The Supplier of Needs

Beginning on a positive note, we remember that Paul, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, wrote, “God shall supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus” (Phil. 4:19). That familiar promise is often quoted and claimed by Christians, but what was its context? As we read contextually, we soon discover the reason Paul was so confident that God would supply all the needs of the Philippian believers:

Nevertheless, you have done well to share with me in my affliction. And you yourselves also know, Philippians, that at the first preaching of the gospel, after I departed from Macedonia, no church shared with me in the matter of giving and receiving but you alone; for even in Thessalonica you sent a gift more than once for my needs. Not that I seek the gift itself, but I seek for the profit which increases to your account. But I have received everything in full, and have an abundance; I am amply supplied, having received from Epaphroditus what you have sent, a fragrant aroma, an acceptable sacrifice, well-pleasing to God. And my God shall supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus (Phil. 4:14-19, emphasis added).

Paul was certain that Jesus would indeed supply the needs of the Philippians because they had met Jesus’ condition: They were seeking first the kingdom of God, proven by their sacrificial gifts to Paul so he could continue planting churches. Remember that in His Sermon on the Mount, Jesus said,

For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added to you (Matt. 6:32-33).

So we see that Paul’s promise in Philippians 4:19 doesn’t apply to every Christian who quotes and claims it. Rather, it only has application to those who are seeking first God’s kingdom.