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1Therefore, my brothers and sisters, whom I love and long for, my joy and crown, stand firm in the Lord in this way, my beloved.


2 I urge Euodia and I urge Syntyche to be of the same mind in the Lord. 3Yes, and I ask you also, my loyal companion, help these women, for they have struggled beside me in the work of the gospel, together with Clement and the rest of my co-workers, whose names are in the book of life.

4 Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. 5Let your gentleness be known to everyone. The Lord is near. 6Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.


8 Finally, beloved, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is pleasing, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. 9Keep on doing the things that you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, and the God of peace will be with you.

Acknowledgment of the Philippians’ Gift

10 I rejoice in the Lord greatly that now at last you have revived your concern for me; indeed, you were concerned for me, but had no opportunity to show it. 11Not that I am referring to being in need; for I have learned to be content with whatever I have. 12I know what it is to have little, and I know what it is to have plenty. In any and all circumstances I have learned the secret of being well-fed and of going hungry, of having plenty and of being in need. 13I can do all things through him who strengthens me. 14In any case, it was kind of you to share my distress.

15 You Philippians indeed know that in the early days of the gospel, when I left Macedonia, no church shared with me in the matter of giving and receiving, except you alone. 16For even when I was in Thessalonica, you sent me help for my needs more than once. 17Not that I seek the gift, but I seek the profit that accumulates to your account. 18I have been paid in full and have more than enough; I am fully satisfied, now that I have received from Epaphroditus the gifts you sent, a fragrant offering, a sacrifice acceptable and pleasing to God. 19And my God will fully satisfy every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus. 20To our God and Father be glory forever and ever. Amen.


Final Greetings and Benediction

21 Greet every saint in Christ Jesus. The friends who are with me greet you. 22All the saints greet you, especially those of the emperor’s household.

23 The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit.

5 Your moderation This may be explained in two ways. We may understand him as bidding them rather give up their right, than that any one should have occasion to complain of their sharpness or severity. Let all that have to deal with you have experience of your equity and humanity.” In this way to know, will mean to experience. Or we may understand him as exhorting them to endure all things with equanimity. 228228     “En douceur et patience;” — “With sweetness and patience.” This latter meaning I rather prefer; for is a term that is made use of by the Greeks themselves to denote moderation of spirit — when we are not easily moved by injuries, when we are not easily annoyed by adversity, but retain equanimity of temper. In accordance with this, Cicero makes use of the following expression, — “My mind is tranquil, which takes everything in good part.” 229229     “TranquilIus animus meus, qui aequi boni facit omnia.” Calvin here gives the sense, but not the precise words, of Cicero, which are as follows: “Tranquillissimus autem animus meus, qui totm istuc aequi boni facit;” — “My mind, however, is most tranquil, which takes all that in good part.” See Cic. Art.7,7. — Ed. Such equanimity — which is as it were the mother of patience — he requires here on the part of the Philippians, and, indeed, such as will manifest itself to all, according as occasion will require, by producing its proper effects. The term modesty does not seem appropriate here, because Paul is not in this passage cautioning them against haughty insolence, but directs them to conduct themselves peaceably in everything, and exercise control over themselves, even in the endurance of injuries or inconveniences.

The Lord is at hand Here we have an anticipation, by which he obviates an objection that might be brought forward. For carnal sense rises in opposition to the foregoing statement. For as the rage of the wicked is the more inflamed in proportion to our mildness, 230230     “D’autant plus que nous-nous monstrons gracieux et debonnaires;” — “The more that we show ourselves agreeable and gentle.” and the more they see us prepared for enduring, are the more emboldened to inflict injuries, we are with difficulty induced to possess our souls in patience. (Luke 21:19.) Hence those proverbs, — “We must howl when among wolves.” “Those who act like sheep will quickly be devoured by wolves.” Hence we conclude, that the ferocity of the wicked must be repressed by corresponding violence, that they may not insult us with impunity. 231231     “Afin qu’ils ne s’esleuent point a l’encontre de nous a leur plaisir et sans resistance;” — “That they may not rise up against us at their pleasure, and without resistance.” To such considerations Paul here opposes confidence in Divine providence. He replies, I say, that the Lord is at hand, whose power can overcome their audacity, and whose goodness can conquer their malice. He promises that he will aid us, provided we obey his commandment. Now, who would not rather be protected by the hand of God alone, than have all the resources of the world at his command?

Here we have a most beautiful sentiment, from which we learn, in the first place, that ignorance of the providence of God is the cause of all impatience, and that this is the reason why we are so quickly, and on trivial accounts, thrown into confusion, 232232     “Que nous sommes tout incontinent et pour vn rien troublez et esmeus;” — “That we are all at once and for nothing troubled and moved.” and often, too, become disheartened because we do not recognize the fact that the Lord cares for us. On the other hand, we learn that this is the only remedy for tranquillizing our minds — when we repose unreservedly in his providential care, as knowing that we are not exposed either to the rashness of fortune, or to the caprice of the wicked, 233233     “Ni au plaisir desborde des meschans;” — “Nor to the unbridled inclination of the wicked.” but are under the regulation of God’s fatherly care. In fine, the man that is in possession of this truth, that God is present with him, has what he may rest upon with security.

There are, however, two ways in which the Lord is said to be at hand — either because his judgment is at hand, or because he is prepared to give help to his own people, in which sense it is made use of here; and also in Psalm 145:18, The Lord is near to all that call upon him. The meaning therefore is, — “Miserable were the condition of the pious, if the Lord were at a distance from them.” But as he has received them under his protection and guardianship, and defends them by his hand, which is everywhere present, let them rest upon this consideration, that they may not be intimidated by the rage of the wicked. It is well known, and matter of common occurrence, that the term solicitudo (carefulness) is employed to denote that anxiety which proceeds from distrust of Divine power or help.

6 But in all things It is the singular number that is made use of by Paul, but is the neuter gender; the expression, therefore, is equivalent to omni negotio, (in every matter,) for (prayer) and (supplication) are feminine nouns. In these words he exhorts the Philippians, as David does all the pious in Psalm 55:22, and Peter also in 1 Peter 5:7, to cast all their care upon the Lord. For we are not made of iron, 234234     “Car nous ne sommes de fer ni d’acier (comme on dit) ne si insensibles;” — “For we are not of iron nor steel, as they say, nor so insensible.” so as not to be shaken by temptations. But this is our consolation, this is our solace — to deposit, or (to speak with greater propriety) to disburden in the bosom of God everything that harasses us. Confidence, it is true, brings tranquillity to our minds, but it is only in the event of our exercising ourselves in prayers. Whenever, therefore, we are assailed by any temptation, let us betake ourselves forthwith to prayer, as to a sacred asylum. 235235     “Comme a vne franchise;” — “As to a privilege.”

The term requests he employs here to denote desires or wishes. He would have us make these known to God by prayer and supplication, as though believers poured forth their hearts before God, when they commit themselves, and all that they have, to Him. Those, indeed, who look hither and thither to the vain comforts of the world, may appear to be in some degree relieved; but there is one sure refuge — leaning upon the Lord.

With thanksgiving As many often pray to God amiss, 236236     “Autrement qu’ils ne doyuent;” — “Otherwise than they ought.” full of complaints or of murmurings, as though they had just ground for accusing him, while others cannot brook delay, if he does not immediately gratify their desires, Paul on this account conjoins thanksgiving with prayers. It is as though he had said, that those things which are necessary for us ought to be desired by us from the Lord in such a way, that we, nevertheless, subject our affections to his good pleasure, and give thanks while presenting petitions. And, unquestionably, gratitude 237237     “La recognoissance des benefices de Dieu;” — “Gratitude for God’s benefits.” will have this effect upon us — that the will of God will be the grand sum of our desires.

7. And the peace of God Some, by turning the future tense into the optative mood, convert this statement into a prayer, but it is without proper foundation. For it is a promise in which he points out the advantage of a firm confidence in God, and invocation of him. “If you do that,” says he, “the peace of God will keep your minds and hearts.” Scripture is accustomed to divide the soul of man, as to its frailties, into two parts — the mind and the heart. The mind means the understanding, while the heart denotes all the disposition or inclinations. These two terms, therefore, include the entire soul, in this sense, — “The peace of God will guard you, so as to prevent you from turning back from God in wicked thoughts or desires.”

It is on good ground that he calls it the peace of God, inasmuch as it does not depend on the present aspect of things, 238238     “De ces basses;” — “Of these low things.” and does not bend itself to the various shiftings of the world, 239239     “N’est point en branle pour chanceler selon les changemens diuers du monde;” — “Is not in suspense so as to turn about according to the various shiftings of the world.” but is founded on the firm and immutable word of God. It is on good grounds, also, that he speaks of it as surpassing all understanding or perception, for nothing is more foreign to the human mind, than in the depth of despair to exercise, nevertheless, a feeling of hope, in the depth of poverty to see opulence, and in the depth of weakness to keep from giving way, and, in fine, to promise ourselves that nothing will be wanting to us when we are left destitute of all things; and all this in the grace of God alone, which is not itself known otherwise than through the word, and the inward earnest of the Spirit.

8. Finally What follows consists of general exhortations which relate to the whole of life. In the first place, he commends truth, which is nothing else than the integrity of a good conscience, with the fruits of it: secondly, gravity, or sanctity, for τὸ σεμνόν 240240     The word σεμνὸν means that which has dignity connected with it. Hence σεμνὸς and μεγαλοπρεπη; are joined together by Aristotle, as quoted by Wetstein, and in 2 Macc. 8:15.” — Storr. See Biblical Cabinet, vol. 40, p. 178, note;Ed. denotes both — an excellence which consists in this, that we walk in a manner worthy of our vocation, (Ephesians 4:1,) keeping at a distance from all profane filthiness: thirdly, justice, which has to do with the mutual intercourse of mankind — that we do not injure any one, that we do not defraud any one; and, fourthly, purity, which denotes chastity in every department of life. Paul, however, does not reckon all these things to be sufficient, if we do not at the same time endeavor to make ourselves agreeable to all, in so far as we may lawfully do so in the Lord, and have regard also to our good name. For it is in this way that I understand the words —

If any praise, 241241     “The Clermont copy reads here, εἴ τις ἔπαινος, If there be any praise of knowledge. Instead of ἐπιστήμης, the Valesian readings have παιδείες, with which the Vulg. Latin, agrees, reading, If there be any praise of discipline, (disciplinae,) as does also the Ethiopic, and two ancient Commentators mentioned by Dr. Mills.”Pierce.Ed. that is, anything praiseworthy, for amidst such a corruption of manners there is so great a perversity in men’s judgments that praise is often bestowed 242242     “Bien souuent on loue;” — “Very frequently they praise.” upon what is blameworthy, and it is not allowable for Christians to be desirous even of true praise among men, inasmuch as they are elsewhere forbidden to glory, except in God alone. (1 Corinthians 1:31.) Paul, therefore, does not bid them try to gain applause or commendation by virtuous actions, nor even to regulate their life according to the judgments of the people, but simply means, that they should devote themselves to the performance of good works, which merit commendation, that the wicked, and those who are enemies of the gospel, while they deride Christians and cast reproach upon them, may, nevertheless, be constrained to commend their deportment.

The word, προσφιλὢ καὶ εὔφημα however, among the Greeks, is employed, like cogitare among the Latins, to mean, meditate. 243243     Like the Latin terms cogitare, meditari, the Greek μελετᾷν signifies to contemplate a thing, with the view of, finding means for effecting it. ... According to this view, ταῦτα λογίζεσθε, in the passage before us, will be equivalent to ταῦτα ποιεῖν λογίζεσθε, ‘think to do these things,’ — ‘give diligence to do them.’”Storr. See Biblical Cabinet, vol. 40, p. 180 Note.Ed. Now meditation comes first, afterwards follows action.

9. What things ye have learned, and received, and heard By this accumulation of terms he intimates, that he was assiduous in inculcating these things. “This was my doctrine — my instruction — my discourse among you.” Hypocrites, on the other hand, insisted upon nothing but ceremonies. Now, it was a dishonorable thing to abandon the holy instruction, 244244     “C’eust este vne chose dishonneste aux Philippiens de delaisser la sainte doctrine et instruction;” — “It would have been a dishonorable thing for the Philipplans to abandon the holy doctrine and instruction.” which they had wholly imbibed, and with which they had been thorouglly imbued.

You have seen in me Now, the main thing in a public speaker 245245     “En vn prescheur;” — “In a preacher.” should be, that he may speak, not with his mouth merely, but by his life, and procure authority for his doctrine by rectitude of life. Paul, accordingly, procures authority for his exhortation on this ground, that he had, by his life no less than by his mouth, been a leader and master of virtues.

And the God of peace He had spoken of the peace of God; he now more particularly confirms what he had said, by promising that God himself, the Author of peace, will be with them. For the presence of God brings us every kind of blessing: as though he had said, that they would feel that God was present with them to make all things turn out well and prosperously, provided they apply themselves to pious and holy actions.

10 But I rejoiced He now declares the gratitude of his mind towards the Philippians, that they may not regret their beneficence, 246246     “Afin qu’ils ne se repentent point de luy auoir assiste;” — “That they may not regret their having assisted him.” as is usually the case when we think that our services are despised, or are reckoned of no account. They had sent him by Epaphroditus supplies for the relief of his necessity; he declares that their present had been acceptable to him, and he says, that he rejoiced that they had plucked up new vigor so as to exercise care respecting him. The metaphor is borrowed from trees, the strength of which is drawn inward, and lies concealed during winter, and begins to flourish 247247     “A reprendre vigueur et fleurir;” — “To recover strength and flourish.” in spring. But immediately afterwards subjoining a correction, he qualifies what he had said, that he may not seem to reprove their negligence in the past. He says, therefore, that they had formerly, too, been concerned respecting him, but that the circumstances of the times had not admitted of his being sooner relieved by their benignity. Thus he throws the blame upon the want of opportunity. I take the phrase ἐφ᾿ ᾧ᾿ as referring to the person of Paul, and that is its proper signification, as well as more in accordance with the connection of Paul’s words.

11 Not that I speak with respect to want Here we have a second correction, by which he guards against its being suspected that his spirit was pusillanimous and broken down by adversities. For it was of importance that his constancy and moderation should be known by the Philippians, to whom he was a pattern of life. Accordingly he declares, that he had been gratified by their liberality in such a way that he could at the same time endure want with patience. Want refers here to disposition, for that man can never be poor in mind, who is satisfied with the lot which has been assigned to him by God.

In what state I am, says he, that is, “Whatever my condition may be, I am satisfied with it.” Why? because saints know that they thus please God. Hence they do not measure sufficiency by abundance, but by the will of God, which they judge of by what takes place, for they are persuaded that their affairs are regulated by his providence and good pleasure.

12 I know both how to be abased There follows here a distinction, with the view of intimating that he has a mind adapted to bear any kind of condition. 248248     “Il fait yci vne diuision, disant qu’il est tellement dispose en son coeur qu’il scait se cornporter et en prosperite et en adversite;” — “He makes a distinction here, saying that he is prepared in his mind in such a manner, that he knows how to conduct himself both in prosperity and in adversity.” Prosperity is wont to puff up the mind beyond measure, and adversity, on the other hand, to depress. From both faults he declares himself to be free. I know, says he, to be abased — that is, to endure abasement with patience. Περισσεύειν is made use of twice, but in the former instance it is employed as meaning, to excel; in the second instance as meaning, to abound, so as to correspond with the things to which they are exposed. If a man knows to make use of present abundance in a sober and temperate manner, with thanksgiving, prepared to part with everything whenever it may be the good pleasure of the Lord, giving also a share to his brother, according to the measure of his ability, and is also not puffed up, that man has learned to excel, and to abound. This is a peculiarly excellent and rare virtue, and much superior to the endurance of poverty. Let all who wish to be Christ’s disciples exercise themselves in acquiring this knowledge which was possessed by Paul, but in the mean time let them accustom themselves to the endurance of poverty in such a manner that it will not be grievous and burdensome to them when they come to be deprived of their riches.

13 I can do all things through Christ As he had boasted of things that were very great, 249249     “De choses grandes et excellentes;” — “Of things great and excellent.” in order that this might not be attributed to pride or furnish others with occasion of foolish boasting, he adds, that it is by Christ that he is endowed with this fortitude. “I can do all things,” says he, “but it is in Christ, not by my own power, for it is Christ that supplies me with strength.” Hence we infer, that Christ will not be less strong and invincible in us also, if, conscious of our own weakness, we place reliance upon his power alone. When he says all things, he means merely those things which belong to his calling.

14 Nevertheless ye did well How prudently and cautiously he acts, looking round carefully in both directions, that he may not lean too much to the one side or to the other. By proclaiming in magnificent terms his steadfastness, he meant to provide against the Philippians supposing that he had given way under the pressure of want. 250250     “Qu’il fust abbattu, et eust perdu courage estant en indigence;” — “That he had been overcome, and had lost heart, being in poverty.” He now takes care that it may not, from his speaking in high terms, appear as though he despised their kindness — a thing that would not merely shew cruelty and obstinacy, but also haughtiness. He at the same time provides for this, that if any other of the servants of Christ should stand in need of their assistance they may not be slow to give him help.

15 And ye know I understand this to have been added by way of excuse, inasmuch as he often received something from them, for if the other Churches had discharged their duty, it might have seemed as though he were too eager to receive. Hence in clearing himself he praises them, and in praising them he modestly excuses others. We must also, after Paul’s example, take heed lest the pious, on seeing us too much inclined to receive from others, should on good grounds reckon us to be insatiable. You also know, says he. “I do not require to call in other witnesses, for ye yourselves also know.” For it frequently happens, that when one thinks that others are deficient in duty, he is the more liberal in giving assistance. Thus the liberality of some escapes the notice of others.

In the matter of giving and receiving He alludes to pecuniary matters, in which there are two parts, the one receiving, the other expending. It is necessary that these should be brought to an equality by mutual compensation. There was an account of this nature carried on between Paul and the Churches. 251251     Il y auoit quelque telle condition et conuenance entre Sainct Paul et les Eglises;” — “There was some such condition and correspondence between St. Paul and the Churches.” While Paul administered the gospel to them, there was an obligation devolving upon them in return for supplying what was necessary for the support of his life, as he says elsewhere,

If we dispense to you spiritual thinqs, is it a great matter if you give in return carnal things? (1 Corinthians 9:11.)

Hence, if the other churches had relieved Paul’s necessities, they would have been giving nothing gratuitously, but would have been simply paying their debt, for they ought to have acknowledged themselves indebted to him for the gospel. This, however, he acknowledges, had not been the case, inasmuch as they had not laid out anything on his account. What base ingratitude, and how very unseemly, to treat such an Apostle with neglect, to whom they knew themselves to be under obligation beyond their power to discharge! On the other hand, how great the forbearance of this holy man, to bear with their inhumanity with so much gentleness and indulgence, as not to make use of one sharp word by way of accusing them!

17. Not that I demand a gift. Again he repels an unfavourable opinion that might be formed of immoderate cupidity, that they might not suppose that it was an indirect hint, 252252     “Pour les induire a continuer;” — “To induce them to hold on.” as if they ought singly to stand in the room of all, 253253     “Comme si eux deussent tenir la place de tous, et faire pour les autres;” — “As if they ought to hold the place of all, and to act in the room of others.” and as if he abused their kindness. He accordingly declares, that he consulted not so much his own advantage as theirs. “While I receive from you,” says he, “there is proportionably much advantage that redounds to yourselves; for there are just so many articles that you may reckon to have been transferred to the table of accounts.” The meaning of this word 254254     Calvin evidently refers to the word λόγον, (account,) which the Apostle had made use of in the fifteenth verse, in the phrase εἰς λόγον δόσεω; καὶ λήψεω;, (in the matter of giving and receiving.) It is noticed by Beza, that the Rabbins make use of a corresponding phrase אשמו ןחמ (mattan umassa)giving and taking.Ed. is connected with the similitude formerly employed of exchange or compensation in pecuniary matters.

18 I have received all things, and abound He declares in more explicit terms, that he has what is sufficient, and honors their liberality with a remarkable testimony, by saying, that he has been filled. It was undoubtedly a moderate sum that they had sent, but he says, that by means of that moderate sum he is filled to satiety. It is, however, a more distinguished commendation that he bestows upon the gift in what follows, when he calls it a sacrifice acceptable, and presented as the odour of a good fragrance For what better thing can be desired than that our acts of kindness should be sacred offerings, which God receives from our hands, and takes pleasure in their sweet odour? For the same reason Christ says, Whatsoever ye shall have done unto one of the least of these, ye have done it unto me.

The similitude of sacrifices, however, adds much emphasis, by which we are taught, that the exercise of love which God enjoins upon us, is not merely a benefit conferred upon man, but is also a spiritual and sacred service which is performed to God, as we read in the Epistle to the Hebrews, that he is well pleased with such sacrifices. (Hebrews 13:16.) Alas for our indolence! 255255     “Or maudite soit nostre paresse;” — “But accursed be our indolence.” — which appears in this, that while God invites us with so much kindness to the honor of priesthood, and even puts sacrifices in our hands, we nevertheless do not sacrifice to him, and those things which were set apart for sacred oblations we not only lay out for profane uses, but squander them wickedly upon the most polluted contaminations. 256256     “Les consumons prodigalement et meschamment en choses infames et abominables;” — “We lay them out lavishly and wickedly on things infamous and abominable.” For the altars, on which sacrifices from our resources ought to be presented, are the poor, and the servants of Christ. To the neglect of these some squander their resources on every kind of luxury, others upon the palate, others upon immodest attire, others upon magnificent dwellings. 257257     “Les vns dependent tout leur bien en toutes de dissolutions, les autres en gouermandise et yurognerie, les autres en brauetes excessiues, les autres a bastir des palais somptueux;” — “Some lay out all their wealth on all kinds of luxuries, others on eating and drinking, others superfluous elegance of dress, others in building sumptuous palaces.”

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