Philippians 2:1-2 Commentary

 

 

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Philippians 2:1-2 Commentary

Philippians 2:1   Therefore if there is any encouragement in Christ, if there is any consolation of love, if there is any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and compassion  (NASB: Lockman)

Greek: Ei tis oun paraklesis en Christo, ei ti paramuthion agapes, ei tis koinonia pneumatos, ei tis splagchna kai oiktirmoi, 
Amplified: So by whatever [appeal to you there is in our mutual dwelling in Christ, by whatever] strengthening and consoling and encouraging [our relationship] in Him [affords], by whatever persuasive incentive there is in love, by whatever participation in the [Holy] Spirit [we share], and by whatever depth of affection and compassionate sympathy, (Amplified Bible - Lockman)
Barclay: If the fact that you are in Christ has any power to influence you, if love has any persuasive power to move you, if you really are sharing in the Holy Spirit, if you can feel compassion and pity, (Westminster Press)
KJV: If there be therefore any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any bowels and mercies,
Phillips: Now if your experience of Christ's encouragement and love means anything to you, if you have known something of the fellowship of his Spirit, and all that it means in kindness and deep sympathy (
Phillips: Touchstone)
Wuest: In view of the fact that there is a certain ground of appeal in Christ which exhorts, since there is a certain tender persuasion that comes from divine love, in view of the fact that there is a certain joint-participation with the Spirit in a common interest and activity, since there are certain tender heartednesses and compassionate yearnings and actions. (
Eerdmans
Young's Literal: If, then, any exhortation is in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of spirit, if any bowels and mercies,

REFERENCES ON PHILIPPIANS 2

Don Anderson
Paul Apple
Analytical Greek
Albert Barnes
Brian Bell
Brian Bill
John Calvin
Adam Clarke
Steven Cole
Steven Cole
Steven Cole
Thomas Constable
Ron Daniels
Bob Deffinbaugh
Bob Deffinbaugh
Bob Deffinbaugh
Bob Deffinbaugh
John Eadie
Dwight Edwards
Explore the Bible
David Guzik
Bruce Goettsche
Matthew Henry
David Holwick
David Holwick
IVP Commentary
Jamieson, F, B
Guy King
Guy King
John MacArthur
John MacArthur
John MacArthur
John MacArthur
J Vernon McGee
J Vernon McGee
F B Meyer
Ray Pritchard
Grant Richison
Grant Richison
A T Robertson
C H Spurgeon
C H Spurgeon
Valley Bible
Valley Bible
Valley Bible
Valley Bible
Marvin Vincent
John Walvoord
Steve Zeisler
Our Daily Bread
Precept Ministries
Hymn
Philippians - Q & A Format
Philippians Commentary
Philippians 2
Philippians 2 Commentary
Philippians 2:1 -11
Philippians 2:1-11; 2:1-5; 2:5; 2:6-11
Philippians 2 Commentary
Philippians 2 Commentary
Philippians 2:1-4 (Recommended)
Philippians 2:5-8
(Recommended)
Philippians 2:9-11(Recommended)

Philippians Expository Notes
Philippians 2:1-11
Philippians 2:1-13 The Spirit of Christ
Philippians 2:1-18 Implications of the Incarnation
Philippians 2:5-18 Implications of the Incarnation

Philippians 2:3-11 The Ultimate in Humility
Philippians Commentary (or in Pdf)
Philippians Commentary
Philippians 2:12-30: Christian Behavior
Philippians 2 Commentary  
Philippians 2:1-4: God's Formula for Joyful Living
Philippians 2 Commentary
Philippians 2:1-4 - Six Secrets For Satisfying Relationships

Philippians 2:1-16 - Encouragement (Devotions)

Philippians 2 Commentary
Philippians 2 Commentary
Philippians 1:27-2:4 Happy Warriors

Philippians 2:5-11 Rungs of Gladness
Philippians 2:1-2 The Motives for Spiritual Unity
Philippians 2:2 The Marks of Spiritual Unity
Philippians 2:3-5 The Means to Spiritual Unity
Philippians 2:5-8 The Model of Spiritual Unity

Philippians Thru the Bible - Mp3's on one zip file
Philippians Thru the Bible - individual Mp3s
Philippians 2:1-4: The Entwining of Christian Hearts

Philippians 2:1-4: Cantankerous Christians
Philippians 2:1 2:1b 2:1c 2:1d
Philippians 2:2 2:2b 2:2c 2:2d
Philippians 2 Greek Word Studies
Philippians 2:1 Consolation in Christ
Philippians 2 Exposition
Philippians 2:1-4 Encouragement in Christ

Philippians 2:1-4 Consolation of love, fellowship of the Spirit

Philippians 2:1-4 Being of the same mind

Philippians 2:1-4 Maintaining the same love, united in spirit

Philippians 2: Greek Word Studies
Philippians 2 At the Name of Jesus Every Knee Should Bow
Philippians 1:27-2:11
Philippians Illustrations 2
Philippians: Download lesson 1 of 16
Philippians 2:1: Jesus, United by the Grace

Therefore if: Ei tis oun: 

The “therefore” (oun) is probably connected with the exhortations to unity in Php 1:27. Paul now proceeds to enumerate the resources they can tap into to maintain and maximize unity in their local body at Philippi and which can fulfill his command in  Phil 2:2 to "make my joy complete".

Edwards sums up this section writing that...

Paul begins by appealing to they relationship in Christ. All these four terms for affection appear to be fairly similar and all four (really five) are distinctly peculiar to believers. Based on the encouragement which is in Christ, the comfort which comes from divine love, the oneness (fellowship) of an those drinking from the same Spirit, and the tender mercies of these believers, they are to live a certain way. They are to live in love and harmony, not because of their natural fondness for one another (though that may be there), but because of they divine responsibilities as members of the household of God. This unity is not the result of natural oneness but supernatural bonding. This is why Paul's appeal for unity begins by focusing upon their relationship in Christ, not their relationship towards one another. (Philippians)

Guzik adds that the

"Therefore draws back to what Paul has built on in Php 1:27, 29, 30, telling the Philippians how to stand strong for the Lord against external conflicts.  Now he tells them how to act against internal conflicts in the body of Christ."

Vincent says that the "therefore" is there for it is both the saint's

"duty and privilege (to) fulfill my joy, and show yourselves to be true citizens of God's kingdom by your humility and unity of spirit."

"If” in each of the 4 uses in this verse is the same Greek word "ei" which is what is referred to as a first class conditional particle which means that what follows equates with a fulfilled condition. It follows that the first class conditional particle can usually be accurately translated with “since”, "so then", “in view of the fact” or “If such-and-such is true―and I know that it is …”

All four characteristics in this verse are indisputable facts - certainties not "maybes" and are reminders of the resources God has provided for us. There was not a hint of doubt in Paul's mind as he penned these thoughts. In these four succinct clauses Paul sets forth a powerful motive for harmony in the Christian community. Because the saints at Philippi are each recipients of these 4 benefits (foundation stones), they have the resources as well as the responsibility to carry out what Paul is about to command in the next verse, the end result being unity which makes Paul's joy full. Parenthetically this order (provision provided before practice commanded) illustrates how God never asks us to do what He does not also enable us to do. God is good and wise. In sum, because these four things are true the Philippian believers, they can be "of the same mind".

Why is Christian unity so important? In John 17, Jesus prayed for unity four times for His disciples clearly emphasizing the importance our Lord Jesus placed on
unity. Jesus asked His Father to

"keep them in Thy name, the name which Thou hast given Me, that they may be one, even as We are" (Jn 17:11) and that His disciples "may all be one; even as Thou, Father, art in Me, and I in Thee, that they also may be in Us; that the world may believe that Thou didst send Me. And the glory which Thou hast given Me I have given to them; that they may be one, just as We are one, I in them, and Thou in Me, that they may be perfected in unity, that the world may know that Thou didst send Me, and didst love them, even as Thou didst love Me." (Jn 17:21, 22, 23)

Why did Jesus hold Christian unity in such high esteem? Read the verses again.

Matthew Henry sums up this section stating that Paul

"presses them largely to like-mindedness and lowly-mindedness, in conformity to the example of the Lord Jesus, the great pattern of humility and love."

if there is any encouragement in Christ: paraklesis en Christo: (Php 3:3; Lk 2:10,11,25; Jn 14:18,27; 15:11; 16:22, 23, 24; 17:13; Ro 5:1,2; Ro 15:12,13; 2Co 1:5,6; 2:14; 2Th 2:16,17; Heb 6:18; 1Pe 1:6, 7, 8)

 

The first foundation stone for unity

ENCOURAGEMENT IN CHRIST

 

So if in Christ there is anything that will move you, (NJB)


Is there any encouragement from belonging to Christ? (NLT),


Now if your experience of Christ's encouragement and love means anything to you (Phillips),


In view of the fact that there is a certain ground of appeal in Christ which exhorts (Wuest),


SO BY whatever [appeal to you there is in our mutual dwelling in Christ (Amp),


If the fact that you are in Christ has any power to influence you (Barclay)

 

Spurgeon introduces this section writing that...

the Holy Spirit, during the present dispensation, is revealed to us as the Comforter. It is the Spirit's business to console and cheer the hearts of God's people. He does convince of sin; he does illuminate and instruct; but still the main part of his business lies in making glad the hearts of the renewed, in confirming the weak, and lifting up all those that be bowed down. Whatever the Holy Ghost may not be, he is evermore the Comforter to the Church; and this age is peculiarly the dispensation of the Holy Spirit, in which Christ cheers us not by his personal presence, as he shall do by-and-bye, but by te indwelling and constant abiding of the Holy Ghost the Comforter. Now, mark you, as the Holy Spirit is the Comforter, Christ is the comfort. The Holy Spirit consoles, but Christ is the consolation. If I may use the figure, the Holy Spirit is the Physician, but Christ is the medicine. He heals the wound, but it is by applying the holy ointment of Christ's name and grace. He takes not of his own things, but of the things of Christ. We are not consoled to-day by new revelations, but by the old revelation explained, enforced, and lit up with new splendour by the presence and power of the Holy Ghost the Comforter. If we give to the Holy Spirit the Greek name of Paraclete, as we sometimes do, then our heart confers on our blessed Lord Jesus the title of the Paraklesis. If the one be the Comforter, the other is the comfort. (Spurgeon's Sermon on "Consolation in Christ")

Lord, Thy death and passion give
Strength and comfort in my need,
Every hour while here I live,
On Thy love my soul shall feed.

Encouragement (3874) (paraklesis from parakaléo = beseech <> pará = side of + kaléo = call) refers to calling to one's side or one's aid which can be for the purpose of providing solace, comfort, consolation, exhortation, encouragement.

Encouragement is from en = in + corage from Latin cor = heart. It describes the act of inspiring one with confidence and/or hope, filling with strength, and suggests that the raising of one’s confidence is accomplished especially through an external agency.

Comfort is from Latin com = with + fortis = strong, and means to invigorate, to enliven, to cheer, to strengthen one's mind when depressed, to give new vigor to one's spirits, to give strength or hope to another, to ease their grief or trouble.

Exhortation is from ex = out + hortari = to urge or incite and means incitement by argument or advice, a strong urging, an urgent appeal, an earnest persuasion, giving strong advisement, animation by arguments to a good deed or laudable conduct or course of action.

MacArthur writes that...

Paraklēsis (encouragement) has the root meaning of coming alongside someone to give assistance by offering comfort, counsel, or exhortation. It is precisely the kind of assistance exemplified by the Good Samaritan, who, after doing everything he could for the robbed and beaten stranger, “took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper and said, ‘Take care of him; and whatever more you spend, when I return I will repay you’ ” (Luke 10:35; cf. Lk 10:30, 31, 32, 33, 34). (MacArthur, J. Philippians. Chicago: Moody Press or Logos)

Wuest on paraklesis...

The word has various meanings; “a calling near, a summons, imploration, supplication, entreaty, exhortation, admonition, encouragement, consolation, solace.” The well-rounded all-inclusive idea is that of encouragement, of aid given the needy person, whether it be consolation, exhortation, or supplication. (Wuest, K. S. Wuest's Word Studies from the Greek New Testament: Eerdmans or Logos)

Paraklesis - 29x in 28v - Luke 2:25; 6:24; Acts 4:36; Acts 9:31 (Note Who gives comfort?); Acts 13:15; 15:31; Ro 12:8-note; 15:4-note, Ro 15:5-note (Who gives encouragement in this verse?); 1 Cor 14:3; 2 Cor 1:3, 4, 5; 7:4, 7, 13; 8:4, 17; Phil 2:1; 1Th 2:3-note; 2Th 2:16 (Note the Source of the saint's comfort and its longevity. How does it come to us? [by what?]); 1Tim 4:13; Philemon 1:7; Heb 6:18-note; Heb 12:5-note; Heb 13:22-note. NAS = appeal(1), comfort(13), consolation(1), encouragement(6), exhortation(7), urging(1). Below are a few of the NT uses of paraklesis...

Luke 2:25 And there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon; and this man was righteous and devout, looking (prosdechomai  in the present tense = looking expectantly which motivated living righteously and devoutly, cp the charge in Titus 2:12 with the motivating Blessed Hope in Titus 2:13-note) for the consolation (Paraklesis in this context is not a concept but a living Person, the Messiah, the One Who is the ultimate Source of encouragement, comfort and consolation. Why do so often when in distress, run everywhere but to Him? Let us run quickly and often to the Consolation of Israel, Yeshua, the one Who saves us the first time [justification] and then Who is able to save us daily [sanctification], e.g. When in distress, when afflicted, when downcast, etc, let us take a moment and meditate on Him as our Refuge in Ps 2:12-note, Ps 5:11-note, Ps 11:1-note, Ps 14:6-note, Ps 16:1-note, Ps 17:7-note; Ps 18:2-note, Ps 18:30-note;  Ps 25:20-note; Ps 31:1-note, Ps 31:19-note; Ps 34:8-note, Ps 34:22-note; Ps 36:7-note; Ps 37:40-note; Ps 46:1-note; Ps 52:7-note; Ps 55:8-note; Ps 57:1-note; Ps 59:16-note; Ps 61:3, 4-note, Ps 62:7,8-note, Ps 64:10-note; Ps 71:1-note, Ps 71:7-note; Ps 73:28-note; Ps 91:2-note, Ps 91:4-note, Ps 91:9-note; Ps 94:22-note; Ps 104:18-note; Ps 118:8, 9-note, Ps 141:8-note; Ps 142:5-note; Ps 143:9-note; Ps 144:2-note. (Note: All notes are C H Spurgeon's excellent commentary) Hide yourself in Him beloved!) of Israel; and the Holy Spirit was upon him.

Comment: Note that the context of this passage is the "hope" of the Jews (who were true believers) to realize the final and ultimate fulfillment of the Abrahamic covenant promises, which Messiah will in fact bring to pass in the Millennium. In this way, Jesus to the Jews who were looking for Him was envisioned as their Consolation.

Acts 4:36 Now Joseph, a Levite of Cyprian birth, who was also called Barnabas by the apostles (which translated means Son of Encouragement), (Clearly as in here in Philippians, God uses godly men and women as His arms and feet, to go to those in need of encouragement, comfort and uplifting. Are you known as a "Barnabas" in your sphere of influence, or as a "son of discouragement"?!)

Romans 12:8-note or he who exhorts, in his exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness. (Paul's point is to "stay" within the sphere of your gift.)

Ro 15:4-note For whatever was written in earlier times was written for our instruction, so that through perseverance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.

Comment: In one sense the entire Bible is a paraklesis, exhorting, admonishing and encouraging us to be strong in our faith.

2Cor 1:3  Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort (How much? cp Isa 40:1, 51:3; 52:9; 66:13); 4 Who comforts (parakaleo in the present tense = continually!) us in all our affliction (thlipsis - word study) (Note if we don't "feel" comforted, what might be the source of the feeling? Cp 2Co 5:7) so that (What is one purpose of any affliction God allows into our life beloved?) we may be able (dunamai [think "dynamic", "dynamo"!] the present tense = continually ready to come alongside our brethren!) to comfort (parakaleo) those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. 5 For just as the sufferings of Christ are ours in abundance, so also our comfort is abundant through Christ.

1Th 2:3-note For our exhortation does not come from error or impurity or by way of deceit.

Comment: John MacArthur writes that here "The word exhortation (paraklesis) means an urgent cry, appeal, or call, with an emphasis on judgment. Such usage stressed for Paul’s readers the urgency and directness of his preaching. He did not stray from the truth or operate apart from the standard of divine revelation. Paul assured them there was no false teaching or living—in other words, error—in his ministry. 1 & 2 Thessalonians. Moody Press or Logos)

1Ti 4:13 Until I come, give attention to the public reading of Scripture, to exhortation and teaching.

Comment: Clearly paraklesis as manifest by encouragement was to be a major focus of Timothy's ministry in Ephesus. It follows that Biblical exhortation. As the Pastor MacArthur observes "Exhortation challenges people to apply the truths they have been taught. It warns people to obey, in light of the blessing to come on them if they do, and the judgment if they do not. Exhortation may take the form of rebuke, warning, counsel, or comfort, but always involves a binding of the conscience." (1Timothy Moody Press or Logos)

Heb 12:5-note and you have forgotten the exhortation which is addressed to you as sons, “My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, Nor faint when you are reproved by Him

Comment: "Turning to Scripture is listening to God, for Scripture is His Word. For believers, it is the Word of their Father. This forgotten exhortation tells us of two perils of discipline—regarding it lightly, and fainting because of it." (MacArthur, John: Hebrews. Moody Press or Logos)

Heb 13:22-note But I urge you, brethren, bear with this word of exhortation, (referring to the epistle to the Hebrews - see Acts 13:15 where this same phrase is used as the designation for a sermon) for I have written to you briefly.

Comment: MacArthur "The book of Hebrews is a great treatise preached with a pen. It is an urgent call to the readers to come to single-minded devotion to the Lord Jesus Christ and to complete satisfaction with the New Covenant. The high and lofty doctrinal themes are the foundation for this primary exhortation." (Ibid)

Marvin Vincent has a detailed note on this word group writing that parakaleo literally means...

a calling to one’s side to help; and therefore entreaty, passing on into the sense of exhortation, and thence into that of consolatory exhortation; and so coming round to mean that which one is summoned to give to a suppliant—consolation. Thus it embodies the call for help, and the response to the call. Its use corresponds with that of the kindred verb , to exhort or console...In some instances, the meaning wavers between console and exhort.

In the sense of exhortation or counsel, the noun (paraklesis) may be found in Acts13:15; Ro 12:8; Heb 13:22. The verb, in Acts 2:40; 11:23; 14:22; Ro 12:8; Titus 2:15. Neither the noun nor the verb appear in the writings of John, but the kindred word the Paraclete, Comforter, or Advocate, is peculiar to him. It should be noted, however, that the word comfort goes deeper than its popular conception of soothing. It is from the later Latin , to make strong. Thus Wycliffe renders Lk 1:80, “the child waxed, and was comforted in spirit”  and Tyndale, Lk 22:43, “there appeared an angel from heaven comforting him” (AV., strengthening).

The comfort which Christ gives is not always soothing. The Holy Spirit, the Comforter, is to convince of sin and of judgment. Underlying the word is the sense of a wise counsel or admonition which rouses and braces the moral nature and encourages and strengthens it to do and to endure. When, therefore, Christ says “they that mourn shall be comforted,” he speaks in recognition of the fact that all sorrow is the outcome of sin, and that true comfort is given, not only in pardon for the past, but in strength to fight and resist and overcome sin. The atmosphere of the word, in short, is not the atmosphere of the sick-chamber, but the tonic breath of the open world, of moral struggle and victory; the atmosphere for him that climbs and toils and fights. (Word Studies in the NT - Notes on Luke 6:24)

Robertson writes that

"If one's own life in Christ does not stimulate the soul to the noblest effort, it is useless to go on with the appeal."

Two of the paraphrases pick up this same thought --

"If the fact that you are in Christ has any power to influence you" (Barclay)

"If then your experiences in Christ appeal to you with any force.." (Lightfoot)

Is there encouragement in Christ? Of course there is. Godly Simeon called  Jesus the "the Consolation (paraklesis) of Israel" (Lk 2:25)

Paul taught that

"just as the sufferings of Christ are ours in abundance, so also our COMFORT (paraklesis) is abundant through Christ." (2Co 1:5)

If there be any encouragement in Christ - Not "if" but "since", for this is comfort in Christ! (cp 2Co 1:3, 4, 5) Every believer has received encouragement, exhortation, and comfort from and through Christ Who is like an artesian well (see Artesian Well diagram) that effortlessly, endlessly flows through us as we surrender our will to His sweet will and in the context as the saints at Philippi enter into the reality of Christ Who is now their life, and the result of this common experience will serve to draw them together and unite them.

F B Meyer writes regarding the bonds of unity in a local body that...

The first bond is the consolation which is in Christ. For consolation let us substitute exhortation, or, better still, persuasiveness, so that we might put it that the first bond of Christian fellowship is Christ's persuasiveness. That Jesus Christ is interested in every Church fellowship is obvious, but we do not always realise how much He is always doing to persuade us to main-rain it. Have there not been times in your life when you have been greatly incensed, but have realised that there was a voice speaking within your heart, and a gentle influence stealing over you, a yearning towards the brother about whom you had cherished hard and unkind feelings? That has been the persuasiveness of Christ. It is He who has besought you to check that word, to refrain from writing that letter, to abandon that bitter and offensive way which had seemed so befitting a method of repaying your enemy to his face. It was Christ who was persuading you to drop the weapon from your hand, and to reach it out in brotherhood, and this because He was so eager to keep the unity of the Spirit unbroken in the bond of peace. (The Epistle to the Philippians )

if there is any consolation of love: ei ti paramuthion agapes: (Ps 133:1; Jn 15:10, 11, 12; Acts 2:46; 4:32; Gal 5:22; Eph 4:30, 31, 32; Col 2:2; 1Jn 4:7,8,4:12, 4:16)

 

The second foundation stone for unity
CONSOLATION OF LOVE

 

Love is agape which ultimately is God's love (cf the quality & quantity of that love in Jn 3:16 Torrey's Topic "Love of God")
 

since there is a certain tender persuasion that comes from divine love (Wuest)


by whatever persuasive incentive there is in love (Amp),


if there is any persuasive power in love (Weymouth),


If love has any power by its tenderness to stir your hearts, then listen to me. (Robertson)

Pentecost phrases it this way...

The fact that Christ loved me ought to move me to love the brethren. We could paraphrase the phrase, “if any comfort of love,” with these words, “if the love of Christ exerts any persuasive power, if love supplies an incentive or gives encouragement,” then fulfill my joy by loving one another. The fact that God loved me, as unlovely as I was, ought to move me to love the brethren.  (Pentecost, J. D. The Joy of Living: A study of Philippians. Kregel Publications)

Consolation (3890) (paramuthion from para = towards + muthéomai = to speak, which is from múthos = a tale, myth, speech) literally describes speaking closely to someone. The idea is to speak to someone coming close to their side. The basic sense speaking to someone in a friendly way. It refers to that which causes or constitutes the basis for consolation and encouragement. 

Paramuthion "indicates a greater degree of tenderness than" the preceding word "encouragement" (paraklesis).

One Greek lexicon defines paramuthion as an assuagement ( = lessening the intensity of something that pains or distresses).

Friberg defines paramuthion...

 as persuasive power that points to a basis for hope and provides incentive. (Analytical Lexicon of the Greek New Testament)

Consolation is the attribute of agape love of God that alleviates grief, the sense of loss, trouble, etc.

Vine says that "consolation" is

"that tender cheer, imparted as the effect of “love” (agape practical love)."  (Vine, W. Collected writings of W. E. Vine. Nashville: Thomas Nelson )

Rienecker adds intriguing note that the preposition (para = beside) may have the force of aside and pictures consolation that draws one's mind "aside" from their cares and concerns.

MacArthur adds that paramuthion

"portrays the Lord coming close and whispering words of gentle cheer or tender counsel in a believer’s ear."

Wuest has an excellent note

"We have here the subjective genitive construction, in which the noun in the genitive case, “love,” produces the action in the noun of action, “consolation.” That is,

the tender persuasion and encouragement which exhorts to unity among the Philippians, comes from God’s love for them.

Their realization of divine love which reached down and saved them, should urge them to live in a spirit of unity with one another. In addition to that, this divine love produced in the hearts of the Philippian saints by the Holy Spirit (cf Ro 5:5, Gal 5:16), should cause them to so love each other with a love that impels one to sacrifice one’s self for the one loved, that their little differences will be ironed out, and they will live in unity with one another.” (Wuest, K. S. Wuest's Word Studies from the Greek New Testament: Eerdmans)

F B Meyer writes regarding the bonds of unity in a local body that...

The second bond is the comfort of love. The Greek word will bear this rendering--if you know the tender cheer that love gives; that is, see to it that you maintain the bond of Christian fellowship by meeting your fellow Christians with the tender cheer of love. We all know what tender cheer is, when men have been out all day and tried, almost beyond endurance. As they come out of the storm, the depression of their spirit and their health may have conspired to reduce them to the lowest depth of darkness--then as the door opens, and they see the ruddy glow of the fire, and the wife comes to meet them, and the child is there with its prattle, for a moment it seems almost worth while having known the weariness and depression because of the contrasted cheer that greets them. All around us in the world are Christian hearts which are losing faith; many hands hang down, and knees shake together. Let us see to it that by the kindly cheer of a smile, the grasp of a hand, the welcome of a word, we do something to draw those people into the inner circle of Christian love. (The Epistle to the Philippians )

if there is any fellowship of the Spirit: ei tis koinonia pneumatos: (Ro 5:5; 8:9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16; 8:26; 1Co 3:16; 6:19,20; 12:13; 2Co 13:14; Gal 4:6; Eph 1:13,14; 2:18, 19, 20, 21, 22; 4:4; 1Pet 1:2;1Pet 1:22,23; 1Jn 3:24)

 

The third foundation stone for unity
FELLOWSHIP OF THE SPIRIT

 

 

in view of the fact that there is a certain joint-participation with the Spirit in a common interest and activity (Wuest),


if your fellowship in the Spirit is a living reality. (Lightfoot) 


if you really are sharing in the Holy Spirit (Barclay)

Paul says, in effect, “If there is any such thing as communion with the indwelling Spirit, or if your consciousness of fellowship with the Holy Spirit who dwells within is a reality in your life, and it most certainly is, then fulfill my joy by your love for one another.”

Fellowship of the Spirit - The NET Bible has this technical note...

Or "spiritual fellowship" if pneumatos is an attributive genitive; or "fellowship brought about by the Spirit" if pneumatos is a genitive of source or production.

Fellowship  (2842) (koinonia from koinos = common, shared by all) (Click for an in depth word study of koinonia) means a close association involving mutual interests and sharing (communion, fellowship, partnership).

Koinonia is an intimate partnership, a common eternal life or joint participation with common interests and mutual, active participation. This dynamic is effected by Holy Spirit’s working in and through individual saints in the body to produce unity (1Co 3:16, 12:13, 2Co 13:14,cf 1Jn 1:4-6)

Koinonia - 19x in 17v - Acts 2:42; Rom 15:26; 1 Cor 1:9; 10:16; 2 Cor 6:14; 8:4; 9:13; 13:13; Gal 2:9; Phil 1:5; 2:1; 3:10; Phlm 1:6; Heb 13:16; 1 John 1:3, 6, 7. NAS = contribution(2), fellowship(12), participation(2), sharing(3).

One translation has

If communion with the Spirit of love is not a mere idle name, but a real thing

Robertson says that

If we have any partnership in the life and blessings of the Holy Spirit, then we are ready to listen to Paul's plea for unity.

Paul is reminding them that the fellowship of the Holy Spirit is a blessed reality, not merely a beautiful idea. Remember every genuine believer at Philippi (and in the body of Christ today) has received the Holy Spirit for as Paul writes in his epistle to the saints at Rome...

the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit Who was given to us. (Ro 5:5-note)  

However, you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. But if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Him.  And if Christ is in you, though the body is dead because of sin, yet the spirit is alive because of righteousness. 11 But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who indwells you. 12 So then, brethren, we are under obligation, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh-- 13 for if you are living according to the flesh, you must die; but if by the Spirit you are putting to death the deeds of the body, you will live. 14 For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. 15 For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, "Abba! Father!" 16 The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, 17 and if children, heirs also, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him in order that we may also be glorified with Him.   (see notes  Ro 8:9, 8:10-11; 8:12-13; 8:14-15; 8:16-17)

Thus each and every believer has personal fellowship with the Holy Spirit in his or her private life and in turn all believers are united by the same Spirit in fellowship. The practical application of this truth is that factions or divisiveness should have no place in the body of Christ.

F B Meyer writes regarding the bonds of unity in a local body that...

The third bond is the fellowship of the Spirit. The word means to share the Spirit, the going in common with the Spirit. They who live near God know what that fellowship is; they know that they are always accompanied; that they are never for one moment by themselves; can never enter a room with the consciousness of vacancy; can never travel in an empty car with a sense of isolation and solitude: there is always the fellowship of the Spirit. Whatever any one man knows of this fellowship every other knows. Each Christian person is conscious of the same Presence, making evident and obvious to us the same Jesus Christ. The same atmosphere is lighted by the same sun; and in proportion as we have fellowship with the same Spirit we cannot lose our temper with each other, or be hard, cross, and unkind. (The Epistle to the Philippians)

if any affection and compassion: ei tis splagchna kai oiktirmoi: (Php 1:8; Col 3:12)

 

 The fourth foundation stone for unity
AFFECTION AND COMPASSION

 

The KJV reads "if any bowels and mercies". God has extended His deep affection (Php 1:8-note) and compassion to every believer and that reality should stimulate and empower saints toward unity.

 

if any bowels and mercies, (Young's Literal),


any warmth or sympathy -- I appeal to you, (NJB),


Are your hearts tender and sympathetic? (NLT),


all that it means in kindness and deep sympathy (Phillips),


since there are certain tenderheartednesses and compassionate yearnings and actions. (Wuest),


by whatever depth of affection and compassionate sympathy (Amp),


if you have any affectionate yearnings of heart. (Lightfoot)

Matthew Henry adds

How cogent are these arguments! One would think them enough to tame the most fierce, and mollify the hardest, heart.

Affection (4698) (splagchnon or splanchna) originally  referred to the upper abdominal viscera especially the intestines, which the ancients regarded as the seat of affections and emotions, such as anger and love. This word is always in the plural in the NT. The phrase "I feel it in the pit of my stomach" is a modern parallel. And we all know how that feels! So splagchnon refers to that deep, internal caring comparable to the modern expressions of deep feeling such as “broken-hearted” or “gut-wrenching”.

Zodhiates says that...

In Class. Gr. writers, it is chiefly spoken of the upper viscera of animals, as the heart, lungs, and liver which were eaten during or after the sacrifice...Figuratively, the inward parts indicating the breast or heart as the seat of emotions and passions. In the NT, of the gentler emotions as compassion, tender affection indicating the mind, soul, the inner man (2Co 6:12, Philemon 1:7, 20; 1Jn 3:17; Sept.: Pr 12:10 (cf. Ge 43:30; 1Kgs. 3:26) (Zodhiates, S. The Complete Word Study Dictionary: New Testament. AMG or Logos)

Earlier Paul speaking from his heart had said...

Philippians 1:8-note For God is my witness, how I long for you all with the affection of Christ Jesus.

Splagchnon in classical Greek referred to the inward parts and somewhat ironically is used of the literal bowels of Judas Iscariot who betrayed our Lord (he lacked figurative "splagchnon"!) (Acts 1:18)

Splagchnon - 14x in 14v - Luke 1:78; Acts 1:18; 2Cor 6:12; 7:15; Phil 1:8; 2:1; Col 3:12; Philemon 1:7, 12, 20; 1John 3:17. NAS = affection, 3; affections, 1; heart, 4; hearts, 1; intestines, 1; tender, 1.

One of the most precious uses of splagchnon is found in the Gospel of Luke where he quotes Zacharias' beautiful description of Jesus, prophesying that the Child Jesus will

"give to His people (Jews) the knowledge of salvation by the forgiveness of their sins, because of the tender mercy (splagchnon) of our God, with which the Sunrise (speaking of the Son Who rose!) from on high shall visit (episkeptomai) us, to shine upon those who sit in darkness and the shadow of death (Gentiles), to guide our feet into the way of peace." (Lk 1:77, 78, 79)

Here are some other representative uses...

Philemon 1:7 For I have come to have much joy and comfort (paraklesis) in your love, because the hearts (splagchnon) of the saints have been refreshed (anapauo, a military term that speaks of an army resting from a march - to cause one to cease from any movement or labor in order to recover and collect his strength) through you, brother....12 And I have sent him back to you in person, that is, sending my very heart...20 Yes, brother, let me benefit from you in the Lord; refresh my heart in Christ.

Comment: MacArthur "Hearts translates splanchna, which literally means “bowels.” It refers to the seat of the feelings. People struggling, suffering, and hurting emotionally, had been refreshed by Philemon.

1John 3:17 But whoever has the world's goods, and beholds his brother in need and closes (kleio = shut) his heart (splagchnon - In other words he clearly sees a need in a believer and shuts that need out of his heart! Woe!) against him, how does the love of God abide in him?

Comment: NET Bible note: "Note the vivid contrast with Jesus' example in the preceding verse 1Jn 3:16: He was willing to lay down His very life, but the person in view in 1Jn 3:17 is not even willing to lay down part of his material possessions for the sake of his brother."

Splagchnon - 3x in the Septuagint - Pr 12:10; 26:22; Jer 51:13;

The derivative verb splagchnízomai (found only in the Gospels most often descriptive of Jesus) means to feel deeply or viscerally, to yearn, have compassion or to show pity (Study the following 12 uses of splagchnízomai gleaning for precious insights into the heart of our Lord -- Mat 9:36; Mat 14:14; Mat 15:32; Mat 18:27; Mat 20:34; Mark 1:41; Mark 6:34; Mark 8:2; Mark 9:22; Luke 7:13; Luke 10:33; Luke 15:20)  If our bodies literally ache in pain and nausea when we experience great agony, remorse, or sympathy, we can be sure that the Son of Man felt them even more. Matthew tells us that, in order to fulfill the prophecies of Isaiah, Jesus

Himself took our infirmities, and carried away our diseases (Mt 8:17).

It was not, of course, that Jesus Himself contracted the diseases or infirmities, but that in sympathy and compassion He physically as well as emotionally suffered with those who came to Him for healing-just as a parent can become physically ill from worry and concern over a child who is desperately sick or in trouble or danger. The Son of God was not remote or coldly calculating and analytical concerning men’s needs but was deeply moved by the suffering, confusion, despair, and spiritual lostness of those around Him. Jesus felt pain, experiencing genuine anguish for the suffering of others, whether they were believer or unbeliever, Jew or Gentile, man or woman, young or old, wealthy or poor.

As John MacArthur astutely comments

Jesus also felt compassion because of His perfect perception of hell and the torment those would face who did not receive Him. Even as He lovingly healed their bodies, He had infinitely greater concern to heal their souls. Even after Jesus healed a body, it could become sick or crippled again. But when He heals a sin-diseased soul, it is forever freed from sin’s dominion and penalty." (MacArthur, J: Romans 1-8. Chicago: Moody Press or Logos)

KJV translates splagchnon 9 times as "bowels" as a reference to the emotions because of the way our emotions can affect how our intestinal organs feel. This translation may sound strange to modern ears but in fact even we use words that would sound strange to the ancients. For example we have the word "melancholy" which is literally "black bile"!

In a manuscript from 5BC splagchnon was used figuratively in the phrase “for pity’s sake.” The Hebrews regarded the splagchnon as the seat of the most tender affections, especially kindness, benevolence, compassion. In the NT splagchnon is only found in the plural (tá splágchna = the viscera), and with the exception noted above, is always used figuratively, referring to what we in the West commonly refer to as "the heart", the seat of the tender affections and of deepest human emotions. The Hebrews expressed their feelings in terms of what they felt in their stomach. When they really had some emotion, it turned their stomach, so to speak.

John MacArthur has an interesting notation on splagchnon writing that...

The Hebrews, like many other ancient peoples, expressed attitudes and emotions in terms of physiological symptoms, not in abstractions. As most of us know from personal experience, many intense emotions-anxiety, fear, pity, remorse, and so on-can directly, and often immediately, affect the stomach and the digestive tract. Upset stomach, colitis, and ulcers are a few of the common ailments frequently related to emotional trauma. It is not strange, then, that ancient people associated strong emotions with that region of the body. The heart, on the other hand, was associated more with the mind and thinking (see Pr 16:23; Mt 15:19; Ro 10:10; Heb 4:12). The heart was the source of thought and action, whereas the bowels were the responder, the reactor." (MacArthur, J. Matthew. Chicago: Moody Press)

Paul longed after the Philippians with the tender-heartednesses of Jesus Christ, a tenderness that was produced by the Holy Spirit in the heart of this bondservant who was fully yielded to His Lord. The Spirit filled believer's pulse beats with the pulse of Christ. His heart throbs with the heart of Christ. When we are walking in the Spirit, really one with Jesus, His compassion and affection (splagchnon) flows through us to our fellow men whom Jesus loves and for whom He died. Paul is saying in this verse that the believer has the privilege of being a "partner" in exhibiting the compassion of Christ! Do we really understand this profound truth?

Splagchnon is the strongest Greek word for expressing  compassionate love or tender mercy and involves one’s entire being. It describes the compassion which moves a man to the deepest depths of his being. In the gospels, apart from its use in some of the parables, it is used only of Jesus

If there was one thing the ancient world needed it was more splagchnon or tender mercy. The sufferings of animals were nothing to it. The maimed and the sickly went to the wall. There was no provision for the aged and they were left to die. The treatment of the idiot and the simple-minded was unfeeling. Christianity brought splagchnon into this world.

The English word compassion (see the next section) is taken from the Latin, which means to "bear with" or to "suffer with", but it has come to mean much more than that. According to one definition, compassion is

“a feeling of deep sympathy and sorrow, accompanied by a strong desire to alleviate the pain and remove its cause.”

Compassion  (3628) (oiktirmos [word study] from oikteiro = to have compassion {used only in Ro 9:15-note} in turn derived from oiktos = compassion or pity which in turn is said to be derived from the interjection oi = "Oh!") denotes the inward feeling of compassion which abides in the heart. It represents the display of concern over or compassion with another’s misfortune.  (See also Consolation)

Compassion (from Latin com = with + pati = to bear, suffer - thus literally to "bear with" or "to suffer with") is a sympathetic consciousness of other's distress together with a desire to alleviate it and in the case of God, with the ability to in fact do so!

The meaning of oiktirmos is like splagchnon and is related primarily the viscera, which were thought to be the seat of compassion. The word came to signify manifestations of pity and refers to the pity that is aroused by the sight of another's suffering. Lightfoot says

 

By splagchnon is signified the abode of tender feelings, by oiktirmos the manifestation of these in compassionate yearnings and actions

 

The related word eleos [word study] which is also often translated mercy is similar in meaning but Thayer discussing the corresponding verb forms (eleeo, oikteiro) makes the following distinction...

 

Eleeo—to feel sympathy with the misery of another, especially such sympathy as manifests itself in act, less frequently in word; whereas oikteiro denotes the inward feeling of compassion which abides in the heart. A criminal begs eleos of his judge; but hopeless suffering is often the object of oiktirmos (p. 203).

 

The Baker Encyclopedia of the Bible has an interesting note on compassion explaining that...

 

In the OT, compassion describes one aspect of God’s covenantal relationship with his people (Ed note: In the examples of the use of oiktirmos in the Septuagint [see below] compassion is frequently found with "lovingkindness" or hesed [checed] a word integrally associated with the manifestation of God's covenantal love - see related resource Covenant - Why Study It?) One of the Hebrew words translated compassion is derived from a root word meaning “womb,” thus comparing God’s love with maternal love. God’s compassion, however, went beyond simply feeling the emotion; it was always demonstrated by definite acts that testified to his covenant with Israel. In spite of Israel’s rebellions God still had compassion on his people (2Ki 13:23; 2 Chr 36:15; Ps 78:38), as well as on all his creation (Ps 145:9). When Israel was chastised, the nation often feared that God had permanently withdrawn his favor (Ps 77:9; Is 27:11; 63:15; Jer 13:14; 21:7; Ho 13:14). Yet God’s compassion would revive, and he would restore his people (Dt 30:3; Ps 135:14; Is 14:1; 49:13; 54:7, 8; Jer 12:15; 30:18; Micah 7:19; Zech 12:10), especially when they returned to him and cried out for deliverance (1 Ki 8:50; Ps 79:8). (Elwell, W. A., & Beitzel, B. J. Baker Encyclopedia of the Bible.  Grand Rapids, Michigan: Baker Book House)

Here are the 5 NT uses of oiktirmos

Romans 12:1-note  I urge (parakaleo) you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present (paristemi) your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship (latreia).

 

2 Corinthians 1:3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort;


Philippians 2:1  If therefore there is any encouragement in Christ, if there is any consolation of love, if there is any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and compassion,


Colossians 3:12 And so, as those who have been chosen (
eklektos) of God, holy (hagios) and beloved (Note the motivation that our vaunted position should incite - how can we not follow through with his command), put on (enduo) (aorist imperative = Do this now. Do it motivated by an understanding of who you now are and Whose you are!) a heart of compassion (Col 3:12KJV = bowels of mercy = splagchnon of oiktirmos), kindness (chrestotes), humility (tapeinophrosune), gentleness (prautes) and patience (makrothumia);

 

Hebrews 10:28-note Anyone who has set aside the Law of Moses dies without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses.

Vincent adds that oiktirmos

is that feeling which expresses itself in the exclamation "Oh!" on seeing another’s misery.

These benefits or graces present in the lives of the Philippian saints should move them to live at peace with one another, resolving minor differences, healing estrangements, etc, all toward the goal of a unified body of Christ and should have the same effect on churches today. Are you living in these truths that you might be enabled to live them out to the glory of God.

Ray Pritchard sums up Phil 2:1 this way...

The “ifs” of verse 1 express truths that the Philippians would readily assent to:

Yes, they had been encouraged by their union with Christ.
Yes, they had experienced God’s love.
Yes, they had enjoyed the fellowship of God’s Spirit.
Yes, they had received an outpouring of mercy from God.

Well, then, says Paul, in light of all that, it shouldn’t be such a great thing to ask that you maintain the unity God has given you. The underlying principle here should be noted. All Christian duties flow naturally from God’s kindness to us. It’s not as if God says, “Do this and I will bless you” but rather “I have blessed you, now do this.”  (Philippians 2:1-4: Getting Along)

F B Meyer writes regarding the bonds of unity in a local body that...

The fourth bond is, "Bowels of Mercies." The old Greek word stands for humanness and pity. In the former clause we were called upon to manifest the kindly cheer, that welcomes the weary soldier on his return from the campaign, for equals of whose heart-sorrow we have some inkling; but now we are to show fellowship for our dependants and subordinates, for the fallen, the weak, the weary, for those whose spirits cry out in agony. And in acting thus we are doing what we can to co-operate with Christ in His consolation, and with the Holy Ghost in His fellowship, to build up and compact the Church into a living unity. (The Epistle to the Philippians )

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A Circle Of Compassion -Following the death of our 17-year-old daughter in a car accident in June 2002, each member of our family handled the loss differently. For my wife, among the most helpful sources of comfort were visits from moms who had also lost a child in an accident.

Sue found strength in their stories, and she wanted them to tell her how God had been faithful in their lives, despite the deep sorrow that comes with losing a precious child. Soon Sue became part of a circle of compassion, a small group of moms who could weep, pray, and seek God's help together. That cadre of grieving moms formed a bond of empathy and hope that provided encouragement in the face of her daily sorrow.

Each person grieves uniquely, yet we all need to share our hearts, our burdens, our questions, and our sadness with someone else. That's why it's vital that we find others with whom to discuss our pain and sorrow. In our relationship with Christ, we find encouragement, consolation, love, fellowship, affection, and mercy (Philippians 2:1). God comforts us so that we can comfort others (2Corinthians 1:4). So let's "rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep" (Romans 12:15). Then others will find a circle of compassion too. —Dave Branon  (
Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

A heartfelt tear can show our love
As words can never do;
It says, "I want to share your pain—
My heart goes out to you." —D. De Haan

We must learn to weep before we can dry another's tears.

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Long lines of cars were filling up the huge parking lot of a church where I was attending a conference. As I parked, I noticed the word Love on a light post in one section. In another area, I saw the word Faithfulness. The next day I pulled into a different lot at the same church and saw Patience on another sign. Like numbers in a mall parking lot, these words help people find their cars.

No doubt these signs served another purpose. After each session, some people were in a hurry to get home—even cutting others off to get out of the lot. Patience wore thin and tempers flared. How appropriate those signs are! I thought. It's amazing how quickly the love we have for our brothers and sisters in Christ can disappear in a parking lot!

The testing of our faith may come through heavy burdens, but it's just as likely to occur in a checkout line, on the expressway, or in a parking lot. —D. C. Egner (
Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

The clear sign of your faith is not what you say but what you do.

 

Philippians 2:2  make my joy complete by being of the same mind, maintaining the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose. (NASB: Lockman)

Greek: plerosate (2PAAM) mou ten charan hina to auto phronete, (2PPAS) ten auten agapen echontes, (PAPMPN) sumpsuchoi, to en phronountes, (PAPMPN
Amplified: Fill up and complete my joy by living in harmony and being of the same mind and one in purpose, having the same love, being in full accord and of one harmonious mind and intention
(Amplified Bible - Lockman)
Barclay: complete my joy, for my desire is that you should be in full agreement, loving the same things, joined together in soul, your minds set on one thing (
Westminster Press)
Darby: fulfil my joy, that ye may think the same thing, having the same love, joined in soul, thinking one thing;
KJV: Fulfil ye my joy, that ye be likeminded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind.
Phillips: do make my best hope for you come true! Live together in harmony, live together in love, as though you had only one mind and one spirit between you. (
Phillips: Touchstone)
Wuest: Fill full my joy by thinking the same thing, having the same love, being in heart agreement, thinking the one thing. (
Eerdmans
Young's Literal: fulfil ye my joy, that ye may mind the same thing -- having the same love -- of one soul -- minding the one thing,

make my joy complete: plerosate (2PAAM) mou ten charan: (cf similar sentiment 1Th 3:8, 9) (Phil 2:16; 1:4, 26,27; John 3:29; 2Corinthians 2:3; 7:7; Colossians 2:5; 1Thessalonians 2:19,20; 3:6, 7, 8, 9, 10; 2Thessalonians 2:13; 2Timothy 1:4; Philemon 1:20; 1John 1:3,4; 2John 1:4; 3John 1:4)

 

You have given me joy hitherto. Now fill my cup of gladness to overflowing. (Lightfoot)


complete my joy (Barclay)


Fill full my joy by thinking the same thing (Wuest)


fulfill ye my joy (Young's)


I pray you to give me the utter joy of knowing... (Moffatt)


Fill up and complete my joy by... (Amp)


Make...complete (4137) (pleroo [word study]) means fill full to the point that nothing is wanting to complete it.

 

The aorist tense, active voice (calls for a volitional choice of one's will) and imperative mood (command) taken together are a military like command to fill full Paul's joy and do so immediately and without delay. The aorist imperative can also express a sense of urgency. 

Williams' translation pictures the thrust of Paul's desire Fill up my cup of joy! Do this now!

Paul was already experiencing joy because of his association with this these saints (cf Phil 1:3-5; 4:10)...

I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, always offering prayer with joy in my every prayer for you all, in view of your participation in the gospel from the first day until now. (see notes Philippians 1:3-5)

But I rejoiced in the Lord greatly, that now at last you have revived your concern for me; indeed, you were concerned before, but you lacked opportunity.  (see note Philippians 4:10)

One thing was yet needed to make his joy "complete". Paul says that his cup of joy would be filled to the brim if the saints would maintain unity, work together harmoniously and clear up their petty quarrels. In the context of this letter Paul particularly had in mind the apparent schism between, Euodia and Syntyche (Php 4:2-note). Note that it was not money, acclaim, possessions, etc. that could fulfill Paul's joy, but the unity and spiritual maturity of the saints at Philippi.

John made a similar statement writing...

I have no greater joy than this, to hear of my children (spiritual children in the faith) walking in (implies a course of conduct or life = "living in the truth")  the truth. (3 John 1:4)

Once again in this verse we find the golden thread of joy that is so masterfully interwoven throughout this epistle (Click for all 12 verses)

Paul will now describe four essential marks of spiritual unity. The New Jerusalem Translation summarizes these...

"being of a single mind, one in love, one in heart and one in mind."

by (continually) being of the same mind: hina to auto phronēte (2PPAS): (cf Php 1:27- similar thought see note Phil 1:27) (Phil 2:20; 3:15,16; 4:2; Romans 12:16; 15:5,6; 1Corinthians 1:10; 2Corinthians 13:11; 1Peter 3:8,9)

Live in unity among yourselves (Lightfoot)


for my desire is that you should be in full agreement (Barclay)


by being like-minded (NIV, NKJV)


that ye may think the same thing (Darby)


Live together in harmony... (Phillips)


by... living in harmony and being of the same mind and one in purpose (Amp)

Being of the same mind (5426) (phroneo - word study) is literally "thinking the same thing", being like minded. Right thinking is essential to spiritual unity.

The present tense calls for this to be their habitual mindset, continually living in unity—oneness of mind, common cause, common purpose, common love.

Being like-minded touches what we believe. Unity begins with a shared statement of faith. We can be of the same mind because of the truths in (Phil 2:1). Paul is calling for unity -- not at the expense of truth but because of the truth. In other words, "the same thing" must also be "the right thing."

John MacArthur explains that...

Paul is not talking here about doctrine or moral standards. In this context, being of the same mind means to actively strive to achieve common understanding and genuine agreement. A few verses later, the apostle declares that the only way to have such harmony is to “have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus” (2:5). Through God’s Word and the indwelling Holy Spirit, believers can know the very “mind of Christ” (1Co 2:16). (MacArthur, J. Philippians. Chicago: Moody Press)

Paul is calling for unity not uniformity in thought. He desires the saints to have a common disposition to work together and serve one another, which is ultimately the humble servant heart "attitude" of Christ  which Paul discusses in the next section. (cf Php 4:2, Ro 12:16; 15:5; 2Co 13:11).

Robertson adds that

Paul’s cup of joy will be full if the Philippians will only keep on having unity of thought and feeling (to auto phronēte, present active subjunctive, keep on thinking the same thing).

Wuest comments that "being of the same mind" is

defined and shown in its three constituent elements, “having the same love,” unity of affection, “being of one accord,” literally, “soul with soul,” unity of sentiment, and “of one mind,” literally, “thinking the one thing,” the last expression being repetition in stronger terms. Here we have what is called “the tautology (repetition of an idea) of earnestness. (Wuest, K. S. Wuest's Word Studies from the Greek New Testament: Studies in the Vocabulary of the Greek New Testament: Grand Rapids: Eerdmans)

It is notable that each of the following expressions is in the present tense calling for continuous action (lifestyle) and by habitually complying with these instructions, the readers would create a climate wherein true unity would flourish.

Paul gave a similar exhortation to the saints at Rome....

Be of the same mind (present tense) toward one another; do not be haughty in mind, but associate with the lowly. Do not be (present imperative) wise in your own estimation. (Ro 12:16-note)

Paul prays for unity in the church at Rome writing...

Now may the God who gives perseverance and encouragement grant you to be of the same mind with one another according to Christ Jesus; (see note Romans 15:5)

In his first epistle to the Corinthians Paul wrote...

Now I exhort you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all agree, and there be no divisions among you, but you be made complete in the same mind and in the same judgment. (1Cor 1:10)

At the conclusion of his second epistle to the Corinthians Paul gives the saints a similar charge:

Finally, brethren, rejoice, be made complete, be comforted, be like-minded, (be thinking the same thing, be of one mind) live in peace; and the God of love and peace shall be with you. (2Cor 13:11)

(continually) maintaining the same love: ten auten agapen echontes, (PAPMPN): (Torrey has a great topic "Love to Man") 

 

animated by an equal and mutual love (Lightfoot)

 

loving the same things (Barclay)

 

with the same feelings of love (Moffatt)

 

live together in love (Phillips)

 

Fill full my joy by ...having the same love (Wuest)

 

Fill up and complete my joy by... having the same love (Amp)

Maintaining (2192) (echo) means to have or hold,  implying continued possession. Paul calls on the saints to continually (present tense) keep holding to a mutual love. Though the opinions of the saints might differ on certain points, they are to continually be united in love which "endures all things" (1Cor 13:7-note) .

Love (26) (agape [word study]) is first and foremost is the love that God is (Jn 3:16) and has bestowed on us (Ro 5:5-note, Gal 5:22-note). We are to bestow the same kind of sacrificial, loving service on one another just as was shown to us by Christ (Jn 15:13; Ro 12:10-note; 1Jn 3:17).

Jesus taught how important this was declaring that

By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have (2192 = echo) love (agape) for one another. (Jn 13:35)

This love is not sentimental or emotional but is obedient, being an manifestation of the act of one's will that desires another's highest good. It is unconditional so that if given and not returned then the "giver" doesn't stop giving. Agape gives and gives and gives. Agape takes "slaps in the face" and still gives with the attitude of Jesus Who said "Father forgive them".

MacArthur explains it this way...

To have the same love is to love others equally. On a purely emotional level, having equal love for others is impossible, because people are not equally attractive. Agape (love), however, is the love of will, not of preference or attraction. It is based on an intentional, conscious choice to seek the welfare of its object. It is because agape (love) is based on the will that it can be commanded...Minds governed by selfless humility (Phil. 2:3) produce lives that overflow with genuine, practical love for fellow believers. On the other hand, sinful, self-centered thinking inhibits love and unity. Dissension and lack of unity in the church inevitably stem from lack of love. (Ibid)

Tertullian an "early church father" described this love as

"our care for the helpless, our practice of lovingkindness, that brands us in the eyes of many of our opponents. 'Look!' they say, 'How they love one another!' Look how they are prepared to die for one another."'

People do not care how much we know until they know how much we care. Paul had prayed for their love to abound in (Phil 1:9-note), had explained in Phil 2:1 that they had "consolation of love" and here exhorts them to keep having this very same love so they might remain united.
 

united in spirit: sumpsuchoi :

 

knit together in all your sympathies and affections. (Lightfoot)


joined together in soul (Barclay)


Fill full my joy by ...being in heart agreement (Wuest)


being one in spirit and purpose (NIV)


joined in soul (Darby)


your hearts beating in unison (Williams) 


Live together...as though you had only one mind and one spirit between you (Phillips)

Robertson translates

being of one accord (KJV) as "harmonious in soul, souls that beat together, in tune with Christ and with each other."

United in spirit (4861) (sumpsuchos from sun = with, together speaks of intimate union + psuche = soul) literally means "one-souled", joined together in soul, harmonious (musically concordant, marked by accord in sentiment or action) in soul, unanimous (Latin from unus = one + animus = mind), being of one spirit. It means a union of soul; or an acting together as if but one soul actuated them. Each saint should be  the other's "consummate soul mate" in the highest spiritual sense! This harmony is to pervade their mind and their emotions.

In Philippians 1 Paul had a given similar call for oneness in the saints writing...

Only conduct (present imperative) yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ; so that whether I come and see you or remain absent, I may hear of you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel (Php 1:27-note)

intent on one purpose: to en phronountes, (PAPMPN):  (Acts 1:14; 2:1,46; 5:12)

 

of one mind (KJV)

 

united in all your thoughts and aims (Lightfoot) 


your minds set on the one thing (Barclay)


Fill full my joy by ...thinking the one thing. (Wuest)


being one in spirit and purpose (NIV)


living in harmony, and keeping one purpose in mind (GWT)


Live together in harmony... as though you had only one mind and one spirit between you (Phillips)


by... being...of one harmonious mind and intention (Amp)

The Greek literally is one thing thinking or think the one thing.

The KJV Bible Commentary adds that this idea of "thinking one thing" speaks to a...

Unity of thought and purpose. Unity is defined as something far deeper than: (1) consent to a common creed; (2) union in a form of worship; and (3) participation in a common task. It is unity of heart, soul, and mind. This is what Christ can and will do. (Dobson, E G, Charles Feinberg, E Hindson, Woodrow Kroll, H L. Wilmington: KJV Bible Commentary: Nelson)

Intent (thinking) (5426) (phroneo) means to set one's mind or heart upon something and denotes the whole action of the affections and will as well as the reason. Note again the Paul calls on the saints to continually present tense calling for this to be their continual mindset.

One (1520) (heis) means that which is united as one in contrast to being divided or consisting of separate parts. Again, this speaks to unity in the body.

Robertson adds that Paul desires the saints to be

like clocks that strike at the same moment. Perfect intellectual telepathy. Identity of ideas and harmony of feelings.

Are you contributing to the unity of the body of believers that you attend? Or conversely are you playing  "Out of Tune" ?

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Here's an illustration of the effect you are are having on the body of Christ if you are playing "out of tune": A high school orchestra was preparing for a concert that featured a pianist in a rendition of Grieg’s A-minor concerto. Before the performance, it was customary for the orchestra to tune up with an “A” sounded by the oboe player. But the oboist was a practical joker, and he had tuned his instrument a half step higher than the piano. You can imagine the effect. After the pianist played a beautiful introduction, the members of the orchestra joined in. What confusion! Every instrument was out of tune with the piano. What would it have been like if half the orchestra insisted on playing in one key and the other half in a different key? How much worse is it when everyone in a local body is "doing their own thing"?

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Long lines of cars were filling up the huge parking lot of a church where I was attending a conference. As I parked, I noticed the word Love on a light post in one section. In another area, I saw the word Faithfulness. The next day I pulled into a different lot at the same church and saw Patience on another sign. Like numbers in a mall parking lot, these words help people find their cars.

No doubt these signs served another purpose. After each session, some people were in a hurry to get home—even cutting others off to get out of the lot. Patience wore thin and tempers flared. How appropriate those signs are! I thought. It's amazing how quickly the love we have for our brothers and sisters in Christ can disappear in a parking lot!

The testing of our faith may come through heavy burdens, but it's just as likely to occur in a checkout line, on the expressway, or in a parking lot. —D C Egner (
Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

The clear sign of your faith is not what you say but what you do.

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F B Meyer in his devotional commentary on Philippians...


THE ENTWINING OF CHRISTIAN HEARTS
Php 2:1, 2, 3, 4

 

Fellowship is Essential to Growth of Character. Fellowship is essential to the true development of character. Ever since the Creation it has not been good for man to be alone. The Swiss Family Robinson was always more interesting to me than Robinson Crusoe, because the latter was alone on the island, whilst the former was a family group. No man can be satisfied to live by himself. It may be necessary, but he will not attain his full growth. He needs fellowship with those above him, with those beside him, and with those below him, in order to attain his full maturity.


Such Fellowship is Communion. Such fellowship must be inward rather than outward. It must be communion rather than communication; it must be in spirit and sympathy more than in outward form. If a man is only conscious that he is in sympathy with kindred souls he does not so much mind if they be silent. If there be at this moment some noble angel who has been commissioned by the Almighty to undertake a distant errand to one of the environs of the universe, and who at this moment is plying his mighty fight through ether, intent on executing the purpose of the Most High, his noble bosom heaving with adoration, devotion, and praise, even though his back should be turned to the metropolis of the universe from which he has started, in those distant seas of space, from which no answering angel voice responds to his, and where his voice alone awakens the echoes with the praise of the Eternal, he probably is not conscious of solitude, or loneliness, or isolation, because his heart is beating in sympathy with the great host of beings he has left behind him. It is not necessary, therefore, that we should have outward contact with people to derive the development of character, which comes from sympathy; if the contact is inner and heart to heart, it is enough for the achieving of the Divine purpose.


It must Come Through a Common Medium. This fellowship will best come to us through a common medium. Of course, there are many cases of affinity in which man is drawn to man, and woman to woman, and man to woman, by a sort of inward attraction and approximation of heart to heart. But this is not so strong for the most part as their common adherence to a common interest. There may be the aggregation of sand-grains, which have been moistened and compressed until they appear to cohere, but directly they become dry they disintegrate and fall apart, atom from atom; whereas, supposing a number of grains of iron dust to accumulate around a common magnet, because the iron attracts them to itself it attracts them also to one another, and there is no disintegration, but a perpetual welding. So it is with groups of men. Men may be pressed together from without, whose union is but temporary. But again, other men may embrace one common principle, and become compacted into a cohesive whole. For the most part it is better, therefore, for us to adhere to one another because of their adhesion to a common centre or medium.


The Medium may be a Common Sentiment. This knitting medium may be a common sentiment. For instance, take the children of a home--a brother and sister. Their spirits came, God alone knows whence, but they met together in this common family circle. The common life of the father, of the mother, of the dear old ancestral residence, of the antique furniture, of the garden, or farm,--these create the common sentiments that yield for those two a medium of unusual attractiveness. So it is with two artists. Their common interest in the beautiful, that they catch bewitching nature in her shyest moods, that they are students together of the secrets of creation--these common sentiments will draw them together. They may have met in some little village, never having known each other before, but from that week which they spend together, they become welded by a common sentiment. So it is with two reformers, men who have come from different parts of England, who speak different dialects of English; they meet in a common council chamber, hear some great programme unfolded, and leap to their feet with enthusiastic acclamation. Then, as they leave the hall by the same staircase, talking casually, the two men find themselves drawn together; and from that moment a tie is wrought between them which will unite them like Cobden and Bright--brothers for the remainder of their existence.


Better Still, a Common Devotion. Higher and better than the adhesion to a sentiment is a common devotion to a person. That is what made the unity of the Cave of Adullam. David's followers had come from all parts of Israel; they were, many of them, men of rude and rough character; some were debtors, some outlaws; but as soon as they reached that spot and gathered around the magnetic personality of David, they became consolidated into a fellowship, before the impact of which the kingdom of Saul fell. He could not resist the mighty impulse of that united band of brothers, that gathered each to the other, because they gathered around David. And in our own English story, what made the unity of the Round Table, which drove out the heathen and righted wrong throughout the whole country, except the fact that King Arthur was there, the leader, the prince, the centre, in whom each of the units found union and cohesion with every other?


What is it that makes the British Empire? Is it not because distant colonies, countries, cities, and vast extended territories find their centre of unity in the personality of the Sovereign? In the old village life of England, the fact that men, women, and children came for water to the common well, that stood in the centre of the village green, made the whole village become one by its common attraction to that moss-grown well.


Best of All: God the Medium. It is best of all when that medium is God Himself.--God in the person of Christ. You can see that in a minute, if you have noticed the change that comes over a family when religion enters it. Before religion came the father, mother, and children were bound by a certain bond to each other; there were no jars, no jealousy, no strife; but when a revival comes over the Church, and the larger number, if not all, in the household become truly regenerate, there is a new depth, a new blessedness in the family life. God is in the meals, God is in the play and recreation; the thought of God persuades and permeates the whole house. The presence of God gives a new meaning to every affection, pursuit, engagement, and faculty--a new wealth and beauty pour into them all.


Two men may have been drawn to each other by a common sentiment. After a while they become religious, each begins to love God. They love one another better, touch one another at deeper points, become in every way more to one another. Those two men have taken the bulb of friendship, which could hardly thrive in the cold atmosphere to which it was exposed, and have planted it amid the kindly atmosphere of the love of God, and the poor sickly plant has unfurled a fragrance and beauty of colour which had never before been possible. So you see, however great the drawings we have to one another on the same and lower platform of common interests or sentiments towards a given centre, there is no such fellowship as that which is born in us when we are welded together in a common love to Jesus Christ and a common devotion to the interests of His kingdom. This is the basis of closest fellowship, when our souls are bound together by a strong deep attachment to God in Christ.


According to this passage there are five bonds of union and fellowship in the Gospel.


Bonds of Union: Consolation. The first bond is the consolation which is in Christ. For consolation let us substitute exhortation, or, better still, persuasiveness, so that we might put it that the first bond of Christian fellowship is Christ's persuasiveness. That Jesus Christ is interested in every Church fellowship is obvious, but we do not always realise how much He is always doing to persuade us to main-rain it. Have there not been times in your life when you have been greatly incensed, but have realised that there was a voice speaking within your heart, and a gentle influence stealing over you, a yearning towards the brother about whom you had cherished hard and unkind feelings? That has been the persuasiveness of Christ. It is He who has besought you to check that word, to refrain from writing that letter, to abandon that bitter and offensive way which had seemed so befitting a method of repaying your enemy to his face. It was Christ who was persuading you to drop the weapon from your hand, and to reach it out in brotherhood, and this because He was so eager to keep the unity of the Spirit unbroken in the bond of peace.


The Comfort of Love. The second bond is the comfort of love. The Greek word will bear this rendering--if you know the tender cheer that love gives; that is, see to it that you maintain the bond of Christian fellowship by meeting your fellow Christians with the tender cheer of love. We all know what tender cheer is, when men have been out all day and tried, almost beyond endurance. As they come out of the storm, the depression of their spirit and their health may have conspired to reduce them to the lowest depth of darkness--then as the door opens, and they see the ruddy glow of the fire, and the wife comes to meet them, and the child is there with its prattle, for a moment it seems almost worth while having known the weariness and depression because of the contrasted cheer that greets them. All around us in the world are Christian hearts which are losing faith; many hands hang down, and knees shake together. Let us see to it that by the kindly cheer of a smile, the grasp of a hand, the welcome of a word, we do something to draw those people into the inner circle of Christian love.


The Fellowship of Spirit. The third bond is the fellowship of the Spirit. The word means to share the Spirit, the going in common with the Spirit. They who live near God know what that fellowship is; they know that they are always accompanied; that they are never for one moment by themselves; can never enter a room with the consciousness of vacancy; can never travel in an empty car with a sense of isolation and solitude: there is always the fellowship of the Spirit. Whatever any one man knows of this fellowship every other knows. Each Christian person is conscious of the same Presence, making evident and obvious to us the same Jesus Christ. The same atmosphere is lighted by the same sun; and in proportion as we have fellowship with the same Spirit we cannot lose our temper with each other, or be hard, cross, and unkind.


"Bowels of Mercies." The fourth bond is, "Bowels of Mercies." The old Greek word stands for humanness and pity. In the former clause we were called upon to manifest the kindly cheer, that welcomes the weary soldier on his return from the campaign, for equals of whose heart-sorrow we have some inkling; but now we are to show fellowship for our dependants and subordinates, for the fallen, the weak, the weary, for those whose spirits cry out in agony. And in acting thus we are doing what we can to co-operate with Christ in His consolation, and with the Holy Ghost in His fellowship, to build up and compact the Church into a living unity.


A Common Mind and Purpose. The fifth bond is one common mind and purpose--"That ye be like-minded, being of one accord and of one mind." It recalls the sentence in the book of Chronicles which tells us that every day men came from all Israel with one mind to make David king. So the deepest thought in Christian fellowship, and that which makes us truly one, is the desire to make Jesus King, that He may be loved and honoured, that thousands of souls may bow the knee and confess that He is Lord. Oh! that this were ever the prominent thought among us.


In such an atmosphere, where all love one another and live for the common object of the glory of Jesus, three things follow:


Three Results.


(1) Party spirit dies.--"Let nothing be done through strife or partisanship." One cannot say, I am of Apollos; another, I am of Cephas; because all are of Christ.


(2) There is absolute humility. Each thinks the other better than himself. Why? Because each looks upon the best things in another and the worst things in himself; and it is only when you compare what you know yourself to be with what you think others are, that you become absolutely humble. By comparing what we sadly deplore in ourselves with what we admire in others it is not difficult to think everybody better than ourselves. Out of this there comes:


(3) The habit is formed of looking upon other men's things and not upon our own. We acquire a wide sympathy. When we know God we begin to see something of Him in people who have been accustomed to very different surroundings from ourselves. We realise that those who do not belong to our fold may yet belong to the same flock. When we love Christ best it is wonderful how soon we discover Him in people who do not belong to our Church, or denomination, or system, but who also love Him best, are living the same life, and filled with the same spirit. We never relax our loyalty to our special Church, but we enlarge our sympathy to embrace the great Church, the Body of Christ.


Perhaps you have not yet entered the life of love! You do not know what the love of God is--your sin has made you evil and selfish. But if you are willing to abandon your selfish, sinful life, and kneel at the foot of the Cross, asking for forgiveness and salvation, step by step you will enter that experience which we have been describing, and which is in this world as an oasis amid wastes of wilderness sand. (F. B. Meyer. The Epistle to the Philippians)

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