* - denotes footnote
Shine Brightly for Christ
12 Dear friends, you always followed my instructions when I was with you. And now that I am away, it is even more important. Work hard to show the results of your salvation, obeying God with deep reverence and fear.13 For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him.
14 Do everything without complaining and arguing,15 so that no one can criticize you. Live clean, innocent lives as children of God, shining like bright lights in a world full of crooked and perverse people.16 Hold firmly to the word of life; then, on the day of Christ's return, I will be proud that I did not run the race in vain and that my work was not useless.17 But I will rejoice even if I lose my life, pouring it out like a liquid offering to God,* just like your faithful service is an offering to God. And I want all of you to share that joy.18 Yes, you should rejoice, and I will share your joy.
Paul Commends Timothy
19 If the Lord Jesus is willing, I hope to send Timothy to you soon for a visit. Then he can cheer me up by telling me how you are getting along.20 I have no one else like Timothy, who genuinely cares about your welfare.21 All the others care only for themselves and not for what matters to Jesus Christ.22 But you know how Timothy has proved himself. Like a son with his father, he has served with me in preaching the Good News.23 I hope to send him to you just as soon as I find out what is going to happen to me here.24 And I have confidence from the Lord that I myself will come to see you soon.
Paul Commends Epaphroditus
25 Meanwhile, I thought I should send Epaphroditus back to you. He is a true brother, co-worker, and fellow soldier. And he was your messenger to help me in my need.26 I am sending him because he has been longing to see you, and he was very distressed that you heard he was ill.27 And he certainly was ill; in fact, he almost died. But God had mercy on him—and also on me, so that I would not have one sorrow after another.
28 So I am all the more anxious to send him back to you, for I know you will be glad to see him, and then I will not be so worried about you.29 Welcome him with Christian love* and with great joy, and give him the honor that people like him deserve.30 For he risked his life for the work of Christ, and he was at the point of death while doing for me what you couldn't do from far away.