Why Did the Philippians Send Paul a Gift?
One of the reasons why Paul wrote Philippians was to thank them for supporting his ministry—not just in prayer, but with a financial gift. He specifically mentions their gift towards the end of his letter, in Philippians 4:15–18:
“Moreover, as you Philippians know, in the early days of your acquaintance with the gospel, when I set out from Macedonia, not one church shared with me in the matter of giving and receiving, except you only; for even when I was in Thessalonica, you sent me aid more than once when I was in need. Not that I desire your gifts; what I desire is that more be credited to your account. I have received full payment and have more than enough. I am amply supplied, now that I have received from Epaphroditus the gifts you sent. They are…
Who Wrote Philippians?
The very first verse in Philippians attributes the letter to the Apostle Paul. Right from the beginning, it says who it’s from and who it’s to:
“Paul and Timothy, servants of Christ Jesus, To all God’s holy people in Christ Jesus at Philippi, together with the overseers and deacons . . .” —Philippians 1:1
The early church accepted that Paul wrote Philippians, and modern Bible scholars have found little if any reason to disagree. Some of the letters traditionally attributed to Paul are questionable, but Philippians is generally believed to be genuine. “Internal evidence” such as the letter’s style, content, and remarks about the author’s circumstances appear to be consistent with what we know about the Apostle Paul.
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The Meaning of Philippians 4:19: “And my God will meet all your needs”
Like Philippians 4:13, Philippians 4:19 is a popular verse that’s often misused. After thanking the Philippians for generously supporting him, the Apostle Paul writes, “And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.”
Some have used this passage to suggest that God wants us to be healthy and wealthy, or even more extreme, that he will make us healthy and wealthy if we give our money to a particular cause or person. This is known as the “Prosperity Gospel,” and it’s one of the most dangerous heresies today.
Paul is absolutely not promising that God makes us wealthy or healthy—not in the way that we typically understand those terms. Faithfully giving to the church will not make us financially wealthy or physically healthy.
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The meaning of Philippians 4:13: “I can do all things through him who gives me strength”
Philippians 4:13 is one of the most well-known New Testament verses, but it’s also notoriously misused. After telling his audience that he’s experienced both poverty and affluence, the Apostle Paul writes these well-known words: “I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.”
Many of us have seen some variation of these words in encouraging notes and cards, in art, on t-shirts, tattooed on people’s bodies, and even scrawled on the shoes of famous athletes or printed on their eye black.
The verse is often shortened to, “I can do all things . . .”
But is that what Paul is really saying here? Is he telling us to believe in ourselves? Or to believe that Christ empowers us to do whatever we set our minds to?
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Why Paul Wrote the Letter to the Philippians
Philippians is a letter about joy. Writing from prison, Paul describes the joys of following Christ and persevering for the gospel, and the secret to being content in any situation. We know from the letter that the Philippians were facing a lot of hardship (and Paul wasn’t exactly living the high life himself).
So why did Paul write this letter? And why did he write it to the Philippians?
What Benefit Do You Receive from Your Giving? (Philippians 4:17) — Mondays with Mounce 337
(You can watch this blog post on YouTube.) One of the fundamental lessons everyone who does word studies needs to understand is that words have a range of meaning. When students memorize Greek vocabulary, we have to give them the basic meaning (or meanings) of the word, but it is a mistake to think that the most common use of a word is somehow its “literal” meaning.
σάρχ does not mean “flesh”; it means many things. One of its “glosses” may be “flesh,” but the word means so much more than just “flesh.”
So whether you are in a church learning Greek for your Bible study, or a first year Greek student, at some point you will need to make the transition from glosses to a full definition of a word and understand how to use context to…
My Good Pleasure? – Mondays with Mounce 273
Paul tells the Philippians that “it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work on behalf of his good pleasure (ὑπὲρ τῆς εὐδοκίας)” (v 13).
My wife Robin came home the other day dumbfounded, having heard the lyrics of a song that says God is working for “your good pleasure.”
True, there is no explicit pronoun present, neither αὐτοῦ or σου, so where does the “his” come from? The τῆς. ὁ is way more than the definite article, and one of its other functions is to perform the work of a possessive.
But what kind of narcissistic theology would think that God works for our pleasure? My goodness, someone needs to take a class in theology or worship, or just read the Bible.
God works for his good pleasure – as every translation says…
[Common Places] New Voices for Theology: Stephen T. Pardue’s “The Mind of Christ”
May the mind of Christ my Savior Live in me from day to day, By his love and pow’r controlling All I do and say.
So many of us have sung—but can this be a realistic and appropriate prayer for the Christian “theologian,” broadly defined?
Two potential problems confront us. (1) Is this prayer consistent with the biblical and contemporary emphases upon virtue? Virtues are habitual dispositions expressed in characteristic patterns of godly action: But does the prayer emphasize unilateral divine action so strongly that human virtue is precluded or uninteresting? (2) Does this prayer particularize the Christian intellectual life too exclusively in terms of participation in Jesus Christ? Intellectual virtues treat epistemology in moral terms: But does praying for such virtues—assuming it is appropriate to do so—emphasize spiritual dimensions of Christian intellectual life so strongly that civic and academic…
Epexegetical καί and the Power of God in Pain (Phil 3:10) — Mondays with Mounce 238
I know. καί and pain in the same title. Strange bedfellows.
I still remember a few years back when my family was going through a time of deep pain and sadness. A good friend asked me, “Bill, why are you hanging on to the edge of the pool? Just let go and sink.” A strange idea in the midst of pain, but it has stuck with me, and it was some of the best advice I have ever received. Here’s the exegesis behind it.
Paul is telling the Philippians that no matter what he had been able to (humanly) achieve, he gladly lost all of it for the sake of knowing Christ.
Fee does a wonderful job in his commentary, discussing the fuller meaning of this word for “to know,”…
Philippians with Lynn Cohick 5 — The Most Challenging Idea in Philippians is a “Tall Order!”
That’s how professor Lynn Cohick describes Paul’s most challenging idea in her new Philippians commentary (Story of God Bible Commentary series) Now which idea might be that “tall order”? Paul’s admonition to “conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel”? (Phil 1:27) What about “Do everything without grumbling or arguing”? (Phil 2:14) Perhaps his challenge to be “content whatever the circumstances”? (Phil 4:11) What do you think is the most challenging idea in Philippians? For Cohick, it’s the issue of unity.
Philippians with Lynn Cohick 4 — The Most Encouraging Ideas in Philippians: Support & Joy
What is the most encouraging idea you find in Philippians? Perhaps it’s that God will continue his good work in his people until Christ’s return. Maybe it’s that even someone like Paul hadn’t already arrived at the goal of Christ-likeness. (That’s my pick!) For Lynn Cohick, author of the Philippians commentary in the ground-breaking Story of God Bible Commentary series, she finds two ideas compelling.
Philippians with Lynn Cohick 3 — Misconceptions About “To Live is Christ, To Die is Gain”
Maybe you’ve experienced or witnessed this scenario: Someone dies. In response someone says, “No need to mourn, after all they’re in a better place!” Because after all, Paul himself said “For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.” (Phil. 1:21) Not so fast, says Lynn Cohick, author of the Philippians commentary in the ground-breaking Story of God Bible Commentary series. Over the past few weeks we’ve been exploring key questions and themes surrounding Paul’s Philippians letter with Cohick as our guide. And today she explains some misconceptions surrounding the meaning of this well-known verse.