THE NEW TESTAMENT: AN UNDERSTANDABLE VERSION Table of Contents
1) [This letter is from] Paul and Timothy, slaves of Christ Jesus, [and is being sent] to all the saints [i.e., God=s holy people] who are at Philippi [Note: This is a town in present-day northeastern Greece, and the first place in Europe where Paul established Christianity], along with the overseers [Note: These men were also called elders, shepherds or pastors] and deacons. 2) May unearned favor and peace be upon you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
3) I thank my God [in prayer] every time I think of you. 4) In my every request for all of you, I make it with joy 5) for your sharing [with me] in [carrying on] the work of the Gospel from the first day [I left there] until now. [See 4:14-16]. 6) I am confident of this very thing, that God, who began something good among you, will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ=s [return].
7) It is right for me to think this way about all of you, because I have you in my heart [i.e., you are dear to me], for you people are sharing in God=s unearned favor with me [Note: Paul here refers to his ministry], both in my imprisonment and in my defense and confirmation of the Gospel [i.e., in my efforts to give proof of the Gospel=s truth]. 8) For God is my witness that I long to see you with the [same] affection that Christ Jesus has [for you].
9) And I pray that your love may grow stronger and stronger, [along] with how much you know, and [that you may grow] in your ability to comprehend things. 10) Then you will be able to approve of [only] what is best and be sincere and without just blame on the day of Christ=s [return], 11) having been full of qualities of righteousness, which come from Jesus Christ and produce honor and praise to God.
12) Now I want you to know, brothers, that the things that happened to me have resulted in the advancement [of the influence] of the Gospel rather [than hindering it], 13) so that my imprisonment for Christ became known throughout the entire headquarters of the governor [i.e., among all his personnel], and to everyone else. 14) And most of the brothers in the Lord=s [service], through my imprisonment, gained confidence to speak out God=s message with greater courage and without fear. 15) Some people, indeed, are proclaiming Christ out of envy and strife [i.e., out of rivalry], while others do it from goodwill. 16) Those who do it out of love [for me] know that I am prepared to defend the Gospel [i.e., before government authorities]. 17) But the others preach Christ out of rivalry, not sincerely, hoping to stir up trouble for me while I am in prison. 18) So, what [should I think about the situation]? Just this: I am happy and will continue to be happy that, in every way, Christ is being preached, [regardless of] whether it is in pretense or with sincerity. 19) For I know that, through your requests [in prayer] for me and the help provided by the Holy Spirit of Jesus Christ, this situation will result in my being rescued [i.e., released from imprisonment]. 20) It is my eager expectation and hope that I will not have to be ashamed about anything, but that I will have the courage, [both] now and always, [to so live] that Christ will be exalted [i.e., honored] in my body, whether I live or die. 21) For life to me is Christ, and if I die, it would be gain. 22) But if [continuing] to live in my body means accomplishing more work [for Christ], then I do not know which to choose. 23) So, I am in a dilemma between the two choices. [On the one hand] I have the desire to depart [from this life] and be with Christ [in heaven], which would be far better. 24) Yet [on the other hand], to remain in my body is more necessary for your sakes. 25) So, being convinced of this, I know I will remain [in my body] and continue with all of you for your spiritual progress and joy in the faith, 26) so that, by my being with you again, you will be able to rejoice all the more in [our lives together with] Christ Jesus.
27) So, [whatever happens], live your daily lives in such a way as to be worthy of the Gospel of Christ, so that, whether I come and see you or remain absent from you, I will hear about you, that you are standing firm in one spirit [i.e., united in purpose, and] contending with one mind for the faith of the Gospel [i.e., for the body of Christian teaching]. 28) [I also want to hear] that you are not being frightened by those who oppose you, which [courage in the face of opposition] is proof [to them, or you] that they will be destroyed, but that you will be saved, and this will [all] be done by God. 29) Because God has granted you [the privilege], on behalf of Christ, not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for His sake. 30) [So], you are now experiencing the same struggle you [once] saw me going through, and now are hearing that I still am.
1) Is there anything to be encouraged about by being in [fellowship with] Christ? Is there any comfort from His love? Is there any sharing with the Holy Spirit? [Have you received] any affection and compassion [from Christ]? 2) [Then] make me completely happy by being like-minded, having the same love [for one another], being united in spirit and having the same purpose. 3) Do not do anything from rivalry or from empty conceit, but in humility, consider others better than yourselves. 4) Each of you should not look out for your own interests [only], but also for those of other people.
5) You should think about things the way Christ Jesus did. 6) He existed in the form of God [i.e., He shared God=s very nature], but did not consider [remaining] equal with God something [to continue] to hold onto. 7) Instead, He gave up what He had and took on the form [i.e., the nature] of a slave, becoming like a man, [and even] His appearance was found to be like a man=s. 8) He humbled Himself [by] becoming obedient [to God] to the point of death, even death on a cross. 9) Therefore, God also exalted Him to the highest position and gave Him the name [i.e., ALord.@ See verse 11], which is superior to every [other] name. 10) [This was] so that, in [honor of] the name of Jesus, everyone=s knee in heaven, on earth and under the earth [i.e., all rational creatures] should bow [i.e., before God], 11) and that everyone=s mouth should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
12) So then, my dear ones, just as you people were always obedient [to my teaching] when I was there with you, so now, in my absence [also], be [obedient] all the more. [Continue to] complete your own salvation [i.e., by living faithfully to the end. See Rom. 13:11] with fear and trembling [i.e., with a reverent and submissive spirit], 13) for it is God who is at work in you, both to motivate the desire and to carry out what pleases Him.
14) Do everything without complaining and arguing, 15) so that you will be without just blame and innocent [of wrongdoing], children of God without fault in the middle of a crooked and perverted generation of people. You must shine among them like stars lighting up the sky, 16) as you hold out [i.e., offer to people] the message of [never ending] life. Then I will have something to boast about on the day of Christ=s [return, See 1:6], that I had not run the race for nothing nor had worked for nothing. 17) But even if I am poured out like a drink offering [See Ex. 29:38-41] on the sacrifice and service produced by your faith, I am glad and will rejoice with all of you. [Note: Paul here likens the possible pouring out of his blood to the wine and oil of the Old Testament sacrifice, which is then likened to the Philippians= faithful service to God]. 18) And you should be glad and share your joy with me also.
19) But I hope in [harmony with the wishes of] the Lord Jesus to send Timothy to you soon, so that I could be encouraged when I learn of your situation [i.e., when Timothy returns with news from Philippi]. 20) For I do not have anyone else [i.e., as a fellow-worker] who thinks the same way I do, and who will genuinely care for your [spiritual and material] needs. 21) For everyone else is looking out for his own interests, not for those of Jesus Christ. 22) But you people know about his proven reliability, how he served with me in advancing [the work of] the Gospel just like a son working with his father. 23) So, I hope to send him [to you] as soon as I see how things will go with me. 24) But I am fully persuaded in [harmony with the wishes of] the Lord that I, myself, also will go to you soon. [Note: Paul here expresses the hope of being released from imprisonment, in spite of previous hints that he might be put to death. See 1:20; 2:17].
25) But I considered it necessary to send to you Epaphroditus, my brother, fellow-worker and fellow-soldier, and your messenger [to me] and minister to my needs. 26) For he longed to see all of you and was very distressed because you had heard that he was sick. 27) And indeed, he was [so] sick that he almost died, but God had pity on him, and not only on him but also on me, so that I would not have one sorrow on top of another. 28) So, I am all the more eager to send him to you people, so that when you see him again you will be glad, and that my sorrow will be lessened [i.e., in knowing that you are relieved to see that he is well again]. 29) So, you should welcome him in [the fellowship of] the Lord with great joy, and regard such people with honor, 30) because he almost died for the work of Christ, risking his life to provide me with what you were not able to.
1) Finally, my brothers, rejoice in [your relationship to] the Lord. It does not trouble me to write the same things to you again, because you will be safer if I do. [Note: These Asame things@ may refer to warnings against false teachers which Paul had either spoken to them or written about previously].
2) Watch out for the Adogs!@ [Note: ADogs@ were viewed with disgust by the ancient Jews (Deut. 23:18; II Kings 8:13; Rev. 22:15), so the term is used here derogatorily for Jewish Christians who were trying to impose on the church the requirements of the Law of Moses]. Watch out for the evil workers! Watch out for those who mutilate the body meaninglessly! [Note: Paul here alludes, in a derogatory wordplay, to the Jewish practice of circumcision]. 3) For we [Christians] are the [true] circumcision [i.e., the real AJews@ in God=s eyes. See Rom. 2:28-29]. We worship by means of God=s Holy Spirit [i.e., are empowered and motivated by the Holy Spirit], and boast in [the person and work of] Christ Jesus, and [we] place no confidence in the flesh [i.e., in any outward ritual or status for salvation]. 4) However I, myself, have [reasons for such] confidence in the flesh. [But] if any other person has [reasons for placing] confidence in the flesh, I have more [reasons]. 5) [I was] circumcised eight days after I was born; [I am] from the nation of Israelites; from the tribe of Benjamin and of Hebrew ancestry [i.e., an outstanding Hebrew]. As far as the Law of Moses is concerned, [I am] a Pharisee [i.e., a strict sect of the Jewish religion]. 6) As far as enthusiasm is concerned, I persecuted the church; as far as being righteous according to the Law of Moses is concerned, I was without just blame. 7) However, those things which were [once regarded as] gain to me, I have [now] considered to be loss for [the sake of] Christ. 8) What is more, I consider everything to be a loss compared to the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus [as] my Lord, for whose sake I have suffered the loss of all things. [I now] consider [all of] them to be trash, in order to gain Christ 9) and to be found in [fellowship with] Him, not having a righteousness of my own, acquired by observing the Law of Moses, but one acquired through believing in Christ. This righteousness, which comes from God, is based on faith. 10) I want to know Christ [as Savior] and to experience the power [produced] by His resurrection, and to share in His sufferings and become like Him in His death, 11) in order to, somehow, be raised out of the dead [i.e., to have never ending life]. 12) [It is] not that I have already arrived at the goal [of spiritual maturity], or have already been made perfectly [righteous], but I am pushing onward in order to take hold of what Christ Jesus took hold of me for [i.e., to receive all that Christ intended for me]. 13) Brothers, I consider that I, myself, have not yet taken hold [of Christ=s ultimate purpose for me]. But there is one thing that I am doing; I am forgetting about my past [See verses 5-7], and reaching forward to what lies ahead. 14) I am pushing onward toward the goal for the prize of the upward call [i.e., to heaven] from God in [fellowship with] Christ. 15) So, all of us who are mature [Christians] should think this way. And if you people think differently about anything, God will reveal that to you also. 16) So, we should continue living by the same [standard] that we have [already] attained.
17) Brothers, you people should join together in imitating me, and take note of those who are following my example. 18) For I have often told you before, and am telling you again with tears in my eyes, that many people are living as the enemies of the cross of Christ [i.e., their lives oppose the purpose of Christ=s death]. 19) Their [ultimate] end is [spiritual] destruction; their god is their appetite; they boast of what they ought to be ashamed of, and they [constantly] think about worldly things. 20) But we are [really] citizens of heaven and we are waiting for a Savior [to return] from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, 21) who will change our lowly [physical] bodies and make them like His glorious body. [He will do this] according to the power that enables Him even to bring everything into submission to Himself.
1) So, my dearly loved brothers, those whom I long to see, [who are] my [reason for] being glad and [who are] my crown of victory; stand firm in [your devotion to] the Lord, my dear ones.
2) I urge Euodia and I urge Syntyche to be like-minded in [fellowship with] the Lord. 3) Yes, and I am asking you also, [my] faithful partner [Note: This person is unknown, but may have been one of Paul=s preacher companions], help those women, for they have worked hard with me in [spreading] the Gospel, along with Clement also, and the rest of my fellow-workers, whose names are in the book of life. [See Rev. 3:5; Heb. 12:23].
4) Rejoice in [fellowship with] the Lord all the time. I will say it again: Rejoice! 5) You should let your gentleness be known to all people. The Lord is near. [Note: This Anearness@ could refer to Christ=s second coming or to His nearness to His people in a spiritual sense]. 6) Do not worry about anything, but in everything, by prayer and [special] petition, along with thanksgivings, you should make your requests known to God. 7) And [when you do], the peace from God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and thoughts [from anxiety] in [fellowship with] Christ Jesus.
8) Finally, brothers, give [careful] thought to these things: Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovable, and whatever is commendable. If it is excellent; if it is praiseworthy; [think about it]. 9) You people should do those things which you have learned and received and heard from me, and seen in me, and [then] the God [who gives] peace will be with you.
10) I am rejoicing very much in [fellowship with] the Lord that now, after some time, you people have revived your concern for me. Actually, you were concerned, but lacked the opportunity [to show it]. 11) I am not saying this because of being in need, for I have learned to be content regardless of my circumstances. 12) I know how to get along in humble circumstances and how to live in prosperity. In every situation and in all circumstances, I have learned the secret both to be full and to be hungry, both to have plenty and to be in need. 13) I can do everything through Christ, who gives me the strength. 14) Nevertheless, it was really good of you people to share [with me] during my troubles [i.e., imprisonment]. 15) As you Philippians also know, during the early days of [my] preaching the Gospel [in those regions], when I left Macedonia [Note: This was the northernmost province of Greece], no church shared with me in the matter of giving and receiving [i.e., financial help], except you only. 16) For even [when I was] in Thessalonica, you sent [money] more than once to meet my needs. 17) [Now] it is not that I am looking for a gift, but I am looking for the benefit that [such a gift] will add to your [spiritual] account [with God]. 18) But I have everything [I need], and in abundance; I am fully supplied, having received from Epaphroditus the gifts that you sent, [which are like] a fragrant-smelling sacrifice, acceptable and very pleasing to God. 19) And my God will supply all your needs [also], according to His glorious wealth [enjoyed by fellowship] in Christ Jesus.
20) Now may there be honor to our God and Father forever and ever. May it be so.
21) Greet every saint [i.e., God=s holy person] in [fellowship with] Christ Jesus. The brothers who are with me [also] send their greetings to you. 22) All the saints [here with me] send you their greetings, especially those belonging to [Emperor] Caesar=s household.
23) May the favor of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit.
Table of Contents
Copyright © 1994 by William E. Paul.
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