Learning to walk in the knowledge of the manifestation of His Revelation
The Apostle is leading the congregation in Philippi to recognize the value of the early gospel teachings they received when the Apostle first visited the region. The introduction to the epistle gives a brief account of what that first visit meant for the Apostle and the faith experiences he was able to establish among them.
For the Apostle, Philippi is a community of great satisfaction in the Gospel. In the greeting he expresses his gratitude to God for the acceptance that the community showed towards him and towards the Gospel: thank my God upon every remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine for you all making request with joy, for your fellowship in the gospel from the first day until now: (1:3—5).
Judging by the conclusion of chapter one: For unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for his sake (1:29), the words of the apostle Paul seem like an exhortation of faith addressed to a community that is being persecuted; however, the fact that the apostle repeats the expression, in one mind, on three occasions makes it clear that the apostle’s exhortation is aimed at correcting some apostate doctrinal tendencies that have already been established among them:
- …that ye be likeminded, (φρονῆτε)… of one mind (φρονοῦντες) … (2:2)
- …as many as be perfect, be thus minded (φρονῶμεν): (3:15)
- I beseech Euodias, and beseech Syntyche, that they be of the same mind (φρονεῖν) in the Lord. (4:2)
Thus, the exhortation, that ye be likeminded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind, is the commandment of love based on the experiences of faith that together, the apostle and the community, managed to develop and establish as the foundation of the gospel in Philippi. The purpose of the exhortation is to warn against “conduct” that is not suitable within the community of faith: Only let your conversation be as it becometh the gospel of Christ: that whether I come and see you, or else be absent, I may hear of your affairs, that ye stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel; (1:27); pointed out by the apostle in the development of the epistle as conducts of darkness: that ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world; (2:15)
In the general conclusion of his epistle the apostle brings together the entire exhortation and summarizes it in one expression: Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you. (4:8-9)
This instruction, however, is not a new one, that is to say, it is not an expression coined by the apostle to warn the community of Philippi of the risks to the faith of accepting another kind of thinking. We find in the accounts of the development of the church in Jerusalem that the apostle’s exhortation runs parallel to the community fellowship that the members of the church in Jerusalem developed in its early days, a conduct that the writer of the epistle to the Hebrews defines as the doctrine of the Word of the beginning.
The writer of the book of Acts of the Apostles identifies that the behavior shown by the disciples in Jerusalem, after the ascension of Jesus, was not a behavior resulting from the circumstances of persecution of the church, but obedience to the doctrine established by Jesus after His resurrection: And being assembled together, he commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem. The disciples carried out all their proclamatory activity in function of the communal fellowship of having all things in common, so much so that those who moved from abroad to Jerusalem decided to sell their property and dispose of it under the administration of the apostles:
and sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men, as every man had need. Acts 2:45
34 Neither was there any among them that lacked: for as many as were possessors of lands or houses sold them, and brought the prices of the things that were sold, 35 and laid them down at the apostles’ feet: and distribution was made unto every man according as he had need. Acts 4:34-35
All the references of the writer of the Acts of the Apostles lead the reader to understand that their conduct obeys the establishment of a particular doctrine.
These all continued with one accord (προσκαρτεροῦντες ὁμοθυμαδὸν) in prayer and supplication, with the women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brethren. Acts 1:14
And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord (πάντες ὁμοῦ ἐπὶ τὸ αὐτό) in one place. Acts 2:1
And they, continuing daily with one accord (προσκαρτεροῦντες ὁμοθυμαδὸν) in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart, Acts 2:46
And when they heard that, they lifted up their voice to God with one accord (ὁμοθυμαδὸν), and said, Lord, thou art God, which hast made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and all that in them is: Acts 4:24
In all the references, the predominant word in Greek is, one accord (ὁμοθυμαδὸν), which means etymologically, “with the same mind”, and which for the effects of the message of the Gospel, means, with the same intention of encouragement.
The writer of the Acts of the Apostles emphasizes with the terms he used in his writing that the activity of the disciples revolved around “common” experiences (ὁμοθυμαδὸν), such as: prayer and supplication (1:14), continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat, (2:46); in particular, in the observance of in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers (2:42).
The use of these terms and the way the writer of the Acts of the Apostles wrote them leads us to understand that the exercise of faith by the church in Jerusalem was not its own particular way of celebrating its faith, but the standard form that all the communities of faith that emerged from there used to establish life in Christ Jesus, even the communities with Gentile backgrounds. The conduct of all the communities of faith was based on making common use of things; this activity developed an attitude of having the same way of living within the community.
No community of faith constituted on the basis of the proclamation of the Gospel of the Kingdom could innovate the form of communion, there was no such idea; the Gospel was established everywhere together with the same custom of communion. We see the examples clearly highlighted in communities such as that in Corinth, where the apostle “corrected” the abuse that the members of the community were committing against communion.
Thus, the apostle Paul’s exhortation is the exhortation to “go back” to doing the first things. A similar exhortation is found in one of the epistles that the apostle writes to Timothy:
Wherefore I put thee in remembrance that thou stir up the gift of God, which is in thee by the putting on of my hands. 2nd. Timothy 1:6
A free translation of Philippians 2:2 reads as follows: that ALL ( be ) of equal intention (το αυτο φρονητε), having equal love (αυτην αγαπην εχοντες), reciprocal (συμψυχοι), and with equal (community) purpose (τὸ ἓν φρονουντες).
It is the exhortation to unity of purpose, unity of conviction and unity of doctrine. The Gospel is not an innovation of communion or doctrine. The exhortation is similar to another instruction that the apostle gave to the community of faith in Ephesus,
till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ: Ephesians 4:13
How is the community of Philippi going to achieve such a task?
In his epistle, Paul presents two types of instructions: corrective instructions, so that the community may make the necessary doctrinal adjustments, and preventive and formative instructions, so that the community may strengthen the common “communion” of the Gospel as established by the apostle’s visit.
The exhortation seeks to form the character of the man and woman of faith, as he writes in his epistle to the Galatians, until Christ be formed in you. Paul wants the community to follow the instruction, hence the conclusion a little later: Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. (2:12)
The apostle accompanies with his exhortation the corresponding instructions that the community is to follow in order to form in them the image of the invisible God. The instruction is summarized in a single sentence:
If there be therefore any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any bowels and mercies, Philippians 2:1
If there be therefore any consolation in Christ (ει τις ουν παρακλησις εν χριστω)
The expression “consolation” (παρακλησις) is a direct reference to the participation of the Holy Spirit (παρακλητος), whom Jesus introduced and presented as the Spirit of Truth (το πνευμα της αληθειας).
But the Comforter (παρακλητος), which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you. John 14:26
even the Spirit of truth (το πνευμα της αληθειας); whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you. John 14:17
Since “consolation” has to do with the Holy Spirit, and since His function is to remember what Jesus taught, consolation in Christ refers to the exaltation of a teaching and/or doctrine of Jesus.
But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me: John 15:26
Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come. John 16:13
How do the instructions to be of equal intention, to have equal love, to be reciprocal, and to have equal community proposals, come about? The apostle Paul answers this question in the following way: By establishing the teaching of Jesus that the Spirit of Truth may impart and/or remember, without any alteration. Although For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure (2:13), it is not a matter of interpreting the word or of innovating on it, but of executing it.
if any comfort of love (ει τι παραμυθιον αγαπης)
It is the apostle’s direct reference to the experiences he enjoyed with and among them during the time of his stay in the city. The apostle recalls the giving of the brothers and sisters in Philippi. In the conclusion to his epistle, the apostle adds further reference to this same: But I rejoiced in the Lord greatly, that now at the last your care of me hath flourished again; wherein ye were also careful, but ye lacked opportunity. (4:10), and, he concludes: But I have all, and abound: I am full, having received of Epaphroditus the things which were sent from you, an odour of a sweet smell, a sacrifice acceptable, wellpleasing to God. (4:18).
The comfort of love is all action by some to benefit others, supplying their needs.
if any fellowship of the Spirit; (ει τις κοινωνια πνευματος)
The term “fellowship” (κοινωνια) is used by the apostles to define the common experience of the Lord’s Supper. The fellowship of the Spirit is the expression coined by the apostle to refer to the “guidance” of the Spirit. Compare other instructions that the apostle communicates with other communities of faith:
For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. Romans 8:14
Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? 2nd. Corinthians 6:14
The fellowship of the Spirit is union in obedience to the Spirit of Christ,
But he that is joined unto the Lord is one spirit. 1st. Corinthians 6:17
if any bowels and mercies, (ει τινασπλαγχνακαι οικτιρμοι)
Bowels and mercies is the apostle’s expression for the love of Christ,
But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:8
Bowels and mercies is a love of surrender, of sacrifice, of care; in his epistle to the Thessalonians he compares it to the love that a mother lavishes on the fruit of her womb,
But we were gentle among you, even as a nurse cherisheth her children: 1st. Thessalonians 2:7
Bowels and mercies is to “adopt” new converts and care for them; it is to learn to do things not out of vainglory (2:3), nor by looking each to his own, but each also to that of others (2:4). This is the love of Jesus’ heart, who, being in the form of God (2:6), emptied himself of his divine attributes to take the form of a servant (2:7), in order to fulfill the purpose from before the foundation of the world, to bring many sons to glory.
How to correct conducts that dissent from the community’s way of thinking?
The Apostle sums it up in one sentence: Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: (2:5), Paul uses the example of Jesus followed in the Revelation of the mystery of the Redemption, and establishes for it a protocol of life in Christ Jesus:
Don’t hold on to anything that means personal merit:
This first action of life is based on the divine action in Jesus not to cling on to His status as God, all just to establish the redemption of Adam’s generation: who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: (2:6). Paul explains in his epistle to the Ephesians that Jesus found delight in the decision not to cling to his status as God, for the sake of Adam and his generation,
having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself: Ephesians 1:9
This decision and action of not clinging to anything that means personal merit is, according to the teaching in other epistles, the action of putting the old man to death so that Christ may live by the Spirit of His Grace, which must be done with joy by being a sharer in Christ’s afflictions. The instruction of the apostle Paul is read in the unfolding of the epistle:
3 Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves. 4 Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others. Philippians 2:3-4
Do all things without murmurings and disputings: Philippians 2:14
But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. Philippians 3:7
Renounce all human capacity:
The action of life promulgated in the work of Jesus consisted in emptying himself of every divine attribute; Paul describes it as follows: but emptied himself (2:7).
This Revelation establishes the definition that Jesus operated in His ministry on earth as a man, and not as God; as a man led by the Spirit of God, as a man submitted to the Will of the Father.
I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me. Philippians 4:13
Hence Paul’s declaration that I can do all things in Christ really means the declaration of authority which every man and woman who exercises according to the operation of the Spirit possesses. Together with this statement, Paul sets forth another which applies in all that concerns the life-sustaining form of a man and a woman subject to the Spirit,
But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:19
In a way, the apostle’s declarations of authority are based on Jeremiah’s prophetic statement about the assurance of the one who knows the Lord and has arranged to be under His Lordship.
Thus saith the Lord; Cursed be the man that trusteth in man, and maketh flesh his arm, and whose heart departeth from the Lord. Jeremiah 17:5
Follow instructions according to the operation of the Spirit:
He did not cling to His condition as God, He emptied Himself of His divine attributes, with these words Paul explains how Jesus revealed in Himself the mystery of His Will to bring about the reconciliation of Adam’s generation. What follows is part of the Revelation of how Jesus took away the legal right that Satan held over man: and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. (2:8).
In another of his epistles, the apostle explains that disobedience establishes sin, while obedience establishes God’s revelation and government.
For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous. Romans 5:19
Obedience is the key to the Kingdom. So, the action of life that Jesus established by obeying the Father opened the way for all those who follow the same path to also find life and salvation, hence the instruction of the apostle,
Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. Philippians 2:12
Obedience to the Father is the only way for men and women to ensure the guidance of the Spirit for themselves.
For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. Romans 8:14
We conclude by referring to the words of the apostle,
that ALL be of equal intention, having equal love, reciprocal, and with equal community proposal. Philippians 2:2
The biblical quotations are taken from the Authorized (King James) Version (AKJV)
Pastor Pedro Montoya
WhatsApp 1 (407) 764-2699
 Hebrews 6.1
 Acts 1:4
 1st. Corinthians 11:16-20
 Galatians 4:19
 Acts 2:42; 1st. Corinthians 10:16
 Hebrews 2:10
 Colossians 3:5—9; Ephesians 4:22
 Colossians 1:24; 1st. Peter 4:13