Please Help Us Keep These Thousands of Blog Posts Growing and Free for All
But I rejoiced in the Lord greatly that now at length you have revived your concern for me. You were indeed concerned for me, but you lacked opportunity. (Philippians 4:10)
Paul now takes time to express his appreciation for the gift that was sent to him from the church at Philippi. This passage rivals Philemon in the way that Paul handles a delicate subject with tact and insight.
He rejoiced (χαίρω chairō) in the Lord greatly (μεγάλως megalōs) over what the Philippian believers had provided for him. He shows his complete joy in their gift while beginning to speak about true contentment.
“Now at length” or once again indicates that some time had elapsed between the Philippian believers’ previous gifts to Paul and their sending Epaphroditus to him in Rome (2: 25-30). The word revived (ἀναθάλλω anathallō) that Paul uses here carries the picture of a tree or flower blossoming again. It shows that Paul understood that they had continued care and concern for him, but they had not been able to send help to him due to many possible circumstances.
Notice how gracious Paul is in saying, “You were indeed concerned for me, but you lacked opportunity.” The word (ἀκαιρέομαι akaireomai; from ἄκαιρος akairos) here translated opportunity, is in the imperfect tense, which indicates an action continually or repeatedly, happening in past time. The word translated concerned (φρονέω phroneō – to take thought of) is also in this same tense. Thus, Paul acknowledges that their continued thinking of him was only hindered in their helping him by the lack of a possible means.
More in-depth Insights
But I rejoiced in the Lord greatly. Paul had received aid and comfort from the brothers in Philippi, for which he rejoiced greatly in these acts of kindness, which he saw as coming from “the Lord.” His heart was moved with joy that God was caring for him in his time of need.
That now at length. While it had been quite some time before Paul had received aid and comfort, it was not from a lack of concern, neglect, or inattention, but they had lacked the opportunity to connect with him.
You have revived your concern for me. The Greek (ἀναθάλλω anathallō; from ἀνά ana and θάλλω thallō) has the sense of blossom again for it is applied to plants or flowers, which means to grow green again, to grow or bloom again, hence, flourish. The brothers in Philippi had revived their care again; it had sprung up once again.
You were indeed concerned for me. They had always been eager to come to Paul’s aid and offer him every comfort within their power. Paul was making it clear that he did not blame them for the amount of time it took for the aid, or that he thought they were negligent.
But you lacked opportunity. Initially, no one could be sent to Rome from Philippi, which was a significant distance that entailed many hardships.