What does Philippians 3:13 mean?
ESV: Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead,
NIV: Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead,
NASB: Brothers and sisters, I do not regard myself as having taken hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead,
CSB: Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and reaching forward to what is ahead,
NLT: No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead,
KJV: Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before,
NKJV: Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead,
Verse Commentary:
Paul's goal is perfection, but he has not reached it yet. He is not faultless, nor does he expect to achieve perfection before his death. Instead, he uses the analogy of a runner in a race to depict the motivation of his spiritual life. Like a dedicated runner, he has a single goal. Just as a runner cannot be successful unless they concentrate on the race, neither can Paul be successful growing in Christ if he allows other goals to interfere.

Continuing the running analogy, Paul also chooses to live by an important principle: keeping his attention on the road in front of him. A runner cannot look back and still focus on the goal ahead. The two ideas are mutually exclusive. A runner's goal is to focus on the next step toward his or her goal. Paul's spiritual life is the same. He will not look back to past steps, but focus on improving each step in his race until reaching the goal of being with Christ.

Christians can learn from the past, but we are not bound to the things we have done. Instead of being chained by our past mistakes, we can move forward, knowing that we carry Christ's forgiveness.
Verse Context:
Philippians 3:12—4:1 explains the proper attitude Christians ought to have on the process of ''sanctification.'' This is the gradual, lifelong path of becoming more and more like Jesus. Our place in eternity is secure from the moment we trust in Christ, but it takes time to see our actions and attitudes change to be like His. Paul notes that he is not perfect, but encourages Christians to mimic his singular focus on pursuing Jesus. Paul also weeps for those who reject the gospel, a choice that will result in their destruction.
Chapter Summary:
Paul details his impressive Jewish resume. None of his critics or challengers could boast the pedigree carried by Paul. He mentions this only to emphasize how little such things mean, next to faith in Christ. Paul's language here is sharp and to the point. He then explains how a Christian's focus ought to be purely on Christ, just as a runner concentrates on their goal in order to run effectively. Rather than looking to the past, or to ourselves, we ought to look forward, to an eternity with the Lord.
Chapter Context:
In chapters 1 and 2, Paul explained how Christians should respond to hardships. Since Christ was willing to obey God, even to the point of death, we should do the same. Complaining and worry have no place in the life of a saved believer. Chapter 3 makes a bold contrast. Paul's credentials, according to Jewish tradition, were impeccable. And yet, for him, none of those accomplishments are worth anything next to fellowship with Christ. For this reason, Christ is to be the sole focus of the believer. This sets up Paul's final greetings and instructions in chapter 4.
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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