Philippians

4:10-20

7. A word of appreciation, 4:10-20

God provides all our needs

Argument

Paul concludes his letter to the Philippians with a grateful recognition of the gift they have sent him by the hand of Epaphroditus. The passage is, in a sense, "the apostle's formal receipt", Hawthorne, cf. the technical term apecw. Paul first speaks of his contentment in all circumstances, v10-13; then how much he appreciates the church's gift, v14-18; and finally he addresses the subject of God's sufficiency in every need, v19-20..

 
Issues

i] Context: See 1:1-11.

 

ii] Background: See 1:1-11.

 

iii] Structure: Paul's word of appreciation for the support offered by the Philippian church presents as follows:

A situation assisted, v10-14:

appreciation, v10;

contentment v11;

adaptability, v12;

dependency, v13.

Appreciation offered, v14-17.

Blessings all round, v18-19.

Doxology, v20.

 

The passage forms an inclusion between "the God of peace be with you", v9, and "to our God and Father be glory for ever and ever, Amen", v20. Fee adopts a simple linguistic structure which develops the content of Paul's rejoicing; "I rejoice greatly in the Lord oJti that ...", v20. Paul's joy rests on: i] An acknowledgement of the Philippians renewed concern for him in his needs, v10-13. This acknowledgment comes with two qualification: a) the Philippian's past inactivity was due to a lack of opportunity, and b) Paul's needs are primarily in the hands of Christ, v11-13; ii] An acknowledgement of the Philippians partnership is his afflictions, v14-17. Paul reminds them of their past kindness, v15-16, then qualifies his acknowledgement by reminding them that he has never sought any material gift from them, v17; iii] An acknowledgement that the Philippians "fragrant, sacrificial offering" has fully supplied Paul's material needs, v18-19. Paul qualifies this acknowledgement by noting that they will not be disadvantaged by their generosity because God, in return, will meet all their needs, v19. Paul concludes with a doxology, v20.

 

iv] Interpretation:

It seems strange that Paul should leave his thank you to the end of the letter. Hawthorne gives three possible reasons and opts for the third: i] it is a separate document attached to the letter proper; ii] it is a personal thank you added to the letter in Paul's own hand; iii] it represents a nervousness on Paul's part, given his reticence to accept financial support - note how Paul stresses his independence in v11-13, 17. Paul was "clearly sensitive about money matters in general", O'Brien (As Fee notes, the three dangers facing any minister is pride, money and sex. Paul is no fool when it comes to Satan's barbs). None-the-less, Paul's reticence to offer a wholehearted thanks for the gift is certainly interesting. It does seem likely that he is wanting to affirm his independence, but possibly he is aware of some opposition toward him in the congregation, or even that it is simply an issue of rhetorical style where "verbal gratitude in written form was not a social expectation, except when writing to someone who was socially superior", Peterman, Paul's Gift from Philippi, 1997, cf. Hansen. Reumann, who provides a full survey of the suggested reason's behind Paul's thankless thanks, opts for a legal, business-like explanation for the style of this part of the letter. Yet, O'Brien, drawing on the work of Marshall, Enmity in Corinth, notes that the so-called accounting commercial words and phrases (cf. 4:15, "giving and receiving") are actually "contemporary idiomatic expressions denoting friendship." Silva may be right in arguing that Paul's thankless thanks simply evidences his desire that the Philippians send him no more money, but it seems more likely that he is trying to shift the purpose of their giving from personal patronage to gospel partnership and to do this while expressing gratitude for their gift.

 

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

 
Text - 4:10

The gift from Philippi, v10-20. i] Paul acknowledges the renewed concern shown him by the Philippians, while at the same time expressing his contentment in the circumstances he presently faces, v10-13. Paul begins this section with an observation about his own life. He has learnt to be content in all circumstances, whether good or evil, because he has taken hold of Christ's sustaining power. First, he notes with joy the gift sent from Philippi and carried by Epaphroditus. Paul is overjoyed that his converts haven't forgotten him, and assumes that a simple lack of opportunity had hindered them from acting earlier.

de "-" - but, and. Here as a transitional connective, introducing a new section, so best left untranslated, as NIV.

ecarhn (cairw) aor. pas. "I rejoice" - The aorist is possibly epistolary, so Hawthorne, or dramatic, or even a true past tense; "I rejoiced when you again showed concern for me", Reumann.

en + dat. "in [the Lord]" - in [lord]. See 3:1, 4:2. "Lord" is probably "the Lord Jesus Christ", but in Old Testament parlance the title is used of God. The preposition could be causal, "because of the Lord", or instrumental, "by the Lord", but is more likely local, expressing sphere, so in the mutual relationship / fellowship / unity that believers possess with Jesus - "they together belong to the Lord and thus to one another", Fee.

oJti "that" - Introducing an object clause / dependent statement of indirect speech, expressing the content of Paul's rejoicing, but also possibly causal expressing the ground of Paul's rejoicing, "because you have at last ....."

hdh pote "at last" - now once. Temporal; "after all this time", Phillips.

anaqalete (anaqallw) aor. "you have renewed" - you caused to flourish, blossom anew. Hapax legomenon; once only use in the NT.

to ... fronein (fronew) "your concern" - the thought = your thought = your concern, care. The accusative articular infinitive, an accusative of respect, is substantival, object of the verb "you have renewed."

uJper + gen. "for [me]" - on behalf of [me]. Expressing benefit, although here somewhat adjectival, limiting "your concern", "your concern which is for me"; "I am overwhelmed by your desire to do what is best for me."

kai "indeed" - and. Probably emphatic, as NIV, but possibly epexegetic, "in that, with regard to which, you have long been concerned for me but lacked ....."

ef wJ/ "-" - upon whom. This construction may be final, expressing purpose, "for/to which end", Zerwick #129, or possibly even causal, "because of whom", but better taken as a substantive phrase, "with regard to which", Thrall Particles, ie., "with regard to your renewed concern for me." Somewhat complex and best left untranslated. "I know that your care for me has always been there, but you never had the opportunity to show it", Barclay.

efroneite (fronew) imperf. "you have been concerned" - you were thinking. The imperfect is durative expressing continued concern, but possibly conative; "you tried to show your concern, but ....."

de "but" - but, and. Here slightly adversative, as NIV.

hkireisqe (akaireomai) imperf. "you had no opportunity to show it" - you were lacking opportunity.

 
v11

His joy is for their gift, not for the meeting of his need. As far as Paul is concerned he has learnt to be satisfied in whatever circumstance he faces.

The sense of v10b and 11 is nicely expressed by Phillips who takes the view that Paul qualifies hdh pote, "at last / after all this time", v10a, with "I don't mean that you had forgotten me, .......", v10b, and to uJper emou fronein, "your concern for me", with "nor do I mean that ...",v11. The syntactical difficulties found in this verse possibly reflect spoken Gk., rather than written, ie. Paul is dictating. Moffatt nicely cuts through it all with "not that I complain of want for I have learned to be content wherever I am."

oJti "[I am not saying] this" - [I do not say] that. Introducing an object clause / dependent statement, indirect speech, expressing what Paul is saying. "I'm not saying that / I don't mean that / I'm not suggesting that ..." Often ouc oJti forms an elliptical construction without legw (cf. 3:12) which may mean that legw, "I say", in this clause, relates to the dependent statement and not ouc oJti, "not that"; "I am not saying that I speak with reference to [my] needs, wants." Still, it seems likely that legw goes with ouc oJti. "In mentioning this matter ....", Cassirer.

kaq (kata) + acc. "because" - Usually with a meaning like "according to" so possibly here expressing reference, "with respect to, with reference to", but usually taken here as replacing dia + acc. "because of, on account of", as NIV, ie., the meaning drifts toward cause/reason. "Don't think I'm saying this because of all the things I have to do without", Barclay.

uJsterhsin (iV ewV) "I am in need" - want, need, lack. Possibly just a financial need, but the reference is probably much more general. Paul has in mind any need.

gar "for" - Introducing a causal clause explaining why Paul does not promote his needs.

egw pro. "I" - Emphatic by use and position; "I, for my part, whatever it may be for others", O'Brien.

emaqon (manqanw) aor. "have learned" - learnt. Translated as a perfect tense to express what is obviously a constative aorist where the totality of the action of learning is in view.

einai (eimi) pres. inf. "to be" - Forming an object clause / dependent statement of perception expressing what Paul has learned.

autarkhV (ou) "content" - content, satisfied. Paul is not so much self-sufficient, but rather "God-sufficient", Bruce.

en oi|V "whatever" - in which. Reumann takes the view that this phrase truncates en toutoiV en oi|V, "in these [things] in which I am". The preposition en obviously expresses association, "with", while the relative pronoun oi|V, neut. pl. expresses the "situations or circumstances where Paul undergoes his learning experience", Reumann. So not "with whatever I have", CEV, but "with what I have", definite rather than an indefinite oJstiV.

 
v12

As far as the trouble is concerned, Paul has learnt the secret of contentment, in either good times or bad.

oida "I know" - Perfect of the stem eid - eidon (oJraw), "see = know", but used as a present tense.

kai "-" - and. This particle is used before each of the six infinitives found in this verse. The NIV translates the second as "and" and the last four as if forming a repeated "whether ....... or ..... " construction. It is most likely that they are to be taken as correlatives, "both this and that." This construction is disturbed in the first of the three pairs of infinitives because of Paul's emphatic repetition of oida, but the sequence is clear enough "I know what it is both to be in need and to have plenty." Possibly, but not likely, adjunctive, "also".

tapeinousqai (tapeinow) pres. pas. inf. "what it is to be in need" - to be humbled, put to shame / to be brought low, abased. This infinitive, as with the "to abound = what it is to have plenty", forms a dependent statement of perception expressing what Paul knows. Robertson grammar notes that an infinitive following oida doesn't just express content, but manner, "how to / to be able"; Paul has learned "how to live in an appropriate manner under these contrasting circumstances", O'Brien. "To be chastened and to have enough and to spare", Zerwick.

memuhmai (muew) perf. pas. "I have learned the secret" - I have learned, been initiated. The perfect tense indicates a process of learning how to handle the difficulties, as well as the blessings, of life. Those of a secular background are often frustrated by the observation that they reach intellectual and emotional maturity at the time of life when their energy level is depleted. A believer, of course, knows that the lessons of life prepare them for eternity and thus their knowledge is not scattered to wind in the face of father time.

cortazesqai (cortazw) pres. pas. inf. "of being content" - [both] to be filled, eaten enough = to be satisfied. A satisfaction not just of having a fully belly, but of life in general. This infinitive, as with the three that follow, "and to be hungry, both to abound and to come too late = have lack", form dependent statements of perception expressing what Paul has learned.

en "in [any and every situation]" - in [everything and in all things]. Here local, sphere, forming an inclusive and emphatic statement; "in any situation and in all circumstances", Barclay.

 
v13

Paul lets us into his secret. How is it that he can be content within the circumstances of life? His answer is simple; he is able to meet the circumstances of life head-on in the strength of Christ. Paul does not depend on his own strength or ability, rather he relies on the sustaining help of Jesus. In Christ he is inwardly independent. In Christ he possesses an empowering grace above his own limitations and weakness which enables him to face all the circumstances of life - to be strong in the strength of Christ. Paul rests on Christ's word - "my grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness."

iscuw pres. "I can do [everything]" - I can, am able, am strong to do [all things]. Given the context the panta, "all things, everything", refers to "any and every situation", v12, ie. the oscillations of life, the good and bad of it, so Hansen, Fee, O'Brien... So, Paul is saying he is able to cope with life's circumstances. Obviously his own emotional stability would play its part in his ability to cope, but he gives due recognition to the one who journeys with him and yes, who even carries him when he has nothing left to give. It is worth noting that this verse is used to support the claim that through Christ a believer can do anything, the "anything" only limited by the limit of one's faith - convictions. The failure to address context by promise-box believers can have serious consequences, even to undermining a person's faith.

en + dat. "through" - in. Probably instrumental, expressing agency, "by means of", but possibly local, sphere, expressing a believers union with / personal relationship with Christ, so Moffatt, "in him who strengthens me."

tw/ endunamounti (endunamow) dat. pres. part. "him who gives [me] strength" - the one being strong toward [me]. The participle serves as a substantive.

 
v14

ii] Paul acknowledges the Philippians' partnership is his afflictions, while reminding them that he has never sought any personal gift from them, v14-17. Paul first returns to his expression of joy stated in v10, which there concerned the care that the Philippians have extended toward him, expressed in the financial gift they sent with Epaphroditus, and here their partnership in his th/ qliyei, "troubles", amounting to a partnership in the gospel, v15-16. The gift sent with Epaphroditus is still in mind. This partnership is not personal and Paul doesn't want it to function at that level, but rather at the level where divine reciprocation will apply, ie., a partnership in the gospel, a partnership which will be credited to their account, v17.

plhn adv"yet" - The adverb is used as an adversative conjunction, "but, yet, nevertheless."

epoihsate (poiew) aor. "it was [good] of you" - you did [well, nobly].

sugkoinwnhsanteV (sugkoinwnew) aor. part. "to share" - sharing. The participle is adverbial, probably instrumental, expressing means, "you did well by sharing as companions with", Berkeley, but usually treated as complementary, as NIV, so Hawthorne, Vincent, "nevertheless it was very good of you to become partners with me in my affliction", O'Brien.

th/ qliyei (iV ewV) dat. "in [my] troubles" - the troubles, afflictions [of me]. Dative of direct object after to verb "to take part in." Presumably sharing in Paul's present troubles, namely his imprisonment.

 
v15

In v15-16 Paul notes that the Philippians have always financially supported his ministry and have done so all the way back to his first mission in Macedonia and Greece. In fact, they were the only church in the region to offer financial support.

de kai "moreover" - but and. The de is slightly adversative and kai is probably emphatic, so "but indeed, ...."

uJmeiV "you" - Emphatic by use.

oidate (oida) "as [you Philippians] know" - [you] know, [Philippians]. Paul is letting the Philippians know that he has not forgotten their generous support of his mission. "You Philippians are well aware that .....", Moffatt.

oJti "-" - that. Introducing a dependent statement of perception expressing what the Philippians should know. Note also the related clause in v16.

en + dat. "in [the early days]" - in [the beginning]. Temporal use of the preposition.

tou euaggeliou (on) gen. "of your acquaintance with the gospel" - gospel. The genitive is adjectival, idiomatic / temporal, with a word of time; "in the beginning when you were first acquainted with the gospel." Referring to the beginning of Paul's gospel mission in Philippi; "the beginning [of the proclaiming] of the gospel among them", Hawthorne. Of course, Paul may have in mind Macedonia, Europe, rather than just Philippi.

oJte "when" - Temporal conjunction introducing a temporal clause. Again Paul is letting his readers know that he has not forgotten the continued support he received when he left Macedonia, cf. 2Cor.11:9. "When I left Macedonia in those early days of gospel preaching", Knox.

ekklhsia (a) "church" - assembly. Nominative subject of the verb "to share with." Most often used of a local congregation, assembly of believers.

ekoinwnhsen (koinwnew) aor. "shared with me" - shared with, participated. Clearly here of a contribution, supporting the material requirements of the mission.

eiV logon "in the matter" - in word [of payments and receipts]. Here eiV + acc. is not being used instead of en + dat., "in the matter ...", as NIV, but rather reference / respect; "with respect to the matter of giving and receiving." Paul has adopted a commercial phrase here concerning the settlement of accounts. "You were the only church by whom in partnership I was offered, and from whom I accepted, any financial help", Barclay.

desewV (iV ewV) gen. "of giving [and receiving]" - of payments [and receipts]. The genitive is usually taken as verbal, objective.

ei mh "except [you only]" - if not = except [you]. Serving to introduce an exceptive clause. Paul underlines the fact that only the Philippian church (in Europe / Macedonia???) became a partner with Paul in the gospel, the only one that chose to share in the mission financially / materially, but also spiritually, eg. prayer.

 
v16

oJti "for" - that. Possibly explanatory, explaining the partnership of the Philippians in the gospel, v15, as NIV, but better serving to introduce a further dependent statement of perception; "you know that ........ v15, and indeed that ....."

kai "even" - and. Ascensive, "even", or probably better, emphatic, "indeed, in fact." The Philippians didn't just support Paul's mission when he left Macedonia, they supported his immediate mission in Macedonia; "in fact, when I was still in Thessalonica ...."

en + dat. "when I was in [Thessalonica]" - in [Thessalonica]. A temporal use of the preposition is intended, as NIV.

epemyate (pempw) aor. "you sent me aid" - you sent. "You sent money", Moffatt.

kai .... kai "[again] and [again]" - both [once] and [twice]. Correlative use of the conjunctions. "Not merely once, but twice", Vincent, but a more general sense is probably intended; "again and again / more than once", BAGD, as NIV.

eiV + acc. "when [I was in need]" to, toward [the need of me]. Possibly goal / end is intended, so expressing purpose, "for my need"; "in order to meet my needs." The possessive genitive mou, "my", is not a strong reading. The dative of interest, advantage, moi, "for me", is preferred", but most translations go with mou, dative of possession, "my need"; "you sent me help more than one to supply my needs", Cassirer.

 
v17

In this verse Paul articulates the notion of accumulated treasure in heaven, a notion touched on by Jesus and reflected throughout the NT - here of fruit put to the credit of believers, an investment that will pay rich dividends, so Hendriksen. This credit can then be assessed and drawn down in the last day, although there is no reason why it can't be drawn down now, cf. v19. Paul elsewhere draws out the theological principle that a believer will reap, both spiritual and material, as they have sown, 1Cor.9:11, 2Cor.9:6, Gal.6:8, cf. Prov.19:17 and Matt.6:4, 19:21, ..... O'Brien's take is that "the karpoV advantage that accrues to them as a result of their generous giving is God's blessing in the parousia." Nevertheless, in facing the dilemma of divine reward for deeds done we must first recognize that the righteousness that is ours in Christ rules out any idea of eternal reward based on a believer's level of righteousness, their accumulated fruit / treasure. In Christ, perfection is already ours, and that perfection comes with its eternal reward. Even if our eternal standing depended on a profit and loss accounting of our lives, which it doesn't, we would always be in the red. Some suggest that a believer's reward for their "fruit" is God's "well done good and faithful servant." Yet, God's "well done" comes by looking at what Jesus has done, not by his looking at our compromised halfdone. Dr. Who fans may argue that life prepares us for our Tardis, the size and power of which is determined by how well we have handled the training course of life. If this is the case, then my Tardis is going to be very small. Maybe the account is for us to carry throughout eternity and so remind us that we could have done better, a memory to prod us to do better in eternity. When it's all said and done, the best we can say is that the gift from the Philippians was an investment in the work of God and that it was also somehow an investment in their own future under God.

ouc oJti "not that" - The phrase is commonly elliptical such that estin must be supplied, "it is not that ....", thus oJti introduces a substantive clause, subject of the assumed verb to-be.

alla "but" - but. Strong adversative. After a negative clause, "but rather." Paul counters any suggestion that he may be after financial support for his own person, finances to meet his own needs, ie., he does not want patronage, but partnership. His allusion to heavenly credit indicates that he is happy for further support, financial or otherwise, but only as a partnership in the gospel. A full-time priest / minister / pastor might say something like, "don't give me any money, give it to the treasurer so it can be used directly for gospel ministry."

ton karpon (oV) "what" - the fruit. Accusative direct object of the verb "to seek after."Used here in the sense of "advantage, gain, profit", BAGD.

ton pleonazonta (pleonazw) pres. part. "may be credited" - the one increasing, multiplying, becoming more. The participle is adjectival, attributive, limiting "fruit"; "a fruit which is increasing."

eiV logon "to [your] account" - This prepositional phrase serves as an accounting term, lit. "to the account of you", cf., v15.

 
v18

iii] Paul acknowledges that the Philippians' "fragrant, sacrificial offering" has fully supplied his material needs, which offering will be met by God's reciprocal grace, v18-19. This gift has completely met his needs and so he sees it, not so much as a gift to him, but as a gift to God - an offering of a beautiful fragrance to God, one that is pleasing to God. An act of love toward a brother is an act of love toward Jesus.

de "-" - but, and. Here transitional, so not translated, although it may be slightly contrastive, so Fee.

perisseuw pres. "even more" - I abound. "I have been paid back everything and with interest", CEV.

peplhrwmai (plhrow) perf. pas. "I am amply supplied" - I have been filled. "I am filled full."

dexamenoV (decomai) aor. pas. "now that I have received" - having received. The participle is adverbial, possibly temporal, as NIV, or causal, "because I have received."

para + gen. "from" - Here expressing source, "from", or agency, "by", with the second use of the preposition obviously source, "from"; "having received the gifts by/from Epaphroditus from you."

ta "the gifts [you sent]" - the things [from you]. The article serves as a nominalizer turning the prepositional phrase "from you" into a substantive, accusative direct object of the participle "having received." Referring to the Philippians' gift, the sense of which is defined by the following three phrases standing in apposition to ta par uJmwn, "the gifts you sent." All three phrases are cultic and derive from the LXX, see Fee 451.

euwdiaV (a) "a fragrant [offering]" - odor [of sweet-smelling]. The genitive is adjectival, attributive, limiting "fragrance, perfume"; "a sweet-smelling fragrance."

dekthn adj. "acceptable [sacrifice]" - Attributive adjective. The dative "to God" is assumed. Possibly with the sense of being pleasing because it is acceptable. The "sacrifice" refers to something offered to God, not just a cultic sacrifice, but prayer, praise, thanksgiving, .... etc.

euareston adj. "pleasing" - Attributive adjective. Referring to an action which gives pleasure. It is not an uncommon idea in the scriptures that service according to the will of God is pleasing to God. That our service, compromised as it is, would give God pleasure, serves only to emphasize his grace. Viewing our service as acceptable to God in Christ seems less fraught than assuming that it is pleasing to God.

tw/ qew/ (oV) dat. "to God" - Dative of reference / respect; "with respect to God", or interest, advantage, "for God." Reumann, quoting Georgi, makes the point that it is as if Paul is saying "I accept your gift as if it were a gift offered by God, before God, and to God."

 
v19

Paul now turns his attention to the Philippians themselves. Just as Paul knows that he can do everything through Christ who gives him strength, in similar fashion the Philippians are well able to do the same. They have to face the difficulties found in service to the gospel, and in that service Christ will stand with them through the rough-and-tumble of life.

de "and" - but, and. Here coordinative, as NIV.

mou gen. pro. "my [God]" - The genitive is possessive.

plhrwsei (plhrow) fut. "will meet" - will fill, fulfill = supply. God has met Paul's needs, through the Philippians, and he will meet all their needs as well. This is not a quid-pro-quo; Paul is not saying if you meet my needs God will meet yours, nor is he saying that God will meet all their perceived needs. Paul is clearly referring to "all" their needs, physical, emotional, spiritual, so O'Brien, but he is surely only making this promise within the frame of Jesus' words "give us this day our daily bread" = give us this day the resources we need in our kingdom service for you. If Paul's needs were his wants then he wouldn't be in prison. Kingdom service, performed within the will of God, comes with its necessary resources, a reality Paul has observed in the Philippians' gift to him, and a reality he want's them to experience as well. We are bound to be disappointed if we try to second-guess God as to our kingdom-needs. The Western text variant plhrwsai, "may God fill, supply", optative expressing a wish, solves our exegetical problem, but is probably not original. Note other ways of dealing with the dilemma: Hawthorne - The "needs" refer to the Philippians "present material needs", ie. a specific promise for the Philippians; Hansen - although the needs include physical needs (eg. persecution), the fulfilment of the promise is inevitably spiritual.

kata + acc. "according to" - Here expressing a standard, "corresponding to, in accordance with." If this is the intended meaning of the preposition here, then obviously Paul is qualifying his words, so "in a manner that befits his wealth", Reumann, not "the measure of God's supply will be according to the measure of God's riches", Hansen, nor "out of the splendor of his wealth", Barclay, which is more inline with the preposition ek.

en doxh/ - "[his] glorious [riches]" - [his riches] in glory. The preposition en is usually understood as adverbial here, modal, expressing manner, "his riches with glory" = "in a glorious manner he will provide", translated adjectivally, "his glorious riches, wealth", as NIV. Still, local, expressing sphere, is possible; "his riches in glory", "in the realm (sphere) of the heavenly", Lightfoot, indicating that the riches in view at this point are spiritual, so Silva, or even temporal, "in the glory of the coming age / the parousia."

en + dat. "in [Christ Jesus]" - Here the preposition is usually understood as local / sphere = incorporative union, so "in union with, in relationship with Jesus Christ", cf., v10.

 
v20

iv] Paul concludes this section of the letter with a doxology, v20. A statement of praise to God the Father - may his sublime revelation be for all time.

de "-" - but, and. Possibly transitional, "now", AV.

tw/ ... qew/ dat. "to [our] God [and Father]" - to the God [and Father of us]. Obviously a verb must be supplied, probably in the form of a prayerful ascription to God, so optative ei[h (an affirmation is possible, so estin, "he is", Lightfoot) in which case "the God and Father" functions as a dative of indirect object / interest, advantage, "may glory be to God"; "to him who is our God and Father let glory be ascribed", Cassirer.

hJ doxa (a) "glory" - honor, prestige / brightness, radiance. Subject of an implied optative verb to-be. Often just "radiance", but in this type of ascription the word expresses the prestige of the divine creator and savior.

eiV "for" - to, into. Temporal use of the preposition, "into the eternity"; "for ever."

twn aiwnwn (wn wnoV) gen. "[ever] and ever" - [the ages] of the ages. The genitive is irregular, idiomatic. This phrase appears a number of times in the NT, eg. Gal.1:5, 1Pet.4:11. It draws on the LXX phrase eiV ton aiwna tou aiwnoV. Note the singular person aiwnoV. In the NT the plural is used to reflect the idea that time is "a succession of cycles" such that "glory to God is not restricted to this age but belongs to the age to come", O'Brien. As a Semitism it simply expresses "for all eternity."

 

Philippians Introduction

Exposition

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