Philippians 1

Philippians 1


Paul and Timothy, servants of Christ Jesus,

To all the saints in Christ Jesus who are at Philippi, with the overseers and deacons:

Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Thanksgiving and Prayer

I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine for you all making my prayer with joy, because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now. And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ. It is right for me to feel this way about you all, because I hold you in my heart, for you are all partakers with me of grace, both in my imprisonment and in the defense and confirmation of the gospel. For God is my witness, how I yearn for you all with the affection of Christ Jesus. And it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment, so that you may approve what is excellent, and so be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.

The Advance of the Gospel

I want you to know, brothers, that what has happened to me has really served to advance the gospel, so that it has become known throughout the whole imperial guard and to all the rest that my imprisonment is for Christ. And most of the brothers, having become confident in the Lord by my imprisonment, are much more bold to speak the word without fear.

Some indeed preach Christ from envy and rivalry, but others from good will. The latter do it out of love, knowing that I am put here for the defense of the gospel. The former proclaim Christ out of selfish ambition, not sincerely but thinking to afflict me in my imprisonment. What then? Only that in every way, whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is proclaimed, and in that I rejoice.

To Live Is Christ

Yes, and I will rejoice, for I know that through your prayers and the help of the Spirit of Jesus Christ this will turn out for my deliverance, as it is my eager expectation and hope that I will not be at all ashamed, but that with full courage now as always Christ will be honored in my body, whether by life or by death. For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. If I am to live in the flesh, that means fruitful labor for me. Yet which I shall choose I cannot tell. I am hard pressed between the two. My desire is to depart and be with Christ, for that is far better. But to remain in the flesh is more necessary on your account. Convinced of this, I know that I will remain and continue with you all, for your progress and joy in the faith, so that in me you may have ample cause to glory in Christ Jesus, because of my coming to you again.

Only let your manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving side by side for the faith of the gospel, and not frightened in anything by your opponents. This is a clear sign to them of their destruction, but of your salvation, and that from God. For it has been granted to you that for the sake of Christ you should not only believe in him but also suffer for his sake, engaged in the same conflict that you saw I had and now hear that I still have.


Philippians 1 Commentary

by Brad Boyles

He who began a good work…

Paul qualifies the promise of God completing a good work with a specific view. He says “in view of your participation in the Gospel from the first day until now.” That is directly set in front of us as readers before the good work. “God started the work in your heart, and Philippi, you responded.” This is important because not everyone responds. We know this. Not everyone is an active participant. A lot of people want to be saved, but not a lot of people want to participate.

Why does Paul qualify the good work with a specific view? We learn in Chapter 4 that the church here in Philippi was the only church to support Paul with multiple gifts. In his own words, no other church gave to Paul. We could assume it’s a financial gift, but we don’t know with certainty. Regardless, we all know that you can tell a lot about where a person’s heart is by looking at their bank account. Give me your checkbook or debit card and I can tell you what’s important to you. The Philippians believed in Paul’s Gospel message and they didn’t just talk about it. They literally put their money where their mouth was.

This is exactly why Paul clarifies the source of his thankfulness in verse 17. He says, “not that I seek the gift itself.” Sure, he was tremendously grateful for it. But Paul, even in the verses leading up to this passage, stated that he has learned to live in all circumstances. It didn’t matter if he was hungry or full, living in abundance or having need – in the end, the Lord had strengthened Paul to find joy in everything.

What he is really excited about is the fact that their hearts were stirred to give and receive in the participation of the Gospel.  By this evidence, Paul knew that Jesus Christ had dug himself deep into their hearts. He was most excited about the spiritual freedom they had to give, participate, and embody Christ without obligation or compulsion. He knew that through their faithful giving and receiving, Christ was doing a work, and that work was being crafted in them towards completion.

The reason all this is important is because people use this verse to describe many things that lack context. For those who are faithful participants in the Gospel, out of the joy of Jesus, He will complete the good work He started.

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