· Epistle to the Philippians ·

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CHAPTER 1
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1Paul and Timothy, servants of Jesus Christ;

To all the saints in Christ Jesus who are at Philippi, with the bishops and deacons. 2Grace to you and peace, from God our Father and from the Lord Jesus Christ. 3I give thanks to my God whenever I remember you, 4and I always pray with joy when I intercede on your behalf 5because of your partnership in the furtherance of the Good News, even from the very first day until now. 6I am confident of this very thing: that God who began a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ. 7It is right for me to think this way about you, because I have you in my heart and because you are all partakers with me of grace, both in my imprisonment and in the defence and confirmation of the Good News. 8For God is my witness: I long for all of you in the tender mercies of Christ Jesus.

9I pray for this, that your love may overflow even more, with an increase of knowledge and all discernment. 10This way, you will be able to discern what things are excellent, so that you may be sincere and without offence until the day of Christ, 11filled with the fruits of righteousness which are through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.

The progress of the Good News

12Now, I want to you to know, brethren, that what happened to me has turned out to be for the progress of the Good News. 13It became clear to the whole palace guard and to others that my chains are in Christ, 14and most of the brethren in the Lord, being confident through my bonds, are even bolder to speak the word of God without fear. 15Yes, some actually preach Christ out of envy and rivalry, and some also out of good will. 16The first group preaches Christ without sincerity and from selfish ambition, thinking that they are adding affliction to my imprisonment; 17but the second group does so out of love, knowing that I have been appointed to defend the Good News.

18Either way, it does not matter. I only care that whether in pretence or in truth, Christ is proclaimed. I rejoice in this, yes, and will continue to rejoice. 19For I know that this will turn out to my salvation, through your supplication and the support of Christ’s Spirit. 20It is my eager expectation and hope that I will not be put to shame in any way, but that as I speak with all boldness, Christ will be exalted now as always in my body, whether by my life or by my death. 21For to me, living is Christ and dying is gain. 22But if I remain alive in the flesh, this will bring fruit from my work. Yet, I do not know what I will choose. 23I am in a dilemma between the two, having the desire to be released and be with Christ, which is far better. 24At the same time, to remain in the flesh is a more urgent need for your sake. 25Having this confidence, I know that I will remain and continue with all of you for your progress and joy in faith, 26so that your rejoicing may overflow in Christ Jesus when I am with you again.

27Let your way of life be worthy of the Good News of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or remain absent, I may hear this about your condition: that you stand firm in one spirit, striving with one soul for the faith of the Good News. 28Do not be terrified by your opponents. This will be for them evidence of destruction, but to you, of salvation from God. 29For the sake of Christ, you have been granted the privilege not only to believe in him but also to suffer on his behalf, 30and so you are engaged in the same battle which you saw me fight and that you hear that I am still fighting.

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CHAPTER 2
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A call to humility

1Therefore, if there is any exhortation in Christ, any consolation of love, any communion of the Spirit, any tender mercies and compassion, 2make my joy full, by being like-minded, having the same love, being of one accord and of one mind. 3Do nothing through rivalry or conceit, but in humility, consider others better than yourselves. 4Do not just look after you own selfish interests but each one of you should consider the interests of others.

5Let the following be in your mind, which was also in Christ Jesus. 6He who existed in the form of God did not consider equality with God as something to be taken by force. 7Instead, he emptied himself, taking the form of a servant, being made in the likeness of men. 8And being found in human form, he humbled himself, becoming obedient to death, even death on the cross. 9Therefore, God highly exalted him, and gave him the Name which is above every name; 10so that at the Name of Jesus every knee should bow in heaven, on earth, and under the earth; 11and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Call to obedience

12And so, my beloved, even as you have always obeyed, not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, 13for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work, according to his good purpose. 14Do everything without murmurings and disputes 15in order to become blameless and harmless, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation among whom you are seen as lights in the world. 16Uphold the word of life, so that I may have a reason to glory in the day of Christ: that I did not run or labour in vain. 17Yes, even if I am poured out on the sacrifice and service of your faith, I rejoice and share my joy with you all. 18In the same way, rejoice, rejoice with me.

Paul and Timothy – About Epaphroditus

19I hope in the Lord Jesus to send you Timothy soon, so that I too may be encouraged when I learn how you are doing. 20For I have no one else with the same soul, who will truly care about you, 21unlike others who seek their own, not the things of Jesus Christ. 22But you know how he has proved himself; as a child serves a father, he has served with me to spread the Good News. 23Therefore, I hope to send him at once, as soon as I see how things are going with me. 24As it is, I trust in the Lord that I too will be able to come shortly. 25Still, I deemed it necessary to send you Epaphroditus who is my brother, fellow-worker, fellow-soldier, and your apostle and the servant of my need. 26He was longing for you all and was very troubled, because you had heard that he was ill. 27Indeed, he was ill, almost to the point of death. But God had mercy on him; and not on him only, but also on me, so that I may not have sorrow upon sorrow. 28And so, I have sent him all the more eagerly, so that you may rejoice when you see him again, and that I may be less sorrowful. 29Receive him in the Lord with all joy, and hold such a person in honour, 30because on account of the work of Christ, he came near to death, risking his life to provide what was lacking in your ministry to me.

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CHAPTER 3
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Warning against evil-workers – Paul’s background

1Finally, my brethren, rejoice in the Lord. To me, writing the same things to you is not tiresome – it is safe. 2Beware of the dogs, beware of evil- workers, beware of the false circumcision. 3We are ‘circumcised’ if we worship God in the Spirit, if we rejoice in Christ Jesus and have no confidence in the flesh, 4although I myself could have confidence even in the flesh. If anyone thinks that he has confidence in the flesh, I could even more: 5circumcised on the eighth day, a member of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews. As regards the law, I was a Pharisee; 6as far as zeal is concerned, I was persecuting the Church, and as for the righteousness which is based on the law, I was found blameless.

All things considered as a loss – Reaching forward

7However, these things which I thought were gain to me, I have counted as loss for Christ. 8Yes, without a doubt, I consider everything as loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus, my Lord, for whom I suffered the loss of everything. I consider them as dung, so that I may gain Christ 9and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own (from the law), but through faith in Christ (the righteousness which is from God by faith). 10Yes, may I know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the communion of his sufferings, becoming conformed to his death, 11if by any means I may attain to the resurrection from the dead. 12I am not saying that I have already obtained these things or that I am already made perfect; but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me.

13Brethren, I do not regard myself as having obtained these things just yet, but I do this: forgetting the things which are now behind and reaching forwards to the things which are ahead, 14I press on towards the goal, and the prize is the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. 15Let us who are mature, therefore, think this way, and if you think differently in some way, God will also reveal that to you. 16Nevertheless, to the extent that we have already reached some point, let us walk by the same rule and let us be of the same mind.

17Brethren, be united in imitating me, and keep your eyes fixed on those who live this way, even as you have us as an example. 18But there are many who live as enemies of the cross of Christ, as I remind you often, as I do now with tears. 19Their end is destruction, their god is the belly, and their glory is in their shame as they think about earthly things. 20As for us, our citizenship is in heaven, from which we are expecting a Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ. 21He will change the body of our humiliation to be conformed to the body of his glory, according to the energy by which he is able to subject everything to himself.

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CHAPTER 4
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Instructions – The peace of God

1Therefore, my beloved brethren whom I miss so much, my joy and my crown, stand firm in the Lord. 2I exhort Evodia and Syntyche to think the same way in the Lord. 3Yes, I beg you also, Syzygus, help these women, for they laboured with me in the Good News and also with Clement and the rest of my fellow-workers, whose names are in the book of life. 4Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice. 5Let your kindness be known to all. The Lord is at hand. 6Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition with thanksgiving, let your requests be known to God. 7And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your thoughts in Christ Jesus.

8Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are honourable, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are commendable, if there is any virtue or any praise, think about these things. 9What you learnt, received, heard, and saw in me: practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.

Paul’s needs and thankfulness

10But now, I rejoice in the Lord greatly, that your consideration for me has blossomed again. (I know that you were thinking about me but lacked the opportunity). 11I do not want to speak about what I lack, because I have learnt to be satisfied with whatever state I am in. 12I know how to be humbled, and I also know also how to overflow. In everything and in everything I have learnt the secret of being both filled and hungry, to be in abundance and to be in need. 13I can do all these things through Christ who strengthens me. 14However, it was a good thing that you shared in my affliction. 15As you Philippians know well, in the beginning of the Good News when I departed from Macedonia, no Church shared with me in the matter of giving and receiving – only you did. 16For even in Thessalonica you supplied for my needs. 17It is not that I seek the gift, what I value is the interest that is accumulating in your account. 18I actually have everything and I overflow since I received from Epaphroditus what came from you, a sweet-smelling fragrance, an acceptable and well-pleasing sacrifice to God. 19My God will supply all of your needs according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus. 20To our God and Father be the glory unto ages of ages. Amen.

21Greet every saint in Christ Jesus. The brethren who are with me greet you. 22All the saints greet you, especially those who are of Caesar’s household. 23The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.