It has 4 chapters, 404 verses, and 2,002 words, and was estimated to have been written about 62 AD. Although written from jail the words joy and rejoice are used quite a lot for the size of this letter.
1 ¶ Paul and Timotheus, the servants of Jesus Christ, to all the saints in Christ Jesus which are at Philippi, with the bishops and deacons:
Philippi is where the jailer was saved and this verse resulted which is a great evangelizing verse.
Acts 16:31 And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.
We call the bishop a Pastor. The Bishop was a Pastor of a local church.
1Timothy 3:1 This is a true saying, If a man desire the office of a bishop, he desireth a good work.
1Timothy 3:2 A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach;
2Ti 4:22 The Lord Jesus Christ be with thy spirit. Grace be with you. Amen. The second epistle unto Timotheus, ordained the first bishop of the church of the Ephesians, was written from Rome, when Paul was brought before Nero the second time.
Titus 1:7 For a bishop must be blameless, as the steward of God; not selfwilled, not soon angry, not given to wine, no striker, not given to filthy lucre;
Titus 3:15 All that are with me salute thee. Greet them that love us in the faith. Grace be with you all. Amen. It was written to Titus, ordained the first bishop of the church of the Cretians, from Nicopolis of Macedonia.
1Peter2:25 For ye were as sheep going astray; but are now returned unto the Shepherd and Bishop of your souls.
Deacon is the second office of the New Testament church. Its origins can be found in Acts 6, showing that they are not to be the ones controlling the Pastor, but serving in the congregation, and the qualifications can be found in 1 Timothy 3. These qualifications are spiritual but, unfortunately, a lot of churches appoint Deacons for their business and community contacts and they often run the Pastor and the church.
2 Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ. 3 ¶ I thank my God upon every remembrance of you, 4 Always in every prayer of mine for you all making request with joy, 5 For your fellowship in the gospel from the first day until now; 6 Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ:
Verse 6 is a great memory verse and a great promise. You cannot lose your salvation. If you are ever in a church where the people aren’t sure of where they are going when they die then get out of there. It’s fake. You didn’t save yourself and you aren’t keeping yourself. Let this also be a warning about how you judge other Christians’ salvation by their performance, if it pleases YOU or not.
7 ¶ Even as it is meet for me to think this of you all, because I have you in my heart; inasmuch as both in my bonds, and in the defence and confirmation of the gospel, ye all are partakers of my grace.
“Meet” means proper and fitting. Paul is in jail in Rome.
8 For God is my record, how greatly I long after you all in the bowels of Jesus Christ.
Bowels refers to his inmost parts. Deep inside. We’ve all felt butterflies in our stomach or dread or fear or joy deep inside of us.
9 ¶ And this I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and in all judgment;
He’s about to make some requests. The first is that their love may abound more in knowledge and judgment. This is the right kind of love.
10 That ye may approve things that are excellent; that ye may be sincere and without offence till the day of Christ;
You have to make judgments. The result of this is sincerity and being without offence before Christ when you stand before Him.
11 Being filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ, unto the glory and praise of God.
These results will glorify God and result in praise of Him. He prays then that our love will abound more and more in knowledge and all judgment so that we can approve excellent things, so that we can be sincere and without offence right up to the day we face Christ to give account. We’ll be filled with the fruits of righteousness which Christ gave us, and which glorify God and result in praise of Him.
The key is loving in knowledge and judgment. It’s not an unconscious feel good lovey dovey thing. It’s a rational love. A love that involves choices and clear, sound thinking.
12 ¶ But I would ye should understand, brethren, that the things which happened unto me have fallen out rather unto the furtherance of the gospel;
The things that happened to Paul helped further the gospel.
13 So that my bonds in Christ are manifest in all the palace, and in all other places; 14 And many of the brethren in the Lord, waxing confident by my bonds, are much more bold to speak the word without fear.
More people have been bold to preach Christ by Paul’s being locked up. Persecution creates zeal.
15 Some indeed preach Christ even of envy and strife; and some also of good will: 16 The one preach Christ of contention, not sincerely, supposing to add affliction to my bonds: 17 But the other of love, knowing that I am set for the defence of the gospel.
Some will preach to spite Paul and probably telling people how he was there because he was out of God’s will while the others will preach out of love for Paul and admiration of his defence of the gospel.
18 What then? notwithstanding, every way, whether in pretence, or in truth, Christ is preached; and I therein do rejoice, yea, and will rejoice.
Paul’s just happy that Christ is getting publicity, no matter what the reason. He doesn’t care what their motives are, as long as the risen Christ is preached. Hate Paul or love him, doesn’t matter to him.
19 For I know that this shall turn to my salvation through your prayer, and the supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ,
This is not saying that Paul is going to get saved because of their prayer. This is about his ministry. Here are some other times where being saved refers to a temporal thing.
Saved from sickness, injury, or death;
1Timothy 2:15 Notwithstanding she shall be saved in childbearing, if they continue in faith and charity and holiness with sobriety.
Matthew 14:30 But when he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried, saying, Lord, save me.
20 According to my earnest expectation and my hope, that in nothing I shall be ashamed, but that with all boldness, as always, so now also Christ shall be magnified in my body, whether it be by life, or by death.
Paul’s wish is that Christ would be lifted up either by Paul’s death or his life. This is a great desire for any Christian. Meditate on this scripture.
21 ¶ For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.
Memorize this verse. Christ causes you and is the source of your life.
Galatians 2:20 I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.
To die is your gain.
2Corinthians 5:8 We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord.
Death is only a positive thing for a saved person.
22 But if I live in the flesh, this is the fruit of my labour: yet what I shall choose I wot not. 23 For I am in a strait betwixt two, having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ; which is far better:
Like the Bering Straits or the Straits of Gibraltar or a straitjacket, a strait is a narrow place. Notice this verse.
Matthew 7:14 Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.
The definition is in the verse. Only a Christian can say that dying is better than living. No one else is certain of where they are going when they die.
(Anecdote about Buddhist acquaintance who is dying or dead.)
Only we can say “far better”. The rest are terrified. I don’t think a human being is terrified about simple non-existence.
24 Nevertheless to abide in the flesh is more needful for you.
Paul is staying, in spite of the fact that he has tried to make people kill him, so that he can be of use to God in these people’s lives.
25 And having this confidence, I know that I shall abide and continue with you all for your furtherance and joy of faith; 26 That your rejoicing may be more abundant in Jesus Christ for me by my coming to you again.
If God lets him return, their rejoicing may be more abundant.
27 ¶ Only let your conversation be as it becometh the gospel of Christ: that whether I come and see you, or else be absent, I may hear of your affairs, that ye stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel;
Conversation can be speech or conduct. Read the context. Your conversation reveals your conduct or you are a hypocrite, a fake. Becoming means fitting. Paul is always looking for unity among believers. How can you be of one mind if you have twenty different Bible versions that all say different things?
28 And in nothing terrified by your adversaries: which is to them an evident token of perdition, but to you of salvation, and that of God.
Being fearful of the opponents to Christ, being terrified by them, makes them think you know you’re wrong. Don’t be afraid of the enemies of the Cross. The power they have over you is temporal and temporary only.
29 For unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for his sake;
You are not just called to believe but you are called to suffer, and you will suffer.
30 Having the same conflict which ye saw in me, and now hear to be in me.
We’ll suffer as Paul suffered.
1 ¶ If there be therefore any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any bowels and mercies, 2 Fulfil ye my joy, that ye be likeminded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind.
He wants us to be of one mind, and to get along. This is an important theme, unity.
3 Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves.
Our motives aren’t to be causing trouble or self-attention. We are supposed to look to each other better than ourselves. This is tough, very tough.
4 Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others.
This is not about being a busybody. It’s about sharing each other’s loads.
Galatians 6:1 ¶ Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted. 2 Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ. 3 For if a man think himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceiveth himself. 4 But let every man prove his own work, and then shall he have rejoicing in himself alone, and not in another. 5 For every man shall bear his own burden.
5 Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:
Now, look at these;
1 Corinthians 2:16 For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ.
Romans 12:2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.
We are supposed to have the mind of Christ. It is conceivable that, if we allowed it to happen, we could think Christ’s thoughts. Christ has furnished us with the equipment we need. We just need to use it.
Let me give you an example. I saw a 75 year old weightlifter lift over a ton off the ground, several times. He did this because he never quit practicing the discipline he studied in his youth. Most people, at some point, decide they either aren’t interested in maintaining their body strength anymore and use all sorts of excuses for sliding into weakness and infirmity or they always depended on their youth and spent it like spare change.
You have to exercise what you have or you will lose it. Having the mind of Christ is not something you attain by watching American Idol or Wide World of Sports. It’s found here, in this book. All of the humanistic, socialistic family values slop that both the Republicans and the Democrats are putting out is just pure bunk designed to keep you thinking about yourself and away from Christ.
6 Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God:
Satan wanted to steal what was not his. Christ was simply being who He was.
Isaiah 14:13 For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north:
Look at the story of Naboth’s vineyard in I Kings 21 regarding Ahab and Jezebel and notice the parallel of the Householder in Matthew 21:33. The wicked one wants to steal what is rightfully Christ’s.
7 But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men:
John 5:18 Therefore the Jews sought the more to kill him, because he not only had broken the sabbath, but said also that God was his Father, making himself equal with God.
Jesus told his Apostles;
Luke 22:25 And he said unto them, The kings of the Gentiles exercise lordship over them; and they that exercise authority upon them are called benefactors. 26 But ye shall not be so: but he that is greatest among you, let him be as the younger; and he that is chief, as he that doth serve.
Jesus is the image of God but was made in the likeness of men.
John 14:9 Jesus saith unto him, Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? he that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Shew us the Father?
Or look at this passage about the angel or appearance of God. If an angel is simply some kind of creature flying around in the spirit world then this verse would be blasphemy.
Judges 2:1 ¶ And an angel of the LORD came up from Gilgal to Bochim, and said, I made you to go up out of Egypt, and have brought you unto the land which I sware unto your fathers; and I said, I will never break my covenant with you.
8 And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.
Hebrews 5:8 Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered;
How about you? Do you want to be obedient? Are you prepared for the following?
Philippians 3:8 Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ, 9 ¶ And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith: 10 That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death;
Are you willing to fellowship with Him through suffering? I’m not talking about marching arm in arm with the Vatican to protest some social evil like abortion or the radical homosexual agenda. I’m not talking about how we dress or tucking our Bible under our arms and smugly getting in lost people’s faces. I’m talking about putting aside the thought patterns of the world and putting on the mind of Christ. There are consequences to that last thing that we can’t imagine. Would it were that we were known, not by suffering for the things we refused to do, but by suffering for the things we insisted on doing in Christ’s name.
9 Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: 10 That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; 11 And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
Not Mohammed, not Buddha, not Lao-Tzu, not any Pope or Catholic saint are above Jesus. There is not substitute.
John 14:6 Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.
Acts 4:12 Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.
We have to understand who He is.
Colossians 1:16 For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: 17 And he is before all things, and by him all things consist.
Every tongue will confess. This isn’t necessarily a Christian confession.
James 2:19 Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble.
Revelation 5:13 And every creature which is in heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, heard I saying, Blessing, and honour, and glory, and power, be unto him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever.
Even Judas called Him Lord in John 14:22. Here is your litmus test.
1 Corinthians 12:3 Wherefore I give you to understand, that no man speaking by the Spirit of God calleth Jesus accursed: and that no man can say that Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Ghost.
Beware of those religious people always shouting “Jesus is Lord!”. That’s also the confession of a devil. The question is, “Is Jesus THE Lord”?
Isaiah 45:23 I have sworn by myself, the word is gone out of my mouth in righteousness, and shall not return, That unto me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear.
12 ¶ Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.
He doesn’t say work to get saved or stay saved. He says to work out your own salvation. Read the next verse. We ought to be afraid somewhat because we don’t know what God has planned for us. Fear and trembling it says.
13 For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.
It’s God that works in you. His will is going to be accomplished. His will might not make you happy or make you feel good. But, He will do His good pleasure in your life and don’t think you are going to stop it, no matter what your best efforts.
Christians, especially those who like those fake TV evangelists and the big show people like Benny Hinn and Oral Roberts are fond of quoting verses that make it sound like God wants you to have a wonderful life and be happy. Well, it might be God’s will that you get sick or a broken leg or lose someone you love dearly so you will stop looking at this life and look up and be useful for Him. God might have to take everything away from you so you’ll look toward Him. Start thinking in terms of eternity.
Isaiah 53:10 Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in his hand.
“Yet it PLEASED the Lord to bruise him….”
Lester Roloff, a great preacher, said something like this, “It’s easy to live on faith when that’s all you have left.”
Christian feel gooders need to stop taking this verse about the end of the Babylonian Captivity out of context and passing it around the internet…
Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.
Matthew 6:20 But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: 21 For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.
14 ¶ Do all things without murmurings and disputings: 15 That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world; 16 Holding forth the word of life; that I may rejoice in the day of Christ, that I have not run in vain, neither laboured in vain.
We are to do what we do for Christ without murmuring and disputing. This is such a clear message how could it be open for interpretation?
“Day of Christ” refers to the Judgment Seat of Christ for the Christian. The converts will be there, too. See verses six and ten in chapter one again.
1 Corinthians 3:11 ¶ For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ. 12 Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; 13 Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is. 14 If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. 15 If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.
2Corinthians 1:14 As also ye have acknowledged us in part, that we are your rejoicing, even as ye also are ours in the day of the Lord Jesus.
1Thessalonians 2:19 For what is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing? Are not even ye in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at his coming?
2Thessalonians 2:2 That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand.
2 Timothy 1:16 The Lord give mercy unto the house of Onesiphorus; for he oft refreshed me, and was not ashamed of my chain: 17 But, when he was in Rome, he sought me out very diligently, and found me.18 The Lord grant unto him that he may find mercy of the Lord in that day: and in how many things he ministered unto me at Ephesus, thou knowest very well.
2 Timothy 4:7 I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: 8 Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.
Romans 14:10 But why dost thou judge thy brother? or why dost thou set at nought thy brother? for we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ.
2Corinthians 5:10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.
This is the judgment of the Christian as opposed to the judgment of the unsaved dead here.
Revelation 20:11 ¶ And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them. 12 And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. 13 And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works. 14 And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. 15 And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.
Paul wants to see his converts doing right so that he feels that what he has done has not been in vain. When we get to the judgment seat of Christ all of our hypocrisies and selfish motives and unfair judgments and unreasonable assumptions will be seen.
17 Yea, and if I be offered upon the sacrifice and service of your faith, I joy, and rejoice with you all. 18 For the same cause also do ye joy, and rejoice with me.
He’s expecting the possibility of being executed.
2Timothy 4:6 For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand.
And Peter refers to his own death;
2 Peter 1:14 Knowing that shortly I must put off this my tabernacle, even as our Lord Jesus Christ hath shewed me.
19 But I trust in the Lord Jesus to send Timotheus shortly unto you, that I also may be of good comfort, when I know your state.
Timothy is to come to them soon.
20 For I have no man likeminded, who will naturally care for your state.
Timothy is all he has for this job.
21 For all seek their own, not the things which are Jesus Christ’s.
As are most of us and most other Christians concerned only about their own flesh and interests, and that usually means the imaginations of their minds, which they often call God’s will, when it’s really their own carnal desire.
22 But ye know the proof of him, that, as a son with the father, he hath served with me in the gospel.
He is lifting up Timothy.
23 Him therefore I hope to send presently, so soon as I shall see how it will go with me.
He wants to wait and see how his case before the Emperor turns out.
24 But I trust in the Lord that I also myself shall come shortly.
Here, in opposition to his previous expectation, he is hoping that he’ll be able to come to see them as well.
25 Yet I supposed it necessary to send to you Epaphroditus, my brother, and companion in labour, and fellowsoldier, but your messenger, and he that ministered to my wants.
There are five titles here for the ministry; a brother (Proverb 18:24), a companion in labor (Revelation 1:9), a fellow soldier (2 Timothy 2:4), a messenger (Malachi 3:1), and a minister to wants (1 Peter 4:10).
26 For he longed after you all, and was full of heaviness, because that ye had heard that he had been sick. 27 For indeed he was sick nigh unto death: but God had mercy on him; and not on him only, but on me also, lest I should have sorrow upon sorrow. 28 I sent him therefore the more carefully, that, when ye see him again, ye may rejoice, and that I may be the less sorrowful. 29 Receive him therefore in the Lord with all gladness; and hold such in reputation: 30 Because for the work of Christ he was nigh unto death, not regarding his life, to supply your lack of service toward me.
Epaphroditus gets a long plug here and there is also a rebuke of the Philippians for not helping Paul when they should have.