1 If, then, any encouragement comes through union with Christ, if there is any persuasive power in love, if there is any communion with the Spirit, if there is any tenderness or pity,
2 I entreat you to make my happiness complete — Live together animated by the same spirit and in mutual love, one in heart, animated by one Spirit.
3 Nothing should be done out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility lift others up above yourselves,
4 considering not only your own interests but also the interests of others.
5 Let the spirit of Christ Jesus be yours also.
6 Though the divine nature was his from the beginning, yet he did not look on equality with God as above all things to be clung to,
7 but impoverished himself by taking the nature of a servant and becoming like one of us;
8 he appeared among us as a man, and still further humbled himself by submitting even to death — to death on a cross!
9 And that is why God raised him to the very highest place, and gave him the name which stands above all other names,
10 so that in adoration of the name of Jesus every knee should bend, in heaven, on earth, and under the earth,
11 and that every tongue should acknowledge JESUS CHRIST as LORD — to the glory of God the Father.
12 Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always been obedient in the past, so now work out your own salvation with anxious care, not only when I am with you, but all the more now that I am absent.
13 Remember it is God who, in his kindness, is at work within you, enabling you both to will and to work.
14 In all that you do, avoid murmuring and dissension,
15 so as to prove yourselves blameless and innocent — ‘faultless children of God, in the midst of an evil-disposed and perverse generation,’ in which you are seen shining like stars in a dark world,
16 offering to them the message of life; and then I will be able at the day of Christ to boast that I did not run my course for nothing, or toil for nothing.
17 And yet, even if, when your faith is offered as a sacrifice to God, my lifeblood must be poured out in addition, still I will rejoice and share the joy of you all;
18 and you must also rejoice and share my joy.
19 I hope, however, as one who trusts in the Lord Jesus, to send Timothy to you before long, so that I may myself be cheered by receiving news of you.
20 For I have no one but him to send — no one of kindred spirit who would take the same genuine interest in your welfare.
21 They are all pursuing their own aims and not those of Christ Jesus.
22 But you know what Timothy has proved himself to be, and how, like a child working for his father, he worked hard with me in spreading the good news.
23 It is Timothy, then, whom I hope to send, as soon as ever I can foresee how it will go with me.
24 And I am confident, as one who trusts in the Lord Jesus, that before long I myself will follow.
25 Still I think it necessary to send Epaphroditus to you now, for he is my dear friend, fellow worker, and fellow soldier, and he was also your messenger to help me in my need.
26 For he has been longing to see you all, and has been distressed because you heard of his illness.
27 And I can assure you that his illness very nearly proved fatal. But God had pity on him, and not on him only but also on me, so that I might not have sorrow on sorrow.
28 I am all the more ready, therefore, to send him, so that the sight of him may revive your spirits and my own sorrow be lightened.
29 Give him, then, the heartiest of Christian welcomes, and hold such people in great honor.
30 For it was owing to his devotion to the Master's work that he was at the point of death, having risked his own life in the effort to supply what was wanting in the help that you sent me.