What does Philippians 2:17 mean?
ESV: Even if I am to be poured out as a drink offering upon the sacrificial offering of your faith, I am glad and rejoice with you all.
NIV: But even if I am being poured out like a drink offering on the sacrifice and service coming from your faith, I am glad and rejoice with all of you.
NASB: But even if I am being poured out as a drink offering upon the sacrifice and service of your faith, I rejoice and share my joy with you all.
CSB: But even if I am poured out as a drink offering on the sacrificial service of your faith, I am glad and rejoice with all of you.
NLT: But I will rejoice even if I lose my life, pouring it out like a liquid offering to God, just like your faithful service is an offering to God. And I want all of you to share that joy.
KJV: Yea, and if I be offered upon the sacrifice and service of your faith, I joy, and rejoice with you all.
NKJV: Yes, and if I am being poured out as a drink offering on the sacrifice and service of your faith, I am glad and rejoice with you all.
Verse Commentary:
Paul describes his joy at being able to serve, though he does refer to his life as a "drink offering." This refers to the Old Testament practice of pouring a drink offering in worship (Numbers 15:1–10; 28:1–8). After a priest would sacrifice a lamb, ram, or bull, he would pour wine beside the altar. This symbolized the dedication of a person in worship to God.

In Paul's life, he felt his life was being poured out as an act of worship on behalf of those he served. Even if his imprisonment ended in death, he could have joy regarding his life that had been poured out in service to God. At the end of his life, Paul would make a similar statement: "For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure has come" (2 Timothy 4:6). The drink offering and death, or end of service, was closely associated.
Verse Context:
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.
Chapter Summary:
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.
Chapter Context:
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.
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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