Philippians 4:1-5 Commentary

Philippians 4:1 Therefore, my beloved brethren whom I long to see, my joy and crown, in this way stand firm (2PPAM) in the Lord, my beloved (NASB: Lockman)
Greek: Oste, adelphoi mou agapetoi kai epipothetoi, chara kai stephanos mou, houtos stekete (2PPAM) en kurio, agapetoi
Amplified: THEREFORE, MY brethren, whom I love and yearn to see, my delight and crown (wreath of victory), thus stand firm in the Lord, my beloved (Amplified Bible - Lockman)
NLT: Dear brothers and sisters, I love you and long to see you, for you are my joy and the reward for my work. So please stay true to the Lord, my dear friends. (NLT - Tyndale House)
Phillips: So, my brothers whom I love and long for, my joy and my crown, do stand firmly in the Lord, and remember how much I love you (Phillips: Touchstone)
Wuest: Therefore, my brethren, individually loved ones, and individually and passionately longed for, my joy and my victor’s festal garland, thus be standing firm in the Lord, beloved ones. (Eerdmans)
Young's Literal: So then, my brethren, beloved and longed for, my joy and crown, so stand ye in the Lord, beloved.

THEREFORE MY BELOVED BRETHREN WHOM I LONG TO SEE MY JOY AND CROWN: Hoste, adelphoi mou agapetoi kai epipothetoi chara kai stephanos mou: (Philippians 3:20 21; 2Pe 3:11, 12, 13, 14) (MacArthur Phil 4:1-9 Leave Me Alone I Can't Cope) (Philippians 2:16; 2Co 1:14)

Therefore is a term of conclusion which Dwight Pentecost explains as follows…

It is unfortunate that in our text the chapter break comes between Phil 3:21 and 4:1 for we miss Paul’s implication. Because Jesus Christ is the Savior of the body, and because Jesus Christ has an eternal destiny for this body, and because this body throughout all eternity will serve a purpose in the plan of God and will be an instrument through which God will manifest His glory forever, we have a responsibility to God as to how we use this body now. Whereas these false teachers are telling the Philippians that it doesn’t matter how they live, that it doesn’t matter what they do with their bodies, Paul says it does matter in the light of the purpose God has for this body in the redemption that is provided by the Savior. (Pentecost, J. D. The Joy of Living: A study of Philippians. Kregel Publications)

Eadie on therefore (hoste) - We might conclude that hoste is generally and in spirit an inference from the entire chapter, and in form and more especially from its last paragraph, which describes such power as believers hope to be realized at the second advent. (The Epistle to the Philippians - Online)

Beloved brethren - This same phrase in 1Cor 15:58; Phil 4:1; Jas 1:16, Jas 1:19; Jas 2:5

Eadie - The apostle's mind turns away from the enemies of the cross to the genuine believers; and his heart opens itself to them, and opens all the more unreservedly from the contrast. He weeps over the one party, as he thinks of their awful destiny; but his soul is filled with holy rapture when he turns to the other party, and as he contemplates their coming glory. The epithets are the coinage of a jubilant spirit. The accumulation of them proceeds from his conscious inability to express all his ardor. Indeed, the language of endearment is fond of such repetitions… The apostle terms them “brethren beloved”—children of one spiritual Parent—forming one happy family—and rejoicing to meet at length in the Father's house of “many mansions.” They were spiritually dear to him; his heart clasped them with special fondness— epipothetos. See Php 1:8; 2:26. (The Epistle to the Philippians - Online)

Beloved (27) (agapetos from agape) is a word that describes one who is very dear to another or who is very much loved. It is the very word the Father uses of His Son declaring "This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well-pleased." (Mt 3:17 )

By addressing the saints as beloved, Paul is speaking of the deep feeling he has in his heart toward them. He adds that they are his joy and his crown, accentuating the deep contentment which the Philippians as a body of believers bring to his heart.

Long (1973) (epipothetos from epi = intensifies + pothéō = to yearn) (Click for study of related word epipotheo) is an adjective which describes a strong desire, an intense craving of possession, a great affection for, a deep desire, an earnest yearning for something with implication of need. Here it describes the natural yearning of personal affection. Paul loved the saints at Philippi and had a longing for the joy of renewed fellowship with them face to face.

Eadie notes that epipothetos "occurs only here in the New Testament. The apostle's heart yearned toward them, and there was reason for this indescribable longing,— they were his “joy and crown” (cp 1Th 2:19)… They were a source of gladness to him, in their rescue from sin and danger, in their spiritual change, and in its visible development. Nay, as he had been so instrumental in their conversion, they were to him even now a wreath of honor. (The Epistle to the Philippians - Online)

Joy (5479) (chara) (Click for word study of chara) is like a golden thread Paul interweaves throughout this letter (Joy is a repeated emphasis in this letter-Php 1:4, 1:18, 1:25, 2:2, 2:17, 2:18, 2:28, 2:29, 3:1, 4:1, 4:4, 4:10). Joy is the deep-down sense of well-being that abides in the heart of the person who knows all is well between himself and the Lord. It is not an experience that comes from favorable circumstances and in fact can still be manifest when those circumstances are the most painful and severe (Jn 16:20, 21, 22). Emotional fluctuations do not trouble this source of joy for it is a gift of God to believers who manifest it as they cultivate the fruit of His Spirit (Gal 5:22-note). Paul speaks here than just a mood. This is a deep confidence that was rooted in God’s sovereign control of the universe, His on unchanging divine promises & eternal spiritual realities including the assurance of ultimate victory for those in Christ.

Crown (4735) (stephanos [word study] from stepho = to encircle, twine or wreathe) refers to the crown of victory (often a laurel wreath) in the Greek athletic games, to the runner who crossed the goal first, to the disc thrower with the longest toss, etc. Obviously this "crown" would bring great contentment and a sense of accomplishment to the victor, but these feeling would fade because the laurel wreath had already become to wilt the moment it was picked from the tree! What a contrast with the "crown" Paul exults in! The Philippian believers were his crown which were a source of immeasurable joy and a justifiable sense of accomplishment.

Stephanos - 25x in 25v - Matt 27:29; Mark 15:17; John 19:2, 5; Acts 6:5, 8f; 7:59; 8:2; 11:19; 22:20; 1 Cor 9:25; Phil 4:1; 1 Thess 2:19; 2 Tim 4:8; Jas 1:12; 1 Pet 5:4; Rev 2:10; 3:11; 4:4, 10; 6:2; 9:7; 12:1; 14:14

Eadie - The term stephanos is often used in a similar sense (wreath of honor). See also Pr. 4:9, 12:4, 14:24, 16:31, 17:6; Isa. 28:5. The expression was a common one. The scene of the first introduction of the gospel to Philippi recurred for a moment to his memory—the preaching of the truth, the impression made, the anxious inquiries put, the decided change produced, the organization of the church, and its growth and prosperity, as the result of his labors, prayers, and sufferings. His success he wore as a garland of imperishable verdure. If he who saved in battle the life of a Roman citizen received from his grateful countrymen an oaken garland, ob civem servatum, how much more might their apostle call them saved and blessed by his ministry, “my crown”! He was not insensible to the high honor of being the founder and guardian of such a community. That this joy might not fail, and that this crown might not wither, he adds in earnest and loving tone— “so stand in the Lord.” (The Epistle to the Philippians - Online)

The Philippian believers like a crown testified to the genuineness of Paul's ministry. This idea of genuineness of his ministry was alluded to earlier in this letter Paul describing the saints as those who continually were…

holding fast the word of life, so that in the day of Christ I may have cause to glory because I did not run (as the runners did in the ancient Olympics) in vain nor toil in vain (uselessly, without success). (Php 2:16-note)

What Paul was saying is that on that day when he stands before the Judgment Seat of Christ, the genuineness of the Philippian saints lives and testimony would be a cause for Paul to exult for it would bring forth the approval of His Lord regarding the race that he had run. And so he "wore" the Philippians as if they were his "joy and crown", testifying to the authenticity of His ministry and the efficacy of the gospel.

In a similar display of affection for the Thessalonian saints Paul wrote

who is our hope or joy or crown of exultation? Is it not even you, in the presence of our Lord Jesus at His coming? For you are our glory and joy (1Th 2:19, 20-note)

Paul later added in the same letter

what thanks can we render to God for you in return for all the joy with which we rejoice before our God on your account as we night and day keep praying most earnestly that we may see your face, and may complete what is lacking in your faith?. (1Th 3:9, 10-note)

Is there some brother or sister in Christ who will be your joy and crown in the presence of our Lord Jesus at His coming? If you cannot answer in the affirmative, then empowered by His Spirit and the authoritative command of our Lord Jesus

Go therefore and make disciples (aorist imperative = command to be obeyed immediately. Conveys a sense of urgency. It's like a military command from the "Captain of the Hosts" [Josh 5:14, 15]. Disciples = "learners"!) of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit teaching them to observe all that (Jesus) commanded", in full confidence that you will succeed for He Himself promised "lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age." (Mt 28:18, 19, 20)

Daniel records that

those who have insight will shine brightly like the brightness of the expanse of heaven, and those who lead the many to righteousness (right living before God and man), like the stars forever and ever. (Daniel 12:3)

Beloved, redeem this brief moment in eternity He has graciously allotted you to perform good works (see study of Good Deeds), works that bring Him glory throughout the ages to come.

SO STAND FIRM IN THE LORD, MY BELOVED: houtos stekete (2PPAM) en kurio, agapetoi : (Ps 27:14; Mt 10:22; John 15:3; 15:4; Acts 2:42; 11:23; Ro 2:7 Col 4:12; 1Th 3:13; 2Ti 2:1; Heb 3:14; 4:14; 10:23, 35; 36; Jude 1:20; 21 Rev 3:10,11) (MacArthur Spiritual Stability)

So (houtos) means - in this way, in this manner, thus, so. The reference is to what precedes.

From the context, why would they need to "stand firm"? Paul has just exposed some men in their midst who were enemies of the Cross of Christ and were living solely to please self not Savior (Php 3:18, 19-note). He knows that it would be tempting to follow their example, falsely believing that it does not really matter what one does with his or her body. He countered this aberrant thinking reminding them of the truth concerning their glorious future. It is in this context that Paul calls on his beloved saints to continue standing firm in the power and Person of the Lord Jesus Christ, Who is now their life (cf Col 3:4-note)

Eadie agrees writing that houtos relates "especially to the two preceding verses, and as being in virtual contrast with the description of Phil 3:18, 19. In opposition to those who were sunk in sensuality and earthliness, and on whom the cross of Christ exercised no spiritualizing power, they were to live as the citizens of a better country (Php 3:19), their mind lifted above the world by such an ennobling connection, and thrilled at the same time with the prospect of the Savior's advent, to transform and prepare their physical nature for that realm in which they should have an ultimate and a permanent residence (Php 3:20). And he concludes with a second beloved,—so great is the reaction from kai klaion ("even weeping")), and so great his attachment to his Philippian converts. (The Epistle to the Philippians - Online)

Dwight Pentecost explains it this way - By “stand fast in the Lord” Paul means realizing experientially in your daily life the purpose God has for this body. As He purposes that throughout eternity it (the body) should be an instrument to His glory, so now, too, it should be an instrument to His glory. It must not become a vehicle through which lust and sin manifest themselves. It must be a vehicle through which righteousness and holiness are manifested, through which God is glorified in the believer’s life. This is the theme that the apostle has emphasized over and over again. (Pentecost, J. D. The Joy of Living: A study of Philippians. Kregel Publications)

Writing to the church at Corinth Paul commanded them…

Flee (present imperative = command to continually run from. Why present tense? Because we live in a fallen world and walk around with a fallen flesh nature and at any moment are vulnerable [when He is not our shield and strength] to being seduced by the deceptive [He 3:13-note] passing pleasures of sin [He 11:25-note]) immorality (porneia = fornication = misuse of their body). Every other sin that a man commits is outside the body, but the immoral man sins against his own body. Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit Who is in you, Whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? (Any habit that a believer has that in any way destroys this temple is meddling with God’s property and has no place in the life of a believer) For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body. (1Cor 6:18-note, 1Cor 6:19-note, 1Cor 6:20-note)

As discussed in Php 3:20, 21 (see notes) God has both a temporal and an eternal purpose for our body. It follows that believers have no right to pervert or distort God's purpose by using their bodies as instruments to serve self and sin. As Paul explained to the Corinthians, the body is presently the instrument through which God is glorified. Corinth was a city well known for abuse of one's body in various forms of sexual sin and it may have been tempting to invoke the modern axiom "Well everyone else is doing it so it can't be that bad!" Paul is saying that it matters what believers do with their bodies because both our souls and our bodies have been redeemed by the blood of Christ and therefore our bodies must not be used as instruments of sin but as instruments of righteousness (right living). It is only as those who call themselves "Christian" live supernatural lives that they present to the lost world a proper opinion of the Creator and His power and purpose for mankind.

Paul taught the same truth in Romans exhorting the saints to present, not their minds or their hearts, but their bodies to God…

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

Stand firm (4739) (steko) can mean to stand literally ("whenever you stand praying… " Mk 11:25) but in the other NT uses steko is used figuratively meaning in a positive sense of to stand firm in faith and duty, to be constant, to persevere, to remain steadfast, to continue in a state. It can mean to be firmly committed in conviction or belief. In Jn 8:44 Jesus uses steko in a negative sense describing the fact that the devil absolutely does not stand in the truth.

The present imperative in the present passage is a command calling for the saints to continue to persevere and remain firm in their faith in the Lord, especially as it is manifest in what they do with their bodies!

Early Paul had declared I press on toward the goal for the prize... (Php 3:14-note) which presents an interesting paradox. Believers can only stand firm in the Lord by pressing on to become more like the Lord. A Christian who is not moving forward is falling backward whether he or she realizes it or not!

Steko occurs 11 times in the NT in the NASB: (Mark 3:31; 11:25; John 8:44; Rom 14:4; 1 Cor 16:13; Gal 5:1; Phil 1:27; 4:1; 1 Thess 3:8; 2 Thess 2:15; Rev 12:4) and is translated: stand, 2; stand firm, 4; standing, 1; standing firm, 2; stands, 2.

Paul used steko in a similar way in his letter to the Thessalonians…

1Th 3:8 (note) for now we really live, if you stand firm in the Lord.

And again in his second epistle Paul writes…

2Th 2:15 So then (In view of their high and holy calling explained in 2Th 2:13, 14, the saints are exhorted), brethren, stand firm (present imperative) and hold to (present imperative) the traditions which you were taught, whether by word of mouth or by letter from us.

Paul used (steko) exhorting the Philippian saints to

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 (steko) in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel. (Php 1:27-note)

How does one stand firm? In context first it is by doing so "in the LORD", in the strength He supplies and abiding in His word (Jn 8:31, 32).

Jesus reminded His disciples to

Abide (aorist imperative - Do this now! Don't delay!) in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you, unless you abide in Me. (Jn 15:4, cp why abiding is so critical -- Jn 15:5)

The Psalmist adds that

Those who trust in the LORD are as Mount Zion (God's holy city firmly set by Him on the hill), which cannot be moved, but abides forever." (Ps 125:1)

Spurgeon's comment - They that trust in the LORD shall be as mount Zion. The emphasis lies upon the object of their trust, namely, Jehovah the Lord. What a privilege to be allowed to repose in God] How condescending is Jehovah to become the confidence of his people! To trust elsewhere is vanity; and the more implicit such misplaced trust becomes the more bitter will be the ensuing disappointment; but to trust in the living God is sanctified common sense which needs no excuse, its result shall be its best vindication. There is no conceivable reason why we should not trust in Jehovah, and there is every possible argument for so doing; but, apart from all argument, the end will prove the wisdom of the confidence. The result of faith is not occasional and accidental; its blessing comes, not to some who trust, but to all who trust in the Lord. Trusters in Jehovah shall be as fixed, firm, and stable as the mount where David dwelt, and where the ark abode. To move mount Zion was impossible: the mere supposition was absurd.

In Acts we see the role of encouragement in standing firm as Paul and Barnabas were

"strengthening the souls of the disciples, encouraging them to continue in the faith, and saying, "Through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God" (Acts 14:22)


Paul exhorted his beloved Corinthian saints to

be (present imperative) steadfast (solidly in place, seated, firm, settled in one's belief. Used in secular Greek to describe the horse's back on which a rider sits!), immovable (firmly persistent), always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your toil is not in vain in the Lord" (1Co 15:58)

In the same letter Paul later exhorted them to

Be on the alert, stand firm (steko) in the faith, act like men, be strong. (1Cor 16:13) (Each verb in red is a command - all present imperatives)

To the Galatian church in danger of falling into the fleshly trap of legalism (cp Gal 3:1, 2, 3, 5:7) Paul wrote that

It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep standing firm (present imperative) (steko) and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery. (Gal 5:1)

To the Ephesian church in the midst of intense spiritual warfare (see culture of Ephesus in Acts 19:19) Paul wrote

be strong (present imperative) in the Lord, and in the strength of His might. Put on (aorist imperative - Do this now! Don't delay!) the full armor of God, that you may be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil… (and) take up (aorist imperative - Do this now! Don't delay!) the full armor of God, that you may be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm. Stand firm (aorist imperative - Do this now! Don't delay!) therefore, HAVING GIRDED YOUR LOINS WITH TRUTH, and HAVING PUT ON THE BREASTPLATE OF RIGHTEOUSNESS, and having shod YOUR FEET WITH THE PREPARATION OF THE GOSPEL OF PEACE in addition to all, taking up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming missiles of the evil one. And take (aorist imperative - Do this now! Don't delay!) THE HELMET OF SALVATION, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. With all prayer and petition pray at all times in the Spirit, and with this in view, be on the alert with all perseverance and petition for all the saints." (Ep 6:10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18-see notes on spiritual warfare Ephesians 6:10; 11; 12; 13; 14; 15; 16; 17;18)

Did you note the repetition of standing firm in the context of spiritual warfare?

Paul shows us the role of prayer in standing firm reminding the saints at Colossae that

Epaphras, who is one of your number, a bondslave of Jesus Christ, sends you his greetings, always laboring earnestly for you in his prayers, that (purpose clause -- the purpose of his intense praying) you may stand perfect and fully assured in all the will of God. (Col 4:12-note)

Paul reminded the Thessalonians of the impact their walk had on him, writing

for now we really live, if you stand firm (steko) in the Lord." (1Th 3:8-note) encouraging them in his second letter to "stand firm (steko) and hold to the traditions which you were taught (not "traditions of men" but the truths taught by Paul as he received them from the Lord), whether by word of mouth or by letter from us." (2Th 2:15)

Peter also emphasizes the importance of truth in assuring that one stands firm reminding and exhorting them that

"knowing this beforehand (that "untaught and unstable" people will "distort… the Scriptures to their own destruction"), be on your guard lest, being carried away by the error of unprincipled men, you fall from your own steadfastness" (2Pe 3:17-note)

In the Lord - This defines the sphere or element in which (in Whom) they (and we) are to stand firm. He is our Rock ON Whom we stand, yea, even IN Whom we hide, in the cleft of the Rock. (See Christ Our Rock)

Eadie adds that "To stand, or stand fast, in the Lord, is neither to wander out of Him, nor even to waver in connection with Him, but to remain immoveable in fellowship with Him (Ed: cp "abide in Him" 1Jn 2:24, 27, 28, 4:13, Jn 15:4, 7, 9 - How do we "abide in Him"? One way is seen in Jn 8:31, cp 1Jn 2:24, Jn 15:7 - the Word is critical - not just for information, but transformation),—to live in Him without pause—to walk in Him without digression—to love Him without rival—and serve Him without compromise. It is here to be untouched by the ceremonial pride of the concision, and especially to be proof against the sensualism of the enemies of the cross. (The Epistle to the Philippians - Online)

Jude eloquently sums up this topic of standing firm in the Lord, with this beautiful benediction

Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, and to make you stand in the presence of His glory blameless with great joy, to the only God our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen." (Jude 1:24, 25)

So now dear beloved of Jehovah,

Stand firm in the Lord


F B Meyer in his book The Epistle to the Philippians, a devotional commentary writes…


Steadfastness. The man who is backwards and forwards, mercurial, easily up to boiling point, and as soon down to zero, who is on the hooks and off ten times a week, now like a seraph flashing with zeal, now like a snail crawling in lethargy, who is everything by fits and starts and nothing long, will not have a happy Christian experience, nor will his influence tell in the Church or on the world. He may be a genius, but he will be a meteor dying in the dark. It is better to have for a friend and fellow-worker a man of less brilliance and with fewer ideas, who will be occupied by one thought, and give it regular and patient expression. In life, as in war, it is not the man that makes brilliant dashes, but he who can pursue a plan of strategy, week after week, that succeeds.

In the Lord. The source of stability is to stand fast in the Lord. Our only hope of stability is in union with "the Rock."

There is a sculpture in Spain of the Crucifixion, which is the only one of the kind. A fierce light falls on it from a hidden window.

One hand is nailed to the Cross, the other is stretched out. The story is that lovers plighted their troth there, and afterwards, when the man was faithless, the woman came back to plead her case beneath the Cross, and the hand disengaged itself, and stretched towards her, whilst a voice said: "I was witness." Probably, however, the old sculptor meant that if one hand is nailed to the Cross in atonement, the other hand is quick to help; and if you want help to be stable, you will find a very present help in the thought that He is near. (F. B. Meyer. The Epistle to the Philippians - A Devotional Commentary)

Philippians 4:2 I urge (1SPAI) Euodia and I urge (1SPAI) Syntyche to live in harmony (PAN) in the Lord (NASB: Lockman)

Greek: Euodian parakalo (1SPAI) kai Suntuchen parakalo (1SPAI) to auto phronein (PAN) en kurio

Amplified: I entreat and advise Euodia and I entreat and advise Syntyche to agree and to work in harmony in the Lord (Amplified Bible - Lockman)

Lightfoot: I appeal to Euodia, and I appeal to Syntyche, to give up their differences and live at peace in the Lord.

NLT: And now I want to plead with those two women, Euodia and Syntyche. Please, because you belong to the Lord, settle your disagreement. (NLT - Tyndale House)

Phillips: Euodius and Syntache I beg you by name to make up your differences as Christians should! (Phillips: Touchstone)

Wuest: Euodia I exhort, please, and Syntyche, I exhort, please, to be of the same mind in the Lord. (Eerdmans)

Young's Literal: Euodia I exhort, and Syntyche I exhort, to be of the same mind in the Lord;

I URGE EUODIA AND I URGE SYNTYCHE: Euodian parakalo (1SPAI) kai Suntuchen parakalo (1SPAI)

After mentioning his joy and crown, now Paul addresses the two "thorns", so to speak, in the crown! The fact that he urges them to live in harmony, strongly implies they were at odds with each other. And they were such "thorns" in the body of believers at Philippi that Paul had even received word of it all the way back in his Roman prison cell! How often we discount what we think are "small squabbles" between believers in a local body because we assume they are of such little spiritual consequence! Paul's example tells us that when we identify a "Euodia" and "Syntyche" in our midst, we must seek to foster reconciliation and harmony between them for the sake of the overall health of our body. "Small squabbles" are clearly no small matter to the Lord!

It is also noteworthy as Paul explains in Phil 4:3, that this squabble is between believers who "shared (his) struggle in the cause of the gospel" indicating that these were mature believers who were actively involved in the ministering the gospel at Philippi. It is sad but true that spiritual maturity does not guarantee freedom from the manifestations of the flesh nature that still resides in every believer.

Urge (3870) (parakaleo [word study] from para = side of + kaléo = call) conveys the basic idea of calling one alongside to help or give aid. Because a person can be called alongside for many purposes, the word has a wide range of meanings including to entreat, appeal to, summon, comfort, exhort, or encourage. Note that the present tense points to Paul's continuous urging regarding this matter.

Literally the Greek reads Euodia I exhort, and Syntyche I exhort - Paul uses "urge" (exhort) (parakaleo) twice implying that he went to Euodia and urged her and then went to Syntyche and urged her, which in turn suggests that they were not exactly seeing "eye to eye" as the saying goes.

Eadie adds that Euodia and Syntyche - had laboured in the gospel with earnestness and success. The apostle does not say on whose side the fault lay, but he repeats the parakaleo, not simply, as Alford limits it, to “hint at their present separation,” but to show that he placed the like obligation on each of them. He does not exhort the one to be reconciled to the other, for they might have doubted who should take the initiative, and they might wonder, from the position of their names and construction of the sentence, to which of them the apostle attached the more blame. But he exhorts them both, the one and the other, to think the same thing—not only to come to a mutual understanding, but to preserve it. See Php 2:2-note. Van Hengel needlessly supposes that they had laboured with the apostle at Rome, and were now about to proceed to Philippi with Epaphroditus—this counsel to them being, that in all things they did for the gospel they should act in concert. But the previous intimations in the epistle prove that there had been tendencies to disunion in the church, and the second verse of the second chapter these women might read with a special and personal concern. The cause of quarrel might be some unworthy question about priority or privilege even in the prosecution of the good work—vainglory leading to strife, as already hinted by the apostle toward the commencement of the second chapter. It does not seem to have been any difference in creed or practice, and wholly groundless is the hypothesis of Baur and Schwegler, that the names represent two parties in the church at Philippi—Euodia the Jewish, and Syntyche the heathen party. (The Epistle to the Philippians - Online)

Euodia (eu = to be well off + hodos = a way) means "prosperous journey", fine traveling, or in some sources has the meaning of "fragrant".

Syntyche (sún = together with + tugcháno = to happen, chance) means fortunate, with fate, happy chance, pleasant acquaintance, affable depending on which reference source one consults.

TO LIVE IN HARMONY IN THE LORD: to auto phronein (PAN) en kurio: (Phil 3:16; Ge 45:24; Ep 4:1-8; 1Th 5:13; Heb 12:14; Js 3:17; 18) (Macarthur "Spiritual Stability Pt2")

to be of the same mind in the Lord; (YLT)

make up your differences as Christians should! (Phillips)

give up their differences and live at peace in the Lord (Lightfoot)

I urge Euodia and Syntyche to iron out their differences and make up. God doesn’t want his children holding grudges. (Message)

be of one mind, as sisters in Christ (WNT)

The Living Bible renders this verse…

And now I want to plead with those two dear women, Euodia and Syntyche. Please, please, with the Lord’s help, quarrel no more—be friends again.

Live in harmony (present tense = continually) - Is more literally "continually be of the same mind" something that is possible only in the Lord. If the Lord is in control, there cannot (assuming the parts of the body on in submission to the Head, Christ Jesus) be division. The only way genuine harmony can exist is when the Lord is in control. When the Head is in control, the parts of the body function as they should. And remember that the way Jesus enables us today (in the New Covenant) is by His indwelling Spirit, the Spirit of grace and of power, the power to accomplish supernaturally what we simply cannot accomplish naturally. Recall what Paul had said in Phil 2:12-note - "Work out your salvation in fear and trembling." And here that means "live in harmony." But he then used the little word "for" (gar = term of explanation) in the next passage. What is he explaining? What has he just commanded? How can we obey what he commanded? In Phil 2:13-note Paul explains that they can obey by yielding to the desire and power provided by God, the Spirit, Who indwells them. Are you learning this truth? Or are you still trying to life the CHRISTian life in your own strength? A Christian has Christ within, specifically the Spirit of Christ within. We must be continually filled with (controlled by) Him (Eph 5:18-note), in order to continually walk by Him (Gal 5:16-note) and when we do we will be walking supernaturally and will not carry out the desires of the flesh. Is this a bit of a mystery? Of course it is. But it is truth. It is God's provision for every believer. We will spend the rest of our life "practicing" this principle which will one day be fully and perfectly realized when we are glorified and no longer have to contend with our contentious flesh! O Glorious Day!

Live in harmony (5426) (phroneo [word study]) refers to the basic orientation, bent, and thought patterns of one's mind, rather than to the intellect per se.

Paul used this same verb phroneo earlier exhorting the saints

make my joy complete by being of the same mind (also the verb phroneo), maintaining the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose. Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind let each of you regard one another as more important than himself. (Php 2:2, 3-see notes Php 2:2; 2:3)

So even as Paul had exhorted the saints at Philippi to have the mind of Christ, so now he exhorts Euodia and Syntyche to have the same mind in the Lord.

As Dwight Pentecost observes that "Two who are rightly related to the Head are not obedient to the Head and have come into conflict, refused reconciliation, and permitted the quarrel to continue. No consent to true doctrine can take the place of obedience to His word and manifestation of His love. (Ibid)

Jesus emphasizes this truth declaring "By this (By what?) all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another. (John 13:35)

In his first epistle John adds several similar exhortations…

Little children, let us not love with word or with tongue, but in deed and truth. (1John 3:18)

Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God… And this commandment we have from Him, that the one who loves God should love his brother also. (1John 4:7, 21)

The NASB translation of this verse as harmony gives us a word picture of what Paul is calling for. Harmony represents the combination of simultaneous musical notes in a chord, producing a pleasing or congruent arrangement. The Greeks had a separate word for "harmony", "symphoneo" (although it is not the word used here) from which we derive our English word "symphony."

Paul desires that even though these two believers are different instruments or are playing different notes so to speak, they should seek to come together in the Lord and produce a symphony rather than a cacophony (harshness in the sound of words or phrases)! Unity in diversity.

Jesus using the metaphor of salt told His disciples that "Salt is good; but if the salt becomes unsalty, with what will you make it salty again? Have salt in yourselves, and be at peace with one another. (Mk 9:50)

Apparently the disciples had argued over which of them was the greatest (read Mark 9 for context especially Mk 9:33, 34) and Jesus is implying that all such tension between fellow believers must be put aside and replaced by humble service in order that the salt fulfill its function "salty salt" which flavors, purifies and preserves the environment in which it is placed! For maximum "saltiness" Euodia and Syntyche were to live at peace with each other.

Paul encourages the saints at Rome to

Be of the same mind (phroneo in the present tense - see related note above on how we can obey this instruction) toward one another (thus this passage then is speaking primarily to the interactions between believers) and then hints at what might disturb the harmony by exhorting them not to

"be haughty in mind, but associate with the lowly. Do not be wise in your own estimation. Never pay back evil for evil to anyone (so Paul broadens the exhortation from interactions between believers to application to everyone). Respect what is right in the sight of all men. If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men." (see notes Romans 12:16-17, 12:18)

The NLT has a pithy paraphrase of Romans 12:16

Don't try to act important, but enjoy the company of ordinary people. And don't think you know it all!

Paul explains why it is so critical for Euodia and Syntyche to harmonize their differences in his letter to the Corinthian church where he writes (quoting from NLT)

"Now, dear brothers and sisters, I appeal to you by the authority of the Lord Jesus Christ to stop arguing among yourselves. Let there be real harmony so there won't be divisions (Greek = schisma = schisms, splits, rents, gaps, or tears!) in the church. I plead with you to be of one mind, united in thought and purpose." (1Cor 1:10NLT)

This harmonization of diversity in the body united by one Spirit does not come "automatically" but as Paul exhorts the church at Ephesus (quoting the International Children's Bible)

You are joined together with peace through the Spirit. Do all you can (Greek = spoudazo = do this earnestly with a ready spirit and with intense effort and motivation… it's that important!) to continue together in this way. Let peace hold you together." (Eph 4:3-note)

Peter gives a nice synopsis of the behavior conducive to a "spiritual symphony" among "scrapping saints" writing

To sum up, let all be harmonious, sympathetic, brotherly, kindhearted, and humble in spirit not returning evil for evil, or insult for insult, but giving a blessing instead; for you were called for the very purpose that you might inherit a blessing. For, "LET HIM WHO MEANS TO LOVE LIFE AND SEE GOOD DAYS REFRAIN HIS TONGUE FROM EVIL AND HIS LIPS FROM SPEAKING GUILE. AND LET HIM TURN AWAY FROM EVIL AND DO GOOD; LET HIM SEEK PEACE AND PURSUE IT. (1Pe 3:8, 9, 10, 11 -see notes 1 Peter 3:8-11)

The sweet psalmist David extols the virtues of harmony writing

"Behold, how good and how pleasant it is For brothers to dwell together in unity! It is like the precious oil upon the head, coming down upon the beard, even Aaron's beard, coming down upon the edge of his robes. It is like the dew of Hermon, coming down upon the mountains of Zion; for there the LORD commanded the blessing-- life forever." (Ps 133:1-3)

Spurgeon comments

For brethren according to the flesh to dwell together is not always wise; for experience teaches that they are better a little apart, and it is shameful for them to dwell together in disunion. They had much better part in peace like Abraham and Lot, than dwell together in envy like Joseph's brothers. When brethren can and do dwell together in unity, then is their communion worthy to be gazed upon and sung of in holy Psalmody. Such sights ought often to be seen among those who are near of kin, for they are brethren, and therefore should be united in heart and aim; they dwell together, and it is for their mutual comfort that there should be no strife; and yet how many families are rent by fierce feuds, and exhibit a spectacle which is neither good nor pleasant!

As to brethren in spirit, they ought to dwell together in church fellowship, and in that fellowship one essential matter is unity. We can dispense with uniformity if we possess unity: oneness of life, truth, and way; oneness in Christ Jesus; oneness of object and spirit -- these we must have, or our assemblies will be synagogues of contention rather than churches of Christ. The closer the unity the better; for the more of the good and the pleasant there will be. Since we are imperfect beings, somewhat of the evil and the unpleasant is sure to intrude; but this will readily be neutralized and easily ejected by the true love of the saints, if it really exists. Christian unity is good in itself, good for ourselves, good for the brethren, good for our converts, good for the outside world; and for certain it is pleasant; for a loving heart must have pleasure and give pleasure in associating with others of like nature. A church united for years m earnest service of the Lord is a well of goodness and joy to all those who dwell round about it. (Note)

Shooting the Saints --It is said that when the British and French were fighting in Canada in the 1750s, Admiral Phipps, commander of the British fleet, was told to anchor outside Quebec. He was given orders to wait for the British land forces to arrive, then support them when they attacked the city. Phipps’ navy arrived early. As the admiral waited, he became annoyed by the statues of the saints that adorned the towers of a nearby cathedral, so he commanded his men to shoot at them with the ships’ cannons. No one knows how many rounds were fired or how many statues were knocked out, but when the land forces arrived and the signal was given to attack, the admiral was of no help. He had used up all his ammunition shooting at the “saints.”


F B Meyer in his book The Epistle to the Philippians, a devotional commentary writes…

LIKE-MINDEDNESS. Phil. 4:2, 3:

Be of the same mind. These two women, Euodia and Syntyche, had fallen out; two women of whom the Apostle says: "They laboured with me in the Gospel," and the Greek word is--they agonised by my side. What a tribute to women! All through the centuries they have wrought beside their ministers. Compute what the churches owe to women. Many of them must have been disbanded if holy women had not bound them together by their presence and their prayer. Think of all the children like Chrysostom--"golden-mouthed"--who have been reared by Christian mothers; of all the hymns in our hymn-books we owe to women. But Euodia and Syntyche had fallen out. They were of different dispositions, and could not understand each other. They had been made on a different plan. Paul knew that neither Clement nor his fellow-labourers could put them right, but that if those two women came into the presence of Jesus they would find it easy to be of one mind. In the presence of the sun hard icicles flow together.

Rejoicing. Phil. 4:4: Rejoice always. When your children are around you, and when crepe is on your knocker; when your books show a good profit on the year's trading, and when your best schemes have miscarried; "Rejoice always." Amid your tears keep a trustful, restful, joyful heart, not rejoicing in your gifts, in your successes, in your friends, but in Him--rejoice in the Lord, in the presence of the Lord, for He is always there. The secret of perennial joy is in the realised companionship of the Redeemer. (F. B. Meyer. The Epistle to the Philippians - A Devotional Commentary)

Philippians 4:3 Indeed, true companion, I ask (1SPAI) you also to help (2SPMM) these women who have shared my struggle (3PAAI) in the cause of the gospel, together with Clement also and the rest of my fellow workers, whose names are in the book of life (NASB: Lockman)

Greek: nai eroto (1SPAI) kai se, gnesie suzuge, (yolk fellow) sullambanou (2SPMM ) autais, aitines en to euaggelio sunethlesan (3PAAI) moi meta kai Klementos kai ton loipon sunergon mou, on ta onomata en biblo zoes

Amplified: And I exhort you too, [my] genuine yokefellow, help these [two women to keep on cooperating], for they have toiled along with me in [the spreading of] the good news (the Gospel), as have Clement and the rest of my fellow workers whose names are in the Book of Life. (Amplified Bible - Lockman)

Lightfoot: Yes, I ask you, my faithful and true yokefellow, who are now by my side, who will deliver this letter to the Philippians, to reconcile them again: for I cannot forget how zealously they seconded my efforts on behalf of the Gospel. I invite Clement also, with the rest of my fellow-laborers, whose names are enrolled in the book of life, the register of God’s faithful people, to aid in this work of reconciliation.

NLT: And I ask you, my true teammate, to help these women, for they worked hard with me in telling others the Good News. And they worked with Clement and the rest of my co-workers, whose names are written in the Book of Life. (NLT - Tyndale House)

Phillips: And, my true fellow-worker help these women. They both worked hard with me for the Gospel, as did Clement and all my other fellow-workers whose names are in the book of life. (Phillips: Touchstone)

Wuest: Even so, I make request of you also, you who are a genuine yokefellow in deed as well as in name [knowing how to work harmoniously with others], lend a hand with these women in their efforts at settling the differences which they have between themselves, women of such a character that in the good news they labored and contended in perfect co-operation with me as a team of athletes would, together also with Clement and the rest of my fellow workers whose names are in the book of life. (Eerdmans)

Young's Literal: and I ask also thee, genuine yoke-fellow, be assisting those women who in the good news did strive along with me, with Clement also, and the others, my fellow-workers, whose names are in the book of life.

INDEED TRUE COMRADE I ASK YOU ALSO TO HELP THESE WOMEN WHO HAVE SHARED MY STRUGGLE IN THE CAUSE OF THE GOSPEL : nai eroto (1SPAI) kai se gnesie suzuge nai eroto (1SPAI) … sullambanou (2SPMM) autais aitines en to euaggelio sunethlesan (3PAAI) moi meta kai Klementos: (Php 1:27; Acts 9:36, 37, 38, 39, 40, 41; 16:14, 15, 16, 17, 18; Ro 16:2, 3, 4,9,12; 1Ti 5:9,10)

Wuest paraphrases this verse - Even so, I make request of you also, you who are a genuine yokefellow in deed as well as in name [knowing how to work harmoniously with others], lend a hand with these women in their efforts at settling the differences which they have between themselves, women of such a character that in the good news they labored and contended in perfect co-operation with me as a team of athletes would… (Online)

In light of the disharmony between Euodia and Syntyche, Paul makes a request of someone he calls a "true comrade", but he does not name this individual.

Eadie - “Yea, I ask thee too, true yoke-fellow.” A third party is appealed to, to interpose his good offices—a proof that the apostle reckoned the harmony of these two women a matter of no small importance… The verb eratao, as different from aiteo, carries in it the idea of authority. (The Epistle to the Philippians - Online)

Paul sends him word, “You help these women to reconcile their difference.” It is imperative in Paul’s thinking that this difference be reconciled. It goes far beyond the two who are involved. It is affecting the life and the testimony of the entire church before the world.

True (1103) (gnesios from génos = born) was used to describe children as those legitimately or lawfully born. In the present passage gnesios means a true believer who was intimately yoked with Paul.

Companion (4805) (suzugos from sún = together + zeúgos yoke, pair) means to those joined or yoked together and in extra biblical Greek referred to a companion in any enterprise, a marriage partner, a comrade in arms or a business associate. This word describes a close companion (yokefellow). The picture is that of two oxen yoked together pulling equally in order to plough effectively. In the ancient world, they would put a yoke upon the necks of a new married couple, or chains on their arms, to show that they were to be closely united, functioning as one person. Metaphorically suzugos describes one individual subjected to another.

Wuest comments that Paul using his authority makes a request of the “true yokefellow

"for the “true yokefellow,” in fellowship with the Lord, is like an obedient soldier who expects just such orders given with a military curtness, and is willing to snap right into the action demanded and obey the order." (Wuest)

Some commentaries and some translations (Vine's Lexicon, NJB, Jewish NT = "Syzygus") favor that the term "suzugos" was actually a proper name, Syzygus,

To help (4815) (sullambano from sún = an intensifier or together with + lambáno = take, receive) means to take hold of together with, to take or seize all together. It has the idea of clasping together or grasping with the hands, seizing and holding fast to someone. The present imperative calls for this to be their continual endeavor.

Vincent writes that sullambano literally means "take hold with. Compare Luke 5:7. The verb is used of conception, Luke 1:24; arrest, Matt. 26:55; Acts 12:3; catching, as fish, Luke 5:9."

Shared (my) struggle (4866) (sunathleo from sún = together or together with + athléo = to strive, contend for a prize, compete in the games = English "athletic") means to strive together with. In secular Greek it referred to an athletic contest in which a group of athletes co-operated as a team against another team (the world, the flesh and the devil), working in perfect co-ordination against a common opposition and for a common cause, in this case the propagation of the gospel. Paul's point as alluded to earlier is that Euodia and Syntyche were mature believers actively involved in the struggle for men's and women's souls. As emphasized earlier this fact points out that even the most mature, faithful, and committed people can become selfish and be embroiled in bitter conflict if they do not diligently seek to maintain the unity.

It therefore is not surprising that in the only other NT use of this verb (sunathleo), he exhorted the saints at Philippi to seek unity in the body writing…

Only (present imperative = command to continually) conduct yourselves in a manner worthy (axios) of the gospel of Christ (idea is that the conduct of the saints "weighs" as much as the character 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 (sunathleo) for the faith of the gospel (see note Philippians 1:27)

Eadie says Paul calls upon this third person to “help these women, as being persons who (or because they) have striven along with me in the gospel.” The first middle verb (sullambano) signifies to assist—“Take them up together.” Luke 5:7. It was not to help them pecuniarily (financially), as Justinian absurdly imagines, but he, whoever he was, was to be a mediator, and to use all his influence with them, so that they should make advances to each other. And there was the more reason for his benign interference, for these women had been specially useful. They had striven side by side with (sunathleo) Paul in the gospel. The verb contains an idea more intense than that represented by “laboured,” (See sunathleo in Php 1:27-note). In the place now referred to, the object for which agonistic (Webster = relating to aggressive social interaction as fighting between individuals) exertion is made is placed in the simple dative—here the sphere of the striving is represented by the preposition en. They strove together in the gospel, and for its furtherance. They had rendered the apostle essential assistance in his evangelical efforts and toils, and if they were so laboring still in their own spheres, they must be reconciled. From their past efforts, their misunderstanding was the more unseemly, and the more necessary it was to heal the breach. Spheres of labour for females were specially open in such cities as Philippi, and among their own sex, to whom they might have access (for the gunaikonitis was kept in jealous seclusion), and whose delicacies and difficulties they could instinctively comprehend or remove. Ro 16:3-12. Women were the first who received the gospel at Philippi. Acts 16:13. These women were not the apostle's only fellow-workers, for he adds, that they laboured "along with Clement, too, and my fellow-laborers.” (The Epistle to the Philippians - Online)

Gospel (2098) (euaggelion [word study] from = good + aggéllo = proclaim, tell) 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 good news of course is that Christ's death, burial and resurrection assures victory over sin and death for all who by grace through faith accept the message of salvation and eternal life.

Euaggelion - 76x in 73v - Matt 4:23; 9:35; 24:14; 26:13; Mark 1:1, 14f; 8:35; 10:29; 13:10; 14:9; 16:15; Acts 15:7; 20:24; Rom 1:1, 9, 16; 2:16; 10:16; 11:28; 15:16, 19; 16:25; 1 Cor 4:15; 9:12, 14, 18, 23; 15:1; 2 Cor 2:12; 4:3f; 8:18; 9:13; 10:14; 11:4, 7; Gal 1:6f, 11; 2:2, 5, 7, 14; Eph 1:13; 3:6; 6:15, 19; Phil 1:5, 7, 12, 16, 27; 2:22; 4:3, 15; Col 1:5, 23; 1 Thess 1:5; 2:2, 4, 8f; 3:2; 2 Thess 1:8; 2:14; 1 Tim 1:11; 2 Tim 1:8, 10; 2:8; Philemon 1:13; 1 Pet 4:17; Rev 14:6

TOGETHER WITH CLEMENT ALSO AND THE REST OF MY FELLOW WORKERS WHOSE NAMES ARE IN THE BOOK OF LIFE: meta kai Klementos kai ton loipon sunergon mou, on ta onomata en biblo zoes : (Ex 32:32; Ps 69:28; Isa 4:3; Ezek 13:9; Da 12:1; Lu 10:20; Rev 3:5; 13:8; 17:8; 20:12,15; 21:27)

Clement - Clement is mentioned nowhere else.

Eadie writes that "All we know of him is, that in fellowship with those women he had laboured along with the apostle at Philippi, in diffusing the gospel and building up the church. Euodia, Syntyche, and Clement must have been hearty and prominent in their co-operation; and Clement is mentioned as if the apostle had such a cordial recollection of him, that he could not but mention him. Others are also referred to, but not named. (The Epistle to the Philippians - Online)

Fellow workers (4904) (sunergos [word study] from sún = together, with + érgon = work) describes those who work together. Can you see in sunergos (synergos) the origin of our English word "synergy" which describes the interaction or cooperation of two or more individuals, organizations, substances, etc, to produce a combined effect greater than the sum of their separate effects. In the fight to spread the "good news" no man is an island, a truth Paul was quick to acknowledge, even as gifted and energetic as he was.

Sunergos - 13x in 13v - Ro 16:3, 9, 21; 1 Cor 3:9; 2 Cor 1:24; 8:23; Phil 2:25; 4:3; Col 4:11; 1Th 3:2; Philemon 1:1, 24; 3Jn 1:8

The book of life (see ISBE Article) - This is the register where God keeps the names of the redeemed (Exodus 32:32; Psalms 69:28 (Spurgeon's comment); Daniel 12:1; Malachi 3:16-17; Luke 10:20; Rev 3:5, 13:8, 20:12, 20:15, 21:27-see notes Rev 3:5; 13:8; 20:12, 20:15; 21:27).

See notes related to the…

Book of Life

Its Ultimate Purpose

When are Names Written?

Names Blotted Out

Their names were written there in eternity past (Mt 25:34; Ep 1:4-note; 2Ti 1:9-note). At the end of time (Rev. 20:11-note, Rev. 20:12-note, Rev. 20:13-note, Rev. 20:14-note, Rev. 20:15-note), those whose names are not written in the Book of Life will be “cast into the lake of fire” (Rev 20:15-note). But those whose names appear there (Rev 21:27-note) will be allowed to enter the New Jerusalem.

Eadie comments on the book of life - The book of life is a figure, sometimes having reference to present life, as in Athens, where the catalogue of living citizens was scrupulously kept. Ps 69:28; Ezek. 13:9. See also Ex. 32:32; Isa. 4:3. Then it came to be used in reference to life beyond the grave. Dan. 12:1-8; Rev. 3:5, 13:8, 20:15, 21:27; and somewhat differently, Luke 10:50; Heb. 12:23. This inscription of their names shows the certainty of their future happiness, for those names will not be erased. The image of such a register presents to us the minuteness and infallibility of the divine omniscience, and the assured glory of Christ's followers and servants. The relative has ton loipon for its antecedent, and probably the phraseology was suggested by the fact that their names are unnoticed in the epistle. The apostle does not name them, they are summed up in a brief and anonymous ton loipon; but they are not forgotten, for their names are written by no human hand in the register of that blessed assemblage which shall inherit eternal life. A greater honor by far than being mentioned even in the list of an apostle's eulogy. (The Epistle to the Philippians - Online)

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ILLUSTRATIONS OF BIBLE TRUTH by Harry A. Ironside - HELP THOSE WOMEN - "And I entreat thee also, true yokefellow, help those women" (Phil. 4:3). He was unschooled, and trying to give a word of exhortation. He fumbled through the opening verses of Philippians 4, but became confused over the names of the two women referred to in Php 4:2, and so he read, "I beseech Odious and I beseech Soontouchy that they be of the same mind in the LORD." He then proceeded to attempt an application of the truth according to the names as he had misunderstood them.

How much trouble is made among Christians by women like Odious, who are so unpleasant to get on with, and Soontouchy, who get offended over every little trifle! The application was good, thought the interpretation was faulty.

Philippians 4:4 Rejoice (2PPAM) in the Lord always; again I will say (1SFAI) rejoice (2PPAM) ! (NASB: Lockman)

Greek: chairete. (2PPAM ) en kurio pantote; palin ero, (1SFAI) chairete. ( 2PPAM )

Amplified: Rejoice in the Lord always [delight, gladden yourselves in Him]; again I say, Rejoice! (Amplified Bible - Lockman)

NLT: Always be full of joy in the Lord. I say it again--rejoice! (NLT - Tyndale House)

Phillips: Delight yourselves in God, yes, find your joy in him at all times. (Phillips: Touchstone)

Wuest: Be rejoicing in the Lord always. Again I say, Be rejoicing. (Eerdmans)

Young's Literal: Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice;

REJOICE IN THE LORD ALWAYS AGAIN I WILL SAY REJOICE: chairete (2PPAM) en kurio pantote palin ero (1SFAI): (Ps 34:1,2; 145:1,2; 146:2; Mt 5:12; Acts 5:41; 16:25; Ro 5:2,3; 1Th 5:16, 18; Jas 1:2, 3, 4; 1Pe 4:13) (3:1; 2 Co 13:1,2; Gal 1:8) (MacArthur "Spiritual Stability Pt2")

This is the second mention of "Rejoice" (chairo) Click here for the 7 uses in Philippians. Take a moment to read these verses and make a simple list of the things God's Spirit teaches you about "rejoicing" including in what Paul "rejoiced".

Rejoice (5463)(chairo) is present imperative calling for a lifestyle of joy that emanates from an active choice (active voice) of our will regardless of whether confronted with joyful or adverse circumstances and/or people. We are to continually work out this command empowered by God in us (the Spirit of Christ) Who energizes us to carry it out (Php 2:12-note, Php 2:13-note) and Who brings forth the fruit of the Spirit which is joy (Gal 5:22-note). (See related note above.)

Paul exhorted the Romans saints (in light of the liberating and empowering truths in Romans 1-11 about who they now were in Christ) to keep on "rejoicing in hope, persevering in tribulation, devoted to prayer". (Ro 12:12-note)

The idea behind Rejoice is pictured by a little lamb skipping around for joy and describes a physical change in your countenance, so it's not something you can fake. Rejoicing then involves a physical expression of joy and something that radiates from within (fruit of the Holy Spirit) to people around you. You can walk around and say that you are rejoicing but if it's not seen then you are not rejoicing.

Are you suffering unjustly (for His Name)? Then "Rejoice and be glad, (both verbs are present imperative. How is this possible? #1 Right motivation by treasure in heaven but #2 ultimately possible only as the Spirit strengthens us in our inner man) for your reward in heaven is great; for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you." (Mt 5:12-note, cf Jn 16:22, 20:20, Col 1:24-note, 1Pe 4:13-note)

One of the most convicting verses in all of Scripture in regard to rejoicing is after Peter and the apostles were flogged and released by the Jewish "religious" leaders they "went on their way from the presence of the Council, rejoicing that they had been considered worthy to suffer shame for His name. (Acts 5:41)

In spite of their "deep poverty" (2Co 8:2) as well as their "great trial of affliction," the Philippian church exhibited an "abundance of joy."

John Eadie - “Rejoice in the Lord always; again will I say, rejoice.” The apostle reverts to what he had started with in the Php 3:1. There is no need to suppose any connection between this and the preceding verse. The adverb pantote, which refers to time and not to place, belongs to the first clause. Kurios as usual, designates Christ, while en points to Him as the element or sphere of this joy. The joy was to be continual (present tense)—not a fitful rapture, but a uniform emotion . And the apostle repeats the injunction… The apostle wished them to come to a full appreciation of their position and their connection with Christ. Could they but judge truly their condition and prospects, and contrast them with their past state of gloom and unhappiness—could they but realize the nobleness and power of the truth they had embraced, and the riches and certainty of the hopes they were cherishing—could they estimate the saving change effected in their souls, and picture too that glorification which was to pass over their bodies (Php 3:20)— then, as they traced all blessing to Christ and to union with Him, they would rejoice in the Lord, not in themselves as recipients, but in Him as Source, not only in the gifts conferred, but in Him especially as the gracious benefactor. To rejoice in Him is to exult in Him, not as a dim abstraction, but as a living Person—so near and so loving, so generous and so powerful, that the spirit ever turns to Him in admiring grateful homage, covets His presence as its sunshine, and revels in fellowship with Him. Despondency is weakness, but joy is strength. Is it rash to say, in fine, that the churches of Christ are strangers by far too much to this repeated charge of the apostle—that the current ideas of Christ are too historic in their character, and want the freshness of a personal reality—that He is thought of more as a Being in remoteness and glory, far above and beyond the stars, than as a personal and sympathizing Saviour—that salvation is regarded more as a process a man thankfully submits to, than a continuous and happy union with Jesus— and that therefore, though Christians may run and are not weary, and may walk and are not faint (Isa 40:31-notes), they seldom mount up with wings as eagles, and then, if they do, is not their flight brief and exhaustive? On the reduplication of the precept… The earnest English expositor of this epistle thus writes—

“Now see how it pleaseth the Lord, that as the Apostle comes againe and againe unto this holy exhortation, and leaves it not with once or twice, but even the third time also exhorteth them to rejoyce in the Lord; so I should come unto you againe and againe, even three severall times with the same exhortation to rejoyce in the Lord. Againe, saith the Apostle, I say rejoyce, even in the Lord alwayes, for that is to be added, and resumed to the former place. From which doubling and redoubling of this exhortation, I observe both how needful and withall how hard a matter it is to perswade this constant rejoycing in the Lord, to rejoyce in the Lord alwayes. For to this end doth the Holy Ghost often in the Scriptures use to double and redouble His speech even to shew both the needfulness of His speech, and the difficultie in respect of man of enforcing His speech. In the Psalme, how often doth the Prophet exhort the faithful unto the praises of the Lord, even before all the people, that they and their posteritie might know them, saying, O that men would therefore praise the Lord for His goodnesse, and declare the wonders that He doth for the children of men! Even foure several times in that one Psalme. And wherefore? but to shew how needfull it was they should do so, and how hardly men are drawne to do so. How often likewise doth our Saviour exhort His disciples unto humilitie and meekness? sometimes saying unto them, Learne of Me that I am meeke and lowly in heart; sometimes telling them, that whosoever among them would be great, should be servant unto the rest; sometimes washing their feete, etc., thereby to teach them humilitie. And wherefore doth He so often beate upon it, but to shew how needfull it was they should be humble and meeke, and likewise how hard a thing it is to draw men unto humilitie and meeknesse? How often likewise doth the Holy Ghost exhort to the putting off of the old man, and the putting on of the new man! No part of Scripture throughout the whole Bible, wherein the Holy Ghost doth not speake much, though not haply in these words, yet to this purpose. And wherefore else is it, but to imply both how needfull a matter it is to be perswaded, and how hard a matter it is to perswade the mortification of the old man, and the quickening of the new man? And to let other instances passe, in the point whereof we now speake, how oft doth our Saviour exhort to rejoyce and be glad in persecution, because of the reward laid up for us by God in heaven; to rejoyce because our names are written in heaven by the finger of God's own hand; to be of good comfort, because He hath overcome the world, that is, to rejoyce in the Lord! And wherefore, but to show how needfull it is to rejoyce in the Lord, and how hard it is to perswade this rejoicing? So that by the usuall course of the Scripture it appeareth, that our Apostle doubling and redoubling this his exhortation, thereby sheweth both how needfull, and withall how hard a matter it is to perswade this constant rejoycing in the Lord, to rejoyce in the Lord alwayes: so needfull, that it must be perswaded again and again, and withall so hard to be perswaded, that it cannot be too much urged and beaten upon. “But it will not be amisse yet a little more particularly to looke into the reasons why it is so needfull to rejoyce in the Lord alwayes, and why we are so hardly perswaded to rejoyce in the Lord alwayes. Who seeth not, that considereth anything, what mightie enemies we have alwayes to fight withall, the flesh within us to snare and deceive us, the world without us to fight and wage warre against us, and the devil ever seeking like a roaring lion whom he may devour? Who seeth not, what fightings without, what terrors within, what anguishes in the soul, what griefes in the bodie, what perils abroade, what practices at home, what troubles we have on every side? When then Satan that old dragon casts out many flouds or persecutions against us; when wicked men cruelly, disdainfully, and despitefully speake against us; when lying, slandering, and deceitful mouthes are opened upon us; when we are mocked and jested at, and had in derision of all them that are about us; when we are afflicted, tormented, and made the world's wonder; when the sorrowes of death compasse us, and the flouds of wickednesse make us afraid, and the paines of hell come even unto our soule: what is it that holds up our heads that we sinke not? how is it that we stand either not shaken, or if shaken, yet not cast downe? Is it not by our rejoycing which we have in Christ Jesus?” (Philippians 4 Commentary)

The phrase "in the Lord" has been used by in his exhortations to exhorted to "stand firm" in the Lord, to be of "one mind" in the Lord; and here to "rejoice" in the Lord (also found in Phil 3:1 ).

Rejoice (chairo) is repeated again because Spirit enabled joy is such a vitally important factor in believers’ spiritual stability. Again this is a command (present imperative) calling for a lifestyle of joy.

It is important to understand that this is not "joy" as the world defines joy, envisioning it as an emotion evoked by well-being, success, or good fortune or by the prospect of possessing what one desires. This secular definition hardly describes Christian joy which is not a feeling but it is the deep-down confidence that God is in control of everything for the believer’s good and His own glory, and thus all is well no matter the circumstances.

If believers are to represent heaven to earth, then joy should be one of our trademarks, for in Christ's presence is fullness of joy. We obtain (and maintain) this joy by rejoicing in the right object. We rejoice not in our situation but in our Savior, not in circumstances, but in Christ.

Therefore this joy unique and distinct from the world's definition of "joy" for it is in the Lord. The Lord is the inexhaustible source of joy, and it is only by maintaining the closest possible union with him that the Christians will be able to experience uninterrupted joy. If we would concentrate on rejoicing in Christ so much of life would fall into place. We would be worshippers instead of worriers.

As John MacArthur emphasizes…

"The Lord is the only sure, reliable, unwavering, unchanging source of joy. Spiritual stability is directly related to how a person thinks about God. No one has stated that truth more clearly than A. W. Tozer. In his classic book on the attributes of God, The Knowledge of the Holy, Tozer wrote

What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us.

The history of mankind will probably show that no people has ever risen above its religion, and man’s spiritual history will positively demonstrate that no religion has ever been greater than its idea of God. Worship is pure or base as the worshiper entertains high or low thoughts of God.

For this reason the gravest question before the Church is always God Himself, and the most portentous fact about any man is not what he at a given time may say or do, but what he in his deep heart conceives God to be like. We tend by a secret law of the soul to move toward our mental image of God. This is true not only of the individual Christian, but of the company of Christians that composes the Church. Always the most revealing thing about the Church is her idea of God, just as her most significant message is what she says about Him or leaves unsaid, for her silence is often more eloquent than her speech. She can never escape the self-disclosure of her witness concerning God.

Were we able to extract from any man a complete answer to the question, “What comes into your mind when you think about God?” we might predict with certainty the spiritual future of that man. (Reprint; New York: Harper & Row, 1975, 9)

Knowledge of God is the key to rejoicing. Those who know the great truths about God find it easy to rejoice; those with little knowledge of Him find it difficult to rejoice. God gave the Psalms to Israel in poetic form so they could be easily memorized and set to music. (MacArthur, J. Philippians. Chicago: Moody Press)

In his sermon Joy, a Duty based on Philippians 4:4 Spurgeon writes…

There is a marvelous medicinal power in joy. Most medicines are distasteful; but this, which is the best of all medicines, is sweet to the taste, and comforting to the heart. We noticed, in our reading, that there had been a little tiff between two sisters in the church at Philippi;—I am glad that we do not know what the quarrel was about; I am usually thankful for ignorance on such subjects;—but, as a cure for disagreements, the apostle says, "Rejoice in the Lord always." People who are very happy, especially those who are very happy in the Lord, are not apt either to give offence or to take offence. Their minds are so sweetly occupied with higher things, that they are not easily distracted by the little troubles which naturally arise among such imperfect creatures as we are.

Joy in the Lord is the cure for all discord.

Should it not be so? What is this joy but the concord of the soul, the accord of the heart, with the joy of heaven? Joy in the Lord, then, drives away the discords of earth.

Further, brethren, notice that the apostle, after he had said, "Rejoice in the Lord always," commanded the Philippians to be careful (anxious) for nothing, thus implying that joy in the Lord is one of the best preparations for the trials of this life.

The cure for care is joy in the Lord.

No, my brother, you will not be able to keep on with your fretfulness; no, my sister, you will not be able to weary yourself any longer with your anxieties, if the Lord will but fill you with his joy. Then, being satisfied with your God, yea, more than satisfied, overflowing with delight in him, you will say to yourself,

"Why art thou cast down, O my soul? And why art thou disquieted in me? Hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise him for the help of his countenance."

What is there on earth that is worth fretting for even for five minutes? If one could gain an imperial crown by a day of care, it would be too great an expense for a thing which would bring more care with it. Therefore, let us be thankful, let us be joyful in the Lord.

I count it one of the wisest things that, by rejoicing in the Lord, we commence our heaven here below.

It is possible so to do, it is profitable so to do, and we are commanded so to do. (Joy, a Duty)


Arranging Your Mind - Several years ago I read a story about a 92-year-old Christian woman who was legally blind. In spite of her limitation, she was always neatly dressed, with her hair carefully brushed and her makeup tastefully applied. Each morning she would meet the new day with eagerness.

After her husband of 70 years died, it became necessary for her to go to a nursing home where she could receive proper care. On the day of the move, a helpful neighbor drove her there and guided her into the lobby. Her room wasn't ready, so she waited patiently in the lobby for several hours.

When an attendant finally came for her, she smiled sweetly as she maneuvered her walker to the elevator. The staff member described her room to her, including the new curtains that had been hung on the windows. "I love it," she declared. "But Mrs. Jones, you haven't seen your room yet," the attendant replied. "That doesn't have anything to do with it," she said. "Happiness is something you choose. Whether I like my room or not doesn't depend on how it's arranged. It's how I arrange my mind."

The Bible says, "Rejoice in the Lord" (Philippians 4:4). Remind yourself often of all that Jesus has given to you and be thankful. That's how to arrange your mind. —David H. Roper (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

God takes delight when we rejoice

In all that He has done

And when we thank Him for the love

He shows us through His Son. —DDH

The happiness of your life depends on the quality of your thoughts.


Self-Pity Or Rejoicing? -- Temperament seems to be something that each of us is born with. Some of us have upbeat dispositions, while others play the music of life in a minor key. Yet how we respond to life's trials also affects our overall disposition.

For example, Fanny Crosby lost her sight when she was only 6 weeks old. She lived into her nineties, composing thousands of beloved hymns. On her 92nd birthday she cheerfully said, "If in all the world you can find a happier person than I am, do bring him to me. I should like to shake his hand."

What enabled Fanny Crosby to experience such joy in the face of what many would term a "tragedy"? At an early age she chose to "rejoice in the Lord always" (Philippians 4:4). In fact, Fanny carried out a resolution she made when she was only 8 years old:

"How many blessings I enjoy that other people don't. To weep and sigh because I'm blind, I cannot and I won't."

Let's remember that "the joy of the Lord is [our] strength" (Nehemiah 8:10). Let's also take comfort in the teachings of Jesus, who in John 15:11 said, "These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full." When faced with the choice of self-pity or rejoicing, let's respond with rejoicing. —Vernon C Grounds

Be this the purpose of my soul,
My solemn, my determined choice:
To yield to God's supreme control,
And in my every trial rejoice. —Anon.

Rather than complain about the thorns on roses,
be thankful for roses among the thorns

C H Spurgeon -

Sermon Notes

Philippians 4:4

Joy drives out discord. See how our text follows as a remedy upon the case of disagreement in the church, Php 4:1,2.

Joy helps against the trials of life. Hence it is mentioned as a preparation for the rest of faith which is prescribed in Php 4:6.

I. The grace commanded.


1. It is delightful: our soul's jubilee has come when joy enters.

2. It is demonstrative: it is more than peace; it sparkles, shines, sings. Why should it not? Joy is a bird; let it fly in the open heavens, and let its music be heard of all men.

3. It is stimulating, and urges its possessor to brave deeds.

4. It is influential for good. Sinners are attracted to Jesus by the joy of saints. More flies are caught with a spoonful of honey than a barrel of vinegar.

5. It is contagious. Others are gladdened by our rejoicing.

6. It is commanded. It is not left optional, but made imperative. We are as much commanded to rejoice as to keep the Sabbath.

It is commanded because joy makes us like God.

It is commanded because it is for our profit.

It is commanded because it is good for others.

II. The joy discriminated.

"In the Lord."

1. As to sphere. "In the Lord." This is that sacred circle wherein a Christian's life should be always spent.

2. As to object. "In the Lord."

We should rejoice in the Lord God, Father, Son, and Spirit.

We should rejoice in the Lord Jesus, dead, risen, etc.

Not in temporals, personal, political, or pecuniary.

Nor in special privileges, which involve greater responsibility.

Nor even in religious successes. "In this rejoice not, that the devils are subject unto you through my word, but rather rejoice that your names are written in heaven": Luke 10:20.

Nor in self and its doings. Phil. 3:3.

III. The time appointed.


1. When you cannot rejoice in any other, rejoice in God.

2. When you can rejoice in other things, sanctify all with joy in God.

3. When you have not before rejoiced, begin at once.

4. When you have long rejoiced, do not cease for a moment.

5. When others are with you, lead them in this direction.

6. When you are alone, enjoy to the full this rejoicing.

IV. The emphasis laid on the command.

"Again I say, Rejoice."

Paul repeats his exhortation,

1. To show his love to them. He is intensely anxious that they should share his joy.

2. To suggest the difficulty of continual joy. He twice commands, because we are slow to obey.

3. To assert the possibility of it. After second thoughts, he feels that he may fitly repeat the exhortation.

4. To impress the importance of the duty. Whatever else you forget, remember this: Be sure to rejoice.

5. To allow of special personal testimony. "Again I say, Rejoice."

Paul rejoiced. He was habitually a happy man.

This epistle to the Philippians is peculiarly joyous.

Let us look it through. The apostle is joyful throughout:

He sweetens prayer with joy: Php 1:4.

He rejoices that Christ is preached: Php 1:18.

He wishes to live to gladden the church: Php 1:25.

To see the members like-minded with his joy: Php 2:2.

It was his joy that he should not run in vain: Php 2:16.

His farewell to them was, "Rejoice in the Lord": Php 3:1.

He speaks of those who rejoice in Christ Jesus: Php Php 3:3.

He calls his converts his joy and his crown: Php 4:1.

He expresses his joy in their kindness: Php 4:4, 10, 18.

To all our friends let us use this as a blessing: "Rejoice in the Lord."

This is only a choicer way of saying, Be happy; Fare ye well.

Fare ye well, and if for ever

Still for ever fare ye well.


It is not an indifferent thing to rejoice, or not to rejoice; but we are commanded to rejoice, to show that we break a commandment if we rejoice not. Oh, what a comfort is this, when the Comforter himself shall command us to rejoice! God was want to say, Repent, and not Rejoice, because men rejoice too much; but God here commandeth to Rejoice, as though some men did not rejoice enough: therefore you must understand to whom he speaketh. In Ps. 149:5, it is said, "Let the saints be glad"; not, let the wicked be glad. And in Isa. 40:1, he saith, "Comfort my people," not, comfort mine enemies, showing to whom this commandment of Paul is sent, "Rejoice evermore." —Henry Smith.

The thing whereunto he exhorteth, as ye see, is to rejoice; a thing which the sensual man can quickly lay hold on, who loves to rejoice, and to cheer himself in the days of his flesh; which yet might now seem unreasonable to the Philippians, who lived in the midst of a naughty and crooked nation, by whom they were even hated for the truth's sake which they professed. Mark, therefore, wherein the apostle would they should rejoice, namely, in the Lord; and here the sensual man, that haply would catch hold when it is said, Rejoice, by-and-by when it is added, in the Lord, will let go his hold. But they that by reason of the billows and waves of the troublesome sea of this world, cannot brook the speech when it is said, Rejoice, are to lay sure holdfast upon it when it is added, Rejoice in the Lord; which holdfast once taken, that they might for ever keep it sure, in the third place it is added, Rejoice in the Lord alway, to note the constancy that should be in Christian joy. —Henry Airay.

Another note to distinguish this joy in the Lord from all other joys is the fulness and exuberancy of it; for it is more joy than if corn and wine and oil increased. Else what needed the apostle, having said, "Rejoice in the Lord alway," to add, "and again I say, Rejoice"? What can be more than always, but still adding to the fulness of our joy, till our cup do overflow?

Upon working days rejoice in the Lord, who giveth thee strength to labor, and feedeth thee with the labor of thy hands. On holidays rejoice in the Lord, who feasteth thee with the marrow and fatness of his house. In plenty, rejoice again and again, because the Lord giveth; in want rejoice, because the Lord taketh away, and as it pleaseth the Lord, so come things to pass.—Edward Marbury.

The calendar of the sinner has only a few days in the year marked as festival days; but every day of the Christian's calendar is marked by the hand of God as a day of rejoicing.—Anon.

'Tis impious in a good man to be sad.—Edward Young.

Napoleon, when sent to Elba, adopted, in proud defiance of his fate, the motto, "Ubicunque felix." It was not true in his case; but the Christian may be truly "happy everywhere" and always.

Philippians 4:5 Let your gentle spirit be known (3SAPM) to all men. The Lord is near (NASB: Lockman)

Greek: to epieikes humon gnostheto (3SAPM) pasin anthropois. o kurios eggus

Amplified: Let all men know and perceive and recognize your unselfishness (your considerateness, your forbearing spirit). The Lord is near [He is acoming soon] (Amplified Bible - Lockman)

Lightfoot: Let your gentle and forbearing spirit be recognized by all men. The judgment is drawing near.

NLT: Let everyone see that you are considerate in all you do. Remember, the Lord is coming soon. (NLT - Tyndale House)

Phillips: Have a reputation for gentleness, and never forget the nearness of your Lord. (Phillips: Touchstone)

Wuest: Let your sweet reasonableness, your forbearance, your being satisfied with less than your due, become known to all men. The Lord is near [in that His coming may occur at any moment]. (Eerdmans)

Young's Literal: let your forbearance be known to all men; the Lord is near;

LET YOUR GENTLE SPIRIT BE KNOWN TO ALL MEN: to epieikes humon gnostheto (3SAPM) pasin anthropois: (Mt 5:39, 40, 41, 42; 6:25,34; Lk 6:29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35; 12:22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30; 21:34; 1Co 6:7; 7:29, 30, 31; 1Co 8:13; 9:25; Titus 3:2; Heb 13:5,6; 1Pe 1:11) (MacArthur Php 4:5-6 "Spiritual Stability") (MacArthur on Php 4:5-6 Humility and Faith)

your unselfishness (your considerateness, your forbearing spirit) (Amp)

have a reputation for gentleness (Phillips)

Let your sweet reasonableness, your forbearance, your being satisfied with less than your due, become known to all men. (Eerdmans)

Gentle (Forbearing) (1933) (epieikes [words study]) describes a person who does not always insist on every right of letter of law or custom. It stands for the spirit or attitude that does not seek to retaliate. It denotes one’s willingness to give and take instead of always standing rigidly on one’s rights. This is the person who is yielding his rights and is therefore gentle, kind, courteous, tolerant or as one has described it exhibits a "sweet reasonableness" or an ability to extend to others the kindly consideration one would wish to receive themselves. The forbearing person is not spineless but selfless.

Epieikes - 5x in 5v - Phil 4:5; 1 Tim 3:3; Titus 3:2; Jas 3:17; 1 Pet 2:18. Always translated "gentle" in NAS, but in the KJV also translated as moderation. The ESV renders epieikes as "Reasonableness" in this verse.

Eadie writes that epieikes "signifies originally what is meet or fitting, or characterizes any object or quality as being what it should be. It also describes what is proper or fair, or what is kind and reasonable, especially in the form of considerateness and as opposed to the harshness of law. That it should at length settle down into the meaning of gentleness, or rather forbearance, was natural; and this is a meaning found in Plato, Polybius, Plutarch, and also in Philo… It does not insist on what is its due; it does not stand on etiquette or right, but it descends and complies. It is opposed to that rigor which never bends nor deviates, and which, as it gives the last farthing, uniformly exacts it. It is not facile pliability—a reed in the breeze—but that generous and indulgent feeling that knows what is its right, but recedes from it, is conscious of what is merited, but does not contend for strict proportion. It is, in short, that grace which was defective in one or other, or both of the women, who are charged by the apostle to be of one mind in the Lord. For, slow to take offence, it is swift to forgive it. Let a misunderstanding arise, and no false delicacy will prevent it from taking the first step towards reconciliation or adjustment of opinion. And truly such an element of character well becomes a man who expects a Saviour in whom this feeling was so predominant. This grace was to be notorious among them— gnostheto (ginosko), “let it be known” to all men—not simply to the enemies of the cross, or of the gospel, or to one another, as many allege, but to all without exception. It was so to characterize them, that if any one should describe their behavior, he could not overlook it, but must dwell upon it. Our life is seriously defective without it; and let a man be zealous and enterprising, pure and upright, yet what a rebuke to his Christianity, if he is universally declared to be stiff, impracticable, unamiable, and austere in general deportment! If this joy in the Lord were felt in its fulness, the spirit so cheered and exalted would cease to insist on mere personal right, and practise forbearance. (A Commentary on the Greek Text - Online)

Be known (1097) (ginosko) speaks of knowledge that goes beyond the merely factual. Paul is saying that others are to realize our yieldedness "experientially." We are to be sure that they realize by seeing us in action that we are a people who do not cling to our rights as do non-Christians. The aorist imperative is a command calling for this to be done now and to be done effectively so that other come to know by their experience (by their interactions with you!). The NET Bible conveys this sense rendering it "Let everyone see your gentleness"

Kenneth Wuest comments that "The word known refers to knowledge gained by experience. The exhortation is therefore, “Do not keep this sweet reasonableness in your heart. Let it find expression in your conduct. Thus others will experience its blessings also.” (Philippians Commentary)

The difficulty does not lie in understanding what is meant by the difficult to translate word epieikes but in obeying the precept to all men.

Epieikes defines the individual who knows when it is actually wrong to apply the strict letter of the law, knows how to forgive when justice would otherwise give then the right to condemn, knows how to make allowances, knows when not to stand upon his or her rights, knows how to temper justice with mercy and remembers that there are more important things in world than rules and regulations. Clearly these things are not possible for the natural man but only one controlled by the Spirit and thereby enabled to speak "to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody with your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks for all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God, even the Father" (Eph 5:18, 19, 20-notes)

How was your "spirit" this morning when offended or misunderstood or mistreated? Did you defend or forbear, even able to give thanks for all (how many?) things?

Bishop Trench comments on the meaning of epieikes writing that "The mere existence of such a word as epieikeia, is itself a signal evidence of the highest development of ethics among the Greeks. It expresses exactly that moderation which recognizes the impossibility cleaving to all formal law, of anticipating and providing for all cases that will emerge and present themselves to it for decision; which with this, recognizes the danger that ever waits upon the assertion of legal rights, lest they should be pushed to moral wrongs … which, therefore urges not its own rights to the uttermost, but, going back in part or in the whole from these, rectifies and redresses the injustices of justice. It is thus more truly just than strict justice would have been.” The word could be translated, “sweet reasonableness, being satisfied with less than is due you.”

Thayer defines epieikes as “mildness, gentleness, fairness, sweet reasonableness.”

Vincent says, “not unduly rigorous, not making a determined stand for one’s just due.” Aristotle defines epieikes as that "which is just beyond the written law… justice and better than justice… which steps in to correct things when the law itself becomes unjust"

THE LORD IS NEAR: Ho kurios eggus: (Mt 24:48, 49, 50; 1Th 5:2, 3, 4; 2Th 2:2; Heb 10:25; 2 P 3:8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14; Rev 22:7, 22:20)

The Lord is near [in that His coming may occur at any moment]. (Eerdmans)

Near (1451) (eggus) is an adverb which means near (or close) and can describe a physical position relatively close to another position (Lk 19:11 or also a temporal position of one point of time relatively close to another point of time (Mt 26:18 - referring to His Crucifixion).

Joel uses eggus 3x to describe the Day of the LORD as near (Joel 1:15, 2:1, 3:14, cp Ezek 30:3).

Matthew and Mark describe Jesus' imminent return as “at the doors” (Mt. 24:33; Mk 13:29) which means it is near. The Passover is described as near (Jn 2:13, 6:4, 11:55) Ro 10:18 describes the Lord as near or close at hand, meaning ready to help (quoting Dt. 30:14).

Thayer defines eggus as “near,” adding that it speaks of "things imminent and soon to come to pass.” (See related discussions of the doctrine of imminency - Imminency, Imminent - As related to Christ's Second Coming; Another discussion on imminency) The coming of the Lord has always been ‘near’ and remains so.

In Eph. 2:17 those who are near are the Jews, because they have the knowledge of the true God, in contrast to the Gentiles who are far away (spiritually speaking). Eggus is used in the Septuagint of Isa 57:19 in a similar sense "Creating the praise of the lips. Peace, peace to him who is far and to him who is near,” Says the LORD, “and I will heal him.”.

In Eph 2:13 to "brought near by the blood of Christ" means to receive and believe the Gospel (Eph. 2:13).

Most commentators on Php 4:5 (cf Wuest's rendering above) feel Paul is making reference to the the nearness of the Lord's return but one cannot be dogmatic. If the meaning of near is chronological, the idea is that Christ's return could be at any moment or a believer's death could occur ushering them instantly into His presence. Knowing this will motivate believers to give up their rights and be gentle for Christ will rectify all injustices. We see a similar use of eggus in Mt 24:33 which definitely refers to a chronological nearness of Christ's return as it is used in Mt 24:32 of the summer being near when one sees the fig tree put out leaves. (cp Mk 13:28, 29, Lk 21:30-31)

Zodhiates adds that eggus is used metaphorically in Php 4:5 "meaning near, nigh (Phil. 4:5, “the Lord is near” [a.t.] means He is ready to help [cf. Phil. 4:6 {see also Ps. 34:18; 145:18]})"

Friberg - adverb; (1) of space near, close to (Jn 3.23); absolutely close by, near at hand, neighboring (Jn 19.42); (2) of time near, imminent, close (Mt 26.18); (3) figuratively, of close or intimate relationship near, close to (Eph 2.17); (4) comparative egguteron nearer (Ro 13.11); superlative eggista nearest, closest

Eggus in NAS = close (1), near (27), nearby (1), nearer (1), ready (1).

Eggus - 31x in 31v -

Matthew 24:32 "Now learn the parable from the fig tree: when its branch has already become tender and puts forth its leaves, you know that summer is near;

33 so, you too, when you see all these things, recognize that He is near, right at the door.

Matthew 26:18 And He said, "Go into the city to a certain man, and say to him, 'The Teacher says, "My time is near; I am to keep the Passover at your house with My disciples."

Mark 13:28 "Now learn the parable from the fig tree: when its branch has already become tender and puts forth its leaves, you know that summer is near.

29 "Even so, you too, when you see these things happening, recognize that He is near, right at the door.

Luke 19:11 While they were listening to these things, Jesus went on to tell a parable, because He was near Jerusalem, and they supposed that the kingdom of God was going to appear immediately.

Luke 21:30 as soon as they put forth leaves, you see it and know for yourselves that summer is now near.

31 "So you also, when you see these things happening, recognize that the kingdom of God is near.

John 2:13 The Passover of the Jews was near, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem.

John 3:23 John also was baptizing in Aenon near Salim, because there was much water there; and people were coming and were being baptized--

John 6:4 Now the Passover, the feast of the Jews, was near.

19 Then, when they had rowed about three or four miles, they saw Jesus walking on the sea and drawing near to the boat; and they were frightened.

23 There came other small boats from Tiberias near to the place where they ate the bread after the Lord had given thanks.

John 7:2 Now the feast of the Jews, the Feast of Booths, was near.

John 11:18 Now Bethany was near Jerusalem, about two miles off;

54 Therefore Jesus no longer continued to walk publicly among the Jews, but went away from there to the country near the wilderness, into a city called Ephraim; and there He stayed with the disciples.

55 Now the Passover of the Jews was near, and many went up to Jerusalem out of the country before the Passover to purify themselves.

John 19:20 Therefore many of the Jews read this inscription, for the place where Jesus was crucified was near the city; and it was written in Hebrew, Latin and in Greek.

42 Therefore because of the Jewish day of preparation, since the tomb was nearby, they laid Jesus there.

Acts 1:12 Then they returned to Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is near Jerusalem, a Sabbath day's journey away.

Acts 9:38 Since Lydda was near Joppa, the disciples, having heard that Peter was there, sent two men to him, imploring him, "Do not delay in coming to us."

Acts 27:8 and with difficulty sailing past it we came to a place called Fair Havens, near which was the city of Lasea.

Romans 10:8-note (Quoting Dt 30:14) But what does it say? "THE WORD IS NEAR YOU, IN YOUR MOUTH AND IN YOUR HEART "-- that is, the word of faith which we are preaching,

Romans 13:11-note Do this, knowing the time, that it is already the hour for you to awaken from sleep; for now salvation is nearer to us than when we believed.

Ephesians 2:13-note But now in Christ Jesus you who formerly were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.


Philippians 4:5 Let your gentle spirit be known to all men. The Lord is near.

Hebrews 6:8-note but if it yields thorns and thistles, it is worthless and close to being cursed, and it ends up being burned.

Hebrews 8:13-note When He said, "A new covenant," He has made the first obsolete. But whatever is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to disappear.

Revelation 1:3-note Blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of the prophecy, and heed the things which are written in it; for the time is near.

Revelation 22:10-note And he said to me, "Do not seal up the words of the prophecy of this book, for the time is near. (And O how we thank God that this is a true word! Maranatha!)

Eggus - 48v in Septuagint (Lxx) - Gen 19:20 ("this town is near to flee to"); Ge 45:10; Ex 13:17; 32:27; Lev 21:2; 25:25; Nu 27:11; Deut 2:19; 4:46; 30:14; 32:35; 34:6; Jdg 3:20; Ruth 3:12; 1 Kgs 8:46; 2Chr 6:36; Esther 1:14; 9:20; Job 6:15; 13:18; 17:12; 19:14; Ps 15:3; 22:11; 34:18; 38:11; 85:9; 119:151; 145:18; Pr 27:10 ("Better is a neighbor who is near than a brother far away."); Eccl 5:1; Isa 13:6; 57:19; Jer 12:2; 25:26; 35:4; 48:16, 24; Ezek 6:12; 23:12; 30:3; Da 9:7; Joel 1:15; 2:1; 3:14; Obad 1:15; Zeph 1:7, 14.

Below are some great uses of eggus in the Psalms

(Ps 34:18) The LORD is near to the brokenhearted, And saves those who are crushed in spirit.

(Ps 85:9) Surely His salvation is near to those who fear Him, That glory may dwell in our land.

(Ps 119:151) Thou art near, O LORD, And all Thy commandments are truth.

(Ps 145:18) The LORD is near to all who call upon Him, To all who call upon Him in truth.

In a parallel passage James says "You too be patient; strengthen your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand. (eggizo - cognate verb of eggus) Do not complain, brethren, against one another, that you yourselves may not be judged; behold, the Judge is standing right at the door. (Jas 5:8,9)

If the meaning of near is spatial, we can forbear or give up our rights knowing that He is at hand to take care of us in whatever way He decides is best.

Eadie writes that eggus "may be used either of place or time—“The Lord is at hand,” either in position or approach. If the clause be connected with the preceding counsel, the meaning might be—“Let your forbearance be known to all men,” and one great motive is, “the Lord is at hand.” Or the clause may be connected with the following admonition. Meyer adopts this view—that is, the near coming of Jesus ought to prevent all His people from cherishing an undue anxiety. “ (Philippians 4 Commentary)

Peter comments on the nearness of the Lord's return (make a list of what saints should do in light of Jesus' imminent return) writing that

The end of all things is at hand (verb form eggizo) therefore (term of conclusion), be of sound judgment and sober spirit for the purpose of prayer. Above all, keep fervent in your love for one another, because love covers a multitude of sins. Be hospitable to one another without complaint. As each one has received a special gift (don't miss this - if you are born from above by His Spirit, He has also given you a spiritual gift - click chart), employ it in serving one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace (1Pe 1:6 [note] has "manifold" or various sized and shaped trials - so God provides manifold, variegated grace in just the right shape and size for manifold trials!) of God. Whoever speaks, let him speak, as it were, the utterances of God; whoever serves, let him do so as by the strength which God supplies; so that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belongs the glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen." (Are you using the spiritual gift or gifts God has graciously given you? (1Pe 4:7, 8, 9, 10, 11-see notes 1Peter 4:7; 4:8; 4:9; 4:10; 4:11)

Don't waste your gift or your time (see John Piper's convicting message Don't Waste Your Life) for

you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away." (Jas 4:14)

Be careful (present imperative = command to continually exercise spiritual perception, being aware of, taking heed. Why continually? Because the danger of taking a spiritual misstep is ever present - cp Mt 26:41) how you walk, not as unwise men, but as wise, making the most of (exagorazo = redeeming - buying up and utilizing every second you can for God's kingdom and His glory. Cp the Latin phrase "Carpe Diem" = Seize the Day!) your time, because the days are evil (cp Gal 1:4-note = present evil age, 2Ti 3:1-note). (Ep 5:15, 16-notes)

See Related Resources:

Redeem the Time


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Arranging Your Mind - Several years ago I read a story about a 92-year-old Christian woman who was legally blind. In spite of her limitation, she was always neatly dressed, with her hair carefully brushed and her makeup tastefully applied. Each morning she would meet the new day with eagerness.

After her husband of 70 years died, it became necessary for her to go to a nursing home where she could receive proper care. On the day of the move, a helpful neighbor drove her there and guided her into the lobby. Her room wasn't ready, so she waited patiently in the lobby for several hours.

When an attendant finally came for her, she smiled sweetly as she maneuvered her walker to the elevator. The staff member described her room to her, including the new curtains that had been hung on the windows. "I love it," she declared. "But Mrs. Jones, you haven't seen your room yet," the attendant replied. "That doesn't have anything to do with it," she said. "Happiness is something you choose. Whether I like my room or not doesn't depend on how it's arranged. It's how I arrange my mind."

The Bible says, "Rejoice in the Lord" (Philippians 4:4). Remind yourself often of all that Jesus has given to you and be thankful. That's how to arrange your mind. —David H. Roper (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

God takes delight when we rejoice
In all that He has done
And when we thank Him for the love
He shows us through His Son. —D. De Haan

The happiness of your life depends on the quality of your thoughts.

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Self-Pity Or Rejoicing? - Temperament seems to be something that each of us is born with. Some of us have upbeat dispositions, while others play the music of life in a minor key. Yet how we respond to life's trials also affects our overall disposition.

For example, Fanny Crosby lost her sight when she was only 6 weeks old. She lived into her nineties, composing thousands of beloved hymns. On her 92nd birthday she cheerfully said, "If in all the world you can find a happier person than I am, do bring him to me. I should like to shake his hand."

What enabled Fanny Crosby to experience such joy in the face of what many would term a "tragedy"? At an early age she chose to "rejoice in the Lord always" (Philippians 4:4). In fact, Fanny carried out a resolution she made when she was only 8 years old: "How many blessings I enjoy that other people don't. To weep and sigh because I'm blind, I cannot and I won't."

Let's remember that "the joy of the Lord is [our] strength" (Nehemiah 8:10). Let's also take comfort in the teachings of Jesus, who in John 15:11 said, "These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full." When faced with the choice of self-pity or rejoicing, let's respond with rejoicing. —Vernon C Grounds (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

Be this the purpose of my soul,
My solemn, my determined choice:
To yield to God's supreme control,
And in my every trial rejoice. —Anon.

Rather than complain about the thorns on roses,
be thankful for roses among the thorns.


F B Meyer in his book The Epistle to the Philippians, a devotional commentary writes…

Phil 4:5

Paul and the Lord's Advent. That has generally been thought to indicate the Apostle's belief in the Lord's imminent advent, which, as we know, was a prevalent motive with the early Church. If a missionary left his native land, and crossed the ocean with the Evangel, as the burnished mirror of the water shone with the path of the sunbeams, it seemed to him that at any moment, down those sunbeams, the Lord might come. When the primitive Christian said good-bye to his fellow-Christian, it was without too great a pang of regret, because they expected soon to meet in the presence of Christ. Every tremor in the air, every catastrophe, every political change appeared to them like the first note of the archangel's trumpet, like the footfall of the coming Prince. This consciousness of the imminent advent was a mighty lever, by which to lift the whole state of thought and feeling in the early Church to those higher levels, the best and most glorious levels, which the Church of God has ever attained.

But for one or two reasons such does not appear to be the meaning here.

First, the Greek word does not lend itself to that significance. The better rendering undoubtedly would be "the Lord is near."

Secondly, at the end of the third chapter, the Apostle had been dilating upon the expectant attitude in which we wait for the Saviour, and it would be hardly compatible with that to find him immediately saying, The Lord is here. Thirdly, it is interesting to notice that the Apostle's anticipation of the advent of Christ was, as the years passed, largely affected by his growing conception of the nearness of Christ, so that all life was to be lived "in Him." He never gave up his hope of the advent, but he became gloriously influenced by the larger thought that all life must be ensphered in Christ.

The Lord Ever Near. Whilst inditing this paragraph he became suddenly overshadowed with the consciousness that the Lord Jesus Christ was literally present in his hired room, nearer to him than the sentry, nearer to him than Epaphroditus, nearer to him than Timothy, his beloved son, and he burst out with this exclamation, which his amanuensis at once wove into the fabric of the Epistle: "The Lord is near; He is with me in my room, and He is with you in Philippi; and we are all included and encircled in the golden fence of His presence."

There is a similar instance of this in Psalm 119, where the holy author stays in the midst of the royal sweep of his work, and cries: "Thou art near, O God." We all know times like that. We have been walking in the midst of some beautiful landscape, the river rushing past, flowers dipping their cups silently into its brink, the gentle air moving through the quivering leaves above, the insect life humming its varied music, and all nature suffused with the smile of the sun. Then, all suddenly, there has been borne in on us the consciousness of a spiritual presence; we have felt a breath on our faces, a thrill in our hearts, and, behold, He who came to John on the Isle of Patmos has come to us; and, lo, the radiant glory of Christ has excelled that of the sun. "Thou art near, O God; the Lord is near."

To Every One of us. In the church, when saying your prayers mechanically, falling in with the murmur of repetition as you have done a thousand times, standing listlessly listening to the people singing, or joining with them without much heart; sitting apparently intent on the words of the minister whilst your thoughts have been far away on your business or pleasure, suddenly there has been as it were the music of golden bells, and you have realised that the old promise was being fulfilled: "There am I in the midst." Without opening the door, without the sound of a footfall, the Lord Jesus has glided into the shut apartment of your nature, and you have said, "The Lord is near."

The Power of Presence. What a mighty power a presence is to some of us! To a man, the presence of a pure and noble woman has often put a cool hand upon a fevered forehead, stayed the throb of passion, and called him back to sanity and manhood. And to a woman how much there is in the presence of her husband, lover, brother, or friend! How strong and calm she becomes when she is made conscious of that presence! With some of us there is the radiant vision given by memory of a beloved parent, of the sainted minister of our childhood, or of the servant of God whose fragrant biography we have read. How many of us have been calmed, quieted, and restrained by the presence through memory and recollection of someone whom we have loved and lost! How pathetic it was when our late beloved Queen in dying called thrice, "Albert, Albert, Albert!" How certainly those words revealed the presence in which she had lived! Probably there are many men and women whose lives are lived in the consciousness of the presence of the Angel of their pilgrimage. How often we have been restrained from things we are glad we never did, and words we are thankful we never said, by the thought that the angels were at hand, and we knew that they would blush, that their holy natures would be hurt, unless we were strong, gentle, and pure.

But, oh! if every one of us would live, not in the presence of the beloved wife or noble woman; of the strong, brave husband; of the holy memory, or of the peerless angel, but in the presence of the Lord Jesus, saying perpetually to ourselves, "The Lord is near, the Lord is at hand," there is not one of us that would not spring up into an altogether new life, as flowers do when from the arctic they are removed to the tropic soil, and instead of being environed by frost become the nurslings of the sunny air. If every one of us could do as the late Mr. Spurgeon did, who said that he did not recollect spending a quarter of an hour without the distinct thought of the presence of Christ, life would become ever so much better, brighter, and stronger than it is.

The Presence of Christ. The presence of Jesus Christ is brought home to us by the Holy Ghost, who is the Spirit of Remembrance, making Him real, recalling our wandering thoughts, and concentrating them on Him until He stands out luminous and kingly in our life. That is Christianity. With too many the Christian religion consists in living back in the past. They linger in Gethsemane rather than in Joseph's garden with its empty grave. This is the life of the Roman Catholic, or of those who have been nursed in Protestant schools of thought, but have never learnt the meaning of the Lord's Ascension. But true Christianity does not postpone the presence of Christ to the future, or recall it from the past, but lives in the sense that He is. Hence the Gospel by St. John contains such recurring phrases as: I am the Vine; I am the Good Shepherd; I am the Door; I am the Resurrection and the Life. Christ lives in the present tense, and blessed is the soul that has learnt that lesson.

The whole of this paragraph (Php 4:1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7) crystallizes around this thought.


Moderation. The Revised Version says forbearance. We should say in modern English sweet reasonableness. Luther, in his translation, renders it yieldingness. Of course, we can never yield principle; we can never yield to men who are doing the devil's work in the world; but a good many have edges and corners which concern temperament rather than principle, and we who know them ought to yield, just as the boat in descending a very narrow streamlet has to take the course of the stream. It is easy to bear all, to endure all, to believe all, when the overshadowing presence of the Lord Jesus is realised. (F. B. Meyer. The Epistle to the Philippians - A Devotional Commentary)