Philippians 3:6 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Philippians 3:6, NIV: "as for zeal, persecuting the church; as for righteousness based on the law, faultless."

Philippians 3:6, ESV: "as to zeal, a persecutor of the church; as to righteousness under the law, blameless."

Philippians 3:6, KJV: "Concerning zeal, persecuting the church; touching the righteousness which is in the law, blameless."

Philippians 3:6, NASB: "as to zeal, a persecutor of the church; as to the righteousness which is in the Law, found blameless."

Philippians 3:6, NLT: "I was so zealous that I harshly persecuted the church. And as for righteousness, I obeyed the law without fault."

Philippians 3:6, CSB: "regarding zeal, persecuting the church; regarding the righteousness that is in the law, blameless."

What does Philippians 3:6 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

Paul continues his list of Jewish credentials, begun in verse 5. His purpose is to support his right to preach salvation by faith, instead of by works. Paul met every ritual and legal requirement of Judaism, better than any of his detractors. And yet, he realized that this was not what made him righteous before God: that comes by faith alone.

Here, he mentions his burning passion for Judaism, which led him to brutally persecute Christians before his own conversion. Paul was originally named "Saul," and was infamous for his harassment of the church before being changed by Christ (Acts 9). When he first became a believer, many Christians feared accepting him.

Paul notes also that, according to the Torah and ritual law, he was obedient. He followed the Jewish traditions, and kept himself ritually clean. Very few Jews could make this claim. Even fewer could match all of the claims Paul has listed in these few verses. This is why Paul could say, even to those who thought they had reasons to be confident in their rituals and works, that he had "more" (Philippians 3:4).

All of this sets Paul up for a stark contrast, beginning in verse 7. After noting his human accomplishments, he discards them all as "loss" for the sake of Christ. Regardless of his worldly success, his hope was found in knowing Christ Jesus as Lord and living for Him (Philippians 3:8).