What does Philippians 1:27 mean?
ESV: Only let your manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving side by side for the faith of the gospel,
NIV: Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ. Then, whether I come and see you or only hear about you in my absence, I will know that you stand firm in the one Spirit, striving together as one for the faith of the gospel
NASB: Only conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or remain absent, I will hear about you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel;
CSB: Just one thing: As citizens of heaven, live your life worthy of the gospel of Christ. Then, whether I come and see you or am absent, I will hear about you that you are standing firm in one spirit, in one accord, contending together for the faith of the gospel,
NLT: Above all, you must live as citizens of heaven, conducting yourselves in a manner worthy of the Good News about Christ. Then, whether I come and see you again or only hear about you, I will know that you are standing together with one spirit and one purpose, fighting together for the faith, which is the Good News.
KJV: Only let your conversation be as it becometh the gospel of Christ: that whether I come and see you, or else be absent, I may hear of your affairs, that ye stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel;
NKJV: Only let your conduct be worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of your affairs, that you stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel,
Verse Commentary:
In prior verses, Paul explained how his suffering was for the sake of Christ, and encouraged his readers with a hope of reunion. In verse 27, Paul gives the Philippian believers one assignment, in advance of his hoped-for visit: live a life worthy of the gospel. This is very similar to the teaching Paul gave in Ephesians 4:1: "I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called." He says something similar in Colossians 1:10, encouraging others to live out the truth they proclaim.

Paul desires these Christians to show unity to the world. This echoes the teachings of Christ (John 17:11, 22), who emphasized the importance of love in living out the gospel (John 13:34–35). Paul is calling on his readers to live out unity, in one spirit and mind, working together "for the faith of the gospel." His goal continually remained on the gospel and its spread.
Verse Context:
Philippians 1:19–30 shows Paul reflecting on two competing desires. On one hand, a believer wants to serve God and bring others to Christ through their life. On the other hand, a Christian yearns to leave suffering behind—to be with God in eternity. Paul concludes that it's better to live until God calls him home, so he can serve his fellow men. Paul also encourages the Philippians with his conviction that he will be released to see them again. His experiences, good or bad, are all adding to the glory of Jesus Christ.
Chapter Summary:
In chapter 1, Paul thanks the Philippian believers for supporting his ministry. Even when Paul was jailed, or persecuted, they had been generous and loyal. Paul encourages these Christians by explaining that all of his suffering has been for a good cause. Even better, these attempts to persecute Paul have actually caused the gospel to spread. For this, Paul is grateful. He fully expects to be released, and to see the believers of Philippi again.
Chapter Context:
Chapter 1 introduces the major themes of Paul's letter. A large proportion of the passage is given to thanking the Philippian church for their loyal support of Paul. Paul also encourages them with a reminder that, good or bad, anything a Christian experiences can be used for the glory of God. This sets the tone for the rest of the letter, where Paul will continue to stress the importance of living out the Christian life. This, he says, starts with having a proper attitude and approach.
Book Summary:
Philippians is Paul's discussion of living the Christian life. In this letter to the church of Philippi, Paul highlights themes such as joy and glory. He also puts great emphasis on how a Christian's thinking—their attitude—affects the way they live out their faith. Paul is very thankful for the support of the Philippian church, but is also concerned about the influence of various false teachers. This letter is less theological than most of his other writings, and more practical.
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