Philippians 4: 4-9 (ESV)

“Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me – practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.”

Here are some notes from the Reformation Study Bible on these verses.

4:4 Rejoice. The theme of joy is prominent in Philippians. The command to rejoice can always be obeyed, even in the midst of conflict, adversity, and deprivation, because joy rests not on favorable circumstances, but “in the Lord.” Paul uses repetition to emphasize this truth.

4:5 reasonableness. The Greek word denotes the generous spirit that rises above offenses, or a forbearing spirit, of which Jesus provides the supreme example (2 Cor. 10:1). Such a person does not insist on his rights (2:1-4). Only such persons learn the secret of joy.

The Lord is at hand. This may be understood temporally, looking to Christ’s coming as a future event (3:20, 21), and taking hope from this. Or Paul may also be speaking of Christ’s abiding presence with those united to Him (1:1).

4:6 do not be anxious about anything. Although the same word is used in 2:20 of a loving concern for others, here it denotes an anxiety that is incompatible with trust in God.

in everything. Paul’s language is deliberately all-inclusive; there are no restrictions on applying it.

prayer and supplication with thanksgiving…requests. The four terms used here make up two couplets. Paul is not defining separate types of prayers. Rather, the cluster of words shows what importance he attaches to the practice of prayer. Presenting requests in prayer provides an outlet for anxiety (I Pet. 5:7). Doing so “with thanksgiving” is itself an antidote to worry.

4:7 peace of God.This is the direct answer to the prayer of anxiety. Things that cannot be fully comprehended can nonetheless be peacefully experienced by those who are “in Christ” (1:1; cf. Eph. 3:18, 19).

4:8 Concluding these exhortations, Paul calls his readers to a life of obedience, the right response to the peace of God. The virtues listed are not exhaustive but representative, and they come to expression in countless ways (note the repeated “whatever”). Thinking on such things is not an end in itself, but preparation for purposeful action (v.9).

Closing Prayer attributed to Patrick (Breastplate of Patrick)

May the Power of God preserve us. May the wisdom of God instruct us and the way of God direct us. May the hand of God protect us and the host of God guard us against the snares of evil and the temptations of the world.

3 thoughts on “Philippians 4: 4-9 (ESV)

  1. The preparation for purposeful action begins in the mind, indeed. This is to be a thinking woman purposefully seeking the thoughts and life of Christ. Thanks for typing out these notes.

    Elle, My pleasure…blessings.

  2. AMEN! Anxiety is one of my battles and I know it is incompatable with trust in the Lord. Like Elle mentioned, thank you Ellen for typing this scripture and notes out, very much appreciated.

    M Lou, you are very welcome. blessings…

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