To the Philippians 2:1-30

2  If, then, there is any encouragement in Christ, if any consolation of love, if any spiritual fellowship, if any tender affection and compassion,+  make my joy full by being of the same mind and having the same love, being completely united, having the one thought in mind.+  Do nothing out of contentiousness+ or out of egotism,+ but with humility consider others superior to you,+  as you look out not only for your own interests,+ but also for the interests of others.+  Keep this mental attitude in you that was also in Christ Jesus,+  who, although he was existing in God’s form,+ gave no consideration to a seizure, namely, that he should be equal to God.+  No, but he emptied himself and took a slave’s form+ and became human.*+  More than that, when he came as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to the point of death,+ yes, death on a torture stake.+  For this very reason, God exalted him to a superior position+ and kindly gave him the name that is above every other name,+ 10  so that in the name of Jesus every knee should bend—of those in heaven and those on earth and those under the ground+ 11  and every tongue should openly acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord+ to the glory of God the Father. 12  Consequently, my beloved ones, just as you have always obeyed, not only during my presence but now much more readily during my absence, keep working out your own salvation with fear and trembling. 13  For God is the one who for the sake of his good pleasure energizes you, giving you both the desire and the power to act.+ 14  Keep doing all things free from murmuring+ and arguments,+ 15  so that you may come to be blameless and innocent, children of God+ without a blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation,+ among whom you are shining as illuminators in the world,+ 16  keeping a tight grip on the word of life.+ Then I may have reason for rejoicing in Christ’s day,+ knowing that I did not run in vain or work hard in vain. 17  However, even if I am being poured out like a drink offering+ on the sacrifice+ and the holy service to which your faith has led you, I am glad and I rejoice with all of you. 18  In the same way, you also should be glad and rejoice with me. 19  Now I am hoping in the Lord Jesus to send Timothy+ to you shortly, so that I may be encouraged when I receive news about you. 20  For I have no one else of a disposition like his who will genuinely care for your concerns.+ 21  For all the others are seeking their own interests, not those of Jesus Christ. 22  But you know the proof he gave of himself, that like a child+ with a father he slaved with me to advance the good news. 23  Therefore, he is the one I am hoping to send just as soon as I see how things turn out for me. 24  Indeed, I am confident* in the Lord that I myself will also come soon.+ 25  But for now I consider it necessary to send to you E·paph·ro·diʹtus, my brother and fellow worker and fellow soldier, and your envoy and personal servant for my need,+ 26  since he is longing to see all of you and is depressed because you heard he had fallen sick. 27  Indeed, he did fall sick nearly to the point of death; but God had mercy on him, in fact, not only on him but also on me, so that I should not have one grief after another. 28  Therefore, I am sending him with the greatest urgency, so that when you see him you may again rejoice and I may also be less anxious. 29  So give him the customary welcome in the Lord with all joy, and keep holding men of that sort dear,+ 30  because he nearly died on account of the work of Christ, risking his life in order to make up for your not being here to render personal service to me.+

Footnotes

Lit., “came to be in the likeness of humans.”
Or “I trust.”

Study Notes

encouragement: Or “exhortation.” The Greek noun pa·raʹkle·sis, literally “a calling to one’s side,” often conveys the meaning “encouragement” (Ac 13:15; Php 2:1) or “comfort” (Ro 15:4; 2Co 1:3, 4; 2Th 2:16). As the alternative rendering indicates, this term and the related verb pa·ra·ka·leʹo, used in this verse, can also convey the idea of “exhortation,” and it is in some contexts rendered that way in the main text. (1Th 2:3; 1Ti 4:13; Heb 12:5) The fact that these Greek terms can convey all three meanings​—exhortation, comfort, and encouragement​—would indicate that a Christian should never exhort someone in a harsh or unkind way.

encourages and consoles: The Greek words pa·raʹkle·sis (translated “encourages”) and pa·ra·my·thiʹa (translated “consoles”) both convey the idea of “encouragement,” but the word pa·ra·my·thiʹa denotes an even greater degree of tenderness and comfort. The related verb pa·ra·my·theʹo·mai is used at Joh 11:19, 31 regarding the Jews who went to console Mary and Martha after the death of their brother, Lazarus.​—See also 1Th 5:14, where the verb is rendered “speak consolingly.”

to associating together: Or “to sharing with one another.” The basic meaning of the Greek word koi·no·niʹa is “sharing; fellowship.” Paul used this word several times in his letters. (1Co 1:9; 10:16; 2Co 6:14; 13:14) The context of this passage shows that this fellowship involves close friendship rather than just casual acquaintance.

being completely united: The Greek word used here (synʹpsy·khos) is composed of syn (with; together) and psy·kheʹ, sometimes rendered “soul,” and could be rendered “united (joined together) in soul.” Paul uses this expression and several others in this context to emphasize that the Philippian Christians were to strive for unity.​—See study note on Php 2:1.

one: Or “at unity.” Jesus prayed that his true followers would be “one,” unitedly working together for the same purpose, just as he and his Father are “one,” demonstrating cooperation and unity of thought. (Joh 17:22) At 1Co 3:6-9, Paul describes this type of unity among Christian ministers as they work with one another and with God.​—See 1Co 3:8 and study notes on Joh 10:30; 17:11.

tender affections: The Greek term used here, splagkhʹnon, refers in a literal sense to the inward parts of the body. At Ac 1:18, it is rendered “insides [intestines].” In this context (2Co 6:12), the word refers to deeply felt, intense emotions. It is one of the strongest words in Greek for the feeling of compassion.

encouragement . . . consolation: Paul here uses two Greek nouns that have a similar meaning. The word rendered “encouragement” (pa·raʹkle·sis) is broad in meaning. It can be rendered “encouragement,” as here and elsewhere (Ac 13:15; Heb 6:18), “exhortation” (1Th 2:3; 1Ti 4:13; Heb 12:5), or “comfort” (Ro 15:4; 2Co 1:3, 4; 2Th 2:16). (See study note on Ro 12:8.) The other Greek word (pa·ra·myʹthi·on), rendered “consolation,” comes from a Greek verb meaning “to console; to cheer up” or “to speak to someone in a positive, benevolent way.” (Compare study note on 1Co 14:3.) Paul seems to suggest that if the Philippians encourage and console one another, they will strengthen the bond of unity in the congregation.​—Php 2:2.

any spiritual fellowship: Or “any sharing of spirit.” This expression refers to a close relationship involving mutual interests and sharing. (See study note on Ac 2:42, where the Greek word for “sharing; fellowship” is discussed.) In this and the following verse, Paul suggests that when Christians pursue spiritual goals together and work in harmony with the direction of God’s holy spirit, they develop a unity that the world cannot disrupt. (See study note on Php 2:2.) One Bible dictionary comments on the Greek word as used in this verse: “Such sharing requires a mindset that esteems others over oneself.”​—2Co 13:14; see study note on Joh 17:21.

tender affection: In this context, the Greek term splagkhʹnon refers to deeply felt, intense emotions.​—See study note on 2Co 6:12.

any spiritual fellowship: Or “any sharing of spirit.” This expression refers to a close relationship involving mutual interests and sharing. (See study note on Ac 2:42, where the Greek word for “sharing; fellowship” is discussed.) In this and the following verse, Paul suggests that when Christians pursue spiritual goals together and work in harmony with the direction of God’s holy spirit, they develop a unity that the world cannot disrupt. (See study note on Php 2:2.) One Bible dictionary comments on the Greek word as used in this verse: “Such sharing requires a mindset that esteems others over oneself.”​—2Co 13:14; see study note on Joh 17:21.

being completely united: The Greek word used here (synʹpsy·khos) is composed of syn (with; together) and psy·kheʹ, sometimes rendered “soul,” and could be rendered “united (joined together) in soul.” Paul uses this expression and several others in this context to emphasize that the Philippian Christians were to strive for unity.​—See study note on Php 2:1.

Let us not become egotistical: After contrasting “the works of the flesh” with “the fruitage of the spirit” (Ga 5:19-23), Paul adds the admonition found in this verse. The Greek word rendered “egotistical” (ke·noʹdo·xos) literally conveys the idea of “empty glory; vainglory.” It occurs only here in the Christian Greek Scriptures. One lexicon defines it as “having exaggerated self-conceptions, conceited, boastful.” This suggests a strong desire to receive praise from others for valueless, empty reasons. A related Greek word is rendered “egotism” at Php 2:3.

humility: This quality involves freedom from pride or arrogance. Humility is manifested in the way a person views himself in relation to God and others. It is not a weakness but a state of mind that is pleasing to God. Christians who are truly humble can work together in unity. (Eph 4:2; Php 2:3; Col 3:12; 1Pe 5:5) In the Christian Greek Scriptures, the word ta·pei·no·phro·syʹne, here translated “humility,” is drawn from the words ta·pei·noʹo, “to make low,” and phren, “the mind.” It could therefore literally be rendered “lowliness of mind.” The related term ta·pei·nosʹ is rendered “lowly” (Mt 11:29) and “humble ones” (Jas 4:6; 1Pe 5:5).​—See study note on Mt 11:29.

egotism: An exaggerated opinion of self.​—See study note on Ga 5:26, where a related Greek word is rendered “egotistical.”

humility: Or “lowliness of mind.”​—See study note on Ac 20:19.

consider others superior to you: Or “consider others more important than yourselves.”​—Ro 12:3; 1Co 10:24; Php 2:4.

Keep this mental attitude in you: Or “Have this way of thinking in you.” The context shows that Jesus’ attitude was one of humility.​—Php 2:3, 4.

God is a Spirit: The Greek word pneuʹma is used here in the sense of a spirit person, or being. (See Glossary, “Spirit.”) The Scriptures show that God, the glorified Jesus, and the angels are spirits. (1Co 15:45; 2Co 3:17; Heb 1:14) A spirit has a form of life that differs greatly from that of humans, and it is invisible to human eyes. Spirit beings have a body, “a spiritual one,” that is far superior to “a physical body.” (1Co 15:44; Joh 1:18) Although Bible writers speak of God as having a face, eyes, ears, hands, and so forth, such descriptions are figures of speech to help humans understand what God is like. The Scriptures clearly show that God has a personality. He also exists in a location beyond the physical realm; so Christ could speak of “going to the Father.” (Joh 16:28) At Heb 9:24, Christ is said to enter “into heaven itself, so that he . . . appears before God on our behalf.”

although he was existing in God’s form: The Greek expression rendered “form” (mor·pheʹ) basically refers to “nature; appearance; shape; likeness.” Jesus was a spirit person just as “God is a Spirit.” (Joh 4:24 and study note) The same Greek term is used of Jesus’ taking “a slave’s form” when he “became flesh,” or became a human.​—Joh 1:14.

gave no consideration to a seizure, namely, that he should be equal to God: Or “did not regard equality with God as something to be seized (grasped).” Paul here encourages the Philippians to cultivate an outstanding attitude like that of Jesus. At Php 2:3, Paul tells them: “With humility consider others superior to you.” In verse 5, he continues: “Keep this mental attitude in you that was also in Christ Jesus.” Jesus, who considered God to be superior, never ‘grasped for equality with God.’ Instead, he “humbled himself and became obedient to the point of death.” (Php 2:8; Joh 5:30; 14:28; 1Co 15:24-28) Jesus’ view was not like that of the Devil, who urged Eve to make herself like God, to be equal to Him. (Ge 3:5) Jesus perfectly exemplified Paul’s point here​—namely, the importance of humility and obedience to the Creator, Jehovah God.​—See study note on a seizure in this verse.

a seizure: Or “a thing to be seized.” Lit., “a snatching.” The Greek noun used here (har·pag·mosʹ) is derived from the verb har·paʹzo, which has the basic meaning “to seize; to snatch.” Some have suggested that this term refers to retaining something already possessed. However, the Scriptures never use the Greek term to mean the holding on to something already in one’s possession. Rather, it is often rendered “seize” or “snatch (away)” or by other such expressions. (Mt 11:12; 12:29; 13:19; Joh 6:15; 10:12, 28, 29; Ac 8:39; 23:10; 2Co 12:2, 4; 1Th 4:17; Jude 23; Re 12:5) If Jesus “gave no consideration” to seizing equality with God, it must be that he was never equal to God.

he emptied himself: The Greek word rendered “emptied” literally means to remove the content of something. Here Paul uses the word figuratively with reference to Jesus, who gave up his spirit nature in order to live and suffer as a human on earth. Unlike angels who at times clothed themselves with fleshly bodies in order to appear to humans, Jesus completely relinquished his spirit body along with the glory and privileges associated with it. No human has ever sacrificed anything that comes close to what Jesus gave up in order to please God.

although he was existing in God’s form: The Greek expression rendered “form” (mor·pheʹ) basically refers to “nature; appearance; shape; likeness.” Jesus was a spirit person just as “God is a Spirit.” (Joh 4:24 and study note) The same Greek term is used of Jesus’ taking “a slave’s form” when he “became flesh,” or became a human.​—Joh 1:14.

when he came as a man: Lit., “when he was found in appearance as a man (human).”​—See study note on Php 2:6.

a torture stake: Or “an execution stake.” Jesus gave the most powerful lesson in humility and obedience by willingly submitting to “death on a torture stake,” wrongly condemned as a criminal and a blasphemer. (Mt 26:63-66; Lu 23:33; see Glossary, “Stake”; “Torture stake.”) He proved beyond a doubt that humans can remain loyal to Jehovah even when tested to the extreme.​—Joh 5:30; 10:17; Heb 12:2.

divine favor: Or “undeserved kindness.” The Greek word khaʹris occurs more than 150 times in the Christian Greek Scriptures and conveys different shades of meaning, depending on the context. When referring to the undeserved kindness that God shows toward humans, the word describes a free gift given generously by God with no expectation of repayment. It is an expression of God’s bounteous giving and generous love and kindness that the recipient has done nothing to merit or earn; it is motivated solely by the generosity of the giver. (Ro 4:4; 11:6) This term does not necessarily highlight that the recipients are unworthy of receiving kindness, which is why Jesus could be a recipient of this favor, or kindness, from God. In contexts involving Jesus, the term is appropriately rendered “divine favor,” as in this verse, or “favor.” (Lu 2:40, 52) In other contexts, the Greek term is rendered “favor” and “kind gift.”​—Lu 1:30; Ac 2:47; 7:46; 1Co 16:3; 2Co 8:19.

on account of my name: In the Bible, the term “name” at times stands for the person who bears the name, his reputation, and all that he represents. (See study note on Mt 6:9.) In the case of Jesus’ name, it also stands for the authority and position that his Father has given him. (Mt 28:18; Php 2:9, 10; Heb 1:3, 4) Jesus here explains that people would hate his followers because of what his name represents, that is, his position as God’s appointed Ruler, the King of kings, the one to whom all people should bow in submission in order to gain life.​—See study note on Joh 15:21.

kindly gave: The Greek verb used here (kha·riʹzo·mai) is related to the Greek term that is often translated “undeserved kindness” but that can also be rendered “divine favor.” (Joh 1:14 and study note) In this context, the term conveys the idea that God, out of his loving generosity and favor, gave Jesus an exalted name, one “that is above every other name.” Since God can choose to give such a name to his Son, Jesus, the Father must be greater and Jesus must be His subordinate. (Joh 14:28; 1Co 11:3) Therefore, any honor shown to Jesus because of this high position is “to the glory of God the Father.”​—Php 2:11.

the name: In the Bible, the term “name” at times stands for more than just an identifying label. (See study note on Mt 24:9.) Here “the name” that God gave Jesus stands for the authority and position that Jesus receives from his Father. The context in Philippians chapter 2 shows that Jesus received this elevated name after his resurrection.​—Mt 28:18; Php 2:8, 10, 11; Heb 1:3, 4.

every other name: A literal rendering of the Greek text (“every name,” Kingdom Interlinear), which is used in many translations, could give the impression that Jesus’ name is above God’s own name. However, such an idea would not agree with the context, for Paul says: “God exalted him [Jesus] to a superior position and kindly gave him” this name. Also, the Greek word for “every (all)” can in some contexts have the meaning “every other” or “all other.” Note, for example, the renderings at Lu 13:2 (“all other”); Lu 21:29 (“all the other”); Php 2:21 (“all the others”). So both the context and the way that this Greek word is used at other occurrences support the rendering “every other.” Paul is here explaining that Jesus’ name is above every other name, with the exception of that of Jehovah, the one who gave him that name.​—See also 1Co 15:28.

in the name of: The Greek term for “name” (oʹno·ma) can refer to more than a personal name. In this context, it involves recognition of authority and position of the Father and the Son as well as the role of the holy spirit. Such recognition results in a new relationship with God.​—Compare study note on Mt 10:41.

in the name of Jesus every knee should bend: For every intelligent creature in heaven and on earth, bending the knee “in the name of Jesus” means recognizing Jesus’ position and submitting to his authority.​—See study note on Mt 28:19.

those under the ground: Apparently referring to the dead, who Jesus said are “in the memorial tombs.” (Joh 5:28, 29) When they are resurrected from the Grave, they too will need to submit to Christ’s authority and “openly acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father.”​—Php 2:11.

publicly declare: The Greek word ho·mo·lo·geʹo is rendered “confess” in some Bibles. Many lexicons define this word “to declare (acknowledge) publicly.” In verse 10, the same verb is translated “makes public declaration.” Paul explains that it is not enough for Christians to have faith in their heart; they must make a public declaration of that faith in order to gain salvation. (Ps 40:9, 10; 96:2, 3, 10; 150:6; Ro 15:9) They do not make such a public declaration just once, as at the time of their baptism, but they continue to do so when meeting together with fellow believers and when proclaiming the good news about salvation to unbelievers.​—Heb 10:23-25; 13:15.

that Jesus is Lord: While Jesus was on earth, some who were not his followers called him “Lord,” using the term as a title of respect or courtesy. When the Samaritan woman called him “Sir,” it was also out of respect. The Greek word used by Bible writers (Kyʹri·os) has a wide range of meaning and can, depending on the context, be rendered “Sir,” “Master,” or “Lord.” (Mt 8:2; Joh 4:11) However, Jesus indicated that by calling him Lord, his disciples (or learners) showed that they recognized him as their Master, or Lord. (Joh 13:13, 16) Especially after Jesus’ death and resurrection to an exalted position in heaven did his title Lord take on greater significance. By means of his sacrificial death, Jesus purchased his followers and thus became both their Owner (1Co 7:23; 2Pe 2:1; Jude 4; Re 5:9, 10) and their King (Col 1:13; 1Ti 6:14-16; Re 19:16). Acknowledging Jesus as Lord involves more than simply calling him by that title. True Christians must recognize his position and obey him.​—Mt 7:21; Php 2:9-11.

Lord: The Greek word used here, Kyʹri·os (Lord), is generally used as a noun in the Scriptures. Strictly speaking, it is an adjective signifying the possessing of power (kyʹros) or authority. It appears in every book of the Christian Greek Scriptures except in Paul’s letter to Titus and the letters of John. As God’s created Son and Servant, Jesus Christ properly addresses his Father and God (Joh 20:17) as “Lord” (Kyʹri·os), the One having superior power and authority, his Head. (Mt 11:25; 1Co 11:3) However, the title “Lord,” as used in the Bible, is not limited to Jehovah God. It is also used with reference to Jesus Christ (Mt 7:21; Ro 1:4, 7), one of the heavenly elders seen by John in vision (Re 7:13, 14), angels (Da 12:8), humans (Ac 16:16, 19, 30; here rendered “masters” or “sirs”), and false deities (1Co 8:5). Some claim that the phrase “Jesus is Lord” means that he and his Father, Jehovah, are the same person. However, the context makes it clear that this cannot be the case, since “God raised [Jesus] up from the dead.” Jesus’ authority as Lord was given to him by the Father.​—Mt 28:18; Joh 3:35; 5:19, 30.​—See study note on that Jesus is Lord in this verse.

that Jesus is Lord: While Jesus was on earth, some who were not his followers called him “Lord,” using the term as a title of respect or courtesy. When the Samaritan woman called him “Sir,” it was also out of respect. The Greek word used by Bible writers (Kyʹri·os) has a wide range of meaning and can, depending on the context, be rendered “Sir,” “Master,” or “Lord.” (Mt 8:2; Joh 4:11) However, Jesus indicated that by calling him Lord, his disciples (or learners) showed that they recognized him as their Master, or Lord. (Joh 13:13, 16) Especially after Jesus’ death and resurrection to an exalted position in heaven did his title Lord take on greater significance. By means of his sacrificial death, Jesus purchased his followers and thus became both their Owner (1Co 7:23; 2Pe 2:1; Jude 4; Re 5:9, 10) and their King (Col 1:13; 1Ti 6:14-16; Re 19:16). Acknowledging Jesus as Lord involves more than simply calling him by that title. True Christians must recognize his position and obey him.​—Mt 7:21; Php 2:9-11.

openly acknowledge: Or “publicly declare; confess.” The context shows that this acknowledgment is linked with the conviction that Jehovah resurrected Jesus from the dead.​—Compare study note on Ro 10:9.

that Jesus Christ is Lord: See study note on Ro 10:9.

Lord: See study note on Ro 10:9. Some claim that the phrase “Jesus Christ is Lord” means that he and his Father, Jehovah, are the same person. However, the context makes it clear that this cannot be the case, since “God exalted him to a superior position and kindly gave him the name that is above every other name.”​—Php 2:9; see study note on Ro 10:9.

presence: The Greek word pa·rou·siʹa (in many translations rendered “coming”) literally means “being alongside.” It refers to a presence covering a period of time rather than simply a coming or an arrival. This meaning of pa·rou·siʹa is indicated at Mt 24:37-39, where “the days of Noah . . . before the Flood” are compared to “the presence of the Son of man.” At Php 2:12, Paul used this Greek word to describe his “presence” in contrast to his “absence.”

during his presence: This term is first used at Mt 24:3, where some of Jesus’ disciples ask him about “the sign of [his] presence.” It refers to the royal presence of Jesus Christ from the time of his invisible enthronement as Messianic King at the beginning of the last days of this system of things. The Greek word rendered “presence” is pa·rou·siʹa, and while many translations render it “coming,” it literally means “being alongside.” His presence would span a period of time rather than simply involve a momentary coming or arrival. This meaning of pa·rou·siʹa is indicated at Mt 24:37-39, where “the days of Noah . . . before the Flood” are compared to “the presence of the Son of man.” Also, at Php 2:12, Paul used pa·rou·siʹa to describe his “presence” in contrast with his “absence.” (See study note on 1Co 16:17.) Thus, Paul explains that the resurrection to life in heaven for those who belong to the Christ, that is, Christ’s spirit-anointed brothers and joint heirs, would occur some time after Jesus was installed as heavenly King in God’s Kingdom.

when I am again present with you: Or “when I am with you again.” The Greek phrase here used contains the noun pa·rou·siʹa, which literally means “being alongside.” It is often rendered “presence,” especially in connection with the invisible presence of Jesus Christ. (Mt 24:37; 1Co 15:23) Here Paul uses the term when expressing his hope to visit the Philippian Christians again. The renderings “presence” and “present” are supported by the way Paul uses the term pa·rou·siʹa at Php 2:12 (see study note) to describe his “presence” in contrast with his “absence.”​—See study notes on Mt 24:3; 1Co 16:17.

presence . . . absence: Paul here uses the Greek word pa·rou·siʹa to describe a period of time when he would be present with the Christians in Philippi. The sense of this Greek word is indicated by Paul in describing his “presence” in contrast with his “absence” (Greek, a·pou·siʹa), that is, a period of time when he would be away from them. The Greek word pa·rou·siʹa is used in a special sense in connection with the invisible presence of Jesus Christ, from the time of his heavenly enthronement as Messianic King at the beginning of the last days of this system of things.​—See study notes on Mt 24:3; 1Co 15:23; Php 1:26.

keep working out: The Greek word used here basically means “to achieve; to accomplish; to bring about.” The form of the verb used in this verse signifies an ongoing effort, thus conveying the idea of working to bring something to completion.

energizes you: Or “is acting within you.” The Greek word e·ner·geʹo appears twice in this verse, first rendered “energizes” and then “giving you . . . power to act.” God’s holy spirit, or active force, is the greatest source of power, or energy, in the universe. God used it to create all things. (Ge 1:2; Ps 104:30; Isa 40:26) By means of his holy spirit, Jehovah gives his servants the needed energy, or “power to act,” when their power is waning. (Isa 40:31) Jehovah’s spirit can also enhance a person’s natural abilities, according to the need. (Lu 11:13; 2Co 4:7) The apostle Paul often experienced this combination of personal exertion plus added assistance from God.​—Php 4:13; Col 1:29.

giving you . . . the desire: Because of discouragement, personal failings, and other factors, some of God’s servants in the past lost their desire to serve​—even to go on living. (1Ki 19:4; Ps 73:13, 14; Jon 4:2, 3) Paul here shows that when such desire is lacking, God is pleased to motivate them, especially when they seek help from Him.​—Ps 51:10, 11; 73:17, 18.

Neither be murmurers, as some of them murmured: The Israelites murmured, complaining against Jehovah on several occasions. For example, they strongly criticized Moses and Aaron when 10 of the 12 spies sent out to inspect the land of Canaan brought back negative reports. They even proposed appointing a new leader instead of Moses and felt that it might be better to go back to Egypt. (Nu 14:1-4) Later, “the whole assembly . . . began to murmur” about the execution of the rebels Korah, Dathan, and Abiram and those who sided with them. The murmurers apparently thought that the execution was unjust, and their complaining spirit affected many others. Jehovah responded by sending a scourge that took the lives of 14,700 Israelites. (Nu 16:41, 49) Jehovah regarded such murmuring against his representatives as murmuring against him personally.​—Nu 17:5.

free from murmuring: Murmuring involves complaining or negative talk that is often expressed quietly, behind the scenes, rather than openly. Persistent murmurers try to influence others. They may attach great importance to their feelings or position, drawing attention to themselves rather than to God. This practice can cause dissension among fellow believers, hindering their efforts to serve Jehovah in unity. About 55 C.E., Paul reminded the congregation in Corinth that the Israelites’ murmuring in the wilderness had aroused Jehovah’s anger. (See study note on 1Co 10:10.) However, not all complaining is displeasing to God. The Greek word used here also occurs at Ac 6:1, which states that the Greek-speaking Jews in Jerusalem “began complaining” because their widows were neglected materially. Consequently, the apostles saw to it that the situation was corrected.​—Ac 6:1-6.

public service: Paul applies this term to the ministry, or the relief work, that was carried out “to provide well for the needs of” the Jewish Christians in Jerusalem and Judea. Such work, or service, was truly of great benefit to fellow worshippers. The Greek word lei·tour·giʹa, used here, and the related words lei·tour·geʹo (to render public service) and lei·tour·gosʹ (public servant, or worker) were used by the ancient Greeks and Romans to refer to work or service for the State or for civil authorities and done for the benefit of the people. In the Christian Greek Scriptures, these terms are frequently used in connection with the temple service and the Christian ministry. For this usage, see study notes on Lu 1:23; Ac 13:2; Ro 13:6; 15:16.

holy service: Or “public service.” The Greek word lei·tour·giʹa used here and the related words lei·tour·geʹo (to render public service) and lei·tour·gosʹ (public servant, or worker) were used by the ancient Greeks and Romans to refer to work or service for the State or for civil authorities and done for the benefit of the people. For example, at Ro 13:6, the secular authorities are called God’s “public servants” (plural form of lei·tour·gosʹ) in the sense that they provide beneficial services for the people. The term as used here by Luke reflects the usage found in the Septuagint, where the verb and noun forms of this expression frequently refer to the temple service of the priests and Levites. (Ex 28:35; Nu 8:22) Service performed at the temple included the idea of a public service for the benefit of the people. However, it also included holiness, since the Levitical priests taught God’s Law and offered sacrifices that covered the sins of the people.​—2Ch 15:3; Mal 2:7.

were ministering: Or “were publicly ministering.” The Greek word lei·tour·geʹo used here and the related words lei·tour·giʹa (public service, or ministry) and lei·tour·gosʹ (public servant, or worker) were used by the ancient Greeks to refer to work or service performed for the State or for civil authorities and to the benefit of the people. For example, at Ro 13:6, the secular authorities are called God’s “public servants” (plural form of lei·tour·gosʹ) in the sense that they provide beneficial services for the people. At Lu 1:23 (see study note), the term lei·tour·giʹa is rendered “holy service” (or, “public service”) regarding the ministry of Zechariah, the father of John the Baptist. In that verse, the use of the word lei·tour·giʹa reflects how it and related terms are used in the Septuagint in connection with the service performed by priests and Levites at the tabernacle (Ex 28:35; Nu 1:50; 3:31; 8:22) and at the temple (2Ch 31:2; 35:3; Joe 1:9, 13; 2:17). Such service included the idea of a ministry for the benefit of the people. However, the idea of holiness was included in some contexts because the Levitical priests taught God’s Law (2Ch 15:3; Mal 2:7) and offered sacrifices that covered the sins of the people (Le 1:3-5; De 18:1-5). At Ac 13:2, the Greek word lei·tour·geʹo is used in a more general sense, describing the ministering by Christian prophets and teachers in the congregation in Antioch of Syria. The word refers to the different expressions of devotion and service to God, including such aspects of the Christian ministry as prayer, preaching, and teaching. The ministry performed by these prophets and teachers no doubt included preaching to the public.​—Ac 13:3.

public servants: The Greek word lei·tour·gosʹ (public servant, or worker) used here and the related words lei·tour·geʹo (to render public service) and lei·tour·giʹa (public service) were used by the ancient Greeks and Romans to refer to work or service for the State or for civil authorities that was done for the benefit of the people. (The above-mentioned Greek words are derived from la·osʹ, “people,” and erʹgon, “work.”) Here the secular authorities are called God’s “public servants” (plural form of lei·tour·gosʹ) in the sense that they provide beneficial services for the people. However, in the Christian Greek Scriptures, these Greek terms are frequently used in connection with the temple service and the Christian ministry. For this usage, see study notes on Lu 1:23; Ac 13:2; Ro 15:16.

a public servant: The Greek word lei·tour·gosʹ is derived from the words la·osʹ, “people,” and erʹgon, “work.” The word was originally used by the ancient Greeks to refer to work done under the civil authorities, usually at personal expense, for the benefit of the people. There was a similar arrangement under the Romans. As used in the Bible, the term usually refers to one who is serving in sacred office. The term is frequently used in the Septuagint to refer to “duties” (Nu 7:5) and “service” (Nu 4:28; 1Ch 6:32 [6:17, LXX]) carried out by the priests at the tabernacle and at Jehovah’s temple in Jerusalem. Here Paul uses the term with regard to himself, “an apostle to the [Gentile] nations” who proclaimed the good news of God. (Ro 11:13) This preaching would be of great benefit to the public, particularly to people of the nations.

I am: Or “my life is.”​—See study note on I am being poured out like a drink offering in this verse.

I am being poured out like a drink offering: The Israelites presented drink offerings of wine along with most other offerings, pouring out the cup of wine on the altar. (Le 23:18, 37; Nu 15:2, 5, 10; 28:7) Here Paul refers to himself as a figurative drink offering. He expressed his willingness to drain himself both physically and emotionally to support the Philippians and other fellow Christians as they presented their spiritual sacrifices and performed their “holy service” to God. (Compare 2Co 12:15.) Shortly before his death, he wrote to Timothy: “I am already being poured out like a drink offering, and the time for my releasing is imminent.”​—2Ti 4:6.

the holy service: Or “the public service.” Paul applies this term to the Christian ministry. His diligent and loving service in behalf of fellow worshippers in Philippi had truly benefited them. In turn, the faith of the Christians in Philippi had led them to engage in such service for other people. For Christians in the Roman colony of Philippi, the Greek word lei·tour·giʹa, used here, may have called to mind civic duties performed for the benefit of the community. (See study note on 2Co 9:12.) Such duties implied a financial cost, reminding the Philippians that faithful service involved personal sacrifices. In the Christian Greek Scriptures, these Greek terms are frequently used in connection with the temple service and the Christian ministry. For this usage, see study notes on Lu 1:23; Ac 13:2; Ro 13:6; 15:16.

the Marketplace of Appius: Or “Forum of Appius.” Latin, Appii Forum. A marketplace about 65 km (40 mi) SE of Rome. It was a well-known station on the famous Roman highway Via Appia, running from Rome to Brundisium (now Brindisi) by way of Capua. Both the road and the marketplace draw their names from the founder, Appius Claudius Caecus, of the fourth century B.C.E. As the usual point at which travelers halted at the close of the first day’s journey out of Rome, this post station became a busy trading center and market town. Adding to its importance was its location on a canal that ran alongside the road, traversing the Pontine Marshes. Travelers reportedly were conveyed over this canal by night in barges pulled by mules. The Roman poet Horace describes the discomforts of the journey, complaining of the frogs and gnats and depicting the Marketplace of Appius as “crammed with boatmen and stingy tavern-keepers.” (Satires, I, V, 1-6) Despite all the discomforts, however, the delegation from Rome happily waited for Paul and his companions in order to escort them safely along the final leg of their journey. Today the site of the Foro Appio, or Forum of Appius, is marked by the small village of Borgo Faiti, located on the Appian Way.​—See App. B13.

I am hoping . . . to send Timothy to you: The account does not say whether Timothy was to make this trip from Rome to Philippi by land or by sea. Travelers went eastward from Rome along the highways that were part of the vast Roman road system, or they went by ship. Both options would involve hardship. In Timothy’s day, passage by ship was difficult to get, and passengers lived and slept on deck in all kinds of weather. Rough seas induced motion sickness and at times caused shipwreck. Traveling on foot to Philippi would have involved a trip of some 40 days, probably first along the Appian Way, followed by a short crossing of the Sea of Adria, and then continuing on the land journey, perhaps along the Egnatian Way, until the traveler reached Philippi. (See App. B13.) He would be exposed to the elements, whether sun, rain, heat, or cold, and be at risk of being accosted by thieves. Overnight accommodations of the time are described as disreputable, dirty, overcrowded, and flea-infested. (Compare study note on Ac 28:15.) Yet, Paul was confident that Timothy was willing to put himself out to make this trip, as well as the return trip, so that Paul could “receive news” about the spiritual welfare of the Christians in Philippi.

depressed: The Greek term Paul uses here is rendered “greatly troubled” in the accounts of Jesus’ agony in the garden of Gethsemane. (Mt 26:37; Mr 14:33) One lexicon defines it as to “be in anxiety, be distressed, troubled.” The reason for Epaphroditus’ acute anguish was that the Philippian congregation had learned that he had fallen sick. Perhaps he worried that they had the impression that he had failed to assist Paul and had become a burden to him instead. Shortly after Epaphroditus’ recovery, Paul sent him back to Philippi with a letter to the congregation. In that letter (Php 2:25-29), Paul explained the reason for Epaphroditus’ early return, thus assuring the congregation​—and no doubt Epaphroditus too​—of his faithfulness and value.​—See study notes on Php 2:25, 30.

risking his life: Or “exposing his soul to danger.” Apparently, there was a measure of risk to Epaphroditus in fulfilling his assignment to go to Rome and bring a gift to Paul in prison. One possibility may be that the unsanitary conditions of travel and overnight accommodations in the first century could have caused Epaphroditus to “fall sick nearly to the point of death.” (Php 2:26, 27) At any rate, Paul says that Epaphroditus “nearly died on account of the work of Christ.” Paul had good reason for commending Epaphroditus and for encouraging the Philippian congregation to give him “the customary welcome in the Lord” and to “keep holding men of that sort dear.”​—Php 2:29; see study notes on Php 2:25, 26 and Glossary, “Soul.”

Prisca and Aquila: This faithful couple had been banished from Rome by Emperor Claudius’ decree against the Jews sometime in the year 49 or early 50 C.E. Claudius died in 54 C.E., and by the time Paul wrote his letter to the Christians in Rome, about 56 C.E., Prisca and Aquila had returned there. (See study note on Ac 18:2.) Paul describes them as his fellow workers. The Greek word for “fellow worker,” sy·ner·gosʹ, appears 12 times in the Christian Greek Scriptures, most often in the letters of Paul. (Ro 16:9, 21; Php 2:25; 4:3; Col 4:11; Phm 1, 24) Notably, at 1Co 3:9, Paul says: “We are God’s fellow workers.”

God’s fellow workers: The Greek word for “fellow worker,” sy·ner·gosʹ, appears more than ten times in the Christian Greek Scriptures, most often in Paul’s letters. The expression is used regarding those who shared together in spreading the good news. (Ro 16:9, 21; 2Co 1:24; 8:23; Php 2:25; 4:3; Col 4:11; Phm 1, 24) Here Paul calls attention to the great privilege that Christian ministers have of being “God’s fellow workers.” (See study note on 1Co 3:6.) Paul expresses a similar thought at 2Co 6:1, where he speaks about “working together with him,” that is, with God.​—2Co 5:20; see study note on Ro 16:3.

Epaphroditus: A trustworthy Christian in the congregation in Philippi who is mentioned only in this letter. He was sent to Rome to deliver a gift to Paul, who was a prisoner at the time. Epaphroditus likely intended to remain in Rome long enough to be of further assistance to Paul. However, Epaphroditus fell sick “nearly to the point of death,” and this led to his returning to Philippi earlier than expected.​—Php 2:27, 28; see study notes on Php 2:26, 30.

fellow worker: See study notes on Ro 16:3; 1Co 3:9.

envoy: Or “apostle.” Paul here uses the Greek word for “apostle” (a·poʹsto·los) in its general sense, which can mean “sent one,” “envoy,” or “messenger.” Epaphroditus was sent out as a representative of the Philippi congregation with a gift for Paul, then a prisoner in Rome.

Epaphroditus: A trustworthy Christian in the congregation in Philippi who is mentioned only in this letter. He was sent to Rome to deliver a gift to Paul, who was a prisoner at the time. Epaphroditus likely intended to remain in Rome long enough to be of further assistance to Paul. However, Epaphroditus fell sick “nearly to the point of death,” and this led to his returning to Philippi earlier than expected.​—Php 2:27, 28; see study notes on Php 2:26, 30.

risking his life: Or “exposing his soul to danger.” Apparently, there was a measure of risk to Epaphroditus in fulfilling his assignment to go to Rome and bring a gift to Paul in prison. One possibility may be that the unsanitary conditions of travel and overnight accommodations in the first century could have caused Epaphroditus to “fall sick nearly to the point of death.” (Php 2:26, 27) At any rate, Paul says that Epaphroditus “nearly died on account of the work of Christ.” Paul had good reason for commending Epaphroditus and for encouraging the Philippian congregation to give him “the customary welcome in the Lord” and to “keep holding men of that sort dear.”​—Php 2:29; see study notes on Php 2:25, 26 and Glossary, “Soul.”

is longing to see all of you: Some ancient manuscripts read “is longing for all of you,” and this wording is reflected in many Bible translations. But the wording used here in the main text has good manuscript support. Whichever manuscript reading is preferred, the overall meaning of Paul’s words is the same, namely, that Epaphroditus was missing all the Christians in Philippi.​—See App. A3.

depressed: The Greek term Paul uses here is rendered “greatly troubled” in the accounts of Jesus’ agony in the garden of Gethsemane. (Mt 26:37; Mr 14:33) One lexicon defines it as to “be in anxiety, be distressed, troubled.” The reason for Epaphroditus’ acute anguish was that the Philippian congregation had learned that he had fallen sick. Perhaps he worried that they had the impression that he had failed to assist Paul and had become a burden to him instead. Shortly after Epaphroditus’ recovery, Paul sent him back to Philippi with a letter to the congregation. In that letter (Php 2:25-29), Paul explained the reason for Epaphroditus’ early return, thus assuring the congregation​—and no doubt Epaphroditus too​—of his faithfulness and value.​—See study notes on Php 2:25, 30.

Epaphroditus: A trustworthy Christian in the congregation in Philippi who is mentioned only in this letter. He was sent to Rome to deliver a gift to Paul, who was a prisoner at the time. Epaphroditus likely intended to remain in Rome long enough to be of further assistance to Paul. However, Epaphroditus fell sick “nearly to the point of death,” and this led to his returning to Philippi earlier than expected.​—Php 2:27, 28; see study notes on Php 2:26, 30.

depressed: The Greek term Paul uses here is rendered “greatly troubled” in the accounts of Jesus’ agony in the garden of Gethsemane. (Mt 26:37; Mr 14:33) One lexicon defines it as to “be in anxiety, be distressed, troubled.” The reason for Epaphroditus’ acute anguish was that the Philippian congregation had learned that he had fallen sick. Perhaps he worried that they had the impression that he had failed to assist Paul and had become a burden to him instead. Shortly after Epaphroditus’ recovery, Paul sent him back to Philippi with a letter to the congregation. In that letter (Php 2:25-29), Paul explained the reason for Epaphroditus’ early return, thus assuring the congregation​—and no doubt Epaphroditus too​—of his faithfulness and value.​—See study notes on Php 2:25, 30.

the work of Christ: Or possibly, “the Lord’s work.” Some ancient manuscripts have “Lord’s,” but the main text rendering has strong manuscript support.

risking his life: Or “exposing his soul to danger.” Apparently, there was a measure of risk to Epaphroditus in fulfilling his assignment to go to Rome and bring a gift to Paul in prison. One possibility may be that the unsanitary conditions of travel and overnight accommodations in the first century could have caused Epaphroditus to “fall sick nearly to the point of death.” (Php 2:26, 27) At any rate, Paul says that Epaphroditus “nearly died on account of the work of Christ.” Paul had good reason for commending Epaphroditus and for encouraging the Philippian congregation to give him “the customary welcome in the Lord” and to “keep holding men of that sort dear.”​—Php 2:29; see study notes on Php 2:25, 26 and Glossary, “Soul.”

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