράφη ἀπὸ Ρώμης added, while K subjoins δι’ Ἐπαφροδίτου.

FN#14 - Some have supposed that Seneca may have been one of the members of the Emperor’s household, to whom Paul here refers. On this question of the possibility of an acquaintance between the Apostle and the philosopher during Paul’s captivity at Rome, Professor Lightfoot has an extended Dissertation in his Commentary on Philippians, pp268–331. The discussion involves an elaborate examination of the spirit and teachings of Stoicism as compared with those of the Gospel. The essay is indeed one of great value.—H.]

FN#15 - It was their own request, and not Paul’s Acts, which made them prominent (see on Philippians 4:22).—H.]

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Lange, Johann Peter. "Commentary on Philippians 4:22". "Commentary on the Holy Scriptures: Critical, Doctrinal, and Homiletical". 1857-84.

L. M. Grant's Commentary on the Bible

His heart overflowing at the contemplation of such an Object, the apostle in Ch.4 dwells upon the sufficiency of the Lord Jesus to supremely satisfy the soul. If in Ch.3 Christ is his Object in Glory, in this chapter Christ is his Strength for the wilderness pathway; and in contrast to Israel's constant murmuring in the wilderness, he tells us with a full heart, "I have learned in whatsoever state I am, to be content." Sweet testimony to the fulness of love and grace in his adorable Saviour!

And toward the Philippians, too, his heart expands: "my brethren dearly beloved and longed for, my joy and crown." This must be the result of all true occupation with Christ. If we thirst for the blessed knowledge of Himself, we spontaneously seek that others, too, might enjoy Him, and the spirit in which we do so will be one of tenderest consideration and entreaty. The Philippians were even then "his joy", and would in Glory be "his crown."

"So stand fast in the Lord, my dearly beloved." Since he loves them, he can desire no less for them than a firm, steadfast stand "in the Lord," in accordance with the moving truths of Ch.2. It will be noted that the first nine verses of this chapter are mainly devoted to exhorting the saints; and it is appropriate that they are first urged to maintain a single-hearted devotedness to the Lord, that will not waver in the face of trial.

But this is quickly followed by a plea for unity of mind. He addresses two sisters in the Lord, perhaps both of spiritual character, for their names (Euodias - "well met" and Syntyche - "a sweet smell") have good implications. Yet each evidently had a mind of her own, and they were at issue. Beautiful it is to note that the apostle will not take sides, but tenderly beseeches them to "be of the same mind in the Lord." For, to "stand fast in the Lord" does not mean to be disagreeable toward others. Unity may be maintained, and should be, and indeed will be, if we simply seek the Lord's mind instead of our own.

In becoming moral order, helping follows closely with unity; "I entreat thee also, true yokefellow, help those women which laboured with me in the Gospel, with Clement also, and with other my fellow-labourers, whose names are in the book of life." This is evidently addressed to Epaphroditus, the bearer of the epistle. It may well be that Euodias and Syntyche were among the women of whom Paul speaks. But he entreats Epaphroditus in this case to help them, not to reprimand them. Those who have sought by labour to further the work of the Gospel will be the special object of Satan's attacks, and to help them is only right, and particularly spiritually, as the verse doubtless implies. God is not unrighteous, that He should forget their work and labour of love, and the apostle too speaks of it in manifest appreciation, "whose names," he adds, "are in the book of life." Man's books of history and biography had no place for such, but how infinitely more honoured a distinction was theirs!

A fourth characteristic is now strongly urged in verse 4: "Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say rejoice." He has said the same before, but it is a matter to be much emphasised. For, blessed as it is to be a help to others, there is real danger of making this the chief occasion of our joy. Many are turned aside by this snare, and we must be diligent to remember that the joy of being useful cannot in any wise substitute for joy in the Lord. Let us seek this with humble consistency, for every other occasion of joy has failure, fluctuation, feebleness in it. He abides the same.

Verse 5 however would remind us that such joy should be tempered by a gentleness or moderation that should be evident to all men. If the joy in the Lord is real - not mere effusion - we shall have a readiness to yield our own rights, a gentle reasonableness that seeks not self-importance or self-assertion, so that some have suggested the word "yieldingness" in place of "moderation." This will be possible in just such measure as we realise that "the Lord is near." It is the blessed experience of "enduring as seeing Him who is invisible;" not exactly the expectation of His coming, but the sweet, present sense of His nearness.

But this again is closely followed by another becoming exhortation; "Be anxious for nothing; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let Your requests be made known unto God." Unbelief would urge that we are endangering our very existence by a gentle spirit that yields what may be our own rights. Should we therefore be anxious about such things? Far from it: "be anxious for nothing." Yet this is an impossibility without prayer. Hence, prayer is our sixth positive responsibility mentioned here. This is the blessed expression of dependence upon the Living God, the only real preservation from distracting care. If we are to be anxious for nothing, it manifestly follows that in everything we should pray. Blessed reassurance for the soul that not the smallest matter that may concern the believer's heart is too trivial for our God and Father. All should be brought candidly and earnestly to Him, where it will be well taken care of. In supplication we see this earnestness that pleads in the presence of God, so beautifully exemplified in our holy Lord in Gethsemane: "being 'g in an agony, He prayed more earnestly" (Luke 22:44).

But along with this we are given a seventh admonition: "with thanksgiving." Here is a most important preservative for our prayers. Even supplication is not to be demanding, but the expression of earnest desire for the will of God. A spirit of thanks. giving will keep us from the doubts and reasonings that are too often present when we are seeking something from God. Has He not met our real needs in the past? And are we not profoundly thankful for this? Thus quiet confidence as to the future is produced in the soul: "the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus." Blessed result of true, lowly communion with God.

This is a very practical and experimental peace. "Peace with God" (Romans 5:1) is manifestly to be distinguished from this, for all the children of God, on the basis of the sacrifice of Christ, have peace with God by faith: it is their eternal possession immediately upon conversion. "The peace of God" rather is that tranquillity of soul that rests in the will of God: it is the same blessed peace seen in its perfection in all the path of the Lord Jesus. And such is a very real guard for the heart and mind, as the passage has been rightly translated, "shall garrison your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus." Yet this infinitely strong protection and comfort can be enjoyed by the believer only as he acts truly upon the instruction of verse 6: this alone will give the calm, tranquil peace of a mind and heart resting in the blessed will of God. There is no real reason that this should not be the common experience of all saints: alas, that it is not more constantly so!

Verse 8 now supplies the eighth admonition of our chapter, dealing with our very thinking. Is it asking too much that our thoughts should be kept in definite bounds? Surely not. Indeed this is a vital though hidden spring of our actions, and if our thoughts are kept pure, certainly our actions will be also. The real reason for outward failure is our more serious failure in disciplining and controlling our minds.

The mind is an amazing instrument, constantly active, and ever forming itself according to the character of those things which occupy it. Hence we are told to think on [1] "whatsoever things are true." This sets aside all idealistic fancies, books of fiction, and the like. Of what is true there is far more than enough to engage our whole time: how then find time for the empty imaginings of men's minds? Secondly, "whatsoever things are noble." For there are some things true that may not yet be noble, not profitable for the soul. Thirdly, "whatsoever things are just." This speaks of the character of equity or fairness, a most needful addition to truth and nobility. Fourthly, "whatsoever things are pure," that which has no admixture of an inconsistent nature. Fifthly, "whatsoever things are lovely." This adds a character of warmth which may be lacking in the former things, but must not be considered apart from them. Sixthly, "whatsoever things are of good report, if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise." This seems to be an over-all covering of the verse, a sort of crowning of the commendable characteristics that should occupy our minds. "Think on these things."

Verse 9 now ends these admonitions with "doing" in the 9th place, not in the first, as many would prefer. Yet its place is seriously important: doing must flow from the former things or its character will be sadly deficient. "Those things which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you." As in Ch. 3, Paul is decidedly an example here, and the former chapter may well be again considered in connection with this verse. His single-hearted, devoted path of service to God and man is well worth emulating. "If ye know these things, happy are ye, if ye do them."

The Philippians had first learned the practical character of Christianity through Paul's conduct among them: they had received these things as of God: they had seen them in operation: and now that he was gone they had heard that he maintained the same characteristics. His was a living example of his own teachings.

Let them follow him, and they would find the same results as he: "The God of peace shall be with you." God's own presence in living power with them would give His approval of such ways. We might here be reminded that in verse 7 "the peace of God" is the result of dependent, believing prayer: in verse 9 the presence of "the God of peace" is the result of doing the will of God.

The apostle now turns to speak more personally, "But I rejoiced in the Lord greatly, that now at length your thought for me hath flourished again, though surely ye did think of me, but ye lacked opportunity" (N. Trans). The unfeigned and unselfish joy is beautiful to contemplate. The Philippians had desired before to send some temporal help to the apostle, but lacked opportunity, for their temporal resources were strictly limited. Their deep affection strongly affects the heart of Paul, and he greatly rejoices in the Lord at this willing sacrifice of their substance for the Lord's sake.

"Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, to be content." It was not his benefiting that so rejoiced his heart, but rather their affection for Christ, which he knew would bear fruit to their account. Wondrous it is to think of Paul's thorough contentment even in a Roman prison. He considered that he needed little indeed. Let us remark however, that this was not his natural character, but that he had "learned" to be content, doubtless through most trying experience and with unfeigned confidence in the Living God. Self-seeking is natural to the human heart: contentment therefore must be learned.

"I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: everywhere and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need." Let us note his emphasis on the word "how." For it is all too possible to be abased and to take it in a wrong spirit. Not so with the apostle: "how to be abased" implies a cheerful acceptance of God's will in it. On the other hand, "how to abound" is in some respects a more severe test for many of us, for this implies a proper and godly use, according to the will of God, of those things in which He has made us to abound. We must also observe another expression here: "I am instructed." In measure like his Master, his "ear was opened to hear as the learner" (Isaiah 50:4). He was not self-taught in his contentment with whatever circumstances: God had taught him, and the instruction was welcome to his soul.

In all the varied circumstances through which the apostle passed, he recognises the perfect control of God, Who uses them in His own wise way for the benefit of His servant. Without such experience, he could not have been so instructed. May we not therefore shrink from those experiences through which our God would lead us: they are calculated to properly instruct us, as no other means would do.

Moreover, such things are necessary in order to display the superlative strength that is in Christ and working in His dependent servant. "I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me." This was no mere sentiment or high ideal, so far as the apostle was concerned, but a claim abundantly verified in stern experience. His facing of circumstances as they were, bringing Christ into them, and making them a fruitful field of blessing, is a lovely display of the power of Christ over his own soul. All too lightly others may take such words into their lips - for experience does not bear them out - but the apostle speaks as one who has thus proven Christ in very real experience.

Yet, he is unfeignedly grateful for the affection that moved the Philippians in their ministering to his temporal need: "Ye have well done that ye did communicate with my affliction." Moreover, he adds that no other assembly had, at the beginning of the Gospel in those parts, shown the same self-sacrificing love in giving of their substance for his support. But they had twice sent to him in Thessalonica after he had left Macedonia. With them it was no case of "out of sight, out of mind:" they had kept him in their hearts during his absence. This was affecting to his soul, "not" as he assures them, "because I desire a gift: but I desire fruit that may abound to your account." Such indeed is the becoming attitude of the servant of Christ, however rare it may sadly be. But shall we not rejoice unfeignedly at the judgment seat of Christ for every commendation and reward which the Lord Jesus is able to bestow upon His saints? Certainly there will be no selfish or jealous motives then: therefore let it not be so now.

With profound thankfulness the apostle assures them, "But I have all, and abound: I am full, having received of Epaphroditus the things which were sent from you, an odour of a sweet smell, a sacrifice acceptable, well-pleasing to God." It may be remembered that the sweet-savour offerings in Leviticus were those which speak of the blessed value to God of the sacrifice of the Lord Jesus, that which delighted the heart of God in the devoted, voluntary offering of His Son. Thus, the affectionate offerings of the saints of God are a sweet reminder to His heart of the sacrifice of His Son. How acceptable therefore, and well-pleasing to Him! And how becoming a response to His own great love in the sacrifice of His Son.

Would such a God allow them to suffer need because of their liberality? Far from it! Well had the apostle learned in experience the sufficiency of his God: "But my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus." Let it be well understood however, that this giving is the intelligent service of devoted affection for Christ. We are solemnly responsible, not simply to give, but to give as honouring the Lord. This must involve exercise of soul as to when, where, and in what manner to give. We could not rightly expect God to supply our needs if we squandered that which He had entrusted to us.

But the resources of our God are infinite, for who can measure the riches of His glory in Christ Jesus? Nor can His great heart of love suffer any less standard as to supplying the need of His saints. Therefore let His saints consider no lesser standard. The heart filled with Christ cannot but be deeply content.

As to all of this the apostle may well ascribe the glory to "our God and Father, - for ever and ever." If Christ is the satisfying portion and strength of the soul, the glory of the Father is intimately linked with this.

In the closing salutations let us remark once again the pastoral character of the epistle, as the apostle, with expanded heart, writes, "Salute every saint in Christ Jesus." No individual will he ignore. On the other hand, the brethren linked with Paul in his imprisonment join him in sending greetings. And this widens to include "all the saints," and "specially they that are of Caesar's household." Touching indeed this fruit of the grace of God in the soldiers and prison authorities, whose affection for Paul and all saints had been so drawn out through the apostle's faithful witness, by which doubtless they had been converted. How manifestly had his imprisonment "fallen out rather to the furtherance of the Gospel."

"The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen." Thus the benediction, warm and affectionate, ends with the characteristic "all," that is, all the saints of God. Christ is seen to be in every sense the true Centre, and the circumference is complete.

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Grant, L. M. "Commentary on Philippians 4:22". L.M. Grant's Commentary on the Bible. 1897-1910.

Alexander MacLaren's Expositions of Holy Scripture



Philippians 4:20-23 {R.V.}.

These closing words fall into three unconnected parts, a doxology, greetings, and a benediction. As in all his letters, the Apostle follows the natural instinct of making his last words loving words. Even when he had to administer a bitter draught, the last drops in the cup were sweetened, and to the Philippians whom he loved so well, and in whose loyal love he confided so utterly, his parting was tender as an embrace. Taking together the three elements of this farewell, they present to us a soul filled with desire for the glory of God and with loving yearning for all His brethren. We shall best deal with them by simply taking them in order.

I. The Doxology.

It is possibly evoked by the immediately preceding thought of God’s infinite supply of all human need ‘according to his riches in glory ‘; but the glory which is so richly stored in Christ, and is the full storehouse from which our emptiness is to be filled, is not the same as the glory here ascribed to Him. The former is the sum of His divine perfections, the light of His own infinite being: the latter is the praise rendered to Him when we know Him for what He is, and exalt Him in our thankful thoughts and adoration. As this doxology is the last word of this whole letter, we may say that it gathers into one all that precedes it. Our ascription of glory to God is the highest object of all His self-manifestation, and should be the end of all our contemplations of Him and of His acts. The faith that God does ‘all for His glory’ may be and often has been so interpreted as to make his character repellent and hideous, but in reality it is another way of saying that God is love. He desires that all men should be gladdened and elevated by knowing Him as He is. His glory is to give. That to which He has committed the charge of interpreting Him to our dim eyes and disordered natures is not the attributes of sovereign power, or creative wisdom, or administrative providence, or any other elements which men lay hold of in their conceptions of deity. When men make gods they make them in their own image: when God reveals God, the emphasis is put on an altogether different aspect of His nature. It is His self-communicating and paternal love revealed to the heart of a son which will kindle the highest aspiration of praise, and that fatherhood is not found in the fact that God has made us, but in the higher fact that He has redeemed us and has sent the spirit of His Son into our hearts. The doxology of our text is a distinctively Christian doxology which Paul conceives can only be uttered by lips which have learned to say ‘Abba, Father,’ ‘and have received the adoption of sons’ through the eternal Son.

Mark, too, that this glad ascription of glory to God is conceived of as sounded forth for ever and ever, or literally through ‘ages and ages, as long as successive epochs shall unfold.’ It is not as if the revelation of the divine character were in the past, and the light of it continued to touch stony lips to music, but it fills in continuous forthcoming every age, and in every age men receive the fulness of God, and in every age redeemed hearts bring back their tribute of praise and love to Him.

II. The Greetings.

The Apostle’s habit of closing all his letters with kindly messages is, of course, more than a habit. It is the natural instinct to which all true hearts have a hundred times yielded. It is remarkable that in this letter there are no individual greetings, but that instead of such there is the emphatic greeting to every saint in Christ Jesus. He will not single out any where all are so near His heart, and He will have no jealousies to be fed by His selection of more favoured persons. It may be too, that the omission of individual messages is partly occasioned by some incipient tendencies to alienation and faction of which we see some traces in His earnest exhortations to stand fast in one spirit, and to be of the same mind, having the same love, and being of one accord, as well as in his exhortation to two Philippian women to be of the same mind in the Lord. The all-embracing word at parting singularly links the end of the letter with its beginning, where we find a remarkable sequence of similar allusions to ‘all’ the Philippian Christians. He has them all in His heart; they are all partakers with Him of grace; He longs after them all.

The designation by which Paul describes the recipients of his greeting carries in it a summons as well as a promise. They are saints, and they are so as being ‘in Christ.’ That name is often used as a clumsy sarcasm, but it goes to the very root of Christian character. The central idea contained in it is that of consecration to God, and that which is often taken to be its whole meaning is but a secondary one, a result of that consecration. The true basis of all real purity of conduct lies in devotion of heart and life to God, and for want of discerning the connection of these two elements the world’s ethics fail in theory and in practice. A ‘saint’ is not a faultless monster, and the persistence of failures and inconsistencies, whilst affording only too sad an occasion for penitence and struggle, afford no occasion for a man’s shrinking from taking to himself the humble claim to be a saint. Both the elements of consecration to God and of real and progressive, though never complete perfection of personal character, are realised only in Christ; in and only in fellowship with Him whose life was unbroken fellowship with the Father, and whose will was completely accordant with the Father’s, do we rise to the height of belonging to God. And only in Him who could challenge a world to convict Him of sin shall we make even a beginning of personal righteousness. If we are in Christ we should be saints to-day however imperfect our holiness, and shall be ‘as the angels of God’ in the day that is coming--nay, rather as the Lord of the Angels, ‘not having spot or blemish or any such thing.’

The New Testament has other names for believers, each of which expresses some great truth in regard to them; for example, the earliest name by which they knew themselves was the simple one of ‘brethren,’ which spoke of their common relation to a Father and pledged them to the sweetness and blessedness of a family. The sarcastic wits of Antioch called them Christians as seeing nothing in them other than what they had many a time seen in the adherents of some founder of a school or a party. They called themselves disciples or believers, revealing by both names their humble attitude and their Lord’s authority, and by the latter disclosing to seeing eyes the central bond which bound them to Him. But the name of Saint declares something more than these in that it speaks of their relation to God, the fulfilment of the Old Testament ideal, and carries in it a prophecy of personal character.

The sharers in Paul’s salutation call for some notice. We do not know who ‘the brethren that are with me’ were. We might have supposed from Paul’s pathetic words that he had no man like-minded with him, that the faithful band whom we find named in the other epistles of the captivity were dispersed. But though there were none ‘like-minded who will care truly for your state,’ there were some recognised as brethren who were closely associated with him, and who, though they had no such warm interest in the Philippians as he had, still had a real affection for them, drawn no doubt from him. Distinct from these was the whole body of the Roman Christians, from the mention of whom we may gather that his imprisonment did not prevent his intercourse with them. Again, distinct from these, though a part of them, were the saints of Cæsar’s household. He had apparently special opportunities for intercourse with them, and probably his imprisonment brought him through the prætorian guards into association with them, as Cæsar’s household included all the servants and retainers of Nero.

May we not see in this union of members of the most alien races a striking illustration of the new bond which the Gospel had woven among men? There was a Jew standing in the midst between Macedonian Greeks and proud Roman citizens, including members of that usually most heartless and arrogant of all classes, the lackeys of a profligate court, and they are all clasping one another’s hands in true brotherly love. Society was falling to pieces. We know the tragic spectacle that the empire presented then. Amidst universal decay of all that held men together, here was a new uniting principle; everywhere else dissolution was at work; here was again crystallising. A flower was opening its petals though it grew on a dunghill. What was it that drew slaves and patricians, the Pharisee of Tarsus, rude Lycaonians, the ‘barbarous’ people of Melita, the Areopagite of Athens, the citizens of Rome into one loving family? How came Lydia and her slave girl, Onesimus and his master, the prætorian guard and his prisoner, the courtier in Nero’s golden house and the jailer at Philippi into one great fellowship of love? They were all one in Christ Jesus.

And what lessons the saints in Cæsar’s household may teach us! Think of the abyss of lust and murder there, of the Emperor by turns a buffoon, a sensualist, and a murderer. A strange place to find saints in that sty of filth! Let no man say that it is impossible for a pure life to be lived in any circumstances, or try to bribe his conscience by insisting on the difficulties of his environment. It may be our duty to stand at our post however foul may be our surroundings and however uncongenial our company, and if we are sure that He has set us there, we may be sure that He is with us there, and that there we can live the life and witness to His name.

III. The Parting Benediction.

The form of the benediction seems to be more correctly given in the Revised Version, which reads ‘with your spirit’ instead of ‘with you all.’ That form reappears in Galatians and in Phlippians. What Paul especially desires of his favourite church is that they may possess ‘the grace.’ Grace is love exercising itself to inferiors, and to those who deserve something sadder and darker. The gifts of that one grace are manifold. They comprise all blessings that man can need or receive. This angel comes with her hands and her lap full of good. Her name is shorthand for all that God can bestow or man can ask or think.

And it needs all the names by which Christ is known among men to describe the encyclopædiacal Person who can bestow the encyclopædiacal gift. Here we have them all gathered, as it were, into one great diadem, set on His head where once the crown of thorns was twined. He is Lord, the name which implies at least absolute authority, and is most probably the New Testament translation of the Old Testament name of Jehovah. He is our Lord as supreme over us, and wonderful as it is, as belonging to us. He holds the keys of the storehouse of grace. The river of the water of life flows where He turns it on. He is Jesus--the personal name which He bore in the days of His flesh, and by which men who knew Him only as one of themselves called Him. It is the token of His brotherhood and the guarantee of the sympathy which will ever bestow ‘grace for grace.’ He is the Christ, the Messiah, the name which points back to the Old Testament ideas and declares His office, realising all the rapturous anticipations of prophets, and the longings of psalmists, and more than fulfilling them all by giving Himself to men.

That great gift is to be the companion of every spirit which looks to that Jesus in the reality of His humanity, in the greatness of His office, in the loftiness of His divinity, and finds in each of His names an anchor for its faith and an authoritative claim for its obedience.

Such a wish as this benediction is the truest expression of human friendship; it is the highest desire any of us can form for ourselves or for those dearest to us. Do we keep it clear before us in our intercourse with them so that the end of that intercourse will naturally be such a prayer?

Our human love has its limitations. We can but wish for others the grace which Christ can give, but neither our wishes nor His giving can make the grace ours unless for ourselves we take the great gift that is freely given to us of God. It is no accident that all his letters close thus. This benediction is the last word of God’s revelation to man, the brightness in the clear west, the last strain of the great oratorio. The last word or last book of Scripture is ‘the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all.’ Let us take up the solemn Amen in our lips and in our hearts.

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MacLaren, Alexander. "Commentary on Philippians 4:22". Alexander MacLaren's Expositions of Holy Scripture.

Matthew Henry's Complete Commentary on the Bible

Conclusion. A. D. 62.

20 Now unto God and our Father be glory for ever and ever. Amen. 21 Salute every saint in Christ Jesus. The brethren which are with me greet you. 22 All the saints salute you, chiefly they that are of Cæ sar's household. 23 The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.

The apostle concludes the epistle in these verses,

1. With praises to God: Now unto God and our Father be glory for ever and ever, Amen, Philippians 4:20. Observe, (1.) God is to be considered by us as our Father: Now unto God and our Father. It is a great condescension and favour in God to own the relation of Father to sinners, and allow us to say to him, Our Father and it is a title peculiar to the gospel dispensation. It is also a great privilege and encouragement to us to consider him as our Father, as one so nearly related and who bears so tender an affection towards us. We should look upon God, under all our weaknesses and fears, not as a tyrant or an enemy, but as a Father, who is disposed to pity us and help us. (2.) We must ascribe glory to God as a Father, the glory of his own excellence and of all his mercy unto us. We must thankfully own the receipt of all from him, and give the praise of all to him. And our praise must be constant and perpetual it must be glory for ever and ever.

2. With salutations to his friends at Philippi: "Salute every saint in Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:21) give my hearty love to all the Christians in your parts." He desires remembrances not only to the bishops and deacons, and the church in general, but to every particular saint. Paul had a kind affection to all good Christians.

3. He sends salutations from those who were at Rome: "The brethren who are with me salute you the ministers, and all the saints here, send their affectionate remembrances to you. Chiefly those who are of Cæ sar's household the Christian converts who belonged to the emperor's court." Observe, (1.) There were saints in Cæ sar's household. Though Paul was imprisoned at Rome, for preaching the gospel, by the emperor's command, yet there were some Christians in his own family. The gospel early obtained among some of the rich and great. Perhaps the apostle fared the better, and received some favour, by means of his friends at court. (2.) Chiefly those, &c. Observe, They, being bred at court, were more complaisant than the rest. See what an ornament to religion sanctified civility is.

4. The apostolical benediction, as usual: "The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all, Amen. The free favour and good will of Christ be your portion and happiness."

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Henry, Matthew. "Complete Commentary on Philippians 4:22". "Matthew Henry Complete Commentary on the Whole Bible". 1706.

Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary on the Bible

The apostle ends with praises to God. We should look upon God, under all our weakness and fears, not as an enemy, but as a Father, disposed to pity us and help us. We must give glory to God as a Father. God's grace and favour, which reconciled souls enjoy, with the whole of the graces in us, which flow from it, are all purchased for us by Christ's merit, and applied by his pleading for us; and therefore are justly called the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ.


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Henry, Matthew. "Concise Commentary on Philippians 4:22". "Matthew Henry Concise Commentary

on the Whole Bible". 1706.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

The rest of the Christians at Rome do the same; more especially they of Nero the emperor’s own family and court, his domestics, Philippians 1:13. It seems there were some there truly pious and Christian: but however some conceit, there is no real evidence that Seneca was of that number; he being not a courtier, but a senator, who left no real token (we know of) that he was a Christian.

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Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Philippians 4:22". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. 1685.

Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible

Final Greetings (Philippians 4:21-23).

His letter nearly completed Paul finishes it off in his usual manner with greetings and salutations, first those addressed to the addressees, and then the salutations from those who were with him in the place from which he was writing. He begins with a salutation to the whole Philippian church.

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Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible

‘All the saints salute you, especially those who are of Caesar’s household.’

The greeting then widens to encompass the whole church in the city from which he was writing, probably Rome. ‘All the saints (true believers) salute you.’ It is noteworthy that no ‘notable’ is separated out. There was no separate hierarchy. They were all ‘brothers and sisters’ in Christ. And he then adds, ‘especially those of Caesar’s household’. This was a bold declaration that even in the wider household of Caesar there were those who acknowledged Jesus Christ. This description would be a wide one and would include soldiers, servants and slaves who directly served Caesar, and wore his ‘uniform’. There would be such in many large cities throughout the empire. It was a reminder that the Kingly Rule of God had even extended over many in Caesar’s household. God was active at the very heart of the empire, and wooing even Caesar’s servants to Himself.

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Arthur Peake's Commentary on the Bible

. Conclusion.—Paul's wants have been supplied, now he is assured that the wants of his friends will also be provided for; the ground of this hope is that God has given glorious riches in Christ. So the apostle utters a doxology to the Father. The letter being written to the whole church, he salutes every member of it—designated as "every saint" (Philippians 1:1*). His companions join in his greetings, especially the Christians in "Cæsar's household." These would, for the most part, belong to the vast body of slaves and freedmen, but perhaps include some officers of rank, at the imperial palace. The final benediction, in accordance with Paul's usage, gracefully employs the Greek term of valediction, but with a deepened Christian meaning, so as to breathe a prayer for God's grace on the readers.

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Peake, Arthur. "Commentary on Philippians 4:22". "Arthur Peake's Commentary on the Bible ". 1919.

Preacher's Complete Homiletical Commentary


Php . The saints … of Cæsar's household.—This expression does not oblige us to think that any relatives of Cæsar had embraced Christianity. It comprises all who in any way were connected with the imperial service.

Php . Be with you all.—The oldest MSS. read, "Be with your spirit."


Last Words.

I. A glowing ascription of praise to the divine Giver of every blessing.—"Now unto God and our Father be glory for ever and ever. Amen" (Php ). To God, even our Father, the kind and liberal Supplier of every want to every child, be eternal glory ascribed. The ascription of praise is the language of spiritual instinct which cannot be repressed. Let the child realise its relation to the Father who feeds it, clothes it, and keeps it in life, who enlightens and guides it, pardons and purifies it, strengthens and upholds it, and all this in Christ Jesus, and it cannot but in its glowing consciousness cry out, "Now to God and our Father be the glory for ever." The "Amen" is a fitting conclusion. As the lips shut themselves, the heart surveys again the facts and the grounds of praise, and adds, "So be it" (Eadie).

II. Christian salutations.—"Salute every saint in Christ Jesus. All the saints salute you, chiefly they that are of Cæsar's household" (Php ). Salutations are tokens of personal interest and living fellowship which should not be lightly esteemed. The apostolic salutations teach that the Christian religion does not make men unfriendly and stubborn, but courteous and friendly (Lange). The reference to the saints in Cæsar's household may mean either kinsfolk of Nero or servants in the palace. It is improbable that so many near relatives of the emperor should have yielded themselves to Christ as to be designated by this phrase, and it is not likely to suppose that a combination of these two classes would be grouped under the one head. In all likelihood the reference is to servants holding more or less important positions in the imperial household—some, no doubt, slaves; and it is a suggestive testimony to the unwearied diligence and influence of the apostle in using every opportunity to make known the saving grace of the gospel. To explain to any the reason for his imprisonment was an occasion for preaching Christ. "O Rome, Rome!" exclaims Starke, "how greatly hast thou changed! Formerly thou hadst true saints even in the household of a pagan and tyrannical emperor; but now hast thou false saints, especially in and around the so-called chair of Peter and at the court of his supposed successor."

III. Final benediction.—"The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen" (Php ). The oldest MSS. read, "Be with your spirit." It is important that the grace of God should be not only around us, but with us and in us. The benediction is a prayer that the divine favour may be conferred upon them, enriching the noblest elements of their nature with choicest blessings, making them to grow in spiritual wisdom, beauty, and felicity, that grace may ultimately merge into glory.


1. Praise should be offered to God in all things.

2. The Christian spirit is full of kindly courtesy.

3. It is a comprehensive prayer that invokes the blessing of divine grace.


Php . Eternal Praise should be offered unto God—

I. For mercies enjoyed in the past.

II. For mercies which as our Father He holds for us and bestows on us in the present.

III. That the glory of His character may become increasingly conspicuous in His works of creation, providence, and grace.

Php . Christian Courtesy—

I. Elevates and sanctifies the amenities of social life.

II. Awakens and strengthens mutual sympathy and help in the Christian life.

III. Should be exercised by Christians of all ranks and conditions.

Php . The Grace of our Lord Jesus Christ—

I. Is the sum of all we can need for ourselves or desire for others.

II. Is a revelation of His own character and of His regard for us.

III. May be sought with the utmost confidence and enjoyed in ever-increasing measure.

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Exell, Joseph S. "Commentary on Philippians 4:22". Preacher's Complete Homiletical Commentary. Funk & Wagnalls Company, 1892.

Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary

(10) ¶ But I rejoiced in the Lord greatly, that now at the last your care of me hath flourished again; wherein ye were also careful, but ye lacked opportunity. (11) Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. (12) I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: everywhere and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. (13) I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me. (14) Notwithstanding ye have well done, that ye did communicate with my affliction. (15) Now ye Philippians know also, that in the beginning of the gospel, when I departed from Macedonia, no church communicated with me as concerning giving and receiving, but ye only. (16) For even in Thessalonica ye sent once and again unto my necessity. (17) Not because I desire a gift: but I desire fruit that may abound to your account. (18) But I have all, and abound: I am full, having received of Epaphroditus the things which were sent from you, an odour of a sweet smell, a sacrifice acceptable, wellpleasing to God. (19) But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus. (20) ¶ Now unto God and our Father be glory forever and ever. Amen. (21) Salute every saint in Christ Jesus. The brethren which are with me greet you. (22) All the saints salute you, chiefly they that are of Caesar's household. (23) The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.

We have much to enlarge upon in those verses, if the limits of this Poor Man's commentary would admit. But I must study shortness. It is blessed to observe the affection subsisting between the Apostle, and the Church. What their liberal hearts sent him, in his imprisonment, is not said. But Paul's heart seems to have been full of it. He calls it, an odour of a sweet smell; a sacrifice acceptable, and well pleasing to the Lord. And there can be no question, but that Jesus looks on, knows all, and regards all: Matthew 25:40. I admire the confidence with which Paul speaks, that their want should be all supplied. My God; saith he, shall supply. Observe the ground; My God. When a child of God can truly call God, his God, in Covenant; he brings in all Covenant-engagements as security, on which he bottoms all, for time, and for eternity. God hath engaged to be his people's God in Christ. And, therefore, they do but give him the credit of a faithful Covenant God, when they lay hold of him by faith, and depend upon him for the accomplishment. God's promises, are not as some mens' faith is, a yea, and nay gospel; but all his promises are, yea, and Amen, in Christ Jesus. 2 Corinthians 1:20. Let not the Reader overlook this for himself, if so be, his faith is grounded on the same security as the Apostle's. When a child of God can say, my God! like Paul, a fullness of earthly accommodations, or a scantiness, will both be sanctified. Christ, in a providence of good things below, will then bring no danger. And, if Jesus comes to any of his redeemed ones with a cross with him, the child of God will find a blessedness, in lodging both: Paul could do all things through Christ. And blessed be God, from the same cause, so can you, and I!

One more word on this Chapter. Though Nero, (who is here called Caesar, as those emperors all were in those days,) was a most bitter enemy to Christ's people; yet, in his very household, Jesus had his chosen. Oh! what wonders are in discriminating grace! And, so dear to the heart of the Apostle was each saint of God, that he salutes everyone personally. Yes! Jesus calls each of his sheep by name: and so will Paul honor them. John 10:3. Salute (saith he) every saint in Christ Jesus. No doubt, there were many poor ones in the Church at Philippi, as there were at Jerusalem; Romans 15:26. and as there are, in every Church of Christ's to this day. But in Christ their One glorious Head, they are all equally dear, and equally beloved. Let everyone, saith Paul, be saluted, as the jewels of Christ. Oh! the loving, and tender heart of our great Apostle!

Let not the Reader overlook, neither fail, if so be he can, from the same cause, to join in the thanksgiving, and praise, of the Apostle with which he folds up his letter to the Church. It is blessed, always to close all we say, or write, or do, with praise to God, and our Father. including the whole Persons of the Godhead through the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.

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Hawker, Robert, D.D. "Commentary on Philippians 4:22". "Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary". 1828.

People's New Testament

Salute every saint. Where he knew so many he could not single out individuals for special greetings, but salutes all.

The brethren which are with me. Such brethren as Timothy and other fellow-laborers, who were now in Rome.

Chiefly. Especially. The class next named send special greetings.

Of Cæsar's household. Amid the vast number who dwelt in the palace as immediate attendants of the emperor, amounting to hundreds and perhaps thousands, there were some who had become Christians. What was their condition in life is a matter of conjecture. Philippi was a {colony} (Acts 16:12), a sort of outlying suburb of Rome, populated with Roman citizens. Hence it is possible that these would have friends in the Philippian church, who would know well who were meant, and to them they send special greetings.

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Johnson, Barton W. "Commentary on Philippians 4:22". "People's New Testament". 1891.

Joseph Benson's Commentary of the Old and New Testaments

Philippians 4:20-22. Now unto God and, rather, even our Father — Or, To our God and Father, as τω θεω και πατρι ημων properly signifies, be glory for ever — Which is justly due, and shall certainly be given to him by those of the angelic host who never fell, and by those of mankind who have been or shall be recovered from their fall. The brethren who are with me — My dear fellow-labourers, with whom I daily converse; greet you — Sincerely wish you peace and prosperity. These are supposed to be those whom he mentions at the close of his epistle to the Colossians and to Phlippians. All the other saints — Here at Rome; salute you, chiefly they of Cesar’s household — See note on Philippians 1:13. It is uncertain whether the apostle meant some of the members of Cesar’s family, or his household servants, or the officers of his court, or his guards. Here Beza remarks, “What was this but that God reigned in the midst of hell?” The salutation from the brethren, in the emperor’s family, must have been a great consolation to the Philippians. For when they heard that the gospel had got footing in the palace, they would naturally presage the further progress of it in Rome. And the respect which persons, such as the Christians in Cesar’s house, here expressed for the Philippians, in sending their salutations to them, must have filled them with joy. And it seems very probable, as Macknight observes, though the apostle has not mentioned it in any of his letters, that, not long after this epistle was written, he obtained a fair hearing, and an honourable release, through the good offices of the Christians in Nero’s family, as well as on account of the justice of his cause.

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Benson, Joseph. "Commentary on Philippians 4:22". Joseph Benson's Commentary. 1857.

Sermon Bible Commentary

Philippians 4:22

The Spirit of Christianity.

I. The words of the text suggest to us that the Gospel is a spiritually restoring power. It makes men, sinful men, saints; it is a power to raise, ennoble, and make morally strong, a power which the world needs and must experience before prosperity shall abound and peace on earth shall be enjoyed. The want of the world is saints—saints like those who were in Rome, and who during all the ages have been the salt of the earth. Saints are those who* stand right with God, right with all their brethren and mankind, and right with themselves. They become all this by the spiritual power of the Gospel, the spiritual energy which alone can turn sinners into saints, and the old mankind into a new mankind, zealous of good works. And all Churches should be gardens to grow such saintly men, who will go forth as the sacramental host of God's elect to do battle with sin in every form.

II. The words of our text suggest that the Gospel is a spreading power. It has within it a life which must expand and permeate all with whom it comes into contact. Like the light of the sun, it seeks to flood the world with heat, life, and glory; like the fragrance of the flower, it diffuses itself all around and sweetens the atmosphere of human existence. Christianity is a movement and a moving power. Under its inspiring and elevating influence civilisation advances, science makes progress, literature flourishes like a green bay-tree, trade and commerce are developed, and nations lifted to higher altitudes of moral and spiritual being. And as it moves on it blesses and scatters benefactions on all around. The soul is not saved for itself only, but for others also. Every real Church should be, and is, a company of men animated by the missionary spirit, and all its members should be living epistles, known and read of all men.

III. Further, the words of the text teach us that the Gospel imparts the spirit of true courage. Previously to the appearance of Christ in the flesh, the world recognised those who were animated by the spirit of bravery, and whose courage was embodied in action; but the courage we should now admire most is the moral courage which is ready to stand up for the right and the true, no matter the nature and extent of the opposition. And those are the real heroes who dare to be right, even with two or three, and are ever ready to obey God rather than man. Such courage is the fruit of the Gospel, and has been exhibited in its grandest manifestations in the history of the Christian Church.

IV. Finally, our text implies that the Gospel imparts a spirit of sympathy. This is needed in the world. The Gospel might have made those who received it righteous, brave, and heroic, but it would have failed in its mission if it did not at the same time impart a strong and genuine sympathy with all those who are called upon to shed tears, heave sighs, part with loved ones, and struggle hard with the opposing forces of everyday life. Let us cultivate the element of sympathy, for it is an element of the Divine life in the soul. It is a strange, strong power, without which in many cases existence would be a burden, and earth a prison-house of despair. Let it be ours to dry the tear, to quell the fear, and make the burdens of others our own. In this way we shall weep with those who weep, rejoice with those who are glad, and thereby fulfil the law of Christ.

W. Adamson, Christian World Pulpit, vol. xxxvi., p. 163.

References: Philippians 4:22.—W. Walters, Christian World Pulpit, vol. xxi., p. 382; G. Dawson, The Authentic Gospel, p. 101; Preacher's Monthly, vol. vii., p- 245.

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Schaff's Popular Commentary on the New Testament

Greetings and Benedictions, 21-23.

He includes the whole church in his love, and sends, as a token of the oneness of all His servants in Christ, the salutations of the church in Rome, many of whom would doubtless be strangers at Philippi. Special greetings, too, are sent from the converts in the imperial house-hold.

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Schaff, Philip. "Commentary on Philippians 4:22". "Schaff's Popular Commentary on the New Testament". 1879-90.

Schaff's Popular Commentary on the New Testament

Philippians 4:22. All the saints salute you. The greeting of the one church to the other. Though unknown, they were now brethren in Christ, and so could not be without interest in one another. There may have been some considerable degree of connection between the Roman colony and the metropolis, and the earliest members of the churches may have been from the same classes of society, but we have here the salutation of the whole Christian body sent because they had heard of the sister church and her zeal.

especially they that are of Cæsar’s household. We have nothing to guide us to a decision on what persons are here specially meant. The apostle may have been brought into converse with the highest as well as the lowest of the members of the imperial household. Yet it seems likely that the slaves and freedmen would be brought most within his influence, and those of whom he speaks have embraced Christianity. The reason why they specially send a salutation may be that they, more than any others, had heard of all the love which the Philippians felt toward the apostle, and had beheld, in the zeal and affection of Epaphroditus, a manifestation of the regard in which be was held by them. And these converts, brought into closest communion with St. Paul, would have special desire to show their sense of what had been done to give consolation to an affliction, which themselves would see, but could do little to lighten.

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Schaff, Philip. "Commentary on Philippians 4:22". "Schaff's Popular Commentary on the New Testament". 1879-90.

Spurgeon's Verse Expositions of the Bible

This Epistle was written by Paul when he was in prison, with iron fetters about his wrists; yet there is no iron in the Epistle. It is full of light, life,

love, and joy, blended with traces of sorrow, yet with a holy delight that rises above his grief.

Philippians 4:1. Therefore, my brethren dearly beloved and longed for, my joy and crown, so stand fast in the Lord, my dearly beloved.

See how the heart of the apostle is at work; his emotions are not dried up by his personal griefs. He takes a delight in his friends at Philippi; he has a lively recollection of the time when he and Silas were shut up in prison there, and that same night baptized the jailor and his household, and formed the church at Philippi.

Philippians 4:2. I beseech Euodias, and beseech Syntyche, that they be of the same mind in the Lord.

These two good women had fallen out with one another. Paul loves them so much that he would not have any strife in the church to mar its harmony; and he therefore beseeches both of these good women to end their quarrel, and to “be of the same mind in the Lord.” You cannot tell what hurt may come to a church through two members being at enmity against each other. They may be unknown persons, they may be Christian women, but they can work no end of mischief; and therefore it is a most desirable thing that they should speedily come together again in peace and unity.

Philippians 4:3. And I entreat thee also, true yokefellow, help those women which laboured with me in the gospel, with Clement also, and with other my fellow-labourers, whose names are in the book of life.

He tenderly thinks of all those who had helped the work of the Lord, and, in return, he would have all of them helped, and kindly remembered, and affectionately cherished. May we always have this tender feeling towards one another, especially towards those who work for the Lord with us! May we ever delight in cheering those who serve our Lord!

Philippians 4:4-5. Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice. Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand.

We have come to understand this word “moderation” in a sense not at all intended here. The best translation would probably be “forbearance.” Do not get angry with anybody; do not begin to get fiery and impetuous: be forbearing, for the Lord is at hand. You cannot tell how soon he may appear; there is no time to spare for the indulgence of anger; be quiet; be patient; and if there be anything very wrong, well, leave it. Our Lord Jesus will come very soon; therefore be not impatient.

Philippians 4:6. Be careful —

That is, be anxious —

Philippians 4:6. For nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.

See how the apostle would bid us throw anxiety to the winds; let us try to do so. You cannot turn one hair white or black, fret as you may. You cannot add a cubit to your stature, be you as anxious as you please. It will be for your own advantage, and it will be for God’s glory, for you to shake off the anxieties which else might overshadow your spirit. Be anxious about nothing, but prayerful about everything, and be thankful about everything as well. Is not that a beautiful trait in Paul’s character? He is a prisoner at Rome, and likely soon to die; yet he mingles thanksgiving with his supplication, and asks others to do the same. We have always something for which to thank God, therefore let us also obey the apostolic injunction.

Philippians 4:7-8. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.

If there is any really good movement in the world, help it, you Christian people. If it is not purely and absolutely religious, yet if it tends to the benefit of your fellow-men, if it promotes honesty, justice, purity, take care that you are on that side, and do all you can to help it forward.

Philippians 4:9. Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do:

Paul was a grand preacher to be able to say that; to hold up his own example, as well as his own teaching, as a thing which the people might safely follow.

Philippians 4:9. And the God of peace shall be with you.

In the seventh verse, we had the expression, “the peace of God.” In this ninth verse, we have the mention of “the God of peace.” May we first enjoy the peace of God, and then be helped by the Spirit of God to get into a still higher region, where we shall be more fully acquainted with the God of peace!

Philippians 4:10. But · rejoiced in the Lord greatly, that now at the last your care of me hath flourished again; wherein ye were also careful, but ye lacked opportunity.

“I rejoiced.” So Paul was himself in a happy mood; these saints in Philippi had sent to him in prison a gift by the hand of one of their pastors, and Paul, in his deep poverty, had been much comforted by their kind thoughtfulness about him.

Philippians 4:11. Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.

That was not an easy lesson to learn, especially when one of those states meant being in prison at Rome. If he was ever in the Mamertine, those of us who have been in that dungeon would confess that it would take a deal of grace to make us content to be there; and if he was shut up in the prison of the Palatine hill, in the barracks near the morass, it was, to say the least, not a desirable place to be in. A soldier chained to your hand day and night, however good a fellow he may be, does not always make the most delightful company for you, nor you for him; and it takes some time to learn to be content with such a companion; but, says Paul, “I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.”

Philippians 4:12. I know both how to be abused, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need.

These are both hard lessons to learn; I do not know which is the more difficult of the two. Probably it is easier to know how to go down than to know how to go up. How many Christians have I seen grandly glorifying God in sickness and poverty when they have come down in the world; and ah! how often have I seen other Christians dishonouring God when they have grown rich, or when they have risen to a position of influence among their fellow-men! These two lessons grace alone can fully teach us.

Philippians 4:13. I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.

What a gracious attainment! There is no boasting in this declaration; Paul only spoke what was literally the truth.

Philippians 4:14-15. Notwithstanding ye have well done, that ye did communicate with my affliction. Now ye Philippians know also, that in the beginning of the gospel, when I departed from Macedonia, no church communicated with me as concerning giving and receiving, but ye only.

The Philippians were the only Christians who had sent any help to this great sufferer for Christ’s sake in the time of his need.

Philippians 4:16-18. For even in Thessalonica ye sent once and again unto my necessity. Not because I desire a gift: but I desire fruit that may abound to your account. But I have all, and abound: I am full, having received of Epaphroditus the things which were sent from you, an odor of a sweet smell, a sacrifice acceptable, wellpleasing to God.

I do not suppose that they sent him very much; but he knew the love that prompted the gift, he understood what they meant by it. I always had a fancy that Lydia was the first to suggest that kind deed. She, the first convert of the Philippian church, thought of Paul, I doubt not, and said to the other believers, “Let us take care of him as far as we can. See how he spends his whole life in the Master’s service, and now he may at last die in prison for want of even common necessaries; let us send him a present to Rome.” How grateful is the apostle for that gift of love! What gladness they had put into his heart! Now he says: —

Philippians 4:19. But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.

“You have supplied my need out of your poverty; my God shall supply all your need out of his riches. Your greatest need shall not exceed the liberality of his supplies.”

Philippians 4:20-21. Now unto God and our Father be glory for ever and ever. Amen. Salute every saint in Christ Jesus.

The religion of Christ is full of courtesy, and it is full of generous thoughtfulness. I do not think that he can be a Christian who has no knowledge nor care about his fellow church-members.

Philippians 4:21. The brethren which are with me greet you.

They saw that he was writing a letter, and they therefore said, “Send our love to the Philippians.”

Philippians 4:22. All the saints salute you, chiefly they that are of Caesar’s household.

Only think of saints in the household of Nero, saints in the service of such a demon as he was, and saints who were first in every good thing: “Chiefly they that are of Caesar’s household.”

Philippians 4:23. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.

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Spurgeon, Charle Haddon. "Commentary on Philippians 4:22". "Spurgeon's Verse Expositions of the Bible". 2011.

The Biblical Illustrator

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Exell, Joseph S. "Commentary on "Philippians 4:22". The Biblical Illustrator. 1905-1909. New York.

The Biblical Illustrator

Philippians 4:20-23

Now unto God and our Father

The spirit in which to close the year

The doxology.

1. We are to give glory to God as to our heavenly Father. We are not to regard Him as a tyrant, nor as a governor merely, but as a kind and loving Father.

2. We are to give Him the glory, that is, the honour and praise, of all His mercies to us.

II. Benediction. Grace is the love of God as displayed in Christ, whereby we receive all those unmerited favours which are included in the gospel plan of salvation.

1. The beginning of religion is grace.

2. Its progress in the soul depends upon grace. (Homiletic Monthly.)

Parting thoughts should embrace

I. Thanks to God.

II. Love to the brethren.

III. Prayer for grace. (J. Lyth, D. D.)


I. The glory of God--is absolute--full of grace--eternal.

II. Its acknowledgment--is due from all--in truth--forever. (J. Lyth, D. D.)

Glory is due

I. To God--as supreme--as our Father.

II. From all--in heaven--and on earth.

III. Forever--in time--and eternity.

IV. In sincerity and truth--amen. (J. Lyth, D. D.)

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Text Courtesy of Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Exell, Joseph S. "Commentary on "Philippians 4:22". The Biblical Illustrator. 1905-1909. New York.

The Biblical Illustrator

Philippians 4:22

Chiefly they that are of Caesar’s household

These words

Remind us of the adaptation of the gospel to men everywhere.

1. It is no part of God’s purpose in redemption to limit its blessings to a nation or class. Hence the provisions of the gospel are suited to the circumstances of man as man. It knows nothing of the distinctions of rich and poor, noble and ignoble, learned and ignorant, bond and free. It knows them only as sinners, and offers salvation to all on equal terms. Hence in the early Churches we find slaves like Onesimus, fishermen like Peter, physicians like Luke, lawyers like Zenas, soldiers like Cornelius, and saints in Caesar’s household.

2. The gospel is still of universal adaptation. Christ is still the Saviour of sinners, and has disciples in every country and amidst all circumstances and conditions.

II. Teaches us the possibility of serving God in positions of temptation and difficulty.

1. Caesar’s household was the last place where one would have expected to find saints. Under any circumstances it could not be favourable to conversions and Christian growth; and it was now at about its worst. It illustrates the sovereignty of Divine grace that out of these circumstances there should arise witnesses for the gospel. It must have required great courage; but the grace that called them sustained them.

2. So it is always. There are some positions in which a man cannot serve God because they are wrong. There are others lawful enough, yet encompassed by temptation, e.g., the position of the sailor shut up for months with ungodly shipmates, that of the pious soldier in barracks with ungodly comrades, that of a godly citizen among scoffing fellow workmen. In all such cases God is able to make all grace abound to His servants. Faint not. God by placing you in a post of trial has assigned to you a post of honour. Never try to effect a compromise between right and wrong.

III. Tells how the Spirit of Christ animates all his followers. That spirit is love and sympathy. See how it breathes through these brotherly salutations. The age wants more of this spirit. What Christ requires is not so much uniformity of belief and worship as union of heart.

IV. Illustrates the way in which Christians may comfort and help one another.

1. The Philippians needed comfort. They had adversaries and were in danger of being terrified by this. The letter itself would afford deep consolation, this postscript especially so. The salutation was not much, but it showed that they were not forgotten at the throne of grace.

2. In many ways comfort and help may be afforded if there be only a little thoughtfulness. A truly sympathetic heart can give help with a look and a grasp of the hand. A too common sin is thoughtlessness. “Evil is wrought by want of thought, as well as want of heart.” The youth in the midst of scoffing companions, the young girl in an ungodly house, the poor man battling with poverty, the discouraged Christian worker--what might not be done by a timely and kind word.

V. A suggestion of the way in which our conduct becomes example and influence to others. Little did the Roman saints think that their salutations would be preserved and handed down through the centuries for the use of the Church. Kind words can never die. Neither can kind actions. Our names may perish but we shall live. Who these saints were we cannot tell. Nevertheless their power is felt today. (W. Walters.)

The saints in Caesar’s household

The throne of the Caesars was at this time occupied by Nero, a monster rather than a man. Certainly if ever there was an atmosphere uncongenial to Christianity it may be supposed to have been that of the court and palace of this bloody debauchee. Yet so true is it that gospel weapons are mighty to the casting down of strongholds that there were here Christians of the highest type willing to give their profession all publicity by sending greetings to Christians in distant cities.

I. The agency which brought round so unlikely a result. The mind naturally turns to Paul’s miraculous gifts, and remembers how with noble intrepidity Paul rose up before the sages of Greece, and that as he spoke to Felix, the slave of base lusts, the haughty Roman trembled. It is easy to imagine, therefore, Paul working some great miracle to command the attention of the emperor and the court, and then reasoning of temperance, righteousness, and judgment to come. But this fancy would be incorrect. Paul was now a prisoner, and could not go like Moses, rod in hand, and compel by his miracles the attention of the profligate king, and yet it was at this time of seeming impotence that the great victory was won. Nay, it appears actually to have been in consequence of his imprisonment. Philippians 1:12-14 shows the two ways in which his bonds gave enlargement to Christianity. His patience and meekness witnessed for the truth of the gospel for which he suffered, and nerved the Christians to greater energy.

II. We have here a lesson as to God’s power of overruling evil for good. We are apt to imagine when a man is withdrawn from active duty that his usefulness is gone. But a minister can preach from a sick bed as well as from a pulpit. The report which goes forth of his patience and fortitude will do as much and perhaps more towards overcoming resistance to the gospel than his active ministrations. The martyrs did most for God and truth when actually in the clutches of their persecutors. A true Christian is never laid by. The influence that he exerts when suffering or reduced to poverty is often greater than when he led a benevolent enterprise. Let no one then be discouraged.

III. A man cannot be placed in circumstances which put it out of his power to give heed to the duties of religion. The instance of saints in Caesar’s household takes away the excuse that temptations, hindrances, opposition render piety impossible. Where are any so circumstanced as these people? It is true that more appears to be done for one man than for another, and that some circumstances are conducive and others hindering to religion. But under every possible disadvantage there may be a striving with evil and a following after good. The excuse assumes that God has put it out of some men’s power to provide for their soul’s safety, and to assume this is to contradict the Divine word, and to throw scorn on the Divine attributes. Take a case like the one before us, that of servants in an irreligious family. Their superiors set them a bad example, give them few opportunities for public or private devotion, and would frown on or ridicule any indication of piety. Let this be granted. Yet these difficulties would disappear before earnest resolve. They have but to begin and obstacles would be gradually lowered and strength would grow by exercise. The Spirit of the living God fails no man who is not false to himself.

IV. These saints not only belonged to Caesar’s household at the time of their conversion, but remained after their conversion. They did not feel it their duty to abandon their stations and seek others apparently more favourable to religion. So that it does not follow that a man is to withdraw from circumstances of danger and difficulty, and place himself where there is less temptation and opposition. It is true a converted man is not justified in seeking employment where it would be specially difficult to cultivate religion; but to desert it because it made religion difficult would be to declare that the grace which had converted him in spite of disadvantages would not suffice to establish him, and to mark distrust of God’s Spirit. If the employment were sinful, there would be no room for debate; but if only dangerous, and simply required a greater amount of vigilance and boldness, to forsake it would prove timidity rather than prudence. For, e.g., a Christian nobleman in a corrupt court, or servant in an ungodly family, may find it unlawful to leave, inasmuch as distinct opportunity may be afforded of doing honour to God and promoting Christ’s cause. They are placed by God as leaven in the midst of an unsound mass. Not that a servant has to travel beyond the duties of his station; he has simply to carry his Christianity into all his occupations, and to distinguish himself from others by closer attention to his master’s interests, stricter adherence to truth, etc. Let an irreligious master perceive all this, and he will scarcely fail to receive an impression favourable to religion. There are families to which the preacher can gain no access. God forbid that pious domestics should hastily withdraw from such.

V. Wheresoever God makes it a man’s duty, there he will make it his interest to remain. If He employ one of His servants in turning others from sin, He will cause the employment to conduce to that servant’s holiness. Notice the “chiefly” of our text. Of all the Roman Christians the foremost in love were these saints who probably remained in Caesar’s service for the express purpose of furthering the gospel. Nor need we feel any surprise at this. Absence of trial is not the most favourable thing to religious growth. Nero’s palace may be a far better place for the development of personal piety than the cell of the monk; in the one the Christian has his graces put continually to the proof, and this serves both to discover and strengthen them; in the other there may be comparatively nothing to exercise them. And then the God of all grace, who has promised that His people shall not be tempted above that they are able, will bestow assistance proportioned to their wants. (H. Melvill, B. D.)

Saints in Caesar’s household

I. It is possible to be a Christian anywhere.

1. Christianity is not a thing of locality but of character. There are plants which will bloom in some latitudes and die in others, but Christianity can live where man can live, because it consists in the loyalty of the heart and life to Christ. Obadiah kept his conscience in the house of Ahab, Daniel his in the court of Babylon, Nehemiah his in the Persian palace. As Jonathan Edwards says, “The grace of God can live where neither you nor I can.” In the abodes of poverty humble Christians are living as near to God as Enoch. Even yet, if we care to look for it, we may find the lily among thorns.

2. What is true of places is true of occupations. Unless a man’s business is sinful he may serve God in any profession. The Roman army was a very poor school of morals, yet all the centurions mentioned in the New Testament were good men. The sailor is proverbially rough, yet some of the best Christians have been sailors. What heroic godliness has been manifested by miners?

3. Now, if this be so it follows--

II. It is harder to be a Christian in some places than in others. There are households in which it seems most natural for a child to grow up in the beauty of holiness, and others where loyalty to Christ is met with opposition. The surroundings of some occupations are more trying to piety than others. When the lymphatic Dutchman, who took things easily, said to his excited minister, “Dominic, restrain your temper,” he was met with the pertinent reply, “Restrain my temper, sir! I restrain more temper in the course of a single day than you do in a year.” That was a difference of temperament. What then?

1. The Lord knows that this is so, and He will estimate our work by our opportunity. We may be sure that if we are in a hard place He will give us strength according to our need. Each gets his own grace. “Ilka blade of grass has its ain drap o’ dew,” and grace is suited to the place in which one dwells.

2. We ought to be charitable in our judgment of each other. While we hold ourselves to a rigid reckoning in all circumstances, let us make allowance for the circumstances of others. The flower in the window of a poor man’s cottage may be far from a perfect specimen, but it is a greater marvel than the superb specimen in a rich man’s conservatory. There may be more honour to one man for the Christianity he has maintained in the face of great obstacles, though it may be marked with blemishes, than there is to another who has no such blemishes, but who has had no such conflict.

III. The harder the place in which we are we should be the more earnest to maintain our Christianity. Here, however, it is needful to know what the hardest place is. It is not always that where there is the greatest external resistance to Christianity. An avowed antagonist the Christian meets as such; he prepares himself for the encounter, and is not taken unawares; but when the ungodly meet him as friends, then he is in real peril. The world’s attentions are more deadly than its antagonisms. The Church is in the world as a boat is in the sea; it can float only by being kept above it; and if we let it become waterlogged it will be swamped.

IV. The greater the difficulty we overcome in the maintenance of our Christianity the greater will be our reward. (W. M. Taylor, D. D.)

Sainthood in Nero’s household

1. This incidental allusion informs us that already Jesus was confessed before emperors; men that in irresponsible power and savage cruelty had almost lost the nature of men. Faith has won its greatest conquests on straitened and sorrowful fields.

2. If the strength and joy of believing are proportioned to the weight of the crosses born for it, then in some such post as this we must look for the bravest witnesses to the truth.

3. We eulogize virtues that flourish only in a favourite soil and climate. We palliate and excuse the deficiency, when honesty is missing in the household of Caesar. We forget that the piety of the Church and of society dwindles inevitably unless it is replenished by the energy of those valiant examples which will dare to be true in the palaces of power, and fashion, and mammon.

4. There are yet saints in Caesar’s household, and there is as good cause to venerate them as when beasts licked up their blood from the sand. For the substance of all sainthood which has vitality enough to live in Caesar’s household is this, that its virtue is so built on interior foundations, and its faith so rooted in its Divine Master, that no outward opposition can break it down.

5. There are special traits essential to sainthood in Caesar’s household.

I. Courage Christianity has favour for every noble sentiment; and so she offers to the veteran soldier, and to the enthusiastic youth, a field for bravery grander than any battle, in the resistance of moral invasion. Accordingly, we find that, very soon, Christianity seized on rough warriors, and some of these believers about the person of Nero must probably have been guards of his palace. On one of the early Christian monuments at Rome there is an epitaph of a young military officer, who “lived long enough when he shed his blood for Christ.” But Christ’s religion courts no consideration from armies. Its courage is of another kind--the courage that bears wrong, but will not commit it--that saves life, rather than destroys it; that springs from an unspotted conscience; that goes into and out of all companies, counting houses, caucuses, and churches, with an uprightness not to be bent, whether you bring threats, or sneers, or golden baits to tempt it; that lifts up an unblenched face in the most formidable array of difficulties, satisfied to stand on God’s side, to listen to the encouragement of the beatitudes and to hold to the breastplate of righteousness. Wherever such Christian courage in duty is there will be saints of Caesar’s household.

II. Modesty. They did not call themselves saints; Paul called them so. They did not boast of their religion; there was too much solemn sincerity in it. They did not lurk about the temples to mock the soothsayers, and to disseminate slanders about the priesthood. They knew the joy of their communion with Jesus, and cared more for that than for the admiration of the citizens. That was their Christian modesty. Disjoined from their fortitude, it might haw degenerated into timidity. And that is often our danger. There are persons of a diffident disposition, that err in not mixing enough boldness of resistance with their good nature. They remain inefficient disciples because they shrink from public notice. This is to turn “the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit” into a deformity, and to rob the Master of the testimony that is His due. This is the danger of all threatened minorities, but they will get strength for the fiery trial by going back to see how the inmates of a palace full of gluttony, licentiousness, and all royal vices, held their allegiance fast.

III. But to imitate that successful blending of modesty and courage, they will want a third quality, namely, independence. The question of duty once settled, all gates but that which leads to acting it out must be shut. And beyond that point, all arguments from custom, from the general expectation, from popular applause, from public or private gratification, are impertinent. Remember, these saints were living in the centre of the great world’s energy and splendour, and in the very focus of its intelligence. Independence was a virtue quite indispensable to them; but not a whit more so than to us. For, every day, Providence, through our own instincts, pushes us into some crisis of moral peril, where, if we do not act simply of ourselves, and take our direction at first hand from the Spirit, our integrity itself is gone.

IV. And superadded to independence and modesty and courage is constancy. There must have been many days when it would have been easy and convenient for these saints to slip round into the old comfortable heathenism. Inducements were not wanting. For the ignorant there was personal safety. For the cultivated Seneca was alive. But they held fast. They might be hunted out, and see their teachers slaughtered; but they gathered again the next evening, and other hands, willing to be mangled by the same martyrdom, broke to them the bread of life. The emperor might send them out to build his baths; they raised no civil rebellion, but while they bent to their slavery they knelt and prayed to their Father. Arrows might pierce their bodies, but they believed the Lord Jesus would receive their spirits. God is asking constancy of us. Our Nero is self-love. The senses are the Caesars of all ages. Fashion is a Rome that commissions its legions and spreads its silent empire wider than the Praetorian eagles. The reigning temper of the world is the imperishable persecutor and tyrant of the faithful soul. And so, in every home and street there are chances for the reappearing of saints in Caesar’s household. (Bishop Huntington.)

The religion of charity compatible with all callings

Notice that the “chief” salutations came from the unlikeliest place. It is a rebuke to some who think that Christianity pervades one state of life more than another. At times men have thought that the Christian religion was peculiarly suitable to the poor, and had nothing to do with the officers of Caesar’s household. Christ preached at first to the lowly, yet wise and rich were also called. If saints are found in Caesar’s household where shall they not be found? But men go sighing to find the proper soil for religion, and go to the desert to be religious, and think that when a man is a beggar he must be nearest heaven.

I. Christianity has affinity with all callings.

1. With riches, because the great grace of charity can be exercised thereby. Whose has charity in his heart and wealth in his hand has the finest gift of God.

2. With statesmanship, although it is common to say that that is a very uncongenial atmosphere for a Christian. But a statesman can put an end to the foul obstructions that hinder truth; he can make laws that men shall be no longer housed in conditions that make righteousness impossible.

3. With the soldier, though some think not. Though the day will come when war shall be at an end, nevertheless he who goes forth in a good cause stirred by the spirit of verity to do righteousness in the spirit of order, obedience, and self sacrifice, between him and the Christian faith are strong affinities.

4. With retirement. Christianity has much to say about the blessings of quiet existence, in deepening the wells of life.

5. With business. The merchant may be the most eminent missionary.

6. With art. The artist who gives relief to the tired eye and brain, who preaches the God of eternal beauty, and the spirit which underlies all visible things, is in harmony with our faith.

II. Wherein consists this unity by which the spirit of Christ has an affinity with extremely opposite characteristics?

1. Let us wander seemingly for a time and answer this question by asking another. It is not whether this or that calling or characteristic be holy or not, but what is that holiness which justifies us in calling it holy? A man may be a sweeper of chimneys or the holder of a sceptre; but the sceptre may be swayed in righteousness, and so may the besom. The righteousness of each depends on the degree to which each embodies in his calling that which constitutes righteousness.

2. To do a good action three things are essential.

3. Having knowledge, intention, and persistence in the performance of that which is just and wise, the question becomes this--What is that which, put into voice or action, constitutes it an act in accord with the Christian faith? Christianity pronounces it to be charity. Charity means the large, loving, constant doing of all things great and small. It is the universal spirit to which there is nothing great or small. A king through charity may sway the sceptre, and a room may be swept to the glory of God. So in Caesar’s household and Peter’s fishing hut, it is possible to be filled with that which constitutes the spirit of religion. Therefore it is a matter of indifference what your calling may be. If you are scandal mongers, indeed, it is impossible to be charitable, because you violate the first principles of charity. When one lives not in constant piety one goes back to Caesar’s household and thinks who they were. (G. Dawson, M. A.)


I. Is holy--it makes men saints.

II. Might--it enters the palace.

III. Fearless--it stands before Nero.

IV. Kind--it teaches love. (J. Lyth, D. D.)

The composition of Caesar’s household

The household of the emperor consisted mainly of troops and of slaves who ministered to his wants and caprices as the wealthiest and most luxurious of Roman magnates. But senators and knights were also in close attendance upon him, equally in his hours of business and relaxation. These, indeed, were probably masters of households of their own; thus Seneca, the most intimate of his ministers, enjoyed a private residence in his gardens; Burrus, the prefect of the Praetorians, whose duty brought him, no doubt, daily into the imperial presence, occupied his own lodging in the Praetorian camp. The affairs of government were transacted chiefly by the emperor’s freedmen, some of them notorious for their riches and influence, court favourites who had been enfranchised by himself or his predecessors. These also had each his own palace and gardens, in which he vied with the proudest of the ancient aristocracy. Nevertheless these, too, were so closely attached to the emperor’s person that they might claim to form a part of Caesar’s household, and any one of them may have come in contact with Paul. A man of Paul’s power of thought and language, speaking with the academic tone of a scholar of Tarsus, and the natural fervour of a Hebrew prophet, could hardly fail to command the attention of the feverish students of moral truth who abounded in the ranks of the Roman aristocracy. But if such turned away he could not fail to be received among the lower class of the emperor’s household attendants, both male and female, who filled a thousand menial offices about his person, and that of his consort. The ministers to the luxury of Poppaea were certainly not less numerous than those who discharged similar functions for Livia before her. Among them were servants of the chamber and the ante-chamber, servants who waited at the doors, who attended at the bath, who assisted at the toilet, who kept the jewels, who read at the empress’s couch, who sat at her feet, who followed her in her walks, who lulled her to sleep and watched over her slumbers, who had charge of her purse, and distributed the tasks of the whole household. The persons in waiting on the emperor were probably even more multitudinous, and while many of their functions were merely manual, there were not a few entrusted with affairs which required high intellectual training. The emperor was surrounded with numerous members of the learned classes such as could discharge the duties of secretaries, physicians, professors of every art and accomplishment and teachers in philosophy. To have access to Caesar’s household was to be put into communication with the most intelligent people of the day. Over Paul’s intercourse with these people a cloud rests, but it so happens that recent excavations have discovered the names of various persons connected with the court of Claudius which are identical with those which the apostle mentions in his Epistle to the Romans. We find among these names those of Amphas, Urbanus, Stachys, Apella, Tryphena, Tryphosa, Rufus, Hermas, Potrobius (Patrobas), Philologus, and Nerens. Some of these, no doubt, are very common appellatives; but the occurrence of so many coincidences can hardly be accidental. And the easy and familiar way in which the apostle introduces the mention of “the saints in Caesar’s household,” seems to imply that he stood on an easy footing with them. It is the style of one who went in and out among them, of a man who dwelt close at hand; accessible daily as they passed by on their ordinary avocations. (Dean Merivale.)

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Exell, Joseph S. "Commentary on "Philippians 4:22". The Biblical Illustrator. 1905-1909. New York.

Expositor's Bible Commentary

Chapter 19


Philippians 4:10-23 (R.V).

THE Apostle had urged joy. in the Lord, and a moderation visible to all men. If any one supposes that in doing so he recommended a stoical temper, insensible to the impressions of passing things, the passage which now comes before us will correct that error. It shows us how the Apostle could "rejoice in the Lord," and yet reap great satisfaction from providential incidents. "I rejoiced in the Lord greatly, that now at last you have revived your thought for me," or, as In the older version, "that your care for me has flourished again."

Worldly eagerness, and worldly care and anxiety about persons and things, are rebuked by the spirit of rejoicing in the Lord. But the persons and the things about us all have a connection with the Lord, if we have eyes to see it, and hearts to mark it; and that is the chief thing about them. They are in the Lord’s world, the Lord calls us to have to do with them: as for the persons, they are, some of them, the Lord’s servants, and all of them the Lord calls us to love and to benefit; as for the things, the Lord appoints our lot among them, and they are full of a meaning which He puts into them. So regard to the Lord and a spirit of rejoicing in Him may pervade our earthly life. The worldly eagerness and worldly care must be controlled. There is no avoiding that conflict. But now-shall we in faith give ourselves to learn the true rejoicing in the Lord? If not, our Christianity must be at best low and comfortless. But if we do, we shall be rewarded by a growing liberty. The more that joy possesses us, the more will it give occasion to the finest and freest play of feeling in reference to passing things; and some of these which, on other accounts, might seem insignificant, will begin to yield us an abounding consolation.

These Philippians, who had given early proof of attachment to the gospel, had lately, for some reason or other, been unable, "lacked opportunity," to minister to the wants of Paul. Now the winter, whatever it was, that hindered the expression of their good will was gone, and their care of Paul flourished again. Did the Apostle think it needful to freeze up. the feelings of satisfaction which this incident awakened? No: but in his case those feelings, having spiritual elevation, became so much the more deep and glad. He rejoiced greatly in this; and still, he was rejoicing in the Lord. Let us mark how this comes out both when we consider what was not the spring of his gladness, and what it was.

"Not that I speak in respect of want." It was not the change from want to comparative plenty that explained the nature of his feelings. Yet he evidently implies that he had been in want, strange as that may seem in a city where there was a Christian congregation. But though the removal of that pressure would no doubt be thankfully taken, yet for a man whose gladness was in the Lord no mere change of that kind would lead to "rejoicing greatly." "I speak not in respect of want: I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. I know how to be abased, and I know also how to abound: in everything and in all things have I learned the secret (have been initiated) both to be filled and to be hungry, both to abound and to be in want. I can do all things through Him that strengtheneth me."

"Therewith to be content." Paul had learned to be so minded that, in trying circumstances, he did not anxiously cast about for help, but was sufficed: his desires were brought down to the facts of his condition. In that state he counted himself to have enough. He knew how to suit himself to abasement, that common experience of the indigent and friendless and he knew how to suit himself to abundance, when that was sent: each as a familiar state in which he made himself at home-not overgrieved or overjoyed, not greatly elevated or greatly depressed. "‘I have been instructed," or initiated (the word used by the heathen of introduction to the mysteries), "not only into the experience of those conditions, but into the way of taking kindly with them both." Mark how his words follow one another: "I have learned"-been put through a course of teaching and have had a teacher; "I know"-it has become familiar to me, I understand it; "I am initiated"-if there is a secret in it, something hidden from the natural man, I have been led into that, out and in, through and through.

If we would know by what discipline the Lord trained Paul to this mind, we may listen to what Paul himself says of it: [1 Corinthians 4:9-13] "I think God hath set forth us the apostles last of all, as men doomed to death: for we are made a spectacle unto the world. Even unto this present hour we both hunger, and thirst, and are naked, and are buffeted, and have no certain dwelling place; and we toil, working with our own hands: being reviled, we bless; being persecuted, we endure; being defamed, we entreat: we are made as the filth of the world, the offscouring of all things, unto this day." {see also 2 Corinthians 6:4; 2 Corinthians 11:23} If, again, we would know the manner of his training in such experiences, take: 2 Corinthians 12:8-9 "Concerning this thing I besought thrice that it might depart from me. And He said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee; for My strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities." Also how his faith wrought and gathered strength in all these, we may see from: Romans 8:24-28 "We are saved by hope. If we hope for that which we see not, then do we with patience wait for it. Also the Spirit helpeth our infirmity: for we know not how to pray as we ought; but the Spirit Himself maketh intercession for us…And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God." So "being strengthened with all might, according to His glorious power, to all patience and long suffering with joyfulness," [Colossians 1:11] he was able to say, I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me." This was the course, and this the fruit, of Paul’s biography. But each Christian has his own life, the tenor and the upshot of which should not be wholly estranged from Paul’s. Now what it was that did move him so to rejoice is explained when he speaks of the Philippians "holding fellowship, with his affliction"; and, again, when he says, I desire fruit that may abound to your account." He saw in their succour the blessed unity of Christ’s living Church, the members having mutual interest, so that if one suffers all suffer, The Philippians claimed a right to take part as fellow-members in the Apostle’s state and wants, and to communicate with his affliction. And this was only a continuation of their former practice in the beginning of the gospel. This, as a fruit of Christ’s work and of the presence of His Spirit, refreshed the Apostle. It was a manifestation in the sphere of temporal things of the working of a high principle, communion with the common Lord. And it betokened the progress of the work of grace, in that the Philippians were not weary in well doing. So it was fruit that abounded to their account. It may be noticed that the directness and frankness of the Apostle’s speech to the Philippians on these matters convey a testimony to the generous Christian feeling which prevailed among them. He speaks as one who feared no misconstruction. He does not fear that they will either mistake his meaning or do wrong to his motives; as he, on the other side, puts no other than a loving construction upon their action. He could not so trust all the Churches. In some there was so little of large Christian sympathy that a complaining tone in such matters was forced on him. But in the case of the Philippians he has no difficulty in interpreting their gift simply as embodying their earnest claim to be counted "partakers of the benefit," and therefore entitled to bear the burdens and alleviate the sufferings of Paul.

Gladly he admits and welcomes this claim. It is worth observing that the way of giving vent to Christian feeling here exemplified was apparent at Philippi from the very first. Not only did it appear when Paul departed from Macedonia (Philippians 4:15); but, before that, the earliest convert, Lydia, struck the keynote, -"If ye judge me faithful in the Lord, come into my house." [Acts 16:15] Both in individuals and in Churches, the style of feeling and action embraced at the outset of Christianity, under the first impressions, often continues to prevail long after.

Now, in virtue of this liberality, Paul had all and abounded. He had desired to see the old spirit flourish again, and he had his wish. "I have all: I feel greatly enriched since I received the things sent by Epaphroditus." What gladdened him was not the outward comfort which these gifts supplied, but much more, the spiritual meaning they carried in their bosom. Let us see how he reads that meaning.

This gift comes to him. As it comes, what is it? From its destination and its motives it takes on a blessed character. It is "an odour of a sweet smell, a sacrifice acceptable, well-pleasing unto God." This was what came to the Apostle: something that was in a peculiar manner God’s own, something which He regarded, set value on, and counted precious. Further, it turned out to be something in connection with which the assurance ought to go forth, "My God shall fulfil every need of yours." They had ministered to Paul’s need, in faith, love, thankfulness, and loyal care of Christ’s servant. Christ counted it done to Him: as such He would surely repay it, supplying their need with that considerate liberality which it becomes Him to exhibit. Observe, then, the position in which the Apostle finds himself. He is himself the object of Christian kindness; affections wrought in the Philippians by the Holy Ghost are clinging to him and caring for him. He is also one so linked with God’s great cause that offerings sent to him, in the spirit described, become an "odour of a sweet smell, an acceptable sacrifice to the Lord." Also this supply of his need is so directly a service done to Christ, that when it is done, God, as it were, stands forth directly on His servant’s behalf: He will repay it, supplying the need of those who supplied His servant. Poor though Paul may be, and sometimes sad, yet see how the resources of God must be pledged to requite the kindness done to him. All this made him very glad. His heart warmed under it. What a blessed, happy, secure, and, looking forward, what a hopeful state was his! This came home to him all at once with the Philippians’ gift. No wonder that he says, "I have all and abound."

If any one chooses to say that all this was true about the Apostle, and he might have known it, apart from the gift, and even if it had never come, that may be a kind of truth, but it signifies exactly nothing to the purpose. It is one thing to have a doctrine which one knows: it is another thing to have the Holy Spirit setting it home with a warmth and glory that fills the man with joy. The spirit of God may do this without means, but often He uses means, and, indeed, what we esteem little means; by little things carrying home great impressions, as out of the mouths of babes and sucklings He perfects praise. When a child of God is cast down, no one can tell out of how small a thing the Spirit of God may cause to arise a peace that passeth all understanding.

Christianity confers great weight and dignity on little things. This gift, not in itself very great, passing between Christians at Philippi and an Apostle imprisoned at Rome, belongs after all to an unearthly sphere. Paul sees its connection with all spiritual things, and with the heavenly places where Christ is. And it comes to him carrying a rich meaning, preaching everlasting consolation and good hope through grace.

Mark, again, the illustration of the truth that the members have need of one another, and are compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part. The strong may benefit by the weak, as well as the weak by the strong. This Apostle, who could do all things through Christ who strengthens him, might be very far more advanced as a Christian than any one in Philippi. Possibly there was nothing any of them could say, no advice they could tender to him in words, that would have been of material benefit to the Apostle. But that which, following the impulse of their faith and love, they did, was of material benefit. It filled his heart with a joyful sense of the relation in which he stood to them, to Christ, to God. It welled up for him like a water-spring in a dry land. No one can tell how it may have conduced to enable him to go forward with more liberty and power, testifying in Rome the gospel of God.

Nor must we omit the comfort to all who serve God in their generation arising from the view which the Apostle is here led to take. There may be trials from without and trials from within. Still God careth for His servant. God will provide for him out of that which is peculiarly His own. God so identifies him with Himself, that He must needs requite all who befriend him out of His own riches in glory.

So far for the bearing of the case on Paul. We have still to look a little into the view given of this Philippian gift on its own account. It is emphatically called a sweet savour, an offering acceptable and well-pleasing to God. We have seen already [Philippians 2:17] that believers are called upon to offer themselves as a sacrifice; and now we see also that their obedience, or that which they do for Christ’s sake, is reckoned as an offering to God. So it is said [Hebrews 13:16] "to do good and to communicate forget not, for with such sacrifices God is well pleased." It need hardly be said they are not sacrifices to atone for sin. But they are offerings accepted by God, at His altar, from His children’s hands. They suitably express both the gratitude of believers to God, and the sincerity of their Christianity in general. God grants us this way of expressing the earnestness of our regard to Him: and He expects that we shall gladly avail ourselves of it; our obedience is to assume the character of a glad and willing offering. The expressions used by the Apostle here assure us that there is a Divine complacency in the manifestation of this spirit on the part of God’s children. The heart of Him who has revealed Himself in Christ, of Him who rested and was refreshed on the seventh day over His good and fair works, counts for a sweet savour, acceptable and well-pleasing, the works of faith and love willingly done for His name’s sake.

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 realised by many.

The other point noteworthy in relation to this Philippian gift is the assurance that it shall be recompensed. God will not be unfaithful to reward their work and labour of love, in that they have ministered to His servant.

We are not to shrink from the doctrine of reward because it has been perverted. It is true the good works of a Christian cannot be the foundation of his title to life eternal. They proceed from the grace of God; they are imperfect and mixed at their best. Yet they are precious fruits of Christ’s death, and of God’s grace, arising through the faith and love of souls renewed and liberated. When a penitent and believing man is found devoting to God what he is and has, doing so freely and lovingly, that is a blessed thing. God sets value on it. It is accepted as fruit which the man brings, as the offering which he yields. The heart of Christ rejoices over it. Now it is fit that the value set on this fruit should be shown, and the way God takes to show it is to reward the service. Such a man "shall in no wise lose his reward." God orders the administration of His mercy so that it really comes in a way of recompense for works Of faith and labours of love.

This may well convince us that the kindness of our Father is measureless. He omits nothing that can win His children’s love, and bind them to Himself. Might not those servants who have gone furthest and done most, feel it almost a bitter thing to hear reward spoken of? For if their service could be far more worthy, it could not amount to an adequate expression of gratitude for all their Father has done for them. Yet He will certainly reward. Cups of cold water given to disciples shall have remembrance made of them, by Him who reckons all those gifts to be bestowed upon Himself. Every way God overwhelms His children with His goodness. There is no dealing with this God, otherwise than by confessing that every way we are debtors. It is vain to think of paying the debt, or relieving oneself of any of the weight of obligation. Only we may with all our hearts give glory to Him to whom we owe all.

Accordingly the Apostle closes in a doxology: "Now unto our God and Father be glory for ever."

Among the salutations with which the Epistle winds up, every one must be struck with that which goes in the name of "those of Caesar’s household." Bishop Lightfoot has annexed to his Commentary an essay on this topic, which collects, with his usual skill, the available information. It was remarked in connection with Philippians 1:12, that Caesar’s household was an immense establishment, comprehending thousands of persons, employed in all sorts of functions, and composed chiefly, either of slaves, or of those who had emerged from slavery into the condition of freedmen. Indications have been gathered from ancient mortuary inscriptions tending to show that a notable proportion of Christians, whose names are preserved in this way, had probably been connected with the household. At the end of the first century, a whole branch of the Flavian imperial family became Christian; and it is possible, as indicated in an earlier page, that they may have done so under the influence of Christian servants. This, however, fell later. The Apostle wrote in Nero’s days. It is certain that at this time singularly profligate persons exercised great sway in the household. It is also certain that powerful Jewish influences had got a footing; and these would in all likelihood act against the gospel. Yet there were also Christian brethren. We may believe that Paul’s own work had operated notably to produce this result. [Philippians 1:12] At all events, there they were. Amid all that was vile and unscrupulous, the word of God had its course; men were converted and were sanctified by the washing of water by the word. Then, as now, the Lord gathered His elect from unlikely quarters: how secure soever the strong man’s goods seemed to be, his defences went down before the might of a stronger than he. Probably the Christians in the household belonged chiefly or exclusively to the lower grades of the service, and might be partly protected by their obscurity. Yet surely entanglements and perplexities, fears and sorrows, must often have been the portion of the saints of Nero’s household. Out of all these the Lord delivered them. This glimpse lets us see the process going on which by-and-by made so strange a revolution in the heathen world. It reminds us also for what peculiarities of trial God’s grace has been found sufficient.

"The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit." This is the parting benediction; certainly an appropriate one, for the whole Epistle breathes the same atmosphere. The Epistle would not fail of its effect, if their spirit retained the consciousness of the grace of Christ; if throughout their life they owned its sway, and felt its attraction, its charm, its power to elevate and purify and comfort.

In following the course of thought and feeling which this letter embodies, we have seen the Apostle touch various topics. They rise into view as pastoral care, or friendly feeling, as outward circumstances suggest them. The demands of Christian friendship, the responsibilities of the Christian ministry, the trials of Christian endurance; what is due from an apostle, or from a Church member; how life and death are to be confronted; what is to be done about dangers and faults; how pride and self-will are to be judged and remedied; how the narrow heart is to be rebuked and enlarged; how the life of a disciple is to become luminous and edifying, -in reference to all, and all alike, he speaks from the same central position, and with the same fulness of resource. In Christ revealed, in Christ received and known, he finds the light and the strength and the salve which every case requires. Each new demand unlocks new resources, new conceptions of goodness and of victory.

So, in one great passage, in the third chapter, catching fire, as it were, from the scorn with which a religion of externals fills him, he breaks forth into a magnificent proclamation of the true Christianity. He celebrates its reality and intensity as life in Christ-Christ known, found, gained-Christ in the righteousness of faith and in the power of resurrection. He depicts vividly the aspiration and endeavour of that life as it continually presses onward from faith to experience and achievement, as it verifies relations to a world unseen, and looks and hastes towards a world to come. Then the wave of thought and feeling subsides; but its force is felt in the last wavelets of loving counsel that ripple to the shore.

One feels that for Paul, who was rich in doctrine, doctrine is after all but the measure of mighty forces which are alive in his own experience. No doctrine, not one, is for the intellect alone: all go out into heart and conscience and life. More than this: he lets us see that, for Christians, Christ Himself is the great abiding means of grace. He is not only the pledge and guarantee that holiness shall be reached: He is Himself our way of reaching it. He is so for the Christian societies, as well as for the individual Christian soul.

One cannot but wonder sometimes in reading Paul’s Epistles what manner of congregations they were to whom such remarkable letters were sent. Did they understand the deeper and loftier passages? Were Paul and they on common ground? But the answer may be, that whatever they failed to attain, they at least apprehended a new world created for them by the interposition of Christ-new horizons, new possibilities, new hopes and fears, new motives, new consolations, new friendships, and a new destiny. The grace of Christ has made all new-in which process they themselves were new. The "spirit" had become like a lyre new-strung to render new harmonies. And the great thoughts of the Apostle, if not always grasped or followed, yet made every string vibrate-so much on his part and so much on theirs being sensitive to the grace of our Lord Jesus.

Ere long they all passed away: Paul beheaded at Rome, as the story goes; the Philippian converts dying out; and the world changing in manners, thought, and speech, in all directions. But the message entrusted to Paul lives still, and awakens the same response in the hearts of Christians to-day as it did among the Philippians when first read among them. It still assures us that the highest thing in life has been found, -that it meets us in Him who came among us meek, and having salvation.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Nicoll, William R. "Commentary on Philippians 4:22". "Expositor's Bible Commentary".

The Pulpit Commentaries


Philippians 4:1

Therefore, my brethren dearly beloved and longed for, my joy and crown. The apostle here, as in 1 Corinthians 15:58, urges the hope of a glorious resurrection as an incentive to steadfastness in the Christian life. He seems scarcely able to find words adequate to express his love for the Philippians; he heaps together epithets of affection, dwelling tenderly on the word "beloved." He tells them of his longing desire to see them, repeating the word used in Philippians 1:8. He calls them his "joy and crown"—his joy now, his crown hereafter. He uses the same words of the other great Macedonian Church in 1 Thessalonians 2:19, "What is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing? Are not even ye?" The Greek word for "crown" ( στέφανος) means commonly either the wreath ("the corruptible crown," 1 Corinthians 9:25) which was the prize of victors at the Grecian games; or a garland worn at banquets and festivities. The royal crown is generally διάδημα. But στέφανος is used in the Septuagint for a king's crown (see (in the Greek) 2 Samuel 12:30; Psalms 20:4 (A.V., Psalms 21:3); Esther 8:15). The crown of thorns, too, which was used in mockery of the Savior's kingly title, was στέφανος ἐξ ἀκανθῶν, though this may possibly have been suggested by the laurel wreath worn by the Roman Caesars (see Trench, 'Synonyms of the New Testament,' sect. 23.). "The crown of life," "the crown of glory that fadeth not away," is the emblem both of victory and of gladness. Yet it is also in some sense kingly: the saints shall sit with Christ in his throne; they shall reign with him; they are kings ("a kingdom," R.V., with the best manuscripts) and priests unto God (Revelation 1:6). In this place victory seems to be the thought present to the apostle's mind. In Philippians 2:16 and Philippians 2:12-14 he has been comparing the Christian life with the course of the Grecian athletes. Now he represents his converts as constituting his crown or wreath of victory at the last; their salvation is the crowning reward of his labors and sufferings. So stand fast in the Lord, my dearly beloved. So; that is, as ye have us for an example; or perhaps, as becomes citizens of the heavenly commonwealth. The same word ( στήκετε) is used in Philippians 1:27, also in connection with the idea of citizenship.

Philippians 4:2

I beseech Enodias, and beseech Syntyche, that they be of the same mind in the Lord; rather, Euodia. It is plain from the next verse that both are female names. The narrative in Acts 16:1-40 shows that the female element was more than usually important in the early Philippian Church. These ladies seem to have held a high position in that Church; possibly they may have been deaconesses, like Phoebe at Cenchrea. Their dissensions disturbed the peace of the Church. The repeated "I beseech'' is emphatic; it may, perhaps, also imply that both were in fault. St. Paul earnestly begs them to be reconciled, and to be reconciled as Christians, in the Lord, as members of his body, in the consciousness of his presence. Mark how often the words, "in Christ," "in the Lord," occur in this Epistle; how constantly the thought of spiritual union with Christ was present to the apostle's mind.

Philippians 4:3

And I entreat thee also, true yokefellow; rather, yea, with R.V. and the best manuscripts; καὶ is a particle of earnest appeal (comp. Phlippians 1:20 and Revelation 22:20); I ask or request. The Greek word ἐρωτῶ is used in New Testament Greek (in classical Greek it means "to inquire") of requests addressed to an equal; αἰτῶ is used in addressing a superior (comp. Trench, 'Synonyms of the New Testament,' sect. 40.). Who was the "true yokefellow"? Some, following Clement of Alexandria, interpret the words of a supposed wife of St. Paul. But the Greek adjective has the masculine termination; and it is plain, from 1 Corinthians 7:8, that St. Paul was unmarried. Others take one of the Greek words as the proper name of the person addressed, Syzygus or Gnesius. On the first supposition, the play on the meaning of Syzygus, yokefellow, would resemble St. Paul's reference to Onesimus in Phlippians 1:11. But neither of these words seems to occur as a proper name. Some again, as Chrysostom, interpret the word of the husband of Euodia or Syntyche: this does not seem likely. Others think that Lydia may be addressed here. The omission of her name is remarkable; but she may bare been dead or no longer resident at Philippi. Others understand the chief pastor of the Church at Philippi, who may very possibly have been Epaphroditus himself, the bearer of the letter. This, on the whole, seems the most probable conjecture. The omission of the name implies that the person addressed was in a conspicuous position, so that there was no danger of mistakes. An important duty is assigned to him. And it may be that the word "yokefellow," as distinguished from "fellow-laborer," denotes something more of equality with the apostle. Help those women which labored with me in the gospel; rather, as R.V., help those women, for they labored with me. Help Euodia and Syntyche towards a mutual reconciliation, and that, inasmuch as they labored in the gospel. With Clement also. Are these words to be connected with "help" or with labored"? Is Clement associated with the "true yokefellow" in the work of reconciliation, or with the women who labored with St. Paul? The balance of probability seems to be in favor of the first alternative; there appears to be no reason for mentioning Clement's labors in this place; while, on the other hand, St. Paul's anxiety for the reconciliation of Euodia and Syntyehe might naturally urge him to ask for the combined efforts of all his fellow-laborers. Whether this Clement is to be identified with St. Clement the Bishop of Rome is an open question; there are no sufficient data for deciding it (see Bishop Lightfoot's detached note). And with other my fellow-laborers; rather, as R.V., and the rest of my fellow-workers. St. Paul appeals to them all. Whose names are in the book of life. St. Paul does not mention their names; there is no need that he should do so—they are written in heaven (comp. Exodus 32:32; Psalms 69:28; Daniel 12:1; and Revelation, passim). The book of life is the roll of the citizens of the heavenly kingdom. The passages quoted do not necessarily involve the doctrine of an unconditional, irreversible predestination, or the phrase, "to blot out of my hook," could not be used.

Philippians 4:4

Rejoice in the Lord alway; and again I say, Rejoice; rather, as R.V., again I will say. St. Paul returns to the key-note of the Epistle, Christian joy. He writes again the same things (see Philippians 2:1); he will say it again, he. never wearies of repeating that holy joy is a chief Christian duty. Rejoice in the Lord; in his presence, in communion with him, and that always; for he who rejoices in the Lord, as Chrysostom says, always rejoices, even in affliction: "Sorrowful, yet always rejoicing" (2 Corinthians 6:10).

Philippians 4:5

Let your moderation be known unto all men; rather, forbearance, or gentleness. The word ἐπιείκεια (here the neuter adjective is used) is translated "gentleness" in 2 Corinthians 10:1, where it is attributed to our Lord himself. In the Aristotelian' Ethics' it stands for the temper which contents itself with less than its due, and shrinks from insisting on its strict rights. There is no joy in a narrow selfishness; joy involves an open heart, a generous love. Joy in the Lord tends to make men gentle and mild to others. "Gaudium in Domino," says Bengel, "parit veram aequitatem erga proximum." Unto all men; heathen as well as Christian. Compare our Lord's word: "By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another." St. Paul would have the heathen say, "See how these Christians love one another." Their mutual love would be the blessed means of drawing fresh converts to the faith. There may possibly be an allusion here to the differences between Euodia and Syntyche; let there be no more disagreements, but rather mutual forbearance. The Lord is at hand. The Aramaic Maranatha ("the Lord cometh") in 1 Corinthians 16:22 seems to imply that these words were current in the Church as a formula of warning, like "Hallelujah" as a set form of praise. The Lord is at hand therefore be not careful to exact your full rights; love is more precious than gold in the treasury of heaven. Comp. James 5:8, "Be ye also patient,… for the coming of the Lord draweth nigh." Others interpret the words, not of the future advent, but of the Lord's present nearness. Comp. Psalms 145:18, "The Lord is nigh unto all them that call upon him." But this seems scarcely so appropriate here.

Philippians 4:6

Be careful for nothing; rather, as R.V., in nothing be anxious. ΄έριμνα is anxious, distracting care. St. Paul does not wish his converts to be careless, but to be free from that over-anxiety about worldly things which might distract their thoughts from the service of God, and hinder their growth in holiness. Comp. 1 Peter 5:7, where the apostle bids us cast all our care ( μέριμνα) upon God. The thought of the Lord's nearness should lead us both to be forbearing in our relations to others, and also to keep ourselves free, as far as may be, from worldly anxieties. "He careth for us." But in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. "Curare et orare," says Bengel, "plus inter se pugnant quam aqua et ignis." In everything; in each emergency, little or great, as it arises, pray; cultivate the habit of referring all things, great or small, to God in prayer. The two words rendered "prayer" and "supplication" προσευχή and δέησις) occur together also in Ephesians 6:18; 1 Timothy 2:1-15 :l and 1 Timothy 5:5. The first has been defined by Chrysostom and others as prayer to obtain a good; the second, prayer to avoid an evil Better, perhaps, as most modern commentators, προσευχή is the general word, covering the idea of prayer in its widest meaning; while δέησις is a special act of supplication for some particular object of need (see Trench, 'Synonyms of the New Testament,' sect. 51.). With thanksgiving. Thanksgiving is the necessary accompaniment of prayer; it ought never to be absent from our devotions; it springs out of that holy joy which St. Paul so constantly sets before us in this Epistle as the bounden duty of Christians. St. Paul himself is an example of constant thanksgiving. All his Epistles, except those to the Galatians, 1 Timothy, and Titus, open with a thanksgiving. In the dungeon at Philippi he and Silas "prayed and sang praises unto God" (Acts 16:25). Our requests, the things for which we ask, are to be made known unto God; πρὸς τὸν θεόν before God, in the presence of God, by prayer, the general converse of the soul with God; and by supplication, direct petitions for the supply of our necessities. Indeed, he knows our necessities before we ask; but we are encouraged to make them known before him, as Hezekiah took the letter of Sennacherib and spread it before the Lord.

Philippians 4:7

And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding. The peace which God gives, which flows from the sense of his most gracious presence, and consists in childlike confidence and trustful love. This peace passeth all understanding; its calm blessedness transcends the reach of human thought; it can be known only by the inner experience of the believer. The similar passage, Ephesians in 20, "Unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think," seems decisive for the ordinary interpretation. Bishop Light-foot, Meyer, and others take another view of the passage: "Surpassing every device or counsel of man. i.e. which is far better, which produces a higher satisfaction, than all punctilious self-assertion, all anxious forethought." Shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus; rather, as R.V., shall guard your hearts and your thoughts in Christ Jesus. Peace shall guard—"a verbal paradox, for to guard is a warrior's duty" (Bishop Lightfoot). The peace of God abiding in the heart is a sure and trusty garrison, guarding it so that the evil spirit, once cast out, cannot return. The thoughts issue from the heart; for the heart, as commonly in the Hebrew Scriptures, is regarded as the seat of the intellect, not of feeling only. In Christ Jesus; in the sphere of his influence, his presence. True believers, abiding in Christ, realize his promise, "Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you."

Philippians 4:8

Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true. He repeats the "finally" of Philippians 2:1, He again and again prepares to close his Epistle, but cannot at once bid farewell to his beloved Philippians. He urges them to fill their thoughts with things good and holy. Christ is the Truth: all that is true comes from him; the false, the vain, is of the earth, earthy. Perhaps the verb ( ἐστίν) may be emphatic. Sceptics may deny the existence of absolute truth; men may scoffingly ask, "What is truth?" Truth is real, and it is found in Christ, the Truth. Whatsoever things are honest. The word ( σεμνά) occurs only here and four times in the pastoral Epistles. It is a word difficult translate. "Honourable" or" reverend'' (the renderings of the R.V.) are better equivalents than "honest." It points to a Christian decorum, a Christian self-respect, which is quite consistent with true humility, for it is a reverence for the temple of God. Whatsoever things are just; rather, perhaps, righteous, in the widest meaning. Whatsoever things are pure; not only chaste, but free from stain or defilement of any sort. The word used here ( ἁγνός) is not common in the New Testament. The adverb occurs in Philippians 1:16, where it is rendered "sincerely," and implies purity of motive. Whatsoever things are lovely ( προσφιλῆ); not beautiful, but pleasing, lovable; whatsoever things would attract the love of holy souls. Whatsoever things are of good report. The word ( εὔφημα) means "well-speaking" (not "well spoken of"), and so "gracious," "attractive;" in classical Greek it means "auspicious," "of good omen." Of these six heads, the first two describe the subjects of devout thought as they are in themselves; the second pair relate to practical life; the third pair to the moral approbation which the contemplation of a holy life excites in good men. If there be any virtue. This word, so very common in the Greek moralists, occurs nowhere else in St. Paul. Nor does any other of the New Testament writers use it except St. Peter (l Peter Philippians 2:9 (in the Greek); 2 Peter 1:3, 2 Peter 1:5). Bishop Lightfoot says, "The strangeness of the word, combined with the change of expression, εἴ τις, will suggest another explanation: 'Whatever value may reside in your old heathen conception of virtue, whatever consideration is due to the praise of men; ' as if the apostle were anxious not to omit any possible ground of appeal." And if there be any praise; comp. Romans 12:17 and 2 Corinthians 8:21, where St. Paul bids us "provide for honest things, not only in the sight of the Lord, but also in the sight of men." Nevertheless, in the highest point of view, the praise of the true Israelite is not of man, but of God. Think on these things; or, as in the margin of R.V., take account of. Let these be the considerations which guide your thoughts and direct your motives. The apostle implies that we have the power of governing our thoughts, and so are responsible for them. If the thoughts are ordered well, the outward life will follow.

Philippians 4:9

Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do. St. Paul turns from contemplation to practical life: they must translate into action the lessons which they received from him. The verbs are aorists and refer to the time when he was among them. He taught not by word only, but by living example; they saw in him when present, and heard of him when he was absent, a pattern of the Christian life. And the God of peace shall be with you. God dwells with those who think holy thoughts and live holy lives; and with him comes the peace which is his, which he giveth (comp. Romans 15:33).

Philippians 4:10

But I rejoiced in the Lord greatly, that now at the last your care of me hath flourished again. St. Paul thanks the Philippian Church for the gifts brought by Epaphroditus; his expressions, so courteous and yet so dignified, bespeak, like the Epistle to Phlippians, like all his writings, the perfect gentleman in the best sense of the word. I rejoiced in the Lord; he fulfils his own precept (Phlippians 1:4). His joy rises kern the gift to the love which prompted the gift, and thence to the Divine Giver of that love. Greatly. Bengel says, "Hoc vix placuerit Stoico. Paulus ingentes affectns habuit, sed in Domino." The R.V. rendering of the following words is more literal: "Ye revived your thought for me." The verb is properly used of a tree putting forth fresh shoots after its winter sleep. Bengel thinks that the metaphor was derived from the season; the apostle was writing in the spring. Offsets, as Meyer, render differently, "Ye flourished again (i.e. in your circumstances) so as to mind my interests." As the words might seem to imply some degree of blame, St. Paul hastens to ascribe the delay of the Philippians to causes beyond their own control. Wherein ye were also careful, but ye lacked opportunity; more literally, wherein ye did indeed take thought, as R.V. It may be that they had no suitable messenger; but St. Paul speaks of the "deep poverty" of the Macedonian Churches in 2 Corinthians 8:1, 2 Corinthians 8:2, where he also praises their liberality.

Philippians 4:11

Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. He explains himself; it is not want that prompted his words. Literally, I learned (the verb is aorist); that is, when he became a Christian. The A.V. is verbally inaccurate in the following words, which mean literally, "In the circumstances in which I am." But the sense is the same. St. Paul is speaking of his present condition: he is content with it, though it involves all the hardships of captivity; his present contentment is a sample of his habitual frame of mind. αὐτάρκης here rendered "content," is a common word in Greek philosophy. It means "self-sufficient," "independent." It is of frequent occurrence in Stoical treatises; but St. Paul uses it in a Christian sense; he is αυτάρκης in relation to man, but his αὐτάρκεια comes from God (2 Corinthians 9:8).

Philippians 4:12

I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound. St. Paul had experience both of sorrow and of joy, both of distress and of comfort; he knew how to bear himself in both, because his chiefest joy was "in the Lord." This abiding joy raised him above the vicissitudes of this mortal state, and gave him an αὐτάρεκια, a Christian independence, which enabled him to act becomingly both in adversity and in prosperity. Everywhere and in all things I am instructed; literally, as R.V., in everything and in all things; as we say, "in each and all," in every condition separately and in all collectively. The R.V. translates more accurately, "have I learned the secret." The Greek μεμύημαι means properly, "I have been' initiated." It is a word adapted from the old Greek mysteries; comp. Bcngel, "Disciplina arcana imbutus sum, ignota mundo." St. Paul represents the advanced Christian life as a mystery, the secrets of which are taught by God. the Holy Ghost to the soul that longs to prove in its own personal experience "what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God." St. Paul frequently uses the word μυστήριον, mystery, for the truths once hidden but now brought to light by the gospel. Both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. The word rendered "to be full" ( χορτάζεσθαι) is strictly used of animals, and means "to be foddered;" in the New Testament and later Greek it is used also of men, without any depreciatory significance, as in Matthew 5:6, "They shall be filled ( χορτασθήσονται).''

Philippians 4:13

I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me; rather, as R.V., in him that strengtheneth me. The best manuscripts omit the word "Christ" in this place. In him. It is only in Christ, in spiritual union with him, that the Christian is αὐτάρκης, self-sufficient. His presence gives strength to do and suffer all things.

Philippians 4:14

Notwithstanding ye have well done, that ye did communicate with my affliction; rather, as R.V., ye had fellowship with my affilction. St. Paul values the sympathy, the fellow-feeling, more than the gifts; he could have done without the gifts, but they were precious as a proof of love.

Philippians 4:15

Now ye Philippians know also, that in the beginning of the gospel when I departed from Macedonia. He reminds them delicately of their former liberality to show his love for them; he was not unwilling to receive kindnesses from them. He had always refused to accept contributions from the Corinthians; but the bonds which bound him to the Macedonian Churches were closer and tenderer. In the beginning of the gospel; when he first preached in Macedonia, ten years ago. The words, "when I departed from Macedonia," may refer either to some gifts not mentioned elsewhere, sent to him when be left Beroea for Athens; or, if the aorist be taken in a pluperfect sense, to the supplies afterwards sent to him at Corinth (2 Corinthians 11:8, 2 Corinthians 11:9). No Church communicated with me as concerning giving and receiving, but ye only. Chrysostom understands this of giving worldly things and receiving spiritual things. But the context seems to restrict the meaning to temporal gifts: the Philippians gave, St. Paul received. Bengel says, "Poterant diccre, Faciemus, si alii fecerint: nunc eo major horum laus est: ceterorum, eo minor."

Philippians 4:16

For even in Thessalonica ye sent once and again unto my necessity. This shows the promptness of their generosity; they not only helped him when he departed from Macedonia; but, before that time, while he was still at Thessalonica, the city which he visited next after leaving Philippi, they sent more than once to supply his needs; Comp. 1 Thessalonians 2:9 and 2 Thessalonians 2:8, where St. Paul says that he avoided being chargeable to the Thessalonians; for which purpose he labored with his own hands; but, it seems, he needed additional help, and this was supplied from Philippi.

Philippians 4:17

Not because I desire a gift: but I desire fruit that may abound to your account; rather, as R.V., not that I seek for the gift; but I seek for the fruit that creaseth to your account. He shrinks sensitively from the danger of being mistaken; his words are not to be understood as a hint for further gifts. It is not the gift that he desires; but there is something which he longs for, and that is, charity, the fruit of the Spirit, showing itself in the generosity of the Philippians—the fruit of good works, continually increasing, and set down in heaven to their account.

Philippians 4:18

But I have all, and abound: am full. I have to the full all that I need, and more. (For the word ἀπέχω, comp. Matthew 6:2, Matthew 6:5, Matthew 6:16, and Luke 6:24.) Having received of Epaphroditus the things which were sent from you, an odour of a sweet smell, a sacrifice acceptable, well-pleasing to God. He uses another metaphor: in Philippians 4:17 the gift was fruit, now it is a sacrifice: given to the servant of God, it is in truth offered to God himself. "How high does he lift their gift!" says Chrysostom; "it is not I, he says, who have received it, but God through me." The words, ὀσμὴ εὐωδίας, an odour of sweet smell, occur often in the Old Testament in connection with sacrifice (see Genesis 8:21; Exodus 29:18; also for the metaphor, Ephesians 5:2). in Hebrews 13:16 almsgiving is also described as a sacrifice with which God is well pleased. The first and chiefest offering we can make is ourselves: "We offer and present unto thee, O Lord, ourselves, our souls and bodies" (comp. Romans 12:1); in that chief offering is involved the lesser gift of alms.

Philippians 4:19

But my God shall supply all your need; rather, as R.V., every need of yours, My God; the pronoun is emphatic, as in Philippians 1:3. God will accept your offerings as made to him; you have supplied my need, he will supply every need of yours. According to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus. Not by; it should be "in Christ Jesus." The reward is given to his saints through union with him: "Beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, they are changed into the same image kern glory to glory." In glory; that is, by setting them in glory—the glory of holiness now, the glory of eternal life hereafter.

Philippians 4:20

Now unto God and our Father be glory for ever and ever. Amen; rather, with R.V., unto our God and Father be the glory. The thought of God's present mercies, and the hope of glory to come mentioned in the last verse, suggest the doxology. Observe, St. Paul says, "our God and Father" here. He said, "my God" in Philippians 4:19, where he was speaking of the reward which God would give for kindness shown to himself; but now "our God," as the one Object of praise and worship from the universal Church. The glory; the article is commonly used with δόξα in these doxologies—the glory which is God's peculiar possession, which is essentially his (comp. John 17:5). Bishop Lightfoot says, in his note on Galatians 1:5, "It is probable that we should supply ἐστὶν in such cases rather than ἔστω. It is an affirmation rather than a wish. Glory is the essential attribute of God. See 1 Peter 4:11, ᾧ ἐστὶν ἡ δόξα καὶ τὸ κράτος, and the doxology added to the Lord's Prayer (Matthew 6:13)." For ever and ever; literally, for the ages of ages; for the ages which consist, not of years, but of ages, for the countless ages of eternity (comp. Galatians 1:5 and Galatians 1:1 timothy Galatians 1:17).

Philippians 4:21

Salute every saint in Christ Jesus. Every saint individually—an expression of personal affection. The words, "in Christ Jesus," may be taken with "salute," as in Romans 16:22 and 1 Corinthians 16:19. It is a Christian salutation, an acknowledgment of spiritual relationship; or better, perhaps, as in numerous passages, with "saint." All saints are in Christ, members of his body, knit together into one communion and fellowship in the mystical body of Christ. It is this union with Christ which makes them saints. The brethren which are with me greet you. Observe, he calls them "brethren," though he had none like-minded with him, save only Timothy (Philippians 2:20, Philippians 2:21).

Philippians 4:22

All the saints salute you, chiefly they that are of Caesar's household. All the Christians at Rome, not only St. Paul's personal friends and companions. It is not clear why he lays a special stress on those belonging to Nero's household. The reason given by Chrysostom seems somewhat fanciful: "If those who dwelt in palaces despised all things for the sake of the King of heaven, much more should the Philippians do so." Some of them may have been known to the Philippian Christians. The term familia or domus Caesaris included all ranks, from the highest official to the lowest freedman or slave. It is probable that those alluded to here belonged to the humbler classes. But at any rate St. Paul's words prove that his preaching had penetrated into that abyss of all infamy, the palace of Nero. (For the Christianity of Seneca, and the supposed correspondence between him and St. Paul see Bishop Lightfoot's dissertation on 'St. Paul and Seneca.' See also his detached note on 'Caesar's Household.')

Philippians 4:23

The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen; read, with the best manuscripts, with your spirit. St. Paul begins with "grace" (Philippians 1:2), and ends with "grace." The gracious love of the Lord Jesus was the joy of his heart.


Philippians 4:1-3

St. Paul's relations to his flock.


1. In his urgent appeals. Mark how he enforces the necessity of perseverance, how he brings the privileges and the hopes of the Christian to bear upon the daily life of practical duties. "Therefore," he says, "because you are citizens of the heavenly country; because you look for the Savior's coming; because you hope for a glorious immortality;—therefore, stand fast in the Lord." The faithful minister knows the extreme difficulty of perseverance, of patient continuance in well-doing; he will constantly enforce it upon himself, upon his people; he will use all the motives suggested by the study of Holy Scripture and by Christian experience to press home this paramount obligation. "So stand fast," he says. St. Paul can point to his own example: would that we could do the like! "Stand fast:" it is the word used already in Philippians 1:27; it involves a military metaphor. Stand firm in your ranks; present a serried front against all temptations; quit yourselves like men, like fellow-citizens of the saints, in the good fight of faith. And that, in the Lord, in his strength, in habitual communion with him. There is no perseverance, no hope of final victory, unless we abide in Christ.

2. In his love for his flock as a whole. He calls them his brethren, dearly beloved and longed for, his joy and crown. And these were not mere words with St. Paul; he showed by his labors the truth of his affection. His ardent love for Christ issued in a strong constraining love for the souls of men. To save souls was his joy now; he knew that it would be his crown hereafter. The crown of glory that fadeth not away is the reward, St. Peter tells us, of those presbyters who feed the flock of God willingly and of a ready mind. St. Paul speaks of his converts as themselves constituting his crown. When he had finished his course, his wreath of victory would be the salvation of those precious souls which had been saved, under God, by his self-denying labors. The sight of their blessedness would increase and deepen even the gladness of heaven, even his own joy in his own salvation.

3. In his care for individual members of the Church. He thinks of Euodia and Syntyche; he has heard of their dissensions; he begs them earnestly to be of the same mind, and that in the Lord. The Christian minister should know his flock by name, should think of their individual needs, should pray for them, should urge them to live together in love.

4. He asks others to help in the work of restoring peace. The Christian pastor should gather helpers round him. It is good for his people, good for the helpers themselves. To work for Christ strengthens and benefits the soul.


1. Euodia and Syntyche.

2. Clement and others. We know not who they were. Clement may possibly be the famous Bishop of Rome; of the others the very names are unknown. They are not in the world's roll of heroes. But what was earthly fame to them? Their names were in the book of life, the book of remembrance, that is written before the Lord for them that fear the Lord and that think upon his Name. We may well be content to be obscure here, like Lazarus the beggar, if our name, like his, is known in heaven.


1. To love souls, to count the winning of souls the noblest work, the salvation of souls the most precious crown.

2. To do all that lies in us to heal dissensions and to promote Christian unity.

3. To desire above all things that our names may be written in the Lamb's book of life.

Philippians 4:4-7

The key-note of the Epistle: holy joy, with its blessed results.


1. The Christian should learn to rejoice always. The word "always" is emphatic. There lies the difficulty, there too lies the blessedness, of rejoicing in the Lord. It is easy to rejoice in moments of excitement, but to rejoice always, in affliction, in pain, in weariness, in disappointment, is difficult indeed. St. Paul had learned the lesson which he teaches—he rejoiced in hardships and in chains.

2. Christian joy is joy in the Lord. Rejoice in what he did, in what he is, in himself. Rejoice in his incarnation, his holy limb, his sufferings for us, his precious death, his resurrection, his ascension, his perpetual intercession. Rejoice in his humility, his purity, his unselfishness, his holy courage, his love, his gentleness, his sympathy, his power, his glory, his majesty. Rejoice in himself, in spiritual fellowship with him, in his most gracious presence abiding in the Christian heart.


1. Christian joy leads to genuineness and forbearance towards others. He who rejoices in the Lord, happy in that great possession, is not selfish, does not insist eagerly on his own rights, but will give way to others, will be gentle and kind; and that because the Lord is at hand. The Christian who rejoices in the Lord loves his appearing, loves to think on it, to prepare for it. he does not set overmuch store on his earthly rights, in view of the coming of the Lord and the great reward reserved for the faithful servant.

2. Holy joy dispels anxious care. He who rejoices in the Lord is not disturbed by distracting anxiety about worldly things. Holy joy keeps the mind clear and calm; it concentrates the thoughts upon the great gladness of the presence of the Lord, in comparison with which the objects of worldly pursuit are insignificant indeed. If we are learning to rejoice in him, we shall learn in like measure the difficult lesson to cast all our care upon him, for we shall know that be careth for us.

3. Inner spiritual joy must express itself in prayer and supplication.

4. Holy joy implies habitual thanksgiving. "In everything give thanks" is the precept of St. Paul. He illustrates his teaching by his own example: he sang praises unto God in the dungeon at Philippi; his Epistles abound in doxologies, in thanksgivings. he had formed the habit of giving thanks continually; it grew out of that holy joy which filled his soul. Holy joy finds its natural expression in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs. The soul which is blessed with that highest joy which is the fruit of the Spirit must give thanks always for all things; for such a one knows by his own happy experience that God maketh all things work together for good to them that love him. Daniel gave thanks in the extremity of peril; Job, in his deep distress: "The Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away; blessed be the Name of the Lord."

5. Holy joy expresses itself in prayer and thanksgiving; prayer and thanksgiving bring peace. Peace is the fruit of the Spirit, and the Spirit is given in answer to earnest prayer. "My Father will give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him." It is the peace of God, the peace which he giveth. It is the peace of Christ, such peace as he had. "Peace I leave with you: my peace I give unto you." It is trustful love and childlike confidence; it implies the blessed consciousness of forgiveness and acceptance with God. The heart in which that peace abideth is not troubled, neither is it afraid. For


1. The truest, the most abiding joy is joy in the Lord. The best of earthly joys comes from the society of those whom we dearly love. Christian joy springs from fellowship with Christ. Pray for grace to win Christ, to know Christ, to love Christ.

2. Love, joy, peace, are the fruit of the Spirit; pray for the blessed experience of the working of the Spirit in the heart. "Ask, and ye shall have."

Philippians 4:8, Philippians 4:9

Exhortation to cultivate habits of holy thought.


1. The thoughts are an index of the character. The current of thought seems ever changeful, dependent on the varying circumstances of the passing hour. It may be so within certain limits; but in truth its general direction is determined by the character. The thoughts run in channels worn for them By the oft-repeated actions which form our habits, good or bad. If the peace of God rules in the heart, the thoughts will be holy; if room is left for the temptations of the world, the flesh, and the devil, they will be of the earth, earthy. The thoughts show what the character is.

2. And, on the other hand, the thoughts react powerfully on the character. A sinful thought, brought again and again before the mind, strengthens the natural tendency of the will to evil and leads to the sinful deed. Therefore the thoughts must be disciplined and brought into captivity to the law of Christ. "Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life." Here is the hardest battle of the Christian life; to govern the thoughts there is need of constant watchfulness and persevering prayer.


1. "Whatsoever things are true." God is true; his promises are true, so are his most awful warnings. Christ is true; he is the Truth; his gospel is true. Holiness is true, real; "Now abideth faith, hope, charity. The devil is a liar and the father of lies. He said to Eve, "Ye shall not surely die;" it was the first wicked falsehood, The world is false with its cheating pleasures; it passeth away and the lusts thereof.

2. "Whatsoever things are honest." Whatsoever things are deep and earnest, honorable and reverend. The Christian life hath a decorum of its own, a calm, grave dignity. Reverence and godly fear are essential to acceptable service. Charity "cloth not behave itself unseemly."

3. "Whatsoever things are just." The saintly life is not of the world, but it is in the world and hath its duties there. Holiness is not separate from morality; it transcends morality, but it implies it. We must bear always in our thoughts the Savior's rule: "Do unto others as ye would they should do unto you."

4. "Whatsoever things are pure." The pure in heart shall see God. "He is of purer eyes than to behold evil." Nothing that defileth can enter into his presence. The Christian heart is the chosen temple of God the Holy Ghost. To bring unclean thoughts into that most sacred presence is an awful sin. The Christian's thoughts must be pure and holy.

5. "Whatsoever things are lovely." The Christian character is lovable; gentleness, humility, charity, naturally attract love. "Think on these things;" see them in their perfection as exemplified in the Lord Jesus Christ; meditate much on his perfect holiness.

6. "Whatsoever things are of good report." Think on such things as are gracious and attractive. Let nothing coarse or vulgar occupy your thoughts; let images of true beauty fill your souls.

7. "If there be any virtue, and if there be any praise." "Provide things honest in the sight of all men." Do not neglect even the more human conceptions of goodness. All good thoughts have their value; think on every form of virtue, all things worthy of praise.


1. Holy thought leads to holy living. St. Paul was able to illustrate his precepts by his own holy life. Nothing enforces religious teaching so powerfully as the example of the teacher. He gave them a rule of thought; he exhibited in his own life a rule of conduct.

2. The blessed result. St. Paul's holiness flowed from the presence of God; the God of peace will abide with all who, like St. Paul, strive always to think holy thoughts and to live holy lives.


1. Pray for grace to govern the thoughts.

2. It is most important to mark what the thoughts naturally turn to in times of leisure; this should be a frequent subject for self-examination; it shows the bent of the character.

3. Remember the influence of example.

Philippians 4:10-13

St. Paul's happy temper.


1. Their loving thought for him gave him great joy. He greatly loved his converts; their love for him was, next after the blessed love of Christ, his greatest comfort and support. He rejoiced in the proof of their love; it was sweet to him; it was good for them, an evidence of their spiritual progress.

2. He may perhaps have feared that their love was growing cold; now he rejoiced. The spiritual life has its seasons, its winter and its spring, its times of depression and its times of fervor. It cannot but be affected in some degree, while we are in the flesh, by physical causes and by outward circumstances. We must not allow ourselves to be cast down; we must struggle on, locking always unto Jesus. Oar moods and feelings are changeful. He is "the same yesterday, and to-day, and for ever."


1. He had leavened to be independent of external circumstances. That joy in the Lord of which he speaks so much in this Epistle armed his soul against the trials of life. He that hath found Christ will not be wholly cast down by outward troubles. "Cast down [rather, 'being cast down'], but not destroyed" (2 Corinthians 4:9). "Come unto me, all that are weary and heavy laden … and ye shall find rest unto your souls." No one was ever more tried than St. Paul; but he was content in the midst of hardships, self-sufficient in the Christian sense, not with the independence of pride or Stoicism, but resting upon Christ.

2. He was armed both for prosperity and adversity. Christian self-sufficiency, which is really the sufficiency of Christ, is shown in sorrow and in joy; "in all time of our tribulation, in all time of our wealth." The true Christian can bear misfortune and hardship with dignity, without ill humor and complaints; he can bear riches and honor with self-possession, without arrogance or elation. This true self-sufficiency manifests itself in all the circumstances of life, "in every thing and in all things."

3. He was taught of God. "I have been instructed;" "I have learned the secret." This Christian self-sufficiency comes from the teaching of God the Holy Ghost; it is a secret which he alone can teach. "The secret of the Lord is with them that fear him." The soul in its converse with God learns many mysteries of spiritual experience, mysteries of grace, mysteries of self-renunciation, mysteries of self-consecration. St. Paul had been initiated into all. Long training, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, had led him through all the deep and holy mysteries of the life that is hid with Christ in God. We must ask the same Holy Spirit to guide us into all truth.

4. He was strengthened in Christ. Here is the source of Christian self-sufficiency. It is only in Christ, in spiritual union with Christ, that the Christian possesses strength. Without him we can do nothing; in him we can do all things. His strength is made perfect in our weakness. Therefore the Christian must not be discouraged; he must not shrink from the battle against evil in himself and in the world. He is indeed weak and helpless, but he has the presence of Christ, and in the strength of that presence he can do all things. "We are able," said the sons of Zebedee. We may in all humility say the same if we do verily believe in Christ. All things are possible to him that believeth. God giveth us the victory through Jesus Christ our Lord.


1. It is easy to say, "Thy will be done;" it is very hard to work that prayer into our lives. St. Paul did so; so may we by the grace of God.

2. It is a secret to be learned only of God the Holy Ghost.

3. That teaching can make us contented always, self-sufficient through the strength of Christ.

Philippians 4:14-20

The sympathy of the Philippians with St. Paul.


1. They had fellowship with him in his affliction. They made it their own; they showed the reality of their sympathy by their gifts. They were themselves in a great trial of afflictions, in deep poverty. They did not make their afflictions or their poverty an excuse for not aiding the apostle; they assisted him again and again. They did well, he says. Christian sympathy is a beautiful thing; it sweetens the cup of sorrow; it is one of God's most precious gifts. St. Paul felt it deeply. He did not seek their alms; that, indeed, helped him in his trouble. But he could have done without it, he had learned the great lesson of contentment. But the sympathy of Christian love was very precious to him; he yearned for it; it was his chiefest comfort next after the presence of Christ. He prized it for their sake as well as for his own; it proved that his labors had not been in vain. It was good for them too; it was good for them to show sympathy, as it was for the apostle to receive it. Christian sympathy, like mercy, is twice blest—"it blesseth him that gives and him that takes."

2. They gave readily, spontaneously. It was "in the beginning of the gospel;" they had but just become Christians; St. Paul had but just left them. He was at Thessalonica, the chief city of Macedonia. The Philippians did not leave the duty of ministering to the apostle's wants to the Thessalonians; they sent once and again, the little town to the great city, unto his necessities. They were the first, it seems, to have the great privilege of supporting St. Paul in his apostolic labors. They did not wait to see what others would give; they set the example; they gave what they could, and that at once.

3. They were not weary in well-doing. They sent again and again, twice at least, to Thessalonica; a third time, when St. Paul departed from Macedonia. "Brethren front Macedonia" supplied his wants at Corinth (2 Corinthians 11:9). "The Churches of Macedonia" abounded in their liberality towards the poor brethren at Jerusalem (2 Corinthians 8:1, 2 Corinthians 8:2); and now they sent Epaphroditus to relieve the apostle's wants in his Roman imprisonment.

4. They gave unasked. St. Paul did not desire gifts; he was even unwilling to receive assistance from other Churches. "I seek not yours, but you," he said to the Corinthians. But the Philippians loved him for his work's sake and for his own sake. They gave freely out of love; they gave gladly, for they had learned of the Lord Jesus Christ, the great Teacher, that "it is more blessed to give than to receive."


1. His sensitive nature is deeply touched with the evidence of their love; but he shrinks from appearing to invite further liberality. It is not the gift, he says, that he seeks. He is pleased, he rejoices, but not for his own sake; it, is for the givers, for the sake of the Philippians, that St. Paul's heart is touched with holy joy. It is good for them to give; he knows it. Their bounty is set down to their account in the treasury of heaven, and this thought is full of sweetness to the apostle's soul.

2. His contentment. He needed nothing more, he said; Epaphroditus had brought all he wanted, and more than he wanted. Mark the unworldliness of the apostle. We are never satisfied; whatever we have we want more. He was satisfied amid hardships, in captivity. For he had the peace of God which passeth all understanding, and, having that, he could not crave for earthly comforts.


1. Those gifts relieved St. Paul's wants, but they had a far higher character—they were, he tells us, "an odour of a sweet smell, a sacrifice acceptable, well-pleasing to God." Christian almsgiving is a very sacred thing; God accepts the gift as given to himself. It has a sacrificial character; for it issues out of that spiritual sacrifice offered to God by the royal priesthood—the sacrifice of self. We are bidden to present our bodies as a living sacrifice. The offering of ourselves sanctifies the lesser offering of our earthly goods.

2. The reward. The cup of cold water given in the name of a prophet would bring a prophet's reward. The Philippians had supplied the apostle's needs; they had done it for Christ's sake, whose servant he was; God would supply all their needs. They had given according to their means, out of their deep poverty; God would reward them according to his riches. What a word is this! The riches of God are infinite; infinite, then, is the reward, not of almsgiving in itself, but of the faith and love which prompted it. "Can two mites buy the kingdom?" asks St. Chrysostom. Yes, if they are given in the spirit of the poor widow, in undoubting faith and self-sacrificing love. God will reward those who minister to his saints, in glory—in the glory of his grace and presence now, in the glory of heaven hereafter. He will reward them in Christ Jesus, in virtue of that living union with Christ, through which alone all spiritual blessings flow into the believer's soul.

3. The thanksgiving. The glory is God's. It is he who giveth his people a willing heart to offer willingly. The glory is his. Men see their good works and glorify their Father. All glory is his, all majesty, dominion, and power, and that throughout the ages of eternity.

Lessons. Learn:

1. The beauty of Christian sympathy.

2. The blessedness of Christian almsgiving.

3. To give like the Philippians, gladly.

4. To receive, if need be, like St. Paul, prizing the love more than the gift.

5. Always to ascribe the glory to God.

Philippians 4:21-23

The salutations.


1. They teach the duty of Christian courtesy. A Christian salutation is real; it is a benediction, not a mere form; for it is the expression of that love which ought to be the distinguishing mark of Christians.

2. He salutes every saint. He does not single out individual names in this Epistle; he sends his love to every saint. We have noticed more than once how often the word "all" occurs; there was no schism in the Philippian Church; all loved St. Paul, and all were dear to him. There were personal quarrels, but no religious animosities. It was a united Church, one in faith and love.

3. He calls them "sailors in Christ Jesus "at the end of his Epistle, as he had done in the first verse. It is one of the highest titles by which Christians can be addressed. It reminds us of our high privileges and of our great responsibilities. We are saints by dedication, we have been once made members of Christ. We must walk "worthily of the calling wherewith we were called;" it must be our most earnest effort to follow after holiness of heart and life, and to abide in Christ. It is an awful as well as a blessed thing to be a Christian, redeemed with the most precious blood, reconciled to God by the tremendous sacrifice of the cross. The word "saint" reminds us of our duties and of our hopes. Therefore St. Paul loves to repeat it.


1. From the brethren which were with him. He means his personal companions who had come to Rome with him or joined him there afterwards. Except Timothy, they were not like-minded with himself (Philippians 2:20, Philippians 2:21); yet he calls them "brethren." He had that charity which "hopeth all things, believeth all things, endureth all things."

2. From the Roman Christians. "All the saints," he says," salute you." He mentions especially the Christians of Nero's household. The gospel had reached that sink of all impurity; there were saints there. Whether slaves (as they probably were) or officials of the court, whether of higher or lower rank, they were attached to the person of Nero and witnessed the abominations of his loathsome life. God's grace is sufficient for us, whatever our outward lot may be. St. Paul in chains, these Christians of Nero's household in the palace, lived a holy life. Holiness is possible in all conditions of life, in the deepest poverty, and amid all the temptations of wealth and evil example. It needs only the grace of God.

3. Therefore the apostle ends, as he began, with the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. Christ is the Alpha and Omega, his grace is the beginning and the end. He is the Author and Finisher of our faith. His grace is sufficient for us. To him be the glory for ever and. ever.

Lessons. Learn:

1. To be courteous to all men.

2. To strive with all earnestness to become saints, not in name only, but in deed and in truth.

3. Not to lay blame on our circumstances, but to strive, whatever our circumstances may be, to adorn the doctrine of God our Savior in all things.

4. To trust only in God, to pray constantly for his grace.


Philippians 4:1

The duty of steadfastness.

The apostle grounds this duty upon the heavenly citizenship and the hope of the coming Savior. Mark—

I. HIS ENDEARING ADDRESS. "My brethren beloved and longed for, my joy and crown, so stand fast, beloved." The accumulation of epithets marks the intense affection and delight of the apostle in converts so worthy of his concern for their good. The twofold repetition of the term "beloved" in a single sentence marks love as the dominant feeling; the other terms indicate either his anxiety to see them, the joy which their Christian kindliness carried to his heart, or the triumph of Divine grace in their conversion which redounded so signally to his own final victory.

II. THE ABIDING ATTITUDE OF ALL TRUE BELIEVERS. "So stand fast in the Lord." It implies:

1. That they are exposed to influences calculated to mar the integrity of their walk. There is a threefold hostility always at work against a believer—the world, the flesh, and the devil (Ephesians 6:12), tending to shake heart or mind. Probably the apostle thought of the spiritual risks that threatened from the side of Judaistic zealotry.

2. The true spring of Christian steadfastness is in the Lord, as the element of the spiritual life. We are said to stand in faith (2 Corinthians 1:24) and to stand in grace (Romans 5:2), but these phrases only represent the methods in which the believer finds his weakness linked with the omnipotence of Divine grace. The counsel of the apostle is needful in every age. The caprice of opinion was never more marked than in our time. There is a lifting of anchors that bodes no good, with a drifting any whither, but usually toward intellectual darkness. Therefore believers must, in the imbroglio of strange beliefs, "stand fast in the Lord."—T.C.

Philippians 4:2, Philippians 4:3

A touching personal appeal.

"I exhort Euodias, and I exhort Syntyche, that they be of the same mind in the Lord."


1. It was to women that the apostle first preached the gospel in that Roman town. (Acts 16:1-40.) They were the first converts to Christianity in Europe.

2. It was women who first gave hospitable reception to the apostle in a town which never ceased to show him substantial kindness.

3. It was probably owing to the prominence of Christian women at Philippi that the apostle became such a debtor to the most liberal of all the Churches. Their sympathetic natures would initiate and sustain projects of Christian generosity.


1. They were ladies of rank, who disiplayed an active zeal for the cause of Christ. Their names appear in the ancient inscriptions. The women of Macedonia held a high social place in that age. These good women helped the apostle in Christian labors, "Inasmuch as they labored with me in the gospel." As women were not allowed to preach (1 Timothy 2:12), it is evident that their service was of a more private kind, either in instructing, the young or, more probably, in instructing female converts who were not accessible to members of the other sex. The order of deaconesses evidently arose out of some necessity of this sort.

2. They had differences of a sort calculated to mar their influence and to shake the faith of converts. The differences were less probably in the way of religious opinion than of methods of religious work. Perhaps a difference of temperament may have put them out of sympathy with each other, and a spirit of rivalry may have led to unseemly dissensions the Church.

3. There is an urgency in the apostolic appeal which displays an anxiety on their account. He says, "I exhort Euodias, and I exhort Syntyche," as if he regarded them both as equally open to censure. He thus addresses his appeal to each individually. He counsels them to find in the Lord the true center of their unity. Let them think as the Lord thinks, do as the Lord does, and submit to his supreme guidance in the sphere of their Christian labors.

4. He appeals to his true yokefellow—whoever he or she may have been—to use his influence to effect a reconciliation between the two ladies. "Yea, I ask thee to assist them, inasmuch us they labored with me in the gospel." There is no more important, though delicate, service than to promote a better understanding between two Christian people whose paths have disagreeably crossed each other.

5. The importance of the case is roundest from the leading place that the apostle assigns to the two ladies, besides "Clement and other my fellow-workers, whoso names are written in the book of life." They held a distinguished place beside these laborers. If Clement was the well-known author of the Epistle to the Corinthians, they are distinguished by association with his venerable name. If the apostle's other fellow-workers are unnamed, they are named in the book of life. This suggestive phrase implies that

Philippians 4:4

Christian joy a duty.

"Rejoice in the Lord." This sentence is the keynote of the Epistle. The world holds that believers have no joys.


1. Because it is a commanded duty. "Rejoice in the Lord."

2. Because, if commanded, it is provided by the Holy Spirit, for it is part of the Spirit's fruit. (Galatians 5:22.)

3. Because joy is characteristic of the Christian. The early Christians "ate their meat with gladness and singleness of heart" (Acts 2:46). This joy is not inconsistent with sorrow. The apostle himself was "Sorrowful, yet always rejoicing." (2 Corinthians 6:10). "Rejoice with trembling."

II. THE NATURE OF THIS JOY. "In the Lord." The world rejoices in the creature, but the believer rejoices in the Creator of all things.

1. Because the Lord is.

2. Because he is the Portion of his people.

3. Because of all the manifestations of his power, wisdom, and grace.

4. Because the believer hopes for the glory to (Romans 5:2.)

III. THE BELIEVER IS TO CHERISH AN ABIDING JOY. "Rejoice in the Lord at all times." In dark days as well as bright days. A permanent habit of joy is reasonable, when we consider

IV. MARK THE EMPHATIC REPETITION OF THE COMMAND. "And again I will say, Rejoice." This attests its importance.

1. Joy is the spring of energy. "A weary heart tires in a mile." A cheerful Christian is usually a very active one. "The joy of the Lord is his strength."

2. It kills the taste for sinful pleasures. It excludes the heart everything it cannot harmonize with itself.

3. It enables the believer to confront persecution. The early Christians" took joyfully the spoiling of their goods."

4. It enhances the charm and influence of Christian life.—T.C.

Philippians 4:5

The virtue of forbearance.

"Let your forbearance be known to all men. The Lord is at hand?"


1. It is the opposite of contention and aggrandizement, rigour and severity.

2. It is the spirit that enables a man to bear injuries with patience and not to demand all that is rightly his due, for the sake of peace. The apostle corrected the litigios spirit of the Corinthians by asking them, "Why do ye not rather take wrong?" (1 Corinthians 6:7.)


1. It contributes greatly to the comfort life and the peace of society. There is always a tendency to friction in the relations of life where the spirit of forbearance does not govern them.

2. It contributes to the usefullness of Christian people and promotes the glory of God. This true spirit of Christ will give a man great influence with his fellows and will redound to the credit of the gospel.

III. THE REASON TO ENFORCE THIS DUTY. "The Lord is at hand." Let us bear with others, seeing the time is near when we may expect the Lord to hear with us. All our rivalries and disputes ought to disappear in the light of the judgment morning.—T.C.

Philippians 4:6, Philippians 4:7

A cure for care.

The apostle forbids harassing anxiety and enjoins prayerfulness as the sure way to peace. "Be anxious for nothing." Mark—


1. This does not mean that we are not to be anxious about duty. We ought to have a deep concern for every interest of God's kingdom. A certain measure of anxious thought is necessary to the efficient performance of every duty of life.

2. It means that we are not to be anxious about the results of our work or consequences generally.

3. Over-anxiety is sinful.

II. THE REMEDY FOR OVER-ANXIETY. "In everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God."

1. The range of prayer. "In everything." This counsel is often neglected, for men carry their great misfortunes or their great anxieties to God, but keep their trivial vexations to themselves. A good man has paraphrased this passage thus: "Be careful for nothing; be prayerful for everything; be thankful for anything."

2. The variety of prayer. The word "prayer" here points to the frame of mind, the word "supplication" to the actual asking of blessing, the requests point to the various parts of the supplication, while the thanksgiving marks the subjective condition of acceptance.

3. The effects of prayer.

III. THE RESULT. "And the peace of God which passeth all understanding keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus." This beautiful text is often the subject of independent treatment, but we have no right to separate what God has joined together; and accordingly it is only when we are careful for nothing and prayerful in everything that we may exact to enter into Divine peace.

1. The nature of the peace of God. It is deep inward repose of spiritual life, and is called "the peace of God" because he communicates and sustains it, as the result of our reconciliation with him.

(a) It passeth the understanding of wicked or worldly men; for their experience lies in a very different sphere.

(b) It surpasses the understanding of godly men; for light often breaks in upon their darkness, in a way quite mysterious. Who can understand the peace of the dying? Does it not pass all understanding?

2. The effects of this peace. "It shall keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus." This does not signify that the peace shall keep possession, but rather, as the word signifies, garrison or stand sentry before the heart or mind, so as to prevent the intrusion of disturbing or disquieting thoughts. It is Christ himself who plants the garrison there.

3. The abiding source of this peace. "In Christ Jesus."

Philippians 4:8

Subjects for Christian study.

The gospel does more than hold out a refuge to the guilty; it takes all who accept Christ under its supreme and exclusive direction. Therefore, in his parting words to his converts, the last counsel of the apostle is of a beautifully practical character: "Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are venerable, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, if there be any praise, think on these things."

I. SUBJECTS OF CHRISTIAN CONTEMPLATION. There is a certain order in the series here exhibited.

1. Things that concern us absolutely. "Whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are venerable."

2. Things that concern us relatively. "Whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure."

3. Things that suggest moral approbation from the outside. "Whatsoever things are lovely … of good report." The four things already mentioned describe their character in themselves. These two mark the impression made upon the world.

4. Things to be included in a larger category. "If there be any virtue, if there be any praise." This clause is thrown in as an after-thought, to cover possible omissions, for the subjects of Christian contemplation are endless.

II. THE DUTY AND ADVANTAGE OF CONTEMPLATING THESE THINGS. "Think on these things." I. The mind takes the stamp of what it thinks on. There is an assimilating process by which the graces or virtues we have specified are stamped deeply upon Christian character. It is with these graces as it is with Christ himself. He is the glass "in which we behold the glory of God, and so are changed into the same image from glory to glory."

2. There are blessed effects ,won the world. A life exemplifying the graces of holy living is the most likely to arrest the careless and the wicked. The living epistles of Christ are made to be known and read of all men.—T.C.

Philippians 4:9

The apostle himself an example to believers.

"Those things, which ye both learned, and received, and heard, and saw in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you."

I. THE APOSTLE'S PRECEPTS. "Learned and received." The reference is to his oral teaching, which included all the principles out of which these graces or virtues take their origin and growth.

II. THE APOSTLE'S EXAMPLE. As set before them in what they heard of him when absent, and in what they saw of him when he was present. They witnessed his laborious usefulness, his patient submission to persecution, his spirituality and care for his own spiritual life, and, above all, his splendid decision of character.

III. THE EFFECT OF FOLLOWING THESE PRECEPTS AND THIS EXAMPLE. "The God of peace shall be with you." The way of peace lies along the pathway of obedience. The blessing of the Lord is upon them who love him and keep his commandments.—T.C.

Philippians 4:10-13

The secret of contentment.

The apostle now turns to his personal relations with the Philippians, and commends them for their considerate and timely liberality in the times of his distress.

I. THE APOSTLE'S JOY IN THEIR LIBERALITY. "But I rejoiced in the Lord greatly, that at length ye retired your interest in me; in which, indeed, ye did interest yourselves, but ye had no opportunity."

1. There never was a man who more keenly appreciated Christian kindness than the apostle. Self-reliant and jealously independent as he was, his happiness was greatly increased by the thoughtful generosity of his converts. It was in no degree diminished by the fact that his friends had no opportunity of helping him, perhaps because he was far beyond their reach in the sweep of his missionary journeys.

2. Their kindness inspired him with a holy joy. Not because it was in answer to prayer for timely help, but because it typified the true grace of God in his converts. Their liberality was an evidence at once of their personal interest in him and of their Christian standing in the Lord.

II. THE APOSTLE'S CONTENTED SPIRIT. "Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. I know both how to be abased, I know also how to abound. In everything and in all circumstances I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need."

1. What a checkered experience was that of the apostle! He had experience of want and of fullness in his wanderings as an apostle. He was no stranger to hunger.

2. What a happy spirit for such a life! He was content with such things as he had. The poet says—

"Art thou poor?

Yet hast thou golden slumbers,

O sweet Content."

There is no passage in any writer which depicts a more expansive, a more positively exalted attitude of mind than he describes in this passage as the virtue of content. It is that condition of mind in which nothing can foil the energy of the spirit. It is the quality which, having evoked generosity in others, flows forth in gratitude for that generosity; which, having failed to evoke generosity, manifests itself in submission to disappointment and in patient trust for the future germination of the seed sown.

III. THE TRUE SECRET OF CONTENTMENT. "I can do all things in him that infuses strength into me." This language implies that there is a Divine spring of help in all conditions.

1. Consider the extent of a Christian's ability.

2. Consider the source of the Christian's strength. "In him." By virtue of our vital union with Christ we have access to the true Source of strength. Christ infuses strength into us:

Thus the believer becomes "strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might."


Philippians 4:14-18

The circumstances of their liberality.

The apostle guards against any appearance of slighting their gifts by specifying the grounds of his joy in them.

I. THEIR LIBERALITY WAS NOT MERE ALMSGIVING, BUT AN ACT OF CHRISTIAN SYMPATHY. "Ye did well in communicating with my affliction." They were ready to share the burden of his troubles. There were no converts nearer to the heart of the apostle or more closely identified with his deepest trials.

II. THE APOSTLE'S WILLINGNESS TO ACCEPT THEIR GIFTS WAS EXCEPTIONAL IN ITS CHARACTER. While he refused to receive gifts from the Corinthians (2 Corinthians 11:9) and from the Thessalonians (1 Thessalonians 2:5; 2 Thessalonians 2:8) because he would not compromise his independence in the case of Churches which were only too ready to question his motives, he conferred on the Philippians the exceptional privilege of ministering to his wants. Once when he left Macedonia, and twice when he was in Thessalonica, they sent, "to relieve his want."

III. THIS WILLINGNESS DID NOT IMPLY THAT HE COVETED THEIR GIFTS. "Not that I seek the gift, but I seek the fruit that aboundeth to your account." He does seek to stimulate their generosity, but rather to increase that recompense which every fresh proof of their love would be sure to enhance.

IV. HIS ACKNOWLEDGMENT OF THEIR LATEST GIFTS BY EPAPHRODITUS. "I have all things and abound: I am full, having received from Epaphroditus the things sent from you, an odour of a sweet smell, a sacrifice acceptable, well-pleasing to God."

1. It was a thoughtful kindness to send him gifts while he was a prisoner at Rome. The Christians at Rome seem to have been lax in this duty. As he could not gain a living for himself in prison, he was the more dependent on outside generosity.

2. It was doubly pleasant to have the gifts from Philippi conveyed by one so faithful and so dear to the apostle as Epaphroditus.

3. The gifts in his eyes owed their chief value to their being acceptable in God's sight.—T.C.

Philippians 4:19

The true source of supply in spiritual need.

The apostle seems to say, "You have supplied all my wants; my God shall supply all yours in turn." Consider—

I. THE AUTHOR OF SUPPLY. "My God shall supply all your need."

1. The expressions, "my God," seems to say that what the apostle had found him to be in all his wants, his converts would be sure to find him, likewise. "My God,"

2. The expression, implies, not merely God's ability and willingness to supply all over need, but his obligation to do so, in virtue of the covenant between, him and his people.


1. This does not signify all that the Christian wants; only what he needs. In our waywardness and our childishness we ask for many things which are not really needful to us, but rather hurtful.

2. Our needs are many.

We need faith and its increase, love and its enlargement, hope and its brighter kindling, grace in all its fullness and variety, perseverance in grace to the end.

III. THE RULE OR MEASURE OF SUPPLY. "According to his riches in glory." Not the riches of his glory, but according to his riches, which will find their full development in placing the Christian in glory. Thus there is an inexhaustible supply in God.

IV. THE MEDIUM OF SUPPLY. "In Christ Jesus." In virtue of our union with him we receive of his fullness, grace for grace. That union is the guarantee of a full supply for all our needs.

V. THE DOXOLOGY APPROPRIATE TO SUCH A THOUGHT. "Now to God even our Father be the glory for ever and ever. Amen." This anticipatory doxology is suggested by the pregnant thought of this passage. The glory is due to him who supplies our need.—T.C.

Philippians 4:21, Philippians 4:22

Mutual salutations.

I. CHRISTIANITY IS THE RELIGION OF GOOD WILL TO MAN. It wishes well to all men, but especially to those of the household of faith. The apostle asks the Philippians to salute each individual saint as if he were to be the recipient of a separate blessing: "Salute every saint in Christ Jesus." The blessings we wish for our friends are only to be enjoyed in Christ Jesus.

II. THE SALUTATIONS INDICATE THE SOLIDARITY OF THE CHURCH. The Church at Rome is closely bound to the Church at Philippi.

1. The salutation of the apostle's companions. "The brethren which are with me salute you." That is, as distinguished from the saints at Rome. The brethren included, at least, Timothy, Luke, Epaphroditus, Aristarchus, Tychicus, Epaphras, Mark, Demas, Onesimus.

2. The salutation of the saints, and especially those of Caesar's household. "All the saints salute you, but especially those of Caesar's household." The saints of the great city of Rome, so far from despising the saints of the colonial town of Philippi, acknowledge a common brotherhood in their kindly greeting. The thought of the saints in Caesar's household suggests many reflections as to the penetrative power of the gospel. It is a remarkable tribute to its power that there should be saints in the household of Nero Caesar. Mark:

(a) in the most important position in the world—at Rome, the seat of empire, with communications reaching to the ends of the earth;

(b) they were tolerated in their religion, during the brief interval when Rome, with a glorious impartiality, opened its gates to all the faiths of the world, but in two years' time, indifference turned to hatred, and hatred to persecution;

(c) they were in the most corrupt household in the world, in the last place where we should have expected to find saints.

(a) It was heroic saintship;

(b) it showed independence;

(c) it showed constancy.

The catacombs of Rome convey the record of this saintship in the original purity of gospel life.—T.C.


Philippians 4:1-9

The life of joy and peace.

Celestial citizenship, "other-worldliness," as it has been called, should have a further issue than the expectation of the advent. It should have practical issues in a life of great peace and joy. It is, therefore, to such a life Paul calls his Philippian converts. Let us look at the interesting details.

I. CELESTIAL CITIZENSHIP CALLS FOR UNITY AND COOPERATION IN THE WORK OF THE LORD. (Philippians 4:1-3.) Nothing is so productive of unity as our assurance that we are citizens of the same heaven. Why should compatriots fall out in this distant land? Should we not bury our differences and march forward shoulder to shoulder? Euodias and Syntyche must be of the same mind in the Lord. The workers male and female at Philippi are cordially to co-operate. They ought to be a united band. As heaven overarches us all and unifies the population of the globe, so should the thought of our celestial citizenship make all one. For in heaven there shall be no divisions and vexations. The brotherhood shall never there be broken. For unbroken brotherhood, therefore, we should long and labor here.

II. CHRISTIAN CITIZENSHIP CALLS FOR JOY IN THE LORD AT ALL TIMES. (Philippians 4:4.) The art of enjoying life is what Christianity alone can teach us. Man's effort at first was to rejoice apart from God; to eat and enjoy the fruit, no matter what charges God had given. And this idea still haunts mankind. Prodigals and legalists imagine that they can enjoy life most away from the heavenly Father (Luke 15:11-32). But we learn a different lesson in the gospel. We learn that the Father's house is full of "music and dancing;" in other words, heaven is the home of joy—joy, too, that is everlasting. And we realize that in the Lord alone the sources of true and lasting joy are to be found. When we look to him and confide in him, then we come as citizens of heaven to rejoice in him at all times. In seasons of sorrow as well as in seasons of mirth there may be an undertone of celestial joy. Man is called to joy, not to trouble. The art is in going straight to Jesus the infinite Fountain, and in avoiding the broken cisterns that line our way.

III. CELESTIAL CITIZENSHIP BESPEAKS MODERATION. (Philippians 4:5.) It ill befits a citizen of heaven to be ostentatious and venturesome to the utmost brink of Christian liberty. Display is not the outcome or issue of a consciousness of our citizenship above. Especially when we live with the abiding persuasion of the Lord's speedy advent, all want of moderation seems out of place. In proportion as we rejoice in the Lord shall we be distinguished by moderation in our life and carriage. If God gives abundance, it is that we may manifest the spirit of moderation and never be the least intoxicated by success. Ostentation must be left to the world.

IV. CELESTIAL CITIZENSHIP CALLS FOR A LIFE WITHOUT CAREFULNESS. (Philippians 4:6, Philippians 4:7.) Just as in heaven the saintly souls keep nothing back from God and so live an unclouded life before him, so ought celestial citizens to live the open life with God here and be correspondingly free from care. And here it may be observed that an old divine has quaintly put our duty as expressed in these verses thus, that we should "be careful for nothing; be prayerful for everything; be thankful for anything." The result of such confidence is peace. "God's peace which passeth all understanding shall keep our hearts and minds," or, as the Revised Version has it, "shall guard your hearts and your thoughts in Christ Jesus." Freed from anxious care, why should we not be peaceful?

V. CELESTIAL CITIZENSHIP CALLS UPON US TO LOOK OUT FOR AND THINK UPON THE TRUE, THE HONOURABLE, THE JUST, THE PURE, THE LOVELY, THE GRACIOUS, THE MANLY, AND THE PRAISEFUL. (Philippians 4:8.) Now, it is truly wonderful how a joyful Christian spirit will discover upon his path, be it ever so lowly, such food for thought as is sketched for us here. It has been said with great beauty, "If we do but open our hearts at a single point, the spiritual water and blood will find an entrance, will purge our egotism and complete the sacrifice. In this confidence, 'as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing,' we shall go freely on our appointed way, knowing that it may become to us a discipline of God, and that there is no way so beaten but that things true and honest, and just and lovely, may be found in it." The joyful, heaven-centred soul discerns food for meditation where others cannot find it, and moves upward upon a path of increasing light towards "the perfect day."

VI. THE GOD OF PEACE GRANTS FELLOWSHIP TO SUCH CITIZENS. (Philippians 4:9.) If we honestly enter upon the joyful, peaceful life of heavenly citizenship, the felt presence of God as the God of peace shall be always with us. Over the peace he has made in our once tempest-tossed hearts he will rejoice with singing, and in his love and fellowship we shall be enabled to rest. The King of the celestial country can keep his citizens company all the time they are here on earth; they are at home with God all their happy days; he takes their burdens from them and soothes them in sorrow and makes them somewhat worthy of their heavenly hopes. With such well-filled minds and hearts may we journey onward towards the fatherland above!—R.M.E.

Philippians 4:10-23

The art of Divine contentment.

The Philippians, having sent by Epaphroditus certain love-tokens to the apostle, must have a receipt from the magnanimous receiver. Most likely they were not of much intrinsic value, but Paul's great heart rejoices over them and calls them "an odour of a sweet smell, a sacrifice well-pleasing unto God." At the same time, he lets them know that he could have been content without these love-tokens, though he is delighted with them; for he has learned the lesson of the years, to be content with any state in which a loving Lord might be pleased to place him. And here we have to notice—

I. CONTENTMENT IS AN ART. (Verse 11.) It must be "learned." We cannot acquire it at a bound. We must serve our apprenticeship to it as to any other art. It is not a science to be theoretically mastered, but an art to be practically obtained. We must go to the "school of art," we must set ourselves earnestly as scholars to learn the lesson, and we must "keep our hands in" by constant practice.

II. THE CONTENTED SPIRIT MAKES LITTLE OF ITS WANTS. (Verses 11-13.) Paul had not sent any word to Philippi about his needs. He had become so superior to circumstances that abasement and abundance made no difference to him. Faith in Christ made him independent. It is the humble spirit which trusts the omnipotent Savior which proves to be really the independent spirit. It is humility and independence which always go together. When we control our desires, minimize our wants, we can reach independence more really than by acquiring vast estate. The rich are often discontented. Their desires outstrip all acquisition, and they are discontented in spite of their abundance.

III. THE CONTENTED SPIRIT MAKES MUCH OF ITS BOUNTIES. (Verses 12-18) With the independence Paul manifests magnanimity. See how he speaks of the attention of the Philippians. He makes it out that they have been always sending to him—that every time they had an opportunity they were sending him their love-tokens. "Once and again" they had sent to his necessity. Now, it requires a big contented spirit to take the kindness of others cordially. Emerson says, "You cannot give anything to a magnanimous person. After you have served him he at once puts you in debt by his magnanimity. The service a man renders his friend is trivial and selfish compared with the service he. knows his friend stood in readiness to yield him, alike before he had begun to serve his friend and now also. Compared with that good-will I bear my friend, the benefit it is in my power to render him seems small. Besides, our action on each other, good as well as evil, is so incidental and at random that we can seldom hear the acknowledgments of any person who would thank us for a benefit without some shame and humiliation. We can rarely strike a direct stroke, but must be content with an oblique one; we seldom have the satisfaction of yielding a direct benefit which is directly received. But rectitude scatters favors on every side without knowing it, and receives with wonder the thanks of all people." In the same way, we find the magnanimous Paul making as much of the kindness of the Philippians as led them, we may be sure, to wonder at such mention being made of their gifts at all.

IV. THE CONTENTED SPIRIT LOOKS AT ALL IN A SPIRITUAL LIGHT. (Verses 19-23.) Paul was glad of their gift, for it was spiritual "fruit." It was a benefit to them more than to him. Did they not realize that "it is better to give than to receive"? They had pleased God by their goodness to his servant. And he would supply all their need, according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus. He would give them spiritual compensation. They would get a benefit in soul which was cheaply bought by what they had given.

He then sums up the joy-inspiring Epistle with salutations, among others, from those saints in Caesar's household. This shows what success Paul's mission had enjoyed at the capital, how even the entourage of the emperor had felt the spell of the aged prisoner. Paul had shown that he could live a heavenly, joyful, contented life, in spite of his imprisonment and possible martyrdom. The hero made heroes of others. The guardsmen who were chained to him cleaved to him in love May such a celestial life be ours!—R.M.E.


Philippians 4:1-7

Various exhortations.

I. STEADFASTNESS. "Wherefore, my brethren beloved and longed for, my joy and crown, so stand fast in the Lord, my beloved." As in the first chapter our performing our duties as citizens is followed by the exhortation to stand fast, so here our possession of the privileges of heavenly citizens is more formally made the ground of the same exhortation. We are to stand fast so as has been pointed out, i.e. as heavenly citizens. There might be a standing fast against becoming heavenly citizens. And even as heavenly citizens they were to stand fast in the Lord, i.e. within the limits and to the extent prescribed by Christ, and in the strength offered by Christ. But the duty of steadfastness is almost lost sight of in the wealth of epithets of endearment with which it is surrounded. The Philippians were his brethren beloved; he cherished the warmest feelings toward them. They were his longed for; he had in absence a great desire to see them. They were his joy; he had a great delight in their Christian excellences. They were his crown, or wreath of victory round the diadem; they were evidence that he had not run in vain. And, having stated the duty with all brevity, he falls back on the first epithet, as if he had difficulty in breaking away from affectionate expression. Let them not, then, grieve such love by neglecting to stand fast.


1. Direct appeal "I exhort Euodia, and I exhort Syntyche, to be of the same mind in the Lord." It is a strange destiny by which the names of these women have been handed down from generation to generation in God's Book, in connection with a difference which existed between them. It is well that our differences are soon forgotten, as even our names will be after we are gone. And yet the record is kept of our differences, as of our names, in God's book of remembrance. It would be a surprise to these women to be thus referred to by name in the apostle's letter, read before the assembled congregation. And so it will be a surprise to us to hear many things in connection with our names read out before the assembled universe. The apostle appeals to each separately, as being both to blame, though not necessarily equally to blame. Their own conscience would tell them how much they were each to blame; and so our conscience, appealed to at the last day, will tell us how much we are each to blame. It would be humbling to these women to have public notice taken of their difference; and so we ought to be humbled now on account of our differences, that we may not be humbled by publicity hereafter. The difference between these women arose from their not being in the Lord in the matter concerned, i.e. not following Christ's leading, not cherishing Christ's spirit. And so it is when we are not true to Christ that differences arise between us. The way in which these women were to be of one mind was by returning to the leading and influence of Christ; and there is no other way in which a reconciliation can be satisfactorily effected.

2. Assistance of the apostle's yokefellow at Philippi solicited. "I beseech thee also, true yokefellow, help these women, for they labored with me in the gospel, with Clement also, and the rest of my fellow-workers, whose names are in the book of life." The true yokefellow not being named, we are to understand the one to whom it properly belonged to grant assistance in the work of reconciliation, viz. the minister of the Church at Philippi. Had Paul been present he would have undertaken the work; but, in his absence, it fell to him who was set over the Church and over these women in the Lord, and who was of like spirit with him, to undertake it. The ground on which the apostle was so anxious to have the reconciliation effected was that they were deserving women. And it was satisfactory that, when their names were to go down to all ages in connection with a difference, there was also something to be added which was to their credit. They had labored in the gospel, and in honorable company. That is the testimony that is borne regarding them. The influence of women seems to have been a feature of the Macedonian Churches. At tnessalonica it is said, "Of the chief women not a few." At Beroea, "Many of them believed: also of the Greek women of honorable rank not a few." And in connection with the start of the Philippian Church, it is said, "We spake to the women that were gathered together." "The extant Macedonian inscriptions," says Lightfoot, "seem to assign to the sex a higher social influence than is common among the civilized nations of antiquity. In not a few instances a metronymic takes the place of the usual, patronymic; and in other cases a prominence is given to women which can hardly be accidental. But whether I am right or not in the conjecture that the work of the gospel was in this respect aided by the social condition of Macedonia, the active zeal of the women in this country is a remarkable fact, without a parallel in the apostle's history elsewhere, and only to be compared with their prominence at an early date in the personal ministry of our Lord." We can think of Euodia and Syntyche as of the number of those who assembled at the riverside, It may have been in connection with their work that they differed. The Greek word translated "labored" suggests that, while they strove with each other in a way that was not to their honor, they at the same time strove, as in the games, in the sphere of the gospel. Of the honorable company in which they thus nobly strove, the first was Paul. The next is Clement, whose identity with Clement of Rome is very doubtful. Of the others, the names are not given, but the honorable thing is said regarding them that they, as well as Clement, were Paul's fellow-workers, and that their names are in the book of life. Not known now to men, they are known to God, written among the living in Jerusalem. Their names are in the register of the covenant people kept in the heavenly Jerusalem, and will yet be read out before the assembled universe as among those who have title to all covenant privileges.

III. THE DUTY OF REJOICING. "Rejoice in the Lord alway: again I will say, Rejoice." The apostle takes up the parting address which was broken off at Philippians 2:1, strengthened here by the addition of "alway," and repeated with emphasis in a form which points to the maximum of deliberation, "Again I will say, Rejoice." All wish to rejoice, but mistakes are made even by Christians as to the object. According to the teaching here, we are to rejoice in the Lord. Or, as Christ says, bringing us back to the pure fount of joy, "Howbeit in this rejoice not, that the spirits are subject unto you; but rejoice that your names are written in heaven." We are not to rejoice in ourselves, or in any of God's creatures, as though they were the first cause, the primal source of joy. Nay, we are not even to rejoice primarily in works which God may do by us. When one is eminently successful in conversion-work, we say, perhaps not without a feeling of envy, "What a joy must fill that man's soul!" If we were the instrument of converting sinners like him, we think we could rejoice too. But it is to be noted that the most successful laborer in the vineyard is not before the humblest Christian in the deepest source of his joy. What we have all alike to rejoice in is this, that our names are written in heaven; in other words, that we ourselves are the children or people of God, that we have God as our Portion, that he regards us individually with judicial favor and fatherly love. There is thus a very humble, self-excluding element in our joy. The ground of rejoicing in the Lord, for us who were born in sin, is the atoning work of Christ. To atone for sin entailed great sorrow on our Substitute. From eternity having joys most exalted in himself, he endured pains which, considering their cause, were infernal The pains of hell got hold upon him. Think of Gethsemane; think of Calvary. But he never veered a hairbreadth from the purpose of our salvation. He set his face like a flint, and so the work was done, and done for ever. And now, in Christ, God stands in a gracious relation to his people. He has entirely altered their relation to him, from being objects of his regard to being objects of his complacent regard. Double reason, then, have we for rejoicing in God. "O Lord, I will praise thee: though thou wast angry with me, thine anger is turned away, and thou comfortedst me." Ours, then, should be a deep and a perennial joy. Even under depreciation of earthly comfort, there should be more gladness in our heart than men of the world have in the time that their corn and their wine and their oil abound. God, in Christ, is more to us than corn, or wine, or oil; ay, more than the dearest earthly friend, and One who will never fail us; and therefore we may alway rejoice.


1. Stated. "Let your forbearance be known unto all men." Forbearance is reasonableness (to which the derivation points) on its gentle side. It is the opposite of rigorism. It is "considerateness for others, not urging one's own rights to the uttermost, but waiving a part, and thereby rectifying the injustice of justice. The archetype of this grace is God, who presses not the strictness of his Law against us, as we deserve, though having exacted fullest payment for us from our Divine Surety." It was a grace especially to be "known" unto their persecutors. It was a grace to be "known" unto the worst offenders. As inseparable from them, it was to be "known" unto all men; i.e. in all their dealings with men.

2. Enforced. "The Lord is at hand." Rigorism "would be taking into our own hands prematurely the prerogative of judging, which belongs to the Lord alone; and so provoking God to judge us by the strict letter of the Law." Let us think kindly of men, even of the worst of men, as those who are still under trial, and who, by our forbearance, may be won over to the Lord's side. And, as judgment lingereth not, let us fully embrace the opportunity.


1. The evil to be avoided. "In nothing be anxious." "Nothing" has the emphasis. To not one thing is our anxiety to extend. Anxiety is harassing care, very different from the providential care of God. We cannot help having cares in the world—cares about getting a livelihood, cares about health, cares about higher matters, cares about those who are near and dear to us, and cares, beyond our immediate circle, for men generally and for the Church. But, though we cannot help having cares in this world, we are not to be harassed by cares, as though we had to bear them ourselves.

2. Means to be used against the evil. "But in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God." Over against the "nothing" of anxiety is the "everything" by prayer. Every part of our life is to be connected with prayer. There is nothing too small to be connected with prayer. Specially on every occasion of care are we to pray. And, while we pray generally, we are to make our prayer turn upon our special need. We are to supplicate to be relieved from care, or to be strengthened under care. And while we thus supplicate for relief or strengthening, we are to be thankful for our freedom from other cares, for the number of our mercies, for the special mercy that is mingled with our care. In our supplication we are to have special petitions which we are to make known unto God. For though known unto God are all our wants, yet it is good for the work of communion, for the exercise of faith and of other graces, that we should make our wants known in the proper quarter. If we have cares, what more natural than that we should go with them to him from whom they have come as their First Cause? That must be more satisfactory than going to an intermediate cause or burdening ourselves with them. We can feel assured of his thoroughly understanding our case, of his power to help as having inexhaustible resources at his command, and of his being invested, not with a mere earthly greatness such as might repulse us, but with a greatness which is fitted to be a home and a shelter to us. He will not cover himself with clouds, so that our prayer shall not pass through. He will not turn away our prayer nor his mercy from us.

3. Blessed results of using the means. "And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall guard your hearts and your thoughts in Christ Jesus." This is the peace of God, i.e. of which God is the source and origin. It is not the peace of unfallen beings, but the peace of those who have been sinners and are now reconciled, the sweet sense of sin forgiven, the blessed feeling that the condemnation which was resting upon us is now removed. More than that, it is, in its essence, a holy tranquillity, that comes from resting in God, such a tranquillity as fills the mind in God. It is a peace which passeth all understanding, which has a mysterious, unspeakable sweetness about it, so that he who has once felt what it is would never like to lose it. This peace is to guard our hearts and our thoughts, is to be stationed as a strong guard, so that no disturbing influence shall pass through to the center of our being or into the workings of our mind. So effectually is anxiety to be excluded. Our wisdom, then, is to seek repose by prayer. "If your mind be overcharged or overwhelmed with trouble and anxiety, go into the presence of God. Spread your case before him. Though he knows the desires of your heart, yet he has declared he will be sought after; he will be inquired of to do it for you. Go, therefore, into the presence of that God who will at once tranquillize your spirit, give you what you wish or make you more happy without it, and who will be your everlasting Consolation, if you trust in him. He will breathe peace into your soul, and command tranquillity in the midst of the greatest storms."—R.F.

Philippians 4:8, Philippians 4:9

Categories of morality.

Conclusion announced. "Finally, brethren." This is his second attempt to conclude. In the usual form he intimates that all he has to say, in addition to what he has already said, he is now to state shortly. In other Epistles Paul gives a considerable place to ordinary morality, including the relative duties. He does not deem it necessary (there being no urgency) to write at length to the Philippians upon this subject. He only puts it into his conclusion, where brevity is a necessity. And there is not that plain mode of expression which is found elsewhere: ' Let him that stole steal no more." But, as for advanced or skilled Christians, there is a certain transcendental mode of expression, with an added reference to apostolic interpretation.

I. CATEGORIES OF MORALITY FOR THOUGHT. The summarizing under "virtue and praise" points to morality, as does also their being presented for practice in the ninth verse. They are emphatically separated as categories by the repetition of "whatsoever things," while the summary is made emphatic by the repetition of the words, "if there be any." They seem to be arranged in pairs, according to the following division.

1. Things in themselves.

2. Things in relation to law.

3. Things in relation to the estimation in which they are held.

4. Summary.

It will be most suitable to our homilectic purpose to name them separately. "Whatsoever things are true." There are things that are true in themselves—that would have been true if there had never been a Bible, that would have been true if there had never been the placing of man under law. There is an eternal standard by which things are to be judged. There are immutable principles which lie at the foundation of morality. The things that are necessarily true subsist in God, and as subsisting in God he is immutable—a rock on which we can absolutely depend. The things that are true are also to be in ourselves. That certainly means that we are to speak the truth. For veracity belongs to the eternal order of things, while a lie, however glossed over, is an infringement of that order. But our whole life is to be founded in truth. If it is to be founded in the work of Christ, yet is it in the work of Christ, as wrought out in accordance with eternal principles, and in that work as giving, relatively to us, added sanction and lustre to those principles, as what must regulate our life. We are, therefore, under all temptation to have to do with falsehood, to hold close by the true as that alone which can give stability to our life. "Whatsoever things are honorable." There are things which are honorable in themselves. They are more than venerable from antiquity. They are to be honored from their essential and eternal worth. As subsisting in God, they are the ground of his being infinitely to be honored. The things that are honor-able are also to be in ourselves. That certainly means that we are to be honest, as the word used to be in the translation. For there is disgrace necessarily attaching to a dishonest action. But more than that, it means that our whole life is to be based on what can be thoroughly respected—on what can bear looking into as in its nature and bearings honorable; on what is to be honored, whether men honor it or not; on what we cannot respect ourselves if we do not honor. If we, amid all temptation to act basely, keep our mind open to the honorable, then we shall have a dignity, gravity, taken from that to which we look and with which we converse. "Whatsoever things are just." This brings in relation to law. The things that are just are in God in the position in which he is placed as Lawgiver and Administrator. He absolutely fills up what belongs to him in the position; he acts according to the eternally true and honourable, i.e. according to his own eternal excellence as moral Governor. He is just in placing us under law, in the nature which he has given us, in what he exacts of us, and in all his dealing with us as under law. He never can do wrong to any of his creatures. Though clouds and darkness are round about him, yet judgment and justice are the habitation of his throne. And the things that are just are to be in us, as placed under law to God. We are to fill up the measure of duty that belongs to us in the position. Obedience, compliance with the Divine will in all matters, is what we owe to God. Justice requires that, as dependent creatures, we should humbly acknowledge and worship him. We are to do the duty of every relation in which we stand to our fellow-men. We are to be in subjection to the higher powers, and not only because of the wrath, but also for conscience sake. We are to honor all men, whatever their condition, because of the dignity of their nature. And far be it from us that we should do any of our fellow-men the injustice of defrauding them or of treating them uncharitably. We are to be characterized by universal, deep-reaching conscientiousness. "Whatsoever things are pure." There is not only justice, but purity in relation to law. The things that are pure are absolutely in God. He is so pure that even the stars are not pure in his sight. He rules in the interests of purity. He holds up before us a high conception of purity in his Statute-book. "The words of the Lord are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times;" "The commandment of the Lord is pure." He looks upon purity wherever it is with complacency, and it has a place with him; but he is of purer eyes than to behold iniquity, and evil shall not dwell with him. The things that are pure are also to be in ourselves. We are to be pure in the narrower sense. We are to be chaste in our thoughts, in our words, in our actions. More than that, we are to have chastity as a preservative and a defense to our whole nature. We are to be kept within the Law, by our great sensitiveness and strong attraction to snow-white purity, to heavenliness, and by our repelling the slightest suggestion of impurity, by our shrinking from the slightest touch of worldliness. We are to have God's own love for that which makes and keeps us pure, and his own abhorrence and loathing of sin as that which defiles. "Whatsoever things are lovely." This brings in relation to the estimation in which things are held. For the Greek word seems to point to things which are worthy of love. There are, indeed, things which are lovely according to the eternal standard of taste. As subsisting in God they are the ground of his being infinitely to be loved. We read of the beauty of the Lord our God. He is beautiful in his whole character, but especially in his love in Christ. God is love; and herein is love. In this he as it were surpasses himself. He magnifies his Word above all his Name. He is beautiful as he comes forward and does not spare his own Son, but delivers him up for us all. He is beautiful in his forbearance towards sinners and his exercising towards them the prerogative of pardon. His beauty is manifested in him who, standing upon our earth, said, "And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will. draw all men unto myself." And the things which are lovely are to be in us. It is true of virtue as a whole that it is lovely. Cicero says, there is nothing more lovely than virtue, nothing which more allures to loving." But the things that are lovely are especially those that rise to a high standard. We must not be merely righteous; but we must be good. Even Lot is called righteous in Scripture; but there was one that towered high above him, having the things that are lovely. How beautiful to see Abraham exercising the grace of hospitality! How beautiful to see his generous treatment of Lot, his not standing on his rights with him, his forgiving his selfishness, his heaping on his head coals of kindness! How beautiful especially to see him going so far in his self-denial toward God as not to withhold from him his son, his only son! Did he not have the qualities of a noble, royal nature? "Whatsoever things are of good report." This is distinctly estimation. There are things which sound well in the ear. Of even God in connection with the redemption from Egypt it is said that he had gotten himself a name. It sounded well in the cars of the Israelites, and of the uncovenanted nations too. And so God has gotten him a name in connection with the great redemption from sin. It can be said of the name of Redeemer that it sounds well. And we are to have the things of good report in us too. Virtue, says an ancient philosopher, is the concurring voice of the good. The things that are well reported of are especially those that rise above the common standard—that show disinterestedness and devotion. If a thing is lovely in itself, it is an additional advantage that it is well spoken of, especially among the good. "If there be any virtue." This, showing a change of form, but still universality, seems to summarize the preceding, with the sole exception of the last. The derivation of "virtue" points to manliness or valor. But it is to be taken as inclusive of every form of moral excellence. We are to have the excellence that comes from the true, from the honorable, from the just, from the pure, from the lovely. But, lest that should not cover the whole ground of excellence, he adds, "If there be any virtue." "And if there be any praise? We are not to understand anything that is praiseworthy, but the actual bestowment of praise. It covers the things that are of good report; but points rather to the distinct embodiment of moral judgment regarding things in eulogy, such as Paul's praise of love in the thirteenth chapter of 1 Corinthians, and our Lord's praise of humility and other virtues in the beatitudes. "Think on these things." We come to the things which have been mentioned partly by intuition, but we must dwell upon them and converse with them, if we would have a clear apprehension of them and have skill in detecting their counterfeits. The thought of the psalmist is that the use of the understanding is necessary to the right keeping of God's Law. If we allow the intellect to slumber, do not examine into circumstances and carefully investigate the moral character of what we are doing, we may go far enough astray from the true, and honorable, and just, and pure. It is by constantly judging our conduct by these things that they come to have the shaping of our life. "To cover human life with beauty, to carve it into nobleness, requires thought as truly as to cover canvas with lovely forms or to make the hard and unwilling marble assume a shape of majesty and grace. Is there any nobler use of the intellect of man than this, to serve the conscience and the heart with faithful loyalty, to master the moral laws by which life should be ruled, and the motives which may assist the vacillating will in keeping them? Among common men, what restless, incessant thought there is about how they may extend their trade and increase their profits, come to live in a larger house and keep a better table, and how little thought about the eternal law of righteousness and their obligation to keep and honor it! Do Christian men believe that he who gave them their intellect meant them to think incessantly of the price of iron, the rate of wages, the condition of the money market, the furniture of their houses, the fruit in their gardens—never or only sluggishly about his own awful majesty, his glorious perfection, his ideas of what human life ought to be?


1. Interpretation of his teaching. "The things which ye both learned and received." The only difference between these verbs seems to be that in the former we are pointed more to the activity of the taught, in the latter more to the activity of the teacher. The fact that Paul holds up these high categories before the Philippians shows that they were in an advanced state. At the same time, it was not long since they had come out of heathenism. And the apostle refers them to such simple rules as he had laid down for their conduct, of which there are examples in other Epistles.

2. Interpretation of his example. "And heard and saw in me." They heard when he was absent and saw when he was present. It is well when both teaching and life go together. It was a great advantage to the Philippians that, when the rules of their life were completely changed for them, these were not only presented in their particularity, but were exemplified in their teacher of whom they heard, or, what was better, whom they saw among them. Thus could they be led on from the state of childhood to the state of maturity, in which they could be thought of as conversing with the high categories of morality. "These things do." Calvin properly remarks, "Meditation precedes, practice follows." Once we have carefully thought of our conduct in the light of the great categories, there is the carrying our thought into practice. If we have thought well beforehand, we have a great advantage; but it will never be but difficult, considering the treachery of our hearts, the strength of our temptations, to bring our daily practice up to our thought. It is difficult enough to do the things that are true, that are honorable, that are just, that are pure; how much more to do the things that are lovely, that are of good report!

III. PROMISE ATTACHED TO PRACTICE FOLLOWING ON THOUGHT OF THE CATEGORIES, "And the God of peace shall be with you." There is a recurrence with a difference of form to the thought of Verse 7. There peace was to guard those who prayed. Here the God of peace is to be with those who practice the moralities. He has peace in his own mind, in his own balanced perfections; and he has peace in what he thinks of us. And, as we strive to carry out his holy purposes, he stands by us to banish our fears, to soothe our minds. "Great peace have they who love thy Law; and nothing shall offend them." Let us bring the six great categories into our life, and we shall assuredly have the peace which God himself has in their absolute possession.—R.F.

Philippians 4:10-20

Paul thanks the Philippians for their contribution.

There is noticeable throughout mingled dignity and delicacy. He is careful on the one hand to maintain his independence, and on the other hand to show his sense of their kindness.

I. THE REVIVED THOUGHT SHOWN IN THEIR CONTRIBUTION. "But I rejoice in the Lord greatly, that now at length ye have revived your thought for me; wherein ye did indeed take thought, but ye lacked opportunity." The occurrence was associated in his mind with joy. He verily thought that the Lord had put it into the hearts of the Philippians to scud that contribution to him. His joy rose to a great height. What made him rejoice so greatly was that then at length (an indefinite period, which went back at least to the coming of Epaphroditus) their thought for him was putting forth new shoots as trees do in spring. This was a revival which by no means reflected on their past. It had been winter with them, and, while winter lasts, no one expects nature to revive. But as soon as the proper season came round the fresh shoots appeared.


1. Introduced. "Not that I speak in respect of want." He was not to be understood as thinking merely of want. He was in such a relation to a state of want that the mere escape from it could not make him jubilant.

2. His state generally. "For I have learned, in whatsoever state i am, therein to be content." To be content is, literal]y, to be self-sufficient, independent. He was thus content relatively to his being in one state or another. He had learned to be content. "These words signify how contentedness may be attained, or how it is produced; it is not an endowment innate to us; it doth not arrive by chance into us; it is not to be purchased by any price; it springeth not up of itself, nor ariseth from the quality of any state; but it is a product of discipline—'I have learned.' It is an art which cannot be acquired without studious application of mind and industrious exercise; no art, indeed, requireth more hard study and pain toward the acquiry of it, there being so many obstacles in the way thereto; we have no great capacity, no towardly disposition to learn it; we must, in doing it, deny our carnal sense, we must settle our wild fancy and suppress fond conceits; we must bend our stiff and stubborn inclinations; we must repress and restrain wanton desires; we must allay and still tumultuous passions; we must cross our humor and curb our temper: which to do is a hard chapter to learn; much consideration, much practice, much contention and diligence are required thereto. Here it is an art which we may observe few do much study, and of the students thereof few are great proficients; so that 'Qui fit, Mecaenas?' Horace's question, 'How comes it to pass that nobody liveth content with the lot assigned by God?' wanted not sufficient ground. However, it is not like the quadrature of the circle, or the philosopher's stone, an art impossible to be learned, and which will baffle all study; there are examples which show it to be obtainable; there are rules and precepts by observing which we may arrive to it" (Barrow). The apostle for one had learned. The force of the language is, "I for my part, have learned." "With noble self-consciousness," is the remark of Meyer. He had been exceptionally placed for learning this lesson. There were few, if any, who could compare with him in the changes he had seen in providence, in the states through which he had been made to pass. And he had rightly improved his experiences. He had learned to be independent of his outward state, in looking to the sufficiency of his inward enjoyments in God's favor and love and the prospects of everlasting bliss. He had learned farther to be independent by looking to his outward state, whatsoever it was for the time being, as appointed him by God, as therefore better than he could choose for himself, as the best possible for him in view of his discipline and usefulness.

3. Contrasted states. "I know how to be abased, and I know also how to abound: in everything and in all things have I learned the secret both to be filled and to be hungry, both to abound and to be in want." He condescends and dwells on particular states with variety of expression. As the result of his learning, he knew how to be abased, i.e. by any adverse state, and not merely by want. And he knew also how to abound, which is more specific, being the opposite of being in want. The knowing is next amplified, being made to extend to everything and all things (distributively and collectively). It is further amplified in being made to refer to acquired knowledge which is hidden from the uninitiated. He had learned the secret. The two states are now plainly described as a being filled and a being hungry, an abounding (in the means of subsistence) and a being in want (of the means of subsistence). We do not know so much about Paul being in the former state, but about the latter state there are affecting notices. "Even unto this present hour we both hunger, and thirst, and are naked, and are buffeted, and have no certain dwelling-place" (1 Corinthians 4:11); "In hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness' (2 Corinthians 11:27). He knew how to maintain the right attitude to both states, and we are to understand the right attitude to be independence. He was so independent that he was "neither exalted by abundance nor crushed by want," as Pelagius properly remarks. There is a contentment (to use the narrower word) which extends even to a state of abundance. For in a state of abundance men are apt to make themselves poor by enlarging their desires. The apostle had "stayed affections," and that was the secret of his contentment in both states.

4. Source of support generally. "I can do all things in him that strengtheneth me." The apostle rises from the special to the general, and points triumphantly, but humbly, to what supported him, not only in want, but in every state. The Strengthener here is the same who is said to make us more than conquerors, viz. Christ.

"Rift the hills or roll the waters,

Flash the lightning, weigh the sun."

Such an omnipotence is not like us; it is only like One, and such glory he cannot give to another. Besides, it would not make us better beings that we possessed this power, while the possession of it would be accompanied with tremendous peril. It must mean that we can do all things such as are like us or can be expected of us. We have omnipotence within the range of our duties. We can feel out all round where our duties lie, and realize that we are perfectly equal to them. "'Impossible' is not a French word," said a warrior of that brave nation; with much more truth may we say that "impossible" is not a Christian word. We have strength equal to our believing on Christ at the first, even in the inability of our will. We have strength equal to the most difficult duty to which we can be called. We have strength equal to the most trying position in which God may see fit to place us, which is the special application in the context.


1. Kindness to him at Rome. "Howbeit ye did well, that ye had fellowship with my affliction." Having so carefully guarded himself, he feels that he must now guard against any appearance of slighting their kindness. Having already excluded the idea of mere pecuniary relief, in his acknowledgment he looks to the moral excellence which they had displayed in their contribution. They had done well in that they had shown sympathy with him, not in his poverty (for he does not admit the existence of that), but in his affliction, i.e. in the sufferings generally to which he was subjected for the gospel in Rome. They had fellowship with him in the gospel. Having fellowship with him in greater matters, they had also fellowship with him in lesser matters. Their heart was open to all that the Christian preacher, to whom they as well as others had been so much indebted, might need in his prison in Rome. And that was the aspect of the contribution which made it peculiarly acceptable to the afflicted apostle.

2. Early kindness.


1. He did not seek gifts. "Not that I seek for the gift: but I seek for the fruit that increaseth to your account." By enlarging on their liberality he might be thought to be coveting their gifts. To guard himself he would have them understand that he did not seek for the gift, i.e. gifts of that kind. But he sought for the fruit corresponding to the gifts. Every time that they gave they were sowing; and the fruit would grow up for them in the next world. Every time that they gave there was an entry made in their name and to their account in the ledger of God, increasing the amount which God, as Debtor, would yet make good to them.

2. He did not need their gifts. "But I have all things, and abound: I am filled, having received from Epaphroditus the things that came from you, an odour of a sweet smell, a sacrifice acceptable, well-pleasing to God." There is a climax. He had all things he needed; he had more than he needed; he was filled to abundance beyond what he needed. It was the contribution of the Philippians sent by Epaphroditus that had put him in this position. The contribution was pleasing to him; but what was he to be thought of in the matter? It was rather pleasing to God. Given to God in him, the servant, it was pleasing to God; nay, it was peculiarly pleasing. Every morning and evening incense was burned in the Jewish temple. Every morning and evening an animal was slain. That symbolized the offering and sacrifice of Christ. The apostle makes bold to say that the contribution of the Philippians, savouring so much of Christ, was "an odour of a sweet smells a sacrifice acceptable, well-pleasing to God." Let us take encouragement from such an example. "But to do good and to communicate, forget not: for with such sacrifices God is well pleased."

V. PROMISE. "And my God shall fulfill every, need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus." He makes the promise, not in his own name, but in the name of his God. The Philippians had supplied Paul's need; Paul's God, in turn, would, for him, supply their need. He would supply the whole extent of their need, temporal and spiritual. He would do this according to his riches. A rich God, he would, with no stintedness, supply their need. The mark up to which he would supply it, and which would best manifest his wealth, would be their glorification. And all this, as he is always careful to note, was only to be realized within Christ as the ever-blessed sphere. Let us, then, fulfill the condition of the promise. In Old Testament form, condition and promise thus run: "Blessed is he that considereth the poor: the Lord will deliver him in time of trouble. The Lord will preserve him and keep him alive; and he shall be blessed upon the earth: and thou wilt not deliver him unto the will of his enemies. The Lord will strengthen him upon the bed of languishing: thou wilt make all his bed in his sickness."

VI. Doxology, "Now unto our God and Father be the glory for ever and ever. Amen" The thought of the rich God glorifying his people, coincident with the close of the Epistle, calls forth an ascription of glory. It is an ascription of glory to him as our God and Father, the God of whom the brightest feature is his fatherhood, and to whom we are brought into the closest relation by adoption. The glory would be ascribed to him for the ages and ages that would roll on after his people were glorified.—R.F.

Philippians 4:21-23

Salutation and benediction.


1. Paul. "Salute every saint in Christ Jesus." He salutes the Philippians individually. With a knowledge of many of them, he was interested in every one of them as contributing to the strength of the cause of Christ at Philippi. Besides this general salutation by letter, to be read before the assembled congregation, there would be special salutations, to be delivered privately by Epaphroditus.

2. Personal companions. "The brethren which are with me salute you." These companions are not mentioned by name. Timothy was the only available companion for Philippi. Some might be told off for other work. Others, although they showed selfishness, were not debarred from sending fraternal greetings.

3. Christians resident in Rome. "All the saints salute you." Although not acquainted with the Philippian Christians, they belonged to the same Christian brotherhood, were interested in the common cause, looked forward to the common home; and therefore they too sent their greetings.

4. Of Roman Christians one class singled out. "Especially they that are of Caesar's household." "Nero (the Caesar here referred to) Was a prince that as far surpassed others in infamy as Augustus did in royalty; a man who, if every soul beside himself in his household had been a saint, concentrated inhumanity and pollution enough in his person to have darkened all their virtue by the blackness of his unnatural crimes; a man that expended more ingenuity in contriving new modes of dishonoring humanity than most Christians have in serving it, and who earned the reputation of introducing into history as facts crimes so enormous and combinations of wickedness so revolting that but for him they would have been held too fabulous for the wildest fancy; a man that hunted up and down his vast domains to find some fresh species of murder, with exquisite and aggravated accompaniments to season it to his monstrous appetite, with the same eagerness that gluttons search out a fresh delicacy for a sated palate; a man that tried three different ways of butchering his own mother, and at last despatched her by a vulgar execution, in a petulant rage at being baffled so often; and who added the tyrant's caprice to the incendiary's, by undertaking at once to throw off the suspicion of his own agency in the diabolic conflagration of his capital, and to comfort his bloodthirsty temper by imputing the fire to the innocent Christians; who tortured his Christian subjects by unheard-of torments, dressing them in the skins of wild animals to provoke dogs to tear them to pieces, or wrapping their bodies in clothing smeared with pitch and then setting them on fire to light up the Roman night with their burning; a man, in short, that wrought so awful an impression of his attributes of superhuman atrocity on the minds of the believers that that a common rumor went abroad among them, after his horrible death, that he would return again alive to vex the world anew, and to be the antichrist of prophecy." In the household of Nero, including the highest functionaries and lowest menials, were found saints. Their saintliness shone out all the more against the neighboring blackness. And, with such blackness in their neighborhood, there were sure to be seen burning around them fires of persecution. To be saints, then, in Caesar's household required extraordinary courage and modesty, independence and constancy. "This saintliness is possible and is much wanted also wherever an adverse influence frowns on Christian purity or hinders Christian fidelity. For that bad influence may proceed from things not held in much suspicion—from a false social standard, from a set of surrounding associations hostile to holiness, from a dominant worldliness in a nation, or a city, or a college, or a literal household. Our Nero is self-love. The senses are the Caesars of all ages. The reigning temper of the world is the imperishable persecutor and tyrant of the faithful soul. And so in every home and street, seminary and dwelling, there are chances for the reappearing of saints in Caesar's household. Wherever a fearless man deems any bribe to do wrong an insult to his clean heart; wherever an incorruptible merchant refuses to conform to popular deceptions; wherever a righteous mechanic refuses to let down his performance to the standard of superficiality; wherever an honest statesman stands above his party the moment his party cast away their principles; wherever a self-commanding woman dares to be a rebel against extravagance and insincerity; wherever a disciple of Christ is not ashamed to own and praise that holy Lord, by whom only he has forgiveness, though unbelieving associates taunt and ridicule;—there we behold saints of Caesar's household."

II. BENEDICTION. "The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit." The blessing invoked is grace, or unmerited favor. It is invoked, as belonging to him who, from his saving work, has the right to dispense it to his people. It is invoked on their spirit; for from the spirit as the center must blessing go forth upon the whole nature.—R.F.


Philippians 4:1-6

Genuine Churchism.

"Therefore, my brethren dearly beloved and longed for, my joy and crown, so stand fast in the Lord, my dearly beloved. I beseech Euodias, and beseech Syntyche, that they be of the same mind in the Lord. And I entreat thee also, true yokefellow, help those women which labored with me in the gospel, with Clement also, and with other my fellow-laborers, whose names are in the book of life. Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice. Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand. Be careful for nothing; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God." These words suggest to us certain ideas concerning genuine Churchism. Churchism, of course, implies a Church or Churches, i.e. community or communities of men. Here in England we have what is called the Church, which its ministers seemed delighted to call "our Church." Here also we have Churches which sectarian leaders somewhat arrogantly call "our Churches." Such Churches are too frequently assemblages of men characterized often by ignorance, exclusiveness, and intolerance. Now, neither in "our Church" nor "our Churches" do we always find genuine Churchism. But the text suggests certain things essential to genuine Churchism. It suggests—

I. How the members should be esteemed by their TRUE PASTOR. They should have the deep tender love and strongest and devoutest wishes of the pastor. "Therefore, my brethren dearly beloved and longed for, my joy and crown, so stand fast in the Lord, my dearly beloved." What an accumulation of strong epithets of affection are here! "Longed for;" yearned after. "My joy;" that is, the source of my joy; his chief interest was in them. "And crown;" by this is meant that he gloried in them, he prided himself in them. Then follows his ardent desires for their highest good. That they should "stand fast in the Lord," that they should be "of the same mind in the Lord," that they should help one another, etc. An affection of this kind implies the existence of two things.

1. The existence in the pastor of a loving nature. There are men who claim to be pastors of conventional Churches, not always blest with the most amiable natures; they are irascible, splenetic, etc., belonging to the generation elsewhere called the "children of wrath"—that is, their nature is more or less malign. You have only to hear the querulous tones of their voice and the ideas they express in their discourses to feel this. Their ideas are more like yelping curs scratching the earth than singing birds soaring into sunshine. They irritate their audience.

2. The existence of a lovable character in their disciples. The audience must have a loving nature; for if the pastor, however lovable himself, is amongst people of a morally unlovable character, how can he feel affectionately towards them? Genuine Churchism, then, implies a spiritually loving pastor and a morally lovable charge.

II. How the members should act in relation to THEMSELVES. Three things are indicated here.

1. Moral firmness. "Stand fast in the Lord." Moral firmness implies not only deeply rooted convictions, but a strongly settled love. Moral firmness is as opposed to obstinacy as to vacillation. It is a state of mind settled in its chief faiths and loves; it is "rooted and grounded in the faith." Where there is not moral firmness in the members of Churches there is no genuine Churchism. Genuine Churchism implies moral manhood of the highest type.

2. Spiritual unity. "I beseech Euodias, and beseech Syntyche, that they be of the same mind in the Lord." These names in all likelihood represent women. Paul had many women belonging to his charge, and who co-operated with him in his work. in the long list of greetings to the Church at Rome (Romans 16:1-27.) we have the names Priscilla, Phoebe, Mary, Tryphena, Tryphosa, Persis, etc. It is not improbable that the two women mentioned here, Euodias and Syntyche, had fallen out, as is not very uncommon with the sex. The apostle's request is that they should be reunited, that they should be harmonious in sentiment, affection, and aim. Unity is essential to genuine Churchism; all must be one.

3. Religious happiness. "Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice." Be happy in your religion. Happiness is an essential element in genuine religion. "I am come that ye might have life [happiness], and that ye might have it more abundantly." Christly men are filled with all "joy and peace in believing." Happiness is not only a privilege of the disciples of Christ, but a duty. It would seem that it is as wrong for the disciple of Christ to be unhappy as for him to break any of the ten commandments; for the command to rejoice is founded on the same authority as "Thou shalt not steal." A community that is sad and gloomy is destitute of genuine Churchism.

III. How the members should act in relation to EACH OTHER.

1. They should exercise mutual helpfulness. "I entreat thee also, true yokefellow, help those women which labored with me in the gospel, with Clement also." Who the "true yokefellow" was, whether Luke, or Lydia, or Epaphroditus, no one knows. It matters not. It was some one who was well known to be a co-worker with Paul, and he asks, on behalf of the women who labored with him and others, for co-operation. Genuine Churchism implies mutual co-operation: "Bear ye one another's burdens, and so fulfill the Law of Christ."

2. They should exercise social forbearance. "Let your moderation [forbearance] be known unto all men." In most social circles there is much to try men's patience one with another. All are more or less imperfect; hence the need of forbearance, magnanimous self-control. Pray ever for our enemies; do good to them that spitefully use us.

IV. How the members are connected with THE EMPIRE OF CHRIST. "Whose names are in the book of life." (For the "book of life," see Daniel 12:1; Revelation 2:5; Revelation 13:8; Revelation 17:8; Revelation 20:12; Revelation 21:27.) From that book the name may be blotted out now (Revelation 2:5; Exodus 32:33) till the end fixes it for ever. There is a peculiar beauty in the allusion here. The apostle does not mention his fellow-laborers by name; but it matters not—the names are written before God, in the book of life. If they continue in his service those names shall shine out hereafter when the great names of the earth fade into nothingness. The names of all the citizens in a city have a registration; so metaphorically the names of all the citizens of the heavenly Jerusalem are duly enrolled. God registers the names in this book. He omits none who are entitled to it, makes no mistake in the record. The "hook of life." Ah, what names are there! How illustrious, how multitudinous, how increasing! Genuine Churchism implies the registration of names in this "book."

V. How the members should act in relation to the GREAT GOD. "Be careful for nothing [in nothing be anxious]; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God."

1. All-confiding. "Be careful for nothing." "Take no anxious thought for the morrow." Unbounded confidence in the paternal government that is over all.

2. Ever prayerful "In everything by prayer." Prayer is not words, it is a life; not a service, it is a spirit. "Pray without ceasing." An abiding, practical realization of dependence on God is prayer, and this should be constant as life—the very breath of the soul.

3. Always thankful. "With thanksgiving." Being the recipients of mercies, unmerited, priceless, and ever increasing every minute, the spirit of thanksgiving should throb with every beating pulse.

Conclusion: Brothers, have you genuine Churchism? Talk not to me about your Churches. You must have genuine Churchism in order to be identified with the "Church of the Firstborn written in heaven."—D.T.

Philippians 4:7, Philippians 4:8

Divine peace.

"And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things." These words direct attention to the highest good in the universe—peace; highest because it implies the existence and development of every conceivable moral virtue. These words suggest three remarks concerning Divine peace.

I. ITS NATURE IS OF DIFFICULT INTERPRETATION. "The peace of God, which passeth all understanding." "That is, which surpasses all that men had conceived or imagined. The expression is one that denotes that the peace imparted is of the highest possible kind. The Apostle Paul frequently used terms which had somewhat of a hyperbolical cast, and the language here is that which one would use who designed to speak of that which was of the highest order." Elsewhere Paul says, concerning the love of Christ, "it surpasseth knowledge;" that is, the knowledge of the understanding. You cannot put it into propositions.

1. Who can interpret peace as it exists in the mind of God? We may have negative conceptions of it, exclude from it that which cannot possibly belong to it and which is opposite to its nature. It is not stagnation. Not the peace of the lake that has no ripple. He is essentially active. It is not insensibility. Not the quiescence of the rock which feels not the greatest violence of storms. He is feeling, the infinite Sensorium of the universe. But what is it? It transcends all intellectual understanding. We cannot measure the measureless, we cannot fathom the fathomless.

2. Who can interpret Divine peace as it exists in the mind of the Christly? The peace of God comes from God; it is the gift of Christ. "My peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you." In truth the highest states of mind, such as love, joy, peace, cannot be explained. These are matters of consciousness, not logic. You can no more put the divinest and deepest emotions of the heart into a proposition than you could put the ocean into a nutshell. They are things that "cannot be uttered."

II. ITS EXISTENCE IN MAN IS A TRANSCENDENT GOOD. "Shall keep [guard] your hearts and minds [your thoughts] through [in] Christ Jesus." It keeps the heart and mind, it garrisons the soul from every distressing element. what are the disturbing elements of the soul? The three chief may be mentioned.

1. There is fear. Foreboding fears are agitating elements. Under the influence of fear all the powers of the soul often tremble and shake like the leaves of a forest in a storm. But "perfect love casteth out fear," and peace is the fruit of love.

2. There is remorse. Sense of guilt fills the soul with those feelings of self-loathing and self-denunciation which lash Auto fury. But in the case of Christly men this sense of guilt is gone. Being made right, or justified, "we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ."

3. There are conflicting tendencies. In every soul there are instinctive tendencies towards. God and the true. In every unregenerate soul there are tendencies towards the devil and the false. These are ever in battle on the arena of un-Christly minds. Hence the wicked are like the troubled sea. He who is Christly is delivered from this conflict. The corrupt tendencies are exorcised, and all the corrupt passions and forces of the soul are brought into one grand channel, and will flow on translucently and harmoniously with ever-increasing volume to the great ocean—God.

III. IT CAN ONLY BE REACHED BY THE PRACTICE OF GOODNESS. "Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest [honorable], whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report." Whatever minute definition we may give of these terms, they all stand for the elements of moral goodness; and to these elements we are bidden to give a practical regard. "If there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things." The practice of the morality of Christ is the ladder by which alone we can climb through all that is dark and tumultuous in the atmosphere of the soul into the pure heavens of peace. It is the "doer" of the Word that is blessed, not the hearer. There are some, alas! who recommend other means to this glorious end, but they are utterly worthless. Some recommend ritualistic observances and sacerdotal services. Some recommend faith in an event that transpired on Calvary eighteen centuries ago. They say you have only to believe on this and peace will come at once. A philosophic absurdity and a monstrous delusion! Some recommend a mechanical religiousness. They say, "Go to church regularly, join in the liturgy, listen to sermons, partake of the communion, and all will be right." Ah me! The peace which such things give is like that peace in nature which cradles the thunder-storm. I tell you peace is only reached by the practice of that morality proclaimed in that grand sermon on the mount and embodied in the life of its matchless Preacher, and this requires faith in him.

Though my means may be small and name quite obscure,

Live only by labor and dwell 'mid the poor,

I'm resolved upon this, and I'll follow it through,

To love and to practice the "things that are true."

The things that are showy are things in request,

The empty and thoughtless regard them as best.

I've pondered the matter, and I will pursue,

Despite of all customs, the "things that are true."

I'm resolv'd upon this, and I'll follow it through,

To love and to practice the "things that are true."

The things most imposing are things for the proud;

The pomp and the glitter enamour the crowd;

Pretences and shams I'm resolved to eschew,

And walk in the light of the "things that are true."

Though things most in vogue are the things to ensure

Most gold for the pocket, most fame for the hour;

The vain and the greedy, for them they may do,

To me all is worthless but "things that are true."

I'm resolved, etc.

The "things that are true" are the things that will last,

All seemings will vanish as dreams that are past;

Like clouds that are swept from the face of the sky,

All falsehoods of life they shall melt by-and-by.

The things of a party Heav'n knows how I hate!

The blight of the Church and the curse of the state;

The minions of cliqueship, what mischief they do!

Avaunt to all canting! All hail to the true!

I'm resolved, etc.

Philippians 4:9

The transmission of the knowledge of Christ.

"Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you." This verse is supposed by some to close the letter. The remaining verses are considered to be the postscript in which the apostle gracefully acknowledges the generous contributions he had received from them through the hands of Epaphroditus. The text directs attention to the transmission of the knowledge of Christ. Observe—

I. This knowledge of Christ is to be transmitted FROM MAN TO MAN. "Those things, which ye have both learned, and received," etc. It is suggested that the transmission of this knowledge includes two things.

1. Teaching on the part of the minister. Paul had received the gospel (1 Corinthians 15:3; Galatians 1:12), and received it as a message, received it to communicate. This he did—did to the Philippians as well as to others. He did it in two ways.

2. Learning on the part of the hearer. "Ye have both learned, and received, and heard." A man may tell the story of Christ with the utmost accuracy and fullness. The spirit of the story he may breathe in his life and embody in his conduct, but it is only vitally transmitted so far as it is learnt by the auditors. We live in an age when people, through a vitiated moral taste, theological prejudices. and sectarian proclivities, turn away their ear from the true teachers of their time. They resort to places where they can be tickled, not taught, flattered, not corrected.

II. This knowledge of Christ is to be transmitted IN ORDER TO BE PRACTISED. "Those things which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do." A gospel sermon should never be regarded as a lecture on philosophy, literature, or art—a mere subject for speculative thought or a subject of discussion. The gospel is a law, it comes from the highest authority and with a binding force. What is said is to be done, not merely approved, criticised, thought on, or sighed about, but done. The ideas communicated are to be translated into actions, and such actions will ever be Christly in spirit and tendency. But into what actions are the conventional sermons of England translated? Turn to the columns of our daily journals and read of the mercantile swindlings, the courtly depravities, idlenesses, and sports, the political intrigues, senatorial slanderings and quarrellings, the barbaric executions, the bloody wars, and other nameless iniquities sanctioned and enacted by the hearers of what are called gospel sermons. Ah me! What boots preaching?

III. The practice of this knowledge of Christ ENSURES THE SUBLIMEST GOOD. "The God of peace shall be with you." In verse 7 we read of having the "peace of God," here of having the "God of peace." To have his peace is something glorious; but to have himself is something transcendently greater. "The God of peace." Elsewhere he is called the "God of salvation," the "God of consolation," the "God of hope," etc.; but this title seems to transcend all others.

1. He is at peace with himself. A moral intelligence to possess peace must be absolutely free from the following things—malice, remorse, forebodings. The mightiest revolutions through all the millenniums and the hostilities of all the hells of the universe awake no ripple upon the boundless sea of his ever-flowing love.

2. He is at peace with the universe. He has no unkind feeling to any sentient being; he contends with no one; he is at peace with all. He contend, forsooth! Does the immovable rock contend with the waves that break at its feet? Does the sun contend with the fleeting clouds? Now, they who translate the gospel into their life shall have the "God of peace" ever with them—with them as the sunny heavens are with the earth.—D.T.

Philippians 4:10-17

Man in model aspects.

"But I rejoiced in the Lord greatly, that now at the last your care of me hath flourished again; wherein ye were also careful, but ye lacked opportunity. Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: everywhere and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me. Notwithstanding ye have well done, that ye did communicate with my affliction. Now ye Philippians know also, that in the beginning of the gospel, when I departed from Macedonia, no Church communicated with me as concerning giving and receiving, but ye only. For even in Thessalonica ye sent once and again unto my necessity. Not because I desire a gift: but I desire fruit that may abound to your account." The apostle now turns his attention to a new subject, and the verses that follow to the close of the chapter seem to be a kind of postscript, acknowledging in a very graceful manner the various offerings which he had received from the Philippians by the hands of Epaphroditus. The passage before us may be regarded as presenting man in certain model aspects.

I. Here is a man represented as an OBJECT OF CHRISTIAN BENEFICENCE, "But I rejoiced in the Lord greatly, that now at the last your care of me hath flourished again."

1. He received their beneficence with religious gratitude. "I rejoiced in the Lord," etc. "There is," says Dr. Barry, "in these words an expression of some hitherto disappointed expectation, not wholly unlike the stronger expression of wounded feeling in 2 Timothy 4:9, 2 Timothy 4:10, 2 Timothy 4:16. At Caesarea St. Paul would have been necessarily cut off from the European Churches; at Rome, the metropolis of universal concourse, he may have expected some earlier communication. But fearing to wound the Philippians by even the semblance of reproof, in their case undeserved, he adds at once, 'in which ye were also careful, but ye lacked opportunity.' Epaphroditus would seem to have arrived early, almost as soon as St. Paul's arrival at Rome gave them the opportunity which they previously lacked." The contributions which came from the Philippians to him he traced to the Lord. He saw the hand and felt the love of God in their gifts. There is not a man on earth who is not in some measure the object of human beneficence. We are all receiving from others, every day in our life, some kind of good—physical, intellectual, social, or spiritual. All this good we should devoutly ascribe to the Father of lights, from whom cometh "every good and perfect gift." Whether those of our fellow-men, who confer on us good, do it with their will or against their will, selfishly or disinterestedly, it matters not so far as our obligation to Heaven is concerned. From him all the good of all kinds and through all channels proceeds.

2. He received their beneficence with hearty appreciation. "Notwithstanding [howbeit] ye have well done, that ye did communicate [had fellowship] with my affliction." "Ye have well done." Your beneficence was dictated from a generous sympathy with my affliction, and it was timely withal. True beneficence is a blessed virtue. "It is more blessed to give than to receive." His appreciation seems to have been deepened by the fact that their beneficence preceded that of other Churches. "Now ye Philippians know also, that in the beginning of the gospel, when I departed from Macedonia, no Church communicated [had fellowship] with me as concerning [in the matter of] giving and receiving, but ye only." The time referred to is the period of his leaving Macedonia and Athens for Corinth (Acts 17:14). They rendered him help, not only after he had left Macedonia, but before that time, when he had just passed from Philippi to Thessalonica. "At Thessalonica, as at Corinth—both very rich and luxurious communities—he refused maintenance and lived merely by the labor of his own hands (1 Thessalonians 2:9; 2 Thessalonians 2:8). But it appears from this passage that even then he received, once and again (that is, occasionally, once or twice), some aid from Philippi to supply his need, that is (as in all right exercise of liberality), to supplement, and not to supersede his own resources." In this also he acts in a model way. There are those ingrates in society who receive help from others as a matter of course, attach little or no value to the good which they are constantly receiving. Ay, and moreover, there are those, too, who, instead of becoming bound to the benefactor as friends through gratitude for the favors, not unfrequently become enemies. Ah me! this worst of human vices is, perhaps, the most common. "As there are no laws against ingratitude," says Seneca, "so it is utterly impossible to contrive any that in all circumstances shall reach it. If it were actionable, there would not be courts enough in the whole world to try the causes in. There can be no setting a day for the requiting of benefits, as for the payment of money; nor any estimate upon the benefits themselves; but the whole matter rests in the conscience of both parties; and then there are so many degrees of it, that the same rule will never serve all."

3. He received their beneficence with entire unselfishness. "Not because I desire a gift: but I desire fruit that may abound [increaseth] to your account." He means to say, I do not "desire a gift" for my own sake as much as for yours. I value the gift as an expression and evidence of your faith in Christ. An old writer says, "It is not with any design to draw more from you, but to encourage you to such an exercise of beneficence as will meet with a glorious reward hereafter." True men always value a gift, not simply because of its intrinsic value, or even because it will serve their temporal interest, but because of the priceless sentiments of the heart, love, disinterestedness, and friendship, which it represents. We are all objects of beneficence. Let us act as Paul did in this character, accept all human favors with religious gratitude, with hearty appreciation, and with entire unselfishness.

II. Here is a man represented as a SUBJECT OF PROVIDENTIAL VICISSITUDES. "I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith [therein] to be content." "Whatever state." How constantly changing are our states! Life is in truth a checkered scene. Every hour we pass from one condition or mood to another. We change in mind, body, and circumstances. We alternate between friendship and bereavement, prosperity and adversity, sunshine and storms. Now, the aspect in which Paul is seen in passing through these changes is that of contentment, and in this respect' he is a model to us all. His contentment does not mean insensibility, a kind of Stoicism; does not mean indifference to the condition of others, or a satisfied complacency either with his own moral condition or that of the world. It is a cordial acquiescence in the arrangements of Heaven. "Not my will, but thine, be done." This state of mind is not innate, it is attained. Paul "learnt" it. This is moral scholarship of the highest kind.

"Some murmur when their sky is clear

And wholly bright to view,

If one small speck of dark appear

In their great heaven of blue.

And some with thankful love are filled,

If but one streak of light,

One ray of God's great mercy, gild

The darkness of their night."


III. Here is a man represented as a GENUINE REFORMER. "I can do all things through Christ [in him] which strengtheneth me." Paul was a genuine reformer. The reformation he sought was not in corrupt legislation, in outward institutions—social, political, or ecclesiastical—in theological systems, or in external behavior. Such reformations are of little worth. He wrought.

1. In the realms of motive, the springs of action, to change the moral heart of the world. Every man on earth should act in this character and become a moral reformer. All should study and imitate Paul in this aspect. How did he act as a reformer?

2. In conscious dependence on Christ. "I can do all things through Christ." "All things" pertaining to this work as a reformer, not by my own talents, skill, or industry, not in my own strength, but in "Christ which strengtheneth me." Indeed, in Christ's strength what cannot a man do? He can work miracles as the apostles did, he can turn the moral world upside down, he can create men "anew in Christ Jesus," he can sound a trumpet whose blast shall penetrate the ears of slumbering souls and awake the teeming millions that are sleeping in the dust of worldliness and depravity. "Through Christ which strengtheneth me." Strengthens me by turning me away from things that are temporal to things that are spiritual, rooting my faith in eternal realities, filling and firing me with the love which he had for human souls and for the everlasting Father.

Conclusion. Study well these model aspects of a man who, as an object of Christian beneficence, is always religiously grateful, heartily appreciative of the favors he receives, and entirely unselfish; as a subject of providential vicissitudes, magnanimously contented in every condition and mood of life; and, as a get, aide reformer, does his work, not in his own strength, but in the power of Christ.—D.T.


Philippians 4:2, Philippians 4:3

The healing of dissensions.

A dissension between two women, probably persons of prominence in the Church. Women occupy an important position in the Church at Philippi (Acts 16:13-18). This fact may account somewhat for its orthodoxy, its fervent devotion, and its special temptation to want of unity. This particular dissension is regarded by St. Paul to be of sufficient importance to demand a notice in this Epistle, and to call for his personal interposition.

1. The only method of healing dissension. Persons alienated from one another must be brought to be of one mind in the Lord. No reconciliation is abiding except it be in him who is the Peace-maker.

2. To heal dissension is a work worthy of the highest ministry of the Church. St. Paul calls to his aid their chief pastor, Clement, who was afterwards Bishop of Rome, and others whose names are in the book of life. No error in the Church is worse than the error of uncharitableness and envy.

3. To remove such dissensions is truly to help (Philippians 4:3) those who are the victims of them. Note that even they who labored with St. Paul were not free from human infirmities. They who could stand by him in his work now need all his entreaties and endeavors to bring them into reconciliation. A warning to all Church workers.—V.W.H.

Philippians 4:4, Philippians 4:5

Rejoicing always.

I. THE POSSIBILITY OF IT. The command to rejoice always appears to be one which it is impossible that we should obey. This impossibility vanishes when we remember that we are to rejoice "in the Lord." Note the frequency of this expression in this Epistle. St. Paul profoundly realizes that the Christian soul is living in a sphere not recognizable by the outward senses, but which is ever present to the eye of faith. If we are living in the Lord we can always rejoice, because in him all things work together for good, and even our sorrows he turns into joy.

II. THE METHOD OF IT. By letting our forbearance be known unto all men. He who is living in the Lord is always rejoicing, not with the joy which triumphs over the sorrows of others, but with the self-restrained joy which recognizes that, being yet in travail, we must yet have sorrow mingled with our joy. This sense of self-restraint is the truest preventive of dissension and dispute.

III. THE REASON FOR IT. "The Lord is at hand." He is ever ready to appear visibly in our midst, and for this appearing we are constantly to watch. How can we be doing so unless we are rejoicing in him, and rejoicing in him with gentle forbearance towards our fellow-Christians? He is, indeed, always at hand, even if he yet appear not in visible form; for where two or three are gathered together in his Name he is in the midst of them. Is not this a reason for joy and for forbearance?—V.W.H.

Philippians 4:6, Philippians 4:7

God's peace.

I. WHAT IT IS. God's own peace; that which he himself possesses. It is the peace which our Lord had and which he promised to his disciples: "My peace I give unto you." It is, therefore, no mere superficial freedom from external troubles, but a deep-seated harmony with God the Source of all peace. Thus it transcends human understanding and human expression.

II. WHAT PREVENTS OUR POSSESSING IT? Over-anxiety and worry. These are a kind of practical atheism, since they prevent us from leaving all things to him who is supreme over all circumstances.

III. HOW TO OBTAIN IT. By prayer, which rests upon him for all things; by cation, which brings our own special causes for anxiety into his presence; by thanksgiving, which recognizes that his will must be full of blessing. By thus turning our cares into prayers we throw them upon him who gives us in return his peace.

IV. WHAT IT DOES FOR US. It keeps our hearts and minds, preserving them from undue anxiety, and making them realize the strength of the peace which Christ bestows. How do these words come home with sublime force at the end of our Communion Service! Having received him who is our Peace (Ephesians 2:14), we have entered into and taken possession of the Face of God which passeth all understanding.—V.W.H.

Philippians 4:8, Philippians 4:9

Meditation and action.

Having insisted on the duties of prayer and thanksgiving and the reward which accompanies them, St. Paul proceeds to point out the need of meditation on all that is of God, and of practically living out the God-like life upon earth. To such also is attached a special reward.

I. THE NEED OF MEDITATION. This is. universal. All persons meditate on that which is to them of absorbing interest. By meditation the stock of our ideas is increased and a mental atmosphere is formed in which we live and move. Every great work and every great life has been produced by much meditation.

II. THE BEST SUBJECTS FOR MEDITATION. "Whatsover things are true," etc. We need not limit these to the subject-matter of the Christian revelation, although undoubtedly each of these forms of goodness will find its highest expression in that. But since all good things are of God, we may find him reflected in every act of virtue, in every prompting of love, in every aspiration after a higher life, in whatever way these may be manifested. The terms selected include all that is noble towards God, all that is purifying to ourselves, and all that commends itself to the better instincts of men. Meditating on such an exhaustive catalogue of high ideas, how can we become anything else than filled with all that is true and Divine?

III. TRUE MEDITATION WELL PRODUCE ACTION. If it does not do this it enervates the will and dissipates the motive forces of the character. A truth acted upon provides us with an unanswerable evidence that it is a truth. It becomes worked into our nature and forms part of ourselves.

IV. TRUE ACTION IS LEARNED FROM EXAMPLE RATHER THAN FROM PRECEPT. "That which ye have … seen in me, do." Action is in life and not in theory. Note how the same truth is to be found in the Beatitudes. They begin with a description of abstract blessedness, such as is to be found in poverty of spirit; they end by translating this idea of blessedness into a living reality in the ease of the disciples who were being taught. "Blessed are they" turns into "Blessed are ye," and their blessedness is to be found in such an active life of righteousness as is to involve persecution for Christ's sake.

V. THE REWARD OF TRUE ACTION PROCEEDING OUT OF PROFOUND MEDITATION. "The God of peace shall be with you." The peace of God is the reward of prayer and trustfulness; this is an inward gift bringing God into the soul. But true action secures the presence of the God of peace, externally defending and guiding, as well as internally teaching and blessing.—V.W.H.

Philippians 4:11


To be contented with one's lot is a thing to be desired; to be contented with one's self is a thing to be dreaded. Our lot is that which God has been pleased to choose for us. Our self is that character or disposition which is being daily built up by our co-operation with God's grace.

I. ST. PAUL'S DISCONTENT WITH HIMSELF. (See Philippians 2:12-14.) It is his sense of need which aroused the desire for, and therefore secured the possession of, spiritual growth. To be contented with one's own spiritual state is to prevent the possibility of spiritual progress. All progress springs out of a sense of insufficiency. "Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven."

II. ST. PAUL'S CONTENT WITH HIS LOT. So far as worldly advantages are concerned it was not an enviable one. But he had received sufficient of his Master's Spirit to know that man's life consisteth not in the abundance of the things that he possesseth. This contrast between Divine discontent and Divine content is paralleled by the "Thou shall not covet" of the Decalogue and the "Covet earnestly the best gifts" of St. Paul.—V.W.H.

Philippians 4:12, Philippians 4:13

The difficulties of prosperity.

1. Contentment needs to be cultivated, not only when we possess little, but likewise when we possess much. It may be thought that to be contented with plenty is an easy task. But this is not so. It is often easier to know how to be abased than to know how to abound. We may be in greater danger when our prayers are answered than when the answer is withheld.

2. St. Paul, having learned many things, can teach us many things. Not only does he know theoretically how difficult it is to abound, but he knows it experimentally, and experimentally he has overcome the difficulty. He has been initiated in the experience of both need and abundance, and has known how to bear either tot with safety.

3. This he had been able to do, not through any Stoical superiority to the things of this life, nor yet through any force of natural character, but in the power in which his whole life was now being lived, the strength given by union with Jesus Christ.—V.W.H.

Philippians 4:14-19

Almsgiving a part of Christian life and worship.

I. THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN THOSE who GIVE AND THOSE WHO RECEIVE ALMS IS ONE OF COMMUNION. (Philippians 4:15.) It is a mistake to suppose that the benefit of almsgiving is all on the side of the recipients. They who possess, possess in order that they may show their brotherhood with those who possess not. To receive is just as much an act of brotherhood as to give. Never regard the bestowing of alms as an act of patronage, or the receiving of them as an act of homage.

II. THE BENEFIT OF ALMSGIVING TO THE ALMSGIVER. It is fruit (Philippians 4:17), which abounds to his account. Fruit is the production of life.

III. ALMSGIVING IN THE SIGHT OF GOD. A sacrifice well-pleasing to him (Philippians 4:18). He sees in every act of self-denial a reflection of the sacrifice of his dearly beloved Son in whom he is well pleased.

IV. ALMSGIVING A PART OF CHRISTIAN WORSHIP. Worship is the offering of ourselves and our substance to God. We can only do this through receiving of his grace. We give him back in offerings what he gives us in bounty He returns our offerings multiplied with his blessing and full of his grace (Philippians 4:19). There is a Divine circulation of grace as there is a natural circulation of the blood. So long as we are true to Jesus, who is the very heart of God, so long does he pour forth his grace into us the living members of his body. We return that grace to him in the shape of our poor prayers and deeds of service, and we are again quickened by him from the boundless riches of his grace.—V.W.H.


Philippians 4:1



1. It is important. Christian faithfulness does not consist in a few occasional heroic acts done in the excitement of temporary enthusiasm. It is a constant faithful living; it is holding the citadel throughout life against the assaults of temptation. Though great deeds have been done and a considerable time well spent, all is vain if we give up at the last and make shipwreck at the end of the voyage.

2. It is difficult. It is easier to be the faithful martyr of a day than the faithful servant of a lifetime. To stand fast when we are weary, to hold on through a long cheerless night of adversity, to have patience with the fretting of small trials, and to endure to the end, are the hard tasks.

II. THE CONDITION. We are to "stand fast in the Lord." Steadfastness in our own condition, opinion, and habit, is stagnation. We may be in a state when anything but steadfastness is necessary, when to be upset is to be saved. There are men who need to be made to doubt. Christ was a most unsettling preacher, and true Christian teaching must aim at disturbing those who are holding on in a wrong way. Let us not confound a right steadfastness with obstinate self-will. The first essential is that we are "in the Lord," and the one steadfastness commended is abiding in him.

III. THE METHOD. "Wherefore … so stand fast," etc. These words carry us back to the preceding thoughts. There we have a description of the Christian's heavenly citizenship, and his hope of the second advent of Christ. A persistent hope is a security for steadfastness, an anchor of the soul (Hebrews 6:19). Just in proportion as we live in heaven, with thoughts, affections, motives, and efforts centred in Christ and his kingdom, shall we be able to hold out on earth firmly against the storms of trouble and temptation.

IV. THE MOTIVE. The motive which inspires St. Paul to urge the duty of steadfastness upon the Philippians is his personal affection for them. The expression of this must have been felt by them as a strong incentive to a true response. The apostle seems to have regarded his Macedonian converts at Philippi and Thessalonica as the choicest of his friends. They were his brethren, beloved, longed for in absence, still a source of joy to the imprisoned apostle as he thought of them, and regarded as a crown of victory and proof of the glorious success of his labors for the day of the Lord. We can wish nothing better for those we love than their Christian fidelity. Ministers have a strong hold upon their people when they can urge personal affection and joyous recognition of good done as a motive for further progress. The love and honor of those who have labored and suffered for the Church are great motives to inspire faithful steadfastness in all Christians.—W.F.A.

Philippians 4:4

Christian joy.

No doubt the apostle used a common expression of parting salutation, similar to our "farewell," when he wrote the word which we translate "rejoice." But it is certain that he was not one to employ conventional language as an empty form. Old familiar words, often repeated quite thoughtlessly, were taken by him in their full original signification. So when Christ said, "Peace be with you," he uttered a familiar phrase of parting; but he breathed into it a deep meaning, and gave peace with the words. Christ's salutation was a benediction; St. Paul's salutation was at least an utterance of a heartfelt desire for the joy of his friends.

I. WE ARE ENCOURAGED TO REJOICE. Christianity grows out of a gospel. It was heralded by angel-songs of gladness. The funeral dirge is not the suitable expression of our worship. Hosanna shouts and hallelujahs more become its glad character. We are encouraged to rejoice on many grounds.

1. For our own sakes. If there is no virtue in melancholy, it is foolish to refuse the gladness offered by God.

2. For the sake of our work. Joy is invigorating. "The joy of the Lord is your strength." Needless melancholy is sinful when it paralyzes our energies.

3. For the sake of others. Our joy will be sunshine to others if it be a true, generous, Christian gladness. Our gloom will make others miserable. Moreover, by manifesting Christian toy we invite others to share in the benefits of the gospel.

4. For Christ's sake. It pleases him and honors him.

II. OUR JOY SHOULD SPRING FROM CHRIST. We are to "rejoice in the Lord." Other innocent joys are permitted and consecrated by Christ; for was he not a helpful Guest at the marriage feast? and did he not scandalize some gloomy hypocrites by taking a very different course from his ascetic forerunner? Indeed, many earthly joys are safe to the Christian which are perilous to others, because the Christian enters them with Divine safeguards. "All things are yours" is said to Christians, partly because "to the pure all things are pure." But a peculiarly Christian joy is derived directly from Christ.

1. The joy of his love, receiving and returning it. Love is the source of the greatest joy.

2. The joy of his service, delighting to do his will.

3. The joy of his blessing. The heavenly citizenship and its inheritance are ours in Christ.

III. OUR JOY IN CHRIST SHOULD BE CONTINUOUS. The difficulty is to rejoice alway. It requires much faith and nearness to Christ. It is only possible to those who live in the unseen and eternal. But if, believing in our heavenly citizenship, we set our affections above, with our heart anal our treasure in heaven, and with the heaven of Christ's presence in our soul here, there will spring up a joy in the midst of earthly trouble. It is remarkable that this Epistle to the Philippians, written under the most adverse earthly circumstances, by the worn and aged apostle in prison, is the fullest of gladness. The secret is the richness of the inner life of St. Paul, as this was made bright by his close fellowship with Christ.—W.F.A.

Philippians 4:6

The cure for anxiety.

I. THE DISEASE. We must, of course, be careful for many things, in the sense of taking thought about them or taking pains in working on them. Christianity does not favor indolent improvidence; for it teaches, "If a man will not work neither let him eat." Nor does it encourage reckless carelessness; for it everywhere instils a thoughtful, conscientious sense of responsibility. What it does discourage is anxiety.

1. This is painful. How painful most of us know only too well. The wear and fret of care sometimes make the advice to rejoice alway read like a mockery.

2. This is injurious. Men rarely die of hard work, but often of vexing anxiety. It is not toil, but trouble, that turns the hair grey before its time.

3. This hinders spiritual energy. The "cares of this world" choke the good seed as much as its pleasures and riches. When absorbed in worldly anxiety, men have no energy, heart, nor time for spiritual concerns. In the petty cares of a day they drown the grand claims of eternity.


1. Reason. Care is foolish and useless.

"Care is no cure, but rather corrosive,

For things that are not to be remedied."

Often it is groundless, a shadow of our own imagination, and of no real trouble. Thus Burns says—

"But human bodies are sic fools,

For a' their colleges and schools,

That when nae real ills perplex them,

They make enow themsel's to vex them."

But anxiety is too strong for reason. It persists against reason.

2. Phitosophic complacency in the best of all possible worlds. We cannot think that "whatever is is best." Philosophers may say so in their calm seclusion; toilers and sufferers will never believe it in the rough experience of real life (Christianity does not require this optimism, or it would not encourage prayer for changes).

3. Stoical indifferences. Here and there this may be possible; but it is not natural, and it is only got with the loss of much human tenderness.

4. Cyclical carelessness. This may come with despair. It is not the cure of anxiety, but its fatal victory over a ruined life.

III. THE DIVINE CURE. Christ taught us to conquer earthly anxiety in two ways, by trusting in our heavenly Father (Matthew 6:32), and by transferring our care to more worthy objects, by which means it becomes itself transformed into a noble concern for the kingdom of God (Matthew 6:33). St. Paul follows on the same lines.

1. Prayer is the remedy for care. we are distinctly invited to bring our anxieties to God. We are to be anxious about nothing, by making supplication about everything. Thus, as the area of prayer advances, that of care recedes. The conventional limitation of prayer is the secret of much unconquered anxiety.

2. Thanksgiving perfects the remedy. This is a ground of encouragement in prayer for future help and a direct relief from pressing anxiety. Care has a bad memory. Grateful recollections of the past will greatly allay anxieties about the future.—W.F.A.

Philippians 4:7

The peace that is better than intellectual satisfaction.

I. GOD ANSWERS THE PRAYER OF ANXIETY WITH A GIFT OF PEACE, The promise of peace follows close upon the exhortation to convert our anxieties into prayers. The result of such conduct is not the immediate removal of the source of care: the old trouble may still be with us, and the dreaded danger may not yet be averted; but we have an inward peace and acquiescence in the assurance that all must be well in our Father's hands. Thus the prayer is answered, though not exactly as we expected.

1. This peace is given by God. It is not the product of our own reasonings, nor of altered circumstances, but of Divine grace.

2. It is directly dependent on communion with God; for it is not so much a blessing bestowed in response to prayer as the natural consequence of approaching God in prayer. As we turn from the fretting cares of life to talk with God, we enter a new serene atmosphere above the tumults of earth, and the peace of it steals into our souls.

3. It is a peace like that of God himself. Given by God, growing out of communion with God, it has the character of God. It is a solid, deep, pure, true, lasting peace, quite different from any peace the world can give (John 14:27).

II. THIS PEACE IS BETTER THAN ANY INTELLECTUAL SATISFACTION. We are impatient for an explanation of the mysteries of providence. We would know why God has dealt with us so differently from what we had expected. We would have the veil of the future uplifted that our anxious hearts might be set at rest. But it is not possible. We are left to grope among many dark secrets while we learn to walk by faith. Nevertheless, if we have not the understanding, the peace is better. If we cannot know all, we can live trustfully with an inward quiet. Better a calm in midnight darkness than a storm in the glare of noon. For our training it is well not to know many things that God has mercifully hidden from our imperfect comprehension. If we can trust God in the darkness and be at peace in our own souls, we have the highest blessing.

III. THIS DIVINE PEACE PREVENTS OUR MINDS FROM WANDERING FROM CHRIST. It is represented as a sentinel on the watch, guarding our hearts and thoughts, and keeping them in Christ. The cares of this world tempt us from Christ with vexing doubts and distracting claims. In peace of heart our thoughts return to him. No understanding of providence and its mysteries would thus settle the Soul on the true foundation of its rest. That would not guard our hearts and thoughts because it is not the ideas of our minds but the spirit of our lives, the tone and temper and character of them, that dissuades our affections and thoughts from wandering from Christ. This, therefore, is the great commendation of the Divine peace which is given in response to the prayer of anxiety, It does not remove the trouble that causes the anxiety, but it prevents that trouble from driving us from Christ, and so secures to us the supreme blessedness of abiding in him.—W.F.A.

Philippians 4:8

The contemplation of goodness.


1. It is not enough that our deeds are pure, our thoughts must be pure also,

2. Good thoughts spring from the study of good things. We cannot touch pitch and remain undefiled. But the consideration of worthy characters and actions will insensibly fill our minds with a kindred spirit. This fact. should govern our choice of literature, friends, scenes, and occupations. It is particularly important to study objective goodness outside ourselves. This is a cure for dreamy subjectivity, for self-conceit, and for narrow notions.

II. THE GOOD CHARACTERISTICS OF MEN OF THE WORLD SHOULD BE GENEROUSLY ADMITTED. It is remarkable than the list of good things here drawn out by St. Paul consists chiefly of pagan virtues. He appears to be calling upon Christians to consider the goodness that is to be found outside the pale of the Church. I. These good characteristics exist. The world is not wholly depraved. It was not even so in the dark days of the Roman empire. One who had a keen sympathy with goodness was able then to detect the genuine indications of light amidst the gloom. The life of Care and the writings of Seneca, for example, contain much that commands our profound admiration. "There is a soul of goodness in things evil."

2. These good characteristics should be ungrudgingly recognized

III. CHRISTIANS MAY GREATLY PROFIT BY THE CONTEMPLATION OF THE GOODNESS OF MEN OF THE WORLD. It might be thought that, if this is a lower form of goodness, it would be useless to study it. But:

1. The consideration of it will widen our sympathies. It will help us better to appreciate and love our brother man. Approaching them through their good points, we shall the better influence them (e.g. see Acts 17:22). Compare Clement and Origen in their recognition of what was good in paganism, with Tertullian and his denunciation of heathen religion and philosophy as diabolical, and with Arnobius and his railing against human nature itself. Surely the Alexandrian apologists were wisest as well as most charitable.

2. The contemplation of these good things will reveal virtues not sufficiently studied by Christians. The Church has not the monoply of the virtues. If she excels in the higher graces men who do not own her name may sometimes shame her with their excellence in other respects. Christians may learn much from Plato and Epictetus and from Goethe and Carlyle.

IV. DETAILS OF GOODNESS MAY BE USEFULLY CONSIDERED. St. Paul makes a list of good things. He was in the habit of drawing out such lists. We must begin with the inward spirit of holiness in love to God and man, but we must develop our character by attention to details.

1. This excites our attention. Our imagination flags at generalities. Objective details please it best.

2. This prevents our goodness from evaporating in value sentiment.

3. This gives breadth and variety to our character. Good things are numerous and of varied types. We must beware of a narrow morality. "Whatsoever things are good," etc., are worthy of study, in order that every possible attainment of character may be reached in every possible direction.—W.F.A.

Philippians 4:11, Philippians 4:12

The secret of contentment.

I. CONTENTMENT IS A RARE AND PRECIOUS CHRISTIAN GRACE. It must be distinguished from spiritual self-satisfaction, which is sinful and fatal, and is concerned with our own inner condition, while true contentment has regard to our external circumstances. It must also be distinguished from the recklessness of folly and from the apathy of despair. It is a quiet restfulness in the midst of all kinds of changing events.

1. It is rare and difficult of attainment, because

2. Contentment is most desirable. For without it the most propitious circumstances can minister little pleasure, and with it the hardest privations can produce little distress. The important question in regard to our happiness is not—What things do we possess? but—What kind of thoughts and feelings do we experience?

3. Contentment is requisite in every condition of life. It is not only the virtue of the poor and the solace of the disappointed. Rich and prosperous people are too often also discontented people. It is harder for some to know how to abound than to know how to suffer want. Wealth brings the thirst for more wealth. Pleasure palls. Prosperity wearies. It is a grand attainment to be able to pass up and down the whole gamut of social change and to behave one's self with equanimity and contentment in every stage up from abasement to abundance and then down again from fullness to need.

II. THE SECRET OF CONTENTMENT IS TO BE LEARNED FROM CHRIST. There is a secret. Some have not yet found it out. But it exists and it is well worth seeking. To be fully understood and enjoyed it must be learned as a long, difficult, painful lesson. St. Paul had learnt it, and his example should win fresh pupils to study the same great lesson.

1. Christ gives us strength to bear varying fortunes. St. Paul could speak of his contentment because he could also say, "I can do all things in him that strengtheneth me." If we know and feel nothing beyond this, there is a certain satisfaction to be got from the mere sense of new power given to bear that which before seemed to be unbearable.

2. Christ enables us to live in faith. Thus believing that even now all things are ordered wisely and kindly by our heavenly Father, that they are working together for good not yet seen, working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, we learn to bear the present mystery of trial in hope of the future revelation of blessedness.

3. Christ leads us to live in the spiritual. This is the real secret. External circumstances are constantly changing. At best they will not satisfy the soul's deep hunger. While we live in them we are necessarily often disappointed and discontented. In the inner world of spiritual things we must find our best experience, and when this opens up to the higher world of Divine and heavenly things we have a source of unfailing peace. Resting in God we shall be content in every variety of earthly affairs.—W.F.A.

Philippians 4:13

Christian omnipotence.

The language of faith resembles in form the language of boastful presumption. But the two are essentially dissimilar. So long as our ground of confidence is not in ourselves, but in Christ, it is no mark of humility, but rather a sign of unbelief and ingratitude, for one to make little of it. There is a legitimate boasting in Christ which is quite different from the boasting of the braggart in his own resources. "My soul will make her boast in the Lord"—this the humblest may say.

I. THE TRUE CHRISTIAN IS A STRONG SOUL. He is not simply pardoned the failures of past weakness; he is prepared to be more successful in future trials. For those trials he is not merely protected by Divine armor; he is also girded by Divine strength. God does not simply hide his child in the cleft of a rock while the storm passes; he also inspires him with might wherewith to face and brave and conquer the storm even out in the open. He who protects the feeble fledglings in their warm nest also braces the strong branches of the oak to wrestle with the gale. Moreover, if strength is possible to the Christian, weakness is culpable. No one can plead his feebleness as an excuse for falling when he might have been strong in the energy of God.

II. CHRIST IS THE SOURCE OF CHRISTIAN STRENGTH. We are made strong in Christ, not in ourselves. By himself the Christian is as weak as any one else. It is union with Christ that supplies Christ's strength made perfect in our weakness.

1. Christ strengthens with an inspiration of Divine energy. The language of the apostle points to a real supply of strength, not a mere sense of courage, etc. There is a positive outflow of God's might into a soul that is united to Christ.

2. Christ strengthens by his union with us. We must be in him and he in us. Then his life-power flows through us.

3. Christ strengthens though our faith. We are able to receive Christ's energy just in proportion as we trust him, as they who were cured by him had. blessings according to their faith. The energy is not in our faith, but in Christ. Still, faith is the channel of communication. Faith can move mountains, not by reason of its own inherent virtue, but because it invokes the omnipotence of God, as the engineer starts the train when he turns on the steam.

III. THERE ARE GREAT CLAIMS ON CHRISTIAN STRENGTH. It is not allowed to rust in idleness. St. Paul writes of "all things," as though there were many things to be done in the power of Christ.

1. Troubles, temptations, and changing circumstances of life must be borne with contentment. It is in regard to this requirement that the apostle more immediately records this assurance of sufficiency of strength.

2. Duties have to be fulfilled. Christ gives strength for work as well as strength for endurance. The Christian must not only stand firmly like a rock; he must put forth active power like a Samson. The calls for strength are many and various, flesh and heart fail before them; but "they that wait on the Lord shall renew their strength," so that in Christ the heaviest burden may be borne and the hardest task accomplished and the weakest soul win the victory over the most powerful foe, with a strength which is practically omnipotent, because it is derived frown an almighty source.—W.F.A.

Philippians 4:19

A full supply.

The Philippians had "sent once and again unto" St. Paul's need (Verse 16). In return the apostle assures them that the recompense which is beyond his power will be made for him by his God, who will supply all their need. We are most enriched when we most sacrifice ourselves (Proverbs 11:24). What we give to the work of Christ we shall receive back with far more than the worth of our offerings.

I, WE ALL HAVE GREAT NEEDS THAT ONLY GOD CAN FULFIL. "Every need of yours." What a vast field this expression covers!

1. Earthly need. Few but are pressed by such need in some direction, and often to an extent that no human aid can satisfy. But we must observe that what God will supply is the need, not the desire; the two cover very different ground. God will not give what we wish, but what is requisite for us. Moreover, we cannot distinguish between the real need and our idea of what we need. It is the former only that God will supply.

2. Spiritual need. This is far larger and more important than all material wants. We need forgiveness, purification, strength, knowledge—great and glorious graces that no man can give.


1. He will fulfill the need. The fulfillment will not be as we expect it; perhaps because the need is not exactly what we imagine it to be. As God only knows the real wants of our lives, he only can rightly supply them. But not one true need will he ultimately leave unsatisfied. There is a royal abundance in the treasury of Divine grace and an unstinting generosity in the gifts from it.

2. This assurance is only for those who are faithful. St. Paul gives it to the Philippians after they have given abundant evidence of their devotion. It is not every one who can rightly be promised that his every need shall be fulfilled, nor to the unspiritual will the Divine supply of the soul's true needs seem to be such, as they will be blind to these wants and at the same time much con-corned with fancied needs of no real importance which God will certainly not supply.


1. The riches with which to supply our poverty are found in Christ. His unsearchable riches (Ephesians 2:8) consist in the grace that he brings to us in his advent and the grace that he secures for us by his death and resurrection. As we receive the highest blessings for Christ's sake they may be regarded as riches that are stored up in Christ.

2. The method of supplying our need is through sharing in the glory of Christ. The riches are in glory. They are the fruits of the triumph of Christ. Fighting under our Captain's banner, we share his triumph, enter into the same glory with him, and so enjoy his wealth of blessings.—W.F.A.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Exell, Joseph S; Spence-Jones, Henry Donald Maurice. "Commentary on Philippians 4:22". The Pulpit Commentary. 1897.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

All the saints salute you, chiefly they that are of Caesar's household.
Romans 16:16; 2 Corinthians 13:13; Hebrews 13:24; 1 Peter 5:13; 3 John 1:14
The cruel, worthless, and diabolical Nero was at this time emperor of Rome; but it is not improbable that the empress Poppaea was favourably inclined to Christianity, as Josephus relates that ([theosebes gar
Reciprocal: Luke 2:1 - Caesar;  Luke 8:3 - Herod's;  Luke 20:24 - Caesar's;  Acts 13:1 - Herod;  Acts 17:34 - the Areopagite;  1 Corinthians 1:26 - not many mighty;  1 Corinthians 16:20 - the brethren;  2 Timothy 4:21 - and all

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Philippians 4:22". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge".

Vincent's Word Studies

Of Caesar's household

Probably the slaves and freedmen attached to the palace.


Copyright Statement
The text of this work is public domain.
Bibliographical Information
Vincent, Marvin R. DD. "Commentary on Philippians 4:22". "Vincent's Word Studies in the New Testament". Charles Schribner's Sons. New York, USA. 1887.