Commentary On Philippians
By Jonathan Mitchell

Jump to Chapter One, Two, Three, Four

Chapter One

1. Paul and Timothy, slaves of Christ Jesus for (or: to) all the set-apart folks (the holy ones; the saints) within and in union with Christ Jesus, to those being in Philippi, together with care-givers (folks keeping a watchful eye upon [people and situations]; those noting and being concerned for others; overseers) and attending servants:

Note that, using Paul's and Timothy's examples, we are not primarily slaving for God, but for people. We belong to God and represent Him, but our work for Him is as He is within human beings. Recall the parable by Jesus about the sheep who ministered to Him by ministering to those in need. The kids (immature goats) missed where He was living, so did not do anything for Him – even though they probably had lots of ritual "praise and worship."

Keep in mind that our sphere of existence is "within Christ Jesus," and that our relationship with Him is "in union with" Him. This is what makes us "set apart," and holy (no longer profane). Our relationship is not one of a vassal on his knees before a feudal king, but seated together with Him in His throne (Eph. 2:6), or joined in intimate union with His as His bride/wife (Rev. 19:7), to then produce the fruit of His Spirit. Yet we regard Him as Lord, which also means Owner, Master. And recall that He calls us "friends" (John 15:14, 15).

Paul addresses this letter to those whom I have rendered as "care-givers" and "attending servants." Others, coming from an institutional and hierarchal mindset render these words "overseers and deacons" (NIV, NASB), "bishops and deacons" (NRSV, Berkeley Version, KJV), "those who are in charge of the congregation and those who are engaged in its service" (Barclay), "overseers and ministers" (The New American Bible), "pastors and helpers" (Beck: An American Translation), "presiding elders and deacons" (The Jerusalem Bible), "superintendents and assistants" (Goodspeed) – to cite a few. Now the folks serving in these functions may have been "congregation leaders, and those serving the congregation" as David Stern terms them in his Jewish NT, but I wanted to emphasize the "ground level" functions of these terms as Jesus described the work done in Matt. 25:35-36.

Recall that Jesus told his students to not be called Rabbi (= teacher) or father (Matt. 23:7, 8), and He chided the Pharisees for loving "the uppermost seats in the synagogues" and distinctive greetings (which indicate their position in society) in the market places (Lu. 11:43; 20:46). Here Paul refers to himself and to Timothy as slaves: the lowest position in their society. So I doubt that he was addressing this letter to people of high status in the called-out community or to people of an "office" or "position of authority," but rather to the "care-givers" who oversaw to the needs of the needy, and gave attending service to others (Acts 6:1-2 use both the noun and the verb of this last word in reference to serving food to folks).

2. Grace and peace (or: Favor and harmony [= shalom]) to you folks from God, our Father and Lord, Jesus Christ (or: from God, our Father, and [the] Lord, Jesus [the] Anointed One).

Paul's greetings to these folks is also his central message, the over-arching subject of this letter: grace and peace. He often ends his letters with a similar statement. In the Greek text there is no definite article before the word "Lord," so I have given two possible renderings of the phrase which follows the word "God" – you may choose according to your theology.

3. I constantly give thanks (or: habitually speak of the goodness of grace) to my God upon every memory (or: recollection; or: mention) of you folks,

4. at all times (or: always) in my every request (or: petition) over [the situation of] you all (or: on behalf of all of you folks), habitually making the request (or: petition) with joy

5. upon [the awareness of] your common share (partnership; communion; participation; fellowship; contribution) into the message of goodness and well- being (or: good news), from the first day until the present moment (now),

6. being persuaded and convinced of this very thing: that the One inwardly beginning (making an inward start; inciting; inwardly originating [note: in the context of sacrifices, this word meant “to begin the offering”]) a good work, a virtuous action or an excellent deed within you people (or: among you folks; or: in union with you [all]), will fully bring it to the goal (will be bringing perfection upon it; shall continue upon it to the final act and finished product: its completion) – until (or: right up to) [the] Day of or from Christ Jesus [with other MSS: as far as a Day which is Jesus Christ]! –

In vs. 3 I give, parenthetically, the meaning of the verb "give thanks" from the meaning of the elements which make up the word. This presents a deeper insight into that for which Paul is "giving thanks." He goes on, in vs. 4, stating that he does this "at all times" and also makes request to God concerning their situation – making his petition "with joy," not with concern or worry.

His joy comes from his awareness of their solidarity with the message of Christ, the good news of God's goodness and the well-being which Christ brings. They have shared in and partnered with this from the time they first heard it.

Vs. 6 declares a wonderful promise: first that it is God (the One) Who begins the work in us, and births good works from us, and second that He is the One Who will bring it to the goal – He will bring us, and our works to the perfection and finished product, and will continue upon it to the final act! The function of the Greek preposition "en" as "in union with" give the sense of God working with us, in union with our works to bring them to a finished product.

In Paul's day, he was looking ahead to "[the] Day of Christ Jesus" which is another way of saying "the Day of the Lord" – which was an Old Testament term for God coming in judgment, and which we can look back in history to see such a coming in AD 70. But note that there is no definite article before "Day" in the text, so it can read "a day of or from Christ Jesus." This could refer to an eschatological day in a metaphorical sense that we are children of the Day (Christ – 1 Thes. 5:5), referring to the coming of the Light in Christ and the new day of the new creation. Or, it could refer to a day in our lives when He personally visits us with an evaluation and a decision for us. When any work in us or through us comes to completion, our work may be judged by His fire, as in 1 Cor. 3:12-17, where in vs. 13 he says,

"each one's work will make itself to be visible in clear light (or: will become apparent), for the Day will make [it] evident (show [it] plainly). Because it is being progressively unveiled (continually revealed) within the midst of Fire, and the Fire, Itself, will test, examine and put to the proof (or: prove by testing) what sort of work each one's exists being."

Paul does not say here that this happens only at the end of our lives. I suggest that in our daily lives we repeatedly come to times of fiery trials that prove our deeds and actions.

7. just as (or: correspondingly as) it is fair for me (or: it is right in me; it accords with the Way pointed out to me) to habitually think this regarding all of you folks (or: to continuously have this opinion and disposition over you all), because of the [situation for] me to constantly hold (or: have) you folks within my heart, both within my bonds (fetters; chains) and within the verbal defense (a word spoken from and on behalf of) and legally valid confirmation (the placement on a good footing to establish and make firm and steadfast) of the message of goodness and well-being (or: good news) – you all being my co-participants (common partners; fellow-sharers together) of the grace and joyous favor! (or: ... to continuously possess you people in the midst of the core of my being – you all being my joint-partners of this grace, both in union with my imprisonments and in verification of the good news!)

Paul continues his thoughts about those in Philippi, from vs. 6 into vs. 7, saying that it is fair and right for him to thus think about them since he constantly holds them in his heart. I have give two readings of the Greek syntax; translators take one of these two interpretations, as either makes good sense: 1) he has them in his heart both within his confinement and as he makes verbal defense and confirmation of the message, since they are co-participants of grace; 2) he holds them there because they are his joint-partners of this grace in both aspects: in his imprisonments and in the verification of the good news. The first emphasizes them being in his heart as he endures imprisonment and makes a defense of the message of goodness; the second emphasizes their participation with him in these two things.

8. You see, God [is] my witness (or: evidence), how I continually long (or: yearn) for all you folks within the inner seat of Jesus Christ's tender emotions (upper internal organs – heart, liver, lungs; = compassions).

Here Paul states that his own emotion are immersed within the tender emotions of Jesus – showing his union with Christ, being "one spirit" with the Lord (1 Cor. 6:17). This of course shows that Paul is thus also expressing Christ's emotions toward the called-out communities. The Lord also longs for us.

9. And this I habitually think and speak toward things being well (or: pray): that your love may continually and would progressively encompass with surpassing abundance still more and more, within full and accurate experiential and intimate knowledge and all insight and sensible perception,

The goal is for our LOVE to continually and progressively encompass people and situations (as expressed in vs. 10), WITH SURPASSING ABUNDANCE, still MORE AND MORE! But wait, there is more! This is to happen within full and accurate experiential and intimate knowledge and all insight and sensible perception. Such can only be accomplished by His Breath-effect and ability. This is an example of vs. 6: the good work that Christ undertook in us, and will be bringing it to completion.

10. into the [situation for] you folks to habitually test, examine and determine (or: make sure by proving) the things that carry through and are thus of consequence or make a difference, so that you may constantly be (continually exist being) folks judged by the light of the sun (thus: clearly sincere and with integrity) and ones [that are] not stumbling or jarring against [anything] nor striking toward [someone] and causing trouble, on into the Day of Christ,

With the growing and encompassing love together with intimate personal insight and knowledge, we are equipped to live a life that habitually tests and examines concepts and situations so as to make a determination about what is significant and important – things of consequence that make a difference in life. In doing this we are also brought into the Light of God where He evaluates us and makes a judgment about our growth, while directing our steps so that we do not jar or offend others or cause trouble – on into the Day of Christ.

11. being folks having been filled full with [the] Fruit of fair and equitable dealings which bring right relationship within the Way pointed out: the one [that is] through Jesus Christ [that is] leading into God's glory (good reputation and manifestation of that which calls forth admiration) and praise (approval and commendation) (or: being those filled full of fruit of a rightwised nature through Jesus Christ, which proceeds into glory and praise that belongs to and pertains to God; or: ... through Jesus Christ, with a view to inhabiting the qualities and characteristics of God's reputation and praise).

Here Paul points out the condition that results from His Light evaluating us and leading us in His path: we grow and become filled (passive voice – this happens to us due to our union with Christ, who is the One evaluating and directing us) with the Fruit of living a rightwised life that is in right (equitably joined) relationships. All this comes "through Jesus Christ" being within, and in union with, us. this Path (Christ-life) leads us into His glory and praise. Note the parenthetical expansions. The final parenthesis gives two other options for rendering this last clause. Each gives its own insight, and each presents a magnificent picture of where He is leading us: farther into Himself and His glory.

12. Now I am constantly intending (purposing and deciding for) you folks to habitually know through intimate experience, brothers, that the affairs pertaining to me have rather come, and yet remain, into an advancement (a progression; a striking ahead) of God's message of goodness and well-being,

13. so that my bonds (prison fetters) [are] clearly seen (visible; apparent; illuminated so as to be widely known) to be within Christ, within the whole of the praetorium (the living quarters of the emperor's guards), and among all those left over (the rest; the remaining ones),

14. and by my bonds most of the brothers (= the majority of the fellow believers), having become persuaded and now being confident in the Lord, [are] to a greater degree (or: more exceedingly) courageously daring to be fearlessly continuing to speak the Word of God (or: God’s thoughts and message)!

As elsewhere, Paul's predicaments effect an advancement of God's message. May it be so with us. Thus it is evident that his bonds (and whatever restrains we may have) are clearly seen to be in Christ. His life is a witness to those about him; His very predicament and hard circumstances are giving courage to the majority of the fellow believers, and they, despite seeing what has happened to Paul, are fearlessly continuing to speak God's word and message.

15. Certain folks (or: Some), indeed, are also habitually proclaiming (or: are even heralding, publishing and preaching) the Christ through (or: because of) envy, jealousy and rivalry, as well as strife (discord; debate); yet also, certain ones (or: some) through delight (or: because of a good disposition and a good opinion [about it]; or: through thinking well [of it and/or people]; because of approval [of the message]; or: = because they are pleased to do it).

In vs. 14 he has just said that his bonds gave the majority of the believers confidence to fearlessly speak God's message, but we see that their hearts were manifested, for they were doing it for different reasons, which vs. 16 & 17 define. The word "delight" has a fairly broad semantic range, and indicated in the expansion, so I suggest that those doing it for positive reasons also varied in these reasons.

16. These, on the one hand, forth from out of love – having seen and thus knowing that I am constantly lying into (or: repeatedly located with a view to; habitually being laid down, and thus set into the midst of) a defense of the news of well-being and message of goodness.

17. Yet those, on the other hand, from out of faction (partisan purposes; contentiousness; or: from self-interest, or from a motive of financial gain, or to enhance their careers) are habitually announcing in accord with the message of the Christ, not purely (= with pure motives) – being ones habitually presuming (or: supposing) to be repeatedly arousing and raising up squeezing (pressure; affliction; tribulation; oppression) to (or: for) my bonds (in my imprisonment).

As to vs. 16, we could today say that Paul was repeatedly "lying in prison," and "lying" is the core meaning of this word, but he is using it in its more figurative sense, as the expansion shows. His position was that of defending the message of God's goodness. We see elsewhere that much of this defense was against the attacks of the Jews and their religion.

I find it interesting that Paul recognized that some fellow believers had either factious motives, or motives for personal gain (the Greek word here originally meant "working for pay," but later came to also mean seeking an office for a career, or having a partisan motive), and that their jealousy made them preach all the more just to bring greater affliction upon and oppression to Paul's situation. Still for these negative motivations they kept on "announcing in accord with the message of the Christ!"

18. For what? (or: So what?; = What difference does it make?) That moreover, in every direction (or: by every turn; by every method), whether in pretense (as a cloak for other purposes) or in truth (reality; essential essence), Christ is continually being correspondingly announced, and in this I constantly rejoice.

Paul saw that God was working even the negative into good (Rom. 8:28), and that Christ is being correspondingly announced in every direction, on every turn, and by every method. Let us also rejoice with Paul as we see the same today.

19. For I am aware (have seen and thus know) that this will step away into deliverance (rescue; health and wholeness; salvation) for me (and: in me) through your request and the supply (support; provision) of the Spirit of Jesus Christ (or: of the spirit pertaining to and having the characteristics of Jesus Christ; the Breath-effect which is Jesus, [the] Anointed),

20. in accordance with my looking away – with my head stretched out to watch – and [the] expectation (or: hope) that within nothing will I be put to shame (disgrace; embarrassment), but to the contrary, within all freedom of speech (boldness and public openness which comes from being a citizen) – as always, even now (at the present moment) – Christ will be made great (be magnified; be enlarged) within my body, whether through life, or through death!

The last phrase of vs. 20, "or through death," shows that Paul had a broad understanding of the concept of "deliverance," of which he spoke in vs. 19. The increased proclaiming of the message would bring some sort of climax – either his freedom from prison, or his death. Nonetheless, he had confidence in both the request on his behalf by those at Philippi, and the supply, support and provision from the Spirit of Jesus Christ. These would combine to cause a stepping away into deliverance for him, and in him. They gave him an expectation, for which he was eagerly watching. They brought him all freedom of speech, and he knew that Christ would be made great within his body. May we all view our predicaments in this way.

21. For you see, to me, to be living [is] Christ (or: For the [situation] in me and for me, life [is the] Anointed One), and to be dying [is] gain (advantage; profit).

What a profound statement that describes life in the Spirit, participation in His reign, union with Christ. This, too, should be our mindset and our world-view. It applies both literally and figuratively.

22. Yet since (or: Now if) [p46, D: Whether] the [situation] is to continue living within flesh (= in a physical body in the natural realm), this for me (or: in me) [will be] a fruit from work (produce relating to [my] action) – and so what (or: which) I will [p46, B: I should and could] choose (take to myself in preference) I am not presently making known.

It would seem that Paul regarded himself as having a part in this decision, and for him to "continue living within flesh" was related to the result of someone's work, or perhaps his own action. But he was not saying what his choice would be.

23. So I am being continuously held together (or: caught; squeezed) from out of the two: constantly having the craving (holding the strong desire and impulse) into the [situation] to untie and lose back up again [as in loosing tent pins and ropes when striking camp, or loosing moorings to set sail], and to be (to exist being) together with Christ – for [that is] rather to a much higher rank (a more advantageous situation; a more profitable thing; [it is] much better)!

On the one hand he wanted to move on – pull up his tent pegs and continue down the trail in the next realm, for he knew that this meant being together with Christ, which would include His body in that realm, and he regarded that as a more advantageous situation.

24. Yet the [situation] to be staying (remaining-on) in the flesh [is] more necessary (indispensable; a more forced constraint) because of you folks.

Yet he loved and felt solidarity with the called-out communities in this present realm, and realized that they needed him.

25. So, having been persuaded and still being convinced of this, I have seen and thus know that I will remain on, and shall be abiding (dwelling so as to be ready to give aid) together alongside with (or: among) all you folks – on into your progress (or: cutting or striking a passage forward; advancement) and joy that comes from, belongs to and has the characteristics of the Faith (or: which is the trust, conviction and loyalty),

So now he goes on to tell them the decision, and he did remain – on into the next decade – and although he apparently remained in custody, he likely had continued contact with them as they cut their passage forward, and he continued in their joy that comes from the faith, and which belongs to and is trust, conviction and loyalty. The expansions of the last phrase present the possibilities of the Greek being either an ablative or a genitive, along with its potential functions and the semantic range of the noun "faith/trust/conviction/loyalty."

26. to the end that, in me – [that is], through my presence again face to face with you – your loud-tongued exultation (or: your justification for boasting) in Christ Jesus (or: in union with [the] Anointed Jesus) may surround [you] in excessive abundance.

His hope was that he would see them face-to-face, and that this would surround them with an exceeding abundance of exultation. Here we see Paul's heart, and the loving solidarity that he had with these folks.

27. Only, by habit live (or: continue living) worthily, as citizens with behavior corresponding in value to Christ's good news (message of goodness), so that whether coming and seeing to become acquainted, or continuing absent, I may go on hearing about you folks (the things concerning you): that you are constantly and progressively standing firm within the midst of and in union with one Breath-effect (or: = steadfastly united in spirit), continuing to be corporately striving in one soul (by one inner life competing side-by-side in the public games) by the faith that comes from the good news (or: in the faith that belongs to and pertains to the message of goodness and well-being; or: by the trust which is the message of wellness and ease),

As usual, Paul turns to practical admonitions. They are to live as worthy citizens – and I suggest that he means citizens that bring a good reputation about Christ to their city and region, as well as citizens of the Jerusalem which is above (Gal. 4:26) that correspond to the message of the goodness of God's kingdom, being appropriate representatives of God, Who is love. He also wants to hear that they are constantly and progressively standing firm in the Spirit, living in union with God's Breath-effect. This could also refer to the entire community of called-out folks being "steadfastly united in sprit," this last rendering leading into their corporately contenting for the kingdom, as having one soul (= mind, will, purpose, feeling).

The ability to be "as one" comes by the faith that is inherent in the message of goodness and well-being, as well as in the trust which in fact is this wellness and ease in Christ.

28. even constantly being folks [that are] in nothing startled, intimidated or frightened by (or: under) the opponents (the ones continuously lying in the opposing position) – which is a public indication (a pointing-out as of display; or: a showing within) of loss (ruin; destruction) for (or: to) them, yet of deliverance (wholeness, health, rescue and salvation) to, for and among you folks [other MSS: in and among us; others: of your deliverance], and this [is] from God,

They are not to be frightened, startled or intimidated by those who oppose them – whether they be the Jews, or folks from pagan religions, or the Roman government. This lack of fear and failure to be intimidated publicly displays God's deliverance of both the individuals and of their community, while at the same time showing that their opponents have lost ground in their attempts, as well as indicating their moral ruin and the destruction of community solidarity. Individual loss and ruin is the current state of being of those who oppose Christ. The Light of the called-out folks stands in stark contrast to the darkness of lifeless religions and dominating social systems.

29. because to you folks it is given by grace (or: He graciously was given in you people, as a favor for you people), over the [issue] of, and on behalf of, Christ, not only to be progressively believing and habitually trusting into Him, but further, also, to be repeatedly having sensible experiences over Him (or: to constantly experience feelings and impressions on behalf of Him; to habitually suffer and be ill used for His sake; to be continuously affected on account of the things pertaining to Him) –

30. constantly having (or: continuously holding) the very (or: the same) contest in the public games (or: race in the stadium; agonizing struggle in the gathered assembly) such as you saw (or: perceive) within me and now are presently hearing in me (or: and at this moment are repeatedly hearing [to be] in me).

The deliverance and salvation spoken of in vs. 28 brings the gift of grace and favor to them, as well as the ability to progressively believe and continue trusting over the issue of, and on behalf of, Christ. This is a key understanding of how the proclaiming of the Word of God works upon the souls of those who are blessed because of having ears that are presently and habitually hearing (Matt. 13:16).

Note, however, that the syntax of the first clause in vs. 29 allows the parenthetical reading, speaking of Christ being given in us and for us, through the death and resurrection of Christ, and then the outpouring of His Spirit, so that His body would both believe and have experiences via their senses, in regard to Him.

Vs. 29 next tells us, via the first rendering, that we are graced and favored for the following, giving the semantic range of the Greek expression:

1) to be repeatedly having sensible experiences over Him
2) to constantly experience feelings and impressions on behalf of Him
3) to habitually suffer and be ill used for His sake
4) to be continuously affected on account of the things pertaining to Him.

These are all expressions of the Christian life, and we are "graced" to have these experiences as they relate to Him, and we need this gifting of grace in order to go through them.

In vs. 30 Paul uses the metaphor of the stadium games, and the race course there, to give his readers an analogy for the things which in vs. 29 he said that they would experience. He used his own life and experiences as a point of reference for them, and for us. Sometimes it would be an agonizing struggle.

Jump to Chapter One, Two, Three, Four

Chapter Two

1. If, then, [there exists] any calling-alongside to receive relief, aid, encouragement, consolation, comfort or supporting influence (or: any receiving of the work of a paraclete) within Christ or in union with [the] Anointing, if [there is] any spoken comfort and consolation of love (belonging to love; having a source in love; or: which is love), if any communion (common participation; fellowship; partnership; sharing) of Breath-effect (or: belonging to spirit; having spirit or Breath as its source), if any tender emotions (literally: upper internal organs) and compassions (or: pities),

Note all the qualities and personal emotions, gifts and supports that are supplied in Christ and His Anointing:

1) the work of the Paraclete: relief, aid, support, comfort, encouragement, etc.
2) spoken comfort and consolation from love
3) communion of spirit, sharing of [the] Breath-effect, partnership from the Spirit, common participation from the Spirit
4) tender emotions
5) compassions

Do we avail ourselves of these things, or are we aware of them in our lives? They can often come through His body, or from within us – from wherever there is Christ, or the Anointing.

2. fill my joy full, so that you folks may be continually having the same frame of mind (may be mutually disposed; may have the same opinion; may mind the same thing), habitually holding (or: having) the same Love: folks joined together in soul (inner life of feelings, will, heart and mind), continuously minding The One (or: habitually holding one opinion; constantly thinking one thing; regularly disposed to one [purpose]) –

Having "the same frame of mind," or a mutual disposition and opinion, or even focusing on the same thing, describes a unity of spirit and purpose.

Holding the same Love (Christ's love; the Love which is Christ) will mean that they are joined together in soul (the inner self; the feelings; the will; the existential being), for the love of Christ holds us together (2 Cor. 5:14).

Minding The One, means keeping our focus on God. Or, it can mean the group having one thought, idea, purpose, etc. – repeating what was said in the first clause. All this made Paul's joy full.

3. nothing down from (or: along the line of; corresponding to; or: descending to) party interests (hireling-like contention; faction; self-serving; or: from a motive of financial gain, or to enhance one's career) nor down from (or: along the line of; corresponding to; or: descending to) empty reputation (futile opinion; vainglory; fruitless appearance) – but rather, in humility (or: by an attitude of being in a low station; in humbleness of disposition and way of thinking) constantly considering one another (or: each other) [as] those habitually holding [a position] above themselves,

Here Paul gives two characteristics (given with each word's semantic range) of behaviors that are in contrast to what he has just said in the last clause:

1) party interests, hireling-like contention, faction, self-serving, from a motive of financial gain, or to enhance a career
2) empty reputation, futile opinion, vainglory, fruitless appearance.

All of these are opposed to the spirit and attitude of Christ. My wife Lynda pointed out that folks who operate from these motives are similar to those in Corinth who aligned themselves with one teacher in opposition to the teachings of others:

"each of you is habitually saying, "I, myself, am indeed [a follower] of Paul," yet [another], "I, myself, belong to Apollos," and [another], "As for me, I [am] of Cephas' [group]," but [another], "I, myself, [am] from Christ." Christ has been parted and remains divided into fragments! (or, as a question: Has Christ been fragmented into divided parts?) – 1 Cor. 1:12-13.

Don Luther comments, “Nothing down from... party interests...” I see this as a lofty position that we assume toward others. It is our unassailable castle down from which we dispense grace... or not. Christ had a legitimate place from which to give us gifts... the Father. But He did not serve us from there. He came into our low estate and became the servant."

Paul goes on to give the appropriate alternative for their mutual behaviors and attitudes: being in humble spirit with an attitude of someone who is in a low social station; being folks who as a way of life considers each other as being in a higher position than themselves, therefore always giving honor and showing respect.

4. not each one continuing to attentively view (keeping an eye on and noting) the things pertaining to themselves, but to the contrary, each one [viewing] even the things pertaining to others (or: different folks).

This is another call to love – to not be self-centered nor focused on our own concerns or our own group, but rather to focus on the needs and concerns of other folks and those outside our own circle: those outside our own family, group of friends, culture and country.

5. You see, this way of thinking (this attitude and disposition) is continuously within and among you folks (or, as an imperative: So let this minding be habitually within you folks) – which [is] also within Christ Jesus,

The spelling of the verb is either indicative or imperative, thus the two renderings. But the main thing is that this mindset and attitude, as described in vs. 4, is Christ's way of thinking, His disposition toward people. He is more concerned about us than about Himself.

6. Who, starting and continuing as inherently existing (or: beginning under; subsisting) within God's form (or: an outward mold which is God), He does not consider the [situation] to be equals in God a plunder (or: a pillaging; a robbery; a snatching; or: a thing or situation seized and held), (or: Who, [although] constantly humbly and supportively ruling in union with an external shape and an outward appearance from God, did not give consideration to a seizure: the [situation] to continuously exist being the same things as God, even on the same levels in God, or equal [things; aspects] to God,)

This verse has caused much theological discussion, but we should first of all consider the context of the five previous verses, and especially vs. 4-5, for the subject of vs. 6 is a way of thinking. Paul is using Jesus as an example of the kind of thinking that he is recommending – more than making an ontological statement about Him.

Again Don Luther makes a good observation on this verse, "As Christ was the conduit of the divine life to His creation, He was not taking a position of power and authority from which He could dispense the Father's heavenly gifts to His subjects, but rather a position of servitude, so should we, as His members, continue the "work" of dispensing God's Grace to all. This is the real foot- washing service."

Grammarians have differing views regarding how Paul is using the Greek participle "huparchon," which I rendered first as "starting and continuing as inherently existing" and then inserted the expansions, "beginning under; subsisting," and finally, in the second rendering of this verse, as "constantly humbly and supportively ruling." The first element of the word is "archon" which is often translated as "ruler," but which comes from "arche" whose basic meaning is "beginning." Prefixed to "archon" is "hupo," whose basic meaning is "under." The Concordant Greek-English Keyword Concordance gives the elements as meaning "under-originate."

Most translators render this word as a verb of being, as this seems to fit most contexts and is an easy solution. I have done the same, while also presenting for our consideration of this enigmatic verse more information concerning its makeup and potential meanings.

Now Paul does not tell us when or under what circumstances He was "under- originating." It is usually presumed that this refers to before His incarnation, because of what follows. Full consideration of vs. 6-8 is a subject for its own study, and, because of the required length, is beyond the scope of this present work. But I will here point out some things for your consideration. First note that the word "equals" is in the plural. Consider the expansions which define what Paul means in regard to "plunder/seizure": "the [situation] to continuously exist being the same things as God, even on the same levels in God, or equal [things; aspects] to God." Whatever all this means, the point is that Christ did not have this mind-set. He was not focusing upon His own concerns, as vs. 4 admonishes, but on ours.

In line with my first rendering of the last clause of this verse, we should not consider being "equals in Christ" a plunder, but should simply accept the fact that He has made us to be members of His body – He being the Source and the Head, and thus always having preeminence.

7. but to the contrary, He empties Himself (or: removed the contents of Himself; made Himself empty), receiving (or: taking; accepting) a slave's form (external shape; outward mold), coming to be (or: birthing Himself) within humanity's (mankind's; peoples’) likeness.

8. And so, being found in a present condition and outward appearance (or: fashion) as a human (a person; a man), He lowers Himself (or: humbled Himself; made Himself low; degrades Himself; levels Himself off), coming to be (or: birthing Himself) a submissive, obedient One (one who gives the ear and listens) as far as (or: to the point of; until) death – but death of a cross (torture stake)!

The verb of the first clause of vs. 7 is in the aorist, so I give both a simple present, and a simple past rendering. He did this, but through us – His body – He still does this for folks. Jesus received a slave's form both in coming to be a human being, and in placing Himself under the Law (see my article "What is the Form of a Servant?" at In birthing Himself in humanity's likeness, I suggest that He took to Himself everything that belongs to the Adamic race, and then became the Last Adam, the Second Human Being (1 Cor. 15:45-47), and included us all in this new creation – what Paul Tillich calls "The New Being."

Then vs. 8 tells us the He lowered Himself even further, all the way to becoming obedient to the death (the result of the first Adam's sin), even the death as if He was a criminal and outcast of society – the death of a cross. This death Paul calls submissive obedience: obedience to the Father, and this specific obedience Paul discusses in Romans ch. 5, especially vs. 19,

"For JUST AS through the unwillingness to listen, or to pay attention, resulting in disobedience (or: the erroneous hearing leading to disobedience) of the one person THE MANY (= the mass of humanity) were rendered (established; constituted; placed down and made to be) sinners (failures; ones who diverge and miss the target), THUS – in the same way – ALSO through the submissive listening and paying attention resulting in obedience of the One THE MANY (= the mass of humanity) will be rendered (placed down and established as; constituted; appointed to be) just ones(folks who have been rightwised; people in the Way pointed out; righteous ones who are free from guilt; folks in right relationship and who are fair and equitable).
He yet humbles Himself by come to dwell in us, His temple, even allowing us to sometimes crucify Him afresh (Heb. 6:6).
9. For this reason, God also lifts Him up above (or: highly exalted Him; elevates Him over) and by grace gives to Him (or: joyously favors on Him) the Name – the one over and above every name! –

Paul continues using the aorist with "lifts/exalted." This fact tense applied to the past, in history, but also to the present in the realm of spirit/heaven. He also does this through the imparted knowledge of the Truth which He repeatedly plants within each successive generation.

10. to the end that within The Name: Jesus! (or: in union with the name of Jesus; in the midst of the Name belonging to [Yahweh-the-Savior]), every knee (= person) – of the folks upon the heaven (of those belonging to the super- heaven, or [situated] upon the atmosphere) and of the people existing upon the earth and of the folks dwelling down under the ground (or: on the level of or pertaining to subterranean ones) – may bend (or: would bow) in worship, prayer or allegiance,

Here Paul continues from soteriology (the topic of salvation) to eschatology (the topic of things of the end), here giving us a picture of the final act of the ages: every knee (a figure of every person) bending to bow in worship, prayer and allegiance. A picture that shows that He has conquered all, and that all belong to Him, and that all bow in reverence and allegiance to Him. He includes all the realms of the 1st century Hellenistic/Jewish world-view: heaven (the skies), on earth, and even under the ground/earth (figure of what was then considered the realm of the dead). This statement excludes no one.

11. and every tongue (= person) may speak out the same thing (should and would openly agree, confess and acclaim) that Jesus Christ [is] Lord (Master; Owner) – [leading] into [the] glory of Father God (or: unto Father God's good reputation; [progressing] into a manifestation which calls forth praise unto God [the] Father)!

This is a work of the Holy Spirit, for, "no one is able (normally has power) to say, "Jesus [is] Lord (or: Lord Jesus; perhaps: = Jesus [is] Yahweh)!" except within and in union with [the] Holy Spirit (or: in a set-apart and consecrated spirit; in [the] Sacred Breath)" (1 Cor. 12:3b). Furthermore, it is this kind of statement and confession of allegiance that brings glory to the Father, and leads into Him having a good reputation. Then He will give a manifestation which will bring praise to Him from all of creation. What a scene that will be! When we, as individuals, bow and express allegiance to Christ, it brings glory to God, our Father, at each occurrence throughout the ages.

12. Consequently, my loved ones, according as at all time (or: as always) you folks submissively listened, paid attention and humbly obeyed, not as only in my presence, but further, now (at this moment), much more in my absence – in company with fear and trembling (or: = earnestness and concern) – be habitually working commensurately with the deliverance (or: be constantly producing on the level and sphere of the wholeness and well-being which are the outcome of the rescue and salvation) of, or pertaining to, yourselves,

With the above view in mind – of all ultimately submitting to Him – Paul now asks those at Philippi to prefigure this by continuing to submissively listen and humbly obey by habitually working commensurately with their deliverance – or, "be constantly producing on the level and sphere of the wholeness and well-being which are the outcome of the rescue and salvation" that pertains to them. In other words, live according to the new creation and new being that you are!

13. for you see, God is the One habitually being inwardly active, constantly working and progressively effecting [results] within you folks – both the willing (intending; purposing; resolving) and the [situation] to be continuously effecting the action and inward work – above the thing that pleases (or: over [the situation of] well-thinking and delight; for the sake of [His] good pleasure).

Ah, what a comforting promise: it is God that is doing the work in us – and this includes both our wanting and willing, intending and resolving, as well as our actually "effecting the action and inward work!" Now note that His work superabounds "above the thing that pleases." His work is super wonderful. Now if we take the second rendering, we see that His working has in view "well-thinking and delight." Now this could be either His, as I suggest in the last version of this phrase, or ours. But not to worry, His delight is always a good pleasure for us.

14. Be habitually doing (accomplishing; constructing; producing) all things apart from grumbling complaints (or: murmurings) and reasoned considerations (or: designing thoughts; divided reckonings unto the settlements of accounts; arguments which permeate the environment or go in every direction),

Grumbling complaints: about the weather, about our health or energy level, about our town, about the climate (dry or humid), about bugs, about neighbors, about the president, about the other political party, about our economy, about having to wait – in lines, in traffic, for our spouse to be ready to go, etc. – ad infinitum! We have become a culture of complaint rather than a culture of gratitude. We resemble the Israelites in the wilderness.

But the admonition here is to be HABITUALLY doing ALL THINGS APART FROM "grumbling complaints." Keep in mind that he is speaking to followers of Christ here. We would not expect this from folks outside the called-out community – those not yet born into His kingdom. Yet my paragraph above describes many "Christians" these days.

Paul is then speaking of "reasoned consideration" that come from wrong motivations, as shown in the parenthetical expansion. We are to do all things from singleness of mind and purity of heart – because it is good and just and worthwhile to do them, not because we have ulterior motives or self-serving designs. Notice the last rendering of this phrase: "arguments which permeate the environment or go in every direction." This is from the force of the prefix "dia" which indicates "permeation" as it passes through the midst and into every corner of our world.

15. so that you folks may come to be blameless ones (those without defect), even unmixed (unblended; artless and sincere) children of God – unblemished (flawless) people in the midst of a crooked and distorted (as having been misshaped on the potter's wheel) generation (or: a twisted family which has been altered and turned in different ways so as to be dislocated), within which (or: among whom) you folks are continuously shining (giving light; or: appearing; made visible by light) as illuminators (causes of light; or: luminaries) within [the] ordered System (world of secular culture, religion, economics and government),

In vs. 15, cause for blame and defect come from practicing the things cited in vs. 14. We become "mixed bags" (to use a current idiom) when we blend these things into our character and way of living. We cease to be pure and sincere when ulterior motives enter into our relationships. They bring blemishes and flaws to the image of Christ. But we are to remain "unmixed" by things of the religious or cultural world in which we live, so that we can be folks that are continuously shining – amidst a crooked and distorted generation – and be illuminators of the system in which we live. Or, as Jesus said it, "the light of the world." But in consideration of the above potential negative qualities that can come into us, we must remember that "the blood of Jesus, His Son, keeps continually cleansing us (or: is progressively rendering us pure) from every sin (or: from all error, failure, deviation, mistake, and from every [successive] shot that is off target [when it occurs])" (1 John 1:7).

16. constantly holding upon (or; having added; keeping a good grip on) Life's Word (or: a message which is life), [leading you] into loud-tongued exulting (boasting; vaunting) for me (or: in me), on into Christ's Day (a day of [the] Anointed), because I do not (or: did not) run into emptiness (that which is without content), nor do I (or: did I) become weary or struggle in labor into emptiness (that which is without content).

This verse just adds to our being "illuminators." We are indeed just that when we hold upon a message which is life – having Life's Word added to us.

Paul's expression of "loud-tongued exulting" and "boasting" seem out of place in our culture, but it was apparently an appropriate way of expressing joy and victory in his time and culture. He was looking ahead to the same Day that he has referred to elsewhere, Christ's Day of making decisions about things and people. Paul was seeing the Philippian community as a success in Christ, and this was to bring Paul great joy and exulting because of them – because it will mean that he had not run his race into emptiness, or into a situation with no content. His weariness and struggles in labor would not have been in vain – there is a reality which contains fullness, into which he is proceeding.

17. But even more, since (or: if) I am also repeatedly poured out as a drink offering upon the sacrificial offering and public service pertaining to your faith (or: of the trust pertaining to you folks), I am constantly rejoicing (or: glad) – even continually rejoicing (glad) together with all of you!

18. Now in the same way, you yourselves also be constantly rejoicing – even continually rejoicing together with me.

In vs. 16 Paul planned to glory in the fact that he did not run for nothing. In 17 he continues on, noting that he has been repeatedly poured out as a drink offering (metaphorical language for suffering hardship and expending his life) on their behalf – in regard to the growth and health of the faith and trust in their lives. But still he is constantly rejoicing – rejoicing with them in their growth. Furthermore, he wants them to be constantly rejoicing with him in his joy. He repeats the last clause of vs. 17 in vs. 18, but switching who is doing the rejoicing with whom. With Paul it is total solidarity.

19. Now I continue expecting – in the Lord Jesus – to quickly send Timothy to you folks, so that I also may continue well in soul (in good cheer; in good spirits), knowing the [situations and circumstances] concerning (or: the things about) you folks.

Paul is so joined in spirit with them that he plans to send Timothy to them so that he can learn of their situation and circumstances, and thus continue well in soul (be in good spirits) himself! No wonder he taught the Corinthians about Christ being one body of many members.

20. You see, I presently have no one equal-souled (of the same soul; = equally sensitive) who will legitimately (or: genuinely) divide his mind so as to have his thoughts anxious about your interests and to care for the [circumstances] concerning (or: the things about) you folks.

He refers to Timothy here, one of whom Paul knows no one of equal soul, who will so devote his heart to their interests and care. Timothy seems to be in the image of Paul, who is in the image of Christ, as like produces like.

21. For all those [others] are constantly concerned with (looking out for; are seeking) their own interests (or: things), not with the interests and things pertaining to and belonging to, or having the qualities and characteristics of, Jesus Christ.

Other folks are not like Timothy, but are doing the things of which he spoke against in vs. 3 and 4, and now again here: being concerned with their own interests, not with the interests of Jesus Christ – and in this case, with Him in His body at Philippi. These others were looking out for their own thing, not things that pertain to, belong to, or have the qualities of Jesus Christ.

22. Yet you folks continue knowing by experience his proof by scrutinized examination and testing, that as a child for a father, he slaves (performs as a slave) together with me, into the message of goodness and well-being.

23. I continue expecting, indeed then, to send this one immediately (out of the very time or situation) – as soon as I can look away from the things around me (or: see-off the [situations and] things concerning me).

24. So I have been persuaded and am confident within [the] Lord [= Christ or Yahweh] that I myself, also, shall quickly come to you folks.

In vs. 22 Paul returns to speaking of Timothy, and of their acquaintance with him and his work with Paul, pouring himself into the work of Christ. Paul tells them that he expects to both send Timothy to them, and then come, himself. This would both encourage them and give them joy in the expectation of Timothy being with them, and then later possibly Paul himself. But now, in the following verses, he turns to speaking of the man who we presume is the one that will bring this letter to them. He had been sent to serve Paul (on behalf of the Philippian congregation), but Paul has decided that it was necessary that he should return home.

25. Now I consider it necessary and pressing to send to you Epaphroditus, my brother and co-worker (joint-operative) and fellow soldier, yet your envoy (representative; emissary; "apostle"), and a public servant of my need,

Paul is returning Epaphroditus with the highest of recommendations: brother, co- worker (not just his servant), fellow soldier, their own emissary to him, and public servant with regard to his needs. This last word was used of folks who at their own expense arranged for and paid for public events (e.g., sponsored plays or paid for certain civic needs) and were considered benefactors of the state.

26. since he had been continuously having great affection and longing to see all of you folks, even being repeatedly dejected and deeply troubled because you heard (or: hear) that he fell sick (or: is ill).

Here Paul is now thinking of the personal feelings and needs of his fellow worker, and would rather send Epaphroditus home than keep him around just to benefit from his help.

27. For he even fell sick (or: is ill) as being a consort near alongside of death. But contrariwise, God had mercy on (or: mercies) him – yet not only him, but further, me also – to the end that I should not have pain and sadness upon pain and sadness (or: = major and added sorrow).

It has been suggested that he may have contracted a serious flu or fever that tended to plague Rome during this period. Yet God had mercy on him, and Paul tells us that this also gave himself mercy in not having to bear the pain of losing this dear brother to the illness. Here we see the importance of relationship to Paul – it is not just about doctrine, but about care for one another.

28. More diligently (earnestly; eagerly), then, I send (or: sent) him, so that in seeing him again, you may be glad and rejoice – and I may be more relieved of pain and sadness.

Paul's concern for Epaphroditus' need to return home brought Paul pain and sadness. He also wanted those in Philippi to be glad and to rejoice, via his return.

29. Be focusing on him, then, to welcome and continue receiving him within the Lord with all joy, and be constantly holding such people in honor and value,

Paul here promotes what some have called a "culture of honor." We are to value people and show them honor: they are members of the Christ; they are children of our Father.

30. because through Christ's work (with other MSS: on account of [the] Lord's Act) he drew (or: draws) near, as far as death, with [his] soul casting himself to the side (or: in [his] inner being handing himself over and risking [his] life; = throwing self aside, he gambled [his] life), so that he might fill back up your deficiency (your lack; your coming too late; = what you were unable to do) in the area of public service toward me (= civic sponsorship and funding me).

Here Paul gives reason for the special honor due to Epaphroditus: his courage and valor and total commitment to the work of Christ. It is significant that Paul takes this much time and space in his letter on behalf of one individual.

Jump to Chapter One, Two, Three, Four

Chapter Three

1. As for the rest (or: For what remains), my brothers (= family; = fellow believers), continue rejoicing (be habitually glad and delighted) within [the] Lord [= Christ or Yahweh]. To be repeatedly writing the same things to you (or: To continue writing these very things for you) [is] surely not troublesome for me (or: delaying me or causing me to hesitate), and for you [it is] something to secure you from stumbling.

To be rejoicing is a familiar call from the NT writers. I suggest that this is more than saying "Keep a positive attitude in all the pressures that you face." I think that rejoicing is both a defense mechanism and an offensive tool, for it both protects our way of thinking while keeping depression at bay, and it also changes our very atmosphere. Paul is repeating himself to them, but we all need to be reminded of where to focus and how to respond. As he says, it secures them from stumbling over offenses along their paths.

2. Constantly keep your eyes on and be aware of the dogs (= impudent, shameless or audacious people; scavengers without a master); habitually be observing so as to take heed of worthless workers (craftsmen of bad quality; laborers who are not as they ought to be); keep on seeing so as to continually observe and be aware of [the party of] the down-cision (the mutilation; the incision; the notching or cutting-into; the sacrificial meat-hacking; the wounding or maiming; or: = people who cut things down or off).

Here is one of the focuses: watch out for dogs. The amplified definition on this word gives the best that scholars have come up with for its metaphorical use in this time and culture, and this seems to fit the following context. We are told that the Jews called the Samaritans "dogs," and William Barclay says that there is a Rabbinic saying that classified the nations of the world as such. Paul's reference to "worthless workers" would, I suggest, be about those within the called out community who are "building upon the foundation" of Christ. Recall what he said in 1 Cor. 3:11-17 when he used the figure of "wood, hay and stubble."

In the next warning I have coined a word to express the literal elements of the Greek word, and to show the pun that Paul makes in Greek. He is referring to the Jews who were in the flesh "the circum-cision," but the word that he uses to describe them would mean "the mutilation" (such as castration), or the other meanings given in the parenthetical expansion. The meaning of "cutting off" could be a reference to his olive tree metaphor in Rom. 11:17, or the meaning of the meat-hacking could refer to animal sacrifices. He is telling them to be aware that the Jews may infiltrate them and try to turn folks back to the old covenant, or the Jewish Christians who hold to also keeping the Law may try to mix Law in with grace.

3. For you see, we ourselves are (exist being) The Circumcision: the people (or: those) continuously rendering sacred service in a spirit of God (or: by God's Breath-effect; to God's Spirit; in God's breath; [some MSS: service to God in spirit; p46 omits "God," so simply: serving in spirit]) and constantly making our boast (being loud-tongued, vaunting and exulting) within, and in union with, Christ Jesus; even folks (or: those) being people having been persuaded and thus continuing to put no confidence within flesh (= having no reliance upon what is physical: e.g., religious works or natural heritage; or: the estranged human nature; or: this could be a reference to animal sacrifices).

This is a statement of the new reality, the new covenant, the Last Adam, the New Being. We of the ethnic multitudes have been grafted into the olive tree to be producers of oil – the anointing (Rom. 11). All nations and people groups who have been born into Christ's reign are now "The Circumcision: the people [that are] continuously rendering sacred service in a spirit of God, or, by God's Breath- effect, or, in God's breath and to His Spirit." Paul said the same thing in Rom. 2:

28. For you see, the Jew is not the one in the visibly apparent or outwardly manifest (or: For not he in the outward appearance is a Jew), neither [is] circumcision that [which is] visibly apparent (outwardly manifest) in flesh (= in body),

29. but rather, a Jew [is] the one within the hidden [place] (or: [that which is] in the concealed [realm]), and circumcision [is] of [the] heart in union with Breath-effect (or: within [the] spirit), not in letter, whose praise (applause; full recommendation; [note play on words: Jew is a derivative of "Judah," which means "praise"]) [is] not from out of mankind (humanity), but rather from out of God.

Our boast is in Christ Jesus, not in our race or lineage – we "put no confidence within flesh," whether it be our nationality, our religious works, our human attributes, or (speaking of the Jewish and pagan religions) in animal sacrifices.

4. Even though I, myself, continue holding (or: having) [grounds for] trust and confidence also within flesh, if any other man is in the habit of thinking (or: is constantly seeming) or presuming to have come to a settled persuasion, thus having confidence within [his] flesh, I to a greater degree (more so; for a better reason; rather more):

5. in circumcision, on [the] eighth day; out of race (from posterity; by birth; as to class or species), of Israel; of Benjamin's tribe; a Hebrew out of the midst of [the] Hebrews (or: = a supreme Hebrew); in accordance to Law, a Pharisee (or: down from custom, a Pharisee);

6. in accordance to zeal, one constantly pressing, pursuing and persecuting the called-out community; in accordance to fairness and equity in the way pointed out in the Law, one coming to be, of myself, without defect (one becoming blameless).

In vs. 4-6 Paul lists all the things of the flesh in which he could have put confidence, but in vs. 7-8 he repudiates all this:

7. But to the contrary, whatever things (or: things which) were being gains (advantages; assets) to (for; in) me, these things I have esteemed and now consider (or: regard) as a loss (a penalty; a forfeit; disadvantage; a bad bargain; a detriment) because of (on account of) the Christ.

Here we should stop and consider: Paul had everything that many Christians today wish that they had – all the Jewish things: traditions, heritage, rituals, temple, etc. And Paul considers all this as a loss, a disadvantage, a detriment!

8. But further – indeed, then, as a matter of fact – I even am habitually considering (or: regarding) all things (all; everything) to be a loss (a disadvantage; a bad bargain; damage; a forfeit; a penalty) because of (on account of; for the sake of) the thing that is constantly holding things above (thus having all-surpassing value and superiority): that which pertains to the experience of the intimate knowledge of my Lord, Jesus Christ (or: of Christ Jesus, my Owner). [It was/is] on account of (or: because of) Him (or: For the sake of Whom) I undergo loss of (experience the forfeit of; receive as a disadvantage) all things (everything; the whole life-experience, environment and possessions) and I continue considering (or: regarding) them to be [either] a lot of (or: pieces of) refuse (filth; dung; manure) [or] things that are cast away from the table to the dogs (garbage), to the end that I may have the advantage of (maintain the gain of; enjoy the assets of; make a profit of) Christ,

And why did he consider all old covenant things to be loss and a disadvantage? Because of "the thing that is constantly holding above" all those things: "that which pertains to the experience of the intimate knowledge" of Jesus Christ. Let that sink in: all outward religion, tradition and heritage are a bad bargain and a disadvantage when compared to KNOWLEDGE of Jesus Christ! And not just "head knowledge," but intimate, experiential knowledge.

Note that Paul not only considers all the Jewish things a loss to him, but as being REFUSE, filth, dung, manure – things to be cast away! The real advantage, gain, profit and asset is CHRIST!

9. and may be found within Him (or: in union with Him) – not continuing having (or: holding) my pointed-out way (my fairness and equity; my relationships; my basis for what is right; my own righteousness) from out of the Law or custom, but to the contrary, the [fairness and equity in relationships which accord with the Way pointed-out] through means of Christ's faith (or: the trust and faith which is Christ): the fairness and equity in right relationships from being rightwised within the Way pointed out [which is] forth from out of the midst of God as a source [and is placed and thus based] upon that faith, confidence and trust –

And so now having Christ, then to be "found within Him, and in union with Him" (where the experiential, intimate knowledge is given), and thus have nothing to do with the Law. Contrary to having the Law, is Christ's faith (or, as a genitive of apposition: the trust and faith which IS Christ) and the right relationships, fairness, equity of being rightwised (turned in the right direction) which come from the midst of God – that which is based upon Christ's faith and lives in a sphere of trust, and not upon keeping a law. This is the new Reality.

10. to intimately and experientially know Him, and the ability – even the power – of His resurrection and also the [other MSS: a] common sharing (participation, partnership and fellowship) of His experiences (which include passions and sufferings) – being a person that is being continuously conformed to (being progressively brought together with the form of; being habitually configured to) His death,

Paul returns again to what he said in vs. 8 about knowing Him, but here he adds, "and the ability – even the power – of His resurrection." Then he also speaks of having an experiential partnership in His experiences. These come from our union and solidarity with Christ, our being a part of Him (being His body), but also infers that He is in partnership and common sharing of our experiences as His body. Furthermore, I suggest that this union with Christ is the only way in which we can be progressively conformed to His death. It relates to our having been crucified in Him and buried with Him (Gal. 2:20; Rom. 6:4), but that spiritual reality is now existentially being lived out in our lives as we pour out our lives for others.

11. since in some way I would arrive and meet down face-to-face unto(or: if somehow I can attain the level [to be] into the midst of; or: if by any means I may meet with the corresponding sphere [leading] into) the out-resurrection (or: the arising and standing back up again from out of the midst) – the one forth from out of the midst of dead folks.

It would seem that Paul is speaking of a special or different resurrection, for he adds the prefix "out" to the normal word for resurrection. Perhaps he was anticipating his death before the coming of a, or the, "general resurrection," and perhaps he had in mind what he had mentioned in his 1st letter to the Thessalonians, in ch. 4:14-17. Perhaps he wanted to "rise first." This may also have been what John referred to as "the first resurrection" in Rev. 20:5-6 and the symbolic reigning with Christ "a thousand years." See my comments on this passage of Revelation. We cannot be sure, here, for he gives no explanation. However, he has brought it up in the context of being conformed to His death and the power of His resurrection, so perhaps it is unwise to stress the importance of this prefix "out." Yet, if he was referring to the spiritual resurrection that we all now experience through union with the risen Christ, why would he not also have been experiencing that at the time of writing this letter?

In a discussion with Don Luther and Steve Dohse on vs. 10-11, I was reminded of what Jesus said in John 12:24. He had just said, in vs. 23, that the hour had come when the Son of man could be glorified – referring to His death and resurrection. Then He says,

"... unless the grain of wheat (or: kernel of corn; = seed of an agricultural crop), falling into the earth (the ground; the field), should die, it, by itself, continues remaining alone. Yet if it should die, it proceeds to bear much fruit (= it produces a harvest of many grains, or, seeds)."

This is a picture of an "out-resurrection," where the plant arises and stands back up, out from among the other dead, or dying seeds. It is a resurrection that yields a harvest. The power and ability of His resurrection (vs. 10, above) is that it produces life for others. Paul wants his death, and ensuing resurrection, to produce a crop – the seed of Life in many others. And so it has! His words via his letters have given life to, and in, countless millions for almost 2000 years.

12. Not that I already take it by the hand [p46 & D add: or already have been rightwised and made to be one in accord with the Way pointed out with fairness and equity] or have been already brought to the goal (matured unto perfection and finished), yet I am consistently pursuing (running swiftly in order to catch), since I would (or: if I could) take down by the hand (seize; forcefully grasp and gain control over) even [that] upon which I also was (or: am) taken down by hand (seized; forcefully grasped and taken control of) by and under [the control of] Christ Jesus.

Paul wanted to continue growing in the Life of Christ until his seeds were fully ready for harvest. His focus was to push on to the goal. He had been apprehended by the fullness of Christ, and now he wanted to apprehend that same fullness. Christ had taken Paul down, by His hand, forcefully grasping him, and taking control of him. This had freed Paul, so that now he could in turn run swiftly in order to catch hold of Christ and the full Anointing. He returns here to the stadium games metaphor. This is how Paul viewed living a life in Christ. Because of being within Him and in union with Him, there is more to be gained.

13. Brothers (= Fellow believers; = [My] family)! I am not yet calculating (logically considering; reckoning) myself to have taken it down by hand (seized, grasped or gotten hold of it in order to have it), yet [there is] one thing: habitually forgetting, on the one hand, the things behind (or: in the back), and on the other hand constantly reaching and stretching myself out upon the things in front (or: ahead),

14. I am continuously pursuing down toward [the; or: an] object in view (a mark on which the eye is fixed): into the prize of God's (or: the award which is God's) invitation to an above place (or: an upward calling having the source from, with qualities and characteristics of, God) within the midst of and in union with Christ Jesus.

Vs. 13 seems to repeat vs. 12, though with some different expressions and the addition of forgetting the past and reaching for the future. Then in vs. 14 he specifies what he is reaching for: the prize which is God's invitation to an above place, etc., and this place is "within the midst of, and in union with, Christ Jesus."

But with the genitive of the word "God" rendered as possession, rather than apposition, "the prize of God's invitation" may be the same prize that Paul refers to in 1 Cor. 9:24 (the only other place where this word is used in the NT),

"Have you folks not seen, so as to know, that those progressively running, on the race-course within a stadium, are indeed all progressively running (or: constantly and repeatedly racing), yet one normally (= each time) grasps (takes; receives) the prize (victor's award)? Be habitually running (progressively racing) so that you folks can (may; would) seize and take [it] down in your hands."

This prize may well be the fruit of his ministry, those to whom he gave himself, or as he says elsewhere, "[his] glory" (1 Thes. 2:20), and below in ch. 4:1 he refers to them as his "winner's wreath."

15. Therefore – as many as [are] people who are mature (ones who have reached the goal, being finished, complete and perfect) – we should constantly be of this frame of mind (have this attitude and opinion; think this way; be minding and paying attention to this). And if you folks are habitually thinking differently (are continuing differently minded; are continually having a different attitude or opinion), God will also unveil this to you (or: uncover and reveal this in you).

Paul is saying that we should think just as he did – as expressed in the previous verses. We should be pursuing down toward the object in view: whatever we perceive the goal to be, the prize of God's upward call in Christ Jesus.

16. Moreover, into that which we precede [others] (or: into what we went before in; into what we come ahead so as to arrive at; = unto whatever stage we have reached) in the very same thing [our goal is] to be habitually drawn into line and advance within our ranks

[Aleph2 and other MSS add phrases to read as follows: Besides, into what we outstrip {others}, by the same standard (measuring rod; rule) {it is for us} to habitually advance in line (i.e., frame our conduct in an orderly routine; or: consider the elements by the same standard) – to constantly be intent on and keep thinking of the same thing (be of the same frame of mind and attitude)].

I suggest that Paul is continuing to use the racecourse metaphor here, especially in the first text. Wherever we are in this race, to whatever lap around the track we have attained, or mile marker we have reached, stay in your lane. Within whatever group you are moving, be consistent, stay with it and advance in your proper position.

In the Aleph 2 text he first seems to be advising competing by the rules, which include staying in your own line and be orderly while keeping in mind the elements of the game. The last part speaks to keeping your focus and being single-minded.

17. Brothers (= Fellow believers; = My family), be progressively birthed to be joint-imitators of me (or: unite in becoming my imitators), and continually keep a watchful eye on and take note of those habitually walking about thus (i.e., those who thus live their lives), according as you folks continue having us as a pattern (model; example; type).

Here he advises using him as a role model and pattern. Do the same with other believers who live their lives in this same manner – learn from them and become as they are. This would include: to consider things of the flesh and religion (vs. 4-6) to be a loss and as dung (vs. 7-8); to gain Christ and be found in Him (vs. 8- 9); to know Him and the power of His resurrection while being progressively conformed to His death (vs. 10) and then arrive at the "out-resurrection" (vs. 11) and apprehend that for which they are apprehended (vs. 12); to continuously pursue the prize of His calling in Christ (vs. 14) – and to continue with this mind-set (vs. 15), while playing by the rules of the kingdom (vs. 16).

18. For many – I was often telling you about them, yet now I am also presently weeping (lamenting) in saying it – continue walking about (i.e., are living their lives) as enemies of the cross (execution-stake) of the Christ,

We might think of many examples of such lives, but for Paul I think the main enemy was the person who tried to get people to return to Judaism – to the Law and the old covenant – or, as vs. 19 says, people that are focused on the carnal rather than the spiritual.

19. whose goal (eventual end; closing act; final stage; result; finished discharge) [is] ruin and loss (or: waste and destruction), whose god [is their] cavity (or: belly) and [whose] reputation (or: glory; opinion) resides within their shame (disgrace; embarrassment) – people continually thinking about (habitually being intent on; constantly minding) the things existing upon the earth (or: = folks whose minds are earthbound).

If in vs. 18 he was referring to Judaizers, then he may here be saying that their eventual end will be the same as Jerusalem: waste and destruction in AD 70. Instead of focusing on the Jerusalem above – the freewoman – they were focused on the then existing earthly Jerusalem and Mt. Sinai, the Law (Gal. 4:22-31).

20. For you see, our citizenship (result of living in a free city; or: commonwealth – realm of a free city; political realm) continues inherently existing (or: continues humbly ruling; continuously subsists; repeatedly has its under-beginning) resident within the midst of [the] atmospheres (or: heavens), from out of where (or: which place) we also continuously receive and take away in our hands from out of a Deliverer (a Savior; One restoring us to the health and wholeness of our original state and condition): [the] Lord (or: a Master), Jesus Christ,

This first clause corresponds to Gal. 4:26, the free city "which is above." This is a figure of the called-out community, and it is from within these folks that we are able to "continuously receive and take away in our hands from out of a Deliverer," our Savior, Jesus Christ, who lives with His people, who are His temple. We constantly receive life, health, healing, deliverance and sustenance from Him through His community. They perform as a paraclete to those in need.

21. Who will be actively transfiguring (progressively refashioning and remodeling; continuously changing the from of) our body of the low condition and status (or: the body of our humiliation; or: the body which is us, pertaining to this lowliness) into the [situation] for it to be birthed (brought into existence) conformed to the body of His glory (or: to having the same form together with His body of that which calls forth praise; to a joint-form of the body of His good reputation), down from (or: in accord with; in the sphere of; along the lines of; to the level of; following the pattern of; stepping along with; commensurate with; following the bidding of; as directed by) the inward operation (energy; in-working) of the [conditions or situation for] Him to continuously be able (or: have power) also to humbly align (or: to subject; to subordinate; to arrange under so as to have full control of and support) The Whole (or: all things; everything) in Himself (to Himself; for Himself; by and with Himself).

Christ, by His Spirit (Who/Which also dwells within His called-out folks) and by His Word, will be progressively refashioning, remodeling and transfiguring our body from the humiliation, to be conformed to the body of His glory. Now the first question that we need to ask is, What body is it to which he is referring? Is it our individual physical body, or is it the corporate body of Christ? Reading the personal pronoun as in the genitive of apposition, it reads "the body which is us." His body is a corporate body (1 Cor. 12:12) and this is the body of His glory (Christ in you the expectation of glory – Col. 1:27). Recall John 17:22,

"And I, Myself, have given to them (or: in them), and they now possess, the glory (the notion; the opinion; the imagination; the reputation; the manifestation which calls forth praise) which You have given to Me, and which I now possess, to the end that they may continuously exist being one correspondingly as (just as; according as; on the same level as; in the same sphere as) We [are] one."

That glory was not an outward glory, but an inward one, just as His working is an inward one. It was the glory that the Father had given to Him, which He then possessed, but could not be seen outwardly.

The words "down from" is the Greek "kata," which as you see has a broad semantic range. If we use the meaning of "in the sphere of," this corresponds to His inward working – where the transfiguration and remodeling takes place. The meaning "along the lines of" says the same thing. It is not an outward, physical transformation, but an inward one – of which he is here speaking.

In vs. 10, above, Paul made reference to having the power of His resurrection. Let us look in I Cor. 15 where he also speaks of bodies, resurrection and Christ:

42. Thus also (or: In this way too) [is] the resurrection of the dead people. It is habitually (repeatedly; presently; one after another) being sown within corruption (or: in union with decay and ruin; in perishability); it is being habitually (or: presently; repeatedly; one after another) awakened and raised up within incorruption (non-decayability; imperishableness).

43. It is constantly being sown within dishonor (in union with lack of value; in the midst of worthlessness), it is being habitually (or: repeatedly; constantly; one after another; progressively) awakened and raised up within, and in union with, power and ability.

44. It is habitually (continually; repeatedly; presently) being sown a body having the qualities and characteristics of a soul (a soulish body; or: = a body animated by soul); it is habitually (repeatedly; constantly; presently; one after another) being awakened and raised up a spiritual body (a body having the qualities and characteristics of the Breath-effect). Since there is a soulish body (or: = body animated by soul), there also is (or: exists) a spiritual one (or: = one animated by spirit). [comment: note the germinal connection between the two – they are a progression of the same body]

45. Thus also (or: In this way also), it has been written, "The first human (or: man), Adam, came for existence (or: was birthed) into [being] a living soul" [Gen. 2:7]; the Last Adam into [being] a continuously life-making (life-engendering; life-creating; life-giving) Spirit (or: Breath-effect).

Now note the connection of resurrection with power, in vs. 43. Next, in vs. 44, we see that it is "being awakened and raised up A SPIRITUAL BODY." Then he tells us that there is a natural body that pertains to the soul – the one which is sown – and there is a spiritual one – the one that is resurrected, and consider my note that this is a progression of the same body. It is like the seed that fell into the ground that I referred to, above (vs. 11 comments). Note also the present tense of the verbs: habitually, repeatedly, constantly, presently, one-after-another. This, again, is an ongoing process that was happening in Paul's day, as it has ever since the resurrection of Jesus.

Now note vs. 45 which Paul is relating both to resurrection and to the two bodies. We have the first human, Adam (the soulish person) and we have the Last Adam Who is a continuously life-making, life-creating, life-giving Spirit. The resurrected person is a spirit. This is the spiritual body (the "afterwards" person of vs. 46). The first Adam was corporate humanity, in this context; the Last Adam is the corporate spiritual body of Christ, with Jesus as its Head. Now let us look further in 1 Cor. 15,

47. The first human (person; man) [was/is] forth from out of the earth (land; ground; soil; dirt), made of moist soil and mud (or: having the quality and characteristics of moist dirt that can be poured; soilish), the Second Human (Person; Man) [is made] of heaven (or: sky; atmosphere).

48. As [is] the person made of and having the character and quality of moist soil or mud (pourable dirt; soil), of such sort also [are] the people [who are] made of and have the character and quality of moist soil or mud (soilish folks); and likewise, as [is] the Heavenly Person (or: the one made of and having the quality and character of the supra-heaven), of such sort also [are] the supra-heavenly people – those made of and having the quality and character of the supra-heaven (or: finished and perfected atmosphere).

49. And correspondingly as we bear and wear the image of the dusty person, [p46 adds: doubtless] we can and should [B reads: will] also bear and wear the image of the supra-heavenly One (or: the One having the quality and character of the finished and perfected atmosphere).

Vs. 48-49 describe humans transfigured to be conformed to His body of glory, and vs. 47 tells us that they are "[made] of heaven/atmosphere," this latter being parallel to the "made of moist soil and mud" of the first clause. The "made of heaven" is a figure for the spiritual. Having the quality and character of the supra-heaven and wearing His image is equivalent to being conformed to the body of His glory.

And then there is 1 Cor. 15:51, which answers to vs. 10, above,

51. See (Look and consider)! I am progressively telling you a secret ([the] mystery)! We, indeed, shall not all be laid to sleep [in death], yet we all will be changed (or: On the one hand, not all of us will be made to [die], but on the other hand, we all will be altered; or: We all shall not be put to repose, and so we all shall be transformed; or: All of us shall not sleep, but we all will be rearranged to be another or made to be otherwise),

And then,

53. For it continues being necessary (it is habitually binding) for this perishable and corruptible to instantly plunge (or: sink) in and clothe itself with (or: slip on; put on) incorruption and imperishability, and for this mortal (one that is subject to death) to instantly plunge and sink in and clothe itself with (or: put on; slip on as a garment) immortality (deathlessness; undyingness).

This sound very much like 2 Cor. 5:

1. For we have seen, and thus know, that if our house of the tabernacle, which is pitched on the land, would at some point be dismantled (or: that whenever our house, which is the tent upon the earth, should be loosed down), we constantly have (continuously hold; presently possess) a structure (a building) forth from out of the midst of God: an eonian house (a house having the qualities and character which pertain to the Age; a house for the ages) – not made by hands – within the midst of the heavens (or: resident within the atmospheres).

2. For you see, even within this one we are continuously groaning, utterly longing and constantly yearning to fully enter within and to clothe upon ourselves (to dress upon ourselves) our dwelling-house (habitation) – the one [made] out of heaven (or: from, or made of, atmosphere).

Consider in vs. 1-2 here, that we continuously and presently have and possess this house/clothing. But looking at a couple more verses in 1 Cor. 15, we see another interesting aspect of what we now possess.

54. Now whenever this mortal instantly plunges and sinks in and then clothes itself with (or: slips on; puts on) the Immortality, then will come into existence (will be birthed; will take place) the word (the thought; the idea; the message; the saying) which has been written, "The Death was drunk down and swallowed into Victory (or: overcoming)!" [Isa. 25:8].

And then,

57. But grace and joyous favor [is] in God (or: by God) – the One presently and progressively giving the Victory (or: the overcoming) to us, in us and for us through our Lord (Owner; Master), Jesus, [the] Christ!

So we now have and possess the Victory – God has given it to us – that drank down and swallowed the Death. This is the final way of being conformed to His death (vs. 10, above), which ended in victory (the "out-resurrection" of vs. 11, above). Now this was a corporate event that coincided with His resurrection – and this was all the result of the " the inward operation (energy; in-working) of the [conditions or situation for] Him to continuously be able (or: have power) also to humbly align (or: to subject; to subordinate; to arrange under so as to have full control of and support) The Whole (or: all things; everything) in Himself (to Himself; for Himself; by and with Himself)."

He is able to align the whole of humanity – as well as the whole universe – "in Himself, to Himself, for Himself, by Himself, and with Himself!" He refashions the whole body of humanity, as well as the universe (the new creation in Christ), to be birthed conformed to the body of His glory.

John Gavazzoni has shared this insightful summation on this topic: "In my opinion, when we get into Paul's head, we find that he considers there to be only 'one body,' and proceeding from that premise, he understands our individual bodies to be members of that one body. Our individual transformation can come about in relationship to the corporate body.

"I'm with you also on the matter of the relationship of the natural body to the spiritual body as one of procession. The spiritual body lies within the natural body as its intrinsic constitution. As I've pointed out a number of times, the corruptible 'it' that is planted in death, and the incorruptible 'it' that emerges in resurrection life, are the same 'it.'
"The natural body is not discarded in favor of the spiritual body, the spiritual body emerges out from within the natural, even from within its darkness. The body of Jesus of Nazareth, and the body of Christ, are the same body.
"The body of Jesus, would then be the Seed/DNA form of the ultimately emerged corporate body of Christ. All that He is becomes finally the reality of us all together united in Him." End of quotation.

Jump to Chapter One, Two, Three, Four

Chapter Four

1. Consequently, my brothers (= fellow believers; family) – loved ones and longed-for folks (people missed with a craving), my joy and winner's (or: festal) wreath – thus you constantly stand within [the] Lord [= Christ or Yahweh]: [as or being] loved ones! (or, reading as an imperative: be habitually standing firm in [the] Lord, [B adds: my] beloved!)

The word "Consequently" refers back to what Paul had just been saying in the last part of ch. 3. Remember that this was a letter, and chapter breaks are an artificial addition to the text. Here, again, Paul expresses his emotional connection with those in Philippi, and here reveals that they themselves are the prize (winner's wreath) to which he referred in 3:14. He spoke of those in Thessalonica as his "glory and joy" (1 Thes. 2:20). The form of the verb "stand" is either indicative or imperative, so I have given renderings as both. Paul is either affirming that fact that their stand is in the Lord, and thus by the Lord, or he is admonishing to stand firm in Him, as beloved ones. Either text make sense in reference to their continued relationship to Him.

2. I am calling Euodia alongside, and I am calling Syntyche alongside, admonishing (entreating; begging; assisting) [you two] to be habitually thinking about the same thing (minding and being intent on the same thing; disposed in the same way; = agreeing and maintaining a common mind), within, and in union with, the Lord.

Here he calls for union of thought, disposition, and focus, or he is calling for these two women to be in agreement. This may be in reference to a situation, or some "drama," of which he was aware, but did not mention here, or to the fact that he knew that they often had different points of view and he is admonishing unity between them.

3. Yes, I am asking you, too, O genuine and legitimate yokefellow (or: O loyal Synzugus; O Suzugos, who was born in wedlock; O paired star who rises as I set; O joined and united one belonging to [my] birth group), be consistently taking these women together to yourself to aid and assist them – which women toil together with me (or: compete along with me; contend on my side) within the message of goodness and well-being (good news), with Clement and the rest of my fellow workers, whose names [are] within Life's Book (or: in a book of life; a book which is Life; [comment: = participation in life]).

The word normally translated "yokefellow" could also have been the name of a person (William Barclay notes that some have suggested that this "helper," who was a "genuine or legitimate helper," could have been Paul's wife, to which he was yoked, but the word is in the masculine form), so I have also rendered it as such since he had just referred to these two women in the previous verse and uses the word "also" just before this phrase. He is asking Synzugus (or: Suzugos) to be consistently giving these women help, especially since they compete alongside of him and the other fellow workers, in the work of the good news. It is worthy of note that these women are on a par with the men in the work of the message of goodness.

Life's book, or a book of life, or a book which is Life, is most likely a metaphor for participation in the life of Christ. In those days cities had a registry of those who were their citizens, and since Paul has used the metaphor of "the Jerusalem which is above" as being the mother of believers (see Gal. 4), this is likely a reference to such.

4. Be constantly rejoicing within, and in union with, [the] Lord [= in Yahweh or in Christ], at all times (or: always)! Again, I will declare it, Rejoice! (or: You folks be habitually rejoicing)!

The fact that he emphasizes that they should be constantly rejoicing within Christ, and in union with Christ, suggests that they may have had constant reasons for which a carnal person would be depressed or complain. Here he is not saying that they are continuously happy, but rather he is admonishing them to be rejoicing in Christ, even if their situations or conditions are hard.

5. Let your gentle fairness and suitable reasonableness be intimately and experientially known to all mankind (or: by and for all humans). The Lord [= Christ or Yahweh] is near (close by – at hand, close enough to touch, and available)!

What a picture of Christ we are to show to the world: gentle fairness and suitable reasonableness – which is to be intimately and experientially made known to them. This means through personal interaction with everyone with whom we have contact. Through means of this, they will know that the Lord is near – that they can touch Him by touching us, and that He is available to them.

6. Do not be habitually worried, anxious or overly concerned about anything! On the contrary, in everything (and: within every situation), by thinking and speaking toward goodness and things going well (or: in prayer) and in expression of need – together with thanksgiving – repeatedly let your requests be made known to (toward; face to face with) God,

Within every situation, and in every area of our lives, by thinking and speaking toward goodness and things going well we can avert worry and concern. In expressing our needs to Him, we can rid ourselves of anxiety. Expression of gratitude to our Father should flavor our moods.

7. and God's peace (= shalom; or: and so the harmony which is God), which is continuously having a hold over (is habitually holding sway over; or: is constantly being superior and excelling by having it over) all mind and inner sense (or: every intellect; all power of comprehension; or: all process of thinking), will garrison (guard; stand sentinel over) your hearts and the results of thinking (thoughts; reasonings; understandings; effects from directing the mind on something; or: designs; purposes; effects of perceptions) [p16 adds: and bodies], within, and in union with, Christ Jesus [p46: {the} Lord Jesus].

By following Paul's advice in vs. 6, God's peace – which continuously has a hold over our mind and inner senses – will garrison our hearts and reasonings, and will stand guard over our designs and purposes. His peace habitually holds sway over us, because we are within Him. Our union with Jesus guards the core of our being and His peace is superior to the effects of our perceptions.

8. In conclusion (or: Finally; or: What [is] left), brothers (= fellow believers; [my] family), as much as is true (or: as many things as are genuine and real), as many as [are] awe-inspiring (serious; noble; dignified by holiness), as much as [is] rightwised (put right; fair, equitable; just; in right relationship within the Way pointed out), as many as [are] pure, as much as [is] affection-inducing (friendly; directed toward what is liked; lovable or lovely; agreeable; winsome; engendering fondness; attractive; kindly disposed; loveable), as many as [are] well-spoken-of (commendable; reputable; of good report; renowned), if [there is] any excellence and nobleness (virtues of braveness, courage, good character, quality, self-restraint, magnificence, benevolence, reliability) [in them] and if [there is] any praise applied (expression of high evaluation; honor paid; approval or applause) [to them], be habitually thinking about these things in a logical way (repeatedly make these things the focus of careful consideration and analysis; continuously take these things into account)!

What an admonition for life! These things should be our focus – and on such things we should make careful consideration and analysis, habitually thinking logically about the following:

1) things that are true, real and genuine
2) things that are awe-inspiring, serious, noble and dignified
3) things that point in the right direction (toward Christ, Who is the Way pointed out), and are in relationships that are fair, equitable and just
4) things that are pure, having no mix of ulterior motive
5) things that induce affection, are friendly and loveable, etc.
6) things that are commendable and have a good reputation
7) things that are excellent and noble, along with the virtues parenthetically listed
8) things that evoke approval and high evaluation

We see nothing negative in that list. These things engender peace and love, and keep us in a healthful mind. May we clothe our minds and hearts with the soldier's equipment which is God, of which Paul spoke in Eph. 6:11-17, as a defense against all the negative which the world systems throw at us.

9. Keep on practicing and accomplishing these things which you folks both learn and accept (or: learned and received alongside) – even [what] you heard and saw within me. And, the God of the Peace (or: And God, the source and quality of peace [= shalom]; Then the God which is harmony) will enter into an existence in company with you folks – and will be with you folks. The "practicing and accomplishing" simply speaks of a way of life, a mode of being. It refers to the teaching, the message, becoming internalized. When this happens, "the God of the Peace (Christ) will enter into an existence in company with us – and will be with us."

10. Now I greatly rejoice (or: rejoiced) within the Lord [= in union with Christ or Yahweh] that now, at last, you folks shoot up to flourish to the extent to be constantly focusing your thinking over me (to continuously have my concerns intently in mind; to repeatedly take thought on my behalf) – upon which, also, you folks were progressively thinking, yet you continued without a fitting situation (you were being out of season; you kept on lacking the opportunity).

Paul rejoices to see their growth in the Lord, to the point of focusing their thinking away from themselves – and in this case upon Paul's needs. He notes their progress, but is also aware of their lack of opportunity to express it.

11. Not that I am suggesting a need, for I learned and so know to be self-sufficient (to be contented by warding-off my own [needs]; or: to have independent provisions) within whatever circumstances or situations [that] I am.

In speaking of being "self-sufficient," I suggest that Paul is not here saying that he does not depend upon God, but rather that he is not relying upon others when he can be "warding-off [his] own [needs]." The phrase was used of those who had "independent means," but I think that Paul is using the word to mean working at a "side job" or finding ways or situations in which to secure food and shelter, especially considering the next verse.

12. I am aware of [what it is like] to be repeatedly made low [on provisions], as well as aware of [what it is like] to be continuously surrounded by more than enough (or: I have seen, and thus know, both to be humbled, and I have seen, and thus know, to be constantly and excessively abounding). I have been instructed to shut the mouth, and I am initiated into the secret (or: mystery): within everything and within the midst of all things (or: among all people), both to be habitually feeding until satisfied, and to be habitually hungry; both to be constantly and excessively abounding (continuously surrounded by more than enough), and to be repeatedly in need (or: lacking).

There are two possible thoughts in the Greek of the first couplet. The first refers to the opposite situations of being low on provisions or having more than enough, in way of provisions. The second thought, expressed in the parenthetical rendering, would refer to the experience of having been humbled, as contrasted to having everything go well, and be continuously abounding in spirit and good reputation.

He goes on in the next couplets explaining the secret which he had learned (a technical term which means to be initiated into the "mysteries," or "secrets") about life, and these apply to every situation and to being among all people:

1) to experience being habitually feeding until satisfied – and what that is like
2) to experience being habitually hungry – and what that feels like With both extremes a person can also learn how to handle the moral pitfall of the one, and how to deal with the realities of the other.
3) to experience having excessive abundance – and what that is like
4) to experience being repeatedly in need, or having constant lack – and what that is like
With #3 it takes wisdom and a moral compass to successfully handle wealth, and be aware of what such can do to a person.
With #4 it takes both wisdom to know how to survive, and fortitude to deal with the emotional stresses that this conditions brings. Paul knows how to handle both the calm and the storm, both the feast and the famine.

13. I constantly have strength for all things among all people, [from being] in union with and within the midst of the One continuously enabling me (empowering me; infusing me with power and ability): Christ!

Christ is the One that was continuously enabling and empowering Paul to handle all of the extremes that he noted in vs. 12, and all things in between. This was because he was both in union with Christ, and lived within the midst of Him, and this gave him strength for all.

14. Moreover you folks performed beautifully (acted ideally; did virtuously; produced finely), sharing (partnering; participating; having common association) together with me in my pressure (squeezing; tribulation; trouble; oppression).

Paul commends their performance and behavior in being a part of that through which he went. He calls them his partners, etc., of his squeezing oppression, trouble and tribulation. And they had acted ideally and virtuously through these situations.

15. Now you Philippians have seen, and thus are aware (or: know), that within the original period (or: the beginning) of the message of goodness and well-being (good news), when I went (or: came) out from Macedonia, not one called-out community shared (communicated; participated; partnered; held common association) with me (or: for me), [leading] into a discourse (or: with regard to an account or a matter of discussion; = injecting a thought) of giving and of receiving (or: of getting; of taking), except you folks, alone (or: only),

16. because even in Thessalonica both once, and twice, you folks sent [provision] into my need.

Paul gives recognition of their sharing with him by giving support and sending provision, from the beginning of his ministry – and that they were the only community that did so. They thus became his partners, and had brought up the practical thought of giving to him, and of his receiving assistance.

17. Not that I am in the habit of really seeking the gift! But rather, I am in the habit of really seeking the constantly abounding fruit which is overflowing into your discourse (or: your account; your word; your matter of discussion; your message; your thought).

He gives a disclaimer, and then points out his goal. He uses the same phrase here that he used in vs. 15 about a "discourse (Greek 'logos'), account or matter of thought." This can be considered a metaphor for what in our day we call a "bank account," but I suggest that Paul is seeking the fruit of "giving and receiving" in all areas of their lives, which includes their "thoughts, ideas and communications," as well as in their sharing the "message" of Christ. His goal is abundant fruit of the Spirit in their lives – as well as provision and sustenance.

18. But now I am continually holding possessions from (collecting; or: = receiving payment for what is due me from) all things and from all folks; I am even constantly superabounding (being surrounded by more than enough). I have been filled full, receiving from beside Epaphroditus the things from your side: an odor of a sweet fragrance (a fragrant aroma), an acceptable sacrifice, well-pleasing to God (or: with God; for God; in God).

Recall that Epaphroditus was sent from Philippi with provisions for Paul. So now he has been receiving from all people, and from all situations, and he possesses a superabundance. He sees their gifts as comparable to offering incense or a perfumed sacrifice, as in the days of religious ritual, but now in the new reality. He affirms that this is "well-pleasing to God, or in God."

19. So my God will fill to the full your every need (or: will make full all lack which pertains to you folks) down from His wealth [being] within [the] glory [that resides] within Christ Jesus (or: that accords to His wealth that resides within the opinion or imagination [which is] within Christ Jesus; to the level of His riches, within a manifestation of splendor which calls forth praise, within Christ Jesus; down through His abundance, within the reputation [arising from] within the midst of Christ Jesus; in the sphere of and in line with His riches [which are] in union with a glory resident within an anointing from Jesus).

Even as they have been so faithful in their giving, Paul assures them that, just so, God, down from His own wealth, will supply for all of their own needs. The three prepositional phrases that conclude this verse are presented in the parenthetical expansion, in their multiple possible renderings. Consider the nuances of the semantic ranges which both the prepositions and the nouns offer.

20. Now in our God and Father [is] the glory (or: Now for our God and Father [is] the reputation; Yet by our God and Father [is] the manifestation which calls forth praise; So to our God and Father [is] the good opinion; But with our God and Father [is] the imagination) on into the indefinite and unseen time periods of the ages! Count on it, for it is so!

Paul is referring to the glory that he spoke of in vs. 19. It is resident in God, but it is also for God and to God. It also comes by God. These different prepositional renderings come from the possible functions of the dative case, and I have given them all since they all make good sense, and there is no expressed preposition in the text.

Note also the semantic range of the Greek "doxa," which is normally only translated as "glory." When joining this verse to the promised supply in vs. 19, consider the affirmation that "with our God and Father [is] the imagination" for creating this supply. Imagination is often an overlooked gift, but it is a part of "the glory." Also keep in mind that Christ is God's glory... on into the ages of the ages, and we can count on this, for it is so (an expanded rendering of "Amen.")

21. You folks gladly greet and embrace as a dear one every set-apart person (every holy one; every saint) within Christ Jesus. The brothers (= fellow believers; = the family) with me are habitually greeting and warmly embracing you folks.

The word Paul uses for "greet" (sometimes rendered "salute"), means to give a warm and affectionate embrace, as to someone who is very dear to us. Those with Paul are by this word, and in their spirits, embracing those at Philippi. It is an expression of love, not just a "greeting."

22. All those set-apart are habitually greeting and warmly embracing you folks – yet especially those of Caesar's house (= household).

Paul had brought the message of goodness to the household of Caesar, where he was imprisoned, in Rome. Through his ministry to them, they had apparently come to have a great love for the faithful folks in Philippi. Such goodwill coming from Caesar's household speaks much in regard to the influence of Paul on the city of Rome.

Another thought that comes from Paul mentioning this is that this could also be showing Paul's attitude of solidarity between himself, along with those assisting him, and those of Caesar's staff – considering himself and those with him to be a part of the group with whom he lived, although being in chains.

23. The grace of (or: The favor belonging to and having its source in; The grace which is) our Lord [with other MSS: the Owner and Master], Jesus Christ, [is] with the spirit of you folks (or: [is] with your corporate breath-effect; or: [is] with the character and attitude manifested through you folks; [other MSS: {is} with all of you]). It is so!

As elsewhere, Paul affirms to them that the Lord's grace is with them, giving a characteristic exclamation with the word "It is so (Amen)!" It is interesting that he says "with the spirit of you folks." He notes and acknowledges that their community has a spirit of grace, a "character and attitude" which manifests favor towards others.

[Titus was written circa A.D. 58 – Based on the critical analysis of John A.T. Robinson]

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