What does Philippians 2:18 mean?
ESV: Likewise you also should be glad and rejoice with me.
NIV: So you too should be glad and rejoice with me.
NASB: You too, I urge you, rejoice in the same way and share your joy with me.
CSB: In the same way you should also be glad and rejoice with me.
NLT: Yes, you should rejoice, and I will share your joy.
KJV: For the same cause also do ye joy, and rejoice with me.
This verse extends Paul's joy in being used to serve others as an invitation to his readers. Just as Paul was glad and rejoiced, he wanted his readers to be glad as well. Verses 14–17 deal with some difficult, negative aspects of life Paul needed to address. Because his focus in this letter is positive, he quickly transitioned back to a positive tone of joy. Joy has been mentioned multiple times to this point in Paul's letter (Philippians 1:4, 18, 25; 2:2).
The next verse begins a section designed to bring joy to Paul's readers. The chapter also ends with a focus on joy (Philippians 2:29) and begins the next chapter with rejoicing (Philippians 3:1). Chapter 4 likewise emphasizes joy (Philippians 4:1), includes more emphasis on rejoicing (Philippians 4:4, 10) and ends with many positive greetings (Philippians 4:21–23). Joy was clearly an emphasis of his letter to the Philippians.
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.
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