Paul and Timothy, bond-servants of Christ Jesus (the Messiah, the Anointed),
To all the saints (God’s people) in Christ Jesus who are at Philippi, including the overseers and deacons: Grace to you and peace [inner calm and spiritual well-being] from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
I thank my God in every remembrance of you, always offering every prayer of mine with joy [and with specific requests] for all of you, [thanking God] for your participation and partnership [both your comforting fellowship and gracious contributions] in [advancing] the good news [regarding salvation] from the first day [you heard it] until now. I am convinced and confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will [continue to] perfect and complete it until the day of Christ Jesus [the time of His return]. It is right for me to feel this way about you, because [you have me in your heart as] I have you in my heart, since both in my imprisonment and in the defense and confirmation of the good news [regarding salvation], all of you share in [His matchless] grace with me. For God is my witness, how I long for all of you with the affection of Christ Jesus [whose great love fills me]. And this I pray, that your love may abound more and more [displaying itself in greater depth] in real knowledge and in practical insight, so that you may learn to recognize and treasure what is excellent [identifying the best, and distinguishing moral differences], and that you may be pure and blameless until the day of Christ [actually living lives that lead others away from sin]; filled with the fruit of righteousness which comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God [so that His glory may be both revealed and recognized].
The Gospel Is Preached
Now I want you to know, [a]believers, that what has happened to me [this imprisonment that was meant to stop me] has actually served to advance [the spread of] the good news [regarding salvation]. My imprisonment in [the cause of] Christ has become common knowledge throughout the whole [b]praetorian (imperial) guard and to everyone else. Because of my chains [seeing that I am doing well and that God is accomplishing great things], most of the [c]brothers have renewed confidence in the Lord, and have far more courage to speak the word of God [concerning salvation] without fear [of the consequences, seeing that God can work His good in all circumstances]. Some, it is true, are [actually] preaching Christ out of envy and rivalry [toward me—for no better reason than a competitive spirit or misguided ambition], but others out of goodwill and a loyal spirit [toward me]. The latter [preach Christ] out of love, because they know that I have been put here [by God on purpose] for the defense of the gospel; but the former preach Christ [insincerely] out of selfish ambition [just self-promotion], thinking that they are causing me distress in my imprisonment. What then [does it matter]? So long as in every way, whether in pretense [for self-promotion] or in all honesty [to spread the truth], Christ is being preached; and in this I rejoice.
Yes, and I will rejoice [later as well], for I know [with confidence] that this will turn out for my deliverance and spiritual well-being, through your prayers and the [superabundant] supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ [which upholds me]. It is my own eager expectation and hope, that [looking toward the future] I will not disgrace myself nor be ashamed in anything, but that with courage and the utmost freedom of speech, even now as always, Christ will be magnified and exalted in my body, whether by life or by death.
To Live Is Christ
For to me, to live is Christ [He is my source of joy, my reason to live] and to die is gain [for I will be with Him in eternity]. If, however, it is to be life here and I am to go on living, this will mean useful and productive service for me; so I do not know which to choose [if I am given that choice]. But I am hard-pressed between the two. I have the desire to leave [this world] and be with Christ, for that is far, far better; yet to remain in my body is more necessary and essential for your sake. Since I am convinced of this, I know that I will remain and continue with all of you for your progress and joy in the faith, so that your rejoicing for me may overflow in Christ Jesus through my coming to you again.
- Philippians 1:12 Lit brethren.
- Philippians 1:13 This word is derived from the Latin praetor (leader, commander). Paul’s use of the word here indicates that he is referring to the troops who served as the emperor’s bodyguard, and evidently were also entrusted with the custody of prisoners who had come to Rome on appeal.
- Philippians 1:14 Lit brethren.