Bible Query from
Q: In Php, what is a main point of the book?
A: One important point in Philippians is being joyful, for the word "joy" appears 16 times. It is not merely a fair-weather joy that someone has only if everything goes well. It is an "all-weather joy" that is joyful in prison, near-fatal illness, in the face of external opposition, and in triumphs in your personal life. The book of Philippians also candidly discusses "thieves of joy".
Circumstances should not diminish our joy (Philippians 1:12,15-18). If a fellow believer tells you she is doing pretty good under the circumstances, ask them what are they doing, living under the circumstances.
People should not take away our joy, as Philippians 2:2-4,14,21 and Philippians 3:2-7 show.
Things, or lack of them, should not take away our joy. Philippians 3:19 and 4:11-12 says our joy should be constant, regardless of what we have. Also, do not think that you will be happier if you have more things.
Worries should not take away our joy, but rather drive us to prayer, as Philippians 4:6-7 shows.
Discord, even among believers, should not take away our joy, as Philippians 4:2-3 show.
As the New Geneva Study Bible p.1873 puts it, "Philippians rings with joy and gratitude for the way God is carrying forward His saving work among the Philippians and for the special bond that exists between Paul and his readers."
The NIV Study Bible p.1801 says Paulís primary purpose was to thank the Philippians. He also wanted to report on his own situation, encourage the Philippians in persecution, remind them of humility and unity, commend Timothy and Epaphroditus, and warn of the Judaizers and libertines.
Q: In Php 1, what do we know about the city of Philippi?
A: Philippi was originally called "Crenides/Krenides" meaning fountains. Philip of Macedon, Alexanderís father conquered it in 356 B.C. and renamed it after himself. There were gold mines near there. In 42 B.C., Marc Antony and Octavian defeated Brutus and Cassius at Philippi. Marc Antony had Roman soldiers live there. In 30 B.C. Octavian (Emperor Augustus) ordered some people in Italy to more to Philippi, while retaining their rights as Roman citizens, including not having to pay taxes, and being able to call their new land a part of Italian soil. Paul started the church there in 50 A.D. He traveled back there on his third missionary journey in 55-56 A.D.
The NIV Study Bible p.1802 says since Philippi had too few Jews to form a synagogue, Paul does not quote the Old Testament in Philippians, as he does in Romans, 1, 2, Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians.
See The Bible Knowledge Commentary : New Testament p.647-648 for more info.
Q: In Php 1:1, 1 Cor 1:1, Col 1:1, 1 Thess 1:1, and 2 Thess 1:1, are these books from multiple authors as they claim, or just from Paul?
A: As a letter from a team might be composed by just one person, Paul was probably the sole author. See the discussion on Philippians 3 for more on Paul being the author of all of Philippians.
Q: In Php 1:1, does using the term "bishop/overseer" show a late date for Paulís letters, as some have claimed?
A: No, because according to the Wycliffe Bible Dictionary p.441, the community at Qumran, where the Dead Sea scrolls were found, prior to Christ also had the office of bishop/overseer. In Acts 20:28 Paul addressed the bishops of Ephesus. 1 Peter 5:2 also addresses the bishops/overseers.
Q: In Php 1:1 and Col 1:2, who are the "saints" Paul is writing to? Can common Christians ignore these books?
A: The Biblical use of "saints" or "set-apart ones", means all believers. See The Complete Book of Bible Answers p.184 and the Believerís Bible Commentary p.1959-1960 for more info.
Q: In Php 1:4, Rom 1:9, and 2 Tim 1:3, did Paul really pray for people without ceasing and in every prayer he made?
A: He probably prayed for Godís people in every prayer for them, which is what this means.
Q: In Php 1:5 exactly how were the Philippians partners with Paul in the Gospel?
A: The Greek word for partner here, koinonia, is a business word. Scripture does not explicitly say how they were partners, but as a business partner shares in monetary investment, time, and rewards, Scripture suggests three things:
Financial giving: The city of Philippi was in Macedonia, and the Macedonian churches were very generous, according to 2 Corinthians 8:1-5. Paul says the Philippian church in particular supplied Paul again and again in Philippians 4:15-18.
Time and people: Epaphroditus, Euodia, Syntyche, Syzygus, Clement and others joined in serving with Paul in Philippians 3:25; 4:2-3.
Rewards: The Philippians, like Paul, could look forward to their citizenship in heaven and future transformation in Philippians 3:20-21. In addition, Paul considered the Philippian believers part of his reward, his crown in Heaven in Philippians 4:1.
Q: In Php 1:7, should it say "shut up in prison" (Williams) or chains or bonds?
A: The Greek word here, desmos, means a bond, shackle, chain for a prisoner, or even a ligament of the body. So the more precise translation is chain or bond, but the Greek does not specify what material it is. However, in the ancient world metal chains for prisoners were common. Greenís Literal Translation says "bonds", the NIV says "chains", and the NET Bible says "imprisonment".
Q: In Php 1:11, what exactly does "the fruit of righteousness" mean?
A: This is an unusual expression. The only other place is Amos 6:12, though Hebrews 12:11 and James 3:18 have "harvest of righteousness". The fruit of righteousness has at least three aspects.
Internal Character: Righteous living helps grow a righteous heart. The fruit of the spirit is listed in Galatians 5:22-23.
External Results: The fruit of righteousness of course includes righteous actions and lack of wicked actions, but it includes more benefits than that. It includes freedom from fear of someone discovering what you did or did not do, and it helps in building trust and close friendships with others. If we live as children of the light (Ephesians 5:8), we do not have to worry about the light shining upon our lives.
Praise to God: The righteous heart and righteous actions of a believer please God and glorify Him. Despite whatever background we had, despite whatever temptations we have today, and despite any worries about our future, our righteousness is a testimony that angels, demons, and God can see. Our righteousness should not become a snare to us, by puffing up our pride or by us thinking we merit anything toward salvation. But our knowledge that we are pleasing God should be an encouragement to us.
See The Expositorís Bible Commentary volume 11 p.108-109 for more info.
Q: In Php 1:14, how did Paul being put in prison encourage other Christians?
A: Paul did not say they were just encouraged, or that good Christians were happy to see Paul suffer. Rather, they were encouraged to speak the word of God more courageously and fearlessly. Many times Christians do not see an urgency to fulfill their role in spreading the gospel when someone else is around to do a good job.
Q: In Php 1:15-18, how is it good for people to preach Christ out of envy and rivalry, not sincerely?
A: Preaching from wrong motives is not as good as preaching from right ones. This is Christian service to God in the energy of the flesh. But having the true Gospel correctly preached from wrong motives is better than not having it preached.
Q: In Php 1:19 (KJV, Green), should it say "salvation" or "deliverance" as the NASB, uNASB, NIV, NKJV, and Wuest?
A: The context in this passage is deliverance in this life, not salvation in heaven. The Greek word (soteria 4991) can mean salvation or also deliverance. This same word is also used in Luke 1:60,77; 19:9; John 4:22; 4:12 (salvation/deliverance in no one else), Acts 13:26,47; 16:17; Rom 1:16; 10:10; 11:11; 13:11; 2 Cor 1:6,2; 7:10; Eph 1:13; Php 1:28; 2:12; 1 Th 5:8,9; 2 Thess 2:13; 2 Tim 2:10; 3:15; Heb 1:14; 2:3; 2:10; 5:9; 6:9; 9:28; 1 Pet 1:5,9,10; 2 Pet 3:13; Jude 3; Rev 7:10; 12:10; 19:1
Williams has "spiritual welfare" with a footnote saying "Grk., salvation (in general sense)."
Q: In Php 1:20, why is Paul concerned about not being ashamed?
A: Paul was saying that he hoped that his courage and bravery would not fail him when he underwent sufferings and possibly death for Christ.
Q: In Php 1:21, how was it true that "to live is Christ and to die is gain?
A: Paul was remarking that he was in a win-win situation. If he died, he would gain by going to Heaven and seeing Jesus. As 2 Corinthians 5:8 shows, to be away from the body is to be at home with the Lord.
However, if Paul did remain alive on this earth, Paul would still be able to continue in fruitful ministry and help others, and Philippians 1:22-24 and Romans 1:11-12 show.
Q: In Php 1:23 what precisely does the word "depart" mean?
A: This Greek word was used by sailors for setting sail. A Christian dying can be thought of as "setting sail" for home. This word was also used by farmers for unyoking an ox. Christians are unyoked from their labor and struggles on earth when they die.
Q: In Php 1:27, how does a believer live "worthy of the gospel" vs. not?
A: Jesus paid the full price for our sins, but some Christians have come to life in such a way as though they are still in their sins. In the end they will be ashamed. If everyone knew you were a Christian, and everyone knew that what you were doing, would you be happy with your witness?
Q: In Php 1:27, should be "let your conversation be" (KJV), or behave/conduct (NIV, NKJV, NET Bible, Green, etc.)?
A: This Greek word politeuomai (Strongís Concordance 4176) is actually rather complex to translate as one word. It means to behave as a citizen. Wuest translates this as "recognize your responsibility as citizens [of heaven]". Williams translation has "practice living lives"
Q: In Php 2:6, since Christ had the form of God, how could Christ be God Himself?
A: The word "form" also means nature. Philippians 2:10 is a paraphrase of Isaiah 45:10, except that Isaiah refers to Yahweh.
Jesus is not God the Father, but as part of the Trinity, Jesus is our God (John 20:28), is called God (Hebrews 1:9), and is worshipped as God (Hebrews 1:6). He has the fullness of God (Colossians 1:9), of which Jesus needed to by His own power empty Himself. See When Critics Ask p.481 for more info.
Q: In Php 2:6-9, exactly how did Christ empty Himself?
A: An earthly prince can take off his jewels and royal robes, dress as a beggar, and go out into the streets. The prince, without his trappings, is still the prince, though.
This verse only specifically says that Christ voluntarily lowered Himself and did what He needed to become a human, it did not say how. Christ asked the Father to restore to Him to glory He had before the world began in John 17:5. Jesus was still God while He was one earth (Hebrews 1:8-9; John 1:1 + Hebrews 13:8) and worthy of the same honor and worship (John 5:22-23; 9:39).
The Complete Book of Bible Answers p.101-102 says Christ did not "give up" any divine attributes, but merely had a "voluntary nonuse" of some divine attributes. Other Christians disagree and say Christ "gave up" some of the secondary divine attributes, but not in any way that no longer made Jesus God. Either way, the fact remains that He was both God and human. Now Thatís a Good Question p.42-43 gives a brief theological history of this issue and emphasizes that God the Son never stopped being God. When Critics Ask p.481 also points out that Jesus was still God, but He emptied Himself of His rights as deity. See also 1001 Bible Questions Answered p.25 for more info.
Q: In Php 2:6-11, was this an early Christian hymn instead of originally being written by Paul?
A: While there is no external evidence of this being an early Christian hymn, the poetic cadence does suggest this. Regardless of whether Paul originated this or copied this from a hymn, it was still written in the Book of Philippians under Paulís authority.
Millard J. Ericksonís Christian Theology p.689 says the opinion that this was an Aramaic hymn goes back to Ernst Loymeyer. However, Erickson points out that there is no agreement on how to divide the passage into stanzas (unlike Psalms). Whether or not it is a hymn does not affect its meanings, for "interpretation cannot be governed by form."
Q: In Php 2:10, why will every knee bow to Jesus?
A: This is a very similar thought as Isaiah 45:23-24, where God swears that every knee will bow to the LORD. Jesus is not just the hope of the world, He is the only hope of the entire world. This will likely occur at the time of the Great White Throne Judgment. This verse also shows that by the time this occurs, everyone will have heard the Gospel.
Q: In Php 2:12, why was Paul distinguishing between obeying in his presence versus obeying in his absence?
A: Then as well as now, some people obey well only when their leader or boss is watching them. Paul is commending them for their consistency, in obeying well regardless of whether Paul was there or not. Someone once said that "character" is who you are when no one is looking. Of course, at all times God is looking.
A friend of mine from Mainland China thought long and hard about the following before he became a Christian. If there were no God, why shouldnít you get away with everything you can when nobody is watching? Unfortunately, I fear that others have thought about this question too, believed there was no God, and ... well, frequent financial fraud and high crime rates tell the rest of the story.
Q: In Php 2:12, since we are saved by grace through faith, how do we work out our own salvation?
A: We do not get saved through our own work. However, the fruit, or outworking of our salvation, is a combination of us working and God working in us. See the discussion on Ephesians 2:5-8 and James 2:14-25. See Hard Sayings of the Bible p.645-647 for more info.
Q: In Php 2:14, are we really never supposed to murmur or complain about anything?
A: As Paul suggested in Philippians 4:9, we need to look to Paulís example. Paul never murmured, complained, or did any useless griping. On occasion, though, Paul did forcefully bring up shortcomings in order to show people how they needed to change, though.
Q: In Php 2:15 (NASB, NET Bible, KJV, NKJV), should it say "lights in the world", or "stars in the universe" as the NIV says?
A: The Greek words here are phosphores and a form of cosmos, and Aland et al. record no manuscript variations. Cosmos can mean universe, and the first word means something that shines, but the metaphor here fits stars. On one hand we are to shine as examples on this world. On the other hand, the angels in Heaven are watching us, and even the demons see that even with temptations we choose to follow God rather than anyone else.
The Williams translation has "light-bearers in the world".
Q: In Php 2:15, how do Christians shine as stars?
A: On earth our righteousness and character shines against the blackness of the society. In heaven, those who are wise will shine like the heavens, and those who lead many to the truth will shine like stars forever and ever, according to Daniel 12:3. See 1001 Bible Questions Answered p.195-196 for more info.
Q: In Php 2:15-16, how and for whom are Christians supposed to shine?
A: Like a star shines regardless of the audience, we are to show forth our character regardless of who on earth is watching. But, God is always watching and the angels and demons are likely watching too. So, go out and do what you feel like doing. Just remember who is watching, and to whom you will have to give account.
Q: In Php 2:15 (KJV), should it say "nation" or "generation" as the NIV, NKJV, RSV, NRSV, NASB, uNASB and Wuestís Expanded Translation?
A: The Greek word (geneas Strongís Concordance 1074) means generation. The King James does not use this word anywhere else as "nation" in the New Testament. It uses this word as "generation" in Mt 11:16,39,41,42,45; 16:4; 17:17; 22:36; 24:34, and 27 other places. Williams translation has "perverted age" and the NET Bible says "society".
Q: In Php 2:20-21, since all sought their own good, not Jesusí, why did Paul thank God for them in Php 1:3?
A: He knew of no other candidates for his team who had the degree of concern for others that Timothy had. Everyone has sins of selfishness to some degree, but despite our faults and sins, we can still thank God for each other, imperfect though we are.
Q: In Php 2:21, can genuine Christians still be self-centered?
A: Unfortunately, yes. We should be God-centered, while recognizing that God wants us to take care of our needs, too. However, just as Christians can forget they were cleansed from their past sins (2 Peter 1:9), Christians are still sinful and self-centered at times.
Q: In Php 2:25, what is significant about Epaphroditus here?
A: Epaphroditus was not addressed as a church leader, elder, or deacon. His only title in the church was "one of you". One did not have to be a leader, to come sacrificially to help others.
As an aside, Epaphroditusí name was a common name; the secretary of Nero and later Domitian was also named Epaphroditus.
Q: In Php 2:25, since Paul could heal, why couldnít he heal Epaphroditus, who almost died?
A: Paul did not have the power to arbitrarily heal: only God has the power to heal. However, Paul was often an instrument of healing. However, God, who can do things as He chooses, chose not to immediately heal Epaphroditus. For that matter, Paul himself was sick when he spoke to the Galatians. See the discussion on Galatians 4:13 and When Critics Ask p.481-482 for more info.
Q: In Php 2:27-28, why was Paul anxious, since Paul said do not be anxious about anything in Php 4:6-7?
A: Paul never claimed to be sinlessly perfect, and he was honestly expressing his own feelings in Philippians 2:27-28. We are to follow Paulís example only as he follows Christ (1 Corinthians 11:1). But as Paul found, if worrying is your disease, then praying to God is your cure.
The Greek word for anxious in Philippians 2:20 (merimnao) is used nineteen times in the New Testament. Paul uses it four times positively (1 Corinthians 7:32,34; 12:25; Philippians 2:20). Everywhere else (Matthew 6:25,27,28,31,34; Luke 10:41) etc. is in a negative sense. See The Expositorís Bible Commentary volume 11 p.153 for more info.
Q: In Php 2:27-28, why was Paul anxious about Epaphroditusí serious illness, since Paul said to live is Christ and to die is gain in Php 1:21-23?
A: Paul was not anxious for himself, but for Epaphroditus. See also the previous question.
Q: In Php 2:30, why did Paul seem negative toward the Philippians here, saying "to make up for the help you could not give me"?
A: It is fine to be candid, which includes not shielding people from positive or negative things. However, this is not necessarily negative. Paul was extremely appreciative of them sending Epaphroditus to help him, and he pointed out that he knew Epaphroditus was there to give them help they could not do in person.
Q: In Php 3:1, is there a change in writing style that indicates a second letter by a second author?
A: No. This was suggested by form criticism, which has now been fundamentally discredited. Before answering the question, first is a fact that is not used in the answer.
Philippians 1:1 says Philippians was written by Paul and Timothy. While Paul could have written one part and Timothy the other, the change in style is not so great as to suggest this. Paul was likely the sole author.
The Answer: There is absolutely no evidence of a different author except for a change in style. The change from encouragement to rebuke can be for a combination of three reasons.
1. Ancient letter-writing style did not demand transitional sections as much as is required for modern formal documents.
2. The abrupt change is due to a change in topic.
3. Paul might have had an interruption in writing at this point. (Lightfoot first suggested this.)
4. The Greek word here can mean "finally", "furthermore", "moreover", "in addition", or "As for the rest". 1 Thessalonians 4:1 uses the same word in the same way.
The Expositorís Bible Commentary volume 11 p.96-96, 137-138 says that no one ever questioned the unity of Philippians until F.C. Baur (1792-1860) and the liberal Tubingen school in Germany in the nineteenth century, and that the multiple author viewpoint for Philippians has never been widely accepted. See The New International Bible Commentary p.1441 and the Believerís Bible Commentary p.1957-1958,1970 for more info.
Q: In Php 3:1, why did Paul emphasize joy here?
A: Scripture does not explicitly say, but we can see four reasons.
Look beyond the circumstances: The Philippians could have been disappointed that Paul was imprisoned. Paul wanted them to be joyful and look to God, not Paul.
Normal for the Christian life: A Christianís life is to be full of joy, regardless of the circumstances.
For strength: David said "the joy of the Lord is my strength." By realizing and rejoicing in our relationship with God, we can have perseverance to face the trials and temptations of the world, and not be swayed by success in this world.
For encouraging others to press on with Christ: It is hard to be a light for others when you are glum and depressed yourself.
Q: In Php 3:2, why does Paul call some Judaizers "dogs" since we are not to judge others in Mt 7:12-15?
A: Paul was not judging their eternal state (reprobate or elect), but his name-calling was a severe rebuke of people who were similar to what he himself once was. The Jews sometimes called Gentiles dogs. Paul here was turning the tables on them.
The Expositorís Bible Commentary volume 11 p.144 says the Greek language has two words for dog: kynarion means house dog or pet, and kuon, the word used here, means outside dog or a dog of the streets.
Q: In Php 3:2 (KJV, Green), what is "concision"?
A: This is an old-fashioned word for "mutilation". Strongís Concordance says this word katatome 2699) means a cutting down (off), i.e. mutilation (ironically); - concision. The NKJV says "mutilation", Wuest says "are mutilated", the NET Bible says "mutilate the flesh", and the NIV says "mutilators of the flesh".
The Greek word (latreno, 3000) means to minister (to God), serve, worship, etc.
Q: In Php 3:7-8, what rights do we have as a Christian?
A: We have been given the right to be children of God. All of our use or non-use of rights operate under that. First, here are some hard-and-fast rules, and then general guidelines about defending our rights vs. turning the other cheek.
1. The fact that we have a right does not mean we have to exercise it. Paul chose not to exercise the right to take money for preaching the word (1 Corinthians 9:6) or have a believing wife (1 Corinthians 9:5).
2. Sometimes exercising of political rights is OK, as Paul did in Philippi (Acts 16:37-40), in avoiding a flogging (Acts 22:25-29), and in appealing to Caesar (Acts 25:10-12).
3. We do not have the right to sue other believers (1 Corinthians 6:1-8).
4. We do have the right to have disputes with other Christians to be arbitrated by other Christians (1 Corinthians 16:1-8).
5. We do not have the right to try get revenge (Romans 12:19-21; Deuteronomy 32:35).
6. We do not have the right to hold a grudge (Ephesians 4:26-27).
7. We do not have the right to defend ourselves in ways that disobey God (Ephesians 5:11-12). We do not have the right to do things outside of the law (Romans 13:1-7).
In some cases, Paul defended his rights for the sake of the Gospel, and Jeremiah 22:15-16 shows we are to defend the rights of the oppressed. A personís first natural impulse is to get mad or get even. However, Jesus also said to turn the other cheek (Luke 6:29).
Choosing when to defend our rights and when not to, should be done in the context of whatever is best for achieving our ultimate goal. But what is our ultimate goal? It should not be protecting our turf (i.e. territory) or increasing our wealth or power. Rather, our ultimate goal is to glorify God. So defend your rights where it will best glorify God, and turn the other cheek where it will best glorify God.
Remember, defending our rights can be fine, but when our desire to defend our rights is greater than our desire to best glorify God, our desire to defend our rights is a sin.
Q: In Php 3:8 (NIV, NKJV, uNASB), should the word here be "rubbish" or "dung" as in the KJV and NET Bible?
A: The Greek word actually means "dung" or "manure" or "food scraps". This Greek word is also used in Luke 13:8 as the fertilizer that is put around a tree to help it grow better. One does not usually put regular trash around a tree, but stinkier stuff.
Williams Translation has "refuse" which is closest to rubbish.
Q: In Php 3:10, did Paul think he might miss the first resurrection?
A: No. Paulís hope here was a certain hope, not a wishful one. Likewise, when Paul looked forward to Christís return, that does not mean Paul was not sure if Christ would ever return. In both cases, Paul expressing his heartfelt desire should not be misconstrued to mean Paul was denying his assurance that his desire would be fulfilled. See 1001 Bible Questions Answered p.278-279 and Hard Sayings of the Bible p.649-650 for more info.
Q: In Php 3:15 (KJV, NASB), are some Christians perfect?
A: Paul said he was not "perfect" in Philippians 3:12, yet he was "mature" in Philippians 3:15. There can be confusion in the King James, since it uses "perfect" for both, but the words are different in the Greek. See When Critics Ask p.482 and Haleyís Alleged Discrepancies of the Bible p.169 for more info.
This is translated as "mature" in NIV, NKJV, RSV, NRSV, and Williams.
The NET Bible translates this as "perfect" but it puts the perfect in quotes.
Wuestís Expanded Translation has "mature (in a relative sense)"
uNASB has "perfect" with a footnote saying, "Or mature".
Q: In Php 3:15, why are some Christians adept as seeing othersí financial needs, and others are blind to that?
A: Some Christians have the gift of "helps" to see quicker other peopleís needs. Others might not want to look, because they donít want to be in a position where they feel they should help.
If in a church a member seems to never show up to events that might cost money, perhaps they do not have money to spare. You might politely inquire if they could use some help, and help them out financially.
Many times a church might announce a church camp, retreat, or other event that costs money, but ask people who would have trouble paying and still want to go to contact the church, and the church can give them a scholarship to help them.
Q: In Php 3:17 (KJV), what is an "ensample"?
A: This King James Version word means "example". Greenís translation says "pattern".
Q: In Php 3:17, Php 4:9, and 1 Cor 11:1, since we are to follow Paulís example, does that justify authoritarian leadership?
A: No. Three points to consider in the answer.
1. Paul was an apostle, and we are to place his writings of Scripture as a higher authority than any leader or so-called apostle today.
2. 1 Peter 5:3-4 says that leaders are to be good examples to the flock. Presumably, we are to follow those good examples.
3. Hebrews 3:17 says we are still supposed to obey our leaders today. However, 1 Peter 5:3-4 says that leaders are not to lord over the flock.
See When Cultists Ask p.229-230 for a more extensive answer.
Q: In Php 3:18, how could people in church live as "enemies of the cross of Christ?"
A: Paul says their "destiny is destruction", so these people are not genuine believers, but people in church who are going to Hell. Paul was not saying this out of either pleasure or anger, but Paul was saying this "with tears" and sadness.
Q: In Php 3:20 (KJV), what does our "conversation is in heaven" mean?
A: This King James Version expression should have been translated our "citizenship is in heaven". See Bible Difficulties and Seeming Contradictions p.21 for more info.
Q: In Php 3:20, was Paul calling Jesus our Savior borrowing a title from pagan sources?
A: No. While the Greek word here (soter) was in fact used for idol gods and human leaders, the Greek Septuagint used this word (soter) as applied to God in Psalm 24:5; 26:9; and other places. If anything, the New Testament "borrowed" this title from the Old Testament. See The Expositorís Bible Commentary volume 11 p.149 for more info.
Q: In Php 4:1, what does this word "crown" mean?
A: The Greek word diadema can mean only crown, but that is not the word used here. This Greek word here is stephanos. While the KJV, NIV, NKJV, NASB, uNASB, Williams, and Greenís translation use the word "crown", the Greek word (stephanos) can also mean wreath, as in a victory wreath given to an athlete. Wuestís translation says "victorís festal garland". Thus it implies victory and reward, and not necessarily rulership. There is a Greek word, diadema, that can mean only crown, but stephanos is used here. The same word is used for Jesusí crown of thorns. And it is amazing to ponder that Jesus endured crown of thorns so that we could have a crown of victory. See The Expositorís Bible Commentary volume 11 p.150 for more info.
Q: In Php 4:3, who is "Syzygus", or "yokefellow"?
A: The Greek word means "yokefellow" and there are two views:
1. The Greek word Syzygus could be a personal name. However, we have no record of any Greek using this as a personal name.
2. Paul could have deliberately kept unnamed someone he particularly wanted to help with the dispute between Euodias and Syntyche. Sometimes people who diplomatically bring people back together work better when the attention is not drawn to them.
From a non-Christian perspective, Asimov in Asimovís Guide to the Bible (p.1126-1127) pondered this, and concluded that this was not known.
Q: In Php 4:4, should Christians rejoice, since Jesus said those who mourn are blessed in Mt 5:4?
A: You have to mourn and repent of your sins before you can rejoice as a child of God. Even as Christians, we mourn over things that break Godís heart, but even through our mourning we rejoice in our relationship with God. When Critics Ask p.482-483 emphasizes that mourning is a condition, and our rejoicing is a result of a proper relation to God.
Q: In Php 4:5, how was the Lord near 2,000 years ago?
A: Now as well as then, the Lord is near to us in not just one but three ways.
1. Given our variations in life, we may die and meet the Lord at any time.
2. Nobody knows the day or hour of Christís return (Matthew 24:36), or if it is near or far away in time. Yet it is imminent in that the required preconditions of Christís return can be fulfilled quickly.
3. Christ is near and indwelling all believers (John 14:23; Romans 8:9)
See the discussion on 1 Thessalonians 4:15, 1 Peter 4:7, Revelation 22:6-20, When Critics Ask p.483-484, and 1001 Bible Questions Answered p.265-266, 277-278 for more info.
Q: In Php 4:5 (KJV), should it say "moderation", or "gentleness" as the NET Bible, NIV and NKJV?
A: The Greek word epiekes (Strongís Concordance 1933) says Greenís translation says "reasonableness". The King James does not use this word anywhere else as "moderation". It uses this word as "gentle" in Titus 3:2; James 3:17; 1 Peter 2:18. It uses a very similar word (Strongís Concordance 1932) as gentleness in 2 Corinthians 10:1. Wuest translates this as "sweet reasonableness", and the uNASB has "gentle" Williams Translation has "forebearing".
Q: In Php 4:6-7, how does the peace of God help when we are anxious?
A: Try as hard as we might, the peace of God is not something we can get ourselves; it is something that is given. As we make our requests to God in prayer, Godís peace can guard (i.e. defend) both our hearts and minds. As we dwell upon God and eternal things, our own momentary troubles can seem small.
Q: What does Php 4:16-18 teach us about giving?
A: Apparently the Philippians sent Paul monetary help without Paul asking for it. At least some of the time Paul was not expecting it. Do you give money to Christian workers who need it, even if they have not asked you for it? It is sad when Christian missionaries, called to do Godís work abroad, have to come home solely to raise more support.
Q: In Php 4:19, does God really meet all our needs, such as when Paul went hungry in Php 4:12?
A: When we let Him, God does meet all our needs. Never going hungry is a want, not a need. Life is not always so rosy for Christians on this earth, as Paul noted in 1 Corinthians 15:19. However, as Romans 8:18 and 1 Peter 4:12-14, our earthly sufferings are nothing compared to our future glory.
Q: In Php 4:22, who exactly comprised Caesarís household?
A: According to The Expositorís Bible Commentary volume 11 p.159, scholars have compiled lists of Caesarís household from tomb inscriptions. It included vast numbers of imperial servants and foreign slaves.
Q: In Php, how do we know Paul really wrote this book?
A: Philippians 1:1 says so, and the early church never questioned this.
The martyr Polycarp bishop of Smyrna, (110-155 A.D.) in Letter to the Philippians chapter 3, and also ch.11 p.35 says Philippians was by Paul. See the discussion on Philippians 3 for more on why Paul wrote all of Philippians.
The martyr Irenaeus bishop of Lyons (182-188 A.D.) almost explicitly (but not quite) says Philippians was by Paul. Irenaeus says that "the apostle" wrote Colossians and Philippians in Irenaeus Against Heresies book 5 ch.12.3-4 p.538. Irenaeus quotes parts of Colossians 3:11 and 2:9 as being by "Paul" in Irenaeus Against Heresies book 1 ch.3.4 p.320.
"The apostle" wrote Ephesians and Philippians in Irenaeus Against Heresies book 5 ch.13.3 p.540. Irenaeus quotes Ephesians 4:5,6 as being by "the apostle Paul" in Irenaeus Against Heresies book 4 ch.32.1 p.506.
"The apostle" wrote Philippians and Galatians in Irenaeus Against Heresies book 5 ch.12.5-6 p.538. Irenaeus quotes part of Galatians 3:24 as being by "Paul" in Irenaeus Against Heresies book 4 ch.2.5 p.465.
Q: In Php, what evidence do we have that this book should be in the Bible?
A: There are at least three good reasons.
1. Paul wrote it, and he was an apostle. Peter attested that Paulís words were scripture in 2 Peter 3:15-16.
2. Paul himself said he was apostle in 1 Timothy 1:1; 2:7, Romans 1:1; 1 Corinthians 1:1; 9:1, 2 Corinthians 1:1, 11:5; Galatians 1:1, Ephesians 1:1; Colossians 1:1; 1 Timothy 1:1; 2 Timothy 1:1; Titus 1:1.
3. Early church evidence. See the next question part 4 for the writers who referred to the book of Philippians.
Q: How do we know that Php today is a reliable preservation of what was originally written?
A: At least 72 manuscripts and early church writers quoted or referred to verses in Philippians. There are at least four good reasons.
1. God promised to preserve His word in Isaiah 55:10-11; Isaiah 59:21; Isaiah 40:6-8; 1 Peter 1:24-25; Matthew 24:35.
2. Earliest manuscripts we have of Philippians show there are small manuscript variations, but zero theologically significant errors.
p16 Php 3:10-17; 4:2-8 (late 3rd century) The Complete Text of the Earliest New Testament Manuscripts has a picture of p16 on p.86.
3rd/4th century - 1968 - The Text of the New Testament.
p46 Chester Beatty II 100-150 A.D. has 84 verses of Philippians. Specifically it has Philippians 1:1,5-15,17-28; 1:30-2:12; 2:14-27; 2:29-3:8; 3:10-21; 4:2-12; 4:14-23 and other parts of Paulís letters and Hebrews. The Complete Text of the Earliest New Testament Manuscripts has a photograph of part of p46 on p.192. It also says on p.197-198 that the quality and the stichiometric marks show that a professional scribe wrote this.
First half of 3rd century - 1936 - Frederic G. Kenyon according to The Complete Text of the Earliest New Testament Manuscripts.
2nd century, 200 A.D. - 1935 - Ulrich Wilken according to The Complete Text of the Earliest New Testament Manuscripts.
200 A.D. - 1968 - The Text of the New Testament.
81-96 A.D. - 1988 - Young Kyu Kim according to The Complete Text of the Earliest New Testament Manuscripts.
About 200 A.D. - 1975 - Aland et al. third edition.
About 200 A.D. - 1998 - Aland et al. fourth revised edition.
Early to middle 2nd century - 1999 - The Complete Text of the Earliest New Testament Manuscripts. This is based in part on the handwriting being very similar to Papyrus Oxyrhynchus 8 (late first or early second century) and Papyrus Oxyrhynchus 2337 (late first century).
p61 Romans 16:23,25-27; 1 Corinthians 1:1-2, 2-6; 5:1-3, 5-6, 9-13; Philippians 3:5-9, 12-16, Colossians 1:3-7, 9-13, 1 Thessalonians 1:2-3; Titus 3:1-5, 8-11, 14-15 Philemon 4-7. c.700 A.D.
c.700 A.D. - 1968 - The Text of the New Testament.
About 700 A.D. - 1975 - Aland et al. third edition.
About 700 A.D. - 1998 - Aland et al. fourth revised edition.
Vaticanus [B] 325-350 A.D. All of the New Testament up to Hebrews 9:15. Missing are 1 and 2 Timothy, Titus, Philemon, and Revelation.
Sinaiticus [Si] 340-350 A.D. All of Philippians
Alexandrinus [A] (c.450 A.D.) All of Philippians
Ephraemi Rescriptus [C] 5th century
Bohairic Coptic [Boh] 3rd/4th century
Sahidic Coptic [Sah] 3rd/4rth century
Latin Vulgate [Vg] 4th and 5th centuries
Peshitta Syriac [Syr P] 400-450 A.D.
Philoxenian Syriac [Syr Ph] 507/508 A.D.
Claromontanus [D] 5th/6th century
Armenian [Arm] from 5th century
Georgian [Geo] from 5th century
Ethiopic [Eth] from c.500 A.D.
Gothic [Goth] 493-555 A.D.
3. Evidence of the early church. Early church writers up to the Council of Nicea I (325 A.D.) quoted from Philippians about 90 times, not counting allusions. They quoted 41% of the Book of Philippians, counting fractional verses as fractions. That is 42.4 out of 104 total verses.
Here are the pre-Nicene writers who quoted from Philippians.
Epistle to Diognetus (c.130-200 A.D.) ch.5 p.27 alludes to Philippians 3:20 "citizens of heaven.
Letter of Polycarp to the Philippians ch.3 p.33 mentions Paul writing to the Philippians 110-155 A.D. Polycarp also speaks of "Paul and the rest of the apostles" in ch.9 p.35
Polycarp Letter to the Philippians (100-155 A.D.) ch.3 p.33 says that the blessed and glorified Paul wrote the Philippians a letter. He also alludes to Philippians 2:16 in ch.9 p.35
Christians of Vienna and Lugdunum: (177 A.D.) quotes Philippians 2:6 p.783-784
Irenaeus of Lyons (182-188) A.D. refers to Philippians in numerous places. In Against Heresies book 4 ch.18.4, Irenaeus quotes Philippians 4:18, prefacing it with "As Paul also says to the Philippians" He also quotes from Philippians 2:11
Passion of the Scillitan Martyrs (180-202 A.D.) mentions early Christians having the writings of Paul without specifying which letters.
Muratorian Canon (190-217 A.D.) mentions that Paul wrote to seven churches in his epistles, Corinthians (2 letters), Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, Galatians, Thessalonians (2 letters), Romans. Paul wrote Philemon, Titus, two letters to Timothy.
Clement of Alexandria (193-217/220 A.D.) says Philippians 4:5 is by the apostle of the Lord. Exhortation to the Heathen ch.9 p.196
Tertullianís Against Marcion book 14 chapter 5 (207 A.D.) said Paul wrote to the Philippians. It was a book "that comes down from the apostles, which has been kept as a sacred deposit in the churches of the apostles."
Hippolytus (225-235/6222-235/6 A.D.) refers to Paul a half quote of Philippians 3:2a Fragment 10 p.244
Origen (225-253/254 A.D.) quotes Philippians 4:13 as by Paul. de Principiis book 3 ch.2.5 p.333
Novatian (250/254-257 A.D.) quotes from Philippians Php 2:6-11 as by the apostle in Treatise on the Trinity ch.22 p.632
Treatise Against Novatian (254-256 A.D.) ch.1 p.657 quotes two-thirds of Philippians 3:2 as scripture
Treatise on Rebaptism (254-256 A.D.) ch.6 p.670 quotes Philippians 2:9b-11 as by Paul.
Cyprian bishop of Carthage (c.246-258 A.D.) mentions Philippians and quotes Philippians 2:21; 3:19-21 in Treatises of Cyprian - Testimonies ch.11 p.536. He quotes from Philippians 4:18 as saying it is by the Apostle Paul in Treatise 4 ch.34 p.456.
Victorinus bishop of Petau in Austria (martyred 304 A.D.) Mentions the Old and New Testaments in his Commentary on the Apocalypse of the Blessed John p.345 He listed the letters of Paul as Romans, Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Thessalonians, Philippians, Colossians, Timothy and quotes 1 Timothy 3:15 in ch.16 p.345
Peter of Alexandria (306, 285-311 A.D.) quotes Philippians 1:23,24 as by "the blessed apostle Paul" The Canonical Epistle Canon 10 p.274
Methodius (270-311/312 A.D.) quotes half of Philippians 2:5 in a fragment from His Discourse Concerning Martyrs p.382.
Athanasius of Alexandria (318 A.D., prior to Nicea) quotes Philippians 3:14 as by Paul in Against the Heathen ch.5 p.6
Eusebius of Caesarea (318-339/340 A.D.) quotes Philippians 2:6 in Eusebiusí Ecclesiastical History book 5 ch.2 p.216. He quotes Philippians 2:6-8 as "Sacred Scriptures in book 8 ch.10 p.330-331. He says that Paul referred to other Christians as "fellow laborers" in book 3 ch.4 p.136
Asterius the Sophist (after 341 A.D.)
Aphrahat the Syrian (337-345 A.D.) alludes to Philippians in his work Select Demonstrations
Hegemonius (4th century) quotes from Philippians 3:19 as by the Apostle. Disputation with Manes ch.38 p.212
Ambrosiaster (4th century)
Victorinus of Rome (after 363 A.D.)
Athanasius of Alexandria (367 A.D.) lists the books of the New Testament in Festal Letter 39 p.552
Hilary of Poitiers (355-367/368 A.D.)
Synopsis Scripturae Sacrae (350-370 A.D. or 5th century) mentions Paulís Letter to the Philippians as part of the New Testament. It quotes all of Philippians 1:1.
Ephraim the Syrian hymn-writer (350-378 A.D.)
Basil of Cappadocia (357-378/379 A.D.) quotes Philippians 3:10,11 as by Paul. On the Spirit ch.15.34 p.21
Titus of Bostra (before 378 A.D.) refers to Philippians 2:11
Synod of Laodicea (in Phrygia) (343-381 A.D.) canon 60 p.159 lists the books of the Old Testament and the New Testament. Canon 59 p.158 says only the canonical books of the Old and New Testaments may be read in church.
Cyril of Jerusalem (c.349-386 A.D.)
Ambrose of Milan (370-390 A.D.)
Apollinaris of Laodicea (c.390 A.D.)
Gregory of Nazianzus/Nanzianzen (330-391 A.D.)
Pacian of Barcelona (342-379/392 A.D.)
Gregory of Elvira (after 392 A.D.)
Gregory of Nyssa (c.356-397 A.D.) quotes Philippians 2:10 as "Philippians" in The Great Catechism ch.32 p.150
Didymus the blind (398 A.D.)
Epiphanius of Salamis (360-403 A.D.) mentions Philemon, Hebrews, two letters to Timothy, Titus, Romans, Galatians, Philippians, Ephesians. The Panarion section 3 from scholion 1 and 5 p.334
Rufinus (374-406 A.D.) mentions Paul writing about Clement in Philippians 4:3 in his Epilogue to Pamphilus p.423
Gaudentius (after 406 A.D.)
Jerome (373-420 A.D.)
Council of Carthage (218 bishops) 383-419 A.D.)
John Chrysostom around 396 A.D. wrote down 15 sermons on Philippians, which we still have preserved today. John Chrysostom said it was by Paul the apostle (Commentary on Philippians homily I and other places).
Maximinus (4th/5th century)
Maximus of Turin (4th/5th century) refers to Philippians 2:30
Chromatius (died 407 A.D.) refers to Philippians 4:7
Severian (after 408 A.D.)
Niceta of Remesianus (366-c.415 A.D.)
Theodotus of Ancyra (5th century A.D.)
Speculum (5th century)
Augustine of Hippo (388-28-Aug-430 A.D.) mentions Philippians 3:7,8 as being by the apostle in The City of God book 17 ch.4 p.341
The semi-Pelagian John Cassian (419-430 A.D.) quotes Philippians 4:15,16 as Philippians in the Institutes of John Cassian book 17.17 p.254
Marcus of Eremita (after 430 A.D.)
Paulinus of Nola (431 A.D.)
Cyril of Alexandria (444 A.D.) refers to Philippians 4:7 and other verses
Euthalius of Sulca (ca.450 A.D.)
Theodotus of Ancyra (5th century) quotes Philippians 2:5
Quodvultdeus (c.453 A.D.)
Hesychius of Jerusalem (after 450 A.D.)
Theodoret of Cyrus (423-458 A.D.) refers to Philippians 2:5,9
Pope Leo I of Rome (440-461 A.D.)
Prosper of Aquitaine (426-465 A.D.)
Varimadum (445/480 A.D.)
Macarius/Symeon (4th or 5th century)
Evidence of heretics and spurious books
The heretic Marcion according to Tertullian
Priscillian the heretic (martyred 385 A.D.) refers to Philippians 2:11
The heretic Pelagius (416-418 A.D.) refers to Philippians 1:11,14; 2:5,11; 3:3,12,13,15; 4:7,8,13,19
The Pelagian heretic Theodore of Mopsuestia (428 A.D.) wrote commentaries on Paulís letters, which have been lost. Some of his preserved writings quote Philippians 1:11,14; 2:11-12,26,30; 3:3,12-13,15; 4:3,7-8,13,16,19,23 though.
Nestorius the heretic (451/452 A.D.) The Bazaar of Heracleides quotes Philippians 2:5,9
Some of this is according to Aland et al. fourth revised edition and Adamantius : Dialogue on the True Faith in God
See www.BibleQuery.org/Philippians Manuscripts.html for more on early manuscripts of Philippians.
For more info please contact Christian Debater™ P.O. Box 144441 Austin, TX 78714. www.BibleQuery.org