1 This letter comes from Paul and Timothy, servants of Christ Jesus, to all God's people in Christ Jesus living in Philippi, and to the church leaders and assistants. 2 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. 3 When I think of you I'm so thankful to my God, 4 and I'm always glad to remember all of you in my prayers, 5 because you've been partners with me in spreading the good news right from the beginning up till now. 6 I'm absolutely sure that God who began this good work in you will continue working and bring it to a successful conclusion when Jesus Christ returns.
7 It's appropriate for me to be thinking this way about all of you because you mean so much to me. Whether I'm in prison or out there making the good news clear, all of you share God's grace together with me. 8 God is my witness as to my great affection for every one of you in the caring love of Christ Jesus.
9 My prayer is that your love may grow more and more in knowledge and understanding, 10 so that you can work out what's really important. That way you can be genuine and blameless when Christ returns, 11 filled with the fruits of living right that come through Jesus Christ and give glory and praise to God.
12 I want you to know, my brothers and sisters, that all I've experienced has worked out to move the good news forward! 13 For everyone—including the whole praetorian guard* Bodyguards to the Roman Emperor.—now knows that I'm in chains for Christ; 14 and because of my chains most of the Christians here have been encouraged to speak God's word boldly and fearlessly! 15 Yes, some speak out of jealousy and rivalry. However, there are those who speak from good motives. 16 They act out of love, because they know that I'm meant to be here to defend the good news. 17 Those others present Christ deceptively because of their selfish ambitions, trying to cause me problems in my imprisonment.
18 But so what? All I care about is that Christ is presented every which way, whether just pretending or whether from true convictions. That's what makes me happy—and I will go on being happy! 19 Why? Because I'm convinced that through your prayers for me, and through the help of the Spirit of Jesus Christ, this will turn out to be my salvation.† Paul may be referring to salvation from his immediate situation or his ultimate salvation, or both. 20 For it's my strongest hope and expectation not to do anything of which I would be ashamed. Instead it's my bold hope, as always, that even now Christ will be greatly honored through me, whether I live or die.
21 As far as I'm concerned, living is for Christ, and dying brings gain. 22 But if I'm to go on living here and this would be productive work, then I really don't know what's best to choose! 23 For I'm in a dilemma—I really want to leave and be with Christ, which would be far better, 24 and yet to remain physically here is more important as far you're concerned. 25 Since I'm absolutely sure of this, I know that I'll stay here, remaining with you all to help you as your trust and delight in God grows, 26 so that when I see you again your praise to Christ Jesus may be even greater because of me.
27 Just be sure that the way you live your lives corresponds to the good news of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or not I can get to hear how you're doing—that you stand firm in full agreement with one another, spiritually united as you work together for the trusting faith of the good news. 28 Don't let your enemies scare you. By being brave you will demonstrate to them that they will be lost, but that God himself will save you. 29 For you have been given the privilege not only of trusting in Jesus, but suffering for him as well. 30 You're experiencing the same struggle you saw me having—a struggle I still have, as you now know.
*1:13 Bodyguards to the Roman Emperor.
†1:19 Paul may be referring to salvation from his immediate situation or his ultimate salvation, or both.