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.
1Therefore, my brothers, whom I love and long for, my joy and crown, stand firm thus in the Lord, my beloved. 2I entreat Euodia and I entreat Syntyche to agree in the Lord. 3Yes, I ask you also, true companion, help these women, who have labored side by side with me in the gospel together with Clement and the rest of my fellow workers, whose names are in the book of life.- Philippians 4:1-3 ESV
- 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”.
4Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. 5Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; 6do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. 8Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. 9What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me–practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you. – Philippians 4:4-9 ESV
- 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.
10I rejoiced in the Lord greatly that now at length you have revived your concern for me. You were indeed concerned for me, but you had no opportunity. 11Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. 12I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. 13I can do all things through him who strengthens me. 14Yet it was kind of you to share my trouble. 15And you Philippians yourselves know that in the beginning of the gospel, when I left Macedonia, no church entered into partnership with me in giving and receiving, except you only. 16Even in Thessalonica you sent me help for my needs once and again. 17Not that I seek the gift, but I seek the fruit that increases to your credit. 18I have received full payment, and more. I am well supplied, having received from Epaphroditus the gifts you sent, a fragrant offering, a sacrifice acceptable and pleasing to God. 19And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus. 20To our God and Father be glory forever and ever. Amen. 21Greet every saint in Christ Jesus. The brothers who are with me greet you. 22All the saints greet you, especially those of Caesar’s household. 23The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit. – Philippians 4:10-23 ESV
- 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.
Please listen to the podcast for more detail and explanation.
Series: Philippians: Choose Life
Study: Philippians Resources
Scripture references are from the English Standard version.