THE BOOK OF PHILIPPIANS
J. Deering, AncientPath.net
1:3 I thank my God in all my remembrance of
“I thank” – (eukaristw,
1p sing pres act ind/
“I am thanking”
“all” – (pash) “all” as in “I am thanking you all”
“remembrance” – (mneia, Noun) only found 7 times in the New Testament and is most often translated as “mention.” Once as remember, remembrance, or think.
We can translate the sentence in a couple correct ways.
I am thanking my God at all remembrances of you.
I am thanking my God at every mention of you.
I am thanking my God every time I mention you.
There is no way to ascertain which would be the exact meaning and there is no reason to labor the point. Paul was thankful to God for the Philippian church and its ministry to him, regardless of when or how. Each translation carries a nuance in English that is not discernable from the Greek text.
What is discernable from the Greek text is that Paul was making it clear that the Philippian church was of such a value that he thanked God for them at every thought or mention of them.
Where do you stand in the memories and “mentions of others”? Do others thank God for you, for your small-group, for your church? If so, why, and if not, why not?
The first word in the phrase means just that “Always, at all times.”
There is only one verb in the phrase – poioumenos from poiew, it is a present, middle, participle, used here as a subject in the phrase. Participles often provide a time or mode of action. They are often translated as “the one who (verb).” The literal word means to “make.” Here it is Paul who is “the one who always makes” prayer – or smoother “always offers up prayer”.
Both times the word “prayer” occurs in this phrase it is the same word, “Petition,” or “supplication” is it's meaning. It is the Greek word used when ever praying to God is meant. Other words are often used when used in a legal sense of a petition.
xaras is the Greek word for joy and it is used here as the manner in which Paul prayed for them. When he prayed for the Philippians, he prayed with joy – the opposite of sorrow.
When was Paul offering prayer? – Always, at every moment. How was Paul offering prayer – with joy, every time he prayed for them.
So then verses 3 and 4 become, “I am always thanking my God every time I mention you, always with joy, and in every prayer,”
Now we get to WHY Paul prayed like this. It was epi (epi), over. Over your participation eis (eis), in – the Gospel.
Over, like, “Don’t cry OVER spilled milk!” The spilled milk is the REASON for crying. Here something about the Gospel is the REASON that Paul prays, thanking God with joy, every time he prays for the Philippians.
Paul states that it is their FAITHFULNESS in PARTICIPATION IN the Gospel that has been unceasing from the very beginning of their faith until now.
How glorious is that for them? Paul thanks God with great joy, every time he prays for the Philippian assembly because of their continuing faithfulness in participating in the Gospel.
We need to note that is the participation that is the focus of this verses (3-5). It is the continuing active engagement with the Gospel. Apparently they have not been sitting in their pews, but instead actively involved in the work of the Gospel – getting people saved and getting them grown-up in Christ. That’s why Paul can pray to God in Joy over them – they fulfilled, are fulfilling, and we have very expectation that they will continue to fulfill the work of Christ in the Gospel. Praise God for the Philippian Body of Christ. I believe there should be a period here. Some translations and versions indicate that this thought is not yet complete and use other punctuation here. However Paul is now going to parenthetically state his reason for writing the epistle. He will once again continue with his salutation to the Philippians in the verse that follows.
1:6 For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.
The NASB committee thought this verse was a continuation of the above verses so they included the English word “For” here but it is not in the original text. The original begins as “I am confident….”
There are three verbals in this sentence. The first has to do with confidence. Pepoiqws (pepoithos) is the word. It is a perfect, active, participle – again a word, when used about a person become “the one who.” In this case it becomes “I am the one who has had confidence.” The perfect tense indicates that an action started in the past has a quality that extends until now. Paul started his confidence in the past and continues in it even until the time of his writing this letter.
The second verbal in this sentence is enarxamenos (enarksamenos), another participle, this time In a simple past tense, and again of a person, meaning “the one who began” (the root verb is to “be”). The simple past tense indicates that the beginning of this action was, in fact, begun in the past. It has no sense of being a continuous beginning; it just began once in the past.
The third is the verb epitelew (epiteleow). The root of the word means to bring to an end, a completion, a fulfillment, or a termination. It is preceded by the prepositional suffix epi (epi), which you may remember from a previous lesson often takes on the meaning of over as in overseer. So this is a word that has to do with “overseeing,” or “ruling over” completed things or things that are in the process of completing something with a view towards its completion. The NASB translates it as, “will perfect it,” the KJV as, “will perform it.”
The phrase, “Day of Christ Jesus” (NASB), or “day of Christ” (KJV), is only used in the New Testament and only of a positive event in the timeline of the Body of Christ. It is that time when all events pertaining to the perfection and gathering together of the full “Body of Christ,” in the heavenlies, have come together for the presentation of “The Bride of Christ” where she is finally presented to the groom Himself, Jesus, for the “wedding feast of the Lamb.” It is at that time that all things Jesus has done, is currently doing, and will do, on behalf of the Body of Christ is complete. It happens after the “rapture” of the “church” and before the return of Jesus Christ for His millennial rule here on earth.
Therefore Paul here expresses to the Philippian believers his confidence that Jesus the Christ is able not only to begin the good work of salvation in those who believe, but it is He who will oversee the completion of this work even to the end of it on the “Day of Christ.” That very special day when Jesus presents His bride for all eternity, before His Heavenly Father, that He might be married with her forever.
For me, this verse would translate as, “I am confident that Jesus the Christ, who began this good work in you, will now perfect it in you even until it is finally complete in The Day of Jesus Christ.
1:7 For it is only right for me to feel this way about you all, because I have you in my heart, since both in my imprisonment and in the defense and confirmation of the gospel, you all are partakers of grace with me.
ABOUT THE TRANSLATION
Paul now returns to his dialog to the Philippians concerning their standing. There are four verbals in this verse.
The first is just the simple word “is.” We often overlook this little word but it points us to the “truth.” It IS! It is a fact, it does exist. “Is” is at the very center of revealing truth about people and things. We use it every day in just that manner. “She is beautiful,” that is our “truth” about that person, “It is new,” a simple statement that defines how current an item is. Paul says it “IS” right. He defines the rightness of his feelings on this point.
Second is the word translated as “to feel.” fronew, fronetow. Here it is a present, active, infinitive. It is a word much linked to the Greek idea of those things which go on in the “heart” (later in the verse). We think of the heart as the seat of affections and emotion, but the Greeks thought of the heart as the seat of intellect, mind, learning, logic. We would like to translate the word as “to feel,” but the Greek mind would prefer a translation of “to think.” “It is right to think of you this way…”
Our third verbal exw, exow. It is a present active infinitive: to have, to hold, to seize, to grip, to own, etc. It is preceded by a little Greek word dia which means “because of…” And followed by the Greek word for “you.” We translate them, “because I hold you.”
The final verbal occurs near the end of the sentence. It concerns “partakers” and is another form of the simple word for “is,” as we have seen before, and it is an imperfect passive verb form – “being.”
The first half of the sentence begins with “For,” a simple little introductory word that links us to the previous thought. Paul was confident about the work of Jesus Christ in the lives of the Philippians “FOR… it is right for me to think about all of you this way because I hold you “in my heart”.
The second half of the sentence goes on to tell us why Paul holds them “in his heart.” Both the KJV and the NAS begin with words that do not occur in the text as a way to make the English more readable. “In my bonds (being imprisoned) and in the defense and confirmation of the gospel you are partaking of my grace.” We would do well to remember that grace is a gift that is bestowed from one to another. Paul is saying that their taking and using of the gifts that he has to offer (their participation in his suffering and their participation of the working out of the Gospel – through the teachings of Paul) are the very reasons that he holds them in his heart.
The fluid translation of this verse then would be something like:
“For it is right for me to think about all of you this way because you have been taking and using the gifts He has given to us; even in your participation in my prison sufferings and in your continued working out the gospel as I have taught you. Therefore, it is right that I hold you in my heart.”
Paul adds more testimony to the importance for the Philippians to recognize just how much Paul cares about them.
Paul calls upon God as the one who brings testimony. This is not a boast or a swearing by deity, but instead it is a solemn witness to the events of Paul’s life.
Spoken by the mouth of others it could be construed as a possible lie, but Paul, the apostle of Jesus Christ, has that intimate relationship with God that he can call upon Him as the authenticator of his mission and life.
It is interesting that this word for witness was later used during the persecution years to mean one who witnessed to the things of God, even unto death. This very word would later be spoken of using Paul as that authority as a witness of the things He (God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit) hath done.
literally, “And this I pray:” Pray and prayer, as we learned in verse 4, is supplication or petition. We know that Paul’s prayers are aimed at God and that they are the content of Paul’s heart as he brings the Philippians before His heavenly father. Paul has just been telling them about his love for them over the last six verses. Now his attention falls on the manner in which he desires the love of the Philippians should be manifested.
First that their love would abound! There’s an old business expression that reads like this, “You can’t go back to the well on this one!” Which means that you have already gone to a higher source (upper manager) and he’s bailed you out of some difficulty or provided you with emergency capital, or at least some very needed favor – and in doing so, going back to that source again would not be met well. After all, you’ve “been to the well” already, so don’t expect any more “water” from there.
However, Paul is intimating that the depth of the Philippian “love well” is much deeper than should otherwise be expected, and that it can be drawn from over and over again with newness and freshness. Its ability to provide the products of love abounds. It may seem that the more you take - the more is available. We could suggest that because their love is based upon the Love of God – therefore it abounds, other sources fail, His does not.
What is the abounding product of the Love of God working through the Philippians? The abounding products are “real knowledge,” and “all discernment.” So let us explore these two terms.
First “real knowledge;” epignwsei. This is another of the prepositional suffix words. We’ve used it a couple times already in this chapter. It carries the meaning of being OVER something, or ENCLOSING something. The root of our word means knowledge, but not head knowledge. gniskw (ginowsko) is that kind of knowledge that is experiential. You know this thing like you know your mother or father, not like you know 1+1=2. Both are knowledge but this kind expresses a personal relationship with the thing known, thus experiential. So now we have a personal knowledge that is over or beyond that of every-day knowledge. It is a knowledge that could be called “expert knowledge,” the knowledge offered by someone who is expert in that area of knowledge.
Second we have “all discernment.” The text actually uses the term “all,” and therefore it pretty much means “all.” For the word “discernment” we find a Greek word that can be translated as “insight,” “experience,” “feeling,” or “perception.” Insight is something that is a special kind of view into the understanding of a thing or issue. We often seek the knowledge and experience from someone “expert” when seeking insight. “I though you would have some insight in this matter.” Perception is another word that has to do with some extraordinary understanding in a thing or concept. Since we Americans tend to see perception on a lower level than insight, I would choose insight as a good translation.
So, what do we have?
“And this is my request to God: that your love would abound, and even overflow, and through its abounding you might gain a full knowledge and understanding, that is full of insight,” …. So that… Vs. 10
Approve: pres infin dokimaizw put to the test, examine, to be convinced, to learn of
Things excellent: ptcpl “things that” carry through, for one’s advantage (worth more, superior to)
Sincere: able to be in the sunshine, i.e., sincere, pure of motive, unmixed, godly sincerity
Blameless: aproskopi – approachable, undamaged, without stumbling, impartial
Until that The Day of Christ - From Verse 6: Therefore Paul here expresses to the Philippian believers his confidence that Jesus the Christ is able not only to begin the good work of salvation in those who believe, but it is He who will oversee the completion of this work even to the end of it on the “Day of Christ.” That very special day when Jesus presents His bride for all eternity, before His Heavenly Father, that He might be married with her forever.”
Translation: coming out of verse 9, abounding in expert knowledge and insight…. "In such a way that YOU would then be able to put all things under the spotlight, putting them to the test, finding out which things are to your benefit, which things are of pure motive, of Godly sincerity, able to approach God Himself without stumbling, from now till the Day Christ meets you in the heavenlies.”
New American Standard Bible (NASB)
Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation