Useful Bible Studies > Philippians Commentary > chapter 2

Joy in troubles

Philippians 2:18

Paul did not want to die yet – he wanted to continue the work that he was doing for God (1:24-25). However, as a prisoner, he realised that a judge might order his death at any time. So, Paul wanted to prepare his friends in Philippi, so that they were ready for any news of his death.

Paul knew that after death, he would immediately be with Christ in heaven (1:21). So he considered it an honour to suffer and even to die for Christ (Acts 21:13; Philippians 3:10). This was painful and difficult work, but Paul was glad to do it on behalf of Christ. Paul knew how much Christ loved him (Romans 8:35-39). So Paul knew that he (Paul) too must try to know and to love Christ with his (Paul’s) whole heart (3:7-8).

Even as a prisoner, God had given Paul great joy (1:4; 1:18-19). As in Habakkuk 3:17-18, Paul’s joy was in God, not in his circumstances. So, even the thought of Paul’s possible death could not destroy that joy. Rather, it increased Paul’s joy to think that God might permit him to suffer in that way on behalf of Christ. Of course, Paul knew that his joy in heaven would be so much better than all his pain and troubles on earth (Romans 8:18; 2 Corinthians 4:17).

So if Paul did die, he did not want that news to upset the Christians or to spoil their trust in Christ. Rather, he wanted them to find their joy again in Christ. God had given Paul joy through all his troubles; they too could share that joy.

Next part: Timothy's visit to Philippi (Philippians 2:19)


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