Be Anxious for Nothing: What Does Philippians 4:6 Mean?


Philippians 4:6, “Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.” King James Version (KJV)

TranslationPhilippians 4:6
ESVdo not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.
NASBBe anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.
NIVDo not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.
NLTDon’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.

Also see Taste and See That the Lord is Good to learn more.

Be Anxious for Nothing: Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary

4:2-9 Let believers be of one mind, and ready to help each other. As the apostle had found the benefit of their assistance, he knew how comfortable it would be to his fellow-labourers to have the help of others. Let us seek to give assurance that our names are written in the book of life.

Joy in God is of great consequence in the Christian life; and Christians need to be again and again called to it. It more than outweighs all causes for sorrow. Let their enemies perceive how moderate they were as to outward things, and how composedly they suffered loss and hardships.

The day of judgment will soon arrive, with full redemption to believers, and destruction to ungodly men. There is a care of diligence which is our duty, and agrees with a wise forecast and due concern; but there is a care of fear and distrust, which is sin and folly, and only perplexes and distracts the mind.

As a remedy against perplexing care, constant prayer is recommended. Not only stated times for prayer, but in every thing by prayer. We must join thanksgivings with prayers and supplications; not only seek supplies of good, but own the mercies we have received.

God needs not to be told our wants or desires; he knows them better than we do; but he will have us show that we value the mercy, and feel our dependence on him. The peace of God, the comfortable sense of being reconciled to God, and having a part in his favour, and the hope of the heavenly blessedness, are a greater good than can be fully expressed.

This peace will keep our hearts and minds through Christ Jesus; it will keep us from sinning under troubles, and from sinking under them; keep us calm and with inward satisfaction. Believers are to get and to keep a good name; a name for good things with God and good men.

We should walk in all the ways of virtue, and abide therein; then, whether our praise is of men or not, it will be of God. The apostle is for an example. His doctrine and life agreed together. The way to have the God of peace with us, is to keep close to our duty.

All our privileges and salvation arise in the free mercy of God; yet the enjoyment of them depends on our sincere and holy conduct. These are works of God, pertaining to God, and to him only are they to be ascribed, and to no other, neither men, words, nor deeds.

Also see Let Not Your Heart Be Troubled to learn more.

Philippians 4:6 | Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary

6. Translate, “Be anxious about nothing.” Care and prayer are as mutually opposed as fire and water [Bengel].

by prayer and supplication—Greek, “by the prayer and the supplication” appropriate to each case [Alford]. Prayer for blessings; and the general term. Supplication, to avert ills; a special term, suppliant entreaty (see on [2390]Eph 6:18).

thanksgiving—for every event, prosperity and affliction alike (1Th 5:18; Jas 5:13). The Philippians might remember Paul’s example at Philippi when in the innermost prison (Ac 16:25). Thanksgiving gives effect to prayer (2Ch 20:21), and frees from anxious carefulness by making all God’s dealings matter for praise, not merely for resignation, much less murmuring. “Peace” is the companion of “thanksgiving” (Php 4:7; Col 3:15).

let your requests be made known unto God—with generous, filial, unreserved confidence; not keeping aught back, as too great, or else too small, to bring before God, though you might feel so as to your fellow men. So Jacob, when fearing Esau (Ge 32:9-12); Hezekiah fearing Sennacherib (2Ki 19:14; Ps 37:5).

Also see Many Are Called But Few Are Chosen to learn more.

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