Philippians 2:12-16
Realization of Christian way of life dynamics

Pronunciation guideline:
O = the long o sound of the omega
A = the long a sound of the eta.

Verse 12

1. so then: introduces further explanation in view of previously stated factors.

A. Verse 1:27 - live the Christian life, fulfilling the 3 issues of Christian testimony

1. Unity of attitude (spirit)
2. Unity of doctrinal content (soul)
3. Diligence in service

B. Verse 2:1 - The support and motivation

1. support:

a. encouragement from status IN Christ
b. Comfort from Divine love (experiential)
c. Fellowship with the Spirit - Divine guidance, walking in the Spirit

2. Motivation

a. affection response toward God
b. Compassion response toward others

C. Verse 2:12 - fulfill your salvation
D. Called stand firm at verse 4:1

2. My beloved: agapAtos - Used 25 times by Paul and indicates that they are the recipients of his affection and his dedication desire for maximum benefit to them.

3. Just as always: kathOs pantote - recognizes past consistency

4. Obeyed: hupakouO, as an aorist active indicative

A. Refers to the general characteristic of their Christianity.
Ie. obedience to Divine policy

B. This letter is simply exhortation to continue in view of the massive persecution confronting Paul and Christians everywhere.

1. Verse 1:7, imprisonment
2. Verses 1:12-14, imprisonment for the cause of Christ.
3. Verses 1:28-30, God's plan for Christians to undergo persecution pressure.
4. Verse 3:2, Beware

C. Not only in my presence: The more obvious for those who want to stay in someone's favor would be to be obedient in their sight, but this could be hypocritical and patronizing.

D. But now in my absence: the sign of true devotion is to MUCH MORE, (polus mallon) fulfill Christian duties when not in Paul's sight, but doing it because of genuine love for God and appreciation for the so great salvation that He has given them.


5. Work out your salvation: the verb is katergadzomai as a present middle imperative, which means to carry something out to its defined goal or conclusion.
In other words, to manifest (work) something the way it should be seen. In this case, the salvation that they ALREADY have is to be manifested in their life as they express true humility toward God (fear and trembling), knowing that God is at work within us through the Holy Spirit and the word (1 Thessalonians 2:13).
The present tense indicates that these believers should be CONTINUALLY working on manifesting their Christianity so that they can fulfill verse 15.

6. With fear: phobos, has emphasis on the mental attitude of humility/respect toward God. The fear of the Lord is the basis for everything else in our Christian experience as we subordinate ourselves to God's authority, viewpoint and policy (Proverbs 1:7; 1 Peter 1:17).

7. and trembling: tromos, has emphasis on the overt expression of humility/respect which is obedience to Divine policy as already suggested by the word for obey.

A. fear and trembling has both a generic meaning and a specialized meaning.

B. The generic meaning sees fear as being afraid and the trembling as the overt expression of that terror by "shaking in your boots."

C. The specialized meaning sees fear as respect toward God, and the trembling as overt actions that DEMONSTRATE that reverence.

8. God is the object of this fear and trembling because He is the one who has provided everything we need for life and worship (2 Peter 1:3), and he has graciously supplied us with ALL THINGS (Romans 8:32).
Accordingly, verse 13 directs us to God as the one who is working within us - SEEKING for our obedience.

9. See topic: The FEAR OF THE LORD


Verse 13

1. For: gar, gives an explanation of where our humility respect and obedience is to be directed.

2. It is God who works: energeO as a present active participle refers to the process of energizing which motivates the believer to desire to please God and to further follow Divine policy.

A. At Hebrews 13:20-21, this is done through equipping grace (1 Corinthians 15:10).

1. Thus through the provision of His word and our using it (knowledge and application), we are equipped and energized to fulfill the Christian way of life.

2. 1 Thessalonians 2:13 indicates that it is the word that performs a work in us.

3. 2 Corinthians 3:18, refers to the mirror of the Word.
4. See Topic: EQUIPPING GRACE: Growth Process

B. Support grace: 1 Thessalonians 3:12-13
This is refers to both the emotional and the rational support we get from God through His PROMISES. These are designed to keep us focused on God's character and plan, instead of focusing on the troubles, heartaches, and disappointments of this earthly life.
See Topic: SUPPORT GRACE: Growth Process

3. Both to will: thelO is the verb and as a present active infinitive, it refers to the desire we have within our soul to please God.
Paul described this desire as agreeing with "the law of God in the inner man," at Romans 7:22. As we learn more about God through His word, we gain the capacity to love Him more, and the natural extension of that love - service.

4. And to work: energeO, as a present active infinitive, refers to the overt follow through from the attitude that is in the heart.
It is called doing good works at Ephesians 2:10.
We are to use the resources of God through His energizing (Spirit and the word) to fulfill the righteousness of God.

5. for his plan: The Greek word is eudokia and means a good intention or even design. It thus refers to the plan of God - and specifically, His plan for the believer as a FUNCTIONAL ambassador for Christ.
At Ephesians 1:5, the word is used to refer to the plan of God concerning salvation, and it says, "according to the PLAN of His will."
Ephesians 1:9, tells us that the MYSTERY aspect of God's plan is "according to His PLAN, which He designed in Him (Christ)."


Verse 14

1. Do all things: every aspect of your life should be LIVED in this manner. The verb is poieO as a present active imperative and indicates a continuous or CHARACTERISTIC practice that avoids the emotional and intellectual rationalization in every area of life.

2. without grumbling: gonggusmos as a plural is grumblingS. It refers to emotional complaining and arguing that results from not resting in divine provision. It uses FEELINGS to determine validity or benefit rather than keeping the emotions as responders to the heart.

3. or disputings: dialogismos (plural) refers to intellectual complaining and arguing which attempts to rationalize Divine policy.
The opposite then, is intellectual honesty and objectivity


Verse 15 - consistent testimony

1. So that: hina + the subjunctive mood is used to indicate the purpose for maintaining emotional and doctrinal objectivity.

2. you may prove: the verb is ginomai, and it means to become. As an aorist middle subjunctive, it refers to the change in one's attitudes and actions as they avoid emotional and intellectual compromise.
Only spiritual objectivity reflects the LIGHT of truth in the 3 areas that are now mentioned.

3. Blameless: the adjective, amemptos, refers to character consistency as it is used at 1 Thes. 2:10 and 5:23.
It includes what was described at Philippians 1:27, as unity in attitude (spirit) and knowledge (soul), and service activity.

4. and innocent: the adjective akeraios, means unmixed or pure, and refers doctrinal content and application. At Romans 16:19 the word is used to indicate the absence of any compromise with evil (viewpoint purity). At Philippians 1:27, it corresponds with unity of soul.

5. Children of God: This term is used to describe that unique class of human being which shares in God's quality of life by being in his spiritual family.
It speaks of the issue of consistent IMITATION of God as seen at Eph. 5:1-8, and amplified in the moral areas mentioned in following that.

6. above reproach: the adjective, amOmos, means irreproachable, and refers to the overt life that others see. This word refers to the believer's TESTIMONY before others. Thus, a consistent representation of the truth in striving for THE faith as seen at Philippians 1:27, of which no one can find any substantial inconsistencies.


A. in the midst: the adjective, mesos, indicates geographical participation.

1. The believer remains here on earth as a stranger and alien (1 Peter 1:1; 2:11) because his citizenship is in heaven (Philip. 3:20).

2. As an ambassador at large, his job is to strive for THE faith of the gospel (Philip. 1:27) and represent LIGHT viewpoint to the people of the world (Matthew 5:14-16).

3. As such the believer is not to isolate himself from the world, in some attempt to avoid contact with the evil (1 Cor. 5:9-10), but to EXPOSE and REPROVE the evil (Ephesians 5:3-16).
See Topic: The Alien Mentality

B. Of a generation: the word genea can refer either to a race or a generation. In this case it refers to the human race from the standpoint of its character at any given time in human history.

1. (morally) crooked: the adjective, skolios refers to something that IS or GOES crooked. Thus, it is off the right path.
This refers primarily to the moral deviation of the world, which rejects God's design for the four divine institutions.
The word is used at Acts 2:40, where the new believers are exhorted to be delivered from the moral perverse generation (world) in which they live.

2. and (spiritually) perverse: This adjective is actually a perfect passive participle from the verb diastrephO, which means to pervert or distort. Here it refers to the spiritual depravity of the human race; the attitudes and actions that reject God's terms for relationship and worship.

3. At Galatians 1:4, this generation is called, this present evil age, using the word ponAros for that which is arrogantly and infectiously harmful to members of the human race.

4. Two historical examples:

a. The Exodus generation: Deuteronomy 32:5, 15-21; 9:7, 24; Psalm 78:8

b. The Messiah generation: Matthew 17:17; 15:7-9; 13:14-15

5. IN general the indictment at Ephesians 5:16, days are evil.


8. Among whom: en plus the relative pronoun again reminds us of our alien status.

A. You appear: the verb is phainO as a present middle indicative, which indicates a CONTINUOUS responsibility that SHOULD elicit a continuous function.

B. As lights in the world: The noun phOstAr in the plural indicates a light bearer; those who carry and reflect the light of divine truth into the world. The primary issue in this context is overt production as at Proverbs 4:18 and Matthew 5:14-16. The good works of Ep. 2:10.


Verse 16a the MECHANICS of reflecting light

1. Holding fast: This is the verb, echo, as a present active participle to indicate a CONTINUOUS activity on the part of the believer who is functioning efficiently as an ambassador for Christ. The word means to have and hold and with THE WORD as the object, it indicates a consistent growth process and application of divine viewpoint in order to meet the moral and spiritual needs of the world's citizenry.

2. the word of truth: The revealed word of God which represents ABSOLUTE truth in a world of relative values and ideologies.

3. This is the only way that light can be properly reflected in this world of darkness. The believer needs to be able to recognize both the darkness (Ephesians 5:7-13) and the artificial light (2 Cor. 11:14-15).
That can only be done by knowing God's truth (Hebrews 5:14).


Verse 16b Paul's basis for glory at the reward seat of Christ is the success of his teaching ministry in the lives of believers.

1. so that: the directional preposition, eis points to both a purpose and a result of these believers having a successful Christian life.

2. in the day of Christ: This refers to the event after the rapture when the believers will have their works evaluated and rewarded at the justice seat of Christ. 1 Cor. 3:10-15; 2 Corinthians 5:9-10

3. I may have cause to glory: This is the noun that follows the preposition, eis, and indicates that the result of the believer's success is a "cause to glory for me." The noun is kauchAma and means a reason to rejoice or take pride in something. In this case it refers to an attitude of joy and satisfaction.

4. that I did not run or labor in vain: kenos refers to the idea of emptiness, aimlessness, without purpose. In this case the possibility exists for the endeavors of a spiritual (in fellowship) believer to have been accomplished without positive results. This does not affect the reward for service of that believer, but Paul has in mind a PARTICIPATION in the success of those whom he has served, so that he can rejoice and find genuine satisfaction that he has helped others. It is of course, based on the divine recognition of such service. If the believers served fail to advance in light and have none or minimum rewards at the justice seat of Christ, this would be an initial disappointment to Paul, for he certainly wants every believer to be fully rewarded.

A. He wants no one to be tricked out of their reward. Col. 2:18

B. He expresses his concern for the Galatians. Gal. 4:11

C. He expresses his concern for the Thessalonians. 1 Thes. 3:5

D. John reflects this possibility at 2 John 8.

See Topic: Rewards

E. RUN has to do with the WINNING aspect of it (1 Cor. 9:24-27).

F. LABOR has to do with the SERVICE aspect of it.
1 Corinthians 3:8, Now he who plants and he who waters are one; but each will receive his own reward according to his own labor.
Philippians 1:22, But if {I am} to live {on} in the flesh, this {will mean} fruitful labor for me;
Colossians 1:29, And for this purpose also I labor, striving according to His power, which mightily works within me.

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