Philippians 4


15-16 Here Paul recalls with appreciation the Philippians’ former generosity and assistance (Philippians 1:4-5).

17  Paul is not praising the Philippians in order to get more help from them. Rather, he is seeking that they might receive spiritual fruit as a reward for their generosity to him. He wants them to be spiritually blessed for their generosity; he wants their generosity to be credited to their account.

18 Because of the gift that Epaphroditus has recently brought from the Philippians, Paul is now abundantly supplied. Paul says that their gift is a fragrant offering, an acceptable sacrifice, pleasing to God. Whenever we help others, especially those who are in Christian work, we are presenting a fragrant offering12 to God (see Hebrews 13:16). This kind of sacrifice is pleasing to God. Whatever we do for our brothers, we do also for Christ (Matthew 25:40). But even more than the sacrifice of our money, God wants the sacrifice of ourselves, our own lives. He wants us to offer ourselves as living sacrifices in obedience to Him (Romans 12:1; Hebrews 10:5-7).

19-20 The promise Paul has written in verse 19 is one of the greatest promises in the Bible: God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus. God will meet all your needs—both physical and spiritual! Brothers and sisters, are any of you in any need? Simply trust in God and in His promises. He says: “I will meet all your needs” (see 2 Corinthians 9:8).

God will meet all our needs in Christ Jesus. Apart from Christ, we shall not receive any of God’s promises. All of our needs are met in Christ and through Christ. Together with Christ, God freely gives us all things; but if we are not in Christ, we shall receive nothing (see Matthew 6:33; Romans 8:32 and comments).

And does God only give us a little? Does He give us only barely enough? No, He gives to us according to his glorious riches! (see Ephesians 1:3; 3:8,20-21). There is no limit to the glorious riches of Christ. And these riches are ours in Him! May God be praised!

But a word of caution is necessary here. The glorious riches Paul refers to in verse 19 are primarily spiritual riches, not material riches. In material things, God has promised to supply only our needs—not our wants! But in spiritual things, God is ready to bless us in abundance.

21-22 Paul here sends the Philippians greetings from various Christians in Rome. Those who belong to Caesar’s household are some of the servants and household officials of Caesar13 who had become believers. Because Paul was a prisoner of Caesar, he had contact with some members of Caesar’s household. Through his witness, some had become Christians (see Philippians 1:13).

23 See 1 Corinthians 16:23 and comment.


1 Greece is an important country of southern Europe In New Testament times, it had fallen under the rule of the Roman Empire. Nevertheless, it had remained a center of culture and learning. Most educated people in New Testament times spoke the Greek language. The New Testament itself was origin ally written in Greek.

2 In place of the word overseers, many translations of the Bible say “bishops.” The meaning is the same; “bishop” is simply a name for an overseer. In later church history, however, the word “bishop” came to mean a special high-ranking leader of the church.

3 In this one short verse, we can see the two great doctrines of justification and sanctification. Justification is the good work that God has begun in us. We have been justified freely by his grace (Romans 3:24). Sanctification is the bringing of that work to completion, to perfect holiness. Our justification has already taken place—by grace through faith. Our sanctification continues to take place throughout our lives—by grace through faith. For further discussion, see General Articles: Way of Salvation. Holy Spirit.

4 The day of Christ also means the day of judgment, when Christ will judge every man (John 5:22; 2 Corinthians 5:10). The day of judgment will take place at the aid of the world, when Christ comes again.

5 In place of the word deliverance, some translations of the Bible say “salvation.”

6The other thing besides unity that gives Jesus special joy is our purity. Purity and unity are both equally essential for the church.

7 Christians do not need to be afraid of God’s condemnation, but they do need to be afraid of displeasing and disappointing God. For further discussion, see 1 John 4:18 and comment.

8 In place of the words hold out, some translations of the Bible say “hold on to.” Although the two meanings are different, they are both true. It is not certain which meaning Paul intended.

9 The Hebrews were Jews who spoke either the Hebrew or the Aramaic language. In Paul’s time, there were two main kinds of Jews: those who spoke the Greek language, and those who spoke Hebrew or Aramaic (Acts 6:1). Even though Paul could also speak Greek, he was himself a Hebrew. The Hebrews considered themselves to be the purest and truest Jews of all.

10 Among the enemies of the cross, those who are Jews glory also in their flesh, that is, in their circumcision (verse 3).

11 Clement is not mentioned elsewhere in the New Testament. It is not known who he was.

12 In accordance with Jewish law, the Jews burned fragrant incense when they offered sacrifices.

13 All Roman emperors were given the title Caesar. “Caesar” means emperor.


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