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Read Introduction to Philippians


“Nevertheless you have done well that you shared in my distress.”



“Nevertheless” has the idea in this context of notwithstanding. Paul repeated his commendation to the Philippians for sending their gift because he just said (vv. 11-13) that he did not need their gift! Just because he was spiritually self-sufficient did not mean he lacked appreciation for their gift.

“you have done well”

The word “well” carries the concepts of noble, beautiful, or excellent. Their gift was an honorable act. After Paul’s assertion that he could get along without support from human sources, the Philippians could have thought that he was chastising them for their gift of money. He did not want to leave the impression that he was rejecting their gift.

“that you shared in my distress”

The word “my” is emphatic, making their fellowship with his distress personal. The Philippians shared jointly in Paul’s distress. They sent Epaphroditus with a timely gift. The offering arrived at an opportune time. The gift was just what Paul needed while in jail. We do not send a refrigerator to an Eskimo. The church’s gift was appropriate. Some missionaries receive tea bags—that have been used only once!! Giving to another person is an act of fellowship. 


Giving to another person is an act of fellowship.


Paul did not commend the Philippians because they met his need; he was commending them because they met a need of their own—fellowship.

When we give to a church, missionary, or parachurch organization, we have an eternal stake in that enterprise. The Philippians invested a stake in Paul. They had an investment in him. Giving is an investment in eternal values. What kind of investment do you have in the cause of Christ? Have you entered into the fellowship of the cause of Christ financially? If a missionary or mission cause goes without, we are accountable because they are our representatives.

The idea that those in ministry should be kept poor because it keeps them humble is not the idea in this passage. Equality or sharing in ministry is the idea here.