1. Since Christ walks alongside us, since we are together with Him in the highest kind of love, since we are walking in the Holy of Holies with Him, since we walk with the same heart and in mercy toward each other, then ...
The correct translation here shows that this is a list of things that are true facts and should be translated “since” instead of “if.”
Verses one and two are part of the same sentence. Paul is saying, “Since these things are true then make me happy by being joined together in your souls.”
2. Make me truly joyful by having the same kind of thinking , and the same love, joined in soul with one mind and purpose.
Like-minded here means “joined in soul.” This is the same word that was used in Acts 2:1. We see the followers of Jesus here were so “joined in soul” that when they finished praying, the building was shaking!
There are insects that have been known to walk together by the thousands. It has been see that when they walk across a bridge it begins to sway because they are so in step with each other. Just think what could happen if God's people stopped working against each other!
3. Not self-seeking or bragging. Be humble, thinking of others as more important than yourselves.
Let someone else go first, let someone else be strong.
Be happy when someone else is blessed. Romans 12:15
“...in honor prefer one another.” Romans 12:10
“... to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think...” Romans 12:3
4. Do not look out only for your own things, but also for the things of others .
Without guidance, a people will fall, but with many counselors there is deliverance. P roverbs 11:14
He who walks with wise men will be wise. Proverbs 13:20
Submit to one another. 1 Peter 5:5
If two or more agree together on anything… Matthew 18:19
By wise counsel make war. Proverbs 20:18
5. You must have the same kind of thinking that Jesus Christ showed.
How can we think the way that Jesus thinks? He taught us to think as children who have trust that their father is taking care of everything they need. Matthew 18:3, Rom. 8:27
Set your heart on things that are above. Colossians 3:2
Be changed by the renewing of your mind. Romans 12:2
6. Even though He is God, He did not think of ruling in heaven as something to keep holding onto.
The true form or nature of Jesus is God but He changed His outward appearance when He took on a man's body.
The devil tempted Eve to think she could be equal to God (see Isaiah 14 :14). Jesus did not choose to remain in heaven as God but chose to come to earth in the likeness of a man.
7. But emptied Himself and took the position of a servant and was born as a human being.
The correct translation here is, “He emptied Himself.”
In the year 325 A.D. a man named Arius decided that this meant that Jesus was no longer God because He emptied Himself of His deity.
The church leaders of that day had a meeting called the Council of Nicea so that they could make it clear that Jesus was fully God and fully man.
The council said that Jesus was of the same substance as God, which is shown by the word “Homoiousia” in Greek.
The devil always tries to make his suggestions seem to be only a small thing, so he put it into the heart of Arius to say that Jesus was similar to God.
Arius changed the word of the council to “Homoousia” (similar to God) by leaving out the Greek letter “iota” (in the Roman alphabet this is the letter “i”). This is known as the Iota Controversy.
Arius should have read his Bible... “I and my Father are one.” (John 10:30)
The teachings of Arius also are used by the Jehovah Witnesses and Mormons. This is known as Doceticism which teaches that Jesus did not have a real body but was a spirit.
8. He humbled Himself in obedience to the point of death on a cross.
The Roman politician Cicero said that death on a cross was so full of dishonor that it should never be mentioned by Roman citizens.
The original language here shows that this should be translated as THE name not just a name. Rev. 19:16. Isa. 52:13
This is the opposite of William Ernest Henley's poem “Invictus” which claims that he is the captain of his own soul and the master of his own fate.
11. And every tongue will agree that Jesus Christ is Lord, for the glory of God the Father.
Roman citizens would be reminded here that Christians would not bow to Nero when commanded to call him as their lord. When a Christian was brought before the Roman court all he had to do was offer a pinch of incense and say, Caesar is Lord” and his life would be saved.
Some older Bible versions give the idea that we are to work our way to heaven. James 2:18 says we show the truth of our faith by the way we live, but it doesn't get us to heaven. The idea here is not that we work so that we can be saved (if that was true, then we might boast of how we worked our own way to heaven) but we practice what we preach to show that we are saved. Ephesians 2:8-9
13. For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases Him.
Rom. 7:21-25 shows that Christ can give us the victory over things we cannot control - if we let Him.
14. Do everything without complaining and arguments.
The words here describe a secret argument which is fed by lying spirits or imaginations. This leads to saying evil things about each other which is doing the devil's work for him. 1 Timothy 4:1
The word “crooked” here is the Greek word “scoliosis” which is used today to describe a crooked spine. Scoliosis is caused by a lack of vitamins in the bones. We need the spiritual food of chewing on God's Words every day if we do not want to become crooked. When we do this and share it with others we will shine like the stars in the sky. See Daniel 12:3.
16. Hold firmly to the Word of life; then, on the day of Christ's return, I will be proud that I did not run the race for nothing.
God's Words are spiritually understood. They speak to your conscience and your spirit but not always to your mind. “My Words are Spirit and life.” (John 6:63) See also Hebrews 4:12 and 1 Corinthians 2:14.
In the book of Leviticus we see that each sacrifice had a different purpose. The drink offering describes a total trust in God. Jacob poured out a drink offering because he had nothing else to give (Genesis 35:14). See also 2 Samuel 23:15-17.
Here are some sacrifices we can offer to God:
Psalm 51:17 shows that we can offer our response to God when we are attacked or insulted by humbling ourselves and not getting revenge.
Hosea 6:6 says that God would rather see us forgiving our neighbor than to offer Him a sacrifice.
Paul says, “Rejoice with me! If I die here in Rome it would be worth any sacrifice to me because I had the privilege of serving you!”
19. If the Lord Jesus is willing, I hope to send Timothy to you soon. Then he can cheer me up by telling me about how you are doing.
I have complete confidence that Timothy will soon be able to come and visit me and then I will send him to you.
20. I have no one with me now who is like Timothy, who genuinely cares about you.
Timothy and I have the same kind of heart. He is like nobody else in the ministry to me.
21. All the others care only for their own things and not for the things of Jesus Christ.
Stop and ask God about it before you seek your own way. What if Adam and Eve would have told the serpent that they needed to ask their Heavenly Father first before acting on impulse?
22. You know how Timothy was tested. Like a son with a father, he has been as a fellow-slave with me in sharing God's Message.
Timothy has been tested and passed the tests of the ministry.
23. I hope to send him to you as soon as I find out what is going to happen to me here.
Paul is saying that he is waiting on God's timing.
Roman law gave an accuser a certain amount of time to appear in court before the case would be dropped. Paul was under arrest for two years (Acts 28:30) and was released. This could have been either because the Jews who accused him in Jerusalem never came to Rome or the because the court waited too long to open his case and the law said he would have to be released. Paul knew that the time for something to happen was getting close.
25. I thought I should send Epaphroditus back to you. He is a true brother, co-worker, and fellow-soldier. And he was your messenger to help me in my need.
The word apostle means “one who is sent.”
Paul is saying that Epaphroditus was sent as an apostle of the Philippians –not an Apostle of Jesus. The proof of an Apostle of Jesus Christ is found in 1 Corinthians 9:1 where we see the Bible definition as someone who has seen the risen Lord.
Revelation 2:2 says that we should test people who call themselves apostles.
Some who say they are apostles are lifting themselves up as being more important than other Christians. The early Christians wrote a book called the Didache which said to beware of people like this because they are wanting to get something from you.
26. I am sending him because he has been longing to see you, and he was concerned that you heard he was sick.
The word “deep concern” is used here which shows how close the Philippians and Epaphroditus were to each other. It is the same word used to describe Jesus' agony in the Garden of Gethsemane.
27. And he was sick, close to death. But God had mercy on him and also on me, so that I would not have one sorrow after another.
Isaiah 53:5 shows us that healing is available to us but we see that God did not heal in every case. See Timothy was often sick (1 Timothy 5:23). Trophimus was sick. ( 2 Timothy 4:20).
Sickness of Discipline
“Your sins are forgiven.” (Matthew 9:5)
“If I send sickness among you.” (2 Chronicles 7:13)
“I will bring none of these diseases upon you which I have brought on the Egyptians.” Exodus 15:26, Deuteronomy 7:15
Sickness Unto Death
John 11:14, 2 Kings 20:1
Sickness to reveal the Glory of God
“ His disciples asked Him, “Why was this man born blind? Was it because of his own sins or his parents' sins?
“It was not because of his sins or his parents' sins,” Jesus answered. “This happened so the power of God could be seen in him.” John 9:2-3
Paul was weak in his flesh but God used this to keep him from becoming proud and cause him to rest in God's power alone. 2 Corinthians 12:10
28 – 29
You will be encouraged when you see that Epaphroditus is well. Paul was directing them to see Epaphroditus as a leader now and not just someone who represented them by delivering a gift to Paul.
The name Epaphroditus means “favored by the goddess Aphrodite.” This demon idol was the god of those who gamble. Paul may have been using this idea to show that Epaphroditus gambled with his life while serving in the ministry.