In the second chapter of his letter to the Philippians, Paul turns to writing to them about considering each other—serving each other—ministering to each other. He lays the groundwork—the foundation—the irrefutable bedrock of ministry as he makes this appeal to them.
Therefore if there is any encouragement in Christ, if there is any consolation of love, if there is any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and compassion…
The conditions, the ifs, of this verse are all first class conditions in Greek—they are statements assumed to be true and can be understood as since. A. T. Robertson explains the first phrase as the “ground of appeal to you in Christ.”1
In his translation, William Hendriksen suggests that after each of these statements, the phrase “as there surely is” could be placed:
Therefore if there is any encouragement in Christ, as there surely is,
if there is any consolation of love, as there surely is,
if there is any fellowship of the Spirit, as there surely is,
if any affection and compassion, as there surely is2
For all believers, these four conditions are true. These are all realities known and experienced by each Christian as God pours out His grace into our daily lives.
Encouragement is a form of the same word Jesus used to describe the Holy Spirit, the Comforter, called to our side to help us, and the word used by John in 1 John 2:1 to describe Jesus (translated as advocate). Each believer has known the encouragement of the Lord Jesus; the way He walks with us and helps us.
The word for consolation is similar to encouragement. It is a word that means to speak closely.3 That is such a touching picture of the act of consolation. Who among us has not known the consolation of God’s love?
Fellowship is a word you may already know, koinonia, the communion we have with the Spirit. He lives within us and has sealed our salvation. He is the one through whom we know the glories of Romans 8.
Affection is a word that Vine states, “denotes “tender mercies.”4 Lightfoot writes of the word translated as compassion, “It signifies the manifestation of tender feelings in compassionate yearnings and actions.”5
These are the realities known by all who are God’s children. The words speak so richly of the love and grace of God for each of us; the mercy, compassion, comfort, understanding, and communion that the living God gives to us in Christ Jesus. These realities are the bedrock of Paul’s appeal; realities that should impel and compel us to minister and serve one another.
Ministry has as its foundation, its ground of appeal, the grace of God poured out in our lives.
White Dove: FreeFoto.com (See John 1:32).
1A. T. Robertson, Word Pictures in the New Testament, 1931, Vol. IV, p. 443.
2William Hendriksen, New Testament Commentary: Philippians, Colossians and Philemon.
3W. E. Vine, Old Testament Edited by F. F. Bruce, Vine’s Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words, 1981, Vol. 1, p. 207.
4W. E. Vine, Old Testament Edited by F. F. Bruce, Vine’s Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words, 1981, Vol. 1, p. 37.
5Fritz Rienecker, Cleon L. Rogers, Jr. (Translator and Editor), Linguistic Key to the Greek
New Testament, 1980, p. 549.
Original content: Copyright ©2010—2012 Iwana Carpenter
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