1 Therefore, my brothers, whom I love and long for, my joy and crown, in this way stand firm in the Lord, beloved.

2 I urge Euodia and I urge Syntyche to come to a mutual understanding in the Lord. 3 Yes, and I ask you also, my true yokemate, to help them, for they have struggled at my side in promoting the gospel, along with Clement and my other co-workers, whose names are in the book of life.

4 Rejoice in the Lord always. I shall say it again: rejoice! 5 Your kindness should be known to all. The Lord is near. 6 Have no anxiety at all, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, make your requests known to God. 7 Then the peace of God that surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.

8 Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. 9 Keep on doing what you have learned and received and heard and seen in me. Then the God of peace will be with you.

10 I rejoice greatly in the Lord that now at last you revived your concern for me. You were, of course, concerned about me but lacked an opportunity. 11 Not that I say this because of need, for I have learned, in whatever situation I find myself, to be self-sufficient. 12 I know indeed how to live in humble circumstances; I know also how to live with abundance. In every circumstance and in all things I have learned the secret of being well fed and of going hungry, of living in abundance and of being in need. 13 I have the strength for everything through him who empowers me.

14 Still, it was kind of you to share in my distress. 15 You Philippians indeed know that at the beginning of the gospel, when I left Macedonia, not a single church shared with me in an account of giving and receiving, except you alone. 16 For even when I was at Thessalonica you sent me something for my needs, not only once but more than once. 17 It is not that I am eager for the gift; rather, I am eager for the profit that accrues to your account. 18 I have received full payment and I abound. I am very well supplied because of what I received from you through Epaphroditus, "a fragrant aroma," an acceptable sacrifice, pleasing to God. 19 My God will fully supply whatever you need, in accord with his glorious riches in Christ Jesus.

20 To our God and Father, glory forever and ever. Amen. 21 Give my greetings to every holy one in Christ Jesus. The brothers who are with me send you their greetings; 22 all the holy ones send you their greetings, especially those of Caesar's household. 23 The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit.



  • Verse 1 ("therefore") refers to the reasoning of chapter 3. Paul had argued that to us Christ ought to be everything, not our appetites. We must not be taken in by the false teachers, those who insist that one become a Jew before he becomes a Christian.
  • But standing firm is more than mere doctrinal fidelity! It also involves relational harmony (vv.2-3) and inner spirituality (vv.4-9).
    • Euodia and Syntche, apparently two influential sisters in the church, are not getting along, and everyone knows it! 
      • For this reason the tension is addressed in a public letter.
      • It is noteworthy that Paul counts Euodia and Syntche worthy coworkers, along with Clement and other faithful brothers. Paul was no misogynist! Nor do women seem to have been held down in early Christianity!
    • True spirituality comes when we value Christ as we should. Someone filled with the Spirit of Christ exhibits (v.4ff):
      • Joy. This is not the same as giddiness. Rather, it is a deeply faithful and positive perspective on life, regardless of the circumstances. Remember that the writer is in prison!
      • Kindness. Christians are not to be pushy or rude, but gentle. This applies to leaders as well – especially to them!
      • Prayer, not anxiety. Let us be prayer “warriors,” not prayer “worriers.” See 1 Peter 5:7.
      • Gratitude.
      • Peace, which is the natural result when grateful Christians lay their anxiety before God in prayer.
      • Positive thoughts and focus (v.8).
      • They also imitate those whose lives are in tune with the Spirit of Christ.
  • Paul is grateful for financial support the the Philippians had given to him (v.10ff).
    • They had given to him in the past, and are once again helping him financially
    • Even so, Paul has learned to be content whatever the situation:
      • He was content when things were hard, when he was faring poorly financially. He knew that Jesus never promises economic prosperity to all his followers. To see what his life was sometimes like, see 2 Corinthians 6:4ff, 11:23ff.
      • He was also content – and for some very religious persons this can be even harder than penury! – when he was faring well. He was not too “spiritual” to be able to enjoy a prosperous situation. Neither wealth nor poverty is intrinsically unspiritual; it is how we view it, and how we use it (1 Timothy 6).
      • The well-known verse 13 pertains to contentment in Christ, regardless of one’s external circumstances.
    • As he says in verse 15, previously the Philippians were alone in their financial support of Paul. Once again they have sent support via Epaphroditus.
    • He insists his motives were pure. His true concern was not for the money, but for what it enabled him to do: see to others’ needs. He did not use himself as an example of selflessness in chapter 2 (where he points to the examples of Christ, Timothy, and Epaphroditus), yet it clear that Paul himself is excelling in living for Christ and others.
    • And he affirms (v.19) that God is more than able to meet all the Philippians’ needs. They will not be impoverished by supporting his ministry.
  • He ends the letter with:
    • A doxology -- that is, giving glory to God (v.20).
    • Extending greetings from himself and the brothers with him to every holy one (saint) in Philippi (v.21).
    • Encouragingly sending greetings from converts within the imperial service (v.22).
    • Wishing them grace (a frequent theme, mentioned nearly 90 times in Paul's epistles).


  • Who is the yokefellow (v.3)? His identity is debated, and many versions leave syzygos (yokefellow, or [literally] fellow yoke) untranslated.
  • Could Clement be the same who wrote 1 Clement (a letter to the Corinthians, when he was a leader in Rome, around 96 AD)? This is just possible.
  • “The Lord is near” (v.5) may mean that he could come at any moment, but this seems unlikely. Rather, his presence is what calms us and gives us perspective. He is not far away, but with us always. Accordingly, we ought to live in his presence.
  • "A fragrant aroma" (v.18) is an allusion to O.T. sacrifices. See Genesis 8:21; Exodus 29:18; etc.
  • From the Wikipedia entry: "The Philippians had sent Epaphroditus, their messenger, with contributions to meet the needs of Paul; and on his return Paul sent this letter with him. With this precious communication Epaphroditus sets out on his homeward journey. The joy caused by his return, and the effect of this wonderful letter when first read in the church of Philippi, are hidden from us. And we may almost say that with this letter the church itself passes from our view. To-day, in silent meadows, quiet cattle browse among the ruins which mark the site of what was once the flourishing Roman colony of Philippi, the home of the most attractive church of the apostolic age. But the name and fame and spiritual influence of that church will never pass. To myriads of men and women in every age and nation the letter written in while he was under house arrest in Rome, and carried along the Egnatian Way by an obscure Christian messenger, has been a light divine and a cheerful guide along the most rugged paths of life (Professor Beet)."

Thought questions:

  • Are there unresolved relationship conflicts between members in your church -- especially involving prominent members, whose lack of reconciliation affects others all the more? Is there anyone bold and loving enough to bring the problem out into the open?
  • If I'm an anxious person, do I present my requests to God?
  • Do I understand the needs of preachers to be supported? Am I grudging in my giving, or generous? Is it possible I haven't appreciated how sacrificial leaders in my congregation or ministry sphere have been?
  • Do I have full confidence in the promises of Philippians 4:13 and 4:19?