Philippians Chapter 1
1 Paul and Timothy, servants of Jesus Christ; To all the saints in Christ Jesus who are at Philippi, with the overseers and servants:
2 Grace to you, and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
3 I thank my God whenever I remember you,
4 always in every request of mine on behalf of you all, making my requests with joy,
5 for your partnership in furtherance of the Good News from the first day until now;
6 being confident of this very thing, that he who began a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ.
7 It is even right for me to think this way on behalf of all of you, because I have you in my heart, because both in my bonds and in the defence and confirmation of the Good News, you all are partakers with me of grace.
8 For God is my witness, how I long after all of you in the tender mercies of Christ Jesus.
9 This I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and all discernment,
10 so that you may approve the things that are excellent, that you may be sincere and without offence to the day of Christ,
11 being filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.
12 Now I desire to have you know, brothers, that the things which happened to me have turned out rather to the progress of the Good News,
13 so that it became evident to the whole palace guard, and to all the rest, that my bonds are in Christ,
14 and that most of the brothers in the Lord, being confident through my bonds, are more abundantly bold to speak the word of God without fear.
15 Some indeed preach Christ even out of envy and strife, and some also out of good will.
16 The former insincerely preach Christ from selfish ambition, thinking that they add affliction to my chains;
17 but the latter out of love, knowing that I am appointed for the defence of the Good News.
18 What does it matter? Only that in every way, whether in pretence or in truth, Christ is proclaimed. I rejoice in this, yes, and will rejoice.
19 For I know that this will turn out to my salvation, through your prayers and the supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ,
20 according to my earnest expectation and hope, that I will in no way be disappointed, but with all boldness, as always, now also Christ will be magnified in my body, whether by life or by death.
21 For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.
22 But if I live on in the flesh, this will bring fruit from my work; yet I don't know what I will choose.
23 But I am hard pressed between the two, having the desire to depart and be with Christ, which is far better.
24 Yet to remain in the flesh is more needful for your sake.
25 Having this confidence, I know that I will remain, yes, and remain with you all for your progress and joy in the faith,
26 that your rejoicing may abound in Christ Jesus in me through my presence with you again.
27 Only let your way of life be worthy of the Good News of Christ, that whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of your state, that you stand firm in one spirit, with one soul striving for the faith of the Good News;
28 and in nothing frightened by the adversaries, which is for them a proof of destruction, but to you of salvation, and that from God.
29 Because it has been granted to you on behalf of Christ, not only to believe in him, but also to suffer on his behalf,
30 having the same conflict which you saw in me and now hear is in me.
- Verse 1 (overseers)
- or, superintendents, or bishops
- Verse 1 (servants)
- Or, deacons
- Verse 5 (partnership)
- The word translated "partnership" (κοινωνίᾳ) also means "fellowship" and "sharing".
- Verse 12 (Brothers)
- The word for "brothers" here and where context allows may also be correctly translated "brothers and sisters" or "siblings."
- Verse 13 (palace guard)
- or, praetorian
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Philippians Chapter 1 Guide
This letter is in itself a revelation of Christian experience. The word “sin" is not mentioned. The flesh is referred to only that it may be ignored. It is characterized by a revelation of the mind of love. Associating Timothy with himself, the apostle described Timothy and himself as the "servants of Jesus Christ."
Declaring that he thanks God upon all his remembrance of Philippians he tells them that he is praying that their “love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and all discernment." Such an experience will enable them to "approve the things that are excellent," and so "be sincere and void of offence unto the day of Christ."
Thrice over he referred to his bonds. He declared that these “have fallen out unto the progress of the Gospel," and that in three ways. First "throughout the whole praetorian guard and to all the rest," the fact that he is a prisoner of Christ has been manifest. Second, therefore, a effect had been produced on his brethren. They had become confident through his bonds. And yet again reference is made to a Judaizing element in the Church. On every hand the Lord is magnified In view of all these things the apostle was able to write, "To me to live is Christ, and to die is gain." Then he stated his mental debate. From the purely personal aspect it would be very far better that he should depart. The triumph, how ever, is on the side of sacrificial service, for his remaining will minister to progress and joy in the faith of others. From the standpoint of Personal experience he wrote to them concerning their fellowship, and declared that "to YOU it bath been granted on the behalf of Christ ... to suffer."
From "An Exposition of the Whole Bible" by G. Campbell Morgan.
Philippians Chapter 1 Commentary
- The apostle offers up thanksgivings and prayers, for the good work of grace in the Philippians. -- (1-7)
- He expresses affection, and prays for them. -- (8-11)
- Fortifies them against being cast down at his sufferings. -- (12-20)
- He stood prepared for glorifying Christ by life, or death. -- (21-26)
- Exhortations to zeal, and constancy in professing the gospel. -- (27-30)
The highest honour of the most eminent ministers is, to be servants of Christ. And those who are not really saints on earth, never will be saints in heaven. Out of Christ, the best saints are sinners, and unable to stand before God. There is no peace without grace. Inward peace springs from a sense of Divine favour. And there is no grace and peace but from God our Father, the fountain and origin of all blessings. At Philippi the apostle was evil entreated, and saw little fruit of his labour; yet he remembers Philippi with joy. We must thank our God for the graces and comforts, gifts and usefulness of others, as we receive the benefit, and God receives the glory. The work of grace will never be perfected till the day of Jesus Christ, the day of his appearance. But we may always be confident God will perform his good work, in every soul wherein he has really begun it by regeneration; though we must not trust in outward appearances, nor in any thing but a new creation to holiness. People are dear to their ministers, when they receive benefit by their ministry. Fellow-sufferers in the cause of God should be dear one to another.
Shall not we pity and love those souls whom Christ loves and pities? Those who abound in any grace, need to abound more. Try things which differ; that we may approve the things which are excellent. The truths and laws of Christ are excellent; and they recommend themselves as such to any attentive mind. Sincerity is that in which we should have our conversation in the world, and it is the glory of all our graces. Christians should not be apt to take offence, and should be very careful not to offend God or the brethren. The things which most honour God will most benefit us. Let us not leave it doubtful whether any good fruit is found in us or not. A small measure of Christian love, knowledge, and fruitfulness should not satisfy any.
The apostle was a prisoner at Rome; and to take off the offence of the cross, he shows the wisdom and goodness of God in his sufferings. These things made him known, where he would never have otherwise been known; and led some to inquire after the gospel. He suffered from false friends, as well as from enemies. How wretched the temper of those who preached Christ out of envy and contention, and to add affliction to the bonds that oppressed this best of men! The apostle was easy in the midst of all. Since our troubles may tend to the good of many, we ought to rejoice. Whatever turns to our salvation, is by the Spirit of Christ; and prayer is the appointed means of seeking for it. Our earnest expectation and hope should not be to be honoured of men, or to escape the cross, but to be upheld amidst temptation, contempt, and affliction. Let us leave it to Christ, which way he will make us serviceable to his glory, whether by labour or suffering, by diligence or patience, by living to his honour in working for him, or dying to his honour in suffering for him.
Death is a great loss to a carnal, worldly man, for he loses all his earthly comforts and all his hopes; but to a true believer it is gain, for it is the end of all his weakness and misery. It delivers him from all the evils of life, and brings him to possess the chief good. The apostle's difficulty was not between living in this world and living in heaven; between these two there is no comparison; but between serving Christ in this world and enjoying him in another. Not between two evil things, but between two good things; living to Christ and being with him. See the power of faith and of Divine grace; it can make us willing to die. In this world we are compassed with sin; but when with Christ, we shall escape sin and temptation, sorrow and death, for ever. But those who have most reason to desire to depart, should be willing to remain in the world as long as God has any work for them to do. And the more unexpected mercies are before they come, the more of God will be seen in them.
Those who profess the gospel of Christ, should live as becomes those who believe gospel truths, submit to gospel laws, and depend upon gospel promises. The original word "conversation" denotes the conduct of citizens who seek the credit, safety, peace, and prosperity of their city. There is that in the faith of the gospel, which is worth striving for; there is much opposition, and there is need of striving. A man may sleep and go to hell; but he who would go to heaven, must look about him and be diligent. There may be oneness of heart and affection among Christians, where there is diversity of judgment about many things. Faith is God's gift on the behalf of Christ; the ability and disposition to believe are from God. And if we suffer reproach and loss for Christ, we are to reckon them a gift, and prize them accordingly. Yet salvation must not be ascribed to bodily afflictions, as though afflictions and worldly persecutions deserved it; but from God only is salvation: faith and patience are his gifts.
From the "Concise Commentary on the Bible" by Matthew Henry.