1 So, if there is any appeal in our union with Christ, if there is any persuasive power in love, if we have any common share in the Spirit, if you have any tenderheartedness and sympathy, 2 fill up my cup of joy by living in harmony, by fostering the same disposition of love, your hearts beating in unison, your minds set on one purpose. 3 Stop acting from motives of selfish strife or petty ambition, but in humility practice treating one another as your superiors. 4 Stop looking after your own interests only but practice looking out for the interests of others too.
6 Though He was existing in the nature of God, He did not think His being on an equality with God a thing to be selfishly grasped, 7 but He laid it aside as He took on the nature of a slave and became like other men. 8 Because He was recognized as a man, in reality as well as in outward form, He finally humiliated Himself in obedience so as to die, even to die on a cross. 9 This is why God has highly exalted Him, and given Him the name that is above every other name, 10 so that in the name of Jesus everyone should kneel, in heaven, on earth, and in the underworld, 11 and everyone should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the praise of God the Father.
12 So, my dearly loved friends, as you have always been obedient, so now with reverence and awe keep on working clear down to the finishing point of your salvation not only as though I were with you but much more because I am away; 13 for it is God Himself who is at work in you to help you desire it as well as do it. 14 Practice doing everything without grumbling and disputing, 15 so that you may prove to be blameless and spotless, faultless children of God in a crooked and perverted age, in which you shine as light-bearers in the world as you continue 16 to hold up the message of life. That will give me ground for boasting on the day of Christ, because neither my career nor my labor has been a failure. 17 Yes, even if I am pouring out my life as a libation on the sacrifice and service your faith is rendering, I am glad to do so and congratulate you upon it; 18 you too must do likewise, be glad of it, and congratulate me.
19 I hope, with the approval of the Lord Jesus, soon to send Timothy to you, so that I too may be cheered on getting the news about you. 20 For I have no one else with a heart like his who would take such genuine interest in you, 21 for most people are looking out for their own interests, not for the interests of Jesus Christ. 22 But you know his tested character, how like a son in fellowship with his father he has toiled with me like a slave in preaching the good news. 23 So I hope to send him to you just as soon as I can see how my case is going to turn out. 24 Really, I am trusting that by the help of the Lord I soon shall come myself.
25 But I think it proper now to send back to you Epaphroditus, my brother, fellow-laborer, and fellow-soldier, but your messenger to minister to my needs, 26 for he has been longing to see you and has been homesick because you have heard that he was sick. 27 For he was so sick that he was on the point of dying, but God took pity on him, and not only on him but on me too, to keep me from having one sorrow after another. 28 I very eagerly send him, so that when you see him you may be glad of it, and I may be less sorrowful. 29 So give him a hearty Christian welcome and hold in honor men like him, 30 because he came near dying for the sake of the Lord's work and risked his life to make up for your lack of opportunity to minister to me.