Online Bible Commentary
God’s Prayer for You
Philippians 1: 3 I thank my God upon every remembrance of you, 4 always in every prayer of mine making request for you all with joy, 5 for your fellowship in the gospel from the first day until now, 6 being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ; 7 just as it is right for me to think this of you all, because I have you in my heart, inasmuch as both in my chains and in the defense and confirmation of the gospel, you all are partakers with me of grace. 8 For God is my witness, how greatly I long for you all with the affection of Jesus Christ. 9 And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in knowledge and all discernment, 10 that you may approve the things that are excellent, that you may be sincere and without offense till the day of Christ, 11 being filled with the fruits of righteousness which are by Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God. (NKJV)
Paul wrote this letter to the Church at Philippi in Macedonia, which is now northern Greece. It is thought that he wrote this during his first Roman imprisonment shortly after 60 A.D. Epaphroditus visited him in prison and Paul sent this letter back with him to deliver it to the church.
Philippi was abandoned in the fourteenth century after the Ottoman conquest. The current city of Fillipoi is located near the ruins of Philippi. At the time of Paul’s letter, Philippi was a principal city. Paul established the church on his second missionary journey. It was the first known church in all of Europe and it supported Paul financially. In many ways it was a model church.
Paul begins this passage by writing that when he prays for them he always thanks God for them because of their “fellowship” with him in the gospel (v.3-5). The word translated “fellowship” is the Greek word “koinonia” which means fellowship, participation, sharing, and contribution. So the fellowship that Paul refers to has a financial component to it. He then commends them for their service, expressing confidence that their “good work” will carry on until the rapture, “the day of Jesus Christ” (v.6).
Paul tells them that he always holds them in his heart, whether he is imprisoned, defending the gospel, or confirming the gospel (v.7). “Defense” of the gospel refers to answering his critics, whereas “confirmation” of the gospel refers to establishing the gospel more firmly in the hearts of believers. Paul then writes that God knows of his great affection for the believers at Philippi (v.8).
So Paul has written why he prays for the believers, and now he prays for them. This is also God’s prayer for His universal church, which includes us. God’s prayer is that our love, “agape” in the Greek, might constantly increase in all knowledge and discernment (v.9), so that we may be “sincere and without offense”(v.10). The word translated “without offense” is the Greek word “aproskopos”, which means “not causing one to stumble.”
So our agape love, the Christian love, is not just an emotional love but it is a love that seeks the best for the love object, not causing them to stumble. Thus, when we correct others we are showing our love for them. If we did not love them we would just let them go their merry way down the wrong path.
Finally, God’s prayer is that we will be “filled with the fruits of righteousness”, that comes from Jesus (v. 11). Jesus is the source of righteousness and the object of righteousness is for the glory and praise of God. We should glorify God everyday in all that we say and do, to His praise.
Please know, those of you who read these commentaries and who koinonia with this ministry that I pray for you every day.