1. A Call to Christian Piety—and Peace (4:4–7)

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, 10  which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds 11  in Christ 12  Jesus.

In contrast to the second set of imperatives (vv. 8–9), which reflect the language of Greco-Roman moralism, this set is distinctively Christian—and Pauline. Indeed, it is so well known that one hesitates to comment on it. But a few observations are in order.

First, these initial imperatives have to do basically with piety. Piety is expressed in this imperatival way because, in keeping with his OT roots, devotion and ethics for Paul are inseparable responses to grace. The truly godly person both longs for God’s presence, where one pours out his or her heart to God in joy, prayer, and thanksgiving, and lives in God’s presence by “doing” the righteousness of God. Otherwise piety is merely religion, not devotion. 13 

Second, the heart of these exhortations reflects the threefold expression of Jewish piety—rejoicing in the Lord, prayer, and thanksgiving—which are basic to the Psalter: “the righteous rejoice in the Lord” (Ps 64:10; 97:12) as they “come before him with thanksgiving” (Ps 95:2; 100:4) to “pray” in his “sanctuary” (Ps 61:1–4; 84:1–8). Paul already expressed them in this way, and in this order, in his earliest extant letter as God’s will for his people in Christ Jesus; 14  they found expression together in the present letter in the formal thanksgiving (1:3–4). For him they are the work of the Holy Spirit in the life of the believer and especially of the believing congregation.

Third, in Paul’s understanding of the life of the Spirit, “joy” and “peace” also go together. “The Kingdom of God” has nothing to do with Torah observance (“food and drink”) but everything to do with “righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit” (Rom 14:17; cf. 15:13; Gal 5:22). In 1 Thess 5:13, 16 and 2 Cor 13:11, both joy and peace are commanded; in this case, “joy” is commanded, while “peace” is promised.

Fourth, also in keeping with the Psalter, these imperatives, all expressed in the second person plural, exemplify the conjunction between individual and corporate piety. As always in Paul, “joy, prayer, and thanksgiving,” evidenced outwardly by their “gentleness” and inwardly by God’s “peace” in their midst, first of all have to do with the (gathered) people of God; but the fact that “the peace of God shall guard your hearts and minds” reminds us that what is to be reflected in the gathered community must first of all be the experience of each believer. 15 

The series has its own brand of “logic.” 16  It begins on the note of joy (v. 4), which not only marks this letter as a whole, but also, with 3:1, frames the final hortatory section (3:1–4:3) in particular. But in contrast to 3:1, which was followed by an inward focus (warning and appeal), this one is followed by an outward focus (5a, that their “gentle forbearance be known by all people”), which in turn is followed by an (apparently) eschatological affirmation regarding the Lord’s “nearness” (5b). The reality of that “nearness” also calls for “no anxiety,” but rather for prayer and thanksgiving (v. 6), concluding with the promise of God’s “peace” to “guard their hearts and minds” (v. 7). 17 

Thus, even though only the first imperative (“rejoice”) is distinctively “Philippian,” and many of these items are common to other letters, beneath the surface lie hints of adaptation to the Philippian situation: (a) The earlier appeal to steadfastness in the face of opposition (1:27–30) is undergirded here by the repeated call to rejoice, the concern that their gentleness be evident to all, and the word against anxiety with its inverse call to prayer and thanksgiving; 18  (b) the concern for “unity” is reflected both in the exhortation to “gentleness” and the affirmation of “God’s peace” guarding their hearts and minds; and (c) all of this is punctuated with “the Lord is near,” the final reference to the eschatological theme found throughout the letter.

4 In the final set of imperatives in v. 8 Paul will sanctify as equally Christian the best of Greco-Roman virtues. He begins, however, with what is distinctively Christian. Combining the “framing” exhortation of 3:1 (“rejoice in the Lord”) with the “staccato” imperative that began the Thessalonian triad (“rejoice always”), he says it one more time, this time with verve: 19  “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say it, Rejoice!” 20 

“Joy,” unmitigated, untrammeled joy, is—or at least should be—the distinctive mark of the believer in Christ Jesus. 21  The wearing of black and the long face, which so often came to typify some later expressions of Christian piety, are totally foreign to the Pauline version; Paul the theologian of grace is equally the theologian of joy. Christian joy is not the temporal kind, which comes and goes with one’s circumstances; rather, it is predicated altogether on one’s relationship with the Lord, and is thus an abiding, deeply spiritual quality of life. 22  It finds expression in “rejoicing,” which is not a Christian option, but an imperative. With its concentration “in the Lord,” rejoicing is “always” to mark their individual and corporate life in Philippi. The presence of the Holy Spirit in their lives and in their midst meant the experience of joy, whatever else may be their lot. In this letter the “whatever else” includes opposition and suffering at the hands of the local citizens of the empire, where Caesar was honored as “lord.” In the face of such, they are to “rejoice in the Lord always.”

Although a recurring motif in this letter, joy is not a random motif. The word group appears 16 times, equally divided between Paul’s joy and theirs. He begins by reminding them of his own joy as he prays for them (1:4), which he also experienced over their recent gift to him (4:10). Indeed, they will be his “joy” and “crown” when Christ comes (4:1). Meanwhile, his own “rejoicing in the Lord always” in his imprisonment (1:18 [2x]) serves as paradigm for their rejoicing in suffering (2:17–18), 23  a joy which he longs for them to bring to full measure by having one mindset (2:2).

Likewise, references to their joy are integral to the concerns of the letter. Two occurrences are case-specific (2:28, 29, renewed joy over the return of Epaphroditus). The others frame the two main hortatory sections that make up the heart of the letter (1:27–2:18; 3:1–4:3). The motif begins in 1:25, where Paul expects to be with them again “for their progress and joy” in the gospel. This is followed immediately, given his current absence, by the exhortation to steadfastness and unity, which concludes (2:18) with the double imperative, (a) to “rejoice” since their own suffering is a “sacrificial offering” to God, and (b) to “rejoice with me” inasmuch as his suffering is the accompanying drink offering. Thus joy in suffering is part of the friendship motif, of their mutuality in Christ. Likewise the second exhortation (3:1–4:3), which began with warning and appeal and concluded with the twin appeals to steadfastness and unity, is framed by the exhortation to “rejoice in the Lord,” and now to do so “always,” even in the midst of their presently untoward circumstances. 24 

5a This second imperative, “let your gentleness be evident to all,” follows from the first. As they continually rejoice in the Lord even in the face of opposition and suffering, what others are to see is “gentleness.” In what may be something of a word play with “let your requests be made known to God” that follows, 25  Paul here urges (literally) “let your ‘gentleness’ be known 26  to all people,” that is, to those on the outside, 27  including those who oppose them. “Gentleness,” 28  however, is one of those terms that is difficult to pin down with precision. It is used by hellenistic writers and in the LXX primarily to refer to God (or the gods) or to the “noble,” who are characterized by their “gentle forbearance” with others. 29  That is most likely its sense here, only now as the disposition of all of God’s people. 30 

In the midst of their present adversity, the Lord, to whom they belong, has graciously set them free for joy—always. At the same time others should know them for their “gentle forbearance” toward one another and toward all, including those who are currently making life miserable. This is the Pauline version of 1 Pet 2:23, spoken of Christ but urged of Christian slaves, “when they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly.” It is this “gentle forbearance” and “meekness” of Christ, to which Paul appealed in 2 Cor 10:1, which he here calls the believers to exhibit in Philippi.

5b The sudden appearance of an indicative (“the Lord is near”) is as surprising as its intent is obscure. The asyndeton typical of this kind of paraenesis 31  also holds true for this indicative, so that one cannot tell whether Paul intends it to conclude what precedes or introduce what follows, and therefore whether it expresses future or realized eschatology. 32  Does he intend, “Rejoice in the Lord always; and let your gentle forbearance be known by all, for the [coming of] the Lord is near”? 33  or “Because the Lord is [always] near, do not be anxious about anything, but let your requests be made known to God”? 34  Or does he intend a bit of both, 35  perhaps something as close to intentional double entendre as one finds in the apostle? 36 

On the one hand, this looks very much like another instance of intertextuality, 37  purposely echoing Ps 145:18, “the Lord is near all who call upon him.” 38  In which case it introduces vv. 6–7 as an expression of “realized” eschatology: “Because the Lord is ever present, do not be anxious but pray.” On the other hand (or perhaps at the same time), it also echoes the apocalyptic language of Zeph 1:7 and 14 (“the Day of the Lord is near”), picked up by Paul in Rom 13:12, and found in Jas 5:8 regarding the coming of the Lord.

On the whole it seems likely that this is primarily intended as the last in the series of eschatological words to this suffering congregation, again reminding them of their sure future, despite present difficulties. Thus, it is a word of encouragement and affirmation. 39  Since their present suffering is at the hands of those who proclaim Caesar as Lord, they are reminded that the true “Lord” is “near.” Their eschatological vindication is close at hand. At the same time, by using the language of the Psalter, Paul is encouraging them to prayer in the midst of their present distress, because the “Lord is near” in a very real way to those who call on him now.

6 Paul now turns to the second consequence of the Lord’s being “near.” They are to live without anxiety, instead entrusting their lives to God with prayer and thanksgiving. In so doing, he borrows from the Jesus tradition, 40  that the children of the Kingdom are to live without care—but not “uncaring” or “careless.” Jesus invites his followers to live “without anxiety” because their heavenly Father knows and cares for them; in Paul’s case it is because their “Lord is near.” Apprehension and fear mark the life of the unbelieving, the untrusting, for whom the present is all there is, and for whom the present is so uncertain—or for many so filled with distress and suffering, as in the case of the Philippians.

On the contrary, Paul urges, “in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God.” “In everything” 41  stands in contrast to “not about anything,” and means “in all the details and circumstances of life.” 42  In situations where others fret and worry, believers in “the Lord” submit their case to God in prayer, accompanied by thanksgiving. For this combination see on 1:4. The three words for prayer are not significantly distinguishable; “requests” 43  are “made known” 44  before 45  God “by prayer 46  and petition.” 47  In so doing one acknowledges utter dependence on God, while at the same time expressing complete trust in him.

Especially striking in the context of petition is the addition, “with thanksgiving”—although it is scarcely surprising of Paul. His own life was accentuated by thanksgiving; and he could not imagine Christian life that was not a constant outpouring of gratitude to God. 48  Lack of gratitude is the first step to idolatry (Rom 1:21). Thanksgiving is an explicit acknowledgment of creatureliness and dependence, a recognition that everything comes as gift, the verbalization before God of his goodness and generosity. If prayer as petition indicates their utter dependence on and trust in God, petition “accompanied by thanksgiving” puts both their prayer and their lives into proper theological perspective. Thanksgiving does not mean to say “thank you” in advance for gifts to be received; rather, it is the absolutely basic posture of the believer, and the proper context for “petitioning” God. 49  Gratitude acknowledges—and begets—generosity. It is also the key to the final affirmation that follows.

7 With a rare expression of parataxis 50  Paul deliberately conjoins the “peace of God” with the exhortation to pray in trusting submission with thanksgiving, and thus offers God’s alternative to anxiety. This is a slight variation on what he had written not long before to the Colossians, that they should let “the peace of Christ serve as the arbiter in their hearts (individually),” since “they were called into one body.” 51  But here it is affirmation and promise. As they submit their situation to God in prayer, with thanksgiving, what they may expect from God is that his “peace” will “guard” their hearts and minds as they remain “in Christ Jesus.”

That Paul expresses “peace” in such terms is probably an indication that one can make too much of the differences within the community, implied in 2:1–4 and made explicit in 4:2. He is indeed concerned about all of them “having the same mindset” as they “do” the gospel in Philippi; but in this letter “friendship” prevails, and their need for encouragement in the midst of difficulty exceeds the need to be admonished. 52  Thus in contrast to other letters, he does not express “peace” as an imperative but as an indicative, closely related to their trusting God in prayer.

As with joy, peace for Paul is a fruit of the Spirit (Gal 5:22). It is especially associated with God and his relationship to his people. Here it is called “the peace of God” 53  because God is “the God of peace” (v. 9), the God who dwells in total shalom (wholeness, well-being) and who gives such shalom to his people. And it is the “peace of God” that “transcends 54  all understanding.” 55  This could mean “beyond all human comprehension,” which in one sense is certainly true. More likely Paul intends that God’s peace “totally transcends the merely human, unbelieving mind,” which is full of anxiety because it cannot think higher than itself. 56  Because the God to whom we pray and offer thanksgiving, whose ways are higher than ours, is also totally trustworthy, our prayer is accompanied by his peace. And that, not because he answers according to our wishes, 57  but because his peace totally transcends our merely human way of perceiving the world. Peace comes because prayer is an expression of trust, and God’s people do not need to have it all figured out in order to trust him!

Such peace will therefore “guard” 58  their “hearts and thoughts.” In the Hebrew view the heart is the center of one’s being, out of which flows all of life (e.g., Mark 7:21). God’s peace will do what instruction in “wisdom” urged the young to do: “above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life” (Prov 4:23). In the present context “God’s peace” will be his “garrison” around their “hearts” so that they do not fall into “anxiety.” It will also guard their “thoughts.” 59  Since God’s peace surpasses merely human understanding in any case, it will protect the mind from those very thoughts that lead to fear and distress and that keep one from trusting prayer.

As with so much else in this letter, the location of such “protection” is “in Christ Jesus.” It is their relationship to God through Christ, in whom they trust and in whom they rejoice, that is the key to all of these imperatives and this affirming indicative. And this is what distinguishes Pauline paraenesis from that of both hellenistic moralists and Jewish wisdom. 60  Thus this is (literally and theologically) the final word in this series of exhortations. Everything that makes for life in the present and the future has to do with their being “in Christ Jesus.”

Even though the experience of God’s “peace” happens first of all at the individual level, it is doubtful that “peace” in this context refers only to “the well-arranged heart.” 61  For Paul peace is primarily a community matter. As noted below (v. 9), the ascription “God of peace” occurs in Paul in contexts where community unrest is lurking nearby. Not only so, but the mention of peace in his letters (apart from the standard salutation) occurs most often in community or relational settings. 62  Thus Christ is “our peace” who has made Jew and Gentile one people, one body (Eph 2:14–17), who are thus urged to “keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace” (4:3); similarly in the argument of Rom 14:1–15:13, Jew and Gentile together are urged to “make every effort to do what leads to peace” (14:19); or in the community paraenesis of Col 3:12–4:6, they are urged to “let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace” (v. 15).

Given the context of this letter, in particular the simultaneous appeals to “steadfastness” and “unity” in the face of opposition, this is a most appropriate penultimate affirmation. They need not have anxiety in the face of opposition, because they together will experience the “protection” of God’s “peace” in the midst of that conflict; and they who have been urged over and again to “have the same mindset” are here assured that the peace of God which surpasses merely human understanding will also protect their thoughts as they live out the gospel together in Philippi. Nor is it surprising, therefore, that the final, immediately following imperative (v. 8) is for them “give their minds only to higher and better things.”

Joy, prayer, thanksgiving, peace—these identify Pauline spirituality. Such lives are further marked by gentle forbearance and no anxiety. The key lies with the indicative, “the Lord is near”—now and to come. The Lord is now present by his Spirit, who prompts prayer and thanksgiving, among whose “fruit” in the life of the believer and the believing community are joy and peace. Here is God’s ultimate gift to those who trust in Christ, shalom and joy.

In a post-Christian, post-modern world, which has generally lost its bearings because it has generally abandoned its God, such spirituality is very often the key to effective evangelism. In a world where fear is a much greater reality than joy, our privilege is to live out the gospel of true shalom, wholeness in every sense of that word, and to point others to its source. We can do that because “the Lord is near” in this first sense, by the Spirit who turns our present circumstances into joy and peace, and who prompts our prayer and thanksgiving. And we should be at that task with greater concern than many of us are, because “the Lord is near” in the eschatological sense as well.

 

FOOTNOTES
 

 10 A few MSS (A t vgmss syhmg) substitute “Christ” for “God,” probably reflecting a liturgical alteration.

 11 Probably on the analogy of 1 Thess 5:23, several Western witnesses (F G a d; Marius Victorinus, Pelagius) substitute σώματα (“bodies”) for “minds.” The very early P16 apparently reads “your minds and your bodies.”

 12 P46 has the singular substitution of “Lord” for “Christ.”

 13 This is especially evident in the Psalter, where being in God’s presence requires blamelessness (Psalm 15; 101; cf. 51).

 14 See 1 Thess 5:16–18; cf. the discussion in Fee, Presence, 53–55, for their role in Pauline spirituality. For the same combination elsewhere see 1 Thess 3:9–10 and Col 1:9, 11–12.

 15 Cf. Motyer, 205; Melick, 148. Many interpreters think otherwise, rejecting altogether a corporate dimension to this passage (e.g., Meyer, Vincent).

 16 I put it this way because these kinds of imperatives are almost always asyndetic (without connecting or nuancing particles), as here. Hence in that sense, as O’Brien emphasizes (484–85), they are “independent” of one another. But that does not mean they lack “logic,” in the sense that there is no conceptual connection between them, or that they are independent of the overall context of the letter. On the other hand, O’Brien rightly rejects the attempt to make the whole a “history of joy,” to use Moffatt’s language (ExpT 9 [1897–98] 334–36), seconded by Morrice, DPL, 512. So also with those (e.g., Melick, 148) who would subsume them all under the rubric “peace.” What holds the whole together is Christian piety, which includes joy, prayer, and thanksgiving, and issues in peace.

 17 The affirmation that God’s peace will guard their “minds” in turn prepares the way for the final set (vv. 8–9), that they “think on” whatever is praiseworthy.

 18 Michael (194) sees it as reflecting only the concern for steadfastness; cf. Martin, Beare, O’Brien.

 19 Both the assonance and chiasm effect striking—and memorable—rhetoric:

χαίρετε

ἐν κυρίῳ

πάντοτε;

 

 

 

 

πάλιν

ἐρῶ

χαίρετε.

 20 On the impossibility of the translation suggested by Goodspeed, “Good-bye, and the Lord be always with you,” see n. 25 on 3:1, pace Lightfoot and Beare.

 21 For a discussion of this motif in Paul and the rest of the NT, see esp. NIDNTT, 2.356–61 (E. Beyreuther; G. Finkenrath); cf. also Morrice, DPL, 511–12. This imperative has nothing to do with martyrdom (Lohmeyer); and Collange’s curious comment (144) that it has to do with believers for whom “the future stands open … and its realization … on the way,” sounds far more like Bultmann than Paul.

 22 In many ways Charles Wesley caught the essence of this imperative in his hymn, “Rejoice, the Lord is King.” The first lines of each stanza wonderfully capture both Ps 97:1 and the eschatological context of the present imperative:

1Rejoice, the Lord is king; Your Lord and king adore;

3His kingdom cannot fail, Our Lord the Judge shall come;

2The Lord the Savior reigns, the God of truth and love;

4Rejoice in glorious hope! he rules o’er earth and heaven.

 

 

While the refrain joins this text with the heart of Ps 100:1 (and perhaps 28:7b):

 

Lift up your heart, lift up your voice! Rejoice, again I say, rejoice.

 

 23 This is one of those aspects of the gospel that they have more than once “heard and seen in him” (4:9). Besides 1:12–26 in this letter, they have their memory of his first visit to Philippi. According to the narrative in Acts 16:25–34, it was while Paul and Silas were rejoicing in the Lord in the jail in Philippi, many years earlier, that God came to their aid and thus added to the number of those who became believers in the Lord.

 24 Barth (120) says of these passages as a whole, “ ‘joy’ in Philippians is a defiant ‘Nevertheless!’ which Paul sets as a full stop against the Philippians’ anxiety.”

 25 Contra Lohmeyer, 170, who suggests that both should be understood as prayer.

 26 Gk. γνωσθήτω, which here probably = “be recognized by” (cf. Phillips, “have a reputation for gentleness,” and Montgomery, “let your reasonableness be recognized by every one”); on the second verb, γνωριζέσθω, see n. 44.

 27 While one would not deny in light of vv. 2–3 that he also intends them to have this disposition toward one another, in Paul the combination πᾶσιν ἀνθρώποις regularly points outward, to the whole of humankind; cf. 1 Thess 2:15; 2 Cor 3:2; Rom 5:18 (2x); 12:17, 18; 1 Tim 2:1, 4; 4:10; Tit 2:11; 3:2 (cf. Martin, 154; O’Brien, 488). To translate it simply “all” may leave the impression in context that it is inward looking.

 28 Gk. ἐπιεικές; elsewhere in Paul only in the Pastoral Epistles (1 Tim 3:3; Tit 3:2); the noun occurs in 2 Cor 10:1, in conjunction with πραΰτης, to denote the characteristic attitude of Christ during his earthly life, an attitude espoused by Paul but apparently rejected by the Corinthians. As Lightfoot notes (160), it is “the opposite to a spirit of contention and self-seeking.” For more complete discussions of this word, cf. J. Preisker, TDNT, 2.588–90; W. Bauder, NIDNTT, 2.256–59; H. Giesen, EDNT, 2.26 (which also contains a useful bibliography); and H. Leivestad, “Meekness,” who offers a much-needed corrective to Preisker (see next n.).

 29 See, e.g., (of God); Ps 86:5 (LXX 85:5), “You, Lord, are kind (χρηστός) and gently forbearing (ἐπιεικής); and plenteous in mercy (πολυέλεος) toward all who call upon you”; Bar 2:27, “You have dealt with us, O Lord our God, according to all your gentle forbearance and according to all your great mercy” (cf. Prayer of Azariah 19; Wis 12:18; 2 Macc 2:22; 10:4). So also of earthly rulers who show “clemency” (3 Macc 3:15; 7:6). It is the collocation of ἐπιείκεια with “mercy” in these texts that suggests the meaning “gentle forbearance,” where the emphasis is on the “gentle” or “kind” disposition of God which lies behind his “clemency.” Similarly when applied to the righteous man whom the wicked persecute (Wis 2:19): “Let us test him with insult and torture, so that we may find out his gentleness (ἐπιείκεια), and make trial of his forbearance” (NRSV, slightly revised). This latter text indicates that Preisker’s emphasis on the believer’s “sovereignty in Christ” is probably incorrect (cf. Leivestad’s critique), and that all such translations suggesting “clemency” on the part of believers (e.g., “moderation” [Collange]; “magnanimity” [NEB, Hawthorne]; “consideration of others” [REB]) probably move in the wrong direction; cf. O’Brien, 487.

 30 Cf. TCNT, “let your forbearing spirit be plain to everyone.”

 31 Cf. the asyndeton in 3:1 and esp. 3:2.

 32 The difficulty lies with the adverb ἐγγύς, which, as with the English “near,” has either “spatial” or “temporal” connotations, depending on the context. On its own in a sentence like this it is totally ambiguous; unfortunately, in context it can go either way as well.

 33 So Lightfoot, who notes the similarity with Jas 5:8, where μακροθυμία (“forbearance”) is called for in light of the Parousia; cf. Meyer, Kennedy, Jones, Plummer, Michael, Lohmeyer, Barth, Müller, Beare, Hendriksen, Gnilka, Houlden, Martin, Loh-Nida, Kent, Silva, Melick.

 34 So Calvin, Michaelis, Caird; Bugg, “Philippians 4:4–13”; cf. NEB, which starts a new paragraph with this indicative (“The Lord is near; have no anxiety, etc.”).

 35 So Alford, Ellicott, Vincent, Collange, Bruce, Craddock, Hawthorne, O’Brien.

 36 As I tend to think; cf. Hawthorne, 182.

 37 Cf. Lohmeyer, 169; Stanley, “Boasting,” 106; J. Baumgarten, Paulus, 205–8; O’Brien, 489. For this phenomenon in Philippians see 1:19; 2:10, and 15–16.

 38 LXX 144:18, ἐγγὺς κύριος πᾶσιν τοῖς ἐπικαλουμένοις αὐτόν; cf. 34:18 (LXX 33:19), ἐγγὺς κύριος τοῖς συντετριμμένοις τὴν καρδίαν (“the Lord is near the contrite in heart”); cf. 119:151 (118:151), where it appears in the second singular. Paul has ὁ κύριος ἐγγύς, whose word order, in contrast to the Psalm, puts emphasis on “the Lord” more than “near.” Baumgarten (preceding n.) correctly emphasizes the implicitly high Christology in such language; cf. on 2:10 above.

 39 It is possible, but less likely, that Paul intended a word of motivation (= “be gently forbearing, because the Lord is near”).

 40 See the “Q” material included in Matthew’s Gospel in the Sermon on the Mount (6:25–34) and in Luke 12:22–32. The language of the Gospels is μὴ μεριμνᾶτε τῇ ψυχῇ (“Do not be anxious about your life”); Paul has it μηδὲν μεριμνᾶτε (“Be anxious about nothing”). That Paul is reflecting the Jesus tradition best explains why the verb is pejorative here, the only such instance in the corpus (although see the adjective in 1 Cor 7:32); elsewhere it is positive (as in 2:20 above; cf. 1 Cor 7:32–34 [4x]; 12:25; and the use of the noun in 2 Cor 11:28). As Müller nicely put it, “to care is a virtue, but to foster cares is sin.”

 41 Gk. ἐν παντί, which is neuter singular and therefore cannot (pace Loh-Nida) modify “with prayer and petition,” as in GNB (“in all your prayers”) and NAB (“in every form of prayer”).

 42 So most interpreters, although some (e.g., Calvin, Meyer) would see it as limited to “circumstances.” Some (Moffatt, Beare) see it as temporal, “always,” but the context is quite against it.

 43 Gk. τὰ αἰτήματα, only here in Paul (cf. 1 Jo 5:15, “we have the requests which we have requested from him”). The verb, which means to “request” or “ask for,” also occurs rarely in Paul as a verb for prayer (only Col 1:9 and Eph 3:20). The noun denotes what is asked for as such, over against the act of praying. For the word group, see G. Stählin, TDNT, 1.191–95.

 44 Gk. γνωριζέσθω. That one “lets God know” is probably a word play on letting their “gentle forbearance” be known to all people. Although this is something of a colloquialism—after all, God hardly needs to be informed by us of our requests—our doing so nonetheless carries theological import. For the believer it is an expression of humility and dependence; so also O’Brien, 493. The NIV’s “present to God” is perhaps a dynamic equivalent, but it also misses something.

 45 Gk. πρὸς τὸν θεόν, indicating “in the presence of” as much, or more than, “to,” as though Paul had written τῷ θεῷ. Cf. Vincent, 135; Kennedy, 467; O’Brien, 493.

 46 Gk. τῇ προσευχῇ, the standard biblical word for “prayer”—of any and all kinds.

 47 Gk. τῇ δεήσει, which basically means “supplication” (see n. 41 on 1:4). Its fourfold occurrence in this letter (1:4 [2x], 19; here) probably reflects his and their situation.

 48 In this regard see esp. the comments on 1 Cor 4:7 in Fee, First Corinthians, 170–71. One of the more intriguing realities of the Pauline letters is how seldom one finds the language of “praise” (in a significant way only in the thrice repeated “to the praise of his glory” in Eph 1:6, 12, 14). Very likely we should understand the language of “joy” and “thanksgiving,” and in some instances “boasting/glorying,” as also embracing “praise.” On this matter see O’Brien, DPL, 68–71, and “Thanksgiving within Pauline Theology.”

 49 As Kennedy (467) put it: “To pray in any other spirit is to clip the wings of prayer.”

 50 Beginning a Greek sentence with the conjunction “and.” On this phenomenon in Paul, see n. 3 on 2:8; cf. the discussion in O’Brien, 495.

 51 In Col 3:15 both “thanksgiving” and “peace” occur as imperatives (“let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts; … and be thankful”).

 52 For a similar view, see Kennedy and Caird.

 53 Only here in Paul; but peace is regularly noted as coming from God (most Pauline salutations), which is what this genitive intends. Cf. “peace of Christ” in Col 3:15.

 54 Gk. ὑπερέχουσα; for this word see on 3:8 above (n. 19).

 55 Gk. πάντα νοῦν, the word for “mind,” which here takes on the associated sense of “understanding.”

 56 Cf. Lightfoot, Meyer, Vincent, Jones, Plummer, Müller, Collange, Martin, Hawthorne, Silva; contra Calvin, Alford, Kennedy, Hendriksen, Kent, O’Brien, many of whom base their view on the alleged parallel with Eph 3:19 (the parallel seems to exist far more in our minds than in the actual language of Paul; cf. Schenk). Michael and Beare are ambivalent.

 57 Cf. several (Meyer, Plummer, O’Brien) who note that God’s peace is not contingent on “answered prayer,” but on his character.

 58 Gk. φρουρήσει, used literally by Paul of the ethnarch Aretas in 2 Cor 11:32, who set a guard at the city gates, and figuratively of the Law in Gal 3:23, in the sense of “keep in custody” until “faith” should come. This is a military metaphor, where a garrison, such as the one always stationed in Philippi, “guards the Roman pax.”

 59 Gk. τὰ νοήματα, found only in Paul in the NT and elsewhere only in pejorative contexts (2 Cor 2:11; 3:14; 4:4; 10:5; 11:3). As over against the “mind” (νοῦς, found in the preceding phrase, “which exceeds every mind”), this word, as with most nouns ending in -μα, denotes the concrete expression or activity of the mind, hence “your thoughts.” Cf. J. Behm, TDNT, 4.960–61.

 60 Cf., e.g., Dio Chrysostom, on covetousness, “It is not our ignorance of the difference between good and evil that hurts us, so much as it is our failure to heed the dictates of reason on these matters and to be true to our personal opinions” (Or. 17.1; LCL 2.189). For Paul the secret to peace lies not in reason but “in Christ Jesus.”

 61 Esp. so in light of the similar passage, probably recently dictated, in Col 3:15, where the imperative calls for them “to let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which [peace] you were called in the one body.” So also Kennedy, 467; contra Meyer (cf. Silva et al.), who sees the community expression only in v. 9.

 62 Cf. Hasler, EDNT, 1.396.