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Paul and Timothy,
Slaves of Christ Jesus,
Christ. Whenever I pray for you all, I give thanks to my God, and my thanksgiving is based on my whole remembrance of you. I am also glad when I pray, because of the share you have had in spreading the Good News from the first day you received it till now. For I am sure of this, that he who began a generous work in you will perfect it up to the very day of the coming of Jesus Christ. And it is right for me to have such thoughts about you all. For you are very dear to me, because both in my defense of the Good News, and in my efforts to strengthen it, you are all sharers with me of the divine favor. For God is my witness how I long after you all with a tenderness such as was characteristic of Christ Jesus. And this is my prayer, that your love may become still stronger
and stronger in accurate knowledge and every form of moral perception, so that you may appreciate true excellence. And my further prayer for you is, that you may
and blameless to the day of Christ's coming, and be filled with the fruit of goodness which comes through Christ Jesus, and so bring honor and praise to God.
Now I want you to know, brothers, that what has happened to me has actually tended to help on the Good News. For, both by the Prætorian Guards, and by everybody else, my imprisonment has been plainly seen to be because I am a follower of Christ. And the further advantage has been in the fact that most of our brothers have gained confidence in the Lord through my imprisonment, and are now venturing with far greater freedom to talk fearlessly about God's message.
Some are proclaiming the Christ from a spirit of jealousy and factiousness, but some from good will. The latter do it because they love me.
For they know that I have been appointed to plead the cause of the Good News. But the others spread the news of the Christ from a spirit of faction, not with unmixed motives, and they are doing it with the idea of making trouble for me in my imprisonment. What, then? Only that in every way, whether in pretense, or in truth, Christ is being made known, and of this I am glad. Yes, and I will continue
HIS OWN CONDITION,
to be glad. For I know that, through your prayers and the supply of the spirit of Jesus Christ, this will tend to my salvation; just as I am hoping and keenly expecting that I shall have no cause for shame, but, on the contrary, that with all boldness, as always, so now, Christ shall be honored, whether by my life or by my death. For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain. But if to continue to live here, --if this is an advantage to my work,-I do not know which to choose. I am very much troubled either way.
I have a desire to go away and be with Christ. · For this would be much better. But to continue to live here is more needful for you. Yes, I am confident of this, and so I know that I will stay, and stay near you all, for your progress and joy in the faith; so that, through having me with you again, you may, in me, have abundant cause for boasting in Christ Jesus.
Only let your lives be worthy of the Good News about the Christ, so that whether I come and see you, or only hear about you from a distance, I may be assured that you are standing firm in one spirit, and joining with one soul in a common struggle for the Faith which you have been taught in the Good News, and that you are in no way frightened by your opponents. This is to them an evidence of coming destruction, but to you of salvation, and that from God. For you have not only had the
honor, for Christ's sake, of believing in him, but also of suffering for him. It is the same hard struggle such as you saw in me, and now know to be in me.
If, then, there is any encouragement in Christ, if there is any persuasive power in love, if there is any sharing in the Spirit, if there is any tenderness and pity, complete my happiness by living together in harmony, in mutual love, one in mind and soul; doing nothing in a contentious spirit, nor from vanity, but in a spirit of humility, considering each other better than yourself, each of you, not looking to your own interests only, but also to the interests of others. Set your mind on this which Christ Jesus also set his mind on, he, who even though he was existing in the form of God, did not think his being on an equality with God a thing to be eagerly snatched at, but, on the contrary, emptied himself and took the form of a slave, and became like men. So when he appeared among us as a man he humbled himself by submitting even to death, and that, too, death on a cross. So, for that reason, God raised him to the highest rank and power, and gave him the name which is above every other name, so that, in the name of Jesus, every knee should bend, in heaven, on earth, and under the earth, and every tongue should gladly and willingly declare, that Jesus Christ is Lord to the honor of God the Father.