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Philippians 2:1 – Consolation in Christ

03-02-2023 - Posted by Hans

If, then there is any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love if any communion of spirit, if any compassion and pity…

The appeal to the Philippians in these first verses is based on what Paul knew about the Philippians. Four times he speaks of ‘since’. For he has no doubt that “encouragement is found in Christ” among his readers. And also “comfort of love”, “communion of spirit” and “compassion and pity”. He assumes they knew this. Hence the ‘if’ (as many translations have) here has the meaning of ‘since’.

The attributes that Paul mentions, such as consolation, comfort, communion, and compassion, are not qualities that the Philippians possessed of their own or of their family. Nor were they the result of their own efforts. No, these moral qualities are “fruit . . . which is through Jesus Christ,” as it is stated in 1:11.

Where there is “consolation in Christ” there is found “comfort of love”, ie of the love of God (= agape). There, “communion of spirit” or spiritual communion is also experienced there. And in such a setting there are also “pity (=inner feelings) and compassions”. Mind you: inner feelings – not imposed but coming from within!