1We, Paul and Timothy, are writing this letter. We serve Christ Jesus.
We are sending this letter to you, all God’s holy people in Philippi. You belong to Christ Jesus. We are also sending this letter to your leaders and deacons.
2May God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ give you grace and peace.
Paul Prays and Gives Thanks
3I thank my God every time I remember you. 4In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy. 5I am happy because you have joined me in spreading the good news. You have done so from the first day until now. 6God began a good work in you. And I am sure that he will carry it on until it is completed. That will be on the day Christ Jesus returns.
7It is right for me to feel this way about all of you. I love you with all my heart. I may be held by chains, or I may be standing up for the truth of the good news. Either way, all of you share in God’s grace together with me. 8God is my witness that I long for all of you. I love you with the love that Christ Jesus gives.
9I pray that your love will grow more and more. And let it be based on knowledge and understanding. 10Then you will be able to know what is best. Then you will be pure and without blame for the day that Christ returns. 11You will be filled with the fruit of right living produced by Jesus Christ. All these things bring glory and praise to God.
Paul Spreads the Good News While in Prison
12Brothers and sisters, here is what I want you to know. What has happened to me has actually helped to spread the good news. 13One thing has become clear. I am being held by chains because I am a witness for Christ. All the palace guards and everyone else know it. 14And because I am a prisoner, most of the believers have become bolder in the Lord. They now dare even more to preach the good news without fear.
15It’s true that some preach about Christ because they are jealous. But others preach about Christ to help me in my work. 16The last group acts out of love. They know I have been put here to be a witness for the good news. 17But the others preach about Christ only to get ahead. They preach Christ for the wrong reasons. They think they can stir up trouble for me while I am being held by chains. 18But what does it matter? Here is the important thing. Whether for right or wrong reasons, Christ is being preached about. That makes me very glad.
And I will continue to be glad. 19I know that you are praying for me. I also know that God will give me the Spirit of Jesus Christ to help me. So no matter what happens, I’m sure I will still be set free. 20I completely expect and hope that I won’t be ashamed in any way. I’m sure I will be brave enough. Now as always Christ will receive glory because of what happens to me. He will receive glory whether I live or die. 21For me, life finds all its meaning in Christ. Death also has its benefits. 22Suppose I go on living in my body. Then I will be able to carry on my work. It will bear a lot of fruit. But what should I choose? I don’t know! 23I can’t decide between the two. I long to leave this world and be with Christ. That is better by far. 24But it is more important for you that I stay alive. 25I’m sure of this. So I know I will remain with you. And I will continue with all of you to help you grow in your faith. I will also continue to help you be joyful in what you have been taught. 26I’m sure I will be with you again. Then you will be able to boast in Christ Jesus even more because of me.
Living to Honor the Good News
27No matter what happens, live in a way that brings honor to the good news about Christ. Then I will know that you remain strong together in the one Spirit. I will know this if I come and see you or only hear about you. I will know that you work together as one person. I will know that you work to spread the teachings about the good news. 28So don’t be afraid in any way of those who oppose you. This will show them that they will be destroyed and that you will be saved. That’s what God will do. 29Here is what he has given you to do for Christ. You must not only believe in him. You must also suffer for him. 30You are going through the same struggle you saw me go through. As you have heard, I am still struggling.
1Paul and Timothy, servants of Christ Jesus,
To all God’s holy people in Christ Jesus at Philippi, together with the overseers and deacons1:1 The word deacons refers here to Christians designated to serve with the overseers/elders of the church in a variety of ways; similarly in Romans 16:1 and 1 Tim. 3:8,12.:
2Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
Thanksgiving and prayer
3I thank my God every time I remember you. 4In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy 5because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, 6being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.
7It is right for me to feel this way about all of you, since I have you in my heart and, whether I am in chains or defending and confirming the gospel, all of you share in God’s grace with me. 8God can testify how I long for all of you with the affection of Christ Jesus.
9And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, 10so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, 11filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ – to the glory and praise of God.
Paul’s chains advance the gospel
12Now I want you to know, brothers and sisters,1:12 The Greek word for brothers and sisters (adelphoi) refers here to believers, both men and women, as part of God’s family; also in verse 14; and in 3:1, 13, 17; 4:1, 8, 21. that what has happened to me has actually served to advance the gospel. 13As a result, it has become clear throughout the whole palace guard1:13 Or whole palace and to everyone else that I am in chains for Christ. 14And because of my chains, most of the brothers and sisters have become confident in the Lord and dare all the more to proclaim the gospel without fear.
15It is true that some preach Christ out of envy and rivalry, but others out of goodwill. 16The latter do so out of love, knowing that I am put here for the defence of the gospel. 17The former preach Christ out of selfish ambition, not sincerely, supposing that they can stir up trouble for me while I am in chains. 18But what does it matter? The important thing is that in every way, whether from false motives or true, Christ is preached. And because of this I rejoice.
Yes, and I will continue to rejoice, 19for I know that through your prayers and God’s provision of the Spirit of Jesus Christ what has happened to me will turn out for my deliverance.1:19 Or vindication; or salvation 20I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed, but will have sufficient courage so that now as always Christ will be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death. 21For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. 22If I am to go on living in the body, this will mean fruitful labour for me. Yet what shall I choose? I do not know! 23I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far; 24but it is more necessary for you that I remain in the body. 25Convinced of this, I know that I will remain, and I will continue with all of you for your progress and joy in the faith, 26so that through my being with you again your boasting in Christ Jesus will abound on account of me.
Life worthy of the gospel
27Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ. Then, whether I come and see you or only hear about you in my absence, I will know that you stand firm in the one Spirit,1:27 Or in one spirit striving together as one for the faith of the gospel 28without being frightened in any way by those who oppose you. This is a sign to them that they will be destroyed, but that you will be saved – and that by God. 29For it has been granted to you on behalf of Christ not only to believe in him, but also to suffer for him, 30since you are going through the same struggle you saw I had, and now hear that I still have.