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Philippians 4:11 Self-sufficiency

26-04-2023 - Posted by Hans

Not that I am hinting at a want, for I learned to be content in that in which I am.

Paul’s rejoicing over the Philippians’ opportunity to support him (4:18) is not because he was wanting or waiting for their gift. He never called on others to support him. It was an honor for him to preach the Gospel “without expense” (1Cor.9:18). Here Paul mentions another motive: he had learned to be content in the circumstances in which he found himself.

It is worth zooming in on the Greek word for “to be content” (Gr. autarkes). Our word ‘autarky’ is directly derived from it. The word is made up of the elements for ‘self’ + ‘enough’. In economics, autarky refers to striving to be self-sufficient and thus independent of others. Also think of so-called ‘preppers’ who prepare for an emergency situation in which they are minimally dependent on others to survive.

Paul had learned to be “autarky” in all circumstances. To be lenient (4:5!) and always have enough. Independent of people and circumstances and to be satisfied in everything.