Philippians 1:5 Thanksgiving for the Support

Before you begin this or any study of the Word of God, because you are ultimately taught by God the Holy Spirit, make sure you are in fellowship with Him.  When you are in fellowship with Him, He empowers you to both learn and apply Bible Doctrine.  To regain His filling, apply 1 John 1:9, by naming your sins to God the Father.

If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:9

For more information on this, read this article.

Chapter Outline

Verse 1-2:        The Salutation

Verse 3-           Paul’s Prayer for the Philippians

Verses 1-2  Paul and Timothy, slaves belonging to Christ Jesus, to all the saints in Christ Jesus, to those residing in Philippi, together with pastor-teachers and deacons. Grace to you and so prosperity from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Verses 3-4  Every time I remember you, I thank God for all of you.[Always in my every prayer, for of all of you.]

Verse 5     Thanksgiving for Support

Pertinent Verses

“Each person, to the degree he has determined by means of his thinking, so give.  Not from distress of mind or compulsion of emotions; for God loves a grace-oriented giver. And God is able to make all grace abound to you, that always having all sufficiency in everything; you may have an abundance for every good deed.”  2 Corinthians 9:7-8

“Now He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food, He will supply and multiply your seed for sowing and increase the harvest of your righteousness.  You will be made rich in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God. This service that you perform is not only supplying the needs of God’s people, but is also overflowing in many expressions of thanksgiving to God.” 2 Cor 9:10-12

“But just as you excel in everything in faith-rest and in doctrine and in knowledge and in all diligence of application and in love from you to us, you also excel in this grace giving. 2 Corinthians 8:7

Verse Outline

  1. The Parenthetical Issue
  2. Thanksgiving for the Gift
  3. Motivation for Giving
  4. Purpose for the Gift
  5. The Philippians Faithfulness

1.     The Parenthetical Issue

Now, let’s talk a bit about the parenthetical issue.  Verse 5 continues the thought of verse three after the parenthetical thought presented in verse four.  Verse three reads as this: “I am giving thanks to my God for every memory of you…” Then verse 4, which should be bracketed in parenthesis: [Verse 4: “Always in my every prayer for all of you, when offering prayer with inner happiness.”]The thought then continues in this verse with a prepositional phrase: “because of your contribution…”

Although I have chosen to interpret these verses as parenthetical, there are rationales not to see them as such.  In any case, though Paul may not have been thinking of these words as parenthetical, we can gain the doctrinal thoughts expressed by them this way.

2.     Thanksgiving for the Gift

Let’s start our study of this verse with a reading of the first phrase from the NASB.  It’s a great translation to begin our study with because of its accuracy.Verse 5 begins as: “…in view of your participation…”  (NASB)The Greek reads as: “…ἐπὶτῇκοινωνίᾳὑμῶν…EPI TE KOINONIA HUMON…”

This prepositional phrase begins withEPIἐπὶ, a preposition, translated “because of” by virtue of its being placed with the instrumental case, in this case, the instrumental of cause.  A preposition can change its meaning or in some cases, its nuance, depending upon what case it precedes.

TE τῇ, a definite articlein the instrumental feminine singular, follows. This is the identifying use of the article, which points out and identifies the Philippians generous participation in Paul’s ministry.It is translated: “because of the…”

KOINONIA κοινωνίᾳ follows.Grammatically, it is a noun in the instrumental feminine singular.  Syntactically, it’s an instrumental of cause which is often translated “fellowship,” or “participation.”  Precedence exists in two other verses that give credence to the translation “contribution,” referring to monetary giving. KOINONIA is translated in the NASB as “participation.”  In 2 Corinthians 8:4, the NASB translates KOINONIA as, “participation.”  This verse reads as: “…begging us with much entreaty for the favor of participation in the support of the saints.” The context for this “participation” in verse four is the “support of the saints,” a reference to generous monetary giving, a financial contribution, in other words.

The NASB actually translates KOINONIA as “contribution” in 2 Corinthians 9:13.  The context again, being monetary giving:

“Because of the proof given by this ministry they will glorify God for your obedience to your confession of the Gospel of Christ and for the liberality of your contribution to them and to all.” 2 Corinthians 9:13

In this verse, “participation” fits the overall context of the passage because no phrase further defines the form of their participation.  Their participation included giving, intercessory prayer and companionship.  We have already discussed the procedure and importance of prayer in verse four.   Because their giving was such an important aspect of their participation, we will look closely at that factor.

The last word in this phrase isthepersonal pronounHUMNὑμῶνin the genitive plural. Syntactically, it is a genitive of possession, meaning: “of you all” or “your.”This all leads to a corrected translation of this prepositional phrase: “because of your participation.”

3.     The Philippians’ Motivation for Giving

These believers were Paul’s logistical support.  They were, from theirwealth, in some cases, poverty in others, expressing their gratitude toward God for Paul by supporting him.As a result of their attitude of gratitude they were the only church to support Paul.  They may haveheard that Paulwas making tents for a living.  Yet he was the foremost Bible teacher at that time because he was the only apostle who thoroughly understood the many facets of the then-new church age.  They knew he had an important mission to accomplish which demanded all of his time and energy.  He did not need the distractions of tent-making.  So, they gathered up and sent him sizable monetary gifts that freed up his time so that he was able to spend his time studying, teaching and evangelizing.By supporting him, they were participating in his ministry, just as if they were standing behind him as he taught.They had been supporting him with their gifts since he became a mature believer.

God uses advancing believers to support their pastor to liberate his time for study.  By giving to Paul, they transformed their spiritual prosperity into material prosperity for Paul.This concept becomes blessing to both parties.  This is mutual blessing by association.

Doctrine of Giving

  1. Definition
  2. The Motivation for Giving
  3. The Doctrinal Principles of Giving
  4. Giving related to Pastor-Teacher and Evangelism
  5. The Grace Concept of Giving
  6. The True Meaning of Tithing

4.     Purpose of the Gift

This verse continues with the purpose of the gifts by which Paul was being supported.  The next phrase in the NASB reads: “in the Gospel.”  The Greek looks like this: EIS TOEUANGGELIONεςτεαγγέλιον. This phrase begins with the preposition EISεἰς then is followed by a noun in the accusative of purpose.  The grammar and syntax following the preposition determines its meaning and usage. In this case, EIS is translated as “for the purpose of.” TOτ, which follows,is a definite articlein the accusative neuter singular. This is the monadic use of the definite article, translated “the”which points out and underscores the uniqueness of the Gospel of Christ.  It is translated as, “for the purpose of the…” Let me emphatically underscore the definite article, “the.”  It really points out, underscores and emphasizes the importance of what follows.

The next word is EUANGGELIONεαγγέλιονin the accusative of purpose, neuter singular, translated, “good news.”  This good news is the best ever, referring to our Lord’s Person and work on the Cross.  We will translate it “Gospel.”  So the entire phrase is translated, ‘for the purpose of the Gospel.”

The accusative of purpose asks a question:“To what purpose does the action of the main verb pertain to?”The main verbal idea of this sentence is Paul’s thanksgiving for their support or participation in his ministry.   It reads, “I am giving thanks for your support or participation.”

Paul’s thanksgiving,then, is related to their support which is for the sole purpose of Gospel communication.So, a corrected translation of this prepositional phrase is: for the purpose of the Gospel…”We can expand the translation of this phrase to:“..for the purpose of spreading the Gospel.”  This inserts the word “spreading” which takes into consideration goals of Gospel communication, which is to spread it to as many people as possible. Those who are positive to the Gospel will respond to Jesus Christ. Those who are negative will reject the Gospel.  A person isn’t born being either positive or negative to the Gospel.  This simply reflects the choices a person makes, which makes the prepared to respond to the Spirit’s authority or reject it.  It always boils down the issue of volition.

Beyond communicating the Gospel, believers must be taught the entire realm of doctrine to ensure their spiritual maturity.  This phrase includes Paul’s role, not only evangelization but also the further communication of unique Church Age doctrine.We all tend to emphasize Paul’s role in doctrinal teaching and communication due to his fantastic writings,but he was also an incredible evangelist.Our translation of verse 5, as far as we’ve gotten is this:

“…because of your contribution for the purpose of spreading the Gospel…”

This brings up another categorical study: The Doctrine of Witnessing.

The Doctrine of Witnessing

  1. Introduction
  2. Definition and Description
  3. The Role of God the Holy Spirit
  4. The Issue: Faith Alone in Christ Alone
  5. The Weapon of Witnessing
  6. Mental Attitude in Witnessing
  7. Principles of Witnessing
  8. The Analogy to Witnessing

5.     The Philippians’ Faithfulness

The NASB translates the next phrase as:“from the first day…”The original Greek reads as: APO TES PROTES HEMERAS ARCHI TOU NUNπτςπρώτηςμέρας.  This is another prepositional phrase.  It begins with APO π. It is a preposition followed by an article in the ablative of separation meaning, “from.”Next is the definite article, TESτςused as in this case as a demonstrative pronoun meaning: “that.”PROTES πρώτηςtranslated,“first” is a sequential adjective is next.Next is the noun HEMERASμέραςtranslated “day.”This entire phrase is translated,“from that first day…”  It refers to the first time the Philippians contributed to Paul while he was in Corinth.

An attic Greek or classical Greek phrase concludes this verse: the NASB translates as: “until now.” The Greek reads: ARCHI TOU NUN χριτονν.  ARCHIχριis an improper preposition translated, “until.” Next is TOUτο, the genitive of the definite article.  Then NUNνν an adverb of time translated “…until now,” referring to the time of writing when Paul had received a generous gift from the Philippian believers.  The final translation of  verse 3 and 5 reads this way:

“I am giving thanks to my God for every memory of you because of your participation for the purpose of spreading the Gospel from that first day until now.”

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