Philippians 1:6-8 Commentary



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Philippians 1:6-8 Commentary

Philippians 1:6. For I am confident (RAPMSN) of this very thing, that He who began (AMPMSN) a good work in you will perfect (3SFAI) it until the day of Christ Jesus.   (NASB: Lockman)

Greek: pepoithos (RAPMSN) auto touto, hoti o enarchamenos (AMPMSN) en humin ergon agathon epitelesei (3SFAI) achri hemeras Christou Iesou:
Amplified: And I am convinced and sure of this very thing, that He Who began a good work in you will continue until the day of Jesus Christ [right up to the time of His return], developing [that good work] and perfecting and bringing it to full completion in you. 
(Amplified Bible - Lockman)
KJV: Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ:
NLT: And I am sure that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on that day when Christ Jesus comes back again. (
NLT - Tyndale House)
Phillips: I feel sure that the one who has begun his good work in you will go on developing it until the day of Jesus Christ. (
Phillips: Touchstone)
Wuest: Having come to this settled and firm persuasion concerning this very thing, that He who began in you a work which is good, will bring it to a successful conclusion right up to the day of Christ Jesus; (Eerdmans
Young's Literal: having been confident of this very thing, that He who did begin in you a good work, will perform it till a day of Jesus Christ,


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Philippians - Q & A Format
Philippians Commentary
Philippians 1 Commentary
Philippians 1 Commentary
Philippians 1:1-11 The Ties That Bind
Philippians 1:1-11 Our Shared Experience
Philippians 1-2; 1:1-8; 1:7-9
Philippians Commentary

Philippians Homilies
Philippians 1 Commentary
Philippians 1:3-6 Confident About Salvation
Philippians 1:3-8 True Christian Fellowship
Philippians Commentary
Philippians 1:3-11
Philippians 1:3-11 Paul’s Perspective as a Prisoner
Philippians 1:12-20 For the Greater Progress of the Gospel

Philippians 1 Commentary
Philippians - Easy English Commentary
Philippians 1:1-18a Philippians 1:18b-30: Mutual Encouragers
Philippians 1 Commentary
The Epistle to the Philippians - Commentary
The Epistle to the Philippians Commentary
The Epistle to the Philippians
Philippians 1 Commentary
Philippians 1 Commentary
Philippians 1:1-2; 1:3-11
Philippians 1 Notes; Philippians 1:3-6

Philippians 1 Commentary
Philippians 1:3-11
Philippians Commentary

Philippians 1:1-6 What's To Be Happy About
Philippians 1:7-11 Love Like Jesus
Philippians 1 Commentary
Philippians 1 Commentary
The Epistle to the Philippians
Philippians 1:3-8 The Good Companions

Philippians 1 Commentary
Philippians 1:3-8 A Pastor's Joy In His People - Part 1

Philippians 1:3-8 A Pastor's Joy In His People - Part 2

Philippians 1:3-8 A Pastor's Joy In His People - Part 3

Philippians 1 Commentary
Philippians 1:6-   Elements of Joy Pt 2 
Philippians 1:7-8-Elements of Joy Pt 3 
Philippians 1:1-8 Loving Greetings
Philippians Mp3's - Thru the Bible
Philippians 1:5-11 The Grounds and Purposes of Prayer
Philippians 1 Commentary
Philippians 1 Commentary
Philippians 1:1-11; Philippians 1:12-30
Philippians 1:1-8 God Finishes What He Starts;

Philippians 1:6: Faithful to Finish His Work in You
Philippians 1:6: Can I Lose My Salvation?

Philippians 1:1-8: Joyful Living in a Grumpy World

Philippians 1:2 1:3 1:4 1:5 1:6 1:7a 1:7b 1:8
Philippians 1:24 1:25 1:26 1:27 1:27 1:28 1:29

Philippians 1 Greek Word Studies
Philippians 1:1-8
Philippians 1:6 A Work of Grace
Philippians 1:8-11 Growth in Grace

Philippians 1 Notes; Philippians 1
The Epistle to the Philippians
Philippians 1 Commentary
Philippians 1 Exposition
Philippians 1:3-7 The Pastor's Joy and Confidence - Pdf
Philippians 1:6 The Perseverance of the Saints - Pdf
Philippians 1:3-8 - Part 1; Part 2; Part 3; Part 4;

Philippians 1 Greek Word Studies
Philippians 1 Commentary
Philippians 1 Christ Shall Be Magnified
Philippians 1:1-11 Trees of Righteousness
Philippians 1:1-11;

Philippians Illustrations
Philippians: Download lesson 1 of 16; Misc Helps

FOR I AM CONFIDENT OF THIS VERY THING: pepoithôs (RAPMSN) auto touto: (2Co 1:15; 2:3; 7:16; 9:4; Gal 5:10; 2Th 3:4; Phile 1:21; Heb 10:35)

God is the one who began this good work in you, and I am certain that he won't stop before it is complete on the day that Christ Jesus returns (CEV)

Confident (3982) (peitho) means to have come to a settled persuasion concerning some truth or fact and so to be persuaded, convinced.   Peitho suggests that a conclusion has been reached on reasonable ground. The apostle’s observation of what God had done among the Philippians in particular, and his reflections on the ways of God in general, led him to form this judgment. Paul was entirely convinced of the truth of what he said and he thus uses the language of a man who had no doubt on the subject.

The perfect tense indicates that Paul had come to the settled persuasion and that he remained confident of God’s desire and ability to continue His transforming work in the lives of the Philippian believers.  Paul is still firmly confident and will continue to be so. He has no doubts about their salvation or their security. Paul is saying

I have been persuaded by words to believe that God will bring to completion the good work He began when you were born again.

Note that Paul's confidence did not rest ultimately on the Philippians themselves, but on God, Who would preserve them and enable them to reach the goal.

Matthew Henry adds that

The confidence of Christians is the great comfort of Christians.

A Debtor to Mercy Alone
The work which His goodness began,
The arm of His strength will complete;
His promise is Yea and Amen,
And never was forfeited yet
—Augustus M. Toplady (

THAT HE WHO BEGAN A GOOD WORK IN YOU: hoti o enarchamenos (AMPMSN) en humin ergon agathon: (Phil 1:29; 2:13; Jn 6:29; Acts 11:18; 16:14; Ro 8:28, 29, 30; Eph 2:4, 2:5, 2:6, 2:7, 2:8, 2:9, 2:10; Col 2:12; 1Thes 1:3; 2Th 2:13, 2:14; Titus 3:4, 3:5, 3:6; Heb 13:20, 21; Jas 1:16, 17, 18; 1Pet 1:2, 1:3) (Phil 2:13 Ro 8:31)

Dear brother in Christ, dear sister in Christ, whether you find yourself "up" or "down" (spiritually/emotionally) as you read these notes, take just a moment and ponder the certainty of the work of Spirit of Christ in you, so faithful and so complete that on that glorious day "we shall be like Him, because we shall see Him just as He is" (1Jn 3:2-note) ... so sit back, watch and listen to one of my favorite choruses...

He Who Began a Good Work in You -
by Steve Green

That - Explains the reason for Paul's thanksgiving and making request with joy on their behalf.

He Who - Who is this? Father, Son or Holy Spirit? Vine comments that...

Where the context does not indicate that either the Son or the Spirit is intended, the pronoun should always be understood to refer to God the Father. (Vine, W. Collected writings of W. E. Vine. Nashville: Thomas Nelson )

As an aside, God always finishes what He begins as we see in this Old Testament example from first Samuel...

(God declared) In that day I will carry out against Eli all that I have spoken concerning his house, from beginning to end. (1Sa 3:12)

God had told Eli that he and his sons had forfeited their right to the priest's office in 1 Sa 2:30-33. Hophni, Phinehas and Eli all died the same day (1Sa 4:11,18). Later, Saul slew Ahimelech, grandson of Phinehas, who had continued to serve as priest (1Sa 22:16, 17, 18, 19, 20), but his son Abiathar escaped and served as priest under David. Abiathar was in turn deposed by Solomon (1Ki 2:26, 27), finally completing the prophecy. God always finishes what He begins!

Began (1728) (enarchomai from en = in + árchomai = begin) means make a beginning or commence. It was the normal Greek word for beginning a sacrifice and described scattering the grains of barley on and around the victim which was the first act of a sacrifice.

Enarchomai is used only here and in Gal 3:3 both times referring to salvation. The point is that God takes the initiative in starting His work in us. Salvation always begins with God and if He didn’t make the first move, we would make no move at all (cf Jn 1:13). It's like the country preacher who was asked at his ordination how he had become a Christian. He replied, "I did my part and God did his." When asked to explain "his part in salvation", he answered "My part was to run from God as fast as I could. God’s part was to run after me and catch me and bring me into his family." This is a great picture for every person born is born a rebel running from God and in desperate need of God taking the initiative to begin His good work in all who are dead in (their) trespasses and sins. (Ep 2:1-note) God not only initiates the good work of salvation, but continues it and guarantees its consummation.

Note that the only work that is ever good (agathos = "good" in character or constitution and beneficial in effect) in God's sight is a work which He initiates.

Barnes adds that

It was on the fact that it was begun by God, that he based his firm conviction that it would be permanent. Had it been the agency of man, he would have had no such conviction, for nothing that man does today can lay the foundation of a certain conviction that he will do the same thing tomorrow. If the perseverance of the Christian depended wholly on himself, therefore, there could be no sure evidence that he would ever reach heaven.

Good work almost certainly refers to God's work in salvation but a few commentators feel that it may relate to their active financial participation ("good work") in the furtherance of the gospel. For example Wuest feels that God who had begun in the Philippians the good work of giving to missions would maintain their fruitful activity until Christ returns.  (Click for study of Good Deeds)

Note where the sphere of that good work? It is not among you but in you.  Paul is referring not to an external reformation or a surface improvement but to a total rebirth by which a new creation is regenerated by God the Holy Spirit. 


Hendriksen calls our attention to


how closely the apostle links human perseverance (“your fellowship in the gospel from the first day until the present”) with divine preservation (“he who began a good work in you will carry it on toward completion”). Any doctrine of salvation which does not do full justice to both of these elements is unscriptural...  Although it is true that God brings his work to completion, it is equally true that when God has once begun his work in men, the latter by no means remain merely passive instruments! (Hendriksen, W., & Kistemaker, S. J. New Testament Commentary Set, 12 Volumes. Grand Rapids: Baker Book House)


WILL PERFECT: epitelesei (3SFAI): (Ps 138:8; Jn 6:29; Eph 4:12; 2 1Th 5:23, 24; 2Th 1:11; 1Pe 5:10)

will carry it on to completion (NIV)

will go on completing it (NJB),

will continue his work until it is finally finished (NLT)

will carry it on until it is finished (TEV)

will carry it through to completion (GWT)

will go on to perfect it in preparation for the day of Jesus Christ (Weymouth),

will keep right on helping you grow in his grace until his task within you is finally finished (TLB)

developing [that good work] and perfecting and bringing it to full completion in you (Amp)

will keep it growing (Jewish NT)

Perfect (2005) (epiteleo from epi = intensify meaning of following verb + teleo = make an end and bring something to its destined goal) (Click in depth word study of epiteleo) conveys the sense that God will carry the work out to the finish. God will not commence this and then abandon us. He will finish the work He has begun in us and will bring it to its intended goal, when we shall be like Him (1Jn 3:2-note). God will will fully finish and accomplish His good work in and through us as we surrender our wills to His perfect will. Nothing in this life will prevent the successful accomplishment of God's good work in every Christian.

The Greek historian Herodotus wrote that epiteleo was used of performing of religious services, referring to the act of fully completing the ritual of any sacrifice.

Barclay adds that


"the words Paul uses for to begin (enarchomai) and for to complete (epiteleo) are technical terms for the beginning and the ending of a sacrifice. There was an initial ritual in connection with a Greek sacrifice. A torch was lit from the fire on the altar and then dipped into a bowl of water to cleanse it with its sacred flame; and with the purified water the victim and the people were sprinkled to make them holy and clean. Then followed what was known as the euphemia, the sacred silence, in which the worshipper was meant to make his prayers to his god. Finally a basket of barley was brought, and some grains of the barley were scattered on the victim, and on the ground round about it. These actions were the beginning of the sacrifice, and the technical term for making this beginning was the verb enarchesthai which Paul uses here. The verb used for completing the whole ritual of sacrifice was the verb epitelein which Paul uses here for to complete . Paul’s whole sentence moves in an atmosphere of sacrifice. Paul is seeing the life of every Christian as a sacrifice ready to be offered to Jesus Christ. It is the same picture as he draws when he urges the Romans to present their bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God (Ro 12:1-note)

Spurgeon said

The life of a Christian is a series of miracles.

Spurgeon was also once asked by another minister...

whether he believed in the final perseverance of the saints. "Well," said he, "I do not know much about that, but I firmly believe in the final perseverance of God, that where he has begun a good work he will carry it on until it is complete." To my mind, that truth includes the final perseverance of the saints. They persevere in the way of salvation because God keeps them in it

The greatest miracle is the transformation of a sinner into a saint by the grace of God in the process referred to as sanctification. In simple terms sanctification is the work of God's grace in the heart of a believers conforming them into "the image of His Son" (Ro 8:29-note), this work being a continual process of transformation

from glory to glory...from the Lord, the Spirit (2Cor 3:18)

Sanctification is synonymous with "present tense salvation" the truth that every day we are "being saved" (cf 1Cor1:18) from the tendency of the world to conform us into its mold, from our own flesh and from the devil. (Click study of the 3 tenses of salvation) Note that sanctification is the work of God, is a lifetime process, is never complete in this life, won’t cease until the job is done, and that God will use everything that happens to us—the good, the bad and the ugly—to make us like Jesus. We can be certain of this completion for Jesus speaking of His disciples (which includes us) said "for their sakes I sanctify Myself, that they themselves also may be sanctified in truth." (Jn 17:19)

F. B. Meyer gives an encouraging illustration


We go into the artist’s studio and find there unfinished pictures covering large canvases, and suggesting great designs, but which have been left, either because the genius was not competent to complete the work, or because paralysis laid the hand low in death; but as we go into God’s great workshop we find nothing that bears the mark of haste or insufficiency of power to finish, and we are sure that the work which His grace has begun, the arm of His strength will complete.

Chuck Swindoll


How do we live with worry and stress and fear? How do we withstand these joy stealers?...Let me be downright practical and tell you what I do. First I remind myself early in the morning and on several occasions during the day, 'God, You are at work, and You are in control. And, Lord God, You know this is happening. You were there at the beginning, and You will bring everything that occurs to a conclusion that results in Your greater glory in the end.' And then? Then (and only then!) I relax. From that point on, it really doesn't matter all that much what happens. It is in God's hands. (Laugh Again)


Here are some passages from the OT which teach a truth parallel to that taught in Philippians 1:6:


Ps 57:2 (David speaking) I will cry to God Most High (see El Elyon: Most High God - Sovereign Over All). To God who accomplishes all things for me.


Ps 138:8 (David speaking) Jehovah will accomplish what concerns me. Thy lovingkindness, O Jehovah is everlasting. Do not  forsake the works of Thy hands.

If one takes Paul's statement here as referring to God's work in their salvation process (sanctification), then the verb will perfect undergirds the bedrock truth of the believer's eternal security. God worked a wonderful transformation in the Philippians when He first saved them out of paganism and idolatry. Paul voices no concern that the God Who began that work would desert them now. How comforting and reassuring to know that God is totally committed to the work He began in each of our lives. Every believer can now wear the following button...


It means  "Please Be Patient. God Isn’t Finished With Me Yet." Oftentimes when we look in the mirror and deep into our own soul, we may not like what we see, but it's then that we need to recall this great truth that God isn’t finished with us yet.  To be certain we are God's works in progress but our attitude should never be "Let go and let God". Paul presents the balancing truth charging each saint to

"work out your salvation with fear and trembling (Man's Responsibility), for it is God Who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure (God's Sovereignty)." (see notes on Philippians 2:12-13)

The good news is that since God isn’t finished yet, we can have great hope. The bad news is that since God isn’t finished with us yet, He won’t allow us to stay the way we are. God will keep chipping away at us until we are conformed to the image of Jesus Christ. Some of us have a long way to go. So if you find yourself stuck in the "miry clay" of personal discouragement and defeat (Ps 40:2) be encouraged for God is not finished with you yet. If you’ve been sent to the bench for a personal foul, learn the lesson God has for you and then get back in the game.

KJV Bible Commentary has a well worded comment (See also study of the 3 tenses of salvation):

"The good work has its initiation in regeneration (past) [Past tense salvation]; has its continuation in sanctification (present) [present tense salvation]; and will have its consummation in glorification (future) [Future tense salvation]. In the past there was God’s unchangeable purpose; in the present there is God’s unlimited power; and in the future there is God’s unbreakable promise. This is God’s guarantee for the final preservation and perseverance of the saints. Salvation is all of God." (Dobson, E G, Charles Feinberg, E Hindson, Woodrow Kroll, H L. Wilmington: KJV Bible Commentary: Nelson)

IT UNTIL THE DAY OF CHRIST JESUS: achri hemeras Christou Iesou: (Php 1:10; 2:16 1Co 1:8; 2Co 5:9 10; see note on "Day of the Lord" at 2Peter 3:10


will continue until the day of Jesus Christ [right up to the time of His return] (Amp)

so that you may be ready for the day of Jesus Christ (Barclay)

Day of Christ Jesus (Related Resource - see the chart Comparison of 3 Divine Days) refers to Christ's Second coming (as in Phil 1:10 - see note), to the time of His coming again to take His people home to heaven and probably also includes the Judgment Seat of Christ, when service for Him will be reviewed and rewarded. This coming day is referred to as the day of our Lord Jesus Christ (1Cor 1:8) This phrase is not to be confused with the Day of the Lord (Click).  Paul never sets the time for the Lord’s return, but he is cheered by that "blessed hope" (Titus 2:13-note), the period of blessing most likely beginning with the rapture of the church.

C H Spurgeon (Spurgeon, C., & Clarke, R. H. Beside Still Waters : Words of Comfort for the Soul. Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers)  once said that...

Every Christian will in time have spiritual cares. Jesus Christ has begotten us again to a living hope (see note 1 Peter 1:3), but you fear your faith will die. You hope that you have some spark of spiritual joy, but dark and dreary nights lower over you and you fear that your lamp will die out in darkness. You have been victorious, but you tremble that one day you might fall by the hand of the enemy.

Listen to me. Cast all your care upon Him, for He cares for you (1Pe 5:7-note). I am confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ (Phil 1:6). “He Himself has said, ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you’ ” (He 13:5-note). “The mountains shall depart and the hills be removed, but My kindness shall not depart from you, nor shall My covenant of peace be removed,’ says the Lord , who has mercy on you” (Isa 54:10). “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned, nor shall the flame scorch you” (Isaiah 43:2).

“The Lord God is a sun and shield; the Lord will give grace and glory; no good thing will He withhold from those who walk uprightly” (Ps. 84:11). “I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand. My Father who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father’s hand” (John 10:28, 29).


Why, I might keep you here all day repeating the precious promises of God! I close by saying:


What more can He say than to you He hath said,
You who unto Jesus for refuge hath fled?

Play the hymn "How Firm a Foundation")

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Miracle House - One woman writes, “My engineer husband is meticulous but mild-mannered. While our new house was being built, he would leave notes for the workmen, politely calling their attention to mistakes or oversights. Two weeks before we were to move in, the floors still were not finished; the bathrooms not tiled, nor were necessary fixtures installed. I was sure that the work would never be completed in time. However, on moving day, we found that the house was ready to receive us. Curious as to how this miracle had been accomplished, I went and checked where my husband always left his notes for the workmen. Posted prominently on the living room wall was my husband’s last note: “after September 15, all work will be supervised by 5 children.”” God doesn’t need any motivation. He’s planning on finishing the work He’s begun in you.

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Once someone came on Michelangelo chipping away with his chisel at a huge shapeless piece of rock. He asked the sculptor what he was doing. “I am releasing the angel imprisoned in this marble,” he answered. The things that Jesus is doing in our lives aren’t something already hidden inside of us, He’s doing His own work, a new work in our lives. But He sees where we’re going. He has things in mind for what we are to be.

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The Teacup - An American couple went to Europe, to England and they were celebrating their 25th wedding anniversary. Both the man and the wife were connoisseurs and fanciers of pottery, antiques and China. When they came to Sussex they went into a Little China shop. Their eyes singled out a beautiful little tea cup on the top shelf. The man said, “Can I see that, that’s the most beautiful tea cup I’ve ever seen. “And as he was holding the tea cup the tea cup begins to speak.

It said, “You don’t understand, I haven’t always been a tea cup. There was a time when I was red and that I was clay. My master took me and he rolled me and he patted me over and over and over. I yelled out “Let me alone “but he only smiled and said, “Not yet”. And then I was placed on a spinning wheel, suddenly I was spun around and around and around.” Stop it I’m getting dizzy,” I said. The master only nodded and said “Not yet” Then he put me in an oven, I’d never felt such heat. I wondered why he wanted to burn me and I yelled and I knocked on the door and I could see him through the opening and I could read his lips. As he nodded his head he said “not yet.” Finally the door did open “whew”, and he put me on a shelf and I began to cool. “That’s better” I said. And then suddenly he grabbed me and he brushed me and he began to paint me all over. I thought I would suffocate, I thought I would gag, the fumes were horrible. And he just smiled and said, “Not yet”. And then suddenly he put me back into an oven, not the first one but one twice as hot, and I knew that I was going to suffocate. And I begged and I screamed and I yelled, and all the time I could see him through the opening, smiling and nodding his head, “not yet, not yet. And then I knew that there was no hope, I knew that I wouldn’t make it. I was just ready to give up when the door opened and he took me out and he put me on a shelf .Then an hour later he came back and he handed me a mirror and he said “Look at yourself”. And I did. And I said, “That can’t be me, I’m beautiful!” “I want you to remember,” he then said, “I know that it hurt to be rolled and to be patted but if I would have left you, you would have dried out. And I know that it made you dizzy to spin you around and around on a spinning wheel but if I had stopped you would have crumbled. And I know that it hurt and it was hot and disagreeable in the oven but if I hadn’t put you there you would have cracked. And I know that the fumes were oh so bad when I brushed you and when I painted you all over, but you see, if I hadn’t done that you wouldn’t have hardened and there would have been no color in your life. And if I hadn’t put you in that second oven you wouldn’t have survived for very long. The hardness would not have held. But now you are a finished product. You are what I had in mind when I first began with you.”

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From Our Daily Bread:

Occasionally when I walk along the beach in Florida, I see the remains of partially built sand castles. Apparently the sculptors got distracted or bored and left their castles unfinished. There is something sad about these ruins. Like the unfinished painting, the half-built house, or the incomplete manuscript, they are a haunting reminder of our human tendency to leave things undone.

In his book Intercepted Letters, William Marshall wrote: "It is a great trial to one who is naturally fond of bringing a thing to comple­tion, to see how many fragments—unfinished bits of life—are left over. He asks himself, `What do I have to show for my labor?' Our trust must be that God will take up what is incomplete and wrap around it His completeness. `He cannot fail."

What a difference between man and God! The Creator always fin­ishes what He has started. All of His masterpieces, planned in eternity past and begun in time, will be brought to fulfillment in eternity future. That's when each believer will be completely conformed to His image.

As we struggle now to be more Christ-like, we can be confident that one day we will reach that goal. God is molding us into trophies of grace, fashioned like His Son. He leaves nothing undone. —P. R. V. (
Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

The conversion of a soul is the miracle of a moment; the growth of a saint is the work of a lifetime.

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Also from Our Daily Bread a devotional entitled "End Of Construction"


One day Billy and Ruth Graham were driving through a long stretch of road construction. They had numerous slowdowns, detours, and stops along the way. Finally they reached the end of all that difficulty, and smooth pavement stretched out before them. This sign caught Ruth's attention: "End of construction. Thanks for your patience." She commented that those words would be a fitting inscription on her tombstone someday. As a matter of fact, those words fit all of us as believers, because in this life we are "under construction." When we accept Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord, we begin the lifelong process of spiritual growth. The Holy Spirit works in us to remove our selfishness (Php 2:4-note), to renew our thinking (Ro 12:2-note), and to develop qualities in us that are more and more Christ-like (Col 3:5-noteff). Paul described this process as a work of God. He said, "He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ" (Philippians 1:6). As we travel heavenward, let's cooperate with God's construction of our lives. When His work in us is complete, "we shall be like Him" (1John 3:2-note), perfectly conformed to our Savior's likeness. —V C Grounds (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)


More about Jesus let me learn,
More of His holy will discern;
Spirit of God, my teacher be,
Showing the things of Christ to me. —Hewitt

God loves us too much to let us stay as we are.
You might say believers in this present life are always...



As Hitler was mounting his attack against England during World War II, Winston Churchill was asked to speak to a group of discouraged Londoners. He uttered an eight-word encouragement:

"Never give up! Never, never, never give up!"

There will be times when you'll be discouraged in your Christian walk, but you must never, never, never give up. If nothing else, your struggle against sin will cause you to turn to God again and again and cling to Him in your desperation.

What's required is dogged endurance, keeping at the task of obedience through the ebbs and flows, ups and downs, victories and losses in life. It is trying again, while knowing that God is working in you to accomplish His purposes (Phil. 1:6; Php 2:13-
note). It is persistently pursuing God's will for your life till you stand before Him and your work is done. —D. H. Roper (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

Perseverance can tip the scales from failure to success.

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JOY STEALERS - Why do many Christians fail to experience real joy, which is listed as a fruit of the Holy Spirit in Galatians 5:22? In his book Laugh Again, Charles Swindoll suggests three common "joy stealers"—worry, stress, and fear. He defines worry as "an inordinate anxiety about something that may or may not occur." (And it usually doesn't.) Stress, says the author, is "intense strain over a situation we can't change or control." (But God can.) And fear, according to Swindoll, is a "dreadful uneasiness over danger, evil, or pain." (And it magnifies our problems.)

Swindoll says that to resist these "joy stealers" we must embrace the same confidence that Paul expressed in his letter to the Philippians. After giving thanks for the Philippian believers (Php 1:3, 4, 5-
note), the apostle assured them "that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ" (Phil 1:6).

Whatever causes you worry, stress, and fear cannot ultimately keep God from continuing His work in you. With this confidence we can begin each day knowing that He is in control. We can leave everything in His hands.

Resist those "joy stealers" by renewing your confidence in God each morning. Then relax and rejoice. —Joanie Yoder (
Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

Although our joy will wane at times
From worry, stress, and fear,
God keeps on working in our heart
And tells us He is near. —D. De Haan

Happiness depends on happenings;
joy depends on Jesus.

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Every workman takes pride in a project completed and well-done. I thought of this recently when I visited the site of a new house my friend was building. The foundation had been laid, the walls erected, and the wiring and plumbing installed, but the structure still wasn't a house. It needed the finishers. Without the woodworkers, the cabinetmakers, the carpet layers, and the painters, the building was incomplete.

We as Christians need a "finisher" too. The sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit in our lives, which began at conversion, must continue until the One who began the transformation finishes it. And that can happen only by trusting and obeying Jesus, "the author and finisher of our faith," the One to whom we are being conformed.

God is not the architect of incompleteness. The Bible says, "He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ" (Phil 1:6). Our part is to stay in fellowship with Him. He'll do the rest. —P R. V (
Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

Keep in step with God.
He has planned every step of the way.

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RAKU - Some friends gave us a piece of Raku pottery. "Each pot is hand-formed," the tag explained, "a process that allows the spirit of the artist to speak through the finished work with particular directness and intimacy."

Once the clay has been shaped by the potter it is fired in a kiln. Then, glowing red hot, it is thrust into a smoldering sawdust pile where it remains until finished. The result is a unique product—"one of a kind," the tag on our piece insists.

So it is with us. We bear the imprint of the Potter's hand. He too has spoken through His work "with particular directness and intimacy." Each of us is formed in a unique way for a unique work: "We are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them" (see sermon
 Ephesians 2:10).

But though we are created for good works, we're not yet finished. We must experience the kiln of affliction. Aching hearts, weary spirits, aging bodies are the processes God uses to finish the work He has begun.

Don't fear the furnace that surrounds you. Be "patient in tribulation" and await the finished product. "Let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing" (James 1:4).—David H. Roper (
Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

We are here to be perfected,
Only God our needs can see;
Rarest gems bear hardest grinding,
God's own workmanship are we. —Anon.


Charles Simeon...

Phil. 1:6.

THERE is a just mixture of hope and fear, which every Christian should cherish in contemplating his own experience, and the state of the Church of Christ. On the one hand there certainly is ground for fear, whether we judge from analogy, or from what we behold with our eyes. What multitudes of blossoms are annually cut off by frost! of those that set, how many are blighted by an eastern wind! of those that grow, how many are blown off by storms and tempests! and of those that hang upon the tree, how many, when gathered, prove rotten at the core! Thus it is seen in the religious world; many make a fair show for a little while, and then fall off from their profession: others are blighted, and come to naught: others look well for a season, but are beaten down by storms of persecution and temptation: and of those who maintain their profession to the end, how many will at last be found unsound at heart! But, if this cast a damp upon our joys, and teach us to moderate our expectations, it need not, it ought not, to rob us of all our confidence: for though sound fruit may be blown off from a tree, no sound Christian shall ever be separated from the Lord Jesus. Of this the Apostle was fully persuaded: and, under this conviction, he thanked God for the converts at Philippi, whose sincerity he had no reason to doubt, and of whose perseverance in the divine life he therefore entertained the most sanguine hopes.
To make a just improvement of his declaration before us, we shall shew,

I. When a good work may be said to be begun in us—

It is not an easy matter to draw the line between those high attainments of religion of which we may fall short, and yet be confident that a good work is begun: and those low attainments, which will warrant us to hope well, at the same time that they are by no means a sufficient ground of confidence. But, taking St. Paul for our guide, we trust, that we shall so discriminate, as neither to make sad the heart of the righteous, nor to countenance the delusions of the wicked. Those evidences, from whence he “knew the election” (and, of consequence, the perseverance also) of the saints at Thessalonica, will serve as a sure criterion whereby to judge of our own state. We may be assured then that a good work is begun in us, when faith, hope, and love, shew themselves to have been formed in our hearts; that is,

1. When our faith is operative—

[That faith, which is without works, is dead; and is of no more value that the faith of devils: but the faith which stimulates us to resist and mortify all sin, and to be conscientious in the practice of all duties, is, beyond a doubt, the gift of God, the workmanship of an almighty Agent.]

2. When our love is laborious—

[Our “love is not to be in word or in tongue, but in deed and in truth:” nor must it have respect to men’s bodies merely, but to their souls; leading us to consult their spiritual welfare to the utmost of our power, at the same time that we gladly deny ourselves to relieve their spiritual wants. The voice of inspiration assures us that he who exercises such love is born of God.]

3. When our hope is patient—

[The Christian’s hope will have much to try it; but it is to be the anchor of his soul, that shall keep him steadfast in this tempestuous world. He will often experience “fightings without, and fears within:” but beyond and “against hope, he must believe in hope,” saying, “I know in whom I have believed, and that he is able to keep that which I have committed to him against that day.” And every one who has such a lively hope, may be sure that he has been begotten to it by God himself.]

To enter fully into the Apostle’s assertion, we must shew,

II. On what grounds we may be confident that he who has begun this good work will finish it—

If this work were wrought by man, the Apostle would never express such confidence respecting his completion of it; since no dependence can be placed on the stability of man’s virtue. But since he that accomplishes this great work is God, we may be assured, that “he will perform it till the day of Jesus Christ.”

We may be assured of it—

I. From the declarations of his word—

[Numberless are his declarations to this effect, that having once been the “author of a good work within us, he will be the finisher of it.” “He will not forsake his people, because it hath pleased him to make them his people.” He has promised in the strongest possible manner, that “he will never never leave them, never never forsake them.” True, they have many enemies: but “he will suffer none of them to pluck them out of his hands.” Have they manifold temptations? They shall “have none without a way to escape, that they may be able to bear them.” Not even their unbelief shall prevent Jehovah from executing his gracious purposes towards them. As for “Satan, he shall be bruised under their feet shortly.” Through weakness they may occasionally fall: “yet shall they not be utterly cast down.” “God will restore their souls:” and make their very falls the means of augmenting their future caution and stability. The sun may occasionally be covered with a cloud; yet shall it advance to its meridian height: and such shall be the path of all the servants of God: “they shall hold on their way, and their hands shall wax stronger and stronger.” This is the portion of them all without exception, for “it is not the will of our Father that one of his little ones should perish.”]

2. From the perfections of his nature—

[In speaking on this subject, we would proceed with great caution; for we know not what will consist with his perfections: and, if we should presume to speak dogmatically respecting them, we should only betray our own weakness and folly. Yet methinks his wisdom affords us some ground of confidence: for, if he has created us anew, in order that we may shew forth the power of his grace, will he suffer his enemies so to counteract his purposes as to make us only occasions of greater dishonour to him? If only a man should begin to construct a house and leave it unfinished, he would only expose himself thereby to a greater measure of derision: how then would Satan cast reflections on the Deity, if he should fail in accomplishing so great a work as man’s salvation!

In like manner the goodness of God is some ground of hope and confidence. For God has surely never accomplished in us so good a work in order to leave us ultimately to perish under a more aggravated condemnation.

But in speaking of such things which infinitely exceed our comprehension, I can lay no stress on the conjectures of man; nor can I give weight to any thing that does not proceed clearly and immediately from God himself. But in speaking of the truth of God, I feel that I stand on firm ground. God has entered into covenant with us; and has confirmed that covenant with an oath: and has expressly declared that he did so confirm it, that by two immutable things, in which it was impossible for God to lie, we might have strong consolation who “have fled for refuge to lay hold on the hope set before us.” He is as unchangeable in his word as he is in his nature; and “because he changeth not, therefore we are not consumed.” We, alas! are variable in the extreme; but “with him is no variableness neither shadow of turning.” Now if we look into his covenant we shall see that he gives all, and we receive all: and that he engages, not only “not to depart from us, but to put his fear in our hearts that we may not depart from him,” We may be sure therefore that he will not cast off his people, because it hath pleased him to make them his people. If indeed he had chosen any of us because we were holy, or because he foresaw that we should be holy, he might abandon us as not answering his expectations. But he chose us that we might be holy, and predestinated us to be conformed to the image of his Son: and therefore what he has undertaken we may be sure he will perform. It is on this ground alone that we can account for St. Paul’s confidence, in which every one in whom God has begun a good work is fully authorized to join.]
I beg leave now to add a word,

1. Of inquiry respecting the commencement of this work—

[I am fully aware that persons so blinded by self-love as we, are greatly in danger of forming too favourable a judgment of our state: and I must warn all of you that God will not be put off with such a feigned repentance as Ahab’s, or such a partial reformation as Herod’s, or such a hypocritical attachment as that of Judas. Examine then, I pray you, with all imaginable care, respecting the quality of your faith, and hope, and love. Is your faith operative in purifying your heart? Is your love laborious in all kind offices, not to the bodies of men only, but to their souls? And is your hope such as carries you forward through all difficulties towards the attainment of the heavenly prize? Remember, it is no outward work that is here spoken of, but a work in us: and a work which nothing less than Omnipotence can effect. To deceive yourselves in relation to it, is vain, since you cannot deceive the heart-searching God. Be careful then to try your work, of what kind it is; and be satisfied with nothing that does not evidently bear the divine stamp and character upon it.]

2. Of admonition in reference to its continuance—

[There is nothing at which I tremble more than at a hard, bold, presumptuous confidence respecting the application of this doctrine to a man’s own state, whilst in his spirit and temper and conduct he shews himself to be far from the mind of Christ. In fact, wherever such a confidence exists, there is great reason to doubt whether a good work has ever been begun in the soul. Confidence, if truly spiritual, will be attended with humility, watchfulness, gratitude, and zeal. Look to it then, that you manifest on all occasions a deep sense of your utter unworthiness; a fear lest in any thing you grieve the good Spirit of your God; an admiring and adoring sense of God’s mercy to your soul; and a determination of heart to live only to your God. This is the true way in which the good work is to go forward in the soul: and, in so walking, you will best justify your confidence to the world, and will give the best proof of the doctrine of perseverance by actually persevering: moreover, in this way you will not only enjoy the most exalted peace on earth, but will have an abundant entrance ministered unto you in due season into the kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.]


Philippians 1:7  For  it is (3SPAI) only right (just) for me to feel (think) (PAN) this way about you all, because I have (PAN) you in my heart, since both in my imprisonment and in the defense and confirmation of the gospel, you all are (PAPMPA)  partakers of grace with me. (NASB: Lockman)

Greek: kathos estin (3SPAI) dikaion emoi touto phronein (PAN) huper panton humon dia to echein (PAN) me en te kardia| humas en te tois desmois mou kai en te apologia kai bebaiosei tou euaggeliou sugkoinonous mou tes charitos pantas humas ontas. (PAPMPA
Amplified: It is right and appropriate for me to have this confidence and feel this way about you all, because you have me in your heart and I hold you in my heart as partakers and sharers, one and all with me, of grace (God’s unmerited favor and spiritual blessing). [This is true] both when I am shut up in prison and when I am out in the defense and confirmation of the good news (the Gospel). (Amplified Bible - Lockman)
BBE: So it is right for me to take thought for you all in this way, because I have you in my heart; for in my chains, and in my arguments before the judges in support of the good news, making clear that it is true, you all have your part with me in grace.
KJV: Even as it is meet for me to think this of you all, because I have you in my heart; inasmuch as both in my bonds, and in the defence and confirmation of the gospel, ye all are partakers of my grace.
NLT: It is right that I should feel as I do about all of you, for you have a very special place in my heart. We have shared together the blessings of God, both when I was in prison and when I was out, defending the truth and telling others the Good News. (
NLT - Tyndale House)
Phillips:  It is only natural that I should feel like this about you all - you are very dear to me. For during the time I was in prison as well as when I was out defending and demonstrating the power of the Gospel we shared together the grace of God. (
Phillips: Touchstone)
Weymouth: And I am justified in having this confidence about you all, because, both during my imprisonment and when I stand up in defence of the Good News or to confirm its truth, I have you in my heart, sharers as you all are in the same grace as myself.
: Even as it is right for me to be constantly turning my mind in the direction of this very thing in your behalf (namely, the completion of God’s good work in you), because you are holding me in your heart both in my bonds and in my defense and confirmation of the gospel, you all being co-sharers with me in this grace. (
Young's Literal: According as it is righteous for me to think this in behalf of you all, because of my having you in the heart, both in my bonds, and in the defense and confirmation of the good news, all of you being fellow-partakers with me of grace.

FOR IT IS ONLY RIGHT FOR ME TO FEEL THIS WAY ABOUT YOU ALL: kathos estin (3SPAI) dikaion emoi touto phronein (PAN) huper panton humon:  (1Co 13:7; 1Th 1:2, 3, 4, 5; 5:5; Heb 6:9, 10 2Co 3:2; 7:3)

So it is right for me to take thought for you all in this way (BBE)

So it is only natural for me to feel the way I do (CEV)

So it's right for me to think this way about all of you (GWT)

And I am justified in having this confidence about you all (Weymouth)

And I know that I am right to think like this about all of you. (ICB)

How natural it is that I should feel as I do about you (TLB)

It is right and appropriate for me to have this confidence and feel this way about you all (Amp)

Paul feels justified in being thankful for the Philippians. He stood to them in the relation of father to children, in the gospel; how could he, then, do other than rejoice in the evidence they gave, after all these years, that they were indeed “partakers of grace”?

Feel (
5426) (phroneo) means to think, have a mindset, be minded in this case to be thankful (Php 1:3), joyful (Php 1:4), confident (Php 1:6). The activity represented by this word involves the will, affections, and conscience.

Phroneo is present tense which pictures Paul continually having his mind directed in a practical way toward the good interest of Philippians. Paul’s mind, turned in the direction of the Philippians, would turn to specific prayer in their behalf in (Phil 1:9, 10, 11)

Note use of "all" again -- a reminder that the apostle made no distinctions among them. He was equally confident that the good work of God was going on in them all.

BECAUSE I HAVE YOU IN MY HEART: dia to echein (PAN) me en tei kardiai humas: (Gal 5:6; 1Jn 3:14)

because of the holding me (or you) in the heart as to you (or me) (Literal)

You have a special place in my heart (CEV)

You are always in my heart! (TEV)

because you have me in your heart and I hold you in my heart (Amp)

Have (2192) (echo) means to have or hold and so to possess. The present tense indicates that they are continually in his heart. What an encouragement this would have been to those saints. Have told anyone recently that they were either "in" or "on" your heart? We are called to encourage one another daily as long as it is still called today lest anyone be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. (See Related Discussion: The Deceitfulness of Sin)

Heart (2588) (kardia [word study]) does not refer to the physical organ but is always used figuratively in Scripture to refer to the seat and center of human life, the wellspring of man’s spiritual life. The heart is the center of the personality, and it controls the intellect, emotions, and will. 

The expression because I have you in my heart could just as properly be, “because you have me in your heart.” The second way of rendering the Greek is more in accord with the context. The Philippians had a large place in their hearts for Paul, and at this time especially with reference to the two particulars mentioned here, first, with reference to his defense of the gospel, and second, in his confirmation of the same. The pastor who, like Paul, holds his people in his heart will find them holding him in their hearts.

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Charles Swindoll writes - An old Marine Corps buddy of mine, to my pleasant surprise, came to know Christ after he was discharged. I say surprise because he cursed loudly, fought hard, chased women, drank heavily, loved war and weapons, and hated chapel services.

A number of months ago, I ran into this fellow, and after we'd talked awhile, he put his hand on my shoulder and said, "You know, Chuck, the only thing I still miss is that old fellowship I used to have with all the guys down at the tavern. I remember how we used to sit around and let our hair down. I can't find anything like that for Christians. I no longer have a place to admit my faults and talk about my battles--where somebody won't preach at me and frown and quote me a verse."

It wasn't one month later that in my reading I came across this profound paragraph: "The neighborhood bar is possibly the best counterfeit that there is to the fellowship Christ wants to give his church. It's an imitation, dispensing liquor instead of grace, escape rather than reality--but it is a permissive, accepting, and inclusive fellowship. It is unshockable. It is democratic. You can tell people secrets, and they usually don't tell others or even want to. The bar flourishes not because most people are alcoholics, but because God has put into the human heart the desire to know and be known, to love and be loved, and so many seek a counterfeit at the price of a few beers. With all my heart," this writer concludes, "I believe that Christ wants his church to be unshockable, a fellowship where people can come in and say, 'I'm sunk, I'm beat, I've had it.' Alcoholics Anonymous has this quality--our churches too often miss it."

Now before you take up arms to shoot some wag that would compare your church to the corner bar, stop and ask yourself some tough questions, like I had to do. Make a list of some possible embarrassing situations people may not know how to handle.

A woman discovers her husband is a practicing homosexual. Where in the church can she find help where she's secure with her secret?

Your mate talks about separation or divorce. To whom do you tell it?

Your daughter is pregnant and she's run away--for the third time. She's no longer listening to you. Who do you tell that to?

You lost your job, and it was your fault. You blew it, so there's shame mixed with unemployment. Who do you tell that to?

Financially, you were unwise, and you're in deep trouble. Or a man's wife is an alcoholic. Or something as horrible as getting back the biopsy from the surgeon, and it reveals cancer, and the prognosis isn't good. Or you had an emotional breakdown. To whom do you tell it?

We're the only outfit I know that shoots its wounded. We can become the most severe, condemning, judgmental, guilt-giving people on the face of planet Earth, and we claim it's in the name of Jesus Christ. And all the while, we don't even know we're doing it. That's the pathetic part of it all. -- Charles Swindoll, Leadership, Vol. 4, no. 1.

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SINCE BOTH IN MY IMPRISONMENT AND IN THE DEFENSE AND CONFIRMATION OF THE GOSPEL: en te tois desmois mou en tei apologiai kai bebaiosei tou euaggeliou: (Acts16:23, 24, 25; 20:23; Eph 3:1; 4:1; 6:20; Col 4:3,18; 2Ti 1:8; 2:9; Heb 10:33, 34)

"for in my chains, and in my arguments before the judges in support of the good news, making clear that it is true (BBE)

as I defend the good news and tell about it here in jail (CEV)

both now that I am in prison and also while I was free to defend the gospel and establish it firmly (TEV)

whether I'm in prison or defending and confirming the truth of the Good News (GWT)

because, both during my imprisonment and when I stand up in defence of the Good News or to confirm its truth (Weymouth)

while I am in prison, while I am defending the Good News, and while I am proving the truth of the Good News (ICB)

both when I was in prison and when I was out, defending the truth and telling others the Good News (NLT)

both when I was in prison and when I was out, defending the truth and telling others about Christ (TLB)

[This is true] both when I am shut up in prison and when I am out in the defense and confirmation of the good news (the Gospel) (Amp)

Imprisonment (1199) (desmon from déo = to bind) refers to a bond or band and then to a chain or shackle (of a prisoner). Paul was chained to a Roman guard during his imprisonment he at which time wrote epistles to the Ephesians, Colossians, Philippians, Timothy, Titus and Philemon - the "prison epistles".

Defense (627) (apologia from apó = from + lógos = speech, English = apology but Greek does not convey our idea of apologizing) means to give a reasoned argument, an answer or speech in defense of oneself or in this case of the gospel.

Webster says defend means to take action against a challenge, to maintain or support in the face of argument or hostile criticism, to keep secure from danger or against attack.

Apologia is a Greek judicial term referring to an attorney talking his client off from a charge, thus presenting a verbal defense. Paul was defending the Faith before the tribunal of the world, Nero’s throne. A successful defense would result in the gospel being confirmed, that is, made stable in the sense that its claims would be shown to be true.

Confirmation (951) (bebaiosis from bébaios = sure, fixed) refers literally to that on which one can walk solid.

Bebaiosis was a legal technical term for guaranteeing or furnishing security. Here it is the process of establishing the truth of the gospel or of supporting the truth of the gospel by evidence.

Gospel (2098) (euaggelion from = good + aggéllo = proclaim, tell) (Click word study on euaggelion) originally referred to a reward for good news and later became the good news itself. The word euaggelion was in just as common use in the first century as our words good news today.  “Have you any good news for me today?” would have been a common question. The writers of the New Testament adapted the term as God's message of the good (great) news of salvation for lost sinners.

YOU ALL ARE PARTAKERS OF GRACE WITH ME: sugkoinonous mou tes charitos pantas humas ontas. (PAPMPA): (Phil 1:5; 1Co 9:23; Heb 3:1; 1Pe 4:13; 5:1)

you all have your part with me in grace (BBE)

Together we share God's favor (GWT)

sharers as you all are in the same grace as myself (Weymouth)

All of you share in God's grace with me (ICB)

We have shared together the blessings of God (NLT)

We have shared together the blessings of God (TLB)

sharers, one and all with me, of grace (God’s unmerited favor and spiritual blessing) (Amp)

During his imprisonment, the Philippians sent Paul money and Epaphroditus’ services to support the apostle, thus sharing in God’s gracious blessing on his ministry (Php 2:30-note)

Partakers...with (4791) (sugkoinonos from sun =  with, which speaks of intimacy - see word study on "sun" + koinonós = companion, partner - see word study on related word koinonia) means co-participant or companion in an enterprise or matter of joint concern, in this case the salvation of the lost! What an eternal enterprise!

Grace (charis [word study]) in context would refer to the undeserved strength from God to carry on the work of the Lord in the face of severe opposition. (Click word study on charis) Grace is God's supernatural power and provision to exert His holy influence upon souls, turning them to Christ, keeping them in Christ, strengthening them in Christ, growing them in Christ-likeness.


Philippians 1:8 For God is my witness, how I long (1SPAIfor you all with the affection of Christ Jesus (NASB: Lockman)

Greek: martus gar mou o theos, os epipotho (1SPAI) pantas humas en splagchnois Christou Iesou. 
Amplified: For God is my witness how I long for and pursue you all with love, in the tender mercy of Christ Jesus [Himself]! (Amplified Bible - Lockman)
KJV: For God is my record, how greatly I long after you all in the bowels of Jesus Christ.
NLT: God knows how much I love you and long for you with the tender compassion of Christ Jesus. (
NLT - Tyndale House)
Phillips: God knows how much I long, with the deepest Christian love and affection, for your companionship. (
Phillips: Touchstone)
Wuest: I am thanking my God constantly for your joint-participation [with me] in the furtherance of the good news from the first day [when Lydia opened her home for the preaching of the Word] until this particular moment [as characterized by the gift which you have sent],  (
Young's Literal: For God is my witness, how I long for you all in the bowels of Jesus Christ,

FOR GOD IS MY WITNESS martus mou: (Ro 1:9; 9:1; Gal 1:20; 1Th 2:5)

Witness (3144) (martus, our English  martyr) is one who has information or knowledge of something and hence can bring to light or confirm something. In this case the "witness" is the omniscient God, the Lord of truth, the One Who cannot lie. Talk about calling a believable witness to the stand!

This declaration is in the form of a solemn oath (Mt 5:33, 34, 35-see note on Jesus' teaching regarding vows and oaths Matthew 5:33-35) of which we see similar examples in (Romans 1:9 - see note; 2Cor 1:23; 1Thes 2:5, 10a). Paul is saying that he is calling God to the witness stand to vouch for the veracity of what follows, calling the One Who searches all men's hearts.

I can solemnly appeal to Him because He knows my heart

HOW I LONG FOR YOU ALL: os epipotho (1SPAI) pantas humas: (Phil 2:26; 4:1; 2Co 13:9; Gal 4:19; Col 2:1; 1Th 2:8; 2Ti 1:4)

Long (1971) (epipotheo [word study] from epi = intensifier + potheo = yearn) means to have a strong desire for something, to desire earnestly.

Epipotheo is also used in Philippians 2:26 (see note), Romans 1:11 (see note), 2Timothy 1:4 (see note); 2Co 5:2 and in the Septuagint of Ps 42:1 where David writes

As the deer pants [epipotheo in the LXX] for the water brooks, so my soul pants for Thee, O God

The preposition "epi" signifies direction and conveys the idea of straining after the object being longed for. What a miracle of divine grace for this heretofore proud Pharisee to have tender heart longing for these former pagan Greeks! But that is not all. He tells them that this longing is in the bowels of Jesus Christ. This same strong desire to see the saints was shared by Epaphroditus in Php 2:26-note. Writing from Corinth Paul expressed the same desire toward those whom he had never visited, Ro 1:11-note; cp. Paul's longing to see Timothy - 2Ti 1:4-note. The only other object of his longing mentioned in his epistles is the glorified body, 2Co 5:2.

You all does not prove that Paul was from the "deep South". As Henry notes this means "he longed after...not only those among them who were witty and wealthy, but even the meanest and poorest."

WITH THE AFFECTION OF CHRIST JESUS: en splagchnois Christou Iesou: (Phil 2:1; Isa 16:11; 63:15; Jer 31:20; Lk 1:78; 2Co 6:12; 7:15; Col 3:12; Philemon 1:12 1:20; 1Jn 3:17)


with the tenderheartednesses of Christ Jesus (Wuest),


in the bowels of Jesus Christ (KJV)


in the tender mercies of Christ Jesus (ASV)

care for you in the same way that Christ Jesus does (CEV)


from the very heart roote in Iesus Christ (Geneva)

in the loving mercies of Christ Jesus (BBE)

my deep feeling for you all comes from the heart of Christ Jesus himself (TEV)

with tender Christian affection (Weymouth)

I love all of you with the love of Christ Jesus (ICB)

Affection (4698) (splagchnon [word study]) literally refers to the bowels but in the NT used figuratively to describe the inward parts indicating the heart as the seat of emotions and passions. That region was regarded as the seat of passions such as affection, sympathy, and compassion, even as the word heart is used figuratively today. The allusion is to the sympathy, tenderness, and love of the Redeemer. Splagchnon was the strongest and most tender expression the Greeks had to denote the ardor of one's attachment to another..

Paul thus describes his longing, not as his individual emotion, but as Christ’s longing, as if the very heart of Christ dwelt in Paul.

In Paul not Paul lives, but Jesus Christ (Bengel)

The great apostle lived so close to the Lord Jesus, and he had so shared the sufferings of his Lord for righteousness’ sake, that his heart was very tender, and beat as one with the heart of Jesus. His affection was internal, in his heart, and was most tender and strong like the tender concern Christ had for them, and which Christ had stirred up in Paul.

Clarke adds that Paul is saying in essence

I love you with that same kind of tender concern with which Christ loved the world when he gave himself for it" As evidence of this feeling Paul adds in the next chapter "I am being poured out as a drink offering upon the sacrifice and service of your faith (Php 2:17-note)

Henry adds

O the bowels of compassion which are in Jesus Christ to poor souls! It was in compassion to them that he undertook their salvation, and put himself to so vast an expense to compass it. Now, in conformity to the example of Christ, Paul had a compassion for them, and longed after them all in the bowels of Jesus Christ. Shall not we pity and love those souls whom Christ had such a love and pity for?



F B Meyer...


Php 1:5-11

A Consciousness of Kinship. The ground of his intercession was threefold. First, it arose from his consciousness of their kinship. We find this in Phil. 1:5: "I make supplication with joy for your fellowship." The Greek word there is going shares--having in common: "I make supplication with joy because of your fellowship in furthering the Gospel." (See also Phil. 1:7.)

It was the consciousness that those for whom he prayed were so closely akin to him in their determination and aims, that quickened the wheels of his supplication. Had they not shown this fellowship by sending repeatedly to his necessity, as we learn from the close of this Epistle? The Philippian Church, though very poor, had sent again and again generous gifts to supply the Apostle's wants, and this proved that they and he were animated with the same determination.

But more than this, there was the wireless telegraphy which bore out to the storm-tossed ship of his life the prayer and sympathy of his converts. For us also there are kindred spirits in different parts of the world, who are able by their prayer to send vibrations of holy energy into our souls, and when we pray for such we are able to make supplication with joy.

Living with God. Secondly, the Apostle recognised that he was in the line of God's purpose. This always makes it easy to pray. "Being confident of this very thing, that He which began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Jesus Christ." He mentions two days in these verses--"From the first day," and "the day of Jesus Christ,"--and he says that between those two days, God, who began the work on the first day, and who will perfect it on the last day, is maintaining and building it up step by step.

That first day of our Christian life was due to the interposition of the grace of God. "In the beginning God created." The longer we live, the more sure we are that the beginning of the good work within must be attributed to God. No pastor, no mother, no teacher began it, but in the depth of our heart, by His Holy Spirit, God laid the first foundation stone of the new life, and amid all our sins, failures, and backslidings, He has been building up the work He commenced, and He cannot leave it. At Baalbec we find the remains of unfinished temples which man has abandoned half complete; but nowhere in the universe do we find unfinished worlds, half-made suns left incomplete, though many in the making. We go into the artist's studio and find there unfinished pictures covering large canvases, and suggesting great designs, but which have been left, either because the genius was not competent to complete the work, or because paralysis laid the hand low in death; but as we go into God's great workshop we find nothing that bears the mark of haste or insufficiency of power to finish, and we are sure that the work which His grace has begun, the arm of His strength will complete. It is easy to pray for a soul when you know that God also is at work perfecting it.

Impelled by Affection. Thirdly, His tender affection towards them (Php 1:7, 8). He says: "I have you in my heart . . . and God is my witness, how I long after you all in the tender mercies of Christ Jesus." The Apostle had got so near the very heart of his Lord that he could hear its throb, detect its beat, nay, it seemed as though the tender mercies of Jesus to these Philippians were throbbing in his own heart.

Let us live like this. You have children in your schools that greatly trouble you, boys and girls whose restless and obstinate natures seem to resist every overture; men and women meet you daily in your home-life, whom you cannot love with the love of natural affection; but, let every one of us get back to the heart of Jesus Christ until it pours its contents into ours, until we begin to yearn over the lost with the compassions of Jesus. Before you pass round that unkind story, before you say you will never speak to that man again, before you treat another with distance and coldness, get back to the heart of Jesus Christ, until His tender compassions shall fill yours. Then you can make supplication with joy.

Subject Matter of the Prayer. He says in Phil. 1:9: "This I pray, that our love may abound yet more and more." The Greek word is--That your love shall pour over--as the bucket which stands under a streamlet issuing from a fissure in the rocks pours over on all sides; I pray, he says, that your love may pour over towards each other, and specially toward God. Oh, that we might know this and be perfected in love, that there might be room for nothing more, that this might affect our whole being; for, depend upon it, when the love of God really fills the heart, the accent of the voice, the movements of our body, the look on the face, the demeanour, everything is affected. Too often we show the worried expression, the querulous tone, the over-strained nervous system, but through all this the love ought to pour, carrying away the discontented gloomy look, so that when we return to our dear ones at the close of the day, the entire household may feel that because we have come, sunlight and the love of God are flooding the house, which during the day had missed the music of our presence. Let "your love abound yet more and more." "In all knowledge." When this love enters a man's heart he knows. "Everyone that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God." Words infinitely deep, but corroborated here, because our Apostle prays that their love may abound more and more in all knowledge and discernment. When the fishers had tossed all night and taken nothing, and the grey dawn was breaking on the beach, it was the eye of him that loved which discerned the figure of the Master standing beside the fire of coals, and John said to Peter, "It is the Lord." If your love abounds more and more, you will not only know, but you will discern, you will be able to detect the traces of the footsteps of your Lord where other men fail to detect them, and hear His voice amid the jangling mart and the hubbub of the city.




The effect of what love will be threefold.

(1) Discrimination
. "That you may discriminate between things that differ" (Phil. 1:10, marg. R.V.). Such, without doubt, is the true rendering of the Greek, and we are reminded of Isaiah's words, which predict that the Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon the Messiah, and make Him 'of quick understanding.' The margin gives it quick of scent. When one has been on the ocean for a week, breathing the pure ozone, it is marvellous how quick one is to detect poisonous smells. This is well, and if we were quicker of scent, and detected the noisome effluvia which indicate corruption and disease, we should more certainly be saved from taking the poison into our systems. A man who has lost the sense of smell may go into the midst of disease without knowing it, but the man who is quick of scent is warned of danger. And the soul that loves deeply is marvellously quick to detect anything which may hurt or offend the loved one. It is so with the nature that loves God. It discerns, it discriminates, and amid the darkness or the grey dawn of our life, when things are so mixed, that they appear like one another, though really different, the love that loves God perfectly, discerns and distinguishes between things that differ. A man's growth in grace is indicated by the delicacy of the discrimination that rules in his life. As he gets nearer God he detects in himself habits, and practices, ways of behaviour, and of business, which he once permitted without seeing evil in them, but now puts aside as unfit, to follow only the good. This is the first effect of perfected love.



(2) Sincerity. "That you may be sincere and without offence" (Phil. 1:10). Just as the X-rays passing through the limb will show at once the fracture, or the result of some accident, so the X-rays of God's truth are always searching the heart, and when a man is living in perfect love, he also lives in perfect truth, for love and truth are one; and the man who lives in love does not mind meeting the searching rays of God's truth, which show that he is no hypocrite.




(3) Fruitfulness. It makes us "full of the fruits of righteousness which are through Jesus Christ" (Phil. 1:11). An orchard is fair to see in the spring when there is promise of the blossom, but it is fairest in autumn, when every tree is laden to the ground with fruit. Let us seek this. The pruning is ever going on; the sunshine, and rain; but the whole discipline is making you full of luscious fruit, that thirsty souls may come to partake of the ripe fruit of your life, and turn from you to glorify and praise God. Be sure that love unites the believer very closely with the true Vine, and to be in living unison with Christ involves that we shall bear much fruit.

But all this is only "through Jesus Christ." Do not concern yourself so much with the fruit end of the bough, but with the end of fibrous wood which is connected with the vine. See to it that you live always in union with Jesus Christ, for without Him, severed from Him, you can do nothing. Abide in Him, and let Him abide in you. Let the one agony of your life be to keep near to Jesus. See to it that every morning in your prayer you touch Him, that you meditate on the Bible, that all day the union is kept unbroken, so that the living Christ may pour through you the sap of His own vitality, and fill you with the fruits of righteousness.

Is this your life? It may be from to-day. If you have never become united to Jesus Christ, the Divine man, you may become so by one look of faith. Then go forth to bear the fruit of a holy life to the glory of God, so that your life may praise Him in concert with the seraphs around His Throne.


Thy love, Thy joy, Thy peace
Continuously impart
Unto my heart,
Fresh springs that never cease,
But still increase.




Charles Simeon...


Phil 1:8–11.

THE connexion subsisting between a pastor and his flock is set forth in the Scriptures under the most endearing images. While they are spoken of as his beloved children, he is represented as the father that begat them, and as the nursing mother who cherishes them in her bosom. Even these images seem to have been too faint to depict the tender regard which St. Paul bore towards those who had been converted by his ministry. He longed for their welfare with more than human affection. He could compare his feelings with nothing so justly as with the yearning of the Saviour’s bowels over a ruined world. Nor was he actuated by partial and personal attachments: his regards were universal: they extended to every member of Christ’s mystical body: yea, he could appeal to God himself, that he felt the deepest interest in the prosperity of “all,” whether more or less distinguished by worldly rank or spiritual attainments. Among the various ways in which he manifests his concern for them, he was especially mindful of prayer and intercession; and though in these benevolent exercises he was solicitous only to approve himself to God, yet he thought it proper on many accounts to inform them of the means he used for their benefit; and to declare to them the particular things which he sought for in their behalf.

From the prayer before us, we see that he desired,

I. Their intellectual improvement—

“Love” is absolutely essential to a Christian: without that, whatever else we may possess, we are only as sounding brass or tinkling cymbals. Love is the characteristic feature of the Deity: and in this all his children resemble him. By this mark we are made known to others as the disciples of Christ: by this we ourselves also are assured, that we have passed from death unto life. In this amiable quality the Philippians “abounded.” But the Apostle wished them to abound in it “yet more and more.” He was solicitous that it should display itself in a becoming manner. He prayed therefore that their “love might yet more and more abound,”

1. In knowledge—

[Knowledge is properly the foundation of love. Whatever we fix our affections upon, we love it for some real or supposed excellence that is in it. If we are unacquainted with the qualities of any person or thing, it is not possible that we should feel any real attachment to him or it. Our love to God therefore, and to his people, should be daily nurtured and strengthened by an increasing acquaintance with them. Our views of the Divine perfections are, at best, but very narrow and contracted. So little are we acqainted with his providence, that we can only faintly guess at either the reasons or issue of his dispensations. The mysteries of redemption are very superficially discovered by us. What we know of Christ, is extremely partial and defective. The nature, extent, and beauties of holiness are very dimly seen. The privileges and blessedness of the Lord’s people are but little understood. Wherever we turn our eyes, we are circumscribed by very narrow limits. On every side there are heights and depths, and length and breadth, that cannot be explored. To be searching into these things is our imperative duty, our exalted privilege. If “the angels desire to look into them,” much more should we. It is by more enlarged views of them, that our love to them must be confirmed and advanced. We should therefore labour incessantly to form a just estimate of heavenly thing’s, and to have our affections regulated by an enlightened understanding.]

2. In a spiritual perception of the things known—

[Merely speculative knowledge is of little avail: it is only like the light of the moon, which dissipates obscurity indeed, but communicates neither heat nor strength. The knowledge which alone will augment our love, is that which produces suitable impressions on the mind; it is that which, like the sun-beam, enlivens and invigorates our whole frame. Now there is a great difference, even amongst good men, with respect to their perception of divine truths. There is, if we may use the expression, a spiritual taste, which is acquired and heightened by exercise. As, in reference to the objects of sense, there is an exquisite “judgment” attained by some, so that their eye, their ear, and their palate can discern excellencies or defects, where others, with less discriminating organs, perceive nothing particular; so is there, in reference to spiritual things, an exquisite sensibility in some persons, whereby their enjoyment of divine truth is wonderfully enhanced. Now this is the knowledge which we should aspire after, and in which our love should progressively abound. We should not be satisfied with that speculative knowledge which may be gained from men and books; but should seek that spiritual discernment, which nothing but the operation of the Spirit of God upon the soul can produce. Whatever be the particular objects of our regard, we should get a realizing sense of their excellency, and be duly impressed with their importance.]

These views and impressions the Apostle desired for them, in order to a further end:

II. Their moral improvement—

Love, when duly exercised, is the main-spring of all acceptable obedience. When abounding in knowledge and in all judgment, so as to be suitably affected with every thing, it will improve the whole of our conduct and conversation. It will make us,

1. More judicious—

[We are very apt to be misled by what is specious. Hence many embrace erroneous principles, or rest in delusive experiences, or justify an unbecoming conduct. Even in the apostolic age, many were turned from the faith by the sophistry of false teachers: and every day presents some to our view, who are ready to admire and applaud themselves for those very things which more disinterested persons see to be their characteristic failings: yea, plain and palpable faults are not unfrequently committed by persons unconscious of acting wrong, in whose eyes the very faults they commit appear not only innocent, but praiseworthy. It is not the world only that put darkness for light; even the godly themselves are apt to confound good and evil; and it is no inconsiderable part of Christian wisdom to distinguish them from each other. The Apostle was anxious that his Philippian converts should form a correct judgment, and so try the things that differed from each other, as to be able to discern the more excellent; just as a refiner proves his metal in the furnace, and thus ascertains its real worth.

But how shall this be done? We answer, By having our love to divine things more under the influence of an enlightened and spiritual mind. We shall then have within ourselves a faculty, as it were, whereby we may discern the things submitted to it. Our views being more comprehensive, and our judgment more spiritual, we shall be able to weigh every thing in a juster balance, and to discriminate with far greater exactness. As the different senses are fitted to give us a right estimate of the things on which they are exercised, so the mind, imbued with ardent love, extensive knowledge, and spiritual discernment, will rightly appreciate whatever presents itself to its notice, and calls for its decision.]

2. More steadfast—

[Though sincerity is ever an attendant on true religion, yet is there much hypocrisy still remaining in the renewed heart. We do not mean that there is any allowed guile; for that would at once determine a man to be no true Israelite: but every grace in man’s heart is imperfect, and admits of growth; and, consequently, sincerity amongst the rest. Moreover, as long as we continue in the body, we are liable to err; and not only to stumble ourselves, but even to become stumbling-blocks to others. Not the attainments of St. Peter himself could place him beyond the reach of sin. We may appeal to all who “know the plague of their own hearts,” whether they do not still feel within themselves a proneness to act with an undue reference to the good opinion of their fellow-creatures; and whether they have not still reason to lament the existence of manifold defects in their deportment towards God and man! Now it is of infinite importance, to the honour of religion and the comfort of our own souls, that these defects be remedied as much as possible; that we be more and more delivered from the influence of corrupt passions; and that we be kept sincere and upright until the day of Christ.

But how shall this steadfastness be attained? We can prescribe no better means than those referred to in the text. A loving spirit, abounding in clear, spiritual, and impressive views of divine truth, will assist us greatly in the whole of our conduct. A feeling sense of the love of Christ upon our hearts will fortify us against every temptation; it will make our walk circumspect, our conscience tender, our zeal ardent, our obedience uniform.]

3. More diligent—

[In estimating a fruit-tree, our principle inquiry respects its fruit: its foliage and blossoms are objects comparatively unimportant. Thus the principles and professions, the experiences and habits of a Christian, are no further valuable, than as they are connected with the substantial fruits of righteousness. His love, whether to God or man, must lead to active exertions, and must shew itself in the practice of universal holiness. He should be like a tree whose boughs are laden with fruit. Such a Christian adorns his profession, and recommends religion to all who behold him: and the fruit which he bears, by virtue derived from Christ, does, through the merits of Christ, ascend up with acceptance before God; and tends exceedingly to exalt the honour of God in the world. Such fruitfulness, I say, is the great end of all the mercies vouchsafed unto him, and of all the love which he professes to feel towards Christ and his people.

But how shall this be secured? We can recur to nothing more effectual than that already mentioned. If we increase in a spiritual perception of the excellency and importance of the Gospel, we cannot fail of being stirred up to activity and diligence in the ways of God: we shall not be satisfied with bringing forth thirty or sixty-fold, but shall labour to bring forth fruit an hundred-fold, and to be “filled with” it in all seasons, and under all circumstances. “Give me understanding,” says David, “and I shall keep thy law, yea, I shall observe it with my whole heart.”]


[While we admire the Apostle’s tender solicitude for the souls of men, let us cherish a just regard for our own souls; and, by mutual exhortations and fervent intercessions, endeavour to the utmost to advance the interests of religion, in each other, and in the world at large.]

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