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Friday, December 1st, 2023
the Week of Christ the King / Proper 29 / Ordinary 34
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Bible Commentaries
Philippians 4

Garner-Howes Baptist CommentaryGarner-Howes

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Verse 1

REJOICING IN CHRIST OVER ANXIETY (Exhortation to Unity and Joy)

1) "Therefore, my brethren" (hoste adelphoi mou) "So then my brethren," Paul draws to a conclusion, from Philippians 3:17-21, that Christian living should be motivated by faithful expectancy of the resurrection and a day of crowning in the presence of the Lord, Philippians 2:16.

2) "Dearly beloved and longed for" (agapetoi kai epipothetoi) "beloved and longed for ones." Paul believed that his loyal Christian converts would constitute his "garland of victory" at the coming of the Lord, 1 Thessalonians 2:19-20.

3) "My joy and crown" (chara kai stephanos mou) "My joy and my crown," converts who constituted Paul’s wreath or evidence of Christian victory, to witness that he had not run in vain or beat the air, 1 Corinthians 9:24-26; 2 Corinthians 1:14.

4) "So stand fast in the Lord, my dearly beloved" (houtos stekete en kurio agapetoi) -Stand thus (firm) in the Lord, beloved." Steadfastness in offensive and defensive battle for the Lord, in personal and Church life, determines the degree of rewards a child of God shall receive at his coming, 1 Thessalonians 3:8-9; 1 Corinthians 3:8; 1 Corinthians 3:14; Colossians 3:24; Daniel 12:3.

Verse 2

1) "I beseech Euodias, and beseech Syntyche," (Euodian parakalo kai suntuchen parakalo) "I beseech both Euodias and Syntyche," These were Godly women in the Church at Philippi. "Euodias" means "prosperous," and "Syntyche" means "affable or fortunate," apparently Christian workers of the Church, long known to Paul for their devotion, as women had been, as referred to Romans 16:1-2; Romans 16:6.

2) "That they be of the same mind in the Lord" (to auto phronein en kurio) "to think the same thing in (the) Lord." This appears to be a corrective admonition to these Christian women who may have come to esteem themselves a little above the other. The call to be of the same or harmonious mind in the Lord, appears to be a corrective and directive admonition, still appropriate for Christian women and all Church members to seek, to pursue, Philippians 2:2; Philippians 2:5; Ephesians 4:1-4.

Verse 3

1) "And I intreat thee also" (vai eroto kai se)"Yes, I also ask thee," or request thee, a matter of personal favor or personal appeal.

2) "True yokefellow," (gnesie suzuge) "genuine yoke-fellow," thought to be Epaphroditus, Philippians 4:18, one who delivered the letter to the brethren at Philippi.

3) "Help those women which laboured with me in the gospel" (sullambanou autais aitines en to evangelio sunethlesan moi) "Help those (women) who struggled with me in the gospel;" apparently this is a call for Epaphroditus to help the two godly spatting women, Euodias and Syntyche, to a reconciliation of their differences, Philippians 2:25. These women had formerly labored with Paul in the ministry of the gospel.

4) "With Clement also, and with other my fellow-labourers," Geta kai Klementos kai ton loipon sunergon mou) "who struggled (in labors) with both Clement and the remaining fellow-workers of me," these women had also worked with and helped Clement and other Missionary helpers of Paul. Thus, Paul appealed for their restoration to harmony and usefulness in the Church, Galatians 6:1; Ephesians 4:30-32; Matthew 6:14-15.

5) "Whose names are in the book of life" (hon ta onomata en Biblo zoes) "whose names (exist) in the book of life." Their records of life were in a book of glory greater than merely an Who’s Who of historical renown, Daniel 12:1; Revelation 3:5.

Verse 4

1) "Rejoice in the Lord alway," (Chairete en kurio pantote) "Rejoice ye in (the) Master always." This appears to be the optimistic mood of genuine faith that controlled the later years of Paul’s ministry. The rejoicing Command is restricted to that that is "in the Lord," Luke 10:18-20; Luke 15:24; Luke 15:32.

2) "And again I say, rejoice" (palin ero Chairete) Io again I will say, rejoice." A double command indicates there is to be no occasion for objection or disobedience, 1 Thessalonians 5:16 reads: "Rejoice evermore," Romans 12:12; Psalms 32:11; 1 Peter 4:13.

Verse 5


1) "Let your moderation" (to epieikes humon) "Your forbearance," ability to endure, get along with others, gentleness, reasonableness, of the nature of Christian virtue, 2 Peter 1:5-8. This is a debonair grace in which every saint should grow, 2 Peter 3:18.

2) "Be known unto all men" (gnostheto pasin. anthropos) ’Let it be known to all men," a light-shining admonition, Matthew 5:15-16; 1 Peter 3:1.

3) "The Lord is at hand" (ho kurios engus) "The Lord is near, near at hand, looking on, present, keeping a record, Ecclesiastes 12:14; 2 Corinthians 5:10-11; Leave trivial wrongs for the Lord to adjust in others, be getting on in his business, Romans 12:19; 1 John 2:28; James 5:8.

Verse 6

1) "Be careful for nothing;" (meden merimnate) "Be ye anxious about not one thing," or "do not have anxiety, fretting, or worrying about one thing," Matthew 6:25; 1 Peter 5:7.

2) "But in everything" (all en 0anti) "But in each thing" nothing is too trivial to carry to the Lord in prayer, if it is cause for mental or soul anguish to one; it is for the infinite God to reconcile such humble requests with his Majesty, 1 Thessalonians 5:18.

3) "By prayer and supplication" (te proseuche kai ta dessei) by prayer and by petition,” or appeal, strong request; prayer is an act of worship or devotion, and petition is an appeal or a cry for a personal need, Psalms 40:1-3.

4) "With thanksgiving" (meta eucharistias) "closely associated with thanksgiving" Psalms 95:2; Colossians 4:2; 1 Timothy 4:3; 2 Corinthians 4:15.

5) "Let your requests be made known unto God" (ta aitemata humon gnorizestho pros ton theon) "Let your requests, strongly expressed desires, be made known to the God" of heaven. To pray otherwise is to clip the wings of prayer, James 1:6; Mark 11:24.


There was once a poor colored woman who earned a precarious living by daily labor, but who was a joyous, triumphant Christian. "Ah, Nancy," said a gloomy Christian lady one day, who almost disapproved of her constant cheerfulness, and yet envied it - "Ah, Nancy, it is well enough to be happy now; but I should think that the thoughts of your future would sober you. Only suppose, for example, you should have a spell of sickness, and be unable to work; or suppose your present employers should move away, and no one else should give you anything to do; or suppose-- "Stop!" cried Nancy, "I never supposes. De Lord is my Shepherd, and I know I shall not want. And, honey," she added, to her gloomy friend, "it’s all dem supposes as is making you so miserable. You’d better give them all up, and just trust the Lord."

--Bib. 111.

Verse 7

1) "And the peace of God" (kai he eirene tou theou) "And the peace from God or of, originating in, God"; God is the source of true peace, Luke 2:14; a Christian has, holds, or possesses peace with God through faith in Jesus Christ, Romans 5:1; Luke 7:50.

2) "Which passeth all understanding" (huperechousa panta noun) "surpassing, being above or over all understanding," more than the peace of the world, John 14:27; Galatians 5:22. This peace is a continuing fruit of the Spirit It is to abide in every believer, John 16:33.

3) "Shall keep your hearts" (phrouresei tas kardias humon) guard your hearts," shall stand as a sentry guard over affections of the child of God, to "keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on God" Isaiah 26:3.

4) "And minds through Jesus Christ" (kai ta noemata humon en Christo lesou) "and (will guard) your thoughts in Christ Jesus," Philippians 2:5. Peace from God is the garrison of the Christian soul protecting it from the anxieties of life.


There is what is called the "cushion of the sea." Down beneath the surface that is agitated with storms, and driven about with high winds, there is a part of the sea that is never stirred. When we dredge the bottom and bring up the remains ’ of animal and vegetable life, we find that they give evidence of not having been disturbed for hundreds of years. The peace of God is that eternal calm which lies far too deep down in the praying soul to be reached by an external disturbance.

--A.T. Pierson

Verse 8


1) "Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true" (to loipon adelphoi hosa estin alethe) "For the rest, brethren, whatever things are true," trustworthy, or dependable in the widest sense, of moral or ethical value, Ephesians 4:25.

2) "Whatsoever things are honest" (hosa semna) whatever things are grave, serious," honorable, worthy, or of noble seriousness, Romans 12:17; Romans 13:13; 2 Corinthians 8:21.

3) "Whatsoever things are just" (hosa dikaia) whatever things are affectionately affable, lovely," in conduct, disposition, and behavior one toward the other, Micah 6:8; Genesis 18:19; Isaiah 1:17; Deuteronomy 16:20.

4) "Whatsoever things are pure" (hosa hagna) whatever things are morally clean, pure", in the sense of special respect of holy chastity of the body in, thought and act, James 3:17.

5) "Whatsoever things are lovely" (hosa prophile) whatever things are affectionately affable, lovely," attractive in lovely personal bearing, 1 Corinthians 13:1-8.

6) "Whatsoever things are of good report" (hosa euphema) Whatever things are well spoken of, o good repute," high-toned, of excellence in quality, Acts 6:3; Acts 16:2; of good and influential nature of reputation, 1 Timothy 4:12; 1 Thessalonians 5:22; Titus 2:10; 1 Peter 4:8.

7) " If there be any virtue" (ei tis arete) "If there exists any virtue (in it)," moral approval or approbation, 2 Peter 1:5-8.

8) "And if there be any praise, think on these things" (kai ei tis epinos) "and if any praise," (tauta logizesthe) "You all consider, or ponder, these things of your own accord," or make these things matters of careful reflection for "as a man thinketh in his heart so is he," Proverbs 23:7.

Verse 9

1) "Those things which ye have both" (ha kai) "Things which ye have also," the matters of moral and ethical virtue he had just stated.

a) "Learned" (emathete) "Ye learned," Christian teachings he had instilled into their minds and souls, to be content in all circumstances, Romans 16:17; 2 Timothy 3:14; Philippians 4:11.

b) "And received" (kai parelabete) "and ye received" as truth from Paul, their teacher, both by word and his Christian character in conduct, Galatians 1:9; 1 Thessalonians 1:6; 1 Thessalonians 2:13; 1 Thessalonians 4:1.

c) "And heard," (kai ekousate) "And ye heard," both by word of mouth from him and other faithful missionary helpers he had taught, Ephesians 1:13; 2 Timothy 1:13; 1 John 2:7.

d) "And seen in me," (kai eidete en emoi) "And ye perceived in me,’ personal observation as admonished by the Lord, Matthew 5:15-16.

2) "Do," (tauta prassete) "You will practice these kind of things, " John 15:14; James 1:22.

3) "And the God of peace shall be with you" (kai ho theos ten eirenes estai meth’ humon) "and the God of peace will be in colleague, close association with you all," to guide, bless and protect, Hebrews 13:20; Romans 16:19-20; 1 Thessalonians 5:23.


A gentleman, one day conversing with a watchmaker upon the dishonest practices of persons in his way of business, was thus addressed by him: -- "Sir, I served my apprenticeship with a man who did not fear God, and who, consequently, was not very scrupulous in the amounts charged to his customers. He used frequently to call me a fool, and tell me I should die in a workhouse, when, in his absence, I used to make such charges as appeared to me fair and honest. In course of time I set up in business for myself, and have been so successful as never to have wanted a shilling; whilst my master, who used to reproach me for my honesty, became so-reduced in circumstances as to apply to me for a couple of guineas, and did himself at length die in a workhouse."

Verse 10


1) "But I rejoice in the Lord greatly," (echaren de en kurio megalos) "now I rejoice greatly in the Lord." Paul turned from instructions on how to confront anxiety to thank the Philippian brethren very, graciously for their material and financial support of him and his mission helpers

2) "That now at the last" (hoti ede pote) "now at length," over an extended period of twelve years from his first visit in Europe, Acts 16:13-17.

3) "Your care of me hath flourished again-." (anethalete to huper emou phronein) "You all revived to think on behalf of me," or "your care has put forth new shoots or blossomed into activity again," 1 Corinthians 12:25; 2 Corinthians 7:12; 2 Corinthians 8:16.

4) "Wherein ye were also careful," (eph’ ho kai ephronete) Concerning, as to which, ye were all thoughtful," you did truly care--They did "care for his soul," Psalms 142:4; Philippians 2:20.

5) "But ye lacked opportunity" (egaireisthe de) "but ye had not an opportunity," a suitable bearer of their gifts had not been available, Galatians 6:10; Hebrews 11:15.

Verse 11

1) "Not that I speak in respect of want" (ouch hoti kath’ husteresin lego) “not that I speak by way of lack," or "that I have been in absolute need," a calm independence of circumstances.

2) "For I have learned" (ego gar emathon) "because I have learned, by considering Christ, by my past experience, on land and sea, in cities and countrysides, among friends and foes, 2 Corinthians 11:21-33.

3) "In whatsoever state I am" (en hois elmi) "In whatever conditions I am," as he had once spent a night in their Philippian jail, Acts 16:30-34.

4) "Therewith to be content" (autarkes einai) "to be self-supporting, seIf sufficient," or content--omit “therewith." He had found Christ to be ever-present and all-sufficient; Hebrews 13:5; Psalms 34:7; 1 Timothy 6:6; 1 Timothy 6:8.

Verse 12

1) "I know both how to be abased" (oida kai tapeinousthai) "I know both (how), or what it is, to be humbled," to be low in resources, material necessities and comforts. The term translated abased means "like a river running low."

2) "And I know how to abound" (oida kai perisseuein) "And I know (what it is) to abound," to go forward, be buoyed on and up, 2 Corinthians 1:5; 2 Corinthians 8:7; 2 Corinthians 9:8; 1 Thessalonians 3:12; 1 Thessalonians 4:1; 2 Peter 1:8.

3) "Everywhere and in all things" (en panti kai en pasin) In everything and in all things," Romans 3:7; Romans 5:15; Romans 5:20.

4) "I am instructed" (memuemai) "I have been initiated,” have learned the secret, Acts 20:33-34; Deuteronomy 8:11-12; Deuteronomy 8:14; Deuteronomy 8:17-18.

5) "Both to be full and to be hungry” (kai chartazesthai kai peinan) "both to be filled and to hunger," Job 31:24-28.

6) "Both to abound and to suffer need" (kai periseueln kai hustereisthai) "both to abound and to lack," to be in need, how to deport myself in every condition, Proverbs 30:8-9.

Verse 13

1) "I can do all things" (panta ischuo) "all manner (of) things I can do," or " I have strength f or all things," with which he had to do, in the Will of the Lord, in his actual path of duty and suffering for Christ, his Lord and Master.

2) "Through Christ which strengtheneth me" (en to enduramounti me) "In (the strength) the one empowering me," or continually enabling me, without whom he could do nothing, John 15:5; 2 Corinthians 12:9; Ephesians 3:14-17. He was strengthened through The Word, Spirit, and example of Christ.

Verse 14

1) Notwithstanding ye have well done," (plen kalos epoiesate) "Nevertheless ye did well," absence of Paul’s need did not make the generosity of the Church at Philippi of less value; he thanked them for help while they awaited for their certain hour of "well done" from the Master, Matthew 25:21; Matthew 25:23; Matthew 25:34-40.

2) "That ye did communicate with my affliction" (sugkoinonesantes mou te thlipsei) "having or holding a partnership or partaking in my affliction or tribulation," share in, seek to relieve it as if it were your own. Paul taught that those taught in the Word should communicate with or "contribute to" the one teaching or preaching the Word, Galatians 6:6; 1 Corinthians 9:7-15; 1 Timothy 5:18.

Verse 15

1) "Now ye Philippians know also" (oidate de kai kumeis Philippesioi) "Moreover, ye Philippians are aware also," know or perceive even.

2) "That in the beginning of the gospel" (hoti en arche tou evangellion) "That in (the) beginning of the gospel (in Europe,)" When he came to them with Silas, Luke, and other Missionary companions, in obedience to God’s call through a man he saw in a vision and heard appealing "come over into Macedonia and help us," Acts 16:8-40.

3) "When I departed from Macedonia" (hote ekselthon apo Makedonias) "When I went out from Macedonia, of my own accord or choice," after having been imprisoned, and even then aided in the gospel by you, Philippians 4:3.

4) "No church communicated with me" (oudemia moi ekklesia ekoinonesen) "Not one church shared with me (in material needs)," but all the churches in Asia had turned away from his support, 2 Timothy 1:15; 2 Timothy 4:10; 2 Timothy 4:16. This was a recall of Paul after some ten or more years.

5) "As concerning giving and receiving" (eis logon doseos kai lempseos ei me humeis monoi) "With relation to a matter of giving and receiving, except you all only," in neglect of their duties to Paul and other ordained Missionary brethren, 1 Corinthians 9:7-14; 1 Timothy 5:17-18.

6) "But ye only" (ei me humeis monoi) "if not, or except you all (of Philippi) only," These had been ready, on the ball, to communicate, to contribute, 1 Timothy 6:18; Hebrews 13:16.

Verse 16

1) "For even in Thessalonica" (hoti kai on Thessalonike) "because even in Thessalonica," a neighbor-city some 75 miles south of Philippi, to which Paul departed from them to preach the gospel, Acts 16:35-40.

2) "Even once and again" (kai hapaks kai dis) "both once and twice," repeatedly, Acts 17:1-4, even during a short stay of perhaps not longer than four weeks.

3) "Ye sent unto my necessity" (eis ten chreian moi epempsate) "you all sent with relationship or according to my need," during his early Thessalonica ministry, as he resided in Jason’s house, Acts 17:5-9. Thessalonica, as a city, was much wealthier, had a much better economic base than Philippi, yet it was this early European church that loyally supported him in Missions, 2 Corinthians 11:9.

Verse 17

1) "Not because I desire a gift" (ouch hoti epizeto to toma) “not that I hope for (or expect) the gift," PauI’s motive was not to elicit gifts, but to confirm these liberal brethren in their acts of obedience to the Lord that they should share bountifully in Mission rewards, one day, Acts 20:35; Luke 6:38.

2) "But I desire fruit" (alla epizeto ton karpop) "But I hope for, seek, or expect the fruit;" that they not be “weary in well doing," being assured of a reaping and rewarding day ahead, Galatians 6:9; 1 Corinthians 3:8; 1 Corinthians 15:57-58. Giving is an expression of loving which Paul desired in the brethren as also in 2 Corinthians 9:15.

3) "That may abound to your account" (ton pleonazonta eis logon humon) "The increasing fruit with reference to your account," knowing that those who sowed bountifully to meet honorable needs would reap bountifully, 2 Corinthians 9:6-8.

Verse 18

1) "But I have all, and abound," (apecho de panta kai perisseuo) "yet I have all things (needful) and abound," or "I have all I actually need and more," provided by Him who doeth "exceeding above all that we are able to ask or to think," that is in his Will, Hebrews 13:16; Ephesians 3:20.

2) “I am full’’ (Pepleromai) "I have been filled," with physical needs and responding joy that overflowed in this congratulatory mission receipt letter.

3) “Having received from Epaphroditus the things which were sent from you" (deksamenos para Epaphroditou ta par humin) "Receiving from Epaphroditus the things from you," all the way to his Roman prison on this occasion, Philippians 1:7; Philippians 1:12-14.

4) "An odor of a sweet smell" (osmen euodias) "an odor of sweet smell, a gift to a special representative of God was looked upon much asan offering to God, as Jesus Christ gave himself for us, Ephesians 5:2; Galatians 5:6.

5) "A sacrifice acceptable" (thusian dekten) "an acceptable sacrifice", which ii-reasonable service, Romans 12:1-2; 1 Corinthians 6:19-20. Every believer is his own priest to approach Jesus Christ the High Priest in adoration, worship, and service. Hebrews 13:15-16.

6) "Well-pleasing to God," (evareston to theo) well-pleasing to or toward God," This is the call of every true Christian, Church, and Church member, to be a compassionate helper and giver or sharer with’ Missionaries and Missionary causes for the well being of these not Christians, Colossians 3:20; Hebrews 13:21; 1 John 3:22.

Verse 19

1) "But my God," (ho de theos man) "Indeed my God," to Paul he was a personal, living, accessible God, 1 Corinthians 8:6; Acts 17:22-27. Paul’s God was cognizant, aware of his trials and would reward not only him, but also those who had helped him, 2 Timothy 4:8.

2) "Shall supply all your need" (plerosei pasan chreian humon) will fill every need of you all," Paul accepted Jesus as his lamb and Shepherd for salvation, guidance, provision, and protection, Psalms 23:1-6, and Jesus Christ as his all-in-all sufficient one, Matthew 6:33; 2 Corinthians 3:5; Hebrews 13:5; Psalms 23:1-6; Psalms 84:11.

3) "According to his riches" (kata to ploutos autou) according to or on the basis of his riches," in essence of his nature and character, his creation and ownership of the world, and his reconciliation of all things to himself in Jesus Christ.

4) "In glory by Christ Jesus" (en dokse en Christou lesou) "In glory in Christ Jesus," What a storehouse of life and power from which to draw, 2 Corinthians 8:9; 2 Corinthians 5:18-20; Romans 8:19-23; 1 Corinthians 3:21-23; 1 Corinthians 15:28.

Verse 20

1) "Now unto God and our Father" (to de theo kai patri hemon) “now to God, even our Father," Paul would commit himself and the Philippian brethren into the absolute care of his living Spiritual Father, Proverbs 4:3-4; 1 Peter 5:7.

2) "Be glory forever and ever: Amen" (he doksa eis tous aionas ton aionon, Amen) "Be the glory into the ages of the ages, Amen or so mote it be" Let conceit, egotism, self -exaltation, pride, and vain glory be laid aside like old soiled garments and let all of life’s glory be given to God through Christ Jesus and his Church into the ages of the ages. This was Paul’s doxology of refrain. Let Jesus Christ be every believer’s (1) Life, (2) mind, (3) goal, and (4) sufficiency in full surrender, Mark 8:34; Ephesians 3:21.

Verse 21

1) "Salute every saint in Christ Jesus" (aspasathe panta liagion en Christou leson) “Salute or greet ye every saint in Christ Jesus," or "I send my greeting to each saint in Christ," Hebrews 13:24; 3 John 1:14.

2) "The brethren which are with me greet you (aspazontai hunas hoi sun emoi adelphoi) "The brethren with me greet you all," These were evidently Paul’s personal companions in Missionary labors as distinguished from Christian residents in Rome who are described in the following verse.

Verse 22

1) "All the saints salute you “ (aspazontai humas pantes hoi hagioi; "All the saints (holy ones) greet you all;" This evidently refers to the Church body of saints at Rome, Romans 16:23, those who had helped Paul often.

2) Chiefly they that are Caesar’s household" (malista de hoi ek tes Kaisaros oikias) "But most of all the ones of the household of Caesar." Some of the household of the Emperor had become Christian and especially requested Paul to send their greetings to the brethren of the Church at Philippi, 1 Corinthians 1:26; 1 Corinthians 7:20-22; Philippians 1:13; Romans 16:1-27.

Verse 23

1) "The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ" (he charis kuriou lesou Christou) "The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ" which saves, keeps, and is sufficient, Ephesians 2:8-9; 2 Corinthians 12:9; 2 Peter 3:18; Galatians 6:18, 2 Corinthians 13:13.

2) "Be with you all, Amen" (meta tou opneumatos humas) “be with the spirit of you all," Amen. The spirit of the good welfare of others in Christ was Paul’s spirit to the end of life, Romans 16:24; 1 Thessalonians 5:28; 2 Thessalonians 3:18.

Bibliographical Information
Garner, Albert & Howes, J.C. "Commentary on Philippians 4". Garner-Howes Baptist Commentary. https://studylight.org/commentaries/eng/ghb/philippians-4.html. 1985.
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