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But I have received everything in full, and I have an abundance. I am fully supplied, having received from Epaphroditus what you sent a fragrant aroma, an acceptable sacrifice, well-pleasing to God. (Philippians 4:18)

Paul continues his use of the financial language of a ledger in this verse. He states that he has received everything in full. The Greek word apecho is an idiom that shows up in the mid-first century accounting of having discharged a debt – forgiven a debt.[1] Paul tells the Philippians that any debt they feel they owe him has been paid in full, and this is their receipt – their release from any feeling of obligation. He states that he has an abundance (περισσεύω perisseuō) or that he has more than he could ever ask for.

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Then, Paul wants them to fully understand that what they have sent by way of Epaphroditus was not just funds for Paul, that by the spirit of their giving they were making an offering to God. He says that their support was a fragrant offering and an acceptable sacrifice because it met Paul’s needs and was pleasing to God (cp. Romans 12: 1-2).[2] He refers back to the sacrifices that the Jewish people brought before God. Many were to be accompanied with the burning of incense. The smell of the incense to the one making the offering reminded them of the pleasure that it brought to God. Basically, this love gift was pleasing to God, supplied Paul with his needs, and brought enrichment to the Philippian believers. A lesson that can be learned from this is that giving always benefits those who give more than those who receive. 

The Epistle to the Hebrews PAUL AND LUKE ON TRIAL

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But I have received everything in full, and I have an abundance. I am fully supplied, having received from Epaphroditus what you sent a fragrant aroma, an acceptable sacrifice, well-pleasing to God

But I have received everything in full, and I have an abundance.” Paul is saying, “I have all that I could want so that I need no more.” The Greek (ἀπέχω apechō) means that Paul was completed rewarded for what he could possibly need. He was completely satisfied. It was enough, more than sufficient, more than what he expected. It now made his circumstances more comfortable. The other Greek term (περισσεύω perisseuō) means that Paul was amply, over abundantly supplied his needs, more than sufficient, by the brothers.

PAUL AND LUKE ON TRIAL

I am fully supplied. This Greek (πληρόω plēroō) here is an expression, meaning that Paul was satisfied beyond his expectations. Paul was provided for by supplying a complete amount.

Having received from Epaphroditus. I am restating 2:25. Epaphroditus is not widely known, mentioned only here in Philippians 4:18 and 2:25. He is from Philippi and was a Christian in their congregation. He had been given the task of bringing relief to the apostle Paul while Paul was imprisoned in Rome, an 80-day journey on foot round trip. Before arriving in Rome, he would become very sick. It was not long before the brothers at Philippi received this news that Epaphroditus, who brought relief and comfort to Paul, was now comforted by Paul. One can imagine how this news was received by the brothers in Philippi, thinking that they and Epaphroditus only added one more burden on Paul. When Epaphroditus had recovered, which caused him to delay his efforts to help Paul, he traveled on to Rome. Epaphroditus felt extreme guilt as though he had failed in his mission from the Philippian congregation, having to let them down, so he grew depressed. Paul sent him home with the epistle. Paul dispelled any negative thoughts about Epaphroditus that those in Philippi might have had, commended him for his faithfulness and zeal. When Paul had founded the congregation in Philippi, Epaphroditus had labored with him to spread the good news. Yet, it is likely that the reference is to the same work of making disciples and that while in Rome, he had assisted Paul much after he had fallen ill on the way, still likely doing all he could do to help Paul while he was there. He was not there that long after his arrival.

You sent a fragrant aroma, an acceptable sacrifice, well-pleasing to God. In the Hebrew (קָטַר qatar) referred to a burnt offering of aromatic incense smoke (or other desirable materials) in dedication and worship of God. Its focus was on the smoke that the material produced. God saw it as a restful aroma that was pleasing to him. The Greek here (εὐωδία euōdia) is referring to an aroma, sweet-smelling, that was pleasing to God. So, Paul saw their sacrifice of giving to Paul an offering made to God himself. The brothers in Philippi and Epaphroditus gave of themselves because Paul was their friend and fellow worker and because he was a minister of God. (Matt. 10:41-42) The whole expression here is taken from the Jewish act of worship. The Philippians offered a thanksgiving sacrifice to God that was a restful aroma, which was soothing, calming, and comforting to Paul. The kind actions on behalf of Go’s ministers can be viewed as an acceptable offering to God. This is especially true when that servant of God is in distress and need. The giving of oneself is a well-pleasing (εὐάρεστος euarestos) act of worship, which evidences one’s genuine godly devotion.

[1] E. W. Bullinger, Figures of Speech used in the Bible (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Baker Book House, 1968). Page 855.

[2] Holman Bible Editorial Staff, ed., HCSB Study Bible (Kindle Locations 147153-147159), ed. Holman Bible Editorial Staff (B&H Publishing Group Kindle Edition, 2010).

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