“Lord Jesus, we thank you for giving us on-line Scripture. Thank you for these few moments from our day that we can study your Word.”
3 I thank my God upon all my remembrance of you, 4 always in every supplication of mine on behalf of you all making my supplication with joy, 5 for your fellowship in furtherance of the [c]gospel from the first day until now; 6 being confident of this very thing, that he who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Jesus Christ: 7 even as it is right for me to be thus minded on behalf of you all, because [d]I have you in my heart, inasmuch as, both in my bonds and in the defence and confirmation of the [e]gospel, ye all are partakers with me of grace. (From the ASV.)
First, I’d like to point out that verse 6 is one of those famous, frequently quoted verses. It is nestled quite nicely in Paul’s greeting, which is a word of Thanksgiving to God for the Philippians. Imagine getting a letter that starts out the way this one does. This makes me think that I don’t write to friends and family, I just text or e-mail them. I’m going to try to write real paper letters to people. My guess is that it will make them feel better, probably make them feel loved. What do you think?
Second, there’s quite a bit of general information here. Take a few minutes to pick this apart. Do you see just how much St. Paul cares for these people? Even more to the point, he says they are ‘partakers of grace’ just as he is. You may need to read ahead to figure that out. I’ll help out: the commentary from IVP says, ” The basic reason for such affection is that (literally) “you all are participants together with me in the grace.” But which grace? Many take it with the NIV to refer to God’s saving grace, others to Paul’s apostolic ministry. But in light of verse 29, where the verb of this noun occurs in conjunction with their mutual suffering for Christ, Paul very likely is referring to being “partners together in this grace,” namely, in defending and confirming ( vindicating) the gospel in the face of suffering (chains).”
Paul’s writing is not shallow. He is careful in how he says what he wants to say. I suspect that a part of it is his training as a ‘lawyer’ and Pharisee. But I also think he loves the Philippians.