Bible Verse Explanations and Resources


Philippians 4:18

Adam Clarke
Bible Commentary

I have all - Ye have now sent me so much by Epaphroditus, that I abound in all the necessaries of life.

Having received - the things - Probably a supply of clothes and such like necessaries, as well as of money.

An odor of a sweet smell - Alluding to the sacrifices offered up under the law. With what ye have done to me, his servant, God is well pleased. See Ephesians 5:2, and the note there.

Albert Barnes
Notes on the Whole Bible

But I have all - Margin, “or, have received.” The phrase here is equivalent to, “I have received everything. I have all I want, and desire no more.” He was entirely satisfied. What they had sent to him is, of course, now unknown. It is sufficient to know, that it was of such a nature as to make his situation comfortable.

I am full - I have enough, This is a strong expression, denoting that nothing was lacking.

Having received of Epaphroditus - see the notes at Phlippians 2:25.

An odour of a sweet smell - This does not mean that it was such an odor to Paul, but to God. He regarded it as an offering which they had made to God himself; and he was persuaded that he would regard it as acceptable to him. They had doubtless made the offering, not merely from personal friendship for Paul, but because he was a minister of Christ, and from love for his cause; and Paul felt assured that this offering would be acceptable to him; compare Matthew 10:41-42. The word “odor” refers properly to the pleasant fragrance produced in the temple by the burning of incense; notes on Luke 1:9. On the meaning of the word rendered “a sweet smell,” - εὐωδία euōdia- see the notes at 2 Corinthians 2:15. The whole language here is taken from an act of worship; and the apostle regarded what he had received from the Philippians as in fact a thank-offering to God, and a presented with the spirit of true devotion to him. It was not, indeed, a formal act of worship; but it was acceptable to God as an expression of their regard for his cause.

A sacrifice acceptable - Acceptable to God; compare Hebrews 13:16; notes, Romans 12:1.

Well-pleasing to God - Because it evinced a regard for true religion. Hence, learn:

(1) that kindness done to the ministers of the gospel is regarded as an acceptable offering to God.

(2) that kindness to the servants of God in distress and want, is as well-pleasing to God as direct acts of worship.

(3) that such acts of benevolence are evidences of attachment to the cause of religion, and are proofs of genuine piety; notes, Matthew 10:42.

Matthew Henry
Concise Bible Commentary
It is a good work to succour and help a good minister in trouble. The nature of true Christian sympathy, is not only to feel concern for our friends in their troubles, but to do what we can to help them. The apostle was often in bonds, imprisonments, and necessities; but in all, he learned to be content, to bring his mind to his condition, and make the best of it. Pride, unbelief, vain hankering after something we have not got, and fickle disrelish of present things, make men discontented even under favourable circumstances. Let us pray for patient submission and hope when we are abased; for humility and a heavenly mind when exalted. It is a special grace to have an equal temper of mind always. And in a low state not to lose our comfort in God, nor distrust his providence, nor take any wrong course for our own supply. In a prosperous condition not to be proud, or secure, or worldly. This is a harder lesson than the other; for the temptations of fulness and prosperity are more than those of affliction and want. The apostle had no design to urge them to give more, but to encourage such kindness as will meet a glorious reward hereafter. Through Christ we have grace to do what is good, and through him we must expect the reward; and as we have all things by him, let us do all things for him, and to his glory.
Ellen G. White
Counsels on Stewardship, 347

All who do this are making the best possible preparation for life in this world. No man can lay up treasure in heaven without finding his life on earth thereby enriched and ennobled. CS 347.1

“Godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come.” 1 Timothy 4:8.—Education, 145. CS 347.2

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Ellen G. White
In Heavenly Places, 306.4

Such prayer from a sincere heart ascends as incense before the Lord; and offerings to His cause and gifts to the needy and suffering are a sacrifice well pleasing to Him. Thus the gifts of the Philippian brethren, who ministered to the needs of the apostle Paul while a prisoner at Rome, are said to be “an odour of a sweet smell, a sacrifice acceptable, wellpleasing to God” (Philippians 4:18). HP 306.4

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Ellen G. White
SDA Bible Commentary, vol. 6 (EGW), 1059

The apostles no longer hesitated; they could not withstand God. Peter and James, who at that time were the only apostles in Jerusalem, gave the right hand of fellowship to the once-fierce persecutor of their faith; and he was now as much beloved and respected as he had formerly been feared and avoided. Here the two grand characters of the new faith met—Peter, one of the chosen companions of Christ while He was upon earth; and Paul, a Pharisee, who, since the ascension of Jesus, had met Him face to face, and had talked with Him, and had also seen Him in vision, and the nature of His work in heaven (Sketches from the Life of Paul, 34-36). 6BC 1059.1

Heaven Is Near to the Seeker of Souls—In the tenth chapter of Acts we have still another instance of the ministration of heavenly angels, resulting in the conversion of Cornelius and his company. Let these chapters [8-10] be read, and receive special attention. In them we see that heaven is much nearer to the Christian who is engaged in the work of soulsaving than many suppose. We should learn through them also the lesson of God's regard for every human being, and that each should treat his fellow man as one of the Lord's instrumentalities for the accomplishment of His work in the earth (Manuscript 17, 1908). 6BC 1059.2

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Ellen G. White
The Acts of the Apostles, 479-80

Paul's letter to the Philippians, like the one to the Colossians, was written while he was a prisoner at Rome. The church at Philippi had sent gifts to Paul by the hand of Epaphroditus, whom Paul calls “my brother, and companion in labor, and fellow soldier, but your messenger, and he that ministered to my wants.” While in Rome, Epaphroditus was sick, “nigh unto death: but God had mercy on him,” Paul wrote, “and not on him only, but on me also, lest I should have sorrow upon sorrow.” Hearing of the sickness of Epaphroditus, the believers at Philippi were filled with anxiety regarding him, and he decided to return to them. “He longed after you all,” Paul wrote, “and was full of heaviness, because that ye had heard that he had been sick.... I sent him therefore the more carefully, that, when ye see him again, ye may rejoice, and that I may be the less sorrowful. Receive him therefore in the Lord with all gladness; and hold such in reputation: because for the work of Christ he was nigh unto death, not regarding his life, to supply your lack of service toward me.” AA 479.1

By Epaphroditus, Paul sent the Philippian believers a letter, in which he thanked them for their gifts to him. Of all the churches, that of Philippi had been the most liberal in supplying Paul's wants. “Now ye Philippians know also,” the apostle said in his letter, “that in the beginning of the gospel, when I departed from Macedonia, no church communicated with me as concerning giving and receiving, but ye only. For even in Thessalonica ye sent once and again unto my necessity. Not because I desire a gift: but I desire fruit that may abound to your account. But I have all, and abound: I am full, having received of Epaphroditus the things which were sent from you, an odor of a sweet smell, a sacrifice acceptable, well-pleasing to God.” AA 479.2

“Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ. I thank my God upon every remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine for you all making request with joy, for your fellowship in the gospel from the first day until now; being confident of this very thing, that He which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ: even as it is meet for me to think this of you all, because I have you in my heart; inasmuch as both in my bonds, and in the defense and confirmation of the gospel, ye all are partakers of my grace. For God is my record, how greatly I long after you all.... And this I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and in all judgment; that ye may approve things that are excellent; that ye may be sincere and without offense till the day of Christ; being filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ, unto the glory and praise of God.” AA 480.1

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