Useful Bible Studies > Philippians Commentary > chapter 4

The honour for God’s goodness and kindness belongs to him alone

Philippians 4:20

In Philippians 4:19, Paul says that God will provide for his people from ‘the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus’. ‘Riches’ means great wealth; ‘glory’ means all that is truly beautiful and splendid and wonderful. We could say something about wealth in this world; but God’s riches, the true wealth in heaven, are beyond anything that we can imagine (Matthew 6:19-21; Romans 8:18; 1 Corinthians 2:6-9). From that wealth, God wants to provide for his people (Malachi 3:8-12; 2 Corinthians 8:9; 2 Corinthians 9:8-11).

At the thought of God’s goodness, Paul begins to praise God (Psalm 136:1-3). He refers particularly to God as the ‘Father’, because it should be a father’s duty and delight to provide for his children (see Matthew 6:8-11 and 6:31-33). God’s people are his children (John 1:12) and he, as a good father, provides for them.

Paul declares that glory belongs to God always. His use of the word ‘glory’ here has a slightly different meaning. By the word ‘glory’ in verse 20, Paul is referring particularly to the honour that is due to God. God shares his riches with his people, but his honour is due to him alone. God’s people will always live with him in heaven and the New Jerusalem (Revelation 21:1-7); but they are still called his ‘servants’ (Revelation 22:3-5). So, they will always praise him; they will always give him honour; they will always recognise him to be their King and their God.

God’s people will have great honour in heaven and the New Jerusalem, but that honour is not their own. It will come from God; and they will use it to give honour to God.

Next part: Greetings for Philippi's Christians (Philippians 4:21-22)


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