Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible, by John Wesley, [1754-65], at sacred-texts.com
phi 4:1So stand - As ye have done hitherto.
phi 4:2I beseech - He repeats this twice, as if speaking to each face to face, and that with the utmost tenderness.
phi 4:3And I entreat thee also, true yokefellow - St. Paul had many fellowlabourers, but not many yokefellows. In this number was Barnabas first, and then Silas, whom he probably addresses here; for Silas had been his yokefellow at the very place, Act 16:19. Help those women who laboured together with me - Literally, who wrestled. The Greek word doth not imply preaching, or anything of that kind; but danger and toil endured for the sake of the gospel, which was also endured at the same time, probably at Philippi, by Clement and my other fellowlabourers - This is a different word from the former, and does properly imply fellowpreachers. Whose names, although not set down here, are in the book of life - As are those of all believers. An allusion to the wrestlers in the Olympic games, whose names were all enrolled in a book. Reader, is thy name there? Then walk circumspectly, lest the Lord blot thee out of his book!
phi 4:5Let your gentleness - Yieldingness, sweetness of temper, the result of joy in the Lord. Be known - By your whole behaviour. To all men - Good and bad, gentle and froward. Those of the roughest tempers are good natured to some, from natural sympathy and various motives; a Christian, to all. The Lord - The judge, the rewarder, the avenger. Is at hand - Standeth at the door.
phi 4:6Be anxiously careful for nothing - If men are not gentle towards you, yet neither on this, nor any other account, be careful, but pray. Carefulness and prayer cannot stand together. In every thing - Great and small. Let your requests be made known - They who by a preposterous shame or distrustful modesty, cover, stifle, or keep in their desires, as if they were either too small or too great, must be racked with care; from which they are entirely delivered, who pour them out with a free and filial confidence. To God - It is not always proper to disclose them to men. By supplication - Which is the enlarging upon and pressing our petition. With thanksgiving - The surest mark of a soul free from care, and of prayer joined with true resignation. This is always followed by peace. Peace and thanksgiving are both coupled together, Col 3:15.
phi 4:7And the peace of God - That calm, heavenly repose, that tranquility of spirit, which God only can give. Which surpasseth all understanding - Which none can comprehend, save he that receiveth it. Shall keep - Shall guard, as a garrison does a city. Your hearts - Your affections. Your minds - Your understandings, and all the various workings of them; through the Spirit and power of Christ Jesus, in the knowledge and love of God. Without a guard set on these likewise, the purity and vigour of our affections cannot long be preserved.
phi 4:8Finally - To sum up all. Whatsoever things are true - Here are eight particulars placed in two fourfold rows; the former containing their duty; the latter, the commendation of it. The first word in the former row answers the first in the latter; the second word, the second and so on. True - In speech. Honest - In action. Just - With regard to others. Pure - With regard to yourselves. Lovely - And what more lovely than truth? Of good report - As is honesty, even where it is not practised. If there be any virtue - And all virtues are contained in justice. If there be any praise - In those things which relate rather to ourselves than to our neighbour. Think on these things - That ye may both practise them yourselves, and recommend them to others.
phi 4:9The things which ye have learned - As catechumens. And received - By continual instructions. And heard and seen - In my life and conversation. These do, and the God of peace shall be with you - Not only the peace of God, but God himself, the fountain of peace.
phi 4:10I rejoiced greatly - St. Paul was no Stoic: he had strong passions, but all devoted to God. That your care of me hath flourished again - As a tree blossoms after the winter. Ye wanted opportunity - Either ye had not plenty yourselves, or you wanted a proper messenger.
phi 4:11I have learned - From God. He only can teach this. In everything, therewith to be content - Joyfully and thankfully patient. Nothing less is Christian content. We may observe a beautiful gradation in the expressions, I have learned; I know; I am instructed; I can.
phi 4:12I know how to be abased - Having scarce what is needful for my body. And to abound - Having wherewith to relieve others also. Presently after, the order of the words is inverted, to intimate his frequent transition from scarcity to plenty, and from plenty to scarcity. I am instructed - Literally, I am initiated in that mystery, unknown to all but Christians. Both to be full and to be hungry - For one day. Both to abound and to want - For a longer season.
phi 4:13I can do all things - Even fulfil all the will of God.
phi 4:15In the beginning of the gospel - When it was first preached at Philippi. In respect of giving - On your part. And receiving - On mine.
phi 4:17Not that I desire - For my own sake, the very gift which I receive of you.
phi 4:18An odour of a sweet smell - More pleasing to God than the sweetest perfumes to men.
phi 4:19All your need - As ye have mine. According to his riches in glory - In his abundant, eternal glory.