To the Philippians 1:1-30

1  Paul and Timothy, slaves of Christ Jesus, to all the holy ones in union with Christ Jesus who are in Phi·lipʹpi,+ along with overseers and ministerial servants:+  May you have undeserved kindness and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.  I thank my God always when I remember you  in every supplication of mine for all of you. I offer each supplication with joy,+  because of the contribution you have made to the good news from the first day until this moment.  For I am confident of this very thing, that the one who started a good work in you will bring it to completion+ until the day of Christ Jesus.+  It is only right for me to think this regarding all of you, since I have you in my heart, you who are sharers with me in the undeserved kindness both in my prison bonds+ and in the defending and legally establishing of the good news.+  For God is my witness of how I am longing for all of you with such tender affection as Christ Jesus has.  And this is what I continue praying, that your love may abound still more and more+ with accurate knowledge+ and full discernment;+ 10  that you may make sure of the more important things,+ so that you may be flawless and not stumbling others+ up to the day of Christ; 11  and that you may be filled with righteous fruit, which is through Jesus Christ,+ to God’s glory and praise. 12  Now I want you to know, brothers, that my situation has actually turned out for the advancement of the good news, 13  so that my prison bonds+ for the sake of Christ have become public knowledge+ among all the Prae·toʹri·an Guard and all the rest. 14  Now most of the brothers in the Lord have gained confidence because of my prison bonds, and they are showing all the more courage to speak the word of God fearlessly.+ 15  True, some are preaching the Christ out of envy and rivalry, but others out of goodwill. 16  The latter are proclaiming the Christ out of love, for they know that I have been appointed to defend the good news;+ 17  but the former do it out of contentiousness, not with a pure motive, for they are intending to create trouble for me in my prison bonds. 18  With what result? Only that in every way, whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is being proclaimed, and I rejoice over this. In fact, I will also keep on rejoicing, 19  for I know that this will result in my salvation through your supplication+ and with the support of the spirit of Jesus Christ.+ 20  This is in harmony with my eager expectation and hope that I will not be ashamed in any respect, but that with all freeness of speech Christ will now, as always before, be magnified by means of my body, whether through life or through death.+ 21  For in my case, to live is Christ+ and to die is gain.+ 22  Now if I am to live on in the flesh, this is a fruitage of my work; yet what I would choose, I do not make known.* 23  I am torn between these two things, for I do desire the releasing and the being with Christ,+ which is, to be sure, far better.+ 24  However, it is more necessary for me to remain in the flesh for your sakes. 25  So, being confident of this, I know I will remain and continue with all of you for your advancement and your joy in the faith,+ 26  so that your exultation may overflow in Christ Jesus because of me when I am again present with you. 27  Only behave in a manner worthy of the good news about the Christ,+ so that whether I come and see you or I am absent, I may hear about you and learn that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one soul,+ striving side by side for the faith of the good news, 28  and in no way being frightened by your opponents. This very thing is a proof of destruction+ for them, but of salvation for you;+ and this is from God. 29  For you have been given the privilege in behalf of Christ, not only to put your faith in him but also to suffer in his behalf.+ 30  For you are facing the same struggle that you saw me face,+ which you now hear that I am still facing.


Or possibly, “I do not know.”

Study Notes

The First to the Corinthians: Titles like this were apparently not part of the original text. Ancient manuscripts show that they were added later, doubtless to make it easier to identify the letters. The papyrus codex known as P46 shows that scribes identified Bible books by titles. That codex is the earliest known collection of Paul’s letters, often dated to about the year 200 C.E. It contains nine of his letters. At the beginning of Paul’s first inspired letter to the Corinthians, this codex has a title that reads Pros Ko·rinʹthi·ous A (“Toward [or, “To”] Corinthians 1”). (See Media Gallery, “Paul’s First Letter to the Corinthians.”) Other early manuscripts, such as Codex Vaticanus and Codex Sinaiticus of the fourth century C.E., contain the same title. In these manuscripts, the title appears both at the beginning of the letter and at the end.

To the Philippians: Titles like this were apparently not part of the original text. Ancient manuscripts show that they were added later, doubtless to make it easy to identify the books.​—See study note on 1Co Title and Media Gallery, “Paul’s Letter to the Philippians.”

Paul and Timothy: Or “From Paul and Timothy.” Paul is the writer of this letter to the Philippians, but he includes Timothy in the opening greeting. Timothy was with Paul in Rome about the time of Paul’s first imprisonment there. Timothy is also mentioned in two other letters by Paul written from Rome during that time, namely, the letters to the Colossians and to Philemon. (Col 1:1, 2; Phm 1) It appears that Timothy personally endured imprisonment in Rome sometime between the writing of the letter to the Philippians and the letter to the Hebrews.​—Php 2:19; Heb 13:23.

slaves of Christ Jesus: See study note on Ro 1:1.

the holy ones: See study note on Ro 1:7.

Philippi: See study note on Ac 16:12.

overseers: Paul here uses the plural form of the Greek word for “overseer” (e·piʹsko·pos) when referring to those taking the lead in the congregation in Philippi. (Compare Ac 20:28.) Elsewhere he mentions that a “body of elders” appointed Timothy to a special assignment. (1Ti 4:14) Since Paul does not single out any one individual in those congregations as the overseer, it is evident that there was more than one overseer. This provides insight into the way first-century congregations were arranged. The terms “overseers” and “elders” are used interchangeably in the Christian Greek Scriptures, showing that they refer to the same position. (Ac 20:17, 28; Tit 1:5, 7; compare 1Pe 5:1, 2.) The number of those serving as overseers in a congregation depended on how many men were qualified to serve as “elders,” or spiritually mature men, in that congregation.​—Ac 14:23; see study notes on Ac 20:17, 28.

ministerial servants: Or “assistants.” The Greek word di·aʹko·nos, literally meaning “servant,” is here used in an official sense, referring to appointed “ministerial servants” in the Christian congregation. It is used in a similar sense at 1Ti 3:8, 12. Paul’s use of the term in the plural indicates that the congregation had a number of such servants assisting the overseers with various assignments. Instead of the terms “overseers and ministerial servants” in this verse, some Bibles use such titles as “bishops and deacons,” which Christendom uses to give the impression that there was a hierarchy among first-century Christians. However, renderings that clearly convey the intended meaning of these terms show that positions of responsibility in the Christian congregation do not elevate one above another. The rendering “ministerial servants” highlights the service that these hardworking men render in behalf of the congregation.

a slave of Christ Jesus: Generally, the Greek term douʹlos, rendered “a slave,” refers to a person owned by another; often, he is a purchased slave. (Mt 8:9; 10:24, 25; 13:27) This term is also used figuratively, referring to devoted servants of God and of Jesus Christ. (Ac 2:18; 4:29; Ga 1:10; Re 19:10) Jesus bought the lives of all Christians when he gave his life as a ransom sacrifice. As a result, Christians do not belong to themselves but consider themselves to be “Christ’s slaves.” (Eph 6:6; 1Co 6:19, 20; 7:23; Ga 3:13) As an indication of their submission to Christ, their Lord and Master, writers of the inspired letters in the Christian Greek Scriptures who gave counsel to the congregations all referred to themselves as ‘slaves of Christ’ at least once in their writings.​—Ro 1:1; Ga 1:10; Jas 1:1; 2Pe 1:1; Jude 1; Re 1:1.

holy ones: The Christian Greek Scriptures frequently refer to spiritual brothers of Christ in the congregations as “holy ones.” (Ac 9:13; 26:10; Ro 12:13; 2Co 1:1; 13:13) This term applies to those who are brought into a relationship with God through the new covenant by “the blood of an everlasting covenant,” the shed blood of Jesus. (Heb 10:29; 13:20) They are thereby sanctified, cleansed, and constituted “holy ones” by God. He ascribes this condition of holiness to them right from the start of their sanctified course on earth rather than after their death. Therefore, the Bible provides no basis for an individual or an organization to declare people to be “holy ones”​—or “saints,” as some Bible translations render this expression. Peter says that they “must be holy” because God is holy. (1Pe 1:15, 16; Le 20:7, 26) The term “holy ones” applies to all those who are brought into union and joint heirship with Christ. More than five centuries before Christ’s followers were given this designation, God revealed that people called “the holy ones of the Supreme One” would share in Christ’s Kingdom rulership.​—Da 7:13, 14, 18, 27.

overseers: The Greek word for overseer, e·piʹsko·pos, is related to the verb e·pi·sko·peʹo, meaning “carefully watch” (Heb 12:15), and to the noun e·pi·sko·peʹ, meaning “inspection” (Lu 19:44, Kingdom Interlinear; 1Pe 2:12), “to be an overseer” (1Ti 3:1), or “office of oversight” (Ac 1:20). Therefore, the overseer was one who visited, inspected, and directed members of the congregation. Protective supervision is a basic idea inherent in the Greek term. Overseers in the Christian congregation have the responsibility to care for spiritual concerns of their fellow believers. Paul here used the term “overseers” when speaking to the “elders” from the congregation in Ephesus. (Ac 20:17) And in his letter to Titus, he uses the term “overseer” when describing the qualifications for “elders” in the Christian congregation. (Tit 1:5, 7) The terms, therefore, refer to the same position, pre·sbyʹte·ros indicating the mature qualities of the one so appointed and e·piʹsko·pos indicating the duties inherent in the appointment. This account about Paul meeting with the elders from Ephesus clearly shows that there were several overseers in that congregation. There was no set number of overseers for any one congregation, but the number serving depended on the number of those qualifying as “elders,” or spiritually mature men, in that congregation. Likewise, in writing to the Philippian Christians, Paul referred to the “overseers” there (Php 1:1), indicating that they served as a body, overseeing the affairs of that congregation.​—See study note on Ac 1:20.

Philippi: This city was originally called Crenides (Krenides). Philip II of Macedon (father of Alexander the Great) took the city from the Thracians about the middle of the fourth century B.C.E. and named it after himself. There were rich gold mines in the area, and gold coins were issued in Philip’s name. About 168 B.C.E., the Roman consul Lucius Aemilius Paulus defeated Perseus, the last of the Macedonian kings, and took Philippi and the surrounding territory. In 146 B.C.E., all Macedonia was formed into a single Roman province. The battle in which Octavian (Octavius) and Mark Antony defeated the armies of Brutus and Gaius Cassius Longinus, assassins of Julius Caesar, took place on the Plain of Philippi in 42 B.C.E. Afterward, as a memorial of his great victory, Octavian made Philippi a Roman colony. Some years later, when Octavian was made Caesar Augustus by the Roman Senate, he named the town Colonia Augusta Julia Philippensis.​—See App. B13.

elders: Lit., “older men.” In the Bible, the Greek term pre·sbyʹte·ros refers primarily to those who hold a position of authority and responsibility in a community or a nation. Spiritually older, or mature, men shared the responsibility of leadership and administration in the cities of the ancient nation of Israel. Likewise, spiritually older, or mature, men served in the different Christian congregations in the first century C.E. This account about Paul meeting with the elders from Ephesus clearly shows that there was more than one elder in that congregation. The number of elders in each congregation depended on the number who qualified as spiritually mature men. (1Ti 3:1-7; Tit 1:5-8) When Paul wrote his first letter to Timothy, who likely lived in Ephesus at the time, he mentioned “the body of elders.”​—1Ti 1:3; 4:14.

May you have undeserved kindness and peace: Paul uses this greeting in 11 of his letters. (1Co 1:3; 2Co 1:2; Ga 1:3; Eph 1:2; Php 1:2; Col 1:2; 1Th 1:1; 2Th 1:2; Tit 1:4; Phm 3) He uses a very similar greeting in his letters to Timothy but adds the quality “mercy.” (1Ti 1:2; 2Ti 1:2) Scholars have noted that instead of using the common word for “Greetings!” (khaiʹrein), Paul often uses the similar sounding Greek term (khaʹris), expressing his desire for the congregations to enjoy a full measure of “undeserved kindness.” (See study note on Ac 15:23.) The mention of “peace” reflects the common Hebrew greeting, sha·lohmʹ. (See study note on Mr 5:34.) By using the terms “undeserved kindness and peace,” Paul is apparently highlighting the restored relationship that Christians enjoy with Jehovah God by means of the ransom. When Paul describes where the generous kindness and peace come from, he mentions God our Father separately from the Lord Jesus Christ.

May you have undeserved kindness and peace: See study note on Ro 1:7.

had made supplication: Or “had prayed earnestly (pleadingly).” The Greek verb deʹo·mai refers to the offering of earnest prayer coupled with intense feeling. The related noun deʹe·sis, rendered “supplication,” has been defined as “humble and earnest entreaty.” In the Christian Greek Scriptures, the noun is used exclusively in addressing God. Even Jesus “offered up supplications and also petitions, with strong outcries and tears, to the One who was able to save him out of death.” (Heb 5:7) The use of the plural “supplications” indicates that Jesus implored Jehovah more than once. For example, in the garden of Gethsemane, Jesus prayed repeatedly and fervently.​—Mt 26:36-44; Lu 22:32.

prayer and supplication along with thanksgiving: Paul uses “prayer” as the general term for worshipful communication with God. “Supplication” is more specific; it is a strong word that suggests pleading or entreaty, often accompanied by strong emotions and even tears. (Heb 5:7) One reference work defines it as “the cry of personal need.” By adding “along with thanksgiving,” Paul shows that it is always fitting to express appreciation to God. Even in times of dire need, there are reasons to be grateful; Paul knew as much from his own experiences. (Ac 16:22-25; Eph 5:19, 20) Paul also mentions petitions, using a word that means “requests”; here, it focuses on the things asked for in prayer. Paul has just explained that a Christian’s petitions may embrace a wide array of needs.​—See study note on in everything in this verse.

because of the contribution you have made to: Or “because of your participation in furthering.” Among other things, Paul may have had in mind the occasion when Lydia and her household got baptized and she hospitably insisted that Paul and his preaching companions stay at her house.​—Ac 16:14, 15.

my prison bonds: Paul may have been imprisoned more often than any of the other apostles. (Compare 2Co 11:23.) About ten years earlier, while in Philippi, Paul had spent a short time in prison. (Ac 16:22-24) Now, at the time of writing his letter to the Philippians, he was under house arrest in Rome. Constantly guarded by a soldier, Paul awaited trial before Caesar. (Ac 25:11, 12; 28:30, 31) Appreciating that Paul needed help while in prison bonds, the Philippians sent him material gifts by means of Epaphroditus. During his time with Paul, Epaphroditus provided further assistance, even to the point of endangering his own life.​—Php 2:25, 30; 4:18.

the defending: The Greek word rendered “defending” (a·po·lo·giʹa) is often used regarding a defense in court. (Ac 22:1; 25:16) Jesus had foretold that his followers would be handed over “to local courts” and be brought “before governors and kings for [his] sake, for a witness to them and the nations.” (Mt 10:17, 18) When opposition by the Jews in Jerusalem resulted in Paul’s arrest, he was brought to the Roman governor at Caesarea. (Ac 23:23-35) Paul’s “appeal to Caesar” while in Caesarea opened the way for him to make a defense of his faith before the highest court of the Roman Empire. (Ac 25:11, 12) Whether he actually appeared before Caesar Nero or one of Caesar’s agents is not stated in the Scriptures. When Paul wrote his letter to the Philippians, he was awaiting trial in Rome as a result of his appeal.​—Ac 28:17-20.

the . . . legally establishing of the good news: The term Paul here uses has legal connotations. It refers to promoting the good news actively by legal means. When Paul was in Philippi about ten years earlier, he had appealed to the Roman legal system to establish the right to preach the good news. (Ac 16:35-40) He was in a fight to establish the right to preach the good news of God’s Kingdom freely in the Roman Empire. One reference work states: “Paul was a witness not only in the dungeon but also in the courtroom.”

accurate knowledge: In the Christian Greek Scriptures, there are two words commonly translated “knowledge,” gnoʹsis and e·piʹgno·sis. Both are related to the verb gi·noʹsko, which means “to know; to understand; to perceive.” E·piʹgno·sis, the word used here, is a strengthened form of gnoʹsis (e·piʹ, literally meaning “upon” but here conveying the idea of “additional”). It can often be seen from the context to mean “exact, real, or full knowledge.” Here Paul uses this word to show that the zeal of his fellow countrymen, the Jews, was misdirected. It was not based on a correct understanding of God’s will as revealed through Jesus, the promised Messiah.

the accurate knowledge: In the Christian Greek Scriptures, there are two words commonly translated “knowledge,” gnoʹsis and e·piʹgno·sis. The word used here, e·piʹgno·sis, is a strengthened form of gnoʹsis (e·piʹ, literally meaning “upon” but here conveying the idea of “additional”). Depending on the context, it may mean “exact, real, or full knowledge.” (See study note on Ro 10:2.) Here Paul uses this word to show that a mature Christian must be united with fellow believers in gaining full knowledge of the Son of God, Christ Jesus.​—1Co 1:24, 30; Eph 3:18; Col 2:2, 3; 2Pe 1:8; 2:20.

accurate knowledge: Paul here relates love for God and for fellow believers to accurate knowledge of God and discernment of what his will is. As used in the Scriptures, the Greek terms for “to know” and “knowledge” often carry the meaning “knowing through personal experience.”​—For a discussion of the Greek term here rendered “accurate knowledge,” see study notes on Ro 10:2; Eph 4:13.

full discernment: The Greek word here rendered “discernment” (lit., “sense perception”) occurs only in this verse. A related word is used at Heb 5:14 in the phrase “those who through use have their powers of discernment [or “perceptive powers”; lit., “sense organs”] trained to distinguish both right and wrong.” In the Bible, these terms are used about discernment with regard to moral and spiritual matters. Paul prayed that the love of the Philippian Christians would abound with such discernment so that they could distinguish between what is more important and what is less important from God’s standpoint. (Php 1:10) A Christian’s moral sense is focused; he can perceive right from wrong, not only in clear-cut matters but also in complex situations in which the right course is not immediately apparent. He can then make proper decisions that will help him preserve his friendship with Jehovah.

the Praetorian Guard: During his first imprisonment in Rome (c. 59-61 C.E.), Paul “was permitted to stay by himself with the soldier guarding him.” (Ac 28:16) While under house arrest, Paul wrote that his “prison bonds for the sake of Christ [had] become public knowledge among all the Praetorian Guard.” This guard was an elite group of Roman soldiers, numbering into the thousands. The Greek word used here is derived from the Latin praetorium, which originally referred to the place (a tent or a building) where a Roman army commander resided. Starting with the reign of Caesar Augustus, the soldiers in the Praetorian Guard served as the Roman emperor’s bodyguard, which is why the Greek word used at Php 1:13 is rendered “the imperial guard” or “the palace guard” in some translations. Their role required that they be stationed near the emperor and his household.

some are preaching the Christ out of envy and rivalry: Some were serving God with a wrong motive. These likely included certain Jewish converts to Christianity who had broken away from the pure teaching that had been conveyed through the apostle Paul. They were chiefly concerned with promoting themselves and their ideas rather than with glorifying God. (Ga 6:12, 13) They became envious of Paul’s reputation, authority, and influence, so they sought to discredit him. (Php 1:17) Nevertheless, Paul maintained his joy because he saw that Christ was being proclaimed.​—Php 1:18.

but others out of goodwill: Sincere Christians were preaching the message about the Christ out of goodwill, or with pure motives. They also expressed goodwill (or pleasure, favor) toward Christ’s representatives, including Paul. As a result, they experienced the approval, or goodwill, of God.​—Ps 106:4; ftn.; Pr 8:35.

my salvation: Or “my being released.” Paul wrote his letter to the Philippians during his first imprisonment in Rome (c. 59-61 C.E.). The term that Paul uses here may convey the idea that he was confident that he would be released from prison as a result of the intense prayers of the Christians in Philippi. This is in harmony with his expressed wish to visit the Philippians again. (Php 2:24) His release from prison would make such a visit possible. (See Media Gallery, “Paul’s Journeys After c. 61 C.E.”) The Greek word Paul uses here (so·te·riʹa, often rendered “salvation”) could in this context also be understood to refer to Paul’s eternal salvation.

the spirit of Jesus Christ: Apparently referring to Jesus’ use of God’s holy spirit, or active force. Ac 2:33 says that Jesus “received the promised holy spirit from the Father.” At Php 1:11, Paul prayed that Christians might “be filled with righteous fruit, which is through Jesus Christ, to God’s glory and praise.” Ever since Jesus was resurrected and he ascended to heaven, God has used him to supply the needs of Christians on earth. At Joh 14:26, Jesus said: “The Father will send [the holy spirit] in my name,” and at Joh 15:26, he said: “When the helper comes that I will send you from the Father, the spirit of the truth, . . . that one will bear witness about me.”​—See study note on Ac 16:7.

the spirit of Jesus: Apparently referring to Jesus’ use of the holy spirit, or active force, which he had “received . . . from the Father.” (Ac 2:33) As head of the Christian congregation, Jesus used the spirit to direct the preaching work of the first Christians, indicating where they should concentrate their efforts. In this case, Jesus used “the holy spirit” to prevent Paul and his traveling companions from preaching in the province of Asia and the province of Bithynia. (Ac 16:6-10) These regions, however, were later reached with the good news.​—Ac 18:18-21; 1Pe 1:1, 2.

freeness of speech: Or “outspokenness; boldness.” The Greek word par·re·siʹa has the basic meaning “boldness in speech.” In effect, Paul is here telling the Corinthians: “I am able to speak to you with great openness (frankness).”​—See study note on Ac 28:31.

freeness of speech: See study note on 2Co 7:4.

to live is Christ and to die is gain: Paul here seems to draw a contrast between his life and his death. While living, he could enjoy a life in God’s service and in the service of fellow Christians, whereas if he died faithful, he would gain immortal life in heaven.​—2Ti 4:6-8.

I am torn between these two things: While under house arrest, awaiting trial before Caesar, Paul felt torn between two possibilities. One was to remain alive in order to continue serving his brothers. The other was to die as a faithful servant of God. (2Ti 4:7, 8) Paul did not say which one he would choose. (Php 1:22) However, he did say that “the releasing and the being with Christ” was the better option. He knew that his remaining faithful until death was the only way to be assured of his heavenly reward during Christ’s presence.​—Re 2:10.

the releasing: Paul is apparently referring to his death. In his second letter to Timothy, written about 65 C.E., he uses a related Greek word when he says regarding his death: “The time for my releasing is imminent.” (2Ti 4:6) The expressions “the releasing and the being with Christ” are apparently parallel to what Paul says at 2Co 5:8: “We . . . would prefer to be absent from the body and to make our home with the Lord.” He viewed his death as a faithful anointed servant of God as a “releasing,” paving the way for him to be resurrected later to life in Christ’s “heavenly Kingdom.” (2Ti 4:18) As Paul explained at 1Co 15:23, “those who belong to the Christ” would be resurrected to heavenly life “during [Christ’s future] presence.” So Paul is here expressing his desire to finish his earthly course faithfully so that he could later be resurrected to heavenly life. Paul’s usage of the term “releasing” is not unique. Other Greek writers used the term as a euphemism for dying.

when I am again present with you: Or “when I am with you again.” The Greek phrase here used contains the noun pa·rou·siʹa, which literally means “being alongside.” It is often rendered “presence,” especially in connection with the invisible presence of Jesus Christ. (Mt 24:37; 1Co 15:23) Here Paul uses the term when expressing his hope to visit the Philippian Christians again. The renderings “presence” and “present” are supported by the way Paul uses the term pa·rou·siʹa at Php 2:12 (see study note) to describe his “presence” in contrast with his “absence.”​—See study notes on Mt 24:3; 1Co 16:17.

presence . . . absence: Paul here uses the Greek word pa·rou·siʹa to describe a period of time when he would be present with the Christians in Philippi. The sense of this Greek word is indicated by Paul in describing his “presence” in contrast with his “absence” (Greek, a·pou·siʹa), that is, a period of time when he would be away from them. The Greek word pa·rou·siʹa is used in a special sense in connection with the invisible presence of Jesus Christ, from the time of his heavenly enthronement as Messianic King at the beginning of the last days of this system of things.​—See study notes on Mt 24:3; 1Co 15:23; Php 1:26.

presence: The Greek word pa·rou·siʹa (in many translations rendered “coming”) literally means “being alongside.” It refers to a presence covering a period of time rather than simply a coming or an arrival. This meaning of pa·rou·siʹa is indicated at Mt 24:37-39, where “the days of Noah . . . before the Flood” are compared to “the presence of the Son of man.” At Php 2:12, Paul used this Greek word to describe his “presence” in contrast to his “absence.”

the presence of: Here Paul uses the Greek word pa·rou·siʹa regarding three of his fellow workers who were with him. It is used in a similar sense five times elsewhere in the Christian Greek Scriptures. (2Co 7:6, 7; 10:10; Php 1:26; 2:12) This term is also used in connection with the invisible presence of Jesus Christ. (Mt 24:3; 1Co 15:23) The term pa·rou·siʹa, or “presence,” can refer to an invisible presence, as indicated by Jewish historian Josephus, writing in Greek, when he refers to God’s pa·rou·siʹa at Mount Sinai. God’s invisible presence was made evident by thunder and lightning. (Jewish Antiquities, III, 80 [v, 2]) Paul uses the related verb paʹrei·mi (“to be present”) when he speaks about being “present in spirit” but “absent in body.” (1Co 5:3) Although many translations render this term “arrival” or “coming,” the rendering “presence” is supported by the way Paul uses it at Php 2:12 to describe his “presence” in contrast with his “absence.”​—See study note on 1Co 15:23.

behave: Or “carry on as citizens.” The Greek verb that Paul uses here is related to the Greek words for “citizenship” (Php 3:20) and “citizen” (Ac 21:39). Roman citizens generally took an active part in the affairs of the State because Roman citizenship was highly prized and it carried with it responsibilities and privileges. (Ac 22:25-30) Thus, when Paul uses a form of this verb in connection with behaving in a manner worthy of the good news about the Christ, he conveys the idea of participating in Christian activity, especially in the declaring of this good news. Since the inhabitants of Philippi had been given a form of citizenship by Rome, they would have been familiar with this aspect of active participation.​—See study notes on Ac 23:1; Php 3:20.

with one soul: Or “with one accord; as one man.”​—See study note on Ac 4:32.

were of one heart and soul: This expression describes the unity and harmony among the multitude of believers. At Php 1:27, the expression “with one soul” could also be rendered “with one purpose” or “as one man.” In the Hebrew Scriptures, the expression “one heart” is used at 1Ch 12:38, ftn., and at 2Ch 30:12, ftn., to describe unified desire and action. Also, the expressions “heart” and “soul” are often mentioned together to represent the entire inner person. (De 4:29; 6:5; 10:12; 11:13; 26:16; 30:2, 6, 10) The Greek phrase is used here in a similar way and could be rendered “they were completely united in thinking and purpose.” This was in harmony with Jesus’ prayer that his followers be united despite their diverse backgrounds.​—Joh 17:21.

our citizenship: The city of Philippi was a Roman colony, and its inhabitants were granted many privileges. (See study notes on Ac 16:12, 21.) Some members of the congregation in Philippi may have had a form of Roman citizenship, which was highly prized. The distinction between citizens and noncitizens was an important issue. However, Paul here refers to citizenship in heaven, which was far superior. (Eph 2:19) He urges anointed Christians to focus, not on earthly things (Php 3:19), but on their future life as “citizens” of heaven.​—See study note on Php 1:27.

I have behaved: Or “I have lived my life.” The form of the Greek verb po·li·teuʹo·mai used here could be rendered “to behave as a citizen.” (Kingdom Interlinear) Paul indicates that he has behaved in a proper way as a good citizen who followed the laws of his country. Roman citizens generally took an active part in the affairs of the State because Roman citizenship was highly prized and it carried with it responsibilities and privileges. (Ac 22:25-30) When Paul on this occasion described how he had “behaved” before God, it may have carried the implication that he was primarily a citizen of God’s Kingdom.​—Php 3:20; compare the use of the same verb form at Php 1:27; ftn.


Paul’s Letter to the Philippians
Paul’s Letter to the Philippians

Shown here is a leaf from a papyrus codex known as P46, believed to date from about 200 C.E. The codex contains a collection of nine of Paul’s letters, but the letters do not appear in the same order as in modern-day Bibles. (See Media Gallery, “Paul’s First Letter to the Corinthians” and “Paul’s Second Letter to the Corinthians.”) This leaf shows the end of Paul’s letter to the Galatians and the beginning of his letter to the Christians in the city of Philippi. It is part of the Papyrus Chester Beatty 2, which is housed at the Chester Beatty Library in Dublin, Ireland. Highlighted is the title, which reads: “Toward [or, “To”] Philippians.” This papyrus collection provides evidence that from an early date, scribes identified Bible books by titles.

Video Introduction to the Book of Philippians
Video Introduction to the Book of Philippians
Paul’s Prison Bonds While He Was Under House Arrest
Paul’s Prison Bonds While He Was Under House Arrest

During his first imprisonment in Rome, the apostle Paul was permitted to live under guard in a rented house. (Ac 28:16, 30) Roman guards typically restrained prisoners with chains. The prisoner’s right wrist was usually chained to the guard’s left wrist. This kept the guard’s right hand free. Paul referred to his chains, bonds, and imprisonment in most of the inspired letters that he wrote during his house arrest in Rome.​—Eph 3:1; 4:1; 6:20; Php 1:7, 13, 14, 17; Col 4:3, 18; Phm 1, 9, 10, 13.

The Praetorian Guard on Duty
The Praetorian Guard on Duty

Members of the Praetorian Guard normally wore a tunic (1) and sometimes a cloak (2). This type of clothing allowed for freedom of movement. Even though the tunic was commonly worn by Romans, non-Romans, and slaves, soldiers were easily identified by their military weapons, belts, and sandals. However, the soldiers wore a different garment, called a toga (3), whenever they were within the city limits of Rome and whenever they guarded the emperor. The toga was formal attire for male Roman citizens.