VERSES 4-5:  Keeping Peace in the Heart
Paul now sets before these Philippian believers two great qualities of the Christian life:

“Rejoice in the Lord always; and again I say, Rejoice.”


“Rejoice in the Lord always” 
Literally:  “Rejoice in {the} Lord always.”–Be continually happy; but this happiness you   can find only in the Lord. Genuine happiness is spiritual; as it can only come from God, so it infallibly tends to Him. Paul repeats the exhortation, to show, not only his earnestness, but also that it was God's will that it should be so, and that it was their duty as well as interest. 

It is the privilege of Christians to do this, not at certain periods and at distant intervals, but at all times they may rejoice that there is a God and Savior; they may rejoice:
1.      In the
character of God,

2.      In the law, and government of God
3.      In the promises of God.
4.      In communion with God.
The Christian, therefore, may be, and should be, always a happy man. If everything else changes, yet the Lord does not change; if the sources of all other joy are dried up, yet this is not; and there is not a moment of a Christian's life in which he may not find joy in the character, law, and promises of God.

Disharmony in a church often is the by-product of internal, personal conflicts, or carnality, (I Cor. 3:3) and Paul now directs his exhortation to the inner state of peace.  Once again he urges them to rejoice; not only a renewal of the rejoicing exhorted in 3:1, but a repetition of the note sounded in 1:18 and 2:18. 

        REJOICE:  (Grk.–Grk.–chairete)–This combines a parting benediction with an exhortation to cheerfulness.  It is neither are-well alone, nor rejoice alone.  Vincent calls the exhortation to rejoice, “the keynote of the epistle.” Paul places the word in the Greek present imperative tense and it could be better translated as “Keep on rejoicing in the Lord always.”

          ALWAYS :  (Grk.–pantote)–Even amidst the afflictions now distressing you (1:28-30).  It is as if, having said, “Rejoice!”…a picture of all that was to come flashed into Paul’s mind.  He himself was lying in a Roman prison with almost certain death awaiting him, the Philippian believers were setting out on the Christian way and dark days, dangers and persecutions inevitably lay ahead for them. 

So Paul. In effect, says, “I know what I’m saying.  I’ve thought of everything that can possibly happen.  And still I say it:  REJOICE!  Rejoice in the Lord!’  Christian joy is independent of all things on earth because it has its source in the continual presence of Christ.  Two people who love each other are always happy when they are  together, no matter where they are, or their circumstances.  Christians can never lose their joy because they can never lose Christ!

“Let your moderation be known unto all men.  The Lord
{is} at hand.”


“Let your moderation be known”
Literally:  “Let your reasonableness be known.”–That is, in your conduct to others, let nothing inconsistent with "moderation" be seen. Not a precept to make a display of moderation. Let this grace “be known” to men in your actions;; let your requests “be made to God" in word.

         MODERATION:  (Grk.–epieikeia)—Literally:  “Reasonableness, or forbearance.”  It might even be said that this word incorporates all the fruit of the Spirit–“love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance” (Gal. 5:22-2 3).  Paul seems to be saying that it is not enough to simply have moderation; rather, he is saying that this moderation is to “be known unto all men.”  Paul wanted these believer to have the right kind of life, and then make that life evident to others in everyday living.This is one of the most untranslatable of all Greek words.  Various translators have translated it; for instance:
1.      Wycliff translated it as patience;

2.      Tyndale, as softness; 
3.      Geneva Bible, as patient mind;
4.      Revised Version as forebearance;
5.      Moffatt as forevearance; just to name a few. 

The word “moderation” (epiekes) refers to restraint on the passions, general soberness of living, being free from all excesses. The word properly means that which is fit or suitable, and then propriety, gentleness, mildness.  They were to indulge in no excess of passion, or dress, or eating, or drinking. They were to govern their appetites, restrain their temper, and to be examples of what was proper for men in view of the expectation that the Lord would soon appear.

“Moderation,” “means meekness under provocation, readiness to forgive injuries, equity in the management of business, candor in judging of the characters and actions of others, sweetness of disposition, and the entire government of the passions.”–Dr. Macknight

         The Greeks themselves explained the word as justice and something better than justice.  They said that (epieikeia) ought to come in when strict justice became unjust because of its generality.  There may be individual instances where a perfectly just law becomes unjust, or where justice is not the same thing as fairness.  People have the quality of epieikeia when they know when not to apply the strict letter of the law, when to relax justice and introduce mercy.
         Let it be such that others may see it. This does not mean that they were to make an ostentatious display of it, but that it should be such a characteristic of their lives that it would be constantly visible to others.

         “The Lord {is} at hand.”
         Literally:  “The Lord is near.” phrase something similar to the Maranatha of I Cor. 16:22: The Lord is Judge, and is at hand to punish. Some commentators supposes, from this verse, taken in connection with the preceding, that
Euodia and Syntyche were of a quarrelsome disposition; and hence the exhortation and threatening in the third and fifth verses.

        This has the appearance of being a phrase in common use among the early Christians, and as being designed to keep before their minds a lively impression of an event which ought, by its anticipation, to produce an important effect. Whether, by this phrase, they commonly understood the coming of the Lord to destroy Jerusalem, or to remove them by death, or to judge the world, or to reign personally on the earth, it is impossible now to determine, and is not very material to a proper understanding of its use here.
        The idea is, that the expectation that the Lord Jesus will “come” ought to be allowed to produce moderation of our passions, in our manner of living, in our expectations of what this world can furnish, and in our desires of earthly good. On him who feels that he is soon to die, and to stand at the bar of God; on him who expects soon to see the Lord Jesus coming in the clouds of heaven, it cannot fail to have this effect.
         Men indulge their passions; are extravagant in their plans of life; and in their expectations of earthly good for themselves and for their families, because they have no real sense of the truth that there is before them a vast eternity.  He that has a lively expectation that heaven will soon be his, will form very moderate expectations of what this world can furnish.
         The testimony of the Scriptures is that the Lord can come at any time, and that is why the believer should be alert and capitalizing on spiritual opportunities.  No one knows how much time he has left, and even though he plans for the future, he should live as if each day might be the last.  When one remembers that he might soon stand before the Lord, this sometimes changes the way he lives.  After referring to meeting the Lord face-to-face, the apostle Johns aid, ”Every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as He is pure” (I John 3:3).


“Be careful for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.”

         “Be careful for nothing,
         Literally:  “Be anxious about nothing.” That is, be not anxious or solicitous about the things of the present life.

                 CAREFUL:  (Grk.–merimnate)-Literally:  “anxious.”  This does not mean that we are to exercise no care about worldly matters; or no care to preserve our property; or to provide for our families, (I Tim. 5:8); but that there is to be such confidence in God as to free the mind from anxiety, and such a sense of dependence on him as to keep it calm.

See the subject explained Matt. 6:25–“Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on.  Is not the life more than meat, and the body more than raiment.”  From the context it is apparent that Paul was attempting to help these believers so they would not always be worrying about the future. 

“but in everything”–Everything in reference to the supply of your wants, and the wants of your families; everything in respect to afflictions, embarrassments, and trials: and everything relating to your spiritual condition.  There is nothing which pertains to body, mind, estate, friends, conflicts, losses, trials, hopes, fears, in reference to which we may not go and spread it all out before the Lord.

“by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving”
Literally: “By prayer and petition with thanksgiving.”God alone can help you; He is disposed to do it, but you must ask by prayer and supplication; without this He has not promised to help you.

        PRAYER: (Grk.–proseuchēi)Solemn application to God from a sense of want. Although this is a common word, it always means prayer addressed directly to God.  

        SUPPLICATION: (Grk.–deēse)–This is a stronger term than prayer.  It is the mode of prayer peculiarly which arises from the sense of need, or want.  This comes from the Greek word (deomai), which means “to want, to need.”  Continue in earnest prayer with thanksgiving, for innumerable favors already received; and for dangers, evils, and deaths turned aside. And let your souls be found in this exercise, or in the disposition in which this exercise can be performed, at all times, on all occasions, and in all places.

Prayer is general, while supplication is special.  These two words often occur together. We can bring our prayers, our petitions and our requests directly to God.  We can pray for ourselves; for others; for the things we need in the present; for help and guidance for the future.  We can commend to God’s care those near and far who are within our memories and our heartsGod cares about even the “little” things in our lives.  People often are taught not to “bother” God with small or self-oriented requests, but this is nothing but false humility.

        THANKSGIVING: (Grk.–eucharistias)–Thanksgiving connected with prayer. We can always find something to be thankful for, no matter what may be the burden of our wants, or the special subject of our petitions. All praying is to be done with thanksgiving. This is always followed by peace. Peace and thanksgiving are both coupled together, Col 3:15.

         When we pray for the supply of our wants, we may be thankful for that kind Providence which has hitherto befriended us; when we pray for restoration from sickness, we may be thankful for the health we have hitherto enjoyed, and for God's merciful interposition in the former days of trial, and for His goodness in now sparing our lives; when we pray that our children and friends may be preserved from danger and death, we may remember how often God has interposed to save them; when, oppressed with a sense of sin, we pray for pardon, we have abundant cause of thanksgiving that there is a glorious way by which we may be saved. The greatest sufferer that lives in this world of redeeming love, and who has the offer of heaven before him, has cause of gratitude.
         Paul lays down that “thanksgiving” must be the universal accompaniment of prayer.  Every prayer must include thanks for the privilege of prayer itself.  Paul insists that we give thanks in everything:  in laughter and in tears, in sorrows and in joys alike.  That implies two things;  gratitude and perfect
submission to the will of God.  It is only when we are fully convinced that God is working all things together for our good that we can really feel the perfect gratitude towards Him which believing prayer demands.

           The believer is to thank God not only for answers in the past, but also for the answers that will come in the future.  Again we see Paul’s emphasis on the need to have confidence in the sovereignty of God so that the individual believers does not panic as he brings his needs before God. 

“let your requests be made known unto God.”--Do this with unreserved confidence;  not  keeping anything back by thinking it is too great, or else too small, to bring before God,

It is not as if you were giving God information, but rather to express to Him your needs.. God doesn’t need to be informed of our necessities, but He requires that we come and express them to him. Comp. Ezek. 36:37:–“Thus saith the Lord God, I will yet for this be inquired of by the house of Israel to do it for them.”

REQUESTS:  (Grk.–aitēmata)–This refers to something asked, or a petition; specific details of supplication.

These three words, prayer, supplication and requests seem to be moving from the general kind of praying to the particular and emphasize the importance of believers being specific in their prayers.

“And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”

         “And the peace of God,”–The peace which only God can give. This is the dispeller of “anxious care” (v.6).

        The peace here particularly referred to is that which is felt when we have no anxious care about the supply of our wants, and when we go confidently and commit everything into the hands of God. “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on thee,” (Isa. 26:3. John 14:27)  That harmonizing of all passions and appetites which is produced by the Holy Spirit, and arises from a sense of pardon and the favor of God.
        In the midst of turmoil and extreme circumstances, every believer can have God’s peace in his life.  His verse reveals that personal peace is not dependent on circumstances; rather, it is dependent on one’s personal relationship with the Lord.  When we realize that He is in control and does not make mistakes, this gives us that peace that we are not able to obtain in any other way.
        This “peace of God” is more than just having peace with God; referring to the position of a Christian in Christ, which is true of all believers.  Here Paul is referring to a peace which is characteristic of God Himself, referred to by Jesus in His words, “Peace I leave with you, My peace I give unto you” (John 14:27). 

“which passeth all understanding,”
Literally:  “Which passes all understanding.”–That is, which surpasses all that men had conceived or imagined. Either, which passes all power of comprehension, or even better,
which surpasses every human reason, in its powere to relieve anxiety.

        This expression is one that denotes that the peace imparted is of the highest possible kind. Paul frequently used terms which had somewhat of a hyperbolical cast, (Eph. 3:19; comp. John 21:25;) and the language here is that which one would use who designed to speak of that which was of the highest order.
        The Christian, committing his way to God, and feeling that he will order all things aright, has a peace which is nowhere else known. Nothing else will furnish it but religion. No confidence that a man can have in his own powers; no reliance which he can repose on his own plans or on the promises or fidelity of his fellow-men, and no calculations which he can make on the course of events, can impart such peace to the soul as simple confidence in God.

PASSETH:  (Grk.–hyperechousapanta)-That surpasses, or exceeds all man's notional powers of understanding its full blessedness (I Cor. 2:9; 10; Eph. 3:20; compare Prov. 3:17). 

It excels and surpasses all our own intellectual calculations and considerations; all our contemplations and premeditated ideas of how to get rid of our cares, and which after all cannot completely restore peace and calm to our minds.  What God gives surpasses all that we ask or think.

“shall keep your hearts and mind”
Literally:  “Will keep guard over the hearts and minds of you.”

        KEEP:  (Grk.–phrourein)–This is a military term meaning “to stand guard;” or mount guard over, as a garrison stands guard, or protects, a city.

        Paul is saying that the result of believing prayer is that the peace of God will stand like a sentry on guard over our hearts and minds.  As soldiers protected those within from those without, so does the peace of God protect the believer from those things which would render him ineffective for the Lord.  The peace of God is said to garrison the believer’s heart and mind.  He is surrounded with such blessed privileges that he is as safe as one in an impregnable castle or fortress. Since Philippi was a Roman military colonia, even an army garrison city, these Philippian believers (who may even have been retired or active soldiers, or even “army brats”) would surely understand Paul’s use of this military term phrourein.
        Your hearts, (the seat of all your affections and passions, and minds), your understanding, judgment, and conscience through Christ Jesus; by Whom you were brought into this state of favor (GRACE), through Whom you are preserved in it, and in Whom you possess it; for Christ keeps that heart in peace in which He dwells and rules. This peace passes all human understanding:
I           It is of a very different nature from all that can arise from human occurrences;
2.         It is a peace which Christ has purchased, and which God dispenses;
3.         It is felt by all the truly godly.
But it can be explained by none; it is communion with the Father, and His Son Jesus Christ, by the power and influence of the Holy Ghost.  The object is not to retreat from an evil world, but rejoice in the sanity (blessings that come from God) that are in it.

The idea is that by making our requests known to God, and going to Him in view of all our trials and wants, the mind would be preserved from distressing anxiety. The way to find peace, and to have the heart kept from trouble is to go and spread out all before the Lord. (Comp. Isa. 26:3,4,20; 37:1-7).

“through Christ Jesus.”
Literally:  “In Christ Jesus.”  By His agency, or intervention. It is only in Christ that the mind can be preserved in peace. It is not by mere confidence in God, or by mere prayer, but it is by confidence in God as He is revealed through the Redeemer, and by faith in Him. Paul never lost sight of the truth that all the security and happiness of a believer were to be traced to the Savior.