1 Paul and Timothy, bond-servants of Christ Jesus, to all the saints in Christ Jesus living in Philippi, together with the overseers and deacons: 2 Grace to you, and peace, from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
Gratitude and Prayer
3 I give thanks to my God every time I remember you, 4 and in my every prayer for you all I constantly make my requests with joy 5 because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now. 6 For of this one thing I’m sure:1 He who began a good work in you will keep on perfecting it until the day of Christ Jesus. 7 Indeed,2 it is only fitting that I should think this way about you all, since I have you in my heart; for whether in my chains or in the defense and confirmation of the gospel, you all are partakers of grace with me. 8 For God is my witness how greatly I long for you all with the affection3 of Christ Jesus. 9 And this is my prayer: that your love will increase more and more in true spiritual knowledge and all discernment, 10 so that you can see and approve of all that is excellent,4 and thus remain5 pure and blameless until the day of Christ, 11 continually being filled with the fruit of righteousness, which comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.
The Apostle’s Joy: Christ is Proclaimed
12 But I want you to know, brothers, that my present circumstances have actually resulted in the further progress of the gospel; 13 for now it has become clear to the whole praetorian guard, and to everyone else, that I am in chains for the cause of Christ. 14 What’s more, most of the brothers in the Lord, drawing courage6 from my chains, are all the more bold to declare the word without fear. 15 Some, to be sure, are proclaiming Christ out of envy and rivalry; but others do so from good will. 16 The latter are motivated by love, knowing that I’m appointed for the defense of the gospel; 17the former proclaim Christ insincerely, out of selfish ambition, thinking to stir up trouble for me in my chains. 18 What then is the result? Just this: In every way—whether in pretense or in truth—Christ is proclaimed. And in that I rejoice.
To Live Is Christ, to Die is Gain
19 Yes, and I will continue to rejoice, for I know that through your prayers, and through the supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ, this will end in my release,7 20 and that all will unfold in accordance with my earnest expectation and hope that I will never be ashamed, but that now, as always, Christ will be magnified in my body, whether by life or by death.
21 For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain. 22 If, however, I stay on in the flesh, it will mean fruitful labor for me. Thus, I don’t know which to prefer,8 23 but find myself9 hard-pressed between the two, having a desire to depart and be with Christ (for that is far better for me), 24 yet knowing that to stay on in the flesh is necessary for you. 25 But since I’m convinced of the latter, I know that I will indeed stay on and continue with you all for your progress and joy in the faith, 26 so that your rejoicing10 over me may abound in Christ Jesus through my coming to you again.
A Worthy Life
27 Only let your conduct be worthy11 of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you, or simply hear about your affairs while I’m still away, I may know that you are standing firm in one spirit, single-mindedly striving together for the faith of the gospel, 28 and in no way intimidated12 by your adversaries. This, for them, is a clear sign of coming destruction, but for you, of salvation—and that from God. 29 For to you it has been granted, in behalf of Christ, not only to believe in him, but also to suffer for his cause, 30 experiencing among yourselves the same struggle that you saw me face, and now hear that I am facing again.13
- Lit. Being confident of this very thing
- Lit. Just as
- Lit. inward parts; seat of human affection
- Or the things that excel
- Lit. in order that you might be
- Or most of the brothers, taking courage in the Lord
- Or salvation, deliverance
- Or choose
- Lit am
- Or boasting, glorying
- Lit. Only live as (free) citizens in a manner worthy
- Or frightened
- Lit. saw in me, and how hear in me
A Plea for Unity
2 If, then, there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort stemming from love,1 any fellowship granted by the Spirit2— if there is any affection and compassion— 2 make my joy complete by being of the same mind and the same love, united in spirit and intent on one goal. 3 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or hollow boasting; rather, in all humility3 you must think of one another as more important4 than yourselves. 4 Each of you should pursue not only his own interests, but those of others as well.
The Path to Unity
5 Let this attitude be found among you, which also was found in Christ Jesus,5 6 who, though existing in the very form of God, did not regard equality with God as something to be grasped. 7 Rather, he laid aside his divine prerogatives,6 taking instead the form of a bond-servant, having been made7 in the likeness of men. 8 Moreover, being found in form as a man, he humbled himself and became8 obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. 9 For this reason God also highly exalted him, and bestowed on him the name that is above every other name, 10 so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow—of those in heaven, of those on earth, and of those beneath the earth— 11 and every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
Lights Shining in the Darkness
12 So then, my beloved friends, just as you have always obeyed—not only as you did in my presence, but now much more in my absence—work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; 13 for God is the one at work within9 you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.
14 Do all things without complaining or arguing, 15 so that you may show yourselves10 blameless and pure, children of God living without blemish in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world. 16 Hold fast to the word of life,11 so that on the day of Christ I may have reason to boast that I neither ran nor labored in vain. 17 But even if I am being poured out as a drink offering on the sacrifice and service of your faith, I am glad of it, and I rejoice with you all. 18 And in just the same way, you also should be12 glad and rejoice with me.
Timothy and Epaphroditus Commended
19 But I hope in the Lord Jesus to send you Timothy soon, so that I too may be encouraged when I learn about your circumstances. 20 For I have no one else like him, someone who will sincerely watch out for your welfare. 21 For they all are striving to advance their own interests13 rather than those of Jesus Christ. 22 But you know his proven character,14 that like a son with his father he has served with me in the furtherance of the gospel. 23 For this reason I hope to send him at once, as soon as I see how things turn out for me. 24 And I trust in the Lord that I myself will also come soon.
25 Nevertheless, I thought it necessary to send you Epaphroditus—my brother, fellow worker, and fellow soldier, but also your messenger, and the minister you sent to meet my needs15— 26 since he was longing for you all, and was distressed because he knew you had heard that he was sick. 27 For he was indeed sick, almost to the point of death. But God had mercy on him; and not only on him, but on me as well, that I might not have sorrow upon sorrow. 28 For this reason I have sent him all the more eagerly, so that when you see him again you may rejoice and I may be less sorrowful. 29 Therefore, receive him in the Lord with all gladness; and hold such men in high regard, 30 because he nearly died for the work of Christ, risking his life in order to supply the service that you yourselves could not perform for me.16
- Lit. comfort of love
- Lit. fellowship (communion) of (the) Spirit
- Lit. lowliness of mind
- Lit. think of one another as more important (better)
- Lit. Let this mind be among (in) you, which also was in Christ Jesus
- Lit. emptied himself
- Some interpreters, born
- Or by becoming; lit. having become
- Or among
- Or may become
- Lit. holding fast (holding forth) the word of life
- Or are
- Lit. the things of themselves
- Or worth
- Lit. messenger and minister of my need
- Lit. in order to supply that which fell short in your service to me
The True Circumcision
3 Finally, my brothers, rejoice in the Lord. To write the same things again is no trouble for me, but is a safeguard for you: 2 Beware of the dogs, beware of the evil workers, beware of the mutilation! 3 For we are the true circumcision, who worship in the Spirit of God, glory in Christ Jesus, and place no confidence in the flesh— 4 though I myself could well place confidence even in the flesh. If anyone else thinks he might place confidence in the flesh, I more so: 5 circumcised the eighth day, a member of the family of Israel, a clansman of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of the Hebrews. As to the Law, I was a Pharisee; 6 as to zeal, a persecutor of the church; as to the righteousness contained in the Law, blameless.
7 But whatever things were gain to me, these I count as loss for the sake of Christ. 8 More than that, I count all things as loss compared to the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and regard them as rubbish. I do this in order to gain Christ, 9 and to be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own based on the Law, but on that which comes through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God, and that depends on faith. 10 My goal is to know him, together with the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of his sufferings, thereby being conformed to his death, 11 so that by all means1 I may attain to the resurrection from the dead.
A Definition of Christian Maturity
12 Not that I’ve already obtained these things, or already reached perfection; rather, I press on in order to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus also took hold of me. 13 Brothers, I don’t think of myself as having reached my goal. But this one thing I do: forgetting the things that lie behind, and reaching out for the things that lie ahead, 14 I race2 towards the mark to win the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. 15 So then: We who are mature should maintain this point of view; and if in any way you are thinking otherwise, God will show you this as well. 16 Meanwhile, the measure to which we’ve attained is the measure in which we must walk.3
An Example of Christian Maturity
17 Brothers, be imitators of me. And since you have us for an example, you should also keep your eyes on those who walk like us. 18 For many are walking (I often spoke of them to you; and now, with tears,4 I do so again) as the enemies of the cross of Christ. 19 Their end is destruction, their god is their stomach, and their glory lies in their shame—men whose minds are fixed on earthly things. 20 For our citizenship is in heaven, from which also we eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, 21 who will transform our present body—subject as it is to humiliation5—and conform it to his glorious body, all in accordance with the exercise of that same power by which he is able to subject all things to himself.
4:1So then, my beloved brothers—brothers whom I long to see, my joy and my crown—stand firm in the Lord in this very way,6 my dear friends.
- Lit. if somehow; if by any means
- Lit. run, chase, pursue
- Lit. Nevertheless, to what we have attained, in this (we are) to walk
- Lit. even weeping
- Lit. transform the body of our humiliation
- Lit. stand thus in the Lord
4 2 I urge Euodia, and I urge Syntyche: Be of the same mind in the Lord. 3 Yes, and I also ask that you, true comrade, assist these women who joined with me in struggling for the advance of the gospel,1 along with Clement and the rest of my fellow workers, whose names are written in the Scroll of Life.
4 Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! 5 Let your gentleness, patience, and fair-mindedness2 be evident to all men: The Lord is near. 6 Be anxious for nothing, but in all things, by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; 7 and the peace of God that passes all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.
8 Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right,3 whatever is pure, whatever pleases with its beauty,4 whatever wins your commendation5—if there is anything excellent, or anything worthy of praise—let your mind dwell on6 these things. 9 Moreover, the things you learned and received and heard and saw in my life7—put them into practice, and the God of peace will be with you.
A Fragrant Aroma
10 Now I greatly rejoiced in the Lord that at last8 you have expressed your care for me again (though you certainly did care, but simply lacked the opportunity). 11 Not that I speak from want, for in my every circumstance9 I have learned to be content: 12 I know how to live humbly, and I know how to live bountifully. In each and every situation I’ve learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, of enjoying abundance and suffering lack. 13 I can do all things through him who strengthens me!
14 Nevertheless, you did well to share with me in my affliction. 15 Moreover, you Philippians well know that in the early days of my gospel ministry,10 when I left Macedonia, no church but yours shared with me in the matter of giving and receiving; 16 for even when I was in Thessalonica, you more than once sent gifts to meet my needs. 17 Not that I seek the gift itself; rather, I seek the reward11 that accrues to your account. 18 But I have received everything, and am filled to overflowing! I am amply supplied, having received from Epaphroditus the gifts12 you sent: a fragrant aroma and an acceptable sacrifice, well pleasing to God. 19 And my God will supply all that you need according to his glorious riches13 in Christ Jesus. 20 Now to our God and Father be the glory forever and ever. Amen.
Farewell and Blessing
21 Greet every saint in Christ Jesus. The brothers who are with me greet you. 22 All the saints greet you, and especially those of Caesar’s household. 23 The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit. Amen.
- Lit. who have struggled with me in the gospel
- The Greek epiekes has all three connotations
- Or just
- Lit. is lovely, pleasing
- Lit. is commendable
- Lit. consider, ponder, meditate on
- Lit. in me
- Lit. now at last
- Lit. in the things (in which) I am
- Lit. And you yourselves know, Philippians, that at the beginning of the gospel
- Or profit, credit; lit. fruit
- Lit. things
- Lit. his riches in glory