THE BOOK OF PHILIPPIANS
"Stand Firm, in this way..."
J. Deering, AncientPath.net
Quick Outline for
I. 4:1 Stand Firm, in this way...
II. 4:2-3 Unity is the responsibility of the whole body
III. 4:4-9 God Will Supply - Paul's Example
IV. 4:20-23 Final Salutations
(Chapter 4 various titles of other commentators)
"Standing Fast Yet Working Together"
"Triumph In Anxiety"
"Triumph in Suffering"
"The Joyous Christian Experience"
Our approach for Chapter four includes seeing that everyone who comes to the Bible for study has a wealth of information and ideas to draw from and therefore some can see ideas and topics that are different than others see from any verse, paragraph, chapter or book.
The various headings that come before each collection of verses in this study come from three or four really excellent commentaries on the Book of Philippians - two of which are from the same author.
"Gems from the Original, Vol. III," Harold J. Berry - Greek scholar
"The Joy of Living," J. Dwight Pentecost, renowned bible teacher and lecturer from the mid-twentieth century.
"To Live is Christ," and "Philippians, Triumph in Christ," John F. Walvoord, renowned bible teacher, lecturer, and Past president of Dallas Theological Seminary.
As you see from the
headings, there is much to be gleaned from the "field" of information in each
(Various groupings of other commentators for this section)
1 - Christian Practices 4:1-9
2 - Think of Excellence 4:1-9
3 - The God of Peace Shall Be With You 4:1-5
4 - Be of the Same Mind, Keeping Peace in the Church 4:1-3
IN THIS WAY - STAND FIRM
Therefore, my beloved brethren whom I long to see, my joy and crown, in this way stand firm in the Lord, my beloved.
This verse should be the last verse of Chapter three which summarizes the teachings of Chapters 1 through the end of Chapter 3.
For our study I want us to see verse 4:1 as standing alone. This verse introduces us to an overall pattern of 4:2-19 as "Paul's insights and teachings on the sufficiency of Jesus Christ."
One of the most beneficial ways to study the scriptures is to look behind the text and see WHY the writer is bringing these subjects up in the first place.
For Instance: Chapter 4:1 Paul states (we'll study this in depth a little later) that the Philippians are his "jewel and crown," and that they are to "in this way" stand firm. The inference is that the Philippians had been doing something and Paul wants them to keep doing it, or "stand firm" in it.
It's like the painter who sees the "negative space" in a painting as having the same value as the parts of the painting that most see as "the subject." In the discipline of writing there is "what Paul didn't say" that is just as important as what he did say.
Since the verse begins with "Therefore," we need to go back to the preceding chapters to discern those things they need to keep doing in order to "stand firm."
Going back over those first 3 chapters.....
1. Grow up and learn to approve excellent things, 1:6
2. It is good that the Gospel of Christ is preached (no matter who preaches it), 1:18
1. Encouragement, love, fellowship and compassion are in Christ, 2:1
2. Regard all others better than yourself, 3:2
1. Rejoice Always In The Lord, 3:1
2. Be aware that there are workers of evil against you, 3:2
3. Be aware that humility is the goal, 3:8-9
4. Lay Hold of the Prize of Participation in His Resurrection, 3:10-11
Therefore, as a result of all that has come before, STAND FIRM then IN THIS WAY:
The Philippians found themselves in the position of having "enemies" and the resulting doctrinal confusion all around them. As Paul leads them into Chapter four he reminds them that "their citizenship is in heaven," and knowing this they should know that Christ will subdue all things - including His enemies.
Paul has justifiable pride in the Philippians and verse one shows clearly how much and why he feels that way.
We'll break down this first verse into eight elements and deal with them one at a time.
I. My beloved brethren
We see Paul's heart in this first phrase. He calls them beloved (agapaetos - "the ones whom I hold in deep affection"). "The ones I agape love" (with the grace of Jesus Christ). He clearly and deeply regards the Philippian local church with this deep affection.
II. Whom I long to see
Paul's choice of words here tell us that he has a "strong desire" to see them (epipothetos). He could have used part of this word if he wanted simply to see them again (pothetos), but this word adds the pre-fix (epi) that indicates a "strong, deep, desire" to see them.
III. I long to see, my joy...
They are the source of joy for Paul in their continuing relationship to him. They alone, out of all the Asian gentile churches, have been faithful to him - even though we saw in chapter 2 (2:30) that they could and should have done more. But still, they are Paul's "Joy" - the result of his ministry in them, if joy to him.
IV. I long to see, ... my crown...
The word here for crown is "stephenos" which is a specific crown, usually made of Laurel leaves, that was reserved for the "competitive winner." This word is the crown presented at the sporting events and Olympics. It is not to be confused with the "diadema;" the crown of an authority or ruler.
1 Corinthians 9:24-25 speaks of the "incorruptible (non-perishable) crown." This is the same word. In 1 Corinthians 9:2 with the Paul speaks of them as the "seal" upon his ministry, meaning that his work among them demonstrated the validity of his ministry. The Corinthians - his seal; the Philippians - his crown.
V. In this way...
Paul calls them beloved, those whom he longs to see, his joy and his crown. This is the "way" that he speaks of and it is this "way" that he enjoins them to continue on, being full of Godly joy and achievement
VI. Stand firm...
"Stand firm in this way." Stand firm in your being beloved brethren, stand firm in being those kinds of people that an apostle would long to see, stand firm in being people who this apostle found to be his joy and crown.
And for what purpose are they to be these kinds of people? The purpose is to stand firm (being these people) in the Lord. Don't just be nice people, don't just be supportive achieving people. Be all these things with the view towards being diligent against the enemies of the gospel... In the Lord. The theme of the book concerns the fact that the local church was being invaded by "Enemies of the gospel." Therefore we must see this emphasis in this passage and understand that they are being called to be good, loving, kind, supportive, achieving members of the local body and to be that way in the defense of the gospel even in the midst of enemies of that gospel.
VII. In the Lord...
Paul doesn't let them take for granted that he wants them to be all these things - just to be all these things. His interest is that in every element of their daily walks they are to be people of the Lord, people who walk "in the Lord." How easy it has become for pulpits to call for people to be good and nice, but unless you are doing these things "in the Lord," they are of no eternal consequence.
Standing firm against the enemies of the Gospel can only be accomplished in the power of Christ - try it in your own power and you will fail.
VIII. My beloved.
This is the same word as the first statement. Paul is reaffirming his love, and the importance of the overall contents of verse 1. Dearly beloved.... My beloved. How wonderful to see the depth of Paul's love for them.
We should not forget that Paul has already encouraged them to be holy and blameless back in Chapter 2:16. Paul said that he didn't want to get to heaven and not be able to boast in them!
New American Standard Bible (NASB)
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