Philippians 4:12 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Philippians 4:12, NIV: "I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want."

Philippians 4:12, ESV: "I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need."

Philippians 4:12, KJV: "I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need."

Philippians 4:12, NASB: "I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need."

Philippians 4:12, NLT: "I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little."

Philippians 4:12, CSB: "I know both how to make do with little, and I know how to make do with a lot. In any and all circumstances I have learned the secret of being content--whether well fed or hungry, whether in abundance or in need."

What does Philippians 4:12 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

Paul continues his discussion on the theme of contentment begun in verse 11. He specifically mentions the range of his ministry experiences, including plenty and hunger, abundance and need. Paul did not speak from theory in this area, but from personal hardships. He had endured much in his service to Christ, including five floggings, three beatings, a stoning, three shipwrecks, and more (2 Corinthians 11:24–29).

His comments here are meant to include all of these situations, as well as many others. Under house arrest while writing this letter, he claims to have found the "secret" to enduring these struggles. As mentioned previously, this is a deliberate choice to be content, in the power of Christ. Paul had gone without food at times, and had been given plenty of food at other times. He had lived with much and with little. He had experienced hunger and thirst, was without friends, and more, noted in a letter written long before Philippians (2 Corinthians 11:27–28).