1Christ encourages you, and his love comforts you. God's Spirit unites you, and you are concerned for others. 2Now make me completely happy! Live in harmony by showing love for each other. Be united in what you think, as if you were only one person. 3Don't be jealous or proud, but be humble and consider others more important than yourselves. 4Care about them as much as you care about yourselves 5and think the same way that Christ Jesus thought:#2.5 think the same way that Christ Jesus thought: Or “think the way you should because you belong to Christ Jesus.”
6Christ was truly God.
But he did not try to remain#2.6 remain: Or “become.”
equal with God.
7Instead he gave up everything#2.7 he gave up everything: Greek, “he emptied himself.”
and became a slave,
when he became
like one of us.
8Christ was humble.
He obeyed God and even died
on a cross.
9Then God gave Christ
the highest place
and honored his name
above all others.
10 # Is 45.23 (LXX) So at the name of Jesus
everyone will bow down,
those in heaven, on earth,
and under the earth.
11And to the glory
of God the Father
everyone will openly agree,
“Jesus Christ is Lord!”
Lights in the World
12My dear friends, you always obeyed when I was with you. Now that I am away, you should obey even more. So work with fear and trembling to discover what it really means to be saved. 13God is working in you to make you willing and able to obey him.
14Do everything without grumbling or arguing. 15#Dt 32.5 Then you will be the pure and innocent children of God. You live among people who are crooked and evil, but you must not do anything they can say is wrong. Try to shine as lights among the people of this world, 16as you hold firmly to#2.16 hold firmly to: Or “offer them.” the message that gives life. Then on the day when Christ returns, I can take pride in you. I can also know that my work and efforts were not useless.
17Your faith in the Lord and your service are like a sacrifice offered to him. And my own blood may have to be poured out with the sacrifice.#2.17 my own blood may have to be poured out with the sacrifice: Offerings of water or wine were sometimes poured out when animals were sacrificed on the altar. If this happens, I will be glad and rejoice with you. 18In the same way, you should be glad and rejoice with me.
Timothy and Epaphroditus
19I want to be encouraged by news about you. So I hope the Lord Jesus will soon let me send Timothy to you. 20I don't have anyone else who cares about you as much as he does. 21The others think only about what interests them and not about what concerns Christ Jesus. 22But you know what kind of person Timothy is. He has worked with me like a son in spreading the good news. 23I hope to send him to you, as soon as I find out what is going to happen to me. 24And I feel sure the Lord will also let me come soon.
25I think I ought to send my dear friend Epaphroditus back to you. He is a follower and a worker and a soldier of the Lord, just as I am. You sent him to look after me, 26but now he is eager to see you. He is worried, because you heard he was sick. 27In fact, he was very sick and almost died. But God was kind to him, and also to me, and he kept me from being burdened down with sorrow.
28Now I am more eager than ever to send Epaphroditus back again. You will be glad to see him, and I won't have to worry any longer. 29Be sure to give him a cheerful welcome, just as people who serve the Lord deserve. 30He almost died working for Christ, and he risked his own life to do for me what you could not.
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