6 November 2010

Philippians 4:10-19

"And God will fully satisfy every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus." (v.19)


This is basically Paul's thank you letter to a church whose generous giving has helped him though some hard times. Paul was in prison in Rome, many miles away, yet the Philippians had gone to the trouble of getting a collection together, and sending a messenger - Epaphroditus - to deliver their gifts to him.

Verses 14 and 19 are very popular in some church circles today. A lot of Christians quote verse 14 when faced with some seemingly insurmountable task, or just as a means of motivating themselves to achieve personal goals. But there is a danger of it being used as a license for people to try their hand at things they really do not have the necessary skills or expertise for. Likewise, Christians can sometimes focus heavily on verse 19's promise that God will supply all their needs - but not in the context of the preceding verses!

Paul's response to the gift from the Philippians is worth noting. Yes, receiving the gift was great and it surely must have been a great help to him. But more important than the gift itself was what it said about the donors. It proved that the Philippian church members were growing in love, since it was love that had prompted them to help support Paul in his time of need.

To Ponder

How easy do you find it to be content when you have little? How about when you have much?

What can this passage teach us about giving money towards church work?

Bible notes author

George Luke

George Luke works as an editor and writer at Methodist Church House. He grew up in Sierra Leone and now lives in London.