Philippians 1:25-26

25 Convinced of this, I know that I will remain and continue with you all, for your progress and joy in the faith, 26 so that in me you may have ample cause to glory in Christ Jesus, because of my coming to you again.

1:251:22 was the acknowledgment of the tension, 1:23-24 noted the detailed description of the tension, and 1:25-26 notes the inward resolution of the dilemma.

Paul is convinced that it is more necessary for the Philippians that he remain, so then he resolves to ‘remain and continue.’ The repetition,‘remain and continue’ (μενω καί παραμενω, meno kai parameno), emphasizes his choice – i.e., he will not depart. There are three reasons that determine his purpose for remaining: 1) the Philippians progress in the faith, 2) their joy in the faith, and 3) their opportunity to glory in God through Paul.

The apostle is convinced that his remaining will actually ‘progress’ their faith. I cannot get over the fact that Paul equates his existence to other people’s faith progressing; this is his existence within the glory of Christ –  other’s sanctification. Also linger over that word ‘progress.’ It points the reader back to 1:12, where Paul is speaking of his own circumstances. Just as Paul’s circumstances progressed the gospel, so does he urge the Philippians to progress in the gospel. As we continue through the letter, this verse is the hinge where Paul shifts from his circumstances to the Philippians’ circumstances.

Moreover, Paul’s remaining is a joy to them. If anything, this is to reinforce the fact that Paul is not making a choice between ‘bad and worse,’ but between ‘good and better’ – in this case joy for others vs. personal fullness of joy. In other letters, like 1 Corinthians, Paul assures the brethren of his coming for the purpose of his corrective judgment. This is not the case with the Philippians. Paul is coming to bring joy to them, assuring them of his love for them. Once again, we see the deep intimacy that existed between the apostle and the Philippians. More so, however, this joy is an inescapable link to the third point – the Philippians glorying in God.

1:26‘To glory in’ is the Greek word καύχημα (kauchema), which is often translated ‘pride’ or ‘cause for boasting.’ Their joy is fastened to their capacity to have pride, glory in, God. The progress of other’s faith and joy is only accomplished by God being glorified in them and through them (cf. 1:20-21, Paul’s joy was coupled with his dedication to see Christ magnified in him). In this verse, though the syntax is obscure, the best literal translation is found in the ESV: “so that in me you may have ample cause to glory in Christ Jesus, because of my coming to you again.” Too many translations read as the Philippians having confidence in Paul. No, Paul is seeking to stir their confidence, boast, and glory in Christ merely through his ministry to them by Christ (1 Cor. 1:14; cf. 1 Cor. 1:31; 2 Cor. 10:17, the boast is not in Paul, but through Paul).[1]So inasmuch the apostle’s remaining is for the Philippians’ joy, his remaining is for God’s glory. Paul wants to continue to live so that God can continue to glorify Himself through Paul and his ministry. The godly person desires to live only so long as his life will promote the glory of Christ. Death is gain because Christ is the ultimate satisfaction. Life is worth living because it permits us to glorify God to others. Our death is for Christ, and our life is for others, inasmuch as our life is in Christ. The godly person can only embrace both life and death with a positive perspective. “Like Christ in 2:6–8, Timothy in 2:20–21, and Epaphroditus in 2:30, Paul has put the interests of others ahead of his own interests, and the interests of the gospel above all.”[2]


[1] When Paul is directing one’s boasting directly to a human being, Silva notes that he usually couples it with the preposition hyper, ‘for’ (2 Cor. 5:12; 7:4; 8:24; 9:3). In Phil. 1:26, Paul employs the preposition en, ‘through.’

[2] Frank Thielman, Philippians, The NIV Application Commentary (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House, 1995), 79.


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