“And my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.”
This verse is a popular verse often quoted out of context.
“And my God shall supply all your need”
The “and” indicates that v. 19 is an outcome of what Paul has just said. This paragraph treats God’s faithfulness in using the Philippians to meet Paul’s financial needs in jail. The Philippians met Paul’s need. Now God would meet their need. This is a quid pro quo. God used the Philippians to meet Paul’s need in jail. God would also meet the Philippians’ ability to give. What affected Paul affected God. God would exchange compliments. God is faithful to His people. He will not stand in debt to His people.
The context of God meeting our financial needs is in the environment of our meeting the needs of others. In verse 18, the Philippians gave an acceptable sacrifice that was a sweet-smelling aroma to God. If everything was flowing out and nothing flowing in, the Philippians would themselves be put in jeopardy financially. God will not allow those who give sacrificially to go in want. We cannot out-give God. He has a bigger shovel.
The promise here was that God would supply “all” the needs of the Philippians, not just some of them. God’s supply is comprehensive of every type of need. Whether our need is temporal or spiritual, God will meet it.
“Give, and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom. For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you.” (Luke 6:38)
“Yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken, Nor his descendants begging bread.” (Ps. 37:25)
“Honor the Lord with our possession,
And with the firstfruits of all you increase;
So your barns will be filled with plenty,
And your vats will overflow with new wine.”
God supplies our needs when we meet someone else’s needs.
God will commemorate sacrificial giving. Are you generous with others? Are you a stingy person? Is the reason you hang onto your money so tightly that you do not believe that God will supply your need? Do you believe that God will “resupply” you if you give to His cause? God’s commemorative giving does not apply to every believer. It applies only to those who have given sacrificially. Do you believe God will reimburse your generosity?
Dear Dr. Richison,
I believe in Philippians 4:19 and I believe God is a God of His word. However, I find most often that the more I give sacrifically, the less I receive in return and the more I find myself wanting and in need to supply myself with the basics. I sacrifically give of my time, what I possess and monetarily with an expectation that God will supply in order that I may cover my own needs. But sometimes I am left without and find myself late in paying bills, struggling to make ends meat – all because I believe in God’s word. I don’t understand sometime. Am I missing something in Philippians 4:19?
Thanks, Carl, for your comments.
It is important to recognize that my point in this passage is not the “health and wealth” concept where, if people extraordinarily give, God will bless them with greater riches. My point is simply if we give sacrificially, God will meet our needs, not our wants.
Carl, I don’t think giving sacrificially means going without essential needs. Indeed, the Philippians “gave out of their poverty,” which constitutes sacrificial giving, but they also met the needs of their families as well. Other passages warn about not meeting the needs of our families. This presumes the principle of careful management of money.
Most rewards for the believer will be at the Judgment Seat of Christ (a judgment for Christians only, and only for rewards, not punishment). It matters not whether people recognize what we do for Christ. Jesus Himself will deal with that in eternity.
One, i am blessed to have been lead to your website(i love it). I also want to put what i feel God has shared with me about this verse. Paul said it exactly right, what the church did for him was not thinking about using wealth for their own gain or trying to succeed threw wealth. They gave- “if a man is thirsty give him liquids, if a man is naked cloth him with the shirt off your back and you will be blessed. I feel one of the key things here is doing it with out expecting anything back. just as you also said, he do not expect us to give to the point where we have put ourselves in a bad spot. I love where some of these people hearts are, but we have to realize before you give go to him. He will answer your questions in some way. I am a witness that he will supply your needs and as long as you are doing your purpose he will greatly take care of you.
Good thoughts, Ross.
Thank you, Dr. Richison for your response to my email. I appreciate it. God bless you.
the concept here is giving sacrificially and NOT expecting anything back! that’s it simple. that is just it because if you’re giving with the expectation that God will reimburse you, brother that becomes lottery. God is a God of honor and faithfulness. He is not a God who gambles, He doesn’t not require you to challenge Him. so what you do is just give to HIM. do not care who and what that money or the item you gave is going to be used for( I mean once you’re convinced that you’re sowing on good grounds just sow it) BUT BUT BUT dear brother or sister if you do give with such a heart as not expecting anything back and you just walk and go your way not concerned with whatever, TRUST ME! TRUST ME! the Lord will honor Himself. He will honor Himself in many diverse ways. he can choose to reimburse you exponentially. he can choose to use different ways of blessing you but the whole deal is that He will honor Himself
Frank, thank you for your thoughtful reply. I agree with you that we cannot bribe God or use Him as a slot-machine–if we put something in, we will get something out. All giving should be grace giving–that is, we give because we HAVE BEEN blessed. However the whole context of Philippians 4 is that God met Paul’s financial needs while in prison in Rome. The purpose of the book of Philippians is twofold: 1) a thank you note for their gift. 2) correction of divisions in the church. He is thankful for God’s provisions and challenges the Philippians to do the same. They could trust Him financially just as He did. When they do that “God will supply all THEIR NEED.” They gave out of their poverty (2 Co 8-9). The point of 4:13 is that God provides in time of need (cf. 4:11-12).
Did you read the next study in 4:19b where I deal with the genie concept? Here are three paragraphs from 4:19b:
God does not operate on human standards. We cannot bribe God. Some people want fame, wealth or a beautiful girl. They feel that if they give, God will give them what they want. They treat God like a genie. God, however, does not operate on a barter system. The Philippians did not approach God like that . They gave out of love for the Lord and Paul.
God guarantees to supply all need of those who faithfully give to the cause of Christ. God will dispense (”supply”) riches in abundance.
Note the contrasts in this passage: “You met Paul’s need; I will bless you according to my riches. You supplied one of my needs; I will supply all of your needs. You supply out of poverty; I will dispense out of my riches in glory. You supplied by the hand of Ephproditus; I will supply by Christ.”
Dear Dr. Richison
I would comment that, the word “riches” here means Gods abundant fullness; his possessing all things; his inexhaustible ability to supply their wants. The phrase, “in glory,” is probably to be connected with the following phrase, “by Christ Jesus;” and means that the method of imparting supplies to men was through Jesus Christ, and was a glorious method; or, that it was done in a glorious manner. It is such an expression as Paul is accustomed to use when speaking of what God does. He is not satisfied with saying simply that it is so; but connects with it the idea that whatever God does is done in a way worthy of himself, and so as to illustrate his own perfections.
God is so generous to those who spend for his course. He knows how to add up to all that we spend to advance his work. I share the experiences of David that “I was a young man and now I am an old but I have never seen a righteous man lack nor his family begging bread.” I also tend to think that we are not to give to be blessed but we give because we have been blessed.
I feel challenged by the contents of this verse.
Bernard Gechiko Nyabwari
Bernard, You said these points better than I could. Your insights are very accurate and thoughtful. Thank you for further light on this verse.
I don’t see the problem with expecting God to meet our needs (philipians 4:19) and wants (Ps 23:1)when his word says that he will. It’s not a sin to expect Him to keep his word. It’s pure Faith to hold Him to it, and act on it. I don’t mean that we should ungratefully demand of him but if you read His word and act on it then it should come natural to expect Him to come through for you. (Malachi 3:10) “try me on this says the Lord of hosts”. There is so much more to Christian living than salvation alone and while salvation is far bigger than most of us will ever know, we will never sell Christ to the lost on that alone. I hope you don’t take this the wrong way. I’m trying to say that Christ is so much more to us than we think, even here and now, but religion teaches us that Christianity is a life of sacrifice and suffering. To know God’s love is to know that he will take care of you…as a loving father would.
Good way to put it Darren.
Amen!!! Darren… I always compare my relationship with God to my relationship with my own kids. If I tell my daughter I will do something if she does something and then don’t keep my word then where’s the love and honor in that. That would mean that I’ve not only lied to her but also Im teaching her not to trust me and I would never do that to my child! (God willing by his grace)… and God can never lie, He is love, and my love(which comes from Him) compared to God’s agape love doesn’t compare! His word says in Mal 3 “Test me and see if I will not open up the windows of heaven to pour you out a blessing that u cannot contain!” Prov 3 “Honor the Lord with firstfruits of thy wealth and he will keep thy vats full!” Luke 6:38 “Give and it shall be given unto you good measure, press down, shaken together, running over shall men give unto your bosom. The amount you give will determine the amount you recieve!” Galatians 3:29 If ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise! (Gen 12:2-3, Gen 13:2, Gen 13:15-17, Gen 15:2, Deut 28 1-14) and of course 3 John 2:2 “Beloved, I wish that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth”! So its very clear that God desires believer’s to have great wealth but we must first have him! He doesnt wanna just meet our needs! He’s our Father in Heaven, What father doesn’t want to give good gifts to his child? Gifts are passed needs in most cases and to close this reply, Mark 11:24 says “Therfore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye recieve them, and ye shall have them.”!
Giving with expectations is biblical, but one may decide not to expect anything back especially when you do good to the poor but the importance of it is to expect the reward from God as he is the father to all riches.Without him nothing was made.with him all things are possible.However, to know God’s faithfullness may depend on what you consider as “RICHES”. God’s riches may include; health,money,holyspirit,longlife,marriage,fruit of the womb,peace,joy,happiness,favor,wisdom and many giftings from God.You may not have enough physical money,but because of your contribution in tithe,you may not suffer heart disease. You may be struggling with your bills but because of your generousity, God can give your children favor to recieve grants and shorlarships for school so that no future loans will be paid.Giving these two examples out of many, I also believe that the kind of bessing you seek from God and the intention of the blessing are very important.God wants us to seek his kingdom first and desire spiritual things above every thing(money). Solomon sought for wisdom and God added more riches.He needed wisdom to manage other physical riches. God knows what you need first.Ask him to give you what you need first. Moreover ensure that your sacrifices are acceptable sacrifices pleasing to God(v18) and be content in any and every situation whether well fed or hungry,whether living in plenty or in want(phill 4:12)
If God supplies all of our needs, then why are there so many needy people?
TC, this passage is for Christians. Jesus said that “the poor you will always have with you.” The Bible nowhere promises that there will be no poor except in the Millennial Kingdom where Christ reigns on earth.
I am very pleased for the wonderful insight of the word and how is been explained in detail. I believe God is a faithful God and as the word says His promises are YES IN CHRIST AND AMEN IN CHRIST. I am a bit surprise about the way others have made a point about given without expectation, I truly believe we should give expecting God to honour his word, but that does not mean that should be our motive for given, our motive for given should be LOVE, as. JESUS said in Matthew 23:23 He said, justice, mercy (love) and faith should be the backbone of our given, and should we give with this mindset then there is know way the promise won’t be fulfilled.
PAUL said in Philippians 1:20, that it is unto him according to his expectation, and Isaiah 46:23, Gkd said put me in remeberance of my word. You see giving with expectation is one of he principles of Faith, but the basics of faith is LOVE, which is also the THE HEART OF THE
GOSPEL. I am surprised there are those who give without expectation and I wonder it they receive.
Please don’t confuse the motive behind the giving and the e pectatikn you place on the given. I always place expectation on my given and believing that God will honour His word in Luke 6:38, and I have always received the harvest. EXPECTATION IS THE KEY TO RECEIVING.
Please pray about it and I believe the Lord will give you the revelation of His word and Promises.
Seth, the issue to me is the extant statements of Scripture on this subject.
I thank u all for ur contributions but i think whoever sows expect to reap becoz the bible says what u sow is what u reap so i think u cant sow then expect nothing to come out.
I have read the comments here and I understand the concept within the scripture you are discussing. My problem is that I feel as though I am selfishly praying for things. I do trust God. I know he is the ultimate provider. He has given me 35 years of blessings and I praise his name for it!!! Now (at present), I'm a father of two small children, my wife has been diagnosised with cancer, we are in a bad finacial situation, and my work is becoming a burden. From the worlds perspective, most would probably say that I am a good christian follower but I don't see me as that. I guess we are our worst crittic. I need to study the word more, communicate with God more, and become more disciplined in the word. I try so hard to hold on to my faith but think to myself that my faith is weakened because my prayers are selfish and I could do alot more for God. I think, "who am I to ask God to help with anything when I don't help him in showing him my love for him in the things I just mentioned." I know you don't know me but I sincerely what to help others and have. Exceptionally when I don't really have it to give be it money or time. I know I will always have downfalls and sin. Life is a test and I feel that I am always trying to earn extra credit to pass it. (If that makes sense). I have been praying for God's plan to unfold in my life… on his own time. I have been asking him to let the things that I need and desire to be part of that plan but if they can't then that's okay. He knows the answer to the "riddle". I know this sounds long winded and it's probably hard to explain without knowing "me." I guess all in all… I just don't feel worthy of asking God to help me when I could being do so much more for him. First off, please pray for me and my wife. Secondly, do you have any advise?
Paul, thanks for your blog. God's promise to provide for us is always based on His grace toward us. We can earn or deserve nothing from Him. There is no way to earn brownie points so that He will bless us. God will bless you because He loves you and because of what Christ provided eternally for you on the cross. Our authority then in prayer is that we do not come on the basis of who and what we are but on the basis of who and what Jesus is and did for us. That is why we pray "in Jesus' name." We have the right or authority to ask God for things within His will.
The point of the comment on this passage is that we do what we do because of what God has done for us. When we do, God will bless us. However, the ultimate reason God blesses us is because of His unadulterated grace.
Dear Dr. Richison, David Curullo Inspiration Ministries broad cast on Time Warner Cable ch 71 ( The inspiration channel ) holds regular "camp Meetings" . These meetings always have the same evangelist trying to preach people out of their money. They say things like sow a 1000 dollar seed of faith and God will give you such and such a blessing. They make it soud like you can buy a blessing or favor from God. This does not seem right to me and seems to be twisting scripture. They have also removed much of the religious programing and replaced it with so called family friendly tv. Programs like the waltons, wind at my back, happy days ect. This does not seem right to me. Please reply with your views on this subject. Thank you. John Mills.
John, you are right. The health-wealth preachers offer something (prosperity) that does not have biblical foundation. All giving biblically is based on grace, not using God as a slot machine where we can obtain financial prosperity. Note below a summary of giving from the Bible. The main scriptures are from 2 Cor 8-9 but there are many more.
GRACE RESPONSE GIVING
I. GRACE RESPONSE GIVING SAYS YOU UNDERSTAND WHO GOD IS.
-WHAT WE THINK ABOUT GOD DIRECTLY AFFECTS THE WAY WE LIVE OUR LIVES.
-GIVING IS WORSHIP; IT IS OUR RECOGNITION OF GOD'S AUTHORITY.
-IF GOD IS LESS TO US THAN HE ACTUALLY IS, THEN OUR GIVING WILL BE NECESSARILY LESS.
II. GRACE RESPONSE GIVING SAYS WE UNDERSTAND WHO WE ARE.
-FIRST AND FOREMOST, WE ARE GOD'S; WE DO NOT EXIST FOR OURSELVES.
-NOT ONLY DO WE BELONG TO GOD, BUT WE HAVE AN IMPORTANCE FAR GREATER THAN THE MATERIAL DIMENSION OF OUR LIVES; WE ARE NOT THE SUM TOTAL OF WHAT WE CAN ACCUMULATE IN THIS LIFE; THE QUALITY OF OUR LIVES IS NOT RELATIVE TO THE AMOUNT OF MONEY WE HAVE, BUT TO OUR PERSONAL RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD.
III. GRACE RESPONSE GIVING SAYS YOU KNOW WHAT IS REALLY IMPORTANT.
-GIVING DEMONSTRATES WHAT YOU FEEL IS IMPORTANT IN LIFE.
-THINK OF HOW MUCH WE SPEND ON THINGS WHICH ARE LESS THAN ESSENTIAL.
-WHAT DOES IT SAY ABOUT ME IF I INVEST ALL OF WHAT I MAKE ON ME AND MINE AND NEVER GIVE SIGNIFICANTLY TO GOD'S WORK?
IV. GRACE RESPONSE GIVING SAYS YOU KNOW WHAT GOD'S PURPOSES ARE.
-STEWARDSHIP IS ACTING ON THE KNOWLEDGE OF WHAT GOD IS DOING IN THE WORLD.
-HOW MUCH OF OUR TIME, ENERGY AND MONEY IS SPENT TO RUN THE WORLD SYSTEM?
-GOD IS AT WORK THROUGH GRANT MEMORIAL REACHING BOTH THOSE WHO KNOW AND DO NOT KNOW GOD.
V. GRACE RESPONSE GIVING SAYS YOU KNOW WHAT YOUR PURPOSE IS.
-AS CHRISTIANS, OUR PURPOSE IN LIFE IS DIRECTLY LINKED TO WHAT GOD IS DOING.
-OUR PRIMARY PURPOSE IN THIS WORLD IS TO CARRY OUT GOD'S PROGRAM.
-WHEN WE SEE OUR CHURCH FINANCES AS RELATED TO OUR VERY OWN, AND ARE AT ONE PURPOSE WITH WHAT GOD IS DOING THROUGH THE MINISTRY OF THE CHURCH, OUR GIVING WILL SHOW IT.
VI. GRACE RESPONSE GIVING SAYS YOU KNOW WHAT YOUR PART IS.
-GIVING SAYS A LOT ABOUT OUR PERSONAL INVOLVEMENT.
-GIVING SAYS THAT YOU ARE WILLING TO FULFILL YOUR PART.
VII. GRACE RESPONSE GIVING SAYS YOU KNOW WHERE YOU ARE GOING.
-WE KNOW WHAT THE FUTURE HOLDS–WE WILL LEAVE ALL MATERIAL THINGS BEHIND!
-GIVING DEMONSTRATES THAT YOU HAVE AN ETERNAL PERSPECTIVE.
-GIVING SPEAKS LOUDLY ABOUT WHAT WE TRULY TREASURE.
I believe that we all, in our hearts, do want to accept this scripture, but the weakness of our flesh tends to keep us from totally surrendering to the Word! I know that My God will supply all my needs, but the truth is that I, as like many, get my needs mixed up with my wants! Those superficial wants end up becoming what I honestly think are my needs. How pitiful that is!! "We must not seek on our own understanding!".
What is a need? This may seem like an easy question, but is it? Most people I would ask that to would say a need is food, clothing, and shelter. Is it? What about our brothers and sisters in Christ, who are persecuted in the world or missionaries who who have given their life as a sacrifice. Some of these people don't have these basic needs met. Some have died, starved to death, or been striped of every physical need as described above. For these there are eternal blessings, but hard for us to understand. Maybe our needs are beyond what we understand. Maybe they are eternal and spiritual. I have seen God meet my physical needs many times, but I will be honest, I don't understand this verse completely in light of the above when committed believers who have given sacrifically and out of obedience and they don't seem to have the basic needs met. I know that God is sovereign and He is God and I am not. I need to trust Him even when I don't understand
JB, your point is well taken. It is indeed very difficult to determine what is our need from God's viewpoint. However, Paul did not seem to have difficulty in making that determination because he was in the very situation you describe. He was sitting in jail. The jails of the Roman empire generally did not provide for food or clothing. Friends had to do that. Yet, even in his distress God met his need. The context begins at verse 10. In verses 11 and 12 he describes himself in a state of hunger among other things. Yet, even with this situation, he was "content" (v.11).
Thank you very much.
Preparing a sermon, a few observations stood out to me. "Need" not "needs"- in the context, Paul is discussing real physical needs and relates on a personal note that he has suffered lack and has also had much. At that place an time, due to the Philippians' generosity, he was currently enjoying abundance while under house arrest. If you look at all the times the same word is used and the actual number, you discover it indeed is SINGULAR, not plural. I would suggest that we need to recognize our greatest need is not food, clothing, and shelter- our greataest need is Jesus Himself. When we are satisfied with Him, even a piece of bread is a feast.
Secondly, we too rigidly lock ourselves into a "quid pro quo" understanding of receiving in kind. The Gospel's core is grace- God lavishing undeserving sinners with not only eternal life, but also every spiritual blessing in heavenly places in Christ. Who could stand if we were treated as we desrved? Nonetheless, even as followers of Jesus, we must recognize that Job was tested severely having done nothing to deserve it.
He truly is all we need, and even with His faithful promise in Matthew 6:6-33, we ought always to recognize that our trials are blessings and can be received with joy. We are here for His glory, not Him here for our pleasure. He wants us to discover that His very presence can become our greatest glory and joy.
Grace and peace to you, brother!
Dear Grant, I likewise wonder about missionaries especially who are in places where they have no friends to meet their needs. In their persecution they sometimes lack all basic needs and are harmed as well. How does this scripture prove true for them ? Is Jesus Himself perhaps the “supply” of their
DL, Since I work with indigenous missionaries, pastors, and leaders in a number places in the world, it is clear that God meets their needs, not wants. Remember it is Paul who writes the book of Philippians who suffered persecution throughout his ministry. Meeting needs does not mean that God keeps a person free from trouble or deprivation. Although Paul was deprived of many things in the Philippian jail God met his physical needs there.