Philippians 4:1-9

Wednesday Evening Bible Study

December 11, 2002


Paul is wrapping up his letter to the Philippians.

:1  Therefore, my brethren, dearly beloved and longed for, my joy and crown, so stand fast in the Lord, my dearly beloved.

dearly beloved agapetos – beloved, esteemed, dear, favourite, worthy of love

longed for epipothetos – longed for; from epipotheo – to long for, desire; to pursue with love, to long after; to lust, harbour forbidden desire

joychara – joy, gladness; the joy received from you; the cause or occasion of joy; of persons who are one’s joy

crown stephanos – a crown; a mark of royal or (in general) exalted rank; the wreath or garland which was given as a prize to victors in public games; that which is an ornament and honour to one

stand faststeko – to stand firm; to persevere, to persist; to keep one’s standing

dearly belovedagapetos – beloved, esteemed, dear, favourite, worthy of love


Keep going

We need to keep our eyes on Jesus and the goal ahead of us.
(Phil 3:14 KJV)  I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.
(Phil 3:20-21 KJV)  For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ: {21} Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself.
Stand fast.  Keep going.


Love your flock

Look at the words that Paul uses to describe the people he’s writing to.
He cares for them.  He loves them.
God help us to love the people that He gives us to minister to.
Paul wrote,
(1 Cor 13:1-3 NLT)  If I could speak in any language in heaven or on earth but didn't love others, I would only be making meaningless noise like a loud gong or a clanging cymbal. {2} If I had the gift of prophecy, and if I knew all the mysteries of the future and knew everything about everything, but didn't love others, what good would I be? And if I had the gift of faith so that I could speak to a mountain and make it move, without love I would be no good to anybody. {3} If I gave everything I have to the poor and even sacrificed my body, I could boast about it; but if I didn't love others, I would be of no value whatsoever.

:2 I beseech Euodias, and beseech Syntyche, that they be of the same mind in the Lord.

Euodias Euodia – “fragrant”, or, “prosperous journey”.  This was a woman in the Philippian church.

I beseechparakaleo – to call to one’s side, call for, summon; to address, speak to, (call to, call upon), which may be done in the way of exhortation, entreaty, comfort, instruction, etc.; to admonish, exhort; to beg, entreat, beseech; to strive to appease by entreaty; to console, to encourage and strengthen by consolation, to comfort; to encourage, strengthen; exhorting and comforting and encouraging; to instruct, teach

Syntyche Suntuche – “with fate”, “good luck”. This was another woman in the Philippian church.

beseechparakaleo – to call to one’s side, call for, summon; to address, speak to, (call to, call upon), which may be done in the way of exhortation, entreaty, comfort, instruction, etc.; to admonish, exhort; to beg, entreat, beseech; to strive to appease by entreaty; to console, to encourage and strengthen by consolation, to comfort; to encourage, strengthen; exhorting and comforting and encouraging; to instruct, teach

the sameautos – himself, herself, themselves, itself; he, she, it; the same

be … mindphroneo – to have understanding, be wise; to feel, to think; to have an opinion of one’s self, think of one’s self, to be modest, not let one’s opinion (though just) of himself exceed the bounds of modesty; to be of the same mind i.e. agreed together, cherish the same views, be harmonious; to direct one’s mind to a thing, to seek, to strive for; to be of one’s party, side with him (in public affairs)

Paul is encouraging these gals to learn to get along with each other.


He means you

We’ve seen this exhortation several times so far, to be “like-minded”.
But now Paul names names.  He even “beseeches” each of them.  He repeats the word “beseech” for each of them.
Sometimes we can listen to a message and understand how important it is, and still somehow not realize that it is intended for each of us.
Sometimes we can even feel a twinge of conviction about something, but then let it go after church and just let is slide off us like water off a duck’s back.

:3 And I entreat thee also, true yokefellow, help those women which laboured with me in the gospel, with Clement also, and with other my fellowlabourers, whose names are in the book of life.

I entreaterotao – to question; to ask; to request, entreat, beg, beseech

yokefellowsuzugos – yoked together; of those united by the bond of marriage, relationship, office, labour, study, business, or the like; of a yoke fellow, consort, comrade, colleague, partner

truegnesios – legitimately born, not spurious; true, genuine, sincere

Who is Paul talking to? 

He could be speaking to the pastor.

He could be speaking to man named “Suzugos”, the Greek word for “yokefellow”.  It’s possible that Paul is using this man’s name instead of the word “yokefellow”.

helpsullambano (“with” + “to take”) – to seize, take: one as prisoner; to take hold together with one, to assist, help, to succour

the gospeleuaggelion – a reward for good tidings; good tidings; the glad tidings of salvation through Christ; the proclamation of the grace of God manifest and pledged in Christ; the gospel

laboured withsunathleo – to strive at the same time with another; from athleo – to engage in a contest, contend in public games, contend for a prize

ClementKlemes – “mild, merciful”; a companion of Paul and apparently a member of the church of Philippi. According to tradition, he is identical with that Clement who was bishop of Rome towards the close of the first century.

otherloipos – remaining, the rest

fellowlabourerssunergos – a companion in work, fellow worker

bookbiblos – a written book, a roll, a scroll

lifezoe – life; the state of one who is possessed of vitality or is animate; of the absolute fulness of life, both essential and ethical, which belongs to God, and through him both to the hypostatic "logos" and to Christ in whom the "logos" put on human nature; life real and genuine, a life active and vigorous, devoted to God, blessed, in the portion even in this world of those who put their trust in Christ, but after the resurrection to be consummated by new accessions (among them a more perfect body), and to last for ever.

Paul is saying that these two gals (Euodia and Syntyche) were believers and were fellow laborers with him.  They needed help.


Be careful about discarding people.

Paul is encouraging Suzugos to help these gals.  They were important to Paul.

:4 Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice.

rejoicechairo – to rejoice, be glad; to rejoice exceedingly; to be well, thrive

alwayspantote – at all times, always, ever

againpalin – anew, again; again, i.e. further, moreover


Our joy is in the Lord

We may not always rejoice about our circumstances, but we can rejoice in the Lord, knowing that He’s for us and not against us, knowing that He loves us.

:5 Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand.

moderation epieikes – seeming, suitable; equitable, fair, mild, gentle

The word “moderation” is the translation of a Greek word having the following meanings: “not being unduly rigorous, being satisfied with less than one’s due, sweet reasonableness, forbearance.” [1]

(Phil 4:5 ICB)  Let all men see that you are gentle and kind. The Lord is coming soon.

(Phil 4:5 NLT)  Let everyone see that you are considerate in all you do. Remember, the Lord is coming soon.

(Phil 4:5 NASB)  Let your forbearing spirit be known to all men. The Lord is near.

(Phil 4:5 NIV)  Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near.

be knownginosko – to learn to know, come to know, get a knowledge of perceive, feel; to become known; to know, understand, perceive, have knowledge of; to understand

neareggus – near, of place and position; near; those who are near access to God; of time; of times imminent and soon to come pass

Here it seems to be talking about the Lord’s coming being close, the Rapture.


Show who you are

People need to see the Lord’s work in us.
I think they need to see God’s gentleness in us, especially when we are going through tough times.
The tough times we go through can be opportunities for people to see something different in us, to see Jesus in us.

:6 Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.

be careful merimnao – to be anxious; to be troubled with cares; to care for, look out for (a thing); to seek to promote one’s interests; caring or providing for

prayerproseuche – prayer addressed to God

supplication deesis – need, indigence, want, privation, penury; a seeking, asking, entreating, entreaty to God or to man

thanksgivingeucharistia – thankfulness; the giving of thanks

requestsaitema – petition, request, required

:7 And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

peaceeirene – a state of national tranquility; peace between individuals, i.e. harmony, concord; security, safety, prosperity, felicity, (because peace and harmony make and keep things safe and prosperous); of Christianity, the tranquil state of a soul assured of its salvation through Christ, and so fearing nothing from God and content with its earthly lot, of whatsoever sort that is

which passethhuperecho – to have or hold over one; to stand out, rise above, overtop; to be above, be superior in rank, authority, power; to excel, to be superior, better than, to surpass

understandingnous – the mind, comprising alike the faculties of perceiving and understanding and those of feeling, judging, determining; the intellectual faculty, the understanding; reason in the narrower sense, as the capacity for spiritual truth, the higher powers of the soul, the faculty of perceiving divine things, of recognising goodness and of hating evil

shall keep phroureo – to guard, protect by a military guard, either to prevent hostile invasion, or to keep the inhabitants of a besieged city from flight

heartskardia – the heart; the centre and seat of spiritual life; the soul or mind, as it is the fountain and seat of the thoughts, passions, desires, appetites, affections, purposes, endeavours; of the understanding, the faculty and seat of the intelligence; of the will and character; of the soul so far as it is affected and stirred in a bad way or good, or of the soul as the seat of the sensibilities, affections, emotions, desires, appetites, passions

mindsnoema – a mental perception, thought; that which thinks, the mind, thoughts or purposes

God’s peace surpasses our “minds”, yet it also guards our “minds”.


From anxiety to peace

Paul gives a list of steps, the first being –

Stop worrying

This is a command, an “imperative”.
I don’t think Paul is saying that we will stop worrying if we pray about everything.
I think he’s saying that we ought to do both.  We ought to make it an exercise of our will to stop worrying about things.
Sometimes we simply spend too much time worrying about things we shouldn’t worry about:

A pill every day

This guy came home from the doctor looking very worried. His wife said, “What’s the problem?” He said, “The doctor told me I have to take a pill every day for the rest of my life.” She said, “So what? Lots of people have to take a pill every day their whole lives.” He said, “I know, but he only gave me four pills!”

Jesus also commands us to stop worrying:
(Mat 6:24-34 KJV)  No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.  {25} Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment? {26} Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they?

If you are choosing to serve “mammon”, or, “riches”, then you’re going to find yourself worrying.  If you serve the Lord instead of “mammon”, then you will find yourself not having a reason to “worry”.

{27} Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature? {28} And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin: {29} And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. {30} Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith? {31} Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? {32} (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. {33} But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. {34} Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.

When we become worried about material things, we need to seek the Lord and He’ll take care of it.

That doesn’t mean that we don’t have a job and work. 



A young man gets engaged to a young woman and goes to meet her parents over dinner. After dinner the father takes the young man into the drawing room to find out his plans for life with his daughter. “So, what are your plans?” The father asks the fiancée. “I am a Biblical Scholar” he replies “A Biblical Scholar. Admirable, but what will you do to provide a nice home for my daughter to live in, as she deserves?” The father asks. “I will study” the young man replies “...God will provide for us.” “And how will you buy her a beautiful engagement ring, such as she deserves?” The father asks. “I will concentrate on my studies, God will provide for us.” the young man replies. “And children” the father asks “how will you support your children?” “Don’t worry sir” the young man replies “God will provide.” The conversation proceeds like this, and each time the father asks a question the young man insists that God will provide. Later, the mother asks about the discussion, “So, how did it go?” The father replies “He has no job and no plans, but the good news is he thinks I’m God.”

The Bible says if we don’t work, then we don’t eat

(2 Th 3:10 KJV)  For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat.

Trusting God doesn’t mean that we don’t work, it means that instead of sitting around and worrying, we should pray.  And if we aren’t working, we ought to get a job.

The second step is,


Pray specifically

The words translated “supplication” and “requests” speak of specific things, not just prayer in general.
Tell God what you need.
Don’t confuse prayer with eastern meditation.  The value of prayer is not in calming ourselves and meditating – though these are some pretty important things that we ought to be learning to do.  God says,
(Psa 46:10 KJV)  Be still, and know that I am God:
Paul’s encouragement to pray here is speaking of asking God for your specific requests.
The word “supplication” speaks about “needs”.  It’s telling God what you need.

The last step is …


Pray with thanksgiving

Over the years I’ve come to see these two as inseparable when it comes to finding God’s peace.
It’s not just praying.  It’s not just thanksgiving.  We need to be learning to do both, to “pray with thanksgiving”.
Thanksgiving is an expression of faith.
It is a way of saying, “I trust you” or, “I believe you”.

If someone came up to you and said, “I’m going to take you to Disneyland tomorrow”, how would you respond?

If it is someone that you trust, you respond by saying, “Thank you!”

If it is someone you don’t trust, you might smile, but under your breath you might whisper, “I’ll believe it when I see it!”

If you don’t like Disneyland, you might say, “No thank you!”

You tend to say “thank you” to promises that you think will be kept.
God wants us to learn to trust Him.
(Heb 11:6 KJV)  But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.

It pleases God when we express our trust in Him.  It’s impossible to please Him without it.

“Are you saying that I have to believe God will give me what I ask for?”

No.  I’m saying that you need to believe that God will answer your prayer the way you think it should be. 

But you need to believe that God loves you and has your best interest in mind. 

You need to be open to God answering your prayer however He wants to.

I believe that when you can truly say “thanks” to God for however He is going to answer your prayer, then you are truly putting your anxiety in His hands.
That’s when you’ll experience God’s peace.


Keep at it.

Sometimes the worry creeps back.  Don’t feel like somehow it didn’t work because you feel anxious again.
The commands “stop worrying” and “let your requests be made known” are both in the present tense, indicating continuous action.  These are things that we need to keep at.  These are not “one time” events.

:8 Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.

finallyloipon – remaining, the rest; hereafter, for the future, henceforth; at last, already; for the rest, besides, moreover

whatsoever thingshosos – as great as, as far as, how much, how many, whoever

truealethes – true; loving the truth, speaking the truth, truthful

honestsemnos – august, venerable, reverend; to be venerated for character, honourable; of persons; of deeds; that which inspires reverence or awe.

justdikaios – righteous, observing divine laws; in a wide sense, upright, righteous, virtuous, keeping the commands of God; innocent, faultless, guiltless

purehagnos – exciting reverence, venerable, sacred; pure; pure from carnality, chaste, modest; pure from every fault, immaculate; clean; It sometimes describes freedom from impurities of the flesh.

lovelyprosphiles (“toward” + “love”) – acceptable, pleasing

of good reporteuphemos (“good” + “report”) – sounding well; uttering words of good omen, speaking auspiciously

virtuearete – a virtuous course of thought, feeling and action; virtue, moral goodness; any particular moral excellence, as modesty, purity

praiseepainos – approbation, commendation, praise

thinklogizomai – to reckon, count, compute, calculate, count over; to take into account, to make an account of; metaph. to pass to one’s account, to impute; a thing is reckoned as or to be something, i.e. as availing for or equivalent to something, as having the like force and weight; to number among, reckon with; to reckon or account; to reckon inward, count up or weigh the reasons, to deliberate; by reckoning up all the reasons, to gather or infer; to consider, take into account, weigh, meditate on; to suppose, deem, judge; to determine, purpose, decide;

This word deals with reality. If I “logizomai” or reckon that my bank book has $25 in it, it has $25 in it. Otherwise I am deceiving myself. This word refers to facts not suppositions.


God cares where your head is at.

We’ve seen the word “be … minded” (phroneo) throughout the letter to the Philippians.
We just saw it in regards to the two ladies …
Php 4:2  I beseech Euodias, and beseech Syntyche, that they be of <5426> the same mind <5426> in the Lord.
Paul had a “mind” of confidence and love toward the Philippians:
Php 1:7  Even as it is meet for me to think <5426> this of you all, because I have you in my heart; inasmuch as both in my bonds, and in the defence and confirmation of the gospel, ye all are partakers of my grace.
He encouraged them to walk in a manner worthy of the gospel by being “likeminded”, by having “one mind”
Php 2:2  Fulfil ye my joy, that ye be likeminded <5426>, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind <5426>.
He told them to have the same “mind” as Jesus, humility:
Php 2:5  Let <5426> this mind be <5426> in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:
He said that the mature (“perfect”) believers should have the same “mind” as Paul, meaning that they knew that they were not perfect (3:12), and that the same mind in that they were going to press toward the finish line of seeing Jesus (3:14).
Php 3:15  Let <5426> us therefore, as many as be perfect, be <5426> thus minded <5426>: and if in any thing ye be <5426> otherwise minded <5426>, God shall reveal even this unto you.
He told them to “have the same mind”:
Php 3:16  Nevertheless, whereto we have already attained, let us walk by the same rule, let us mind <5426> the same thing.
We shouldn’t have our “mind” on earthly things:
Php 3:19  Whose end is destruction, whose God is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame, who mind <5426> earthly things.)
Php 4:10  But I rejoiced in the Lord greatly, that now at the last your care <5426> of me hath flourished again; wherein ye were <5426> also careful <5426>, but ye lacked opportunity.


What do you think about?

How do your thoughts stack up against this list?
What kinds of things do you think about?
A lot of our worry and problems start in our mind.
If you are having trouble finding something to think about, think about Jesus.  He fits all the qualifications.

:9 Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you.

ye have … learnedmanthano – to learn, be appraised; to increase one’s knowledge, to be increased in knowledge; to hear, be informed; to learn by use and practice; to be in the habit of, accustomed to

receivedparalambano – to take to, to take with one’s self, to join to one’s self; metaph. to accept or acknowledge one to be such as he professes to be; to receive something transmitted; to receive with the mind; by oral transmission: of the authors from whom the tradition proceeds; by the narrating to others, by instruction of teachers (used of disciples)

heardakouo – to be endowed with the faculty of hearing, not deaf; to hear; to attend to, consider what is or has been said; to understand, perceive the sense of what is said; to give ear to a teaching or a teacher; to comprehend, to understand

seeneido – to see; to know

doprasso – to exercise, practice, to be busy with, carry on; to undertake, to do; to accomplish, perform

peaceeirene – a state of national tranquility; peace between individuals, i.e. harmony, concord; security, safety, prosperity, felicity, (because peace and harmony make and keep things safe and prosperous); of Christianity, the tranquil state of a soul assured of its salvation through Christ, and so fearing nothing from God and content with its earthly lot, of whatsoever sort that is


How discipleship works

Things are “learned” – perhaps this is an overall, general term.
This is the root of the word translated “disciple”

disciplemathetes – a learner, pupil, disciple

Things are “received” – someone who is learning at some point needs to “receive” the lesson.  They need to realize that this is something that is true and important.
Things are “heard” – teaching is transmitted – vocally or in writing
Things are “seen” – I think this is the one that trips many of us up.
People not only need to hear the principles, they need to see them in action.


Finding God’s presence and peace

Being careful with what goes through your mind – keeping your mind clean.
By putting into practice the things you know.
It doesn’t just “magically” come.  You must learn to put these things into practice.

[1]Wuest, K. S. (1997, c1984). Wuest's word studies from the Greek New Testament : For the English reader (Php 4:5). Grand Rapids: Eerdmans.