BOOK ENDS. Seraphim, April 2009.
JB PHILIPPIANS Chapter 1
THE LETTER OF PAUL TO THE CHURCH AT PHILIPPI
1:1 From Paul and Timothy, servants of Christ Jesus, to all the saints in Christ Jesus, together with their presiding elders and deacons.
1:2 We wish you the grace and peace of God our Father and of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Thanksgiving and prayer
1:3 I thank my God whenever I think of you; and
1:4 every time I pray for all of you, I pray with joy,
1:5 remembering how you have helped to spread the Good News from the day you first heard it right up to the present.
1:6 I am quite certain that the One who began this good work in you will see that it is finished when the Day of Christ Jesus comes.
1:7 It is only natural that I should feel like this towards you all, since you have shared the privileges which have been mine: both my chains and my work defending and establishing the gospel. You have a permanent place in my heart,
1:8 and God knows how much I miss you all, loving you as Christ Jesus loves you.
1:9 My prayer is that your love for each other may increase more and more and never stop improving your knowledge and deepening your perception.
1:10 so that you can always recognise what is best. This will help you to become pure and blameless, and prepare you for the Day of Christ,
1:11 when you will reach the perfect goodness which Jesus Christ produces in us for the glory and praise of God.
Paul’s own circumstances
1:12 I am glad to tell you, brothers, that the things that happened to me have actually been a help to the Good News.
1:13 My chains, in Christ, have become famous not only all over the Praetorium but everywhere,
1:14 and most of the brothers have taken courage in the Lord from these chains of mine and are getting more and more daring in announcing the Message without any fear.
1:15 It is true that some of them are doing it just out of rivalry and competition, but the rest preach Christ with the right intention,
1:16 out of nothing but love, as they know that this is my invariable way of defending the gospel.
1:17 The others, who proclaim Christ for jealous or selfish motives, do not mind if they make my chains heavier to bear.
1:18 But does it matter? Whether from dishonest motives or in sincerity, Christ is proclaimed; and that makes me happy;
1:19 and I shall continue being happy, because I know this will help to save me,[*a] thanks to your prayers and to the help which will be given to me by the Spirit of Jesus.
1:20 My one hope and trust is that I shall never have to admit defeat, but that now as always I shall have the courage for Christ to be glorified in my body, whether by my life or by my death.
1:21 Life to me, of course, is Christ, but then death would bring me something more;
1:22 but then again, if living in this body means doing work which is having good results-I do not know what I should choose.
1:23 I am caught in this dilemma: I want to be gone and be with Christ, which would be very much the better,
1:24 but for me to stay alive in this body is a more urgent need for your sake.
1:25 This weighs with me so much that I feel sure I shall survive and stay with you all, and help you to progress in the faith and even increase your joy in it;
1:26 and so you will have another reason to give praise to Christ Jesus on my account when I am with you again.
Fight for the faith
1:27 Avoid anything in your everyday lives that would be unworthy of the gospel of Christ, so that, whether I come to you and see for myself, or stay at a distance and only hear about you, I shall know that you are unanimous in meeting the attack with firm resistance, united by your love for the faith of the gospel
1:28 and quite unshaken by your enemies. This would be the sure sign that they will lose and you will be saved. It would be a sign from God
1:29 that he has given you the privilege not only of believing in Christ, but of suffering for him as well.
1:30 You and I are together in the same fight as you saw me fighting before and, as you will have heard, I am fighting still.
JB PHILIPPIANS Chapter 1
Preserve unity in humility
2:1 If our life in Christ means anything to you, if love can persuade at all, or the Spirit that we have in common, or any tenderness and sympathy,
2:2 then be united in your convictions and united in your love, with a common purpose and a common mind. That is the one thing which would make me completely happy.
2:3 There must be no competition among you, no conceit; but everybody is to be self-effacing. Always consider the other person to be better than yourself,
2:4 So that nobody thinks of his own interests first but everybody thinks of other s people’s interests instead.
2:5 In your minds you must be the same as Christ Jesus:[*a]
2:6 His state was divine, yet he did not cling to his equality with God
2:7 but emptied himself to assume the condition of a slave, and became as men are; and being as all men are,
2:8 he was humbler yet, even to accepting death, death on a cross.
2:9 But God raised him high and gave him the name which is above all other names
2:10 so that all beings in the heavens, on earth and in the underworld, should bend the knee[*b] at the name of Jesus
2:11 and that every tongue should acclaim Jesus Christ as Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
Work for salvation
2:12 So then, my dear friends, continue to do as I tell you, as you always have; not only as you did when I was there with you, but even more now that I am no longer there; and work for your salvation ‘in fear and trembling’.
2:13 It is God, for his own loving purpose, who puts both the will and the action into you.
2:14 Do all that has to be done without complaining or arguing
2:15 and then you will be innocent and genuine, perfect children of God among a deceitful and underhand brood,[*c] and you will shine in the world like bright stars
2:16 because you are offering it the word of life. This would give me something to be proud of for the Day of Christ, and would mean that I had not run in the race and exhausted myself for nothing.
2:17 And then, if my blood has to be shed as part of your own sacrifice and offering-which is your faith[*d] I shall still be happy and rejoice with all of you,
2:18 and you must be just as happy and rejoice with me.
The mission of Timothy and Epaphroditus
2:19 I hope, in the Lord Jesus, to send Timothy to you soon, and I shall be reassured by having news of you.
2:20 I have nobody else like him here, as wholeheartedly concerned for your welfare:
2:21 all the rest seem more interested in themselves than in Jesus Christ.
2:22 But you know how he has proved himself by working with me on behalf of the Good News like a son helping his father.
2:23 That is why he is the one that I am hoping to send you, as soon as I know something definite about my fate.
2:24 But I continue to trust, in the Lord, that I shall be coming soon myself.
2:25 It is essential, I think, to send brother Epaphroditus back to you. He was sent as your representative to help me when I needed someone to be my companion in working and battling,
2:26 but he misses you all and is worried because you heard about his illness.
2:27 It is true that he has been ill, and almost died, but God took pity on him, and on me as well as him, and spared me what would have been one grief on top of another.
2:28 So I shall send him back as promptly as I can; you will be happy to see him again, and that will make me less sorry.
2:29 Give him a most hearty welcome, in the Lord; people like him are to be honoured.
2:30 It was for Christ’s work that he came so near to dying, and he risked his life to give me the help that you were not able to give me yourselves.
JB PHILIPPIANS Chapter 1
3:1 Finally, my brothers, rejoice in the Lord.[*a]
The true way of Christian salvation
It is no trouble to me to repeat what I have already written to you, and as far as you are concerned, it will make for safety.
3:2 Beware of dogs! Watch out for the people who are making mischief. Watch out for the cutters.[*b]
3:3 We are the real people of the circumcision, we who worship in accordance with the Spirit of God; we have our own glory from Christ Jesus without having to rely on a physical operation.
3:4 If it came to relying on physical evidence, I should be fully qualified myself. Take any man who thinks he can rely on what is physical: I am even better qualified.
3:5 I was born of the race of Israel and of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew born of Hebrew parents, and I was circumcised when I was eight days old. As for the Law, I was a Pharisee;
3:6 as for working for religion, I was a persecutor of the Church; as far as the Law can make you perfect, I was faultless.
3:7 But because of Christ, I have come to consider all these advantages that I had as disadvantages.
3:8 Not only that, but I believe nothing can happen that will outweigh the supreme advantage of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For him I have accepted the loss of everything, and I look on everything as so much rubbish if only I can have Christ
3:9 and be given a place in him. I am no longer trying for perfection by my own efforts, the perfection that comes from the Law, but I want only the perfection that comes through faith in Christ, and is from God and based on faith.
3:10 All I want is to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and to share his sufferings by reproducing the pattern of his death.
3:11 That is the way I can hope to take my place in the resurrection of the dead.
3:12 Not that I have become perfect yet: I have not yet won, but I am still running, trying to capture the prize for which Christ Jesus captured me.
3:13 I can assure you my brothers, I am far from thinking that I have already won. All I can say is that I forget the past and I strain ahead for what is still to come;
3:14 I am racing for the finish, for is the prize to which God calls us upwards to receive in Christ Jesus.
3:15 We who are called ‘perfect’ must all think in this way. If there is some point on which you see things differently, God will make it clear to you;
3:16 meanwhile, let us go forward on the road that has brought us to where we are.
3:17 My brothers, be united in following my rule of life. Take as your models everybody who is already doing this and study them as you used to study us.
3:18 I have told you often, and I repeat it today with tears, there are many who are behaving as the enemies of the cross of Christ.
3:19 They are destined to be lost. They make foods into their god and they are proudest of something they ought to think shameful; the things they think important are earthly things.
3:20 For us, our homeland is in heaven, and from heaven comes the saviour we are waiting for, the Lord Jesus Christ,
3:21 and he will transfigure these wretched bodies of ours into copies of his glorious body. He will do that by the same power with which he can subdue the whole universe.
JB PHILIPPIANS Chapter 1
4:1 So then, my brothers and dear friends, do not give way but remain faithful in the Lord. I miss you very much, dear friends; you are my joy and my crown.
4:2 I appeal to Evodia and I appeal to Syntyche to come to agreement with each other, in the Lord;
4:3 and I ask you, Syzygus,[*a] to be truly a ‘companion’ and to help them in this. These women were a help to me when I was fighting to defend the Good News-and so, at the same time, were Clement and the others who worked with me. Their names are written in the book of life.
4:4 I want you to be happy, always happy in the Lord; I repeat, what I want is your happiness.
4:5 Let your tolerance be evident to everyone: the Lord is very near.
4:6 There is no need to worry; but if there is anything you need, pray for it, asking God for it with prayer and thanksgiving,
4:7 and that peace of God, which is so much greater than we can understand, will guard your hearts and your thoughts, in Christ Jesus.
4:8 Finally, brothers, fill your minds with everything that is true, everything that is noble, everything that is good and pure, everything that we love and honour, and everything that can be thought virtuous or worthy of praise.
4:9 Keep doing all the things that you learnt from me and have been taught by me and have heard or seen that I do. Then the God of peace will be with you.
Thanks for help received
4:10 It is a great joy to me, in the Lord, that at last you have shown some concern for me again; though of course you were concerned before, and only lacked an opportunity.
4:11 I am not talking about shortage of money: I have learnt to manage on whatever I have,
4:12 I know how to be poor and I know how to be rich too. I have been through my initiation and now I am ready for anything anywhere: full stomach or empty stomach, poverty or plenty.
4:13 There is nothing I cannot master with the help of the One who gives me strength.
4:14 All the same, it was good of you to share with me in my hardships.
4:15 In the early days of the Good News, as you people of Philippi well know, when I left Macedonia, no other church helped me with gifts of money. You were the only ones;
4:16 and twice since my stay in Thessalonika you have sent me what I needed.
4:17 It is not your gift that I value; what is valuable to me is the interest that is mounting up in your account.
4:18 Now for the time being I have everything that I need and more: I am fully provided now that I have received from Epaphroditus the offering that you sent, a sweet fragrance-the sacrifice that God accepts and finds pleasing.
4:19 In return my God will fulfil all your needs, in Christ Jesus, as lavishly as only God can.
4:20 Glory to God, our Father, for ever and ever. Amen.
Greetings and final wish
4:21 My greetings to every one of the saints in Christ Jesus. The brothers who are with me send their greetings.
4:22 All the saints send their greetings, especially those of the imperial household.[*b]
4:23 May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit.
END OF JB PHILIPPIANS [4 Chapters].