Philippians 2:12-18

Do Everything Without Grumbling

12 Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling,
13 for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.
14 Do everything without grumbling or arguing,
15 so that you may become blameless and pure, “children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.”[a] Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky
16 as you hold firmly to the word of life. And then I will be able to boast on the day of Christ that I did not run or labor in vain.
17 But even if I am being poured out like a drink offering on the sacrifice and service coming from your faith, I am glad and rejoice with all of you.
18 So you too should be glad and rejoice with me.

Philippians 2:12 in Other Translations

KJV
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.
ESV
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,
NLT
12 Dear friends, you always followed my instructions when I was with you. And now that I am away, it is even more important. Work hard to show the results of your salvation, obeying God with deep reverence and fear.
MSG
12 What I'm getting at, friends, is that you should simply keep on doing what you've done from the beginning. When I was living among you, you lived in responsive obedience. Now that I'm separated from you, keep it up. Better yet, redouble your efforts. Be energetic in your life of salvation, reverent and sensitive before God.
CSB
12 So then, my dear friends, just as you have always obeyed, not only in my presence, but now even more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.

Philippians 2:12-18 Meaning and Commentary

INTRODUCTION TO PHILIPPIANS 2

This chapter contains several exhortations to unity, love, and concord, to humility, and lowliness of mind, and to a becoming life and conversation; and concludes with commendations of two eminent ministers of Christ, Timothy and Epaphroditus. The arguments engaging to harmony and mutual affection, are taken from the consolation that is in Christ, the comfort there is in love, the fellowship of the Spirit, and the bowels and mercies which become saints, Php 2:1, as also from the joy this would fill the apostle with; and the things exhorted to are expressed by likeness of mind, sameness of love, and unity of soul, Php 2:2, and the manner directed to for the preservation of such a spirit, is to do nothing in a contentious and vainglorious way, but in an humble and lowly manner, having a better opinion of others than themselves; and observing their superior gifts and graces, and so submit things unto them, Php 2:3,4, and which humble deportment is further urged, from the instance and example of our Lord Jesus Christ, Php 2:5, which is illustrated by the dignity of his person, the glorious divine form in which he was, and his indisputable equality with his Father, Php 2:6, and yet such was his great condescension, that he became man, appeared in the form of a servant, and was humbled to the lowest degree, even to die the death of the cross, Php 2:7,8, nevertheless God exalted him as man, and gave him superior honour to all creatures; and will oblige all to be subject to him, and acknowledge his dominion over them, to the glory of his divine Father, Php 2:9-11, hereby suggesting, that in like manner, though not to the same degree, such who are humble and lowly minded shall be exalted by the Lord; and then with the greatest affection to the Philippians, and with high commendations of them, the apostle renews his exhortation to do all the duties of religion with humility and modesty; knowing that all the grace and strength in which they performed them was owing to the internal operation of divine power in them, Php 2:12,13, and therefore should be done without murmuring against God, or disputings among themselves, Php 2:14, and next he proceeds to exhort to an unblemished and inoffensive life and conversation, as the end and issue of a modest and humble behaviour; and this he enforces on them, from the consideration of their relation to God, being his children, which would appear hereby; and from the wickedness and perverseness of the people they lived among; and therefore should be careful, lest they be ensnared by them, to the dishonour of God, and the grief of themselves; and from their character as lights in the world, whose business it was to hold forth the word of life; and also from this consideration, that it would be the joy of the apostle in the day of Christ, that his labours among them had not been fruitless, Php 2:15,16, yea, such was his love to them, that if even he was to die on their account, it would be matter of joy and gladness to him; and he desires they would express the same joy with him, Php 2:17,18, and though he could not be with them in person, he hoped in a little time to send Timothy, for this end, that he might know how things stood with them; which if well, would be a comfort to him, Php 2:19, the reasons why he picked Timothy as a messenger to them were, because there were none like him, for the sincere regard he had for their spiritual good, Php 2:20, and which is illustrated by the contrary disposition and conduct of others, who sought themselves, and not Jesus Christ, his honour and interest, Php 2:21, and besides, they themselves were witnesses of his filial affection to the apostle, and of his faithful service with him in the Gospel, Php 2:22, and then he repeats his hopes of sending him quickly, as soon as ever he knew how it would go with him, whether he should be released or suffer, Php 2:23, the former of which he had some confidence of, and that he should be able to see them himself in a little time, Php 2:24, however, in the mean while he thought it proper to send Epaphroditus to them, whom he commends as a brother of his, a co-worker, a fellow soldier, a messenger of theirs, and a minister to his wants, Php 2:25, the reasons of sending him were, because he longed to see them, and because he was uneasy that they had heard of his sickness; which was not only true that he had been sick, but his sickness was very dangerous, and threatened with death; however, through the mercy of God to him, he was recovered; and which was a mercy also to the apostle, who otherwise would have had an additional sorrow; wherefore another reason of sending him was, that upon the sight of him they might be filled with joy, and the apostle himself have less sorrow, Php 2:26-28, and then he exhorts them, that when he was returned to them, they would gladly receive him, and highly esteem of him; and the rather, since the dangerous illness he was attended with was brought upon him through his labours in the service of Christ, and also of the apostle, which he performed in their stead, even to the neglect of his health and life, Php 2:29,30.

Philippians 2:12-18 In-Context

10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
11 and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
12 Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling,
13 for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.
14 Do everything without grumbling or arguing,
15 so that you may become blameless and pure, “children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.” Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky
16 as you hold firmly to the word of life. And then I will be able to boast on the day of Christ that I did not run or labor in vain.
17 But even if I am being poured out like a drink offering on the sacrifice and service coming from your faith, I am glad and rejoice with all of you.
18 So you too should be glad and rejoice with me.
19 I hope in the Lord Jesus to send Timothy to you soon, that I also may be cheered when I receive news about you.
20 I have no one else like him, who will show genuine concern for your welfare.

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Cross References 13

  • 1. S 2 Corinthians 7:15
  • 2. Ezra 1:5; 1 Corinthians 12:6; 1 Corinthians 15:10; Galatians 2:8; Hebrews 13:21
  • 3. Ephesians 1:5
  • 4. 1 Corinthians 10:10; 1 Peter 4:9
  • 5. S 1 Thessalonians 3:13
  • 6. Matthew 5:45,48; Ephesians 5:1
  • 7. Acts 2:40
  • 8. S 1 Corinthians 1:8
  • 9. S 1 Corinthians 9:24
  • 10. 1 Thessalonians 2:19
  • 11. 2 Corinthians 12:15; 2 Timothy 4:6
  • 12. Romans 15:16
  • 13. S 2 Corinthians 6:10

Footnotes 1

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