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Philippians 2:17 –to be poured out

03-02-2023 - Posted by Hans

But even if I am a libation on the sacrifice and ministration of your faith, I am rejoicing myself and rejoicing together with you all.

We have already established that Paul counted on being released from prison soon (1:19; 2:24). The fact that he suggests being poured out in the above verse seems to contradict this, since by ‘being poured out’ he really means a martyr’s death, as is also the case in 2Timothy 4:6. Yet this contradiction is only apparent. Paul does not claim that he will be poured out, but that if this were to happen, he would be happy to do so. He ran the race, he toiled (2:16) and even if he were poured out, he would rejoice with the Philippians.

In a libation or drink offering, wine is poured over a sacrifice (cf. Gen.35:14). It is a depiction of joy in Life  being stronger than death. If Paul were to perish as a martyr to the Gospel (of which wine is a type), he considers himself a libation. Poured upon the offering and service of the Philippians, referring to their intimate involvement in his gospel work. Not even martyrdom can destroy the joy of the Good News! On the contrary!