Philippians 4:4-9 and Waldenström's Commentary

Epistle Text for Thanksgiving Day

by Paul Peter Waldenström and translated by Tommy Carlson

[Dr. Paul Peter Waldenström based his comments on a Greek New Testament text which he translated into Swedish. Tommy Carlson has translated both the Biblical text and Waldenström's comments from the Swedish text, 2nd Edition, 1802. -- Ed.]

Verse 4 — Delight in the Lord always;1 again2 I will say: delight. Philippians 2:18, 3:1; I Thessalonians 5:16.

1. Even during distress and calamity. Compare chapter 1:29, Romans 5:2.

2. Yes, I shall say it one more time. The repetition is to impress it further.

Verse 5 — Your mild manner be known to all people.1 The Lord is near.2

1. Behave yourselves toward all people—even your enemies—so that they may know your mild manner.

2. The Lord is soon coming to save you. Think about that and it will be easy for you to be meek and considerate toward everyone, no matter what they do to you.

Verse 6 — Do not be anxious about anything,1 but in everything2 may your wishes through invocation and prayer with thanksgiving3 be known to God. Psalms 55:23; Matthew 6:25; I Peter 5:7

1. No matter what it is, spiritual or physical. Paul does not forbid believers to have a Christian anxiety whatever befalls them, (Compare chapter 2:20; I Corinthians 7:32ff; II Corinthians 11:28) but only to be worried and troubled. Such worry comes because one does not trust the Lord completely.

2. Without any exception.

3. Prayer should always be combined with thanksgiving. See Colossians 3:17; I Thessalonians 5:18. For whatever may happen to the believers it will always work to their best (Romans 8:28) and is therefore worthy of thanks.

Verse 7 — And God's peace1 which is beyond all understanding2 shall guard3 your hearts and your thoughts in Christ Jesus.4 John 14:27.

1. That inner peace of the heart that God gives.

2. Which is capable, more than all human understanding. Paul’s words could also mean: Which is more than any human understanding can comprehend. Compare Ephesians 3:20. But according to the context, the former is preferable.

3. Keep watch over you hearts and thoughts. See Romans 8:28ff.

4. The guarding shall happen in Christ Jesus, so that your hearts and thoughts shall be preserved in Him and not be pulled away.

Verse 8 — In addition brothers, everything which is true,1 everything which is venerable, everything which is righteous, everything which is clean,2 everything which is loveable, everything which is harmonious,3 if (there is) any virtue and if (there is) any praise4 think about this.5

1. All that the good by truth invites. The Apostle does not speak here about doctrine, but about the moral life in agreement with the divine truth. See John 3:21; compare also I Corinthians 5:8; Ephesians 5:9.

2. Morally clean.

3. Everything which sounds good, when one names them. When one hears that some one has done something really good, one says, "That sounds really good." One thinks, "This is something that we also want to do."

4. If you hear that someone praises something.

5. That in your own living you may accomplish that. Naturally, the Apostle does not mean with the many words, truth, venerable, etc. different things, but one and the same looked at from different sides.

Verse 9 — What you have also learned and received and heard1 and seen in (by) me,2 do this, and the God of peace3 shall be with you. Philippians 3:17; Romans 15:33; II Corinthians 13:11; I Thessalonians 5:23.

1. Not only what you hear now, but also what you learned and received in faith during my first visit in Philippi. (See I Corinthians 15:1)

2. Paul had in his own life, both with words and with deeds, showed examples of how to live by his teachings. "As you have heard me speak when I was among you, so you shall speak; as you have seen me act, so shall you act."

3. God, who gives the peace. Here peace means the same as in verse 7.