"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. Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have
learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be
content. 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. I can do
all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.
Notwithstanding ye have well done, that ye did communicate with
my affliction. 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. For even in Thessalonica ye sent once and again
unto my necessity. Not because I desire a gift: but I desire
fruit that may abound to your account. 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. But my God shall
supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ
Jesus. Now unto God and our Father be glory for ever and
ever. Amen." Philippians 4:10-20
LESSON 1, VERSE 10:
It is so important that we be
Paul commanded in 1st
Thessalonians 5:18, "In every thing give
thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning
Books have been written,
lectures given, theories postulated, all dedicated to the
science of expressing genuine appreciation.
But, really, for the Christian,
the Bible is the Final Authority on such things. Is there a Text
of Scripture that teaches us how to properly give thanks?
In fact, there just may be!
The Apostle Paul, in
Philippians 4:10-20, sets for us an example. A Holy Spirit
inspired Paragraph concerning gratefulness.
Now, mind you, these Verses are
not a "how-to-do-it" Manual. They record the Apostle's words as
he received an actual gift, something from the Philippians!
Paul, currently in a Roman prison, explodes into a spirit of
This is perhaps the Bible's
greatest Passage on our subject. It's a perfect "thank you"
letter. It can indeed become our model for giving thanks.
Since Paul, humanly speaking,
wrote Philippians, we can expect no short platitudes. He will
take his time, reasoning carefully as guided by the Spirit of
God, thoroughly exploring his grateful heart.
How grateful each of us should
be for this fourth chapter of Philippians!
The only possible way to
explore this Material is to begin and proceed verse by verse.
Let's get started.
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." Philippians 4:10
The first thing to notice is
that this gift's arrival, whatever it may have been, triggered
in Paul's heart great rejoicing in the Lord! To "rejoice," using
"chairo" as its Greek foundation, means "to be cheerful!" To be
glad! Of its 74 New Testament appearances, 62 deal one way or
another with joy or gladness. The remaining 12 indicate some
kind or greeting or farewell, a "God speed" kind of thing.
The adverb "greatly" is "megalos."
The whole "mega" stem in Greek means "big or large or great."
Paul is really glad for the gift! But his first response
is "to the Lord!" Even though God sent the gift through the
hands of others, our first focus is the real Giver, our Heavenly
Father! "Every good gift and every perfect
gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights,
with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning."
The words "now at the last"
translate "ede pote," a Greek expression linking the immediate
present with the indefinite past. Apparently it had been quite
some time since the Philippians had last communicated with Paul.
The Apostle is not blaming them of course. Circumstances had
rendered such giving nearly impossible.
The noun "care" is a form of "phroneo,"
meaning "to think" about someone, to have them on one's mind. No
gift is ever given without forethought, is it? The verb
"flourished" is interesting. "Anathallo" is borrowed from the
gardener's plot, "to blossom, to sprout, to shoot up" as a plant
or flower does! It is only used here in all of Scripture.
Likely the basic meaning of "thallo" is "to flourish or revive!"
A second use of "phroneo," as
in "ye were careful," might suggest that the Philippians had
been wanting to do something for Paul, keeping him in their
minds and on their hearts, but had just now achieved their goal.
Paul tactfully gives them an
excuse, gracious man that he is! "Ye lacked opportunity," he
writes. Here "akairos" is the word, having no season
or no window of time in which to
help! We are again dealing with another "one time only" word.
It's technically called a "hapax legomenon."
Paul's travels, dangers,
changing plans, and battles with the devil rendered his schedule
quite unpredictable. No itinerary was published!
This Verse alone,
"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,"
certainly reveals a kind and
thoughtful Preacher. One who is determined to glorify God for
every blessing! One determined to set every gift in a lovely
verbal context, like "apples
of gold in pictures of silver!"
And one resolved not to hurt anyone's feelings if at all
How to say "thank you!"
--- Dr. Mike Bagwell
LESSON 2, VERSE 11:
word is "content."
I can only find three times
that Paul used the word.
having food and raiment let us be therewith content."
1st Timothy 6:8 teaches us.
your conversation be without covetousness; and be content
with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never
leave thee, nor forsake thee." Hebrews 13:5 adds.
Then our Text
here in Philippians 4:11. "Not that I
speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever
state I am, therewith to be content."
This Greek word,
"autarkes," blends "autos," meaning "oneself," and "arkeo,"
meaning "to be satisfied, to have enough." It presents the idea
of "self-sufficiency" really. But Paul does not mean it in a
vain or proud way.
condition Paul was found, "en hos eimi," no matter what God
allowed to come his way, this great Preacher was resolved to be
This is so
important in the Christian life. Especially in today's
materialistic culture! Paul blatantly proclaimed in Colossians
3:5 that covetousness was a form of idolatry!
But lessons in
contentment might not come easily. Even Paul had to "learn"
them! "Manthano," related to "matheo," means "to understand" or
"to acquire knowledge." It is obviously related to the Greek
word for "disciple," the noun "mathetes." The aorist tense here
compiles all Paul's previous Christian living into a single
point of achievement, specifically dealing with contentment.
In this Verse
Paul also uses a clause each of us needs to practice,
"Not that I speak in respect of want."
The verb "speak" is a present tense form of "lego,"
choosing carefully what one is to say. The noun "want" is
spelled "husteresis." It really comes from a word chain that
means to be "behind," then to be "later" and finally from "hupo,"
to be "under!"
determined not to always be talking about his needs! What my
folks used to call "poor-mouthing" every situation in life! To
speak to Paul at any given time, one would not immediately be
able to discern his needs! He would be so thrilled with Jesus
and the Cross and the empty Tomb that anything personal would
have long since dimmed into the background!
letters" from Paul would have listed his fifteen most pressing
needs! Those thoughts would have been reserved for the Lord!
And keep in mind
here the general "context" of Philippians 4:11. It sits at the
beginning of a "Thank You" note! That's exactly what this whole
eleven-verse Paragraph is, Philippians 4:10-20.
"Thank you for
the gifts," Paul is essentially saying. "But I was content even
before they arrived!" This whole line of thought sounds a little
strange to modern ears!
We might rather
imply, "Thank you! Keep it coming please!"
But to Paul,
always, spiritual growth was more important than financial
bounty! We are reading after a spiritual giant in the faith!
It's almost as if
Paul was hesitant to write anything that would address itself
merely to his single situation historically! Perhaps he knew
that some day his letters would be part of the precious Word of
God! Applicable to all men and women everywhere!
Is he grateful to
the Philippians for their support?
But does he
fervently seek to exalt God to an higher level than any of his
God is God ...
whatever the outward circumstances!
supplies is sufficient!
That's the spirit
in which Jesus lived too! Make that "Spirit," with a capital
Even after forty
days of fasting and temptation in the wilderness, Jesus would
not get ahead of His Father's daily provision! Not even to
create a piece of bread! God would feed His Son in good time!
And I assure you,
The Father did not fail His Child!
Neither will He
fail us yet today!
--- Dr. Mike Bagwell
LESSON 3, VERSE 12:
It's almost as if Paul forgets
the audience to whom he is writing. He at times seems to be
looking ahead, addressing some unseen throng! A future "cloud of
Personally I think that's
exactly the case!
In Philippians 4:10-20 Paul is
actually penning what we would call a "thank you" note, a letter
of appreciation. The Church in Philippi has send a gift to Paul.
And he, being in a Roman prison, had untold needs no doubt!
His thankful attitude is
However, saying "thank you" is
one thing, but digressing into comments like this is quite
another thing: "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." Philippians 4:12
It appears that Paul is writing
to a yet future group! The saints of all the ages! Those of
us who well might face similar circumstances. The Gospel has
reached people of every financial background and social status,
in all kinds of political environments too! Not a few of whom
have been in prison or in dire need! Then of course, as in
places today, may living lives of comparative luxury also!
So Paul, ever the Teacher
as well as Pastor and Encourager, writes to the unseen,
instructing us economically! What he says in our Verse today is
better than anything any financial adviser ever postulated! Karl
Marx or Allen Greenspan or your local banker included!
Say it again, Paul:
"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
In other words, thank you for
the gift, dear Philippians! But I didn't have to have it! I
could have continued without such a thing! My God in Heaven is
my Source of comfort, my daily Supply! Whatever He allows my way
makes me happy, be it little or much!
The verb "know" Paul uses is "oida"
and refers, not to laboriously acquired data, but to information
God has implanted in one's heart! Inherent truth! Holy Spirit
imparted! This is not book learning here! This is Spirit taught
The verb "abased" is really the
New Testament word for "humbled." In other words, "to be made
low!" As in, "Thrice was I beaten with
rods, once was I stoned, thrice I suffered shipwreck, a night
and a day I have been in the deep; in journeyings often, in
perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in
perils by mine own countrymen, in perils by the
heathen, in perils in the city, in perils in the
wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among
false brethren; in weariness and painfulness, in watchings
often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and
nakedness." 2nd Corinthians 11:25-27
The contrasting verb, "abound,"
is spelled "perisseuo." It means "to increase, to exceed, to
overflow!" A typical word picture here would be a little flower
as it develops from a newly sprouted shoot to a budded plant to
a fully blooming specimen of beauty! For a while in the early
history of the Philippian Church Paul and his traveling
companions stayed in the home of the first covert in the city! A
lady named Lydia, wealthy! A seller of purple! The environment
there must have been lavish! "And when she
was baptized, and her household, she besought us, saying,
If ye have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come into my
house, and abide there. And she constrained us."
Acts 16:15 shows Paul "abounding" for a short while!
Now look at the verb
"instructed," in Greek "mueo." It is based on the noun "mysterion,"
our word "mystery!" It means "taught" or even "initiated" into
some set of secrets! These are rather exclusive truths imparted
to those who follow the Lord whole-heartedly! Every Christian in
America today has not learned to be content in each situation
life brings! We grumble and complain at some things and overly
rejoice in the shallowness of others! "My team won! Can you
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."
cycle, Paul uses the adjectives "full" and "hungry." Now "chortazo"
means "to be fed with herbs!" Made "fat," but here technically
vegetarian style! No meat! However, this very word is used
repeatedly in the Gospel accounts of the feeding of the
thousands, so it can include eating fish for sure! "To be
hungry" translates "peinao," meaning a "craving" for food! The
Greek word for poor, one of them anyway, is "penes."
Ending the verse,
"to abound" is a present infinitive, using the "perisseuo" stem
again. That which exceeds, overflows, exists in abundance! So
much of something that it's all "around" you! "Peri"
equals "around." Plenty!
Then "to suffer
need" is "hustereo." It just means "to come behind." To be
"tardy!" To "fall back" or even to be "inferior!"
What a range of
What a plethora
of financial conditions!
Yet not one word
Just a simple
No wonder this is
the setting for one of the greatest Verses in the Bible.
"But my God shall supply all your need
according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus."
--- Dr. Mike Bagwell
LESSON 4, VERSE 13:
It's one of the most quoted
Verses in the whole New Testament! Paul, under the inspiration
of the Holy Spirit, wrote: "I can do all
things through Christ which strengtheneth me."
But what we need to remember is
that these words are not written in a vacuum. The setting, the
context, the environment in which they are placed is so
Precisely, Paul here is NOT
talking about slaying giants! That was David. He is NOT talking
about praying fire from Heaven! That was Elijah. He is not
talking about making the sun stand still! Joshua prayed that
prayer. He is not talking about slaying a thousand men with some
wild animal's jawbone either! That was Samson.
Paul, again using the exact
meaning of these great words, is talking about being able to
face any circumstance of life! Especially financially and
materially hard times!
After all, he has just written,
"But I rejoiced in the Lord greatly, that
now at the last your care of me hath flourished again .... Not
that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in
whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. 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." Good or bad, Paul
will trust the Lord! In plenty or in poverty! The major craving
in Paul's life will be the Lord! Not material goods!
Then, and only
then, is Paul prepared to declare, "I
can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me."
It makes a difference when we
study the Bible in its proper setting. The words mean more to
Now I do not question the fact
that Philippians 4:13 has been a source of great help to God's
children through the ages, help in every one of life's many
There's nothing necessarily
wrong with reading the Verse this way, "I
can do all
things through Christ which strengtheneth me."
Take these words and go out and
live for Jesus! Remove mountains! Climb obstacles! Chase devils!
Experience what Daniel called "great exploits" for God!
But do remember that it's
helpful also to not grumble the next time an unexpected bill
comes in the mail!
And keep in mind that your
tithes and offerings to God can still be given, the remaining
amount somehow being sufficient to take care of the everyday
issues of life!
And try to overcome any
tendencies toward discouragement or depression that being
consistently "broke" or "peniless" might induce!
After all, if Paul could ... so
We too can do all things
through Christ which strengtheneth us!
The verb "can do" translates "ischuo,"
meaning "to be strong or to have power!" It is probably derived
from the root verb "echo," meaning "I have or I hold!" A
determined willingness to be persistent and tenacious! This is
an "I will not quit" kind of thing!
Paul, with all his human might
and the added boost of God's Strength is going to prevail! He
will survive any financial situation that comes his way!
"All things" is "panta" in
Greek. It's just a little adjective serving here as a
substantive. It allows no exceptions! Nothing is outside the
perimeter of Paul's resolve! He already knows what it is to be
hungry and thirsty and cold! God took care of him then! Why not
now? God is faithful we know!
But the Avenue through which
Paul can be so strong is not his psychological power or
rabbinical upbringing or strong will!
This ability comes
Using a dative case singular
noun, "Christos," a Proper Noun too, Paul is teaching us that
his determination, his contentment, his peace come from the
But, again technically and
grammatically, he is also saying that he can do all these things
"to" or "for" Christ! That's what the dative case
Paul will not grumble when the
money is low! And he will do so for Jesus' sake! He will live
unto the Lord Jesus Christ!
He will stay sweet for
Yes, any way you take this
Verse, it must be finally allowed to glorify Jesus! Much like
Paul's great words "by the grace of God I
am what I am" do!
The next time my needs are
especially great, I surely must remember Philippians 4:14. I too
can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.
Oh, by the way, that last verb,
"strengtheneth" is important too. It is "endunamoo." You can
almost see the English noun "dynamo" in it, a great source of
"Dunamis," the noun behind all
this, means "force!" The prefix "en" means "within" one's own
heart or life!
God takes His Strength and
gives it, a portion thereof, to each of His children day by day!
Even to this degree, "the exceeding
greatness of His power to us-ward who believe, according to the
working of His mighty power, which He wrought in Christ, when He
raised Him from the dead, and set Him at His Own right
hand in the heavenly places." Paul just said that
we have within us the very Power that raised Christ from the
--- Dr. Mike Bagwell
LESSON 5, VERSE 14:
In Paul's great "Thank You"
note, Philippians 4:10-20, he really never uses those very
Here's as close as he gets:
"Notwithstanding ye have well done, that
ye did communicate with my affliction." Philippians 4:14
The great Apostle praises the
Philippians and their generosity.
In presenting their offering to
Paul the prisoner, the Philippians are said to have "done well."
The verb "to do" is in Greek "poieo,"
meaning "to construct, fashion, form or make" something. In this
little word see the English nouns "poet" and "poem." Something
created that is lovely, beautiful, even artistic!
Since the gift in focus came
sometime in the past, prior to Paul's writing, the aorist
tense is employed here. To the same degree they gave, they did
The adverb "well" is spelled "kalos,"
meaning "rightly, correctly, beautifully, excellently!"
The gift they sent to Paul
constituted a work of art in God's Eyes!
How did the Philippians so gain
Paul's admiration and approval? "Ye did
communicate with my affliction."
The verb "communicate" is "sugkoinoneo."
It means "to share, to help, to take part in, to contribute!" To
give to a cause! The prefix "sug," which is just an
assimilated "sun," means "with" others! There were no single
heroes in this offering, just a bunch of godly saints sharing
out of their own poverty! Everyone wanting to help!
And the noun "affliction," in
Greek "thlipsis," means "pressure!" As in pressing grapes for
the harvest! The root verb here, "tribo," means to rub something
so vigorously that it is pulverized!
Paul was in a place of great
And the Philippians, who loved
him so much, wanted to help their Preacher during his hard time!
Herein Paul is thanking them!
What praise he offers!
"Notwithstanding ye have well done, that ye did communicate with
my affliction." Philippians 4:14
A Christian likes
those words, "well done!"
We all long for
the day when Jesus our Lord will say,
"Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been
faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many
things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord." Matthew
Preacher, the Man of God!
I would love to some day hear
those very words from our dear Saviour, "Well done!"
--- Dr. Mike Bagwell
LESSON 6, VERSE 15:
like a corporate financial report, maybe one of those quarterly
But for a very small business.
Only one man is on this
Paul the Apostle, writing to
the Philippian Church, says: "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."
The nouns "giving" and
"receiving" are each rare New Testament financial terms.
"Credit" and "debit" are today's corresponding expressions.
"Giving" is spelled "dosis," and relates to the basic verb "didomai."
While "receiving" is "lempsis," also linked to a major verb, "lambano."
The verb "communicated" is "koinoneo,"
sharing something in common! It's the usual verb for giving by
one person to another.
The proper noun "Philippians"
is interesting. It blends the verb "philos," being "fond" of
something, and "hippos," merely meaning "horses!" A lover of
horses! Remember too that "Philadelphia" means "lover of the
brethren," using our same suffix here. Philippi is located in
what I'd call northern Greece, but technically was labeled as
part of Macedonia.
The noun "beginning" translates
"arche," meaning "chief or first" or even "commencement." The
The "beginning of the Gospel"
in Philippi is recorded in Acts 16. There by a riverside Lydia
was saved. Then the jailer and his whole household and
eventually a Church was begun!
As Paul left there, under
pressure too, it appears that the newly formed Philippian
assembly gave him financial support! Maybe even sending to him
several times as he traveled.
To "depart," in Greek "exerchomai,"
simply means "to go out." Traveling elsewhere to preach the Word
This Verse presents us with
some astounding information! Apparently when Paul left the
Antioch Church, back in Acts 13, all they sent along was
well-wishes! Nor did any other Church back Paul with material
While other Churches eventually
helped, at least some, the Philippian saints were the pioneering
financiers of Paul's travels!
Paul is letting the Church know
how very much he appreciated those gifts of love!
In writing Verse 15, Paul is
doing at least three things. Firstly, he is keeping his
supporters informed! Next, he is reminding them of their
exclusivity. They are unique, therefore most valuable to Paul in
his work for the Lord! Thirdly, the Apostle lovingly mentions
the history the Philippians share with the Man of God! Sweet
memories bind hearts together!
Notice what he did not do! He
did not send a "wish" list! He did not ask for more money! He
did not try to present himself as some big, successful Preacher!
He attempted no mass mailings either!
Just a simple "Thank You"
By the way, many of you who are
studying with us here today pray for the Bagwells too! And some
have even given financially to help during these difficult days
medically. To you all, we say a heart-felt genuine "Thank You,"
from the depths of our hearts!
--- Dr. Mike Bagwell
LESSON 7, VERSE 16:
It's a strange situation in the
life of Paul!
Hard to explain.
He absolutely refused financial
help from the Corinthians, but readily accepted it from the
Here's proof, at least
concerning the Corinthians. "I will not be
burdensome to you: for I seek not yours, but you." In
other words Paul is saying that he has not taken any of their
money! He is not interested in what they possess! 1st
Also he writes,
"I robbed other churches, taking wages
of them, to do you service. And when I was present with you,
and wanted, I was chargeable to no man!" 2nd Corinthians
Yet to the Philippians clearly
states, "For even in Thessalonica ye sent
once and again unto my necessity." Philippians 4:16
Of course the time-line is
important here. Paul's relationship with the Philippians
predates his ever traveling to Corinth. But even at the end of
his powerful and fruitful life, a unique ministry for sure, he
still had not accepted anything from the one Church, but plenty
from the other!
Probably because of some things
that had been said at Corinth. It appears that he might have
been accused of financial dishonesty! Not by the spiritual folks
at Corinth, in that Church. But by his enemies, false apostles
who followed him nearly everywhere, stirring up trouble and
slinging insinuations against the Man of God.
Here are some of their "slurs"
against Paul. "For his letters, say
they, are weighty and powerful; but his bodily
presence is weak, and his speech contemptible."
Again, they accused him making
a "profit" in their midst! Being a "money-grabber!" But such was
not true. "Did I make a gain of you by any
of them whom I sent unto you?" The verb "make gain" is
once translated "defraud" in the King James Text.
"I desired Titus, and with him I
sent a brother. Did Titus make a gain of you?" Paul was
innocent of the charge! In fact, the opposite was true. Paul was
receiving a collection for the poor folks in Jerusalem,
suffering saints there! "For it hath
pleased them of Macedonia and Achaia to make a certain
contribution for the poor saints which are at Jerusalem."
Romans 15:26 here, when added to 1st Corinthians 16:2,
illustrate. "Upon the first day of
the week let every one of you lay by him in store, as God
hath prospered him, that there be no gatherings when I come."
In light of such gossip and
confusion, Paul just refuses any of their financial support! It
would have been tainted. Yet he staunchly defended a preacher's
right to receive funds, "For the scripture
saith, Thou shalt not muzzle the ox that treadeth out the corn.
And, The labourer is worthy of his reward." 1st
Even more, according to Paul,
some preachers are due "double pay!" Read it.
"Let the elders that rule well be counted worthy of double
honour, especially they who labour in the word and doctrine."
But Paul took nothing, at
Conversely, thank God for the
No such slander there, not in
that loving Church!
They gave and Paul received,
Again, today's Verse:
"For even in Thessalonica ye sent once and
again unto my necessity." Philippians 4:16
Paul first went to Thessalonica
in Acts 17:1, "Now when they had passed
through Amphipolis and Apollonia, they came to Thessalonica."
He had just been serving in Philippi in Acts 16:11-40.
"Therefore loosing from Troas, we came with a straight course to
Samothracia, and the next day to Neapolis; and from
thence to Philippi, which is the chief city of that part of
Macedonia, and a colony: and we were in that city abiding
certain days." See their chronological proximity? This
"support" came as soon as Paul left those generous Philippians!
in Thessalonica ye sent once and again unto my necessity."
Less than a hundred miles from
Philippi, Thessalonica became Paul's next place of labor! But
there he apparently did not have to make tents in order to pay
the bills! Financial help arrived, more than once, from
That Church had some rather
affluent members apparently, Lydia the "seller of purple" being
one of them! And they shared with Paul part of God's bounty in
The verb "send" is rather
strong too! "Pempo" in the King James Bible is translated
"thrust" twice! They insisted Paul receive their help!
"One and again" is a lovely
phrase, "kai hapax kai dis." Really "both once and twice" it
means. And Paul was only in Thessalonica two or three weeks!
"They came to Thessalonica, where was a
synagogue of the Jews: and Paul, as his manner was, went in unto
them, and three sabbath days reasoned with them out of the
scriptures." Acts 17:1-2
Two love offerings from the
Philippians in just a short period of time, fifteen to
The word "necessity" is
powerful as well! "Chreia" means "what one is lacking," his very
"essential needs!" These would have been the very basic
requirements for Brother Paul, not really a man of luxury!
Paul is here acknowledging
their gifts and thanking them appropriately, out of a grateful
After all, he is the one who
every thing give thanks."
certainly should make each of us to be ... much more grateful!
Amen, let it be
--- Dr. Mike Bagwell
P. S. --- I once heard a faithful Evangelist
make this statement. This is not a direct quote, but close to
it. He suggested that to the same degree a Church experiences
real Revival in their midst, they will give accordingly to the
Men of God!
That theory has cyclical implications. It's
reciprocal. Stingy people seldom have real Revivals! Yet still,
when a genuine stirring from God does come, the love offering
will be amazingly generous!
Personally I think that dear Preacher was
LESSON 8, VERSE 17:
It's one of my favorite Verses,
especially when thanking folks for their kindness and
generosity. Paul wrote it in his great "Thank You" note to the
because I desire a gift: but I desire fruit that may abound to
your account." Philippians 4:17
Paul never solicited gifts! He
never mailed a prayer letter, at least in the sense of
enumerating different needs and wants his ministry might have
The verb "desire" is a
translation of "epizeteo" in Greek. It means "to seek, to wish,
to crave" something, intensely so!
Paul was content even before
that dear Philippian delegation arrived with their precious
The noun "gift" is "doma," a
derivative of the verb "didomi," to give. Our word, found only
four times in the Bible, is three times used of either the Holy
Spirit Himself or of some specific spiritual gift bestowed upon
us by the risen Christ! Only in Paul and only here do we find a
material expression assigned to the word. And even so Paul
transfers it into a spiritual symbol!
Yet while Paul did not long for
material goods, he did hunger to see fruit in the lives of his
converts. Again our Verse, "Not because I
desire a gift: but I desire fruit that may abound to your
The Verse's second use of
"desire" is identical to the first occurrence. Even down to the
the verb's tense and mood and voice and person and number! Paul
literally "craved" spiritual growth, maturity, in his spiritual
The noun "fruit" is "karpos,"
and means "produce or grain" literally but also "harvest and
reward and gain" metaphorically.
Paul got excited when folks
gave him things, ironically, because they would be
rewarded by the Lord for such unselfish action!
"Abounding" fruit is good too!
"Pleonazo" means "present in abundance, more and more!" Here a
present participle, the fruit is being described.
And then Paul uses a banker's
term, "account." It is "logos," carrying the idea of logic and
choice and precision.
Eternal rewards some day ...
for gifts given now!
receiveth a prophet in the name of a prophet shall receive a
prophet's reward; and he that receiveth a righteous man in the
name of a righteous man shall receive a righteous man's reward.
And whosoever shall give to drink unto one of these little ones
a cup of cold water only in the name of a disciple,
verily I say unto you, he shall in no wise lose his reward."
No one has ever yet given to
the cause of Christ without our Lord's knowledge!
And such giving does bear
thou doest alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand
doeth: that thine alms may be in secret: and thy Father which
seeth in secret himself shall reward thee openly."
--- Dr. Mike Bagwell
P. S. --- Paul's strong desire
that the Philippians earn future rewards for their sweet
generosity is quite impressive. It's also very similar to a
concept he shared elsewhere in his writings, his "corpus."
Listen. "And let us consider one another
to provoke unto love and to good works." In Hebrews 10:24
Paul uses "katanoeo," to think and ponder and meditate," for the
main verb, "consider." It's intensive too! And the verb
"provoke" is "to incite!" It's "paroxusmos." Literally it
implies a "sharp" impetus! A powerful dynamic! "Love" is "agape"
of course, the deepest and most unselfish of all Bible loves.
And "good works," in Greek "kalos ergon," also will not go
unnoticed! In Philippians Paul tempts his converts to remain
unselfish! In Hebrews, to lovingly pursue good works! Both acts
bring crowns in Glory, rewards for faithfulness! At the Judgment
Seat of Christ!
LESSON 9, VERSE 18:
In any "Thank You" letter the
item or items received should be mentioned, either directly or
indirectly. Paul the Apostle does this in a unique way in his
great letter of appreciation, Philippians 4:10-20.
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."
The Verse tells us several
things about the support Philippi had sent to Paul. We now know
who brought the gift or gifts. "Epaphroditus" did, a member of
the Philippian Church. He was saved out of a heathen background,
his name even meaning "belonging to Aphrodite," the Roman
goddess Venus. The name of the goddess itself however suggests
"loveliness." Most of the people in Paul's Churches were
gentiles with sinful wretched lives, until Jesus redeemed them.
Based on Philippians 2:25 this same Epaphroditus also ferried
the completed Epistle of Philippians back to the Macedonian
city. Thank God for him!
Also our Verse today
acknowledges Paul's receipt of the love offering. "But I have
all" reads in Greek "apecho de panta." It is a formula of that
ancient day which means something like this, "received in full."
It's nearly a business term, an accountant's phrase. However,
the verb itself, "apecho," means in a grammatical sense, "to
hold off, to hold away" or even "to hold back" from something!
Paul might also be saying that he appreciates the gift and is
going to use it sparingly, making it last a long time! Not
getting used to such luxury! Still living a disciplined hard
lifestyle! The word is just a blend of "apo" and "echo," a
prefix/preposition and a major verb.
The accompanying verb "abound"
is "perisseuo" and means "to have an abundance, to be
overflowing!" Its prefix, "peri" means "all around" you! The
gifts are everywhere! The Philippians have done well!
Then Paul says, "I am full."
Here "pleroo" is an indicative perfect passive verb. Paul has
been blessed by others, the Philippians. And these gifts
will be a constant source of encouragement for the rest of his
life, if not literally then spiritually, in Paul's memory. Long
after the money, or whatever, has been spent ... the
thoughtfulness and kindness and love will linger!
The verb "received" also is
interesting. "Dechomai" means "to take with the hand." This term
suggests excitement and delight at the gift's arrival! No false
modesty here! Paul was glad to accept these things!
Now Paul is going to "list" the
gifts, but he does so symbolically. Either that, or the
Philippians sent him a bottle of fragrance! Read, "an odour of a
sweet smell, a sacrifice acceptable," that's the description!
The noun "odor," in Greek "osme," is from the verb "ozo,"
meaning "to scent" and often but not here, "to stink." Then
"sweet smell," one word in Greek, "euodia," means "good" (the "eu"
prefix) "fragrance" (again "ozo"), Paul thereby reversing any
negative connotations in his language.
In God's Nostrils, this gift
and love offering smell good! Paul uses this analogy, that of
fragrance, several times in His Epistles.
Furthermore, the things
received are a "sacrifice" unto the Lord! "Thusia" is a dramatic
word, "thuo" meaning "to breathe hard, to rush, to slaughter!"
Its a word picture of an innocent, dying little lamb! The
adjective "acceptable" is spelled "dektos," something "approved"
of God. Related to "dechomai," it means "favorably regarded!"
The things Epaphroditus brought
equal a literal "sacrifice" in God's Eyes! They are that
valuable! And costly! And pure and clean! Paul occasionally
spiritualizes sacrifices this way.
For example, "I beseech you therefore,
brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a
living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is
your reasonable service." Romans 12:1
Then the final adjective, "wellpleasing"
utilizes "euarestos," again meaning "good or well" (the little
prefix "eu") and "proper, fitting, suitable" (in Greek, "arestos"),
smiled upon by God! The term even suggests a person's "striving
to please" another! A deliberate attempt to show oneself
"approved" unto God and His Preacher!
This is one beautiful Verse.
It contains a wealth of
information on "how to say thank you" when someone has been
By the way, if you keep
wondering why I say "gifts" or "gift and offering" in reference
to the Philippians' good deeds, the pronoun "things" in "the
things which were sent from you," is "ho," a neuter
plural adjective! A bunch of gifts apparently! Maybe a whole
No telling what was in Paul's
bag of gifts from the new Christians of Philippi!
Let's remember the words of our
Lord. "Give, and it shall be given unto
you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and
running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same
measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again."
It is true indeed!
--- Dr. Mike Bagwell
LESSON 10, VERSE 19:
For such a relatively short
Paragraph, Philippians 4:10-20 contains two "classic" Verses of
The easily memorized
"I can do all things through Christ which
strengtheneth me" is near the beginning of the Text and
"My God shall supply all your need
according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus" near
the end! These are Verses 13 and 19 respectively.
What we too often forget is the
plain fact that both Verses occur in a context of gratefulness!
They are integral to Paul's great "Thank You" note to the
The "all things" which Paul can
"do" center primarily on his being able to handle the financial
"ups" and the "downs" of life as a Preacher of the Gospel! He
can continue with no funds or with extra funds, either way!
Through Christ Jesus Who strengthens him!
Likewise, Verse 19 must "fit"
into that same mold. I am not sure Paul is here giving a "blank
check" to every Christian, spiritual or carnal! In fact, it's
sure that he is NOT doing so!
This great promise is for those
who have been generous and unselfish and kind to the Man of God!
Who have given to the cause of Christ! Who are genuinely living
To them Paul relays a promise
from Heaven. "But my God shall supply all
your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus."
In other words, "You folks have
been so good to me, giving to meet the needs of our preaching
tour! Our great God will in turn meet your needs as well! You
will reap what you have sown! Your generosity will be repaid!
Maybe a hundred-fold!"
A selfish plutocrat need not
claim these words, whatever his doctrinal stand might be! He
might fare quite well at the Stock Market, but not so at the
The verb "shall supply" is
spelled "pleroo" in Greek. It means "to fill up completely!" To
the "brim!" As a promise, this verb is future active in the
indicative mood! It is simply stating a fact! These people
financially helped Paul ... God will help them! They literally
obeyed Jesus' words in Matthew 10:41. "He
that receiveth a prophet in the name of a prophet shall receive
a prophet's reward." Amen!
Here's how God repays,
"good measure, pressed down, and shaken
together, and running over!" Luke 6:38
"Need," a noun, is "chreia" and
is derived from the verb "chraomai," meaning "to receive a
loan." In the King James Bible it often represents the idea of
"necessity." Also notice that "all" one's needs are said to be
met! That's "every one!" The whole lot! Absolutely! No
exceptions! Such are the implications of the adjective "pas."
This "supply" is based on quite
a "Bank" as well! The Bank of Heaven! It will be met "according
to God's Own riches in glory by Christ Jesus." That's what Paul
God's supply to
His generous saints come via the means of the Lord Jesus Christ.
The preposition "by" as in the phrase "by Christ Jesus" is
simply spelled "en." When used with a dative object as here, it
means "in, on, at, near, by, before, among, within or with!" It
is a preposition that possesses vast range. Jesus is the very
Heart of our sustenance! He is our portion! We are properly and
completely supplied because of Him! In Colossians 2:10 Paul
reminds us that "We are complete in Him."
He is our sufficiency! Like a little unborn baby who finds his
very existence dependent on his Mom's feminine body, she being
wonderfully created by God ... so we who are "in" Christ Jesus
"live, and move, and have our being!"
"according to" translates "kata" in Greek. It literally means
"down from!" Every need we have, every item, every meal, every
dollar, ultimately comes "down from" our Father above! That's
exactly what James says! "Every good gift
and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the
Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow
of turning." James 1:17
Then the noun
"riches," or "ploutos," means "wealth." Usually "external
possessions." It is derived from the verb "pletho," that is, "to
be filled completely!"
These are the
"riches" of God however! It says "His riches!" He owns
"the cattle on a thousand hills"
says Psalm 50:10. And don't forget this little divine
acquisition: "The silver is mine,
and the gold is mine, saith the LORD of hosts."
What a plethora
"But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches
in glory by Christ Jesus."
If we give, God
Many reading here
today already experientially know this to be true!
newer to the Faith, must begin obeying this precept now!
The spirit of
giving, with the Lord anyway, always leads to our needing to
learn the spirit of receiving!
He will repay!
You just can't
give to His Cause, without Him returning the favor!
what He sends you ... or maybe negatively, what He keeps from
coming your way!
Maybe in this
life, but for sure in eternity!
God will reward
--- Dr. Mike Bagwell
P. S. --- To
those who read here today who have been so kind to the Bagwell
family and our work for the Lord Jesus, thank you sincerely! May
He reward you beyond measure! We claim Philippians 4:19 on your
LESSON 11, VERSE 20:
When someone reads Paul's great
"Thank You" Text, Philippians 4:10-20, he or she might have
trouble discerning exactly who is being thanked!
Who gave this gift, these gifts
Are they from the Lord?
Or from the Philippians?
Truth be told, Paul thanks both
the Philippians and the Lord!
He sees these provisions as
initially from God ... then through the hands of the Philippian
Believers ... finally into a Roman jail cell where the great
Apostle is being held!
Here's how this great pericope
started, back in Verse 10: "But I rejoiced
in the Lord greatly, that now at the last your
care of me hath flourished again." God first, then
the saints in the Philippian Church!
Then the ending, Philippians
4:19-20, "But my God shall supply all
your need. Now unto God and our
Father be glory for ever and ever." Notice
that the order is reversed! "Your need" refers to the givers,
the Philippians. "God and our Father," is the Triune Lord
The pattern goes like this: The
Lord ... His saints! Then, His saints followed by God and our
Father! It is abbreviated AB ... BA by the grammarians. In
literature it's called a "chiasm." This is a Greek term too.
It's developed from the Greek alphabet, the character "chi." It
means a "cross!" A place where two tracts intersect!
Truly there would have been no
gifts, no Paul the Preacher, no Christians anywhere ... had it
not been for the "Cross," the Cross of Calvary, the old rugged
This whole Text, all eleven
Verses, celebrates Jesus' vicarious Death on the Cross, without
which Christianity falls into disarray!
Again, here's that last Verse:
"Now unto God and our Father be
glory for ever and ever. Amen." Isn't that an unusual way
to end a "Thank You" note to the Philippians! Giving glory to
Not with Paul writing anyway!
The proper noun "God" is
spelled "theos" in Greek. It's found 1,343 times in the New
Testament. This word is the basis of our expressions "theology,
theologian, theocracy," and so forth, including "atheist" even!
The amazing thing here is that
Paul at first seems to be redundant. He appears to name God
twice! God and our Father! But, just a second! He is
doing no such thing. The first Name, "God," is a reference to
Jesus Christ! The second Term, "our Father," has in mind the
First Person of the Trinity!
Yes, the Godhead is in view,
But precisely in It's First and
Second Person Sense!
Thank you, Jesus!
Thank you, Father!
Thank you, Philippians!
Paul is so grateful!
He's thanking everyone around!
No doubt he hugged Epaphroditus
too, the bearer of those gifts!
Appreciation to the
earthly givers indeed!
But glory to God in
That's exactly the proper
sequence according to Jesus in Matthew 5:16.
"Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good
works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven."
The Philippians brightly
reflected godly generosity!
God the Father was glorified!
The noun "glory" is spelled "doxa"
in Greek. It's from the verb "dokeo," meaning "to think, to seem
or to evaluate!" The "Glory" we ascribe to God is the value
that we place upon Him! What He is worth to us! His
preciousness! His estimate in our eyes!
Paul has acknowledged full
receipt of the items sent by the Philippian Church, indeed! But
the true worth of the whole experience lies in the Hands of
Almighty God! To Him be the praise!
He is the Ultimate Giver!
He is the Source!
He alone is God!
And this glory being attributed
to God joins a chorus of eternal honor and worship and adulation
being offered now in Heaven! A chorus of Hallelujahs that will
last "for ever and ever." In Greek, "eis tous aionas ton aionon."
That is, "glory into the ages of the ages!" Never ending! In
Latin it's "secula seculorum."
"Ten thousand years," old John
Newton's memorable term, just barely gets us started!
"For ever and ever!"
And what can be said to that?
Only one word,
And that's exactly what Paul
"Now unto God and our Father
be glory for ever and ever. Amen."
In Greek this is spelled
"amen!" It means "firm, faithful, true!" It's really a borrowed
word, from the Hebrew tongue! There "amen" means exactly the
same thing, "to support or confirm!"
Dear Lord, we thank Thee!
We love You today!
--- Dr. Mike Bagwell
Yes, Paul here received some
money or clothes or food or whatever ... yet ended up
worshipping God! God, the Giver of all! Oh, one more quick
comment! The paradigm Paul presents here, using earthly gifts to
glorify God, is best outlined in another Verse he wrote. It is
2nd Corinthians 4:15 which says, "For all
things are for your sakes, that the abundant grace might
through the thanksgiving of many redound to the glory of God."
Proper thanksgiving always "redounds" to the glory of God!
"Redounds" translates "perisseuo," to exist in abundance!
Literally, "to overflow!"
PERHAPS THE VERY BEST
"THANK YOU" NOTE EVER WRITTEN, PHILIPPIANS 4:10-20! AFTER ALL,
IT IS INSPIRED OF GOD!