1 Greetings from Paul and Timothy, servants of Jesus Christ.
To all of you in Philippi who are God’s holy people in Christ Jesus, including your elders* elders Here, literally, “overseers.” See “elders (New Testament)” in the Word List. and special servants.
2 Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
3 I thank God every time I remember you. 4 And I always pray for all of you with joy. 5 I thank God for the help you gave me while I told people the Good News. You helped from the first day you believed until now. 6 I am sure that the good work God began in you will continue until he completes it on the day when Jesus Christ comes again.
7 I know I am right to think like this about all of you because you are so close to my heart. This is because you have all played such an important part in God’s grace to me—now, during this time that I am in prison, and whenever I am defending and proving the truth of the Good News. 8 God knows that I want very much to see you. I love all of you with the love of Christ Jesus.
9 This is my prayer for you:
that your love will grow more and more; that you will have knowledge and understanding with your love; 10 that you will see the difference between what is important and what is not and choose what is important; that you will be pure and blameless for the coming of Christ; 11 that your life will be full of the many good works that are produced by Jesus Christ to bring glory and praise to God.
Paul’s Troubles Help the Lord’s Work
12 Brothers and sisters, I want you to know that all that has happened to me has helped to spread the Good News. 13 All the Roman guards and all the others here know that I am in prison for serving Christ. 14 My being in prison has caused most of the believers to put their trust in the Lord and to show more courage in telling people God’s message.
15 Some people are telling the message about Christ because they are jealous and bitter. Others do it because they want to help. 16 They are doing it out of love. They know that God gave me the work of defending the Good News. 17 But those others tell about Christ because of their selfish ambition. Their reason for doing it is wrong. They only do it because they think it will make trouble for me in prison. 18 But that doesn’t matter. What is important is that they are telling people about Christ, whether they are sincere or not. So I am glad they are doing it.
I will continue to be glad, 19 because I know that your prayers and the help the Spirit of Jesus Christ gives me will cause this trouble to result in my freedom.† freedom Or “salvation.” 20 I am full of hope and feel sure I will not have any reason to be ashamed. I am certain I will continue to have the same boldness to speak freely that I always have. I will let God use my life to bring more honor to Christ. It doesn’t matter whether I live or die. 21 To me, the only important thing about living is Christ. And even death would be for my benefit.‡ death … benefit Paul says that death would be better, because death would bring him nearer to Christ. 22 If I continue living here on earth, I will be able to work for the Lord. But what would I choose—to live or to die? I don’t know. 23 It would be a hard choice. Sometimes I want to leave this life and be with Christ. That would be much better for me; 24 however, you people need me here alive. 25 I am sure of this, so I know that I will stay here and be with you to help you grow and have joy in your faith. 26 When I am there with you again, you will be bursting with pride over what Christ Jesus did to help me.
27 Just be sure you live as God’s people in a way that honors the Good News of Christ. Then if I come and visit you or if I am away from you, I will hear good things about you. I will know that you stand together with the same purpose and that you work together like a team to help others believe the Good News. 28 And you will not be afraid of those who are against you. All of this is proof from God that you are being saved and that your enemies will be lost. 29 God has blessed you in ways that serve Christ. He allowed you to believe in Christ. But that is not all. He has also given you the honor of suffering for Christ. Both of these bring glory to Christ. 30 You saw the difficulties I had to face, and you hear that I am still having troubles. Now you must face them too.
*1:1 elders Here, literally, “overseers.” See “elders (New Testament)” in the Word List.
†1:19 freedom Or “salvation.”
‡1:21 death … benefit Paul says that death would be better, because death would bring him nearer to Christ.