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Philippians


The apostle and his friends

  1.Salutation spring 58ce (Philippi)

1FROM PAUL AND TIMOTHY,
servants of Christ Jesus,
to all those of God's people, incorporate in Christ Jesus, who live at Philippi, including their bishops and deacons.

2Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Paul's Prayer for the Philippians

3I thank my God whenever I think of you; 4and when I pray for you all, my prayers are always joyful, 5because of the part you have taken in the work of the Gospel from the first day until now. 6Of one thing I am certain: the One who started the good work in you will bring it to completion by the Day of Christ Jesus. 7It is indeed only right that I should feel like this about you all, because you hold me in such affection, and because, when I lie in prison or appear in the dock to vouch for the truth of the Gospel, you all share in the privilege that is mine. [Or: I am justified in taking this view about you all, because I hold you in closest union, as those who, when I lie ... of the Gospel, all share in the privilege that is mine.] 8God knows how I long for you all, with the deep yearning of Christ Jesus himself. 9And this is my prayer, that your love may grow ever richer and richer in knowledge and insight of every kind, 10and may thus bring you the gift of true discrimination. [Or: may teach you by experience what things are most worth while.] Then on the Day of Christ you will be flawless and without blame, 11reaping the full harvest of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.

To Me to Live is Christ

12Friends, I want you to understand that the work of the Gospel has been helped on, rather than hindered, by this business of mine. 13My imprisonment in Christ's cause has become common knowledge to all at headquarters [Or: to all the imperial guard; Or: to all at the Residency (Greek: Praetorium).] here, and indeed among the public at large; 14and it has given confidence to most of our fellow-Christians to speak the word of God fearlessly and with extraordinary courage.

15Some, indeed, proclaim Christ in a jealous and quarrelsome spirit; others proclaim him in true good-will, and these are moved by love for me; 16they know that it is to defend the Gospel that I am where I am. 17But the others, moved by personal rivalry, present Christ from mixed motives, meaning to stir up fresh trouble for me as I lie in prison. [Or: meaning to make use of my imprisonment to stir up fresh trouble.] 18What does it matter? One way or another, in pretence or in sincerity, Christ is set forth, and for that I rejoice.

19Yes, and rejoice I will, knowing well that the issue of it all will be my deliverance, because you are praying for me and the Spirit of Jesus Christ is given me for support. [Or: supplies me with all I need.] 20For, as I passionately hope, I shall have no cause to be ashamed, but shall speak so boldly that now as always the greatness of Christ will shine out clearly in my person, whether through my life or through my death. 21For to me life is Christ, and death gain; 22but what if my living on in the body may serve some good purpose? Which then am I to choose? I cannot tell. 23I am torn two ways: what I should like is to depart and be with Christ; that is better by far; 24but for your sake there is greater need for me to stay on in the body. 25This indeed I know for certain: I shall stay, and stand by you all to help you forward and to add joy to your faith, 26so that when I am with you again, your pride in me may be unbounded in Christ Jesus.

27Only, let your conduct be worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you for myself or hear about you from a distance, I may know that you are standing firm, one in spirit, one in mind, contending as one man for the gospel faith, 28meeting your opponents without so much as a tremor. This is a sure sign to them that their doom is sealed, but a sign of your salvation, and one afforded by God himself; 29for you have been granted the privilege not only of believing in Christ but also of suffering for him. 30You and I are engaged in the same contest; you saw me in it once, and, as you hear, I am in it still.


  2.Christian Humility and Christ's Humility

1IF THEN our common life in Christ yields anything to stir the heart, any loving consolation, any sharing of the Spirit, any warmth of affection or compassion, 2fill up my cup of happiness by thinking and feeling alike, with the same love for one another, the same turn of mind, and a common care for unity. 3There must be no room for rivalry and personal vanity among you, but you must humbly reckon others better than yourselves. 4Look to each other's interest and not merely to your own.

5Let your bearing towards one another arise out of your life in Christ Jesus. [Or: Have that bearing towards one another which was also found in Christ Jesus.]
6For the divine nature was his from the first;
yet he did not think to snatch at equality with God, [Or: yet he did not prize his equality with God.]
7but made himself nothing, assuming the nature of a slave.

Bearing the human likeness,
8revealed in human shape,
he humbled himself,
and in obedience accepted even death—
death on a cross.

9Therefore God raised him to the heights
and bestowed on him the name above all names,
10 [ Is.45.23. ] that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow—
in heaven, on earth, and in the depths—
11and every tongue confess, 'Jesus Christ is Lord',
to the glory of God the Father.

Shining as Lights in the World

12So you too, my friends, must be obedient, as always; even more, now that I am away, than when I was with you. You must work out your own salvation in fear and trembling; 13for it is God who works in you, inspiring both the will and the deed, for his own chosen purpose.

14Do all you have to do without complaint or wrangling. 15Show yourselves guileless and above reproach, faultless children of God in a warped and crooked generation, in which you shine [Or: ... generation. Shine out among them ...] like stars in a dark world [Or: in the firmament.] and proffer the word of life. [Or: as the very principle of its life.] 16Thus you will be my pride on the Day of Christ, proof that I did not run my race in vain, or work in vain. 17But if my life-blood is to crown that sacrifice which is the offering up of your faith, I am glad of it, and I share my gladness with you all. 18Rejoice, you no less than I, and let us share our joy.

Timothy and Epaphroditus

19I HOPE (under the Lord Jesus) to send Timothy to you soon; it will cheer me to hear news of you. 20There is no one else here who sees things as I do, and takes [Or: no one else here like him, who takes ...] a genuine interest in your concerns; 21they are all bent on their own ends, not on the cause of Christ Jesus. 22But Timothy's record is known to you: you know that he has been at my side in the service of the Gospel like a son working under his father. 23Timothy, then, I hope to send as soon as ever I can see how things are going with me; 24and I am confident, under the Lord, that I shall myself be coming before long.

25I feel also I must send our brother Epaphroditus, my fellow-worker and comrade, whom you commissioned to minister to my needs. 26He has been missing all of you sadly, and has been distressed that you heard he was ill. 27(He was indeed dangerously ill, but God was merciful to him, and merciful no less to me, to spare me sorrow upon sorrow.) 28For this reason I am all the more eager to send him, to give you the happiness of seeing him again, and to relieve my sorrow. 29Welcome him then in the fellowship of the Lord with wholehearted delight. You should honour men like him; 30in Christ's cause he came near to death, risking his life to render me the service you could not give.


  3.The True Righteousness

1And now, friends, farewell; I wish you joy in the Lord.

To REPEAT what I have written to you before is no trouble to me, and it is a safeguard for you. 2Beware of those dogs and their malpractices. Beware of those who insist on mutilation—'circumcision' I will not call it; 3we are the circumcised, we whose worship is spiritual, [Some witnesses read: who worship God in the spirit; Others read: who worship by the Spirit of God.] whose pride is in Christ Jesus, and who put no confidence in anything external. 4Not that I am without grounds myself even for confidence of that kind. If anyone thinks to base his claims on externals, 5I could make a stronger case for myself: circumcised on my eighth day, Israelite by race, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew born and bred; [Or: a Hebrew-speaking Jew of a Hebrew-speaking family.] in my attitude to the law, a Pharisee; 6in pious zeal, a persecutor of the church; in legal rectitude, faultless. 7But all such assets I have written off because of Christ. 8I would say more: I count everything sheer loss, because all is far out-weighed by the gain of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I did in fact lose everything. I count it so much garbage, [Or: dung.] for the sake of gaining Christ 9and finding myself incorporate in him, with no righteousness of my own, no legal rectitude, but the righteousness which comes [Or: and in him finding that, though I have righteousness of my own, no legal rectitude, I have the righteousness which comes ...] from faith in Christ, given by God in response to faith. 10All I care for is to know Christ, to experience the power of his resurrection, and to share his sufferings, in growing conformity with his death, 11if only I may finally arrive at the resurrection from the dead.

Pressing toward the Mark

12It is not to be thought that I have already achieved all this. I have not yet reached perfection, but I press on, hoping to take hold of that for which Christ once took hold of me. 13My friends, I do not reckon myself to have got hold of it yet. All I can say is this: forgetting what is behind me, and reaching out for that which lies ahead, 14I press towards the goal to win the prize which is God's call to the life above, in Christ Jesus.

15Let us then keep to this way of thinking, those of us who are mature. If there is any point on which you think differently, this also God will make plain to you. 16Only let our conduct be consistent with the level we have already reached.

17Agree together, my friends, to follow my example. You have us for a model; watch those whose way of life conforms to it. 18For, as I have often told you, and now tell you with tears in my eyes, there are many whose way of life makes them enemies of the cross of Christ. 19They are heading for destruction, appetite is their god, and they glory in their shame. Their minds are set on earthly things. 20We, by contrast, are citizens of heaven, and from heaven we expect our deliverer to come, the Lord Jesus Christ. 21He will transfigure the body belonging to our humble state, and give it a form like that of his own resplendent body, by the very power which enables him to make all things subject to himself.   4.1Therefore, my friends, beloved friends whom I long for, my joy, my crown, stand thus firm in the Lord, my beloved!

Exhortations

2I beg Euodia, and I beg Syntyche, to agree together in the Lord's fellowship. 3Yes, and you too, my loyal comrade, I ask you to help these women, who shared my struggles in the cause of the Gospel, with Clement and my other fellow-workers, whose names are in the book of life.

4Farewell; I wish you all joy in the Lord. I will say it again: all joy be yours.

5Let your magnanimity be manifest to all.

6The Lord is near; have no anxiety, but in everything make your requests known to God in prayer and petition with thanksgiving. 7Then the peace of God, which is beyond our utmost understanding, will keep guard over your hearts and your thoughts, in Christ Jesus.

8And now, my friends, all that is true, all that is noble, all that is just and pure, all that is lovable and gracious, whatever is excellent and admirable—fill all your thoughts with these things.

9The lessons I taught you, the tradition I have passed on, all that you heard me say or saw me do, put into practice; and the God of peace will be with you.

Acknowledgment of the Philippians' Gift

10IT IS A GREAT JOY to me, in the Lord, that after so long your care for me has now blossomed afresh. You did care about me before for that matter; it was opportunity that you lacked. 11Not that I am alluding to want, for I have learned to find resources in myself whatever my circumstances. 12I know what it is to be brought low, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have been very thoroughly initiated into the human lot with all its ups and downs—fullness and hunger, plenty and want. 13I have strength for anything through him who gives me power. 14But it was kind of you to share the burden of my troubles.

15As you know yourselves, Philippians, in the early days of my mission, when I set out from Macedonia, you alone of all our congregations were that were my partners in payments and receipts; 16for even at Thessalonica you contributed to my needs, not once but twice over. 17Do not think I set my heart upon the gift; all I care for is the profit accruing to you. 18However, here I give you my receipt for everything—for more than everything; I am paid in full, now that I have received from Epaphroditus what you sent. It is a fragrant offering, an acceptable sacrifice, pleasing to God. 19And my God will supply all your wants out of the magnificence of his riches in Christ Jesus. 20To our God and Father be glory for endless ages!
Amen.

Final Greetings

21Give my greetings, in the fellowship of Christ Jesus, to each one of God's people. The brothers who are now with me send their greetings to you, 22and so do all God's people here, particularly those who belong to the imperial establishment.

23The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit.


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