[WRITTEN FROM ROME, A.D. 65.]
I.--PAUL, and Timothy, servants of Jesus Christ, to all the saints in Christ Jesus, who are in Philippi, with the bishops and deacons: Favor to you, and peace from God our Father, and from our Lord Jesus Christ.
3.--I thank my God upon every remembrance of you; always in all my prayers for you all, giving thanks with joy for your contribution for the gospel, from the first day till now: having this very confidence, that he who has begun a good work among you, will continue to perfect it till the day of Jesus Christ. As it is just for me to think this concerning you all, because you have me at heart, both in my bonds, and in the defence and confirmation of the gospel. You are all partakers of my gratitude; for God is my witness, how vehemently I long after you all, with the tender affections of Jesus Christ. And this I pray, that your love may yet abound more and more, with knowledge and with all discretion; that you may approve the things that are excellent; that you may be sincere and inoffensive, till the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness, which is through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.
12.--Now i wish you to know, brethren, that the things which have befallen me, have turned out rather to the advancement of the gospel. So that my bonds are manifested to be on account of Christ, through the whole palace, and in all the other places. And the greater number of the brethren in the Lord, made confident by my bonds, have become much more bold to speak the word without fear. Some, indeed, preach Christ even of envy and strife; and some also of good will. The former preach Christ out of contention, not sincerely; thinking to add affliction to my bonds: the latter, indeed, from love; knowing that I am set for the defence of the gospel. What then? Still in every way, whether in pretence, or in truth, Christ is preached; even in this I do rejoice; yes, and will rejoice: for I know that this will turn out to me for salvation, through your prayer, and the supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ;--that agreeably to my earnest expectation and hope, in nothing I shall be ashamed; but that with all boldness, as at all times, so now also, Christ will be magnified in my body, whether by life or by death. For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. But whether to live in the flesh would be to my advantage; or what to chosoe, I do not know: for I am in a strait between the two, having a strong desire to depart and be with Christ, which is by far the better. Nevertheless, to abide in the flesh is more needful for you. And being firmly persuaded of this, I know that I shall live and abide some time with ou all, for the advancement of the joy of your faith; and that your boasting concerning me in Christ Jesus may aound, through my coming again to you. Only behave in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ; that whether I shall come and see you, or, being absent, shall hear of your affairs, that you are steadfast in one spirit, with one soul striving together for the faith of the gospel; and not terrified in any thing by your adversaries: which is to them a demonstration of perdition; but to you of salvation, and that from God. For to you it is graciously given, on the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for his sake; having the very same conflict, which you saw in me, and now hear to be in me.
II.--Wherefore, if there be any consolation in Christ; if any comfort of love; if any fellowship of the Spirit; if any sympathies and tender mercies, complete this my joy, that you be like-minded; having the very same love, being unanimous, minding the one thing. Let nothing be done through strife, or vainglory: but, in humbleness of mind, esteem each other better than yourselves: not aiming every one at his own interests, but every one also at the interests of the others. Now let this dispostion be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus; who, though he was in the form of God, did not affect to appear in divine majesty: but divested himself, taking upon him the form of a servant, being made in the likeness of men: and, being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient to death, even the death of the cross. And for this reason, God has exceedingly exalted him, and bestowed on him a name, which is above every name: that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow; of those in heaven, and upon the earth, and under the earth: and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. Wherefore, my beloved, since you have always obeyed, not in my presence only, but now much more in my absence; effectually work out your own salvation, with fear and trembling: for it is God who works effectually in you, both to will and to perform, on account of his benevolence. Do all things without murmurings and disputings; that you may be blameless and harmless, the children of God, unblemished, in the midst of a crooked and perverse race; among whom shine as lights in the world, holding forth the word of life; that I may rejoice in the day of Christ, that I have not run in vain, nor have labored in vain.
17.--Yes, and if I be made a drink-offering on the sacrifice and ministry of your faith, I joy and rejoice with you all; and for the same do you also joy and rejoice with me. Now I hope in the Lord Jesus to send Timothy to you soon, that I also may be of good courage, when I know your affairs. For I have no one like disosed, who will sincerely take care of your affairs: for all seek their own, not the things of Jesus Christ. But you know the proof of him, that, as a son with a father, so he has served with me in the gospel. Now, indeed, I hope to send him immediately, as soon as I shall see how it will go with me. However, I am fully persuaded by the Lord, that even I myself shall soon come. Yet I thought it necessary to send to you Epaphroditus, my brother, and fellow-laborer, and fellow-soldier; but your apostle, and a minister to my want. For he longed after you all, and was exceedingly grieved, because you had heard that he had been sick. And, indeed, he was sick nigh to death: but God had mercy on him; and not on him only, but on me also, that I might not have sorrow upon sorrow. Wherefore, I have sent him the more speedily, that seeing him again, you may rejoice, and that I may be the more free from sorrow. Receive him, therefore, in the Lord, with all joy, and have such persons in great estimation; because for the work of Christ, he drew nigh to death, not regarding his life, that he might fully supply the want of your service towards me.
III.--Finally, my brethren, rejoice in the Lord. To write the same things to you, to me, indeed, is not irksome, but for you it is safe. Beware of the snarlers, beware of evil workers, beware of the excision; for we are the circumcision, who worship God in spirit, who glory in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh. Though, indeed, I have a ground of confidence in the flesh, if any other thinks he has a ground of confidence;--I have more.--Circumcised the eighth day, of the race of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of the Hebrews; with respect to the law, a Pharisee; with respect to zeal, persecuting the congregation; with respect to a righteousness by law, I was blameless. But the thins which were gain to me, those I have counted loss for Christ. Yes, indeed, on this account also, I count all things loss, for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord; (for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do account them mere refuse, that I may gain Christ, and be found in him, not having my righteousness by law, but that which is through the faith of Christ,--the righteousness which is from God on account of this faith;)--that I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being conformed to his death; if by any means I may attain to the resurrection from the dead. Not that I have already laid hold, or have already become perfect; but I press on, that indeed I may lay hold on that, for which also I was laid hold on by Christ Jesus. Brethren, I count not myself to have laid hold of the prize; but one thing I do, forgetting the things behind, and stretching forth towards the things before, I press on toward the mark, for the prize of the high calling of God by Christ Jesus. Let us, then, as many as would be perfect, be thus minded; and if in any thing you think differently, God will reveal even this to you. Moreover, let us walk in conformity to what we have attained. Brethren, be imitators of me, and consider attentively those who walk so, as you have us for an example. (For I have often told you, and now tell you even weeping, that many walk as the enemies of the cross of Christ; whose end is destruction, whose God is their appetites, whose glory is in their shame, who mind earthly things.) But we are citizens of heven, whence also we earnestly expect the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ; who will transform our humbled body into a like form with his glorious body, according to the energy of his power, even to subject all things to himself.
IV.--Wherefore, my brethren, beloved and much desired, my joy and crown, thus stand firm in the Lord, my beloved. I beseech Euodia, and I beseech Syntyche, to be of the same mind in the Lord. Now, I entreat you also, my faithful colleague, assist those women who have labored with me in the gospel, with Clement, and my other fellow laborers, whose names are in the book of life. Rejoice in the Lord always: I say again, Rejoice. Let your moderation be known to all men: the Lord is nigh. Be anxious about nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peaceof God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard our hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are honorable, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are benevolent, whatever things are of good fame; if there be any virture, and if any praise be due, attentively consider these things; those also which you have learned, and received, and heard, and seen with me, practise; and the God of peace will be with you. But I rejoice greatly in the Lord, that now at length you have made your care of me to flourish again; for whom, indeed, you were careful, but you had not an opportunity. Not that I complain of want; for I have learned, in whatever state I am, to be content. I know what it is to be straitened; I know what it is to abound. Every where, and by all means, I am silently taught what it is to be full, and to be hungry; to abound, and to suffer want. I can do all things, through him who strengthens me. Nevertheless, you have done well in sympathizing with my affliction. Moreover, you Philippians also know, that in the beginning of my labors in the gospel, when I departed from Macedonia, no congregation communicated with me, by giving and receiving, but you only; that also, when in Thessalonica, you sent once; yes, twice, to relieve my necessity:--not that I earnestly seek the gift; but I earnestly seek the fruit, which abounds to your account. But I have received all, and abound; I have been fully supplied, having received by Epaphroditus the things sent from you, a fragrant odor, a sacrifice accepted, well pleasing to God. But my God will fully supply all your wants, according to his riches in glory, through Christ Jesus. Now to God, even our Father, be glory forever and ever. Amen. Salute every saint in Christ Jesus. The brethren who are with me salute you. All the saints salute you, but especially those of Cesar's household. The favor of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.
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