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Philippians 4:12

    Philippians 4:12 Translations

    King James Version (KJV)

    I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need.

    American King James Version (AKJV)

    I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need.

    American Standard Version (ASV)

    I know how to be abased, and I know also how to abound: in everything and in all things have I learned the secret both to be filled and to be hungry, both to abound and to be in want.

    Basic English Translation (BBE)

    It is the same to me if I am looked down on or honoured; everywhere and in all things I have the secret of how to be full and how to go without food; how to have wealth and how to be in need.

    Webster's Revision

    I know how to be abased, and I know also how to abound: in everything and in all things have I learned the secret both to be filled and to be hungry, both to abound and to be in want.

    World English Bible

    I know how to be humbled, and I know also how to abound. In everything and in all things I have learned the secret both to be filled and to be hungry, both to abound and to be in need.

    English Revised Version (ERV)

    I know how to be abased, and I know also how to abound: in everything and in all things have I learned the secret both to be filled and to be hungry, both to abound and to be in want.

    Clarke's Commentary on Philippians 4:12

    I know - how to be abased - I have passed through all these states; I know how to conduct myself in each, and how to extract good from all. And he had passed through these things, especially the hardships, so that he had learned the lesson perfectly, as the word μεμυημαι implies; he was thoroughly instructed; fully initiated into all the mysteries of poverty and want, and of the supporting hand of God in the whole. See here the state to which God permitted his chief apostle to be reduced! And see how powerfully the grace of Christ supported him under the whole! How few of those who are called Christian ministers or Christian men have learned this important lesson! When want or affliction comes, their complaints are loud and frequent; and they are soon at the end of their patience.

    Barnes' Notes on Philippians 4:12

    I know both how to be abased - To be in circumstances of want.

    And I know how to abound - To have an abundance. lie had been in circumstances where he had an ample supply for all his needs, and knew what it was to have enough. It requires as much grace to keep the heart right in prosperity, as it does in adversity, and perhaps more. Adversity, of itself, does something to keep the mind in a right state; prosperity does nothing.

    Everywhere and in all things - In all my travels and imprisonments, and in reference to everything that occurs, I learn important lessons on these points.

    I am instructed - The word used here - μεμύημαι memuēmai - is one that is commonly used in relation to mysteries, and denoted being instructed in the secret doctrines that were taught in the ancient "mysteries" - Passow. In those mysteries, it was only the "initiated" who were made acquainted with the lessons that were taught there. Paul says that he had been initiated into the lessons taught by trials and by prosperity. The secret and important lessons which these schools of adversity are fitted to teach, he had had an ample opportunity of learning; and he had faithfully embraced the doctrines thus taught.

    Both to be full - That is, he had learned to have an ample supply of his needs, and yet to observe the laws of temperance and soberness, and to cherish gratitude for the mercies which he had enjoyed.

    And to be hungry - That is, to be in circumstances of want, and yet not to murmur or complain. He had learned to bear all this without discontent. This was then, as it is now, no easy lesson to learn; and it is not improper to suppose that, when Paul says that he had "been instructed" in this, even he means to say that it was only by degrees that he had acquired it. It is a lesson which we slowly learn, not to complain at the allotments of Providence; not to be envious at the prosperity of others; not to repine when our comforts are removed. There may be another idea suggested here. The condition of Paul was not always the same. He passed through great reverses. At one time he had abundance; then he was reduced to want; now he was in a state which might be regarded as affluent; then he was brought down to extreme poverty. Yesterday, he was poor and hungry; today, all his necessities are supplied.

    Now, it is in these sudden reverses that grace is most needed, and in these rapid changes of life that it is most difficult to learn the lessons of calm contentment. People get accustomed to an even tenor of life, no matter what it is, and learn to shape their temper and their calculations according to it. But these lessons of philosophy vanish when they pass suddenly from one extreme to another, and find their condition in life suddenly changed. The garment that was adapted to weather of an uniform temperature, whether of heat or cold, fails to be suited to our needs when these transitions rapidly succeed each other. Such changes are constantly occurring in life. God tries his people, not by a steady course of prosperity, or by long-continued and uniform adversity, but by transition from the one to the other; and it often happens that the grace which would have been sufficient for either continued prosperity or adversity, would fail in the transition from the one to the other.

    Hence, new grace is imparted for this new form of trial, and new traits of Christian character are developed in these rapid transitions in life, as some of the most beautiful exhibitions of the laws of matter are brought out in the transitions produced in chemistry. The rapid changes from heat to cold, or from a solid to a gaseous state, develop properties before unknown, and acquaint us much more intimately with the wonderful works of God. The gold or the diamond, unsubjected to the action of intense heat, and to the changes produced by the powerful agents brought to bear on them, might have continued to shine with steady beauty and brilliancy; but we should never have witnessed the special beauty and brilliancy which may be produced in rapid chemical changes. And so there is many a beautiful trait of character which would never have been known by either continued prosperity or adversity. There might have been always a beautiful exhibition of virtue and piety, but not tidal special manifestation which is produced in the transitions from the one to the other.

    Wesley's Notes on Philippians 4:12

    4:12 I know how to be abased - Having scarce what is needful for my body. And to abound - Having wherewith to relieve others also. Presently after, the order of the words is inverted, to intimate his frequent transition from scarcity to plenty, and from plenty to scarcity. I am instructed - Literally, I am initiated in that mystery, unknown to all but Christians. Both to be full and to be hungry - For one day. Both to abound and to want - For a longer season.