He commends the Philippians for their respect to those who
suffered for the Gospel, and for their own faith.
1. Polycarp, and the presbyters that are with him, to the
church of God which is at Philippi: mercy to you and peace from
God Almighty and the Lord Jesus Christ our Savior be multiplied.
The genuineness of this Epistle has been
questioned by some, but implicitly believed by
Archbishop Wake, whose translation is the basis for
this revision. There is also a translation by Dr.
Cave, attached to his life of Polycarp.
The church in Philippi was founded by St. Paul on
his second missionary journey, A.D. 50-51 (Acts 16:11-
20), and was the first church in Europe. On his third
missionary journey, he made two brief visits to
Philippi, about A.D. 57-58 (Acts 20:1, 6).
The Philippian church was noted for its generosity
in support of the apostolic ministry (see The Epistle
of Paul the Apostle to the Philippians, 1:5, 4:15, 16;
Acts 16:15, 40).
2. I rejoiced greatly with you in our Lord Jesus Christ,
that you received the images of a true love, and as it was
incumbent on you, accompanied those who were in bonds, which are
the crowns of such as are truly chosen by God and our Lord, and
is befitting to saints.
Ignatius had set sail from Troas to Neapolis on
his way, presumably by ship, to Rome. Apparently the
Philippian Christians were able to meet with him, for
Philippi is only a few miles north of Neapolis.
3. As also that the root of the faith that was preached
from ancient times remains firm in you to this day, and brings
forth fruit to our Lord Jesus Christ, who suffered himself to be
brought even to the death for our sins.
4. Whom God has raised up after having loosed the pains of
death, whom having not seen, you love; in whom though now you see
him not, yet believing you rejoice with joy unspeakable and full
Compare with: "Whom having not seen, ye love; in
whom, though now ye see [him] not, yet believing, ye
rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory." (1
5. Into which many desire to enter, knowing that by grace
you are saved, not by works, but by the will of God through Jesus
Compare with: "For by grace are ye saved through
faith; and that not of yourselves: [it is] the gift of
God: Not of works, lest any man should boast."
6. Therefore girding up the loins of your minds and serve
the Lord with fear and in truth, laying aside all empty and vain
speech, and the error of many, believing in him who raised up our
Lord Jesus Christ from the dead and has given him glory and a
throne at his right hand.
Compare with: "Wherefore gird up the loins of your
mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that
is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus
Christ." (1 Peter 1:13)
7. To whom all things are made subject, both that are in
heaven, and that are in earth; whom every living creature shall
worship; who shall come to be the judge of the living and dead;
whose blood God shall require of them that believe in him.
Compare with: "Wherefore God also hath highly
exalted him, and given him a name which is above every
name: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
of [things] in heaven, and [things] in earth, and
[things] under the earth; And [that] every tongue
should confess that Jesus Christ [is] Lord, to the
glory of God the Father." (Philippians 2:9-11)
8. But he who raised up Christ from the dead will also
raise up us, if we do his will and walk according to his
commandments, and love those things which he loved:
Compare with: "Knowing that he which raised up the
Lord Jesus shall raise up us also by Jesus, and shall
present [us] with you." (2 Corinthians 4:14)
9. Abstaining from all injustice, inordinate affection, and
love of money, from evil speaking, false witness, not giving evil
for evil, or railing for railing, or striking for striking, or
cursing for cursing.
10. But remembering what the Lord has taught us saying,
Judge not, and you will not be judged; forgive and you will be
forgiven; be merciful, and you will obtain mercy; for with the
same measure that you measure to others, it will be measured to
See Matthew 7:1, and Luke 6:37.
11. And again, Blessed are the poor, and they that are
persecuted for righteousness' sake, for theirs is the kingdom of
See Matthew 5:3, 10, and Luke 6:20,22,23.
2. He exhorts to faith, hope, and charity; 5. exhorts against
covetousness, and commands the duties of husbands, wives, widows,
6. deacons, young men, virgins, and presbyters.
1. These things, my brethren, I did not myself take the
liberty to write to you concerning righteousness, but you
yourselves before encouraged me to it.
2. For neither can I, nor any other such as I am, come up
to the wisdom of the blessed and renowned Paul, who being in
person with those then alive, with all exactness and soundness
taught concerning truth, and when absent wrote you epistles.
3. Into which if you look, you will be able to edify
yourselves in the faith, the mother of us all, that was delivered
to you, who followed with hope and were led on by a general love,
both towards God and towards Christ, and towards our neighbor.
4. For if any man who has these things has fulfilled the
law of righteousness, for he who has charity is far from all sin.
5. But the love of money is the root of all evil. Knowing
therefore that as we brought nothing into this world, so neither
may we carry any thing out, let us arm ourselves with the armor
Compare with: "For we brought nothing into [this]
world, [and it is] certain we can carry nothing out....
For the love of money is the root of all evil: which
while some coveted after, they have erred from the
faith, and pierced themselves through with many
sorrows." (1 Timothy 6:7,10)
The "root of all evil" is better translated "root
of all kinds of evil," or the "beginning of all
troubles or difficulties."
For "armor of righteousness," see "breastplate of
righteousness" in Ephesians 6:14.
6. And teach ourselves first to walk according to the
commandments of the Lord, and then your wives to walk likewise
according to the faith that is given to them: in charity, in
purity, loving their own husbands with all sincerity, and all
others alike with all temperance, and to bring up their children
in the truth and fear of the Lord.
Compare with: "Wives, submit yourselves unto your
own husbands, as unto the Lord." (Ephesians 5:22 and
Colossians 3:18); "And, ye fathers, provoke not your
children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and
admonition of the Lord." (Ephesians 6:4; see also
7. The widows likewise teach that they be serious as to
what concerns the faith of the Lord: praying always for all men,
being far from all detraction, evil speaking, false witness,
covetousness, and all evil.
8. Knowing that they are of the altars of God, who sees all
blemishes and from whom nothing is hid, and who searches out the
very reasonings, thoughts, and secrets of our hearts.
The reference is to the destitute devout widows
over sixty who were supported by the church and who
beautified the church. See 1 Timothy 5:9, 10.
9. [New paragraph in the oldest extant manuscripts]
Knowing that God is not mocked, we therefore ought to walk worthy
both of his command and of his glory.
Compare with: "Be not deceived; God is not mocked:
for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.
For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap
corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of
the Spirit reap life everlasting. And let us not be
weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap,
if we faint not." (Galatians 6:7-9);
"I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech
you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye
are called." (Ephesians 4:1); "That ye might walk
worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in
every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of
God." (Colossians 1:10); "That ye would walk worthy of
God, who hath called you unto his kingdom and glory."
(1 Thessalonians 2:12)
10. Also the deacons must be blameless before him, as the
ministers of God in Christ, and not of men. Not false accusers,
not double tongued, not lovers of money, but moderate in all
things: compassionate, careful, and walking according to the
truth of the Lord, who was the servant of all.
For the qualifications of deacons, see 1 Timothy
11. Whom if we please in this present world we shall also
be made partakers of that which is to come, according as he has
promised to us that he will raise us from the dead, and that if
we shall walk worthy of him, we shall also reign together with
him, if we believe.
Compare with: "Giving thanks unto the Father,
which hath made us meet to be partakers of the
inheritance of the saints in light." (Colossians 1:12);
"If we suffer, we shall also reign with [him]: if we
deny [him], he also will deny us." (2 Timothy 2:12)
12. Likewise the younger men must be unblamable in all
things, above all taking care of their purity and to restrain
themselves from all evil. For it is good to be separated from
the lusts that are in the world because every such lust is at war
against the spirit; and neither fornicators, nor effeminate, nor
abusers of themselves with mankind, will inherit the kingdom of
God, nor they who do such things as are foolish and unreasonable.
"Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an
example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in
charity, is spirit, in faith, in purity." (1 Timothy
4:12); "Young men likewise exhort to be soberminded.
In all things shewing thyself a pattern of good
works..." (Titus 2:6,7); "... I write unto you, young
men, because ye have overcome the wicked one.... I have
written unto you, young men, because ye are strong, and
the word of God abideth in you." (I John 2:13,14)
"Love not the world, neither the things [that are]
in the world. If any man love the world, the love of
the Father is not in him. For all that [is] in the
world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes,
and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of
the world." (1 John 2:15,16);
"Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not
inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither
fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor
effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, Nor
thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor
extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. And
such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are
sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the
Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God." (1
In the last quoted verses, "effeminate" is better
translated as "catamites," or those submitting to
homosexuals, and "abusers of themselves with mankind"
as "sodomites," or male homosexuals.
13. Therefore it is necessary for you to abstain from all
these things, and be subject to the priests and deacons, as to
God and Christ.
14. Admonish virgins to walk in a spotless and pure
15. And let the presbyters be compassionate and merciful
towards all, turning them from their errors, seeking out those
that are weak and not forgetting the widows, the fatherless, and
the poor, but always providing what is good both in the sight of
God and man.
Compare with: "Learn to do well; seek judgment,
relieve the oppressed, judge the fatherless, plead for
the widow." (Isaiah 1:17; see also Jeremiah 22:3);
"Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father
is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their
affliction, [and] to keep himself unspotted from the
world." (James 1:27); "Only [they would] that we should
remember the poor; the same which I also was forward to
do." (Galatians 2:10)
16. Abstaining from all wrath, respect of persons, and
unrighteous judgment, and especially being free from all
17. Not swift to believe anything against anyone, not
severe in judgment, knowing that we are all debtors in matter of
18. If therefore we pray to the Lord that he would forgive
us, we ought also to forgive others; for we are all in the sight
of our Lord and God, and must all stand before the judgment seat
of Christ, and will every one give an account of himself.
Compare with: "And when ye stand praying, forgive,
if ye have aught against any; that your Father also
which is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses."
(Mark 11:25; see also Luke 11:4)
"But why dost thou judge thy brother? or why dost
thou set at nought thy brother? for we shall all stand
before the judgment seat of Christ." (Romans 14:10);
"For we must all appear before the judgment seat of
Christ; that every one may receive the things [done] in
[his] body, according to that he hath done, whether [it
be] good or bad." (2 Corinthians 5:10)
19. Let us therefore serve him in fear and with all
reverence, as both he himself has commanded, and as the Apostles
who have preached the Gospel to us, and the prophets who have
foretold the coming of our Lord have taught us.
Compare with: "And how, Israel, what doth the Lord
thy God require of thee, but to fear the Lord thy God,
to walk in all his ways, and to love him, and to serve
the lord thy God with all thy heart and with all thy
soul." (Deuteronomy 10:12, 13:4; see also Joshua 4:24);
"Now therefore fear the Lord, and serve him in
sincerity and in truth..." (Joshua 24:14); "Let us hear
the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep
his commandments: for this [is] the whole [duty] of
man." (Ecclesiastes 12:13); "Sanctify the Lord of hosts
himself; and [let] him [be] your fear, and [let] him
[be] your dread." (Isaiah 8:13)
"And fear not them which kill the body, but are
not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is
able to destroy both soul and body in hell." (Matthew
10:28); "And if ye call on the Father, who without
respect of persons judgeth according to every man's
work, pass the time of your sojourning [here] in fear."
(1 Peter 1:17); "Honor all [men]. Love the
brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the king." (1 Peter
20. Being zealous of what is good, abstaining from all
offence, and from false brethren and those who bear the name of
Christ in hypocrisy to deceive vain men.
Compare with: "But [it is] good to be zealously
affected always in [a] good [thing], and not only when
I am present with you." (Galatians 4:18)
1. As to faith in our Savior Christ: his nature and sufferings,
the resurrection and judgment. 3. He exhorts to prayer 6. and
steadfastness in the faith, from the examples of Christ, 7. and
Apostles and saints, and exhorts to carefulness in all well-
1. Whoever does not confess that Jesus Christ is come in
the flesh, he is Antichrist; whoever does not confess his
suffering upon the cross, he is from the devil.
See 1 John 4:2, 3.
2. And whoever perverts the oracles of the Lord to his own
desires and says that there will neither be any resurrection nor
judgment, he is the first-born of Satan.
Compare with: "Now if Christ be preached that he
rose from the dead, how say some among you that there
is no resurrection of the dead? But if there be no
resurrection of the dead, then is Christ not risen: And
if Christ be not risen, then [is] our preaching vain,
and your faith [is] also vain. Yea, and we are found
false witnesses of God; because we have testified of
God that he raised up Christ; whom he raised not up, if
so be that the dead rise not. For it the dead rise
not, then is not Christ raised: And if Christ be not
raised, you faith [is] vain; ye are yet in your sins.
Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are
perished. If in this life only we have hope in Christ,
we are of all men most miserable." (1 Corinthians
3. Therefore leaving the vanities and false doctrines of
many, let us return to the word that was delivered to us from the
beginning, watching in prayer and persevering in fasting.
"But the end of all things is at hand: be ye
therefore sober, and watch unto prayer." (1 Peter 4:7)
4. With supplication imploring the all-seeing God not to
lead us into temptation, as the Lord has said, The
spirit is truly willing, but the flesh is weak.
The word "temptation" can be translated "testings"
or "trials," but it is hardly a distinction worth
mentioning, for that is what temptation is. God does
not tempt us, but we are tempted when we are drawn away
by our own lusts and enticed. (James 1:13).
Compare with: "And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and
the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen." (Matthew
6:13; Luke 11:4); "Watch and pray, that ye enter not
into temptation: the spirit indeed [is] willing, but
the flesh [is] weak." (Matthew 26:41)
5. Let us therefore without ceasing hold steadfastly to him
who is our hope and the binding pledge of our righteousness, even
Jesus Christ, who himself bore our sins in his own body on the
tree, who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth, but
suffered all for us that we might live through him.
Compare with: "Who did no sin, neither was guile
found in his mouth.... Who his own self bare our sins
in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to
sins, should live unto righteousness..." (1 Peter 2:22,
6. Let us therefore imitate his patience; if we suffer for
his name, let us glorify him; this example he has given us by
himself, and so have we believed.
Compare with: "For what glory [is it], if, when ye
be buffeted for your faults, ye shall take it
patiently? but if, when ye do well, and suffer [for
it], ye take it patiently, this [is] acceptable with
God. For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ
also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye
should follow his steps." (1 Peter 2:20, 21)
7. For this reason I exhort all of you that you obey the
word of righteousness, and exercise all patience, which you have
seen set forth before our eyes, not only in the blessed Ignatius,
and Zozimus, and Rufus, but in others among yourselves, and in
Paul himself, and the rest of the Apostles.
8. Be confident of this, that all these have not run in
vain, but in faith and righteousness, and are gone to the place
that was due to them from the Lord with whom they also suffered.
Compare with: "Wherefore seeing we also are
compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let
us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so
easily beset [us], and let us run with patience the
race that is set before us, Looking unto Jesus the
author and finisher of [our] faith; who for the joy
that was set before him endured the cross, despising
the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the
throne of God." (Hebrews 12:1, 2)
9. For they did not love this present world, but him who
died and was raised again by God for us.
10. Stand therefore in these things, and follow the example
of the Lord, being firm and immutable in the faith, lovers of the
brotherhood, lovers of one another, companions together in the
truth, being kind and gentle towards each other, yielding to each
other in the mildness of the Lord.
When Paul had written the church at Philippi
around A.D. 61-63, he had exhorted then to "stand fast
in one spirit" (Philippians 1:27) "stand fast in the
Lord" (Philippians 4:1).
11. When it is in your power to do good, do not postpone
it, for charity delivers from death.
Perhaps a reference to the Apocrypha: "For alms
doth deliver from death, and shall purge away all sin.
Those that exercise alms and righteousness shall be
filled with life." (Tobit 12:9)
12. Be all of you subject one to another, having your
manner of life honest among the Gentiles, so that by your good
works, both you yourselves may receive praise, and the Lord may
not be blasphemed through you. But woe be to him by whom the
name of the Lord is blasphemed.
Compare with: "Having your conversation honest
among the Gentiles: that, whereas they speak against
you as evildoers, they may by [your] good works, which
they shall behold, glorify God in the day of
visitation." (1 Peter 2:12); "For the name of God is
blasphemed among the Gentiles through you..." (Romans
2:24); "...that the Word of God be not blasphemed."
13. Therefore teach all men the sobriety in which you also
Valens, a presbyter, having fallen into the sin of covetousness;
he exhorts them against it.
Compare with: "Abstain from all appearance of
evil." (1 Thessalonians 5:22)
3. If a man does not keep himself from covetousness, he
will be polluted with idolatry and be judged as if he were a
4. But who of you are ignorant of the judgment of God? Do
not we know that the saints will judge the world, as Paul
Compare with: "Do ye not know that the saints
shall judge the world?..." (1 Corinthians 6:2)
5. But I have neither perceived nor heard anything of this
kind in you, among whom the blessed Paul labored and who are
named in the beginning of his Epistle.
6. For he glories of you in all the churches who then only
knew God, for we did not then know him. Therefore, my brethren,
I am exceedingly sorry both for him and for his wife, to whom may
God grant a true repentance.
That is, for Valens and his wife, verse 1.
7. And you also be moderate upon this occasion and not look
upon such as enemies, but call them back as suffering and erring
members, so that you may save your whole body. By so doing, you
will edify yourselves.
The "whole body" here means the church at
Philippi, to save it entire.
8. For I trust that you are well exercised in the Holy
Scriptures and that nothing is hid from you, but at present it is
not granted to me to practice that which is written, Be angry and
sin not; and again, Let not the sun go down upon your wrath.
Polycarp admits he is so exercised over a priest
(the presbyter Valens) falling into sin that he cannot
practice the injunction never to go to bed mad, given
by Paul: "Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go
down upon your wrath." (Ephesians 4:26)
9. Blessed be he that believes and remembers these things,
which also I trust you do.
10. Now the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, and he
himself who is our everlasting high-priest, the Son of God, even
Jesus Christ, build you up in faith and in truth and in all
meekness and mercy, in patience and long-suffering, in
forbearance and chastity.
11. And grant to you and us a place and portion among his
saints, and to all who are under the heavens, who will believe in
our Lord Jesus Christ and in his Father who raised him from the
12. Pray for all the saints; pray also for kings, and all
powers and princes in authority, and for those who persecute you,
and hate you, and for the enemies of the cross, so that your
fruit may be manifest in all, and that you may be perfect in
Compare with: "I exhort therefore, that, first of
all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, [and]
giving of thanks, be made for all men; For kings, and
[for] all that are in authority; that we may lead a
quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty.
For this [is] good and acceptable in the sight of God
our Savior; Who will have all men to be saved, and to
come unto the knowledge of the truth." (1 Timothy 2:1-
13. You wrote to me, both you and also Ignatius, that if
anyone went from here into Syria, he should bring your letters
with him. I will take care of this as soon as I shall have a
convenient opportunity, either by myself, or by him whom I shall
send upon your account.
14. The Epistles of Ignatius which he wrote to us, together
with what others of his have come to our hands, we have sent to
you according to your order, which are appended to this epistle.
15. By which we may be greatly profited, for they treat of
faith and patience, and of all things that pertain to edification
in the Lord Jesus.
16. [New paragraph in the oldest extant manuscripts] What
you know for certain of Ignatius and those that are with him,
indicate to us.
17. [New paragraph in the oldest extant manuscripts] These
things I have written to you by Crescens, whom by this present
epistle I have commended to you, and do now again recommend.
18. For he has conducted his manner of life without blame
among us and I suppose also with you.
19. You will also have regard to his sister when she will
come to you.
20. Be safe in the Lord Jesus Christ. His grace be with
all you, and all yours. Amen.
(Polycarp was eventually martyred, burned to death
on a pyre, confessing he had served Christ faithfully
"for 86 years.")
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