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|New American Bible|
2002 11 11
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1 Paul and Timothy, slaves 2 of
Christ Jesus, to all the holy ones in Christ Jesus who are in Philippi, with
the overseers and ministers:
grace to you and peace from God our Father and
the Lord Jesus Christ. 3
4 I give thanks to my God at every remembrance
praying always with joy in my every prayer for
all of you,
because of your partnership for the gospel from
the first day until now.
I am confident of this, that the one who began
a good work in you will continue to complete it until the day of Christ Jesus. 5
It is right that I should think this way about
all of you, because I hold you in my heart, you who are all partners with me in
grace, both in my imprisonment and in the defense and confirmation of the
For God is my witness, how I long for all of
you with the affection of Christ Jesus.
And this is my prayer: that your love may
increase ever more and more in knowledge and every kind of perception,
to discern what is of value, so that you may be
pure and blameless for the day of Christ,
filled with the fruit of righteousness that
comes through Jesus Christ for the glory and praise of God.
6 I want you to know, brothers, that my
situation has turned out rather to advance the gospel,
so that my imprisonment has become well known
in Christ throughout the whole praetorium 7 and to all the
8 and so that the majority of the brothers,
having taken encouragement in the Lord from my imprisonment, dare more than
ever to proclaim the word fearlessly.
Of course, some preach Christ from envy and
rivalry, others from good will.
The latter act out of love, aware that I am
here for the defense of the gospel;
the former proclaim Christ out of selfish
ambition, not from pure motives, thinking that they will cause me trouble in my
What difference does it make, as long as in
every way, whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is being proclaimed? And in
that I rejoice. 9 Indeed I shall continue to rejoice,
10 for I know that this will result in
deliverance for me 11 through your prayers and support from
the Spirit of Jesus Christ.
My eager expectation and hope is that I shall
not be put to shame in any way, but that with all boldness, now as always,
Christ will be magnified in my body, whether by life or by death.
For to me life is Christ, and death is gain.
If I go on living in the flesh, that means
fruitful labor for me. And I do not know which I shall choose.
I am caught between the two. I long to depart
this life and be with Christ, (for) that is far better.
Yet that I remain (in) the flesh is more
necessary for your benefit.
And this I know with confidence, that I shall
remain and continue in the service of all of you for your progress and joy in
so that your boasting in Christ Jesus may
abound on account of me when I come to you again.
12 Only, conduct yourselves in a way worthy of
the gospel of Christ, so that, whether I come and see you or am absent, I may
hear news of you, that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind
struggling together for the faith of the gospel,
not intimidated in any way by your opponents.
This is proof to them of destruction, but of your salvation. And this is God's doing.
For to you has been granted, for the sake of
Christ, not only to believe in him but also to suffer for him.
Yours is the same struggle as you saw in me and
now hear about me. 13
1 [1-2] See the note on
⇒ Romans 1:1-7, concerning the greeting.
2  Slaves: Paul usually refers to
himself at the start of a letter as an apostle. Here he substitutes a term
suggesting the unconditional obligation of himself and Timothy to the service
of Christ, probably because, in view of the good relationship with the
Philippians, he wishes to stress his status as a co-servant rather than
emphasize his apostolic authority. Reference to Timothy is a courtesy: Paul
alone writes the letter, as the singular verb throughout shows (⇒ Philippians
1:3-26), and the reference (⇒ Philippians
2:19-24) to Timothy in the third person. Overseers: the Greek term
episkopos literally means "one who oversees" or "one who
supervises," but since the second century it has come to designate the
"bishop," the official who heads a local church. In New Testament
times this office had not yet developed into the form that it later assumed,
though it seems to be well on the way to such development in the Pastorals; see
⇒ 1 Tim 3:2 and ⇒ Titus
1:7, where it is translated bishop. At Philippi, however (and at
Ephesus, according to ⇒ Acts 20:28), there was more
than one episkopos, and the precise function of these officials is uncertain.
In order to distinguish this office from the later stages into which it
developed, the term is here translated as overseers. Ministers: the Greek term
diakonoi is used frequently in the New Testament to designate
"servants," "attendants," or "ministers." Paul
refers to himself and to other apostles as "ministers of God"
(⇒ 2 Cor 6:4) or "ministers of Christ"
(⇒ 2 Cor 11:23). In the Pastorals (⇒ 1
Tim 3:8, ⇒ 12) the diakonos has become an
established official in the local church; hence the term is there translated as
deacon. The diakonoi at Philippi seem to represent an earlier stage of
development of the office; we are uncertain about their precise functions.
Hence the term is here translated as ministers. See ⇒ Romans
16:1, where Phoebe is described as a diakonos (minister) of the
church of Cenchreae. 1, 2: The gifts come from Christ the Lord, not simply
through him from the Father; compare the christology in
⇒ Philippians 2:6-11.
3  The gifts come from Christ the
Lord, not simply through him from the Father; compare the christology in
⇒ Philippians 2:6-11.
4 [3-11] As in
⇒ Romans 1:8-15 and all the Pauline letters except
Galatians, a thanksgiving follows, including a direct prayer for the
Philippians (⇒ Philippians 1:9-11); see the note on
⇒ Romans 1:8. On their partnership for the gospel
(⇒ Philippians 1:5), cf
⇒ Philippians 1:29-30;
⇒ 4:10-20. Their devotion to the faith and to Paul
made them his pride and joy (⇒ Philippians 4:1). The
characteristics thus manifested are evidence of the community's continuing
preparation for the Lord's parousia (⇒ Philippians
1:6, ⇒ 10). Paul's especially warm
relationship with the Philippians is suggested here
(⇒ Philippians 1:7-8) as elsewhere in the letter. The
eschatology serves to underscore a concern for ethical growth
(⇒ Eph 1:9-11), which appears throughout the letter.
5  The day of Christ Jesus: the
parousia or triumphant return of Christ, when those loyal to him will be with
him and share in his eternal glory; cf ⇒ Philippians
1:10; ⇒ 2:16;
⇒ 3:20-21; ⇒ 1 Thes
4:17; ⇒ 5:10; ⇒ 2 Thes
1:10; ⇒ 1 Cor 1:8.
6 [12-26] The body of the letter
begins with an account of Paul's present situation, i.e., his imprisonment
(⇒ Philippians 1:12-13; see Introduction), and then
goes on with advice for the Philippians (⇒ Philippians
1:27-⇒ 2:18). The advance of the gospel
(⇒ Philippians 1:12) and the progress of the
Philippians in the faith (⇒ Philippians 1:25) frame
what is said.
7  Praetorium: either the
praetorian guard in the city where Paul was imprisoned or the governor's
official residence in a Roman province (cf ⇒ Mark
15:16; ⇒ Acts 23:35). See Introduction on
8 [14-18] Although Paul is
imprisoned, Christians there nonetheless go on preaching Christ. But they do so
with varied motives, some with personal hostility toward Paul, others out of
9  Rejoice: a major theme in the
letter; see Introduction.
10 [19-25] Paul earnestly debates his
prospects of martyrdom or continued missionary labor. While he may long to
depart this life and thus be with Christ (⇒ Philippians
1:23), his overall and final expectation is that he will be delivered
from this imprisonment and continue in the service of the Philippians and of
others (⇒ Philippians 1:19, ⇒ 25;
⇒ Philippians 2:24). In either case, Christ is
central (⇒ Philippians 1:20- 21); if to live means
Christ for Paul, death means to be united with Christ in a deeper sense.
11  Result in deliverance for me:
an echo of ⇒ Job 13:16, hoping that God will turn
suffering to ultimate good and deliverance from evil.
12 [27-30] Ethical admonition begins
at this early point in the letter, emphasizing steadfastness and congregational
unity in the face of possible suffering. The opponents
(⇒ Philippians 1:28) are those in Philippi, probably
pagans, who oppose the gospel cause. This is proof . . .
(⇒ Philippians 1:28) may refer to the whole outlook
and conduct of the Philippians, turning out for their salvation but to the
judgment of the opponents (cf ⇒ 2 Cor 2:15-16), or
possibly the sentence refers to the opinion of the opponents, who hold that the
obstinacy of the Christians points to the destruction of such people as defy
Roman authority (though in reality, Paul holds, such faithfulness leads to
13  A reference to Paul's earlier
imprisonment in Philippi (⇒ Acts 16:19-24;
⇒ 1 Thes 2:2) and to his present confinement.
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