Philippians 4
Vincent's Word Studies
Therefore, my brethren dearly beloved and longed for, my joy and crown, so stand fast in the Lord, my dearly beloved.
I beseech Euodias, and beseech Syntyche, that they be of the same mind in the Lord.
Seeing that ye have put off (ἀπεκδυσάμενοι)

See on Colossians 2:15.

The old man

See on Romans 6:6.

And I intreat thee also, true yokefellow, help those women which laboured with me in the gospel, with Clement also, and with other my fellowlabourers, whose names are in the book of life.
New (νέον)

See on Matthew 26:29. Compare Ephesians 5:24.

Is renewed (ἀνακαινούμενον)

Rev., better, giving the force of the present participle, is being renewed: in process of continuous renewal. The word καινός new, which enters into the composition of the verb, gives the idea of quality. Compare 2 Corinthians 4:16, and the contrast in Ephesians 4:22.

In knowledge (εἰς ἐπίγνωσιν)

Rev., correctly, unto knowledge, the end to which the renewal tended. Compare Ephesians 4:13.

After the image

Construe with renewed. Compare Ephesians 4:24, and see Genesis 1:26, Genesis 1:27.

Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice.
Where there is (ὅπου ἔνι)

Where, in the renewed condition; there is, better, as Rev., can be: ἔνι strengthened from ἐν in signifies not merely the fact but the impossibility: there is no room for.

Greek, Jew, etc.

Compare Galatians 3:28. National, ritual, intellectual, and social diversities are specified. The reference is probably shaped by the conditions of the Colossian church, where the form of error was partly Judaistic and ceremonial, insisting on circumcision; where the pretense of superior knowledge affected contempt for the rude barbarian, and where the distinction of master and slave had place as elsewhere.


For the circumcised. So Romans 4:12; Ephesians 2:11; Philippians 3:3.

Barbarian, Scythian

See on 1 Corinthians 14:11. The distinction is from the Greek and Roman point of view, where the line is drawn by culture, as between the Jew and the Greek it was drawn by religious privilege. From the former stand-point the Jew ranked as a barbarian. Scythian. "More barbarous than the barbarians" (Bengel). Hippocrates describes them as widely different from the rest of mankind, and like to nothing but themselves, and gives an absurd description of their physical peculiarities. Herodotus describes them as living in wagons, offering human sacrifices, scalping and sometimes flaying slain enemies, drinking their blood, and using their skulls for drinking-cups. When a king dies, one of his concubines is strangled and buried with him, and, at the close of a year, fifty of his attendants are strangled, disemboweled, mounted on dead horses, and left in a circle round his tomb. The Scythians passed through Palestine on their road to Egypt, b.c. 600, and a trace of their invasion is supposed to have existed in the name Scythopolis, by which Beth Shean was known in Christ's time. Ezekiel apparently refers to them (38, 39) under the name Gog, which reappears in Revelation. See on Revelation 20:8.

Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand.
Bowels of mercies (σπλάγχνα οἰκτιρμοῦ)

See on 1 Peter 3:8; see on 2 Corinthians 1:3. Rev., a heart of compassion.

Kindness (χρηστότητα)

See on Romans 3:12.

Meekness (πραΰ́τητα)

See on Matthew 5:5.

Long-suffering (μακροθυμίαν)

See on James 5:7.

Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.
One another - one another (ἀλλήλων - ἑαυτοῖς)

Lit., one another - yourselves. For a similar variation of the pronoun see Ephesians 4:32; 1 Peter 4:8-10. The latter pronoun emphasizes the fact that they are all members of Christ's body - everyone members one of another - so that, in forgiving each other they forgive themselves.

Quarrel (μομφήν)

Only here in the New Testament. Cause of blame. Rev., complaint. The A.V. uses quarrel in its earlier sense of cause of complaint. So Shakespeare:

"The lady Beatrice hath a quarrel to you."

"Much Ado," ii., 1.

"Against whom comest thou, and what's thy quarrel?"

"Richard II.," i., 3, 33.

Holinshed: "He thought he had a good quarrel to attack him." It was used of a plaintiff's action at law, like the Latin querela.

And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
Above all (ἐπὶ πᾶσιν)

According to the metaphor of the garment. Over all, like an upper garment, put on, etc.


See on 1 Corinthians 13:1.

Bond of perfectness (σύνδεσμος τῆς τελειότητος)

Love embraces and knits together all the virtues. Τελειότης perfectness is a collective idea, a result of combination, to which bond is appropriate. Compare Plato: "But two things cannot be held together without a third; they must have some bond of union. And the fairest bond is that which most completely fuses and is fused into the things which are bound" ("Timaeus," 31).

Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.
Peace of Christ

Which comes from Christ. See John 14:27; Ephesians 2:14.

Rule (βραβεύετω)

Lit., be umpire. Only here in the New Testament. See on Colossians 2:18. The previous references to occasions for meekness, long-suffering, forbearance, forgiveness, etc., indicate a conflict of passions and motives in the heart. Christ is the one who adjusts all these, so that the metaphorical sense is appropriate, as in Colossians 2:18.

Called in one body

See Ephesians 4:4. So that ye are in one body according to your call.

Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you.
The word of Christ

The only occurrence of the phrase. The word spoken by Christ.


See on Romans 2:4, and compare Colossians 1:27.

In all wisdom

Some connect with the preceding words, others with the following - in all wisdom, teaching, etc. The latter seems preferable, especially in view of Colossians 1:28, where the phrase occurs teaching and admonishing in all wisdom; because the adverb richly forms an emphatic qualification of dwell in, and so appropriately terminates the clause; and because the whole passage is thus more symmetrical. "Dwell in has its single adverb richly, and is supported and expanded by two coordinate participial clauses, each of which has its spiritual manner or element of action (in all wisdom, in grace) more exactly defined" (Ellicott).


See on Colossians 1:28. The participles teaching and admonishing are used as imperatives, as Romans 12:9-13, Romans 12:16-19; Ephesians 4:2, Ephesians 4:3; Hebrews 13:5; 1 Peter 3:1, 1 Peter 3:7, 1 Peter 3:9, 1 Peter 3:16.

One another (ἑαυτούς)

Yourselves. See on Colossians 3:13.


See the parallel passage, Ephesians 5:19. A psalm was originally a song accompanied by a stringed instrument. See on 1 Corinthians 14:15. The idea of accompaniment passed away in usage, and the psalm, in New-Testament phraseology, is an Old-Testament psalm, or a composition having that character. A hymn is a song of praise, and a song (ᾠδή ode) is the general term for a song of any kind. Hymns would probably be distinctively Christian. It is supposed by some that Paul embodies fragments of hymns in his epistles, as 1 Corinthians 13:1-13; Ephesians 5:14; 1 Timothy 3:16; 2 Timothy 2:11-14. James 1:17, and Revelation 1:5, Revelation 1:6; Revelation 15:3, are also supposed to be of this character. In both instances of his use of ᾠδή song, Paul adds the term spiritual. The term may, as Trench suggests, denote sacred poems which are neither psalms nor hymns, as Herbert's "Temple," or Keble's "Christian Year." This is the more likely, as the use of these different compositions is not restricted to singing nor to public worship. They are to be used in mutual christian teaching and admonition.

With grace (ἐν τῇ χάριτι)

Lit., the grace. The article limits the meaning to the grace of God. With grace begins the second participial clause.

But I rejoiced in the Lord greatly, that now at the last your care of me hath flourished again; wherein ye were also careful, but ye lacked opportunity.
In the name

See on Matthew 28:19.

Giving thanks

Notice the emphasis on the duty of thanksgiving placed at the close of the exhortations. See Colossians 1:12; Colossians 2:7; Colossians 3:15; Colossians 4:2.

Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.
Wives, etc.

Compare the parallel passages, Ephesians 5:22-6:9. See also 1 Peter 2:18-3:7; Titus 2:1-5.

Is fit (ἀνῆκεν)

See on Plm 1:8. The imperfect tense, was fitting, or became fitting, points to the time of their entrance upon the christian life. Not necessarily presupposing that the duty remained unperformed. Lightfoot illustrates by ought, the past tense of owed, and says, "the past tense perhaps implies an essential a priori obligation."

In the Lord

Connect with is fitting, and compare well-pleasing in the Lord, Colossians 3:20.

I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need.
Be not bitter (μὴ πικραίνεσθε)

Lit., be not embittered. Used only here by Paul. Elsewhere only in Revelation. The compounds παραπικραίνω to exasperate, and παραπικρασμός provocation, occur only in Hebrews 3:16; Hebrews 3:8, Hebrews 3:15. Compare Ephesians 4:31.

I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.
This is well pleasing

Expanded in Ephesians 6:2, Ephesians 6:3. Unto the Lord should be in the Lord.

Notwithstanding ye have well done, that ye did communicate with my affliction.
Provoke to anger (ἐρεθίζετε)

Only here and 2 Corinthians 9:2, where it is used of stirring up to good works. To anger is added by A.V.

Be discouraged (ἀθυμῶσιν)

Only here in the New Testament. Lose heart, or become dispirited.

Now ye Philippians know also, that in the beginning of the gospel, when I departed from Macedonia, no church communicated with me as concerning giving and receiving, but ye only.
Masters (κυρίοις)

See on Lord, 2 Peter 2:1, and see on Matthew 21:3. Κύριος Lord and δεσπότης master came to be used interchangeably in the New Testament, though originally the latter involved such authority as is implied in our use of despot, or in the relation of a master to a slave. The Greeks applied δεσπότης only to the gods.

With eye-service (ἐν ὀφθαλμοδουλείαις)

Only here and Ephesians 6:6. The word seems to have been coined by Paul.

Men pleasers (ἀνθρωπάρεσκοι)

Only here and Ephesians 6:6. Compare Plato: "And this art he will not attain without a great deal of trouble, which a good man ought to undergo, not for the sake of speaking and acting before men, but in order that he may be able to say what is acceptable to God, and always to act acceptably to Him as far as in him lies. For there is a saying of wiser men than ourselves, that a man of sense should not try to please his fellow-servants (at least this should not be his first object), but his good and noble masters" ("Phaedrus," 273).

Singleness (ἁπλότητι)

See on Romans 12:8. Without duplicity or doubleness.

Fearing the Lord (τὸν Κύριον)

The one Master contrasted with the masters (κυρίοις) according to the flesh. The parallel in Ephesians 6:5, has as unto Christ.

For even in Thessalonica ye sent once and again unto my necessity.
Ye do - do it (ποιῆτε - ἐργάζεσθε)

Rev., correctly, ye do - work; the latter being the stronger term as opposed to idleness. See on James 2:9. An idle man may do. Compare ἐργασία diligence, Luke 12:58.

Heartily (ἐκ ψυχῆς)

Lit., from the soul. With a personal interest. Note that the apostle uses both heart (καρδίας, Colossians 3:22) and soul (ψυχῆς); and in Ephesians 6:7, adds μετ' εὐνοίας with good disposition (A.V., good will). See on Romans 11:3; see on Romans 7:23; see on Romans 1:21. Compare σύμψυχοι of one accord, Philippians 2:2; ἰσόψυχον like-minded, Philippians 2:20; μιᾷ ψυχῇ with one mind, Philippians 1:27.

Not because I desire a gift: but I desire fruit that may abound to your account.
Of the inheritance

Which consists or is in the inheritance. Compare the similar construction, Colossians 1:12. See Matthew 21:35-38, where the δοῦλος bond-servant and the κληρονόμος heir are contrasted; and Romans 8:15-17; Galatians 4:1-7.

For ye serve (γὰρ δουλεύετε)

Omit for. Some take the verb as imperative, serve ye; but the indicative is better as explaining from the Lord.

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.
He that doeth wrong (ὁ ἀδικῶν)

Compare Plm 1:18. The reference is primarily to the slave; but the following clause extends it to the master. If the slave do wrong, he shall be punished; but the master who does wrong will not be excused, for there is no respect of persons. Tychicus, who carried this letter to Colossae, carried at the same time the letter to Philemon, and escorted Onesimns to his master.

Shall receive (κομίσεται)

See on 1 Peter 1:8. Compare Ephesians 6:8.

Respect of persons

See on James 2:1. In the Old Testament it has, more commonly, a good sense, of kindly reception, favorable regard. In the New Testament always a bad sense, which came to it through the meaning of mask which attached to πρόσωπον face.

But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.
Masters, etc.

The best texts attach this verse to the preceding chapter.

Render (παρέχεσθε)

The Greek implies on your part.

Equal (τὴν ἰσότητα)

Lit., the equality. Not equality of condition, but the brotherly equality growing out of the Christian relation in which there is neither bond nor free. See on Plm 1:16.

Now unto God and our Father be glory for ever and ever. Amen.
Continue (προσκαρτερεῖτε)

See on Acts 1:14. Compare Acts 2:42, Acts 2:46; Acts 6:4; Romans 12:12; Romans 13:6; 1 Thessalonians 5:17. Rev., correctly, continue steadfastly.

Watching (γρηγοροῦντες)

See on Mark 13:35; see on 1 Peter 5:8. In Ephesians 6:18, ἀγρυπνοῦντες watching is used, on which see Mark 13:33.

Therein (ἐν αὐτῇ)

In prayer. Compare thereunto, Ephesians 6:18.

Salute every saint in Christ Jesus. The brethren which are with me greet you.
Door of utterance (θύραν τοῦ λόγου)

Rev., better, a door for the world. Compare 1 Corinthians 16:9; 2 Corinthians 2:12; Revelation 3:8. See also entering in, 1 Thessalonians 1:9; 1 Thessalonians 2:1. And the parallel passage, Ephesians 6:19. There may be an allusion to a release from imprisonment.

All the saints salute you, chiefly they that are of Caesar's household.
That I may make it manifest (ἵνα φανερώσω)

Compare speak boldly, Ephesians 6:20. That connects with the clause that God-Christ.

The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.
In wisdom (ἐν σοφίᾳ)

Compare Ephesians 5:15, as wise.

Those that are without (τοὺς ἔξω)

As 1 Corinthians 5:12, 1 Corinthians 5:13; 1 Thessalonians 4:12. Compare τοὺς ἔσω those within, 1 Corinthians 5:12.

Redeeming the time (τὸν καιρὸν ἐξαγοραζόμενοι)

Compare Ephesians 5:16, and Daniel 2:8, Sept. The word is used in the New Testament only by Paul, Galatians 3:13; Galatians 4:5; Ephesians 5:16. The compounded preposition ἐξ has the meaning out of; as Galatians 3:13, "Christ redeemed us out of the curse," etc., and out and out, fully. So here and Ephesians 5:16, buy up. Rev., in margin, buying up the opportunity. The favorable opportunity becomes ours at the price of duty.

Vincent's Word Studies, by Marvin R. Vincent [1886].
Text Courtesy of Internet Sacred Texts Archive.

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