What does Philippians 1:8 mean?
ESV: For God is my witness, how I yearn for you all with the affection of Christ Jesus.
NIV: God can testify how I long for all of you with the affection of Christ Jesus.
NASB: For God is my witness, how I long for you all with the affection of Christ Jesus.
CSB: For God is my witness, how deeply I miss all of you with the affection of Christ Jesus.
NLT: God knows how much I love you and long for you with the tender compassion of Christ Jesus.
KJV: For God is my record, how greatly I long after you all in the bowels of Jesus Christ.
NKJV: For God is my witness, how greatly I long for you all with the affection of Jesus Christ.
Verse Commentary:
Paul held these believers in his heart (Philippians 1:7) and also yearned for them, missing them while apart from them in Rome. Paul uses the phrase "God is my witness" elsewhere only in Romans 1:9–10 where he stated, "For God is my witness, whom I serve with my spirit in the gospel of his Son, that without ceasing I mention you always in my prayers." This phrase was one of his ways to bring emphasis to his following statement.

Paul's "affection" is also only used in a few other locations. In Romans 12:10, he taught to "Love one another with brotherly affection." He also spoke of God's affection for the Corinthian believers (2 Corinthians 7:15). Later in Philippians 2:1–2, Paul refers to affection again, stating, "So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind."
Verse Context:
Philippians 1:3–11 is Paul's expression of thanks and gratitude for the believers of Philippi. Not only have they been generous in their support of Paul, they have been faithful even when he was imprisoned. Paul claims to thank God for these Christians in all of his prayers. At the same time, Paul has high hopes that the church of Philippi will continue to mature and strengthen their relationship with 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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