Philippians 1:29

For unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for his sake.

My understanding :
1. The word "you" is all of the Philippians.
2. The speaker, in the Philippians point of view is already like God.
3. The speaker's sentence is the Word of God

So, what God say is "The ability of all the Philippians to believe Jesus and to suffer for His sake because it's given (in time, on date-X month-Y year-Z) because all the Philippians have been elected (before time, before the foundation of the world)."

My question (assuming my imagination is correct) :
Does the sentence in that verse indirectly mean that all the Philippians in that time will go to heaven?

  • Yes, it's OK KorvinStarmast. Thank you for your suggestion. I've edited it. Thank you also for curiousdannii for the editing.
    – karma
    Commented Jul 12, 2017 at 20:15

2 Answers 2


Calvin says in his commentary on Philippians 1:28.

but Paul in another instance, too, speaks of them as a manifest token or proof, (2 Thessalonians 1:5,) and instead of ἔνδειξιν, which we have here, he in that passage makes use of the term ἔνδειγμα This, therefore, is a choice consolation, that when we are assailed and harassed by our enemies, we have an evidence of our salvation. For persecutions are in a manner seals of adoption to the children of God, if they endure them with fortitude and patience: the wicked give a token of their condemnation, because they stumble against a stone by which they shall be bruised to pieces ... He proves it from this, that the endurance of the cross is the gift of God. Now it is certain, that all the gifts of God are salutary to us. To you, says he, it is given, not only to believe in Christ, but also to suffer for him. Hence even the sufferings themselves are evidences of the grace of God; and, since it is so, you have from this source a token of salvation.

So it would seen that the 'you' are those enduring sufferings on behalf of Christ. It does not seem to necessarily include all Philippians or all the hearers of the letter. Calvin continues that those sufferings and the ability to endure them are a gift from God and evidence of salvation. Since he mentions that ability to endure, it seems to imply that not all of the hearers or even all of those who are currently suffering have evidence of salvation. Only those who are graced to endure to the end may have reassurance of their election.

From what Calvin says, we can not know who is 'you' until later.

For persecutions are in a manner seals of adoption to the children of God, if they endure them with fortitude and patience.

For the hearers, all the hearers, it is an exhortation to endure. However, knowing who has been graced to endure is not possible during the suffering since it is the endurance to the end that is evidence of grace/election.

Whether or not evanescent grace may appear here does not seem to be addressed.

  • I'm sorry as I'm still unable to understand it, bradimus. When God say that He gave "you" to believe Jesus ---> does it mean that the "you" is not all of the Philippians or all the hearers of the letter ? For easier of what I mean.... suppose there is no writings and God speaks to the Philippians : "I have given you My Grace which is to believe Jesus" ---> so the "you" here (A) all the hearers or (B) some of the hearers, when He said that ?
    – karma
    Commented Jul 8, 2017 at 20:09
  • @karma I have added what I hope is clarification.
    – bradimus
    Commented Jul 8, 2017 at 20:44
  • Maybe it is me who mistakenly understood about the election. Before, I thought that a situation where someone believe Jesus it is the beginning (in time) process of the election (before time). Before time, one is elected to be given a grace to believe in time (the beginning process). The next process, this person is given a grace to suffer (which of course this person will endure the suffer till the end of his time). The Philippians are Jesus believers. (continued)
    – karma
    Commented Jul 9, 2017 at 6:48
  • So at the time the Philippians believers hear/read the letter of the verse, for some that hasn't been given to suffer then they will be given to suffer and they will endure till the end. For some that are being suffered - they will endure till the end. This is something like an information. They are not required to endure, because they will certainly endure it till the end. But from your explanation, to me it seems on the contrary from what I think before. There is an "IF" here. Something like this : IF they endure the suffer till the end, it is because they are given. (continued)
    – karma
    Commented Jul 9, 2017 at 6:56
  • The "IF" made them required to endure the suffer till the end. If they (the believers) succeed to endure the suffer with fortitude and patience then their success sealed the adoption to the children of God. On the other hand, for the one who doesn't endure the suffer till the end, they fail to seal the adoption to the children of God. Please correct me if I'm wrong.
    – karma
    Commented Jul 9, 2017 at 7:06

Phillipians 1:1

1 Paul and Timothy, bondservants of Jesus Christ, To all the saints in Christ Jesus who are in Philippi, with the bishops[a] and deacons:

The letter is addressed to those who are IN Christ Jesus, IN Phillippi.

to be in Christ Jesus, is a pretty sure sign of election. I think Paul is speaking directly to the believers in Phillippi.

I think the context of the letter/chapter makes this one pretty clear.

Does the sentence in that verse indirectly mean that all the Philippians in that time will go to heaven?

I would answer No.
It simply implies that the letter is for Believers.

To add the asked for "Calvinistic" understanding. If they are true believers in God then they are Elected. We cannot know who is elected, but there is a concept called the "Perseverence of the Saints." This is the idea that if you are a true believer (Elected) your faith will stand until the end of all things.

Paul is addressing the believers in Philippi. If one were to stop believing, and fall away from the Faith (or just be a resident of Philippi who never believed at all), that would be a sign that you had not persevered in the faith, which would show that your faith was not God-given, which would show that you were not Elect, which would mean that this Epistle was not meant for you, because it is for "Those IN Christ Jesus".

  • This doesn't really address the Calvinist/Reformed perspective.
    – mi name
    Commented Jul 11, 2017 at 0:43
  • Edited to be more thorough about that aspect thanks.
    – L1R
    Commented Jul 11, 2017 at 18:14
  • L1R, I'm sorry I still don't understand it. The verse say : to all the Saints who are in Philippi. (I deliberately omit the sentence "in Christ Jesus). Suppose the members of the Phillipi 100 persons, does the sentence mean : (A) "to all the 100 Saints who are in Philippi" ? or (B) "to SOME [from that 100 persons] who are the Saints in Philippi" ? Actually I have one more question, but I think I'll ask it later. Thank you L1R.
    – karma
    Commented Jul 12, 2017 at 20:05
  • I really think that deliberately omitting the "In Christ Jesus" portion is what is confusing the issue. the answer is "B" from the choices you listed. the "SOME" from your comment are those Of the 100 persons in philippi who are "In Christ Jesus" aka "saints" The verse is definitely not addressed to everyone who lives in Philippi, but rather the "saints" who are "In Christ Jesus", whatever percentage of the population of Philippi they happen to comprise.
    – L1R
    Commented Jul 12, 2017 at 20:17
  • I mean the Christians of the Philippian Church, L1R.... I don't mean the population of the city of Philippi :). My reason omitting the "In Christ Jesus" because from my pov, when I hear "the Saints" then of course they are "in Christ Jesus", L1R. If I don't think that is logical, then my mind begs a question : How come someone is being said a Saint but this someone is not in Christ Jesus ? So... "in Christ Jesus" (in my pov) is an emphasize words. (continued)
    – karma
    Commented Jul 13, 2017 at 20:47

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