Philippians 1

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Paul and Timothy, bond-servants of Christ Jesus,
To all the saints in Christ Jesus who are in Philippi, including the overseers and deacons: [2] Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

[3] I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, [4] always offering prayer with joy in my every prayer for you all, [5] in view of your participation in the gospel from the first day until now. [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. [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. [8] For God is my witness, how I long for you all with the affection of Christ Jesus. [9] And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in real knowledge and all discernment, [10] so that you may approve the things that are excellent, in order to be sincere and blameless until the day of Christ; [11] having been filled with the fruit of righteousness which comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.

[12] Now I want you to know, brethren, that my circumstances have turned out for the greater progress of the gospel, [13] so that my imprisonment in the cause of Christ has become well known throughout the whole praetorian guard and to everyone else, [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. [15] Some, to be sure, are preaching Christ even from envy and strife, but some also from good will; [16] the latter do it out of love, knowing that I am appointed for the defense of the gospel; [17] the former proclaim Christ out of selfish ambition rather than from pure motives, thinking to cause me distress in my imprisonment. [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, [19] for I know that this will turn out for my deliverance through your prayers and the provision of the Spirit of Jesus Christ, [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.

[21] For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. [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. [23] But I am hard-pressed from both directions, having the desire to depart and be with Christ, for that is very much better; [24] yet to remain on in the flesh is more necessary for your sake. [25] Convinced of this, I know that I will remain and continue with you all for your progress and joy in the faith, [26] so that your proud confidence in me may abound in Christ Jesus through my coming to you again.
[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; [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. [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, [30] experiencing the same conflict which you saw in me, and now hear to be in me.

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Verses with red numbers ( [9] ) are referenced in one or more comments. Of course multiple comments are encouraged; thanks for sharing your insights, thoughts and questions!


12 Replies to “Philippians 1”

  1. Phil

    Sunday –

    When I was in college the singing groups I toured with stayed in homes each night. I kept the cost of the tours down, enabling smaller churches to host the groups, and it broadened our ministry horizons as students. We had thank you notes we left in our rooms when we left the next morning, and I began putting Phil. 1.9-11 next to my signature. It’s a very affirming prayer, one I’ve prayed for people I know, for decades now, I guess.

    This I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in real knowledge and all discernment, so that you may approve the things that are excellent, in order to be sincere and blameless until the day of Christ; having been filled with the fruit of righteousness which comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.

    What a wonderful thing to have someone who KNOWS me pray those things on my behalf. I’ve prayed them for myself as well. Love that abounds. Knowlede and discernment. Able to approve the excellent things on the way to sincerity and right living, filled with righteousness, the fruit that comes through Jesus Christ, and God receives the glory!

    What a wonderful prayer!
    Phil—

  2. Jonell

    Sunday –

    [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.

    I have a devotional book where this verse was written on the cover along the lines of, “He who began a good work within you will finish it BY the day of Christ Jesus.” I’m not sure it’s actually a translation, but I liked the way it was portrayed. God knows when He will return and He’ll have us all completed by that time. That thought keeps me striving to be all God wants me to be today. Also reminds me of the crock-pot Phil was talking about. The “dish” that’s you and me, will be done/perfect BY the day of Christ Jesus.

    Along another line of thought I had at 5 AM this morning … not everything we put into a crock-pot is something that we want to eat before it is cooked all the way through. Raw steak cubes, flour, salt, pepper, raw onion slices, and cold mushroom soup straight out of the can were the ingredients that I put together in the crock-pot this morning for Sunday dinner. I wasn’t ready to eat it before it cooked, but by the time church was done, it was boiling and had cooked together to become a very tasty, creamy Swiss Steak dish.

    I believe it is the same in our lives. Not everything God brings into our lives will be pleasurable or tasty on its own, but if we let God do His work in our lives, the trials He brings our way can become “a work of art” in HIS eyes, that He is pleased with by the day of Christ Jesus.

    Jonell

  3. Phil

    Sunday night –

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

    I have a note in my Bible next to this verse: Lord, please let this be true of us! May 17, 2005.

    “Lord, please let this be true of us!” was and is a sincere, urgent, from-the-depths prayer. After months of intense work on several fronts, having lost nearly everything, I was able to see hope enough in the apostle Paul’s sentiments that day to make them my own. Today I looked back at the growth since writing that note, stopped in my tracks and thanked God for all He’s done already. Seeing what He’s done fortifies my hope in what I’m asking Him to do now. Grace is a wonderful thing and God is its author!

    If you’re wondering, “Can He?” go up and review verse six again.
    If He started the work, He’ll finish it, you can count on that.
    God is as able as He has ever been to take what seems horribly wrong right now and turn it for the greater progress of the gospel. God can be trusted! Absolutely!

    Phil—

  4. Phil

    Monday –

    It’s difficult for me to imagine Paul not getting all excited about the injustices and inappropriate way things were happening all around him in the fledgling church. Maybe being in prison made it “easier” to realize he didn’t have control of the situation, I don’t know. But I’m thinking on verses 15 through 18 today:

    [15] Some, to be sure, are preaching Christ even from envy and strife, but some also from good will; [16] the latter do it out of love, knowing that I am appointed for the defense of the gospel; [17] the former proclaim Christ out of selfish ambition rather than from pure motives, thinking to cause me distress in my imprisonment. [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…

    Paul? The exact one? (my term, no one else’s) able to rejoice even when Christ is preached from selfish ambition?! You’ve got to be kidding.

    No, it’s real. “Only that in every way, whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is proclaimed.” Amazing self-control! (or is that control of self?)

    It’s easy for me to get worked up about things I see as improprieties in the organized church. At times in my life I probably should have yanked James 3.10 out of context and made it my motto. “My brethren, these things ought not to be this way!” Not Paul. He was able to surrender the situation to One bigger than himself and relax, even rejoice.

    Lord, I want to be that way with the things I have no control over in my life, and the things I think maybe I do control. Let me rejoice in the way Paul did, that Your name is proclaimed!

    Phil—

  5. rindy

    Tuesday –

    The comments are awesome! I love the slow cooker analogy–perfect.

    v.9-11 wow, I want to pray this for my kids every day.
    NLT: …I pray that your love will overflow more and more, and that you will keep on growing in knowledge and understanding. For I want you to understand what really matters…

    v. 6 NLT: And I am CERTAIN that God, who began the good work within you…
    The Message: There has NEVER BEEN THE SLIGHTEST DOUBT IN MY MIND that the God who started this great work in you would keep at it and bring it to a FLOURISHING FINISH…
    -if that’s not confidence, then I don’t know what is!!

    and one more that really hits where I’m at now and I “get it”!
    v.29 NLT: For you have been given not only the privilege of trusting in Christ but also the privilege of suffering for him.
    The Message: There’s far more to this life than trusting in Christ. There’s also suffering for him. And the suffering is as much a gift as the trusting.

    Have an awesome day! I know I will….snow day (no work)!! Woo Hoo!!!

  6. Phil

    Tuesday –

    Good morning,

    So true, Rindy, and I think you could probably borrow Paul’s words in 25 & 26 without much trouble, “I will remain and continue with you all for your progress and joy in the faith, so that your proud confidence in me may abound in Christ Jesus”.

    Jonell, I like your thoughts related to 1.6 about not everything going into the slo-cooker smelling or tasting good, but God works to transform those things in our lives. It reminds me of Romans 8.28 and Philippians 2.13 (next week’s chapter) It is God who is at work in you both to will and to work for His good pleasure.

    The kitchen smells good, doesn’t it? 😀

  7. Phil

    Tuesday –

    I’m thinking about “adverse circumstances” this morning, prompted by something Warren Wiersbe said in his little book “Be Joyful”;
    It’s thoughts and insights on Philippians. My copy is dated 1974, ISBN 0-88207-705-8.

    In his thoughts about Paul’s circumstances (1.12-14) He wrote –

    Paul’s desire as a missionary was to preach the Gospel in Rome. Paul wanted to go to Rome as a preacher, but instead he went as a prisoner!
    (I -Phil- would have gone into great detail about how that happened, thinking you’d surely be interested; Paul condensed it all into two words, “my circumstances”)
    He was delayed two years in Caesarea…when he finally appealed to Caesar he was sent to Rome. En route the ship was wrecked! – three months of waiting on the Island of Malta.

    * The same God who used Moses’ rod, Gideon’s pitchers, and David’s sling used Paul’s chains.
    * Paul did not complain about his chains; instead he consecrated them to God and asked God to use them for the pioneer advance of the Gospel, and God answered his prayers.
    * His chains gave Paul contact with the lost. The shifts changed every six hours which meant Paul could witness to at least four men each day!
    * Sometimes God has to put “chains” on His people to get them to accomplish a “pioneer advance” that could never happen any other way.

    Here’s my favorite thought for the day (from p. 34)
    I need to look upon my circumstances as God-given opportunities for the furtherance of the Gospel and rejoice at what God is going to do instead of complaining about what God did not do. Watching how I respond to my circumstances may (should) give fresh courage to others when they see my faith and determination.

    My chains may not be as dramatic or difficult, but there’s no reason why God cannot use them in the same way.

    Food for thought, hmm? Thanks Dr. Wiersbe!

    Phil—

  8. Phil

    Wednesday –

    It’s been an interesting trip this morning. I awoke with the word “bondservant” in mind, Paul uses the term in his greeting.

    I’ve heard it taught, maybe you have too, that the classification “bondservant” had special significance when Paul penned these words.
    * That there were limitations on how long a person could serve the same master as a slave
    * That he or she was required by law to be set free after a certain number of years
    * That if the slave determined it would be better to serve this master than to be freed, to risk serving another less benevolent, etc. the slave could say “I love my master. I will not go out free.”
    * That upon hearing the servant’s declaration (the master must have felt a deep sense of gratitude upon hearing those words – can you imagine?!) the master would lead the slave turned servant to the door of the house. The servant would stand so the owner could pierce his ear with an awl, and from that day forward the servant served his or her master, because of love.

    “I love my master. I will not go out free.”

    I wanted to find that description in someone else’s words somewhere on the web so did a bit of searching. I found the term used a couple of times, one of which was the beginning of an article I’ll soon link to in a regular post. On that site was the video clip I wrote about in “Thinking About the Return on My Investment”. It took a little while. But now I’m back where I started, thinking “bondservant” again.

    I too love my Master. I have served him for a long time and He is as faithful and loving as He says. He has demonstrated His character, his kindness and unfailing love time and time again, even when I fail and grieve Him. He is faithful, just, forgiving, and has only my best interest in mind as I serve Him. Because He has proven He is more powerful than sin, death and hell by raising His only Son from the dead and given His Spirit to help me live for Him, I’m confident that serving Him is THE best thing I can do, both now and for eternity.

    I love my Master. I will not go out free.

    My love for Him is a response to His immeasurable love for me. At this point in my sojourn I want my love for Him to be the most powerful motivator in my life, such that I serve Him faithfully> I want there to be long spans of time between my need to apologize to Him for letting Him down or missing the mark in some way. Drawing from His bountiful supply for me day by day (hour by hour when life gets rocky) I’m confident He will live through me in ways that surprise even me.

    I will stay, dwell, serve, and enjoy Him. I can’t imagine doing anything else anywhere else!

    I love my Master. I will not go out free.

    Phil—

  9. Phil

    Thursday –

    [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; [28] in no way alarmed by your opponents…

    I can live this way when I draw everything I need from God and trust Him with the size, timing and nature of the fruit (John 15, Gal. 5.16, 22-26). It takes work, occasional pruning and constant correction but it’s worth it. Like adding coolant today on the way to work- the dash light came on and within minutes I’d taken care of it. I’d rather by things like coolant and oil on short notice than sit in the waiting room at the shop and wait to write a much larger check. My bosses on the farm always said “Oil is cheaper than parts”. It’s like Jared walking in to tell me last night “I just unplugged the TV in my room – It’s too easy to stare at that square and do nothing.”

    So whether our mentors and heroes in the faith are here in person or checking in on us from a couple time zones over, we should see to it that we are always
    * standing firm in one spirit. March Madness is a great illustration of that concept – watch for it.
    * with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel. “One mind” can be elusive in the church – so many agendas and priorities, most of them man-made. It’s what Paul tells them, though —and us— one mind. Striving TOGETHER for the faith of the gospel.
    * in no way alarmed by your opponents. (Compare with 2 Tim 1.7) I heard some time ago of an associate pastor at Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship (Tony Evans) who enjoyed sitting down at the beginning of their staff meeting with “OK! What can we do to make Hell look bad?!” It’s taking the offensive, the initiative in spiritual warfare.

    I’m in. How ’bout you?
    Phil—

  10. Jonell

    [21] For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. [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. [23] But I am hard-pressed from both directions, having the desire to depart and be with Christ, for that is very much better . . .

    This reminds me of when my Dad was sick with a brain tumor and at the time we had no idea that he only had 1 month before he would step into glory. We thought he had about 6 months left. As you can imagine, this was a very emotional time for our family, especially since Dad and Mom lived in the southwest and all three of us kids lived in the northeast part of the US. One evening, I was talking on the phone with my sister in law, who is an RN. She and I are very close; She can give me medical information and I understand it. We were talking about my Dad and the brain tumor. She said, “When your Dad goes to heaven, I’ll be jealous.” I’d never even thought in that vein before, and I started to cry. When I didn’t reply, she asked, “Are you okay?” I whispered, “I think so!”

    However, she made me think that night . . . and many days after . . . about heaven and how I should long to go there. I grew up with my Dad singing “This world is not my home, I’m just passing through. My treasures are laid up somewhere beyond the blue. The angels beckon me from Heaven’s open door and I can’t feel at home in this world anymore. Chorus: O Lord you know I have no friend like you. If Heaven’s not my home, then Lord what will I do? The angels beckon me from Heaven’s open door and I can’t feel at home in this world anymore.” So why did it take me so long for my eyes to look heavenward and know in my heart that this world is not my home? I’ve changed a lot since my Dad died in 2002. Maybe more of a change on the inside, you know, what I think about and pray about, etc.

    Let’s all keep looking for that blessed hope! Titus 2:13

    ~ Jonell

  11. Phil

    Friday –

    I’m revisiting verse 1 today –
    [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.

    The word that’s standing out today is short. Just two letters. But thinking about it brings me hope, confidence, resolve and a willingness to wait.

    The word: He
    God
    Creator
    Sustainer
    Redeemer
    Friend
    Judge
    Holy One
    Forgiver
    Loving – Giving
    Righteous
    Perfect
    Timeless
    … it’s an endless list.

    HE began this work in me
    HE will perfect it (bring it to maturity)
    HE will not lose sight of it, because He has a completion day in mind.

    That being true, what remains for me to do?
    Trust Him – take Him at His word
    Obey Him – live in compliance with the directives He’s given. He calls me His friend if I do. (John 14.15, 15.14)

    That takes so much pressure off, you know?
    There’s a parallel in the Old Testament, Psalms 127.1-2 (This is the NASB)
    Unless the Lord builds the house, they labor in vain who build it.
    Unless the Lord watches over the city, the watchmen keeps awake in vain.
    In vain you rise early, to retire late, to eat the bread of painful labors;
    For He gives to his beloved even in his sleep.

    So let me get this right:
    God started this work in me.
    He’s going to finish it.
    My focus is to obey Him – living obediently; as I do He calls me “friend” and gives to me / provides for me even while I’m fast asleep.
    He’s the one who will bring it to maturity – to perfection.
    Mine will be -IS- the honor of recognizing His work in my life and giving Him the honor.

    He. What a profound word! What an awesome, remarkable GOD!

    Phil—

  12. Phil

    Saturday –

    Just thinking out loud, OK, in print…

    This phrase caught my attention this week:
    …most of the brethren, trusting in the Lord because of my imprisonment, have far more courage to speak the word of God without fear.

    I’ve been mulling it over.
    Paul is in prison, there because he’s been vocal about the claims of Christ in a governmental system that wouldn’t stand for it. This wasn’t the first time. Happened more than once, maybe the most familiar was in Philippi, when they were told straight-out. Hush about this Jesus person, or else. They didn’t, and endured the or-else. At midnight the earthquake hit the prison where he and Silas were singing (I think not-loudly, just for themselves, to comfort and encourage the two of them – my opinion), the doors all opened, and the jailer and his family ended up trusting Christ. I wonder if the people in this church he’s writing to know the family? I’d like to think maybe they do – that he’s head usher or something. Maybe in charge of church security. 😉

    Anyway, Paul says most of the brethren, trusting in the Lord BECAUSE of Paul’s imprisonment find themselves more courageous. They’re speaking the word of God without fear.

    I wonder if the things I go through give other people courage? Give them the ability somehow to take a breath and speak truth with a little more confidence? I wonder if there’s a hint of “if he can, then certainly I can too” anywhere? I hope so. Paul knew so. He said they have FAR more courage (caps are mine).

    A century and a half ago Robert Ingersoll said “In twenty-five years, the Bible will be a forgotten book.”

    A hundred years before him, Voltair reportedly said “Another century and there swill not be a Bible on earth.”

    Would it be safe to conclude that adversity and hard times have just the opposite effect on followers of Christ than one would think at first?

    Something to think about. Something to remember when life turns upside down on you and you find you’re rather unpopular for your beliefs. Someone else may be watching you, take a breath and speak more boldly as a result.

    I intend to remind myself, next time it happens –
    [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,
    How I regard my difficulty, how I respond, MAY help others, MAY fortify their strength and witness!

    Selah—
    Phil—

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