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Philippians 4:14-18 Commentary
NEVERTHELESS, YOU HAVE DONE WELL TO SHARE WITH ME IN MY AFFLICTION: plen kalos epoiesate (2PAAI)
sugkoinonesantes (AAPMPN) mou te thlipsei: (1Ki
8:18; 2 Chr 6:8; Mt 25:21; 3Jn 1:5, 6, 7, 8) (Php 4:18; 1:7; Ro
15:27; 1Co 9:10,11; Gal 6:6; 1Ti 6:18; Heb 10:34; 13:16)
(plen) is a marker of contrast, implying the validity of
something irrespective of other considerations. Paul uses plen
here to restrict his previous statement. In view of Paul's complete
reliance upon Christ in him, continually strengthening him in every
circumstance, the Philippians might have wondered if they should have
even bothered to send him the gift. After all why would one who is
self-content (in Christ) need anything? Paul wants the Philippians to
know that their gift ("nevertheless") was still very much appreciated.
Their gift demonstrated that they had a proper spirit as givers.
Paul's joy in his strength in
Christ would not obscure his joy in their loving ministry or take away
from his sincere gratitude to them for their sacrifice.
Vincent concurs writhing...
Lest, in declaring his
independence of human aid, he should seem to disparage the
Share with me (4790)
(sugkoinoneo from sún = with + koinoneo = to
partake, share [word
study on related word koinonia]) means to participate in something with someone.
Vine has an interesting
comment on sugkoinoneo writing that by using this verb
the apostle does not mean simply
that it was a joint contribution on their part, but that they joined
with him, making his affliction their own. (Vine,
W. Collected writings of W. E. Vine. Nashville: Thomas Nelson
Vine references as support
for his interpretation the passage in Galatians where Paul commands
another's burdens (extra heavy loads, which here represent
difficulties or problems people have trouble dealing with), and thus
fulfill the law of Christ. (Gal 6:2)
from thlibo = to crush, press together, squash, hem in,
compress, squeeze in turn derived from thláo = to break) (Click
in depth study of
Thlipsis - 45x in NT - Matt.
13:21; 24:9, 21, 29; Mk. 4:17; 13:19, 24; Jn. 16:21, 33; Acts 7:10f;
11:19; 14:22; 20:23; Rom. 2:9; 5:3; 8:35; 12:12; 1 Co. 7:28; 2 Co.
1:4, 8; 2:4; 4:17; 6:4; 7:4; 8:2, 13; Eph. 3:13; Phil. 1:17; 4:14;
Col. 1:24; 1 Thess. 1:6; 3:3, 7; 2 Thess. 1:4, 6; Heb. 10:33; Jas.
1:27; Rev. 1:9; 2:9f, 22; 7:14
The NAS translates thlipsis as
affliction(14), afflictions(6), anguish(1), distress(2),
persecution(1), tribulation(16),tribulations(4), trouble(1).
expressed sheer, physical pressure on a man. Medically thlipsis
was used of the pulse (pressure). It conveys the idea of being
squeezed or placed under pressure or crushed beneath a weight. When,
according to the ancient law of England, those who willfully refused
to plead guilty, had heavy weights placed on their breasts, and were
pressed and crushed to death, this was literally thlipsis.
John MacArthur writes that...
"Thlipsis (tribulations) has
the underlying meaning of being under pressure and was used of
squeezing olives in a press in order to extract the oil and of
squeezing grapes to extract the juice...In Scripture the word
thlipsis is perhaps most often used of outward difficulties, but
it is also used of emotional stress." (MacArthur,
J: Romans 1-8. Moody)
Thlipsis pictures one being "crushed" by intense pressure,
difficult circumstances, suffering or trouble pressing upon them from
without. Thus persecution, affliction, distress, opposition or
tribulation, all press hard on one's soul. Thlipsis does not
refer to mild discomfort but to great difficulty. In Scripture the
thlipsis is most often used of outward difficulties, but it is
also used of emotional stress and sorrows which "weighs down" a man’s
spirit like the sorrows and burden his heart. Thlipsis then
includes the disappointments which can "crush the life" out of the one
who is afflicted.
English word "tribulation" is derived from the Latin word
tribulum (literally a thing with teeth that tears), which was a
heavy piece of timber with spikes in it, used for threshing the corn
or grain. The tribulum was drawn over the grain and it
separated the wheat from the chaff. As believers experience the
"tribulum" of tribulations, and depend on God’s grace, the trials
purify us and rid us of the chaff.
Constable has an interesting
“We know that God loves a cheerful
giver, but I believe we also need to stress that God loves a cheerful
receiver. Cheerful receivers make giving and receiving a joy. It is
especially important that the called workers of the church learn to be
gracious, cheerful receivers. This is not necessarily an easy task.
The art of being a gracious, cheerful, thankful receiver may be even
more difficult than being a cheerful giver. If we learn to accept the
compliments and the special personal gifts which we receive in a
gracious, cheerful manner, we will help make giving and receiving a
joy for ourselves and for our people.” (Philippians Notes)
In sharing with him in his
affliction, they did something about his problem, putting their money
where their mouth was so to speak.
F B Meyer
has the following comments...
FILLING AND FILLED
Phil 4:14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20
THE Apostle had already made it clear, that though for a long interval
he had received nothing from the Philippian Church, he did not
complain, but realised that there were sufficient reasons which
accounted for the cessation of their gifts. He did not deny that he
had been straitened in outward circumstances, but he had been content
because he discerned the will of God in every dispensation, and was
able to do all things in union with the Living Christ. He had found
that his legitimate necessities had been met, and that God had dealt
with him as with Elijah, to whom the feathered fowl, and the slender
resources of the widow of Zarephath, ministered daily provision. He
rejoiced, however, that his friends had been able to send again to his
necessity, not for his sake alone, but for theirs. It was not that he
sought for a gift, but for fruit that might be reckoned to their
The Gift and Its Return. No Church had done for Paul what the
Philippian Church had. In the early days they had sent once and again
to minister to his need; and now their present, forwarded by the hand
of Epaphroditus, redounded still further to their credit. It was "an
odour of a sweet smell, a sacrifice acceptable, well-pleasing to God."
How could he repay them for the gifts they had sent when they were
able, and for the desire to send when they were not. It was clear that
he must always be hopelessly in debt to them so far as material
supplies were concerned, but he could pray and make intercession on
their behalf, and remind the Master that all kindness shown to the
servant imposed an honourable obligation on the Master, and out of all
this arose the assurance that his "God would fulfil every need of
theirs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus."
"Fulfil." To translate the Greek word as R.V. does by fulfil
connects this verse with the preceding one, and brings out the
designed and beautiful harmony. The Apostle was filled because he had
received from Epaphroditus the gifts of his friends, and now God would
fulfil their need. What they had done in the lower sphere for him
would be repeated in a higher sphere by God. The measure with which
they had meted out their stores for the imprisoned Apostle would be
returned to them brimming to the full, not with the supplies for
physical need, but with the eternal and unsearchable riches of heaven,
which are in Christ Jesus.
Give and Receive. This is a constant law of God's world. "Give,
and it shall be given unto you: good measure, pressed down, shaken
together, running over, shall be given into your bosom. For with what
measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again." Lend your boat
for a whole afternoon to Christ that it may be His floating pulpit,
and He will return it to you laden with fish. Place your upper room at
His disposal for a single meal, and He will fill it and the whole
house with the Holy Spirit of Pentecost. Place in His hands your
barley loaves and fish, and He will not only satisfy your hunger, but
add twelve baskets full of fragments. The Philippians sent three or
four presents to a suffering and much needing servant of God, and from
that moment they might reckon that every need of theirs would be
supplied. Such small acts on our part are recompensed with such vast
returns. We scratch the surface of the soil and insert our few little
seeds, and within a few months the acreage is covered by a prolific
harvest in which a hundredfold is given for every grain which we
seemed to throw away.
God's Return to us. God refuses to be in debt to any man. He
takes into His exchequer the accounts of all outlay made by His
stewards for the relief of need and distress, and He repays with
interest. When the Good Samaritan was leaving the village inn, on the
morning after the memorable rescue of the wounded traveller, he said
to the host, "Take care of him, and what thou spendest more, when I
come again, I will repay." Evidently, he was well-known on the road,
he had often been at that inn before, and had established his
character by honourable and generous treatment. They knew that his
word was his bond, and that whatever was expended in reason would
secure an ungrudging repayment. And if this be true of man how much
more of God. He hands over to us cases in which He is deeply
interested, saying as He does so, "Take care of these, expend what is
necessary, and I will repay." May we not reckon on God for this?
According to our faith it will be to us.
But Give Cheerfully. Whenever, therefore, we feel impelled to
make provision for others, let us do it as unto God, not simply out of
human pity, but from a deep sense of obligation to our Heavenly
Father, let us do it gladly, freely, generously. "God loveth a
cheerful giver." Three things will happen,
(1) We shall send a thrill of gratitude into some weary and fainting
soul, encouraging it to hope in God because it has found that its hope
in man has not been misplaced.
(2) The odor of the act will be fragrant as it steals upward to mingle
with the adoration and service of Heaven. There is no longer need to
offer propitiatory sacrifices, for they have been done away in view of
the sacrifice made by our Lord when He once offered Himself without
sin unto God, but there is room in the Christian dispensation for the
sacrifice of praise (Heb. 13:15-note),
for the living sacrifice of ourselves (Ro 12:1-note),
and for the acceptable sacrifices of Christian beneficence which, as
this paragraph tells us, are well-pleasing to God.
(3) We may also reckon that He will fill to the brim the measure with
which we have meted out for others, and take it as a certainty that He
will fulfil every need according to His riches. If our measure was
filled with sand grains, He will return it filled with gold dust; if
it was filled with pebbles, He will hand it back replete with
diamonds; if it contained necessaries for the physical life, He will
restore it brimming over with spiritual riches.
Charity Succeeded by Poverty. It may be answered that many who
have given lavishly for God's cause have afterwards come to penury and
need, and their benefactions seem to have been lost like argosies that
go down at sea. In any case, there has been no return to brighten the
straitened circumstances of declining years.
Three answers may be given.
First, it may be that the gifts were not rendered with a single
eye for the glory of God, but for some lower motives of display,
ostentation, or self-advertisement; therefore, they had their reward.
They were done to be seen of men, they received the recognition and
applause of men, and God refused to recognise any obligation for
Secondly, it is necessary, before these laws of the spiritual
world operate on our behalf, that we should definitely and by faith
appropriate them. There is no promise which does not require to be
claimed. As the angel of electricity will not step forth to illumine
our rooms unless we turn the switch when we pass through the door, so
we must not complain that the laws of the spiritual world do not bring
us help unless by faith we appropriate their service. Whenever,
therefore, we expend alms for the relief of need, let us definitely
put our money into God's bags, which wax not old: we should
specifically lay up treasure in heaven, we should pay our money, so to
speak, into the bank of His faithfulness, and reckon that there will
be a definite return. It may be taken as an axiom that in this world
there is a return for every gift that we lay on the altar of
self-sacrifice --not of reward but of free grace. We must not make the
gift in order to get the reward, but having made the gift in the name
of Christ, and for the fulfilment of His redemptive purpose, we may
certainly believe that in ways that we may not be able to define God
will supply all our need.
Thirdly, it should be borne in mind that though there may be
apparent straitness, there may be a wealth of content, a gold mine of
peace and joy, the precious stones of spiritual grace, which
correspond to the riches in glory of which the Apostle speaks. When
life was young, they gave of their temporal things, and now as the
evening shades gather, God gives them not temporalities but
spiritualities. They sowed carnal things and reap spiritual ones (1Co
God's Return. "All your need." From the moment that we draw our
first breath in this world to the last sigh of expiring life, we are
full of needs. The babe has its cradle needs, and the patriarch those
that arise from the wearing out of his faculties, and his growing
dependence on others. The body has physical need, the mind its hunger
for truth, the heart its insatiable longing for love, the spirit for
spiritual sustenance and quickening. Our human nature is one great
bundle of need, it is always crying aloud for satisfaction; and as
civilisation advances, the variety and multiplicity of our need is
ever on the increase.
Needs and Desires. We must distinguish between our needs and
our desires. It is possible to want a good many things which we do not
need. We often want things which it would injure us greatly to have.
Paul wanted to be delivered from his thorn, but his real need was for
more grace. We want a great many things which it is not possible for
our Heavenly Father to give us, except to the great detriment of our
best life. There is no promise that God shall supply all our desires
or wishes, there is a certainty that He will fulfil all our need.
Some may read these words whose needs are clamant, the need for
guidance, for help against temptation, for the quickening of
languishing devotional life, the need for daily bread or employment.
Let all such take this to their heart for their comfort that God will
supply all their need. "My God shall fulfil every need of yours."
Christ is God's Answer to Our Need. "In Him are all the
treasures of wisdom and knowledge hidden." "It pleased the Father that
in Him should all the fulness dwell." "In Him dwelleth all the fulness
of the Godhead bodily." The Divine-Human nature of Christ is replete
with every possible supply for His people. "He filleth all in all."
Those that trust Him can say, as the Apostle did of the Philippian
gifts, "I have all things and abound; I am filled, hating received
from Christ the things that came from God, and which were treasured in
Him for my enrichment and thanksgiving." The teaching of the Apostle
is full of this thought, as when he says, "I thank my God always
concerning you, for the grace of God which was given you in Christ
Jesus; that in everything ye were enriched in Him" (1Cor 1:4, 5), and
again, "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ who
hath blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places
in Christ" (Eph 1:3-note).
Peter also affirms the same thought. "Grace to you, and peace be
multiplied in the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord; seeing that
His Divine power hath granted unto us all things that pertain unto
life and godliness" (2Pet. 1:2-note,
Christ is the complement i.e. the completement of every soul.
Just as the dark face of the moon taken with her first crescent of
light makes a complete circle, so the unseen Redeemer together with
our infinite need makes a complete man after God's stature. The
greater our deficiency the larger His supply.
The Prime Necessity. The prime necessity, however, is that we
should reckon it is so, and avail ourselves of all the treasures that
are prepared for our use in our Risen Lord. Too often we act as if we
had to meet the demands of life from our own limited exchequer,
instead of believing that we have been taken into partnership with the
Son of God, and can at any moment draw upon His all-sufficiency. What
would you think if a clerk, who was sent to a distant land to open a
branch of some great business firm, were to seek to meet the expenses
out of his own limited salary, when the head of the firm had told him
to draw upon his credit to any extent which he deemed necessary? But
we make the same mistake when we meet the calls of life apart from the
boundless wealth which is placed to our credit in Jesus.
A story is told by Dr. Richard Newton of an old and poverty-stricken
Indian, who many years ago made his way into a Western settlement in
search of food to keep him from starving. A bright-coloured ribbon was
seen around his neck, from which there hung a small, dirty pouch. On
being asked what it was, he said it was a charm given him in his
younger days. He opened it, and took out a worn and Crumpled paper,
which he handed to the person making the inspection. It proved, on
examination, to be a regular discharge from the federal army, signed
by George Washington himself, and entitling him to a pension for life.
Here was a man with a promise duly signed, which if presented in the
right place would have secured him ample provision, yet he was
wandering about hungry, helpless, and forlorn, and begging bread to
keep him from starving. What a picture of many Christians who are in
need of everything when they might be rich and full! Perhaps their own
life had not been generous, certainly their faith has never put in its
claim to God's great bank of promise.
We deal with a Father. Let us remember that we are dealing with
a Father. "Now unto our God and Father be the glory for ever." The
Father's eye is on His children, and a Father's hand is stretched out
to their relief. Let us be of good cheer. Two sparrows are sold for a
farthing, but five for two farthings, that is, sparrows are so cheap
that one can be thrown into the bargain, but that odd sparrow cannot
fall to the ground without the notice of the Father. Surely we are of
more value than many sparrows, and we may count on Him with absolute
certainty. Nowhere in the world does He make birds, fish, young lions,
or babes, without supplying the food which He has taught them to
require. He cannot do worse by us; we dare not think that He had
implanted needs which He is unable and unwilling to meet. Only let us
make Him our confidant, going through life with a free-handed
generosity that gives, and with an absolute trust which takes, making
our requests known unto Him, and receiving the fulfilment of every
need, out of which shall arise to Him who loves us, cares for us, and
sustains us, glory unto the ages of the ages. The grace of God, and if
He loves, there must be something lovable upon which our hearts can
B. Meyer. The Epistle to the Philippians - A Devotional Commentary)
Philippians, that at the
preaching of the
with me in the
giving and receiving but you
Amplified: And you Philippians
yourselves well know that in the early days of the Gospel ministry,
when I left Macedonia, no church (assembly) entered into partnership
with me and opened up [a debit and credit] account in giving and
receiving except you only.
Bible - Lockman)
though I am thus indifferent to my own wants, I commend you for your
sympathy and aid in my affliction. I need not remind you, my
Philippian friends; you yourselves will remember that in the first
days of the Gospel, when I left Macedonia, though I would not receive
contributions of money from any other church, I made an exception in
NLT: As you know, you Philippians were the only ones who gave
me financial help when I brought you the Good News and then traveled
on from Macedonia. No other church did this. (NLT
- Tyndale House)
Philippians will remember that in the early days of the Gospel when I
left Macedonia, you were the only church who shared with me the
fellowship of giving and receiving. (Phillips:
Wuest: But you yourselves also know, Philippians, that at the
beginning of the good news, when I went out from Macedonia, not even
one assembly made itself a partner with me as regards an account of
giving and receiving except you only, (Eerdmans)
and ye have known, even ye Philippians, that in the beginning of the
good news when I went forth from Macedonia, no assembly did
communicate with me in regard to giving and receiving except ye only;
YOURSELVES ALSO KNOW PHILIPPIANS THAT AT THE FIRST PREACHING OF THE
GOSPEL AFTER I DEPARTED FROM MACEDONIA NO CHURCH SHARED WITH ME IN THE
MATTER OF GIVING AND RECEIVING BUT YOU ALONE: Oidate (2SRAI) de kai
humeis, Philippesioi, hoti en arche tou euaggeliou, hote exelthon apo
Makedonias, oudemia moi ekklesia ekoinonesen (3SAAI) eis logon doseos
kai lempseos ei me humeis monoi: (Macarthur
And you Philippians yourselves well
know that in the early days of the Gospel ministry, when I left
Macedonia, no church (assembly) entered into partnership with me and
opened up [a debit and credit] account in giving and receiving except
you only. (Amplified
Bible - Lockman)
You yourselves know - Paul
by recalling their former kindness confirms his appreciation of their
present help. In other words he is saying that this is no new thing
for you have always been generous.
They were the only church that had
shared financially with Paul in his pressing circumstances and they
had done so despite their own poverty.
With the statement "First
preaching of the gospel" Paul digresses to 10 years earlier at the
time of is initial encounter with his readers, when God used his
preaching of the Gospel to birth the "First Church of Philippi".
Preaching of the Gospel
from eú = good + aggéllo = proclaim, tell) (Click
in depth study)
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. In this secular use euaggelion described
good news of any kind and prior to the writing of the
New Testament, had no definite religious connotation in the ancient
world until it was taken over by the "Cult of Caesar" which was the
state religion and in which the emperor was worshipped as a god. The
writers of the New Testament adapted the term as God's message of
salvation for lost sinners.
Euaggelion - 76x in the NT -
Matt. 4:23; 9:35; 24:14; 26:13; Mk. 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 Co. 4:15; 9:12, 14, 18, 23; 15:1; 2 Co. 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
The NAS renders euaggelion as made
a proclamation(1), preach(16), preached(10), preacher(1), preaches(2),
preaching(11),proclaim(8), proclaimed(6), proclaiming(6).
I departed from Macedonia
refers to Paul's first European circuit, when he went by way of Athens
to Corinth, where he was joined by Silvanus and Timothy, bringing a
contribution from Macedonia. (Acts 18:5; 2 Cor. 11:9).
(ekklesia from ek = out + kaleo = call) literally
"called-out ones" and implies an "assembly". Ekklesia was used by the
Greeks for their assembly of citizens "called out" to transact the
business of the city or to discuss the affairs of State. Ekklesia in
the NT describes a living organism, composed of living members joined
together; through which Christ lives and works, carrying out His
Kingdom purposes on earth. The giving by the Philippian saints was a
reflection of Christ living His life out through this local, dynamic
body of believers. May their tribe increase in these last days. Amen.
Ekklesia - 114x in the NT -
Matt. 16:18; 18:17; Acts 5:11; 7:38; 8:1, 3; 9:31; 11:22, 26; 12:1, 5;
13:1; 14:23, 27; 15:3f, 22, 41; 16:5; 18:22; 19:32, 39f; 20:17, 28;
Rom. 16:1, 4f, 16, 23; 1 Co. 1:2; 4:17; 6:4; 7:17; 10:32; 11:16, 18,
22; 12:28; 14:4f, 12, 19, 23, 28, 33ff; 15:9; 16:1, 19; 2 Co. 1:1;
8:1, 18f, 23f; 11:8, 28; 12:13; Gal. 1:2, 13, 22; Eph. 1:22; 3:10, 21;
5:23ff, 27, 29, 32; Phil. 3:6; 4:15; Col. 1:18, 24; 4:15f; 1 Thess.
1:1; 2:14; 2 Thess. 1:1, 4; 1 Tim. 3:5, 15; 5:16; Philemon 1:2; Heb.
2:12; 12:23; Jas. 5:14; 3 Jn. 1:6, 9f; Rev. 1:4, 11, 20; 2:1, 7f, 11f,
17f, 23, 29; 3:1, 6f, 13f, 22; 22:16
The NAS renders ekklesia
as assembly(3), church(74), churches(35), congregation (2).
As stated above, "the church" is not a building or an organization or a
creed but is in essence an organism, the Body of Christ (Eph 4:12-note,
Col 1:18-note), with Christ as the
Head of the Body (Col 1:18-note,
Eph 1:22, 23-note),
and individual members of
His Body, the Church composed of men and women called out of the
domain of darkness (Col 1:13-note) by God
from every tribe and tongue and people and nation (Rev 5:9-note,
out of darkness - 1Pe 2:9-note) unto salvation. I believe
that only regenerate (Titus 3:5-note) men
and women, both Jew and Gentile (Eph 3:6, "formerly far off" =
Gentiles Eph 2:13, 14-note,
Ep 2:15, 16-note,
Ep 2:17, 18-note,
cp Gal 3:28, 29), compose the true
church and that the true church does not include unsaved individuals (Acts
2:41, 47). Jesus predicted the church in (Mt 16:18), and Pentecost was the
inception of the church (Acts 2:1, 2, 3, 4ff). The church at its
inception was composed of Jews but Gentiles later became
"fellow citizens with the saints, and are of God's household, having been
built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus
Himself being the
Corner Stone in Whom the
whole building, being fitted
together is growing into a holy temple in the Lord in Whom you also are
being built together into a dwelling of God in the Spirit (Eph 2:19, 20,
I believe that the NT Scriptures also teach that "church" can refer to
a local assembly of believers (eg, Col 4:15,16-note,
cp Acts 2:42, 14:23, Re 1:4-note).
The church is the bride of Christ, which will live and reign with Him
throughout all eternity (Ep 5:31-note,
The church is entrusted with the mission of world evangelization
during this age (Mt 28:19, 20; Acts 1:8).
(koinoneo from koinos = common, shared by all) means
literally to share one's possessions with the implication of some kind
of joint participation and mutual interest. This Greek word was used
in a marriage contract where the husband and wife agree to a
joint-participation in the necessaries of life.
The things that are
"shared" in the NT include needs of other believers (Ro 12:13-note),
spiritual things (Romans 15:27-note), good things with one's teacher (Ga 6:6), giving
to the work of missions (Php 4:15), responsibility in another's sins
(! 1Ti 5:22), of Christ participating (sharing or taking part) in our humanity (He
of believers who experience the suffering for the sake of Christ
in evil deeds (2Jn 1:11).
The key idea in the word is that of
a partnership, a possessing things in common, a belonging in common
to. The saints at Philippi were in a glorious spiritual partnership
with the great apostle Paul in spreading the Gospel of Jesus Christ!
Believers have the same opportunity today as they pray for and give
generously to missionaries taking the gospel to the thousands of
hidden people groups. Are you sharing in the eternal endeavor? Don't
pass up the once in a lifetime opportunity!
There are 8 uses of koinoneo
in the NT and is rendered (in the NAS) as contributing(1),
participates(1), share(4), shared(2)...
contributing to the needs of the saints, practicing
Yes, they were pleased to do so, and they are indebted to them. For if
the Gentiles have shared in their spiritual things, they are
indebted to minister to them also in material things.
Galatians 6:6 And let the one who is taught the word share all
good things with him who teaches.
Philippians 4:15 And you yourselves also know, Philippians, that at
the first preaching of the gospel, after I departed from Macedonia, no
church shared with me in the matter of giving and receiving but
1Timothy 5:22 Do not lay hands upon anyone too hastily and thus
share responsibility for the sins of others; keep yourself free
Since then the children share in flesh and blood, He Himself
likewise also partook of the same, that through death He might render
powerless him who had the power of death, that is, the devil;
but to the degree that you share the sufferings of Christ, keep
on rejoicing; so that also at the revelation of His glory, you may
rejoice with exultation.
2Jn 1:11 for the one who gives him a greeting participates in
his evil deeds.
Paul used the noun form Koinonia in the
first chapter writing...
in view of your participation
(koinonia) in the gospel from the first day until now. (see note
in that verse signifies joint participation and co-operation in the
gospel, through financial support and prayer support. The Philippians
were fellow laborers or co-laborers with Paul to take the whole Word
to the whole world. Immediately upon becoming Christians and
continually thereafter, the Philippians had dedicated themselves to
living and proclaiming the truth about Jesus Christ, and specifically
to helping Paul in his ministry. (cf Lydia - Acts 16:15).
Koinoneo is used 4 times in the
Septuagint (LXX) 2Chr 20:35;
Job 34:8; Pr 1:11; Eccl 9:4.
(dosis from dídomi = to give) refers to a gift.
Today's English Version
you were the only ones who shared
my profits and losses.
(lepsis from lambáno = to receive) refers to a receipt
or to the act of receiving.
Giving and receiving
together picture a ledger with a credit and debit page. The
implication is that Paul evidently was a careful steward of his
resources and kept an account of his receipts and expenditures.
(logos) was sometimes used as a business term and in the NT is
translated as “accounts” (Mt 18:23; 25:19) or “accounting” (cf Luke
16:2). This is Paul's meaning in the present context.
The Philippians kept a ledger in
which they recorded the good things received from Paul on the credit
page, and the debt they owed Paul on the debit side. He acknowledged
the receipt of their gift in the words, "I have all," using a business
term meaning, "I have received in full" (Php 4:18).
The word "abound" in Php 4:17, is taken
from the money market. It was used of the accumulation of interest.
FOR EVEN IN
THESSALONICA YOU SENT A GIFT MORE THAN ONCE FOR MY NEEDS: hoti kai en Thessalonike
kai hapax kai dis eis ten
chreian moi epempsate. (2PAAI): (Macarthur
on Php 4:14-19)
Even in Thessalonica - see
The Greek literally reads
"because also in Thessalonica, both once and again to my need you
sent". Note that the NASB adds the word "gift" for continuity, but it
is not present in the original Greek text.
(chreia from chréos = debt) refers to that which is
a lack of something requisite, desirable, or useful. Chreia
means to have need of someone or something (Mt 3:14, Mk 2:25). It can
speak of the necessities of life (Acts 20:34). In Eph 4:29 (note)
chreia refers to an individuals "needs" (more in a figurative
sense or psychological, spiritual sense rather than a physical sense).
Chreia - 49x in the NT -
Matt. 3:14; 6:8; 9:12; 14:16; 21:3; 26:65; Mk. 2:17, 25; 11:3; 14:63;
Lk. 5:31; 9:11; 10:42; 15:7; 19:31, 34; 22:71; Jn. 2:25; 13:10, 29;
16:30; Acts 2:45; 4:35; 6:3; 20:34; 28:10; Rom. 12:13; 1 Co. 12:21,
24; Eph. 4:28, 29; Phil. 2:25; 4:16, 19; 1 Thess. 1:8; 4:9, 12; 5:1;
Tit. 3:14; Heb. 5:12; 7:11; 10:36; 1 Jn. 2:27; 3:17; Rev. 3:17; 21:23;
The NAS renders chreia
as necessary(1), need(40), needed(1), needs(6), task(1).
Dwight Pentecost notes
The strange thing in this passage
is that the apostle is not commending the Philippians because they met
his need; he is commending them because they have satisfied a need of
their own of which they seem to have been entirely ignorant. Since the
apostle had nothing, we would suppose that he would thank them because
of what their gift did for him. But he barely mentions that. His
thanksgiving goes to God because through the gift they have satisfied
a need which they have. The apostle points out that this is not the
first time the Philippians contributed to his needs. They did so on at
least two previous occasions. (Pentecost,
J. D. The Joy of Living: A Study of Philippians. Kregel Publications)
Philippians 4:17 Not
gift itself, but I
Not that I seek or am eager for [your] gift, but I do seek and am
eager for the fruit which increases to your credit [the harvest of
blessing that is accumulating to your account].
Bible - Lockman)
Lightfoot: Again I say, I do not desire the gift, but I do desire that
the fruits of your benevolence should redound to your account.
NLT: I don't say this because I want a gift from you. What I
want is for you to receive a well-earned reward because of your
- Tyndale House)
isn't the value of the gift that I am keen on, it is the reward that
will come to you because of these gifts that you have made (Phillips:
Wuest: Not that it is my character to be ever seeking the gift, but I
am seeking the fruit which is accumulating to your account. (Eerdmans)
not that I seek after the gift, but I seek after the fruit that is
overflowing to your account;
NOT THAT I
SEEK THE GIFT ITSELF: ouch hoti epizeto (1SPAI) to doma : (Php
4:11; Mal 1:10; Acts 20:33,34; 1Co 9:12, 13, 14, 15; 2Co 11:16; 1Th
2:5; 1Ti 3:3; 1Ti 6:10; Titus 1:7; 1Pe 5:2; 2Pe 2:3,15; Jude 1:11)
on Php 4:14-19)
(epizeteo from epí = intensifies meaning + zeteo
= to seek) means to search for or even to demand. Paul was
neither inquiring about a gift nor demanding it.
Epizeteo - 13x in the NT -
Matt. 6:32; 12:39; 16:4; Lk. 4:42; 12:30; Acts 12:19; 13:7; 19:39;
Rom. 11:7; Phil. 4:17; Heb. 11:14; 13:14.
The NAS renders epizeteo
as craves(1), eagerly seek(2), searched(1), searching(1), seek(2),
seeking(3), seeks after(1), sought(1), want(1).
By declaring "not (absolute
negation) that I seek the gift" Paul is apparently still
defending himself against the slanderous assertion that he is using
the gospel as a means of making a living. Note that "seek" is in the
indicating one's habitual action. As Wuest renders it Paul is saying
"Not that it is my character to be
ever seeking the gift"
(doma from didomi = to give) is a present or gift and
the word lends greater emphasis to the character of the gift. In this
case it is preceded by the definite article in Greek ("to" = the)
indicating that this is a specific gift he is referring to.
Wil Pounds writes...
“Not that I seek the gift
itself, but I seek for the profit which increases to your account” (v.
17). James Boice writes, “Money that is given to help another
Christian is called fruit. Our gifts to others are encouraged by God,
noticed by God, and much-desired by Him.” There is a great stewardship
principle. The imagery says Thielman, is that of a bank account that
receives compounded interest. Paul says, it is “continuously
increasing profit for your account.” It pays spiritual dividends in
eternity. Paul has in mindd the day we stand before the Lord Jesus
Christ and give an account of how we have used His gifts to us. The
gifts the Philippians have sent to Paul is for their spiritual
advantage. “Their generosity was a concrete demonstration that God was
completing the good work that he had started in them when they
believed the gospel (1:6),” notes Thielman." (Abide In Christ Ministry)
BUT I SEEK
FOR THE PROFIT INCREASES TO
YOUR ACCOUNT: alla epizeto (1SPAI) ton karpon ton pleonazonta (PAPMSA) eis logon humon: (Phil
1:11; Micah 7:1; Jn 15:8,16; Ro 15:28; 2Cor 9:9, 10, 11, 12, 13; Titus
3:14) (Pr 19:17; Mt 10:40, 41, 42; 25:34, 35, 36, 37, 38, 39, 40; Lk
14:12, 13, 14; Heb 6:10)
(epizeteo from epí = intensifies meaning + zeteo
= to seek) means to search for and to strive after or long for.
Paul was striving for and longing for the fruit to be increasing for
the Philippians based on their giving.
[word study]) is fruit, in this case speaking of the dividends the
Philippians would receive from their grace giving to Paul. Paul is
referring to the eternal dividend accruing in their spiritual account
in the bank of Heaven. This fruit was the reward God would recompense
to them for their generous support of Paul as their "church
missionary". (cf Pr 11:24, 25; 19:17; Lk 6:38; 2Co 9:6).
Karpos - 67x in the NT -
Matt. 3:8, 10; 7:16ff; 12:33; 13:8, 26; 21:19, 34, 41, 43; Mk. 4:7f,
29; 11:14; 12:2; Lk. 1:42; 3:8f; 6:43f; 8:8; 12:17; 13:6f, 9; 20:10;
Jn. 4:36; 12:24; 15:2, 4f, 8, 16; Acts 2:30; Rom. 1:13; 6:21f; 15:28;
1 Co. 9:7; Gal. 5:22; Eph. 5:9; Phil. 1:11, 22; 4:17; 2 Tim. 2:6;
4:13; Heb. 12:11; 13:15; Jas. 3:17f; 5:7, 18; Rev. 22:2
The NAS renders karpos
as benefit (2), crop(5), crops(2), descendants*(1), fruit(43),
fruitful(1),fruits(4), grain(1), harvest(1), proceeds(1), produce(4),
(pleonazo from pleion = more) means to cause to
increase or superabound and so to be present in abundance or to have
plenty (2Pe 1:8-note,
Php 4:17). To have more than is necessary or more than enough to meet
one's needs (2Co 8:15). To become more and more - in Ro 5:20-note
speaking of transgression and sin increasing, in Romans 6:1-note
of grace increasing (in his rhetorical rebuttal to those who would
seek to turn grace into an opportunity to increase in sin, falsely
thinking such conduct was "okay" with God!), of grace spreading or
increasing as manifest by giving thanks to God (as an aside, genuine
giving of thanks proceeds from an attitude of gratitude in a grace
filled/controlled/transformed heart), in 2Th 1:3 speaking of love for
Pleonazo was a term taken from the money market and was
used of the accumulation of interest, in this case the interest in the
"spiritual account" of the Philippians as a result of their generous
Pleonazo is used 9 times in the NT
an is rendered cause to increase(1), grows greater(1), have too
much(1), increase(2), increased(1),increases(1), increasing(1),
- And the Law came in that the transgression might
increase; but where sin increased, grace abounded all
What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace might
2Corinthians 4:15 For all things are for your sakes, that the grace
which is spreading to more and more people may cause the giving
of thanks to abound to the glory of God.
2Corinthians 8:15 as it is written, "He who gathered much did not
have too much, and he who gathered little had no
Philippians 4:17 Not that I seek the gift itself, but I seek for the
profit which increases to your account.
and may the Lord cause you to increase and abound (perisseuo)
in love for one another, and for all men, just as we also do for you;
(Note: Pray for love in your local body so that the God of love fills
His people with the desire and power to love one another with grace
empowered, Spirit controlled supernatural love, love that surpasses
human comprehension! Don't try to artificially "manufacture" it for it
will lack the touch of the Supernatural.)
2 Thessalonians 1:3 We ought always to give thanks to God for you,
brethren, as is only fitting, because your faith is greatly enlarged,
and the love of each one of you toward one another grows ever
For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they
render you neither useless nor unfruitful in the true knowledge of our
Lord Jesus Christ.
There are 18 uses of pleonazo
in the non-apocryphal
- Ex 16:18, 23; 26:12; Nu 3:46, 48, 49, 51; 9:22; 26:54; 2Sa 18:8;
1Chr. 4:27; 5:23; 2Chr 24:11; 31:5; Ps 50:19; 71:21; Pr. 15:6; Jer
30:19; Ezek 23:32. Here is a representative use (and a great/bold
prayer to pray to our Father, although some translations do not see it
as a prayer, eg Psalm 71:21NIV, Ps 71:21ESV)...
Psalm 71:21 May You increase
(Heb - rabah = increase greatly or exceedingly; Lxx = pleonazo) my
greatness and turn to comfort me. (Amplified reads - Increase my
greatness (my honor) and turn and comfort me.)
Spurgeon comments on this
psalm writing that...
As a king, David grew in influence
and power. God did great things for him, and by him, and this is all
the greatness believers want. May we have faith in God, such as these
And comfort me on every side. As we were surrounded with afflictions,
so shall we be environed with consolations. From above, and from all
around, light shall come to dispel our former gloom; the change shall
be great, indeed, when the Lord returns to comfort us.
Greatness increasing with comfort, and comfort increasing with
greatness; very rarely united. George Rogers.
Here is another example of the use
of pleonazo in the Septuagint...
Proverbs 15:6 Great (Heb = rab =
much, many, great; Lxx = pleonazo) wealth is in the house of the
righteous, but trouble is in the income of the wicked.
(logos) in this context is used much as we would use the term
Philippians were in effect storing up for themselves treasure in
heaven. (Mt 6:2, 3, 4, 19, 20, 21--See notes on giving
F B Meyer notes that
Give and Receive...is a constant
law of God's world. "Give, and it shall be given unto you: good
measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, shall be given
into your bosom. For with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured
to you again." Lend your boat for a whole afternoon to Christ that it
may be His floating pulpit, and He will return it to you laden with
fish. Place your upper room at His disposal for a single meal, and He
will fill it and the whole house with the Holy Spirit of Pentecost.
Place in His hands your barley loaves and fish, and He will not only
satisfy your hunger, but add twelve baskets full of fragments. The
Philippians sent three or four presents to a suffering and much
needing servant of God, and from that moment they might reckon that
every need of theirs would be supplied. Such small acts on our part
are recompensed with such vast returns. We scratch the surface of the
soil and insert our few little seeds, and within a few months the
acreage is covered by a prolific harvest in which a hundredfold is
given for every grain which we seemed to throw away. (Commentary on
4:18 But I
(1SPAI); I am
what you have
Amplified: But I have [your
full payment] and more; I have everything I need and am amply
supplied, now that I have received from Epaphroditus the gifts you
sent me. [They are the] fragrant odor of an offering and sacrifice
which God welcomes and in which He delights.
Bible - Lockman)
Lightfoot: For myself, I have now enough of all things. The presents
which you sent by Epaphroditus have fully supplied my needs. I welcome
them, as the sweet savor of a burnt-offering, as a sacrifice accepted
by and well-pleasing to God.
NLT: At the moment I have all I need—more than I need! I am
generously supplied with the gifts you sent me with Epaphroditus. They
are a sweet-smelling sacrifice that is acceptable to God and pleases
- Tyndale House)
Now I have everything I want - in fact I am
rich. Yes, I am quite content, thanks to your gifts received through
Epaphroditus. Your generosity is like a lovely fragrance, a sacrifice
that pleases the very heart of God. (Phillips:
Wuest: But I have all things to the full and overflowing. I have been
filled completely full and at present am well supplied, having
received at the hands of Epaphroditus the things from you, a fragrant
aroma, a sacrifice acceptable, well-pleasing to God. (Eerdmans)
Young's Literal: and I have all things, and abound; I am
filled, having received from Epaphroditus the things from you -- an
odour of a sweet smell -- a sacrifice acceptable, well-pleasing to
BUT I HAVE
RECEIVED EVERYTHING IN FULL AND HAVE AN ABUNDANCE: apecho (1SPAI) de panta kai perisseuo (1SPAI): (Php
4:12; 2 Th 1:3)
(apechomai or apecho from apó = from + écho = have) means to
be enough, to be sufficient and as in this case to have received in
full. In this specific use apecho is used by Paul in the
technical sense "This is my receipt". Apecho was constantly
used in secular Greek describing the drawing up a of a receipt. What
Paul is saying to them in "business terms" is "you have paid me in
full in all respects". Note that in other NT contexts, apechomai
has a distinctly different meaning of to have (Lk 15:2) or to produce
separation or distance from someone or something (Mt 15:8) and then by
figurative extension to avoid contact with as in (Acts 15:29, 1Ti 4:3,
Apechomai - 19x in the NT -
Matt. 6:2, 5, 16; 14:24; 15:8; Mk. 7:6; 14:41; Lk. 6:24; 7:6; 15:20;
24:13; Acts 15:20, 29; Phil. 4:18; 1 Thess. 4:3; 5:22; 1 Tim. 4:3;
Philemon 1:15; 1 Pet. 2:11-note
The NAS renders
apechomai/apecho as abstain(5), abstaining(1), away(1), have
back(1), have in full(3), have received in full(1), it is enough(1),
off(1), receiving in full(1), was away(2).
Wuest explains it this
And now Paul signs a receipt for
the gift they sent him, possibly a bit of apostolic humor. The words
“I have” are a rubber-stamp of the first century for, “I give you a
receipt for what you sent me,” or “I have received in full.”
K. S. Wuest's Word Studies from the Greek New Testament: Studies in
the Vocabulary of the Greek New Testament: Grand Rapids: Eerdmans)
Have an abundance (4052)
(perisseuo from perissós = abundant) means to
superabound or to be in excess. In this verse perisseuo extends the
idea of apecho, as if he was not just full but overflowing or
Wuest commenting on perisseuo writes that...
The word “abound” (NASB =
"abundance") in the Greek speaks of that which exists in superfluity.
The Philippian gift must have been generous, and Epaphroditus must
have been loaded down. What a demonstration of the work of the Holy
Spirit is seen in this act of generosity on the part of these former
pagans, performed for one who in origin, training, and religion had
been and in some ways was still so different from them, different in a
sense which would naturally militate against Paul, Gentiles of the
proudest and most exclusive race of antiquity, the intelligentsia of
the world, loving one who belonged to a race that was looked down upon
I AM AMPLY SUPPLIED HAVING
RECEIVED FROM EPAPHRODITUS WHAT YOU HAVE SENT A FRAGRANT AROMA AN
ACCEPTABLE SACRIFICE WELL-PLEASING TO GOD: pepleromai (1SRPI) dexamenos (AMPMSN) para Epaphroditou ta par' humon osmen euodias
thusian dekten euareston to theo: (Phil
2:25,26) (Jn 12:3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8; 2Co 2:15,16; Ep 5:2; Heb 13:16, 20,
21; 1Pe 2:5) (Ro 12:1; 2Co 9:12)
Amply supplied (4137)
from pleres = full) means to be completely filled, as a net
filled with fish or cup filled to brim. Pleroo is used often to
describe the fulfilling of God's OT promises and prophecies.
Pleroo is a great NT verb to
take a moment and study to see what or who is filled (or fulfilled),
what they are filled with (eg, just to "tease" you, contrast Ro 1:29-note
and Eph 5:18-note,
Acts 13:52, Jn 3:29, 2Ti 1:4-note;
1Jn 1:4, 2Jn 1:12!), how this filling comes about, what the result of
filling is, etc.
Note Paul's use of the
perfect tense which
signifies "I have been filled full and remain in that state" or
“I have been filled and am still full, supplied and satisfied.” Such was
the lasting effect of their gift on Paul!
Pleroo - 86x in the NT -
Matt. 1:22; 2:15, 17, 23; 3:15; 4:14; 5:17; 8:17; 12:17; 13:35, 48;
21:4; 23:32; 26:54, 56; 27:9; Mk. 1:15; 14:49; Lk. 1:20; 2:40; 3:5;
4:21; 7:1; 9:31; 21:24; 22:16; 24:44; Jn. 3:29; 7:8; 12:3, 38; 13:18;
15:11, 25; 16:6, 24; 17:12f; 18:9, 32; 19:24, 36; Acts 1:16; 2:2, 28;
3:18; 5:3, 28; 7:23, 30; 9:23; 12:25; 13:25, 27, 52; 14:26; 19:21;
24:27; Rom. 1:29; 8:4; 13:8; 15:13, 14, 19; 2 Co. 7:4; 10:6; Gal.
5:14; Eph. 1:23; 3:19; 4:10; 5:18; Phil. 1:11; 2:2; 4:18, 19; Col.
1:9, 25; 2:10; 4:17; 2 Thess. 1:11; 2 Tim. 1:4; Jas. 2:23; 1 Jn. 1:4;
2 Jn. 1:12; Rev. 3:2; 6:11
The NAS has various and
numerous ways of rendering pleroo - accomplish(1),
accomplished(1), amply supplied(1), approaching(1),
complete(1),completed(3), completing(1), elapsed(1), fill(3),
filled(16), fills(1), finished(1), fulfill(5), fulfilled(35), fully
carry out(3), fully come(1), fully preached(1), increasing(1), made
complete(2), made full(5), make complete(1), make full(1), passed(2),
Having received (1209)
[word study]) means to accept readily, or to receive kindly and so to
take to oneself what is presented or brought by another. Paul stresses
his appreciation of the kindness both of the church and of
Dechomai - 56x in the NT -
Matt. 10:14, 40f; 11:14; 18:5; Mk. 6:11; 9:37; 10:15; Lk. 2:28; 8:13;
9:5, 48, 53; 10:8, 10; 16:4, 6f, 9; 18:17; 22:17; Jn. 4:45; Acts 3:21;
7:38, 59; 8:14; 11:1; 17:11; 22:5; 28:21; 1 Co. 2:14; 2 Co. 6:1; 7:15;
8:17; 11:4, 16; Gal. 4:14; Eph. 6:17; Phil. 4:18; Col. 4:10; 1 Thess.
1:6; 2:13; 2 Thess. 2:10; Heb. 11:31; Jas. 1:21
The NAS renders dechomai
as accept(2), accepted(3), receive(18), received(11), receives(15),
take(3), taken(1),took(1), welcome(1), welcomed(1).
(osme from ozō = to smell; English = ozone) is a smell
Osme - 6x in the NT - Jn.
12:3; 2 Co. 2:14, 16; Eph. 5:2; Phil. 4:18
Osme is used 46x in
most often to describe a "soothing
aroma" to the Lord, which parallels Paul's use of osme as
fragrant to describe the saint's sacrificial giving!!!
Have you ever pondered
that your giving to the work of Jehovah as motivated by His Spirit
produces a soothing aroma before His throne in heaven? Does this
precious word picture not cause you to desire to be given more
opportunities to give to Him and His people and His supernatural
Kingdom work?! What an awesome God we serve that we as redeemed
sinners (who are now saints) are given the holy privilege of offering
up acceptable sacrifices to the incomprehensible God (Play
How Great Is Our God)
and that these offerings are truly pleasing and "pleasantly aromatic"
to Him, all made possible by and through the greatest sacrificial gift
of Christ Jesus, our Great High Priest!
Here are the Lxx uses of osme that you might want to meditate on in an
attitude of worship and thanksgiving -- Gen. 8:21; Exod. 29:18, 25,
41; Lev. 1:9, 13, 17; 2:2, 9, 12; 3:5, 11, 16; 4:31; 6:15, 21; 8:21,
28; 17:4, 6; 23:13, 18; Num. 15:3, 5, 7, 10, 13f, 24; 18:17; 28:2, 6,
8, 13, 24, 27; 29:2, 6, 8, 11, 13, 36; Ezr. 6:10; Ezek. 6:13; 16:19;
20:28, 41; Dan. 2:46; 4:1
fragrance, sweet odor and metaphorically as here of sacrifices pleasing
to God, specifically the material assistance sent to Paul by the
Euodia - 3x in the NT - 2 Co. 2:15;
Eph. 5:2; Phil. 4:18
aroma is an image that
moves us from the business world of accounting to the religious world
of the priest and obviously is used by Paul to describe their material
gift to God. It is worth noting that the same terms are used to
describe Christ’s sacrificial death in Ephesians, Paul writing for the
saints at Ephesus to...
walk in love, just as Christ also
loved you, and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to
God as a fragrant aroma. (Ephesians 5:2)
Vine commenting on an odor of a sweet smell writes
the phrase is used in the
Septuagint (LXX) for the
Hebrew savor of rest especially of the burnt (or ascending)
offering, e.g., Leviticus 1 and 2, but also of the peace offering,
Leviticus 3 and sin offering (Lev 4). The idea of free will and
self-dedication was not altogether absent from the burnt offering
(though this is not to be gathered from Lev. 1:3, for the phrase there
is not “of his own voluntary will,” a.v., but “for his acceptance”)...
The offerings of believers, such as
the gifts of the church at Philippi to Paul, ascend to God as an odor
of a sweet smell, in the savor of the sacrifice of Christ (though they
have nothing to do with the removal of guilt as His expiatory offering
had), and this is suggested by the fact of the identical terms in
Ephesians 5:2 and Philippians 4:18. The free-will character of the
offerings is common to both. The gifts of believers are as the
fragrance of incense in their acceptance with God. (Vine,
W. Collected writings of W. E. Vine. Nashville: Thomas Nelson)
dechomai - see above at "received") means
one of whom there is or has been a favorable decision of the will.
Dektos was particularly used of the sacrifice although not to
distinguish it from unacceptable sacrifices, but to specify it as the
object of divine approval.
The important principle for saints
to remember is that whether or not an offering is really acceptable
and well-pleasing to God depends on the motive of the one who brings
it. Lowell phrases it poetically as...
“Not what we give but what we
For the gift without the giver is bare.”
(thusia from thúo = to sacrifice) is literally that
which is offered as a sacrifice. Here thusia is used
metaphorically to describe their service of giving. It was a sacrifice
to God and since they were financially poor, it was given
In the Old Testament there were two
types of sacrifices, the first offered to deal with sin and the broken
fellowship that resulted from the sin. The sacrificial blood was a
picture of the bridging of the gap between the giver and God (although
OT sacrifices for sin only covered over for a time, whereas Christ's
sacrifice effectively and permanently removed all guilt of sin for
those who believe in Him).
The second type of OT sacrifice was
presented to God as an act of worship, the presenter having had his
sins covered over by the blood of the sin offering, which resulted in
his hearts being full of thanksgiving and praise to God which was
reflected in the offering. It is this second type of "sacrifice" for
which Paul is commending the Philippians. The writer of Hebrews has a
parallel passage writing that...
Through Him (Christ, our Great High
Priest) then, let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to
God, that is, the fruit of lips that give thanks to His Name. And do
not neglect doing good and sharing (which is exactly what the
saints at Philippi had done!); for with such sacrifices God is
pleased. (Hebrews 13:15-16)
Note also that in the Old Testament sacrificial
system, every sacrifice was to provide a fragrant aroma and be
acceptable to God. Only if the individual offered it up with
the correct heart attitude would it be pleasing to God. And so we read
that after the flood and their arrival on dry land...
Then Noah built an altar to the
LORD, and took of every clean animal and of every clean bird and
offered burnt offerings on the altar and the LORD smelled the
soothing aroma; and the LORD said to Himself, "I will never again
curse the ground on account of man, for the intent of man's heart is
evil from his youth; and I will never again destroy every living
thing, as I have done." (Genesis 8:20-21) (cf Lev
In Exodus a parallel passage
And you shall offer up in smoke the
whole ram on the altar; it is a burnt offering to the LORD: it is a
soothing aroma, an offering by fire to the LORD. (cf Ex 29:18).
Paul is saying that the
Philippians’ gift was a spiritual sacrifice, which is what he exhorted the saints
at Rome to pursue writing...
I urge you therefore, brethren, by
the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy
sacrifice, acceptable (euarestos) to God, which is your spiritual service of
worship. (see note on
Romans 12:1, cf
Well pleasing (2101)
(euarestos from eu = well + arésko = please)
describes that which causes someone to be pleased or something which
is well approved, eminently satisfactory, or extra-ordinarily
pleasing. What the saints at Philippi did to
help Paul and his mission was eminently satisfactory and
extra-ordinarily pleasing service to God (cf. Ge
8:21; Ex 29:18; Lev 1:9, 13; Ezek 20:41).
Euarestos - 9x in the
NT - Ro 12:1, 2; 14:18; 2 Co. 5:9; Ep 5:10; Php 4:18; Col 3:20; Titus
2:9; He 13:21.
The NAS renders euarestos
as acceptable(3), pleasing(2), well-pleasing(3), which is pleasing(1).
The KJV Commentary adds that...
The Philippians’ stewardship was a
barometer of their spiritual condition. One can give without loving,
but he cannot love without giving. Love takes the stew out of
stewardship. The love gift pleased God, relieved Paul, and enriched
the Philippians. (Dobson,
E G, Charles Feinberg, E Hindson, Woodrow Kroll, H L. Wilmington: KJV
Bible Commentary: Nelson)
Dwight Pentecost has a
practical summation of Philippians 4:14-18 writing that...
We are responsible before God for
the use of every material thing that God puts into our hands. We are
not only responsible for the surplus, we are responsible for every
penny. Our material goods are to be used under the control of the
Spirit of God, so that the saints’ needs might be met, and the
servants’ needs might be met, and God might be satisfied as we give
sacrifices acceptable and well-pleasing to God. I trust that God may
give such an attitude toward the material things He has given to us,
that we shall no longer divide them into “His” and “ours” but
recognize that they all belong to Him and that we are stewards of what
He has entrusted to us, so that we might use them to the glory of His
J. D. The Joy of Living: A Study of Philippians. Kregel Publications)
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In Our Daily Walk F B Meyer
has the following devotional entitled "Rich Toward God"...
LET US never forget this wonderful
assertion, that life consists not in what we possess, but in what we
are; not in goods, but in goodness; not in things, but qualities. "How
much was he worth?" we ask when a man dies, and we expect an answer in
the amount that stood to his credit, and on which his estate must pay
death duties. Yet surely a man is worth only the love, humility,
generosity, and sweet reasonableness which characterize him. Take away
some people's wealth, and, as in the case of the rich man of whom our
Lord speaks in His parable, you have nothing left; but take away all
things from St. John or St. Paul, from St. Francis or Augustine, or
Wesley, and you have an abundance left which makes them the
millionaires of all time! "Poor, yet making many rich; having nothing,
and yet possessing all things."
The rich man in the parable made three foolish mistakes. First, he
treated his wealth as though it were absolutely his own. There is no
suggestion that he had made it wrongfully. His wealth had evidently
accrued as the gift of prolific harvests, and was certainly due to the
goodness of the Creator, on whose co-operation the results of
husbandry evidently depend. But to lift up grateful eyes in thankful
acknowledgment to God seems never to have occurred to him! Are we not
all too prone to magnify our own shrewdness and aptitude, and to
exclude God when we make up our accounts for the year.
Second, he thought that the best receptacle for his overplus was in
barns, and forgot that there were multitudes of poor and needy souls
around. When we begin to accumulate more than we need for our use, or
the provision for our families, we should consider, not further
investments, but the pressing need of others.
Third, he thought that goods could stay the hunger of the soul How
often has the heart of man or woman been surfeited with goods and
remained unsatisfied? Let us give, expecting nothing again, with full
measure, pressed down, and running over; give, not only money, but
love and tenderness and human sympathy; give as one who is always
receiving from the boundless resources of God.
PRAYER - Help us, O God, to set our affections on things above, not on
things on earth, for nothing beneath these skies can satisfy the
hearts which Thou hast made for Thyself. AMEN.
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A NOTE OF THANKS - I was
rummaging through some old files the other day when I ran across a big
envelope full of treasures -- a collection of thank-you notes from my
students during the last year I taught in high school. They brought
back some cherished memories. Reading them reminded me of the
importance of letting people know how much they are appreciated.
Thank-you notes afford us the opportunity to make permanent our
feelings of gratitude for our friends or loved ones.
The apostle Paul sent a thank-you note to the Christians in Philippi.
They were the only church that had supported him financially on his
missions trip (Phil. 4:15), and he wanted to say thanks. But he did
more. He told the people specifically what good they had done by
helping him. Through Paul, the people reached out to places they could
never visit. They met Paul's necessities (Phil 4:16). Their gifts bore
spiritual fruit (v27). They pleased God (Phil 4:18). And they received
the promise of God's provision for them (Phil 4:19).
Thank-you notes work both ways. They help the sender to express
appreciation, and they help the recipient to know what he has done to
assist. It's a great combination.
Does someone you know deserve a
note of thanks? -- J. David Branon (Copyright
RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by permission. All rights
Consider what the Lord has done
Through those who've shown you love;
Then thank them for their faithful deeds,
For blessings from above. -- Sper
A word of encouragement can make the difference between giving up
and going on.
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