Biblical Commentary
(Bible study)

Philippians 1:3-11



Philippi was a city in Macedonia (northern Greece). While the apostle Paul was in Asia Minor (modern Turkey) on his Second Missionary Journey in 49-50 A.D., he had a vision of a man pleading, “Come over into Macedonia and help us” (Acts 16:9). Convinced that this was a God-given vision, Paul and his companions set sail for Macedonia and settled in Philippi, where they started a church, beginning with the conversion of Lydia (Acts 16:11-15).

While in Philippi, Paul and Silas met a slave-girl whose ability to tell fortunes brought her owners a good income. Paul cast out the spirit that made it possible for her to tell fortunes. The girl’s owners responded by bringing charges against Paul and Silas. They didn’t charge them with ruining their fortune teller, but instead charged them with creating a disturbance and setting “customs which it is not lawful for us to accept or to observe, being Romans” (Acts 16:21).

The authorities arrested Paul and Silas, beat and imprisoned them. However, that night an earthquake opened the prison doors and unfastened the prisoners’ chains. The jailer, assuming that the prisoners had escaped, was prepared to commit suicide rather than facing charges. However, Paul shouted, reassuring him that all the prisoners were present and accounted for. Paul then converted the jailer and his family to believe in Christ (Acts 16:25-34). The next morning, Paul revealed his Roman citizenship and charged the magistrates with unlawfully beating a Roman citizen who had not yet been found guilty of any charges. After receiving the magistrates’ apologies, they left the prison, visited Lydia’s home, and left Philippi to go to Thessalonica, a Greek city southwest of Philippi.

In his letter to the Philippians, Paul mentions that he is in prison as he writes this letter (1:7, 13-14, 17). We don’t know which imprisonment this was. Paul was imprisoned in Caesarea for two years (c. 58-60 A.D.—Acts 23:23ff.)—and in Rome for another two years (c. 60-62 A.D.—Acts 28:11ff.). On another occasion, he faced a death sentence in Asia, probably in Ephesus (2 Corinthians 1:9; Acts 19:23ff.). While we think that Paul sent this letter from Rome, we can’t be sure of that.

Paul acknowledges with gratitude that the Philippian church sent Epaphroditus bearing gifts for Paul in his imprisonment (2:25; 4:18). Paul informs them that Epaphroditus became seriously ill during his visit with Paul. After Epaphroditus recovered, Paul sent him back to Philippi with this letter. He also spoke of the possibility of sending Timothy to Philippi at some point in the future (2:19).

Verses 1-2 of chapter 1 constitute a salutation from “Paul and Timothy, servants of Jesus Christ; To all the saints in Christ Jesus who are at Philippi, with the overseers and servants: Grace to you, and peace from God, our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ.”


3 I thank my God whenever I remember you, 4always (Greek: pantote) in every request of mine on behalf of you all making my requests with joy, 5for your partnership (koinonia) in furtherance of the Good News from the first day until now; 6being confident of this very thing, that he who began a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ. 7It is even right for me to think (phronein) this way on behalf of all of you, because I have you in my heart, because, both in my bonds and in the defense and confirmation of the Good News, you all are partakers (sunkoinonous)with me of grace (tes charitos). 8For God is my witness, how I long after all of you in the tender mercies (splanchnois) of Christ Jesus.

“I thank my God whenever I remember you (v. 3). In the standard letter-form of the day, good wishes for the recipient’s health would follow the salutation. In Paul’s letters, he typically inserts a thanksgiving instead of wishes for good health.

There is a question about the translation of this verse. It could mean either “I thank my God whenever I remember you” or “I thank my God because of your every remembrance” (Fee). While either option would make sense, most scholars favor the first option—”I thank my God whenever I remember you.”

Paul remembers the Philippian Christians with thanksgiving. However, there were problems in the Philippian church—serious problems. Later in this letter, Paul will admonish the Philippians to “beware of the evil workers, beware of the false circumcision” (3:2). Some Philippians were living “as enemies of the cross of Christ”— whose god was their belly—whose minds were set on earthly things (3:18-19). Conflict between Euodia and Syntyche needed resolution (4:2). Paul is aware of these problems.

Nevertheless, Paul remembers the Philippian Christians with thanksgiving. While he acknowledges their problems and admonishes them to correct them, he focuses on the positive rather than the negative. In doing so, he provides us with an excellent model for relating to churches today. Every congregation has problems, and every pastor is tempted to allow those problems to discourage him/her. Paul’s example leads us to acknowledge the problems but to live in faith that Christ can help us to overcome them.

“always (pantote) in every request of mine on behalf of you all making my requests with joy (v. 4). Paul not only prays for the Philippians, but he does so always and with joy. The Greek word pantote doesn’t mean that Paul spends every waking hour praying with joy for the Philippian Christians, but rather that such prayers are a regular part of his prayer life.

This is the first of five occurrences of the word “joy” in this letter (1:25; 2:2; 2:29; 4:1)—and there are a number of references to “rejoicing” as well (1:18; 2:17-18, 28; 3:1; 4:4, 10). Joy is a common theme in both Old and New Testaments. People gave thanks because they experienced salvation at God’s hands (Isaiah 25:9). They rejoiced in God’s steadfast love (Psalm 90:14) or God’s presence (Psalm 16:9-11). The birth of the Savior was an occasion for joy (Luke 2:10-11). Just as an ordinary person might rejoice at the recovery of a lost sheep or coin or son, so also “there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents, than over ninety-nine righteous people who need no repentance”(Luke 15:7).

Paul prays with joy “on behalf of all of you.” Is that really possible? Doesn’t it seem likely that Paul would pray with joy for most of the Philippian Christians but have unhappy memories of others? Isn’t that our usual experience in the church? One of my professors once said with a twinkle in his eye, “There are some funerals you don’t mind having”—his way of acknowledging that some church members can be very troublesome.

But while Paul knows about problem people in the Philippian church, he is nevertheless able to pray with joy for all of them. We might not always succeed in following his example perfectly, but we would do well to keep it in mind and to ask God for grace to be thankful for all our fellow Christians.

“for your partnership (koinonia) in furtherance of the Good News from the first day until now (v. 5). Many people today are familiar with the word koinonia. We talk about koinonia groups—and koinonia camps—and koinonia homes—and koinonia family services. Seattle even boasts a Cafe Koinonia restaurant.

Most people are rather vague about the meaning of koinonia, but they tend to associate it with some sort of fellowship. When Christians talk about koinonia groups, they usually mean small groups that meet regularly for study and sharing—groups where people form tight bonds with each other—groups where the sharing of faith by individuals strengthens each member’s faith. That is a good use of the word koinonia.

The Greek word koinonia has a number of meanings: Fellowship, participation, sharing, or contribution.

• Luke (the author of Acts) uses it to speak of the fellowship that members of the church have with one another: “They continued steadfastly in the apostles’ teaching and koinonia (fellowship or sharing), in the breaking of bread, and prayer” (Acts 2:42).

• Paul uses it to speak of the pillars of the church giving Paul and Barnabas “the right hand of koinonia (fellowship)” (Galatians 2:9).

• Paul uses it to speak of the fellowship that Christians enjoy with Christ: “God is faithful, through whom you were called into the koinonia (fellowship) of his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord” (1 Corinthians 1:9).

• He also uses it to speak of the koinonia (fellowship) that we enjoy with the Holy Spirit (2 Corinthians 13:13).

• John warns that those who believe that they have koinonia (fellowship) with God—but who nevertheless walk in darkness—”lie and don’t tell the truth” (1 John 1:6).”But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have koinonia (fellowship) with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ, his Son, cleanses us from all sin” (1 John 1:7).

• Paul says of the Lord’s Supper, “The cup of blessing which we bless, isn’t it a koinonia (sharing or participation) of the blood of Christ?” (1 Corinthians 10:16).

• Paul uses the word to speak of an offering to help other Christians: “Macedonia and Achaia were pleased to make a koinonian (offering or contribution) for the poor among the saints” (Romans 15:26—my translation. See also 2 Corinthians 9:13). Used in this way, koinonia emphasizes that those giving the offering are sharing with the poor rather than just contributing to their welfare.

The question, then, is what Paul means when he commends the Philippian Christians “for your koinonia in furtherance of the Good News from the first day until now” (1:5). As noted above, Paul acknowledges the gifts that the Philippian church sent with Epaphroditus (2:25; 4:18). Since the word koinonia can mean an offering (Romans 15:26), Paul could be using koinonia in this verse to show appreciation for the gifts that the Philippians sent.

This is not the first time that the Philippian church has been generous in their financial support of Paul. Later in this letter, he will commend them for their earlier generosity, saying, “You yourselves also know, you Philippians, that in the beginning of the Good News, when I departed from Macedonia, no assembly (ekklesia—church) shared with me in the matter of giving and receiving but you only. For even in Thessalonica you sent once and again to my need” (4:15-16). That accords with Paul’s comment now that the Philippian church has koinonia “in furtherance of the Good News from the first day until now” (1:5).

But it is difficult to believe that Paul is using koinonia in this verse just to acknowledge the Philippians’ financial support. He speaks very personally of his relationship with them, saying “I thank my God whenever I remember you” (1:3)—and says that “it is even right for me to think this way on behalf of all of you, because I have you in my heart” (1:7)—and calls them “my beloved” (2:12; 4:1) and “my brothers, beloved and longed for, my joy and crown” (4:1). Thus, when Paul says, “your koinonia in the furtherance of the Good News,” he surely has in mind the personal relationship that he shares with the Philippians.

Also, Acts 16 makes it clear that Paul was able to do little more than to establish a fledgling congregation in Philippi before being forced to move on. When he left Philippi, he would have been able to leave only a tiny congregation in place. However, those few Christians kept the church in Philippi going and growing. When Paul speaks of “your koinonia in the furtherance of the Good News” he must be thinking also of the Philippians’ sharing in the work of proclamation and evangelism.

being confident of this very thing, that he who began a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ” (v. 6). A key point in this verse is that God has begun a good work among the Philippian Christians, and will continue that work until Christ comes again. Paul has done his part, but God is the one who planted faith in the hearts of the Philippian Christians. The church in Philippi is a Godly achievement. In the next chapter, Paul will say, “For it is God who works in you both to will and to work, for his good pleasure” (2:13).

To see the time span involved in Paul’s thinking, we need to look back to verse 5 where he acknowledges that the Philippian Christians have been sharing in the work of the Gospel “from the first day until now” (v. 5b). God has been working among the Philippian church since the day that they first embraced the faith.

Now Paul expresses his confidence that God will continue that good work so that he might “will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ”—the day of Jesus’ Second Coming—an eschatological (end of time) event that will bring judgment to the guilty and deliverance to the faithful.

So Paul is therefore expressing his faith that God has been at work among the Philippian Christians since they first embraced the faith, and that God will continue his good work among them until Christ comes again in glory.

“It is even right for me to think (phronein—from phroneo) this way on behalf of all of you (v. 7a). How does Paul think/feel about the Philippians? He is thankful whenever he thinks of them (1:3). He is joyful (1:4). He is confident that God, who has been working in their lives, will continue to do so until the end (1:6). In other words, he is overwhelmingly positive in his estimate of them—all of them, not just a select few.

The Greek word phroneo is more complex than either thinking or feeling—it combines elements of both. Paul’s heart and head are both involved in his attitude toward the Philippians. When both heard and head combine, the effect is powerful. Paul’s attitude toward the Philippians is well-considered and well-established. The Philippians can count on him not to change the way he thinks/feels about them.

“because I have you in my heart (v. 7b). Paul offers three reasons why he thinks/feels as he does about the Philippians:

First, Paul holds the Philippians in his heart. While “heart” is a literal translation of kardia, the people of Biblical times, in both Old and New Testaments, thought of the heart as the center of the intellect and will as well as the emotions. Therefore, when Paul talks about holding the Philippians in his heart, he is saying that they are in the forefront of his consciousness. He thinks about them—and his thinking has led him to care about them.

However, the correct translation of the Greek is uncertain at this point. The NRSV translates it, “because you hold me in your heart.” If that is correct, Paul is saying that the Philippians have him in the forefront of their consciousness. They care about him. Their several offerings in his behalf, one quite recent, bear testimony to their thinking and caring about him.

Whichever translation is correct, the central idea is the same. There is a strong bond—intellectual and emotional—between Paul and these Philippian Christians.

“because, both in my bonds and in the defense and confirmation of the Good News” (v. 7c). The Philippian Christians have been with Paul through thick and thin. Acts 16 tells the story of his visit to Philippi—the visit during which he founded the church there. He wasn’t in Philippi very long before he was arrested and forced to leave town. However, the Philippian Christians didn’t allow themselves to be embarrassed by Paul’s encounter with the law—and they have continued to be supportive even now, as Paul is once again in prison chains.

“you all are partakers (sunkoinonous) with me of grace” (tes charitos—the grace) (v. 7d). This is the second reason for Paul’s attitude toward the Philippians.

The word sunkoinonous is the product of two Greek words—sun or syn (with) and koinoneo (see above on verse 5 for the meaning of koinonia). It means “partaking with” or “sharing with.”

In this verse Paul appears to say that he and the Philippians are partakers together of God’s grace. However, the word “God’s” does not appear in the original Greek. A literal translation of this verse would be “for all of you are partakers in the grace with me.” The word “God’s” is implied—not specified.

“For God is my witness (v. 8a). Several commentaries refer to this as an oath, which surprised me. I think of oaths as binding promises (see Numbers 30:2)—often sacred promises sealed by using God’s name (Deuteronomy 10:20). However, Paul’s phrase here is neither a binding nor a sacred promise.

However, Fensham speaks of an “oath of confirmation” (Fensham, 574)—and that is a fitting title in this instance. This “oath of confirmation” is a form that Paul uses in several places—usually near the beginning of his epistles (Romans 1:9; 2 Corinthians 1:23; Galatians 1:20; 1 Thessalonians 2:5). By its use here, Paul calls on God to bear witness to Paul’s affection for the Philippian Christians.

“how I long after all of you (v. 8b). Paul made two earlier statements that reveal his passion for the Philippian Christians. He thanks God every time he remembers them (1:3). Either they hold him in their hearts or he holds them in his heart—the translation is uncertain (see the comments on 1:7). But this verse, expressing his longing for them, is a poignant expression of his feelings for them.

Once again, he says that his longing is “after all of you.” This is the fifth time in this chapter that he has used this word “all”—”all the saints” (1:1)—”of you all” (1:4)—”of all of you” (1:7)—”you all” (1:7). See the comments on 1:4 above.

But what is the nature of Paul’s longing? Is it a longing to see the Philippian Christians—to enjoy their company once again? Or is it a longing for their welfare—that they might resolve some of their problems to enhance their faith and their Christian witness? Probably both!

Parents who live geographically distant from their children can identify with Paul’s longing. They wish not only to see their children again, but they also long for their children to work through any problems that might be plaguing them—and they would very much like to be present to help when their children are having problems.

“in the tender mercies (splanchnois—from splanchnon) of Christ Jesus (v. 8c). Splanchnon is a gut-feeling word that refers to one’s inner organs—the bowels or intestines—what the Greeks saw as the center of one’s emotions. It is usually translated “compassion” or “affection”—but it expresses an intensity of feeling that those words might fail to convey.

What does Paul mean by “the splanchnois of Christ Jesus”? There are various possibilities. Paul could mean that he feels the same intensity of emotion for the Philippian Christians that Christ Jesus felt for the world that he came to save. He could mean that Christ has planted this deep affection in Paul’s heart. Or he could mean both.


9This I pray, that your love (Greek: agape) may abound (perisseuo) yet more and more in knowledge (epignosis) and all discernment (aisthesis); 10so that you may approve (dokimazo) the things that are excellent (diaphero); that you may be sincere and without offense to the day of Christ; 11being filled (pepleromenoi—from pleroo) with the fruits (karpon—fruits) of righteousness, which are through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.

“This I pray, that your love (agape) may abound (perisseuo—abound, increase) yet more and more in knowledge (epignosis) and all discernment (aisthesis) (v. 9). Earlier, Paul said that he prayed constantly for the Philippian Christians (1:4). Now he provides some insight with regard to the content of those prayers.

“that your love” (agape) (v. 9b). The word that Paul uses for love (agape) is one of four Greek words for love, the other three being philos, storge and eros. Storge is familial love, such as the love one has for a child or parent. Eros is romantic or sexual love. Only agape and philos are used in the New Testament.

(NOTE: agape and philos are nouns. The corresponding verbs are agapao and phileo).

Philos or phileo are used 55 times in the New Testament, while agape or agapao are used 253 times (Turner, 175). Both philos and agape are important in the New Testament, but the fact that agape/agapaoare used nearly five times as often as philos/phileo reflects the special importance of agape/agapao. That is reflected in current usage in churches. We don’t often hear of philos today, but the word agape abounds.

The classic distinction between agape and philos is that agape has to do with a concern for the well-being of the other person while philos has to do with brotherly love—friendship love—companionate love—the kind of love where a person receives as well as gives. While there is some question about the sharpness of that distinction, scholars tend to agree that “philos does contain an element of mutuality not found in agape” (Melick). In other words, philos has to do both with giving and getting, while agape has to do only with giving—with an unalloyed concern for the welfare of the other person.

Agape love is more a “doing” than a “feeling” word. It doesn’t require that we approve of the actions of the person whom we love—or even that we enjoy their company. It does require that we act in behalf of that person—to demonstrate our love in some practical fashion. An agape person will do what is possible to feed the hungry—and to give drink to the thirsty—and to welcome the stranger—and to clothe the naked—and to visit the sick and the person in prison (Matthew 25:31-46). The agape person has little or nothing to gain by helping these hungry, thirsty, strange, naked, imprisoned people. The thrust of his/her agape love is giving, not getting.

Love is the first of the fruits of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22)—and is the greatest of Christian virtues (1 Corinthians 13:13).

When asked about the greatest commandment, Jesus said: “The greatest is, ‘Hear, Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one: you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ This is the first commandment. The second is like this, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” (Mark 12:29-31).

“may abound (perisseuo—abound, increase) yet more and more” (v. 9c). Paul acknowledges that the Philippians have agape love, but he prays that their agape love “may overflow (perisseuo—abound, increase) more and more with knowledge and full insight.” The words “more and more” suggest a continuing growth. Therefore, Paul is praying that the Philippians will experience continuing growth in the knowledge and insight that feed their agape love.

“in knowledge (epignosis) and all discernment (aisthesis) (v. 9d). The usual Greek word for knowledge is gnosis, which has to do with general knowledge. The compound word epignosis “refers to knowledge of moral and ethical values as well as of sin. It also refers to intimate acquaintance with God” (Renn, 569).

The word aesthesis (insight or discernment) has to do with the kind of mature judgment and wisdom that comes from a broad range of experience. People with this kind of judgment/wisdom are unlikely to be swayed by fads or high-pressure sales talks. They are unlikely to make snap judgments that they will regret later. They tend to be rock-steady—to have their feet solidly planted on the ground.

The question, then, is what knowledge and discernment have to do with agape love. How would knowledge and discernment make it possible for the Philippian Christians to love more effectively? As noted above (comments on v. 9b), agape is an action verb—more concerned with doing than with feeling. An agape person would feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty, etc. (Matthew 25:31-46). The more knowledge and discernment that the agape person brings to the situation, the more likely he/she will be to act effectively—to do what really needs to be done—and the less likely he/she will be to do something that will turn out to be harmful in the end.

so that you may approve (dokimazo) the things that are excellent” (diaphero) (v. 10a). In this verse, Paul states two reasons why he prays “that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and all discernment” (1:9). The first reason is so that the Philippian Christians can “approve the things that are excellent.”

The Greek word dokimazo has to do with testing something to determine its value. In 1 Peter 1:7, it is used for the testing of gold by fire, which suggests both a testing and a purifying.

If the Philippian Christians have the knowledge and insight for which Paul prayed in verse 9, they will be well-equipped to examine the choices that every day presents them—and to test those choices to choose the best (diaphero) one.

Life often presents us with complex possibilities. We not only have to choose between bad and good, but the spectrum often expands to bad, good, better, and best. Paul wants these Philippian Christians to be equipped to consistently choose the best.

that you may be sincere (eilikrines) and without offense (aproskopos) to the day of Christ (v. 10b). The “day of Christ” is an eschatological (end of time) term that has roots in Old Testament phrase, “the Day of the Lord”—a day that will bring judgment to the guilty and deliverance to the faithful. There are numerous references in the prophets to the day of the Lord (Isaiah 13:6, 9; Jeremiah 46:10; Ezekiel 13:5; 30:3; Joel 1:15; 2:1, 11, 31; 3:14; Amos 5:18, 20; Obadiah 1:15; Zephaniah 1:7, 14; Malachi 4:5). Most of these references emphasize God’s wrath, but some also include a note of vindication.

At number of texts emphasize being ready at all times for Christ’s Second Coming (see especially the eschatological discourse in Matthew 24-25). Matthew 25:31-46 gives the clearest picture of that day. The Son of Man will come in glory to sit on the throne and to judge the nations. He will separate them as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats, putting the sheep at his right hand (saved) and the goats at his left (condemned). When Christ calls the sheep to “inherit the Kingdom,” he will explain that they gave him food when he was hungry, drink when he was thirsty, etc. They will be astonished, and ask when they did those things. Christ’s answer will be that as they showed mercy to “one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me” (Matthew 25:40). The reverse will be true for those who are condemned.

The Day of the Lord, then, constitutes the ultimate test—a life and death test. Eternity hangs in the balance. It hardly matters what else one has achieved. If we fail this “Day of Christ” test, nothing else will matter. As Jesus said, “For what will it profit a man, if he gains the whole world, and forfeits his life? Or what will a man give in exchange for his life?” (Matthew 16:26).

The word eilikrines (sincere) is a compound of heile (sun) and krinos (judge) (Zodhiates, 512). The image is that of taking something into the sunlight to examine it closely for imperfections. As Paul uses eilikrines in this verse, he is expressing his desire that these Philippian Christians be without spot or blemish so that they might pass that kind of close inspection with flying colors on the “day of Christ.”

The word aproskopos is derived from the word proskopos (to strike against, as in stubbing one’s toe—to stumble). The addition of the a at the beginning of proskopos (to make it aproskopos) transforms proskopos into its opposite (NOT to strike against—NOT to stumble). In the spiritual realm, stumbling has to do with succumbing to temptation. Therefore the word aproskopos can mean free from sin—blameless. Paul is therefore expressing his desire that these Philippian Christians be found free of sin in the “day of Christ.”

Paul will shortly address the problem of those who “preach Christ even out of envy and strife” (1:15) or “from selfish ambition” (1:16). This is the sort of thing that he wants these Philippian Christians to avoid. To do so, they need to be full of knowledge and discernment (1:9).

“being filled with (pepleromenoi—from pleroo—being filled with) the fruits (karpon—fruit) of righteousness which are through through Jesus Christ” (v. 11a). On the day of Christ (v. 10), Paul wants these Philippian Christians to be found full of the fruits of righteousness—the kind of fruits that “are through Jesus Christ.”

Because of technicalities in the original Greek, scholars tend to agree that Paul intends this verse to mean “the fruits which are through Jesus Christ” rather than “the righteousness that is through Jesus Christ.” However, later in this letter, Paul will talk about “not having a righteousness of my own, that which is of the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith” (3:9)—thus making it clear that he cannot gain righteous status by his own works, but instead receives it as a gift from God.

The people of Paul’s day were well-acquainted with trees and other plants that bore fruit—or failed to grow fruit. Many of them were peasant farmers whose livelihoods depended on the fruit harvest. Therefore, they could easily understand when Paul uses “fruits” as a metaphor for a spiritual harvest.

Later in this chapter, Paul talks about “fruit from my work” (1:22). In his letter to the Galatians, he identifies the fruits of the Spirit as “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faith, gentleness, and self-control” (Galatians 5:22-23). In his letter to the Romans, he talks about bearing fruit for God (Romans 7:4). In a similar vein, Ephesians says, “the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth” (Ephesians 5:9). These various references use fruit as a metaphor for the fruits of discipled living—Christ-like living.

“to the glory and praise of God (v. 11b). Christ-like lives give glory to God, because people are drawn to the qualities that manifest themselves in Christ-like living. That gives Christians an opportunity to witness to the Lord who makes that kind of life possible. This is the ultimate purpose of the Christian life—to give God glory and praise.

SCRIPTURE QUOTATIONS are from the World English Bible (WEB), a public domain (no copyright) modern English translation of the Holy Bible. The World English Bible is based on the American Standard Version (ASV) of the Bible, the Biblia Hebraica Stutgartensa Old Testament, and the Greek Majority Text New Testament. The ASV, which is also in the public domain due to expired copyrights, was a very good translation, but included many archaic words (hast, shineth, etc.), which the WEB has updated.


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Melick, Richard R., Jr., New American Commentary: Philippians, Colossians, Philemon, Vol. 32 (Nashville: Broadman Press, 1991)

Osiek, Carolyn, Abingdon New Testament Commentary: Philippians & Philemon (Nashville: Abingdon Press, 2000)

Palmer, Earl F., in Van Harn, Roger E. (ed.), The Lectionary Commentary: Theological Exegesis for Sunday’s Texts: The Second Readings: Acts and the Epistles (Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2001)

Renn, Stephen D., Expository Dictionary of Biblical Words: Word Studies for Key English Bible Words Based on the Hebrew and Greek Texts (Peabody, Massachusetts: Hendrickson Publishers, Inc., 2005)

Still, Todd D., Smyth & Helwys Bible Commentary: Philippians & Philemon (Smyth & Helwys Publishing, Inc., 2011)

Turner, G.A., “Love,” in Bromiley, Geoffrey (General Editor), The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, Volume Three: K-PRevised (Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1986)

Zodhiates, Spiros (ed.), The Complete WordStudy Dictionary: New Testament (Chattanooga, Tennessee: AMG Publishers, 1992)

Copyright 2012, 2017, Richard Niell Donovan