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Bible Commentaries
Philippians 4

Everett's Study Notes on the Holy ScripturesEverett's Study Notes

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Verse 1

Exhortation to Follow The Examples of True Humility In Philippians 3:15 to Philippians 4:1 Paul exhorts the church at Philippi to follow the examples of himself, Christ Jesus, Timothy and Epaphroditus as true servants and to avoid false humility.

Philippians 3:15 Let us therefore, as many as be perfect, be thus minded: and if in any thing ye be otherwise minded, God shall reveal even this unto you.

Philippians 3:15 Word Study on “be perfect” Strong says the Greek word “perfect” ( τε ́ λειος ) (G5046) means, “complete.” BDAG says it means, “mature.” This same Greek word is used in Hebrews 5:14, “But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age , even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.”

Philippians 3:15 Comments - This absolute focus described in the previous verses of reaching forth and pressing towards the prize of God’s high calling is the sign of a mature believer

Philippians 3:16 Nevertheless, whereto we have already attained, let us walk by the same rule, let us mind the same thing.

Philippians 3:16 Comments - As we grow in the Lord, God gives to us a series of progressive lessons and revelations of divine principles to live by so that we will have a successful Christian life. For example, after having been raised in a Southern Baptist church, I understood how to be saved, water baptized and to be evangelistic. However, my hunger for more of God and a holy lifestyle led me into the baptism of the Holy Ghost with speaking in tongues. I was soon introduced into the principles of divine healing. Then there came teachings about the power of the tongue and how to have a sound confession of faith. As I learned to walk in these areas on a daily basis, the Lord taught me about the principles of giving and receiving so that I can be financially blesses. He also taught me the importance of using the name of Jesus Christ to take authority over the devil in order to keep him out of my life. I soon learned how to flow in God’s plan for my life and how to wait upon Him to lead me in major changes in my life. Thus, Paul is telling us to what level we have attained, let us walk in that level. We are not to back down leave some of those divine principles out of our life, but we are to strive to walk in the full light of God’s Word that we have been given. A good way to do that is to look at Paul’s life (Philippians 3:17) and let his victories be an encouragement to us.

Philippians 3:17 Brethren, be followers together of me, and mark them which walk so as ye have us for an ensample.

Philippians 3:17 “Brethren, be followers together of me, and mark them which walk” Comments - Paul says to keep your eyes upon them, which walk in such a manner, i.e., like Paul, just as you have Paul and companions as an example.

Philippians 3:17 “so as ye have us for an ensample” Comments - In the phrase “so as ye have us for an example,” Paul was referring to the examples given in the passage above, of himself, of Christ, of Timothy, and of Epaphroditus. These were four examples of true servanthood and partnership.

Why would Paul want to become an example when we have the Lord as the perfect example (1 Peter 2:21)? It has been my experience in life that certain men of God have become a great inspiration to me. As I read the autobiographies of African missionaries, I am tremendously moved to become a better missionary here in Uganda. As I have worked under certain preachers, teachers and other servants of the Lord, I have taken on their attributes. When we watch someone in the flesh and blood, be can be inspired beyond the narrow vision that we have for our lives, and we begin to reach for higher levels of faith.

1 Peter 2:21, “For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps:”

Philippians 3:17 Comments - Paul uses a great amount of the rest of this epistle to give the church at Philippi four examples of men who also gave up their own ambitions in order to serve the interests of the heavenly Father. Paul tells of how he left the Jewish religion to know Christ and how it cost him everything (Philippians 1:12-26). Then he uses Jesus as an example of one who left His glory to come to earth and serve the plan of the Father, and was then ushered into the glory that He deserved (Philippians 2:5-11). Paul then uses Timothy (Philippians 2:19-23) and Epaphroditus (Philippians 2:25-30) as examples of faithfulness in supporting Paul’s ministry. In Philippians 3:18-19, Paul contrasts this life of sacrifice by making a reference to men who serve their own interests. Finally, in Philippians 4:3, Paul tells the Philippians that other women have laboured together with him in the Gospel.

Philippians 3:18 (For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ:

Philippians 3:18 “For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping” Scripture Reference - Note:

Acts 20:31, “I cease not to warn everyone night and day with tears ”.

Philippians 3:18 “that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ” Comments - These enemies are like those adulterous in James 4:4, who love the world and are at enmity with God.

James 4:4, “Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.”

Philippians 3:19 Whose end is destruction, whose God is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame, who mind earthly things.)

Philippians 3:19 “Whose end is destruction” Illustration:

Matthew 7:13-14, “Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.”

Philippians 3:19 “whose God is their belly” Comments - The word “belly” is used figuratively here to describe not only a carnal man's fleshly lusts, but the fleshly desires that proceed out of their hearts.

Philippians 3:19 “whose glory is in their shame” - Comments - These people boast of things that they consider as normal; but in fact, these deeds are too shameful to mention (Ephesians 5:11-12).

Ephesians 5:11-12, “And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them. For it is a shame even to speak of those things which are done of them in secret.”

Illustration While a missionary in Uganda, East Africa, I was having a conversation with an Indian who was born and raised in this nation. We were discussing the problem of corruption among the local Africans, and I commented that they should be ashamed of themselves for stealing government funds and lying so openly. His reply to me reflected his insight into the mindset of corruption when he said, “In Africa there is no shame.” Having been raised in a Judeo-Christian culture, integrity served as the moral fiber of society, and people generally felt shame when committing sins against their fellow people. However, there is a mindset of individuals that feels no shame in their sins, and this is the mindset that Paul is describing in Romans 1:32 and Philippians 3:19, a person who openly and blatantly sins without feeling any sense of guilt or shame.

Romans 1:32, “Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.”

Philippians 3:19 “who mind earthly things” - Comments - The same words are used in:

Colossians 3:2, “Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth .”

Philippians 3:19 Comments Philippians 3:19 is a description of the fruit of these false teachers. Jesus said that by their fruit we shall know them. (Matthew 7:15-20)

Philippians 3:17-19 Comments Warnings of False Teachers - Philippians 3:17-19 is such a timely message today. We must put, or fix, our eyes on God’s word, these epistles, and men of God, because there are present today great deceptions in today’s world of religion and false doctrine. The truth is that there are many false teachers today, not just a few. (Note Matthew 7:15-20, Act 20:28-31 , 2 Peter 2:1 f, 1 Timothy 3:1 f, Jude and other passages.) These destructive enemies of God are mentioned in Philippians 3:2.

Philippians 3:2, “Beware of dogs, beware of evil workers, beware of the concision.”

Philippians 3:20 For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ:

Philippians 3:20 “For our conversation is in heaven” - Comments When we are born again, we become a part of one heavenly family. There are not two families of God, with one in heaven and one on earth. We are one family here on earth with the saints in heaven.

Julius Oyet said to Jesus, in his vision in heaven, “‘Dear Lord, Look! Help me Lord! How come all these brethren know me so well including all of my names? No Lord, I have never been here and never met them. But how come they know my name Lord?!!!...’ ...Jesus held my right hand and answered me saying, ‘My dear Julius, you are not new here. Heaven is your home land and everybody whose name is in the Book of Life is a citizen of heaven!’ Before He could continue I shouted Alleluia. Then He laughed over and over again after which He said, ‘Even these saints before they came here they were known in heaven the first time their names were written in the Book of Life.’” [78]

[78] Julius Peter Oyet, I Visited Heaven (Kampala, Uganda: Bezalel Design Studio, 1997), 70-1.

Illustration - On May 16, 2002, we were on vacation in Texas from the mission field. We had been in the U.S. for almost one month, and Elisabeth, being 3 years old, was getting homesick for Uganda, where she had grown up. She began to ask us often when we were going home. Sensing in our answers our lack of excitement in returning to Uganda, she finally asked me, “Daddy, where is home?” I quickly said, “I don’t know.” Thinking further, I said, “I guess our home is in heaven.”

Philippians 3:20 Comments - It is interesting to note that the city of Philippi was a Roman colony. As a colony, it held a political advantage to its neighboring cities. A Roman colony was simply a military outpost used to protect the Empire as well as “Romanize” the region in which it was located. It was the only Roman colony in the province of Macedonia. In return for this service from the citizens of a colony, its inhabitants held special privileges, such as immunity from taxes, an autonomous government and Roman citizenship.

We can imagine such a city receiving royal visits from Roman dignitaries on a regular basis. Preparations and excitement must have preceded such visits. Thus, Paul uses this image to paint a clear picture to these believers of how they have a similar relationship to the capital city in Heaven called Jerusalem. As citizens of this royal city, they too can look for a visit from their king, Jesus Christ; they are blessed with special privileges above others.

Verses 2-9

Exhortation to Put on the Mind of Christ: A Promise of God’s Peace Spiritual and Mental Provision In Philippians 4:2-9 Paul exhorts the church at Philippi to put on the mind of Christ, in their relationships with others (Philippians 4:2-3), in their own physical activities (Philippians 4:4-7), in their thought life (Philippians 4:8) and in what they had learned from the example of Paul.

Philippians 4:2 I beseech Euodias, and beseech Syntyche, that they be of the same mind in the Lord.

Philippians 4:3 And I intreat thee also, true yokefellow, help those women which laboured with me in the gospel, with Clement also, and with other my fellowlabourers, whose names are in the book of life.

Philippians 4:3 “true yokefellow” - Word Study on “true” Strong says the Greek word “true” ( γνη ́ σιος ) (G1103) means, “legitimately, genuine.” The Enhanced Strong says it is used only 4 times in the New Testament being translated in the KJV as, “own 2, sincerely 1, true 1.”

Comments - Paul compares himself to a plowman, or a farmer, in other passages (1 Corinthians 3:6). Here, he is comparing his ministry to a team of oxen who are ploughing a field.

1 Corinthians 3:6, “I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase.”

However, some scholars suggest that Paul was mentioning a proper name of one church member called “Syzygus,” whose name means “yokefellow.” Paul would have been addressing this individual as “my own Syzygus.” We find this same Greek word “true” used by Paul on two other occasions when referring to Timothy as his own true son in the faith.

1 Timothy 1:2, “Unto Timothy, my own son in the faith: Grace, mercy, and peace, from God our Father and Jesus Christ our Lord.”

Titus 1:4, “To Titus, mine own son after the common faith: Grace, mercy, and peace, from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ our Saviour.”

Thus, Paul would be saying, “I ask you also, (my) own Syzygus…” In other words, Paul would have personally converted this individual to faith in Christ and is now asking him to do something for his spiritual father.

Philippians 4:3 “with Clement also” - Comments - Eusebius (A.D. 260 to 340) tells us that Clement became the third bishop of Rome, after Linus and Anencletus.

“ Clement also, who was appointed third bishop of the church at Rome, was, as Paul testifies, his co-laborer and fellow-soldier.” ( Ecclesiastical History 3.4.10)

“In the twelfth year of the same reign Clement succeeded Anencletus after the latter had been bishop of the church of Rome for twelve years. The apostle in his Epistle to the Philippians informs us that this Clement was his fellow-worker. His words are as follows: ‘With Clement amid the rest of my fellow-laborers whose names are in the book of life.’” ( Ecclesiastical History 3.15.1)

“Now concerning those bishops which have been ordained in our lifetime, we let you know that they are these…Of the church of Rome, Linus the son of Claudia was the first, ordained by Paul; and Clemens , after Linus' death, the second, ordained by me Peter.” ( Constitutions of the Holy Apostles 7.4.46)

It is this same Clement that wrote at least one epistle that remains with us until today.

“There is extant an epistle of this Clement which is acknowledged to be genuine and is of considerable length and of remarkable merit. He wrote it in the name of the church of Rome to the church of Corinth, when a sedition had arisen in the latter church. We know that this epistle also has been publicly used in a great many churches both in former times and in our own. And of the fact that a sedition did take place in the church of Corinth at the time referred to Hegesippus is a trustworthy witness.” ( Ecclesiastical History 3.16.1)

Jerome gives us a short biography of Clement.

“Clement, of whom the apostle Paul writing to the Philippians says ‘With Clement and others of my fellow-workers whose names are written in the book of life,’ the fourth bishop of Rome after Peter, if indeed the second was Linus and the third Anacletus, although most of the Latins think that Clement was second after the apostle. He wrote, on the part of the church of Rome, an especially valuable Letter to the church of the Corinthians, which in some places is publicly read, and which seems to me to agree in style with the epistle to the Hebrews which passes under the name of Paul but it differs from this same epistle, not only in many of its ideas, but also in respect of the order of words, and its likeness in either respect is not very great. There is also a second Epistle under his name which is rejected by earlier writers, and a Disputation between Peter and Appion written out at length, which Eusebius in the third book of his Church history rejects. He died in the third year of Trajan and a church built at Rome preserves the memory of his name unto this day.” ( Lives of Illustrious Men 15)

Philippians 4:3 “and with other my fellowlabourers” - Comments - Eusebius (A.D. 260 to 340) tells us that Paul is referring here to many of those whom he has listed in several of his epistles, giving them an eternal memorial by calling their names in his writings.

“But the number and the names of those among them that became true and zealous followers of the apostles, and were judged worthy to tend the churches rounded by them, it is not easy to tell, except those mentioned in the writings of Paul. For he had innumerable fellow-laborers, or “fellow-soldiers,” as he called them, and most of them were honored by him with an imperishable memorial, for he gave enduring testimony concerning them in his own epistles.” ( Ecclesiastical History 3.4.3-4)

We can find the names of several of his fellowlabourers, then, by simply looking in his epistles. See a long list of names in Romans 16:0. See also:

Philemon 1:24, “Marcus, Aristarchus, Demas, Lucas, my fellowlabourers.”

Paul uses the words “fellowprisoners,” “fellowlabourers,” and “fellowhelpers” in a number of his epistles. These words go deeper in meaning than just describing their personal relationships with Paul. It also describes their spiritual relationship with him in the sense that they were partners and partakers of Paul’s sufferings as well as his heavenly rewards. In other words, these words describe people would receive the same rewards in heaven that Paul would receive because they stood with him during these difficult times.

Philippians 4:3 “whose names are in the book of life” Scripture References - Note other references to the book of Life:

Exodus 32:32, “Yet now, if thou wilt forgive their sin--; and if not, blot me, I pray thee, out of thy book which thou hast written.”

Daniel 12:1, “And at that time shall Michael stand up, the great prince which standeth for the children of thy people: and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time: and at that time thy people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book .”

Revelation 3:5, “He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life , but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels.”

Revelation 21:27, “And there shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie: but they which are written in the Lamb's book of life .”

Philippians 4:4 Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice.

Philippians 4:4 “Rejoice in the Lord” Comments - Notice that Philippians 4:4 does not tell us to rejoice in our victories or in our blessings. Rather, it tells us to rejoice “in the Lord”. Why do we serve the Lord? We serve the Lord because we love Him, and we desire His fellowship rather than serving Him for personal benefits. Therefore, we can rejoice at all times, and not just when our circumstances are to our benefit. Note these insightful words from Frances J. Roberts:

“Rejoice. Rejoice not so much in victories as in the fact that I am leading. Praise Me. Not so much for My blessings as for My love which prompts them. Serve Me with gladness, not for the ultimate nor present reward, but for the thrill of knowing that we labor together; that I stand beside thee in every enterprise however trivial.” [79]

[79] Frances J. Roberts, Come Away My Beloved (Ojai, California: King’s Farspan, Inc., 1973), 121.

Jesus told His disciples to rejoice in our relationship with the Lord rather than the benefits of that relationship.

Luke 10:20, “Notwithstanding in this rejoice not, that the spirits are subject unto you; but rather rejoice, because your names are written in heaven.”

Satan accused Job of serving God for personal benefit rather than for his love towards God.

Job 1:9-11, “Then Satan answered the LORD, and said, Doth Job fear God for nought? Hast not thou made an hedge about him, and about his house, and about all that he hath on every side? thou hast blessed the work of his hands, and his substance is increased in the land. But put forth thine hand now, and touch all that he hath, and he will curse thee to thy face.”

Job 2:4-5, “And Satan answered the LORD, and said, Skin for skin, yea, all that a man hath will he give for his life. But put forth thine hand now, and touch his bone and his flesh, and he will curse thee to thy face.”

Philippians 4:4 Comments - Paul lived this truth of rejoicing in the Lord. He wrote this epistle while in prison. He was determined to finish his course with joy.

Acts 20:24, “But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy , and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God.”

Jesus also taught this truth:

John 16:33, “These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer ; I have overcome the world.”

Jesus has made a way so that we may live and rejoice in all situations in life.

John 10:10, “The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.”

Note these insightful words from Frances J. Roberts regarding the importance of maintaining our joy:

“Remember that I am in the midst when ye praise me. Never let any kind of anxiety crowd out thy praises. Do not be concerned for My reputation. I have withstood many a storm, and I will survive this one. Man’s strivings are as the waters around Gibraltar. They have beat upon the rock, but they have not changed it. I am not disturbed, and I forbid thee to be anxious.

For anxiety genderth to tension, and tension erodes joy; and when joy is gone, victory is lost, faith is weakened, and spontaneity is destroyed. The spirit falls ill. The salt has lost its flavor. Its savor is a saver. What can I use to preserve My work in your midst if ye lose your joy? Rejoice always, said the apostle Paul and again I say rejoice. Let your stability be observable to all men, for truly, the coming of the Lord is near. Gird up your loins, and be strong; for it is the Lord who upholdeth thee, and He it is who giveth thee the victory. Sing, My children, and let the shout of praise be heart; for the Lord is mighty, and His Name is glorious.” [80]

[80] Frances J. Roberts, Come Away My Beloved (Ojai, California: King’s Farspan, Inc., 1973), 96.

Philippians 4:5 Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand.

Philippians 4:6 Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.

Philippians 4:6 “Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication” - Comments Our stress level is dependent upon how we view the level of loss from an event; the more we perceive we have lost, the more we tend to stress. However, God is asking us to stop viewing loss as a stressful event, for He is more than able to restore what is taken from us. His Word can take us on a journey that lifts us above these earthly circumstances and material possessions. Prayer moves us into eternity and away from the corrupt earthly realm, and in the realm of eternity we are able to see life from a divine perspective, a perspective that is free of anxiety and stress.

“with thanksgiving” - Comments In Philippians 4:6, we see the principle of sowing and reaping. As we pray, we are able to give thanks for what God has done, and what He will do for us.

“let your requests be made known unto God” - Comments - Paul is about to say in Philippians 4:19 that our God shall supply all of our needs according to His riches in glory. We understand from the context of this Epistle that this tremendous promise is only for those who take care of God’s needs first. In this case, the church of Philippi had taken care of Paul’s needs for many years. However, we are told in Philippians 4:6 to express these needs to God in order for Him to meet those needs.

Philippians 4:7 And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

Philippians 4:7 “And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding” Comments - The peace that abides in our spirit-man cannot be explained in the natural, being a peace that we do not understand. This peace is not the absence of enemies, but the fellowship and presence of God. When the peace of God keeps a believer at peace during the greatest trials of life, those around him usually do not understand how this happens. Even when we, as believers, find this peace in our hearts during trials, we do not understand how this happens, we just learn to walk in it. Thus, this supernatural peace directs its recipients to give praise and glory to God, rather than vain glory to man when victory comes.

Illustration (1) - When David faced one of the greatest losses of his life, the loss of Bathsheba's first son, he was at peace when told of the child's death. His servants did not understand how the king could be at such peace during this time (2 Samuel 12:21).

2 Samuel 12:21, “Then said his servants unto him, What thing is this that thou hast done ? thou didst fast and weep for the child, while it was alive; but when the child was dead, thou didst rise and eat bread.”

Illustration (2) - As I watch my brother go thru the most difficult times of his life, a divorce, I see such a peace in his heart. I did not expect him to walk in such peace, but as a believer having experienced it, I know that it can be so, even though I do not understand it.

Philippians 4:7 “shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus” Comments - The word “keep” means to guard, so that this divine peace guard our hearts and minds from thoughts of doubt and worry, which war against your peace and faith in God? Like a guard keeps watch over a castle or prison cell that no one or nothing, such as Satan’s fiery darts and immoral thoughts, shall in no way enter, so will this peace keep doubt and worry out so that we faint not. We are able to walk in peace because our hearts and minds are guarded from trouble in the midst of trials. See notes on Matthew 6:33.

Matthew 6:33, “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.”

Philippians 4:6-7 Comments - Note these words from Frances J. Roberts:

“My child, do not share thy burdens with all who come unto thee profession concern. Lo, I, Myself, am the great burden-bearer. Ye need not look for another. I will lead thee and guide thee in wisdom from above. All things shall be as I plan them, if ye allow Me the freedom to shape circumstances and lead thee to the right decisions.” [81]

[81] Frances J. Roberts, Come Away My Beloved (Ojai, California: King’s Farspan, Inc., 1973), 17.

“My child, lean thy head upon My bosom. Well I know thy weariness, and every burden I would lift. Never bury thy griefs; but offer them up to Me. Thou wilt relieve thy soul of much strain if ye can lay every care in My hand. Never cling to any trouble, hoping to resolve it thyself, but turn it over to Me; and in doing so, ye shall free Me to work it out.” [82]

[82] Frances J. Roberts, Come Away My Beloved (Ojai, California: King’s Farspan, Inc., 1973), 18.

Philippians 4:8 Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.

Philippians 4:8 Comments (1) - One preacher said that a person would not get on a train if he did not know where it was going. Yet, people will get on a train of thought that takes them nowhere that is good. When they wind up somewhere that they do not want to be, they ask God why He took them there; yet, they do not know that their train of thoughts took them to their destination. We must be careful what we think because it will lead us on a journey.

Philippians 4:8 Comments (2) - Note how the adjectives in Philippians 4:8 are similar to those used in Psalms 19:7-10.

Psalms 19:7-10, “The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple. The statutes of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart: the commandment of the LORD is pure , enlightening the eyes. The fear of the LORD is clean , enduring for ever: the judgments of the LORD are true and righteous altogether. More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold: sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb.”

Philippians 4:6-8 Comments - Promises of Peace to Partners - The promises found in this passage are for those believers who have partnered with Paul in his ministry. Because of their giving, they were in a position to receive. It becomes much easier for a child of God to cast his cares upon the Lord and leave them there with a peace of mind when He is persuaded that God will work it out. For example, my boss had given me several projects to accomplish the next day. I stayed up late that night after the family went to bed and did some Bible studies (January 24, 2004). I finished this study time with a wonderful time of worship. It was such a time of worship that took the pressure off of the cares of the following day. I gave to Him the praise that He was worthy to receive and in return I laid my cares down at His feet with a short prayer. I found my relief in worship, being confident that He would meet my needs, for I had met His.

The following day, I did little but watch God bring about divine appointments so that these two tasks were easily accomplished. I was able to get an attorney and an engineer out on a Sunday afternoon to evaluate a collapsed retaining wall. In addition, my wife wanted to sell a new puppy that we had just purchased. While we were still talking about it, a girl in the neighbourhood came up and offered to purchase this dog. We sold this puppy without advertising it.

As with the church at Philippi, giving and serving the Lord puts us in a position to receive so that when we have a genuine need, we can come to Him in confidence and cast those cares upon Him. For we have seen Him meet our needs in the past. But this only works in the life of a believer. In a few verse, Paul will tell them that his God will supply all of their needs according to His riches in glory (Philippians 4:19). How can someone worry when His God meets every need? But first, we must take care of God’s needs. The Lord once said to me, “You take care of My needs first.”

Philippians 4:4-8 Comments - Setting Our Minds on the Lord Philippians 4:4-8 shows a progression of events in the life of a believer. When we find our joy in the Lord, we seek less after the pleasures and entertainment of this world (verse 4) and more on the things of God. This frees us from much worry and anxieties. We are better able to live a life of moderation (verse 5). Our attention on the things of God leads us into a life of prayer, and we learn to cast our cares upon the Lord (verse 6). As we pray and guard our hearts from the affections of this world, we find the peace of God dwelling within us (verse 7). We begin to see life from God’s perspective and to think on the things of God rather than the things of this world (verse 8). Note these words from Frances J. Roberts about rejoicing in the Lord:

“I have asked thee to give, in order that I may bless thee more. I have challenged thee to pray, so that I may respond and help thee. I have asked thee to rejoice, in order to keep thee from being swallowed up by anxieties . I have asked thee to be humble, to protect thee from calamities that fall upon the proud….” [83]

[83] Frances J. Roberts, Come Away My Beloved (Ojai, California: King’s Farspan, Inc., 1973), 22.

“If there be dryness within thy soul and ye have not this life flowing forth, ye need not grieve, neither chide thyself for being empty. Fill up the empty place with praise. Thou mayest by praise open to Me the gates of the temple of thy soul. The King shall enter and bring His glory. The Rose of Sharon shall bloom in thy heart and His fragrance shall be shed abroad.” [84]

[84] Frances J. Roberts, Come Away My Beloved (Ojai, California: King’s Farspan, Inc., 1973), 42.

“Let thy praises rise in the daytime and in the night. Yea, when thou are utterly spent, then shall My speech fall upon thee. Then shalt thou lie down in peace and rise up in joy, and thou shalt be partaker of a perpetual fountain. As it is written: Out of thine innermost being shall gush forth rivers of living water.” [85]

[85] Frances J. Roberts, Come Away My Beloved (Ojai, California: King’s Farspan, Inc., 1973), 44.

Verses 2-20

Glorification: The Father’s Promise of Divine Provision as Partners In Philippians 4:2-20 Paul reveals practical ways in which they were to think in order to enter into rest in the mist of hardships. In Philippians 4:2-9 Paul exhorts the church at Philippi to put on the mind of Christ, in their relationships with others (Philippians 4:2-3), in their own physical activities (Philippians 4:4-7), in their thought life (Philippians 4:8) and in what they had learned from the example of Paul. In Philippians 4:10-20 Paul exhorts the believers in Philippi on their giving as a way of receiving divine provision from the Lord. The key verse in this section is Philippians 4:19, in which Paul promises that “my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.”

Outline Here is a proposed outline:

A. Exhortation to Put on the Mind of Christ Philippians 4:2-9

B. Exhortation on God’s Provision Philippians 4:10-20

Verses 10-20

Exhortation on God’s Provision: A Promise of God’s Provision Physical and Material Provision In Philippians 4:10-20 Paul exhorts the believers in Philippi on their giving as a way of receiving divine provision from the Lord.

Philippians 4:12 Comments Philippians 4:12 reflects on a lifetime of experience in trusting God and seeing His faithfulness. For a young person, the seasons of life change slowly. A young person always wants his circumstances to change quickly. However, for a seasoned Christian, he knows that change will come, the Lord will deliver. He learns to find rest in the Lord in difficult times as well as good times.

King David also reflected on God's faithfulness in his old age (Psalms 37:25).

Psalms 37:25, “I have been young, and now am old; yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread.”

Philippians 4:11-12 Comments - True Contentment - Peace and contentment in the midst of trials are the signs of true Christian maturity. Paul the apostle expresses this contentment in his epistle to the Philippians. Paul is not saying that he has learned to accept the curse, such as sickness and poverty, in his life. But rather, he has learned to put his confidence and faith in God without anxiety, whatever circumstances come his way. This whole chapter is about not being full of doubt and worry, but it is about putting your faith in God to supply every need in life.

Philippians 4:13 I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.

Philippians 4:13 Comments - Philippians 4:13 does not mean that we can do anything we want to do in the flesh. We can do anything God wants us to do, hence, the phrase “thru Christ Jesus.” We can do anything within God's will.

Philippians 4:14 Notwithstanding ye have well done, that ye did communicate with my affliction.

Philippians 4:15 Now ye Philippians know also, that in the beginning of the gospel, when I departed from Macedonia, no church communicated with me as concerning giving and receiving, but ye only.

Philippians 4:15 “that in the beginning of the gospel” Comments - Paul had been preaching the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ for approximately twenty years, since the early days of his conversion. He has been on his missionary journeys for perhaps five or six years. So the “beginning of the gospel” would be from the reference point of the believers in Philippi. Paul says that from the time that they first began to embrace the Gospel they extended gifts to Paul to support him work. In a secondary sense, the church of Philippi was Paul’s first missionary effort in his westward expansion into Europe.

Philippians 4:15 Comments - Paul has a way of telling, or reminding, the Philippians of all the good things that they have done for the Lord. As also does Jesus to the seven churches in Revelation 2:3.

Philippians 4:16 For even in Thessalonica ye sent once and again unto my necessity.

Philippians 4:17 Not because I desire a gift: but I desire fruit that may abound to your account.

Philippians 4:17 Comments - When we give to God with our tithes and offerings, we must understand that it is not that God is coming after our money, but that He is attacking our lack. He wants us to abound with blessings. Giving is the divine principle that He has ordained for our needs to be met. The believers at Philippi were givers. Because of this Paul promises them that God will supply every need they had (Philippians 4:19). This promise is not to stingy Christians, but to those who have learned to give cheerfully and liberally.

Philippians 4:18 But I have all, and abound: I am full, having received of Epaphroditus the things which were sent from you, an odour of a sweet smell, a sacrifice acceptable, wellpleasing to God.

Philippians 4:18 “I have all, and abound” - Comments - This confession of Paul did not mean that he had a lot of material possessions, for he was a traveling missionary. It means that the peace of God that comes by doing His will brought such a deep contentment within his heart, that he did not covet this world's goods. God was meeting his daily needs, and with this divine provision, Paul was contented. There was a place of rest that he had entered into.

Hebrews 4:9, “There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God.”

Another way to say it is that the Lord was His Shepherd and he did not want (Psalms 23:0).

Philippians 4:18 “an odour of a sweet smell, a sacrifice acceptable, wellpleasing to God” Comments - Note a similar description of how our prayers go up to God in the testimony of Cornelius.

Acts 10:4, “And when he looked on him, he was afraid, and said, What is it, Lord? And he said unto him, Thy prayers and thine alms are come up for a memorial before God .”

Philippians 4:18 Comments - Note in Philippians 2:30 that Epaphoditus had brought a gift to Paul from the Philippians.

Philippians 2:30, “Because for the work of Christ he was nigh unto death, not regarding his life, to supply your lack of service toward me.”

Paul had financial needs. According to Acts 28:30 he was staying in a rented house.

Acts 28:30, “And Paul dwelt two whole years in his own hired house, and received all that came in unto him,”

What could have been “filthy lucre” was made a sweet smelling odor in God’s sight. This is because the Philippians had used things to love people instead of using people to love and gain things. God has given us material things on this earth to bless others. We are to be careful and never use other people to meet our own selfish desires.

Philippians 4:19 But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.

Philippians 4:19 “But my God shall supply” Comments - Paul knows that He was their God also, but he wanted to emphasize the fact that the Philippians had joined in partnership with the God who had called Paul to complete a task (Philippians 1:3-7). Paul wanted them to see that because they had helped Paul fulfill his divine calling, his God would in turn meet their needs. Thus, the Philippians are partakers of Paul’s blessings because of their support of Paul.

Philippians 4:19 “all your need” Word Study on “need” Strong says this Greek word “need” ( χρει ́ α ) (G5532) means, “employment, an affair, occasion, demand, requirement or destitution.” The Enhanced Strong says it is used 49 times in the New Testament, being translated in the KJV as, it is translated, “need 25, need + 2192 14, necessity 3, use 2, needful 1, necessary 1, business 1, lack 1, wants 1.”

Comments - Note the singular form in use, not plural “needs,” but singular. Philippians 4:19 could be translated “each need of yours.” God is interested in every need of yours, no matter how small, and will become involved with each of them. Read verse 6, “But in everything ”, that is, in each specific need, make your request known unto God.

How would God supply their needs? His principle of sowing and reaping applies to all believers. The church at Philippi had become partners in Paul's ministry. They had given much to financially support him (Note Philippians 4:10-19). Paul assures them that as they have met his needs in the ministry, God would, in turn, meet their needs. Jesus told us that if we would follow His Word, it would position us so that we could receive from God.

John 15:7, “If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.”

Thus, we have to meet these conditions in order to ask and receive from God.

The Lord once told me that if I would take care of His needs first, then He would take care of my needs.

Philippians 4:19 “according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus” Comments - We find a reference to these glorious riches in Ephesians 1:3, which tells us about the Father’s spiritual blessings which are given to us.

Ephesians 1:3, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ:”

1. God the Father The promise of our being chosen to inherit eternal life and the promise of Him meeting all of our needs in this life.

Ephesians 1:4-5, “According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will,”

Philippians 4:19, “But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.”

2. Jesus Christ - The promise of Christ Jesus dwelling in us and of His Second Coming to take us to our eternal dwelling place.

Colossians 1:27, “To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory:”

1 Thessalonians 1:9-10, “For they themselves shew of us what manner of entering in we had unto you, and how ye turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God; And to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, even Jesus, which delivered us from the wrath to come.”

3. The Holy Spirit - The promise of the Holy Spirit indwelling us to lead us, and impart His gifts into us.

Galatians 3:13-14, “Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree: That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.”

1 Corinthians 1:7, “So that ye come behind in no gift; waiting for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ:”

What are some of those riches?

Romans 2:4, “Or despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering ; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance?”

Romans 9:23, “And that he might make known the riches of his glory on the vessels of mercy, which he had afore prepared unto glory,”

Romans 11:33, “O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God ! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out!”

Ephesians 1:7, “ In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace ;”

Ephesians 1:18, “The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints ,”

Ephesians 2:7, “That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus .”

Ephesians 3:8, “Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ ;”

Ephesians 3:16, “That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory , to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man;”

Colossians 1:27, “To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you , the hope of glory:”

Colossians 2:2, “That their hearts might be comforted, being knit together in love, and unto all riches of the full assurance of understanding , to the acknowledgement of the mystery of God, and of the Father, and of Christ;”

1 Timothy 6:17, “Charge them that are rich in this world, that they be not highminded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy ;”

Philippians 4:19 Comments (1) - This promise is not for everyone, but for those who had partnered with Paul in the ministry. Because they had taken care of God’s needs, He would in turn take care of their needs. This is the same principle that Jesus Christ taught us in John’s Gospel when He told us to abide in Him and we could ask what we desired and it would be given unto us.

John 15:7, “If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.”

One good example from the Old Testament of this principle is found in the story of Elijah asking the widow of Zarephath to make him a cake first. In her poverty she met the needs of the man of God, which resulting in God supplying her needs.

Comments (2) - Philippians 4:19 reveals the secondary theme of the epistle of Philippians, which is the declaration that as we take care of God’s servants, the Lord will meet all of our needs.

Philippians 4:20 Now unto God and our Father be glory for ever and ever. Amen.

Verses 21-23

Conclusion Paul closes his epistle with final greetings (Philippians 4:21-22) and a benediction (Philippians 4:23).

Outline Here is a proposed outline:

1. Final Greeting Philippians 4:21-22

2. Benediction Philippians 4:23

Philippians 4:21-22 Final Greetings In Philippians 4:21-22 Paul gives a short final greeting to the believers in Philippi.

Philippians 4:21 Salute every saint in Christ Jesus. The brethren which are with me greet you.

Philippians 4:22 All the saints salute you, chiefly they that are of Caesar's household.

Philippians 4:22 “Caesar’s household” Comments - John Rutherfurd tells us that Caesar’s household refers to the “whole of the persons, slaves and freemen alike, composing the establishment of the emperor in his palace on the Palatine Hill at Rome.” It says that “these persons in the emperor's palace would be employed in every conceivable capacity as household servants, cooks, bathmen, gardeners, grooms, kennel-keepers, porters, doorkeepers, messengers, secretaries, amanuenses, teachers, librarians, architects, carpenters, shoemakers, and in all other forms of service.” [86] Belonging to this household, even as the lowest of slaves, would grant social privileges, making this an important group of people. Evidently some of these people embraced the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

[86] John Rutherfurd, “Caesar’s Household,” in International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, ed. James Orr (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., c1915, 1939), in The Sword Project, v. 1.5.11 [CD-ROM] (Temple, AZ: CrossWire Bible Society, 1990-2008).

Philippians 4:23 Benediction Philippians 4:23 is called the final benediction.

Philippians 4:23 The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.

Philippians 4:23 “The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all” - Comments (1) - In a similar way that the early apostles were instructed by Jesus to let their peace come upon the home of their host (Matthew 10:13), so did Paul the apostle open every one of his thirteen New Testament epistles with a blessing of God’s peace and grace upon his readers. Matthew 10:13 shows that you can bless a house by speaking God's peace upon it.

Matthew 10:13, “And if the house be worthy, let your peace come upon it: but if it be not worthy, let your peace return to you.”

This practice of speaking blessings upon God’s children may have its roots in the Priestly blessing of Numbers 6:22-27, where God instructed Moses to have the priests speak a blessing upon the children of Israel. Now Paul closes his epistle to the Philippians by restating the blessing that he opened his epistle with in Philippians 1:2.

Comments (2) - In Philippians 4:23 Paul basically commends them into the hands of the Lord Jesus Christ, in much the same way that he did in the book of Acts. We find this statement at the end of all of Paul’s epistles.

Acts 14:23, “And when they had ordained them elders in every church, and had prayed with fasting, they commended them to the Lord, on whom they believed.”

Acts 20:32, “And now, brethren, I commend you to God, and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up, and to give you an inheritance among all them which are sanctified.”

Philippians 4:23 “Amen” Comments - In the Textus Receptus the word “Amen” is attached to the end of all thirteen of Paul’s epistles, as well as to the Gospels of Matthew and Mark, and to the General Epistles of Hebrews , 1 and 2 Peter , 1 and 2 John, and to the book of Revelation. However, because “Amen” is not supported in more ancient manuscripts many scholars believe that this word is a later liturgical addition. For example, these Pauline benedictions could have been used by the early churches with the added “Amen.”

Bibliographical Information
Everett, Gary H. "Commentary on Philippians 4". Everett's Study Notes on the Holy Scriptures. https://studylight.org/commentaries/eng/ghe/philippians-4.html. 2013.
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