Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Philippians Week 51-The Peaceful Security in Christ

-“I will say to the LORD, “My refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.” (Psalm 91:2 ESV)

Philippians 4:7


-In Philippians 4:6, Paul states that our prayers are to be marked by thankfulness, coming from a heart that is always rejoicing in the Lord (v. 4) and a life that is marked by graciousness towards all people (v. 5). Our prayers and our supplications, being brought forth to God our Father, are the removers of anxiety, and what now results is the peaceful security of Christ expounded in verse 7.

Verse 7
And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
1. The Origin of Peace

-“And the peace” (καὶ ἡ εἰρήνη) refers to the opposite of anxiety, for εἰρήνη refers to the peace and freedom from worry that we can have. But it refers to more than that, for it also refers to the powerful presence of God’s healing working on the human soul.
-Peace is safety from enemies. (Exodus 18:23; Leviticus 26:6)
-Peace is a covenantal promise from the Lord for His people. (Numbers 6:26; Numbers 25:12)
-Peace is goodwill in fellowship. (Matthew 10:13; Luke 10:5-6)
-Peace is freedom from bondage. (Luke 1:79)
-Peace is assurance that we are saved. (Mark 5:34; Luke 7:50; Luke 8:48)
-Peace is assurance that God is in control through the power of His Son. (Luke 19:38)
-Peace is the message of reconciliation with God. (Acts 10:36; Romans 5:1)
-Peace is a gift from the Holy Spirit. (Romans 14:17; Galatians 5:22)
-“of God” (τοῦ θεοῦ) is the origin of our peace. God Himself is the source of our peace. This is the only time the phrase “peace of God” occurs in the New Testament. The genitive case of the noun Theos means that God is the Author of our peace.
-Paul refers to God as the “God of peace”. (Romans 15:33; Romans 16:20)
-Paul frequently greets his readers with peace from God. (1 Corinthians 1:3; 2 Corinthians 1:2; Galatians 1:3; Ephesians 1:2; Philippians 1:2; Colossians 1:2)
-Paul prayed for the Romans that the God of peace would bring them hope. (Romans 15:19)
-In order for God to bring peace, He must be in complete control of all things. (Psalm 115:3; Isaiah 46:9-10)
-In order for God to bring peace, He must be perfectly good in all He does. (Psalm 34:8; Psalm 107:1; Psalm 145:9)
-In order for God to bring peace, He must be almighty. (Genesis 17:1; Psalm 62:11; Revelation 1:8)
-In order for God to bring peace, He must know all things. (Psalm 147:5; 1 John 3:20)
-In order for God to bring peace, He must be the Ruler of the cosmos. (1 Chronicles 29:11-12; Psalm 103:19)
-In order for God to bring peace, He must conquer all His enemies. (Isaiah 31:4; Isaiah 42:13)
-In order for God to bring peace, He has given us His Son. (Luke 2:10-14)
2. The Heights of Peace
-“which surpasses” (ὑπερέχουσα) has the idea of “towering above”. God’s peace towers above everything else. Ὑπερέχουσα comes from υπερεχω.
-Paul has exhorted the Philippians to consider others “more significant”
(ὑπερέχοντας) than themselves. Ὑπερέχοντας comes from υπερεχω.
-Paul has already described the knowledge of the Lord Jesus as “surpassing worth.” (Ὑπερέχον) (Philippians 3:8) ‘Υπερέχον also comes from ‘υπερεχω.
-“all understanding” (πάντα νοῦν) means that our finite minds cannot fully comprehend the heights of God’s peace. It surpasses not only our understanding, but “all” (παντα) our understanding. Νουν, coming from the root νους, is translated 22 times out of 24 as “mind”, and twice as “understanding” in Philippians 4:7 and Revelation 13:18.
-Understanding involves knowledgeable comprehension. (Proverbs 29:7)
-Understanding involves having our minds opened by the power of the Lord. (Luke 24:45)
-Understanding involves comprehension of what one hears. (Nehemiah 8:2-3; 7)
-We are capable of understanding because we are made in the image of God. (Psalm 32:9; Psalm 49:20)
-Those who lack understanding are considered fools by Scripture. (Psalm 94:8)
-Only the redeemed in the Lord can possess true understanding, for fallen men cannot possess it. (Proverbs 28:5; Proverbs 29:7; Isaiah 1:3; Isaiah 6:9)
-Those who possess wisdom from God are considered understanding individuals by Scripture. (Proverbs 14:6; Proverbs 14:33)
-God commends those who have godly understanding. (Deuteronomy 1:13; Deuteronomy 4:6)
-God Himself possesses perfect understanding. (1 Chronicles 28:9; Job 28:13)
-God is the One who gives us understanding. (Psalm 119:27; Psalm 119:34; Psalm 119:125)
-Scripture itself indicates that mortal men cannot possess complete understanding. (Proverbs 20:24)
-Even though God gives us understanding, even though the Lord has opened our minds to receive the things in His Word, even though He has redeemed us and we have illuminated understanding through the power of the Spirit, God’s peace is so magnificent that it towers above anything our finite minds could completely comprehend.
3. The Safeguard of Peace
-“will guard” (φρουρήσει) is a future active indicative verb, so Paul promises that God’s peace will assuredly guard us when we joyfully surrender our anxieties to God in prayer. As John Calvin points out in his commentary, the fact that this is in the indicative mood and not the optative mood means that this is no hope of Paul for the Philippians, but an absolutely certain indication of what will be true for them. During the time in which Paul writes this to Philippi, the city was guarded by a Roman garrison which brought peace and safety to that region.
-“Guard” is a military term, implying that peace stands on duty to keep out anything that brings care and anxiety. For these reasons, prayerful people are peaceful people.[1]
-“God’s peace will guard your heart and mind against anxiety creeping back in. Will we cling to the things that breed worry and anxiety, or will we thankfully offer them up to God? If we do the latter, God’s peace will not only alleviate the stress and fear, it will also guard against its recurrence.[2]
-This concept of guarding also occurs in 2 Corinthians 11:32 and 1 Peter 1:5.
-In order for a guard to be effective, it must be constantly vigilant. (Nehemiah 4:13; 1 Corinthians 16:13)
-In order for a guard to be effective, it must be more powerful than that which attack it. (Genesis 3:24; 2 Kings 6:17)
-A guard presupposes that attackers will come and attack that which is being secured. (Nehemiah 4:11-12)
-Anxiety is the attacker that Paul presupposes here. (Philippians 4:6; Matthew 6:27)
-God’s peace is far more powerful than human anxiety. (Isaiah 32:17; Isaiah 54:10)
-God’s peace is far more vigilant than our human efforts. (Psalm 4:8; Proverbs 3:24-26)
-“your hearts” (τὰς καρδίας ὑμῶν) refers to the inner being of the Philippians. Had Paul been referring merely to the seat of human emotions as we use the term “heart” today, he would have used the term σπλάγχνα (splanchna) instead; this term is translated “bowels” by the KJV in 1 John 3:17. Instead, καρδια (kardia) has a wider and deeper meaning.
-The heart in biblical terms defines a person’s moral state. (Matthew 5:8; Matthew 9:4; Matthew 12:34)
-The heart in biblical terms is the center of belief or unbelief. (Luke 24:25; Luke 24:32; Romans 10:9)
-The heart in biblical terms is the center of deeply-rooted emotions. (Acts 2:26; Acts 2:37; Romans 9:2)
-The heart in biblical terms is the center of thoughts and desires. (Acts 5:4; Acts 7:23; Romans 10:6)
-The heart in biblical terms is the very core of man’s inner thoughts. (1 Corinthians 4:5; 1 Corinthians 4:25)
-The heart in biblical terms is the repository of what we treasure more than all else. (2 Corinthians 6:11; 2 Corinthians 7:11)
-“and your minds” (καὶ τὰ νοήματα
ὑμῶν) refers to the center of the Philippians’ thoughts and feelings. The mind comes from the “heart” as the Bible uses the term “heart”. The “heart” is not separate from the mind, but contains the “mind”.
-The mind is the center of understanding. (2 Corinthians 3:14; 2 Corinthians 4:4)
-The mind is the thought-machine for the human being. (2 Corinthians 10:5; 2 Corinthians 11:3)
4. The Prince of Peace
-“in Christ Jesus” (ἐν Χριστῷ Ἰησοῦ) is the same prepositional phrase as εν Κυριω (“in the Lord”), but now Paul uses the title (“Christ”) and name (“Jesus”) for our Lord.
-The hope in Isaiah 9:6 would be that the “Prince of Peace” would come and usher in the Messianic hope of everlasting peace for Israel.
-Paul referred to Christ as the “Lord of peace” earlier in his ministry. (2 Thessalonians 3:16)
-The phrase “Lord of peace” for Jesus in the New Testament is taken from the Old Testament title for God in Judges 6:24:
יְהוָ֖ה שָׁלֹ֑ום (Yahweh Shalom).
-Paul exhorted the Colossian church about letting Christ rule their hearts in peace. (Colossians 3:15)
-During His ministry, Jesus encourages us with words that He has come to bring us peace. (John 4:1; John 16:33; John 20:19)
-The Psalmist frequently declares the Lord to be a fortress in times of trouble. (Psalm 31:3; Psalm 18:2; Psalm 91:2) The analogy therefore is that God’s peace is our guard, and Jesus Christ is our fortress.
-A Roman fortress, around which civilians frequently lived, could be large enough to hold an entire Roman legion (6,000 soldiers). Whereas temporary forts had walls of wood, permanent fortresses had stone walls. Around the outer walls, a ditch would be dug and the removed dirt would be used to build a rampart. Two guard towers stood watch on either side of each gate. Within the fortress itself, military barracks housed the soldiers. The granary provided a place to store food, while the principia was the headquarters building. The Praetorium was the residence of the Roman general in the fortress.
-Jesus Christ is victorious over all things, so God’s peace will guard us in Jesus who Himself will never be overthrown. (Psalm 3:6; Psalm 27:3)
-Jesus Christ will be our eternal refuge and fortress who will forever keep us secure in Him. (Psalm 61:3; Proverbs 18:10)

-“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.” (John 14:27 ESV)


[1] Melick, R. R. (1991). Philippians, Colossians, Philemon (Vol. 32, p. 150). Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers.
[2] Runge, S. E. (2011). High Definition Commentary: Philippians (Php 4:1–7). Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Solomon the King and the Preacher

As I am now just over halfway in the my current 90-day reading plan, I come once again to the wisdom literature. In the book of Ecclesiastes, we have the words of an old man who once saw tremendous heights of fame and blessing, only to descend later in his life into the morass of idolatry and vanity that led to the political instability of his kingdom. Therefore, as Solomon writes his poetic memoirs in this book, we see the perspective of a man who realizes that apart from a life of godliness before one’s Creator, life truly is devoid of all meaning.

Thus we come to the second chapter in the book of Ecclesiastes, where Solomon describes his experiences with that which proved to be no substance at all. In verse 1, he states that he tested his heart with pleasure, but found it to be vanity. He endeavored to find worthwhile meaning in laughter and pleasure, but found none. Even the cheer of a full belly of wine, along with experiments in folly, brought him no lasting meaning. He recounts in verse 4 how, as a younger man, he undertook magnificent building projects, such as “houses” and “vineyards” and “gardens” and “parks”, as described in verses 4 and 5. He even built pools in order to water “the forest of growing trees”. He had many slaves and herds and flocks, and he also amassed stunning amounts of silver, gold, “treasure of kings”, male and female singers, and many concubines.

The result of this? Solomon recounts in verse 9, “So I became great and surpassed all who were before me in Jerusalem.” He is adamant that his wisdom remained with him throughout this time, lest his readers think he became a foolish king. He states in verse 10 that he found pleasure in his work, but that satisfaction in his labor proved the only reward he found. Verse 11 somberly proclaims that everything he had done “was vanity and a striving after the wind”, and he concluded by saying that nothing could be gained in all the fame, fortune, pleasure, power, and prowess under the sun.

Now Solomon recounts in verses 12 through 17 about the meaning of wisdom and folly. Solomon, of course, was the wisest king Israel knew up to that time, and he wrote a great deal of the book of Proverbs. The latter half of verse 12 states that a man can do little to change the course of politics when replacing a king, and this leads Solomon to conclude in verse 13 that wisdom is more advantageous than folly, just as light is far better than darkness. The wise person sees clearly in life, but the foolish person blindly stumbles along in life. Nevertheless, death assuredly snatches both from the land of the living, and Solomon dismally declares that the wise as well as the foolish vanish from the memory of humanity, for time constantly erases those who came before. Therefore, he states that at the moment he realized that fact, he “hated life, because what was done under the sun was grievous to me, for all is vanity and a striving after the wind.”

Solomon then records in the last section of Ecclesiastes 2 how toil also comes to vanity, for verses 18 states that he hated all his toil done under the sun, as he realized that everything he toiled for had to be left to his successor. Doubtless, Solomon had his son Rehoboam in mind, and he likely found no joy in handing the kingdom over to his son, unlike his father David when David handed the kingdom over to Solomon. Solomon likely knew his heir did not possess the necessary wisdom to handle the assets of the kingdom well, for he bemoaned the fact that “he will be master of all for which I toiled and used my wisdom under the sun.” Had Rehoboam exhibited godly devotion and wisdom in his life, Solomon would have been more comfortable handing the kingdom over to him at his death. But as it is, whenever a royal family does not boast godly children, there is little joy for the reigning monarch to think of how the kingdom will fare when they themselves are gone.

Solomon now describes how he struggled with deep depression and despair at the futility of amassing great wealth and glory in one’s lifetime, when death coldly calls every human being into the realm of the dead without fail, for verses 20 and 21 say, “So I turned about and gave my heart up to despair over all the toil of my labors under the sun, because sometimes a person who has toiled with wisdom and knowledge and skill must leave everything to be enjoyed by someone who did not toil for it. This also is vanity and a great evil.” Solomon again expresses, as he did in the preceding verses, how he revolted against the idea of passing along his assets and reign to his successor—a poor testament to the relationship between Solomon and his heir.

Solomon’s conclusion, in thinking back over the futility in and of themselves in all his great projects and efforts, comes to his conclusion in verses 24-26, “There is nothing better for a person than that he should eat and drink and find enjoyment in his toil. This also, I saw, is from the hand of God, for apart from him who can eat or who can have enjoyment? For to the one who pleases him God has given wisdom and knowledge and joy, but to the sinner he has given the business of gathering and collecting, only to give to one who pleases God. This also is vanity and a striving after wind.”

Therefore, when reflecting in this chapter of Solomon’s memoirs, we see an old king solemnly warn his readers that everything apart from the Creator truly is loss in light of death and eternity. So often in our world, we chase wealth, prestige, power, prowess, and success, but Solomon’s words sharply bring us into the world of reality. Young people will always turn into old people, and old people will always turn into dead people. Great building projects will crumble and disintegrate, and money will disappear with time. Great feats can be easily erased from humanity’s memory by the advance of time.

Therefore, in light of this somber outlook, what therefore should be our response to these grave statements? The apostle Paul instructs us in the book of Philippians. “Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith.” (Philippians 3:8-9)

Friday, May 15, 2015

The Discipline of Personal Bible Reading

God saved me by his grace in the year 1998, when I was five years old. And two years later, at the beginning of the new millennium, I took up the daily habit of personal Bible reading—and by the grace of God, that is a habit that has continued strong with me to this day, now fifteen years later. Therefore, whereas most posts concentrate on biblical themes, this post will combine both the Scripture’s teachings on the subject of Bible reading and some of my own experiences from the last 15 years of reading the Bible regularly in personal devotions.

I was approximately six years old when I began homeschool, and I was not one of those protégé readers at the age of two that sometimes have been rumored about in the homeschool community. I was closer to seven years old before I learned to read, and I can still remember the first book I read. While I am uncertain as to the exact time in the year 2000 that I learned to read proficiently, I know that it would have been sometime in the spring. For on October 21, 2000 (as best I can recall the date, that is), I sprawled out on the floor and started reading in the book of Romans. I had watched my dad read his Bible daily, and, wanting to imitate him as a young boy, I purposed to pick up the habit as well. My parents had given me a black NIV Bible, and I can remember exactly where I was that Saturday morning when I read Romans 5-7. I used a Bible reading plan given to members of the church our family attended at the time, and over the course of that year I completed the entire Bible in one year. But, perhaps in part due to my personality that doesn’t like to change personal habits, due in part of the encouragement of my grandparents, and due in part to the personal importance I attached to Bible reading, I began it again the next year. And the next, and the next, until I was 17 years old and had read through the Bible using that same plan for about ten years.

I always read through the NIV translation from 1984, and wore out that original black Bible in a year, so I subsequently wore out three NIV study Bibles over the course of the next ten years. Then, in 2011, when I switched over to reading the Bible on the YouVersion iPad app, I read the Bible in a year using the “Robert Roberts” Bible-in-a-year plan. However, having now read through the Bible ten times in a row over the past decade, I switched over to the ESV translation and have continued with that ever since. But further, I determined to read through the Bible in 90 days in order to complete it four times a year, as I had spent the last ten years reading through it once a year. And today, I’m working through my third year of reading through the Bible four times a year, and I have found it tremendously helpful to read bigger chunks of the Bible each day rather than slowly working through it in a year. Currently, I’ve read through the Bible ten times utilizing YouVersion’s 90-day plan, with today marking the halfway point through my eleventh time through their 90-day plan on my 21st time through the Bible.

Therefore, when reflecting back over the last fifteen years in which God’s grace worked within me to cultivate the habit of daily, personal Bible reading, what does Scripture have to say about the necessity of personally saturating one’s self in the Word daily?

When we think back to the time of the Psalmist, we do well to remember that written Scriptures had been in existence for a few hundred years since Moses, the first human author of Scripture, compiled and wrote Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, and Deuteronomy. And as God continued to work mightily in redemptive history in that era, the Psalmist frequently expresses his love for God’s written revelation to men.

But his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night.” Psalm 1:2

“I delight in your decrees; I will not neglect your word.” Psalm 119:16

Oh how I love your law! It is my meditation all the day.” Psalm 119:97

These three examples demonstrate that during the period of the ancient Israelite monarchy, men already expressed their daily allegiance to the Word of God in their reading and meditating on what it contained. And during the time of Israel’s apostasy, during which the northern and southern kings of Israel and Judah continuously brought the country to the brink of spiritual ruin, the faithful remnant of God’s people clung to that written Word. During the times of godly kings such as Jehoshaphat and Josiah, it was that written Word that brought revival and renewal to God’s people. During the rebuilding period after the exile, men such as Ezra devoted themselves to studying the written Word, and others such as Nehemiah committed themselves to leading God’s people by that written word. And during the time of the intertestamental period, the faithful remnant of God’s people clung to that written word with a tenacity that we would do well to imitate today.

And then when the incarnate Word of God appears, He reveals Himself in 27 books later known as the “New Testament.” One of the remarkable things about the apostles, such as Peter, Paul, and the anonymous author of Hebrews, is how clearly they demonstrate their intimate knowledge of the Old Testament Scriptures in light of the New Covenant that Christ ushered in with His own blood. Peter’s first Pentecost sermon in the book of Acts, for example, quotes from numerous Old Testament books and makes arguments that are stunningly profound by tracing Old Testament theological themes and tying them together in the person and work of Jesus of Nazareth.

Then, in the unlikely conversion of a fierce persecutor of the church, a man formerly known as Saul became the apostle Paul, and men have throughout church history accurately remarked that there likely has never been a Christian like the apostle Paul, in terms of his own godliness and his commitment to the Word of God and sound doctrine. The apostle Paul clearly knows not only Greek and Hebrew, he has a Spirit-inspired grasp of the Scriptures that testify to God breathing out the holy words of divine revelation through that man’s life, ministry, and pen. Paul regularly praises the godly churches for their response to the Word of God Almighty, and also regularly instructs his pastoral students such as Timothy and Titus to be courageously committed to the written Scriptures. The author of Hebrews says that the Son of God upholds the universe by the divine power of His almighty word, and the apostle John states that our King of Kings and Lord of Lords will set all things right at His return by the supernatural power He possesses

Therefore, in closing, some brief practical suggestions for regular immersion in God’s holy Word are these: 1) pick an accurate but readable translation. Don’t use a paraphrase like the Living Bible, but also don’t waste valuable time trying to decipher Olde English from the days of Beowulf. A literal translation accurate to the original languages, such as the ESV, HCSB, NKJV, or NASB, will bring much blessing to the soul. 2) Pick a regular time in the day that comports best with your natural biological body clock. If you are an evening person, there is nothing overly spiritual by reading it first thing in the morning when you can barely read the information on the cereal box at breakfast, let alone understanding the things of God in His Word. Likewise, if you are a morning person, then regular communion with the Lord in His Word at the beginning of the day will be most advantageous, rather than trying to read it and meditate upon it when the mind is exhausted at the end of the day. 3) Have a regular Bible reading plan, with a recommended goal of reading through the Bible in one year. And finally, 4) read the Bible for yourself, but not by yourself. There is much blessing to read the Word of God for yourself in a community of believers devoted to the study of the Scriptures.

In all, as the figures of Scripture themselves testify, we would do well to heed these words by Jesus in Luke 11:28, “But he said, ‘Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and keep it!’” The Word of the Lord endures forever, and the Spirit of God will powerfully do His perfect work in us through the living and powerful Word of God. 

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Philippians Week 50-The Joyful Surrender in Prayer

-“The Lord is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth.” (Psalm 145:18)

Philippians 4:4-6

-At this point, the Philippians could well have been anxious over many things. First, they could be anxious about Paul’s imprisonment over 800 miles away in Rome. They could have been anxious about those in Rome that tried to undermine Paul’s ministry. Second, they could have very well been anxious about the promised suffering that Paul spoke about, for he has stated repeatedly that they will suffer for the sake of the name of the Lord Jesus. Third, they could be anxious about withstanding false teachers and holding fast to the word of life in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation. Finally, they could have been anxious about how exactly they as a congregation could implement Paul’s pastoral words of instruction and counsel.
-“It is an exhortation suited to the times; for, as the condition of the pious was exceedingly troublous, and dangers threatened them on every side, it was possible that they might give way, overcome by grief or impatience. Hence he enjoins it upon them, that, amidst circumstances of hostility and disturbance, they should nevertheless rejoice in the Lord, as assuredly these spiritual consolations, by means of which the Lord refreshes and gladdens us, ought then most of all to show their efficacy when the whole world tempts us to despair. Let us, however, in connection with the circumstances of the times, consider what efficacy there must have been in this word uttered by the mouth of Paul, who might have had special occasion of sorrow. For if they are appalled by persecutions, or imprisonments, or exile, or death, here is the Apostle setting himself forward, who, amidst imprisonments, in the very heat of persecution, and in fine, amidst apprehensions of death, is not merely himself joyful, but even stirs up others to joy. The sum, then, is this—that come what may, believers, having the Lord standing on their side, have amply sufficient ground of joy.[1]”—John Calvin, Commentary on the Epistle to the Philippians

Verse 4
Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice!

1. The Command to Rejoice

-“Rejoice” (Χαίρετε) needs to define the Philippians actions as they stand firm and solve strife. It is second person plural, meaning Paul addresses directly the entire Philippian congregation.
-Scriptures call us to rejoice many times, such as in the Gospels (Matthew 5:12) and the epistles. (Romans 12:12).
-Rejoicing is the action that comes from and produces joy. (Matthew 2:10; Luke 1:14)
-The Philippians are to rejoice “in the Lord” (ἐν κυρίῳ), just as Paul commanded back in Philippians 2:18 and 3:1.
-The charge to rejoice “in the Lord” is none other than an ancient Old Testament command given by the Psalmist to God’s people. (Psalm 97:12; Habakkuk 3:18)
-God’s people look to the Lord as the One who created them. (Isaiah 65:18)
-God’s people look to the Lord as the One who is their refuge. (Psalm 5:11)
-God’s people look to the Lord as the One who will revive them. (Psalm 85:6)
-God’s people look to the Lord as the One who strengthens them day by day. (Psalm 118:24)
-God’s people look to the Lord as the One who redeems them. (Acts 8:38-39)
-God’s people look to the Lord as the One who redeems their own brethren. (Acts 16:33-34)
-“always” (πάντοτε) is the adverb that defines when the Philippians should rejoice in the Lord.
-God’s people are to rejoice before Him in the Lord Jesus continually. (1 Thessalonians 5:16; Psalm 34:1)
-God’s people are to rejoice before Him in all circumstances. (2 Corinthians 6:10; Hebrews 13:15)
2. The Reminder to Rejoice
-“again I will say” (πάλιν ἐρῶ) is something very rare for Paul to do, let alone in the same verse.
-Repetition is sometimes used by the apostles for purposes of rebuke (1 Corinthians 3:1), warning (Jude 1:3), or encouragement (John 16:33). The latter is what Paul does here.
-“rejoice” (χαίρετε) is the same grammatically as the first occurrence just previously: a second person plural active imperative verb.
-Men rejoice in the Lord when He is their sure foundation in their lives. (Psalm 18:2; Psalm 18:46)
-Men rejoice in the Lord when they know the Spirit of God helps them in their weaknesses. (Romans 8:26-27; Philippians 1:19)
-Men rejoice in the Lord when they know that the Lord is their highest gain. (Psalm 73:26; Philippians 1:21)
-Men rejoice in the Lord when they know that He is their refuge. (Psalm 59:9; Psalm 144:2)
-Men rejoice in the Lord when they know God is working in them to purify them. (Zephaniah 3:9; Zechariah 13:9)
-Men rejoice in the Lord when they hold fast to the all-powerful Word. (John 6:68-69; Philippians 2:16)
-Men rejoice in the Lord when exalting Him is their highest priority. (Psalm 99:9; Philippians 1:20)
-All men do that which they think will make them rejoice, as John Chrysostom pointed out in The Homilies on the Statues in Homily XVIII
“3. For there is nothing whatever that will be able to afflict one who is well ordered in mind, and careful about his own soul; but he will enjoy a pure and continued pleasure. And that this is true ye have to-day heard from Paul, who exhorts us, saying, “Rejoice in the Lord always, and again I say, rejoice.” I know indeed that to many this saying seems impossible. “For how is it possible,” says some one, “that he who is but a man, can continually rejoice? To rejoice is no hard matter, but to rejoice continually, this seems to me to be impossible.” For many are the causes of sadness, which surround us on all sides. A man has lost either a son, or a wife, or a beloved friend, more necessary to him than all kindred; or he has to sustain the loss of wealth; or he has fallen into sickness; or he has to bear some other change of fortune; or to grieve for contemptuous treatment which he did not deserve; or famine, or pestilence, or some intolerable exaction, or circumstances in his family trouble him;—nay, there is no saying how many circumstances of a public or private nature are accustomed to occasion us grief. How then, he may say, is it possible to “rejoice always?” Yea, O man! it is possible; and if it were not so, Paul would not have given the exhortation; nor would a man endowed with spiritual wisdom have offered such counsel; and for this reason I have constantly said to you, and will not cease to say, that what ye could no where have learnt from any other, that wisdom ye may here meditate. For mankind are universally desirous of pleasure, and of rejoicing; and for this, they do all, say all, and undertake all things. Therefore it is, that the merchant goes on a voyage, in order that he may amass wealth; and he amasses wealth, to the end that he may rejoice over what he has treasured up. The soldier also for this reason exercises his warfare, and the husbandman his husbandry; for this each man plies his art. Those also who love dominion, love it for this end, that they may obtain glory; and they desire to obtain glory, that they may rejoice; and any one may perceive that each of our undertakings is directed to this point, and that every man looking to this makes haste to go towards it through a variety of means.[2]

Verse 5
Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand;
1. The Testimony of Graciousness

-“Let your reasonableness” (τὸ ἐπιεικὲς ὑμῶν) should define Christians in terms of epieikes, translated as “gentle spirit”, “gentleness”, and “moderation” by the NASB, NIV, and KJV, respectively. The Theological Lexicon of the New Testament lists “clemency, moderation, generosity; clement; reasonable, accommodating, generous.” Therefore, it can be difficult to find the appropriate English word to fit this Greek term, but John MacArthur in his commentary on Philippians suggests that “graciousness” best captures the concept of what Paul has in mind.
-The ancient Greek literature used this term to refer to justice mixed with clemency…
“An order to govern the inhabitants δικαιοσύνῃ δὲ καὶ ἐπεικείᾳ (I.Bulg., 1960e 44); Dittenberger, Syl. 880, 35; “the Corsicans live among them with more moderation and fairness—βιοῦσιν ἐπιεικῶς καὶ δικαίως—than are generally seen among the barbarians” (Diodorus Siculus 5.26); Plutarch, Alex. 43.4; Caes. 3.1; 15.4; 35.4; 54.4;57.4.[3]
-The philosopher Philo used this term three times in his writings, with On the Virtues providing one example…
“XXVIII. (148) And, being full of mercy in every part, he again displays it in an abundant and exceeding degree, crossing over from the beings endowed with reason to the brute beasts, and from the brute beasts to plants, concerning which we must now proceed immediately to speak, since we have spoken sufficiently already about men, and about all animals which are endowed with life.[4]
-There is one occurrence of this word in the Septuagint’s Greek translation of Psalm 85:5.
-Therefore, to be reasonable means to have a forgiving spirit. (Colossians 3:3:13)
-To be reasonable means to be moderate. (Galatians 5:13; 1 Corinthians 6:12)
-To be reasonable means to be gentle. (1 Timothy 3:3; James 3:17)
-To be reasonable means to be equitable in one’s dealings. (Proverbs 14:31; Micah 6:8)
-To be reasonable means to be merciful. (Matthew 5:7; Luke 6:36)
-To be reasonable means to be graciousness. (Psalm 112:5; Colossians 3:12)
-“be known” (γνωσθήτω) is an imperative to the Philippians.
-The world is watching believers, for believers cannot hide themselves from the watching eyes of the world. (Matthew 5:16; Luke 12:9)
-All believers have a testimony, and that testimony will be made known to all whom they come in contact with. (Matthew 10:32; Psalm 119:46)
-Paul has already used his own testimony as an example to the Roman Christians (Philippians 1:12-14), and commands the Philippian Christians to be examples as well. (Philippians 2:12-14)
to everyone” (πᾶσιν ἀνθρώποις) means exactly that: all men.
-Fellow believers should see our reasonableness. (Psalm 66:16)
-The world should see our reasonableness. (1 Peter 3:15)
2. The Presence of Christ
-“The Lord is at hand” (ὁ κύριος ἐγγύς) is an adverb of location, thereby stating that the Lord is in fact near us. Some would state that this refers to the hope of Christ’s second coming, but this more probably refers to the nearness of Christ.
-In the Old Testament, the Psalmist frequently expressed his hope in being in the presence of the Lord. (Psalm 139:7)
-The Lord’s presence went with Jacob and his descendants into the Promised Land. (Genesis 28:15)
-The Lord’s presence gave the people of Israel rest. (Exodus 33:14)
-The Lord’s presence brought the Israelites victory when waging war. (Joshua 1:9)
-The Lord’s presence brings times of refreshment for God’s people. (Acts 3:19-20)
-The Lord’s presence is with the upright in heart. (Psalm 41:12)
-The Lord’s presence brings great joy to God’s people. (Psalm 16:11)
-The Lord Jesus promised His disciples and all believers that He will always be with them. (Matthew 28:20)
-Paul’s point is that the Philippians can be encouraged and exhorted to be known to all men that they are the gracious people of God, for the presence of the Lord Jesus is with them and with us.

Verse 6
do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.

1. The Aversion of Anxiety

-“Do not be anxious” (μεριμνᾶτε) is a present active imperative second person plural verb. Paul therefore speaks to the entire Philippian congregation, commanding them to actively cut off anxiety before it builds.
-Anxiety can be defined in biblical terms by worrying about the future.
-Matthew records Jesus issuing a similar command to His disciples. (Matthew 6:25-34)
-Martha demonstrated anxiety when Jesus visited her and Mary. (Luke 10:41)
-Jesus commands us not to be anxious about anything, as our anxiety is powerless to accomplish anything. (Luke 12:22-26)
-Paul instructed the Corinthians about the importance of being free from anxiety. (1 Corinthians 7:32-34)
-Anxiety chokes out the work of the Word in our lives. (Matthew 13:22; Mark 4:19)
-Both Jesus and Paul instruct us not to be anxious when we face opposition by our opponents. (Mark 13:11; Philippians 1:27-30)
-Both the Psalmist and Peter instruct us to cast all our anxieties upon the Lord. (Psalm 55:22-23; 1 Peter 5:7)
-“about anything” (μηδὲν) means we are to be anxious about nothing at all.
-Anxiety wreaks havoc on us. (Proverbs 12:25)
-The Scriptures state that the Lord’s presence removes our anxiety. (Isaiah 41:10)
-The Scriptures state that the correct response in the midst of anxiety is to trust in the Lord. (Psalm 34:4; Psalm 56:3)
-The Lord promises to come and deliver us, therefore we need not be anxious. (Isaiah 35:4)
2. The Prayers of Thankfulness
-“But in everything” (ἀλλʼ ἐν παντὶ) directly takes “anything” we could be anxious about and directs it elsewhere.
-“by prayer” (τῇ προσευχῇ)
-Jesus upheld prayer as primal in worship of God. (Matthew 21:13; Mark 11:17; Luke 19:46)
-The early Christians demonstrated a strong commitment to prayer during the early days of the church. (Acts 1:14; Acts 2:42; Acts 6:4)
-Paul frequently offered up prayers for the churches in his letters. (1 Thessalonians 1:2; Romans 1:10; Philippians 1:3)
-Paul frequently expressed hope because of the prayers that fellow believers offered up to God on his behalf. (Philippians 1:19; Philemon 1:22)
-Our prayers are offered up before God Almighty in Heaven. (Acts 10:4; Revelation 5:8)
-Paul instructed his readers to be devoted to prayer in their Christian lives. (Ephesians 6:18; Colossians 4:2; 1 Timothy 2:1)
-Men in the Old Testament offered up prayers to the Lord God of Israel. (2 Samuel 7:27; 1 Kings 8:54; 2 Kings 19:4)
-“and supplication” (καὶ τῇ δεήσει)
-Supplication often accompanies prayer. (Ephesians 6:18; 1 Timothy 2:1; 1 Timothy 5:5)
-Supplication involves pleading with God. (2 Chronicles 6:21; Psalm 27:2)
-Supplication involves crying out to the Lord in times of distress. (Jeremiah 3:21; Daniel 9:17; Daniel 9:23)
-Supplication seeks to beg God or someone else to hear what is being earnestly expressed. (Matthew 9:38; Luke 5:12; 2 Corinthians 5:20)
-“with thanksgiving” (μετʼ εὐχαριστίας) defines both our prayers and our supplications.
-A thankful spirit gives glory to God our Father. (2 Corinthians 4:15)
-A thankful spirit testifies of the unity of God’s people. (2 Corinthians 9:12)
-A thankful spirit should replace a dishonorable spirit. (Ephesians 5:4)
-A thankful spirit comes from seeing God’s grace poured out upon His people. (1 Thessalonians 3:9)
-Thanksgiving is offered up to God seated on his holy, heavenly throne. (Revelation 7:12)
-A thankful spirit should mark our prayers, as Paul has already demonstrated (Philippians 1:3) and commands elsewhere in his letters. (Colossians 4:2)
3. The God of Hearing
-“Let your requests be made known” (τὰ αἰτήματα γνωριζέσθω) defines the central command that Paul issues here. It is in the imperative mood.
-A “request” is when someone asks something of another, demanding action on that person’s part. (Judges 8:24; 1 Samuel 1:27)
-Requests of this sort were sometimes made before kings. (Esther 5:7; Esther 7:2-3)
-The Philippians and all believers should bring their requests “to God” (πρὸς τὸν θεόν).
-John encourages us that God hears our requests. (1 John 5:15)
-In the Old Testament, believers expressed their belief that God would hear their prayers. (1 Kings 9:3; 2 Chronicles 6:19; 2 Chronicles 7:12)
-The Psalms frequently give examples of the Psalmist crying out in earnest prayers to the Lord. (Psalm 4:2; Psalm 16:1; Psalm 38:13; Psalm 53:4; Psalm 54:2)
-The Scriptures declare that God is a God of hearing who hears our prayers. (Psalm 6:10; Psalm 64:3; Psalm 65:19)
-The Scriptures declare that God is a God of hearing who hears our supplications. (Psalm 27:6; Psalm 114:1)

-“Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18)



[1] Calvin, J., & Pringle, J. (2010). Commentaries on the Epistles of Paul the Apostle to the Philippians, Colossians, and Thessalonians (p. 116). Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.
[2] John Chrysostom. (1889). The Homilies on the Statues. In P. Schaff (Ed.), W. R. W. Stephens (Trans.), Saint Chrysostom: On the Priesthood, Ascetic Treatises, Select Homilies and Letters, Homilies on the Statues (Vol. 9, p. 459). New York: Christian Literature Company.
[3] Spicq, C., & Ernest, J. D. (1994). Theological lexicon of the New Testament. Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publishers.
[4] Yonge, C. D. with Philo of Alexandria. (1995). The works of Philo: complete and unabridged (p. 655). Peabody, MA: Hendrickson.