Philippians 4:11-12

11 I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances.
12 I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.

Philippians 4:11-12 Meaning and Commentary

INTRODUCTION TO PHILIPPIANS 4

This chapter contains exhortations to various duties becoming Christians, the apostle's thankfulness to the Philippians for their present to him, and the conclusion of the epistle with the salutations of the brethren: in Php 4:1; the apostle exhorts the saints with great affection to perseverance in the doctrine and faith of Christ; and in Php 4:2; mentions some persons by name, and to whom he recommends unity and agreement; and in Php 4:3; entreats others to assist them therein; and in Php 4:4; exhorts them all in general to joy in the Lord, and to moderation, enforced by this argument, the Lord being at hand, Php 4:5; and to calmness and quietness of mind, and to prayer, and supplication, with thanksgiving, Php 4:6; to which they are encouraged, by the promise of having the peace of God, keeping their minds through Christ, Php 4:7; and to conclude, he exhorts them to everything that is virtuous had commendable; to which he stimulates them, from the consideration of the nature of the things themselves, from his own example, and from the presence of God with them, they might expect to enjoy, Php 4:8,9; and then he proceeds to take notice of the kindness of the Philippians to him, declares his joy on account of it, and expresses it by their care of him again; which he corrects, by observing that it was not for want of care in them before, but of opportunity of showing it, Php 4:10; nor did he take notice of this present of theirs, with so much exultation on account of his own penury, for he had learnt the great lesson of contentment in every state, Php 4:11; which he enlarges upon and explains; namely, that he had been taught, and knew how to behave in fulness and want, in prosperity and adversity; though this was not owing to himself, but to the power and strength of Christ, Php 4:12,13; however, he commends the Philippians for their communicating to him in his affliction, both at the first preaching of the Gospel to them, and at several times since, Php 4:14-16, the reason of which commendation was not because he was covetous of gifts and presents from them, but to encourage them to bring forth fruit, which would turn to their own advantage, Php 4:17; as for himself he had enough, and therefore said not this on his own account, but because such communication was a sacrifice well pleasing to God, and a return would be made by him; who, as he was able to supply all their need, would; of which he assures them, and for which he prays, Php 4:17-19, and to whom he gives the glory of what they had given, and he had received, Php 4:20; and then the epistle is concluded with the salutation of the apostle, and the saints, and brethren with him, and with his usual benediction, Php 4:21,22.

Philippians 4:11-12 In-Context

9 Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.
10 I rejoiced greatly in the Lord that at last you renewed your concern for me. Indeed, you were concerned, but you had no opportunity to show it.
11 I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances.
12 I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.
13 I can do all this through him who gives me strength.
14 Yet it was good of you to share in my troubles.

Cross References 3

  • 1. 1 Timothy 6:6,8; Hebrews 13:5
  • 2. S 1 Corinthians 4:11
  • 3. 2 Corinthians 11:9
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