Commentary On The Letter From Paul To The Philippians Chapter 2:19-30

Paul’s Example Of Timothy And Epaphroditus

Paul Is Sending Timothy

Chapter 2:19 But I hope in the Lord Jesus to send Timothy to you shortly, so that I also may be encouraged when I learn of your condition.

Chapter 2:20 For I have no one else of kindred spirit who will genuinely be concerned for your welfare.

Chapter 2:21 For they all seek after their own interests, not those of Christ Jesus.

Chapter 2:22 But you know of his proven worth, that he served with me in the furtherance of the gospel like a child serving his father.

Paul was sending Timothy and was wanting to receive some encouragement back from the church at Philippi. The church of Philippi was one of great promise and encouragement for Paul as compared to the church at Corinth which had numerous problems and concerns.

Paul Wishes To Be There With The Philippians

Chapter 2:23 Therefore I hope to send him immediately as soon as I see how things go with me;

Chapter 2:24 and I trust in the Lord that I myself also will be coming shortly.

Paul would, more than anything else would have loved to be there, but due to his circumstances, he sent Timothy, his most trusted and caring servant to the Philippians.

Epaphroditus And His Coming

Chapter 2:25 But I thought it necessary to send to you Epaphroditus, my brother and fellow worker and fellow soldier, who is also your messenger and minister to my need;

Chapter 2:26 because he was longing for you all and was distressed because you had heard that he was sick.

Most likely, Epaphroditus took this letter to the Philippians and while he was with Paul in Rome became extremely ill. We see that Paul thought highly of him and valued him as a close brother, worker and soldier.

Paul’s Concern For Epaphroditus’ Sickness

Chapter 2:27 For indeed he was sick to the point of death, but God had mercy on him, and not on him only but also on me, so that I would not have sorrow upon sorrow.

We see that Epaphroditus’ sickness was extremely serious and that he almost perished, but God’s mercy saw him through this. We see that his recovery gave Paul comfort, and that if Epaphroditus had died, it would have been very upsetting to Paul.

Instructions To The Philippians

Chapter 2:28 Therefore I have sent him all the more eagerly so that when you see him again you may rejoice and I may be less concerned about you.

Chapter 2:29 Receive him then in the Lord with all joy, and hold men like him in high regard;

Chapter 2:30 because he came close to death for the work of Christ, risking his life to complete what was deficient in your service to me.

Paul wanted Epaphroditus to go back to the Christians at Philippi and Paul was letting them know that Epaphroditus was to be seen as a servant who went beyond the call and to be held in esteem. The lesson for us here is that we, as servants of Christ, should put the work of Christ, even above our own lives, because we owe Him everything. Are you satisfied with good intentions or a half-done job in serving the Lord?

Commentary On The Letter From Paul To The Philippians Chapter 2:12-18

Paul Preaches To The Philippians About Working Out Their Salvation

Chapter 2:12 So then, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your salvation with fear and trembling;

Paul begins verse 12 by showing us the connection between Christ’s obedience as shown in Philippians 2:8 and here. Paul emphasizes that the Christians at Philippi should strive to have the same obedient attitude that Christ had shown in his life. There is sometimes confusion with the latter part of this verse as Paul states to work out your salvation. This does not mean that we as Christians should work to earn our salvation but rather to see evidence or fruits in our lives by living and walking the Christian path. This would be completely contrary to what Paul had preached his entire ministry.

God Works

Chapter 2:13 for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.

We must remember that God is continually working in us as Christians to become more like Christ. This increased responsibility as a Christian should motivate us to action to become a better and more dedicated servant in glorifying Him.

Some Practical Things Paul Shares For Our Obedience To Christ

Chapter 2:14 Do all things without grumbling or disputing;

Chapter 2:15 so that you will prove yourselves to be blameless and innocent, children of God above reproach in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you appear as lights in the world,

Chapter 2:16 holding fast the word of life, so that in the day of Christ I will have reason to glory because I did not run in vain nor toil in vain.

Some commentators do not know if Paul was referring to the situation at the time with the Philippians or as I believe, a general command to all Christians that we should not complain or dispute things or events in our lives but that we should be joyful in all things in our lives. By not complaining, we show the world that we are dedicated and true followers of Jesus Christ. In verse 15, Paul reminds us that we should not act as the Israelites in Deuteronomy 32:5, where it states: They have acted corruptly toward Him, They are not His Children, because of their defect; but are a perverse and crooked generation. We see there that they are constantly complaining and arguing among themselves and with God. Paul realized in verse 16 that if is work on this earth was to be a testimony, that it was up to the people that he had led to Christianity to continue to strive to become more like Christ until their final days.

We See Paul As An Example

Chapter 2:17 But even if I am being poured out as a drink offering upon the sacrifice and service of your faith, I rejoice and share my joy with you all.

Chapter 2;18 You too, I urge you, rejoice in the same way and share your joy with me.

Paul wanted the Christians to know that he was glad and joyful in that he might be facing martyrdom and he wanted the Christian at Philippi to share in that joy. He wanted them to realize that his life and each of their lives should be lived to glorify God. That is an important lesson for each one of us to live and remember daily!!!

Commentary On The Letter To The Philippians Chapter 2:5-11

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Paul Shows Us Our Example Of Humility

Chapter 2:5 Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus

Chapter 2:6 who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped,

Chapter 2:7 but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men.

Chapter 2:8 Being found in appearance  as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.

I am going to attempt to give some meaning to this passage of probably the most inspired passage of scripture written by Paul anywhere in the Bible. Paul shows us in verse 5, that we have the opportunity to have an attitude of humility like Christ if we will allow our minds to grasp, choose and put it into action.

We need to remember as it states in the beginning of verse 6, that Jesus was and is the eternal God. He did not come into existence at Bethlehem. He also reminds the Christians at Philippi that while He was here on earth and assumed human form that He still was divine. We also see at the end of the verse that Jesus was not attempting to achieve equality with God, because He already had it, and chose not to exploit it.

We see that Jesus emptied Himself in verse 7, but we must grasp on to the realization that Jesus did not give up His deity nor was it lessened. He took the form of a bond-servant, which meant He came to be a perfect example for man, in order to put others before ourselves. He took the likeness of men, which refers to the outward appearance of man, but we must never forget that inwardly he was not at all like man, having no sin.

And in verse 8, he humbled himself. There is not enough room on the Internet to describe how He humbled Himself and became obedient. We must realize that the prime example of Jesus’ obedience was one of enduring suffering. We see in Hebrews 5:8 where it is written: though He was a Son, yet He learned obedience by the things which he suffered.

We must remember that death on a cross, was so humiliating that it was not permitted for Roman citizens, which the people of Philippi were. Jews assumed that men that were crucified were curse by God. God shows here in verse 8, that He had no limits in what He would not do in order to show His love, mercy and power for man. This in a way, is very difficult for me to understand Jesus’ power. Paul shows the Christians at Philippi that  God could be glorified through humbleness in the death of Christ and that it could be carried over to man in being a humble servant to others.

Who Jesus Truly Is

Chapter 2:9 For this reason also, God highly exalted Him and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name,

Chapter 2:10 so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth,

Chapter 2:11 and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father.

The name that God gave to Jesus was above even Yahweh and the phrase ‘the name” in verse 9 meant that Jesus had  the character and the personage above all names. Because Jesus is exalted by God, meant that the entire world was under the submission of Jesus as he is called in Philippians and Yahweh in the book of Isaiah in the Old Testament. We see in verses 10 and 11 that their will be a complete submission to Jesus in heaven, on earth and even under the earth, and by Paul giving this description to the Christians at Philippi, we see the true strength in Paul’s ministry to the Philippians, which seemed weak by worldly standards at the time, by showing that Jesus through his acts of patience, humbleness and obedience showed the world His true power.

Commentary On The Letter Of Paul To The Philippians Chapter 2:1-4

Paul Speaks To The Philippians About Living And Working Together

Chapter 2:1 Therefore if there is any encouragement in Christ, if there is any consolation of love, if there is any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and compassion,

We see that Paul refers back to Philippians 1:27-30 in which he tells them that they are citizens of heaven and how they should stand up against the conflicts and things of the world. Here, in these next verses, he reminds them how they should act against internal concerns. The lesson to be learned here is that we, as Christians, have received what Paul has mentioned here, encouragement in Christ, consolation in Christ, because He is the ultimate comforter, fellowship of the Holy Spirit and affection and compassion, which are all free gifts that are given when we come to Christ, and we have the responsibility to act upon what we have received and have learned. We do not sit by idly and not use what God, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit have given us and taught us.

Chapter 2:2 make my joy complete by being of the same mind maintaining the same love united in spirit intent on one purpose.

Chapter 2:3 Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves;

Chapter 2:4 do not merely look out for your own personal interests; but also for the interests of others.

This was personal for Paul. He wanted the Christians at Philppi to understand that by taking action on what he was asking would make God happy and in addition, Paul, himself. Because Paul loved them so much, he wanted them to experience the same joy that he was experiencing, even despite being in chains and imprisoned. He desired them to have unity and not selfish ambition, in which we put our desires in front of others. Paul speaks of conceit here also, which is thinking too highly of one’s self and one’s own ability or importance. We should, as Paul spoke here, to strive for humility, which means our personal ambitions are over and God’s purposes come first. I must say that this is extremely difficult for me personally and I must pray diligently for humility. Verse 4, makes it complete. We must put Jesus first, Others second, and Yourself third. That is what real JOY is all about!!!

Commentary On the Letter Of Paul To The Philippians

Paul’s Outlook And Purpose For His Remaining Days

Chapter 1:21 For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.

Chapter 1:22 But if I am to live on in the flesh, this will mean fruitful labor for me; and I do not know which to choose.

Chapter 1:23 But I am hard-pressed from both directions, having the desire to depart and be with Christ for that is very much better;

Chapter 1:24 yet to remain on in the flesh is more necessary for your sake.

Chapter 1:25 Convinced of this, I know that I will remain and continue with you all for your progress and joy in the faith.

Chapter 1:26 so that your proud confidence in me may abound in Christ Jesus through my coming to you again.

We need to remember that when we leave this earth, that we are moving ahead to having eternal life and Paul knew this. He realized that his death would glorify God and also, he would be in the presence of Jesus Christ. Both of these things happening would be gain. Paul had no fear of death and we as Christians should not fear death. If you are struggling with this fear, you should look into your heart and recognize that you have a weak faith and that you need to take measures to strengthen this.

By remaining in the flesh, Paul realized that God had a real purpose for his life. The lesson for us here is to recognize and remember that God has something for each one of us to do on this earth. We miss the blessings when we don’t move forward with God’s command. If you are struggling with what God has for you, I would suggest strongly that you spend time with Him and honestly and whole-heartedly ask for His guidance in what you can do to glorify Him and build the kingdom.

Paul had the desire to die and was really torn, but his desire to go to heaven rested on the facts that he realized that he would not have to struggle with sin, he would see his brothers and sisters in Christ that he had met on all of his missionary journeys and most of all, that he would be with Christ for eternity.

We know through history that Paul survived this particular imprisonment in Rome and did in fact get to visit the Philippians again and was martyred later at Rome under the reign of Nero.

Advice To The Philippians About Their Conduct

Chapter 1:27 Only conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or remain absent, I will hear of you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel;

Chapter 1:28 in no way alarmed by your opponents—which is a sign of destruction for them, but of salvation for you, and that too, from God.

Chapter 1:29 For to you it has been granted for Christ’s sake, not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for His sake,

Chapter 1:30 experiencing the same conflict which you saw in me, and now hear to be in me.

Here in these verses, despite Paul’s imprisonment and circumstances, he continues to provide advice in helping the Christians at Philippi to grow and mature. He wanted to let them know that he loved them and cared for them as they were accountable to him and he would check on them. He did not do this as a hard master, but as a teacher filled with love and compassion. He wanted them to work together for one purpose which was to increase in the faith and the spreading of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

We see in verse 28, that he wanted them to be bold for the cause of Christ. The question to ask yourself here is this: Are you being bold for the cause of Christ today and in the circumstances that God has presented you today? What is holding you back? Is Satan winning in this area of your life?

The Philippians had received the same gifts as Paul and other Christians in the understanding that they had received the gifts of difficulties to be used to further the kingdom and also to suffer for the sake of Christ, which could be considered not only persecution, but physical sufferings, sufferings due to temptation as well as other types of hardships. Paul was showing the Christians at Philippi that through his example, they could have a joyful and fruitful life.

Commentary On The Letter To The Philippians Chapter 1:12-20

Paul’s Imprisonment and Present Circumstances

Chapter 1:12 Now I want you to know brethren, that my circumstances have turned out for the greater progress of the gospel,

Chapter 1:13 so that my imprisonment in the cause of Christ has become well known throughout the whole praetorian guard and to everyone else.

Chapter 1:14 and that most of the brethren, trusting in the Lord because of my imprisonment, have far more courage to speak the word of God without fear.

The Christians at Philippi were certainly concerned about Paul and his circumstances in Rome and in similar situations in our lives the question to be asked is this. Where is God in all this, where are the blessings and how is this going to turn out? I believe when we are faced with a trial, we have these same concerns, but we should and must put our faith in God. It is difficult sometimes, but for us to grow in all facets of our Christian walk, it is necessary.

God used Paul tremendously while he was in prison in Rome allowing him to write the books of Ephesians, Philippians and Colossians. Paul’s passion, as we see during his entire ministry, was to see that the gospel was further spread among all the people groups in which he came in contact. The lesson to be learned here is that circumstances in our lives do not have to be perfect to be effective in sharing the Word and living out our faith. As I have stated numerous times here, God is not interested in our ability, but in our availability. Paul made himself available in whatever circumstance God placed him in and we should do the same.

Also notice, the particular attitude that Paul had as he wrote this letter to the Philippians. They could read in his words about the joy that he had, the comfort that God would take care of him during his imprisonment and that God could use him to minister to his captors as well as all the visitors and guests he encountered. That to me is incredible!!!

Other’s Motives Concerning The Sharing Of The Gospel

Chapter 1:15 Some, to be sure, are preaching Christ even from envy and strife, but some also from good will;

Chapter 1:16 the latter do it out of love, knowing that I am appointed for the defense of the gospel;

Chapter 1:17 the former proclaim Christ out of selfish ambition rather than from pure motives, thinking to cause me distress in my imprisonment.

Chapter 1:18 What then? Only that in every way, whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is proclaimed and in this, I rejoice, yes, and I will rejoice.

What is our motive in sharing Christ with others? Paul was letting the people know that their were people with selfish motives that were attempting to outdo Paul for their own personal gain. Some of these preachers were glad that Paul was imprisoned because it gave them the opportunity, in their minds, to gain an advantage over Paul. Paul was extremely thrilled with this because the gospel was being preached. Some were motivated in a selfish way while others were doing it out of pure love of Christ and the people that they were ministering to. Paul was thankful that the gospel of Christ was being spread and he also understood that God would take care of the people that were sharing out of selfish or impure motives.  The work of the Lord was moving forward despite the circumstances.

Paul’s Confidence In His Current Circumstances

Chapter 1:19 For I know that this will turn out for my deliverance through your prayers and the provision of the Spirit of Jesus Christ,

Chapter 1:20 according to my earnest expectation and hope, that I will not be put to shame in anything, but that with all boldness, Christ will even now as always, be exalted  in my body, whether by life or by death.

Paul knew that God would take care of him during this imprisonment and he wanted once again to let the Christians at Philippi that he loved them and that God would be glorified. Paul did not know the final outcome for himself at this point, but notice that it did not matter because he had given 100% of himself to Christ. What fleshly thing are you holding on to? Don’t you think this is really hindering your relationship with Christ? I pray today that each reader of this, would turn his or her life completely over to Christ.

Commentary On The Letter To The Philippians Chapter 1:1-11

Greetings And Prayer To The Saints At Philippi

Chapter 1:1 Paul and Timothy, bond servants of Christ Jesus, to all the saints in Christ Jesus who are in Philippi, including the overseers and deacons.

Chapter 1:2 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Paul wrote this letter to the Christians at Philippi while he was under house arrest in Rome at the end of the book of Acts Chapter 28:30-31 around A.D. 61. Paul had founded the church at Philippi some eleven years earlier while on his second missionary journey (Acts:16:11-40) and it was the first church founded on the European continent. The letter is addressed to all the saints, which meant all the Christians in Philippi, as well as the overseers, which were Christians who were in leadership roles and deacons, which had specific roles of service. As usual, Paul gives his familiar greeting of grace and peace from God and Jesus Christ.

What is grace? Grace is all God’s wisdom and power-all of it and is constantly available to someone who is utterly undeserving. Peace is the inevitable result of the activity of grace. Peace always follows grace, it never precedes it. As Christians, we experience peace in the midst of conflict.

Paul Gives Thanks To The Christians At Philippi

Chapter 1:3 I thank my God in all my remembrance of you,

Chapter 1:4 always offering prayer with joy in my every prayer of you all,

Chapter 1:5 in view of your participation in the gospel from the first day until now.

Chapter 1:6 For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.

Paul was so thankful for the kindness that the Christians at Philippi had shown to him, but even more so he was thankful to God for giving this gift of kindness to these Christians to show him. We should remember that Paul was in prison in Rome under house arrest and in verse 4, we see him offering prayer with joy. They had worked with Paul from the beginning and had given him financial gifts as we see in Philippians 4:15–16, and Acts 11:16:11-40.  He did not have anything to give to them materially, but he could encourage them. We all have something that we can give at any moment when we allow God and the Holy Spirit to work in us. In verse 6, Paul lets them know that God will consummate whatever He intends for you until the day when Christ returns.

Paul Speaks Of His Affection For The Christians At Philippi

Chapter 1:7 For it is only right for me to feel this way about you all because I have you in my heart, since both in my imprisonment and in the defense and confirmation of the gospel, you all are partakers of grace with me.

Chapter 1:8 For God is my witness, how I long for you all with the affection of Christ Jesus.

The Christians at Philippi had stood beside Paul during his trials and imprisonment and Paul, in these verses, was showing them his joy, thankfulness and his heart for them.

Paul’s Prayer For the Christians At Philippi

Chapter 1:9 And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in real knowledge and all discernment,

Chapter 1:10 so that you may approve the things that are excellent, in order to be sincere and blameless until the day of Christ;

Chapter 1:11 having been filled with the fruit of righteousness which comes through Jesus Christ to the glory and praise of God.

The Christians at Philippi had so much love, but Paul encouraged them that this love would grow even more with more knowledge and understanding about God, Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit. When they approved of things that were excellent, the Christians at Philippi were sincere which was an inner quality and blameless, which was an outer quality to be shown to the world.. This is God working in us and we are filled with the fruit of righteousness which results because we abide in Jesus.