Bible Studies For Life

Giving with Joy             Session 6                     26 FEB 17

PHIL 4:10 The Judaizers continually claimed that Paul was into Christianity only for the money. In that day, there were Greek philosophers who toured on a lecture current for money, just as many do today. Paul made it a policy for himself to accept no wages from any church. Instead he relied upon his trade, that to him by his father, of tent-making. You often do not appreciate that in all his work and travels, Paul still had to take time to make tents to sell. (Acts 18:1-4) However, he would, on occasion, accept freewill financial gifts. On several occasions, Philippi had sent him gifts. And they begin in a poor area (2 Cor 8:2).  So he was grateful that he finally had a gift. He meant “At the last” in on sense of rebuke but as an expression that he could use it and was very glad to get it. This we can say because he noted “you lacked opportunity.” This could mean several things from not being able to give to his Caesarea imprisonment prevented the receipt of gifts. None the less, it was not their fault and he made sure to say so. But we must note that Paul’s strong statement of “I rejoiced in the Lord greatly” it not for the money as such but that it was evidence that they still thought of him.

PHIL 4:11 “Want” here means that which is lacking. He had all the necessities without their money. So his appreciation was not from need. If ever a person had a movie-like up-down-up-down-etc. life, it was Paul. “Content” means to be sufficient. Paul had learned over time to accept the conditions of the day. Truly he practiced (Mat 6:34 RSV) ""Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Let the day's own trouble be sufficient for the day." Neither he nor Jesus is saying ‘Don’t do anything to improve the situation.” But there are limits and a person must recognize and accept those limits, or undo hardships will happen that only add to whatever problems already exist.

PHIL 4:12 The first “know” means perceptive knowledge.” So out of his own life experiences, he had learned to adapt to every life situation. Paul referred to both low income and overflowing income. To adjust properly to each came to be quite difficult. However, it is easier for most to adjust to prosperity. The Greek literally says “in everything and in all things.” So whatever happened and at all times, Paul had learned the secret to be (Greek) “gorged or fattened” and hungry and practiced it. The second “know” means to know with the mind. So Paul had learned the lesson well and it was a part of his capability.

PHIL 4:13 “Christ” is not in the Greek though the thought seems true when we see the times Paul used “in the Lord.” The Greek reads “in the one putting strength in me.” However, “the one” is not Jesus. It is the Holy Spirit! (John 15:26 RSV) "But when the Counselor comes, whom I shall send to you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, who proceeds from the Father, he will bear witness to me;" The one in 24 hour daily indwelt contact with every Christian is the Holy Spirit. He is the one through whom Paul “can do all things.” The Holy Spirit provides the strength but if we don’t use it, it just stays available. But working with the Holy Spirit, a’’ things can be done. Naturally, that is not an absolute “all”. But if life allows it to be done, a Christian with the Holy Spirit can get it done. But even here we must stay with the context. The context is the ability to be content in spite of the situation. [Or today we might say “Keep the Joy!”] Thus Paul really is saying: “I can be content in all things through the Holy Spirit who gives me the strength for me to use to do so.” To apply this verse universally, as so many do and as we wish it would say, is not scriptural.

            (1 Th 5:18 RSV) "give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you."

PHIL 4:14 Paul quickly inserts here, so there will be no misunderstanding, that he really appreciates their gift. “Well” precedes “done”, thus “well” is emphasized. “Communicate” is an intense form of the participle for sharing or having fellowship. This is with his “affliction” or better Greek “tribulation.” It was used commercially of grapes in a winepress. So Paul admits to being in serious financial trouble prior to their gifts. He probably had rent due on his house and probably had not been able to make and sell tents since he was under house-arrest.

PHIL 4:15-16 When the church at Antioch ordained Paul and Barnabas to be missionaries, no mention is made that this church helping pay for their expenses. In the New Testament, this is the earliest mention of any kind of help. No church had offered any such support, until he had been with the Philippians. Why was this? Certainly some of the other churches were in far better financial times than those in Philippi. The answer probably rests in the Philippian version of the Women’s Missionary Union. [Certainly there were no male or female organizations in that day of the Church. So I use this as a manner of speaking and as a current cultural reference.]

Remember, that women were the first hearers of Paul in Philippi. Lydia and her household were the first charter members of the Philippian church! Acts 16:14-15. Women had started the Philippian church! So we would expect there would be interest in the physical wellbeing of Paul. Antioch was male-started and run church. Apparently in Philippi, women functioned as equal priests with men in all offices of their church. Again, Paul equated Euodia and Syntyche with Timothy as fellow-workers. The first WMU had done the same for Jesus and His Apostles. (Luke 8:2 RSV) "and also some women who had been healed of evil spirits and infirmities: Mary, called Magdalene, from whom seven demons had gone out, and Joanna, the wife of Chuza, Herod's steward, and Susanna, and many others, who provided for them out of their means." Today, if it were not for the women of the WMU of the 1800’s, the SBC certainly would not be the missionary organization it is. And children missionary training would be a shadow of what it is. Paul had written other places that a church has the duty to financially support the workers of the church who had little or no time to make money for them. 1 Cor 9:9-19; 1 Tim 5:17-18.

PHIL 4:17-18 In and of itself, Paul did not want to personally take their money. But to not accept their gifts would be to deny them the opportunity to give the gift. (Acts 20:35 RSV) "In all things I have shown you that by so toiling one must help the weak, remembering the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, 'It is more blessed to give than to receive.'""

Paul spoke of money because they were not only giving light to the world but giving money beyond their comfortable means.

God blesses giving of all kinds when done with the right reasons. Paul saw that their motivation was for the love of God and himself, and had so other inappropriate reason. So if he did not accept their gift, the “odor of a sweet smell” (an allusion to the Old Testament statements that God has pleasure in the odor of the burnt offerings) would not go up to the father. It is true that to receive a gift is often harder than to give one for a growing Christian. But one must learn to receive graciously as well as to give graciously.

PHIL 4:19 Here again Paul uses “God” to mean the Father. The Greek means a future action. So Paul is encouraging them to not stop their spiritual offerings to the Father by stating that the Father, in the sphere of Christ Jesus, will supply all their “need”. Note this reward is not “out of” but “according to” the Father’s “glorious riches in Christ Jesus.”

PHIL 4:21-23 In the Greek “God and our Father” is governed by one Greek article thus only one person is meant. This is as Paul had started the letter in Phil 1:2 “God our Father.” So “be glory to the Father for ever and ever.” Note (Rev 4:8 RSV) "And the four living creatures, each of them with six wings, are full of eyes all round and within, and day and night they never cease to sing, "Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord God Almighty, who was and is and is to come!" And whenever the living creatures give glory and honor and thanks to him who is seated on the throne, who lives for ever and ever," The Father is the one sitting on the Throne of Heaven.

As Paul Harvey, wise radio commentator of the 20th century often said: “Now the rest of the story.” I have previously said Paul has been relating to his Jewish teachings by saying “God”. However, Jesus also taught this. (John 20:17 RSV) "Jesus said to her, "Do not hold me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father; but go to my brethren and say to them, I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God." Thus the Father is the worship focal point of the Trinity. “Amen” " So be it. “Salute” is a gentile way of say hello. Greet every saint in Christ Jesus. Men and women were/are equal spiritually. “The brethren” in context means “men and women Christians” who are with Paul. In fact, Paul sends greeting from all Christians everywhere, especially those of Caesar’s household. This is to be expected since Philippi is a Roman colony. “Caesar’s household” can include Christians who worked for Caesar [civil servants] be they slaves up through high officials. Finally Paul sends the blessing of Jesus Christ [again] to all the saints. This is both a statement and part of Paul’s prayers.

            Giving is usually taken to mean money. But the real giving meaning is that of self in every way to the needs of lost and saved. That may or may not include money. But is whatever way, giving with joy is based upon the fact of being adopted children of the Father and wanting what the Father wants.

            So the best definition of Giving with Joy (true knowledge) is (2 Cor 4:6 RSV) "For it is the God who said, "Let light shine out of darkness," who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ." This is the core and fundamental giving the Father calls for from Christians. To do less is not doing (Mat 5:14 RSV) ""You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hid. Nor do men light a lamp and put it under a bushel, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven."

             The primary giving a Christian is to do is (Mat 28:19a RSV) "Go therefore and make disciples of all nations,"


Marvin Ganote, Hobbs Study Class, Adult Teacher. Home Page: