Philippians 2:17-24

17 Yes, and if I am being poured out as a drink offering on the sacrifice and service of your faith, I am glad and rejoice with you all.

18 For the same reason you also be glad and rejoice with me.

19 But I trust in the Lord Jesus to send Timothy to you shortly, that I also may be encouraged when I know your state.

20 For I have no one like-minded, who will sincerely care for your state.

21 For all seek their own, not the things which are of Christ Jesus.

22 But you know his proven character, that as a son with his father he served with me in the gospel.

23 Therefore I hope to send him at once, as soon as I see how it goes with me.

24 But I trust in the Lord that I myself shall also come shortly.

poured out (v.17) — killed — poured out as a libation, sacrificed.

I am offered — The verb spendo means to pour out as a drink offering, make a libation (not to offer by way of a presentation). The word is used elsewhere in 2 Timothy 4:6 and again there in the passive voice, and the thought is taken from the pouring out of drink offerings in connection with sacrifices, whether Israelite (Numbers 15:1-11; 28:7-9) or heathen (Psalm 16:4). Paul presents himself as a sacrificial drink offering, whether as a result of his labors or by execution.

upon the sacrifice and service of your faith — Although the drink offerings were poured around the alter and not on it or on the sacrifice, yet the Septuagint of Numbers 15:5 and 28:24 uses the preposition epi, “upon.” as here, and heathen drink offerings were poured on the sacrifice.

The sacrifice, thusia, here stands for the victim, and not for the act of sacrificing. While in one aspect the believers were the sacrifice, as being consecrated to God, each being “a living sacrifice,” and that by reason of their faith, yet in Paul’s view here they were the offerers, their faith was the sacrifice, and Paul was the libation. — Vine, page 306


The two terms Paul uses here, offered and sacrifice, are closely identified with the Jewish sacrificial system. The word “offered” has the idea to be poured out as a sacrifice in the sense of a libation, while the term “sacrifice” speaks of the act of the victim.

Essentially Paul is likening the sacrifice and service of the Philippians to the burnt offering in time past, which was a sweet savor offering that was well pleasing to God. Interestingly, it was a voluntary sacrifice that was done in the Lord’s service (Leviticus 1:3). When the Philippians pondered what the grace of God had done for them in bringing them salvation, they willingly devoted the remainder of their lives to the things of the Lord. No sacrifice was too great in their desire to glorify God.

In the Old Testament the libation or drink offering was also a sacrifice that was normally poured over the burnt offering, the two being closely related (Numbers 15:1-5). Since Paul was confident he would soon be released we do not believe that the apostle was necessarily speaking about being poured out in death at the hands of Nero. It has been correctly observed that Paul’s use of the present tense and passive voice implies that his life is still being poured out in his sacrificial ministry for them. — Sadler, pages 131-132.

rejoice (v.17) — with the idea of congratulations

for the same reason (v.18) = should be “in the same manner”

be glad and rejoice (v.18) — an exhortation to do so — to rejoice themselves and to congratulate him

But I hope in the Lord Jesus (v.19) — The phrases “in the Lord” and “in the Lord Jesus” are to be distinguished from “in Christ.” The latter is especially connected with the heavenly position and relationship of believers, the intimacy of the mystical union between Christ and them. The former phrases are used of their earthly relationships and circumstances, experiences and conduct, as being under His authority and control. — Vine, page 307

I also (v.19) — The Philippians will be comforted by Timothy’s presence and Paul will be comforted by Timothy’s report on them.

encouraged/good comfort (v.19) = well-souled — take courage and be of good cheer.

state (v. 19 and 20) — circumstances

like-minded (v.20) = of equal soul. There was no one else fit to go who would genuinely care for the Philippians spiritually.

care for (v.20) = anxious, concerned with

all (v.21) — of those with Paul, only Timothy served unselfishly

seek their own (v.21) — selfish

know (v.22) = recognize —  knowledge gained by experience

proven character (v.22) — proven fitness, met the test

in the gospel (v.22) — in furthering the gospel

I hope to send him (v.23) — emphasis on “him”

trust (v.24) = settled persuasion

Epaphroditus left immediately with Paul’s letter. Timothy would follow shortly in an official capacity as soon as Paul’s fate was known. Paul hoped that he, himself would follow shortly after Timothy.

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