1. Introduction, 1:1-11

Greeting, thanksgiving and prayer for the church


As is typical, following the greeting Paul gives thanks and prays for the welfare of his readers. His thanksgiving is by no means an oblique prayer on behalf of his readers, rather it is made directly to God in appreciation for His gracious kindness toward the Philippian congregation, a kindness reciprocated by the congregation toward Paul in support of his missionary work. Paul then prays for the perfection of his readers; he prays for their spiritual insight / knowledge / true discrimination, so that they might reap the full harvest of righteousness - the fruits of God's redeeming love.


i] Context: Paul, as usual, opens with a greeting, 1:1-2, moving quickly into the body of his letter, or probably better, his address to the Philippian believers (the letter would be read to the church as a whole). The letter tends to follow the format common to first century deliberative rhetoric:

Exordium, 1:3-11: An expression of appreciation.

Narratio, 1:12-26: Paul explains how his present troubles are serving a positive end. Paul is able to witness to unbelieving Roman officials and at the same time encourage the local Christian congregation. So, the gospel is proclaimed, and for this Paul rejoices.

Propositio, 1:27-30: He then follows up with his proposition,

Let us struggle together for the truth of the gospel.

Probatio, 2:1-30: Paul goes on to develop his main argument which calls for harmony in the Philippian congregation; he asks that they depreciate personal squabbles by recognizing the servanthood of Christ, 2:1-2:18. Personal information follows concerning Paul's intention to send Timothy to them and of the present visit of Epaphroditus who is charged with carrying Paul's thank-you letter to the church, 2:19-30.

Refutatio, 3:1-21: Paul seems ready to end the letter at this point but then launches into a warning, 3:1-4a. He wants his readers to be on guard against those who undermine their faith. To this end Paul sets out to summarize the key components of faith in Christ and its fruit of love, 3:4b-21.

Peroratio, 4:1-20: Paul follows up with an appeal for unity and for an application of the seven steps to peace, 4:1-9. This is followed by a word of appreciation for the gift carried by Epaphroditus from the Philippian fellowship, 4:10-20.

Conclusio, 4:21-23. The letter ends with personal greetings and a benediction.


ii] Background:

During Paul's second missionary journey, he was instructed in a vision to leave the Roman province of Asia and cross over to Macedonia. He went by ship to Neapolis and then to Philippi, a Roman colony, where he was able to establish a small congregation of believers, cf., Acts 16:1-15. This was probably around AD51. During his third missionary journey, in the midst of the troubles that had developed in the Corinthian congregation, he made at least one more visit to Philippi, Acts 20:1-6, AD53-55. At this stage, Paul is organizing the collection in Macedonia for the poor believers in Jerusalem and Judea, but due to the poverty of the Phillipian church, Paul intended not to ask them to contribute, but they insisted, cf., 2Cor.8:1-5. Troubles ensued on delivering the collection to the saints in Jerusalem, inevitably leading to Paul's arrest, imprisonment, and ultimately his house-arrest in Rome as he waited to make his appeal to Caesar, AD60-62, cf., Acts 28.

Paul's letter to the Philippians indicates that he was in prison when he wrote the letter. Arguments abound as to where this may be (eg., Caesarea, Ephesus, even Corinth), but most of the conservative commentators hold that he wrote Philippians while he was awaiting trial in Rome during his first imprisonment (assuming there was a second imprisonment at the time of Nero, around 67AD) - probably during the latter part of his imprisonment. It seems likely that when the Philippian believers learnt of Paul's circumstances, they collected funds for his support, and sent Epaphroditus, both to carry the funds to Paul and to offer practical care for him. Epaphroditus was only able to reach Rome at the risk of his own life, having fallen sick on the journey. On reaching Rome, Epaphroditus was able to inform Paul of the difficulties facing the church. The church was under increasing societal pressure from without, as well as people-troubles from within. The problems within the church were mainly caused by the Judaizers, members of the circumcision party, the core members of which were ensconced in the Jerusalem church. These difficulties were undermining the faith of the congregation, prompting dissension and self-seeking. Even the leadership was under stress, with Euodia and Syntyche noted for their failings. Epaphroditus was also able to pass on to Paul the request that he send Timothy to lead the church through these difficulties, but Paul was unable to allow him go at this point in time. Too many of Paul's associates had deserted him.

It is in this context that Paul writes to the believers in Philippi, entrusting Epaphroditus with its delivery. The letter seeks to thank the Philippians for their support, encourage them in their distress, rebuke the trouble makers, counter false doctrine, and exhort the congregation to faithful service.


The troublemakers in Philippi: Lightfoot proposed that those who were running a campaign against Paul were the Judaizers, members of the circumcision party, the group specifically targeted by Paul in Galatians, and indirectly in Romans. Most modern commentators are unwilling to be so specific. The key passages to consider in Philippians are 1:15-17, 1:27-28 ("those who oppose you .... they will be destroyed"), 3:2 ("mutilators of the flesh" = circumcision), 3:18-19 ("enemies of the cross .... their god is their stomach, and their glory is in their shame. Their mind is set on earthly things" = eat not, touch not regulations).

Some commentators have suggested that the problem Paul is addressing is a Jewish form of gnosticism, but the majority of commentators argue that the problem concerns Jewish exclusivism with respect to the application of the Law of Moses. The proponents may be Hellenistic Jews, but are most likely Jewish believers. Commentators divide with respect to the number of opposition parties Paul addresses. Many opt for two, given the different tone evident in Paul's criticisms: opponents in Rome who are preachers of Christ, chapter 1, and unidentified opponents in Philippi, chapter 3. Some opt for a third opposition party, libertines, 3:19. A single opposition group seems most likely, but the issue will always remain a matter of debate.

Lightfoot sees the heresy promoted by the Judaizers as legalism, but it is more likely nomism, the idea that although right-standing before God is a gift of grace through faith, the full appropriation of the promised blessings of the covenant are by works of the law. A nomist believes that by law-obedience sin is restrained and holiness progressed for blessing. This pharisaic heresy, originally confronted by Jesus, constantly bedeviled Paul throughout his ministry, and it is likely that even now he is having to deal with it in the church at Rome, particularly with Jewish believers. For Paul, the promised blessings of the covenant (new life in Christ) are fully realized in union with Christ apart from the works of the law. A believer lives by the Spirit, not by the flesh.




Paul's opponents / Nomism:




(the heresy assumed by Lightfoot).


Paul's criticisms in chapter 3 are certainly harsh, and well reflect his attack on the Judaizers in Galatians, but it is interesting that in chapter 1 he accepts that they preach Christ (see also 2Cor.11:4 for a similar perspective - "the preachers of a Jesus other than the Jesus we preached". Were they also judaizers?). A few years in a Roman jail is well able to mellow a firry temperament and foster the "meekness and gentleness of Christ." So yes, they preach Christ crucified, but like any sectarian group they are highly motivated to lead believers to that special little extra for a full Christian life.

For a survey of opinions as to the identity of those who "preach Christ out of envy and rivalry", see O'Brien p102-105; cf., the introductory notes for Galatians, and also "Background" , Galatians 1:1-10.


iii] Structure: Greeting, Thanksgiving and Prayer:

Greeting, v1-2;

An appreciation for the Philippians' friendship in the gospel, v3-8;

A prayer for the church, v9-11.


iv] Interpretation:

Paul's letter of appreciation to the Christian community at Philippi (technically a speech in the form of a letter), follows the typical form of a letter at this period of time. Three elements are usually found in the opening statement of a letter, elements evident in this letter: the name of the sender; the name of the recipient/s; a greeting, v1-2.

A common element found in a number of Paul's letters, after the opening salutation, is a thanksgiving, and Philippians presents a particularly effusive salutation, or as O'Brien puts it, "unusually earnest", v3-8 (a thanksgiving is not found in 2 Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, 1 Timothy, Titus). The thanksgiving reveals the affectionate relationship that Paul has with the Philippians. It also evidences that other than a desire to thank the Philippians for their kindness toward him, there is no burning issue that Paul needs to bring before the church. Sanders suggests that Pauline thanksgivings reflect "the liturgical form of the prayers of the Christian community", or even more likely, the prayer form of a Jewish synagogue at the time. Indeed, Paul is a Jew and the Christian church initially drew its form of worship from Jewish tradition.

A thanksgiving, by its very nature, can be classified a prayer, but in Philippians, as in Colossians, Paul moves from his prayer of thanksgiving to a prayer of intercession, v9-11. It is interesting to note the similarities between this prayer in Philippians with the example found in Colossians, Col.1:9-11. In both, Paul wants his readers to grow in the knowledge of God; he prays that they may be filled according to God's power and glory. These verses actually reveal Paul's driving purpose for his readers, a growing understanding of what matters "in order that you may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ", v10. Above Paul's purpose for mere mortals is a higher purpose, that all this be "to the glory and praise of God", v11. Silva calls this a "pervasive biblical principle" of prayer evident throughout the Old and New Testament - note the Lord's Prayer.


v] Exposition: A simple exposition of this passage may be found in the linked pew-level Sermon Notes.

Text - 1:1

Introduction: i] Opening salutation, v1-2.

douloi (oV) "servants" - [paul and timothy] slaves. Nominative standing in apposition to the nominative absolutes "Paul and Timothy." Properly meaning "slave", but servant / minister is surely intended, as in the OT, "servant of the Lord." None-the-less, the word could of itself be taken to mean slave / bondservant as one who is dedicated to fulfill the Master's commands.

Cristou Ihsou (oV) gen. "of Christ Jesus" - The genitive is adjectival, possessive, or idiomatic, "servants who are under the authority of Jesus Christ."

toiV aJgioiV (oV) dat. "to [all] God's holy people" - to [all] the holy, saints. Dative of recipient.

en "in [Christ Jesus]" - Local, expressing incorporative union; "in union with Christ Jesus."

ou|sin (eimi) dat. pres. part. "-" - being. The participle is adjectival, attributive, limiting "the saints"; "who are in Philippi."

en + dat. "at [Philippi]" - in [philippi]. Local, expressing space.

sun + dat. "together with" - with [overseers and deacons]. Expressing association / accompaniment. The mention of these two ministries in the Philippian church is interesting. The two Greek words are used for the English words of bishop and deacon. The word episkopoV is used of an overseer, one who exercises rule and authority, while the word diakonoV is used of one who serves, ministers to others. So, the words refer to the leaders in the congregation and to others who exercise some form of ministry / service within the congregation. It is very unlikely that at this stage they refer to an ecclesiastical office.


uJmin dat. pro. "to you" - [grace] to you [and peace]. Dative of indirect object / interest, advantage. The common Hebrew greeting is salom, "peace", and the common Greek greeting is just that, cairein, "Greeting", although Paul moves to the Hebrew equivalent, hesedh, so "grace."

apo + gen. "from [God]" - Expressing source / origin. As a formalized invocation the sense is "May God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ give you grace and peace."

patroV (hr roV) gen. "Father" - father [of us]. Genitive in apposition to "God".

Ihsou Cristou (oV) "Jesus Christ" - [lord] jesus christ. Genitive is apposition to "Jesus Christ."


ii] A thanksgiving for the Philippians' fellowship in the gospel, v3-8. Paul, thanks God because, under His guiding hand, the Philippians shared in the work of evangelism, probably financing Paul, so Synge. "Every time I think of you I thank my God."

The translation offered by the NIV / 11 for v3 aligns with translations, but Moffatt's translation is worth considering; "I thank my God for all your remembrance of me." In the context, it does make sense. Note also the problem with the first three verses in what is a very long Gk. sentence. The main verb eucaristw, "I give thanks", is usually taken with v5 leaving v3a-4 as a kind of parenthesis, so Lightfoot. It seems best to take v3 with 4a as the main clause, and 4b-5 as a subordinate participial clause; "I give thanks to my God for all your remembrance of me always in every prayer of mine on your behalf, offering these prayers joyfully because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day that it reached you right up to the present."

eucaristw pres. "I thank" - i give thanks. The present tense is obviously iterative where the action is repeated.

mou gen. pro. "my" - [the the god] of me. The genitive is adjectival, possessive is somewhat problematic, possibly relational, although better idiomatic / of subordination.

tw/ qew/ "God" - to the god. Dative of direct object after the verb "to give thanks", "I give thanks to my God."

pash/ + dat. "every" - [at] every [remembrance of you]. Rather than "every time I remember", better "in all my remembrance", Varner; BDF #235.3, not "every", but "in the whole of."

epi + dat. "time" - on, upon, at the time of. Spacial, "in", particularly of time, "at the time of", as NIV; "every time I think of you", CEV. Possibly expressing cause / reason / ground, "because of"; "for all your remembrance of me", Moffatt. In this translation Moffatt has taken uJmwn, "you" as a subjective genitive, "your remembrance of me (the Philippians and their financial support to Paul), rather than "my remembrance of you." The only problem with this translation is that when Paul uses similar language in other thanksgivings it clearly means Paul's remembrance of his readers in his prayers.


Regarded as a parenthesis by some commentators, Lightfoot etc., "and praying for you does make me happy." On the other hand, O'Brien and others regard the joy Paul feels, when he prays for the Philippians, as the first ground for his thanksgiving. "When I pray for you, and that means all of you, I always feel very happy."

en + dat. "in" - [always] in [every]. Instrumental, expressing means; "by means of all my prayers." Note the repeated idea of completeness, "always, in all my prayers = every prayer for all of you."

dehsei (iV ewV) "prayers" - requests, entreaties, prayers. Usually in a specific sense, "supplications".

uJper + gen.. "for" - Expressing representation, "on behalf of" / benefaction, "for the benefit of."

pantwn adj. "all [of you]" - [you] all. Not always translated, but Paul seems to stress inclusiveness with the Philippians, possibly due to an awareness on his part of congregational disunity.

poioumenoV (poiew) pres. mid. part. "I [always] pray" - making, doing [the supplication with joy]. The participle is adverbial, possibly temporal, "whenever I pray for you", REB, or when taken with the prepositional phrase, modal, expressing manner, "joyfully praying."

pantote adv. "always" - every time, always. Temporal adverb.

meta + gen "with [joy]" - The preposition is probably adverbial here, expressing manner, "joyfully"; "when I pray for you, and that means all of you, I always feel very happy."


If v4 is not a parenthesis, then this verse states the second ground for Paul's thanksgiving, namely the Philippian's partnership with Paul in gospel ministry. Paul is thankful for the Philippians' practical interest and involvement in his gospel ministry.

epi + dat. "because" - in view of. Here expressing cause / ground, "because of / on the basis of"; "for they (my prayers) bring back to my mind how we have worked together for the gospel", Phillips.

th/ koinwnia/ (a) "partnership" - the fellowship, participation, sharing. Some argue for a passive sense, but an active sense seems best; "your cooperation in promoting the gospel", O'Brien.

eiV + acc. "in [the gospel]" - into. Here most likely adverbial expressing reference / respect; "with respect to / with reference to." See also 2:22.

to euaggelion (on) "the gospel" - the important message. Tending always to refer to the important divine message proclaimed by John the Baptist, Jesus ..., namely "the kingdom of God is at hand." Often referred to as the good news, but it's certainly not good news for those who have rejected it. Here, probably not just the actual message, but the business of communicating it; "for your cooperation in spreading the gospel", Weymouth.

apo "from [the first day]" - Temporal use of the preposition. Presumably "from the first day it arrived among you", Barclay.

acri + gen. "until" - Here serving as a temporal preposition; "until".

tou gen. "-" - the [now]. The article serves as a nominalizer turning the adverb "now" into a substantive; "the present."


It is most likely that we have here the third ground for Paul's thanksgiving, namely, his confidence that God will finish the good work. Paul has a sure belief in God's grace at work in the Philippian church, a sovereign grace which will continue to affect the inner disposition and the outward activity of the members of the congregation. This work of God, in their lives, will continue until the advent of Christ.

pepoiqwV (peiqw) perf. part. "being confident" - having become confident of. The participle is adverbial, best treated as causal, "because of"; "for of this I am confident", Weymouth.

auto touto "of this" - this thing. Standing as accusative complements of the participle "having become confident." Not referring to some particular antecedent, but rather underlining his confidence, "I am confident with just this confidence", Hawthorne.

oJti "that" - Introducing an object clause / dependent statement of perception, expressing Paul's confidence, namely the completion of the good work.

oJ enarxamenoV (enarcomai) aor. part. "he who began" - the one having begun. The participle serves as a substantive. The agent is obviously God.

ergon agaqon "a good work" - a work good. Accusative direct object of the participle "having begun." Given the context, the good work is the work of the gospel that the Philippians were participating in, a work begun by God and one that will ultimately be completed by him. None-the-less, the idea of completing this work may indicate that Paul has in mind their salvation which "began" when the gospel was preached to them.

en "in [you]" - in, with [you]. Possibly locative, "in / within [you]", as NIV, reflecting the view that the "good work" is the eternal salvation of the Philippian believers. On the other hand, an instrumental sense is possible, "by means of [you]", reflecting the view that the "good work is the work of evangelization. The Philippian believers, along with Paul's mission team, served as God's instrument for evangelizing Philippi.

epitelesei (epitelew) "will carry it on to completion" - will complete, accomplish, bring about. Carrying the sense of both continuation and completion, so "will continue to work ........ until he has finished what he has planned", TH.

Cristou Ihsou (oV) gen. "of Christ Jesus" - [until day] of christ jesus. Adjectival, possessive, in the sense that the day belongs to Jesus, or more likely idiomatic / temporal, "the day when Christ Jesus comes."


In v3-6, Paul expresses warm affection for the Philippian believers and he now explains the reason for his strong feelings. Whether, during his time in prison, or during those times when he was free to defend and establish the truth of the gospel, the Philippians have stood with him and supported him in his ministry, a ministry graciously given to him by God.

kaqwV "-" - just as, as [it is right]. Comparative, although sometimes taking a causal sense, "because / since / in so far as." Because of v3-6 it is only right for Paul to feel the way he does. "Indeed it is only right ..." Hawthorne.

emoi dat. pro. "for me" - Dative of interest, advantage.

fronein (fronew) inf. "to feel" - to think, to be concerned for, feel [this]. The infinitive forms an infinitival phrase which serves as the subject of the verb to-be, "to feel ....... is [only right for me]." The word expresses both feelings, "a sympathetic attention to", but also "the holding of an opinion"; "it is only natural for me to be thinking of you all", Moffatt.

uJper "about [all of you]" - on behalf of [you all]. Here expressing reference / respect, "concerning", as NIV, but possibly advantage / benefit, "on behalf of."

dia + acc. "since" - because of, on account of. Taking a causal sense, "because".

en "in [my heart]" - [you have me] in, within [the = your heart]. Locative, expressing space / sphere. The word order is ambiguous so possibly also expressing Paul's knowledge that he is very dear to the Philippians; "I have a secure place in your hearts", Bruce.

te .... kai "weather ..... or" - both [in my bonds of me] and [in the defense and vindication of the good news]. Serving to relate two sequential elements; "both in my imprisonment also while I was free to defend ..."

th/ apologia/ (a) "defending" - the defense. To speak against accusations presumed to be false*.

bebaiwsei (iV ewV) "confirming" - confirmation, verification, vindication. "To defend and establish the truth of the gospel", Barclay.

tou euaggeliou (on) gen. "the gospel" - The genitive is usually taken as verbal, objective.

ontaV (eimi) pres. part. "[all of you] -" - [you all] being. The participle of the verb to-be is adverbial, possibly causal, "because all of you share ..."

sugkoinwnouV (oV) "share" - fellow participants, sharers together, partakers. Predicate accusative.

thV caritoV (cariV) gen. "in God's grace" - of the grace. The genitive may be treated as verbal, objective, or adverbial, reference / respect; "being participants with respect to grace." Paul uses the word "grace" here in the sense of the gift of his apostolic ministry. That ministry was a gift of God, exercised in authority and power against great odds. "All of you have helped in the work that God has given me", CEV.

mou gen. pro "with me" - of me. The genitive is adjectival, possessive, or idiomatic / of associaton; it is Paul's grace in that it is a ministry given to him by God, which ministry the Philippians share in.


Finally, Paul calls on God to confirm his love for the Philippian church, a love derived from Christ and empowered by Christ.

gar "-" - for. Here transitional and therefore left untranslated, as NIV.

martuV (uV uroV) "testify" - [my] witness [is god]. Predicate nominative. The clause functions as an oath witnessed by God; "God knows that I am telling the truth", Barclay.

wJV "how" - as, like / while. Possibly expressing degree, "God knows how much I long for your companionship", Phillips, possibly manner, as NIV, but more likely introducing the content of the witness, rather than its quality; "God witnesses to the fact that I yearn for you", Hawthorne.

epipoqw (epipoqew) "I long for" - i yearn for, yearn after, long for. Paul is expressing an intense longing for the Philippians, a longing that is deeply affectionate, loving.

pantaV adj. "all [of you]" - [you] all. Attributive adjective. Note again Paul's use of this inclusive descriptor.

en + dat. "with" - in, with, by, to. Instrumental, expressing means, or modal, expressing manner.

splagcnoiV (on) "affection" - the entrails, bowels of affection. Used in the sense of a deep feeling of intent or affection. Probably brotherly love best defines this feeling. Yet, here not so much of human affection, although that would be a strong aspect of it, but rather a love transformed to another level. Paul's love for the Philippians is the love of Christ for them. Paul is a channel of Christ's love toward the church. They are one in Christ and are therefore bound together in his love.

Cristou Ihsou "of Christ Jesus" - The genitive is possibly verbal, subjective, ie., an "affection" poured out from Christ, possibly ablative, ie., expressing origin, an "affection" sourced from Christ, or just simply adjectival, attributive, ie., an "affection" which is Christ-like, a Christ-like type of affection.


iii] Paul now articulates his prayer for the Philippian congregation; "this is my prayer: ....", v9-11. Great love already exists in the church, a love toward God, toward each other, toward the world, and of course, toward Paul himself. Yet, their love, like the love of all, is imperfect. So, Paul prays that their love might abound more and more "in deeper knowledge and broader perception."

iJna + subj. "that [your love] may abound" - [and this i pray] that. This construction is being used here to introduce an object clause / dependent statement of indirect speech expressing the content of the prayer.

hJ agaph (h) "[your] love" - the love [of you]. Nominative subject of the verb "to abound." No object of the love is supplied, indicating the possession of a quality rather than the action of being loving. It is that which is "the central element of the Christian life", Beare.

perisseuh/ (perisseuw) pres. subj. "may abound" - may abound, overflow, have exceeding much, be extremely rich. The present tense indicating ongoing action; "may continue to abound."

eti adv. "-" - yet, still [more and more]. Used as an intensifier of the adverbs mallon ... mallon, "more [and] more", so expressing a super abundance, an ever expanding love. "That your love may overflow with deeper and deeper knowledge, and with greater and greater sensitive awareness of every kind", Barclay.

en + dat. "in" - Here Local expressing sphere; "within the domain of knowledge and all insight", O'Brien.

epignwsei kai pash/ aisqhsei "knowledge and depth of insight" - advanced knowledge and perception / discernment. Paul is obviously praying for an improvement in the quality of their love. He is praying for a knowledge of God, of his will and person. Such knowledge is gained through a study of the Bible. As Vincent puts it in his commentary, Paul is praying for an "intelligent and discerning love". For a believer to love, it is essential to know the truth; we have to be able to distinguish good from evil, ie., we must understand the ethical implications of any action. To act in a loving way necessitates a correct understanding of the mind and character of God. It is when we understand the "good", we are then able to apply that knowledge to each and every situation. Our action then becomes a loving act. Although much of our behavior stems from the best of intentions, it is often done with little understanding of the mind of God. The unthoughtful act is often anything but loving. So, a loving act must be an "intelligent and discerning" one. "In deeper knowledge and broader perception", Hawthorne.


With the quality of their love improved through knowledge, the believers in Philippi will be better able to distinguish between good and evil. If they can possess a true gift of discrimination, they will find that their behavior toward others is sincere and does not give offense, or lead another into sin. This applied discrimination will prepare them for their reign with Christ in eternity.

eiV to dokimazein (dokimazw) inf. "so that you may be able to discern" - for [you] to test = that [you] may test. The articular infinitive with the preposition eiV "most commonly expresses purpose", Burton #409. The verb translated "discern" in the NIV either means "test", to prove something by testing, or "approve", having tested and proved the worth of something. Muller states in his commentary that with their love directed by knowledge they will "be able to determine, by judicious discernment, what things really matter, what is the best and most virtuous, and what is of most importance." They will be able to judge / discern, to gain spiritual insights as to the right value of actions and beliefs. Such discernment can be applied to self, to the life of the church, and to the workings of society. The end result is "that small things should as small be seen, and great things great to us should seem", Barth. "Approve", RSV; "discriminate", NEB.

to diaqeronta (daqerw) pres. part. "what is best" - the things being superior, excellent, worthwhile. The participle serves as a substantive.

iJna + subj. "[and may be pure ...]" - that. Unlikely to form a causal clause, "for I want you to be pure and blameless", Barclay, possibly a final (purpose) clause, "in order that / so that", Moffatt ("and" in the NIV repeats the "so that" at the beginning of the verse), or a consecutive (expressing consequence, result) clause; "then [as a result] on the day of Christ you will be flawless and without blame", REB.

eilikrineiV (hV) kai aproskopoi (oV) adj. "pure and blameless" - you may be wax-like = pure and blameless. With a "gift of true discrimination", a believer can shape their behavior toward others in a sincere way that does not give offense or lead another into sin. This is probably what Paul means by "pure and blameless". The word translated "pure" in the NIV is virtually unknown, but probably means something like "genuine" or "sincere". The word translated "blameless" in the NIV is something like "without causing offense / causing to stumble". An intransitive sense is possible, "without stumbling", O'Brien. The problem with the NIV choice of words is that they convey the idea of a faultless moral life. This suggestion is a dangerous one, given that the words in the Greek text do not push to such an extreme. The sense is of our life-style being both ethically sincere / true and inoffensive (particularly in the sense of leading a brother into sin - ie,. causing a brother to abandon Christ).

eiV + acc. "until [the day of Christ]" - into. Adverbial use of the preposition, probably temporal, "leading up to = until" as NIV, or "on the day of Christ", TEV, "when you meet with Christ on the last day", possibly also spacial, of direction toward or arrival at, "toward": "mindful of the day of Christ", Muller; "in view of the day of Christ", Bruce; "in preparation for the day of Christ", O'Brien.

Cristou (oV) gen. "[the day] of Christ" - The genitive is adjectival, as for v6; "the day of judgment and glorification when Christ returns."


Paul gives another picture of this love, refined by the knowledge of God; it is behavior which "abounds in the fruit of right-doing". Paul's prayer is that the Philippians might be "filled" with this fruit, this ethically sincere and non corrupting behavior, this "harvest of righteousness." It is a fruit which comes "through Jesus Christ", a fruit "which Christ produces." Jesus is the prompting-cause of this fruit in that by grace through faith he shapes right-doing in our lives through the indwelling Spirit.

peplhrwmenoi (plhrow) perf. pas. part. "filled" - having been filled, completed. The perfect tense indicates a completed state with the passive usually classified as theological / divine - God does the filling. This nominative participle is usually treated as attendant on the predicate nominative substantive adjectives "pure" and "blameless", v10, as NIV, although it may well be adverbial, consecutive, expressing result, "with the result that ...", so Varner; "Reaping the harvest of righteousness", NEB.

dikaiosunhV (h) gen. "[the fruit] of righteousness" - [with the fruit] of righteousness. The genitive is adjectival, attributive, limiting fruit, "righteous / right-doing fruits", or epexegetic, specifying the fruit in mind. Possibly righteous in the sense of a right status, that which is ours by grace through faith, although it is possible that the participle phrase, "filled with the fruit of righteousness" expresses action accompanying "may be pure and blameless", in which case an ethical quality is being described; "abounding in the fruits of right-doing", Williams.

ton "that" - The article serves as an adjectivizer, turning the prepositional phrase "through Jesus Christ" into an attributive relative clause limiting "the righteous fruit"; "which comes through Jesus Christ."

dia + gen. "through" - through, by means of [jesus christ]. Instrumental / agency; "the harvest of righteousness which Christ produces", Moffatt.

eiV "to" - into, to [glory and praise]. In the sense of advantage / purpose, "for"; "all this is for the glory and praise of God", O'Brien.

qeou (oV) "of God" - The genitive is usually taken as verbal, objective, "the purpose of the fruit, therefore, would be to praise God", Varner. An adjectival sense is certainly not impossible, "for God's praise and glory", possessive / characteristic, or "for the praise and Glory which is due to God", etc., idiomatic.


Philippians Introduction


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