The Meaning of Philippians 4:4 Explained

Philippians 4:4

KJV: Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice.

YLT: Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice;

Darby: Rejoice in the Lord always: again I will say, Rejoice.

ASV: Rejoice in the Lord always: again I will say, Rejoice.

What does Philippians 4:4 Mean?

Verse Meaning

Rejoicing in Christ is something the apostle had commanded earlier ( Philippians 3:1) and had illustrated abundantly for his readers throughout this epistle. He must have felt that there was a great need for this attitude in Philippi. There were many reasons why the Philippian saints could have felt discouraged. Paul"s imprisonment and the possibility of his death, Epaphroditus" illness, and the antagonism of unbelievers were a few. The attacks from legalists on the one hand and libertines on the other, plus friction among certain members of the church, contributed to this spirit. To counteract this attitude Paul prescribed rejoicing in the Lord. He repeated this charge in this verse for even greater emphasis.
Paul was not urging us to be unrealistic. He was not saying that we should never feel sad. Even Jesus wept ( John 11:35). However, he was advocating focusing on the blessings we have in Christ and being grateful for these regardless of how sad we may feel at any particular time. He had set a good example by singing when he was in prison in Philippi ( Acts 16:25). [1]
"The truly godly person both longs for God"s presence, where one pours out his or her heart to God in joy, prayer, and thanksgiving, and lives in God"s presence by "doing" the righteousness of God. Otherwise piety is merely religion, not devotion." [2]

Context Summary

Philippians 4:1-9 - Inspiring Exhortations
What a strong and faithful heart was Paul's! Poor and despised though he was, he had both joys and crowns of which no hostile force could deprive him. He lived in the encompassing atmosphere of eternity, as we may. Surely these two Christian women could not have withstood this tender exhortation; and all his fellow-workers must have been heartened by the thought that their names were dear to Christ, and entered in the birthday book of the twice-born.
Joy and peace are the subjects of the next paragraph. How wonderful that these struggling little churches were drinking of springs of which the princes and citizens of Greece and Rome knew nothing. Note the conditions. We must be moderate in our ambitions and gentle in our behavior. We must ever practice the presence of our Lord-He is always at hand. We must turn over all causes of anxiety to the Father's infinite care and leave them with Him. We must thank Him for the past, and count on Him for the future. While we pray, the Angel of Peace will descend to stand as sentry at our heart's door. But we must possess the God of peace as well as the peace of God-the one condition being that we must earnestly pursue all things that are true, just, pure, and lovely. [source]

Chapter Summary: Philippians 4

1  From particular admonitions,
4  he proceeds to general exhortations,
10  showing how he rejoiced at their generosity toward him while in prison
19  And so he concludes with prayer and salutations

Greek Commentary for Philippians 4:4

Again I will say [παλιν ερω]
Future active indicative of defective verb ειπον — eipon [source]
Rejoice [χαιρετε]
Present active imperative as in Phlippians 3:1, repeated for emphasis in spite of discouragements. Not in the sense of “Farewell” here. [source]

What do the individual words in Philippians 4:4 mean?

Rejoice in [the] Lord always again I will say
Χαίρετε ἐν Κυρίῳ πάντοτε πάλιν ἐρῶ

Χαίρετε  Rejoice 
Parse: Verb, Present Imperative Active, 2nd Person Plural
Root: χαίρω  
Sense: to rejoice, be glad.
Κυρίῳ  [the]  Lord 
Parse: Noun, Dative Masculine Singular
Root: κύριος  
Sense: he to whom a person or thing belongs, about which he has power of deciding; master, lord.
πάντοτε  always 
Parse: Adverb
Root: πάντοτε  
Sense: at all times, always, ever.
πάλιν  again 
Parse: Adverb
Root: πάλιν  
Sense: anew, again.
ἐρῶ  I  will  say 
Parse: Verb, Future Indicative Active, 1st Person Singular
Root: λέγω  
Sense: to utter, speak, say.