Phl 4:5 KJV - 5 Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand.

Variants of the phrase appears also in multiple prophets:

Isa 13:6 KJV - 6 Howl ye; for the day of the LORD is at hand; it shall come as a destruction from the Almighty.

Joe 1:15 KJV - 15 Alas for the day! for the day of the LORD is at hand, and as a destruction from the Almighty shall it come.

Zep 1:7 KJV - 7 Hold thy peace at the presence of the Lord GOD: for the day of the LORD is at hand: for the LORD hath prepared a sacrifice, he hath bid his guests.

  • Important question a relationship with Jesus.
    – user25930
    Jan 19, 2019 at 22:42
  • Hi Mac. I'm not sure I follow that comment.
    – Ruminator
    Jan 19, 2019 at 22:46
  • It should be "Important Question in a relationship with Jesus". My apologies. My point is that in imitating Jesus (Eph 4:32, 5:1, 2) it is important to constantly be aware of His presence.
    – user25930
    Jan 19, 2019 at 23:47
  • Okay thanks. So are you saying that you are aware of the Lord Jesus being physically near you?
    – Ruminator
    Jan 19, 2019 at 23:50
  • 1
    In some sense - He is "omnipresent" and omniscient so it is essentially the same thing.
    – user25930
    Jan 20, 2019 at 0:01

3 Answers 3


First the Greek text of the last part of Phil 4:5 is, "ho kyrios engus", = "The Lord [is] near". There is no variation between UNS5, NA28, Majority text, TR, Byzantine text etc.

Most commentaries (eg Ellicott, Pulpit, Barnes, Expositors, etc) offer one or both of two suggestions:

  • The Lord is "physically" near meaning that an awareness of the presence of the Lord ennobles our behaviour as specifically listed in the first part of the verse. That is, "near" means "close" as per John 19:42, Mark 1:38, 6:36, etc. It has some precedents in: Ps 34:18, 119:169, 145:18, 1 Kings 8:59, Acts 23:11.
  • The Lord is "temporally" near meaning that the Lord is returning soon which should modify and ennoble our behaviour accordingly. That is "near" means "soon". In this understanding, the phrase could be a translation of the Aramaic "Maranatha" as per 1 Cor 16:22. This meaning is the one listed in BDAG for Phil 4:5; eg, Matt 26:18, Rev 1:3, 22:10, etc. This understanding has precedents in: Zeph 1:14, Eze 30:3, Obad 1:15, Joel 1:15, 3:14, Zeph 1:7, Isa 13:6, James 5:8.
  • BDAG offers a third possibility based purely on the meaning of the word "engus" which is "being close as experience or event", eg, Rom 10:8, Heb 6:8. I cannot find any OT precedents for this meaning.

Now to my personal preference/bias. I prefer the first meaning but would not exclude the second meaning at all. I think both should be kept in mind. [As a personal spiritual discipline I believe in "practicing the presence of God".]

  • Hmm... I don't see where you suggest a reason for your view other than you prefer it. Can you "build a case" for your view? Thanks. -1
    – Ruminator
    Jan 19, 2019 at 22:30
  • 1
    Just added references from OT and elsewhere for information.
    – user25930
    Jan 19, 2019 at 22:38

In Philippians 4:5, what does Paul mean by "the Lord is at hand"?

That God is near to hear the prayers of his servants.

Philippians 4:5-6 NASB

5 Let your gentle spirit be known to all people. The Lord is [a]near. 6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and pleading with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.

The Lord is at hand or near( other translations ). God draws near to those that draw near him, in that he hears their prayer and saves his servants who are crushed in spirit. Do not be anxious about anything (Vs 6a), Paul may have been concerned about the spiritual and material welfare of fellow believers, under such circumstances he encourages them to make their petitions known to God.

James 4:8 NET

8 Draw near to God and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and make your hearts pure, you double-minded.[a]

Psalm 34:18 NASB

18 The Lord is near to the brokenhearted And saves those who are [a]crushed in spirit.

Acts 17:27 NASB

27 that they would seek God, if perhaps they might feel around for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us;


These ideas are not mutually exclusive: “The Lord is at Hand” can mean both. It can mean that we are to act as if the return of the Lord is imminent per the OT prophecies quoted above. It can also mean that we are to act as if the Lord was near us in out daily walk with Him.

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