Philippians Study

Philippians 1:1-5: Referring to the day when people in Philippi first believed in Jesus Christ.  We read about Paul’s initial mission trip to Philippi in Acts chapter 16.

1:6: Or, complete it.  This is not teaching that their perseverance in the Christian faith is guaranteed.  This was said based upon their track record, based upon God’s utter reliability not to fail those who are steadfast with Him in walking in the light of His Word, and Paul’s resolve to do what was in his power to lead them forward and straight faithfully in their Christian race.  Writing them this letter is a key aspect of that care for them.

1:7: Meet= right or fit.

1:8, Bowels= the affection of Jesus Christ.

1:9: Judgment= discernment

Walking forward and straight faithfully in the Christian race, in general, requires more costly death to self and also requires greater discernment as one goes on.  Complications are inevitable.  Making proper choices sometimes, or even often, results in the next choice being even more complicated and/or costly.  

Knowledge in verse nine is epignosis (talked about in the 2 Peter concise study).  It’s a word in Greek which has to do with experiential recognition of God through Jesus Christ, the one mediator between God and men.  The word for judgment in the Greek is “aisthesis.”  It is speaking of perception, cognition, discernment, etc. in matters related to morals and ethics.

A Scripture which is closely related to what Paul is getting at in his prayer for the Philippians in verse nine is 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.”

1:10: Recognize the things that are excellent, deem them worthy, and walk accordingly.

The Greek word translated as “sincere” here has to do with being found pure when examined by the sun’s light.  

Without offense= blameless; having nothing to strike against or stumble at.

This concept comes up over and over and over in the Bible, doesn’t it?  We’ve seen that throughout these studies.  We’ll see this emphasized yet more in this epistle.  How misleading and evil are those who say that this is impossible for a Christian or say that we can be saved in the end without this?  

1:11: We need to abide in Him in submission to his commandments in order to have this like Jesus spoke of in the Gospel accounts.  Many have such a corrupted definition of what brings God praise and glory that they say requiring man to bring forth the fruits of righteousness by Jesus Christ actually steals glory and praise from God (deranged Calvinists and other antinomians for example).

1:12-14: Paul was likely being brought to hearings before various courts.  This gave him the opportunity to proclaim the Christian faith.  Seeing the effect this had and/or seeing how Paul was holding up in this imprisonment encouraged other Christian brethren to proclaim God’s Word, or the doctrine of Christ, without fear.  

1:15-17: These were not necessarily evangelizing in the sense of seeking to make people believers in Jesus Christ.  They were talking about Paul and why he was put in prison (or, they were giving their own spin on Paul and why he was put in prison).  Nevertheless, they were exposing people to Christianity who had known nothing of it before or who had only more vaguely heard about it- even the people who mocked or somehow otherwise had their own malicious spin regarding Paul and the One he served were exposing people to Christian doctrine that could potentially bring them to Christ or at least cause them to investigate more.

1:18: He isn’t rejoicing over false doctrine and false gospels being preached that invoke Jesus’ name.  Remember what Paul said about false gospels and those who preach them in Galatians chapter one.  He is rather rejoicing here in true doctrine and the true gospel going forth even when the motives of the messengers are not necessarily benevolent.

1:19: Paul didn’t believe in fatalism and he did not take anything for granted.  He was confident that his imprisonment would work out well because of Jesus Christ’s help (or, grace) on his behalf through the supply of His Holy Spirit and through the prayers of other Christians on his (Paul’s) behalf.

1:20: Paul didn’t define Christian victory based upon whether one lives or dies physically.  And we’ll especially see later, he didn’t define it by the material quality of one’s life either.  With Christ being magnified in one’s body, think back to verses 9-11 of this chapter: “And this I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and in all judgment; That ye may approve things that are excellent; that ye may be sincere and without offense till the day of Christ.  Being filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ, unto the glory and praise of God.”  Paul surely sought that for himself too.

1:21: And don’t turn that phrase “to live is Christ” into a relative or ambiguous thing.  It is  objective, it is well-defined in the Bible.  It is talking about overcoming, victorious Christianity which he has talked about and will continue to talk about that.  

“To die is gain” comes with the implication that he dies in that overcoming, victorious Christianity.

1:22: Or, the fruit that His labor produces.  Wot not= know not.

1:23: There is a song from the 1980s called “Blasphemous Rumors” about a 16 year old girl who tried to commit suicide and failed.  Then she became a born-again Christian and she shortly afterwards dies in a car accident at age 18.  In reference to that, the chorus of the song begins “I don’t want to start any blasphemous rumors but I think that God’s got a sick sense of humor.”  Such thoughts are proven incorrect by Philippians 1:23.  It is better to depart and be with the Lord for one who is walking in overcoming, victorious Christianity at the time of their death.  And yet, since man’s happiness is not the end-goal of Christianity, and anyone who believes that their own happiness is the ultimate thing in their life is not being a faithful Christian, there is never a good reason to depart on your own terms.  BTW: It seems to me that perhaps that song was an attempt to start some blasphemous rumors.  

1:24-26: Paul was confident that the Philippians seeing him again after he was imprisoned would in itself be a cause for rejoicing to them and encourage them in their faith greatly.  The Philippians had already seen Paul after he was released from a brief, but very eventful prison stay (which can be read about in Acts chapter 16 during Paul’s first visit to Philippi).  That deliverance must have strengthened and encouraged the Philippians greatly.  They were doing so well at this point that Paul had next to nothing to rebuke in their fellowship as he wrote this epistle to them.

1:27-28: Paul said something very similar to the Thessalonians in 2 Thessalonians chapter one (we looked at that in detail in the 2 Thessalonians study).

1:29-30: The need to suffer for righteousness as a Christian isn’t “earning salvation.”  It is part of the entire package of Christianity and the grace of God offered therein.  You can’t properly remove this anymore then one could have removed the bitter herbs from the Passover meal without incurring God’s wrath.  Jesus told us that to follow Him faithfully and inherit eternal life in Him we must deny ourselves and take up our cross daily to keep His Word.  Those who remove this conflict by saying it is over, or saying that it is optional, are serpents echoing the Serpent in the Garden who told Eve that she could partake of the tree which God had forbidden to eat from and not surely die.

Remember the following as we start Philippians chapter 2.  

John 13:12-17: “So after he had washed their feet, and had taken his garments, and was set down again, he said unto them, Know ye what I have done to you?  Ye call me Master and Lord: and ye say well; for so I am.  If I then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet; ye also ought to wash one another’s feet.  For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you.  Verily, verily, I say unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord; neither he that is sent greater than he that sent him.  If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them.”

John 13:34-35: “A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.  By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.”

This new commandment was not a new morality, but it was new due to His perfect example of walking in the commandments of God’s Law which had now been displayed in flesh and blood.

Philippians 2:1: Again, bowels=affection

2:2: Any who violate God’s Word are guilty of disobeying this; not those who contend with such.

John 17:14-19 (Jesus is praying to the Father): “I have given them thy word; and the world hath hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.  I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil.  They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.  Sanctify them (set them apart) through thy truth: thy word is truth.  As thou hast sent me into the world, even so have I also sent them into the world.  And for their sakes I sanctify myself, that they also might be sanctified through the truth.”

Ephesians 5:11 also says: “And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them.”

2:3: And this includes preaching and ministry.  Some act carnal speaking when that’s not appropriate or by saying more than they should.  Some act carnal by staying silent when they ought to speak.  It’s important to instill a mindset in churches which opposes the (common) implicit concept that more speaking or more noise in singing equals greater spirituality.  Of course, this extends to any and every area of life which Christian fellowship might extend to.

2:4-6: There are a few different ways to take verse six.  Paul is obviously bringing to light Christ’s equality with God in teaching Christians about Christian humility.  Otherwise, there’d be no point in even bringing up the issue of His divinity.  There is a very powerful lesson about humility for Christians here.  

You could take this as saying that Christ, as God incarnate, rightfully owned all things yet didn’t seize anything based upon this, but rather acted in His boundaries as a man.  Or, you could take it that as God incarnate Christ did not seek to assert His true identity on earth (in His interpersonal dealings with people and His everyday way of living; He did proclaim His true identity at times) and He did not make Himself appear according to His true identity.  The two views are very closely related and each aligns with what this thought follows into in verse seven.

2:7: Note how it’s implied here that God intended that the proper state of mankind is that of servanthood.

2:8: Not using His supernatural authority nor His fully intact wisdom and discernment to save Himself from the cross, though He surely could have resorted to either to do so.  He obeyed the Father in all things, and for that obedience to be completed He had to go to the cross to offer Himself there as a sin offering.  In going to the cross, He appeared as the worst variety of criminal and suffered accordingly (actually exceedingly more due to the spiritual aspect of the death He died).

2:9-11: He committed Himself to the Father in doing the Father’s will, and the Father didn’t fail to raise Him up and give Him the honor He is rightfully due, the honor which He had relinquished and did not shrink from suffering in relation to losing as a man.  He rather fulfilled His mission and is now being satisfied in seeing the reward of the travail of His soul like Isaiah 53 speaks of.  

And where does this leave those who say that you do not need to be obedient to Jesus Christ’s Lordship in order to have salvation in Him?  They are His enemies who will be put to shame and damned when they stand before Him, along with all those who heed them (and all those who, for whatever reason, do not submit to Jesus Christ’s Lordship and walk in the light of His Word).

2:12: The Philippian Christian church members had obviously done what everyone ought to do.  They repented of their sins and bowed to Jesus Christ’s Lordship, pleading for mercy through His precious blood.  And they yet had to work their own salvation with fear and trembling.  There is no true conversion to Christ unless one submits to Him to be His disciple to keep His Word.  And that faith must be walked in and continued in until the end.

2:13: He works in the Christian not just to teach them to do right, but to mold their mind to better discern, appreciate, and to want yet more what is pleasing to Him.  This work can be resisted.  Hence this exhortation and many others like it in the Bible.  

One other related example in the letters of Paul to first century churches.

Colossians 1:21-29: “And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled In the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight: If ye continue in the faith grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the hope of the gospel, which ye have heard, and which was preached to every creature which is under heaven; whereof I Paul am made a minister; Who now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ in my flesh for his body’s sake, which is the church: Whereof I am made a minister, according to the dispensation of God which is given to me for you, to fulfill the word of God; Even the mystery which hath been hid from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to his saints: 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: Whom we preach, warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom; that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus: Whereunto I also labor, striving according to his working, which worketh in me mightily.”

2:14: We saw in the study of Jude that murmuring and complaining is a sure sign of wickedness, as well as one of the surest ways to spot a subtle false teacher (one that you should happen to be around much in private and witness not getting their way in something which matters a lot to them- when they’re not in public seeking to put on a good show for men).

2:15: Harmless= innocent.  Without rebuke= without fault.  

This is not teaching Pacifism.  Those who don’t resist evil according to their jurisdiction are blameworthy and guilty.  Saul was guilty for not slaying all of the Amalekites at God’s command.  Samuel was faithful and blameless in slaying Agag King of the Amalekites. 

Christianity without, what verse 15 describes, is vain.  Paul would go on to say as much in the next verse.  Again, remember 1:9-11 of this book and also especially remember James chapter two here.

2:16: “Word” here= Logos; remember how John chapter one talks about Jesus Christ being the Logos, the Word who was with God and was God in the beginning, and how He became flesh and dwelt among us.  

“Life” here= Zoe; the full quality of life which belongs to God, the life which man lost in the Garden and which Christ came to restore us to.  Those who abide in Jesus Christ walk in newness of life unto fulfilling the principles which God’s Word commands man to walk in (see Romans 8:1-4 here).  This truth is all over the Bible.  1 John especially deals with this truth.

2:17-19: Paul was confident Timothy would give a true report on the Philippians, and he was confident that the report would be good.  He was also confident that Timothy ministering among them would make things even better for them.  

Many hear exhortations like the one we just read in verses twelve to sixteen and they say something like “Nobody can do that.”  And I’m talking about many people in evangelical churches.  These are the type of people who are warned of in 2 Timothy 3, false Christians who have a form of godliness yet deny the power thereof.  The Apostolic mindset is that, due to (not opposed to or apart from) the grace of God, the Christian life prescribed and commended in the Bible can be lived out.  

The Apostles, and Christ Himself in the letters to the seven churches in Revelation chapters two and three, did not turn a blind eye to sin and they did not show partiality in evaluating the first century churches.  Yet some individuals, as well as whole churches, still received a great report.  Look at how Paul has almost nothing to rebuke among the Philippians here.  And they were not the only ones.  Yet many other churches and individuals in them were severely rebuked.  There are preachers and alleged pastors who thrive on the fact that their congregation will be rebuked; and they will treat them as inferior no matter what they do.  These are not true shepherds of Christ.  Yet a true shepherd of Christ will deal with sin and apathy towards God’s Word wherever such are present and known in a church.  Many other false pastors don’t do this at all or they address sin insufficiently.  Paul was persuaded Timothy would do things right based on his track record similar to how he was persuaded that the Philippians would remain faithful based on their track record.

2:20: Or, genuinely or faithfully care for their state.  Back to verse 13, Timothy had learned much to will and to do the Lord’s good pleasure.

2:21: This is one of those instances which a Calvinist might argue as proof that “all” doesn’t mean each and every single one.  In this particular instance, Paul obviously is speaking generally in order to commend Timothy and express how rare Christian ministers like him are (and those who seek their own here are specifically alleged Christian ministers- that’s whom Paul is talking about).  Yet the context demands that Paul is not talking about each and every alleged Christian minister.  Timothy is an obvious exception and so is Epaphroditus who we’re about to read about.  

Another case which is similar is John 3:32-33: “And what he hath seen and heard, that he testifieth; and no man receiveth his testimony.  He that hath received his testimony hath set to his seal that God is true.”  

“No man” obviously means that one receiving His testimony is not the normal, it’s not usual, it’s not the trend.  John the Baptist immediately then talks about “he that hath received his testimony.”  He says “no man” yet immediately makes it clear that there are exceptions.  

Yet the Calvinists are refuted in their claim that Jesus didn’t die for every person and doesn’t actually offer salvation to every person since many Scriptures make it clear in relation to this that the “all” and “every” person are literally speaking of each and every person.

1 Timothy 2:1-6: “I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty.  For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior; Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.  For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time.”

Rather than make an exception to the general “all” statement this Scripture repeats the “all” repeatedly and doesn’t make it an exception to it, proving that Jesus did indeed die for all men and offers salvation to all men, though not all receive Him and thus all don’t receive salvation in Him..

Revelation 22:16-19: “I Jesus have sent mine angel to testify unto you these things in the churches. I am the root and the offspring of David, and the bright and morning star.  And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.  For I testify unto every man (doubling down and proving that “whosoever” in the previous verse is really referring to every person) that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book: And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.”

Though Calvinists say that they are zealous for God’s glory and they can sound so strict sometimes, they are really against the terms and conditions to partaking in God’s covenant through Jesus Christ.  Therefore, since they want to believe that they aren’t personally responsible to be faithful to the Lord and want to believe that they are rather chosen unconditionally to salvation, yet they don’t want to resort to Universalism, they thus grab on to the doctrines of Calvinism (which they falsely label as “the doctrines of grace”).  They seek to oppose the many Biblical truths which prove that their system is in error and prove that their perceived unconditional eternal security is deceitful and unwarranted and leads to damnation.

2:22-24: Paul is still talking about Timothy.  We can also see here that Paul did not believe in the Word of Faith doctrine of positive confession.  He trusted God, but he didn’t believe that saying his outcome would be what he hoped for would make it so.  We’ll also shortly see as he talks about Epaphroditus that he did not deny the reality that Epaphroditus really had been sick near to death.  That is also a big no-no to the Word of Faith deceivers, among whom are some of the biggest deceivers in Christendom and most well known (Kenneth Copeland, Joyce Meyer, Joel Osteen, Creflo Dollar, TD Jakes, Benny Hinn etc. etc.)  And (of course) this Word of Faith stuff is inseparable from the false Prosperity Gospel of health and wealth.  

2:25: That is, he ministered to Paul’s needs.  Paul will soon testify that his needs and his wants were not significantly different from each other anyways.

2:26-27: If Epaphroditus could have just confessed that he was healthy there’d be no need to pray to God for his healing.  The Word of Faith deceivers rather essentially portray God as a slave to man’s words (which He is not and never will be).

2:28-29: Or, in high esteem.

2:30: Epaphroditus was one of those exceptional Christian ministers who did not seek his own as he served Christ and His people.  Many serve ineffectively because they let their own interests cloud their judgment about what they need to do.  Look at what Epaphroditus’ faithfulness led him to.  What Paul has already said, and especially what he will say eventually in this epistle, proves that he is not really rebuking the Philippians for their lack of service towards him (as he served Christ).  The Philippians simply lacked the means to help somehow.  Paul will make that clear soon.

3:1: Or, tedious.

3:2: Or, the mutilation.  Those who preach salvation through the Mosaic ceremonies.  The Mosaic ceremonies were never intended as a means of justification, and the faithful never intended to use them as such.  Yet certain evil false ministers of Christ then, and until today, preach the Mosaic ceremonies as a necessity even though God has cautiously released Christians from them.  That is something which we’ve talked about in more detail in many of our other studies.  

Paul essentially calls circumcision mutilation here because of the damning spiritual effects of going back to the Mosaic ceremonies after God has made it clear they should not be practiced anymore.  This is detailed in the Book of Galatians.  Many go to Galatians to make the false claim that Christians need not work righteousness through faith in Christ in order to inherit salvation in Him.  You just have to read the book, and not abuse certain verses out of context, to know that is indeed a ridiculous claim.  Circumcision represents the entire ceremonial aspect of the Law of Moses (in terms of how the term is typically used in the New Testament).  

3:3: This is a rebuke to the Judaizers who seek to bring people under bondage to the Mosaic ceremonies. They do this because they don’t have what verse three is speaking of.  And that is the very same thing which 1:9-11 and 2:12-16 of this book speak of in different words, spoken from another angle.

And by the way: I don’t recommend using the term “Judeo-Christian.”  Though it is true that Biblical Christianity is the continuation of Biblical Judaism (which is the same thing as saying that the Old Covenant led into the New Covenant), the term Judeo-Christian associates Christians with what Jews who reject Jesus Christ practice and believe now, which is more based upon the wicked Talmuds than the Hebrew Scriptures (or, the Old Testament).  

Jesus summed up the Talmuds when He told His adversaries in Mark 7:6-9: “Well hath Esaias prophesied of you hypocrites, as it is written, This people honoreth me with their lips, but their heart is far from me.  Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.  For laying aside the commandment of God, ye hold the tradition of men, as the washing of pots and cups: and many other such like things ye do.  And he said unto them, Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition.”

Wicked Jews are likened to the uncircumcised throughout the Bible, including right in the Hebrew Scriptures.

Related to that, Jeremiah 9:23-26 says: “Thus saith the Lord, Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, neither let the mighty man glory in his might, let not the rich man glory in his riches: But let him that glorieth glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth me (this implies agreement in judgment and practice), that I am the Lord which exercise lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness, in the earth: for in these things I delight, saith the Lord.  Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that I will punish all them which are circumcised with the uncircumcised; Egypt, and Judah, and Edom, and the children of Ammon, and Moab, and all that are in the utmost corners, that dwell in the wilderness: for all these nations are uncircumcised, and all the house of Israel are uncircumcised in the heart.”

3:4: Those who think they’re righteous due to their real or alleged scrupulous Judaism don’t compare to Paul.

3:5-6: Righteousness here is “dikaiosyne” in the Greek.  In other studies we’ve talked about how this word is often translated as righteousness when it would have been better to translate it as “justification” since that is what Paul meant.  Paul is not saying Christians don’t need to walk in the righteous principles of God’s Law as a guide to exercising a faith in Jesus Christ that is living.  He is rather saying that if one could possibly earn justification from the Mosaic ceremonies, he would have done that due to his scrupulousness in them.  

3:7: Yet he didn’t earn justification by the Mosaic rituals since God never intended them to be used that way.  Paul abandoned his hope in being justified in that manner when He came to Christ.  The Mosaic rituals, taken properly as God intended them, are actually a schoolmaster to Jesus Christ.

3:8-9: Righteousness in both instances in verse 9 is again dikaiosyne; a reference to justification.  The quest to be justified by the Mosaic ceremonies was a common error among carnal  Jews which Paul had previously adopted as his own mindset.  He therefore calls this quest “his own justification.”  In actually heeding the Law and coming to Jesus Christ, he actually obtained the justification which he had so earnestly sought beforehand.

Similarly, in the commonly misunderstood passage we’re about to look at, echoing the same thing Paul is saying in Philippians chapter 3 (Paul of course wrote Romans too), “righteousness” could have and should have been translated as “justification.”  Each instance of the word “righteousness” in the following passage is dikaiosyne in Greek.

Romans 9:30-10:4: “What shall we say then?  That the Gentiles, which followed not after righteousness (justification), have attained to righteousness (justification), even the righteousness which is of faith.  But Israel, which followed after the law of righteousness (justification), hath not attained to the law of righteousness (justification).  Wherefore?  Because they sought it not by faith, but as it were by the works of the law (the actual justification that the law pointed to is the justification in Jesus Christ; but since they were using the law itself as an attempted means of justification they were failing to obtain justification).  For they stumbled at that stumblingstone; As it is written, Behold, I lay in Sion a stumblingstone and rock of offence: and whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.  Brethren, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that they might be saved.  For I bear them record that they have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge (since they were misusing His Law).  For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness (justification), and going about to establish their own righteousness (justification), have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness (justification) of God.  For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness (justification) to every one that believeth.”

3:10: The way of justification in Jesus Christ requires actually dealing with God, taking up one’s cross in submitting to His rightful claim of authority over one’s life, and inevitably suffering for truth accordingly in that death to self.  Paul gloried in Christ’s cross because of the experiential knowledge of Christ and resurrection power of Christ which embracing it and holding onto it brought him to.

Galatians 6:12-16 is dealing with the same thing.  And Paul is speaking in the exact same context too.  

Galatians 6:12-16: “As many as desire to make a fair shew in the flesh, they constrain you to be circumcised; only lest they should suffer persecution for the cross of Christ.  For neither they themselves who are circumcised keep the law; but desire to have you circumcised, that they may glory in your flesh.  But God forbid that I should glory, save in (except in) the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world.  For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature.  And as many as walk according to this rule, peace be on them, and mercy, and upon the Israel of God.”

Consider too here the confusion which is caused, and the evil which is implicitly endorsed, when professing Christians support modern Israel- as if Jews who reject Jesus Christ are God’s people.  That is a serious error which we have many other studies about.

3:11: He obviously means a resurrection to the fullness of life in God’s presence in Christ’s eternal kingdom rather than a resurrection to the second death in the lake of fire for enemies of God who are enemies of Christ’s cross and do not partake in His justification.

Revelation 2:10-11 (Jesus is speaking to faithful Christians): “Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer: behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried; and ye shall have tribulation ten days: be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life.  He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; He that overcometh shall not be hurt of the second death.”

3:12-14: Or, he presses toward the goal.  

The Lord is after subjects for His eternal kingdom who on earth obtained His justification and proved themselves fitting subjects for that kingdom on the trial ground which is this world in this present age.

Remember 1 Peter 5:8-11 here: “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: Whom resist steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world.  But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while (he’s talking about suffering a while in obedience to Jesus Christ’s authority through His Word), make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you.  To him be glory and dominion for ever and ever.  Amen.”

3:15: God will reveal what is off in the heart of those that are running well on the right track they hadn’t been conscious of.  He will reveal this in due time as they walk in the light of His Word in the things which they are conscious of.

3:16: There is no such thing then as some higher form of Christianity where all the rules and proper disciplines disappear, and some previously secret alleged knowledge comes to rule instead.  This rebukes Gnosticism, as the Gnostics tried to seduce Christians by such claims.  There are various forms of this still being spread today.

3:17-19: When you find someone who is really being faithful to the Lord, one whose deeds and overall character testify that they are really walking straight in the Lord, don’t lightly esteem them.  Many, and Paul especially means many alleged Christian teachers and other allegedly spiritual Christians are not actually so- and they deceive many and lead many astray who had begun right in Christ.  And they turn people away from the narrow gate that leads to life in Jesus Christ who were perhaps close to finding it.

3:20: Conversation here means citizenship.  And the Bible doesn’t teach that you can’t be a citizen of a nation on earth and a citizen of heaven at the same time.  Paul is saying that the righteousness of heaven, and the hope of being fit to enter there, guides those who are truly faithful Christians here and now as opposed to their own appetites and earthly interests and prospects guiding them.  The people who call themselves sovereign citizens and refuse to recognize governmental authority of any kind display characteristics of the enemies of the cross of Christ- and even epitomize those bad characteristics in several ways.

3:21: This is referring to those who adopt, and endure in, the Christian mindset and goal which Paul has been describing.

4:1-2: This is as close to a rebuke that Paul gives towards any of the Philippians.  And yet, Euodias and Syntyche were overall faithful, godly women.  Some personal disagreement had arisen between them which perhaps one or both thought to matter a lot more than it actually did.  Paul’s use of the phrase “in the Lord” is obviously given as a line to judge whether the disagreement is even important.  The same phrase is used by the Apostles in relation to submission to various authority figures.  If a command seems unreasonable or foolish, the main issue is whether it can be followed in the Lord.  If it can be followed in the Lord, there is no point contending with it.

4:3: Paul forbids women from leading in the church, teaching in the church, and generally leading men spiritually.  That’s the Apostolic mindset.  And yet, he had much use for women in help with ministry.  Those who think that women have no place at all in Christianity except to be wives and mothers who do virtually nothing but clean and care for children are out of line with authentic Christianity- perhaps nearly or altogether as much out of line as many feminists.

4:4-5: This is the same Apostle who warned the Thessalonians to not be troubled nor shaken in mind to think that the day of the Lord was at hand (see 2 Thessalonians 2:2).  Is this a contradiction?  It’s not.  Christ’s eventual coming is guaranteed.  Life should be lived in light of that day.  That is what Paul is dealing with here.  Christians should not be anxious about reports that the day of Christ is about to happen.  And that is what Paul is dealing with in 2 Thessalonians chapter two.

4:6: Christians shouldn’t be anxious or troubled with care, echoing what Paul had said in 2 Thessalonians 2:2. 

4:7: The peace passes all understanding because man cannot fathom how one could be at peace in certain instances.  Remember Jesus in the Gospels telling His disciples that the peace which He gives is not as the world gives.

1 Peter 5:6-7: “Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time: Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.”

4:8: Paul is implying to think on things which fit each one of these descriptions.  It is too easy to be consumed by negative thinking, especially since negative things must be acknowledged and must often be dealt with in order for one to be a faithful Christian.  Don’t think that we should fix our minds on something continually just because it is true.

4:9: And we have the Apostle Paul and other faithful people in the Bible to learn from even if we have not known any wholehearted faithful Christians personally.  We should test the lives of the professing Christians we do know by the faithful people in the Bible.  We are given much testimony from Paul in the Bible and many events from his life to consider.

4:10: Going back to the end of chapter two, proving that what is said about the Philippians’ lack of service there isn’t really a rebuke.

4:11-13: Note the context of “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.”  It has to do with handling any situation one is found in righteously with a good attitude.  It is not saying that a person can achieve anything and everything by praying to Christ.

4:14: Paul wisely showed gratitude to the Philippians for their gift.  He also let them know for their sakes that he could have made it without it.  It was good that they know this because they might find themselves in want.  They should know that they can handle such a time righteously and with a good attitude through Christ’s strength.

4:15: The beginning of the Gospel in relation to them.  Paul is practicing what he has been preaching by considering the perspective of others in the word choices he makes.

4:16-17: Remember again 1:9-11 and 2:12-16 of this book and remember the sheep and the goats in Matthew 25:31-46.  Paul surely would have grieved for their sakes if they hadn’t cared for him in his affliction due to the bad consequences it would mean for them.

4:18: Consider here Isaiah 64:6: “But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.”

Paul’s words in verse 18 rebuke many, in evangelical Christianity even, who try to apply Isaiah 64:6 to everyone and they don’t rather to those living in sin who try to be religious and do good things in their sin (which is who it is said about in its context).  

Paul’s words in verse in 18 prove that it is not appropriate to apply Isaiah 64:6 to faithful Christians.  By the grace of God, we can live above that rebuke in Isaiah 64:6.

4:19-20: Matthew 6:24-33 is a fitting cross reference here.

4:21-23: And who would have thought that there’d be hope for anyone in Caesar’s household?  Yet since the Gospel of Christ is true, it is rooted in facts, and the power of God is behind it, especially when it is proclaimed by a preacher who is faithful in God’s eyes, it can potentially prevail anywhere.  

Philippi itself was a Roman colony which did not have a Jewish synagogue- unlike most of the other places where the Apostles founded churches in the first century.  In reading about the Gospel coming to Phillippi at first in Acts chapter 16, you can sense the time, effort, and meticulousness which was required to bring people to Christ and to establish a solid church there.  The evangelists now who come to town, make an altar call, and then leave, thinking that their work is actually going to be found to be of eternal value on Judgment Day, are surely not wise (to say the least).

Aaron’s email is: [email protected]