1From Paul and Timothy, servants of Christ Jesus —
To all God's people in Philippi who are in union with Christ Jesus, including the church leaders and helpers:
2May God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ give you grace and peace.
Paul's Prayer for his Readers
3I thank my God for you every time I think of you; 4and every time I pray for you all, I pray with joy 5because of the way in which you have helped me in the work of the gospel from the very first day until now. 6And so I am sure that God, who began this good work in you, will carry it on until it is finished on the Day of Christ Jesus. 7You are always in my heart! And so it is only right for me to feel as I do about you. For you have all shared with me in this privilege that God has given me, both now that I am in prison and also while I was free to defend the gospel and establish it firmly. 8God is my witness that I am telling the truth when I say that my deep feeling for you all comes from the heart of Christ Jesus himself.
9I pray that your love will keep on growing more and more, together with true knowledge and perfect judgement, 10so that you will be able to choose what is best. Then you will be free from all impurity and blame on the Day of Christ. 11Your lives will be filled with the truly good qualities which only Jesus Christ can produce, for the glory and praise of God.
To Live is Christ
12I want you to know, my brothers and sisters, that the things that have happened to me have really helped the progress of the gospel. 13As a result, the whole palace guard and all the others here know that I am in prison because I am a servant of Christ. 14And my being in prison has given most of the brothers and sisters more confidence in the Lord, so that they grow bolder all the time to preach the message fearlessly.
15Of course some of them preach Christ because they are jealous and quarrelsome, but others from genuine goodwill. 16These do so from love, because they know that God has given me the work of defending the gospel. 17The others do not proclaim Christ sincerely, but from a spirit of selfish ambition; they think that they will make more trouble for me while I am in prison.
18It does not matter! I am happy about it — so long as Christ is preached in every way possible, whether from wrong or right motives. And I will continue to be happy, 19because I know that by means of your prayers and the help which comes from the Spirit of Jesus Christ I shall be set free. 20My deep desire and hope is that I shall never fail in my duty, but that at all times, and especially just now, I shall be full of courage, so that with my whole being I shall bring honour to Christ, whether I live or die. 21For what is life? To me, it is Christ. Death, then, will bring more. 22But if by continuing to live I can do more worthwhile work, then I am not sure which I should choose. 23I am pulled in two directions. I want very much to leave this life and be with Christ, which is a far better thing; 24but for your sake it is much more important that I remain alive. 25I am sure of this, and so I know that I will stay. I will stay on with you all, to add to your progress and joy in the faith, 26so that when I am with you again, you will have even more reason to be proud of me in your life in union with Christ Jesus.
27Now, the important thing is that your way of life should be as the gospel of Christ requires, so that, whether or not I am able to go and see you, I will hear that you are standing firm with one common purpose and that with only one desire you are fighting together for the faith of the gospel. 28Don't be afraid of your enemies; always be courageous, and this will prove to them that they will lose and that you will win, because it is God who gives you the victory. 29For you have been given the privilege of serving Christ, not only by believing in him, but also by suffering for him. 30Now you can take part with me in the battle. It is the same battle you saw me fighting in the past, and as you hear, the one I am fighting still.