REASONABLE FAITH Why Me_ Book of Philippians-2

Thomas F. Marshall

Prayers and Thanksgiving (1:3–11)

Philippians 1:3 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)

3 I thank my God in all my remembrance of you,

In every one of Paul’s letters to the churches (except Galatians),[1] he begins by expressing his joy at the church and the memory that he has of them. Paul here is saying that every time someone mentions (remembrance) the church at Philippi, he gives thanks in prayer to God.

Philippians 1:4 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)

4 always in every prayer of mine for you all making my prayer with joy,

Paul here makes it plain that this thanksgiving was for all of the saints at Philippi. There does not appear to be any division at this church as is found at Galatia and Corinth,[2] so he can easily speak to all of the saints. He says that he finds joy in remembering them in prayer; he could give thanks without needing to pray for issues they were going through.

Philippians 1:5 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)

5 for your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now.

The word partnership in this verse is the Greek word koinonia, or as we might say, fellowship. J. Vernon McGee in his work states that fellowship in the biblical sense has three elements. First is Spiritual communication. This is sharing the great truths of Christ. Next is Sympathetic cooperation. This is working together for Christ. And, finally, Sweet communion. We are partners together with Christ.[3]

Here Paul says that from the very start (his meeting with Lydia) to the present time, they have worked together to get the “good news” (gospel) out to as many as they could.  The church at Philippi had been working on sharing the good news as well as supporting him in his endeavors for Christ.

Philippians 1:6 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)

6 And I am sure that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion until the day of Jesus Christ.

We now come to a very encouraging and uplifting verse.  Many have made this their “life-verse” because they have personally been recipients of this promise.

Paul has a very sure certainty that the One he is being confident in will not start something that He will not finish.[4] The Greek word epitelesei carries the meaning of something being accomplished perfectly.[5]

Paul was completely confident that God would finish what He had started in the Philippians, accomplishing it perfectly upon the soon return of Jesus Christ.[6]

We can take from this verse assurance that whatever God has promised, whatever He has started, whatever He has set in motion, He will see it through to completion, in our lives, and in this world. Christians, today, feel similarly encouraged. True to God’s assurance, He has moved his people to “offer themselves freely” in many different ways in His service. Paul will write, “For it is God who works in you, both to will and to act, on behalf of his good pleasure.” – Philippians 2:13.

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Philippians 1:7 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)

7 It is right for me to feel thus about you all, because I hold you in my heart, for you are all partakers with me of grace, both in my imprisonment and in the defense and confirmation of the gospel.

Paul here says that he is justified in these feelings for the Philippians because of their being partakers with him of grace.[7] Paul says that he holds them in his heart – a wonderful place for us to have our Christian friends. The word used for partakers in this verse is the word we looked at as koinonia in verse 5, has added to it a preposition, which intensifies the meaning in the Greek. This makes it a very intense form of fellowship – the concept of being “wrapped up together”[8] in the work of the gospel. The Philippians were well aware of tribulation and trials while sharing the good news with others. And in turn, they freely aided Paul in his work for Christ.

Philippians 1:8 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)

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

Paul here states that God is one who will attest that Paul is speaking the truth in what he has said about his relationship with the Philippian believers. He has a deep-seated desire for them.

Here he uses a Greek idiom when speaking of this. The word translated affection in this verse is actually the Greek word splangna, which means “bowels.” It is used for the word affection like the Hebrew word rachameen is used in the Old Testament.  They placed the seat of our feelings of mercy in the bowels of man.[9] These feelings of affection come from Jesus living in Paul. As Christians, we too should feel a deep-seated affection toward one another.

Philippians 1:9 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)

9 And this I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in accurate knowledge and all discernment;

We are to love all believers in Christ.  Some are hard to love, even some of our friends. Paul here prays that we learn to love the unlovely, but this love is to be tempered by accurate knowledge and discernment of the people and situations.  He is praying that we are not naïve and gullible in our dealings with one another.

Philippians 1:10 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)

10 so that you may approve what is excellent, and so be sincere and blameless for the day of Christ,

Paul in this verse continues speaking of the discernment and knowledge they needed for their love to abound. The word “approve” used here means to try and discriminate between the things that are excellent (Greek word diapheronta) carrying the concept the things that are different (from the world around them). They will then be able to be considered sincere and blameless.

The word sincere means “to have a moral and ethical purity.”  It is believed that the word comes from the concept of being “tested by sunlight.”[10] The word we have for sincere in English comes from the Latin word sincerus, which means “without wax.” The background is that often a dishonest dealer in pottery would cover cracks and flaws with wax and sell the piece as being perfect. When set out in the sun, the owner would find the wax melting and running down the side of the pottery. So, the dealers began to guarantee the pieces with the word sincerus on the bill of sale. The piece was “without wax.”

Typical Roman-style Pottery
Typical Roman-Style Pottery

As Christians, we are to be just like this.  Yes, we have sin, but under the blood of Christ we should appear to the world as being “without wax” – we are the real thing.

The word blameless here means to have a conscience that is void of any cause of stumbling. We all are sinners, and the Scriptures teach us that we are going to commit sin,[11] and that God will cleanse and forgive our sins as we come to Him.

Paul is challenging the Philippian believers and us to watch and choose that right things so that we can have a conscience cleansed and be ready for the return of our Savior Jesus Christ. Twice in this opening passage Paul refers to the return of Jesus Christ for His saints. (Refer back to verse 6).

Philippians 1:11 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)

11 being filled with the fruit of righteousness which comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.

Paul is finishing this discussion with the reminder that our righteousness comes only through our connection to Jesus Christ.[12] When we are connected to the vine, we have the fruit in us. The fruit that Paul is speaking of is that of the Holy Spirit that he wrote to the Galatian believers about.[13]

This all comes to focus on Christ, who is the manifestation of the nature and acts of God (glory),[14] and is the commendation (praise) on account of his manifesting the fruit of righteousness in the believers. And it is all focused toward God.

This brings to a close the opening greetings and thanks for the recipients of the letter.  Continuing in the style of Pauline writing, we are now entering the body of the letter – moving us into the main focus and reason for his writing to the favorite church of his.

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HOW TO STUDY YOUR BIBLE: Rightly Handling the Word of GodHOW TO STUDY YOUR BIBLE: Rightly Handling the Word of God

A comprehensive book on HOW TO STUDY YOUR BIBLE by observing, interpreting, and applying, which will focus on the most basic Bible study tools, principles, and processes for moving from an in-depth reading of the Scriptures to application. What, though, if you have long felt that you are …

THE NEW TESTAMENT: Its Background, Setting & ContentTHE NEW TESTAMENT: Its Background, Setting & Content

…the author’s intended meaning to his original readers and how that meaning can then apply to us. Marshall gives you what you need for deeper and richer Bible study. Dr. Lee M. Fields writes, “‘Deep’ study is no guarantee that mature faith will result, but shallow study guarantees …

THE LIFE OF JESUS CHRIST: What Do You Know About Jesus? [Updated and Expanded]THE LIFE OF JESUS CHRIST: What Do You Know About Jesus? [Updated and Expanded] 

The life of Christ is an exhaustless theme. It reveals a character of greater massiveness than the hills, of a more serene beauty than the stars, of sweeter fragrance than the flowers, higher than the heavens in sublimity and deeper than the seas in mystery. As good Jean Paul has …

THE LIFE OF THE APOSTLE PAUL: The Apostle to the Nations [Updated and Expanded]THE LIFE OF THE APOSTLE PAUL: The Apostle to the Nations [Updated and Expanded] 

Stalker’s Life of St. Paul became one of the most widely read and respected biographies of the Apostle to the Gentiles. As an insightful compendium on the life of Paul, this work is of particular interest to pastors and teachers who desire to add realism and vividness to their account of …

INTERPRETING THE BIBLE: Introduction to Biblical HermeneuticsINTERPRETING THE BIBLE: Introduction to Biblical Hermeneutics

Delving into the basics of biblical interpretation, Edward D. Andrews has provided a complete hands-on guide to understanding what the author meant by the words that he used from the conservative grammatical-historical perspective. He teaches how to study the Bible on a deep, scholarly …

HOW TO INTERPRET THE BIBLE: An Introduction to HermeneuticsHOW TO INTERPRET THE BIBLE: An Introduction to Hermeneutics

…Linguistic and literary factors are analyzed so that the various genres of Scripture are examined for their true meaning. The importance of having sound principles of interpretation cannot be overstated as to ignore them will result in all manner of erroneous assumptions. Beville presents …

THE CHURCH COMMUNITY IN CONTEMPORARY CULTURE: Evangelism and Engagement with Postmodern PeopleTHE CHURCH COMMUNITY IN CONTEMPORARY CULTURE: Evangelism and Engagement with Postmodern People

Once upon a time, Postmodernism was a buzz word. It pronounced Modernism dead or at least in the throes of death. It was a wave that swept over Christendom, promising to wash away sterile, dogmatic and outmoded forms of church. But whatever happened to postmodernism? It was regarded …

DEVELOPING HEALTHY CHURCHES: A Case-Study in RevelationDEVELOPING HEALTHY CHURCHES: A Case-Study in Revelation

church. It offers an appointment with the Great Physician that no Christian can afford to ignore. Developing Healthy ChurchesA Case-Study in Revelationbegins with a well-researched outline of the origins and development of the church health movement. With that background in mind the …

DYING TO KILL: A Christian Perspective on Euthanasia and Assisted SuicideDYING TO KILL: A Christian Perspective on Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide

…liberties in a multi-cultural society that is becoming increasingly secular. This work provides an ethical framework in which euthanasia and assisted suicide can be evaluated. These issues are on the radar indicating a collision course with Christian values. It is time for Christians to be …

JOURNEY WITH JESUS THROUGH THE MESSAGE OF MARK: Experience the Ministry of Jesus in a Spiritually Captivating WayJOURNEY WITH JESUS THROUGH THE MESSAGE OF MARK

Journey with Jesus through the Message of Mark is an insightful and engaging survey of Mark‘s Gospel, exploring each major section of the text along with key themes. It is a work that can be enjoyed by laypersons as well as pastors and teachers. Pastors will find the abundant use …

ANGELS & DEMONS: The Bible AnswersANGELS & DEMONS The Bible Answers

What are angels & demons? Can angels help us? What does the Bible say about angels? What is the truth about angels? Can Angels affect your life? Who were the “sons of God” in Genesis 6:2? Who were the Nephilim in Genesis 6:2? Who is Michael the archangel? Can Satan the Devil control …

AN ENCOURAGING THOUGHT The Christian Worldview

An Encouraging Thought elucidates the ways in which Tolkien’s The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings are informed by and communicate a biblical worldview. This book will help readers appreciate the ways in which a biblical worldview informs Tolkien’s work, to the end that their own faith may be confirmed in strength, focused in understanding, deepened in joy, and honed in its ability to communicate the Gospel.

Bible Doctrines

WHERE ARE THE DEAD? Basic Bible Doctrines of the Christian FaithWHERE ARE THE DEAD? Basic Bible Doctrines of the Christian Faith

What is the Bible’s viewpoint? Without delving into an endless stream of what man has said, Andrews looks at what the Bible says about death and the like. Why do we grow old and die? What happens at death? Is there life after death, or is this all there is? Do we have an immortal soul? …

IDENTIFYING THE ANTICHRIST: The Man of Lawlessness and the Mark of the Beast RevealedIDENTIFYING THE ANTICHRIST: The Man of Lawlessness and the Mark of the Beast Revealed

Herein Andrews will give the reader exactly what the Bible offers on exposing who the Antichrist and the Man of Lawlessness are. If we look at the texts that refer to the antichrist and the man of lawlessness, we will have lines of evidence that will enable us to identify them. Why is it …

UNDERSTANDING THE CREATION ACCOUNT: Basic Bible Doctrines of the Christian FaithUNDERSTANDING THE CREATION ACCOUNT: Basic Bible Doctrines of the Christian Faith

Throughout the Scriptures, God is identified as the Creator. He is the One “who created the heavens (He is the God who formed the earth and made it, He established it.” [Isa 45:18] He is the One “who forms mountains and creates the wind” (Am 4:13) and is the One “who made the heaven and …

The SECOND COMING of CHRIST: Basic Bible Doctrines of the Christian FaithThe SECOND COMING of CHRIST: Basic Bible Doctrines of the Christian Faith

The information herein is based on the disciples coming to Jesus privately, saying, “Tell us, (1) when will these things be, and (2) what will be the sign of your coming, and (3) of the end of the age?” (Matthew 24:3) What will end? When will the end come? What comes after the end? Who …

WHAT IS HELL? Basic Bible Doctrines of the Christian FaithWHAT IS HELL? Basic Bible Doctrines of the Christian Faith

What Really Is Hell? What Kind of Place is Hell? What Really Happens at Death? What Did Jesus Teach About Hell? How Does Learning the Truth About Hell Affect You? Who Goes to Hell? What Is Hell? Is It a Place of Eternal Torment? Does God Punish People in Hellfire? Do the Wicked Suffer in …

Miracles? - Do They Still Happen Today?: God Miraculously Saving People’s Lives, Apparitions, Speaking In Tongues, Faith HealingMIRACLES – DO THEY STILL HAPPEN TODAY? God Miraculously Saving People’s Lives, Apparitions, Speaking In Tongues, Faith Healing 

Miracles were certainly a part of certain periods in Bible times. What about today? Are miracles still taking place. There are some very important subjects that surround this area of discussion that are often misunderstood. Andrews will answer such questions as does God step in and solve …

HOMOSEXUALITY - The BIBLE and the CHRISTIAN: Basic Bible Doctrines of the Christian FaithHOMOSEXUALITY – The BIBLE and the CHRISTIAN: Basic Bible Doctrines of the Christian Faith

Today there are many questions about homosexuality as it relates to the Bible and Christians. What does the Bible say about homosexuality? Does genetics, environment, or traumatic life experiences justify homosexuality? What is God’s will for people with same-sex attractions? Does the …

Daily Devotionals

DEVOTIONAL FOR YOUTHS: Growing Up In Christ

Young ones and teens, you are exposed to complex problems that your parents may not understand. Young Christians, you are bombarded with multiple options for solving everyday problems through social media. Where do you turn to find answers? Where can you look to find guidance from Scripture? In order to provide a Christian perspective to problem-solving, the author of this devotional book decided to take a different approach.

DEVOTIONAL FOR TRAGEDYDEVOTIONAL FOR THOSE COPING WITH TRAGEDY: A Journey Back to God

This devotional book follows the author’s own faith journey back to God. Significant life events can shake our world and distort our faith. Following life’s tragedies, a common reaction is to become angry with God or to reject Him altogether. Examples of tragedies or traumas include life-changing events such as physical or sexual assault, destruction of one’s home, the tragic death of a loved one, diagnoses of terminal diseases, divorce, miscarriages, or being a victim of a crime. Tragedies or traumas can cause feelings of anxiety, depression, shame, and guilt.

DEVOTIONAL FOR CAREGIVERSDEVOTIONAL FOR CAREGIVERS: Finding Strength Through Faith 

Throughout the book, common themes emerge to support caregivers. The reader will find interesting Bible Scriptures, offering a Christian perspective, for handling issues that may arise. These inspiring passages will assist the caregiver in finding peace and faith as they travel their journey as a caregiver. Although caregivers may not know how long they will play this role, they take on the responsibility without any question. Taking care of others is often mentioned in the Bible and, as noted in this devotional, this self-sacrificing, highly valued, and often challenging service will ultimately be rewarded.

DAILY DEVOTIONAL Daily Musings From the Old Testament

Humans must breathe in the air of our atmosphere to survive. Many cities because of pollution face a dangerous level of contamination in their air. However, an even more deadly air affects both Christians and nonChristians. Ordinary methods or devices cannot detect this poisonous air.

DAILY DEVOTIONAL: Daily Musing From the New Testament

Paul counseled, “Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth.” (Col. 3:2) It is, for this reason, Marshall has penned the DAILY DEVOTIONAL: Daily Musings From the New Testament, which can help us be protected against Satan’s efforts at controlling our mind and heart.  For each day of the year, DAILY DEVOTIONAL provides a Daily Bible Reading and comments for consideration.

BREAD OF HEAVEN: Daily Meditations on Scripture

BREAD OF HEAVEN helps the reader to have a greater understanding of the timeless truths of Scripture and a deeper appreciation of the grandeur of God. It offers meditations on selected Scriptures which will draw the reader’s attention upwards to the Savior.

Christian Fiction

THE DIARY OF JUDAS ISCARIOT: How to Keep Jesus at Arm's LengthTHE DIARY OF JUDAS ISCARIOT: How to Keep Jesus at Arm’s Length

…desert but none of such significance as a handful of scrolls retrieved from a buried Roman satchel (presumed stolen) at this site. The discovery has since come to be known as ‘The Diary of Judas Iscariot.’ In The Diary of JudasIscariot Owen Batstone relates the observations and feelings …

THE SECRET HIDEAWAYTHE SECRET HIDEAWAY ON BRIDGETON HILL

Rachael Garrison knows all the shrewd ways to successfully close multi-million-dollar real estate deals with her father’s famous New York real estate enterprise. But beyond her savvy to rake in huge deals is her premonition that an impending global takeover of the world’s financial wealth is on the horizon by evil leaders of The Great Ten Nations. From New York City to the Irish Hills of Michigan, and into the streets of Detroit her life takes on enormous purpose as

THE RAPTURE: God’s Unwelcomed WrathTHE RAPTURE: God’s Unwelcomed Wrath

Kevin Trill struggles with the notion that he may have missed the Rapture. With nothing but the clothes on his back and a solid gold pocket watch, he sets off towards Garbor, a safe haven for those who haven’t yet taken the mark of thebeast. While on his way to Garbor, he meets up …

SEEKERS AND DECEIVERS: Which One are You? It Is Time to Join the Fight!

There grew an element in the valley that did not want to be ruled by the Light of the Word. Over time, they convinced the people to reject it. As they started to reject this Light, the valley grew dim and the fog rolled in. The people craved the darkness rather than the Light because they were evil. They did not want to  …

The Shadow Flames of Uluru: Book ONE in the CHAOS DOWN UNDER 

When an ancestor saddles them with the responsibility to purge Australia of a demon threatening to wipe our humanity with black flames, fraternal siblings Amber and Michael Hauksby lay their lives on the line. As the world crumbles around them into chaos, and ancient marsupials wreak havoc in their hometown, they must journey into …

WRITE PLACE, RIGHT TIME: The Pre-Apocalyptic Misadventure of a Freelance Journalist 

“Write Place, Right Time” follows the pre-apocalyptic misadventures of freelance journalist Don Lamplighter. While on what he expects to be a routine Monday night trip to a village board meeting, Lamplighter’s good nature compels him to help a stranded vehicle. Little does he know that by saving one of the car’s occupants, he sets forth a chain of what to him seem to be unrelated events where he must use his physical and social skills to save himself and others from precarious situations.

[1] Paul writing to the Galatians was sealing in the area of correcting errors that was being brought in by Judaizers in reference to Salvation. These men who came in after Paul was leading the Galatian believers astray by teaching that salvation came by works.  Paul quickly jumps into defense of his apostleship and then into the truth of salvation being by Christ alone, plus nothing – minus nothing.

[2] We find a brief reference by Paul at the end of this letter to a division between two women (Euodia and Syntyche) but this appears to be minor and only gets a reminder from Paul to agree in the Lord.

[3] J. Vernon McGee, Thru the Bible with J. Vernon McGee, Vol. V. (Nashville, Tenn.: Thomas Nelson, 1983). P. 291

[4] See further 1 Samuel 3:12 and 1 Corinthians 1:8

[5] W. E. Vine, Merrill F. Unger and William White, Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc., 1996). P. 8.

[6] Paul in his writings has made it clear that he anticipated the return of Christ in his lifetime. Every believer should make this a part of his belief and lifestyle. We can be confident because of the promises in God’s Word that Christ is coming again, and every day brings us one day closer to His return.

[7] The feeling of gratitude, a sense of favor bestowed upon the person.  Ibid. Pg. 277.

[8] J. Vernon McGee, Thru the Bible with J. Vernon McGee, Vol. V, V vols. (Nashville, Tenn.: Thomas Nelson, 1983). Pg. 293.

[9] E. W. Bullinger, Figures of Speech used in the Bible (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Baker Book House, 1968). P. 679.

[10] W. E. Vine, Merrill F. Unger and William White, Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc., 1996). P. 498.

[11] The reader is advised to read, study and meditate upon 1 John 1:8-10. The beloved disciple John speaks to the error that people claim to be sinless. We can have all our sins forgiven in our daily walk as we confess and trust God for His cleansing. When we are cleansed by the blood of Jesus, we are blameless before God, not because of who we are but because of who He is.

[12] See John 15:1-8

[13] See Galatians 5:22-23. We have a list of 9 items, so many feel it should read fruits. In the Greek the word used is in the singular form in both Galatians and Philippians. This fruit is the character that Christ develops in the individual believer, as they stay connected to Him through the Holy Spirit.

[14] See the explanation in W. E. Vine, Merrill F. Unger and William White, Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc., 1996). P. 267.

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