Paul wrote this letter from prison in Rome. Likely he dictated his prison letters to someone else who wrote them down. In prison he would need people to take care of his needs and also likely to bribe the guards and officials to allow him certain comforts and freedoms. Prisons back then were inhumane.

One reason Paul wrote this letter was to thank them for sending support (and that was probably why, departing from his usual pattern, he addressed the Christians at large before the leaders). Without this he would likely have been thrown into the dungeons, left to die.

There is a long section in the book of Acts about Paul's first visit to Philippi.

(Philippians 1:1) Paul and Timotheus [Timothy], the servants of Jesus Christ, to all the saints in Christ Jesus which are at Philippi, with the bishops and deacons:

We might think that both Paul and Timothy are the authors of this letter, but later we see that Paul wrote it. Perhaps Timothy merely wrote down the words while Paul dictated.

Timothy was a high-ranking bishop.

Notice that Paul first refers to the Christians at large, then to the church leaders. I wonder if that humbled them?

There are multiple bishops in Philippi even though they probably had only a couple of hundred members. This should be the pattern for bishops, closely connected with the people individually.

Notice only 2 kinds of Church leaders: bishops and deacons. Bishops (overseers) are probably the same as elders and pastors. Other verses about elders, bishops, and overseers:

(Philippians 1:2) Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ.

(Philippians 1:3) I thank my God upon every remembrance of you,

This verse highlights how we should live, how we should use our mind. As thoughts of other people flow into our mind we should mentally pray for them and ask God to bless them. Those who think prayer must be verbal simply cannot do this and all these thoughts go wasted. What a shame; another tragic result of bad teaching.

(Philippians 1:4) Always in every prayer of mine for you all making request with joy,

In other words, they are living the Christian faith with holiness; Paul doesn't have to pray that heresy and error is rooted out nor that divisive individuals are reformed or evicted.

(Philippians 1:5) For your fellowship in the gospel from the first day until now;

Philippi was a Roman colony, probably mainly Gentile rather than Jewish.

The word "until" doesn't imply there was a change of condition afterwards. In this case, their fellowship didn't end when Paul wrote this letter.

(Philippians 1:6) Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ:

Since they are waiting for Christ's coming, this implies that he comes at their death; that everyone encounters Christ at death and they are received into the kingdom of heaven at that time. It doesn't make sense for them to be exhorted to wait for Christ's coming if it occurs thousands (millions?) of years after they have died.

(Philippians 1:7) Even as it is meet [fitting] for me to think this of you all, because I have you in my heart; inasmuch as both in my bonds, and in the defence and confirmation of the gospel, ye all are partakers [share] of my grace.

The grace of redemption coming from God falls upon all believers regardless of the trials and hardships in life. Currently Paul is in chains; at other times he was a free man sharing the gospel freely; from time to time he was persecuted and even had to flee for his life.

(Philippians 1:8) For God is my record, how greatly I long after you all in the bowels [affection] of Jesus Christ.

I can imagine the long hours of solitude and suffering in prison in which Paul longed to be with those he loved.

(Philippians 1:9) And this I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and in all judgment;

True religion should lead to correct knowledge and of proper discernment of things. Christians are not to be ignorant.

(Philippians 1:10) That ye may approve things that are excellent; that ye may be sincere and without offence till the day of Christ;

Since they are waiting for Christ's coming, this implies that he comes at their death; that everyone encounters Christ at death and they are received into the kingdom of heaven at that time. It doesn't make sense for them to be exhorted to wait for Christ's coming if it occurs thousands (millions?) of years after they have died.

They are to be holy in their conduct. Their faith is to be sincere. They are not to offend others with their faith; presumably they would offend if they did not live up to the standards of behavior required to be a Christian.

(Philippians 1:11) Being filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ, unto the glory and praise of God.

Living righteously results in fruit. These are well-being, joy, peace, and others.

I wonder whether someone not having these fruits of the Spirit are actually saved? Only God can judge but we should be concerned if we notice we are missing these.

(Philippians 1:12) But I would ye should understand, brethren, that the things which happened unto me have fallen out [turned out] rather [instead] unto the furtherance of the gospel;

Paul's imprisonment has had some good benefits. This does not mean we should seek hardship so that good can result. But some hardship is unavoidable; for some people more so than others. We must accept our lot in life given by God.

(Philippians 1:13) So that my bonds in Christ are manifest in all the palace, and in all other places;

It appears that Paul has been imprisoned in Rome for quite a while.

Being imprisoned has gained access for Paul to those in the palace.

(Philippians 1:14) And many of the brethren in the Lord, waxing [becoming] confident by my bonds, are much more bold to speak the word without fear.

(Philippians 1:15) Some indeed preach Christ even of envy and strife; and some also of good will:

There is a stigma of being a prisoner which would discourage some from accepting Christianity if they heard of Paul's being one. Perhaps these preachers Paul refers to are trying to discredit Paul so he doesn't discredit Christianity.

It is hard to imagine why someone would preach the gospel out of envy and strife. Perhaps they are true believers but don't believe their works and attitudes matter for salvation; they have so much pent up anger and rage to express. Perhaps it's similar to those churches today which teach that the pope is the Antichrist, or fundamentalist evangelical Protestant churches teaching that traditional churches practice religion instead of relationship — perhaps this is the mean-spirited kind of thing Paul is referring to. In my opinion, church leaders need to get rid of these unvirtuous and unholy traits; we should reject unholy leaders.

Paul claims it is good if people preach the gospel even if their motives are to in some way hurt Paul. This is weird. A person's motives will affect the message and it will certainly affect their ability to feed the flock and to minister to the spiritual and physical needs of others.

(Philippians 1:16) The one preach Christ of contention, not sincerely, supposing to add affliction to my bonds:

There is a stigma of being a prisoner which would discourage some from accepting Christianity if they heard of Paul's being one. Perhaps these preachers Paul refers to are trying to discredit Paul so he doesn't discredit Christianity.

It seems Paul had enemies, Christian leaders who wished to harm him. This is very unbecoming in a Christian leader. Perhaps they were jealous that he had special status; that he was an apostle but they were not. The apostolic church had a lot of contention and division, not much different than today; not much has changed over the centuries.

The way Paul mentions this, it's as if they are only preaching the gospel to harm Paul; I doubt if this is what he means to say. I can't imagine someone would become a preacher of the true gospel merely to harm someone else (but they would do it for money or fame). Probably they speak disparagingly of Paul and his imprisonment thinking it will hurt Paul, but he is above all this, not ashamed of his chains.

(Philippians 1:17) But the other of love, knowing that I am set for the defence of the gospel.

The best kind of preachers consider all true Christians to be on the same team and they encourage and support one another. The problem in our current day is that Christians have added so many non-essentials to the faith and they are ignorant of each other's views. Thus, fundamentalist evangelical Protestants bash Catholics thinking them to be unsaved and non-denominational denominations call those in denominations "religious", a word meaning "not saved". The whole thing just make me sick.

(Philippians 1:18) What then? notwithstanding, every way, whether in pretence, or in truth, Christ is preached; and I therein do rejoice, yea, and will rejoice.

Paul is even accepting of those who preach the gospel with impure motives as long as the message is preached accurately. I think Paul is ignoring the damage to the body of Christ that people as these can inflict by stirring up disunity and discord among Christians.

(Philippians 1:19) For I know that this shall turn to my salvation through your prayer, and the supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ,

A very peculiar verse. The question is whether Paul is referring to his eternal salvation or merely to his being released from prison. There is perhaps some evidence in the next verses that Paul hopes to be released from prison (rather than being executed). It's hard to understand how these preachers of the true gospel having impure motives would find such support from Paul if their goal in preaching was to get Paul executed. All commentaries I studied conclude that the word "salvation" refers to eternal salvation, not merely to deliverance from prison.

Perhaps Paul is referring to his own eternal salvation. At his death (which could be soon) God will judge his works and his life work in preaching the gospel. Evidence that Paul has been faithful is that others are preaching the true gospel too and that there are many true Christians who were saved who now live holy lives as a result of Paul's preaching.

If Paul is referring to his own eternal redemption, notice that the prayers of those he has affected contribute to his salvation; God hears these and Paul's salvation occurs in part because of these prayers. Thus, we should pray continuously for the salvation of others; these prayers have a significant influence.

To live or die?

(Philippians 1:20) According to my earnest expectation and my hope, that in nothing I shall be ashamed, but that with all boldness, as always, so now also Christ shall be magnified [exalted] in my body, whether it be by life, or by death.

Paul is concerned how he will be thought of after his death, by God and men, by whether he was faithful to the work God called him for. While alive Paul boldly and courageously preached the gospel and refused to exploit people, even working at making tents to support himself. He would die as a martyr for the faith, as one who refused to give up his faith to save his skin. Even those Christians who did not die as martyrs but who remained true to Christ until their dying day, these exalt Christ in their body.

Notice Paul's emphasis on his bodily activities. His faith is expressed via his body, that is, through works. There is no faith without works of faith. Mere mental assent to the propositions of Christian doctrine is not faith. Having true faith requires repenting from sin, living a holy and pure life, seeking to please God by what is said and done, in relationships with others.

Paul speaks of whether or not he might die in these few verses. We should wonder if he is contemplating whether he will be released from prison soon or whether he will soon be executed. It weighs heavily on his mind. We should live our lives focused on our death, this because at death is when salvation occurs; we are judged at our death. Judgment day for everyone, including Christians, occurs at death.

(Philippians 1:21) For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.

Paul believes he will gain some benefit upon his death. He is in chains when writing this and has suffered persecution, tribulations, and trials for decades. Upon his death, he will be freed from all these.

Those who wish to kill Paul may think this would harm him but it will not; his life after death will be glorious as it will for all who receive Christ's offer of redemption.

For Paul, his very life is all wrapped up in serving and loving Christ. The essence of his activities and work is Christ.

(Philippians 1:22) But if I live in the flesh, this is [will be] the fruit [fruitful] of my labour: yet what I shall choose I wot [know] not.

Paul makes it sound as if he has a choice whether or not he will die soon, perhaps by execution, as if he is trying to decide what to do. Perhaps he believes he has control of the outcome via his prayers, that if he asks God to take him very soon it will be granted. Perhaps he is tired and worn out of living and seeks rest but is torn by his love of the people he serves,wishing to continue on in this work.

Paul wishes to continue living so he can continue to bear fruit in his ministry. As long as he can preach of Christ, his life has value.

(Philippians 1:23) For I am in a strait [difficulty] betwixt [between the] two, having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ; which is far better:

Paul believes he will gain some benefit upon his death but prefers to remain alive so he can continue to minister to the people and to teach them and bless them. It appears he considers he may be executed. The way this is worded implies Paul can choose his fate; I doubt if he actually has control over the outcome of his trial. He is merely pondering the possible outcomes.

(Philippians 1:24) Nevertheless to abide in the flesh is more needful for you.

Once Paul has died he can no longer directly minister to people. He can still pray for them from the spiritual realm.

Paul is talking about remaining alive rather than dying. The body dies but not the soul.

(Philippians 1:25) And having this confidence, I know that I shall abide and continue with you all for your furtherance [progress] and joy of faith;

Paul seems to be saying that because it will be better for everyone if he is released, that is what will occur. But why did he allow himself to be captured in the first place? And there would be a final day on earth for him eventually no matter what.

Notice the life of faith is a progression, it does not remain static. We journey and learn and grow in faith.

Paul toyed with those reading this letter by making them think he might choose to die. But finally we learn that he had no intention of this, that he has made up his mind to continue in life, that he believes he will be released from prison soon, or at least not be executed.

(Philippians 1:26) That your rejoicing may be more abundant in Jesus Christ for me by my coming to you again.

He expects to be released from prison. He knows they love him and wish to see him again. Not everyone Paul encountered was such a fan.

(Philippians 1:27) Only let your conversation [manner of life] be as it becometh the gospel of Christ: that whether I come and see you, or else be absent, I may hear of your affairs, that ye stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel;

Paul is concerned that they remain true to the gospel. It was very common in the early church that people would pervert the gospel. Paul keeps tabs on the condition of the various churches he has visited. Even when he is physically absent from the churches he is still concerned with them.

We should wonder what specifically Paul expects Christians to do, and what attitudes he expects of them. Is he hoping they go to church each Sunday? I think he expects three things: (1) they should have correct knowledge of the gospel, believe it, struggle to see it grow in the world; (2) they should practice virtue; and (3) they should live in community and fellowship in peace and harmony.

Christians are to be in unity with one another. Sadly, the early Church quickly developed an exclusivism that emphasized non-essential aspects of the Church resulting eventually in true believers being burned at the stake. Any institutional aspect of any denomination or Christian community that results in disunity between true believers, between those who are members of the redeemed; these walls and barriers to Christian unity should be dismantled.

Even if Paul is released from his imprisonment he is not certain he will ever get around to visiting Philippi again even though he has great fondness for them.

(Philippians 1:28) And in nothing terrified by your adversaries: which is to them an evident token of perdition [destruction], but to you of salvation, and that of God.

These Christians had enemies, those who wished to harm them, to stamp out the Christian movement or to at least make it Jewish.

(Philippians 1:29) For unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for his sake;

As Christians we should expect persecution, for some more so than others. It is not enough to merely believe the gospel, we must live it out even if it results in persecution. Of course, we have no obligation to provoke conflict nor to seek out persecution. But likely there will be some for every Christian, for some more so than others. Weirdly, persecution can come even from fellow Christians.

(Philippians 1:30) Having the same conflict [struggle] which ye saw in me, and now hear to be in me.

Paul reminds them of the difficulties they witnessed when he was with them, of his beating and imprisonment. He reminds them of his current hardships which they have heard about. Paul is not referring to his internal mental struggle but, rather, to his bodily hardship.

It is unknown whether those in Philippi were also being imprisoned as Paul was, but even if some were, not all were. But living in an unholy culture or the threat of persecution takes its toll. Wondering from day to day whether some zealous magistrate would start arresting Christians is itself an act of faith.

(Philippians 2:1) If there be therefore any consolation [encouragement] in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any bowels [affection] and mercies [compassion],

(Philippians 2:2) Fulfil ye my joy, that ye be likeminded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind.

(Philippians 2:3) Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves.

Earlier, Paul seemed accepting of those who evangelized having bad motives, but certainly this is not his preference. Christians are to be holy, righteous, and virtuous.

We must not let our selfish ambition take a higher priority over those we love.

(Philippians 2:4) Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others.

(Philippians 2:5) Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:

(Philippians 2:6) Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God:

(Philippians 2:7) But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men:

(Philippians 2:8) And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.

(Philippians 2:9) Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name:

(Philippians 2:10) That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things [those] in heaven, and things [those] in [on] earth, and things [those] under the earth;

This verse is in the context of people who are redeemed. The context is not speaking about angels, nor about animals. Therefore, these knees are human knees. And they are bowing at the name of Jesus. They hear someone (or an angel) say "Jesus is Lord" or "Jesus is the Son of God" and they bow. If I encountered Jesus in person, I would bow. In fact, I do this during the Eucharist in which the bread and wine become the body and blood of Christ. Sure, I bow. I can recognize the presence of Jesus in the consecrated elements of communion.

Some might be tempted to think that the knees and the bowing are metaphors, but there is no reason to treat of these as anything but literal. I see no reason to do this because, in my view, each person's soul resides in the spiritual realm and each person's soul has an associated spiritual body which literally has knees. To illustrate, when you are imagining you are bowing or when you are dreaming you are bowing, your spiritual body is actually bowing.

Who are those under the earth? Jesus descended into the lower parts of the earth, a location in the spiritual realm, after he died on the cross. Apparently there were people there who he redeemed. But these are people who had previously died so he was dealing with their souls and spiritual bodies. Apparently, when he appeared to them to redeem them, they bowed their knees before him.

If there were people under the earth, there certainly could also be people in heaven. Perhaps these are people who were saintly when they died. And they would have bowed their spiritual knees also when Jesus appeared before them.

The phrase "under the earth" is an apostolic error based on thinking that people who died went down into the earth.

Those who were before the cross likely bowed before Jesus; these were "on the earth".

When will this occur? Perhaps it happens at different times. I suppose it happens at every believer's death when Jesus presents himself before them and asks them to follow him. Likely, it will occur again at the great white throne judgment. This will likely be the first time it happens to unbelievers; they will bow because of the sheer awesomeness of Jesus' glory which shines the light of holiness upon their unrepented sin.

Notice that at this time there are people in heaven but this is not their final home. After Jesus returns at his second coming and the redeemed receive their resurrected bodies we will all spend eternity in the new heavens and new earth.

(Philippians 2:11) And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Just as everyone will literally bow, so also, the awesomeness of Christ's holy and glorious presence will cause everyone to confess with their mouth and lips (and tongue) that Jesus is Lord, and to give God the Father glory. Because of the relationship of the three persons of the Trinity, they each desire that the others are given the respect, honor, and glory they are due. So in confessing that Jesus is Lord, we give glory to God the Father who loves the Son of God.

(Philippians 2:12) Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.

Paul is not talking about obedience to him but, rather, obedience to Christ. Apparently, they were more motivated to live holy lives when in Paul's presence.

Notice that to be saved requires work; we are not saved by mere mental belief and faith.

We must work out our salvation. It is not by faith only.

(Philippians 2:13) For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.

(Philippians 2:14) Do all things without murmurings and disputings:

(Philippians 2:15) That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world;

(Philippians 2:16) Holding forth the word of life; that I may rejoice in the day of Christ, that I have not run in vain, neither laboured in vain.

Since they are waiting for Christ's coming, this implies that he comes at their death; that everyone encounters Christ at death and they are received into the kingdom of heaven at that time. It doesn't make sense for them to be exhorted to wait for Christ's coming if it occurs thousands (millions?) of years after they have died.

(Philippians 2:17) Yea, and if I be offered upon the sacrifice and service of your faith, I joy, and rejoice with you all.

Paul is fully aware that he might be executed, and possibly soon. Perhaps he wrote the letter to the Philippians near the end of his two year imprisonment in Rome?

(Philippians 2:18) For the same cause also do ye joy, and rejoice with me.

(Philippians 2:19) But I trust in the Lord Jesus to send Timotheus [Timothy] shortly unto you, that I also may be of good comfort, when I know your state.

Paul wrote this letter. In all his dealings with Timothy, he is clearly in charge; Paul command, Timothy obeys.

There were a lot of trips made by people from Paul in prison to various young churches. Paul did not neglect the churches he founded, no matter how small. The church in Philippi probably had only a couple of hundred members.

(Philippians 2:20) For I have no man likeminded, who will naturally care for your state.

(Philippians 2:21) For all seek their own, not the things which are Jesus Christ's.

(Philippians 2:22) But ye know the proof of him, that, as a son with the father, he hath served with me in the gospel.

(Philippians 2:23) Him therefore I hope to send presently, so soon as I shall see how it will go with me.

Paul thinks he might hear the results of his fate soon, whether he will be released.

(Philippians 2:24) But I trust in the Lord that I also myself shall come shortly.

(Philippians 2:25) Yet I supposed it necessary to send to you Epaphroditus, my brother, and companion in labour, and fellowsoldier, but your messenger, and he that ministered to my wants.

Epaphroditus delivered this letter from Paul in Rome.

(Philippians 2:26) For he longed after you all, and was full of heaviness, because that ye had heard that he had been sick.

Evidence that Paul had been imprisoned in Rome for quite a while; it took a long time to communicate these messages back and forth.

While in Rome, Epaphroditus took sick. Notice that someone else journeyed to Philippi and informed them of this.

(Philippians 2:27) For indeed he was sick nigh unto death: but God had mercy on him; and not on him only, but on me also, lest I should have sorrow upon sorrow.

(Philippians 2:28) I sent him therefore the more carefully, that, when ye see him again, ye may rejoice, and that I may be the less sorrowful.

(Philippians 2:29) Receive him therefore in the Lord with all gladness; and hold such in reputation:

(Philippians 2:30) Because for the work of Christ he was nigh [nearly] unto death, not regarding his life, to supply your lack of service toward me.

They didn't take adequate care of Paul so Epaphroditus did it. Later in the letter Paul disingenuously pretends he doesn't need their help but wants them to be generous in giving for their own benefit.

(Philippians 3:1) Finally, my brethren, rejoice in the Lord. To write the same things to you, to me indeed is not grievous, but for you it is safe.

(Philippians 3:2) Beware of dogs, beware of evil workers, beware of the concision [those who mutilate the flesh].

A key role of church leaders is to stamp out false teaching. But when the teachers themselves can't be trusted to teach truth we are in big trouble. Sadly, the Church found itself in this situation for much of church history.

(Philippians 3:3) For we are the circumcision, which worship God in the spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh.

Paul uses the word circumcision figuratively referring to those whose sins are cut away by Christ.

Just as the Jews of the Mosaic Law did not earn their salvation via their rites and rituals and by following the law but required true love of God and hatred of sin, so also for Christians. This does not mean that observing rites and rituals and law is bad, only that no one is saved by works only.

(Philippians 3:4) Though I might also have confidence in the flesh. If any other man thinketh that he hath whereof he might trust in the flesh, I more:

Paul goes on to recite his pedigree as well as his religious achievements as a Jew.

(Philippians 3:5) Circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, an Hebrew of the Hebrews; as touching the law, a Pharisee;

(Philippians 3:6) Concerning zeal, persecuting the church; touching the righteousness which is in the law, blameless.

Paul was a violent man, perhaps having one of the psychological disorders involving anger and rage. He was never treated for this and I doubt his conversion changed him in this regard. Perhaps this is why he allowed himself to be imprisoned, as a sort of punishment from God to resolve his feeling of guilt. Perhaps he had psychological delusions about his role and therefore ignored the repeated warnings. We should be wary of his teaching because he might have included delusional ideas in it.

(Philippians 3:7) But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ.

(Philippians 3:8) Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ,

The things referred to as dung are all the works of the law which are not performed in faith. This verse does not teach the doctrine of total depravity. Nor does it teach that we must abandon ceremonies, rituals, holy days, traditions, etc. The Protestant Reformers felt they had to destroy everything and this idea still permeates Protestant-based Christianity today.

(Philippians 3:9) And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith:

(Philippians 3:10) That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death;

(Philippians 3:11) If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead.

(Philippians 3:12) Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus.

The word "perfect": Paul is not perfect based on his definition of the word; finally in the new heavens and new earth; now that is perfection!

(Philippians 3:13) Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before,

(Philippians 3:14) I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.

Living the Christian life requires striving toward a goal. In fact, the human condition involves striving; the eastern philosophical ideal that the goal is to empty our minds of all thoughts is unnatural and unhuman. Of course, too much stress and worry is unhealthful, physically, emotionally, psychologically, spiritually. Even in the new heavens and new earth we will still strive to reach goals.

Paul strives to achieve redemption. Works are a necessary ingredient for salvation.

The goal of life is nothing less than God himself. Just as humans are created in God's image so also we will one day be deified; Christ's adoption of human nature to be a part of God's nature will allow for us to share in the intimate relationship of the Trinity. We will be more than mere observers of God's working; we will share in the marriage supper of God.

(Philippians 3:15) Let us therefore, as many as be perfect, be thus minded: and if in any thing ye be otherwise minded, God shall reveal even this unto you.

The word "perfect" is the same word (different part of speech) as verse 12 above; there Paul says he is not perfect. All translations claim this word means, in verse 12, having arrived at a yet-future condition (Paul hasn't, presumably no one else has either) and, in verse 15, mature. Certainly the context supports this.

(Philippians 3:16) Nevertheless, whereto we have already attained, let us walk by the same rule, let us mind the same thing.

(Philippians 3:17) Brethren, be followers together of me, and mark them which walk so as ye have us for an ensample [example].

(Philippians 3:18) (For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ:

(Philippians 3:19) Whose end is destruction, whose God is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame, who mind earthly things.)

(Philippians 3:20) For our conversation [citizenship] is in heaven; from whence [where] also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ:

Our final destination is the new heavens and new earth. Some translations make it sound like we are now in heaven waiting for Jesus to return but this, of course, is absurd. Jesus is currently in heaven and will return from heaven. Before our death we wait for him from our human life having body in the physical realm and soul in the spiritual realm. After death we will wait for him with our soul only from the spiritual realm, perhaps from purgatory, perhaps from some higher place in the spiritual realm.

We are citizens of heaven, not because we will spend eternity there but, rather, because Jesus resides there. This question, often asked, is unbiblical: "If you were to die today would you end up in heaven?"

(Philippians 3:21) Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself.

(Philippians 4:1) Therefore, my brethren dearly beloved and longed for, my joy and crown, so stand fast in the Lord, my dearly beloved.

(Philippians 4:2) I beseech Euodias, and beseech Syntyche, that they be of the same mind in the Lord.

We are finally informed that the church at Philippi has strife and factions. Apparently, women had positions of authority and influence in the apostolic church.

(Philippians 4:3) 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.

If this Clement is the same Clement, bishop of Rome, who wrote the letter to the Corinthians it is interesting that he is mentioned here in the direct context of people creating strife and factions; this is the exact circumstance that prompted Clement to write his letter. I guess he learned from Paul the importance of addressing such concerns in the church.

(Philippians 4:4) Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice.

(Philippians 4:5) Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand.

(Philippians 4:6) Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.

(Philippians 4:7) And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

(Philippians 4:8) 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.

This verse provides the basis of my general non-participation in modern society; with TV, movies, video games, amusements, sports, the daily news, social events, advertising, even church gatherings. I don't want the impure words and ideas of the average person rattling around in my mind. I can't convince the world to adopt my approach but I can at least try to remain as pure as is possible. I don't think I am better than others; I just don't want to share in their ungodly ideas. Nor is my list of things to avoid in any way an absolute list that holds true for everyone.

We are to seek truth, honesty, justice, purity, beauty, goodness, virtue, praise. We are to think of these things. Doing this is just as important an aspect of the Christian life as going to church, reading the Bible, and praying. This is the often neglected practice of virtue.

(Philippians 4:9) 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.

(Philippians 4:10) But I rejoiced in the Lord greatly, that now at the last your care [concern] of me hath flourished again; wherein ye were also careful [concerned], but ye lacked opportunity.

Paul probably had to pay his own expenses to avoid being cast into the dungeons and this is why the various churches sent delegates with money from time to time. If this happened he would likely die quickly and would certainly have no access to outsiders so necessary for his active letter writing and preaching.

(Philippians 4:11) Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.

(Philippians 4:12) 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.

(Philippians 4:13) I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.

This does not say that Paul can do anything, rather, it says that everything he must endure, he does through the strength Christ gives him. The word "all" is commonly misinterpreted. The word-faith health-wealth teachers pull this verse out of context to "prove" that through faith in Christ, we can do absolutely anything and everything our hearts desire. Even fundamentalist evangelical Protestants often get excited about this verse and start jumping up and down. They seem to ignore that Paul is saying this in response to his having to endure great hardship. To be true to the context, people should quote this verse the next time they can't afford food and have no shelter. Then they should say, "I can keep from becoming depressed during this present situation because Christ strengthens me". I think this is closer to what Paul is actually saying.

(Philippians 4:14) Notwithstanding ye have well done, that ye did communicate [share] with my affliction.

(Philippians 4:15) Now ye Philippians know also, that in the beginning of the gospel, when I departed from Macedonia, no church communicated [shared] with me as concerning giving and receiving, but ye only.

(Philippians 4:16) For even in Thessalonica ye sent once and again unto my necessity.

(Philippians 4:17) Not because I desire a gift: but I desire fruit that may abound to your account.

Earlier in the letter Paul rebukes them for not helping him adequately. He is being disingenuous pretending he doesn't need their help. I wouldn't want to work with someone like that.

(Philippians 4:18) 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.

The Philippians sent gifts to Paul delivered by Epaphroditus. Paul calls these gifts a sacrifice pleasing to God.

(Philippians 4:19) But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.

(Philippians 4:20) Now unto God and our Father be glory for ever and ever. Amen.

(Philippians 4:21) Salute every saint in Christ Jesus. The brethren which are with me greet you.

(Philippians 4:22) All the saints salute you, chiefly [especially] they that are of Caesar's household.

(Philippians 4:23) The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.

King James Version