This is the page for all my resources and documents for the book of Philippians. The first section contains documents that survey the entire book. The next section is broken down by each passage. Click the label of any passage to expand for access to documents and information about each individual passage. Feel free to use and distribute any information you find helpful as long as you give credit where appropriate.
General Documents
Survey Video
Individual Passages
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1:1-11 Introduction and Prayer
  • 1:1-2 Salutation
  • 1:3-8 Thanksgiving
    Detailed Outline Expand All + All Collapse All X All
    3-6 I always pray and hope for you all
    3-5 I always give thanks for you by praying for your partnership in the Gospel
    3-4a I always give thanks
    to my God
    upon every remembrance/mention of you
    To remember and therefore make mention
    in all my prayers
    4b-5 By making prayers
    on behalf of all of you
    with joy
    about our fellowship/partnership in the Gospel
    fellowship = having something in common, being in common cause
    the Philippians partnered with Paul, supporting him logistically, prayerfully, and financially
    from the first day
    until now
    6 Being convinced that God will finish His good work in you
    6a Being convinced of this very thing:
    6b The One beginning a good work in you will complete it until the day of Christ Jesus
    God will not, cannot fail to bring to a successful completion that which He has started
    7-8 It is proper for me to think this way about you because I care for you in Christ
    7a Since for me to think this about all of you is right
    right in the sense of proper, justified, appropriate, proven
    7b-8 Reason: I care for you deeply in my heart
    7b Because I have you in my heart
    7c-8 Reason: You're my partners and I care for you
    7c Because you are all being fellow sharers of grace with me
    fellow sharers is a related word to fellowship in v. 5
    In my imprisonment
    In the defense and establishment/confirmation of the Gospel
    8 And because I have a strong affection for you in Christ
    8a God is my witness
    A formula that emphasizes the truth of what follows
    8b As I have a strong affection/yearning for all of you in the affection/compassion of Christ Jesus
    The affection/compassion which Christ has, He has implanted in Paul toward the Philippians
  • 1:9-11 Thanksgiving
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    9a I am praying this:
    9b-11 What Paul is praying and why
    9b That your love may abound more and more with knowledge and all discernment
    abound has the implication of being more than what is expected
    discernment is the ability to perceive clearly and therefore to understand the real nature of something as opposed to its appearance or propaganda
    10-11 The result is that you will discern/approve what matters most and be blameless and pure
    10a That you may discern and approve what matters most
    discern (different word than in v. 9) means drawing a conclusion based on testing, with the result that it has passed the test and therefore is approved by testing
    what matters most means what is superior, having more worth. It is not always an issue of good vs. bad, but sometimes it is good vs. best. Don't settle for second best, hold out for, and pursue the best option.
    10b-11 So that you may be pure and blameless, filled with the fruit of righteousness
    10b-11a So that you may be pure, filled with righteousness
    10b So that you may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ
    pure has the connotation of sincere, without guile, hypocrisy or pretense
    blameless means being without fault because of not giving any ground for offense
    11a By being filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus
    11b Purpose: to the glory and praise of God
1:12-26 The Gospel is not Hindered
1:27-2:30 Live Worthy of the Gospel
  • 1:27-30 Conduct yourself in a manner worthy of the Gospel
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    27a Only live as citizens appropriately of the Gospel of Christ
    worthy/appropriately of the Gospel, not in the sense of deserving, but in the sense of appropriate, fitting - matching what is suitable and right
    live as citizens means to conduct one's life with reference to one's obligations to others
    The city of Philippi was an official Roman colony and therefore, its people were granted citizenship in Rome - a privilege they took seriously, with a lot of pride. Paul uses this to urge them to take their citizenship in the Kingdom of God as seriously, by living in a way that is appropriate for that Kingdom.
    27b-30 Purpose: so that you will live rightly and I will hear about it
    27b-e So that I am hearing the [good] things about you
    27b-d No matter if I am present or absent
    On Paul's presence and absence, cf. 2:12, Col. 2:5
    Paul's usual method was to stay in a place, planting a church until he was forced to leave, or until the church was healthy. Then he would move on to plant churches in other places. Then he would keep in contact with the churches via letter and also occasionally visit them as circumstances allowed.
    27b-c Whether coming and seeing you
    27b So that, either coming
    27c And seeing you
    27d Or being absent/far away
    27e I am hearing the things about you
    Almost certainly, Paul heard news about them through Epaphroditus, when he came to Paul to deliver the gift from the Philippians (see 4:18)
    27f-30 Specifically, what I am hearing
    27f That you are standing in one [unified] spirit
    standing means firmly holding conviction in belief and conduct
    Unity is a theme for this section and the next
    27g-30 Specific ways that they are now and are to continue standing firm in unity
    What follows is 3 items in parallel construction, describing the manner in which they are to stand firm in unity
    27g Toiling together with one soul, for the faith of the Gospel
    with one soul is emphasized by its position in the sentence. It means unity in mind, feelings, and will - all parts of the human personality. cf. Acts 4:32
    toiling together is a term with two components - 1) to contend/struggle/toil, which implies opposition, and 2) this struggle is done along with others doing the same, cf. 4:3
    the faith of the Gospel is a phrase occurring only here in the New Testament. It means either the 'faith' which is proclaimed in the Gospel or for the sake of people having faith, as the result of the proclamation of the Gospel.
    28-29 Not being intimidated, but trusting God in suffering
    28a Not being intimidated in anything by those opposing you
    In Acts ch. 16, we learn of the opposition to the church in Philippi. This opposition apparently continued after Paul left town. And here we learn that the church did not give in to this intimidation.
    But this is also an encouragement from Paul to continue resistance to any intimidating actions or circumstances
    28b-29 This is God's plan and proves you are on God's side
    28b-c This is proof of their destruction and your salvation
    The church's upright, unified behavior in the midst of opposition testifies to their God, their ultimate vindication, and the futility of all opposition to God's sovereign plan
    28b Neg: Which is to them proof of destruction
    28c Pos: but [proof of] your salvation
    28d-29 Your standing firm under intimidation is part of God's plan
    28d This is from God
    this is almost certainly referring to their standing firm under suffering
    For Paul to assure them that their suffering is not outside of God's control would be very assuring, as well as strengthening them for continued standing
    29 Reason: God has given you both to believe and to suffer
    29a Because this is granted to you on behalf of Christ
    granted has the connotation of graciously given, cf. 2:9
    Suffering for Christ is s privilege given by God, and will eventually reap great rewards
    29b-c to believe in Him and suffer for Him
    these two are parallel, strongly suggesting that their faith is granted by God as much as their suffering
    29b Not only to believe in Him
    29c But also to suffer on behalf of Him
    30 Struggling/fighting after my example
    30a Having the same struggle/fight
    Paul highlights the similarity of what they are going through with what he is going through
    30b-c Which you know I have and am going through
    30b You saw the same kind [of struggle] in me
    30c and you now are hearing [about the struggle] in me
    They are hearing about his situation [including his struggles] through the previous section of this letter
  • 2:1-11 Follow Christ's example in serving the interest of others
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    1 Grounds: Because these things are true
    1a Therefore, If/since there is any encouragement in Christ
    1b If/since there is any consolation of love
    1c If/since there is any fellowship of spirit
    1d If/since there is any affection and compassion
    2-11 Give me joy by having the other-serving attitude which Christ demonstrated
    2a Fulfill my joy
    2b-11 Manner: How you can make my joy full:
    2b-4 Have a unified, serving attitude
    2b That is - you all should have the same mindset/attitude
    2c-4 Specifically: Have an other-serving attitude
    2c-e Have the same united, loving, mindset
    2c Having the same love
    2d Being united in spirit
    2e Having a mindset/attitude of unity
    3 Don't be selfish, but consider others more important
    3a-b Pos: Don't act out of selfishness and pride
    3a [do] nothing according to selfish strife
    3b neither according to vain pride
    3c Neg: but with humility consider one another to be of more value/more important than yourself
    4 Don't focus on yourself, but care for others
    4a Neg: Each [of you] not [only] focusing on/paying attention to your own matters/concerns
    4b Pos: But each [of you] also [focusing on/paying attention to] the matters/concerns of others
    5-11 Imitate the mindset/attitude of Christ
    5 Have THIS mindset/attitude in you, which was also in Christ Jesus
    6-11 Like Jesus put others first, and therefore, God exalted Him
    6-8 Even though He had the right to be first, He put others first
    6a Even though He exists in the exact form of God
    6b-8 He didn't behave selfishly, but humbled Himself
    6b Neg: He did not consider being equal with God something to be selfishly grasped
    7-8 Pos: Rather, He humbled Himself
    7 He humbled Himself by taking on humanity
    7a But He emptied Himself
    7b-d How He emptied Himself - He took on human nature
    7b Taking the form of a servant
    7c becoming into the likeness of a human
    7d and being found in outward appearance as a human
    8 He humbled Himself even unto death
    8a He humbled Himself
    8b-c Becoming obedient unto death on a cross
    8b becoming obedient unto death
    8c even [becoming obedient unto] death on a cross
    9-11 Therefore, God exalted Him above everything
    9 Therefore, God exalted Him and gave Him the Highest Name
    9a Therefore, God also exalted Him to the highest height
    9b And He granted to Him the Name which is beyond every name
    10-11 Purpose: So that everyone will acknowledge Him as Lord
    10 So that every knee - in heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth - will bow at the Name of Jesus
    11 And every tongue will confess Jesus is Lord
    11a And every tongue will confess to the glory of God the Father
    11b That Jesus Christ is Lord
  • 2:12-18 Work out your salvation because God works
  • 2:19-30 The example of Timothy and Epaphroditus
3:1-4:1 Stand Firm in the Gospel
  • 3:1 Rejoice in the Lord
    Detailed Outline Expand All + All Collapse All X All
    1a Finally, my brothers, rejoice in the Lord
    rejoice is a key word in Philippians. Paul uses it in 1:18, 2:17, 18, 28, 4:4, 10 as well as in this passage.
    Joy is a normal characteristic of a thoughtful Christian, not because of outward circumstances (which change often), but because of the truth of what Christ has accomplished, and its result for the inward circumstances and eternal destiny of the Christian.
    1b-c Writing this is no harm to me, and does you good.
    Paul addresses the motivation for his writing. It is not a negative for him, and it is potentially a positive for them. This is not so much a contrast between these two realities, as a 'both/and'. It is a good thing on both ends, for both parties.
    This affectionate language is a reflection of the great relationship between Paul and this church.
    This section may refer backward to rejoice, but in light of the idea of safety in 1c, it may also refer ahead to the warning in 3:2-11
    1b It is not bothersome to me to write these things to you
    bothersome has the connotation of something that would cause someone to hesitate, to be reluctant. Paul, by using the understated negative of this idea, probably means something like, not only is it not a bother, it is a joy, a privilege for me to write these things
    1c And it is a safe thing for you
    safe thing has the connotation of a safety/security feature, a safeguard like a guardrail. Hopefully it is not necessary to state this, but just in case, Paul will say it for their spiritual protection
  • 3:2-11 Glory in Christ, not the flesh
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    2 Beware of those opposed to the way of Christ
    This is probably a reference to Jewish teachers who tried to convince Gentile Christians to follow the Jewish Law and traditions, claiming that they are necessary for the Christian life. This same kind of opponents plagued Paul in many other of the churches he started. The entire Book of Galatians was written to deal with exactly this issue.
    Paul warns the Philippians to be on the lookout for these types of people, obviously to resist/reject their teaching
    2a Look out for the dogs
    dogs is an insult in the Jewish culture, because dogs were considered unclean
    2b Look out for the evildoers
    2c Look out for those who mutilate the flesh
    mutilate the flesh is an ironic wordplay on circumcision, which Paul argues could result in spiritual destruction as well as physical damage.
    See the book of Galatians for Paul's teaching on whether Gentile Christians should undergo the rite of circumcision, and the theological reasons for his answer.
    3-11 Reason: We are those who are the true followers of Christ
    3a For we are the circumcision
    i.e. the true circumcision, of the heart, not just flesh, cf. Deut. 30:6, Rom. 2:29, Col. 2:11
    3b [We are] those serving by the Spirit of God
    serving refers to the carrying out of religious duties. This refers to good religious actions in contrast to the useless/harmful religious activities recommended by the opponents. There are ways to worship and serve God that are God-given and pleasing to Him. There are also ways which are human inventions, which are not pleasing to God.
    And the difference Paul highlights is that the good actions are motivated and empowered by God's Spirit.
    3c-11 We are those who boast/put our confidence in Christ
    3c-d General statement: We put our confidence in Christ, not in the flesh
    3c Positive: and [we are] boasting in Christ Jesus
    boasting is to take pride and to have confidence in something. We all have something (or things) that we think about which make us feel good about ourselves - something that we have accomplished or that we identify with in some way (even if it is just a sports team). And we put our hope in the possibility that it will continue to cause good things in our life. Most things will eventually disappoint us.
    But Paul emphasizes that His basis for hope, identity, and confidence is Christ Himself, who will never disappoint.
    3d Negative: and [we are] not putting confidence in flesh
    Notice that Paul does not say in the flesh which might be taken to mean in ourselves, but he says in flesh which means that he has no confidence in any part of humanity, including himself.
    4-11 Specific example and application from Paul's life
    4-6 Negatively: Paul doesn't put any value on his fleshly accomplishments
    4a Disclaimer: Although I [could be] having confidence in flesh
    Paul could put confidence in the flesh from a worldly point of view, based on his experiences, background, and accomplishments. Paul only brings this up to show how foolish it is to put confidence in even the highest of human attainments, compared with the alternative of putting confidence in Christ.
    4b-6 the explanation of what Paul could put confidence in:
    4b Rhetorical comparison: If someone else thinks [they have reason] to put confidence in flesh
    Notice how Paul has repeated the phrase confidence in flesh three times in the last three propositions.
    Paul compares himself to his opponents. His life could meet any standard they teach, but he knows that no human standard is high enough to meet God's standard. And so, Paul insists on a completely different standard, the standard of Christ's righteousness, given through faith.
    4c-6 Rhetorical response: I have more reason for confidence in the flesh
    4c General statement: I have more
    Paul is claiming to beat his opponents, even on their standards. He does not do this to give credence to his opponent's standards, but as a setup for the following contrast - that even the best of human achievement pales in comparison to Christ's righteousness.
    5-6 Specific examples of his reasons
    5a-d List of reasons considered absolutely
    This first list describes Paul's personal heritage as a model Jew
    5a being circumcised on the eighth day
    From birth, Paul followed the Law by initiation into Israel's covenant sign, cf. Gen. ch. 17
    5b being from the people of Israel
    5c being from the tribe of Benjamin
    5d being a Hebrew of Hebrews
    this probably refers to the fact that Paul was a native Hebrew speaking Jew, i.e. the epitome of Jewish heritage
    5e-6 List of reasons according to a standard
    This second list emphasizes Paul's track record of Law keeping and personal righteousness according to Jewish standards
    5e According to the Law - a Pharisee
    Pharisees were the strictest sect in observing the Law
    6a According to zeal - persecuting the church
    Paul's zeal for the Law led him to persecute those who he thought transgressed, dishonored, or disregarded the Law
    6b According to righteousness by Law - being blameless
    Paul goes so far as to claim that he was perfect as far as the requirements of the Law
    7-11 Positively: Paul puts no value on those things, but absolutely all value on knowing Christ
    7 I have considered these things to be disadvantage/loss compared to Christ
    7a Which things [once] were [considered] advantage/gain to me
    gain refers to any kind of profit, benefit, or advantage. cf. 1:21
    Paul once thought these things listed above were important because they gave him an advantage in his relationship with God.
    7b I have concluded these things are disadvantage/loss for the sake of Christ
    concluded refers to a mental process of consideration. But the tense of the verb highlights that the process is finished, and the result of the process is settled - I now hold this opinion as the result of the process of thinking it through
    disadvantage/loss is obviously the opposite idea of advantage/gain in 7a. This could mean that Paul considers himself to have lost all of these things as a result of being in Christ. In this case, he would say that he does not miss it at all. But it more likely means that Paul now considers these things to be of no advantage, to the point that they may even be a detriment if they at all take away from the new thing (Christ) that is of all advantage by comparison. This may be slight exaggeration to say these things are disadvantage instead of saying that they are of no advantage. But in light of the infinite advantage of Christ, to say these things are of no advantage would be to understate the reality.
    for the sake of could be translated because of, in which case it would mean that the past reality of Christ results in Paul's conclusion and attitude. This is doubtlessly true, but it is probably not the meaning and emphasis here. It could be translated for the sake of and mean for the benefit of Christ and/or His cause. This is certainly possible, and Paul says something similar in other places (e.g. Col. 1:24-25). But in the context of the following verses, it most likely means for the sake of in the sense of the reason why I do this is the possibility of experiencing Christ. In this case, the ideas of reason and purpose are blurred in this preposition, which also occurs with the same sense in 8a and 8b.
    8a-b I consider all things to be disadvantage, loss compared to Christ
    8a But, more than that, I also consider all things to be disadvantage/loss for the sake of the surpassing greatness of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord
    This proposition is partially a repeat of the previous one, but Paul emphasizes that he is taking the argument a step further by saying more than that, and also with two major differences:
    First, Paul emphasizes that, not only the things listed above, but absolutely every thing else is considered loss compared to Christ.
    Second, Paul gives the reason why he considers all things to be loss - because of the surpassing greatness of the knowledge of Christ. surpassing greatness has an inherent connotation of being better compared with something else - to surpass in value, to be better. And the thing which is of surpassing value is the knowledge of Christ Jesus. Paul will elaborate more precisely what he means by this phrase down in v. 8d through the end of this passage in v. 11.
    8b [That is-] I have suffered the loss of all things for the sake of Him
    This proposition is similar to the previous two. The major difference, which is the point of this proposition, is that Paul not only considers all these things to be loss, but he also has actually lost all things. Paul has given up on any claim and confidence in anything from his past life, and has experienced living with no continuing connection with them.
    8c-11 I consider [all things] to be rubbish, in order to gain Christ
    8c And I consider [all things] to be rubbish
    rubbish is a polite translation of a word which literally means crap/dung. Paul is not exaggerating, but showing how drastic the difference is between any human merit and the merit of Christ being compared as being reasonable grounds for confidence.
    8d-11 Purpose - so that I may gain Christ and be found in Him and know Him
    All that follows describes Paul's purpose in rejecting all the things that he has just described as loss and rubbish. He does so for the purpose of gaining the One Who is better by far.
    8d-9 So that I may gain Christ and His righteousness by faith
    8d So that I may gain Christ
    gain is a verb related to the noun used above (v. 7a). And it has the sense of somehow acquiring Christ, and all the benefits that are in Him. Paul has traded up - exchanging all that he once had and hoped in for the One Who is worth more than everything else combined. See Matt. 13:44
    9 And benefit from receiving His righteousness by faith
    9a And be found in Him
    found is a generic term. In this context, it has the connotation of being the object of the judgment and evaluation of another (presumably God & Christ), and to receive a particular evaluation - similar to someone being found to be innocent in a court decision. When the final evaluation is given, Paul wants to be found in Him.
    in Him (or in Christ) is a formula often found in Paul
    cf. 3:14, 4:19, Rom. 6:11, 23, 8:1, 39, 12:5, 1 Cor. 1:4, 5, 30, 4:17, 15:18, 19, 22, 2 Cor. 1:19, 2:14, 17, 5:17, 19, 21, 12:19, 13:4, Gal. 2:17, 3:28, 5:6, Eph. 1:3, 4, 7, 9, 11, 13, 2:6, 7, 10, 13, 21, 22, 3:6, 11, 12, 4:21, 32, Col. 1:2, 17, 28, 2:6, 7, 10, 11, 17, 3:3, 1 Thes. 1:1, 2:14, 4:14, 16, 5:18, 2 Thes. 1:12, 1 Tim. 1:14, 2 Tim. 1:1, 9, 13, 2:1, 10, 3:12, Philem. 6, 8, 20, 23.
    It refers to things, benefits, and people that are in the sphere identified with, and controlled by Christ.
    This concept is sometimes referred to as corporate solidarity. It is similar to every citizen of a country having the same rights and responsibilities as a consequence of being a citizen in that country. For instance, if the country goes to war, technically, every citizen is at war (whether they participate or not).
    In the same way, Jesus is the King. And there are many benefits, responsibilities, and blessings in the sphere of Christ's rule, because of Christ's accomplishments. Therefore, every person who has been converted into the sphere of Christ, by being converted to Christ, is now in Christ. To be in Christ is somehow to participate in all that Christ is and has done. And this is Paul's purpose. And he will elaborate on some of the benefits of being in Christ throughout the rest of this passage.
    9b-d Not by my own righteousness, but by Christ's, through faith
    This next section elaborates and explains what Paul means by being found in Christ. To be found in Christ means to have Christ's righteousness and not to rely on one's own righteousness through good works or heritage.
    This section is obviously a contrast between two approaches to righteousness - one which Paul rejects (connected with those things that he now accounts as loss/dung), and one which he pursues (connected with gaining Christ and being found in Him)
    9b Neg: not having my own righteousness from the Law
    righteousness is always a legal term - meaning to be on the right side, or having the right standing in terms of right and wrong. Paul has already rejected reliance on his won heritage or history of keeping the law, not because these things are bad in themselves, but (as he teaches elsewhere, see e.g. Gal. ch. 3 and Rom. ch. 10) they have never been, and never will be enough to merit any standing with God. Therefore, Paul will put no confidence in flesh. And the primary reason Paul rejects reliance on his own righteousness is that it is loss compared with the righteousness of Christ that is available to him by grace through faith (see 9c-d).
    9c-d Pos: rather, having the righteousness from God through faith in Christ
    9c But [having] the [righteousness] through faith in Christ
    Rather than relying on his own righteousness, Paul relies on the righteousness that he has through faith in Christ. The following proposition clarifies that this righteousness is not from Paul, but it is a result of him being in Christ by grace through faith.
    9d The righteousness from God upon faith
    This proposition may seem like repeated information (which it partially is), but it is elaborating and clarifying the nature of this righteousness by adding two phrases: it is from God, and it is given on the basis of faith.
    from God shows that God is the ultimate source of the righteousness which Paul has received. He is the source in more than one sense. First, the righteousness is the righteousness of Christ, who is God. Second, God is the One Who pronounces (reckons/imputes) this righteousness to Paul, on the basis of Christ's righteousness. And finally, God is the One Who bestows this righteousness by faith as a gift, not because of any merit in Paul (or in us).
    upon faith highlights faith as the means or basis by which Paul receives this righteousness. cf. Acts 3:16 where this same wording is used. See Rom. chs. 3-4 and Gal. chs. 3-4 for a further explanation of how righteousness comes through faith (but not primarily because of faith).
    10-11 So that I may fully experience His death and resurrection
    these two verses continue to elaborate the purpose of 8c, telling why Paul counts all things as dung. As such, these verse are parallel to 8d-9. to gain Christ and be found in Him is the same overall concept described by to know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His suffering, even though, obviously, Paul emphasizes two different aspects of his purpose in the two different sections.
    10a [in order] to know Him, and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His suffering
    This proposition has three parts corresponding to the three things which Paul says he wants to know.
    to know Him has the connotation of a personal knowing. It is more than (but not less than) knowing about Christ. It means to have a continuity of relationship and a growing relationship. Obviously, by this point of his life, Paul knew Christ. But he is still pressing to know Christ further, and in a deeper way. He will address his desire to press forward in this dynamic in vv. 12-14. And part of what it means to know Christ personally is elaborated in the next two parts of this proposition.
    [to know] the power of His resurrection also has the connotation of a more personal, experiential knowledge. Paul wants to (more and more) experience resurrection power. From the rest of Paul's writings, we can surmise that he does not here mean just a naked demonstration of miraculous power. For Paul, the resurrection is not just about extraordinary power, which most of Paul's readers already assumed that God had. But resurrection power is primarily about changed lives and experiencing the life of the next age, which Christ has procured and of which He is the firstfruits. Paul will often describe this kind of life in ethical terms, such as joy, peace, and love, similar to the fruit of the Spirit described in Gal. ch. 5. When someone's mindset and lifestyle is radically changed to conform to God's Kingdom priorities and ethics, Paul would see this as a demonstration of Christ's resurrection power.
    [to know] the fellowship of His sufferings also has the connotation of a more personal, experiential knowledge. Paul often emphasized that Christians should not expect to experience the blessings of the resurrection without also experiencing the suffering and death of Christ (see 2:1-11 as well as Rom. 8:18). fellowship means a close sharing in something, involving close mutual relationship and association. Paul has elsewhere (Col. 1:24-25) spoken of somehow experiencing Christ's suffering. By this Paul does NOT mean that he somehow contributes tot he atonement which Christ attained at the cross. Rather, he means that, like Christ suffered on our behalf, Paul will imitate the willingness to suffer for the sake of delivering the message of Christ and serving others. Notice how this repeats the sentiment of 2:1-11.
    Paul elaborates on all of these in the following verses.
    10b-11 Sharing in His death and resurrection
    As typical for Paul, Christ's death and resurrection go together very closely.
    10b Being conformed to His death
    being conformed means being brought into a similarity of form or style. Notice that this is a passive verb ("being conformed") not active ("conforming"). Paul wants his own life and experience to be caused to be like Christ's death. He may have a role to play in this, but the real initiative and power for this must come from God.
    This is most likely referring to the attitude of self-sacrifice on behalf of others, which characterized the death of Christ. It could also mean that he want to be brought into more and more experience of the benefits of Christ's death. It definitely does not refer to any of Paul's activity having any atoning significance.
    In any case, its meaning must take into account the reality of Paul being in Christ and thereby sharing in all the benefits and responsibilities of what Christ accomplished by His death.
    11 If perhaps I may attain to the resurrection from the dead.
    attain means to arrive at the experience of the intended goal
    resurrection is a different word than usual, and probably has the connotation of coming to fullness of life
    Paul's ultimate goal is to fully experience all the new life that Christ has provided through His own death and resurrection.
  • 3:12-16 Press toward the goal
  • 3:17-4:1 Stand firm in the Lord
4:2-19 Exhortations and Thanks
4:20-23 Conclusion