“If therefore there is consolation in Christ, if there is encouragement of love, if there is fellowship of the Spirit, if there is affection and compassion, then fulfill my joy in order that you might be disposed to these things: having this love, being united, and being of one mind.”
Indeed, if there is any desire that pastors have for their flock this would summarize it. One might add: “attentiveness to the Scriptures,” yet I would suggest that the only way the above can happen in a body of Christians is if the body is attentive to the Word of God. How often churches go astray because they don’t start at the right spot…sitting under the Word.
Some translations render the phrase “fellowship of the Spirit” as “spiritual fellowship,” which is a legitimate translation as the word “Spirit” does not have a definite article. At the same time, given the language of consolation in Christ, the parallelism seems to imply also that the fellowship will be in the Spirit, hence the choice to capitalize the term, seeing it as a reference to the Third member of the Trinity and not to the spirituality of believers.
This notion of unity becomes foundational to what Paul will speak of next…wisdom for all of us in Christ’s church. If we cannot get this notion into our beings, we will fall into fighting and bickering. And where there is fighting and bickering, almost always this spirit of unity is lacking. I have said more times than I care to count that these first 11 verses of Philippians 2 are the most significant verses that guide our Christian living…they send a simple message but contain profound truths. Yet, all in Paul’s timing as he unfolds the words of this letter.