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Full text of "Commentary on the epistle to the Philippians"

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AN 



AMERICAN COMMENTARY 



ON THE 



NEW TESTAMENT. 



EDITED BY 

ALVAH HOVEY, D.D., LL.D. 



V 



PHILADELPHIA . 
AMERICAN BAPTIST PUBLICATION SOCIETY, 

1420 Chestnut Street. 



COMMENTARY 



ON THE 



Epistle to the Philippians. 



BY 

J. B. GOUGH PIDGE, D. D. 



PHILADELPHIA : 

AMERICAN BAPTIST PUBLICATION SOCIETY, 

1420 Chestnut Street. 



Entered, according to Act of Congress, in the year 1890, by the 

AMERICAN BAPTIST PUBLICATION SOCIETY, 

in the Office of the Librarian of Congress, at Washington. 



INTRODUCTION TO THE EPISTLE TO THE PHILIPPIANS. 



It was a decisive moment in the missionary career of the Apostle Paul, when, sum- 
moned by the vision of a man of Macedonia, he sailed from Troas, and crossing the ^Egean 
Sea, set foot for the first time upon the soil of Europe. Immediately before him as he 
landed lay the important city of Philippi, which in eaNier times had been called Crenides, 
or fountains, on account of its numerous springs, but was afterward named Philippi in honor 
of the great Macedonian conqueror who had enlarged and fortified it. From its vicinity 
to the field of the battle which ended the Roman republic, between Octavius and Antony 
on the one side, and Brutus and Cassius on the other, it had become a famous historical 
landmark, and as a Roman colony with the so-called jus Italicum, or privilege of Roman 
citizenship, it outranked all the other cities of Macedonia. But its highest glory was con- 
ferred upon it when Paul entered its gates bearing the message of salvation, and it became 
the first city of Europe to listen to the gospel from the lips of an apostle. 

Paul's first stay in Philippi was very brief owing to the treatment he received at the 
hands of the Roman magistrates (Acts 16 : 16-40), but he left behuid a most important 
result of his short visit in a little band of converts who formed the nucleus of a most 
remarkable church. On at least two subsequent occasions Paul revisited the place 
(Acts 20 : 2, 6), most hkely making somewhat longer visits than on the first occasion, and 
possibly he made still another visit after his release fiom his first Roman imprisonment. 
The members of the church which he founded there must have consisted chiefly of 
heathen converts, since there appears to have been but a small number of Jews residing in 
Philippi. At the time of his first visit we find mostly women, meeting for prayer by the 
river side (Acts 16 : 13), the fact that they possessed no synagogue showing how few in 
numbers and how poor they were. Between this Philippian Churcli and the great apostle 
the most friendly and cordial relations existed from first to last. It was the only church 
under his charge that never gave him occasion for rebuke or reproof. Its members were 
never seduced from their steadfast loyalty to him and to his teachings, nor did they ever 
fall into any such terrible sins as appeared elsewhere, or give heed to doctrinal errors, as 
even the neighboring church of Thessalonica seems to have done. In the letter before us 
Paul declares that he had never had occasion for anything but joy and gratitude in all his 
remembrance of them. From the first day they had maintained with him and with each 
other the closest kind of fellowship. A slight ripple had indeed been excited in the 
otherwise calm current of their spiritual life by the dissensions of two women of influ- 
ence, but beyond this nothing had occurred to give the apostle the least anxiety in regard 
to their unity and harmony. Of course, the same dangers threatened them, that threat- 
ened the other apostolic churches, — dangers from persecuting heathen, from false Jewish 
teachers, and from the pernicious example of worldly Christians. Against all these threat- 
ening perils the apostle urges them to stand fa.st in a spirit of loving, unselfish harmony, 
and of careful observance both of his teachings and life. While Paul himself declares 

3 



4 INTRODUCTION TO THE EPISTLE TO THE PHILIPPIANS. 

that they had always been obedient, we find no hint in subsequent literature of any devia- 
tion from this high standard of loyal and steadfast obedience. 

The Philippian Church revealed its lovely and unselfish character especially in its 
treatment of the apostle's personal needs, a sort of consideration he seems never to have 
received at the hands of any other church. While he was still in Macedonia, in the neigh- 
boring city of Thessalonica, soon after his first visit to Philippi, they kindly sent sui)ii]its 
to relieve his necessities more than once. At a later period they were for a long time 
unable to do anytliing for him, — though their hearts were always ready, — until the visit of 
Epaphroditus to Rome furnished them with the long-coveted opportunity. Then their old 
spirit, like a tree in spring time, blossomed out again in a most loving and lavish contribu- 
tion to his needs, that awakened all the deepest feelings of the apostle's tender heart, and 
gave occasion for this letter in return. It was apparently entrusted to the same messen- 
ger, who had brouglit their gifts, and who had deepened and intensified the apostle's sense 
of gratitude by carrying out his mission in such a self-sacrificing spirit as to bring upon 
himself a dangerous and almost fatal sickness, which led the apostle to send him back to 
PhiHppi sooner than he would otherwise have done. 

As the Epistle was not called forth, like most of the others that Paul wrote, bj' any 
doctrinal or practical danger threatening the church, it is written in an entirely different 
tone and style from any of his other writings. It is not divided, as the rest are, into two 
portions, one pre-eminently doctrinal, the other pre-eminently practical and hortatory ; 
but the thought flows on from beginning to end in a most unstudied and natural way, like 
an ordinary friendly letter. There is, of course, a certain order of thought, but there are 
no rigid and clearly marked divisions between the different portions In a free and natural 
way the apostle touches upon four special topics ; first, his own condition and prospects ; 
second, the necessity for unity and steadfastness on the part of the church ; third, the 
threatening dangers from Judaizing teachers ; and fourth, the special subject of the con- 
tribution which he has received from the church. This is the outline in general of the 
order of thought ; the more minute analj'sis is as follows : 

After the usual address and salutation (1 : 1, 2), the apostle gratefully recognizes the 
favorable condition of the church at Philippi, and prays that it may develop more and more 
richly in all the essentials of Christian life. (1 : 3-11.) He briefly describes his condi- 
tion and labors at Rome, reveaHng at the same time his exalted state of mind amid the un- 
certainties and dangers of his position (1 : 12-26), and exhorts his brethren to unity, 
humility, and steadfastness in view of the inspiring example of Jesus Christ the Lord. 
(I : 27-2 : 11.) This line of exhortation leads to the noble doctrinal passage describ- 
ing Chi-ist's condescension, humiliation, and subsequent exaltation (2 : 5-11), when 
the practical tone is again resumed, and the Philippians are urged to work out their 
salvation in such a spirit as to make them bright examples in the midst of a wicked world 
(2 : 12-18) ; after which the apostle speaks very feelingly of the spirit and labors of his 
messengers and assistants, Timothy (2 : 19-24) and Epaphroditus. (2 : 25-30.) Appar- 
ently about to close his Epistle, Paul is led by some unknown occa.sion to the thought of 
liis Jewish opponents, and he launches out into an indignant contrast between their exam- 
ple and his own, earnestly admonishes the Philippians to imitate him rather than 
them (3 : 1-16), and draws a vivid picture of the contrasted character and destiny of true 
and false believers. (3 : 17-4 : 1.) Admonitions, mixed with commendations, addressed 
to individuals (4 : 2, 3), general exhortations to joyfulness and spiritual mindedness 
(4 : 4-9), followed by a most beautiful and delicate recognition of the kindness of the 



INTRODUCTION TO THE EPISTLE TO THE PHILIPPIANS. 



church in their gifts (4 : 10-20), with salutations and a benediction (4 : 21-23), conclude 
the Epistle. 

We assign the Epistle to the time of Paul's imprisonment in Rome in accordance 
with universal tradition, the indications of the letter itself, and the views of nearly all 
commentators. It may be well, however, to mention the highly improbable opinion that 
it was written at Cesarea during the period of Paul's imprisoment there. In favor of 
this view are cited the facts, that Paul was in prison at tiie time, in a place called the 
Prretorium (Acts 23 : 35, same word), and among Roman soldiers ; but all of these facts 
agree equally well with the theorj' of its composition at Rome, while there arc many 
features of his condition and the state of affairs around him revealed in this Epistle, 
which are not so easily reconciled with the Cesarean, as with the Roman imprisonment ; 
for instance, the widespread influence of his example, of wliich there is no hint in Lukes 
account of the staj' at Cesarea, bub wliich fully accords with the description ot his resi- 
dence at Rome (Acts 28 : see especially ver. 30, 31) ; the large number of brethren who 
were aff^ected in various ways toward him, implying a large city ; his uncertainty as to the 
event of his trial, which he would much more probably have felt at Rome, where his trial 
Avas impending, than at Cesarea, where it was still remote ; and finally and most decisively 
his allusion to " Caesar's household." (4 : 22.) AVe therefore assume the place of composi- 
tion to be Rome, and the time to be toward the close of Paul's first imprisonment, A. D. 
63 or 64, which we infer from the fact that the apostle has evidently been a long time in 
prison, and looks forward to a speedy decision of his case. This was therefore most 
probably the last epistle which was written by Paul to any church. And surely the 
great apostle to the Gentiles could have closed this marvelous series of inspired letters to 
the churches he had founded, with nothing more beautiful and appropriate than this loving 
and tender Epistle, which expresses so ardently his perfect joy and gratitude over the re- 
markable fellowship of this beloved church, exhibits so gloriously his calm and heroic 
spirit of resignation and triumph in view of a possible martyrdom, and accepts so deli- 
cately and graciously the material gifts of his brethren, even as a noble king might receive 
the offerings of devoted subjects. This is indeed an Epistle of the heart, and so a most 
fitting close to the series of Epistles which the great-hearted Paul wrote to the churches. 



THE EPISTLE TO THE PHILIPPIANS. 



CHAPTER I. 



PAUL and Tiruotheus, the servants of Jesus Christ, 
to all the saints in Christ Jesus which are at 
Philippi, with the bishops and deacons: 



1 Paul and Timothy, i servants of Christ Jesus, to 
all the saints in Christ Jesus who are at i'hilippi, with 



1 Or. bondtervantt. 



Ch. 1 : 1, 2. Addrkss and Salutation. 

1. Paul and Timotheiis. Paul begins 
his Epistle with a brief but comprehensive 
greeting. In harmony with the friendly tone 
of the entire letter, he makes no allusion 



"Life and Work of St. Paul," vol. 1, pp. 355, 
356, for a discussion of the apostle's two 
names. 

All the saints. The word 'all,' which 
occurs again and again (ver. 2, 7, 8. ssj 2; n; 4:2i). 



to his apostolic dignity, but affectionately j springs from the deep affection of the apostle 
associating his fellow-laborer Timothy with for this particular church, whose beautiful 
himself, sends a greeting in their united name spirit of unity made it jwssible to include o^i 
to the church. The mention of Timothy may its members without exception in his greeting, 
have been caused by the apostle's desire to I The word 'saints' does not imply perfection 
secure a favorable reception for him on the j of character, for it is applied to all Christians 
visit he was purposing soon to make, by re- alike. It is a term borrowed from the Old 
vealing his own high estimate of that disci- Dispensation, and signifies primarily conse- 
ple's character. Besides, Timothy was al- [ cration or separation from the world. A man 
ready well known to the Philippians from i is therefore a 'saint' in the New Testament 



previous visits, and so a greeting might appro- 
priately be sent from him as well as the apos- 
tle. Whether he was Paul's amanuensis in 
the writing of the letter or not, we have no 
means of deciding. 

The servants of Jesus Christ. As his 
apostolic claims had not been assailed in Phil- 
ippi, Paul had no occasion to assert them, and 
therefore adopts the lowly title of servant,' to 
which his natural modesty inclines him. He 
belongs to Christ as his master, a fact of which 



sense of the word as soon as he is converted 
and separated from the world. At the same 
time the word suggests holiness, or perfection 
of character, as the ultimate goal toward 
which those who are thus separated from 
sinners are continually aiming. In Christ 
Jesus." The people of God are separated 
from the world and devoted to his service only 
in Christ; that is, by virtue of the regener- 
ating and purifying influences that have 
flowed from their spiritual union with him. 



he never loses sight, not even in those epistles 1 Compare 1 Cor. 1:2. At Philippi. See "In- 
where he asserts and vindicates his apostolic troduction," pp. 8, 4. It is generally assumed 
Paul omits his official designation ' that Philippi was the first place in Europe in 



dignity. 

only in this Epistle, the two to the Thessalo- 
iiians, and that to Philemon. As to his per- 
sonal name, it is to be noted that he invariably 



which the gospel was preached, because it 
was the first place in Europe that Paul vis- 
ited ; but the Epistle to the Komans, with its 
uses his Greek name Paul, and not his He- I indications of a long-established church there, 
brew name Saul, in all his epistles. We sup- } would imply that long before this the gospel 
pose this was due to the fact that these letters had found a foothold in Rome. With the 



were all written to churches composed chiefly 
of Gentiles. Had he written to a purely Jew- 
ish church, he would most likely have em- 
ployed the Hebrew name Saul. See Hackett's 
"Commentary on Acts," 13 : 9, and Farrar's 



bishops and deacons. In no other ei)istle 
does Paul mention the church officers in his 
salutation, and it is impossible to say with 
certainty why he does so here, but it may 
have been the fact of their having been espe- 



» 'AoCAo? means a bond servant, or slave of the house- 1 « Christ Jesus Is a better supported reading than .Tesua 
hold, and thus differs from ^laew;. ^ii<rflaim, a hired Christ. This inverted form of the name is found only 
tervani, and from iv&pairoiov, a captive slave, \ in the writings of Paul. 



8 



PHILIPPIANS. 



[Ch. I. 



cially active in procuring the gifts which had 
been forwarded to him. It is not at all un- 
likely that a letter was sent with those gifts in 
the name of the brethren, bishops, and dea- 
cons, just as the Epistle sent to the churches 
from the council at Jerusalem was written in 
the name of "the apostles and the elder 

brethren." (Acts 15 : 23. Rev. Ver) 

Bishops and presbyters, or elders, are not 
two different orders of church officers, but are 
identical, as may be seen by comparing Acts 
20: 17, 28 (overseers, in Greek, bishops), Titus 
1 : 5, 7. The same thing appears also from 
1 Tim. 3 : 1-13, where the qualifications of a 
bishop are immediately followed by those of 
a deacon, with no suggestion of any interme- 
diate order, and from the present passage, 
where also Paul mentions only bishops and 
deacons. Now if there had been a third order 
in the church, why should Paul have omitted 
any reference to it in First Timothy, where he 
was enumerating tiie qualifications of the offi- 
cers of the church, and in this Epistle, where 
he refers to the other orders by their respective 
titles? The absence of any allusion to pres- 
byters or elders, where, if there had been 
such a distinct order, their name would nat- 
urally appear, leads irresistibly to the conclu- 
sion tiiat there was no such separate order, 
and this conclusion is confirmed b3' the pas- 
sages above referred to in Acts and Titus, 
where bishop and elder are used intercliange- 
ably for the same office. Even in the First 
Ejjistle of Clement to the Corinthians, written 
about 100 a. d., only two orders are recog- 
nized (ch. 42:4 compared with 44:5), and 
the same is true of Polycarp's "Epistles to 
the Phiiippians," written about twenty years 
later. (Ch. 5, 6.) Ellicott, while admitting 
the identity of the two names, bishop and 
presbyter, or elder, in the New Testament, 
insists that there are traces of the subsequent 
official distinction between them. See his 
Notes on 1 Tim. 3 : 1. We fail to find any 
such traces even as late as Clement and Poly- 
carp. Harnach, in his note on Clen.ient 42: 4, 
says: "It is clearer than day that tliere were 
only two orders in the clergy at that time, 
bishops (equivalent to presbyters) and dea- 
cons." 

With regard to the two names for the same 
office, bishop and elder, the first, literally 
overseer, inspector, was the Greek name, and 



designated the office from the standpoint of 
its duties; the second was the Jewish name, 
borrowed from the synagogue, and described 
tlie office from the standpoint of its age and 
dignity. Paul is the only one of the New 
Testament writers who uses the title of bisliop, 
the others always using the word eider, thougii 
Peter calls Christ "the Shepherd and Bish- 
op" of souls. (1 Peter 2: 25.) The word dcacon, 
as the name of an officer in the church, occurs 
only here and in 1 Tim. 3 : 8-13. The duties 
of deacons are nowhere described, although 
the requisite qualifications for the office are 
stated in the passage in 1 Tim. 3 : 8-13. While 
we have no account in the New Testament of 
the origin of the office of bishop, we have 
in Acts 6 : 1-6 tlie probable origin of the 
deaconsliip, though the name deacon is not 
used. The duties of a deacon, as suggested 
by that narrative, are the oversight and care 
I of the external affairs of the church. Tiieir 
I name, from a verb meaning to serve, ini- 
j plies that they are to be the pastor's helpers 
! or assistants. 

I Clement, in his first epistle, gives an account 
of the method of appointing bishops and dea- 
cons, which is of great value as indicating the 
views of the age immediately succeeding the 
apostolic period. According to his .statement, 
the apostles appointed their first converts as 
bishops and deacons, and these, in turn, ap- 
pointed others, with the consent of the whole 
church. (Ch.42, 44.) A change is here revealed 
from those early days, when the people them- 
selves apparently chose their own officers 
(see Acts 6 : 5), since in Clement's time the 
officers choose and the people merely con- 
firm, yet it shows that later hierarchical 
notions had not yet appeared. The officers 
are still in the church, for the church, and 
by the church. 

The mention of the church officers after the 
body of the church, shows how far Paul's idea 
of church offices differed from those views 
about the priesthood which sprung up in later 
times, and have held sway ever since over so 
large a portion of Christendom. With him 
the officers were evidently' only a part of the 
church, not an order separate from and above 
the laitj'. Generally in his writings, he makes 
no distinction between tlie church officers and 
the rest of the membership; and even here, 
where some special, though to us unknown, 



Ch. I.J 



PHILIFPIANS. 



2 Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father I 2 the ' bishops ami deacons : firace to you and peace 
aud//i(//i the Lord Jesus Christ. Iroru tiod uur Father and the Lord Jesus Thrist. 

3 1 thanlv luy God upon every remeuibrance of you. | 3 1 thank my Gud upon all my reiuemhrauce of you, 

1 Or. overeeert. 



reason has led him to mention them specific- 
ally by their titles, he nevertheless places them 
after the body of the church ; not, perhaps, 
with an}' special purpose, but simply because 
neither in his mind nor in that of his readers 
had church offices become associated with any 
notions of superiority. 

2. Grace be unto you, and peace. The 
greeting is substantially the saine as in all tlie 
other ejjistles, except Colossians and First and 
Second Tlu'?saloiiians. It is the distinctively 
Ciiristian form of salutation, blending together 
and at the same time spiritualizing both the 
Greek and Hebrew modes. The Greek said 
"•greeting" (xaipeiv), a form which is found 
also in Acts 15 : 23; 23 : 26, and in James 1 : 1. 
Tiie Christians seem generally to have shrunk 
from this form as having a savor of heathen- 
ism, and they substituted for it the word 
'grace' (xapis), which, in the Greek, resembles 
the ordinary word in sound, while it carries 
the thought infinitely higher, to that disposition 
of God and Christ from which all our bless- 
ings flow. To this word 'grace' they added 
the word ' peace,' which the Hebrews were 
accustomed to use whenever they met each 
otiier, saying, " Peace to thee," meaning pros- 
perity, every kind of good, but which had 
become sanctified on the lips of Christ to a 
still higher significance, when he said: "My 
peace I give unto you : not as the world giveth 
(by compliment, in mere words), give I unto 
you."' (JohaU:'27.) Hcncc, thcsc two cxprcs- 
sions combined denote all spiritual and tem- 
poral blessings (peace) from grace, or the 
undeserved favor of God as their source. 
"Thus are the forms of common life hal- 
lowed by Christian love, and a passing cour- 
tesy is transformed into a prayer for heavenly 
blessings." As we see from the similar salu- 
tations of Peter and Jude, where the sentence 
is completed, the salutation of Paul must be 
roffarded as a prayer, and the verb to be sup- 
l)lied is optative, not imperative. See Winer, 
p. 585, and 1 Peter 1 : 2, "be multiplied." 
The imperative mood would imply an au- 
thority to bestow blessings, which, while it is 



claimed by the Romish Cliurch and others as 
the peculiar prerogative of the clergy, has no 
warrant in the New Testament. Tiie bene- 
dictions of the apostles are simply prayers, 
and notiiing more; and there is no reason to 
suppose that one Christian has any more right 
to use tiieni than another. From God our 
Father and from the Lord Jesus Christ. 
What a strong, though purely incidental, 
proof of the divinity of Christ is the combi- 
nation of his name with that of God the 
Father in such forms of blessing! W^liat 
pious Jew, with his lofty conception of the 
One God, could have combined any inferior 
name with that sacred name in prayer? The 
attempt to weaken the force of this form of 
words by interpreting it to mean "from our 
Father and (tlie Father of) the Lord Jesus 
Christ," is so evidently a makeshift, as to en- 
hance the force of the argument from the 
usual conjunction of the two names. 

3-11. Thanksgiving for their Fellow- 
ship, AND Prayer for their Kicher 
Development in Knowledge and Dis- 
cernment. — The apostle now proceeds to 
express his great joy over the favorable con- 
dition of the Philippian Church (3, 4), which 
has continued from his first acquaintance with 
them until the present moment (5-8) ; and he 
prays that this spiritual prosperity may in- 
crease yet more and more, until, richly devel- 
oped in love, knowledge, and spiritual sensi- 
bility (9), they shall be prepared, at the great 
day of judgment, to glorify God by the rich 
fruitage of righteousness which their lives 
shall then exhibit (10, 11). 

3. I thank my God. For similar expres- 
sions, compare Rom. 1 : 8; 1 Cor. 1:4; Eph. 
1 : 1(5; Col. 1 : 3; 1 Thess. 1 : 2; 2 Thess.l :3; 
Philem. 4. He is grateful to God for all the 
good he sees in the church, the credit for 
which does not belong to men, but to him who 
worketh in us "both to will and to do of his 
good pleasure." (2: is.) What a sense of (lie 
nearness of the divine presence in the appro- 
priating words 'my God'! How much he felt 
bound to give thanks to God in the case of this 



10 



PHILIPPIANS. 



[Ch. I. 



4 Always in every prayer of mine for you all making 
request with joy, 

5 For your fellowship in the gospel from the first day 
until now; 



4 always in every supplication of mine on behalf of 

5 you all making my supplication with joy, for your 
lellowsbip iu furtherance of the gospel from the 



particular church appears from the words that 
follow. Upoii^ every remembrance of you 

— a rendering forbidden by the article ("VViner, 
p. Ill) — rather, asin the Revised Version, C//)on 
all my remembrance of you. Paul declares 
that his whole remembrance of the Philippian 
Church fills him with gratitude. As he glances 
back to the beginning of his acquaintance with 
tliem, and reviews his entire remembrance of 
them up to the present hour, he finds occasion 
for nothing but thankfulness. See 2 Cor. 8 : 
.1, seq. 

4. Always in every prayer . . . making 
request with joy. He here states the occasion 
when this gratitude finds expression—' in every 
prayer ' for thein. He never prays for them 
without giving thanks. His whole remem- 
brance causes gratitude, and this finds expres- 
sion in every prayer. The next words describe 
a feature of his prayers for the Philippian 
Church, that he mentions in no other epistle. 
His prayer for them was the outflowing of an 
entirely joyful heart. How often he praj'ed 
for his brethren with grief and tears, but not 
so for this beautiful church ! For them he 
made the request 'with joy,' for there was 
nothing in their condition to hinder emotions 
of gratitude and praise. In these words he 
strikes the keynote of the Epistle. As Bengel 
well says, "The whole Epistle is summed up 
in the words: I rejoice, do ye rejoice." See 
ver. 18, 25 ; 2 : 2, 19, 28 ; 3 : 1 ; 4 : 1, 4. The 
word for 'joy' occurs in all thirteen times in 
the course of this letter. 

5. For your fellowship. This was the 
special element in his remembrance which 
caused his unalloyed gratitude. It is very 
difficult to find an exact equivalent in English 
for the word translated 'fellowship' {xoiviovia), 
tiiough that word answers better than any 
other. It means a sharing in anj'thing or par- 
ticipating with any one. Out of this primary 
meaning grows the occasional signification of 
gift or contribution. Me3'er and Cremer deny 



that it ever has such a meaning; but see Rom. 
15 : 26 ; 2 Cor. 9 : 13, where any other interpre- 
tation is artificial. Some have taken the 
meaning here to be "gift," but it is impossible 
that Paul should have expressed such exces- 
sive gratitude merely for a material contribu- 
tion to his support. Those who insist that he 
must refer to the gifts of the church, because 
otherwise he would have made no acknowl- 
edgment of their kindness at the opening of 
his letter, and such omission wouldbe a breach 
of courtesy, apply to the apostle a merely 
conventional rule, the authority of which he 
nowhere recognizes. To him the close of the 
letter seemed the proper place for such ac- 
knowledgments, and there he has expressed 
most fully and beautii'ully his appreciation of 
the aid which the Philippian Churcii setit him. 
On the other hand, Paul regarded the opening 
of his Epistle as a place for higher considera- 
tions than mere personal matters, and so here 
he expresses his gratitude for their ' fellowship 
in the gospel,' that is, their participation in the 
work of spreading it, their unity of faith and 
love in carrying it forward. The Revised 
Version translates the words more accurately 
than the Common Version, felloivship in 
furtherance of the gospel, for it was not parti- 
cipation in gospel privileges, but fellowship in 
gospel work of which Paul was thinking. He 
was thankful that they were so united in 
gospel service. They had always participated 
in efforts to extend the gospel, and it was this 
beautiful spirit of unity in which all distinc- 
tions were melted, this common interest for 
the success of the gospel, which won the 
apostle's admiration and inspired him with 
such constant thankfulness to God. "The 
communion of saints was with them a point of 
practice, as well as an article of belief" See 
ver. 27. From the first day until noAV. 
Even at the very first the preaching of the 
gospel in Philippi had been followed hy 
marked results (acisigms, scq.), but Paul, by the 



1 We have here, and in ver. .'i, the same Oreek preposi- 
tion, although in one case it is rendered "upon," and in 
the other " for." It does not, however, have a different 
significance in the two cases, as the translation would 



suggest, but in both designates the basis of the action. 
His thanksgiving is based in general upon his remem- 
brance of them, and in particular upon one special 
feature of that remembrance— their fellowship. 



Ch. I.] 



PHILIPPIANS. 



11 



6 Being confident of this very thing, that he wliich 
hath begun a good work iu you will perlonu it until 
the day uf Jesus Christ : 

7 Lven as it is meet for me to tl)ink this of you all, 
because 1 ha>e you iu uiy heart; iuasuiuch as botli in 



6 first day until now : being confident of this very 
thing, that lie who began a good work in you will 

7 jierlect it until the day of Jesus Christ : even as it is 
right for me to be thus minded on behalf of you all, 
because ' 1 have you in my heart, inasujuch as, both 



1 Or, j/6 have me in your heart. 



words ' until now,' suggests that a similar 
spirit had characterized the church during its 
whole history. 
6. Being confident of this very thing. 

Paul now glances into the future, and ex- 
presses his hopefulness about that. His remem- 
brance was all joy, his anticipation all hope. 
That he (that is, God), which hath begun 
(Kevised Version, began)a good work (thefel- 
lowsiiip spoken of),wil! perform it — more ac- 
curately, as ill the Revised Version, will, per- 
fect or complete it. The verb in the original 
signifies to bring to an end, to make complete. 
Until the day of Jesus Christ. The " da3' 
of Jesus Christ," or "day of the Lord," is 
a New Testament phrase for tlie day of judg- 
ment. Compare 1 Cor. 5 : 5; 2 Cor. 1 : 14; 1 
Thess. 5 : 2; 2 Peter 3 : 10. The good work 
begun is not finished at once, but gradually, 
and reaches its completion only in eternity. 
Some have inferred from this reference to the 
day of judgment that Paul supposed it near 
at hand. Instead of saying that God would 
carry forward his good work in the hearts of 
the Philinpians until the day of death, which 
would appear to be the natural terminus— the 
hour we alwaj's have in mind — he says 'until 
the day of Jesus Christ'; and some able com- 
mentators have discovered in this and kindred 
allusions to that day an expectation of its im- 
mediate coming. But such a conclusion is 
unwarranted. In PauVs thought the day of 
judgment was paramount; we dwell much on 
the hour of death; he never does. His 
thoughts overleap all intervening events and 
spring forward to that longed for day of the 
Lord's appearing. Even when close upon the 
hour of his martyrdom he still continues to 
look forward far beyond the immediate pros- 
pect "While he gladly welcomes the release 



from earthly labors and hardships, he looks 
beyond the immediate future to "that day," 
when the crown "laid up'" shall be given to 
him. See 2 Tim. 4:6, seq. For further remarks 
on this subject, see 4 : 5. Calvin has some 
beautiful and suggestive thoughts upon this 
distant outlook of the apostle. "Although 
tiiose who have been freed from the mortal 
body do no longer contend with the lusts of 
the flesh, but are, so to express it, beyond the 
reach of a single dart, yet there will be no 
absurdity in speaking of them as in the way 
of advancement, inasmuch as they have not 
yet reached the point at which thej' aspire — 
they do not yet enjoy the felicity and glory 
which they have hoped for; and, in fine, the 
day has not yet shone, which is to discover the 
treasures which lie hid in hope. And in truth, 
when hope is treated of, our eyes must always 
be directed forward to the blessed resurrec- 
tion, as the grand object in view." 

7. Even as it is meet (or, righf^) for me 
to think this of you ^ all. He is justified in 
his confidence about their future from the 
signs of the Christian life which the Philip- 
pians have already exhibited. He has it in- 
delibly inscribed upon his heart how in the 
past they have co-operated with him in all his 
efforts, and sympathized with him in all his 
sufferings for the gospel ; and as his praj'er 
(ver. 4) embraced them all, so also does his 
hope — he thinks this of them all. Because 
I have you in my heart.^ They are such 
Christians that he has taken them into his very 
heart— they have proved worthy of his deepest 
love; and hence he looks hopefully toward 
their future. That he had not taken them into 
his heart without reason, but in consequence 
of their Christian character, appears from the 
following words: Inasmuch as both^ in my 



1 The more classical Greek construction would be 
either the accusative fititoioi' iy.*, or the nominative 

StVator «fM. 

s The preposition vtrip, implies a favorable opinion; 
irtpi would be used to express simply the idea " about," 
without any added suggestion. 

» The alternative readering upon the margin of both 



the Authorized and Revise*! Versions cannot be justi- 
fied in view of the context, the singular number ' heart,' 
and the order of the wortis. Of course, grammatically 
it is correct. N 

* The Greek particles re, Ai, show^ that we have here 
two related notions of whicH the second is the more 
imiwrtant. The first notion is contained iu the words, 



12 



PHILIPPIANS. 



[Cii. 1. 



my bonds, and in the defence and confirmation of the 
gospel, ye all :ue partakers of my grace. 

8 I'or God is my record, how greatly I long after you 
all in the bowels of Jesus Curist. 



in my bonds and in the defence and confirmation of 

the gospel, ye all are partakers with lue of grace. 

8 For God is my witness, how 1 long after you all in 



bonds, and in the defence and confirma- 
tion of the gospel, ye all are partakers 
of my grace. Some connect these words 
differently both with each other and with the 
])receding words; thus, Because I have you 
in my heart, both in my bonds, and in the de- 
fence and confirmation of the gospel, ye all 
being partakers with me of grace. Accord- 
ing to this arrangement we have here ex- 
pressed the greatness of the apostle's love. 
He thinks of them even amid the trials of his 
imprisonment, and his arduous labors in behalf 
of the gospel. None of these things could di- 
vert his thouglits from them, or weaken the 
strength of his attachment to them. This view 
of the passage has the sanction of many emi- 
nent expositors. Dr. Hackett among the num- 
ber. But the other arrangement of the words, 
which is that of both the Common and the 
Kevised Versions, is to be preferred. Accord- 
ing to that, Paul expresses here the reason of 
his great love for the Philippians. He has 
them in his heart, because they have always 
been in such close and tender sympathy with 
him in all hislaborsand sufferings. They had 
endeavored to alleviate his sufferings while a 
]irisoner, and to sustain and encourage his 
efforts in defending and advancing the cause 
of Christ. How, then, could such a great- 
liearted man as Paul help taking them into 
his very heart after such manifestations of 
love, or entertain other than the most hopeful 
views of their future after such convincing 
evidences of Christian fellowship? The 'de- 
fence and confirmation' describes the twofold 
metliod of prosecuting the work of the gospel, 
by answering objections and removing ob- 
stacles and prejudices— the defence: and by 
establishing and confirming the faith of be- 
lievers, so that they may become "grounded 
and settled " — the confirmation. "We have an 
example of the defence of the gospel in Acts 
28 : 17-24, and a notable illustration of its 
confirmation in Paul's letters to the various 
churches. In all this experience the Philip- 
pians have been partakers with the apostle in 



1 the grace of God, for Paul regarded it as a 
grace to be permitted to preach the gospel (see 
Eph. 3 : 8), and to suffer for it. See ver. 29, 
where the words "it is given" hint in the 
original at the divine favor in the privilege. 
This special favor of God the Philippians had 
shared by participating so zealously in the 
apostle's work and trials. They had minis- 
tered to him in bonds, and sustained his spirit 
in his vast labors, and it was entirely' in 
harmony with Paul's noble nature, to dignify 
their sympathy by suggesting that it was all a 
mark of the divine favor. Thus their work 
was elevated to a lofty plain, and they were 
encouraged to enter with alacrity upon future 
tasks. The word 'partakers' by its similarity 
of sound and meaning in the original with 
the word translated 'fellowship' (ver. 5), brings 
again Vividly before the mind that beautiful 
spirit of fraternity which characterized the 
church; their fellowship with each other was 
also a fellowship with the apostle. 

8. For CJod is my record (or, witness). 
For similar forms of attestation, see Rom. 1 : 9; 

2 Cor. 1 : 23 ; 1 Thess. 2 : 5, 10. How greatly 
I long after you all in the bowels of Jesus 
Christ. These words confirm his previous 
statement, that he has them in his heart, by a 
striking metaphor— I not only have you in 
my heart, but that heart is the very heart of 
Christ himself, who abides within me (0.11.2:20), 
and whose heart beats in my bosom. The 
word 'bowels' is very common with Paul, and 
is borrowed from the Hebrew. It has not a 
pleasant sound in English, and the Revised 
Version has put "tender mercies" in its place, 
but this destroys the apostle's image entirely, 
and gives us prose instead of poetry. The 
word heart would be a better rendering, 
although not quite so accurate as 'bowels,' for 
it would harmonize better with our modes of 
speech. We express by this word that idea of 
sympathy and tender affection which the 
Hebrew convej'ed by the word bowels. Gen- 
erally Paul says " in Christ," simply; but he 
doubtless chose this special word because he 



'in my bonds,' which describe the apostle's condition, I ployraent. The single article before the two words 
thesec()n<l in the combined expression 'the defence and 'defence and confirmation,' combine them into a single 
coufinuatioD of the gospel,' which describes his em- conception. 



Ch. I] 



PHILIPPIANS. 



13 



9 And tiiis I pray, that your I ve may abound yet 
more and luoro in kiiuwleilge and iu all judgment ; 

10 'Ihai ye may approve things that are excellent; 
that ye may be Mucere and wiiUout otleuce till the day 
ol' Christ: 



9 the tender mercies of Christ Jesus. And this I pray, 
that your love may abound yet more and more in 
10 knowledge and all discernment ; so that ye may ' ap- 
prove the things that are excellent ; thai ye niay be 
sincere and void ol' oB'ence unto the day "of Christ; 



1 Or, prove the Hiings that differ. 



wished to give peculiar vvarnith and tender- 
ness to his laiiguiige. 

9. And this I pray. Having stated the 
cause of the thankfulness expressed in ver. 3, 
he now gives tlie purport of tlie prayer ailuded 
to in ver. 4. It is Paul's way in writing to the 
churches, first of all, to praise their character- 
istic excellencies, and then to suggest their 
characteristic defects. So iiere he begins by 
extolling the fellowship of the church, and 
then delicately hints at their need of greater 
knowledge and judgment by telling them that 
the increase I'f their love in these particulars 
forms the subject of his constant prayer. 
Your love. This word denotes that inward 
state of the soul already described as 'fellow- 
ship.' Love is not exactly identical with fel- 
lowship, but rather its root and support, so 
that while recalling the latter word it suggests 
at the same time the source of that beautiful 
fraternity. The Greek word here used (dyaiDj), 
though the usual one in the New Testament, 
is not found in profane writers, and was appar- 
ently coined by the Alexandrian translators 
of the Old Testament. The ordinary Greek 
terms for love seem to have been too weak to 
express the Hebrew conception, for while the 
Greek language had the strongest expressions 
of hatred and enmity, it had no words descrip- 
tive of love in its divine greatness. May 
abound' yet more and more in knowledge 
and in all jndgment. Paul does not pra\' 
for a mere increase of their love, for this was 
already a distinguishing characteristic of the 
church, but for a development of love in the 
direction of sound knowledge and right moral 
perceptions. Their love needed to become 
more intelligent and discriminating; without 
knowledge and judgment, love is apt to be 
misplaced and to become the sport of every 
impulse. The apostle desires that they shall 
be able to distinguish the true from the false, 
and shall not love indiscriminateh'. "Love 
without knowledge is blind ; knowledge with- 
out love is cold." We have probably a hint 
here of the characteristic defect in the relig- 



ious life of the Philippian Church — the more 
thoughful side was still undeveloped— while 
the Corinthian Church, on the other hand, 
appears pre-eminently intellectual, but lack- 
ing in humility and unity. See 1 Cor. 1 : 4-10. 
The word translated knowledge in the text 
denotes a fiiU and more complete knowledge. 
See 1 Cor. 13 : 12, where the simple and the 
compound words appear in a most instructive 
contrast. The word 'judgment' (Common 
Version), 'discernment' (Revised Version), 
signifies discrimination, moral tact (De Wette) 
— that inward perception which guides right 
in morals as by a kind of instinct. "The soul 
also hath her senses as well as the body." 
(Trapp. ) The Greek word occurs only here 
in the New Testament, though a related word 
appears in Heb. 5 : 14, signif3-ing organs of 
moral sense. Compare Jer. 4 : 9. 

10. This verse is rendered in two ways: 
That ye may approve things that are ex- 
cellent (Common Version; Kevised Version), 
or. That ye may try (prove) the things that 
differ (margins of both versions). The difter- 
ence between these two renderings is not im- 
portant, for both processes must have a place. 
If we distinguish things that differ, it is for the 
sake of approving what is excellent, and vice 
versa, if we approve things that are excellent, 
it must be in consequence of liaviiig distin- 
guished between things that differ. 3[eyer 
prefers the first rendering, because it describes 
a higher moral act, but the second harmon- 
izes better with the word 'judgment,' which 
suggests a sifting process. In this process, as 
Bengel well says, we are not merely to distin- 
guish the good from the bad, but the best 
among the good, whose excellence none but 
the more advanced perceive. Paul has here 
given us a true description of Christian wis- 
dom, love growing continually richer in 
knowledge and moral discernment. That ye 
may be sincere and withont offence de- 
scribes the result of the moral discipline ob- 
tained by exercising the spiritual faculties in 
distinguishing things that difler. Tiie word 



1 The present tense of the verb denotes continuous growth. 



14 



PHILIPPIANS. 



[Ch. I. 



U Being filled with the fruits of righteousness, which 
are by Jesus Christ, unto the glory and praise of 
God. 

12 But I would ye should understand, brethren, that 
the tilings which huppentd unto uie have fallen out 
rather unto the furtherance of the gospel ; 



11 being filled with the ' fruits of righteousness, which 
are turough Jesus Christ, unto the glory and prai»e 
of Cod. 

12 Now I would have you know, brethren, that the 
things which happened unto me have fallen out rather 



1 Gr. fruit. 



'sincere' means, literally, "tested by the sun- 
light." Hence, it is a very picturesque and 
strong description of Christian purity. 'With- 
out ofience' — that is, causing no one to stum- 
ble, leading no one to sin. Compare 1 Cor. 
10:32. In these two expressions, 'pure' 
and 'without oft'ence,' we have a positive 
and negative description of blanielessness. 
The tirst word also refers more directly to 
their relations with God; the second to their 
relations with men. Till (or, unto) the day 
of Christ describes the all-important time 
■when this character shall be revealed, and 
therefore a day ever to be kept in mind. 

11. Being filled with the fruits of right- 
eousness. Paul is not satisfied with purity 
and harmlessness, but desires a fullness of 
Christian graces. 'The fruits of righteous- 
ness' are true and right actions, moral and 
spiritual obedience. 'Righteousness' is not 
here the righteousness of faith — that is, that 
righteousness which faith appropriates — but 
rectitude of conduct, that righteousness which 
faith reflects, as the dewdrop reflects the sun. 
Whicli are by Jesus Christ, who is the only 
source of such good actions. Christ must abide 
in us before we can bear fruits of righteous- 
ness. See John 15 : 4. Unto the glory and 
praise of God, the end and aim of all fruit 
bearing. 'Glory' denotes the divine majesty, 
and 'praise' the acknowledgment of that divine 
majesty among men. Good works, or ' fruits 
of righteousness,' display the divine glory, 
because all goodness in man has its origin in 
God, and hence men are led to praise God 
whenever they behold this particular manifes- 
tation of his glory. See Matt. 5 : 16. In Eph. 
1 : G we have a slightly difterent expression for 
the idea in the text: "to the praise of the 
glory of his grace." 

In this beautiful outpouring of the apostles 
heart, we obttiin one of the clearest glimpses 
into his loving and tender nature that any of 
his writings attbrd. Other epistles reveal more 



fully his wonderful knowledge, his logical 
power, his profound thought, his bold and 
lofty spirit, but none reveals to us so clearly 
as this the depths of his heart. Here the 
stream of loving, tender words flows on, un- 
flecked and unruffled, and in it we see, as in a 
mirror, the perfect lineaments of a most noble 
nature. 

12-26. The Apostle's Condition at 
Rome and his State of Feeling. — He 
informs them of the eftect of his imprison- 
ment upon the cause of Christ (1*2-14), mag- 
nanimously declares, in view of the insincerity 
of some of the preachers of the gospel, that he 
takes account of nothing else but the fact, that 
Christ is preached (15-18), and calmly revolves 
the question whether life or death is to be the 
issue of his present condition (iy-26). 

12. But I would yc should understand 
— or, Noiv I lomtld have you know, bret/ireji. 
(Revised Version). The suggestion of Wies- 
inger, that the church may have addressed 
him some questions concerning the effect of 
his imprisonment upon the cause of Christ, 
and that this accounts for the suddenness of 
the tritnsition, seems highly probable. Natur- 
ally, the church, on hearing the circumstances 
of his visit to Rome, would be fearful lest the 
fact of his being a prisoner, in chains, might 
prove detrimental to the gospel ; and what so 
likelj^ as that in their solicitude they should 
question him about it? At any rate, whether 
informed of their anxiety or only surmising 
it, the apostle hastens to remove it by declaring 
that, strange as it may appear, all had resulted 
in good. That the things Avhich happ<-ned 
unto me^ — the imprisonment and attendant 
circumstances. Have fallen out rather unto 
the furtherance of the gospel, than the op- 
posite, as might have been feared. How char- 
acteristic is all this of Paul ! Nowhere does 
he dwell on the hardships of his lot, but ever 
sets before the reader its hopeful features. He 
had intended to visit Rome, when his work in 



1 In late writers, the preposition Kara, with a personal I so that rd Kar' ifie is equivalent to rd e/Ao, literally, my 
pronoun, becomes almost equivalent to the possessive, | affairs. 



Ch. I.] 



PHILIPPIANS. 



15 



13 So that my bonds in Christ are manifest in all the I 13 unto the progress of tlie gospel ; so that my bonds 
palace, and iu all other jB/ace«; | Iwcauie mauitest in Clirisi ' throughout the whole 

1 Gr. in the whole Pratorium. 



Asia and Greece should be finished, but he ; 
had not expected to be carried there a pris- I 
oner. Yet this very circumstance was un- 
doubtedly a help to his work; his acquaint- 
ance witli tlie soldiers obtained for him an 
opening at Rome even in Ciesar's houseliold 
(4:22), whicii he would probably otherwise 
have sought in vain. Of course, this was due 
to God's overruling providence, which makes 
even the wrath of man to praise him. (ps. 76: lo.) 
Paul might say to his enemies, as Joseph said 
to his brethren: "Ye thought evil against 
me; but God meant it unto good." (GeD.50:20.) 
13. So that my bonds in Christ are 
manifest — better, have become manifest in 
Christ. One way in which his imprisonment 
helped to further the gospel was by making 
his bonds manifest in Christ to the soldiers 
who guarded him, and through them to others. 
The words 'in Christ' should be connected 
with 'manifest,' not, as in tiie Common Ver- 
sion, with ' my bonds.' The simple manifest- 
ing of his bonds, or making him known as a 
prisoner, would not have helped the gospel; 
but the manifesting of them in Christ — that is, 
revealing them as borne in Christ's service 
and for his sake— did benefit the gospel. The 
whole emphasis of the sentence should be laid 
upon the words 'manifest in Christ'; for this 
was the feature of his imprisonment that was 
of importance. Instead of being regarded as 
a common criminal who had committed some 
great and disgraceful crime, as would natur- 
ally have been the case, he was soon known 
as a prisoner for the sake of his religion ; he 
was recognized as "a prisoner of the Lord" 
(Eph. 4: 1), suffering "as a Christian" (i Peter4:i«). 
Compare Acts 28 : 20; Eph. 6 : 20. Thus his 
bonds served to preach Christ; for they pro- 
claimed to all beholders how much he valued 
the gospel, since he was willing to be bound 
for its sake. In all the palace. The word 
tran.slated 'palace' means, primarily, a gen- 
eral's tent or headquarters. It was then ap- 
plied to the camp or barracks of the praetorian 
guard, or emperor's body guard, at Rome, 
which was built on the east of the city, just 
outside of the Viminal gate, and also to the 
residences of governors in the provinces (Matt. 



27:?7,etai.), and cvcu to the palaces of kings 
(Juvenal 10 : 161) ; but there is no instance of 
its application to the imperial residence at 
Rome, which is called "Caesar's house" in 
4 : 22, nor is it likely that it would be so ap- 
plied, as it had become the technical name for 
the governors' residences in the provinces. 
The imperial residence on the Palatine hill 
seems to have included a portion of the bar- 
racks of the pra;torian guard, and the word 
may have been applied to that portion of the 
residence, but never to the. palace as a whole. 
Lightfoot translates " praetorian guard," and 
so also does the Revised Version ; but Dr. 
Hackett well says that " with that direct per- 
sonal sense, we might have e.xpected the dativ« 
without 'in' (iv), as in the other clause (com- 
pare Acts 4 : 16 ; 7 : 13 ; 1 Tim. 5 : 15), whereas, 
with the local sense as the direct one, and the 
personal as indirect, the change of construction 
becomes perfectly natural." (Lange's " Com- 
mentary," p. 20.) In Acts 23 : 3o we find the 
word used of the place of Paul's imprison- 
ment at Cesarea ; and those who believe the 
Epistle to have been written during Paul's 
stay there, base their argument almost wholly 
on this correspondence in the words designat- 
ing his place of imprisonment. See "In- 
troduction," p. 5. In Acts 28: 16 we learn 
that Paul dwelt in his own hired house; but 
even if this were outside of the barracks, he 
must still have been guarded constantly b^- an 
attendant soldier, who would have the oppor- 
tunity of hearing him preach and of learning 
both the facts of his personal history and of 
the gospel stor^- ; and as the soldiers relieved 
each other in turn, a large number would 
come gradually to know the true state of the 
case — the real reasons for the apostle's impris- 
onment — and would naturally si)read such 
interesting facts throughout a still wider 
circle, until they became known through the 
whole pnetorian camp. And in all other 
places — or, as in Revised Version, And to nil 
the rest (others beside the praHorian guard). 
He does not mean that all the rest of tho 
people of Rome heard of the true cause of his 
imprisonment, but declares, in a popular and 
hyperbolical way, that a great many did. 



16 



PHILIPPIANS. 



[Ch. I. 



14 And many of the bretluen in the Lord, waxing 
confident by njy bonds, are uiucU more bold to speak 
the word withoiii foar. 

15 Some indeed preach Christ even of envy and 
strife; and some also of good will : 



11 praetorian guard, and to all the rest ; and that most 
of the brethren in the Lord, ' beinjr confident through 
my bonds, are more abiiudanily bold to speak ihe 

15 word of God without tear. Some indeed preach 
Christ even of envy and sirite ; and some also of good 



1 Gr. trusting in my bonds. 



Compare Matt. 3 : 5. While all the Koman 
citizens did not learn the facts of the case, 
those who did leant them were very likely to 
get a true statement of the cause of his con- 
finement, and discovered that he was no com- 
mon criminal. 

14. And many of the brethren in the 
Lord, waxing confident by my bonds. A 
better translation wotild be: And tnost of the 
brethren being confident in the Lord through 
my bonds. Another effect of his imprison- 
ment was to encourage the brethren, not all 
of thetn, but the majority. There was still a 
small minority who mtinifested a cowardly 
and unworthy spirit, but the greater part, 
seeing the spirit in which Paul endured his 
imprisonment for Christ's stike, becatiie more 
courageous themselves. The inspiring exam- 
ple of Paul, his hopefulness and cheerfulness, 
even in bonds, encouraged these brethren to 
lay hold with firtner faith upon the promises 
of God. The apostle's bonds were a tangible 
evidence of his faith in the gospel, and so they 
wonderfully affected the brethren, for very 
often the eye of the body influences the eye of 
the soul. The words 'in the Lord' should be 
connected with 'being confident,' and not, as 
in the Common and Revised Versions, with 
'brethren.' Their confidence was in God, 
otherwise Paul's bonds would have produced 
distnay instead of courage. 'In the Lord' 
describes the cause, and 'through my bonds' 
the occasion of their confidence. Are much 
more bold than if he were not a prisoner. 
To speak the word without fear. The 
implication is that they had already ventured 
to speak before this, but with some degree of 
fear. " Had he when in bonds taken it hardly, 
and held his peace, it were probable that they 
would be affected in like manner. But as he 
spoke more boldly when in bonds, he gave 
them more confidence than if he had not been 
bound." (Chrysostom.) The accumulation 
of emphatic phrases, ' being confident,' 'much 
more bold,' 'without fear,' springs froin the 
apostle's overflowing heart, like the emphatic 
repetition, 'all,' 'always,' 'every,' in ver. 3, 



4, and the accumulated expression in ver. 9, 
10. 

15. Some indeed preach Christ even of 
envy and strife. Not all the brethren have 
been made confident in the Lord by the apos- 
tle's bonds Some are taking occasion from 
his imprisonment to show a very diflerent 
spirit. The preachers here described cannot 
be a portion of those already mentioned in 
ver. 14, for those brethren are portrayed in 
entirely different colors from these; but we 
have here a description of that minority al- 
ready hinted at in the words ' most of the 
brethren.' These preach from 'envy and 
strife,' from wrong motives, from envy of 
Paul's influence and success, and for the sake 
of exciting strife in the church. The very 
main spring of their activity is therefore a de- 
sire to injure Paul and to destroy his influ- 
ence. "So it is possible to do a good work 
from a motive which is not good." (Chrysos- 
tom.) Who these opposers were cannot be 
determined, but the general view, that they 
were the Judaizing party, seems opposed to 
the fact that Paul rejoiced over their efforts, 
because thereby Christ was preached. The 
difficulty with these brethren seems to lie in 
their motives rather than their doctrine. 
Paul's words in ver. 18 certainly imply this, 
for he says thtit Christ is preached by both 
parties, but by the one in pretence, by the 
other in truth ; that is, the one party was hon- 
est, the other dishonest; but if they had been 
Judaizers the difference would have been of 
another kind. Such indications as this — and 
they are by no means infrequent — show that 
the popular notion of the apostolic churches, 
as far superior to those of any subsequent )>e- 
riod, is, to say the least, very doubtful. And 
some also of good will. These are the 
same as those mentioned in ver. 14, but intro- 
duced here again under a different point of 
view, and in contrast with those just described. 
These preach from 'good will,' the opposite of 
'envy and strife.' Their motive was a per- 
sonal one also, but how noble and pure, good 
will toward one who was the appointed de- 



Ch. I.] 



PHILIPPIANS. 



17 



16 The one preach Christ of contention, not sincerely, 
supporting to add uttlictiuii to my bonds : 

1/ But the oilitT of love, knowing that I am set for 
the delence of the gospel. 



16 will : 1 the one do it of love, knowing that I am set 

17 for the del'eiice of the g.ispel: -bin the other \<r«- 
claim Christ of faction, not sincerely, thinking lo 



1 Or, they that are moved by <oiie do it.' i Or, but they that are factious proclaim Christ. 



fender of the gospel, whose work they re- 
garded as a holy work, wliich it was their duty 
to help forward, especially now that by his 
imprisonment he himself was hindered to a 
great extent from carrying out his mission. 
The word 'good will ' is generally used of the 
divine good pleasure, as in 2 : 13, but it is also 
used of mans good will in Eom. 10 : 1. 

16, 17. The Received Text reverses the true 
order of these verses, probably for the sake of 
symmetry in the course of thought. Accord- 
ing to tlie correct arrangement, observed in 
the Revised Version, the subject hist men- 
tioned in the preceding verse is discussed first 
in this. Such irregularities are not uncom- 
mon in other writers. The rhetorical name 
for such an arrangement of words or clauses 
is a chiasmus, or chiasma. The order should 
be as follows: The one [do it] of love ; bet- 
ter, t/ie one of love do it, that is, preach Christ, 
as suggested in ver. 15. Compare rendering on 
the margin of Revised Version. In the Com- 
mon and the Revised Versions the words 'of 
love' are connected with the predicate: 'The 
one do it of love'; but in this case we have 
repeated again the motive of their preaching, 
which has once been given already; so that it 
is better to take the words as belonging to the 
subject, as in the kindred expressions, "they 
■which are of faith "' (oai. s : 7), " every one that 
is of the truth" (Joim i8:37), etc., in which case 
tbej- characterize their prevailing spirit. They 
are 'of love,' the love party; love is their 
nature; from love they derive their very life; 
it is the fountain whence all their activity flows. 
Knowing that I am set for the defence of 
the go<>pel unfolds more fully the nature of 
their motive, mentioned in ver.l5. Their 'good 
will ' was not directed merely toward his per- 
son, but. included his work, and was in fact 
chiefly based upon that. This 'good will' was 
but another phase of their general spirit of 
love, which, being of God (1 John*; 7), natur- 
ally embraced the person of one so devoted 
to God's work. On the verb 'set,' com- 
pare Luke 2 : 34; 1 Thess. 3:3; also 1 Cor. 



9 : 16, "Necessity is hiid ujxjn me." But the 
other preuch Christ of contention — bet- 
ter. Of contetitiousness proclaim Christ. Com- 
pare margin of Revised Version. See the 
same Greek phrase in Rom. 2: 8. These are 
theenvious party, whose motives have already 
been described in ver. 15. The word trans- 
lated 'contentiousness' signifies intrigue or 
party spirit, and includes both the envy and 
strife of ver. 15. In Gal. 5 : 20 Paul mentions 
this among the works of the flesh. These con- 
tentious ones, like the love party, 'proclaim 
Christ,' which words might have been omitted, 
as in the preceding verse, but are added to 
bring out the baseness of their motives : they 
proclaim Christ, attempt such holy work — 
not purely, etc. The Greek verb here used 
does not diflTer materially from that in the 
preceding verse. Literally, the former signi- 
fies to announce, as a messenger, the latter to 
proclaim, as a herald; but both are used in- 
discriminately of preaching. Although this 
party preach Christ, it is not with a pure and 
honest purpose. The apostle does not strictly 
impute hypocrisy to them, as the words 'not 
sincerely' of the Common Version and the 
Revised Version would suggest, but rather a 
spirit of narrow-minded partisanship and per- 
sonal hostility. Chrysostom probably' ex- 
presses the' truth when he represents thetn as 
jealous of the apostle. Supposing to add 
affliction to my bonds. "His bonds were 
already an !\ftlictioii : they were adding aftlic- 
tion to the afflicted. ' (Bengel.) The word 
'supposing' (oioMfi-oi), u.-ed by Paul nowhere 
else, is aptl3' chosen to liint that their purpose 
was not realized, and forms a suggestive con- 
trast with the word 'knowing' (eiioTt?) of the 
previous verse.' Those have knowledge, these 
mere supposition. They supposed that their 
animosity and personal enmity would add or 
raise up (Revised Version founded upon a 
better reading) affliction; that is, make his 
imprisonment more distressing by causing his 
spirit to chafe against the chains that held 
him, as he beheld his opponents having such 



1 Compare Plato's "Apology," 41 D, where Socrates 
the futililv of the cfiTort. 



uses the words oid^ei-ot pkanrew with the same idea of 



18 



PHILIPPIA^^S. 



[Ch. I. 



18 What then ? notwithstanding, every way, whether 
in pretence, or in truth, Christ is preached; and 1 tliere- 
in do rejoice, yea, and will rejoice. 

19 For 1 know that this shall turn to my salvation 
through your prayer, and the supply of the Spirit of 
Jesus Christ, 



18 raise up afHiction for me in my bonds. What then? 
only that in every way, whether in pretence or in 
truth, Christ is proclaimed; and therein 1 rejoice, 

ly yea, and will rejoice. For I know that this shall 
turn to my salvation, through your supplication and 



a free field for their pernicious undertaiving. 
In this, however, they were mistaken, as the 
sequel sliows. 

18. What then ? What then is the state of 
the ctise so far as I am concerned? The ques- 
tion implies that he is in no despondent state 
of mind about it. Notwithstanding (better, 
as in Revised Version, 'Only that,'' onlj' this 
is the case) 'that in every way' — that is, of 
preaching — more exactly defined by what fol- 
lovvs — ' whether in pretence, or in truth, Christ 
is preached.' The party of contentiousness 
would, of course, claim to be preaching Christ 
from love, but as this was not their motive, 
they were really making a pretence; the pro- 
fessed motive was not the real motive. Com- 
pare Mark 12 : 40; Luke 20 : 47. And I 
therein, that is, in the fact that Christ is 
preached, no matter how, do rejoice. These 
false brethren do not succeed in disturbing 
tiie mind of the Great Apostle, which is 
generous enough to rejoice in their eflTorts, 
even though they are prompted by personal 
liostility to himself. He sees the "soul of 
goodness in things evil." He sees that there 
is truth even in such preaching — Christ is pre- 
sented as the lioi)e of sinners, the knowledge 
of Christ is diffused more widely, and this is 
enough to give him joy. Whatever imper- 
fections there may have been in the substance 
or spirit of their teaching, even an imperfect 
Christianity was better thtin the gross heathen- 
ism that prevailed everywhere. What a 
glorious glimpse we have here into the apostle's 
heart. Never was a more generous and noble 
sentiment about one' spersomil enemies uttered 
than this of Paul's. Self is forgotten, and the 
interests of truth are all in all. Compare 
Mark 9 : 40: "Jesus said. Forbid him not, he 
that is not against us is on our part." In 
opposition to the misuse of this passage, Calvin 
well says: "But though Paul rejoiced in the 
increase of the gospel, he would never have 
ordained such ministers, had the matter been 
in his hands." Those who suppose the.se 
opponents to be Judaizers, find it difficult to 
account for the fact that Paul rejoices in their 
success. His feelings are very different 



toward those mentioned in 3 : 2, seq., whom 
some suppose to be identical with those here 
referred to. The view that these teachers 
must have been Judaizers seems to hsive 
sprung from the feeling, that it was impossible 
for Christian teachers to have acted in opposi- 
tion to Paul, but Wiesinger well answers this-. 
" It will require to be proved that there could 
not be then, as well as now, men who sought 
their own honor in the preaching of the gos- 
pel, and whose hearts were far from the truth 
which their lips uttered." Yea, and will 
(or, shrill) rejoice. He not only rejoices now, 
but shall in future. The translations of both 
the Common and Revised Versions produce 
an impression that the original does not war- 
rant, that the apostle resolutel3' combats all 
tendency to desp<jndency, and says, " I ivill 
rejoice," as if he were to saj-, " I am deter- 
mined to see only the bright side." The origi- 
nal is, however, simple future without any 
idea of resolve. Besides, it should be con- 
nected more closely with what follows, rather 
than with the preceding words. 

19. For I know confirms these statements 
about his joy, by the assurance that only good 
can come out of this opposition. Compare 
Rom. 8:28. It gives the reason for both his 
present and his future rejoicing. His enemies 
cannot now or at any future time deprive him 
of his joy. That this shall turn to my sal- 
vation — that is, this state of afl^'airs in which 
Christ is preached both from pure and impure 
motives. 'This' refers to the same thing as 
'therein.' (ver. is.) There he declares this two- 
fold preaching to be an occasion of joy; here 
he asserts that it shall procure for him 'salva- 
tion,' instead of affliction, as his enemies pur- 
posed, (ver. 16.) The word 'salvation' cannot 
mean here eternal life, which comes to us 
purely through the work of Christ; nor can 
it mean the saving of others, for the personal 
pronoun "my" refers the matter entirely to 
the apostle himself The word must be under- 
■stood in its most general sense, as well-being, 
without any attempt to define it more pre- 
cisely, for it is only as he proceeds that the 
apostle announces how far and in what way he 



Ch. I.] 



PHILIPPIANS. 



20 According to niy earnest expectation and »(?/hope, 
that in notbing I sliall be ashamed, but Hint With all 
boldness, as always, so now also Christ shall be magni- 
fied in my body, whether it be by life, or by death. 




expects good results out of tliis state of affairs. 
Coin pare Job 13 : 6, where the Greek of the 
Septuagint is exactly the same as the words 
here, and the word 'salvation' has the same 
general sense. Through your prayer and 
the supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ. 
The envy and strife would turn out to his well 
being by inducing the Philippians to pray for 
him more fervently, and thus securing for him 
n larger supply of the Holy Spirit, a greater 
portion of divine grace. A more accurate 
translation would be: Through your prayer 
and supply of the spirit of Jesus Christ. We 
almost shrink from such a bold expression, 
and yet it is the apostle's language accurately 
interpreted. He conceived of the Philippians 
as actually sujjplying him with the Spirit — of 
course by means of their prayers, for the two 
words, prayer and supply, are bound closely 
together \n the Greek by a single article.' The 
prayers of the Philippians are the efficient 
agency in securing the blessing he looks for. 
Compare James 5 : IG. AVhut an evidence of 
the high value which the apostle placed upon 
intercessory prayer. "He who depends for 
help on the prayers of saints, relies on the 
promise of God." (Calvin.) The Greek word 
for 'supply-' perhaps retains something of its 
primitive meaning "defraying the exi)enses of 
a chorus,"' in the suggestion of the amiditude 
of the gift and the liberality of the giver. 
'The Spirit of Jesus Christ' is the Holy Spirit, 
so designated here, because Jesus has and 

bestows the Spirit. (Jolm Io:26; Rom.8:9; GuI. 4:6; 

2 Cor. 3 ; 17; 1 Peter 1 : 11.) The cxaltation of the Re- 
deemer secured him the ^prerogative of be- 
stowing the Sj)irit upon his followers. (J"ha IC: ?; 
Acts 2: S3.) 

20. According to my earnest expecta- 
tion and my hope. The assurance, that his 
spiritual welfare will be the result, is in har- 
mony with his 'expectation and hope,' which 
are unfolded in the following words. The 
Greek word for 'expectation' found only here 
and Rom. 8 : 19, signifies patient, persistent 



looking for, till the fulfillment is realized; 
literally, it means to look away toward any- 
thing, v/ith the head bent forward, so that the 
use of this word presented a very picture.><quo 
suggestion to the readers of the Epistle. That 
in nothing, in no respect, neuter; not mas- 
culine, in no person. Shall I be ashamed. 
His long expected mission to the great metro- 
polis seems to have been thwarted by bonds, 
and likely to be cut short by death, but he 
trusts it will not prove a failure and cast 
shame upon him. Though a fettered prisoner, 
deserted, and traduced by those who ought to 
have been his friends, and without any favor 
among those in power, he is full of hope and 
courage. He believes that now, as heretofore, 
he shall suffer no disgrace, but whatever the 
result of his imprisonment may be, whether 
life or death, Christ shall be magnified in him, 
and he can ask no greater glory for himself 
than that. Some give to the verb the meaning 
of failing in duties, so that the apostle declares 
that he will not fail in any respect to perform 
his full duty, but Me3-er well says, that it is 
not the behavior, but the fate of the apo.stle 
that is under discussion. Compare Prov. 13 : 
5; 1 John 2 : 28. But has here its full adver- 
sative force, but, on the contrary. That with 
all boldness. ' All' complete, entire. 'Bold- 
ness'; that is, of speech, the opposite of the 
state of one put to shame, who is naturally 
silent. See 1 John 2 : 28, where boldness and 
shame are contrasted as here. As always^ 
so now also Christ shall be magnified. 
Instead of being put to shame, and disgraced 
in any way, he expects now, as alwaj's hereto- 
fore, to be highly honored, for he can receive 
no greater honor than to be made the instru- 
ment of glorifying his Lord. In my body — 
the theatre on which Christ will disjilay liis 
glory. Whether by life or by death. Two 
alternatives suggested by the last words 'in 
my body.' Whicliever of the two alternatives 
may come to pass, whether his life be i)re- 
served, or destroyed, Christ will be honored,— 



' The article and pronoun in the Greek belong to Ixjth I above. See Biittmann's " Grammar of the New Testa- 
nonns, combining them into a single expression, and 1 nient Greek," p. 100. 
justifying the translation and interpretation given J 



20 



PHILIPPIANS. 



[Ch. I. 



21 For to Die to live is Christ, and to die ('*• gain. 
2.1 But if I live in the flesh, this is the Iruit of my 
labour: yet what I shall choose I wot not. 



21 For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain, i But 

22 if to live in the flesh—// - this shall bring fiuit from 
my work, then ^what I shall choose i know not. 



1 Or, But if to live in the Jleelt be my loi, this is the fruit of my work : and what I thall chooae I kn 
fruit of work » Or, what shall I choose f 



'■ Gr. this it for me 



if life is continued, by his apostolic labors, or if 
he meet a martyr's fate, by his steadfast cour- 
age in death. In the latter case, conscious of 
his great gain, he will die with such unfalter- 
ing courage and holy joy, as to reflect honor 
on his Lord, by revealing his sustaining power 
in such an hour, so that whatever the result 
may be, life or death, his boldness and Christ's 
glory will be made manifest. "He removes 
ignominy from himself; he ascribes the bold- 
ness tohimself, theglory to Christ." (Bengel.) 
The change from the first person in 'I shall 
be ashamed' to the third person in 'Christ 
shall be magnified,' shows the apostle's deli- 
cate sensitiveness. He shrinks from saying 
" I shall magnify Christ." Compare similar 
thoughts in 1 Cor. 6 : 20; 2 Cor. 4 : 10. We 
have now the full development of that word 
'salvatit)!!.' (ver. 19.) This opposition of his 
enemies will lead only to his good by calling 
forth earnest prayers in his behalf, which will 
secure him a larger supply of divine grace, 
and fulfill his hope of always being made the 
instrument of Christ's glory, both in life and 
deatli. 

21. This verse confirms the last words of 
ver. 20, 'whether by life, or by death.' To 
me is placed first with emphasis; however it 
may be with others, this is the case vnth me. 
Life is but another name for Christ; his whole 
being and activities are his Lord's. "If he 
traveled, it was on Christ's errand ; if he suf- 
fered, it was in Christ's service; when he 
spoke, his ti)eme was Christ; and when he I 
wrote, Christ filled his letters." These words 
do not mean exactly the same as the "Christ i 
liveth in me" of Gal. 2 : 20. There Christ I 
appears as the source of life, here as the aim { 
and object of life. The truth expressed in 
Galatians stands related to this as cause to 
effect. Because Christ lives in hiin, he could 
also say, to me* to live is Christ — that is, / 
lire for Christ. To die is gain, because he 
will ther.eb^' be brought into a still nearer and j 
more blessed union with his Lord. Paul 
might with truth have said, to live is Christ, ' 



and to die is Christ also, for immediately after- 
ward he describes death as being with Clirist, 
but realizing that death brings a far higher 
and more perfect union between the believer 
and his Lord, which such a parallelism would 
not suggest, he varies the phrase, and says, 
death is gain, thereby indicating the superi- 
ority of death over life from the standpoint of 
a believer's happiness. An ancient orator said 
that when life is burdensome death is a gain, 
and Socrates, in the famous "Apology'," de- 
clares, that if death should only prove to be a 
dreamless sleep, it would be a wonderful gain ; 
but how far such utterances fall below this in- 
spired declaration of the apostle 1 It was not 
impatience with life that transfigured and 
glorified death in his eyes. He was not simply 
weary of life's burdens and anxious to lay 
them down, he did not welcome death as a 
cessation of all thought and feeling, but he 
looked (m death as but the door to a new and 
more glorious existence. Compare 2 Cor. 5 : 
1, seq. 

32. As this verse is very perplexing, and 
many different interpretations of it have been 
given, it may help us to an understanding of 
its meaning, if we keep the following points in 
mind. But serves to introduce a new consider- 
ation. He checks the flow of raptured thought 
to suggest a consideration that makes him hesi- 
tate in his choice between life and death. If 
I live in the flesh. The word 'if does not 
in the Greek, as in the English, sugge.?t a kind 
of uncertainty, as if he were questioning in 
his own mind whether it were so or not, but it 
comes nearer to our word "since"; it does 
not put a probleinatical case, but a real case 
forward; what follows is the real state of the 
case. Compare the same use of the word in 
Rom. 5 : 17; 6:5. Hence he says, 'since liv- 
ing in the flesh is fruit of my work.' But in 
order to call attention emphatically to that 
idea of earthly life in contradistinction to the 
painful death of which he had just spoken so 
glowingly, he stops and repeats his thought: 
'since living in the flesh— since this is for me 



lOf the two infinitives the first is present, and denotes the state of living; the second is aofist and marks the 
moment of transition to another world. 



Ch. I.] 



PHILIPPIANS. 



21 



23 For I am in a strait betwixt two, having a de- I 23 But I am in a strait betwixt the two, having the de- 
sire 10 depart, and to t>e with Christ; which is far sire to depart and be with Christ; lor it is very I'ar 
belter : 



fruit of 1113' \vurk.' The words 'in tlie flesh' 
are added to the words 'to live,' because he 
wishes to fix the attention upon the fact that 
it is the earthly life he is speaking of. ' Fruit 
of my work ' means fruit that comes from 
work. For this meaning of 'fruit,' see Rom. 
1 : 13. Fur 'work' as designating the preach- 
ing of the gospel, see Acts 13 : 2; 1 Thess. 5 : 
13. Tlie meaning then so far is, since earthly' 
life produces fruit from my apostolic labors, 
brings souls into the kingdom of the Lord. 
Yet — or, then. 'Then' introduces the apodo- 
sis, or conclusion ; if all this be true, if life, 
and life onl^-, subserves my apostolic work, 
'then' comes the difficulty of choice, and 
what I shall choose I wot not, or, I cannot 
telL. ' What ' — that is, vj/ilch of the two, death 
or life. 'Choose,' the Greek verb, has the 
proper force of the middle voice, choose for 
myself. The words translated 'I wot not' 
Meyer declares to mean ' I do not make 
known,' and justifies this interpretation by 
the fact that everywhere in the New Testa- 
ment this verb means to make known, to de- 
clare, never simply to know. The Revised 
Version has placed this translation upon the 
margin. The meaning of the entire verse is 
then : since earthly life and that alone is the 
sphere of work, with its blessed fruitage of 
converted souls, I am so uncertain what to 
chose, that I lefrain from any decision. 

Paul was aware that for himself death 
was gain, and so far as his personal inter- 
ests were concerned he had no difficulty in 
choosing, but the blessed results of living 
cause hesitation and embarrassment. With 
tlie two alternatives before him, and in the 
state of divided feeling thej' produce, he 
is so perplexed that he refrains from any 
choice, not knowing what is best, and prefer- 
ring to leiive it alj to the divine disposal. He 
does not make known even to himself, as Bon- 
gel suggests, what lie would prefer. But the 
claims of his work, the needs of tlie church, 
gradually assert themselves and take posses- 
sion of his mind. In such fruit as he can 
gather by living, there is a gain that outweighs 



any mere personal considerations; and this 
fact soon leads him to declare his conviction 
that he will remain in the body, because his 
services are so much needed, (ver. 25.) He is 
willing to resign the gain for the sake of the 
fruit. "How hath he both cast out the desire 
of the present life, and yet thrown no reproach 
upon it." (Chrysostom.) 

23. In this and the next verse, Paul ex- 
plains more fully the state of uncertainty 
which he has just described in the words 
' what I shall choose,' etc The verb translated 
' I am in a strait' signifies to be hemmed in or 
confined; as in Luke 8 : 45, and is generally 
associated with the notion of distress, as in 
Luke 19 : 43; especially in connection with 
disease, as in Matt. 4 : 24; Luke 4 : 38; Acts 
28 : 8. Our Lord uses it also of his own men- 
tal distress in Luke 12 : 50. The word serves 
to express forciblj' the intensity of the struggle 
in Paul's mind.' The word two refers back 
to the two alternatives, life and death. Paul's 
mind is so hemmed in between these two 
alternatives that he does not know which way 
to move. Most men would have no trouble 
in making a quick choice between them. But 
not so Paul ; and, in fact, if he were to choose 
for his own pleasure, it would be to depart out 
of this world, that which most men dread more 
than all the ills of life. Having a desire to 
depart — or, rather, a desire ton-ard depariure. 
He does not exactly say, "having a desire to 
depart,' 2 as in the Common Version, but de- 
clares that his desire is in that direction. The 
verb is a nautical expression, to cast loose 
from the shore, and is also used of striking 
tents and breaking up a camp. We have the 
corresponding noun in 2 Tim. 4 : 6, "the time 
of my departure is at hand." The verb is 
found only here and in Luke 12 : 36. And to 
be with Christ. "'To depart' had always 
been a wish of the saints, but the idea of being 
with Christ belongs only to the New Testa- 
ment." (Bengel.) These two ideas must be 
closely connected. "For death of itself will 
never be desired, because such a desire is at 
variance with natural feeling." (Calvin.) 



• The preposition « denotes the origin, the source, of I ^xhat would require the genitive of the article toO 

his embarrassment. before the infinitive. 



22 



PHILIPPIANS. 



[Ch. I. 



24 Nevertheless to abide in the flesh is more needful i 24 better: yet to abide in the flesli is more need- 



fur you. 

■Jo And liaving this confidence, I know that I shall 
abide and coiitiuue with you all for your furtherance 
and joy of laith ; 



2.3 ful for your sake. And liaviug ihis contideuce, I 
know that I shall abide, yea, and abide with you 



" Death is not a good, but it is a good after our 
departure to be with Christ." (Clirysostoin.) 
The iiiiinediute connection of these words 
with 'to depart' shows that Paul did not con- 
ceive the intermediate state to be a condition 
of unconsciousness, but a far higher and more 
blessed existence than this earthly life, a state 
of conscious and intimate communion with 
Ciirist, beyond anything known on earth, al- 
tliough, as we collect from other passages, it is 
not the full and perfect fruition of a Chris- 
tian's joy and reward. In this intermediate 
state the soul is bodiless (acor. 5:8), and not 
until the resurrection of the body will our re- 
demption be complete (R'>m. sixs) ; but, even 
with this drawback, the state of the Christian 
between death and the judgment is an advance 
upon our earthly condition. Which is far 
better — literally, bi/ fa?' more better, the origi- 
nal being an emphatic double comparative. 
Paul could scarcely have said this about the 
state after death, unless he viewed it as a con- 
scious, active, progressive existence. Who 
can believe that if he had looked on deatli as 
the beginning of a long sleep, he would have 
Jiad any such struggle to decide the question 
what to choose! With liis active, energetic 
nature, and his intense desire to glorify bis 
Master, he would undoubtedly have instantly 
chosen life, with all its ills, were death only a 
sleep; but death, in his view, will bring him 
nearer to his Saviour; to die is to be with 
Christ, and this unspeakable blessing renders 
him more than willing to go whenever the 
word of release shall be spoken. Socrates 
called death a removal to another place 
('"Apologia," ?>*2), but Paul .says it is to be 
with Christ. How much more glorious the 
outlook of tlie Christian apostle than that of 
the iieathen philosopher! The apostle had a 
positive and most blessed conception of the 
future world, but how sad, because so uncer- 
tain, the closing words of the famous "Apol- 
ogy": "Now it is time to depart — I to die, 
you to live; and which of us is going to the 
better destiny is known only to the Deity." 

24. In the preceding verse Paul has stated 
what he conceives to be best for himself; now 



he declares what is more needful for them. 
Instead of saying to stay is better for you, he 
changes the form of expression, and sa^s 
more needful, as if his tiist expression had 
been "departure is needful for me." His de- 
parture was indeed a necessity, in so far as it 
alone would satisfy his desire for communion 
with Christ; but his stay on earth is a neces- 
sity which springs from the needs of others, 
and to this the lirst must give way. "It is 
more important for me to serve you than to 
enjoy heaven sooner. Heaven will not fail 
me." (Bengel.) The verb signifies "to stay 
on," stronger than the simple verb. (Rom. is : i.) 
'In the flesh' Uv rij frapxi); the article is in 
place as referring to his own individual exist- 
ence, but above (22;, when he speaks of life in 
the body in a general way, he omits the article 
(ev irapKi). For you. Of coursc, the Philip- 
pians would understand that this was not 
meant to apply exclusively' to them, but in- 
cluded otliers besides. 

25. The knowledge that his stay on earth is 
a necessity leads to the firm conviction that he 
is to abide here yet a while. And having this 
confidence; namely, that my re?naining is 
needful. I know — not to be taken absolutely, 
but merely as expressing his conviction. In 
his address to the Ephesian elders at Miletus, 
he utters with equal assurance his conviction 
that he shall see their faces no more (Acts 20:25); 
yet if the conviction here expressed of his 
release and return to Philippi was realized, he 
probably did see their faces again. See 2 Tim. 
4 : 20. But we need not trouble ourselves to 
harmonize "such utterances with the actual 
facts, for in such matters Paul was left to the 
same means of knowledge as ourselves. See 
Acts 20 : 22. The verb "continue with" dif- 
fers from the simple verb, which means "to 
remain." (Herodotus 1. .30; Plato, "Crito" 
51 E; "Phaedo," llo D.) For your fur- 
therance and joy of faith — the purpose of 
his remaining, unfolding the thought con- 
tained in the words "more needful for you." 
(ver.24.) This IS a part of that 'fruit' (^.22), 
for the sake of which he is willing to live. 
The word 'faith,' belongs to both 'further- 



Cir. I.] 



PHILIPPIANS. 



23 



26 That your rejoicing may be more abuiidaut iu 
Jesu:> Christ lor uiu by my coming to you ajj::iiu. 

27 Only let your couversaiiou be as it becumeth the 
gospel ul' Christ: that whether 1 come and see you, or 
else be absent, I luay hear of your atfairs, that ye stand 
fust in one spirit, with oue mind .striving together lor 
the fuilh of the gospel: 



26 all, for your progress and joy ' in the faith; that 
your glorying may abound in Christ Jesus in me 

27 through liiy ])resenee wiiti you again. Only -let. 
yiiurmannJr of liie be worthy of the gospel of Chri^t; 
that, whether I come and see you or am absent, I 
may hear of your stale, that ye siand fast in one 
spirit, with oue soul striving 3 fur the faith of the 



1 Or, of faith. .....i Or. behave a* citizen* teorthiln 3 Gr. with. 



anee' and 'joy'; their 'faith' has in it ele- 
ments both of progress and joy, which liis 
presence among them will promote. 

26. This verse contains a still further ex- 
pansion of the thought 'more needful lor you' 
(ver. 2*), bringing out still more clearly the 
purpose of his remaining. Rejoicing. The 
wi»rd means, properly, " matter of boasting" 
((toOx>)/ia), not act of boasting or glorying (<cau- 
X'jo'itJ, as in Rom. 4:2, " whereof to glory." 
See 1 Cor. 9 : 15; 2 Cor. 1 : 14. This matter 
of boasting is the possession of the gospel, and i 
their state as Christians. Hence, the idea is ] 
that they may obtain a larger and richer 
increase of that which is their true glory and 
boast, tiie possession of the gospel and of the 
privileges of the Christian life. In Christ 
Je.sus for me — better, iw me, as in Revised 
Version. The parallelism 'in Christ, in me' 
is .suggestive. They can obtain this increa.se 
only in Christ primarily, although it is to be 
in Paul, secondarily, bj' means of his renewed 
activity among them. By his coming again 
to them he would impart to them an increased 
measure of that whereof they boasted, but he 
w'ould do this in the strength of Christ, so that 
to him must the glory of the work be ascribed. 

In these last six verses Paul reveals some of 
the deepest and holiest aspirations of his soul, 
and surely nothing gives us a higher idea of 
his character than to behold him perplexed 
and uncertain on such a question, whether it 
were better to die and go to be with Christ, or 
to live and labor on awhile longer for the 
sake of increasing that fruit of his labors 
which he had already gathered so abundantly. 
It i.s only a superior spirit that could hesitate 
to choose between life and death ; but even in 
this hesitation not a trace of self appears. If 
be think* of death, it is of Christ he thinks; 
if he thinks of life, it is of his work he thinks; 



but in either ca.se the thought of self is wholly 
forgotten. 

1:27-2:11. Exhortation to L'xity, 
Humility, and Unselfishnkss Enforckd 
BY AN Appeal to the Example of Christ. 
— The apostle urges them to be steadfast and 
united, like a band of Christian athletes (27); 
and to face their enemies with perfect fear- 
lessness (28), remembering their high calling 
(29), and his own similar experiences (30). 

27. Only — this is all I ask. Compare Gal. 
2 : 10; 5 : 13. This exhortation to act worthily 
of the gospel of Christ involves all the obli- 
gations of the Christian life. Comjiarc Eph. 
4 : 1, seq. Let your conversation — bctier, 
tna^iner of life (Revised Version). The verb 
niean-s prim:irily, to |)erforin the duties of a 
citizen ; so that the literal transhition would 
be that of the margin of the Revised Version, 
"Only behave as citizens worthily of the gos- 
pel." Paul, however, has no reference to the 
political duties of the Philippians, but to their 
religious duties as members of tlie great com- 
monwealth of heaven. His ordinary word 
for Chri.f.tian conduct is 'walk,' but here he 
changes the figure to indicate more clearly 
the idea of those mutual duties which they 
owe each other as members of the heavenly 
commonwealth. He uses the corresponding 
noun in 3 : 20, and the verb in his speech be- 
fore the Sanhedrim (ActsMii), but not else- 
where. That whether I come,' etc. Paul's 
uncertainty as to the ftiture emerges here 
again. He knows not certainly whether he 
shall come and see them or not, but hope evi- 
dentlj'^ predominates, as is hinted tit in the 
order of the two alternatives— come and see 
you, or else be absent. 

I may hear that ye stand last. The verb 
does not itself signify to stand fast, but 
simply to stand, the idea of steadfastness 



' The structure of the sentence in the Creek is intel- I absent and hearing, I may know of your state"; but 
ligible, hut inexact, a.s if the writer had begun in oni; before he finishes he changes the oonstruftion, as if he 
way and finished in another. He 1)egins as if he were ^ had already wrilten, " whether coming I may .see," and 
about to say, " whether coming and seeing, or being therefore ends, " or being abseut I may hear." 



24 



PHILIPPIANS. 



[Ch. I. 



2S And in nothing terrified by your adversaiies : 
■whicli is to tlieiu an evident token of perdition, but to 
you of salvation, and that of (jod. 

29 For unto you it is uiven in the behalf of Christ, 
not only to believe on him,bul also to sutler for his sake ; 



28 gospel; and In nothing affrighted by the adver- 
saries: which is for tlieni an evident token of 
perdition, but of your salvation, and that from tiod; 

29 because to yon it halli been granted in ihe behalf of 
Christ, not only to believe ou him, but ylso to suiler 



coming from the context. In one spirit, 
with one mind (or, soul). The first refers 
to the higlier part of our immaterial nature, 
that in which the Holy Spirit resides and 
works ; the second refers to the lower part, 
tiie seat of the emotions and affections. The 
Philippians are exiiorted to be united in their 
' spirit,' in their holiest tispirutions and con- 
victions, and in their 'soul,' their affections, 
tmd S3-mpathies. Of course, this can only be 
affected by the Holy Spirit. The words "with 
one soul"' are connected with tiie following. 
Striving together. A metaphor from the 
atiiletic games. That which they are to co- 
operate for is the faith of the gospel. Tiie 
absence of the connecting article blends these 
two words into a single idea, gospel faith ; that 
is, the substance of tlie apostolic teaching. 
Compare Jude 3. This faitii of the gospel is 
the one thing they must most jealously guard 
and defend. 

3tS. Ill nothing terrified by your adver- 
saries. It is not enough to be united in 
spirit, but they must exhibit an unflinching 
courage. The original word for 'terrified,' 
found only here in the New Testament, is 
very strong, describing,. primarily, the terror 
of a fi'igiitened animal. ' Adversaries.' As 
tliese were well known to his readers, the 
apostle does not describe them, so that we are 
in the dark about them ; but as their hostility 
was similar to that from which Paul himself 
suffered at Philippi (ver. so), it is probably some 
outbreak of the heathen populace to which he 
has reference. But however numerous or pow- 
erful their adversaries are, the Philippians 
ought to face tiiein fearlessly. All these ene- 
mies ciin do is to scare them, and the Philip- 
pians ought not to let them succeed even in 
this. "He that feareth God need fear none 
else." Which * — that is, your fearlessness, re- 



ferring back not to any single word, but to 
the idea suggested by the previous admoni- 
tion. An evident token of perdition. 

Their courage becomes a proof of their ene- 
mies' destruction, by clearly revealing the 
divine source of their own superior strength. 
These Cliristians are shown to be helped of 
God by the wonderful bravery they display. 
Their enemies are, therefore, fighting against 
God, and nothing but destructiDU awaits them. 
The cowardice of the Piiilippians would, on 
the contrary, bring the gospel into contempt 
and confirm opposers in their hardness and 
blindness of heart. But, on the other hand, 
this fearlessness is to you a token of salvation 
for the same reason tiiat it is a token of the 
'perdition' of their foes, because it reveals 
God's presence and power. Compare 2 Thess. 
1 : 4, seq., where the faith and ))atience of the 
Thessalonians are described as a proof of the 
righteous judgmentof God, the result (if which 
would be their salvaticm. And that of God. 
This fearlessness, which is a token both of 
their own salvation and of their enemies' de- 
struction, is from God; it is not a natural 
characteristic, but a divine omen of victorj'. 
Calvin beautifully suggests that the-se words 
were added, "that the taste of the grace of 
GikI may allay the titterness of the cross." 

29. This verse confirms the last words of 
the preceding verse, 'and that of God.' 
For unto you it is given — literally, gronted 
OS a fnvor ; that is, by God. It is a proof 
of the divine fjivor that you are called into 
trials where such fearlessness is required. 
Compare Acts 5 : 4. 'Unto you ' is emjihatic 
by position. God has conferred upon you this 
privilege, as he has not upon all other believ- 
ers. ' Is given ' — strictly, was given, referring 
to the time wiien their Christian life began. 
In the behalf of Christ.^ It is not an ab- 



^ Since it is is the proper force of the pronoun >iTt?. 
It refers logically to the whole clause, but agrees gram- 
matically with its predicate by a common attraction. 
(Winer, p. lf.6. Compire Eph. 3 : i:!.) 

-\W(i have here again, in the Greek, a slightly irreg- 
ular sentence. Paul began the sentence as if he were 
about to write, "for to you it was given in behalf of 
Christ to suffer"; but before he added the words "to 



suffer" be bethinks him of the necessary antecedent of 
all sacrifice "faith," and therefore be proceeds '-not 
only to believe on him, but also to sutler for his sake "• 
so that the jihrase " in behalf of Christ," which he had 
written with the first form of the sentence in mind, is 
in part superfluous. To make the .sentence perfectly 
regular we should have to strike it out, and put Christ 
in place of " him " in the next clause. 



Ch. IL] 



PHILIPPIANS. 



25 



30 Having the same conflict wliich ye saw in me, and j 30 in his behalf: having tlio same conflict which ye saw 
now hear to be in me. I in me, and now hear to be in me. 

CHAPTER IT. 

IF lliere be therefore any consolation in Christ, if any I 1 If there is therefore any exhortation in Christ, if 
comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any consolation of love, if any fellowship ot llie 
any bowels and mercies, " I 



strac't truth, in wliich they believe and for 
which they suiter, but the personal Christ. 
On him they believe, for liim they suffer. 
Suffering for Christ Paul declares to be a 
special grace, because, when rightly endured, 
it works out the believer's sanctification. (Rom. 
5:3, seq-) Paul looks be3'ond the malice of 
enemies, and beholds in their efforts the divine 
favor toward his suffering ]>eople. He writes 
out of his own experience, when he speaks of 
the double grace of believing and suffering 
(see 2 Cor. 11 : 23, seq.); and hence, words 
that from almost any other lips might have 
seemed bitter irony, became freighted with 
the strength and comfort that only likeness of 
experience can impart. 

30. The experience of the Philippians is 
expressly compared with his own. A part of 
this experience they had only heard of in his 
letters; but a part of it had passed under 
their very e3n'S, when, on his first visit to 
Philippi, he was scourged and cast into prison, 
and his feet confined in the stocks. The indig- 
nity of this treatment Paul seems never to 
have forgotten. He speaks with intense in- 
dignation about it in his First Epistle to the 
Thessalonians. (i ■■ 2) Compare, also, Acts 
16 : 16, seq., where Luke's language seems to 
reflect the apostle's deep and intense feelings. 
It is probable that in sf)me similar outbreak of 
heathen violence, the Philippians had them- 
selves suffered in a like manner, and Paul 
.teems to refer to such an experience in 2 Cor. 
8 : 2, where he speaks of the churches of Mace- 
donia having had a "great trial (proof ) of 
affliction.'' What delicacy of feeling the 
apostle shows in thus comparing the Philip- 
pians with himself, and how naturally the 
comparison would stimulate them to exhibit 
the same spirit of patience, courage, and cheer- 
fulness which they had beheld in him ! Ben- 
gel, on the words "in me," adds the comment, 
beautifully suggestive of their implied signifi- 
cance, "in me who am not terrified." The 
unwritten admonition to copy his example. 



suggested by the twice-repeated "in me," 
could not fail to speak directly to their hearts. 



Ch. 2. Continuation of the Exhorta- 
tion which Extends from 1 : 27-2: 11.— The 
apostle returns from the slight digression in 
1 : 28-30 to thetoi)ic of the unity of the Phil- 
ippiansj which he urges in a most tender and 
persuasive manner (1, 2), joining with the 
plea for unity an appeal also for humility 
(3) and unselfishness (4), and enforcing his 
whole admonition by a noble and eloquent 
description of the exam])le of Jesus Christ 
(5-11). 

1. If there be therefore anyconsolation 
(better, exiiortntloii) in Christ. 'If there 
be' implies no doubt of the existence of the 
following motives, but is simply a tender form 
of appeal to whiit is well known to exi.st. The 
word translated ' consolation ' in the Common 
Version has the general signification of "en- 
couragement," "exhortation," though it is 
sometimes used in the more limited sense of 
"comfort," "consolation." Here the context 
decides for the wider meaning, since the next 
word conveys specifically the idea of consola- 
tion. Compare 1 Cor. 14 : 3. For the corre- 
sponding verbs similarly joined together, 
compiire 1 Thess. 2:11. This 'exhortation' 
is in Christ; that is, it is Christian cxliorta- 
tion, a practical manifestation of tlie life that 
flows from Christ. If any comfort of love- 
comfort which springs from love as its source. 
Compare 2 Cor. 1 : 3-7 for a beautiful illustra- 
tion of this comfort of love. If any fellow- 
ship of the Spirit— participation in the gifts 
and graces of the Spirit, the basis of all true 
unity. Compare 2 Cor. 13 : 14. If any 
bowels and mercies — any tender and affec- 
lionate yearnings and compassions. The two 
words are sometimes joined into a single idea, 
'bowels of mercies,' as in Col. 3: 12; and in 
Hebrew a single word (D*pn^) combines the 
meanings of both, kindness, aftection {anXiy- 



26 



PHILIPPIANS. 



[Ch. II. 



2 Fulfil ye my joy that ye be likeuiinded, having 
the same love, btiny of wiie acuord, of one miud. 

b Lul nothing 6« doue through strife or vainglory; 
but in lowliness of miud let each esteem other better 
than themselves. 



2 Spirit, if any tender mercies and compassions, fulfil 
ye my joy, that ye be of the same miud, having 
tlie same love, being of one accord, i of oue mind; 

3 dudiij nothing through facliun or through vain- 
glory, but in lowliness of mind each counting other 



1 Some uiicieut authorities read o/ the same mind. 



xva., olKTipixoi)^ and pity, compassion. This kind 
and compassionate affection springs from the 
' fellowshii) of the Spirit,' while the 'exhor- 
tation in Christ ' produces 'comfort of love.' 
Thus we have in the fourfold division of this 
verse a reference to unity with Christ, and the 
spiritual result, and also to unity with the 
Spirit, and its spiritual result. These consid- 
eratiinis are so many arguments why the Phil- 
ippians should hasten to complete his happi- 
ness b^' a perfect exhibition of unity. The 
language of his ajjpeal is made unusually 
tender and impressive by the fourfold repeti- 
tion of tlie words 'if any.' "Persuasion her- 
self could not speak more persuasively." 

2. Fulfil ye my joy. Compare John 3 : 29. 
Already the apostle had joy in the state of the 
Philippian Cliurch, but he wished that joy 
made full, complete, by their perfect unani- 
mity of spirit. This unanimity he describes 
by several phrases which vary but slightly 
from each other. They are to be likeminded 
— that is, to think the same thing, to have the 
same love — and finally, to be of one accord, 
of one mind — with perfect unity of soul to 
think one thing. The first and last of these 
tiiree expressions do not differ essentially. 
In Greek, as in English, both are sometimes 
joined together, "one and the same thing." 
But that which adds a new suggestion to 
the last clause is rather the word translated 
in Common Version and Revised Version 
'being of one accord' (<ri>fii^uxoO- This word 
should be closely connected with what fol- 
lows, and the whole translated : having the 
same love, with harmony of soul, thinking 
one thing. They should not merely direct 
their minds to the same thoughts, but should 
do this in complete harmony. They might 
think aboutthesame thing only to contend and 



dispute, but Paul wishes them to think harmo- 
niously about it, to dwell upon that view of it 
on which they are agreed, and if there should 
be any diversity of opinion, to wait, as he 
afterwjird enjoins them (3:ia), for God's fuller 
revelations to decide the case. The second of 
the three clauses adds to the duty of like- 
mindedness that of mutual love, for as Chr^-- 
sostom says: "There is such a thing as being 
likeminded, and yet not having love." Their 
oneness must be of heart and mind both. 

3. Let nothing be done through strife 
or vainglory. Instead of supplying the verb 
'let,' as in the Common Version, it is better 
to carry forward the participle from tiie last 
verse, thinking nothi,ng in the way of strife or 
of vain glory. (Winer, p. 587. J The word 
'strife ' has appeared already (i : is) ; the second 
word 'vainglory' does not occur elsewhere 
in the New Testament, though in Gal. 5 : 26 
we have the adjective 'vainglorious.' See Re- 
vised Version. These two, strife and the spirit 
of displaj', destroy unity in the church. "For 
both diseases he brings forward one remedy — 
humility." (Calvin.) But in lowliness of 
mind. According to Greek usage the names 
of the various virtues have the article. Hence, 
'lowliness' has the article in the Greek, sig- 
nifying the virtue of hwnllity. The Greek 
word for ' lowliness' is one of the words which 
Christianity has coined. The nearest classical 
Greek word signifies "meanness of spirit." 
To think lightly of one's self was never a vir- 
tue in the eyes of a Greek. It was only justi- 
fiable, as Aristotle says, when one had no 
reason for thinking otherwise. That any one 
of great powers should be " meek and lowly 
in heart" never suggested itself to the Greek 
as possible. In fact, his supreme virtue was 
high-mindedness, or, as Aristotle puts it, "the 



1 We must call attention to the curious ungramniati- 
cal use of Tit before the two nouns trnKayxva and oiicTip- 
f-oi. The manuscript evidence is entirely in favor 
of this reading, but on account of its ungramniatieal 
characlermost commentators have preferred thereadiiig 
Tii'a. There seems, however, no reason why,if rti'a were 
the original reading, it should ever have been chi^nged, 
while it would have been perfectly uatural for some 



copyist to alter the strange and anomalous th. Tiscb- 
endorf says wo must preserve the reading ti?, unless 
we prefer to act as grammarians rather than as editors. 
Alford's explanation of its use seems plausilile, that as 
the two (ireek nouns represent a single Hebrew noun 
D'pn'^, they were regarded as expressing but a single 
idea, and the singular pronoun was used instead of the 
plural. 



Ch. IL] 



PHILIPPIANS. 



27 



4 Look not every man on his own things, but every 
man also on ihe things of others. 

o l^ti this wind be in you, which was also in Christ 
Jesii.s : 

li Who, being in tlie form of God, thought it not 
r jbbery lo bu emial with Uod : 



4 better than himself; not looking each of you to his 
own things, bin each of you also to the things of 

5 others. lia%e tliis mind in you, wliich was also iu 
ti Clirist JesUs: wlio existing iu the form of God, 

counted not the being on an equality with Uod a 



deeming oneself worthy of greatness, because 
wortliy." And Heine reveals this same in- 
stinct of human nature in modern times when 
he speaks contemptuously of the "dog's vir- 
tue of humility."' Tlie New Testament writers 
had tlierefore t'j coin a word for this Christian 
grace of humility. 

Let each esteem others better than 
themselves. "Thtit nitty be done not only 
outwiifdly, but V)y true humility, when a man, 
tlirough seld-denial, turns his eyes away from 
liisown privilege's, and steadily contemplates 
another's endowments in which he is super- 
ior." (Bengel.) Compare Kom. 12: 10; Eph. 
5 : 21 ; 1 Peter 5 : 5. 

4. Look not every man on his own things, 
but every man also, etc. In the Greek there 
is no period at the close of ver. 3, but the sen- 
tence continues, and is properly translated in 
the Kevised Version "not looking." These 
words contain a warning against selfishness, 
following appropriately on the exhortation to 
'lowliness,' for pride and selfishness grow out 
of the same root. In the second clause the 
word 'also' modifies the e.xclusiveness of the 
first assertion, suggesting that some considera- 
tion of one's own things must be allowed. 
The apostle had first said, 'look not upon 
his own things,' but by this word 'also' he 
softens his extreme injunction, and allows 
their own things some regard. "Without such a 
modification his injunction would hsive passed 
beyond reasonable limits. (AViner, p. 498.)' 
The words of the apostle (ver. 2-4) seem to inti- 
mate that there were those in the Philippian 
Church who were lacking in the graces of 
humility and unselfishness. They overesti- 
mated their own services and excellencies, 
and dejircciated their brethren. No division 
in doctrine is here suggested, but the danger 
— it is perhaps nothing more — of a possible 
estrangement of hetirt and the disruption of 
their previotis good fellowship through this 
excess of pride on the part of some. 

5-11. Tlie apostle now enforces bis admoni- 
tion to unity, humility, and unselfishness, by 



the example of Jesus Christ (5), who did not 
regard his own prerogatives or position (6), 
but sacrificed them for the sake of others (7), 
yea, went to the very depths of humiliation 
and shame (8), on which account God the 
Father htis most highly exalted him (9), that 
the whole cretition may recognize his glory 
(10), and own his rule (11). 

This passage, the only doctrinal one in our 
Epistle, is one of the most important in all 
Paul's writings, tiiid the most complete state- 
ment of Christ's exalted rank to be found any- 
where outside of the Gospel of John. Its im- 
portance justifies and requires a more extended 
exitniiiiiition. 

5. Let this mind be in you (or, tit'mk ye 
this in yoitrselves) — that is, in your hearts. 
I Comi>are Matt. 9: 3, 4. Whicli was also in 
I Christ Jesus — literally, which was also 
I thought in Christ Jesus. 'Also' refers to the 
I .similaritj' of disposition between Christ and 
j his followers: in you as also in Christ. The 
name Christ Jesus refers to the Saviour in his 
I entire existence, pre-incarnate and incarnsite, 
! not that he was ever known by this name until 
1 born in the flesh, but Paul could describe him 
I in no other way so clearlj' as by this well- 
j known historical name. The context .shows 
i that the apostle includes Christ's entire exist- 
ence under this name, and not merely his 
! earthly life, as some have supposed, for ver. 6 
i evidently refers to bis pre-incarnate state, and 
! the iiicarnate state is not touched upon till 
I ver. 7. John used the word Logos to describe 
the Saviour previous to his earthly life, but 
1 Paul has nowhere used that word. 
I 6. Who, being in the form of God. ' Be- 
j ing' is not the participle of the substantive verb 
j to be, but comes from a stronger verb and 
means subsisting, e.risting. ' Form ' (iio(4>n) is 
[ not the same as nature (*«<«« ovaia), but desig- 
nates in man his external appearance; hence 
I in the Divine Being it must describe witatcor- 
! responds to our external appearance, that 
; through which the divine presence manifests 
I itself. God, who is a Spirit, reveals him.self 



iThe plural, eVcaaTot, is found nowhere else in the New Testament. 



28 



PHILIPPIANS. 



[Ch. IL 



in his glory, which the apostle here calls ap- 
propriately the ' form of God.' The ' form of 
God' is not therefore the Godhead, although 
as Bengel well observes, "He who existed in 
tlie 'form of God,' is God." Paul is led to 
use this word, because he is thinking of what 
Christ laid aside. Christ did not and could 
not lay aside his Godhead, but he did lay aside 
his divine glory, or form. Compare Col. 1 : 
15, "image,' and Heb. 1:3, " express image." 
Thought it not robbery. The word trans- 
lated 'robbery' in the Common Version, and 
'a prize' in the Revised Version, is the chief 
stumbling block in tlie interpretation of 
this passage, and the explanation hinges 
mainly upon the meaning we give this 
one word. It is a very rare word in the 
Greek language, occurring but once in pro- 
fane literature, and not more than two or three 
times in ecclesiastical literature, and there 
probably as an echo of this pa.ssage. The de- 
termination of its meaning is therefore very 
difficult. According to grammatical usage, 
by its termination, it denotes an action, that 
is, the act of seiziiig, or seizure. Nouns of the 
same termination very often, however, are 
used to express the result of an action, instead j 
of the action itself In determining, therefore, I 
the meaning of any single word its form is i 
not decisive. Usage alone can decide. When 
usage fails to clear up the meaning, the con- 
text of the passage must be the last resort. If 
in this case we turn to u.sage, the evidence is 
of course very slight, but what there is sus- 
tains tile meaning suggested by the termina- 
tion of the word. Plutarch, in his "Morals," 
uses the word of the custom of seizing or kid- 
napi)ing children from Crete. Interpreters 
have generally, however, given the passive 
meaning to this word on the ground that nouns 
with a termination, such as generally denote 
an action, are often used like tho.se with the 
termination that denote a result. This is un- 
doubtedly often the case, as noted above, but 
we have no right to assume that a^iy noun of 
the former class may be so used, but must fur- 
nish ineoate.st;ible evidence of some example 
of such usage, before we are justified in neg- 
lecting the obvious significance for a less 
natural one, especially if the obvious meaning 
suits the context just as well. Now there is 
no occasion from the context to alter that sig- 
ixilicajice of this word, which we obtain' by 



observing its form and Plutarch's use of it. 
Christ, for instance, did not consider his equal- 
ity with God a robbery or seizure, that is, he 
did nt)tvi(;w his exalted position as a means of 
seizing to himself the glory and the exaltation 
which he afterward acquired. Compare 1 Tim. 
6 : 5, where Paul speaks of certain ones who 
supposed godliness to be gain, that is, evi- 
dently' a means of gain. So Christ might have 
regarded his Godhead as a means of appropri- 
ating the glory he now wears. He might have 
come to earth in all the splendor of Deity, to 
win the homage of human hearts. But, in- 
stead of that, he looked not on his own things 
— he laid aside his divine glory, and appeared 
in the form of a servant, and in the way of 
humiliiition and self-denial reached his present 
eleviition. Thus the context admits this mean- 
ing of the wt)rd, and if that be so, there can be 
no just reason for assuming an unusual signifi- 
cation for which no example has been cited. 

. We must, however, admit that this interpre- 
tation has few advocates. Meyer proposed it, 
and has been followed by Alford alone outside 
of Germany, and by but very few German 
scholars. The generally accepted interpreta- 
tion gives to this word the passive meaning of 
"things seized." Those who assign this mean- 
ing reach in general tlie same result as that 
proposed above, but naturally' and logically 
their interpretation brings forth a Socinian 
view of the passage. For if we adopt tlie pas- 
sive meaning of the word, then we are taught 
that Christ did not think equality with God a 
thing to be seized, hence of course equality 
with God was not already his own. To obviate 
this difficulty, the exact meaning of "things 
seized" is changed to " things retained or held 
fast," and so the same result is reached as in 
our interpretation, but by making two arbi- 
trary changes in the significance of the word. 
The shade given b^' the words 'thought not' 
should not be overlooked. Paul miglit have 
said: He did not make equality with God a 
robbery, but he added the words above quoted 
to indicate that he did not for one moment 
even contemplate the possibility of such a 
thing, much less attempt to put it into execu- 
tion. These words, therefore, answer to the 
'look not' of ver. 4. The Philippians are 
enjoined to renounce the selfish consideration 
of their own rights, prerogatives, claims, etc., 
and to enforce this, they are told that Christ 



Ch. II.] 



PHILIPPIANS. 



29 



7 But made himself of no reputation, and took upon 
liim the form of u servant, and was made in the likenusst 
of men : 

» And being found in fashion as a man, lie liumbled 
himself, and became obedient unto deatli, even the deal li 
of the cross. 



7 tiling to be grasped, but emplie<l himself, taking the 
ionu of a ' servant, -being made in the likene^s of 

8 men ; and being found in lashion as a man, he bum- 
bled himself, becoming obedient even unto death, 



1 Or, bondservant 2 Gr. becoming in. 



allowed no thought of the selfish use of his 
position to enter his mind.' 

To be equal with God. This is not essen- 
tially different ffom 'heing in the form of 
God,' but describes the same idea from another 
side. It describes Ciirist's existence as an ex- 
isting in an equal way with God. The adverb 
equal (lo-a), not the noun (i<^os), is used. AVith 
the latter Christ's equality of essence would 
have been referred to, but there is a singular 
propriety in the use of the adverb instead of 
the noun, because it was not his equal nature^ 
but his equal mode of existence that he laid 
aside. Thus Paul has chosen the phrases 
'form of God' and 'equal mode of exist- 
ence' with singular felicity. These and these 
alone could be held fast, or abandoned. 
Equality of nature must be permanent. 

To sum up now the meaning of this verse: 
Christ, who in his antemundane state was in 
'the form of God,' who was "the image of the 
invisible God," "the brightness of his glory, 
and the expi-ess image of his person " (Heb. i : 3), 
did not consider this equality with God a 
means of seizure, or self-enrichment, did not 
make use of that form, and manifest that glory, 
appearing in all the splendor of Deity to win 
his present state of glory and honor; but, as 
we are told subsequently, tf>ok a very dif- 
erent waj', the way of humility and self- 
abasement. 

7. But made himself of no reputation 
— bettor, literally, emptied himself (Revised 
Version); that is, of that form, that peculiar 
manifestation of the divine glory. He not 
only did not make this form a means of self- 
glorification, but did the very opposite— re- 
nounced all his glorious prerogatives, and 
became a servant. 'Himself is emphatic by 
its position in the Greek, and thus invites 
attention to the divine subject who disrobed 
himself. And took upon him the form of 
a servant. The 'and' should be omitted, 
and the sentence read 'taking,' etc. (Revised 



Version), showing how the emptying was real- 
ized. He put off the form of God, and put on 
'the form of a servant '^that i.s, a servant of 
God, not of man. 'Form' differs from 'fash- 
ion' (ver. 8) by describing what is more essential, 
' fashion ' referring to what is more external 
and changeable. The two verbs, formed from 
these two nouns, are brought into an instruct- 
ive connection in Rom. 12 : 2. In ch. 3 : 21 
we have a verb and adjective formed from the 
two nouns brouglit together. The taking of a 
servant's form is now explained: Being 
made in the likeness of men. 'The form 
of a servant' was 'the likeness of men.' The 
'and' of the Common Version is again un- 
necessary. ' Likeness' differs from both ' form 
and ' fashion,' being more subordinate than 
the former, and less than the latter. He was 
'made in the likeness of inen,' not that he was 
not strictly and truly man, but that he was 
something more, the God-man, the "Word 
made flesh." "He was not only soul and 
body, but God and soul and body." (Theo- 
doret. ) Compare Rom. 8 : 3, "in the likeness 
of sinful flesh," where the phrase suggests 
similarity and dissimilarity; flesh like our 
own, but sinless, not sinful flesh. 

8. And being found in fiishion as a 
man. Paul now proceeds to describe a deeper 
depth still in this emptying process, but he 
first repeats again the idea of Christ s humanity 
by the words 'being found in fashion as a man,' 
where we see again \wvj carefully the apostle 
guards his thouglit. Christ was found as a 
man in fashion — that is, in bearing, manner, 
gestures, speech, dress. In all these respects 
he was like other men. Yet the thought that 
he was not merely a man moulds the expres- 
sion into this peculiar form. Before (^er. «), 
Paul used the strongest language concerning 
Christ's pre-existence, 'subsisting, in the form 
of God' ; here and in ver. 7, with an evident 
feeling of the peculiar character of Christ's 
humanity, a humanity wholly unique, he says: 



1 The aorist (ij-y^o-oTo) refers to the moment when he left heaven, and conceives cf him as then putting the 

thought aside. 



30 



PHILIPPIANS. 



[Ch. II. 



'being made \n the likeness of men,' and"^ be- 
ing found in fashion as a man.' The 'and' 
at the beginning of tlie verse connects the 
verbs 'emptied' (ver. 7), and 'humbled' (ver. 8). 
yee Revised Version. To the putting aside 
/^of divine powers and prerogatives is now 
added the further step of humbling liimself in 
that new mode of existence. "The state of 
emptying gradually becomes deeper." (Ben- 
gel.) Hud Clirist appeared as a second Solo- 
mon in all the glory of earthly royalty, he 
would still have emptied himself of that 
greater glory which he had with the Father 
before the world was (John is : 5); but he de- 
scended through all the ranks of humanity, 
until he readied the lowest, yea, until he 
appeared as the vilest, as a criminal, a male- 
factor. The verb ' humbled ' is placed before 
tlie pronoun in the Greek, thus reversing the 
order in ver. 7, because tliere the glorious sub- 
ject of the emptying process was to be made 
prominent; here the W(jnderful act of humili- 
ation. And became obedient. The 'and' 
is again superfluous. Render 'becoming obe- 
dient' (Revised Version) — that is, unto God, 
not to man. As one who had taken a creat- 
ure's place and position, the Son must become 
obedient, and this obedience he rendered in 
full, although it led to a most shameful death. 
Unto death, even the death of the cross. 
He was obedient unto the very extremity of 
obedience, death, although that death came 
in the most disgraceful form, upon the cross. 
The cross was a mode of punishment used only 
for slaves by the Romans, and among the 
Jews regarded as entailing a curse. {0:<.\. 3 : 13; 
Heb. 12 : 2.) The death of Christ is not here con- 
sidered as an atonement, for tliat view of it did 
not come within the scope of the apostle's im- 
mediate purpose, but it is viewed solely as an 
example of perfect obedience. "To live as 
man was self-surrender; to die as man was 
.self-sacrifice — the deepest of humility, the 
highest of obedience." Compare Rom. 5 : 19; 
Heb. 5:8; Matt. 2G : 39. 
It may be well at this point to give a brief 



summary of the different interpretations of 
this important passage. In general two lines 
of interpretation have been followed. The 
first class of commentators have understood 
the whole passage to refer to Clirist' s earthly 
life. He, while on earth, did not arrogate to 
himself divine honors, and did not display 
fully his divine powers, but concealed his di- 
vinity. This view has been advocated by able 
commentators, among others Neander and 
Luther. But the interpretation halts in many 
particulars. Christ on earth was never in the 
form of God, and if tlie apostle had wished to 
express the idea, that he renounced divine 
honors and concealed his glorious rank, the 
natural way to have done so with these words 
would have been: "Who being equal with 
God thouglit it not robbery to be in the form 
of God;" for the 'form' must be the glory that 
was hidden and suppressed. But this is the 
very reverse of what the apostle actually says. 
Again, 'taking the form of a servant' can- 
not mean Christ's lowly condition, because 
the following clause plainly describes it as 
becoming man. 

The second class of interpreters recognize a 
reference to the two states of Christ's existence, 
the pre-incarnate and the incarnate, in ver. 
6, 7, finding the earthly existence first de- 
scribed in ver. 7. But beyond this there are 
the widest divergencies of o)>inion on f)ther 
points. Many, taking the equality with God 
to be something diflTerent from the form of 
God, declare that Christ did not grasp at this 
higher position of divine equality, but came 
to earth and won by obedience that place 
which he now holds at the Father's side. This 
interpretation,! however, is out of harmony 
with the context, and is not a correct exegesis 
of the passage. From the context we see that 
Paul is teaching humilitj'^ and unselfishness, 
and to enforce the lesson he quotes the exam- 
ple of Christ, who, according to this view, did 
not arrogate Deity or equality with God. But 
whore is the pertinency of the illustration? 
The Pliilippians are not to regard their own 



iThe order of words in the Greek is opposed to this 
view. IIa<l Paul intended to deelare that while Christ 
possessed ' the form of (iod,' he did not arrogate to him- 
self equality with (iod,' he would naturally have given 
the place of emphasis to the words 'equal with God.' 
Bein^; iu the form of God he did not tliink eijudHQ/ wilh 



God a thing to be seized. The actual emphasis in tlie 
text is, however, on the word seizure or robbery, show- 
ing that he did not make a seizure of his equality with 
God — that is, did not use it to seize upon the honors he 
now wears. 



Ch. IL] 



PHILIPPIANS. 



81 



9 Whfrt'fore Ood al.sn hath liighly exalted hini, and 
given him a name whicli is above every name: 

Kt That at the nam.- of Jesiis every knee should bow, 
of thinijs in heaveu, aud lllinys iu earth, and things 
under the earth ; 



9 jea, the death of the cross. Wlierefore also God 

iiighly exalted him, and gave niito him the name 

10 wliieli is ahove every name; that in the name of 

Jesus every knee should bow, of Ifiint/.i in heaveu 

and l/i i II gs' ou earth aud ^1/iiiig.i under the earth, 



1 Or, tliiiigs 0/ the world butow. 



things — tliat is, honors, prerogatives, etc.- be- 
cause Christ did not chiiin what was not his 
own ! Surely there was no particular huniiiity 
and unsellishness in not seizing upon some- 
thing that did not belong to him. To have 
arrogated equality with God when he did not 
pos.sess it, wt)uld have been the height of im- 
pious presumption. In order to give us a per- 
tinent illustration, Paul must present Christ 
as not looking on his own things. A correct 
exegesis of the i)assages shows this to be the 
nature of the illu.stration ; Christ did not look 
upon his own — that is, his equality' with God — 
but surrendered it, emptying himself and as- 
saniing a human form, and so becoming a 
ijiost impressive example of humility and un- 
selfishness. He might have acted otherwise. 
He might have arrogated to hitnself all the 
lionors that he now wears. He might have 
displayed his godhead and majesty as a means 
of glorifyiil^ himself, but instead of so doing 
— and iierein he becomes a wonderful example 
for us — he looked not at his own things, dis- 
missed them from his mind, and thought only 
of the things of others, of humanity and its 
great needs, and, emptying himself of his 
divine majesty and glory, he appeared on 
earth in the. lowliest condition of life, a Gali- 
lean peasant, companion of illiterate fisher- 
men, friend of publicans and sinners. Thus 
be thought not of his divine rank as a means 
of seizure, but drew the world to himself by 
the "cords of a man," and became the magnet 
to attract the hearts of all by becoming the 
world's sacrifice. 

9. Paul proceeds now to the subject of 
the Saviour's exaltation, which includes ver. 
9-11. Compare Eph. 1 : 20-2S. Where- 
fore — in consequence of this course of hu- 
mility and obedience. Gid hath also — 
better, n/so God (Revised Version), the also 
belonging to all that follows and connecting 
God's act of exaltatif)n with Christ's act of 
humiliation. Highly exalted. This is one 
of Paul's peculiarly expressive compounds. 
" A noble compound verb." (Bengel.) Cotn- 
pounds formed by the preposition for 'over' 



above (vnip) are especially frequent in his epis- 
tles. Sec Kom. 5 : 20; 7 : 13; 1 Cor. 12 : 31 ; 2 
Cor. 10 : 14; Eph. 3 : 20, and elsewhere. The 
exiiltation here referred to is Christ's elevation 
to the right hand of God, his investiture as 
King of saints, with full power, dominion, 
and glory. The glory which Christ willingly 
resigned he has received again with greater 
fullness than ever. And given him a name 
— in fulfiUmentof the divine law which Christ 
himself enunciated. (Luke 14 : ii ; is : u.) In place 
of tlie -name which he bore on earth, a name 
so often spoken with contempt and scorn, God 
has given him a most glorious name. This is 
but another way of saying that God has made 
him wht> was once despised most honorable. 
Manj' have discussed the question whtit the 
name of Christ in his glory might be, but it 
seems unnecessary to ttike the. words so liter- 
ally. We have no reason to suppose the 
Saviour's actutil name in heaven to be any- 
thing different from his name on earth, but 
while on earth it was despised, it is now hon- 
ored and destined to be honored universallj'. 
That Jesus still bears his earthly name we are 
almost forced to conclude from the words 
whicli follow in ver. 10. 

10. The purpose of the exaltation of Jesus 
is expressed in this and the following verse; 
namely, that to him may be paid the pro- 
foundest homage of the entire universe. At 
the name should rather be in the nmnc (Re- 
vised Version). It corresponds precisely in 
meaning to the "in my name," which Jesus 
himself makes the condition of acceptable 

pra3'er. (Jolm U: \3, U; 15: 16; 16 : V3, 24, 26.) Our 

Lord declares that in his name the disciples 
shall offer their prayers, and Paul simply ex- 
pands the application of those words to a still 
wider sphere, and prophesies that in that same 
name of Jesus the whole creation shall offer 
its worship. Disciples now acknowledge the 
high worth of the name of Jesus in their 
prayers, but Paul carries us on to the more 
glorious acknowledgment of that name, when 
the whole universe shall bow its knee in the 
name of Jesus, that is, on account of what he is. 



32 



PHILIPPIANS. 



[Ch. II. 



11 And that every tougue sl)ould confess that Jesus 
Clirist is Lord, to the glory of God I lie father. 

12 Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, 
not as in luy preseuce only, but now luiieli more iu my 
absence, work out your owu salvatiou with fear auu 
trembliug: 



11 and that every tongue should confess that Jesus 
Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. 

12 So then, my beloved, even as ye have always 
obeyed, not i as in my presence only, but no* mucli 
more iu my absence, worli out your own salvulion 



1 Some aucieut aulhurities omit as. 



With such an interpretation of the passage, 
there is not the slightest justification of the rit- 
ualistic custom of bowing tiie head when the 
name of Jesus is spoken. Every knee should 
boAV is a figurative description of the act of 
worsliip. Compare Kom. 11 : 4; 14:11; Eph. 
3 : 14. It brings the scene vividly before the im- 
agination, and suggests the vast throng in the 
natural attitude of adoration. Those who pa^' 
tliis worship are all created beings. The Com- 
mon Version, and the Kevised Version also, 
translate things in heaven, etc. ; but though 
the Greek is ambiguous, the masculine form 
is undoubtedly in the apostle's mind, and the 
rendering should be " o/ beings in heaven,^^ 
etc. The beings in heaven are the angels, 
those in or on earth are living men, and those 
under the earth are the dead. 

11. As there will be a universal expression 
of silent homage in the bowing of the knees, 
so there will be a universal expression of audi- 
ble worship in the speaking voices of all cre- 
ated beings. And that every tongue should 
confess. The language is a reminiscence of 
Lsaiah 45 : 23, which is quoted exactly in Rom. 
14 : 11. Compare Rev. 5 : 13. That Jesus 
Christ is Lord. This is the exalted honor 
paid to the Saviour that the whole universe at 
last acknowledges his lordship. Not all will 
do this gladly and heartily, but some with 
love and some with fear; yet all must confess 
—openly and fully,'as the Greek implies— the 
right of Christ to rule. Even those who have 
here said, " we will not have this man to reign 
over us," will then bow their knees in homage, 
and confess his authority. Observe how this 
idea of universality is emphasized by the 
thrice-repeated word 'every.' To the glory 
of God the Father. The exalted position 
of Christ does not in the least detract from the 
glory of the Father, but rather enhances it. 
The honor paid to Christ reflects glory upon 
the Father whose Son he is. The worship of 
the Son cannot be separated from the worship 
of the Father. In the beautiful vision of uni- 



versal worship described in Rev. 5, all crea- 
tures are represented as ascribing " blessing 
and honour and glory and power unto him that 
sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb, 
for ever and ever." 

12-18. Exhortation TO Perfect Obedi- 
ence IN Imitation of this Great Exam- 
ple OF Jesus Christ. — The apostle now 
resumes his exhortation in a form somewhat 
similar to the beginning of this course of 
thought in 1 : 27, urging the Philippians to 
work out (12) the salvation that has already 
been inwrought into their souls (13), keeping 
free from murmurings and dissensions (14), 
and so honoring God in the midst of a wicked 
world (15), and rewarding the apostle for his 
labors (16), who is ready to sacrifice his life, 
if necessary, for them (17), in which case 
they are even to rejoice (18). 

13. Wherefore— because Christ has given 
us such an example of obedience. As ye 
have always obeyed— that is, God, not the 
apostle. In his wise and gracious way, Paul 
first compliments them on their past obedi- 
ence, and then exhorts to a still more perfect 
obedience. Not as in my presence only, 
but now much more in my absence. In 
this and the following clause the thoughts are 
crowded and made somewhat obscure. In- 
stead of saying "as ye have always obeyed in 
my presence, so continue to obey in my ab- 
sence," the apostle substitutes for the words 
"continue to obey" the expressive phrase 
work out your own salvation with fear 
and trembling, transferring the mind in- 
stantly and forciblj^ to the result of such 
obedience, and then, instead of making a 
simple contrast between his presence and his 
absence, he blends with it the suggestion that 
the obedience should be much more earnest 
and complete in his absence; they are not to 
obey as they did in his presence, but ' much 
more' in his 'absence.' The thoughts are 
expressed with such brevity as to render the 
structure somewhat rugged and the exact sense 



Ch. II.J 



PHILIPPIANS. 



33 



13 For it is God which worketh in you both to will I 13 with fear and trembling; for it is God who workeih 
and to do of /tijt good pleasure. iu you boih to will ami lo work, for his good pleas- 

1-1 Do all things without luurmurings and disput- 14 ure. Uo all things without muruiunugs and uues- 
jngs: 



uncertain.* The obedience is suggested by the 
thought of Christ's obedience "unto death" 
(ver. 8), and the working out of salvation cor- 
responds to the glorious reward that he ob- 
tained (vir. mj. The Philippians are e.xhorted 
to be more faithful and earnest in his absence, 
because tliey are now deprived of his help and 
there is a greater need of personal watchful- 
ness and circumspection. Calvin well says: 
"It is the part of hypocrites to do well when 
in the sight of those by whom they wish to be 
approved, but to indulge in freedonis when 
removed from observation." What a rare 
church must that at Philippi have been, that 
Paul could say of them "as ye have always 
obeyed." Compare, also, 1 : 5, "from the 
first day until now." Workout. The com- 
pound verb expresses the idea of ])erseverance 
even to the end. This word gives no support 
to the notion that we can accomplish our own 
salvation; for in the next verse we are told 
tliat it is God that worketh in you. The be- 
liever can only co-operate with God in devel- 
oping the life that God has first imparted. 
Without God there would be no beginning, 
and without him there would be no ending of 
the work. Your own salvation. 'Own' is 
inserted wnth emphasis. Each man must work 
out his ovm salvation. See Winer, p. 151. 
This should engage their thoughts rather 
than the vainglorious ambitions and selfish 
purposes against which he warned them in 
ver. 3 and 4. As Christ, by his obedience, 
secured the highest possible glory, so, by their 
obedience, they will secure their greatest re- 
ward, that is, salvation. With fear and 
trembling. These words occur only three 
times in Paul's epistles, and always in refer- 
ence to obedience: 1 Cor. 2 : 3; 2 Cor. 7 : 15; 
Eph. 6 : 5. The fear is not exactly the fear of 
God, but of the greatness of the task and of 
the possibility of failure; trembling, the phj's- 
ical accompaniment of fear, is added to give 
fullness and completeness to the phrase, with- 
out suggesting any new thought. They are to 
exhibit the utmost solicitude lest they may 



not do enough to make their salvation secure. 
Compare 1 Cor. 10 : 12; Heb. 2 : 3. 

13. For it is God. The apostle now ex- 
presses the encouraging motive to such care- 
ful obedience. The fact tliat God is the Author 
of salvation should encourage us to work out 
our salvation, for he will surely complete the 
work that he has begun (i:b), and it should 
produce fear and trembling, lest we disj)lease 
him by our carelessness and negligence. That 
worketh in you. God begins the work of 
salvation by working in our hearts, and we 
carry that work out to its completion when 
by obedience we yield ourselves up to God. 
The life must first be implanted, wrought in 
us, before we can begin to work it out, to unfold 
and develop it. To will and to do of his 
good pleasure. To God is ascribed both the 
willing and the doing. This doing is not the 
same as that already enjoined upon men (ver. la); 
that was described as ' working out,' carrying 
to the end ((carfpyo^eafle), tliis as 'working in' 
(ivepyehi) — the same word by which he has de- 
scribed God's work. God does not work in 
us the accomplishment of salvation, for that 
would leave man nothing to do, but he im- 
parts to us the willing, the riglit choice, and 
the doing, the moral ability to carry out the 
dictates of the will. That carrying out is our 
own work. (ver. 12.) " We will, but God works 
in us the willing; we work, but G:)d works in 
us the working." (Augustine.) The theolo- 
gians named these two divine operations, pre- 
venting and assisting grace. Of his ^ood 
pleasure — rather/or, /o?- t/ie sake of; that is, 
to satisfy his benevolent disposition. The 
reason of God's action is to be found in the 
promptings of his gracious will. It is "for 
the sake of liis love." (Chrysostom.) Com- 
pare 1 Tim. 2 : 4. 

14. Uo all thin$;s. He here indicates the 
spirit in which the injunction of ver. 12 should 
be carried out, and recalls the previous admo- 
nitions to harmony and unity. (1 :i7; 2. 2, seq.) 
'AH ' is placed first in the Greek with enii)ha- 
sis. All that j'ou do, do in the spirit of cheer- 



' The Common Version seems to connect the words I but the Greek negative would then hay* been oi, not 
' not as in my presence," etc., with the preceding verbs; < m")- See Winer, p. 476. 

C 



34 



PHILIPPIANS. 



[Ch. II. 



15 That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons j 15 tionings; that ye may become blameless and harra- 



of <iod, witlioiil rebuke, in the midst oi' a crooked and 
perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the 
world ; 

16 Holding forth the word of life; that I may rejoice 
in the day of Christ, that 1 have not run in vain, 
neither laboured iu vain. 



less, children of God without blemish in the midst 
of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom 
16 ye are seen as 'lights in tne world, holding forth 
the word of lile: tuat I may liave whereof to glory 
in the day of Christ, tliui 1 did not run iu vaiu 



1 Gr. iuminarie 



fill obedience. "It is better to do nothing 
than to do it with murmurings." (Chrysos- 
tom.) Without murmurings and disput- 

ings. The first is an onomatopoetic word, 
like the English word 'murmuring,' and re- 
fers to exprt^ssed complaints; the second de- 
notes inward questionings. ' Disputings" sug- 
gests a rebellion of the thoughts against God, 
while 'murmurings' may spring merely from 
a bad state of heart; the first arise from a lack 
of faith, the second from a lack of love. There 
is no doubt allusion here to the conduct of the 
children of Israel in the wilderness, whose mur- 
murings at that time became proverbial, (i Cor. 
10:10.) "The slave murmurs, but what son 
■will murmur who, while about his father's 
work, works also for himself " (Chrysostom.) 
15. The apostle here describes the high 
mark they are to aim at. That ye may be 
(rather, /!>ecome)— indicating growth, develop- 
ment. Blameless and harmless. Compare 
in 1 : 10 the twofold description of moral 
righteousness, ' pure and without offence.' 
'Bhinieless' refers to their character in the 
judgment of others; 'harmless' — literally, 
unmixed, pure — to their intrinsic worth. Our 
Saviour uses this word 'harmless' — that is, 
pure, sincere — in his description of what his 
followers should be. (m.-u. lo : le.) The sons of 
Ciod. Omit 'the,' and translate children of 
God. (Revised Version.) It is an emphatic 
summing up of the character expressed in the 
two previous words. Without rebuke (or, 
blemish). They are not only to be children 
of God, but such as are without spot or blem- 
ish. In the midst, etc. In direct and marked 
contrast witli this character, which they should 
exliibit, Paul describes the nature of their 
moral environment. Compare Gal. 1 : 4, "this 
present evil world." Christians are in the 
midstof a crooked and perverse nation (or, 
generation, Revised Version). 'Nation' is 
not a correct translation. Of the two ad- 
jectives the second, 'perverse,' or 'distorted,' 
'twisted,' is stronger tha'i the first, which 
means simply 'crooked.' Tliese words recall 



the characteristic descriptions of Israel in the 
wilderness, especially Deut. 82 : 5, on which 
the apostle's mind seems to have been dwell- 
ing throughout this exhortation. Compare 
also Luke 9 : 41. Because the world is so 
'crooked' and 'perverse' Christians ought all 
the more earnestly to exhibit the character of 
true children of God, a character that is above 
reproach before the tribunal either of the world 
or of the individual conscience, and in which 
no blemish can be discovered even by this 
corrupt generation, which is always so ready 
to carp at God's people, and so perverse and 

j unreasonable in all its criticism. Among 
whom refers logically back to the individuals 
composing the 'generation,' though it has no 

I grammatical antecedent. See "Winer, p. 141; 

I Buttman, p 282. Ye shine (or, aj^j^ear). 

•■ 'Shine' would require the active voice. As 

I lights (or, luminaries, margin of Revised 
Version) — in allusion, not to candles or lamps, 
but to the great luminaries <^)f the heavens. 
In the world should be closely connected 
with the preceding noun, 'luminaries,' de- 
scribing their position in the ph\'sical world, 

j»not with the verb 'appear,' referring to the 

I Christian's position in the moral world. 
"Christ is light, and they are luminaries." 

j For the world ((cdauos), without the article, see 

! Winer, p. 123. 

I 16. Holding forth the word of life. 

I Their oflSce as light givers will be fulfilled 
when they 'hold forth the word of life,' which 

I is moral and spiritual light to the world. 
Meyer translates "possessing the word of 
life," and claims that while the rendering 
'holding forth' is linguistically correct, it is 
not in harmony with the figure of luminaries. 
The objection, however, seems somewhat 
forced. The apostle's mind was probably 
more occupied with the real nature of tlieir 
work than with the figurative representation 
of it just given, and so he used the word 
'holding forth,' rather than some word which 
would more exactly continue the previous 
imagery. Christ is properly the word of life 



Cii. II.] 



PHILIPPIANS. 



35 



17 Yea, and if I be offered upon the sacrifice and : 17 neither labour in vain. Yea, and if I am i offered 
service of your faith, I joy, aud rgoice with you all. upon the sacrifice and service of your faith, 1 joy, 

18 For the same cause also do ye joy, and r^oice 18 and rejoice with you all; and iu the same manner 
with me. | do ye also joy, aud rejoice with me. 



1 Gr. poured out aa a drink-offering. 



(see 1 John 1:1), but the gospel is here meant, 
as tliat which reveals Christ. The expression 
occurs nowhere else in Paul's writings. That 
I may rejoice (rather, /or m.}/ boastbig). In 
1 : 20 Paul speaks of their boasting being in 
him, now of his boasting being in them. 
Compare 2 Cor. 1 : 14. This boasting is only 
an indirect object which they should have 
in view. The primary object is, of course, 
the glory of God and the welfare of men. 
(Since, however, personal appeals from one be- 
loved affect us more sometimes than higher 
inducements, Paul here urges this personal 
consideration upon the Philippians. In 
{against) the day of Christ — laid up, as it 
were, against that day. That I have not 
run in vain — which will be made evident on 
that daj- by the excellent character of his 
Pliililipian converts, (i xhess. 'i: ii», 20.) Neither 
laboured in vain. The familiar metaphor 
of a fot)t-race, appearing in the first verb 'run,' 
now gives place to a literal description. Paul 
was "in labours" often. (2Cor. 6;3; u:23.) 

17. Yea, and if I be offered, etc. The 
personal reference in the last verse leads him 
to add an expression of his willingness to do 
even more for them than he has ever done. 
He is willing, if necessary, to become a mar- 
tyr for their sake?. " Tiiis is to teach the gos- 
pel from the heart, when we are prepared 
with our own blood to sanction what we 
teach." (Calvin.) This martyrdom he con- 
ceives of under the figure of a priest slain 
while' he is offering sacrifice. Tlie victim 
upon the altar is the faith of the Pliilippians, 
which Paul, the ministering priest, is engaged 
in off(!ring up to God when he is slain and his 
blood is poured out — a most holy and precious 
libation. In — that is, in the net 0/— the sac- 
rifice and service of your faith. In speak- 



ing of himself as being "poured out" (see 
margin of Revised Version), there is an evi- 
dent allusion to the pouring out of oblations 
of wine in sacrificing. According to the Jew- 
ish custom, sucii wine offerings were poured 
out at the side of the altar, but Paul in writ- 
j ing to converted heathens has jjrubably in 
] mind the heathen custom in whicii the wine 
was poured upon the victim. Wlietiier it be 
j a mere coincidence, or something higher, 
Paul has nevertheless here foreshadowed not 
only the fact of his subsequent martyrdom, 
but the manner of it — by the sword. ^ I joy, 
— even if thisshould be the case, — and rejoice 
with you all. Some contend for the mean- 
ing "congratulate," in the second verb. 
Meyer especially insists on this meaning, on 
the ground that he could not urge them to re- 
joice in ver. 18 if he had already spoken of 
rejoicing with them. But why not, if he real- 
izes that the statement was a startling one? 
Why may he not repeat, in the form of an in- 
junction, what he had already stated asa fact? 
Such martyrdom would be a cause of joy to 
him,but he suggests that the church also will be 
gainers as well as himself, for, as was well said 
later, " the blood of the martyrs is the seed of 
the church." But realizing how startling tl;o 
suggestion that he rejoices with them, the 
apostle now adds the following injunction: 

18. For the same cause also do ye joy — 
and at the same time remember that in so 
doing you are only sharing a joy I have al- 
ready — and rejoice with me.- 

If their faith and his blood are mingled 
together on the altar, their joy and his should 
be blended over the common sacrifice. Paul 
throughout this Epistle strives to impress upon 
his readers how light a thing he considered it 
to be to offer his life for the .=ake of the gospel. 



iThc form of the hypothesis in the Greek suggests 
the probability of the supposition. His death seems to 
liiiu by no means a remote contingency ; icoi ei would 
suggest the latter notion. Kiihner ^340, 7; Winer, 
p. 444. The present tense (<rircV6o(xat) indicates the 
nearness of the danger. In 2 Tim. 4 : G, where he 
is anticipating immediate death, he uses the same 
tense of this verb. The two nouns, Bvaia and Aci- 
rovpyiff, have but a single article to show that they 



form a single conception. Hence, the first is the act 
of sacrificing (Herodotus 4,60; 8, 99), not the victim, 
and the second is added to describe the piieslly 
service which accompanied the sacrifice. The pre- 
ceding preposition signifies 'in,' if Svaia be inter- 
preted as an action ; ' upon,' if it be lalien to mean 
victim. 

• The pronoun (outo) is accusative after the verb and 
denotes cause, not manner, as in the Revised Vcisiou. 



36 



PHILIPPIANS. 



[Ch. II. 



19 But I trust in tbe Lord Jesus to send Tiuiotheus 
shortly uiito you, that I also may be of good comfort 
when 1 know your state. 

■20 For 1 have no luan likemioded, who will naturally 
care for your state. 

jil For all seek their own, not the things which are 
Jesus Christ's. 



19 But I hope in the Lord Jesus to send Timothy 
shortly unto you, that 1 also may be of good coui- 

20 fort, wlieu I know your state. I'or 1 have uo man 
likemiuded, wlio will care ' truly lor your stale. 

21 For they all seek their own, not the things ot Jesus 



1 Gr. genuinely. 



" The death of the just is no subject for tears, 
but for joy. If they rejoice, we should rejoice 
with them. For it is misplaced for us to weep 
while they rejoice." (Chrysostom.) 

19-24. The Apostle's Purpose to Send 
Timothy.— Tiie apostle declares his purpose 
of sending Timothy (19), whose character he 
most highly eulogizes (20), in contrast with his 
fellow-laborers (21), appealing at tlie same 
time to the knowledge which the Phiiippians 
had of him (22) ; and after reiterating his in- 
tention to send him (23), he expresses a hope 
of soon coming himself (24). 

19. But (&e). Paul now passes to the new 
topic of his assistants and messengers, speak- 
ing first of Timothy. The connection with the 
foregoing is as follows: In ver. 17 and 18 he 
had spoken of the possibility of his death, 
which his language suggests as probable; but 
that conviction now, as elsewhere in this 
Epistle, seems to yield at once to the opposite 
expectation of a speedy release, or at least of 
such an improvement in his affairs that he can 
dispense with Timothy's presence and services. 

I trust, rather, hope. (Kevised Version.) 
The verb in the Greek has an emphatic posi- 
tion in the sentence. He hopes, notwithstand- 
ing his exposure to death, to be delivered, and 
to be able to send Timothy whom he could not 
have spared in case he had been condemned to 
die. In the Lord Jesus. See above, 1 : 4, 
and below, ver. 24. These words are per- 
fectly natural to the great apostle, who cotild 
not even hope for anything except in complete 
submission to the Lord's will. It was in the 
Lord he hoped, as in the Lord his whole life 
moved. Shortly — that is, as soon as he learns 
what disposition is to be made of his case (see 
ver. 2:3), which he here intimates will be very 
soon. To send Timothy unto you, etc.' 

The purpose of this mission of Timothy was 
to inform Paul more fully abotit the condition 
of the Philippian Church, but with his custom- 



ary delicacy he indicates his confidence in 

them by his expectation of comfort from 
Timothy's report." That I also may be of 
good comfort. The verb here used is found 
nowhere else in the New Testament, and rarely 
anywhere. The imperative is sometimes found 
on sepulchres in the sense of "farewell." 
Also. The Phiiippians will be comforted by 
hearing from him, and he expects also to be 
comforted by news from them. 

20. The reason why he selects Timothy. 
liike-minded — that is, with Timothy, not 
with Paul, as many commentators explain it. 
He naturallj' compares Timothy with the rest 
of his assistants, and says: "I have no one 
like him." The other comparison seems un- 
natural and egotistic, though Meyer thinks 
the apostle could not recommend him better. 
Who (oo-Tts), signifies ''of such a character 
that," and what follows shows wherein Tim- 
othy differs so remarkably from all the rest. 
Will naturally {yvrtada^ — that is, \>y a certain 
natural instinct. Demosthenes uses the same 
word of a genuine son in opposition to an 
adopted son, and uses the adverb here em- 
ployed to signify an inherited and instinctive 
manner. Hence the apostle intimates that 
Timoth3''s interest will not be forced or feigned, 
but spontaneous and natural. Care — tha"t is, 
with anxious solicitude. Our Saviour uses 
this word when he forbids thought of the 
morrow. See Matt. G : 84. Timothy must 
have been a more than ordinary character to 
have won such high praise from a man like 
Paul, whose regard and affection continued 
unabated to the end of his life. 

21. In contrast with this beautiful character 
of Timothy the apostle describes the selfish- 
ness of the rest. For all seek their own. 
"It was a very keen sense by which Paul per- 
ceived this.'' (Bengel.) So severe has this 
censure seemed, that many have attempted to 
soften it by weakening the force of the words 



I The dative {vf^iv) is a peculiar but not nnclassical I the ordinary construction would be irpbo- vna^. See ver. 
a»age, implying that the mission was for their benefit ; ' 25. 



Ch. IL] 



PHILIPPIANS. 



017 



22 But ye know the proof of him, thai, as a sun with 
the father, he liath .served with me in I lie Kuspel. 

•^ Him therefore 1 hope to send presently, so soon as 
I shall set liow it will gu with me 

24 but I trust iu the Lord that I also myself shall 
come shortly. 



22 Christ. But ye know the proof of him, that, as a 
child serveth a father, so he served with lue in 

23 furtherance of the gospel. Him iherelore I Iiope to 
send forthwith, so soon a.s 1 sh;ill see how it will go 

24 with me : but 1 trust, iu the Lord that 1 myself also 



t(» "almost all," but this is not permissible. 
The only modificaiioii allowable, springs not 
from the language, but from a consideration 
of the fact, that only those avtiilable for such 
a mission, not the entire Roman brotherhood, 
can be here alluded to, and that, with the ex- 
ception of Timotliy, none of the apostle's well- 
known friends and associtites tippear to have 
been in liome at this time. This certainly 
seems evident from the absence of any such 
greetings from individuals at the close of the 
Epistle as Paul was accustomed to send. It is 
of course impossible to tell on whom the 
apostle's censure rested, but probably Demas 
was a representative of the class. How differ- 
ent a picture of the apostolic church these few 
words give us, from that almost perfect vision 
which floats before our imagination, when the 
primitive church is mentioned! Judged by 
such hints as these from the writings of Paul, 
— the most charitable of critics, — the apostolic 
church was not only not the ideal church manj' 
imagine it to have been, but far inferior to the 
churches in modern times. How sorely Paul's 
heart was tried by the fickleness and worldli- 
ness of co-laborers, appears most clearly in an 
epistle, written at a later date, the Second to 
Timothy. 

23. The Philippians from their own knowl- 
edge are able to substantiate Paul's good 
opinion of Timothy, for they know the 
proof of him, or rather his approved char- 
acter. Conifiare 2 Cor. 2: 9; 9 : 13. "Rare 
praise." (Bengel. ) Timothy had been present 
at Philippi twice in Paul's company. (Acts 
16: 1, 3, compared with 19 : 22; 20 : 4.) He 
may also have been there at other times, as 
Paul svas accustomed to send him upon special 
embassies to the churches. See 1 Cor. 4 : 17; 
16 : 10. At any rate, he seems to have been 
personally well known to the church there. 

The following sentence contains the sub- 
stance of their persontil e.xperiencc with Timo- 
thy ; he had assisted Paul as a son with a 
father. In writing this thought the apostle 



begins as if he were about to say, as a son 
serves a father he has served me, but his nice 
sense of propriety restrains him from si)eaking 
of anj' one serving himself", and so he changes 
the construction and says, he hath served 
with me.' 

This service had been rendered in the gos- 
pel — or, as in Revised Version, "in further- 
ance of the gospel." 

23. Him therefore. The jironoun is put 
first with emphasis; this one, being such, I 
hope to send. In .ver. 19, where the hope was 
the chief thought in his mind, we have tlie 
verb first. So soon as I shall see. The 
verb means see from a distance, hence to see 
forward to the end. Compare Heb. 12 : 2. As 
soon as Paul sees clearly how it will go with 
him (literall3% the things concerning me) he 
will send Timothy. To what special matters 
he alludes is uncertain, but it is evident that 
he was looking for some immediate change in 
his condition, for better or for worse. The 
Common Version translates the adverb pre- 
sently, but it is rather immediately, ov, forth- 
with (Revised Version), indicating a netirer 
point of lime, while "shortly," in the next 
verse points forward to a more distant, though 
still near future. He will send Timothy im- 
mediately' and come himself soon. 

24. But I trust in the Lord that I also 
shall come shortly. His expectation of soon 
coming himself is like his hope of sending 
Timothy 'in the Lord.' Compare James 
4 : 15. We observe the same wavering and 
uncertainty about his future as in 1 : 22, seq. ; 
but here, its there, hope of release predomi- 
nates. Compare Philem. 22, where he ex- 
presses a more assured expectation of freedom. 
Whether this expectation was realized or not 
cannot be satisfactorily determined, but the 
intimations of the pastoral epistles, as well as 
the unvarying testimony of tradition, are all 
in favor of the view that his hope was ful- 
filled. 

25-30. Information Concerning his 



iTbe dative is due to this fiiet construction which was in the apostle's mind, and depends on the verb 
[SovXevei) understood. 



38 



PHILIPPIANS. 



[Ch. IL 



25 Yet I supposed it necessary to send to you 
EpapliruUitus, my brother, and companion in labour, 
and fellow soldier, but your messenger, and he that 
ministered to my wants. 

26 For he lougetl after you all, and was full of 
heaviness, because that ye had heard th«t he had been 
sick. 

27 For indeed he was sick nigh unto death : but God 



25 shall come shortly But 1 counted it necessary to 

send to you Epaphrouitus, uiy brother aud fellow- 
worker and fellow-.soidicr, and your i messenger aud 

26 minister to my need; since belonged -after you all, 
and was sore troubled, because ye bad heard that he 

27 was sick: for indeed he was sick nigh unto death: 



1 Gr. apostle '2 Mau}' aucieni aullioritiea read to see you all. 



Present Me.ssenger, Epaphroditus. — 

Tlie apostle thinks it necessary to send Epaph- 
roditus (25), on accountof that disciple's home- 
sickness (26), who had hut jtist recovered from 
an almost fatal illness (27). Hence, the apostle 
makes haste to send him (28), urging the Phil- 
ippians, at the same time, to receive him with 
all joy (29), because he had risked his very 
life for the work of Christ (30). 

25. Notwithstanding the probability that 
Timothy, and even he himself, will soon visit 
them, I supposed' it necessary to send to 
you Epaphroditus — that is, at present, for 
the reason explained in ver. 26-28. He was 
verj' likely a resident of Philippi (there is no 
reason to identify him with the Epaphras of 
Col. 1:7; 4 : 12, who was a Colossisin Chris- 
tian), and is supposed by some to have been 
the pastor of the cliurch. Paul evinces his 
high regard for him by the manner in which 
he refers to him. He calls him his brother, 
fellow-worker, and fellow-soldier, in which 
descrii)tion we observe a climax; he shares 
the same relationship, toils, dangers; he is also 
the Phil'ipjiians' 'me.ssenger' and 'minister' 
to the apostle. The first of these last two epi- 
thets is used in its etymological significance, 
"one sent." Compare 2 Cor. 8:23. There 
is no allusion to his "apostleship" in an3' 
sense. He is also the 'minister' to the apos- 
tle's needs by bringing a contribution from 
the Philippians to him. See 4: 18. The sim- 
ple verb in the Greek "to send" is u.sed in 
the sense of the compound to send back, a 
common usage. If, however, as Bengel con- 



jectures, Epaphroditus had been sent to stay 
with the apostle, the simi)le form would be 
the more appropriate ; as his cotnpitnion, he 
simply sends him. 

26. The reason for his sending Epaphrodi- 
tus was chiefly his homesickness. For lie 
longed— is lonyuig. Epistolary imperfect. 
See on ver. 25.^ In this longing "something 
of nature may have been mingled, but when 
grace prevails all things are estimated by 
love." (Bengel.) And was {is) lull of 
heaviness. Suidas detines this verb as sig- 
nifying " tobe exceedingly sorrowful." Others 
make the meaningtobe "foreign" (from aand 
fi^Mos), and hence "homeless," "wretched." In 
either case it is a strong word, expressive of 
great distress of mind, and is used by Matthew 
to describe our Lord's agony in the garden. 
(Matt. 26 : 37.) Because that ye had (or, 
have) heard. In some way unknown to us, 
Epaphroditus had heard that the news of his 
sickness had reached Philippi, and ])robably, 
also, that the Philippians were much distressed 
about him ; and this information had produced 
a deep feeling of h(miesickness, a feeling so 
intense that the apostle describes it as a condi- 
tion of mental wretchedness. In the very words 
of this description we realise the tenderness 
of the apostle's sympathy with the homesick 
disciple. 

27. The report the Philippians had received 
was true, for^ indeed he was sick. The 
sickness had been well nigh fatal, hut God 
had restored him, showiricr mercy not to him 
alone, but to Paul also, whose heart would 



1 The tense of the principal verb in this and ver. 2G 
and 28 is aorist, but probably refers to the very time 
when Paul was writing, and, therefore, according to 
English usage, should be translated as present. In 
letters, the Greek custom was to assume the standpoint 
of the receiver, and to put the writer's present thoughts 
and purpo.ses into a past tense. We should, however, 
say, " I think it necessary," " he is longiog after you all 
and is full of heaviness," etc. See Winer, p. 278; Good- 
win's " Greek Mood.s and Tenses," § 17, note 5. The 
tenses in these verses we suppose to be epistolary aorist 



and imperfect, in accordance with the very prnhaWe 
conjecture that Epaphroditus was the bearer of this 
Epistle. 

>The Greek participle and the copula are more ex- 
pressive than the finite verb, ju.st as "is longing" in 
English pictures the condition better than the simple 
" lonps." See Winer, p. .'?4S, 

8 The words leaX yap express a strong confirmation ; 
they imply a suppressed thought: and (the informa- 
tion received was true) for, etc. See Iladley's " Greek 
Grammar," 870 a. d. 



Ch. 1L] 



PHILIPPIANS. 



39 



had mercy on hitu ; and not on him only, but on uie 
also, lest I should have sorrow upon sorrow. 
. '26 1 sent him therefore the mole carefully, that, when 
ye see him again, ye may rejoice, and that 1 may be 
the less sorrowful. 

29 Keceive him therefore in the Lord with all glad- 
ness; and hold such in reputatiou: 

3j Because for the work of I'hrist he was nigh unto 
death, uot regarding his life, to supply your lack of 
service toward me. 



but God had mercy on him; and not on him only, 
but on me also, that I might not have sorrow upon 

28 sorrow. 1 have sent him therefore the moie (iili- 
getitly, that, when ye see him ugaiii, ye may re- 

29 ioice,'and that 1 may be the less sorrowful. Keceive 
hiiu therefore in the Lord with all j<py : and hold such 

30 in houour; becau.se for tlie work of ' t'hrist he came 
nigh unto death, hazarding his life to supply that 
which was lacking in your service toward me. 



1 M:iuy aucieul uuLhoriiies read the Lord. 



liiive been weiglied down by sorrow upon 
sorrow had he been taken away. To tlie 
sorrow of his own inipri.«onment and suffer- 
ings would liave been added the greater sor- 
row of tlie loss of his dear friend. How beau- 
tifully the apostle describes the blessing of 
Epaphrodituss recovery as God's mercy to 
himself! " He does not boast of stoical apath3% 
us if he had been insensible and exempt from 
liuman affections.'' (Calvin.) This whole 
passage shows that the apostolic gift of mirac- 
ulous power was not one to be used at any time. 
Such power was "the sign of an apostle" 
(2 Cor. 12:12), and was probably only used as an 
attestation qf their divine mission. Some di- 
vine intimation was undoubtedly given when 
its use was permitted. In all other cases, the 
apostles were relegated to the same resource 
as other Christians; namely, the throne of 
God, where they could bring their burdens 
and cast them on the Lord (P'<.55:22) in prayer, 
and hope for the same sustaining grace that is 
granted to all believers. 

28. I sent (."srwO— epistolary aorist. See 
on ver. 2.5. Therefore— on account of his 
state of mind. The more carefully— rather, 
speedify; that is. than I should otherwise 
have done. See Winer, p. 248. In the last 
part of this verse we have another exquisite 
phrase, flowing right from the apostle's heart, 
that ye may rejoice, and I be the less 
sorrowful. Paul could not use the word 
'rejoice' of himself in these circumstances, 
for his heart was naturally sad at parting with 
his companion, but he would at least be less 
8(^rrowful, as he thought of the joy of the 
greeting in Philippi between these beloved 
friends.' 

29. Receive him therefore— that is, in 



accordance with my purpose in sending him, 
of making you glad. As Paul has intended to 
increase their joy, the3' should welcome him 
with all gladness (joy), and ahso in the Lord 
— that is, with a trulj- Christian greeting (com- 
pare Rom. 16 : 2) ; and hold such in rep- 
utation — or, honor. The apostle glances aside 
at the whole brotherhood of Christian workers, 
and bespeaks for them the regard of the Phil- 
ippiaiis ; at the same time, his wider referenco 
is but the glance of his eye, as it were; for ho 
continues in the next verse to speak of the 
great merits of Epai)hroditus and his high 
deserts. 

30. The sickness of Epaphroditus had been 
incurred in the way of duty. Paul does not 
tell us definitely either the cause or character 
of this sickness; he simply informs us that it 
was contracted while engaged in the Lonl's 
service. It seems most probable that he had 
brought it upon himself on the journey to 
Rome by his anxious desire to reach the ajuis- 
tle rather than by his attendance upon the 
apostle in his imprisonment. It hardly com- 
ports with what we know of Paul's generous 
regard for the health and comfort of others to 
sui>pose that he would suffer Epaphroditus to 
receive an injury by over-exertion in attend- 
ance upon himself. Not regarding his life. 
The exact reading of the original is here un- 
certain. Tlie manuscripts give us two words, 
both of them peculiar: "lightly regarding" 
(wopaPouAcuffafxei'oO. and "staking," "hazard- 
ing" (irapa3oX€u<r<i(xtio«). As the former has the 
more familiar sound, being a compound of a 
common verb, it is more likely to have been 
substituted for the latter by some copyist than 
the reverse. Besides, the latter is better at- 
tested, being found in the best manuscripts.* 



tin accordance with PauVs rule of placing >rdXt. I c The verb from which this participle oon.os occurs n»- 
either before the verb or immediately after it, the where else, but is evidently derived from napa$oKo, 
translation should be "that when ye see bin,, ye may "staking." "risking." and u.eans " "> ^'"•'t;, '" 
rejoice a«ain," rather than as in the Common and the \ hazard," just as n.p..p.v,<rea. from -^P-'^O"^^ l>o«t. 
E^vised Versions, " wheu ye see bim again." etc. ' ing," " bragging." means " to boast, to brag. 



40 



PHILIPPIANS. 



[Ch. III. 



CHAPTEK III. 



FINALLY, my brethren, rejoice in the Lord. To 
write the same things to you, to me indeed is not 
grevious, but for you it u safe. 



1 Finally, my brethren, i rejoice in the Lord. To 
write the same thiugs to you, to me indeed is not 



1 Ov, farewell. 



Epaphroditus is represented as staking his life 
as a gambler stakes his money. In using this 
word Paul did not probably intend to convey- 
any reproach, but only to mark his utter in- 
trepidity and unselfishness. He had, with an 
almost recklessness of holy zeal, risked his 
very life for the work of Christ, and the 
prominent mention of this purpose of his devo- 
tion relieves the apostle's language of any 
appearance of the censure that might lie in the 
word he uses. In after times certain brother- 
hoods, who nursed the sick and buried the 
dead, were called parabolnni, a name doubt- 
less derived from this very passage. To sup- 
ply your lack of service toward me. The 
apostle has told us that Epaphroditus fell sick 
while engaged in the work of Christ, and now 
he defines more particularly the special task 
on which he was bent — that is, (supplying the 
Philippians' lack of service toward himself. 
The original does not contain the slight tinge 
of reproach to the church which the English 
version seems to convey, but suggests rather a 
graceful compliment botli to Epsiphroditus and 
to the Philippians. Epaphroditus, he says, 
sougiit to supply the lack of you in the service 
rendered me.^ Luther's version well expresses 
the sense: "that he might serve me in j'our 
stead" How delicately he suggests that the 
ahsence of the Pliilippians was a sort of flaw 
in the gift, which their presence would have 
made perfect, but which tlieir messenger ex- 
erted himself most zealously to su)>ply. With 
such zeal and even recklessness did he enter 
into the spirit of the church in their heartfelt 
contribution, that he exposed his life to utmost 
danger, and by this noble unselfishness made 
up, as it were, for the lack of the personal 
ministrations of the Philippians in bringing 



tiiis partial lack, until the whole transaction 
was complete. Erasmus well defines the mean- 
ing of the compound verb as "to fill by addi- 
tion what was lacking to perfect fullness." 
Compare 1 Cor. 16: 17; 2 Cor. 11 : 9; Gal. 6:2; 
Col. 1 : 24. Menken well says of the mission 
of Epaphroditus: " It was not a trifling act for 
a Christian, one of a sect everywhere spoken 
against, everywhere hated and oppressed, 
which found no protection under Jewish or 
Gentile rule, to travel from Philippi to Rome, 
in order to carry aid to a Christian teacher, an 
apostle, yea, the hated and now imprisoned 
Paul, over whose approaching death his ene- 
mies were already rejoicing, and take iiis 
stand publicly before the world, by the side of 
this man, and say, 'I am his friend." 



Ch. 3 : 1-16. Warning Against False 
Teachers Enforced by a Reference to 
His Own Example. — Apparently ahout to 
bring his Epistle to a close (1), Paul is led, 
by some unknown occasion of thouglit or 
suggestion, to utter an indignant warning 
against fsilso teachers (2), which serves to 
introduce the contrast of his own example 
(3). After a rapid sketch of l)is superior 
claims from a Judaistic and legal point of 
view (4-6), he declares his utter renunciation 
of all such claims (7, 8), and his entire re- 
liance on Christ (9, 10), together with his 
humble striving after perfection (12-14), and 
urges his readers to imitate his examjile and 
to walk in unity (16). 

1. Finally. In Paul's writings this word 
generally indicates the near close of an Epis- 
tle, and serves to introduce an additional ex- 
hortation, warning, encouragement, etc. See 
ch. 4 : 8; Eph. 6 : 10; 2 Cor. 18 : 11 ; 2 Thess. 



and presenting their gift. The compound verb j 3 : 1. Sometimes the concluding portion is 
is appropriately and even elegantly chosen, as I considerably prolonged, as in First Thessa- 
it hints that th^ vacuum was only partial, ! lonians, where it occupies two chapters. The 



while the simple verb would have suggested 
an entire vacuum. Epaphroditus filled up 



use of this word would seem to indicate tl»at 
Paul was about to bring his letter to a close. 



' According to the interpretation given above, the 
personal pronoun ufiir belongs only to the noun iicrrep- 
Ifia, " lack of you," while the following genitive de- 



notes in what respect: "in respect to the service ren- 
dered me." Bee Winer, p. I'JL 



Ch. III.] 



PHILIPPIANS. 



41 



2 Beware of dogs, beware of evil workers, beware of j 2 irksome, but for you it is safe. Beware of the dogs, 
the coucisiou. beware of tbe evil workers, beware of ihe couci&iou : 



and the remarks about timothy and Epaph- 
roditus in the last chapter point in the same 
direction, for it was Paul's custom to refer to 
his feliow-hiborers at the end of his Epistles; 
but the abrupt change of tone in ver. 2 sug- 
gests that he was diverted from that purpose. 
The mere length of the concluding portion 
would not necessarily indicate a change of 
plan, but the difference of manner is so great, 
with no ostensible cause for it, as to lead us to 
adopt the explanation that he met with some 
kind of interruption, after which he took up 
an entirely new train of thought. It would 
appear as if the apostle when he wrote 
'finally' was about to utter those general 
exhortations and concluding messages which 
occupy 4 : 4-23, since he begins with the in- 
junction 'rejoice,' found in 4: 4, and all be- 
tween seems like a lengthy digression. Re- 
joice. This joy is to be in the Lord, not the 
joy of worldlings, but "spiritual gladness." 
(Theodoret. ) How constantly this suggestive 
phrase drops from the pen of tlie apostle ! ' In 
the Lord' his whole life and thought moved, 
as in their proper sphere. Joy in the Lord is 
one of the fruits of the Spirit. (Gal. 6 : 22 ; 
compare Kom. 14 : 17; 1 Thess. 1:6.) To 
write the same things. Much controversy 
has arisen over the exact reference of these 
words, and a perfectly satisfactory decision 
seems unattainable. The simplest solution is 
to refer tlieni to the preceding words, 'rejoice 
in the Lord,' but why should he saj', for you 
it is safe, to have such an injunction continu- 
ally repeated? That word 'safe' evidently 
implies a reference to warning rather than 
encouraging words. Besides, the exhortation 
is not repeated, for it has not appeared before 
in this Epistle. If then we refer this apology 
to the following words, in what way are tliey 
re))pated? They also have notappeared before 
in tliis Epistle. They must then have occurred 
in his oral instructions, in his communications 
by means of messengers, or in some other let- 
ter. But in the first two cases he would not 
have said 'to write the same thing.s,' for he 
had not written them before; but he would 
either have used some word including both 



oral and written forms of communication, as 
"to repeat, to advise," or in some other way 
have suggested such a reference. Certainly 
the words, as they stand, indicate that he had 
written these things before somewhere, and 
hence we are driven to the sujiposition of some 
written comtnunication to the Philippians, no 
longer in existence. Tiiere seems in the minds 
of many a strong aversion against believing 
that any written words of an apostle could 
have been lost; but what of the letter to the 
Laodiceans? Is it hard to believe that Paul 
wrote more tlian once to a church so well 
beloved, as that at Piiilippi, wliich had again 
and again contributed to his necessities? To 
set this conclusion almost beyond doubt, we 
have in the Epistle of Polycarp to the Philip- 
pians a reference to the letters (plural) which 
the Apostle Paul wrote them. (3 : 2, and Zahn's 
Note.) Admitting then the reference to such 
a previous written communication, we njust 
suppose that Paul had therein warned the 
Philippians against false teachers. Something 
now calls his attention at this point to the in- 
sidious efforts of those false teachers to corrupt 
his disciples and destroy his teachings, and he 
bursts out into a vehement warning against 
them, prefixing first as an apology the state- 
ment that he is willing to write, and they nei^d 
to hear the same things. "Men are dull to 
conceive, hard to believe, apt to forget, slow 
to practice heavenly truths, and had there- 
fore great need to have them much pressed 
and often inculcated." (Trapp. ) With this 
interpretation we must suppose a longer or 
shorter pause between the two sentences in 
this verse, after wliich the apostle proceeds in 
an entirely different strain. Another notable 
example of such an entire change of manner 
is found in the concluding portion of Second 
Corinthians, commencing at chapter 10. 

2. The abruptness with which these warn- 
ings are introduced and their peculiar form, 
gives plausibility to Meyer's view, that they 
are couched in the very same words previously 
employed. Beware' — rather, behold. Com- 
pare Mark 4: 24; ICor. 1 : 26; 10: 18; 2Jolin8. 
This meaning, however, involves the other: 



1 ' Beware ' would require the proposition owd after the verb. See Mark 8 : 15 ; 12 : 38. 



42 



PHILIPPIANS. 



[Ch. III. 



"see and you will beware." (Bengel.) It is 
tlirice repeated in the intensity of his feeling, 
"like three peals of a trumpet." Of (^Aei) 
dogs. (Revised Version.) 

Some commentators have tried to distinguish 
three classes of opponents in this threefold 
description, but we are rather to see three dif- 
ferent designations of the same hostile party, 
describing them according to their character, 
activity, and creed. They are "Jews, who 
preach at the same time both Christianity 
and Judaism, corrupting the gt)spel." (Chry- 
sostom.) First, we have their character indi- 
cated by the contemptuous term ' dogs.' The 
dog is not the friend and companion of man 
in the Orient, as he is among Western nations. 
There he is an object of utter contempt. He 
roams the streets, without a home or master, 
lives on vile refuse, quarrels with other curs, 
and snaps viciously at every passer-by. Hence 
in all Oriental literature and language 'dog' 
is a most opprobious epithet. The Moham- 
medans at this day apply it to Christians; the 
ancient Jews applied it to all Gentiles ; while 
the Greek also used the word contemptuously, 
though not applying it to any special nation 
or religion. A hint of an occasionally difterent 
and higher view of the dog is aflbrded in the 
sLory of Ulysses' dog Argos. (Odyssey 17, 
290, seq. Compare also ^schylus "Agam- 
emnon" 590.) By the term 'dog' the Jews 
meant to suggest the idea of impurity, and 
hence applied it to all foreigners, who were at 
least ceremonially impure and profane. (Deut. 
23; 18; Matt. 15:26.) In the mouth of a Grcck the 
word symbolized "impudence." Paul now 
retorts upon these Jewish teachers the very 
word of reproach they were accustomed to 
hurl at the Gentiles. " They are now called 
dogs, who are unwilling to be the Israel of 
God." (Bengel.) To the foregoing figurative 
description of their character, he now adds a 
literal description of their activity'. Evil 
workers. Compare 2 Cor. 11 : 13. The well- 
known Jewish zeal and activity (Rom. lo: 2) char- 
acterized this dangerous party in the Christian 
Church, and the results of this activity were as 
bad as that of the Pharisees, who compassed 
sea and land to make one proselyte ; and made 
him twofold more a son of hell than them- 
selves. (Mait.2S:i5.) They Were ' cvil workers,' 



for they were working against God. "They 
work, but for a bad end, and a work that is 
much worse than idleness, for they tear up the 
foundations that have been well laid." (Clip'- 
so.stom.) Lastly, he styles them the cou- 
cision, in contemptuous allusion to their 
peculiar pride and boast. They boasted of 
their circumcision, but Paul would not allow 
them this noble term, and so by a sarcastic 
paranomasia he describes them astheconcioion, 
the mutilation, ("curti Judaei," "Hor. Sat." 
1, 9, 70.) The corresponding verb is used by 
the Septuagint to describe such cuttings and 
mutilations as were forbidden by the Mosaic 

law. (Lev.21:5; 1 Kings 18 ; 28.) HcnCC Paul Would 

indicate by the use of this term, that the cir- 
cumcision in which they gloried was, afterall, 
nothing but a mutilation of the body, such as 
the heathen delighted in. " They did nothing 
but to cut their flesh." (Chrysostom.) There 
was nothing more to it, no spiritual signifi- 
cance, such as alwaj's was the case with true 
circumcision, even under the Old Covenant. 

(Deut. 10: 16 ; 30: 6; Jer. 4:4 ; Rom. 2: 28, 29.) Paul Spcaks 

in this contem.ptuous way of circumcision, be- 
cause in the case of these false teachers it had 
lost all spiritual significance and worth ; at the 
same time he never combats the observance of 
the rite among born Jews (i cor. 7:i8, 19), but 
only the thrusting of it upon the Gentiles 
(Gal. 5: 1,2), contrary to the spirit of the gospel. 
In the case of Timothy, Paul himself per- 
formed the rite, in order to give him a greater 
influence over the Jews (Acts le : 3) ; but he reso- 
lutely refused to allow Titus, a Gentile, to be 
circumcised (Gai. 2:3.5), and in this he was sup- 
ported by the other apostles, who in the cele- 
brated conference at Jerusalem drew up a sort 
of programme for the Gentile churches, in 
which circumcision is not even mentioned. 
(Acts 15: 23-29.) For a Still more sarcastic allusion 
to circumcision, see Gal. 5 : 12. Such plays on 
words are common to all languages. Meyer 
refers to Luther's tendency in this direction. 
They are more frequent in Paul's writings 
than elsewhere in the New Testament. (See 
Winer, p. 636.) 

The party here referred to cannot be those 
mentioned in 1 : 15, because he does not speak 
of a danger threatening the church in Rome, 
but of a danger menacing the Philippians 



1 The article indicates a well-known class. 



Ch. III.] 



PHILIPPIANS. 



43 



3 For we are the circumcision, which worship God in 
the spirit, anil rijoice iu Christ Jesus, and nave no 
contiiieiice in tliu lli-sh. 

4 Though J might also have contideiice in the flesh. 
If any other uian thiuketh that he haih whereof he 
might trust iti the llesh, 1 more: 



3 for we are the circumcision, who worship 1/y the 
Spirit of (jod, and glory in Christ Jesus, and have 

4 no confidence in the tlesli ; tliough 1 myself might 
have contitlence even in the tlesh : il any oiher 
man ^ thiuiceth to have contidence iu the flesh, I 



1 Or, aeemetk. 



themselves ; nor of a peculiar phase of Chris- 
tian teacliing, but of anti-Christian teacliing, 
whose aim was to lead the Gentile Christians 
over to Judaism. It was undoubtedly the 
same party against which he inveighs so vehe- 
mently in the letter to the Galatians, only here 
they had not yet found a foothold as in Gala- 
tia, because had that been the case, Paul would 
surely have blamed the Philippians, as he did 
the Galatians ; but he does not allude to a 
single trace of doctrinal impurity in the former 
church. The danger in their case was a threat- 
ening danger. Whether the Jewish party 
liad 3'et appeared there, is uncertain, but it is 
evident that Paul apprehended its immediate 
advent, if it was not already present. When 
it is remembered that the violent antagonism 
of the Jews drove him out of tlie neighboring 
city of Tliessalonica, on his first appearance 
there, and even pursued him to the city of 
Berea, and drove him away from there also 
(Acts 17:514), it will not sccm at all strange tliat 
Paul should have felt called upon to warn the 
Philippians most earnestly against this insidi- 
ous Jewish activity. 

3. He now proceeds to show why he has 
characterized those Judaizers as 'the con- 
cision,' by describing the true circumcision. 
For we, emphatic by position ; not they, but 
we — whether circumcised in the flesh or not 
— who are described in the following words: 
" If you must seek circumcision, he .«ays, you 
will find it among us who worship (?od in 
spirit." (Chrysostom.) Since Christ has come 
who is " the end of the law for righteousness" 
(Rom. 10:4), and has abrogated the old circum- 
cision with all the rest of the ceremonial law 
(Col. 3:11), the onl3' genuine circumcision is that 
of the heart. (coi.2:ii.) " Bodily circumcision 
was now useless, nay hurtful." (Bengel.) In 
the three following clauses, which form an 
anti-climax, the features of the truly circum- 
cised are delineated. Which worship God 
in the Spirit— or, by the Spirit of God. 
(Revised Version.) This rendering, though 
an unusual form of expression, is founded upon 
a better reading in the Greek than that on 



which the Common Version is based. Tlie 
verb (Aarpeuoi'Tes) is the ordinary, and almost 
technical one for describing the peculiar wor- 
ship of Israel (Lukea.a?; Acis^B:?; Heb.:9:9; 10:2; 

Rom. 9:*), and so quietly suggests, that the true 
form of worship, which was once characteristic 
of the Jewisli people alone, has been trans- 
ferred to the Christian Churcli. According to 
Paul, Christianity is the true succes.sor of 
Judaism ; Christians possess the true circum- 
cision, and ofler the true worship. Assi.<ted by 
the Holy Ghost, who " helpetii our infirmi- 
ties " (Rom. 8:2fi), Christians are enabled to 
offer that worship which the Father seeks, a 
worship unfettered by forms or iilaces; which 
may he presented anywhere and at any time, 
for which the open field is a sanctuary as well 
as temple or church, and whose chief features 
are spirituality and truth. (john4:23. 24; Rom.s.) 
And rejoice (glory) in Christ Jesus — not 
in anything outwiird, in distinctions and 
badges and "carnal ordinances, imposed until 
the time of reformation " (Hei>. 9:io), or in works 
of rigliteousness (Gill. 2:16), but in him who is 
the fountain of our spiritual life. (Gai.6:i4.) 
Compare Jer. 9 : 23, 24. Having in Christ all 
that was tyi)ified in the rites and ceremonies of 
the Old Covenant, possessing in him the sub- 
stance itself, ihey could not, like those Juda- 
izers, esteem so highly the ancient and vener- 
able, but already vanishing shsidows of things 
to come. Even the very privileges of the 
Abrahamic covenant itself were theirs. (6;ii. 
3:14.) As the spiritual had now become the 
only ground of distinction, the true Israel of 
God have no confidence in the flesh, either 
in circumcision, or in any of tlie rites, cere- 
monies, and privileges connected with it. 
Tho.se false teachers reposed their whole trust 
in the flesh, and taught others to do the same 
(Grii.6:i3); but the true people of God abjure 
all such confidence. 

4. Though I {myself) might also have 
confidence in the flesh. He singles himself 
out as ottering an exception, in certain re- 
spects, to those described above. That excep- 
tion consists in his ability to boast of Jewish 



44 



PHILIPPIANS. 



[Ch. Ill 



5 Circuuicised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, 
of the tribe of iseujauiiu, a Hebrew of the Hebrews; 
as touchiug the law, a rbarisee ; 



5 yet more : circumcised the eighth day, of the stock 
of Israel, of the iribe of ISeujamrii, a Hebrew of 



prerogatives, if they were of any wortli. Paul 
seeks in the following enumeration of his 
special claims, to prove that his hostility to 
Judaistic teaching does not spring from envy. 
If he iiad been a Gentile, or even if as a Jew 
he liad possessed only inferior claims, his op- 
position might with more reason be credited 
to jealousy; but the fact was that none could 
boast of higher Jewish claims than he, and 
few could even equal him. In 2 Cor. 11 : 18, 
seq., there is a striking resemblance to this 
passage, both in substance and tone, although 
the former is a still more hot and indignant 
arraignment of his adversaries, "The first be- 
longs to the crisis of the struggle, the other to 
its close." In Rom. 11 : 1 there is a still briefer 
appeal to his Jewish claims. The words of the 
previous clause 'having no C(jnfidence in the 
flesh' seem to have started the apostle on this 
line of self-defense. This "going off at a 
word," as it is expressively described by 
Paley, is especially characteristic of Paul's 
writings. (" Horae Paulinse," vi., 3. ) 'Might 
also have,' etc. Neither the Common nor 
the Revised Version exactly reproduces the 
thought. The apostle does not say he ' might 
have,' but 'has.' The Greek, literally, is 
"though I, having confidence also in the 
flesh." He actually possesses all these claims, 
but renounces them as of no worth. ^ "Hav- 
ing, not using." (Bengel.) For the moment, 
Paul proceeds to state these claims as if they 
were something real. He uses an orgiimentum, 
ad hoTninem, assumes the standpoint of his 
adversaries, and overthrows them with their 
own weapons. If one who had such superior 
Jewishclaimscouldcountthetn worthless, what 
must be said of the folly of those Judaizers who 
extol so highly their own inferior merits? If 
any man thinketh— that is. supposeth (Matt. 
3:9)— that he hath whereof he might trust. 
All these words are the translation of but a 
single word in the Greek, meaning "to trust" 
(neiroWevau) . The apostle Simply sa.vs, '-'if any 
other supposeth he can trust in the flesh, I 
more," for the reasons given below, especially 
ver, 6. 



5. He describes firsthis hereditary privileges, 
and then his personal religious char;icLeri»Lics. 
Compare 2 Cor. 11 : 2'2, seq. The several 
points are enumerated very briefly "on the 
fingers, as it were." (Bengel.) Circumcised 
the eighth day. He was then neither an Ish- 
maelite, who would have been circumcised at 
tlie age of thirteen, nor a proselyte, who would 
have received circumcision in mature life. In 
his case, the sacred rite, of which the Jews 
were always so proud, had been received in 
its perfection. (oen. n : la; Lev. 12 ;:i.) Of the 
stock of Israel. Paul might have been the 
son of a proselyte, who, though he had not 
received the rite of circumcision in its per- 
fection himself, desired to bestow that privi- 
lege upon his son, and had circumcised him 
the eighth day ; and hence he says, in oppo- 
sition to any such state of the case, that he 
was of Israelitish stock ; that is, his parents 
were also of the privileged race. Of the 
tribe of Benjamin — of that tribe which 
alone had stood by the sideof Judah in stead- 
fast loyalty to the throne of David and to the 
worsiiip of Jehovah, and on whose soil stood 
the Holy City and the temple. A Hebrew 
of the Hebrews completes the notion of his 
purity of lineage, by stating that his ancestors 
were all of the Hebrew race from time im- 
memorial. There had been no admixture of 
Gentile blood in any of the past generations. 
If, as has been conjectured from this language, 
his opponents were not of pure Jewish extrac- 
tion, these features of Paul's hereditary claims 
must have given a terrible blow to their 
haughty pretensions and justified his claitri of 
superiority from a Jewish standpoint. It is, 
however, in the following claims, perhaps, 
that we maj' discover the special reason of 
his statement that if anj' one presumes to 
trust in the flesh, he more. As an adherent 
of the Ancient Covenant, ho had lived a most 
exemplary religious life. First of all, as 
touching the law, a Pharisee — a metnber 
of the "straitest seet" among the Jews. Com- 
pare Acts 26 : 5. They were noted for their 
devotion to the law, and wore the orthodox 



1 Had Paul used the parlieiiile of the previous clause 
(ireiroiflcut) he would have repre-ented himself as act- 
ually putting confidcuce in the flesh, and so he varies 



the expression and says (?)ca»' neiToi0ri(ri.v), "having a 
confidence," which he niisht use, and once did most 
highly esteem, but now reuoiiuces. 



Ch. III.] 



PHILIPPIAN8. 



45 



G Concerning zeal, persecuting the church; touching 
the ligliteousuess wiiich is in the law, blameless. 

7 but what things were gain to me, those i counted 
loss lor Clirist. 

8 Y'ea douhtless, and I count all things but loss for 
the excellency of the knowledge of Chiist Jesus my 
Lord: fur wimm 1 have sulfcred the loss of all things, 
and do count luem Out dung, that 1 may wiu Christ, 



6 Hebrews; as touching tlie law, a I'harisoe; as touch- 
ing zeal, iH-rsecuiing the church; as touching ihe 
righteousness which is in tlie law, found hlauiclcss. 

7 liowbeit what things were i gain to me, these 

8 have 1 counted loss for Christ. Yea verily, and I 
couut all things to be loss for the excellency of the 
knowledge of Christ .lesus my Lord: for whom I 
suH'ercd the loss of all things, and do couut them 



1 Gr. gains. 



party in the nation. See Josephus "Life," 
'66; "Wars of the Jews," ii., 8, 1-4. The apos- 
tle was not only a Pharisee himself, but the 
son of Pharisees; that is, he had a Piiurisaic 
ancestry for generations perhaps (Acts '28 : 6 ; 
see Meyer's note), and had been educated in 
Jerusalem in the most famous school of that 
sect, " at the feet of Gamaliel." (Acta 2-2: 3.) 

6. As a Pharisee his zeal had been exhibited 
in a most convincing way. Concerning zeal, 
per-ecuting tlie church. This he speaks of 
in the present tense, as if that dreadful ser- 
vice, of which he had so bitterly repented 
(1 Cor. 15 : 9 ; 1 Tim. 1 : 13), were Still a present claim 
upon Jewish regard, as indeed it would be, if 
he had remained a Jew. If, then, any could 
claim high distinction in Jewish estimation, 
he, as a persecutor of the church, could equal 
any and surpass most of his Pharisaic rivals. 
Fiiiiilly, he says, touching the righteous- 
ness which is in the law,— that is, consists 
in obedience to the mere letter, — blameless 
— of cotirse, only from a legal standpoint; and 
Paul gives a very different account of himself 
from the higher Christian standjioint. See 
Rom. 7. "There is a twofold righteousness 
of the law. The one of these is spiritual, 
consisting in the perfect love of God and of 
our neighbors; this is contained in the doc- 
trinal statement, hut was never actually found 
in the life of any individual. The other is 
righteousness according to the letter, and niay 
appear in the sight of men." (Calvin.) From 
the standpoint of his opponents, what more 
could he said in any one's favor? His hered- 
itary claims Avere superior to those of most 
Jews, while his conduct left nothing to be de- 
sired. He was a Pharisee, a zealous Pharisee, 
a blameless Pharisee. In his adherence to the 
law, his zeal for the law, observance of the 
law, few could equal, none surpass him. 

7. All these things had been an advantage 
to him as a Jew, and so he stiys : What things 
were gain to me — not snppnsrd gain, but 
real gain. They had given him reputation 



among the people, laid the foundation of his 
hopes and aspirations, and, above all, salisiied 
his conscience, in the days when the spiritual 
nature of God's demands was not yet revealed 
to him. But now all these advantsiges were of 
no value in his siglit. Those I counted loss 
for Christ. The Revised Version translates 
"have I counted loss." The perfect tense sug- 
gests the idea that he began at the time of his 
conversion, and has continued to the present 
moment to estimate them so. Observe the 
significance of the change from the plural 
"gains," as in the margin of the Revised Ver- 
sion, to the singular ' loss.' The plural suggests 
the various elements of gain which had grown 
up out of those high claims, while the singular 
hints that he lumps them all together as a single 
item of loss. The things he had once so pains- 
takingly reckoned up one by one as gains, he 
now dismisses at once with a single word, 
'loss.' "When he spoke of 'gain,' he said, 
' they were gain.' But when he spoke of loss, 
'I counted.' And this rightly; for the 
former was naturally so, but the latter be- 
came so 'from my opinion.' " (Chrysostom.) 
•For Christ.' Below, ver. 8-11, he explains 
more fully whj' he counts them loss for Christ's 
sake. If he was going to possess Christ, he 
must renounce all otiier claims, which would 
be nothing but a hindrance to his perfect trust 
in him. See Gal. 5 : 2-4. He must part with 
all other treasures for the sake of this one 
"pearl of great price." (M.m. 13:45. 46.) "Paul 
is content to part with a sky full of stars for 
one Sun of righteousness." (Trapp.) "Seest 
thou, how everywhere he calls it loss, not ab- 
solutely, but for Christ. . . . When the sun 
shines it is loss to sit in candle light." (Chry- 
sostom.) 

8. He unfolds still farther the .statement of 
ver. 7, emphasizing and amplifying it. Yea 
doubtless, and I count all things bat 
loss. The emphasis is on the words 'all 
things,' which extend thescopeof his previous 
statement, making it embrace every conceiv- 



46 



PHILIPPIANS. 



[Ch. hi. 



9 And be found in him, not having mine own right- 
eousness, which is of the law, but tliat which is through 
the laith of Christ, the righteousness which is of (jod 
by faith: 



9 but refuse, that I may gain Christ, and be found 
in hiiu, 1 not having a righteousness of my own, 
eren that whicli is of the law, but that which is 
through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is 



1 Or, not having as my rigkteousneaa that which it of the law. 



able cliiirn and merit from a human stand- 
point. Wiiatever lie might once have counted 
gain, he now counts but loss. For the ex- 
cellency of the knowledge — because tins 
knowledge surpasses everything else in value. 
Of Christ Jesus — who has now become the 
greatest gain of his life. In the glow of heart- 
felt gratitude he adds the words my Lord. 
This clause begins the unfolding of the mean- 
ing of the words 'for Christ' in the previous 
verse. There he simply said 'for Christ,' 
here he expands those words into 'for the 
excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus,' 
and below, ver. 10, he develops the special 
features of this knowledge. For whom I have 
suffered the loss of all things. Paul has 
not only counted all things loss, but has actu- 
ally suffered the loss of all things.^ And yet 
he does not regret it, for intensifying his 
previous expression he says, and do count 
them but dung (or, refuse, the Kevised 
Version). The word translated dung is a 
common one in the Greek, and its general 
meaning well established; but its exact ety- 
mology is uncertain, some deriving it from a 
phrase signifying "to throw to the dogs," 
others from a word meaning dung. It signi- 
fies all kinds of refuse, rubbish, sweepings, 
husks, dung, etc. Thus intensely did Paul 
repudiate all those things he once set so much 
store by; he counted them as mere 'refuse,' 
rubbish, as something not only to be lightlj' 
esteemed, but also to be utterly cast out of his 
heart, just as dung is with loatliing swept out 
of doors. "Since it is likely they would say 
tliat tiie righteousness wiiich comes from toil is 
tlie greater, he shows that it is dung in compari- 
son with the other." (Chrysostom.) "Paul's 
sublime spirit counts all dung, yet is content, 
for Christ, to be counted the offscouring of all 
things." (Trapp.) That I may win Christ. 
He already has Christ, but he wishes to pos 



liar,suggestedby the words "loss" and "gain," 
on which he has been ringingso many changes. 
By winning Christ he means becoming so 
united to him that he can say, "He is mine," 
having him as his life, drawing nourishment 
from him as the branch from the vine, pos- 
sessing him as his "righteousness, wisdom, 
sanctitication, and redemption," as every- 
thing the believer desires and needs. Since it 
is impossible to win Christ in this way and 
still to hold on to those Jewish claims, he re- 
nounces them all, and renounces them gladly 
— yea, with something of loathing. 

9. In this and the following verses we have 
a brief but noble description of true right- 
eousness. And be found in him — the result 
of his winning Christ. His own unworthy 
self will no longer appear, but will be swal- 
lowed up, as it were, in Christ, who has taken 
his place before the tribunal of divine justice. 
God no longer looks at the sinner who has 
won Christ, but sees only Christ and his 
righteousness. That this is the thought ap- 
pears from the following words: not having 
mine own righteousness — not possessing 
any righteousness that I might claim as my 
own (Rom. 10:3), sucli, for instance, as he once 
boasted of when a Pharisee, a righteousness 
which is of the law— that is, flows from obe- 
dience to the law ; but that which is through 
the faith of (or, in) Christ— that righteous- 
ness which God bestows, and which is appro- 
priated by faith.'-' God's righteousness is op- 
posed to my righteousness, faith to law, and 
'through faith' and 'upon faith' (see note be- 
low) to 'from law.' Legal righteousness looks 
to the law to justify, and hence it is a righteous- 
ness of the law, elsewhere described also as " bj" 
works." Christian righteousness, on the con- 
trary, depends on faith, not, however, as a 
source of justification — for God alone is this — 
but as a means and as a condition, for faith is 



sess him more richly. The word ' win ' is pecu- | both the appropriating medium and the essen- 



iThe article before 'all things' in tlie Greek (to 
irai'Ta) points out the things already mentioned or sug- 
gested, "my all," as we sometimes say in English. 

2 The various Greek prepositions are used with the 
nicest discrimination. The legal righteousness ia de- 



scribed as 'of the law,' flowing from the law as its 
source; Christian righteousness as ' of God,' its source, 
'through faith,' the medium of its appropriation, and 
finally ' upon faith' (see margin of Revised Version) 
its basis or condition. 



Ch. III.] 



PHILIPPIANS. 



47 



10 That I may know liiiu, and the power of his resur- 10 from God ' by faith : that I may know hiiii, and the 
rectiou, and thu fi'llowship of his suBcriugs, beiug luade power of his re>urrectiini, and llie fellowship of 

Conformable unto his deaih ; | liis sulTerings, becoming conformed unto his death ; 

2 Or. upon. 



tial condition of true righteousness. It may be 
looked at in both these lights, and Paul com- 
bines the two ' through faith ' and ' upon 
faith' fur the sake of inipiirting that fullness 
whicli he delights to give to such delinitions. 
And finally this faith is described as 'of 
Christ' or ' in Christ,' because faith rests upon 
Christ and his work as its proper object. It 
will be seen that Paul has here given us a 
most comprehensive description of the riglit- 
eousness of faith, both in its negative and pos- 
itive aspects. 

10. As the preceding verse had unfolded 
this new experience of Paul on the side of 
righteousness, so this verse unfolds it on the 
side of knowledge, and thus amplifies the 
phrase 'fur the excellency of the knowledge 
of Christ.' That I may know him — not in 
any merely intellectual or speculative way, 
but by an experimental and .saving knowl- 
edge, such knowledge as only comes from 
union with Christ — "being found in him." 
Union with Christ brings to the soul a knowl- 
edge such as Paul had, when he exclaimed: 
"I know iiim whom I have believed" (iTim. 
1 : 12)— a knowledge that ever grows richer and 
deeper. "She that touched the tassel of his 
robe had a knowledge of Christ deeper and 
truer than the crowds that thronged about 
liim; for 'virtue' had come out of him, and 
she felt it in herself." Two features of tiiis 
knowledge, which were especially important 
ill Paul's estimation, are now dwelt upon. 
First, the knowledge of the power of his 
resurrection — not simply the knowledge of 
his resurrection. The latter an unbeliever 
might have, for he might accept the resurrec- 
tion as an historical fact, but the power of his 
resurrection only the believer can know. This 
power which the resurrection exerts over the 
Christian is not to be understood in any lim- 
ited sense, but in all its fullness. The resur- 
rection of Christ was the divine seal set upon 
Christ's authority (Rom. i:4), the pledge of our 

redemption (Eoi... 4:24, 25; i.:10; 8:34; 1 Cor. 15 : 17), 

and the prophecy of our future resurrection 
(Rom. 8: 11); and thereby has become a most 
quickening and vital power in our lives. 



(Rom. 6 : 4; 1 Cor. 6 : 14, seq. ; Eph. 2 ;5, 6; Col. 3: l.Beq.) Tllis 

wondrous power of the resurrection Paul 
wished to know and feel more and more. The 
second element of this knowledge was the 
fellowship of his sufl'erings — that is, to 
realize in all his own sufferings that he was 
walking in the footsteps of his Lord. He did 
not desire to know Christ's suffering.- ; that is, 
to suffer in the same way — that could not be — 
but the fellowship of them, the sense of fellow- 
ship with Christ in his trials; so that as the 
"Captain of our salvation" was "made per- 
fect through suffering," he the disciple might 
also be; and as the sufferings of Christ were 
the salvation of the church, so he might, in a 
sense, share in that work by filling up the 
sufferings that remain, (coi. 1:24.) Compare 
2 Cor. 1:5; Matt. 15 : 23. "Oil, how great 
is the dignity of suffering!" (Ciirysostom.) 
Compare 1:29; 2:17. The knowledge of the 
fellowship of Christ's sufferings depends on 
the previous knowledge of the power of his 
resurrection, for it is this latter tiiat gives 
assurance of a future life, tmd it is only the 
hope of a future life that can give any glory 
or meaning to suffering. It is the mighty 
evidential power of our Lord's resurrection 
that maintains otir faith in the future life 
strong and unwavering. E.\cept for that, we 
should only guess and hope, or doubt and de- 
spair. Now, without this strong unquestion- 
ing faith in the future life, we cannot know 
the fellowship of Christ's sufferings, for the 
very e.ssence of such fellowship is the convic- 
tion that God has put us into the furnace of 
aflHiction, as he did the Master, to prepare us 
for his glory. Hence it is that Paul presents 
these twoelements of knowledge in thisorder, 
which is the order of experience. "To suffer 
together creates a purer fellow-feeling than 
to labor together.' "Companionship in sor- 
row forms the most enduring of all ties." 
Being made conformable unto his death. 
See also RevLsed Version. This is a descrij)- 
tion of the apostle's actual, present experience: 
"I die daily" (1 Cor. i5:3i), and before long I 
expect to meet a martyr's fate. The phrase 
therefore describes the imminent peril of that 



48 



PHILIPPIANS. 



[Cii. III. 



11 If by any means I might attain unto the resurrec- 
tion of the dead. 

12 Not as though I had already attained, either wen? 
already perfect : but I follow alter, if that I m ly appre- 
hend that for which also 1 am apprehended of Christ 
Jesus. 



11 if by any means I may attain unto the resur- 

12 rection from the dead. "Not that I have already 
obtained, or am already made perfeot ; but I 
press on, if so be that i may i lay hold on that 
for which also I was laid hold on by Christ Jesus. 



1 Or, lay hold, seeing that also I was laid hold on. 



condition, in which he was learning the fellow- 
ship of Christ's sufferings. In this state of 
constant danger, in which at any moment his 
fellowship witli his Lord in suflFering might 
terminate in his conformity witit liis very 
death, it was the apostle's constant prayer 
that he might endure his trials to the very end 
in the same spirit as the Master. 

11. Here is presented the great final aim of all 
this experience. The problematical form of 
expression, if by any means, does not itnply 
doubt on the apostle's part, but is simply sug- 
gested by his humility. For other examples 
of this form of expression, see Acts 27 : 12; 
Rom. 1 : 10; 11 : 14. The resurrection of the 
dead here referred to is, of course, the first 
resurrection, (i Cor. i5:23; ixhess. -t: le.) He says 
simply the resurrection, not that he did not 
believe in the resurrection both of the right- 
eous and the wicked, for he expressly taught 

it (Acts 24 : 15), as did also Christ (John S : 28, 29), but 

because he regarded the resurrection of the 
good as the only one in which he had any 
interest. To attain unto this was to reach the 
fulfillinentof all his highest and holiest hopes. 
What a glorious privilege it will be to rise out 
of the darkness of the tomb, clothed in a spir- 
itual body which shall be a perfect abode for 
the immortal spirit, both body and spirit being 
freed from all sin and delivered forever from 
the curse under which we now groan ! (2 Cor. 

5:4.) 

13. In contrast with his former pride, when 
as a Pharisee he thought himself blameless, 
he now humbly disclaims all pretensions to 
perfection, and simply claims to be striving 
after it; and he holds up a striking picture of 
his earnestness in this effort, with a view to 
encouraging others to like mindedness. Not 



as though I had already attained— better, 

not t/iat I have, etc. (Revised Version). He 
anticipates the po.ssibility of some one's saying 
that he is puffed up with self-conceit, and 
hence adds this disclaimer. After the word 
'attained,' Meyer and some others mentally 
supply the word 'the prize,' and suppose that 
already the idea of a race had begun to shape 
the apostle's language; but it is much more 
natural to suppose that he speaks here without 
any thought of the race course, and that 
gradually' the figure of the foot race begins 
to unfold itself. In this case the word to be 
mentally supplied with attained is "this," or 
"these things," referring to his previous de- 
scription of the believer's state, (ver. 9-11.) 
"I do not mean," he says, "that I have at- 
tained all this." "In his highest fervor the 
apostle does not lose spiritual sobriety." (Ben- 
gel.) The believer's sanctification, even when 
that believer is such a saint as Paul, is pro- 
gressive, and is not reached this side the grave. 
That this idea of perfection is the one in Paul's 
mind is .shown by the words he adds immedi- 
ately to explain his not having attained. Ei- 
ther were already perfect. I have not j'et 
reached such a point that I can say, I am per- 
fect. The twice repeated 'already' empha- 
sizes the idea of the present moment, impl^-ing 
at the same time that what is not yet true will 
some time be true.' But I follow after — oi*, 
as in Revised Version, / py-ess on. The idea 
of the foot race begins to emerge, though it 
does not appear distinctly till ver. 14. If that 
I may apprehend that for which alsoa I 
am apprehended of Christ Jesus. Christ 
apprehended him on the way to Damascus, 
and now he follows on to apprehend that for 
which he had been apprehended, his moral 



1 Tho first verb. ' attained,' refers by its tense to the 
lime of his conversion ; the second, ' am made perfect ' 
(Revised Version), brings his condition down to the 
present moment. I did not attain at the time of my 
conversion, nor has there been a moment up to the 
present when I could pronounce myself perfect. The 
second verb is found nowhere else in Paul's writings, 
though frequent elsewhere. 



*The phrase translated ' that for which ' in the Com- 
mon and the Revised Versions is a puzzle to interpre- 
ters, and has received various meanings. It may mean 
as above, or "because," in which case the following 
clause slates the reason. The first gives a more pictur- 
esque thought, at least. 



Ch. III.] 



PHILIPPIANS. 



49 



13 Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended : 
but this one thing / t/o, forjjetting those things which 
are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which 
are before, 

14 I press toward the mark for the prize of the high 
calling of God in Christ Jesus. 

15 Let us therefore, as many as be perfect, be thus 
minded; and if in any thing ye be otherwise minded, 
God shall reveal even this unto you. 



13 Brethren, I count not myself i yet to have laid 
hold; but one thing / Un, forgetting the things 
which are behind, and stretcliing forward to the 

14 things which are before, I press on toward the goal 
unto the itrizC of the -liigh calling of God in Christ 

15 Jesus. Let us therefore, as many as be perfect, be 
thus minded: and if in anything ye are otherwise 



1 Many ancieut autliorlties oniityeC 2 Or. upward, 



and spirittiiil perfection, wliich was the pur- 
pose Christ had in view when he laid his hand 
upon him. When he felt the pressure of that 
divine hand, the apostle turned about and 
followed eai^erly on, to obtain that prize which 
the Master had in view for him. How well 
this verb 'apprehend' describes his conver- 
sion ! It was no quiet invitation that Paul 
obeyed, like that given to John aiad Peter, 
but it was a violent seizure, by which he was 
arrested in his course. 

13. He solemnly and impressively re-aiBrms 
his humble opinion of himself, preparatory to 
a statement of his earnest striving after perfec- 
tion, and perhaps with the idea of holding up 
a mirror before the Philippians, some of 
whom at least seemed inclined to vainglori- 
ousness and pride. See 2 : 8. Brethren— 
when the apostle's feelings are deeply moved, 
he is apt to use this word— I count not my- 
self to have apprehended. "Others might 
easily think this of Paul." (Bengel.) On a 
similar emphatic collocation of the words 
"I," "myself," see John 5 : 30; 7 : 17; 8 : 54; 
Acts 26 : 9. After repeating in a slightly dif- 
ferent form the first words of the previous 
verse, he proceeds to describe in a highly 
figurative way his earnest efforts after perfec- 
tion, which he had described more pro.Siiically 
in the closing words of ver. 12. The words 
which he has been using, 'pursue' and 'ap- 
prehend,' as yet apparently without any dis- 
tinct figure in mind, now suggest the beautiful 
image of the race course, and lead to a strik- 
ing comparison of himself to a runner in the 
well-known races. But this one thing I do. 
In the Greek it is very emphatic. 'But one 
thing' — forgetting, etc. There is no verb cor- 
responding to the words 'I do,' and the mind 
is led to rest for a moment on the simple 
words "but one thing" (eV Se), and then passes 
on to the description that folUiws, which consti- 
tutes tbeone thing. Forgetting those things 
which are behind. Tliese are not the Jew- 
ish distinctions referred to in ver. 5, 6, for these 



h:id been already' abandoned previous to his 
entering upon the race; but they are his past 
experiences, his successes and failures, his good 
works and his sins alike. All these he leaves 
behind, yea, even forgets, not of course in such 
a way as to lose their lessons of encouragement 
and of warning, but like the runner who 
thinks not of the ground already trod, but 
only of th,at wiiich intervenes between himself 
and the goal. "The looking back that Paul 
condemns is that which breaks the pace and 
lessens the speed." (Calvin.) And reaching 
forth — or, stretching forward (Revised Ver- 
sion), a very picturesque word in the Greek, 
bringing before us the eager, excited runner, 
with his head and neck extended toward the 
goal, his ardent spirit outrunning his Itigging 
feet. Unto those things which are before. 
The 'things before' are not tiie prize, as some 
.suppose, but the attainments in the Christian 
life which yet lie between his present condi- 
tion and the final goal of perfection. 

14. I press toward the mark — or, the goal 
— for the prize. In ancient games this was 
generally a wretith. hung at the goal. In 
Paul's case it is that perfection, which he has 
already discbiimed, but wiiich he will yet at- 
tain. This is 'the prize' of the high calling. 
The English word 'calling' suggests vocation, 
business, but the Greek word has no such 
double significance. It means simply the call, 
or act of calling, which is described as high — 
that is, heavenly (Heb. 3:i), because God calls 
to us from the heavens above. It is 'the prize 
of the high calling,' because it is that reward 
"which the heavenly calling holds forth." 
(Luther.) The figure of the race course is 
dropped with these words, and the language 
becoines literal again. Of God in Christ 
Jesus— for God calls us in the person of his 

Son. (l Cor. 7 : 22; 1 Peter 5: 10.) 

15. In this and the following verse we have 
the practical application to the Philipjiians of 
this description of his own spirit. Therefore 
— since this spirit is the right spi'rit to cherish — 



D 



50 



PHILIPPIANS. 



[Ch. III. 



16 Nevertheless, whereto we have already attained, 
let us walk by the same rule, let us mind the same 
thing. 

17 Brethren, be followers together of nie, and mark 
them which walk so as ye have us for ku ensample. j 



16 minded, even this shall God reveal unto you : only, 
whereunto we have already attained, by that same 
rule let us walk. 

17 Brethren, be ye imitators together of me, and 
mark them who so walk even as ye have us for au 



as many as be perfect — not in the sense of 
attainment, for the apostle's words have al- 
ready excluded that idea, but of aim and 
purpose. "Perfect, and not perfect; perfect 
travelers, not yet perfect possessors." (Au- 
gustine.) The perfect on earth are those that 
seek perfection, and have come in their Chris- 
tian life to a certain maturity of faith and 
knowledge, so that they are no longer mere 
babes in Christ. See Matt. 5 : 48 ; 1 Cor. 2 : 
6; 3:1; 14 : 20; Eph. 4 : 13, 14; Col. 4 : 12; 
Heb. 5 : 14. In this word perfect there may 
be implied a contrast with those Christians 
who were still clinging to the things that Paul 
had discarded, still putting a certain honor on 
lineage, circumcision, and outward righteous- 
ness, and unable wholly to renounce a meas- 
ure of confidence in such things. In the use 
of the words 'as many as,' the apostle leaves 
it to the conscience of each reader or hearer 
to determine whether he belongs to this class 
or not. Be thus minded — literally, think 
this; that is, which I think. Compare 2 : 5. 
By these words he means to enjoin upon them 
that same humble, yet earnest striving after 
perfection which distinguishes himself Let 
tliis be your thought, as it is mine, not to sit 
down content with the past, but to press ever 
onward to the goal. And if in any thing 
ye be otherwise * minded, as is probably the 
case.^ The difference here spoken of as exist- 
ing in the case of some is a different frame of 
mind from that of the apostle and the perfect. 
Such a divergence is wrong, but with Chris- 
tian tolerance Paul says, God will also set this 
right. He does not uncharitably rebuke them 
for their different spirit, but with a sweet 
charity looks forward to the time when their 
eyes will be opened to discover their error. 
God shall reveal even this nnto you, as 
he has revealed other things. God will set 
you right by his Holy Spirit (Eph. i:i7; Coi. i:9), 
and show you the truth concerning that matter 
in which you now differ from me. In this 
sweet spirit of tolerance there is a practical 



lesson for us. We cannot always act or think 
alike, and in such cases we are not to yield 
our own opinion or mode of action, if they 
seem right to us, but to maintain them in 
charity, waiting for that fuller revelation 
which shall declare us right and others wrong, 
or the reverse. 

16. The exact shade of thought in this verse 
it is hard to determine in the original, though 
the general meaning is plain enough. He will 
have unity of thought and purpose as far as pos- 
sible. Nevertheless — or, only (as in Revised 
Version) ; this, and nothing more. Whereto 
we have already attained — whatever Chris- 
tian progress we have made, both in faith and 
knowledge. Let us walk^ by the same 
rule, let us mind the same thing. The 
last clause is an interpolation, and rightly dis- 
carded in the Revised Version. AVhile we 
wait for fuller revelation, let our present at- 
tainments be the rule of our conduct. Walk 
by the rule of that already received. Do not 
abandon any present experience, but continue 
to walk by the light of that until you obtain 
new light. 

17-4 : 1. Necessity or Following Good 
Examples Enforced by a Vivid Con- 
trast OF THE Character and Destiny of 
False and True Believers. — The apostle 
presses upon their attention his example and 
that of his imitators (17), and enforces the 
duty of copying such lives by a vivid picture 
of the character and fearful destiny of false 
professors (18, 19), in contrast with the exalted 
life and glorious destiny of true believers (20, 
21), closing with a final exhortation to stead- 
fastness (4 : 1). 

17. Brethren, be followers together of 
me. The word 'brethren' indicates his deep 
feeling. See ver. 13. The injunction is more 
clear in the Revised Version. "£e ye imita- 
tors together," or co-imitators, one and all, 
"with one consent, with one mind." (Calvin.) 
Compare 1 Cor. 4 : 16; 11 : 1 ; 1 Thess. 1:6; 
2 Thess. 3 : 7, 9. 'Of me.' What a conscious- 



1 The word tran.slated 'otherwise' (cr^pu?) is found 
nowhere else in the New Testament. 
' Ei with the indicative assumes the case to be a real 



one. Winer's "Grammar," g41.l>. 2. a; Kuhner, g 339, 2, 
1 (a); Hadley, 745, 1. 

3 The infinitive o-Toixeii/ is used as an emphatic imper- 
ative, as in Rom. 12 : 15. 



Ch. III.] 



PHILIPPIANS. 



61 



18 (For many walk, of whom I have told you often, 
and now tell you even v,eepiug,l/iat thei/are the enemies 
of the cross ol t:hrist : 

l;» Whose end is destruction, whose God ix IfieirheWj 
and wkose glory is in their shame, who mind earthly 
things.) ■^ 



18 ensample. For many walk, of whom I told you 
often, and now tell you even weeping, l/uit tiny are 

19 the enemies of the cross of Christ: whose end is 
perdition, whose god is the belly, and whose glory 



ness of duties performed and sins resisted tliese 
words imply ! He had already disclaimed per- 
fection ; in the sight of God he is nothing but 
asinnersavod by grace. In a still later epistle 
he even calls himself "chief of sinners" (i Tim. 
1 : 15), yet, notwithstanding all this, he realizes 
that in the sight of man he has walked in such 
obedience that the Philippians can take no 
better example to copy. Few, indeed, could 
thus appeal to their own life without thereby 
bringing to mind some flagrant weakness of 
character, and so exposing their claims to 
ridicule. But the Philippians are to copy not 
only Paul, but those who live as he does. On 
'walk,' as denoting a chosen course of life, 
see ver. 16; Acts 21 : 24; Pvom. 4: 12; Gal. 
5 : 25. He does not say those who walk 
as they, but as ye have us for an en- 
.sample, for he would have the Philip- 
pians apply the test, since they knew what i 
his life had been, and whether any others 
walked in accordance with it or not. "The 
inferior examples of the friends of Christ's 
cross should be tried by the standard of the 
greater and more perfect." (BengelJ At 
the same time, by keeping the inferior exam- 
ples also in view, the Philippians would obtain 
a more perfect standard than by taking any 
single life. The example of Timothy, Epaph- 
roditus, and perhaps many others, might add 
some beautiful traits to their conception of the 
Christian life, even though that conception 
had been derived from the contemplation of 
so glorious a life as that of St. Paul. " There 
are innumerable models laid before thee in 
the Scriptures of virtuous lives, so, if you will, 
go to the disciples after the Master." (Chry- 
sostom.) " AVe must propound to ourselves 
the highest pitch and the best patterns of per- 
fection ; follow the forwardest Christians with 
a desire to overtake them; dwell upon their 
exemplary lives till ye be changed into the 
same image." (Trapp.) 'Ensample,' in the 
singular, indicates that the standard is only 
one, though found in many individuals. 

18. The reason why he urges them to keep 
before their minds the example of the good, 
is that even many professed Christians live 



very impure lives. Those here mentioned 
must have been Christians, not Jews or Gen- 
tiles; for otherwise there would be no special 
appropriateness in the allusion. The Philip- 
pians would not have been likely to copy the 
example of unbelievers; but Paul was very 
much afraid that they might copy the bad 
example of these professed disciples. Whether 
they resided in Philippi or not, we cannot tell, 
but they were, at least, well known there, for 
Paul had often spoken to the church about 
them, and- now, in view of their increasing 
wickedness and pernicious influence, mentions 
them with tears, and declares them to be ene- 
mies of the cross of Christ. They are op- 
posed to the doctrine of self-denial, and refuse 
to accept the cross which every believer must 
bear. See Matt. 10 : 38; 16 : 24; Mark 8 : 34; 
Luke 9 : 23; 14 : 27. The apostle had just 
reason to fear their influence, for they per- 
verted that truth which he taught so ear- 
nestly, that the Christian is not under the law, 
but under grace. Such lawless Christians only 
served to bring that gracious doctrine into 
discredit. In Romans, ch. 6, he argues at 
greater length against these perverters of the 
doctrine of Christian liberty. Compare also 
Kom. 16 : 18. 

19. The destiny and character of these false 
professors are painted in lurid colors. For 
equally severe descriptions of such characters 
from other apostles, see 2 Peter 2 : 10-22; 
Jude 12, 13. Whose end is destruction. 
Bengel well says that this statement of their 
destiny precedes the description of their char- 
acter, in order that the latter " may be read 
with the greater horror." Their end is de- 
struction, separation from the presence of God 
and confinement in the place of torment. 
According to the Saviour's words, many who 
have not only professed faith in him, but al^o 
have apparently accomplished great things in 
his name, will be found among the lost. (»»". 
7:2i,seq.) On the word 'end,' compare Rom. 
6 : 21 ; 2 Cor. 11 : 15; Heb. 6:8; on "destruc- 
tion," compare Matt. 7 : 13; Rom. 9 : 22. To 
this description of their destiny Paul now 
adds a scathing portrayal of their character. 



52 



PHILIPPIANS. 



[Ch. hi. 



20 For our conversation Is in heaven; from whence 
also we looli for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ : 

21 VVlio shall change our vile body, that it may be 
fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the 
working whereby he is able even to subdue all things 
unto himself. 



20 is in their sharae, who mind eai^hly things. For 
our 1 citizenship is in heaven ; from whence also we 
wait for a .Saviour, the Lord Jesus (.'hrisi: who 

21 shall fashion anew the body of our humiliation, t/ial 
it may be conformed to the body ot his glory, ac- 
cording to the working whereby he is able even to 
suliject all things unto himself. 



1 Or, commonwealth. 



Whose God is their helly. They are given 
up to the worst kind of lusts, itnd find their 
chief satisfaction in the gratification of their 
aiiinuil nature. Compare Rom. 16 : 18. More- 
over, like the heathen (Bom. i : 32), they not 
only commit abominable sins, but their glory 
is ill their shame. They take pride in those 
very things which in the estimation of the 
good are really a shame and disgrace; they 
justify their vices. The last feature of the de- 
scription — who mind earthly things'— pre- 
sents the essentially earthly character of tlieir 
state of mind and heart; they think of nothing 
but etirthiy matters, have no high and heav- 
enly thoughts and aspirations, but concen- 
trate their whole soul upon the things of 
time and "sense. Paul in Romans, ch. 8, de- 
scribes most beautifully the opposite frame of 
mind, whicii is characteristic of the true 
Christian. 

20. Tiie opposite character and destiny of 
true believers, "in outlines few, but how 
clear." Our is placed first in the Greek with 
emphasis — 'ours' in contrast witii theirs. 
Conversation (or, as in Revised Version, 
citizenship). Tiie former translation is taken 
from the Vulgate (conversatin), and signifies, 
according to ancient English usage, manner 
of life, behavior, — not discourse. This last 
conception, wnich is probably that of the 
ordinary reader, suggests the beautiful idea 
that the Christian thinks and talks chiefiy of 
heavenly things — an idea undoubtedly im- 
plied in the correct rendering, for it is the 
natural contrast to "minding earthly things," 
but still it is not an accurate interpretation 
either of the English word 'conversation' 
in the Common Version, or of the original 
Greek word. That Greek term has various sig- 
nifications, which are very closely related, com- 
monwealth, country, citizenship, but not con- 
versation, in the modern sense of that word. 
Paul reminds his readers that their true com- 



monwealth, or citizenship, is above, not on 
earth. The true Christian, like Abraham, 
seeks no continuing city here, for he is a 
stranger and pilgrim on earth, and his real 
country is the hetivenly. In Heb. 11 : 13-16 
we have a most beautiful unfolding of this 
idea of our heavenly citizenship. Compare 
also Eph. 2 : 19. " We live by the same laws 
as saints and angels do. . . . "While we live 
by heaven's laws, and go about our earthly 
business with heavenly minds; this a carnal 
mind cannot skill of." (Trapp.) "With the 
body we walk about on earth, with the heart 
we dwell in heaven." (Augustine.) From 
this heaven, where our true home is, we look 
for the Saviour. In the Greek, 'Saviour' is 
placed first, and separated from its related 
words, its isolated position giving it great 
emphasis. The verb translated 'look for' is 
a picturesque word, suggesting the idea of 
waiting with expectation and eagerness until 
the wished-for object comes. Compare Rom. 
8: 23, 25; 1 Cor. 1:7; Gal. 5: 5. 

21, In describing the fearful destiny of false 
believers, Paul used only one trenchant word 
'destruction,' but he dwells longer upon the 
glorious destiny of believers, which he pictures 
from the standpoint of the resurrection, be- 
cause in his mind that involves all the rest. 
The Common Version has gone astray in its 
translation our vile body, there being noth- 
ing in the original corresponding to the adjec- 
tive 'vile.' It was not a principle of Paul's 
philosoph_y to despise the body, nor does 
Christianity give any countenance to the an- 
cient Greek notion of the essential vileness 
and worthlessness of the flesh, but rather 
teaches us to look for the redemption of the 
body, as well as of the soul, from the taint of 
sin and the bondage of corruption. The 
proper translation of these words is that of the 
Revised Version, "the body of our humilia- 
tion," which Paul so describes, because in it 



'On the change in the construction of the last clause, for the sake of emphasis, see Winer, g59, 8, b; gG2, 3; 
Buttmanu, §12:j, 5. 



Ch. IV.] 



PHILIPPIANS. 



53 



CHAPTER IV. 



THEREFORE, ray brethren dearly beloved and longed 
lor, my joy and crowij, so sUiud fast iu the Lord, 
1111/ dearly beloved. 

2 1 l.e.--eeeh Eiiodias, and beseech Syntyche, that they 
be of the same luiud iu the Lord. 



1 Wherefore, my brethren beloved and longed for, my 
joy and crown, so stand fast in ihe L(ird, my beloved. 

2 I exhort Euodia, and I exhort 8yuiycheJ to be of 



we experience those painful and humiliating 
experiences, privations, afflictions, persecu- 
tions, which belong to the Ciiristian life on 
earth. This body, in which now we tire so 
often humiliated, is to be changed at Christ's 
coming, and fashioned like unto his glor- 
ious body (or, the body of his glory), that 
body which he possesses in his glorified state, 
for, as John says (i Epi-ties: 2), "we shall be 
like him." Compare Rom. 8 : 29; 1 Cor. 15 : 
49. It is the fasiiion of the body only that 
will be changed, as suggested by the word 
here used (^eTacTxiMiTio-ci), and its identity will 
be preserved, as Paul plainly teaches in 1 Cor. 
15 : 37, by the analog3' of the seed; tiiough of 
course we cannot understand either the nature 
of the change or the relation of the present 
body to that future one. All this great change 
is to be effected according to the working 
(or, energy) o? th&i almighty ability, whereby 
he is able even to subdue all things unto 
himself. "It is the work of the Lord's om- 
nipotence.'' (Bengel. ) This supreme ability 
of the Saviour is dwelt upon more fully in 
Col. 1 : 16, seq., and is referred to in Heb. 1 : 3. 
That power by which Christ can subject all 
things unto himself is an unassailable evidence 
of his ability to change our bodies from 
humiliation to glor^-. 



Ch. 4. COXCLUSION OF THE PRECEDING EX- 
HORTATION WHICH SHOULD PrOPERLY FORM 

A Part of the Previous Chapter. 

1. In conclusion, the apostle tenderly and 
fervently exhorts them to maintain a spirit of 
unity. The vision of future glory suggested 
at the close of the previous chapter should be 
a present inspiration. So at the close of the 
great chapter <>n the resurrection Paul trans- 
mutes that sublime vision of future glory into 
an inspiring force in the present, (i Cor. 15:08.) 
My brethren, etc. This accumulation of 
affectionate epithets springs from his loving 
heart, which is especially moved hy the re- 



membrance of tiiis well ordered church. 
" They are not terms of flattery, but of sincere 
love." (Calvin.) In no other Epistle do we 
find such numerous e.xpressions of aftectionate 
praise. Dearly beloved and longed for.' 
He not only loves them, but earnestly desires 
to see them again. " What heart-melting 
language is here! Ministers must woo hard 
for Christ, and speak fair, if they will speak 
to purpose." (Trapp. ) Joy and crown. Such 
disciples not only give him the greatest joy, 
but crown his ministry with an imperishable 
wreath of glory. Compare the similar words 
in 1 Thess. 2 : 19. So stand fast — that is, as 
those who possess a commonwealth in heaven, 
and are expecting thence the Saviour's coming. 
In the Lord. Nothing can be rightly done 
excei)t in the Lord, in his strength and grace. 
Dearly beloved. He lingers on these lov- 
ing words, as if they had a peculiar sweet- 
ness. " This is twice used very sweetly : first, 
at the beginning of the period, and then for 
strengthening the exhortation." (Bengel.) 
The rest of this chapter contains certain gen- 
eral exhortations and final messages which 
have been well described as "the ethical mis- 
cellany with which the apostle often concludes 
an Epistle." 

2, 3. Admonitions to and Commenda- 
tions OF Certain Individuals.— He urges 
two women who had become alienated to be 
at peace (2), and beseeches some well-known 
associate in the church to assist them in their 
efforts after harmony (3). 

2. I beseech Euodias, and beseech 
Syntyche. Both of the persons here addressed 
were evidently women, as appears by the 
feminine pronoun in ver. 3, which can properly 
refer only to thetn. The Common Version 
translates the first name Euodias, as if it 
were the name of a man ; it should be Euodia, 
as in Revised Version. Both names occur in 
ancient inscriptions, but are found nowliere 
else in the New Testament. These women 
were probably ladies of high character and 



1 The word translated ' longed for," ei7iiro9»)Toi, is not found elsewhere in the New Testament. 



64 



PHILIPPIANS. 



[Ch. IV. 



3 And I entreat thee also, true yokefellow, help those 
women which laboured with me in the gospel, with 
Clement also, and wilk other my fellow labourers, whose 
names are in the book of life. 



3 the same mind in the Lord. Yea, I beseech tbee 
also, true yokefellow, help these women, for they 
laboured with me in the gospel, willi Clement also, 
and the rest of my fellow-workers, whose names are 
iu the book of life. 



position in the church, who had for some rea- 
son, to us unknown, become estranged. We 
learn from Paul's words, that they had been 
specially helpful to him in times past, but 
nothing further is known concerning them. 
Their previous helpfulness increased the apos- 
tle's anxiety to see them at peace again. In 
this difRcult.y between these two women we 
may, perhaps, discover the clue to those fre- 
quent iind earnest exhortations to unity. See 
1 : 27 ; 2 : 2-4, 14 ; 3 : 15 ; 4 : 1. The repetition of 
the verb 'I beseech . . , and beseech,' sug- 
gests that Paul would address the same appeal 
to each one separately, not necessarily that he 
divides the blame equally between them. He 
does not exhort one to be reconciled to the 
other, but each to enter upon the work of rec- 
onciliiition. " He uses this word [beseech] as 
if exhorting them singly, face to face, and 
that most impartially." (Bengel.) That they 
be of the same mind in the Lord. Observe 
the words again, 'in the Lord,' for Paul can 
conceive of no goodness apart from Christ; 
the.se parties are not only to be reconciled, but 
in a Christian spirit. 

3. And I entreat thee also, true yoke- 
fellow. He appeals to a third party to help 
on this reconciliation ; and this appeal shows 
how strongly the apostle desires it. The verb 
translated ' entreat' (epwri) shows that he asks 
as an equal from an equal, while 'ask' (alreu)) 
would suggest the request of an inferior to a 
superior. ^M,■lu. 7:9; Ai!tsi2:2o.) ' Trueyokefcllow.' 
These words have been a perpetual stumbling 
block to commentators, and very varied ex- 
planations have been offered of their meaning. 
Some have supposed that he refers to one of 
his fellow workers, Luke, Timothy, Silas, 
Epaphroditus, etc., while some have even sup- 
posed the apostle's wife to be referred to. The 
last suggestion is opposed by grammar for the 
"word is masculine, and \>y the apostle's clear 
statement in 1 Cor. 7: 8, while the fir.st sugges- 
tion is not in accordance with Paul's usual 
method of addressing his fellow laborers; and 
there would also seem to be an invidious dis- 



tinction in singling out any individual as a 
true or genuine 'yokefellow.' Meyer has re- 
vived the explanation suggested by Chrysos- 
tom as the opinion of some in hisdaj', that the 
word is a proper name, Syzygus. With this 
explanation, which seems probable in view of 
the fact that all the rest here referred to are 
mentioned by name, all the difficulties easily 
vanish. We should simply have the name 
revealed of another, and otherwise unknown 
laborer in Philippi, who was evidently greatly 
trusted by the apostle ; in which case tlie use 
of the adjective would become eminently' 
proper, "true, genuine, S^'zygus, " that is, 
rightly so named, there being a graceful play 
upon his name, as in the case of Onesimus. 
See Philem. 11. The only objection to this 
view, and it does not seem very decisive, is the 
fact that such a name has never been discov- 
ered anywhere else. Those women, rather 
''them.'' The Common Version overlooks, or 
at least obscures, the reference of the pronoun 
to Euodia and Syntyche, but it is no new case 
the apostle is here considering. He is simply 
adding to his personal appeal to the women 
themselves, a request that Syzygus would aid 
them in their eftorts at reconciliation, and to 
emphasize his request, he characterizes these 
women as persons who had been of great ser- 
vice to himself personally.* They had labored 
with him most likely, when he founded the 
church in Philippi, "where, it may be remem- 
bered, the gospel was fir.st preached to a com- 
pany of women, and Lydia, the first convert, 
had opened her house to the apostles, and 
gathered the church for worship under her 
roof. (Acts 16: 13, 15, 40.) " It is proper to help a 
person who once stood well, even when he is 
wavering." (Bengel.) "All men should con- 
tribute their help to the composing of difl'er- 
ences, and bring their buckets, as it were, to 
quench this unnatural fire, when once kindled." 
(Trapp. ) The verb suggests that the labors 
which these women had shared with the apos- 
tle, had involved some severe toil and suffer- 
ing. He uses the same verb in 1 : 27. With 



'The pronoun .suggests that what follows is in the I dell and Scott's " G reek Lexicon"; Hadley's "Greek 
nature of a reason, " as being persons who." See Lid- I Grammar," section 681, b. 



Ch. IV.] 



PHILIPPIANS. 



55 



4 Rejoice in the Lord always: and again I say, 
Rejoice. 

o Let your moderation be known unto all men. 
The Lord us at baud. 



4 Rejoice in the Lord alway ; again I will say, Re- 

5 joice. Let your * forbearance be known uulo all 



1 Or. gentleneaa. 



Clement also. Clement was for a long time 
supposed to be the famous Clement of Rome, 
autlior of an "Epistle to the Corinthians," 
and Roman Catholic expositors still maintain 
that view, but most others have eitlier aban- 
doned it, or entertain it as a mere possibility. 
The probabilities are altogether against any 
such identification of persons. "Whoever he 
was, he had made himself conspicut>usiy use- 
ful to Paul, so that he was constrained to 
honor him by name. With other my fellow- 
labourers. Of this unnamed remainder of his 
helpers he beautifully says, whose names 
are in the book of life. Unnamed by him, 
they are all named tliere. Paul inferred this 
fact from what he had seen of their Christian 
life and character, '"the seals of that undis- 
closed election." (Calvin.) For the origin of 
that phrase ' book of life; ' compare Exodus 
32:32; Psalme9:28; Isaiah 4:3; Ezek. 13 : 
9; Dan. 12 : 1 ; Luke 10:20. 

4-9. Final AND General Exhortation. 

He exhorts them to joyful ness (4), gentle- 
ness (5), contentment (6), with the promise of 
the peace of God as the result (7), and finally 
enjoins spiritual mindedness ^8), and obedi- 
ence to all his instructions (9). 

4. Rejoice. This injunction, which he has 
once before used at 3 : 1, again takes up the 
thread which was broken off by the long di- 
gression, 3 : 2-4 : 3, ringing out once more the 
keynote of the Epistle. See on 1 : 4. In the 
liOrd. Again appears this characteristic 
phrase, so peculiar to Paul. He adds also the 
word always, because Christians should not 
only rejoice, but rejoice under all circum- 
stances, no matter what sacrifices they have to 
make, what trials to bear, what losses to sus- 
tain, for all these are part of the divine plan 
in accordance with which all things work to- 
gether for good to God's people. (Rom. 8:28.) 
See 1 Cor. 3 : 21, seq. ; 2 Cor. 6 : 10; 1 Thess. 
5 : 16. In Rom. 5 : 1-5, Paul states most beau- 
tifully tlie reasons for such joy, even in the 
most unfavorable circumstances — in prison, 
in this very city of Philippi, he had him- 
self most r^ignally illustrated his injunction to 
rejoice always. See Acts 10 : 25. Again I 



say — rather, toill say (epi, future). So ear- 
nest is Paul in enforcing this duty, that he re- 
peats the very same woid 'rejoice.' "Well 
has he repeated the word, for since the nature 
of things produces grief, he shows by repeat- 
ing that they should by all means rejoice." 
(Chrysostom.) 

5. Moderation — rather, "forbearance" 
(Revised Version), or "gentleness" (margin of 
Revised Version). It is that qualit3' which 
leads one to yield rather than to insist on the 
full measure of his rights, to suffer wrong 
rather than to do wrong, "as liolding utmost 
right to be utmost wrong." It was character- 
istic of Christ beyond all others (2Cor. lo: i), and 
of Paul especian3' among the ajjostles. This 
mildness of temper they should make so con- 
spicuous a feature of their character that it 
should come to be known unto all men, 
with whom they migiit come into contact. 
The injunction was specially appropriate in 
the days of persecution, when they might have 
been tempted to exhibit harshness of temper. 
To enforce this injunction he adds the words, 
the Lord is at hand, who will right all 
wrongs, and reward all fidelity. Mati^- have 
inferred from such expressions as this that 
Paul expected Christ's Second Coming in his 
own lifetime, or at least in the lifetime of the 
existing generation ; but in 2 Thess. 2 : 2 he 
expressly disclaims any such interpretation of 
his words. From that passage we learn that 
Paul did not tench any such doctrine, while 
in Acts 1 : 7 we are taught by the Lord him- 
self that the time of his Second Coming was 
not to be revealed even to inspired apostles. 
If, however, it be said that Paul evidently 
believed the Lord's coming to be near, even if 
he did not expressly teach it, and that such 
expectation colored his language, we reply 
that Paul could just as consistently employ 
the language he uses, even if he thought the 
j day to be very distant; for practically the 
Lord is at hand for everj' one of us — the day 
of one's death is actually for him the com- 
ing of Christ to judgment. "It is appointed 
unto men once to die, but after this the judg- 
ment" (Heb. 9:27); after death the next great 



PHILIPPIANS. 



[Ch. IV. 



6 Be careful for nothing; but in everytliing by 
prayer and supplication ivith thanksgiving let your re- 
quests be made known uulo God. 

7 And the ptace of (ioJ, which i)asseth all under- 
standing, shall keep your heans and minds through 
Christ Jesus. 



6 men. The Lord is at hand. In nothing be anxious; 
but in everything by prayer and supplication witti 
thanksgiving kt your requests be iiiaue known unto 

7 God. And the peace of God, which passeth all 
understanding, shall guard your hearts and your 
thoughts in Christ Jesus. 



event in the drama of life is the judgment. 
However long an interval may separate the 
two, they are pnictii-ally close together. If 
one, therefore, lived in the constant presence 
of this thought, as Paul lived, he might be 
stirred by the expectation of Christ's coming 
to judgment, even though it seemed to him an 
event of the far distant future. See 1 : 6. 

6. Be careful for nothing — with an anx- 
ious carefulness. The Greek word iinplies a 
care thtit divides and distracts the mind, as in 
Christ's well-known injunction in Matt. 6 : 34. 
It is an outgrowth of that spirit which ever 
looks solicitously forward, and forgets to-day's 
blessings and duties in anxieties about to-mor- 
row's claims. "It is possible to sink below 
this anxiety in mere levity and thoughtless- 
ness; it is possible to rise above it by casting 
our care on him who cart-th for us." ' Noth- 
ing' is placed first in tlie Greek with empha- 
sis, excluding absolutely every subject of 
anxiety. In opposition to this anxious ctire- 
fulness, he prescribes the remedy, which is 
entire confidence in God. Compare 1 Peter 
5 : 7. "This is the best cure of care." (Trapp.) 
Ill every thing, that may happen, in em- 
phatic contrast by its position in the sentence 
with the 'nothing' of the previous clause. 
By prayer and supplication. , These words 
are joined together also in Eph. 6 : 18; 1 Tim. 
2:1; 5:5. Tlie first is the more general term, 
including adoration, thanksgiving, etc. ; the 
second is the more specific, designating a single 
feature of prayer, petition for necessities. 
"Prayer and care are more opposite than 
water and fire." (Bengal.) With thanks- 
giving. Supplication for mercies should ever 
go hand in hand with thanksgiving for past 
favors. See 1 Thess. 5 : 18; 1 Tim. 2 : 1. " We 
should come to pray with our thanks in our 
hands, standing ready with it, as Joseph's 
brethren stood with their present. Prayer 
goes up without incense when without thank- 
fulness." (Trapp.) Requests — literally, 
things asked for (air^jiaTa). Be made known 
— though they are already known (Matt. 6:8), 
for it is the will of God thtit we should, ask for 
what we need. Unto God — literally, before 



God (npoi Toi- 0e6t/) ; before whose throne your 
petitions are laid. Some one has aptly turned 
Paul's injunction into an epigram: " Be care- 
ful for nothing, be prayerful for everything, 
be thankful for anything." 

7. The result of such a spirit of prayer will 
be the possession of a wonderful peace, the 
peace of God, "the image of God's own tran- 
quillity." Prayer may not always be answered 
in the way we expect, but always as the result 
of true prayer there will come this immetisur- 
able blessing. This is not the peace of recon- 
ciliation, the " peace with God " of Rom. 5:1; 
but the peace of trust, the repose of a believ- 
ing heart, which Christ so beautifully describes 
in John 14 : 27, and which presupposes the 
peace of reconciliation as its foundation. This 
repose of sj)irit Paul describes most eloquently 
as the peace of God which passeth all^ 
or, rather, every — understanding; that is, 
the power of every mind to comprehend it. 
Nt) human mind is adequtite to understand or 
e.-timate this peace. Compare Eph. 3 : 19. 
"He who possesses it has more than he him- 
self knows; more than he can express in word 
or thought." Shall keep — or, rather, as in 
Revised Version, "shall guard" (4>poup>)(rei). 
Compare 2 Cor. 11 : 32. By a military meta- 
phor Paul represents this peace as keeping 
guard over and protecting their hearts, as a 
garrison holds a fortress. At every inlet into 
their souls this peace stands like an armed 
sentinel, keeping out all disturbing influences. 
"Solomon's bed was not so well guarded with 
his threescore valiant men, all holding swords 
(Canticles 3 : 7, 8), as each good Christian is by 
the power of God without him, and the peace 
of God within him." (Trapp.) Your hearts 
and minds — or, better, thoughts, as in Re- 
vised Version. ' Hearts ' and thoughts are here 
connected together, bectiuse, according to the 
Biblical conception, " the heart is the setit of 
the thoughts." (Bengel.) See Matt. 12 : 34; 
15 : 19, etc. The peace of God keeps the heart 
and the thoughts issuing from it serene and 
calm. How diflTsrent this condition from the 
ceaseless anxieties of the world (mhu. 6:31.32), 
or its false security (itiioss. 5:3) ! Through— 



Ch. IV.] 



PHILIPPIANS. 



57 



8 Filially, brethren, whatsoever things are true, what- 
soever Ihiugs are honest, whatsoever things (ire just, 
whatsoever things art pure, whatsoever things are 
lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; il' tkere 
be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these 
things. 

\) ihose things, which ye have botli learned, and re- 
ceived, and heard, and seen in lue, do: and the (jod of 
peace shall be witii you. 



8 Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, 
whatsoever things are ' houourable.whatsoever things 
are just, wliatsoever things are pure, what soever things 
are lovely, whatsoever things are of - good report ; if 
there be any virtue, and if there he any praise, 

9 3 think on these things. The things which ye l)oth 
learned and received and heard and saw in me, these 
things do : and tile (jod of peace shall be with you. 



1 Gr. reverend 2 Or, graaioua 3 Gr. take account of. 



rather, in — Christ Jesus, in union with 
wliom this divine guardianship is alone expe- 
rienced. 

8. Finally. Here we have 'finally' again 
(see 3 : 1), actually bringing in this time the 
concluding portion of tlie Epistle. In the 
following sentence, beautiful in its rhythm 
and impressive in its sententious brevity, we 
have a noble demand for Christian thinking 
and Christian living. The sixfold repetition 
of whatsoever (6<ra) adds much to the im- 
pressiveness of the sentence. See Buttmann's 
"New Testament Granitnar," p. 398. True 
are here tilings not speculative, but practical ; 
for the practical character of the whole ad- 
monition shows that truth in conduct is 
meant. "Virtue is true, vice is falsehood." 
(Clirysostom.) Compare John 3 : 21 ; 1 Cor. 
5:8; Eph. 5:9; 1 John 1:6. Truth in 
speech and conduct Paul places, first of all, 
in the list of moral excellencies. Honest is 
here used in the old English sense of the word, 
'honorable,' which is very nearly the mean- 
ing of the Greek word (o-e^ii/i). It is whatever 
is venerable and sacred in character, worthy 
of honor in the sight of God and men. Com- 
pare 1 Tim. 2:2; Titus 2 : 2. Just— in ac- 
cordance with eternal and unchangeable 
righteousness {&iKaio<rvvT\). Pure — not simply 
chaste, but, as Calvin well says, it "denotes 
purity in all the relations of life." Compare 
1 Tim. 5 : 22; James 3 : 17 ; 1 John 3 : 3. 
Lovely — calculated to produce love in a well- 
ordered heart. "There is nothing more lov- 
able than virtue." (Cicero.) From the true 
standpoint, immorality is liateful. Of good 
report — not, "well spoken of," but as Luther 
correctly translates it, "that which sounds 
well"; and hence, winning, attractive.' The 
apostle now stims up all these various features 
of moral conduct, and any others that might 
be thought of, in a phrase that covers the 
whole range of moral excellencies. If there 



be any virtue, and if there be any praise. 

' Virtue ' is used nowhere else by Paul, and is 
found only in 1 Peter 2 : 9; 2 Peter 1 : 3, 5, in 
the New Testament. Paul probably does not 
shrink from this term, as some suppose, because 
it is essentially a heatlienisli word, unvvorthy of 
Christianity, but because he preferred to dwell 
upon the more specific designations of moral 
excellen'ce, just as he also preferred to describe 
wickedness under its specific forms, rather 
thiin by some general term. Compare Col. 
3 : 8, 12. By 'virtue' here he means moral 
goodness in itself; b3' 'praise,' such goodne.-s 
reflected in the speech and writings of men. 
Thus Christ's commendation of humility; 
Paul's of charity, would tmswer to the mean- 
ing of 'praise.' Think on these things — 
take to heart, so as to govern your lives tic- 
cordingly. We grow like our thoughts; we 
cannot entertain impure thoughts without 
becoming corrupt, and we cannot think good 
thoughts without becoming pure. "Medita- 
tion precedes, and work follows." (Calvin.) 
"To restore a commonplace truth to its first 
uncommon lustre, we need only translate it 
into action. But to do this you must have 
reflected on its truth." (Coleridge.) 

9. To this injunction to cherish pure and 
right thoughts, he adds an incentive to right 
action from his own speech and example. 
Those things which ye have both learned, 
and received — that is, from him as a teacher. 
The word ' received' difl'ers from ' learned ' by 
suggesting assent to the teaching. Compare 1 
Cor. 15 : 1. And heard, and seen in me — 
as an exami)le. The first verb does not refer 
to reports of his conduct that had come to 
their ears, but to his conduct as evinced in 
words, so that the two verbs describe his con- 
duct in words and deeds; the first they had 
'heard,' the second thej' had 'seen.' Do — not 
simply ponder, but practice. That must be a 
noble and blameless life which could justify 



1 The Greek words n-pocri^iAij, ' lovely,' and e\i^riy.<x, 'of good report,' occur nowhere else in the New Testament.' 



58 



PHILIPPIANS. 



[Ch. IV. 



10 But I rejoiced in the Lord greatly, that now at the 
last your care of uie hath flourished again ; wherein ye 
were also careful, but ye lacked opportunity. 

11 Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have 
learned, in whatsoever state 1 am, ihere.wUh to be con- 
teut. 



10 But I 1 rejoice in the Lord greatly that now at 
length ye have revi%-ed your thought for lue; 
■-wherein ye did indeed lake thought, but ye lacked 

11 opportunity. Not that I speak in rtspect of waul: 
for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therein 



1 Gr. rejoiced 2 Or, teeing that. 



one in pointing to it as a standard for others. 
Deficiencies and inconsistencies, which might 
remain half forgotten, are brought vividly to 
remembrance by anything like boasting. But 
the great apostle evidently had no cause to 
fear any such result, but dared, on all occa- 
sions, appeal to the unswerving fidelity of his 
life and teachings to the precepts of Christ. 
Compare Acts 20 : 31-35. And the God of 
peace shall be with you — as the result of 
such a life of pure thoughts and right actions. 

10-20. Acknowledgment of the Gifts 
Keceived from the Church. — He compli- 
ments them most gracefully and delicately on 
their thoughtful care for his wants (10), al- 
though asserting at the same time his inde- 
pendence (11) and contentment, under all 
circumstances, through the Lord's gracious 
aid (13). Nevertheless, thej' have exhibited 
the right spirit (14), in striking contrast with 
other churches (15), more than once (16). 
Again, declaring that the spirit of the giver 
is more than the gift itself (17), he expresses 
his entire satisfaction (18), promises God's 
blessing upon them in turn (19), and closes 
with a doxology (20). 

10. The apostle now passes to a new topic, 
as is indicated by the word translated but (Se). 
This new topic is his grateful acknowledg- 
ment of the aid received from the Philippians, 
which he expresses in most tender and grace- 
ful language. I rejoiced in the Lord — 
"not with a worldly joy." (Chrysostom.) 
Paul rejoices 'in the Lord' over every bless- 
ing, whether spiritual or temporal. In every- 
thing he beholds the ruling hand of Divine 
Providence. Compare Acts 28 : 15. Greatly 
— not on account of the gift, but of the Spirit 
it revealed. That now at the last — or, better, 
as in Revised Version, now at length. The 
words indicate a long interval since their last 
contribution to his support. Your care of 
me hath flourished a§!:ain. The Revised 
Version translates: "Ye have revived your 
thought for me.'" The Greek verb is best taken 



transitively, which is the current usage of the 
Septuagint. Compare Buttmann, p. 263. In 
the depth of his feeling the apostle breaks out 
into poetry. The image before his mind is a 
tree or plant which has been barren, as in 
winter time, and then puts forth fresh leaves 
or flowers. The Philippians had been barren 
of all care of him for a long time, but now 
they were blossoming again with thoughts for 
his comfort. In all this there is no rebuke or 
reproach, as Chrysostom and others have sup- 
posed, every suggestion of which is removed 
by the very next words. Had not these words 
been added, there would undoubtedly have 
been a tone of reproach in the statement, but 
the whole sentence must be kept in mind. 
The apostle hastens so quickly to remove 
every semblance of rebuke from his words, 
that we are not authorized to find an^^thing ot 
the kind by leaving out the modifying words. 
His words are very expressive. Wherein 
ye were also careful, but ye lacked op- 
portunity.! jjy declares that this barrenness 
was due to no lack of love, but of opportuni- 
ties. Thus the first statement, which seemed, 
when standing alone, slightly reproachful, is 
turned into a delicate compliment, which pos- 
sesses all the more force by the way in which 
it has been introduced. The visit of Epaph- 
roditus to Rome furnished the Philippians 
with their long wished for opportunity. 

11. Not that I speak in respect of want, 
etc. The apostle's natural independence as- 
serts itself characteristically in the denial that 
anj' personal satisfaction with the material 
gift prompts this display of gratitude. Mot 
for a moment would he be thought to be so 
demonstrative over his own renewed com- 
forts. He was no stranger to want, and 
had learned long ago to think but little about 
his bodily state. Proudly he says of himself, 
for I have learned to be content. The 
personal pronoun is used with special empha- 
sis : ' I.' however it may be with others. Have 
learned "in Christ's school, for nature teacheth 



\ The verb ^xaipeurOe, ■ ye lacked opportunity,' is a late and rare word, found only here in the New Testament. 



Ch. IV.] 



PHILIPPIANS. 



59 



12 I know both how to be abasedj and I know how to 
aboiimi ; every where and in all things I am instructed 
buth to be fuli and to be hungry, both to abound and to 
Slitter need. 

i'.i 1 can do all things through Christ which strength- 
eneth me. 

14 Notwithstanding, ye have well done, that ye did 
communicate with my atUiction. 



12 to be content. I know how to be abased, and I know 
also how to abound: in every thing and in all 
things have I learned the secret both to be tilled and 

13 to be hungry, both to aliound and to be in want. I 
can do all things in him that strengtheneth me. 

14 Howbeit ye aid well, that ye had fellowship with 



no such lesson." (Tra|3p. ) In whatsoever 

state — notonly now, butalways ; aboldstate- 
nieut, yet justified by all we know of the apos- 
tle's life. The Greek word (ai-Tapicrjs) is not 
exactly translated by 'content,' and in fact 
tliere is no exact English word for it. It ex- 
presses the idea of self-sufiiciency, independ- 
ence of all external resources. Socrates de- 
clared that this was nature's wealth. Many 
have been as independent as Paul, but few 
have combined witli it such delicate appre- 
ciation of the kindness of others. This ability 
to be independent, and, at the same time, to 
accept proffered kindness with overflowing 
gratitude, is one of many proofs that Paul 
was a most rarely endowed man. 

12. He now amplifies the thought just ex- 
pressed. I know how to be abased — that 
i.s, to submit to straitened circumstances. He 
speaks of this first, as the more frequent ex- 
perience in his own life. ■ The repetition of 'I 
know' reveals his deep feeling. How to 
abound — that is, how to conduct myself in 
the midst of plenty, a higher virtue than the 
other, and harder to acquire. Very few have 
exhibited both virtues, a becoming spirit of 
resignation in narrow circumstances, and a 
noble and generous temper in abundance. 
Paul's abundance was probably meagre 
enough, but the same spirit which taught him 
to make a right use of his slender means would 
have kept him true amid the glories of Solo- 
mon's palace. Everywhere and in all 
things. Ho desires to emphasize this declara- 
tion of complete contentment and therefore 
adds several amplifying clauses. Tlie Revised 
Version tfanshites this, "In every thing and in 
all things" ; that is, in every case individually, 
and in allca.sescollectivelj'. I am instructed, 
better have learned the secret. (Revised Ver- 
sion.) The verb (MeMwiMoO means literally 
"to be initiated,'' and contains an allusion to 
the ancient mysteries, to which onlj' the initi- 
ated were admitted. By the use of this word 
Paul would intimate, as Bengel sa3's, that ho 
was instructed "by a secret discipline un- 



known to the world." The secret of content- 
ment has become his, not by nature, but by 
grace. 

13. I can do all things through Christ 
which strengtheneth me. He thus traces 
back this ability to be independent of circum- 
stances to its true source, the indwelling Christ. 
It is the grace of Christ that strengthens him, 
and enables liim, not only to exhibit this spirit 
of contentment, but to 'do all things' that 
may be necessary in the line of duty. How 
brief how noble this utterance ! There was 
nothing, no possible experience, for which 
Paul did not feel himself adequate, in the 
strength which Christ imparts. Compare 2 
Cor. 1-2:9; Eph. 6 : 10; 1 Tim. 1 : 12 ; 2 Tim. 
2:1; 4:17. 

14. As his natural independence has com- 
pelled him to defend himself from the sus- 
picion of caring too much for the material 
gift, so his inbred courtesy Leads him to ob- 
viate any imputation of slighting their oft'er- 
ing. " We may remark how prudently and 
cautiously he conducts himself on both sides, 
lest he should incline too much to either. He 
had descanted magnificently upon his eon- 
stancj', for he wished the Philippians to beware 
of thinking that he had given way under the 
pressure of want. He now takes care, lest 
from his undaunted manner of speaking, he 
should appear to have despised their kindness, 
which would have been a proof not simjily of 
ill breeding and haughtiness, but even of 
pride." (Calvin.) 

NotAvithstanding — that is, in spite of my 
perfect contentment and ability to do without 
such aid — ye have well done in bestowing 
j-our gifts, because in so doing, ye did com- 
municate, better, had fellowship, Avith my 
atHiction — that is. helped liiin bear his afflic- 
tion by this practical manifestation of .sym- 
pathy. It is a characteristically delicate way 
of describing their act of kindness. He would 
have them understand that by taking his 
needs upon their hearts they have practically 
fellowshiped, or shared, his affliction, and so 



eo 



PHILIPPIANS. 



[Ch. IV. 



15 Now ye Philippians know also, that in the begin- 
niug of the gospel, when I departed from Macedonia, 
no church coiunuiuicated with me as coucerning giving 
and receiving, but ye only. 

Hi For even in Thessalunica ye sent once and again 
unto luv necessity. 

17 Not because I desire a gift: but I desire fruit that 
mav abound to your account. 

IS But 1 have all, and abound: I am full, having 



15 my affliction. And ye yourselves also know, ye 
Philippiaus, that in the beginning of the gospel, 
when 1 departed from Macedonia, no churcn had 
fellowship with me iu the matter of giving and re- 

16 ceiving, but ye only; lor even iu TUcssulonica ye 

17 sent once and again unlo my need. Not that 1 seek 
for the gift; but i seek for the fruit that increaselli 

18 to your account. But 1 have all things, and abounu: 



have lessened the burden of it for the apostle 
himself. 

15. The Philippians have not only niin- 
tered to him on this occasion, but also 
on previous occasions. The direct address, 
ye Philippians, is introduced with atFec- 
tionate interest. In the beginning of the 
gospel — that is, at the time of their first 
acquaintance with it, tliey showed this same 
spirit of benevolence, in remarkable and beau- 
tiful contrast with the rest of the churches he 
had founded. " They might have said, We 
will do it, if others have done it: now their 
praise is the greater; that of the others, the 
less." (Bengel.) Communicated with me 
• — better, '^ /uid fellowship with me." (Revised 
Version.) They had entered into a kind of 
spiritual partnership with him. As concern- 
ing — or, in the matter o/— giving and receiv- 
ing. The words translated 'giving and re- 
ct-iving' are technical terms derived from the 
language of bookkeeping, but we are not for a 
moment to suppose that any actual account 
was kept by Paul or by the Philippians. It is 
simi)ly the apostle's imaginative way of ex- 
pru^sing his sense of obligation. Even as an 
infant church they had begun to contribute to 
his wants in such a way as to suggest to his 
vivid imagination a sort of ledger account 
between them and himself, in which was con- 
tjtined on the one side the spiritual blessings 
they had received, and on the other the 
material gifts he had received. No other 
church had ever suggested any such necessitj- 
for keeping au account of debit and credit, for 
with them it had been all receipts and no gifts. 
This was the only church in which mutual 
services had been rendered. It was doubtless 
the willing spirit of the Philippians which led 
Paul to make an exception in their case to the 
rule he seems to have adopted to accept no 
support from the churches among which he 
hibored. See 1 Cor. 9 : 18 ; 1 Thess. 2:9; 2Thess. 
3: 8. He did not forget under other circum- 
fitances to refer to this liberality of the Pbilip- 
ian Church, See 2 Cor. 8:2; 9:9. Paley in 



his " Horae Paulinas," chapter vii, No. iii, 
well brings out the undesigned coincidences ' 
between the history and Paul's epistles in this 
matter of the contribution. 

16. For even in Thessalonica, etc. He 
now emphasizes the statement that tlie Philip- 
pians had shown this spirit from the beginning, 
by recalling an earlier instance of their gen- 
erosity. Not only had they contributed to his 
aid when he departed from Macedonia, but 
even before that, while he was still in the 
province, at the neighboring city of Thessa- 
lonica, on two different occasions. Well might 
Paul boast of this church to the Corinthians 
(see preceding verse), since they formed such 
a striking contrast with all others. And yet 
how sad a picture of selfishness and ingrati- 
tude we have here painted by the apostle in 
the praise he bestows upon this one church. 
Their example appears so bright only by its 
contrast with the prevailing selfisliness. The 
hardest and most penurious of modern 
churches, doling out mere pittances to their 
pastors, shine luminously by the side of the 
very best churches of apostolic days. 

17. Not because I desire a gift. Again, 
as in ver. 11, the apostle's sensitive heart seeks 
to clear itself of all suspicion of anything like 
mercenary motives in this overflowing praise. 
It is not the 'gift' he cares for, but something 
higher, even the spiritual blessings wliich such 
giving brings to the givers. These blessings 
are conceived of as fruit, which the3' will 
gather in the great harvest day. Compare 
Matt. 25 : 34, seq., where the Saviour repre- 
sents himself as specially commending and 
rewarding such acts at that last day. The 
repetition of the words I desire is emphatic. 
I do not desire the ' gift,' but I do desire the 
'fruit.' Thatmayabound to youraccount. 
"God keeps an exact account of every penny 
laid out upon him and his, that he may requite 
it, and his retributions are more than bounti- 
ful." (Trapp,) 

18. But I have all, and abound. So gen- 
erously have the Philippians contributed that 



Ch. IV.] 



PHILIPPIANS. 



61 



received of Epaphroditus tlie things which were sent 
from you, an odour of a swetl swell, a sacrifice accept- 
able, well pleasing to God. 

19 But uiy tiod shall supply all your need according 
to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus. 

20 Now unto God and our Father be glory for ever 
and ever. Amen. 

21 Salute every saint in Christ Jesus. The brethren 
which are with me greet you. 

22 All the saints salute you, chiefly they that are of 
Cesar's household. 



I am filled, having received from Epaphroditus the 
things that came from you, an odour of a sweet 
smell, a sacrifice aece|)tal>le, well-pleasing to God, 

19 And my God shall sujjply every need of yours ac- 

20 cording to his riches in glory iu'Christ Jesus. Now 
unto lour tiod and Father be the glory 2 for ever 
and ever. Amen. 

21 Salute every saint in Christ Jesus. The brethren 

22 who are with me salute you. All the saints salute, 
you, especially they that are of Cajsar's household. 



1 Or, God and our Father 2 Or. nnto the agea of the aget. 



he has 'till' that he needs, and even more, 
for he 'abounds.' "The sum they had sent 
him was undoubtedly not large; yet, moder- 
ate as it was, it abounded, he says, to the full 
satisfying of his wants and of his wishes." 
(Calvin.) " Behold the contented and grate- 
ful mind! " (Bengel.) I am full repeats the 
previous statement in another form. Alluding 
again to the gift received through Epaphrodi- 
tus, the apostle describes it as a sweet and 
acceptable offerii'.g to God himself, so putting 
the final t<Hich to the picture of their kind- 
ness. Thus the Philippians have the satisfac- 
tion of knowing that their ministration to the 
apostle's necessities has proved a most per- 
fect and acceptable sacrifice to God on high. 
See Heb. 13 : 16. 

19. And this God, whose servant they have 
ministered to, will supply all their needs, 
spiritual and temporal. They have supplied 
the apostle's bodily necessities, and he can 
only thank them, but God will requite them 
in a very different way. He shall supply 
all your needs — not as they have supplied 
the apostle's, — out of their poverty, — but 
according to his riches in glory — that is, 
his glorious inexhaustible resources. "It is 
easy to him." (Chrysostom.) Meyer takes 
the words ' in glory ' as belonging to the verb, 
" He will supply in glory " ; that is, in heaven. 
But the combination of the words 'riches in 
glory' is grammatical, and yields the better 
sense; namely, that God will reward the 
Philippians for their generosity, both in this 
world and tlie world to come, out of his infin- 
itely glorious riches. By (Revised Version, 
in) Christ Jesus — in union with whom alone 
is any one an object of the divine favor and 
blessing. 

20. The thought of God leads the apostle 
to break forth into a doxology, with which 
this section fittingly concludes. Now unto 
God and our Father (literally, as in Re- 
vised Version, "our God and Father," for 



the Greek word 'our' belongs to both nouns.) 
'God' expresses the natural relation of the 
Deity to us, 'Father' his relation to us in 
Christ. (Rom. 8:15; Gal. 4:5.) Be glory for evct 
and ever (literally, to ages of ages)— an imi- 
tation of the Hebrew. 

21-29. Salutations and Benedictions. 
— He sends a salutation to every saint, together 
with the greeting of the brethren at Rome 
(21), especially of the household of Cicsar (2'J), 
and closes with a benediction. (23.) 

21. Salute. This is probably addressed to 
the immediate recipients of the letter, the 
bishops and deacons, who are to 'salute' the 
brethren at Philippi in the apostle's name. 
Every saint. "The singular individualizes 
— every saint individually." (Bengel.) 'Every 
saint,' worthy or unworthy, was to receive 
the same salutation. The spirit of Cliristian 
brotherhood was to prevail. In Christ Jesus 
— that is, with a Christian salutation. The 
brethren that are with me greet you. 
These are probably the more intimate com- 
panions of the apostle, while "all the 
saints," in the next verse, embraces the wider 
circle of the entire church at Rome. Who 
these brethren were, we do not know. There 
is no reason for the change of the verb from 
'salute' in the first sentence to 'greet' in the 
second, since it is the same verb and is cor- 
rectly translated 'salute.' 

22. He adds '"another cluster" of saluta- 
tions from the members of the church at 
Rome, and especially from the inmates of the 
imperial household. These last were proba- 
bly the servants, as it was among the lower 
classes that the gospel first won a hearing 
(i Cor. 1:26); and besides, had any of the em- 
peror's relatives become Christians, history 
would undoubtedly have preserved some trace 
of the fact. Why the greeting from them was 
so emphasized, we cannot tell ; but it maj' be 
that these Christians had ministered to Paul's 
necessities, and were very much moved by 



62 



PHILIPPIANS. 



[Ch. IV. 



23 The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. I 23 The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your 
Amen. I spirit. 



the kindness of the distant Philippians to 
the lonely prisoner, and so sent their greet- 
ing with such affectionate earnestness as 
to reflect itself in his language. At an3- 
rate, a greeting from such a source was 
well worthy of special attention, for, as Calvin 
well says, "it is worthy of r'emark, as being no 
common instance of divine mercy, that the 
gospel had penetrated that abyss of all wick- 
edness and debauchery — the imperial palace." 
Out of this reference grew the well-known 
legend of a correspondence between Paul and 
Seneca, Nero's preceptor. 
23. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ 



be with you all. The benediction is similar 
to that in Kom. 16 : 24 ; 1 Cor. 16 : 23 ; 1 Thess. 
5 : 28 ; 2 Thess. 3 : 18 ; but especially to that 
in Gal. 6 : 18. The true reading is that of the 
Revised Version, with your spirit, which ap- 
pears in Gal. 6 : 18; 2 Tim. 4 : 22 and Philem. 
25 with very slight variations. The reading of 
the Common Version is more like Paul's usual 
benedictions, and which on that account prob- 
ably crept in here through the error of some 
copyist. In every epistle this apostolic bene- 
diction was always written by Paul's own 
hand, and was "the token in every epistle" of 
its genuineness. See Col. 4 : 18 ; 2 Thess. 3 : 17. 



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