1 Therefore, my brethren, whom I love and for whom I long, my joy and crown: stand firm in the Lord, beloved.
Counsels and Thanksgiving
Christian Concord.[a] 2 I exhort both Euodia and Syntyche to come to a mutual understanding in the Lord. 3 I also ask you, my loyal companion Syzygus, to help these women, for they have struggled alongside me in the work of the gospel, together with Clement and the rest of my fellow workers, whose names are in the book of life.
Rejoice without Ceasing.[b] 4 Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I say: Rejoice! 5 Let your kindness be known to everyone. The Lord is near. 6 Do not worry about anything, but present your needs to God in prayer and petition, with thanksgiving. 7 Then the peace of God, which is beyond all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
All That Is Truly Human Is Christian.[c] 8 Finally, brethren, let your minds be filled with whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is pleasing, whatever is commendable, whatever is excellent, whatever is worthy of praise. 9 Do the things that you have learned, received, and heard from me and that you saw me doing. Then the God of peace will be with you.
Acknowledgment of the Community’s Gift[d]
10 Contentment in Any Circumstances. I rejoice greatly in the Lord that now at last you have renewed your concern for me. You were, of course, concerned about me, but you had no opportunity to show it. 11 I do not say this because I have been in need, for I have learned to be content with whatever I have.
12 I know how to live with little, and I know how to live with plenty. In any and all circumstances, I have learned the secret of being well fed and of going hungry, of having plenty and of being in need. 13 I can do all things in him who strengthens me.
14 Philippian Generosity. Even so, it was kind of you to share my difficulties. 15 You Philippians are aware that in the early days of the gospel[e] when I set out from Macedonia, not a single Church other than yours shared with me in giving and receiving. 16 Even when I was in Thessalonica, you sent me something for my needs on more than one occasion.
17 Do not think that it is the gift that I value most. What I desire is for the interest to mount up in your account. 18 I have been paid in full and have more than enough. I am satisfied now that I have received from Epaphroditus the gifts you sent. They are a fragrant offering, an acceptable sacrifice pleasing to God.[f] 19 And my God will fully supply all your needs out of the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.
20 Doxology. To our God and Father be glory forever and ever. Amen.
21 Final Greetings.[g] Give my greetings to every one of the saints in Christ Jesus. The brethren who are with me send their greetings to you, 22 as do all the saints here, especially those in the emperor’s service.
23 Benediction.[h] The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit.
- Philippians 4:2 Lines of communication are established in all the new communities, and women play an important role in their life and apostolate. Doubtless, members at times experience the difficulty of living and working together, as is the case between Euodia and Syntyche. Paul is confident that these two good women will be reconciled to one another. Clement: it is possible, but not certain, that this is Clement, the first Roman Pope. Book of life: an image current at the time to evoke the collectivity of the saved (see Ex 32:32; Ps 69:29; Isa 4:3; Dan 12:1; Rev 3:5).
- Philippians 4:4 Joy is the great secret of Christians, the sign that faith has triumphed over all fears, the normal fruit of a spiritual life that progresses. The peace of God is more profound than any kind of peace that the human spirit can attain solely by its own effort.
- Philippians 4:8 Radically detached from earthly goods, a purified heart is able to recognize the gifts of Christ through all human values. In these verses, Etienne Gilson saw “the eternal charter of Christian humanism.”
- Philippians 4:10 Even when in need, Paul did not want to depend on the communities for material help (see 1 Cor 9:14, 18; 2 Cor 11:7-10; 12:13-18; 1 Thes 2:5-9; 2 Thes 3:7-9), and he made no exception except for the Christians of Philippi with whom he had especially cordial ties. Like a true poor person, he remains free in any situation, enriched or deprived, ready to accept whatever will come—for the important thing is to serve the Gospel.
- Philippians 4:15 Early days of the gospel: during Paul’s second missionary journey, when he first preached the Gospel in Europe at Philippi (Acts 16:9ff).
- Philippians 4:18 A fragrant offering, an acceptable sacrifice pleasing to God: Paul sees the Philippians’ gift to him in terms of the Old Testament sacrifice of thanksgiving and praise (see Lev 7:12-15; Rom 12:1; Eph 5:2; Heb 13:15f).
- Philippians 4:21 Paul mentions especially those who in some way ensure the service of the emperor: dignitaries and soldiers, freedmen or slaves. Hence, Christians are also part of these circles.
- Philippians 4:23 Paul adds a typical closing benediction. Your spirit: i.e., the whole person viewed from his inner side (see Gal 6:18; 2 Tim 4:22; Philem 25).