Please Help Us Keep These Thousands of Blog Posts Growing and Free for All
Not that I seek the gift, but I seek the fruit that increases to your account. (Philippians 4:17)
With a spiritual motivation, although the terminology that Paul uses here seems almost commercial, Paul, having learned contentment (verse 11) and adaptability (verse 12), did not seek the gift (to doma) from them. He was seeking that they would profit (in the sense of gaining interest in an account) and that it would keep accruing to their account. The concept here is one of increasing or superabounding in their account before God. The giving of a material act on their part would result in spiritual fruit – the material act becomes a spiritual transaction. Paul was not abusing his apostolic authority; he was not seeking for them to provide for him; he was trying to show them that they were giving and receiving from their love, care, and concern.
More in-depth Insights
Not that I seek a gift. The Greek term (ἐπιζητέω epizēteō) is an intensive verb with an active meaning that makes it clear that Paul was not hunting for any gifts. Paul was not covetously seeking gifts. (2 Cor. 12:14) He was not using this letter in order to raise money or receive gifts. Paul, with an emphatic negative (οὐχ not ὅτι that) I am hunting or seeking money or gifts, nor has he in the past. The Greek term (δόμα doma) rendered gift is a financial term dealing with something transferred to a person as an object to be received without compensation. This implies a gift between the apostle Paul and the brothers in Philippi instead of a payment.
While Paul is very grateful for any assistance he receives, he wants them to know that in the end, it would eventually be beneficial to them. In their coming to Paul’s aid, these brothers were simply being led along by their Christian convictions. This will be rewarded in the end, even though that was not in the mind of those helping Paul. Max Anders writes, “He wanted them to realize that their deeds would not go unnoticed. God is marking them down in the credit column of the heavenly ledger. They have a deposit in heaven that will yield rich dividends. (See Jesus’ words in Matt. 6:19–21.)”
But I seek the fruit. The word “fruit” (καρπός karpos) is often used in the Scriptures, referring to the result of some effort or action, some deed, activity. (Matt. 7:16-17) For example, punishment is the fruit or result, consequence of sin. Being financially destitute is the fruit of laziness. This is the desire of Paul for the Philippian brother’s generosity. They will reap or gather the fruit, that is, the result of their giving from their heart. J. B. Lightfoot writes, “τὸν the καρπὸν fruit …], ‘i.e., the recompense which is placed to your account and increases with each fresh demonstration of your love.’” H.A.A. Kennedy, “It is not the actual gift put into Paul’s hands which has brought him joy, but the giving (δόσις, ver. 15) and the meaning of that giving. It is the truest index to the abiding reality of his work.”
That increases to your account. The Greek (πλεονάζω pleonazō) means to increase the amount, be in abundance, have in plenty, “to increase,” “to accumulate,” “to multiply,” another financial term suggesting compound interest. Paul was seeking the fruits (results) which would increase the amount of their account or their credit. Paul desires that they be abundantly rewarded, credited to their account (λόγος logos), a record of assets so that when God judges them, they would be greatly rewarded for all the loving kindness they had displayed toward him.
SCROLL THROUGH DIFFERENT CATEGORIES BELOW
BIBLE TRANSLATION AND TEXTUAL CRITICISM
BIBLICAL STUDIES / INTERPRETATION
CHRISTIAN APOLOGETIC EVANGELISM
CHURCH HEALTH, GROWTH, AND HISTORY
 Holman Bible Editorial Staff, ed., HCSB Study Bible (Kindle Locations 147153-147159), ed. Holman Bible Editorial Staff (B&H Publishing Group Kindle Edition, 2010).
 Max Anders, Galatians-Colossians, vol. 8, Holman New Testament Commentary (Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 1999), 264–265.
 Joseph Barber Lightfoot, ed., Saint Paul’s Epistle to the Philippians, Classic Commentaries on the Greek New Testament (London: Macmillan and Co., ltd, 1913), 166.
 H.A.A. Kennedy, “The Epistle of Paul to the Philippians,” in The Expositor’s Greek Testament: Commentary, vol. 3 (New York: George H. Doran Company, n.d.), 471–472.