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Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary
New American Standard Version
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Nave's Topical Bible - Commandments; Holiness; Honesty; Integrity; Purity; Righteous; Truth; Virtue; Thompson Chain Reference - Business Life; Deeper Life, the; Honesty; Life; Measures; Mind, Carnal-Spiritual; Social Duties; Thoughts; Virtues; Wise; Torrey's Topical Textbook - Conduct, Christian; Justice; Truth;
Verse 8. Finally, brethren — The object of the apostle is to recommend holiness and righteousness to them in every point of view; and to show that the Gospel of Christ requires all its professors to have the mind that was in Christ, and to walk as he himself also walked. That they were not to attend to one branch of righteousness or virtue only, but to every thing by which they might bring honour to God, good to their fellow creatures, and credit to themselves.
Whatsoever things are true — οσα αληθη. All that is agreeable to unchangeable and eternal truth. Whether that which is to be learned from the nature and state of created things, or that which comes immediately from God by revelation.
Whatsoever things are honest — οσα σιμνα. Whatever is grave, decent, and venerable. Whatever becomes you as men, as citizens, and as Christians.
Whatsoever things are just — οσα δικαια. Whatsoever is agreeable to justice and righteousness. All that ye owe to God, to your neighbour, and to yourselves.
Whatsoever things are pure — οσα αγνα. Whatsoever is chaste. In reference to the state of the mind, and to the acts of the body.
Whatsoever things are lovely — οσα προσφιλη. Whatsoever is amiable on its own account and on account of its usefulness to others, whether in your conduct or conversation.
Whatsoever things are of good report — οσα ευφημα. Whatsoever things the public agree to acknowledge as useful and profitable to men; such as charitable institutions of every kind, in which genuine Christians should ever take the lead.
If there be any virtue — If they be calculated to promote the general good of mankind, and are thus praiseworthy;
Think on these things. — Esteem them highly, recommend them heartily, and practise them fervently.
Instead of ει τις επαινος, if there be any praise, several eminent MSS., as D*EFG, add επιστημης, of knowledge; and the Vulgate and the Itala have disciplinae, of discipline; but none of these appear to be an original reading.
Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Philippians 4:8". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/philippians-4.html. 1832.
4:1-23 ENCOURAGEMENT AND THANKS
Concerning thoughts and conduct (4:1-9)
With words of warmest friendship, Paul encourages the Philippians to stand firm and not be shaken by problems that arise, whether inside the church or outside. He appeals to two women who had quarrelled to become friends again. The women had once worked with Paul, and no doubt they would be a help to the church if they were united. He asks a close friend in the church to do all he can to help these women forget their differences (4:1-3).
Above all, the Christians must at all times rejoice and be patient with one another. They must learn not to worry but to pray with thankful and believing hearts. God’s peace will then protect them from unnecessary mental and emotional tension (4-7). By filling their minds with the things that are good and honourable, they will have conduct that is good and honourable. They must remember the example Paul has given them (8-9).
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Flemming, Donald C. "Commentary on Philippians 4:8". "Brideway Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bbc/philippians-4.html. 2005.
Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honorable, 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.
Finally ... Paul had written this in Philippians 3:1; but as Caffin put it, "Again and again he prepares to close his epistle, but he cannot at once bid farewell to his beloved Philippians.
Thought control is clearly the practice Paul enjoined here. If people would live correctly in God's sight, let them think of those qualities which possess positive value. Thinking of such things will lead to speaking of them, as exemplified in the lives of associates, thus contributing to the joy and unity of Christian fellowship.
Foulkes pointed out that the strong word ([@logizomai]) Paul used here, translated "take such things into account" is Paul's way of saying, "Let such things shape your attitudes."
Of special interest in Paul's list given here is the word [@arete], translated "virtue." This is found nowhere else in Paul's letters and in only two other New Testament references (1 Peter 2:9; 2 Peter 1:3), despite the fact of its being "a frequent word in classical and Hellenistic Greek." Lightfoot believed that Paul "seems studiously to avoid this common heathen term for moral excellence." From this Lightfoot interpreted Paul's meaning to be, "Whatever value may reside in your old heathen conception of virtue, whatever consideration is due to the praise of men, etc." Barry concurred in this discernment, saying that Paul's introduction of virtue and praise after the hypothetical "if there be any" indicated that these last two words "occupy less firm and important ground" than the others (due, of course, to pagan conceptions of what the terms meant).
Despite the above, however, this writer holds this list of desirables in the highest respect, the words in their commonly accepted denotations and connotations standing for the very greatest human excellence known to man. God help all people to let their thoughts dwell upon such things as Paul enumerated here.
 B. C. Caffin, op. cit., p. 157.
 Frances Foulkes, op. cit., p. 1138.
 R. P. Martin, op. cit.,, p. 172.
 J. B. Lightfoot, St. Paul's Epistle to the Philippians (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan Publishing House, 1963), p. 162.
 Alfred Barry, op. cit., p. 87.
Coffman Commentaries reproduced by permission of Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. All other rights reserved.
Coffman, James Burton. "Commentary on Philippians 4:8". "Coffman Commentaries on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bcc/philippians-4.html. Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. 1983-1999.
Finally, brethren - As for what remains - τὸ λοιπὸν to loipon - or as a final counsel or exhortation.
Whatsoever things are true - In this exhortation the apostle assumes that there were certain things admitted to be true, and pure, and good, in the world, which had not been directly revealed, or which were commonly regarded as such by the people of the world, and his object is to show them that such things ought to be exhibited by the Christian. Everything that was honest and just toward God and toward people was to be practiced by them, and they were in all things to be examples of the highest kind of morality. They were not to exhibit partial virtues; not to perform one set of duties to the neglect or exclusion of others; not to be faithful in their duties to God, and to neglect their duty to people, not to be punctual in their religious rites, and neglectful of the comment laws of morality; but they were to do everything that could be regarded as the fair subject of commendation, and that was implied in the highest moral character. The word true refers here to everything that was the reverse of falsehood. They were to be true to their engagements; true to their promises; true in their statements; and true in their friendships. They were to maintain the truth about God; about eternity; about the judgment; and about every man’s character. Truth is a representation of things as they are; and they were constantly to live under the correct impression of objects. A man who is false to his engagements, or false in his statements and promises, is one who will always disgrace religion.
Whatsoever things are honest - σεμνὰ semna. Properly, venerable, reverend; then honorable, reputable. The word was originally used in relation to the gods, and to the things that pertained to them, as being worthy of honor or veneration - Passow. As applied to people, it commonly means grave, dignified, worthy of veneration or regard. In the New Testament it is rendered “grave” in 1Ti 3:8, 1 Timothy 3:11, and Titus 2:2, the only places where the word occurs except this; and the noun (σεμνότης semnotēs) is rendered “honesty” in 1 Timothy 2:2, and “gravity” in 1 Timothy 3:4, and Titus 2:7. It occurs nowhere else in the New Testament. The word, therefore, does not express precisely what the word “honest” does with us, as confined to dealings or business transactions, but rather has reference to what was regarded as worthy of reputation or honor; what there was in the customs of society, in the respect due to age and rank, and in the contact of the world, that deserved respect or esteem. It includes indeed what is right in the transaction of business, but it embraces also much more, and means that the Christian is to show respect to all the venerable and proper customs of society, when they did not violate conscience or interfere with the law of God; compare 1 Timothy 3:7.
Whatsoever things are just - The things which are right between man and man. A Christian should be just in all his dealings. His religion does not exempt him from the strict laws which bind people to the exercise of this virtue, and there is no way by which a professor of religion can do more injury perhaps than by injustice and dishonesty in his dealings. It is to be remembered that the people of the world, in estimating a person’s character, affix much more importance to the virtues of justice and honesty than they do to regularity in observing the ordinances of religion; and therefore if a Christian would make an impression on his fellow-men favorable to religion, it is indispensable that he manifest uncorrupted integrity in his dealings.
Whatsoever things are pure - Chaste - in thought, in feeling, and in the conversation between the sexes; compare the notes at 1 Timothy 5:2.
Whatsoever things are lovely - The word used here means properly what is dear to anyone; then what is pleasing. Here it means what is amiable - such a temper of mind that one can love it; or such as to be agreeable to others. A Christian should not be sour, crabby, or irritable in his temper - for nothing almost tends so much to injure the cause of religion as a temper always chafed; a brow morose and stern; an eye that is severe and unkind, and a disposition to find fault with everything. And yet it is to be regretted that there are many persons who make no pretensions to piety, who far surpass many professors of religion in the virtue here commended. A sour and crabby temper in a professor of religion will undo all the good that he attempts to do.
Whatsoever things are of good report - That is, whatsoever is truly reputable in the world at large. There are actions which all people agree in commending, and which in all ages and countries are regarded as virtues. courtesy, urbanity, kindness, respect for parents, purity between brothers and sisters, are among those virtues, and the Christian should be a pattern and an example in them all. His usefulness depends much more on the cultivation of these virtues than is commonly supposed.
If there be any virtue - If there is anything truly virtuous. Paul did not suppose that he had given a full catalogue of the virtues which he would have cultivated. He, therefore, adds, that if there was anything else that had the nature of true virtue in it, they should be careful to cultivate that also. The Christian should be a pattern and an example of every virtue.
And if there be any praise - Anything worthy of praise, or that ought to be praised.
Think on these things - Let them be the object of your careful attention and study, so as to practice them. Think what they are; think on the obligation to observe them; think on the influence which they would have on the world around you.
Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Philippians 4:8". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/philippians-4.html. 1870.
8. Finally What follows consists of general exhortations which relate to the whole of life. In the first place, he commends truth, which is nothing else than the integrity of a good conscience, with the fruits of it: secondly, gravity, or sanctity, for τὸ σεμνόν (240) denotes both — an excellence which consists in this, that we walk in a manner worthy of our vocation, (Ephesians 4:1,) keeping at a distance from all profane filthiness: thirdly, justice, which has to do with the mutual intercourse of mankind — that we do not injure any one, that we do not defraud any one; and, fourthly, purity, which denotes chastity in every department of life. Paul, however, does not reckon all these things to be sufficient, if we do not at the same time endeavor to make ourselves agreeable to all, in so far as we may lawfully do so in the Lord, and have regard also to our good name. For it is in this way that I understand the words —
If any praise, (241) that is, anything praiseworthy, for amidst such a corruption of manners there is so great a perversity in men’s judgments that praise is often bestowed (242) upon what is blameworthy, and it is not allowable for Christians to be desirous even of true praise among men, inasmuch as they are elsewhere forbidden to glory, except in God alone. (1 Corinthians 1:31.) Paul, therefore, does not bid them try to gain applause or commendation by virtuous actions, nor even to regulate their life according to the judgments of the people, but simply means, that they should devote themselves to the performance of good works, which merit commendation, that the wicked, and those who are enemies of the gospel, while they deride Christians and cast reproach upon them, may, nevertheless, be constrained to commend their deportment.
The word, προσφιλὢ καὶ εὔφημα however, among the Greeks, is employed, like cogitare among the Latins, to mean, meditate. (243) Now meditation comes first, afterwards follows action.
(240) The word σεμνὸν means that which has dignity connected with it. Hence σεμνὸς and μεγαλοπρεπη; are joined together by Aristotle, as quoted by Wetstein, and in Genesis 8:15.” — Storr. See Biblical Cabinet, vol. 40, p. 178, note; — Ed.
(241) “The Clermont copy reads here, εἴ τις ἔπαινος, If there be any praise of knowledge. Instead of ἐπιστήμης, the Valesian readings have παιδείες, with which the Vulg. Latin, agrees, reading, If there be any praise of discipline, ( disciplinae ,) as does also the Ethiopic, and two ancient Commentators mentioned by Dr. Mills.” — Pierce. — Ed.
(242) “ Bien souuent on loue;” — “Very frequently they praise.”
(243) Like the Latin terms cogitare, meditari , the Greek μελετᾷν signifies to contemplate a thing, with the view of, finding means for effecting it.... According to this view, ταῦτα λογίζεσθε, in the passage before us, will be equivalent to ταῦτα ποιεῖν λογίζεσθε, ‘think to do these things,’ — ‘give diligence to do them.’” — Storr. See Biblical Cabinet, vol. 40, p. 180 Note. — Ed.
Calvin, John. "Commentary on Philippians 4:8". "Calvin's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/cal/philippians-4.html. 1840-57.
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, chapter 10, 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 20:0 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 October 2, 1968, so I guess God wrote my name in the Book of Life October 2, 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 Act 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 Phi 10:00 to Phi 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. "
Copyright © 2014, Calvary Chapel of Costa Mesa, Ca.
Smith, Charles Ward. "Commentary on Philippians 4:8". "Chuck Smith Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/csc/philippians-4.html. 2014.
C. Specific duties 4:2-9
This last section (Philippians 4:2-9) of the body of the epistle (Philippians 1:27 to Philippians 4:9) deals with the same two subjects as the preceding two sections, unity and steadfastness, but in more detail. Paul gave his readers specific instructions about what they should do. Unity needed restoring, and steadfastness needed encouraging.
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Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentary on Philippians 4:8". "Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/dcc/philippians-4.html. 2012.
2. Maintaining tranquillity 4:4-9
Paul gave his readers five other brief positive exhortations, all of which are vitally important for individual and corporate Christian living. They all result in the maintenance of peace in the body so the saints can work together effectively as partners in the gospel even in the midst of opposing unbelievers.
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Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentary on Philippians 4:8". "Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/dcc/philippians-4.html. 2012.
This "Finally" signals the last of the three imperatives that explain how to stand firm (Philippians 4:1; cf. Philippians 4:2; Philippians 4:4). It also introduces Paul’s next to the last exhortation in this list that deals with what the believer should spend his or her time thinking about. This subject obviously relates to prayer since both activities involve mental concentration.
"True" (alethe) means valid, honest, and reliable (cf. Romans 3:4).
"Honorable" or "noble" (semna) means worthy of respect (cf. Proverbs 8:6; 1 Timothy 3:8; 1 Timothy 3:11; Titus 2:2).
"Right" (dikaia) refers to what is just and upright.
"Pure" (hagna) denotes cleanness and connotes moral purity.
"Lovely" (prosphile) means what is amiable, agreeable, or pleasing.
"In common parlance, this word could refer to a Beethoven symphony, as well as to the work of Mother Teresa among the poor of Calcutta; the former is lovely and enjoyable, the latter is admirable as well as moral." [Note: Fee, Paul’s Letter . . ., p. 418.]
"Of good repute" or "admirable" (euphema) refers to what is praiseworthy because it measures up to the highest standards.
Paul listed these virtues like contemporary moral philosophers of his day taught, namely, by reciting catalogues of virtues and vices. [Note: Hawthorne, p. 187.]
The conditional clause structure at the end of this sentence is a rhetorical device. It places the responsibility on the reader to make his or her own decision regarding what is excellent and praiseworthy. [Note: Kent, p. 152.]
". . . Paul seems to be drawing upon the cultural background of the Philippians and is saying to them: ’If there is such a thing as moral excellence, and you believe there is. If there is a kind of behavior that elicits universal approval, and you believe there is,’ then continue to strive for this goodness and to attain to this level of behavior that will command the praise of men and of God." [Note: Hawthorne, p. 186.]
"We are responsible for our thoughts and can hold them to high and holy ideals." [Note: Robertson, 4:460.]
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentary on Philippians 4:8". "Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/dcc/philippians-4.html. 2012.
Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true,.... To close all with respect to the duties of Christianity incumbent on the professors of it, the apostle exhorts to a regard to everything that is true; that is agreeable to the Scriptures of truth, to the Gospel the word of truth, or to the law and light of nature; and whatever was really so, even among the very Heathens, in opposition to falsehood, lying, and hypocrisy
whatsoever things [are] honest; in the sight of men; or grave, or "venerable" in speech, in action or attire, in opposition to levity, frothiness, or foppery:
whatsoever things [are] just; between man and man, or with respect both to God and men; giving to God what belongs to him, and to man what is his due; studying to exercise a conscience void of offence to both, in opposition to all impiety, injustice, violence, and oppression:
whatsoever things [are] pure; or "chaste", in words and deeds, in opposition to all filthiness and foolish talking, to obscene words and actions. The Vulgate Latin and Arabic versions render it, "whatsoever things are holy"; which are agreeable to the holy nature, law, and will of God, and which tend to promote holiness of heart and life:
whatsoever [are] lovely; which are amiable in themselves, and to be found even among mere moral men, as in the young man whom Christ as man is said to love, Mark 10:21; and which serve to cultivate and increase love, friendship, and amity among men; and which things also are grateful to God and lovely in his sight, in opposition to all contention, strife, wrath, and hatred:
whatsoever things [are] of good report; are well spoken of, and tend to get and establish a good name, which is better than precious ointment, Ecclesiastes 7:1; for though a good name, credit, and reputation among men, are to be sacrificed for the sake of Christ when called for; yet care is to be taken to preserve them by doing things which may secure them, and cause professors of religion to be well reported of; and which beautiful in all, and absolutely necessary in some:
if [there be] any virtue; anywhere, among any persons whatever, in opposition to vice:
and if [there be] any praise; that is praiseworthy among men, and deserves commendation, even though in an unjust steward, Luke 16:8, it should be regarded. The Vulgate Latin adds, "of discipline", without any authority from any copy. The Claromontane manuscript reads, "if any praise of knowledge":
think on these things: meditate upon them, revolve them in your minds, seriously consider them, and reason with yourselves about them, in order to put them into practice.
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.
A printed copy of this work can be ordered from: The Baptist Standard Bearer, 1 Iron Oaks Dr, Paris, AR, 72855
Gill, John. "Commentary on Philippians 4:8". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/philippians-4.html. 1999.
|Various Exhortations.||A. D. 62.|
1 Therefore, my brethren dearly beloved and longed for, my joy and crown, so stand fast in the Lord, my dearly beloved. 2 I beseech Euodias, and beseech Syntyche, that they be of the same mind in the Lord. 3 And I intreat thee also, true yokefellow, help those women which laboured with me in the gospel, with Clement also, and with other my fellowlabourers, whose names are in the book of life. 4 Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice. 5 Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand. 6 Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. 7 And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. 8 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. 9 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.
The apostle begins the chapter with exhortations to divers Christian duties.
I. To stedfastness in our Christian profession, Philippians 4:1; Philippians 4:1. It is inferred from the close of the foregoing chapter: Therefore stand fast, c. Seeing our conversation is in heaven, and we look for the Saviour to come thence and fetch us thither, therefore let us stand fast. Note, The believing hope and prospect of eternal life should engage us to be steady, even, and constant, in our Christian course. Observe here,
1. The compellations are very endearing: My brethren, dearly beloved and longed for, my joy and crown and again, My dearly beloved. Thus he expresses the pleasure he took in them, the kindness he had for them, to convey his exhortations to them with so much the greater advantage. He looked upon them as his brethren, though he was a great apostle. All we are brethren. There is difference of gifts, graces, and attainments, yet, being renewed by the same Spirit, after the same image, we are brethren; as the children of the same parents, though of different ages, statures, and complexions. Being brethren, (1.) He loved them, and loved them dearly: Dearly beloved; and again, My dearly beloved. Warm affections become ministers and Christians towards one another. Brotherly love must always go along with brotherly relation. (2.) He loved them and longed for them, longed to see them and hear from them, longed for their welfare and was earnestly desirous of it. I long after you all in the bowels of Jesus Christ,Philippians 1:8; Philippians 1:8. (3.) He loved them and rejoiced in them. They were his joy; he had no greater joy than to hear of their spiritual health and prosperity. I rejoiced greatly that I found of thy children walking in the truth,2 John 1:4; 3 John 1:4. (4.) he loved them and gloried in them. They were his crown as well as his joy. Never was proud ambitious man more pleased with the ensigns of honour than Paul was with the evidences of the sincerity of their faith and obedience. All this is to prepare his way to greater regard.
2. The exhortation itself: So stand fast in the Lord. Being in Christ, they must stand fast in him, be even and steady in their walk with him, and close and constant unto the end. Or, To stand fast in the Lord is to stand fast in his strength and by his grace; not trusting in ourselves, and disclaiming any sufficiency of our own. We must be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might,Ephesians 6:10. "So stand fast, so as you have done hitherto, stand fast unto the end, so as you are by beloved, and my joy and crown; so stand fast as those in whose welfare and perseverance I am so nearly interested and concerned."
II. He exhorts them to unanimity and mutual assistance (Philippians 4:2; Philippians 4:3): I beseech Euodias and Syntyche that they be of the same mind in the Lord. This is directed to some particular persons. Sometimes there is need of applying the general precepts of the gospel to particular persons and cases. Euodias and Syntyche, it seems, were at variance, either one with the other or with the church; either upon a civil account (it may be they were engaged in a law-suit) or upon a religious account--it may be they were of different opinions and sentiments. "Pray," says he, "desire them from me to be of the same mind in the Lord, to keep the peace and live in love, to be of the same mind one with another, not thwarting and contradicting, and to be of the same mind with the rest of the church, not acting in opposition to them." Then he exhorts to mutual assistance (Philippians 4:3; Philippians 4:3), and this exhortation he directs to particular persons: I entreat thee also, true yoke-fellow. Who this person was whom he calls true yoke-fellow is uncertain. Some think Epaphroditus, who is supposed to have been one of the pastors of the church of the Philippians. Others think it was some eminently good woman, perhaps Paul's wife, because he exhorts his yoke-fellow to help the women who laboured with him. Whoever was the yoke-fellow with the apostle must be a yoke-fellow too with his friends. It seems, there were women who laboured with Paul in the gospel; not in the public ministry (for the apostle expressly forbids that, 1 Timothy 2:12, I suffer not a woman to teach), but by entertaining the ministers, visiting the sick, instructing the ignorant, convincing the erroneous. Thus women may be helpful to ministers in the work of the gospel. Now, says the apostle, do thou help them. Those who help others should be helped themselves when there is occasion. "Help them, that is, join with them, strengthen their hands, encourage them in their difficulties."--With Clement also, and other my fellow-labourers. Paul had a kindness for all his fellow-labourers; and, as he had found the benefit of their assistance, he concluded how comfortable it would be to them to have the assistance of others. Of his fellow-labourers he says, Whose names are in the book of life; either they were chosen of God from all eternity, or registered and enrolled in the corporation and society to which the privilege of eternal life belongs, alluding to the custom among the Jews and Gentiles of registering the inhabitants or the freemen of the city. So we read of their names being written in heaven (Luke 10:20), not blotting his name out of the book of life (Revelation 3:5), and of those who are written in the Lamb's book of life,Revelation 21:27. Observe, There is a book of life; there are names in that book and not characters and conditions only. We cannot search into that book, or know whose names are written there; but we may, in a judgment of charity, conclude that those who labour in the gospel, and are faithful to the interest of Christ and souls, have their names in the book of life.
III. He exhorts to holy joy and delight in God: Rejoice in the Lord always, and again I say, Rejoice,Philippians 4:4; Philippians 4:4. All our joy must terminate in God; and our thoughts of God must be delightful thoughts. Delight thyself in the Lord (Psalms 37:4), in the multitude of our thoughts within us (grievous and afflicting thoughts) his comforts delight our souls (Psalms 94:19), and our meditation of him is sweet,Psalms 104:34. Observe, It is our duty and privilege to rejoice in God, and to rejoice in him always; at all times, in all conditions; even when we suffer for him, or are afflicted by him. We must not think the worse of him or of his ways for the hardships we meet with in his service. There is enough in God to furnish us with matter of joy in the worst circumstance on earth. He had said it before (Philippians 3:1; Philippians 3:1): Finally, my brethren, rejoice in the Lord. Here he says it again, Rejoice in the Lord always; and again I say Rejoice. Joy in God is a duty of great consequence in the Christian life; and Christians need to be again and again called to it. If good men have not a continual feast, it is their own fault.
IV. We are here exhorted to candour and gentleness, and good temper towards our brethren: "Let your moderation be known to all men,Philippians 4:5; Philippians 4:5. In things indifferent do not run into extremes; avoid bigotry and animosity; judge charitably concerning one another." The word to epieikes signifies a good disposition towards other men; and this moderation is explained, Romans 14:1-23. Some understand it of the patient bearing of afflictions, or the sober enjoyment of worldly good; and so it well agrees with the Philippians 4:6. The reason is, the Lord is at hand. The consideration of our Master's approach, and our final account, should keep us from smiting our fellow-servants, support us under present sufferings, and moderate our affections to outward good. "He will take vengeance on your enemies, and reward your patience."
V. Here is a caution against disquieting perplexing care (Philippians 4:6; Philippians 4:6): Be careful for nothing--meden merimnate: the same expression with that Matthew 6:25, Take no thought for your life; that is, avoid anxious care and distracting thought in the wants and difficulties of life. Observe, It is the duty and interest of Christians to live without care. There is a care of diligence which is our duty, and consists in a wise forecast and due concern; but there is a care of diffidence and distrust which is our sin and folly, and which only perplexes and distracts the mind. "Be careful for nothing, so as by your care to distrust God, and unfit yourselves for his service."
VI. As a sovereign antidote against perplexing care he recommends to us constant prayer: In every thing by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God. Observe, 1. We must not only keep up stated times for prayer, but we must pray upon every particular emergency: In every thing by prayer. When any thing burdens our spirits, we must ease our minds by prayer; when our affairs are perplexed or distressed, we must seek direction and support. 2. We must join thanksgiving with our prayers and supplications. We must not only seek supplies of good, but own receipts of mercy. Grateful acknowledgments of what we have argue a right disposition of mind, and are prevailing motives for further blessings. 3. Prayer is the offering up of our desires to God, or making them known to him: Let your requests be made known to God. Not that God needs to be told either our wants or desires; for he knows them better than we can tell him: but he will know them from us, and have us show our regards and concern, express our value of the mercy and sense of our dependence on him. 4. The effect of this will be the peace of God keeping our hearts,Philippians 4:7; Philippians 4:7. The peace of God, that is, the comfortable sense of our reconciliation to God and interest in his favour, and the hope of the heavenly blessedness, and enjoyment of God hereafter, which passeth all understanding, is a great good than can be sufficiently valued or duly expressed. It has not entered into the heart of man, 1 Corinthians 2:9. This peace will keep our hearts and minds through Christ Jesus; it will keep us from sinning under our troubles, and from sinking under them; keep us calm and sedate, without discomposure of passion, and with inward satisfaction. Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on thee,Isaiah 26:3.
VII. We are exhorted to get and keep a good name, a name for good things with God and good men: Whatsoever things are true and honest (Philippians 4:8; Philippians 4:8), a regard to truth in our words and engagements, and to decency and becomingness in our behaviour, suitable to our circumstances and condition of life. Whatsoever things are just and pure,--agreeable to the rules of justice and righteousness in all our dealings with men, and without the impurity or mixture of sin. Whatsoever things are lovely and of good report, that is, amiable; that will render us beloved, and make us well spoken of, as well as well thought of, by others. If there is any virtue, if there is any praise--any thing really virtuous of any kind and worthy of commendation. Observe, 1. The apostle would have the Christians learn any thing which was good of their heathen neighbours: "If there be any virtue, think of these things--imitate them in what is truly excellent among them, and let not them outdo you in any instance of goodness." We should not be ashamed to learn any good thing of bad men, or those who have not our advantages. 2. Virtue has its praise, and will have. We should walk in all the ways of virtue, and abide therein; and then, whether our praise be of men or no, it will be of God, Romans 2:29.
In these things he proposes himself to them for an example (Philippians 4:9; Philippians 4:9): Those things which you have learned, and received, and heard and seen in me, do. Observe, Paul's doctrine and life were of a piece. What they saw in him was the same thing with what they heard from him. He could propose himself as well as his doctrine to their imitation. It gives a great force to what we say to others when we can appeal to what they have seen in us. And this is the way to have the God of peace with us--to keep close to our duty to him. The Lord is with us while we are with him.
These files are public domain and are a derivative of an electronic edition that is available on the Christian Classics Ethereal Library Website.
Henry, Matthew. "Complete Commentary on Philippians 4:8". "Matthew Henry Complete Commentary on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mhm/philippians-4.html. 1706.
the Week of Proper 12 / Ordinary 17