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Bible Commentaries

Gary H. Everett's Study Notes on the Holy Scriptures

Philippians 2

 

 

Other Authors
Verses 1-11

A Description of Christ's Sacrifice - In Philippians 2:1-11 Paul explains the sacrifice that Christ Jesus made as He forsook His own will to do the will of His Father. As a result of such a sacrifice the Father exalted Christ into His calling as Lord of Lords and King of Kings.

Jesus, who made the greatest sacrifice, has been given the greatest exaltation. He abandoned His position, which was equal to God (verse 6-7) and further humbled Himself by going to the Cross (verse 8), which is the humblest position that man can take. Note the translation of Goodspeed on verse 8, "When he had assumed human form, he still further humbled himself and carried his obedience so far as to die, and to die upon the cross." Thus, the greater the humility in this life, the greater the reward in Heaven (verse 9). So it will be with us. Those Christians who make the greatest sacrifices for the Kingdom will receive the greatest rewards.

The Pre-incarnate Christ - Philippians 2:5-10 reveals God's ultimate sacrifice of love towards mankind as Jesus Christ left His place in Heaven, and came to earth in the form of a man. The testimony of Jesus' pre-incarnate existence is referred to in a number of other New Testament passages ( John 1:1-8, 2 Corinthians 8:9, 1 Timothy 3:16, Hebrews 1:1-14; Hebrews 2:14-18, 1 John 1:1-2).

John 1:1-18

2 Corinthians 8:9, "For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that ye through his poverty might be rich."

1 Timothy 3:16, "And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory."

Hebrews 1:1-14; Hebrews 2:14-18

1 John 1:1-2, "That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life; (For the life was manifested, and we have seen it, and bear witness, and shew unto you that eternal life, which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us;)"

Scripture References- This description of Jesus' humility and exaltation is also referred to in Isaiah 52:13-14 using similar words. We find in Isaiah 53:1-12 the most detailed prophetic description of Jesus' suffering of any place in the Scriptures.

Isaiah 52:13-14, "Behold, my servant shall deal prudently, he shall be exalted and extolled, and be very high. As many were astonied at thee; his visage was so marred more than any Prayer of Manasseh , and his form more than the sons of men:"

Philippians 2:1 If there be therefore any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any bowels and mercies,

Philippians 2:1Comments- Philippians 2:1 reveals a progression of events in the life of a believer. We experience consolation in Christ from the moment we are saved and we partake of His forgiveness and restoration to God from that time forward in our lives. As a child of God we begin to experience His love as we begins to pour out His riches and blessings upon us as His beloved children. As we learn to commune with Him in prayer, we experience the fellowship of the Holy Spirit. As we abide in the presence of the Holy Spirit and allow God's love to be poured into us day by day, we are able to go back in to the world and pour this love out into the lives of others in the form of mercy and compassion. In other words, we ourselves do not have the ability to show love towards others, in that our human love is weak and flawed, but when we learn to abide in Christ and fellowship with the Holy Spirit, God's love pours in us and through us into a hurting humanity. Based on this divine principle of partaking of God's love and letting it be perfected in us, we are then able to pour God's love into others, and we fulfill God's plan of having the same love toward one another, which is the God-kind of love.

Paul had experienced this type of love being poured into him. It is this love that compels him to continue on in Christian ministry. Paul set this particular example in his ministry as he told the Corinthian that his affliction was for their consolation and salvation ( 2 Corinthians 1:6). As Paul is appealing to the Philippians to endure suffering for the sake of Christ as he himself has endured, he appeals to the one factor that will give them the strength to endure, which is God's love being poured into their lives. He well knew of the comfort that comes from walking in fellowship with Christ, of the love of God poured into him that urges him on ( 2 Corinthians 5:14), and of the presence of the Holy Spirit as it filled his room or a prison cell to strengthened him during times of hardship. It is this comfort and strength that comes from God alone that Paul bases his appeal to suffer for Christ's sake. In other words, it is not within our human strength to endure such hardships.

2 Corinthians 1:6, "And whether we be afflicted, it is for your consolation and salvation, which is effectual in the enduring of the same sufferings which we also suffer: or whether we be comforted, it is for your consolation and salvation."

2 Corinthians 5:14, "For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus Judges , that if one died for all, then were all dead:"

Paul is saying to whatever extent God has been allowed to work into you a divine Christ-likeness, use it for the benefit of the Church and others. Use it to keep unity in the Body of Christ. Less mature believers should use their divine character to their best efforts, though they may appear to be less mature as older believers. However, God is more pleased with the young believer exercising all their divine character, than an older believer using just part of what has given them, though outwardly, the older believer appears more spiritual. It takes all of these things listed in this verse to be able to live in harmony with fellow believers.

Philippians 2:1Scripture References- Note similar verses:

1 Peter 3:8, "Finally, be ye all of one mind, having compassion one of another, love as brethren, be pitiful, be courteous."

1 Peter 4:1, "Forasmuch then as Christ hath suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves likewise with the same mind: for he that hath suffered in the flesh hath ceased from sin."

Philippians 2:2 Fulfil ye my joy, that ye be likeminded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind.

Philippians 2:2"being of one accord"- Comments- That Isaiah , "united in spirit."

Philippians 2:3 Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves.

Philippians 2:3"Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory" - Scripture References- Note similar verses:

Galatians 5:26, "Let us not be desirous of vain glory, provoking one another, envying one another."

James 3:14, "But if ye have bitter envying and strife in your hearts, glory not, and lie not against the truth."

Philippians 2:3"but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves" - Scripture References- Note similar verses:

Romans 12:10, "Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another."

1 Peter 5:5, "Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble."

Philippians 2:3Comments- Philippians 2:3 describes an attitude of humility in the role of servanthood. Every believer is a servant of Christ, walking in love towards his fellow brother by esteeming them above himself. Paul has given his life as an example of servanthood, and is now leading into Christ's example of servanthood.

Philippians 2:4 Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others.

Philippians 2:4Scripture References- Note similar verses:

1 Corinthians 10:24, "Let no man seek his own, but every man another"s wealth."

1 Corinthians 10:33, "Even as I please all men in all things, not seeking mine own profit, but the profit of many, that they may be saved."

Philippians 2:3-4Comments- In Philippians 2:3-4 Paul begins to explain the secret to receiving from God, which is the principle of sowing and reaping. As we begin to care for others, God will give us our own. The Lord once spoke to me and said, "Take care of My needs first." We are to lay aside our one pursuits and pursue the love walk by ministering to those in need. This is servanthood.

Luke 16:12, "And if ye have not been faithful in that which is another man"s, who shall give you that which is your own?"

Jesus taught in the Parable of the Dishonest Steward that as we take care of the needs of others, then our needs will be met. In the next verses, Paul is going to give Christ Jesus as the greatest example of this divine principle.

Illustration- As a young Seminary student, I once preached at a small church in Fort Worth Texas. Afterward the church service, they had a lunch for the members. One precious elderly lady busily engaged herself in serving plates and handing out second portions. She made sure that everyone had tea, napkins, utensils, seats, etc. She was one of the last to consider sitting down and eating.

Philippians 2:5 Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:

Philippians 2:5 — "Let this mind be in you" - Comments - Developing the Mindset of Christ Jesus- As I read this verse in Philippians , I interpreted it to say, "Let this mind-set be in you…" Having served as a missionary in Africa, and travelled in a number of countries, I have observed that each society of people have a common mindset different from other cultures. Although a person is saved, it does not mean that his mindset changes. A mind-set is the way a person perceives life circumstances around him. In corrupt cultures, a mindset of cleverness and pride is predominate. In strong Christian societies, integrity and honesty predominate the mindset of people. I have observed that it takes time for a person who has been saved in a corrupt culture to develop the proper mindset. A child of God must partake of God's Word in order for his mind-set to become like that of Christ Jesus.

Walking in a Mindset of Divine Authority- This passage in Philippians describes a mind of God Himself, One who walked in full authority, yet with a humble heart. We have often emphasized the need to imitate the humility of Jesus in this passage; but let us not forget that we are to also imitate His authority, so that we are to walk in our rightful place of authority in Christ. Jesus declared Himself to be the Son of God. It was this testimony that moved the Jews to crucify Him. We, too, are to have this testimony of living as children of God and walking in a humble authority that God has ordained for us.

Philippians 2:5"which was also in Christ Jesus" - Comments- The following verses ( Philippians 2:6-8) describe the mind of Jesus, a mind of ultimate humility and obedience to the Father's will.

Philippians 2:5Comments- The context of Philippians 2:5 is about servanthood in the kingdom of God. We are to let the mind of humility and servanthood be in us. Paul will then give the example of Jesus Christ as the ultimate example.

Philippians 2:6 Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God:

Philippians 2:6"Who, being in the form of God"- Comments- That Isaiah , Jesus pre-existed before his incarnate birth.

Philippians 2:6 — "thought it not robbery to be equal with God" - "robbery" - Or, "stealing God's glory." That Isaiah , taking what was not rightfully His in the beginning. The High Priests and Pharisees accused Jesus of saying that He made Himself equal with God. The Jews saw this as robbing God of glory that only God was due.

John 5:18, "Therefore the Jews sought the more to kill him, because he not only had broken the sabbath, but said also that God was his Father, making himself equal with God."

Philippians 2:7 But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men:

Philippians 2:7"But made himself of no reputation"- Word Study on "made himself of no reputation" - Strong says the Greek word "made himself of no reputation" ( κενό ω) (G 2758) literally means, "to make empty," and figuratively, "to abase, neutralize, falsify." The Enhanced Strong says this word is used 5 times in the New Testament, being translated in the KJV as, "make void 2, make of none effect 1, make of no reputation 1, be in vain 1."

Comments- The Greek word κενό ω means that Jesus Christ emptied Himself, or divested Himself, of His divine privileges. It may be illustrated in a television episode called Branded, starring Chuck Connors that aired in the 1960"s. In the opening scene, this U.S. army cavalry captain has the epaulettes of his military rank stripped off from his uniform and his sword broken over a man's knee. The plot of these series of movies then shows this person suffering unjustly at the hands of other men in society as he travels from town to town without a place to call home. In a similar way, Jesus Christ willing laid aside His divine rank as God and the privileges associated with His title and authority as the Son of God in order to become a man.

It is possible that Paul is making an elusive reference in this verse to Isaiah 53:12 when it says that the Messiah will "pour out" His soul unto death (KJV). However, the LXX reads, " παρεδόθη εἰς θάνατον ἡ ψυχὴ αὐτοῦ," or "He handed over his soul unto death."

Isaiah 53:12, "Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he hath poured out his soul unto death: and he was numbered with the transgressors; and he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors."

Philippians 2:7Comments- The question can be asked, "Of what exactly did the pre-incarnate Son of God empty Himself of when He took the form of a man?" Some scholars suggest that Jesus emptied Himself only of the independent exercise of those metaphysical attributes and that He withheld such attributes in order to redeem mankind. Other scholars suggest that He laid aside His divine, metaphysical attributes of being omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent while keeping His moral attributes such as justice and love.

Kenneth Hagin says that Jesus Christ laid aside certain privileges and restricted Himself to certain human limitations. He then uses several Scriptures to explain these limitations. First, Jesus Christ was not omniscient, or all knowing, because He "grew" in wisdom ( Luke 2:52). 66]

66] Kenneth Hagin, He Gave Gifts Unto Men: A Biblical Perspective of Apostles, Prophets, and Pastors (Tulsa, Oklahoma: Faith Library Publications, c 1992, 1993), 10-1.

Luke 2:52, "And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man."

Mark 11:12-14 bears witness to this is when Jesus saw a fig tree and went to it hoping to find figs to eat because He was hungry. He then cursed the tree when He found nothing. In other words, Jesus was hoping to find figs on this tree, and did not know whether there were figs or not until he inspected the tree.

Mark 11:12-14, "And on the morrow, when they were come from Bethany, he was hungry: And seeing a fig tree afar off having leaves, he came, if haply he might find any thing thereon: and when he came to it, he found nothing but leaves; for the time of figs was not yet. And Jesus answered and said unto it, No man eat fruit of thee hereafter for ever. And his disciples heard it."

Second, He did not operate in His omnipotence because He could of His own self do nothing.

John 5:19, "Then answered Jesus and said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do: for what things soever he doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise."

John 5:30, "I can of mine own self do nothing: as I hear, I judge: and my judgment is just; because I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me."

Third, He was confined to the human body so that He could not be omnipresent. Note again in Luke 2:52 how He had to grow "in stature" like any other person. Hagin says that Jesus Christ never ceased being Deity, but that He chose to live under these limitations in order to redeem mankind. 67]

67] Kenneth Hagin, He Gave Gifts Unto Men: A Biblical Perspective of Apostles, Prophets, and Pastors (Tulsa, Oklahoma: Faith Library Publications, c 1992, 1993), 10.

Philippians 2:7Comments- There are other verses in the Scriptures telling us that Jesus Christ, the Son of God, took upon himself the form of a man.

1 Timothy 3:16, "And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory."

Hebrews 2:14, "Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that Isaiah , the devil;"

Philippians 2:8 And being found in fashion as a Prayer of Manasseh , he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.

Philippians 2:8 — "even the death of the cross" - Comments- Jesus' death was not a normal kind of death, but a horrible one of suffering through a process of extreme torture. Death by crucifixion is perhaps the most painful form of death invented by mankind. How much more obedience to God did this kind of death require?

Scripture References- Note similar verses:

1 Corinthians 15:31, "I protest by your rejoicing which I have in Christ Jesus our Lord, I die daily."

2 Corinthians 4:8-12, "We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed; Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body. For we which live are alway delivered unto death for Jesus" sake, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh. So then death worketh in us, but life in you."

Hebrews 5:8, "Though he were a Song of Solomon , yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered."

Hebrews 12:2, "Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God."

Philippians 2:9 Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name:

Philippians 2:9Comments - The degree of one's sacrifice determines the height of one's honor. Jesus Christ made the ultimate sacrifice, and thus, He received the ultimate honor of being seated at the right hand of God.

Philippians 2:10 That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth;

Philippians 2:10 — "and things under the earth" - Comments - The things under the earth would refer to hell.


Verses 1-18

Sanctification - Philippians 2:1-18 reveals God's plan for sanctifying the believers. In this section Paul exhorts the Philippians to "work out your own salvation with fear and trembling" ( Philippians 2:12). Paul uses Jesus as his second example of someone who fulfilled the Father's will in that He left His glory to come to earth and serve the plan of the Father, and was then ushered into His own glory as His reward from the Father ( Philippians 2:5-11). Paul asks the Philippians to have the same mind as Christ in following His example of suffering and sacrifice.

In this passage of Scripture, Paul is going to give them the secret to how to endure suffering as he exhorts them to follow Christ's example ( Philippians 2:12-18). He will teach them to have an attitude of humbling themselves before God and others. It is this humility of spirit that grants a person the inner strength to endure suffering in the process of sanctification.

Outline - Here is a proposed outline:

A. A Description of Christ's Sacrifice — Philippians 2:1-11

B. Exhortation to Follow His Example — Philippians 2:12-18


Verses 12-18

Exhortation to Follow His Example - After Paul gives the example of Christ sacrifice, he then exhorts the saints to humble themselves in a similar manner.

Philippians 2:13"For it is God which worketh in you"- Comments- The same verb ένεργεω is used in 1 Thessalonians 2:13 says, "God which effectively worketh also in you that believe."

Philippians 2:13Scripture References- Note:

Hebrews 13:21, "Make you perfect in every good work to do his will, working in you that which is wellpleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen."

Philippians 2:12-13Comments- Paul tells the Philippians in Philippians 2:12-13 to work out their own salvation with fear and trembling for God is at work in them. We know from Philippians 1:6 that God was working in their lives in order to complete the plan and purpose that He had for each one of them. Paul simply asks the Philippians to do their part by yielding to the process of sanctification in their lives. God will put His desires within the believer's spirit, and He will him the physical, mental, and spiritual strength to endure.

Philippians 1:6, "Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ:"

Philippians 2:14 Do all things without murmurings and disputings:

Philippians 2:14Comments- Murmurings and disputings are an outward sign of an inward rebellion against the Lord. Such rebellion against God's commandments was considered a great sin against God with the children of Israel in the wilderness, punishable by death ( 1 Corinthians 10:10).

1 Corinthians 10:10, "Neither murmur ye, as some of them also murmured, and were destroyed of the destroyer."

Philippians 2:15 That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world;

Philippians 2:16 Holding forth the word of life; that I may rejoice in the day of Christ, that I have not run in vain, neither laboured in vain.

Philippians 2:16 — "neither laboured in vain" - Comments- One of the most painful agonies of life, besides the experiences of losing loved ones, divorce, etc, would be the loss of something that a person has given years of hard labor to achieve. The simple loss of computer files that cannot be recovered, the loss of property by thief, the loss something that a person has put their heart into. Paul is expressing here a determination to avoid the agony of losing the work that he had given his life to accomplish. He mentions this concern of loss to other churches also ( 1 Corinthians 15:10; 1 Corinthians 15:58, Galatians 2:2; Galatians 4:11, 1 Thessalonians 3:5).

1 Corinthians 15:10, "But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I laboured more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me."

1 Corinthians 15:58, "Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord."

Galatians 2:2, "And I went up by Revelation , and communicated unto them that gospel which I preach among the Gentiles, but privately to them which were of reputation, lest by any means I should run, or had run, in vain."

Galatians 4:11, "I am afraid of you, lest I have bestowed upon you labour in vain."

1 Thessalonians 3:5, "For this cause, when I could no longer forbear, I sent to know your faith, lest by some means the tempter have tempted you, and our labour be in vain."

Philippians 2:14-16Comments - Shining Forth the Gospel in a Corrupt Nation- I have lived in an underdeveloped nation as a missionary where corruption is widespread. It is easy to complain about the problems around me while living "in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation." Paul tells the Philippians to shine as lights by "holding forth the word of life" rather than murmuring and complaining. We are to speak God's Word in faith so that others may see the light of the Gospel and be converted. Only then can a people contribute positively to a society and help bring it out of corruption.

Philippians 2:17 Yea, and if I be offered upon the sacrifice and service of your faith, I joy, and rejoice with you all.

Philippians 2:17 — "Yea, and if I be offered upon the sacrifice and service of your faith" - Comments- Paul is sacrificing his life and giving of himself in order to bring the Philippians to a greater faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.

Philippians 2:17Comments- In the natural Paul's death looks like the Roman government is arresting and convicting a troublemaker, one whose death is necessary because of disturbing entire cities and regions of Asia Minor. However, from a divine perspective Paul is offering himself on the altar of ultimate sacrifice unto Jesus. It is a sacrifice that is well-pleasing unto God.

Philippians 2:18 For the same cause also do ye joy, and rejoice with me.


Verses 19-24

The Example of Timothy - In Philippians 2:19-24 Paul uses Timothy as another example of someone who has forsaken his own will to do the will of God.

Philippians 2:20Word Study on "likeminded"- The Greek word "likeminded" ( ἰ σό ψυχος) (G 2473) literally, "of the same soul," or, "of the same mind."

Philippians 2:20Comments - Paul was deeply concerned about the wellbeing of the Philippian believers, and Timothy was mindful of the same. Of all of those under Paul"s ministry, he sets Timothy apart as the one who thinks and fells most like himself regarding the work of the ministry. No one was transformed to Paul"s likeness more than Timothy. Timothy was literally of the same heart and mind as Paul the apostle, thus being elevated to partake of Paul"s salutations in many of Paul"s letters to the churches.

Philippians 2:21 For all seek their own, not the things which are Jesus Christ"s.

Philippians 2:21Comments - Even in the days of Paul, the apostle the world was seeking its own desires and not the things of God ( 2 Timothy 1:15).

2 Timothy 1:15, "This thou knowest, that all they which are in Asia be turned away from me; of whom are Phygellus and Hermogenes."

In Paul's epistle to the Philippians he gives a number of examples of those who sought the things of Christ and not their own. He gives himself as the first example ( Philippians 1:12-30), then Christ Jesus ( Philippians 2:1-11), followed by Timothy ( Philippians 2:19-24) and Epaphroditus ( Philippians 2:25-30).

Philippians 2:24 — "But I trust in the Lord" - Comments - Paul's phrase "But I trust in the Lord" can be translated "I am convinced in the Lord", which better reflects the idea that Paul felt led by the Spirit that he would be released from prison. We find similar phrases in "It seemed good to me also" ( Luke 1:3) and "when I gave all diligence to write unto you" ( Jude 1:3). Paul says to the Romans that he "longed to see them" ( Romans 1:11), which suggests an inner work of the Holy Spirit. In Acts 23:6 Paul "perceived" that part of the Sanhedrin council were Sadducees and part Pharisees, and switched his message of defense. In Acts 27:10 Paul says, "Sirs, I perceive that this voyage will be with hurt."

Luke 1:3, "It seemed good to me also, having had perfect understanding of all things from the very first, to write unto thee in order, most excellent Theophilus,"

Jude 1:3, "Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints."

Romans 1:11, "For I long to see you, that I may impart unto you some spiritual gift, to the end ye may be established;"

Acts 23:6, "But when Paul perceived that the one part were Sadducees, and the other Pharisees, he cried out in the council,"

Acts 27:10, "And said unto them, Sirs, I perceive that this voyage will be with hurt and much damage, not only of the lading and ship, but also of our lives."

Philippians 2:24Comments - We know that Paul intended on traveling on to Spain after his trip to Rome ( Romans 15:24).

Romans 15:24, "Whensoever I take my journey into Spain, I will come to you: for I trust to see you in my journey, and to be brought on my way thitherward by you, if first I be somewhat filled with your company."

However, we read in his Prison Epistles, which were written approximately four years later, how Paul made the decision to immediately return to Asia after his Roman imprisonment and strengthen the churches there. Note Paul's second reference in the Prison Epistles of his plans to visit Asia.

Philemon 1:22, "But withal prepare me also a lodging: for I trust that through your prayers I shall be given unto you."

The reason for Paul's change of plans may be that it had been reported to Paul about the heresies that were attacking the Colossian church and perhaps other nearby churches in Asia.


Verses 19-30

Divine Service - Philippians 2:19-30 reveals God's plan for divine service for the believers. Paul uses Timothy ( Philippians 2:19-23) and Epaphroditus ( Philippians 2:25-30) as examples of men who served with Paul in the ministry to fulfill God's plan of redemption.

All four individuals that Paul uses as an example (Christ Jesus, Paul, Timothy, Epaphroditus) may represent the levels or ranks of apostolic authority in the Church. All were sent out by God to fulfill a task. Kenneth Hagin teaches about four levels of anointing in the five-fold ministries. He says that Jesus represented the first and highest level of anointing; the twelve apostles of the Lamb, including Paul the apostle, served at a second level of anointing; the second generation of ministers, including Luke , John Mark , Timothy, etc, served at a third level of anointing; and all other succession of ministers until today serve at the fourth, and lowest level of anointing. Thus, it is possible that Christ Jesus, Paul, Timothy, and Epaphroditus represent these four levels. 68]

68] Kenneth Hagin, He Gave Gifts Unto Men: A Biblical Perspective of Apostles, Prophets, and Pastors (Tulsa, Oklahoma: Faith Library Publications, c 1992, 1993), 8-16.

Outline - Here is a proposed outline:

A. The Example of Timothy — Philippians 2:19-24

B. The Example of Epaphroditus — Philippians 2:25-30


Verses 25-30

The Example of Epaphroditus - In Philippians 2:25-30 Paul uses one of their own church members as an example of someone who has forsaken his own will to do the will of the Father.

Philippians 2:25 Yet I supposed it necessary to send to you Epaphroditus, my brother, and companion in labour, and fellowsoldier, but your messenger, and he that ministered to my wants.

Philippians 2:25 — "and fellowsoldier" - Comments - Because the city of Philippi was a Roman colony, it served also as a military outpost. The citizens of this city understood military language for the city received and hosted Roman soldiers. Paul appears to take advantage of this military atmosphere to compare Epaphroditus to a soldier of the Cross of Christ so that the Philippians would understand his role in serving the Lord.

Philippians 2:25 — "but your messenger"- Comments - Note in Philippians 4:18, Epathroditus brought a gift to Paul from the Philippians as well as informing him of the state of the church. Thus, Paul is able to rightfully call him "your messenger" or "apostle."

Philippians 4:18, "But I have all, and abound: I am full, having received of Epaphroditus the things which were sent from you, an odour of a sweet smell, a sacrifice acceptable, wellpleasing to God."

Philippians 2:27 — "For indeed he was sick nigh unto death" - Comments- We have ancient accounts of epidemics taking place in the city of Rome. During one of these epidemics the emperor fell sick to the point that sacrifices were made in the temples for his recovery 69] Thus, we can imagine in a heavily populated city like Rome that disease would be an everyday concern. It may be that Epaphroditus fell sick from one of the diseases that we passing through the city at the time of his visit.

69] Philostratus writes, "Just then a distemper broke out in Rome, called by the physicians influenze; and it was attended, it seems, by coughing, and the voice of speakers was affected by it. Now the temples were full of people supplicating the gods, because Nero had a swollen throat, and his voice was hoarse." (The Life of Apollonius of Tyana 444) See Philostratus: The Life of Apollonius of Tyana, vol 1, trans. F. C. Conybeare, in The Loeb Classical Library, eds. T. E. Page, E. Capps, and W. H. D. Rouse (London: William Heinemann, 1912), 453.

Philippians 2:30Comments- In Philippians 4:18 Epaphroditus brought a gift to Paul from the Philippians , thus being called "your messenger" or "apostle."

Philippians 4:18, "But I have all, and abound: I am full, having received of Epaphroditus the things which were sent from you, an odour of a sweet smell, a sacrifice acceptable, wellpleasing to God."

 


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Bibliography Information
Everett, Gary H. "Commentary on Philippians 2:4". Gary H. Everett's Study Notes on the Holy Scriptures. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/ghe/philippians-2.html. 2013.

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