Paul concludes his letter wrapping him up major themes of embracing the gospel individually and striving toward unity around that common belief and thanking them for their support and partnership in proclaiming the gospel.
Paul wrote this letter during his 1st Roman imprisonment, which would place in somewhere around 60-62 AD. The Philippians have sent him a gift of financial support. Paul and the Philippians are on good terms and they have a warm and caring relationship. As a church they are basically doing well. Paul is writing this letter 1) to thank them for their generosity in sending the gift; 2) assure them that he is doing well even though he is a prisoner and 3) to encourage them to persevere in and live out their faith.
- 4:1 is his summary and conclusion of chapter 3.
- “my joy and my crown” – Paul’s crowning glory and joy will be standing before Christ in glory with the Philippians beside him because they have persevered in the faith.
- “agree in the Lord” – Paul means the same thing as be of the same mind from chapter 2: Let your common faith in the gospel unite you.
- These women have played an important role in furthering the gospel. If they were arguing over where to place the coffee, Paul would probably not have addressed them. When those in leadership disagree it can fracture the church.
- We do not know who Paul means by “true companion”.
- While at first reading this seems like a random list of good ideas with no theme, I think the theme is unity and it relates directly to 4:1-3.
- Paul has been urging the entire church to pursue a loving self-sacrifice to each other and here is urging them to relate to all people with a gentle forbearance.
- Paul is suggesting that the key to interpersonal peace is internal peace.
- The more confident we are that God is in charge, and knows what is best, the more we can let go of fighting for our rights and demanding our way.
- The more we rejoice in the Lord, the more likely it is that we will be content whatever our circumstances and able to show forbearance to others.
- In closing Paul thanks them for their financial gift, being careful to explain he is not criticizing them for not sending the gift sooner (4:10).
- He also wants them to know money is not his chief concern (4:11-12).
- He can face any circumstance (do all things) — whether feast or famine — because he trusts in the Lord (4:13).
- Paul rejoices because they have so embraced the gospel that they want to support his ministry (4:14-17).
Paul’s overall theme in this letter: Pour trust in Jesus Christ. The more you stand firm in the gospel, the more the other struggles of your life will fall into perspective.
For more detail and explanation, please listen to the podcast.
Series: Philippians: Choose Life
Study: Philippians Resources
Scripture references are from the English Standard version.