Paul and Timothy say ‘Hello’
1 Paul and Timothy write this letter. We are servants of Christ Jesus.
We are writing to you, God's own people who live in Philippi. You belong to God because you are united to Christ Jesus. We are writing to all of you. This includes your leaders and those who help them.
2 We pray that God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ will continue to help you. We pray that they will give you peace in your minds.
Paul thanks God for the believers at Philippi
3 Every time that I think about you, I thank my God because of you. 4 I am always praying for you. Every time that I pray for you, I feel very happy. 5 I am happy because you are helping people to know the good news about Christ. You have helped me with that work since the first day that someone told you about the good news. And you are still helping with that work. 6 I know that God has begun to do good things in you. And he will continue to work in you until the day when Jesus Christ returns. Then God will finish this work in you. I am sure about that.
7 It is right for me to feel like this about you, because I love you so much. You are very special friends to me. And, like me, all of you continue to know how very kind God is to us. You know it now, while I am in this prison. And you knew it before I was in a prison. Then I was free and I could teach the good news. I explained to people why the good news is certainly true. And all of that is the reason that I love you. 8 God himself knows that I very much want to be with all of you. I love you in the same way that Christ Jesus himself loves you.
9 This is what I pray for you. I pray that you will continue to love each other more and more. I pray that you will continue to know God more and more. If you do that, you will understand things more completely. You will understand why things are right or wrong. 10 So then, you can choose to do what is best. So you can keep yourselves clean inside until the day when Christ returns. So, on that day, you will not have done anything wrong. 11 Jesus Christ will make you completely good and right with God. Jesus will help you also to do many good things. Then you will show everyone the great things that God has done in you. So people will say that God is very great.
God has done good things as a result of Paul's time in a prison
12 Friends, I want you to know this. The things that have happened to me have helped more people to know about God's good news. 13 I am in a prison because I am Christ's servant. All the soldiers in the king's house know that. And everyone else knows that too. 14 Also, because I am in a prison, almost all of the other Christians here are trusting in the Lord. So they have become much braver. The Lord has made them brave so that they are not afraid to speak God's message to people.
15 It is true that some of these Christians do not like me. So, they are telling people about Christ because they want to make me angry. These Christians want people to think great things about them. They want to be better than I am. But other Christians are friendly to me. They speak about Christ because they want to help me. 16 They speak about him because they love me. They know that God has put me here in this prison. And he wants me to explain to people why the good news is true. 17 Those other Christians, who do not like me, speak about Christ because of wrong reasons. They speak about him because they want to seem important. They do not really want people to know Christ. They want to cause trouble for me while I am here in this prison. 18 But it does not matter! All of them are telling people about Christ. That is the most important thing. Whether they speak because of wrong reasons or because of right reasons, they are speaking about Christ! So, because of that, I am happy.
Yes, and I will continue to be happy. 19 You are praying for me and Jesus Christ's Spirit is helping me. So, what has happened to me will have good results for me. God will save me. I know that, so I will continue to be happy. 20 I never want to do anything that will cause me to be ashamed. I hope very much that I will never do that. I hope that now, as always, I will be brave. In my body, I want to show that Christ is very great. I want to do that if I live. And I want to do that if I die.
21 Christ is everything that I live for. And if I die, that will be even better for me. 22 But if I continue to live in this body, I will be able to do more good work. That work will have good results. So perhaps I should continue to live. I do not know whether to live or to die. I do not know which to choose. 23 I want to do both those things. I want to leave this world so that I can be with Christ. That is a much better thing. 24 But you people need me to continue to live in my body. 25 I am sure that you need me. So I know that I will continue to live. I will continue to help all of you. I will help you to believe Christ more and more. So, you will become happier and happier. 26 And, when I am with you again, you will have an even better reason to thank Christ Jesus. You will say that he is very great. You will say that because of what he has done for me.
1:26Paul is in a prison while he is writing this letter. He is waiting to talk to the people who put him in the prison. He is waiting for them to decide what they will do to him. They might decide to kill him. Or they might decide to let him live. If they decide that, he can be free to leave the prison.
27 You have believed the good news about Christ. So, whatever things may happen, you must continue to live for Christ. You must do everything that Christ's people should do. So, whether I come to visit you or not, people will tell me good things about you. I will know that you are continuing to believe Christ strongly. You will be like one person with one spirit and one mind, because all of you have the same purpose. You will work together so that more people will believe the good news. 28 You will not be afraid of your enemies, but instead you will be brave. This will show your enemies that God will certainly destroy them. But it will show also that God will certainly save you from the results of sin. 29 God has given you special work to do as Christ's servants. He wants you to believe Christ. But also, he has chosen that you must have troubles and pain on behalf of Christ. 30 You are fighting the same fight that I am fighting. When I was with you, I was fighting that fight. You saw that. And now people are telling you that I am still fighting that fight.
1:30Paul does not mean that he is really fighting anyone with his body. He means the ‘fight’ against enemies of the good news. The believers at Philippi were in trouble because they were Christ's people. Paul was also in trouble for the same reason. So they were in the same ‘fight’.