Paul and Timothy, the servants of Jesus Christ, to all the saints in Christ Jesus that are at Philippi, with their pastors and deacons;
Grace and peace be yours from God who is our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ.
I give thanks to my God for all my memories of you,
happy at all times in all the prayer I offer for all of you;
so full a part have you taken in the work of Christ’s gospel, from the day when it first reached you till now.
Nor am I less confident, that he who has inspired this generosity in you will bring it to perfection, ready for the day when Jesus Christ comes.
It is only fitting that I should entertain such hopes for you; you are close to my heart, and I know that you all share my happiness in being a prisoner, and being able to defend and assert the truth of the gospel.
God knows how I long for you all, with the tenderness of Jesus Christ himself.
And this is my prayer for you; may your love grow richer and richer yet, in the fulness of its knowledge and the depth of its perception,
so that you may learn to prize what is of value; may nothing cloud your consciences or hinder your progress till the day when Christ comes;
may you reap, through Jesus Christ, the full harvest of your justification to God’s glory and praise.
I hasten to assure you, brethren, that my circumstances here have only had the effect of spreading the gospel further;
so widely has my imprisonment become known, in Christ’s honour, throughout the praetorium and to all the world beyond.
And most of the brethren, deriving fresh confidence in the Lord from my imprisonment, are making bold to preach God’s word with more freedom than ever.
Some of them, it is true, for no better reason than rivalry or jealousy; but there are others who really proclaim Christ out of good will.
Some, I mean, are moved by charity, because they recognize that I am here to defend the gospel,
others by party spirit, proclaiming Christ from wrong motives, just because they hope to make my chains gall me worse.
What matter, so long as either way, for private ends or in all honesty, Christ is proclaimed? Of that I am glad now; yes, and I shall be glad hereafter;
I am well assured that this will make for my soul’s health, with you to pray for me, and Jesus Christ to supply my needs with his Spirit.
This is my earnest longing and my hope, that I shall never be put to the blush; that I shall speak with entire freedom, and so this body of mine will do Christ honour, now as always, in life or in death.
For me, life means Christ; death is a prize to be won.
But what if living on in this mortal body is the only way to harvest what I have sown? Thus I cannot tell what to choose;
I am hemmed in on both sides. I long to have done with it, and be with Christ, a better thing, much more than a better thing;
and yet, for your sakes, that I should wait in the body is more urgent still.
I am certain of that, and I do not doubt that I shall wait, and wait upon you all, to the happy furtherance of your faith.
Yes, you shall be prouder of me than ever in Christ Jesus, when I come once again to visit you.
Only, you must play a part worthy of Christ’s gospel; whether I come to see you, or only hear about you at a distance, this must be my news of you, that you are standing fast in a common unity of spirit, with the faith of the gospel for your common cause.
Shew a bold front at all points to your adversaries; that is the seal of their perdition, of your salvation, and it comes from God;
the grace that has been granted you is that of suffering for Christ’s sake, not merely believing in him.
Your battle is my own battle; you saw how I fought it once, and you have heard how I am fighting it now.