Philippians 4:10-20 Scripture
“10 But I rejoiced in the Lord greatly that now at last your care for me has flourished again; though you surely did care, but you lacked opportunity. 11 Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content: 12 I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. 13 I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.
“14 Nevertheless you have done well that you shared in my distress. 15 Now you Philippians know also that in the beginning of the gospel, when I departed from Macedonia, no church shared with me concerning giving and receiving but you only. 16 For even in Thessalonica you sent aid once and again for my necessities. 17 Not that I seek the gift, but I seek the fruit that abounds to your account. 18 Indeed I have all and abound. I am full, having received from Epaphroditus the things sent from you, a sweet-smelling aroma, an acceptable sacrifice, well pleasing to God. 19 And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus. 20 Now to our God and Father be glory forever and ever. Amen.” (Philippians 4:10-20)
Philippians 4:10 Meaning
“But I rejoiced in the Lord greatly that now at last your care for me has flourished again; though you surely did care, but you lacked opportunity.” (Philippians 4:10)
The primary purpose of Paul writing this letter to the Philippians is to thank them for sending him financial support while he was under house arrest in Rome.
In this verse, Paul is letting the Philippians know of his thankfulness and how much it meant to him to receive such a gift.
Through this support sent from the Philippians, Paul was able to pay for the rent of the home he was staying at for two years (Acts 28:30). Without this gift he would not have been able to stay there, nor would he have had the freedom to preach the Gospel as he did (Acts 28:31). So this gift from the Philippians meant a great deal to Paul and his work.
He also says that this gift has “at last” come to him and “has flourished again” and that they have “lacked opportunity” in the past.
Clearly from this verse, we can see that the Philippians were consistent givers to Paul’s ministry because he said, “Your care for me has flourished again.” But we also see that they were unable to give to him sooner than they wanted to.
Obviously, back then there were no digital payments, or donation support software available to them, nor email or phone, so once Paul left Philippi the only way of communication between the two parties was letters and other saints who knew one another.
So although the Philippians desired to bring a gift of support to Paul they were unable to because of the time and travel required until the Philippians sent Epaphroditus to Paul to take care of him and to deliver their care package to him.
Philippians 4:11-12 Meaning
“Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content: I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need.” (Philippians 4:11-12)
Paul wanted to be clear that he was speaking out of need when mentioning that the Philippians weren’t able to give to him sooner. In fact, this verse seems to indicate that feeling in need and being content oppose one another.
You cannot be content with what you have and at the same time have a poverty/poor me attitude. We need to be content with the things that we possess.
This does not come naturally. Paul said, “I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content.”
It is something that we grow into as we develop our relationship with God. The more and more we fellowship with God and His word, the more content and satisfied we become.
We have to remember that Paul was a prisoner, under house arrest in Rome, and facing a possible execution while he was writing this, and yet he was content.
In addition to our relationship with God, another main way we remain content is to be mission-focused like Paul was. If Paul wanted to live in a big house with a family of four at this very moment, he wouldn’t have been content, instead, he would have been very frustrated and depressed. Because what he has set out to achieve was not coming to pass.
Instead, we see that he is Commission focused. His only goal is to spread the Gospel and make disciples.
It is this mindset that enabled Paul to:
Preach the Gospel to the Jewish leaders in Rome (Acts:28:17-29)
Preach the Gospel to everyone in Caesar’s palace (Philippians:1:12-18).
Gain the favor of his captors so that they gave him his own hired house and the freedom for all his friends to come to him (Acts:28:30).
Gain complete freedom to preach the Gospel (Acts:28:31), which is more than he experienced in freedom among the Jews.
Since the promotion of Jesus was all that mattered to Paul, things were going better than ever before, but it only came because of His contentment in serving Christ.
Philippians 4:13 Meaning
“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” (Philippians 4:13)
We just saw in the previous verse that Paul learned to be content in whatever situation he found himself in, and the situations that he has mentioned throughout the new testament are situations of hunger, need, persecution, and much hardship.
So Paul is simply saying in this verse “that through it all it is Christ who strengthens me and enables me to endure afflictions for the advancement of the Gospel.”
Paul is not saying that he can now be the greatest Olympian ever simply because he is born again with Christ living inside him.
Notice Paul said, “I can do all things THROUGH CHRIST who strengthens me.” We are not self-sufficient and the Lord doesn’t just do things for us. We have become partners with Him in His work.
Jesus Christ came with one purpose; to seek and to save that which was lost (Luke 19:10). In other words, Jesus is in the business of redeeming people and bringing people back into a relationship with the Father through the Gospel and discipleship.
It’s important for us to remember that the power of God is found in the Gospel (Romans 1:16) not in doing whatever we want or desire.
Philippians 4:14 Meaning
“Nevertheless you have done well that you shared in my distress.” (Philippians 4:14)
The Philippians gave to the apostle Paul to support him and his work in the Lord and by doing this they have “shared in his distress”. Meaning they took thought and care for him and put into action to support him in the midst of his lack.
When we give money to other ministries the Bible says that we actually receive the same reward that they do.
“He who receives a prophet in the name of a prophet shall receive a prophet’s reward. And he who receives a righteous man in the name of a righteous man shall receive a righteous man’s reward. And whoever gives one of these little ones only a cup of cold water in the name of a disciple, assuredly, I say to you, he shall by no means lose his reward.” (Matthew 10:41-42)
The context of Matthew 10 is Jesus instructing His 12 disciples how to go into the cities and preach the Gospel of the Kingdom and heal the sick. Toward the end, Jesus explains the concept that those who give will receive the same reward as those who work.
Because without someone holding the ropes, no one can go down into the pit.
There are those who are called to full-time ministry and working a full-time job while working in ministry full-time is near impossible. So when people support the minister it frees them up to do what God called them to do.
Philippians 4:15-16 Meaning
“Now you Philippians know also that in the beginning of the gospel, when I departed from Macedonia, no church shared with me concerning giving and receiving but you only. For even in Thessalonica you sent aid once and again for my necessities.” (Philippians 4:15-16)
We see in this verse that the Philippians were the biggest givers that Paul had. No other church ever gave to Paul after he left them.
Paul most likely suffered for the Gospel more than any other apostle and more than any other believer. Not only did he suffer more, but he even worked harder than anyone else too (1 Corinthians 15:10). He selflessly laid down his life for the salvation of men, yet only one church supported him.
Because of this, he often worked as a tentmaker to be able to provide for himself and for those who were with him. While he did this, he was only able to minister on the weekends (Acts 18:3-4).
But whenever the funds came in, Paul would go full force and minister every day (Acts 18:5).
Philippians 4:17 Meaning
“Not that I seek the gift, but I seek the fruit that abounds to your account.” (Philippians 4:17)
Paul was not in it for the money. He wasn’t seeking the money itself, but the fruit that came from the labor that the money allowed.
If you remember in the previous verses we learned that those who support the minister receive the same reward as the minister. The giver and laborer are partners in the work of the ministry.
Everyone is called to minister the Gospel and make disciples, but not everyone is called to do this full-time as Paul was, so when we give to those who are full-time workers we are enabling them to go full force to advance the Kingdom and train the saints.
So “the fruit that abounds to your account” is primarily referring to the Philippian’s eternal fruit that they will present before the Lord when they stand before His judgment seat to receive their rewards.
The same fruit that Paul produced in his labor is the same fruit that the Philippians produced through their giving because without these two working together no work would have been done and no fruit would have been produced.
Philippians 4:18 Meaning
“Indeed I have all and abound. I am full, having received from Epaphroditus the things sent from you, a sweet-smelling aroma, an acceptable sacrifice, well pleasing to God.” (Philippians 4:18)
There are a couple of things Paul mentions in this verse.
First, he lets them know that because of their gift all of his needs are met, and more than this, he is abounding! They gave so much to Paul that he could say, “I have all and abound.” The Philippians were a very generous church.
Second, Epaphroditus was the one who delivered the gift to Paul and he was the one who most likely delivered this letter to the Philippians.
Once Epaphroditus delivered the care package to Paul he most likely stayed with him for a little bit and assisted him in his work, during this time he got sick. Once Epaphroditus recovered, Paul sent him back to Philippi with this letter to the church there (Philippians 2:25-30). If you want to read more about Epaphroditus you can do so by reading my commentary on Philippians 2:25-30.
Finally, Paul tells the Philippians that this gift that they gave him was a “sweet-smelling aroma, an acceptable sacrifice, well pleasing to God.”
Our offerings, gifts, and financial support are well pleasing to God. We should not give out of obligation but we should recognize that financial support to ministers and to those in need blesses and pleases God.
God does not delight in those who give out of obligation, but He delights in those who give cheerfully with the same heart that He has (2 Corinthians 9:7).
Philippians 4:19-20 Meaning
“And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus. Now to our God and Father be glory forever and ever. Amen.” (Philippians 4:19-20)
When we give cheerfully, we do not need to be fearful of our needs not being met.
This is a promise from God found in His word; that if we give with the right motive and heart He will supply every need of ours according to His riches, not according to ours.
Paul said something similar to this in 2 Corinthians when he said God “supplies seed to the sower” (2 Corinthians 9:10). This means that those who sow through financial giving will not have to worry about having enough “seed” for the future, but God ensures that those who give will be given much in return (Luke 6:38).
I hope you enjoyed this article and that it assisted you in your walk with God.
If you want to read more commentary on the fourth chapter of Philippians you can by clicking the titles below.
Also, if you want to read my commentaries on the other chapters of Philippians you can do so by clicking one of the titles.
God bless you all and enjoy!