Philippians 2:1-4

Wednesday, May 20th, 2015

We are in the process of looking at -

IV. PAUL'S EXHORTATION TO UNITY - 1:27 - 2:18

We have already seen -

A. Paul's Exhortation to Unity in View of Difficulties from Unbelievers - 1:27-30

We continue with -

B. Paul's Exhortation to Unity In View of Difficulties from Believers - 2:1-4

Philippians 2:1 If there be therefore any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any bowels and mercies.

Each phrase in verse 1 is a condition, and the conclusion of all four of the conditions is stated in verse 2. In each case, for sake of discussion, these conditions are assumed to be true. Inasmuch as all four of these conditions are true for every believer, all four uses of if are understood as because, since, inasmuch as, or in view of the fact that.

The first condition is if there be therefore any consolation in Christ.

There be is there is.

Therefore is used in the sense of consequently, accordingly, so, or then. It points back to Paul's desire stated in Philippians 1:27 that ye stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel.

Any is indefinite and means some or a certain. It is used in each of the four conditions.

Consolation is comfort or encouragement.

In Christ implies in the person of Christ or in the person and work of Christ.

To summarize, this first conditional statement means, Consequently, because (there is) some encouragement in Christ.

The second condition is if any comfort of love.

If is again understood in the sense of because, since, inasmuch as, or in view of the fact that.

There be or there is must be supplied in the mind of the reader so that the condition is understood to mean if there be (or if there is) any comfort of love.

Any again is some or a certain.

Comfort is a synonym of the word translated consolation and means encouragement. This means that it is a different word but has a similar meaning.

Of love implies that this comfort (or encouragement) is produced by love. This is the sort of love which gives itself completely on behalf of someone else without expecting anything in return.

To summarize, this second conditional statement means, Consequently, because (there is) some encouragement produced by love.

The third condition is if any fellowship of the Spirit.

If is again understood in the sense of because, since, inasmuch as, or in view of the fact that.

There be or there is must again be supplied in the mind of the reader so that the condition is understood to mean if there be (or if there is) any fellowship of the Spirit.

Any once again is some or a certain.

Fellowship means a close relationship, an association, or a communion.

Of the Spirit indicates that it is the Holy Spirit of God Who has produced this fellowship or that it is fellowship with the Holy Spirit.

To summarize, this third conditional statement means, Consequently, because (there is) some close association produced by the Holy Spirit (or because (there is) some close association with the Holy Spirit).

The fourth condition is if any bowels and mercies.

If is again understood in the sense of because, since, inasmuch as, or in view of the fact that.

There be or there are must once again be supplied in the mind of the reader so that the condition is understood to mean if there be (or if there are) any bowels and mercies.

Any once more implies some or a certain.

Bowels is literally inward parts or entrails; but, when used figuratively as it is in this verse, it is understood as referring to the seat of emotions. In twenty-first-century English, people would say heart rather than bowels. It means something deep within the individual. It speaks of an inner feeling one may have for someone else.

Of mercies is of pities or of compassions. There are mercies and compassions in Christ. There is heart in Christ, and there is an inner feeling of love for Him and for all He has done for believers.

To summarize, this fourth conditional statement means, Consequently, because (there are) some heartfelt mercies and compassions in Christ. It means that there is love for Christ and for all He has done for us.

Philippians 2:2 Fulfil ye my joy, that ye be likeminded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind.

Verse 2 forms the conclusion of the four conditions expressed in verse 1. Although there are four conditions, there is only one conclusion.

Fulfil ye suggests bring to completion (or finish) something you have already begun. Its tense indicates that this is to be done at once and without delay.

What they are to fulfill is my joy. It indicates that this would bring joy to the Apostle Paul, that it would be a particular delight to him. It is something he would really like to see. Fulfill ye my joy might be understood in the sense of make me happy.

What would bring joy to Paul or make Paul happy is that ye be likeminded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind.

If the Philippian believers were already like minded, had the same love, and were of one accord and of one mind, Paul would not have found it necessary to write this.

This is the second time Paul has referred to a lack of unity among the believers in Philippi.

Paul has previously stated in Philippians 1:27 , . . . That ye stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving for the faith of the gospel (emphasis added). Furthermore, the reference to Euodias and Syntyche in chapter 4 indicates that there was not perfect harmony and oneness of mind among the believers at Philippi.

Apparently, there were a few problems in this church just as there are problems in every church everywhere. Whenever a group of believers assembles, although they all have new, sinless, Christlike natures, they also all have old sin natures. It is not the new, Christlike natures that get them into trouble; instead, it is their old sin natures. Although believers are to manage their old sin natures, this is never done perfectly; and conflicts arise from time to time. However, as all the believers mature in Christ and are living as they should be living, there should ultimately be few, if any, problems between godly people.

That ye be likeminded is that you think the same thing, that you be in agreement, or that you live in harmony. These believers were to think alike, to be in agreement, or to be harmonious in the way they were living; and they were responsible for doing this. It expresses what Paul's joy or delight is or what would make him happy. These believers were not supposed to be going in different directions in their lives and in their minds. There needed to be harmony among them.

The tense of be likeminded implies continuing action. It means that these believers were to be thinking the same thing or to be living in harmony. If they were already living in harmony, they needed to continue doing so. If they were not yet living in harmony, this is what they needed to be doing. By stating it the way he did, it was not a threat to anyone.

The Philippian believers were also to be having the same love. It may mean while you have the same love or and have the same love. Their love for each other was to be the same. Everyone was to love all the rest, and they were not to love some more than they loved others.

The same love is the sort of love which gives itself completely on behalf of someone else without expecting anything in return. This is the same kind of love God demonstrated when He sent Jesus Christ, His Son, to die on the cross and pay for the sins of all humanity. This is the same sort of love Paul, Silas, Timothy, and Luke demonstrated toward the Philippians when they came to Philippi with the gospel. The Philippian believers are all being urged to love each other completely. If each one of them fully loves all the rest of them as he should and acts accordingly, this would eliminate most, if not all, of the interpersonal problems in the church.

This is not a new thought. When Jesus was asked by a Pharisee who was a lawyer, Which is the great commandment in the law?, His answer was instructive.

Matthew 22:35-40 - (35) Then one of them, which was a lawyer, asked him a question, tempting him, and saying, (36) Master, which is the great commandment in the law? (37) Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. (38) This is the first and great commandment. (39) And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. (40) On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets (emphasis added).

Furthermore, Jesus told His apostles while still in the upper room just before His betrayal,

John 13:34-35 - (34) A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. (35) By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.

The Philippian believers were also urged to do one more thing, indicated by being of one accord, of one mind.

Of one accord means harmonious or united in spirit.

Of one mind suggests thinking one and the same thing.

I remind you of Isaiah 53:6 ,

Isaiah 53:6 - All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all (emphasis added).

Being of one accord and of one mind is contrary to our old sin natures which want our own way as is indicated by we have turned every one to his own way.

I remind you also of Romans 12:1-2 ,

Romans 12:1-2 - 1 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. 2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

As we draw closer and closer to Christ and have our thinking reprogrammed by the submission of our hearts and minds to the Scriptures, we as believers will become more and more Christlike. And the more Christlike we become, the more unified we will become in our thinking as we think His thoughts because we have the mind of Christ.

Philippians 2:3 Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves.

Let nothing be done is simply while doing nothing.

Through strife is out of contentiousness, out of selfishness, or out of selfish ambition.

Or (through) vainglory means out of vanity, out of conceit, or out of excessive ambition.

But introduces a statement in strong contrast to (Let) nothing (be done) through strife or vainglory.

In lowliness of mind is in (or with) humility (or modesty).

Let each esteem literally means while (or when) thinking, while (or when) considering, or while (or when) regarding (or it means and esteem, and think, and consider, or and regard).

Other is one another or each other.

Better than is understood as to be better than, as being better than, as surpassing, or as excelling.

Themselves completes the comparison and implies (than) they esteem (i.e. than they consider, than they think, or than they regard) themselves to be.

Thus, one way for people to think the same way, to be of one accord, and to be of one mind is to stop doing things through strife or vainglory, but, instead, with all humility to be esteeming (i.e. to be thinking, to be considering, or to be regarding) other people better than they esteem (i.e. than they think, than they consider, or than they regard) themselves to be. However, as simple as it sounds, this runs contrary to the thinking of a believer's old sin nature.

Philippians 2:4 Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others.

Verse 4 suggests how believers are going to esteem others better than they esteem themselves.

Look means look for, look out for, notice, or keep your eyes on.

Look not on is a negative command whose tense indicates that an activity already going on is to be discontinued or stopped. It implies stop looking for, stop looking out for, stop noticing, or stop keeping your eyes on.

Every man is each one or every one and is not limited to adult males. It includes the two women named Euodias and Syntyche who are mentioned by name in chapter 4. It is addressed to the entire group, but addressed individually to the members of the group.

What they are all individually to stop looking on exclusively is on his own things, i.e. on the things of themselves.

But introduces a statement in strong contrast between what the believers are urged to stop doing in the first half of verse 4 and what they are to continue doing in the second half of verse 4.

(Look) must be supplied from the first part of this verse. Look means be looking, be noticing, or be keeping your eyes on.

Every man is each one or every one and is not limited to adult males.

Also suggests that in addition to looking on his own things, he is also to be looking on the things of others who are different from him.

The things of others is the things of other persons of a different sort. It is contrasted with you yourselves. Believers are to live harmoniously by stopping their (practice of) keeping their eyes only on themselves, and by their also keeping their eyes on (or looking out for) the things which belong to other people who may even be somewhat different from them. As each one of these believers gets his eyes more off himself and more onto others and starts looking out for the well-being of others rather than just looking out for himself, this will go a long way toward producing a group of believers that is of one accord and of one mind.

The very fact that Paul found it necessary to tell the Philippian believers to stop keeping their eyes only on their own things and to be looking out also for one another indicates that this was a problem among the believers at Philippi. Unity was lacking.