Philippians 1:21 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Philippians 1:21, NIV: For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.

Philippians 1:21, ESV: For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.

Philippians 1:21, KJV: For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.

Philippians 1:21, NASB: For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain.

Philippians 1:21, NLT: For to me, living means living for Christ, and dying is even better.

Philippians 1:21, CSB: For me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.

What does Philippians 1:21 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

This verse offers some of the most memorable words in the entire Bible: "For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain." Regardless of whether the verdict of his case was life or death, Paul would remain faithful to God. He knew that life on this earth meant to live for Christ, but death would be even better because he would be in the presence of the Lord. Paul was in no hurry to die, since it was important to him to spread the gospel as far as possible (Philippians 1:22).

These words are also important when discussing what happens to a believer's soul upon death. Some have argued that "soul sleep" is possible. This is the view that the believer's soul enters a state of unawareness, and does not go to heaven with the Lord until the future judgment. This verse shows the false nature of this teaching. Paul clearly states his expectation to be with Christ the moment his life on earth ends. This is a view also reflected by Jesus when He told the thief on the cross he would be in paradise with Him "today" (Luke 23:43).