What does Philippians 2:13 mean?
ESV: for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.
NIV: for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.
NASB: for it is God who is at work in you, both to desire and to work for His good pleasure.
CSB: For it is God who is working in you both to will and to work according to his good purpose.
NLT: For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him.
KJV: For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.
In verse 12, Paul commands the Philippian Christians to "work out [their] own salvation," meaning they are to put the truth of their belief into practice. What they are in Christ needs to be "worked out" through their actions and attitudes. The reason for this command is given here in verse 13: God is acting through the lives of these believers. This understanding should lead believers to a deep sense of awe and appreciation.
Paul then adds two areas in which God operates in the life of the believer. First, God works in us to "will" His good pleasure. This includes the idea of placing desires or leading a believer to serve the Lord.
Second, God works in us "to work" for His good pleasure. God's Spirit in the believer gives both the desire and the strength to live for the Lord. "Work" appears as a common theme in this letter (Philippians 1:6; 2:12, 25, 30; 4:3). The idea of "his good pleasure" involves obedience (Philippians 2:12) according to God's Spirit. This is not the legalistic obedience of the law that Paul speaks against in the false teachings of the circumcision group, but rather obedience based on a love for God based on the Spirit living within the believer.
Philippians 2:12–18 explains how Christians ought to live, considering all that Christ was willing to do for them. The command to ''work out'' salvation is a directive to let the new birth in Christ translate into actions. As a part of this, believers should serve God without griping or complaining. Paul knows that his service to God has been hard, but this is simply another form of offering. All Christians are invited to serve in the same selfless way.
Paul describes Jesus Christ as one willing to be humble, in obedience to God the Father. For this, God will exalt Jesus' name above all others. Someday, one way or another, all people will admit that Jesus Christ is Lord, and submit to Him. Paul wants the Philippian believers to live with contentment and unity, without complaining. Instructions are given regarding two visitors. The first is actually the one delivering this letter, Epaphroditus. The other is Timothy, Paul's trusted friend, who hopefully will be visiting soon.
Philippians 1 focused on the importance of perspective. A Christian's life, lived for Christ, may be hard or easy, but all things can give God glory. Chapter 2 frames this concept through the humility shown by Jesus Christ. His willingness to obey God the Father, even being crucified, is the ultimate example of humble service. In return, His name will be honored more than any other. Paul's instructions regarding Timothy and Epaphroditus also form a bridge to chapter 3, where Paul will contrast these good men with the dangers of false teachers.
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.
Accessed 2/25/2024 10:48:21 AM
© Copyright 2002-2024 Got Questions Ministries. All rights reserved.
Text from ESV, NIV, NASB, CSB, NLT, KJV © Copyright respective owners, used by permission.