Philippians 2:13

13 for 1it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for 2his good pleasure.

Philippians 2:13 Meaning and Commentary

Philippians 2:13

For it is God which worketh in you
Which is both an encouragement to persons conscious of their own weakness to work, as before exhorted to; see ( Haggai 2:4 ) ; and a reason and argument for humility and meekness, and against pride and vain glory, since all we have, and do, is from God; and also points out the spring, principle, and foundation of all good works; namely, the grace of God wrought in the heart, which is an internal work, and purely the work of God: by this men become the workmanship of God, created unto good works, ( Ephesians 2:10 ) , and are new men, and fitted for the performance of acts of righteousness, and true holiness; and this grace, which God works in them, is wrought in a powerful and efficacious manner, so as not to be frustrated and made void. The word here used signifies an inward, powerful, and efficacious operation; and the "king's manuscript", mentioned by Grotius and Hammond, adds another word to it, which makes the sense still stronger, reading it thus, "which worketh in you", (dunamei) , "by power"; not by moral persuasion, but by his own power, the power of his efficacious grace. The Alexandrian copy reads, (dunameiv) , "powers", or "mighty works": God works in his people

both to will and to do of [his] good pleasure;
God works in converted men a will to that which is spiritually good; which is to be understood, not of the formation of the natural faculty of the will; or of the preservation of it, and its natural liberty; or of the general motion of it to natural objects; nor of his influence on it in a providential way; but of the making of it good, and causing a willingness in it to that which is spiritually good. Men have no will naturally to come to Christ, or to have him to reign over them; they have no desire, nor hungerings and thirstings after his righteousness and salvation; wherever there are any such inclinations and desires, they are wrought in men by God; who works upon the stubborn and inflexible will, and, without any force to it, makes the soul willing to be saved by Christ, and submit to his righteousness, and do his will; he sweetly and powerfully draws it with the cords of love to himself, and to his Son, and so influences it by his grace and spirit, and which he continues, that it freely wills everything spiritually good, and for the glory of God: and he works in them also to "do"; for there is sometimes in believers a will, when there wants a power of doing. God therefore both implants in them principles of action to work from, as faith and love, and a regard for his glory, and gives them grace and strength to work with, without which they can do nothing, but having these, can do all things: and all this is "of [his] good pleasure"; the word "his" not being in the original text, some have taken the liberty to ascribe this to the will of man; and so the Syriac version renders it, "both to will and to do that", (Nwtna Nybud) , "which ye will", or according to your good will; but such a sense is both bad and senseless; for if they have a good will of themselves, what occasion is there for God to work one in them? no; these internal operations of divine power and grace are not owing to the will of men, nor to any merits of theirs, or are what God is obliged to do, but what flow from his sovereign will and pleasure; who works when, where, and as he pleases, and that for his own glory; and who continues to do so in the hearts of his people; otherwise, notwithstanding the work of grace in them, they would find very little inclination to, and few and faint desires after spiritual things; and less strength to do what is spiritually good; but God of his good pleasure goes on working what is well pleasing in his sight.

Philippians 2:13 In-Context

11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
12 Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling,
13 for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.
14 Do all things without grumbling or questioning,
15 that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world,

Cross References 2

  • 1. 1 Corinthians 12:6; [Hebrews 13:21]; See 1 Corinthians 15:10
  • 2. [1 Timothy 2:4]
The English Standard Version is published with the permission of Good News Publishers.