seeing Philippians 4:4-9 as necessarily together

Looking at my now old (revised since then with Ralph P. Martin) Word Biblical Commentary: Philippians, by Gerald F. Hawthorne, I was especially noting how he ties Philippians 4:4-9 together as one whole, we might say one thought, so to speak.

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice.And the God of peace will be with you.

Philippians 4:4-9

What we too often do is separate one part of scripture from the whole in an approach which while seeking to highlight God’s promises, fails to see them in their proper context.

First of all, we rejoice in the Lord always, being gentle in our demeanor, knowing that the Lord is near in the Presence of the Holy Spirit, and that he is coming soon. And instead of being anxious about anything, in every situation we pray with petitions and thanksgiving, presenting our requests to God. With the assurance that God’s peace which surpasses all understanding will prevail, guarding our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.

To conclude this thought, we focus on all that is true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, whatever is excellent or praiseworthy, fixing our thoughts on such things which often are held in common with humanity made in God’s image, thoughts in keeping with the Greek philosophical tradition of Paul’s day. And that is capped off with what is most important as to our impetus: following Paul as he followed Christ in the way of the gospel.

Something I want to be praying about and working on, to help me live out the truth in Jesus with others.


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