by Mike Ratliff
For I know that this shall turn to my salvation through your prayer, and the supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ, According to my earnest expectation and my hope, that in nothing I shall be ashamed, but that with all boldness, as always, so now also Christ shall be magnified in my body, whether it be by life, or by death. (Philippians 1:19-20 KJV)
The ESV translates the passage above as:
for I know that through your prayers and the help of the Spirit of Jesus Christ this will turn out for my deliverance, as it is my eager expectation and hope that I will not be at all ashamed, but that with full courage now as always Christ will be honored in my body, whether by life or by death. (Philippians 1:19-20 ESV)
What is this “help” or “supply” Paul is talking about and how can we “tap” into it ourselves as we stand firm in these Laodicean days? Let’s see…
The words in bold in both renderings are translating the Greek word ἐπιχορηγία or epichorēgia, which is a compound word comprised first of the root χορηγέω or chorēgeō, which is derived from χορηγως (not found in the New Testament), “the leader of the ancient chorus who supplied the chorus at his own expense.” The word χορηγως, in turn, is from χορός or choros, “the chorus, a dance,” and ἡγέομαι or hēgeomai, “to lead.” The prefix ἐπί or epi, “upon” gives us the fuller meaning of “further supply upon.” Now, what does this tell us about the KJV’s rendering of “supply” and the ESV’s rendering of “help” referring to it coming to Paul through the Philippians’ prayers from the Spirit of Jesus Christ?
As we look at how this word was used in that ancient Greek culture, we see that whenever a Greek city was going to put on a special festival, someone had to pay for the singers and dancers. The donation had to be a generous one, so this word came to refer to a generous, lavish, bountiful supply. So, Paul didn’t depend upon his own weak, dwindling resources. He depended upon the mighty, unfathomable, generous , lavish, and bountiful resources God provided through the indwelling Holy Spirit which all in Christ have. The prayer Paul mentioned in this passage is vital and helpful, but our dependance for spiritual resources must be in Christ through the Spirit.
So, what are those practical resources all in Christ have through the Holy Spirit? He directs (Romans 8:14), calls to special service (Acts 13:2, 4), guides in service (8:27-29), illumines God’s Word (1 Corinthians 2:10-13), teaches the Word (John 16:13-14). empowers for service (Acts 1:8), produces Christlike character (Galatians 5:22-23), and makes all communion with God possible through prayer (Jude 20; Romans 8:26-27), worship (Philippians 3:3), and thanksgiving (Ephesians 5:18-20).
All in Christ have this same supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ. Let us revel in it as Paul did and thereby walk in personal holiness, circumspectly, full of the wisdom of the Lord with His discernment. His will be done.
Soli Deo Gloria!