Philippians  ◦   Chapter 1

1 Greetings from Paul and Timothy, ambassadors of Christ Jesus, To all those at Philippi (including the ones in leadership) who trust Jesus and have partaken of his healing Remedy to sin:

2 May God our Father and our Lord Jesus Christ pour out their transforming power and peace upon you.

3 I am so thankful for you, that every time I speak to God I tell him how thankful I am.4 In all my conversations with God about you, I always talk with joy,5 because you have been effective partners in promoting the good news about God — from the first day you heard it until now.6 I am completely confident of this: God, who began his good work of healing and restoring you to his original ideal, will continue healing you right up to the day Jesus Christ returns to take us home.

7 It is only natural that I am filled with joy, because you are so dear to me; for no matter what I have been doing, whether in prison or freely proclaiming the good news about God, you have been partakers with me of God's gracious Remedy.8 God can testify how I share with Christ Jesus the deep desire to be with you.

9And when I talk with God, it is my desire for you that your love may grow — with ever-increasing knowledge and understanding of God’s character, methods and principles, with ever-increasing depth of insight — 10 so that you may be able to distinguish with cutting efficiency the difference between the healthy and unhealthy, the true and false, the right and wrong–right up to the day when Jesus comes and takes us home.11 I want you to become true friends of God, who have recovered the ability to think clearly, choose wisely, live completely in harmony with God’s methods and principles, and who reveal Christlike love in everything you do.

12 Brothers and sisters, please understand that my imprisonment, while appearing to be something bad, in actuality has enabled the truth about God to spread much faster and farther than if I had not been imprisoned.13 The entire palace guard and everyone else in Rome has heard that I am imprisoned because of the truth of Jesus Christ.14 Not only that, but many of our brothers and sisters in Christ have been emboldened to present more clearly and forcefully the truth about God as revealed by Christ.

15 It is true that some have begun to preach Christ in order to make themselves popular and draw attention and affection to themselves, but others promote Christ in humility, truly desiring to see Christ exalted.16 The latter work in self-sacrificing love, with empathy and compassion in their hearts, knowing that I am here to promote and defend the truth about God as revealed in Christ Jesus;17 but the former preach Christ only as a way to promote themselves, without love or concern for others. Such selfishness misrepresents the truth about God's self-sacrificing character and brings grief to my heart–even more so while I am locked away and unable to actively counter their distortions.18 But in this pagan world with so many minds in the grossest darkness about God, what does it matter? The most important thing is that the truth about God as revealed by Christ is being preached; whether the motive is true or false–Christ is still being preached. And knowing this brings me joy. Yes, it most certainly does! And I will go on rejoicing,19 knowing that because of your prayers and the working of Jesus in my life, what has happened to me will eventually, one way or another, result in my deliverance.20 For it is my great expectation and hope that I do nothing to misrepresent the truth about God but that I will have sufficient courage, wisdom and grace so that now, as always, the truth about Christ will be exalted in everything I do — whether I am released or whether I am put to death.21 For me, the only purpose in living is to promote the truth about God as revealed in Christ, but I know that when I die, my earthly struggles will be over and I will gain all that I have sought in Christ.22 But if I am to go on living in this sin-infected and weak body, it will mean more productive work in spreading the good news about God. So what should I choose? I don't know!23 Part of me wants to be with Christ as soon as possible, which, of course, is the ultimate goal;24 but unscrupulous people are attacking you, and you still need my guidance.25 Knowing that you are being attacked, I feel certain that I will soon be released so that I may return to you and assist in your continued growth and development in Christ.26 And in our fellowship together, we will rejoice in all that Christ Jesus has done for us.

27 But whatever happens to me, always continue to live in harmony with God's methods and principles, revealing Christlike character in all you do. Then, whether I am able to come and join you or not, I will know that you are united as one body in understanding about God, in appreciation for his methods and in Christlikeness of character,28 without being intimidated by those who threaten and oppose you. Their use of coercion, threat, intimidation, manipulation, deceit and the like reveals that the infection of selfishness is ravaging their minds and they will eventually be destroyed, but your selfless love and patient endurance reveals that you have been healed by God and will receive eternal life.29 For you have been privileged to not only trust Christ, but to agonize with him in promoting this healing message,30 just as I have been struggling to do.