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Study Notes on Philippians 4

Philippians 4

This final chapter of Philippians focuses on control of our mind, and what we should be thinking about. He also thanks the church for their generosity and their care for him.

1 Therefore, my brethren dearly beloved and longed for, my joy and crown, so stand fast in the Lord, my dearly beloved.

This verse goes well at the end of chapter 3. Considering our citizenship is in heaven, and that we look for the coming of the Lord Jesus, Paul encourages the Philippians to stand fast in the Lord.

He converted them and so finds great joy in their salvation and their walk with God.

2 I beseech Euodias, and beseech Syntyche, that they be of the same mind in the Lord.

These two women were apparently having some dispute with each other in the church, and is likely the reason for the strong exhortation in chapter 2 to esteem others better than yourself, and the example of Christ in this regard.

3 And I intreat thee also, true yokefellow, help those women which laboured with me in the gospel, with Clement also, and with other my fellowlabourers, whose names are in the book of life.

We don't know who the "true yokefellow" is, though evidently some close and trusted associate of Paul. He entreats of him to help the two women mentioned above (although there is some uncertainty about this) to be reconciled to with each other.

The women labored with him in the gospel, in being soulwinners, in sharing the truth. Women aren't to be pastors but they are certainly accountable to the great commission.

Clement was a common name, and was apparently someone who was also a worker in spreading the gospel.

4 Rejoice in the Lord always: and again I say, Rejoice.

We can always rejoice in the Lord because our names are written in Heaven! What a beautiful thing. Our names are in the book of life and we can know that whatever trials we go through here on earth, it won't even compare to the glory we will experience in the presence of God.

5 Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand.

Moderation meaning gentleness, restraint on passions, or meekness under provocation. Let your sober behavior be a consistent character of your life.

The Lord is near to His people, viewing their conduct among each other. With God always watching we should behave appropriately. He is near to all who seek Him.

Psalm 145:18, The Lord is nigh unto all them that call upon him, to all that call upon him in truth.

Acts 17:27, That they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after him, and find him, though he be not far from every one of us:

6 Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.

An absolute statement, "be full of care about nothing but pray to God about everything." It's a command of our Lord. Careful here means anxiety or worry, which is something we all are tempted by and give in to at times.

1 Peter 5:7, Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.

7 And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

Peace is not the absence of conflict but the presence of God.

8 Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.

A clear verse and command that we would all do well to remember. These verses 6-8 go well together and give the believer tools for a peaceful life that honors God.

Many Christians spend far too much time depressed over politics, or finance, or self-esteem, etc. That's not where our focus should be!

Colossians 3:2, Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.

James 3:17-18, But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy. And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make peace.

"If there be any virtue - If there is anything truly virtuous. Paul did not suppose that he had given a full catalogue of the virtues which he would have cultivated. He, therefore, adds, that if there was anything else that had the nature of true virtue in it, they should be careful to cultivate that also. The Christian should be a pattern and an example of every virtue." - Albert Barnes

9 Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you.

Follow my example and the teaching you've received. Our God is the God of peace.

Hebrews 13:20, Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant,

10 But I rejoiced in the Lord greatly, that now at the last your care of me hath flourished again; wherein ye were also careful, but ye lacked opportunity.

Now Paul ventures to a new topic in giving thanks to the Philippian church for their aid sent to him. He credits the Lord for their generosity, and understands that the delay wasn't because of their lack of care but of opportunity. Opportunity here can also mean ability. Philippi is a long way to Rome.

11 Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.

It wasn't that Paul felt himself in such an unbearable state without their gifts, but he has learned to be content, or self-sufficient with whatever he has. He gives the true source of his joy from their gifts down in verse 17. See 1 Corinthians 4:9-13 for more remarks on the life of the apostles.

1 Timothy 6:6, But godliness with contentment is great gain.

12 I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need.

He knows and has learned how to handle excess and poverty, a full stomach and an empty one. It isn't only important to know how to live and be content in these various circumstances, but it is also important to know how to rapidly go from riches to rags. Do we bless the Lord regardless of what circumstances we've been hit by?

Job 1:21, And said, Naked came I out of my mother's womb, and naked shall I return thither: the Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.

13 I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.

A heavily misquoted verse taken out of context. The obvious meaning from the passage is that Paul can deal with whatever life throws at him because his joy is in the Lord. He could handle any hardship because his strength comes from God.

Psalm 22:19, But be not thou far from me, O Lord: O my strength, haste thee to help me.

14 Notwithstanding ye have well done, that ye did communicate with my affliction.

Even though Paul was sufficient in his poverty, it was still good and appreciated that the Philippians helped him. They took part in his affliction by reducing their own possessions to give to him. In this way they communicated with him, which biblically means a sharing of possessions as the next verse explains further.

Galatians 6:6, Let him that is taught in the word communicate unto him that teacheth in all good things.

15 Now ye Philippians know also, that in the beginning of the gospel, when I departed from Macedonia, no church communicated with me as concerning giving and receiving, but ye only.

The church at Philippi gave and Paul received their generosity, and no other church aided him. Do we show appreciation for those who minister spiritual things to us? Do we honor the person who first reached us with the gospel?

2 Corinthians 11:8-9, I robbed other churches, taking wages of them, to do you service. And when I was present with you, and wanted, I was chargeable to no man: for that which was lacking to me the brethren which came from Macedonia supplied: and in all things I have kept myself from being burdensome unto you, and so will I keep myself.

16 For even in Thessalonica ye sent once and again unto my necessity.

From Philippi Paul went to Thessalonica to plant a church there and dealt with much persecution.

2 Thessalonians 3:8, Neither did we eat any man's bread for nought; but wrought with labour and travail night and day, that we might not be chargeable to any of you:

Acts 17:1, Now when they had passed through Amphipolis and Apollonia, they came to Thessalonica, where was a synagogue of the Jews

17 Not because I desire a gift: but I desire fruit that may abound to your account.

Paul wasn't covetous or greedy, but his true heart was seeing the love and spiritual maturity from the Philippian church. Paul was happy for them for the rewards they would receive of God.

18 But I have all, and abound: I am full, having received of Epaphroditus the things which were sent from you, an odour of a sweet smell, a sacrifice acceptable, wellpleasing to God.

Their gifts from Epaphroditus (see 2:25) were pleasing to God.

"Every believer is his own priest to approach Jesus Christ the High Priest in adoration, worship, and service." - Garner-Howes

"How high does he lift their gift! It is not I, he says, who have received it, but God through me." - Chrysostom

Hebrews 13:16, But to do good and to communicate forget not: for with such sacrifices God is well pleased.

19 But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.

God will take care of your need.

"Out of His abundant wealth, God will more than amply take care of the Philippians." - Thomas Nelson Study Bible

2 Corinthians 9:6-8, But this I say, He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully. Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work:

20 Now unto God and our Father be glory for ever and ever. Amen.

21 Salute every saint in Christ Jesus. The brethren which are with me greet you.

Salute and greet one another, as the brethren with Paul send their greetings to the church at Philippi.

22 All the saints salute you, chiefly they that are of Caesar's household.

23 The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.

Referring to the church at Rome as the saints (because every believer is a saint, and it is unthinkable in the NT that a believer wouldn't be part of a church). Paul also gives special mention to those of Caesar's household, which would perhaps be members of his family or his servants.


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