Useful Bible Studies > Philippians Commentary > chapter 4

Gifts that please God

Philippians 4:18

Paul had received the gifts from Epaphroditus, but in reality those gifts were from Philippi’s Christians. In a similar way, they sent those gifts to Paul, but in reality, they were giving to God (Matthew 25:34-40). As Epaphroditus gave them on behalf of Philippi’s Christians, so Paul received the gifts on God’s behalf.

That made these gifts especially holy. Paul shows how holy he considers these gifts by a special description. They were like the gifts of animals and grain that the priests offered to God by fire (for example, Leviticus 1:9, 1:17 and 2:2). As the smoke from that fire rose towards heaven, so those gifts went directly to God. The Bible says that the smell from those gifts pleased God; in other words, God was pleased with his people. They had remembered his covenant (God’s promises to them); they were serving him in the manner that he had directed them.

In the same way, the gifts that Philippi’s Christians sent, pleased God. They had not given with an attitude of pride, only to impress other people. They were not trying to pay God or to force him to show his kindness to them. Instead, they remembered the great love that God had already shown to them. He sent Christ to die for them, to give them a right relationship with God (Romans 5:6-8). That right relationship caused them too to have great love, both for God and for other people (Mark 12:30-31; 1 Corinthians chapter 13; 1 John 4:19). That was why they gave with such joyful and willing attitudes; that was why their gifts pleased God. Christians should always desire to do those things that please God (Ephesians 5:10).

Next part: God's promise to those who give (Philippians 4:19)


Please use the links at the top of the page to find our other articles in this series. You can download all our articles if you go to the download page for our free 1000+ page course book.


© 2020, Keith Simons.