Philippians 4:12
Parallel Verses
New American Standard Bible
I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need.

King James Bible
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.

Darby Bible Translation
I know both how to be abased and I know how to abound. In everything and in all things I am initiated both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer privation.

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.

Young's Literal Translation
I have known both to be abased, and I have known to abound; in everything and in all things I have been initiated, both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to be in want.

Philippians 4:12 Parallel
Commentary
Barnes' Notes on the Bible

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.

Philippians 4:12 Parallel Commentaries

Library
August 24. "Let Your Moderation be Known unto all Men" (Phil. Iv. 5).
"Let your moderation be known unto all men" (Phil. iv. 5). The very test of consecration is our willingness not only to surrender the things that are wrong, but to surrender our rights, to be willing to be subject. When God begins to subdue a soul, He often requires us to yield the things that are of little importance in themselves, and thus break our neck and subdue our spirit. No Christian worker can ever be used of God until the proud self-will is broken, and the heart is ready to yield to God's
Rev. A. B. Simpson—Days of Heaven Upon Earth

March 10. "The Peace of God which Passeth all Understanding Shall Keep Your Hearts and Minds" (Phil. Iv. 7).
"The peace of God which passeth all understanding shall keep your hearts and minds" (Phil. iv. 7). It is not peace with God, but the peace of God. "The peace that passes all understanding" is the very breath of God in the soul. He alone is able to keep it, and He can so keep it that "nothing shall offend us." Beloved, are you there? God's rest did not come till after His work was over, and ours will not. We begin our Christian life by working, trying and struggling in the energy of the flesh to save
Rev. A. B. Simpson—Days of Heaven Upon Earth

Prayer Perfumed with Praise
The point to which I would draw your attention is this: that whether it be the general prayer or the specific supplication we are to offer either or both "with thanksgiving." We are to pray about everything, and with every prayer we must blend our thanksgivings. Hence it follows that we ought always to be in a thankful condition of heart: since we are to pray without ceasing, and are not to pray without thanksgiving, it is clear that we ought to be always ready to give thanks unto the Lord. We must
Charles Haddon Spurgeon—Spurgeon's Sermons Volume 25: 1879

How to Keep the Heart
This evening we shall use another figure, distinct from the one used in the morning, of the reservoir. We shall use the figure of a fortress, which is to be kept. And the promise saith that it shall be kept--kept by "the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, through Christ Jesus." Inasmuch as the heart is the most important part of man--for out of it are the issues of life--it would be natural to expect that Satan, when he intended to do mischief to manhood, would be sure to make his strongest
Charles Haddon Spurgeon—Spurgeon's Sermons Volume 4: 1858

Cross References
1 Corinthians 4:11
To this present hour we are both hungry and thirsty, and are poorly clothed, and are roughly treated, and are homeless;

2 Corinthians 11:9
and when I was present with you and was in need, I was not a burden to anyone; for when the brethren came from Macedonia they fully supplied my need, and in everything I kept myself from being a burden to you, and will continue to do so.

2 Corinthians 11:27
I have been in labor and hardship, through many sleepless nights, in hunger and thirst, often without food, in cold and exposure.

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