Philippians 2:14

Tuesday, 10 January 2017

Do all things without complaining and disputing, Philippians 2:14

Paul now brings in a thought which is quite similar to that which he had introduced just a few verses ago. It is almost parallel to 2:3 & 2:4, and it seems to indicate that this type of strife was a besetting sin of the church at Philippi, and one which he is intent on highlighting in order for the people to see it and correct it. The strife of verses 3 & 4 were among one another, and the strife here is more directed towards God.

He petitions them to “Do all things without…” In other words, in everything they do, they are to conduct their actions in accord with what will next follow. It is an all-encompassing thought that asks them to live out every aspect of their lives in this manner. What they are to do without includes two separate things –

  • The Greek word is goggusmos. It is a word that was used repeatedly in the Greek translation of the Old Testament concerning the murmurings of the children of Israel as they wandered in the wilderness. It indicates murmuring, muttering, and grumbling. They are to refrain from these as they “do all things.
  • The Greek word is dialogismos. Though translated as “disputings” which gives the sense of arguing between people, it is probably more inclined to mean “suspicions” or “doubts” which cause a person to inwardly question the reliability of a matter. If this is so, and it seems more probable, it would then contrast with the first word.

In these then, there is a moral aspect to rebellion against God, just as the Israelites grumbled against Him in the wilderness. There is also an intellectual rebellion against Him, where they inwardly call into question His perfect will towards them. Paul asks them to do all things without these negative aspects in their hearts and minds.

Life application: When we experience trials, do we grumble against God as they come? Or do we trust that they are a perfect part of His will for us? And likewise, do we internally reason out that God is unfair with us? Or do we rather set our minds on contemplating how difficult times actually are serving a greater purpose in our lives? Let us endeavor to not grumble against the Lord, and let us endeavor to intellectually be confident that He has our lives safe and secure in His capable hands.

Lord God, it sure is easy to grumble when things don’t go well, but ultimately that grumbling is against You. It is as if we distrust that what is happening is out of Your control. And it sure is easy to be suspicious that You do not have our best in mind when troubles surround us. Help us not to be this way – either outwardly in grumbling, or inwardly through doubts. Instead, give us hearts which are fixed on praising You, and minds that are set on trusting You. Even when things are at their worst, may we never call into question Your goodness towards us. Amen.


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